Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Death and bliss

Oh, celluloid heroes never feel any pain
Oh, and celluloid heroes never really die

Readers may know this song. These lyrics have captured my imagination these past 24 hours. I must say, The Kinks were on to something.

Television and film have altered the notion of heroes. Heroes used to die for real. Myth, later, would claim they didn't, really.

Common sense says modern heroes, with the stunts they perform in front of cameras, ought to die. Yet they do not. They, or their dutiful doubles, instead perform death-defying stunts without consequence. These modern heroes then stroll, sexual playthings at their sides, down the red carpet before the paparazzi, who fawn and whose photographs of these celluloid heroes provide proof of life.

Do something that could get you killed, gentlemen. A fake-breasted, nymphomaniacal lady will be waiting for you, legs spread eagle, just around the corner that leads not to death but popularity and sexual bliss.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The all-important "S"

"It's nice," said Joe Torres, the car salesman at the Toyota dealership, over the phone. (Yes, he nearly shares his name with the hated Yankees' skipper, but this post isn't about baseball.) "Moonroof, leather seats, six-speed manual. Just what you're looking for. Lemme know if you wanna come check it out."

"Absolutely," I replied. "I'll swing by this evening after work."

Ah, yes. The storied Toyota Celica line. My favorite flavor includes the all-important "S" appended to a "GT" emblazoned upon the car and visible to the driver of any vehicle reflected in the rear-view mirror. And, typically, all cars reflect in the rear-view mirror when you drive a Toyota Celica GTS, which features advanced variable valve timing technology perched atop a venerable four cylinder engine. Two front wheels of an exceptionally small car suffer from victim mentality. Wouldn't you be upset, too, if 180 horsepower and a shitload of torque were constantly harrassing you?

At around 5:30 p.m., I pulled my not-too-shabby 1995 Celica GT alongside my prey, which was already idling in the dealership's parking lot. Braving the 20-something-degree elements, Joe emerged from the comfort of a warm showroom floor to hand me the keys to a 2000 Toyota Celica GTS, the bluish-black one he had promised.

"It's all warmed up. We put new tires on it. That's all she needed. Go ahead. Tool around town for a bit. I don't need to come with you. Hand me your keys, and my guys'll check out your '95 in the meantime. I'll have an idea, when you get back, what we can give you for trade-in."

Nice, I thought to myself. I'm going to be alone. Let's see what this thing can do.

I entered the cockpit. It was a killer cockpit, like an actual cockpit to an airplane. My imagination raced.

I reclined the seat, accommodating my predilection for the steep rake of a dentist's chair, and dropped the tilt steering wheel to its fully-lowered position. This is the way I like to drive.

I threw it into first and let out the clutch. At first, acceleration was nothing special, but I was also being gentle. Coasting up to the traffic light, gateway to the main drag that would lead to a freeway just a mile up the road, I waited, patiently, for red to turn to green. It did, and, resolving to employ the gas pedal more appropriately this time, I double-clutched my way through the gears -- all the way to the six-speed shifter's hilt.


The Toyota Celica GTS, my friends, is seriously fast. This is an ethically challenged vehicle. This car is wrong. Morally wrong.

You have no business owning this car, Brent, the voice in my head said. Somehow, I agreed with these scolding remarks. If you purchase this car, surely your best interest will call for the cops to take away your license, Brent, lest you die first.

After committing a series of highly egregious unchecked moving violations, I returned to the dealership, fully intending not to buy a 2000 Toyota Celica GTS. Entering the showroom, I greeted Joe and handed him the keys.

"That car is sick fast," I told him.

"I know," he said to me. Of course he knew.

As fate had it, the best monthly payment Joe and "the boss" could swing for me was a good $40 higher than the ceiling I had mentally set for myself earlier in the day. No 2000 Toyota Celica GTS went home with me that night, but she sure was a great date.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

You're an animal

By combating, with all our might, the evildoers' weapons of mass distraction, we stand a good chance of halting the march toward oblivion. The truth will help us. Science will be our weapon of truth. Darwin first broached a certain notion, one that we can share and promote with renewed vigor:

We must urge mankind to admit that humans are animals.

Expect an uphill fight that will test your resolve. The word "animal" has become an insult. The same people who laugh at the thought of disputing that a cat or dog or horse is an animal categorically deny that humans are animals in the exact same way that a cat or dog or horse is.

Many seem to think that the human as animal is not special. Their conclusion stems from an illogical series of false postulates that leaders and superstition sanction while science refutes. These false postulates are sanctioned lies and unethical.

Think of a human as an animal that is just as much an animal as a cat or dog is in the biological sense. That's a postulate of science. Mankind can safely acknowledge these postulates, apply the corollaries the postulates entail, and expect palatable results.

Recognize that humans are special animals, animals with intellects unprecedented on our planet. Our intellects make us very special. Each person can respect her considerable intellect. He can decide to restrain the propensities he continually entertains, as an animal, that make the human intellect dangerous to the planet's survival.

Once we shed the aversion to thinking of ourselves as animals, the clarity of mind necessary to act more responsibly is suddenly within reach. That's a conclusion that probably seems ironic to those who don't like to think they are animals. Yet these same people might find the implication agreeable: Ever since we began exercising our intellects, humans have strived to be better.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Some people follow hate

So, you support the War in Iraq, huh?

Of course you do. Republicans can do no wrong. The U.S., in their hands, is always right. President Clinton and his incompetent band of treasonous liberals messed everything up. Thank God for our knights in shining armor, conservatives swooping down to save the day.

Of course this boy needs to suffer. The only way to destroy a mindset is to bomb it. Yes, you're right. It was already messed up. You have to do this. It is the only way. Alternatives are nil.

"Collateral damage?" said Uncle Sam to the Iraqi civilian. " happens. Those are the breaks, pal. So, hey...want to be my friend now? No? You hate me? Lots of people hate me? What? Way more people than before? Why?"

I'm just a stupid liberal who hates America. I shouldn't even be allowed to comment. My ideas are wrong. Anyone with a brain knows this. What I say about photos of obscenely maimed Iraqi youth smacks of nothing other than that flawed concept of moral relevancy. I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. You better contact the FCC before my ass sees more of these photos.

Yeah. We're all just stupid liberals who hate your Jesus.

Hey, all you far-right, fundamentalist followers of Jesus, check it out: Would you care to join us, haters of your Jesus? You may find that our beliefs are, fundamentally, worthy of his teachings.