Friday, August 31, 2007

last day of summer

The last day of summer
Labor day has come to mean the last day of summer. I know about the technicality involving the equinox, but realistically this weekend is it. Football is about to erupt, the heat of the summer is broken...and not a minute too soon... and it is about to be autumn.
It has been a day like many others. There is a sign on Canton Hiway that says Honk if you like Peace and Quiet
I saw a car with a Mit Romney bumper sticker this morning. He couldn't decide which lane he wanted to stay in, and kept shifting from left to center to right. I bet he also likes "ZigZag" Zell Miller.
The memorial service for Richard Jewell is this afternoon. The service will be at the Brookhaven Baptist Church, just down the street from Cross Keys High School. While I never attended there, I have known lots of people who did. The radio voice said it was his childhood church. This is one more close touch in a sad sad story.
Another radio voice said that Alberto Gonzales was lucky. The thinking was that the Larry Craig story broke this week, and took attention away from the desire of Mr. Gonzales to spend time with his family. Now, knowing the way the media works, and also knowing that Mr. Craig's tap dancing took place in June, you have to wonder why this news broke out this week.
Listening to the radio, they said that i285 was backed up from Roswell Road to Stone Mountain Freeway. I considered and abandoned alternative plans, including going into town on i75 and driving back up. I looked at the Georgia Navigator and saw a bunch of red stripes before hwy 400 on the "watermelon 500". And I know that wednesday and thursday the perimeter was jammed, and it took me an hour to get home wednesday.
But it is friday, and time for adventure. I got on i285 and drove 55mph all the way to Roswell Road. I celebrated by calling El Torrero and getting dinner.
The summer is now over.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Out of Context

I can't make this up.
A radio whiner named Mike Scinto came up with this gem.
Discussing the philosophic dialog at the miss teen america pageant, he said
"What she said, if taken in context,is wrong, but if taken out of context it makes perfect sense"
I had to go into a customers office after I heard this. I regained my composure first. It is not good for your customers to see you doubled up in laughter.

i can't make this up part 2

from notes on a blind date:
9. For GODSAKES, please. Don't tell me where you keep your dead dog's ashes, k?

On a sad note, Richard Jewell passed away.
He lived near me during the Olympics. I drove by his complex several times, and saw the army of TV camera trucks in the parking lot. What a nightmare that must have been, to have all that media in town looking for a story, and have them in your parking lot.
It is to be hoped that G-d is kinder to him now than she was when he was alive.

"Despite all this the Shia remained generally loyal – that is, until 1991, when Shia soldiers returning from the first Gulf war in Kuwait sparked a riot in Basra that quickly spread north to Najaf. The Shia looked to the United States for support, interpreting President George H.W. Bush's call to the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam to mean American intervention on their behalf. However, Saudi Arabia warned Washington in no uncertain terms that if Saddam were to fall from power, Iran would gain control of southern Iraq. The House of Saud did not wish to see the Shia uprising against Saddam succeed. Riyadh saw the same threat in Shia empowerment in Iraq in 1991 that it sees today. It preferred to keep Iraq under a Sunni dictatorship rather than risk empowering the Shia. Influenced by their ally in the war, the United States balked at involvement in the uprising. U.S. forces stationed in the Euphrates Valley looked on as Saddam sent his dreaded Republican Guards to the south, armed with tanks and helicopter gunships to crush the rebellion.
Large parts of Shia towns were razed, the shrines in Najaf and Karbala were shelled, and tens of thousands of Shias were killed. Bodies were draped across the beams of the shrine of Husayn in Karbala. The brutality was merciless; as one Iraqi general said about a massacre of Shias in Hilla after the 1991 uprising, "We captured many people and separated them into three groups. The first group we were sure were made up of people who were guilty. The second group we had doubts about, and the third group was innocent. We telephoned the high command to ask what we should do with them. They said we should kill them all, and that's what we did." –Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival

Thank you Iraqimojo.
After a couple of days talking about Miss Teen South Carolina, the real world is impinging on the good times.
So this is one of the massacres that the warmonger crowd likes to jawbone about. So much of what you hear justifying this war centers on the cruelty of Saddam to the Iraqi people. Now, it turns out that Washington sanctioned this genocide, because our buddies in Saudi Arabia wanted us too.
But Bush the younger was not as smart as his daddy. After terrorists from Saudi Arabia attacked Amerika, he got revenge on Iraq. And delivered Babylon into the hands of the Shia, who are buddies with Iran.
This is getting complicated. Maybe I should listen to Miss Teen South Carolina.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

U.S. Americans

There is another angle to the existential answer given by Miss Teen South Carolina the other night.
The question she was answering regarded a "recent poll" showing that "a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map"
Who conducted this study?
Was it a focus group, door to door study, or done over the telephone?
Or, perhaps it was an 800 number on the back of a fast food receipt.
How were the questions worded?
How was the respondent sample chosen?
We are constantly told how stupid we are. Of course, people do accept these studies without question, so maybe some of us are.
I find it difficult to believe that 20% of The United States cannot find our country on a map. As a former interviewer for a market research firm, I know the gimmicks that can be played with survey design. I also know that you can lie with numbers.
Maybe Miss Teen South Carolina gave the correct answer.
Next time they can ask a pint instead of a fifth.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day Back

This is the first day back from vacation. The replacement left the truck below empty, and I had to buy gas before doing anything. The mileage was 46660.
This was a good morning to listen to the radio, as long as you don't have a wreck when you hear certain things. There are three people in the news who have problems making public statements.
The first is Alberto Gonzales. There are reports of Senators openly laughing at his statements during some hearings. Whatever he was saying, he was not convincing.
The second is America's Canine Queen, Mike Vick. He read a (Lawyer Written) statement about his situation. " I ax you for forgiveness and understanding...I have turned my life over to Jesus"
The good news, I was at a red light when I heard that. Otherwise, I might have had an accident.
The Moe to today’s Curly and Larry is Miss Teen South Carolina Lauren Caitlin Upton. Of course, she is much, much prettier than Moe.
She is also the only one of the three known by her first, middle, and last name. Usually this honor is reserved for criminals. Why aren’t Mike Vick and Alberto Gonzales referred to by all three names? And what is number seven's middle name?
While giving an amusing non answer to a question may put the Rhodes scholarship out of reach, it is hardly a felony.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hokie Blokie

There has been a part of the Mike "Youbet" Vick case that has gone unreported.
This has been a bad year for Virginia Tech.
Mr. Vick used to play quarterback for the Hokies. Does anyone know whether or not he graduated?
According to my confidential source, Dogfighting is a major pastime in HokieLand. This is reportedly where Mr. Vick was introduced to the custom.
A few months ago, a dog lover named Cho decided to do something about it.

On a lighter note, It will be interesting to see how Bill Bennett deals with this affair in his new book. While the virtues of dogfighting and performance based canine execution is debatable, the "story" that Mr. Vick is not betting on the dogs needs to be weighed in. Of course, gambling addiction is a virtue that "Morning in America" guy knows a few things about.
Mr.Vick is saying, in effect, that he did not get a return on his investment. Mr. Bennett is a cheerleader for the virtue of capatalism. Gotta Problem?

As many observers of the Hispanic community have noted, if you give a Mexican a t shirt, he will wear it, regardless of what is said on the shirt. This can lead to some highly amusing scenes, like a man carrying a twelve pack while wearing a shirt with an AA slogan.
There have been a lot or red number 7 jerseys on Buford Hiway recently.

Spell check suggestions for this feature:
Youbet- doubt
Vick- Vicki vice Vickie Vicks Vicky
Hokies- hocks
hispanic- hispano whispering
Hiway- Hawaii Heiwa Howa

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Friday, August 24, 2007

four kinds of lies

I try to tell the truth at this facility, and to do so without using cusswords.
Now, there is a time honored quote that is central to the theme of tonight’s commentary. In my efforts to keep this organ clean, I will use a substitute for the offending verbiage.
There are three kinds of lies. Lies, Doggone Lies, and Statistics
It is well known that you can lie with numbers just like you can lie with words. The accounting industry would collapse if this were not the case.
I had a teacher at DeKalb College with a great point. The best way to win an argument is to use statistics. The best way to get statistics is to make them up
Today we are going to look at the fourth kind of lie...history.
It is an old truism that the history of wars is written by the winners. And, they are going to make their side look good, and the other side look bad.
Arguments on history have a way of interpreting the past in a way that serves a purpose. Inconvenient facts are left out. As with statistics, the best way to get these "facts" is to make them up.
When you get older, you get to hear the stories from the recent past told. Often, there is little resemblance between the stories that are told and what you remember. The events were controversial while they were going on, so why should things be any different later?
Example A is the war in Vietnam. It was a disaster. We lost 58,000 troops. There were an estimated two million Vietnamese killed, often women and children. We lost.
Now, the revisionists are mounting a counterattack. To hear them, our troops were winning in the field, only to be stabbed in the back by the hippie protestors at home.
Now, we may have been killing more of them than they did of us (see statistics above), but that doesn't mean we were winning. The government in South Vietnam was a corrupt disaster, and it needed to succeed for us to win.
Finally, with support for the war exhausted at home, Richard Nixon finagled a deal for "Peace with Honor". The POWs came home ( most of them anyway), Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace, and the helicopters took the last Americans out of Saigon. It was not pretty.
A few days ago, President W gave a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Now, he could not have joined this organization, as he joined the National Guard to avoid service in Vietnam.
W defended our adventure in Babylon, and he used the history of 20th century wars to support his story. He tries, and the audience in Kansas City was impressed. Others were not amused.
The chief comparison of Babylon to Vietnam that W makes is the "bloodbath" that would follow an Amerikan retreat. Now, in Vietnam, those who worked with the Amerikans were not treated kindly by the Northern conquerors. This was even more pronounced in Cambodia, where the war in Vietnam spread amidst an Amerikan Air war. Maybe W wants to start bombing Iran, so they can have a bloodbath there. Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here.
In any event, Vietnam and Iraq are two different conflicts. One had drafted troops, many more Amerikan casualties, and massive protests in the streets. The other has the world’s second largest oil reserves.
We are stuck in Iraq. If we stay there is trouble. If we leave there is trouble. In another forty years, we can re write the history of this conflict.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spam Filter

"293 Jesus Mouth" is finished, and not a minute too soon.
The next picture will be more abstract, and should not cause brain damage.
Jesus has long been a source of misery to me, and I have known this because of the things his worshippers say. Hence the theme of the image.
If I had known I would be finishing this on vacation, during a period of horrible heat and drought, I might have chosen another image.

I am currently exchanging emails with a Jesus Worship Blogger. He had posted a piece about knowing of the goodness of G-d. I wrote back, asking " How do you maintain faith in G-d when you are under attack from Jesus Worshippers?"
After this got through his "spam filter", he answered, and I answered back.
In a written exchange, you can finish what you have to say without being interrupted. Try that sometime when talking with a Jesus Worshipper.
It centered on two issues. One is the separation of G-d and Man. I take the view that G-d and Man is one. As you may imagine, Jesus Worshippers do not agree. "What man hath rent asunder, let no G-d bring together"
The other is the third commandment.
3-Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy G-d in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
To quote the letter:
"Well, I am interested in knowing why you assign any value to "the third commandment" since it was written by people who you would say have a false view of God. You may answer that question at your leisure."
My reply was:
Hmm. I thought the Bible story was that Moses got the commandments on tablets of Stone directly from G-d. Now you are saying that they were written by man.
It really doesn't matter where the ten c's came from . They are good, common sense rules for living. I wrote about this in my blog a while back, and you wrote a semi complimentary comment. I regret that you did not continue that discussion.
The Third Commandment....about taking the name of G-d in vain... is a very powerful rule, and constantly violated by Jesus Worshippers. It is a lot more than G-d's last name.
Anyone can read from the Bible, or talk about G-d and Jesus. Anyone. If this is done without respect and good will, it is in vain. If it is done out of anger, or to humiliate, or to hurt, then it is in vain. Whether you think the Bible is the word of G-d and Jesus is the son of G-d is irrelevant. ( Consult the first commandment about those two concepts)

Now, I have been shouted down and humiliated many many times because of Jesus. This is how I have come to know Jesus. Through the Mouth of his believers. Through Jesus Mouth.
His worshippers consider Jesus to be G-d in human form. I disagree.

"1- Thou shalt have no other g-ds before me".

Does this include the so called Son of G-d? I don't think so.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A bit of a drive

8/18/2007 10:05:03 AM
It is time for another "what I ate for breakfast " post. Which, btw, was ramen noodles with el torrero salsa. I was tired of driving yesterday, and skipped my usual friday carryout from el torrero. That place has a consistent crew for a food place, the same staff week in and week out, the same table full of drunks at the front on friday afternoon...a touch of reassuring consistency in an always changing world.
Today is final assembly for Jesus Mouth. It takes longer and longer to from concept to assembly, but it is getting done.
In the meantime, I am downloading music. The first was a gem, "franks wild years" by Tom Waits. I saw tom waits sitting at a table once with his band. It was in the balcony of the agora ballroom on Peachtree Street. This was between sets of a show by Tim Curry, when he was making his well financed attempt at being a rock star. Someone lost a ton of money on that, but it would make a good post.
So anyway, Tom Waits was playing there the next night, and I saw a bunch of guys sitting at a table in the balcony. I asked the bodyguard if that was Tom Waits, and he said no, it just looks like him.
10:56:50 AM
I am back from the first yard sale of the day. It was a bunch of overpriced junk...there was a warehouse broom, which caught my eye until I learned he wanted $8 for it.
Back to the downloads, jockohomo has something he calls "the mash and bash drive by shooting" I am listening to "Cars" by Gary Numan, with bits of "Drive my car" by the Beatles, and rappers performing on top of it all.
Once, I spent a few days wandering around San Francisco. Everywhere I went I heard "Cars". Everywhere.
Another concoction "crazy freak" by the osmonds vs chic, was not as much fun. I kept seeing Mit Romney dancing to it.
10:37:21 PM
Well, it is twelve hours later.
I got a bit done today, but mainly passed time. Last night, I got a copy of "Dark Side of the Moon", as if those guys need any more money. Listening to that again, 34 years after hearing it 500 times in a couple of months, was a revelation. A theme of that is wasting time, until time wastes you. Which is ok to think about, but I spend too much time thinking about me and how I got where I am today. Ultimately, I am still here, and that will have to do.
I was directed to this site that has lots of poems, and found this timeless work by the well preserved Dorothy Parker:
Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live.
8/19/2007 12:44:23 AM
About midnight, it is finally cool enough to go outside. I put the sandals and a shirt on and go for a stroll.
At the end of the street, the county built a new sidewalk. This is across the street from an existing sidewalk that is seldom used. It is good for late night walks, even if the magnolia trees have low branches in the way.
Two freight trains passed through in these few minutes. The sound of a train over the hill is always enjoyable

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Outstanding Values

There is a big PR push now to sell the war in Babylon to an increasingly skeptical public. This is especially true on talk radio.
yea yea yea. That is not going to go away. Today is August 16.
On this day in 1958, Madonna made her first nude appearance.
On this day in 1977, Elvis made his last trip to the bathroom.He forgot to flush.

Back to Babylon. Tony Snow and Bill Kristol (the brains behind Dan Quayle) both were on the Laura Ingraham show recently. They said the surge was working, Anbar province is ready for its own Disney theme park, and those nasty liberal democrats just don't get it.
Now, it is possible that things are better now. This might be because things were so bad last year that there was no place to go but up.
And, it is also possible that all three players in this drama are liars.
Meanwhile, in the enclave of a marginalized Kurd village, bombs have killed an estimated 400 people. This is one of the worst terror attacks since the invasion of Iraq.
Iraqimojo also had this gem:
"PS: Note that Iran (and the Shia militias) are also blamed for the persecution of Iraqi Christians. 3-5% of the Iraqi population are Christians, and yet they make up 40% of the refugees!"

Well I am not gonna finish this on the lunch hour, but I only started ten minutes ago. I will add a few touches tonight.

Well, unlike the United States in Babylon, I like to finish what I start.
As for the progress in Anbar province, that is good news, if we can believe it. From what I hear, there are lots and lots of caveats to this. And, in the absence of an overall political miracle, any battlefield progress is for naught.
I think it was telling that Mr. Kristol spent as much time bashing the Democrats as he did hailing the battlefield progress. I think it is really cool that he has been to Iraq, but seeing what his handlers want him to see is not the entire story. And, as readers of Iraqi blogs know, is much more complicated than "We Win, You Lose".
Speaking of complications unknown to western observers, what about the Yezidis, the victims of the "Black Tuesday" bombing?
"The ancient Yezidi religion is a blend of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism. Some Muslims consider the Yezidis to be infidels." While the knee jerk press is blaming Al Queda, there are more suspects here than the Kennedy Assassination. Rival Kurds, Turks, radical Moslems, American Private Security, Iran....any one of those players could have done this.
Yea, the surge is working. And the emperor’s new clothes are really snazzy.
But the issue that really gets me thinking is this bit about Iraqi Christians. Could it be that maybe Iraqi Christians were better off under Saddam. Of course, the numbers quoted by Iraqimojo are not infallible, and may be as useless as Tony Snow's optimism. But, assuming that they are at least partially true, the question arises, why isn't this being played up in Jesus Mad America? One possible reason is the number of Jesus Worshippers who are fervent supporters of the Killing in Babylon. W does not want to alienate his power base by mentioning that our Allies are running off their “Brothers in Christ”. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we venture to deceive.

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