Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Among the Natives

I will have to work hard to keep this journal of my time in this dark, mapless land.

Dr. Throckmorton discovered an entirely unknown species of boa constrictor last week. Unfortunately it discovered him before he discovered it. We will miss him.

Two weeks ago I joined the savages for worship in their house of prayer. It was crowded, but the service was pleasant. The sermon was about before Jesus came into the world, nobody was required to forgive you, and you weren't required to forgive anybody.

In the pre-Jesus days, the entire world operated on 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.' What that gets us eventually is a lot of blind people who can't enjoy corn on the cob.

Corn on the cob is quite delicious, although I don't believe it was a staple of Mediterranen diets back then. Must remember to ask Dr. Throckmorton about that... oh, never mind.

A question has come up among the natives about whether one should forgive those who've not asked for forgiveness. In this land, I'm not regarded as a learned sage, nor even a basil or oregano for that matter.

I'm accepted as a fellow tribe member who crazily went off wandering. To the natives, it would seem all I learned in my journeys is of less value than what I'd have learned by staying around the village. The natives don't ask my counsel; they tell me the code of their tribe.

I understand they feel no need to forgive those who've not repented. But if all dialogue stops there, well? I can't change the laws of this tribe. Yet if we say in our hearts we won't do forgiveness until another has repented, aren't we washing our hands of the matter, as Pilate did?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thoughts on this strange land

Lexington, TN was founded around 1830 and sits at 300 ft. above sea level halfway between Nashville and Memphis.

Around 7,000 live in Lexington, ten percent of them below the poverty line. The poverty line runs diagonally with Main St. then takes a sharp right turn at the housing project. Naw, just kidding about that last part. The poverty line isn't formally demarcated in geographical terms; it's more vividly delineated in other ways though.

Why doesn't Lexington have a food pantry? There is the old City school that's been turned into a 'community center.' Surely it has at least one former classroom that'd suffice for food pantry HQ rent-free.

There are at least a dozen and perhaps two dozen Churches in Lexington. Added to that, there is the usual mix of fraternal groups. So potential volunteers exist, and a serviceable organizational infrastructure exists. So why doesn't Lexington have a food pantry?

Uhmm... let me see. Because they'd stay out of food 3/4 of the time? Well that's likely true, but what about that other 1/4 of the time? Wouldn't they be sending people home with some canned goods and a few boxes of macaroni & cheese?

A loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter? This week I will contact Hope Ministries. It sits in threadbare dignity in one of the poorest sections of Lexington; street I used to live on in fact.

I want to learn more about the faith of these natives.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Back at base camp

These few days away from Lexington have been nice, but I want to get back to the job. There is much to learn, there are ongoing projects I'm expected to lead soon.

It was comforting to have the Mustang with me in Lexington last week. While grateful for the use of company truck, I didn't feel free to move among the natives in that wild savage land during my first week.

I've been this last week to some of the natives' homes. I find them friendly and open-hearted. One of them gave me a Joan Baez record.

The coming week will be filled with activity. I will be inducted into some fraternal organization the primitives call 'Friends of the Library.' It's possible too I may run out of pot pies and canned chili, so a provisioning excursion into the bush seems likely.

I've invited members of a hostile tribe to join me at a neutral location for a meal. That will happen Thursday, if I get my will updated by then. I've been warned about one warrior of this splinter group; it's said he's a dopehead. That may be, but he is my blood relative. So I will break bread with this hostile tribe, while watching out for blow guns.

The atmosphere at base camp alternates between relaxed and tense. While it's refreshing to be surrounded by familiar sights & sounds, I can sense the wilderness calling me.

I can't push myself too far into the unknown regions without periods of rest. But it's my job to explore.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Endothermic Human Reactions Work

A guy told me today about last night's scene in his wife's six years and counting battle with cancer. Pain med perscription hadn't come in mail on time; he was driving 30 miles to get a few 'get-by' pills for her. All agreed to by Doctor, and then he got jammed up with a nurse who misunderstood. Worked out OK this time though.

Interesting how people open up to you, when you come across as a safe place to unburden. It's not that you're so wonderful, just that you're neutral polarity. Wonder what the equation for something like that would look like, hmmm...

Well shear force is what acts in a non-direct angle against another force. So a person with troubles, there's a force inside him wanting other humans just to understand what he's going through. Humans have lots of ways besides verbal to convey, "I don't really care; I've my stuff to worry about." That's the human shear force.

Gotta be a way to graph human shear force. More narrow the angle of deflection or greater the shear force, the more energy is applied against the force that wants to unburden a little to a fellow human.

If the human shear force graphs high enough, the unburdening force is stopped cold. But not really cold. Sir Isaac proved energy is indestructible. A man so smart, he got a fig cookie named after him!

When it's about forces in motion? The shear force slows or even stops motion. The motion energy is changed to heat at point of contact. Friction. An object in motion by some force can get really hot on the outside when it's stopped suddenly.

But humans are made of chemicals, so I think the shear force acts against the unburdening force in an endothermic reaction.

There are some chemicals, you can bring them to full boil separately, then pour them together and the beaker is cold to the touch. That because the kinetic energy of heated liquids is suddenly trapped in chemical reaction. The heat's still there, but it's now inward heat.

Maybe that's how shear force/unburdening force works among humans, like an endothermic chemical reaction. You can stop people from telling you their troubles. You're not stopping the force that makes them want to feel fellowship though. Perhaps you're turning it into unhelpful interior heat.

I'm glad I listened to the guy. I hate there've been so many times I'd have brushed him off. Hope there won't be any more such times of that behavior from me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day Two in this Strange Land

Trevor got in quicksand yesterday and the last we saw of him was a pith helmet... no wait, that's a Tarzan movie. My journey of exploration without a map goes fairly smooth so far; no quicksand encountered yet.

I'm happy but surprised that Lucy the Mustang only needed a new battery. Sounded to me like the motor was doing sufficient rpm's to crank, but I'm glad to be wrong this time. It's tremendously helpful my boss gave me use of the company truck this week.

April will come fetch me on Friday; Sunday after Church I drive Ms. Lucy back into this wild, uncharted country.

I'm getting along well with the natives, but then again many explorers have thought that right up to the last minute, agreed? There is a machine at the convenience store at bottom of the hill... I need to say a few words on that topic.

It's a modified version of the penny pitching machines I was first introduced to at Long Beach's New Pike amusement park, around 1964.

Penny pitchers, glass covered table with many sets of little concentric circles, each having a number. Goal is to scoot your penny through the narrow slot so it lands to complete electrical circuit between the concentric circles. If done, whatever number is on that spot, that's how many pennies the machine shoots you back.

Were such machines to even exist nowadays, I think they'd have to up the voltage in the concentric circles. Pennies are now copper clad zinc, and zinc's not a good conductor. Besides, who wants to win a bunch of pennies? So both electrically and intrinsically, a penny ain't what it was in 1964.

This quarter machine down at the convenience store? About the size of a jukebox. It's a moving shelf gag. One scoots his quarter through the slot in hopes it will achieve some critical mass with other quarters on the moving plate, and a bonanza of two bit pieces will fall into the payoff slot.

Sounds complex I know, but the handwritten sign on the machine isn't complex at all. It's beautiful prose, so succinct I think Hemingway would be jealous.

"Have enough quarters because if you have to go get change you lose your place in line."

Something about exactly like that I'm pretty sure, is what the sign said. So there's often a line of people waiting to feed quarters to that monster, huh?

Wonder how many police officers stop in that convenience store every week and walk right past that machine? That's an illegal gambling device.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

And Away We Go... Again

I love humans, we're hilarious! Hey dig me, I redecorated my blog. See? Am TOO in control of my fate! That's a Vermeer painting; he didn't favor landscapes. He found delight in interior views.

So it's time to change blog content too. These past two years have been interesting, but a new life chapter officially begins today. I'm no longer going to be pointing out silly things in the news. Wish I could say it's because I've run out of material but nope, not that!

To think I know WHY I'm being sent back to Lexington would mean I didn't learn a blessed thing these past two years. I only know a path was cleared and I was invited to take it. After some deliberation I decided to go.

Quite my nature to go exploring, but I've always insisted on a detailed map of places I'll be going. Occurs to me at the back end of these two years, I drew those maps myself. So I drew a map of a place I'd never been yet. Well, a worthless map can be a comforting thing to have along when journeying to unknown places, that's all I'm saying.

Now I know I don't have a map. So a blog content change is in order.

One thing I'm pretty certain about? I'll soon be invited to see things I've looked at before. There's an important distinction between seeing and looking at.

And I'll be trying to see lots of things I never even looked at before. An engineering role awaits that's entirely different from anything I've known. I don't even know enough about it to predict my chances for victory.

So there will be many things to write about. Exploration without a map; not even a worthless map I drew myself beforehand.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Uppity Asians

Well I see Burma is having elections, hmmm... wonder what they're voting on? Probably which color for the jackboots crushing their windpipes. So it could go either way I guess, black or brown.

It's not Burma anymore, not technically. It's Myamar or something. There's ingratitude for ya. British empire worked hard marching red coats all over that part of the world, providing them easily pronounceable names.

Now there's no more Bombay, Calcutta, or Peking. What is it with those folks in Asia? I think they're just trying to be difficult.

President Obama is over there right now, presumably to make the case our Asian trading partners actually contribute to US job growth. Hmmm... interesting ground to stake out. Perhaps Mr. Obama can get millions of unemployed Americans to believe that; but I know darned well the Indians and Chinese don't believe it.

And that's a really funny thing about how this East/West dance is shaping up. We think we're playing checkers, and the other folks are playing chess. The Indians and Chinese are economic nationalists.

To them, all Western talk about "we'll raise their per capita income and then they'll be able to purchase manufactured goods from us" is hilarious. They don't see a future like that. Asian leaders see themselves as the recipients of a massive importation of manufacturing expertise, paid for with low labor costs.

Indians and Chinese don't foresee some future where they buy US made chainsaws. They'll make their own chainsaws.

Interesting question is who really has the upper hand in Asia; China or India? Controversially, I believe it's India.

In the weird little quirks that history often provides, India is in much better position for the 2010 global economy, due to a 19th century spent with red coats.

Law, business and accounting according to Western practice has been well known in India for over 150 years now. It's ingrained there; not a second language but mother tongue. Hey? Did you know a guy used to export New England ice to India, early 1800's? Yeah, that's a hilarious story, but must stay on topic.

China, enormous land with lots of natural resources. Those murdering thugs in charge are very adept at locking up even more natural resources. You thought I was gonna say locking up dissidents, didn't ya? Well they're really good at that too, but I was talking about something else. Africa is swarming with Chinese right now, wherever there are natural resources to be optioned. I don't know if the Chinese have begun mining copper in Afghanistan yet, but the deal's been signed.

But the middle kingdom is really new to ground level capitalism. Modern business, there are hundreds of transactional points along the way where corruption and corner cutting impact efficiency. It's there that India has edge over China.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nothing in the News

It's the dangedest thing, not a blessed thing to report on... oh wait! I heard there was some sort of election yesterday!

At this writing, it appears the jerks stomped the idiots. Well, there's a contest we can all be excited about.

I really don't think the GOP knows what's going on, yet. Party power structure interprets as votes against Obama. Well... that's not it.

Now here's a historical funny, bear with me? There used to be a chain of KKK Grocery stores. Yep, Indiana early 1900's. Those stores quickly went broke, because Klan sympathizers more enjoyed being against coloreds, jews and them catholics than being for something.

Majority of American voters though, through most of our history, cast votes FOR something; not against. We're a really funny people. And by funny, I don't mean 'Ha ha' Rodney Dangerfield funny. Nope. I mean we're a 'funny' people like somebody you wouldn't wish to sit next to on an airplane. But that's how we are and we're pretty much stuck with it.

The GOP makes a painful miscalculation, if it thinks voters elected them to be
anti-Obama. I hate when it falls on me to say stuff nobody else is saying...

Americans think 'Trillion' is a very frightening word. They don't like to hear that word associated with Federal government activities. Tell them Science has discovered a planet made of chocolate chip Ice Cream, a Trillion miles away, and they won't mind hearing such.

But a Trillion dollar budget number, many Americans get real nervous. That's why the jerks ran the tables last night. The voters have hired them so as to never hear the word 'Trillion' from Washington DC again.

If the GOP can learn that, and do agressive budget cuts? Will restore consumer confidence a lot. We shall see...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Drive drive drive

Yeah, they have seat belts on shopping carts now. I'm all for protecting the little ones, but? One reaches a point of diminishing returns eventually; Mr. Darwin is going to have his say on the matter.

Back in the 1960's there was an alternative child protective mechanism in shopping carts. It was called, 'Sit still and act like you've got good sense or Mom will pop those jaws for you.' It was surprisingly effective, to be so low-tech.

But we don't do barbaric parenting things like that anymore; instead we physically restrain our children like they were Hannibal Lecter. Sadly though, barbarism hasn't been entirely banished from our culture. There is still I-55.

I-55 is a marvel of civil engineering, cutting a more or less straight line through Mississippi in North/South direction. The posted speed limit is 70mph but everyone understands that's merely a suggestion. The observed speed limit is 80mph and there is a bad wreck on I-55 at least once a week.

OK, so everybody is going in the same direction. There are no stop lights or cross traffic, so... how come I see the MediVac helicopter so often? Well, the sameness of the landscape can lull one into a semi-conscious state I guess. And there are cell phones. Some people change lanes without consulting the rear view mirror.

Hmmm, well here's a thought. Doctors now have a pretty good handle on what they call 'Clean room syndrome.' It's where babies are protected from encountering any germs or dirt, and then become children allergic to everything. This because human development requires some early exposure to the natural world, in order to kick in a normal immune system.

Maybe there's an as yet unidentified human reflex system. Maybe something called 'Safe room syndrome' stunts its development. If you keep a person trussed up and encased in protective plastic through most of their early life, do they really know, on an instinctive level that this world is chock full of opportunities to get Ouchies?

Now you know where seat belts are really needed? Church pews. Must get in touch with Rick Warren on that one...

Friday, October 22, 2010

See it on TV

Well the Chilean miners are in sunlight again. Amazing story all around really.

Is it surprising there were faith conversions down in that hole, a half mile below the surface? Not really. Happens like that in some lives.

Is it significant that a shaft failure happened, and there was a safe room ready, and discipline/training paid off? Yeah, that's pretty significant. Much of the world is getting a lot better at protecting those we ask to do dangerous things.

And then, and then. Once the "We're alive" signal was received, ah yes and then. Some of the best, most mercurial spirited applied science people descended on Chile. Don't watch the movie, and I'm sure it's in the works now. Maybe somebody will write a good book. You can read it instead.

There are brains in this world who will never win a Nobel. There is no Nobel Prize for kicking ass and making things happen against all odds. There are men and women in this world who think & say things like "Yeah yeah yeah the generator is blown. I saw a CAT D-9 when I drove in, we ought to be able to..."

Lots of people like that descended on Chile. To God be the glory in all things, but the Father provided some unorthodox human brain power at the site.

We gringos, most of us don't know the heroes topside nor the miners down below. Latin American TV covered it very extensively.

And that's the deal really; it was all on TV. We're entering an era where we can watch live coverage of slow motion tragedies. Watch the Gulf Oil leak, a mile below sea level. In some ways, an environment more like Jupiter, than my patio in Olive Branch.

Watch what you can't do squat about, 24/7 if you wish!

Oddly enuf this started with a mousey little Apothecary who poisoned his slatternly, artistically pretentious wife, so he could be with the lonely little stenographer girl, or whatever she was.

I really don't think Scotland Yard was onto Crippen and Friendgirl, until the couple bolted. There the doomed lovers were on ship bound for Canada. Somebody (Chief Steward I think) read APB and wondered if couple travelling as father & son, and... things ensued.

Because of just instituted short wave radio breakthrough, folks on both side of Atlantic were digging the cat/mouse adventure. Media blackout on the ship. Meanwhile, a ship was racing from Liverpool (as I recall) to intercept.

This Crippen thing is first time I can find, where a drama unfolded real time in the media, day by day. That was in 1910. Happy 100th Birthday, media circus!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A beautiful Experiment

I tend to avoid blonde jokes. They're sort of the new Pollack joke, and as such most of them aren't even funny. I do admire the blonde 911 call though...

"Help, my house is on fire, send the Fire Dept!"
"Yes ma'am, how do we get there?"
"DUH, big red truck?"

Rule Number One: All border regions are very interesting places, have always been very interesting. They seldom give up their secrets to the casual observer though.

NW Tennessee along KY border, no exception to Rule 1. Casey Jones was born around there. The James boys visited that area. Underground railroad ran through there, and so did the Natchez Trace stage line. You won't hear any of that stuff on the evening news. But the South Fulton Fire Dept. let a house burn this week on purpose, and that's BIG news.

It's a beautiful experiment, I'm no nit-picker. Could've been a perfect experiment is all I'm saying. See, the details of the home owner enter as what's called 'Statistical Noise' in Engineering. His house burned, but he's a victim who doesn't draw much sympathy. It's just $75 a year for rural fire protection; he'd already had four fires in past decade.

Would've been perfect experiment had home owner been a neutral presence. Like he's a single OTR truck driver, just forgot to write the $75 annual check. Then we could have a perfect division between those who instinctively side with home owner, and those who understand the Fire Dept. quandry.

Eh, there's no such thing as a perfect experiment, so you work with what you have.

Stripped from statistical noise, the experiment is ethical conduct. Citizens of South Fulton pay higher taxes than surrounding rurals, in part to support Fire Dept. As such, it's their best interests that are paramount, isn't it?

Were we Greek gods, we could run the clock back and run the experiment different ways, and focus on the statistical noise first. U want the fire to get fought don't you? Go ahead and admit it. Maybe Jeff Bridges or Randy Quaid as the firetruck captain. He's talking on cellphone to Mayor, getting clear instructions NOT to fight fire, as homeowner is a system gamer and sends a bad message to save his home. Admit it, you'd like the Mayor to be evil, like that guy in 'Jaws.'

And Jeff Bridges/Randy Quaid says, "What, what? I can't hear you, you're breaking up, bye." Then he turns to his lads and says "Hell boys, I didn't join up to watch homes burn, even if it means my job!"

That's a rousing concept, and could make a commercially successful movie. It exploits the American strain for individualism. But what if a house inside South Fulton city limits was on fire at very same time?

Rule Number Two: If you want to understand a system, consider its extreme margins. If you have a really sweet old rural lady who forgot to pay the $75 and her house is burning while she's off visiting relatives, AND you have a South Fulton city taxpayer whose house is burning, AND just one big red truck, what do you do?

That's right; you prioritize and see to your core responsibility first. So in the extreme margins we understand system as a whole. You make the rule, communicate the rule, and enforce the rule. That's in best interest of South Fulton taxpayers.

Movies can be quite inspirational at times, and challenge us to consider our fundamental values. But they're just play-acting, calculated to follow well known formulas to earn revenue. The real world is a messy place. Had that Fire Company said, 'To Hell with the rules' and a firefighter had died in process (see Rule Number 2) South Fulton would be on hook for at the least a big worker's comp claim, and at most a lengthy wrongful death lawsuit if Jeff Bridges/Randy Quaid authorized the rebellion. Plaintiff would eventually win.

I know some feel quite differently about the fire, and that's why it's such a pretty experiment. I'm just looking at it as a system in operation. Make the rule, communicate the rule, enforce the rule. Enforcement means enforcement; look it up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Brighten up the room

When you're married, there will be times (usually during 4th quarter of a tied game)that a woman says, "Something something something would brighten up the room, don't you think?"

Wait until the game is over, and then go out to the garage and hit your thumb with a hammer. Because that's going to happen sometime during your upcoming adventure, so why delay the inevitable.

First, she doesn't really care what you think about her 'room brightening' project. She was only trying to be nice, in her womanly way. In these things, she only values your male upper body strength. Yes, male musculature is different from female, in case you haven't watched the news lately. Our superior strength allows us to lift heavy objects... and drop them on our foot.

Having been married for thirty years, I know these things. So it was with a spirit of joyous, sweaty abandon that I followed my wife into the mantel replacement project. Well, that's not entirely accurate. More of a "no way to get out of it" spirit I should think.

My only stipulation was that the new mantel be made in the USA. She ordered it after much perusing of other mantels. The big day arrived, the huge box arrived with big 'Made in the USA' stamped on it. Turns out the box was actually made in the US, but the contents were made in China.

It would be swell if the adventure ended with the mantel install, but nope. If you think that, you're probably not married. Next you have to pick out the new marble tile for around the fireplace. Marble comes in about three different colors, each of which is available in 1800 different shades.

So there we were at one of many many (I had no idea, but she did) local stores that sell marble tile. This was frustrating for both of us I think. She kept asking my opinion, I kept saying, "I like the light one." I was not talking shade, but weight of the many boxes I'd have to haul from store to trunk of car, then from trunk of car to living room.

But we eventually got it all straight, and the project got finished, and it does brighten up the room. Hey, little known fact of anthropology? Neanderthals died out because they couldn't figger how to 'brighten up' the cave, had to sleep on the couch, so low birth rate. Cro Magnons invented cave painting, so that's why we're all here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Automation Nation

So here's the deal? You can invent a robotic coal miner. Yep, no more tragic news from West Virginia. You make a billion bucks and are revered. Would be despised in West Virginia though, I promise you that.

There are no happy songs about being a coal miner, or if there are, I've never heard them. Some of the most moving American music ever written is about coal mining.
But if there's a song that goes, "I'm so happy to be right here, in the dark in constant fear" I must've missed that tune.

I've met people with grandfathers who were coal miners. Paid in company script, only good at the company store, deduction for company provided housing and utilities, such as they were. That was the bad ol' days. But nobody in West Virginia wants you to build a robot coal miner, except the stock holders in the mining company, and they probably don't live in West Virginia anyways.

That's where you always get to with automation. You want to protect people, but the obvious outcome is less direct labor. They know that too. West Virginia miners don't want you to 'safe' them out of a paycheck. People in Batesville too, know the work drag jobs and their wrists are hurting when they get home. They don't want you to 'protect' them out of a paycheck either.

So what would you do? America's only chance to compete with lower labor costs in the third world is to use less labor. You're really really good at automating human functions.

I really no longer believe the Third Wave of the Industrial Revolution will come in peacefully. I can't imagine how I'm gonna ever get all those Batesville folks in lab coats. A good number of them would likely put their lab coats on backwards, I suspect. But they want to work, so where do I send them?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Everybody is Racist

Tonight I start my long planned series on words that have been used to the point of meaninglessness. I know, I know! You thought I just threw back a couple of shots of Jack Daniels and let 'er rip, right? Nope, not like that at all. I actually put a lot of thought in what I'm going to write about. (Depressing, ain't it?)

Well nevertheless, here we go...

The word 'Racism' gets a lot of media play these days. People who favor the new AZ law about checking immigration status; they're racist I've heard. And a prominent media personality recently questioned whether President Obama is a racist.

As an aside? Mr. Glen Beck is a Mormon, and they're not allowed to drink coffee. Yet, Mr. Beck appears highly caffineated to me, any time I see him. So let's all be thankful he's not allowed to drink coffee.

Everybody is racist, dependent on how the word is defined. What the heck does 'Racist' mean anyway? Does it mean we all harbor preconceptions about people who don't look the same as us?

If that's what 'Racist' means, than yeah, we're ALL racists. I don't blame you for feeling shocked. See, I have scads of free time, insatiable curiosity, and a three pound sponge between my ears where a BRAIN would come in handy, IF ya know what I mean?

So I know lots of things that don't appear on the surface, to be worth knowing. Science has already proved that we're ALL racists.

Children with Williams Syndrome have a mutated gene. It expresses in many ways, facial, organ problems... and hyper-social disorder. A Williams Syndrome child isn't afraid of strangers; you can't get it into their heads to fear strangers.

In a large sampling size study, four year olds were shown pics of kids, and told one of these kids had done a bad thing. So guess which kid? Four year olds, some of whom had never seen some of the ethnicities in those pictures. They chose, sampling errors aside, 100 percent a child of different ethnicity as the 'evil doer.'

The Williams Syndrome kids were all over the map. Their mutated gene disallows them from seeing 'others' in photographs. This means, unless you have Williams Syndrome, you probably instinctively are wary around other ethnicities. It's in our genes.

Was a time probably in human history, when that was a survival trait. It's like the appendix really. Vestigal organ (NO, I didn't have to look that word up!) and vestigal genetic trait.

So we're all Racist in some small way. All these people hurling the word around have made it absolutely useless. What do they think the word 'Racist' actually means?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I see where the Pope visited with Queen of England for a little while today. They probably got along quite famously, I should think. After all, they both wear funny hats. Always a good icebreaker when meeting strangers; stress the things you share in common...

And so last Sunday at Church was grandparents day. Quite a turnout. Now given that some of these visiting grandparents might be of an age where they don't enjoy long walks to the Church door? I decided most Christian thing I could do was opt for the YMCA parking lot about 50 yards west of the Church parking lot. Already quickly approaching 11:00am, wheeled in, and there's a 1990 blue Mustang convertible in the YMCA parking lot! Ha ha, I'll park next to it, though that's a bit farther walk.

Turned out there was a human being inside that blue Mustang, and he wanted to talk to me!!! I breathed deep and whispered to myself 'Uhh-Oh' as he smiled broadly and asked, "So, you want to trade Mustangs?"

The pragmatic thing to do at this point? I should've told him, "I'd really like to have a polite, encouraging interaction with you, really I would. But Church is about to start. If I don't shake a leg, will be walking in during announcement segment, and I'll feel noticed. So you see Mr. Man, it's not you, really it's not. I gotta get to Church, where we gather to celebrate God's love for humanity, and His open door policy about listening to any human any time. So you see what kind of bind u got me in here, right buddy?"

That's the pragmatic thing to do. But I figured it was my own fault for parking next to Mr. Talkypants, so might as well take some of my medicine.

He asked how I was coming with my restoration, and without waiting for answer launched a torrent of words at me on his Mustang restoration. Told him I'm at least mechanically sound; motor has less than 30K miles on it. That impressed him.

Mr. Talkypants wanted to discuss fuel consumption. Told him mine is lousy, 20mph. He said how odd, since he's got a 4 cylinder and is about 20mph. Explained to him even though he's got an automatic transmission, should still be getting high 20's with that motor. Advised him to check fuel filters.

Then I went to Church, where I was a tad late, and likely missed announcement of the ladies sewing circle covered dish luncheon being rescheduled. I hope you're satisfied, Mr. lousy mileage 4 cylinder Mustang Talkypants!!!

Eh, most human lives, some kind of meetings are regular happenings. Just yesterday in fact, I was about to leave work when all of a sudden a meeting broke out! Though new to that factory, I'm rather experienced in conference rooms. In only 90 minutes, managed to assign projects to three other people, and only get one assigned to me. Not bad huh? Yep, I still got the ol' magic.

In all of our life meetings, there's somebody keeping score on our performance, and it isn't necessarily a human with a clipboard in a conference room. We should be mindful of that in all our encounters.

Why the windmill picture? Because it's a beautiful work of art, OK? Note how the artist juxtaposes the blue sky against the parched landscape. In composition, the eye is drawn up at a diagonal to the right towards the windmill, which is the focus of the work... I learned how to talk like that in Art Appreciation by the way. Best $850 I ever spent my entire life so far!

Little known fact about windmills? They get lousy gas mileage.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just Like Kerouac

Well, I'm not a revered Beat generation writer, and I don't have the very colorful private life he had (thank you Jesus) but other than that? Just like Jack Kerouac I'm 'On the Road.'

Except that he went different places, and I go the same place six days a week. Batesville, MS. 600 miles a week in the Mustang.

I'm an old hand at long commutes though. Did a decade once, 500 miles a week. Now, for you Discovery Channel watchers, let me spare you doing the calculations? I already done did it in me head once, because long commutes facilitate wide ranging ruminations. Translation: A bored and hungry brain will find something to chew on.

1992-2002 I drove 250,000 miles. I drove to the moon! I drove around the world TEN times! As an experienced road warrior, now revisiting old haunts, I can provide some inside info about long commutes...

Depending on the commuter, one's brain will at some point go on cruise control. For some it takes a week, others a while longer. You hardly know what towns you've passed; unless you're running late. Me of course, I never run late. Have to fill up the Mustang every other day, but I always factor in that time bucket. Hey, I'm an Engineer, and we like to say stupid things like 'time bucket' all right?

Now, about that Mustang? I can't say enuf good stuff about the ol' girl actually. First, a 1988 Mustang doesn't have a computer in it. It's not a NORAD missle defense system; it's a car. Keep oil, water and gas in it, IN the proper places (that's VERY important, that proper place thing, trust me!) and the car just wants to run.

Second, the car seems to have developed a fan club at the Batesville factory. Yeah, no kidding! At least four people have asked would I sell it. Most recent guy, explained to him I've got more money in it than he'd be willing to pay, so nope. When he heard the Mustang has in it a crate motor 5.0 litre with under 30K miles on it, his face got a look like some Saint in a Renaissance painting.

Many others have gone out of their way to tell me what a cool car my 1988 Mustang is. According to the jargon apparently, it's a 'Stanger.' Well I don't know about any of that stuff.

I didn't choose this car, all right? More of a 1962 MGA guy here, if you want to talk clean, classic lines. But I still maintain about my 1988 Mustang?

A. It doesn't have a computer in it. I really don't need something that senses the road is wet and automatically changes gear ratio for me in response. I can do that for myself. It's called 'slowing down.'

2. I put another $10K in that car, I'm gonna have one heck of car, would sell for about $10K I betcha!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stupid David News!!!

Loyal readers? It's seldom I can rise to the levels of incompetence regularly displayed by our elected officials, but?

Yesterday afternoon I became newsworthy (against my will) and it's my journalistic duty to report. Fourth estate and all that jazz, y'know?

So there I was Friday afternoon. I'm a temp Engineer you see; I get my paycheck from the temp agency, which happens each Thursday afternoon. Well I waited around on Thursday about thirty minutes after I clocked out... no people with checks arrived.

I went home. Friday, I awoke with a renewed vigor, and a burning desire to actually get a paycheck. I'm Quixotic like that at times.

So, and here's the good part? I waited around thirty-five minutes on Friday, and got a check. Thought to meself, 'This is all right, can do this mission. Have a deposit slip, can make it to the bank before closing. It's only an hour drive.'

It is "usually" an hour drive, but the word 'usual' is vastly misused, my opinon!

I'm driving home, and halfway there I enter into a long skinny parking lot, even though speed limit signs clearly read 70mph. Turns out it was all for a roadside grass fire, and you have to address that kind of thing, because after the grass starts burning, it might catch the Kudzu on fire.

I'm not going to make it to the bank before closing. Oh well, stop at a covenience store for a six pack on the way home, resigned to engaging my backup plan with cheerful spirit...

Hey, that's interesting! I don't have my debit card! Sorry Mr. Clerk person of ambiguous sexual orientation, must've left it back at where I put gas in the car. Backing out of convenience store, came within an inch (actually more like .25 inches honestly) getting plowed into by large SUV. Jumped out of car, told very shaken lady, no harm no foul, God bless you.

Made it home in time to cancel my debit card, hopefully before anybody used it to buy widescreen plasma TV off E-bay. Guess we'll find out soon, huh?

I'm not supposed to be newsworthy. A large part of my entire adult life has been devoted to NEVER being involved in anything worth telling. Sigh... I blew that on Friday afternoon! But I will not let these events break my commitment to be really really boring.

In fact? Right now, I'm even starting to bore myself! How's that for success?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Memphis News

It appears the spate of heat related deaths is at an end for 2010. Now we can go back to discussing murder related deaths; it's a comfort zone thing.

And I heard on news this week, some sort of Jethro Bodine style meth lab got busted at Rose of Sharon campground. I used to drive past that sign a lot, so I know it's out from Covington, TN. Always thought that's such an intriguing name for an RV park.
Now the three arrested were charged with: possession of drug paraphenalia, methamphetamine manufacture, and... trespassing.

Really I don't know why our prosecutorial system works like that, but I've noted it for many years...

'The suspects are charged with murder, bank robbery, arson, and illegal discharge of firearms within the city limits.'

Of course by now it's entrenched custom, but I'd kind of like to know how that whole thing got started. Was it a bargaining chip for use with dim witted criminals?

Something like "I shouldn't be doing this, but darn it I like you mixed up kids. So just tell me where I can find five or six more meth labs, and I'll make that trespassing charge go away."

Or was it originally District Attorney insurance? Like if the guys get off on murder, bank robbery and arson, you can at least assure the voters you nailed their butts on that illegal discharge of firearms charge!!!

But it's not all murder and meth in Memphis. The buzz lately is about identity theft, and this time nobody in Memphis was the criminal. Turns out some PC virus out of Russia infected system at Jason's Deli, and dozens of credit card accounts were accessed.

How the Secret Service knows the virus came from Russia, they don't say. Well these kinds of things always make me nostalgic for the USSR. Yeah, back in the 1970's you accuse the Ruskies of something like that, it'd be a big deal at the UN.

Soviet Ambassador would make big speech like, "Nyet, nyet! Ve never heardsky of this Jason Deli. Is all plot by warmongering Capitalist oppressors!"

Time marches on though. Russia is now run by organized crime; not really a lot of interest in face saving protestations over there anymore.

So what happens is Jason's Deli will lose a lot of business, the credit card companies have to restore customers for the thefted funds, and the Russian hackers get away clean with the loot. We can't arrest them, not even for trespassing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Copper clad Zinc

Well I sure didn't know they were redesigning the penny. Kind of embarrasses me too, because I'm 'sposed to be all out in front, cutting edge on stuff, you betcha. But somehow they slipped this one past me, and now the back of a US penny looks like a Chuckie Cheese token.

I suppose it was done to make counterfieting more difficult, something like that.

Maybe I can recover my lost sense of info-omnipotence with a story that's not in the news much...

While everybody is whooping it up about Ground Zero Mosque and Michelle Obama's vacation, a bill is plodding through legislative channels, called FSSA.

If enacted, it will give FDA authority to regulate food supplements. I know, you thought the FDA already had that power. But they don't, not really.

Like, some people take bee pollen pills. Don't laugh, it's true! And other people take fish oil pills. These substances are considered food. We have Federal employees who are supposed to ensure bee pollen pills (by the way, they do know that bees don't make pollen, don't they? The pills should be correctly called 'flower pollen pills' or something) are produced under hygenic conditions and don't contain lead or ebola or anything. There's also a line that food supplement marketers can cross, where the FDA won't let you claim ginseng extract cures leprosy for example.

And when something goes wrong, very wrong, there are regulatory channels to pull a substance from market immediately, as like happened with ephedera a few years back.

Other than that, all these substances are considered food, and food's treated quite differently than drugs. That is why it's the FDA after all...

That would change if DSSA becomes law. Under DSSA, food supplements would go through an FDA approval process, much like drugs currently do.

I actually don't think it will pass, because there's a lot of money on the line here. Look? Whatever noble intent DSSA may have, one must observe the law of unintended consequences. Another big Federal bureaucracy, food supplement people lobbying Congress people for help clearing hurdles, opportunity for more corruption.

If it's made from food, and it's not poison, you should be able to buy as much as you can afford, and gobble up as much as your stomach will take.

All my adult life I've been trying to get people to think critically, with mixed results to say the least. Look? If there was a pill that enlarged breasts or penises, do you think the company making it would need to spend millions in advertising? Nope, I don't think so either.

You could hire another 100,000 new federal bureaucrats. It'll get you another 1,000 Washington lobbyists too, but what did you accomplish? Did you banish illogical hope from the human heart?

There will always be people who want desperately to believe certain things are true, and there will always be people who exploit illogical hope. About the best we can do is keep a lid on the flagrantly fraudulent claims, and make sure nobody's selling poison to suckers. We're already doing that, so I don't see a need for DSSA.

It probably won't pass any way, because a lot of money is on the line. Campaign contributions for Senators who oppose it.

But I don't have time to think about that. My Doctor said I should take a zinc supplement, so I'm going to swallow a penny each day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting Behind

Time flies by when one is actually employed, huh? But I said I was going to post twice a week, and twice a week I shall! I'm committed! Actually I probably should've been committed long ago, except we mostly don't put crazy people in the big cookie jar place anymore.

I think what we do now is give them a shopping cart and assign them a street corner. Something like that.

Now, there's another peeve I have with modern technology? Makes it harder to spot crazy people. Yep, there's that little earpiece now, and you can walk around all day appearing to be in conversation with your inner demons, but you're totally sane; just on the phone is all.

Tell ya, now we're down to one last lunatic identifier, and it's the shopping cart.

But I mostly like modern technology. You can watch on your computer, some wellhead a mile under the Gulf of Mexico just spewing crude oil to beat the band. Can't do a darned thing about it, but you can watch it!

And there are these miners trapped in Chile. About two thirds of a mile underground I believe. Saw them on TV this morning. I think probably they'll have a 24/7 webcam going in the near future. They should be out by Christmas, and I think somebody is missing a million dollar idea here.

It's just a whole lot better than 'Survivor' or 'Amazing Race' or whatever the heck TV has running at the moment. Just shoot some contracts down the little tube... uhm, David? How could they get the signed contracts back UP the tube?

Don't bother me with details! I'm a big picture guy here! Get these trapped miners signed, and we'll run them 8:00pm on Wednesdays. America's first 'reality' show what IS reality!

I was happy to see the trapped miners on TV this morning, and that's good idea from the Chileans, consulting with NASA on the psych stuff. There's just one little thing I don't really understand about what the rescue authorities told the miners?

They cautioned them not to get fat, because they might not fit in the escape shaft being drilled now. OK... aren't you folks who are telling the miners not to get fat, the same people who are sending them rations?

I mean, like what? Is the Under Assistant Secretary for Chilean mine rescue on the phone with them saying, "Don't get fat else you won't fit in the escape tunnel... want some more candy bars?"

Now you know what would make a really scary story? They're all down there, and one by one they start getting murdered. That would TOTALLY make a great horror movie!
I don't believe any such thing is gonna happen down there in Chile though. I watched the entire trapped miner video, and didn't see a shopping cart, so I think they're OK for now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

ELVIS: All American

Yep, I look good in a suit; no doubt about that. Now here's a handy tip for job seekers in this uncertain economy. All employers do drug testing these days, but don't bring a urine sample to your first interview. To some HR people, this comes off as a bit too eager.

Well, this week is the time to observe; Elvis is still dead, and yet very much alive. Turnout for this year's Graceland remembrances appeared strong as ever. It's impossible to draw a graph for future interest in Mr. Presley. While it's true that Valentino's grave doesn't get many visitors anymore, each cultural phenomena is a unique energy system, with its own unique attributes.

I've never toured Graceland, out of respect for the reverential. I just wouldn't want to try to keep a straight face that long. It'd be disrespectful to those who feel bonded with Elvis, for me to bust out laughing.

Elvis, I actually dig Elvis a lot. His final years appear incredibly lonely and sad to me, but I like a good yarn, and nobody could make up an Elvis, except Elvis.

Incredibly talented. I really can't say whether he was a better singer or dancer or actor. Yeah, actor! "Flaming Star" and "King Creole" are fine performances. "Loving You" is just great acting. Even "Kid Galahad" where you could already see beginnings of the Elvis formula movie, the boy held up well in an all star cast.

The later gaudy excess, it gets a pass with me. This is what happens when hillbillies get filthy rich overnight. To study a system, consider its extremes...
Elvis was about the poorest hillbilly who ever got the filthiest rich the overnightedness, and there ya go! That's what it looks like, OK?

All these kinds of cultural phenomena require a potluck of time, space and person. And that all came together in Elvis. I actually believe part of the enduring appeal is what a quintessentially American story his arc represents.

People still believe that anybody can make it here, with talent and some luck. That's a very new concept in human history, and still has little traction in places most of the Earth's population dwells. I shall now invent a brand new word!!!

Ameritocracy: The belief that one can rise as high as his talents enable, with only a modicum of pure dumb luck.

Now some may argue, such a belief is outdated in 2010. Why anybody would argue with ME, the smartest unemployed person in this whole dang country, I dunno, but they may.

Because as Yogi Berra once said, or probably thought about saying? "Just when you expect it least, the inevitable happens."

It may feel in 2010 like the cards are stacked. But it might've felt like the cards were stacked in 1903 when two bicycle mechanics changed the world. It might've felt the same to Henry Ford with his crazy idea to take automobile from luxury item to mass produced consumer item. And I bet it felt that way to young Elvis in the early 1950's. Probably the cards have always been stacked, but there's always a way to start a brand new game with revolutionary rules.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ms. Patricia

Didn't Patricia Neal do some kind of coffee commercials, back in the 1960's or something? I'm fairly sure she did. Maybe it wasn't coffee. I remember Madge 'you're soaking in it' Manicurist hawking dishwashing liquid. And I recall friendly Mrs. Olson showing up at folks' homes with a bag of grocery and Folger's coffee.

And there was Cora too, played by Margaret Hamilton, former OZ witch and allergic to water, but not coffee apparently. Maxwell House maybe?

Was also a 1960's coffee commercial where a woman privately wondered, "Hmmm. Jim never asks for a second cup of coffee at home." This was back in the era where wives stayed darn near deranged every waking moment, worrying how they could better serve their man. Little known fact? That's why Valium was invented.

I'm sure no expert on the 1960's really. I was mostly a little jug eared kid. Only thing I know for sure about the era? Was I on that island, my agenda would've been clear:
1. Kill Gilligan
B. Fix that hole in the boat

Uhm, what was I gonna type about? Oh yeah! Patricia Neal! One of the greatest actresses of Hollywood's golden era passed this week. I won't dwell on her personal life. She was an artist, and female screen artists rarely get treated appropriately.

Look here? You think Kate Hepburn was a great actress? PISH! Kate played two roles; funny Hepburn and serious Hepburn. Her entire career she played Kate. Patricia Neal was a great actress. Also Barbara Stanwyck. I could name some other women, but you wouldn't know who I was talking about.

My favorite Neal performance will always be "In Harm's Way." Back off you Cinemaniacs! Yep, Patricia was wonderful in "Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Fountainhead" and "Hud." Also great in "Face in the Crowd."

In her pairing with John Wayne for Preminger's "In Harm's Way" we get a great performance in a history hinge movie.

That film puts Wayne with a woman who's his equal in toughness. Quite a departure. Relationship between those two middle aged lovers is most interesting thing in the film. It's actually very 2010, the way those two fumble at each other, the pragmatism mingled with desire and past baggage.

I don't know of a movie where Patricia Neal didn't play a strong woman. That's very odd for the era. Lots of strong women characters, but they always come to ruin. Girls who don't worry why Jim doesn't ask for second cup of coffee at home? Well, they are asking for Karma.

Patricia Neal always played strong women. Maybe because she was a strong woman, and wouldn't take subservient roles. She was a great actress.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wacky Week in the News

I was visiting a blog the other day doing some research on the Papin sisters (think Lizzie Borden, except two of them and more vicious) and I must admit that blog is a LOT more sophisticated than mine! Oh yeah! It had advertisements where you can donate to charity, or click something and see video, and who knows what else.

Right now, I'm kinda more interested in securing gainful employment, but in the future? I might fancy up my blog some too! Must be a 14yo kid somewhere in this subdivision could help me with that.

But to the news... "Pantless man caught with armless Mannequin" another masterpiece of evocative headline writing there, you betcha! And why are they called 'pants' while 'bra' is singular? Uhm, David? Don't be recycling George Carlin jokes? We're doing the news here!!!

Former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens went to see Jesus this week. Though not having the tenure of the late Senator Robert Byrd, Stevens was a formidable equal in delivering home state pork projects. All of Alaska's history, has only had 7 Senators. Easy to forget such things. When Alaska was made a state, "I Love Lucy" had already been on TV about eight years. Oddly? Former House mover & shaker Dan Rostenkowski passed this week too. Quite a guy with the pork too, that Dan.

So anyways? Byrd, Stevens, Rostenkowski all dead now? I expect to see a mysterious earmark slipped into 2011 budget to repave the streets of gold. Some cynics might say more like Ice machines for Hell, but? I'll continue to hope for the best of everyone.

Scientists revealed this week, they've discovered a Sponge that shares 70 percent genes in common with humans. I've found some of the sanctimonious pontificating rather amusing. Times like this (and there are many) I always privately speculate. What fascinating personal habits (if u know what I mean?) must one have, that they'll grab a Sponge and say, "See? See? This proves there is no such thing as moral absolutes!"

What in the heck are such people up to, that they must sacrifice true Scientific discipline that has given humanity so much, in favor of Voodoo logic advocacy. If a Sponge has 70 percent same genes as I do, does NOT mean there is no God.

See, I used to design Locomotive radiators. Don't talk about it much, as I don't wish to get the womenfolk riled up hormonally, if ya know what I mean? Though not considered as sexy as International jewel thieves, Radiator designers are on the scale of sexy, fer shure. Last time I checked, right between Accountants and Funeral Directors actually. Nothing to sneeze at, I know!

A locomotive radiator sits on the top. Any given moment of operation has about 50 gallons of water in it, weight of water approximately 450 lbs. Locomotive stops, water must be totally gone from system in under 120 seconds. This because sometimes locomotives stop in Canada in the winter, and no railroad line uses antifreeze.

Designing radiators is a manly trade, which explains why it's ranked slightly higher than Funeral Director on girl sexy-meter. Point is?

Good designers do 'Save as' and modify existing design for new application. A fundamental formula is understood at the very start. Works with Train radiators. Probably works about the same with Sponge DNA, I should think?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Calculated Risk

Infectious disease, fascinating subject really. Like the eradication of Smallpox for instance? Couldn't have happened without Lady Montagu, Edward Jenner, and Western Civ charity, tech and money.

But the real turning point in fighting Smallpox? It was the shift away from mass inoculation programs, to outbreak targeted quick response. That pivotal strategy came from a young Indian Health Service worker. He said, "In my village, when a house catches on fire, we don't throw water on ALL the houses." Very clear thinking there.

Yet the end wasn't known when the new strategy was proposed. Trying it meant risk.
I wasn't gonna type about Smallpox though...

Ya got this malaria thing. Kills LOTS of people in Africa, South America and Asia, even with liberal use of DDT. Oh yeah, you thought DDT was banned worldwide? Naw! They spray it on houses in rural India. Helps a lot, but not a perfect solution.

Now some scientists in AZ have engineered a mosquito that can't be infected by the malaria parasite. They think they can introduce into the wild in sufficient numbers where the old fashioned mosquito will quickly be bred out of existence.

Frankenbug to the rescue!!!

Well let's round up the usual suspects, while the giants of science are busy popping champagne corks...

I'm a product of midnight Creature Feature, so I KNOW about unintended consequences of Science. Nuke tests in the desert get you... giant ants, giant Gila Monster, giant Tarantula, and the Amazing Colossal Man. That's just in the US. You don't EVEN want to know about Nuke after effects in Japan!!! I bet homeowner's insurance rates skyrocketed in Tokyo in the 1950's.

But I also know about Kudzu, and Australian cane toads. I know the well meant intentional introduction of species can get way out of hand. And my time with Charles Fort has given me a healthy skepticism about unwarranted certainty from Scientists, who since Hiroshima have become our cultural high priests.

And one reason our culture was so outraged at the Gulf Oil leak is because
post-Apollo generations have come to believe our high priests won't let us down.

I trust the fathers & mothers of Frankenbug to insure they haven't accidentally engineered a mosquito that won't host malaria, but will carry HIV or Ebola quite well. Yet, they can't test Mosquito 3.0 for its interactions with pathogens that haven't been identified yet, huh?

Oh, I'm not sitting in the seat of the 'Cautioneer' here, just sayin' is all. Might as well get the hippie take articulated while I'm at it...

"Dude, this is SO wrong interfering with Nature! It's evil putting things where they don't belong, interfering with the beautiful, perfect balance of nature. We should just do treated nets. Mosquitos are people too you know!"

Well, it'd be dismissive to remind the hippies that marijuana ain't exactly a native species in northern California, but that's too easy. It's an entire mindset that merits honest challenge.

Nature mostly wants to kill you. That's Nature's job. Mosquito nets are wonderful. Bill & Melinda Gates, Bono, post-WH Laura & GW Bush are to be commended for their efforts. Of course personally, I wonder why they don't establish factories in affected areas, teach people tech to make their own nets.

A dirty secret about the nets? Even IF you can get primitive, superstitious cultures to accept these nets prevent Malaria? The nets always go first to the adults, because they're the producers. Many parts of the world, life is hard and life is cheap.

This is the part of the blog where I either have to smart off about Billy Jack movies or declare a position. All right then, I'm pro-Frankenbug. It's a real risk, introducing an engineered species. The biosphere, despite what hippies like to think, is never static. The tiny Malaria parasite has a speck of the Eternal in it too, and a system exists possibly enabling it to launch an assymetrical response.

Humans were given brains for a reason. To use them while walking humbly before God is about the best we can manage. Many many thousands die every year from Malaria.
Observation leads to theory leads to experiment leads to sober decision.

Was it mine to say, I say a good chance to eradicate Malaria? Turn loose the Frankenbugs. History can damn me for what I didn't know. Whatever comes can't be worse than a Billy Jack movie, right?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Art and Life

I feel sorry for that Dr. House. Every time I'm walking thru a room and his show is on? He's either suffering some dread health problem, or getting fired, or both. I bet Obamacare is somehow to blame.

Headlines are always fun. Sometimes they can be poignantly evocative, even though topic is sad. A real good one from this week? "Naked man beaten outside Bar."

But my brand new fave headline is... "Superman saves family from Foreclosure." Yeah, they were about to get evicted, packing up from home that'd been in family more than fifty years. And down in the basement they found a box full of Billy Jack movies!
Naw that's not it! They found a box of comic books. And there he was, Superman no. 1 from 1938; est. auction value $250K.

Sweet human interest yarn; authenticity already verified, should sweep the major news organs soon.
I bet this story will lead to LOTS of basements & attics getting a long overdue cleaning, I betcha!

And it kind of reminds me of George Weller. In retirement, George spent many days in his old recliner bitterly regretting loss of his greatest journalism work in post-nuke Japan. Army censors destroyed his dispatches. All that time, and eight feet above George's head was a steamer trunk up in the attic, full of the carbon papers on those dispatches.

In Engineering, one considers a system by imagining its extreme boundaries. That means in most every human life there is some form of comic books and carbon papers.

Not everybody gets to run around post-nuke Japan. But many people think they've been robbed of something, when a quite serviceable form of what was lost lies well within reach.

Not everybody has Superman no. 1 in their basement. But many people have something of wonderful usefulness nearly in hand through good times & bad, just waiting to be found.

Y'know, somebody put that comic book in that box. But some hand had to pull it out of the box. In the emotions attending losing one's home, I can easily imagine the Man of Steel could've ended up in a dumpster, huh?

So it takes a forgiving heart to look for carbon papers in the attic. Takes a hopeful heart to recognize a comic book in a basement full of junk.

Now I got to get details on "Naked Man beaten outside Bar." I sure hope it wasn't Dr. House; he's already got enough problems.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The straight Dope on Boris

Really? If you're around my age and grew up in the United States, Paul Frees is all over you. Yes, Paul was the voice of ever-frustrated spy Boris Badenov, but he was a lot more than that!

Let's put something in context here (which is SO unlike me, get right down to it) about Paul Frees? He had a vocal range of four octaves. Me, former professional musician/singer/trouble maker, I got about 75 percent of an octave here.

Paul was very gifted. But let's focus on his deliverables? Aside from being the voice of Boris Badenov... do you remember Jolly Green Giant commercials? Remember that 'Little green sprout' character? That was the voice of Paul Frees. 'Lil Sprout' never came off as a raging heterosexual to me, but I could be wrong about that.

And if you're old enuf to recall the moon landing, you've been to a theatre or a drive-in where Paul Frees narrarated the coming attractions...

"He found himself on a strange alien world where Apes are the masters, and humans are caged! Don't miss Charlton Heston in 'Planet of the Apes'! Also co-starring some really cute chick in a fur bikini."

Paul Frees did a lot more than that though. Thirty years dead, he's still the narrator at many Disney theme park attractions.

Now, in Billy Wilder's most commercially successful film "Some Like it Hot." Well, Paul Frees of the deep authoritarian coming attractions voice? He also dubbed female voice of Tony Curtis in drag. Don't ask me why Tony was in drag, just watch the movie?

Talent, that gets one admiration. But one's passion is what draws enduring love. Paul Frees single handedly tried to save the world from Beatniks. Yep, self-written, self-directed, self-financed, Paul Frees (aka Boris Badenov) made a movie considered a classic by people who don't really know what the word 'classic' actually means.

Clearly the film was made with passion, but not much ability. Mr. Frees attempted to warn unsuspected Western Civ about the dangers of poncho wearing, bongo beating, finger snapping, poetry reciting degenerates. In Mr. Frees' 1960 tour de force (that's french for load of crap) effort "The Beatniks" a sordid tale is told.

There aren't actually any Beatniks in the movie. More overgrown juvenille delinquents I'd say. The soundtrack does have lots of bongo playing in it though; quite annoyingly really.

Paul Frees tried to warn us about Beatniks. Let the beatniks in, next thing you got hippies. Know what comes after that? Yep, that's right. Billy Jack movies.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

There's a reason for that

Hmmm, what was I thinking about? Well, it was probably wicked cool, and no doubt would be a life changing experience for you to read, but I don't remember right now. Could come back to me later maybe, but could be gone forever, like Mel Gibson's good reputation.

This is the 31st day of July. July has 31 days because Julius Caesar wanted his month to have more days. Augustus Caesar felt same way about his month.

I could do this all day, divulging reasons behind stuff. After all, I'm currently unemployed. But I will restrain myself, limiting the spouting of useless factoids with a self-discipline of Herculean proportions...

Monopoly the game. Everybody thinks was invented by unemployed Depression dude, and it's a lovely story of triumph in adversity. Nuh-unh. Real direct precursor to Monopoly was 'The Landlord Game' invented by a woman, who happened to be a Socialist. Ms. Phillips invented it to show people how they're being oppressed by capitalism, and it leads to a game that earns billions for the Parker Bros. company. Talk about unintended consequences.
Reason Monopoly tokens are what they are? Game rollout, a company that made charm bracelets was contracted. Near zero tooling cost. Monopoly tokens are bracelet charms without a loop.

Reason we have chewing gum is because General Santa Anna lost the Mexican War.

Reason the saxophone is called that, is because Adolphe Sax invented it. Saxophone is only well known musical instrument named for a person.

Reason we say 'lead pencil' is because when graphite was discovered in 1564, was mis-identified as form of lead.

The reason we say 'assault & battery' is because of the Norman Conquest in 1066. Both words really mean the same thing, but in two different languages.

The reason we have charcoal grilles is because Henry Ford couldn't get his wooden windshield packing cases to perfect dimensions so they could be cut up for floorboards with zero scrap.

And yeah, that's why we still use the term 'floorboard.'

Friday, July 30, 2010

Different kind of Leak

Been some great stuff in the news. I want to thank you Western Civilization, for continuing to do amazingly insane stuff, both good & bad. Looks like some French scientists have developed an ointment that heals tooth decay. Works great on mice. Could be available to Dentists, 3 to 5 years.

----Dentalis may cause unexpected explosive fecal discharge, joint pain, intense dreams of bestiality, suicidal thoughts, psychotic delusions, vampirism, hearing disembodied voices and dandruff. Talk to your perscription provider about your Jello intake as this may lead to something you don't even want to hear about.----

I typed that really fast by the way, just like the commercials. But hey? Possible side effects are better than a root canal, right?

But mostly I'm aware of the strange juxtaposition of Dan Schorr passing the same week as most massive dump of classified docs in human history. Those of you who don't know what 'juxtaposition' means, look it up and catch up later...

Dan Schorr is forever linked to the Pentagon Paper leak. Hey, wanna hear a funny? Daniel Ellsberg perhaps had some kind of 'road to Damascus' moment after working years for the RAND thinktank in support of war. I dunno; I'm nobody's judge. Just saying he switched sides about time started sleeping with a hippie chick. Could be egg/chicken I guess.

So... folks in media for some reason often eventually show up at crossroads where I've been sitting on a stump for hours, whittling a better man (or woman) out of a banana than they'll ever be. Therefore, excuse me while I get to the heart of the matter?

Yep, Wiki-leaks is being castigated. The doc dump may lead to some tortures and beheadings, no kidding. And PFC Bradley Manning has been arrested, harumph harumph!!!

So... why exactly does a PFC have access to very sensitive intel docs? Never served in the military, but think rank of PFC sort of low on the ladder.

The enemy may find some names in these documents. Mostly, the enemy will benefit from understanding our intel gathering process. And, might as well say? Many of the enemy take this for a trick. Just telling you the truth; can't help what the truth is, all right?

The enemy is at lower levels, some fairly unsophisticated folk. It's weird really. Above them, cold, calculating people with high IQ. Most levels, they think everything we do is a trick. Hey, wanna hear another funny? The ground fighter bad guys associate Democracy with homosexuality. Yep. They think our women dress in revealing clothing because attracting mates in decadent West is difficult, since most of us men are homosexuals.

WTF is a PFC doing with access to 91K classified documents?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anthropomorphic Ridiculosityness

I already enjoyed the english language before GW, but now I LOVE it!!! So much more flexible now!

So anyways... I recall it well. Was on Highland Ave. about a mile from where Casey Jones is buried, not that Mr. Jones has anything to do with it.

'Three Lil' Pigs BBQ' and the neon sign was glorious at night. Twelve foot tall pigs dressed in chef outfits, advancing through fire. Yeah, it moved! They were holding shoulder height a plate of their delicious relatives.

And the smiles on the Pigs' faces were wonderful. Kind of like an airline attendant or Real Estate agent maybe. They seemed so delighted about the whole thing.

Well that place is all gone now. Guess the neon sign got trashed; pity that. Lots more beautiful than whatever's on display at the Tate Gallery right now. Imagine it's something like unmade bed, with pile of dog poop on the left pillow. Couldn't have puppy excrement on right pillow, cause would mess up composition balance, if not gestalt of entire piece. Something about post-adolescent angst in post-modern society, I'd imagine. Yours for only $1.5M!!! It's a steal. You can take my word on that 'steal' part too.

But that gaudy masterpiece neon sign is all gone now. We of a certain age (Psst? rhymes with 'nifty') have become curators of the past. Let's take care not to start sentences with "Back in my day" because really? Start doing that and you're three clicks from "You kids get out of my yard!"

The sign is gone, but advertisements where animals encourage us to eat their relatives, that's still with us. Like couple miles from here? BIG billboard advertising Dodge's Fried Chicken, established 1876. They may still have some of the original food items on sale, for all I know.

Now, this billboard? Huge chickenish looking creature (actually I think it more resembles Big Bird) and it's wearing an apron. The message is clear enough: Come eat my cousins, they're darn tasty!

See, I'm not the type to be swayed by product endorsements from animals who are traitors to their own species. At best they're collaborators. At worst, they're vicarious cannibals!

I think it's really stupid to have animal advertisements encouraging humans to in effect, "C'mon down and EAT us!" Reflects a vapid, fatuous, insipid culture.

Know how that whole thing got started? Yep, that's right, Billy Jack movies.


People ask me all the time, "Hey, Mr. Economics Guy, what's the next major boost to American manufacturing?"

Obviously, it's Justin Bieber commemorative plates. Yep, they'll have to be made in US, because we can't let China find out how silly our culture is. They already know about Paris Hilton; we're grasping for dignity straws here!

Of course, the real boost is really simple. Find $250B in budget cuts, make big deal about it, that'll help consumer confidence.
Let the Bush tax cuts re-adjust on top rates. Alan Greenspan agrees with me there, he's really smart. After all, he helped get us into this mess, right?

But what else you must do is slash Corporate tax rate and Capital gains tax. At the least, that'd be revenue neutral. Would sure spur investment though, especially foreign. At best would be a tax revenue adder.

Well don't go betting your Justin Beiber plate collection that's gonna happen anytime soon!

Instead, the next American manufacturing surge will be clean rooms, and workers wearing Bee keeper looking outfits. Micro-circuitry and Nanotechnology. Hey! I wish it was something else too! What do you want, comforting lies? Go see your Congressperson!

Gizmos too small to see have been slowly moving forward about 15 years now.

Regular people (and by that I mean anybody bored enough to read this blog, you poor devils) have no idea what all Nano-tech can do right now, and what it'll be able to do soon.

A glimpse this week because Wal-Mart announced garment smart tags for inventory control. Employee walks up with scanner, blip! Bra section already sent message to the scanner about replenishment levels. That's old stuff. HEY! Maybe I could get a job putting smart tags in Wal-Mart clothing! Naw, says here the clothes are made in Mozambique. I'm not moving to Georgia for a minimum wage job.

What Nano-tech can already do, and on the near horizon, is mind boggling. It's like Star Wars. Or maybe Star Trek... could be Star Search maybe, not sure which exactly. But I'm fairly sure the late Ed McMahon has no involvement.

Microchip inserted in a plastic milk jug at molding machine. It's chemically sensitive. When milk starts going bad, chip turns on and broadcasts to ceiling mounted unit in dairy section. Goes straight to Dairy manager's PC, so he can go back there and put milk on sale. Naw, they wouldn't do that! Whatever they do, the info is there. The tech has already been patented.

Not sufficiently boggled yet? Near future, your grocer can offer 'Super-savers' club. Take a gizmo home, plug into your PC. Stuff in your house, like margarine, shampoo, consumables. Chips in that stuff will shoot message to your PC module when they're running low. When you turn your PC on, module shoots info to grocer, and coupons for said items are e-mailed to you. Tech almost in place right now; cultural resistance will slow implementation.

Ya say you're not satisfied, ya say you want more? I could tell you was one of the smart ones, minute you sauntered up with that Moon Pie & RC Cola. Since it's obvious you're a customer of great refinement, tell ya what I'm gonna do?

How would you like, if instead of open heart surgery, you get a Nano-tech injection? Still years away, it looks promising in the MIT research so far. Tiny little things loaded into a hypodermic. They've been engineered to detect certain chemicals, and then release their cargo meds at that site. After that they become inert and leave the body through urine stream.

Yeah, it looks like ten years out. What will happen to all the Surgeons and OR personnel? Oh, they'll be just fine! Probably go into the lucrative Justin Beiber commemorative plate business.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eyes on the Spies II

Well I don't know either. Why IS a pineapple called that? Sure wasn't named by a trained Botanist, I'll tell ya that! Has nothing to do with conifers, and doesn't taste like an apple.

Hey, did you know pine cones are differently gendered? I don't know how they tell each other apart, but they manage. There's a bunch of pine trees, right? Hmmm, what was I gonna type about... Oh yeah! Spies!

Homegrown turncoats, interesting people psychologically. And war-time, we presume to understand motives of 'our' spies. So these folks, among dozens I could name, may seem bland. Well first? You don't EVER have a handle on a first class spy. Second, each of these three? Could've minded their own biz. In fact? None were ordered to go dance around a very efficient, merciless death machine. In each case, military authorities FIRED them before they HIRED them. These people volunteered to dance with the Reaper...

Virginia Hall: Very intelligent, wanted to work in Diplomatic service. Woman, best job hope was clerk in those days, but OK. They mostly didn't want her sort. And she kinda shot her leg off in 1932 in hunting accident too; looks like stateside for Virginia. We never liked her anyway, too uppity. She happens to be in France when the Panzers roll and suddenly becomes quite popular with the OSS. Speaks French flawlessly, totally immersed in the culture, invisible except for the limp; wooden leg y'know. She usually went around disguised as an aged French peasant woman. When it got too hot, she barely escaped Gestapo by hiking across the Pyrenees Mountains, at night, with a wooden leg. And then those that didn't want her once, sent her back to France. She did pre-work for the Normandy invasion. That's my Virginia.

Juan Pujol: I like him some. He volunteered to spy for Brits and they declined. So he figgered to get hired as Nazi spy and then re-apply. Wicked smart and imaginative, Juan turned his entire spy network of 27 Nazi agents over to Brit Intel. But one thing? None of this spy network actually existed. The cat invented people, constructed all kinds of soap opera interactions among them, jobs they held, and fake info, long before OSS decided he might be all right. Nazis were paying Juan huge amounts of cash to support non-existent spy network. Juan Pujol was instrumental in convincing Nazis, the Normandy attack was a diversion; keep the Panzers at Calais. Juan Pujol. Only person I know of who was awarded both the Iron Cross and the MBE.

Nancy Wakes: Born in NZ. Married a French millionaire, and months later, the Panzers rolled through Paris. Nancy was initially suspect by Brits and OSS. Why would a millionaire's wife get involved? Actually, Nancy didn't ever apply for the job. She didn't ask permission; she set up her network of spies. Well, guess they did some espionage... nope, not much really actually. Mostly they killed Nazis and exploded stuff. Nancy's group had a 14 to 1 kill ratio against very well trained, very well armed SS. 14 to 1 is impressive. Might've bumped up some after Gestapo tortured and killed Nancy's husband, but I've not seen the graph.

Ms. Nancy never asked to work for Allied Intel, not far as I know. Just went ahead and did what she saw to be done. They eventually begged her to flank attack at D-day and have safe houses ready. She must've been one hell of a killer angel leader, to command such loyalty from her group. Gestapo called her 'White Mouse' because she could avoid any trap. Offered 5 million Franc reward for her, but no Nancy.

According to my sources? Nancy Wake, who once slit SS sentry throats and timed fuses beneath railroad bridges, now lives peacefully in a retirement home in Richmond, England, aged 97.

But perhaps my sources are conjured phantoms from Juan Pujoul, still active in the disinformation trade. And besides? One never really knows anything for sure about a spy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I HATE Sequels!

"Jaws" and "Star Wars" really began the sad decline. Before that, weren't really sequels in Hollywood mentality. No such thing as "To Kill Another Mockingbird" right? Oh sure, there were plenty of character driven series; every Roy Rogers movie has essentially the same plot. But it was Spielberg and Lucas who got the Roman numeral ball rolling.

And there were event movies in the pre-Steve/George era. "Gone with the Wind" and "Ben-Hur" were huge. "Psycho" was also big. Perhaps if we'd been at 2010 media integration levels in 1959, could've seen "Ben-Hur II."

But now we have Roman Numeral Disorder in full array. I don't mind when they make sequels of films that weren't good in the first place. Do hate it though, when a pretty little thing that just flies like a beautiful bird, gets purely mercenary shlock attached to it. That "Arthur" movie? Absoultely great film. "First Blood" is also an amazing thing to watch. Hey, wanna hear a funny? Of course you do!

It's because of Stallone's closing rant in "First Blood" millions of people believe returning Viet Nam vets were spat on. Some of the actual veterans now believe they were spat on! How about that for effective art, huh? And I threw that in for you cinema snobs, because? Every movie doesn't have to be Fellini or Bergman to be real art, OK? If a movie says honestly what it wants to accomplish and does it well, that's a form of art!

So yeah! "First Blood" is a great film. "Arthur" is great, "Die Hard" is an effective movie. None needed a sequel; they were stand alone pieces pretty in their own right. But they all got sequels, didn't they? I blame it on that pernicious blight to which I've traced the decline of this once great nation. Yep, that's right; Billy Jack movies.

I shouldn't be so negative though; really, that's not like me. Will instead offer ideas for sequels that I'd watch... "Ghost II" where Patrick Swayze returns from the dead to save Demi Moore from marrying Ashton Kutcher. How about "Dances with Polar Bears"? Kevin Costner helping Eskimos fend off the encroachment of whaling fleets. As an aside, I should say? I totally support the indigenous Alaskans' right to hunt whales as their ancestors did. I just want them to use ancestor technology. Go ahead, paddle up on that sperm whale and fling a harpoon into his haunches; should be interesting.

Could go on and on. Let's face it, I've got loads of free time at the moment. But the point is though? I have to do a sequel myself. One blog post about spies just isn't enough. They're fascinating people, and I respect even those who worked against my nation. Next blog post, I have to do our folk in World War II. Hey dig that? Even wars got sequels now!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eyes on the Spies

Yep, somebody's actually making a movie about the John Edwards mess. Hey, maybe they can get Mel Gibson to star in it! Might as well; can't imagine who in the world would go see a John Edwards movie... well except for John of course.

Aside from the tawdry elements, the John Edwards implosion is essentially a classic espionage op gone awry. And it went south for same reasons spy rings often fail. Lower level operatives start feeling increasingly expendable, begin building lifeboats, things reach critical mass and chain reaction happens. Now John Edwards feels about as welcome as a New Orleans banjo picker.

Been a lot of spies in the news lately though. This little gang recently rounded up in New York City for example? From what I know, they'd been mostly schlepping around nite clubs, trying their hands at various businesses, romances, and FBI caught the pretty one at an NYC coffee shop. Really, the whole thing sounds like the 'Friends' TV show to me. FBI claims to have been fully aware of the group for years, well for about as long as 'Friends' was on the air actually. So I don't think anybody in that spy ring ever made KGB employee of the month. Impossible to say reasons for timing of the roundup. Could be domestic politics, or we needed to make a trade with Putin; we'll probably never know for sure.

Kendall & Gwendolyn Myers though, that's a lot more interesting. Homegrown spies are always more interesting. Great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, grandson of man who built National Geographic to household word it is now. Kendall has PhD from John Hopkins; a college that wouldn't let me run a floor buffer. All those advantages, and he used them to spy for Cuba; weird.

All homegrown spies share one thing in common. Some may spout ideology, but without exception each has a personality that somehow feels embittered and disenfranchised from his culture. Cambridge 5 group was good example there. By age 25, they'd all enjoyed all the privileges Britain could offer, and were ruthless spies for Russia. Maclean for example was so eager to betray his homeland, KGB took unusual step of recruiting him off the bat as what's called 'straight penetration operative.'

Oddly ironic term, since Maclean was bi-sexual. Maybe he was a part-time employee, I dunno. And that's another thing? Closeted homosexuals make GREAT spies! They're already practiced at leading double lives, so what's another gonna hurt?

So tell us all Mr. David, who was the best spy ever, homegrown or otherwise? Well, obviously the one we've never heard of. But Klaus Fuchs was most devestating. He's the Los Alamos guy who gave USSR and China the A-bomb secrets.

Ineffective but worth mentioning: Sam Dickstein was US Congressman on USSR payroll. Now cut that out! No, I don't know what Sam's sexual orientation was!

Here's an allegedly interesting one: William Dodd, Ambassador to Germany just before WW2? His daughter Martha was a dedicated Soviet agent for twenty years. Yep, another anti-capitalist millionaire. Her NKVD code name was 'Liza.' Yeah, I wish it'd been Rachel or Pheobe too, but can't have everything. I will say this though, she sure wasn't a homosexual. According to historians, I'm surprised she found anytime for espionage really.

Yeah, Martha was a 'straight penetration operative' too all right? Happy now? Cut it out will ya, I'm trying to run a family blog here!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Middle-aged Parties

In my teens, when I went around looking like Cherokee Jesus or something, I attended a couple of parties; well, a half dozen or so. I'm not going to talk about those experiences. Yeah, you probably think my reticence is due to statute of limitations concerns, but it's not that. Mostly, I just don't remember.

They were apparently some fairly boisterous affairs, at least that's what the Police officers told me later. I am competent to reflect on the mood of the old times, and compare it with the party we hosted last evening.

Middle-aged parties, the music isn't quite as loud. You'd think it'd be right opposite, because after all our hearing isn't what it used to be. Loud music is useful when you're around people and you can't think of a darned thing to say to them. By age 53, you should've learned not to invite such people. Which brings me to another crucial difference between teenage parties and middle-aged parties; turnout.

When you're a teenager, it's not a party unless you have more than twenty people. Like many seemingly bizarre cultural practices, there's a hidden logic at work there. For one thing, if something really bad happens, it can be blamed on some 'weird kids who just showed up.' Yes, it's true the more attendees, the more likely it is something bad will happen, but? Via sheer numbers, it's less likely the bad thing will happen to you personally.

Main thing is, for teenagers, social status is in part derived from the size of parties attended/hosted. Middle-aged parties, not like that.

And last evening's party, there were little ones milling about. That's a common thing in middle-aged parties. One guest might have a six year old, another guest might be talking about her son in the Army, and both guests are the same age. Members of my generation did our reproductive duty on a totally unpredictable timetable.

So I guess this is where I talk about alcohol consumption. Among my social circle they're just around many people who consider drinking a competitive sport. Oh I'm sure such individuals are out there somewhere; they're just not going to be found on my patio on Saturday night.

A middle-aged party is a handful of people sitting around, conversing quietly on the kids, politics, work. The grille is going, snacks are provided. Every once in a while "Amber Nicole! I said stop that!" pierces the soft evening air. No fist fight breaks out, nobody vomits... well I think maybe Amber did once, but that's not my point.

My point is that one's vocabulary changes through the years. What teenagers call a party, I would now call a near-riot. What I now call a party, teenagers would call a bunch of old people sitting around. Congrats David! You've turned into your parents!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Utterly Stupid Utterances

My preference is to address actual events, rather than talk about people talking. There's too much of that goes on already, my opinion. It's not journalism; it's gossip columnist stuff. Yet sometimes... things get said by public figures that rise to the level of legit news.

Mel Gibson in a phone call with his estranged fortune cookie gal said...
'You go around dressed like a slut. It's all your fault if you get raped by a gang of African Americans.'

Now, I didn't quote exactly on that last part. The whole thing would be much more amusing had Mel said 'African Americans.' Then he could go around saying, "What, what? I used the proper term!" But instead, Mel used the most radioactivist world in our whole dang culture! Wonder what's gonna happen now... he'll probably lose his radio show. No wait, that's Don Imus. So I guess what happens to Mel is not a whole lot really. He's been almost exclusively Producer/Director for years now, and one can maintain a low public profile in that role.

Mel's next project I believe, is to be a Viking epic. And true to his recent schtick, the film is planned in original Nordic language, with subtitles. So it's to be stuff like... "Odindammit Sven! Ja dropped da sword in da fjord!"

Oh, he might put out some press release regretting his poorly chosen words in a heated argument, but I don't see Mel calling on Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton for tag team humiliation therapy and absolution. Could be wrong, but that doesn't sound like Mel's style. And while we're on that topic?

Who decided that Jesse & Al are the spokesmen for tens of millions of Americans who just happen to be dark skinned? You're treating a very diverse group of people like infants by presuming any two people speak for their aspirations and values.

But back to Mel? You're a smart guy Mr. Gibson, so I expect you to fathom my simple advice. Either stay off the booze or stay off the phone, OK?

And I wish Mel Gibson was the only braying jackass of the week, but there's this Michael Steele guy? For those of you who have, you know, actual lives? Michael Steele is chairman of the Republican National Committee. I don't blame you for not knowing that. Mr. Steele made a speech this week, press not allowed. But you know these dang cellphones...

Michael said something like, "We have to keep it out there, Obama started this war in Afghanistan"
... and it just got dumber after that. Now see? I wish no harm on any person, but? I KNOW why I lost my job, but I can't figure out why Michael Steele still has his job!
I'm going to stop short of saying Mr. Steele is an affirmative action beneficiary. He's personable enough, and quite articulate. Every time he says something stupid, his pronunciation is flawless.

But again? If the GOP insists on having a black spokesman, surely we can find somebody a little more grounded in reality? There are lots of smart black people! You take that George Washington Carver for instance? Invented peanut butter. I'd have starved in elementary school, if not for GW Carver. OK, that was a trifle hyperbolic there. I'd have been stuck with jelly sandwiches in my 'Man from Uncle' lunchbox. And a jelly sandwich, it soaks the bread after a few hours, so it's a big soggy mess. PB & J on the other hand, is a delightful combination. Much as I admire George Washington Carver, I wonder about the events surrounding the first date between Peanut butter and grape jelly. Did he invent that too? Someone should make a movie about that.

Dang! I got off track again. So anyways? I know the GOP is trying to show a welcome mat by having Michael Steele as RNC Chairman, but the reverse of desired outcome is delivered. It looks like the GOP found the dumbest black guy in the entire US. Well, except for Dennis Rodman of course...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lynrd & the Skynrds

Yep, Supreme Court ruled everybody can have a gun. Well, John Hinckley will be paroled soon, but it's all right. It's OK to limit the constitutional rights of felons & the crazy people. John's outta luck on two counts. The High Court held Chicago may not 'unreasonably' limit handgun ownership.

This is because of the Supremacy clause. I did extensive research of this 'Supremacy clause' and according to Wikipedia? It's got nothing to with Diana Ross. And that there is a topic on everybody's mind; these stupid '& the' bands.

First, it's bound to cause bad feelings in the ranks. One day you're the News, next thing there's a Huey Lewis in front. Obviously all the groupies are gonna gravitate his way, right?

Second, one's membership in '& the' groups will always negatively impact name recognition. Well, how many Supremes can you name, besides Ms. Ross? I'm pretty sure about Mary Wells, but who the other one was, no idea! Maybe Whitney Houston. So this practice robs talented musicians of their rightful notoriety. Had it been Mick Jagger & the Stones, nobody would know Keith Richards' name. He'd be stuck with
'the Stoned Stone' as his only ID. That's just not right.

If the Pips and the Blowfish ever get together and start talking, there's going to be trouble. They'll all have guns; Supreme Court said so. Uh, what was I talking about? Oh yeah! Supremacy clause!

No state can have laws that violate federal law or the Constitution. Which is weird, cause it's going on everywhere you look. State medical marijuana laws violate federal law. Cities declaring themselves 'sanctuary' and refusing to cooperate with immigration agents are in defiance of federal law.

What would happen if Wyoming replaced all the 70mph signs with "Eh, Whatever" signs? Probably nothing except a nasty letter from the Transportation Secretary, whoever that is. What would happen if Texas made welfare benefits conditional to random drug tests? Probably a whole lot. The former offers very little lawyer traffic, while the latter would be pay day!!!

My theory, the Supreme Court exists so attorneys will never run out of work. On this gun ruling? Gun control lawyers and NRA lawyers will be eating off that for years. When that starts trickling out, they'll litigate about ammunition. Because there's nothing in the Bill of Rights about bullets, get right down to it.

Lynrd & the Skynrds had a song about that very subject.