Monday, January 08, 2007

Incompetence in America

Yes, I know I promised to get back to reporting science fiction here, but a couple of things have happened that really tick me off and I feel like venting.

My parents are in Germany. Today is the day that they are flying back to the States. Germany is 6 hours ahead of us here in the Eastern time zone. I got a call about 10 am from a mechanical voice telling me that 'my flight had changed.' My parents flight was supposed to leave Frankfurt Germany at 11.10 am, now it's leaving at noon, and the subsequent flight from Atlanta has also been changed.

Now, that's all well and good except at the time they called me, it was already about 4 pm in Germany. My parents had already left for the airport, already been waiting an extra long time for their plane (although they would have anyway since you're supposed to get their 2 hours eary for an international fligh), etc.

So, me, being in the States, I'm getting old news. There's no way I can call and tell my parents about the the time changes because they're probably already on the plane. This phone call should have been made the night before.

Then, I popped out to a store and was listening to the radio. Had it on a different station than I usually listen to, so I don't know who was talking, and on the two times he came back from a commercial break he never announced his name. He said he was the third most listened to radio show in America, whatever that means.

Anyway, he was talking about the work week and the work year of politicians. And apparently this was reported in the Washington posts.

Politicians - Members of the House of Reps, work a 3-day work week. They fly in from their homes and families on Monday, work from Tuesday to Thursday, and then fly home to spend Fri-Monday with their families again.

And for this, how much are they paid? By OUR tax dollars! $300,000 a year? More?

But it's worse than that, of course. Way back when there was no air-conditioning, Congress didn't meet in August in Washington DC because it was the height of summer and it was too hot. There's no excuse for that today, but they continue to have the WHOLE month of August off.

There's also a 6 day holiday during Memorial, instead of the 3 day weekend that most Americans get.

And apparently they get a 2-week break in April.

ANd according to this guy, they've taken today off, because TONIGHT, the Ohio State college football game is taking place. So the whole House of Representatives is not working today because there is a college football game TONIGHT.

And what is the average American going to do about it? If this story propagates from the Washington Post to every newspaper in the country, so that every literate person in the USA reads it, what are they going to do about it?

I'd say a country-wide refusal to pay our taxes until the government starts working for what we pay them. They are supposed to be working for us, after all. We are supposed to be their employers. Since when do employees get to decide that they'll give themselves a raise, and make it retroactive? Politicians do that all the time.


Anyway, science fiction today. What's on at BBC7's Listen Again? If you haven't been tuning in daily you've been missing Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis, being read by Alex Jennings. An interesting book. A Christian allegory. And I'll just mention one scene. An 'eldil' or angel appears at a boat in which is the human Ransom, and two hrossa, intelligent beings who worship Oyarsa, their chief Angel. (He's not God.) The eldil tells the hrossa to take Ransom to Oyarsa, and then leaves. At this very moment, a gigantic fish-like creature that they'd been searching for breaks out of the water, and they go after it. And they catch it. And everyone is happy. And then a gunshot rings out and one of the hrossa, Ransom's friend, is killed. "It's my bent people who have done this," says Ransom sorrowfully.

No, says the hrossa. "He was killed as a punishment. The eldil told us to take you to Oyarsa and instead of leaving immediately, we continued with this hunt. So Oyarsa punished him by killing him." [I paraphrase.] Nice Oyarsa. Somebody gets caught up in the moment, delays coming to you by a couple of hours, and to punish him you kill him. Well, he'll certainly never do *that* again, will he.

Typical of the psychoticness displayed by the God of the Old Testament. It never fails to astonish me how people today can read that book and not shake their heads and say, "If this is God, I refuse to worship him because he is clearly a psycho!"

Okay, enough prosletyzing about the joys of rational thought.

There's also Silver Chair, by CS LEwis, more of the Chronicles of Narnia. HAven't been listening to it.

The Museum of Everything started on Wednesday, that's a bit of a fantasy show but amusing.

Museum of Everything
Wander around our many galleries and experience the history of everything, including the real identity of Jack The Ripper. Episode 1 of 6.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Peter is young, eager to please and impatient. When he is left alone with a book of spells, it all goes a bit wrong.

ON Saturday is the 2nd and final part of Man and His Time by Brian Aldiss, and the 4th and final part of Celebrity Mummies (which I suspect was the inspiration for Night at the Musuem:

Celebrity Mummies
The comedy horror set in the British Museum continues. How to get 8,000 angry body parts back in their cases before opening time? Episode 4 of 4. [Rptd Sun 12.00am].

Man in His Time
To mark sci-fi master Brian Aldiss' 80th birthday, his award-winning story about space travel and its impact on life back home. Episode 2 of 2. [Rptd Sun 12.30am].

Sunday is the last episode of Blood of the Daleks, a 2-parter. For some reason I missed the first part. Annoying,

Doctor Who
Blood of the Daleks: Lucie realises the true intentions of their 'saviours'. But could the Doctor really want the same thing as the Daleks? Episode 2 of 2.

Beyond the Vortex
Nick Briggs offers lessons in how to sound like a Dalek, without gargling with coal.

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