good fences make good neighbors?

i just viewed something that has me a bit disturbed. the government of israel, through its ministry of foreign affairs has, for the first time posted video of the aftermath of a suicide bombing. (if you follow the links to this video, be warned that it is graphic).
the video is disturbing, of course. although, having grown up in a faces of death culture, and having received images of suicide bombing victims via email in the past, i find myself somewhat less affected than i probably should be. (as a younger man i think i might have been unable to watch the footage without nausea forcing me to stop).
i think the truly disturbing thing to me is why this tape was posted on the site. because it was put there as a “we told you so” message to domestic and international critics of the security wall that sharon is building. the conclusion is that this carnage and murder would be prevented by the completion of the fence. and photos of the brutally murdered are being used to justify a highly questionable solution to a much larger problem. i was fortunate enough to take a tour of israel (and egypt) in august 2000 with my mother. we had our own tourguide/driver for over a week, and saw much of the country and its people, and i think i have at least a sense of the issues at hand here, as well as a fairly good comprehension of the lay of the land. and i know something of history. building a big wall around a country HAS NEVER WORKED IN THE PAST AND WILL NEVER WORK IN THE FUTURE. but it will, in my estimation, dramatically increase the resolve of people wanting to do harm to the state of israel, by creating, at the very least, huge inconveniences in the lives of palestinians, and thereby strengthening overall public support for those calling for extreme measures to evoke change.

i guess this is why i am disturbed, and why i have been disturbed since 9/11. terrorist acts are seized upon in this country and elsewhere as justification for measures that themselves seem destined to perpetuate the underlying root problems that gave rise to peoples’ willingness to commit the acts in the first place. my basic nature is to attempt to walk the mile in another’s shoes, to attempt to empathize and see things from the point of view that i might disagree with. and in the past couple of years, it has been increasingly difficult for me to do that. because i just don’t see where the stated objectives of the war on terrorism and the actions to achieve them connect. mostly, it seems that extremists, opportunists, and war-profiteers on all sides are hijacking democratic and political processes through these actions of terror and fear, and fabricating justifications for territorial and economic greed that are so outrageous that my mind reels when they are not questioned.

terrorism creates confusion and hysteria and human misery, and in the past couple of years i have felt that the confusion and hysteria and suffering are being coldly and calculatedly manipulated by the people charged with the responsibility of fighting it.

awwwwwww, fuck it. i’m gonna go kill some terrorists on the xbox……

mom’s fault

just got off the phone with my mom, who called to express her concern about the “putting things where the sun don’t shine” metaphors in my last post. she apparently objects to offensive language of any kind on this blog, because she views my site through the lens of an editor of instructional textbooks for preteens. i informed her that an expression like “stick it up your ass” is rather mild in the context of pop culture, and that if any of my ten year old cousins actually do read this site, they are unlikely to be encountering this language for the first time. but in any case, this is an adult site, there are no animated pictures of barney or thomas the train on here, and i find it unlikely that her suspected target audience’s gnat-like attention is going to be held by some middle-aged bald guy ranting about the deceitfulness of a much older fatter bald guy (dick cheney).
at the beginning of the conversation, it was sort of like, i have a major psychological disorder manifesting itself as an anal fixation, exacerbated by what she suspects may be an over-exposure to the particularly butt-oriented culture of the san francisco bay area. as we wended our way through our chat, she worked it back around to it being her fault. (as my irish-cum-jewish mother always does). she should never have allowed me to read kurt vonnegut at such an early age. so if anyone takes offense at any of the language on this site, please direct your letters of complaint to my mom.

where are the WMD??

i am reminded of chris janney’s favorite expression. “if they were up your ass, you’d know it”. maybe someone should tell dick cheney, because he is still convinced they are going to pull something out of their asses in the course of spending more billions of dollars in the search. david kay is stepping down as the chief arms inspector after making the conclusion that no banned weapons are to be found. and if there was ever someone who was desperately motivated to find something, it was him. it pisses me off that they are spending so much money on a continued fruitless search, rather than admitting they were wrong and calling it off. there are a good many things that piss me off about this administration, and it mostly boils down to the disregard they have for the american public’s ability to discern when they are being manipulated and lied to. and that mostly pisses me off because, to a large extent THEY ARE GETTING AWAY WITH IT. apathy is the most corrosive force in a democracy, and it is rampant in this country. shit, most of the time i don’t care either.


apparently, if i am to believe what the voice on hold at costco says, they know the value of my time. that’s why they are wasting so much of it today. then i called back and they didn’t answer. ok i am going to stop here, otherwise this will be another grumpy complaining post about spending the afternoon waiting for towtrucks. and already, if you put the words berkeley and tow into google, the first listing is my site. (i was looking for the company’s phone number). i am done waiting. which means that i finally cancelled the tow, after realizing costco tires would be closed by the time i got the truck up there. so i guess, realistically speaking, i delayed the wait. until friday it looks like. grumble.

some “resuggestions”

i don’t make resolutions. last year i adopted my dad’s old one, which was to not eat watermelon before the fourth of july. this year i am making more like suggestions to myself, some things to move towards. starting with the t.v. coming out of my bedroom and into the living room. i’ve been using the tube as my alarm clock for years, but lately with the icy cold weather we’ve been having, my tendency in the morning has been to stay under the covers watching the news. and late at night, i have the news on in the background while i am reading. then it generally keeps me awake as i watch the overnight wrapup of the latest artillery firing, tank rumbling video bites approved for my consumption.
so now the boober is out in the living room. i think it better defines the two spaces anyhow, making one room for sleeping and the other for entertaining. mainly i use the t.v. for gaming these days anyways. i have to say though that the thing looks pretty hideous out here. but i guess the same can be said for the way it looked in my bedroom, and that’s how i started the day every day. staring at the glass nipple, watching some short clips about events subtly arranged to condition my interpretations of them. (or finding myself putting down the book i was reading to catch the 4:30 a.m. edition of “cheaters” as i found myself doing this sunday morning, the final straw).
well that’s the first action in a year that will hopefully find me getting even more productive and organized. i know there will always be room for improvement in my life. that’s about enough of the self-motivational post. there was something else that i wanted to write about, but i…….
oh wait i remember. there is a public drinking fountain up the hill from here, on colusa, if you go up hopkins and take a left on that street where the coffehouse is and whose name i cannot remember. many times have i stopped there for a drink, as i have some kind of mystical impression of the quality and coldness of the water that spurts out of the spout. somewhere in my mind there exists a fantasy of that water fountain being attached to a pipe with a straight shot up to the berkeley reservoir.
in any case, right before i sat down to write this, i walked over to the tap here and let the water run a minute to get the pipes in the building really cold. i have discovered that all along, the magic source of refreshment was right here in my kitchen, because when the weather is this cold, the tap water is about as clear, cold and crisp as i have seen. this probably seems to the reader to be pure drivel and you’re wondering why i would ramble on and on and subject you to this endless bullshit that is causing you to become tired and swear you’re going to give this blog a little “vacation”. quite frankly, there isn’t any payoff here. other than the obvious themes that could be read into what i’ve just written. o.k., time to put the clothes in the dryer……