Monday, October 31, 2005

just you, just me, justice pt II

So, It appears that perhaps the Harriet Miers As Red Herring crowd were right, eh?

As not doubt anyone not under a rock knows today, BushCo nominated judge Samuel Alito to replace the position to be vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Conner. Appointed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1990 by Bush the Senior, Alito has been described as a judge "in the mold of Scalia and Thomas". If that's not scary enough for you, he's also been described as "Scalia-Lite", "lite" indicating a less abrasive style rather than a less conservative ideology.

So, what does this mean for all of us? Obviously, as if you couldnt see it coming from a mile away, the end of Roe v. Wade.

And I, for one, will not feel to bad seeing the backside of it going out the door. Not because I'm a Pro-Lifer, because I'm not.
What I am is someone who's tired of seeing a large chunk of the U.S. population willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater, simply because of one issue - Abortion. Once the abortion issue is gone, how many people who voted the Republican ticket will take a look at the GOP and discover that there is nothing even remotely moral about it, outside of that one issue? Tax cuts for the rich? Nope, not very moral. Slash and burn of social services? Not very moral there either. How about the destruction of the Environment for profit? Nope, not moral and Bad Stewardship to boot. "Pre-emptive" attack of a small country, and the subsequent death of thousands? Elimination of our safety net in old age? Massive debt incurred for our children to pay off? No, no, no, No!
That's all it would have taken for Bush to have lost in 2004. What percentage of the population is the single-issue anti-abortion crowd. Even if they do nothing but stop participating after the overturn of Roe, it will hurt the GOP. I'm sure that the Minister of Information Karl Rove (when he's not distracted) is hoping to make Gay Marriage the next baby/bathwater issue, but somehow I dont see it working quite as well: As offensive as some may find homosexuality, no babies were killed in the making of that union, and that will make all the difference between activism for a cause and simply not liking it.

So, let's sit back and watch the fun. It will be especially interesting to see what the court does after Roe. What other decisions will be rolled back? Certainly some people wouldnt be sorry to see most of the Supreme Court decision made since the Roosevelt years rolled back, but I dont think that applies to most Americans. All they wanted was a judge or three who would get rid of abortion. But they've never stopped to consider what else might go as those judges sit at that bench for the next 20 or 30 years.

Be careful what you ask for, young country, or you will surely Get It.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

a bit of time for some reading

Oh lookie here! Just hours after complaining that I got no time to blog, I find myself with a whole hour. Wee. So lemme pass on a coupla items:

Thanks to Dave at sympathetic stupid, where I got this link to a story of yet another censored soldier in Iraq. When did the idea that questioning your leaders was un-American get hold again in this country. I thought we left it behind with Joe McCarthy. I dont know whether to be more sad or more angry. I just wish I had heard about the blog before it was removed by military order. His final statement reeks of coersion, but its Orwellian title, "Doubleplus Ungood", bravely screams defiance.

Whoa, and here's a wierd one (courtesy of Library Bitch): A microchip inserted in the hippocampus - the part of the brain that deals with memory - would help soldiers recall every detail of their training. One also has to wonder what else it might help soldiers recall. Might it also be used to solve the occassional "loyalty" issue, like the one mentioned above?
Nevertheless, sign me up for one of those babies. Maybe then I'll be able to remember everybody's names.

time off

My apologies to all. Im sure there are <span style="tone: ironic">legions of loyal readers feeling their daily jones for a fix of daveawayfromhome wisdom</span> but not getting it these last few days. Alas, this situation may continue for a bit more. Life has taken on a decidedly hectic (and sleepless) tone, and is leaving little time for the pleasures of blogging. It cant go on for ever.
I hope.

Anyway, I'll try and throw in a blurb or two, or maybe I'll polish up one of the drafts I've been working on and post that. Stay tuned, dont give up. I'll be back.

Monday, October 24, 2005


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Oh, darn! right?

the best defense

Okay, maybe I've missed something really important here, but I really dont think so. Read this from the Dallas Whoring News:
Re: "No defense for Prop. 2," by Michael Lax, Thursday Letters

To the person who accepts God's word, the Bible, as inerrant and God-breathed, marriage is a venerable institution, and we believe marriage between one man and one woman is the way God wants it.

You don't have to like that or believe it, but do not assume true believers are misrepresenting marriage to justify their beliefs. We do not have to justify our beliefs about marriage to you or anyone else. It is those who oppose the traditional view of marriage who are misrepresenting marriage.

Proposition 2 protects the traditional view, and that's why we want it on the ballot.

The Christians I know defend traditional marriage and seek to protect it because we cherish it and want to keep it safe for the future of our families. We are as entitled to proclaim our beliefs about marriage – and seek to protect it – as much as you have a right not to.

Your letter does exactly what you accuse Christians of doing – denigrating a group for our beliefs. To my fellow Christians, please be sure to vote on Nov. 8 – and vote for Proposition 2.

Jan Dallas, Fate
For the non-Texans of you out there, Proposition 2 is this:

proposing a constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman.
SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
SECTION 2. This state recognizes that through the designation of guardians, the appointment of agents, and the use of private contracts, persons may adequately and properly appoint guardians and arrange rights relating to hospital visitation,
property, and the entitlement to proceeds of life insurance policies without the existence of any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
SECTION 3. This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 8, 2005. The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."
Yep, that's right, the Great State of Texas has come to the rescue of God-fearing righteous folk everywhere (in the state that is), because, lets face it, everyone knows that homosexuality is a communicable disease.
It's also a sin, too.
So it's like a disease that you choose to get.

Let's get back to that letter:
Now, I got no beef with anybody's religious beliefs. This is America, and we have the freedom to choose our own balm or poison, what have you. But your right to swing your Bible ends at the tip of my nose.
If someone chooses to believe that marriage is a God-given Institution for only one man and one woman (Mormons and Arab Royalty, take note), well that's okay with me. Jan is absolutely correct when she says "We do not have to justify our beliefs about marriage to you or anyone else". What she does have to justify is why Bob and Ted, or Carol and Alice wanting to make a commitment to share the rest of their lives together (or the 5-year American equivalent) threatens her idea of marriage.
Prop 2 does not correct any existing system of marriage that says that Jan's beliefs are wrong. No one is going to force her or her children into same sex marriage. If she drove a pick-up, would she say that her neighbor's ownership of a Volkswagon Beetle threatens the sanctity of her 1/2 ton cargo capacity?
Christians should cherish traditional marriage. And so cherishing it, they should participate in it, if they so desire, thus encouraging the tradition they cherish to be carried on. Gay marriage is not a threat to traditional marriage, it is merely an addition to traditional marriage, like a new family room on the house or something.

If Christians really want to do battle against the true threat to marriage, then they need to start a campaign against longevity and large populations. It was easy to stay in a marriage your whole life back when that life could be easily ended by infection, childbirth or disease before you reached 35 (look at your own family history; people didnt get remarried any less back then, there were just fewer survivors before it happened). And when you lived in a small community of a several hundred (as most people did in the 19th century), and everybody knew everybody else, where were you going to go if you left your spouse? Okay, you could run away with a neighbor, but I sure that never happened.

So there you go Christian Right, there's your new Issue: start lobbying for small, rural communities for everyone, and Early Death. Perhaps you could ask a Cambodian how it was done in his country. To bad Pol Pot's dead, he'd probably have had some wonderful advice.

Finally, for the Bible-types who might take offense at my words, here's some of your own words you may have forgotten:
I Cor. 5:12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside!


Check out this guy's T-shirt! Look familiar?

Isnt PhotoShop fun?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

grab yer popcorn

I swear people are deliberately trying to be stupid in this country. I missed the ABC report on theses, but then, I dont watch much TV anymore (and even before it was mostly movies). Check out this video by a "fresh" (read as: horrifying) new act, Mary-Kate and Ashley from Hell, Prussian Blue. Songs include lyrics that praise Rudolph Hess (Hitler's deputy fuhrer) as a "man of peace who wouldn't give up." Sick, sick, sick.

What they need is a real-life rebuild á la this little jem which "rescues" the Shining from it's Horror roots (though the Gaede twins have a lot farther to go).

Meanwhile, I'd just like to say, people suck.

Friday, October 21, 2005

quote for the day

from Lewis H. Lapham of Harper's Magazine, by way of Marxmail, by way of Ran Prieur.
"But I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, then Fascism and Communism, aided, unconsciously perhaps, by old-line Tory Republicanism, will grow in strength in our land."

-‑Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 4, 1938

red states, indeed

Think America is not a corrupt place? 'Course you do, doesnt everyone? Well, think again. According to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, the U.S. only gets a "C" grade. Canada does better than we do, and England, and Germany. Finland kicks our ass. Sadly, most of the world fails miserably.

Do you suppose there's any coincidence in the perceived level of corruption in the U.S. and George Bush's grades?

Props to Dave in Australia for the link

think tank

I had this thought the other day, and I'm gonna share it with you now.

According to George Lakoff, there are far more Conservative Think Tanks than there are Liberal ones (I didnt confirm this). Whether this is a money issue, or an organization issue, he didnt say, and frankly, it's irrelevant to my thought. Which is this:

Why dont bloggers start forming Think Tanks.

After all, what is really necessary for a Think Tank. Money? Suits? Donuts? Unused Corporate boardrooms and a spare secretary or two? A cynical desire to destroy freedom-loving American workers for personal profit and power?
All you need are some people, some ideas, and a willingness to discuss those ideas, add new ones, or throw away untenable ones. And then, a press release or two. That's it.

It might be helpful if one of the think tank members was a Name, someone who might make those press releases more exciting to media outlets. It's not necessary though.

Imagine this: A group of bloggers set up a blog site, call it, oh, I dont know, "Bloggers For A Progressive America". Members post an idea, then other members comment on it (or even non-members). Eventually someone takes the original post and, with its comments, works it up into a position paper-like thing, and re-posts it. More commentary, more reworking, more reposting. Eventually, concensus is reached, a final draft for release is worked up, and the Media is informed (bloggers as well as traditional media). Maybe copies are sent to the Democratic Party, or other Liberal think tanks. Go ahead, blogwhore your thinktank, dont be shy.
At first, no one will notice, even with a Name blogger (unless maybe it's a really big name), but if you persist (and your ideas and/or presentation dont suck), recognition and discussion and, dare we say, Implementation of your Ideas may actually occur. Most bloggers started out as lonely voices in the crowd and some (in theory, the best) have risen to the top. Why should blogger-based think tanks be any better? David Brin theorizes a coming "Age of Amateurs" in which amateur groups take over the function of many of the things currently controlled by Professionals now (possibly due to budget cuts?). Why not Think Tanks also? And even if nothing ever happens as far as widespread recognition of your ideas, so what. Will that make any thoughts or insights your thinktank may come up with less valuable?
Start enough amateur think tanks, and something good and useful ought to come out of it, if only to get people more involved in issues and politics, and acting on that involvement, moving beyond mere talking. Talking is important, and everyone can do it, but eventually some of those talkers need to move up to something more.

Here's quote from coturnix, which, while it wasnt addressing my Idea, dovetails with it nicely:
While old Big Blogs are themselves centers of the Universe from which all opinion radiates, small blogs have a different strategy. Large blogrolls, lots of blogwhoring, commenting on each others blogs, linking to each others posts - those are all strategies to gain one's visibility, with a consequence of new knots forming. These new knots are much larger than knots of Big blogs. Several dozens of blogs in each knot keep linking to each other all the time, and the knots get bigger and bigger, connecting to each other, forming a really extensive web which only tangentially includes the Big Old Ones.
Anyway, that's my idea. I cant do it alone, but I can come up with it and hope that it makes it's way out there by osmosis. Probably it already exists, in some form I've never heard of. Or maybe I've seen it and just never recognised it. The important thing is to come up with a way to combat the Conservative think tanks, to fight their fire with a fire extinguisher (better metaphore, really, considering the destructive nature of what seems to be coming from Conservatives these days).
So I've thrown my thoughts out into the void, and now I'll watch, and wait for an echo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

red rover

newly-minted lil' republican dude
Once again, G has confirmed my faith in the Librarian. Check out this really really funny bit on how to join 'em if you cant beat 'em.
One example: #2 in "how to act like a Republican" - "Accept Christ as your own personal weapon."

Or how about #7's "9/11: Our Golden Ticket: We now have the moral grounds to do anything at all in the name of "Defending Freedom", & anyone who disagrees is clearly an America-hating traitor. We are now the victim. And in spite of our wealth & power, we will stay the victim until we've taught every country on Earth who its Daddy is."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


today is a reading day, I think, so lemme share a few:

Shakespeare's sister has no pity for conservatives who feel betrayed by BushCo. Poor babies, feel our pain.

Petey shows us that all the Golden Rules are the same. See, humanism.

Find a quote and spin it yourself!

Monday, October 17, 2005

when Teddy speaks, dave listens

I steal this from Kung Fu Monkey. It is words of wisdom from Teddy Roosevelt, often "emulated" when some president wants to look more ruggedly individualistic. Teddy felt that the president was, ultimately, a public servant, so said this in 1918:
He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able and disinterested service to the nation as a whole.

"Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
I've been carrying the last paragraph of this quote around in my wallet for a year or two, since I saw it in the newspaper. I liked it so much that I cut it out and saved it. KFM gets it from the Daily Kos, who gets it from Madison Wisconsin's Capital Times which got it from the Chicago Tribune.
Arent these daisy chains fun!

It was brought about by a man named Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, a veteran and patriot, who, upon his death, requested that "In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans."

Somebody send that man a New Orleans-style jazz band good-bye!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I decided, on a whim, to create a logo.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

oh yeah
all right
take it easy baby

Okay, let's for a minute or so, forget about the Republican Party and the White House. Let's deal with what just may be the root cause of all the current madness in modern American life. Let's talk about Religion.
In America, we have a little thing called the Separation of Church and State. The Religious Right seems to think that this separation is due to the dreaded Humanism:
hu·man·ism: n. 1. A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth. 2. Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans. 3. Medicine The concept that concern for human interests, values, and dignity is of the utmost importance to the care of the sick. 4. The study of the humanities; learning in the liberal arts. 5. Humanism A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the rediscovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.
Sounds dangerous, right?
Good grief, no it's not.

Fundamentalists would have you believe that Humanism "is an ideological, political, and religious belief that denies the existence of God". This view is based on the idea that because Humanism makes People and the Study of People out to be an Important Thing, that this somehow diminishes the Importance of God. In America, where Religion is taken out of the context of the State, God is even further "diminished" because now "His Laws" are not the Laws of the Land. But, most important, it places a "god", that of the State, before Him. Some would say that thinking about anything before thinking about God is to place a "god" before Him: "there is another, less apparent, form of idolatry. This is the blind or excessive devotion to anything. The object of such devotion becomes a false god and the blind devotee becomes an idolater."
But how do you think about God all the time?

Why, by following his Rules all the time, by acting the Way He Wants, all the time. And how is that, pray tell? Well, that's where things get a little tricky, see. Everybody seems to think that the way they see God's rules is the Way It Ought To Be. Including myself.

Back to a wacko again:
If all humanity put the true God first, seeking His wisdom and guidance, then wrong or incomplete concepts in all areas of life would disappear. Over 99% of religion today is false, so there would be an immediate and dramatic change all over the earth. As the world came to know and fear the true God, it would learn that His system of government and culture—and every aspect of civilization—should be followed. Mankind would look sincerely into His Word to seek true wisdom and understanding—and God would grant them.
It's entirely possible that he's correct, but which 1% is the True One Per Cent.
Who Knows?
No one, but there are plenty of people out there arrogant enough to not only think they are right, but to force try to others to think that way also.

Let me put a scenario to you, then a question, and you think about your answer:

Scenario: Bob and Frank both live in a country with strict religion-based laws. Bob is a True Believer. He follows the Laws of the Land because they are the Laws of God. He follows them devotedly his whole life and hopes for his Reward when he dies. Frank is a True Citizen, but an atheist. He follows the Laws of God because they are the Laws of the Land. He follows them devotedly because he feels that good citizenship is its own reward, and makes the Land better for everyone.
Question: When Bob and Frank both are dead, will they both go to Heaven?

If your answer was "no", because Frank was an atheist and Bob believed, then I've got to ask this question: What was the point of making the Laws of the Land those of the God?
The First Amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
There it is, right there, that's the source of all the trouble. No where there does it say the words "separation of Church and State", a phrase probably originating from a later Court Decision (no doubt by an activist judge), and is why the Religious Right is all hot and bothered about putting "their" judges being in that Court. No Separation means Integration, right:

The founding fathers did not include the First Amendment in the Constitution to disallow Christianity from influencing state-established institutions; on the contrary, America's founding fathers expected our nation to be (on the whole) Christian, and our government to reflect that bias.
This appears to be a reasonable understanding of the First Amendment - far more reasonable than asserting that it erected an impenetrable wall of separation. And it becomes even more reasonable when one considers the words and actions of America's settlers, founders and leaders.
Is it? To reflect that bias, perhaps, but in what sense? And in what sect? Christianity has a lot of different interpretions, each convinced of it's own Rightness.
The government of the United States of America is supposed to be a Representive one. So, if everyone is Catholic, then one would expect the laws to have a Catholic flavor to them. But America is a religious melting pot, which means the laws tend to have a more generic flavor to them (a kind of gumbo morality, perhaps). How about another definition of Humanism:

"Many humanists are religious, however, and see humanism as simply a mature expression of a common truth present in most religions"
And so back to things being just fine in America. Except for those who would like to see the Laws of God be the Laws of the State.
How would they answer my question?
Perhaps they'd say that they are trying to Remove Temptation and Guide the People on the Path of Righteousness. I'd respond by asking them this: if God placed us in the path of temptation to test our faith, what do they think they are doing rigging the test? What's that, you say Satan is cheating, making the world more tempting than God wanted it to be? Funny, I thought God was omnipotent, and anything the Devil does is a part of God's plan, right? Getting too complicated?
Let's go back to basics. To be Godly, you follow God's rules, right? If you need State rules to help you do that, how strong is your faith, and do you really think God will be unaware of that weakness? And if you are right, and the others are forced to act Godly, do you really think He wont know the difference, and who's he gonna be pissed with; them or you?

Whoa. This thing has gone waaay beyond where I'd intended it to go.
I was going to talk about the Latest Ridiculousness from the Conservatives in their never ending quest to make all Americans follow "God's Laws": attacking the "American Girl" series of books and toys. American Girl has made the terrible mistake of throwing some support to Girl's Inc., a national nonprofit organization which describes its mission as "inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold."
In other words, Lesbian abortionists who urge young girls into promescuity! Aaugh! No more of those books for my kids!

That item led me to think that it was high time that moderately religious folk, who dont see Satan in everything they disagree with, started to speak out a little louder. American religious discussion these days is dominated by Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, but I find it hard to believe that their extreme viewpoints and rigid dogmas represent the way most Americans feel spiritually.
Perhaps the only reason that Extreme religion is what is heard in America is because no one else is talking. So talk, spill it, say it out loud. If you think that there is only one True Religion, and everyone else is condemned to Hell, well, I wont stop you from saying it, but dont expect me to buy into it, or allow you to force me follow it.
But if you believe in a gentler God, or that you have no idea what God wants and all you can do is follow your Faith as best you can, speak up! If you're a Muslim (or a Southern Baptist for that matter), and believe that killing in the name of religion is wrong, speak up! If you believe as a Human you have no idea of God's Plan, and remember the admonition to "judge not lest ye be judged", speak up! If you wouldnt join a religion that would have you as a member, speak up!

I keep thinking that surely the Religious Fundamentalists in this country will finally go to far, and people will finally say "enough is enough". Maybe that time is now. It was long ago for me.

Stop letting the Wackos dominate the discussion!

Friday, October 14, 2005

more intelligent design

This scenario is from the New Yorker, by way of Falafel Sex (yes, you read that right). I have a friend at the New Yorker who should've told me about this, but didnt, and so gets no credit. (no, just because I have a friend at the New Yorker does not mean I should have a subscription and have read it myself)(shut up!)
A sample:
“No, design some creatures with legs,” said Allah. So the Lord God, nodding, designed an ostrich.

“First draft,” everyone agreed, and so the Lord God designed an alligator.

“There’s gonna be a waiting list,” Zeus murmured appreciatively
I'm also going to tack on this link to a Pharyngula article about "Idiot America" quoting Charles P. Pierce in Esquire:
On August 21, a newspaper account of the "intelligent design" movement contained this remarkable sentence: "They have mounted a politically savvy challenge to evolution as the bedrock of modern biology, propelling a fringe academic movement onto the front pages and putting Darwin's defenders firmly on the defensive."

A "politically savvy challenge to evolution" is as self-evidently ridiculous as an agriculturally savvy challenge to euclidean geometry would be. It makes as much sense as conducting a Gallup poll on gravity or running someone for president on the Alchemy party ticket. It doesn't matter what percentage of people believe they ought to be able to flap their arms and fly, none of them can. It doesn't matter how many votes your candidate got, he's not going to turn lead into gold. This sentence is so arrantly foolish that the only real news is where it appeared.

On the front page.

Of the New York Times.
But for me, the best quote was this one: refusing to ridicule the ridiculous, by watering down every criticism into a mannered circumlocution, we have created an environment where idiots thrive unchallenged.
Yeah, Baby!


My apologies to all and sundry for my eschatology rant yesterday. Sometimes, when I come up with an idea, and information starts connecting to it, and the neurons start firing as the possibilities fly, I forget to wonder just how reasonable the thoughts I'm having are. And I get a little excited.

I've had a lie down now, and I'm feeling much better.

I did a similar thing a couple weeks ago after I read George Lakoff's "Dont Think of An Elephant". It was a good book, and it answered a lot of questions, but it didnt answer all the questions, and it left more questions behind. Do yourself a favor, if you see me really going to town on some subject, give me a day or two before you decide whether I really believe what I'm saying.
That said, still dont throw the idea away. One would think that the vetting procedure for taking the office of the most powerful individual in the world would weed out the nutcases. Incompetence is tolerated, even cultivated in large organizations like unions, churches, corporations and political parties, but craziness usually isnt. Usually.

You know, in all the manic neuron madness there, I forgot another likely possibility: that Dubya was making a joke. Many of us think that Republicans have no sense of humor, and that's just not true; They're just not funny (Okay, Dennis Miller can be funny, though he was funnier when he was a Liberal) You know, like those people who say something bizarre and rather obscene about your behavior because they think it's funny. "Huh, huh. Hey Harriet, better quit talkin' about shit in public, hur hur!" Harriet, no doubt fawned over these jokes as much as anything else (I mean, really, did you read the article? What an ass-kisser). He probably thinks it's funny to ask women if they're "on the rag", too.

Anyway, I'll be mentally flagging this one for future caution, so sorry.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Blog Experiment

This is an experiment set up by coturnix at to see how quickly things run around the blogosphere:

There are estimated to be more than 20 million blogs in existence. Somebody somewhere knows the answer to my question. If every one of my readers (who also owns a blog) copies and pastes this post on their blogs, it should spread through the entire blogosphere over just a couple of days. Then, once somebody comes up with the answer to my question, the whole process repeats, with every blogger posting the answer. It should reach me in no less than a week. Let's try to do this. My question is:

What is the first original use of the phrase: "Note to Self"?

Does it come from a movie, comic strip, TV show ("Police Squad" comes to mind)? If you know the answer, post it on your blog and encourage your readers to do the same. Is the blogosphere such a powerful means of light-speed exchange of information? Let's prove that it is.

I suspect though, that it wont get quite as far out as he thinks it might, so I'd like to amend the experiment a bit and say add your blog URL to the bottom, both coming and going, so we can see just how far it went. and I have no answer.

What do you know?

Okay, here's an interesting article by Jason Godesky (courtesy of Ran Prieur), that discusses the difference between "food" and "edible matter", at least from a cultural standpoint. Seems that more often than you might think, people have starved to death in the midst of, if not plenty, then, enough not to starve.
This idea, that people will ignore the unconventionally useful things all around them, choosing death rather than straying from their pre-concieved notions, shouldnt actually be all that surprising. And yet, I was surprised.

Why do you suppose that is?

scatman dubya

I found this oddity at Rude Pundit (10/12), and while at first I just dismissed it as more of George's odd obsession with potty things, later on I started to worry about it. First, the text: This was on a note sent to Harriet Miers by Big Daddy Dubya: "P.S. No more public scatology."
See, wierd, huh? Dubya the dumbass, or maybe Dubya the anally-obsessive sexual deviant. But then I had a much more chilling thought. What if the word Dubya meant to use wasnt scatalogy, but eschatology (I had to look up the spelling, myself), and what if BushCo is made up, not of mere religious conservatives, but of True Believer types, the type who think maybe Jesus needs a little help getting back to Earth?
es·cha·tol·o·gy n. 1. The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind.
2. A belief or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, or the Last Judgment.
Remember the Rapture? Seen the books by Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins called Left Behind? Why would he admonish Meirs to not discuss eschatology? Because it makes her look like a wacko, and the Administration is tainted by association? Or is it because our Big Daddy doesnt want his children to fret about all that "devil" stuff - Big Daddy Dubya and Jesus will make it aaall better (dont you worry yer pretty lil' head, now).
Why doesnt George Bush want to talk about leaving Iraq? Is it pride? Is it responsibility and duty? Or is it that he feels he's battling Satan, and that each soldier's death is in the service of the Lord?
I remember the eighties, when most people I knew were about half convinced that we'd never make it through the full span of our lives before we disappeared in a cloud of radioactive debris. I also remember that Armageddon would occur in the Middle East. One of the major players (Gog or Magog, I cant remember) was supposed to be China - Iraq sits between Isreal (site of Armageddon) and China
Yeah, yeah, I know. As tin-foil hat ideas go, this one is really out there. But it's not my idea. I dont belive in this end-of-the-world crap. But BushCo, they wear their religion on their sleeves, and it's a brand of religion that frequently does believe. Go ahead, try googling words like "armageddon", "rapture", "eschatology", or "messianic" (go ahead, do it right now). There's some real whacked-out shit out there.

I've said this before, but once again: You dont have to believe in conspiracy theories (and shouldnt), but you ignore the ideas in them at your own peril.

Of course, what do I know. Obviously, Satan's been whispering lies in my ears.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

daveawaydownunder, pt 2

this is the cover of Bill Bryson's book, In a Sunburned Country
Last night I finished Bill Bryson's book In a Sunburned Country, and like all Bryson books, it's left me wanting to go there. So I figure, what the heck? I was wanting to move to West Texas anyway, which is remote, and hot and dry, why not go all the way to Australia, where I'll have the added bonus of avoiding all things Bush (George Bush, that is). Of course, what there is for an old Art Major to do? Anything, I guess, involving the service sector (Oh, boy.) I wonder if the digital age has taken over the Aussie photo industry also. So close to Japan, most likely. sigh. And my wife, the (Texas and/or American) History teacher?


Well, maybe I'll move there right after I walk the Appalachians.

Design intelligently, please

At last, an arguement for Intelligent Design that I can really get behind. That it has to do with good government planning rather than this ridiculous evolution vs. religion debate is only common sense.
Well, fun's fun, and I mean no disrespect to people who believe in a creator, or a creative force of some kind, but that is a belief, and evolution is science, and since the two go perfectly well together, it puzzled me why the creation-science folks are so insistent that they don't.

Turns out it's the randomness of evolution that they reject, the idea that life as we know it is the result of "chance occurrence," as one TASC writer grumbles, and not an "ingenious design" that produced the atom, gravity and E=MC2 among other things, all with our wonderful human race in mind.

Good planning, in short, is what evolution lacks and humanity demands, in [the IDer's view], because otherwise life is just a jumble of colliding neurons, amoeba cells and rat genes that could've combined (and might still) to give you a very bad, even ungodly, result. And that can't be right, because it's in the Bible that God created the Heavens and Earth and saw that they were very good; and He created Man in his own image.

In recent years, however, good planning and intelligent design have been the subject of ridicule on the political right, where laissez-faire and free-market philosophies are espoused with near-religious conviction. Or they were until the levees broke in New Orleans, and even George W. Bush must've realized that a little foresight--and intelligent engineering--would've saved him a ton of heartache.

Why do people have such a hard time understanding random chance? One might as well say that the Bush families didnt earn their money, but were given it by God (one hopes not, considering). Thanx to Science and Politics for the link.

I'll end this post with a quote from Rev. Billy Bob Gisher, presumably as a refutation of ID: “Have you ever looked at a platypus?”

I blogged a man in Reno, just to watch him comment

It was one month ago today that I sent out a half-dozen e-mails to a half-dozen friends inviting them to look in on my blog. That was all. Just look in. These were fairly liberal friends (at least I think so). To be honest, the most recent that I've seen any of them was last Christmas, and some I havent seen in years. Plus, for the last... fifteen years?... yes, fifteen years, I've been a truly lousy correspondant, achieving maybe a letter or two a year. Well, maybe, but probably not. I could make excuses, but no one wants to hear them, and this post will be whiny enough without them.
So anyway, I sent out these invitations, and I kept writing. After all, I write this blog because I want to, not to please my friends, or to impress anybody (although to achieve either of these things would be acceptable okay fine by me great). A week goes by, nothing. At two weeks, I forced the issue, e-mailing one of them, and saying, "maybe the e-mail just didnt go out like it should have?" No, this person assured me, it went out, and yes, they looked in on my blog, and found it a little "ranty".
Well, yes, it is ranty. They went on to say "I mean, God knows I'm no Bush fan, but life is too short to dwell on the unpleasant things, I think. And the current state of our government is one of the most unpleasant things I can think of."


Really, it's hard to argue with this, or at least hard for part of me to argue. Part of me is jumping up and down shrieking, "Will you just stand by while the Powers in Charge attempt to make your children into their butt-puppets!!!"
Then there's another part, a part that is weary of every day opening the paper, or reading on-line, and discovering a fresh outrage committed by the Bush Corporation. That part understands all too well the urge to avoid all the unpleasantness. That part would like very much to settle down in a comfy chair (wrapped in a blanket, on a cool fall day, maybe on a porch somewhere) and read a novel about a far off land.
There's one other part, though. This part watches the ranting part, and watches the weary part, and understands both. But it's worried. Worried because it feels that what the country is currently going through is a watershed event, one which will change things for the worse. Much, much more for the worse, for years to come. Maybe I'm missing important chunks in my history lessons, but what I see is that now, for the first time in America, fringe elements of our society have not only a loud voice, but have direct access to our highest leaders. This kind of thing gnaws at me, and takes all the comfort out of a good novel.
People in America who do not feel that evangelical zeal and being responsible for only yourself is a good way to run a government need to speak up, even just a little. For the busy or the timid, Protest meetings and Rallies are not necessary. Just talk. This was one of the main points of my September 11th post, and this was the motivator for sending out the invitations to view my blog, the hope that I might generate talk.

A hope, sadly, dashed.

So now I'm back on my own, howling into the void, hoping to connect with anyone, friend or foe, even the boys at Homeland Security. I gratefully acknowledge those who have commented here (save web-bots, whose masters should be consigned to the deepest pits of hell). You dont necessarily keep me going, but you sure make it more pleasant to go there.

Oh, I almost forgot. One of the half-dozen had a very good excuse, as she just had a baby. Congratulations to Pearlygirl on her lovely daughter, may she bring you as much joy as do mine to me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

last entry today, I swear

Whats the difference between broccoli and boogers?
Kids dont eat broccoli !!!

shamelessly stolen from the view from my truck

the importance of proper headgear

Is this a great picture or what?

Safety First!

Picture from Sanscript, who says he got it from a message board.

this post got this comment from United We Lay: "That poor cat."

shopping with Dad was fine with me

Growing up in our house, whenever there was grocery shopping to be done, my Dad was the one to do it. It seemed odd at the time, tooling around the grocery story (sitting on the wire rack under the main basket) with Dad, watching other kids go by with their moms. But not too odd. Different, maybe. At any rate, I noticed it.
Now, I do a lot of the shopping for my family, Thing 2 carefully in the proper seat.

According to a new study, men shopping is perfectly normal behavior. Given a list (which I confess that I dont use), the hunting focus of menfolk kicks into high gear while shopping. I had certainly long applied this idea to my junk shop expeditions (the thrill of the hunt, the flushing of the unexpected quarry, the dodging of the goring horn/slashing claws/sharp teeth of the price tag) , but never to grocery shopping. Maybe the problem men have shopping is not the shopping itself, but the shopping with women.

Anyway, proper respect to Mr.Middle America, from whom this blessing came.

This post originally got this comment from the wife:"The funny thing is that I often feel kind of usurped when you go grocery shopping. Some inner eyebrow raises and a sigh seems to escape from my depths. No, not gas. The same sound that arises at your rearranging of the pantry. I hate grocery shopping though. Just quit buying beans and weinees, ok?"

Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200, but do get the beaten up by a bunch of cops

I dont know what exactly happened in the streets of New Orleans, but I'm sure it didnt require that 5 policemen kick the crap out of a 64 year-old man. I'm also sure that the cop upon whom the law should come down the hardest upon is the one who tried to stop the news crew from video-taping the scene. We dont know what happened to set off the Beaters, but the Cover-Up Cop had only one goal: stop anyone from knowing what was going on, which tells me that it was something that he knew shouldnt have been.


If you have children, you may be interested in this map, which can show you the locations of registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. It only appears to show offenders in states which have disclosure laws. Use it wisely.

Kinky speaks on education

For those of you who dont know, Kinky Friedman, author, humorist, and musician, is running for Governor of Texas. It's a tough uphill battle and the 2 Parties have stacked it against him, but it might just be possible, maybe. I hope. So, I was looking at the Kinky for Governor site, and I read his post on the Education System, and I gotta say, he's pretty much hit it dead-on. Read, appreciate, contribute. If nothing else, make the Bastards who run Texas sweat a little.

Monday, October 10, 2005

oh, those nutty conservatives

check this out, they're the same, but different! and Interesting, huh?

You know, whatever I might feel about conservatives, I dont think they have no right to their opinions, nor do I think they should just sut up and crawl back under the rock from which they appearantly were schooled from. On the other hand, I dont think that they should be allowed to publish 2 (possibly more) free blogs with the exact same content. This is a democratic forum, and if they want 2 blogs, then they should work for 2 blogs, or pay for the duplicates. For all I know, there may be a dozen like these two, all identical. I just stumbled across these two at random.

a daisy chain of jokes

Okay, I read this joke in a comment by edwaado in angry chimp's blog. Edwaado credited his knowledge of it to Simon Hoggart who appearantly attributes it to Andy Hamilton. Whew.
Dubya's in the Oval Office getting the daily sit-rep on Iraq. Rumsfeld says: "I have to tell you, Mr President, that yesterday three Brazilian soldiers were killed."
To his surprise Bush groans and buries his head in his hands, saying over and over, "That is just terrible, terrible news. Remind me again, just how many is a brazillion?"

generic posting

 generic political cartoon shamelessly swiped from, for which this image is a link
Cite instance of egregious behavior(s), include link to reputable source. Biting wordplay. Rail at institution. Self-depricating comment. Name calling of authority figures. Related behavior link. Brief moment of weak devil's advocate. Continued railing.

Hint darkly at conspiracy. Ha-ha, just kidding, not really crazy.

Attempt at light-heartedness spoiled by final line.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Purging myself of a meme

Okay, I've got to pass this thing I've got in my head along. It's one of those Strong Memes, the kind of idea that gets stuck in your brain and refuses to dislodge. Sometimes they're songs, sometimes they're words, sometimes they're full-blown plans of action, and sometimes they're just plain embarrassing. I've never told anybody this idea since it popped into my head, though it's not any kind of a secret or anything. (If you want secrets, you'll have to go elsewhere.) This is just an idea I had about a year ago, and since then I havent been able to get rid of it.
There's this girl at work, we'll call her The Quartermaster. Last year, she had a nasty break-up with her fiancé, and became rather, shall we say, grumpy. For some reason, the idea came into my head that she would make a good match with the Brother.
Why? I dont know why.
They both enjoy drinking. They're both reasonably attractive people. They're both opinionated and acerbic people who are decent human beings underneath. I guess they both give me a similar kind of vibe.
And, really, that's what makes the idea so ridiculous. When was the last time you or anyone you know put two similar people together, thinking "perfect match", only to have them loath each other almost to the point of weaponry. The meme infecting my brain says "Get them together!", while the logical backpart of my brain (what Terry Pratchett might refer to as "second thoughts") says, "are you kidding, they'd hate each other!"
All of this is thoroughly moot anyway, because the Quartermaster is here in The City, while the Brother lives in the SouthEast. He's not going to come here, and if she left, it would only be to head West. None of that matters anyway. It's all just a silly, stupid meme running around in my head shouting "look at me! look at me!".
Okay, I've looked, and I've listened long enough. Maybe now, with the thought down in black and white, or, in this case white and black, I can get some peace.

But I dont feeeel old!

So, this weekend, the Family and I travel up to the Small Town from the City to see Mom and Dad. The weather is beautiful here, sunny and in the sixties, so I get out the spare bicycle which I left here for just this occassion, and take a spin around the neighborhood. I'm riding along, looking at the neighbors, the sullen kid throwing hoops, the Dad raking leaves, and suddenly I'm hit with the thought; "I'm not a teenager anymore!"
Duh, right?
But when I'm riding a bike, I feel like a teenager, always have. Even in my twenties tooling around the College Town, I felt like a teenager. I see people in the yards, and I think to myself, "are they wondering who that kid is and what he's doing in their neighborhood?". I'm older than most of the people I see these days, and still I think that way.

I've really got to get my head on straight.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Right to office?

I just read an article at Buridan's Ass which described the basic elements of the Religious Right pretty well. Then he made a statement that struck a cord with me:
What I find extremely odd and troubling is that we would not tolerate for a second a Muslim Fundamentalist as a public official in this country, but we openly embrace and welcome Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists who fit the above profile to act as our public officials and govern us.
Damn straight! I've never seen much difference between Fundementalist Christians and Fundamentalist Muslims. And dont say that Muslims kill more people, or that their attacks are unprovoked, because a Muslim would tell you the same thing about Christians, and neither of us are there to see for ourselves. And dont bring up 9-11. In terms of unprovoked attack and body count, Christians win that round also.
Buridan's arguement is that Fundamentalists (of whatever stripe) should not be put into office, because they place their religious beliefs ahead of the interests of the people they supposedly serve. Religious beliefs are fine, until they get in the way of doing the job you were hired to do. If you were hired to make tennis shoes, but made sandals instead because that's what God calls you to do, you'd quickly lose your job. Yet we have a President who was hired to administer the Country, and yet has squandered our assets on a jihad half-way around the world, placing us in more danger from our own internal problems than were ever represented by any Muslim jihad.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

speech, speech!

Tikreet, Iraq: Osama bin Laden, in a surprise public appearance said Thursday that Christian radicals are seeking to "enslave whole nations and intimidate the world," and called that a prime reason not to cut and run in Iraq.

"There's always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder," he said, seeking to address calls from anti-war activists for a U.S. troop withdrawal.

In a speech before the Islamic Endowment for Shari'a, bin Laden said American militants have made Iraq their main front in a war against civilized society.

"The president of the U.S. believes that controlling one country will rally the Christian masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a christian oil empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia," bin Laden said.

The president has been stepping up his defense of his Iraq policy in the face of declining public support for the war that has thus far claimed more than 1,940 members of the U.S. military. His Iraq policy faces a crucial test in Iraq's Oct. 15 referendum on a new American-backed constitution. The constitution must be rejected by a two-thirds-plus majority, but can be approved with a simple majority vote, a vote that Bush has said "terrorists will try to derail".

Bin Laden likened the ideology of American militants to communism. And he said they are being "aided by elements of the news media that incite hatred and anti-Islamic feelings."

"Against such an enemy, there's only one effective response: We never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory," bin Laden declared.

"We are facing a radical ideology with immeasurable objectives to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world," bin Laden said.

"The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in the war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on imperialism," he said.

"Our commitment is clear — we will not relent until the organized international terror networks are exposed and broken and their leaders held to account for their acts of murder," bin Laden said.

Countering claims U.S. military presence in Iraq was caused by Islamic fanatism, bin Laden noted that Iraqi troops were not in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. He said Russia did not support the military action in Iraq, despite a terrorist attack in Beslan, Russia, which left more than 300 schoolchildren dead in 2004 (Russian military presence in Chechnya was not mentioned).

Bin Laden said that no one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should anyone be pessimistic about U.S. efforts to keep fighting.

"With every random bombing, and with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots, or resistance fighters," he said. "They are murderers at war with the Iraqi people themselves."

Bin Laden vowed not to retreat from Iraq or from the broader war on terrorism. "We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory," he said.

Really! He said that? Bin Laden was there in Iraq?
No not really. In fact, this is almost word for word what Big Daddy Dubya said as he once again struggles to justify the War in Iraq to the American people, and once again manages to deliver a speech that could be thrown back at him almost word for word. Think bin Laden is a poor choice as spokesman against Bush? Yeah, so do I. But then, after the unjustified invasion and destruction of a country with no ties to bin Laden and the deliberate and sanctified torture of prisoners taken in that invasion, Bush is a poor spokesman against Islamic terrorists, too.

In much of the world, we are equally the fanatics. In Iraq, the terror comes as much from us as the other side. Plus, amidst the destabilization, many groups are beginning the fight to fill that vacuum. We entered Iraq, blew up their infrastructure, opened up the country for looters, then brought in foreigners to "rebuild" it all. Salvation or Occupation?

A Wrong Action for the Right Reason is still Wrong.
What then is a Wrong Action for the Wrong Reason?

lexography no. 2

Re•spon•si•bil•i•ty (ri•spon´sə•bil'ə•ti), n.,pl. -ties 1. a being responsible; obligation: a little child does not feel much responsibility. 2. Thing for which one is responsible. A task, a debt, and little children to care for are responsibilities. —Syn. 1. accountability

Re•spon•si•ble (ri•spon´sə•bəl), adj. 1. obliged or expected to account (for): each pupil is responsible for the care of the books given him. 2. desrving credit of blame: the bad weather is responsible for the small attendance. 3. trustworthy; reliable: a responsible person should take care of the money. 4. involving obligation or duties: the presidency is a very responsible position. 5. able to tell right from wrong; able to think and act reasonably: insane people are not responsible. —Syn. 1.accountable, answerable. —Ant. 3. negligent, careless.

From the Thorndike Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary, Doubleday & Company, 1954

of course, there's always Ambrose Bierce's definition (courtesy of Stinkhorn Rodeo):
RESPONSIBILITY, n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.
Or, nowadays, (one might add) on to the shoulders of the victim. Does that sound familiar?

Wait a minute, isnt blaming the victim one of the signs of an abusive relationship?

Quote for the Day

"The men American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try and tell them the truth"
quote by "Johnny Rawhide"

Explains a lot, huh?

scary creatures

What kind of monsters have we Americans become? We've decided that we can use nuclear weapons in a first strike, our AIDS policies in Africa are compromised in the name of profit and prudishness, our administration advocates the use of torture to gather "intelligence".
Finally, the Senate appears to have at least come partially to their senses, voting overwhelmingly to ban Torture of ANY person in U.S. custody, and attaching this ban as an amendment to the Military Spending Bill, making it difficult for the BushCorp to veto. But dont think they wont try. The bill still must go through conference committee, where the House has not included any such language in their version, and given their history, is not likely to without great protest.


Imagine this scene in the Bush Household, circa 1950:

"Mo-om! George wont share his blocks with me!"
"I'm sorry Neil, those are George's blocks and you have no right to them. It is a moral imperitive that he keep all those blocks to himself. Did you earn those blocks? If Little George has the discipline to have blocks, and you dont, well, that's just tough luck for you, isnt it?
"But, Mo-om, that's not fair! Do something!"
"Oh, no, that would be wrong. Forcing someone to share their hard-earned blocks would make me a meddlesome do-gooder, and what kind of lesson would that be to teach you? If you want blocks, you'll just have to earn them."
From the children's wing we hear the sounds of a tussle, then the approaching cry of a small boy...
"Mo-om! Neil stole my blocks!"
"Nonsense, Georgie dear. He was simply following his own self-interest to its logical and Moral conclusion. He wanted something, and you had it. Since he was able to take it away from you, obviously you didnt have the discipline to keep it, and so you dont deserve it."
"Waaaa! When is Daddy getting Home, He'll make Everything Better (sniff-sniff)."
"Now dear, you leave your Father alone when he gets home. He works so hard to afford this fabulous sea-side estate. Why, just the other day he was showing me a callous that he got on his pencil finger while checking over his secretaries' typing. Poor man!"
(sound of door opening, then closing, then in walks George H. W. Bush)
"Hi Honey. Gee, it's great to be home! Hey little Georgie, what's the matter?"
"Neil stole my blocks!"
"Now, now, what have we taught you?"
"I know, I know, Neil didnt steal my blocks, I just didnt have the discipline to keep them."
"That's right, Georgie, that's my boy. Only good, disciplined little boys get to have nice blocks. But golly, you look so sad! I know, we'll send the maid out to get you some more blocks, but this is the last time I'm going to bail you out, okay?"
"Gosh, Daddy, you're the bestest Daddy in the whole world, I hope I grow up to be just like you."
"Well, Georgie, that's very sweet, but when you grow up, make sure you're stronger than me. I'm just too soft (where is that damn maid?), always giving people things they didnt earn, that's me. Yep, too soft (she's gettin too old, need to fire her slow movin' Negro ass, get me a Puerto Rican maid)."
The door swings open, and in walks young Jeb. "Daddy, you're home!"
"Hey Jeb, boy."
"Daddy, do we have to go to Texas next week?"
"Yes, son, yes we do. Your Mama wants to set up a Dynasty, and we're gonna need the kind of powerful myth-making environment that Maine just cant provide."
"But Da-ad, it's ho-ot! And there's all those brown people!"
"Hey, none of that! Those brown people will be working for you some day. Besides, you might even like'em, a little, and their women can be very pretty."
"Well, I dont want to go and you cant make me!"
H. W. stands up, and pulls off his belt. "Boy, dont you sass me! As far as you're concerned, I am God! A Father is Always Right!!!" He starts spanking Jeb. "This hurts me more than it hurts you! But it's necessary to convince you that Authority is never to be questioned. What did I say, Kids?"
Chorus, one of whom is crying: "Authority is never to be Questioned!"
"Who's the Authority?"
"But Daddy, how do you get authority?"
"That's easy, Georgie. Money! Money is Authority."
"Will I be an Authority someday, Daddy?"
"Sure, Son. Just get good grades, be a success in business, and demonstrate your military prowess."
"Gosh, Daddy, that sounds hard."
"Of course it is, but I was only kidding. Dont you worry son, hard work is for ordinary people, and all it does is make us money! Isnt that great! No, you just relax, Daddy's got a lot of friends who'll make sure you grow up to be a Big Daddy, just like me, only Stronger!"
"Yay! Daddies are the bestest things in the whole world!"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


check out this article on how theives are stealing bankcard information in New Zealand. If they're not doing it here yet, they will be.

Or this article on the origin and versitility of the word "fuck".


I'm just not in the mood to write today, it's a reading day. But lemme pass on this article I culled from heretic fig, which is further proof that people suck (and I'm not talking about the organic gardener).

Hey, Boss, where's Sheriff Roscoe?

I came to a realization today about my boss, courtesy of Mr. Lakoff. My boss is a Big Daddy.

Previously, I've always thought of him as a Cop. You know, you're driving down the road, minding your own business, obeying the law. Then there's that Cop in the mirror. You start to get nervous, you check the speedometer, you become hyper-conscious of your signalling, and how you brake, and the cars around you. You say to yourself, this is stupid, and force yourself to relax, but you dont realize until the cop turns a corner, or passes you and goes on ahead, just how tense you were.

That was my boss.

Well, not necessarily was my boss. I'm sure the mental picture will stick around, along with my original Big Cat image (panther, actually). But the Big Daddy image nails every mystery about his behavior.
For instance, I have been on his shit list for years. This is despite the fact that I, all alone on my B shift, produce as much product as the three people on the A shift do. My crime? I have a Bad Attitude. That's right, I am a Rebellious Teenager to my boss's Big Daddy. That's not the proof, though it works for me. There's also the way he never, ever asks the workers about anything pertaining to production, though he frequently makes rules about it. There's that way he gets angry about so-called "negative" statements. I always assumed that his rigidity and lack of human warmth was a result of having originally come from a management position in a company with strong Military ties, but the humorlessness of Strict Father Think explains things much better.

In a way, perhaps I should feel flattered. After all, Big Daddy wouldnt get upset unless he thought I wasnt living up to my "potential". Of course, since my potential is one of increased profit to the company (and more work in the same amount of time for me, i.e. a paycut), I think I'll decline playing along. I do my job, and I do it as well as anybody in that building.

And I already have a Father.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

sympathy for the devil delay

Poor, poor Tom Delay. He needs your help, really he does. Go here to say a prayer for him (accompanied by music, too).

suburban suicide

Just read an excellent post by Jim Kunstler where he decries the oil-driven madness of North American Society. He begins in Calgary where...

We interrupt this post to bring you a Special Bulletin: Once again the BushCorp has placed itself in the God position of determining Right and Wrong. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have released a statement declaring the intention to use nuclear capability in a pre-emptive strike if such a course is declared necessary. Thus has the GOP has moved from the position of simply being a bunch of bullying Imperialists, to that of being a World Terrorist Organization.
Think that's too strong? How else would you describe a country that says, "you do what we tell you, or we'll rain atomic death down upon you"? For a long time one of the deterents to fledgling atomic nations was the knowledge that should they be dumb enough to use the Bomb on America, we had more than enough capability to turn their nation into a shiny, smoking bowl of glass featuring a lovely lava fountain in the center. But only if we were attacked. But who has the capability to do that to us, should we be the aggressor?
In America, we have this little doctrine that says that a person is innocent until proven guilty, but the GOP doesnt seem to get this, except in the case of their own top-rank, where the attitude seems to be more innocent-because-I-say-so (Tom DeLay, anyone).

This isnt coming out very coherently. Lemme just say this: This aggressive stance, this attitude that we are allowed to thoroughly kick the ass of anyone we want to, whether they have done anything to us or not, is very wrong, and very disturbing. But the declaration of the intent to use atomic weapons in anything more than the most extreme instance of self-defence indicates a deep moral depravity, a Sink of Evil on a biblical level, residing in our national leadership.

We now return to our regularly scheduled post.
... can only conclude that he's right. It reminds me of a story by somebody, where all the suburbs of the cities - the gigantic houses, the huge sprawling neighborhoods, the oversized automobiles - had been taken over by the poor, because the wealthy had fled to the inner city, to live in huge arcologies where their energy usage was minimal, and their comfort level was high. As much as I hate the sound of that, it's probably what we need to do. Part of responsibility, of being a grown up, is doing things you dont want to do because it's right. Changing our suburban lifestyle wont be pleasant, but it will be right, and it will help make a stronger, more community-minded America.

props to kung fu monkey via Dave in Australia.

Monday, October 03, 2005


this from SFHulagirl:

News Announcement

Washington D.C. - The government today announced that it is changing its emblem from an Eagle to a CONDOM because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance. A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects an abundance of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed.-- Associated Press

The Boy and His Other

Addendum: Oh boy, do I feel stupid now. It's not two days after I post this picture, and now I'm informed that she is no longer his Other. I'll probably have to delete this now, but I dont want to, not really.

I gotta tell you, I'm having a good time drawing these little things. It's been years since I did any drawing, and I was never spectacularly great at it, but it hasnt gotten any less fun for all the intervening years. When I drew the below picture of the family, I was only thinking of those in the house. Then The Boy came by right after I posted it, and I felt bad. He is a part of the family, even if he's not living here right now. Then I got down to the drawing.
They're not as easy as they look. Somehow, in a minimum of lines, you have to convey what the people you're depicting look like, which is kind of tough without many details, clothes, or body shapes.

going up?

A space elevator would consist of a cable attached to the surface and reaching outwards into space. By positioning it so that the total centrifugal force exceeds the total gravity, either by extending the cable or attaching a counterweight, the elevator would stay in place geosynchronously. Once sent far enough, climbers would be accelerated further by the planet's rotation. This diagram is not to scale and comes from Wikipedia, as noted and linked in post
On a lighter note: While reading Worldchanging, I ran across this article on the Space Elevator. I've loved this idea since reading Arthur C. Clarke's Fountains of Paradise, and Clarke has lost none of his enthusiasm either. And it's not as crazy as it sounds; check out the Wikipedia entry for it.
Understand this. If you want to get out into space, and you're not an astronaut or a millionaire, this is your only hope. Rockets are entirely too expensive, but a space elevator, once built, would take only a bit of electricity to make the trip. Just like the Internet or the Interstate, the infrastructure is the hard part. Everything else is easy (and democratic).
The company doing this work right now is called Liftport.

just me, just you, justice

And so the farce continues...

BushCo has nominated a White House insider to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. In the next week or three, before the Senate Hearings begin, you'll hear lots of yakking about who she might be, how she might vote, what she thinks about various things, blah blah blah.
All completely and totally irrelevant, a little circus freak show to keep the yokels gawking.

Let's face it, whatever she does or says, we all know how she stands. If the BushCorp picked her, then you know she's anti-abortion, pro-business and Big Daddy's girl all the way. There will be no surprise exhibited except from the people who havent been paying attention since some time in, oh, I dont know, 1978.
There is no hope for the Supreme Court. Forget it, get over it. If Santa Clause brought the nation the news that the White House was running a Child Prostition Ring (Big Daddy, indeed), it still would not change the fact that none of the Conservative Justices on the court are over 64 years old. They will be with us for a very, very long time.
Scarier still, the oldest member of the Court, Judge John Paul Stevens, is 80 years old. Pray for his health, or it's not inconcievable that the GOP could replace three Justices before Dubya leaves office.
Of course, considering the incompetance of the Democratic Party, and the power of the fully networked GOP, it's multiple think-tanks, and the GOP dominated Media Conglomerates (liberal-bias, my ass - yet another Big Lie) it's likely they'll get plenty more chances with whatever figurehead they place in the White House next round.

Hey, did you notice? I decided to go with despair! It's time to hunker down, cover your head, and hope you've got a few basic rights left over by the time the Conservative storm blows over.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


When I was 11 years old, I went to the optician and got my first pair of glasses. It was astonishing! Across the street I could see the air conditioners in the windows and there were signs everywhere with words I could read. What had been a lot of vague shapes suddenly had form and detail! There was suddenly a whole new dimension to the world that I hadnt even suspected was in existance.

Tonight I have had a similar experience. The title of this blog comes (to me, at least) from the movie Grosse Pointe Blank, where it is defined as a "swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever". I hope that's what I'm feeling now, I really do.

The feeling comes from having just finished the book Dont think of an elephant, by George Lakoff. In it so many of the things about not only the ruling Republicans, but also the failing Democrats suddenly became much, much clearer. This may be temporary insanity, I dont know. But I dont think so.

I'm going to bed now. I think I'll be able to sleep. My mind is so full that it is currently incapable of racing, and to sleep (ay, perchance to dream) may help it all settle out to make even more sense (or rather, communicable coherence - it already makes sense). At this point I dont know whether to despair (Conservatives are much more powerfully placed than I had suspected) or hope (do I now have tools for battle?).

What I do know is that tomorrow, I need to get on Amazon, and order a copy of this book, and return the one I read to the library, so that maybe someone else can get
the same mental dope slap I just got.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

lexography no. 1

CITOKATE = Criticism Is The Only KnownAntidote To Error

the home family in linear form

the familyThis is everybody that lives at our house. The Boy is all-grown up (snort!), and his picture is here.

a big box o' pandora

I tried, I really did. And I think I might have succeeded, a little bit at least. Backed it off a bit, toned it down. Things may be serious, but not that serious. I hope.
I'm speaking of my wife's concerns as put forth in my post on Tuesday, where she suggested that all this political stuff was making me mean. I really dont know if it was or not, but I havent been in a very good mood lately.
I blame the heat. There's statistics on that, you know.

I can cut back the political stuff a bit, but I really cant let it go, though. I've seen too much stuff now about how the BushCo and the Republican Party is destroying the America that I love, and replacing it with a much uglier, more selfish place. Now that I know these things, I cant ignore them.
It's as if there is a starving family around the corner; if you never go around the corner and see them there, starving, then you're never bothered by them. But once you know they're just around the corner, all of them hungry, how can you not bring them a sandwich, or a tuna casserole, or something.
If you are a moral person of any fiber you cannot simply ignore them, and just let them starve.

That's just an analogy, of course. The BushCorp is not a starving family. Quite the opposite, in fact. Dubya and his cronies, in fact all of the richest 1% of this nation, are doing quite, quite well, thank you, feasting on the flesh of America. My family is the one around the corner, and while we're not close to starving or anything, our diet's not what it once was. BushCo, of course, wont even consider walking around the corner, though they may send an occasional watchdog to poke it's head around every once in a while, just to keep an eye on us.

Yep, that was another analogy. I got a million of 'em.

I cant quit my anger now, not and call myself an American. I have to do whatever I can to stem the tide of corruption pouring through the streets of Washington these days. Admittedly, I dont hold much power to do anything. Bush holds a lot of the cards these days, and he and his Cronyist Party are scooping up as much Loot as they can before the floodwaters of American Ire wash them out of town. I'm a just a bucketful of those waters.
But that's how the waters rise, one bucket at a time. And, sometimes, there are a lot of buckets.

I'm really very fond of analogies.

I personally like my statistical analogy: I'm not too far out of the mainstream, so I must fit into some statistical percentage of Americans who are doing whatever it is I am doing. If this is true, then I like to think that I can change the course of the world through statistical means: If I do something, then statistically, so do another 1 out of 1000 people; or 1 out of 100, maybe. I know it doesnt really work that way, but it's a good story.

And maybe I'm wrong, maybe it does work that way.
I can dream.

In the meantime, I'll continue to blog, one bucketful at a time.

But I'll occassionally take a day off, just to relax.


Reason no.59 why I need to get back to school and get a new job

Today, I got to work at about 5:20 (as a night person, my schedule is more flexible). When I arrived, my co-worker, whom I'll call "Cyril", poked his head out the door to greet me, which tells me that he was in the break room at the time. He accompanied me to our work area, told me what was going on with everything, then left for "lunch". At 7:20, he returned, sat down at the computer, and surfed until 7:40. Then he said, "have a good weekend", and went home.
Now, assuming he hadnt already clocked out for "lunch" before I arrived, that means he did no work for 2 hours and 20 minutes, and was paid for 1 hour and 50 minutes of that time. He does this almost every night.
I have worked with Cyril for six years, during which time this has almost invariably been his routine. You may say to yourself, "Six years! Why havent you ratted this bastard out?"
I have, I have.
The first time was when his goofing off time actually exceeded his working time. Not that I described it that way to management. What I said was, "I've never gotten more than 2 hours of work out of him". When there's a six-hour overlap in shifts, the math should be pretty easy, but perhaps not. I complained during our review sessions, twice a year for 2 years. Then I gave up. It's not my money the company's losing, after all (unless you count the bonus made smaller).
Fortunately, these days he goes home after only a three hour overlap, so while he doesnt work any more than he ever did, he cant work less.

It's still kind of galling, though.