Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Old Restaurant

So we went to dinner tonight at the Thai restaurant downtown -- you know, the one that's been at least a half-dozen restaurants in the past 3 years.

TLDR:  After a dozen or so tries, this week's version of a Thai restaurant isn't that good either.

The only interesting part of this story happened just as we were finishing up.  A new table arrived and sat beside us.  Soon the waitress brought the guy sitting next to me a green drink.  It looked exactly like a Thai iced tea, except, well green.  On top, however, was the magic - a thick, brown layer of albatross vomit.

That stuff *reaked*.  I had to turn my head and hold my nose *from another table away*.  If I'd had a plate of 3-day old sun-ripened anchovies I could have stuffed them up my nose and still cut the smell coming off that guy's *drink*.

Now keep in mind this was an *iced* drink, one that I would suppose would have been a sweet one until the kitchen staff allowed three cats sick from rummaging in a canning factory dumpster to retch on top of it.

In two seconds, that guy managed to remove from me any desire to visit Asia.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Progression" of Cancer Treatment

Until circa 1800:

Relative: "What killed him?"
Doctor: "I dunno."

Circa 1860:
Relative: "What did he die of?"
Doctor: "Cancer"

Circa 1950:
Relative: "What did he die of?"
Doctor: "Lung cancer."

Circa 1970:
Doctor: "The lab results are back."
Patient: "What do they say?"
Doctor: "You've got lung cancer. You have 6 months to live."

Circa 2010:
Doctor: "Your genetic tests are back."
Parent: "What do they say?"
Doctor: "Your son will be 6'2", he'll be very successful but won't quite be able to get into Dartmouth, and he'll die of lung cancer at age 50."

We've made terrific advances in the diagnosis of cancer. That's fine and good, but wouldn't you agree it's way past time we:
- Learned to prevent it?
- Learned to treat it?
- Learned to cure it?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Bells of the New Church

It's 2 p.m. Those at work hear nothing. For those about and listening to the "airwaves", the bells of the new church are ringing. "The Dow is up ten points this hour on the announcement of Google's new ..." We may not understand the text, but we sure understand the sub-text: "Why aren't you at work? Aren't you a good Calvinist?"

The call from the temple is carried live across the land every hour. The news of the day, followed by the news from the church. The Dow is up. You should hope so, at least.

The new American puritans have given up on the old god... with his requirements for honesty, foregiveness and care for those less fortunate. Sure, they never held themselves to those ideals, but why embarass everyone be even bringing them up anymore? Let the old church fuck the choirboys. The new church has something better: money. The new church calls for only one thing: Greed. What can you do for yourself? Does it make money?

If you're poor, you must not be pleasing the new god. Please it and you'll be rich for life. Never have to work again. You weren't *lucky* you were *smart*. Or so the theory goes. Sure, you hear stories here and there of someone who knew someone who made it to the new nirvana. But for most, you're just not doing something right.

Obey the holy books. Profits for the shareholders! Remember your mantra: "It's only business". Please the new god and you're rich. We're all shareholders... right? Yeah! To Hell with everyone else!

The new church brings hell closer than ever. No more fire; no more brimstone incense in the back alcove to stoke the fear. With this new church you've already seen *your* future. You've seen the bills, the mortgage payments, the car loan, the food receits; all debts to the church. Fail your god now and Hell is as close as the nearest debtor's prison... (what is it called these days? Oh right, bad credit.. or homeless shelter... we forget which.)

"Jobs"? "A home"? "A retirement plan"? Come on, that wasn't really working for you, was it? With the new religion, you'll be *rich*. You won't *have* to work. Just sit at home with your computer and wire us your funds. The old system of houses, jobs and decent retirement sounds pretty Socialist to us, anyway. The new holy books have all the answers. The books said to send the jobs somewhere else and we obeyed. It's only business. How could we make a living giving all the work to you guys? You're just too expensive. It just wouldn't have worked out. The Holy Market said so.

Don't question it... you'll just embarrass yourself. Why, you sound like a Socialist.. or a Marxist, or Communist or some other "ist" we don't really understand.

3 p.m. "The Dow is up this hour on news that unemployment numbers were down less than predicted by The Analysts. The Dow is up.... erm... 1 point." The sub-priests of the airwaves poke sticks into the entrails of the infotainment to ascertain what must be making god angry. Meanwhile, the true priests battle each other over the collection plate offerings of stock purchases and who will be saddled each other with the burnt offerings of mortgage market derivatives gone foul.

Socialism might be ok? What are you, an Elitist? Don't you know that no one really knows just what Socialism is? Even a little bit is a gift from Satan.. or Stalin or that other evil guy from the war we won. We won the holy World War II against the best evil reference of known history. Known history being very short these days. The true enemy of this church --education-- died quietly years ago... victim of continuous budget cuts. Cut Taxes! Was the battle cry. Teachers are stealing your money! Firefighters and nurses cost too much! Sure, history is written by the victors, but no one needs history anymore. Hitler was evil and he was a Nazi and that's the same as Socialism and Communism. Enough said.

4 p.m. "The Dow is up on news of the arrest of those suspected in the terrorist plot to blow up the...." How much to we have to torture people before they learn not to attack the new church? Those infidels! Hell, they were even infidels of the old one. How can these throwbacks believe the things their wacky religion teaches? Don't they have *education* for Wall Street's sake?

Let them fuck choirboys with the old church. The new church has its eye on the orifices on an entire nation. Investments, retirements, federal dollars, mortgages, dirivatives on mortgages, dirivatives on dirivatives and other confidence schemes. Entire Federal Treasuries and soon even Federal retirement funds will flow into the insatiable maw.

5 p.m. "The Dow closes even." rings across the fields. But the fields are empty. The jobs were sent elsewhere by order of the holy Books. Here lay the answer to every question. "Did we make a profit?" "Should we sell?" "Can our costs be passed to someone else? The taxpayer, perhaps?" "Will we get caught?" Leave the the media to the tea leaves and talking heads the prognosticators. We'll make our money in the private after-hours markets.. far from the eyes of prying commoners.

The only possible concern for The Future in the new church is where the money will come from then. But that will only concen those that are here *next quarter*. That's too far away to be of concern. After all, our golden parachute guarantees us money whether tomorrow comes or not.