Thursday, December 30, 2010

Barcode Of Life

I endured. Tolerated, really, the advent and passing of another Christmas. Yes, there is bitterness in those opening words, but I'm claiming entitlement to that sour emotion, at least for this screed. As I've mentioned previously, I'm in retail. That should speak a couple of chapters, if not volumes.

I am living and working in a society that has become nothing more than a cradle to grave barcode of life.

Don't give me the canned comeback about how we all make our choices, or how we create our own realities, like so many pop psychology gurus spew. Don't tell me how I could have fought for what I should have done this year to be with my family on Christmas day; how I should have made every effort to be with my newly widowed mother during this first of her coming solitary holidays without my dad. Screw any and all of you who even think that I could have changed events.

I've already screwed myself mentally and emotionally over all that. And screw the retail businesses with all their profits, dividends, and manic cultures of haf2betherecauseit'sthemostimportanttimeofthebusinessyear mantra. And to hell with the Madison Avenue brainwashed iWad infected consumers who should have enough sense to know when they've been taken for the fools they apparently are.

The last time I spent Christmas with my family was 1987. Therein lies much of my holiday bitterness. Partially by design, partially by circumstances, I landed in a part of the country a couple of thousand miles from any family. In 1987 I wasn't yet in the "management" level at work. I had just returned two years prior to the US to complete academic work, and was just beginning a renewed life back in the land of the free after a decade out of the country.

But from that year onward, I HAD to be at work. We HAD to serve the customers. The after Christmas sales HAD to be set prior to opening on December 26th. It was CRITICAL that we had all hands on deck. Comp sales! Record profits! Selling "seasonal time bombs"! Inventory prep! Inventory! Winter clearance set up! Spring merchandise arriving!

Such horsecrap. The corprotocracy, as I've called it for years, has created a monster that is said to determine the health of our nation's economy, thus the economic health of us all. We've been brainwashed into believing that keeping our own pockets free of finance is the strength of our nation and national economy. We've had over 40 years of "educational downsizing", if you will, that has produced an economic population that happily complies with the consumeristic enslavement of the masses to make corporate conglomerates filthy rich.

This is an economic population that continues to "educate" it's young so that they can barely sign their names legibly, have NO real grasp of history, or the historicity of this country's heritage, and have little interest beyond the electronic keyboard they are frantically thumbing as they drive, walk, or sleep.

This is an economic population that produced a president who thinks nothing of calling a multi-gazillionaire sports team owner, and thanking him for giving a convicted animal-killer, a second chance at a "job" playing a child's game for millions of dollars a year while thousands of citizens are job searching and struggling to keep afloat economically.

This is an economic population that continues to crave the latest dumbing-down gadgets that the corprotocracy creates to keep control of not only our finances, but of our minds. Even many of those job searching citizens still buy into the mind-numbing drivel that keeps them holding onto "hope and change."Yes, the masses will buy this week's latest pad, tablet, e-reader, whatever you want to call it, and think they're really smart to have another gizmo to finger and paw at. These are the very people who NEVER consider the wider implications of having such gadgets that can be programmed, uploaded, and downloaded, with anything the cyber mavericks decide to provide. They never consider that those same mavericks can switch off the content of those shiny gizmos and decide what the masses will be allowed to see, read, or hear, further advancing the chilling thought that citizens will continue to relinquish the ideals of freedom that they believe are granted to them for free.

This is an economic population that will call me crazy. Crazy for not embracing these marvelous inventions, crazy for not moving towards the future. Crazy for not going with the flow.

Well, I'm crazy, all right. Crazy for allowing myself to be part of the machine that drives this insanity forward. My excuses are the same as everyone else who find themselves rejecting this seasonal and ongoing madness: Have to pay the bills. I have a mortgage. I have a job that thousands are lined up to interview for. It's a job where, if I dropped dead tomorrow afternoon, I'd be replaced within a week or less. So, I meekly nod and mumble how I understand the "situation" when they tell me I simply cannot take off four or five days to travel cross country and be with my family during Christmas.

Yes, I am compliant. I have been brainwashed to some extent, to play into the sales, profits, and dividends of the corprotocracy. I have allowed myself to hand over my backbone, and bend with the needs of economic dependency.

The citizens of this country must open their minds to this decades old problem, and stop bemoaning, in passing, how Christmas, and the

nation have become "so commercialized." In the next instant these same people are dashing over to the next shiny thingy in the store window.

We need to mean it when we bemoan rabid commercialization of every aspect of our lives. We need to talk about it to others. We need to take action (or inaction in the case of buying things we don't need with money we don't have) to regain our economic power. We need to reclaim our numerous holidays for their actual meanings, NOT for how they can be cashed in for their economic value.

We should vocally, and actively renounce the absolute take over of our values, institutions, and traditions by totally selfish profit mongers. No more "I-Hop Stadium". No more "Kodak Theatre". I can imagine even sports teams quickly becoming, say, the "Coca-Cola Colts, the "Pepsi Patriots", or the "Texaco Texans". We should all tell corporations, and our various governments to stop destroying our traditions. Stop usurping our individual and collective identities.

And we need to ensure that the government and corporate entities stop telling us what is right, good, valuable, or moral.

We…NO…I need to take back my backbone and reclaim my priorities before there are no priorities left to claim. That's why I'm speaking out.

Take back your holidays. Take back your wealth. Take back the traditions that are falling away in the name of politically correct economics. Take back your sense of being. Let's restore true quality to our lives. Let's tear off the barcodes on our faces and ponder the images beneath.

What will we see?

Rick Baker

December 30, 2010.

Rochester, NY

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker

Baby graphic © 2009-2010 by

Barcode head graphic © 2007- 2010 by Bulhakov.

New holiday tradition graphic ©

Shopping cart graphic titled "Post Consumerism Society", by Dutch Uncle Agency/London.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fighting The Cancer Of Celebrity

Who hasn't fantasized at one time or another about being rich and famous, about meeting stars, or about hobnobbing with celebrities?

When I was a young man in my 20's, I worked for a nationally known singer/songwriter from Houston. I traveled with his band as a roadie for a couple of years and met a number of famous people. Now that I'm older, I've stopped watching TV, I don't keep up much with the latest music/entertainment trends, and really don't give two hoots about famous people. Truth is, most of the really famous people my age group would like to meet are either dead or dying. They just don't make them like they used to.

I'll admit I do read the National Enquirer. It's my entertainment while I eat my ice cream with Hershey's syrup. But honestly, I probably don't know about 80% of the "stars" in the Enquirer. I mean, who ARE these people? Hell, there are so many shows, and about a billion TV channels now, that it seems everyone is a "star".

Except me.

But I don't care. There are more important issues in the world. Take, for example, the issue of cancer.

It was reported online today that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, attending a recent fundraiser for children's cancer research in St. Petersburg, Russia, took to the stage and sang, in English, "Blueberry Hill". You can watch that fascinating performance on You Tube.
But that's not the point of this rant. Also in attendance at the Russian charity event were many Hollywood celebrities including Goldie Hawn, Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, and Mickey Rourke, to name a few.

Now let me clarify something: Those five celebrities are NOT part of what I'd consider "really famous people" as I mentioned above. They aren't included in the group of old-time "dead or dying" famous people. Although I think that Mickey Rourke is actually dead and being manipulated by remote control.

But they represent the class of celebrities these days who appear to be only interested in self promotion for self's sake. Furthermore, why would these self serving lettuce heads be jetting off to Russia, of all places, to attend a charity event? Do Russians know who Goldie, Kevin, Sharon and Mickey are? Puleeze.... The average Russian couldn't care less.

But there they are, hobnobbing with the likes of Putin who likewise hobnobs with some real winners himself, such as North Korea's Kim "I'm Ill", and Iran's Mahmoud "Imanutjob".

What I'd like to read someday is a story about how Goldie, Kevin, Sharon, and Mickey donated several million dollars to cancer research centers in their OWN cities. How they followed-up with the researchers to promote true independent cancer research in the United States. And how they spent quality time with cancer victims and survivors in their own communities.

And how they shunned the spotlight with world "leaders" who kiss the asses of other murderers.

Then someday maybe, just maybe, fans will think of them as "really famous people" who really made a difference.

In the meantime, I'll eat my ice cream and read the National Enquirer. That's all those celebrities' efforts are worth.

Rick B. Baker
December 12, 2010
Rochester, NY

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stop Talking Start Shooting, Dammit

The New York Times today has reported that a presumed shopkeeper from Quetta, Pakistan posed as a Taliban leader, and took part in "secret" peace talks with the Afghan government.

As reported, an unidentified Western diplomat in Kabul said "...we gave him a lot of money."

If true that an impostor conned these Afghan and US government officials out of a lot of money, then I say "more power to him!"

If I remember correctly, after 9/11 we sent troops to Afghanistan to OVERTHROW the Taliban. Correct me if I'm wrong. Why, then are the Afghan and US governments holding "peace" talks with these inbred mental degenerates? Someone explain that to me and try to keep a serious face when doing so.

If we need to carry out negotiations with the Taliban, then bring our troops home and let Afghanistan go to hell with their sick, twisted terrorists and peace talks. I rather think that we'd be better served if we took over Pakistan (which in and of itself is a complete basket case), killed every terrorist that came into view there, and sealed the Afghan/Pakistani border. After all, Pakistan has the bomb. Let's not forget that unsettling little fact.

Just google "Taliban images" or "Taliban beheading images" and then decide if we should be holding "peace" talks.

I say stop talking and start shooting, dammit, or bring our men and women in uniform home now!

Rick Baker
Rochester, NY
November 23, 2010

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photos presented are from, and

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Send In The Clowns. Post Script

A quick follow-up to the Rally to Restore Sanity: According to the Christian Science Monitor today, the rally restored some $150,000 to the National Mall Trust the day before the event.

That should just about clean up the rally aftermath of all those folks on the National Mall yesterday! Hopefully, more donations will pour in so that this bit of pop culture silliness won't be simply an entertainment event that keeps Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in the ratings game.

October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Send In The Clowns. Please.

Americans are idiots. Well, a lot of them are.

Just a few days away from election day, (as if THAT makes a difference), two "rallies" in over 900 cities across the country will be held to "restore sanity" and "keep fear alive", hosted by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert respectively. You know, to provide a counterbalance to the "extremists" who have been making noise and trying to upset the Democratic Administration's apple and orange cart. It's the leftist entertainment world's comedic response to the rightist wing nut
Glenn Beck. And let me be clear about one thing: I absolutely DO think that Beck is a wing nut. And so is the Republican Party's one trick pony shill Rush Limbaugh. They're just two examples of a herd of blathering heads on TV and radio.

Really, though, it is a fundraiser for helping the National Park Service restore the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Here's the funny part: Many sane and reasonable folks across the land think it's a REAL political rally. And an even funnier part: The people attending the event in D.C. will be trampling all over the very National Mall that all proceeds are supposedly going to help restore!

Restore Sanity, indeed!

In September the LA Times ran a story on the rally and told about Marble Falls, Texas resident Shawna Riley who was booking hotel and airline tickets to attend one of these shows. Never mind the fact that one of these events is being held in Austin, Texas and Ms Riley could have just driven there from Marble Falls and saved a butt load of money. Call me crazy....

Yes, Ms Riley was quoted as saying the event was going to be "one of those we-got-to-be-there moments." (We-got-to... not we've-got-to) She went on to say, "We're tired of the fear-mongering in the mainstream media." I guess she isn't going to tune into Colbert's
March To Keep Fear Alive.

That thousands of people like Ms Riley think of these events as serious political statements validates Colbert's March To Keep Fear Alive.

The real rally for restoring sanity should be for the rest of us to tell Republicans, Democrats, political analysts, celebrities, and talk show hosts like Beck, Limbaugh, and the rest to just shut the *bleep* up.

Enough already! Save your hotel money, airfare, and gas expense. Yeah...restore sanity, you idiots, and save the environment by NOT flying or driving. You know, carbon footprint and such. I mean these are the very people who, on any other day, and during any other rally would be shouting about global warming and carbon offsets and telling us how we're killing the environment by driving cars and eating the meat of farting cows. The more I think about all of it, the more it all drives me insane!

Colbert has it right. Keep Fear Alive. Tell everyone that all these clowns are serious about politics, and go out and have rallies.

Then tell them to go vote. Now THAT scares me half to death!

Rick Baker
October 29, 2010
Rochester, NY

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker

Thursday, January 21, 2010

'Scuse Me: Is That a Bomb You're Wearing
Or Just a Prayer Box?

Oh dear. Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the plane...

Let's not delude ourselves into thinking that common sense will ever hold sway over any religion or religious belief. Christians have Pat Robertson and his deals with the devil, Muslims have fanatics who are hijacking the religion itself, and now the Jews have prayer boxes that look like little bombs strapped to their heads and arms. Jesus!

And to think we are debating whether to profile passengers in the never ending quest for airline safety during this "war on terror".

I refer to the story today about a 17 year old Jewish passenger who was reported to have "inadvertently" created a bomb scare on board a US Airways flight from New York to Louisville on Thursday, January 21, 2010. An alarmed passenger alerted the crew and the plane was diverted to Philadelphia. If you're interested read the story on Yahoo's The Buzz Log, January 21, 2010. (link:

In short, the young Orthodox Jew was wearing said prayer boxes (pictured above) called a "tefillin" in Hebrew, or a "phylactery" in Greek. And no, "phylactery" isn't the name of a dinosaur, although in my not so humble opinion, some religious beliefs in ALL religions are dinosaurs.

Now one should assume that airport security in New York would have diligently inspected the strapped-on contraption and determined, as was determined in Philly after inconveniencing a few hundred passengers and airline/airport staff members, that the tefillin was not a bomb.

However, we shouldn't be too hasty. If there are bombs that look like shoes, and airport security can't identify them as bombs, then what makes us think that airport security could determine that a prayer box that looks like a bomb, isn't a bomb? Maybe security simply thought that NO ONE would be bold enough to actually wear a bomb in plain sight, so they just let the young man go through without inspection.

Or maybe they DID inspect the tefillin and let the youth go through without, you know, informing the airline crew that the bomb-looking thingy strapped to a young Hebrew man wasn't actually a bomb.

But that would have required common sense on the part of airport security.

Rabbi Benjamin Blech, assistant professor of Talmud At Yeshiva University in New York told the Associated Press that the incident was a "...wake-up call for religious sensitivity." Here we go again with the drunken diversity and sensitivity nonsense I wrote about November 30, 2009 in my essay "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Mosque."

"We should," he stated, "be aware of ignorance just as much as we should be aware of terrorism."

NO. We should be much more aware of terrorism than we are of terrorism! By his logic of religious "sensitivity", we should be sensitive to shoe and underwear bombers for their religious beliefs. Sensitivity is a two way street, Rabbi.

Will this mental feast of diversity and sensitivity never stop?

Come on everyone! Let's just use some common sense from now on, religious beliefs notwithstanding. Is it too much to ask that if you can't tell bomb jokes at an airport ("Hi, Jack!!!") then you should refrain for an hour and a half flight from wearing anything that resembles a bomb?

Next time you fly, SAY your prayers: Don't strap them in black boxes on your head and arms!

Rick B. Baker
January 21, 2010
Rochester, NY

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What A Crotch...Err, Crock

Let's set this part of the record straight right off the bat:  I was not a supporter of Barack Hussein Obama, nor am I currently a supporter of the Obama administration. 

But let's be fair where fair is due.  I suppose this photo has been circulating by email and on blogs and websites since early November, but it just crossed my tiny little space of internet lala land.  It has popularly been titled "The Crotch Salute".  I've seen a couple of different captions attached to this photo, but the upshot is that the captions state that President Obama was not saluting or placing his hand over his heart while the national anthem played on November 11, 2009 during a memorial for those killed in the Ft. Hood terrorist shooting. 

That is a lie. 

This photo was taken during the Memorial Day service on May 25, 2009, in Washington, DC. President Obama had just walked onto the stage during the playing of "Hail To The Chief", and stepped into line as the song finished.  It's that simple. 

Here is a link for the C-Span video of the event:
Or go to C-Span and search the video link tab:

I don't care two craps for Republicans OR Democrats.  I think they're all a bunch of scoundrels, liars, egomaniacs, and some are outright criminals.  But if any individual, group, organization, or political party wants to stop the rapid socialization of this country, as well as the stripping of our constitutional rights, then actions, words, and images MUST be based in fact and on truth. 

Republicans:  You will not win elections by wallowing in lies and then circulating them through all forms of media. 

Democrats:  You will not maintain your control over the Executive and Legislative branches of government by wallowing in lies and then circulating them through all forms of media.  

Citizens and voters:  You will not regain control of our Constitution and Bill of Rights if you fall for every P.T. Barnum side show no matter how convincing the carnival barker may be.

Those of us who read all of this stuff online must carefully exercise due diligence before we hit the delete buttons of credibility.  We should all develop better habits of researching what we read, before we absolutely believe. 

If we don't at least attempt to find credibility in these stories, then we will all be left standing around scratching our crotches.  

Rick B. Baker
January 13, 2010
Rochester, NY 

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker 


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Art Of Health Care

Sometimes when and where you least expect it, answers to our most complicated questions are revealed and we are left to wonder why we didn't think of them sooner.

For the Obama administration and all of our "elected" legislators, the plan for our so-called national health care issue has been found in Italy.  

The Italians, (who have not been able to maintain a stable government in decades, if ever) just might be able to provide the United States, (where a stable government can't seem to find and maintain answers to fairly direct issues), guidance for dealing with our national health care dilemma.  
Sicilian professor of pathological anatomy, Vito Franco of the University of Palermo, is a medical expert in the "study of famous subjects of Renaissance artworks", according to a story by Jeff Israely on, January 9, 2010.  Professor Franco studies the characters in famous master paintings and presented his conclusions of their illnesses at a congress on human pathology last fall in Florence, Italy.  

Professor Franco has concluded that Mona Lisa suffered from xanthelasma, which is the accumulation of cholesterol under the skin. Who knew?  From the painting he determined that she had a fatty tissue tumor called lipoma on her right hand.  And that diagnosis without x-ray! 

Think of all the money the health care industry could save with more "medical experts" like the good Professor Franco.  Imagine the savings workers could enjoy with lower insurance costs. Corporations could save millions (billions?) of dollars each year on 
coverage for workers. All it would require is a canvas, a brush, oil paints, a trained eye and good glasses! 

Now if Professor Franco could only tell us how to diagnose a bloated bureaucracy.

Rick B. Baker 
January 10, 2010
Rochester, NY 

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Bottom painting:  "Mona Lisa at 12" by Fernando Botero, 1978

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Can You Remember Me Now??
I'm beginning to wonder if there are any real scientists left, or any real scientific studies being conducted in the world today.  I think back on studies I've heard about over the past 20 years or so that were reported in the press then never heard about again:  A Scandinavian study suggesting that human breast milk was killing cancer cells in lab rats.  Chili pepper juice made into a cream that was supposedly killing skin cancer cells.  Bee venom therapy for MS sufferers. All reported, yet never heard about again.  

And today the latest "unusual" scientific story was reported by Stephen Nohlgren in the St. Petersburg Times about a new study conducted by Professor Gary Arendash at the University of South Florida suggesting that cell phone radiation appeared to "cure" or at least mitigate dementia in "Alzheimer's mice".  Something to do with these little radiated rodents having fewer of the sticky protein lumps in their brains associated with Alzheimer's disease. 

Now I'm all for anything that will cure cancer, MS, Alzheimer's and any other horrible disease. But sometimes I have to wonder.  I mean isn't the scientific world and the general cell phone using public still studying, debating, and generally fretting over cell phone radiation causing brain cancer?  One group says it does, another says it doesn't.
I suppose it all depends on who is lobbying and paying for what. Basically, we're all left to wonder who to believe about anything and everything we read, whether it's health care, politics, global warming, or any other subject.  

Ultimately, all these issues are about politics.  But let's not get into that now.  I'm just somewhat amused today about rats, Alzheimer's, and cell phones.  Even more amusing, good 'ol fair and balanced Fox News had a pretty blond bimbette interviewing Professor Arendash about his findings which were published Wednesday in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.  Near the end of her interview she asked Professor Arendash, with a nearly straight face if we should all think about strapping cell phones to our heads!  Yep!  She sounded almost serious!  Of course he gave a stifled laugh and said "no".  But still.  She did ask.  

So, I just can't help but shake my head in wonderment and amusement. Science:  Global warming scientists (politicians) are measuring temperatures and sea levels in tenths of degrees and inches and forecasting the climate 50 years into the future, but the National Weather Service has complained recently to the government that they are underfunded, and  cannot acquire the updated equipment needed to hopefully give an accurate 3-day forecast.
And now one group of scientists think that cell phone radiation could cure Alzheimer's disease, while others believe it will cause brain cancer.  

I'd strap a phone to my head, but think it might be safer to hold it further away from my ear. But imagine, if you will, further research finally determining that cell phone radiation actually does  prevent or cure Alzheimer's.  I can almost hear the advertising from Verizon:  "Can you remember me now??" 

Rick B. Baker 
Rochester, NY
January 7, 2010 

© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker 
Rat with cell phone sculpture by graffiti artist Bansky.
Xray photo borrowed from
Hands free cell phone photo from