19 December 2008

And Me without a Size 10 to Hurl

I have to admit that there have been times when I have been perturbed enough at our current President to hurl a shoe at him, but I have enough sense and self-preservation smarts not to do it. I mean, he is a world political figure and, more importantly, heavily guarded by people who would gladly give or take a bullet for him. So what made this Iraqi reporter think he could have a hissy fit in the presence of the President of the United States and get away with it? He's lucky the secret service men didn't take him out right then and there. He could have been throwing a shoe bomb at President Bush, for all anyone knew. Apparently that did occur to someone at some point, since the shoes were allegedly destroyed while testing them for chemicals. Personally I think the Bush Administration had them destroyed because it didn't want to be embarrassed by the amount of money the reporter might have raised by auctioning off those shoes on eBay. He could have easily retired early or at least gotten enough money to buy a small army to fight back against the schoolyard bully.

That's how that whole scene plays out to me, like a skinny little nine-year-old getting mad at the bully and his gang who keeps stealing his lunch money. I'm not saying the skinny kid doesn't have just cause to want to throw a shoe at his enemy, but I don't see what he hoped to gain by actually doing it. He'll be lucky if he gets off with just losing his job and press privileges. Of course he's become a folk hero amongst some of our enemies for that supremely childish act of rebellion. So if he manages to escape serious prison time, or a quiet death that appears to be an unfortunate accident, he may be able to write a book about his brave exploits and make it to the New York Times bestseller list. That's exactly the kind of stunt that's likely to end that way. But frankly, I don't think the reporter planned to do what he did. I just think his outrage at the current state of affairs got the best of him and he did what any unthinking human would do--he threw a temper tantrum, and that temper tantrum may very well land him in prison for a very long time.

If he gets off too lightly, for whatever reason, how many more of us are going to start carrying spare shoes to throw at unwitting political figures? I'm already thinking that stilettoes might be more effective. The scary thing is that the actions of a lone reporter is sparking a whole new craze in USA-hating countries. Heck, they may decide that it's noble and brave to hurl shoes at any American, and I really take issue with being blamed for the actions of an administration I very definitely did not even pretend to have voted into office. However, if they're going to start throwing shoes, at least throw some sensible shoes my way. Oh, I'm sorry. That's old school lesbian. Since the advent of the L-Word, I guess I should be requesting some expensive Italian pumps or maybe the stilettos after all. I'll just have to make sure I dodge as well as W or those stilettos might leave a mark. Personally, I think I'll stick to my non-leather Birkenstocks. Size 39 R, please.

Just in case you're living in a tent with no television or newspaper and have no idea what I'm talking about, I've included a few links to bring enlightenment to you.





10 December 2008

Just When You Thought it was Safe to Return to the Mall

We recently had a fatal shooting at a mall in the Seattle area. Truth be known, I worked at this very mall for about ten years, having left there this past summer only because the company for which I worked fifteen years decided to close our store location. This had nothing to do with the current economic situation. This was a matter of one company doing a non-hostile takeover after a merger several years ago. Turns out, it does feel rather hostile, after all, to the thousands of people left without jobs, once they did away with our executives and office staff and started closing all the existing store locations they viewed as superfluous. It'd be different if the company that took over was doing well, but they are not. They took over a company that has been around since before the Great Depression and has weathered many an economic storm and still remained profitable. The same thing could not be said of the parent company, who is becoming increasingly endebted to an Australian company that keeps bailing them out. Eventually, no doubt, when you go into their stores, they'll be greeting you thus: "G'day, mates."

All that aside, the shooting at this mall at the south end of Seattle, was gang-related and had nothing to do with corporate takeovers. It involved underage teens shooting underage teens. Two male teens were shot. One died; the other is still recovering from his gunshot wound. The shooter has been apprehended and has pleaded "not guilty," of course. After the shooting, the police had to put the mall into a state of lockdown and search the entire mall area, looking for anyone connected to the shooting. This was on a busy Saturday just before the Thanksgiving holidays, so of course, merchants lost oodles of money and mall customers lost oodles of confidence in the mall's security. But short of having metal detectors going into the malls, how is anybody supposed to prevent something like that from happening? It doesn't lead to a safe feeling.

Earlier this year, the mall went through something similar. The main difference is that no one died. I was working the night of that shooting and subsequent lockdown. I was the manager in charge and had to huddle a couple dozen captive customers in my store for four hours while we waited for the police to search the mall for the shooter. It's a big mall. Thank goodness we had a bathroom in our store. Not all of the stores do. It was nearly one in the morning before I was able to get in my car and begin the hour-long drive home to the safety of my house on the Kitsap Peninsula. When I got home, I immediately got online and sent a quick email to my mother. I didn't say anything about the shooting. I just wanted her to hear from me at a time that was clearly after the shooting incident. That way if she heard about it on the news, which wasn't likely since she lives on the opposite side of the country, she would know at least that I was alive. If she didn't hear about it on the news, I wasn't going to tell her about it and make her worry. I did finally tell her about it after I was no longer working there.

All this drama can't compare to a situation that occurred this week in a mall in Bangladesh. It seems that a bull got loose and went storming through the mall, wreaking general havoc amongst shoppers and causing damage to shops. No one was injured fortunately. Ahem. They do live in a different world over there, do they not? I mean, I've had plenty of experience with service dogs in my store, but never a service bull. As it turns out, it was not a service bull at all. Or maybe it was performing the ultimate act of service. It was on its way to be slaughtered to provide meat for the poor. Maybe it had gotten wind of its fate so it went on one last shopping rampage. Maybe it had simply heard about the sales. I don't know why it charged on the mall, but what truly puzzles me is how it charged the mall at all. Is this an outdoor mall, or did someone hold the door open for it? The article I read said that it was a "posh shopping mall" where this happened. I guess we define posh differently over here, or we don't use the word at all, lest we want to be subject to lots of sniggering behind hands. I just don't think of cattle markets and shopping malls as subjects that belong in the same paragraph, much less the same sentence. So which is worse? To be trampled by a rogue bull? Or shot by a stray bullet from a teenage gang member's gun? Hmm. I think I'll stick to shopping online for now.

If you'd like more bull, check out the article at:

Warning: Kissing Could be Hazardous to Your Health

Nope, we're not talking about mono here, we're talking about a man in China that kissed his girl to deaf. Not death. She's still alive. However, she is going to be deaf for a couple of months, courteous of her overly exuberant kisser of a boyfriend. I am not making this up. This is one of those times when truth is way stranger than fiction. I can't even imagine what kind of kissing would cause someone's ear drum to rupture. All I can say is that the guy's mouth should be registered with authorities as a deadly weapon.

Here's a link for you to read more about the deafly kiss, lest you think I've completely lost my marbles. I'm not making this stuff up. I just happen to come across it in the news online.


This story brings to mind the lyrics of a song Faith Hill sings, "This Kiss," where she talks about a kiss being criminal. Well, this one certainly would certainly qualify.

05 December 2008

Who Thunk of That?

What's the deal with our beloved English language where a word and what would appear to be its opposite actually mean the same thing? For example, there is ravel. Then there is unravel. You would think by adding un as a prefix to the word that it would negate the root word's meaning. When the scarf you're knitting begins to ravel, it means that it is coming undone. When your knitting begins to unravel, it SHOULD mean that it is somehow magically coming back together, but oh no, it's not so. There's just more of it coming undone. It's like the Law of Entropy on steriods. In this case, you really are damned if you do and damned if you don't. One way or the other, you're going to end up with a pile of yarn and no scarf. Ravel and unravel mean exactly the same thing.

How about sever and dissever? Should you ever accidentally sever your finger, not only do you want to get to the hospital quickly with your injured hand and the severed finger, you also want to make sure that instead of instructing the hospital staff to dissever your finger, you make sure they know that you want them to sew the already severed finger back on. Otherwise you might end up with more than one missing digit. While that may be a little far fetched, it does make you scratch your head and say, "What the ...?"

The same is true with flammable and inflammable. In this case, the confusion is not merely annoying or uncomfortable, it could be downright dangerous and potentially deadly. If a material is flammable, you definitely want to take precautions and keep it away from a source of heat. Just make sure you don't fall into the word trick of thinking that a material labelled inflammable means that it won't catch fire. Otherwise your world might go up in smoke because the words mean exactly the same thing. Fortunately the word inflammable has become mostly obsolete, which I suspect had to do with the internal infernal conflict of the words in question. Still it makes you stop and wonder, "Who thunk of that?"