Tag Archives: Things That Still Bug Me

An Excess of Space

20 Feb

It has come to me that one of the issues that plagues the Art World these days is an excess of museum (or performance hall) space. Tax money is spent on a great many museums, and one of the consequences is that there is actually space available for exhibits of sophomoric “Statement” Art like Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ.

Now, I don’t want to censor Mr. Serrano’s little anti-Christian temper tantrum; if he wants to travel the country at his own expense, putting on art shows, more power to him. And if some trendy Intellectuals want to band together to defray his costs, more power to them, too.

But, at least to my mind, the fact that space was found in tax supported museums for this, and other notably vulgar displays indicates that there is too much of such space available. Surely if museum curators had to decide whether to display Piss Christ or a treasured Van Gogh, the Van Gogh would be hung, and Serrano could go hang.

Pharmacies

12 Dec

My Lady has a number of prescriptions. At least six, and maybe as many as a dozen (I don’t keep track of them beyond a certain point). I have seven. No doctor I have ever met seems to be willing to write prescriptions one to a sheet unless he’s only writing one. Prescriptions, even those that were all written at the same time, do not naturally run in sync. So, inevitably, one ends up bringing in multiple prescriptions on the same sheet, asking for one, and leaving the rest “on file”.

My personal experience has been that chain drugstores cannot find prescriptions that have been left “on file”. Since the ability to find things in a filing system is a basic skill, not part of a pharmacist’s specialized training, I can only conclude that chain drugstores, as a matter of policy, hire the bewildered.

My personal experience has also been that chain drugstores are incapable of taking your information, calling the doctor involved, and straightening the matter out while you do your other shopping. You have to stand in the center of their counter, throwing a tantrum, and interfering with their sales or they lose track of what they are doing for you.

I thought that this was universal for pharmacies. For years the only drug stores I had available (that I knew of, anyway) were chain stores. Then, in 1998, I moved into a rural area where the nearest drugstore was a small, locally owned operation. And they could file things without losing them, and be trusted to do what they said they would do without immediate oversight. It was WONDERFUL. Since then I have move again, and go to another small, locally owned pharmacy. And they are the same. HEAVEN!

If you only get occasional prescriptions, this doesn’t matter. Even the worst CVS is capable of filling one written prescription while you wait. But as we get older (and the lucky ones will) the old Dupont slogan “better living through chemistry” becomes more and more of a fact of life.

Local Pharmacies are a little more expensive than the big chains. But, let me assure you, anything extra you spend you will certainly save on ulcer medication.

A Short Rant About Turn Signals

5 Dec

The point of turn signals is that they tell other drivers what you intend to do, so that they have a good chance to NOT RUN INTO YOU.  I understand that there are places where using them marks you as weak, such as Manhattan, but in most places in the United States they will make you safer if you use them.  Starting to signal after you have started to turn is next to useless.

And don’t get me started on all the cars designed with turn signals so lost in the rest of the car’s lights that they can’t be seen.

Vice

31 Oct

I’d like to talk a little about Vice. I’m for it. Or, rather, I’m against being against it. The older I get the less persuaded I am that the laws intended (ostensibly) to rein in Drug Use, Alcoholism, Prostitution, and, Pornography do any good in any way commensurate with the harm that they cause.

And the thing is, there are people clamoring to add things to the list of Vices that say volumes about the impulse to control that motivates the Crusaders. People are Crusading against Genetically Modified food, against High Fructose Corn Syrup, against Sugar. A Crusade against Tobacco has been going on nearly as long as I’ve been alive. Some of these Crusades appear, for the moment, to have  some  basis in fact, but many of them are simply the prejudices of the Crusaders, which they want to impose on everybody.

Now, this is hardly new. Read just a little history and you are sure to encounter previous Morals Crusades; factory owners who forbade this and that, Prohibition, and so on. And, often, we take a very superior attitude toward these moralizing ancestors. And then go right out and do the same thing in the name of “The War On Drugs” or “The Obesity Epidemic”.

(Aside; how the hell can we have an Obesity Epidemic? An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of a communicable disease. Is that why the thin people are so hysterical? They think they’re being exposed to Fat Germs?)

In my Cranky opinion the difference between a Victorian Christian busybody pestering people about drink and church attendance and a Modern Secular busybody who wants to restrict what people eat is not visible to the naked eye. I can understand some genuine concern about Prostitutes and Drug Users, but the laws that are used to “Help” them don’t seem to achieve much good, and do appear to have all kinds of unpleasant fallout. The War On Drugs costs huge amounts of money, is the primary cause of most of the SWAT raids gone bad that you can read about on the internet, and attempts to ‘close loopholes’ that previously allowed people the authorities were “sure” were guilty have brought us “Asset Forfeiture”. And Asset Forfeiture is, frankly, the return of the Sheriff of Nottingham without the colorful Medieval costumes. I can accept that drugs like Cocaine, Heroin, and even Marijuana ruin lives. So does alcohol, but it only took us thirteen years to realize that banning that was a huge mistake. Why can’t we drop this idiotic “War? If legalizing everything is a mistake, we can always ban it again.

The current panic about “Human Trafficking” is simply a long discredited Victorian Witch Hunt being recycled by modern Feminists (look up “White Slavery”), and actually accomplishes little other than to place women accused of being prostitutes into the paws of people who absolutely will not listen to them, unless they stick to the Human Trafficking Hysteria script. Who does this actually help? Is it mean of me to suggest that the driving force behind it is a bunch of crabby women who are waking up to the realization that some men would rather pay for sex than put up with THEM?

As for Gambling, where do agents of the Law get the unmitigated gall to raid poker games when every state in the Union is running a Numbers Racket? That’s what a State Lottery really is, except that the traditional Mob run racket offered better odds and probably had more honest books.

Vice isn’t crime that one person visits on another. Vice is what we do to ourselves. It arguably isn’t good for us, but the history of Government attempts to stifle it isn’t impressive. In fact it’s often revolting.

The progress of civilization is seen in the degree to which the common man is able to tell all the people who want to order him about (for his own good) to climb a tree. Anti-Vice Crusades do not forward civilization.

A Short Rant About Roofs

24 Oct

There is so much wrong with “Modern Architecture” that it would take a book to even begin to cover the subject. That book is FROM BAUHAUS TO OUR HOUSE by Tom Wolfe, and I strongly recommend it. Today, however, I am going to limit myself to the plague of flat roofs. One of the Progressive Intellectual idiots who birthed the Modern movement (I could look up which one, but who cares?) decided that peaked roofs were a crypto fascist symbol for the monarch’s crown. The rest of the Modern movement was so brain dead that they went along with this. As a consequence, a large proportion of the buildings built since, say, 1935, have flat roofs. Which have standing water on them.  And leak.  And rot faster than they should.  And require more maintenance…….

This is what happens when delusional dogma is allowed to override common sense.

Censorship and Porn

17 Oct

I was born in 1961, which means that I started to be interested in nude girls during the period when the standards for ‘girlie mags’ was shifting from the Playboy standard (no pubic hair, early 1960’s), to the Penthouse standard (soft focus pubic hair, 1969), and thence to the Hustler standard (sharp focus genitalia, 1974). For a while it looked like we’d be up the plumbing with a camera probe by the end of the ’70’s. Of course, as an adolescent I couldn’t buy these magazines. And if you think that stopped me (or any other motivated boy) from getting my hands on them, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you.

The feminists of the day hated this. They asserted, with some justice, that pornography was demeaning to women. It’s hard to argue, but a lot of everyday things are demeaning. Ask anybody who’s worked in fast food. If they had merely called Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, and all their imitators tacky and in dreadful bad taste I would agree with them. I’d still look at porn, mind you, but I don’t pretend that it’s Great Art.

The problem is that they want to censor pornography. They want the government to ban it lest their tender sensibilities get hurt. Which means they have learned nothing from the history of the women’s movement; the governments of the past have routinely used censorship of pornography to punish those who want to educate about birth control. Censorship is not a power to grant to the State lightly, because once the State has that power over a category of expression, all manner of material that the State finds bothersome will be classified as belonging to that category.

And banning nudie magazines, or x-rated films, won’t do away with them. Certainly not in this day of cheap printers and digital video. All that it will do is hide it, to a degree, from the feminists, while removing any legal protections from the women who, for whatever reason, pose for it.

I have scant patience for feminism, as a rule. The vast majority of its champions strike me as upper middle class nitwits concerned almost exclusively with their own comfort ahead of anything resembling justice, or common sense. And they seem to religiously avoid anything really difficult, such as the treatment of women in Islamic countries.

I willingly admit, however, that The Sexual Revolution was for the most part NOT to their advantage. There is a song by Stephen Stills called LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH, and every time I hear the line

“there’s a girl sitting right next to you
And she’s just waiting for something to do”,

I cringe. I may not LIKE Andrea Dworkin and her sisterhood of “all heterosexual intercourse is rape” feminists, but when I consider that LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH was performed by a notorious Liberal, I can begin to understand why they are as mad as so many March hares on the subject.

But that doesn’t make them right. Pitiable, maybe. But not right. The spread of porn may be annoying, but it is far less dangerous than a State that believes it has the right and duty to censor what its citizens see.

So, I am against preventing the publication of images or writing that disturbs, annoys, or even demeans people. I do think that local populations should have some degree of control over what is displayed publicly. If a town wants to mandate that “Adults Only” publications must be sold in plain wrappers, I think they should be allowed to. I DON’T think that any local groups should be able to decide that people may not buy ‘filth’ over the internet, or view internet sites that feature it. I DO think that they should be allowed to limit what can be accessed on computers in publicly owned buildings, such as Libraries, because then it isn’t the viewer paying for it, it’s the taxpayers (at least in part). And nobody should be required to pay for something they consider demeans them, unless it is explicitly within the purview of the State (such as War; it’s right there in the Constitution.).

And, having said this, I’m not sure than there is a legal and constitutional way for local populations to do what I think they should be able to do. It needs thought. More thought than simply “Ban it all” or “No Censorship”.

A word on Gun Control and The Living Constitution.

10 Oct

The Constitution is a “Living Document” because there exists a process for its amendment. If you have a proposal (such as Gun Control) which is in clear violation of the Constitution as ratified and amended, and you are not proposing an amendment to address this, I must conclude that you are a scofflaw and a scoundrel. Consequently all your arguments and claims are suspect.