Archive for January, 2007

Zoo celebrates virgin birth of Komodo dragons

The evolutionary breakthrough could have far-reaching consequences for endangered species.”

Not sure how this is an “evolutionary” breakthrough.  Was the offspring a new variation on the species?  Able to breath methane or something?  Has wings?

Parthenogenesis — where eggs become embryos without male fertilization — had only been noted once before in a Komodo dragon

Whups!  So it HAS been noted before?  So, it was a rare, yet existing capability for the Komodo.  So, again, evolutionary? Not so much.

But hey, ya gotta play up the evolution angle whenever possible, right?

In related news:

Humans wiped out large beasts in Australia

The new study, published in the Jan. 24 issue of the journal Nature, destroys the climate change model for Australian megafauna extinction once and for all, said study co-author John Long from Museum Victoria, Australia.

“The only new ingredient in the mix at that time was humans, who first entered Australia between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago,” Roberts said. “So humans, very likely, played the decisive role in the extinction event — through hunting of juveniles and through burning of the vegetation cover and changing the plant composition to disadvantage the browsers and grazers.”

Humans:  Once a depspoiler of the earth, always a despoiler of the earth.  My question is, why didn’t they just EVOLVE to ADAPT to the changing conditions!?  Maybe if they’d all been placed in captivity, then they would have “learned” to spontaneously reproduce, and wouldn’t have died out.

In totally unrelated news:

Clearly these people need to move to California.

 Airline defends removing family from flight

AirTran Airways on Tuesday defended its decision to remove a Massachusetts couple from a flight after their crying 3-year-old daughter refused to take her seat before takeoff. 

“We weren’t given an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything,” Julie Kulesza said in a telephone interview Tuesday. 

Because after all, all she really needed was a hug, right? Or….

She was removed because “she was climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn’t get in her seat” during boarding, Graham-Weaver said. (my emphasis)

Where I come from, a three-year old doesn’t really get to decide whether or not she needs to sit her tush down when it’s time for the airplane to go zoom.   It’s that, or spend the flight in the overhead bin.  Remember my questions about spanking, and what to do when asking nicely isn’t enough?  ‘Nuf said.

…and maybe I’m a little too quick to jump onto the “bash-the-mainstream-media” bandwagon, but I find it interesting that in the MSNBC online article:

Contractors shot execution style, officials say

that the one of the accompanying graphics, though for an “unrelated” incident, turns out to be this one:

A photo of four iraqi men, on the ground, hands tied, one blindfolded, being approached by soldiers from behind.

Now, I know that’s SOP for dealing with suspected insurgents, but I just find it an interesting confluence of headline with associated imagery.

But, like I say, I’m probably just being overly cynical.

- You know what I hate?  You know what chafes me worse than a wool jock-strap on a hot summer’s day?  You know what gets under my skin worse than the alien implant I received during my last abduction? 

** Happy Meal Toys **.  Some amorphous blob of injection molded plastic, uncannily and unerringly tied to whatever current DisneyPixareamworksony animated wonder is the latest pablum de jour.  Oooh, and look!  If I stick these two poorly-mated parts together, and pull his arm…his leg twitches!  Or maybe if I press a flipper, his beak moves….an eighth of an inch.  Ah, the pure, cleansing joy of a child at play.

Tell me again how this is a “toy?”  My kids play with it about as long as it takes to cross the parking lot, and then it will lie, undiscovered and unmissed beneath one of the back seats of the minivan, keeping forlorn company with the other useless trinkets, baubles, and marketing misfires destined only to further clog America’s landfills with more tons of non-biodegradable crap.  Why why WHY!?  Newsflash!  These aren’t toys, because they AREN’T FUN.  Every few months I have to go through the toy bins and cull out the meaningless clumps of misguided and misbegotten sputum from the bowels of some industrial Cloning Den For Ill-Considered Marketing Tie-Ins.  Useless!

- IMHO:  One of the greatest social innovations of the modern age:  Camisoles as outer wear.  I don’t know who first thunk that one up, but my hat is off to you, whoever you are.  Ranks right up there with those pastel-colored nylon running shorts the girls wore in gym class.  And angora sweaters.  And 80’s hair.  Okay, okay, yeah, I’m emotionally trapped in High School.  But you knew that.

- On the California Legislature’s current initiative to ban spanking:  How come those who oppose laws against sodomy or other forms of sexual kinkiness adopted the rallying cry of “keep your laws out of my bedroom!”  But, now apparently some think it’s just fine and dandy to legislate how I discipline/raise my child?

The question I have is this:  What do you do when asking nicely doesn’t work?  When threats and time-outs are met with screaming defiance?  When begging and pleading and cajoling and bribing (and other such solid parenting methods) have all failed to bring your little terror to heel?  What do you do when time after time after time, your child flagrantly disobey you, often looking you straight in the eye as he or she pours her Hawaiian Punch on your new suede throw pillows?

Do you cluck, and waggle a finger, and scold mercilessly, “Now Deyton, that wasn’t nice.  Mommy is awful upset about that.  Here let me get you some more juice.”

I guess if you’re a good, socially-advanced Progressive, you calmly explain your reasonings, the potential long-term impacts of disobedience within the social milieu, and encourage your young 4-year old to respect mommy’s boundaries.  Then you reward him with a cookie for being a good listener and only ruining ONE of the pillows, instead of both, like last time.

Or, you could give the little cuss a couple of good swats on the rump and dump him in the crib for a bit.  And you do it consistently, firmly but fairly, until the young blank slate comes to understand that there are sudden and painful consequences to using the Sharpie on mommy’s new drapes, after you were told repeatedly not to.  But I guess I’m just old-fashioned that way.

So, last night we’re sitting around the dinner table for family dinner, talking about the work day, my upcoming TAD trip, and the Medium-sized child pipes up with this little nugget:

“Just think, Dad.  In nine more years, I can join the Marine Corps!”

Gyark!

My wife and I both just stopped and looked at each other, agape and aghast, as the truth of this revelatory ass-kicker settled in.  We both broke into this ephiphanic grin of dismay.  “Yeah, that’s right, isn’t it?”

 As parents we tend to harbor the carefully nurtured fiction that our little kids will always be little kids.  We revel in the sweet innocence and childish glee they take in life, even as we face the inevitable struggles of young independent wills against our own.

And then one of our offspring will up and burst the bubble with a random comment.  To a kid, 9 years seems like an eternity.  To a parent, nine years is a freakin’ wakeup call.

In about four more months, he’ll hit the double digit mark.  It just struck me the other day that next year he will be going into the fifth grade.  Holy Mother of Sausages!  FIFTH GRADE!  I’m not ready to have a fifth grader.  It seems like just yesterday I WAS a fifth grader. 

 Yurrrkkgg.  That means 6th Grade is just around the corner.  Puberty, and girls, and a whole new flavor of attitude.  And then Junior High! 

breathe….breathe…..

It makes me want to put him in a glass case and preserve him as-is.  And yet, at the same time, I’ve so enjoyed watching him grow and change to this point, that I have a secret yearning to watch the rest of the process.  I want to see how he turns out, what kind of young man he becomes. 

So I smile my best, plastic stewardess smile, bury the twinge of pain and regret and that vague, conflicted sense of loss, and try to sound encouraging and supportive.  And remind myself to take a lot more pictures than I have been.

A comment I made in my last post about a Master Race mentality has been brewing and stewing in my mind all weekend.  Mostly because I’ve realized that even that while the comment was made in passing, with even an air of flippancy about it, it still hit the nail right on the head.

The militant, arrogant, defiant, and increasingly demanding nature of the international Islamic culture, with its overweening sense of entitlement and in many ways elitist sense of moral superiority is disturbingly reminiscent of the sense of racial and cultural pride found in the Japanese imperialism of the late 19th and early 20th century.  There is an almost aryan-like sense of some sort of inherent elevation above the “infidel”, much like that present in the Nazi party in the 30’s and 40’s.

There, now I’ve done it.  I’ve compared militant islam to Nazi fascism.  Let the fatwahs begin, eh?

 Consider the word “infidel.”  Infidel, at its core, means “unclean.” An unbeliever.  Something less-than.  By branding someone as an infidel, you dehumanize them, you set them outside the realm of compassion or mercy, and thereby justify all manner of abuses and atrocities in the name of “cleansing” the world of this stain.  An infidel becomes sub-human, something to be shunned and avoided.

Sound vaguely familiar, somehow?  The imperial Japanese viewed other races, particularly the Koreans, as subhuman.  As fit only for servile manual labor, or a sex slaves.  Western POWs during WWII were treated like caged animals, as property to be disposed of as wished.  The Nazis clearly held the same view towards Jews, Gypsies, Blacks, and any other race deemed “subhuman.”  They were the Nazi’s infidels.  These views were what led to to the Battan Death March, Samurai beheadings, and the Chlorine Showers and the murderous ovens of Dachau and Auschwitz.

So what is it that, at its core, has led to ethnic cleansing in Darfur and Sudan?  What has led to the Fatwahs and Jihads against “infidels” and “unbelievers?”  What has led to the death squads and beheadings in Iraq?  What has justified the gassing of Kurds or the slaughter of Christians in Indonesian and Africa?

Global Islam sees itself as a Master Race.

Our media and progressive apologists tend to paint islamicists as downtrodden freedom fighters or as misunderstood devotees who just want to worship in peace.  I agree.  They are misunderstood.  They are too often looked at as a religious minority, as a special interest group fighting for credibility in the big pool of religions.  We sometimes misunderstand the true nature of what we are facing.

As individuals, they are just people.  Just as the individual Japanese or German were okay guys and gals.  But when added to a cultural collective, when whipped into a frenzy of cultural fervency, built to a fevered pitch by a gifted orator such as a Goebbels, the grand Imam of the Nazi party, then the individual identity begins to give way to the racial identity.   Once the individual identity gets lost to the grand collective vision of supremacy and conquest, all bets are off. 

Worse still, there becomes a cultural “right answer.”  A self-policing party line which bears no dissent, and variation from which is met with often violent retribution.  The more fervent the devotion to the approved and accepted meme, the greater the rewards to the individual.  The more prestige, the more power.  Thus the incentive to not only conform, but to innovate, and add progressively more stringent and demanding standards, all in the name of cultural purity.  Again, ringing any bells here?

The Global War on Terror is not about revenge for 9/11.  It’s not about an eye for an eye.  It’s not even about eradicating the Taliban.  It’s about fighting against the same sort of Master Race mentality that made the Imperial Japanese and Nazi Germany a threat to our people and our way of life.  We are the infidels.  We are the subhumans to the Islamic sense of racial elitism. 

And we will be dealt with accordingly.  Unless we understand our enemy. 

Don’t soft-coat his agenda in the name of tolerance.  Don’t minimize abuses by calling the guilty a “fringe.”  And don’t dismiss or marginalize the alarmist who dares to paint the threat with a realistic brush, rather than whitewash the danger in the name of capitulation and “dialogue.”

Whizit that if some Muslim gets “offended” by the swirling design on top of a McDonalds ice cream cup, or screams bloody murder about DISCRIMINATION if an airline looks twice or doesn’t treat them like VIP china dolls, the collective “We” are supposed to grovel and accede to their every demand out of penance for our intolerance….

…but somehow, some Muslims still feel free to glorify child suicide and call Jews “pigs” who will go to Hell?

Fury at Australia cleric comments

Sheikh Feiz Mohammed, who has spent the past year living in Lebanon, talks on the controversial videotapes of his desire for children be offered “as soldiers defending Islam”.

“Teach them this,” he says, “that there is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a Muhajid.

“Put in their soft, tender heart the zeal of jihad and the love of martyrdom.”

It takes a village and all that, eh?

Australia’s Islamic Friendship Association president, Keysar Trad, said the remarks did not reflect the views of the wider Muslim community.

“They certainly give the public an erroneous impression about Islam and Muslims,” he said.

Now THAT’S what I call a strongly-worded condemnation!  Whew!  The bile!  The virulence!  The outrage!

Ah, yet another “fringe” cleric.  Ho. Hum.  It seems to me that Islam has more fringes than a Vegas Elvis impersonator.

Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali caused a storm of protest after comparing scantily-dressed women to “uncovered meat”, comments he said were taken out of context.

He hit the headlines again recently when he told Egyptian television that Muslim Australians had more rights to the country than white Australians whose ancestors arrived as convicts.

And there you have it, folks.  Muslims are “entitled” to Australia. Because….uh, because…uh…just because they are so morally superior.  So therefore, they can exert the relgious equivalent of eminent domain?  Got it.  Sounds a bit like a “master race” mentality, eh?

So, when will they up and deport this douchebag?

On the OTHER hand…

Posted: January 18, 2007 in Blitherings, Global Warming

One just MIGHT get the impression that there is something, shall we say, “out of the ordinary” going on..

25 dead as storm batters Europe

Winter storms kill 66, chill Sun Belt states

Freeze destroys California’s citrus crop 

150,000 still powerless after Northwest storm

Washington state braces for record flooding

Things that make you go, “Hmmmm….”

I’m pretty sure that the crushing snowfall and rampant ice storms are a clear sign of approaching global warming related catastrophes.  Things get any hotter around here and they’ll be ice skating in Florida.

Oh, and that minimum wage increase thing?  Based on personal experience, I can assure you that forcing small businesses to pay more money for their employess is a zero-sum game.  If they pay more in one area, they will be forced to cut in others.  They may not lay people off, but they will cut things like, oh say, medical benefits.  So, you’ll still have a job, but you may work less hours, and you won’t have medical.  Sure, technically you’re getting paid “more,” but it will nowhere near offset the cost of going out and finding your own health insurance.

So, the funny thing, that’s right, the downright gut-busting hilarious thing about this whole deal is that it might just end up driving MORE people to seek government assistance.

Or maybe, that’s the idea?  Dependent people are easily coerced (read: controlled).

-  When a dog barks incenssantly at 3:00am, is it the fault of the dog, or is it the fault of the owner for not installing a shock collar and cranking the thing up to “Flambe’?”  A dog barks.  Dogs are stupid.  A stupid dog barking non-stop for an hour at 3:00am for no apparent reason is a natural act.  My wanting to head-stomp the owner for ignoring it is also a natural reaction.

By the same token, when some little demon-spawn is shrieking her ever-lovin’ head off and petulantly flinging french fries and nugget bits in the middle of McDonalds while I am trying ever-so-patiently to enjoy my sausage, egg, and cheese McGriddle, is it the fault of the two-year old progeny of Satan, or the fault of the mom for not slapping the little crumbsnatcher silly with the flat of her sandle until she JUST SHUTS UP!!  After all, little kids cry, they shriek, they have violent, low-bloodsugar meltdowns.  It’s a natural act.  However, my wanting to commit some violent and potentially unnatural act on the deliberately oblivious mom who lets it continue for the better part of 20 minutes without a) brutalizing the child into submission, or b) taking the little festering snot nodule home and leaving the rest of us in peace, is, I think, also a natural reaction.

-  I will never be a “good” environmentalist, because I believe that the environment should be protected FOR people, not FROM people.  The whole “no road, no trails” BS is not only folly, but a betrayal of the stewardship of these lands by our fine Federal government.  They are called PUBLIC lands for a reason.

 – Durbin, Pelosi, Boxer.  Three of the biggest reasons I will forever resist progressivism with every fiber of my being, with ever ounce of fortitude and wherewithal I possess, to the bitter end of my last, gasping breath.

- I think that if Martin Luther King could see the condition of the Black Communities of today, he might almost want a return to the 50’s.  Have we moved forwards, or backwards?  According to MLK, who is responsible for the “plight” of the black man?  The black man, or the white man?  According to MLK, who is responsible for an individual’s station, status, and welfare?  Who has the greatest, if not the sole responsibility for improving or changing that condition?  Let me give you a hint:  Black, white, man or woman, indian, immigrant, or citizen, the responsibility rests WITH YOU!  Stop blaming everyone but yourself for your problems.

- I’ve realized that I can be somewhat of an a**hole at times.  I’ve also realized that I’m okay with that.

- You know, that quaint trend of using asterisks to softcoat swear words?  Kinda silly.  When someone reads the sentence, their brain drops the asterisks and they read the word to themselves in all its profane glory.  You might as well have yelled it in their ear.  If you’re going to use the word, use the word.  Otherwise don’t.  Unless you’re quoting someone.  Then fudge out the WHOLE world, not just a few crucial vowels or consonants.

- This country is in a tailspin, not because of the Democrats or Republicans, but because of the Democrats AND Republicans.  Because we have become so polarized, and so beholden to special interests and minority shills that we are tearing ourselves apart from the inside out.  Because their are powerful people in Congress who will propose or oppose something not because it is right, but merely because its the opposite of what the opposing party wants. We are doing the islamicists job for them.

- You know what I hate?  Worse than black licorice, or brussel sprouts? (Okay, maybe not worse than brussel sprouts.)  But you know what just chafes me worse than wearing brand new Levis with no underwear?  Shtank.  What is “shtank,” you ask?  Shtank is that smell when you sit down in the bathroom stall next to a guy who’s clearly got some sort of medical condition.  When some dude who KNOWS he shouldn’t each shellfish and a dairy-rich alfredo sauce was in the stall just before you, and you walk in thinking you’re gonna get a few choice moments aways from phone and email, only to be assaulted with some putrid anal effluvium the likes of which would make Shrek’s nose hairs curl.  Shtank is that odor that molecularly bonds with oxygen molecules so that when you walk into the office bathroom after the guy who’s just started his new “high-fiber” regimen, and you quite literally can’t breathe.  Hate that.  A lot.

- On a more positive note, I’ve discovered the joys of Dunkin Donuts coffee.  I know, I know,  I said I was going to quit drinking coffee (chortle, guffaw).  Yeah. Right.  I lied.  That will never happen.  Face it – I’m addicted for life.  But I digress.   I’ve heard from several sources who’d sooner clean car parts with Starbucks coffee than drink it, that DD coffee is much better.  I’ve come to agree.  It’s sweet, without being frou-frou.  Smooth, not bitter.  Cleans up real nice with a little flavored creamer, or just black.  It’s a good, solid, all around coffee that doesn’t cost an armandaleg per pound.  Highly recommended.

- We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog-surfing.

The President’s Speech

Posted: January 11, 2007 in Military, Politics, Rants

First off, let me say that Chris Matthews is a festering puss boil on the scrotum of the journalistic community, and that Sen. Durbin is a prime candidate for a retroactive abortion.  Matthews is just an idiot, but Durbin is downright dangerous.

Overall, I found the President’s speech to be like bubble gum that you’ve been chewing for too long.  Same consistency, but it’s lost all its flavor.  Didn’t hear much of anything new, just retreads of the same old “stay the course.” Of course, we’re charting a NEW course, but we need to make sure we stick with this new course.  I’m starting to wonder if there is some sort of Max Headroom deal going on here.  “St-st-st-stay the course.”

And  I must admit that I find it hard to get to inspired when I seem him struggling to read the tele-prompter, meaning that he’s not that familiar with the words, meaning its something cranked out by his speechwriter a few hours before.  I propose his speechwriter needs to get some new material.

Overall some valid points were made, but more re-iterated than made.  If you didn’t already agree with him, nothing about the content or delivery would move you to change your view.  It wasn’t a speech, so much as a recitation.

Then the echo fades, and Chris Matthews gets on, looking like he just chewed a lemon.  Keith Olberman can barely get a word in edgewise before Matthews starts ranting, “He’s invading Iran! He’s Invading Iran! He said it!  Yeeearrrgh!”  It was almost hilarious to watch him shudder and twitch. I swear I saw foam at the corners of his mouth.

Of course, then Sen. Durbin gets on, and now THAT boy had some fire!  Yeah, he really lit into the President!  Man, he let the Prez have it with both barrels, not pulling any punches.  Durbin was on FIRE baby, and he laid out a verbal beatdown that was truly awesome to behold. 

Of course, the target of his bile was the IRAQI president, not the AMERICAN one!

He essentially told the Iraqi’s that they’d had long enough to figure out this whole “democracy” thing, and that we’ve had it.  We’re pulling out, your on your own, and don’t come crying to us when you can’t solve your own problems.  “Don’t expect that every time you dial 9-11, well send in 20,000 troops,” were, I believe, his exact words.

What. An. Ass.

Someone once said that these days we have a great many politicians, and very few diplomats.  I think he was probably talking about Durbin at the time.

Let me clue you in on something here, Sen. Durbin.  We made some mistakes in Iraq.  One of them was disbanding the military and starting over from scratch.  Now we’ve got thousands of relatively new recruits.  We’ve been at this, what, four years?  In our military, in four years a new recruit might make Corporal.  A newly minted officer will make 1st Lt or maybe Captain.  There are 25 year old Battalion Commanders in the Iraqi Army right now! 

And you want us to just pull out and say that’s it?  That’s all the help you get?

Rather than “forcing” the Iraqis to solve their own problems, pulling out so precipitiously now will only further polarize the population.  Faith in the government’s long-term survival will plummet, and people will begin to align themselves with whatever faction they see as the most likely to come out on top.  It will devolve in to factional, tribal warfare, and you’ll have another Somalia.

And then Iran and Syria will roll in and fight over the pieces.  It will be a bloodbath that will make the Khmer Rouge look like girl scouts.

Senator Durbin, you are not just a caustic, partisan blatherskite.  You, sir, are an idiot.