Years ago while driving somewhere, I saw a bumper sticker that proclaimed ‘Rugby players eat their dead’. While I thought this was a bit of extreme enthusiasm on the part of some fan of the game, later I learned in my travels that cannibalism was often associated with victory in battle. In many South Pacific island cultures the eating of an enemy’s gonads or brain was thought to imbue the victor with the loser's strength and courage.
Fast forward to the recent episode in France where an Islamic teenage terrorist shot men, women, and children of the Jewish persuasion as ‘revenge’ for the poor slaughtered Palestinian children in the struggle between Israel, Palestine, Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas, et al. This horror show was started by an uneducated nobody who had never been involved in the conflict and had nothing lost of a personal nature. He did get some training in Afghanistan and was a self-proclaimed member of Al Qaeda. No imam told him to do it; he learned it all over the internet.
What a sad sociopath. Even the Palestinians were disgusted by his bad behavior.
Last week, I read that the buzz in movie entertainment is about a new Scifi flick titled, The Hunger Games. I imagined a bleak future in which gladiatorial contests were conducted and the winner got to eat his/her fallen opponent. I went on red alert because there is one thing I know for sure about the immediate future: Many people are going to die from malnutrition and the lack of potable water. Wars of attrition are going to spring up everywhere. It is a no-brainer; we have a seven-billion human population competing for rapidly diminishing natural resources. Many very savvy sources put the optimum sustainable global population of human beings at between eight hundred thousand and one billion. By sustainable, I mean not only physical existence, but the ability to continue the march of our civilization to the stars.
It will be a miracle if we don’t start hurling nukes at one another and eliminate all life forms on the planet higher than insects. The New York Times the other day ran an article about a new alarmist paper from the respected Brookings Institute that suggests ‘The good times are never coming back’.
With this backdrop, consider that the Obama Administration just quietly enacted by Presidential decree, draconian powers for the government to confiscate property and regulate the lives of ordinary citizens in extraordinary times. I’m pretty sure that this was a response to the growing ‘Occupy Wall Street—free handouts for everyone---tax the rich’ movement.
Now, slip-slide away over to Afghanistan. Ordinary citizens are ‘outraged’ by the bad behavior of a single US soldier who lost it mentally from years of continuous combat assignments in countries that cling to the archaic belief of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’. Somehow he is vilified, for going berserk and killing some villagers and their children, by sanctimonious citizens that think it is okay to kidnap and mutilate Western do-gooders who seek to help them achieve a better life. These folks die for bringing the natives modern medicine and education. The same locals think it is a good thing to support other citizens that foil every attempt to free them (especially their women who are still being imprisoned for getting raped), by planting IED devices on well-traveled roads. Of course, killing charity workers now occurs almost everywhere they go, such as Somalia, the Congo, and elsewhere including Asia, Eastern Europe, and the backward countries of the Americas.
The problem as I see it, is that our kids are going to become numb to this kind of outrage and doing it themselves in retaliation is no longer beyond the pale for them. Life becomes cheap and meaningless. Thus, the long advance of Western civilization gets flushed down the crapper in the process, and rape and pillage, and yes, cannibalism become expected by-products of conflict. Everyone starts behaving as though they are Islamic extremists, and will conveniently forget the horrors of our own history such as the attempted extermination of the Jews in Europe and the Catholic Inquisition. Mad Max & Thunderdome then become a world-wide reality.
The more things change, the more they stay the same; but this time, it may be in a world where we have run out of second chances to clean up our act as a species.
Okay, I'm posting again in spite of my vow to lay off for a while. But, I have some time on my hands right now, so here is the straight skinny regarding the cigarette habit, and how to get rid of it for good (at least in my case).
First of all, ask yourself why you are doing it.
I started when I was 14 years old because my dad did it, and there was a bit of hero worship going on there. When I was about 12 years old, he caught me pilfering individual cigarettes from his pack of 'Lucky Strike' smokes, and lighting up in the garage. He made me smoke several in a row; a sort of aversive conditioning designed to make me green around the gills and very sick. It might have worked, except for the fact that this guy burst onto the movie scene a few years later: Now, I know I was confused; smoking didn't make me more handsome, but I thought doing it would make me just as cool with the ladies. Just bullshitting myself, but what the hell; I was young. My Dad quit smoking when he turned 30. He just up and quit cold turkey; substituting a stick of gum when he got the urge to smoke. His older brother continued to smoke big fat cigars until the day he died from a lung condition.
As for me, over the years, I have 'tried' to quit on various occasions for various reasons, failing miserably each time. The reason was that I was bullshitting myself about quitting. For example, I tried tapering off gradually, getting down to only three ciggies a day. But guess what? I was simply maintaining my habit at a very low level, and it always came back to bite me in the butt until I was back to a pack a day. I even tried switching to cigars and smoking a pipe. No luck there either.
I can now say that I have thoroughly quit smoking tobacco in any form. I quit last year and it was very hard, as I have been smoking for some 55 years.
I did it by quitting cold turkey just like my Dad did. For the first week I took Chantix pills. They do cut down the urge to smoke! It turns out that the addiction to tobacco is as great or greater than being a Heroin addict. It takes at least 72 hours of non-smoking to get rid of the physical addiction, and maybe a lifetime to get rid of the urge to smoke. I don't know. I DO know that the really intense urges are becoming infrequent, and I can deal with them by shifting my mental focus to something else. In a few minutes the urge goes away.
As I now have a fairly chronic case of Emphysema, I merely have to imagine my lungs rotting away and my wife crying over my coffin.
I am still amazed how my father made it look easy to quit. But then, he was an amazing man. He was an occasional wilderness guide for a few Hollywood actors and he was friends with Robert Redford. I think he consulted with him on the making of the movie about Mountain Men,'Jeremiah Johnson'. Yesterday, I was looking through one of the old photo albums I inherited of my childhood , and found a photo of one of the actors that I suspect had the hots for my mother(if not for her looks, for her cooking. She was without a doubt the best camp cook I have ever known). Here is his photo:
Although I told you in the last post that I might take a break from blogging, I simply HAD to tell you about what happened last night.
Once again, a one hundred mile per hour wind came screaming down the canyon behind my home and blew down the wooden fence in my back yard. These devilish winds are very infrequent, but when they happen, you’d gladly trade one for a Category One Tornado. I have repaired and replaced that stinking fence more times that I care to remember, and this time I went berserk and hired some professionals to come and fix it next week. We have to wait until then because a major snowstorm is blowing in as I write. It will give the skiers another three feet of Utah powder snow to play in.
With the protective fence down, I hope one of the critters on the mountain does not come into the yard to feast on my remaining cats. I am waiting with my air rifle and a half-consumed bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey just in case. AN AIR RIFLE???, you scoff. That’s right. Bears and Cougars beware!
In my novel, “Secret of the Immortals”, an air rifle (not a BB gun) plays a pivotal role in the story. I won’t tell you more, you’ll have to buy the book and see for yourself. Although my book is a work of science fiction, the air rifle is actually a very old technology, and without it, the course of American history night have been very different. If you think I am kidding, check this out:
I plan on using mine to incentivize the workmen to work as fast and as hard as they can on my fence, as I am paying them by the hour and many don’t speak English.
In My novel ‘Secret of the Immortals’, written in the year 2000, a unique home-built aircraft with adaptive camouflage played a big role in the story. Now, Mercedes Benz (my favorite car company—I own a very fast SLK) has ripped me off and used the technology on one of their vehicles. Check this out:
I am considering sending my giant and very tattooed Samoan bodyguard (he has a lot of issues) over to Germany to hand-deliver a threatening letter from my attorney to the President of Mercedes that whines about ‘Prior Art’. Unless he agrees to upgrade my SLK free of charge, He'll get more intimidating visits from Fusuaga. After that, WHOOPEE! No more ditching the cops at high speed, doing four-wheel drifts like Steve McQueen in a formula one. I’ll just zoom along the highway barely under the sound barrier undetected by anything but a cop standing there with a radar gun (he’ll only be there for a moment—the wind blast and shock wave will hurl him far into the field or trees next to the road).