williamallenpepper

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Archive for the tag “gun control”

CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE

So a bridge collapsed in Washington State. Same thing happened in Minneapolis a while back.

We as a collective society shake our heads at the way our leaders failed us yet again by letting this happen; the leaders we elected. But then we sweep up the rubble, count the casualties and move on.

Another “report card” comes out about our failing schools. Then we slash budgets and decry “greedy” teachers while cutting their resources and increasing their class sizes.

Entire neighborhoods in large cities consist of little more than empty storefronts; entire small towns are becoming ghost towns and what schools they have “consolidate” so they can survive.

Increasingly, the quality of health care you get depends on how much money you have. Gas prices rice and fall on the whims of oil companies. Companies of all stripes are “people” for purposes of secretly donating to political campaigns, but more or less untouchable entities when it comes to everything else.

The NRA shouts louder than angry, grieving parents and wins. Again. For reasons almost no one but the NRA could ever understand.

I have a day job which is quite pointedly centered on people disagreeing: with each other, with me, with the system. People have always been angry about one thing or another. These days, they’re something beyond angry. Not even sure what to call it.

I don’t really have a specific point here.

Well, maybe I kind of do. In so many ways, the US is the greatest country in the world. And, yet, there are still so many things it sucks at. The nice thing is, though, we keep trying. We fall on our asses a lot. Then we get up and try again. In many ways, about now, feels like we’re losing the battle. But, as they say, the war rages on.

Just felt like saying that.

I’ll be back to Doctor Who or something next time.

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HEY, KID, BE CAREFUL. BROKEN GLASS.

There’s a commercial for BMW running on TV right now featuring, as most car commercials do, a gorgeous vehicle taking hairpin turns down a mountain pass. In the car is a young boy with his arm out the window, feeling the wind rush by. A disclaimer runs across the bottom of the screen warning something to effect of: “Sticking your arm out the window is dangerous. Don’t do it.”

One end of a Hershey candy bar wrapper has the words “Open Here” printed on it.

Back in the early days of “Saturday Night Live”, there was a sketch with Dan Aykroyd as the sleezy CEO of “Mainway Toys”, a company that sold extremely dangerous toys to children: action figures with knives in them, Doggie Dentist, bag o’ spiders, and, also in the bag-o line, “Bag O’ Broken Glass” which was just a big plastic bag of, well, broken glass. When called on the safety issue, Mainway points out the disclaimer on the bag’s label: “Hey, Kid. Be careful. Broken glass.”

We’ve all read warning labels on products that sound to us like Mainway wrote them. McDonald’s coffee is hot. Don’t stick your hand in the power saw. That floor over there? Slippery when wet.

We can laugh. We DO laugh. But the fact is, warnings like this (okay, maybe not Mainway’s) get written by lawyers because some dumbass, somewhere, tried it once. The Hershey’s wrapper thing surely originated with some bizarre tale of events spiralling downward from unwrapping some candy to, I don’t know, leveling an entire city block.

Meanwhile, things we really do need protection from, we ignore. Guns. Fatty food. The more warnings the professionals level at us, the more we push back. Bigger clips for assault rifles. A restaurant in Las Vegas that serves a burger called “The Heart Attack”.

Save your money BMW and Hershey. We know what’s bad for us. We just want to hear it from the Mainway guy.

THINGS I TOLD YOU SO, OR WOULD HAVE HAD I THOUGHT OF THEM

1.  Colossal chain book retailer Barnes & Noble has announced it will close about twenty stores every year for the next decade. Duh. No one saw this coming? I’ve written about this a lot. So has everyone. We all know why bookstores are failing. They are simply brick and mortar warehouse shelves for books. They offer nothing more (expensive coffee, yes, but that’s about it) There are no cheaper shelves for books than online, so Amazon and the like are always going to undercut B&N and the others on price until they decide to change.

But maybe, you say, the slow demise (for that’s what this really is) of B & N will give indies and smaller chains like Powell’s or Books-a-Million a better chance to grab market share. Nope. They don’t do anything more than shelve books either.  I look bookstore browsing. I love online pricing. Give me something that mergers the two OR give me something else besides a building full of books that makes me want to spend more with you.

2.  (Circa 2004) The legendary British Sci-Fi show “Doctor Who” will make a triumphant return to television, giving nerds a reason to live again. Okay, I didn’t actually “predict” that one, but I always kind of hoped for it. Nearly eight years into it’s revived run, ratings are better than ever.

THE INTERACTIVE PORTION OF THE BLOG. WHICH ONE WAS I RIGHT ABOUT?

3.  The Ravens win the Superbowl!

4. The 49ers win the Superbowl!

Yes, by the time this blog comes out, the Superbowl is over and the winner is known, but the “I told you so” part is that now, perhaps only a few days after the game, NO ONE, except maybe the players and two or three family members, can actually remember who won. It’s just a game, folks.

5. Not much will happen with gun control. There’s been a lot of talk, hasn’t there? Has anything really happened? Will anything really happen? Nope.

6. I live in the Midwestern US. It’s February. IT GOT UP TO SIXTY-FIVE DEGREES last week. There was a thunderstorm DURING a snow storm. A few days ago there were tornadoes in winter time. People are starting to realize, hey, maybe there is something to this climate change thing.

7.  I’d like to think that during those turbulent, awful days of the Civil War when Lincoln agonized over how to abolish slavery and reunify the country, I would have been able to encourage Lincoln to press on so that, one day, Daniel Day Lewis would win a Screen Actors Guild Award for portraying him on film.

8.  All the polls, the decisive defeat in the presidential election, report after report, have done nothing to convince Republicans that they, as a collective, have lost whatever touch they had once with the day-to-day reality of most Americans.  In the interest of bipartisanship, Democrats have utterly failed to put the needs of the public above the needs of getting re-elected.

9.  One or more Kardashians will break up with whomever she happens to be with today, er, yesterday, er, never mind. He’s gone already.

10.  While it was perhaps unpleasant to hear, it was nonetheless honest. Those pants do, in fact, make you look fat.

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