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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One fewer person on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List:

I'm sure by now, you've heard about Warren Steed Jeffs, the polygamist child-molestor on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List, being arrested during a routine traffic stop in Nevada in a red 2007 Cadillac Escalade. I mentioned the car's color because on Larry King Live, one of the members of his sect who ran away the day before she was to be wed to some older pervo when she was 14 years old mentioned that the color red is considered evil by that sect. I know little about that cult and care even less, but I find that a bit odd, perhaps even Freudian. I've read a bit about this guy, and every article I've read about him has disturbed me on a different level. He truly belonged on a list of the worst criminals who have committed crimes against citizens of the United States, and his capture can only be a good thing for the people of the states of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. I wish Mr. Jeffs a long life in prison, preferrably served in the general population and assigned to a cell with a large, scary cellmate who, as a child, was subjected to the same kind of abuse he inflicted on so many children.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sidebar and Jim Cantorre of the Weather Channel

You may have noticed a new feature on my sidebar. I now have the current Department of Homeland Security Terror Alert Level in an easy-to-read format. As for me, I think it's bullshit, and I'll personally be on red alert until October or November at the earliest, but I've already addressed that in my other post today.

That brings me to my second comment. I've noticed Jim Cantorre on The Weather Channel, and I remember how unbearably smug and happy he was with every monster during Ivan, Dennis, and other monsters. I also remember how that changed, as did so many things, after Katrina, when The Weather Channel lost communication with him for 24 hours and his van floated away. I've seen him on TV in the days leading up to the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday, and he's very somber. Gone is the arrogance and thrill of the hunt that once infuriated residents along the Gulf Coast, replaced, instead, with a far more mature respect for the fury nature can unleash. I wish, well, almost no one any ill will, and for that reason, I'm glad he survived. He may come across as being an ass, but to my knowledge, he has done no direct serious harm to anyone. I'm also glad that he finally understands what those of us along the Gulf Coast and East Coast have known all along: That this isn't a game. I think he learned this is life and death, and whenever there's a monster in the water, lives will be ruined and ended.

Because the lion's share of the coverage has been about those who died during Katrina and those who have suffered and continue to suffer, I can't help wondering if the survivors have been forgotten. We haven't seen all that much about those who survived and are once again thriving. We haven't seen all that much about those hurt by the storm in Mississippi or along the Alabama Gulf Coast. As this first anniversary of Katrina nears, let's think about those who lived and those who have been forgotten. Let's give a thought to those who are still trying to piece their lives back together. And maybe, if you feel so inspired, donate some time or money to some charity involved in easing others' suffering.

Hurricane Ernesto, or, five weeks in Hell:

I haven't said much this season about storms, and I certainly have not expressed the level of raw panic I did last season. The simple reason for that is that I'm too tired and I generally feel like shit. My blood pressure is spiking up to levels that should be medicated, I'm not sleeping well, I'm about 40-50 lbs. overweight, I don't exercise, and I eat pretty much everything I shouldn't. I know the forecast cone encompasses Florida, but that can easily change, so I have no intention of relaxing yet, or at all, until this season is over.

Hurricane Ernesto, like all storms in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, has me very worried. I know it's a phobic response brought about by repeated trauma, but, looking in the grocery store, I'm far from alone. People are starting to stock up on soda, beer, and bottled water. Thusfar, I haven't seen the shelves at the grocery store denuded like a plague of locusts had descended upon them, but it's still Sunday yet. I fully expect to see that in one to three days, assuming I'm still at home then and not on the road running from this storm.

I mentioned five weeks in Hell, because that is the time remaining in the peak of hurricane season for the Gulf Coast, although storms are possible at any point during hurricane season. If you don't have any experience with this, I cannot begin to express my happiness for you, and would like to express my sincerest desire that you never know this. The ocean temperatures are slightly above normal for this time of year, but they're not at body temperature like they were last season. This means that storms have the potential to be a bit stronger than normal, but I refuse to speculate on the rest of the season, or, in fact, this storm. What I do know is that we're not on last year's pace, a fact for which I'm grateful. I only hope no one is harmed.

Finally, you know this wouldn't be one of my posts if I weren't angry at someone, and once again, that person is Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans. His words and actions have led to the deaths and suffering of many, and may ultimately lead to the death of New Orleans. I have never seen this level of insensitivity, incompetency, and love of the taste of one's own shoe leather from any elected official in my lifetime. You may think I'm exaggerating when I say that his words may lead to the death of New Orleans, but take for example his words on 60 Minutes. I believe the comments speak for themselves. He criticizes the federal government for reacting so slowly to Hurricane Katrina, but the destruction it wrought over such a wide area hampered relief efforts. The events of 9/11/2001, on the other hand, left the rest of the city intact, there was still a civil infrastructure including fire and police departments, they still had running water and electricity, the streets were still as passable as they ever are, and they still had mass transit services available. His comments only showed his deep ignorance and disrespect for everyone, including himself, and only served to alienate those whose help this entire region still needs and will continue to need for quite a while. It is my sincerest regret that he was elected to yet another four-year term, and my sincerest hope that his words are not thought to be representative of the opinions of this region. The people of the central Gulf Coast are, by and large, good people, not assholes like this shit-stain on the political landscape.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Some food for thought, and may your belly pleasantly ache from the glut.

Maybe I say "pleasantly ache" because gluttony is my favorite of the "7 deadly sins". At any rate, though this is laziness in the best sense of the term, I post these articles because I want to spur debate and thought, partly because they're the cornerstones and guardians of a representative democracy, and partly, frankly, because I'm bored. The titles will be whatever I feel is more fitting, not necessarily that which the author chose. All links, of course, will open in new tabs, or windows if you're still cursed with Microstiffy's Internet Exploder.

Bolton: This year's Daniel Patrick Moynihan?

War on the Home Front Here, I wish to make absolutely clear that I have no problem with anyone of any religion who wishes no harm and takes no actions to cause harm to me, my family, my nation, or any other nation. At absolute worst in the case of such an individual, I simply won't give a fuck about the individual, and at best, hell, everyone can use more friends. However, whether you're talking about anarchist rioters, ecoterrorist fucktards and their supporters (ELF, PeTA), inbred morons from some Christofascist (Is that even a real word? If not, look no further than Timothy McVeigh for the definition.) conclave, or Islamofascists from both here and abroad, the only things I wish for those who take action on their beliefs or incite others to do so are a prison cell at best, and at worst, I wish them a permanent removal of their ability to harm others and themselves. Interpret that however you may.

The Fall of Detroit, an article that in a few short paragraphs has more honesty than Michael Moore has expressed in his entire career.

Flight From Honesty, an article that everyone should read.

Rock Death and Music, finally proof that two more people get it: Garbage in, garbage out, and garbage is all those of us who love rock have gotten lately. How many Top 10 hits did Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, or any of the other most influential bands of the late 1960s/early 1970s have, and who today gives a shit about those who dominated the charts at the time? For a more modern perspective, how long have Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, and Tori Amos spent at the top of the charts? I firmly believe there's still a lot of good shit out there; it's just nearly impossible to see with the Gwen Stefanization of modern pop. Until this changes, I shall wear sackcloth and ashes in mourning for rock and roll, though figuratively of course since sackcloth itches like a motherfucker.

Impugning Joe Lieberman, yet another must-read.

And, finally, Flex Fuel Fuzzy Math. Again, the title says it all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

For your entertainment, a music video. Not for work:

This is "These Things" by She Wants Revenge, and expresses, well, nothing deeper than my love of this music. Still, the tonality is a good expression of my mood. Not for work.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Thoughts for Northerners:

I consider myself a Southerner first and foremost. It is a term I wear with pride, while realizing that our history is every bit as ugly as those from the North would like to pretend they don't have. I'm proud to be a Southerner, and I'm proud of the food and culture I grew up with, especially the food. When I'm talking about Southern food, I'm not talking about this "everything deep fried" crap, though that is an important part of it. I'm talking about gumbo, and collard greens with ham hock, and biscuits, and good buttermilk cornbread. I'm talking about, yes, fried chicken, and sweet potato casserole, biscuits and gravy, and chicken and dumplings. For a more convenient example, just go to your nearest Cracker Barrell restaurant. Though locations outside of the South may not get it right, at least they'll have the right idea.

We're often portrayed in popular culture as dumb hicks, or inbred rednecks, or as racist troglodites. Just for fun, why don't I list a few such people from my native beloved/hated Alabama: Harper Lee, W. C. Handy (one of the grandfathers of Jazz), George Washington Carver, Truman Capote, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Condoleeza Rice, Booker T. Washington, William Edward Campbell, Hank Aaron, Courtney Cox, and Jim Nabors. Also, the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine is one of the most highly respected medical schools in the United States. But we're all just hicks. To my friends outside of the South, if you happen to come across a Southerner who seems slow, or stupid, or clumsy, or just apparently has trouble understanding what you want, there are a few people who fit that description, but more likely, it's just our way of politely telling you that you're an asshole. Toodles.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Personal musings and news stories I think are cool

First, on a personal note, there's this guy I've known for about 20 years, ever since we were kids. I knew his parents growing up, knew the kind of environment he was raised in and am still close to some of his family, knew him about as well as anyone can know anyone. I loved him like I would a brother. A few years back, he moved across the country. At first, he was great, the same guy I remembered, but now, I'm just wondering what ever happened to that mischievous smartass people, myself included, couldn't help loving. I knew he had the potential to be a real asshole (as do we all), but I never thought he'd realize that potential to this extent. I know that when he's with certain of his friends out there, he's less of the guy I knew. I loved who he was. This person he's become... The term "split the uprights" comes to Bill Gates is mind. Bah, I just wish I could fly out there and talk some sense into the dumbass. Oh, and no, I'm not gay, not that there's anything wrong with that.

On a different note, I think Bill Gates is right about his stance on focusing on the prevention of HIV in females as a means to dramatically reduce its transmission overall. He may be an ubergeek, but he does understand business and statistics, and I think his stance and the renewed focus of his charitable foundation may potentially save a hell of a lot of lives some day.

For a little bit of good news, the TSA has announced that men and women can once again put solid lipstick in their carry-on luggage, though mascara must be in checked luggage. Tara Reid, emo-wusses and Goths started to be outraged by this declaration, until they remembered that they were too dead inside to care.

For yet another reason never to move to Arizona, other than the fact that it's a fucking desert, here's this idiot who got 70 speeding tickets in 5 months. First, ask yourself if you know anyone who's ever had 70 speeding tickets in their life. Second, ask yourself why they didn't suspend her license after about the 10th such offense. Third, ask yourself if any sane person, especially in this age of state budget crises brought about and/or exacerbated by soaring fuel costs, would think that the local government would not want to collect on those fines. Idiot.

Has the world gone mad, yet again? Big-butt ants are now all the rage in Columbia and France, but then again, the French will eat anything.

And finally, this drunk picked the wrong parking lot to piss in. On the upside, at least it didn't take much effort for law enforcement to arrest him and take him off the roads.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

I've read a disturbing debate on ZDNet.

The story in question is one where the courts have ruled against a man who claimed a right to privacy when he was discovered viewing child pornography on a work computer. Aside from the sheer amount of stupidity it takes to search for any type of pornography from a company-owned machine, there's the not so small issue of what punishment this pervert should receive. If the debate had stayed on that vein, I would not be posting today. However, others actually supported his nonexistent right to privacy in this instance, while still others expressed support for the "right" to view that filth. My name on that forum is MageOfChaos, and you'll see what I had to say, in all its snarky glory. Or, to save you time, I'll sum it up as follows: "Ugh!! I hope the rat-bastard is locked away until squirrels evolve into the next dominant lifeform on this planet." On that note, good night, and don't let the bastards grind you down.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What do Cynthia McKinney and Mel Gibson have in common?

They both promote anti-Semitism when they're drunk. In Mel Gibson's case, the drug in question was alcohol. In Ms. McKinney's case, the drug in question was power. I for one will miss her presence in Congress in much the same way I look back with fondness on that time I sustained a severe concussion. Furthermore, most people by now have seen the footage of the scuffle between her bodyguards from the New Black Panther Party and reporters. If this shrill, bigoted bitchzilla is an example of how she truly believes an elected official should behave, I shudder to think about how she defines the term "out of line". I have oft been a vocal critic of Nancy Pelosi and her leadership of the Democratic Party in the House, but I think Congresswoman Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats did about all she could do in this instance. If Ms. McKinney had gotten even one or two major Democrats to campaign with her, I think she might've had a chance of winning the primary. Instead, the House Democrat leadership decided to give her the type of platform and power she deserves; in short, none at all. Her forced retirement will deny Republicans a rallying point against the Democrats, and this can only be seen as a good thing for, well, everybody, because she belongs in Congress about as much as David Duke, as her comments and public record attest. I hope all will join me in wishing her a pleasant, permanent, and quiet retirement, though I doubt any of us will be that fortunate.

As a bonus, here's a post from Wonkette. Enjoy.

I'll be lazy again.

I've seen numerous bits of commentary about the events in the Middle East, and more specifically, about the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Rather than post my own commentary, I will again post links to others' comments with whom I agree and whose words, I believe, should at least be viewed. These links will be, once again, from one of my new favorite websites, the Jewish World Review. I admit that this is a bit of laziness on my part, but I think these comments shed a different light on what's going on. The links will open in a new window/tab and are as follows:

Will Israel suffer Poland's fate?

The Reuterization of war journalism

Worry about the West, not Israel

How Israel fights

And finally, The American Dog Didn't Bark, an article about one of the few ways this administration hasn't fucked up. I would've called it "Even Broken Watches are correct twice a day", but that would've been a bit too unwieldy, and besides, with the prevalence of digital watches, meaningless as broken digital watches are simply blank.

As a bonus, here's a completely unrelated bit about internet law from ZDNet. As for me, I'm glad the court ruled in this sensible manner to protect children. How fucking stupid do you have to be to view any type of porn at work, much less search for it on a computer owned, maintained, and monitored by your company? And child porn? My emotional response to this would be to point and laugh at his stupidity, get angry at his actions, then violate the Eigth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. My more mature, reasoned response (okay, not necessarily more mature) is to point and laugh at the stupid bastard, get angry at his actions, and hope they lock up the bastard and throw away the key. On second thought, I would have no problem at all with excessive fines being imposed or excessive bail being required in this instance. That's just my tuppence for now.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Well, the "big tent" just got a good bit smaller.

And on that note, I give a hearty "Go fuck yourself" to Senator Lieberman's fairweather friends, the most infamous of which are the Clintons. He has voted in line with the Democratic Party 90% of the time, has been an excellent legislator for progressive elements in his state of Connecticutt, and his reward for a lifetime of service is "Just take it up the ass like a man, Joe." But the Democratic Party is a great and honorable institution. Just ask them. The only difference between their behavior and that of the Republicans is the line of bullshit they try to feed their constituency. I certainly wish Senator Lieberman all the best in his bid as an Independent to retain his seat. Senators, members of Congress, and other elected officials are responsible for and to ALL citizens in their districts, not just the members of their party, and it is ALL citizens who belong, or should belong, to their constituency. But surely, Ned Lamont is a good and honorable man. He distorted Lieberman's record, disparaged his honor, and eked out a victory using the basest of tactics, but surely, Ned Lamont is a good and honorable man. To my Democrat friends out there, look long and hard at what your party has done, and ask yourself if you are now ashamed. If I were you, I most certainly would be. As someone of a more independent bent (though my leanings are plainly obvious to anyone who has read my blog for a while), I am disgusted.

Oh, and one last thing: Could someone take the microphone out of soon-to-be-former-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's hands? All her concession speech proved is the desperate need she has to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, learn how to speak, and take singing lessons. I haven't seen that level of insanity since the last time Whitney Houston gave an interview.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Aaaah, good shit. Or, stuff you're not likely to find on the radio... yet.

I haven't watched very much MTV2 lately, or, for that matter, ever. I'm coming to learn that this was a mistake. While I also tend to adore Fuse, I think MTV2 has more of an underground sensibility to it. Thanks to that network, I have discovered a very good new band called Flyleaf, a true metal band that, unlike most in their genre, isn't devoted to wallowing in their own angst. True, it's angsty, but also manages to transcend it. Also, the lead singer is hot. I recommend the "I'm So Sick" video. Of course, that's the only single of theirs I've heard, but it really impressed me.

The second group I would like to mention is Cobra Starship. You may have heard their song "Snakes On a Plane", and yes, it is related to the movie of the same name. That particular video is very well done, and the female vocalist is somewhat reminiscent of Paris Hilton in one notable part, though with all of the hotness and none of the nastiness. The story behind the name as stated on their website is interesting. The last part is fucking brilliant.

Finally, I know Amy Lee is, at this point, very well-established, but I can't help expressing my barely contained joy that Evanescence is back, and they're exploring new ground. I've heard their latest single, "Call Me When You're Sober," and it's retains the feel of Evanescence while also being something quite different from their first mainstream album. Also, again, Amy Lee is hot.

With all of this and other good music out there, one may wonder why the recording industry is doing so poorly. The answer is obvious to anyone who turns the radio onto a rock station: Most of the bands the major record studios promote are shit. These, however, are more than worthy of a your time. On that note, good night, and happy hunting. May your searches for good music be productive.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Of unmatched beauty and weather phenomena:

Well, I saw satellite photos of Tropical Storm Chris, though by the time you read this, it may be Tropical Depression Chris or something even less. The center of circulation was well-removed from the main line of thunderstorms associated with that little bastard, or, in layman's terms, that storm got bitch-slapped by some upper level wind shear. So, on that note, I wish a long, restful, and permanent slumber for that storm and its ilk.

In a related bit of good news, Dr. Gray, respected meteorologist, has revised down his tropical forecast, down to 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, with 3 of those being major hurricanes. This is down from the earlier prediction of 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, with 5 of those being major hurricanes. That said, better news is better, not necessarily good.

In my area, there are (or were until the last year or two) two storms the old-timers talked about as examples of times to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye: Hurricane Frederic in 1979, and Hurricane Camille in 1969, the sixth and third named storms of their year, respectively. 1979 was a slightly less active than normal year, with 8 named storms, with six of those being hurricanes and two of those hurricanes achieving major storm (category 3 or higher) status. Hurricane Frederic made landfall on September 12, 1979, providing but one small bit of proof that it only takes one storm to wreck lives and have the potential for widescale loss of life.

Camille, now that was a scary cunt. She was, obviously, the third named storm of the 1969 Atlantic hurricane season. In the Atlantic basin, only the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 made landfall with a lower central pressure. She made landfall on August 17, 1969, a few years before I was born. The coastal counties of Alabama are a nice stretch of highway from Pass Christian, MS, an area you may know from stories about Hurricane Katrina, though you probably don't because it's not New Orleans. Even so, I've heard some interesting stories about that particular beast. Oh, and apparently, the Richelieu Manor Apartments hurricane party is merely a persistent urban legend, though I've heard some interesting tellings of it. At this point, my point falls apart because 1969 was one of the most active seasons on record.

I started off this post angry, but now I just feel numb and with a sense of relief that I know will be short-lived. Fuck it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An alternative, sane look at the Israel conflict:

Instead of adding my own commentary, I will instead, again, allow others' words to speak for themselves. Though this site tends to slant a bit conservative, the words of these individuals actually make sense. So, again, I refer you to links: Krauthammer 1, (if you have no sense of humor, ignore this) Borowitz 1, Dershowitz 2, Jacoby 1, Prager 1, Pruden 1, and Gaffney 1. Sure, I'm single-sourcing, but the other sources are the ones getting the airtime. For those of you who are offended by this, it's called "debate". Look into it.

A nasty take on horoscopes.

Aries: Your symbol is a Ram. However, you're an ass.

Taurus: Your symbol is a bull, which is fitting because you're full of shit.

Gemini: Your symbol is a twin, or metaphorically, being of two minds. Thank you so ever much for being that guy who takes a half hour deciding between citrus and regular Listerine in the store.

Cancer: Your symbol is a crab. Aaaah, so many jokes, so little time.

Leo: Your symbol is a lion, but you're really just a farting kitten.

Virgo: Your symbol is every bit as rare as a unicorn: a virgin. If you watch enough horror movies, you know the only real use for virgins.

Libra: Your symbol is the scales of justice. They say justice is blind. See your optometrist as soon as possible, you myopic fuck.

Scorpio: Your symbol is a scorpion. You're just all cute and cuddly, aren't you?

Saggitarius: Your symbol is the archer. Too bad your aim is often poor.

Capricorn: Your symbol is the goat, as evidenced by your appetites.

Aquarius: Your symbol is the water bearer. Maybe that's why you have a bladder the size of a thimble.

Pisces: Your symbol is the fish, yet your odor is that of one that's been in the sun for three days.

This little bit of cynicism was brought to you by your friend, Fred. Remember that I fall into one of these twelve signs, and that I did not do myself any favours. I'm just in the mood to be a shit.

Fuck your god.

Well, it's time for the Atlantic hurricane season to really get underway. Tropical Storm Chris is in the water, and I'm already twitching. I don't know where this little bastard's going. All I know is that his very existence is bad enough tidings on this first day of August. I certainly will not rest easy until the sounds of Christmas music are pounding in my ears, the shrill bleating of other people's demon-spawn about how they want this, or that, or whatever. Right now, it's just the "school's about to start; let's rupture mom's eardrums" cacaphonizing going on in the stores; that is, when the little hellions aren't coughing up their spleens. It is my sincerest hope that this is the worst I see in the stores in the coming months. Happy motherfucking August.