Saturday, August 19, 2006

Go North, Young Man

I wrote this before the United States went crazy. I don't believe it's true any longer that USAyans are freer than Canadians. Still, I thought I'd put this back on the Web.

Go North, Young Man

A few years ago, professional historians were asked to rank the various U. S. Presidents. The relatively high rank of James Polk surprised me. I figured that his advocacy of territorial expansion and his war with Mexico would have doomed him in the eyes of the liberal academy, but a significant number of historians must think like I do. I believe that the taking of California and New Mexico by conquest was a correct action for the United States: It helped ensure that no continental power would ever arise to challenge it. It increased the wealth of the nation. And it improved the lives of the people living in the conquered territories. In the spirit of the great Polk; therefore, I propose that the United States conquer Canada.

In a liberal democracy, the temptation to spend public money on social welfare rather than on national defense is always present--a temptation to which Canada yielded. During the 1970s, it mostly disarmed. Pierre Trudeau, then Prime Minister, correctly reasoned that the United States would never allow a foreign power to invade Canada. He never considered, however, that the occupying power might be the United States itself. Spending a pitiful two- percent of its gross domestic product on national defense, Canada is a fat plum ripe for the picking.

A surprise invasion using the National Guard units from the bordering states backed by the Air Force and Navy would probably result in a nearly bloodless conquest. The border between the nations is undefended, and Canada has gone a long way toward disarming her populace as well as her military. Handguns, for all practical purposes, have been made illegal, and the bureaucratic hoop jumping needed for the possession of long guns has made many citizens give them up. A coordinated attack would leave the U. S. in charge of every major city and most means of communication within twenty-four hours.

But why would the United States want Canada? (Its vast natural resources are obvious and boring. I will mention them in passing and move on.) One, Canadian women are, on average, better looking than U. S. women. Admittedly, this is subjective, but having been to Canada many times, I assure my brethren this is true. Two, Canadians, again on average, are better educated, although the gap has been closing in recent years as the quality of Canadian education declines. Since its unemployment rate is considerably higher than that of the U. S., an immediate supply of educated workers would be made available.

Three, most important of all, Canadians have superior snack food. Until the last two decades or so, the Canadian idea of cooking was to throw something in a pan and fry it, but Canadian snacks put those of the U. S. to shame. I doubt that the average American even knows what a butter tart is. It’s a diabetic coma and myocardial infarction cradled in a miniature piecrust. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And summer sausage, Americans think a summer sausage is a tube of mushy meat. We are clueless. Properly aged, summer sausage if one of the great carnivorous delights of all time.

Have you ever had a salt and vinegar potato chip? I’ve started seeing them in the U. S., but the Canadians were way ahead of us on these. And let me tell you, Canadian chocolate makes American chocolate look pitiful. Give yourself a Pepsi-style challenge between a Smartie and an M & M; you will understand. Then eat a Coffee Crisp bar. Aero bars are another delight.

So it is apparent that the U. S. would benefit from an annexation of Canada, but to make the invasion moral, it needs to be a net benefit to Canada as well. Understand that I love Canada. Most of my family was born there. Until my siblings started having children, my brother and I were the only ones in our extended family who weren’t. But I’m sad to report that Canadians have been turning themselves into serfs more rapidly that even Americans. I’ve already mentioned that they have disarmed the citizenry. They also control the press to an extent that would be intolerable in the U. S. John Minnery’s remarkable How to Kill series is banned there, for example.

Furthermore, in the name of ending wage inequality between the sexes, Canada instituted a complex system of wage controls wherein the government sets the pay rates for various jobs. I’m not qualified to estimate the damage this has done to their economy, but common sense tells one that it must be immense. Their welfare state is in danger of destroying them. Their unemployment insurance is too generous. Their health care system is on the verge of collapse. Canadians have to wait weeks for tests, such as CAT scans, that Americans get immediately. They need our help.

It is apparent that an immediate conquest of Canada by the United States could easily be done and would benefit both nations, but would a Canadian resistance trouble the U. S.? I’m inclined to doubt it. Culturally, though they don’t want to admit it, non-French Canadians are ninety-five-percent identical to Americans. Whenever I hear a Canadian official ranting about the “unique Canadian culture,” I smile. Assimilation will be simple. This is a country that considers a beer commercial to be an act of defiance. I believe that the average Canadian will just shrug and go on with his life. My only concern would be that they might all head for Florida or Southern California.

Technorati tag: essays

Thursday, August 17, 2006


A budding young terrorist gave me a boomerang for Christmas one year. A few days later, I read the directions, picked a spot where it looked unlikely to end up in the road or through a window, and gave it a solid hurl.

It went spinning through the air, made a big sweeping turn, and started heading back toward me. Just as I was thinking, hey, this thing actually works, it decided to land in the branches of a pine.

So I fetched a stepladder and a broom and managed to reach up high enough to poke it out of the tree.

I changed my initial position a bit for my second attempt. This time it ended up on the roof. The stepladder and broom again proved useful.

For my third attempt, I made a rather more drastic change of location. I heaved. The boomerang spun, turned, and landed on top of the frozen pond.

I thought hard. There was no way I was going to trust my life to the thickness of that ice. On the other hand, if the young terrorist saw that I had abandoned her present to the mercy of the elements, her feelings were likely to be hurt. So I tied a rake to a rope and eventually managed to drag the boomerang over to the bank.

I never threw it again.

Technorati tag: memories

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ten Favorite Books

1. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein--Heinlein had a strong influence on the way I think. This book was one of the things that set my mind free.

2. Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein--depending on my mood, either this book or the one above is my absolute favorite. This one is an extended meditation on the nature of love.

3. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli--if you want to understand politics, this little book is a must read.

4. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins--this is the best introduction to natural selection that I know of. Once you understand it, it as powerful tool that you will use in your thinking regularly.

5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson--it's the funniest thing that I've ever read. It caused me to laugh beyond the point of pain more than once.

6. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt--this isn't the last word, but it is a great introduction to economic thinking. It will help you cut through some of the more egregious nonsense you see in the media.

7. The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray--when this book came out, the authors were accused of being racists. The accusation was scurrilous even by the low standards of the press. Race was the focus of only one chapter. The main theme of the book was the effects that assortative mating was having on Western society. In the years since the book's publication, their predictions have been in the process of playing out. If you want to understand what really is going on in the world, this book is a necessity.

8. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein--this is the best pure science fiction novel ever published. The ending is potent, and there is a good chance that you will tear up.

9. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck--the sense of humanity in this one runs deep.

10. The Top 500 Poems edited by William Harmon--it's pretty much what the title says it is.

Technorati tags: recommended reading, favorite books

Monday, August 14, 2006

Broken Glass and Rainbows

When I was a kid, my parents' house had a sliding glass door leading out onto the enclosed back porch. The door had a storm door, so to get out you had to slide two glass doors out of the way.
One winter when I was 15 or so, I was the only one home, and the dogs wanted out into the backyard. The normal procedure was to take them through the porch. I opened the one sliding door, but for some reason, I neglected to open the second door before trying to pass through it.

I proceeded to walk straight through that door. As the cliché goes, everything slowed down. I had the very clear thought that if I tried to hold up, the sheets of falling glass were going to fall right on me and cut me to shreds. I kept moving forward at a rapid pace.

I was lucky, and almost all of the glass fell behind me. I escaped with one relatively minor cut in my wrist that bled a lot but didn't require stitches.

I couldn't walk back through the glass shards and had to circle the house though the snow in my sock feet. By the time I got around to the front of the house, my parents were pulling into the garage. Of course, I came rushing up with blood running out of my wrist, not having any idea yet if I was badly hurt, babbling about just having walked through the glass door. That shook them up pretty badly, and my father unnecessarily rushed me to the hospital.

In the meantime, my mother, in a state of near panic, got on the telephone and called my brother. She didn't bother to tell him that I wasn't turned into hamburger. It was more along the lines of, "Jesus Christ! Bill just walked through the glass door! Come quick!" (Mom swore like a fisherman's daughter, which she was.) Then she hung up.

Fearing the worst, my brother, ignoring most traffic laws, rushed over. He was seriously upset when he found out that I wasn't dead, and he told my mother off for scaring him like that, but he did have the glass cleaned up before my dad and I got back from the hospital, where they had applied a butterfly bandage.

After they replaced the broken pane, my parents decided that they never wanted something like that to happen again, so they put rainbow decals on the doors right at my eye height.

Almost everyone who came to the house for any length of time asked about those decals and got to hear about my adventure of the plunging shards. I wonder if they were wondering if my parents were showing their support for gay rights.

Technorati tag: memories

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Cover Letter

Lomilda Mohammed
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dworkin Hall
Room 396
45189 Slatternly Drive
Madison, WI 53760

Dr. Sparrowhawk Higgabotham
Mollusk: A Journal of Omnidirectional Outrage
The University of Upper Michigan
Department of English and Dialectical Studies
5749 Superior Street
Wild Turkey, MI 48088

Dear Dr. Sparrowhawk Higgabotham:

Enclosed, for your consideration, is my short story "Barbie Versus the Evil Patriarchy." It's the tale of a young woman's dawning discovery that the world is run by White Christian men who wish to keep her barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen; her subsequent mental breakdown; and her recovery upon her decision to battle against her oppressors on behalf of herself and her as-yet-unenlightened sisters in servitude.

I'm currently an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a dual major in Women's and Black Studies. I believe my academic background as well as my personal experiences as a mixed-race Black-Chicano lesbian Wiccan who endured the hardships of a segregated, lower-socioeconomic upbringing under the tyranny and unwelcome advances of her mother's succession of male (ick!) lovers well qualifies me to write on this theme.

The University of Wisconsin library subscribes to Mollusk. I've read several back issues, so I am familiar with its contents. When I read the story, "Amanda Gets Social Justice," by Colleen McKenna in the Fall 2000 issue, wherein the antagonist is ritually castrated with a dull butter knife, I knew that your quarterly would be the perfect home in which to place my manuscript.

My work has appeared in Bleeding Nonsense, Oppressed Masses, and Off the Man. I am editor-in-chief of Chiaroscuro: The Journal of Unsettling Metafiction published here on campus.

I've included a SASE for the return of my manuscript if you decide not to accept it. The story runs approximately 8500 words. It is being submitted to no other publication. I can be reached at the above postal address or email address. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely Yours,

Lomilda Mohammed

Technorati tags: how-to, writing, alleged humor

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Flash Testimonial, Three

I was participating in a poetry slam at the local coffee shop. After I howled out my magnum opus, Maggot Crotch: A Political Memoir, I observed that a curvaceous cutie with shocking blue tresses and a silver nose stud had fastened her gaze upon the implausible character that is myself. She was a smidgen callow, but as the sage philosopher said, if there is turf on the playing surface, initiate the competition. So I stopped at her table on the way back to my seat and said, "Hey chickie, you are the most bodacious kitten in this pretentious bean joint, and I perceive that you and I could blow some groovy jams together. You dig?"

Her mandible swung open, and she scoped me as if I possessed triple oculars, so I said, "Apologies, poppet, I was just putting a toe in the Jacuzzi, if you grasp my gist, not to say, intercept my pass. We chilly?" And I, chastened from the young Aphrodite's scorn, shambled back to my chair.

To hide my embarrassment, I flipped open my laptop and cruised to my favorite Flash site. After I had morosely buried myself in its intricacies for a few nanocenturies, I noticed that the fetching feline I had thought viewed me as repellent as a lummox with leprosy in fact stood behind me and was looking raptly over my shoulder. As I turned toward her, she said, "Do you want to come back to my place and, you know, check out my Robert Crumb prints?"

Of course, I said, "Lead on, o beautiful beat-babe of my soul."

I stayed for breakfast.

Flash--it gets your mojo working.

Technorati tag: alleged humor

A Flash Testimonial, Two

As a dedicated leftist radical, I have spent my entire adult life trying to build heaven on earth. Alas, my devotion has only brought me a permanent limp, a Gloria Steinem obsession, and a three-pound file with the FBI.

One day, exhausted from my unceasing labor on the behalf of the downtrodden, and despairing from my failure to unionize the packers at the local pickle factory, I ate a Leary biscuit and started to surf the Net in an effort to deaden my grief and ease my soul. I stumbled upon a Flash site, and enlightenment dawned. I didn't have to build heaven; I had found it.

Flash--it immanentizes the eschaton.

Technorati tag: alleged humor

A Flash Testimonial

I was sitting in front of my computer when I heard Iggy Pop sing, "Well, that's like hypnotizing chickens." I started to wonder just what hypnotizing chickens was like, so I went down the street to the neighbor with the rooster that starts bellowing at sunrise, and I asked him if I could borrow a chicken. He looked at me funny, but he fetched one.

I took it home and spent two hours trying to hypnotize that damn bird, and I started to wonder which one of us had the bird brain. But then I had an idea. I put the chicken in front of the computer and called up a Flash site. The chicken took one look at all the twirlers, blinkers, flashers, and whirlers, and she went under in seconds.

Flash--it's like hypnotizing chickens.

Technorati tag: alleged humor

Goofing Around

This site is just a place where I can try some experiments. No one who wanders in here should take anything seriously that he or she sees. The postings will likely just be random things that I have moldering in my files.