Human Stupidity

Happy Holidays

The Term ‘Holidaze’ is Intentional

‘Tis the season . . . or so they say. Things are not particularly merry at the moment. We’ve been working at getting The Parsonage ready for the Holidays, over the past few weeks, and I’ve managed to injure my back.

Actually, re-re-re-injure it is more the case. I’ve had trouble with my back since the 8th grade. A trampoline was involved.

Things are not as bad as the night I was carried out of the house on a rubber stretcher and shipped to Martha Jefferson Hospital, C.O.D. This time around, I made it to the doctor’s office before things got that bad. Getting in and out of the car was a real trip.

I was given a cocktail of pills to take every eight hours and my faithful wife, Judi, is off to the chemist’s to pick up the prescribed meds.

Happy Holidays to You

Enough of the downers. The main purpose of this rant is to nail my colours to the mast, concerning the use of the phrase, Happy Holidays. People with paranoid delusions claim there is a ‘war’ on Christmas and the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ is a prime example. The phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ excludes mention of Christmas and that, apparently, is an act of war upon the holiday. Codswallop.

There are eight or nine different religions celebrating a combined total of over twenty-five holidays, feasts, or festivals at this time of the year and Christmas is only one of them. And then there’s New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. There’s no two ways about it; this is a festive time of the year. Admittedly, Christmas has cornered the music market, though.

Political Correctness?

Some may decry ‘Happy Holidays’ as nothing more than political correctness even though the phrase was in use long before PC was invented. No one says much about ‘Season’s Greetings’ being politically correct, but it’s only a matter of time.

I use the term ‘Happy Holidays’ to include everyone – or at least, as many as possible – in my best wishes for the season. Otherwise, I would spend five minutes enumerating all the holidays – Secular or otherwise – taking place before, during, or after the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is the original reason for the season.

If I know someone is a Christian, I will wish them a “Merry Christmas”. If I someone who is Jewish, I will wish them “Happy Chanukkah”. (The ‘C’ is optional, of course.) And if I know a person to be a Scroogian, I will wish them a heartfelt “Bah! Humbug!” Otherwise, ‘Happy Holidays’ covers all bases.

If that constitutes Political Correctness, then so be it. I will prepare the boiling oil and await the angry mob of peasants bearing torches and pitchforks.

You’ve probably heard about it by now and I’m already tired of hearing about it;  the story broken by the UK’s Guardian newspaper – it figures -concerning the surveillance being carried on by the NSA (National Security Agency) on Verizon’s phone call meta-data as well as other aspects of internet communications like e-mail. For those of you who may not quite get it, meta-data is information about data; not the data itself.  The NSA does not give an R.A. about calls to your mistress/boyfriend or your predilection for phone sex. By the time they get the meta-data, your 3:00 AM call to Jake at Snake Farm is long over. Instead, they are looking for patterns like calls to the local 7-11 from Abbottabad, Pakistan that occur only when Achmed is behind the counter on the grave-yard shift.

There is the predictable hue and cry that this is the end of America as we know it or that the Government has done the “freshy-fresh” with the Bill of Rights. No-one seems to give a fig about the Police running your licence plate when they spot you parked at the Achmed’s 7-11 at 1:30 AM. Indeed, La Polizia have run the plates of a certain Mitsubishi pick-up with a canoe on top driven by a bearded, kilt-wearing, pipe-smoking, Scotch-drinking, hippy freak in ear-rings more times than I care to think about. They probably needn’t bother because no-one in their right mind would use a 23 year-old pick-up with an “I brake for Mermaids” bumper-sticker on the back as a get-away vehicle.

Yes, it’s a shame that things have come to this but it’s the price we pay for being under siege by sub-humans who would gladly suicide-bomb a day-care just to inflict a bit more pain and terror on Americans. Dr. Data can remember the common cries of “Protect us! Protect us!” in the wake of 9/11 and the Boston bombings. Well, the NSA, et alia, are trying to do just that. Moreover, the government has been doing that for a lonnng time. Back during the cold war, a certain female-type person with whom  Dr. Data has had a more than nodding acquaintance for nearly four decades, had relatives on the east side of the iron curtain. Letters arriving at her grand-mother’s house had already been read and redacted by both sides. Her brother – like Dr. Data – was into short-wave radio during that time and a Federal agent showed up at their house wanting to check his QSL cards . . . no doubt looking for coded messages.

So folks, let’s turn down the histrionics and hope that the NSA does its job before the next airliner flies into an office tower. If  you’re worried that the intelligence community may want to know about your relationship with that visiting professor who works part-time as a dominatrix, then do the following:

  1. Get rid of your phones – smart and not so smart
  2. Get off the internet
  3. Blow up your TV
  4. Pay for all transactions with cold, hard cash
  5. Read only old-fashioned books printed on real paper
  6. Travel only by foot or bicycle
  7. Hope and pray that Achmed does not hijack a Cessna and fly it into your house.

Resources:

NSA PRISIM programme spied on e-mails, searches

I thought that with the end of Campaign 2012, we were to be given a break from tales of  unbelievable lunacy. Apparently that is not the case.

On January 3rd, The Washington Post carried a story about a boy being suspended from school for a day. Now, there’s nothing new about a boy – or girl – being suspended from school; it happens all the time. What caught my attention was the age of the “perp” and his crime. The boy was six years old. There’s a number of things that will get a six year-old tossed such as bringing his mother’s underwear to class for show and tell, flipping off his teacher or passing around the interesting magazine he found at the bottom of Daddy’s sock drawer. Sadly, none of those infractions took place.

Instead, the boy was shown the door for the outrageous crime of – mothers, please avert your eyes – pointing his finger like a gun and saying “Pow”. The boy’s walking papers said that this was a threat to shoot another student. Oh, the humanity! I must have been the Al Capone of DuPont Elementary school as I did this kind of thing around once a day back then. Probably the only reason that I – and every other boy in Mrs. Merner’s class – was not hauled in for questioning is that back in those days, adults had more important things to worry about. Things like impending nuclear annihilation. Those duck-and-cover drills apparently had a much higher priority.

There has always been a certain degree of dumbness amongst school administrators but those in Montgomery  County, MD deserve their own room in Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. The question is, “Who ratted the boy out?” Was it “Big Brother”? Did the student who was “threatened” flee in terror to the principal’s office? Or was it a teacher? I do know that in 1958, Mrs. Merner would have said something to the effect of “Howard, we don’t do that in class.”

The boy’s parents are – and rightfully so – seeking to have this heinous crime erased from the kid’s permanent record which, as we all know, follows you for the rest of your life. I sincerely hope that the parents have retained competent  legal counsel as there is obviously more than one person in the Montgomery County school system who would really benefit from unemployment right about now. Thankfully, they didn’t confiscate the “weapon”.

Since things are slow for me at the moment, I magnanimously offer my services to the Montgomery County school system. I may not have an education degree but I certainly more than make up for it in the common sense dept.

Sources:

This one falls into the general dumbness category. You have probably heard the uproar over the auction of a bit of Ronald Reagan’s blood. Frankly, I’m not sure why anyone would want this other than to possibly clone Ronald Reagan. The story has repeatedly made the news for a number of days now, leading to this spot of brilliance.

Last night on the CBS Evening News, there was yet another story about the auction. To illustrate the story, they – being CBS News – put up a light-box with the headline (in big letters, of course) “Blood Vile”. Reagan’s blood may be vile but it was kept in a glass vial!!

Walter Cronkite must be spinning in his grave right about now and that’s the way it is.

The Huffington Post reported this morning an incident in Sunrise, Florida where a boy appearing in a 2nd grade class photo had a smiley face overlaying his head at the behest of the PTA. The boy was of African descent and the smiley face reflected his skin coloring.

The whole uproar came about because he was the only child in the photo who did not present a signed consent form. To work around this situation, the PTA – who was apparently sponsoring the class pictures – told the photographer to use a smiley face instead of a star since the boy was in the front row. The photographer created the smiley face using Photoshop or some other graphics application and while it wasn’t quite the traditional kind that most of us are used to, it served the purpose. Because the boy’s skin was brown, he made the smiley face brown.

Thus beginneth the uproar. Gayle King, on the CBS This Morning show, said that the brown color made it a caricature and that made it racist. Erica Hill chimed in with her agreement. Ladies, I love you both but this was definitely not racist! There were no exaggerated racial characteristics like those that appeared in advertisements during the first half of the last century. Instead, the face had a big smile and brown skin. If the face had been created using white instead of brown, the photographer et al. would have been accused of depriving the boy of his racial identity. If the face had been created using the traditional yellowish colour, there would have been accusations that they were trying to imply that the boy was Chinese or a character on The Simpsons. There would have been no pleasing anyone no matter what the photographer tried to do.

The boy’s parents were shocked. The school principal was shocked. And I am shocked – not because of the brown smiley face but because a signed consent form was required for something a simple and basic a a class picture. It is, no doubt, a result of our litigious society where people go to extraordinary lengths to cover their butt just in case some wanker decides to sue them for one reason or another but that is a topic for another day.

There is enough racial injustice – like the Travon Martin shooting – to go around without us having to fabricate even more. Come on people! Get over it!

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