Saturday, January 31, 2009

False Senses of Security

I sit here in the Frankfurt Airport, "trapped" in the C concourse, because of assinine multiple security check points. I landed 3 hours ago, at gate C-16, from Washington DC. C-16! What luck! I am departing from C-16 at noon, to go to Bangalore. Awesome! - or so I thought.

No, the innane, meaningless, waste-of-tax payers' money security that had infected the US and Japan, has now infected the Germans as well. In 1999 & 2000, I used to connect through Tokyo Nartia, enroute to China. You land in a 747, get out of the plane in the middle of the night, drugged up on sleeping pills and alcohol, and have to stagger through a x-ray baggage check, where they RE-INSPECT you, and then put you right back on the same damn 747 to go to China. Silly Japanese, I used to think. It was so ridiculous, I customized my travel so that in 2001 I never went through Japan or their inane security after that.

Then 9-11 came, and the US started doing the same damn thing - checking passengers through security who had just walked out of a secure and checked plane. Our security checks are better than yours! What a load of crap.

Now, the Deutschlanders have the same infection. A nice Lufthansa 747, disgorges it's passengers, who have to go up escalators, down long hall ways, through a x-ray security check - OMG! I had a water bottle! I might be a terrahist! - and back into the same damn 747! Except the Frankfurt airport is so f*cked up, that there's no currency exchange in terminal C. If I want to get some Rupees, I have to GO BACK through security again, get rid of my liquids again... it's such a ridiculous pain in the ass.

Check the passengers ONCE when they get to the airport, before they get on a plane, then STOP CHECKING THEM again and again. Ridiculous. Inefficient. Wasteful of tax payers money. Meaningless. It gives stupid people a false sense of security - oh, I just got checked again, must be very safe. BS.

They are not not sniffing for plastic explosives, they are not doing EL AL intensity personal screenings, they're doing a meaningless x-ray of baggage and making people throw out perfectly good bottles of water, duty free liquor, and any other containers larger than 3 oz. What a joke. A very badly executed joke.

Oh well, I hope my cab driver takes dollars in Bangalore!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dangerous Drag Racing

Street Drag Racing should be illegal. I wonder if this is in the Castro...

GMT +530

for the next two weeks, I'll be in GMT +530, talking to, training, mentoring my Indian colleagues. I am very unsure of hotel tube connectivity. Parkalam (we shall see, in Tamil). Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jay Nordlinger misses his elixir

Jay Nordlinger misses his elixir, or his Kool-aid. His outrage at Obama enjoying a meal, and how popular the current President is - elected in a land slide, versus the previous one, who barely squeezed out a god-guns-gays victory the 2nd time, and who was not elected at all the first time. I have this wicked grin as I read this histrionic Republican hand wringing, gnashing of teeth, and utter outrage. Tip of the hat to Jill for this gem.

Now, I think I am beginning to understand how Faux News devotees have been seeing Olbermann for all these years. Too funny!

Do the Helen Keller...

Listening to XM radio... a song comes on I've never heard on with the following lyric, that made me laugh So Hard:
"Shush girl. Shut your lips. Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips."

I can't stop chuckling!

...back to packin!

This week's news

no time to blog today, too busy packin and backin-up my laptop for the up-coming Bangalore adventure. A few items of notice this week...

Scum Dog Million Hairs - TDS coverage of Blago's impeachment is hilarious. Lego hair! LOL!

"Not Magneto" - TDS's 'Guantanamo Baywatch - The Final Season' compares the inept and hapless prisoners at Guantanamo to the existing legion of hardened US criminals, including "the brain eater". 'They're a bunch of thugs and bunglers, they're not Magneto' - beautifully put! Documents Republican fear mongering at it's best, and W's legacy and what a clusterf*ck it's left us.

Ahmadinejad, STFU - Iran's version of W, an extreme idealogue at the margins of his nation, President Ahmadinejad tells Obama he loves to keep his fist clenched, and the the US must apologize to Iran for all it's done and cut off ties with Israel. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo! The Supreme Religious authorities (somewhat akin to a Shia S.C.O.T.U.S. combined with a Polit Bureau in some ways) in Iran need to reign this bozo in. He's really hurting their country's image.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hilariously Parodied

...and speaking of hilarious exaggerations, that are so accurately done, they make drinks spew out of the nose, this SNL Olbermann mockery perfectly illustrates Keith's histrionics, beautifully. Poor Ms. Precious Perfect! Damn you Lieberstein! "...up with which we dare no longer put!" Ben Affleck's characterization is dead on.

Such extremism has driven my occasionally watching eyeballs to DVR Maddow instead.

Ricardo Montalbán passes

Earlier this month, Ricardo Montalbán, one of my favorite actors from my youth died at the ripe old age of 89. In Jr HS I used to watch Fantasy Island and thought, I want to be as rich as that guy and own an island someday. I've never owned a Cordoba or felt soft Corinthian Leather, but Ricardo was great in Star Trek II (the best one of the series in my perspective) - and spoofing him on SNL was hilarious. "Dirty silverware stored next to clean!" (Youtube videos of SNL removed, to add to Lauren Michael's already considerable weath).

Kirk: Khan...stop it! You board my ship, you insult my crew. What is it you really want?
Khan: Ahhhhh, very well Kiiiiiirrrkkkk. I shall get to the heart of the matter.
[Khan snaps his fingers and a man with a clipboard comes through the door to stand at his side.]
Khan: This is the health inspector. Your establishment has many infractions. You have dirty silverware stored next to clean. No sneeeeezzzeeeguard on the saaaaalllaaad baaaaarr.

Dinner in Paris

I heard this on the radio sometime back, but have not had a chance to post it until now.

I'd like to come to dinner at Jim Haynes's home in Paris sometime, and bring a nice (and inexpensive) Roussillon Languedoc. Too bad I don't live closer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lorem Ipsum

Though my father was not a print shop type setter, as the son of a former book binding shop foreman, I used to work around type setters and printing presses in the summers and holidays helping dad out around the shop when I was in Jr HS and HS. I was intrigued by the reference to Marcus Tullius Cicero's original quotation, from the De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Ends of Goods and Evils) that I ran across today:
Cicero's original text: …neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?"

H. Rackham's 1914 translation: Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain of pain itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

I had no idea that it was also used in typesetting terminology: lorem ipsum is common placeholder text used to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation, such as font, typography, and layout.

Watching HBO's ROME on Netflix, it shows Cicero to be quite an obsequious sycophantic worm, but he's got some good quotes in written recorded history.

Awesome Chinese Wines

When I used to live in South Carolina, my mother-in-law had gotten me a subscription to "Wine Speculator" (sometimes referred to as "Spectator") and they once had an article on Chinese made wines back in 2006. I scanned this, because I could not believe they actually published it. If you cannot open it on your computer, here's my favorite excerpts:
  • "Changyu Cabernet: ...notes of cigar box, spices, and mushrooms" - I love mushrooms, but NOT in wine! Ew!
  • "Grace Vineyard Cabernet: ...varietal character in it's cherry, tar, and tobacco notes." - Again, Ew!
  • "Grace Vineyard Pinot Noir China Premium: ...turns earthy on the palate, with herbal and tobacco flavors and a brackish finish." - awesome, if you like a salty wine. MMMMmm.
  • "Grace Vineyard Rose': ...the flavors turn bitter and tinny, with a peach pit character". Peach pits, they're mildly toxic!
  • "Beijing Dragon Seal Kuel Hue Chen Chiew: ...with a slight chemical finish" mmmm ... and those are 1959 chemicals!
and my favorite:
  • "Changyu Vermouth China: ...ginger and beef bouillon aromas are not really appetizing. It's thick and fairly sweet with ginger, beef bouillon and Worchestershire flavors. seems made to be diluted, perhaps with Sprite or tomato juice."
So yummy! Like the melamine containing food and medicine, lead laden toys, and sweat shop produced cheap products, Chinese wine is to be savored for their awesome, appealing, inherent qualities.

Subwoofer fun

I found this old Blaupunkt file on my work laptop. It was pretty funny the first time I saw it, and it made me smile this morning as well. After all the Thiessen baloney, I needed something to put me in a better mood.

Marc A. Thiessen - wrong previously, still wrong

Last week on the BBC and this week on NPR, mouthpiece and tool Marc A. Thiessen is spewing his ideological rhetoric and lies. This FORMER speech writer for W, was wrong on so many levels during the last 8 years. Now, he's still incredibly delusional, he truly believes that torture provided excellent intelligence. As the moderator on Diane Rehm's show said today "time after time, expert after expert, we've spoken to military interrogators and CIA officials who have stated torture provides false confessions". This Thiessen ideologue is SO convinced that his Führers (W & Cheney) were absolutely right, he's not listened to anyone who was actually trying to get the intelligence, or any of the authors who have written extensively on it.

MORE Americans HAVE BEEN KILLED due to inspired jihadists AFTER 9-11 than were killed ON 9-11. Torturing inspires jihadists and degrades American values, morals, international standing, effectiveness, and safety. Marc A. Thiessen, join Douglas Feith and STFU. Your party and ideology lost. Get over it.

The longer I listen to this radio show today, the more disgusted I get with the right wing nuts who are calling in. Amazing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cymbal-ically Interesting

I heard this 5 minute piece on Here and Now this morning about Avedis Zildjian's Massachusetts factory. I thought it was very interesting, and having personally audited several foundries and metal working facilities, I found the back ground sounds and "tour" intriguing. 80% copper, 20% tin, proprietary process, ONLY cymbals made in the US (that I did not know!).

My grade school concert band had Zildjian crash cymbals (which we doubled as a ride cymbal, held in one grade school drummer's hand as a 2nd one rolled on it). My HS used a combination of Zildjians and Paistes. My drum set that I've had for the last 33 years has had all Zildjians - except for Paiste high hats. If you've not heard it, have a listen here.


all this "hand on the Bible[TM]" stuff, gave me an idea.

Very superstitious, writing's on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.

oo When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way

Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin' strong,
You don't wanna save me, sad is my song.

When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way, yeh, yeh.

Very superstitious, nothin' more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil's on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way, no, no, no

Fearfully Imbalanced

The Daily Show last night summarized the most hilarious quotes from the Fox Network and associated right wing extremists. Paranoid, un-American, un-Patriotic (in their own words, don't they know things are digitally recorded?), hypocritical, all of them apply.

Jon Stewart said it best: "I owe Colmes an apology. He was the sandbag holding down the hot air crazy balloon."

Excerpt of Fox's paranoia:
"He doesn't have his hand on the Bible[TM], is he really President?"
"We have to compromise our values to protect ourselves" (AND to recruit as many jihadists against us as possible, apparently!)

All this on just the 2nd day. There'll be no shortage of hypocritical and paranoid comedy material, for the next 4 (or perhaps 8) years.

Hilarious New Obama Action Figure

Andy Stitzer would really love this action figure on his shelf. Tip of the hat to Jill for this one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The utility of cotton

Last week when hiking shirtless, I underestimated the Sun's January intensity here in Phoenix, and once I was home, I found I had somewhat of a red-pink tinge to my back and chest. Being Polish, that happens often. White - pink - red. No tan, essentially. To avoid a nasty, itchy, peel, about 20 years ago I began wearing white cotton t-shirts after such quasi-burns, and slathering on moisturizing lotion on arms and legs not covered in white cotton, a few times a day. Well, a week later, I've still not peeled or blistered, and the "home remedy" has been extremely effective. The look, the feel, the usefulness, of cotton.

Note: if the cotton t-shirt has an emblem or logo printed on it, it's almost guaranteed that the lack of "breathability" will cause a localized peel on the skin under the printed area after an over-exposure to UV.

Maybe I should patent this.... some really stupid things are already patented.

STFU - Douglas Feith

On NPR this afternoon, they have a "panel of foreign policy experts" on. One of them, is W's former under-secretary of Defense, Douglas Feith. You remember who this piece of work is?

"Doug Feith, of course, is without question, one of the most brilliant individuals in government. He is – he's just a rare talent. And from my standpoint, working with him is always interesting. He's been one of the really the intellectual leaders in the administration in defense policy aspects of our work here" - Rumsfeld.

Consider the source. Enough said. I cringe every time I hear this moron in an interview. He was wrong on Iraq. Wrong on WMD. Wrong on Pakistan. Wrong on Afghanistan. Wrong on everything he touched. Now Feith needs to STFU. No one needs to hear from him anymore, ever again, except perhaps, to do exactly the opposite of whatever he recommends. His ideology was voted out of power. His incompetence and ridiculously stretched justifications are best left to the pages of the WSJ and other right wing mouth pieces.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cheese On Chinese Food

In the in-imitable style of brutal honesty that Comedy Central has demonstrated, Jon Stewart's writers noticed the same nationalistic rhetoric that W's been using for 8 years appeared in Obama's inauguration speech. The video compares, and contrasts. I agree with Jason Jones and Jon Stewart that it's more tone and context "Why is cheese on Italian food delicious, but when you put it on Chinese food it's disgusting?". When W said it, he was 'chompin' at the bit' to be a cowboy, to 'smokem outta their holes', 'dead or alive', to show his Daddy what a big man he could be, and instead of inspiring all Americans, he only appealed to his hardcore base. When Obama says it, there's a strong sense it is much more lofty, benign, less insidious.

Obama's repeated references to a divine influence and calling, without mentioning the FSM specifically, did strike me as regressive, but I believe he's the first modern US President to even ACKNOWLEDGE un-believers - so that's a massive step forward. " We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."

Toyota Stole My Mazda 6

I keep seeing ads for Toyota Venzas on Comedy Central and on NFL games. At first, I thought Mazda was bringing back the 6 wagon - since 2007 (the year we bought ours) was reportedly the last year they were made, and re-branding them for Toyota in some kind of bizarre partnership. But no, this is a Toyota creation. It just looks like a clone of my Mazda 6, with slighter higher doors, less visible windows, and a little more cargo capacity. Strange that Mazda thought no one wanted a wagon, and Toyota launches a whole new product line based on one. Same thing happened with the '91 Honda Accord wagon we bought - next model change, Honda discontinued the wagon, even though the Accord EX wagon was the first "designed in America" version that Honda had produced.

If you want to have alot of wagon choices (that are not SUVs) gotta move to Australia I guess. In Melbourne and Sydney, when I was there in 2000 and 2001, between 1/4 and 1/3 of all cars on the road, and parked along city streets I saw, were wagons. Holdens, Fords, Subarus, etc. Americans love their SUVs though - whatever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

US1549 Sequence of Events, Dissected

I found this a Fascinating Read. Wonderful when experienced people perform eloquently.
The comments near the are insightful as well, and several amusing, like the recipe for Goose Stew. Unbelievable that there's a bird sanctuary so close to La Guardia's take off flight path!

A Moving Call to Unity and Service

CNN's transcript of President Obama's inaugural speech. In my life time, it's one of the best (if not the best) I have heard. (my favorite parts, are highlighted in green)

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

The Unwashed Masses

AP reports U.S. Park Service crowd estimated sizes, based upon aerial photography.
I am confident that today's DC crowd was twice the Bicentennial July 4th celebrations.

Panda Tears and Angel Blood

Jon Stewart's head nearly exploded last night on The Daily Show. Stating that Cheney is "kept alive by an IV drip of panda tears and angel blood", exasperated by Cheney's inability to make any linkage between poor planning and war execution of the war in Iraq and the chaos and carnage that followed with the occupation.

Colbert had an excellent summary on "The W0RD" (Sacrifice) as well, regarding Cheney's trouncing of the Constitution with legal gymnastics.

At least we will not be haunted / surveilled / threatened / snidely sneered at by / or subject to the Evil that is Cheney any further.

A very good day

It feels like a massive weight has been lifted - and an acrid, sewage treatment plant East Chicago Toll Road like stench has been blown away by a formidable wind.

I do not believe I have ever seen so many people PACKED into the National Mall - ever. When I was in Jr High School, my parents took me to Chicago to see John Paul II in Grant Park. There was a million people there. From the looks of it, there was probably twice as many people packed into DC today.

I am going to get unadulterated joy from watching Hannity and O'Reilly & Faux squirm, and spout venom, and warn against the evils of change.

So refreshing!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I got a letter today...

I got the following letter today, entitled "inauguration '09" in an email from someone who I never would have though would buy into the BS therein. Upon reading it, I began to get infuriated. So I vented, below, in green. If I am off-base, or mis-guided in my reply, please let me know. I welcome all comments, as always.

"To All My Valued Employees,
There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.
However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.
First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.
However, what you don't see is the back story.
I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.
My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business - hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.
Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.
So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden - the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations ... you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.
Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.
Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.
Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:
I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.
The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.
The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree, which is why your job is in jeopardy.
Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.
When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.
So where am I going with all this?
It's quite simple.
If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.
Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.
So, if you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.
Your boss "
and my reply
"political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever."
No no, Cheney steamrolled the Constitution as he considered himself EXEMPT from it. By wire tapping, and torturing, and degrading America's united standing with the world, an unprecedented event that happened September 12th 2001, W's administration has more blood on it's hands than Al Qaeda does. More US service men and women have died, at the hands of enthusiastic jihadists, than were killed on 9-11. Jihadists encouraged and recruited by W and Cheney and Addington and Woo and Haynes and Rumsfeld, and their ilk.
The myopic author of the "
To All My Valued Employees, " letter assumes he's the only one who has worked hard, or hard enough to be successful. Bullshit. It's a combination of luck, genes, timing, AND hard work. MANY others worked as hard or harder, sacrificing and giving it their all, but then a sickness got them or a family member, and BAM, they could not realize their dream as he did. MANY others worked their asses off, and then got downsized by a Neutron Jack, or another corporate titan who "enhanced" the stock price and then shipped their job inefficiently overseas. MANY others didn't work hard at all and were handed everything by their daddy or their fraternity or golfing buddy, and they are sitting in the same spot as the hard working myopic business owning martyr below.
This kind of bull shit is what keeps Hannity's ratings high enough to continue his show. This malarkey feeds AM hate radio, and inspires O'Reilly in his fabricated "culture war". This kind of delusional rhetoric inspires inarticulate morons like "Joe the fake plumber" far beyond the 15 minutes of fame they are not entitled to.
I get these kinds of emails from my relatives and used to from Greenville Co-workers from time to time. When I see bullshit, I call bullshit. I do not think Obama is perfect, but I did vote for him. For the first time in my life, I actually backed a winner.
Instead of detracting and being negative and making threats about what will happen, the moment taxes are raised, it would be better to try and work together to dig us out of the hole that this service based (not manufacturing based) economy has buried us more than neck deep.
Very best regards,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Delusional Biased NFL Game Coverage

I'm watching Arizona unexpectedly hand Philadelphia their ass in the 3rd quarter of the NFC championship. The Eagles Offensive line must've partied too hard in Scottsdale or something last night, leaving McNabb to meet the well kept grass of University of Phoenix Stadium quite often. Veteran Warner keeps connecting to up-comer Larry Fitzgerald. It's looking like a blow out - BUT Faux Sports, can't get November 23rds Eagles' Blow Out (48 to 20) out of their minds. I actually heard one of the delusion announcers say, at a score of 24 (Cardinals) to 6 (Eagles) "If the Eagles get a touch down here, then it's only a 10 point game, and anything can happen".

The Cardinals are wiping up the floor with the Eagles. As a life long Chicago Bears fan, I've always sensed a "band wagon" bias in sports broadcasting coverage. The announcers want a winner, want to be backing a winner, and know everything about a winner. They're not prepared or engaged to support or be affiliated with a loser. All of their stats, and graphics, and back-ground coversations before the game, are with the mindset of "these guys are going to win, those guys are going to lose". I've seen it in losing Bears season when the announcers, before the first quarter kick off, are salivating a Bears defeat. Non-bears fans have told me 'oh hush, you're imagining it, but here today, these Racine Cardinals, I mean Chicago Cardinals, I mean St, Louis Cardinals - oh wait, that's where old man (38 yrs old) Kurt Warner USED TO play for, and where he took the St. Louis Rams to the super bowl - oh yeah, the Arizona Cardinals are seeing the same damn thing from the Faux Sports announcers in the third quarter.

A 1/2 hour later, the game's over, and Arizona wins, much to the surprise of Fox Sports. The Eagle's resurgence they'd all been opining for never materialized into a win(25-32 final).

Now, on CBS, it sucks that Roethlisberger's offensive line is showing in the first 1/2 that they can't stop the rush, as the Ravens pulverize him into the frozen Pittsburgh grass. Meanwhile Flacco slowly dodges Steelers' defensive men like they're lethargic toddlers. I hope the Steelers can pull this off, but Ben's gonna see lots of birdies flying around his helmet without an effective offensive line. At least CBS's announcers are (so far) not expressing their personal bias.

Hacker little boys render combination locks useless

Beware, combination padlocks are pretty much useless now, with the application of a simple shim.
Get a safe, if it's really valuable. Thanks kids!


Yesterday, I had a small bowl of cereal in the morning, and then did not eat the entire day, got busy doing lots of other things, and then Dr. Desert Flower and I went out for a nice Birthday dinner at Atlas Bistro in Scottsdale. It's a small, 10 table European style restaurant adjacent to a nice wine shop. Food was superb. Service was friendly. We each took the 4 course meal, and man-o-man was it worth the day long fast.

starter: Penn Cove Mussels & Manila Clams, Grilled Chorizo Tomato Broth, Crostini
soup: Heirloom Yellow Tomato Bisque with Nueske Bacon and Manchego Grilled Cheese
entree: Maple Leaf Ginger Duck Breast, Crispy Skin, Herb Risotto Cake, Hibiscus Red Wine Reduction
dessert: Lemon Cheese Cake with crispy chocolate crusts and fresh blue berry garnish

...which I paired with a (BYOB) 1996 Château LaCroix Pomerol from
Famille Joseph JANOUEIX

Dr. Desert Flower had Pheasant, served like the duck (which they had run out of, along with the rabbit, sadly). So incredibly tasty. Chef Carlos
Manriquez even came out to ask us how the meal was.

2 of the best 4 meals I've had in Arizona have now been at Atlas Bistro. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Totenberg Summarizes The Evil that is Cheney

I listened to this detailed and insightful (as far as a 5 minute radio spot can be detailed) story on the evil that is Dick Cheney today. Nina Totenberg never calls him "evil" - but any man who
  • subverts the President's Executive power to bend policy to his own slanted perspective
  • has cost more American lives due to IEDs and insurgent and terrorist attacks than 9-11 did
  • has degraded American values and ideals universally to the point of being one of the greatest Al Qaeda recruiting tools ever
  • tells another member of the Senate to go f*ck himself on the senate floor
  • has a man-sized safe in his office
  • has obscured the VP residence on Google Earth due to his own paranoia
  • participates in the end-of-government doomsday drills on a regular basis
  • gets his rich old hunting friend to apologize to him after shooting said buddy in the face at a caged, nearly flightless, shotgunning from cars with lots of whiskey involved "hunting" trip
  • believes in the absolute power of the executive & that breaking laws and trampling the Constitution is fine when pursuing terrorists
  • is completely unapologetic for his treasonous and criminal actions
  • used the phrase "mushroom cloud" repeatedly as a punctuation mark in 2004
  • has promoted his personal, idealogue lawyer Addington, as a tool of his right wing nut plutocracy
  • has held aloft as infallible Gospel the amateuristic and laughably inept legal opinions of John Yoo (who he installed in the Office of Legal Consel - OLC) justifying torture
  • has created his own personal special secret stamp for documents
  • screened EVERY document that Ever crossed W's desk
Well.. let's just say... once his 4th or 5th pace maker fails, I hope he enjoys some quality time being bent over by thorn-cocked Gulbuth The Rampant. Nina did a nice job is putting a bow around the United States' most powerful, and most evil VP in history.

Limey Squirrel Eater Pronunciations

Colbert had a funny piece about Limey Squirrel Eaters yesterday, and listening to the BBC this evening, I heard about the Meeee-thane on Mars that's been discovered by scientists. This reminded me of the Al-You-min-eye-um I used to hear about, that British Aerospace uses to build their aircraft. And the "holes in wall" (instead of ATMs) used to withdraw money from banks.

How did American colloquialisms stray so far away from our British origins?

Dining with the pundits

On Tuesday night, President Elect Obama dined at George Will's house, with a whole cadre of right wing pundits. The next morning, he met with liberal pundits for breakfast. As a commentator on Maddow said yesterday: "it's harder to write really nasty things about someone who you know, and have spent time with, someone who has calmly discussed issues with you".

I'm trying to picture W ever attempting something like this, and pulling it off. LMFAO!

When you have time to spare...

...Go by air. I've never been fond of US Air. When I traveled often for work, their service out of Philly and Charlotte and Pittsburgh was ALWAYS surly, discourteous, low budget. It was not US Air's fault that a flock of geese were flying at the same altitude near take off from LaGuardia, and it WAS remarkable that the pilot "gently" landed the plane in the 40 degree F Hudson River - stall speed of a Airbus 320 is about 113 knots, without rupturing fuel tanks, shearing off wings, or injuring passengers. Kudos to Californian pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (UC Berkeley air-safety researchers collaborating liberal!) for his awesome grace under pressure. Experience Does matter.

Another day older...

This is where I will be tomorrow. Supposed to be 76F and sunny here in the valley of the sun.

View Larger Map
It'll be a prime number day for me (1,356,998,400 seconds, 22,616,640 minutes, 376,944 hours), give or take a few.

Good Riddance to Old Rubbish

W will have a "farewell speech" televised by Fox, and maybe some of the cable outlets this evening. Originally I thought "what a waste of time" - since I am not one of the 17% of Americans who would still love Bush even if he admitted that he f*cks goats and eats puppies. But the more I thought about it today, this failed businessman, sophomoric frat boy, oedipal war-monger, un-curious nationalist, child-of-privilege, lying, delusional, globally despised 43rd President can provide excellent advice, with a caveat: Do Everything Exactly Opposite The He Recommends.

Everytime he's opened his mouth in the last 3 years (8 years yes, but more so in the last 2) the markets have taken nose dives, people's lives have been ruined, forests have been wiped out, watersheds have been polluted, cities have flooded, countries have been invaded, corporate pockets have been lined, the sick have gotten sicker, the rich have gotten richer, and the poor have been told to get more boot straps. Everything he and his administration have stood for, with the exception of the Pacific Ocean Natural Preserves he's declared, have been disasters, atrocities, criminal acts. Who better is there to offer advice, than someone as unrepentant as W? We just, as a nation, have to do the opposite of whatever he recommends.

I'll look for a written summary tomorrow of the address. Tonight I'll be catching up on my new Direct TV DVR recordings of TDS & Colbert & PBS that got installed yesterday - which my cable company forced me into when Motorola refused to renew their license for the gateway boxes.

Burning President Elect Images? Really?

Clueless Iranian Fundamentalists have shown their lack of grasp of the American Political Process, and I guess are trying to make a 'great first impression' as they burn large photos of Obama in Tehran. Morons. Had they burnt these after next Tuesday, ok, that's their prerogative to keep FedexKinkos Tehran in business with giant flammable banners, but burning them this week is incredibly stupid, and shows how ham handed that fundamentalist theocratic fanatics can be.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dangerous Terrorist cannot be prosecuted because of Cheney's Authorization of Torture

Lemme explain. Mohammed Al-Qahtani, one very enthusiastic Al Queda terrorist, who has been held in Guantánamo for over 6 years now - after he was sold to the US for a bounty by the Pakistanis - cannot be prosecuted, because, according to Reagan era head US Army Lawyer, Susan J. Crawford, who is also a recent Secretary of Defense Gate's appointed head of the Guantanamo military commissions, says he cannot be prosecuted because he was tortured. This is no liberal pinko. This is a hard core. life long, highly experienced Republican. Jane Mayer explains in detail, the month of Cheney authorized torture Qahtani was given in an entire chapter of her book "Dark Side", but to have a Bush Administration appointee publicly admit it, after W and Cheney and Rumy and Gonzo have all denied it, is remarkable.

Winters in The Hague really suck. No one from the current administration should ever attempt to travel abroad once they leave office.

Douchebag Schlozman & Other "Right Thinking Americans"

I was unaware of just how far off the deep end the right wingnuts really were in their penetration and perversion of the DofJ, and in this week's revelation, the Civil Rights Division. This Bradley Schlozman character not only lied under oath, and in writing, in Congressional hearing testimony, but he's completely drank the kool-aid. Listening to his lies and bigotry yesterday on Stewart & Maddow & Olbermann (yet absent from O'Reilly's show.. hmmmm) was truly sickening. "Right Thinking Americans" ?? I did not know there was such a delusional cabal - but a scary google search reveals a vast, paranoid, hateful, bigoted national movement.

Ironically, Eric Holder used to be in charge of the Civil Rights division... so maybe his confirmation hearing won't go too poorly, considering the incompetent, criminal, treasonous (not up-holding the Constitution), hateful sycophants who are running the DofJ now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Duke and Duchess of Hazard

a nostalgic look back, at "The Decider" - fast forward to the 1:20 point for the classic title line.

Allergic Reactions to Presidents' voices, overcome

I've noticed, over the last 20 years, I seem to have developed an allergic reaction to US Presidential voices. When Reagan was in office, I was barely politically aware, my parents being life long unionized Democrats, so I didn't pay much attention. When HW Bush was in office, I loved the Dana Carvey impersonations of him, but couldn't listen to his voice without Wincing. When Clinton was in office, I couldn't stand hearing about his Arkansasian accent or his denials of oral sex escapades, especially when my 6 year old son was asking me "Daddy, at school they said the President got a blow job, what's a blow job?" Phil Hartman did a dead on Bill though.

W, I could not stand listening to him try and fake a Texas accent and attempt to be folksy. More than 10 seconds of exposure, and I began to approach anaphylaxis, having to turn off the radio or TV or stop the streaming video, from 2000 (when I used to like McCain) to around 2006 or so. After 2006, I figured out that everything that came out of his mouth was a lie, blunder, delusional, fundy, or based upon bizarro paradigms and listening to him became an exercise in mockery - also, it pre-loaded the material Colbert and Olbermann and Letterman would be using later.

My reaction to Hillary's voice was equally as allergic. Until she withdrew from the primaries, every time I heard her voice, honestly, I had an immediate, visceral, physical reaction, that grew worse until I changed the channel or put the sound on MUTE. I believe my reaction was not an anomaly among Many adult males in the US. Not sexist, just honest. It was my reptilian brain stem reacting, strongly, and all of my intellectual objectivity, I could not suppress it, just as I cannot suppress my allergy to rag weed, mold spores, or pet dander. She's alot smarter and better informed than W, but the allergic reaction was very similar in intensity.

Now, when I hear Obama on the radio or TV or the Internets, I actually try to tune out distractions. I pause and listen. I want to hear what this man is saying. It's a wonderful change. I hope I don't build up a tolerance to his voice in the next 4 or 8 years.

Kerry's verbal blunders renewed for 2009

Sen John Kerry, acting as Foreign Relations Committee Chairman today - since Biden is in Iraq and he has not resigned as chairman yet - offered Chelsea Clinton the opportunity to be an "intern for the day" to be able to see her mom's face during Hillary's confirmation hearing. Once again, Kerry has a good intention, yet he doesn't think it through, and cannot verbalize it. The Clintons, in regards to interns.... well.. yes, I-FEEL-your-Pain Bill DID serve as an intern for the FRC previously, but Bill went on later to have other "relations" with interns. There's a taint on the whole intern reference frame when applied to Clinton's, John. Amazing that this guy couldn't get elected in 2004. Ugh!

Dangers of Gay Marriage Explained to Joe

it helps Joe understand wood working. Too funny!

An excellent idea to get to the root of things

The Reality Based Community has this excellent proposal for President Elect Obama:
"Surely the least hypothesis is that there were, in the Bush Administration and its supporting institutions, one or more Islamofascist moles. The Hansen case reminds us that the best cover for a mole is apparent fanatical hatred of whichever foreign power the mole is working for. So we should seek out our Fifth Column among those who have been loudest in denouncing Islamofascism, and especially among those most insistent on subverting our Constitution to do so."
"That points directly at Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Addington, and Yoo. Perhaps they are innocent, but the presumption of innocence is one of those ideas Yoo properly dismissed as "quaint." Remember, it was precisely the decision to treat terrorism as a law enforcement problem (with responses constrained by the Constitution) that the Bush Administration correctly identified as the key weakness of the Clinton Administration in its response to terrorism."
so therefore...
"The President-elect should, therefore, as his first official act — indeed, perhaps as part of his Inaugural Address — order the immediate detention of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, John Yoo, David Addington, and perhaps a few others, at a secret location outside the sovereign U.S., for the purposes of extracting from them evidence of the plot and the identities of the other participants, who can in turn be detained and interrogated to see what they have to say for themselves."

An excellent idea... it won't happen... but the thought made me smile.

Happy Pongal!

The festival of Pongal starts today, and runs for 3 days. Happy Pongal! - all of my Bangalore co-workers will be spending time with family tomorrow, the officially sanctioned government holiday. It'll be a good chance for me to put a serious dent in my email back-log.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Final Milestones Reached for W

W held his "final" White House press conference today - I do not understand how a "Press Conference" became a "presser" but I will not use that abrupt terminology. It's a press conference. Before Often-Histrionic-Olbermann, Really-likable-and-enthusiastic-Maddow, O'Reilly-n-Other-Faux-Commentators say anything about him tonight, here's my take:

- W did not pass up an opportunity to be an Ass to venerable Helen Thomas, by refusing to take any of her questions. Petty and immature people hold grudges for a long long time, and Helen's made him look pretty foolish, often times in the past 8 years.
- W ALMOST retracted his hubris with the admission of "Clearly putting a "Mission Accomplished" on a aircraft carrier was a mistake."
- W Demonstrated he still has no sense of what a moron he is perceived as by 79% of the country "Sometimes you misunderestimated me." (wait for laughter... no laughter comes)
- W proved he still can lie with a straight face "It has been a honor to work with you." - Bull Shit, he's hated dealing with most of the press. "a honor" (sic "an honor") only if directed towards Talon Media and Fox.
- W ALMOST called one of the largest motivating recruitment tools of jihad against the US - prisoner torture & abuse by a hypocritical regime that claims to promote freedom - a "mistake" but instead called it a "disappointment".
"There have been disappointments. Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment during the presidency. Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don't know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were -- things didn't go according to plan, let's put it that way. "

The best thing about it... no one will have to listen to this all-hat-no-cattle, frat boy, delusional, hubris filled miscreant again, in any official capacity. Good riddance.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

American Presidential Zombies!

I JUST HEARD Rachel Maddow say on her MSNBC show "only 5 living persons who have been elected President were gathered today" - that means there's 39 zombies who could have been in the room! Yikes!

Bailouts Gone Wild?

Pornographer Larry Flynt and 'Girls Gone Wild' exploitive moron millionaire Joe Francis ask Washington for Federal Bailout Money for the "suffering" porn industry. It would be hilarious, if it was not true.

Obama's campaign nominates Gupta for S.G.

Obama 'does the needful' for Attorney General. If Sanjay Gupta is confirmed, me thinks he'll be at least as visible and as effective as C.Everitt Koop.

Château Landure Minervois

this stuff, is so delicious. At 3 to 5 euros a bottle - I got mine at Greenville's Total Wine for $8, you can't beat it for a delicious dinner accompaniment. My buddy Ryan agrees, but cannot find it in Atlanta. Yum!

It is my personal opinion that most Languedoc Roussillon wines are vastly under-rated - just as many Californian, Burgundy, Hungarian, and even some Bordeaux are over-rated and over-priced.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

لن نسكت. - "We Will Not Be Silent"

I read this story today, and it gave me a glimmer of hope for the American Judicial system and American Justice. Combined with ATA's recent apology to the Irfan family for the Airline's inane banning of them from a flight, and the shit storm of controversy that followed, this instance helps to restore my faith, despite Jane Mayer's fastidious destruction of any hope I had for justice in America in her exhaustively detailed "The Dark Side" which I finished reading last night - highly recommended if you want to see how relentlessly EVIL Cheney and his lawyer Addington truly are.

Jet Blue, which from what I have heard and read (but have not yet flown) is supposed to be a pretty nice, pretty progressive, rather friendly airline, stupidly and hysterically (not funny hysterics, but rather, not thinking straight hysterics) forced passenger Raed Jarrar in 2006 to cover up his T-shirt because it read "لن نسكت "- [In English, translated to "We Will Not Be Silent" - also known as the slogan of famous anti-Nazi group, The White Rose ]. The ACLU, who have defended liberals like Rush Limbaugh back in 2004, helped Jarrar to receive a $240K settlement from US Transportation Security Authority officials and from JetBlue Airways.

Just 2 more weeks... 2 more weeks... and hopefully, the dark nightmare we've been in for the last 8 years will start to become a thing of the past. 2 more weeks... I hope the U.S. can make it.

"I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough and Doggone It, Enough People Like Me to be Elected Senator"

Al Franken finally declared the winner in Minnesota's contentious senate race.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

so many sets of eyes

Today marks the 1000th page visit to JustJoeP (1,852 pageviews, 409 Absolute Unique Visitors, 1000 visits from 24 countries/territories, 840 of them from 41 US states). The rest of this month will have lots of intermittent business travel that will interrupt the normal stream of postings. Il faut voir - we shall how it goes.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Coldplay's "recycling"

Earlier this year, Joe Satriani filed suit against Coldplay for using his chord progression & melody from "If I could Fly" in "Viva la Vida" (comparisons here and here). Dr. Desert Flower's iPod played Coldplay's "Politik" while we were taking down the Christmas tree today... and I noticed... 'this sounds just like the incessant chord progression in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later' (aka John Murphy's - In the House In a Heartbeat) , but less ominous and gloomy, when they do montages of deserted streets or while running frantically away from rage infected hordes. IMDb's exhaustive list does not include any mention of Coldplay in the 28 genre.

Perhaps Coldplay just loves to recycle. there are, afterall, a finite number of notes and combinations - granted there are millions of truly unique combinations (16(exp 8) = 4.3 Billion... 8(exp 8) = 16.7 million... 8(exp 8-1) = 2 million, and that's just if they're in a 4/4 time signature). And then there's the loudness and duration of each note...

The human hearing range is 20Hz to 20000Hz. Therefore range is 19980 (humans can't detect 10ths of hertz). Good human hearing can detect from 0.00 to 250.00 (any greater and you're deaf) decibels for short periods of time. So that's 25,000 (for the loudness distinguishing). 25000 * 19980 = 499500000

Planck's time (smallest unit of time) is about 3.3 x 10-44 sec... so that would be about (1.64835 * 10^53)*seconds of duration = number of possible songs.

For 2 second durations, there are a possible:
329,670,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 songs

Hmmm... I am not sure if Coldplay is really "recycling".

Friday, January 2, 2009

Former Iraqi Information Minister Advises Hamas

I was listening to NPR earlier this week (29December), when I heard this:
"Mr. YUSUF: This has nothing to do with firing rockets because there is no rockets fired. There are collaborators, sometimes they fire based on the Israeli asking them maybe to fire some of these home-made projectiles. They know that Hamas did their best to protect the border and not to let anybody firing rockets."
This joker, Ahmed Yusuf, Hamas's "foreign-affairs spokesman"and political adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, on a nationally broadcast network, is stating that his quasi-political / military / fundamentalist religious organization Hamas "did their best to protect the border and not to let anybody firing rockets" and that any rockets that are fired from Gaza are because of "Israeli collaborators". (full transcript here) What a total joke this Ahmed Yusuf is! What a discredit he does to his entire organization! Is he channeling Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf (M.S.S.), former Iraqi Minister of Information? Is M.S.S. now advising Hamas? [For more of M.S.S.'s hilarious lies and bizarre perspective, see this site: ]

I understand posturing, and trying to use language to advance your point in public opinion, but have at least an ounce of truth in it, if you're going to be listened to and have your point made and respected. What a total freakin joke Ahmed Yusuf is. From now on, he needs to S.T.F.Up and he's been placed in the "completely useless" bin.

To drive my point home, 2 days after Yusuf makes a fool of himself and the organization he represents, the BBC reported: "Hamas's military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, says it plans to fire at Israeli targets that are even further away as long as the attacks on Gaza continue." Yeah... that'll produce excellent results I am sure. 100s more (or 100s?) dead in Gaza, and 1/2 a dozen holes in Israeli walls.

Safety Tip: Vacuums & Static in low humidity environments

Earlier this week, I noticed the bathroom ceiling exhaust fan's inlet was dusty, so I got the vacuum cleaner, installed the requisite extension tubes, stood up on the lowered toilet seat, hoisted the vacuum to the necessary height to suck off the dust and BAM! I felt a sharp sting in my right hip, which was nearest the wall. I look down, and feel a 2nd stinging / stabbing sensation and I SEE a static discharge arc, from my hip, to the wall. This new bit of data - and the resulting pain - resulted in a loud cursing utterance.

When using a vacuum cleaner in a low humidity environment (it was 17% RH that day), to remove dust build up on exhaust fan inlet louvers a) turn off the exhaust fan to decrease the static potential b) be cognizant that you'll be fully charged and that the energy needs to go somewhere c) electrons are naturally shy creatures, but when they do reveal themselves, it is often with a bright visible arc, or acrid burning smell accompanied by some noise from the agitated electrons, or fire.

Also, keep in mind, the human body, being composed mostly of water, is nearly a "dead short" - less than 1 Ohm ear to ear, less than 10 Ohms head to toe, and it takes just about 100 mAmps to stop a human heart. Static discharges, as described here, have very little amps (luckily) but have quite a nice voltage kick (hence, the arc and the stabbing sensation).

The "Deliverance" Lovestory inducted into national film archive.

The Library of Congress announced earlier this week that "Deliverance" was one of the 25 movies they would be preserving in the national film archive, along with "The Terminator" and others. Some people call "Deliverance" a 'film about four businessmen on a nightmarish canoe trip in the remote Georgia wilderness' - but it really is a traditional Southern Love Story, misunderstood by so many who have not lived in or near the Chattahoochee River Basin (where James Dickey's novel was based) or the upper Savannah River Basin (where the movie was actually filmed). Having lived almost 16 years in upper NW South Carolina, and having spent time on and around Hartwell, the Savannah River, and the Chattahoochee River, as well as being exposed to Matt's and JoeM's obsession with the genre, I side with the misunderstood love story crowd.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Best Argument Against Facebook

I found this quite humourous, and full of portent.

If your browser does not support the video, link here:

Osbourne Cox

If you have not seen "Burn After Reading", it is definitely a great DVD rental. Osbourne Cox is played superbly by John Malkovich. Best 2 quotes from the movie:
"You are part of a league of morons. Oh, yes. You see you're one of the morons I've been fighting my whole life."
"If you ever carried out your proposed threat you would experience such a shitstorm of consequences my friend your empty little head would be spinning faster than the wheels of your Schwinn bicycle."
Dr.Desert Flower and I enjoyed it immensely in the theater. Not so much like Fargo or Raising Arizona, and closer to Ladykillers.