Sunday, February 26, 2012


An open letter to the Muslim world

First of all, let me apologize on the behalf of the United States for the recent Koran incident, and the whole invasion of your lands thing. Trust me, if I were in charge, none of this would have happened in the first place, because we wouldn't be sticking our noses in your business to begin with. People in our country would be just as upset if there was a Muslim army here that burned a Bible. You'd have every fundamentalist Christian piled into their 15 passenger vans, headed for Washington, with gun stash in tow.

Secondly, if you read any of the comments on any of our local news sites, you'll probably think that the majority of the residents of our country who have access to computers hate anyone who isn't a white, Southern, heterosexual Christian that supports endless war. That, and despite English being a second language that you have had to learn in school, you still have the ability to read and write better than many of our native speakers. You'd be right on that, and slightly right on the first perception.

However not everyone in our country is a religious fanatic. They just tend to be more vocal, and gullible, and listen to a lot of AM talk radio. There's plenty of very well-educated people trying to balance out the national conversation and keep us from starting another war under the guise of "spreading democracy" which is really a code word for "getting more access to oil". Again, sorry about that.

We also have these creeps in common, people like Mullah Omar or James Dobson. Here we refer to them as "The American Taliban" since they both have this incredibly hypocritical, self-serving and fundamentalist interpretations of their respective religious texts. We both have fanatics who believe it is the will of God or Allah that their religion must be forcibly spread across the entire world, often at gunpoint. Speaking of "forcibly spreading", have you Googled "Santorum"? He's a national joke, so please don't think most of us take him seriously.

I will add that a lot of the support for the recent saber-rattling towards Iran is both from the religious fanatics who believe that this is the potential conflict that will initiate the end of the world as we know it, and the people who will make a lot of money off it. Trust me, it has little
to do with any support for Israel. Israel has nuclear weapons already, this is about more conflict and most Americans are tired of war. We really are. It is just the nutjobs and the military contractors.

I know that as a Jew, I am supposed to hate you and you are supposed to hate me but why? Since when did we have to participate in a deadly game created to divide people and then blindly defend the side we were placed on without our choice? Maybe one day people will wake up to understand that all of this hatred is propagated in order to keep us so bitterly divided that there is no chance of us ever uniting against the real enemy.

Until then, peace be unto you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fisherman's Blues

The truth is, you are not your newest big screen TV, your newest SUV or the bleached blonde with fake tits on your arm. We have been conditioned for years to believe that the "American Dream" is having the newest car, the best house, the tailored suit and the prettiest girl at your side. We have been taught that the more you have, the happier you are.

Happiness is not a private jet, membership to an exclusive fucking golf club or being part of a boardroom where finding new ways to pad the numbers guarantees your next golden parachute when the chips finally fall.

What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that wealth does not equal happiness. Some of the most content people I have known owned next to nothing. Years ago, I worked in a fishing tackle shop where we sold gear to the poorest of the poor and ordered the fanciest equipment for the elite, the 1%. It was always a rat race among the richest to have the newest, the "best" and most advanced equipment. Yet, you know who the happiest person was? It was an older gentleman, who in his 80's, lived on coastal islands and rowed his way from the Carolinas to Florida every winter.

There were many rumors about him, but the consistent one is that he was a son of rich people, a guy that went to WWII or Korea, and came back with PTSD. Supposedly he had money in a trust fund but he lived off the land. Out of all of my customers, he was my favorite in his white rubber boots, long gray beard and the slightly unpleasant aroma which suggested he had slept the last month on a tidal island in a canvas tent.

In 2005, he finally passed on to the other side. He was found in his rowboat 100 miles south. Secretly, I think we all envied him. I still do...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Swamp Dust

A full moon glares through the moss covered limbs of a cypress tree and reflects off the shimmering waters of Henderson Swamp. It is another night in the Atchafalaya Basin, in the heart of Cajun country. Right now, it February and another cold front has dropped in from the north, and like Yankees, we dread the invasion but accept it as part of the season.

Fortunately, it doesn't snow here and winter days here don't involve shoveling snow. Instead,
a pot of roux is cooked and prepared for gumbo. Starting in as early as late December, the fields are flooded and crawfish traps are set. Even if you're cold, nothing will get you feeling right faster than a bowl of chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo with a shot of whiskey before climbing under the electric blanket with your love.

This is the new life I have found. This is my new semi-Nirvana. Just had to share this.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We have Jesus, guns and money

"We have Jesus, guns and money, so we make the rules".

That's pretty much the 3 trump cards the religious right tries to fall back on in any argument. It is the usual end of any discussion when you back them into a corner with a barrage of logic, if you can even reach them on logic.

To them, it doesn't matter if they're right, or there's flaws in their logic. Take my previous article, "You can't be pro-life and pro-war" as a prime example. I know plenty of people, mostly old family acquaintances that think that it's ideologically consistent to oppose abortion, but then look the other way on the death penalty, war, etc. Yet, when you challenge them on the logic of your argument, they ignore it and when you press them on it, they change the subject and make counter-accusations. Push them further, then out comes the cross and the condescending attitude that it doesn't matter what you think, they have Jesus, guns and money so it is just their world and they're being nice by allowing you to express your opinion.

Their belief is that dissenting opinions are ones to be tolerated at best, but to be squashed in the event it becomes inconvenient. Whether it be Occupy Wall Street, the right of gays to marry or even the availability of contraceptives at Planned Parenthood, they'll only pretend to tolerate as long as it takes to try to destroy it.

The recent events with the Susan B. Komen Foundation is an excellent example. They'd rather see poor women die of breast cancer or dangerous pregnancies rather than see one person not have one unwanted pregnancy ended or even prevented.

Yet for them, it is not about abortion and being pro-life. For them, it is about their need to control who has sex, who they have sex with, for what purposes and only by their standards. Having sex for fun? Nope. Having sex with a member of the same sex? Hell fucking no. Only for the purposes of procreation and making a Christian child who will grow up to be another one of them. Anything other than that is unacceptable to them.

Remember, they have their distorted view of Jesus, plus their guns and money. Maybe it is time we take back all of that from them.

Friday, February 3, 2012

You can't be pro-war and "pro-life"

I have known many people who have been upset with me because I refuse to join their "pro-life" rallies every January on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I always tell them that I will happily join them if I can carry a sign saying "You can't be pro-war and pro-life." The faint mumbling of grudging acknowledgement precedes the "well, we wish you just walk with us" statement which basically means I'm not invited. I'd have a lot more respect for them if they protested wars as vehemently as they protest abortion, but they don't.

As I've said before, if women have to be forced to see the sonogram of the fetus they are about to terminate, then we as a public should be forced to see the innocent civilians and the soldiers who are killed in our wars. How is a child in a foreign country killed by an errant missile somehow less important than an embryo 2 days after conception?

The reason for this is it is convenient and intellectually lazy. It is easy to push your values on the poor, those who have no other real choices than to go down to the clinic and get an abortion. It is hard to stand against a well-oiled, well-lobbied war machine. It is easy to dismiss the death of 6 year old boy in Afghanistan because he "isn't one of us" or "he would have grown up to be a terrorist anyhow." It doesn't require the effort to be ideologically consistent across multiple scenarios and cultures or consider the socio-economic situations that caused this to be an issue in the first place.

"Abortion bad, war good", that's pretty much what it boils down to for the majority of these people, even though they claim to oppose war, they're often the first ones cheering for it.