Tuesday, September 20, 2011


During the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks the number of deaths (2,995) caused by the terrorist attacks was brought up.   That's not the total number of deaths.
Dick Cheney--if ever there was a more appropriately named human being--engineered the invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks, and has cost us thousands more American lives.  The lies propagated by the Bush Administration have now cost us more lives than the 9-11 attacks.
All of those brave American men and women died needlessly, and we have de-stabilized the Middle East.  The internal revolutions in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere ARE NOT the result of our Iraqi misadventure.  Meanwhile, the money and manpower we pissed away in the Triangle of Death could have been used in Afghanistan, where the Taliban sheltered & supported Osama Bin Laughin' at How Dumb We Are.
Now the Dick has released his autobiography, and has even turned on his former boss. Wow, what balls.
Right now, the economy sucks (a direct consequence of untold $ Billions wasted in Iraq), and all they talk about on the TV, radio, and internet is how Obama isn't going to get re-elected if he doesn't get the economy moving.  When it turned out that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, and that we invaded Iraq for no good reason, Bush should have lost the 2004 election in an ugly landslide.  The parents, husbands, wives, and children of Iraq war dead should have been at the front of the pitchfork and torch carrying mob that would have voted the Bush Administration out. The people of this country have shitty priorities.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I have an idiot dog. She’s a cutie pie. I love her. Her name is Gina Bina, and I refer to her as The World’s Most Dangerous Basset Hound. Little do the subscribers to various birding email lists realize that I’m serious when I call her that. When I take her with me to chase a bird—like when that Purple Gallinule showed up in Whittier—I warn people, “Do NOT try to pet her!”

I have a neurotic dog.

She is afraid of people. She is afraid of dogs. She hates cats, and the mail man. There is only one dog in the world that Gina Bina is not afraid of: a small, old, blond, short-legged, wiry mixed terrier of some sort named Simba. Simba and Gina greet each other by smeling each others’ crotch, as dogs arewont to do. Simba’s owner is a small, old, blond, wiry lady named Kate. Kate was in the navy in World War II, so she’s kind up there in years. No matter what the weather, Kate wears a trench coat. No, she’s not naked beneath that trench coat—or at least if she is, I don’t want to know about it.

Gina neither hates nor loves rabbits. She just stares at them with a look on her face that says, “What the hell is that?”

So much for the fact that Bassets are French hunting dogs.

I try to take Gina out for a 1 mile walk at east once a day; sometimes twice, if things work out. During the course of these walks, I carry a gigantic can of pepper spray with me, because the idiot gang members in Pomona are into Pit Bulls, and upon occasion I have run into off-the-leash i.e. escaped Pit Bulls on the prowl. One rainy winter night we ran into a Doberman. After the incident up in Humboldt where a degenerate hippie let his off-leash Boxer attack Gina (his small children were on the birding trail, as were mine, so I didn’t want a bunch of kids to get pepper-sprayed, and I held off until it was too late. Gina now has a tooth-shaped scar on her forehead.) I have sworn that it will never happen, again. As soon as I see a Pit Bull or any other menacing dow, POW, I’m gonna spray that dog in the face.

So of course, last night I took Gina out for a walk, and since it’s finally September, the sun is going down much earlier, and I can’t see any potential attackers until they’re up on top of us. For this reason, when I am walking on the dark stretches of San Jose or Oak Park Drive I have the can of pepper spray in my hand, safety off, pointed forward.

Things were looking good, and we got back to Indian Hill Boulvard. Great. We’re in the home stretch. I clicked off the pepper spray, and slipped it into my pocket. I don’t want a cop driving down Indian Hill Boulevard to shoot me for having a “dangerous weapon” in my hand, despite the fact that pepper spray is perfectly legal to own and carry. Cops in California have the amusing habit of shooting people with dangerous weapons in their hands such as screw drivers, hammers, a garden hose head, or a brick. And they empty the entire clip into you. Just because I’m part Swiss (that explains the blond hair: Hungarians don’t have blond hair), doesn’t mean I want to turn into a Swiss cheese.

So of course, that’s when the black guy with the Pit Bull showed up.

Okay, here’s the problem: He wasn’t a black guy, he was a kid. Bear in mind, it was dark, and he suddenly appeared under the street light. What I first saw was a short black guy with a Pit Bull, and the Pit Bull started lunging at my dog, and the idiot gang member didn’t do anything to keep his idiot Pit Bull from reaching my scared Basset Hound.

That was my initial assesment of the situation, but within seconds as we got closer to each other, and he was now fully under the street light, I could see that he was just a kid, pretty young—maybe 11 or 12 years old, and he was no gang member. But, the idiot kid was still letting his Pit Bull approach my poor, wimpy Basset Hound.

But by now I’m in full “Get your fucking dog Pit Bull away from my dog” survival mode, and we are in the middle of the crosswalk in the middle of Indian Hill Boulevard, and the light is about to turn green for all the cars on Indian Hill Boulevard, and everything is happening way too quickly.

A few more seconds ticked by, and only then did I realize that the Pit Bull was a floppy-eared puppy,and it wanted to go sniff my dumb dog, because he/she was being a puppy (“Hi! I’m a puppy! I love you!”), but now Gina is freaking out, because she knows that something is wrong i.e. her doggy ESP has picked up on the fact that her human is scared.

Now I’m in this awkward situation where I actually want to explain myself to this kid, and apologize for being a fat, white, bald bourgoise suburban asshole.

By now the light has turned green, and some dumbass in a huge 1970s American car is barreling down the street at me and the dog in the dark, and I can tell that this idiot is probably on the cell phone, and not paying attention (people drive way the hell too fast on Indian Hill Blvd, way over the legal speed limit)—and why should he pay attention—when the light is green and nobody would be stupid enough to stand in traffic in the dark of Indian Hill Boulevard, any way.

I had to stop, and go backwards to keep the moron from hitting us. Far too late, he screeched to a semi-halt, and then—incredibly—sped up again, instead of letting me reach the sidewalk in safety.

At this point the black kid and his puppy had disappeared into the darkness.

Here’s the thing: that black kid could have been my son.

When I broke up with my first wife I had a torrid affair with a friend in graduate school, who was breaking up with her boyfriend. She was an immigrant from a former British colony, and she spoke with an accent. I know she was in “I need to marry an eligible guy and have a kid before it’s too late” mode (there are a lot of 30 to 40 year old women out there like that) and I truly don’t think race was an issue in our relationship. Because she, too, was an immigrant, we shared the same perspective on a lot of topics; so despite the fact that she was black and I was white, we had more in common than I would have with a lot of American white chicks. I think our relationship was serious and genuine (and a lot of fun) but it was the post-breakup relationship for both of us, and she got cold feet. Then, of course, she did what other women have done to me: realize one to two years later that they should have kept me, and show up unannounced. P waited a good solid two years, so imagine her surprise when I told her that I needed to hang up now, as I was carpooling home with my wife.

Oh, well.

To me, a bigger issue than race in what happened last night is social class. His parents came home from work, and told him to go take the dog for a walk. Or maybe he wanted to get out of the house with his puppy. Either way, some grown-up let a teenage black kid (he was a boy, but you can’t say “black boy” without someone jumping at the opportunity to accuse you of being a cracker) decided that it was okay to let him walk around in the dark with a Pit Bull. I think that’s some bad parenting.

Somebody out there is going to jump up and shout, “See! That’s what’s wrong with America: a Back Man can’t walk his choice of dog without getting profiled!” Well, fine, but this was a kid, not a grown-up. I feel confident in claiming that most of my Black friends willagree with me.

Black? African American?  Well, I use the word "Black" for short-hand because when I was growing up, that was the polite term that African Americans found acceptable.  "African American" actually makes more sense, because Black People come in such a ridiculous cross-section of skin color and physiogonomy that I have seen way too many "Black" People whose skin is literally the same color as mine, but their faces have an African (anthropologistsuse the term "Africanoid") structure or features.

I think the best thing for America would be if all of the "White" Americans came to grips with the fact that well over 90% (personally I suspect that it is truly 100%) of African Americans are part white; specifically English, Irish, Scottish, French, or Dutch: the nationalities of the colonists and ailors who bought, shipped, and used African slaves. I have met Filipinos and Mexicans in America with Hungarian last names that they brought to America, but I have never met an African American named Kovacs, Nagy, Toth, or Balogh.
The point is that so many different factors went into play when that kid randomly crossed the same street that I did, that you can’t just pigeonhole his or my actions into neat little categories. Life is neither ‘black and white,’ nor ‘black or white’.