The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Walking in a Winter Wonderland!!!

You know, what I really want right now is for someone to explain to me yet again why global warming is such a bad thing, but before you do, I want my fingers and toes to thaw out so I can enjoy slugging you in the nose and then kicking your guts out on the cold, cold sidewalk. I want to be one with the experience. And while I am on the subject of sidewalks, I would like to point out to all and sundry here in our happy little burg that when you have completed shoveling out your sidewalks, an act mandated by municipal ordinance back in 1946, for those of you interested in such things, it would be useful for you to shovel a small passageway into the street. I do not see the point of shoveling out a sidewalk and then leaving the passersby stranded in the middle of a sea of snow, unless the point is to watch the passersby strand themselves in the middle of a sea of snow and then vent their frustration at having to return to where they started from on the kids, the dog, the postman, or anyone else who comes wandering by at the moment, or watch them wallowing through snowdrifts as tall as a house like Nanook of the North's clumsy little brother trying to get to the next cleared patch of sidewalk. This is a peculiar form of sadism, to be sure, but then most forms of sadism are peculiar to begin with and I suppose that this is a more benign form than enjoying setting fire to household pets or selling life insurance for a living.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

The end of the world, sideways, sort of

As I understand it, the world will come to an end next week.  This bit of not very good news comes to us courtesy of the ancient Maya, whose calendrical wisdom was such that even people pretending to be relatively sane, like Keynesian economists and life insurance salesmen, will bow their heads reverently in profound deference whenever the subject of calendrical eschatology comes up in polite conversation.  The end of the world as we know it carries with it no end of special duties and burdens, like spending more time with your family, comforting those distressed by this somewhat unexpected turn of events, going to church and confessing one’s sins or not going to church and committing fresh sins while you still have time to commit them, and paying your income taxes. No, this is not a joke. I am sure that the IRS will want you to know that, end of the world or not, you will still have to pay your income taxes for the 2012 tax year. Therefore, given the tentative nature of human existence post-December 21st, you should file your Form 4868 for an automatic extension of your filing date as soon as possible. Apocalypses and extinction events are all very well and good, you see, but no one gets out of here alive or without paying what they owe to the government.  There’s just no way that’s going to happen.

Now, I know that the Maya, ancient and otherwise, are a Third World—Native American—First Nations—collective indigenous noun of your choice people, and as such are filled with virtues, insights, and traditional knowledge permanently denied to vile, decadent, and materialist Euro—American schnooks like me, so I know I shouldn’t question the wisdom of the Maya elders when they foretell the end of the Earth in only a few short days, but I have a question and apparently no one has the answer: if the ancient Mayans were so attuned to the ways of the universe that they could predict when the world was going to end several hundred years in the future, how come they couldn’t predict when the Spanish were going to show up and put an end to their world in the 1500’s?  

I mean, really, you and all your people are one with time, the universe, and everything, and you miss something like a large number of illegal immigrants about to show up on your doorstep intent on committing mayhem?  How do you miss a megahumongous load of bad karma like that? This was an apocalyptic event for the Maya--it would be a apocalyptic event for anyone--and no soothsayer worth his salt saw it coming? Was the psychic radar screen in need of adjustment that week? If you ask me, and I know you didn’t but I don’t care, the arrival of the conquistadores was the sort of thing you’d think a very good prophet would have picked up on, especially when the prophet—king—soothsayer did his predicting under the influence of psychedelic drugs while tugging a bit of homemade barbed wire through his genitalia, a feat that hurts just thinking about it. I know I would have predicted all sorts of things if someone were dragging a rope with imbedded stingray spines through my private parts; in fact, I would have predicted anything anyone wanted me to predict in order to get the fish parts out of my parts. The Spanish came intent on kicking ass in a truly gynormous way. And remember, in those days it took months to get from Seville to Mesoamerica.  Months, people, months, months of negative energy and an occasional bout of the dreaded scurvy were building up in Andalusia and then heading out over the Atlantic intent on doing vile and nasty things to the Maya. The entire point of the exercise from day one was to get some ass—the mestizos didn’t come from nowhere, folks—kick other people’s ass, and grab as much gold as they could carry before going home and lording it over the peons for the rest of their lives. This is not something the Maya could have learned by checking the airline passenger manifests for known troublemakers.  And it’s not like the conquistadors booked a weekend trip to Cancun and then decided to stay on for a few extra weeks to take advantage of the duty—free looting, pillaging, and forcible converting to Catholicism deals offered by Iberia Airlines. The Spanish came to the Americas packing large amounts of heat and with loads of malice aforethought on their minds. Something like that didn’t send a major league tsunami through the Maya equivalent of The Force?  Am I really supposed to believe that?

Yes, I am and no, it didn’t; the Spanish showed up the same way my Uncle Max used to, unwanted and unexpected, sort of like the flu, except with a better wardrobe, and none of the Maya knew that the Spanish were coming, or if they did, they did nothing about it. They didn't even put out a sign saying, Welcome to France, in order to confuse the conquistadors. That strikes me as being very odd, no two ways about it, so I hope you’ll please pardon me if I think that the Mayan prediction that the world is going to end next Friday is a load of toads’ gonads. Their track record to date doesn’t seem very reliable, if you’ll pardon me for saying so. I still have my money on a nuclear war with the Iranians or the North Koreans causing the apocalypse. I know that that’s betting the chalk, but I still think that the odds are better.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Post #900, or what am I still doing here?

You may not believe it; I know I didn’t; but this is my 900th post here at The Passing Parade.  I hadn’t planned to do the blogging thing for so long, but I guess I have, and it seems to me that the occasion calls for me to do something special. The problem here, as I see it and maybe you do too, is that I have nothing special to say now.  Not having anything to say is a problem for me, as I am not a politician. Politicians can rattle on for hours without saying anything in particular or even knowing what they are talking about—the career of Mr. Biden serves as a shining exemplar of this great truth—but for me to write about something I actually have to have something to say about it.

Okay, I was going to go on about how I had nothing to write about, but as I write this at 1:30 pm Eastern Standard Time here in the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily bread there is an elderly non-Turkish speaking Puerto Rican gentleman singing Silent Night in Spanish while dancing what appears to be his version of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from Chaikovski’s The Nutcracker right in front of me.  We must have a policy against this sort of thing, but I’ve gone through the staff manual more times than I can remember these past few days and I have not noticed any prohibitions against this particular bit of weirdness.   Actually, the staff manual could use a good updating; there are no prohibitions, for example, against copulating in the stairwells, giving birth in the ladies’ room, or dying in the men’s room, all of which have occurred in the years I’ve been here. I am not sure when we became Apeneck Sweeney’s favorite hangout, but I am sure this is not the sort of thing we ought to be encouraging hereabouts. It frightens the taxpayers and makes them wonder what other sort of nonsense we are wasting their money on.  This still, however, leaves the problem I have right now, although it appears that I won’t have this problem for much longer. Our Nureyev manqué is running out of steam; there seems to be only so much en pointe work a deranged Latino man in his sixties or seventies can do in untied ratty sneakers before gravity and a cannabis induced lack of coordination start to kick in; and I think the time has come to invite him to take his artistry outside, where the cops can tell him to knock it off before he starts scaring the various and sundry passersby, their kids, and the family dog.

It is now later and the interruption is gone. He did not want to go; balletomanes are a contentious lot, especially when they are stoned out of their gourds and ballet is not the only thing they are mane about; but his performance had degenerated from the beauties of classical ballet into something approximating a synthesis of modern dance and Friday night wrestling, and we will not put up with that sort of thing here. He also began to sing O Holy Night at the top of his lungs, which are not in tune and are not likely to be anytime in the near future, which contributed greatly to my decision to ask him to leave.  At this point, I really don’t feel like continuing to write this or anything else; I have a headache.  Frankly, at this point, I am not certain who is stranger: our geriatric premier danseur noble, who is certifiably nuts, or me, for continuing to work in this environment.  There must be something in the water, or maybe I just lack imagination. 

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