Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

Hot Air

No Woman’s Land

Y’know, if I were an American woman, I’d be awfully put out that one of this holy land’s most valued allies on the planet is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 9.16.56 AM

Poll Palaver

The latest national polls show Bernie Sanders as a shoo-in for mayor of Chicago, while Hillary Clinton will win the NFL’s Coach of the Year award and Donald Trump will cop the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Get out your bettin’ shoes, babies!

Money For Nothin’

I notice that Howard Stern has re-upped with SiriusXM for another five years at a total salary of plus-$500 million.

That’s a half a billion skins (and more), friends. This for a man whose life’s creative highlight was the Fartman superhero character.


Howard Stern As Fartman

I’ve never viewed Howard Stern as anything but a loudmouthed lout, an indictment of corporate media’s dumbing down of Murrica. It can’t, I always figured, get any lower than this.

Then Donald Trump decided to run for prez — and gained a loyal following.

I repeat: It can’t get any lower than this.

Can it?

Work Makes You Free

We’re all in agreement that the corporate world is soul-crushing and life-snuffing, no? Okay.

Now, even the corporations themselves are coming around to admitting that their plan is to rob you, their human resource, of every ounce of vitality and animation. If the likes of Exxon Mobil (No. 1 on the Forbes 500 list), General Electric (No. 8), or CVS Health (No. 10) have their way, their ideal employees would be corpses.

You thought I’d say robots, right? Well, acc’d’g to some tech seers, robots just might, at some time in the foreseeable future, develop something akin to free will. That just won’t do in the corporate world.

Anyway, one South Korean firm is making no pretense about about its desire to take its employees’ lives. The firm was featured the other day in a BBC News Online story about it and other companies sending their people to a consulting firm that, among other things, locks participants up in coffins.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 11.15.07 AM

Welcome To Your Cubicle

The stated goal of the consulting firm is to make participants put their problems in perspective, sez Jeong Yun-Mun, who runs the place. Jeong, BTW, is a former funeral home employee. He prob. gets a sweet discount on caskets.

He is, to put it in as respectful a term as he deserves, full of horseshit.

Let me snatch a block of text from the original story:

In a large room in a nondescript modern office block in Seoul, staff from a recruitment company are staging their own funerals. Dressed in white robes, they sit at desks and write final letters to their loved ones. Tearful sniffling becomes weeping, barely stifled by copious use of tissues.

And then, the climax: They rise and stand over the wooden coffins laid out beside them. They pause, get in and lie down. They each hug a picture of themselves, draped in black ribbon.

As they look up, the boxes are banged shut by a man dressed in black with a tall hat. He represents the Angel of Death. Enclosed in darkness, the employees reflect on the meaning of life.

Mark it, kids, the meaning they are intended to glean in the blackout is Your life is the company’s.

We all know about how corps. these days are populated by malleable little loyalists who do biz on their smart phones in their cars or on public transportation on the way to and from work, who pound away at their laptop keyboards at dinner, after dinner, in bed before they fall asleep, and — for all we know — while engaging in the act of “love” with their oh-so-unfortunate spouses.

The 40-hour work week is such a quaint anachronism these days. Your bosses don’t want your hours or weeks; they want your very existence.

The real reason these South Korean cos. are making their employees lie down in coffins is to let them know their lives are over.

Eras Come To An End

Hey, do you realize these are the last two weeks of the careers of a couple of fine local public servants? City Clerk Regina Moore and Department of Utilities Director Pat Murphy will be bidding their office-mates farewell Thursday, December 31st.

Moore chose not to run in this year’s election and Murphy was a casualty of incoming Mayor John Hamilton’s minor housecleaning.

Nicole Bolden, who ran unopposed in the November election, will step into Moore shoes. Hamilton and his 27-member transition committee have yet to tab a replacement for Murphy. The transition committee includes two former Bloomington mayors, Tomi Allison and John Fernandez.

Like me, Regina is a second-generation Italian-American and a victi…, er, former attendee of Catholic schools. A former teacher, she and her husband Don, traveled to a number of Third World lands to instruct kids and prisoners. The Moores came back to the US — specifically this sprawling megalopolis — some 25 years ago. She continued teaching until she was elected City Clerk in 2000. Don, BTW, is the most outspoken political spouse since former US Attorney General John Mitchell’s wife, Martha, back in the early ’70s. Sometimes I even agree with him.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 11.24.33 AM

Regina Moore As A Young Dame

To Regina and Don, Baci e abbracci.

Murphy comes from a union family. His mother and her second husband were big labor organizers and advocates and Pat has never missed an opportunity to stand up for the working person in this holy land. Murphy was a long-time associate of former Bloomington mayor and 8th District Congressman Frank McCloskey. He remains mum about his plans although The Pencil hears Hamilton has offered him a semi-soft landing place on the city payroll. Go dté tú slán, Pat!

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 11.31.01 AM

Pat Murphy*

[ * I told Murphy long ago would never again use that stale old photo of him from the City of Bloomington website — apparently the only image of him extant in this world. He promised he would get a new one up. He broke that promise. Some public servant.]



Hot Air

The Chopping Block

Let’s ponder for a moment our very, very good friends, our dear pals, the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia is one of this holy land’s staunchest allies. American diplomats for years have touted the “special relationship” our two nations share. “Special relationship,” BTW, being a term used historically to describe our coziness with the United Kingdom. So, you see, we’re now starting to look upon the Saudis the way a philanderer will view his mistress.

“Honey, you’re special, honest. Sorry, I gotta go now.”

Our last two presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush both have crowed about their close personal friendships with members of the Saudi royal family. Oh, see, Saudi Arabia is a kingdom. That means, all legislative, executive, military, and judicial functions in the country are dictated by royal decree. And the decree-er, natch was, is, and always will be, a man. Women, those silly things, aren’t even allowed to drive a car there, much less run the government — or even have the least say in the running thereof.

The name of the place, for pete’s sake, comes from the surname of the royal family. For all intents and purposes, the Al Saud family owns Saudi Arabia. No wonder we feel such an affinity for them.

The only difference between us and the aforementioned philanderer is that we flaunt our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Oh, sure, the UK knows all about it. How open-minded! Then again, in keeping with these more indulgent times, the UK also is having an affair with Saudi Arabia.


US & UK Leaders Woo Saudi Kings

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in knowing that our darlings who dominate the Arabian Peninsula — as well as much of the world’s oil and other hydrocarbon reserves — just this past week executed their 100th citizen by beheading this year.

Beheading Victim

And He Smokes, Too, The Fiend

Yup. Saudi Arabia chops the heads off people who give it a pain, pun intended, in the neck. This 100th fellow, acc’d’g to the government-run (read: Al Saud-run) press agency, had been trafficking in amphetamines. That’s a no-no in S.A., as it is here, although amphetamine traffickers in the United States are far less likely to be executed and, in fact, would be hailed as saviors in certain precincts such as sports team locker rooms, college dormitories, commodities trading floor break rooms, and the like.

Amphetamine traffickers here, should they be caught, charged and found guilty (and, of course, should their skin be dark) may be sentenced to serve a five- to 25-year sentence under federal criminal guidelines. Now that’s no kiss from your sister but it ain’t getting your coconut lopped.

Think about beheading. You might say, hell, what’s the diff. between chopping off someone’s head and executing him or her via lethal injection? Both are state-sanctioned killings. Fair enough, but at least we acknowledge the barbarity of head-chopping, hanging, the firing squad, and other pastimes of the executioner set. Chopping off a guy’s head involves splat noises, gushing blood, the clunk of the disembodied bean into a basket, and perhaps the twitching for a brief moment of the disem-headed body. We may be killers, but we have gentility.

Hypo-ing a condemned man with a fatal mickey makes us feel better about the whole sordid affair. We can pretend we’re just sending the guy off to a peaceful sleep — from which he’ll never wake up.

It’s a damned sight better than that of the butcher shop tableau seen a hundred times thus far in 2015 in Saudi Arabia.

You and I might become sick to our stomachs imagining all those beheadings but to our leaders, our diplomats, and our oil company executives, that’s just one of the silly little things our special friend does.

%d bloggers like this: