Watch out today, at least in Los Angeles. I don’t know if it’s something in the air, something in the water, a change in the solar neutrino flux, or a variation in tachyons arriving from the galactic core, but it’s time to put on your tin foil hats!
I had a few errands to run this morning, no biggie. Post office. Bank. Restock the pet food larder. Maybe go pick up the new John Scalzi book and/or the new Richard Kadrey book and/or the new Brad Paisley album. No biggie.
It started at the post office. There were a few cars in line for the drive-through mail drop and something was making the line go slow. I finally saw that there was a booth set up on the sidewalk. A couple of people from the booth were trying to talk to the drivers as cars left the mailbox and waited to exit onto the street. When it was my turn, I saw that it was a fanatical group trying to rally support to impeach Obama.
While the opportunities for entertainment were clear, so were the opportunities to raise my blood pressure.
First off, I’m a huge fan of the First Amendment, even when it means that we have to give assholes and subhumans like the Westboro Baptist Church the right to picket funerals. I despise people like that with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but I understand that if I want those rights for me and people who agree with me, I also have to allow those rights to people I detest.
Secondly, I try real hard to be tolerant and give everyone a chance, maybe two. (It’s my Catholic school education, I’m sure.) However, after that point, my tolerance level drops off pretty fast. People who insist on demonstrating repeatedly that they’re delusional, anti-social, ignorant, or psychotic are fools who no longer deserve to be suffered gladly. The screaming folks with the big posters of Obama made to look like Hitler? They might have at least one strike against them to start with.
This guy wanted to shove propaganda flyers into my face before I could get the window rolled up after dropping off my mail — I declined to accept. (Strike one.) This dude looking like a poster child for a white supremacy group screamed at me, asking if I knew we were all doomed if Obama wasn’t “stopped” — I ignored him. (Strike two.) He then asked if I had ever considered the “evidence” that Obama was a fascist, socialist, Nazi dictator…
In my defense, the street was full of cars in front of me and I couldn’t go anywhere anyway.
I asked him if he knew the difference between fascists, socialists, and Nazis, since they were all different and in many respects had opposing policies and viewpoints and hated each other.
He pointed at the Hitler mustache on the poster and told me that Obama was just like Hitler! I told him that I didn’t know that Hitler’s mustache made him evil, I had always thought that it was senseless slaughter of millions of innocent people.
He told me that when I looked in the mirror I would see that mustache on myself and know that I was a Nazi too. I told him when he looked in the mirror he would see a psychotic idiot in desperate need of some serious mental help.
He started listing the conspiracies all around us regarding AIDS and 9-11 and global warming and the United Nations, saying that if we ignored the danger we would all be locked up in gulags. I pointed out that if Obama was really a dictator, nut jobs like him wouldn’t be sitting on the sidewalk ranting. He and his friends would be dead and no one would ever find the bodies, so ipso facto, Obama wasn’t a dictator.
I may have been using intellectual arguments above his weight class.
Traffic was clearing and I started to move. As I did so, I saw the poster on the front side of the fold-up table they had. It was urging people to impeach that Nazi-socialist-communist-fascist-dictator Obama and join Lyndon LaRouche in saving the country. His obvious problems with reality made so much more sense now! I told my delusional friend that he needed to find a better cult to join next time. I suggested one with lots of sex and drugs might be more to his liking. He called me a Nazi again, we flipped each other off, and I left.
You don’t see that every day in the San Fernando Valley!
Nor do you normally see folks jogging in 95° heat while wearing full, black sweat suits, including full-length sweatpants and a hoodie pulled up over their head. Yes, you see folks jogging. Yes, you even see a few of them out jogging in 95° weather. But I’ve never seen anyone dressed like it’s 35° when it’s 95° and running at a good pace to boot. It looked like a good way to either wake up in intensive care needing multiple organ transplants or to simply wake up dead. Good luck, guys, you’re going to need it. Stay hydrated!
Then, for a more common bizarre circumstance for LA, there was apparently a huge accident on the freeway. The westbound freeway was gridlocked. Grid. Locked.
I didn’t know until I got within a block or so of the onramp. Then I could see that traffic wasn’t moving at all, dead stop, so I decided to stay off the freeway and get to the book store on surface streets. Unfortunately, the freeway backup apparently had been there for a while, had multiple lanes blocked, and the gridlock went back at least six or seven miles, so a few hundred thousand of my close, personal friends had decided to use that street as an alternate route.
No one was moving. Period.
But a significant number were driving like freakin’ idiots. (Big surprise, I know, right?) People cutting into shopping center parking lots, going 100 yards, then trying to cut back out into traffic in order to pass ten or twelve cars. People doing U-turns across the center divider islands into gridlocked traffic coming the other way. People ignoring the traffic control cops who were trying to keep some semblance of order at the bigger interchanges, and getting away with it because there was no way to stop and/or cite them.
After about fifteen minutes I made it a half mile and was able to turn away from it all onto a side street and escape. (Knowing the local topography intimately is a huge help in such circumstances — I recommend running to get to know all of the side streets on a first name basis.)
As I bailed on the book store errand and got back towards home, I went by the post office and saw our favorite neighborhood whackjobs still out there harassing postal patrons. I thought briefly of letting them know about the massive gridlock a couple miles away. Down there were thousands and thousands of helpless motorists who would have no opportunity at all to get away from their delusional diatribes. It would be like shooting ducks in a barrel!
The word “shooting” triggered the realization that many of those frustrated, pissed-off, short-tempered motorists might well be armed. As entertaining as it was to think of these deluded dimwits being shot at, I decided to leave well enough alone.
Instead I’m at home, making more tin foil hats and tin foil liners for my athletic supporter cups. It might be a long weekend in LA.
I think it’s the neutrinos.