Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Everything Old Is New Again

I was in a convenience store today, and got to thinking about something ironic. See, I'm old enough to remember when neighborhoods had corner grocery stores. They were usually small stores with a few aisles and I vaguely remember a shopkeeper giving me some of the sugar circus peanuts to munch because I was a little kid. And later, when we lived in a rural area, we had a general store that carried both groceries and gasoline.

It wasn't long and those kinds of stores were gone, replaced by giant grocery chains like Safeway and King Soopers. Back then the only "convenience store" that I remember was 7-11. My dad worked in one for a time when I was little. Back then, they only stayed open from 7 am to 11 pm (hence the name).

So I'm standing in the store today, and it suddenly occurred to me we had gone from neighborhood stores, general stores, to supermarkets and back to convenience stores, which are basically neighborhood general stores. Ironic.

That would have been the end of it, but for a thought I had this evening, sitting at the computer. Now, I'm old enough to remember the Apple II, the Commodore 64 and Vic 20, and the Atari 400 through 2600 computers. Back then, we hooked our computers up to a television to use it as a monitor. It wasn't long, though, before dedicated monitors were produced, first monochrome and then later, color monitors.

As the technology progressed, the resolution of the monitors increased while the number of colors a computer could produce went from 8 to 16 to 256 to 65,000 and then to millions. Meanwhile, we developed the ability to view first GIF's and JPG's on our screen, then came MPEG's and AVI's and MOV's.

This month, Apple announced that we could download movies from iTunes. But who wants to watch them on a 15-inch computer monitor? So (conveniently) they introduced a new gadget, the iTV. Guess what? Now they want us to connect our computers to the television again!

Mom was right. She used to tell me, "Everything old is new again." I should have listened...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You Get What You Pay For

"So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' "
-- Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in "Network"

I'm so tired of the lies. I mean, really. First there was this:
"Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction. "
--George W. Bush

..so we went to war in Iraq. But we didn't find any weapons of mass destruction, and the WMD abbreviation doesn't make it cute or funny. Granted that Hussein wasn't the ideal leader. But we created that particular Frankenstein's monster by supporting him for years before all this. And now we're meddling in the Middle East again. And guess what? They STILL hate us! Is it any wonder?

Almost a millenium later, we're still fighting the Crusades in the Middle East. Except now it's for oil, not Christianity. We need to get the hell out of the Middle East and stay out. We're making an already messed up situation worse by continuing to muck about in it. Have we learned nothing in 900 years?

So we invaded Iraq. Not that there was any direct link between Iraq and the 9/11 fiasco. And it was a fiasco - several branches of government, from the intelligence community to the immigration folks that should have been tracking the guys that hijacked the planes, let us down. And our current Homeland Security folks are failing their own tests of readiness.

Then there is the collection of phone call records without due process. And the "renditions" of suspected terrorists. If we hadn't made the Arab world our enemies by sticking our fingers in their pies in the first place, we wouldn't be the object of their hatred now.

George W. Bush (and by extension, his administration) are a bunch of liars. They've been caught in flagrant lies over and over again, and yet nothing is done about it. How many of our service people have to be killed in "Vietnam 2 - The Sequel?"

But as angry as I am at being taken for a ride by this bunch of liars, I'm madder still at US. We elected him and his cronies. Not once, but twice! We have only ourselves to blame.

I actually didn't vote for him, but I'm an American, and he's my President whether I like it or not. But you can guarantee I'm voting in 2008 for anyone who isn't a Republican. They've become the party of fear, uncertainty, and doubt and they're convincing us to give up essential liberties so we'll feel safe. The "Patriot Act" is a sick joke (much like the DMCA, but that's another issue), and the founding fathers would spin in their graves if they could see what we've come to in this country.

My heart goes out to the service people and their families. At least we (the American people) learned SOMETHING from Vietnam. We at least respect our soldiers now. But the politicians have got to be made to answer for this disaster.

So, if you're as angry about it as I am, go register to vote if you aren't already registered. And let's get rid of this current batch of liars.
"The President in particular is very much a figurehead--he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage....His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it."
--The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

We got what we paid for. Let's order something else next round...