July 02, 2006

Let Us Come Together,...

from - smijer

... and laugh with derision.

My thoughts while reading the above were that Malkin, Horowitz and Hinderaker are known nutcases, and not really representative of the conservative blogosphere. I was thinking of Red State, who generally avoids stories that would reveal the depths of their own paranoia - while remaining true to Right Bloghistan's world view in all other ways - would have avoided the story, or greeted it with an air of diffidence. But, reading on, I was surprised to learn that they showed their bozo face, too.

Nothing yet from Reynolds.

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June 16, 2006

A "Warm" Welcome Back

from - smijer

For our resident cynic, here.

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June 15, 2006

Quote of the Day

from - smijer

I'm an inerrantist -- I believe in the word of God -- I'm just not mad about it. - Frank Page [incoming president of the Southern Baptist Convention]

I think if you haven't been inside the SBC culture, you may not realize the full meaning and humor behind this statement... but if your background is like mine, it will make you laugh.

I grew up Southern Baptist - I have memories from age twelve or earlier - of being confused over why the pastor was so incensed over the existence of "moderate" baptists; why so proud that our church and neighboring congregations with whom we once joined in some sort of mini-convention (I have only the vaguest recollection of it... I remember green walls and a series of boring and ineloquent speakers) were Southern Baptists, and not just any old kind. This was during the early Reagan years. Page seems to have very strong conservative credentials, but those opposed to him call him a moderate in sheeps clothing. That he won the job in spite of this criticism may be a sign of hope that the hard-core fundamentalism of the SBC is slipping.

Interestingly cited as a reason for Page's success was online activism from Baptist bloggers. Curious about what Baptist Bloggers blog? Check out their blog aggregator.

June 06, 2006

I'm very proud of my hometown, and the people in it. So, join me in laughing with, this member of Chattanooga's Finest (video link), via WDEF channel 12 news.

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May 24, 2006

I long ago stopped doing line item links to anything on dKos or Eschaton - I figure you've seen it there already, or on one of the innumerable blogs that do still link it, or who link to discuss it. But just in case someone out there doesn't stay in tune with the liberal echo-chamber.... you've got to see this, via ThinkProgress:
The one and only Delay Defense Fund web-site - the real thing, not a parody, offers up a front page (link now fixed) beginning with a video. Of Robert Greenwald. On the Colbert Report. Watch while you can.

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May 16, 2006

Fun with headlines

from - RSA

I was reading the New York Times front page, and my browser window size was such that I misread the headline describing Bush's speech last night, as if it were punctuated as follows:

Behind Bush's Adress: Lies, a Deep History

Of course, there was no punctuation at all. I wonder how many other headlines have such messages? Someone's probably compiled a list.

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May 11, 2006

An Italian car

from - RSA

Some time ago I mentioned a trip to Italy, in which I drove around with my wife in a Smart Car. Here's a picture I took at lunch one day; while the car might cause drooling among teenagers, it was a bit over-styled for our tastes. I would have preferred the little two-door job, though we probably wouldn't have been able to fit our suitcases in it.


The Smart Car was fine and trouble-free, for the most part, except for this:


This is the best picture I could find of the gear shift knob, but it's not quite the same as the one I saw; replace the "N" with an "A", and add some other arbitrary letter to the left hand side of the diagram, and you get the picture. Oh, and no clutch. The rental car person had asked me whether I knew how to drive a manual transmission, and I'd said, "Of course." This was a bit different, though. In case it isn't obvious (as it wasn't to me at first), this shifter is hooked up to an electronic gear box. It has a neutral position in the middle left, and to shift to a higher gear you push forward, and to a lower gear you pull backward. After each shift you let the shifter return to its neutral position in the middle. A little electronic display on the dashboard tells you which gear you're in, if you can't tell from the engine noise, and the car shifts to lower gears automatically as your speed drops.

So far, so good (even slick), except that the car sometimes refused to go into first from neutral. (Imagine being stuck in the middle of a busy Milan intersection, unable to move. If your imagination includes being gestured at and cursed in Italian, you have the right picture in mind.) I had to turn the car off and restart to get it to work. Okay, once I figured that out, things went more smoothly.

But not quite. After twenty years or so of driving, I have habits that turn out to be deeply ingrained. For example, when I drive my own car, I start in first gear, with the shifter in the forward position, and when the engine starts revving too high, I shift into second by pulling the shifter hard back toward me. Ditto for third gear to fourth. Wrong instinct. In the Smart Car, it turned out that sometimes my hand wanted to shift to a higher gear by yanking backward on the shifter (while my foot wanted to stomp on the nonexistent clutch pedal on the floor). Not good: the result was to shift the car into a lower gear, causing some consternation to my brain once it realized what my hand and foot had been up to.

It's little things like this that make me realize how difficult it is for people to change their ways.

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May 09, 2006

Stephen Colbert

from - Buck

I wonder if he is going to get a piece of any of this action.

C-Span, the nonprofit network that first showed Mr. Colbert's speech, wrote letters to the video sites YouTube.com and ifilm.com, demanding that the clips of the speech be taken off their Web sites.....No, it is not political censorship but a smart proprietary business move. One of the former host sites YouTube reported that "41 clips of the speech had been viewed a total of 2.7 million times in less than 48 hours," C-Span has chosen to stream the entire event at its own site, thus driving up its own traffic, and to sell DVD's "of the event for $24.95, including speeches and a comedy routine by President Bush with a President Bush imitator."
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May 05, 2006

I should mention

from - smijer

The 16th Annual Boxcar Pinion Memorial Bluegrass Festival started yesterday. My dad took me there last, and we had a good time. The big event is Saturday 11a to 11p - make it out if you can.

Here's my apology for being MIA over the last week. I've been working on a side project, and my hours of availability to blog just diminished to nothing. I should be back soon!

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May 01, 2006

The Decider

from - Buck

The Beatles are back!

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April 26, 2006

April 19, 2006

A fun bet

from - smijer

I was watching some clips from The God Movie, which Alice and I had recently been discussing in her comments, and I came across this amazing web-site, called the Rapture Letters. It's right out of a Tim LaHaye novel.

Here's how it works. People who have "lost" friends or loved ones (like me), who have just worn themselves out "witnessing" to us without ever seeing us budge, are invited to give this web-site our e-mail address. After the Rapture, when we will be torn between admitting our loved ones who have been called away were right or wrong, and falling for the "theories of some scientists and world leaders [which] will have
so much credibility that most of the world will believe them. ...[And which will] sound like the truth!", we will receive an e-mailed letter from our celestial dwelling loved ones. Actually, we will receive one every Friday for a while (presumably until the U.N. Secretary General/Antichrist shuts down the server - or the hosting bill goes unpaid for too long). The letter will be a final exhortation from beyond the grave firmament for us to get saved. Having recently witnessed our faithful spouse floating bodily out of their clothing, through the window, and into the sky to meet Jesus, we will be especially receptive to this message.

'Course there is a hitch. Yes, it's true. See, if I get the letter, I have no doubt that I will not have recently seen my faithful spouse floating naked through the window. In fact, I expect that when I turn around to tell her the news about the rapture, she'll be reacting to one 'G' of gravitional force in exactly the same way she always has - by sticking to the outermost solid surface there is between her and the center of the earth hard enough to require about 9.8 m/s/s * her mass in kilograms Newtons of exertion on her part or the part of another person or machine to unstick her.

And, if I get the letter, and my just-mentioned suspicions about the state of my wifes affairs is correct, then that just ruins everything for RaptureLetters.com.

It seems odd to me that someone out there is so convinced of the reality and imminence of the Rapture to set up a web-site like that - or even to submit someone's e-mail address to it. But, you know what - I am equally convinced of the unreality of the rapture. And, to demonstrate my confidence in the skeptical view, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is - so to speak.

If you are like me, you may have already asked yourself, "well, if the rapture occurs, who is going to send the e-mail? Are they going to lean down and click the button as they begin to float out the window?" No. they have a much more clever scheme cooked up. The web-site explains it succinctly:

How is this accomplished, you might ask. It's a dead man switch that will automatically send the emails when it is not reset.

Fun! So, if Scott doesn't reset the switch one Friday morning, because he was raptured - or because he got held over too late at the previous night's deliverance service - we get the e-mail. Now, Scott seems pretty bright - I think he would consider that contigency and probably would have a back-up plan in case he could not reset the switch one Friday for reasons more prosaic than the rapture. Maybe a friend, relative, or a deacon from his church will click in his place. So, chances are that the letters won't go out at all. Eventually, Scott will realize that he can no longer effectively maintain the web-site and be available for Friday morning resets. At that point, he will likely end the program that runs sends the letters and post a statement of regret for having to end the program. Or, he may pass it on to someone else with a little too much time on their hands.

But maybe - just maybe - for whatever reason - there will come a time while the web-site is still active, that the switch will go without being reset. Maybe it will be that the confederate whose turn it was to reset it will forget it was their week. Maybe it will be that someone will click the button and walk away from the computer, not noticing that their connection to the host machine was out. And we infidels will get to see our e-mail announcing the recent Rapture.

It's clear that Scott thinks the possibility that the rapture will occur while the web-site is operational is much, much stronger than the possibility that the e-mails will go out due to insufficient vigilance on the part of still-earthbound believers. And, maybe there are those among my believing readers, friends, or loved ones who agree with him. I personally have 100% confidence that, if I receive the e-mail, it will be for a reason other than the rapture. So, to those of y'all who are closer to Scott's view than mine - why don't you bet me?

Put my name & e-mail address in the box (if you don't have it, use the contact form to message me & I will provide it to you - and ask for yours in return if I don't already have it). Put your name in the "from" line, and click the box. If I receive the e-mail and you and your co-religionists are still around, I will forward it to you and you will be obligated to attend a Unitarian Universalist church for 4 weeks in a row. If you and a large number of your co-religionists have gone missing, then I'll pray the sinners' prayer and join the Tribulation Force. That would be a much bigger change for me than 4 consecutive weeks at the UU church would be for you, but I figure that's fair based on how I book the odds. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is - are you?

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April 15, 2006

And, it is about time.

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April 14, 2006

From one of my favorite analysts.

Presidential Election Campaign Fund checkoff box: If you check this box, $3 of your taxes will be earmarked for a special fund to pay for presidential campaigns. Notice that the government does not permit you to earmark the money for poor people, or sick people, or national defense. No, the government permits you to earmark money only for the purpose of enabling politicians to produce TV commercials designed to appeal to voters who have the IQ of a Vienna sausage.

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March 28, 2006

No Thanks

from - Buck

The Manogram.jpg

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March 27, 2006


from - smijer

It's bad - I warn you in advance.

I hd vawole mvomenet.

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March 22, 2006


from - RSA

One of the nice things about having a digital camera, especially for someone as disorganized and absent-minded as me, is that you can take pictures of frivolous stuff and see what it looks like, pretty much immediately. Here are a few of my recent snaps.

My wife took a trip to Guatemala last summer and brought a bunch of toys for the kids. This was one, a sabertooth cat, in an action pose:


My wife has lots of equipment for embroidery, including this stand. I thought it looked vaguely dinosaurish, though the camera calls me a liar:


Outside my building there's construction going on. Before the rebar or whatever it is went up, this wall looked a lot like an earth-tone quilt:


I have what I think may be the most expensive homemade bird house anywhere:


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March 15, 2006

Keep not running!

from - smijer

Continuing from before...

Post 16 from Mageth:

If you see a nuclear explosion, pull off the road and take some snapshots.

18, Mageth:

If you're a @#&! a radiation mutant with a deformed hand, remember to close the window. No one wants to see that @#&!.


Remember when the government couldn't access your personal information without a warrant? Well, no more, bucko.
Not bad prescience for February of 2003, huh?!

20, Mendicant

- In event of emergency, exit in every direction at once to confuse the enemy.

-- If you hear the Backstreet Boys, Michael Bolton or Yanni on the radio, cower in the corner or run like hell.

If your lungs and stomach start talking, stand with your arms akimbo until they stop.

21, ju'iblex... sorry - the image is lost.

Another prescient bit in 22, from Mecha_Dude:

Note: If you work for the FBI or CIA, put the paperwork that described the preceding attack weeks before it happened into a briefcase that looks like a first aid kit and run like hell

23, Sakpo:

Remain calm: Even in the event of a new wave of terror attacks Swatch (honory member of the New Europe) will continue to provide the American people with a wide selection of quality suitcases and travel bags.

A quick family snapshot in front of the latest scene of a terrorist attack may became a treasured family keepsake that will preserve precious memories for years to come.

Distance: The farther away you are from the radiation the lower your exposure. Who woulda thunk it?

A state of emergency and widespread panic is often a great chance to loot desirable consumer goods.

Hey, while you're at it, we need some new clocks.

"Wash your hands" of traditional long distance providers. Verizon has a new plan made specially for people like you.

24, The Lone Ranger:

The middle of a terrorist attack is not an appropriate time to catch up on your reading or paperwork.

In the event that terrorists remove your lungs and stomach, please remain calm.

If you actually need to be told that birds dropping out of the sky and fish going belly-up in the streams is a bad sign, then please remain right where you are. We don't need you taking up precious space in the shelters that could be occupied by people with functioning brains.

Unfortunately, a flashlight makes a very poor lightsabre.

Swinging it around and making "whoosing" sounds won't help.

No pyromaniacs admitted.

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March 03, 2006

I was a frequent lurker at the internet infidels discussion forums a couple of years back. I stumbled on this thread only a few days after it began, and entertained myself reading it. In fact, my wife & I kept ourselves in stitches reading it... It's better taken in doses of as many posts as you can stand.

But, last year, the DHS ruined it all by changing the location of the images on their server. Now most of the jokes are broken, lacking images.

So click here to see the original post (which still has images intact, thanks to the fact that it was not hotlinked), by user Oxidizing Material (who apparently has since been banned from the site - not an easy thing to accomplish, itself)... and then have a look at some of the posts as I try to reconstruct them by matching the still-extant images from the DHS website to the captions...

Check this site out. It's the US government's attempt at scare mongering using the old "duck and cover" advice you learned after the war.

The fun thing is that these pictures are so ambiguous that making your captions can be fun! - Oxidizing Material, February 22, 2003

Back? Good.... Here goes:
Post number 2, a oneliner from elwoodblues:

In case of nuclear radiation, stand directly behind your door, but do not open the door, even if the radiation knocks.
... If the image is still out there somewhere, I'll try to find it and put it here... I'll leave this one to your imagination:

Post number 4, from Slavik91:

If you are sprayed with an unknown substance, stand and think about it instead of seeing a doctor.

Watch TV, surf the net and listen to music 'round the clock.

Your telephone may be a practicing physician.

With these simple ingredients, you too can be a terrorist!

Stand in radiation for exactly 5 minutes and 12 seconds a day for a healthy, glowing complexion.

Radiation lives in fallout shelters.

On your knees before God smites you!

Post 5 is short, but the first bit is one of my all-time favorites. Thank you to user oriecat, whose brief input was surely part of the impetus that pushed this thing to 36 pages and 885 posts ...

Use your flashlight to lift the walls right off of you!

Don't go in the first aid tent if you're hurt. We want to keep it nice and white.

Post 6, again from elwoodblues...

Circumsized arrows are terrorists. Do the Walking Man as you pass them.

Michael Jackson is a terrorist. If you spot this smooth criminal with dead, dead eyes, run the @#$! away.

In case of flames bursting out around door, do NOT leave it shut. Always open flaming doors.

Don't get trapped under stuff.

If your dumb ass does get trapped under stuff, amuse yourself in your final moments with shadow puppets.

The '#' keys on your telephone and keyboard are highly radioactive

Missouri has three cities, all of which will be Designated Whipping Boys in the event of war. The armed forces will use these cities to calibrate their missiles.

In the event of emergency, find a 3-story, 10-foot-high building. The midgets inside will be sure to help you. Remember, just follow the enormous red arrow protruding from your crotch.

Moving right along... Post to post 11 by Wizardry...

In this time of war, real Americans eat red meat only! Fish and poultry may be terrorists.

Hurricanes, animal corpses and the biohazard symbol have a lot in common. Think about it.

In the event that a terrorist strikes your closet, go immediately to your other closet.

Be on the lookout for terrorists with pinkeye and leprosy. Also, they tend to rub their hands together manically.

The proper way to eliminate smallpox is to wash with soap, water and at least one(1) armless hand.

To get away from a terrorist attack quickly, take the stairs once in a while, fat ass!

If a door is closed, karate chop it open.

Pose for a picture with your faceless family!

Your garage is a mess. Clean it out.

I'm going to leave out Mageth's post# 12...
feel free to click the link and use your imagination....

Post 13, from Buddrow_Wilson is pretty good... I'll wrap it up for today with this one... This rescue effort is a lot of work, but these things are well worth being preserved... I'll try to throw one of these in at least once a week, and eventually make a category page for them so they can appear together in all their magical glory.

note to stoners: These items are poor choices for bong-making material

When the looting begins remember to consider the weight/value ratio. Here we have a few example of high value, low effort

Try to absorb as much of the radiation as possible with your groin region. After 5 minutes and 12 seconds however you may become sterile

After exposure to radiation it is important to consider that you may have mutated to gigantic dimensions: watch your head

Only the coolest irradiated citizens will be allowed into the 'underground' club

It may be comforting to perform felatio on yourself in your final moments

Be sweet, and don't forget to visit the Friday Ark!

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February 17, 2006

A time machine

from - RSA

At home last night I wanted to find out something about the Italian city Trieste. The nearest book at hand was a Baedecker's Traveler's Guide to Italy, published in 1909 in Great Britain. (I'd picked it up out of curiosity at a book auction years ago, along with a few other antiquarian travel books.) The first sentence of the introduction ran something along these lines:

This book, an abridgment of three volumes covering Northern, Central, and Southern Italy, is designed for the use of travelers who have only four or five weeks at their disposal. . .

Quite a different perspective on leisure time. Browsing through the rest of the introduction, I found another anacronism, in a discussion of second-quality lodging:

The common idea of Cleanliness in Italy is behind the age.

Stiff upper lip!

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