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July 02, 2016


ob. book:
The March of Folly, by Barbara Tuchman
which takes up the "what were they thinking" question for WW I and for the US involvement in Viet Nam.

"What possessed people to shell out real money for a Pet Rock?"

It went with the Leisure Suits, Mood Rings and Toe Socks, of course.

ob. seconding: "March of Folly". It's just a crying shame (for us, at least) that Barbara Tuchman wasn't around to include the Iraq War in a new edition.

The Pet Rock was completely comprehensible: it was a well-executed ironic joke that was cheap enough that people didn't mind buying it, probably mostly as a gag gift. The joke wore out pretty quickly and then the fad was over.

Speaking of pets, I have known at least two cats and one dog who could read my mind. Never had a pet rock, but I assume that it would not have been able to. The mind-reading-ability threshold is somewhere between rocks and pets, IMHO.


The ongoing plight of abandoned pet rocks is one of America's seldom-mentioned tragedies resulting from the collective short attention spans of our shallow consumer culture.

No Dumb Rock Leagues, Rock Shelters, or Geological Sanctuaries have sprung up to protect, succor, vaccinate, neuter, or sadly, euthanize our abandoned pet rock population.

The thought of all of our beloved pet rocks being sent to the crusher and gravelized and spread like so much manure on our driveways and bike paths across the country is painful enough to contemplate.

But, instead, they languish, ignored, unfed, in bottom dresser drawers in our mothers' basements and garages.

My late mother frequently harangued my sisters about the pet rocks they left behind when they lift home.

"You girls wanted those pet rocks so badly when you were little. The pleading and the whining, jeez, just because your friends had them. I relented and bought them for you and, sure enough, it wasn't but a few weeks before you ignored them and I had to take care of them. Just like those little green turtles that ended up dead behind the refrigerator. I don't like to say I told you so, but ...."

Worse, untold millions of them have been casually cast off from car windows along roadsides. In the Rocky Mountains to the West of me, an unusual phenomenon has been noticed wherein the mountain range is actually gaining elevation from the accumulated abandonment of our pet rocks.

A few, more than I care to mention, have been weaponized and thrown through windows and from bridges, some of them skipped across ponds and streams.

We wouldn't hurl an abandoned hamster through an IRS window, would we, or stand over an interstate at night and drop kitty cats through car windows, would we?

Well, would we? No, of course not, but you give a young American male a rock and see what happens.

The real outrage is that we've exported our surplus pet rocks to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other "allies" in the Mideast and they've been used to stone women and gays to death who might have thought publicly about sex or sought and used birth control.

Worse, there is now a movement afoot to bring those rocks back to American and let right-wing God-botherers use them to stone American women and gays.

At the very least these idiots ought to be forced to use the rocks in their heads for their outrage first before we re-import the pet rocks.

We ought to make the selling and manufacture of pet rocks illegal. But no, sure as gravity make flesh droop, someone is going to say that people don;t kill people, rocks kill people. And if you threaten to ban them, Americans are just going to hoard and stockpile them, and then think of all the little kids who get hold of them and brain their little sisters by accident.

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