Daily Archives: July 11, 2014

The Third Opium War – China’s long memories

A part of what the British and French troops destroyed to punish the Chinese dynasty.

A part of what the British and French troops destroyed to punish the Chinese dynasty.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

We can thank our lucky stars the Chinese aren’t barbarians.  Otherwise we’d need to batten down the hatches on the British Museum, the Louvre, the Met, the Smithsonian, et al.

Because the Chinese are getting damned tired of their shipments of opium and heroin being intercepted and confiscated by French, British and US law enforcement people.  Wars have already been fought over the subject.

The second Opium War is a good example.  When the Chinese intercepted a million or two pounds of opium the British were attempting to sell to Chinese and confiscated it, all hell broke loose.  French and British troops invaded the Summer Palace, burned and looted 8 miles square of priceless art objects, gardens and artifacts as old as 3500 years.  It took a couple of thousand British and French troops to get the fires going all over the place to destroy it.

And a lot of what wasn’t destroyed is privately held in France and Britain today, as well as in the British Museum.  So it’s a clear precedent.  All that Chinese poppy has a right to make it into France, the UK, and the US.  Provided the Chinese are powerful enough militarily to cram it down the throats of the folks who did the cramming in 1860.

Including the US, though only some US Naval vessels were involved then.  Mainly it was just clear where the sympathies of the US found themselves.  Although the US commander wasn’t under orders to intervene for the French and British, he justified his action with the words, “Blood is thicker than water.”

Fact is, we westerners really don’t mind anyway, so long as US politicians get the right cut of the action.  Heroin and opium are on the rebound because they aren’t so bad as cocaine and meth about destroying the nasal tissue and passages of the users.  The Chinese have plenty of poppies and history on their side.

Along with an economic ramrod and a Russian built aircraft carrier.  Drones, submarines, and dozens of factories working 24/7 manufacturing US flags to fly as they approach the coasts.

Israel can count itself lucky it didn’t share any borders with China so’s to be tempted to snatch a little free territory.  They’d be looking at having their school kids shooting heroin down between pistol range practice and waterboarding Palestinians.

Anyway, the rubber monster toys and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS ribbon things couldn’t last forever.  Something was bound to replace them as Chinese imports.

Old Jules

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I respect Native Americans and other minorities because it’s so dehumanizing.

Imagine it readers.  Someone saying aloud, no hint of humor, “I respect white people!”  Imagine that bullshit.

Now, turn that around and imagine you’re hearing what you’ve heard a thousand times from the lips of a white person speaking about this or that minority group.  Or women.  [Parenthetically, I think males, especially white males, are the minority in the US gender-wise.  I haven’t checked the statistics, but I recall somewhere women live longer than men because they don’t have the stresses, wars to fight, and don’t have to do the hard, dangerous work all us men do just for the fun of it.]

Anyway, think of it.  Suppose you were a self-respecting US citizen of color, and some white person said to you, “Hey man, I respect blacks.”  Do you suppose he’ll just figuratively roll his eyes back into his head and grunt?  Or will he say, “Just what the hell are you talking about you freaking lying hypocrite?  You believing your own bullshit again?”  Because it ain’t like he’s been living on the moon.  He’s living in the world where the prisons are full of black males, where black males are gang banging, selling black women off to prostitution, and strutting around being proud of it.

How the hell could anyone except some stupid white person insult, dehumanize decent black people who aren’t doing those things by saying he/she ‘respects’ generic, stereotyped, cardboard cutout blacks?

Same with Hispanics.  The only Hispanics a person could claim to respect and mean it across the board are the ones illegally crossing the US/Mexico Border to work their asses off for peanuts doing anything lazy assed US citizens don’t want to do.  But just saying, “I respect Hispanics,” is to stereotype them in a way any fool knows is a blasted lie because it simply isn’t possible in the real Universe.

It’s a similar with Native Americans.  That’s because the insult is compounded, squared and cubed.  Probably 90% of people guilty of even thinking such assinine thoughts have never even spoken to anything remotely akin to whatever the hell they think a Native American is.

There ain’t any such thing, is what I’m saying.  No such thing.  No such thing.  There are Lakota, Zuni, Navajo, Mojave, Mescalero.  As different from one another as a NYC black trumpet-player living in Greenwich Village is from a bayou Coonass in Louisiana.

About the only thing descendants of  aboriginal tribesmen in North America have in common is white people and Mexicans and blacks.  Every Rez is full of people who know how stupid white people, Mexicans and blacks are.  The Rez is full of stupid people too, but mostly they don’t know it.  But they could be a lot stupider than they are and still recognize how stupid white people, Mexicans and black people are.

And they’re damned well sick of being dehumanized by being respected by them.

Remember where you heard it first.

Old Jules

Getting rid of weevils in oatmeal and flour – rediscovering the past

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I want to share something I’ve discovered with those of you who cook:

Have you notice that when you bring flour, oatmeal or corn meal home it frequently has weevils already in it?  Do you find it disgusting, annoying, irritating?

Well, here are a couple of things you can do.  First off, put the bag of grain product into the freezer a few days as soon as you get home.  That will keep them from reproducing, eating more of your flour or whatever.

But once you take it back out there’ll be a lot of little bug carcasses dotting things.  Your grandmother would have sifted those out before using the grain product.  Her grandmother would have shrugged, if she noticed them at all, and ignored their existence.

So depending on which generation of grandmothers you want to emulate, you might try one of those methods.  Or you can do what I do to make those dead bugs vanish in a heartbeat.

Flax seed.  Every time you use flour, oatmeal or cornmeal for anything, toss in a tablespoon full or hand full of flax seed.  All those dead or alive weevils will vanish.  I don’t know whether the flax seed eats them, dissolves them, or waves a magic wand and sends them to an alternate reality.

But what’s strange about it is the fact that flax seeds themselves resemble tiny roaches.  Or bugs of some other kind.  Maybe that’s what they are, predatory little bugs going around eating weevil carcasses.

Maybe grandma’s grandma knew that, maybe that’s what she did, too.  A lost old wives tale.

And here I am rediscovering it by modern science.

Old Jules

Being alive puts things into a whole different light

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Those of you who’ve read here a while probably remember when I did my dramatic exit scene from Texas.  Middle of the damned coldest winter in memory, hopped in that RV trying to beat death to Kansas.  Two cats freezing and scared, me pushing things to a razor edge because I was determined to die somewhere the felines would have a home when I kicked.

Made it as far as one of those north Texas towns above Dallas, checked into a motel to croak.  And Jeanne’s sons dropped what they were doing and came down to drive me the rest of the way.

I had every reason to believe one of a couple of unhappy body parts was going on strike and planned to kill me.  The VA in Texas tried hard to avoid giving me the bad news by not examining me, but I sneaked past them into a private emergency room.  Old Gale hauled me to town when I was in bad enough shape to agree to it.  Took care of the cats while the Kerrville hospital made faces at one another every time they got the results of another test.

So I had every reason to believe my goozle was an ugly cancerous disaster, funny como se llamas on my lungs, but that those couldn’t get to me fast enough to kill me.  My ticker was going to do that honor.

So when I arrived in Oz and checked into the Olathe Medical Center through the Emergency Room I figured there was a middling chance I wouldn’t be coming back out with the amount of alive I had when I checked in.

But the cats were taken care of.  Every time a sawbones wanted to look at something else going ugly or stinking on my old jalopy of a body, I said okay.  And afterward he, or she would come around looking somber, suggesting we have a better look and by the way, I hate to tell you this, etc.

But I’ve digressed.  My point I want to make to you is that nobody anywhere along the program was saying, “On the off chance you don’t croak this is going to cost one hell of a lot of money.  Let’s discuss whether you could pay it in your wildest, most optimistic dreams.”

Hell, I’m a Social Security pensioneer.  Whatever medical care I get is through the VA, or Medicare paying the bills that have any reasonable hope of getting paid.  There’s copays, and I had a vague awareness of the fact it exists, but hell, I was having conversations with the grim reaper.  I wasn’t worrying about bill collectors.

And seemingly neither was anyone else.  Sons of bitches thought I as dying, every swinging Richard of them.  Maybe if they thought there was any hope I wouldn’t someone would have sat down with me and said, “Uh, you know, if you die you’re going to be okay.  But if you don’t, we’ve got people over in accounting who are going to try to make the REST of your life challenging.  Maybe you thought you had it bad before you came in here, but dying’s just a way to escape the accounts receivable people down the hall.  People do it all the time.”

Okay.  This defibrillator and the VA paying for physical therapy did a lot, and I believe, my home remedy herbal cancer killer took care of the goozle and lungs.  For a while it still appeared the damned ticker could still croak me, but it gradually slid down on the job.  Every physical therapy session I came away feeling better physically, and suspecting the financial world had some dark clouds looming on the horizon.  Lucky the national debt already admitted nobody gives a damn about paying debts anyway.

Well friends and neighbors, barring any unforeskinned circumcisions I won’t be seeing anymore doctors for a year.  They’ve got this ticker surveillance device hooked to me, reports to them all the time, and I’m down there three times a week on walking machines and sitting down peddler things, putting all this crap behind me.

And the bean counters are scratching their heads, dunning me and fretting over the phone about how I’m going to pay those copays that didn’t make any difference so long as I was exiting the vehicle.  Every month they get their $10 checks, and the big ones rack up a charge to neutralize that in the form of a penalty because it wasn’t enough.

And threatening to turn it over to the Roccos.

Sheeze!  I was needing a new adventure.  Aside from some help from a few good friends, I haven’t had any personal debt since Y2K.  If I didn’t have money I didn’t spend it, no matter what.  Sometimes they turned off the electricity, and it stayed turned off until I got enough money to turn it back on.

I suppose this could be called the cost of living.  I can send them $10 per month, they can call that $10 and raise, until nature can find some other way of wiping me off the Monopoly board.

But damn it’s good being alive.

Old Jules