Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Now when I die, I don’t want no coffin
I thought about it all too often
Just strap me in behind the wheel
And bury me with my automobile

-James Taylor, from “Traffic Jam”

We love our cars, don’t we? In America, that four-wheeled pony represents freedom. Freedom to hit the open road and go wherever we want, whenever we want.

I remember sitting in a beachside restaurant in Malibu, not so long ago, thinking “Man, I’m a long way from home.” But then I thought about the fact that the parking lot I could see from my chair connected to the PCH, and from there, I could get all the way back to my front door in Arkansas without ever getting off the pavement. At that moment, the 1600 mile distance to my couch didn’t seem like much.

Today, it seems far away again. Considering that my car gets about 20 miles to a gallon, and the last gas station sign I saw displayed, proudly, the price of a gallon of unleaded at $3.45, I did some ciphering. That’s about 17.3 cents a mile. So, I’m thinking. If I was out there right now, and needed to get home, could I?

I checked my wallet. $67. The 1600 mile trip would cost me $276.80 in gas alone – meaning if I didn’t eat or drink anything for 27 hours, I was only short about $210. So, how far would that get me? I mean, I might as well take off and get as close as I can before I set out walking.

388 miles. Where’s that put me? Sitting beside I-40, in the desert, about 30 miles east of Kingman, Arizona. I’m not happy about this. I’m hungry, thirsty, out of gas, and it’s 1200 miles home. If I walk, without food or water, I still never have to leave the pavement (or the shoulder, anyway). I might be able to make 60 miles in a 12 hour day. So in 3 weeks, I’ll be sitting beside my green, frog-filled pool, with an IV in my arm to replenish my fluids, eating a high carb diet, pondering why I keep hearing from Republicans on TV and radio talking about how well the “economy” is doing.

I s’pose, if you’re rich, your economy is doing swell. But considering that Wal-Mart just had its lowest profits in the company’s history, I’m going to just take a wild guess and say that folks who aren’t rich must be either spending their disposable income on gasoline, to get to their low-paying jobs so they can work their butts off to pay for the increased cost of food and clothing that will follow gas prices; or sticking a few dollars back so they don’t get stuck in the desert outside Kingman, Arizona and have to walk home. Either way, the simple truth is that when gasoline prices go up, the cost of practically everything else goes up as well, because those flip-flops and toasters don’t grow on the shelves at Wal-Mart. They have to be transported in there from someplace else. And somebody’s gotta burn some fuel to get them there.

About this time next year, fuel prices will go down, because there’s an election next fall. The jugheads who are raping this country while lining their pockets, and those of their friends in “Big Oil”, will want you to forget sitting beside the highway in the dark desert, with the moon illuminating that sign ahead that warns you not to pick up hitchhikers because they may be escaped convicts. They’ll want you to forget that the oil companies, while the government looked the other way, were taking in record profits and telling you that “supply & demand” dictated the prices at the pump. They’ll want you to forget that one reason supply was down was because the oil companies, at the peak of the driving season, decided to shut some of their refineries down for “maintenance”. They’ll try real hard to make you forget that there was a Republican administration in charge (for 7 years) while all this was going on. If history is any lesson, they’ll probably succeed. People’s memories are as short as the government’s foresight.

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take the highest gasoline receipt I get this season, and stick it up on my refrigerator. That’ll do two things for me. It’ll remind me why there’s no food inside; and it will be there next November when I go to the polls – to remind me to do my part to vote as many of them as I can out of office. I’ll vote against the wimpy pandering Democrats in the primary, and I’ll sneak out the Monday night before the general election and siphon all the gas from the cars of my rich (or wannabe rich) Republican friends so they can’t get to the polls.

Just doing my part for America.

I used to think that I was cool
Runnin’ around on fossil fuel
Until I saw what I was doin’
Was driving down the road to ruin.

© 2007 Rick Baber

Saturday, May 12, 2007


May 12, 2007

Ancient Writings

Quran (9:11)

For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.

Chilling, no? It came to me by Internet. So you know it’s got to be true.

Even more compelling than that deal where you fold up a $20 bill and see the World Trade Center burning. Even more than the story of the off-duty Marine who shot the Muslim at the gas pump on 9/11, before the authorities discovered that the trunk of the Muslim’s car was filled with explosives.

Right there, by their own “good book”, written 1375 years ago, you can tell that we’re doing those people over there a favor – finally bringing them peace after thousands of years of conflict. So, the fact that we invaded the wrong country, for concocted reasons, suddenly seems insignificant in light of the grand plan; the scheme of things; the big picture. In other words, “Shut up with your griping about this war. We (the eagle) have a destiny to fulfill.”

OK. One small problem. That isn’t what verse 9:11 of the Quran says. Not even close. Here’s the commonly accepted translation.

Quran (9:11)

But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and we make communications clear for a people who know.

You can’t blame some clever guy for trying. The truth is that there were many writings left out of our (Christian’s) own Holy Book, when The Council of Nicaea put it together in 325 AD. Think about it. They didn’t have photocopiers or computers back then. The whole thing had to be written and copied by hand. These guys selected, from all of the available writings of the day, those “books” that they deemed acceptable and appropriate for inclusion. The rest were simply left out. Matter of fact, even more ancient writings are being discovered still today, even in what is now called The United States.

One of the more recently discovered writings, found buried in a clay pot in a cave during some excavation for the first nuclear power plant near Richland, Washington in 1954 has been named “Seifer fun Fokus”. Although the cloth had deteriorated to the point that only about 1/10 of the script was legible. Here’s the part they have been able to translate to date:

In the land of the south wind in the valley of the white water a scribe named for the Tiger labored to bring truth and light unto the people even as many doubted his wisdom and intent. And it came to pass that those who were believers outnumbered those who were non-believers and rose up and banished the non-believers from the city. On the 7th day of the 7th full moon of the 21st century the believers gathered all their worldly goods and sold them to the sinners in the port city by the white water to the east. And they sought out the scribe by the high view on the new space and each set aside 1/7 of his bounty and sent it by courier to the scribe in the west. And the scribe was made joyous and able to purchase feed for the horses that powered his chariot. And there was peace & harmony in the valley by the white water and all the inhabitants prospered ten-fold, and power finally came from the waterfall and lighted their houses and every person had fish to eat.

I don’t pretend to know what it means, but it captured my attention because my last name, in India, literally means “The Tiger”, and “Arkansas” means “south wind”. As for the rest of it……..you got me. But if you suddenly have some overwhelming urge to send me…something…I’d be glad to provide my mailing address.

Meantime, I have to go buy some of that $3.20 gasoline and go to my sister’s house for dinner.

© 2007 Rick Baber

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Koran & 9:11

In case you have received that bullshit e-mail about the Koran's reference to 9:11, here's a rough translation of what verse 9:11 actually says:

Koran (9:11) - "But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith and We make the communications clear for a people who know."

But somehow, that one doesn't fit into the REpublican philosophy.

Also, question anything you get, reportedly, penned by George Carlin. His own website disputes most of what is going around.