Silflay Hraka

9/28/2002




It's not the bottom of the barrel, but you can see wood from here.

We've been chosen as the site of the day at the People's Republic of Seabrook! Now truly we will be able to score with the chicks!

Zod: If you weren't married
Let me enjoy the moment, damn you.
Zod: and pasty white.
Shut up!
Zod: and possessed of a hair trigger, if you know what I mean.
You're one to talk, Mr. Queen of the Desert
Zod: I believe my work here is done.
Yeah, you better run.


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.

9/27/2002




42

I found an Easter Egg over at Silent Running today. Not a real one, of course, an Easter egg for the mind, after the term for the small surprises hidden in computer programs by their creators. Every now and then I'll be banging a post out on the keyboard, when suddenly I realize that an obscure pop culture or science fiction reference will fit in with the flow of the post, yet have a secret, second meaning instantly recognizable to anyone with a frame of reference similar to my own. It's a very, very geeky way of trolling for the same emotional connection that occurs when teenyboppers talk about music.

"Omigod, You like that song? I love that song! Justin is soooooooo hot!"

I embed these tiny references fairly often, enough to know that I do it, but not enough to remember the last one I did. I'm always inordinately proud of them, often making the sainted wife sit through a description of how clever they are.

In case you're wondering, she's of the opinion that very little is more boring than being forced to listen to a recitation of my obscure genius. This from a woman who can have conversations for upwards of an hour with her sister and cousins, conversations that consist entirely of shorthand references.

"Hey, Moleboy?"
"With the Ice cream?"
"Yes. Married with Children!"
"Siamese?"
"No, Gypsy Rose Lee!"
"You're kidding! What about the Pants?"

This happens most often at Thanksgiving, when her entire tribe of related women (In three generations of multi child families, the wife's family has managed to produce exactly one boy, and he's only 20 months old.) gathers together at one house or another and has a great big shorthand party. They never understand why the husbands are all looped on jug wine by the time dinner rolls around.

Not that anyone has noticed my Easter eggs, that I know of, and that's ok. The more obscure they are the prouder I am of them, to the point where I've sometimes decided that the only person on the planet that would get the joke is me, and possibly not then.

I liked finding the one at Silent Running, though. It's the next best thing to someone finding one of my own.


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.




The French Veto

The radio wing of the BBC World News Service is reporting that France will use its Security Council veto to block any U.S. resolution on Iraq containing the threat of military force. I'm looking for a link on the Net that says the same thing, but haven't found one yet.

Update: Here's one that implies the same thing. I'll keep looking.

What I hope is that something like this has been prepared for in advance by George. There's an argument to be made that the Bush administration is a master of diplomatic jiu jitsu; Andrew Sullivan makes it everyday, practically. That particular argument not only flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but spits on said face and gives it a good slapping on the way in, but this doesn't mean that it's wrong, just that it's out there on the fringe of current political thought. I hope, strangely enough, that it is correct, and that Condi and Dick and Colin have laid out a course steering for a goal that for years has been the fevered dream of the John Birch Society and its allies; the withdrawal of the U.S. from the U.N. Not because I happen to agree with the JBS's worries about World Government. Hell, I'm a fan of World Government, as long as it's run by America and those like us. Perhaps I'd better just say I'm a big fan of the coming Hegemony of the Anglosphere. I'm pulling for the dissolution of the United Nations because not only is it a money pit, it promotes the rights of nations over those of individuals.

Iraq, despite being run by a despot and his murderous clique of relations, is given the same rights as Costa Rica, Liechtenstein and New Zealand; countries whose governments would likely fall for the least of Saddam's actions. Myanmar is no better, nor is the Sudan. If the United Nations truly wanted to promote a better world, it would have embraced the principle that "if you mistreat your people, we will do whatever necessary to bring you down." The U.N. didn't because it was formed at the onset of the Cold War, and Russia wasn't going to accept that, which brings me to my final reason.

I only keep old things around if they work, or if I have an emotional attachment to them. I think most Americans are like this, it's why we're running out of space in the landfills. In point of fact, 99% of the things we have that are 60 years or older are still in our possession because of the emotional attachment thing, not because they still perform their function better than anything that has been developed since. How many people do you think watch Friends on their 1948 Admiral?

That's why the JBS doesn't have to worry about the U.N. and its black helicopters. It's the functional equivalent of the Admiral.

Killing the U.N. will not take place without the requisite wailing and tearing of shirts on the Left. It's odd really, that a movement so enamored of opposing globalization would be among the loudest of the voices condemning a U.S. withdrawal from a global organization. It's not really the same to them, though. The anti-globo movement at its heart is about restricting U.S. power through the restraint of trade. The current* Left sees the United Nations as an avenue for the same kind of restriction on a political and diplomatic scale.

That's too bad, because there is a perfectly good leftist argument to be made for dissolving the U.N. The problem in restricting the use of power, like the U.N. is currently attempting to do to the U.S., is that in cases where said power can be used as a force for improving the lot of the miserable and oppressed, it is slow and unwieldy. People die every day because the U.N. cannot act, and its continued existence acts as an automatic ass covering device for every nation on the planet. It gives them the implicit excuse not to act in the face of disease, poverty and oppression.

"We'd like to, but that's the U.N.'s job."

The eradication of the United Nations removes this rationalization. It also frees up the 2.5 billion dollars a year that the U.N. spends to little effect. Restricting the use of power was useful to the U.S. during the Cold War because it helped to control the Soviet Union. The current dinosaur Left wants the U.S. to accede to the wishes of the UN, now and in all things, because they see it as the best restraint on the power of the U.S. They decided long ago that the U.S. was the moral equivalent of the Soviet Union, and as such the exercise of its power can only be in the service of corruption. They had to embrace this equivalency in order to reconcile the romantic view of Communism that infected the Left in the 1930's with the oppression that form of government engendered. The only way to do so was to make the rationalization that the U.S. was as bad, if not worse, than the Soviet Union. It's bullshit, and the Soviet Union is gone, but the rationalization remains, as it will until the last of the die-hard Soviet romantics are dead.

I'm not going to pretend that parts of the Shining City on the Hill aren't built on the bones of people who were mistreated or killed. America isn't perfect, we don't pretend to be. In fact, we worry more about what we should be than any other culture on the planet. We're not perfect, but we damn sure would like to be. We want to be perfect, and we want to be loved. That more that anything else is what will prevent us from doing the evil that the current Left seems to fear from America so much. You can scream "Vietnam" all you want to, but the fact is that the U.S. ended its involvement there because its citizens forced it too, because they realized that what we were doing there was foreign to the American character.

The fact is that the U.N., due to its insistence on the sovereignty of the nation state, is doing a better job restricting the flow of American ideals than in restricting American power. That's why the Left should hope that France not only vetoes the current U.S. resolution on Iraq, but that we give the Security Council the finger and proceed anyway. Hold your nose, close your ears, do whatever you need to, but support the war on Iraq for the possibility that one of the things it destabilizes is the United Nations, that it comes crashing down, and we can raise something better in its place.



*I say "current Left" because I think that the Left as it is configured now is in its death throes. In 10 years there'll be a Left that few now would even recognize.


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.




Talking to Trey

Fred First has posted part of Mark Twain's war prayer over at Fragments.
It reminded me that surprisingly, I've had to develop a prayer philosophy. It wasn't my choice; I was forced into it by the wife. Proper southern girl that she is, she decided that there are certain forms that must be followed, whether or not you agree with or even believe in them.

"I am not going to raise a child that doesn't say grace at the dinner table," she decreed.

So we say grace at the dinner table, usually more than once. Ngnat has learned "God is great" from her Baptist daycare, which she mumbles while she sneaks glances around the table, hands pressed together under her chin. I'd link to a copy of it, but all the sites I can find it on are distasteful to me.* After all, I'm a Darwin fish man.

Therein lies my conundrum. Grace before meals is nice, but it holds about as much religious significance for me as the 7th inning stretch. I figure that there is or there isn't a God, and if there is then he doesn't sweat the small stuff. If he does sweat the small stuff.......well, if there there is a God and he concerns himself with the things that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say he concerns himself with, then the hell with him. I'll spit in his face and give him the finger come Judgement Day. Better to burn in hell than serve in heaven, to misquote Milton, if he turns out to be the petty little god they worship. That goes for your god too, Timothy LaHaye.

Hmm, got a little sidetracked there. We do more than "God is Great." There's also the extemporary, everyone hold hands in a big circle that Dad the minister does so well. He's had years of practice, at a rate of what appears to have been 4 or 5 meals a day, so it has a pitch and timbre that I cannot hope to approach, even if all the words have been mostly the same all my life. Ngnat likes to do at least a couple of those as well, if not at the beginning of dinner then scattered throughout it.

"Amen?" She says brightly, holding out her hands to her mother and I. "Amen?"

This despite the fact that she always refuses Amen when offered the possibility of it at the beginning of the meal. She determines the prayer time. I just have to pray it.

So, when this practice first started, I had to decide what to say. I'm a PK, I know the forms; Thanks for the food, God, thanks for the company and the privilege of another day with them, yadda yadda yadda. Guide and protect us in our path through life blah blah blah, bless the food and the people and in thy name, amen. I suppose I should write down one particular pray that covers all the bases and repeat it. Enough repetition, and it can provide a memory anchor for Ngnat when she is grown.

Aside: All three of us, Kehaar, Woundwort and I, are PK's. Odd, when I come to think about it. Perhaps that's why we mention religion so little and boobies so often.

Since I am a PK, I've heard millions of frigging prayers. One thing that struck me when I had to start doing this myself was how narrow the request for blessings normally is. It's always something like "Bless us, and Bob, and Norma Jean who's in hospital with the cancer." Sometimes the President gets mentioned, and in church it normally expands to include the members of the congregation.

I mean, if it turns out that you actually do have the ear of God, is he going to be impressed with you restricting your desire for his blessings to only the people you know? Kinda selfish, don't you think? So when I end up the family dinner chat with old Trey**, I make sure to cover as wide a range as possible.

"Please bless and protect...everybody. Amen."

What else am I going to do? It's not like I know everyone by name, even if I did have the time. It's quick, it's got a lot of coverage and if you're going to bother praying, you might as well pray for everyone.




*So I'll utilize the asterisks and type it here. I don't know how ubiquitous it is, though I certainly don't recall ever meeting a person who didn't know it. The Internet is a big place, so presumably there are those out there to whom this will be somewhat foreign in flavor. Also, it would be nice to have a site that lists it without all the heavy-handed preaching about Jeebus and his 12 popsicles.

God is great.
God is good.
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands we all are fed.
Give us Lord our daily bread.
Amen.

**What else are you going to call the Triune God in informal conversation? You can't call him Jesus, he'll be distracted all night long every time someone curses.

Elohim sounds too much like a command to greet somebody. "Hey, you see the fat guy over at the bar? Wander over there and hello him for me."

YHVH has no vowels, sounds like a dog clearing its throat. It's completely unutterable. Probably a formal usage anyway.

El Shaddai. Also too prone to confusion. "What's his name? El Shaddai know?"


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.

9/26/2002




Bob, of Sour Mash with a Twist, emailed me a link for next week's Carnival of the Vanities. Thanks, Bob. While I was there, I ran across his Open Letter to Blogdom or, An Unqualified Jackass Shares an Opinion No One Asked For.

1. There are a limited number of people in the world who give a shit what kind of bubble bath you use. Maybe you could come up with something to say, rather than regurgitating an exhaustive laundry list of the inane crap you did today.

2. Congratulations! You're the 1000th blogger to post that same goddamned Apple link. Corporate America® thanks you for doing its marketing for free.

3. Enough already with the animated icons. What are you fifteen frigging years old? You are? Um, sorry. You probably have enough problems. Pay no attention to the bitter old man.

4. A tiny 72 dpi picture of your cat looks exactly like a tiny 72 dpi picture of anybody else's cat. Post a picture of an interesting dog or don't bother.


It's been Instapundited, so you may have seen it, but it made me laugh out loud, and not much does that. Rock on, Bob.


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.




WWLD?

One reason I originally started Silflay Hraka was in order to use it as a memory aid. I forget things, lots of things. The sainted wife asked me the other day what I remembered about the night Ngnat was born. As it turned out, not much. I do remember telling the wife at one point that she was pushing incorrectly, which was pretty arrogant of me, in retrospect, and thinking "Damn, that head just keeps getting bigger and bigger!" as the almost-born Ngnat was extruded into the world. I cut the cord, I think, and called relatives, leaving a message on her sister's machine that she was an aunt, but disclosing no other details, because I thought that would prove amusing. And amusing it was, though only to me, as it turned out. I also remembered Ngnat falling asleep on me as I stretched out on the couch in the delivery room, a memory that the wife pointed out was incorrect.

"That was the next night, dumbass."

I made a pact with myself at the beginning to write down the details of life that would otherwise grow fuzzy and fade with time, a pact that I almost immediately broke, and continue to do so to this day.

Take this post, for instance, the one in which I first come up with Ngnat's pseudonym. It's only the first half of what I was originally going to post. I didn't finish it because I thought that not only does it end at a pretty good stopping point, were I to keep on with the story I would have to write about the actual visit to Target, and the horrible attack of diarrhea that took me into its cramped and painful clutch.

I cheerily told the wife that I would be back in a minute or two.

"I'm a little rumbly in my tumbly." (We'd been watching a lot of Pooh on the dvd player at the time.) That cutesyness must have annoyed whatever gods* are in charge of these matters immensely, as about 10 seconds later rumbly in the tumbly turned into Popocatepetly in the belly--an image which, now that I've spent some time at Google, is weirdly descriptive, if you look at it a certain way.

Had my clenched cheek waddle been three feet longer than it was, I would have taken the lead in the "Shit Your Pants Challenge" that Woundwort and friends have been running informally for the last 6 years.

Aside: Previous leaders of the SYPC include a guy who lost control on the 18th green of a tony country club, and another friend who decorated the master bed while sleeping, awaking only after being shaken out of unconsciousness by his preternaturally calm wife. He was later disqualified for actually being ill at the time.

There I was, at rest in the modestly appointed Target men's room, thinking.

Goddammit, this never happens to Lileks. Maybe I can just leave it out. Thank God the wife's here. What the hell would I do if she wasn't? What would Lileks do? WWLD? Oooooooh.....that's catchy and snarky! I'll embroider it onto bracelets, and sell them to bloggers! I'll be able to retire! I can...where's the toilet paper? Fuckity fuckity fuckity dammit!

I end up censoring myself, which defeats the entire purpose of the blog as a memory aid. I've avoided writing about Ngnat's morning routine because to me it seems....well you look at it first.

Ngnat wakes up around 7:30 most mornings. Occasionally it will be earlier, and I'll be in the shower when I hear giggling and a "Hi Daddee!" from the the other side of the glass door. On those mornings, I try to distract her with chores while I rinse off.

"Taylor, can you go flush the potty? Thank you! Now can you get Daddy a towel? Thank you! Put it on the floor! Ok, go take off your pull-ups!"

And while she rushes off to dispose of her Pampers, I hurriedly towel off, and put on boxers. Cartoon boxers. It's all I own. I don't know why. I didn't set out to become the type of man who only wears underwear imprinted with animated characters, but somehow I ended up as him. By the time I have a pair on she's back in the room.

"Bart!" she says, pointing. Or "Pumbob!" or "Cooby-coo!"

Then we go downstairs to sit on her potty (she sits, not I). I sing to her on the way down the stairs.

"Good morning, good morning, good morning!
Good morning, good morning, good morning!
Good morning, good morning, good morning!
Good morning, good morning to you!

I love you! I love you! I love you!
I love you! I love you! I love you!
I love you! I love you! I love you!
IIIIIIIIIII love you, good morning to you!"

Some days she catches me in the shower, and we sing the song on the stairs. Some days I sit on the edge of her bed and sing the song until she wakes up. But I always sing the song.

I hesitated to write it down because it feels like a deadly mixture of too much information crossed with a sweetness strong enough to cause diabetes. But I don't want to forget it, and I'm afraid I might, otherwise. So you'll just have to deal with it on occasion. And I'll keep asking myself, WWLD?



*So, if there is a god or gods who hold all matters anal in their hands, what are their names? E-mail them to me or leave them in the comments, and I'll post a list later on.


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.




Stupid Net Tricks

Make your own fireworks display on the Net.


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.




Pissed-Off Cow Disease

This cow goes beyond just mad.


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.




Did We Make Our Own Bed?

Again, we don't know all that is fact or fiction is this never-ending saga of the U.S. vs. Iraq. It may be that the letter reportedly from Ramsey Clark may not be real, but that does not diminish the questions that the letter raises. Again, as faculty who love to get in the middle of things continue to try to sway colleagues to believe in their ideals, the paper flow continues. The latest item sent around is an opinion article that suggests the U.S. could be at least partly responsible for the weapons of mass destruction now present in Iraq (allegedly).


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.

9/25/2002




Blogging with Sedatives

I don't know how long I'll be able to go tonight, as I took a dentist-ordered Valium about 20 minutes ago. I would have started last night, but I had the Carnival to complete, so I took one of the Percoset left over from the sainted wife's shoulder surgery. I'm not sure what Valium will do, as the one I ingested was the one that removed that particular part of my pill virginity. The effect of the Percoset was to envelope me in a layer of happy cotton, so that the keyboard seemed a little further away, but that was a very good thing, and it made me happy. I imagine that Phillipe in Achewood feels that way most of the time.

The Valium was his (the dentist's, not Phillipe's) last ditch attempt to remove what he originally thought was pressure on my upper jaw due to an incorrect bite. Like you want to know. Basically, everything he's tried to do up until now has failed miserably, so he's given me powerful drugs and told me to relax.

Just between you and me, I thought I already was pretty relaxed, but I'm not turning down a legal high.

Unfinished Business: I promised Keith Morris, him being a fellow Carolinian and all, that I'd throw him a link. He runs the GI Party, a collection of military bloggers. It's a good site, well designed....

Zod: Like you would know good design if it bit you in the ass.
Quiet you.

....and regularly updated.

Zod: Zod says check it out. Now, since Zod is feeling pretty damn mellow for some reason, Zod is going to get in the hot tub.
I'm with you, man.


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.




Opinion Overload

The debate on whether or not to attack Iraq has been raging for the past couple of months. Truth be told, regardless of blogs I have written on both sides of the issue, I have not landed on one side of the fence or the other. On the one hand, I don't want to spread ourselves too thin and fight wars all over the world alone. On the other hand, if we don't stand up against terrorism and those who want to hold the world hostage, who will? This letter was just sent through the faculty email here. I offer it to you only as an informational piece to be discussed and argued. It apparently is a copy of a letter written by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, that was sent to all members of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN regarding the potential for war against Iraq. It reads as follows:

Secretary General Kofi Annan
United Nations New York, NY


Dear Secretary General Annan,

George Bush will invade Iraq unless restrained by the United Nations. Other international organizations-- including the European Union, the African Union, the OAS, the Arab League, stalwart nations courageous enough to speak out against superpower aggression, international peace movements, political leadership, and public opinion within the United States--must do their part for peace. If the United Nations, above all, fails to oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq, it will forfeit its honor, integrity and raison d'être.

A military attack on Iraq is obviously criminal; completely inconsistent with urgent needs of the Peoples of the United Nations; unjustifiable on any legal or moral ground; irrational in light of the known facts; out of proportion to other existing threats of war and violence; and a dangerous adventure risking continuing conflict throughout the region and far beyond for years to come. The most careful analysis must be made as to why the world is subjected to such threats of violence by its only superpower, which could so safely and importantly lead us on the road to peace, and how the UN can avoid the human tragedy of yet another major assault on Iraq and the powerful stimulus for retaliatory terrorism it would create.

1. President George Bush Came to Office Determined to Attack Iraq and Change its Government.

George Bush is moving apace to make his war unstoppable and soon. Having stated last Friday that he did not believe Iraq would accept UN inspectors, he responded to Iraq's prompt, unconditional acceptance by calling any reliance on it a "false hope" and promising to attack Iraq alone if the UN does not act. He is obsessed with the desire to wage war against Iraq and install his surrogates to govern Iraq by force. Days after the most bellicose address ever made before the United Nations--an unprecedented assault on the Charter of the United Nations, the rule of law and the quest for peace--the U.S. announced it was changing its stated targets in Iraq over the past eleven years, from retaliation for threats and attacks on U.S. aircraft which were illegally invading Iraq's airspace on a daily basis. How serious could those threats and attacks have been if no U.S. aircraft was ever hit? Yet hundreds of people were killed in Iraq by U.S. rockets and bombs, and not just in the so called "no fly zone," but in Baghdad itself. Now the U.S. proclaims its intentions to destroy major military facilities in Iraq in preparation for its invasion, a clear promise of aggression now. Every day there are threats and more propaganda is unleashed to overcome resistance to George Bush's rush to war. The acceleration will continue until the tanks roll, unless nonviolent persuasion prevails.

2. George Bush Is Leading the United States and Taking the UN and All Nations Toward a Lawless World of Endless Wars.

George Bush in his "War on Terrorism" has asserted his right to attack any country, organization, or people first, without warning in his sole discretion. He and members of his administration have proclaimed the old restraints that law sought to impose on aggression by governments and repression of their people, no longer consistent with national security. Terrorism is such a danger, they say, that necessity compels the U.S. to strike first to destroy the potential for terrorist acts from abroad and to make arbitrary arrests, detentions, interrogations, controls and treatment of people abroad and within the U.S. Law has become the enemy of public safety. "Necessity is the argument of tyrants." "Necessity never makes a good bargain."

Heinrich Himmler, who instructed the Nazi Gestapo "Shoot first, ask questions later, and I will protect you," is vindicated by George Bush. Like the Germany described by Jorge Luis Borges in Deutsches Requiem, George Bush has now "proffered (the world) violence and faith in the sword," as Nazi Germany did. And as Borges wrote, it did not matter to faith in the sword that Germany was defeated. "What matters is that violence ... now rules." Two generations of Germans have rejected that faith. Their perseverance in the pursuit of peace will earn the respect of succeeding generations everywhere.

The Peoples of the United Nations are threatened with the end of international law and protection for human rights by George Bush's war on terrorism and determination to invade Iraq.

Since George Bush proclaimed his "war on terrorism," other countries have claimed the right to strike first. India and Pakistan brought the earth and their own people closer to nuclear conflict than at any time since October 1962 as a direct consequence of claims by the U.S. of the unrestricted right to pursue and kill terrorists, or attack nations protecting them, based on a unilateral decision without consulting the United Nations, a trial, or revealing any clear factual basis for claiming its targets are terrorists and confined to them.

There is already a near epidemic of nations proclaiming the right to attack other nations or intensify violations of human rights of their own people on the basis of George Bush's assertions of power in the war against terrorism. Mary Robinson, in her quietly courageous statements as her term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ended, has spoken of the "ripple effect" U.S. claims of right to strike first and suspend fundamental human rights protection is having.

On September 11, 2002, Colombia, whose new administration is strongly supported by the U.S., "claimed new authority to arrest suspects without warrants and declare zones under military control," including "[N]ew powers, which also make it easier to wiretap phones and limit foreigners' access to conflict zones... allow security agents to enter your house or office without a warrant at any time of day because they think you're suspicious." These additional threats to human rights follow Post-September 11 "emergency" plans to set up a network of a million informants in a nation of forty million. See, New York Times, September 12, 2002, p. A7.

3. The United States, Not Iraq, Is the Greatest Single Threat to the Independence and Purpose of the United Nations.

President Bush's claim that Iraq is a threat justifying war is false. Eighty percent of Iraq's military capacity was destroyed in 1991 according to the Pentagon. Ninety percent of materials and equipment required to manufacture weapons of mass destruction was destroyed by UN inspectors during more than eight years of inspections. Iraq was powerful, compared to most of its neighbors, in 1990. Today it is weak. One infant out of four born live in Iraq weighs less than 2 kilos, promising short lives, illness and impaired development. In 1989, fewer than one in twenty infants born live weighed less than two kilos. Any threat to peace Iraq might become is remote, far less than that of many other nations and groups and cannot justify a violent assault. An attack on Iraq will make attacks in retaliation against the U.S. and governments which support its actions far more probable for years to come.

George Bush proclaims Iraq a threat to the authority of the United Nations while U.S.-coerced UN sanctions continue to cause the death rate of the Iraqi people to increase. Deaths caused by sanctions have been at genocidal levels for twelve years. Iraq can only plead helplessly for an end to this crime against its people. The UN role in the sanctions against Iraq compromise and stain the UN's integrity and honor. This makes it all the more important for the UN now to resist this war.

Inspections were used as an excuse to continue sanctions for eight years while thousands of Iraqi children and elderly died each month. Iraq is the victim of criminal sanctions that should have been lifted in 1991. For every person killed by terrorist acts in the U.S. on 9/11, five hundred people have died in Iraq from sanctions.

It is the U.S. that threatens not merely the authority of the United Nations, but its independence, integrity and hope for effectiveness. The U.S. pays UN dues if, when and in the amount it chooses. It coerces votes of members. It coerces choices of personnel on the Secretariat. It rejoined UNESCO to gain temporary favor after 18 years of opposition to its very purposes. It places spies in UN inspection teams.

The U.S. has renounced treaties controlling nuclear weapons and their proliferation, voted against the protocol enabling enforcement of the Biological Weapons Convention, rejected the treaty banning land mines, endeavored to prevent its creation and since to cripple the International Criminal Court, and frustrated the Convention on the Child and the prohibition against using children in war. The U.S. has opposed virtually every other international effort to control and limit war, protect the environment, reduce poverty and protect health.

George Bush cites two invasions of other countries by Iraq during the last 22 years. He ignores the many scores of U.S. invasions and assaults on other countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas during the last 220 years, and the permanent seizure of lands from Native Americans and other nations--lands like Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Puerto Rico, among others, seized by force and threat.

In the same last 22 years the U.S. has invaded, or assaulted Grenada, Nicaragua, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and others directly, while supporting assaults and invasions elsewhere in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

It is healthy to remember that the U.S. invaded and occupied little Grenada in 1983 after a year of threats, killing hundreds of civilians and destroying its small mental hospital, where many patients died. In a surprise attack on the sleeping and defenseless cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986, the U.S. killed hundreds of civilians and damaged four foreign embassies. It launched 21 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum in August 1998, destroying the source of half the medicines available to the people of Sudan. For years it has armed forces in Uganda and southern Sudan fighting the government of
Sudan. The U.S. has bombed Iraq on hundreds of occasions since the Gulf War, including this week, killing hundreds of people without a casualty or damage to an attacking plane.

4. Why Has George Bush Decided The U.S. Must Attack Iraq Now?

There is no rational basis to believe Iraq is a threat to the United States, or any other country. The reason to attack Iraq must be found elsewhere.

As governor of Texas, George Bush presided over scores of executions, more than any governor in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 (after a hiatus from 1967). He revealed the same zeal he has shown for "regime change" for Iraq when he oversaw the executions of minors, women, retarded persons and aliens whose rights under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of notification of their arrest to a foreign mission of their nationality were violated. The Supreme Court of the U.S. held that executions of a mentally retarded person constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the U.S. Constitution. George Bush addresses the United Nations with these same values and willfulness.

His motives may include to save a failing Presidency which has converted a healthy economy and treasury surplus into multi-trillion dollar losses; to fulfill the dream, which will become a nightmare, of a new world order to serve special interests in the U.S.; to settle a family grudge against Iraq; to weaken the Arab nation, one people at a time; to strike a Muslim nation to weaken Islam; to protect Israel, or make its position more dominant in the region; to secure control of Iraq's oil to enrich U.S. interests, further dominate oil in the region and control oil prices. Aggression against Iraq for any of these purposes is criminal and a violation of a great many international conventions and laws including the General Assembly Resolution on the Definition of Aggression of December 14, 1974.

Prior regime changes by the U.S. brought to power among a long list of tyrants, such leaders as the Shah of Iran, Mobutu in the Congo, Pinochet in Chile, all replacing democratically elected heads of government.

5. A Rational Policy Intended to Reduce the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction in The Middle East Must Include Israel.

A UN or U.S. policy of selecting enemies of the U.S. for attack is criminal and can only heighten hatred, division, terrorism and lead to war. The U.S. gives Israel far more aid per capita than the total per capita income of sub Sahara Africans from all sources. U.S.-coerced sanctions have reduced per capita income for the people of Iraq by 75% since 1989. Per capita income in Israel over the past decade has been approximately 12 times the per capita income of Palestinians.

Israel increased its decades-long attacks on the Palestinian people, using George Bush's proclamation of war on terrorism as an excuse, to indiscriminately destroy cities and towns in the West Bank and Gaza and seize more land in violation of international law and repeated Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

Israel has a stockpile of hundreds of nuclear warheads derived from the United States, sophisticated rockets capable of accurate delivery at distances of several thousand kilometers, and contracts with the U.S. for joint development of more sophisticated rocketry and other arms with the U.S.

Possession of weapons of mass destruction by a single nation in a region with a history of hostility promotes a race for proliferation and war. The UN must act to reduce and eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, not submit to demands to punish areas of evil and enemies of the superpower that possesses the majority of all such weapons and capacity for their delivery.

Israel has violated and ignored more UN Resolutions for forty years than any other nation. It has done so with impunity.

The violation of Security Council resolutions cannot be the basis for a UN-approved assault on any nation, or people, in a time of peace, or the absence of a threat of imminent attack, but comparable efforts to enforce Security Council resolutions must be made against all nations who violate them.

6. The Choice Is War Or Peace.

The UN and the U.S. must seek peace, not war. An attack on Iraq may open a Pandora's box that will condemn the world to decades of spreading violence. Peace is not only possible; it is essential, considering the heights to which science and technology have raised the human art of planetary and self-destruction.

If George Bush is permitted to attack Iraq with or without the approval of the UN, he will become Public Enemy Number One--and the UN itself worse than useless, an accomplice in the wars it was created to end. The Peoples of the World then will have to find some way to begin again if they hope to end the scourge of war.

This is a defining moment for the United Nations. Will it stand strong, independent and true to its Charter, international law and the reasons for its being, or will it submit to the coercion of a superpower leading us toward a lawless world and condone war against the cradle of civilization?

Do not let this happen.

Sincerely,

Ramsey Clark


A good letter with valid points, or just another attempt to further politicize the issue?

Update, By Bigwig: Another letter from Ramsey Clark written to the UN may be found here. We have had several people question the provenance/legitimacy of the one above. All I can say is that a close copy appears here. Both are links off of a site entitled Ramsey Clark: Letters and Reports to the United Nations, run by the International Action Center, which claims to have been founded by Mr. Clark.


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.




Communal Beach House

All of us here at Silflay Hraka feel a sense of pride and attachment to our little corner of the Blog universe. And, as mentioned by Bigwig, we are grateful to those of you who have made a donation to our cause. This has caused me to have an epiphany regarding that money, and our obligations to the rest of you.

We would like to save this money until the sum reaches a total of $400,000. Sure, you can laugh at us, but people laughed at Bill Gates too. When the total reaches this amount, we would then like to purchase the Blogger Beach House, future site of the Annual Blogger Convention. Everyone who can fit underneath its roof is welcome, free of charge, and we would provide entertainment and one hell of a party from the beginning of the conference to the end. While there we would also encourage intellectual pursuits by inviting the best bloggers to speak to the rest of us so we could learn some of their magic.

Words are powerful, and the availability of these websites has proven that. While small, Bloggerville provides all of us with an opportunity to spout our beliefs, and wrap ourselves in the freedom of expression, like a warm blanket on a cold night. This beach house would provide a water cooler around which all of us could gather and talk about the day’s events. Those of you who will laugh, go right ahead. Those of you who believe, make your reservations now.

Maybe we can post a “thermometer of giving” on the website to show our progress. Of course, right now you would not be able to see the small red line so we will hold off on that for a while. If our word means nothing, we are nothing. You have our word that we will work to make this house a reality (we welcome corporate sponsorship). If we reach our goal the convention will happen………if not, the three of us will most likely get together, buy as many cases of Black Label beer as possible, and drink ourselves silly..............bloggers are welcome to join us.

See you at the beach. Bloggers UNITE!!!!!!!!


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.




Carnival of the Vanities #1

Give a bunch of monkeys typewriters and time, lots of time, and one day you'll have Shakespeare. And the monkeys aren't even trying.

Everyday my toddler comes home from daycare with a piece of paper covered in random squiggles of crayon. She displays it proudly to her mother and me.

"I make!" She says. "I make!"

Everyone possesses something of the creative urge, the desire to mold a child of the mind out of inspiration and effort. Children are allowed to express it, to put part of themselves into a misshapen clay ashtray, a lopsided blue house drawn on construction paper, or sparkles and glue on a paper plate. Sometime around the teenage years the urge gets suppressed in many people, or hidden, perhaps as a defensive mechanism. It's hard to see your child derided, laughed at, or ignored, so most of us consciously stop creating them. The urge doesn't go away, it never will, it just finds new avenues, ones that aren't as vulnerable to the criticism of the world.

I have a friend that prides himself on the crispness of his lane changes on the highway. I have another who tries to cast an 8 ounce fishing weight one yard further down the high school football field every day after class is over. Cast, reel in, cast. Again and again and again, for an hour a day. When he reaches 100 yards, is it Art? 150? If he ever reaches 200, he'll be one of only a handful of men in the world who have done so. How could it not be Art? He's not trying for 200, though. He's trying for one yard further than yesterday.

Is blogging Art? It's bound to be, eventually. There are too many people participating for it not to eventually produce works of staggering intellect, transcendent beauty and infectious humor. Many will argue that it already has. But most of us aren't aiming for those Olympian heights, not just yet. Most of us want to cast one yard further than we did yesterday.

It was with that in mind that I created the Carnival of the Vanities. Blogging, if nothing else, is the bleeding edge of vanity publishing. If we didn't think we had something valuable to say, we wouldn't be doing this. We're not stupid, we don't expect Art to appear from the rearranged electrons when we write a post, but we do know when something we've created is a little bit better than the things we have done before. And we cast the child of our mind out into the ether, where it's derided, laughed at, ignored, and sometimes praised, pointed out to the world by a complete stranger who, simply by the act of pointing says Hey, that's pretty cool.

And that is the best goddamn feeling in the world..........ok, it's not the BEST feeling in the world, but it's a pretty damn good feeling nonetheless.

The links below have been selected by their bloggers as some of the best stuff they've done in the past couple of weeks. Is it Art? For the most part, probably not. They probably bear the same relationship to art that cave paintings bear to Kandinsky. But hey, a lot of them are pretty cool. Let them know what you think.

Dustbury.com - Top Ten Rejected Titles For The Magazine To Replace Rosie

Where Worlds Collide - Muslim Extremism in Britain

The Safety Valve - We're from the Inquisition, and we're here to help you.

South Knox Bubba - Overheard in the Oval Office

Norwegian Blogger - I have seen this business before, but I won't ignore it or, as I like to call it, Spamfisk the Red

File 13's Amish Tech Support - From A(dams) to Z(evon)

Sine Qua Non Pundit - Coming Soon To a Theater of Operations Near You! and The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. LII

Silent Running - The "so called" Media

Whigging Out - Damning with Faint Praise

greeblie blog - Turning 40 Soon

Fragments ~ from Floyd - Gossamer Days

skippy the bush kangaroo - ashleigh banfield on loco-weed

A Small Victory - anger management

Philosoblog - A Metaphorical and Very Short History of the Oppression of Israelis

Silflay Hraka - The Silflay Hraka Theory of Self-Vaccination

The Carnival of the Vanities is published every Wednesday at Silflay Hraka and Blog Critics. Information on how to join the Carnival is available here.

This post can also be seen at Blog Critics


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.

9/24/2002




Money Dance!

Thanks to our Amazon tipster! Only $399,970 to go for the communal beach house. I'm pleased to announce that Silflay Hraka is now earning money at the torrid average of 5 bucks a month.

And people say writing doesn't pay....


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.




In conjunction with Blog Critics, Carnival of the Vanities will go up tomorrow. If you have something you want posted, get it to me tonight. Yes, I know it's two days early, but it will be posted to Blog Critics as well as here, which should produce some more traffic.


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.




Moral Imperialism

Paul Krugman smells a "definite whiff of imperial ambition in the air once again." Of course, to Paul that's a bad smell, worse than a fart in the elevator, and certainly as rude.

Of course the new Bush doctrine, in which the United States will seek "regime change" in nations that we judge might be future threats, is driven by high moral purpose. But McKinley-era imperialists also thought they were morally justified. The war with Spain — which ruled its colonies with great brutality, but posed no threat to us — was justified by an apparent act of terror, the sinking of the battleship Maine, even though no evidence ever linked that attack to Spain. And the purpose of our conquest of the Philippines was, McKinley declared, "to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them."

It's probably sarcasm, though if so it's certainly well concealed, but does it strike anyone else as odd that the first thing Mr. Krugman says about the new Bush Doctrine is that it is "driven by high moral purpose"? Of course, that's not enough. The fact that Spain was a brutal oppressor was not enough because Spain did not threaten us. All Spain was doing was killing little brown people, so what's the problem? Forgive me, but when did a high moral purpose cease to be sufficient as a cause for action in the Left? If a high moral purpose forces us as a nation to feed the starving and heal the sick citizens of the world, then it certainly suffices as a reason for action against despotic regimes. Without a high moral purpose behind the British Empire, suttee and thuggee would not be eliminated in India, and the caste system plaguing that country would be even stronger. The fact that it took the explosion of the Maine to propel us into war with Spain is our eternal shame, but not for the reason Krugman thinks it is.

If our purpose in the Philippines was to educate, uplift, civilize and Christianize, then we did a bang up job.There was one other major island in Spanish hands, if you recall. Cuba. The Philippines today is a functioning democracy. Cuba is not. The Philippines has a per Capita GDP of $3,500. Cuba has a per Capita GDP of $1560. What happened in Cuba was that we failed in our Imperial responsibility to the people of that nation after we removed a despot. We did somewhat better in the Philippines. Yes, lots of civilians died, but not at the hands of The United States Army. They died due to starvation and disease, conditions endemic in that country due to its previous rule by Spain, not because of the removal of that rule.

Let's see a show of hands;

How many of you would trade the life of one sadistic thug to end clitorectomies?
How about two thugs. Is it ok to kill two male oppressors so that little girls can avoid having their clitoris dug out with a piece of heated steel?
Ten?
As many as it takes?

You can sign me up for the last one, because I'm not a cultural relativist, despite my anthropology major. Some things deserve to be extinct, and if you can look evil in the eye and then tell me that it is not evil then you are best an apologist for it. At worst, you are its quisling. If the argument that Saddam is evil is not enough for you, then no argument will be. The idea that he must first demonstrate that evil, not simply on other human beings, which he has already done, but on Americans and with incontrovertible evidence, before we can take action against him, is racist, cowardly and despicable. How's that for a trifecta, Paul? If a person still insists on that chain of events, then they should be willing to admit that the murder of 6 million Jews would have troubled them not a whit in the 1940's, and that the Cambodian genocide would have engendered a similar lack of feeling.

If genocide is only a problem to you when it kills white people, or Americans, then you have no right to call yourself a moral being. America is not perfect, but to insist that we must be before proceeding on any course of action is to provide aid and comfort to those demonstrably evil, to give yourself a false curtain of morality to hide behind. Yours is not the hand that holds the knife at the throat of an innocent, yours is the hand that holds the gun that could kill the owner of the knife hand. But you refuse to fire it, because you're not perfect. I've got news for you. You'll be even less perfect after the throat is slit.


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.




Wormholes to Another World

I have a source close to the Navy, who from this point forward will be referred to as "Prairie Dog" or PD for short, who has uncovered some interesting information regarding passageways to other dimensions. PD promises that more "confidential material" will be forthcoming, but this is his first installment.

The article he sent me brings up the idea that tunnels between different dimensions (referred to as "wormholes") of reality are located near the Bermuda triangle, thus giving of magnetic field anomalies that are consistently reported in that area. They are thought to be mini-black holes that appear and then disappear with amazing speed.

One of the speculations (of those paranoid about this phenomenon) is that the naval base located on Andros Island is becoming the new Area 51. A number of reports of UFO's and other "things" have been consistently reported. Is something out there? Perhaps Mulder should look to the Bahamas for the answer. PD has promised more will follow, assuming he doesn't lose his security clearance.............stay tuned.


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.

9/23/2002




Thesis, Antithesis

The Carnival of the Vanities seems to have to, if not struck a nerve, at least scraped a neuron. The Safety Valve likes it, as does Bill Quick, who has threatened to steal the sucker wholesale. While that is immensely complimentary to the idea itself, my first reaction was to screech But if he does, then I won't have any traffic! in my most spoiled little girl voice. Not that I could handle a tenth of the posts coming in from the blogosphere as a whole if the idea really caught on. The second thing I thought was how easy it would be for a unscrupulous blogger (ok, me) to game the resultant system if multiple versions of the Carnival happened to spring up. I decided not to worry about it until it happened. Besides, I'll need time to review my game plan.

Dave, of the greeblie blog, has decided that at least a possible solution to the matter would be a Emergency Blogcasting Link Solicitation System. It's a notification system, used to make sure that when his genius spills out onto the page, other bloggers can be called in to help spread the brain juice around before the stain sets and the wife gets home. I think other bloggers have tried this, with at least mixed results. I know the Captain doesn't care for them;

Please take me off of all broadcast mailing lists you may use to announce the latest post on your blog.

I don't think I'd care to debate him on the matter.

Laurence, a man almost as disgusting as me, Meryl, not the other way around, knows that's it's not easy, being green.

I've for the most part gotten over that feeling and just occasionally have pangs of envy when someone posts crap and everybody applauds and I think I've shat diamonds and I'm told not to squat on the carpet.

I get the same feeling, but it's usually about other stuff that I've written on the blog. One of the Peanuts characters once said something like "True art takes at least 15 minutes." and I can't think how many times something I just tossed off as filler garnered most of the traffic for the day, while I made frantic gestures towards the "Art" that was being ignored.

His idea is that the blogs that don't mind people e-mailing them posts to have an announcement to that effect on the site.

Maybe there should e a graphic that designated "ALL FEEDBACK WELCOME" or "WE DO NOT MIND SOLICITATIONS FOR LINKS."

And he'll link you, as well. I see more than one thing on his site today that was emailed to me as well. But...there's a downside as well. Blogs with lots of posts lessen the effect of any one post. There's a good number of hits associated with being at the top of the file13 list, but the top there is ever-changing. When Laurence is running hot, that top post could last less than 10 minutes, and vanish below 10 or 11 others in an hour or two. The farther down it goes, the less traffic there is.

Not that I think posting a lot is a bad thing. I wish to God I could post more. I don't have the time, and it really annoys me. It's one of the reasons this is a team blog. NOT THAT YOU'D NOTICE!

Ahem. Excuse me

What I'm hoping for with the Carnival is kind of an hourglass effect, where one post pulls in a large number of visitors, and sends them right back out to through the links within it. I think it'll work, but it might not, and if it doesn't then it's at least sparked a couple of other ideas on how to find the quality in the blogosphere.

Now that I've worked my way around to it, Silflay has gotten a good number of posts to start off with for the Carnival. We can always use more, and in point of fact, we need more. The first one is this Friday, and I'll try to post it just after midnight Thursday, so it can run as long as possible. If you've got a quality post that could use some more attention, e-mail to me.

Come one, come all. See the freaks on the display for the low, low price of absolutely nothing!


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.




What's the best bait to use when you're fishing for perverts? Jailbait!


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.




A Jew Walks Into a Bar.

So there's this guy, let's call him....Israel, lived in the same area all his life, the same place his parents lived in, and his grandparents. They've recently come up in the world, enough so that Israel was able to move into the old Balfour house at the edge of town. It's a small town, got no police to speak of, and only one bar, the Dew-drop Inn. Like it or not, when Is wants a beer that's where he goes. It's not what you'd call a fancy place, and the clientele is kinda rough. They tried to kick Is around when he first started coming in after work. Is ain't real big, but he's wiry, and he took up boxing lessons a while back. After he bloodied a few noses, they mostly left him to drink in peace, and every now and them a couple of them might even nod when he came in.

There is this one old drunk, Yasser, that just hates the sight of Is though. He used to live on part of the Balfour property, till the court awarded it to Is. He didn't fuss much at the time. When you live in a shack, drink all your money and beat the wife regular, what does it matter where the shack is? Now, though, that's a different story. He spends most of his time down at the Dew-drop, drinking down at the end of the bar with a couple of his cronies, staring into his whiskey. Every now and then he tries to tell some of the other regulars what a great man he'd a been if the courts hadn't screwed him, how rich he'd be otherwise. They've heard it all before, so they mostly ignore him.

People figure Yas is on disability from some government job; he gets a regular check from somewhere, that's for sure. Not that he spends it on anything useful. Drinks for himself and his posse, such as it is. Every now and then he gets a fancy new car and runs it around town. It never lasts, he just doesn't take care of it. Doesn't spend any of that check on his wife and kids, either, and he's got a passel of them, too, running around snot-nosed and shoeless, eating whatever scraps they can buy with the money they bum from tourists. Some of them go to work for Israel and his family; you can bet that burns Yas's ass something fierce.

Now whenever Is stops in after work for a beer, Yas starts muttering to his cronies, and they start drinking on his tab, ordering all kinds of fancy drinks, tossing them back. Kamikazes, mostly. And the muttering gets louder, and Yas and his boys get madder, and sloppier. Whenever Is gets up to leave, they follow him outside, all full of booze and spleen. They yell at Is until he turns the corner, then they go back inside and tell each other how they showed him.

Course, now and again they do more than talk. Sometimes they fling a bottle at Is, too. They're drunker than skunks, so mostly they miss, but occasionally they get lucky and one breaks near Is. On one or two rare occasions they've hit Is on the head, almost knocked him out.

And without fail, every time they throw a bottle, whether they miss or not, Is turns around, walks back up the street, and beats the everloving shit out of Yasser. Now the way Is figures it, it don't matter who actually threw the bottle. Yas paid for it, so it was Yas's bottle what flew by his ear, or smacked him in the temple. It's gotten to be a pretty regular thing. Yas or one of his boys flings a bottle at Israel, and Israel turns around, walks back up to Yas, who is too drunk to even run, by god, and beats on him until Yas is lying in the gutter, bleeding like a stuck pig, with his eyes rolled back in his head. Then everything is kinda peaceful for a while, until Yas heals up and pays for another round.

People used to watch a good bit. It was pretty entertaining, placing bets on where the bottle would land, or how long it would take Israel to smack Yasser into unconsciousness. Not so many do any more. It's gotten too predictable. Beside's, they're both about as dumb as stumps, when you get right down to it.

Yasser...well hell, ain't it obvious? Man get's the shit beat out of him all the time, yet he keeps on flinging. Israel? Pretty much everybody agrees that if he's tired of all them bottles, he needs to take Yasser down once and for all. Yea, some people might screech, but it's a clear case of self-defense. There's not a jury in the land that'd convict him. He'd get some bad press, but he's used to that. The editor of the local rag found out real quick that bashing Is sells papers. But Israel just beats Yas up, and goes home. And that's stupid because Yas ain't gonna stop throwing. One day he might even wise up and throw a full bottle. All he needs to do is knock Is unconscious, and he's home free. Damn near everybody in that bar what was beat up by Israel will come looking for payback on that day, and it won't be pretty. Probably trash the whole damn town, come to think of it.

People are starting to ask him. "Is, what's it gonna be? You gonna let this little shit keep taking potshots at you until he really hurts you? Until he destroys everything you worked for? Or are you going to take him out, once and for all?

Is doesn't say a thing. He looks them with his haunted eyes and keeps on walking. And Yasser? Yasser keeps on drinking.


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9/22/2002




The sainted wife is making me watch the Emmys. Highlight of the night so far? Marg Helgenberger's nipples on live TV.


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Vaccinating for Lunacy

For months now, since Ngnat started walking, every Saturday the sainted wife has paused at some point in the day, looked at me and said, "We ought to go to church tomorrow."

And I have said "Of course, dear.", safe in the knowledge that this essentially shy woman will get cold feet come Sunday morning and not make me go.

Today she had her foot warmers on, so off we went. I don't mind, too much. We know several other married with tots couples that attend the same church, so it wasn't like we'd be complete strangers. We both grew up Methodist, so there's no friction in picking a denomination. That's good, because I consider Methodism the cowpox of religions. Once you've been exposed to it, you're more or less immune to the others.

In my youth, I made up a chart of religious thought, probably while I was supposed to be listening to the sermon.

At the top, under the label Mostly Harmless: Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Jews, Anglicans

Slightly Suspect: Some Baptists and Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists, Mennonites, The various Orthodox churches

Think For Me Please: Most Baptists and Catholics

Raving Lunatics: Everyone else

I still consider it pretty accurate, though more as a description of the various sects and denominations as a whole than of specific individuals, unless it's a specific individual that has knocked on my front door asking me to be saved or to read their pamphlets. I apologize if your particular belief system didn't make the list. Actually, it probably did make the list, just at the bottom. :) I wasn't trying to be comprehensive at the time.

The above is mostly a roundabout way of explaining that I knew we'd eventually have to go to church, if only to expose Ngnat to the Methodist meme. It's just my bad luck that it requires a weekly booster shot for about 18 years to be effective.

Not going to church runs the risk that Ngnat would eventually encounter one of the more virulent religious memes, like scientology or Islam and succumb to them, having no internal religious database to draw on in order to counter their arguments. Not every child of agnostics or atheists becomes a John Walker Lindh, but I think one good way to prevent your child from seeking out crazed value systems later in life is to provide them with one of your own choosing when they're young. That way, when they need to rebel against something later on in life, there's something to push against. JW Lindh couldn't find any traction in his parent's world, so he provided some of his own. We all know how well that turned out. If by going to church for a hour every week prevents that from happening to Ngnat, great. If it prevents her from becoming a fundie Southern Baptist, that's even better..


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