As many of you 'bags know, I like to stop by Barnes & Noble in the afternoon to flip through several magazines and drink a $5 caramel frap, which is like Cristal for smart people. (If only I could actually afford either!)

When I was going in the other day (nullus), I noticed there was a sign in the window for the new Vanity Fair Africa issue, with Jay-Z and various other celebrities on the cover. I was gonna pick up a copy and check it out, but then I remembered that I could give a rat's ass about what's going on in Africa.

One of the things that 'Save Africa' types such as Bono and the rest of them like to point out is that US foreign policy is hypocritical, in the sense that they spend all of this money trying to make places like Iraq safe for "democracy," while the real humanitarian disaster is going on over in Africa. But the thing is, aside from the occasional magazine article or benefit concert, hardly anything that goes on over in Africa has any bearing on my life in the least bit.

There's an obvious parallel to be drawn to what goes on in the ghettos over here in the US. From what I understand, 2007 is shaping up to be one of the more fucked up summers in a while in such notorious shitholes as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New Orleans. St. Louis, where I live, is often included in such lists, but I wouldn't know one way or the other, because the place where I live is pretty much crime free.

Indeed, I think the idea that often gets lost when talking about how fucked up things are here in the US is that it's only really that fucked up in certain places. We may lead the rest of the industrialized world in gun deaths by some ridonkulously wide margin, but there's plenty of places in this country where there's never even been a gun murder, at least since the days when this country was overrun with bloodthirsty savages.

And of course the real irony is that you don't have to be particularly wealthy by any means to live in a safe area. Without getting too deep into my own financial situation, lest anyone be reduced to tears, suffice it to say that the place where I live is hardly the nicest neighborhood in St. Louis. If anything, the key is probably to avoid living in areas where a significant amount of the population's job, as it were, involves collecting a government check.

Call me a racist if you want, but I'll still sleep well at night knowing my car isn't being fucked with. Not that anyone would want to fuck with an old-ass minivan anyway, but I think certain recent events (don't play dumb) have proved that sometimes it's probably best to just steer yourself clear of harm's way and not pretend as if you give a shit one way or the other.