I've Always Been This Awkward - Seventeen

So I read a lot. Sue me. I read books; novels, poetry, and non-fiction accounts alike. I subscribe to a couple of magazines like the New Yorker, Harper's, TapeOp, and Reason. I read stuff on the Internets including several of the mainstream news sites like BBC News, Guardian UK, New York Times, LA Times, and the Washington Post. There are also other sources of pleasure and fact gathering on the Internets like Salon, Wired, and Street Boners and TV Carnage. There are also a couple of blogs I read too, but that's just icing on the literary cake—so sweet yet so empty for the most part. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I figure it to be a good thing to read a lot. It allows you to know stuff (like, 1% of a thousand and one topics). People believe you to be smart if you read. Believe me, I'm not bragging and I'm not publication-dropping either. I'm only illustrating that I consider myself to be somewhat well read from a diverse selection of sources and styles. Reading is fundamental and all.

And oh the stuff that's available to read too. Just today I read and learned some new things about airplanes. I learned that Regina Lynn is leaving Wired. I read about John Edward's love child. And I read about kayakers who navigated the LA River because the Army Corps of Engineers won't grant the LA River "river status" because they've determined it to be unnavigable. Go figure, kayakers.

Today's Washington Post, however, had several things going that were very interesting to me, mostly because they fall into certain patterns that caught my attention. First, unintentionally juxtaposed with an article about Exxon/Mobil's record 2nd quarter profit of $11.68 billion was an article about General Motor's 2nd quarter losses of $15.5 billion. Ironic? Maybe. Think about it for a minute.

But the most interesting things in today's Post were two articles related to marijuana. The first was titled, "Slow and Steady Gets the Bust As Turtle's Trail Leads to Drugs." Here's the scoop, a researcher's six-inch box turtle with a little radio transmitter glued to its shell was wandering around Rock Creek Park. The National Park Service researcher has been following this particular turtle, Turtle #72, for seven years and periodically tracks it down for a visit. Well guess what Turtle #72 stumbled upon? Somebody's stash of "suspicious plants" growing right there in the park, indeed. Turns out that a 19-year-old from Chevy Chase, Maryland—a drummer in a "local band" and college student—is the suspected grower. Just a kid. But a kid taken down by a turtle, the National Park Service and the police departments of two jurisdictions. Yay for the good guys!

The other marijuana story in today's Post is even stranger. Here's the title, "Police Raid Berwyn Heights Mayor's Home, Kill His 2 Dogs." The story: A SWAT team raided a house in the town of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. The SWAT team shot and killed two dogs during this raid. The raid came about because a shipping facility identified a package to be delivered to this particular home as being filled with marijuana. Thirty-two pounds worth! So you have a picture in mind by now? A drug house filled with burly black or Hispanic men. Pit bulls, maybe rottweilers. Guns and whores. Chaos in the ghetto, right? No!

The homeowner, in this case, is Cheye Calvo, the mayor of Berwyn Heights. His wife, Trinity Tomsic? She's a finance officer for the state of Maryland. Let's see, who else was in the house? Oh, Tomsic's mother. The dogs? A 4-year-old and a 7-year-old Labrador retriever. Police killed the dogs because they said they "posed a threat." Police had witnessed Calvo walking these dogs prior to the raid.

The box (32 pounds!) was addressed to Tomsic. For all intents and purposes, these are upper-middle socioeconomic white people. In fact, they are public servants. And the county sheriff and county police departments that carried out the raid just didn't bother to inform the Berwyn Heights chief of police. Oh well...I'm just sayin'.

So Calvo and Tomsic claim to not know how this box, still unopened until the raid, made it to their doorstep. But that's beside the point.

Now I'm thinking, here we are as a people. Here we are as a nation. Here we are on the evolutionary continuum of all of humankind. Neither am I advocating anything illegal which should be legal nor am I going to lecture anyone on legal things that should be illlegal (hello handguns). But, c'mon, there's something abstractly ridiculous about both of these cases/stories, right? Or is it me? A turtle? A 32 pound box of pot? Dead Labs. Just who did Calvo and Tomsic piss off?

We now exist in a nation divided. And by divided I don't mean stupid red state/blue state bullshit. I don't mean liberal/conservative. I don't mean city/country. I don't mean black/white. I don't even mean rich/poor. What I mean is that we are divided between our government and its own citizenry. And it's our collective fault, too. We have let our U.S. American government run completely out of control. Our government is like that crazy-ass computer that Richard Prior built in Superman III. Our government is like all shenanigans and tom-foolery and self-preservation anymore. All three branches of our government have devolved into fraternity-house hi-jinx.

Have we become that weird and desperate? Really? That's all I'm asking. I mean, I read a lot and there's plenty of good and interesting and heartwarming stuff out there in the world. Okay, "heartwarming" is overstated. But for the most part we're just dumb all over (and a little ugly on the side). What has happened to representational government? They're all hypocrites!

Sigh. We're just fat, depressed, and lazy. We're all so afraid of every boogyman our government frightens us with and we're all hopelessly and shamelessly addicted to every product and resource that the corporations can sell us. What the fuck, people? It's almost not funny anymore.

But, hey, at least there's stuff to read; to distract ourselves from the idiocy. At least we can read all about what Britney's up to. That's news.


I've Always Been This Awkward

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