Apparently, this is the thing to do now with the anniversary so close. So I will jump in and add my two-cents to the cacophony of 9/11 essays (two particularly good ones are Andrew Sullivan’s and Christopher Hitchens‘ love ‘em or hate ‘em they will make you think). However, in order to properly formulate 9/11 I have to go back a few more years to set the stage for where I was personally at that time. In 1999 I was working at a television studio, doing something that I thought I liked. I hoped that it would turn into something more. Well surprise, surprise things didn’t quite go as a I wanted. Being that I was young and dumb I only exacerbated the situation and proceeded to burn some of the first bridges in my young professional career. I didn’t give a fuck though. I was young and feeling cooped up and I badly needed a change–or so I told myself. So towards the end of 1999 I moved on to a construction supplies delivery job which I half-heartedly worked at (sometimes when I was tired I’d just pull over in a housing community and take a nap). When I got bored with that job I quit. Then my brother started talking about going into the Marine Corps. As he discussed it with me it planted the idea in my head which over the course of the next few months sat dormant in my head but just percolated subconsciously biding its time. About mid-2000 my brother was accepted to Naval flight school in Pensacola, Fl. A fairly difficult school to get into especially when your grades aren’t the best and you’re not a legacy kid. It was about that time that he decided he didn’t want to join up anymore. It was also about that time when I decided I did and I voiced my desire to my family.
I think it’s too harsh to say it was met with outright derision but there was a large amount of skepticism from my father and brother. I mean I was the less athletic brother, I was lazier, and avoided hard work like the plague. But their jokes just strengthened my resolve. I wanted to join not only to prove them wrong (and my ‘friends’ weren’t any more supportive, their mockery was even more infuriating) but because this burgeoning desire to serve my country. I’m not exactly sure where this all came from but I have my suspicions, and I think a large portion of this desire came from my reading list as an adolescent, which ran heavy on titles with Epic poems like Beowulf,The Illiad, The Odyssey and with a different kind of epic like The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. It was definitely a confluence of events though as all these ideas and feelings came together at the same time. Add to that the mockery from a lot of the people close to me and my resolution was set. If there is anything about me that’s true it’s that I a stubborn son of a b.
So I quit my job and went to work at UPS part-time and the rest of my time was spent running and working out. I quit drinking (seriously I’m not lying) and even though I didn’t eat a lot of junk food I quit eating the little that I did. My singular focus was to continue my regiment throughout the winter and go to boot camp in March. But alas, the best laid plans…, as it turned out I never made it to March. Instead, after some poking and prodding from my recruiter, and finally being given some more financial incentives I left at the end of January 2001.
These last few weeks have had an absolutely ridiculous amount of people spewing all kinds of hateful speech and conspiracies. It’s actually been kind of depressing to hear about all this shit. Unfortunately it seems like the people that have a platform to speak have lost their fucking minds and have used their platform to spew garbage. As such, I have decided to post these wild statements etc. accompanied by a nice, cute representative animal. Today’s animal is the Mockingbird, which is Arkansas state-bird. Me thinks this won’t be the last time we see this one.
I have usually had enough of yelling, screaming children and dumb tourists at work which is one of the pitfalls of working at a museum on a daily basis. Usually the last thing I want to do is go to a museum on my day off. This is unfortunate because DC has a plethora of museums and I haven’t seen really any of them in the last year that I’ve lived here. One of the museums I have been wanting to check out though has been the Newseum. Add a $20.00 fee to screaming children plus dumb tourists and well my desire to see it was never great enough to actually get me to go see it.
Luckily, the other day I was able to score some free tickets so I was able to check it out yesterday on my day off (it also gave me the opportunity to try out the HDR photo setting on my iPhone). My initial reaction to viewing the museum is that would have been totally worth the entry fee. There are a ton of different exhibits with outstanding artifacts that really make it worth its while.
I started out on the bottom floor checking out the Berlin Wall Gallery. The fall of the wall is one of my earliest memories. I remember learning about it, I remember Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” speech, and I remember watching the East and West Germans start breaking down the wall. I thought it was cool as a kid and didn’t really understand the significance of it until later, but I did know that for some reason it was a big deal.
Next up was the G-Men and Journalists Exhibit. I honestly didn’t expect much from this one but I was pleasantly surprised by the artifacts that they had in here. The exhibit is in honor of the FBI’s 100th anniversary so they had some of the biggest cases from the last century including: John Dillinger, Donnie Brasco, the KKK, the Unabomber, Oklahoma City, and the DC Sniper. Lots of cool stuff from all those cases but seeing the Unabombers shack was pretty surreal. From here I went up to the 6th floor to check out the Katrina exhibit and to check out the view from their balcony.
While I wasn’t particularly interested in the Katrina exhibit I came away after going through it with a new found appreciation for everyone who went through the hurricane and those that stayed around to report on the events as they happened. One of my favorite exhibits, since I am a huge history nerd, was the News History Gallery.
In honor of the Governor’s hair-brained scheme to put taxes on iTunes downloads (and possibly other DLC), and a host of other dumb taxes, I am posting this SNL skit about him. I mean there is a $15.4 billion budget gap. So raising taxes on small stuff like digital content and soda is a bit like McCain’s claims that if we vetoed all ear-marks we would magically have a budget surplus. 15.4 billion is a big number and means that there is inefficiency in your government, so fix that shit first, and that most (if not all) of the gap is going to have to be made up with broad reforms to the way things are done on a daily basis in government. Proposals like this just piss people off because they know that instead of looking in the mirror you are just trying to squeeze some more money out of everyday people. One more thing if you appoint Caroline Kennedy as Hillary’s replacement then you should be impeached, because she has the same amount of experience as Sarah Palin.
Updated – 4:38
Ok here is a commentary from Paterson explaining why he wants to raise taxes on sugary drinks. Basically it boils down to taxing a substance like soda in the hopes of preventing people from drinking an excess of soda, and hopefully to curb the rising rates of childhood obesity. Now in theory I shouldn’t care because I rarely ever drink soda, but I do have a huge problem with this. This is just another instance of the government stepping in and taking on a role that does not belong to them. Since when is it the governments job to tell people what to eat and drink. It takes away the responsibilty from the parents and essentially absovles them of being shitty parents. The government should be finding a way to put responsibility and blame back on the parents instead of taking more upon itself.
Another point I want to make is the taxing of iTunes and possibly other digital downloads. This is a terrible idea also because the government and corporations have been fighting to get digital piracy under control, and they have been making success over the last few years–specifically with iTunes. However, start throwing extra taxes on these legitimate downloads and it will have the same effect as the Coercive and Townshend Acts did, namely drive people back to piracy. Dumb ideas, government needs to look in the mirror and start trimming the fat off of some of their programs, and they need to modernize and get hip with the digital age.
Welcome to the new perpetualmemoryloss. For those of you who are coming over from wordpress please update you bookmarks, and links. For those that are new check out the blogski, and the vets of this site take the time to look at some new or old posts, old stories, and everyone let me know if you see something that is messed up. I haven’t had the time to go through all the posts yet so please bear with me as I am fixing this site up, and finishing my semester papers, maybe. Let me take time now to direct you all to the drunken stories page. That was one of the original intents of the page but it got lost in the flurry of the baseball and election seasons. So read up and send in your best drunken, blacked out stories. Thanks for coming by and come back ofter. Oh and by the way for those of you wondering, no this isn’t Gabbo, but he will be here soon. Eleven days to be exact.
I wanted to wait a bit and digest yesterdays events before I wrote up my feelings. So first off unless you live in a cave you know that Obama won. I’m exceedingly happy that he won, since he was who I was pulling for. His campaign was the first campaign that I have ever been interested enough in to donate some of my not-really-hard-earned-skrilla.
I sat around for most of last night waiting and waiting for the results to come in, and hoping for the best. Most of the tension came early in the day as once the results came in there wasn’t much drama. McCain got trounced, and one of the main reasons was the Palin-monkey. I could have handled a McCain administration sans Palin, but with her I would have been worried about McCain’s health 24/7. In the hours after Obama was elected all I really felt was a bit of shock and tons of relief. Relief that the election was finally over, and relief that Bush’s stank will soon be over. I woke up this morning still tired but feeling much happier than I have in months. I attribute this to knowing that Bush’s reign is almost over, and with it I feel like there is the light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq. This war plagues my thoughts on a daily basis, and I spend so much energy thinking about the war, the deaths, the monetary costs; and then that transposes itself into my burning–like the duel Tattooine suns burning–hatred for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. On this one issue Obama gets no lee-way at fucking all. I will give him the benefit of the doubt of a lot of issues, but on Iraq there is none, for me. On all the other issues I will be patient, vigilant, and actively involved in making my views known to my representatives. Obama will have my goodwill and full support, but I won’t give him a free pass.
Another outcome of last night is that finally being built up year after year the youth vote finally showed up. We had a decisive effect on the election helping to tip the scale, and I think the better candidate won, but that remains to be seen. Ask me in four years. Even more encouraging was the fact that the voter turnout was higher than any election in the last century, as over 130 million people voted. Some regions of the country saw up to 90% of their registered electorate vote. Amazing numbers.
McCain last night gave in my view his best speech of the campaign, and it reminded me of why I wanted him to win in 2000. The money quote:
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
This was an important note for McCain to make especially since his rallies have been extremely angry and volitile lately. Like John Wayne said after Kennedy won “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.” Wise words for all of us to take to heart, and you can’t argue with The Duke.
Combine that speech with his appearance on SNL a few days earlier, and you have a couple of the best moments of the McCain campaign. Unfortunately, I think he was swayed by the neo-cons on his staff and the religious right. He sold his soul to the worst elements of his party and I think that if he had run a more moderate campaign like the old McCain, and if he would have picked a real VP, things could have been much different.
Obama’s speech last night wasn’t quite what I expected but it was a good, solid, conciliatory speech. This was the quote that struck me:
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
Hopefully I can come off saying this without sounding like a groupie, but Obama winning is important. The first minority president of a major western nation. Where else could this happen. Not many places, but we are the first, and I think that speaks volumes about our nation. The only nation on Earth that wasn’t founded on race or ethnicity, but with an idea. The idea that everyone is free, and that free people can govern themselves. Some of the founders didn’t think that our republic would last 20 years let alone the 232 we have lasted. It has been painful for me to watch the standing of our country fall precipitously over the last few years. Watching the current administration conduct a war like two virgins fucking in the dark, learning about our government conducting torture in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, learning about the administration spying on innocent Americans without a warrant. These types of injustices have been hard to watch, and have lost us all kinds of respect throughout the world. With that loss of respect I’ve had to listen to all these wanna-be leaders around the world talk shit just because we are a bit down on our luck, and no one’s manning the helm. Well last night the world got put on fucking notice. America’s back bitches. Regardless of what you think of Obama, we all witnessed history last night. I really feel that our founders would have been exceedingly proud of what happened last night, especially Alexander Hamilton.
Will Obama make everything alright, well shit no of course not, but we have done something, once again, that sets a benchmark for the rest of the world follow. So if that allows me to gloat, and gives volume to my constant assertions that this is the best fucking country in the world, then so be it. I don’t need the validation, but for a few months at least the rest of the world will have to again acknowledge that yes America is the shit. No one knows how these next four years will work out, but I can say with certainty that it will be better than the last eight. I hope that the republican party crawls out of the cave they have been in and take a good long hard look in the mirror. They need to come home to the true principles of conservatism–limited government, individual rights, modest foreign policy, etc–because this country needs two parties. We don’t need the neo-cons, we need real conservatives, because while I am hopeful about Obama, I am not hopeful about Pelosi and Reid.
I will continue to feel happy, hopeful, and relieved for the next 75 days until Bush gets the fuck out. Then the real work of putting this country back together starts. But until then I will sit back and celebrate the history made, and the fucking awesomeness of America. Speaking of celebrating here is a video I got from The Daily Dish of a celebration going on here in the ‘fake’ America last night:
For me that was one of the worst aspects of the McCain campaign, and a slap in the face to everyone I know who doesn’t live in the ‘real’ America, but yet served their country honorably. It’s not often that you see a group spontaneously break out into singing the American anthem. I love that video, and it sends chills up my spine. I wish I was there for that moment. I have to say I truly, deeply love country, our flag, and our anthem. Even though at times the Marine Corps was unbearable, if the need ever arose, I am still willing to die for my country and the ideals of our Constitution.
After that it will be time to get to work, because as the old saying goes politics is a contact sport not a spectator sport. So I implore everyone to keep your enthusiasm up, stay in touch with your representatives, and let them know where you stand on the issues as they come up. One last thing since I’m on the East Coast and it is relatively close by, I’m thinking of going to the inauguration this year. If you are planning on going let me know.
Did you forget about me, Gabbo? I hope you didn’t, because I am still coming, and guess what? I’m only 31 days away. Woooooooo! I can’t wait to reveal myself. Of course you still don’t know who, or perhaps what, I am, but in a few short weeks you will know, and your life will be better for it. Even though the economy is on its last legs and your savings and 401k have both disappeared, don’t worry. You can now spend the next month until November 17th ruminating about what I am, instead of worrying about your money, and eventually slitting your wrists. Seriously don’t slit your wrists–unless you really, really want to, and in that case send Gabbo a shout out–instead just think about how cool it will be when you finally know what I am. See!! Don’t you feel better already.
This morning when I woke up I opened up (figuratively) the morning paper to see what the hell is going on in this crazy world of ours. When lo and behold I see that there was some craziness that went down at St. John’s University here in NY. If you don’t know St. John’s is a Catholic University, and yesterday one of the Chaplains was arrested for sending smut to what he thought was a 13 year old boy. (Side note it would have been much cooler for him to get caught on the show To Catch A Predator.) Money quote:
When NYPD investigators showed up at the cleric’s on-campus apartment in Murray Hall yesterday, Plock argued that he sent his X-rated videos only to consenting adults, a law enforcement source said.
“His face is clear in the video. It looks like he filmed it in his bathroom at St. John’s, and he sent it to someone he thought was a teenager,” the source said.
Damn this stuff doesn’t really surprise me much any more, and instead of making some kind of cheap joke about priests and little boys (way too easy to do, and I like my jokes to be a bit more challenging). Instead I will take this opportunity to throw down a bit of history.
In case you don’t know celibacy among priests was a personal choice, and was not a mandated by the church. The push for a mandate for celibacy among the clergy began in AD 304 at the Council of Elvira, however, it wasn’t until the Lateran Council in 1139 that The Church really endorsed and enforced the rule. It is impossible to know whether there were problems among the clergy after this with homosexuality and pedophilia, but some saw a link between celibacy and these behaviors: