Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Playing at War

Note: wrote this as a part of that essay contest... I don't think I did all that well on it, as there was a character limit (ruins most good essays) and I ended up having to butcher an important paragraph... would it kill them to make the limit 1 page?

PLAYING AT WAR

“Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving.” – John Dewey.

People with Responsibility for Consequences – PRC. That is our title. That is our motive. We exist now only as a minority.
It makes no sense that we should be dying out, because it’s not hard to become a responsible person – the only thing one really has to do to join is stop hiding behind the outward-facing finger known as “Accusation”. Accusationists are enemies of responsible people, and there’s a constant, brutal war going on between the two factions. This war involves use of one of the deadliest weapons in history, a weapon that holds infinite power.
That weapon is the mind. The function of the mind in this war is very simple: the PRC use the mind; the Accusationists don’t. Unfortunately, Accusationists make up for their lack of brain power with sheer numbers and the religion called Selfish Irresponsibility. Irresponsibility is a very tempting religion, converting millions each year to its mad egotistical zealotry.
The downfall of responsibility followed a tragic incident called the Columbine Massacre. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, avid gamers swayed by Irresponsibility, stepped out into public without their minds. Thirteen innocents were killed because these deranged boys had access to machine guns and were too stupid to use common sense to distinguish reality from gaming.
Aware that the boys were not using their brains, the mass media decided to use the boys’ brains for them to deliver a tactical blow to the PRC. Irresponsible people everywhere emerged and purged responsibility from the situation. The accusation finger was pulled out, with the help of the mass media, and laid in front of the boys, pointing outward toward video gaming. It became clear to the blind neutral public that the two boys obviously would not be able to take responsibility for their violent actions. After all, they were only young, and it was politically incorrect to imply that they were irresponsible, insane idiots who were completely out of line.
It came to be that games began to take blame for individual people’s idiocy. It was the fall of personal responsibility, a brilliant move by the Accusationists to eradicate responsibility for good. The PRC was split and eventually disintegrated to its current state today; there are only handfuls of organized PRC resistance left to combat the Accusationist genocidal machine.
Video games were once a simple activity. They still are – even the violent ones. Now, thanks to the damage caused by the unwillingness of common people to be responsible citizens, games are “promoting violence”. The moment the neutral public makes this accusation, they remove all identity from people who made conscious, stupid choices to make virtual violence a bloody reality. The PRC has one message left in its arsenal in response to this:
Stop making video games a scapegoat and take responsibility for your own actions.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Writing Prompt for the Week

That was the year I thought about forgoing the whole Thanksgiving day holiday.....


OR



The one time Thanksgiving truly came together for me was the time that...........

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SMITTY'S

We leave Austin; four of us tinned into a soup can of a rental car, motoring our taste buds toward heaven 30 miles south. Granted we just stuffed ourselves with a truly massive Mexican breakfast, but it is the Sabbath and, therefore, our destination closes at 3:00. We are seeking that holy of holies. Barbeque. Not just barbeque. Texas dry rub barbeque. And not just any Texas dry rub barbeque but the best of the best.

Considered by most to be the wellspring of the art, Lockhart looks like a set piece for a movie about small town life in the 50’s. Everything wraps around a town square which is filled with a western gothic county courthouse. Dress shops, cafes, western wear, hardware store, all locked up tight while owners enjoy salvation and chicken dinners. A quick left turn and we have arrived at the gates of our smoky Xanadu.

Like any true BBQ joint, Smitty’s is really a meat market that has grudgingly installed some picnic tables in an unused room. A two story brick building, the fa├žade does little to herald the savory temptations within; above the porched-over sidewalk a simple, red & white plywood sign dangles from a rusting iron pole stating simply: SMITTY’S barbeque-hot sausages-fresh choice meats.

Once through the front doors the interior provides little guidance to the novice. The rooms are cavernous, their high ceilings lost in the inky darkness of economic lighting and a century of hickory smoke. It is a warren of doors and stairs and hallways leaving us to adhere to the old BBQ adage of “just follow your nose”. Deeper into the belly of the beast and, once away from the front windows, the ambient lighting diminishes even more. Wandering through the makeshift dining room we push open a set of double swinging doors and find ourselves in the sanctum sanctorum, confronted with two lines of shuffling pilgrims moving, inexorably toward the central butcher-block alter.

Divide and conquer. I take my place at the butt end of the line while the others head back into the dining room to choose our “sides”. I find myself one room away from my destination with time to cast an eye around me. The walls harbor long brick boxes, maybe 40 inches high and 20 feet long, with heavy, hinged iron covers flat upon the top. At both ends (and at times uncomfortably close to the line I’m in…) is a very large, very hot bed of coals sending heat and smoke up into the brickwork. Periodically someone in a smoke streaked apron would come by, toss on another large chunk of seasoned hickory in a flurry of sparks and smoke and then, lifting each of the iron lids in turn, poke and prod truly gigantic slabs of meat as they slow cooked in their own succulent juices.

The line breaks as we approach the searing fires; each waiting until space is clear beyond the hotbox but each of us driven now, mesmerized by the redolent splendor. As I draw closer to the source of all that is good I have time to peruse the bare-bones menu board. Everything is sold by the pound (this is, you will recall, a meat market…) Brisket, Fat Pork, Ribs, Bacon or Sausages. Thems your choices.

Finally I arrive at the head of the line; a humble supplicant before the high priestess at the scales. She intones those timeless words, “How ya’ll doin’ today?” and I’m off and running. I want, of course, piles of everything but logic and a recent breakfast prevail and I settle on two pounds of brisket and a pound of pork ribs. She calls my order over her shoulder and an army of drones delve into the finishing smokers that line the room and deftly cleave off my order working glinting knives on a gargantuan chopping block. Using a pair of stainless steel lifters she sweeps up my meatie bits and deposits them on the scale. She feeds the information to the cashier standing next to her (“How ya’ll doin’ today?”) and, as I fork over my money (cash only, no checks or plastic thank you) she quickly wraps all my food in a two foot portion of what must surely be and endless roll of brown butcher paper, and is already focused on the next eager soul.

We take our smoky delights and our sides, stopping briefly at the market for a six-pack of Lone Star, and we hunker down at a picnic table in the city park and make gluttonous fools of ourselves.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

UKIAH spelled backwards

A HAIKU from Joe

Envy the tortoise,
Lonesome creature of deserts,
Peaceful existence.