Silflay Hraka

9/21/2002




Basketball is ok, but what it really needs is more trampolines.


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9/20/2002




There's a new career in the Army of One: muleskinner.


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Superhero Do's and Don'ts
Rules for choosing a superhero name:
• Don't call yourself by your real name, e.g.
Mr. Fred Pinchuck, The Amazing Stevie Foster

• Don't call yourself by someone else's real name, e.g.
Mr. Teddy Kennedy, Captain Dean Martin
.....
Supervillains to Avoid:
• Emitorr, the Nuclear Radiation Man
• Thargorr the Planet Crusher
• Dr. Slaughterhouse
• Garth, the Gonad Detonator Supreme
• Dr. Disemboweller
• The Slasher From Beyond the Stars
• Krisparr the Incinerator
• Sun-Up, the Solar Sodomizer
• Mr. Rip-Your-Nuts-Off-And-Eat-Them-In-Front-Of-You


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Carnival of the Vanities

How many times have you published a really good post, something that you thought was a finely crafted model of trenchant wit and amusing scholarly insight, only to have it sink into the vast waters of the blogosphere with barely a ripple? How many times have you thought that here at last is something that will get me a bit of recognition from the blogerati, only to be wrong? I think that this happens to almost all bloggers, big and small. Sometimes it's just timing. If you put up a really good post about your kid or some arcane bit of knowledge on the same day that Britney Spears assassinates Yasser Arafat, it's not to get the attention it would have otherwise deserved. Sometimes there is no good explanation, as the child of your mind sits there, ignored, a wallflower at the school dance, while everyone around you dances with the popular kids.

Frustrating, isn't it? Don't you just want to find the nearest water tower, climb up and start taking potshots? I know I do, and I've got at least a half-decent record at attracting attention from my betters. The problem is that there is no proven acceptable way of saying Hey you lot, take a look at this! And admit, you know you want them to. Blogging, if nothing else, is the bleeding edge of vanity publishing. If you didn't think you had something valuable to say, you wouldn't be doing this.

Trolling referral logs is slow, and the bigger the target, the less chance it has of working. Bill Quick's referral logs move so fast they smoke. Your visit to Instapundit is viewable in his logs, if you get lucky, for about a minute.

There's always e-mail, but it's frowned on, smacks of desperation, and you still have to hope that somehow your letter stands out somehow from the crowd of hundreds or sometimes thousands of other e-mails.

That's one problem. Here's another. I'd link to you more often if I was able to read you more often. Making one circuit through the blogroll over there on the left takes a week, at a minimum, and that's with me reading just the stuff on each blog that was written that day, and I am nowhere near as busy as the big guns. If the best example of your skill appeared a couple days before I showed up, I'm going to miss it. Deep down, this grates at me. I've read enough of you to know that that there are extremely talented and knowledgeable writers in my blogroll that not only don't get enough attention from everybody else, they don't get enough attention from me.

So I have a request, one that I think might go a ways towards solving both problems. If you think you have a good post, e-mail me the link. I'll read it, and once a week, I'll link to the ones I've gotten. It'll be an index of what you and other bloggers think is their best stuff. At the worst, you'll be exposed to Silflay Hraka's crowd, such as it is. What will likely happen is that people who are looking for stuff to link to, but might not have a lot of time, will drop by, find something that interests them, and link to it. Your memes are guaranteed exposure, and the more people that participate, the more people will pop by to take a look.

I'll post the first index next Friday, and I'll probably mail this around to the blogroll sometime this weekend. If you'd like to have a link posted, just e-mail one to me, along with a category for it, like Family Life or Domestic Politics or alt.misc.fetishes and a teaser line, like the model Blog Critics uses on its front page. On the off chance you decide that all of your posts are deserving, try to winnow it down to one, ok? People who like your stuff are going to stay awhile, so you'll get more exposure for the rest of your blog, and you'll pick up permanent visitors at a faster pace.

Let me know what you think, and I'll adapt the whole thing as it goes along. I think it'll work well, and will shed some light on stuff that have been otherwise overlooked.I'm looking forward to linking to some of the best stuff in the blogosphere.

Of course, that's assuming someone reads this.


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"SAFE!!!!" No More

This is further evidence that people are dumbasses and have gone ballistic. A father (34) and son (15) attacked a coach for the Kansas City Royals during a baseball game, and as the tattoo-clad redneck was led to the police car he said the coach, "Got what he deserved." And I thought I cared about my sports teams.

If a photo is worth a thousand words then this guy's shot says, "I am a complete a-hole and should be arrested on site, regardless of whether or not I have actually done anything wrong. I am not capable of speaking in complete sentences and panhandled in order to be able to afford my ticket into the game."

Mark sporting events off the list of safe places to take the family, along with monuments and tall buildings. People suck!!!


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Okay, partner........DRAW!!!!!

Florida has become the standard for completly screwing up voting procedures. Mired by reports of hanging chads, numerous recounts and dumb old people, this is where good intentions go to die. Perhaps all of us could learn something from the state of Nebraska, where it appears that close elections are decided much easier and much faster. Yes, it does seem a bit archaic, but it solves voting issues in a relatively quick and painless manner. Instead of Nebraska public officials spending so much money on advertising, their dollars might be more effective spent learning the intricate strategies of "Rock, Paper, Scissors."


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Money Dance! Thanks to our Amazon tipster! Another $5 in the tin for the communal beach house.


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Wanted: Idiot

Here is a list of resume mess-ups. I am particularly interested in the job that #10 might land you, yet I want nothing to do with #5.


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9/19/2002




The Anthropology of Meaning.

I consider this to be my own fault. This fellow is trying to communicate something, and since I am unfamiliar with the subtleties of Islamic expression, I have absolutely no idea what. It's so difficult to translate the symbols of another culture into a meaning that we can all understand. He is pointing towards the sky, perhaps in an indication that we need to raise the spiritual level of our national conversation about Islam. Could it be a delicate reminder that in all things we must first consider the viewpoint of the eternal creator of us all?

If you draw lines upwards from his extended digits, they cross at a point just above the crown of his scalp. A line through each each elbow would, with each arm defining a side, then create a triangle. This is clearly a reference to the Christian notion of the Trinity as expressed in the three major religions of the Middle East. The subtle reader needs no reminder here that in a triangle, three become one. Could it be that this man is one of the great Imam's, sent here by his brethren with a message of the innate unity and brotherhood of mankind? What is the significance of the implied triangle coming to its apex just above the crown of his skull? Is is a reference to the Crown of Peace, steadfastly desired by us all? How I wish I could divine more of his message!

Might the two fingers, alike as they are, refer to the Twin Towers, and that horrible day when American hubris brought them down? Is he making the point that only with the help of our Muslim brother and sisters may we expect them to rise again? Is he commenting on the plans to rebuild them? Would the erection of their replacements be a slap in the face to this man of peace and his brethren? I suspect that in their haste, the board overseeing the new building plans has overlooked the necessity of making sure the Muslim point of view is adequately represented, and that this fine fellow is giving us a gentle remonstration for that unconcious oversight. After all, Muslims died that day as well.

Heavens this is difficult! If there were only some clear indication of his thoughts, perhaps we could find common ground with him. Once we find common ground, then we could negotiate our way to a mutual understanding, perhaps even, dare I say it, a common love through the recognition of each other's basic humanity? What we need is an icebreaker, or something to eat. You can really bond with people over a meal, I've always thought. I have a really good hummus recipe...


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Not so much haute couture as it is hate couture.


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The Silflay Hraka Theory of Self-Vaccination

Environment Rich in Germs May Reduce Risk of Asthma

I keep telling the wife that leaving my toenail clippings on the coffee table is good for the for the child. Not only are they an efficient cross between potato chips and a teething ring, they are a valuable health aid. It's not an apple a day that keeps the doctor away, it's a germ a day. Sure, all the pills and potions and various nostrums help, some, but there's nothing like forcing your system to have it out with the wee beasties on a daily basis to keep a body healthy. You know how your parents used to tell you that if the medicine tasted bad, that it was good for you? I bet the rim of the toilet tastes bad, too. Go ahead, lick it! It's for your own good.

Okay, let's assume that you have some minimum degree of cleanliness in you house that renders your toilet rim hor de combat in the struggle against germs. Where to go? What to do?

Have no fear, gentle readers, for you can render yourself immune to the vast majority of morbidities, infirmities, ailments, indispositions, disorders, maladies and distempers without reducing your household environment to that of an elderly Turkish prison. Yes, by utilizing the scientific principles underlying the Silflay Hraka Theory of Self-Vaccination, you will not longer quiver in fear when confronted with a carrier of Yersinia pestis, but will be able to laugh, laugh I tell you!, in the face of danger.

Now as we all know, repeated exposure to germs creates an immune response. In order to self-vaccinate, one must first ascertain where an easily accessible, constantly renewed reservoir of germs is located, determine the most efficient way of exposing one's immune system to said germs, and then proceed to do so on a more or less regular basis. The short lifespan and fecund proclivities of the bacilli and the virii mean that evolution within their families proceeds at a rapid pace. Thus, repeated re-exposures are required so that one's immune system is always up to date.

There exists but one place where you can be assured of simple access to an veritable cornucopia of microbial life--the inside of your nose. Picking your nose and eating the boogers is the only way to assure yourself of continued good health in these uncertain times.

The nose is constantly surfing the winds of the world, drawing in all manner of sundry items. It exists as a trap for these bits of filth, which add a piquant flavor to the salty mucus and chewy nostril hairs. Don't let those germs go to waste! Eat them, and live forever. Why, in no time at all, you will be seeking out areas where germs concentrate, so that you may conquer them. The air in a crowded men's restroom, some thirty minutes after the lunch hour? That's where supermen are made. That air is golden, ripe with possibilities. Breathe deeply of the miasma, feel the new germs impact and catch on the inner surface of the nostril. Then eat, eat of your body and free yourself of care!


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9/18/2002




Every time a Salesman Quits, an Angel Gets His Wings

My neighborhood has been overrun by pedlars. It's gotten to the the point where a ring on the front door is is by default someone selling something or other rather than friends or relatives dropping over unexpectedly, not that I can even remember the last time we had anybody do that. Everyone has cell phones--the closest we ever get to an unexpected visit is a phone call checking to see if we're in, before they drive over. My aged parents, who still have a rotary phone in the kitchen, to whom I had to explain the mechanics behind cut-n-paste, have a cell phone, for god's sake. My sister, who has a large nest of clothes in the middle of the floor in lieu of furniture, has a cell phone....not that she calls us with it. Whatever other effects cell phones will wreak, they've pretty much killed any reason for a person to just show up on your doorstep, saying "I was just in the neighborhood and I thought I'd drop by." Pretty odd excuse for a development like ours anyway. What the hell were you doing in the neighborhood if it wasn't to drop by? There's nothing but cookie cutter houses here, so unless you're stalking someone, not much point in just happening to be here.

Of course, anyone who actually does show up without the two-minute electronic warning is in all likelihood stalking you, not some other benighted soul. In any case, I've decided it's rude not to call. Do you have any idea how much a house can be tidied up by two motivated adults in two minutes, especially if the toddler is already imprisoned in the booster seat at the kitchen table?

The doorbell ring isn't likely to be my neighbors, either. If they have anything to say, they'll e-mail our Yahoo group, and a quick glance at that shows we don't have a great deal to say to each other anyway. The nice thing about technology is that it is constantly removing the need for non-essential human contact. Some people might decry this new condition. Not me. Most people just piss me off, and I'm pretty sure I have a similar effect on them, if the finger of the guy I cut off in traffic this morning is to be believed. Sure, the world's getting more crowded, but since I actually see less and less of humanity during the day, it doesn't have much of an effect. Those people whom I do see are seen more and more because I choose to see them, not because I am unable to avoid them. Yes, I still run into masses of people during the day, the electronic net hasn't removed me from all involuntary contact with the maddening throng, but I'm exposed to the throng less than I was say, seven years ago, when I was a book clerk, or ten years ago, when I was a shudder, vacuum cleaner salesman.

Now looky there, I'm right back where I started from! And people say free writing is aimless and rambling--a lot they know.

I must point out that I was not a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman per-se, that I was instead one of the handlers whose job was to take normal, happy people, and browbeat them into becoming salesmen, as if that was something not quite as horrid. Vacuum cleaner sales depend almost entirely on one thing, a constant stream of new recruits. They're almost always people with a crappy job, or who have just been laid off, or are the type that will send random Nigerians money so they can obtain a significant portion of the hidden bank account of the late General Sani Abacha. In other words, they're either poor or desperate or gullible. The industry has a phrase that encapsulates their entire vacuum sales experience; Hire them in masses, train them in classes, and fire their asses. A normal career lasts about two weeks. The recruits are dazzled by promises of easy money, given enough training to operate a machine and turned loose to "practice their demo" on their friends and family, which is where they end up making most of their sales, which is what their new bosses expected all along. After that, there's usually no where else for them to go, so they turn in their equipment, get a couple hundred bucks in commission and are never seen again. Those that haven't learned their lesson get to take the next step on the train to Humiliation Station, cold-calling, which is what the lady who rang my doorbell Saturday was doing.

"Good morning sir! How are you today?My name is Tijuana and I'm with Completely Undescriptive Name Marketing!" That was out of her mouth before I even got the door all the way open. No one in the entire door to door vacuum sales industry works for a company with the either the word "vacuum" or the word "sales" in their corporate name. It's always "So and So Distributors" or "Two Initial Marketing". She waved a 52 use gallon plastic container at me. "We're out in your area today giving away vaulable gifts just for you looking at a great new home cleaning product and you don't have to buy a thing!" Behind her, in the cul-de-sac, was a maroon minivan with the engine running. On the front steps of damn near every house in the cul-de-sac was one of her co-workers, each expectantly holding a bottle of detergent. These people were selling Kirbys. Kirby salespeople hit one area all at once, try to sign you up for an appointment later in the afternoon, and move on to the next cul-de-sac, like locusts. Rainbow salespeople get dropped off at the entrance to a neighborhood and and walk the streets singly or in pairs. Filter Queen sales people are too weak to walk around, as they don't make enough money to put food on the table. They all have the same pitch, which boils down to "I'll give you something if you look at this".

Do them a favor and crush them. Yes, there are successful, rich vacuum cleaner sales people, but they are all higher up in the sales strata, and they spend their days exhorting the peons to sell. If you know anyone that ever sold Amway or Melaleuca, then that person has probably told you how much money there is to be made, and all the expensive crap that his boss's boss has. The frontline grunts are the sales cannon fodder, and the quicker they get out the better off they'll be. Crush them, crush their dreams of riches through door-knocking, and let them move on to something else. There lots of good sales jobs, but they don't involve getting housewives to answer the door at eleven on a Saturday morning..

Remember the whole technology removing the need for non-essential human contact? It's cutting off direct home sales at its knees. The people who got rich in that business got rich in the Eighties, or they've got a new market, like Poland. The definition of success now is if a region maintains its sales from year to year. The poor lady standing on my front porch didn't have a chance in hell of achieving anything.

"Good god, honey. Look at the houses out here. Did the dumbass driving that van really tell you that you could get into houses like these with laundry detergent?" I know, I know, I sound like the biggest snob in Snobbington. Give me a second. "Did he write that pathetic script? How long did it take you to memorize it?" She goggled at me for a second, then silently turned and trudged back to the car.

Every salesperson that shows up at you door, every telemarketer that calls you on the phone, is trained to do one thing. Stay on message, stay on the script. They're quoted all sorts of numbers about how well the script works. If you make N number of sales calls, then you will make X number of sales, if you use the magic script. Without fail, insulting the script throws them for a loop. They're trained to deal with the word "No." No to a salesman is static, they'll talk right through it. Telling them the script is bad, or that their delivery of it sucks, turns you from a mark into a critic or their performance, and gets them off message. At that point, you've taken back the power in the relationship, and you can do what you please, at least until they recover. Many won't.

In most cases, the person in front of you has been sold on doing what they are doing by a better salesman. He or she is the person driving the van, or walking the calling floor. As long as they believe in what that person is telling them, they'll keep ringing doorbells or making calls. Get them to doubt that person, and they're well on their way to a promising new career. That's the whole point of being Mr. Snob, and insulting the leader by calling him a dumbass. The guy driving the van, no matter what neighborhood they happen to be in, will talk about what a good neighborhood it was, how he made some sales here and got some good leads. It's cheerleading, some rah-rah to get the troops up and moving. It helps them get through the chorus of Nos they're about to hear. You're going to tell them "No" anyway, so you might as well make it harsh and memorable. Think of it as free-lance deprogramming.

Think of it as practice for the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Update: Sometimes, of course, they don't go on to bigger and brighter things. Sometimes they get worse. See if you can spot the former vacuum cleaner salesman in this list of spammers.


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I'm also smart at manipulating tests until I get an answer I like.

Nature Smartie!

How Are You Smart?



Link via chrisruzin.net

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Slate has a lot of 9/11 cartoons that I missed the first time round.
Update: Actually, it's a mix of 9/11/2002 cartoons, 9/12/2001 cartoons, and some others just dealing with that theme.


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Defiant California City Hands Out Marijuana

Damn, Ashcroft, how much more evidence do you need that the War on Drugs is over, and you lost? All you can do now is metaphorically wave the bloody shirt and cause unneccessary casualties. Which, I must point out, is exactly what I expect you to do. Your morality is too rigid, your blind spot too huge, to do anything else.


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Forecast for Gehenna, September 18th, 2002 - Chilly, 70% chance of snow flurries

B.C. makes a point without being heavy-handed about it. It's even mildly humorous! Okay, very mildly humorous, but for B.C., it's practically a Monty Python skit.


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Strange Bedfellows

Saddam's offer of renewed inspections has probably gummed up the works in the U.N., but it seems to have knocked the Democratic party into a new position.

Sept 15th.

We don't know what this administration wants to do,'' Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said on ABC's ''This Week.'' He said President Bush had yet to ask for a resolution on Iraq. But Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said: ''Obviously, it is up to the Congress to offer resolutions, not to the administration.''

Several leading lawmakers made clear they will consider such resolutions on their own timetable.

Daschle was noncommittal on whether Congress could pass such a resolution before Election Day, saying only that it was possible.


Sept. 18th
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who has sent mixed signals on Bush's Iraq policy, said Congress would pass a resolution supporting tough action against Iraq before adjourning for the November election.

Daschle's tone was far friendlier to the administration than it was last week.

"We said go to the United Nations. They did. We said acknowledge that you have to come to Congress. They have. We said begin to make the case. They have," Daschle said. "They are doing these things that we have proposed, and I think it's time for us to reciprocate."


But why, exactly? On the face of things, it would not appear that much has changed for the Democrats. I suppose there's a possibility that new intelligence has come in, indicating that Saddam is close enough to the bomb to sway some of the less ardent doves. Hard to believe that, since I think it would be leaked almost immediately. It's also possible that by making it fairly obvious that we're not going to get a resolution out of the United Nations any time soon, Saddam has forced the Democrats to abandon that avenue of delay. A third option is that the Democrat's internal polling has indicated that delaying a vote is hindering them rather than helping them in the November elections. Or possibly George told Tom the date we roll on, and the Congress wishes to don the fig leaf of "advise and consent" by approving action already scheduled.


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Linkage
The notorious Batgrl blogs about one of my soundtrack groups, Split Enz. Split Enz was my very first clue that the world Down Under was cool. Before Split Enz, Australia was to me kangaroos and koalas. I've bought, lent out and therefore lost probably 10 Split Enz albums over the years, and I'm down to just a greatest hits cd at the moment. I've always thought Six Months in a Leaky Boat was possibly the best possible example of a really happy song about really bad things.


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9/17/2002




Forget Where's Waldo. Where's Osama?

Link via the Indepundit


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A scoop of embarrassment, with sprinkles of shame.

We decided to go to Goodberry's tonight. Goodberry's, for those of you who don't know, which of course would be almost all of you, is a fancy ice cream stand. So fancy in fact, that they don't sell homemade ice cream, they sell homemade frozen custard. Don't ask me what the difference is, I don't know. I do know that whatever technical category of frozen foodstuff is fits into, it is above all a license to print money. The custard is incredible, and it's always crowded. I could drop by in the middle of a gray December day, with a heavy rain and a temperature under 40 degrees, and I'd have to wait in line for my custard. The one closest to our house is in Cary, known regionally as C.A.R.Y.(Containment Area for Relocated Yuppies), for reasons that are obvious once one exits the car at the High House road Goodberry's. Everyone is blonde and sleek, or weathered and sleek, or young and sleek. The gourmet imported organic sea salt of the earth.

Ngnat loves it. There are always little kids there, and non-threatening adults, who for all their sleekness, always notice and compliment her on her favorite shoes, the purple pair that light up when she walks. So she gets to play with the kids, and talk to the adults, and she gets to eat ice cream "i keem!" and surf the resultant sugar high.

She also likes to watch the staff. The stand follows what is apparently some architectural law of ice cream stands, in that the entire top half of the building is glass, so that the staff is under constant surveillance by the world outside, as if in the days before ice cream was served from a transparent venue, horrid things were done by perverts to your banana split.

"She wants extra nuts on her banana split? By God, I'll show her extra nuts!......Here you go, Miz Anderson. Ya'll have a nice night now, hear?...Goldamn razzafrazzin old biddy, hope she chokes on it."

So every time we finally wend our way to the front of the Yuppie gauntlet, I perch her up up on the burnished steel rail that runs the length of the storefront, so that she can squat down and peer at the staff as tend to the gigantic metal machines as they fill our order.

Have I mentioned we're in the midst of potty training? Foster's, Australian for beer. Squatting, toddler for time to pee.

Literally one second after I start to place our order, I feel the warmth on my leg and hear the splatter, like rain on the bricks, of daughter pee. Oh, joy.

The ladies behind me notice too. "Aw, look, isn't that cute! Honey, look!"

I'm not sure if the girl behind the counter knows what's going on, but I manage to hand the daughter off to the wife. Not the sainted wife, not now. After all, HER daughter just peed all over me in public. Good things, my daughter. Bad things, her daughter, and her fault, too. Give me time, I'll figure out why.

So off they rushed, back to the car to dry off and put on a diaper, while I stand there, big ole stain on my shorts, complete the order and attempt to play off the entire situation to the fiftyish golf foursome behind me.

"You know, normally she scream's PEE-PEE at the top of her voice", I say, waving my hands in the air by way of illustration.

They smile politely and kind of edge away, but at least they're not talking about how cute it is anymore. I move off to the side to await the fulfillment of my order. There's a big puddle of pee right in front of the order window. The guy behind me, the silverback of the golf course, is standing in it. Nice shoes. Italian, I think. I start to feel a little better.

"Daddy!" The wife's dried Ngnat off. She's running back up the walkway. "I hep you wi i keem!" The extra emergency diapers have been put on, but not the extra emergency shorts. A later investigation by a sub-committee of the house would bring to light the fact that there were no extra emergency shorts available, but that happens later on. Right now there's this pantsless redneck trailer baby running up the walk and calling me "Daddy". And her mother's letting her! She let her come out in public without any pants on!

"Aw, look, isn't that cute! Honey, look!"

I regret to say that I scooped up the child, handed her over to her mother, and demanded, in a low whisper, that they get back into the car right now. I did not need any help with the ice cream, I would bring them the ice cream, and we would eat it in the car, and then we would drive home and never return.

Later, as I sat in the front seat with my raspberry custard, wet walnuts and chocolate sprinkles of shame, Ngnat leaned in from the back where she was sitting with her mother.

"Tank you fa i keem, daddy." she said, and gave me a sticky kiss.

"It was no trouble, honey."


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RSVP requested
Get your invitation to the war yet?


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Sex, Drugs and Freaks

Rock's 50 Greatest Meltdowns. Now that is rock n' roll.


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Going Postal

Here is a list of some email experiences gone horribly wrong.


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Whoops!

Well, as Gomer might say, "Surprise, surprise surprise!". George accepted the argument that the U.S. needed to go through the United Nations before attacking Iraq, and now it's come back and bitten him in the ass. As I said before, all the U.N. can do is provide a fig leaf of international approval, but the fig leaf isn't for our benefit. It is solely for the benefit of the U.N., in the hopes that in future we will look to put on the fig leaf before we do anything, that in the absence of the fig leaf we will do nothing.

Now, Bill Quick points out that from the administration's viewpoint, this is so much window dressing, and I agree. The initial announcement that we would be seeking United Nations' resolutions before we started, not bombing Iraq, since we're apparently doing that everyday, so perhaps invading was in all likelihood just for domestic and foreign political consumption. The problem lies in the fact that now that the U.N. has gotten us to do the first thing on its list, "Ask for the fig leaf.", it can now proceed to the second item, "Prevent the U.S. from acting without it." The U.S. is proposing a resolution to the Security Council that will give us the cover to attack Iraq, and the Iraqi proposal to allow inspections will likely sink it.

Here's the current membership of the security Council. Russia and China have already stated that there is now need for a new resolution, and France wants two resolutions, one for inspections now, or perhaps next month, and one after Iraq is shown to still be resisting inspections to authorize the use of force later on. Aside from the fact that the U.S. resolution could simply be vetoed, how many of the current members will even support the U.S. resolution? Britain, perhaps Colombia and Mexico, but there's no one else there we can count on.

What the media fails to report, and probably doesn't even see, and that the ultimate aims of Saddam and the U.N. dovetail. We already know that the United Nations would prefer that we not attack, that's why George told them to put or shut up. What our situation with the U.N. boils down to is this; The United Nations will agree to the process, because as long as we're involved in the process, we're not attacking. It's in the interest of the U.N. to keep us in the process because that enhances the power and stature of the U.N. Diplomats are at heart procrastinators, because they never know when conditions might change to favor their side. Therefore they draw out negotiations as long as possible in the hope that the conditions change.

Saddam wants nothing more than to prevent a U.S. attack, and if he can't prevent it, then he needs to delay it for as long as possible, in hopes that the underlying conditions change. He cannot at the moment do anything to oppose us militarily, but he can do things diplomatically to slow down an attack until conditions change in his favor. The longer the process takes the more likely this is. He'll be happy to allow inspectors in, after the two weeks or so it takes to co-ordinate it. At that point Iraqi cgoes back to the game of harassing, misleading and stalling them until they leave again. This took up years last time Saddam played this game. He can certainly get a year out of it this time.

A year or so gives the internal opposition in Britain and America time to grow, and while this might not affect President Bush, but it could certainly affect Prime Minister Blair, keeping Britain from an active role in the attacks. There's also the chance that Saddam could get the bomb in the next couple of months, after which the conventional wisdom dictates that he can thumb his nose at the world. I think the conventional wisdom is full of it, that the moment Saddam has the bomb he's got to use it or lose it, because the minute he announces he's got he's signed Iraq's death sentence. The only question in my mind is whether Israel nukes him before we do.

What the media also fails to note is the peculiar timing of this story, Saudis May Allow U.S. Use of Bases. Let's see, Saudi Arabia announces that we can use their air bases for an attack on Iraq, as long as a U.N.. resolution authorizes us to do so, and less than 8 hours later, Iraq seriously gums up the works needed to produce such a resolution. This wasn't a case of the Saudi's finally coming around and putting pressure on Iraq, this was a case of the Saudi's being in communication with Iraq and knowing beforehand what was coming. The House of Saud positioned itself in such a way that it can appear to once again be a U.S. ally without actually having to do a damn thing, and no one is calling them on it.

Update: Glenn Frazier also thinks Saddam's playing for time.


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Perfect Job (part I)

We spend so much of our lives working that it is important to find just the right occupation in order for us to be happy.............I think my search may be over. No, I am not going to say gynecologist or porn star, instead something that will allow me to work with people and get really, really hammered.

The official title of the position is called a "Leaner" and the instructions are simple. Let's say a beer distributor, perhaps Natural Light, hires you as a leaner. It is your responsibility to go to bars or other hangouts where people are drinking, lean into a crowd and say something like, "Hey, isn't Natural Light the greatest?," to which someone may reply "I don't drink it." Your response would then be "Hey bartender, give me a round of Natural Lights for me and my new friends!"

Can you imagine? You get to drink and make friends by buying everyone drinks. The possibilities are endless and I swear I am not making this up. I'm sure I'm qualified. I like people (some of them) and I like beer. Lean on me!!!


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RIP

If you went to school at UNC, then you probably know this guy.


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9/16/2002

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Buying a house sucks

Buying a house may not be the hell that selling a house can be, but it can sure suck sometimes.

Here's the background: About six weeks ago, I start seriously looking for a home. About three or four weeks ago, I start making offers. I find a nice little condo in a nice quiet neighborhood. Not too expensive, history of easy resale, makes a nice rental property if I decide to move out in a few years and get something bigger. The first offer I make goes back and forth and back and forth before I decide to walk away from it. The owner's mother is a real estate agent and IMHO wants more than the property is worth, considering that there are several other properties in the same area that are more reasonably priced. So, I put a lowball offer on another unit (apologies to Woundwort), figuring that I will at least start lower and work my way up from there. To my great surprise, the owner accepted the first offer right off the bat. I was and remain thrilled. I mean, I knocked a good 10% off the ask just in making the offer.

I know what you're thinking. The place must be about to fall down, or have a horrible pest problem, or be haunted by poltergeist or something like that for someone to up and accept a lowball offer right off the bat. I began to wonder about that myself. So, I wait through the home inspection with fingers crossed. Once again to my surprise, no big issues. Where is the catch, I wonder?

Well, the place MAY ACTUALLY be haunted. Though I doubt it. Evidently, the current owner inherited the property upon the passing of his mother (God rest her soul). I could probably stand to be haunted by a little old lady, but that isn't the catch. The catch is that even after the property was on the market for about 3 months, and even three weeks post signed contract, the property hasn't been through the probate process yet. Which means that the property can't be transferred until the probate process is over. Which means that my scheduled close date of Sept. 26th just ain't happening. Which means that since I've told my landlord that I was moving out of my current apartment at the end of September and my landlord already has the apartment rented as of Oct. 1, I have no place to live at the end of the month.

You guessed it. I'm pretty pissed off.

Fine. Current owner hasn't taken care of business, but has put property on the market AND signed a contract for sale of said property. The closing can't go through as scheduled. But I still have options. I can a.) put all my stuff in storage, put my dog in a kennel, and go live at the Extended Stay America for a month or so. Of course, if this happens, all my bills are going to the seller OR b.) I can occupy the property as scheduled and just wait until the new closing date arrives. Obviously b.) is more amenable to me and to the seller. Barring any lein or claim against the property, that works well.

Turns out that there are no leins or claims and that we COULD take route b. Here's the kicker. The seller wants to charge me $500.00 a month RENT to occupy the property.

Unh-uh. Awww, Hell no.

Not one dollar, dime or cent extra am I paying to this goon, not no way, not no how. I put down $500.00 earnest money when I made the offer on the property as a way of saying that I was dealing in good faith and I wouldn't back out of the deal. I expect no less from the seller. I have a signed contract in my possession which says that the owner is legally able to transfer the property. I've already paid out for loan origination fees and credit check fees and home inspection fees and pest inspection fees and insurance and...there is no way this person is getting one single, solitary CENT (even if it's Canadian) out of me.

Plus, I can't lock my rates until there is a set closing date, and everyone knows how good mortgage rates are right now. I'll probably have to settle for a higher interest rate on my loan when it actually comes time to close.

So, as it stands now, I have no place to live at the end of the month. If he accepts my counter-offer of "Listen you jerk, I MIGHT not walk away from this if you let me occupy the property rent-free as scheduled", then everything might possibly be hunky-dory. But even if he wants to break contract and face legal action, I am not going to worry. I'll have someplace to stay, I'm sure. The Lord will provide. I mean, there's always family, right BigWig? Right? Hello? BigWig? Hmmm. Seems like no one is around...


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Transit Cops Turn to Music to Fight Crime

BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston transit police have enlisted the late American composers George Gershwin and John Philip Sousa in their fight against crime.
...
MBTA officials said the sounds of brass and strings blaring over the newly installed speakers are already having their desired effect, reducing crowds at the Forest Hills station, where there had been two to three fights daily.

Although several youths have complained about the music, fewer of them are loitering -- to the delight of officials and those who work in the station.


The success of the program has led other public offices and venues to adopt various musical styles in an attempt to reduce their maddening throngs. Among the most successful has been the downtown Boston Social Security office, which has begun to play various rap and hip-hop artists in an effort to drive away retirees.

Office manager Chutney Wilkes says that while both Eminem and Dr. Dre are quite effective, "Lil Kim is the best. We hadn't seen no patrons other than Mr. Anderson since we began playing Notorious KIM everyday, 'cause he's deaf or somethin."

Mr. Anderson agreed, loudly proclaiming "You betcha, sport. Four for a quarter and change left over! You try and find dog food like that today."

With a grant from the V.A., the office staff have begun investigating various powerful sub-woofers and the deterrent effects of very low bass on Mr. Anderson. If successful, the V.A. hopes to deploy a similar system around its health care facilities in the near future.

The historic home of Paul Revere has reported dwindling crowds since it began broadcasting Anne Murray, and the Boston Public Library has recorded only a single visitor in the month since it began broadcasting Bon Jovi.

Other songs and their affects;

"Stand By Your Man" repels Hilary Clinton. "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" does the same to Bill. Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen" attracts both, while repelling Trent Lott. During the period 1965-1973 the songs As the Caissons Go Rolling Along, Anchors Aweigh and Wild Blue Yonder reportedly repulsed George Bush and Dick Cheney, though the effect seems to have reversed as each aged. I Guard America has always attracted the President, however.


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Pleasing The Wife

In a never-ending attempt to please the wife, I am constantly looking for ways to make our lives easier, without that translating into my life becoming more difficult. Someone may have found the answer. I may actually volunteer to do housework!!!

NOTE TO HUSBANDS: You will only appear to be a saint as long as she doesn't actually find out how this works.


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Didn't you just know it?

Charges send shiver through town

Members of Lackawanna's Yemeni community describe the five arrested men as ''all-American.'' They include a telemarketer, a used car salesman and a former high school soccer star who was named friendliest in his class. Four are married, and three have children. All are registered voters -- Democrats, The Buffalo News reported.
Thank God I just re-registered as "unaffiliated".

On a related note, this is what Cartman thinks of Democrats.

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Killing Beyond the Grave?

Is the curse of Tut real and did he kill people beyond the grave? This article would suggest not. He is not nearly as scary as Jason. Now that guy could kill people.


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9/15/2002




G'day Bruce!

Silflay Hraka, the home of white-hot philisophical debate, directs your attention to the latest entry at Philosoblog, Moral Equivalence.

There is a dominant culture of excellence today. It produces people who lead good lives and who are not likely to take advantage of others. It acts as policeman to the world and throws its huge military weight around. Imagine living in an ivory tower defending a nutty, multiculturalist, socialist utopianism that has now been deemed of lesser value by most of your country. You watch the Big Man strutting around, with his wealth and his happy, judgmental, confident and proud demeanor - it’s enough to drive you mad with envy. Champion the cause of the poor! This will help alleviate your guilt for not being poor, and it will give you a chance for revenge against Big Man. You’ll be able suppress your feelings of envy and guilt if you take up the leftist cause without flinching, no matter what flaws someone might find in your reasoning. Find out Big Man’s sins; try to bring him down a notch or two. Didn’t his spy agency put an evil dictator into power Nicaragua or somewhere like that? Of course, the regime was better than the alternative, but still, that can score a point if you twist it hard enough. And didn’t Big Man make some pretty valueless mass entertainment and some ugly suburbs? Yes, Big Man isn’t so great, and you can put him in his place. If you squint your eyes and cock your head to the side, it almost looks as though his record is morally equivalent to that of every other culture. And surely his values are no better, either.


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Letters, We Get Letters

Thomas Deeny, the artist behind Planet Earth (and other tourist traps) wrote in to thank us for the traffic surge to his 9/11 strip.

While looking over my site's stats, I noticed a rather large spike from your blog page. It's really hard to say something meaningless as "thanks for the link" when one considers why the link was there to begin with. In fact, I even feel like a knob for even sending this, but thanks.

I found it interesting that, out of all the webcomics out there, you listed my strip. I've had Planet Earth (and other tourist traps) running for just over a year now and it's a bit strange thinking that someone I don't even know is not only reading my work, but mentioning it in a list of syndicated and well-known online-only comics. A short list, even. As an aspiring cartoonist, this makes me feel good about my work. But I feel like such a shmuck. "My comic about the death of thousands of people and emotional turmoil that still eats away at people even a year later was mentioned on a website and I got lots of hits! Whee!"

So I'll just say thanks for mentioning Planet Earth (and other tourist traps). A better link to that strip may be here. That page has all the navigation for the rest of the site. (Now I feel even worse. "Thanks for linking to my site. Now go fix your link." I am such an ass.)


Thomas, we get the Whee! feeling every time someone links to us. I think link sluttage is a natural condition of the Internet. In any case, thanking us for traffic is like complimenting a sloth on his turn of speed. Well, perhaps a hyperactive sloth. I'll take some credit, but most of it should go to our close, personal friend, Glenn.

Aside: for a glimpse of the relative position of the blogosphere in the Internet, here's a look at Instapundit's visitor stats versus those of the fairly well-know webcomic PVP. Now if you'll excuse, I need to go suck up to Scott Kurtz.

You can read Planet Earth (and other tourist traps) from the beginning here.

Aside: Free No-Prize to the first person who identifies the obscure Silflay Hraka in-joke in the post above.


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Arch links

Years ago, in one of my anthropology classes, I hypothesized that early man used the wild grains of the Fertile Crescent to brew beer long before they were used to make bread. After all, rotten grain in water was a much easier concoction than drying, grinding, and baking bread. My hypothesis was huffily dismissed, and I was advised to quit studying in bars. All I can say now is "Here's mud in your eye, Prof."

Proctologists finally find an archaeological niche.

Bashkortostan? Bashkortostan!

The White Horse of Sherhill has been restored. It's one of a number of white horses, none of which is as old as the Cerne Abbas Giant.

Even though he's retired, Dr. J. has been keeping busy.

Has Opus Dei found its Tom Cruise in Mel Gibson? What does Hollywood Jesus think?


A weather page for Ole Doc Weevil, and one one the Ararat Anomaly for Fred First

Neanderthal skeletons are popping up like mushrooms. Here's a picture of the skeletal remains of the Neanderthal Baby, who is presumably in Neanderthal Heaven, possibly playing the flute.

The absent-minded professor might be the oldest stereotype of all.

We might not be in the situation we are in today if someone had just had the sense to bomb Nebuchadnezzar

Most links via Explorator


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