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Happy NODWISH™

Evergreen Yes, it’s the time of year when the Sun dies and must be re-born through an elaborate ceremony that involves some form or type of sacrifice, such as finding gifts for people you can’t stand and smiling brightly as you receive yet another gift based on an urban legend that you actually like truly stomach-wrenching color combinations.

Of course there was a time when the Solstice sacrifices were more visceral and the evergreen was covered in things that pleased only ravens and such, but we have put all that behind us by opting for the possibility of electrocuting one another and causing chaos on the power grid.

What a brilliant idea: moving a large supply of pre-kindling soaked with highly flammable resins into your house, loading it down with petrochemical-based ornaments, lacing it with heat-producing electrical devices, and surrounding the base with cardboard boxes and tissue paper. You just can’t have a traditional celebration without a proto-bonfire in your living room.

I do think that followers of Mithras might want to curtail their typical birthday service in light of Mad-Cow Disease, but global warming will certainly make the services in the oak wood in traditional druidic robes more comfortable.

When you put up your stocking on the mantel and put out the turnips for Gouger, Rooter, Tusker, and Snouter as well as the pork pie and sherry for the Hogfather, you can rest assured the Sun will come up, because it just slipped around back to return the lager it rented.

Enjoy! You have nothing to fear, except that sniveling little creep with the camera/phone at the office party or the eggnog that was put out rather early causing you to suspect that the bits on top aren’t nutmeg. [The pictures probably won’t appear on the ‘Net and the brandy will surely take care of the salmonella.]

A Calendar of Coming Events

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November 23, 2018   No Comments

Colonel General Igor Valentinovich Korobov

NBC is reporting that Head of Russian spy agency accused of U.S. election hack, U.K. spy poisoning dies

MOSCOW — The head of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency that the West has blamed for a string of brazen attacks died on Wednesday after “a serious and long illness,” the Russian defense ministry said.

State news agency TASS cited the ministry as saying Igor Korobov, 62, who ran the spy agency since 2016, had been made a Hero of Russia for his service in the post, the highest state award.

“A serious and long illness” is cancer to the rest of the world. Now it is very possible that Korobov died of cancer. Just because his organization was identified in two of the most embarrassing episodes in recent Russian spycraft does not mean he was “encouraged to die”. His predecessor died at 58, under unspecified circumstances. It’s a tough job with a tough boss.

I do wonder what moron decided that class pictures from “spy school” was something that needed to be on the Internet. That’s how the two GRU agents involved in the UK poisoning case were IDed. That is beyond embarrassing.

November 22, 2018   No Comments

Fourteen Years

I just realized that yesterday was the 14th anniversary of this experiment of pushing my opinions on the world. It started after what I thought was the greatest possible failure of the US electorate – the reelection of George W. Bush. I obviously underestimated the stupidity of voters.

The possibility of two more years is not comforting. Cholesterol and blood pressure may yet save us.

November 22, 2018   6 Comments

JFK

It was afternoon and I was on my way to a chemistry class. I had stopped for a drink of water when the news came over the speakers in the classrooms.

For those who weren’t alive at the time: remember what you felt on September 11, 2001 for a taste of November 22, 1963. It was a massive change for the worldview of my generation and it marked the beginning of a period of disruption and decline in the civility of American society. Arthur had died and Camelot fell.

At his inauguration John Kennedy made the point: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

The colors of my world will never be as bright as they were on November 21, 1963. Now we have elected Trump…

November 22, 2018   3 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

TurkeyIf your celebration involved the death of a turkey, thank you. If you have no intention of participating in the Charcoal Grey Thursday Sales, you are a true patriot.

The entire WKRP in Cincinnati – “Turkeys Away” episode and/or the original recording of Alice’s Restaurant.

November 22, 2018   16 Comments

PWNED!!!

Adrastos at First Draft has Trump’s Sordid Saudi Word Salad, a punny take on Trump’s press release for MBS and the Saudi government. [He & Kushner owe the Saudis a lot of money, so what did you expect.]

That piece of foreign policy malfeasance opens the path for Iranian trolling:

Iran’s foreign minister has mocked President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will not punish the Saudi leadership for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate last month.

In a tweet sent late Tuesday, Mohammad Javad Zarif noted that Trump “bizarrely devotes the FIRST paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse IRAN of every sort of malfeasance he can think of.”

He went on to joke that “perhaps we’re also responsible for the California fires, because we didn’t help rake the forests— just like the Finns do?”

Then Trump decides to insult a woman:

Trump sent a tweet late Tuesday celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s decision to have biographer Ron Chernow headline this year’s dinner after “so-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year.”

“I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist. #BeBest,” Wolf tweeted in reply, simultaneously mocking the president’s response to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s alleged role in Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and the slogan for first lady Melania Trump’s initiative.

Give it a rest Donald, she has better hair and is a hell of a lot smarter than you are 😈

Trump then gets into a dispute with the man who will preside over his impeachment hearing: Chief Justice Roberts rebukes Trump’s ‘Obama judge’ gibe.

November 21, 2018   No Comments

Speaking Of Things Scatological

CNN reports – Wombat poop: Scientists have finally discovered why it’s cubed. The Register adds their slant to the reporting: Wombats literally sh!t bricks – and now boffins reckon they know how.

Reading that I was struck by the probability that this research would rate the notice of the Ig Nobel Prize committee, and it did.

Lead author, Patricia Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, won the Ig Nobel Prize for Physics in 2015 for her study showing that in mammals “Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size.” The study of wombat scat was right down in her sewer 😈

UPDATE: The perfect XMas gift for people who think they have everything.

November 20, 2018   2 Comments

The Military Is Taking Notice

It was very unusual when Lt. General Mark Hertling (US Army ret.) wrote an op-ed on CNN, A soldier’s view on Trump, that blistered then candidate Trump for his view of the military. Trump assumed that the military was loyal to the President and would follow all orders. The military takes an oath to the Constitution, and every member is personally accountable if they follow any illegal orders.

Retired flag officers [generals and admirals] are known for avoiding politics unless they are running for office. Trump’s multiple attacks on the Constitution are forcing a number of retired officers to speak out. That trend escalated after Trump attacked Admiral William McRaven. In addition to Lt. General Hertling, who called Trump’s remarks disgusting, General Stanley McChrystal (US Army ret.) essentially says that Trump doesn’t know how to lead.

The the civilian leaders of the national security elements involved in the bin Laden raid had their say: Former top intel officials hit back at Trump after criticism of bin Laden raid

Responses to Trump’s comments about retired Admiral Bill McRaven, who has criticized the president’s attacks on the press, poured in Monday from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said Trump should apologize.

Trump doesn’t really like or understand anyone. He has no empathy for the rest of humanity. He has not improved the life of the active duty military or veterans.

November 19, 2018   2 Comments

Pathetic

Trump claims he ‘personally answered Mueller Russia questions’, and the six hours he spent with his attorneys was just a welcome home party after his trip to France. I wonder if he realizes that if there are any problems with the answers, he can’t claim that it wasn’t his fault.

Finland bemused by Trump’s raking comment. The President of Finland has no idea what Trump is taking about, as the only raking done is on personal lawns. Finland does thin forests to promote better trees for the their timber industry, but rivers and bogs provide natural firebreaks. A major portion of Finland is above the Arctic Circle and the climate has nothing in common with California.

Crooks & Liars has a short primer on California’s fall winds, a major contributor to the
rapid progress of wildfires in the state.

In response to Admiral William McRaven’s criticism of Trump’s attacks on the media, Trump says that McRaven is a Hillary Clinton supporter, and he should have killed Osama bin Laden a lot sooner. Admiral McRaven is a retired Navy SEAL and the commander of the operation that ended in the death of bin Laden.

The reason the Trump family is in the US is because Trump’s grandfather was expelled from Bavaria for earlier immigrating to the US to avoid the draft. Trumps don’t serve in the military, but Cadet Bone Spurs considers himself a military ‘genius’ because he was sent to a military high school in hopes he would learn some discipline. The only ‘war zones’ that Trump has visited are those he has created with his boorish behavior.

November 18, 2018   2 Comments

Dealing With Sewage

Last Friday the sewer backed up and I was tied up searching for the clean-out to get it out of my house and then getting it unblocked. It would appear that at some point, for unknown reasons [like a possible official visitor], someone stuffed multiple plastic bags down their toilet and pushed them beyond the trap with a loofah. I know about the plastic bags and loofah because I was staring at the end of the affected sewer pipe when Roto-Rooter pushed the ‘blockage’ out of the line. I have been disinfecting and deodorizing ever since.

In a related note, the affluent effluent pooling in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has continued to display his lack of respect for veterans and the military since returning to the US from France. It is a short trip from the White House to Arlington National Cemetery, but Trump didn’t make the effort on Monday. The Department of Veterans Affairs is getting further behind and it doesn’t occur to this administration that filling the 45,000 vacancies at the VA might help clear the back log.

Trump still hasn’t visited any of the war zones, or even those he condemned to spend Thanksgiving in tents on the border.

The Oxford Dictionary has selected TOXIC as their word of 2018.

November 15, 2018   No Comments

The Stupid – It Burns

Among the many complaints Trump tweeted about the Mueller investigation today was the complaint that Mueller wasn’t confirmed by the Senate. Special counsels don’t need Senate confirmation, but Mueller was confirmed when he was appointed Director of the FBI. OTOH, Attorney Generals do need confirmation, and Whitaker has never been confirmed for any office. tsk, tsk.

For those, like Trump, who don’t know and are too lazy to look it up, the state of California owns 3% of the forests in the state, private companies and individuals own 40%, and the Federal government owns 57%. If the wild fires in California were caused by mismanagement of the forest it would be a Private/Federal problem. The reality is that these are brush fires, not forest fires, and they are caused by the Santa Ana winds which are getting worse because of climate change. All it takes is a spark of any kind with 50+ MPH winds, temperatures in the 90s, and humidity in single digits for a major disaster.

November 15, 2018   No Comments

Supporting The Troops?

On a Veteran’s Day with troops in war zones in Southwest Asia and the Middle East, with troops being deployed on no notice to the southern border for a political “photo op”, the President of the United States stayed in his hotel in Paris rather than visiting the Belleau Wood battlefield and American cemetery while it was raining. [A brief narrative description of the Battle of Belleau Wood].

On the centenary of the end of the First World War with retired Marine four-star Generals as his chief of staff and Secretary of Defense, there was no possibility that Belleau Wood would not be on Trump’s schedule for this trip. General Kelly rounded up a delegation and made the 60 mile trip to Belleau Wood to lay a wreath for the Marines who fell in that battle.

Trump arrived late to everything and left early. He has no sense of history. He was not wearing an American Legion poppy. The speech he read when they finally got him to an American cemetery was read badly and he was still complaining about the weather. If he isn’t the “star”, he doesn’t want to be in the play.

November 12, 2018   4 Comments

Fraud?

I’m not about to question the authority of Trump and Rick Scott when it comes to fraud. I’ve never paid $25 million to settle a law suit like Trump University, and no one has topped the fine Rick Scott’s company paid for Medicare fraud – $1.7 BILLION. Those two people know a lot about committing fraud, but don’t seem to be able to define it when it comes to elections.

For those who don’t know, there are Republican and Democratic workers at every polling place in Florida. The Florida Secretary of State [appointed by the governor] has monitors in every county to observe the counting of ballots. There have been no official complaints from anybody in a position to observe misconduct.

The Florida law was and is self-contradictory when it comes to deadlines. Supervisors of Elections in the counties have to wait 10 days after the election for ballots mailed on or before the date of the election from an overseas location, but the state has required counting be finished last Saturday. That is for an ‘unofficial’ vote. Now the state has called for a machine recount because three races have differences of less than 0.5%. These deadlines are arbitrary. Scott wants counting stopped because the counties trying to finish are heavily Democratic and his lead is disappearing.

The ballot this year has a dozen ballot measures and a bunch of judges up for confirmation. My ballot was printed on both sides. I voted early and used the sample ballot to make my decision so when I got to the polling station all I had to do was transfer my choices to the official ballot.

It should surprise no one that Palm Beach and Broward counties take a long time to count ballots – they have a lot of voters.

November 12, 2018   5 Comments

Veterans Day

PoppyA century ago at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 the guns fell silent. The Great War, The War to End All Wars, was over…for a couple of decades.

The red poppies of Flanders fields became a symbol of that war and the veterans that returned from it. Known as Remembrance Day in much of the world, the poppies will be in evidence. Remembrance Day observances have more in common with the American Memorial Day as a day to honor those who have died in war.

First called Armistice Day in the United States, the name was changed to Veterans Day, and its purpose changed to honoring those who are serving, or have served in the military. The change was made to avoid a conflict with the existing Memorial Day observance that goes back to the Civil War era.

A heart felt salute to everyone who managed to survive basic training. We can hope that sooner, rather than later, there will be no need for another generation to put on uniforms.

November 11, 2018   Comments Off on Veterans Day