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Thursday, July 31st, 2003

New Mexico says goodbye to its Highway to Hell
Thursday, July 31, 2003

"Route 666, often referred to by locals as the "Highway to Hell" or "Satan's Highway" was formally re-christened Route 491 Wednesday. Several prominent voices wanted new numbers for one of the state's deadliest roads that lacked associations with the biblical beast. "

Tax dollars are being spent to quell some people's superstitious fears of numbers. I'm glad that those same dollars aren't being wasted on silly things like education.
The devils sign
"Be careful or the scary devil numbers will GET YOU!" What other frightening integers should we avoid? 'Unlucky' thirteen? The Navajos reputedly consider 'six' to be an evil number. What about 'four'? I sense diabolism within the number 'four'. I think we should all chip in and change every sign with the numbers six, thirteen, and four...

What a phenomenally idiotic WASTE OF MONEY! This should qualify as a litmus test: if you think it is a good idea, you are too slow-witted to operate a motor vehicle, and you should have your driver's license taken from you forthright.

The backward, dull, imbecilic, pinheaded officials who
Highway 491: non threatening to christians
okayed this stupendously asinine operation should immediately be taken from office via a vote recall and then beaten about the head and shoulders with a hard bound copy of James Randi's book Flim Flam!

For the record, New Mexico isn't the only state to demonstrate such idiocy. A few years ago, Arizona changed the number of the southern leg of 666 to US 191.

Did I mention? This is STUPID!

Tired of the sunshine? Visit Pittsburgh! More lovely summer weather is at hand:

Pittsburgh's weather July 31st through August 9th, 2003

Wednesday, July 30th, 2003

The U.S. Government has quietly put a PR spin on its 'Total Information Awareness' system by re-dubbing it 'Terrorism Information Awareness'. It is still the same system that collects information about every U.S. citizen from your medical records, travel habits, your purchases and more which generated great public outcry, but they changed the name. No one wants 'Total Information Awareness' because its intrusive nature is obvious, but how many will mind 'Terrorism Information Awareness'?

The name has been changed indicating that we aren't spying on our own citizens, just the bad guys. (We don't bomb people either. We "vertically deploy anti-personal devices". [Actual language used by the U.S. government].)

In a similar vein, note the current administration's subtle shift of verbiage when referring to the infamous 'weapons of mass destruction' as found in this example:

"And in order to placate the critics and the cynics about intentions of the United States, we need to produce evidence. And I fully understand that. And I'm confident that our search will yield that which I strongly believe, that Saddam had a weapons program."

-George W. Bush
July 30th, 2003 Press Conference

Now the word from the white house is that we are actually looking for 'weapons of mass destruction 'programs'. One wonders what evidence will suffice to constitute a 'program'? Is every country that has weapons research now on our hit list for a 'preemptive' strike? Perhaps we should start investigating ourselves first.
Also note the implication that only critics and cynics need evidence, and that being critical is a close cousin to being cynical.

Be wary of how your government uses language. These days it is wise to pay special attention to subjects tied to terrorism, because in the current, fear ridden social environment, these items are too often bypassing critical thinking.

"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink."

-George Orwell

Friday, July 18th, 2003

Reader Mr. Keith Vargo contributes the following:


Here's one for your website. It's titled, "A Former Special Forces
Soldier Responds to Bush's Invitation for Iraqis to Attack US Troops: 'Bring 'Em On?'". I don't think there is a better response possible to Bush's idiotic challenge.

Here's the part that really got me:"

From Stan Goff's "Bring 'em on?":

"...Yesterday, when I read that US Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, in a moment of blustering arm-chair machismo, sent a message to the 'non-existent' Iraqi guerrillas to "bring 'em on," the first image in my mind was a 20-year-old soldier in an ever-more-fragile marriage, who'd been away from home for 8 months. He participated in the initial invasion, and was told he'd be home for the 4th of July. He has a newfound familiarity with corpses, and everything he thought he knew last year is now under revision. He is sent out into the streets of Fallujah (or some other city), where he has already been shot at once or twice with automatic weapons or an RPG, and his nerves are raw. He is wearing Kevlar and ceramic body armor, a Kevlar helmet, a load carrying harness with ammunition, grenades, flex-cuffs, first-aid gear, water, and assorted other paraphernalia. His weapon weighs seven pounds, ten with a double magazine. His boots are bloused, and his long-sleeve shirt is buttoned at the wrist. It is between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit at midday. He's been eating MRE's three times a day, when he has an appetite in this heat, and even his urine is beginning to smell like preservatives. Mosquitoes and sand flies plague him in the evenings, and he probably pulls a guard shift every night, never sleeping straight through. He and his comrades are beginning to get on each others' nerves. The rumors of 'going-home, not-going-home' are keeping him on an emotional roller coaster. Directives from on high are contradictory, confusing, and often stupid. The whole population seems hostile to him and he is developing a deep animosity for Iraq and all its people--as well as for official narratives.

This is the lad who will hear from someone that George W. Bush, dressed in a
suit with a belly full of rich food, just hurled a manly taunt from a 72-degree studio at the 'non-existent' Iraqi resistance..."

A Cartoon by Nick Anderson -- The Louisville Courier-Journal:

The search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq: Then and Now.

It doesn't matter if it is a company or a country trying, language can not be owned or controlled. Language and culture are not static, and they don't fit into neat little boxes. It is foolish thought-police thinking to try.

France bans 'e-mail' from vocabulary

The Culture Ministry has announced a ban on the use of "e-mail" in all government ministries, documents, publications or Web sites, the latest step to stem an incursion of English words into the French lexicon.

Thursday, July 17th, 2003

As of July 17th, 148 U.S. Soldiers have been killed in the most recent war on Iraq, surpassing the 147 killed in combat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Here are a two articles listing more information on the casualties of the ongoing war:

U.S. & 'Coalition' Casualties

Iraq Body Count

"Bring ‘em on!"
- George W. Bush (from the safety of his secret service body guards) taunts Iraqi militantss in a dare to try and kill American soldiers.
July 2nd, 2003

Friday, July 11th, 2003

The Powerball lottery has come and gone. It might come as a surprise to my readers, but I didn't win.

Tuesday, July 8th, 2003

Lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math. I never play them. So yesterday, when my co-workers were putting in their $5 on a $240,000,000 'Powerball' lottery and I was invited to participate, I turned the invitation down with a dismissive wave of my hand.

This morning as my wife dropped me off at work, she suggested that I play the lottery as a lark.
After entering the office I thought, 'What if I was the only one who had to come into the office the next day because everyone else had won? How much would that suck?
How could I face my wife for the rest of my life with that giant, 'I told you so' hovering overhead?' (Not that she'd do that.)

It isn't that it wouldn't be nice to win. But that is an obvious thought. I've spent enough mental cycles in my life fantasizing about being rich. Nope, it is losing: losing BIG that is fascinating me at the moment.

I couldn't shake the dread that I'd be obliged to do a really messy job of killing myself if they won. Simple death wouldn't be enough, I think it would also be appropriate to publicly chastise myself as well. You know: climb to the top of a very tall building with a bull horn in hand and scream, "I am a loser!" before committing myself to the pavement and jeers below.

I put my $5 into the pot.

Of course, this 'reasoning' is nothing but 'Las Vegas logic'.
I played not because I anticipate winning, but because of how much of a loser I'd be if they did win.

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003

Thanks to Corey Davis for the lead on this ad by California Peace Action:

Who are we arming now? December 20th, 1983: Donald Rumsfeld shakes hands with Saddam Hussein while discussing US support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. At the time, US intelligence had confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons "almost daily".

As the notice reads, "December 20th, 1983: Donald Rumsfeld shakes hands with Saddam Hussein while discussing US support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. At the time, US intelligence had confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons 'almost daily'".

Click here to download a larger pdf version of the ad.

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