I wrote this in the comments area of my grumpy post below, but it’s long and explains things a little bit further, with the perfect amount of The Rambling Factor that you’ve come to expect from this site:
John (in the comments of my grumpy post) is right, of course: “it’s sad that everyone [at the protests] gets lumped with the folks holding the most hideous [signs],” a sin of which I’m ostensibly guilty in this post.
The post grew out of an email I’d sent to Greg (comment #1 in the thread) about how much today’s lunatic lefty fringe resembled the lunatic righty fringe of the Clinton era — shrilly latching on to any conspiracy theory out of zealotry that seemed medieval; “Clinton murdered Vince Foster!” and “Bush Was Behind 9/11!” are two sides of the same tinfoil hat. I used to make fun of the Gingrich crowd with the same fervor that I apply to a guy stepping out of a BMW with a “No War for Oil” sign he’s bringing to a local protest. Apparently the Germans have found a way to make cars run on happy thoughts and warm feelings, which is a hell of an accomplishment when you think what most Germans are like.
But something about the signs imploring US troops to shoot their officers is genuinely evil to me, and tripped my circuit breaker. My dad once commanded the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, one of the front-line units currently in Iraq. If this war happened fifteen years ago, a lot of those marchers would be celebrating a disgruntled sergeant rolling a couple of frag grenades into my dad’s tent. But the two people holding that sign were at the very least showing their true colors, displaying their true political philosophies — poisoned though I think they are.
I believe that most of the people at the rallies have a vague feeling that they should be against the war for some reasons of morality, but aren’t clear what those reasons exactly are. I don’t think they’re attending the protests to be brainwashed by the organizers (the Workers’ World Party, et. al.) into soldiers for anarcho-Communism (does such a thing exist? it should, it’s a neat term). But there seems to be a clear level of misrepresentation, both by normal citizens attending these things (“Hey, there were a thousand people against the war there!”) and by the organizers (“Hey, we’ve got a thousand new people fighting for Socialist overthrow!”). I guess that’s what I was clumsily trying to address in this post, even though I ended up sounding like someone’s great-grandfather shooing some skateboarding kids out of his driveway.
Something that is genuinely disturbing to me, though, is the amazing depth of visceral hatred that has been projected toward this President and his predecessor. I never bought into the Impeach Clinton movement, and I certainly don’t abide the Impeach Bush jones that the protesters are raging on today. I used to think that was the predominant political attitude in the country. But Christ, there are so many people that can’t hold a conversation about either of them without devolving into sputters of rage, like personal wrong has been visited upon them from 1600 Pennsylvania. Some might say that it’s comeuppance to the Republicans for the way they treated Clinton, but I remember similar bile for Bush the 41st and Reagan. Only it seems louder and more vicious lately. And much more unreasonable.
But what do I know. I live on a rock off the coast of Maine.
Boy, do I sound cranky in the post below. It’s been a hard winter, and the children are keeping me from sleeping well. The accompanying stress has turned me into an 87-year-old grizzled fisherman.
Kids, do what you want. You’re young and impressionable, and so darned cute. This old man just wants a sunny day and a warm bowl of porridge.
Remember, these are the same people from which leftist nutjobs think the United States should ask permission before acting against Iraq.
I’m sure the Cameroonians (Camerooners? Cameroon-o-ramas?) are sweet people, but might this be a sign that this country doesn’t need foreign policy advice from every other nation on the planet?’
And while urine may be rather foul, I’d rather drink it than whatever Kool-Aid Jacque Chirac and Gerhard Schröder have been sipping lately.
The deer have been outside my office window all day. They know I can’t shoot them — there’s a hunting ban on Mt. Desert Island — so they think nothing of loitering about in plain view. No, let me be more specific: maliciously loitering. Like surly teenagers outside a retirement home, this small pack of ruminant ruffians tromp about — on National Park land, no less, land made for you and me! — and destroy it with their “feeding” and “surviving.” Every few seconds, they flick up their little white tails, providing a horrific glance at the source of the billions of deer pellets that litter the land like cigarette butts.
Cocky sons of bitches, these deer. Next time I watch Bambi, I’m going to cheer during the forest fire scenes.
Even these hoodlum skinny cows can’t keep my mind off the change of season, however. Yesterday was filled with strange rays from a fiery ball in the sky that provided what I’m told is “warmth.” It was a strange, exotic feeling, like the way I felt the first time I dreamed of Margaret Thatcher. What’s even better: mad scientists called “meteorologists” have told me that this warmth thing is actually just starting. I’m not quite sure what spending all day studying meteors has to do with making the cold go away, but I’m sure it has something to do with the same power that makes Scientologists know so much about science (look at the word: “Scient” + “ology” = “the science of science,” and hell people can’t just lie about that, can they?).
A regular reader named “Iphigenia” sends this medical update (Editor’s note: we welcome your medical stories at all times; please send to the curator of this site):
ENEMAS: A LOVE STORY
PUBLIC ENEMA #1
MY ENEMA STORY
Yesterday I had an appointment with a gastroenterologist. But before I left my apartment to venture out into yesterday’s snowstorm, I thought to myself: I’m so sick of winter, I’m so sick of this nice large purse I’ve been carrying around all winter, it’s time for a change — I’ll use this smaller purse, this burgandy-fur-and-ostritch purse, my stuff will just barely fit in, but I’ll feel so much happier. So off I go to the gastroenterologist, with my tiny purse.
At the end of my appointment, the doctor writes me two prescriptions and hands them to me across his big wooden desk. Then he says, “Let me give you some samples.” I start to quake in my chair. These prescriptions are not for little pills. Or even big pills. Or pills at all. They are for things that get retained in the lower colon.
We walk out to the inner reception desk, and I am parked in that spot while he retrieves my gifts. This is a busy medical office, and it has two reception areas, a very large waiting room, and alot of people who work there and who are seen by the doctors in the practice, mostly GPs. There are many people milling about while I wait.
Out pops the doctor. He hands me two small boxes containing bullet shaped things. Check. I can stuff those in my coat pocket. Phew. Then he hands me a large white box with blue lettering on it. Some of the lettering on it says, ENEMA. Some of it says, FOR RECTAL USE ONLY. And on one side, there is a large, life-sized drawing of the bottle contained within, a pictogram, as if meant for people who don’t speak english, to make sure they don’t drink it, I assume. Its the size of a bottle of beer, but with a distinctive shaped tip.
Are you feeling my humiliation yet? Are you sensing that I really shouldn’t have switched purses that day?
There is one more added humiliation. After getting the damn thing home, and opening it up to take a look, it turns out that the doctor gave me a sample of Expired Enema, as of January 2002.
So it was really all about *pointless* humiliation.
Finally, the last few cold days of Winter are here. I can actually hear the season choking on its own bleakness, gasping for breath while its overjoyed victims celebrate over its prone form. Parents urge their small children to kick the bastard Winter in his cold, bony neck now that he can’t fight back with a sixty-below wind chill.
It’s the only of the four seasons whose demise is unapologetically anticipated. Signs all around town count down the days until the ground has thawed enough to dig a deep enough grave in which to toss Winter: “
11 10 9 8 Days Until Spring!”
Another sign is quite succinct, but efficiently implies so much more:
The stereotypical Down East stoicism melts away with the snow drifts, at least until the tourists arrive. It feels like being ten years old, facing a two-week wait for your trip to Disney World. Excruciating anticipation.
Goodbye, Winter. I think we need to see other seasons. I’ve met someone new, who’s much more in tune with my needs. It’s best for both of us. Don’t cry, there are plenty of fish in the sea in the Southern Hemisphere for you. You can keep my wool jacket, it looks better on you anyway. Please don’t call.
Oh, and I faked all those excited yells on the sledding hills.
There’s nothing like a good ol’ theological conundrum to welcome the last two weeks of winter! Come with me into the valley of existential questioning, if you dare!
If you look closely enough at the photo — I’m currently without access to a powerful telefoto lens as a condition of my parole — you’ll see that a herring gull has lit upon a convenient crucifix atop Bar Harbor’s Episcopalian church. I’m sure being a seagull is tough work; flying all day, sorting through the variety of possibilities at the local dump for lunch, pooping ten times your weight every day. So I can understand taking a break on a nice high point with a killer view, if only to allow digesting of a few rancid burger wrappers.
But behind it: the weathervane. The craven image of another bird. The gull striking the same pose as the iron rooster. Worshipping this false avian idol while defiling the most holy of symbols to millions. And — and this is really important, everyone — what the hell is a chicken doing on the roof of a church in any capacity?
What does this mean, people? Is it a sign of the apocalypse? Or just a sign that I should get some KFC the next time I’m on the mainland?
The voting to name my palatial grounds is tied 19-19! Voting will end tonight at 11:59 PM, so vote early, vote often.
UPDATE: Cold Comfort Farm has squeaked past Morningwood by one vote! Final tally: 27-26. More on this later.
From an AP news article I saw today on boston.com:
Two women developed infections after touching soldiers
Just let that sentence hang out there by itself for a bit.