Saturday, May 21, 2005

Hmmmm, Color Me Skeptical...

Tom at Scared Monkeys posted about what he called an intriguing story about the Ark of the Covenant.

An unnamed Kabbalist has granted blessing to famed archeologist Dr. Vendyl Jones to uncover the Holy Ark of the Covenant. Jones plans to excavate the Lost Ark by the Tisha B’Av Fast this summer.

Sounds good, right? Wait, there's more...

“1967 was a repetition of Kadesh Barnea,” Jones says. “If Israel had come in and taken this place, the Arabs would have fled like they did in 1948. But no, because of the evil report of Golda Meir and Motta Gur and Moshe Dayan, who said ‘We cannot do that, world opinion will be against us.’ So Israel was sentenced to 38 years more – and June the 7th [2005], Jerusalem Day, will be the 38th year.

Jones believes that the Jewish prophecies regarding the greatly anticipated redemption are occuring in front of our eyes.

Jones' escapades and explorations were the inspiration for the blockbuster movie 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' of the 'Indiana Jones' trilogy. The man who wrote the first draft of the film, Randolph Fillmore, was one of the volunteers who worked with Jones in 1977.

“I agreed to help him write the movie,” Jones said, “as long as – number one – he wouldn’t set it here (in Israel). Some people believe the ark is in Ethiopia or Egypt, some believe its in Constantinople or Rome. I just didn’t want it to be portrayed as being here. The second thing was, 'Don’t use my name.' So he didn’t. My name is Vendyl – V-E-N-D-Y-L. So he just dropped the first and last letters and it ended up Endy Jones.”

Those were some enjoyable movies. I had always thought that they were just your typical action-adventure escapism movies. Was I that gullible? Maybe so.

But wait, there's still more...

Dr. Jones says the discovery of the lost ark will “flip the whole world right-side-up.”

“I just gotta drill a bore-hole into the chamber, drop a pin-camera in and there it is. And everything is gonna change, believe me. The Jewish people are gonna come back.”

Cool, world's now gonna be right-side-up. Have we been up-side-down? This is good, almost on a par with finding E.T. in your garden shed.

But wait (you get the idea)... boingboing reports:

Eccentric Texan archaeologist Vendyl Jones--often incorrectly named as the inspiration for Indiana Jones--claims that this summer he will finally excavate the real Ark of the Covenant from its hiding place in the Judean Desert.

Following the link incorrectly above, and scrolling down to near the bottom, we find:

Spielberg and Lucas have said that the adventures were inspired by some of their favorite fiction from when they were growing up, such as Republic Pictures serials. Spielberg wanted Indiana to be a James Bond-like figure that got into difficult situations and worked his way out.

Many people have been called the real-life inspiration of the Indiana Jones character. Probably the most cited person is famous paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. Archeologist Vendyl "Texas" Jones claims that he was the inspiration, citing his names (he also notes that his first name trimmed becomes Endy — very similar to Indy). Other people called Indy inspirers include explorer Gene Savoy [1] and University of Chicago archeologist Robert Braidwood [2]. But the most likely inspiration was the fictional character Alan Quatermain.

The character was originally named Indiana Smith, but Spielberg disliked the name and Lucas casually suggested "Indiana Jones". The name was thus changed early in the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The origin of the name "Indiana" is the same in the real world as in the fiction: It was the name of an Alaskan malamute Lucas had in the 1970s. His name is also said to be derived from the character "Nevada Smith", played by Steve McQueen in the 1966 film of the same name.

Hmmm, so there is some question as to the validity of the name association. Checking further, on Vendyl Jones' website, we find:

Was the Indiana Jones character based on Vendyl Jones?

It may be hard to believe but Vendyl has no connection with the popular motion picture character. He has never received any money from the producers of the movie. And he's never asked.

OK, so Indiana Jones was not modeled after Vendyl Jones. What about the rest of the story? Where is the Ark of the Covenant?

The Talmud says the Ark is hidden in a secret passage under the Temple Mount. Jones says that the tunnel actually continues 18 miles southward, and that the Ark was brought through the tunnel to its current resting place in the Judean Desert.

Or maybe:

...the ancient Holy Ark of The Covenant resides in the Chapel Of St. Mary Of Zion in Axum?

Or how about here?

The last record of the location of the Ark of the Covenant in the Tanakh, (Old Testament), is Jeremiah 3:16. "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the L-RD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the L-RD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more." You will recall that Jeremiah knew that Babylon would soon conquer Judah and was preaching repentance to the people of Judah. You may also recall that the L-rd instructed Jeremiah to purchase a specific field. Jeremiah knew the first temple, built by Solomon, was going to be looted and destroyed by Nebuchadnezer. At the L-rd's instruction, with the help of the remnant of faithful priests, Jeremiah had the Ark of the Covenant and the furnishings which were in the Holy of Holies moved to the location which the L-rd directed. Before hearing Henry Gruver, I had always thought that G-d had taken the Ark of the Covenant to heaven, according to the b'rit chadasha, Revelation 11:19. "And the temple of G-d was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." Now I can see that this is the temple of G-d in heaven. The Ark of the Covenant, which the L-rd had Moses construct, was a model of that which was in heaven. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in a certain specific location by Jeremiah at the L-rd's direction. The Ark of the Covenant is hard physical evidence which proves the absolute truth of the Bible and that Mohammed is a false prophet. If the Muslim leaders knew of the whereabouts of the Ark they would have an all out jihad to destroy the Ark. That is why discretion should be exercised in the publication of this information.

Ah HAH! Here we find a second reference to Axum (Ethiopia):

We next journeyed to Axum, the purported resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, and made our way to St. Mary's of Zion Church. There I was introduced to a man referred to as "The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant." This man reportedly lives his entire life inside a fenced-off area in which is St. Mary's of Zion. He will not leave this fenced-off compound until he dies and is replaced by the next Guardian of the Ark. In the chapel of the church, 30 robes from 30 previous guardians are on display - and every one of the 30 professed that the object they protected was the Ark of the Covenant.

That leaves us so far with one YES vote for Mr. Jones being correct, two NO votes, and a NULL vote. And to tell you the truth, I still have no idea.

So, the best way to determine the validity of the original article is to wait until August 14, 2005. I won't be holding my breath.

Tom at Scared Monkeys was correct, it IS an intriguing story.

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Erotic Fair and Bloggers

I would like to put in a request right now, that the next Bloggers Convention be scheduled to coincide in time and space with one of these!

To which I'm told... Dream on, Dude!

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All Your Sins Are Belong To Us!

I am not of the Christian Catholic persuasion, so I am not intimately familiar with procedures and protocols of confession. However, this somehow seems wrong.

I mean, OK, virtual confession seems on the up and up, but to offer the ability to read others confessions? Depending on the sins, seems more like porn, or reality TV. Check it out.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Viva la.... idiots

From The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center - Indymedia comes this:

Our everyday lives are fucking boring. From where we work to when we sleep, when we go to school and where we play, every aspect of our lives is beyond our control. We have to work, to shop, and to go to school to survive, but these repetitive activities deprive us of what make us really alive: freedom, creativity, spontaneity, adventure, excitement, and love. Our cities are planned to keep us content, isolated, and passified - we want excitement, community, and revolt! When was the last time you danced like no one was watching - when was the last time you ran like it really mattered?

Resist the G8! - Destroy Boredom! - Reclaim the Streets!
Streetparty/Protest Against the G8, Global Capitalism, and Boredom!

Meet 8pm, Friday, May 20th
Lytton Plaza in Palo Alto
University Ave. at Emerson

And it leaves me asking...

When was the last time you had a clue?

Maybe tonight you'll run like it really mattered, if the police do their job!

These people fall into the category of those that must be dealt with that I spoke of in my last post. I am ashamed.

Thanks, Freepers, for the link.

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Pax Americana

A Solution, of Sorts

The time has come for Americans, defined as those citizens by birth or naturalization of the United State of America, to fully engage in a campaign of Pax Americana.

What is Pax Americana? Simply put, a modern day version of Pax Romana, suitably modified to conform to current realities.

Pax Romana, Latin for "the Roman peace," is the long period of peace experienced by states within the Roman Empire. The term stems from the fact that Roman rule and its legal system pacified regions, sometimes forcefully, which had suffered from the quarrels between rival leaders. During this time Rome still fought a number of wars against neighbouring states and tribes, most notably the Germanic tribes and Parthia. It was an era of relative tranquillity, in which Rome endured neither major civil wars, such as the perpetual bloodshed of the first century BC, nor serious invasions, such as those of the Second Punic War a century prior.

Pax Americana is a process, not an event. It is a long march to political, economic, intellectual and religious freedom to be enjoyed by all nations. It is an ideal and a dream. By judicious projection of power the United States, and allies, guide the direction of systems inside their sphere on influence. Specifically, I am NOT speaking of an empire...

1 a (1) : a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority; especially : one having an emperor as chief of state (2) : the territory of such a political unit b : something resembling a political empire; especially : an extensive territory or enterprise under single domination or control
2 : imperial sovereignty, rule, or dominion

but rather of a hegemony:

Etymology: Greek hEgemonia, from hEgemOn leader, from hEgeisthai to lead -- more at SEEK
: preponderant influence or authority over others

Allies means just that. Nations who already have or will adopt the necessary political, economic, intellectual and religious freedoms will join us in this campaign. Does the lead role have to be played by the United States? At this point in time, yes.

I can hear the screams already. What gives us the RIGHT to even think about this? That is just so hubristic! Well, yes, and no. I don't feel that our self-confidence is exaggerated, and I do feel that we already exercise preponderant influence over others. That influence is felt in economic and military spheres, and to a lesser extent in social, intellectual and political spheres. The current Bush administration is attempting this process somewhat. The effort needs to be expanded, solidified, and aggresively pursued.
Hindering this process is the fact that we in the United States are not in agreement as to how to accomplish this task, nor even if it should be done. This disagreement is evident through the reading of most any daily newspaper, many periodicals, television news and commentary, and the blogosphere. From the recent interview posted on Radio Bloggerby Hugh Hewitt with ABC News' Terry Moran (bolds mine)

TM: It comes from, I think, a huge gulf of misunderstanding, for which I lay plenty of blame on the media itself. There is, Hugh, I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media. One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it's very dangerous. That's different from the media doing it's job of challenging the exercise of power without fear or favor.

I maintain that not only is this projection of power NOT wrong, but that it is in fact required and necessary, that we have a moral and ethical obligation to spread the concept and practice of freedom.

Walden Bello, in an article entitled Pax Romana versus Pax Americana: Contrasting Strategies of Imperial Management, offers some insightful observations (most of which I am in disagreement with):

After its successful invasion of Iraq, the US appears to be at the height of its power. One can understand why many feel the US is supreme and omnipotent. Indeed, this is precisely what Washington wants the world to think.


Nearly three millennia ago, another empire confronted the same problem of overextension. Its solution enabled it to last 700 years. The Roman solution was not just or even principally military in character. The Romans realized that an important component of successful imperial domination was consensus among the dominated of the "rightness" of the Roman order. As sociologist Michael Mann notes in his classic Sources of Social Power, the extension of Roman citizenship to ruling groups and non-slave peoples throughout the empire was the political breakthrough that won the mass allegiance among the nations dominated by the Romans. Political citizenship combined with the vision of the empire providing peace and prosperity for all to create that intangible but essential moral element called legitimacy.

Needless to say, extension of citizenship plays no role in the US imperial order. In fact, US citizenship is jealously reserved for a very tiny minority of the world's population, entry into whose territory is tightly controlled. Subordinate populations are not to be integrated but kept in check either by force or the threat of the use of force or by a system of global or regional rules and institutions--the World Trade Organization, the Bretton Woods system, NATO--that are increasingly blatantly manipulated to serve the interests of the imperial center.

The fact remains that the United States is, at present, THE preeminent power on this globe. Unilateralist charges from the nay-sayers aside, there ARE other countries who hold similar views as the United States. The United States needs to lead. Some of the others will join (or have already joined) eagerly, some will require persuasion, and all should be offered the opportunity. Persuasion should be as a result of projection of power. The type of power projected can be tailored to each situation as circumstance dictates.

The Romans usually had to apply military force to increase their empire. This involved time, treasure and travel. The United States should be able to accomplish a hegemony with time, treasure, and much less travel. In today's world Sri Lanka is next door to Germany, Belarus to El Salvador. Hugh Hewitt says:

How fast does information move? I interviewed Terry Moran yesterday at 3:40 to 4:15 PM, Pacific. The transcript was up at Radioblogger at 6:00 PM. Instapundit linked 40 minutes later, and my WeeklyStandard.com piece went up at midnight est. Taranto's Best of the Web headlined Moran's comments in today's edition, and bloggers have been chewing on them all day. I suspect that Moran's comments have been read by 90% of MSM elites and most of political Washington, and far more importantly, millions of American information junkies, who are talking about Moran's many admissions (with a degree of respect for his candor and his willingness to give the interview --see the comments at RightWingNuthouse, run by Moran's brother). It has been less than 24 hours.

In the National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson says:
The unsubstantiated rumor led to rioting and death in Afghanistan and general turmoil and rage across the Islamic world. Mullahs issued fatwas and the more lunatic even declared a "holy war." What explains the unsubstantiated story and why the hysterical reaction?

The superficial answer is that we now live in a globalized village — united by the marriage of satellite communications with cheap consumer goods. Someone sneezes in Texas and a few minutes later a villager in upper Russia can say "bless you." What an "in-the-know" Beltway insider conjures up as buzz in the "Periscope" section of the magazine for his American readers can cause death and mayhem hours later 7,000 a miles away in the Hindu Kush.

What Mr. Hanson so ably articulates in his column, in addition to the speed of information transfer, is the nature of the enemy in the GWOT (Global War on Terror, War on Terror, World War IV, whatever you chose to call it.) Defeat of this implacable foe is an absolute necessity in the implementation and winning of the GWOT.

There are two adversaries in this War, and against this hegemony; internal and external. Physical location does not necessarily determine which side one is on. Many supporters of this ideal reside in areas of the world normally associated with the enemy, and many of the enemy reside among us. The external enemy is relatively easy to identify, and although costly in lives and treasure, relatively easy to deal with. Internal enemies, on the other hand, are much more difficult to root out. They look like us, they act like us, they ARE us. And once rooted out and exposed, they are not as easy to deal with. When they betray the very freedoms that we demand by spreading malicious rumor and innuendo, by attempting to influence the manner in which we as a country will wage this War through political actions, by giving aid and comfort to the external enemies, or by opposing the national agenda from a 'Yes, but...' position,we cannot simply take them out and shoot them. They must be persuaded through reasoned logic or appeals to their self-interest. But persuaded they must be.

With the advent of the Internet, and particularly the blogosphere, information and ideas are indeed spread with the speed of light. (Even when the information and ideas are clearly wrong.) With the enormous (advertising, PR) talent pool available in the United States alone, propogating the necessary information should be a breeze. It still takes time and treasure to move armies and envoys, when they become necessary. Therefore, resources should be applied to diseminnation of information, which would hopefully preclude use of armies.

What stands in the way of an American and Allied hegemony, and total victory in the GWOT? Simply put, the political will of the United States, or lack thereof. Time will tell.

Note: Victor Davis Hanson has many columns available, and I recommend that you take some time to read them. Also, although I didn't reference him here, Mr. Bill Whittle has many fine and thought provoking essays at Eject! Eject! Eject! that I highly recommend.

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Plus 50, Fire For Effect

Methinks Linda Foley is gonna need to reevaluate her relationship with the military real quick, particularly an armor unit. Even so, I don't think even reactive armor will be enough, be they so foolish as to let her in.

Read post by Andi at Andi's World and USMC_Vet at the Word Unheard. Must reads, both!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Chester Goes Legit!

OK, I'm being facetious here, but Chester at the Adventures of Chester has posted an Open Source Analysis Policy wherein he lays down the rules he will follow regarding his posting about military subjects. He goes further that just a list of rules by including information about how and why he is open to change on these rules. Well written, well thought-out, with some good commentary.

All media should read and consider this step he's taken, if they have not already done so.

I think it is always good for private organizations to police themselves in these things; otherwise draconian measures will be instituted by the authorities.

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The Chinese Are Coming, The Chinese Are Coming...

Are we destined for defeat at the hands of China, simply because of a choice made by our Founding Fathers?

According to this article, Red is the colour if winning is your game by Mairi Macleod, at New Scientist News, this may be the case.

Such effects could be due to instinctive behaviour, says Barton. In animal displays red in particular seems to vary with dominance and testosterone levels. Human competitors might experience a testosterone surge while wearing the colour, he says, or feel submissive when facing a scarlet opponent.

I had always thought that 'seeing red' was a reference to all consuming rage, not fear.

I guess extrapolation doesn't work here, or the US flag would contain the Cross of St. Andrew and St. George due to the Redcoats.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Google and Newsweek

Hmmm, just had a thought...

Referencing my last post, about possible consumer campaign to contact and express displeasure to individual Newsweek advertisers, how long will it be before my own Google Ads start hawking Newsweek? Will it turn out that even mentioning Newsweek in this vein will be counterproductive?

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweek Advertisers

Much has been made of the 'What to do?' over the latest MSM debacle... Newsweek. For those interested in an economic slant to the possible consequences, here is a partial list of Newsweek advertisers. Web address and/or toll-free telephone numbers given if available. I'll try to flesh out this list tomorrow, given time. I'm curious to see if anything comes of this.

Walden University (866)492-5336
Trend Micro (877) 268-4847
Franklin Templeton Investments (800)FRANKLIN
T Mobile (800)TMOBILE
Lunesta (800)LUNESTA
NextTen (800) 482-7995
Hewlett-Packard (800) 888-3370
Ford CPO (866) 222-6798
Dannon (877)DANNON_US
Transitions (800) 848-1506
Philip Morris (877)PMUSAWEB
New York Life (888) 963-7946
York (800) 910-YORK
Imperial Travel Service, Inc. (888) 344-3472
Holiday Group (800) 638-4039
Enhanced Vision (888)811-3161 x24
Sun City Hilton Head (888) 314-8902
Williamsburg Landing (800) 554-5517
Nissan (800)NISSAN3
General Motors
Budweiser Anheuser-Bush
MetLife (800)METLIFE
American Airlines
Merck (800) MERCK75
AstraZeneca (800) 4NEXIUM
General Electric
Image Travel, Inc. (800) 968-9089
Oak Hammock (888)311-6483
Jensen's Residential Communities (800) 458-6832
Crystal River Village (800) 882-7161
Hillside Retirement (800) 275-2384
First Street (800) 413-9273
Sport Court (800) 421-8112
Perfect Match
Little Giant (800) 736-6092
Canon (800) OK-CANON
Seattle's Best Coffee
Splintek (888) 792-0865
Charles Schwab (877) 345-5631

Update: More suggestions over at The Shadow of the Olive Tree

Update II: Edited to add more advertiser information.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Burt Rutan Falls Short

He has the right ideas, but for the wrong reasons, and falls short

CNN conducted an interview with Elbert L. "Burt" Rutan, of recent SpaceShipOne and GlobalFlyer fame. Among other things, he has been described as a visionary, a genius, an innovator, and a maverick engineer.

CNN began the interview with this question:

Are we at the dawn of a new space age?

Burt answers:

I'm just predicting that within the next decade, after getting a good start of flying thousands of people outside the atmosphere, we'll have solutions to move in the direction of orbital flight.

Towards the end of the interview, CNN asks:

CNN: What are the attractions of going into space?

Burt replies:

If you have to ask why that's attractive you probably won't be going. Those that don't want to go, they don't have to. But from young children to very old people there are a lot of people who really want to have the fun of doing that.

'That' being space tourism. Burt envisions a lot of people taking sub-orbital flights, for the view and the fun of doing it. He says that there will be a lot of commercial enterprises competing for this tourism business, and it will become relatively cheap. He feels that this will eventually lead to space hotels in orbit. He is probably correct on all points.

However, I do not feel that this scenario is a viable driving force for the human race going into space, and that Burt's vision falls short of our desires and capabilities. As I said before in this post, there will have to be substantial economic forces driving space flight. Sub-orbital tourism, once the novelty wears off, will not generate enough income to finance the enormous effort required to establish a presence on our moon, and other solar bodies. The end result of those efforts will have to lead to wealth in the form of resources. Tourism, and even colonization, just will not be sufficient.

Update: Further reading on Resources from Space: Tangible Resources Can Be Brought to Earth from Space, NASA: New Space Industries For The Next Millenium, Nasa Institute For Advanced Concepts, NASA: The Future Development of Space, and a list of links from the First Space Resources Roundtable.

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Does A Barr(ymore) Sh*t In The Woods?

In short, the answer is: Yes... sometimes.

Two topics for this post. One, previously covered here, speaks about the jewels to be found while following links. Items that you would not ever search for or expect are revealed, a random blogasbord spread on a covered table, requiring only that you reach in and snatch them. Soon I may require a three-column Blogroll to accomodate all of the juicy bits I have gathered. But who among us has the time to explore each and every link presented on Blogrolls? So many links, so little time! Take the time.

Today, via the always good Blackfive, I found Villainous Company, a repository of items and commentary on many varied subjects. Blogrolled, and I think I will be visiting here frequently. One particular post, Trippin' To The Earth Jam, referenced this post on Commonsense and Wonder (also now Blogrolled, and with many probable future visits) about the MTV series Trippin'. Excerpt: (bolds mine)

Actress Drew Barrymore, who reportedly earns $15 million a film, told MTV viewers in one episode that after spending time in a primitive, electricity-free Chilean village, "I aspire to be like them more."

Barrymore, apparently enthralled by the lack of a modern sanitary facilities, gleefully bragged, "I took a poo in the woods hunched over like an animal. It was awesome."

(The original CNS News article is available here.)

No, it wasn't awesome.

And that brings up the second topic.

Depending on your diet and health, both big factors in determining the consistency of your stool, taking a dump can be MESSY. It's not too bad provided you have facilities allowing you to clean yourself (wiping and washup) and dispose of the result (flush/bury). Anything less and the situation goes downhill**... rapidly. Inconvenience, discomfort, smell and disease can result. And this is a good thing... how? I maintain that Ms. Barrymoe DOES NOT "...aspire to be like them more." Primitivism is not a choice for them.

** Reminds me of an old Plumber joke:

Question: What are the three things that a Plumber needs to know?

1. Sh*t rolls downhill
2. Payday is friday
3. The boss is a SOB

Update: Oops, son-in-law reminded me that a Plumber needs to know FOUR things:

4. Don't bite your fingernails

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Newsweek: "Excuse me?!?!"

We have taken steps

Buckley F. Williams at The Nose On Your Face reports that Newsweek has apologized for it's now infamous May 9th report.

Newsweek officials told TNOYF that they will be conducting a full investigation into this matter and have already contracted with Ward Churchill to lead the inquiry.

"Mr. Churchill comes to us with impeccable credentials as an investigator," stated one Newsweek official."He has some very impressive people listed as references as well: Sherlock Holmes, Sitting Bull and Madonna."

(Note: Please READ the blog header. That is the ONLY way to determine the veracity of this story.)

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I'm Going To Be RICH and REVERED!

The Perfect Solution to Allay North Korea's Fears

It has been reported that Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader of the DPRK, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is fearful of the intentions of the USA, anticipating a military attack upon his defenseless country. (Note: Interesting article on this subject by Christopher T. Hull on Tech Central Station.) Thusly, his insistence on developing, manufacturing and deploying nuclear weapons. He feels that this will serve as a deterrence to any agression on the part of the United States. I'm not going to explore the rationality of this fear. What I am going to do is offer a solution. Once this solution is implemented, I anticipate that I will be showered with riches, fame and glory! YES!

The problem: How to deter a military attack by the United States.

The SOLUTION: Institute a program to introduce into the country as many species as may be obtained of plants and animals currently on the Endangered Species list. Deploy these specimens throughout the country, monitor and cull as necessary to ensure that growing populations do not force removal from the endangered list. Publicize, publicize, publicize! The culling process, if maintained diligently, could even help alleviate the food shortage in the country. But don't publicize that part.

From that point, environmental groups and courts, both international and U.S., would then carry the burden of the defense of the DPRK.

Won't work, you say? Sure it will. Look at this example (Thanks, Freepers, for the link).

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To Pee or Not To Pee...

... on the toilet seat.

Living in a single bathroom house with usually an equal mix of male and female residents, a source of contention has been whether or not the male members have an obligation to place the seat in the down position after use. Once my son reached about six years old, the cardinal sin of male urination with the seat in the down position has not occurred.

My wife and daughter maintain that the seat BELONGS! in the down position, as ordained by God. Well, not really ordained by God, but that describes best how adamant they are in their stance. I, on the other hand, believe that the toilet seat is much like a toggle switch, in that it naturally has two positions, and either is correct depending on the current circumstances.

So I noted with interest that the Times of India ran a story about a report entitled Social Allergies in Romantic Relationships from Louisville University. (Note: The original study is available via Personal Relationships journal, if you care to fork out $30 for membership in the International Association for Relationship Research organization. I didn't) This story was reported on Free Republic, and at the time of this writing had accrued more than 340 comments. A very large number of those comments singled out the toilet seat up/down issue as a major bone of contention in relationships. Many comments could easily be classified as women-bashing, as illustrated by this comment excerpt:

Some helpful hints for women:

If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

Learn to work the toilet seat; if it's up, put it down.

Birthdays, Valentines and anniversaries are not quests to see if we can find the perfect present once again.

Sometimes we're not thinking about you. Live with it.

If you think you're fat, you may be. Don't ask us. (besides, we're not suicidal enough to answer anything other than "no" anyway)

Sunday Sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. It can't be altered so just let be.

Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as sex, shortstops and carburetors.

Shopping is not a sport

Anything you wear is fine. Really

You have enough clothes

You have too many shoes

Ask for what you want. Subtle hints don't work.

No, we don't know what day it is. We never will. Mark anniversaries on a calendar.

Yes, peeing standing up is more difficult than peeing from point blank range. We're bound to miss sometime.

I'm not going to show examples of men-bashing. If my wife or daughter want to do that, they can start their own blog!

Question of the day: If I were to walk into YOUR bathroom, would the seat be up, or down? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize...

From StrategyPage comes this:

About 1:30 P.M. Dublin Pub time (6:00 P.M. local time) we were going about our daily business when we heard the tell-tale "Pop" and "Whoosh" of an incoming rocket's booster engine kicking in followed by an explosion in the distance. There is a scramble as everyone reaches for their IBA and helmets then heads for the nearest bunker.

So, cower fearfully waiting for more incoming? Nope. After all, these are U.S. troops.
Craig pulled the crossword puzzle he had saved from a Stars and Stripes out of his notebook and we got to work waiting.

At 13:39, we heard another "Pop" and "Whoosh" followed by an explosion even further distant. Right on schedule, my radio came to life with "Net Call,Net Call. The next rounds you hear will be outgoing."

Read the whole thing.
Craig and I slept fine though because we figured out that the 8 letter word for "Formal Meeting" is Symposia.

As some well-know blogger might opine... "Heh!"

The Haves, Have Nots, and Don't Cares

A trichotomy

I consider myself well informed. I read daily and weekly (local) newspapers, watch network television, watch cable news services (CNN and Fox), read internet news sites (Drudge, Free Republic), and devour blogs of all persuasions. Therefore, when I develop an opinion, I have a basis for that opinion. Not to say that any given opinion is necessarily correct, but many facts, arguments, and other opinions go into its formation. I am a Have.

My mother is also well informed. She reads a daily newspaper, and listens to news and commentary via radio. She also forms her opinions based on many facts, arguments, and other opinions. She is a Have Not

My son is also well informed. He reads newspapers (sometimes), listens to news and commentary via radio, and spends time on the internet (although I'm not completely sure of what he reads there). He also forms his opinions based on many facts, arguments, and other opinions. He is a Don't Care

Our opinions differ.


I have already posted thoughts on the opinions of my son. He thinks what he does because of the type of information he is exposed to on a daily basis. He does have the option, if he chooses, to incorporate opposing views into his opinion making process.

My mother, on the other hand, does not have this option. She is daily exposed only to the viewpoints expressed by the television network news and the daily paper she reads (and that a Left Coast paper). And I think that it is a given that all network and newspaper hard news coverage is driven by the editorial ideology of those organizations.

Most people I know personally fall into the same category as my mother. They just do not have or exercise the option of digging for the other side of the story. Therefore their formed opinions are heavily influenced by the bias of their input. Let me emphasize that... MOST people, as in a majority, either can not (like my mother... no cable, no internet) or do not (not aware, not concerned...) avail themselves of the FULL story. Their opinions reflect this fact. (Yes, it is my opinion that that is a fact!)

Perception is Reality

There are many people and organizations seeking to prove that the cliche 'perception is reality' in not true (Some examples: Here, here, and here), probably best said by Dean of Dean's World:

People who say "perception is reality" should stop saying it. Perception is a reality, in the sense that it's something we have to deal with. But perception isn't reality itself. In fact, perception is often demonstrably false .

In the strictest, truthful sense of the phrase, he is correct. However, I maintain that an individual's perception of reality IS reality to that person, even if that perception is not in fact true. So how is that reality influenced?

Suppose that you, a nationally recognized married male, are asked by a reporter if you beat your wife, and you answer in the negative. Each week for a year you are asked this same question, and answer the same. This is all reported on national news. Now, if a news organization reports on this saying that there have been questions about whether or not you beat your wife, they are technically accurate. But the story itself creates a false perception.

If I am then asked about the subject, I would expect to know that the questions are malicious, and have no basis in fact, because I am well informed. I would expect my son to have the opportunity to be well informed, whether or not he took advantage of that opportunity. Either way, what he perceives as reality will form his opinions. I would expect my mother to only know that there had been questions raised about the subject, and that would be her reality.

Now you decide to run for public office. You are a fine, upstanding citizen in all respects, and well qualified for that office. How does the vote go? I vote for you, my son votes (undecided), and since my mother thinks that you might be wife-beating scum, she votes for your opponent. This result is due to honest reporting, because there were, after all, questions raised about your wife-beating.

Remember, most people in the U.S. fit into the same category as does my mother.

What happens in the above illustration if the reporting is NOT accurate? What if misleading headlines are used (via Little Green Footballs)? What if supporting documents are fabricated (remember CBS News and Rathergate)? What if interviews are creatively excerpted (Ace of Spades HQ, Rathergate.com, Power Line)? What about selection of subjects to conform to the bias of the reporting agencies (Primitivism, Jumping to Conclusions, Newsmax.com, Oh, THAT Liberal Media!?

The question is how to transform the Don't Cares and Have Nots into Haves.

I don't pretend to know the answer to this. I don't think that legislation is an option. Some grand scheme to provide EVERYONE with the tools needed to gain all possible information about any given subject would be foolish. Even if the tools were available, would everyone use them? I think not, and I don't think legislation requiring everyone to be informed is anywhere near viable.

UPDATE: I started writing this Friday night, and kind of overlooked the Newsweek incident, another fine example (thanks, Freepers)

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