Monday, March 31, 2008

Adolph the Cat & the 14 Signs of Fascism

My little sister got a cat named Adolph to join her two poodles, Blue & Max. Blue & Max have a Blog. They are currently whining about living under a Fascist regime that uses Gestapo tactics. No, they are not talking about the regime of King George, they are taking about their human caregivers.

I've tried to explain to Blue & Max that they are not living under a Fascist regime via showing them the 14 Signs of Fascism and suggesting that this pair of overwrought poodles think about it carefully so that they might see that they are not living under a Fascist regime, but instead a benevolent dictatorship. With good food.

Anyway, below are the 14 Signs of Fascism and click here to watch an interesting video that graphically demonstrates the 14 Signs of Fascism.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities, liberals, communists, socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Texas Convention Chaos

Cowboy Barack Obama may have pulled ahead of Hillary in yesterday's District Conventions step in the convoluted Texas method of choosing delegates to the Democrat National Convention.

My 2 long time readers may remember earlier this month when the Texas Two-Step Primary/Caucus election ended in mayhem and chaos. In Texas, in an innovation called the Texas Two-Step, you get to vote twice, once in the Primary and then later that same day you get to go to a Caucus and vote again. Trouble was the Caucus step of the two-step was badly organized and overwhelmed by too many voters. Many, such as me, gave up and went home.

The same thing happened at Saturday's Statewide District Conventions. After hours of frustrations many of the delegates gave up and left the Conventions, which began in the morning, with some lasting well into the night. At District 10, in Fort Worth, thousands were stuck in Will Rogers Coliseum, trying to find food, having music blasted at them, listening to speakers drone on, waiting in lines to sign in and get credentials. More than half of those who showed up in the morning left before voting.

Similar problems occurred all across Texas. By morning it was believed that Barack Obama had won the most delegates with the AP reporting Obama with 59% to Hillary's 41%. Hillary won the Primary vote 51% to Obama's 47%, giving Hillary 65 delegates and Obama 61. There are 67 delegates to be split between Hillary and Obama from yesterday's Conventions. Obama likely will now be able to claim he won Texas.

But who really knows? Texas elections are really confusing.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

IX Web Hosting Outrage & Outage

My 2 long time readers may remember me mentioning my Web Host IX Webhosting's Ukrainian Support Center and the absurd responses I get from them when I have a little problem. Like my email not working. Or a couple months ago when tornadoes struck several states, including Kentucky, and my Web Host went down. I submitted a support ticket and was told there had been no downtime. So, I called the toll-free # to Kentucky and talked to a real person, an American, and told him the Ukrainians are claiming there was no downtime and are refusing downtime compensation. He then told the Ukrainians that there had been an outage and to give me downtime compensation.

So, on to today's nightmare. For several months I've been getting emails from the CEO of my web hosting company, Fathi Said, regarding moving their data center from Hopkinsville, Kentucky to Columbus, Ohio. I didn't much care as long as it didn't affect me.

And then a couple days ago in the latest email from Fathi I learned it would affect me. As in, well, I'll just go copy and paste their latest message on their help center webpage....

We are currently relocating all our servers and equipment from our present location in Hopkinsville, KY to our new state-of-the-art facility in Columbus, OH. The server relocation starts at 1am EST Saturday night. If your website or email service is unavailable after this time, please rest assured that our relocation team is working safely and securely to bring your service back up as fast as possible. We are expecting all services, including telephone support, to be back online by or before 8am EST on Sunday morning.

So, now do you see what I'm upset about? My websites all went down at midnight. It is now almost 5pm and they are still down. It was not til I read the above message did I realize they are actually physically moving the servers up to Ohio. I'm picturing a bunch of Kentuckians in pickup trucks heading north with my websites strapped down in back.

IX Webhosting is, supposedly, one of the biggest hosting companies in the world. Supposedly they have over 300,000 websites on their servers. I don't know how many are e-commerce websites that are making zilch today.

You can look at my AdSense stats from today in the above image and see I'm making zilch. Just one big $0.00.

So, I guess if they do ever come back online I'll be submitting a support ticket to the Ukrainians asking for downtime compensation. Again. And they'll tell me there was no downtime, there was no move to a new data center.

Now, usually when I get around to complaining or submitting a support ticket the problem is already fixed. I'll click on my website right now and see if that's the case this time. Nope. Still down. Earlier they at least had the courtesy to put up a page explaining why the websites were down. But, now it's just bringing up the basic "The page cannot be displayed" page.

I'm annoyed.

UPDATE: About an hour later and my websites are back working again, apparently successfully making the trip from Kentucky to Ohio.

Hillary and Harding

I grow tired of the ongoing calls for Hillary to concede to Obama and drop out of the race for the sake of party unity because, apparently, she can not win the nomination unless she wins all remaining primaries by huge margins and gets the votes of a majority of super delegates.

If Hillary stays in it is likely that neither she or Obama will have enough votes to win the nomination.

Now, to me, this would be a good thing, if only for the entertainment value. I'm not at all thinking of it as a good thing in the way Rush Limbaugh and his Operation Chaos does, in that this will tear apart the Democrats and give McCain the presidency.

In my lifetime I've never gotten to watch a brokered/deadlocked convention. There have been a few close ones, like the year of Reagan and Ford, but I've never seen a convention where the nomination did not occur on the first vote count.

In elections before I was born deadlocked conventions happened frequently. With very dubious results. That may have been part of what brought about the current way of trying to nominate a President, so that it is a done deal before the convention.

I'm pretty sure the last brokered, deadlocked convention was the Republican convention of 1920. General Leonard Wood and Governor Frank Lowden were deadlocked, neither with enough votes to win. Warren Harding had run in the race, but had only won the primary in his home state of Ohio.

The night of the deadlock a long meeting lasted til morning in a Chicago hotel. By the time dawn broke it was decided to swing support to Harding and give him the nomination, knocking off the Hillary and Obama of that era. This did not tear apart the Republican party.

Harding was brought to the hotel room and, before telling him the nomination was his, he was asked if he had any skeletons in his closet which might cause a problem. Harding answered "No". Neglecting to mention that he'd had little education, that he had a longstanding affair with the wife of one of his close friends and that he was a heavy boozer in the time of Prohibition.

Harding got the nomination and won the election and went on to being a very popular president who died in office before it was learned he led one of the most corrupt administrations in U.S. history, right up there on the corruption scale with Clinton and Nixon. Had he not died Harding would likely have been removed from office by impeachment or take the Nixon resignation route.

Like Clinton, Harding was also married to a domineering wife who ruled the roost and wore the pants in the family, but turned a blind eye to a lot of his shenanigans, like the drinking, gambling and womanizing.

Harding was the first Senator elected President. This year unless something goes seriously awry we will also be electing a Senator to the Presidency.

So, if Harding could come to the nomination from a deadlocked convention, without tearing apart the party, and then win the Presidency, I don't see why a brokered, deadlocked Democrat convention might not have the same result.

And be a highly entertaining spectacle to watch.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nipples Airport Security Risk

It might be wise to stay out of the Lubbock, Texas airport if you have any sort of piercings. On February 24 a woman named Mandi Hamlin set off the alarms when she went through the security check on her way to Dallas.

It's my nipples she told the security checker. I have nipple rings.

Mandi was told to remove the nipple rings. She said she wouldn't. She was then told she could not get on the plane. So, Mandi gave in and was taken behind a privacy curtain where she successfully removed the bar parts of the piercings, but she could not get the rings loose.

Mandi began to cry. She told her torturers that she needed pliers to get the rings off. She was given pliers. She was successful. She was scanned again, and again set off the alarms. It was a belly button ring this time. But she was allowed to board without removing the belly button ring.

Apparently belly buttons present much less of a threat than nipples. The Transportation Security Administration is investigating the incident.

Gloria Allred is Mandi's lawyer. I hope she gets a good settlement.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Alma and Obama

This morning I got email from one of the South's Best Songbirds, she being Alma Squillante, currently performing at various venues on the Texas Gulf Coast. Before I make mention of what Alma's email was about I must mention her MySpace page where you can listen to her sing and learn where you can go hear her in person.

My two long term readers may remember me making mention in a couple Bloggings, I think one was called The Soviet State of Texas, of how a person in Texas can get thrown in the Texas Gulag for something as minor as a 6 year old $20 bounced check. Alma would be the person I know who had that happen to her. She writes about it in her MySpace Blog.

Anyway, in this morning's email Alma pointed me to a website where all I had to do was answer 15 questions to learn who I should choose for president. My answers were then analyzed and then the presidential candidates were listed in order of what level of agreement I shared with them regarding the various issues raised in the 15 questions.

Apparently I made a mistake (I sort of already knew that) when I voted for Hillary in the Texas Primary. Apparently I am in more agreement with Barack Obama than I am Hillary. I'm pretty sure I can't change my vote.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hillary's Brave Combat in Bosnia

Am I the only one shocked to learn that President Bill Clinton sent his wife and daughter and the comedian known as Sinbad into the Bosnian War Zone where Hillary and Company had to duck and dodge bullets from snipers?

What sort of man would send his wife and daughter into such a dangerous situation? Shocking. And where was the Secret Service during this?

Just a couple weeks ago I saw Hillary at the Fort Worth Stockyards with the Secret Service all over the place. She's not even First Lady anymore, but way back in 1996, when she was only half way through her First Lady Days, the Secret Service let the First Lady do a corkscrew defensive landing in a combat zone and then ordered her to duck and run for cover? Were they trying to get her killed? What was Bill thinking? Sending his wife on such a mission. Along with his only child. Shocking. Was this during the time period when Bill was pre-occupied with Monica, one can't help but wonder?

Strangely, in photos taken during this incident, such as the one you see above, Hillary took time from running for cover to greet a little Bosnian girl. Now, one might think that Hillary's maternal instincts might have kicked in, with her picking up the little girl and carrying her to safety from the incoming sniper fire. It must not have occurred to Hillary, at the time, how well such a rescue would have played for us folks back home. But, then again, you do have to sort of wonder what sort of mother would stop to talk to a stranger, even a little girl stranger, when her own daughter is standing right by her, with bullets incoming from who knows how many snipers from who knows how many directions.

Well, obviously Hillary is a very brave girl (Bill has been referring to Hillary as a girl in speeches the past couple days), who has the courage to face any danger, any obstacle. Be it combat fire or climbing mountains. Which is why it is so appropriate that Hillary was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who became internationally known years after Hillary was born. But somehow her mom and dad knew a man named Hillary was going to climb Mount Everest in 1953 and so they named their only daughter Hillary when she was born in 1947, 6 years prior to Sir Edmund making the Hillary name famous. Hillary has frequently said how proud she is to be named after Sir Edmund Hillary. Just like she is rightly proud to have dodged all those bullets in Bosnia.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Clinton Pathology

I just finished Barbara Olson's "The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House." This book covers in great detail the final weeks the Clintons were in the White House.

Like, Details about Hillary's gift registry that went out to who knows how many people, soliciting gifts, like furniture and china, for the Clinton's 2 new homes. Hillary even solicited for, and got, an expensive cashmere sweater. All this begging at the same time Hillary had received a controversial $8 million book advance.

In addition to the loot the Clintons acquired via the begging route they also hauled off, in the words of permanent White House staff, anything that was not nailed down. Much of what was taken was put in warehouses in Little Rock. When the Clintons were told that much of what they took was government property and should have remained in the White House some of the loot was returned. But, there has never been an accounting of what was taken and what was returned. The Clintons also offered cash for some of what they took. But there has never been a record of that money being paid to anyone.

The biggest scandal in the Clintons final days were the dozens upon dozens of dubious pardons. Clinton wasn't pardoning people who'd somehow gotten a raw deal, like a kid thrown in jail for 10 years for being caught with a marijuana cigarette. No, Clinton pardoned serious criminals. He even pardoned a long sought after fugitive, Marc Rich. The Rich pardon caused the most outrage, first off due to the nature of his crimes and second off due to the fact that his ex-wife, Denise, paid the Clinton's well over a million bucks for their Presidental Library, huge donations to Hillary's senate campaign, huge donations to the DNC, and, of course, she bought Hillary some of the items that were on Hillary's gift registry.

Hillary's brother, Hugh, sold several pardons for $400,000. When Hillary found out she was horrified and insisted her brother return the money. It is not known if he did return the money, or if Hillary scolded Bill for facilitating her brother's pardon for hire scheme. Bill's brother, Roger, who got one of the last minute pardons, was so sure he could get his big brother to do some pardoning for him, pre-sold 7 or 8 pardons to fellow drug crime convicts who Roger had met in jail. Unfortunately for Roger, this turned into one of the rare occasions where Bill did the right thing, leaving Roger in hot water with the cons who'd given him money.

Clinton pardoned several drug kingpins who the DEA had worked years to convict and put away. Bill had no explanation as to why he would pardon drug kingpins. The pardons outraged leaders in South America who had cooperated with the U.S. in fighting the Drug Lords with the president of, I think it was Columbia, saying that if it had been he who had issued such a pardon on his last day in office, the United States would have been outraged and extremely critical and accusatory.

In the words of the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt the Clinton Pardon Scandal "leaves a stain that is bigger than anything during impeachment which, despite the effort of Clinton haters, really was about awful personal behavior. I think the damage (to Clinton's legacy) is severe. I think it's lasting. It's on Bill Clinton's legacy. It's on Hillary Clinton."

Go to Wikipedia for a short article with more detail about the Clinton Pardon Scandal. Go to this Blog for a list of who was pardoned and what their crimes were. You'll see why Jimmy Carter called this scandalous and Al Gore said he was shocked.

Monday, March 24, 2008

United States #1 Status in Danger

Unless Americans start eating more the United States is in danger of losing its status of being the Fattest Nation on the planet. Mexico is rapidly gaining on us and is currently the #2 Fattest Nation. At its current rate of growth Mexico is on track to surpass the U.S. as the World's Fattest Nation within 10 years, according to Mexican Health Officials.

Less than 29 percent of Mexican women are not overweight. Approximately 34 percent of Mexican men are not overweight. In other words more than 71 percent of Mexican women and 66 percent of Mexican men are Fat.

Mexico's weight gain has been quite rapid. As recently as 1989 less than 10 percent of Mexican adults were Fat. Since 1989 Mexico has seen a big increase in the number of American fast food joints like McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, along with modern grocery stores stocked with modern American food.

Speaking of Kentucky Fried Chicken, relating to the obesity epidemic, KFC announced yesterday that their American restaurants would soon be sporting new neon signs saying "Kentucky Grilled Chicken." I don't know if the KGC will have that special taste that KFC has. It will be lower in fat, salt and calories. KFC/KGC will also be adding some healthy side dishes to go along with the mashed spuds and gravy and macaroni and cheese.

I don't know if this Kentucky Grilled Chicken idea appeals to me. I mean, if I want healthy chicken it is real easy to just roast a chicken myself. Every few years I'm in the mood for Kentucky Fried Chicken, original recipe, and that's what I get. Then after a few bites I remember why I only have it every few years.

Here in the South we have KFC Buffets. You can really overload on Kentucky Fried Chicken at a KFC Buffet. Along with way too many biscuits. There are good reasons why Texas is the Fattest State in the Fattest Country in the world.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Texas Obesity Kills

Being obese can cause all sorts of risks to ones health. Let alone what it does to ones appearance. As everyone in the world knows everything is bigger in Texas. Including the people.

In Texas obesity can be deadly in disturbing ways. Like this week in La Joya, Texas, that is in Hidalgo County, near the Mexican border in the fattest part of Texas, an obese babysitter fell on top of a 2 year old boy and crushed his skull, killing him. A local justice of the peace was quoted as saying "It didn't look like there was any foul play from what I saw."

Men's Fitness magazine does an annual list of the United State's Fattest and Fittest Cities. The list varies wildly from year to year which would seem to render it sort of silly. Like in 2005 Seattle was the Fittest City while Houston was the Fattest. In 2005 Arlington, Texas was the 22nd Fittest City, but somehow, within 3 years, Arlington became the 2nd Fattest City, with Fort Worth being the 4th Fattest. San Antonio, this year, is the 3rd Fattest, El Paso 5th Fattest, Houston has really improved from its #1 Fattest position in 2005 to being only the 10th Fattest in 2008. I guess that Fitness Campaign in Houston has really paid off.

So, Texas has 5 cities in the Top Ten on the Fattest list. That is quite an accomplishment. Now, living here, this does not surprise me. You see a lot of really really BIG people here. I remember in August of 2004 I flew up to Seattle, Seattle being the Fittest City at that point in time. I had not been up there for almost 3 years. So, Lulu picked me up at the airport. She had to deliver some stuff to a gallery in Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle. It was February. Unlike here, in Texas, there were a lot of people walking about downtown in Seattle. And what was so striking to me was, after my long exile in Obese Texas, it looked to me like the Seattlites had had the air let out of them. I was so used to seeing so many bloated up Texas Balloon People it'd warped my perceptions of what humans look like.

One thing I have noticed during the course of my exile in Texas is there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people I see exercising in the various parks I go to. Like when I first discovered River Legacy Park in Arlington I was very impressed with what a nice park it is and very surprised at how few people used it. That is no longer the case. You now see a lot of people biking, walking, roller blading and playing, with only, maybe 25% of them appearing to be obese.

So, it sort of surprises me that Arlington is now supposedly the #2 Fattest City in the U.S. That is quite a fall from being on the list of Fittest Cities in 2005. Now, it does not surprise me to see Fort Worth being listed as the 4th Fattest City. I can pedal for miles on Fort Worth's Trinity River trails and see nary a human except for a bum or two sleeping under a bridge.

I live in Fort Worth and I'm doing all I can do to try and get Fort Worth off the Fattest List and onto the Fittest. But I am only 1 of over 660,000 people. I can't do this all by myself. Some other people in Fort Worth are going to need to put down the doughnuts and get off the couch.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hillary and Whitewater Falls

I'd intended to Blog about Hillary today regarding some surprising details I read in a book I just finished, that being Barbara Olson's "The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House." Barbara Olson died on 9/11 in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

It is very strange reading all these books about the Clintons. Each of them cover the same ground, tell the same story, be it Dick Morris, Gail Sheehy or now, Barbara Olson.

Each seems to focus on some different aspect, with all sorts of detail I'd not learned before. I remember all the Clinton scandals during the White House years, be it Travelgate, Filegate, Vince Foster suicide, Monicagate and Pardongate. But the main media coverage of Clinton's deluge of dubious pardons during his last few days in office, well, I had no idea how scandalous this was, how much of it was tied to Hillary's run for the New York Senate and just how sordid it all was.

And somehow, as is the norm with Hillary and Bill, the Pardon Scandal did them no lasting damage.

Anyway, I'm in too good a mood to have fun detailing the Clinton Pardon Scandal right now. It's a beautiful day. I went on a good hike at Tandy Hills Park. It's starting to get green. Today I took a picture of the Tandy Hills Park Waterfall, which is what you see above.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Alice Tonasket and Wee Cheng

Yesterday I mentioned an email I got from someone who felt I'd hurt her feelings and disrespected her home away from home, that home being Scarborough Faire. I got an email from another person yesterday in which the emailer asked me who my most memorable out of the blue emailers have been. I could only think of two who I actually remember by name, mostly because they both became constant emailers.

One is Alice Tonasket. She'd been at my webpage about Mount Carmel and the Branch-Davidians and somehow thought I had something to do with that debacle. She was rather inarticulate back then so it was really hard to understand what she was asking. It sort of seemed like she was interested in joining my church. So, I replied to her. Told her it cost $200 to join my church. She decided to pass on the offer.

Alice is well known in her local zone for her home brew. Alice makes about 4 kegs worth of beer a month. What she doesn't drink she sells, bootleg style, bottling it herself in classic old beer bottles that she makes labels for. Alice calls her beer, "Alice Doesn't Drink Here Anymore Ale."

Over time I learned Alice has a bit of an amnesia problem. This made it sort of fun to play with her. She is easily confused. Currently she is emailing one of my pseudonyms named Igor and has forgotten that Igor is me. She now thinks Igor is my brother. So, she emailed me yesterday complaining about my brother Igor being mean to her.

Alice lives in a very small town in an isolated part of eastern Washington (the state, not the city), but, even though it is a small town, Alice is surrounded by constant Soap Opera turmoil and drama. A couple years ago Alice's Soap Opera was spinning out of control. I suggested she use her MySpace webpage to deal with various issues. For a slight monthly fee I agreed to create several MySpace characters and write blog postings for Alice. The various characters then opined in with their two cents on Alice's issues.

It did not take long for the targets of Alice's disdain to feel the sting of her pointed tongue. The zenith was reached when one of the targets showed up at Alice's house threatening Alice with the law if she didn't stop telling the truth. Of course, Alice blogged about this the next day, thoroughly chastising the trouble causer. Who is now a meek lion afraid of the Roar of Alice, rather than the other way around. The days of Alice the Meek have long vanished.

Alice now finds herself the recipient of new found respect among all the characters in her cast. It has become common for Alice to hear pleas of "Please don't blog this." To which she warns "Don't do it if you don't wanna read about it."

And then there was Wee Cheng from Singapore. Way back in the 1990's I had a website called Dialing Doctor Durango. It was supposed to be a tongue in cheek know-it-all advice type thing. But, for some reason way too many people took it serious. I finally killed that website when I learned it'd been listed as one of the top 20 medical websites on the Internet on some German university website and then got an email from a woman in the UK asking me for medical advice about her uterine tumor. That was enough. It had to stop.

But, long before I killed Doctor Durango I heard from Wee Cheng. Asking me for relationship advice. Anyone who knows me knows I'm the last person you'd wanna be asking for that type advice. Wee's ex-boyfriend, Teck Seng, was moving back to the island from London and he'd let Wee know he wanted to get back together. He'd broken Wee's heart. Wee didn't know what to do. Her mother told her to take him back, that if she didn't she'd end up like a cuttlefish. This stuck in my mind because I had no idea what a cuttlefish was. Wee explained it's a dried up stinky fish that is used in Asian cooking.

So, I told Wee to give Teck Seng a chance. And so she did. The romance re-bloomed. Wee agreed to marry Teck. I was invited to the wedding. I did not attend.

The Wee Cheng/Teck Seng wedding was probably 4 or 5 years after I'd first started exchanging emails with Wee. She'd send me things in the mail, like antique postcards. One time she asked me if I could ship her some wonderful cheese she had in Japan. It was Cheez Whiz, you know that stuff you spray out of a can. I shipped her 3 cans and some real cheese. Shipping was expensive so I took the cheapest option, basically a slow boat to China. By the time it got there Wee'd found Cheez Whiz in Singapore. I never heard how the real cheese faired.

Wee called me a couple times. She's a teeny little thing but her voice is real deep and very guttural and her English is very hard to understand.

Wee's mom died before she got married and before she had a baby. So, Wee's mom never knew that Wee did not end up like a cuttlefish. The last I heard from Wee Cheng Seng was in 2003. Her husband Teck Seng is very anti-American. He works for some high tech company and was stationed in California for a year. Hated the Americans he worked with and pretty much everything else about America. Why, I do not know.

So, when King George invaded Iraq Wee Cheng emailed me in quite an irate mood, as if I had anything to do with what George did. She told me if America invaded any more Asian countries she would not have anything to do anymore with anything American. I replied, in full umbrage mode, and asked if that meant she'd be giving up the Internet, it being an American invention of Al Gore's, after all.

I never heard from Wee Cheng again. I hope she's all right. I tried to contact her after the 2004 tsunami, she liked to vacation on those beaches in Thailand. But I never heard from her again.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Alzheimers's Hits Home

I know Alzheimer's is a serious subject and nothing one should make light of. But how does one know if this is what one is dealing with?

I won't name names, but yesterday I agreed to drive someone up to this town called Flower Mound for an appointment. The first thing this person forgot was his wallet. So, I had to buy gas. After driving for a few miles this forgetful person decided to call to make sure the appointment was on track. No phone. Left it at home. Along with the wallet. So, I turned around to head back to the phone. Found the phone. With a message saying the appointment was cancelled.

Now, the above was not too bad. But then today I've had to work with this person on a project and it has been one confusing muddle after another. The confusions bordered on the bizarre. I won't detail them because to do so would not only be laborious, it would also cause me to re-live the pain.

Do Alzheimer's sufferers get a deer in the headlights lost look when they are caught up in a moment of confusion? Do they stammer and stutter a lot? Is there an Alzheimer's for Dummies book?

On a totally different, non-Alzheimer's note, have I mentioned Scarborough Faire and the brouhaha I accidentally caused myself when I webpaged my impressions of my visit to that event a few years back? Well, it's about to start up again, and so I am starting to get emails about it again. I hadn't added any of these to my website for awhile, but today I did, because today's email amused me, so I added it and one I got a couple weeks ago.

You can read those emails and see what awful thing I did that caused so many people to get so upset and others to find it all very funny by going here to read the Feedback from emails and newsgroup postings and here to go to the webpage that caused the death threats.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jerry Jones & the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal

Both my long time readers may remember me mentioning, a time or two, my total disdain for the way Jerry Jones and the city of Arlington went about building a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys. It's a scandal of monumental proportions that has not quite entered the national consciousness yet. But, here in north Texas there are many who are quite aware of this corrupt use of the perfect valid concept of using eminent domain to obtain private property for the public good. Here in Texas that legal tool was perverted to steal dozens of homes, ruin who knows how many businesses and kick hundreds out of their apartments. To build a football stadium. For the public good. Public being those who can afford a ticket.

So, there is this brilliant Fort Worth Blogger, no, it's not me. I'm in East Fort Worth. Anyway, this guy named Allen has this brilliant Blog and awhile back, on his Blog, he made reference to my chronicling of the Cowboy Crimes in Arlington. The second 'click here' below in Allen's post goes to the full blown beautifully illustrated rant he's referencing and that would be me doing the ranting in the full blown beautifully illustrated rant.

"The City of Arlington took the homes from their owners. No one had a choice. The homes and apartments were bulldozed, and a new stadium is being built for the Dallas Cowboys. Arlington technically took possession of the land, but the land is now underneath concrete that belongs to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Click here for a great analysis of the stadium problem, as blogged by a Houston lawyer. Click here for a full blown beautifully illustrated rant, a diatribe that should make our blood boil. It's a harangue that would cause us all to drive over to Arlington with torches and pitchforks if we weren't a nation of sheep."

This morning I got email from the author of the above paragraph, Allen, he being the brilliant Fort Worth Blogger of a Blog known as "The Whited Sepulchre", pointing me to the illustration of Jerry Jones you see above. Allen told me I could use the beautiful Jerry Jones artwork for whatever purposes I wanted. And so I have.

Annoying Weather Reports and Kelly Clarkson

Yesterday in a very rare personal whining indulgence I complained about one of my few pet peeves, that being how TV here in Texas can get interrupted during stormy weather by inane TV weatherperson's inane reports.

And so what do my grateful eyes see this morning in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram letters to the editors but an extremely insightful Fort Worth native also bemoaning the insanity of how the local TV stations cover storms. The letter writer is much more adept than I at describing the insanity. I'll copy and paste the letter below. And then below that I've got some fresh whining about another inanity that I've whined about before.

Some Sanity Please!
KXAS/Channel 5 pre-empted NBC’s national news program at 5:30 p.m. during the recent “winter storm.” We then got to see a reporter in the station’s parking lot scuffing slush with his tennis shoe, then a reporter in Dallas on an access road. Traffic was flying by and we then got to see a car turning onto a side street into the slush. Let’s see if he makes it. He does!

There was mayhem in Israel, a presidential race, medical news about the effect of inoculations on children, etc. But we didn’t get to hear about those events; children in Denton were making snow angels.

Interrupt the news if you need to for an emergency, but this type of weather coverage has gotten out of hand. I learned nothing during the 30 minutes that couldn’t have been covered during the regular local news at 6 p.m. Let’s put some sanity back into the news and weather coverage.

— Mary McCoy, Fort Worth

Okay, I'm back whining now. That photo you see above was taken in the Texas town of Burleson at the premiere of a movie starring Kelly Clarkson. That is she you see entering the movie theater. I've mentioned before how that paper I like to whine about, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has an odd habit of always pointing out the local Texas connection to any celebrity or pseudo-celebrity. I blogged about this previously which cause odd commentary from the paper's TV editor explaining that this practice has to do with trying to connect the locals to the story.

Now, notice in the paragraph above where I mention Kelly Clarkson being at a theater in Burleson? I did not feel I needed to write Burleson native Kelly Clarkson, or Burleson raised Kelly Clarkson. And I've got readers way outside of Texas who would not know this, if they cared, which they don't. Now, those who read the Star-Telegram live in Texas, live near Burleson, they know Kelly Clarkson is from here.

And yet any time the Star-Telegram mentions Kelly Clarkson they seem to feel they must re-inform their Texas readers that she is from Burleson. This seems sort of insulting, like they are underestimating the memories of their readers.

Just today, on the front page, under the headline, "Kelly Clarkson to Sing for the Pope", it said "Burleson-raised pop superstar Kelly Clarkson...". And then on the front page of the Entertainment section the Star-Telegram, in another article about the same subject, alters its usual Burleson modifier and says "Fort Worth-born pop superstar Kelly Clarkson...". Further down in the article, in case we've forgotten, we are told again that Kelly Clarkson is from Burleson, as in "Clarkson, who grew up in Burleson...".

This week I've not yet noticed the Star-Telegram making note of the Texas connections to the current American Idol contestants. My favorite of those is when the paper repeats for the umpteenth time, "Michael Johns, married to a Fort Worth native, who has visited Fort Worth."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Weather Gone Mad in Texas

It was a long dreary windy night with a lot of annoying noise, mostly trees being blown up against the roof, sounding like a Monster slapping its hand overhead over and over again. It was very warm all night long and very humid.

It must be almost Spring and tornado season. This morning it's been non-stop heavy rain with lightning. No tornado sirens yet.

This time of year in Texas always seems to activate one of my pet peeves. That being how I can be peacefully settled in and enjoying watching something like LOST. And then the weather interruptions will start up. First an annoying chime and then the shrinking of the picture to accommodate a weather warning crawling across the bottom of the screen. That repeats a few times and then ends with another chime and then the same info is repeated, without the chime, in the upper left corner.

The warnings repeat about every 3 minutes. It's totally distracting. And then, God forbid, if the Doppler Radar detects anything remotely indicating the circular motion of a possible tornado, anywhere within a couple hundred mile radius, then there will be the live interruption where the Ted Baxteresque local weather dunderhead earnestly tells you about the extreme weather.

Now, if you are safely inside watching TV why do you need this information? Usually if the storm gets real bad you lose power and so you can't see the TV warning. Most people have battery operated storm radios to turn to when the weather gets dicey. If you are out in the weather, or driving your car, what good does the TV weather interruption do you? It is so mindlessly idiotic and annoying. I mean, if you are home and watching TV and the weather is bad and you hear the tornado sirens you know what that means, as in head for shelter.

Now, there have been complaints, and as a result, maybe, the local ABC station (one of the worst offenders) has stopped, for now, the annoying chime. I guess that is progress in the right direction.

Last year after a particularly annoying bout of TV weather interruptions I read in that paper I'm always complaining about, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a puff piece yammering on about the brilliant job the local weather Ted Baxters do to protect us during a storm.

I pointed it out to the Star-Telegram that those brilliant weather interruptions probably kill more people than they save. Example, during the Fort Worth tornado of 2000, the TV weather reporters earnestly warned of incoming damage causing hail. A kid from Costa Rica saw that warning on the TV and asked his boss if he could go move his new pickup. On the way to his pickup he was hit on the head with a baseball size chunk of hail. And killed.

I know several people who were stuck in the the path of the Fort Worth tornado of 2000. None got out of harm's way due to a TV warning. The power got knocked out early in the storm. They had no TV. But they did have the common sense to head the warning sirens and head for safety.

So, the bottom line with these idiotic weather interruptions, if you are able to listen to one then you are likely totally safe. Those who might benefit from the warning don't have access to a TV. So, why is it so difficult for those who can say yes or no, to say no to the local Ted Baxter weather guys who want to break into regular programming to point out a circular hook over some distant lightly populated location in North Texas?

It perplexes me. I'll let you now the first time I experience this nonsense this year. Complete with screen caps. If my power doesn't go out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Foul Mood and Thunder

I'm in a foul mood. Have been up since before 5am. It is being stormy in more ways than one this day in Texas, thunder is supposed to arrive soon. I thought maybe some endorphin medication might help rid me of my foul mood so I went on a long hike at Tandy Hills Park. That did not work. I'm pretty sure I was aerobic enough to cause endorphins to be released, but apparently not in an amount sufficient to make me feel better.

Why have I put this DIGG thing on each of these bloggings? Someone somewhere told me this was a good thing to do. But I don't know why. I asked Lulu if she knew. She didn't. She's getting "Blogging for Dummies" so that we/I might have some help at solving these riddles.

On my way to Tandy Hills Park I saw a bizarre billboard that said "I'm So Over You Sarah Marshall". In small print there was a website address, as in I looked at the website. I've no idea what to make of it. I mentioned the billboard to a deluded self-proclaimed marketing guru I have the misfortune of knowing and he told me he's seen the "I'm So Over Sarah Marshall" billboards all over the Metroplex.

On a totally different subject, the weekly column by Joseph Galloway was in this morning's Star-Telegram. He writes about military matters. He is very very aghast at the incompetence of our current president. Pretty much that's what all his columns are about in one way or the other. Today's first paragraph made note of the fact that this month marks the start of the 6th year of the War in Iraq. It is now the second most costly war in U.S. history, second to only WWII. United States participation in WWII ran from 1942 til August of 1945 (the U.S. declaration of war came after Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, but the offensive towards victory did not begin til 1942).

Galloway ended today's column with an interesting thought, saying "The next time we Americans start thinking about electing someone with no known talent and limited useful experience, what say we just leave the presidency vacant and the White House shuttered for eight years or so?"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Zebra Attack

A couple years ago I webpaged a visit to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. In one of the rare times that something I did, website-wise, actually generated anything worthwhile for me, I was sent a Season Pass to visit anytime I wanted, along with 2 guest passes.

Yesterday I realized I can not remember the last time I had been outside this Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone. So, with gas being only $3.15 a gallon and with Fossil Rim Wildlife Center being only about an 80 mile drive it seemed like a good idea, at the time, for another visit.

Fossil Rim is like a drive through Safari. Which is very appropriate because I drove my Safari van. At the Visitor's Center you can purchase a bag of animal food. This comes in handy because the animals are very pushy with their demands to be fed. Like the zebras. If they don't get some instant gratification they will stick their head in your open window looking for food. The one you see above took a bite out of my steering wheel. I don't think he liked how it tasted.

I also had an ostrich get a bit aggressive. I guess there are good reasons why you are advised to keep your windows rolled up. Which seem a bit confusing to me, as in how did they expect you to feed the animals with the food they sold at the same time they were saying to keep your windows up? When I snapped this picture of this ostrich it must have thought my camera was something to eat because it lunged at it causing me to back away really fast. And then I rolled up the window.

To see more of my photos from Fossil Rim Wildlife Center go here.

Fossil Rim is near the town of Glen Rose, a very scenic town with a very cool courthouse square. Also nearby is Dinosaur Valley State Park. Outside Dinosaur Valley State Park there is this anti-evolution thing called The Creation Museum. I guess its purpose must be to prove that dinosaurs did not exist. And a new bizarre thing has been added right outside Dinosaur Valley State Park. That being another Dinosaur Park called Dinosaur World. It looked pretty lame. Sort of Flintstonesque.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Barack Obama & Reverend Wright Wrong

If I belonged to a church. Which I don't. If I went to church. Which I don't. But if I did, and the church's preacher gave a hell on wheels hate mongering diatribe sermon at high volume I don't think I would return the next Sunday. Let alone stay in his flock for more than 20 years. Or give the preacher more than $20 thousand.

If a week after 9/11 I was in an American church and heard the preacher say what America has wrought overseas has now come home to roost, that America deserved to be attacked, that America has been deserving this attack for over 60 years, ever since America dropped A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I don't think I would return the next week for another sermon.

If I went to a church and the preacher gave a sermon in which he said that America caused AIDS for some nefarious purpose, I don't think I would return the next week for another sermon.

If I went to a church and the preacher gave a sermon in which he derided America's treatment of a minority and suggested that that minority should not be saying God Bless America, they should be saying God Damn America, I don't think I would return the next week for another sermon.

I know I would not join a church where such things were said by its preacher. I sure would not ask that preacher to perform my wedding ceremony. I sure would not let my kids go to such a church and listen to such vile rhetoric. I sure would not say that such a preacher had great influence over me or that he gave such an inspiring sermon, named Audacity of Hope, that I decided to name my book after it.

And one more thing, if in my background I had such an obviously difficult thing to explain, that being staying in such a church, supporting such a church and saying this preacher gave me guidance, well, I know I would have the sense to know that this would be a deal breaker if I should suffer the delusion that I should run for President of the United States.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys and Human Rights Violations

This morning I got an email from one of the victims of Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal. I think this is either the 3rd or 4th I've received from one of the victims. This email is the first I've gotten from one of those who are still taking Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys and the city of Arlington to court for their crimes against humanity.

Speaking of human rights. A couple days ago I reacted to the U.S. State Department's annual assessment of other nation's human rights performance. I made note that our nation is not exactly pristine in the human rights area. I also mentioned we put too many people in jail for no good reason.

And so what do I read today that supports the idea that we jail way too many people? A guy up in Ness City, Kansas had a girl friend who did not leave her bathroom for 2 years. She spent the last month literally glued to her toilet seat. With her now firmly stuck, the boyfriend finally grew concerned and called for police help. Unable to pry her off the seat they pried the seat off the toilet and took the girl friend and the stuck on toilet seat to a hospital, likely up north in Hays because Ness City is way too small to have a hospital. So, that long-suffering girl friend must have been totally traumatized to be out of her bathroom for the first time in 2 years with a toilet seat stuck to her naked rear riding in an ambulance with strangers for an hour or more.

Now here is where we get to how it is the United States has way too many people in jail. Local prosecutors are considering bringing charges of some sort against the boy friend. In other words you can get incarcerated in America for letting someone sit on a toilet seat for too long.

I just remembered another example that I heard yesterday. On Monday the trial of a woman began in Chicago. Her crime? She had saved up over 8 bucks in change. To teach her kids the goodness of helping others she loaded them into her car and drove to a Salvation Army collection spot. She parked the car, took the 2 older kids with her, left the baby in the car and walked 10 feet, I repeat, 10 feet, to the Salvation Army collector and dropped the change in the collection bucket. Unfortunately a cop saw this act of kindness and ticketed the woman for endangering her baby by abandoning her alone in the car while she walked 10 feet away. The woman faced up to 6 months jail time and a fine. One can only hope that common sense prevailed and a wise judge chewed out the cop and ordered damages awarded to the woman for putting her through such nonsense.

Anyway, below is the email I got this morning from the Jerry Jones/Dallas Cowboy victim:

Due to ongoing litigation I am not able to 'spill all of the beans' that I would like to. But the citizens of Arlington have been duped by the greediest, richest people in the land grab business.

Three months prior to the election, Arlington's highest elected official requested a 'one-on-one' closed door meeting (so that this meeting could be denied in the future) and in this meeting I was asked if 'my people' would be willing to 'donate' our property to this project. I was stopped 'dead in my tracks' on how to respond to such a request. Those of us paying for this monster will never be able to afford to go see a single game.

I don't think they ever believed that my wife and I and another owner would be willing or able to carry this out this far without 'throwing in the towel.' But we are prepared to ride this out until we are victorious!! They have illegally made law to benefit a specific person or entity, law that if you or I requested to use ourselves, would be told this would be illegal to do. But we are dealing with a portion of society that believes that they are above the law and us 'peons' of the world.

This process is just now reaching the level of the first appellate jurisdiction. I am not a lawyer so my understanding of the levels is limited. I am told that after this level is passed, the parties go on to the final level, appeals to the state supreme court, at which we will appeal using a precedent case.

I am told many get discouraged by the time they reach this level. My resolve just seems to strengthen as this reaches new levels.

Charlie S.
Arlington, Texas

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Done Teetotaling

I'd been having insomnia problems. Really really bad insomnia problems. I decided this might be being caused by my drinking problem. So, I've made the decision to quit teetotaling. I've been off the stuff for 2 days now and the insomnia problem seems to be much much better.

Long ago I stopped drinking any coffee in the afternoon. For years I had to have a cup around 4pm. But then something happened to my metabolism, or maybe I just was nervously suffering from more stress. The problem did seem to arise after I moved to Texas. If I didn't have the afternoon coffee I'd develop a coffee withdrawal headache. But then one day I did not have my afternoon coffee and I had no headache and I've been coffee free, except for in the morning, ever since.

Back to the ceasing of the teetotaling. For a long time the health benefits of green tea have been touted. How it boosts the immune system, amps up the metabolism, all sorts of supposed benefits.

So, I started drinking green tea in the afternoon. Three bags worth of the stuff. It took me awhile to connect the cause to effect, but after I started drinking the salubrious green tea I started having worse insomnia issues. I knew green tea had some caffeine in it, but I didn't think it was a significant amount. Not nearly as much as coffee. Or so I thought.

And now I've stopped drinking green tea. Cold turkey. No withdrawal symptoms at all. And I slept really good last night. Except for some very disturbing dreams.

On a related side note, Wikipedia has an interesting list of people, unlike me, who are still teetotalers. George W. Bush is on that list. So is Adolph Hitler. Interesting coincidence that both share in common the teetotaling thing and a bad habit of invading other nations for no good reason.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Abusing Human Rights

Yesterday the United States State Department released its annual report on the state of human rights around the world.

China was chastised for repressing freedom of speech, religion and the press, along with prison torture and forced confessions. Cuba was criticized for prisoner abuse, life-threatening prison conditions, arbitrary arrests and denial of fair trials. Russia was cited for, among a few other things, problematic elections. (See Texas Caucus Debacle)

Was it not Jesus who is reported to have said "let you among me who is without sin cast the first stone."? Did Jesus also not say something like, "don't worry about the sand in your neighbor's eye, worry about the sand in your own eye."?

I don't bring up Jesus and his supposed words due to me being some sort of proselytizer living in the buckle of the bible belt. Rather I bring up the supposed words of Jesus because many in the United States like to think of this nation as being a Christian nation. A Christian nation which somehow tends to sort of ignore basic Christian values. As practiced by the original Christian. That being Jesus.

And so how do we Americans have the gall to go about pointing out other nation's human rights violations? Are we without sin? Have we not as a nation cast the first stone a time or two?

America has more people in jail than any other nation on earth. America has a higher percentage of its people behind bars than any other nation on earth. We execute people. Who are sometimes later proved to be innocent.

In America you can get handcuffed, strip searched and thrown in jail due to a 6 year old $20 bounced check that you had no knowledge of. I really can't imagine Jesus handcuffing and strip searching someone over a 6 year old bounced $20 check. The same thing can happen to you for annoying a prosecutor by calling him an idiotic baboon. Currently, here in Texas, there are thousands of arrest warrants out for citizens who have committed no crime, but instead got in to the system for the most innocent of reasons. Innocent reasons, I say, not crimes. I wrote about this in a posting I called The Soviet State of Texas. It shocked me that such things could occur here in America, where we are the supposed champions of human rights world wide.

Did the State Department cite the United States for violating the human rights of young Americans who were sent to invade a sovereign nation for bogus reasons, where no weapons of mass destruction have been found and where, yesterday, the U.S. admitted there was no tie to Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda?

Was the United States cited by the State Department for the human rights abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad?

Did the State Department cite the United States for the practice of waterboarding?

How about for holding prisoners without charge at a base on an island the State Department did cite as a human rights abuser, the base being Guantanamo Bay and the island being Cuba?

Okay, one thing I'll admit, if I were in China, Cuba or Russia I would be afraid to mouth off about my government's hypocrisy like I'm doing here. That is a good thing. But a better thing would be if my government did not give me so much material with which to point out the absurd hypocrisy of the United State's overbearing and self-righteous chastising of other nations for their supposed human rights abuses.

Let's get ourselves a totally clean American record and then start preaching to the rest of the world. Until then the United States should shut up.

In my humble opinion.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Village Idiot & the Texas Caucus

How totally disrespectful to call our Dear Leader a Village Idiot. Whoever made this sign should be thoroughly ashamed.

Then again there was that exchange between our Dear Leader and CBS newsman, Peter Maer, at a recent news conference in which Maer asked The One Who Does Not Read Newspapers, "What is your advice to the average American who is hurting right now, facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline."

Our Dear Leader interrupted at that point and asked, "What did you just say? You're predicting $4 a gallon gasoline?"

Maer patiently explained that it was not he making the prediction, rather it was "A number of analysts predicting $4 a gallon gasoline."

Our Dear Leader was shocked and stunned at this late breaking revelation, saying, "Oh, yeah? That's interesting, I hadn't heard that."

And in even more shocking revelations a study was released by the U.S. Government yesterday which concluded that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with Al Queda. I hope someone informs our Dear Leader before he puts his foot in his mouth again on that one. I can't remember the last time he has mentioned Weapons of Mass Destruction or declared one of his Missions Accomplished. Are the levees fixed in New Orleans yet?

On a totally unrelated note. I just returned from the library. Loyal readers will remember the library is where I voted a week ago today and returned that night to experience the Texas Caucus Chaos that still has not been sorted out.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a piece on Saturday's called CHEERS AND JEERS. On Saturday there was a CHEER that had the ladies in the library today all atwitter.

The CHEER said---"Cheers: To the staff of the East Regional Library for graciously putting up with 500 of us Democrats caucusing at the library until midnight Tuesday."

I learned about the Cheer when I asked if they knew how the caucus went. I told them I'd tried to participate but bailed when I saw that it seemed to be spinning out of control. I told the librarian there were more than 500 people there, when I bailed, and more were arriving. She told me that the Cheer was also wrong about the time, that the caucus actually lasted til past 1am Wednesday morning! That is way past my bedtime. I don't think I've stayed up that late in this century. I don't know if I've stayed up past midnight since Christmas of 1994 at Disneyland. That was exhausting. But at least there were fun rides.

I mentioned I had called 911 when I saw things were spiralling out of control. The librarian told me police arrived and started ticketing people who had blocked others in. I told her it was the election workers who told people to park anywhere, especially if they were trying to vote and needed to get in line before 7pm.

So, I guess I will never know how many people actually made the attempt to vote at the East Regional Library. I'm amazed that 500 made it til, at least, midnight. Much more determined democracy participants than I. That or they are more driven than I to make sure we have a good replacement for our current clueless Dear Leader.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Pacific Northwest Drives People Crazy

I go through phases of what type book I read. Like I came home from a road trip where I'd been to many battle sites of the Indian Wars and started reading books like Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. If you've not read that one, you should. It tells you what really happened during the settlement of the west, not the propaganda version we learned in grade school.

And then there was my WWII phase, mostly books about the Nazis, like Inside The Third Reich.

A constant genre for me is the true crime book. My favorite true crime writer is Ann Rule. With Jack Olsen a close second. He's dead now, and was never as prolific as Ms. Rule, but his way of telling the story varied from book to book, like last month I read Jack Olsen's Rat Dog Dick. It seemed more like a novel than a non-fiction true story.

Currently I'm in the middle of Jack Olsen's "I" The Creation Of A Serial Killer. It's the story of yet one more Pacific Northwest serial killer, a Canadian named Keith Hunter Jepperson. Apparently the Jepperson serial killing took place while I was still living in the Northwest, but I've no memory of this particular story. Jack Olsen was allowed to interview the killer at length. Much of the book is written in the first person in the voice of the killer. I've not seen this in a true crime book before. It's kind of creepy.

If one were to extrapolate from my personal experiences it would seem if you live in the Pacific Northwest you likely have had personal connections to serial killers.

I was going to school at Central Washington State College when Ted Bundy took Susan Rancourt from the school library and killed her. That was near the start of Ted Bundy's serial killer career.

Spokane had a serial killer, that I also don't remember, that took place while I lived in the Northwest. This killer operated during the same time frame, sort of, as the Green River Killer. With so much killing going on it's easy to see why one can't remember them all. Anyway, the Spokane Serial Killer's name is Robert Lee Yates. I have a personal connection to him too. He grew up in Oak Harbor, Washington. That is a short distance from where I lived. He went to SVC at the same time I did. But I don't recognize either his face or name. And one of his earliest murders took place in the Skagit Valley. I lived in Mount Vernon in the Skagit Valley.

And then there is the Green River Killer, the worst serial killer in United States history, with at least 71 victims. The Green River Killer is a sicko named Gary Leon Ridgway. He worked at a truck parts manufacturer called Kenworth. My oldest sister worked there with him. Kenworth had a company party for workers and their families at this theme park called Enchanted Village. I was at that company party. So was Gary Ridgway. This was well before he began his killing spree.

Geez, I'm being as absurd as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with these "personal" connections to serial killers. Well, at least I'm aware that I'm being absurd, so I guess that makes me less absurd than the Star-Telegram.

Speaking of absurd. I had no idea that the world is suffering from an epidemic of serial killers. Wikipedia has an article listing serial killers by country. I was surprised by how many Canadian serial killers there have been. I was not too surprised to see that the United States had the longest list of serial killers. With, I am assuming, the majority coming from the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Party Without Me

My oldest nephew's first born son, Spencer Jack, had his 1st birthday yesterday. Spencer Jack had a birthday party. And I was not invited. I can't tell you how badly this hurts my feelings. When Spencer Jack's dad had birthday parties I used to get invited.

Spencer Jack's Uncle Joey mentioned to me some time ago that he would need to consult with me as to how to make the type birthday presents I used to make for his birthday parties. It was a very elaborate process. Involving a lot of unwrapping and varying levels of difficulty and a big mess. One year it was glitter in balloons that had to be popped to find clues as to where the actual present was located. (the trunk of my car). And then when the package was hauled in from the trunk the new package started up a fresh mess of unwrapping with squeals of fun from the kids, groans of will this never end from the stodgy grownups.

Now the actual birthday present was always totally lame. It was the elaborate packaging that was the actual present. Now, one of my, well, sort of humorless and at times slightly clueless, yet self-righteously overbearing siblings felt, I guess, that I needed to be taught a lesson. I believe it was on my birthday, maybe it was Christmas, I don't remember. But she'd gone through a little bother to wrap something sort of remotely like I did for my nephews. When I got to what was inside it was a jar of peaches with a note saying "How does it feel now?" Or something like that. I guess this was supposed to teach me how awful it was to put my nephews through the extreme trauma of opening one of my birthday presents and end up causing them to be upset because I didn't buy them a video game. Trouble was, I like peaches so the lesson was totally lost on me.

Nonetheless, the peach incident was confusing to me. So when the next nephew birthday invite came along I politely declined the invitation, saying that I didn't want to upset my nephew with one of my awful birthday presents. I was then told it would break the boy's heart if I didn't do my usual birthday thing that was the highlight of their birthday parties. That would be the nephew who told me he needed to consult with me as to what to do for Spencer Jack's birthday party. I told him to wait a couple years, that Spencer Jack was too young for that type fun.

I wonder if the reason I didn't get invited to Spencer Jack's birthday party is because maybe his Grandma (it was she who sent me the pic above taken at Spencer Jack's party) told Spencer Jack's mother what a nightmare it was to clean up after one of my birthday presents. I remember the year the package exploded shooting thousands of those little circles you make with a paper punch, apparently she was finding those paper punches for months. I recollect hearing that the glitter from the popped balloons had been a gift that kept on giving too.

I will admit, all these years later, part of the fun was watching my sister-in-law, a certified neat freak, squirm as she saw the mess unfold. Of course when it was all over I'd help the nephews pick it all up. But you can't easily pick up glitter and paper punches.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Spencer Jack. Sorry I couldn't be at your party.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Electronic Bad Wiring

I grow tired of all the complications I encounter with all these new devices that are/were supposed to make our lives simpler and easier. Of late it's been one aggravation after another. All electronically related.

One aggravation is cell phones. Currently Lulu in Tacoma is cut off from the world due to her third cell phone in 2 weeks ceasing to work. When she does have a cell phone that can make a call those calls are very unreliable. As in at any point in a call, 2 seconds in or 20 minutes in there can be this annoying boop boop noise and then the disconnect. Or the latest variation is I can hear Lulu saying are you there are you there with me replying yes over and over again. And then the disconnect.

A couple weeks ago my website was taken over by the Ebay home page. Before that all my websites had their index pages altered with javascript that caused a pop up window that opened a Vietnamese music website.

The past few days I've been having email problems. As in trouble sending. And then yesterday that woe escalated when I was also not able to receive email. I submitted a support ticket. But as the hours passed I got more annoyed. I knew if they were having a serious issue calling the toll free number would put me in a long line. So, I did their live chat thing. I don't know why it is called that because you aren't chatting, you're typing.

It only took about 5 minutes before Alexander Gudonov in my webhost's bizarre Ukrainian call center asked how he could help. I asked if they were having an email problem. He said yes there had been a problem. I asked when would it be fixed. He said it was already fixed. I clicked on my email and saw that he was right, it was fixed.

And then this morning I'm once more having trouble sending email. I was about to do the live chat thing again when it started working again.

Yesterday the Google AdSense ads were acting up for awhile. As in they would not load. This would cause the page load to keep going and going. Logging into the AdSense account didn't work either. But this problem did not last long.

And then this morning I found out that this Feedjit thing I use to put Live Traffic info on some of my websites, like this very blog, stopped working. I went to the Feedjit website and learned they'd done some maintenance thing overnight that they said was successful. If by successful they mean it no longer works, I guess they are right. I'm assuming this is going to start working again.

I'm done whining now. It wasn't therapeutic.

UPDATE: After I posted the Blog above I then started having problems with the Blogger website! As in if you tried to go to a Blog you got a message that there was a server error. If I tried to log in to the Blog all sorts of odd things happened. Now, several hours later, everything seems to be working again. Well, everything I've checked on, I forgot to mention that Google AdSense also went screwy with a message in many languages saying there was a problem. I'll go see if that's fixed as soon as I'm done with this.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Texas Snowman

After being cooped up much of yesterday due to ice, snow and cold it was nice to escape today to Oakland Lake Park. You wouldn't know we had a blizzard here yesterday except for some archaeological evidence, such as the snowman you see in this photo with the Fort Worth UFO in the background. Other snowmen in the park had already collapsed into their component parts and were now just slowly melting balls. But this one guy remained intact, standing proud with his orange nose pointing towards the lake.

The snowman looked a bit lonely, standing like a guard in front of the tennis courts, and with the snow gone from the ground and Texas back to its usual brown color he looks really out of place, like ice in a desert.

More Texas Two Step Chaos & Weather Woes

We are back with clear blue sky again after yesterday's weather extreme. This morning did not bring the expected ice covering. Yesterday's afternoon sleet canceled about 500 flights out of D/FW, leaving some people stranded on planes for over 5 hours. Which is one of my many personal visions of a living hell.

Meanwhile reports continue to accumulate like snow regarding chaos and confusion at the second step of the Texas Two Step. One caucus goer reported his wife called party officials for help during their caucus meltdown, the person who answered did not know what to do, so the caller asked to speak to a supervisor who she heard say "just hang up on her".

On a plus note a Texas legislator is introducing a proposal to end the ridiculous Texas Two Step as practiced by the Texas Democrat party.

If you've not heard what the Texas Democrat Two Step process is, or don't get why it is absurd, let me lay it out for you. 55 percent of the delegates are chosen directly by the voters, with each vote weighted differently based on how the voter's precinct voted in the last 2 elections. Another 19 percent of the delegates are chosen at precinct caucuses with vague rules regarding how to weigh the votes. 11 percent of the delegates are chosen at the state convention and the remaining 15 percent are appointed by party bosses, a leftover from the good ol' boy network that used to run things.

Now do you get why we still don't know for sure who won the Texas primary election on the Democrat side, Obama or Hillary?

The Republican Party in Texas uses what would seem a revolutionary democratic method for picking their delegates in that 99 percent of the delegates are chosen directly by the voters. What a concept. And there is no chicanery regarding 'weighting' the votes based on past elections. Each vote is counted equally. I don't know how that remaining 1 percent of the delegates is chosen by the Republicans. I do know that John McCain is the nominee. And that he won Texas.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's Snowing in Texas

A little before noon the National Weather Service changed today's forecast from a snow advisory starting about 4pm to a Winter Storm Warning starting at noon. A few minutes after that the white stuff began falling. Before the weather got dire I was getting ready to drive to Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market to get cilantro and other things I needed to finish the chili I made this morning in a crockpot using ground venison I got from a local hunter who'd given it to a local Puerto Rican who can not cook.

When got outside I found out it was very icy and slippery. I debated whether I should be careful or throw caution to the snow. The latter option won out. By the time I got on a street and driving up a hill I found I had some traction problems. I made it as far as the Albertsons parking lot and re-debated the wisdom of going cilantro hunting under these conditions. Sure, I could have gone in Albertsons and bought cilantro and likely easily gotten safely back here. But I do not like Albertsons and was in need of adventure.

So, on to Wal-Mart I went. But I needed gas. $3.05 a gallon. Like I've mentioned before, when I get gas I call my mom in Phoenix to tell her how much it cost and what the weather is doing. She had trouble believing I was being snowed on. So did I.

I got to Wal-Mart driving slow like everyone else. The parking lot was not too slippery. Quickly got my stuff. Helped a little old lady with a cane load her stuff into her car. Drove slowly back here, slowly sliding down my hill, gently applying the brakes. Got to my parking place, took the pic you see above, looking out my vehicle window, walked carefully to my entry, got in, turned up the heat, chopped the cilantro and am now in the process of hunkering down til this is over. Everything outside should be covered in thick ice by morning.

Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday, Spring in 2 weeks. Global Warming has yet to arrive in North Texas.

UPDATE: It is now about 4pm. Snow has been falling hard for a couple hours. It is freezing. Everything is icing up. Schools have been closing early. People have been leaving work to try and get home before the roads become impassable and impossible. By morning North Texas should be on one icy cold lockdown.

Global Warming, Snow & the Texas Two Step

It is only a couple weeks til the start of Spring. And yet this afternoon North Texas is predicted to get snow. Possibly up to a couple inches. When is this Global Warming thing you hear so much about scheduled to kick in?

It now looks like what I predicted days ago is about to be official, that being that though Hillary won the Texas primary vote and the most delegates from that win, Obama won the Caucus Chaos by a larger percentage and thus won more of those delegates and is expected to come out ahead with 99 delegates to Hillary's 94, gave or take a few in either direction.

Meanwhile the scandal over the largely botched second part of the Texas Two Step, that being the caucuses that Barack won, continues to grow. Angry voters are being heard, made more angry as they share horror stories and realize their experience was not unique, but was more the norm.

In one D/FW suburb, Mansfield, voting did not end til 20 minutes before 10pm. Many of the hundreds who showed up at 7pm for the caucus left in frustration as the hours clicked by. These people were left standing outside in the cold. And to add more pain to the pain, when many of them tried to escape they found their vehicles stuck in mud requiring a tow truck to unstick them.

Other precincts broke the election rules by allowing caucusers to sign in before the voting ended and letting them make their caucus choice. Other precincts did not realize that once the caucus began a voter could make his presidential choice and then leave without participating in the rest of the caucus.

At a caucus location in Denton County over 1000 showed up. People got so frustrated by the confusion that at least half of them left. One of the frustrated said, "I've never experienced anything like this. It kind of makes me want to leave the entire state."

I think that is a common sentiment here at times.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Caucus Chaos

My experience at last night's Texas caucus was not an isolated one of a kind fluke. Even though the Caucus Chaos that I witnessed was not mentioned in this morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram similar scenarios played out at voting locations all over Texas to varying degrees of chaos, confusion, disorder, turmoil, discord, pandemonium and borderline anarchy.

At some polling places in Tarrant County (location of Fort Worth) the primary voting ran over an hour late, causing the caucusing to begin over an hour late.

In many locations, when the caucusing finally began, more chaos followed with no one knowing what to do and then, when the process finally got under way, running out of sign in sheets and ballots. As a Hillary supporter, Michelle Coomer put it, "I was so appalled at how it was run. It was a terrible mess. It was a fiasco. There was no organization."

Approximately 500 people were left out in the cold at Fort Worth's Southwest Subcourthouse waiting for the voting to end. Some people had been directed to the wrong voting place leaving them not enough time to get to the correct location.

Various locations reported people showing up to vote in the primary who had early voted, taking literally those campaign slogans telling them to vote twice. Other voters somehow thought they had to participate in the caucus or their primary vote would not count.

It is not yet known who won the caucuses. It is known Hillary won the primary. Like I said before, it is likely Obama will end up with more Texas delegates because it is likely he won the caucuses.

So far I've not heard any noises, beyond my own, regarding declaring the caucus results fraudulent due to all the problems and the large number of people who were unable to participate due to all the ineptitude.