Amoeba’s Lorica: Credential Cred

According to the fine, upstanding, and probably, these days, 100% facepalmed (remember, they’re part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and their bosses are Wilbur Ross and Donald Trump) people at the United States Census Bureau, the percentage of US citizens who have received high school diplomas, and and have received college/university degrees, has gone steadily up since 1940 CE.

Good news, yeah? Surely this spectacular increase in credentials has granted the People of these Untied States of America far greater knowledge of themselves and their world than ever before. Far greater information, and the skills to manage that information. The potential for far greater wisdom

What was that?

Far greater indebtedness? C’mon. Cost of doing business. You didn’t expect to receive all these boons for free, did you? Pay up and …

OK, YFNA will ask what good all this education has done for us. Let’s examine how people have applied their new education credentials to the task of picking a quality President of the United States, shall we?

[…]

[…]

[damn!]

Ya wanna try telling YFNA again why no one should be exempt from a college education?

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Amoeba’s Lorica: Having Some Idea

A little while ago, a Facebook friend of Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba shared a post from a commercial site, peddling shirts that proclaimed, “A day without music is like … Just kidding. I have no idea.”

Now, since this friend is a musician, and a good one, YFNA had no trouble appreciating the sentiment. But, it started YFNA to thinking, and you know by now, dear reader, just how dangerous that can be. Of course, this ‘thinking’ business automatically disqualifies YFNA from ever holding electoral office in these Untied States of America, and that will limit the damage. But still …

A few minutes with YFNA’s favorite web search engine … which YFNA would name, but the company doesn’t pay him for the privilege of advertising the product, and he’s contrary enough to buck our longstanding tendency to transition the name of a company, that isn’t paying him to advertise it, from a proper noun into a common noun. Come to think of it, does anybody use a real Kleenex for nose blowing any more? I mean …

Right. Where was …? Oh. Yeah. Websearching.

[Ahem] A few minutes with YFNA’s favorite web search engine showed that there are lots of things that people are trying to make a buck from, proclaiming that they have no idea how to do without them. Prominent among them were …

Wine.

Beer.

Coffee.

Now, it just so happens that, without these things, nobody would be around today wondering how they could possibly do without them. Water is essential, but, in the ancient world, it was also dangerous. Don’t touch that water, son, you don’t know where it’s been. Societies that actually survived into the modern era did so because they routinely made water less dangerous, by boiling it (and then adding something to make it taste like it hasn’t been, like, boiled) or pickling it in alcohol. Got a hangover this morning? Cost of doing business, dude. At least you’re here to have that hangover. Have a glass of wine.

Music?

Yo. These days, our commercial masters have declared that nobody should be exempt from a day, nay an hour, with music. Or a facsimile thereof. Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba went bowling yesterday, and couldn’t hear the pins drop from the alleged music that was blaring from the loudspeakers and ten-foot video screens just above the pins that were the supposed main reason for being at this “entertainment facility”. YFNA did learn that Taylor’s not nearly as swift as she thinks she is. Neither was the bowling, but who could tell?

But what about before there were amps, and iTunes, and synthesizers, and Fender Stratocasters, and the whole mass media monster money machine?

News Flash! They were not piping hot new release Mozart into the entertainment arcades.

They were playing it live in concert halls.

And who got in to the concert halls? The ridiculously wealthy. And who got to write and play that music? The ridiculously wealthy, and those who made a living off the largesse of the ridiculously wealthy. A professional musician wishing to acquire a new violin from Antonio Stradivari could expect to pay a year’s salary for the privilege. Unless he [in those days, sic] got it as a gift in return for noble patronage.

Not wealthy? Aw, too bad. You got your music, maybe once a week or less, during major social events, provided by folks with rude instruments and voices, who got them out to practice and play only after all the rest of the week’s events (like, ensuring survival) had been done. And that, doubtless, showed.

Ooga chaka ooga ooga ooga chaka ooga ooga

[Hey. Wasn’t that a chart-topper for Blue Swede in 1974?]

Or, you got your music from nature. To which you paid attention. Not so much because the singing of the birds was sweet – even though humans have a natural affinity to it, because nearly all bird song represents warfare or the threat of warfare, generally over territory or opportunities to get laid, and therefore it’s close to the essence of the human heart and worthy of emulation, so …

[Ahem] To which you paid attention, not so much because the singing of the birds was sweet, but because the absence of the singing of the birds told you of the presence of a predator that could run off with your livestock, or your firstborn son.

Listening to the music of nature, despite the natural human affinity for its true meanings, is no longer favored. No profit potential. Therefore, Taylor Swift at 110 decibels in bowling alleys. And memes, printed on T-shirts, proclaiming how inconceivable, for the support of the market valuation of its providers, a day without music truly is.

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Amoeba’s Lorica: Junta

A work of fiction. Any resemblances to real persons, places, and events are … What is reality? I dunno. Why is reality …?

Anderson Cooper of CNN has been ushered into a private office in the White House, to meet with White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

Anderson Cooper: “Good morning, Gen. Kelly. I’m here, as you know, to negotiate terms with the President for the exclusive interview we’re trying to set up with him. I look forward to seeing him. I think.”

John Kelly: “Thank you, Mr. Cooper. A lot of folks have that reaction when they’re confronted with the prospect of meeting me. I find that most useful.”

Cooper: “Um …”

Kelly: “Yes. You requested a meeting with the President. I am he.”

Cooper:But where is Mr. Trump?!?

Kelly: “Mr. Cooper, I am a Marine. I have seen, and served with, a lot of rough men. I have seen, and served with, a lot of stupid men. But I have never seen such a combination of rough and dumb in my life, never mind been assigned to hold the hand of such a one. It was my hardest service ever, and one that I saw was endangering my country still more than my person. When Mr. Trump blew through the Secret Service budget, we engaged Marines to take their places in his personal bodyguard. I trust I need say no more.”

Cooper: “But the tweets keep coming!

Kelly: “I said, did I not, that I was assigned to hold his hand? Of course I got access to his Twitter account!”

Cooper:So that explains how come those tweets got sensible all of a sudden!

Kelly: “Which got your attention and brought you here. Thank you. For the compliment and the intel. Of course, we still have to send out the occasional idiotic Trumpism, in the hopes that we only have a few people like you who catch on and make us deal with them.”

Cooper: “Do I want to know, then, how come Mr Trump is still making personal appearances, and we see his family conducting business as usual? Surely if Mr Trump were, ahem, in custody …”

Kelly: “Hm. You disappoint me. I should have thought that, given our 40-plus year history of electing actors to our highest political offices, you would have expected us to have learned a thing or three. Mabel, send Stan in, would you please? (Stan enters the room.) Ah, there you are. Say Hi, Anderson Cooper.”

Stan (Cooper’s Double): “Hi, Anderson Cooper.”

Cooper: “Oh .. my ..”

Kelly: “Thank you. Dismissed. (Stan leaves.) I am confident that Stan here will do an excellent job convincing your audience that he’s you, and will do an equally excellent job of steering media conversations in directions favorable to us. Like, for instance, keeping the Clinton vs Sanders squabble going until people have forgotten that any other political issues exist, thus keeping potential opponents entertained and out of our way.”

Cooper: “Don’t tell me …”

Kelly: “That we’ve already replaced members of Congress and the Judiciary with our agents? OK, I won’t tell you. But remember, most people in the US have no clue who their representatives are, have certainly never met them, and we could probably substitute orangutans for them and our fellow citizens would report, if anything, an improvement. So how would citizens know that their representatives had been replaced, even if we were clumsy about it? Especially if we have command of the likes of you!

Cooper: “So you and Gen. Mattis …”

Kelly: “And others … Joint Chiefs, I guess you could say.”

Cooper: “… are now running the United States of America.”

Kelly: “And God grant that we have acted in time to save it.”

Cooper: “Sounds to me like it’s already too late.”

Kelly: “We know that’s what you’d think. That’s why you’re here now.”

Cooper: “And …?”

Kelly: “That’s for us to know, and you to find out. And tell no one about.”

Cooper: “Oy.”

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