May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Hell in Iraq, Hell at the DMV

music: Melvins - Revolve

colors: white and beige

mood: ho hum


First, the title links to a very interesting piece which claims full knowledge that the U.S. has no plans whatsoever to leave Iraq. In fact, Halliburton is apparently building cities in the form of little American Oases over there.

Oh, and remember when we were marching in the streets to not go to war because we knew it was a Supremely Bad Idea and would destabilize the Middle East? (This is far from an "I told you so", but more of a steady outrage that the peaceful people of the world are never listened to by the warring, power-hungry, control-hungry leaders.) Ninety mosques attacked in the last 24 hours. If there is a hell, George Bush and everyone in his administration (and all of his Christian supporters who ironically, are desperately trying to avoid going there) are going there. Unfortunately, from my Heaven-on-Earth Christian Humanist point of view, we're all trapped on this same planet, and we are riding in the handbasket. Actually, since everybody has different conceptions of heaven/hell, there's a chance that this might be the heaven Bush and Cheney envision, and they are probably enjoying their powertrip immensely. If not, could they please step down NOW so that somebody with better vision and stronger moral fiber could guide us back to peace. "I'm a war president." translates to some as "I'm an asshole. A genuine asshole -- I don't mind when other people suffer and die, so that I can have my way. But I'm smiling when I say that."

Second, I went to the DMV in Oakland today, and everytime I go there, it's another type of "Hell" albeit a bit lesser in magnitude. This was my/our fourth trip there, and we *still* do not have a California-recognized certificate of ownership, and license for the car. A few things to avoid that will make your job significantly easier:
1. If you change your name when you get married in Wisconsin, make sure that you also change the name on your Birth Certificate. Otherwise, the California DMV will treat you like a rat in a maze.
2. Do not have the name of a dead person on the current certificate of ownership. Apparently, California DMV employees have been trained to look entirely inscrutable and unconcerned that your loved one has experienced a death, even if it was 8 years ago.

Now, we're apparently going to have to get somebody in Wisconsin to get my wife's late husband's name off of the certificate of ownership, either because Wisconsin is sane about this, or by going before a JUDGE to get a 'letter of administration' or a 'testamentory' allowing for her to be the sole owner.

This is definitely not my idea of heaven. Not only do we have to fill out form after form, we're likely going to have to pay ~$400 for this and spend several days working this out, by the time this is all done. I understand that all of this rigamarole is there to make sure that nobody 'cheats the system,' as I'm sure many have. However, if the system were more equitable and just, there would be nothing to cheat. (Yes, even after my fourth trip to the DMV, I still have my ideals intact.)

As I said, here is a picture of some grafitti that somebody thoughtfully applied to the side of the DMV building.

Everybody's favorite Offspring song "Heaven is so far away."
Somebody's gotta fix that.

pax hominibus,

I remember a scary little flash animation, that I think you sent me, that came out before or right at the beginning of the most recent Iraq war. It started with the invasion, which led to a rise in freedom fighters, which dragged in other countries in the region, and finally Israel, and then it led to some sort of out of control nuclear event. Um, so we've got the invasion out of the way, the increased "freedom fighter" violence, sectarian fighting in the wake of the collapsed old power structure, the threat of civil war leading to a regional conflict, um...I don't really want to think about how accurate the flash thing might be...

And the DMV, eep. Sorry, dude, you need to come to Hawaii where they don't really care about any of that kind of thing.
Hey Joel!

Just checking out your blog the evening of 4-5-06, and thrilled (and sickened) to see your photo of my favorite piece of Oakland grafitti! When I was helping Zsolt get his driver's license, I ruminated many a long hour on those words of wisdom, thinking about Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower. Post-apocalyptic hellscape, here we come!
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