More Weirdness

The buzz at work last night was about the shootings at the postal facility in California. I didn't really get much detail on it until I got home and turned on the cable news. They reported that the killer shot seven people, killing six, and then took her own life. The shocking word in that sentence was "her," of course. Most of the psycho killers are male. Chalk another one up for equal opportunity, I guess. Word is that the woman was an ex-Postal employee.

Didja see ol' Ayman al- Zawahiri is back with a new videotape in which he taunts President Bush, trying to out-Cindy Sheehan Cindy Sheehan? Maybe he wants to run for Diane Feinstein's Senate seat this year, too. He claims that Al Qaeda is winning the war on terror. Tell that to your dead lieutenants in Damadola, Diaperhead.

Speaking of which, what's the difference between Punxsutawny Phil (the groundhog) and Zawahiri? Punxsutawny Phil can stick his head out of his hole, see his shadow and not have to worry about being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone. Just sayin'. Turban-boy's looking mighty pasty in his latest video. He's probably holed up so far back in the mountains that they have to pack sunlight in by mule team. If that's winning, Ayman, I'd hate to see what losing looks like.


Clyde Reads the News (So You Don't Have To)

Sometimes you read two news stories and you just say, "Hmmmm."

Story #1: Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball team could change team name for 2007

Seems the new ownership is looking to make as many changes as possible, both on and off the field, to try to improve the perennial last-place team. Which brings us to:

Story #2: Humuhumunukunukuapuaa Dethroned in Hawaii

The Aloha State's official state fish may be in the unemployment line, since its designation back in 1984 was only supposed to be for five years. And if it's willing to relocate?

The Tampa Bay Humuhumunukunukuapuaa? In the name of all that is holy, no! They'd need two lines to get it all across the front of their jerseys!

Elsewhere in the world, Uzbekistan has banned fur-lined underwear as "too sexy." No, really!

Uzbekistan gives fur-lined undies the slip

Authorities [in Uzbekistan], citing the "unbridled fantasy" that the newfangled thermal undergarments could spark if left unchecked, have ordered an immediate halt to sales of men's and women's underwear lined on the inside with animal fur, apparently the brainchild of a local entrepreneur.

Oh, you crazy kinky Uzbeks! If taken to its logical conclusion, it won't be long until the Uzbeks are only allowed to wear scratchy burlap long-johns. That'll teach 'em!

The Uzbeks aren't the only ones with a strong sense of decency, however. From Zimbabwe, we get this story:

Twins detained for loincloth outrage

Zimbabwean twins who became media celebrities for appearing in public wearing nothing but traditional African goatskin loincloths have been detained pending trial for indecent exposure.

The men, Tafadzwanashe and Tapiwanashe Fichani, raised eyebrows last month when they went to an upscale Harare shopping mall clad only in brief loincloths -- leading several shocked shoppers to call the police.

The twins said they were making a statement by appearing in traditional African clothing dating back to pre-colonial times.

I guess that Afro-centric stuff doesn't go over well in Africa. Go figure!


Bucking the CW on Hamas

Okay, time for a little politics. Like just about everyone else, I was surprised to see the Hamas party win the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliamentary election. Unlike a lot of people, I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. That bucks the conventional wisdom, of course, but hear me out.

First of all, the Palestinians didn't have really have much of a choice: They could choose between the kleptocratic Fatah party (which had impoverished the Palestinians for decades under Yasser Arafat while the Fatah party functionaries stole the aid money sent by the foolish Europeans) or the terrorist Hamas party (known mostly for its suicide bombing attacks in Israel). Corrupt kleptocrats or Jew-killing terrorists. Some choice.

But it was a choice, and it makes it clear that the so-called "peace process" is as dead as Arafat.

Now, instead of a situation where Fatah runs the Palestinian territories while the Hamas terrorists blow up Israelis, Hamas itself will be the government. Before, when a Hamas terrorist attack would occur, the Fatah government would say, "Hey, we can't control what they do, we're not in charge of Hamas." But now, with Hamas running the government, an attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists would not just be a terrorist attack, it would be a state-sanctioned act of war. Anyone want to guess how that war would come out, given the Arabs' history of wars against Israel since 1948?

Then there's the question of whether Hamas is capable of changing from a terrorist organization or not. Can the leopard change its spots? Probably not. Now, Israel itself was founded by people who engaged in terrorism (Menachem Begin's Irgun), but those Jewish terrorists only attacked British military targets, not civilians. Their goal was only to have a state of their own. Hamas' goal, on the other hand, is the complete destruction of Israel. Expecting that to change is about like expecting Fidel Castro to give up communism.

Some critics of the Bush administration will be quick to say, "See, here's a case of democracy where the new democracy isn't peaceful. Bush was wrong!" But of course, the Palestinians won't have a real democracy. They may have had a free election, but none of the candidates were democrats. It was like a choice between neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen: Nothing but evil on both sides.

It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. The Palestinians have chosen the path of further conflict with Israel. I suspect that they will rue this day in the future.


Going Up!

Here's the view from my front yard of the launch of the New Horizons spacecraft a few minutes ago. Next stop: Pluto, July, 2015...


Stamps and Stuff

I've noticed that when there's a postage rate increase, old oddball stamps come out of the woodwork. Today, for instance, I saw a letter with five old stamps whose face value added up to 39 cents, but were probably worth at least a couple of bucks to a collector. Three of the five stamps are older than I am: 1948 3-cent stamp - Moina Michael, Founder of Memorial Poppy; 1957 3-cent stamp - America and Steel, Growing Together -- Steel Centennial 1957; 1948 3-cent stamp - 100th Anniversary of the American Turners - 1848-1948 - A Century of Health. The other two were a 10-cent Bicentennial Era stamp from 1976 showing Carpenters Hall, and a 20-cent McGruff the Crime Dog stamp from 1984. I later saw a 1957 3-cent stamp honoring those who fought polio.

The other day, I saw one of "those" names on a letter that was being returned to the sender. The name: Mrs. Yu Suk. No, I'm not kidding. I guess it lost (or gained!) something in the translation.


Round Two, Ding-Ding!

I've been watching the Senate's confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito the last couple of days, and have found them to be rather entertaining. Now, all of the legalese mumbo-jumbo might seem to be a bit boring and dry, but it's been quite instructive to watch the Senators at work. To listen to the Democrats and the Republicans, you'd almost think they were talking about two different men. I've found it especially droll to listen to Senator Joe "Kinnock" Biden and Senator Ted "Splash" Kennedy sitting in judgement of anyone else's ethics or morality.

And then there was the spectacle of Senators Patrick Leahy and Kennedy, both "men of pallor," decrying the fact that the President didn't nominate someone who would make the Supreme Court more "diverse." This despite the fact that they are members in an exclusive club that has exactly one black, one Hispanic, and only a handful of women among their 100 members. If Sens. Leahy and Kennedy are THAT concerned about "diversity" in our society, I'd recommend that they immediately announce that they will not run for re-election the next time around, and instead will throw their support behind a candidate who is a "person of color," preferably a woman, since they are more "diverse" than men. Fat chance, eh?

In any case, the Senators appear to be almost as overmatched by Judge Alito as they were by Chief Justice Roberts during his confirmation hearings. The judge obviously knows what he is talking about, and several of the Senators have come off poorly by comparison. Today should be fun to watch.


Plans Wrecked

I was supposed to get together with Karl and Monika this morning. I called Karl at 9:00 a.m. as we'd arranged to check in, but only got his answering machine. He called me back about ten minutes ago and told me that they were in a car wreck last night on US 41. They're a bit banged up: Karl has a broken collarbone and Monika has a broken toe. Evidently a woman pulled out in front of them from a side street and they were unable to stop in time. Karl says the car is totaled, and they were lucky not to be injured any worse than they were. They were taken to the hospital and released around 1:30 this morning. It was a bad ending to what had been a nice vacation for them. Anyway, they're leaving for New York around mid-afternoon.

One more reason to hate driving on US 41.

This is Karl and Monika when we played miniature golf on Monday. The car is the silver convertible with the black top which is visible in the picture over Karl's shoulder.


How I Spent My Monday

My brother Karl and his girlfriend Monika are in town, so we went out today and played some miniature golf. I didn't do very well. I had a lot of shots that hit the lip of the cup and caromed off. Monika had her ups and downs, but she did hit a pair of hole-in-ones on some rather freaky bounces. Bro' Karl had an ace, too. I was happy to just make par on the infrequent holes where I shot decently.

I was going to post some pictures from today's festivities, but Blogger is not cooperating right now. Karl and Monika borrowed the same straw hats that my mom and I used during her visit in November. I'm glad to see them getting some use.


Happy New Year!

I hope that 2006 is a joyous and prosperous year for all of you.

I'd have blogged more in the past week, but I was too busy playing Civilization IV. It's like crack cocaine for gamers...

Time for another hit. :-)