Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Crazy Train or Emotional Subway Attack?

The 1st Amendment to the United States of America Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Freedom of speech is great up to a point. Does the freedom of speech allow people to annoy the heck out of you? Does it protect their right to get right in your face and say what they want? I think not.

The purpose behind the freedom of speech is to allow people to speak out for anything they want to without fear of retribution by the government. It is probably one of the most important parts of the Constitution yet people interpret this right as freedom to do whatever they want as long as they are talking while they are doing it.

It should be obvious from my website that I enjoy a healthy dose of the 1st amendment on a daily basis. I relish a great discussion about things that make the weak-minded run and cower in the corner. In short, if it’s controversial, let’s discuss it! I want to hear your opinions and views on these topics. I want you to roll up your sleeves, open up your mind, and really think about what is going on in the world.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you a story that I was directed to at "Live Journal". Here is a person minding their own business when along comes a few religious types who decide it is their personal mission to save the world.

These are not your average Christians, but they’re zealots, fanatics, crazy people who have let their belief go a little too far. These are the same sort of folks who believe that role-playing games are real, and then proceed to act them out. They are the people you see wandering the city streets mumbling to themselves.

We have clever sayings for them such as, "Their elevator doesn't go all the way to the top", "they're not the sharpest tools in the shed", and "the lights are on, but nobody's home".

It may not be their fault that they are like this, but we can all agree that they do not represent the majority of the people of this world.

This story is not about lashing out at Christians, it is a tale of defending a persons right to be left alone, so that they can practice their freedoms however they choose, not how someone else wishes them to.

No more rambling by me, here is the tale of one subway rider that has had enough.

The following was written by K.R. Munson. See the end of this story for a link to the original posting on Live Journal.

===================================

This morning I had the most bizarre subway ride. I board the Number 3 train at Grand Army Plaza after 9 a.m. Find a seat, then settle into reading Henry James for class. I hear a woman’s voice gradually rising in volume. She is preaching the “Lord’s” word to the train car’s sleepy riders. Of course, I had forgotten the headphones for my subway evil sounds blocking device. The train stops and starts.
The words denigrating “gay devils” reach my ears. I stand up.

Me: “Excuse me, but do you mind keeping your voice down, I am trying to read.”

Preacher Lady: (screams) “I got to testify.”

Preacher lady hitches up her skirts and tells me that I am going to hell for interrupting you-know-who’s word. Two or three OTHER Christian ladies on the train start shouting at me and discussing my prospects as the Devil’s prison bitch. The last straw was a 50 something red faced man in a suit slamming his Bible towards my face.
There was only one thing I could do.

Me: “If you all don’t lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes.”

The other straphangers look at me with stony faces.
I begin to sing.
“Its very clear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but forever and a day…”

Preacher lady and the Jesus police start mumbling and beseeching G_d to strike me down and boil me in molten tar. (I look better in silver.)
The train reaches Wall Street. Confused subway riders check out the scene. I begin swaying and feeling the music.

The slamming Bible man looks like he is going to pop a blood vessel. “I cast ye out, Satan.”

I go into jazz dance crouch and then spring up to belt out, “THAAAAAAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, HAS ME IN A SPELL…”

Bible man has to get off the train as I wriggle and shimmy. “That same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine!”

Bible man exits. SHOW TUNES 1, FUNDAMENTALISTS 0.

“So when you walk alone and forlorn, and hear that Cadillac horn remember, love isn’t born, its made…and that’s why every window has a window shade…bad a biddle be bop…”

I try to discuss freedom of religion with the ladies, but all attempts at reasonable discourse fail.

By 34th street, the last of the Christian word warriors has left the train. 3 subway riders shake my hand and say, “I have always wanted to tell those idiots to shut up! Bless you.”

I am shaking. I don’t know what comes over me at times like this. I only know that I cannot stay silent. I wish that I had my ukulele with me.

At 42nd street, a woman strides into the car and starts PREACHING. The entire car bursts into laughter. I interrupt this new preacher lady and note that she is wearing a flowered straw bonnet.

Me: “Excuse me, Ma’am…but I must warn you that there has been a 12 subway stop donnybrook regarding the unwanted intrusion of religious beliefs into our morning commutes.”

Preacher Lady 2: “I got freedom of speech! And GOD TELLS ME THAT THE GAY DEVILS ARE CONTROLLING NEW YORK.”

Me: (standing up) “If you do not cease and desist fouling the air with homophobia, I must sing…SHOW TUNES.”

There are now 3 or 4 gay men on the train. They start laughing.

Preacher Lady 2: “The Lawd says you are going to …” (litany of punishments that would be fun with the right person).

Me: (sings) “The Girl that I marry will have to be, as soft and as sweet as a nursery… the girl I call my own, will wear diamonds and laces and smell of cologne…”

One of the boys on the train starts to harmonize.

Preacher Lady 2 makes her way down the car, pointing and exclaiming, “I have met the devil right here!”

Me: (sings) “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…”

Dancing around the subway poles and doing my best Gwen Verdon kicks, I feel the spirit in me.

I close with “Pennies from Heaven” and make sure to get the Jazz Hands in for good measure.

As Preacher Lady 2 runs to the next car at 72nd Street, the doors open, a perfect end of song button for my gay pointing gesture.

The subway riders break into applause and I bow. Rock on.

Several straphangers whisper, Happy New Year to me in Hebrew.

An Orthodox lady hands me an orange.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

***************

This was written by K.R. Munson
Copyright 2004

Original link to this story on Live Journal is here.Ladies Village Improvement Society

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

100th Anniversary

Not years, but articles.

This will be the 100th article here on Life In A Handbasket.

It’s been a little over a year now since I placed my first words online here at Life In A Handbasket. I created this website because I enjoy discussing various topics with people, and hearing multiple sides of an argument. Throughout my life I have found myself watching news stories, listening to people talking, and thinking about a variety of issues.

If a subject is usually not talked about, I would always bring it up. Strange how you can talk about things like aliens and ghosts, weird unexplained things, politics, sex, violence, and all manner of other things that many people seem to ignore in their daily lives, and many people seem to enjoy the opportunity.

I have had folks you would not believe talk to me about seeing unexplainable things that they have never told another soul, but they chose to tell me because it seemed like I would not make fun of them.

Do I have all of the answers? Of course not, but I do approach many topics as if I do. This is for several reasons.

I’m very passionate about my ideas and beliefs. Yes, I am arrogant enough to think I’m right, but not so far gone that I am not open to the viewpoint of others. In fact, I hunger for a different opinion. I want someone to tell me I’m wrong and to explain to me why. My only request is that their view be strongly supported because I’ll be coming back at them with both barrels.

Yet another reason to approach topics with a know-it-all attitude is to develop a spark within my readers. I want you to get angry, I want you to question your beliefs, and I want you to challenge me and what I write down.

If you are afraid of throwing the gauntlet down using your real name, by all means choose an anonymous name with which to join the website. This way you can release the bonds that might keep you from speaking out, and let the comments fly! Prove me wrong, tell me why, and bring your outlook on life to everyone here.

I realize time is a precious commodity these days, but I would love for you to spend some time browsing through older articles and leave your comments behind, or better yet, drop in to the forums and start up a discussion about one of my articles. Even if you agree, chime in and let everyone know I actually got one right according to you.

Recently I have entertained requests for articles from people wanting to know my thoughts on certain topics. If you think you have a stumper for me, or just enjoy reading my dribble on things, toss me a topic you want to read about and I’ll do what I can to address the issue.

At the bottom right column on our front page there is a block that shows the purpose of this website. I wrote this one night trying to decide just what exactly I was trying to achieve on Life In A Handbasket. It does a good job summing up what this website is for.

Several people have accused me of hate speech, because I have a difference of opinion with their views. Some think I am trying to start a cult or other such nonsense. I’m certain many feel that I am anti this, or anti that, or have some hidden agenda behind my articles.

There is no theme on this website other then trying to get at the truth for many different news stories and topics. Where the truth is cloudy, you will get my opinion for what that’s worth. These words are not meant to convert you, convince you, abuse you, or enlighten you. What I type is merely my view, my opinions and my thoughts on a particular subject.

I’m a selfish man. This website is ultimately for me, not you. What I am always looking for is knowledge. I want to learn by reading what other people think about the subjects that I tend to dwell on. What I really get annoyed with sometimes is writing about something controversial and then having nobody leave comments.

Are you all afraid to make a comment, or am I perfect in every article I write? In some articles I claim there is no God, and that organized religion is merely man-made. I delve into the abortion issue, and discover that I am a right-to-lifer. Just yesterday I agreed that so-called assault weapons should be registered. President Bush should get another four years to finish what he began, and John Kerry is a waffling, wishy-washy, sad excuse for a presidential candidate.

There, does that raise any eyebrows? Does any of that piss you off? I know wanting President Bush to remain in office should upset at least the folks who don’t like the man. Even though not liking President Bush is no reason to elect an ineffectual idiot!

So jump into the forums, cinch up your belt, put on your best poker face, crack your knuckles, and let me have it! Defend John Kerry. Defend religion. Defend O.J. if you must, but participate in the forums and the discussions on the website.

Now go out into the world and forward this website link to all of your friends. Invite all your pro-gun, anti-gun friends to sling it out here in the Handbasket. You always wanted to flame something, here is the sight to do it in. Flame on! My only request is to keep the fighting clean and respectful of the opinions of others.

Let’s engage our brains and open our minds to intellectual discussions. I’ve always enjoyed the expression that your mind is like a parachute. It won’t work if it isn’t open.

Open your mind, fire up your spell checkers, and let’s get to talking. After 100 articles, I’m beginning to feel like I’m typing to myself.

We can all agree that writing is a form of communication. It can also be argued that sex is a form of communication as well. I’ve had over a year of writing articles alone with little or no interaction from the visitors of this website. Can you guess the correlation in that subtle comparison?

Here’s to another 100 articles! I hope you can all stay for the ride.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Right To Keep And Arm Bears

“A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” The Constitution of the United States of America - Second Amendment

I received an e-mail on the concern of the assault weapon ban coming to an end and congress not doing anything to reinstate the ban. It was also suggested that this is a good topic for the “Handbasket” to tackle. So here I am, feeling like a lounge piano entertainer playing a request.

Just kidding. This is indeed one for the Handbasket. So let me activate my shields, and once again tell you all my opinion on a difficult subject.

Let me start out by showing you all what some of the very people who founded this great country thought of citizens owning weapons.

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." – George Washington, Commanding General of the Continental Army, Father of Our Country and First President of the United States in a speech to Congress, January 7, 1790

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government." – Thomas Jefferson, Author of The Declaration of Independence, and Third President of the United States

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants, they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Thomas Jefferson

I could continue, but you get the idea.

The second amendment was clearly written for the citizens of this country to have the ability to protect themselves from the government. To prevent the government from getting too carried away with removing our liberties and freedoms.

It is this freedom that has allowed us to retain our liberty for so long, and why many countries envy us.

Now that you know that I am a complete pro-gun person, and firmly believe that all citizens have this basic right to bear arms. What are my thoughts on banning assault weapons?

When it comes to a citizen having the right to bear arms, are we to take this to the infinite levels and say that I can assemble a ballistic missile in my backyard just in case Idaho gets froggy? I don’t think so.

Too crazy? Okay then, where should we draw the line on what makes sense based on the second amendment?

I think most Americans worth their salt agree that pistols and rifles are allowable weapons to be owned by law-abiding citizens. After all, these make decent self-defense weapons, and also have uses such as hunting, target practice, and just plane old fun.

Assault weapons should not necessarily be banned totally, but I do agree that stricter controls should be placed on them. Much in the same way you should be licensed to own a wild animal, you should also be registered to own assault weapons for whatever reason you may want them.

As far as being able to waltz into the local K-mart and buy an Uzi though, I think that may be pushing things a little too far.

Where I tend to get upset is at the illusion that the Federal Government can’t prevent us from owning guns, but that state governments can. Since when is it acceptable for state governments to overrule the Constitution?

I think this has not been challenged near enough. Point blank, state law forbidding us to carry weapons is illegal. A state does not have this right, yet most states seem to think they do, and we just roll over and let them.

Then they say that we have the right to bear arms if we pay the state a fee. Of course it’s now okay if they are making money from it. Nice racket to be in, charging their citizens for the right already granted them by the Constitution.

To summarize… I believe we have the right to defend ourselves with reasonable weaponry, but when you start wanting weapons that go beyond basic defense and sport, the line must be drawn there.

This topic has many different angles to it, and I welcome someone to join me in the forums to discuss this further.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Let Allah Sort Them Out

How many of you have received an e-mail discussing all of the correlation of Iraq and the Bible? Then the e-mail ends with the following statement.

“The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

Koran (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 Io, 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.

(Note the verse number!)”

When I first read this I thought, why the heck would the Koran mention that someone else was coming to kick the believers of Allah’s butt? Sounded a bit fishy and guess what? It is!

This is a complete hoax. There is nothing remotely similar to this in the Koran. Some people just think it’s funny to rewrite religious tomes, or create false prophecies to make it seem like something was for-told or predicted by some mystical force.

As 9-11 is here again, many of us are reflecting on what had occurred on that terrible day in our countries history.

If it wasn’t so tragic, I would almost be amused that the Soviet Union, who sided against our going after Iraq and its terrorist regime, now denounces terrorism and makes the same claim that they will now preemptively be going after terrorists no matter where they are in the world.

Gee, that sounds familiar.

It’s nice to see the Soviet Union has come around to our way of thinking. It’s amazing how the deaths of hundreds of children in your own country can be a wake up call. Unfortunately, it’s tragic that it had to come to that to get them into the game.

Countries like Germany, France, and all of the wussies who have pulled out of Iraq as the result of terrorist actions against their country are nothing but an embarrassment to their people. It has been proven time and again that giving in to terrorist demands will do nothing to protect your country.

I truly hope they don’t find this out like the Soviets had to.

Why does the simple concept that these people want to kill everyone who is not Islamic so hard to grasp by these other countries?

While we’re on that line of thinking, where is all of the condemnation from Islamic leaders? Occasionally you’ll hear a lone Islamic person claim that their religion is one of peace, and they do not agree with the terrorists. This does not appear to be the general consensus though.

I think that people should have the freedom to worship however they like. My only stipulation to this freedom and right is that when your worship means the killing of others, your freedom and right is revoked.

You can be Christian, and more power to you. When you start killing doctors because they are performing abortions, you cease to be protected by your religious faith, and you become a criminal of humanity. If you do not believe in abortion, fight it with knowledge, and in the courts, not by becoming a Christian Soldier.

The same holds true with Islam. You may worship Allah, and follow his teachings all you want, but when you start killing people who do not believe as you do, or condoning such actions among your peers, then you need to be stopped.

There is not one religion in this world that is more correct then any other. Certainly not to the point where all other non-believers must be killed! The Christians have tried this historically, and so have the Germans, and many other cultures as well.

What’s my take on all of this? It may seem harsh.

If you choose the path of killing all who do not believe as you do, you’re fair game for retaliation.

When a criminal breaks into your home with a gun, and points it at you, you are justified in shooting them dead.

When a religion declares war on you, and wants to kill you by any means possible, even suicide bombing, you are justified in shooting them dead.

I say we give the entire country of Iraq, and every Muslim on the planet, the opportunity to denounce their violent religion or face the consequences. What consequences you may ask? Look at the previous paragraph.

There is no need to start a slaughter, so let the Muslims choose their side. The side of the Muslims who believe we should all be killed or the side of the peaceful Muslims who condones these actions of their countrymen.

Let them proudly display their intentions so we know who to target. This will prevent the accidental removal of the scum out of the gene pool.

Declare countries, or cities in countries, as the place where these proud Muslims who want to kill us can live defiantly. They can dance in the streets, shooting into the air, and burn the American flag. They can try and capture any stupid person who tries to talk with them, and cut their heads off on television.

Of course, these cowards will not go along with this because they know what will happen. We will send them all packing to see their beloved Allah! This is what they want though, so let’s help them out.

I’m in no mood to drag this thing out to a 100 year war like what has gone before, but this is turning out to have that potential. It’s turning into a kill or be killed type of fight. As our president said, you’re either with us in our fight, or against us.

If 1 million Muslims are against us, then there needs to be 1 million graves in the various Muslim countries around the world.

Too harsh? Maybe. The other choice is to slowly send more and more of our soldiers over to be killed year after year.

The only way to end a war is to break the population that is fighting you. It is the way war has always ended. We must go in to every city that is still actively fighting us and blow them all to Allah! I bet the other cities shut the heck up real quickly, wouldn’t you?

It’s us or them folks, and I for one want it to be them!

I’ll end this article with a few choice quotes from General George S. Patton.

"A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week."

"The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."

"May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't."

Patton wrote this prayer for inclusion in a book for soldiers and sailors;

God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever lead us to victory, please continue your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Strengthen my soul so that the weakening instinct of self-preservation, which besets all of us in battle, shall not blind me to my duty to my own manhood, to the glory of my calling, and to my responsibility to my fellow soldiers. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord.

As usual, I welcome all comments here, and would like to entertain any discussion in the forums.