Silflay Hraka

4/25/2003




Set Them Up The Bomb

This is gonna piss them off in Lawrence. All Your Coach Are Belong To Us.
Link via the TarheelPundit

Fo those you you who have no idea what's going on, here's the original All Your Base Are Belong to Us. Not that it it will help.


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Grifting

Another tale from the horror story that is out-sourcing.

A new $51 million accounting system being installed in community colleges across North Carolina is in such disarray that it cannot print routine monthly reports or track assets and cash.

State Auditor Ralph Campbell and State Controller Robert Powell have warned that the problems, unless fixed immediately, could eventually affect the state's bond rating, or creditworthiness.


So, North Carolina spent $51 million dollars of taxpayer money on an accounting system that can't count. The Research Triangle Park is known the world over as a technological bastion, yet our homegrown beauracrats paid a Texas company to install a Virginia product rather than hiring local talent to develop something. Local talent that, by the way, is suffering through the highest technological sector unemployment rate in the last 20 years. I'm sure they appreciate our leaders spending their money on a Texas boondoggle rather than say, hiring them to build a system.

By September, employees realized they could not deliver reports required by the state. They couldn't reconcile bank statements. They had to make calculations by hand or write new software to work around the system. Some employees quit in frustration, Campbell said.

Can't count. Can't issue reports. Can't reconcile bank statements. 50 million dollars down the drain, and we don't have the functionality that comes with a $50 copy of Quicken. On the positive side, some employees quit which would have helped out the state in its budget difficulties, if we hadn't pissed away 200 times what were paying them.

This is what happens when people who don't know shit about computers or software are put in charge of buying computers and software. If this had been done in-house, a team of ten or at most fifteen people could have developed and deployed a robust, not to mention working system for a fifth of what Texas burned us for, and that's if you pay the team the equivalent of 1999 tech salaries. It's an accounting system, for god's sake, spread over a WAN instead of a LAN. It's not like writing a software model for protein-folding; it's ground that has been covered numerous times, by thousands of programmers. Yet some clueless drone deep in an office in Raleigh fell for the siren song of an outsourcer and here we are a few years and fifty mil later, with the software equivalent of a one-legged dog.

They can fix it for another million dollars, they say. We can make that dog hunt.

Sure they can.


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Don't Vote Unless It's Running Linux.

Electronic voting machines, paperless election saviors, or just another way for shadowy forces to take control?

The Florida fiasco in the 2000 election sent officials across the country scurrying to modernize voting in their jurisdictions. Touch-screen electronic voting machines suddenly became a hot technology. They are fast and convenient, but are they reliable, tamper-proof and free of programing errors? There is absolutely no way of knowing! The machine code is a proprietary secret of the company that supplies them. This puts vote counting under the full control of a private company, with no independent checks
or audits.


The word "proprietary" should be a red flag anywhere openess and accountability are needed. Would you want a Microsoft product running your voting booth?



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A Fine Whine

BBC Chief Attacks U.S. Media War Coverage

Turner Calls Rival Media Mogul Murdoch 'Warmonger'

Madonna slams American values

Galloway denies receiving £375,000 Iraq oil payments

U.S. Diplomats Hit Back at Gingrich

There's really no need to do any in-depth research into who won or lost ground as a result of the war in Iraq. If you wait for just a short while, the losers will identify themselves for you.


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Losing the Mandate Of Heaven

The more the world's public health system learns about SARS, the worse the disease appears. Case in point, the SARS fatality rate, which a new measurement* has raised from 4% to 10% of all cases. The Beijing authorities have begun to institute desperate measures in order to curb the spread of the disease, quarantining 4000 people in their homes, shutting down factories and schools, as well as a second hospital less than 24 hours after closing a first one.

Trent Telenko of Winds of Change has theorized that the Chinese SARS epidemic will come to be seen as that country's Chernobyl, and he may well be right. If his infection rate figures are anywhere near the truth, then China is well on the way to between twenty-five to three hundred thousand deaths, with more on the horizon if the disease cannot be contained. Given that most of its 1.3 billion people are served by what amounts to a third world public health care system, the SARS epidemic could end up with a number of deaths comparable to the 1919 flu or the Black Death, even if the full effects of the disease are more or less confined to China. The repercussions of such an event would be incalculable, save for one. The Chinese government would collapse.

Since 1100 B.C. the ruling Chinese regimes have justified their rule via a doctrine known as t'ien ming, or the Mandate of Heaven. It is one of the most enduring Chinese political concepts. Put simply, the Mandate of Heaven is a lot like the Divine Right of Kings, with the caveat that when a regime fails, the Mandate passes to another party, who proves that the Mandate has passed to them by overthrowing the old order. The defeat of the Kuomintang was how Mao demonstrated that the Mandate had passed to him.**

But Mao has been gone for years, and the Communist claim to the Mandate has come under increasing pressure in the past few years. Falun Gong, like the Yellow Turbans and White Lotus sects before them, besieges the government on a spiritual front, poverty and unemployment attack on an economic front, and now SARS threatens the exposed Chinese public health flank. Falun Gong and unemployment are threatening enough by themselves, but SARS directly exposes the Chicoms to charges that the Mandate has passed from them.

Integral to the idea of the Mandate of Heaven is when a ruler loses the Mandate, Heaven responds by sending a natural disasters to plague the realm. As the Lonely Planet, of all places, puts it,

The Zhou period (1100-221 BC) saw the emergence of Confucianism and the establishment of the 'mandate of heaven' whereby the right to rule was given to the just and denied to the evil and corrupt, leading to the later Taoist view that heaven's disapproval was expressed through natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and insect plagues.

The longer SARS is epidemic in the Chinese countryside, the more likely it is it will be used as an example that the Mandate of Mao was not bequeathed to his successors, for what is SARS if not a natural disaster?

As its heavy-handed repression of Falun Gong members demonstrate, the Chinese Communist party will go to extreme lengths to quash perceived challenges to it's possession of the Mandate of Heaven. But there's little that government can do to demonstrate its fitness on an economic front, and the rapid spread of SARS shows its fitness on the public health front to be something of a moot point. Falun Gong can be contained, possibly, but poverty and germs cannot be. SARS is a disaster for the Communist party, an untreatable cancer on the body politic. Unless it is excised, Communist rule in China is doomed, and the excision itself may prove disastrous. Today's closing and quarantines have an air of "too little, too late" about them, and about the only stratagem the government has left to it is a complete shutdown of internal movement, which would enflame the urban population in a matter of days as food starts to run out.

Chernobyl, as disastrous as it was, affected Soviet rule only over the long term. In the short term, it killed only 30 people, less than have already died from SARS. SARS may well have a long term impact, but as fatality rates skyrocket and the Chinese economy starts to shut down, it's hard to see how the current Chinese regime will stay around long enough to feel them. Unless the epidemic has reached its height, or unless SARS somehow manages to burn itself out, neither of which seem possibly given the reports coming out of China, then that regime won't even last the three years the Soviets did after Chernobyl.

My prediction, based on the theory that what we are getting out of China regarding SARS is still just the tip of the iceberg, is that 2005 will dawn in China free of Communist rule. What will take its place, I have no idea, though I suspect we will see some U.S.S.R. style fragmentation as the center collapses. Given the abject state of Chinese public health care, if SARS doesn't kill the Communist party, then another disease outbreak will. It's only a matter of time.

*The article claims this gives it a comparable fatality rate to other RNA viruses, like Lassa Fever and Yellow Fever, and that may be true, but only for treated cases. If Lassa Fever or the Yellow Jack go untreated, the fatality rate is often upwards of 50%.

**If Taipei is part of China, yet still unconquered by the communists, then by a strict interpretation of the concept the Communist party has not shown that the Mandate of Heaven has passed to them. That could be one reason why China remains so sensitive on the issue. As well, should the Chicom regime collapse, the Taiwanese government could then claim the moral right to rule, on the basis that since they were not utterly defeated, the Mandate of Heaven had not passed from their possession. For economic and health reasons alone, that would be a tough argument for any mainland pretenders to argue against.

Other S.H. SARS posts can be found here and here. Judge for yourself whether I'm a keen-eyed observer of current events or raving loon.

Updates: New York City is reporting 18 "potential" SARS cases, and there is a new case in western New York. It's spreading, not receding, even in the U.S., where we were not only forewarned, but forearmed with one of the best public health systems in the world. The chances that are up to three million SARS cases in China appears increasingly more likely.

China closes a third hospital, and a Who official admits that the organization has no idea of what is going on in the rural Chinese provinces.

The Taipei Times calls for a complete quarantine of China.

In economic reations, Acer has suspended plans to manufacture notebook computers in China and Bandai Toys has ordered all 30 of its plants in China to sterilize every Sailor Moon they manufacture.


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Best Baseball Brawls

Here is a list of some of the best brawls in baseball history. Being from NC, my favorite would have to be #5, where a brawl broke out during "Strike Out Domestic Violence" night at the ballpark. What could be more perfect than that?


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Sharpe Products

Just finished the third book* in the opening trilogy of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe Series, Sharpe's Fortress. For those of you who know Flashman, it's much like that, minus Flashman's essential cowardice, or Horatio Hornblower, if Hornblower had joined the army instead. Perfectly serviceable, well detailed historical fiction.

I tend to judge that genre on how many Googles I run at the end of a book, and the ones at then end of Sharpe's Fortress led me to the 78th Highlanders (colours here), as well as this interview with the author. I looked for a painting of Gawilghur in all her forbidding glory, but none exist, at least not where Google can find them.

The series, at least so far, doesn't pack the same punch as Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, but to be honest, what does? Like the man says; "The best historical novels ever written." Had I read them before being introduced to Aubrey and Maturin, I would have been bowled over by them, just as I was by Flashman, Hornblower, and Dartagnon. I'll continue reading them; there's 16 more. Only a nut turns down a perfectly good ribeye on the grounds that he only eats filet mignon, especially when he knows there's no more filet forthcoming.

*which is why blogging has been lighter, or different, or some damn thing. Did anyone even notice a difference other than me?


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4/24/2003




The Sixth Sheik's Sheep is Sick

Drove to Raleigh this evening to see the two-week old daughter of some friends. Ngnat alternated between horribly shy and show-off bossy until she became comfortable, then spent the rest of the time playing balloon tug of war with the new mom or arranging the Wiggles colorforms they had cunningly gifted her with as she walked in the door.

She ran up the driveway to the car as we were leaving then turned around, waving wildly at the new parents on their porch below.

"Say 'Thank you for my present!'" suggested the wife, without much hope in her voice. She's been trying to herd Ngnat into the Corral of Greater Politeness lately, without much luck. Or help, if you ask her.

"TANK OO FOR MY PEASANT!" screamed Ngnat, at the top of her lungs.

I couldn't resist. " Say 'Purple and Yellow Trainspotter!'"

"BUBBA AN YANNA TAINPOTTA!" It was a valiant effort, for a little girl who had never spoken that phrase before in her life, and it broke up the husband, who was knocked sideways by the combined forces of cute and humorous.

I was most pleased.

My father* knows what's coming next, for he was the genesis of Purple and Yellow Trainspotter, unless it came from his father before him. When we were young, my brothers and I, and we wanted something, he would torture us by insisting we repeat ever more difficult sayings, all from the same jumbled pile of phonems that Purple and Yellow Trainspotter sprang from.

"Daddy, can I have some water?" asked the soon to be luckless one

He'd start slow, and build up. "Say ''Please."

"Please."

"Say ''Pretty please."

"Pretty Please." And we would roll down the slippery slope, to "Pretty please with sugar on it", "Sears and Roebuck Catalog", "Purple Hippopotamus" "Red and Yellow Czechoslovakian" and a myriad of others that I have now forgotten.

Thankfully forgotten, I was about to say, before I realized that if I've forgotten them, how will I get Ngnat to say them?


*He drops by occasionally, to read about his granddaughter. The rest of the stuff can go hang as far as he and my mother are concerned.


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Cigars all around

The Boogie Scarecrow is a father! Riley Scarecrow was born at 2:08 p.m. EST, weighing 7 lbs 12 ounces. Mother, Father and daughter are healthy and happy and exhausted. The Scarecrow family has been trying to induce labor for something on two days now. Congratulations, Scarecrow and family. I can't wait to meet the newest member of our extended family.


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Throwing Off The Traces

USS Clueless can load Lileks. I cannot. He's getting there via Verio, whereas my packets get to the Cable and Wireless network and then die. It would be interesting to know if those in the same boat as I are also trying to get there via cw.net

Trace lileks.com (64.85.73.31) ...

# IP address Host name
1 152.2.254.254 0ms (el-loco.net.unc.edu ok)
2 152.2.255.254 0ms (ciscokid.net.unc.edu ok)
3 128.109.36.254 0ms (gsr-12000.internet.unc.edu ok)
4 128.109.52.6 0ms (rtp1-gw-to-core-oc48.ncren.net ok)
5 64.158.228.1 0ms (hsipaccess2.Raleigh1.Level3.net ok)
6 209.244.22.37 0ms (ge-7-0-0.mpls2.Raleigh1.Level3.net ok)
7 64.159.0.230 15ms (so-0-1-0.bbr2.Washington1.level3.net ok)
8 209.244.11.14 15ms (so-7-0-0.edge1.Washington1.Level3.net ok)
9 208.173.52.77 0ms (bpr1-ge-5-3-0.VirginiaEquinix.cw.net ok)
10 208.173.52.114 16ms (dcr1-so-4-3-0.Washington.cw.net ok)
11 208.172.82.62 63ms (acr2-loopback.Seattle.cw.net ok)
12 208.172.81.222 78ms (bhr2-pos-0-0.Tukwilase2.cw.net ok)
13 216.34.64.147 78ms (csr11-ve243.Tukwilase2.cw.net ok)
14 No Response * * *
15 No Response * * *


Zod: Such an enthralling post
Oh, shut up.

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Baghdad Bob Holds A Press Conference

No idea where this clip originated from; I was unable to find a source via Google. The soundtrack sounds like a talk show audience is watching it, so I assume it came from one of the late night shows. If anyone recognizes it, let me know.


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4/23/2003




Loose Lips Sue Ship

Bloody media. When I read a story like Group Sues Pa. Univ. Over 'Speech Codes', is it too much to expect a copy of the speech codes the story is about to be readily available?

Call me crazy, I just think that one shouldn't have to go looking for information critical to the understanding of a particular story. It's good that I feel this way. That means you won't have to deal with Shippenberg's woefully inadequate search engine.

Shippensburg University's Speech Codes

Because if we don't regulate your speech, how will you know what to say?*

Racism and Cultural Diversity
It shall be the unequivocal position of Shippensburg University to prohibit racism/ethnic intimidation and harassment. Shippensburg University is committed to cultural diversity, social justice, and equality.

Racism shall be defined as the subordination of any person or group based upon race, color, creed, or national origin, communicated through words, attitudes, actions, and/or gestures. Harassment shall be defined as unsolicited, unwanted conduct which annoys, threatens, or alarms a person or group.

It shall be a violation of this policy for any person or group to maliciously intend to engage in any activity (covert or overt) that attempts to injure, harm, malign, or harass, and has for its purpose the subordination, intimidation, and/or harassment of a person or group based upon race, color, creed, national origin, sexual preference, handicap, or age.

Shippensburg University is committed without qualification to all aspects moral, legal, and administrative of racial and cultural diversity. As an institution of higher learning we are dedicated to the widest possible diversity among our students, faculty, and staff. Shippensburg University's commitment to racial tolerance, cultural diversity, and social justice will require every member of this community to ensure that the principles of these ideals be mirrored in their attitudes and behaviors.

Nondiscriminatory Language

Occasionally all of us need to be reminded of the continuing presence of unconscious attitudes toward individuals which surface through the use of discriminatory semantics. These attitudes often belie long-standing presumptions which contribute to historically preferred views of people. These attitudes are the roots of racism, sexism, ageism, and classism, and when perpetuated through presumptive statements, lend unwarranted support to social inequities in the treatment of an individual.

Unwittingly, many stock references appear in verbal and written communications in the absence of careful evaluation of the implications of word choices. Often these are unintentional or stereotypical judgments which have been in existence for many years and have directly contributed to controlling the direction, attitudes, actions, and decisions affecting individuals from minority groups.

To the end that the language employed in a university pledged to enlightenment shall be free of "semantics which imply the second class citizenship of some of its members," the American Psychological Association Guidelines for Nondiscriminatory Language** are hereby recommended as a model reference for verbal and written language to be used by all employees.


I especially like "Occasionally all of us need to be reminded of the continuing presence of unconscious attitudes toward individuals which surface through the use of discriminatory semantics." Presumably this also covers any derogatory statements about "white males", but I get the feeling you'd just get a puzzled look out of the dean if you complained that your women's studies class professor was totally biased in her views of the farting sex.


*Not actually found in the handbook
**Who else follows these guidelines?


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Hypocritic Oath

I've just been assuming that my doctors subscribe to the theory of evolution. Maybe I should start asking. You're welcome to believe what you want to, of course, but all in all I think I prefer a doc who adheres to current theory. Besides, if I'm going to alter my brie buying habits based on a country's position on Iraq, then certainly I should be picking my health care based on what I believe, right? It's just the logical progression.

I might feel a tad foolish asking the question. Seems a bit rude, asking a physician if he's a creationist or not, like asking a Quaker about his stance on slavery. Insulting just to ask. I'd be much happier if the creationist doctors would go ahead and out themselves, perhaps by hanging a nice truth-eating fish by the clinic entrance.

Not that I think identifying oneself as a creationist would necessarily hurt a sawbones. Heck, in a large portion of the South it would probably increase their business, just as calling yourself a vegan physician does in San Francisco. It's just a question of marketing, and when it comes to marketing belief treatment, Dr. Klaper provides a fine example of how putting one's personal beliefs ahead of a patient's welfare can be used as a marketing tool. There's nothing like quoting something like "The human body has absolutely no requirement for animal flesh" to keep the critical thinkers away.

Something along the lines of "Chemistry, not evolution, is the basis of modern medicine" ought to do just fine. Just do me a favor and put it outside where I can see it.


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Bringing Balance To The Force

A lady at work asked me to come up with a nice liberal bumpersticker after "First Iraq, Then France" proved such a success. After a month or so of cogitation, I came up with this;



What do you think?

Afterthought: Cliff, you think you could get me one of these with an obviously pregnant Statue of Liberty on the side? Gotta be obvious at 60 m.p.h, mind you.


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American Taliban

I'm sure most of you know what's going on with Senator Santorum right now. If not, here's a decent summary.

Here's a portion of what he said, taken from this transcript

SANTORUM: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.

In other words."You know me, honey. I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals repressed!" It's just stupid, a page right out of the Taliban's Book of Intolerance. Remember the Taliban, the group that jailed Christians? They had no problem with Christians, they said, just with people practicing Christianity. Rewrite the Santorum quote just a bit, and it could have could have been a Taliban statement on the missionaries they arrested.

I have no problem with Christianity. I have a problem with Christian acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional Islamic tradition. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just Christian. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's Christian. If that's their religion, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other religions. The question is, do you act upon those religions? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.

Rewrite it even less, and it fits the Taliban's position on homosexuality even better.

I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions before we execute them.

The most common reaction to this is "You have to draw the line somewhere, and who are you to tell Sen. Satorum where he can draw his? Are you so liberal that you are in favor of any sort of sexual practice whatsoever?"

My basic answer is "As long as it doesn't scare the horses, and doesn't involve sex with a partner of mental capacity insufficient for them to make a decision on a particular act, then people should do what they like." Requiring adequate mental capacity not only rules out bestiality and pedophilia, but sex with any number of politicians.

Consider it a bonus.

Update: Note that the "sufficient mental capacity" rule does not rule out things like consensual incest, something William Saletan talks about in Slate. Once you've read that you may want to take a look at Westermark's childhood aversion theory before you decide that we're in for a incest epidemic. Also, Omnibus Bill casts some light on the issues Satorum was apparently struggling with before the toe met the tonsil.


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Fishbein Ein Berliner

Got this joke in an email from the banking maenad today;

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.
The first surgeon says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered,"
The second responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians. Everything inside them is color-coded."
The third surgeon says, "No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."
The fourth surgeon chimes in: "You know, I like auto mechanics. They always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end and when the job takes longer than you said it would."
But the fifth surgeon, Dr. Morris Fishbein, shuts them all up when he observes: "The French are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no balls and no spine. Plus the head and ass are interchangeable."

I found a copy of this over at the Shark Blog, but I have no idea what the original source is. Good joke though, probably based on an older one where lawyers took the place of the French. It's probably only a matter of time before all the old polish jokes get recycled in the same manner, especially considering the help Polish special forces gave us in Iraq. America has been trending away from Polish jokes for some time, actually.

Why wasn't Christ born in France?
Because they couldn't find three wisemen and a virgin.

Q: How do you tell which is the Groom at a French wedding?
A: He's the one with the CLEAN bowling shirt.

Q: How do you stop a French army on horseback?
A: Turn off the carousel

Q: What do you do if a Frenchman throws a hand-grenade at you?
A: Take the pin out and throw it back.

An Englishman, an Greek and a Frenchman were captured by the Germans and thrown into prison. However, the guard was rather kind towards them, and said, "I am going to lock you away for five years, but I'll let you have anything you want now before I lock you away."

The Englishman says, "I'll have five years' supply of beer!"
His wish is granted, and they lock him away with his beer.

The Greek says, "I'll have five years' supply of ouzo !"
His wish is granted, and they lock him away with his ouzo .

The Frenchman says, "I'll have five years' supply of cigarettes!"
His wish is granted, and they lock him away with his cigarettes.

Five years later, the Germans come to release their prisoners. First, they release the Englishman, who staggers out totally drunk. Then, they release the Greek, who also rolls out rather inebriated. Then, they release the Frenchman , who comes out and says, "Has anyone got a light?"


What I found odd about the initial joke is the odd specificity when it comes to the name of the final surgeon, Dr. Morris Fishbein. There's no need to name the final surgeon, and doing so actually impedes the flow of the joke. So why do it?

On a whim, I googled Dr. Morris Fishbein, and boy, is he hated.

Because he became head of the AMA, a position that he used to enrich himself and crush legitimate therapies out of existence. He appeared to be motivated solely by money and power.

As head of the AMA (and editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association from 1924-1949), he decided which drugs could be sold to the public based only how much advertising money he could extort from drug manufacturers, whom he required to place expensive ads in the JAMA. There were no drug-testing agencies, only Fishbein. It was irrelevant if the drugs worked.

Fishbein was a shakedown artist. Yet, today, there is a Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago.


Scientologists also have a reason to dislike him.

So, is his name included in the joke just as a slap in the face of Scientologists and cancer conspirators, or was it the simple fact that his name was recognizable enough 20 years ago that it added verisimilitude to the joke when it was about whatever group was in disfavor at the time?

Comments? Bueller?


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Carnival in the Kitchen

The 31st edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is at The Kitchen Cabinet this week.
Upcoming Carnival stops include;

April 30th Clubbeaux
May 7th Common Sense and Wonder
May 14th The Inscrutable American
May 21st Cut On The Bias
May 28th Dean's World
June 4th Drumwaster's Rants
June 11th Overtaken by Events
June 18th Real Women Online
June 25th Single Southern Guy
July 2nd Amish Tech Support
July 9th Winds Of Change

If you'd like to host the Carnival, drop us a line. Information on how to join the Carnival can be found here.


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4/22/2003




A Hauntingly Familiar Air

I'm Saddam. Yes I'm the real Saddam
All you other Saddams can all kiss my bottom
So won't the real Hussein, Please stand up, Please stand up, Please stand up.


link via the TarHeelPundit


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.




Dipping Below 70

Ngnat wanted to go outside after dinner tonight, but there was a problem.

"I don have my shoes, Daddy."

I wiggled my toes at her. "That's ok, honey. I don't have my shoes either. We'll go barefoot."

"Barefoot?" She was delighted with the new term. "We go outside barefoot, mommy!"

Mommy permitted this, despite a mild concern about her family appearing declasse in front of the neighbors. After four years of marriage to a man who goes to the mall in short sleeves with duct tape on his elbow, she's become pretty resigned to declasse.

So outside barefoot we went, out into the back yard. I asked, and after some consideration she agreed that yes, the grass did tickle her feet, and yes it was fun to wiggle one's toes in the topsoil.

Her introduction to the primary barefoot cliches complete, I concentrated on watching for bees in order to prevent the introduction of any more. We looked at spiders in the mulch and blew bubbles on the driveway. She stubbed her toe on the concrete--not enough to cry about, but enough to check daddy's reaction to see if she should perhaps consider crying about it. As there was a carefully held blank look on Daddy's face, she decided against tears, and sat down to draw with chalk. Eventually the sun started to set and the wind picked up.

I began picking up frisbees covered in bubble slime. "Time to go inside, Ngnat. It's getting to cold to be outside barefoot."

She looked at me gravely and agreed,then ran inside to yell the news at her mother. "MOMMY! We come inside now! It barefoot cold!"

Later, as we read bedtime stories, she asked if we could go barefoot again tomorrow.

"If it's not too cold," I said.

"Not barefoot cold?"

"Yes, as long as it's not barefoot cold."

I get the feeling the new birthday shoes may last a little longer than we had anticipated.


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.




All The Cool Kids, Yadda Yadda Yadda


Well, u--um, can we come up and have a look?

What Monty Python Character are you?
link via Instapundit


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.




Fingers Crossed

I think I've altered the comments so that the page load here won't be delayed if Haloscan is down. Suppose I'll find out soon enough if the site is totally screwed or not. If you see any weird behavior in the comments, let me know. Of course, Haloscan being down is what prompted me to do this to begin with, so I suppose the only thing most of you will see is weird behavior.


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.




Hodge and Podge

Local N&O columnist G.D.Gearino on Tim and Susan's idea of free speech.

Nobody seeks to impede their right to free speech. Robbins and Sarandon still have the unfettered right to say whatever they like about the war. But what they don't have is a constitutional right to have their remarks amplified.

You may or may not have heard of G.D. Hallmark turned one of his books intoa cripple of the week movie starring Matther Modine. While we're on the subject, here's a feature he wrote about my hometown and it's whistling contest on Sunday. Here's more on last year's champion in the Daily News.

Back in the mid nineties our sister was the teen champ for three, maybe four years running, which was good enough to land her a two-minute spot with Jay Leno after Alan Alda and Michael Richards on the Tonight Show in 94, I think. Michael Richards discussed couches with her, which was nice of him. She had no idea who Alan Alda was.


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.




Filled with the Spirit

Here at Silflay Hraka, we've got fart humor, and religious references. Combine the two and what do you get? The Farting Preacher.


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.




Memewatch

The picture's pretty cool, but I can't help thinking that it may be hitting the tail end of the market for this type of thing. PrayingEagles.com.

And while I understand the reasoning behind the copyright on the photo, it hurts the spread of the image, which in turn will affect potential sales. Yes, some people will kidnap it without authorization, but many others will link back with an attribution.

And I should know.

Link via I Was Thinking


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4/21/2003




Break It Like Beckham


photo via Fark

British soccer fans react to soccer star David Beckham's unexpected wind.


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There Is No Spoon



photo via yahoo

Kim Jong IL: Brutal dictator, Ladies man, Matrix fan


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Tidings


photo via yahoo

And there were in that country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And the soldiers appeared unto them, and their glory of their weapons shone around about them, and the shepherds were sore afraid. But a soldier said unto them, 'Fear not: for I bear good tidings of freedom, which shall be unto all peoples, unless we are recalled by deskbound nervous nellies who need to be flown to Iraq and forced to dig up the graves of Saddam's victims with their bare fucking hands.

"But that's just me," the soldier said. "We just get to fight and die for your freedom. Funny how the people who didn't pay the price in lives are the ones who think it's too expensive in dollars."


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They Don't Go On Strike, Either.

Took in an inning and a half of Little League baseball with Ngnat tonight after we went to the library. Angels vs. Yankees. It was chock full of bad pitching, mouthy moms, and terror errors. Oh Crap! It's coming towards me! What do I do? What do I do? Bonk Ngnat piled bits of shredded wood on the bleachers and chewed on her hair while I watched pre-adolescent boys build memories that will torture them for years.

There wasn't any hideously overpriced beer, but to my mind it was a far more watchable game than anything in the majors.


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.




Six Degrees of Uday Hussein

I've decided to alter Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. He is, after all, a gregarious movie star. It's probably hard to not be within three or four links of him, even if you aren't also a gregarious movie star. What about people who aren't as accessible, people who through some choice or happenstance are not in the public eye as often, yet are still well known? According to the six degrees theory even notoriously reclusive dictators should be reachable in six steps or less.

So I spent an inordinate amount of time this weekend trying to document a six degrees connection to Uday Hussein, who I figured would would be a slightly tougher test than his father. I was mowing the lawn, so it wasn't as if the time I spent doing this was a complete time waster.

This is the only chain I've been able to document to my satisfaction:

When I was a Freshman at UNC, my fencing class partner was Rachel Hunt, daughter of perennial N.C. Democratic governor Jim Hunt. Jim Hunt has probably met with Jimmy Carter numerous times, but here's a picture of him and Carter in 1983. Zbigniew Brzezinski was Carter's national security advisor, and met Saddam in 1977. Saddam is the father of Uday.

My score (based on a system I just made up, which consists of total years needed to complete the connection times the number of links in the chain, with an ideal or perfect score being 1 or less): 156* No idea how good of a score that is, there's not enough data available for comparison. I'd like more data, so leave me your chains in the comments below if the bug bites you.

I shook Jim Hunt's Hand once as a Boy Scout, but I've decided that encounters with politicians pressing the flesh cannot count. The only two politicians I've met that I felt I could count were Terry Sanford and David Price, but Terry's dead and I've yet to find a Uday chain that includes David Price.

Coming soon: Six degrees of Mullah Omar.

*Theoretically my Uday chain should be five or less, or the Sainted Wife's should be. How else would one's children be accounted for under the six degrees theory? As they get older, other chains should form, but the only chains available to a newborn are those of its parents. Obviously a child born in a hospital would have other chains available, notably those of the ob-gyn doctor and nurses, but not all children are born in hospitals. If the six degrees theory is going to hold up, it should cover children who are born without benefit of a delivery staff.


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