1. The world is falling apart at the seams. Find something important to protest. It shouldn’t be hard.
  2. “Fans of the novel and/or the movie are, obviously, at a greater advantage because they already know what “Remember, remember the 5th of November” means.” So will all residents of Great Britain and the Commonwealth and anyone literate in English. Put down the Gameboy and read a book without pictures someday.
  3. Shut up shut up shut up!

spinach chain letter stupidity kills

I got a chain letter which I will not reproduce here about how the spinach is just fine and it’s a big conspiracy and no one is really getting sick from the spinach and it’s the evil spinach-hating anti-raw-food forces spreading the lies about the virtuous spinach because “they” don’t want you to eat nice raw healthy spinach and live forever.

It was sent from a local raw food place which may well make very nice food themselves but will never get a goddamn dime from me after seeing this. Thanks for the dangerous tinfoil hat bullshit,

Please don’t forward crap like this. It’s not “just another side to the story.” It’s deadly paranoid garbage.

It’s bad enough that this country is trashing its public health infrastructure and letting Big Agriculture “regulate” itself. Let’s not make things worse. Hundreds of underpaid and underappreciated scientists and public health experts are working 24 hours a day to trace the source of this and every other food-borne disease outbreak and save lives. Calling them liars is nasty and irresponsible.

There is no anti-spinach conspiracy. If you want safer food, pay attention to things like this and why they happen. Super E. Coli bacteria exist because of brain-dead factory farming, and they get into the food because big food corporations wrote the laws that say they can wipe their asses on your food if they feel like it.

There’s your conspiracy and it’s right out in the open.

latest aristos playing at shepherds fuck entire country

You know what you really don’t want if you live in an impoverished sub-saharan African country? Well, obviously you don’t want flies laying eggs in your eyes or dysentery. One other think you don’t want is asshole famous rich people deciding to have a child there becauses it would be special.

Go find yourself at the Beverly Hills Hotel and let Namibia alone. Or just write a check. Jerks.

Dear angry white people

I have read and heard the most amazing nonsense about the immigration issue lately. Some of it comes from otherwise sane people I respect. Once again I’m reminded of the power of xenophobia, nativism, and bigotry.

  1. I have no problem with legal immigration. But these people are breaking the law! We shouldn’t reward law-breaking! The law needs to be enforced and they have no business saying otherwise. I’m not a bigot, though! We just have to enforce those LAWS.

    The laws as they currently stand are unjust, unworkable, unenforceable, and unrealistic. First of all, Mexico is a very poor country and this is not an accident. We made them poor. We stole their land by force many times. We steal their water. We control their economy and their political leadership with money and force to prevent them from competing with our industries. We practice mercantile economic policies on them just the way the British did to us in the 18th century. This makes the border a sharp line between rich and poor.

    People on the poor side of that line can feed their families and survive if they get across the line, and the people on the rich side of the line are more than willing to employ them at a discounted rate. Look at yourself and ask: would you break another country’s immigration law to feed your family? Or would you say “no, kids, we’re not going to eat regularly because it would be wrong to break this other country’s immigration law, even though they stole our land and our wealth.” That was easy, wasn’t it?

    We have a necessarily porous border and a huge demand for unskilled labor. Allowing Mexican guest workers across is in the best interest of almost everybody. The only reason that immigration is restricted is that white Americans fear Spanish-speaking brown people. That is not enough of a reason to keep this laughable pretense going.

    The only people I think have a legitimate reason to oppose a guest worker program are low-skilled American citizen workers. A two-tiered wage system or just an influx of workers is a disaster for them, and I do not know how to solve that problem. Interestingly I hear almost nothing from them in the mainstream news, probably because it’s not okay to discuss unions, the plight of American low-skilled labor, etc. in the current phalangist political environment.

    People who talk like this apparently believe that the LAWS were handed down by Moses, are just, and must not be changed, and that agitation to change said laws that includes civil disobedience is a priori wicked and criminal. If you’ll open a history book, you’ll find that in the 1950s and 1960s American citizens who were being oppressed on the basis of their ethnicity staged marches, demonstrations, and acts of civil disobedience in violation of law that resulted in a gigantic change in our laws for the better. Those people broke the law and marched proudly into jail and today you and I are the better for it.

    If the speed limit was 25 miles per hour everywhere and people had to crawl along or risk a ticket, you’d want that law changed. And if ten thousand people got on the road one morning and all drove 35 miles per hour to prove the point, I bet you’d applaud. The laws are only as good as we decide they are. This law stinks; don’t hide behind it.

  2. I can’t stand those people waving Mexican flags and singing and talking in Spanish. If they want to be American they should wave American flags and sing and talk in English! Otherwise they should go back to Mexico! Why, I couldn’t just go down to Mexico and act that way, why should they think they can do that here?

    My great++ grandfather arrived in this country in 1750 as an indentured laborer before it was a country. He didn’t speak the language, but he worked free of his bond and fought in the Revolution. He was German and died a German with citizenship in a new country. On the other side, my relatives arrived in the 1890s also from Germany and spoke German up through the 1920s. They were farmers and owned a store and were pillars of the community. They were very German their whole lives.

    Every day I see people with Swedish or Irish or Brazilian or a hundred other nationalities’ badges on their cars. We celebrate days for ethnicities: Columbus Day, St. Patrick’s Day. The flags of foreign countries are waved and foreign languages are spoken and everyone has a great time participating in other Americans’ heritage. These celebrations, many of which occur in cities with a large population from some particular place, are a bland everyday reality here that hardly anyone questions. Your schoolkid comes home and tells you she learned how to make Swedish pancakes today or that people from Scotland eat haggis on Robbie Burns day but they just read a poem at school. This is not a threat.

    If people from Mexico wave their flag and march down your street singing and talking in Spanish, deal with it. When I lived in France, our French neighbors invited us over for a Fourth of July dinner. When I lived in Italy, the cool kids were wearing American flag t-shirts that summer. It’s not a big deal, folks. This country has no official language, and anyone can use any language they want for any damn thing they please. If you get lost in some parts of Nevada and Utah the people you hail for directions will know only Basque. Guess what? That’s their right, citizens or not.

    If you have a distaste for Mexican people or the Mexican flag or the Spanish language, keep it to yourself. They’re here, and they’re here to work and to share society with you just like the Irish, the Italians, the Russian Jews, the Basques, the Koreans, and us German-American mutts. They’re doing it to survive just the way you would, and their polite and well-organized demonstrations lately have said exactly what I would say if I were in their shoes: We’re here, we’re not going away, and we want to be good neighbors. Don’t call us criminals for doing what you’d do yourself.

language notes

  1. It’s easy to convert a simple statement into a simple asshole statement. Simply prefix it with “Um”. Try it! It works every time!
  2. The following usage is proscribed and prohibited and will be punished: use of the German word “uber” as a generic comparative or superlative. Examples: “We didn’t want to swear around her because she’s uber religious”; “Of course, if there are things on an uber level that any of you see as problematic, please let me know ASAP so we can figure out the best way to resolve.” The second example arrived in email today and caused me to swear and frighten the cat.
  3. “Righteous” and “self-righteous” do not mean the same thing. A righteous person is one who does the right thing. A self-righteous person is someone who declares him or herself to be righteous, and this usage is pejorative. In short they’re almost opposites. Thanks.
  4. Dear the Kia Company: Like many car manufacturers, you’ve chosen Italianate names for your car. Sorrento is a very nice town and an acceptable name for a carr, but why did you take a letter out and call it the “Sorento”? Was it just to hurt me, every time I see that ad? Was that it? WAS THAT IT?

White people are weird.

I made the mistake of clicking on a weird looking ad link in the Mark Morford column email from and ended up in this pavilion of what. I spent a good half hour trying to figure out if there was anything going on there.

It is not clear that they have ever done anything.

Looking at the self-submitted biographies of their founders, staff members, employees, and “conversation hosts” reveals that they are all wealthy well-educated Bay Area white people. They take care to mention that they have been to other countries for months or even years and that they speak foreign languages, and that they ride bicycles and use solar and hybrid power. They’re all well-off, cheerful, and in fine physical shape.

Anyway they’re going to save the world by talking about saving the world. I think technology is involved, and there are certainly oboes and wide, beardy grins. The stages are apparently 1) noticing that history and biology have happened 2) meditating and making your own brain better and ready to evolvulate and conversatify and 3) something they’re putting on the web site Real Soon Now that will be a social network.

I’ve got a better idea. How about all of them stop with the website and the neurocosmology and the self-improving oneness of spirit exercises and just make sandwiches, say, 20 a week, all at once, on Saturday. They all have lots of time and money, so this isn’t a big deal. Then, take the sandwiches to a church in a really poor neighborhood and give them a cooler full, and say “Hey, give these sandwiches to people who don’t have anything to eat, okay?”

If they want to Create a Space to be Thoughtfully Open or work on their Epic Journeys, that’s cool too, but not until the 20 sandwiches are delivered. Deal?

this says so much

Julian said tonight that he listened to a lot of books on tape while on rock ‘n’ roll music tour with The Pope. He liked it all except Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat which he correctly noted to be lame bullshit.

The best part? Friedman reads the book himself, and when he gets to India and is talking to the locals he reads their speech in his version of an Indian person’s accented English.

What. An. Asshole.

I can hardly wait until he gets to China.