Saturday, November 29, 2008

Album Review: Shiny Toy Guns - "Season of Poison"

Last year I discovered a great new band, Shiny Toy Guns. I had the pleasure of being not 6 feet away from them at a very intimate concert at The Windjammer last September, and I was instantly hooked. The music was great and they were really cool to their fans. I got to chat briefly with the band’s singer/guitarist Chad Petree and he was exceptionally approachable and amiable, despite being a bit under the weather and a tad road-weary.

Their debut cd, “We Are Pilots” quickly became the staple cd in my car’s player, replacing Depeche Mode’s “Playing the Angel”, and that’s really saying something. After playing like a billion shows worldwide, and having a slight change in band lineup after vocalist/keyboardist/bassist Carah Faye Charnow parted ways with STG and was replaced by Sisely Treasure, the band has finally unleashed their highly anticipated and eagerly awaited sophomore effort, “Season of Poison”. Hold tight, kids; this ain’t the Shiny Toy Guns you saw last year.

Over all, there’s a little less dancey synths and a lot more grinding guitar work. If you were worried that Treasure wouldn’t be able to fill Carah’s steel-toe boots, fear not. This chick has pipes, and attitude to spare. The sound has gone in a natural progression; it doesn’t sound reinvented or like a totally different band. There’s enough of the old STG to appeal to the original fans and enough new-skool to pull in the new fans. I’m a bit curious as to how they’ll sound live now, though, since Charnow handled certain bass and synth work on stage, and Treasure’s voice isn’t that dissimilar to hers that the vocals would sound dramatically different.

Season of Poison begins with “When Did The Storm End?”. It starts slow, with a long buildup of computer blips and some vocals from Chad, “ my name and show me where I stand…”. Then Sisely breaks in with saucy, sassy vocals, and the song sorta goes schizo from there, alternately staccato Sisely and then soaring music and plaintively wailing Chad. It works, I promise you. It works very well. It ends somewhat abruptly, with the sound of a school bell and kids’ voices, segueing immediately into the second track, “Money For That”, a tasty blend of guitars and nostalgic reminiscences of younger days.

Track Three is “I Owe You a Love Song”, a really pleasant poppy tune that reminds me a lot of “Rainy Monday” from “We Are Pilots”. This has become one of my favorite tracks from the new album, with vocal duties swapping back & forth between Chad & Sisely quite nicely. “Ghost Town” is like a cheerleader-meets-hardcore track, with bratty vocals from Sisely over machinegun drums and Chad’s vocals on the chorus. “It Became a Lie On You” starts off with the sound of thunderstorms and processed robotic vocals, and moves into Chad’s vocals over Sisely’s. It reminds me a bit of “When They Came For Us” with the faintest hint of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones”.

Track Six is “Ricochet!”, the first single released to radio. As I’ve stated before after first hearing it, I was reminded a lot of KMFDM mixed with a little Lords of Acid. It quickly grew on me and became a staple in my MP3 player’s rotation over the summer. “Season of Love” is a really sweet ballad, a softer song along the lines of “We Are Pilots”, and it segues into “Poison”, with another slow buildup into a sort of tribal-esque drum beat with processed vocals, gradually getting a bit faster but still maintaining an atmospheric feel.

“Blown Away” is another slow-starter that explodes around the 1:30 mark for a brief burst and then quiets down again, then does it all over again. “Turned To Real Life” is a good pop track, very New Order in the music, with Sisely’s vocals out front. I think this is being tapped as the second single. The final track, “Frozen Oceans” is utterly gorgeous. It’s an atmospheric track that soars at the crescendo and ends the album beautifully.

Does it sound different from what you’ve gotten used to? Yes. Is it less danceable than “We Are Pilots” ? Yes. Is it something that a die-hard STG fan will come to love despite that? Yes. Do I think you should get off your asses, get this album, and go see STG on tour at your nearest venue? Oh, hell yes.

Deploy, my minions. Go forth and spread the good word. Shiny Toy Guns are back with a vengeance.

I survived Black Friday

Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment to a certain degree. Here it was the day after Thanksgiving, and I actually have the day off from work for a change, for the first time in 4 years, and what do I do? I get up at 4AM and drive across Walterboro to Wal-Mart.

By far, I was not the only idiot. No way. The lines at the camera counter, where I wanted to get a new digital, were over 100 people deep when I got there. They were still a hundred deep when I left the counter a hundred bucks poorer 90 minutes later. I was 2 aisles over from the main thoroughfare at the back of the store that runs past Electronics and Toys, a runway that was clogged with black-wrapped boxes and a teeming sea of humanity awaiting the 5AM start of the sales. Several times between 0430 and 0500 the “friendly” associates would order the masses to not touch the black wrappings until 0500. Failure to comply with The Rules of the Sale would result in the summoning of the local constabulary SWAT teams.

Yeah, the ‘Boro’s finest were there in black fatigue pants and the civilian equivalents of combat harnesses, stationed to the right of the camera counter, ready to pounce with Tazers and Mace upon rioters trying to get more than the allowed number of digital picture frames, High-Def big screens, High School Musical dolls, or Hannah Montana lunchboxes. Rocking back on their heels and scanning the crowd, fidgety from coffee and donuts at the nearby Huddle House, they almost looked disappointed when riots failed to break out.

Since I was 2 aisles over when the Magic Time arrived, had to listen to the frenzy rather than be able to watch it. From the sound of it, it had to have been similar to a pack of Jurassic Park’s raptors tearing into a wounded Triceratops calf. And yet, there was no punching or tossing of Molotov cocktails. It was all a quite orderly madness. By 6AM I was back in my driveway, trunk loaded with a couple jackets, 8 pairs of jeans, some tops, a new comforter set, and my camera. Back to bed for a few more hours, and then back to Wal-Mart to get groceries and see if the store looked like an apocalyptic wasteland.

In a town of barely 6000 people, there were at least 2000 in the store at 0430. I shudder to think of what the pandemonium looked like in Charleston’s Wally Worlds or the Best Buys, or the Tanger Outlets, who had a midnight madness sale from what I hear. You gotta be one dedicated mo-fo to hit the Tanger stores at midnight and then split your party up to hit the malls, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart between 4 and 5 for the Door Buster Sales.

All in all, it wasn’t quite as bad as a Filene’s Basement wedding dress sale. No cars were flipped over, no tires were set afire, no clouds of tear gas were sent gushing forth. But hey, the best sales are yet to come…and I do so love to go to the mall on December 24th…

Where the hell does NASA shop?

Where the hell does NASA shop? I mean, I thought the days of $500 toilet seats and $700 screwdrivers were behind us. Perhaps not.

As if astronauts losing some stray spiders in space wasn't bad enough, last week astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper (Jesus, say that one three times fast), was doing a spacewalk around the Orbital Money Pit, um, I mean International Space Station. In the middle of cleaning a leaky grease gun while working on some adjustments to a solar panel arm, she let go of a tool bag. Said tool bag then floated away, as it was untethered.

The bag contained a couple grease guns, some cleaning wipes, and a couple scraper blades. According to NASA, the bag cost about a hundred grand. Digest that a moment before you choke. Yes, $100,000 on a bag of shit that you can buy at Lowe’s for 25 bucks.

NASA won’t provide an itemized cost for the bag, probably because they simply have no fucking clue as to why it cost a hunnert large, but they claim that some of it is specialized hardware that had to be fabricated, qualified for the tasks and certified for use in the vacuum of space, where temperatures swing between 200 degrees F and minus 200 degrees F. The aforementioned “EVA Bag” (Extravehicular Activity is NASA-babble geekspeak for “space walk”) contained: four retractable tethers, two adjustable equipment tethers, a grease gun with a straight nozzle, two wire ties, a grease gun with a J-hook nozzle, an EVA wipe caddy, six EVA wipes (two wet, four dry), a scraper debris container, a SARJ scraper, a large trash bag, and the EVA lock bag itself.

Apparently, NASA-certified super-duper expensive grease guns that are “engineered and tested” still leak. Great.

Ever wonder if the cost overages are making up for the cost of just getting these things into space? I mean, sure, gasoline is back down under $1.80 a gallon, but diesel is still up, and I really hate to think of what rocket fuel costs. The external tank on the Shuttle holds 146,181.8 gallons of liquid oxygen and 395,581.9 gallons of liquid hyrdogen for the Main Engines. The OMS (Orbital Manuevering System engines)and RCS (REaction Control System) burn monomethyl hydrazine fuel(CH3NHNH2)and nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer(N2O4). Each of the two solid rocket boosters hold 1.1 million pounds of solid rocket propellant. Now, I’m not exactly prepared to call my local chemical supply company and inquire as to bulk hydrazine and LOX prices on a holiday wekend, but I’m pretty sure the shit ain’t cheap.

Might explain why the other big piece of gear they worked on this time around was a lttle gadget that recycles the astronauts sweat and piss into drinking water. Yummy!!! Hope they don't decide to recycle the turds too.

I kinda feel bad for Heide, though…poor kid spends a lifetime preparing to work in space, drops a bag, and she’ll be blacklisted now for losing the gear. NASA ain’t ever gonna let her fly again, according to the rumor mill. I feel that she shoulda said something a little more realistic though; the audio of the EVA has her saying “Oh great” as she loses the bag and in the same situation, I think most of us would have had an “Aw, shit” come out.

If you cruise YouTube, several videos have surfaced of the bag floating away, and now a few people are claiming to have spotted the bag with telescopes, orbiting the earth as the tiniest of stellites, waiting to burn up in the atmosphere when it gets low enough. It looked like a shooting star whizzing by.

So next time you look to the stars in the clear night sky and make a wish on a little white streak, you may just be wishing on a hundred thousand dollars worth of tote bag.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The U.N.--A Complete Body of TOOLS

Hey, look, it's Banky The Tool!

You have GOT to be shitting me.

If I were a taxpayer in Spain, I’d be rioting in the streets. Why? Because the U.N. Human Rights Council, long known for coddling some of the world's most repressive governments, threw itself a party in Geneva, Switzerland last week that featured the unveiling of a $23 million mural paid for in part with foreign aid funds.

Please...digest that little snack a moment, would you?

Spanish taxpayers paid for most of the sprawling sculpture, which has been compared to the Sistine Chapel (by people who are obviously on serious hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals), but around $633,000 came from Spain's budget for overseas development aid. The Spanish Foreign Ministry says the government is funding 40 percent of the costs, with the rest footed by private-sector donors. Of the public money, €500,000 euros (US$633,000) comes from a budget for overseas development aid and international organizations like the United Nations.

Spain's conservative opposition Popular Party complained that this means money was diverted from projects to alleviate poverty and boost health care in poorer countries, but the ministry insists the funding for the work was separate. The elliptical 16,000-square-foot dome full of bright colors and torn aluminum took over a year to produce. Yeah, a YEAR.

In a ceremony attended by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo told the press that his ceiling artwork reminded him of "an image of the world dripping toward the sky", but it reminded critics of money slipping out of relief coffers.

Ban praised the piece and thanked Barcelo for putting his "unique talents to work in the service of the world." The artwork will soar above the Human Rights Council's chambers at U.N.'s European headquarters in Geneva, which may soon undergo a whopping $1 billion renovation — but only after a $1.9 billion facelift of the U.N.'s New York offices is completed. Somehow I’m sure the taxpayers of the world, me and you included, are gonna foot the bill for this shit, too.

The mural itself looks like an acid trip. How in the hell can you spend twenty-three m-i-l-l-i-o-n bucks on what amounts to textured splats in whatever colors he happened to grab on a whim? He used 77,000 pounds of paint to decorate the hall, stating that he intended to create a grotto with multi-colored stalactites hanging from the ceiling that sums up his idea of the world; a planet-cave that brings together men and that goes into the future. Barcelo says the hall reflects “infinity and the multiplicity of viewpoints.” I could have done it for a lot less. Hell, he probably did it for about 3 grand and pocketed the rest offshore in an account in the fucking Caymans and laughed all the way to the proverbial offshore bank.

Why the hell are we still footing the bill for an increasingly impotent body like the United Nations? A bunch of mollycoddled diplo-dicks who owe the good people of New York millions in unpaid parking tickets and parade around safe in their diplomatic immunity whilst sponging off America’s teats and flaunting as many laws as they can before their home country recalls them.

The U.N. is a money-pit drain on our already-strained economy. Enough, already. Send their happy asses packing to The Hague. Let the bastards run amok in Amsterdam awhile, getting all worked up on the whores in the Red Light district after toking up a few ounces of ganja. The Dutch will soon be as fed up with it as we are.

This is the same U.N. Human Rights Council that didn’t say “boo” when the Olympics were awarded to China, despite China’s shitty record for human rights. The same Council called for Britain to give up their monarchy, ditch the queen, and start a constitutional republic. The same Council who impotently said, “Please don’t do that.” as millions were being hacked to death in Darfur and then expected the good ole’ U.S. of A. to deploy our troops and solve the problem for them. The same council that looks the other way every time some tin-pot dictator or regional despot starts ethnic cleansing his back yard and then cries for someone to act…usually that means sending in the US Army, along with Canadians, Aussies, and Brits, and a few scattered units from places like Pakistan and Sri Lanka, under the command of some French general, to drive around the boonies handing out food packets that get stolen from the refugees by thugs waiting in the bushes to kill them as soon as we drive off.

Way to go, U.N.; way to fucking go. Half the banks in the world are circling the drain and you shit away 23 million dollars on paint splats and metal shards. If we’re to believe Sally Struthers and we can feed a kid for 75 cents a day, then 23 million can feed that kid for about 7 thousand years. I’m sure the kids rifling through dumpsters around Buenos Aires can look at the corrugated tin roofs of their shanties and imagine brilliant colored stalactites. And that kid in the Sudan with the disease-bloated abdomen standing next to his brother who lost a foot to a land mine and his sister who got HIV through a gang-rape will truly appreciate that warm & fuzzy feeling you get at the U.N. from looking at “infinity and the multiplicity of viewpoints” that only 23 mill can buy you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shiny Toy Guns: Season of Poison Review coming soon!

Okay...Little did I know that when I wrote a few weeks ago about Sisely Treasure joining Shiny Toy Guns that it would soon become my most popular archived blog since poking fun at Maury Povich and Jerry Springer. Every day I'm getting 30 to 50 hits from around the world specifically on my blog post about STG having a new singer. I had no idea that I'd become seemingly the web's source of info on Carah Faye Charnow being replaced.

The new cd from Shiny Toy Guns has been released, and as a service to all the fans out there (many of whom I hope will become readers), I'm going to take some time this week to put together a review of the new material.

So stay tuned, Shiny fans....It's coming, but I do have a day job! In the meanwhile, read through my archives and leave me some love!

UPDATE 12-3-08: Go read the review!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grind it and they will come

Coffee. Java. Mud. The Daily Grind. Go Go Juice. Morning Mojo. The Wake Up.

Every day, millions and millions of Americans start their day with a hot cup of bean-squeezins. Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown species are Coffea canephora (also known as Coffea robusta) and Coffea arabica. In 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries, and in 2005 it was the world's seventh largest legal agricultural export by value.

Coffee use can be traced at least to as early as the 9th century, when it appeared in the highlands of Ethiopia. According to legend, Ethiopian shepherds were the first to observe the influence of the caffeine in coffee beans when the goats appeared to "dance" and to have an increased level of energy after consuming wild coffee berries.

The jolt from C8H10N4O2, the chemical formula for caffeine, is probably the chief reason that most people like to start the day with it. I know that it’s the reason I started drinking it. Well, that and it was nice to start a cold morning with a hot cup of anything. I was raised on hot tea at all hours of the day and night in a very English household so I didn’t really start in on coffee regularly till I joined the Army. What passes for coffee in the Army is roughly akin to battery acid, so my love of the stuff came about as a result of what we had available in my office in Germany. Instead of Folger’s or Maxwell House, we opted for the local German brand, Jacobs KrÓ§nung. It was a rich, strong brew, made even more powerful by the fact that instead of 8 scoops, we made it with 10. Jacobs is a major brand in Europe, as popular as Folger’s is here and tracing it’s beginnings to 1895, but it tasted a lot richer in my opinion.

I’ve seen people drink cheap coffee by the pot all day, stuff so vile that it looked somewhere between sludgy motor oil and runny mud. I’ve seen people eat raw, dry coffee in hopes of achieving nirvana. I, however, have become a tad jaded and I look at coffee now as more of a ritual and a treat rather than just a simple beverage or a means to an end. Today was a dreary, rainy day, perfect for writing over a steamy cup of Joe.

I buy decent coffee, and I buy it whole bean. I own a coffee grinder, so when I decide it’s time for some Java I reach into the freezer for the beans; they stay in the freezer to keep them at their freshest for a longer time. Right now I’m just about done with a bag of Sumatran and then I’ll start in on some Espresso Roast. I like a deep, rich roast to my beans. Into the grinder they go, and a few spins later I have a good coarse ground going on. I use a French press, so a coarse grind is needed instead of a medium (the industry standard) or a fine grind (like for actual espresso or Turkish brew).

What’s a French press, you say? It’s a glass carafe with a handle, into which you pour boiling water on top of your coffee grounds. The aroma of coffee wafts up to embrace you immediately. You give the coffee a healthy stir and then leave it alone to steep for a few minutes, after which you affix the lid to the carafe. The lid has a plunger on top affixed to a filter screen. Depressing the plunger pushes the screen down, forcing the grounds to the bottom. Because the coffee grounds remain in direct contact with the brewing water and the grounds are filtered from the water via the mesh instead of a paper filter, coffee brewed with the French press captures more of the coffee's flavor and essential oils, which would become trapped in a traditional drip brew machine's paper filters.

I’ve got two French presses. One is a small one-cupper and the other is larger, about four cups in size. What I use depends on how much I wanna make.

I don’t drink it black, actually. I’m a cream & sugar guy, despite my persnickity brewing methods. I like to use raw turbinado sugar when I have it, and I usually opt for some foofy flavored creamer. My current choice is English Almond Toffee. Standard milk will simply not do, nor will powdered creamer. I have to at least have half-n-half; I’ve even been known to toss in heavy cream from time to time to maximize the richness.

I like to linger over the piping hot mug, breathing in the aroma and letting it burn the fog away from my brain. I seldom do more than two cups, preferring to enjoy it in moderation. Besides, too much of brew that hi-test will leave me just a tad acidic and in need of a Rolaid so I just have a couple cups and exercise some restraint.

If you’ve never tried a French press and are interested, you can pick one up at Wal-Mart or Target, averaging $20 to $25, or go all out and get one at Starbucks or from the cafes at Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Books a Million. They’ll be a tad more expensive at those places though for the exact same products. Of course, there’s Bed, Bath, & Beyond too, if you want to drop anywhere from $30 to $140 for an artsy fartsy press, or you could do the smart thing and cruise what’s left of the local Linens & Things; deep discounts abound with the place going out of business.

I encourage you to explore a bit with your beans, too. Please, I beg of you, venture past the same old Hazelnut scene. Look past the tired-ass French Vanilla. Try some Costa Rican Peaberry, or some Kenya AA, or a Sumatra Mandheling. Locally here in the Charleston area, you can get beans from all over the globe from such sources as Kudu Coffee House downtown on Vanderhorst (specializing in African beans), Muddy Waters Coffee House in West Ashley and on James Island (featuring Counter Culture’s coffees from around the world), Rutledge Coffee and Cream (offering Larry’s Beans from around the world), and Park Circle Coffee in North Charleston (featuring the local products of Charleston Coffee Roasters).

Happy drinking!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What the Deuce?

It pains me to put someone that I have long supported and admired into The Tool Box.

On a recent episode of “Family Guy”, Stewie, Brian, and neighbor Mort Goldman were all transported back to September 1st, 1939 Poland via Stewie's bedside time machine. Seeing as how Mort is Jewish, they needed to get out of there quickly, using tactics that reference movies like “Back to the Future”. At one point the gang has to wear Nazi uniforms to sneak into a laboratory. Stewie notices that his uniform also includes the added accessory of a McCain/Palin campaign button.

In the scene where the Nazis are invading Poland, the question is asked, “Why doesn’t America come in and help these people?”. Brian looks at the camera and replies “Because Germany doesn’t have oil!?!?”

Flaming liberal and devout disciple of Messiah-elect Obama, Seth MacFarlane contributed thousands to the Obama campaign and spoke at a rally for Obama in Ohio. I know that this is political satire, and that “Family Guy” often pushes the envelope of good taste by pushing the hot-buttons of pop culture, but this is a bit much. The inference that John McCain’s political policies, positions, and ticket are similar to the Nazi Party is bullshit. What is the basis or foundation for the comparison?

Y’know, if you think about it, Obama wants to nationalize a big chunk of the free market (socialized healthcare), restrict free speech (Fairness Doctrine crap), raise taxes, and confiscate guns. This stuff is all right out of Hitler’s little booklet, “Mein Kampf”. It's ironic, but if anyone is being “Nazi” (a contraction of “national socialist” in German) it's Barack Hussein Obama.

If the show is “an equal opportunity offender” as Fox Network claims should viewers expect, if not demand, that the same jabs be taken at Barack Obama? I wonder how MacFarlane will incorporate the same satire in an episode tossing some of his humor at Obama. Will he show Iranian fruitcake Mahmoud Ahmedinejad wearing an Obama button on his suit? I doubt it.

You’d almost think that MacFarlane would support a conservative administration that’s tough on terrorism, considering that on September 11, 2001 Seth MacFarlane was supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 11 that hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. And if the past eight years of Bush’s economic policies have been so fucking bad, Seth, then why has Fox Studios taken in $385 MILLION dollars from DVD set sales of Family Guy, and Fox just gave you a new deal worth $100 million bucks through 2012. Looks like the Bush years were pretty damned sweet for Seth MacFarlane.

Sorry, dude. You do something Toolish, you get placed in The Tool Box…and it breaks my heart to do it, because I’ve been a big fan and big supporter, like during the dark years when you were cancelled twice and resurrected by fans like me. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Laugh all the way to the bank, but enjoy your Obama tax hikes too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day 2008

Remembering my brothers & sisters in arms, and those who have passed on.


I was that which others did not want to be.

I went where others feared to go and did what others failed to do.

I asked nothing from those who gave nothing and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal lonliness...should i fail.

I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moments love.

I have cried, pained, and hoped...but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten.

At least someday, I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was...a Soldier.

George L. Skypeck

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, USMC 2008

As is my annual custom, I want to take a minute to wish a Happy 233d Birthday to my brothers & sisters in arms who have served in the United States Marine Corps, most notably my high school mates Chris Cunningham & Mike Dunham, as well as Pat Curley, a Marine recruiter who left an indelible impression upon me as a teen, and Don Ares, my one-time neighbor and the father of one of my classmates in high school. Don always had a story at hand to tell about his days in the Corps.

Taken straight from the AP Wire this weekend:
LAKE FOREST, Calif. — A half-dozen off-duty Marines who raced through a burning motel on Sunday warning sleeping guests that it was on fire were hailed as lifesaving heroes.

Everyone escaped the Americas Best Value Inn motel, including one elderly man who required oxygen after he was carried to safety by one of the Marines. The cause of the fire, which ignited shortly before 8 a.m., was under investigation.

Marine Pvt. Colton Oliver said he and two colleagues were walking along a second-floor landing about 8 a.m. when they saw flames and smoke. They rousted their fellow Marines and all six began knocking on doors and windows of rooms, urging people to leave.

"Everybody was out by the time the firefighters got here," Oliver said. "It's what we're trained to do."

Amy Amadito-Phelps said she and her husband and 14-month-old son were sleeping in a room near the flames when they were awakened. She said the Marines saved their lives.

"We were right next to a room completely on fire and we couldn't smell smoke," said Amadito-Phelps. "No fire alarms were going off. The only thing we heard was Marines banging on our windows and telling us to get out."

The Camp Pendleton-based Marines, who were on leave, were also staying at the motel.

"I'd call them absolute heroes," said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Pardi.

A pair of two-story, wood-framed motel buildings were destroyed and a third structure was damaged, said Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion. One firefighter was treated for heat exhuastion.

Semper Fi, Devil Dogs...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Time of Great Suckage is Upon Us

My God. What have you people done? Yesterday marked the beginning of what will henceforth be called The Time of Great Suckage (a term I’m borrowing from author John Ringo).

Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

This country, the nation that pioneered mass-production, first invented the airplane, first split the atom, first sent men to the moon, invented the artificial heart, was the first to reach Mars, and even mapped the human genome, sometimes can’t seem to tie its own shoes.

You do realize, of course, that when our founding fathers started this nifty little experiment called America that the Electoral College was put together to prevent what James Madison called in his Federalist Papers “the mischiefs of faction” in an electoral system?

He defined a faction as "a number of citizens whether amounting to a majority of minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community". Plainly, that means we have a backstop to keep dumbasses from knee-jerk electing a complete asstard, supposedly. However…

See, they figured that the average Joe farmer in 1778 might not exactly be smart enough to not vote for, say, his own donkey. And they had a backup plan to keep that from happenning. Rather than directly voting for the President, our citizens cast votes for electors. Electors are technically free to vote for anyone eligible to be President, but in practice pledge to vote for specific candidates, and voters cast ballots for favored candidates by voting for correspondingly pledged electors.

Most states allow voters to choose between statewide slates of electors pledged to vote for the presidential tickets of various parties; the ticket that receives the most votes statewide 'wins' all of the votes cast by electors from that state. U.S. presidential campaigns concentrate on winning the popular vote in a combination of states that choose a majority of the electors, rather than campaigning to win the most votes nationally.

Methinks that the esteemed college was asleep at the wheel last night…and instead allowed the popular vote of the KoolAid-drunk masses to prevail. The Chosen One, The Messiah, The Anointed One, Barack Hussein Obama, was elected by you, the people.

Hey, America…your new President wouldn’t release his college transcripts, and his thesis on Soviet Nuclear Policy mysteriously vanished from Columbia University. How do you lose your thesis? How does NO OTHER COPY exist anywhere in the atmosphere? Me thinks that The Anointed One didn’t want anyone to see just how little he really knew when it came to foreign policy. Yet, you voted for him anyways.

Your Messiah has come right out and said that he’s all about redistributing your wealth to the poor huddled masses. Those same huddled masses now feel that they no longer have to work or pay their bills because The Chosen One will magically make it all go away. Meanwhile, who the hell is paying for it? The Rest of Us are. Why the hell should anyone try to succeed any more when, if we better our financial lot, the Feral Gummint™ will just tax the hell out of you to take care of those who just want handouts? And yet, you voted for him anyways.

It was shown unequivocally that The Chosen One had spent 20 years listening to the venomous hate speeches of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Americanisms, and he just back-pedaled and said “Gosh, I had no idea. He never did that when I was there.” And yet, you still voted for him.

It came out that after The Chosen One wanted to know how many houses his opponent owned because his wife is loaded, that the Chosen One Himself owned a $1.65 million dollar home purchased in a shady deal with convicted real estate developer and political fundraiser Tony Rezko. And yet The Chosen One seemed to not know who Rezko was. If I dropped over a million and a half bucks on a house I think I’d remember who was involved. And yet, you still voted for him.

The Chosen One has the weakest, most liberal voting record in the entire Senate, which seems to be his only real experiential qualification to be President, and yet you still voted for him.

The Chosen One wants us all to have free health care, yet won’t say how it will be paid for other than with higher taxes, and despite worldwide evidence that socialized medicine sucks by and large. Yet you still voted for him.

The Chosen One claims that there will be no new taxes, but what isn’t being said is that there will be a repealing of all the Bush tax cuts, so while they won’t be “new taxes”, they’ll just be the “old taxes” brought back. And you still voted for him.

When The Chosen One says he wants to only tax the people who make over 250K a year, bear in mind that those are the people who employ you. And if you work in a smallish company of, say, 10 employees and your employer suddenly finds his taxes going up 10 or 15 percent a year, well guess how he pays the taxes? He raises prices, cuts benefits to his employees, and has to let a couple of you go because he can’t afford you. Welcome to Unemployment, friend. And yet you still voted for him.

It came out that The Chosen One served on a community board with former 60’s radical and terrorist Bill Ayers, founder of The Weather Underground movement which set off a series of bombs at public buildings and killed a few people, and yet you voted for him.

The Chosen One claims that he’ll have all our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan inside of 16 months of taking office. So, basically, he’s given Al-Q’aeda and the Taliban a timetable for when they can come back to power. All they have to do is hide in their caves for a year & a half and then wait us out, negating all the good work our troops have done and negating the sacrifices of nearly 5,000 troops who died to make that region safe for democracy. And yet you still voted for him.

It came out that The Chosen One has a questionable tie to noted Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi, and that video of the two interacting at a 2003 farewell dinner for Khalidi is currently being suppressed by the LA Times until after The Messiah has been elected, lest the truth come out. And you still voted for him.

It came out that His Obamaness has an aunt from Kenya living as an illegal alien in government-subsidized public housing in Boston after her amnesty request was denied over four years ago. And you still voted for him.

It came out that Your Messiah has a half brother in Kenya named George who lives in a dirt-floor shack on about four dollars a month, a brother that he refuses to help as he sits in his $1.5M mansion in the Chicago burbs. He'll help all of you but won't help his own brother? And you still voted for him.

Remember that in and amongst all the crap The Chosen One spouted about “Change” without really saying what the hell that, specifically, his “Change” was, he said certain other things that you people didn’t hear over the sound of the Kool Aid being poured.
Things like:

He’ll “spread the wealth around.”
He’ll “raise taxes.”
He’ll “have a civilian police force as strong as our military”.
He’ll “cut our military”.
He’ll “bankrupt new coal plants”
He’ll make sure if his daughters “made a mistake they won’t be punished with a baby” in reference to abortion.
He voted against medical care for babies who survive botched abortions saying it would “burden the medical staff and question the woman’s original decision.”
He’ll “Look into drilling” when we need it now.
He’ll sit down one on one with the leaders of terrorist nations.
He did NOT originally condemn Russia’s invasion and aggression into Georgia. Rather, he felt both nations should come to an agreement.
He has called Jeremiah Wright a man who represents the “best the black church has to offer.”

And you still voted for him. And you've nearly elected a super-majority of Democrats into Congress. And when they FUBAR this country four years from now, they’ll blame-shift every single failure on their part solely on the previous administrations’ shoulders, telling you they need another four years to fix it all.

Oh well; we can vote him out in four years after we wake up and experience our Buyer’s Remorse. And since this election took about two years, we may as well start campaigning now. That way we’ll be prepared when we’re so far in the toilet that the Tidy-Bowl Man will have to call Roto-Rooter to come find us based on our last known position off the starboard bow.

A nation of so many accomplishments, and sometimes we can’t even tie our own shoes.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

CMT Presents: My Big Islamic Wedding

I know all of you Obama Kool-Aid drinkers and tofu-eaters are too wrapped up in your frenzy to elect your Messiah into office to notice the rest of the universe, but while you’re busily trying to flush our country down the crapper, some other societies that you Liberal Socialists love to molly-coddle and cozy up to are committing more heinous acts.

In Somalia, a 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death after being accused of adultery by Islamic militants, according to reports.

Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses, that dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death on October 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her.

Initial local media reports said Duhulow was 23, but her father told Amnesty International that she was 13. Some of the Somali journalists who first reported the killing later told Amnesty International that they had reported she was 23 based upon her physical appearance.

Regardless of age, this is outrageous. She was a victim twice over; once by the scumbags who raped her, and again by the thugs and scumbags who killed her.

And in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, police raided a wedding between a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, arresting both the Muslim cleric officiating at the ceremony and the children's parents, deputy superintendent of police Malik Mazhar said Friday.

The cleric, Mulana Gul Hussain Kamal, had not yet begun the ceremony, which was attended by 100 guests. Pakistani law forbids marriage below the age of 18, but as far as they're concerned Muslim law trumps any other laws and some Muslim scholars say it is permissible if the bride and groom have reached puberty. Last I checked, five and seven added together barely make puberty. At that age, boys and girls still each consider the other to be “icky” and having “cooties”, so why the hell would any sane, rational person think this is cool? Oh wait, it's Radical's neither sane nor rational.

The presiding cleric, Mulana Gul Hussain Kamal, or Reverend Asstard to you and me.

TV footage showed both children in traditional wedding clothes in the laps of policemen after the raid, the girl with tears running down her cheeks. (Gee…Ya’ think? She fears the consequences of not being properly sold as property.)

The parents said the wedding had been arranged to end an eight-year feud between the two families, according to a report on Express News TV. Mazhar said he had heard about similar cases in rural areas but "it is shocking to have this right in the center of the city."

The parents would be brought before a court on Saturday, he said. A Pakistan Human Rights Commission official, Hina Gillani, said the maximum possible punishment for the parents was one month in jail and a fine of just over $10. Likely, they’ll just be sent home and the little girl will be stoned to death for continuing the feud and for embarrassing the family. If not, they’ll just wait a few months and then sell her off to someone else like a head of cattle. As a female in a fundamentalist Islamic state, she’ll never be more than property.

Oh, wait…make that less than property. A housepet wouldn’t get stoned to death for getting humped by the neighbor’s cat.

Samhain Shona Dhuit

Before I forget…I’d like to wish a blessed Samhain to all my fellow Celt and pagan readers. Have a great new year, all of you.

Samhain shona dhuit!!!

(Samhain shona duit, pronounced Sowin Howna Gwitch, means “Happy Samhain to you”, in Irish Gaelic, one of the few Celtic languages still in use today.)