Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More On Foreign Policy

Would you buy a used F-16 from this man? Posted by Hello The US just sold F-16s to Pakistan, and pissed off India, the second most populous nation in the world. Most Americans don’t know how tense the situation is between Pakistan and India. Both nations have nuclear capabilities, and on numerous occasions they have come very close to using them. How does selling F-16s to Pakistan fit into our War on Terrorism? Does one fight terrorism with an F-16? How can Bush pray for peace the same day he sells hi-tech fighter planes to one of the world’s most volatile nations—-right during a time when those two nations were trying to talk about improving their relationship? The bottom line is: India—whose air force is the 4th largest in the world, and a major customer for defense contractors—was more interested in the French Mirage for their fleet. To show India what a tough vendor we are, we sold the F-16s to their enemy. So in the end, you say, it’s “just business.” And you would be correct. And our “just business” attitude blithely sends a counter-productive message to the world. We don’t care about the cold war between India and Pakistan, as long as we get that 5 billion dollar arms deal. We don’t care about peace; if a country doesn’t buy our arms, we’ll sell them to their enemies. We don’t care about an Islamic country (who may one day be our enemy) proliferating nuclear arms. The message: “We pray for peace, but we don’t care. Show us the money.” And people wonder why people say we created the mess we’re in …

Monday, March 28, 2005

Take this Fine and Shove It

I think not, but you never know. This comes from Carol's Blog, who says she got it from Dr. Bean's Blog, who got it from the McCain-Feingold Insurrection. There are rumors that bloggers will have to pay fines if they link to political campaign site. I'm a little skeptical. I think the judge who overturned the ruling making the internet an exception just doesn't understand what she's doing. For the federal government to regulate all blogs and even mailing lists would be another classic example of them biting off more than they can chew. Plus, I know more than a few bloggers, liberals and conservatives alike, and I bet it wouldn't be hard to raise up a little rebellion. The McCain Feingold Law was intended to reform campaign finance, and somehow it gets twisted into an abridgement of our freedom of speech. The logic here is that I pay money for my computer, and that part of that cost is going to create a blog, and part of the blog is a link to a political site. Therefore, I'm contributing to that candidate. Along these lines, I also pay for clothing, which I must wear to go to a coffeehouse. At the coffeehouse, I may give someone a campaign button. The button of course is a direct contribution, but cost of the clothes, divided by the portion of time I spent in those clothes whilst handing over said button ... is a contribution as well. Part of me actually wishes it to be true, but my sensible side says that congress will probably make the internet (and blogs) an exception. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Keep it up, W!

George Bush's strict adherence to imaginary Fundamentalist Christian values are placing him further and further out on the lunatic fringe. Now, even his fundamental followers think he is going to far. The most poignant line from this article is: "There is widespread cynicism about Congress' motives for getting involved: 74 percent say Congress intervened to advance a political agenda, not because they cared what happened to Terri Schiavo." It’s slightly amusing that the fate of one woman’s life would rise to such a fever pitch as to cause the president’s approval rating to drop six points. Now that the polls are clearly pointing out that most American’s feel that George is meddling where he oughtn’t, let’s see if our resolute leader stays his current course. Of course, the issue will die shortly after Ms. Schiavo does. The President will use his media circus to shift the focus onto something more grounded. American RAM will reboot, and forget that our President is way off base.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

More Evidence That Humans are actually Mentally Retarded Apes

Satan wants to kill you, and has sent his turtle with the news. Posted by Hello This just in from Goatopolis. A pet store burned down, and the only survival was a turtle named "Lucky." (We don't know if it had that name before the fire. But ... do pet store owners name all the animals? I think not.) Now Lucky has the image of satan on the back of its shell. And this made it all the way to CNN. I will make this statement out to the cosmos, and not to anyone in particular. This way my offensiveness will not be focused on anyone in particular. Stop looking for signs that confirm your faith. Just stop it. If you have faith, then you believe it without evidence. That's what faith is. If you need signs, you do not have faith. If you find confirmation of your faith in the back of a turtle then you have no faith, no intelligence, and no hope of survival in this cruel world. And for those of you who find this page because you were hoping to read about the miracle turtle, do me a favor: don't have children!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Another Puzzler - Take Two!

Oh my ... my puzzlers would be much more solvable if I didn't misspell half the words! Here it is again. Please forgive my wasting your time with the last one: "Neither weird foreign counterfeiter could seize either leisurely height without forfeiting protein." Winner gets to give The Butcher a spanking with a celery stalk!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Writer's Block

A few days ago I was desperate for a post so I tossed up an old poem. I realized after doing so that I had written the poem nine years ago. Brian and I were bouncing short e-mails back and forth and I realized that I hadn't written a single poem in five years. Then I realized I haven't written a short story in about four years. I am now sad that those few years ago I made this statement: "No one gives a shit about short stories or poetry." And with the toss of my hand, I ended all such endeavors. I trashed them like those old Disneyland E-Tickets. True, I've been working on a novel, but it's highly commercial and I'll be lucky if I finish it before I die. And yes there's even my blog, but in the last weeks I got nothin' ... nuthin'! I've never understood what the big deal about writer's block was. Well, now I do. The thing about a writer is that when this happens, he begins questioning the value of his own existence. " ... So, are those brief times with my family and loved ones enough to sustain the monotonous hours of corporate money-grubbing? ... What happened to the empassioned man who would write poems just for the sake of writing them? ... Have I become like the artists I criticize? Like George Lucas and U2, who did good work when they were younger, but have been spoiled with age? ... The novel I'm writing now is shit compared to what I used to write. It's probably never going to publish ... " And on, and on, and on. I'll give $100 to the first person that can give me back the inspiration I had 15 years ago.

Me Too

I wanted to post about the Schiavo case this morning, then read the following on Chuck's blog. He said it with such perfection that I realized anything I would say would be second best, and as you all know, I like being the best. So here is what Chuck said: __________________________________________________________________________ A Nation of Hypocrites I'm here to weigh in on the Schiavo case. Unless you've been living under a rock under a box in a cave in the backwoods of Deliverance country somwhere, you've surely heard about it by now. But for you mouth-breathers out there -- and that includes you Dubya pinheads, as the phrase "mouth-breather" must, as you will see -- it bullet-points out like this: - Terry Schiavo is brain-dead and has been for nearly 15 years. - Her husband has been trying to follow her stated (to him) wishes not to be kept alive artificially and has been fighting her parents to have her feeding tube removed so she can die with the dignity she wanted. - Her feeding tube has been removed three times now and reinserted twice as her parents pursued increasingly desperate losing appeals up the judicial ladder. - The Florida courts have supported at every step Terry Schiavo's husband's right under the law to follow her wishes and remove the feeding tube. The two previous times it was reinserted was to let the parents' ultimately losing challenges work their way through the court. - In 2003, the last time it was removed, Florida Governor and Dubya brother Jeb Bush prodded the Florida State Legislature into passing "Terry's Law," a narrowly-written law that applied only to Terry Schiavo that forced her tube to be reinserted. - The Florida Supreme Court ultimately ruled this law to be unconstitutional. - All appeals having failed and the court having ruled (consistently) that the tube can be removed, her feeding tube has now been removed for the third time. ...and now fucking Congress and fucking Dubya are getting involved, passing legislation that will allow her parents to plead their case in federal court, and thus probably require reinsertion of the feeding tube again to keep her alive while this desperate gambit fails. Those are, I believe, the facts of the case, with maybe a little personal bias on the last point. This is what we're coming to. This is what you red state nippleheads have wrought. This is us reaping the whirlwind of hysterical conservatism. We are a nation of laws, laws that are interpreted and applied by the courts. But now we have rulers in power who don't respect the laws or the courts applying them. They talk about "activist judges" when they don't like the outcome that was mandated by law. And now they insert themselves illegally into private matters ("activists," anyone?) and twist arms to enact new, illegal laws tailored to produce the ruling they wanted but couldn't get legally. This case isn't about life or death. It's about abuse of power. Florida state law clearly states the conditions under which artificial life-prolonging measures may be withdrawn. The state law provides that the spouse, not the parents, makes the ultimate decision, based on the patient's written or expressed wishes and the advice of medical experts that the condition is irreversible. This is the law, period. The Florida courts are correctly interpreting it, period. I'll say it again: This case isn't about life or death. It's about abuse of power. BushCo and the congressional Republicans are abusing their power and are making a mockery of our system of government by jury-rigging federal law to insert themselves into a private family matter they have no business in. Where do they stop? Where will they stop? They claim theirs is the party of smaller government, of freedom, of personal rights, of dignity. How much longer are you going to believe them? Terry and Michael Schiavo should be left alone. Give them their privacy -- and their legal wishes. _____________________________________________________________________________ Thank you Chuck!

Friday, March 18, 2005

On the Pier

So many glassless hands propose a toast: "To the sea!" Squinty-eyed twilight men continue their acquisition. I appreciate their hope In finding joy in the little ones. Under a piebald gray sky I should be working. But my toasting glass is thrust only toward a sea of stacks. I wonder how success would feel if it were measured in meals of mackerel? I indulge for a moment that I, in my acquisitions, Might be the silver and green flippity-flopper -- resisting the pail. One kind fisherman, on the half turn, sets his hook and reels in a fighter. He holds the contorting creature for an extra few moments over the wooden ledge. He is offering a final chance; though to the fish this is no sport. Water of life splatters back to the heaving bosom below. Elsewhere, more bait sails out Like a bottle rocket with smoke string. The fish spins and twirls on the dock, Sparking with life, a screaming Piccolo Pete.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Big surprise here

You Are Incredibly Logical
(You got 100% of the questions right)
Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic You think rationally, clearly, and quickly. A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!
How Logical Are You?
At only a handful of questions, this test is much harder than you might think ...

Get used to this

Oil Prices soared again today.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Posted by Hello

Ration Gas Now!

You heard it here first. I believe the Federal Government of the United States should start rationing gasoline for all private consumers. It's not a popular notion, I realize. But after thinking about it long and hard, I see many reasons why this would benefit our country. But before I get into it, I must confess how odd it is to hear such words come out of my mouth. The Butcher, you see, used to be a die-hard Libertarian. I used to believe the Market was God and it would solve all problems. But ... my political lifetime can be summed up in this nifty little poem: I went to sleep a Republican. I dreamed I was a Libertarian. I woke up a Democrat. So anyway, back to the topic at hand. Here are six reasons why I think gas rationing would be good for this country: 1. Increase awareness of the crisis. The world is running out of gas, and most people don't realize it. Most people also don't realize that the crisis won't occur when the last drop of gas dribbles from the nozzle. The crisis will occur the year that our consumption surpases production. That will mean the end is near, and the price increase itself will cause the crisis. People need to know this, and the best way to tell them is to begin controlling their gas consumption. 2. Change behaviors As soon as we issue gas rationing, people will begin thinking about ways to conserve gas because they will want to make sure they have enough gas to drive their SUVs to the river with their Boat and those gas-powered put-put thingies that people drive on water. For fun. 3. Increase the window of time until the gas crisis occurs We want this crisis to happen later than sooner. This will give us more time to evolve to a new solution. 4. It will place more emphasis on alternative fuel solutions We've been spending billions on alternative fuels. We need to spend more. Rationing gas would send a signal to Venture Capitalists. 5. It will send a signal to OPEC Gas prices are skyrocketing. I don't need to tell you this. There are two good reasons: 1) demand is increasing and 2) the supply is dropping. HELLO??!! While the earth's oil supply plummets, gas consumption in the U.S. is steadily increasing. If OPEC sees that we are going to conserve it might slightly impact the price of oil in our favor. 6. We can begin stockpiling oil for our supply chain Now here's where the crisis could really hurt us. We don't just need oil to get to work. Likewise, the solution to the gas crisis isn't just a Hybrid car. The problem is that Americans are woefully separated from the sources of their food, clothing, and supplies. The food is grown in farms that use oil to produce tools and supplies required to raise the cattle, squash, wheat, artichokes, etc. The food is then sent to a processing plant via a truck that uses gas. The processing plants also use gas for their lights, tools, machinery, etc. Add to this that all the above supply chain uses plastic parts for many components. Plastic comes from petroleum as well. I think you get the picture. The absense of gasoline could--in the very worst scenario--result in massive starvation. We obviously need to plan well in advance of this crisis to make sure this doesn't happen. (Note: I'm not an alarmist. I don't think we will all starve.) You might say, "I drive 100 miles to work every day. I will lose my job if I don't get there!" Relax! Gas rationing doesn't mean that you won't have enough gas. It's simply a means for the government have control. It doesn't mean they will exercise the control in such a way as to put you out of work. Gas rationing WILL EVENTUALLY happen. We might as well start sooner in order to reap the benefits now.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Brian's Blog is here

At long last, the man who was born to have a blog has created one. Yes it's true; I was holding a gun to his head. But who cares? The end justifies the means, right? Beware neo-conservatives everywhere: Brian will make you cover your ears and your eyes and sing "La-La-La-La-La!" at the top of your lungs. Brian is my best friend, and yes I am his blogfather, but NO I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE. Read it.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Back from Vegas

This is where we stayed. If you enlarge this photo enough, you can see Gayle and I in the 33rd story window.  Posted by Hello Unlike the last two times I ventured forth to victimize Texas Hold 'em players with my superior cunning and poker prowess, this time I have returned with my tail between my legs. Over the last two days, I played a lot of very bad players with very good luck. Case in point: After being slaughtered the first morning by a yahoo from Indiana who stayed in on every hand until the river, when he would miraculously fill in his gut-shot straight, I was down to very few chips. I was dealt a suited king so I stayed in, and saw two kings on the flop. I had been playing *very* agressively all day, so when this happened I decided to slow-play to try and draw more players in. It worked. The guy next to me hadn't been dealt a hand all morning. Suddenly he's playing. He didn't raise when I limped in so I knew he didn't have a king. I figured him for two pair. I started raising, he kept calling. The river card was a measley three, and off suit. No straight or flushes could be made to beat my three kings. I went all in. He called! He had two threes down. Full house. I lose. Why did he stay in with threes and kings? It should have been obvious what I had. Bah! That was just one in many similar sad stories. My flight out was two hours late, and I arrived back home without my car keys. Where are they? I don't know. My car is still at the airport. So, Vegas is on my shit list. The last two days was kind of like being tied down and pecked to death by a very colorful, blind parakeet.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Would You Like Some Candy, Little Boy?

People laugh when The Butcher says he will live to be 120, but the woman in this picture did that 5 years ago. Posted by Hello Yes, this woman is 125 years old. She had 14 children. All but three of them have died. Can you imagine being 100 years old, and still having to buy your mom flowers on Mother's Day? I'm sure those last three kids are holding out for their inheritance. As the woman in the picture is 5 years older than I plan on being, please rest assured that I will never look *quite* this bad. That is all.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Butcher and The Duck

The DUKW, a World War II Amphibious Vehicle that The Butcher once had the pleasure of driving around Burbank. Posted by Hello File this under: "Little surprises that make life fun." One day many years ago, I got a call from my friend Brad. Brad was a WW2 afficionado who managed to trade some antique railroad ties for a few relics, including an actual amphibious vehicle from World War II called a DUKW, or "Duck." Brad needed help getting it from a storage area in San Fernando to his home in Burbank. He wasn't sure the thing would run, so he was going to tow it. He needed a man to ride in the DUKW and steer behind him. He wanted to know if I was up for it. My answer? "Hell yes." One minute I was lazing about watching reruns of "BJ and the Bear," and the next minute I'm tooling around Burbank in a WW2 amphibious vehicle. This was a surreal moment to be sure. People were coming out of their houses just to watch me go down the street. I would smile grimly and salute. This post is brought to you by "Extreme Unction," whose posts about unusual modes of transportation brought this memory to the forefront. I should mention that Extreme Unction (hereafter referred to as EU) has quite a fabulous blog happening. He will one day become famous and, when encountering people who were once his dear friends before he was famous, will look at them and say ... "who are you again?" (Just kidding Pinhut!)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Straw Man Diplomacy

Bush is looking at some creative diplomatic measures to coax Iran into complying with our wishes regarding nuclear proliferation. At first glance, this looks like a promising change of face. On second glance, we find out it's simply GWB throwing the European community a bone. Bush's aides state that he's only doing this to prove to the European community that diplomatic incentives will not achieve their goal. This also seems a bit out of character. The man whose will is allegedly forged with iron did not bow to European pressure the last time. Why is he seeking to gain European approval now? This quote says it all: ______________________ "Slowly, reluctantly, begrudgingly the United States is being drawn into a new reality" that to secure European support for sanctions, it must first join Europe in offering further incentives to Iran that might give negotiations a credible chance of success, said Geoffrey Kemp of the Nixon Center. ______________________ Iran's government is not a popular one among indigenous Iranians. This move might be part of an effort to further alienate the stubborn government from its people. They read the news and hear about the incentive that their government is turning down in favor of it's allegedly peaceful nuclear program. They can see the writing on the wall, and the cadence of war that's playing in Bush's head is so loud they can hear it all the way in Tehran. They have an election coming up in June. Believe me, Iranians live in interesting times. To further complicate the situation, Russia and China are both contributors to Iran's nuclear program. Why? I'll give you one guess and it rhymes with "Boil." So for the US to march into Iran as we did in Iraq might be biting off a bit more than we can chew. The situation is not simple. What's going to happen? Will our caped crusader make another brazen show if military might in the Middle East? Or will he play it safe and try merely diplomatic means? Or ... will an uprising among Iranians solve the problem for him? Tune in next week ... same Bat Channel.

More Appetizers

Take note: More meat is coming. I've got more meat than an Argetinean Dinner house. But for now, in the wake of several sleepless nights and long work hours, I shall offer you some hors d'ouvres. I saw a movie the other day that made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to hurt myself. It's title is simple: "An American Movie." Apparently this film (which is out on DVD) was made about 5 years ago. I don't want to say too much about it. Just go pick it up if you want some serious amusement. There was one particular scene where I laughed so hard, that it really felt as if my face were going to explode. Even writing about it now has me chuckling. If anyone has seen it, can you hazard a guess as to which scene tickled me so much? Leave it in the comments, but try not to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it. Ciao.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

No Surprises Here

Your Brain is 33.33% Female, 66.67% Male
You have a total boy brain Logical and detailed, you tend to look at the facts And while your emotions do sway you sometimes... You never like to get feelings too involved
What Gender Is Your Brain?
Thanks to Carol for the link.

Brain Teaser

After an onslaught of executive meetings and pasta lunches, I am now brain-dead. So, I offer up a brain teaser that proved tougher than I though when I originally created it. What do the following groups have in common? BCDEGPTVZ FLMNSX AHJK QUW IY O R If you figure out the right answer, you'll know what kind of shit goes through my mind during boring meetings.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Sir Bill

The UK has decided to give Bill Gates honorary knighthood. I like England. God Bless the Queen. However, I can think of a lot more worthy people to receive Knighthood. My boss is pretty cool. He should be Sir Bill! The people who invented self-adhering postage stamps. Yeah for them! Make them knights! There was this guy once who fell four stories and had a piece of rebar go straight through his head, but he lived and was fine! <-- knight material Some dude on the freeway let me into his lane today. Knight him. To all of you who make more coffee after pouring the last cup -- I dub thee! Have a good bowel movement ... become a knight. But ... Bill Gates? This man is most certainly a captain of industry, but he has a wake of pissed off people behind him due to his business practices. Plus, he has a bunch of pissed of people in front of him for foisting a horrible product upon us. The man has eliminated his competition and created a bad product, all in a style that can only be described as Un-American. But why would England care about that? Clearly The Queen is not a user of Windows or IE. Bill Gates is the Black Knight. Use Firefox.

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