Tag Archives: thoughts

The Murder of James Boyd

As you can see in the above video, police officers in Albuquerque, New Mexico murdered a man by the name of James Boyd.

There was so much wrong with this situation that it is hard to know where to begin.

Wrong 1: The officers who shot and killed the man have not been charged with murder despite proof in the form of clear video evidence of said murder.

That is how untouchable the police have become in the United States; they can kill someone who was not a direct threat to them, video-tape it, voluntarily release that tape and not face any punishment for it.

Wrong 2: The police were there in the first place.

As this report by KOAT the local ABC affiliate for Albuquerque shows, someone called the police station and reported “some homeless” had been living in the hills behind his property for a month. (Apparently living or sleeping or camping on what I presume is public land is illegal in New Mexico. Wrong 2b: Illegal camping is a thing.) I could understand that if Boyd had been threatening hikers in the area or something to that affect, which I concede is definitely within the realm of possibility given his apparent background, then sending officers to check it out was the proper thing to do. Nowhere, however, in any of the news reports I’ve read does it state that he was causing any trouble in those hills, so yeah, “illegal” camping and fear of property-value depreciation were the reasons for the police being there and eventually killing a man.

Wrong 3: James Boyd was not receiving care in a mental health facility.

Why was a man who clearly needs help and potentially posed a threat to the public not being helped? Because America’s you-can’t-tax-me attitude means that the United States has probably the worst social welfare network in the western world.

Wrong 4: There was at least one military veteran involved.

Weapons manufacturers and security consultants are constantly trying to sell their wares and tactical plans to police departments around the US and they have been quite successful in doing so. This is why some police departments now own APCs, use flash-bangs, wear body armor and carry assault rifles. So, what better men for these police departments to hire than those who are already trained in the use of those weapons? Having that always-protect-never-betray-your-brothers mindset that the police love already drilled into them plus experience in killing people makes them good candidates, too. At the very least, these ex-military bros and wannabe green berets seem to be the type of people who don’t mind using violence against others as evidenced by the “booyah” in the video.

Wrong 5: There was a K9 unit on the scene.

Dogs should work with the police for one reason and one reason only: to find some thing or some one. If your goal is to have someone calmly submit to being handcuffed then bringing a large, vicious-looking dog to the scene and then having that dog jumping and barking aggressively right in front of the person you are trying to talk to is the dumbest thing you could do. This will automatically escalate the situation. Especially if the person you are trying to apprehend is mentally ill. In this case the dog seemed to be involved specifically to ratchet up the intimidation and general threat of violence. I don’t know at what point the dog was introduced to the scene (apparently this standoff lasted some 3 hours) but doing so at any point was a mistake.

***

Well, let’s stop there. I’m not going to get into the numerous other horrible, inhumane and stupid things these adrenaline-junkie-asshole-paramilitary-cops did because they all produce the same headache-inducing, soul-crushing why?

As for offering alternative strategies or ways of resolving the situation that would have prevented the death of Boyd, I’m sure there are a hundred ways that could have happened. I’m sure that even children know enough about tasers and riot shields that they could come up with a smart solution. So, why then, could several grown men who we trust with our safety and protection not devise a single, non-fatal, solution?

Beyond the shock and rage felt over a sick man being murdered by police officers, there is the continuing tragedy that none of the root problems that led to this situation are going to disappear anytime soon. The mental health care network is not getting better, homelessness (and the criminalization thereof) is an ongoing, serious issue and the militarization of policing steadily marches on. I’m certain, sadly, that James Boyd’s life will not be the last one taken by this idiocy.

Game of Thrones: Follow Up

Game-of-Thrones

I did it. I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones and, sadly, I shan’t be watching anymore.

Thanks for the effort, HBO, but watching your show didn’t give me the same amount of enjoyment as reading the books did. Everything just felt wrong to me; the characters, the settings and the dialogue all seemed out of sync somehow. As with other books that are adapted for the big or small screens, internal dialogue is a huge part of George Martin’s books and the context which that dialogue provides cannot easily be expressed visually.

Maybe the show gets better as it goes along. I don’t know, but I’d rather just wait for the next novel to come out.

A Van Full of Sex for Money

Last night at around 9 o’clock, I was heading home after work, when a van coming from the direction I was walking towards, stopped in front of me. The van was green, old and beat up, with blacked out windows; the kind of large van you often see shuttling students to their after-school academies or moving migrant workers from factory to factory. It was a narrow street with cars parked along both sides, so I had to shimmy between the van and another car in order to continue on my way. As I passed the sliding door on the side of the van, it slid open and a woman stepped out of the van. Behind her I caught a glimpse of 3 other women, sitting there in the darkness. They were not migrant workers… well, not in the traditional sense at least. These 4 ladies were all dressed up and made up; at least one of them was wearing fur, and all wore heavy perms, coupled with heavy makeup. After passing, I turned and watched them disappear into a hair salon as the dirty, old van drove off. I suppose they were heading in for a touch up before the night’s work began.

How sad the whole sight was. A group of women dressed in faux-luxury being dropped off at the hairdressers like someone’s dry-cleaning. I was left wondering where they would go when the van returned like a cattle car to pick them up. A “singing” room? A hostess bar? A “massage” parlor?

I was reminded of the last time I had seen ladies of the night out of context like that. A while ago I had gone to a kimbap joint (Korea’s answer to the greasy-spoon diner) for a late breakfast, when two such ladies came in and sat down. That time, I assumed they had just finished a shift, as they had on hoodies and jeans, but still wore the ridiculous makeup, thick perfume, and pinned up hair of the previous night. They also spoke in strong language filled with curses that women here never use in public, as they ate their breakfast slash dinner.

These two scenes left me wondering, as I often do, how people employed in the world’s oldest profession spend their time away from work. Do they have families? Boyfriends? Do they go to the movies? Go out for coffee with friends?

Korea has a huge sex industry, where women (and some men) of all ages are engaged in some form of selling their bodies. And it really is huge. Everywhere in every city of any size you can find the neon lights of places where you can buy a woman for an hour or two. Small taverns where older women work hoping to pay for their kids’ educations. Huge lounges where stunningly beautiful women enter a room 10 at a time introduce themselves and are then selected by the businessmen in attendance to “entertain” them for the evening. Motels where college, high school or even middle school students sell themselves on the internet meet clients. Karaoke bars where foreign women can be bought for your pleasure. Yet, despite it being in your face everywhere you go the local populace never really talks about it; men wanting to keep the privilege alive, perhaps thinking that speaking of it will bring it all crashing down on them, and women in denial, knowing that most of the men in their country, including their husbands and boyfriends visit these places, thinking that talking about it will make it more real: something that they will actually have to deal with.

This willful ignorance leaves a large segment of people, these sex-workers, living in a shadow world, a world from which, only on rare occasions, such as last night, they emerge and we can catch a brief glimpse of them, out in the light. But, what’s really going on in that dark world? One can only hope that it’s not as terrible as the imagination would have us believe. But, until society admits that it’s all there and starts talking about prostitution in a rational way, woman will continue to be dropped off at the cleaners in cube vans.

Some Thoughts

A list of products I have recently seen Psy appear in commercials or ads for: energy drink/hangover cure, kimchi refrigerator, beer, soju, cell network, printer paper, and ramen noodles. In Korea there is no shame in shilling. The biggest stars at the height of their fame will endorse any and all companies willing to pay them. The concept of “selling out” doesn’t exist here because no one will hold it against if you decide to cash in your fame for a quick buck. In fact they would think you were stupid if you didn’t milk your high-level exposure for every penny it would get you. Consequently, we find superstars like Psy on tv trying to sell us on the merits of Double A photocopy paper.

***

So, I’m sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops at the moment. There’s almost always awesome music playing here; no K-pop or shitty American pop, just good jazz or independent-type singer/songwriter stuff. There’s this guy, however, this fucking dipshit jackass, who’s always wearing sandals with socks (even now in mid-winter) who comes in here sometimes when I’m here and changes the music. He’s not the owner and he doesn’t work here, but every goddamn time he comes in here, the first thing he does is ask the owner if he can put a different album on. And every fucking time, the music he puts on is shit. It’s usually some weird African or Spanish music…. fuck, he’s at it again, right now, as I’m typing… let’s see what he puts on now… Ok, he gets a pass this time… it’s not too bad. Regardless, I was enjoying the music that was on before more than I am this. But seriously, even the sight of this pudgy, smiling, sandal-wearing doofus makes me angry. Speaking of which, I need to learn how to not be boiling with rage all the time…. And there he goes again for chrisakes. What’s wrong with this asshole?

***

I miss hockey. I really want to start playing again, so the other day I dug out my hockey bag from the veranda/storage room. Turns out there was a lot of condensation going on in there. So much so in fact that there was standing water on the floor in one of the corners. Well, apparently moisture and hockey bags don’t mix well. The bag had several spots of mold on it, and my skates are furry with the stuff. The blades are rusted to shit, too. Luckily the rest of my gear is fine. I was thinking of getting new skates anyways. I could probably clean my old skates somehow, but getting the rust off the blades and sharpening them is a whole other story. Hopefully by March, I will have solved this problem and can start playing again.

Christmas Eve

It’s 10:17pm on Christmas Eve. I’ve got a snifter of Bailey’s in my hand and the Trailer Park Boys Xmas Special is on the TV.

“You’re not fuckin’ Santa Claus, Julian, and I don’t need your fuckin’ cherry trees,” says Ricky, in the best line from the special

And then there’s this:

I’ve watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas eight times over the past 2 days. Surprisingly the kids watched it the whole way through without dicking around or playing with their goddamn phones. The following scene got me chuckling every time.

Grinch-with-new-heart

I mean, just look at it.

Read an interesting thing a few minutes ago. There’s a man by the name of Gary Gygax who co-invented Dungeons and Dragons. He also happens to be Christian. He doesn’t, however, celebrate Christmas because as he quite rightly points out Jesus was not born on December 25th and a celebration during the winter solstice is in fact a pagan ritual. The gist of his argument is that if you are Christian you should not be celebrating Christmas. He couldn’t be more right. Christmas really is bullshit. And I’m not writing that to be a jerk… or a Grinch. What we know as Christmas today, was nothing more than a festival to celebrate away the darkness of the shortest day in Europe, December 21st. Early Christian leaders, the smart bastards, co-opted this festival by telling the uneducated masses that Jesus, the son of a particularly powerful god, was born at that time. Thusly, they snuck Christ into the winter solstice holiday, and his presence in it became more and more prominent. Of course, if one goes to Northern Europe, one can still see the remnants of the original pagan holiday. In Sweden for example one never hears about Jesus during Jul, which is nothing more than a festival of lights and a time for families to get together, exchange gifts, have a feast (or several) and get drunk. And that’s the way it should. Because after all, if you’re going to church on Christmas you’re simply taking part in a huge fucking lie.

Also:

Carol Contest

Tomorrow is my English academy’s Carol Contest. This will be accompanied by a party where I am expected to entertain the students and any friends they bring. My boss actually used the word entertain. I’m a teacher, not an entertainer. I’m not a singer, dancer, clown or MC. I actually think I’m a decent teacher, but when I’m asked to do something that goes beyond the duties of teaching, in anyway, it infuriates me. This same boss also wants me to help him develop teaching materials for his academy. If I was being paid to develop content, this wouldn’t bother me at all; I actually enjoy that kind of work. But, having him ask me to do it, when I’m getting paid a shitty wage to TEACH, is bullshit.

On another rage-inducing note, there is my scooter, or to be precise, the moving of my scooter by people who aren’t me. My scooter gets haphazardly moved around in the parking garage below my building almost every day and it makes me want to kill someone. Yes, it’s smaller than your car, but that doesn’t mean you can move it for your convenience you prick. Recently there’s been two guys who have basically been playing ping-pong with my poor little bike: one guy moves it so he can more easily get into his parking space, and then later when the other gets home he moves it back so he can get into his space. Seeing the results of this sends me into a turrets like rage, with every filthy word you can think spitting from my mouth. I think I’m gonna start pissing on their cars or putting old rotten fish up under their wheel wells. They deserve worse than that, but I don’t want to go to jail.

Sundry Thoughts

Well, looks like South Korea will have its first female president after today’s vote. The international media will pick up the story, playing up the angle that a middle-aged, unmarried woman in the country’s most powerful public post, is a signifier of Korea’s social progression, and some other bullshit like that. In actual fact, she will, being a financial and social conservative, probably hold back South Korea’s social development, and work to maintain the status-quo of xenophobia, lack of women’s rights and antiquated views on sex and marriage. Long story short, a woman winning the election will ironically mean that women will actually be worse off.

***

Damn it, Peter Jackson and Co, you’ve let me down. After doing a very admiral job of bringing the epic that is Lord of the Rings to movie theaters, you’ve gone and ruined it with The Hobbit. First of all, why stretch such a simple and short book into 3 movies? I’m sure it’s so that the studios can squeeze as much money out of people as possible, but shit, three films? Secondly, the dwarves, man. What are you thinking? They look like slightly short people, not dwarves. And what’s with making a hero, who spouts tragically cliche dialogue, out of Thorin? Seriously, this movie has turned out looking very much like the cash grab it is. Thinking about it now, I think live action movies should not be made from fantasy genre books. Animation versions would suit them far better. Because all the characters, no matter how much makeup and camera tricks you use, end up looking too humanish. So, please let’s just stop it. But, I know,  it won’t ever stop, because there’s too much money to be made from shite movies.

***

I’m sitting here looking out the window, and everybody I see is the same. They wear the same styles of clothing, they all watch their smartphones or tablets as they walk (not looking where they’re going), or they walk arm in arm with a friend or lover dressed the same as they are. All are out looking for something to consume: clothes, jewellery, electronics, overpriced food and espresso drinks. All of them zombie-slaves to the evil triumvirate of capitalism, consumerism and materialism. It’s seriously depressing.

***

I’ve been reading a lot of philosophers these days; Epicurus, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, and I think everyone should be forced to read what these guys wrote. I think it would change everybody’s perspective for the better. We don’t need narcotics to help change the collective consciousness as some would suggest–although that would help, too–all we need is a shot of reality courtesy someone like Monsieur Montaigne.

***

If you watch enough Mad Men, you will inevitably feel the temptation to imbibe a little. I mean, those people are drinking ALL the time — those damn, good-looking jerks, with their great sense of style and their witty rejoinders. It’s too much. Did people really drink that much while working back in the ’60s? How could they function with all that booze constantly at hand? That show is dangerous. It shows us that no matter how drunk or hungover you are you will always appear dashing and be unerringly charming.