Crassphemy, Revisited

Back in June of 2005, I posted an entry, Crassphemy, regarding a news item about a French shoe designer producing shoes decorated with Hindu mythological art, including depictions of Hindu gods. Some Hindus were upset, and legal action was threatened.

Some late comments, from a Hindu, just showed up on the entry. The commenter noted something that explained much more clearly than the original news item did about why Hindus would be upset by the shoes:
In Hinduism, we dont touch anything/anybody with our legs. We consider each person/thing associated with God and if we touch them with our legs it means we might be kicking God. In the same context Lord Rama is God for us Hindus, so when we don't even touch others with our legs, how can we be quiet when our God's picture is appearing on the footwear.

This is a belief that I had never heard about Hinduism, and one that wasn't mentioned in the news item. And it makes the strong reaction to the shoes a lot more understandable.

The excerpt above is only part of the comment. It's the type of comment I like to receive. It disagrees with what I said, but it does so politely and by presenting facts and sincere opinions. This is a great comment.

I just wish the commenter had included a name, rather than posting as "anonymous". I tend to associate "anonymous" comments with drive-by snarkings and trollings; this wasn't one. Even a nom de internet would have been better.

And, rather than just saying, "Hey, thanks", I'd like to be able to say, "Hey, thanks, _______. Feel free to drop by again."


Crusie & Mayer: The Stand Up, Sit Down, Sign Books Comedy Tour

Yesterday evening I took our friend Anne over to the Desert Ridge Barnes & Noble where Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer were having a talk & signing for their first collaboration, Don't Look Down.

DLD is an odd duck, a lighthearted funny romance combined with macho "men's fiction" adventure action. Reportedly pretty good. (Haven't read it yet myself.)

But Crusie and Mayer are a pretty odd duo to find collaborating. (They met at a Maui writers conference several years ago.) Vivacious writer of funny modern-day romances, quiet ex-Special Forces guy who writes thrillers. Jeez, these two are a walking set-up for an odd-couple romance plot themselves. ("She writes love stories. He can kill people with one finger. They're protagonists!")

I thoroughly enjoyed the signing. The interaction between the two earned a comparison to the Smothers Brothers. Since Mayer is so quiet (at times his side of the conversation consisted of a raised eyebrow or an askance look), Penn & Teller also come to mind.

Jennifer Crusie is one of the funniest speakers I've heard in a long time. How funny is she? Let's put it this way: If she and Esther Friesner ever end up in the same room tgether, an entire city will be reduced to rubble in a jocular explosion.

(You can get some of the flavor of the event at Crusie's blogs. He Wrote, She Wrote currently features the ongoing saga of their book tour. Crusie's general blog is Argh Ink.)


Working Vacation

I've been at home all this last week, which is why I haven't had any time to post new entries here.

No, really. I've taken four weeks leave from work to catch up with some major obligations and overdue projects.

The major obligation, as a glance at the calendar will tell you, is getting income taxes done. So, have I gotten all the information together, entered into the tax program, printed out the results, and gotten everything ready to put in the mail by Monday's deadline?

Ahem. Yeh, and horses will give birth to chickens, too.

Trying to get taxes done, though, meant that I did get one of the major projects on my list done: Cleaning up, organizing, and filing everything in the office, which has been, umm, way behind. ("Hey! There's a floor in here!" That was amusing when the first person said it; not so much, the second.) Which means that, as far as I've gotten on them, I've been able to now find the information I need for figuring taxes.

Other major projects on line, after I really do finish off the taxes, include painting the outside of the house (long overdue), and redoing/repainting the master bedroom's bathroom (also long overdue). And, if there's still time left before I have to head back to work on May 8th, going back into the office, moving everything out, ripping up the ghastly red shag carpeting (last of the original carpeting from the previous owners before we moved here in 1985) and replacing it with tile, painting the walls, and installing adjustable shelving along the north wall of the office.

I'll try and do a few posts in the odd spare moments (I've had several in mind) between slugging away at the to-do list. But it will probably be fairly skimpy on blog posts here for the next three weeks.


Heard In Passing

A few days ago on the radio I thought I heard quick clip of one of my Senators, Jon Kyl, saying that most illegal immigrants were "murderers, rapists, and child molesters."

Say wha---? This seemed like a remarkably extreme statement, even from a strong right-winger like Kyl.

So I did some Googling (God bless Google!), and found the full text of what he said on his website, jonkyl.com.

Not quite as bad as what I thought I'd heard. (Since the online version is dated March 16th, and the audio clip was only a few days ago on NPR, I'm uncertain if the audio came from Kyl reading from the written version, or if he might have been paraphrasing himself.) This is the pertinent paragraph from the website:
The number of illegal immigrants who are criminals is rapidly escalating. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 139,000 of the 1.1 million people apprehended on the border in 2005 were criminal aliens seeking to illegally re-enter the United States. The majority are serious offenders: rapists, murders, child molesters, drug dealers and the like. We've got to get control of our border to prevent this chaos and ensure terrorists are unable to sneak into our country.

So apparently Kyl wasn't claiming that over half of the eleven million illegal aliens in the USA are murderers, rapists and child molesters. He was claiming that 139,000 of the 1.1 million, or slightly more than 1 in 8, of the illegal immigrants apprehended by border police, were known criminals, and that over half of those (or about 70,000) were known rapists, murderers, child molesters "and the like".

What the heck, exactly, is "the like"?

Frankly, though, that "and the like" makes these numbers sound very fishy. Not so much that 1 in 8 of illegal immigrants might have a criminal record -- illegal immigrants tend to come from the poorest and most desperate portion of their countries' populations, and I suspect if you ran figures for criminal records among poor blacks or hispanics in the US, you'd find similar numbers for our own residents, both because crime rates (particularly for property crimes like theft and burglary) are higher in disadvantaged neighborhoods and because there's more police attention to those areas -- but that over half of those criminal records would be for rape, murder and child molestation. "And the like."

I tried to find some general numbers on crime rates in Mexico, but my Google-fu apparently isn't good enough to find it easily. (Although I can give you crime rates for Mexico, Missouri and Mexico, Maine. That's easy!)

And, of course, the subtext of Kyl's remarks is that similar numbers would apply to the much larger numbers of illegal immigrants who were not caught in 2005. Which is a way of proclaiming that probably several hundred thousand rapists, murderers and child molesters entered the USA illegally in 2005.

Now that's the sort of thing I expect Kyl to do. Not to directly come out and say "Wetbacks are going to rape your wives, sodomize your sons, and kill YOU!" but to do it indirectly, genteely, and politely. Kyl is very much a well-mannered, well-dressed politician, but one should try never to forget that a significant part of his support comes from The Guys In The Bars who will say, flat out, "Wetbacks want to rape my wife, sodomize my children, and kill ME!"