November 16, 2001


Flavor of the Month Patriotism
This is embodied by the "United We Stand" bumper stickers placed alongside the fave sports team logo without a hint of irony. It's also seen in the rush of sales of Old Glory, followed by the ugly spectre of hundreds of incorrectly-hung flags (hung in the rain, at night without illumination, wadded up for days on end...). Flavor of the Month Patriots will scurry around to buy t-shirts which read "Osama: Yo Mama", but can't find the time to vote; they've bought the new Enya CD because of that annoying song, but haven't read the Constitution. FlavPats generally echo whatever opinion they heard last.

Scary-Ass Nationalist Patriotism
This brand of patriotism is replete with stuff that would make even the most hardcore Taliban droid cringe. These are the psychos who went around shooting Sikhs after 9/11. These are the dolts who call into AM talk radio stations and argue that society would be better off without basic rights and privileges afforded by the Bill of Rights. Gas masks, Cipro, fallout shelters, and MREs are the totems of this bizarre cult.

True Patriotism
This is what loving one's country is all about. Make your nation something to envy. Be humble. Don't be a jerk. Read a book. Be nice to foreigners. Go about your business in an unremarkable fashion. Spend a little. Work hard. Make it all count. Give to charities, or volunteer. Act responsibly. Don't curse in front of other people's kids. Get a dog, walk it, and use a damned pooper-scooper. Presto: pluralism, isocracy, tolerance, mutuality, liberty, etc...

geek heaven geek hell

November 15, 2001, will go down in history as a monumental day for millions of 35-year-old virgins who live in their parents' basements.

Geeks around the United States punched out at their help desk jobs and massed upon movie theaters and toy stores, clad in tight-fitting t-shirts emblazoned with the logos of various Linux-derived operating systems. Chad Wilters, who had arrived at the Harry Potter premiere in Akron, Ohio, over seven hours before the credits were set to roll, blurted, "This is the happiest I've been since I was picked to participate in a focus group for Capcom!"

Economists are viewing the day's events with cautious optimism. Sales of snack foods, acne medication, and pornography soared in the days leading up to November 15.
There is yet more evidence that movie stars are completely, unequivocally, profoundly INSANE. Actor Danny Glover, known for almost 30 years of celluloid garbage, has come out in favor of sparing Osama Bin Laden's life. At a recent anti-death penalty love-in, Glover opined that the death penalty was just as wrong for a power-mad leader of an international network of fanatical terrorists as it would be for a common, run-of-the-mill, household murderer. A weird spin on the left's new moral equivalency tack...

November 14, 2001

Years ago, while on a cross-country trek, I stopped for a few days in the Twin Cities. One thing I really liked about that area was the abundance of good ethnic restaurants.

One place I happened upon was the Khyber Pass Cafe, an Afghani restaurant in St. Paul. The food was excellent and unusual; I recall a noodle dish with nuts, washed down with an exquisitely spiced tea. The restaurant also offered live music (gasp!) and had a license to serve alcohol (no!).

I have a feeling the owners and patrons of the Khyber Pass Cafe have something to smile about as news rolls in of the Taliban's scurrying away, unveiled women and clean-shaven men dancing in the streets of Kabul, food aid trucks delivering staples to the hungry, etc.

cookie, cookie, cookie, starts with C

Yet another sign that the world is going to hell: a man on trial for attacking a young woman in a Cookie Monster outfit is now claiming self-defense. He also asserts that he was singled out for being black. Hell, maybe he singled out poor Cookie Monster for being blue! 'C' is for cookie...

This is paraphrased from an aviation listserv mailing:

In the first documented report that we're aware of, an Air Marshal momentarily went public by waylaying an unruly passenger, who was on his way, some thought, to 'talk with the captain' of an airliner in flight.
USAirways Flight 969, enroute from Pittsburgh to Reagan National, landed instead at Dulles, on Monday, at 5:08PM, after an Air Marshal kept a man from maybe causing trouble on board.
Passenger Raho Ortiz, 33, a lawyer employed by the EPA, on his way home to D.C., was arrested after the plane landed. His offense? He was out of his seat, with fewer than 30 minutes left in the flight. That's a no-no, when approaching Reagan. He was breaking a new rule, instituted since September.
One witness said Ortiz was on his way, "toward the cockpit," when "an air marshal jumped up with his gun and subdued him." He said all the passengers were ordered to put their hands above their heads, until the situation was under control. That witness, identified as a former federal prosecutor, called a television station on his cell phone, from the airplane (after it landed), to tell what was going on.

Postscript: the guy was charged with interference with a flight crew, then released, then the charges were dropped. A marijuana possession charge (it is unknown how this relates to the potty incident) remains...

November 13, 2001

In the wake of the crash of American Flight 587, the media, once it became apparent that the crash was not caused by terrorists, rushed to discuss the human impact of the tragedy in the following order:

1. the neighborhood where the plane crashed
2. the airline industry
3. the country as a whole
4. the Dominican community

This is infuriating because the passengers on Flight 587 were almost entirely from the Dominican Republic. We get 'round the clock coverage of whatever civilian casualties may or may not have actually happened in Afghanistan, but when poor folks in our own hemisphere are suffering, it's shuffled off to the back page.
It seems that the Boulder-area chapter of the ACLU is demanding full prosecution of the "dildo bandito", the guy who swiped the penis artwork from the Boulder Library in response to the library's refusal to hang Old Glory. While I can't argue with the notion that thieves should generally be prosecuted, and that those who attempt to squelch the free expression of others should be stopped, it puzzles me that the ACLU has been largely silent on the many cases of late involving people who were not allowed to display or wear any sort of patriotic gear at work. Read more about it.

Additionally, the Chairman (shouldn't that be Chairperson?) of the Boulder County ACLU said, "We understand that, although Mr. Rowan admitted the theft to the Boulder police, the police department has decided not to charge him unless the artist requests it... Ironically, this is the way domestic violence has historically been treated, with police declining to arrest or charge unless the victim chose to press charges." This statement is utter bullshit. Most states now require the police to either arrest or issue a summons to anyone remotely involved with having perpetrated an act of domestic violence, regardless of whether or not the victim intends to cooperate and testify. Also, most district attorneys now have policies requiring full prosecution of these cases, even where the victim recants, even if it means tying up resources only to lose the case, even if means pissing off the victims who later reconcile with their abusers...

The end result of this whole affair: the Boulder library has its precious penises back and the media and public outcry regarding the PC fascism of the library is waning. Now, the ACLU comes in after the fact to stir the shit a little bit and build some hype.