Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Boredom? Anxiety? Despair?

Veteran Jeffrey Adams and his service dog Sharif

How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. -- Soren Kierkegaard
I asked a question yesterday, and unfortunately, I don't have the philosophical chops to answer it, or to even moderate a discussion of the topic.

Is there a common thread running through these news items?

* Dutch biker gangs travel to the Middle East to fight against ISIS
* Western Jihadi wannabes travel to the Middle East to join ISIS
* College children bust up a New Hampshire pumpkin fest
* Idiots rush to Ferguson hoping to start a revolution
* Adults fighting over sporting events, from Pee Wee League to NFL games
* The number of 'causes' people become passionate about continues to grow
* An explosion of offense-taking and demands for apology
* A continued increase in psychotropic drug use, including antidepressants

Could it be an existential crisis?  A search for meaning?

All I have are three quotations from proto-existentialist Soren Kierkegaard:

Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

The most common form of despair is not being who you are.

For many, perhaps life has no meaning outside of their immediate existence. What is the value of a life that revolves around itself and is lived only for itself?

I could be way off base, but people who study this stuff tell us that a common human desire is to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to belong to a cause that transcends who we are.

Institutions are crumbling around us, as is our belief in them. Where does one turn?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Smashing Pumpkins

Is there a common thread to these recurring news items?

* Dutch biker gangs travel to the Middle East and join the fight against ISIS
* Jihadi wannabes travel from Western Christendom to the Middle East to join ISIS
* College children bust up a New Hampshire pumpkin fest
* Idiots rush to Ferguson hoping to start a revolution
* Adults attack one another over sporting events, from Pee Wee League to NFL games
* The number of 'causes' people become passionate about continues to grow
* An explosion of offense-taking and demands for apology
* A continued increase in psychotropic drug use, including antidepressants

Is senseless* violence on the increase? Anyone? Anyone? Finntann?  I think it is.
*-Senseless: No reason whatsoever, no "he bumped into me," or "She stole my guy." Just idiots doing damage to property and persons for kicks.

I withhold my opinion because I want to hear yours. Hopefully we'll get some good comments and I will write a follow-up post.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Welcome to the Fourth Reich

In the stupid things people say department...

When a gambler went to cash out his chips, the man told the dealer he was gambling to avoid catching Ebola from his ex-wife, a nurse who had returned from West Africa.  He then left the casino but a witness was able to get his license plate number.

In the moronic over reaction department...

The 60-year-old man was arrested at his home Wednesday and charged with inducing panic after making the comment at the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland.  He's facing a fifth degree felony charge of inducing panic, and a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass for entering a place of amusement to cause a disturbance.

Cleveland New 5


Eyewitness reports indicate there was no panic.

Seriously Folks...

Is this your America?  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alt+0162 or C backspace /

My First Laptop


You can only take so much ISEBOLA  


In the not too distant past a comment thread started with a German saying and soon turned to the creation of the mysterious letter Ö.  That thread came just a few days after I was contemplating the tragic cultural loss of the ¢ symbol, an atrocity equal in my mind to the Taliban blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan.  How can you mind your cents and let the dollars take care of themselves when there aren't any ¢'s?  

My thoughts on $'s and ¢'s probably came about from a discussion at work regarding the now commonplace QWERTY keyboard and someone complaining about the layout.  In the discussion of the QWERTY keyboard I tried to explain that the reason for the layout of the letters was to prevent the typebars from colliding and/or jamming on their way to and from the ribbon and platen.  The blank stare, glazed eyes, and accumulation of spittle at the corner of the mouth disclosed that I was dealing with either a late Generation-X'er or possibly an early Millennial and I realized I needed to resort to Youtube.  

"Was that before or after you did away with the chisels and stone tablets?", he snidely asked.  So, after smacking him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper I volunteered that the QWERTY keyboard layout went back to 1878 and the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer... 

... that was before they sold out to Eliphalet Remington and his boys who produced the Remington No.2.  The mention of Remington immediately brought back some of the street cred previously lost.

Someday, some learned person will write about the decline and fall of the American Empire, I'm sure he'll start with the introduction of the IBM Selectric and their accursed ball!

I remember when my first office got a brand new IBM Selectric III.  I was the assistant manager (ANCOIC actually), and my boss called me into his office one day.  He was red-faced and fuming... "WHY? Why does this damned thing keep beeping at me", he roared.  I studiously examined the machine, the paper inside it, turned it off and on, and started typing...

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"... I typed, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party", (obviously socialist indoctrination in schools started early).

No Beeps!

"Hmmm", I ventured, "Perhaps if you don't misspell so many words it won't beep".  That was a valuable life lesson for me, for shortly after uttering it I found myself assigned to typing duty and soon learned to keep my mouth shut. 

Many years later there was a bright up and coming young boy that worked in the office.  We all know that he had only the best thoughts of us in his heart when he went out and purchased these for all our computers...

Yet to this day all that knew him and experienced this unnatural abomination of Satan curse his name, although he did fair better than that other guy, the one who like Lord Voldemort shall not be mentioned, he's the one that purchased these...


So, close your misogynistic eyes and start the video below.  Perhaps you'll be able to conjure forth the angelic image of the girls in the steno pool, feel the oily ink upon your fingers, breath in the sweet aroma of carbon paper and the sour wafting perfume of WhiteOut and remember civilization before the digital collapse. (Don't worry, you'll probably get the full effect in a minute or so... after that you're welcome to continue listening if you so desire.)

Stay tuned, perhaps someday when the memory is not so recent and painful, I'll reminisce about dot matrix printers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Sessions: Music for Halloween (Part I)

Béla Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta

Franz Liszt: Totentanz (Dance of the Dead)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead


André Caplet: The Masque of the Red Death

Come on, every plague needs a cool yet ominous name.


Friday, October 17, 2014


    1 cup chopped carrots
    1 celery rib, chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
    2 cups fresh or frozen corn
    2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
    1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 egg, beaten

  1. In a large saucepan, saute the carrots, celery and onion in oil until tender. Add the broth, corn, chicken, parsley, salt, tarragon and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, for rivels, place the flour in a bowl; mix in egg with a fork just until blended. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into boiling soup, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until rivels are cooked through. Yield: 7 servings.

Read more:

I know, I know, I'm an...

Omnivore ;)

I have the utmost respect for those who make the personal choice to go vegan... but seriously?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

God's Nut House

ISIS is poised to take Baghdad, but the Pentagon is gearing up to fight our nation's #1 imminent threat: Climate Change.

If we can only fight one war at once, I say fight that one.

Better to engage in fantasies akin to ridding the world of unicorn poop than to spend one more dime or one more drop of American blood on that murderous insane asylum known as the middle east. I've been there, been shot at and bombed, and got the permanent tinnitus to prove it. If God were to to give the world a proctology exam; that's where his finger would go.

Why are our airstrikes against ISIS not working?

Because you need JTACs on the ground to coordinate them, and you need soldiers to take advantage of air strikes, and other than the Kurds and a few ragtag bands of anti-assad jihadis, no one else is stepping up. The cowardly Iraqis threw down their arms and ran like little girls, and none of the other regional 'militaries' (whom we arm) are committing any soldiers. Do the Saudis or any other dictatorships even have any soldiers fit for anything besides posing with weapons and oppressing the local populace?

Why isn't Turkey helping? Because ISIS is doing their work right now by killing Kurds. Turkey will step in only when they have to. A cynical game, but remember it was the Turks who committed the Armenian genocide.

Assad and the Iranians stand aside because we are doing their dirty work. And there are other dark and dirty agendas bubbling beneath the surface.

Holding the Jihadi Puppet Masters Accountable (or not)

Cold Wars Simmer in the Middle East

Any solution we attempt to impose would not be viable. Iraq and Afghanistan stand as two sad examples. The peoples of those lands will have to sort it out themselves.

Imposing our version of a 'solution' on bellicose and backward Muslims has not worked. This stands in contrast to places like Nicaragua and El Salvador in Central America, Columbia in South America, and The Philippines, where we provided assistance and the people there did the fighting, bleeding, sacrificing and dying to achieve an outcome that they themselves conceived and strove for.

We've had no success in the Middle East because we were the ones doing the sacrificing, bleeding and dying, and it was our vision, not theirs. They need to do this themselves. Sure, they are not all jihadis, but too many of them are either OK with organizations like ISIS, or are too cowardly to stand up to them.

Think I'm being harsh? 

Recall how the Iraqis opposed us there, mortaring our bases every day, blowing up our convoys with IEDs, and destroying Iraq's petroleum producing infrastructure.

Why aren't they doing that now to ISIS?

Finally, in an ironic twist so common to the Islamic world as to be unremarkable, Christian George Bush's actions in Iraq resulted in more Christians being kills and chased from their homes than if he had left Saddam alone. Same applies in Syria.
Why is Obama expending more blood and treasure there?

Haven't we done enough damage already?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Not Ebola, Blackmail

Photo: Michael Wuertenberg
Guatemalan President Otto Perez wants 10 billion, 2 billion a year from 2015-2019 to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

The United States has to support this, it has no other option," Guatemala's foreign minister, Carlos Morales, told Reuters. "If they don't support it, the crisis will kick off again, you can count on it."

Central American leaders are due to meet Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 12 in Washington to sound out U.S. support for their plan, Morales added.  YAHOO

I have a better idea, how about we ship back all we catch and impose sanctions?  We might still have an illegal immigrant problem, but it won't be benefiting you Culero.