Category Archives: Rant

We’ve all been telling lies

This afternoon, I spent almost two full hours at a meeting for a local information security group.

The group is composed of an entirely suspected group of people. Almost everyone over 35 years of age was White and Male. Almost everyone under 35 years of age was Male and Not White. There were four women out of approximately 30 people.

Information security staff members from the two largest privately owned companies in the United States were there. Students, a teacher (although I don’t think any of his students will ever learn anything), non profits, under and unemployed, the military.

I realized that for all of the years I’ve worked in information technology or with computers we have all been telling lies.

The conversations are the same, the problems are the same, the answers are the same.

We have been telling lies.

Extant lies for empty purposes. To support our technology myths and fairy tales.

Technology is not magic. Devices are not bewitched and we are not gurus or wizards or profits. Most of us are barely adept at supporting an ever expanding shell that is not of significant self to shore from the impending crash.

But we have continued to tell lies. We tell them to convince money we can win a war. We plan them to believe we will adjust quickly enough to counter even the basest of failure or ignorance. We create them to fill the absolute void between zero and one. We theorize singularities of perfect purpose. We check boxes and build straw kingdoms for a statistic impossibility of survival.

This is not a war we can win. No defense or plan will succeed. In this fight there is not a winning outcome. We are due to realize that there will be compromise. We can stop the wheel or let it fall off or be gone before we see it fail.

We should focus on learning to fix things again. Of building with materials that will last or serve their purpose and be reworked into a resource for the next compromise.

AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz

ryanwhite

Ryan White is the first “face of AIDS” that I can recall.  His story is courageous and heartbreaking; indicative of our horrible human practice of judging first and understanding later.

I have never smoked crack.  Two wonderful ladies have kept me on the straight and narrow:

whitney houston just say no

Throwback-Thursday-Mr-T-helps-Nancy-Reagan-unveil-White-House-Christmas-decorations

Ronnie looks pretty rough in that picture.  Nancy must have mis-read his star charts.

Bernie Goetz shot four African American teenagers (three of them 19, one of them 18) in a New York City subway train on December 22, 1984.  One of the men sat next to Bernie and asked him for $5.  None of the four men displayed weapons or expressed the desire to physically harm Bernie.

Bernie’s response was to rise from his seat on the train, draw his unlicensed and unregistered revolver and fire five shots at the four men.

According to a taped interview with law enforcement officials (taken only after Goetz had fled the scene and hid from police or several days):

“If I had more bullets, I would have shot ’em all again and again,” Goetz said on the tape, played in a darkened Manhattan courtroom. “My problem was I ran out of bullets. And I was gonna, I was gonna gouge one of the guy’s eyes out with my keys afterwards.”

Goetz was arraigned on multiple counts of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and unlawful criminal possession of a firearm.  His case progressed through multiple iterations in the New York criminal justice system and resulted in a conviction on only one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, for carrying in public the loaded unlicensed gun used in the subway shooting, and two counts of possession in the fourth degree, for keeping two other unlicensed handguns in his home.

He served 8 months in jail.

There was also a civil trial brought against Goetz in 1996. $43 million was awarded to the plaintiff.  Asked in 2004 whether he was making payments on the judgment, Goetz responded “I don’t think I’ve paid a penny on that”

In my opinion, the worst thing to come out of all of this was Goetz obtaining hero status in organization such as the NRA.  Gun nuts probably have tramp stamps of his likeness.

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, Heavy metal suicide

Without researching Merv Griffin’s final net worth (he shuffled off the coil in 2007), I can guestimate it was north of eleventy bajillion.  He created Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, built casino’s with Asshole Trump, and had his sexually harassing fingers in a ton of other “entertainment” endeavours.

Wheel of Fortune is to today’s AARP crowd what Lawrence Welk was to my grandparents.  I like Jeopardy because Alex gets tanked during the tapings.

Sally_Ride,_America's_first_woman_astronaut_communitcates_with_ground_controllers_from_the_flight_deck_-_NARA_-_541940

In an earlier post in this series, I wrote about John Glenn’s  “adamantium testicles“.  Whatever the female equivalent of that is exemplifies Sally Ride.  Besides the patriarchy and sexist bullshit she had to put up with being the first American woman in space.

Consider this from the linked article:

Rather than force astronauts to use urine-catching devices that resembled condoms, NASA added commodes to space vessels. Tampons were packed with their strings connecting them, like a strip of sausages, so they wouldn’t float away. Engineers asked Ride, “Is 100 the right number?” She would be in space for a week. “That would not be the right number,” she told them. At every turn, her difference was made clear to her

Sally Ride was not different.  She was a woman, an astronaut, a homosexual, a brilliant teacher, and a goddamn top-tier physicist.  More importantly, she was a true American Hero because of what she endured AND what she accomplished.

If I leave one thing from this muddled string of expressions, I hope that it is about how Sally inspired me to keep dreaming about space and how wondrous it can be.  Thank you Sally for inspiring me.

To comma or not to comma, that is the question.  There is debate in the lyrical interpretation of this song as to if there is a comma between metal and suicide.  I, of course, am taking the easy way out by removing the punctuation and thus reviewing one topic instead of two.  Opinion: if Billy wanted to have this be two topics he would have use a SEMI-COLON.

Heavy metal suicide is probably a reference to multiple lawsuits that were brought against recording artists (most typically those who created music in the Heavy Metal genre) alleging their music prompted people to commit suicide.

In conjunction with these lawsuits, spurious organizations were created to marshal the cause against “inciteful lyrics”.  At the forefront of these ridiculous groups was the Parents Music Resource Council.  The PMRC had nothing to do with encouraging young people to listen to and make music.  It was solely a censoring body and a political platform to push the agenda of close-minded; hateful people like TIpper Gore.

The ultimate rebuke to this nonsense was provided by Dee Snider from the 80s Metal group “Twisted Sister”:

Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Is it getting more difficult to write about these things because I remember them?  Or because I’m finally close to the end?  Are my recollections and opinions affecting the process?

Anyway…

Ayatollah is a high-ranking title given to Islamic clerics who are experts in judicial, ethical, and philosophical matters.

Billy’s reference here is most likely to Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini:

Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini

Khomeini was the 1st Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  He was also a central figure in the 1979 Iranian Revolution which was successful in overthrowing the government of the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi).  The Shah was heavily supported by the government of the United States, there were hostages taken in the US embassy in Tehran, and the world is still dealing with the fallout.

The Russians invaded Afghanistan during this time period as well.  You know, to protect “Soviet Interests”.  Invading Afghanistan has been folly since the the 13th century (see second paragraph). During this particular attempt, the United States armed the Mujahideen (yes, YOUR tax dollars were spent on Jihad) with every modern military killing tool.  And once the Soviets left, the Mujahideen got to keep all that neat deadly shit!  Which they would promptly turn on the Americans our government was idiotic to send in as an invading force a couple of decades later.

AMURIKA!!!

So, even though the songs is titled “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, we absolutely did.

Begin, Reagan, Palestine

So this is where I start having actual recollections….

Menachem Begin was born in 1913 at the geopolitical crux of Poland and Russia. Early Zionist stints in various Eastern European locales.  Caught in Stalin’s net in 1940.  Released and self-inscripted to the Free Polish Army to train in Palestine in 1943.  Led uprisings against Britain, guerrilla bombings, establishing Israeli state. Begin’s political foundings also make him the grandfather of Likud.

Best known for the Camp David Peace Accords.  Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 (shared with Anwar Sadat).  By 1981, Sadat was dead and Menachem was bombing the shit out of Iraq under the pretense of “nuclear containment”.  WMD anyone?

The US President in 1981 was this:

549_media.commercialappeal.com

I vaguely remember Carter as president.  My first political awareness is of Bonzo’s best friend.  I think Ronnie is best addressed in listicle form:

Things Ronnie was:

  1. Actor
  2. Effective communicator
  3. Warmonger
  4. Liar
  5. Destroyer of middle class
  6. Neo-con Kennedy

Things Ronnie was not:

  1. Effective
  2. Just
  3. Peaceful
  4. Al Haig

And “trickle-down” economics is nothing more than oligarchs pissing on everyone else.  See: Current state of affairs in Kansas aka Kochtopia aka Brownbeckistan

At this point in my life I honestly don’t know what to think about Palestine.  I don’t believe any side will be successful in violence.  Would a Northern Ireland type solution work?