Q?

Why on this night do we drink motherfucking jameson and shitty sugar-laden grape jew swill from upstate NY, but on other nights we only drink motherfucking jameson?

WTF?

What the fuck could possibly be the benefit of transiently “increasing transit security” right after a successful terrorist attack on some other transit system–and then at some point thereafter returning it to baseline when the supposed heightened threat “has passed”–unless you are basing your security strategy on the conclusion that terrorists are mind-bogglingly stupid? Are we really that incapable of thinking rationally about the threat of terrorism?

Good For MoDo

I am no fan of Maureen Dowd, but kudos for her recent column on the nauseating moral rot at the core of the Catholic church:

If the church could throw open its stained glass windows and let in some air, invite women to be priests, nuns to be more emancipated and priests to marry, if it could banish criminal priests and end the sordid culture of men protecting men who attack children, it might survive. It could be an encouraging sign of humility and repentance, a surrender of arrogance, both moving and meaningful.

* * *

Decade after decade, the church hid its sordid crimes, enabling the collared perpetrators instead of letting the police collar them. In the case of the infamous German priest, one diocese official hinted that his problem could be fixed by transferring him to teach at a girls’ school. Either they figured that he would not be tempted by the female sex, or worse, the church was even less concerned about putting little girls at risk.

I have no idea whether Dowd said jack fuck about any of this heinous shit over the years, and is only now saying too little, too late. But at least she is saying it. And yeah, it would have also been nice if she had emphasized how grotesquely pathological it is that these child-molesting monsters are actually granted a privileged position of moral gravitas in the United States political arena, instead of derided as the sick fucks that they are.

Japanese Courtesy

BioE recently posted some cool public service announcement posters from the Tokyo subway system, and it got me reminiscing about some interesting experiences I have had in Japan.

I find some of the idiosyncrasies of this culture that places such overt emphasis on honor, courtesy, respect, and manners fascinating. For example, the big-city large department stores have elevator attendants–all conventionally attractive young women dressed in business suit-like uniforms with pillbox hats–who literally shove waiting passengers into the elevator, packing them in as tightly as possible.

I was once on an elevator in an Odakyu store in Tokyo, and there was an elderly woman using a cane to stay upright next to me. As more and more people were shoving harder and harder into the elevator, this poor woman was being crushed. I saw the misery on her face, so I loudly said, “Stop! Stop!” and pointed at the woman being crushed.

Everyone involved, including the woman being crushed, paused, looked at me like I was a complete lunatic for a moment, and then resumed slamming into the elevator.

But in a large variety of other ways, Japanese people are paragons of politeness and hospitality.

Every place has its courtesy quirks. For example, in New York City, if you are a tourist and you get in people’s way on the sidewalk or in the subways, they’ll bowl you over and glare at you. But if you ask directions to somewhere–either on foot or via subway–you’ll collect an entire panel of local experts who will discuss the ins-and-outs of various routes in detail, and then deliver a consensus verdict.