Voting With Your Joystick

My fridge crapped out on me some months ago. I bought a new one from Sears and paid extra to have the old one hauled away to the dump. They contracted the heavy lifting out to a couple of guys with their own truck.

When they showed up I noticed two things right away. The first was that they had heavy Latin American accents, which is hardly surprising considering that both were from Venezuela. The second is that they were very surprised that I was willing to help them with the grunt work.

All of the doors in the house were too small to get the old fridge out. (How did it get in there? When they were building the house, did they install the kitchen appliances before framing the doors?) I dumped the box on the floor and took my ten pound sledge to the cooling coils on the back, pounding them flat. The contractors stood around and chatted with me while I worked out my frustrations.

It seems that both of them had immigrated to the US in order to avoid the odious Chavez regime in their native land. They painted a pretty grim picture of a society free falling on the way to what could be a repressive dictatorship. And then they both started to angrily denounce the United States for sitting by and not doing enough to unseat Chavez from power.

This got my dander up so I paused to give them the American point of view. I pointed out that we have limited resources and can’t do everything, Venezuela society has so many problems that removing Chavez is unlikely to do any good, there really isn’t that much by the way of American interests in the country to motivate us except for oil, and that we aren’t really inspired when lectured by people who ran away from their own country instead of sticking around to try and bring about change from within.

They raptly listened to me, which probably has more to do with the fact that I was a big ol’ hairy-scary fellow with a sledge hammer dangling from my fist than from the superior logic of my position. But, hammer or not, I think my take on the situation is a pretty cogent one. Chavez is more an annoying gadfly than anything else. The only real danger I can perceive is that his regime is well placed to encourage anti-American feeling in other South American countries. While I am moderately alarmed at the way those societies are embracing hard-line Socialism, I also realize that we have bigger fish to fry right now.

Every so often, gadflies can be downright amusing. Take this news article from the Associated Press which was written by Christopher Toothaker, which is funny even if you didn’t know the author’s name.

It seems that a new first-person-shooter video game is about to be released. Entitled “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames”, the plot is that a dictator has taken over Venezuela and the country has to be invaded to ensure the flow of oil. Chavez supporters have denounced the game as a propaganda ploy by the US government, a subtle mind control exercise designed by the Bush administration to generate public support for inevitable military action.

Something tells me that elected officials in Venezuela overestimate the impact that violent video games have on the voters.

13 thoughts on “Voting With Your Joystick”

  1. First thing I did, Richard. It was one of those massive 1960’s monsters with the latch that can’t be opened from the inside. Before trying to get it out the door I took my cold chisel and cut the hinges off.

    Still couldn’t fit it through the frame, though. That sucker was big!

    My electric bill has gone down a lot since then. Should have gotten rid of the thing a long time ago.


  2. “and that we aren’t really inspired when lectured by people who ran away from their own country instead of sticking around to try and bring about change from within.”

    Who do you think built this country and populated it?

    Generations of people who didn’t see a snowball’s chance in Hell of bringing about change from within in their own countries and decided to do something useful with their lives elsewhere.

    From the original Pilgrims, to German draft dodgers, to Jewish scientists, to millions of ordinary people from everywhere on the planet, just about all of them decided it was better to be free here than a martyr elsewhere.

    And, for the most part, they were right. How can you best be a positive force for good? By starting a revolution that has a small chance of making things better but a certainty of getting a lot of people killed? Or coming to America and going to work or starting a business, where you’ll definintely benefit your new fellow citizens, which they’re happy to prove by giving you their own money in exchange? Or even by coming to America and going to work for the military machine that’s doing more than any other organization to knock down tyrannies worldwide, with better weapons and better numbers than a homegrown revolutionary could possibly get hold of?

  3. Who do you think built this country and populated it? Generations of people who didn’t see a snowball’s chance in Hell of bringing about change from within in their own countries and decided to do something useful with their lives elsewhere.

    Last time I checked, the colonists didn’t come over here and then bitterly and angrily bitch to the Amerinds about how the Native Americans needed to go over to England and depose King George.

    If someone legally immigrates from their home country in order to build a new and better life, then I have nothing but admiration for them. If they think that America is supposed to ignore it’s own interests to fix problems in the political culture in a foreign land, then they aren’t being realistic.


  4. It is actually possible that your doorways are significantly smaller than they had been in the sixties. During the 70’s insulation craze many places added much thicker door frames to support snugger fitting metal doors, weather stripping etc.. I’ve read that some old doors lost as much as four inches in width.

  5. Was the old refrigerator the original one in the house? If so, maybe they installed it during construction, before they framed the doors.

  6. Near as I can tell, the house was originally built in the 1930’s and renovated in 1973. The siding is of a really terrible lime green color that isn’t available any more (no wonder). I replaced the furnace myself, but I noticed that the old unit had inspection stickers dated 1973 so I figure that was when most of the work was done.

    The fridge was older, though, and pretty massive on the outside. I got a freon recharge for it when I moved in and it lasted 5 years without any complaints. When I came home from work one day it was hot as a coffee pot and making noises that sounded like a dog with a broken leg was trapped underneath.

    I pulled the plug and headed out to the convenience store so I could buy ice for the Coleman cooler and keep my food from spoiling. After I had iced down my coldcuts and Diet Pepsi, I rummaged around in my toolbox for the cold chisel and cut the hinges off the door. You have to prove to appliances who is boss, after all.

    Door or not, we still couldn’t get the thing outside. The radiator coils stuck out about 3 inches so I used the sledge to pound them flat. After that the box made it outside without any real problems.

    And, hey, pounding junky metal appliances is fun!


  7. Had to get a new fridge about a year ago; the old one went out, had to take the door off the hinges to get the new one in. House was built in the 30’s, at some point it had new doorframes and doors put on, looks like it did narrow it some.

  8. you could’ve charged money to the neighbor kids to let them pound on your old fridge.

    I’m going to spend this afternoon beating up some old furniture with a katana and an axe. I also have a hacksaw and a few hammers available. I’ll post pictures when I’m done. (See for a previous sofa dismantling party.)

  9. I once helped someone kick an old desk down a three-story fire escape in Chicago. The desk was splinters by the time it reached street level. That was fun.

  10. Mercenaries 2 is actually a ‘3rd-person’ shooter. The action is viewed from an ‘over the shoulder’ perspective of the character you’re playing. As opposed to a ‘1st-person’ shooter like Doom.

    To the videogame playing demographic, these distinctions are important.

    [great post, love the site]

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