February 18, 2007


Hi, Britney. You don't know me and I don't know you, but... uh... wussup up, grrl?

I'm someone who's never given a rat's patootie about you or your music. I don't listen to your kind of "music". I don't like what's become of "popular music" in the past two decades -- the skankiness that is Madonna's true legacy and that seems to have defined your understanding of what music is supposed to be: slutty, vacuous, dance-track videos. But, please, just lemme talk out of turn for a sec.

Clearly you are not happy with your life or with who are are. You shaved off your luscious glory in order to kill the person that you've found yourself to be right now.

Surprised, Brit? Surprised that that didn't transform you into a new and fresher person but, rather, made you see, in that mirror of yers, that what you've done was not a self-transformation but merely self-destruction?

Y'see, in order to change, you need to have a goal. A goal other than destroying your present self. You need to become the grrl you want to be, not merely destroy the person you are.



P.S. And wear some clean underwear. You never know when you might be in a trainwreck.

P.P.S. Couldn't let this post go by without a YouTube video. ;)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:48 PM | Comments (87) | TrackBack

April 13, 2006

Hey, y'all

So anyway, I and about a dozen others were called in for a meeting at the unemployment office downtown on Tuesday. We were invited to take part in an "advanced job search" program. Why? Because the unemployment office took a look at our qualifications and compared them to what they knew of the current job market in the area and determined that each of us was likely to exhaust our benefits before we could find suitable employment. We have become what they call "displaced workers" Oh. Joy.

So, they are offering me up to $3,000 toward advanced training in my field, or training in another field. That's the good news. The bad news is that I've been looking through the "WIA approved courses" list and, lo and behold, most of what I was interested in possibly pursuing (such as parlegal, CAD or graphics design) take from six months to two years to complete. My benefits run out in about 20 weeks.

Some options that take about two months to complete are Dental Assistant and Web Design. Can you make any money in web design? I'll have to ask Madfish Willie.

The trick is to be sure not to get into an area that is in decline like, say, "small offset printing press operator".

In other news, here's a couple of phrases I learned at passover seder last night:

It's always darkest right before it goes pitch black.

Stressed spelled backward is desserts.

**sigh** Excelsior, peeps.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 13, 2005

And So It Began... 15 years ago

When I was about eight or nine or ten years old, my sister chided me for saying or doing something unusual. (Don't ask for details, I have no idea what the context was.)
I shrugged and (mistakenly) said, "Hey, it's a free world!"

"No," some adult corrected me waving his finger. "It's a free COUNTRY. It's not a free world."
Even before he said it I think I knew he was right. Maybe I was just thinking wishfully.

While doing some research for a post that I want to write (and would have posted on Wednesday the 2nd if I had time during the week to do research), I came across this loverly little threat:

"If you use pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not threaten you. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs may reach you."

--Saddam Hussein to U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie, 25 July, 1990

(There's a sizable excerpt of the infamous Hussein/Glaspie meeting here. Fascinating read.)

15 years ago last Wednesday, August 2nd, Iraqi troops crossed the border and seized Kuwait. Before Saddam would roll, he wanted to know what a U.S. response to his aggression would be. After his meeting with Ambassador Glaspie, Saddam felt assured that the U.S. would consider it none of our business. He felt assured of that because he was:

"But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.

I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 60's. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via Klibi or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly."

--Ambassador April Glaspie, 25 July, 1990

Saddam had troops at the border then, ready to go. Clearly he called the meeting with Glaspie in order to make sure that the United States was neutral on the matter before he pulled the trigger. Saddam was to have a meeting with Egyptians, Kuwaitis and Saudis to "find a solution" to the border dispute.
Addressing concerns about his troop movements, Saddam says unambiguously:

"...President Mubarak told me they were scared. They said troops were only 20 kilometers north of the Arab League line. I said to him that regardless of what is there, whether they are police, border guards or army, and regardless of how many are there, and what they are doing, assure the Kuwaitis and give them our word that we are not going to do anything until we meet with them.

When we meet and when we see that there is hope, then nothing will happen. But if we are unable to find a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death, even though wisdom is above everything else. There you have good news."

Saddam wanted good relations with the U.S., and it's probably safe to say that if April Glaspie either told Saddam that the Americans would look unfavorably on aggression or, even, said nothing of substance at all, that Saddam would have thought longer and harder, and may have scrapped his plan for invasion completely. But, with the U.S. apparantly out of the mix, Saddam was free to settle the dispute his way.

Okay, so it's the 15the anniversary, so what? Why am I writing about this? Because this, more than anything else, I think, is where the chain of events that led to 9-11, the War on Terror and our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

Just as an aside, I'm wondering why it was policy not to openly express an opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts.

My guess is that it's because the sides that we favor would be out of favor with many in the Middle East. Anwar Sadat was assassinated for signing a peace treaty with Israel. The "we don't want to state a position publicly" policy might have had some strategic merit, but, in this case -- with Saddam and Kuwait both open to good relations with America -- perhaps a preference for a given Arab-Arab resolution might have benefited all involved.

Oh, well. Visualize peace. Hindsight is 20/20.......

President George Herbert Walker Bush was meeting with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when news of the invasion of Kuwait came in. The official neutrality on the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border dispute was suddenly moot. Saddam wasn't simply tweaking a map's borderline, he was annexing the entire nation Kuwait as the 19th province of Iraq.

President Bush was, at first, reluctant to respond with saber-rattling. He wanted some time to think it through a little more. Privately, Prime Minister Thatcher famously implored him not to "go wobbley" at this juncture -- wouldn't be prudent. Bush's later response was not even more forceful, it was resolute: "This aggression Will. Not. Stand."
(I remember, very clearly, thinking at the time that it was Thatcher's influence more than anyone else's that inspired Bush's resolve to eject Saddam from Kuwait.)

After a deadline for Saddam's withdrawal had been set (Jan 15th, '91), President Bush gave a speech before a joint session congress. Some of what he said that night:

We stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective -- a new world order -- can emerge: a new era -- freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony.

A hundred generations have searched for this elusive path to peace, while a thousand wars raged across the span of human endeavor. Today that new world is struggling to be born. A world quite different from the one we've known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. A world in which nations recognize the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak.

This is the vision that I shared with President Gorbachev in Helsinki. He and other leaders from Europe, the Gulf and around the world, understand that how we manage this crisis today could shape the future for generations to come.

The test we face is great -- and so are the stakes. This is the first assault on the new world that we seek, the first test of our mettle. Had we not responded to this first provocation with clarity of purpose, if we do not continue to demonstrate our determination, it would be a signal to actual and potential despots around the world.

America and the world must defend common vital interests. And we will. And the world must support the rule of law. And we will. America and the world must stand up to aggression. And we will.
And one thing more -- in the pursuit of these goals America will not be intimidated.

The date that he delivered that speech was September 11th, 1990.

It's never been a secret that it was the presence of American and other Western troops on Saudi soil during -- and since -- Operations: Desert Shield and Desert Storm that turned millionaire oil heir Osama Bin Ladin from a run of the mill xenophobe to a murderous madman. The liberation of Kuwait and even the recent liberation of Iraq are not important to Osama. But, the presence of non-muslim troops with guns is.

Maybe it's just that Freedom puts people that are different from him on an equal footing with him. I can't get into his head, but if Osama thinks that this about Arab sovereignty then he's a myopic moonbat. If he thinks that this is about religion then he's a tyrant.

Do I care what Osama Bin Ladin thinks? Yes. And I can read the names of over 3,000 reasons why I care.

Bottom line, IMHO:

Weaken and/or oust the tyrants;
allow liberty to take hold;
make sure it is secure and, finally;
reduce U.S./coalition troop presence to pre-1990 levels -- meaning: zero. This is in our national interest.

It may take time, but, in the end, the People will be free of the fear of torture for simply dissenting from the majority. The culture and character of the People does not have to be "Americanized", it need only be freed to flourish peacefully. In this time the state of foreign nations is not only, obviously, in our own national interest, it is in the interest of every nation's People who long to defend their thoughts and emotions by simply shrugging and saying "hey, it's a free country".

Visualize Freedom. Peace will follow.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2005

Vicious Circle Jerks

Rachel Ann points to this brief article which includes the opening:

The decision by the Israel army to retaliate immediately against any Palestinian attack has weakened the mutual cease-fire.

Oooookay. I'll try to be short and sweet here.

Hey, Hamas. Click here: View image It's a satellite photo. D'ya find anything striking about it? Yeah, that's right. You can see the borderline of Israel from outer space. Why? Because Israel believes in life, growth and bettering the future.

But, you? You believe in rage, neglect and wallowing in self pity.

Quitcher bitchin' for a moment and look at what's under your feet. Y'see that? It's sand. Y'know what it's gonna be in a hundred years if it were up to you? It's gonna be SA-A-A-A-A-ND!!! STOP THE KILLING AND FRICKIN' BUILD SOMETHING! LIKE A FRICKIN' FUTURE!!!

Sheesh! I oughta charge consulting fees for this....

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005


I'm not gone. I'm just busy writing a story that I hope to post on Saturday or Sunday.

It's about some artificially intelligent robots that're trying to figure out what a baseball game is. I think it'll be good. I hope! Stay tuned...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005

Assignment: Business Name

So, friend and former co-worker Lawruh has been doing free-lance for a few weeks. She likes that she's home for the kids now.

She went into NYC this week to make a presentation and the potential clients were mightily impressed.

"Love it! Can I have your card?" they bellowed.

"D'oh!" she thought. She ended up writing her name an email address on little post-it notes.

So, she asked me to come up with a name for her business. After long hours of searching for something that was both "cute but elegant", I came up with....[drumroll]:

Mouse Clique.

Hear me out.

I see a business card where -- in the lower left corner -- there is a congregation of three or four mice in pale trenchcoats smoking cigarettes. One is leaning on a lamppost candlestick. They are an exclusive yet wonderous clique.

MOUSE CLIQUE Design and Grqphics.

Cute, but not too cute, depending on how it's drawn. I think I like it!

Lawruh likes it to a point. Whadda ya think??

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:34 AM | Comments (10)

March 08, 2005

What Is All This Jabbering All About Anyway...?

I was running an abortion-debate script through my head and came across to line:

"Are we trying to eliminate a way of life, or just to elimate the people who live that way of life?

More importantly: What the hell was I doing up at 4 o'clock in the morning?

Discuss, please....

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2005

The future is now, dag nab it!

The tide has turned and Bashir Assad is missing the boat. (How's that for a cruddy turn of phrase?!)

The future is now and some people don't get it. With regard to Lebanon some are insisting that Syria maybe shouldn't be demanded to pull their troops out quickly. Assad and the Syrian occupation is suddenly in a weak position and some on the appologist end of things want to strengthen it. "Ooo, let's take a 'go slow' approach before something dramatic happens."

Funk that!

To Mister Assad, and other tyrants, I just wanna say this:

You grew up in a world of priviledge. You've reached a place of power that was handed to you and that you've been long-prepared for. You know no way of life other than your own. As a monarch, being in power is not your job, it's your life. Perhaps you think of yourself as a steward of your country and protector of your contrymen. I hope so.

But, I ask you: When is a leader not a leader? When he's a tyrant. As George W. Bush mentioned in his inaugural address, if you seek to lead a people you must first learn to trust them. A "leader" who does not trust the People is, inevitably, not their leader but their oppressor.

You can be one of ten thousand other tyrants who lived and ruled and died and will be forgotten by history. Or, you can be a leader who leads his people into a new era of liberty and prosperity. By taking the reins of reform, not the yokes of further submission, you can help to usher in a new day. Follow the lead of a Mikail Gorbachov. Put your people ahead of your power, and you'll truely be a leader of the People.

Let's do some good in the world every day, folks.

Spork out.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2005

Peace On Earth (pt 2)

I think we all know where pt. 2 was going, so maybe I'll forget the purple prose for a while and, instead, present this:


I stole borrowed it from Hold The Mayo.

It's all happening just as expected. Just let the people of the Middle East see an election in Iraq and, soon, everyone's gonna want one!

Are the moonbats barking yet?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

February 26, 2005

Peace On Earth (pt 1)

And, so, I ask myself: What is 'Peace'?

Many of us have seen the photograph of Kim Jong Il sipping wine as a toast to North Korea having successfully built a nuclear weapon. During Kim's initial effort to devise a nuclear weapon, President Clinton sent former President Jimmy Carter on a "peace mission" to persuade Kim to abandon his nuclear program or face "serious consequences". Kim agreed to halt his nuclear program.

Today, Jimmy Carter has a Nobel Peace Prize. Kim Jong Il has the bomb.

"My ancestors have an old saying: 'Only Nixon could go to China.'"
--Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

The problem with sending someone like Jimmy Cartre to negotiate an arms agreement is that he is the kind of man who believes in the innate goodness and fairness and trustworthiness of all men. In short: He is a fool. To accept a promise from a tyrant, without any means of verifying that the promise is being kept, is a failure of diplomacy due to the failure to grasp the worst lessons of history, or to understand the base nature of tyrants.

I can almost hear Ronald Reagan's voice as he must have said, at some point, to Mikail Gorbachov: "Mikail, I believe you're a good man and I consider you my friend. But, and now don't be insulted, there's a lot at stake and I may be a fool. So, if you seek peace, I must insist: Doveriay no proveriay; trust but verify."

The real danger in North Korea's nuclear capability is not that Kim Jong Il will use them in a war against South Korea and/or The United States. (He knows that that would only result in the creation of The Great Pyongyang Crater.) The real danger is his ability and willingness to sell weapons and/or secrets to governments in places like Iran and Syria.
Kim may claim that he needs the weapons in order to defend his regime against an aggressive American foreign policy, but he knows that he was lumped into the "Axis of Evil" only because of his quest for nuclear weapons. Without the nuclear program there is no threat; there is peace. So, making money, not weapons per se, is likely his primary concern. And, for his profit, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocent people will be put in grave danger; there is no peace.


"Not in our name!" the war protesters cried. No matter how many hundreds of thousands were tortured, slaughtered and buried in the mass graves of Saddam's Iraq, it was the current state of "peace" that they wanted to maintain.

"Peace in our time," Neville Chamberlain said. Now, to be fair, we must acknowledge that Chamberlain's bargaining position was a poor one. He couldn't give Hitler ultimata about Germany's troop movements and weapons arsenal, and that they push outward no farther. He could only ask for a promise and hope that Hitler's signature was good. Unfortuanately, it was only as good as his word.

As I saw it, the irony of the "Peace In Our Time" signs carried by recent protesters of Operation: Iraqi Freedom is not, so much, that they reeked of the appeasement of Chamberlain's land for peace deal, but that they supported the continuation of the horrors of Saddam Hussein. Chamberlain sought peace for all; the war protesters sought peace for us.
To them, it was not "peace in our time", but, merely, "peace in our place and time".

While Americans enjoyed peace and prosperity, Russians and eastern Europe had Stalin. Cambodians had Pol Pot. The former-Yugoslavians had Melosevic. Iraqis had Saddam Hussein. For Americans, there was no peace in our time, only peace in our place and time.

It was easy to ignore the plight of a billion people when their plight didn't matter to us. They might as well have been living on another planet.
Most of us grew up in world that consisted of America, Western Europe, Japan, America, Australia, Mexico, America, Israel, Canada and America. We knew there were people in the Soviet Union, continental Asia, the middle east and Africa, but they weren't a part of our experience; they were in that other world where horrors happen that we didn't have to address because we had peace in our place and time.


"So, what is peace?" I asked my liberal, anti-war friend and housemate, Chris.
"Well," he muttered, "it's the absence of war, when nobody's dying in a war anymore."
"If, instead of a thousand people dying in a war, thirty thousand died at the hands of Saddam, would that be peace?"
"Well, that's not our business," Chris griped.
"So, an American life is worth 30-times an Iraqi's life..." I said in mock agreement.
"Dude, you don't understand," he flustered. "It's not our place to go around like we have 'The Answer' and fight wars about it."
"So, there is nothing special about us?" I asked.
"No. What's so special about us? We just go around imposing our rules on them like a bully... like every other two-bit dictator."

I have several friends like Chris. They are anti-war through-and-through. They believe in their principled position 100%. They are my friends and I respect them -- mainly because I understand them. I was one of them many many moons ago. But, I contend, their "principles" are conveniently self-serving.

So, I ask them: "If war is bad because people die, then isn't 'peace' even worse when even more people die because of it?"
Usually I get a groan and a shake of the head. But, I was born to be a pain in the ass so I usually press it.

"Well, then, when do we EVER have a right to go to war?"
"If we're attacked."
"Why go to war if we're attacked?"
"Because we have a right to defend ourselves."
"Against what?"
"Against whoever is attacking us."
"Why defend ourselves? What's so special about us? Why not just let them take us over?"
"Because..... What?"
"To defend our freedom?"
"Because we like freedom, man."
"Well, who wouldn't?!"
"Wouldn't everyone like to be free?"
"Well, of course!"
"Wouldn't everyone defend their freedom?"
"I hope so..."
"But, what if they can't?"
"I mean, what if we couldn't? Wouldn't we want a little help in that regard?"
"Dude, this isn't about defending our freedom. It's about dying on the other side of the world for nothing."
"For freedom!"
"But, not ours!"
"What's so special about us?!"

At this point the debate usually collapses under the weight of each of our position's well-anchored heuristics.


It's a small world afterall.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:37 PM | Comments (2)

January 20, 2005

Like....Mirror.... pt 2

I ended my last post stating that the last 1/3rd of the Inaugural Address addressed domestic issues. Having read the text I realize that the domestic policy issues were limited pretty much to a single paragraph:

"In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance - preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal."

Bush goes on to discuss the situation at home not in policy terms, but in personal terms. For the duration of the speech Bush sounds more like Joel Osteen than Condi Rice.

"In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self".

Here is where GWB transforms from a mere freedom-fightin' chief executive to a would-be national and personal spirit guide.
"That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people.

Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever."

Andrew Sullivan and others will, no doubt, interpret that as "code words" for anti-gay marriage, I expect. Bush is saying that the truth that was true yesterday will still be true tomorrow so let's keep it true today. I don't think he meant it to be specific to any aspect, but I can't speak for the speechwriters, mheh. (I support civil/legal unions of loving homosexual couples so shut up.)

I call myself a "Social-Federalist". I jokingly say that it's "just to confuse people," but I mean it. Freedom isn't just about liberty, it requires the opportunity to build on it. Some, by virtue of their circumstances, can find few opportunities. Yet, they deserve freedom from want and freedom from desolation. Why? Because we, as Americans, believe that Freedom is our best future, so we'd better take good f#*@&ng care of those who find their talents and/or starting points to be just a bit too hard to overcome in an opportunistic world. It's all about balance, m'friends. I could tell ya the story of Kevin, but nevermind.

Anywho, George speaks:

"In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love.

Beautiful. Nixon once said that, among the world's leaders, "there are poets and there are pragmatists. Mao is all poet." I'd say that Bush is more poet than pragmatist, meaning that he is an idealogue more than a wonk. I'd put him up there with Reagan, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Madison and Lincoln. Plato's "philosopher kings" dream come true.

Pragmatists might include Nixon himself, Clinton, Wilson and Johnson. But, mainly and thankfully, they've been left to reign in other lands.

"Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth."

Ooo. A not so thinly veiled abortion reference. That's tact.

"And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time."

The conviction with with he delivered this line almost made me get up and cheer. I thought that his delivery, overall, was a bit lacking. But this was one is his bestestly delivered lines. Woo Hoo!

And, as if invoking the "thousand years is as a day and a day is as thousand years" line from the Bible:

"From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?"

Celebrating everyday's generous and unselfish character is his mission in life; you can see it in his eyes. He believes in love and People and has faith in Humanity. A dreamer. Just like us.
Some comentary I've heard asked why GWB never addressed the "great divide", the purpleness of our thought and country. Well, he did right next:
"These questions that judge us also unite us because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom. We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes - and I will strive in good faith to heal them. "

But it gets better...

"Yet, those divisions do not define America."

"We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart."


"And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free."
"We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.

When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on Liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" - they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.
History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.

When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something."

In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.

May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.

This man is neither ahead of his time nor behind it, and neither are we. This is such a moment for now. I live my life to be a good person, and I know that we're all alike in that. So, we know that it's not up to government to see after us; it's up to us to after each other.

Kerry supporters are welcomed and will be respected. But, please, wont ye at least aknowledge that Freedom can't be attained by cowering from conflict? Wont you finally admit that Peace is present only when Liberty is secured? Wont you admit that beating the shit out of tyrants is the only way to preserve our own sacred Liberty?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:37 PM | Comments (1)

December 03, 2004

Words Still Mean Things

So anyway, I was reading Mad Mikey the other day and happened upon his post about that California grade school principle who banned the Declaration Of Independence because it mentions a "Creator".

A commenter named "scroff" left, among other things, this brain dropping:

btw, according to the bible, it's ok to own slaves ;), even god handed out slaves as a reward...

"The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become rich. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys."
Genesis 24:34[sic]

Posted by scroff at November 26, 2004 07:17 PM

So I grabbed my trusty Bible (which I keep handy for moments like this) and looked up the scripture. I then wrote in the comments:

Scroff, which translation is that from? The New International Version (most widely read after the King James Version) says it differently.

A servant of Abraham is sent to find a wife for his son Isaac. He tells Rebekah and Laban in Genesis 24:34-35:

34"So he said, 'I am Abraham's servant. 35The Lord has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, manservants and maidservants, and camels and donkeys.'"

These were not slaves in that they were not stolen from their families and forced into involuntary servitude.
They were assistants, maids, etc, who served the wealthy Abraham because it was a way of life that was better than scrounging for crumbs in a ditch somewhere.
They served willingly, and were free to leave at any time. It was a kind of patronage, not slavery.

Moses brought his people OUT of slavery, and Abraham did not then turn around enslave them.

Posted by Tuning Spork at November 28, 2004 02:22 PM

Scroff was kind enough to email me the source. "That would be the New Revised Standard Bible," he wrote.

So I googled it. Turns out that this is a version of the Bible "translated" by the National Council of Churches in Christ. Ever heard of them? No? Allow me to introduce them.

The National Council of Churches acts as if they're a communist sympathizing organization. I first heard of them during the Senate hearings concerning President Clinton pardoning of those FALN terrorists.
The FALN is/was a Puerto Rican "nationalist" Castro-backed communist insurgency group. The panal before that Senate committee (chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch and co-chaired, I believe, by Sen. Dianne Feinstein) consisted of police officers and relatives who were direct victims or witnesses of the horror perpetrated by the FALN convicts.

But the last panalist was different. She was an Asian-American (judging from her speech she was definately native all-American) garbed a Catholic priest's robe and collar. "What denomination is SHE with?" I wondered.

She was a representative of the National Council of Churches, and defended the organizations efforts to secure pardons for Castro-backed killers who'd made no effort to apply for pardons on their own.

Many, at the time, thought that the pardons were a cynical attempt by President Clinton to try to garner Puerto Ricans' support for Hillary in the 2000 election. But I began to suspect that something else was going on.

Flash forward some number of months and we're dealing with the Elian Gonzales case: a Cuban boy whose mother died getting him to America.

Elian's father, Juan, is brought/sent to America to bring his son back to Cuba. Juan Gonzales's attorney is Clinton-friend Greg Craig. But how can Juan afford a high-powered attorney like Greg Craig, ye ask? Craig is being paid for by none other than *drumroll* the National Council of Churches.

Now, why in the world, you may well ask, would a "National Council of Churches in Christ" have ties with a religeon-banning statist tyrant commie like Uncle Fidel?
And, just as importantly, why on earth would a "National Council of Churches" want to write their own "new" "revised" "standard" version of the Bible?

Again, Scroff wrote:

btw, according to the bible, it's ok to own slaves ;), even god handed out slaves as a reward...
"The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become rich. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys."
Genesis 24:34[sic]

If the National Council of Churches isn't a communist Castro-backed cabal of anti-religion statists who are attempting to poison the language of scripture in order to discredit it in a very long-term effort to undermine faith in any religion other than government, then why do they act like it?.

You think I'm nuts, eh? Maybe so, I wouldn't know. But I'm going to get to the bottom of this one way or another!

The King James and New International versions of the Bible were written by Hebrew scholars. This "New Revised Standard Bible" was written, I suggest for the sake of argument, by theophobes in priests' garb while dripping fraud onto the pages all the whilst trying to tell me that my grandmother's Bible says that Abraham owned slaves.

bbl. Pardon me while I go do some research into what else these woolen-clad wolverines might be trying to pull over us..... ;)

UPDATE: Oooookay, time to eat some crow. I'm gonna surf the web for a decent recipe, then post about how just a cursory perusal of the Old Testament (after decades of neglect) can reveal to me that you I don't know/recall a fraction of what I should about it.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2004

Bouncing Baby Diaper Service, LLC

Walking around in the cold and wind all week (not to mention the new boots I bought that gave me blisters after two days of wear) made my feet, legs, lower back and (pardon me, ladies) b*lls very achy. So I soaked in a piping hot bath for about an hour this morning.

For some reason the washcloth reminded me a post on a blog this past week (I forget which right now) about disposable dish rags.

Then I remembered that on Wednesday the #4 bus was ten minutes late thus causing me to miss the connection to the Costal Link by about two minutes, and I had an hour to kill before the next one.

Downtown Bridgeport is a very old place. Buildings that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries are everywhere. Stone, marble, gargoyles. One block on Main Street is one building with shops along the street level and offices above. At one end is a McDonald's, at the other end is a Dunkin' Donuts.
After wolfing down a Sausage McMuffin w/Egg sandwich (if there's one thing that McDonald's does well it's breakfast), I headed over to Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee.

As I sat at a table blowing on the coffee to cool it, an old guy was flirting with the gals behind the counter.

"Are you married?" he asked one of the gals.

"Am I married? Yes, I am, sir. Why... are you looking for a woman?"

"She's available." said a second gal as she pointed to another.

"I'm available!" the third gal said excitedly.

The old man pointed and looked at her slyly, "You sexy enchantress you..."

"AAAAH!" "HAHAHA!!" "WOOOOO!!!" they gaffawed.

Then he turned, winked at me and walked over to my table.

"How old a man are you?" he asked.


"Aaah. 73 here, and if there's one thing I've learned it's that life is too short to walk around with a frown. When you smile at people they always smile back!"

"Yep, that's absolutely true." I nodded with a smile.

He asked if he could join me and, of course, I invited him to sit down.
He told me some interesting stories about his family. He was one of 8 kids, grew up in Fairfield (next town over), no electricity, outhouse. He said that if kids had responsibility and chores to do -- like washing diapers -- they wouldn't so bored and aimless and stray into nihilistic behavior (or something to that effect).

When he mentioned the wastefulness of disposable diapers filling up landfills, I mentioned the new disposable dishrags. He shook his head sadly.
Anyway, after a while I had to thank him for the conversation and go catch my bus.

So I was in the tub this morning and thought about how it be better if people washed and re-used diapers instead of throwing away piles and piles of disposable diapers. It would be a lot cheaper and a lot less wasteful, but the problem is that nobody wants to wash diapers; yecch!!. Then I thought, "Why don't I do it!

Let's say I had a diaper cleaning service and 2,000 customers (from Bridgeport and the the five or six surrounding towns).
Let's say I had ten industrial strength machines that could wash and bleach and steam and fold and bale about 12,000 diapers a day, and six people to operate them (3 each in two shifts).

Let's say I had 10 trucks and drivers to do the 1,000 pick-ups and deliveries per day, and a full-time mechanic to keep the trucks maintained. (Each truck would need an oil and filter change at least once a week.)
And let's say I had two additional employees to do paperwork and answer the phone.

(An additional thought on this: While I'm figuring this for 2,000 customers (babies), a lot of the diapers would be picked-up at - and delivered to - Day Care centers, so the drivers wouldn't have to make the 100 stops a day that it seems at first glance that they'd each have to make.)

20 people @ about $2,000 a month each would be about a $40,000 payroll per month.

Extrapolating from my friend's plastic molding business, I'd estimate the monthly electricity bill would be about $7,000. Oil to heat the place: $200 a month. Natural Gas to heat the machines: maybe $1,000 a month. Gasoline for the trucks: I guestimate it would be somewhere around $14,000 - $16,000 a month.
Lease and/or loan payments on the machines and trucks: probably less than $10,000 per month, (I could put down payments on them with money collected by selling stock shares to investors - if I wanted to go public.)

So, the cost of the machines, trucks, maintenance, payroll, supplies (cleansers, bleach, etc) might be somewhere around $70,000 a month to operate. Divided by 2,000 that'd be $35 per customer per month, or, say, $8 or $9 a week.
But, since I'd obviously want to make a profit because it's always good to have some funds available for emergencies, growth, employee benefits, maybe a hot tub in the employee lounge, I'll charge $12 a week for the service.
The Bouncing Baby Diaper Service will pick up you're dirty diapers (from a special box on your front porch) and leave a wrapped bale of fresh smelling bright white clean ones 3 times a week on a schedule of either Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, for a mere 12 bucks a week.
It's good for the environment (we'll stop dumping those disposable things in piles of garbage that don't biodegrade), and it's good for the customers (saves money [?] and trips to the supermarket to buy and carry home huge packages of puffy evilness).

(Another additional thought: My recallection of cloth diapers is that they tended to be leaky, soaked through, a were generally messy compared to the best modern diapers. So let's assume that I've designed and manufactured a diaper that incorporates all of the best qualities of disposable diapers -- that snug non-leaky absorbancy -- into a washable re-usable diaper.)

Now, my question: How much do people spend on disposable diapers nowadays? Is it more than $12 a week? A lot more? Would this diaper service be such a bargain that new parents would jump at the chance to pay for this service? Anybody got any thoughts on this?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 02:45 PM | Comments (7)

January 18, 2004

Lunar Return; then onto Mars

Why build a moonbase and/or go to Mars when we still have such suffering and strife here on Earth?

In the movie Things To Come a Moonshot is set against the backdrop of seemingly unending war. Cabal and Passworthy have a son and daughter aboard the rocket that blasts off at the conclusion of the story; destination: the Moon.

As war still rages in various theaters across the world, Passworthy has misgivings and wonders if we should be investing our treasure in the Moonshot.

This the final scene from H.G. Wells' shooting script of the 1936 film Things To Come:

PART XVI: Finale
[An observatory at a high point above Everytown. A telescopic mirror of the night sky showing the cylinder as a very small speck against a starry background. Cabal and Passworthy stand before this mirror.]

CABAL: "There! There they go! That faint gleam of light." [Pause.]

PASSWORTHY: "I feel--what we have done is--monstrous."

CABAL: "What they have done is magnificent."

PASSWORTHY: "Will they return?"

CABAL: "Yes. And go again. And again--until the landing can be made and the moon is conquered. This is only a beginning."

PASSWORTHY: "And if they don't return--my son, and your daughter? What of that, Cabal?"

CABAL [(with a catch in his voice but resolute)]: "Then presently--others will go."

PASSWORTHY: "My God! Is there never to be an age of happiness? Is there never to be rest?"

CABAL: "Rest enough for the individual man. Too much of it and too soon, and we call it death. But for MAN no rest and no ending. He must go on--conquest beyond conquest. This little planet and its winds and ways, and all the laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about him, and at last out across immensity to the stars. And when he has conquered all the deeps of space and all the mysteries of time--still he will be only beginning."

PASSWORTHY: "But we are such little creatures. Poor humanity. So fragile--so weak."

CABAL: "Little animals, eh?"

PASSWORTHY: "Little animals."

CABAL: "If we are no more than animals then we must snatch at our little scraps of happiness and live and suffer and pass, mattering no more than all the other animals do--or have done."
[He points out at the stars.]
"It is that--or this. All the universe--or nothingness.... Which shall it be, Passworthy?"

[The two men fade out against the starry background until only the stars remain. The musical finale becomes dominant. CABAL'S voice is heard repeating through the music:]
"Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?"
[A louder stronger voice reverberates through the auditorium:]


Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:36 PM | Comments (5)
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