Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Saturday note or two


The Birchies are in a warmer place. Having access to a computer, an update is absolutely necessary.

1. Everyone with a reasonably high level of intelligence should go see THE READER, which is one of the most fascinating and complex stories I've seen on film since A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. I wish I was at my coffee klatch talking about this with Irish Mike, Gigi, Sparty, and a bunch of other folks. This is a great movie!

2. We drove through Ohio to get here, and that was one day after the ice storm. Ohio is one of those states that has the stones to charge people to use some of its highways. If they're going to do that, they ought to have great service in cleaning away ice and snow. I don't think they do.

Now that we're here in the sunny south, it's great to be able to go out with only shirtsleeves, even with a sweater vest. Next week, we'll be in Florida and may not need the sweaters.

3. The almost 20 billion dollars which Wall Street thieves paid themselves and their fellow con artists in bonuses out of taxpayer dollars is not acceptable. None of us should be willing to stand for this. We should be rioting outside their offices right now, or at least writing wicked entries in our blogs. Everyone who gave anyone else a bonus should be run up the steps of the guillotine and hacked into bloody oblivion. This is why the French did that to their ruling class of greedy bastards, and why we should emulate them.

4. Some politicians are suggesting that the maximum pay for any executive in a company collecting taxpayer funds should not exceed the pay for the President of the United States. I whole-heartedly agree. Write your Senators and Congressperson.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

There are maybe half-a-dozen horrible themes in this news story about the parents who killed themselves and their children. It speaks of despair in these hard economic times, to the callousness of power, to the hopelessness of depression, to the easy answers posed by readily acquired guns. CLICK

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Denise Karbon of Italy 
holds the women's World Cup slalom trophy 
as a team mate sprays champagne 
in the finish area during the World Cup Alpine ski finals.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Update on the shooting of the foreign exchange students

The Pink Suspenders

Now one of the top mid Michigan tourist attractions

mayhem revisited

We now know that the coach of the Michigan State hockey team has suspended the two players for the rest of the season, the two who mugged another player during last Saturday's game. No one should take any satisfaction from this suspension.

State has a long and glorious history in the hockey game and that should not be overlooked. No fan, even of the other team, should take pleasure in seeing State face this punishment.

Rivalry is a good thing. Hatred and violence are not "rivalry" and not sport.

guillotine time

Yeah! Let's keep score. Let's count heads!

I wish more people would take my suggestion seriously. We need to set up guillotines on Wall Street and maybe in Washington D.C.

The French found out 200 years ago that you cannot just expect the privileged class of the rich and arrogant to share with the rest of us. They will grab everything they can and let everyone else go to hell. In America, we have developed a class of business people, "educated" in the business schools of our best universities to be obsessed with the concept of acquiring wealth, not because unbounded wealth is needed by anyone, but because it's a "way to keep score." Any sense of decency or shame is erased and the person becomes a new person, an American Businessman (ta-da!) - one unencumbered by a sense of proportionality or humility.

The only thing to do is what the French did. Cut off their heads. Run them out of their lavish bathrooms and boardrooms on Wall Street, drive them from their expensive corporate jets, take away their secret bank accounts in the Bahamas, and escort them down to the guillotines on the pavement. Televise the whole thing on ESPN and, fittingly, LIFE television. It is much more educational to watch the heads roll than to see some horse-faced John Thain explain why he needs a $35,000 toilet paid for by the taxpayers of the country. Shitting in a gold-rimmed toilet may be proper for the Duke of Duckwad or the Viscount of Vichyssoise, but there's no reason we should pay for it so that some dedicated do-bad can feel satisfied at the bowels. (Go here to read about it: CLICK )

I see that Richard Fuld, who presided with such flair over the destruction of Lehman Brothers, has deeded his $13 million house to his wife. So, you see, it will be protected against lawsuits just in case anyone has the temerity or the resources to try to bring him to answer for his leadership of a failing corporation. (Go here to read about this rip-off CLICK )

I see that Rush Limbaugh, whose disdain for us ordinary folks is classic, has just signed a contract for hundreds of millions of dollars. This is for the privilege of using free American airways to disparage the sort of democratic society that gave him his millions. (Go here to read about Rush and his fortune: CLICK )

My friend Bill tells me that it used to be that if a guy invested in a business scheme and it failed, he failed with it. If you take an entrepreneurial risk, the possibility of failure means you may lose your job or your wealth. No longer, though. This is not the entrepreneurial spirit that guides Wall Street businesses. It's all ups-ups-ups and no downs for the capitalist who works for our big corporations. If your business enterprise fails, let the taxpayers bail you out and you go on to a new job at a place where your cronies sit on the Board of Directors.

I'm telling you friends, the answer is GUILLOTINES.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Quiz a la Felix.

Felix has sent this question:

What was the question asked of Clinton when he said, "That depends on what the definition of 'is' is?"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Welcome to America: Bang-bang!

UNKNOWN GUNMAN SHOOTS DOWN FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENTS

"A gunman opened fire outside an under-21 nightclub in Portland, killing two girls and wounding several other people in an apparently random act, police said.

Five victims were students from other countries(Ecuador, France, Guatemala and Taiwan) and another was a Portland resident planning a trip as an exchange student ..."


"At first blush, this incident appears to be a random act of violence, of the kind that makes you despair for America," police Chief Rosie Sizer said.


See the whole story: CLICK

Monday Friends Report, 01/26/09


IRISH MIKE - probably the sanest person in Michigan, noted that the "Girls Gone Wild" crew showed up at a tavern in Saginaw and he missed the show! Curses! Reports are that girls came from all over the area to be go wild.

BINA - threw a party after the Inauguration last Tuesday. It was a great time. Toasts were drunk to the success of the new government. She held the gathering at Pam's house. Pam bought all the wine, provided the snacks, and sent out the invitation, so as you can see, Bina's party was a huge success.

PAM - won the $5 award for answering the quiz last week.

FELIX - I'm going hiking the week after the Super Bowl. Hoping to do 90 miles in New York. Wish me luck.

====


====

MARI - did not show up at the coffee house in her pink suspenders as expected, but says it will happen "soon". She had several well-planned excuses which were accepted by her fans -- at least for the time being.

STEVE - complains incessantly about the snow blower he was given for a Christmas present. It's not that great at blowing snow, but who knows what other talents it might develop.

IRENE - and family are safely back in Australia.

ALICE - looking lovely.

SCOT - has been way too busy. It seems like he's the only one with much work lately and he has too much. He and Trase have been invited to Florida for 10 days, but have many barriers in the way of getting this invitation accepted.

====
Some Opinions:

FELIX - I feel we're gonna have to figure out a way to stop giving the rich all the money (e.g., advertising.) Do you know what happens to the price of a product when a company gives a guy who is already filthy rich (actors, musicians, athletes) hundreds of thousands of dollars to do a commercial? ) I think there will be a 'cleansing' at some point. When the average guy can no longer afford $200 a ticket to see an NFL football game or NBA basketball game or rock concert...these owners won't be able to pay these athletes $10 million a year...

PAT W - "Go see Benjamin Button. It's just a great film."

SPARTY - There is no justification for the type of "play" that resulted in the injury [to the Michigan hockey player] - although in my opinion most hockey players are just this side of being goons.

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some humor:

From JERRY

====

from BILL FROM WNNCO: A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

not a rivalry; mayhem

[All text is from M-Live]
CLICK

STEVE KAMPFER
======
But the period also turned ugly with 53 seconds left. Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer, playing along the boards in his own zone, was checked and clothes-lined from behind by Andrew Conboy, who appeared to slam Kampfer to the ice. As Kampfer fell, MSU's Corey Tropp appeared to whack him in the neck area with his stick. Kampfer had knocked Tropp off his feet in a head-on collison in open ice moments before.

As Kampfer lay motionless face-first on the ice, a fight ensued among players, and Tropp was ejected and Conboy received two roughing penalties.

After the game, Kampfer was seen being transported via gurney to an ambulance with a brace around his neck. No further details on Kampfer were available. Berenson refused to comment, saying he didn't see the play unfold.

Meanwhile, just minutes earlier outside of Michigan State's locker room at the opposite end of Yost Ice Arena, a man attempted to attack Michigan State coach Rick Comley, who was heard yelling "I want a cop and I want security right now."

No other details were available regarding that incident, including whether or not the man physically touched Comley.

Comley said he apologized to Berenson after the game and promised that he'd "take care of" his players, implying he'd levy his own disciplinary measures.


CONBOY

TROPP

Sunday silly Sites

Are these the ugliest animals in the world? CLICK

Go take a test of how skilled a driver you are. CLICK

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wacko-of-the-Week, January 24, 2009

There are plenty of nominees for this award.
1. Justice John Roberts - if anyone is supposed to know the Constitution, it's the Chief Justice of the United States. It's just as I expected, though, when the guy was chosen for the job; any good friend of that man in Texas is probably a rhetorical dunce in his own right. The Presidential Oath is written word-for-word in the Constitution. All you had to do was look it up.

2. Timothy Geithner - who is going to be your next Secretary of the Treasury. Turns out he can't properly fill out his own income tax form, he evades paying taxes, and a person like that is dishonest, I do believe.

3. Aretha Franklin

She was nominated for her hat, but I'm not going to tolerate this nomination because I thought the hat looked very cool. And so did Aretha, herself. And by the way, if you're going to have the Queen of Soul sing a patriotic song, you need to loosen up, and sit back and enjoy, and hear America serenaded in soul. So, y'all, kwitcherbitchin.
==

4. Haiyang Zhu of Ningbo, China - who traveled all the way to the U.S. to lose his marbles. He decapitated a fellow Chinese exchange student in the coffee shop at Virginia Tech. When the police arrived, Haiyang was clutching the head in his arms and smiling. As anyone can see, he has not been properly Americanized. If he were, he would-a shot 'er.
======

WINNER:


Our selection of
Wacko of the Week is
 
Ahmed Tibtani, Cincinnati, 
who really screwed up when he went on an alleged crime spree with another dude who was a certain give-away. The charges are: aggravated robbery and two counts of felonious assault for robbing and shooting two people on Wednesday and then robbing a third person on Thursday.

Tibtani made a fundamental mistake in picking friends, a mistake that deserves the appellation, "wacko." You see, his partner in crime had "FUCK YOU" tattooed on his cheeks. He wasn't that hard to find, evidently, ta-da!

We've tried to tell you, children, about this problem. If you're going to be a gansta, you gotta try not to be too obvious. Cherish your Wacko Award in jail, Ahmed. Nineteen-year-olds in prison need all the moral support they can get.

Friday, January 23, 2009

(click on the cartoon to enlarge it_)

Cartoon by Jim Day. See more CLICK

I've noticed

1. I've noticed that if you drink a beer or two before you go to see an Academy Award Best-Picture Nominee, you can easily fall asleep. (And, it should be foot-noted that this person thinks it is highly unlikely that The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttoncan win the Oscar, and that Brad Pitt is unlikely to be Best Actor. )

2. I've noticed that since the election of Obama, black people and white people are feeling much more comfortable in company with one another. This alone is a powerful outcome of the election.

3. I've noticed that when people talk about closing Guantanamo they are usually confused about what type of people are being held there. Probably, this is because the government can't decide either and has deliberately clouded the issue. Are they criminals in there? Are they Prisoners of War? Are they stateless persons or nationals of other countries? What we should all agree to is that they are simply people and thus should be treated well, even as captives, and should be able to foresee an end to their imprisonment within a legally reasonable time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's first day: Our worst fears are fulfilled.

by Ritter Mandimuss,
Washington correspondent

Wednesday, January 21 2009 - The worst fears of patriotic Americans like Sarah Palin have been realized. Wearing his tribal dashiki, yesterday Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th and last president of the United States. Placing his hand firmly on the Koran, he swore to defend the constitution of the United State of Arabia.

With a large cadre of his bomb-throwing radical friends watching, he repeated his name "Hussein Obama" loudly to the Chief Justice, and then uttered the paean, "So help me Allah!"

Prior to the swearing in ceremony, he and his family, Michelle, Malia, and the communistically-named Sasha, retreated to the newly constructed National Mosque, where the women were dismissed to the basement for ablutions, and the men in the presidential party took up prayer rugs and knelt facing the East. During the prayers, the destruction of Israel was urged upon Allah.

Following the inauguration ceremonies, Obama went directly to the White House where he signed the "Instrument of Surrender" to al Quaeda, just as we all suspected he would do. "The long national act of aggression is now behind us," he commented, as he ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to turn all remaining military equipment in the Middle East over to the Iraqi government.


some stories from the foreign press

The Guardian, London - Let America's remaking begin

Le Monde, Paris - Une journée "inoubliable" avant le retour à la réalité- One unforgettable day until realtiy returns

Le Fiaro, Paris - Sur les pas de Lincoln, Obama fait son entrée à Washington- Upon Lincoln's steps, Obama enters Washington

La Repubblicas, Rome- RomeIl primo giorno di Obama Guantanamo, processi sospesi - Day one for Obama, Guanmtanmo business supended

Elmundo - Madrid - Barack Obama pide 'una nueva era de responsabilidad'- Barack Obama asks for 'a new age of responsibility'

Der Spiegel, Hamburg - Obama hat ' Reaktiviertes amerikanisches Magnetism' -Obama Has 'Reactivated American Magnetism'

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich - Obama hat Arbeit als US-Präsident aufgenommen - Obama has taken up the toil of the US Presidency

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MARI - promises to wear the pink suspenders on Wednesday. For this area, it may become the next tourist attraction: The Castle Museum, the Children's Zoo, and the Pink Suspenders.


Praise song for the day.
by Elizabeth Alexander
poem for the inauguration
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

some words that mark the day

SOME things
heard during
the Obama
in-
augur-
ation


"I just had to be here!"

"I never thought I'd live to see this day."

"This is the fulfillment of Martin Luther King's 'Dream'. "

"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met."

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do."

Monday, January 19, 2009

good thing

Bush commutes prison sentences of 2 former US border agents
By DEB RIECHMANN
 Associated Press Writer
1:55 PM EST, January 19, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush on Monday commuted the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration.


Friends

THIS blogger would like to know what features of the blog you would like to keep, if any. Tell me.

The blog will be shut down for February for a vacation in Florida.
=========


Notes from some friends:

A SPECIAL REQUEST for information - Do you suppose that someone in your group of contacts would have a copy of a book named "HIGH WIRE" by Peter Gossellin that I could borrow long enough to read? (Alice)


IRENE - and her family, we have heard through the grapevine, left Michigan for Australia after the winter vacation, with a stop-over in Costa Rica. There, they were caught at ground zero of the earthquake that struck a week or so ago. Though many people were injured or killed, our friends were helicoptered out safely after the quake, although their rental car was stranded and may not be recovered for months.

More advice needed-
IRISH MIKE - is going to buy a new car. Wants American. Wants a reasonably economical, gasoline efficient model. Is the Pontiac G6 or the Pontiac Vibe a good choice? What do you guys say?

SANDY - has left for North Carolina and Florida for several weeks.

STEVE and BRENDA - are leaving soon their postponed honeymoon to Honduras.

MARSHA - reports there have been very cold days and nights even in Carolina.

TRASE - the new mother and new baby are doing great! 
=====

ALICE's contribution:


GIGI's CONTRIBUTION- a real thought provoker.
A Prayer for a New President and a New America
by Shane Claiborne
from Sojourners Magazine, January 2009

God of love, grace and hope, thank you for creating a perfect world. Forgive us for the mess we have made of it. Forgive us for the groaning of creation, for the millions who die of hunger and curable diseases, for warehousing people in prisons and using them for labor, for the scandal of billions wasted in war, for an economy that mirrors the seven deadly sins, for the violence and greed in our own hearts. Save us from ourselves.

Give us the courage to bless the poor in a world that blesses the middle class, to bless the meek in a world that admires aggression, to bless the hungry in a world that feeds the already fed, to bless the merciful in a world that shows no mercy on evildoers, to bless the pure in heart in a world of clutter and noise, to bless the peacemakers in a world that baptizes bombs.

Give us imagination that we might not conform to the patterns of this world, that we might shatter indifference and interrupt injustice with grace, that we might choose the cross over the sword, that we might be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves, that we might consider the lilies and sparrows as they shame Wall Street's splendor, that we might choose the dream of God over the dreams of nations, that we might cling to the God who so loved the world, not just America, that we might allow our Jesus to change America rather than America to change our Jesus.

(Shane Claiborne is a founding partner of The Simple Way, a radical faith community in Philadelphia.)



CHRIS's contribution:

Scottish bar
stool for
kilt wearers.

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===
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JERRY's contribution:
The Best Garage Sale Item:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

INAUGURATION CONCERT for Obama:
Sunday, Lincoln Memorial, D.C.

One of the most joyful events I can remember watching on T.V. This is a triumph of expectations, but also, I believe, a thank you to the forces of history which have brought us here to an unique moment. What was unthinkable a generation ago, a thing I did not believe could happen until I saw it unfold on election night, has actually come to pass. Although I was not an Obamaniac, I think this is a more significant historical event than the landing on the moon or the pulling down of the Berlin Wall.

I admit I'm a sicko, but this gives even me the goosebumps. Reborn babies? CLICK
JOHN MORTIMER wrote witty stories and created wonderful characters.  He died. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

fair and balanced

From our Washington correspondent, Ritter Mandimuss:

"George Bush had the decency to bid me "farewell" the other evening, so I would like to reciprocate."

WACKO-of-the-Week: Sarah Palin for reasons so numerous that merely listing them would exceed this blog's alloted bandwidth.

Friday, January 16, 2009

the $5 has already been won.
The check is in the mail.
Some notes I've recently received:

[Thanks to the folks who sent compliments about the blog. As you can see, I have not quit doing it]
===============

MARSHA- It is not lost on me that you have twisted her [i.e., Dorothy Parker's] words to suit your own ends.

(footnote from Bud: Five dollars to the first person who figures out what she's talking about.)

ALICE - want to know who loves you more, your dog or your spouse? Lock them in your car trunk for a few hours and then see how they react when you open it.

PAM - I fear that Obama is facing what Jennifer Granholm did when she took office, a mess from the previous office holder. I trust that he will make a difference for the country. Closing Gitmo is an enormous change and I am glad he continues to say he will close it. Then there is just the whole attitude of attempting to find common ground among people and I think that is a very big step towards reconcilliation in the whole country instead of the polarization of the right wing which has been in the forefront for so long.

FELIX - We've got about 4 below zero right now. It's beautiful out, though ... Sorry that you've got the winter blues. I've got a bit of something myself. No drive. No motivation. Just want to lie around all the time.

GEORGE W - "Bye."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NOTICE

This blogger is currently undergoing a reevaluation of purpose and may decide to discontinue this effort in favor of other avenues of  adventure. 
ONE WEEK 

There are seven days left in the reign of this perfect son-of-a-bitch.  The amount of damage he and his pack of charlatans, thieves and liars have done to this country could not be more perfect if we had elected instead, a pack of well-known traitors.  They have destroyed most of the economic, military, and instructive power of the nation.  I do not expect it to be re-gained in my lifetime. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday silly Sites

Now that the new Great Depression is well set-in, why not go for the depression fashion? Here you can buy a cap just like the guys wore on the bread lines in 1932. CLICK

What one source considers the 10 worst corporations CLICK

Write it in English then let it get kooky. This can be quite a bit of silly fun. (CAUTION: Some of the users sometimes get obscene.) CLICK

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wacko-of-the-Week, January 10, 2009



Rajini Narayan

Australian Arsonist 


This burnt bulk is all that remains of the home of Rajini Narayan and her husband, Satish. Rajini thought he was fooling around on her, and so she set fire to his genitals with an explosive fluid that burned down the house and killed the victim. As she said, "His penis belongs only to me." 

 Now it belongs to the ages.

To discourage such behavior in the future by other distraught wives, we are heaping shame on this deed by awarding Mrs. Narayan our Wacko Award. I dare anyone out there to challenge the fitness of this award.  


Go here to find numerous sources of information on this crime: CLICK

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Loyal Opposition (#12)

Well, I love this one. Obama has not even been sworn in yet, and already the opposition is making him a poster boy for welfare. Do you ever think that some of the people out there have lived far beyond their normal lifespan? I mean, still portraying Democrats as welfare cheats is pretty old-fashioned. This is like criticizing Republicans for being straight-laced and puritanical.
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

some things I've noticed

1. George Bush has virtually disappeared. He reappeared briefly to host a meeting of people more important than he is at the White House. Anyway, I noticed he's been missing a lot lately and I want to say "Thanks!" That's step one. A good second step would be seppuku.  

2. I've noticed that every time there's a cold spell, some asshole writes to the local papers and says, "Ha, ha! You see, there's no such thing as global warming."  I guess the same idiot could build a two-week beach vacation around one sunny day. 

3. My friends are very interesting people. Lots of my blog readers are. I've noticed that most other people's friends are less interesting. This means one of two things. Either I have been very clever in choosing my friends or my friends have ben very careless in choosing me. 

4. When I suggest that guillotines be set up on Wall Street and a thousand business hotshots be sidetracked as they leave their posh offices, in order to whack their heads off, I'm serious. Why do so many other people think this is a joke? 


TUESDAY QUIZ UPDATE
A couple of people have sent correct answers. Anyone else want a Gold Star?

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker (77)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Goodbye Adolf Merckle

According to press reports, German businessman Mr. Merckle, down to his last few billions of dollars and denied German government bailout assistance, stepped in front of an on-rushing train, thus leaving to others the problem of sorting out his business machinations and cleaning up his biological remains. CLICK

This is highly recommended behavior for others similarly placed in many other countries. Like the U.S. for instance.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday Evening Quiz, 01/06/09

Here are some places that have been prominent in the news lately. Can you name them?


Monday, January 5, 2009

damn them all

How are we supposed to feel about the latest war in the Middle East?

Are we supposed to sympathize with someone? Who?
Are we supposed to be cheering for someone? Who?
Are we expected to sink more of our tax dollars into working on some solution? To what end?
Do we have to give more aid? Why?

I think there has never been a time in my competent awareness when the Israelis were not being attacked or they were not attacking someone. It is hard for me to recall any period of time when the streets of some Arab capitol were not filled with ululating women screaming at the sky, or packs of men parading up and down dusty Levantine streets carrying coffins and banners and hollering their hatred for the U.S. What are we supposed to do about it, now?

I know that Bill Clinton worked hard on trying to reach some solution. Up to the last day of his presidency, he had the warring, feuding, praying parties struggling with the problem. Eventually this deal fell apart, too, like all the other efforts at racial/religious/cultural/national reconciliation in that painful and nasty corner of the world. [Read about the Clinton initiative according to TIME MAGAZINE here: CLICK ]



No one is more cynical than I am about the effects of religious fanaticism on the welfare of mankind, and for that reason, possibly, I have lost any right to speak of it at all. I'm inclined to damn them all for their obstinacy and belligerence. I define a religious fanatic as anyone who knows what it is I am expected to believe about God, Heaven, and Eternal Salvation. To my way of thinking, you all out there have as much as you can handle figuring out what you believe; just leave the rest of us poor dupes to our own peaceful ponderings.

I believe the religious books of these religions are filled with the warfare of the nations. How righteous are the chapters detailing the bloody triumphs of one sandy tribe over another. This is evidently the will of God we see at work. Well, then let us savor their misery.

I know that the Bush administration with its light-weight foreign policy and inept Secretary of State, has done nothing to solve the problems in the land of perpetual warfare between Allah and God, but then, maybe they can't. Why not simply let them fight and kill each other unremittingly for the next few generations?

In this process, thank your lucky stars for the separation of church and state in this country, and never, ever, let anyone, especially the legions of the religiously arrogant, take that away from you. If you lose that, you will lose every freedom you have.

MONDAY FRIENDS REPORT, January 5, 2009

There's lots of talk about basketball around here because it's Michigan State country, and MSU is doing very well. Also, the Wolverines have won more than usual. In the sports vein, the Red Wings are playing super hockey these days, and the Detroit Lions have died a thousand well-deserved deaths.

Weatherwise, we have had every kind of nasty weather possible in mid Michigan this winter. We escaped setting a record for December snowfall by tenths of an inch. Every car is covered with dirt and salt, and half the roads are dangerous because the local governments are out of money to keep them clear. This is what the military used to call: SNAFU.
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What's happening in some people's lives:

TRASE: It has been decided that Trase should get a silver star for Valor, for having a child right in the middle of the holidays. She says she also deserves a gold star for completing her motherhood assignment in such a very competent way.

MARSHA - has finally returned to work in South Carolina. She followed her team to Tampa for the Outback Bowl, where it was unfortunately defeated. She is a great sport about losses, and an even better sport about wins. As she said, which bowl did Michigan go to?

Then she added this note, about the Book Report Assignment:
To my BFF Bud I gave the book Mass Historia: 365 Days of Historical Facts and (Mostly) Fictions. He knows so much about history and has a seemingly insatiable desire for more, so it seemed perfect. Plus he has a terrific sense of humor and I’m hoping he’ll get, if not 365 good chuckles, at least a few. Finally, it has to get challenging finding interesting information for his blog that so many of us have become addicted to, and he does it almost 365 days a year. So, don’t you agree that I am an amazing gift-picker-outer?


PAM - home safely from North Carolina where she and her husband spent holidays with family.

MARI - received some pink suspenders for a Christmas present, buy not many people have seen her wear them. Come on, they're really cute.

ALICE - is recommending a prison term for Bush and other "criminals" in the government.

DIG S - who recently moved to California from Michigan, sent this note: This is an interesting transition in my life. I hope it will work out.
If it doesn't make you very happy, then Michigan will welcome you back.

IRISH MIKE - received a 20 years old book by Tip O'neill, former Speaker of the House. He has become an avid reader of historical biography. Mike reports that in the last big melt-down, his basement got partially flooded, even with a new sump pump (float stuck), and the mess was a major pain right in the middle of the holidays.

MIKE ALMOST FROM CARROLLTON - reports his safe entry into Florida where he plans to spend the next couple of months basking in the sun and, perhaps, frolicking with women in the pool. He says that after Christmas, Florida was having a vast emigration: The north-bound lanes of I75 were jammed for over 150 miles and the Fla turnpike for the next 50 miles. One accident backed traffic at a standstill for over 5 miles on I75 and 7 miles on the turnpike. Thankfully I was going south.

PAT W - showed up at coffee klatch to show pictures of a grandchild, who really is "perfect" of course.

SPARTY - wonder if there isn't, somewhere, a grandparent whose kid isn't "perfect" and talented in every way.

LINDA - says, "Sure I'll look at your grandchildren, but remember then you have to look at pictures of my dogs!" Linda also produced her countdown keychain which tells her Bush has 14 days and 12 hours left in office.

MIKE THE ADMINISTRATOR - asks if anyone could tell him one "good thing" that Bush accomplished in his 8 years. No one could think of any. This was not a joke. A table full of people looked at each other and finally it was suggested, "Once he fell off a Segway."

SANDY - reports the engagement of one daughter and the expectancy of another daughter. Life is sailing along for all of us, it seems. Sandy also needs a few more people for the France trip next fall, so that she'll have enough to constitute a large enough group.

LIAM - has passed his first throw-up without ill effects. Maybe he ate too much.

DASHMANN (Aka Grandpa Herpe) and SKUZZA - are taking friends to Ann Arbor for a Bluegrass concert, as a Christmas present.

FELIX - says that ten years ago today, he reached the end of his long hike. The temperatures were freezing the morning he drew himself out of the shelter and faced the last 7 miles. Then,
"There it is. That rock there, 30 yards ahead. That rock is what I just
spent 5 months and 5 days, thousands of dollars, and 2,160.3 miles
walking to. 'You're kidding?' No, no I'm not. With fists clenched and
high over my head, I took my last steps to the rock. It looked just like
I remembered it. It looked just like I wanted it to. A bent knee and a
kiss and it was over. What had become my life, a wonderful life, was
over with that kiss. That is something that doesnt' happen much in the secular world. Reaching a definite, visible end to an undertaking, an 'accomplishment', with a sign or plaque that says, in essence, 'Either do it again, or do something else.' " What does that mean? I don't know. But that's what happens."

... and then he added a commendation:

I was going to write an open letter to
those that had a profound affect on my life. My parents, my brother, my
ex-wife, Elmer, Scooter, Lizzie, a few other randoms here and there,
Patch, Groovin' Moose, Luke and Jane, Sundown...Pokey and Stoat...I was going to write
something to each of them explaining what they meant to me. Here is what
I wrote:

1/5/99
Your Move
Felix J. McGillicuddy
ME -->GA '98

=====
What some people send us to smile about:

BILL FROM WNNCO:

Says this is the worst built snowman he's ever seen.

JERRY - wants to know if this is a felony or a moosedemeanor:


=====

Some recommendations

LAURA - recommends the movie DOUBT.

BUD - highly recommends the movie MAN ON A WIRE.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Post-Bush La-la Land.

For all of you silly peeps (ahem, like me, for instance) who thought the U.S. might have a good chance, after the last election, of coming back together again, here's your answer.

Igor Panarin's Prediction, America will 'Disintegrate' in 2010.
He's a professor in Russia who thinks the U.S. will fall apart. This is a game that can be played by everyone, so you might want to consider how our country should look after its reshuffle.


CLICK

Book Report, Christmas Gifts

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed. Several people answered that they hadn't given books this Christmas. Some people gave more books than they listed here. In any event, one thing this list shows is that people know what they're doing when they give away books. They try to make them fit like that sweater or socks they also gave!
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AMY - gave her college student son A Man, A Can, and a Plan, basic survival cooking.

JANET To my daughter, Hilary, How to Commit Suicide in South Africa, Sue Coe and Holly Metz. Again to Hilary, Migra Mouse, Lalo Alcatraz. To my daughter, Holly, I gave The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne.

BINA - I gave The Soloist to 2 of my daughters because it was an excellent read & because one is a nurse & one is a psychologist so I knew they would enjoy it. (I would have given it to another daughter who is a teacher but she is too busy during the school year to read-- so she'll have to borrow it in the summer.)

ALICE : Gave away many books she "has in stock" (she has loads of books, it seems) to:
I gave "Hope Was Here" to Angie because she loves to read and had started it once and lost it.
I gave a book on raising herbs to daughter Chris because she's interested in that...
I gave Thalia several 'chapter books' because she also loves to read ...
I gave Margaret books on Homeopathy and preparedness because she is very involved in both subjects ...
I gave Diana a Better homes and Gardens Golden Cook Book because she likes cook books ...
I gave Eric books on space and science because that's one of his interests ...

STEVEN and BRENDA - gave their father, Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals.

BUD - I gave my friend Marsha the book about the library cat, Dewey, and I gave my son, Scot, John Adams because he asked for it and I had a copy which I'd read. I gave my other son The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes because he had borrowed my copy and I took it back.

PAM - I gave How the Jews Saved the World to my son-in-law for Hannakkah because he is Jewish. I gave the book about the library cat, Dewey, to my step-daughter because she is a librarian and a cat lover and also to Julie because she loves her new cat. We gave The Shack to several people because we liked its theology. We gave The Outliers to our niece because she loves the author and also Anne Lamott's book about her conversion to religion. (I can't think of the name of the book right now, but I love it and my niece is seeking religious meaning right now in her life.)

IRISH MIKE - gave a friend Saginaw in Vintage Postcards, by Roberta Morey. (Mike also received American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, by Jon Meacham.

GIGI -We gave granddaughter Lena a pop-up book of Christmas songs and to son-in-law Luke a true-life adventure set in Alaska ... This was appropriate for him because he is an extreme adventure kind of guy and his job takes him to Alaska quite regularly.
This is the very first year that a book was not part of each grandchild's gift. Grandma Claus had to cut back somewhere, unfortunately.

PAT W - I gave my son Steve, Woodworker's Handbook because he expressed an interest in learning to do woodworking, and besides he might make me something.

Sunday silly Sites

Odd names for odd things: CLICK

Try this little game. Maybe you can get the guy running. I sure couldn't. CLICK

Here, smarty, go flunk a simple biology quiz: CLICK

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wacko-of-the-Week, December 3, 2009

CHIP SALTSMAN,
aka "Chip the Magic Wacko"



John Saltsman is known as "Chip." It was a name he received because he was named after his father, John. The Saltsmans have apparently always been a clever bunch with a fine sense of humor. He still goes by the name "Chip" in much the same way that I go by the name "Bud" because I remind people of my father, who was a dandelion. Or my good friend "John" who reminds everyone of his father, John. Why they didn't call my good friend John "Chip" I will never understand.

Chip is trying to become Chairman of the Republican National Committee. This will make him rich and famous, just like those other RNC Chairpeeps of the past, whom you all remember so well and so fondly. (Dont' you?) Saltsman did screw up, however, as hereinafter explained:

RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro,” first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.

Saltsman, a personal friend of conservative satirist Paul Shanklin, sent a 41-track CD along with a note to national committee members. “I look forward to working together in the New Year,” Saltsman wrote. “Please enjoy the enclosed CD by my friend Paul Shanklin of the Rush Limbaugh Show.


CLICK FOR WHOLE STORY

The Republican National Committee, however, is not quick to jump on Saltsman's bandwagon. Why? Because he's a "personal friend" of Rush Limbaugh and Paul Shanklin, people whose time has come and gone.

So, Chip, while we can all chortle at your subtle use of antique humor, you need to know this: that crap only appeals to a small group of white males who are mostly pompous rednecks like yourself. You know the kind, they are your "personal" friends.

And that's why you're the Wacko of the Week: Because of the low quality of friends you keep.
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RUNNER UP:

Mrs. KELLEY LEMAY - of Ocala, Florida who hit herself in the face with a frying pan, trying to get her husband arrested for abuse, but who was jailed instead for a false police report. These are the kinds of things that make Christmas so special.
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HONORABLE MENTION: The Detroit Lions.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Loyal Opposition (#11)

One more example of the "thinking" of the far right as it looks forward to working with the new president. The left, in contrast to the spirit of this picture, is sounding very disappointed that Obama doesn't look to be Marxist at all. Ah well. We shall see.

Goodbye Claiborne Pell



Millions received help to be educated and live more prosperously, millions were able to appreciate art and music, millions were able to expand their horizons and enrich their lives.