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Friday, September 24, 2004

Here's something to make you feel stupid.  A giant mushroom, acres large, has been found in Switzerland, 800x500 meters.  That was enough to catch in my throat, but then the horror: it barely beats in size a mushroom in Oregon.  

More uncomfortably, both are smaller than yet another mushroom in Oregon, which is 3.5 miles across, all living about 3 feet underground.  This is far larger than a very strange one found in the Congo, above ground in three layers.

And none of it compares with this: mushrooms have more in common with animals than plants and have 36,000 genders.  And yet, it is we who complain about getting a date.  

Can Nederland self-govern?  Another horror is approaching in the town as Trustees, the Mayor, and the police are again trying to have each other stifled, shouldered aside, removed.  Rumors of threatened violence, nepotistic complaints, conflicts of interest......same old, same old.  Under all this is the substantial portion of Nederland who want to retain a more relaxed attitude towards drugs and what used to be called the hippie lifestyle.  Under all that is greed and power.  

Only Georgetown under the regime of an ex-stripper and her augmented assetts has threatened Nederland's image as Colorado's most prominent ungovernable collection of a multi-generational mob.  But this particular collection of stoned bedsores and aged rictus that passes as a government is too incompetent to survive this current situation, and is likely to end badly.  Very badly.  

Nederland law enforcement probably needs to be removed from the hands of the Trustees and put into either the hands of the Sheriff's department or by setting up a separate law enforcement district.  The town, since I've known it in 1971, has shown a marked inability to work together on important issues, has not infrequently resorted to violence or its threat against each other, and shows a marked idiocy in its choices of Trustees, periodically, and tries to punish the police for enforcing law by screwing the budget.  People have quit, been fired, let go and, with one officer on vacation, currently has exactly one (1) officer on duty.  Sometimes.  

This isn't a new theory, nor is it mine by origin, but there are too many issues that cannot, at this point, be solved and be popular enough to appeal to the majority of those who'll be required to obey them.

I love these photos, they're beautiful and scary, both.  Poor Florida, and that is a phrase rarely appearing from these lips since I exited the state in 1976, looks to be hit again this weekend.  A not powerful hurricane, at present, at least in comparision with Ivan when a Man In Full, but still enough to drown enough people.  It's killed the most, so far, because of its rain in Haiti and in Jamaica and all through the Caribbean.  Another fifteen inches of rain along the Hurricane coast, from New Orleans to Myrtle Beach could be disastrous.  Truly so.

The GOP was accused, and has admitted, that it sent out mailings saying that 'liberals' were going to ban the Bible.  This in West Virginia.  Yet another reason to love them.  Imagine what the GOP would do if Dem's claimed Republicans were going to reinstate the draft!  Oh, wait....  

Is Grover Norquist looking forward to the death of The Greatest Generation simply because they're mostly Democrats?  Is that true, one, and does he really think it?  Here are the quotes and translation from a Spanish paper.

Cada año mueren dos millones de personas que combatieron en la Segunda Guerra Mundial y que vivieron la Gran Depresión. Esa generación ha sido una excepción en la Historia de EEUU, porque ha defendido políticas antiamericanas. Ellos votaron por la creación del Estado de Bienestar y por el servicio militar obligatorio. Ellos son la base electoral demócrata. Y se están muriendo.  Which, in English, translates as....

"Two million people who fought in World War II and lived through the Great Depression die every year. That generation has been an exception in US history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and for obligatory military service. They are the Democratic base, and they are dying." Thus spoke Conservative Guru Grover Norquist.  From Slate.

It pains me, it does, but George Will had an excellent column in NewsWeek's current issue that both reams out the neo-cons and responsibly nails Kerry for not taking advantage of it.  I was impressed.  I want to think that many smart people, even conservative ones, are so appalled by George W. that they are uncomfortably but inevitably edging towards open Kerry support.  I'm not sure he deserves it, frankly.  I'm voting for him but he's run a terrible, awful, incomprehensible campaign.  Stutteringly bad.
Thursday, September 23, 2004

A year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.   So says Richard Perle, the man who was going to sue Seymour Hersh for an alleged libel in England, where the laws would favor him more and failed even that, and now pretends as if it didn't happen.  (Slate's Richard Perle Libel Watch, in which they predicted and documented each of Perle's fiascos, is hysterical.)  If such an event occurs, given Perle's Nostradamus propensities, it will be in the Green Zone and paid for and protected in perpetuity by Americans, because Iraq wouldn't tolerate it.

On this date in 1950, Congress passes the McCarran Act, also known as The Internal Security Act of 1950, overriding Harry Truman's veto, that pinko.  The act provides for severe restrictions on civil liberties, suspension of free speech, and placing of undesirable Americans in concentration camps. The act has never been repealed.  Hmm.

In Colorado, the CU Foundation, under long deserved attack, is demanding that the courts declare it impervious to legal requests.  This is an exciting legal concept, and unlikely to prevail, and one that many - including former members of the Foundation Board, do not want to happen.  They couldn't possibly think that the courts would allow their ludicrous claims, so I'm betting they're delaying for time while records and evidence is disappeared or removed.  I have no evidence of this, but if anything has ever acted like a guilty party, it's the CU Foundation.  I hope the newspapers and affiliated media are keeping an eye on activity over there and at their various storage facilities.  They deserve no trust, no pass.

Of course, the Foundation has likely been illegally financing shady practices of the football team and its recruiters, engaging in fascinating real estate transactions favoring parties who shouldn't have been (see: South Campus and others) and otherwise acting as above the law as one could imagine, all under the guise of concern for education.  Hah.

And the fraternity that hosted illegal underage drinking parties for pledges, which killed one pledge this week, has its members toadying up to their parents and lawyers to prevent them from serving time for their crimes.  Fitting.  By the by, you notice both here and in Ft. Collins, other members of the fraternity at issue arrived to help the brothers cope with their 'loss?'  

Noticed that?  What that means is, that legal advice to avoid punishment was handed out, first to protect the national coffers, second to protect the name of the fraternity, third to console brothers upset over the death of someone barely known.  

Again: visualize this as a lower class event.  Say, a drunken party of kids the same age who couldn't afford to go to college, and this happened in a trailer park.  Would arrest warrents be flying, or what?
Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"[Al Quada] would very much like to defeat President Bush." - political analyst Bill Schneider, on CNN.

Like many Democrats, I'm getting annoyed with and concerned about the Kerry campaign's tone deaf sound bytes and wimpy, upper class, responses to the Bush thugs.  It bothers me because I start questioning Kerry's competence.  I have to think about it to reassure myself.  But I look for allies.  Found one.

Michael Moore, who annoys me a lot (I can imagine how the GOP feels...) sent out a letter to the Naderheads and actual wimps who compose the left of the nation.  I have to say, the guy makes sense and focusses correctly: not inflating Kerry, not pretending perfection, saying it has to be done and can be and will be if we get off our ass.  It's here in the Boulder Lout on the front page.  I cannot forgive his ludicrous presentation of Iraq before the war, his sandbagging of Heston, his weight while stating how hard Americans work, but he has guts and he puts his all out there.  Cannot help but admire that.

I know, like me, you were all impressed with and believed the fraternity members who were so concerned with the drinking habits of the freshman pledge who died from alcohol poisoning in their charge they planned to give him a severe talking to when he emerged.  To show their intent, they scribbled in ink clever phrases on his face which, when it was clear he was dead, they tried to erase.  

He'd been drinking heavily for a few weeks, they said.  But they got really concerned when he attended a fraternity function under their control and at their expense where they served the underage pledges booze.  He was really shit-faced, from all accounts.  But they were concerned.


I found the chart that the Daily Camera printed this morning informative.  In order to get a 4.0 alcohol level in your bod in three hours, you'd have to drink, if a 230 lb male, about ten beers an hour.

This informs, because the woman who died in Ft. Collins had 40 beers in her, and surely weighed substantially less.

Russ Meyers, who produced some of the world's worst but most fun movies for young guys, who got rich and had a blast doing it, died at 82.  Roger Ebert was his screenwriter for "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and a friend, and always seemed to speak well of the guy.  Everyone did, in fact.  I don't know what to say, except that for an alleged porn producer (lightweight by today's standards), he seemed to have a lot of respect, given the coverage his death generated in the media this AM.   Having had many of the world's most voluptuous women in this life, a lot of friends, and a lot of cash, it's hard to see how his current life would be an improvement, but I remain openminded about such things.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died. Evangelist/adulterer/whore favorite Jimmy Swaggart.  Hence the fate of Matthew Shepherds through the years.   Those devout Christians: you gotta love them!  

Especially on such an important day.  In 1597, the Dean of Guild, William Dun, receives a bonus of 47 pounds, 3 shillings, and 4 pence for "the great number of witches burnt this year."  No, really, we have to love them.  Nobody else will.  

For example, in 1983, the loudly Christian Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, describes his staff's racial diversity to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "We have every mixture you can have. I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent." Watt is forced to resign 18 days later over these comments, rather than previous ones about blacks and shoe size and an environmental outlook unmatched since Saruman.  

Love them, I tell you.

To wage a war for a purely moral reason is as absurd as to ravish a woman for a purely moral reason. Mencken

  In 1989, in another event that Foreshadows the Future, the Saudi government beheads 16 Kuwaiti terrorists in public after convicting them of a deadly bombing at the Great Mosque in Mecca two months earlier. The perpetrators claimed they had been trained by Iran, but Iran denied any involvement.  Foooooooreshadow.....

Meanwhile, the silence about the CU Grand Jury is rather deafening, I'd say, given I don't see anything about, nothing about the Regents request to get it smothered so names and actions aren't chiselled into legal stone.  And nobody seems to be moving on it.  Or, rather, answering my emails which is clearly the same thing.  Normally, my requests are seen as commands from the heavens, and the bureaucracy swings into action to keep me happy.  You too?

And the Texan Mr. Bailey received an impressive sendoff last night as about 2500 gathered in his memory.  I'm a cynic, and I don't like this sort of thing, especially given he drank himself to death from all current reports.  If he'd been a transient, born poor and never much else beyond a soldier once, and found dead of drink on the Mall, I doubt 2500 would show up to hold a candle in his honor.  But a rich white kid with everything in his favor, he deserves it?  Maybe.  But so would the transient, given that nobody knew Bailey, a freshman here a month, either.  We're very hypocritical and falsely sentimental - dangerously so.

Still.  It is a loss.  I too was a naive kid from a New England prep school who didn't know how to drink (and in thirty years haven't improved much) when I went to college.  But I don't get this massive amount.  Didn't take me long to fade away or vomit.  I know the impetus, don't recognize the mind set for this result, though.

Boulder cyclist and gold medal winner Tyler Hamilton was nailed for blood doping.  He had the blood of someone else in his system which, if true, would be pretty conclusive.  He’ll lose the gold.  

Although I have zero proof other than a surety nurtured in cynicism, some experience with celebrities and how they talk and lie, and a long memory, I further predict that the reigning god of two weeks and kinetic energy, Lance Armstrong, will eventually be exposed as a doper himself.  This hardly reduces his achievements, because I suspect everyone does it with greater or lesser competence, but what’s seen now as refreshing candor will eventually be revealed as hypocritical bombast, I’m afraid.  Brace yourself for it.  It’s coming.  

And there will have been a cover-up by many parties because Armstrong is good for the sport, and exposing him during his run would be like revealing Babe Ruth’s whoring, drinking, and doping during his best years.  They coulda, but wouldn’t.
Monday, September 20, 2004

Nature abhors a moron. - H. L. Mencken

Our current joys in the Middle East got off to a rousing start twenty years ago today, when an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with half a ton of high explosive up to the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The blast killed 20 and injures dozens more. The embassy had only reopened just six weeks before after the last bombing, which had killed 6.  Thus encouraged, we poured troops in and soon lost many Marines, after which Reagan pulled up and ran, shelling Lebanese positions by battleship Iowa, which puzzled everyone.  They loved us after that in proportion to the respect running away gave us.  So different from today in Iraq........
  Much interesting print on whether our election polling is comparable or accurate in and of itself.  This Democratic site clearly thinks it's bogus (a shock...) but it does have its points which were in turn bolstered by this from Slate, which quotes the Wall St. Journal and isn't far different.

HBO captured the Emmys last night, and about damned time.  I am addicted to their shows, and everytime I think I can't watch another, I get hooked.  The Wire just clamped shut around me last night.  I find myself thinking there can't be so many great (not good; great) actors playing such small parts of whom I've never heard before.  There cannot be such great writing on such a chronically high level.  Finally, art worthy of the technology.

I bored a friend ga-ga last night extolling all this, and how I resent going to movies ($35 for two with popcorn and coke) to see mediocrity when it doesn't hold a candle to the series on HBO.  I'm pissed the new Sopranos won't be back on for over a year.  I'm angry Carnivale is still a ways away.  I was glad when the dead wife in Six Feet Under was revealed as an adulterer (although it doesn't matter, being in total love with Luaren Ambrose).

And what does the broadcast network family put up?  Oh, Everybody Loves Raymond.  

The Sopranos won best drama?  No shit.
Sunday, September 19, 2004

The American, in other words, thinks that the sinner has no rights that anyone is bound to respect, and he is prone to mistake an unsupported charge of sinning, provided it be made violently enough, for actual proof and confession.  H. L. Mencken A Book of Prefaces

On this day in 1692, an event that hasn't received the coverage it deserves transpired in Salem, Massachusetts.  Eighty year-old farmer Giles Cory was crushed under stones because he refused to enter a plea for the charge of witchcraft.  He lasted two days.  According to one eyewitness account: "in pressing, his tongue being pressed out of his mouth, the sheriff with his cane forced it in again."  

Eighty.  Stubborn.   Within his rights, although Jefferson hadn't noticed and Madison hadn't put them to paper yet. possibly because their respective parents hadn't met yet.  Knowing almost nothing else about Goodman Cory, I find I like him a lot.  To repond to a charge of absurdity issued by dubious legality by the biased is to give it standing.  Hail, sir.  Nice to see it wasn't just women that got caught in that stupidity.

Nothing about the CU Grand Jury report.  Getting annoyed.  

In other gender news, Miss America was last night.  Nobody cares, of course.  It's a ludicrous anachronism, but still: Miss America!  The problem is that these young women aren't any more attractive or accomplished than a significant portion of our young women.  In fact, significantly less so in some ways, having devoted much of their young lives to beauty pageants and all that.   Time to go.

  Ken Salazar and Pete Coors debated last night, and the differences were refreshing and pointed.  I don't agree with either of them on most things, but Salazar seems far more coherent.

For example, I don't think there should be any drinking age, but that anyone caught driving with alcohol in their system should be charged as if they were driving and firing a pistol randomly out the window.  Eventually, mathematically, they will kill someone and, unfortunately enough, not just themselves.  Everywhere else in the world, people can have wine with dinner and learn how to drink and have fun rather than be drunk and obnoxious, the American Method.  In any case, because of the Coors Brewery and the recent college deaths in state, Coors and Salazar were queried over lowering the drinking age Saturday.

Coors, a Republican who had previously said the country should lower the drinking age, predictably reneged with alacrity, like he did over gay benefits at Coors.  He claimed it's a 'states' rights issue', in that ludicrous fallback the GOP adores.  But from a law enforcement point of view, of course it isn't.  A person cannot be legal, cross a state line on a federal highway, and suddenly, rationally be illegal in any system designed for logic.  In any case, he has a clear conflict of interest.  And of course, it is a federal concern.  Out with all stupid alcohol and drug laws, and enforce what is enforceable and logical.

We've lost the respect of too many generations with these hypocritical, arbitrarily enforced horrors.

According to the Denver Post Salazar, a Democrat who said the drinking age should remain at 21, pounced on Coors, contending that he had "changed his position." He also said there were "significant questions" whether the beer commercials aired by Coors Brewing Co. are targeting underage drinkers.I never noticed that, myself, seeing as how the Coors commercials seem primarily to target men of all ages without ability to interest women whatsoever.  Oh well.

Of course, no debate would be of interest without the stupid abortion question.  Coors opposes abortion with no exceptions.  If his teenage granddaughter is raped by a congenital idiot - and let's make it of another color than Pete's for hyperbolic effect - whose particular malfunctions are known to be inherited, Pete would demand she raise and love the child.  And, of course, would pay for its medical care, incarcerations, and proudly wheel it out as a Coors.  Sure.  Hands.  How many think that the young woman would suffer a 'miscarriage' before term?   Probably on a European trip where she suffered a 'fall.'  Like the wealthy have always handled this sort of thing.

That's unfair, I admit.  That we're still talking about abortion is our failure.  The issue was the sexual emancipation of women and the cutting of patriarchal control of their lives.  There is no need for an abortion if people would use birth control, common sense, a degree of control.  After thirty odd years of Roe Vs. Wade, we should have moved on a while ago.  But we haven't.  

And this is directly related to the alcoholic propensities of the our young and old.

It's also when drunk that most of the really stupid deaths or injuries by firearm take place.  After listening to the Feds explain Waco and Ruby Ridge, I think we can all unite in keeping weapons, but there is a wide swath of mental tundra between all weapons and AK-47's.  Coors and Salazar
Saturday, September 18, 2004

"Anyone who can't make up his or her mind at this point in the campaign should forget about the election entirely, buy a pint of ice cream and get into bed." "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star (and Seinfeld co-creator) Larry David

It is rather bizarre to me that the most important story in the election/war in Iraq crossroads was issued this week by two Republican Senators to almost no public response from the administration and no follow up by the media, who are tracing fonts and 86 year old memory synapses.  If one were President, you would not like to read this issuing from a member of your own party:

"It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous," said conservative Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, referring to government figures showing only about 6 percent of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has been spent.  This hinders rebuilding and meeting our promises to Iraqis and the world, you'd think.  The remainder of the intelligence report by Hagel and Richard Lugar of Indianna was scathing in it's estimation of our effort in Iraq and the adminstration's truthfulness.  That's pretty severe.

Yet, it's a complicated thought process for Our President to entertain all this, he who sums up his views  with "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat." (Sept. 17, 2004)

Save among politicians it is no longer necessary for any educated American to profess belief in Thirteenth Century ideas. H. L. Mencken

Former Vice-President and now bitter commentator Al Gore actually channelled my views on President Bush rather well here.  "I wasn't surprised by Bush's economic policies, but I was surprised by the foreign policy, and I think he was, too. The real distinction of this presidency is that, at its core, he is a very weak man....I think his weakness is a moral weakness. I think he is a bully, and, like all bullies, he's a coward when confronted with a force that he's fearful of."  Hey!  Dead on.

On "Bush's public kind of faith," Gore said  "It's a particular kind of religiosity. It's the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim."   Dead on again.  

We're in a war very different from the one Bush realizes.  It's a war against the bony kneed old men - chronologically old, proto-civilized - around the world who strive, under many guises, to pointlessly prolong patriarchies for their own benefit, not the people's.  Scared of women, scared of sex, scared of change, they will start wars or cause their own people to remain under a constant state of fear of attack (Arafat and the Palestinians, the Patriot Act...) simply to keep themselves in power in the role of savior.  Gore is dead on: there is no difference between the orthodox Jews too important to fight in the IDF but who demand others die for conquest, the Christians annoying everyone by starting crises and demanding the US save them, the idiot mullahs who will do or say anything and strap children with bombs to get their way.  Or at least stay in power.  It's all the same, and Bush is one of them.

And as his record shows, unlikely to risk himself.

No doubt inspired by Colorado's educational flagships, our nation's universities are, this weekend, peeking around various fraternity houses for the odd corpse dead of alcohol poisoning.  In a week, we've produced two.  Not a record, but not bad.  Whether it's worse that they died of poisoning or, before the internals shut down, they got in a car and slaughtered innocents I leave to the judicial and the infirm to decide.  But these two deaths aren't any worse than the average college fatalities due to booze in a given week.  Any given week.

Still, I don't believe the findings indicate some sort of sad mistake.  The CSU female is said to have drunk the equivalent of 30 to 40 12-ounce beers or 1-ounce shots of liquor.  Yet, her death is ruled an accident and there was no evidence of foul play.  In that there were no knives sticking out of her throat, I suppose.  Fortunately - thank God! - she was found fully clothed, and her body had not been moved after death.  Apparently there are things worse than death even yet.

What the hell have the authorities been drinking to conclude that?  Perhaps I was a wimp; perhaps everyone I ever knew was a wimp, but I don't see how the starting left tackle could drink 40 beer or shots or liquor without vomiting it up long before that magic 40 was reached.  THINK about that, people. Think.  I'm guessing she weighed 120 plus/minus.  Nobody could drink that much without help.  That's chug contest.  That's enabling.  That's a crime, damn it, and it should be pursued as such.

In Boulder, the University and the national fraternity closed down and evicted the members of the Chi Psi house after an illustrative history of exactly this sort of thing.  Reflect, who else but a fraternity of the wealthy's children could get away with this stuff without establishment support?  The Greek system , at CU and elsewhere, is an institutionalized alcohol enabling social club that confers no benefits unique to itself and does much harm to its members and to the community on which it inflicts its presence.  In 1880, such things served purposes; in 2004 they're at least fifty years past their relevance.
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