Published on: September 17, 2010
We tend to have a lot of discussion here on MNB about the issue of civility, sometimes related to business issues but often related to the way government and politics work. But the other day, there was a story out of Washington, DC, that illustrated the extent the fabric of society has frayed...or been ripped.
The story, carried in the Washington Post
, concerned a driver who was angry about a speed bump on a street he often traveled. So angry, that he assaulted the Fairfax County man who owned the house where the bump was located. So angry that before his trial for the assault, he fatally shot the man, who he blamed for having the speed bump installed.
To be sure, the man who was killed, Stephen Carr, had lobbied for the speed bump to be put in, because he was concerned about how fast people drove through his neighborhood. Most of his neighbors appreciated his efforts.
Though not, apparently, David Patton, who was arrested and charged for Carr’s murder.
As senseless as this incident seems to be - and “senseless” hardly seems like an adequate word, I think I may have been more surprised by something mentioned in the Post
story, and in a subsequent discussion of the story on “The Tony Kornheiser Show” the popular DC-area radio show.
What really caught me off guard was the revelation that some people, when they drive over speed bumps they feel have been badly placed, like to honk their horns - especially at night, when they hope their horns will wake up the local residents who they assume are responsible for the speed bumps.
Maybe I’m just old fashioned. Whenever I’ve driven over a speed bump, three things occur to me. One, I’d better slow down. Two, there must be kids in the area. Three, I really better slow down.
I can honestly say that I have never, ever considered honking my horn when coming to a speed bump. (I’ve also never considered killing any nearby homeowners, but I think that sort of goes without saying.) And I have to believe that most people don’t do such a thing.
However, I am honestly shocked out to find out that there are some people who do. I simply cannot imagine such a thing.
But it stands as further evidence - as if we needed any - that the fabric of our society is being torn apart by people who simply don;t care about appropriate, civil behavior.
It is not the murders that tell us this. Such are the acts of madmen. It is the people who simply do not care about the little things. The people who run red lights. The people who ignore basic laws that govern our behavior. The people who honk when they drive over a speed bump.
It is the little things that will ruin us, not the big things. They will nibble away at our sense of civility until there is nothing left.
End of rant.
How great is it that Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” is holding a rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on October 30 - a “Rally to Restore Sanity,” designed “to spread the timeless message, 'Take it down a notch for America,’ he said. ‘A million Moderate march, where we take to the streets to send a message to our leaders and our national media that says, 'We are here! We... are only here until six though, because we have a sitter.'"
And it is equally great that Stephen Colbert will hold an “opposing rally” the same day - a “March To Keep Fear Alive,” because, he said, "Now is not the time to take it down a notch. Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom.”
Great fun. Totally topical. And right on target ...because these guys are the savviest, funniest, and perhaps the sanest guys on television. I just wish I could be there, but my speaking schedule might make it difficult.
But I’ll be there in spirit. Because I’m totally in favor of sanity.
If there is one new show that I am looking forward to in the new television season, it is the “Hawaii 5-0.”
I loved the old series, and while the new one looks a lot different - even if the top cop is still named Steve McGarrett - I am intrigued. The clips i’ve seen look like fun, the acting seems good, the scenery is fabulous...and then, there’s one of the best theme songs ever written, which gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.
I’ll have to record it while I watch “Castle” with my daughter, but I plan on watching at least the first few episodes to see if they’ve captured the magic.
Book it, Danno.
You have to love the French.
reports that there have been enormous protests in the streets of Paris over the legislation, approved this week, that raises the retirement age from 60 to 62.
That’s right - to 60 to 62
Sometimes it seems like the French aren’t just living on another continent, but in another era.
Sometimes that’s a good thing. Like when I’m strolling along the streets of Paris with Mrs. Content Guy looking for a place to have a glass of wine.
Thanks to Marv Imus, who emailed me a story from Field & Stream
’s “Wild Chef column...
Apparently, a Texas chef has come up with something truly unique.
Here’s how they describe it:
“The beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic. When diners take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough in what is claimed to be a delicious taste sensation.”
I’m getting hungry and
thirsty just thinking about it.
Certainly a lot hungrier than I was made by a story in the Wall Street Journal
this week about people who like to eat bugs.
“Across the country, entomophagy—the eating of insects—has gained a small audience hopeful that the inclusion of bugs in global cuisine from Southeast Asia to Mexico inspires more of a following for such dishes in the U.S,” the writes, continuing, “A recent paper put out by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations cited nibbles of interest in industrialized countries: Special insect dinners in Japan often sell out, and in the Netherlands, insects marketed as ‘bugsnuggets’ and ‘buglibars’ can be found at supermarkets. In the U.K., a website called Edible.com sells toffee scorpion candy, giant toasted leafcutter ants and oven-baked tarantulas.
“There's some evidence it's spreading to a hipper crowd. Actress Salma Hayek recently talked about her penchant for ant eggs and grasshoppers on the Late Show with David Letterman.
“The Brooklyn Kitchen, a store that holds classes and events, is hosting an $85-a-head insect tasting menu and drink pairing on Sept. 18. Its website touts Wax Moth Larvae ceviche, with a Brooklyn Lager. A smattering of Mexican restaurants across the country serve roasted grasshoppers in tacos or with guacamole. And a new yogurt shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn, has chocolate-covered crickets among its toppings.”
Now, I’m a pretty adventurous guy. There are few foods I won’t try, and fewer that I don’t like.
But bugs and insects? I don’t think so.
My wine of the week: the 2006 Beringer Third Century Syrah from California’s Central Coast. Perfect with a steak, a burger...and a great way to slide gently and happily into fall, when red wines (at least in our household) become more prevalent.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.