Monday, March 02, 2009

Conversations At Roseholme

RX: "Tommy! Stop! Oatmeal is not for cats! And neither is my coffee!"
Tam: [snickering]
Tomcat: purrs and smooths on keyboard, covering RGB to MKO.

Sudden scuffle from the register, where Slinky the little old lady cat has been dozing: the furnace started and the gust of warm air startled her.
Tam: "I think it blew up her skirt!"

...Later...

Tam: "You should write your post of the morning."
RX: "Yeah, if I had anything to post."

There's always something. H'm, just remembered I have a Blood Orange on the counter and cinnamon rolls warming in the oven; much as I'd like to write more, duty does call! But you're not left in the lurch: the latest installment of I Work On A Starship is below.

25 comments:

Turk Turon said...

Sounds all warm and cozy there this cold winter morning. And I'm glad Tommy is doing better. Sardines in oil sounds like just what the doctor ordered, but the smell will draw interest from beyond the cat-lock.

ro said...

Hello Roberta,

As you've clearly been stomping all over my blog may I return the favour here? Besides, answering your points 'elsewhere' is boring for the blog owners readers.

Roberta, many moons have past since I was last called 'a lad'. I can't find it in my heart to call myself 'a man' without laughing out loud, so I shall merely take your remark as a compliment and smile.

Nor can I find myself disagreeing strongly with anything you’ve said thus far. Your country has a remarkably violent and unstable society and, were I resident there, I would most certainly arm myself accordingly.

Frankly, Roberta, I wouldn’t even care to encounter you in a foul mood on the streets of America. Who knows how you may interpret a smile of friendship in a dark alley? As a prelude to rape? I have lived in both New York and San Francisco and *NOTHING* would entice me to return. Downtown Baghdad is more secure and comforting. Yes, I've worked there too.

Fortunately, I’ve now chosen to live in a country where citizens don’t need to carry guns for self-defense because violence is rare. Transgress this and the punishment is rapid, severe and terminal. Sure, there is a downside to life in Viet Nam. You can’t walk around the streets of Sai Gon with posters saying “Uncle Ho was Gay’, but try questioning your new Presidents sexuality in front of the White House and see how far you get. But this is a fine country, with values amongst its citizenry very similar to those of America in the 50’s. You may enjoy life here :-)

Are you a Survivalist? I hope so. Because I REALLY want to ask some questions about that…

Tam said...

"Frankly, Roberta, I wouldn’t even care to encounter you in a foul mood on the streets of America. Who knows how you may interpret a smile of friendship in a dark alley?"

Ah, the old "blood in the streets" argument.

Do you know how often the described incident happens? (Hint: Never.)

Incidentally, outside of the inner cities, America has a violent crime rate about like that of most other Western democracies, contrary to what the media would like you to believe.

Roberta X said...

Ro,"Stomping all over?" Blogs are publically-posted; our very 'nyms point back to our own blogs.

I'm tryin' to figure out how my mood might affect the aggressive actions of others. Is a smile an aggressive act? Nope. Might be hostile, depending on context, but hey, it's a free country. Words and expressions are not acts. You seem not to understand the real-world seriousness of having to shoot someone. Too many spy and cowboy movies? Growing up in an overly-nerfed culture? I do not know.

...Which, as you point out, Vietnam is not. Here in the 'States, I can wave a sign in front of the White House all day saying "Barry Is A Fag," just as I could have waved one sayin' "Bush Is Queer," and in ach case, as long as I wasn't trying to hit people with my sign or climb the fence, the po-leece would have...laughed at me.

If we have a "remarkably violent and unstable society," why aren't we all dead? As far as I know, ours is the longest-lasting government established as the result of a revolution. Even after the Brits sent us a generation of criminals and despite having one of the most hetreogenous populations on the planet.

--If you think our Civil War was bad, have a look at the English one. Human beings are "unstable and violent," just ask Cambodian intellectuals about their agrarian reformers -- except you can't ask any who where there at the time, though you can go look at their bones.

As for Vietnam, it sounds like a bit of a police state to me, albeit the looser sort where there aren't enough cops to make life totally miserable. I wish the Vietnamese people well, but historically, their form of government has a history of killing off its own citizens. Are they still running "reeducation camps" in the South? Or is that another question one dares not ask in-county?

Turk Turon said...

"Incidentally, outside of the inner cities, America has a violent crime rate about like that of most other Western democracies, contrary to what the media would like you to believe."

Yup.

And Americans licensed to carry concealed handguns have a rate of revocation of about 8 incidents per half-a-million licensees annually, according to figures compiled by Florida. Half-a-million adults is the equivalent to a total population of about 1.3 million. Even if all eight of those incidents were felonies, the corresponding crime rate would be among the lowest in the world. Eight serious crimes annually in a city with a total population of 1.3 million? Much safer than most English towns.

Tam said...

Turk,

Indeed. Incidentally, CCW permit holders have a crime rate less than half that of badge-carrying LEO's...

ro said...

Tam:

Hello Tam. You get about.

As you've bounced over here, I take it you don't mind me continuing the argument on your blog? I can't cope with all these links...

"America has a violent crime rate about like that of most other Western democracies"????

That made me giggle. Quote your sources - and make sure they're verifiable - OR retract OR look an idiot. Your choice.

Turk:

You quote revocation rates and extrapolate to crime rates? Good lord, I wish you were on my statistics team. We could quote hospital admissions and call them 'cures', simply because they'd visited a hospital.

What nonsense. Get a grip.

Roberta:

I understand how username links work, but thanks for the reminder :-)

"You seem not to understand the real-world seriousness of having to shoot someone. Too many spy and cowboy movies?"

Y'see, Roberta, making sweeping statements like that without knowing someone is not only entirely pointless, it makes you look a complete ninny when you discover just how wrong you are. But, hey, you obviously feel comfortable jumping in with both feet. Enjoy the ride :-)

And if you're happy with your quality of life in America, please accept my apologies. I didn't intend to question your values. YOU raised the issue of a violent society where you felt you needed to carry a weapon for self-defense, not me.

If you've visited Viet Nam I'll be happy to engage in a conversation on the merits or otherwise of this country. If you haven't, then your opinion is coloured by... well, by what, precisely? You tell me.

I've lived and worked in America, though I wouldn't choose to do so again. My opinion on your country is real, valid and defensible, though it may differ from your own. And that's fine. Different strokes.

Yunno, I wish I had the spare $'s to invite you out here. I loved your 're-education camps' remark. The only 're-education' taking place here is how to make $'s fast.

Seriously, if you want to know how Viet Nam works I'll do some blog posts over the next couple of days, with pics, to try to give you an honest feel for the country. That's the whole point of the 'net, right? To help us understand each other?

So. Do you want the blog posts or not? 'Cos if you're not approaching this with an open mind I'll spend my time elsewhere.

Tam said...

Ro,

""America has a violent crime rate about like that of most other Western democracies"????

That made me giggle. Quote your sources - and make sure they're verifiable - OR retract OR look an idiot. Your choice.
"

Please re-read what I said: "outside of inner cities America has a crime rate..."

Without getting into variances in data reporting (the FBI counts it as a murder when they find a dead body; the British Home Office counts it as a murder when they get a conviction) trust me when I say that most of America is a very safe place to be.

Look at the UCR and remember that this is reported crimes and not cleared crimes. Also remember that, similar to England, even in the inner cities crime is rarely random; a common term of dark humor used by big city cops is the "NHI Killing", for "No Humans Involved", when one carjacker or gang member or armed robber shoots another in a dispute over turf or drugs or what-have-you.

For what its worth, at my last residence I never even locked the front door from 2002-2008, even when I was out of town. I didn't have a key...

Roberta X said...

"Open-minded?" You mean, the way you are about the 'States? You've seen what, a big city or two of this vast, diverse country and you're an expert? Like you're an expert on "1950's America," to which you compare Vetnam? Which one had the political re-education camps? Which one has harsh summary judgement, which you cite as a dee-light? Oh, yeah -- not 1950's America, cradle of, oh, the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis. Wanna bet me the Vietnam versions are banned, suppressed and membership rates jail time at best?

Go find some other dull,parochial Yanks to annoy, Ro. Yes, we'll put up with it (as your host country will not) but it simply makes us think even worse of you.

Turk Turon said...

ro:

Each license revocation actually does correspond to a crime, either a minor crime (we call them misdemeanors, in the UK they are known as property crimes) or a major crime (a "felony" here, a "crime against the person" in the UK). The source of the data is the Florida Dept. of Public Safety via their State Police.

You have to read UK and especially Scottish newspapers to learn about what those papers are calling an "epidemic" of stabbings and other violent crimes there.

The U.S. definitely has a homicide problem, no question, but U.S. crime rates for other crimes are very low.

Here's an article from the BBC about this apparent contradiction:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7359513.stm

Quote: "It is a paradox. Along with the guns there is a tranquillity and civility about American life of which most British people can only dream."

Turk Turon said...

Let's try the BBC link in a more manageable form, shall we?

http://tinyurl.com/6xrnv9

Tam said...

The tiny three-pound 19-yr-old geriatricat inmy lap must be purring up a storm and head-butting my chest because she senses my alienation, my abject despair, my hatred and scorn for the rest of the human race...

I think I'll pet her some more. It will get me in the mood to slaughter some innocents in the food riots that are sure to come...

Roberta X said...

Aww. Sis, that's so sweet!

Turk Turon said...

The angst!

The ennui!

I can't take it no more.

ro said...

Roberta:

Hmmm, I'm thinking that's a 'no' on the blog posts then :-)

No worries. Thanks for the exchange of views. All the best.


Ro.


Tam:

Point taken about 'outside of inner cities'. I missed that. Sorry. Sometimes I should follow my own advice about READING :-)

I've outstayed my welcome here. If you want to continue this conversation, may we return to your blog?


Turk:

Hmmm, logic and facts. That's better, I can deal with those.

Yes, the US does have a homicide problem - usually gun related - which is why its citizens choose to carry guns as a means of self defense. If you'd been following the discussion elsewhere you see I understand this...

Roberta was arguing on the one hand that guns were a necessity in America for self defense, yet on the other that America was a fine land, unlike a country like Viet Nam which was a police state littered with re-education camps. I was attempting to point out that:

a) it isn't

b) it's far safer/has a lower murder rate despite the fact that private citizens don't own guns.

I'm not an idiot. Yes, VN has issues. Some are major. But it's not the nightmare Americans seem to believe. As we're on the net - presumably in part because we enjoy conversation and learning - I was attempting to re-educate (can I use that word without causing horror?). In Roberta's case, I failed. End of story.

You are quite correct about Scotland having an appalling violent crime record, usually but not exclusively knife related. I also believe Glasgow has the highest murder rate per head of urban population in Europe. I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing we enjoyed a similar 'right to carry' when in my homeland.

The BBC comment about tranquility and civility may also be correct - for their author. Although I mentioned I lived in both NYC and SF, I neglected to mention I took eight months traveling through America - the usual 'one side to the other'. No, only a fool would claim to *know* America, but I known enough to make a judgment sufficient for my purposes here.

Americans, as individuals, are amazing people. I share my life with one. Those I've met outside of America represent some of the finest, most compassionate and articulate souls I've ever encountered. But they stand apart from the 'mainstream' American, from the American who has never left America, from the small-town or small-minded American of whom there are sadly far too many.

Turk, the world is a big place. If you haven't already, I hope you get the opportunity to get out of America and see it. Maybe even participate. And if you have seen it, why the hell did you go back? Seriously, I'd like to know...

Tam said...

"I've outstayed my welcome here. If you want to continue this conversation, may we return to your blog?"

Aw, you don't get as bitter as I am without growing some serious callous. ;)

You're always welcome in my sandbox.

I've only ever asked one person to leave, and he was a neo-Nazi who was pretty light on the "neo-" part.

Roberta X said...

Yes, Ro, oh yes, no one is ever murdered, raped, robbed or beaten in Vietnam, and there was none of that at the reeducation camps, either.

I'm told it's a beautiful country; the immigrants from Vietnam I have met were generally smart and highly motivated. It does not change the fact that the country is a repressive one-party totalitarian state. Hey, cool, this decade it's all private ownership, hooray -- but that's not a protected right, just a whim of the master. Next year, next week, next decade...it can change.

Guns are an available option here in the U.S. as they are not in most of the rest of the world. Are they a necessity? Oh, probably not (and I don't know how you got that from my words), unless you spend a lot of time at high risk (like some lawyers I know). I consider the extra weight well worth it, though it is likely I will never need it.

The Rights of Man are not subject to popular vote. Among 'em is the right to defend one's self. Right up there with freedom of expression and religion, two more things in short supply in your present paradise.

The armed man is a citizen. The unarmed, disarmed man? A subject. A victim. A pile of bones.

Tam said...

"Turk, the world is a big place. If you haven't already, I hope you get the opportunity to get out of America and see it. Maybe even participate. And if you have seen it, why the hell did you go back? Seriously, I'd like to know..."

Having seen some of the world (granted, it was all Northwestern Europe between '83 and '94), it might surprise you to know that a common shibboleth among American travelers is the joy at hearing "Welcome home!" on arriving at customs in JFK, LAX, ORD, or ATL.

As P.J. O'Rourke said about the former Soviet Union during the dark days of the early '80s, "The USSR is a great place as long as you can drink like a Russian and leave like an American..."

Roberta X said...

(Tam tells me "too much stick, not enough carrot" in my last. Unh, Ro? She's thinks I should entice you but the fact is, I don't care what you think; I just want to mess with your head a little and then wave bye-bye. Bye, Ro! Don't hurry back!)

Look, folks, IMHO even crypto-anti-gunnies can go get stuffed; at the end of the day the way it works is, I have a gun and they're afraid. I don't wanna scare 'em, I did not set out to, but I am not the cause of their hoplophobia and bedamned if I will pander to it.

Anonymous said...

I neglected to mention I took eight months traveling through America - the usual 'one side to the other'. No, only a fool would claim to *know* America, but I known enough to make a judgment sufficient for my purposes here.

Sufficient. There's that wanderlustin' broadmindedness again. OK which one of you gunnies pistol-whipped Duh Huntah whilst Greyhounding the Great Plains? I just know you're on this weblog. I mean, how many of you can there be?

Say, are there comments at the Ro-Blog? Bet you get your firewall for free on that server...

Ro said...

Actually, Roberta, the difference between your good self and Tam is not so much in the carrot and stick approach, but rather in the openness to anothers opinion.

Will I change one iota of Tam's thinking. No, I don't think so. Will I change yours? *splutter*

Changing your opinion was never the point. We are all, to an extent, the product of our upbringing and our experiences. I was hoping to learn and thus, perhaps, to broaden my understanding.

Tam I like because she argues yet she listens. You I dislike because you simply make statements; you learn nothing. You are already complete in your mindset. As you say, "I don't care what you think; I just want to mess with your head a little and then wave bye-bye." Congrats. Mission accomplished. Does it feel good? Of course it does :-)

Anonymous:

No, no comments. I hate people messing up my blog :-)

And the only time the authorities have ever banned access (for 2 days) to my blog was when I made fun of them 'cos they let the Olympic flame go out as it was being taken through the streets of HCMC and I posted a picture of said event. Other than that, they seem quite tolerant of my questioning approach to their society - and I've posted pics of demonstrators opposed to land issues marching in HCMC, of the poverty and social deprivation, etc.

Far more tolerant than you guys are to issues in yours :-)

Now, as Roberta is blissed-out, I have a life to lead which doesn't involve the negativity I've encountered here.

Thanks for your input. I wish you well. Seriously.

Oh, btw, Ho Chi Minh kicked Yankee ass!!!

kisses,


Ro.

Turk Turon said...

Oh, btw, Ho Chi Minh kicked Yankee ass!!!


No!!! It was a tie! It was a tie!

(Apologies to John Cleese and Kevin Kline)

Roberta X said...

Geez, Ro, that war's over. Don't assume I am a hawk; don't extrapolate from the personal to the political. You would see only nation-states armed and citizens defenseless, while I'd prefer the reverse.

I do not wish you well in your quest to convince American women to embrace defenselessness. Why don't you trust girls, Ro?

...And as for taking your marbles and going home home, let me point out your blog has no place to for the expression of opposing views at all; or as you put it, "I hate people messing up my blog :-)" But you don't mind messing in other people's, do you? Rather like the dog-owner who is happy to lead their animal to leave a large, steaming token in someone else's front yard. I chase those people off, too, and for exactly the same reason.

Commies and their fellow-travellers are not welcome on my blog. Persons opposed to individual self-defense are not welcome here. You are not welcome here, Ro.

Roberta X said...

PS: Can you even understand the difference between government censorship and being told by private individuals to GTFO?

No, of course you can't. You're a fool.

Sendarius said...

So Ro spent months traveling the US,and didn't like what he(?) saw.

I, also, spent months traveling the US - and yes it was via Greyhound. The ONLY time I was concerned for my personal safety was one incident in DC.

Everywhere else was a pure delight - even late at night in the blues clubs in Chicago, and at midnight on the subway in NYFC. The people were friendly, and helpful, and FREE.

I CANNOT understand how someone could come to a different opinion - maybe they had their own mental and emotional baggage colouring their vision. I'm just sayin'.