Sunday, August 31, 2014

Barack O'Bueller?

It just struck me....

Is it possible....

.... is it really possible ....

.... that Barack Obama is really Ferris Bueller all growed up?

Think about it.

He's from Chicago....

He skates through life on a wing, a prayer, and a bucket of bullshit...

He hasn't ever actually accomplished anything ....

And he's still, in spite off all, popular....

My God, is he popular.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

This Is So Epic It Will Take The Place of Fridge Pix This Week.


I had precisely this same reaction.

Unfortunately my three kids weren't with me. They can't do movie theaters.  Way too loud.

Many thanks to

for giving me the opportunity to steal their .jpg.

Click on this link above to thank them for me.

(Fridge Pics will be back next Saturday.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Fast Food Allegory to Go, Please
(Or, Something's Fishy At The U)

People asked me what it was like going to a "Catholic law school." This symbolizes my experience--and why I wanted to bag it.

I dream that I am standing in line at a McDonald's, hungry, ready for a good hearty lunch. I look around. I see the smiling personnel in Mickey Dee's uniforms. I see the posters of smiling Ronald McDonald on the wall. I see the yellow Golden Arches sign out front. I have my ten dollar bill out.

So I get to the front of the line. I pay my ten dollars. Being Friday, I order Fish Filet Sandwich, Coke and Fries, and a Hot Apple Pie for after. They take my money, give me a handful of coins for change. Then they give me my lunch.

But wait. The lunch. It's not what I ordered. It has the McDonald's wrapping for a fish filet, but it's actually a Whopper. The Coke tastes funny: it's been replaced by a Pepsi, and the french fries are now a Wendy's baked potato. As for the Hot Apple Pie, it's not there at all.

"Uh, excuse me. I ordered a fish sandwich, a Coke, an apple pie, and french fries. What is this?"

"This is what we offer," the smiling face behind the counter replies.

"But it's not what I ordered!"

"Yes it is. You just didn't know it was what you ordered."

I go to the manager. "What is this nonsense? I thought this was a McDonald's. Where's my Fish? Where's my Classic Coke? What happened to my french fries and pie?"

"Well, you see," the manager says. "Institutions evolve. We've come a long way since we were founded. In the last two decades, we've diversified our menu. Not everybody likes McDonald's. Some people like Wendy's. Some people like Burger King. Some people like Pepsi. And hardly anybody eats Hot Apple Pie anymore."

"But every other fast food restaurant in town sells this same stuff. There's already a Wendy's down the street. There's already a Burger King over there. Pepsi is freely available. But this is the only McDonald's around."

"Exactly. If people didn't want Burger King, they wouldn't ask for it."

"Okay. Fine. So you've diversified. So you offer a wide selection. I don't care. This is still McDonald's. I want my Fish Filet Sandwich. I want a Coke, not a Pepsi. I want a hot apple pie. This is a McDonald's, and I want the McDonald's food I ordered."

"Well, we're a McDonald's. Yes. It's our institution's heritage. It's our background. It's where we come from. We're proud of our history. We honor the best McDonald's tradition by offering the best food available, regardless of the source."

"But this is a McDonald's Restaurant. You call yourself a McDonald's. You are obligated to serve McDonald's food if you are a McDonald's restaurant."

"Well, why don't you go to another McDonald's then?" says the smiling manager.

"In case you haven't noticed, this is the only McDonald's in this entire city. If I wanted to swallow a Whopper, I would have gone to the Burger King on New Jersey Avenue. There are seven fast food restaurants in this burg, but none of them even pretends to be a McDonald's. Except this one."

"So sit down and shut up and eat your meal," the manager says.

"No thank you."

I turn to the customers. I wave my arms at them to get their attention. "Hello! Anybody here? Anybody awake? They're lying about this being a McDonald's! It only looks like a McDonald's! You won't get anything that's really McDonald's here!"

"Shhhh!!!!" hissses the staff behind the counter, no longer smiling, chanting in unison. "Be quiet! Do You Want to Raise a Ruckus? Do You Want to Cause a Controversy? It'll Hurt Our Image! It'll Lower the Value of a Meal from This Institution! It'll Threaten Our Accreditation with The Salad Bar Association!"

"I don't care. This is McDonald's. I paid good money for a McDonald's meal. I want a McDonald's Fish Filet, dripping with Special Sauce. I want a Coca-Cola, a large Coca- Cola, with just enough ice to make it cold. I want a Hot Apple Pie that would melt a hole through the floor. I want a little baggie with fried potatoes in it and enough salt to make Lot's wife turn green with envy. I ordered it, I paid for it, and I want it now."

Now the staff is hostile. "I don't like your tone!" "You'll alienate all the whopper-eaters and Wendy's fans." "You fanatic! You want to take us back to the old days when we only served McDonald's food!"

The manager stares at me. "It's obvious that you're intolerant of Wendy's and Burger King! You're an enemy of Diversity! What are you, some kind of fast-food fascist? I'll bet you have a secret agenda to turn this institution into a White Castle!"

I throw up my hands. "Just tell me one thing. If we're not a McDonald's, why do we pretend it's still a McDonald's?"

An grin from the guy behind the counter.

"We're working on that."

And with that, I get thrown out of the restaurant.

This article first appeared in EUTOPIA #4, Fall 1997. I'm still waiting for my fish.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Extracts from the Little-Read Book: Chapter 017

Wit, wisdom, pseudonietzscheanistic aphorisms, and bad jokes.

* The Russians, in WW2, trained dogs to think that meat could be found underneath tanks. The idea was to tie antitank mines to the dogs, let them loose, watch them run under enemy tanks, and then blow them up, dog and all. They failed to take into account that the dogs were smart enough to tell the difference between Russian and German tanks... and would only run under Russian tanks, as that was how they were trained. Ooops.

* Sorry, I lost all sympathy for the Palestinian cause when they blew up that Tel Aviv pizza parlor.

* I actually had a guidance counselor tell me to drop my Journalism major my freshman year. "There's no place in journalism for a Nixonite." (=conservative.... this was 1980 remember). I never forgave him.

* If you are on any of a number of major universities and reveal that you are a cissexual heteronormative, that is considered an extreme Career Limiting Move. One is often encouraged to become a LUG (Lesbian Until Graduation). However, while LUG status is revocable, the male equivalent is, generally speaking, not.

* Killing babies is killing babies is killing babies.

* I saw a movie about the marriage of C.S. Lewis to his Joy. Tried to imagine Lewis’s reaction to finding out that a movie was made about his marriage–something I am certain he never contemplacted for a moment.

* The secessionists were the most effective abolitionists of all. Even idiots can serve the will of God. QED.

* Putin. Who's next? Russia does not have a very reliable history of stupid-maniac-avoidance in their top office.

* It sez here: "I got Grape - What fruit are you?" ( Banana. A very large and thick banana.

* It sez here: Sheriffs Coalition: Sheriffs Have Constitutional Duty To Refuse To Comply With Illegal Gun Control How about complying with same sex marriage ukazes?

* We have created a two-class system in this country to replace slavery. Instead of escaped slaves avoiding the patterrollers we have illegals by the millions driving the exact speed limit because they know that they can lose everything as a consequence of a traffic stop. Multiply that by 12 to 20 million and you have a political powderkeg.

* It sez here: Eric Holder Attacks John Roberts: Colorblindness Not Best Way to End Discrimination Holder should be arrested pronto. He's not interested in ending discrimination, he's interested solely in plunder and retaliation. Mostly plunder.

* As my father used to say, it all depends on whose ox is gored.

More Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Came across THIS story on my Facebok feed yesterday.

VIDEO: Thugs Beat White Girl Senseless For Carrying A Confederate Flag

Gist of the story is that a little teen pretty white girl (OF COURSE--if she weren't pretty it wouldn't be news), aged about 14, was assaulted by some black kids and they beat the crap out of her. Her offense was carrying a Confederate flag where they could see it, supposably while going to a VFW party.

What’s fascinating is the source of the story: a Local Fox news reporter interviewed her in front of the city police station and a VFW where she was going when she was assaulted. But somehow, the date of the attack wasn't given, and the location--"Warren"--was given without context. What state? And when? That was unclear too.

They looked awfully familiar.

Well, boy howdy.

Turns out that this story... from AMERICANNEWS.COM, a "patriotic" web site, was republishing a story from TWO THOUSAND FREAKING NINE and happened RIGHT HERE IN WARREN, MICHIGAN.

Not that you'd find out from the story.


In other words: this story was from an AWFULLY long time ago. The 95 lb teenager has probably all but forgotten the incident.

Oh, and there's something else: the story carried THIS picture as the click-bait:

The "video" is NOT what you see in the pic above. ^^^ THIS gal is NOT the gal in the news story.  In other words, it's a lie.

So: why are these jerks dredging up this horror story from half a decade ago?

Only one answer: these assholes at AMERICANNEWS.COM are trying to generate white racist animosity as a follow up to Ferguson, MO.

Now, since this event took place in Warren Michigan–which is kind of sandwiched between my two home towns in Macomb County, Michigan–I need to rise in defense of what happened here. Yes, it happened, but it happened a LONG TIME AGO, and (as they say) "I question the motives" (and the timing!) of this ancient history.

All I can say is this: If those boys at AMERICANNEWS want to stir the shit-pot, they should be forced to lick the spoon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Extracts from The Little-Read Book: Chapter 016

Wit, wisdom, pseudonietzscheanistic aphorisms, and bad jokes.

* "But The Black Knight Always Triumphs!"

* Obama? Vacationing again? And you have a problem with that? I want Obama on as many vacations as possible. The more time out of DC the less harm he can do.

* Carney: White House Learned About VA Scandal From News Reports  If they learned about it from "news reports" that means that the internal emails that alerted them can now be deleted with impunity.

* Statehood for DC? In fairness, I'm all for that actually. It's population is large enough. Or at least DC should get one congresscritter and be able to vote for Maryland's senators. The Constitution is not perfect. And if this gives more House seats to Democrats, well, too damn bad.

* Origins of the universe. The good Father George Lamaitre got it right before Einstein did. ... maybe Einstein was no Einstein after all.

* Some people are allergic to any military intervention anywhere for any reason.... which is fine as a spiritual stance, but God help us if we ran the country that way.

* The whole war in Bosnia was manufactured by the Serb Communist party to delay elections there. All through the rest of Europe the atheist communists--and Slobodan Milosovic was an atheist core through--the atheist communists were driven from power. Slobo created the Bosnian "Muslim" crisis for the same reasons the "segregationists" created the problems in the American south in the 1950s and 60s... to distract their own voters from their own interests.

* Tom Cruise as an actor usually ain't half bad. Take "Valkyrie." I actually liked him as Stauffenberg, even if he was playing Tom Cruise pretending to be Stauffenberg.

* Better chillin' with Jesus than warming your toes with the other guy....

* Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Obama admin's deportation numbers ‘smoke and mirrors' [VIDEO] I'm not a Sheriff Joe fan at ALL, but to a limited extent, this is true. They're counting 'border returns' or 'turnarounds' (people caught within 25 miles of the border on the same day and immediately returned) as 'deports,' even though legally they're not. They don't even count as illegal entries.

* Genocidal leftists are the most disgusting people on earth--by which I mean those who build GULags and Laogai and killing fields. They leave even lunatics like Charles Manson in the dust.

* Anti-Israel academic boycott turns ugly at Vassar New Nazis, old story.

* Susan B. Anthony List's ‘pro-life gala' had progressive undertones Look, one can't expect everyone our side to agree with us on everything. But to me, one cannot support Democrats in anything as long as genocide is the foundation of the party’s belief system.

* The Shire is a long way from Mordor, but sometimes even hobbits need to make the trip.....

* What does pre-1989 East Germany have in common with Detroit? Three guesses and the first two don't count. One-party kleptocracy leads to bad things. It's as simple as that.

More Thursday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Hey Dad... you haven't posted Greg's Giggles yet."

No my son, I haven't.  Until now.

Ladies 'n' germs, Mr. GREG SCHANKIN!

Disney's stock just reached a new high this past week of $90.37 a share. That's when you know tickets to Disney World are too expensive — when it's actually cheaper to own part of the company.

* A new study found that having a big wedding boosts your chance of having a good marriage. While having a destination wedding boosts your chance of having friends who hate you.

* The Korean Aerospace Institute announced that their one and only astronaut resigned for personal reasons. Now all he has to do is get back to Earth.

* Kobe Bryant and Nike have teamed up to make a Beethoven-themed sneaker. They're motto is "Play basketball like an 18th century deaf German."

* Apple announced it will ban two toxic chemicals that are used in the production of iPhones. In a related story, that iPhone in your pocket right now is made of toxic chemicals.

* Last week a town in Minnesota elected a dog named Duke as its mayor. Yeah, they elected a mayor that pees on the street, sleeps on the floor, and eats out of the garbage. Then Toronto said, "Been there!"

* People are still fighting about immigration. Congress is suing the president. I'm not saying things are bad, but the Middle East just sent diplomats to negotiate peace in OUR country.

* Cinnabon is testing a concept store that will sell smaller cinnamon rolls. Yep, they say it’s perfect for people who love kidding themselves. "I’m just gonna grab one or eight of these little guys here."

* Kim says she wants to keep the baby out of the public eye. In fact, the E! network is developing a new show called, "Keeping the Baby Out of the Public Eye With the Kardashians."

* President Obama's wife Michelle has highlighted her hair. She has blond highlights in her hair. And those will probably be the only highlights of his second term.

* CNN got just 35,000 viewers. Even worse, most of those views came from monitors left on in the background on CNN.

* A Colorado man unsuccessfully tried to break into a University of Colorado ATM by spraying it with acid and waiting for it to eat the protective covering away. He was caught when authorities examined the three hours of security footage of his face.

*  President Obama is sending a couple hundred troops to Iraq. We spent six years trying to figure a way to get out of Iraq. And now we're back. But this time there is an exit strategy. Barack Obama has an exit strategy. In 2016, he's gone. [Or so it is hoped. - Ed.]

* There are only seventy-one days left until Election Day, or 80 if you are a Democrat and filed for an extension.

Ththththtat's all, fffolks......

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fridge Pics: Memes of the Week, 8/17 - 8/23, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

NIEN CHENG (1915-2009)


A few years ago, a woman named Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director, left her post as mouthpiece for the Obama administration after a video was found where she called Mao Zedong one of her "favorite philosophers" (along with, for some reason, Mother Theresa of Calcutta). Perhaps before she philosophizes again, she should read a bit about Nien Cheng, and about the Maoist regime that killed up to 100+ million people, plus nother 1,000,000,000 or so since 1949.

Imagine, if you would, having your home invaded by a gang of politically correct teenaged thugs. Imagine having your goods smashed, books burned, letters destroyed, family pictures shredded. Imagine watching them kill your spouse or child in front of you because they won't denounce you.

Imagine being dragged off to a prison for several years and then being harangued the whole time with the writings of, oh, I don't know, whatever random political leader happens to be in charge.

An obituary for the recently deceased 94 year old Nien Cheng, who died in Washington, DC on November 2, 2009, describes a woman who underwent precisely this kind oppression at the hands of Mao's Red Guards, that is, the forces of Political Correctness (to use a term first used in Mao's Little Red Book).

Nien Cheng was a survivor of the Great Cultural Revolution. The Telegraph begins her story with these paragraphs:

On August 30 1966, between 30 and 40 high school students, wearing Red Guard armbands, arrived at the gates of her elegant house in Shanghai to "take up revolutionary action" against her. As the wealthy widow of the former general manager of the Shell oil company in the city, Nien Cheng had been expecting the

The youngsters, seized with Maoist fervour, smashed her antique furniture and porcelain, destroyed her paintings and burned her books. When she tried to save some irreplaceable items she was kicked in the ribs. "They are the useless toys of the feudal emperors and the modern capitalist class and have no significance to us, the proletarian class," she was told.

The visit was the beginning of an excruciating six-and-a-half years of torture, during which Nien Cheng was falsely accused of being a spy and kept in solitary confinement in Shanghai's No 1 Detention House. During her captivity, her only daughter, Meiping, an actress in revolutionary propaganda, was beaten to death by Red Guards.
Read the whole thing.

Wikipedia adds:

Maoist revolutionaries used [her employment by Shell Oil] to claim that Cheng was a British spy in order to strike at Communist Party moderates for allowing the firm to operate in China after 1949. Her book documents her amazing courage and fortitude that enabled her to survive her imprisonment.
Cheng endured six-and-a-half years of squalid and inhumane conditions in prison, all the while refusing to give any false confession. ... Cheng was rehabilitated after the Gang of Four (including Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong's wife) were arrested, and she used the opportunity to leave for the United States, as she was still a constant target of surveillance by those who wished her ill. Cheng used Mao's teachings successfully against her interrogators, frequently turning the tide of the struggle sessions against [them].
After she was released, she managed to go into exile from the regime that despised her, and, like her spiritual brother Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, she looked to the West as a place of refuge among some who were still arbitors and protectors of human freedom. She made her way to Canada, and applied to enter the United States. Having been told that she could be granted immediate entry if she asked for asylum, she refused as a matter of principle: instead, she waited for an immigrant visa to come up in the normal turn of events. She immigrated to the United States in 1982 and, in 1987, was seated at a place of honor next to Ronald Reagan at a state dinner.

She told the story of her stand against tyranny in her book Life and Death in Shanghai.

She passed away in her sleep, peacefully, at her home in the Washington DC area.

The fates of the Red Guards who brutalized and tortured her and murdered her daughter--like the eternal fate of Mao Zedong--remain unknown at this time.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Extracts from The Little-Read Book: Chapter 015.

Wit, wisdom, pseudonietzscheanistic aphorisms, and bad jokes.

* It sez here: "FBI Dumps Southern Poverty Law Center as Hate Crimes Resource"  About effin' time. SPLC has been living in a time warp since 1965, having taken a jump to the left. A big jump.

* It sez here: Muslims Demanding Their Own Sharia Patrols in Michigan Wrongo. Even if true, one lunatic at a city council meeting does not make a movement.

* "Algorism", these days, is a little used term for using Arabic numerals to perform arithmetic, as opposed to Roman numerals. This is distinct from Al-Gore-ism, which is the irrational belief in global warming and in the belief that the Dems somehow carried Florida in 2000.

* I'm all for the Great Wall of Texas. Fine by me. Make it as tall as the one in Israel. Keep 'em out. But be prepared to deal with those still here (and not through ethnic cleansing).

* I am delighted that Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. Babies are always a blessing. Always. But. I simply find the idea that this child (whom the left would be urging a violent death on if it was in Sarah Palin's womb) is somehow "royalty" to be obscene. Particularly since of the child's four genetic grandparents, one is impeached, one is a Federal felon, and the other two deserve to be so found. Having drunk a considerable amount of the Water of Life, I hereby predict that the child shall be known as the Kwisatz Balderdash, He Who Can Say Many Mutually Contradictory Things At Once.

* The what? "War of Northern Aggression"? There's a really cool building probably not far from your home you may want to visit. It's called a "library." In that building there's something called a "history section". Knock yourself out.

* Large families are an objective good. If my parents hadn't had one we wouldn't be having this conversation....

* Our problem is not Big Bother but rather the people who, in their wisdom, continue to have elected him.

* You say: "I remember Nam." Fine. I do, too. And 250,000 who died in Viet concentration camps and 1,500,000 who died in the Killing Fields. Vietnam a "pointless catastrophe"? Your friends who said that they should have stayed home are certainly entitled to their opinion. But then, the battle of France was also a pointless catastrophe. We won that war, too, just as we won the Cold War (and our victory was a result of our pyrrhic defeat in Nam, just as our victories in West Europe were a result of our losses in France ’40). The fact is that we could not have won the Cold War without the bitter defeat of Nam. Had we not fought there, the Soviets simply would have started up somewhere else.  (And the thought that we shouldn't have opposed the Soviets is just evil and should not be entertained by anyone with a lick of common sense.)

* Retired justice Stevens proposes changes to Constitution Senility sux, donnit?

* There is something about saying "no" to evil that brings out the evil in the evil.

* It sez here: Making a moon base: Why now is the time Not in this administration and not with the gibbering luddite stalinists running it in charge. Alas.

* My cardiologist wants me to eat at Travis Hamburgers more often. His kids need braces.

* You throw the Inquisition into my Catholic teeth? Fine. But whatever the Church’s sins, and they were massive in the middle ages, The Catholic Church kept meticulous records of their victims (part of the lawful mania). As such, we know exactly how many died at the hands of the Inquisition: about 3000. From 1520 to 1700. Or, um, about 16/year..... Pikers in comparison to the Communists... or even the Protestants. (Doubt me? Off to the history section for you!)

* "Is the Dark Side stronger?" "No. Quicker, easier, more seductive." George Lucas. Smart man.

More Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From the Tattered Remnants:
How An Italian Dies: Fabrizio Quattrocchi (1968-2004)

"Did the one die well?" - John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

Yesterday, American Freelance photojournalist James Foley--having been held captive for more than two years--was beheaded on camera as a 'warning to America' by ISIS-worshipping shirker pagans.

I do not post this as a criticism of Mr. Foley (may he rest in peace). Indeed, he should be hailed for his courage in risking, and in the end suffering, death for the innocent. To quote a snippet of a news broadcast about the death of Foley that I overheard: "A statement from Mr. Foley's family hailed him as 'one of those who bravely went into the teeth of the Syrian civil war to document the horrors committed against civilians.'". Just so.

I do however wish to salute one who, in similar circumstances, managed to piss on the terrorists' parade in a Last Great Act of Defiance. His name is Fabrizio Quattrocchi As they say in Israel: May his, and James Foley's memories each be a blessing. (And a trumpet's call to the rest of us.)


It is often said that 'it is not how we die that is important, but how we live.' This is no doubt true. Nevertheless, there are times when an individual stares Death in the face and their reaction to the Angel reveals who they really were all along.

As Marcus Aurelius put it, "Death smiles at us all." Let us remember one who, facing Death, managed to smile back. 

We know very little about Fabrizio Quattrocchi. He was a "security contractor," who was, admittedly, a well paid civilian guard of certain NATO facilities in Iraq. In 2004, he was kidnapped, along with three other Italians, and was held by agents of Al Qaida.

They decided to make an example of him.

While he was being filmed he was forced to dig his own grave, and knelt in front of it --

–- and before his enemies could kill him, he did one thing that rendered him immortal: he ripped his mask partially off and cried:

"Vi faccio vedere come muore un Italiano!"

I'll show you how an Italian dies!

He fell in a hail of bullets.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi's last minute resistance had one immediate effect: he ruined his captors' intention of filming his execution for propaganda purposes, striking from their hands the very reward they were going to give themselves for killing him.

But it also resonates in a larger sense. It is strange that, only two generations after the Second World War, where bravado and defiance of this sort were quite commonplace, that a small act of resistance would be thought so remarkable.

But so it is.

He taught us all that it is still possible for an Italian--or any man, or woman–-to yet die manfully (yes) in the face of evil, in a world where it seems to be evolving into an invertebrate state, and we are now ruled by the tremulous, by what C.S. Lewis called "men without chests."

It is sad to think that only two generations ago manful defiance in the face of death was a universal trait--exhibited on all sides in the Second World War.  Yes, even the Italian, who, along with the French, are often derided for their lack of passion for combat. This is unfair: their infantry very often fought with suicidal bravery when in contact with the enemy--but they were 'lions led by donkeys.'

Bravery like his was once -- in our grandparents' days -- common as fire.

These days? Notsomuch.

Gone to sleep they lie in flowered graves
For the visitors and Guidebook saved
But come the trumpet shattered dawn
Will the spirit they shared be reborn?*

Quattrocci, in death, gave the world an unsurpassed gift: a reminder. There is yet a place in the world for cojones. 

He didn't die like an Italian, solely. He died like a man.

May we all remember to do the same if called.

In 2006, Fabrizio Quattrocchi was awarded Italy's highest civilian honor, the Gold Medal of Civilian Valor.

*Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman, 1978

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Memory of.... Augustus Caesar???????

Yep. And  you can thank my Elder Son for pointing this out to me.

Exactly, precisely, 2000 years ago (give or take a few weeks given the vagaries of the Julian calendar and the adoption of the Gregorian in the sixteenth century).... anyway, 2000 years ago, TODAY, EXACTLY, sorta*, marks the two-millennial-anniversary of the death (possibly by poisoning by his wife) of Augustus Caesar, The Divine Augustus, a man who made a lot of decisions and statements in open violation of the Roman Constitution because, um, he could.....

.....anyway, he died at the age of 75, after 40 years of rule over the Senate and the People of Rome, plus all its territories. (He would have been born 2000 years exactly before 1939. Go figure.)

There are a lot of highly propagandistic images and sculptures of the man which have survived through history. I must admit I like this one above: it portrays him in all his geeky-weasel-ness, a true pencil neck, which he was before his official portrait guys got through with spiffing up his image.

He started out well, I suppose. I like these two portrayals of young Octavian, as he was known, before he hit it big. (The actor is an awesome young man, Max Pirkis, who portrayed him in the HBO series "Rome.")

However, he must have broken very bad very early to turn into the kind of guy who could nail the hands of the greatest Roman senator, Cicero,** to the door of the Senate. (Imagine Ted Cruz's head on a stick in front of the Capitol Building for a sense of how outrageous that is.)  And never forget: he and his then-sidekick Mark Antony killed many thousands of people to remake Rome into their own image. Of course that was before they had a little falling out over a girl named Cleo (guys will do strange things to impress women sometimes). 

We remember the Emperor and forget that before he got the promotion he was a bloodthirsty terror-king.  A thug.

Anyway, life is funny. The guy who could do that supposably got pwned in the end by his own wife....

Or who knows, maybe not.  I love Robert Graves, but he was, um, an unreliable historian.

Anyway. This was the man who was King of Christ when Christ was in utero... he it was who decreed that His Mother should have to be in Bethlehem for the Nativity.

Which leads to one of my all time favorite lines from JESUS OF NAZARETH:

"So even Caesar obeys God!"

And so he did. To a degree. When it counted.

It is perhaps a little too late to bid him rest in peace. But remember he did accomplish something rather remarkable: 2000 years later we're still talking about him. Not many can say the same.


*Okay, so anal-retentative me checked it out. The perfect 2000th anniversary will occur on September 1 or 2, 2014. So sue me.

**By the way the proper pronunciation of Cicero's name is "Kickero." A pet peeve of mine.

Extracts From The Little-Read Book: Chapter 014.

Wit, wisdom, pseudonietzscheanistic aphorisms, and bad jokes.

* Everyone serves a useful purpose. Take Attorney Joumana Kayrouz. Her task is to remind me what kind of a lawyer I don't want to become.

* Keep in mind, I'm only a serious Catholic–not necessarily a good one.

* It sez here that "I took Zimbio's 'Wizard of Oz' quiz and I'm The Scarecrow! Who are you?" The Horse of a Different Color. Or to hear many say, half of one.

* I remember seeing a "sculpture" in Monterey, California in the 1980s. It consisted of 30,000 little pyramids. "Each one represents a nuclear bomb," the 'sculptor' told me. I did some quick math. "Well, according to Solzhenitsyn, each one can also represent 2000 people murdered by the Communists." He looked at me balefully. "Fuck you, sir."

*  I learned that day Commies don't have much a sense of humor. Or math.

* Mitt spoke truth, always a political disaster. The 47% of the American electorate who now are yellow-dog Democrat voters..... who believe there is a 'war on women'.... who believe the GOP = Nazis.... who have no understanding of nor loyalty for the United States Constitution..... THAT is the problem. Obama was elected by that 47% plus 5% otherwise sensible people who have only just now woken up.

* Words have meaning. And if words don't have meaning only bullets have meaning.

* It sez here: This Is Exactly The Reason Some Guys Are Single Right Now Why did my love life suck when I was single?
I was.... THESE guys.

* We are not (yet) morally obligated to send armed force to stop Russia from invading Ukraine--which is NOT a NATO nation. Estonia on the other hand....

* It sez here: "Tanning Salons Inspected More Often Than NYC Abortion Clinics" ( Of course. Tanning salons are not extermination camps. You think the Nazis ever inspected Treblinka to ensure OSHA compliance?

* It sez here: Landmark Settlement Reached In Preakness Arrest Case - CBS Baltimore It took a Supreme Court to make the cops realize that (a) they're public officials (b) executing public duties (c) in public, and if they want to do that they have to tolerate being filmed.

     Of course the next problem will be "I thought he had a gun, it was just a cel phone".

     Film at your own risk.

* I got a Lamborghini Aventador! Which Car Should You Actually Drive? The police seem to think I should be riding in a Crown Vic. Back seat. They'll provide the chauffeur.

* You know, being Obama's foot soldier requires one to twist himself into knots that would make a contortionist wince. How can you manage that at our age?

* First they denegrate you. Then they arrest you and send you to a detention camp. Then they shoot you. The key is to stop them after Stage 1.

More Thursday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Aw crap, it's Monday.
Let's look at GREG'S GIGGLES!

Ladies 'n' germs.... Mr. Greg SCHANKIN!

* President Obama is planning to break up his vacation in Martha's Vineyard by returning to D.C. for two days for meetings. Yeah, two days away from his family vacation — or as that's also known, a "vacation." If you’ve been on vacation, then you know.
* Health officials in Colorado are warning residents to stay away from sick or dead rabbits due to a risk of rabbit fever. It's a tough one because most people's first instincts when they see a dead rabbit is to get as close as possible.

* Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is planning to open a new farm-to-table restaurant in Queens. So, whatever you do, don't ask to see the special.

* A 25-year-old California woman wants the state to let her marry Charles Manson. If you ask me, you would have to be crazy to get married at 25. You have your whole life ahead of you. Married at 25? Wait five years. He's not going anywhere.

* President Obama announced last Thursday night that the U.S. would begin air strikes in Iraq. So in a way, it was the ultimate throwback Thursday.

* Bruce Jenner was pulled over for speeding here in L.A. The cops gave Jenner a ticket because his current face doesn't match his driver's license.

*  This weekend New York hosted the 25th annual Scrabble Championship. The Scrabble champion gets his choice of $100,000 or the touch of another human being.

*  The U.S. Postal service has lost $2 billion this spring. Postal officials are busy emailing each other wondering how this could happen.

*  Hillary Clinton has been calling President Obama's foreign policy a failure. She either wants to be a president or a Fox News anchor. We're not sure.

*   The network TV Land just launched a new version of the classic show "Candid Camera." Or as most young people put it, "I can't believe they ripped off ‘Punk'd.’ People can’t think of anything original anymore."

* Greg Schankin: August 11 Genesis 7:12: And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (No kiddin.’)

* I hear that they’re considering a new 10-cent fee on grocery bags in New York. My Mom is looking down from Heaven saying, "Who's laughing at the eight-thousand bags under the sink NOW?"

* British scientists are saying King Tut died in a chariot accident. I think he was texting.

* In other news, archaeologists have discovered what appears to be an ancient Pharonic cookbook. They've entitled it "Wok like an Egyptian."

* Happy Birthday to Hugh Hefner. He turned 88 years old a few weeks back. His friends threw him a big party. They had a naked woman jump out of a giant bran muffin.

* "New documents leaked by Edward Snowden show that the NSA actually spied on people while they played the video game World of Warcraft. I don't know — to me it sounds like some NSA agents had to think quick when they got caught playing World of Warcraft at work.

* I finished my Christmas shopping over the weekend. I know. I hate me too.

* So these Taliban guys have been down there in Gitmo and now they're on their way home. They're flying home. How would you like to get stuck behind these guys at airport security?

* They just passed something in Hawaii called the Steven Tyler Act. It's a sweeping piece of legislation that says you must wear a scarf at all times. Actually it's designed to protect celebrities from paparazzi by making it illegal to take unwanted pictures or video of them in private to sell for profit. No offense, but isn't every photo of Steven Tyler an unwanted photo? Doesn't the Steven Tyler Act sound like something we would create to protect ourselves from Steven Tyler?

* It seems that England's royal family is running out of money. They are down to just $1.6 million. Well sure, that's what happens when nobody in your family has had a job for the last thousand years.

* Target has announced that it is dropping health insurance for part-time employees and they're blaming it on Obamacare. I guess now if Target employees need to pay for healthcare, they'll just have to use their customers' credit cards.

* A couple in Michigan is being sued for $2 million after they burned down their apartment complex while trying to cook a squirrel with a blowtorch. I'm not an accountant, but it SOUNDS like they might not have $2 million.

Abadia, abadia, thththtat’s all, folks.....!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fridge Pics: Memes of the Week, 8/9 - 8/16, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Flashback Friday:
From The Tattered Remnants Series:
The Gypsy of Neka:
Atefah Sahaaleh (1988-2004)

The Gypsy of Neka: Atefah Sahaaleh (1988-2004)

In the first few years of the new century, in the benighted Islamic Republic of Iran, a teenaged girl wandered the streets of a small town of Neka, a small coastal town on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. The town, a minor railway junction little noted by the outside world, is at the outer fringes of the Iranian republic. Nevertheless, the power of the Mullahs and the Islamist judges who rule Iran with an iron fist have reach in this little town as they do throughout the country. And their destruction of a teenaged girl in this small town brought Neka to the attention of the world.

Atefah Sahaaleh was a child of tragedy. When she was very small, her younger brother drowned; shortly thereafter, her mother died in an automobile accident. Her father was as a result incapacitated by a drug addiction, and the girl was left essentially an orphan; she did not go to school, and she spent her time caring for her aged grandparents. She wandered the streets, and was known throughout town as a bright girl with no regard for the social rules controlling women of her city. She was known as "The Gypsy of Neka" for her bright and ungovernable ways: a living, true-life Carmen who, like the heroine of the opera, paid for her nature with her life.

She was, in the time and place of her people, considered to be sexually out of control; she was arrested on three occasions and convicted, each time, of having sex with an unmarried man. Each offense carried with it the penalty of 100 lashes.

At one point, she came within reach of a fifty one year old taxi driver, who used her as a sex slave. Let his name be remembered: Ali Darabi, a married man with children. Over the course of three years he used her at will, brutally, sometimes leaving her unable even to walk.

In 2004 she was arrested by the "Morality Police" on charges of sexual immorality after she complained of her treatment by Darabi. They tortured her, obtaining a confession to "crimes against chastity".

Then she was brought before Haji Rezai.

Haji Rezai was the very picture of the hanging judge. Appointed as one of the 95 Revolutionary Judges after the Iranian revolution, he had made a career of destroying those whom the Islamists designated as 'enemies of God.' The blood of countless victims was on his hands.

The judge, in investigating the case, raped her himself. He tortured her. Acting both as judge and jury, he found her "guilty." He decreed the death sentence, and to guarantee that she would be executed immediately, declared that she had to be "22" years old based solely on her physique.

At this moment, Atefah did something that was utterly shocking, in that time and place: she removed her head scarf, her hijab, and declared that she was the victim, not the criminal in the case.

And then–-the grossest possible insult–-she removed her shoes and cast them at the judge.

Defiance of a judge is always dangerous, but in this case, the outcome was foregone. When a girl is being judged for sexual immorality by her own rapist, what other outcome is possible but death?

He claimed that the sentence of death was for defiance and "her sharp tongue." It was, in reality, for 'speaking truth to power.'

One week later, on August 15, 2004, she was brought to a city square. Haji Rezai, torturer, rapist, judge, jury, legal appellant–-for it was he, himself, who went to Tehran to secure permission for immediate execution–-at last placed the rope around her neck with his own hands.

"This will teach you to disobey," he said.

The rope was raised and the girl died, hanging from a construction crane.

The body remained hanging there for an hour. After it was buried, it was almost immediately removed from the grave and it has not since been found.

We really know very little about The Gypsy of Neka except that she dared to shine with feminine beauty in a world where sexuality is viewed as a deadly enemy, and that, when faced with a judicial monster, she had the spittle to stand up to it and resist with the only weapons she had, her hair, her beauty, and her defiance.

But her death is remembered.

Now, how can a teenaged girl, who was, at best, a 'wild child,' be viewed as a member of the Tattered Remnant?

In a society such as Iran's, where women are to be submissive slaves,
nothing but receptacles for men's desire, with no independent authority, even as adults, to live their own lives unless attached to father, brother, husband, son.... such a girl as Atefah is a beacon of light, a beacon which, alas, attracted uncontrolled male desire, but which showed the other women in her community that they need not live like slaves. She was an example of what girls can be if they are not involuntarily hidden beneath the black cloak of sexual obliteration.

And it should be noted too: the full veil, even with face exposed, is evil if it is imposed involuntarily. (An adult woman can freely choose to dress that way if she wishes--after all, nuns do precisely that--but universal imposition is unacceptable and a fundamental violation of human rights.)

Perhaps she was 'sexually immoral.' But even so: so what? Her 'immorality' in that time and place was and is far more moral than the sexual fascism that declares that women are nothing but bedbugs.

Under these circumstances, it is no wonder the monsters killed her.

The execution of a sixteen year old girl, particularly for "crimes" committed by her own judge and executioner, resonates. The day will come when her death, and her courageous resistance, with the only weapon she had – her own beauty – will be celebrated, mourned wondered at by future generations of Iranians.

Iran will not forever be held in the hands of the Mullahs. And Atefah Sahaaleh's sacrifice–in this case, on a perverted altar – will be recalled, lamented, and commemorated for generations to come.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Extracts From The Little-Read Book: Chapter 013.

Wit, wisdom, pseudonietzscheanistic aphorisms, and bad jokes.

* Why did we invade Iraq? Wellll.... Iraq was (a) invading Iran (b) invading Kuwait (c) gassing Kurdistan (d) attempting to assassinate one of our Presidents (e) defying international norms (f) making weapons of mass destruction (proven to exist in Syria). Other than that, it musta been to take over their oil fields. Right.

* I thought math professors were OK with the idea of objective truth. After all, pi cannot have its value changed even by the Supreme Court. Yet.

* "High court ruling favors prayer at council meeting." In other news the high court also ruled that water is wet. It is a sign of how bad things are to view such a ruling as a victory instead of a "so what ELSE is new?" moment.

* "Marrying a girl is like buying furniture. You want to acquire comfort but not something so glitzy that someone will want to steal it."

* " You're under arrest for drug evasion!" George Lucas was ahead of his time before he went to a galaxy far far away.

* So you think religion is a threat? Poppycock. The last 100 years hasn't been about berzerk religion killing hundreds of millions. It has been about berzerk atheism killing hundreds of millions.  Read some recent history.

* There's a problem with "viability." The proaborts keep screaming about "viability." We have already proven that viability is not an issue. How? By taking artificially inseminated eggs from one woman and raising them successfully in the womb of another. That means that the unborn, even as a blastocyst or even a fertilized egg, is a separate person from the mother; that its life begins when egg and sperm meet, and that terminating its life is terminating A life. Viability is a matter of technology only.

* "Transexual"? Get back to me when the you can turn Xs into Ys and Ys into Xs. Until then there's no such thing–just plumbing.

* I am a blob of cells. So are you.

* "What does not kill us makes us.... stranger."

* I have occasionally had an urge to send a picture of a male and female in flagrante delicto and send it to Lady Gaga, with a note: "No, lady, you were born THIS way."

* Those who don't believe in God had better pray that they are right. No, wait....

* Banning marijuana? Sorry, Mr. Libertarian. The people of the United States, and the state that you live in, DO have the right to make, through the democratic process, that decision for others. Hence: it's illegal. Furthermore, it *is* demonstrably more harmful per capita than alcohol. And remember the choice here is not between alcohol and MJ, it's between MJ and no MJ. The social harm that MJ causes has made it worthy of banning. A drunk who can also get high all the time is more dangerous than a drunk alone. And an MJ smoker who doesn't drink is more dangerous than that person to whom MJ is unavailable. No thank you. (What's the difference? Simple You sober up from liquor the next morning. Pot keeps you stupid for *weeks.*)

* "We have met the enemy and they is us." Pogo. Smart man.

* No, the people of the US are NOT our own worst enemy. But we're a close first runner up.

More Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Belated Remembrance: RIP Robin Williams

Delayed reaction to the suicide of Robin Williams. The poor bastard. All that the world could offer and he still gets a crucifixion of the heart.
I of all people should not be surprised though. The brilliant guys at CRACKED.COM (which has come a long, long way from its crappy-rag-you-only-buy-when-MAD-is-sold-out-at-the-newsstand roots) took a bitter, sad and highly accurate assessment of the phenomenon that cost us his brilliance far, far too soon. Click here.

For those trying to imagine why a wealthy, famous, brilliant and funny guy like Robin Williams could leave us with extreme prejudice, the above article provides the best explanation I have seen. "In the end it [success etc] meant jack". (For my own part, I was never a "class clown" but I do have a T-shirt and coffee cup that greatly resemble this.)

I also recall the most brilliant essay against suicide ever written--found at the end of A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ, where a Catholic priest tries to prevent a woman dying of nuclear radiation poisoning from reporting to a suicide camp. He fails. The author, William M. Miller Jr., shot himself fifty years later.

Goodbye, Robin. You have left great, empty shoes ... and we may never see them filled again in our lifetime. 

And Lord? Do him mercy, please. May he make You chortle as he did us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Great Flood of 2014
(Or, What I Did On My
Summer Vacation)

There are a million stories in the soggy city. This is mine.

If you're not a Detroiter, this may be news.... we have gotten unbelievable amounts of rain -- four to five inches at last report -- hitting Detroit and Wayne County between 1630 and 2000 hrs last night. Widespread devastation. Took me about seven hours to get home (but get home I did).

The pictures below tell the tale....

It started looking bad on I-696 heading west in Warren approaching the Hoover exit.... solid wall of water. The cars were doing something I've never seen before... stopping, doing a 180 and driving UP an entrance ramp the "wrong way." Hey, waterver works.

So I'm on the I696 service drive, which is beginning to flood as well.... so I pull right into a side street. Ironically, "Newport", which is north-south and perpendicular to the freeway. This is flooded out too.... so I pulled into someone's driveway and just stayed.

(The lights were off and nobody appeared to be home, so I don't think anyone minded.)

And there I waited for the rain to pass.

And waited.

And waited......

It was about this time I sent my first report on the event on Facebook.... (following is unedited to correct voicetotext insanities)....

I am on a driveway in front of a Random House house somewhere in Warren Michigan Street is so flooded vehicle can't pass water is over and over the top of the tires in Durham car stalled in the water all over the place I have never seen flooding like this I'm not anywhere near lake I hope whoever is POC driveway I'm in doesn't come home and find me here here water is coming down like sheets incredible! I'm probably relatively safe until the owner of the house gets here and then I'm going to have to do some splaining....

Well the rain stopped... but the water drew higher....

....and higher.....

....and higher.....

(Yes, those are my feet. Does that count as a selfie? God I hope not.)

After a bit when it became clear that the waters here weren't going to get any worse, I took a walk to the end of the street to see if there was a way out.

There wasn't.

This is the I696 Service Drive on the north side of the freeway, looking west.

 Some of the residents, looking like refugees.

And I decided to talk a walk to the freeway to see what I could see.


You see that mini Niagra to the right of the bridge? That's not a natural feature. That's, um, new.

Before the bridge started to subside I got on it to get shots of the freeway. The sight below is I-696, water to the top of the Jersey walls down the middle.  The white diagonal line is from the fence.

Straight down the middle. Note abandoned car to right.

Floating down the middle of the street is this little wooden carved model of a Model T, obviously made as a high school shop class project or something. I took it from the water and claimed it under the salvage laws. :) 

Later in the evening a man chortled when he saw it under my arm. "I was trying to throw that out!" he said. "I made it years ago. The flood must have dumped my trash can!"  I asked him if he minded my keeping it. He laughed. "Knock yourself out!" So I did.  It's now on my desk .... where it will serve as a memento.

Now you see the flood waters pouring down next to the Fairfield Street Bridge (mile marker 24.5 on I696). If you look closely you will see the bridge subsiding. The water is eating away the soil and rock underlying the bridge and the pylons begin to collapse.

Here you see a car abandoned under the bridge, lights on. Large numbers of Darwin Award candidates on bridge.

At this point my camera ran out of memory.

After this, I went back to my car, and proceeded to try to leave.... drove up Newport to Martin Road, found it blocked.... chatted with someone coming the other way (turns out he lived on Grove Pointe in St. Clair Shores, a block or so from my now-long-since-demolished (alas!) elementary school, Gordon). Waters closed off Martin, waters closed off 12 Mile, waters closed off 13 Mile. Chicago Road he said was dry; he'd just come up it.  We wished each other luck and I proceeded to drive....

In circles.

For the next four hours.

Here and there I stopped. Pulled into St. Martin Des Porres Church parking lot to rest... the rising waters forced me to leave.... I drove off helter skelter in any vaguely northern or western direction trying to get to my home....

.....and everywhere, everywhere, water.

No. way. out.

I will admit that aroused something I've not felt anywhere outside of Bosnia... a feeling that no matter how smart I think I am, no matter how resourceful, things happen that can't be coped with, can't be argued with, and can't be overcome.

You gotta understand, this standing water was on what passes for the high ground of residential Macomb County. We were nowhere near either the bridge nor the Clinton River. The waters were acting in ways that were completely unexpected--due (I later found) to the fact that the Great Drain at 12 Mile Road leading into the lake was closed for repairs at the time the storm hit, which is why the waters had nowhere to go.

In other words, things weren't working as they were supposed to work.....

I. did. not. like. that. Oh no.

I finally found myself having completed a circle and at a spot about a block from the church.  The road was 3/4 blocked by abandoned vehicles that couldn't handle the flood waters and drowned. (The vehicles, not the drivers; I later found only one person had died in this mess, a lady who had a heart attack.)

I'm a pretty law abiding guy. But. Sometimes however you have to act, um, in accordance with circumstances rather than the laws. So. I figured (this being an emergency) I decided to try to drive on the sidewalk past the floodwaters to the dry roadbed I could see a half mile off.

Ooops. Bad move.

Pulled off the road onto someone's lawn and proceeded to sink into the mud. No joy. My little 2009 Chevy Kobold, which had mastered the waters beautifully throughout the night, found the mud impossible to traverse.

And there I sat.

By 2:00 AM traffic had stopped except for emergency vehicles. I saw a dozen or more tow trucks drive by.... and no, they didn't stop for me. :( 

As the witching hour approached, two young men with a "kinky cab" pickup passed me and stopped. "Hey mister, does your car run?"

Thank God. "Drives through the water fine but I'm stuck in the mud."

"Not a problem!" They stopped, pulled back, and hooked a heavy duty tow line to my car.... the driver DOVE UNDER THE FLOOD WATERS to attach it to the front of my car chassis..... got out, and a minute later, I was on the move. 

I made a point of tipping them with the first bill that came to hand in my pocket. Later discovered it was my day's pay. Oops. Oh well. They earned it.

And home I went.

At last I found a way across. The waters receded from Twelve Mile Road and I was able to cross to Mound -- passing a hundred abandoned vehicles in a scene that reminded me of one of the early chapters of Stephen King's The Stand -- got to Mound, and headed north.

And home.

Today, I mostly stayed home--couldn't get to work--so here we were.

The whole ordeal took a lot more out of me than I expected--since I could not go to work today due to the roads out, I spent most of the day asleep--and the rest of the waking time with that special sadness that follows a Memento Mori.

Driving in circles as I did at one point, desperately trying to get home and finding There is No Way Out..... served as a warning.

"Protect What You Have." - Art Spiegelman, 1972