Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men

December 26, 2008

traffic-stopOn Christmas Eve my friend the Foreign National got ticketed for rolling through a right-on-red.

He did not have his passport with him.

The cop immediately called the local Homeland Security office, who took him into custody and after a few hours decided he was not in the U.S. legally.  He thought that if they allowed him to get his visa, at his apartment, it would prove that the U.S. is his legal home.

It didn’t.  Homeland Security said they had never seen a visa like his, so they took him back to the holding center and held him for a few more hours before finally agreeing that it had all been a mistake and he was free to go.

Only they had his car towed in the interim.  All this on Christmas Eve.

So now my friend is $190 poorer with little recourse but to put up with the harassment of a U.S. agency beholden to no voter, an agency that if he attempted to sue, could (and might) retaliate against him.  An agency that puts guilt before innocence and whose paranoia makes those it touches paranoid.

Sometimes I hate what we’ve become.


Moaning Not Allowed, but Mourning is Okay

December 24, 2008

global-orgasm-day

The International Orgasm Day Orgy, scheduled to coincide with International Orgasm Day on December 21st (mark your calendars for next year!),  was cancelled.  The Israeli organizer caved in to public pressure from those who did not appreciate the chance for hundreds, maybe thousands or even more, to have simultaneous orgasms and unabashed pleasure.

Kobi Druri, the organizer, stated in very plain terms,

…”war,” “violence” and “murder” have become more legitimate than “sex,” “orgasm” and “pleasure.”

How sad a statement is that?  Funny how public pressure can easily halt something like this but has done little to quell organized violence.


Medicine is Good

December 13, 2008

good-drugs

Last Thursday a nearly unattended event took place at the Zebro Room at Roswell Park.  The Buffalo News buried an article about it on page D10 of Friday’s paper.

PhRMA, the public affairs arm of the pharmaceutical industry, came to Buffalo to announce that medicine is good.  Nice guy (he really is) Nathan Tinker from the New York Biotech Association added that New York medicine is good.  And Tom Stewart (a really, really nice guy) told us that Western New York medicine is good.

Finally Ralphie from The Sopranos spoke about anti-depression medicine, and that this is good, too.

I thought PhRMA was coming to announce an event like

  • they were curtailing superfluous consumer advertising and physician perks in order to reduce the overall cost of prescriptions.

Instead we got cheerleading from an industry trying to repair its tarnished image before Congress steps in to legislate lower-cost medications.

It seemed insincere.

State senator Bill Stachowski was there.  He looked glum.  I don’t think he’s gotten over losing that Senate Finance Committee chairmanship.


Modern Vehicle Safety

December 3, 2008

steves-car-accident

My friend Steve was broadsided today by a guy who ran the red light in front of our facility.  Just a few years ago Steve’s head would have shattered the driver side window, and maybe shredded his brain in the process.

But today Steve walked away with a just an air bag brush burn on his forehead.  His Acura (with those well-designed door pillars) was still driveable.  The other driver bulls-eyed Steve’s car right between the wheels.  The sun was out, the roads were dry.  The guy simply wasn’t paying attention.  Maybe he was texting or something.

I will never buy another car without front and side air bags.


Meanwhile in a Third-World Country…

December 3, 2008

wheelbarrowofmoneyIn what looks to be the next African crisis (not that they don’t have enough already)…

The official Zimbabwean super-ultra-hyperinflation rate is now 231 million percent – about a price doubling every other week.  Unofficially prices are doubling almost daily.  That would put the inflation rate upwards of a really, really huge number (something like 400 quintillion percent since October 1st).  It looks like 84-year-old Robert Mugabe wants to take to the grave as many Zimbabweans as he can.

Indeed, easily-treatable cholera is starting to claim many lives and the epidemic will only get worse as the government does…nothing.  Whenever I want to put our own government’s dysfunction into the proper perspective I only need to think of Zimbabwe to see what the integration of real corruption, greed and weapons in the hands a few can wreak.


Crush of the Crowd

December 2, 2008

crowd1

The reports about the poor guy who got trampled to death at a NYC Wal-Mart on Black Friday gave me the creeps.

That an out of control mob could be so enamored by cheap toys as to step on and over another human being is disturbing and reprehensible.  That it happens rarely is about the only good thing one can say about it.  Do you think anyone in that crowd feels guilty, or do they tell themselves that it’s someone else’s fault?

In some countries mob scenes like this might occur around a UNICEF food drop.  Over here they occur around a 2-for-1 sale.

Ewww.  Sometimes we humans are just ugly.