Friday, October 30, 2009

To Hell and Back

The Engineer and I were passing the time just as we had for the last two days in our dank eight-by-eight, concrete, windowless cell in the county lock-up.  "Go fish," I said.

"Oh, man," said The Engineer.

The monotony was broken when our pod warden announced that we had a visitor.  We were shown to a small room and the heavy, steel door clicked locked behind us.  The door at the other side of the room opened and we were greeted by our lawyer, a sullen old coot with wiry gray hair, a wrinkled shirt and a frayed tie.  He explained that he was a public defender and had been appointed to represent us. 

"This must be kind of neat for you getting to represent high profile clients like us," the Engineer said.  The public defender stared at us in total silence, looking depressed.

"Um, we are The Lawyer and The Engineer.  You know who we are, don't you?" I asked.

"No," responded our P.D.  "Why in the hell should I?"  He opened his file, licked his thumb and rifled through some documents.  "Why don't you boys tell me what happened--and make it quick.  I have twenty-seven other clients to see today that are just as deserving of my time as you."

"Fair enough," said The Engineer gesturing to me to relate the facts to our P.D.

"Where should I start?" I queried.

"At the damn beginning," quipped our sad-faced P.D.

"Right," I said.  "Here's what happened."

*     *     *

Disguised as UPS delivery persons, The Engineer and I walked into the lobby of the building that houses the studios of Fox News.  We were immediately greeted by a towering hulk with biceps like tree limbs.  He inquired who the package that The Engineer was holding was for.

"Glenn Beck, sir," said The Engineer.

"You know the routine," said the security guard.

We didn't know the routine.  The Engineer and I looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders and pressed on towards the elevators.

"Whoa," said the security guard.  "What do you think you're doing?  You go over there to that window, the clerk will sign for it and deliver it to Mr. Beck.  You can't just go up there to the studios.  Are you boys retarded?"

The Engineer whipped out his cell phone and handed it to the security guard.  The screen of the phone indicated that the contact being dialed was no other than Rupert Murdoch.  "Rupert said this might happen and for us to give him a call when we got here," said The Engineer to the security guard.

We could hear the voice on the other end of the phone as the security guard held it to his ear.  "Arg, who is this?"  The security guard explained himself and the situation.  "That so?  Well shiver me timbers.  Ye show them to Mr. Beck, or I'll be there, quicker than ye can say 'arg,' to slit ye from e'r to e'r, you scurvy bastard."  What the security guard didn't know is that The Engineer had programmed the number of our friend, a professional pirate impersonator, into his phone as "Rupert Murdoch." 

The security guard was all 'yes sirs,' and apologies, and handed the phone back to The Engineer.  We regarded the security guard with smug smiles as he glared at us.  "Follow me," commanded the security guard. Escorting us to the elevator he told us what floor we needed to alight upon and where to go from there.  He stared at us with hatred in his eyes as the elevator doors slid shut between us.  I thought to myself, if I never saw the likes of him again it would suit me fine.  I wouldn't be so lucky.

A vibrating, buzzing noise could be heard coming from the other side of the door, upon which was a star and the words, "Glenn Beck--A Real American Hero."  The Engineer and I put our ears to the door, and through the buzzing noise could hear voices.

"Oh, that feels soooo good, Bill."

"You like that, do you?"

"Yeah, I do."

"How about this?" The buzzing noise picked up in intensity, like it had been given extra juice.

"Oh, oh, yeah.  Do it.  Hard."

The Engineer and I jerked our heads away from the door, damning our ears.  I knocked on the door lightly.  The buzzing continued.  I knocked a little harder, and the buzzing stopped.

"Who is it?" said the unmistakable, buttery-smooth voice of Glenn himself.

The Engineer cleared his throat.  "Um, UPS.  Special delivery for Mr. Beck."

"Come in," said a different, more gruff voice.

Beck was seated with a barber's robe around him, and Bill O'Reilley stood behind him with hair clippers.  "Well, there we go, big-boy.  You're hair looks perfect as usual."

"Thanks, Billy," said Beck.

"Don't mention it," said O'Reilley.  "Remember what I told you.  Keep your head straight."

"Don't worry, Bill.  I got my med's all straightened out," Beck assured him.  Bill gave him a wink and an endearing shot across the chin with his fist.

"What the fuck are you two assholes looking at?" O'Reilley asked us.  "Get the hell out of my way or I'll show you what a real man is all about."  The Engineer and I made way to allow Bill to leave.

"Mr. Beck?" I asked.

"Of course, who else would I be?" he asked.  "You got something for me there?"

"Yes, sir," said The Engineer handing him the small cardboard box.

Glenn took it and opened it as quick as he could.  "Oh goody.  I love surprises."  From the box he held up two Ziploc bags full of dirt.  "What is this supposed to be?"

"I can answer that for you," I said.  "We know you really love this country.  I mean really love it, like it was another person, or something."

Glenn went misty eyed and silent.  His bottom lip stuck out and began to quiver.  He held his fist to his mouth in an attempt to fight back the tears that welled up in his blue eyes.  "I--I--I..."  The dam broke, and tears streamed down his fat cheeks.  "I love this country so much."

"Oh, no, no," said The Engineer.

"Ah, man, come on.  Stop it," I said.  "Don't cry.  It's not right."

"That's not the sort of thing people are supposed to cry about, for Christ's sake," said The Engineer.

"Here," I said handing Beck a Kleenex.  Beck dabbed his eyes as he collected his wits.  "Would you say that there is something magical--exceptional--about the ground we stand on here in America?"

"You know I would," said Glenn. 

"The bags have soil in them," I explained to Beck.  "One bag has American soil, and the other Mexican."  Glenn looked at the bags and then us like we were crazier than him.  I continued, "The two samples were collected about twenty feet from each other on either side of the Mexican-American border. Our question is, which bag contains American soil, and why is it better than the Mexican?"

"This should be easy," exclaimed Glenn.  "One sample comes from a complete crap-hole, and the other from the greatest country in the world."  He opened one bag, wet his index finger and collected a sample.  He sniffed the sample on his finger, dabbed his tongue to it, and rubbed it on his gums.  He did the same with the other bag.  With a big smile on his face he held up the winning bag and proclaimed it to be the American soil.  "As much as I love this country, there is no mistaking that the sweetness of this one is American dirt."

The Engineer laughed, and said, "You are wrong Mr. Beck.  They are both American soil, from my backyard where I have about fifteen chickens running around shitting all over the place."  We both did our best not to completely crack up, resisting falling to the ground laughing uncontrollably.

"Ha, ha, very funny," said Glenn, his teeth brown with dirt.  "You think you are going to get away with this?  I got a surprise for you, too."  He picked up the phone and said, "Security?"

"MAKE FOR IT!" I shouted.  The Engineer and I fell out into the hallway trying to keep our feet beneath us running for the elevator.  After charging fifty feet, for dear life, or way was suddenly blocked by four security guards, the one with biceps like tree trunks standing in front.  We slid to a stop, and made for the other direction.  Glenn was blocking our flight in that direction.  We had no choice, and made straight for the man-boy of Fox News.  I stiffed-armed Glenn as The Engineer put his shoulder into him as hard as he could, sending him flying backwards, toenails over buzz-cut.  He hit the ground with a thud as the sound of breath vacated his lungs.

With the guards in hot pursuit we slipped into the stair well, jumping four steps at a time, hoping not to break a leg or an ankle.  We stepped out on another floor, and ran to the other end of the hallway and made our way down a few more flights of stairs.  Our chests heaving with exhaustion we ran down another hallway, and jumped into an elevator that just happened to be open.

"Arg.  And who in the fuck do ye be?" asked Mr. Murdoch as the doors slid shut trapping the three of us together for the moment.

Trying to catch my breath I said, "UPS, sir.  Urgent delivery."  Rupert scowled at us.  The elevator stopped, and the doors opened.  The Engineer and I could not believe what we saw beyond the elevator.  It was the same auditorium that we had been chased to by Dick Cheney, and had interviewed The Prince of Darkness in.  A chill came over me.  The Engineer looked dumb-founded.  Rupert stepped out of the elevator and disappeared as the doors slid closed.

"Hit it, hit it, ground floor goddamnit," The Engineer implored.  The elevator stopped at least six times, people getting on it, all going to the ground floor with us.  We did our best to look natural, trying not to breathe heavily like our lives were in the mortal danger that they were.

After what seemed like an eon, the elevator came to a stop and opened to the lobby.  We could see the revolving doors fifty yards in front of us, and freedom beyond.  Doing our best to stay calm we stuck with the crowd, inconspicuously concealing ourselves.

"There they are!" screamed Glenn, his right eye swollen and blackened, his teeth still brown from the taste test.  "Get them, get them!" he squealed like his head would burst.  From our left the sortie of security guards came charging after us, their tazers drawn.  Turning our attention to the revolving doors ahead, our way had become blocked by Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and Greta Van Susteren, armed with canisters of Super Shot Pepper Spray.

As if in slow motion, The Engineer and I looked at each other, gritted our teeth, and went stampeding to the light, straight for the shrews armed with pepper spray.  We yelled like men crazed in battle charging to certain death, but determined to face fate.  Coulter, Ingraham and Susteren stood their ground, drawing a bead on us.  The heavy sound of the hooves of the security guards where close up on us from behind.

As I yelled, "Freedom!" at the top of my lungs, we were hit by a torrent of pepper spray in front, and by thousands, upon thousands, of volts of tazer from behind, as The Engineer and I went crashing to the ground, eventually sliding to a stop on the marble floor, flopping about with our eyes on fire.

*     *     *

Our lawyer betrayed his thoughts and emotions with a look of befuddled amazement.  He looked back down at our file, and slowly shut it.  He looked back up at us, from me to the Engineer.  "We," he said, "are going to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, if we have to."

"Really?" I asked, optimism swelling in my heart.

"We are?" asked The Engineer, happy for the first time in days.

"No, we're not, numb-nuts," said our lawyer.  "I'm going to get you a deal, and you're going to plead guilty, be put on probation and do 250 hours of community service picking up trash on the highway.  Otherwise, we can get this set for trial while the two of you sit here for a few months, with bail set at $500,000.00 each."

"Yeah," I nodded.  Looking at The Engineer I said, "Let's take the deal."

"Right," said The Engineer, defeated.  "Let's take the deal.  I'm tired of playing fish." 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Exclusive Interview with Dick

The Engineer's jaw dropped as he farted in high C.  I spewed piping hot coffee across the conference table.  Our editors had just announced that there was a cadre of men in dark suits wearing sun glasses waiting outside our offices for the purpose of escorting us to an undisclosed location to meet with a "person of interest."

We were secreted away to a private airport where we were loaded into the windowless and empty hull of a C-130 air transport.  When the blind folds were removed from our eyes we found our selves sitting in what appeared to be the Office of the Vice President in the White House.  The Engineer and I had the glowing feeling that we had hit the big time, and gave each other a high five, all smiles.  The thrill was completely reversed and replaced by loathing and confusion by what happened next.

Dick Cheney came into the office from a side door wearing a black unitard mopping sweat from his face with a towel.  He sat down behind the desk and snarled at us in complete silence for what seemed a long awkward while.  I broke the ice.

"A black unitard?  No, you're an interpretive dance enthusiast?" I asked.

"Uh-hum," Dick coughed and said in his low, raspy and breathless way, "shut up."  We abided. Another long, awkward moment passed, The Engineer and I squirming in our seats while Dick sat motionless, snarling at us.

"Uh, sir, are we in The White House?" asked The Engineer.

"No you douchebag," said Dick.  "I had this replica of my old office made in this here undisclosed location.  I got kind of used to it.  The reason I brought you fucking idiots here is to get something off my chest," Dick said in unnerving monotone.

"Great," said The Engineer, "we'd love to hear it--"

"Shut the fuck up," demanded Dick, "and listen."  He leaned back in his executive chair and put his hands together, each finger tip touching its counterpart on the other.  "You guys have said some very disparaging things about me.  You don't like it that I am out on Fox News every other day with my daughter tag-teaming the Obama Administration's handling of the war on terror."

"Actually," I said, "they've quit using that term, 'war on terror'--"

"What is it that you don't understand about 'shut the fuck up?'" Dick asked.  "You're a lawyer, right?"  I nodded in the affirmative.  "See that rifle at the top there?" he asked pointing to a gun rack hanging on the wall.  I nodded.  "I call her Lady Justice.  The Lady is the one that was involved in that unfortunate hunting accident that filled that lawyer's face full of buck shot--you might have heard about that.  He-he," he chuckled. 

Dick leaned forward toward us, his elbows on his desk.  "The reason I brought you shit-for-brains here is to explain to you what it is that I am doing now that I am no longer in The White House.  How should I put this?"  He snarled for a moment, thinking out his words carefully.

"There are two types of people in this world," Dick continued.  "Real men and pussies.  Pussies aren't going to keep this country safe.  That's a job for a real man."

"Like your daughter?" I asked.

"He-he, you think you're pretty funny, don't you?"  Dick slammed his fist on his desk causing The Engineer and me to jump in our chairs.  "My daughter is more of a real man than the two of you pussies put together," he said pointing at us.

"We have a mission to complete," said Dick.  "That mission is to keep America safe from those that would harm us, and from pussies.  The way you do that is with a mercenary army of real men who enjoy torturing people for the fun of it.  If you get actionable results, that's just icing on the cake.  In Afghanistan, if you are a pussy, you talk a lot of nuanced buffalo shit about troop draw-downs, precision attacks with drone aircraft, and negotiating with the Taliban.  In Iraq, the pussies want to pull all of our troops out while Al Quaeda over takes the country side.

"A real man's policy is to keep those two countries under a dust cloud from all the American boots and vehicles crisscrossing them.  If someone sort of looks like a terrorist, you shoot them in the face."

"Yeah, but what about thousands of civilian casualties; not to mention the trillions of dollars a multi-decade occupation would cost?" asked The Engineer.

Dick answered, "That is just the sort of thing a grovelling pussy would ask.  You go about this like a real man, or America will be nothing but a bunch of pussies surrendering in the streets to the terrorist."

"Oh come on!" I said.  "You're fucking nuts.  A bunch of peanut-brained, medieval-thinking terrorists cannot conquer the United States of America."

Dick stood and grabbed Lady Justice from the gun rack, and pulled back the hammer that made a click noise.  The Engineer and I were standing at attention, ready to bolt.  Dick pointed the barrel of the rifle at The Engineer, and then me, and back at The Engineer.  "This is a hard choice," he said.  "I've never shot an engineer.  Or, I could have two lawyers to my resume," he said pointing the gun right at the tip of my nose.

In a flash of brilliance, The Engineer pointed behind Dick and screamed, "WHAT IS THAT?"  Dick took the bait, lowered his rifle and looked behind him.  The Engineer and I sprang for the door like a couple of scalded dogs.  I slammed the door hard behind us.  Four long strides later a gun blast demolished the door into splinters.  Dick stood in the wreckage breathing hard, leaning against the door jam and snarling at us as we dashed out of sight down the long dark hallway.

I remember panting up a flight of stairs, flying down one hallway, then making a sharp right, running for our lives down another, until suddenly we emerged into a large auditorium where we were met by the same men in black suits and sunglasses that had brought us there.  They were armed with tazers.

The Engineer and I instantly recognized where we were.  It was the same auditorium where we had interviewed The Prince of Darkness.

From where we came, Dick appeared in his balck unitard, rifle in hand.  Everyone stood staring at each other in a stand off.  "Get the pussies," Dick said to his henchmen.

That was it, as far as I was concerned.  I had had enough abuse for one day, and was seething ferocity.  "I AM NOT A PUSSY!" I yelled and charged the men in suits.  The Engineer and I were tazered from all angles.  We dropped to the floor, flopping about and convulsing.  We were bound and gagged with duck tape, and blindfolded.

I thought to myself, what irony.  Not long ago I had written a fantasy scene on The Lawyer and The Engineer, in our entry on torture, where Dick, wearing not much more than a studded dog collar, walks into a dungeon room where I am bound to a table, and I get tortured by the bastard.  It looked like the nightmare was going to become real.

We could hear the men and Dick discussing our fate.  Dick wanted to torture, and then kill us.  Then he settled on torturing us, and letting us go.  In hushed tones the other men suggested that The Lawyer and The Engineer were too popular, and that it would bring a firestorm of bad publicity if we were visibly harmed.  Though I couldn't see his face, I could feel Dick snarling as he thought out his options.

"Fine, Goddamnit," said Dick.

We were picked up off the floor.  They drove us for what seemed a few miles.  We were thrown back into the C-130.  Eventually, The Engineer and I were unceremoniously dropped on the sidewalk outside our offices, as the car that brought us squealed its tires and disappeared around the corner.  


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

But we'll pay you in shiny beads...(part 2)

If you were one of the 4 readers that we have on the Lawyer and Engineer blog, you may have read the rant that the engineer had about outsourcing labor, especially for companies looking to avoid the unpleasantness of regulations or environmental impact. Well, it seems to be a timely subject because of the news lately on the airline industry outsourcing the maintenance of the airlines.

It seems that the airlines have been outsourcing the maintenance of airliners that normally would have to go into a FAA certified maintenance facility for inspections and repair. Now why would they do that? In business, services are changed for only 2 reasons. The service can be provided cheaper or faster or a combination of the two. Now some times, faster can mean a new manufacturing method has been developed that actually produces something that is a higher quality. That is called progress and everybody wins. But when it comes time for labor intensive jobs, like inspection and repair for airliners, how can things be inspected by a person faster without shortcuts being made??

There is extensive manuals written for aircraft inspection that must be followed exactly step by step. Are you going to feel better, flying at 30,000 ft, when you know they went from a person that makes 40k per year and follows procedure and repairs with specified structural parts to a person making 4000 dollars per year and any delay is destroying their thin profit margin?

When your running shoes or plastic coat hangers are made overseas, maybe it may not cause you some concern but here is a sobering statistic for ya....

Airline maintenance outsourcing (as percentage of total expenses)
AIRLINE 2005 2006 2007 (through 3Q)
Alaska 92% 80% 81%
Hawaiian 80% 86% 89%
US Airways* 77% 81% 80%
Northwest 76% 83% 81%
America West 76% 91% 91%
Continental 69% 68% 70%
JetBlue 68% 64% 65%
Southwest 68% 81% 85%
AirTran 66% 93% 94%
Frontier 65% 79% 80%
United 63% 66% 67%
Delta 48% 73% 72%
American 46% 49% 51%
ATA*** 18% 85% 87%

There are some pretty wide loopholes allowing this to continue without FAA over site. I don't know about the rest of our 4 people reading, but that scares the crap out of me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Insufferable in Victory and Inconsolable in Defeat

Texas beat Oklahoma today in Dallas. Despite having a battered roster, including an injured Heisman Trophy winning quarterback that sat out the last three quarters, OU battled and kept the game close. OU's defense played possessed the first half, but Texas was able to adjust at half time and eek out a three point victory.

Next week, OU fans will call into sports shows, and post on sports forums suggesting that it is time for the coach to move on, while blaming the referees for their defeat. I once heard a guy say that OU fans are like Daffy Duck, insufferable in victory and inconsolable in defeat. That guy happened to be an OU fan.

Sooner Nation is the only collection of fans that I know of that have co-opted another school's logo by giving it a disparaging twist. Thousands of Longhorn stickers are bought every year, and stuck upside down on Sooner fan's vehicles.

When the cameras are upon them, jam-packed in the stands, OU fans extend their index and pinkies on both hands and point them to the ground--the upside down hook-em'-horns--even if they happen to be playing a team other than Texas.

In Norman, in 1994, OU was playing The University of North Texas. A player for North Texas went down with an injury. I witnessed something I have never seen before, or since. The stadium boo-ed the injured player as he was helped off the turf by the trainers and assisted to the bench. OU won handily.

In September of 2007 a man walked into a bar in Oklahoma City wearing a Texas Longhorns t-shirt. A 53 year old Sooner fan gave him some lip. In the process of leaving, the Texas fan was counting out a tip when the Sooner fan grabbed the Texas fan and pulled him to the ground, by the scrotum. The Texas fan was given sixty stitches to re-attach his genitals. The 53 year old Sooner fan was, among other things, a deacon at his church.

Today, at the end of the game, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy (Oklahoma's and Texas's starting quarterbacks) embraced each other in a show of good sportsmanship. As things should have it, they happen to be good friends. According to the on-field announcer, they bid each other good luck for the remainder of the season.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Now that's a health plan to die for...

In a surprise move today, the house minority Republicans tried to pass their own health care bill ahead of the Democratic bill being debated. The bill, known as the Halliburton Healthiness Plan, would take the place of the public option by making health care available to everyone thru the use of one company instead of the currently debated public plan.

“Why should the government be the one to provide the health care option for the currently uninsured?” stated House Minority leader McConnell. “Better to have the private sector running the show instead of Government.”

When asked about his opinion of the bill, Republican Jim Inhofe added, “It’s a win/win plan where we stimulate the economy, make health insurance available to everybody, and we don’t have to rely on trusting big government to be in charge of American citizens. I am also delighted that the “Global Warming is a big load amendment” was also added to further show to the average citizen that honesty is job one with the Republicans.”

Halliburton is already gearing up with intense lobbying for the passage of the bill. Quoted by a non-identified source, “We just so happened to have 500 lobbyists in place, trying to block passage of that intrusive rape non-disclosure and arbitration thing, so its no biggie.”

When Democrats were asked to comment on this surprise piece of legislation, all that was said was "You have got to be f*&#$# kidding me!"

The above post is a parody in the form of a news article. Get over

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

But we'll pay you in shiny beads...

After hearing about a former company that I used to work for moving all of their jobs to Mexico because of the cheaper labor, my urge to write about such things is strong. I think it is an injustice to allow companies to shop for the cheapest labor despite circumstances and without responsibility.

We allow companies to export their labor costs to countries that pay extremely low wages, like 2 dollars per day, hiring of underage workers, and work conditions that are deplorable. The laws that we have created that regulate the handling of manufacturing waste and pollution, safe working environments, a decent wage, doesn't really mean anything if all the companies have to do is shop around for some country poor enough to accept any kind of conditions.

I know that some think that if the companies didn't do this, they wouldn't have any jobs at all. But isn't this like saying that the slaves were getting a warm cooked meal and a roof over their heads? If the laws are good enough for us aren't they good enough for other people?

Also it is not just the cheap labor that is sought after. A good example is the recycling of used electronic parts like computers, monitors, etc. These scraps are sent by the ship load to third world countries and they are basically cooked off or chemically dunked to retrieve precious metals such as gold and silver. It takes huge amounts of scrap to get just a little bit of metal so it is very crappy work. In the process, a smorgasbord of hazardous materials and by-products are in need of disposal, so it is just dumped in a field where it will get in the water table and create a heinous cesspool.

In addition, companies are allowed to do things that would get them in a whole lot of trouble here. Products such as pesticides, outlawed chemicals used in manufacturing, and medical trials are allowed to circumvent proper steps, even tobacco marketing to youths.

Some companies are doing the right thing but others only correct when reported on. Plus the only reason is bad publicity, not the breaking of U.S. laws.

To what extent can the US companies get away with exporting such nastiness or increasing profits at the extent of poorer nations? Could we not say that the laws that apply to the company headquarters here apply to wherever their products are made? Is the almighty pursuit of profits the sole decision maker of right or wrong in this?

Monday, October 12, 2009


Here is a bold prediction you can take to the bank, or stick in your pipe and smoke, as you please: The Lawyer and The Engineer will be mandatory reading in every World Civilization course in every college of liberal arts in each university, the globe over, by the year 2050. If you don't agree with that, just stay alive until then and you will find out that I am right, and you're not.

PhD candidates every where will be defending dissertations on head-scratching and paradigm-quaking entries such as "An Exclusive Interview with The Prince of Darkness," "Brainwashed Students Continue Rioting," and "What Would the Lawyer Do (WWLD)," as well as others yet to be published like, "What my Balls Say About my Self Esteem," "Sensitivity Training for the Complete Douche Bag," and "Why Social Conservatives Hate Homosexuals though Half of them Are."

A bronze statue will be erected and unveiled in honor of The Lawyer and The Engineer in front of The Library at Alexandria. Half the world's children will be named after us, creating an ever greater emphasis on people being addressed by their middle names. It's going to be great!

Pre-posthumous fantasizing aside, people are going to get smarter. I know; you're thinking, 'bullshit.' But hear me out. After all, you are reading the words written by the man who shall be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 2086, not for doing much of anything, but rather for being the adroitly compelling voice of a pivotal generation, or some such crap.

I present my own ancestors as a perfect case in point. Caveman Lawyer was good at a few things. Hunting, building fires, getting laid, and avoiding getting eaten, but that was about as far as his expertise reached. Although an idiot, he was the smartest animal alive.

Shaman Lawyer was a crazed genius in comparison. He was a member of a tribe that worshiped the animating spirits of which the environment was composed. Not only was he hunting, but he was a horticulturist, planting things in the ground with a stick to grow and eat. He started domesticating animals. Life expectancy increased from sixteen years old to the rickety old age of twenty something. If you reached thirty, then you became Shaman Lawyer, and no one dared messed with your old ass, except for the rival tribe that, upon considering the matter, decided they were going to take your village, because their spirits told them to do it, and for better soil and easier access to water. So you were likely to get killed, enslaved or eaten by your brother and sister human.

Then, Warrior Lawyer whose implement of progress was metallurgy, and whose ideology was kill-the-bastards-before-they-kill-you. Warrior Lawyer was powerful and rich until one day, while luxuriating in a tangle of legs, butts and breast, being hand fed grapes and having wine poured over his head by his concubines, his power-envy rival's assassin slit his throat to the neck bone. It was a glorious and messy time.

Tired of all that unadulterated chaos and debauchery, Monotheistic Lawyer came on to the scene with some steadfast rules about the right way to live--the only way to live, in fact. If you followed the rules, and obeyed the tenants of the one, true God, then you would be rewarded in the after life, which made sense because this one really sucked. If you didn't follow the rules you got burned at the stake. You have to admire the simplistic elegance of justice in a two-dimensional world of good and evil, right and wrong, where you could be stoned to death for a nuanced suggestion that there may be a gray area in between.

Modern Lawyer burst onto the scene, a little bored with the Lord, and armed with a savvy individualism, weaving and juking to the top of the mountain with the cutting edge mental technologies of reason, analysis and logic. Materially speaking, life got better in every way imaginable. One's hands were freed from the drudgery of labor to pursue mental manipulations and ever greater comfort, wealth and power, often on the aching backs of others.

After that evolved the Existential Lawyer. No longer able sustain lasting satisfaction by his $2,000.00 espresso machine and his state-of-the-art rechargeable nose hair trimmer, he turned inwards for his quest for meaning, and emerged compassionate and less edgy, and a little preachy. He turned to the streets, arm in arm with his brothers and sisters to demand equality for all, awash in the altruistic elixir of mutual tolerance. An egalitarian utopia was in sight.

And then it was not. Information-age Lawyer lost faith in spreading good vibrations, and began to see the world in terms of paradigmatic squabbles between card-carrying members of the aforementioned states of mind on the evolutionary scale towards greater complexity. Before his eyes the world burst into a multidimensional collage of clashing interests, each indefatigably convinced of its superiority over the others, and confusing each for something it isn't. That is the flint spark for every flash point of which there is no lack in the world today.

The real "end of times" is the overcoming, and evolving from the ignorance and narrowness of perspective of the past, and restructuring the collage so that its fit is sustainable, peaceful and mutually beneficial. Wow, how in the hell do you do that? I don't know, but it seems a goal worth aspiring to.

Lawyerdamus' mandate is evolve, damn you. The world is too mysterious and allusive to ever come to the cozy conclusion that this is it, just as you see it, ever before and after. That's silly, of course. What ever the engine of its flow, evolution is with us at every level of existence as we know it: mineral, biological, psychological and spiritual. It happens so slowly that we pass along with it without noticing, and therein lies the illusion of sameness, luring us into a frightful, subconscious existence. Wake up, and have faith, because it is only getting better, if at a little too slow of a pace for most of our taste.

It is through the portal of an open, compassionate and curious mind that evolution whispers its magic. That is the flying carpet that will take us to the next age of humanity. A dogged insistence to keep things just the way they are is stagnation's and decay's whore. The way back is the way to hell.

If you do not believe in evolution, you probably aren't evolving. So, quit being a big wus, hop on the hand-woven Persian, and enjoy the ride into the unexplored territory ahead.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Going Deep: The Lawyer and The Engineer get Metaphysical with 'It'

While at a party, doing our best to put a dent in a keg of beer, The Engineer confirmed my suspicion; namely, I don't know squat about anything. According to The Engineer, I'm in good company, because nobody else does either. That's a relief.

We could have been talking about sky-rocketing unemployment, the public option, Max Baucus's pocketing of $500,000.00 from the health insurance lobby, Afghanistan, the premodern insanity of the far right, a recent article published in the Journal of Interpretive Dance, or whether Denise Milani is the sexiest woman alive. Instead we were talking about quantum physics and humanity's limited capacity to know.

The way I explained it is that I have read quite a lot about quantum physics over the years and have never fully wrapped my mind around it. The Engineer explained that quantum physicist don't understand it either. "They grasp it mathematically, but beyond that they are just as confused as any one else about the way atoms behave, and the meaning of it all," said the Engineer.

"Physicist know that atoms are more like frequency transmitters than they are little billiard balls," he continued. "Atoms are more constituted of space than any thing tangible. And it only gets weirder. One atom can seem to be in more than one place at the same time. Consider this: from the ground we stand on, to our brains, everything is made of this stuff. Nothing is as it seems. As things should have it, we are incapable of discerning the nature of the stuff we and everything is made of."

We topped off our plastic cups at that.

Having completely lost the little crowd we were engaged with, I turned to epistemology.

"So," I said, "we don't really know what the stuff of the universe is, of which we and everything is intimately composed, nor do we have much access to a full perception of our environment given our very limited perception of things. The brain is a transducer that is bombarded by all of the universe we are in through our five senses, which is tuned to nothing more than a very narrow bandwidth."

We tugged at our chins.

"Much is lost on us as a result, stretching all the way back to the infrared and forward to the ultraviolet," said The Engineer. "It's like we are listening to a piano composition but can only hear one note."

"Just because we can't sense it doesn't mean it isn't there, whatever 'it' is," I suggested.

"Our window on reality is really a tiny peep hole," The Engineer added.

Feeling stupid, we refilled our beers.

"Denise Milani," I asked, "real or fake?"

"Definitely a brunette," responded The Engineer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Lawyer Opines on The Nobel Peace Prize and Jump Shots

All one can do is speculate why some woolly, old cats in Oslo decided that the Nobel Peace Prize should go to the still new President of The United States. Even though I am a Democrat, and a big fan of Obama, you have to admit that he has not accomplished anything note worthy, yet. If he had, then I would agree that he is some sort of Messiah.

Turning a super tanker around that has been piloted into dire straights by Jesus freaks, neocons and Wall Street executives for the last eight years will take longer than Obama has been in office to right. It took eight years for Bush and company to damn near destroy the global economy, stunt international relations by telling everyone who didn't agree with them to go piss down their leg, to cripple global environmental efforts while denying credence to science, to bankrupt the Treasury while going woefully in debt to Communist China to the tune of trillions.

While all that disaster was in the works the rest of the world must have been driven to considerable dismay that the leader of the free world couldn't string two words together without making a grammatical error and looked and sounded like a smart ass doing it. In part, awarding Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize was the Nobel award committees' way of saying, 'We had written America off as being populated by a bunch of easily scared half-wits that are unfit to govern themselves, and thank you for proving us wrong. This award is given to all Americans that voted for the skinny smart guy that reads, writes, thinks, speaks perfect English and has a pretty fine jump shot, to boot.'

The other reason Obama was awarded the prize, I call the Frodo Factor. Like Frodo, Obama stepped up and was elected to do what appears, from this point and time, to be close to insurmountable. He's a hero by virtue of volunteering to take on mission impossible--fixing one hell of a mess left by government-hating Jesus freaks, neocons and those greedy scum on Wall Street. All that cabal of idiots can do is breathlessly, and nonsensically, criticize his every move, even while they hear the swacking sound of nothing-but-net that he shot right over their heads.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Engineer puts his 2.7182818284  cents in....

I have never understood why a generation is defined by a timeline such as when decades start or end. What is the difference? Having the beginning of a new decade defining you! Bahh! This holds as much credence as the planets alignments when you are born will have defined your personality type. The doctor's body has more gravitational pull than Jupiter when you are born. Also I might mention that I truly believe that each generation has its greatest and worst but the one thing in common is that the aging generation of before always complains of the next generation in line.

My thoughts are that the actions of generations should be defined by major events that happened when the generation is at its premium adulthood, ready to go out into the world. That is what sets the tone and mood of the country.

Here is my go at it..

Heaven or Hell? Who do ya got? (1939 - 1947)

This generation is defined by the extremes in humanity. From the rumblings of the Third Reich, Pearl Harbor, and war atrocities, this generation volunteers or is dragged into greatness. Combating the insanity of evil rulers who achieved power by demonizing groups or ethnic types, the outside line of cruelness will be redrawn over and over again. By wars end, all bets were off as to what was permissible. Firestorms in Dresden and Tokyo. Not to mention what happened in Hiroshima. Uncovering the atrocities of the could that not affect the sanity of rational thought? On the opposite end was the Marshall Plan of rebuilding what was destroyed in Europe. Starting over and helping rebuild these war torn countries instead of saying "They started it.." was one of the finest hours of this country. This is the real America, helping people rise above the rubble. After defeating the real true "evil empire" this shell shocked generation just wanted to get home and start a family with a house with some lawn and a white picket fence. Too bad for some it was Levittown..

Ignorance is Bliss (1948-1962)

This is the generation that was taught to act like the "Cleavers" and not question anything or act out of the norm. The moms wore pearl necklaces and high heels while serving dinner when "your Father came home". While at the same time, all the new pills for housewife anxiety were selling at an astonishing rate. All complaints were stifled and weirdness was extremely risky. Commies were everywhere in a subversive way, just ask Senator McCarthy. Every boy was to be a engineer and every girl was to be..well.. a housewife. Remember that this is past time for the Rosie the Riveter so they have to hurry up and get back into the kitchen.

In the meantime, the government were building A-bombs at a frantic pace. Super secret stuff, all this atomic power goodness. Everything was atomic. Atomic symbols on diners, furniture, clocks, radium wrist watches.Clean energy to cheap to meter. Ha! Meanwhile, tremendous resources are poured into building bombs. At one time 28 percent of electricity and half of the stainless steel produced in the country went to making bombs. Those poor Mormons(downwinders)in Utah never had a chance. We were testing above ground bombs like the 4th of July. But just think about it, the supposed largest nuclear accident ever to happen, Cherynobl, released less radioactivity than even the smallest of above ground tests in the 50's. But the government said it was safe so don't worry. Especially don't pay attention to those glowing sheep and cows over there, dead on their feet.

Our Nazi scientists were racing against the Soviets Nazi scientists to make the first orbital rocket. Unfortunately, we got the rocket engine scientists, (I reach for the stars but sometimes it lands in London Von Braun), while the Soviets got the guidance system scientists so our rockets flew up extremely fast in circles and blew up and theirs mostly blew up on the launch pad. But all the new influx of engineers eventually fixes the problems. Yeah ENGINEERS! White short sleeve shirts, slide rules, and pocket protectors. We ruled!! The generation had a uneasiness about the situation but 'Government knows best". A complete pressure cooker building steam and heat until something was gonna give. And believe me it does!!

Shit, Stop the car right now! I want out! (1962-1969)

The event finally happened in Oct, 1962. Oh No! Missiles in Cuba! Something I would like to call the "Great PuckerUp" month. This generation hears JFK announce to the country about the blockade and everyone knows there is a strong chance that they made a mistake in not listening to that fallout shelter salesmen with more sincerity. Not that it would have made a difference. Somehow we make it through but it puts the seeds of discontent in the youth. What if there isn't a future in this world if it is a rubble? Remember those "Duck and Cover" turtles? This generation sees the system as completely broke with no chance of being repaired, (at least not with the amount of patience and perseverance that they have), and decide to tune in, turn on, and drop out. Meanwhile, this lofty goal is helped out by the latest in chemical developments and philosophical musings of Huxley, Leary, and various other Shamen. Assassinations of some of the countries leaders help to further demoralize any hope for change. Communes and alternative societies pop up everywhere. Noble experiments but basic human nature doesn't change. For the most part, those social experiments fail because of power structure problems. Hey Man, who made you boss? Bummer, too heavy for me man.I'm splitting. Leaders are being assassinated right and left and the CIA is really starting to flex its techno muscles with spy planes and photos taken from the sky. This fuels the fire of paranoia and conspiracy quacks saying they are responsible for everything but Santa Claus.

Complete narcissistic flop-doodleness (1970-1980)

The age of self awareness, self-help, and finding your inner man beast, cave whatever. Not only is this the generation that taste forgot, with the hideous clothes, colors, and leisure suits, but there is not really any pretense of social change or lofty goals of any kind. It is completely about the parties, self realizations, sex, discos, and narcissism. The social trends, thoughts,and even the music was the equivalent of Twinkies, seemingly good on the first bite but leaving a nauseous feeling after the experience. Threes Company, need I say more? Gas shortages and 55 mph speed limits were the norm. A president that was of high morals and character is, in my opinion, unjustly perceived as a..and I hate using this word but it does seem perfect.. pussy.

I may seem harsh on this group, but it may be just some self reflection because I am a card carrying member. BUT NEVER, and I cannot stress this enough, NEVER did I have one of the Brown Corduroy Leisure suits but I heard they were quite common with lawyers.

I not a President but I played one on a movie once (1981-1989)

This generation was tired of this flaccid bullshit and was ready to take charge! Unadulterated capitalism was in vogue and a take charge actor president was in the office. Making the big bucks on Wall Street was the name of the game and personalities were defined by the labels and brands of products that you had. Even books were written about serial killers that was designer driven. The drugs at the time defined the generation. Screw all that mind expanded doors of perception crap! I need something to make me work hard and party harder. Bring on the cocaine cowboys and the Miami Vice chic bullshit. Money was the name of the game and power was the way to achieve personal fulfillment. A person who was the president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1947 pivotal in getting actors blacklisted, major FBI informant in the fifties, became the President of the United States. Suddenly there was the "Evil Empire" and Star Wars defense. Good ole Edward Teller (Worm Tongue for u Tolkien followers) and his whisperings in the leaders ears! But after ignoring all of the foreign political experts advice on arms limitation, he starts to change his mind after seeing a movie on tv call "The Day After".

The generation had Michael J. Fox movies and the invasion of Grenada to set the tone. One the other side, the Soviets were coming apart at the seams with Chernobyl and having to import a lot of food to stay alive. Afghanistan was a major thorn in their side, partially because of the war being lost because of an influx on new weapons, (stingers), supplied by us. I mean, what could be a better idea than to give people in that desert area high tech weapons? The cold war had become hot again.


Unless you have been holed up in a cave, deep in the foreboding, triple canopy jungles of the Amazonian Basin, with a cell phone that has long since ran out of juice, you may have noticed that the world, so long having offered a sturdy foundation on which to confidently stand, has gone to shit. The economy really sucks, people are losing their jobs at a mind-boggling rate, global warming, and melting polar ice caps portending ecological disaster that could send us back, as a civilization, to the stone age, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News with their daily, and ruthless, assault on logic and reason, medical bills and voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the rising financial inaccessibility to a quality secondary education—the list goes on, and the grass still needs to be mowed.

Reflecting on these unpleasant issues induces the pain of hopelessness and despair, and ultimately keeps liquor stores recession proof. The water bill is coming due, the mortgage payment is two months in arrears, and unemployment benefits have ran their course, and won’t be extended with federal stimulus funds because your Republican governor takes philosophical issue with helping people in need. Contemplating all these things compels me, for one, to indulge in a little therapeutic whining.

Whining doesn’t work unless there is someone to listen to it, and no one likes a whiner. It’s a tricky and delicate undertaking. You lull your unexpected victim in. As soon as you have them in, close enough, seduced by speculation of who’s going to be the starting quarterback next season, or the best of all inconsequential topics, the weather, and they are relaxed and leaning a little too much on one leg, you sock it to them, with a dizzying, dripping—soaked in self pity—whining of untold depth and girth.

This is a brief guide—soon to be released in consecutive volumes of encyclopedic proportions—of how to whine, and, most importantly, what to expect from your victim, depending upon their generational affiliation. To become a truly proficient and adept whiner you need to know your audience, whether they be a member of the greatest generation, a baby boomer, a Gen-X’er, or those adorable, attention-deficient, babblers of Gen-Y. So, here with it:


Members of this species are easily approached, and in fact, if you wander in too close, say within fifty yards, they will flag you down and draw you in, not subtlety and seductively, but with one mighty jerk. You do what you are supposed to, because they are your elders, and you would be consumed with flames of guilt if you pivoted and tore off to hide in the woods leaving them stranded, and dejected, with no one to help them to cross the street. Also, you know, that if World War Three, ecological disaster, or a viral pandemic doesn’t prematurely wipe you off the face of the earth, along with another ninety percent of our species, you too would like to be afforded some dignity and respect having reached upwards of ninety years old, and a good stout ear to take in all of the non sequiturs that will come to your mind in terrifyingly large, typhoon-driven waves.

The secret is in allowing them an hour, or so, of bending (or assaulting, depending upon your particular angle on the matter) your auditory sensibilities, until their mouths grow dry as the soil of Death Valley, and they begin to nod off, ever so lightly, being called into a cat-nap, their only form of sleep. It is at that moment, when their consciousness is waning towards lapsing that you kick in with a hardy whine that has the same sonorous quality as a four year old debuting their skills on the violin.

Some caution is required here, for the reason that this may cause the wrinkled ancestor to jerk too suddenly to consciousness resulting in a dislocated hip, or, possibly, death. You don’t need that weighing on your conscience, what with all your other problems that you have got to whine to someone about.

Assuming your geriatric victim is of stern enough stuff to survive the initial shock of it, they will listen to you, and though without uttering a word, appear terse. You see, they think you are the biggest, dribbling, pathetic pussy they have ever met in their long, and very tough, lives. You have embarked on a mission of total and complete futility.

If they had the strength, which they don’t, they would grab you by the neck, wrestle you to the ground, and while pressing your face hard in the dirt, harangue and assault your ears to the point of bleeding. “When I was a kid, we had the Great Depression; we were lucky when we had some greasy raccoon meat to eat for supper; if we survived that, we were rewarded with getting to fight in World War Two; You know what it’s like seeing you’re buddy, his leg blown off, bleeding to death, screaming and crying for his momma? You can take your wus-ass existential flap, and stick it up your ass.”

But, as I mentioned, they probably do not possess the fortitude for as much violence as they used to. Instead they glare at you through folded and myopic eyes, and do not utter a word. And as soon as you give them an opening, assuming they have not gone to meet their maker in the intervening time, they will sharply divert your whining to the eighteenth re-telling of the time that their cousin Jim, who was an oilfield worker before the war, went to college on the G.I. Bill, and got a degree in electrical engineering, had this cute little dog, named Roosevelt, and he had these intestinal problems—not the dog, but Jim—and, etc.


“Why fucking bother?” and “Are you shitting me?” are two rhetorical retorts that come briskly to mind when contemplating whining to a former hippy, turned yuppie, now dyspeptic AARP member whose 401(k) has the vitality of the rotting road kill that they ran over yesterday in their Lexus SUV. If you are a Gen-X’er, like me, you have gone back to this well too often, and know that drawing the bucket back up from that dark hole will reward you with little more than snakes and spiders, not the cool, wise, cleansing elixir of ambrosia, maaaan.

Whoa. Am I being a little harsh? Yes. So, in that vain, I shall continue.

Whining to this group, induces in them robust, impatient finger tapping, frowning and eye rolling. You won’t get very far into it before they shut you down with an agonizing lecture about how you need to adjust your attitude. There are two problems, the way they see it: you are bumming them out, and you are not talking about them. And they are really all there is.

If you are lucky, after a well strung-together whine, they may offer this, while checking the time on their Breitling wrist watch: “Well, good luck. It’s a tough old world out there, and it’s almost tee-time.”

Really, you can’t whine to this group. They are revolted, and easily nauseated, by anyone diverting their focus and attention from their own immediate needs, and well-being; don’t fucking bother. Just hand it to them for the breath taking mess they created for the rest of us to deal with for a thousand years to come. You don’t even have to use complete sentences. Just list it for them: “Watergate, Vietnam, The Bush Doctrine, the stained blue dress, free market greed, smoked salmon, Iraq, wage stagnation, hollow blustering about attitude adjustments, and mud baths.” They will be relieved when you are done, and quickly get back to thinking of themselves and what they need.


Ah, my comrades, we know what absurdity is all about. We live, sleep, drink and eat absurdity. We lather up with it every morning in the shower. We blow it out of our noses, and pick it out of our ears. It’s everywhere and everything. And this is fine, usually. We are well equipped to deal with it. When we were babies, our mothers mixed in a shot glass-full of absurdity in our formula. We were raised on this stuff!

But, alas, from time to time, and after half of a fifth of hard booze has mysteriously evaporated from the bottle, we feel like indulging in a symphonic whining session. It’s a cleansing exercise (if a little absurd), and is our method of confessional catharsis. Its utility lies in its psychologically beneficial effects. But you must hold the thought that it is really an absurd endeavor contemporaneously while whining, less you should start really believing yourself, and turn to dark thoughts that life is truly, absolutely absurd. The trick is to believe that God is a humorist, motivated by hilarity disguised as tragedy, and everything will ultimately be fine, unless you’re an atheist, and then you are absurdly fucked.

We have leavened whining to an art form. We have contests to see who can whine most convincingly, with great alacrity and adroitness. We stand and applaud when someone pulls it off really well.

After all, we are good whiners because we have a lot to whine about: The blissful indifference of The Greatest Generation, comfortably riding out the golden years on social security and a descent pension, who otherwise don’t have it in them to fight anymore; the crap sandwich our boomer moms and dads have made for us with the admonition to put a little Dijon on it, and to quit our whining because it is bringing them down; the short end of the stick we have been shafted with, planted in the nutrient starved soils in the looming shadow of the boomers who wont freakin’ retire and clear a little space in the job market; and the fluttery, circle jerking, attention-dependent, attention- deficient chattiness of our future saviors—Gen Y.

When nary a drop remains in the empty fifth, and the beast, Absurdity, has been thoroughly flogged, and the whining winds down in a concluding and nasally C note, and we are called off to dream of authenticity, equality and selflessness—or put another way, beauty, truth and goodness—we bow our heads in supplication, and chant like absurdly tired Gregorian Monks: “Oh well, whatever, never mind.”


Like, OMG, like, they’re too busy, busy, busy to be creaped-out by your whining. But they may offer, out of an unfounded deference to the possibility of receiving some equally unfounded positive feedback from anyone who looks older then them, to suffer some of your whining. As soon as it dawns upon them that you are not thumping the lever of the WII Rockband guitar of immediate gratification, but rather stirring the heart of despondency with a second hand, and out of tune, fiddle, they will offer you the latest, feel-good, cure-all that their psychiatrist fixed them up with last week.

They are also likely, after hearing you out a bit, to suggest that what you really need is a happy, chatty and enormous circle of friends with which you can flap your gums, or text your fingers into bloody stumps with, about really mind-numbingly mundane tripe that doesn’t register two, on a scale of one to ten, on the substance meter.

For those with a proclivity for whining, this group will reinvigorate your verve to whine, to make up for their lack of whining. Someone has to do it.

Maybe they are just too young to have anything to whine about. They are used to being poor, and/or living with their parents, and that’s hunky-dory because their parents love, adore and scratch their bellies like they were cute little puppies (that don’t whine, because they are too hopped up on prescription anti-psychotics). They simply are not as beholden to the need for money as the rest of us, and can out wait us—no mortgage, little in the way of having to pay taxes, and they don’t plan to have kids of their own until they are in their fifties when they will spawn a biogenetically engineered army of happy, uncomplaining ubermanths.

Whining tends to bounce off them like a dying and indecipherable native tribal tongue—they don’t get it, and suspect that if they did that it might cause some sort of discomfort, and that’s, OMG, yucky and negative.

After all, they have a lot to look forward to. When the boomers finally throw in their Ping golf ball towel, Gen-Y will be in their late thirties, and still ready to rock, while us Gen-X’ers will just want to be left alone to do what we do best, which is anything without someone looking over our shoulders giving us positive feedback and constructive criticism, who is ignorant and unreceptive to artfully crafted, high-quality whining.


Fear not, for as long there are souls enshrouded with the needs of its meaty corpus, a little whining is in order. A lot of whining is in order when those needs are threatened, as they seem to be from all sides presently.

When damnation and ruin is the only thing left in the refrigerator for dinner, shove your index finger deep in your nostril of choice, and pluck out a big gob of whiny boogers, roll them around your mouth, and savor its bitter-sweetness. You might just learn to like it. If not, whine about it.