Silflay Hraka

2/01/2003

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 Secret of the Machines

We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine,
We were melted in the furnace and the pit--
We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,
We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.
Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask,
And a thousandth of an inch to give us play:
And now, if you will set us to our task,
We will serve you four and twenty hours a day!

We can pull and haul and push and lift and drive,
We can print and plough and weave and heat and light,
We can run and race and swim and fly and dive,
We can see and hear and count and read and write!

Would you call a friend from half across the world?
If you'll let us have his name and town and state,
You shall see and hear your cracking question hurled
Across the arch of heaven while you wait.
Has he answered? Does he need you at his side-
You can start this very evening if you choose
And take the Western Ocean in the stride
O seventy thousand horses and some screws!

The boat-express is waiting your command!
You will find the Mauritania at the quay,
Till her captain turns the lever 'neath his hand,
And the monstrouos nine-decked city goes to sea.

Do you wish to make the mountains bare their head
And lay their new-cut forests at your feet?
Do you want to turn a river in its bed,
Or plant a barren wilderness with wheat?
Shall we pipe aloft and bring you water down
From the never-failing cisterns of the snows,
To work the mills and tramways in your town,
And irrigate your orchards as it flows?

It is easy! Give us dynamite and drills!
Watch the iron-shouldered rocks lie down and quake,
As the thirsty desert-level floods and fills,
And the valley we have dammed becomes a lake.

But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
If you make a slip in handling us you die!
We are greater than the Peoples or the Kings-
Be humble, as you crawl beneath our rods!--
Our touch can alter all created things,
We are everything on earth--except The Gods!

Though our smoke may hide the Heavens from your eyes,
It will vanish and the stars will shine again,
Because, for all our power and weight and size,
We are nothing more than children of your brain!


--Rudyard Kipling


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.




Kaddish for the Dead.

Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.
May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.
Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.


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.




Dammit, Dammit, Dammit, Dammit, Dammit

NYT Story on Columbia

NASA Statement

Instapundit has a radar image of the debris field

Conspiracy theories are already popping up. I don't have a swear word potent enough for these people.

And some asswipe has put "shuttle debris" up for sale on E-bay.


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.




Farmer Macgregor Buys The Farm

The long awaited third book in the trilogy that began with Jemima Puddleduck, Collaborator and continued in The Ugly Quisling is finally here. Peter Rabbit, Tank Killer.


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.




Tramping out the Vintage

Number Three in the Pro-War Poem Posse is from Hraka regular and local N.C. mouthpiece, Steve, of Cromagnon.


When Iraq Fell

Saddam first felt the wrath of the world
When during Desert Storm we hurled
Death in every way, shape and form
Towards his army to cause them harm.

After this war the world did say,
It's time, Saddam, to mend your ways.
But little did the world know
He had no intention of doing so.

So here we stood in 2003
Wondering how this came to be.
Saddam still sits in the seat of power
Growing in strength and guile by the hour.

Thumbing his nose at the U.S. of A.
Getting bolder and louder with each passing day.
Our President says "This man must go!"
But the EU is not willing to help us do so.

So one fine spring day, when no one expected,
U.S. troops came to Iraq and basically wrecked it.
Saddam was treated like he treated his people,
Gassed, shot and hung from a steeple.

The U.S. did not ask permission to do this,
And the UN and EU were extremely pissed.
Did our President waver? Not in speech or in text.
He just calmly looked out and asked quietly, "Next?"


Number Four comes from On the Third Hand, who wrote it after September 11th

Belated Reaction

Someday will my people see
We did not stand alone?
Mourning dust that used to be
Our flesh and blood and bone.

We did not stand alone.
They could have banned our every jet;
Our flesh and blood and bone.
Our neighbors chose to brave that threat.

They could have banned our every jet.
They gave to us a caring heart.
Our neighbors chose to brave that threat
When all our world had come apart.

They gave to us a caring heart
With candles and with flowers,
When all our world had come apart
In flames and fallen towers.

With candles and with flowers
The nations grieved those we all lost
In flames and fallen towers.
Wond'ring: could we stand the cost?

The nations grieved those we all lost.
We did not stand alone,
Wond'ring could we stand the cost
In flesh and blood and bone

We did not stand alone
Mourning dust that used to be
In flesh and blood and bone.
Someday will my people see?

Only 97 to go to beat the appeaser's anthology!
Zod: Don't hold your breath
Don't worry.


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.

1/31/2003




Carnies Built This Country, The Carnie Part Of It, Anyway. And Though They May Be Ratlike In Appearence, They Are Truly Kings Among Men.

Future Carnival host Dancing With Dogs has spread the meme, co-producing Bharatiya Blog Mela #1, a Carnival using posts from the Indian section of the blogosphere as its source.

In other Carnival news, because I know you've been dying for it, we've gotten hosts for March and most of April. Here's the current list;

February 5th Plum Crazy. Send your posts in now, so Lesley doesn't get buried come Tuesday.
February 12th Dissecting Leftism
February 19th The People's Republic of Seabrook
February 26th Kesher Talk
March 5th Gut Rumbles
March 12th The Daily Rant
March 19th Wylie Blog
March 26th Dancing with Dogs
April 2nd Go Fish
April 9th Open, two offers out to potential hosts.
April 16th Billegible
April 23th The Kitchen Cabinet

If you'd like to host the Carnival, and Lord knows we need hosts, drop us a line. Information on how to join the Carnival can be found here.

Update: That better, Frank?


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.




Fetish Girl

Looking at this picture again of the girl on "Joe Millionaire" who was in all of the fetish movies, I am surprised that she was in foot fetish films and movies where she was tied up and gagged. Doesn't her other.........assets seem much more like fetish material than her feet would?


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.




Gun Control??

Think children shouldn't use guns? Hell no, and this video will show you that responsible gun ownership makes all the difference, and gives new meaning to the term "gun control" (or lack thereof). No doubt shot on location somewhere in Mississippi or Alabama. If you listen closely I think you can just make out Charlton Heston's voice in the background. Be patient, may take a minute to load.


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.




Helps Prevents Diseases of The Headholes

New, all natural sinus floss.


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.




Do Your Wurst!
Is that a salami in your pocket, or are you just here to rob me?


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.




Love the Referral Logs

FranceIsOccupiedGermany.org

Six Degrees: It appears that Guy is blogging from my in-law's hometown of Rock Hill.


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.




One

Put to the Question

Did she come to her father with innocent joy,
running in with arms open wide?
Did she shriek out in terror upon seeing Da standing,
alone, with a sword in his hand?
Was she distracted, by caress or kind word,
And die trusting in a Father who loved?

Did her brothers come between her and her death,
standing themselves on the brink?
Did they stand and defend or pursue and declare,
revealing the place where she hid?
Did they run her to ground like foxes and hounds,
and start ripping as the Master approached?

Did he come to her angry, in the heat of his rage
Or later, after cold calculation?
Did he drink in sin to lessen his wits,
and the memory of what was to come;
coonvinced by his god of a blot on his honor
that only her blood could erase?

And the one who stood mute, who could, with a word
Have proven her status inviolate.
Does he think of her now, as he lies in the cell
waiting on his brother, her father, to free him?
Does he think of her body, cold and unmoving
or does his lust now turn to another?

Did her mother keep a lock of hair to caress
To weep on and smell, for remembrance?
Does she wail in the night, cursing her god,
damning him, for the fate of her daughter?
Does she tell the mirror that nothing was lost
“After all, she was only a girl?"

This is one I wrote previously, and it's not about Iraq in particular, but it does describe why I think we should go to war with Islamic fascism.

Update: Two, from Friend of Hraka Meryl Yourish. Can you guess the tune?

Call Jihad

If Osama is your hero, call jihad
If your GDP's near zero, call jihad
If your nation has no future and your wife won't let you smooch her
If your women have no rights then call jihad
If your ruler's not elected, call jihad
If your nukes are not perfected, call jihad
If your leader's a dictator and the people's hopes are faded
If your ruler is a Ba'ath, call jihad
If you sit on top of oil, call jihad
If your Wahabs are a-boil, call jihad
If your folks came from the sand dunes and their progeny are all loons
If your state religion's Wahab, call jihad
If you want elections later, call jihad
If you're really a jew-hater, call jihad
If your name is Abu Amar and your children are all bombers
If you want no Israel state, then call jihad.


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.




Drum-Taps

Poetry's share of the literary market has been declining for years, to the point where most bookstores have only one or two shelves of poetry available for sale, and more than half that space is devoted to people who died years ago. There are various explanations why this might be, but the most cogent suggests the decline is because the prevalence of free verse. The general public no longer sees any value in poetry.

Many people dismiss modern poetry as they do modern art, as irregular rubbish.

Quick, name the most recent major poet you can think of. Unless you happen to a devotee of or participant in the remnant of the poetry "industry", you probably just named a dead guy, or Maya Angelou. Some of you may have also named Will Warren, who during his all too short time in the blogosphere likely reached a larger slice of the general public of than any of the current major poets, despite being quite unknown to the poetry industry. As the majority of a major poet's audience today is nothing but other poets, the appellation "major poet" has got to be one of the most misnomed of all misnomers.


So when editor of an anthology of 100 poems against the war says "I don't want to give the impression that we're just trolling for big names now, but there are a few very fine poems by well-known and lesser-known poets that will be added," what he means is that not only did he get 100 poems from people that you have never heard of, but that most of those poems were from people he had never heard of. Here's one from the anthology, by an actual published poet, Susan Gubernat.

Their men, our men, are pulverizing cities
into truckloads of human dust, bone splinters,
ash that floats back into red lungs.
And freeing them, for what? For laundry,
hiking up the burkah and venturing out,
the first time in years, to wade in a river,
to find, at the shallow end, their wavy
reflections in the mirroring waters.
One girl bunches up her skirt and stares
at her own pale legs extending down
into the riverbed into another, matching pair.
Her half-naked twin, attached at her soles,
looks up. They laugh, squeezing the invisible
muck between their toes. Her mother's broad
ass is captured in the photograph on page one,
millions will see her now, bent over, scrubbing
in the old way, against a flat, wet rock. This
is how we invade without apology, this display –
the backs of her calves, her loose underwear.
Our own homes are draped in flag cloth:
the windows and the doors some of us peer
out from now, furtively, in this other purdah.


I'm sure other poets consider Ms. Gubernat a fine poet, and this is a decent example of the current free verse rage, but the only difference between this and prose is that prose can't get away with breaking quite as many of the rules of grammar. Another problem, aside from the poet's conceit, is that poetry is meant to be read aloud, and not necessarily by the poet. That was one of the benefits of a rhyme scheme, in that once a person had read it through a time or two, a close facsimile of the original vision of the artist could be presented to an audience by anyone. A poet's popularity was thus not limited to the number of people he saw in person. Free verse, though it can be as valid an art form as more structured verse, has to depend on internal rhyme or repetition to achieve the same thing. Some free verse poems depend entirely on a colloquial speech pattern that is totally invisible when it is printed, and most poets will not deign to include directions such as "Read the following as if you were Scotty on Star Trek." In consequence, Free Verse sounds like shit when it's read aloud by someone other than the original artist, and pretentious when it is.

But it's easy to write in, so more and more people write in it, and consider themselves poets as a result. Not all free verse poets are inept or lazy, but as the anthology demonstrates, most are.

Shocking news, I know.

Another poetry trope is the idea that every word in poem is crucial to the whole, that without it the poem loses all meaning.

Poetry is craft when
You know that one word
Misplaced or unsubstituted
Or missing or spelt correctly
Can cause an entire poem
To eat itself, collapse.


That's one reason why the recent anti-war poem by Harold Pinter was widely seen as so bad. Changing the words to his little screed doesn't cause the poem to collapse, it just changes the meaning. (And produces a better poem, if I do say do myself.) One can replace words willy nilly when writing free verse, and it doesn't do a thing to the poem as a whole. It's like poking the Pillsbury dough boy.

As the poetry circle gets smaller, the easier it is for the self selected elite within the circle to define what poetry is, what is good poetry and who is an acceptable poet. It's a virtual certainty that the writer of these words would be drummed out of the club immediately

Thunder on! stride on, Democracy! strike with vengeful stroke!
And do you rise higher than ever yet, O days, O cities!
Crash heavier, heavier yet, O storms! you have done me good;
My soul, prepared in the mountains, absorbs your immortal strong nutriment;
—Long had I walk’d my cities, my country roads, through farms, only half-satisfied;
One doubt, nauseous, undulating like a snake, crawl’d on the ground before me,
Continually preceding my steps, turning upon me oft, ironically hissing low;
—The cities I loved so well, I abandon’d and left—I sped to the certainties suitable to me;
Hungering, hungering, hungering, for primal energies, and Nature’s dauntlessness,
I refresh’d myself with it only, I could relish it only;
I waited the bursting forth of the pent fire—on the water and air I waited long;
—But now I no longer wait—I am fully satisfied—I am glutted;
I have witness’d the true lightning—I have witness’d my cities electric;
I have lived to behold man burst forth, and warlike America rise;
Hence I will seek no more the food of the northern solitary wilds,
No more on the mountains roam, or sail the stormy sea.


Poetry, American poetry, has been kidnapped by the shallow and ignorant, by vain intellectual poseurs who have lost the connection to the common man that made Whitman and Kipling and Sandburg and Ginsberg great. It's as if the only movies produced had to first be approved by Alan Alda, Susan Sarandon and Barbra Streisand.

It's time to take poetry back from its self appointed judges, and move it back to into the realm of the human.

Which brings us to this. I want you to write a pro-war poem, and I want you to send it to me. I want 101 of them, and I'll post them as them come in. If you're worried about the quality of your poem, don't be. For the reasons I gave you above, they'll be at least as good as the ones in the appeaser's anthology.


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.




Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

North Korea said they were going to make their nuclear facility operational once again. Then they withdrew Jan. 10 from a global anti-nuclear pact. So, the activity now being seen at the site cannot be too much of a surprise, can it? At least they are telling us what they are going to do and then doing it. The North Koreans are nothing if not honest.

So, who is more dangerous, North Korea or Iraq? Rumor has it that the United States is working behind the scenes to find a place for Saddam to go into exile. Could this be a possibility? I am doubtful. Based on the number of statues and pictures the man has displayed of himself, I think he is far too important (in his own mind) to ever give that up willingly. And what country would take him? North Korea? Saudi Arabia? France (why not, they are no help to us anyway)?

Do you still doubt that we are serious about attacking Iraq in the very near future? I have it from a good source (Prarie Dog), that a test which was supposed to be conducted on some British ships next month has been postponed. Can you think of any reason for this change in plans? I think a date has been set and hell will freeze before Georgie Boy changes his mind about going in. Do I think Iraq is a threat? Of course. Do I think that Saddam is willing and able to use weapons of mass destruction against us? Hell yes, he will use them against his own people. Can you imagine the joy he would get killing large numbers of Americans? Should we attack now? I am still undecided, and no, it doesn't have anything to do with the collection of celebrities who are making commercials aimed at getting us all to hold hands and sing "Give Peace A Chance." I would just like more support from other countries before taking on that responsibility. Sure, we could easily kick Saddam's ass and turn that country into rubble, but doing so alone, or even with Britain (which is quickly getting the reputation of being our bitch) further enhances the impression that we are a bully, kicking sand in the face of others, even when the rest of the class doesn't want us to.


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.




Ok, This is the most depressing thing I've seen in quite a while. I'm going to go check on Ngnat and go to bed.

Link via PJCM


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.




And The Tree Was Happy

If this doesn't chase The Giving Tree right out of your head, well then maybe the Gonorrhea song will.

And now we put it back.


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.

1/30/2003




The Moving Finger Types, and Having Typed, Moves On

No, you didn't mistype that address. Jesus made you mistype that address.


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.




Tied Up and Gagged

I have not watched one episode of "Joe Millionaire," although I honestly have thought about watching the ending (not exactly sure when it comes on). Now, I have a reason to watch. It seems as if one of the 3 finalists is a movie star........at least the kind of movies where people get really naked and tied up. I wonder if she has ever been nominated for an Oscar? I doubt it, but she has probably been bent over a washing machine and spanked by some guy named Oscar. Here she is.


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.




Behold The Power of Cheese

"Apres moi, le fromage" is stuck in my head, and I can't do a damn thing with it. Anybody else want it?

Update: Of course, there's always "Apres moi, le decolletage."

You can make your own ironic twist on "Apres moi, le deluge" with the help of the French Rhyming Dictionary.


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.




Beware the Ides of February

I thought it might take longer than this, but it looks like North Korea is already running out of power. What's scary is that they're admitting it.

Big Brother governments don't disseminate bad news unless there's a point to be made. 5 years plans are always met, enemies are always gloriously defeated and the workers are always happy. Bad news, as Pyongyang's increasingly more strident statements show, is always blamed on outside forces. Even then the story is spun so that the ruling regime is presented in the best possible light, so that anyone wanting any real information has to read between the lines. Take the following story from the Korean Central News Agency, for example.

Anecdote about Kim Jong IL

Pyongyang, January 29 (KCNA) -- On June 5, Juche 91 (2002) Kim Jong IL visited the Komdok Mine and met workers of a mining work team. Among them were six heroes of labor and well-known miners. Conversing with them, he happened to know that they had worked hard to increase the ore production, eating and sleeping at their working face for days. He, afraid of their health, said they should not be allowed to sleep at the face.
    That day he enjoyed with them a performance given by the traveling art instigation troupe of the mine.
    After the performance, he told officials to invite them on his behalf to visit Pyongyang and have a vacation.
    So, the miners enjoyed themselves in Pyongyang together with their families at a special invitation of the state leader.


If North Korean miners are sleeping at the work face, it's because the mine is the best place to sleep. Given an electrical shortage in the middle of a Korean winter, it's probably the warmest place to sleep on the whole northern half of the peninsula short of Kim Jong IL's palace.

In Big Brother parlance, a "slight delay" usually means something like an "8 or 9 hour wait", if not more. I shudder to think what the words "acute electricity shortage" are actually describing. "Dropping like flies in the prison camps," is probably the least part of it.

With at least a couple of months of cold weather left, and an end to the U.S. oil embargo not even being discussed, internal pressure on the North Korean regime is going be very intense. We've already demonstrated to Kim Jong IL that the U.S. will go through whatever contortions it needs to in order to avoid addressing the situation to his satisfaction, so we've cut his list of options to the bone. As I pointed out before, his ability to transport military forces is going to start degrading soon, if it hasn't already. He's got to use it or lose it. There's a distinct possibility that he doesn't know this, as dictators habitually surround themselves with advisors that will tell them whatever they wish to hear. But someone one near the top will know, and they'll want to protect their lifestyle and privileges just as much as he would.

If the North Koreans are going to attack South Korea in an attempt to prop up the Kim regime, it'll have to be soon. Not only because of the time constraints forced on them by the oil shortage, but because the best time to attack your enemy is when he's distracted by something else, and the U.S. is almost certainly going to be distracted in Iraq within the month. Given that viewpoint, the most advantageous time to attack will just after U.S. Ground troops cross the Iraqi border. We'll have most of the forces the we would normally respond with already engaged, and the two or three week's worth of air strikes that will proceed ground action will have severely diminished our stock of airborne ordinance. North Korean strategy depends on the southern peninsula being conquered in 30 days, and their forces will have their best shot at that while we're fighting Iraq. Once the Iraq war is over, the North's window of opportunity will not only be over, but they'll also be faced with an already deployed force, flush with victory and passing close by on the way home.

If Kim Jong doesn't attack before the end of the Iraqi war, he'll have to wait until the U.S. goes to war again. The problem with that from his point of view? He's the most likely candidate for the next one. Nothing we've done indicates that we'll allow him to produce nuclear weapons 12 months from now, and if he doesn't attack, he won't get another chance to.


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.




Departures

Lest anyone doubt that we're going to war, consider this. The Coast Guard is sending ships to the Persian Gulf, the first overseas deployment since Vietnam. The ships deploying include the USS Adak, the first Coast Guard ship to reach the scene of the World Trade Center Attack. Expected duties;

The mission will be to provide port security and surveillance for the U.S. ships and personnel streaming into the region as the military buildup continues. Coast Guard spokesmen said one of the crews' chief responsibilities will be to deter a terrorist attack like that on the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in October 2000.

The Coast Guard doesn't get deployed in places where we're not planning on staying for a while. For all intents and purposes, the Persian Gulf is about to become to be an American lake.


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.




Short Memory

Oh, no!! Dear God in heaven, nooooooooo!!!!! It's bad enough that the market is flooded with reality television programs with few of them being entertaining for more than a few episodes, but this trend is about to take an ugly turn. Magic Johnson is getting into the game with his own reality program set to air on MTV. He must have a very short memory if he has the balls to create another tv show after his last attempt. God help us all.


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.




Multiple Choice

Al Sharpton is;

1. Finally confronting all of Tawana Brawley's attackers.
2. Courting the translucent vote.
3. Exuding a potent gas.
4. Molesting a lectern.
5. Preaching to all those whose souls he has saved for Jesus.


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.




He Sings The Songs That Remind Him Of The Good Times

Expat Egghead hasn't found decent beer or a decent beer crowd since he's been in Israel. Expat, have you heard of the Tel Aviv Brew House? There's also the Taybeh Brewery "Hey, we may not have a state, but we do have a beer!" in the West Bank, if you have a taste for adventure, though it's available in Jerusalem. It's even kosher.

I'd buy a Taybeh, assuming I could ever find one, just to put some money in the pockets of the Palestinian family that owns the brewery. It's not often I have the pleasure of reading about a Palestinian with some sense.

Toward the end of our conversation, David ruminated a bit on the suicide bombers. He and his wife condemned the bombings because ''we don't want innocent civilians to die.'' But Maria said that the bombers themselves had to be understood as products of desperate circumstances, and David effectively said that he was impressed by their self-sacrifice. ''Theirs is real faith,'' he said.

This appeared to be a bit much for his father to handle. He sputtered: ''Excuse me, David, but what did they do, these noble creatures? Blow themselves up? They blew themselves up and blew us up with them. To hell with them. What is the result of their self-sacrifice? Now America is saying Arafat is bin Laden? Bravo for Hamas.''


And before anyone asks; yes, I have had a Maccabee.


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.

1/29/2003




Men of the World, Rise Up! You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Washerwoman's Elbow!

I was already a firm believer in the magic dishwasher fairy, who appears late at night and magically puts all the plates, bowls and silverware up in the correct place, but now I'm tempted to start believing in the magic vacuum and bathroom fairies, too. Might as well, because according to the latest in feminist thought, doing those chores isn't getting me any extra action.

What we've learned during this thirty-year grand experiment is that men can be cajoled into doing all sorts of household tasks, but they will not do them the way a woman would. They will bathe the children, but they will not straighten the bath mat and wring out the washcloths; they will drop a toddler off at nursery school, but they won't spend ten minutes chatting with the teacher and collecting the art projects. They will, in other words, do what men have always done: reduce a job to its simplest essentials and utterly ignore the fillips and niceties that women tend to regard as equally essential. And a lot of women feel cheated and angry and even—bless their hearts—surprised about this. In the old days, of course, men's inability to perform women's work competently was a source of satisfaction and pride to countless housewives. A reliable sitcom premise involved Father's staying home for a day while Mother handled things at his office; chastened and newly admiring of the other's abilities, each ran gratefully back to familiar terrain. Nowadays, when a working mother arrives home after a late deposition, only to find the living room strewn with Legos and a pizza box crammed into the kitchen trash, she tends to get madder than a wet hen. Women are left with two options: endlessly haranguing their husbands to be more womanly, or silently fuming and (however wittingly) launching a sex strike of an intensity and a duration that would have impressed Aristophanes. The men who cave to the pressure to become more feminine—putting little notes in the lunch boxes, sweeping up after snack time, the whole bit—may delight their wives but they probably don't improve their sex lives much, owing to the thorny old problem of la difference. I might be quietly thrilled if my husband decided to forgo his weekly tennis game so that he could alphabetize the spices and scrub the lazy Susan, but I would hardly consider it an erotic gesture.

All I ask is that In the matter of chores, if someone wants something done around the house, someone should tell me to do it. I'll do it, I'll be happy to do it, but expecting me to somehow know that the mantle needs dusting or that the inside of the microwave is dirty is guaranteed to end in frustration. I'm not writing little notes, though.

Even if I did put little notes in lunchboxes, they'd be unreadable. I'd rush the writing to the point of illegibility. If taken to task for that, I'd type them up the night before on the computer, and print them out, fulfilling the letter of the law while destroying the spontaneity of the moment. Eventually I would start composing them days in advance, and entering them into a database. I bet once I had a few hundred different ones I could randomize the process, and never have to write another note again.

I'm the same way with Hallmark cards. In my opinion, cards are what you give a person when you don't get them a present. They're better than nothing, but not as good as anything else. Giving a person anything on that special day; whether that day is Christmas, Valentine's, a birthday or a wedding anniversary, obviates the need to give a card. Frankly, cards are cards, but gifts are trumps.

For years, when a special day came around, I would give a present to the Sainted Wife, either one she has specifically asked for, or one that I had put some thought into. No dashing out at the last minute for me, no ma'am!

She would take the present, look at it a bit oddly, and ask "Where's the card?"

I would look at her a bit oddly as well. "There is no card."

"Why not?"

"Because I got you a present!"

"That's no excuse!"

In my world, cards were pathetic substitutes for presents. In my wife's world, cards were required, regardless of present presence. She thought I was uncaring. I thought she was insane.

I still think she's insane, but after several special days were rendered slightly less special by my inability to remember to buy a card, I said the hell with it and bought 5 years of special day cards. I have 4 Halloween, 4 Thanksgiving, 4 Christmas, 4 Wedding Anniversary , Valentine's Day, 5 Birthdays Mother, 5 Birthdays daughter, and 5 Mother's Day cards left. Just to make a point, I also have 5 Arbor Day cards. They're all on top of the china cabinet, where they get pulled out at need.

She'd prefer spontaneous, but seems content with weird.


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 Silflay Hraka Illustrated Dictionary of Slang You've Vaguely Heard of and Don't Quite Understand.

Playa Hater - A jealous or envious person.


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.




Happy 18th Birthday Athina!!!

I love this girl, excuse me, this woman..............no, really I do. Bigwig, Keharr, I saw her first. We have a chance to have something really special...........or at least really expensive.


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.




Nininini Nineteen

This week's Carnival of the Vanities, N-n-n-n-Nineteen, is at Ipse Dixit, who got over 50 entries for it. And people wonder why I sent it on the road.

Upcoming Carnival stops include;

2/5 Plum Crazy
2/12 Dissecting Leftism
2/19 The People's Republic of Seabrook
2/26 Kesher Talk

If you'd like to host the Carnival, and Lord knows we need hosts, drop us a line. Information on how to join the Carnival can be found here.


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.




Early Morning Vulpes

Spotted a gray fox in the backyard tonight as I was making the final rounds, checking all the locks downstairs. She was eating birdseed, of all things, so I threw her a hot dog after watching through the window for a couple of minutes. She ran off, but I expect a fox that has been reduced to eating birdseed will show back up eventually.


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

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




Son of Feanor

Many of you have written in, asking where I obtained my subtle principles and well thought out arguments on gender, race, and recreational chemicals. Many of you have begged leave to drink from the same font, if I would only reveal the source.

I'm not a cruel man, and you pleadings have swayed me. I will share the source of my cornucopic knowledge and wisdom.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Elftor. He's an elf. He's Jewish, also Irish.

He's a handy man with a shovel, and has been named the greatest humanitarian of all time. Elftor is politically correct, and an advisor to God, yet is infested with pests.

Elftor has his own political party.


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.

1/28/2003




Play It Again, Sam

And starring Humphrey Bogart as Frodo.


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.




New Departures

The USNS Regulus and USNS Denebola, over the weekend, carrying amphibious assault vehicles and armored landing vehicles.

Interesting that the "official" top speed for the Denebola is 6 knots slower than the what the captain was quoted as saying they were.

According to Global Security.org's US Forces Order of Battle, published yesterday, their sister ship the USNS Algol passed through the Suez on Thursday, and the USNS Pollux and USNS Antares have been activated.

So, where are the USNS Bellatrix, the USNS Bob Hope and the USNS Fisher? They departed in November!

Update: Nice map.


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.




Parenting Skills

Like most parents I sometimes question whether or not I am fit to be a parent. Some of my past (mostly when Bigwig was around) would probably disqualify me from ever being able to adopt a child, but I bypassed that by having my own. But after reading this, I realize that I am not such a bad parent after all, and believe the person in this story should have her ass whipped. It's a person like this that makes me think public floggings wouldn't be so bad. I'll bring the bag of rotten produce to throw at her.


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.




Bomber borte!

Who needs France when you have Norway?

Update: And Norway's bullets.


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.




Catching Ebola From the Toilet Seat

AIDS patients are testing grounds for new diseases. Diseases that would otherwise be to weak to resist the human immune system live on in a sufferer from AIDS, which gives them time to evolve defenses and strategies for fighting the immune system. Every now and then the germs get passed on to another through a handshake, or a sneeze. AIDS itself cannot be passed on that way, but many diseases that AIDS gives a foothold to in an infected person can be. Most of the time the healthy person doesn't even notice, because the disease isn't sufficiently evolved enough to get past their immune system.

But that's okay with the disease. It has time, as long as the hiv positive host it is dwelling in goes untreated. It can be passed on again and again as long as it has reservoir of germs to pull from, and eventually it gets strong enough to infect the healthy.

Bolan said the majority of cases he has seen involve patients who also have HIV, but he added "I don't know if this problem is exclusively in the HIV-positive population, or across the board. Either way, the boils and ulcers that form on the skin are severe.

Germs don't necessarily evolve on their own, either. Staph bacteria, the cause of the skin disease in the story above, are especially good at swapping DNA among themselves, which lets them evolve at a much higher rate. If that doesn't seem a cause for worry, imagine a scenario where a staph bacteria that has evolved the ability to spread itself via a sneeze swapping DNA with the staph bacteria that causes Necrotizing Fasciitis.

Worried now?

In the next ten to twenty years, many of the new diseases we're going to face are going to come from the population suffering from AIDS. Their germs will spread by every means possible, and there's nothing we're going to be able to do about it. It's already too late. The only thing we can do is determine an approximate termination date for this future influx of disease, by finding a way to cure or eliminate AIDS. Once AIDS is eliminated, the host population that germs practice begins to dwindle, which reduces the speed the germ population as a whole evolves at. But until we get to that point, the chance that you or I will contract a disease that first appeared in an AIDS patient grows every day.

Note: I realize that the article above makes no definitive connection between AIDS patients and the drug-resistant staph, but the pattern of infection described fits a new disease outbreak from an AIDS population very nicely.


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.




You and Your'n

The Arkansas House of Representatives has passed a bill outlawing the sale of clean urine.

Jay Martin, a freshman state representative, won passage through the Arkansas House of Representatives last week of his measure that will make it illegal to sell or use urine to falsify a drug or alcohol screening test.

The bill, a copy of which is available at Rep. Martin's website, states (a) It is unlawful for a person to: (1)Sell, give away, distribute, or market urine in this state or transport urine into this state with the intent of using the urine to defraud or cause deceitful results in a drug or alcohol screening test;

So, if you have a strong desire to sell urine in Arkansas, you'll need to market it as a something else. Just to make it clear to your customers, slap a big label on all your advertisements. "Please do not use this completely clean urine for the purpose of passing a drug test!" Suggested uses include;

1. Sexual Aid. Golden Showers: When you care enough to pour the very best.
2. Party Favor. Great for Raves and Phish concerts!
3. Breath Freshener. Ain't nuthin like Arkansas Listerine to make the ladies swoon.
4. Mountain Dew Stretcher. You can 'Do the Dew' all night long on just one can.
5. Modern Art. "I call this one 'Piss Chris'. Chris, come up outta there and say howdy to the nice people."
6. Genuine Arkansas Moonshine. Sold to tourists only. They ain't coming back noways.
7. Mate Attracting Pheromones. Just a drop behind the ear works for Naked Mole Rats and Arkansas legislators, and it'll work for you!
8. Renfaire Leathermaking. Because when you buy leather made from dirty pee, you're supporting the terrorists.
9. Negative Reinforcement. Put a few drops on your toddler's thumb, and she'll stop sucking on it right quick-like.
10. Real Estate Deals. "No ma'am, we ain't got nuthin to so with them Clintons. This here's the Yellowwater real estate company. Ya'll wanna see the fountain?"


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.

1/27/2003




You Knew Darn Well I Was A Snake Before You Took Me In.

The next time someone says we're ignoring Afghanistan, ask them how they know. I don't know what they'll say, exactly, but a large part of their argument will be. "I haven't seen anything about it on the news."

Afghanistan is being ignored in favor of Iraq, but only by the major media. Otherwise you might have seen a few more stories like these.

2003 Will Bring Shift from Combat to Reconstruction in Afghanistan

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration are the two entities leading economic reconstruction in Afghanistan, according to Collins, and one of their main projects for 2003 will be a series of maternal health clinics. In the past year, he said, they have been responsible for the existence of 600 schools, 10 million textbooks, 7,000 metric tons of seeds and supplying around $200 million for Afghan refugees.

U.S. Army civil affairs specialists, meanwhile, have built another 127 schools, dug 400 wells, built 26 medical clinics, and refurbished the National Veterinary Center and the National Teachers' College in Kabul, according to Collins.


Rebuilding Afghanistan - Progress Update - January 9, 2003

Fall distribution of seed and fertilizer is complete. USAID distributed seed and fertilizer to 91,500 families and fertilizer to an additional 28,500 families. The 6,000 metric tons of wheat seed and fertilizer will yield 42,000 metric tons of wheat at next summer's harvest, an estimated additional income of $69 per household, and is a key step in rebuilding Afghanistan's ability to feed itself and reduce dependence upon food aid.

Afghani Currency Conversion Completed (Scroll down)

The currency conversion replaced the old Afghani. The new one from Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), Afghanistan’s Central Bank, is worth 1,000 old Afghanis. The new currency sets the stage for further economic reforms and the revival of the Afghan economy, a central USAID goal in Afghanistan.

Sustaining Afghanistan

Though it hasn't gotten much attention, there has been a major increase in U.S. and allied troop deployments over the last year. There are now some 9,500 U.S. troops in the country, along with 5,000 from allied nations; the number of Americans has more than doubled since a year ago. In addition, the Pentagon -- which stubbornly resisted Mr. Karzai's pleas for a nationwide international peacekeeping force -- has begun to move toward creating a functional equivalent. Eight or more regional clusters of civilian and military forces are planned for deployment near important provincial centers in the coming months; they will combine technical help for reconstruction with a force that will be small but credible, given the backup of U.S. air power.

Afghans’ future pivots on US

Living conditions are still harsh for many people, and episodic violence continues. But at the same time substantial progress has been made in Afghanistan, thanks to patient, persistent efforts both inside and outside the country.

Now put yourself in a CBS Evening News producers shoes. Nice, aren't they? Yes, yes that is Italian leather. Very comfortable, very expensive. You know who paid for those shoes? The makers of Metamucil paid for those shoes, and the distributors of Sunny D, and the fine people at Metamucil and Sunny D only pay for those shoes when you can assure them that a lot of eyeballs are attracted and held captive by you, a producing master of the universe, and you didn't get to be a producing master of the universe by running 30 minutes of touchy feely upbeat goody goody news. People turn off that shit and turn on the news that scares them, or pisses them off, or causes them to perch on the edge of the chair.

When it comes to the news, people don't want Mr. Rodgers, they want Alfred Hitchcock. That means that things Fred Rodgers thinks of don't get on the news, and things that Alfred thinks of do. That's why bodies and bad news fill the airwaves, even if they make up only a small percentage of total information available in the day.

I'll be the first to admit it. I bought into the "we're ignoring Afghanistan" meme early on, and I continued to think so, more or less, until I saw a story in the Raleigh News and Observer on the Civil Affairs troops based in North Carolina.

In Afghanistan, Civil Affairs teams were initially dispatched to provinces all over the country, first to ensure basic human needs were being take care of, then to assess the needs for infrastructure, such as schools and roads.

Sometimes, the Robin Hood approach to winning hearts and minds was the only choice, said Sgt. 1st Class Victor Andersen, a Civil Affairs medic who spent seven months in Afghanistan, much of it working in remote Paktika province on the border with Pakistan.

There, his team members helped repair the damage done by more than 20 years of war and neglect.

They took 150 tons of food and 11,000 blankets from a local warlord and distributed them to civilians. They also built five schools and ran a medical clinic that treated hundreds of patients a day. Their work was appreciated.

Grateful residents tipped off U.S. troops to the presence of rockets, with activated fuses, aimed at their compound. At that point, Andersen said, his team knew they weren't just trying to win hearts and minds, they were succeeding.

Locals also helped the Americans find several caches of arms and warned them whenever suspicious outsiders appeared in the community.


I read that and started wondering "Why did I never hear this before?"

It's my own fault, really. Despite knowing that the media serves only a small portion of the information available, and despite knowing even that small amount of information is skewed towards items that can best be described as noisy and shiny, I took a position based on a lack of information, even though I could have refuted the idea with nothing more than a Google search. The links above are just a small sample of what has actually been out there on the net in the past year or so. I intentionally chose links close to today's date for this post, but there are hundreds more stretching back into 2002 and 2001.

So, no cause for celebration as far as my bullshit detector goes on that story, but I shan't be gnashing my teeth and rending my clothing in sorrow, either. I just have to remember a new rule. "Don't trust stories based on negative evidence."

Now, the natural comeback to stories like the ones above is a simple "Yes, but...", where "we're not doing enough" follows close on the heels of the "but". A common example is when people who opposed the Afghani war in the first place, either out a suppsed commitment to peace, or an opposition to casualties, start pointing out this or that warlord as being one step from Taliban-like oppression, and declaring his presence means that we're failing. They're essentially arguing that we should have killed them, too. Actually going in and killing said warlord would also be held up as an example of America's failure in Afghanistan. "Yes, but.." arguments are essentially impossible to argue against, since that argument can always take a contrary position, until it reaches an extreme, something along the lines of "Yes, but what if the sun explodes?"

Not that I think we shouldn't try and do more in Afghanistan, or go faster. But the situation is not nearly as dire as one would think, and every day that goes by without Afghanistan falling back into the pit is a day where the chance that it is going fall back lessens. USAID/Afghanistan is talking about a stable country by 2005, and that seems plenty fast to me.


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

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




When it's game time, it's pain time, baby!

Do yourself a favor and view the long version of the Terry Tate, Office Linebacker Reebok commercial. It requires a quick sign up, but if you give a bogus email address, it'll still let you in. This was far and away the best Super Bowl commercial, though I did enjoy the Willie Nelson H&R Block commercial and the Ozzy Osbourne Pepsi commercial as well.


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.




It's All in the Wrist

Say what you will, but I think It's kind of hard to argue that we're still living in a racist society when this picture has been at the top of the Yahoo's most emailed photos list for the past two days.


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.




Money, mouth. Mouth, money.

Six weeks ago the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Saluda, North Carolina started buying sleeping bags to send to Afghanistan. Now they have over 600 sleeping bags, more than there are residents in Saluda, but no way to get them to Afghanistan without spending upwards of $18,000 in shipping costs.

I called the church just now to see if anything had changed since the story was published this morning, and while they've gotten a nibble or two since the story was published, there's nothing solid yet. If you can help, call them at (828) 749-9740. If you'd like to send a donation, here's the address.

Operation Sleep Tight
c/o Church of the Transfiguration
P.O. Box 275
Saluda, N.C. 28778

They have no web presence, either, so I expect they'd be happy to have that donated as well.


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.

1/26/2003




We Deal In Geologic Time

I should point out to the Expat Egghead that I am a systems administrator, not a network administrator. The basic difference is that systems admins are a more sessile form of admin fauna.


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.




You Can Imagine What She Calls The Hammer

This should give you some idea of my level of skill when it comes to fixing things around the house.

Today, Ngnat wanted to play with the measuring tape, but it was on the kitchen counter, just out of her reach. So she points at it and says, "Momma, will you get me the dammit?"


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.

Home