Monday, October 24, 2005

Everyone's trying to get in on the act

Yeah, we blur the line between saying things that are real and things that are absurd. We hold the right to do that because we truly don't see a difference between the two. All life is absurd. While we do it to no real purpose, other than to see how much we can blur that line, I found a real article that could have been one of our jokes but was actually serious.

I found it in The Week, under Best Columns: Europe. It's from Madrid, Spain's ABC, written by Juan Manuel de Prada. Check it out:

"Maybe we had it coming. For years, we Spaniards gleefully mocked the U.S. for it vicious persecution of smokers. The vilification of tobacco users, we said knowingly, was "just the clearest symptom of the raging paranoia that is rotting American society like gangrene." The ever-widening bans on smoking showed the growth of "latent fascism" in U.S. politics. With sneering conceit, we congratulated ourselves that such a thing could never happen here. We were wrong. Parliament is outlawing smoking in the workplace. Opposing parties that can't manage to agree on a bill to combat terrorism have miraculously united over "harassing smokers." Spanish smokers will now have to cluster furtively outside their office buildings, just like those pathetic Americans. Such behavior will be terrible for office morale. Either smokers will be resented for their cigarette breaks, or they will find them more trouble than they're worth and stop hiring them. This type of "social segregation" is the "beginning of totalitarianism.""

Does anybody else feel like shooting themselves after reading that? That was a real, printed opinion. The only thing more painful than reading it is the thought that someone gets paid to write something that I do for free as a joke. I'm sorry I have to stop a moment and weep.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Need for Cat Furniture?

One of the recurring themes on this blog has been cat furniture. First, I did not know that such implements even existed, but the notion of cat furniture has gotten my mind working. It seems that, yes, there is an under-represented segment of our community who are currently going without furniture... cats.

While I, myself, am not a cat lover it troubles me that these living creatures go without adequate furniture. Yes, most are provided with shelter and all the food they need, but it truly is a travesty that most have no place to comfortably lay their heads at the end of a tiring day, nor do most of a nice chair to relax in and to throw up their paws. This travesty is a clear sign of humancentrism. Cats at one time considered a deity are now forced to sit on windowsills, sleep on floors which may or may not be carpeted, and to eat from bowls rather than at tables which would be more fitting to their former status.

My friends, I hope that we all will make a concerted effort to fix this wrong. As the holidays approach perhaps this would be the time to purchase some furniture for the feline in your life. If you are like me and do not have a cat you could always make a purchase and donate it to a cat charity of your choosing. I just hope that I don't have to pass any pan-handlers or those pesky Salvation Army volunteers with their kettles on my way to buy cat furniture. They always make me feel uncomfortable. Don't they know I have charities I help... like the cats in need of furniture!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Creative Solutions to Modern Problems

Absurd Men Speak is dedicated to solving modern problems (frankly because there is no money in solving ancient ones). So many times policies and actions are called into question without alternatives. People are so ready to point the finger. Not here. The following are solutions proposed by Absurd Men to solve "Poverty".

1) When dealing with the issue of poverty why must we re-invent the wheel? Our forefathers had an answer and it was called debtors' prison. If one did not have the money to pay bills then it was off to prison until the family could raise the money to release them. This sounds like a simple incentive program to me. Perhaps even those who find themselves in a poverty situation could staff the prisons. Now that is capitalism at its best!

There is yet another benefit to re-instituting debtors' prisons... I foresee a literary renaissance starting. Daniel Defoe spent time in a debtors' prison. Charles Dickens's father was in a debtors' prison thus forcing young Charles to work in a blacking factory at the age of twelve. Would Dickens have the gritty insight for his stories without this life experience? O. Henry spent time in prison (not debtors' prison, but prison nonetheless). There seems to be a connection between incarceration and creativity. So if we want more Defoes, Dickens, and Henrys we had best re-institute debtors' prisons now! --- Erasmus

2) It would be in the best interests of this great nation to put the unused masses to work. Perhaps a massive public works program can provide the necessary training and discipline to get these people back on their feet. We've all heard of the Big Dig in Massachusetts. Our government could start a more literal Big Dig in Nevada to create a second Grand Canyon.

Those who are unemployed or working poor who refuse to work can be made to work on a duplicate of one of our most beloved yet awkwardly named national treasures. Income, education, and tourism can all be bolstered by toiling in the hot sands of Nevada. We can prove that man can work faster than erosion. We can prove that man can solve poverty with mindless, back-breaking work. We can prove that our naming of things is quite lame by calling it the Great Big Hole. --- Dave

3) In a similar vein of Erasmus' debtors prison, I propose bringing back another solution to poverty: indentured servitude.

The gripe that there are no jobs in this globalised economy is hogwash. There are plenty of jobs out there for everybody. The problem is that they're not in the areas where the unemployed live. I'm no economist, but I would venture to say that no matter who you are and what sort of skills you have (or lack for that matter) there is a job somewhere in the world that someone will pay you to do. Unfortunately, not everyone (especially poor, unemployed people) has the money or resources to travel to find work outside their area. If there are no jobs in the city or region where such people live why not offer them work and housing in another area or another country (including travel fees) if they agree to work it off...plus a bit of interest for the employer, naturally.

In many ways this is already being done with migrant workers in the apple (Jamaicans) and tobacco (Mexicans) industries. I'm sure there are other rich countries that could use some hardworking American laborers for all sorts of things -from au pairs and childminders, to construction and factory workers. Let's bring them to where they are needed and who knows, maybe they'll settle there, learn the language, alter their names and integrate into the society. They may even learn a new trade or skill, adapting to their environment, kickstarting that stalled American trait...ingenuity. On the other hand if more join them they will form a defensive minority community, protest the gov't and get harrassed by the indeginous ethnic majority. A real immigrant experience. But who cares? The point is they'll be working, not sitting around and complaining for lack of jobs.

Whether you like it or not we live in a globalised economy. Folks, it's time for a globalised workforce.

-Ross


If you have a Modern Problem that needs solving and would like an absurd proposal feel free to add a comment.