Ramblin’ Man: Reader Rants Revealed!

Reader Rants Revealed by Vago Damitio I realize some of these reader rants will be a little dated, that is because my deadline creates nearly two weeks of delay between writing and press time. It is beyond my control. Additionally, I reserve the right to edit mail to its minimum size while still preserving the spirit … Continue reading “Ramblin’ Man: Reader Rants Revealed!”

Reader Rants Revealed
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rambling man columnI realize some of these reader rants will be a little dated, that is because my deadline creates nearly two weeks of delay between writing and press time. It is beyond my control.

Additionally, I reserve the right to edit mail to its minimum size while still preserving the spirit in which it is sent, in order to maximize space. Keep em coming!

B’ham Man, How did the boys who lit Whatcom Creek become heroes????? Mayor Mark Asmundson tried to put a positive spin on the boys’ contribution. He was motivated, I am sure, by consideration for the boys’ families. The media motivated by the thrill of a good spin, jumped on the bandwagon giving these children the ludicrous oxymoron tag of “Accidntal Heroes”. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Heroes are people who make a conscious choice to put themselves at risk for the good of someone else. To apply this term to boys playing with a lighter, demeans the word “hero”. It could have been an even bigger disaster, but that does not make the boys heroes, accidental or otherwise. I don’t agree as the mayor said to justify his position, that it was inevitable that it would be ignited. We will never know what else could have happened. Life is funny that way. A friend of mine was given a card once after getting out of a particularly bad relationship. It read “ If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.” On behalf of parents everywhere trying to teach their children not to play with matches and lighters, please don’t make heroes of the boys who did. They will serve us all better as a horrible warning. Also I can’t believe people are so upset there is a pipe line in our community. Yes, be upset that it was not maintained, inspected and evaluated properly. You don’t have explosions in Everson, Anacortes, and Whatcom Creek all in the same 2 year period if any of the people working for Olympic or charged in its regulatory oversight did their job well. By all means be pissed at them. We are gas dependent. Like it or not, when we have a place to go we most often put gas in our cars to get there. It would be lovely if we didn’t but we do. Olympic needs to be held responsible and pay for everything that can possibly be done to restore the environment and compensate the families destroyed by their negligence. The farther away we remove the pipeline, the more expensive our gas will be. Would the same people so indignant that there is a pipeline in their community be happier if it doubles the price of gas to bring it in in some safe way? —J.L. Goolsby

J.L.,

You’re absolutely right. Why do we allow the media to direct our emotions and feelings? I think Mayor Asmundson was practicing the Bing Crosby Method of Accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative, Latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between. The boys were not heroes, but how does a community cope with such a unnecessary loss? Personally, I’d prefer to see righteous outrage than sheeplike acquisence and apathy. We are gas dependent. The reason that pipeline is there is because we use gas, jet fuel, and oil products. It would be nice, if people used this as an incentive to decrease dependence on fossil fuels. My personal opinion is that the price of petroleum products should be tripled or quadrupled to reflect the environmental and personal damage which our dependence has caused. Thanks for the rants. –Bham Man

Let me know what you hate, what you see in our society that has you worried, and what’s on your mind. Until next time remember….WHAT ISN’T WORTH SAYING OR DOING ISN’T WORTH THINKING ABOUT.

Cell Block Party in the Police State

In general, when I go to a party and see a dozen cops, I don’t stay. We call that a Cell Block Party.

Block Party in the Police State by 

rambling man columnIt’s great to live in a community that likes to get together with their friends and neighbors. Block party is a great idea….that’s been ruined by people out to gain political kudos.

As I walked around downtown during the free portion of the event, I couldn’t help noticing there were 12 cops within my view at any time. That’s not counting event security in their yellow shirts.

In general, when I go to a party and see a dozen cops, I don’t stay. This time I did and I was a little disappointed by the booths and vendors. Nothing too special that I noticed. No fantastic treats I was willing to part with $6 for.

I was looking forward to listening to Swamp Mama Johnson at the paid evening show. Those women know how to make people dance, it’s always a great show when Swamp Mama is playing. After going in we were confronted by the same dilemma many people encountered at cell block party; if you wanted a drink you either paid way too much for a Budweiser or Redhook and sat in the beer garden in uncomfortable seats that had no view of the stage…or you could leave…of course then you had to pay another $15 to get back in.

Casa Que Pasa had a tequila bar set up on Cornwall. Just outside the gate. We decided to leave. Travis Holland, the owner of Casa related an interesting story. It seems he went to quite a bit of expense and time to get all the proper licenses and rent a space that was included in Block Party, so why was his establishment just outside the gate? The brown shirt Gestapo organizers decided to move the gate 20 feet in so their Budweiser wouldn’t encounter any competition.

Cell Block Party. To tell you the truth, I thought Block Party stunk. I ended up sitting outside the gate listening to Swamp Mama J, sorta pissed at the fact that I couldn’t get back in. Even Disneyland and The Gorge give you a stamp to go out to the car. I think I had more fun outside than I would’ve inside anyway.

I had a few beers at Father Johns Pub. I used to tend bar there when it was The Station. John has done a remarkable job of giving the place some flavor and class. It was a real scumbag joint when I worked there. I broke up 10 fights in my first week . John runs a much tighter ship.

So anyway, back to block party. It’s nice to see events like that, see everyone out having fun, let the hair down a bit. Too bad the almighty dollar has to become such a factor. Ski to Sea still holds a place in my heart for good free fun. Everyone out giving it their all. Revelers and merrymakers, athletes and bystanders. My favorite part about Ski to Sea is that when you ask anyone “What’s the prize for the winning teams?” Nobody knows…or cares. Ski to Sea is all about the fun, while Cell Block Party is more about gaining prestige for a certain civic group and (to be fair) raising money for a good cause. It’s a neat idea…that I will never attend again. Nice job organizers.

MAIL

Bham man, I was thinking about starting a protest group to protest the bombing of Serbia. Margaret Meade said something like one individual can make a difference and I would like to make that difference because I don’t think we should be bombing people.

Maybe you could help me spread the word and get more people to protest the bombs that we are dropping on Serbia. Maybe you could use your column to tell people about my protest group. Would you like to join it? Thanks, Matt L. Bellingham

Matt,

Margaret Meade lived in a different time when corporations didn’t rule the world. People don’t matter anymore. If we were bombing corporate offices, I’m sure the mega-corps would put a stop to it. What the government is doing is okay though because they’re only killing people. I’d love to help you with this protest group thing but you left out some key info and haven’t answered my e-mails. Where will your group meet? How will you protest? Are you a violent group? Do you have an agenda? C’mon man, you’re playing right into the corporations hands. They would love it if the only protesters are spaced out hippies with no definitive goal. Check out Jim Hightower’s column to find out more about those nasty corporations and get back to me, I probably won’t join, but I’ll help get the word out.

How to Stop a Tank

How to Stop a Tank and Other Useful Information
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rambling man columnRock the vote…they say. What’s the point when the system is so locked into a basic premise that is so incredibly wrong. The big problem is that I don’t feel my government is evil, just misguided. Somewhere along the way from the days of aristocracy and peasants, the peasants bought into the aristocracies lie that as long as some of the peasants could become aristocracy, it was okay if most of the peasants stayed in poverty ridden streets fighting over the crumbs. Look around the world. We represent the aristocracy. Of course, that doesn’t make us exempt from having people who are so sure having cash is the answer to all of their problems that they are willing to sell drugs, rob innocents, rape the planet of resources, and cash in on their sex. That last one includes leeching scumbags and prostitutes. Those are societal driven illnesses. We see the problems in our society quite clearly: crime, drugs, violence in schools, poverty. Instead of attacking the root of these problems, we offer “Band-Aid” solutions. More cops, stricter drug laws, censorship, destruction of liberty, and welfare. When are we going to wake up to the fact that our culture is held together by a quickly stretching net of adhesive tape. The peasants are beginning to get restless. Capitalism means you get to have the chance to climb out of the sewer, but it also means most of the peasants have to remain there. Who am I to complain? Privileged white males have nothing to complain about, right? Bullshit. I can see our society sucks even if I’m not black, red, yellow, gay, handicapped, or insane. The insanity is that this “system” has suckered us all into believing life runs like the lotto. Don’t get me wrong, I got lucky. I live in the Pacific Northwest, I’m not likely to be persecuted for my race, sex, or sexual orientation. I have a better chance of getting hired, rented to, or talked to on the train. So what. Doesn’t change the fact that lots of other people are getting the shaft. It’s not that I feel our society is unfair to me, it’s that our society is not fair. I bet old Karl Marx was right about the masses rising up when they realize they’ve been getting screwed, the problem in the United States is that Americans are so brain washed into believing happiness is only as far away as a sport utility vehicle. We’re like a bunch of retarded kids who keep believing the clown is coming (fuck political correctness). Robert Heinlein once said “ manners are the grease that makes the wheels of society turn” . Personally, I’d like to see the wheels grind to halt before we PC ourselves into oblivion. All these “hatelabels” are to keep us from coming together. I don’t care if you’re a nigger, chink, retard, whore, faggot, logger, or cop, this dago mick won’t judge you until you prove yourself one way or the other. The linguistics make us hate and fear each other and it’s stupid. We perpetuate it just like we perpetuate violence by sanctioning violent retaliation to violent behavior. Again, don’t get me wrong…if you shoot at me, I’ll shoot back….but that doesn’t make it right. It’s just a lot easier if nobody needs to shoot at anyone else. I guess that’s a bit of what I call blue skying though. The world is a nasty violent place and you may have to defend yourself from tanks someday.

Y2K/ WWIII WEAPON TIP #2: HOW TO STOP A TANK
Tanks are vulnerable to terrain. A Sherman tank will sink in a cornfield. The first step to stopping a tank is having an understanding of the terrain you’re fighting on. Use it to your best advantage. Bulldozers and tractors can be used to flip tanks onto their sides. Civilians don’t have much of a chance against tanks, but it can be done. Molotov cocktails can be thrown over the engine compartment. If sufficient air is kept from the fans, any internal combustion engine will stop functioning. There is a way to create a naplm like fuel from common materials, but I’m not in to revealing how to make weapons. I like the tactics. Necessity is the mother of invention. Explosives can be used, to blow the tread of older tanks. A 55 gallon drum of explosive buried as a mine can do the trick. You can figure out your own detonation system. The best tactic in any situation where you are outgunned is to set up snipers or to disappear into your familiar terrain until a better opportunity presents itself.

Iraq, Yugoslavia, and a Road in Fairhaven Park

FAIRHAVEN PARK, YUGOSLAVIA, and IRAQ
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rambling man columnThere’s a new road cut into the woods behind Fairhaven Park. I don’t know why the road is there but it sure ruins a nice walk and some really cool BMX jumps.

There was a whole network of jumps and dirt tracks back there, not anymore.You can expect to see a few more kids hanging out on Railroad Avenue because their bike jumps got plowed over.

Those jumps looked like a lot of work to build, but I suppose it’s more important to build more crappy looking planned communities with generic looking homes. You would think the homeowners around here would take up arms against developers. Every tree that gets cut lowers the potential value of homes because it diminishes the tourism potential of the area. That means home values will remain steady or drop depending on how available affordable housing becomes.

I want to own a home someday but not in Compton, and not in an overdeveloped Stepford neighborhood. I wish Bellingham would put a moratorium on new development. Buy back any undeveloped land and turn it into parks and playgrounds and historic markers, and tourist information booths. I’m worried about that road but at least theres nobody shooting at us or dropping bombs on our country.

In Kosovo, however, a lot of people are dying every day. Ethnic Albanians want to be independent of Serbia. Serbia doesn’t want that. There is no easy solution. Gross human rights violations are being made. I’m afraid we’ll just start dropping bombs like we’ve done with Iraq. The Iraq bombing campaign has been sustained longer than any other US strike since Vietnam. We’ve been bombing them a few times a week! Nobody really talks about it anymore. We are killing people. Stop for a second and think about it. That’s what bothers me…nobody is thinking about it.

It deserves a moment..at least. What are we trying to accomplish? To overthrow the regime? Or to just have somebody to bomb? It’s crazy. Real people with real families, real loves, hates, jobs, hopes and fears are dying as a result of our bombs and sanctions. I’m sure of that, but I’m not sure why. If you know, fill me in. I wonder if some country might “accidentally” launch something at us. China is upset, Italy is mad, Iraq and all the Arab countries are a bit sore over this whole bombing thing…Maybe on the eve of Y2K Mother Russia will get her last laugh…oops! sorry, it’s our computers, don’t retaliate…please…we didn’t have the money to fix em..honest….

A Rant from the Ramblin’ Man

A Rant from the Ramblin’ Man
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rambling man columnHey, if you’re lookin’ to read about some weird long winded guys vacation outta state, you’re in the wrong column.

I’m here to talk to you about fun, local stuff in 400 words.

How’s this for fun? I was pulled over two weeks ago for speeding down Yew Street hill. They impounded my car, because that’s the law, I guess.

As a result, Johnson’s Towing received a hefty sum from my sad bank account. Who says Bellingham doesn’t encourage local business? We legislate it. After that, I mentioned to the officer that he might as well send a patrol car to pick up my suicide stricken body in about an hour. It was an emotional moment. I had no license, no insurance, and my registration was at home.

I visualized my job ending because of no transportation, my house disappearing because of no job, and my new  magazine Conchsense, going up in smoke.  I’d never kill myself, I’ve suffered from friends that did that. But the Lieutenant didn’t know that. I wanted him to feel the suffering his job causes.

Our society discriminates against the poor, and there’s no difference in Bellingham. Is it fair to punish a single mom, or even underpaid single guy with the same traffic fines Bill Gates would get? No, it’s not. It’s a system designed to keep the poor down and give the semblance of freedom. I was sent to the mental hospital by the good lieutenant for a 10 minute session with a psychiatrist ( I had to pay him too! Not to mention the insurance company, the courthouse, the speeding ticket, the department of licensing  and the Hospitals emergency room) The doc told me I was fine but too theatrical, and emotional and sent me on my way.

The upside is I got a free ride in a cop car while handcuffed,spent two hours in a urine smelling rubber room waiting for the Doc to arrive back from playing golf, and got to get rid of all that money.

Next fun issue. The pipeline is going to re-open. Why? Because it’s a rich corporation that runs it. If it was a poor single guy running that pipeline, he’d be on death row, but its not. It’s a rich corporate entity with lots of cash to grease palms with.

I’ve heard people say, we have no choice. Bullshit. Who’s town is it anyway? Are people the residents here? Why does that corporation get to come in here and tell us what to do where we live, and where they destroyed. Society sucks kids. That’s all there is to it, and the big problem is most people know that they gotta put up and shut up to make it. Not me. I never do seem to know when to keep my mouth shut. I doubt you’ll even see this in print….until I print it. Oops! Too many words, guess I’ll shut up.

WHAT ISN’T WORTH SAYING OR DOING, ISN’T WORTH THINKING ABOUT -SO GET OFF YOUR ASS AND SAY IT OR DO IT.

Seargent Ramblin’ Man Reviews the Haggen Market

Seargent Ramblin’ Man Reviews the Haggen Market

Seargent Ramblin’ Man Reviews the Haggen Market
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rambling man columnAT-TEN-TION!! First of all let me tell you that there ain’t no place that serves chow like my beloved Marine Corps. When you make 15,000 servings of macaroni and cheese, you really get it down. Back in my training days I was never easy on my recruits and I’m not gonna be easy on any of these slacker restaurants either. Tell ‘em Seargent Ramblin’ Man is coming.

For my first inspection, I chose Haggen Market. I expected the worst, grocery stores are no place for a restaurant. I stepped into the chow line at the Asian foods. The other customers were standing further apart than they needed to be. There’s no reason to make people stand in the aisle, so I ordered them to close the gap. Assholes to belly buttons.

One old woman tried to disobey, but 15 push-ups convinced her that “assholes to bellybuttons” was the better alternative. The personnel behind the counter were friendly and efficient. I noted it in my report to the editor. I ordered the orange chicken with white rice and pot stickers. On an impulse I picked up some sushi before passing through the pay station. I doubted it would be good. I asked the clerk if she liked working there. To my surprise, she smiled and said, oh, it’s great, I’m really glad I work here.

Haggen runs a tight ship. Everything was spick-n-span, so it surprised me when the employees were not suffering from low morale. I sat in an uncomfortable cafeteria style booth. It wasn’t as comfortable as the NCO club. I summoned my willpower and tasted the horrible stuff. It was as bad as what passes for Chinese Food in Beijing…and the Sushi, it was the worst I’ve had since leaving Japan. I finished it, but dreamed of chipped beef on white toast. I left impressed none the less. They must treat they’re employees right. And the employees obviously care how the company appears to the public. They run a tight ship.

Inspection Scores

hygiene….10 (very clean, well managed)
efficiency….10 (average wait from entrance to eating 4.3 minutes)
consistency…10 (the food is always the same..exactly)
taste…6 (10 being as good as Marine chow halls)
authenticity….8 (as authentic as any I’ve had in the USA)
staff…10 (treat the troops right and they’ll love you)

That’s all for this week. Semper Fi.

DIS-MISSED.