Pre-Terminal Rants

While contemplating my eventual demise from Swine Flu, a number of rants demand to be aired. Being in healthcare it is inevitable that I will get exposed to this as it unfolds and being a long-standing asthmatic I ain't looking forward to it. However, medicine like soldiering has a big draw back - you don't get to choose your battles and stay home. So if Pliny goes dark any time soon, well - be excellent to one another.

Now onto some rants and raging against the dying of the light. Here in no particular order...
Airline Insecurities

In our local paper the saga of a group of baggage handlers that ran a theft ring at PDX has been unfolding. Over the course of a couple of years these scumbags stole thousands of dollars of goods from people's luggage. The supervisor ratted them out but only after she stopped getting her cut. As usual the Internet was law enforcements best friend as these people once again demonstrated how much of an oxymoron 'criminal mastermind' is by fencing the stuff on ebay.

Ok this sucks. But the broader rant is this: while I have to navigate through TSA's cattle gates shedding articles of my clothing like that drunk girl at the start of Jaws, low life baggage handlers rummage through my stuff with impunity. At check in I get rousted to see if any strangers have touched my luggage, while gangs of the only strangers given access to my luggage rob our stuff in airline uniforms. If anybody wanted to pack something bad on a plane, the baggage handlers are a much more likely venue than old Pliny.

FIX IT TSA! I'm tired of inconsistency or at least admit that all this security stuff is just behavior modification to make us all passive. Or leave my belt alone. Until then, I will continue to wear those old mildewed shoes and put them into your little gray bin that pass within inches of your nose...
Deficit-Spending Disorders

A friend ours is the fourth generation owner of a family business that electroplates metal parts. In their factory is this macabre setup with a couple of huge vats of hot acid where a lot of the work gets done. Over these vats is (was) a narrow catwalk for maintenance. It looked just like that set from the first Batman Movie where Jack Nickolson falls in to become the Joker.

They were fined and had to make the catwalk - over the hot acid vats - wheelchair accessible. My friends are good people (their parents began very aggressive environmental recovery actions years before it became law) and they argued that no one interested in that particular job had ever been wheelchair bound and that they had safety concerns. No matter - the law is the law!

I was reminded of this incident while watching a parent who is suing the school system while the State is considering cutting a month off the school year in order to survive a $5 billion dollar shortfall.
Russian to my Aid

Why is everyone in Russia so obsessed with my masculinity? Every day I get close to 100 spam emails most of which offer some variation on Viagra or related alternative. (Fortunately no one is suggesting anything like how the elephant got his trunk!) Many are from Russia. What is this erectile obsession? I think I may have an answer. One that would satisfy Michelle Bachmann at least. As the image below shows, there must be a whole lot of these Russian engineers out of work and they obviously have experience with the challenge...

My warranty and my patience is about to expired

Evey other day I get a call from USFideles warning me that my car warranty is about to expire and how happy they'd be to grant me a new one for some outrageous sum. I have an 8 year old Taurus that I bought used. I plan to drive it in the famous style of Richard Petty - "drive the somebitch flat out til it blows up". It hasn't reached the lawnmower 2-cycle stage yet (where you just add a can of oil to the gas when you fill) so its just dandy. Stay off my phone. My daughter has learned a new currency - how many Taurus's you can buy compared to the list price of other cars.
Commissar you are

Ok Pliny has a really REALLY non PC hat. I admit it. Years ago Mrs Pliny had a special hat made for me. I've always loved those old furry commissar hats that Soviet Premiers always sport on May day. Mrs Pliny went to the library and had one made for me. Yes, Pliny wears a black mink hat when it's really cold. I also have this big thick long Kashmir coat that completes the picture. When I wear both I do look like one of those old commies. The West coast being what it is, I get some looks from the PETA crowd but for now my well practiced Germanic war face keeps them at bay - even with a mink hat. Unfortunately the thing fell off the shelf in the closet and my daughter is after me again. She has no idea what nasty little creature minks really are.

Ok, I wouldn't get one today but I'll be darned if I'll get rid of the one I have. It really is warm as can be. Now that they've gotten a couple of furriers put out of business through aggressive protests, they have some time on their hands - just leave my hat be.
Foxing up the news

Fox news isn't carring the President's press conference live - they'd rather use the time to pull portions out of context and work on their ire... In related news the CDC published this explanation of the role hybrids have in allowing cross species infection such as the swine flu.

Plus the picture reveals Carl bemoaning a physical inadequacy of his...
OMG! Is Obama really a Terrorist after all!!??

Dude! That's what Photoshop was invented for. I'm speaking to the rocket scientist who thought it would be just swell to get some pictures of AirForce One flying low over the Manhattan skyline. Particularly the one with the large airliner poised over the hole in the ground made by two other Boeing products. I would have thought they'd have covered that one in marketing 101.

Now you'll have to painstakingly edit out the thousands of screaming New Yorkers in the background running away like it's Cloverfield.

I'm surprised Fox hasn't accused Obama of ordering the plane to attack the Empire State Building or something equally rational.
Can't you return to that undisclosed location?

Dick (name and descriptor) Cheney. Time to move on. Or maybe we can trick him and leave him stranded on that planet...

All right, that's enough for now. I feel better.


Michael Lockridge said...

I suppose I will really worry about this flu when it becomes more dangerous than my commute to work.

I recall a strip club that was required to make their go-go cages wheel chair accessible. Hey, that's only right. We wouldn't want to allow any reasonable discression in applying laws.

Other people are far more interested in my penis than even I happen to be, since I started living part of my life on the Internet. That, and apparently I have a huge need for knock-off watches.

Fox. Yep. I knew you loved them.

I am somewhat concerned that I am quite familiar with the episode of STTNG from which the image at the bottom of your rant was taken. I am geeky enough to scare myself.

Stay warm in your mink.


Stacy S. said...

This entire post has the makings of a nice comedy routine - I'm thinking Jerry Seinfeld. Work on that OK?

P.S. - I simply do not fly anymore. I just can't handle it.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pliny-the-in-Between said...

The family attack against my hat is heating up. It looks like the only place I can get away with it any more is this great little Russian grocery and bakery which makes us the absolute best Borscht I've ever eaten. They don't seem to have a problem with the hat for some strange reason.

That hat is my primary vice - that and a strange sense of humor. It really is warm. yes I know the mink probably thought so too.

Yes knowing the episode from TNG is the mark of at least slight geekdom, but what the hay.

I wish I could not fly too much but right now I'm having to travel for business and imagine the interest you get from TSA when you get in line with 3-5 computers (research project deliveries and training)

The part I most enjoy is paying $25 dollars for each checked bag for the privilege of getting robbed.

yes I hate Fox. I admit it, but that comes as no surprise. I particularly love the addition of Glen, the crier, Beck.
If you want a chilling dose of racism take a look at his site and tread some of the comments.

Watching it lately it has started to look more like a revolutionary government in exile than a news station.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me Pliny, this isn't about your post. I had a question. You popped into my mind today during a philosophy of technology course. The whys I'll leave for later.

You have the term 'agmystic,' which is a great term to be sure, but I'm wondering if it would be even better to not refer at all to a negation as a moniker? -Except for the blogs, where our tribalism is undisguised and quite fun/frustrating at times-

I know that some of my fellow Christians (even I use a term to identify myself) will continue to use the term 'atheist' but I'm tired of it. Because it is hypothetically how I label you and not how you label yourself. That doesn't seem fair.

I don't want to be presumptious but should I deter my 'agnostic' friends from using the term? Or do you think it's necessary for awareness of broader topics, of which a belief or non-belief could play a vital role?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Oneblood - Interesting question. I would have to agree that I use the term ag or amystic more as a discussion point rather than as a true label for myself since the absence factor (negative assumption) doesn't enter into my decisions.

In my post (long ago) on the subject of agmysticism I mentioned the true positive driving force that I use for making decisions. For want of a better term I think of it as empathetic rationalism. The term rationalism is not meant or intended to be a slam to any alternate approaches merely a reflection of an analytical approach (based upon biological and cognitive science admittedly) to attempting to visualize the motivations of others and reasonable responses.

Whether you want to call it the golden rule or the prisoners dilemma this approach results in what I think of as a moral approach to life and dealing with others.

Thinking about your question, it circles back to a response I made earlier on another blog. the problem or labels such as Christian vs atheism is that because of our neurological design and behaviors we tend to analyze and snap decide on things based upon top down hierarchies of thought or pattern.

this creates problems both both sides of the belief argument. Christians are likely trained to consider morality as a subset of patterns associated with theology which makes it hard to imagine morality from a nonbeliever. Whereas nonbelievers often do the same thing in reverse with assumptions of Christians for example.

the bottom line is that broad labels result in prejudices that prevent the kind of nuanced discussions that result in better individual understanding.

Or not ;)

i don't know if that is helpful but thanks for the interesting question.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that did help. I appreciate it. Unless it's some self-hate speech, I'm going to try and use what labels people have for themselves, at the same time gently discouraging the use of any super-generalizing terms.

Harvey said...

In fact, I think the major downside to using broadly defined terms like atheist or agnostic is that most Christians do, in fact, have difficulty seeing that atheist/agnostic is not just different a differnet religion. How many times have we read posts from non-believers (including me) trying to point out that "atheists" are not an organized group with central tenets that must be observed, no recognized leaders, no doctrines,etc, etc, but who simply happen to agree (more or less) that there is no deity or creator. Christians generally seem to have difficulty recogniziing this rather critical difference from any recognized religion. I guess that we feel the need for a one word eponym or shorthand to characterize us (atheists, that is), even though it contributes mightily to an already huge problem in trying to communicate with Christians.

Anonymous said...

You know what Harv, you're right. You have been the voice of reason here. Jumping into D'Souza's fray, I can't say I thought of 'atheist' as a one size fits all sort of term...but I did! Us and them.

And then I found out we are all human. Humbling and liberating to be sure.

Asylum Seeker said...

Well, in fairness, there does seem to be some accidental similarities between those who adopt the atheist label. But that's more of a function of the culture that they come from and the way that the role that the religion they define themselves as separate from takes in that culture. Or, in other words, that's just my sloppy way of saying that atheism takes a different form when the religious makeup and climate is different. And, in the same sense, atheists from the same religious/cultural setting may have similar ways of thinking about any number of things at least partially related to it. So, there might be some commonality, but it is a haphazard one at best.

Oh yeah, and those warranty expiration phone calls are hilarious. I get them constantly...and don't own a vehicle! And, I always secretly expected that Obama did 9/11. Does that mean that it was inside job after all?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Harvey's point about generalizations is true of race issues as well. How many times have we heard some pundit dismiss 60 million Americans by saying 'the black vote'.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

OneBlood you also bring up another issue. People like D'Souza aren't interested in mutual understanding. they are about creating discontent and conflict in order to sell their wares. It's interesting how some of our little blogs have been able to achieve a different level of conversation and at least some recognition that people of good character can make different choices without being evil - on either side of the issues.

mac said...

About the male virility things:

Do you think, if women ran the military, missles might be shaped differently?

Richelle said...

yes, mac.

they'd be bigger.