Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Noodling. Grabbling, graveling, hogging, dogging, gurgling, tickling, stumping ... catfisting? If you're wondering what these words have in common, it's not about last Saturday night. Apparently, all of these strange epithets refer to a very dangerous and barely legal fishing practice. You may not be able to marry the person of your choice, but the government had better not try to stop you from noodling a catfish.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
With all the bans on gay marriage in the United States (45 in all, in addition to the federal prohibition) you might be saying to yourself, ‘Gosh, I’m going to be unmarried for a long, long time!’ And you’d be right, except for one thing: Soon, sooner than many of us would have ever dreamed possible, people are going to come together to achieve a common goal: making human life impossible by wrecking the environment.
As we careen toward our own doom, one of the major practices contributing to our destruction is strip mining. Prior to the industrial revolution, there was no reason to mine for coal, which is the principle product extracted in the mining process. But, thank goodness for freedom (or free enterprise, in this case) national laws quickly adapted to the spirit of the times. Despite the calls from some corners that strip mining was a public health hazard and a moral outrage, excavators were soon clearing as much as 12,000 cubic meters of useless untouched wilderness per hour.
Now, I bet you’re wondering the same thing I used to: ‘Is it really that bad? Aren’t many of these mining sites reclaimed after the allegedly essential coal has been ruthlessly extracted?’ The answer is, ‘Of course not, you big silly!’ While federal and state mandates exist that require areas damaged by mining to be ‘reclaimed’, this term has been steeped in bureaucracy, wrapped in a thick layer of local provisions, and deep-fried in the interests of big business. After a mountaintop has been efficiently flattened, it can be ‘reclaimed’ in ways that include the construction of an airport, storage facility, golf course, trailer park, landfill, or penitentiary, just as nature intended. Who would even consider the option of planting quick-growing, non-native grasses when you can have convicts occupy the site instead?
Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘Ok, this sounds almost as bad as gay marriage…but it’s not like people actually die because of strip mining, right?’ Well, ask the family of Jeremy Davidson. You certainly can’t ask him: in 2004 a boulder dislodged in a mining operation rolled hundreds of feet and crashed into the house where the three-year-old was sleeping, crushing him to death. As far as our research indicates, gay marriage never rolled down a mountain and crushed anyone. It also never buried thousands of miles of Appalachian stream, poisoned anyone’s drinking water, or flooded a whole town out of their houses.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
What are buskers? You see them all the time on the metro playing their violin concertos or making life-size balloon animal replicas of the Statue of Liberty. Sometimes you wish you could grab your ukulele and join them, other times you wish they would take their one good tooth and sing in someone else's ear. I am referring, of course, to those shameless abusers: street performers.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Therefore it is your prerogative, if you so choose, to outfit your child with his (or her) very own rifle. You might be saying to yourself, what ten year old could possibly need a firearm? And you are absolutely right... Don't be silly, it's huntin' season! Between now and the first of the year there is plenty of time to bag as many deer, boars, turkeys, and cotton tail rabbits as a child's arms can carry. If you are wondering how a ten year old could have the strength to shoulder a 15 pound musket or blunderbuss, have no fear, Rogue Rifle Co. is a step ahead of you. They have a custom line of specially designed Junior Rifles. Twenty-two inches long and weighing only two and a half pounds, these high-powered weapons have charming names like the Davey Crickett or the Chipmunk. Colorful specimens, they are fun and youthful. Although most states require the young sharp-shooter be ten to twelve years of age, these rifles will fit your six year old perfectly. That is, at least, according to their marketing.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
What more fundamental right to do two people of the same sex have than to be sealed into a padded enclosure so that one can beat the other unconscious? Oh sure, no system is perfect, and people are going to get hurt or even killed, but there’s no denying the precedent. This is how people have been legally allowed to injure each other for thousands of years in every culture on Earth! And even if there wasn’t this longstanding tradition of smashing another person’s face in, it’s not for us to judge when consenting adults engage in behavior, even if that behavior includes obscene public violence in front of impressionable youngsters.
Now, I hear what you’re asking. “Isn’t this terribly dangerous, not just for the two people involved, but for their families who get saddled with caring for the injured and the rest of us, helpless spectators of a grotesque blood sport?” The answer is easy: This is what nature intended! To have us resolve our differences, real or imagined, through codified aggression in front of thousands of fans.
Of course, there have to be limits! I’m personally very uncomfortable with the laws in Missouri and Massachusetts that permit kids as young as six to engage in no-holds-barred, child-to-child combat. This doesn’t sit well with me, but I have to respect the fact that child cage-fighting law is primarily a states-rights issue. But I think we can all agree on some restrictions: it just doesn’t seem right to let a man fight a woman, or to let a woman fight a dog! That’s just unnatural, and it hurts more than the two participants; it hurts society.
Of course, this looks like it hurts quite a bit too:
Friday, November 13, 2009
That's right: Gay marriage may not be legal, but contaminated food sure is!