Opinion » The Rant

The Rant



I know I don't write the We Recommend column as I once did for 16 long years (and thanks to you sweet people for still thinking of me in the Flyer's Best Local Columnist category in the Best of Memphis issue, and congratulations to Wendi Thomas and Geoff Calkins for taking the first- and second-place votes this year, which were well deserved, as always), but this week I do feel that I should recommend one thing: Get the hell out of Dodge if you can, and cut yourself off from the world. Until today, while writing from a computer on the campus of Vanderbilt University, I have been for the past few days in the middle of nowhere, in the hills of middle Tennessee driving through valley after valley over creek after creek just taking in the fireworks of the fall trees and loving every minute of it. I've been cut off from most newspapers, television news, and Internet news, and it has been delightful. The worst thing I've seen was an interview with a man who had been repeatedly attacked by a chimpanzee somewhere, and I turned away from even that. But today, back in Nashville, I made the mistake of picking up a newspaper. I really just wanted to check what happened at the Summit of the Americas and the free-trade talks to see how many collectable baseball cards Bush took with him to swap, but there was nothing about it and I flipped the page. Unfortunately, I landed on an article about our secret CIA torture prisons all over the world, where we can do pretty much anything to anybody, regardless of whether or not we know if they are part of a group out to get us, because this isn't your grandfather's war. The scary thing is that we invaded a country and sent it into total chaos on the premise that its leader was out to get us with nuclear weapons, when they had none, so what's to keep us from torturing anybody we want at any time in any place just because we have an inkling they might not be evangelical Christians who drive Hummers for Jesus and live to shop at Wal-Mart and waste even more energy by hanging Christmas lights on every surface of their property starting the day after Thanksgiving. Hmm, maybe being in the countryside hasn't chilled me out so much after all. And speaking of SUVs and greed, I also glanced at an article about how those crusty, tiresome, and I mean tiresome, old white men who head up some of the world's largest oil companies are trying to make excuses for their outrageous gas prices while raking in roughly a hundred billion dollars in "quarterly" profits while the rest of us live with no heat and drive no farther than we absolutely have to because of high home-energy and gasoline prices. This is the best yet. You know when Republican senators and congressmen rag on them for being corrupt and greedy something really is rotten in Denmark. Or in Texas, for the most part. Do these old white men really think the American public is intellectually inept enough to buy this crap about them investing all that money in "alternative energy" research? I know most of the nightly-news-informed lemmings usually think corporate America is out for their best interest because Fox News tells them so, but when it comes to their own pocketbooks and wallets, most of them aren't going to give a bug's nuts what the motive is for robbing them blind. I don't think they can even pull the cashmere over the eyes of those who usually go along with them. Buffy and Kip have soccer practice every day and damn if Mom is going to give up $500 a month from her Italian-leather-pumps budget to pay that much more at the gas pump to drive them to and from their practice fields. Nah, as my grandmother used to say when I did something stupid that jeopardized my own happiness, the oil executives have finally "peed in their warm place." So let them just "lie" in it and maybe justice will bite them on the butt. In the meantime, I am heading back to the country for a few days to commune with nature -- while it still exists. Somehow, watching groundhogs frolicking in the wild makes me not care so much about what's happening elsewhere in the world. But next week: a little tip from personal experience about what MLGW is doing with regard to their billing cycle. It might even save you some money and peace of mind. Until then, I'll let them wonder what it might be.

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