Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The War on Chimps

Some headlines are funny; some headlines are sad, and some just plain, perfunctory and boring. Some, however, portent the end of the world with a vividness rivaled only by the ‘Book of Revelation’. A recent headline from last Friday’s Washington Post, may just fall into that last category:

“For First Time, Chimps Seen Making Weapons for Hunting”.

Rowh-oh! That’s not good. Not good at all!

Reports are that researchers in Senegal have witnessed chimpanzees making spears from sticks. Apparently, they use their hands and teeth to peel the bark from sticks. Then they sharpen the ends with their teeth. Then they jab them into the hollows of trees where the bush babies are sleeping. In one case, a chimp was even seen to take a stabbed animal out of a tree and eat it.

Now is that scary or what?

Of course, chimps have been seen using crude tools for many centuries, but this spear-making is the first time people have witnessed them going through a multi-step process to create something that they seem to use for a specific purpose; namely, the impaling of unsuspecting sleeping animals from tree trunks.

Lets look at the big picture here. Today it’s jabbing a bush baby with a crudely fashioned spear, tomorrow the Statue of Liberty is buried up to her jubblies in sand, humans are in cages, and a half-naked Charleston Heston is making sweet love to a monkey.

How long before these super-smart chimps evolve and develop their own sophisticated arsenal of monkey weaponry, and pose a more serious threat to the human race? If we let these chimps go unchecked, they’ll soon be driving around in Beamer’s and buying stock over their cells. And from there it’s only a short hop, skip, and a jump from buying nuclear weapons on the Black Market.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t share the same enthusiasm for this evolutionary event as the naturalists and zoologists. It’s not the cute or interesting, scientifically or otherwise. This is a serious threat to my mind. I’ve taken solace in the fact that I am not the stupidest creature on the face of the earth. To me, this represents a significant challenge for my already unstable position on the evolutionary ladder.

Forget Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or any other popular globally vilified evil-doer, I say we move on these terrorist monkey motherfuckers now and wipe them out with a full on ‘Shock and Awe’ assault.

Rain down sweet explosive justice! Really give these l’il chimp bastards what for!

Think about it people. Think about it.

Act now and save ourselves the future worry of having to fight another unpopular ‘War on Terror’. And just imagine the indignity of having to fight a ‘War on Chimps’. There’ll be anarchy running amok in the streets and our society will be eventually overthrown. Before you know it, we’ll all be made into their monkey bitches.

The proverbial shit will be flung in all directions and it’ll be a bad moon rising on that day, my friends.

And that’s not a life worth living.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Probing St. Patrick

Well, a few days has passed since that whole St. Patty’s train came rolling through and so I’ve been set to thinking: who the fuck was this St. Patrick fella and what did he do to inspire all this holiday horseshit anyway?

So I did me some research.

It turns out that St. Patrick wasn’t some little faggy-looking hobbit sporting a shamrock and pot of gold at all. Go figure!

You mean we were lied too? First the Easter Bunny, then Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. And now St. Patrick too? Hard to believe I know.

In a nutshell, Patrick was a Christian priest whose job it was to convert the population of Ireland to Christianity. Sounds easy enough, right? The Druids, however, stood in his way.

The Druids, as it turns out, were very important people in Ireland at this time, and their symbol happened to be the ‘Snake of Wisdom’. And you already know what a hard-on the Christian Church has for snakes - right? They have a total “Anti-Snake” kind of philosophy going on.

Druids could be priests of the old religion of Ireland, but they were also much more. The Druids, you see, were histories original “multi-taskers”. And, sadly, they didn’t exactly look like the wizard-types you see in children’s Harry Potter books either.

One part of the Druid class were the “Bards”, whose job it was to remember all of the history of the people, as well as to record current events. Because, being the back wood bumpkins they were, the Irish Celts did not rely on a written language, everything had to be memorized. So Bards became poets and musicians, and, in essence, drunken barfly’s. This also explains why the Irish tend to get strangely poetic when they’re toasted I suppose.

They used their music and poetry to help them remember their history, and consequently, they went very hungry as a result.

Despite all this the Bards were highly respected members of the Irish society, as the Irish believed that remembering the past helped you plan for the future. Funny then, how they still didn’t feel the need to write anything fucking down – but I digress. I suppose that’s why the Irish are not known globally as the brightest bulb in the box. And also, perhaps, why Celtic music in general tends to twist my testicles in a knot.

Another part of the Druidic class were the “Brehons”. Brehons were the Judges and the Keepers of the Laws. The Celtic people had a slightly complicated society, and with it, a highly complicated set of laws. Brehons trained for many years to learn the laws of the people so that they could be relied upon to make peace in the event of the disputes.

Again with the no writing shit down! Not too bright these ancient Micks.

Because they served to protect the rights of every man, woman, and child, they were also held in high regard. Picture Judge Joe Brown in animal skins and you’d be getting the idea.

And, of course, there were the Druidic Priests. This branch of the Druid set were the keepers of the knowledge of Earth and Spirits. You just know that made for one hell of a campfire song!

It was their responsibility to learn the Spirit World, in order to keep people and Earth in harmony. Priests performed marriages, and “baptisms”, they were healers, and psychiatrists. The Priests were the wise grandfathers to whom you could go with a problem and climb into their lap for council. Later, maybe, they made you dig deep into their pockets for “candy”.

So, into this crazy Enya album of ancient Irish culture enters a highly energetic and devoted Christian, to who had just been assigned the task of “saving” the people.

Specifically, he had come to kick him some serious pagan ass!

The Irish people at that time were very happy and doing quite well – as do most people before Christianity’s ugly head rears itself – but Patrick was persistent if nothing. He recognized that the Druids were the real who’s who of Irish society, and so set about trying to convert them to his Christianity.

The Druids, of course, were none too excited about giving up their way of life. And who could fucking blame them? They only spent their entire lives learning the ways of the people and committing it to memory, and now they were being asked to simply forget it all and go with another plan? “That’s the thanks we get? Fat-fucking-chance!”

And so the stereotypical of the testy, scrappy Irishman is born I guess. In fact, saying that the Druids were reluctant is like saying that Christ’s last day on Earth was a just little aggravating.

And although Patrick was not willing to abandon his vision of a Christian Ireland, he was getting desperate. He knew that because the strength of the people rested with the Druids, he did the only decent, moral, Christian thing he could think of – he set about systematically wiping them from the face of the earth.

Patrick began to undermine the influence of the Druids by destroying the sacred sites of the people and building churches and monasteries where the Druids had once lived and taught. To put it simply, he literally cockblocked the Druids out of the very society they had helped to preserve and preside over for hundreds of years.

In the end, the Druidic class was broken by a bitter campaign of attrition. Instead of hearing the teachings and advice of the Druids, the people began to hear the teachings of Rome. Because the Druids were the only ones who were taught to remember the history, with the Druids dead and their influence broken, the history was forgotten. And so Christianity throws the towel over another of the worlds cultural birdcages.

See where not writing shit down gets you?

Patrick had finally won. By killing off the teachers and wise ones his own religion could be taught instead.

And it’s another moral victory for Jesus!

For his mass conversion of a culture to Christianity, and for the killing of thousands of innocent people, Patrick was made a Saint by his church. Sure. Why not?

Now, forgive me for saying so, but this Patrick fella sounds like a wee bit of an asshole. So why then is everybody so psyched to celebrate someone who’s claim to fame is having once bitch-slapped an entire learned and highly sophisticated culture back to the Jurassic Period?

Maybe this is why we are just naturally drawn to pick on and tease the Irish.

Today the story is told that Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland because he “drove the snakes out”. We now know that the “snakes” were the old Druids.

That’s kinda like kicking the shit out of Steven Hawking if you ask me.

Some tough guy Patron Saint he was.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans (Redux)

('St. Patrick's Day' was originally posted on 03/08/05. It has therefore been reedited, reworked, reworded, and then reconsidered before being reposted here today.)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody!

I hope everybody has been enjoying their holiday libations this weekend…or rather, that you’re faithfully sitting at home right now in front of your laptops with a bottle of Guinness and appropriately positioned water bong, reading yours truly.

And, for that - I thank you. Screw all those other guys who are still out drinking green beer right now, betting on the “footy”, or beating each other with shillelaghs after a heated political debate, or whatever the Irish traditionally do on the 17th of March.

Did you ever notice how on St. Patrick’s Day that everybody seems to suddenly develop an Irish accent? Why is that? Just because you’re drunk and dressed in a ridiculous plastic green bowler hat doesn’t automatically qualify you as someone who can obnoxiously brag about being from the “Motherland”.

And for the record, Ireland is officially known as “The Emerald Isle”…not the “Motherland”, comrade.

You know these types of morons I’m talking about. They flock to the bars every March 17th in droves. I know – I bartended for 18 years. I’ve got green vomit stories that will make your worst dorm room Pukefest seem like a day at the spa by comparison. We’re talking total Alien Regurgitorium here!

And I got news for you – in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has real meaning, or something resembling an actual tradition of ceremonial significance anyway.

But, here in North America? Why do we care exactly? So they’re green and hide crap at the end of rainbows. I can see where that’d be pretty interesting if you were, say, Kermit the Frog.

What’s the big whoop exactly?

What have the Irish ever done for us? Sure St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland…but what’s he done for us lately? So what else have the Irish really done us to warrant all this needless hoopla?

Let’s see. They raided Canadian townships along the Niagara River and burned farmer’s fields’ back in the Fenian raids of 1870. Not exactly the kind of thing that I’d want to drink to. So lets keep digging.

What else? They gave us Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Boyzone. But that’s more of a reason to hunt down Irishmen with clubs than celebrate with drink if you ask me.

Even in the science world, the Irish have nothing of significance to celebrate. Francis Rynd is credited with developing the first hypodermic needle, and in turn, inventing more than just a few medical phobias in small children, not to mention a few adults. In essence, this guy is every living child’s medical Boogey Man.

“Now, Billy! You’d better eat your vegetables or Francis Rynd will inject you with his super sharp, hollow pointed hypodermic needle!” Yeah…a real hero. Thanks.

Then there’s George Francis FitzGerald, noted theoretical physicist. What the hell is a ‘theoretical physicist’? Somebody who imagines what might happen if you were to drop an aardvark from an orange tree on the surface of one of the moons orbiting Jupiter? Hey, it could happen…that’s all I’m sayin’. If that’s not a science born to drink I don’t know what is. I imagine that after a few glasses of Jameson’s just about anything is possible. But still, there’s no great triumph here worthy of a holiday either.

What else have they got?

Some enchanted Blarney Stone, where it is reputed, that by kissing it you somehow acquire the “gift of eloquence”. Yeah, that and Herpes’s Simplex-B, moron. How eloquent is it to kiss a strange, dangerously situated rock anyway? That’s about as eloquent as a beer fart in a banquet hall if you ask me. Do you know how many strangers have dangled themselves by their feet over the castle wall to kiss this stupid thing? You’d be lucky if your lips didn’t fall off three days later thanks to some strange flesh-eating bacteria.

You go, Seamus.

Other than that, the rest is all just leprechauns, four leaf clovers, boiled cabbage, and boxes of Lucky Charms. That’s all they got! So what’s everybody celebrating exactly? Because I think that on the whole global contribution scale, the Irish are ranking right up there with, maybe, Botswana and Lithuania. So why not a St. Mpumalanga’s Day too? It’s just as arbitrary.

I hate St. Patrick’s Day – and even more so, I hate people who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Just having to witness anybody participating in some stupid St. Patrick's Day shenanigans makes me more irritable than a Minotaur with a toothache. I want to club them all with a sack of pennies, kick them in the shamrocks, and shove their penny whistles up their wee arses.

From the moment I walk out my front door – it’s like I'm stepping into some bizarre mutant Kermit the Frog family reunion picnic. It’s just infuriating! The first person that mistakenly pinches me because “that’s what you get when you don’t wear green” is inevitably going to be greeted with a knuckle sandwich that would make George Foreman throw in the towel.

I just don’t get it. Green is ugly. It's the color of mold, weeds, swamp creatures, and alien blood cells. It was not intended to be worn in public with such bold frankness. The color green signals that a rotted body limb may soon need to be sawn off, or that someone has left out food stuffs that have gone a little bit funky. I'd be a little leery of celebrating any culture or nationality that embraces this color as part of its national identity.

I particularly don’t understand the phenomena of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the office place. It’s bad enough that I have stay away from all bars, restaurants, clubs, cafes, and other social public establishments in order to avoid the drunken mobs of accented moolyaks sloshing their green beverages on my hushpuppies and taking leaks on my parked car – but now I have to find a way to deal with the schmucks in the ‘Social Committee’ at work as well.

Where some of these people come up with their deluded expressions of “Irishness” I’ll never know. One co-worker even showed up in a neon orange shirt with green shamrock suspenders, beads, hat, and heeled shoes. How is that being Irish exactly? I’ve never met an Irishman who would ever even consider leaving the house looking like a gay pumpkin.

If I were Irish – I’d fucking dread St. Patrick’s Day!

I’d probably board myself up inside my apartment with a sack full of spuds and keg of Guinness for an entire 24-hour period until the madness had passed away completely.

Honestly, our blatant blasphemous mockery of the entire Irish culture would be enough to have St. Patrick drive all the snakes back into Ireland!

“Top o’ the morning to ya’s, ya fookin’ eejit’s!”