Six Jehovah’s Witnesses selling Avon door-to-door in the Philippines were abducted by the Muslim guerrilla group Abu Sayyaf, which decapitated two of the victims and left one head in the fruit stall of a public market accompanied by a note reading, “This is what will happen to those who do not believe in Allah.”

Introducing My New Little Helper

Occasionally, I intend to steal material straight from Harper’s Magazine. As I am a terribly moral person, I am somewhat conflicted about this. On one hand, I hate stealing content. On the other, it’s much easier to steal it than it is to create it myself. In all honesty, I’m not really given a choice.

For this reason, I am adopting a new “fantasy belief.” (A fantasy belief is a belief you know isn’t true, but you believe in so hard that it begins to sound like the truth. As an example of this, I would offer OJ Simpson. While I believe without a doubt that he killed his wife and her friend, I think that he has really convinced himself that he was in his backyard chipping golf balls while it was happening. I think the same is true for OJ’s supporters. I think that a lot of them know deep down that he did it, but that they can’t admit it to themselves.)

So, from this moment forward, I have decided that I will believe that I have an assistant named Harper that collects interesting little tidbits for me throughout the week so that I can share them with you. By doing this, we can all feel good about it. I can just say, “Look what Harper found for me to comment on this week,” and we’ll pretend. Over time, it will become our shared reality.

Let’s try it, shall we?

Hey, everybody, look what Harper just sent me!

This does not surprise, or really even offend, me. Is that horrible? I’m sorry… I just think that the idea of people in canoes, paddling around the Philippines, selling an American image of beauty is offensive. Yes, the people doing it deserve to make a living and it’s terrible that they were beheaded, but I can still find the sale of cosmetics offensive. As for this incident of anti-Avon terrorism, I suspect that it will not change a damned thing. It was a desperate and futile act, in my opinion like crashing a plane into a building. It will not bring change. Like it or not, western culture is coming and you’d better start to look like us if you want to be beautiful. (In short, terrorism is bad and stupid, but so is the homogeneity and the belief that companies, in order to best serve their shareholders, must keep expanding into new markets. Avon could still be a big, successful company if it contained itself to this continent. There is no real reason they should be out there, trying to sell lipstick to the Yanomamo by showing them photos of Cindy Crawford.)

Swedish scientists identified what may be a new form of life, a tiny particle in the spinal fluid of schizophrenics.

I don’t really have a comment on that. It’s just great. I like the thought that there could be an entire civilization living in the spinal fluid of a schizophrenic. I’m picturing them to be like Sea Monkeys, only really brightly colored and wearing festive little outfits… If only Dr. Suess was still around to tell their story.

Umbro, a British shoe company, said that its Zyklon running shoe had nothing to do with the poison gas Zyklon B, which the Nazis used in their death camps; the company explained that the similarity was an “unfortunate coincidence.”

This reminded me of the “Theodore Bundy Kulpanowsky” story that I posted over the weekend. See, it really is conceivable that people could name a person, or a product, something horribly offensive without realizing it. I can’t believe a company like Umbro wouldn’t have realized this, however. All it would have taken was one Google search… Maybe they did know. Maybe they’re just looking for some free publicity, like when Benetton dresses up the corpses of dead Palestinian children in their clothes and photographs them for ads. (Didn’t they do something like that a few years ago?) Can’t you just picture the ads for the Zyklon running shoe? You see a gaunt man, dressed in a tattered, filthy uniform, sprinting away from Auschwitz in his beautiful, magical new shoes. Or, better yet, all the sexy, well-fed Arayan guards have them on while shooting hoops up against the side of a crematorium while it’s billowing black smoke.

President Bush had lunch with Prince Bandar bin Sultan down at the ranch in Crawford, TX and tried unsuccessfully to convince the Saudi ambassador that America must make war on Iraq; the President also telephoned Crown Prince Abdullah and pledged “eternal friendship” with the House of Saud. The Saudi royal family was said to be spending millions on a PR campaign to counteract its poor image in the United States. Some members of the family were thinking of donating War Emblem, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes this year, to the families of September 11 victims.

Hmmm, do you think that the House of Saud might like to take out a full-page ad in Crimewave? I have some ideas for the ad copy. “Before you start bitching about your 3,000 dead, remember, we’ve got the oil that you love.” Or, “Fifteen out of Nineteen September 11 terrorists can’t be wrong. -Saudi Arabia.” Or, “Our disenfranchised male youths may want Jihad, but we just want your money. –The House of Saud.” Or, just a nice and simple campaign entitled, “Shut up and keep driving, America.”

For what it’s worth, I really dislike the House of Saud. As with most things, I don’t base that viewpoint on historically validated empirical data, but on superficial knowledge augmented by my reverent watching of television. I saw one of the Saudi Princes interviewed on “60 Minutes” shortly after September 11. While there with him, the “60 Minutes” crew toured his massive home. His assistant, I recall, was a beautiful Saudi woman with big hair, high heels and a miniskirt. Outside the compound, no doubt, women were covered from head to toe in their burkas, but inside it was apparently OK show some not only some ankle, but some thigh. I hate hypocrisy more than anything and this drove me up a wall.

And I do not think it’s a coincidence that 15 of the 19 terrorists from the Sept 11 attacks were from that country, a country that is run by a bloated royal family that stays in power by paying off the fundamentalist mullahs that control the sentiment on the street. Through them, we are essentially paying for the training of our future terrorists with our oil money. It doesn’t help either that that average male citizen of Saudi Arabia is unemployed, or otherwise emasculated, and oppressed by their leaders, who are seen as being supported by the US.

We’re screwed no matter how you look at it. How do we change that? I don’t know. If I were president, I’d start by putting some real money behind our search for alternatives to fossil fuel though. That’s the single biggest factor behind all of this — our dependence on oil… As for the Saudi idea of giving the families of September 11 victims a horse, I think that’s great too. “Sorry we killed your daddy. Would you like to ride the pretty horsey?” Give me a fucking break.

It was reported that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret federal tribunal used primarily to process wiretap requests, rejected such an application for the first time since it was created in 1978, after approving more than 10,000 requests. The court said that the Justice Department was exceeding its authority under the law and cited more than 75 cases in which the F.B.I. had filed misleading applications.

Wait, they’ve only turned down one request n the past 25 years, but they can cite 75 instances where the FBI filed misleading applications. I wasn’t a math major in college, but that doesn’t add up. Shouldn’t the number of rejected application be greater than or equal to the number of misleading applications?

A California man was arrested for torturing and dissecting his daughter’s guinea pig because he thought it was a robot with a camera in its head sent to spy on him by government agents.

If you don’t think we’ve got electronic guinea pigs that can spy on people, you’re living in a fantasy world… I never really thought they looked real to begin with.

I have to go and work on the new issue of Crimewave now. My blog procrastination (Can I be the first to coin the phrase “blogstination”? How about “blogstipation”(when you can’t come up with anything clever to say in your blog)?) time has come to and end.

Good bye for now.

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