Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Killing Time

Sometimes after teaching at Columbia, I'll teach a class in the evening at Second City. My Columbia classes end at 4pm and the SC class starts at 7pm. A three hour break. Sounds great, right? It's really not. It's turned into an exercise in killing time without burning through money.

So, yesterday, I took my time getting my body from Point A to Point B. Waiting for the train at the Roosevelt subway platform, I overheard this from a deep, resonant voice about 20 feet away...

"King... Call me 'King'... 'King.' In a deeper tone...There you go..."


I couldn't see the guy and didn't really want to gawk at "King." Later, in the same soothing dulcet tones, he said, "I'm going to punch you in the mouth and knock out all your teeth."

I'm still not sure if this was foreplay or business.

Pre-Second City, I made it to a coffee shop and sat and slowly sipped a small black coffee while I took another chunk out of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. I have been reading this book in fits and starts for about six months now. It's a great book. Everyone should read it. It should be required reading for politicians, although they might pull the wrong ideas from the material. I read it so inconsistently because it's so darned depressing. Every time I crack it open, there's something that makes my jaw drop to the ground and I end up scraping my chin along the sidewalk for about an hour. I now have a prickly beard made out of scabs and gravel.

Yesterday, I finished the chapter titled The Other Civil War about the class struggles going on in the North and in the South. I was particularly taken with a paragraph about how greedy millionaires were finding ways to profit from the war. One lesson I thought most politicians and businessmen sadly took from WWII is that war is good for business. It's a lesson our current administration knows too well. That's why they are jockeying to make Iraq a perennial cash cow for "American interests." Those "American interests" don't include you and me, by the way. We won't see a dime of it, but we will probably have to give up our social security, welfare and Medicaid to help pay for Bush's war. Turns out that lesson of turning blood into gold goes back much farther than I thought.

Here's the paragraph I read...

White workers of the North were not enthusiastic about a war which seemed to be fought for the black slave, or for the capitalist, for anyone but them. They worked in semislave conditions themselves. They thought the war was profiting the new millionaires. They saw defective guns sold to the army by contractors, sand sold as sugar, rye sold as coffee, shop sweepings made into clothing and blankets, papersoled shoes produced for soldiers at the front, navy ships made of rotting timbers, soldier's uniforms that fell apart in the rain.


No wonder Lincoln was depressed. I'm sure none of that sort of thing happens today. Unless you include things like Hummers lacking armor and soldiers having to rely on their parents to send them adequate bullet-proof vests. That's just the stuff we've heard about.



THE BS NEWS QUIZ OF THE DAY

Yesterday, I asked...

"Tony Vernelli of England had herself sterilized at 27 because she believes babies do what?"


40% said "Suck the life out of you"
- It's true. They do. The little parasites start in the womb and continue through college. Sometimes longer. Right, Dad?

No one picked "Are too expensive" or "Take up too much space"
- Again, both of which are true. The little bastards eat money and just keep growing. If we can have pocket puppies, why can't we have pocket people? Sure would make the birthing process easier.

60% got it right on with "Pollute the environment"

According to the Daily Mail, Toni Vernelli - who works for an environmental charity - had one pregnancy terminated and then had herself sterilized, all to save the planet.

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni. "Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

Again, I think this calls for the "Pocket People" idea. If humans were smaller, we'd consume less. More for everybody!



1 comment:

Paul said...

I've tried no less than four times to get through People's History, and I can usually get up to the Civil War and then I'm done. Same reasons. Just makes me wanna throw the book across the room and move to someplace else, preferably the Moon.

Seriously, I've gotten farther in Gravity's Rainbow than Zinn.