Steel City Cowboy

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Isn't Coming

My wife and I were both noticing how in years past, we were always annoyed by the early display of Christmas items. This year, though, we've both experienced the same thing: we've wanted Christmas decorations and music for a couple of weeks now! It felt like things were running late, and that we should already be seeing Christmas stuff everywhere.

We finally realized why we feel this way: Christmas isn't coming. It's already here. It got here on November 5. Everyone who doesn't have a manger scenes up yet is late late late.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Papers Please

Even since I was a kid, I've enjoyed taking tests. Seriously. I can still conjure the feeling I'd get when the teacher would drop a math test on my desk in grade school -- a tingle up the spine, a wonderful prickle on the back of my neck, and then the answers just pouring down my arms to my fingers and out the pencil. Where did this fetishization of testing come from? Who knows. But the simple fact is that I crave evaluation.

And that is why I don't understand all of the complaints from people on the crazy right wing who were upset when "Joe the Plumber" (remember him?) was investigated by government officials who in turn handed over their findings to journalists. There was some pretty bad stuff about Joe in there. And, it seems, some irregularities in his paperwork. It doesn't matter that the searches were against regulations and sometimes the law. Remember -- purity of thought and intent trumps the trivialities of action.

Every right winger I know fumes when some street thug gets out on a technicality. Maybe some cop didn't follow the letter of the law for evidence handling or booking. The righties are perfectly happy to ignore those lapses of procedure in order to catch the bad guy. But something like this... nope. We have to follow the letter of the law, even though someone like Joe who clearly is guilty of worse things (tax lien, plumbing without a license anyone?) is walking around scott free. Regardless of the circumstances of how it came to be, Joe failed the test.

And really, isn't that the kind of world we all want to live in? One where we know that any aspect of our life could be up for official evaluation at the drop of a hat? I know it gives me that spine-tingly feeling I used to get. If Joe had been striving for purity of thought, instead of greedily pursuing the limelight and the almighty dollar, he would have paid attention to "little things" like licensing and staying current on his patriotic duty -- taxes.

That great phrase "Papers Please" (I can't remember who first said it) really sums it up for me. It's an invitation to prove your loyalty, your competence, and your ability to follow instructions. I look forward to hearing it a lot in the coming eight years!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Overheard

I got in an argument at work the other day with one of our crazy conservatives (I'm surrounded by them! Help!):

CC: "We need to let GM fail."

SSC: "Are you crazy? This is a great opportunity for some badly-needed top down control in that industry. Do you want all those people to lose their jobs?"

CC: "The problem is that right now, the presence of a company like GM is actually preventing another, better company from taking it's place."

SSC: "If that 'other company' is so great, why hasn't it already taken over?"

CC: "You mean like Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan have?"

SSC: "They're foreign companies!" (He obviously doesn't get it.)

CC: "Look. By bailing out a company that's been utterly out-competed, you're stopping the next great American car company from finding it's market."

SSC: "We'll just wait and see what Mr. Obama thinks about this."

Which pretty much settled it. He closed his eyes for a minute, kind of rubbed the back of his neck and just walked away. I guess things like "logic" are too much for him. I'm pretty sure he was about to launch into some kind of assassination rant, so I didn't bother to follow up. I think I'll start carrying around a little recording device, though, in case someone really blows up and says something they shouldn't. I know that Pennsylvania has a two-party notification law for recording people, but I'm sure Mr. Obama would give people a pass on State law for national security reasons.

Friday, November 14, 2008

History Doesn't Matter Now

The Bible says that if we believe in the redeeming power of Jesus the Christ, our sins will be "lost in the sea of forgetfulness. Separated as far from us as the East from the West." And, while that may or may not be true, the lesson certainly holds for the current state of America. When you are set free by an incredible act of absolution, repentance and the demonstration of wisdom, a new era begins. As we have learned from history, when the fundamental rules of the universe change you cannot allow yourself to be constrained by old ideas and judgments.

And so it is, now that Mr. Obama has been chosen to rule the free world. Perhaps Mr. Fukiyama should write a new essay called "The Beginning of History," because that is truly where we stand. Things are different in a basic way from what they were just two weeks ago, and that gives us an enormous amount of freedom. It also lets us answer the haters who would seek to burden us with "lessons" of times that are no longer relevant. I'll throw up just a few for examples:

Criticism: Those "Yes We Can" posters look like communist propaganda, and the fact that they appeal to a certain type of cult-of-personality worshiper freaks me out. I'm buying guns.
Response: See, you're looking at this from the perspective of history, which is now invalid. It doesn't really matter if a graphic style has a particular appeal to a group of people who might share a common wiring scheme upstairs, and that historically those people tend to migrate toward a certain type of leader. It looks great! Very cool. End of story.

Criticism: Socialism is a major draw on economies. A robust one might tolerate a certain amount of socialist silliness, but if it gets out of hand it can set off a nearly-unstoppable chain reaction slide into mass dependence on government services, a failing private sector and the eventual flight of anyone capable of actually producing wealth.
Response: Once again, you're looking to history for your arguments, and that just doesn't play anymore. The rules have changed. Never before have the ideas and proposals at issue had such a perfect champion as we now have in Mr. Obama. Never before have the resources of such a nation as ours stood ready to answer the call of that champion.

Criticism: I'd like to believe that Obama will govern as a moderate, but the fact that almost all of his previous associations, friendships and education have been of the radical and Marxist variety (including a now admitted "family friendship" between the Obamas and the Ayers/Dohrn crew) really makes me wonder if we've been fooled.
Response: That's all in the past. It's history. This is a new day. All that matters is what Mr. Obama said during his campaign. His word is his bond. Or, should I say, his latest word is his bond. There were a number of times during his brilliant campaign when he was forced by circumstances beyond his control to recalibrate his statements. One conservative blogger was fond of saying "Every statement from Barack Obama comes with an expiration date. Every. One." Well, duh. You can't expect someone like Mr. Obama to remain beholden to history for the sake of merely avoiding the press playing "gotcha" with him on every word that comes out of his mouth when he has a revolution to run.

Remember folks -- when you're looking as far forward as we are, there is no way the past will ever catch up with you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Problems

From the AP:
Seven in 10, or 72 percent, voice confidence the president-elect will make the changes needed to revive the stalling economy, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Tuesday.

The problem? That remaining 28 percent. Also, the AP for reporting these kinds of really depressing statistics. What if people see that faithless 28 percent and start thinking that it's okay not to believe? Isn't there a better way that the AP could have worded their questions or weighted their samples so that it didn't look like only 72 percent of Americans are on board?

No wonder those bastards at the AP losing subscribers like crazy.

That 28 percent will come around. They have to. Once everything's fixed up, how long will they be able to persist in their delusions? I figure that a normal economic recovery without government intervention would stretch out for about four or five years. Worst case scenario, with Mr. Obama running the show, along with his Harvard degree (waaaay better than Penn) and excellent advisors, he'll have us fixed up again in what? A year? Is that crazy? I don't think so.

The Magic is Working

Some people say that by the time November 4 rolled around, the stock market had already "priced in" a win by Mr. Obama. Obviously not. Without even taking office yet, it seems that Mr. Obama has been able to push stocks, once the purview of the rich, into a territory where mere mortals can afford them. Awesome! I'm hoping that he can keep working that same magic so that someday even the very poor will be able to buy stocks, too. They'll need assistance when it comes to financial planning and picking those stocks, but I'm sure we can make a new cabinet-level position for that sort of thing.

Friday, November 07, 2008

We Know Who Really Got a Puppy

"Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much. You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."

First of all, I've just come up with a new way to highlight anything that Mr. Obama says. His words (and words are the signature of the soul, no?) are so important, that it would be cool if someone could tell at a glance when looking at a page if Mr. Obama has been quoted there. You know, to assign an instant visual importance to the page itself, as well as to draw attention to the quote. I chose red. I don't think anyone's used that device before, and I find that a little surprising. It seems to be very useful. From here on out, you can be assured that anything quoted directly from Mr. Obama will be RED LETTER, whereas everything else will be in good old er... I'm not going to say that. Let's just say good old traditional print. And by the way, the words "RED LETTER" in the previous sentence aren't a quote from Mr. Obama. Fooled you! Ha. Don't worry -- I won't do that again. From now on, red lettering is reserved for one person and one person only.

Okay, with that important bit of administration out of the way, let's move on to the real thing:

"Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much. You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."

Sasha and Malia are getting a puppy.

But you know what?

We're all getting that puppy. Every one of us. Close your eyes, think about Mr. Obama and the great morality and goodness he will bring to our government, and you will feel that puppy, sitting in your lap. I swear it. It's there right now, for each and every one of us. Even for bad people like Mr. Putin and Mr. Ahmadinejad. They've gotten a puppy, too, and I hope they know it.

So to the haters who mock Mr. Obama by saying things like "Ooooo -- now we're all getting ponies"? We've just gotten a freaking for-real puppy. Not so smart now, are you?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Already?! Geez.

Okay folks. I thought it would take longer than this, but it's already starting to happen. The election hasn't been over for two whole days and already supporters of Mr. Obama are showing their weakness. Scratch that -- they're not mere supporters, they actually cared enough to go out and canvas for him (btw, that's something I wish I had done now)! So, they were like super-supporters. Well, they were until they started this crap. Now I guess we'll have to call them "former supporters."

Anyway, they're whining about not getting paid for the work they did. And that the line for getting paid is too long and is moving too slowly.

Here are some quotes from the linked article (hit the post title for the link):
"Still that's not right. I'm disappointed. I'm glad for the president, but I'm disappointed in this system," said Diane Jefferson, temporary campaign worker.
Personally, I think the reporter should have called her "temporary hero," but we can deal with that sort of lack of enthusiasm later.

Anyway, another:

"They gave us $10 an hour. So we added it. I added up all the hours so it was supposed to be at least $120. All I get is $90," said Charles Martin.

"I worked nine hours a day for 4 days and got paid half of what I should have earned," said Randall Waldon.
Come on, people.

Come. On.

You all need to examine the way you're thinking about this, and about the tiny little bit of negativity this casts on Mr. Obama. Unacceptable. Get with the program.

Since you don't seem to be the swiftest (and I would never say that about anyone with the proper purity of vision and thought), let me lay it out for you:

Your attempts to use things like "math" and to disguise your critique of Mr. Obama as just being "disappointed in the system" are nothing more than distractions from the real problem, which is that you should probably undergo some kind of licensed, professional evaluation. Look, if Mr. Obama says that you earned a certain amount of money, that's just the way it is. Be happy about it.

And think about this: you got to help Mr. Obama win! That's something I can't be happy about this time, because I didn't help. But I will next time. And then we can be happy together, which is the most important thing, no?

A New Direction For a New Day

You know, I think I've been saved from myself.

Watching all of the supporters of Mr. Obama party and be happy this past Tuesday night has convinced me: I was wrong. And actually, I wasn't just wrong. I was colossally wrong. How could I have thought that people like myself and others I know could make better decisions for themselves than a blue-ribbon panel of government appointed experts? How could I have thought that my own meager contributions to charity were worth anything beside the awesome power of my money once donated along with that of millions of others for the Federal government to enhance, study and make use of where it's really needed?

Happy cheering crowds consisting of millions of people cannot be wrong, and I can't believe that I used to think otherwise.

So it's a new direction for a new day.

In a flash, a great number of truths have been made clear to me. I've learned some great new stuff, some really revelatory lessons, and I'm going to be sharing them over the next few weeks. Things like:

- History doesn't matter anymore;
- "Papers Please" should make you feel good;
- The low-stress life;
- Making new friends is easy now;
- How to feel good;

And most importantly:

- Pure thoughts are more important than actions.

Until then, I hope you like the new look and title of the site! Due to restrictions with my service provider, I can't change the actual address, but I'm sure you understand. Don't worry, though -- I'll be bringing a civil rights suit against them for even allowing me to use a domain name with the word "cowboy" (i.e. "vigilante oppressor") in it to begin with. If I win, I'll be applying for a Federal grant to help guide me through the process of transitioning the old domain name to the new one. See, before I would have to fight my own battles and try to figure this kind of thing out for myself. Holy crap, I'm so glad those days are over.

If you want to see what the old site looked like, well, I have to admit that my thoughts haven't quite yet reached a proper level of justice, fairness and purity. The old design can be found by clicking the link to the right called "Toggle My Shameful Past." Once I've purged all of the old thoughts, I can remove the old design, but until then, I will keep it as both a testament to my horrible past and as a spur toward future growth!

So, enjoy the brand new Steel City Comrade!

(And btw, Mr. Obama -- pleased forgive me for the crack I made the other day about unicorns and such. Honestly, I'll be happy to take whatever you want to give me. I'm a new man now. I promise!)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Presidential Election 2008

I shall expect my gasoline-pissing unicorn posthaste. And my flying car. And my sexy robot maid.