They’re even painted red, white, and blue!

Qureshi Donates Tennis Wheelchairs To Iraq

These people are meshugenah!

Zara Apologises For Selling Striped “Star Of David” Children’s T-Shirt

The clothing retailer apologises for a design that looks like the uniform Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

  BuzzFeed; Aug. 27, 2014

“Zara said the garment, advertised online as a striped ‘sheriff’ T-shirt, was inspired by ‘the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western films.’

“‘We honestly apologize,’ Zara said on Twitter in response to numerous outraged tweets…”

Earlier today, negative comments began to build on social media regarding this T-shirt design.
 
I understand that everyone makes mistakes.  I’ve made perhaps one or two comments, decisions, or jokes that may have offended or pissed off people.
But there was also this:

Just a play on words – or racially offensive? Zara comes under fire for selling ‘white is the new black’ T-shirt

By Margot Peppers for MailOnline;14 August 2014

Not so clever lay on words: Zara has come under fire for this T-shirt, which some have interpreted as 'racist'
 

And this:

Zara bosses forced to withdraw ‘Swastika’ handbags from shelves

Mail Online;   18 September 2007

“A bag embroidered with Nazi-style swastikas was withdrawn by fashion store Zara today after a rush of complaints..”

The Zara handbag - Photo: Kent News
 Photo: Kent News

Friedrich Nietzsche, who died in 1900, is credited by some with being a prophet of the 20th century.  Many of his ideas are (somewhat unfairly) regarded as anti-Semitic.  Regardless of intent, he was surely an inspiration for Hitler’s ideas.  In his Thus Spoke Zarathustra, for example, he talks about the concept of slave morality that was essential to his thought.  Elsewhere, he identifies Judaic thought as a major culprit in its detrimental development.

In the face of all this unwelcome publicity, a Zara spokesman had this to say in an interview with Arianna Huffington:

“We erred big time, and to ensure that there are no prejudiced employees or misconstrued actions, our final solution will be a mandatory sensitivity training course for all employees.  Yeah, they’ll have to put with all that faggy bullshit that’s bound to go on, but that shows how serious we take this.  Why are you looking at me funny?  Because I said ‘faggy’?  Oh, Jesus Christ.  Like fags pay any attention to fashion news.”

Patching Things Up

As I noted in a recent post, I’m trying to quit smoking. As a religious guy, I think I’ve been seeing signs encouraging me to quit with the aid of the nicotine patch and gum. You know how you always see cigarette butts on sidewalks? In the last week I’ve seen about four patches stuck to the sidewalk. “I know the sidewalk’s been a heavy smoker for a long time,” I thought, “but if it can quit, then I can quit.”

Something I’m getting good at

The Baltimore Sun and the City Paper have not responded to my submission of the following as an op-ed humor piece, so I’ll post it here.  It concerns the city’s free buses.

You Get What You Pay For

Brian Williard

I love the Circulator busses.  I usually loathe the actual experience of riding them, but who could argue with their avowed principle of “Fast.  Friendly.  Free.”?  (I’ve tried in vain to reach their Grammar Department to suggest changing the signage to “Our Service Is Fast, Friendly, and Free.”)  The degrees of the buses’ punctuality and drivers’ friendliness may vary, but the freeness is constant. 

The lack of a mere $1.60 fare makes its social leveling effects so interesting.  Where else can one find professionals so intimately comingling with drunks and addicts?  Or young children hearing the coarse talk of hoppers on their way to work (people over)?  And then there’s the many people like me, dutifully forfeiting our seats to others and disseminating helpful hints to the ever-so-earnest tourists.  I’ll admit that I feel a slight deflation when I see them asking the driver the same question I had just answered.  Do I look like the kind of person who gets my kicks by giving people false directions? 

On the Circle-You-Later, the more does certainly not make the merrier.  It’s not so much that the conditions make you pissy, but others’ pissiness is contagious.  I generally enjoy making jokes to strangers to observe their reactions; the more offbeat the quip, the better.  When the bus gets extremely packed, to lighten the mood, I may affect a vague foreign accent and say, “If this were my homeland, the next oncoming rider would have to sit on the roof.” 

If my whimsical conspiratorial mindset is correct, this is when the drivers rack up the most points in their game of Passenger Bowling.  The object is simple:  cause passengers to fall by starting and stopping abruptly.  (The elderly, infirm, and intoxicated only count for half a point; someone with two or more such qualities amounts to ¼.)  Legend has it that a Bill H. once got six standing passengers to collapse in domino fashion.

I truly relish when capacity and my conscience allow me to take a seat.  Whether I’ve had a Sisyphean day sitting at the computer or a drunken one sitting at [location redacted], sometimes I’m just in the mood to do more sitting.  Hopefully, I’ll be fortunate and will happen upon a dry one.  If I belatedly discover that I have not, I can only hope that the dampness is from an overturned beverage.  Wishful thinking has gotten me far in life.

I will try to not read nor write, preferring instead to be mindful of the scenery.  I will feel smug self-satisfaction by noting how many people are too engrossed in their electronic toys or their chemical oblivion to just be, to take the world in.  With my Luddite leanings, I deem cell phones a scourge upon society.  They act in concert with many other cultural factors to erode civility.  Speaking or pretending to speak for nonessential purposes to others in a publicly enclosed space is a flagrant sin in this regard.

I’ve thought of taking obnoxious countermeasures in acts of self-righteous absurdism.  I could pretend that they’re talking to me:  “What do you mean, ‘Where am I?’  I’m sitting right across from you!”  Or, I could intrude into their conversation in a faux knowing way:  “Dude, you’re forgetting the best part!  Tell ‘em how Gina had just downed four shots of Jack when that went down!”  What I actually do enjoy doing—see my aforementioned penchant for oddball humor—is saying “I’m not here” when another’s phone rings.

What truly baffles me about public transportation in general is the people who use it to kill time.  In clement weather, surely one can find something better to do.  I understand that sometimes one just needs to sleep and may think they’re in the safest place to do so, but I’m talking about alert and awake people.  And the drivers know such regulars.  They note that so-and-so got on at such-and-such a spot and will have to disembark after one lap.  After all, “There’s [always] another one right behind me.”

But hey, there’s also a pedestrian world awaiting your circulation throughout it.  For better or worse.

 ___________________________________________________________________________

Brian Williard is a failing humor writer and online businessman.  His less tame humor can be found at funnyphilosopher.wordpress.com. 

I’ll visit New Hampshire before it gets cold, Iowa before tornado season

Obama condemns Hamas for breaking cease-fire
By Rebecca Shabad – 08/01/14-The Hill

Obama Condemns Israel for Shelling a U.N. School; Shrinks from Criticizing Hamas
By: Jake (Diary) | July 30th, 2014–Red State

Obama condemns killing of reporter, U.S. hits militants in Iraq
By Alexander Dziadosz and Steve Holland
BAGHDAD/EDGARTOWN Mass.; Aug 20, 2014; Reuters

The Wire: Obama condemns ‘brutal murder’
By Karl Kahler; 8.20.2014; San Jose Mercury News

President Obama condemns ISIS after beheading of American journalist
By Chelsea J. Carter; August 20, 2014, CNN

Merkel and Obama condemn Russian convoys in Ukraine
8.23.2014; DW

Lots of condemnation of unpopular acts going on by the Judger-in-Chief. Being president is starting to sound like a cakewalk. I just wish he would condemn cancer, earthquakes, and dropping food that you just spent 20 minutes preparing.

W., by the way, was advised to speak in terms of good and evil because they feared he’d say something like, “I condone the September 11th attacks.”

Since both make being president look so easy, I think I’ll throw my hat in the ring for ’16. (Because I’m going bald, I will immediately don another hat.)

What have YOU been smoking, bud?

Florida Anti-pot Leader: Weed Is a Date Rape Drug and Will Make You Gay and Vulnerable to AIDS

Homosexuality “seems to be something that follows along from their marijuana use…,” says former Reagan drug czar
by Mark Frauenfelder | Boing Boing.net | August 21, 2014
 
Any potheads or former potheads like me can attest to this.  I shot up some marijuana several weeks ago, and I went on a viscous crime spree.  Naturally, that included rape.  Women or men, girls or boys, raccoons–no one was safe from my reefer madness.
 
This guy said it best: