Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dear Haters

Dear Haters: You must really try to understand that most Muslims, like most Christians, Jews and so on, are really not particularly 'religious'. They don't give a flying F about jihad or caliphates or sharia law & etc. They are just common people, raising families, going to work, trying to make ends meet from week to week. They do not support terror, murder, extremism, slavery, beheadings and so on. It is the extremists of every ilk -- the disaffected, the gullible, the ignor...ant, the nutcases -- who make up the population of these violent, lunatic minority groups. ISIL itself is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims. It is not a Muslim group but merely a band of murderous, brainwashed, opportunistic adventurers. To lump all muslims in with the very few extremists would be the same as saying that all Christians are followers of the Jim Jones cult. So please get a clue. The world is not as black and white as you'd like it to be.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mr. Clown

I wonder if you remember when you were unhappy in your crib, and I would make a doll dance on the railing. A clown, remember? Oh, what a wild dance he would do. And you laughed and laughed, and laughed till you slept. That was yesterday, many years ago. Now, where have you gone, my son? How is it that such worlds can vanish?

Come, Lord

President Dwight Eisenhower once advised that war correspondents take every photo and film they possibly could of the horror that was the holocaust, because, as he noted, someone would surely come along someday to deny that it ever happened. It was a good and honorable idea, Dwight, but what you may not have been able to see at that time is that there are people, many, many people who just don't care. Imprisonment, starvation, torture, slave labor, the robbery of dignity, per...verted, pointless 'medical' experiments, gas chambers and mass graves of emaciated, grotesquely entangled human bodies - it all means nothing. It doesn't matter. Hatred thrives, the inhuman, soul-less, diseased mind of evil thrives, inciting to new slaughters, new genocides through lies, relying on ignorance, setting fire to the darkness that resides deep in all humankind. We read, now, that the leader of the Palestinian state has published a book stating that the Jews and the Nazis worked hand-in-hand. Yes, the Jews exterminated themselves. And people will believe this, because they want to, they don't care, and they have no shame. One woman commented not long ago on a Facebook post that she was glad the Jews were gassed. She only wished someone would gas the rest of them. Oh brave new world, as Shakespeare said, that has such people in it.
Oh come, Lord. Come soon.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Navigation 2

So, first off I check my cousin's recommended navigator against the one I already had on the phone (Maze). Google says it will take me 1.6 hours to get to the Samsung Service Center, Maze says 22 minutes. Frankly I'd rather spend 22 minutes getting nowhere than 1.6 hours getting (possibly) somewhere. So i go with the Maze. I have a ballpark idea of where the place is, so I ignore a couple of "rights" and "lefts" along the way. Noting that I am getting low on gas, I turn into ...a gas station lot, and the Navigator says, cheerfully, "You have arrived at your destination!"

In fact, I am still far from my destination. I'm not even on the proper road.

From that point on, the navigator refuses to speak again, save for once when it declares that "Your destination is on your right." But this is simply not true. Not true at all. So i go a bit further, and then decide to give up. Deja vu. Retracing another mile or so, suddenly there it is! Now, indeed, on the right (which should have been the left for Maze. I've found it!

Ah, but the story does not end well. This DVD controller cannot be repaired, the woman tells me.

"Well that's not surprising, because it never did work. "

"Must buy new."

"When you sold me something that didn't work to begin with?"

"Yes, that's the procedure. "

"How much?"

"50000. "

So i bring out my wallet.

"Must send to Jakarta, she says. "Maybe one week."



"Okay. You send, and I will pay you when I pick it up. "

"Must pay now. "


"It's the procedure. "

"But what if the replacement doesn't work. What if it never comes?"

She gives me the classic blank stare. And so that's it. No DVD controller. Or, maybe I can just spin the disk by hand.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Navigating with the i-Phone

Today, using my i-Phone navigator app, I went in search of an electronics shop located on an unpronounceable street. The voice directions led me through many interesting areas, occasionally more than once, including one rutted series of paths that smelled like raw sewage - but, alas, not to the sought for electronics shop. I did notice a different electronics place, so turned around, collided briefly with a woman on another motorbike, was treated to a number of choice curses,... then stopped at the alternate shop. I asked if they knew the place I was looking for.

"Oh yes. "

"Is it far from here?"

"Oh yaaa, masih jauh!"

So forget it. I went to Hypermart instead, which was not so far, and was told that I must go to the Samsung Service Center, inconveniently located on another unpronounceable street and very much in the opposite direction.

Once again, I entered the coordinates on my device, and off I went. The map indicated that I should arrive at my destination in about 22.3 minutes. 42.3 minutes later I arrived at a muddy field that contained quite a few cows, but no service center. Not even a barn. Wherever I went, at this point, the device told me to turn right. I found that it does not take many rights to make a circle. What seemed clear at this point was that a herd of cows had taken over the service center and altogether trampled it into the soggy earth.

Defeated, I headed back the way I had come, when, Lo, here was a big sign reading Samsung! Swiftly, I pulled into the lot, without hitting anyone, and entered the shop.

"Is this the Samsung Service Center?"

The three girls answered eagerly and as one

"Oh, no, Pak. That's on Chingatchgook Street" (or something like that.

I can draw you a map, one girl said, but was quickly interrupted by another, who was not impressed by the accuracy of the first girl's efforts. At last, all three huddled over their sheet of notepaper, drawing little boxes and giving them place names. In all these depictions, I saw no cows.

"Ok, that's great," I said. "I think I can find it."

Cheerfully, they bid me farewell, but then thought again to stop me at the door.

"But Pak - it's not open today. It's not open on weekends at all!"