Saturday, September 24, 2016

Just A Typical Saturday in Michigan









So all morning I was trying to reach the service department at my auto dealership so I could set an appointment for an oil change. The phone rang and rang and rang and nobody answered. I tried again and once, after reaching the main number and pressing #3 to talk to the service department, I got some guy at his house who had no idea what I was talking about. I tried again from scratch, and again got no answer.  I then tried the receptionist at the front desk, who said they only had one guy working at Service today so they must be too busy to get to the phone. She said she would go find him personally.  She never came back. After a while, the dealership's on-hold music became a ringing phone and it went to the receptionist's voice mail. I finally said forget it, the place is a mile away; I'll just drive there. When I arrived, the place was stone silent and they were not busy at all. The phone was not ringing. The guy manning the phones was unaware anyone had been trying to reach him.  I informed him that the dealership's phones were apparently on drugs, told him about my experience with them this morning and he said thank you for the feedback. I set the appointment for the blasted oil change and came home to discover that my red primroses, which only bloom in April, are mysteriously blooming in September. This all happened 2 days after I saw that my Mockorange bush, which only blooms in June, is blooming this week as well.    




Another Embarrassing Terrorist Flop!





SAYS HERE that the latest attempt at jihad, in and around the Big Apple, was an embarrassing clusterfunk on a par with the exploits of the Underwear Bomber.  See this guy?






This is Ahmad Khan Rahami. Thanks to his terroristic behavior over the last week or so, he will hereinafter be known in perpetuity by all three names, like his criminal fellows Dayton Leroy Rogers and Coral Eugene Watts.  I want you to notice that in the news photo above, he has his pants pulled down for the camera.  This is the way I want you to remember him.  Because he was, in fact, caught with his pants down.  Now, see these guys?




They are the deeply flawed HEROES of this sorry story.  Last I heard they were still being sought by the police, but we may have their names by the time I am writing this.  They were captured on this security-cam video around the time they accidentally found a pressure cooker bomb built by Rahani, hidden in plain sight in a suitcase left where anyone might stumble over it.  Which is exactly what these guys did.  They said, hey, a suitcase! and opened it up and found an odd-looking device with a cellphone fastened by a bunch of wires to a pressure cooker.  They sort of shrugged, tossed aside the device -- breaking it as they did so -- and walked away with their prize, the suitcase.  Later, someone apparently came across the pressure cooker, realized what it was, and alerted the police.  The coppers discovered that the cellphone used to make the device was the personal property of Ahmad Khan Rahani, and full of information that led the police straight to him.  Oh, and he left fingerprints.  Which is how he ended up on that gurney in the photo above, riddled with bullets, with his pants down.


This is ultimately going to be one of the great stories of the Golden Age of the Jihaddist.  I just want you all to bear firmly in  mind that for every Beltway Sniper or Anwar al-Awlaki there are DOZENS of guys like the Underwear Bomber and Ahmad Khan Rahani.  These are the true footsoldiers of the global jihad.  You can recognize them by their flaming underwear and by the fact that they are already in police custody.

THE STATE BOYS REBELLION





This intriguing book by Michael D'Antonio, ISBN 978-0743245135, makes clear that despite all the well-meaning statements in the media decrying the violence in places like Ferguson, Missouri and Charlotte, North Carolina, well, sometimes A RIOT IS JUST WHAT YOU NEED.


This book is about a particularly shameful period in this nation's history, when "eugenics" was a perfectly acceptable word to use in polite company. (It mentions in the first few pages that Adolf Hitler considered a book on the subject, published by an American "scientist," to be his Bible.)  The State Boys Rebellion is about one of the manifestations of the American eugenics movement. Apparently, in the Thirties, Forties and Fifties in this country, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of children rescued from bad homes -- or just not wanted by their parents for various reasons -- were herded into state-run institutions called "schools" where they were (usually incorrectly) labeled "feebleminded," warehoused, worked like dogs at menial jobs, denied proper schooling (again, because of that incorrect label), beaten, raped and generally exploited.  More than half of these kids were perfectly normal mentally (despite the lousy treatment they were getting!), and they put a lot of energy into against-the-rules learning about the outside world, saving money, and breaking out of the jails their state government put them in with NO HOPE OF PAROLE. 


Now, most of these kids just hunkered down and tolerated what the adults dished out to them, but some of them got really fed up and did what I would count as some very creative RIOTING.  The hijinks they got up to make for great reading, and FILLED ME WITH ADMIRATION.


And here's the thing:  I fully expected the powers to be to react to this by hiring more, meaner turnkeys and making the kids' lives WORSE THAN EVER.  What they did instead was admit that these kids did not really belong here and NEVER HAD.  They starting routing them into a special program to get them ready for the outside world.  Where they SUCCEEDED at living perfectly good lives.


It's an incredible message of hope for people like me, who look at what's going on outside the window and want to SET FIRE TO SOMETHING.  This book shows that sometimes that's the right decision.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

THE BLOODY RED BARON -- Or, The Story Of A Discordian Saint





LOOKS PRETTY ORDINARY, DOESN'T HE?  Well, he's not.  Behold Roman von Ungern-Sternberg.  He's an aristocrat of of German and Russian extraction, but with an unexplained Jewish-sounding surname; like Hitler after him, this whiff of Judaism about his ancestry probably helped encourage a lifetime of Jew-baiting, Jew-hating, and -- after he laid his hands upon the axle of his destiny -- extermination of any Jew that crossed his path. He carried a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and apparently believed every word it said.  So right out of the box he's got a good-sized internal contradiction.  One of his many biographers, James Palmer, describes it in The Bloody White Baron as "internal discord."  Many of us have that going for us, but oh, what this man did with his!


It almost goes without saying that he was a decorated soldier of the Great War, the most cataclysmically Discordian event of the previous century.  This was a man who failed at everything until he discovered combat.  He loved it so much that he was known to skip into battle.  (That alone should earn a guy his wings as a Discordian saint!)  And here's a funny thing about him:  he was apparently such a friend of the battlefield that he became bulletproof.  He wasn't a candy-ass like Hitler.  He took bullet after bullet in combat, but like George Washington before him, the story goes that he simply shook the spent shells out of his shirt and kept fighting. This is supported by a variety of eyewitness accounts.  In fact, he was almost the only survivor of the combat unit he belonged to.  Unlike many other battlefield survivors of the Great War, he didn't come away loathing any suggestion of combat; in later years, when he was making war on anyone who crossed his path whether it made sense to or not, he never went home to refresh himself with family and friends.  He never needed to get away from the field of battle; he often needed to get back to it.  He often went for a stroll among the rolling skulls and rotting bones of his victims when there was nothing else going on.  You know, just to get his head together.


He apparently never got a scratch until he decided to, in front of the firing squad that finally ended his career. 


This guy was rumored to be a reincarnation of Genghis Khan, and I'm here to tell you he was a great candidate for the job.  He appeared to love all things Mongolian, and when his chance came he headed over there so he could take over as the next Khan.  Apparently, he has entered the pantheon of Mongolia as a bit of a god himself, whether or not the locals believe he was really the next Genghis.  At the same time he has become a minor deity in the firmament of the Far Right, with the likes of D.C. Stephenson, Heinrich Himmler and Rush Limbaugh.  They would look up to him far more if they were educated enough to find books about him.


He was a fan of pure Chaos, not of red tape, record-keeping, financial planning or any other kind of bureaucracy; he burned ledgers and records and preferred to surround himself with a swirl of mysticism.  Tibetan Buddhism of the Mongol sort, the kid with candles flickering ominously around statues of tusked, bloodstained deities crushing screaming victims underfoot was very much to his taste.


But it seems to me that the only deity this guy really honored was Our Lady of Chaos.  When your own men turn against you because you're so weird and crazy, it's not because you are, as some would have you think, such a great Buddhist.  When people who knew you can't agree on your hair or eye color -- whether or not you had a big scar on your forehead from that duel you fought -- or whether you look like this


or this


or this


...well, it all smells like unadulterated Chaos to me.

Friday, August 26, 2016

OK, Now We Know The Terrorists Have Won...



This is a photo of the beach cops on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, forcing a Muslim woman to disrobe at gunpoint because she wore a "burkini" instead of standard Western beach togs to hang out on the strand.  I learned about this when the Deputy Mayor of Nice was defending the action on the radio, saying the woman could not possibly have been comfortable in that getup.  (Maybe he thinks it's more comfortable to be forced to disrobe in public by a group of armed men?)  He said several times that it was provocative and inflammatory to wear that outfit, especially on the same beach where an unbalanced Muslim recently got behind the wheel of a semi trailer truck and ran down a screaming crowd of Bastille Day merrymakers.
 
All I heard the guy saying was, "These terrorist acts are really working like a charm.  If I see someone in public that I can identify as a Muslim, I'm petrified.  I'm so scared that I can't even stop to think."  Maybe it never crossed his tiny mind that a Muslim who can be easily identified by his or her dress is a lot less of a threat than a stealth operative, dressed like everyone else.  Remember these guys?



They don't "look like Muslims" to me, either, and yet what are they?  Islamic terrorists. 

Maybe it's never crossed the deputy mayor's mind that almost none of the Muslims in France -- or around the world -- mean any harm to anyone at all.  Regardless of how they're dressed.
 
Or maybe I'm just stupid, and the fact that she was wearing a burkini meant she was planning to set fire to everyone on the beach, huh?

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Another Week, Another Team Meeting


All we talked about today in team was the meaning and application of the word "flex."  Now, most of the people on our team use that word to mean that if they work overtime one day, they shave some time off another day in the same pay period to even it up.  There is no such thing as overtime for us, so it's pretty important to do that in order to prevent seething resentment, releasing piranhas into the water cooler and walking off the job suddenly on a random Wednesday, never to return.  The dark overlords know we do it, they completely support us in doing it, and nobody that I've ever heard about has a problem with it.  In fact, it would be impossible to do our jobs any other way; we have to meet people at home around their work and school schedules, soccer games, camping trips, dance classes, and so forth.  And we have to manage unexpected crises which can strand us in the office half the night when we were planning to be asleep in bed, documenting a police contact or something fun like that.  There's really no way to get all our work done unless we constantly shift our hours around, especially when you consider the rules that everything we do has to be documented and signed within 24 hours of our doing anything. 

But the higher ups don't see flex time exactly the way we do.  They recently had our supervisors conduct a survey to determine who on our team would like to "flex" their hours in a totally different way. They decided to do the survey because one of those supervisors asked to change her hours around so she can have 3-day weekends in exchange for longer workdays.  So this is what they mean by "flexing" your hours:  you exchange five 8-hour days per week for four 10-hour days.  Not once in a while: forever.  If you're allowed to "flex," you "flex" every week, exactly the same way, by prearrangement.

So if they allow us to "flex" our hours by their definition, it becomes a lot less, um, flexible.  Most of us refused the option, some rudely.  We don't want to "flex" our hours because it will keep us from flexing our hours.

Another triumph of bureaucracy!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Voting Day!!!



Today is one of those voting days when all the more or less local offices seem to be up for grabs.  County prosecutor; drain commissioner; county sheriff; state representative; register of deeds; county clerk; Republican convention delegate.  You are only allowed to vote for Democrats or Republicans, not both.

But behold my local ballot!  There seem to be half a dozen people in the Republican column competing for every single job.  It's funny, because the only bumper stickers I see on anyone's car this year are advertising the glory of Bernie Sanders. 

And on the Democratic side?  There are only two names.  Running for the House of Representatives is Melissa Gilbert.  Remember "Half Pint" from Little House On The Prairie?   That Melissa Gilbert.  The radio people have explained at some length that she is currently in the hole to the IRS to the tune of a hundred thou.  Oh, and they made a great deal of the fact that she has dropped out of the race due to a health issue.  So is she running or not?  Is she even supposed to be on this ballot?

The only other guy in the Democratic column has the same name as the rabid dog Atticus Finch shot in To Kill A Mockingbird.  Tim Johnson.  So if I want to vote Democratic, here are my choices:


and


In other words,  f you want to vote at all, and get a meaningful result, you HAVE to vote Republican.   This is the most  obviously stacked deck I have seen in many, many years.   I can hardly wait to see who gets how many votes!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Another Triumph of Bureacracy!





The only problem with this Internet chuckle is that it's likely to spawn more than half a dozen conspiracy theories, each more ridiculous than the last. 

CAN'T WE ALL JUST ENJOY THE INCOMPETENCE?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

UNGODLY -- The Life Of A Discordian Saint


Allow me to introduce Madalyn Murray O'Hair.  I've just been reading about her in Ted Dracos's remarkable biography, Ungodly, ISBN 978-0425201169.



WOW.  This chick is the real thing!



She LOVED controversy and confrontation, and when there wasn't enough hassle going on around her she'd MAKE some.  She's best known for ABOLISHING PRAYER in the public schools. She was also the very first guest Phil Donahue ever had on his talk show.  The audience was so affronted by her F-bombs and the way she tore a page out of the Bible in front of everyone, that Phil asked for a hand mike that allowed him to pass among the studio audience so he could get their feedback directly.  Their questions were much better than the ones he'd had lined up in advance.  He realized the audience reaction meant he was onto something.  And the rest is history!  Both Madalyn and Phil went on to stardom -- Madalyn in a very Discordian way. 



Madalyn became the head of an iconoclastic, if not dyspeptic, atheist publishing empire. She amassed donations, gifts, and all manner of underwriting from her supporters.  If she wanted something and couldn't get anyone to give it to her, she appears to have just stolen it.  For a considerable period of her life she was a fugitive from justice, and she carried lifelong scars from a literal knock-down-drag-out with the police.  This is a woman stole from the people who helped her, double-crossed the people who loved her, befriended her enemies so she could use them shamelessly, and dared anyone to say a word about it. 



She got some of her own treatment back from others.  The son on whose behalf she sued to have prayer removed from the schools, Bill, had a religious vision and became a full-time evangelical Christian.   I daresay that rankled for the rest of her life.  She was dumped by one man after another -- part of the reason she never married the fathers of her sons. Her most trusted employee eventually killed her, sawed her legs off, did the same to her son and granddaughter, and slung them all in a clandestine grave. So hated was she that it took a year before the authorities even started to look for her, despite numerous complaints. 


Now THAT's hate.



The word Dracos uses over and over in this book is CHAOS.  He says she couldn't stand to be without it. and if even half of what he says in this book is accurate, I believe him.  She just became, not only a new personal hero of mine, but a duly registered Erisian saint.



Note to Madalyn:  The POEE is a non-prophet, irreligious disorganization grateful and proud to have you in our ranks.



See the pentagon in the center of that half apple?  I'm pretty sure that if you sawed Madalyn Murray O'Hair in half, you would find a very different shape indeed.  Gee, maybe we should ask Waters, the guy who killed her...