Jesus was right. Almost.

Jesus Christ was famous for saying that "the meek shall inherit the earth," and man, did he nail it with that one. Almost.

But then he got nailed. To the cross, of course. People just can't handle the truth. Never could, never will.

Truth . . . I read a lot of history, as well as watch it on the boob tube, and I have to chuckle, watching all the attention we lavish on the testosterone-laced heroes like Alexander the Great, Caesar, Saladin, Genghis Kahn, Napoleon, George Washington, et al. The truth of the matter is that every one of these muscle heads depended on their accountants to finance their military adventures. If their armies didn't eat, or get paid, they conquered zilch. Nada. Niente. Zip. I don't care how rippled with muscle you are, or how much weight you can lift off the floor or the size of your conquering armies; no cash, no glory.

In honor of that all-too-true insight, I would change Jesus' wording to fit our modern world. I would insert the word "geeks," to replace "meek." The new quote would read, "the geeks shall inherit the earth." Think it sacrilegious? I think not. Take a moment to actually contemplate who really runs this planet; it's not the conquering heroes, guns a-blazing, but the pencil-necked geeks who now control your access to information: Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, etc. Four-eyed dweebs who wouldn't last a heartbeat in a schoolyard brawl can now bring the mightiest of nations to their knees with the click of a mouse. I learned long ago in the corporate world that you could piss off the CEO and get away with it, but woe be to you if you ticked off one of the accountants. They could move a decimal point over and make your job obsolete, or mold you into a felon, or worse. Just like that. And with the power of our new technology it's no longer the hand that rocks the cradle that rules the world, but the hand that controls the information. They can make villains out of heroes and heroes out of the most execrable of villains. They can rewrite history, manipulate science, force-feed odious life's choices upon you, begin wars on the flimsiest of pretenses and convince you to accept every damned word of it as if it were gospel.

Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg . . . Google, Yahoo, Facebook . . . do you really want to subjugate yourself to them?

I believe a lot of you do, and it scares the living shit out of me.


Wooden Soul, Plastic Soul


On my radio show, as well as in my blogs, I always refer to Americans now being willing to trade in their soul for government goodies. Not your immortal soul but Ray Charles' type of "soul," that undefinable something that you can't quite put your finger on but you know it's there when you see it, or hear it. Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke all had soul. The Beatles had soul. Ben Franklin and FDR had soul. Mark Twain had soul. Mother Theresa had soul. I'd be hard-pressed today to point out one prominent figure in the arts, entertainment, religion or politics--any leader that has that certain something called soul. Perhaps you can, but I can't.

I can tell you about a people who have a collective soul, however, and that is the wonderful people of the Menominee Nation in north central Wisconsin. It never ceases to amaze me how Native Americans, who faced a full frontal assault on their cultures from an American nation hell-bent on forcing them to become good European Americans stubbornly and proudly held on to their culture and their sacred beliefs. The Menominee epitomize this fact. I took a group of listeners on a short trip to the Menominee casino in Keshena (radio guys do this stuff, you know), and we drank a little bit, gambled a little bit, raised hell a little bit. The Menominee proved themselves to be gracious hosts, providing wonderful meals and service with a smile, but for me the most enjoyable and illuminating part of the trip was speaking to the members of the tribe who proudly enlightened us on who they are. We shared a common breakfast, a tribal member leading us in a traditional prayer in the wonderful Menominee language. After the breakfast we toured a historic 1880s logging camp, replete with all the tools of the trade of the day. As we viewed the horse barns, the saw sharpener's cabin, the bunk house, et al; all cut log and chinked structures replete with the tools of the trade I commented to one of my tour mates that it struck me that the great difference between our modern-day culture and theirs was that they were surrounded by wood and metal; natural substances that connected them to the world around them. Ours, however, is defined by velcro and plastic; artificial replacements that may be superior in convenience, but at the same time remove us from the world around us. The loggers were brawny men who labored long hours at incredibly dangerous, incredibly physical jobs. Obesity was the least of their worries, and I'm positive that if you told them the world (or at least the government) owed them a living, they would have spit in your eye. We live longer, to be sure, but much of that longevity is spent hooked up to tubes, bound by wheelchairs, trapped in small apartments, alone, separated from family and friends, anxiously waiting on a government stipend, fearfully anticipating the inevitable. Is that any kind of life at all?

Everything in our world today is plastic: there used to be a small pitcher of cream, a butter dish and jam or jelly jar on your restaurant breakfast table; now they're hermetically sealed in annnoying little plastic containers. Where once it was paper-wrapped bar soap for the shower, now it is "body wash" in plastic packaging. Milk in glass bottles delivered to your doorstep has been replaced by milk in plastic containers in refrigerated grocery cases. Fruits and veggies that were available in unadorned bulk in the grocery store are now entombed in hard plastic clam shells or plastic bags. The personal touch of the butcher's counter is now an array of plastic wrapped meats and poultry on the grocery shelves. It separates us from everything, removes us from the world around us, and all in the name of a longer shelf life. Artificiality abounds, and we have become a siliconed, botoxed, liposuctioned, drug-dependent nation. Plastic, plastic everywhere, and nary a thing to touch.

In the Menominee visitors' center at the logging camp is a great wooden bear, intricately carved from a single butternut tree, golden as early morning sunshine. It represents the great creator bear-god of the Menominee, and our tour guide, the same man who led us in the morning prayer before breakfast, explained to me exactly who and what the bear represents. He made the comment that we all worship the same deity, only by a different name. Perhaps, sir, I thought to myself as he spoke; only your god is carved by a human hand in luminous butternut. Ours, on the other hand, is cast from an anonymous mold in hard, unfeeling plastic. And probably somewhere in China, by underpaid coolies who have no idea what they are casting, or why.

You choose which is best.

Lenny Palmer, 9/19/2011


Morning Joe Wrote A Song. Big Deal.


Joe Scarborough, host of "Morning Joe," has written a "powerful anti-war song," in the words of the Huffington Post.

Big f-ing deal. Where was His Joeness 10 years ago, when GWB hit a stone-age nation with everything the United Sates of America had, blasting it into the pre-stone age, and ginning up a war that has now lasted for 10 years? I'll tell you where I was: I was on-air, warning against a full-scale attack against the nation that harbored Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9-11. I stated on-air that our war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda should be a conflict waged in the night, a war of throat-slitting and murder, comparing our armies of the night to God's Old Testament vengeance against Pharoah's first-born. I made the analogy that we should "kill all their goats." In other words, hit them where it hurt the most.

Where was "Morning Joe" Scarborough then?

Later on, when Bush the Second made the decision to attack Saddam Hussein's Iraq under the flimsiest of circumstances, I penned a column for the late web site "A Citizen's Voice," parodying an old Civil War tune titled "We Are Coming Father Abraham, 100,000 Strong." The original was a martial call for volunteers to fight for the Union cause, my blog called for the invasion of Iraq not by 100,000 American troops, but by 100,000 Wal-Marts. I argued (brilliantly, I might add) that if the Iraqis had access to a lot of stuff they'd get fat and happy and would therefore be much less motivated to cause trouble. People who have stuff are more inclined not to take risks which might lose them their stuff. It's a lot smarter way to wage a conflict and the chances of any of our fine young people getting hurt or killed are virtually nil.

Where was "Morning Joe" Scarborough then?

I was anti-war, both wars, from the get-go, and took a lot of local heat for it. I never varied from my position, either. I didn't wet my finger and hold it up in the air to see which way the political winds were blowing, or the public mood was shifting. Then again, I've never been a politician. "Morning Joe" Scarborough was. And still is, apparently.

Sour grapes by yours truly? Probably. I've been in the media game; print, TV and radio for over three decades, but always on the local level. I don't make a lot of money, and I don't have the high-profile like a guy like Scarborough. I also don't have a hard-on against the guy. He seems like a nice enough fella, affable, and the type with whom you might want to watch the Monday night game while quaffing a few brewskis. He plays in the big leagues. I don't. But in the big leagues it's like this giant closed circle jerk. The host of one show hosts the host of another show and plug their shows, their books, their upcoming specials and yes, their songs; and then that host appears as a guest on the other show and hawks whatever he or she is hawking and they all sell books, songs, specials ad nauseum, ad infinitum, and pocket a lot of loot while laughing all the way to the bank. Is it any wonder the Huffington Post lauds Scarborough's song? Arianna Huffington, who named the web site after her fabulous self, appears on his show almost as much as he. Of course she's going to plug his tune. It's good business, just like it was good business for her to be an arch-conservative and blast Bill Clinton for years until she divorced her right-wing millionaire businessman husband and banked some sweet alimony that bankrolled her bald-faced political flip-flop and subsequent rise as a prominent voice in liberal politics. It was a prime example of coldly calculated life choices that would have made Machiavelli blush. Or Lucrezia Borgia.

The point to all of this? That there were a few of us little guys who were on the right side of this issue from the get-go, and we had to face our critics on the street on a daily basis. We didn't get to hide behind the walls of our gated communities, or cower behind call screeners or 1-800 numbers or move in cocktail party circuits with the high and mighty. We nosh at local greasy spoons, bang down Miller Lites and shots of bourbon or brandy at corner saloons and rub elbows with our listeners, not our corporate bosses. There aren't many of us, but I believe our impact is far greater than guys like Scarborough because we talk to people about the issues that concern them. We aren't in the biz to scratch the appropriate backs or kiss the proverbial asses, but to do our jobs. And say what we mean and mean what we say.

Just sayin'.

Lenny Palmer 9/9/11


The Blind Leading The Blind


What in the hell has happened to common sense in America these days? Because of the nature of my business, I run into many stories that leave me with mouth agape at the apparent stupidity of those who are apparently in charge, and their unwillingness or inability to take the bull by the horns and admit to the truth of the matter. The truth of the matter is this: we are a nation led by fools in the employ of fools pushing foolish agendas; all so frighteningly incompetent and out of touch with reality that I wake every morning amazed that the nation has not had a collective coronary over its appalling lack of leadership.

Case in point: the University of Illinois has decided to direct some of its precious resources toward the study of bullying:

Excuse me, but shouldn't a university be studying Shakespeare instead of bullying? Or quantum physics? Or economics? Or art, or music, or biology, or medicine? Anything but bullying. And what is the fascination with bullying these days, anyway? It seems that every happy planet asshole with a direct conduit to the public teat wants to use precious taxpayer dollars to study kids who pick on other kids. You want to know about bullying? I'll tell you about bullying. I was the proverbial fat kid in school, and was mercilessly bullied through grade school and junior high school. The kids who picked on me were sick and twisted little bastards who almost always had sick and twisted parents and they only laid off me once I got into athletics and got big and strong and stopped being an easy target. They were reticent to torment someone who might give them a solid right hook to the jaw. That's another thing about bullies: they're cowards; craven pieces of garbage with no redeeming value, and who take up valuable space that could have been occupied with something more worthwhile, like a rock, or a tree, or a grand piano. There is nothing you can do to reform them, if they can be reformed, other than lay down the law to them and hope they can climb out of their personal sewer on their own power.

Any working class hero with half a brain can tell you that, but half a brain is half a brain more than those who run the American university system have in their possession. Or members of Congress. Or pubic school administrators. They are so removed from reality that they feel this irresistible compulsion to study bullying, or the effects of skipping breakfast on learning, or why corporal punishment is bad parenting, or any one of a plethora of inane causes they feel compelled to pursue like knights of old in search of the grail. There was no grail, and there is no cure for something like bullying. It is the human condition, and a sad and undeniable fact that there will always be bad people amongst us and your best defense is not some half-assed study by a team of professorial jackasses, but  your own willingness to put up your dukes and defend yourself.

But hey, if these intellectual luminaries at the U of I feel compelled to study bullying, or breakfast, or lunch or why the sky is blue instead of peach I say let them go at it. If they use their own salaries to fund the study. No more sucking off the public trough. Make that the first rule of any collegiate investigation such as this and you'd pretty soon see an end to this nonsense, and a return to sanity on our campuses across the land.

Hell, all the rest of us have to prove our case every god-damned morning we drag our sorry asses out of bed, make coffee and breakfast, shower, brush our teeth and leave the comfort of our homes to face the rigors of the day. Why shouldn't those whom we pay have to do the same?

Bullying, indeed. We are being bullied by them. Bullied into accepting nonsense as the norm. Bullied into pie-in-the-sky happy planet bullshit we know has nothing to do with the real world. Having it all shoved down our throats, all the while knowing we're paying for the unraveling of our own great country with vital public dollars that should be directed towards real education so that our children can read, and write and add and subtract and find America on a map, and not towards soggy breakfasts and tater tot and chicken nugget lunches and everyone in the race gets a gold medal because I know I'm special and God don't make no junk.

Well, I have news for you, kiddies; God does make junk. He makes bullies, doesn't he? Bullies who give you a black eye, and bullies who take your money and piss it away on worthless studies just because they can.

I prefer the guy who gives you the suborbital hematoma. At least he's honest about punching you out.

Lenny Palmer 9/6/11


Page 6 of 7

Go to top