Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Choose wisely, Reykjavík!

Let's do a homeless news roundup! We'll rope'em, tie'em, and brand'em!

Here at Adventures in Irony we make it our duty to leave the local homeless news to the paid professionals. We will have nothing to say, for now, about the SHARE/WHEEL occupation and subsequent arrests at the Lora Lake Apartments which were a big deal of last week's homelessness-related news in the Seattle area. Except, "gross misdemeanor, my ass." The gross misdemeanor was shutting down the apartments.

OK, moving onward and outward. A wheel-chair bound homeless woman in Fresno was arrested and cited at a McDonald's restaurant for attempting to use the restroom without first making a purchase. And rightly so!

Think about it. Let's say you want to start up a McDonald's franchise somewhere. How do you choose where to put it?

What I would do is ask myself, where would people get the most benefit from my placement of my McDonald's? I would take into account all that McDonald's franchises have to offer. There's greasy, over-salted burgers. There's tastes-like-chicken sandwiches. There's parking. There's air-conditioning. There's 30-minute seating in tiny little chairs made for people with one buttock each, in a room with walls painted in scientifically calibrated "move-along" colors. And there's bathrooms. I should site my new franchise someplace where one or two of these items of attraction will be a big draw. That means a place in a warm climate with a severe shortage of public bathrooms. Sounds like Fresno to me!

So I can totally sympathize with the management of that Fresno McDonald's. That wheel-chair bound homeless woman was trying to use her full bladder, or whatnot, as an excuse to steal one of the only two good things their store has to offer. If they didn't draw the line with her, then, pretty soon, everyone would know that you didn't have to buy the food at their McDonald's to use the can, and then nobody would buy the food there, 'cause the food sucks!

In more abstract homeless news, but still out of California, an article on homelessness and health care by Margot Kushel, MD, of the University of California at San Francisco says that, "Since the early 1990s, the average age of the homeless population has risen approximately eight months each calendar year."

Combining that with statistics which show that the average age at death of homeless people is under fifty, and we can now predict that old age, murder, and suicide, will assuredly solve the homeless problem in ten years after all, in spite of all our recent hand waving and hollering in the direction of the opposite conclusion. We are most sorry for having been so wrong.

The most interesting news this week is NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) news from the online Iceland Review, which says that the shelter that was planned for homeless men at Njálsgata 74 in downtown Reykjavík will open in October, as previously scheduled, over the objections of neighbors, but, by way of compromise, would house only 8 men rather than the 10 that were to originally have been sheltered.

[Above: Y'all's gotta see this picture of Njálsgata Street!]

My concern is, what are the odds that the two guys that are excluded are going to be just exactly the two bastards that the NIMBYs were trying to keep out?

Out of any 10 people, statistics shows that two of them will be saints, and another two of them bastards, whether the ten are homeless or not. Studies have repeatedly shown that two out of ten of all human beings are worthless scum.

But if you pick 2 people out of 10 at random the odds that the 2 you picked will be the 2 bastards of the bunch is only 1 in 45. That's just simple math!

Choose wisely, Reykjavík!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Unity: Good

The other day Pope Benedict XVI got a whole lot of people upset with him for saying, among other things, that Protestant churches aren't really churches. He said they're karaoke bars.

Ha, that was me having fun all by myself again. What he said was Protestant "organizations", or "dealies", "do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church." So they can't be called churches "in the proper sense". If you don't have a constitutive element of a thing, you can't be that thing.

[Right: His Holy Apostolic Succession.]

This is quite clear. So if you don't have a constitutive element of a trucker, such as a truck, say, you can't be a trucker. Or if you don't have a constitutive element of a world leader, you can't be a world leader. You can be a factional leader. Or, if you have a truck, you can be a trucker. But not a world leader.

Some popes, like the last one, just seem to be angling for a Nobel Peace Prize every step of the way, until we frankly get sick of them. I know I was. And some popes, like this one, are refreshingly free of that Nobel Peace Prize-groveling taint.

I mean, who needs world ecumenical leadership anyway? If you're going to have a church shouldn't you think it's the best damn church ever? Even all the way to hell? I mean, if not, what's the point? Pope Benedict doesn't owe the Protestants any favors.

So I don't go along with these people who say Pope Benedict XVI is being divisive. I think what he's saying is just something on the order of, "You're baby is uglier than my baby. Ha, ha, look at your ugly, ugly, baby! How can you stand having such an ugly baby? I'd drown that baby if it was my baby. DAMN, that is one butt-ugly baby!" What's wrong with saying things like that?

I'll tell you who's being divisive. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is being divisive.

Let's say I'm at a party with my wife. Not a current wife or any wife I've ever had, but a "wife for the sake of illustration." Let's say she says we should leave the party while I'm just getting my groove on, if you know what I mean. I've only had, say, two beers. I've only flirted with two or three other women. I've only done my patented guaranteed-to-win-comments lap-dance once. Just getting STARTED. And she says, "It's time to go home, HONEY," with that Nancy Pelosi-ish emphasis on the honey, that means it was time to go before I ever got here.

Let's say my wife and I are having it out over this, and I'm saying, "Oh, no I'm NOT leaving," and she's saying, "Oh, yes you ARE," over and over again, and let's say the host of the party comes over and says, "It's alright, Dr. Browning, we won't mind if you two leave early."

You see what that is? That's divisive. He's about to be punched.

OK, maybe that illustration was too abstract. Let's try this. I'm having my soldiers duke it out in some foreign country with, um, belligerent sectarian factions, and I'm telling my people back home that I can't pull my troops out to safety because they have a mission to complete, and this jerk comes over and says, "We can handle this; you can go, anytime."

That is divisive behavior unbecoming of a puppet.

In fact I would go so for as to say that man lacks a constitutive element of puppethood. He is not a proper puppet at all. How am I supposed to milk this conflict to the advantage of my friends while using it to distract the American people from the way I am ruining their country, if the so-called Prime Minister won't back me up?

What kind of satellite are we running there?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Now Roll Over

Here's an example of how I think.

I was walking down 3rd Avenue yesterday and saw a couple outside their car. They looked like they were preparing to drive off, but first, a Boston Terrier attached by leash to the female half of the couple performed a work of nature. Then the male half said, "Good boy! Good job!" and I thought about liberal movements.

I mean, you have your liberal movements, and the public either approves or it doesn't. If they approve, it's "Good boy! Good job!" But do they let you off the leash? No. Do they let you drive? Never.

That's not the example of how I think I was going to show you. I'll go on.

When I got home I learned about Live Earth. I hadn't learned much about Live Earth earlier, because I knew it was a liberal movement, and so I was too busy looking away to get the details. I now know that it was 7000 concerts all over the world and that it had to do with Madonna and Sting, in different places and ways, that the South African concert ended with the audience clapping out an SOS, and that you could see the famous giant statue of Christ the Redeemer from where they held the concert in Rio. I hope there were good drugs for that, that's awesome. (Giant statues of Jesus really put me in the mood.)

In Toronto, other concerts from around the world were shown on a gigantic TV screen fashioned by modern technology from the residue of acres of Jurassic ferns laced with rare earths that in twenty years will only be found in toxic dumps and powered by "wind and low-impact water sources." If only we could find a way to harness the unlimited power emanating from the performers' egos.

In London, critics were complaining that Springsteen hadn't been booked, and they got Spinal Tap instead. They're so stuck in the Eighties in London.

So I'm thinking, if they'd got Springsteen, they'd get "Good liberals! Good job!" and maybe a check in the mail, but ten minutes later it would be all about whether the cable was paid and the liberals would be on the floor in the back having nothing to say about it.

That's not the example of how I think I was going to show you. I'll go on.

The public often likes liberal movements. The anti-slavery movement was a good example. The public likes that there was an anti-slavery movement. In my entire life I've only met one guy who expressed regrets about the anti-slavery movement. He didn't want slaves but wanted to be able to have one if he ever changed his mind. Everybody else has said "Good liberals! Good job!" on that one, but the only way it affects how things are done is that they elect Republicans. “Lincoln was a Republican, you know.”

People love the GI Bill. After WWII a liberal clause added to the GI Bill enabled millions of Americans to get college educations, many of whom were the first in their families ever to do so. The result was booming middle-class like no country had ever seen before. The public says, "Good job!" to the GI Bill, then votes in a George Bush, who gives us No Child Left Behind, the choke-collar of education.

The people who brought us Live Earth know all this. That's why they couldn't just ask the public for help stopping the mistakes being made that cause global warming. The people would all just look the other way down the street and wait for the liberals to finish their business. The liberals know they have to get their attention some how.

So, I get this image in my head of a Boston Terrier engaging the sidewalk while doing a cover of Bon Jovi's "You Want to Make a Memory," so he'll have your attention.

There, that's the example. That's how my mind works.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


I followed the story of the guy put off a train in The Middle Of Nowhere Arizona with great interest.

The story was, a man appeared drunk to train conductors. So they put him off the train at a unmanned stop without running water five miles from the nearest town in the middle of a forest, without his luggage, and therefore without his medication, which he was going to need as he wandered aimlessly in his drunken state toward civilization, because it so happens he was not drunk, he was in diabetic shock.

Since the story first appeared the man was found. In four days he'd gone two miles and was down to his underwear. As the story has been retold it's got muddier. His doctor had not prescribed medication, so there was no medication in that luggage left behind on the train. We don't really know he was in diabetic shock, that's what the family believes, and they weren't there.

The conductors have been reported saying that they and the train waited for the police to arrive and that the man slipped away into the forest just when the police got there. So it's not like they just abandoned him, exactly.

But never mind that. Here's what makes the story interesting. The train officials accept no blame for the fact that a dazed man ended up lost without food or water in an northern Arizona forest for four days, on the grounds that "standard procedures were followed." I mean, what can you do? You follow standard procedures and the drunk, or diabetic, or whatever he says he is, isn't cooperative, or the sun gets in your eye, or you slip on something a wild dingo left, and the drunk, or diabetic, or whatever he says he is, wriggles away. Well, it's his own fault, isn't it? Standard procedures were followed.

Then there's this bit. As I said, the story now is that the local police arrived at the train stop to pick our man up. They were going to take him into custody, but he slipped away, we're told. We're told they then looked for him but couldn't find him. So they stopped looking. And continued to not bother looking for our man until relatives in St. Louis inquired as to his whereabouts. That was, again, OK, because standard procedures had been followed.

So let's summarize. If you are ever drunk and disorderly on an Amtrak train, or just appear so, standard procedure is to put you off into the hands of local police as far from civilization as possible, preferably at a train stop a hundred miles north of the Sea of Tranquility, without food, water, air, Cheetos, or love. If you then leap away in a cloud of dust as the men in the space suits with the billy clubs show up, it is standard procedure for them to look for you for a minute and then when they don't find you shrug and say, "Lets wait and see if he has relatives, and if not he can just die in this wasteland -- that'll teach him."

Meanwhile vendors regularly tell me of campsites raided and all belongings trashed, often including medicine. So, yes, it's standard procedure all right.

Speaking of standard procedure. If a review board arrives at an unfavorable conclusion regarding our beloved police chief, it is of course standard procedure here in Seattle for an entirely new review board to be appointed so that better results might be obtained. And naturally, standard procedure calls for the new board to if possible include big names like Gary Locke and Ron Sims on it, to give it legitimacy.

Now let's see if Greg Nickels follows standard procedure all the way and farms this new board's review work out as a project for Leadership Tomorrow.

Standard procedure is that standard procedures stay in place, no matter how many people get hurt or how badly.