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10-19-02

I'm beginning to wonder whether this whole Zionism thing was such a good idea.  Yeah, I know, the concept of a homeland is an appealing one.  I know Israelis who would never consider living anywhere else.  But, really, is the dream of Israel ever going to even resemble the reality of this region of perpetual strife?  

Here's a Monkeystyle history lesson:
The one thing the Jewish people should understand is that is really sucks to lose your homeland.  Incredibly, the culture and religion survived through more than two millennia during which Jews built communities all over the world. They were really good at this. So good, in fact, that some folks felt culturally and economically threatened and resolved to take the Jews' assets, including their lives.  Shortly after that colossal bit of evil was displaced, Jews declared Palestine to be Israel, home of the Jews. I would have thought that, based on the Jew's success since the time they left Israel, they would have sought to go on living that way rather than to return to the desert. But after a holocaust, I can understand the need to have a new home with a good security system.

But now, two thousand years later, Jews drove a people out of that region in much the same way that they were themselves removed.  Isn't there a 500 year rule that says if you can't avenge your exile in five centuries, you're out of luck?  How can the Palestinians be expected to understand logic that says "My father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father was illegally evicted, so I'm moving back and you'll have to leave now, okay?"

 But now there's no turning back.  I really think that the only solution is one to be imposed by the United Nations and enforced by Peacekeepers.  The problem is that NOBODY will be happy by such as solution.  Certainly neither of the two intractable sides to the conflict will be receptive to either the borders or the folks enforcing them.  The "international community" won't want to pay the price, either in dollars or casualties, particularly at the outset.  But what is the price of letting this situation continue to fester?  To take this metaphor one step further:  maybe this blister needs to be popped before it can begin to hear.


10-17-02

I really hate it when my computer won't boot.  It's been a few years since I've lost my own Windows® installation (I lose other people's quite frequently), so I suppose I was due.  I will not describe the gory technical details here or here.

Speaking of monkeys, I suppose I should be up in arms about the so-called "Rally Monkey" that allegedly sustained the Anaheim Angels during their run to the World Series®.  I previously expressed my disdain for the Braves' Tomahawk Chop® and have since pledged my full support for any civil disobedience undertaken on behalf of All Monkeys Great and Small®. The good news is that now I can root for the Giants.

Did I mention North Korea in my previous entry?  I think I might have.  Seems like this country is in the news again after all.  If you want to know the real story, it's that Saddam character who is setting up the nukes program for Kim Jong II to distract us from the real threat . . . which is, of course, in Baghdad.  I'd better stop here or this computer won't boot anymore either.


10-12-02

Last night I visited with a young family I met earlier this year in Paraguay. The husband is a clinical psychologist who became interested in sustainable development issues and got a Fulbright to an excellent program at Brandeis. Even with a scholarship and a middle class background, the difference in cost of living expenses from Asuncion is enormous. 

Our conversation turned to the pervasiveness of extreme poverty throughout the world and all the problems that stem from spending life staggering through an economic desert.  From this perspective, my country's intense focus on Saddam Hussein seems especially out-of-step.

I am beginning to really wonder if what we really want out of Iraq is just more oil.  If this were truly about weapons of mass destruction, why hasn't Bush even mentioned North Korea since his visit to South Korea in March of 2001? Isn't the situation there very close to the situation in Iraq but for the lack of oil and a ruler who tried to kill the president's father?

In my many years as a monkey, I can tell you that I never gave a banana about color schemes, wainscoting,  or craftsman designs . . . until now.  What has happened here?  Between HGTV, TLC, Fine Living, and good old PBS, it is possible to tune in and see interior designers, builders, craft artists, and appraisers about 100 times a day! Plus, ads for home improvement centers and lumber companies abound on both television and radio.  I would think the next step in this trend would be MTV's This Old Houseparty (oh, that's right - they already have Cribs).  This is just a sign that we are a pretty damn opulent country broadcasting live in an impoverished world.  I wonder if watching these shows would piss off people with virtually no chance of ever escaping abject poverty?


10-11-02

I just got back from, of all things, a college football game.  It was only the second time I had ever been to one, the last occurring some 22 years ago.  The game itself was pretty exciting.  But I can't understand why this team plays on Astroturf when real grass is so much safer for the students.  You know that the school makes a ton of money.  There were something like 40 thousand paying fans there.  They don't pay the players anything.  Why not, at the very least, minimize the risk of injuries?  Four players went down with what appeared to be knee injuries during the course of the game.

My other gripe had to do with the large screen monitor scoreboards.  One of them was widescreen while the other was super widescreen.  This appeared to be the newer and fancier of the two.  The problem was that in order to take advantage of the full horizontal magnitude of the super wide screen, all of the images were stretched about 20% wider than they should have been.  My point is: before you monkey around with a $100,000 television, read the damn instructions!

I realized why I didn't see Bush's speech on Monday.  It seems that it wasn't on any of the networks. I guess the White House did not go through the formal request to the networks to air the speech that it normally does.  How very strange. I think that it was determined at some point that a large audience would hurt Bush's cause.  The reasoning must have been that the headline: Bush Outlines Case for War on Iraq would be more helpful than actually hearing what that outline consisted of.  I really would have liked to have seen the speech on the super wide screen they used at the football stadium last night, but I don't think you could stretch Bush's case for war anymore than it already is.


10-9-02

The days are definitely getting shorter.  Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.  I walked through a park today over at the Fens in Boston. See a photo of the area I walked taken a couple of years ago.  Now this area, which is a real urban treasure complete with an incomparable rose garden, is overrun by fat and stinky geese. There is a real locust-like quality about the way these geese have just taken over so many public spaces. I mean, there were around a hundred geese in this little park where kids play, artists paint, and students sun and read.  These birds apparently produce 1200 pounds of poop a piece annually (I wonder how that compares with humans).  This has to pose a public health risk. I felt a genuinely frightening urge to chase the geese and cause a ruckus.  Maybe even grab one by the neck and kill it as a warning to the others.  Then again, this sort of behavior might have disturbed the person I was walking with. Honk!

 Is this the sort of compulsion that the murderous sniper in the DC area feels?  I can't imagine how much more random and senselessly violent a person can be.  There must be some grudge against every one of us who shops, pumps gas, mows lawns, goes to school.  Are we all just fat geese mucking up his pristine world?

This monkey never had to contend with the Draft and, like so many who grew up in the context of the Vietnam War, resistance to it, and fear of the Draft, I was happy that I never had to worry about mandatory military service.  But I will say this for the Draft:  it certainly provided a powerful disincentive to war.  I wonder if folks who are 18-25, who comprise the group least likely to vote or pay attention to politics, were they to be called upon to leave their classrooms and offices and walk into a possible biological or chemical booby trap, would present a stronger opposition to Operation Desert Shrub?


10-8-02

Okay . . . I confess that I didn't even bother watching Bush last night.  Even a couple of months ago, I would have at least had some perverse desire to tune in to a major speech, getting the same sort of guilty pleasure that comes from watching Worst Drivers Caught on Tape or Anna Nicole. But that's gone.

How does this guy do it?  He's not that smart, not as stupid as he can sound, surely, but not clever enough to do what he's done . . . is he?  I mean, he's almost certainly going to get his little war to avenge daddy. 9/11 provided the political cover to trigger this hidden agenda, didn't it?  Hey, if someone fucked with my dad, I'd want to do him harm too, but I'm not president OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY!! 

Yesterday I finished watching the Fellini film, Nights of Cabiria. It was beautiful to watch and I find the actress, Giulietta Masina, to be one of the few who posses the magic that Keaton and Chaplin brought to the silent screen.  Her eyes are so expressive of sadness and humor, almost simultaneously. 

The film deals with the betrayal of hope in a way that I think relates back to our president.  If you see the film, you'll understand why Fellini may have captured the Bush agenda in the bookend scenes of robbery and betrayal.

By the way, sorry for Atlanta Braves fans, but the tomahawk chop has been going on too long now and I, for one, am always happy when the Braves get knocked out of the post season.  I am a monkey, not an indian, but I would not be pleased if the "hotlanta" fans were monkeying around with my heritage.  Also, I'm glad that a gutsy San Francisco team that has been on the cusp of goodness for some time has taken another step.  I also like St Louis, Anaheim, and Minnesota. I think I've set this up so that I am disappointed no matter who wins.  Strange thing, being a sports fan.

10 PM - Now the Director of the CIA has chimed into the national debate with his thoughts on Saddam:  he probably has the nasty weapons we fear, but would only use them if he were to be attacked by the U.S. in an effort to knock him out of power. Sounds about right to me.  I remember Bill Clinton saying this on Letterman back on the 9/11 anniversary.  Don't get me wrong, Clinton irked me more than a few times.  But he sure seemed to know what the hell be was doing, at least when it came to running the country.  If Bush knows what he is doing, he sure keeps his mastery of the issues well hidden.

 



 


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