Silflay Hraka

6/08/2002

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"Amy, you do an end around, Janice, go long. Tiffany, kick the nose tackle's ass!


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Annoying the Wife - Chapter 3 - Keeper of the Turtles

Since only the newly arrived Yankees take the highway anywhere in the Triangle, we're taking a back road on our way to Target this morning. As is my wont, I'm not actually paying attention to anything on the road as mudane as other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians. I spend my time scanning the treeline for birds, identifying roadkill, giving color commentary and pointing out the occasional plane to....to....

Okay, here's my problem. I'm talking about a trip to Target with my Toddler, yet I am not Lileks, Master of the Taking Toddlers to Target genre, and presumably jealous creator of the memes thereof. I could just go the straight plagiarism route and call my Toddler "Gnat", but even I am not quite that lazy. So I will refer to MY toddler as "Not Gnat", or Ngnat for short. It's pronounced "nat". Along for the ride, well, really the impetus for the ride, is the Sainted Wife and Mother, hereinafter known as SWAM.

Apparently we need kitchen curtains. I suggested a nice corn-print, but the SWAM dismissed that idea with a "not even Hilda would do that."

So there we are on the way to Target. "Possum......Possum.....Plane! Ngnat, Plane! ..............Poor Kitty.....Oooooo Hawk!......Possum........Possum.....Turtle?..TURTLE!!" Sudden deceleration. Gear shift. Reversal of previous vector of travel, which naturally enough brings a query from the Swam.

"What are you doing?"

"There's a turtle in the road!"

"I didn't see a turtle."

"Honey, you weren't looking for turtles, now were you?"

"I don't see why we have to do this all the time."

"We don't do it all the time. I can't just leave him there to get run over."

"We haven't seen a car since we turned onto to Alexander!"

"You think those possums squashed themselves?"

"Who died and made you keeper of the turtles.?"

"Keeper of the Turtles?"

"Keeper of the Turtles!"

"............I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."

"You're the most annoying man on the planet."

I can't leave turtles on the road. She knows this. She's known this for 7 years, since we started dating. In that time, I have pulled turtles big and small off of neighborhood streets, main throughfares, and once, off I-40 during morning rush hour. (She (the turtle, rather than the wife) was on the side median, heading in. I didn't have to dodge 18 wheelers or anything. In answer to your question, you can tell the sex of a turtle by looking at the plastron.) I'll also rescue snakes, and once I stopped the car to save a mouse. Turtles are a lot easier to catch, though.

So, leaving a mildly irritated spouse to talk to Ngnat about her bothersome father, I got out of the truck to walk the 20 yards or so back to the turtle. Except, when I got there, it wasn't a turtle. It was a croissant. It had chocolate on it, which I mistaken for a shell. It was still warm. Crap. After a couple of indecisive seconds, I picked up the pastry, walked it across the road, and gently placed it in the tall grass at the verge of the woods. Then I walked back to the truck.

"Well, what kind was it?"

"Eastern Box."


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6/07/2002




Join me in a crusade to stop the occurrence of stupid names for professional teams. My God, am I the only person who notices the hilarity involved in the name of the Utah Jazz? Has jazz ever been played in Utah? Please tell me that at least one person in the history of this organization has suggested a name change. Why wouldn't they change it? Hey man, you uprooted a team from one city and moved it into Mormon land, do you really think it would hurt your fan base to change their name?

Here's a suggestion. The Hornets are moving from Charlotte to New Orleans. Please, for the love of God, allow New Orleans to use the name Jazz again and call the team in Utah the Utah Hornets. What difference does it make? Utah has as much to do with hornets as it does with Jazz.

Don't even get me started on the Los Angeles Lakers. Have you seen a lake anywhere near L.A.? Dammit, people, look around you. If the name doesn't mean anything, change it!!!!!! My God, let's wake up before we are in the seats pulling for the Mississippi Yankees or The Vermont Cowboys. If you are with me then let's all unite and.............well, we could............or maybe.......hell, screw it.


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If you were to turn an upside down cake, upside down, would it then look rightside up?


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I think, therefore I am.......yet I don't think as much as Bigwig, so maybe I am not as much as he is. Not to mention the fact that with the internet I don't have to think as much...........technology is making me less of who I am.....or who I was.............my head hurts.


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In the spirit of Celebrity Death Match, wouldn’t it be great if cartoon characters could fight each other to the death? I would much rather watch Betty Rubble and Jessica Rabbit get it on than to have to watch Tanya Harding beat the hell out of the woman who used to play Pinky Tuscadero. Imagine if cartoon canines could fight to the death. Snoopy would be the first to die because he would rather dance than fight (although he did shoot down the Red Baron, a grateful nation remembers). I wouldn’t mind partying with him, but I refuse to bet on him.

The next two contestants are too close to call. Even with his size, Marmaduke just doesn’t seem to have the killer instinct needed to win this type of match. While the ball eating idea is a bit disturbing, he doesn’t have his own set of rocks big enough to seal the deal. Also, the cartoon sucks so I can’t bring myself to pick him. Next is Scooby Doo, and while he appears to be about as smart as lint, he has a dirty little secret that makes him quite a formidable opponent. Let’s face it, Scooby is high as a kite and is most likely “kissing the sky” during all of his adventures, most of which may just be figments of his imagination. He downs those scooby snacks like M & M’s and most likely wouldn’t even feel it if Marmaduke did eat his gems.

However, I believe the winner of this match would be Clifford the Big Ass Dog. His size alone will cause him to win. Sure, he’s cuddly, but wouldn’t have to work hard with these opponents. He would simply step on Snoopy doing the happy dance, and Marmaduke would most likely be crushed by Clifford’s sack as he tried to eat it. Finally, Clifford would down Scooby like a Quaalude as Scooby danced with the Care Bears in loopy land. I wonder if Clifford would get high off of eating Scooby like people get drunk eating the fruit out of pj?

The possibilities are endless. Spiderman could fight Batman, Hong Kong Phooey could fight Underdog and Barney could finally get his punk ass kicked by Dino. I’m sure the show would be picked up by Fox and would get better ratings than When Barnyard Animals Attack…………….I smell an Emmy.


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This one's for you, Nichole


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BATE #2
One of the more onerous projects I've had to deal with lately has been the installation of a trouble ticketing system called Arweb on one of our Sun 3000 boxes. Trouble ticketing systems are very popular, since filling out and passing them around to various departments looks a great deal like actual work. The work does get done, somehow, but the realization that the ticket onscreen is not actually your responsibility carries with it a surprisingly potent sense of victory. A few arcane gestures, a "Begone, troublesome electronic sprite, and trouble me no more!", and away goes your temporary responsibility into the aether.

Like Sisyphus after a few centuries, I've forgotten why I have to install this application. I just know I have to get the damn thing to the top of the hill. This is the second machine I've tried to install it on. On the initial install to a Sun Netra, it looked like the New Atlanta Servletexec servlet engine wasn't going to play nicely with the Tomcat engines already running there. I don't know for sure that this was the case, but I'd seen it before with the Resin engine, and anyway the bloody thing wasn't working. My first reaction when something like this happens it to find a less crowded environment to play in, since the fewer applications there are running on a machine, the less chance one of those apps is going to reach out and make me its bitch.

Well, more like my 6th reaction. My first five reactions were to;

1. stop the program, start the program, check the program, mutter
2. stop the program, start the program, check the program, bitch.
3. stop the program, surf the net in the hope that a random cosmic ray would free up some stuck electrons, start the program, check the program, curse.
4. stop the program, delete all the files, install the program, configure the program, start the program, check the program, moan like the damned.
5. stop the program, think about composing a vicious hate letter to the developer, try to delete the files, hit the enter key, hit the enter key, pound on the enter key, realize there's a network outage, try to check my email, realize AGAIN that there's a network outage, talk to the flash crowd out in the hall about the network outage, decide to go to lunch early, realize the network has been back up for 15 minutes, delete the program, install the program, configure the program in a subtly different way, try to start the program, fix the broken configuration, start the program, check the program, feel sorry for myself and wish I never had given up smoking.

At this point I decide that the changes I might need to make to fix this thing will probably start breaking other things, and I don't need that grief. In addition, the Sun3000 at least has a cdrom drive, (Netras don't, at least our Netras don't). In spite of my ever-decreasing faith in software, I hope that the automatic install from the cdrom will remove a source of error. So in the disc goes. I cd to /cdrom...

ksh: /cdrom: not found

Dammit. There's always something to do first. My entire career as a sysadmin is xeno's paradox, filmed in Technicolor for the amusement of the masses. Normally something as integral as the cdrom drive is automatically mounted by the OS. It obviously wasn't, and I hadn't spent a lot of time on it before, so I never noticed. So I have to mount it by hand. By hand, as if I'm going to actually going to reach into the box and re-arrange things to my satisfaction instead of just typing a mount command. Which mount command? I dunno. Never said I was a GOOD sysadmin.

After about 18 thousand false starts, I finally settle on this command "mount -o ro -F hsfs /dev/dsk/c0t6d0s0 /cdrom"

"Mount -o ro" means "add the cd-rom with the "read only option(-o)" I can see specifying read-only being useful in some cases, but here it's just redundant. It's a cd-rom. The system couldn't write to it no matter what. I suppose that it is useful to keep the system from trying to write to it, however.
"-F hsfs" means "using the hsfs File system" This tells Solaris what format the data on the disk is.
"/dev/dsk/c0t6d0s0" This is the shorthand Solaris uses for the physical location of the device
"cdrom" this is the directory to pretend that the information on the disk is. Solaris doesn't actually copy any information into this directory. Essentially I told the machine "There's some data here that I want you to pretend is here, so I can play with it" This is nice because you can do it with a whole other machine, not just a cd-rom. The mount command would be different, though.

Did I know what all that stuff meant before I started? No, which is one of the reasons I write what kehaar calls "those boring-ass tech essays". Writing it up in any sort of explanatory manner will hopefully cause the knowledge to stick there, making me an incrementally better sysadmin, which will give me more money, which will allow me to buy a bigger worm farm.

So, does running the install from the cd-rom solve my problems?

Oh, hell no.


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China's getting its news stories from the Onion


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Not that I believe a word of it, mind you...

Yasser Arafat's Horoscope

I especially like the prediction for June 8th "Rather than hear what you want to hear, listen for the facts."

The there's the special extra reading available here

SuperPower Report for Yasser Arafat
AdZe MiXXeTM presents
A SuperPower Report for Yasser Arafat Born 8/01/1929 12:00
In Cairo, EGYPT (30N03 31E15 zone: -2 hrs)
...
TIP: Yasser, you are playing the game of life stakes higher than you may realize.
...
Romantically speaking: clarify your desires, speak from the heart, send out clear signals, and enjoy more well-placed kisses....
TIP: Leave behind something that will survive your name, Yasser.
...
You like to talk about sex and are interested in the kind of letters written in Nancy Friday's books.
Travel can be encouraging and a short trip is usually welcome.

Those are the highlights. If you'd like to see the full letter, drop us a line.


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6/06/2002




Never forget that time of month again.
Link via the Feces Flinging Monkey


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Mantis adolescents

R: Wazzup!
G: Wazzup! Whatcha doing?
R: Nothing, watching for game, having a bug. Wazzup with you?
G: Nothing, watching for game, having a bug. You hear about Archie?
R: Naw. Where is old Archie?
G: Gone. Got his head it bit off last week.
R: Bit off? That lucky bastard!
G: True. True. You know that Ophelia who lives in the Azalea?
R: Oh, yes. She's got a thorax that just won't stop. I was talking to her while back, she's
hungry for me man
G: It was her.
R: Ophelia? Ophelia bit Archie's head off? Dammit, I thought he was my friend!
G: Shit, man. When it comes to giving head it's the law of the jungle out there.
R: I know, I know. You gotta 'nuther bug?
G: Yea man, here you go. Watch out, they got kinda shook up
R: (pops top on bug) Shit! (hurriedly sucks up foaming hemolymph)
G: Be cool man, here comes Janice.
R: Oh, man, look at the ovipositor on her. I heard she just shed on Monday. That shit is as smooth as the day she was born
G: Yea, the brazilian look is good on her. I've always been a Jaw man, myself.
R: Hey baby, you looking for a tangy snack?
J: No baby, I'm looking for a meal. Tough luck for you, huh? (saunters off)
G: Oooooooooooooooooooooo!
R: She wants me, I can tell.
G: You are five times a fool, my man. She dissed you from here to Sunday. Anyway she was wiggling that 'positer at me.
R: Baby do got back, that is for sure.
G: Still, I got my eyes on something better'n that.
R: What are you talking about, that girl could eat me till the cowbugs came home.
G: You don't want her man. She took Dave back to her house yesterday.
R: Yea, so?
G: I found most of him 'round back this morning.
R: NO!
G: Oh yea.
R: Bitch don't swallow?!
G: No man, she spits.
R: Now that, is just a lack of respect, pure and simple.
G: True, True.


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Sticking with the insect theme, wouldn't it be weird if people were more like praying mantises? Guys would no longer ask each other if they were "getting any", instead they would already know the answer by the number of their friends whose heads were still in tact.

But then, what would we talk about?


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The Ramones are dead. Long Live the Ramones

Dee Dee Ramone is dead at age 50 of a probable drug overdose.


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Wouldn't it suck to be a male ladybug? Can you imagine the mean things other insects must say to them?


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North and South Dakota to the French?

I sent an email to Coyote at the Dog Show regarding my proposal to give North and South Dakota back to the Sioux. The man is obviously more knowledgeable about the current Native American situation in the U.S. than I am. Of course, I never pretended to be all that knowledgeable. I just took the first idea that came to my head and ran with it.

Coyote pointed out that there were plenty more tribes living in the territory that we now refer to as the Dakotas, as well as in Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, etc. (For more Native American population statistics, go here.) I chose the Sioux because they've been romanticized more frequently in books in film.

It was a simplistic solution to a complicated problem, and was never really meant to be a comprehensive solution. It was meant to be more of a talking point, and I guess it served it's purpose well. I assume it has also been a good parallel to the Palestinian-Israeli situation, because it drew ready fire from all sides, some angry, some speculative. (See Bob, self-described NoDak, in the comments after the original article for the angry bits. Sorry 'bout the ire in my own response, Bob. I gotta' learn to take criticism with a grain of salt.) It just goes to show you that there has to be a lot of patience, understanding on all sides, and it shows just how quickly things can break down into name-calling and other juvenile behaviors.

Anyway, Coyote suggested that the original Europeans in the Dakotas were the French. He suggested that we should return the land to them.

Well, Coyote, we tried. The French surrendered immediately.


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Silflay hraka, u embleer rah!

Bill Quick, the Daily Pundit, has discovered the meaning of our name and finds it good. Which goes to show that even powerful, talented science fiction authors like a good poop joke. I didn't really expect much attention to be paid to the blog name when I thought it up. Hell, the attention paid to the blog is far greater than I ever thought possible.

Judy Shapiro and Meryl Yourish also commented on the name, so they've heard this before.

Silflay Hraka is an rabbit epithet from the Richard Adam's novel, Watership Down. You can look up the meaning here (link via Daily Pundit). It was the first naughty phrase I ever learned in a different language, as Tolkien hadn't seen fit to have Gimli spew out a few dwarvish "elven goatlovers" in Lothlorien. So it stuck with me.

But there's a better reason. I had a rabbit for a few years, named Hazel after the main character in the book, and I learned that rabbits tend to silflay their own hraka pretty much constantly, for the same reasons cows chew their cud, to get more nutritiony goodness. It doesn't have to be their own hraka, however. It can be pretty much any rabbit's hraka. They're not choosy.

I figured the constant re-chewing of other's hraka was pretty much a spot-on metaphor for blogging. So there you have it. Now, go make me some nuggets.



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6/05/2002




Logistical Problems

A response to my modest proposal re: North and South Dakota and the Great Sioux Nation via A Coyote at the Dog Show.


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Extradite Arafat

Israeli tanks have surrounded Arafat headquarter's again.

"In the president's eyes, Yasser Arafat has never played a role of someone who can be trusted or effective,'' presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

Well, I tell you what Ari, If we can't trust him, and he's not effective, then what good is he? Let's get some use out of this evil bastard and have Israel extradite him.

It's not like we don't have anything to try him for.

There's the murder of Dave Berger in Munich by Fatah in 1972.

There's also the execution of Ambassador Cleo A. Noel Jr. and George Curtis Moore at the command of Yasser Arafat, after they were kidnapped in March of 1973 from the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum.

Lola Nunberg, 53, of New York, killed November 14, 1975 in a Jerusalem bombing claimed by Fatah.

March 11, 1978, Gail Rubin - shot by the PLO on an Israeli beach.

June 2, 1978 - Richard Fishman - killed in a PLO bus bombing in Jerusalem.

August 19, 1982 - Anne Van Zanten and Grace Cutler - killed in the PLO bombing of a Paris restaurant

December 19, 1983 - Serena Sussman - died from injuries suffered in a PLO bombing of a bus in Jerusalem bus.

October 15, 1986 - Gali Klein - killed in a Fatah grenade attack at the Western Wall.

August 9, 2001 - Shoshana Greenbaum, killed in a suicide bombing at Sbarro's.

I'll give you one reason Arabs keep resorting to terrorism. Yasser's shown them it works. 50 years ago he was just another thug and, thanks to President after American President shaking his claw, he's now the leader of his people.

Get him here, throw him in jail and try him. If the CIA doesn't have enough evidence to send him to the chair then there is no friggin' need for the CIA. The President said he wanted Osama Bin Laden "dead or alive". Fine. Yasser Arafat's hands run just as red. Do we have the guts to say the same for him?

Update: 10:35 pm. I just did a google search for "extradite Yasser Arafat" and then "extradite Arafat" and got zip, zilch, nada, nothing. Am I nuts? Surely someone has brought this up before. On the positive side, "extradite Yasser" would a Googlewhack if quotes were allowed.

Update: 11:39 pm. Steve at USS Clueless says Israel should just kill him. That's good too.







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Tell the Masai "Ashi naling" at Thanks for the Cattle

Like the man said "They wanted us to have cows. We should take the cows and raise them on a nice farm upstate and then send the cow puppies back to them someday.""


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They've lost access to all the top-secret lutefisk recipes!


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Changes in Altitudes, Changes in Attitudes.


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If everything that can go wrong, has, get some of your own back here.


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Design your own South Park Character. Sweeeet..


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I have to admit that I am developing ambiguous feelings about two sports that previously held no interest for me.

Thanks to the Hurricanes success in the NHL playoffs, hockey fever in the state has reached epidemic proportions. Before the Canes run for the Stanley Cup, I couldn't have cared less about hockey. I live in the Southeastern United States. The lack of significant snowfall in the Winter and the ability to fry an egg on any surface in the Summer doesn't really lend itself to ready adoption of what is essentially a Winter sport. Around here, attempting to emulate those movies that depict kids playing hockey on a frozen pond in the dead of Winter would only get you an honorable mention for swiftly removing yourself from the gene pool in the Darwin Awards. The decision to base a professional hockey team in the state certainly met with a lot of derision on my part. The only remotely redeeming quality that I could see about hockey was the near certainty that the opposing players would be involved in a knock-down, drag-out brawl at least once a period. (BTW, for those of you that do not live in the South and don't understand the draw of NASCAR, the same holds true. There is a high probability that one or more cars will be involved in a high-speed collision at least once during the race. It is for this 30 second period of time that most people watch the "sport".) Other than the fights, who cares about hockey? I mean, it like Soccer with sticks and skates.

And then the U.S. has to go and beat favored Portugal 3-2 in the World Cup. If I didn't care about hockey, I REALLY didn't care about soccer. I mean, it's like hockey except without sticks and skates. I'm not even sure that it has fights. It has yellow cards, and red cards, and most of the players in the U.S. have green cards, but... It's just a confusing mess of colors. I did play soccer for one season, very briefly when I was young. I played half-back, or wing-back, or wing-tip or some such position. My job was to stand in front of the goal and wait for the ball. I waited a lot. It was a lot like when I played outfield in baseball as a youth. I stood there chewing my glove and kicking dandelions most of the time. Don't get me started on baseball. (I'm actually thankful for the hockey and soccer happenings. It drives baseball off the front page of the newspaper. Except duing the playoffs, baseball has got to be the dullest sport on the planet. And it's still referred to as the National Pastime? But I wasn't going to go there...) Back to soccer...

The closest I ever came to liking soccer was when I read about that rugby player violating opponents during scrums. (Yes, I KNOW that soccer and rugby are two totally different sports. I'm just saying that's the closest I ever came to liking soccer. If you don't understand, I can't explain it to you.)

(Okay, I'll try to explain it to you. I'm an average American. As far as I am concerned, rugby and soccer are essentially the same sport to your average American. Therefore, something like one player goosing another player in one sport, which I found highly amusing, translates into some small appeal for the other sport.)

Anyway, I'm not sure what to do with the budding fandom inside. I really liked not caring about hockey or soccer. I guess I'll just ride out the wave of regional and national fervor while it lasts.

Update: Eric Olsen at Tres Producers also has thoughts on soccer


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Annoying the Wife

(House is quiet, child is asleep, husband and wife are reading novels in den)

Husband (completely out of the blue): "You know Elizabeth Hurley?"

Wife: "Yeah, what about her?"

Husband: "She's pretty hot......" (sit quietly for at least a minute).........."and I don't understand why she was ever with that dork Hugh Grant"........(quiet again for another minute).........(say lightly under breath) "I could treat her so much better than that punk"


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Mmmmmmm. Fried Twinkies.

I wonder how long it will take before someone comes up with Fried Ding Dongs. Wait...I think I just came up with Fried Ding Dongs! That's it! I've finally found my ticket to riches and fame. I hearby stake my claim to the invention of Fried Ding Dongs. And Fried Ho-Hos. So back off.

Update: Ooooo...what about Fried Swiss Cake Rolls? Yuuummmmyyy...


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Woo-hoo! Archives are fixed! I still have no idea what the was wrong. I just banged on stuff till she started up. They're ugly, but at least they're there.


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6/04/2002




Okay. I've been dwelling on the Unholy Lands article lately. Let me give you the gist of the article:

Let’s say that a couple of years from now, descendants of the dispossessed Cherokee – members of a nationalist movement to return to their ancestral lands in Georgia – managed to convince large numbers of people who have traces of Cherokee blood to move back to Georgia and take up residence.

Through lobbying, the new Cherokee get the president of the United States to issue a declaration that Western Georgia is the ancestral homeland of the Cherokee; but the president hedges his bets by also declaring it the homeland of the Georgians who live there now.

Later, the Cherokee win a U.S. Supreme Court victory restoring Georgian lands to them, including the city of Atlanta, as a sovereign Indian nation. The United Nations gets into the act and confirms the decision.

Fifty years later, a full-scale civil war is going on in Georgia between the Cherokee and the latter-day Georgians.

Obviously, I am trying to make an analogy to the current situation in Israel between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs. If I were writing this as a science-fiction novel, I would fill it with analogic events including population movements, religious and cultural intolerance, terrorist bombings – the whole business.


I've heard/read/seen several other comments relating the current Israeli-Palestinian situation to the plight of the American Indians in the U.S. Most of the comments suggest that, much like the Palestinians, the U.S. would never give up land to restore the Native American nations.

I'm here to suggest differently. I think it's high time we DID restore Native Americans to the land that was their birthright for thousands of years before Europeans came to North America. Now, I don't think we could restore ALL the tribal lands to all the tribes that are/were in the U.S. I am not suggesting that we even try. I am suggesting that we restore, arguably, the most "famous" of the Native American Peoples to their lands. That's right. I'm suggesting that we give North and South Dakota back to the Great Sioux Nation.

Think about it. Who'd miss North and South Dakota? Nobody. OK, you ask, what about all the people that LIVE in those States?

Well, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, NOBODY really lives there! According to census figures, the population of South Dakota was approximately 756,600. There's 75,885 square miles of South Dakota. That makes for roughly 9.9 people per square mile. It gets even better for North Dakota. In 2000, there were only 634,448 people in 68,976 square miles of State, making for 9.3 people per square mile. The population grew a measly 0.5 percent from 1990 to 2000, and was actually in decline in 2001. Compare this with our most populous state, California. 34,501,130 people, 155,959 square miles of land, and 217.2 people per square mile. Hell, if the folks in the Dakotas don't want to live in Native American territory, relocate them to Montana (pop. 904,433, 145,552 square miles, 6.2 people/square mile).

So, what purpose would this serve? For one, wouldn't you just love to see the return of the horse cultures of the plains to North America? Dances with Wolves and all that crap? Wouldn't you love to restore the thundering herds of Bison? Alright, maybe it wouldn't be like the Native American cultures of the past. For one thing, you'd have a hell of a lot of casinos, more than likely, but I bet tourism to those states would triple. And it's not like we need those states anymore. The only reason American settlers drove the Sioux from their land in the Dakotas was for gold. It's not like we really need those mineral rights any longer. Hell, we don't even have to give up both states. The Sioux population is probably too small to occupy both states, so we'd just have to give up North Dakota.

For another, it would show the Palestians, the Israelis, and the Arab world that we're willing to pony up to the table and admit that sometimes others might just have some claim to the land that we've occupied for a while. It would show that we're big enough to give just a little bit, and maybe that would start a chain reaction in which the Palestinians and Israelis admit that maybe, just maybe, it's okay to share the land you've lived on or lay claim to with another culture, a culture with a rich history and traditions not necessarily your own.

I, for one, am willing.


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Sleep Patterns I

I'm 10 years old. It's a January night, and it's cold. And I'm lazy, way too lazy to actually get out of bed and get another blanket. What I do have, close at hand even, is the pile of dirty clothes on the floor. Mother was trying the "let the child live in his filth and he'll eventually get sick of it" theory. She'd been an adherent for a little over a month, so it was a pretty good pile. I supported the theory that before you went to bed each night, you stuffed the day's attire into the crack between the bed and the wall. When the clothes appeared on the other side of the bed, they were clean.

By my reckoning, I had a week or two of "clean" clothes right there, far more actual fabric than any of the blankets in the distressingly distant linen closet. Up they came, to be spread over cold spots as they were detected. The night grew older, and colder, and eventually I piled 90% of a month's worth of socks, shirts, pants and tighty-whitey underwear about my body.

The smell I awoke to in the morning was indescribable. It was....delicious. I reveled in my own stench like a dog who has rolled in a week old elk carcass. Bakeries had nothing on this elixir. Baking brownies paled to a thin, small ghost odor in comparison, quickly smelled and more quickly forgotten. I was encased in aroma. I didn't smell anything this powerful until years later, when I caught my first whiff of Lauren, wafting off the Baptist minister's daughter.

It lasted a week, until the night mother asked if I needed extra blankets to ward off the chill. I demurred, explaining my ingenious system with pride, and at some length. I highlighted the fact that not only was my underwear softer than the Star Wars comforter, in toto clothes were warmer and more easily arranged. She listened intently from across the room, where she had taken to sitting in the last few days.

It's a pity that PowerPoint wasn't available to me then, the visual impact might have made difference in the outcome of my presentation.


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Perhaps my generation is made up of a bunch of slackers who prefer to hang out with their buds and slam some Schaefer’s instead of investing on Wall Street or working themselves into an early grave by chasing the almighty dollar. You call me and my guys slackers............... okay, i guess......so..

Following this train of thought, although I can’t follow it for long since my beer is getting warm, I suggest that we tend to recognize and honor the wrong people in our society. As a society we tend to look up to people who work hard for their money, leaving a trail of bodies strewn across their path to success. People like Ted Turner, Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Sam Walton are (or were in the case of Sam) revered and thought highly of simply because they put their noses to the grindstone and left innocent victims in their wake as they climbed the ladder of success. Again I say, “So?”

I am more impressed with those people who remain nameless yet still rake in a buttload of cash. Those people who had some lameass idea yet got other people to buy (literally) into it. Those crazes that lasted but a blip on the social radar screen, just long enough to buy a mansion, a rolls, a never ending flow of beer, a helicopter, a birthday party with Van Halen playing the tunes (with Diamond Dave and not the Extreme reject), an assorted group of hookers and a lava lamp. This list of people is short but impressive. The list includes, but is not limited to, the following people:

1. The creator of the cabbage patch doll (still blows my mind, papers????)
2. The owner of Ebay (build it and they will sell. I think I could sell a bag of poop on there, wait a minute, i actually bought a bag of poop on there)
3. The person who developed leg warmers (was it really that cold in aerobic studios??)
4. The pet psychic???? How can we ever tell if she is wrong?? Very smart woman, not to be toyed with.
5. The person responsible for all the "baby on board" signs (like we would see those and think "whew, glad I saw that. I guess I will angrily slam into a different yahoo's car!")
5. Kramer and Mr. Costanza for creating the “Bro”, and FINALLY,
6. The guy who must have been high walking in the woods, picked up a rock, put it in a box and sold it as a pet. Thank God he used his powers for good and not evil. He is/was a genius.

I hear that anything worth having is worth working for, and that things mean more when you work hard for them. That is a great idea, but it would interfere drastically with my ability to drink with my buds whenever I want to. Is society really asking me to choose between my buddies and beer, or a life of buying stuff that is greatly shortened because of stress?

I choose beer. Just don’t ask me to choose between the beer and my buddies……….too close to call.


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Ladies, it's time to do your patriotic duty!

Link via Meryl


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Woundwort didn't have time to post this, so I will.

Indecent Proposal


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6/03/2002




Herb's got an axe he likes to grind.

"I summon my blue-eyed slaves anytime it pleases me. I command the Americans to send me their bravest soldiers to die for me. Anytime I clap my hands a stupid genie called the American ambassador appears to do my bidding. When the Americans die in my service their bodies are frozen in metal boxes by the US Embassy and American airplanes carry them away, as if they never existed. Truly, America is my favorite slave."

King Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz, Jeddeh 1993


Sounds like old Fahd to me. You wouldn't want people overlooking a thing like that. Good thing Herb registered all these other urls.

statedepartment.com
saudicommercialoffice.com
saudicommercialoffice.net
saudiminofcommerce.com
saudiminofdefense.com
saudiminofinterior.com
saudiminofstate.com
saudinationalguard.com
saudiminofpetroleum.com
princenayif.com
princebandar.org
nayifbinabdalaziz.com
bandarbinsultan.com
sultanbinabdalaziz.com
abdallahbinabdalaziz.com
binabdalazizalsaud.com
kuwaitminofinterior.com
uaeminofinterior.com
qatarminofinterior.com
bahrainminofinterior.com
syriaminofinterior.com
iranminofinterior.com
egyptminofinterior.com
iraqminofinterior.com
yemenminofinterior.com
omanminofinterior.com

Don't think he's not well-rounded, though. He's got outside interests

Herb, man, get a blog!






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Cheese eating surrender rodents?

Link via VodkaPundit

An ink-stained wretch of a mouse appeared
Stinking of whiskey and gin.
"It is," he said. "worse that you feared,
that barnyard is more of a fen.
"You'll get stuck when you go after that Lion's beard,
And never return here again."


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Annoying the Wife - Interlude - Driving to the Drugstore

"Look, someone left a picnic basket by the side of the road."

"A pic-i-nic basket? Where?"

"There's no -i- in picnic basket, you freak."

"There is if you're doing a Yogi Bear impression!"

"I'm not doing a Yogi Bear impression."

"Well, obviously not, there's no -i- in your pic-i-nic basket."

Voice from the carseat: "icanik baket"

"Heeeey Booboo!"

"Why would you just start doing a Yogi Bear impression?"

"You said you saw a pic-i-nic basket, Booboo."

"Picnic basket! Picnic Basket!"

"Another one? This is our lucky day, Booboo. Pic-i-nic baskets are falling from the sky!"

Voice from the carseat: "icanik baket"

"Heeeey Booboo!"

"Stop that!"

"No, no. You say "The ranger's not going to like this, Yogi."

......

"Booboo?"

.....

"Booboo?"

Voice from the carseat: "Booboo?"

Annoying the Wife
Chapter One
Chapter Two


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Search 7,500 news sites and Weblogs with DayPop.com. Read more about it here.


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Mental illness is no laughing matter. For years, scientists, researchers, psychiatrists, counselors, and on and on and on, have attempted to make sense of it, largely to no avail. How do we identify mental illness? What are the warning signs, and isn’t early detection the key? As of today we diagnose mental illnesses according to the DSM-IV, and look to organizations such as the American Counseling Association to be leaders in this area. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a system were to be developed that would allow society to recognize people with mental illnesses before something catastrophic were to take place. Can you imagine how many crimes could be avoided if we caught perpetrators before they committed their acts of violence? Surely the person or persons who discover this method of identifying potentially harmful people will become rich beyond our imaginations.

That time is now. Here is my suggestion as to how we can rid the world of potentially harmful people dealing with the most serious of mental illnesses. Arrest everyone who purchases or carries a copy of The Catcher In The Rye. Hasn’t history taught us anything? Isn’t it obvious that this book has rung a bell with all of the crazy people in the world. Mark David Chapman is a classic example, but only one of a number of people who choose to identify with this story for one reason or another. Sting operations should be set up out side of every bookstore in the country and when someone purchases this book, he/she can be draped in a net the second they step foot out of the building.

The last time this occurred we lost Lennon. Next time we may lose such lyrical geniuses as John Cougar Mellencamp who gave us such thought provoking statements as “sucking on chili dog, out side the Tasty Freeze,” or Snoop Dog who reminded us all that we should be “sippin’ on gin and juice.” This should stop today and it can if we simply put into action Operation Net-a-nut. Please help support this cause before the beautiful lyrics of other such poets (Rick Springfield, Billy Ray Cyrus, Captain and Tenille, etc) are silenced forever.


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6/02/2002




Should I ever run out of ways to annoy the wife, I'm taking up wiffle ball again.

Link via Arts & Letters Daily


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Non-violence as a resolution to world conflict



I agree re: the Palestinian solution. It seems like they would've, should've, could've taken a note from Gandhi and adopted a policy of passive resistance to achieve Palestinian indepence. It's painfully obvious that Arafat is not a world class leader, and seems more concerned with his own power and image than he is in true Palestinian statehood.

However, I am not sure how much WE as a nation have learned about non-violent resolution and prevention of conflict either. Don't get me wrong, but how much have our international wars really served to improve our national security? I think our intentions are good, but what do we have to show for it? Since World War II, we really haven't been able to wholly solve a problem through military means. Let's scroll through the list:

Korea. Half the nation is still communist and roughly 30,000 American soldiers still man a hostile frontier. North Korea has been branded part of an "Axis of Evil" and has to be bribed to keep from developing nuclear technology. It's citizens are starving and seeking asylum wherever it can be found. Okay, South Korea was never overrun and has been an economic success story. But we still had to fight another war against communism in Southeast Asia. Mission Accomplished? Push.

Vietnam. Militarily, probably a victory for the U.S. Politically and morally, a defeat. 30 years later, we're finally starting to repair national relations with Vietnam and make political and economic in-roads in that corner of Asia. Mission Accomplished? No. (BTW, read We Were Soldiers Once, And Young.)

Panama. Okay, we got our guy. Of course, we put him there in the first place and had to take him down when he became a liability. Look what else American intervention in military affairs in Central America got us: Nicaragua and the Iran-Contra scandal. The scandal has faded into history, but let's face it, the whole thing was a blatant violation of the constitution. Mission Accomplished? Yes (we got Noriega) and No (Central and South America still have tons of problems with Marxist factions).

Grenada. Mismatch from the start. Not big enough to really cause too many political problems. Evidently started because of a pissing match with Fidel Castro. Mission Accomplished? Yes.

Cuba. Fidel Castro has been through how many American Presidents? Mission Accomplished? No. (Yes, we use mostly economic means now, but there was the Bay of Pigs.)

Iraq. Sure, we "liberated Kuwait" and, more importantly, protected our access to petroleum resources , but where are we over a decade later? Saddam Hussein is still there making trouble, and more than likely we'll have to go back in, expend more American lives, kill hundreds of thousands of more Iraqis and upset tons more Muslims. Hell, we're still bombing the tar out of the place. What's been our payoff for the whole Gulf War? Oil is still there, but thanks to Iraqi sanctions and our military support of Israel, 90% of the Muslim world misunderstands American intentions and at least the more militant factions want our destruction. Mission Accomplished? No way.

(BTW, does anyone REALLY believe we couldn't have the technology in place to rid ourselves of our dependence on foreign oil? And I'm not talking about drilling in Alaska, I'm talking about Fuel Cells. I mean, it's been over 10 years since we fought a major war over our need for oil (10 years that brought us the World Wide Web, the longest bull market in history, and countless other technological breakthroughs), and over 30 years since an oil embargo practically brought our economy to it's knees, and we STILL rely on oil to run our economy? If you ask me, and I know you will, I think something smells of rotting fish in the energy business, and it ain't just Enron.)

Somalia. We went in with the best of intentions. We went in peacefully and with an open, giving hand. Somalia welcomed us and were grateful for our help. When we switched from providing famine relief to military policing, we got Black Hawk Down (A book I highly recommend, BTW. It will give not only insight into our fighting soldiers, but into American policy and how our international policies reverberate down through the decades.) And then we pulled out. Somalia is still screwed up. Mission Accomplished? No.

Oh. I almost forgot Bosnia. We bombed a lot of stuff, pissed off the Chinese when we dropped a bomb on their embassy, but we got our man. I've heard rumors that terrorist have a happy home in Serbia because of the whole ordeal, though. Yet another action that continues to color our foreign policy. Mission Accomplished? Yes.

So where does that leave us in Afghanistan? Before everyone thinks that I am some unpatriotic Marxist TerroFacist, let me say that I support the military action we took and are taking in Afghanistan. I support the military actions we took in Grenada and in Kuwait-Iraq. I support the action we took in Bosnia. It needed doing and Europe was too timid to take care of it's own problems. Hell, I even support our support for Israel. (Let's face it, without American support, there would be NO Israel. People seem to forget that the main purpose of Palestinian violence was and is the UTTER DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL. Without American support, Israelis would have been slaughtered and driven into the Mediterranean long ago. Let's NOT forget the sinking of the U.S.S. Liberty, however, and let's face it, Israel has got to stop bulldozing Palestinian homes to put up new Jewish settlements.) HOWEVER, I think that we are only serving part of our purpose in Afghanistan. While we have driven out the Taliban and al Qaeda, we've not done enough to go about preventing their return, and healing the scars of our actions. I think that our limited action and limited deployment is hurting us. If we learned anything in World War II and the following conflicts it should be this: when we commit 100% of our resources, follow through to completion of all of our goals AND follow that up with a helping hand at rebuilding, we win without question. (See WWII and the Marshall Plan) When we commit 100% of our resources, stop short of our ultimate goal, and then keep people economically weak, we win, but ultimately lose. (See WWI and the Gulf War) When we commit partial resources, we lose. (See Vietnam, Somalia).

So, what's my point? I think that we should beef up peace-keeping forces in Afghanistan. Our troops can do and do do (snicker. chortle. snort.) a lot of good on the ground. They can hand out food. They can hand out clothes and shoes. They can help rebuild. They can provide some level of security and stability that is appreciated by most Afghan citizenry, until the Afghan government get on it's feet. Yes, we increase the risk to our men and women on the ground, but isn't the end goal worth the risk? We've become so adverse to risk that we're practically paralyzed on the world stage. We need a new Marshall Plan in place to rebuild Afghanistan and we need it now. I am sure we will put plenty of aid into Afghanistan, but right now, it isn't really high profile. All I read about in the news is about plans to invade Iraq, new attacks being planned by al Qaeda, and U.S. troops continuing to pursue Warlords on the border of Pakistan. (Note to self: Mohammed Farrah Aidid. Warlord in Somalia. Going after him DIDN'T WORK, but humanitarian aid DID.) These kind of actions go a lot further towards increasing the level of goodwill towards America in the Muslim world than just shooting people, and that in the end will increase our national security more than anything.

There are plenty of opportunities for us to go out and create a new Peace Corps. There's impending famine in Southeast Africa. Let's go feed those people. U2's Bono has U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill are out touring Africa trying to convince him that aid money really is put to use, and I for one believe him. Let's take a long hard look at forgiving international debts, raising a hell of a lot of boats in that rising tide and creating a worldwide boom in goodwill towards the U.S. and maybe going a long way towards preventing another 9/11. Let's lift the trade embargo on Cuba. It hasn't worked worth a hill of beans anyway. Let's propose peaceful self-determination for Kashmir and put as much effort into making it happen as we do into the whole Israeli-Palestinian situation. India and Pakistan threaten the world with Nuclear conflict, but what does the average Kashmiri want? Let 'em vote it out in a referendum or something. (Okay, maybe that's naive ,but it seems so freaking OBVIOUS.) It seems sometimes that we focus so much on the use of force to force our foreign policy on the world, that we forget that the most powerful weapon we have in our arsenal, and the reason we are the baddest cats on the planet is our gargantuan ECONOMY. Let's use it. And not just to impose sanctions somewhere, but to spread the wealth around a little. Let's practice what we've been preaching in the Middle East. Peaceful, non-violent, long-term solution to conflict. (Interspersed with a some judicious whup ass. Face it. Sometimes it's necessary.)

That's my piece and I'm out.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Rudyard Kipling, proto Blogger

"I say Felicity, do you like Kipling?"

"I don't know, you naughty boy. I've never Kippled"

I've been reading a new biography of Rudyard Kipling, The Long Recessional

Given the recent tension between the Blogosphere and the mainstream media, I found this passage interesting.

Everything in the Gazette between the end of the leading article and the beginning of the advertisements was his responsibility. Most of his writing took the form of 'scraps', short items describing events or commenting on issues in the news. His editor once complained that he was averse to routine and idle about producing 'scraps', but this is not borne out by his diaries, his letters, his large crammed cuttings book or the testimony of Wheeler's successor. A diary entry for a January weekend in 1885 records that, although he felt 'abominably seedy and queer in the head', Kipling not only wrote 'scraps' on Formosa, Calcutta and a ploughing match in Madras but even visited the Lahore Serai to see if he could find anything else to write about.

Without proper reporters and with very limited foreign news, he had to find a great many things to write about simply to fill up the paper. The topics of his 'scraps' were a mixture of the serious and the frivolous, ranging from accidents on the Indian railways to a horse fair in Jallalabad to the vegetarianism of Allan Octavian Hume, the ornithologist, former ICS officer and organizer of the Indian National Congress. Sometimes he produced items on France and Russia, the two European empires with territories closest to India. But his favourite subjects, which he brought up again and again in his 'scraps' and which became minor crusades for him, were Indian political claims (especially in Bengal), the failures of various municipalities (especially with regard to sanitation), and the iniquities of certain Hindu customs, especially child marriage and its usual unfotunate consequences, widowhood and prostitution.


So, back in an era where the was no Big Media, real reporters spent much of their time writing and publishing short items and comments on current events. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it, Alex.

Oh, and I'm taking nominations for the blogger most likely to be Kipling re-incarnated.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Archives are broken, and blogspot won't load the template for me. Has anyone else run into this?


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




People who know me speak of my great modesty. Sometimes they even keep a straight face. I can in conscience no longer keep my light under a bushel, for I have discovered a new form of humor.

"What is this new form of humor?" I can hear you asking with bated breath. "Does it involve monkeys in some way? Monkeys are pretty funny, you know! Have you deployed the here-to-fore underused sense of smell in the humor area? Will my early adoption of this new humor increase my attractiveness to the opposite sex of my choice, or perhaps an opposite member of the same sex?. What about opposite-sex monkeys? Will I smell humorous yet attractive to them? Lord, that would be the answer to all my prayers!"

The answer to all these questions is yes, because frankly I'm scared of what you'll do if I say no. How you make it work is up to you.

Puns have been called the lowest form of humor, and that may have been true, once upon a time. I'm pretty sure this is lower.

Introducing the Link-pun, the practice of which may be referred to as Link-punning. I believe the form is self-explanatory.

It may be seen at its most basic in the Millet link below. Essentially, the word in context refers to Millet, the seed of the annual grass that is a common ingredient in birdseed, but links to a site about Jean-Francois Millet, a French painter of the Realist School. The two links above do the same thing, as many of you will have discovered to your annoyance. The rest of you, the ones that found it very mildly humorous, and barely clever at all, well, you're my kind of people. Go forth and do likewise.





Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

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