Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fortress Amerika - Day Twenty Four: English First!

I went to a restaurant the other night and had the most horrible experience!

I was in the mood for ethnic food, so I picked a restaurant with a good reputation. My first hint that the evening would be a disaster should have been seeing that the restaurant didn't have an English name.

We were seated quickly even though the restaurant was busy. The waiter handed us our menus and we hit the first stumbling block. None of the dishes had English names! How in the world can you expect Americans to order when the menu isn't in English? I summoned the waiter over and he translated the menu. When he walked off, he and another coworker began conversing in their language. Right there in front of all us Americans! How Rude!

I was livid at that point. I called for the manager. When she arrived at tableside, I started my complaint: "How dare you come to this country and use a foreign language! This is America! SPEAK AND WRITE IN ENGLISH! My ancestors came to this country, and they learned English, [I didn't mention they were from England, and that they arrived on the Mayflower.] why can't you? Write your menu in English! Make your employees speak English! Don't come here and expect me to learn your language!"

The manager smiled ruefully and apologized. Then she said, "Perhaps zee next time, m'siuer, you should not come to Chez Pierre."

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Mom on Strike? WTF?

Is it just me, or does the idea of a parent going on strike to teach their domesticated yard apes a lesson seem as smart as Greedo shooting first? What? Giving "time out" didn't work?

I have had those, "You are going to clean your room, young man" conversations with my mother. Usually, she threatened with a spanking, and that was often more than enough to get me to clean up. Don't get the wrong idea. My parents didn't beat me every Friday. I've had two spankings in my life. Once, when I was four, my younger brother and I walked from our house to Main Street to mail a letter to our favorite uncle. Another time, even earlier, I broke the glass on a screen door. I had tried to keep my younger brother out of the house, and was pushing against the glass.

So the touchy-feely, no-spanking parenting isn't working?

Imagine my surprise.

We live in an age where kids play too many "vid-yah games" and go on shooting sprees; where they watch too many Bugs Bunny cartoons and they try to drop anvils on people; where they watch Barney; and where there is a cable TV channel for babies! FOR BABIES! FOR FREAKIN' BABIES! Now, parents can plop their kids in front of the TV from birth until they move out after graduation and won't have to be inconvenienced by havin' to tend to the little monsters.

As much as I love TV, I blame it for a lot of America's problems. It's driven us off our front porches and into the deepest, darkest, quietest part of our homes. It keeps us indoors in the summer while we watch documentaries about the desert. It keeps us at home on our vacation while we watch the Travel Channel. It keeps us from speaking to our neighbors so we can watch the Biography channel to learn all about our favorite celebrities. It keeps us from reading newspapers or history books while we watch the History Channel before we watch the news.

If Bugs Bunny on TV is so bad, if Grand theft Auto on TV is sooo bad, if Married. . . With Children is soooo freakin' bad, why they Hell are we parking our kids in front of a TV? So we can cook supper?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fortress Amerika - Day Twenty-Two!

Geno's Steaks, in South Philly, has an English Only rule. Joseph Vento, Geno's owner, insists his customers order in English. No pointing at the menu items. "Speak English," a sign at Vento's popular, curbside counter reads. Say "Fromage-avec, s'il vous plait," and you'll be asked to leave. They will only accept "Steak-wit'," which, of course, is not correct English, but will get you a mighty fine sammich.

Here's a story about the fallout of Geno's policy.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fortress Amerika - Day Twenty-One

Illegal Immigrant problem solved, everyone! You can all return to your normal routine!

Texas governor Rick Perry has proposed a virtual border patrol. He will install. . .well, not him personally, of course. . .thousands of webcams along the border and stream the images onto the Internet, where people like you and me will watch for illegals and call an 800 number to report them. That's right! Instead of looking for a 14 year old to date, or researching mesothelioma, or Googling "sex," folks will be able to watch for border incursions.

Perry, who is running for re-election this year (Go, Kinky!), did not say exactly when the cameras (which will cost $5 million) will go up, but I'm sure it wasn't an empty election year promise.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Satan Day!

According to Biblical scholars, here's what will happen today: An Attack on the UN. Maybe.

Here's a story about what 666 (notice: not 6/6/6 or 6/6/06) means.

The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden

Woe to you Oh Earth and Sea
for the Devil sends the beast with wrath
because he knows the time is short
Let him who hath understanding
reckon the number of the beast
for it is a human number
its number is six hundred and sixty six.

I lived alone my mind was blank
I needed time to think to get the memories from my mind

What did I see can I believe that what I saw
that night was real and not just fantasy

Just what I saw in my old dreams were they
reflections of my warped mind staring back at me

Cuz' in my dreams it's always there the evil face that twists my mind
and brings me to despair

The night was black was no use holding back
Cuz' I just had to see was someone watching me
In the mist dark figures move and twist
was all this for real or just some kind of hell
666 the Number of the Beast
Hell and fire was spawned to be released

Torches blazed and sacred chants were phrased
as they start to cry hands held to the sky
In the night the fires are burning bright
the ritual has begun Satan's work is done
666 the Number of the Beast
Sacrifice is going on tonight

This can't go on I must inform the law
Can this still be real or just some crazy dream
but I feel drawn towards the chanting hordes
they seem to mesmerize...can't avoid their eyes
666 the Number of the Beast
666 the one for you and me

I'm coming back I will return
And I'll possess your body and I'll make you burn
I have the fire I have the force
I have the power to make my evil take its course

Running With the Devil - Van Halen

Running With The Devil

Yeah, Yeah!
Ah, yeah!

I live my life like there's no tomorrow
and all I've got, I had to steal
Least I don't need to beg or borrow
Yes I'm livin' at a pace that kills

Oooh, yeah
(Ahh!) Runnin' with the devil (Ahh-hah! Yeah!)
(Woo-hoo-oo!) Runnin' with the devil
I'm gonna tell ya all about it

I found the simple life ain't so simple
When I jumped out, on that road
I got no love, no love you'd call real
Ain't got nobody, waitin' at home

(Ah, yeah-ah!)
Runnin' with the devil
(God damn it lady. You know I ain't lyin' to ya)
(I'm only gonna tell you one time-ya!)
Runnin' with the devil
(Yes I am! Yeah!)

(Guitar Solo)


You know I, I found the simple life
Weren't so simple, no
When I jumped out, on that road
Got no love, no love you'd call real
Got nobody, waitin' at home

(Ah, yeah!)
Runnin' with the devil
(Hold on. Hold on, I'm runnin'! Ah, yeah!)
Runnin' with the devil
(Uh! Uh! Come on, one more time)

(Guitar Solo)

Runnin' with the devil
(Oh, yeah! Ya-yeah!)
Runnin' with the devil
(Woo! Woo!)
Runnin' with the devil
(Ah-ha, yeah! Ah-ha, yeah! Ah-hah, yeah!)
Runnin' with the devil (Woo!)

Monday, June 05, 2006

I do a little computer instruction on the side. Basically, i show them how to use their PCs, and maybe do some basic tasks for them. One of my clients decided she needed a new computer. She's an artist, and someone told her that artists should use Macs.


I have to admit that the desktop on her Mac is sexy. And I like the dock. But I have never used a Mac. Its organization and operation are a mystery. She has decided she wanted to use her Mac to invoice her customers. Since Quickbooks doesn't work on a Mac, she purchased an invoicing program. She asked me to install it.

I stuck the CD into the drive and waited for something to happen. And waited. At the very least, I know, I should have seen an icon for the disk on the desktop. But there was nothing.

So I started looking for something like Windows Explorer. Something I could use to look at the drive and see if the computer could even see the disk. (Since it didn't launch automatically, I figured it couldn't.) I spent 15 minutes clicking everywhere trying to find a way to see the cd drive.

Finally, I suggested she call the company on Monday and explain the situation. I would be back on Friday and we could see what else to do. I took my payment and left. As I drove home, I swore I would never, ever buy a Mac.