Five Inappropriate Things…

…I thought of saying to nearby customers while shopping at Borders’ going out of business sale.   Note, I did not actually say them:

1.  Subject/Victim:  A bespectacled man in his 50s.

My Comment:  “That book is awesome.  You have no idea how many ways I could kill you right now.”

Sidenote:  I own this book and it IS awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Subject/Victim:  A middle-aged woman in the “Religion” section.

My comment:   “Yeah…right…  More like ‘D-Bag Chopra’.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Subject/Victim:  Tanned blonde co-ed in the “Wellness” section near the “Comedy” section.

My comment:  “You know, I was the inspiration for this book.  It’s really a biography.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Subject/Victim:  Wealthy looking elderly couple.

My comment:  “Do you happen to be millionaires?  Because I’d like to discuss this book and an exciting investment opportunity with you…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Subject/Victim:  Completely average WASP in the bargain bin.

My Comment:  “Ha!  No wonder they haven’t sold this book.  Everyone knows potheads can’t read.”

Yeti Beatdown!

The Voice of Russia ran an amusing story on the source of Siberian angst this winter…fear that bears–shamed and starving after being kicked out of the woods by yetis–may infiltrate Russian villages in order to get food.  This would be a step down in the food chain for the bears, as most people are hard pressed to think of one example of palatable Russian cuisine.

Those taking umbrage with the above statement need be reminded that Vodka is not palatable on its own.

The thought of a war between bears and yetis is amusing enough, but got trumped for me by the most ridiculous statement in the article:

“Igor Burtsev has talked with local residents who claim that they have seen yetis with their own eyes. Sometimes, farmers take them for wood goblins. ‘Folk beliefs say that the wood goblin is the master of the woods. All animals, even bears, submit to him. The wood goblin has a strong hypnotic power, thus he is not afraid of any animal.’”

The thought of the yeti expert scoffing at those crazy wood goblin believers might be the most ironic thing I’ve seen this week. Yeah Igor, those farmers are so much more nuts than you…

The Rise of Johnny 5

robot-johnny5In the days of my youth, two movies were released that featured the robot “Johnny 5,” a military experiment turned sentient.  “Short Circuit” and “Short Circuit 2” blended technology with lowbrow slapstick humor in a tale about a three-fingered robot with a gentle soul.

After seeing the Youtube footage below, I’m dearly hoping any future three-fingered robots resemble “Johnny 5” more than the Terminator.  After you see what this robohand can do, I think you’ll agree that we better hope humanity doesn’t have to square off against any AI mechanoid.

It is somewhat of a leap to imagine a world of humans enhanced and outfitted with robotic prosthetics, or humanoid robots with a level of AI, but then again I wouldn’t have imagined the hand would be capable of what it achieves.  Of course, the real marvel is not just the speed at which the robot operates, but the minds that made it possible.  Maybe there is reason to hope humanity would prevail (not that we’d need to, oh benevolent robot masters that observe us even now from the future).

Grab Your Pitchforks and Torches…

…we’re going on a sewer hunt.  The creature detailed in the below video must be hunted down and destroyed, post haste.

Peace Through Strength

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If you haven’t heard, there are some scary things going on in the Korean peninsula.  There’s been a successful nuclear detonation estimated by Russian sources to be of a yield equal to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  In case you’re curious, Russia and the U.S. created a vast array of sensors during the Cold War to measure the nuclear detonations from tests conducted below ground, underwater, and in the atmosphere.  This military spending resulted in several scientific breakthroughs and discoveries, from information gleaned about the contents of the ocean, and in particular the influence (and changes) of the magnetic poles, to astronomical discoveries concerning radiation from extra-solar bodies.

Far be it from me to avoid pointing out even more of the considerable benefits derived from U.S. military spending, but I’ve digressed from my original intent…

Along with the nuclear detonation–itself a violation of U.N. treaties and resolutions–the North Koreans have declared they’re no longer going to abide by the armistice that established the demilitarized zone between them and South Korea.  Furthermore, Kim Jong-il has stated N. Korea’s intention to fire on U.S. and South Korean ships if sanctions are imposed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated their fear that the situation could “escalate into nuclear war on the Korean peninsula”.  President Obama had this to say:

While I marvel at how similar Obama’s words are to those of his predecessor (and wonder why the media hasn’t busted his chops like they did GW’s), I wonder if Obama has what it takes to do anything about the problem.  Diplomacy without the credible threat of military action has proven useless time and again, both with Kim Jong-il and other tyrants like him.  Appeasement is a policy for fools and those uneducated in history.

Interestingly enough, the Israeli airstrike into Syria a short time ago is thought to have been precipitated by clandestine North Korean, Syrian, and Iranian collaboration on nuclear weapons.  Fortunately, the Israelis still have the balls to do what is necessary, unlike too many soft, simpering, pacifistic Americans.

Earlier this week, while listening to the “Priest and the Rabbi” segment on a local radio show, the rabbi (who has lived in both Israel and the U.S.) was asked to comment on Iran.  He said something that is equally relevant to North Korea.  The rabbi said that the lesson of the Holocaust was that when a leader says he intends to kill you, you should take him at his word.

We need to be seriously preparing for a strong military strike against this madman (Kim), who has been content to starve and oppress over a million of his own people.   We need to wake up and learn the lesson that despots cannot be negotiated with, placated, or sanctioned into doing the right thing.  Despots only understand, respect, and respond to power, and no amount of pacifistic protest has managed to save the millions that’ve died at their hands.  Until foreign nations are ruled by democracies*, lasting peace will only ever be achieved and maintained by the willingness to hunt down and destroy evil men.   Just as we did with Saddam Hussein and his psychotic progeny.

Several other people have pointed out that North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing are essentially advertisements to any organization that might like to purchase a nuclear device.  When I was a political science/psychology double major at Vanderbilt University (with a minor in Southeast Asian Studies), I did a research paper for my course on the Russian Successor States.  In the course of said research, I was shocked to learn several Russian nuclear weapons had disappeared, and defense analysts from several nations feared they might end up in terrorist hands. Luckily, such devices are difficult to maintain in working order, and the Russians had already allowed their arsenal to fall into disrepair prior to the USSR’s collapse.  That may account for the absence of a nuclear detonation on American soil in the 90s and earlier 2000s.  It begs the question, though, as to whether such an attack can be avoided if Iran and N. Korea possess working nukes.

So short a time  after Memorial Day, one hopes people remember that we live in the land of the free because of the sacrifices of the brave.

*I’ll go further–I take Jesus at his word.  There will be no lasting peace until He comes again, which is why every good and peace-loving person needs to be prepared and willing to wage war against those who are evil.

True Origins of Swine Flu

Blog-cred to my friend B.P. for the following hilarious pic:

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On a more serious note, I don’t know whether to be concerned about the flu or not.   Initially, reports stated it was a combination of swine, avian, and human influenza, but a more recent report disputes that composition.   Here is a link to an interesting and more detailed discussion of the little baddie.   We were encouragingly told fatalities were nearly non-existent in the U.S. because Tamiflu and Reneza were effective in treating it.  

Still, I find some of the messages coming out of the government disturbingly contradictory.  We’re closing schools nationwide to contain the spread, but closing the border is illogical?

WTF?!  Let’s think this through for a minute…How can it make sense to close schools to stop the spread of infection, but it doesn’t make sense to close the border to do the same?  Congratulations America, you voted in a president who thinks you’re stupid enough to buy his oratory, and ignore his actions. 

I’m pretty sure the Mexican citizens that have watched over a hundred of their neighbors or relatives die know that they’re going to get better–possibly life-saving–medical treatment if they cross the border and visit an American hospital.  So why wouldn’t they endeavor to do so (and spread the disease in the process)?  Hell, it’s probably what I’d do if my kid got sick. 

Honestly, if cruise lines and foreign governments are banning travel (or proposing such bans) to and from Mexico, you’d think someone in the Obama administration might take the hint.  Unless there are other motives at work.  Whatever could those motives be?  I’ll take some stabs in the dark:

1)  Closing the border would piss off Obama’s Hispanic constituents.

2) Closing the border would severely disrupt the flow of goods and food into this country, causing Americans to realize just how much we import, and harming an already reeling economy.

3) The measures necessary to close the border are beyond the means of the government, and they don’t want to show weakness (this possibility I deem very implausible). 

4) Closing the border would startle even more Americans into seeing the autocratic socialist tendencies identity of this administration and present Congress. 

5) Closing the border would cause mass hysteria or panic that would be more destructive than merely letting the disease run its course. 

6) There really is nothing to fear from this flu.  After all, 37,000 Americans die annually of “regular” flu strains anyway.  

I’m hoping for #6, but given how little we know about this thing, and remembering the specter of the 1918 “Spanish” influenza that killed 40 million worldwide, it’s a gamble.   I will say this…one doctor I’ve spoken to is furious about the choice to let the border stay open.  

He’s pointed out that having a flood of sick people who don’t speak English coming here for treatment makes the task of tracking and combatting the disease all the more difficult.  Not only because you have to try and bridge a language barrier that costs precious time and accuracy in diagnosing the disease, but you may be dealing with people who do not want to tell you where they really came from and who they’ve been in contact with (for fear of being deported).  In the field of epidemiology, among the first steps in fighting a disease is tracking it to its source and impeding its spread.  

File under “A” for “Awesome”…

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I stumbled upon these allegedly REAL pictures of a guy who rides a robo-motorcylce-dog to work every day.  I’m insanely jealous, and yet surprisingly heartened by the sight.

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This dude gives me hope mankind just might survive the Robocalypse.  Of course, all things are possible if we can train bears to do this:

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