Friday, September 29, 2006

Goodbye, cruel world

I am depressed. 60% of my fellow Americans think torture is a right jolly idea, our Congress duly rubber stamps it, Iraq is still a horrible horrible mess where innocents die every day thanks to our Dear Leader's crusade, American "culture" continues debasing itself to the lowest common denominator, our infrastructure is collapsing, our health care system continues to degrade to third-world levels, and nobody cares except us few lunatics out here trying to bring sanity to a pack of screeching howling feces-flinging chimpanzees with less brain than my stupid nose-licking cat. Enough. I've had it. It's time to end it all. Time to finally do the deed: Put the pizza in the oven.

For a short time, at least, I will be in a world of hand-tossed pizza dough topped with the finest of toppings -- three kinds of cheeses, pepperoni, jalapenos, and a tasty well-spiced sauce. My home will be filled with the smell of tasty dough cooked in an oven atop a prime pizza pan designed to emulate the effects of flame-fired ovens. I will go to bed a happy penguin, if a bit more rotund.

Then I will wake up in the morning, and be back in the real world again.

Good night, and may your dreams be of pepperoni, not of the insane world that we've helped make.

-- Badtux the Pepperoni-smelling Penguin

Jesus's General announces the victory of the Great Patriotic Cultural Revolution too...

Today's hopeful thought

If Jesus Christ came back down to Earth and sought the US presidency, he’d be branded the devil by the fundamentalist right, air headed by the spiritual left, impractical by progressives, and a lunatic by conservatives.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Hot pink prehensile tongue action

The curmudgeonly Mencken, fresh from griping about how he has to eat kitty kibble rather than caviar, demonstrates how cats keep their noses moist.

I think I just made sure that no public school computer or library computer can ever view my web site again :-).

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Where I'm at...

I appear to be the #4 guy in the engineering department at work now, and #1 is out with a family medical emergency, #2 is out at a security trade show event, #3 is out running a marathon. Will return tomorrow with more tongue action, this time on the part of the curmudgeonly Mencken, caught in the middle of some sexy prehensile pink tonguework...

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Our glorious "victory" in Iraq

But they're only darkies, not real people, Americans, so it doesn't count. I mean, it isn't as if they're humans. They're just untermenschen, unseemly mud people. If necessary to protect my precious widdle coochie cums moron child who's being raised by television as I speak, it's thus okay to kill them all.

- Badtux the Sarcastic Penguin


In Texas, a teacher needs 30 years to retire.

This teacher got fired at 28 years for taking her class to an art museum.

Where a students saw (gasp) a statue with MAMMARIES!

Oh dear. Y'never know about those statues. Why, they might instill the little innocents with the desire to have sex with marble!

Do these people even care that their stupidity makes them look like they're straight out of a bad Simpson's episode?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

What bad penguins do for entertainment

One of my cousins shows the way:

Bad penguin. BAAAAD penguin!

-- Badtux the Mischeivous Penguin

My thanks to the anonymous person who sent me this pic in email :-).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where was I yesterday?

Well, at their dealer show, Kawasaki introduced the first update to their venerable KLR-650 in *TWENTY YEARS*.

Naturally I spent most of the day tracking down details. Here is what I found:

The biggest change, from a Kawasaki R&D point of view, is a new cylinder head and a new piston and a new ignition module, and some new plastics molds. Everything else is parts bin. The front forks and new dual-pot brake calipers (no, that's how many cylinders the calipers have, nothing to do with Willie Nelson!), for example, appear to be off of the KLE500 sold in Europe, as is the fairing. The new brake rotors are off one of their small Ninjas, as is the "new" radiator. The gas tank, muffler, frame, wheels, and engine bottom end are the same as the old KLR (they probably adjusted the counterweights to deal with the lighter-weight new piston and that's it). They changed the length of the links in the back in order to lower it to match the new KLE500 front end (which is an inch shorter than the old KLR front end). And that's pretty much it.

All in all, it's an evolution, not an all-new bike. Current KLR owners are unlikely to flock to upgrade to it -- other than the engine improvements (which should give it about 10% more power), you can equal everything else out of the existing KLR accessory bin (I have a massive 320mm front brake rotor that gives the same braking power as the new dual-pot front brakes, for example). Still, when I retire my KLR from active duty in another 25000 miles (around 60000 miles the current KLR typically needs a new liner and rings due to a poor oil ring design), it's nice to know that they have an update to the old gal that'll let me slide right in to yet another one of these reliable old beasts. She may still have a 20 year old engine design (albeit with a new head) and a 20 year old rear suspension design and a pig-heavy steel frame instead of one of those new-fangled aluminum or alloy whatizts, but it's reliable as a tractor (and about the same power band and top speed even with the new head), and will go anywhere.

So that's what I was doing yesterday -- getting the poop on that new big fat green bike. Hey, a penguin can dream, eh?!

-- Badtux the Dreamin' Penguin

I get reich-wing spam!

From a reich-winger:

you people are sick and idiotic you should not show dead children it is wrong and disgusting

As vs. actually *killing* the child, which is merely collateral damage and thus not wrong and disgusting.

So remember, boys and girls, the sick person is not the Israeli pilot who dropped the bomb that killed this child:

That Israeli pilot isn't sick. The sick person is me, for showing what happened once that Israeli pilot's bomb hit the ground. The Israeli pilot, and the Israeli people who authorized that pilot to drop the bomb? Why, they're just good upstanding moral people, not sickos like me... they know that the photo, not the dead child, is the crime.

Remember, like Richard Cohen says in the Washington Post today (sorry, no link, I will not link to that morally-corrupt hack), don't believe your lying eyes. It's what hacks like Richard Cohen says, not your lying eyes, that counts. That is why the photo, not the dead child, is the crime.

-- Badtux the Sick Penguin

Sunday, September 24, 2006

On the nature of evil

Here is the question: are sins of omission as venal as sins of commission?

I've travelled all over the United States and talked to a number of Americans as well as a number of Israelis. Most of them would never personally torture someone. Most of them would never personally shoot their neighbor in order to steal his water or his oil. Yet for the most part, they turn their head and refuse to see when someone else does it in their name to someone who "isn't one of us".

In the case of America, the addiction is oil. In the case of Israel, the addiction is water -- the average Israeli citizen uses ten times as much water as the average citizen of Jordan or Lebanon, for example. The very fact that a satellite photo of the suburbs of Tel Aviv shows thousands of sparkling swimming pools -- in the middle of a parched desert -- should show you just how deep their addiction really is.

Both Israel and America are democracies. Thus I have to believe that the majority of people in those countries support the actions of their governments, whether it consists of torturing 78 year old blind men, or stealing water from their neighbors. Not directly, of course. But, rather, through their apathy, willful ignorance, and refusal to think about issues that might require them to change their unsustainable lifestyle.

My reluctant conclusion is that the majority of Israelis, the majority of Americans, are, to put it bluntly, evil. If you allow evil to exist without acknowledging it, if you willfully turn your head so you do not have to see the evil being done in your name, if you refuse to think because it might require you to take some action that would upset your little monkey life of mastication and defecation and fornication and accumulating shiny baubles of no import -- if, through your willful ignorance and apathy you allow evil to persist -- you are as guilty, in my opinion, as if you yourself had personally done these evil things.

Germans were quick to state that "we didn't know that Jews were being killed in extermination camps!" after the war. But they did not want to know. Just like the average American does not *want* to know that his government tortures 78 year old blind men, and indeed will become very upset with you if you force him to acknowledge this fact, because now you require him to explicitly do something. Which he will bitterly resent, I know this truth from personal experience, unfortunately.

The knowledge that the majority of my fellow countrymen are, to put it bluntly, evil, is not something that rests easily upon my soul. But if our sins of omission are as venal as our sins of commission, would not I, myself, be participating in that very same evil if I refused to acknowledge it?

-- Badtux the Uneasy Penguin

Food review: Zatarain's New Orleans Style Jambalaya Mix

Okay, so I'm a junkie for Louisiana food. I found a source of andouille and shrimp so it was clearly time to whip up a batch of jambalaya.

Now, there's two ways to make jambalaya -- the hard way, or the Zatarain's way. Since I'm lazy, I decided to try the Zatarain's way.

Verdict: The dehydrated veggies just don't substitute for the real thing. And it's way too salty. It's edible. That's about all I can say for it. Given that this stuff is actually made in New Orleans (well, *was* made in New Orleans, it's made in Mississippi now), I'd hoped for better.

Zatarain's New Orleans Style Jambalaya Mix. Avoid it.

-- Badtux the Culinary Penguin

Do blue jeans ever wear out?

Just wondering. My Levi's jeans don't seem to "wear out" as such. They just get more comfortable and get more "character" as they age. The only time I throw them out is when they get holes in them, which usually happens when I'm working on one of my vehicles and manage to catch the jeans on an exposed bolt or something.

So: has anybody here ever worn out a pair of Levi's jeans? And how could you tell it was worn out? Curious penguins want to know!

- Badtux the Fashion Penguin

Friday, September 22, 2006

I feel safer...

because Dear Leader and His holy administration protected me by torturing a 78-year-old half-blind paralyzed man.

Yeah, that really makes me feel safer!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

The state of terror now gripping Iraq is as bad as it was under Saddam Hussein. Torture in the country may even be worse than it was during his rule, the United Nation's special investigator on torture said yesterday.

Why am I not surprised? This is the future the neo-cons want for America too -- an anarchical nightmare of no strong central government, death squads "defending" individual patches of turf, torture, and looting.

And nobody gives a flyin' flip, 'cause it means "hey, we don't have to pay taxes in Anarchopia!".

Assholes. After the men with guns finish stealing everything you own, you won't have anything to pay taxes *WITH*. In Anarchopia, only the rich have rights, because only the rich can afford to buy the guns to keep themselves safe. Everybody else is property.

Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. No taxes? No civilization. I notice that the proud anti-tax warriors never seem interested in moving to Mexico, which surely is a paradise compared to the USA considering that their taxes as a percentage of GDP are half those of the USA... hmm, maybe they're scared of the kidnap gangs that kidnap rich people and ransom them off to their families? Or maybe they're scared of the drug gangs that randomly shoot up anybody they view as a threat? Or maybe they're scared of the policia who set up roadblocks where they solicit bribes and will lock you up in a deep dark dungeon and torture you if you don't pay a bribe? Look, neo-con assholes -- if you don't like America, move to Mexico, your obvious utopia! I mean, c'mon, why make America into Mexico North, when you can just move to the real thing!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sexy pink tongue

Like all Internet sex symbols, the Mighty Fang knows the importance of meticulous grooming.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Protecting America...

Louisiana's finest, the Louisiana State Police, have successfuly defended America from from the dire threat of... Willie Nelson's pot.

I feel safer already!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Our Saudi "allies"

This picture of a family in Saudi Arabia says it all:

Not only are our Saudi "allies" a bunch of humorless religious fanatics who treat their women like slaves and otherwise are dispicable, but they're also *STUPID*. Can you hear the conversation in the women's quarters at this dude's home once this picture is developed? "I'm the one on the left." "No, *I* am the one on the left!" Sheesh...

-- Badtux the "Some people are too dumb to be allowed to breed" Penguin

Israel stealing Lebanon's water

Why am I not surprised?

Water is the true gold of the Middle East. Oil? They're overflowing with the stuff. Water, on the other hand, is scarce in this parched land. Water is why Israel will never give up the West Bank -- the West Bank lies atop the aquifer that supplies Tel Aviv, where half of Israel's population and economy are located, and they can never allow anybody else to control their water that way. Similarly, they can never give the Golan back to Syria for the same reason -- control of the water. If they gave the Golan back to Syria, Syria could pump all the water out the same way that Israel is currently pumping all the water out (the Jordan River is *dry* by the time it reaches the Dead Sea, which is getting even deader now that no water goes into it).

Israel currently uses more water per household than ten households in the surrounding countries use. They are the Americans of the Middle East, gluttons who are addicted to an unsustainable lifestyle that can be maintained only via theft and force of arms. If the U.S. went into Iraq for the oil (even just to keep said oil off the market to insure higher prices for U.S. oil companies), it is clear that Israel went into Lebanon for more reasons than just a couple of captured Israeli soldiers (soldiers captured, I might add, in the midst of constant Israeli incursions into Lebanon that had resulted in the deaths of multiple Lebanese citizens guilty of nothing except being in the wrong place at the wrong time -- over a dozen Israeli violations of Lebanese territory had been protested to the United Nations over the six months prior to the capture of the Israeli soldiers). The fact that they failed to attain the Litani River, their clear and obvious goal (in order to divert its waters to Israel) must rankle them greatly, but they're stealing whatever water they can from places they did attain.

And people wonder why I criticize Israel's actions? The Israelis have a sense of entitlement that is surpassed only by that of Americans. They believe that only they have rights, and that nobody else does -- just like Americans. They believe that only their opinion matters, and that nobody else's opinion matters -- just like Americans. In the end, they are bad neighbors, and for the most part bad people. I'm sorry, but if you are selfish, small-minded, oblivious, and willfully ignorant of the world outside your own immediate surroundings, you are a bad person, period -- no matter how often you go to church or how kind you are to children in your own neighborhood.

-- Badtux the Opinionated Penguin

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The fall fashions are here

At least, that's what Wal-Mart just helpfully told me via the wonders of email.

I have just one question: Isn't "fashion" and "Wal-Mart" in the same sentence sorta like "Republican" and "honesty" in the same sentence?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The good ole' days

A mad harper asks in a message below: "does anybody else pine for the halcyon days when sex was fun and motorcyles were dangerous?"

You mean they aren't?! (Well, both fun AND dangerous, for both of them :-).

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Them pesky brown peoples

Howdy, Bubba the Suthern Penguin here, from Cootieville, Tennessee! Yeah, I know I ain't been 'round here lately, Darlene toook my computer access away 'cause I was viewin' some of them beaver pics on the Internets, and I ain't talkin' critters, understand? I tole her I was just seein' what we needed to protect our chilluns from, but she just tole me that if I kept it up, we wuzn't havin' no chilluns. Then there was that little expedition that me and my ole' cat-killin' buddy Bill Frist took down to Florida to help this little museum with their little cat problem, but nevermind that. It's too embarrassing. Did you know that ole' Earnest Hemingway had GUNS? And that the museum caretaker even keeps a couple of them LOADED? And that in Florida, you can shoot anybody ya wants on yer property?! Like the doc said when he wuz pickin' the birdshot out of my behind, "that didn't work out so well."

Anyhow, some of you'uns is wonderin' why us good God-fearin' patriotic red-state Americans hate them brown peoples so much. Well, lemme tell you why. It's cuz they set such a bad example. Like, my cousin Badtux from over there in Satanland sent me this here link to a developer out there in Kah-lee-for-nee-ah who is puttin' up this shoppin' center called Vietnam Town. This here developer came over here from Vietnam as a refugee with nuthin' but the clothes on his back, not speakin' the language or nuthin' (not like us patriotic red-state Americans who speak English tha way it s'pozed to be spoke), and he worked as a janitor in a high school, and now what is this ungrateful brown person doin? Why, by working 25 hours a day he's worked hisself up to bein' a big-shot real estate developer, who now can build his dream shopping center! How DARE this pesky brown person take away jobs from good intelligent white folks like myself by doing them un-American things like studyin', workin' hard, and doin' things for his community!

And them Messicans. Now, we got us a big Messican problem here in Cootieville. They done took most of the jobs at the local renderin' plant. Why, even my darlin' Darlene got fired from there! Why, everbody knows that all you wants to render is a dozen chickens an hour else them thare foremens will s'ect you ta do more, but them Messicans, they come in, and they work their little brown hands to the bone, renderin' DOZENS of chickens per hour! How DARE they work harder than good God-fearin' Americans and take our jobs!

And the churches on Sunday. Why, ever single one of them goes to one of them heathen Papist churches on Sunday. I swear, they might as well rename "Our Lady of Sacred Perdition Catholic Church" to be "Little Mexico Catholic Church"! Don't they know it's us white folks who iz spozed ta be the god'fearin' ones? 'Course, since they is worshippin' them thare statues in that heathen Papist church, I guess they ain't so god-fearin', but still, they make us good God'fearin' Americans who skip church during football season look like slackers, and that just ain't right!

And they just done took over the parks. Why, ever weekend, they is out there with their whole extended family, multiple generations and all the cousins and nephews and stuff, picnick'in and barby-cuein' and doin' that family thing. Why, don't they know that us good God-fearin' Americans is the ones spozed ta be doin' that sorta thing? Well, except that I hate my cousin Bobby, and my newphew Josh is an insufferable know-it-all brat, and, well, Darlene says she'll let me do that have children stuff any day now...

But anyhow, you get the point. Weuns hate them pesky brown folks cuz they just SET A BAD EXAMPLE! Work hard? Believe in family? Believe in America (gasp!)? How DARE they be better Americans than us good god-fearin' Americans who done been here for, like, forever!

-- Bubba the Suthern Penguin

Monday, September 18, 2006

Time to start killing automobile drivers!

A wingnut writes to the local paper: "I refuse to cower in fear of terrorists. We must torture or kill however many people it takes to make us safe!"

Now, as a motorcyclist, I'm far more likely to get killed by an automobile driver than by a terrorist. Every time I mount my bike, I shudder at the thought of broken bones or worse when some cowardly automobile driver hits me while talking on his cell phone while shaving while yelling at the kids in the back seat. Therefore, by his logic, we motorcyclists should kill as many automobile drivers as necessary to make us safe. Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet.

That is all.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rattle rattle

I am sick of incompetents who can't do shit right.

Last weekend, I went over a bump and heard a loud "Clunk!" from the front end of my truck. So when I got back from what I was doing, I got under there and took a look. The @%!@ front bumper bolts were coming loose! Ain't no f'ing way those things can come loose by themselves if they're torqued properly -- those mofo's are supposed to be torqued to 56 foot/pounds. If you were pushing on the end of a one foot wrench, you'd have to apply 56 pounds of pressure to torque them to spec. If they'd been properly torqued, they were *not* coming loose! The idjits who put on my front bumper when they replaced it simply didn't torque it. Then while I was tightening those things up, my hand went forward a bit and... CLANK! WTF is that bolt hanging down with no nut on it? Mutter mutter go look on other side... and the bolt is altogether missing over there! Walk back up to my apartment, look at the factory service manual, and ut-oh -- those are the bolts that hold the radiator cross-member to the frame. The *ONLY* two bolts that hold it to the frame. Without those bolts, the only thing holding the cross-member onto the front of the truck is the front fenders, which attach to the cross-member then to the rest of the body. Same effin' deal. When the jerks replaced the front cross-member, they didn't torque the mofo bolts to spec (56 foot-pounds of torque again!), and the got-damned things f'ing fell off.

Incompetents. I'm surrounded by them. Thursday evening I looked at my odometer, and decided it was time to balance my rear wheel on my motorcycle. So I put my bike up on the lift and pulled the wheel, and spun it to balance it and... what's that rattle rattle coming from the tire? That ain't spozed to be! It was clear I had to take the tire off the wheel and figure out what was rattling, but didn't have time. Anyhow, Friday night I had a consulting gig and didn't have time then, so today I did the job.

The first problem I ran into was that the shop that installed the tire used that sticky tire lube shit. Okay, so that's not wrong. In fact, for a 100 horsepower sportbike, that's right. But for a 34 horsepower KLR, that's overkill. Anyhow, the short stiff sidewall of the tire was stuck like glue to the wheel just wouldn't drop off the bead into the valley between the beads (needed to create enough slack to pull the tire over the rim) using my normal methods -- boot heel and jumping up and down, big-ass tire iron, etc. So I went to Home Cheapo and got a couple of 2x6's and a huge gate hing (the kind used to hang barn doors, that will hold hundreds of bounds), and with a few pieces of scrap 2x4 lying around the garage built a tire bead breaker (hint: lever, 8 foot long, ain't no bead anywhere that can withstand an 8 foot lever!). So the next problem I ran into was the tube seemed to be stuck with that same freakin' glue to the inside of the tire. Anyhow, I managed to get that loose, and here's what I found:

The rattling was coming from inside the tube, a Bridgestone ultra-heavy-duty tube. The idgits who installed the tire did *NOT* install the tube correctly -- they installed it in a way such that it was wrinkled and creased at one point near the valve stem. See, you're supposed to inflate the tube to get some shape into it, deflate it again and bounce it around to get the creases out, then inflate it again. They took a shortcut. They just slapped the effin' tube in there, put air in it, and called it good, and it didn't help that the tube had stuck to the same effin' sticky tire lube that had stuck my tire bead to the rim and thus the creases were literally glued in place. Anyhow, when I cut the tube open to see what was rattling inside it, these creased areas had literally *MELTED* into little rubber bee-bees that were what was rattling. If this tube hadn't been so thick (ultra-heavy-duty, remember?), I would have had a blowout thousands of miles before...

I'm surrounded by idiots who take shortcuts rather than doing shit right. Probably Bush voters, every freakin' one of them -- believers in something for nothing, and that they can take short-cuts without doing things right and nothing bad will happen.

I could go to the shop and complain that they didn't put my front end back together right. Then they'd dispatch the same f'ing idiot to "fix" it who fucked it up in the first place. Or I could get my torque wrench and my factory manual and go over all those f'ing bolts myself and make sure they're torqued right, and replace the bolts that fell out (only problem there is that a couple of rubber bumpers also fell out, I'll need to order them at the Chevy dealer, but we're talking about $5 parts). I could go to the shop that installed the new tube and tire onto my back wheel and complain. Or I can just haul the tube up there and show them what happens when they do shit wrong -- then do the tire changing myself, using my home-made tire machine. It's just a shame that if I want the job done right, I have to do it myself... quality, unfortunately, seems about as rare as a Republican's brains nowdays.

-- Badtux the Quality Penguin

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The lessons of Vietnam: what the wingnuts learned

It's popular, amongst anybody who knows anything, to decry that the Bushies and similar wingnuts apparently did not learn the lessons of Vietnam and the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Otherwise, goes the thinking, the Bushies wouldn't have put our troops into no-win situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the wingnuts did learn from Vietnam. What the wingnuts learned from Vietnam was simple: that it's not war that Americans dislike. Americans *love* war. What they don't like is wars that are expensive and that kill kids that others care about.

As far as the wingers here in 'Merka are concerned, they learned the lessons of Vietnam just fine. Said lessons being, the reason we lost in Vietnam was because the war was too expensive and the soldiers being killed were a cross-section of Americans. So now they fight wars on the cheap with an all-volunteer army made up of America's untermenschen -- rural crackers from the South and from the Central Valley of California, and Hispanics, for the most part -- people that most Americans never really think about or care about. And they figure that as long as this is true, they can make as much war as they want, in as many places as they want, and the American people won't raise a fuss.

And thus far, they're mostly correct. Nobody's complaining about the death toll amongst American troops in Afghanistan or Iraq, well, except for a few rabid pacifist lefty types of course, but you know how that goes. Not all that many people are even complaining about the expense, which, by historical terms, is almost trivial -- the Vietnam War was sucking up 10% of the U.S. GDP at its peak, the Iraq war isn't even sucking up 2%. If it was just the expense or death toll, there'd be no fuss at all about Bush's policies from the majority of Americans.

Of course, the American people *is* raising a fuss, about Iraq at least. It appears that the Bushies forgot one thing. You just can't *win* a war on the cheap like that. They misunderestimated America's long-term willingness to put up with failure. But the Bushies *were* right -- just not 100% right. America will withdraw from Iraq not because of casualties. America will withdraw from Iraq not because of financial reasons. America will withdraw from Iraq for neither of the reasons that America withdrew from Vietnam. America will withdraw from Iraq because its policy in Iraq has been an utter failure, and the American people will put up with putting lipstick on a pig for only so long.

-Badtux the History Penguin

In defense of Wal-Mart

I've noticed that it's fashionable to bash Wal-mart. Their stalwart anti-union attitudes, the low wages and lack of benefits for their workers, the tacky Chinese imported merchandise that they sell, their habit of brow-beating local governments for special advantages over locally-owned business, and, most importantly, their habit of running locally-owned businesses out of business, all of which are, well, morally dubious at best.

Okay, so all of that is true. And the question is, is this Wal-Mart's fault, or ours?

Wal-Mart didn't create the anti-union attitude. Wal-Mart didn't elect the anti-union politicians who pass the laws that make it possible for them to exclude unions. Wal-Mart didn't set the national policies that encourage growth of low-wage jobs and discourage growth of high-wage jobs. Wal-Mart didn't de-industrialize the country to the point where even if they wanted to buy American, they couldn't, because America just doesn't build all that much nowadays. Wal-Mart didn't elect the local governments that give them special tax breaks. And while Wal-Mart does run local businesses out of business, in large part this is because the local businesses refuse to cooperate with each other and build purchasing co-ops of their own to match Wal-Mart's economies of scale, and local businesses don't operate in a way that fits the modern American lifestyle. In short, most of the local businesses that Wal-mart drives out of business *DESERVE* to go out of business.

I don't know if any of you have lived in a small town where there's no Wal-mart around. I have. The businesses are open 7 to 7 on Monday through Saturday. Period. They are not open on Sunday, and on weekdays most people can't get in there because they have to drive more than an hour a day to the nearest mid-sized city to work. These locally-owned businesses stock what the owner thinks they should stock, and the owner rarely bothers doing any sort of market research to see whether he needs to change inventory. 30 year old fashions in the white goods store? Nothing but white bread on the bread aisle of the local grocer? No low-fat milk? That's what people need to wear or eat, gosh darn it! Only those effete outsiders would want whole-wheat bread or low-fat milk!

So Wal-mart comes in, and they're open 6am to 10pm, seven days a week. Wow, we can actually get in there before or after work! They stock what their market research has found to be popular fashions amongst low-income types like rural workers. Wow, now we don't have to go to the white goods store and wrinkle our noses at out-of-date fashions, or drive hours to the nearest city! They stock all sorts of things that local businesses never bothered stocking. Wheat bread? TORTILLAS?! Salsa!!!! Whoa! And the local businesses start going under, and they all blame Wal-Mart, not their own arrogance, incompetence, and poor customer service. "The way we did business worked for 30 years!" they whine, failing to recognize that the *only* reason it worked was because they had no effective competition.

In short, you can whine about Wal-Mart all you want. But Wal-Mart does not set the national policies and priorities that allow it to operate in the way it operates, and Wal-Mart doesn't force local businesses to avoid participation in purchasing co-ops or force local businesses to stock outdated merchandise and open during hours that don't meet the needs of the modern lifestyle. Wal-Mart is what any large modern corporation is in these modern days -- an amoral artificial creation of society which operates in exactly the manner that society allows. If we don't like the way Wal-Mart operates, we need to change those rules rather than whining. And if we're not willing to do that, well, (shrug) we get what we want -- and deserve.

-- Badtux the Wal-Mart-shopping Penguin

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Boomers and reality

Earlier I called the Baby Boomers the "most divorced from reality" generation in American history. Raised in a bubble by over-indulgent parents afraid that disciplining their brats would harm their fragile psyches, their every need and want catered to, they grew up to believe that their petty needs and wants were all that mattered. When reality tried to impinge, well, what do you think all that drugs'n'stuff was all about in the 60's, anyhow? This is a generation that doesn't want anything to do with reality, that, if forced to confront reality, would prefer to drug themselves so they don't have to deal with it. Thus why Bush looks like a stoned drunken robot when he gets in front of cameras nowdays... the dude is doped up on enough pills to make Rush Limbaugh look like the epitomy of clean livin'.

In short: Boomers drugged themselves in the 60's because they didn't want to deal with reality. And that's still true today, though they're drugging themselves on Republican kool-aide instead.

Still waiting for the 'Boomers to come firing back...

-- Badtux the not-Boommer Penguin

Reichstag fires

When the Patriot Act was proposed and passed in 2001, I mused on my blog, "was September 11 the American version of the Reichstag fire?" In the years since it has become clear that it was indeed the work of Osama bin Forgotten. There has been too much evidence coming in from overseas to believe otherwise.

But as I pointed out previously, the rumors remain. I speculated that perhaps those who believe the conspiracy theories simply don't want to believe that the majority of the American people voted for the class clown as President not once, but twice (and for those who cry "but he did not have a majority!" -- everybody who stayed home rather than register to vote and go to the polls effectively voted for Bush, so there). And then there are the well-known authoritarian tendencies of the Bush administration, where George W. Bush has been caught on tape not once, not twice, but three times musing that he'd like to be a dictator rather than President.

But the evidence of the Bush administration's corruption and incompetence is similarly overwhelming. They could have gotten a Reichstag Fire Decree out of Congress on September 13, 2001. They didn't, not because they don't want that kind of power, but because they couldn't think of anything beyond the laundry list of power "wants" that had been circulating around Washington during the Clinton years. They lack the imagination, the grounding in reality, and the intellectual stamina to be dictators -- or to organize a conspiracy as vast as staging the demolition of the WTC towers and Pentagon wing. Which is good, because as I noted elsewhere, the reflexive ass-pucker of the cowardly Baby Boom generation would have otherwise crowned Emperor Bush to protect them from those unseemly untermenschen on the other side of the Rubicon.

Unfortunately, until the Baby Boomers all die, I don't see that there's much hope for a return to the Republic. All we can hope for, in the short term, is imperial incompetence or a Democrat opposed by the Republicans. Anybody that the Baby Boomers elect to office will be either incompetent or a moral vacuum intent upon increasing the power of the Emperor (and yes, Bill Clinton, while infinitely preferable to Bush due to the fact that he was at least intelligent and connected to the real world, was never shy about taking steps to increase the power of the Presidency and did not succeed most of the time only because the Republicans wanted to crown one of *theirs* as Emperor, not Clinton). A self-absorbed, amoral, value-free generation invincible in their arrogance and willful ignorance, a generation that allowed themselves to be cowed into becoming the wage slaves they despised by one volley of bullets at Kent State and which allowed themselves to be cowed into giving Bush every bit of power he demanded out of fear of a few dusky terrorists overseas hiding in caves is not the kind of generation that should be trusted with power -- but unfortunately, demographics say that is going to be the case for the next ten to fifteen years.

Which, I suppose, is as good a reason as any to vote for Democrats in the next election. The Democratic baby boomers are not really any better than the Republican ones. But at least the Republican Party knows how to be an opposition party and keep the Democrats from sucking up all the power -- and would be quick to uncover any *real* Reichstag fire perpetrated by the Democrats (I'm not so sure about the Democrats, on the other hand... not a single Democratic legislator ever publically questioned the Bush Administration's official story of 9/11). Fighting for the return of the Republic is going to be a losing battle for the next ten to fifteen years, but it can at least be made into a strategic retreat, rather than a total surrender. I realize that "Vote Democrat! Prevent Reichstag fires!" isn't much of a slogan, or much of a hope. But it's the best we got.

- Badtux the Cynical Penguin


30,000 Americans die every year from auto accidents. 2600 Americans died within minutes of beginning the assault upon Okinawa. 2600 Iraqis die every month from the civil war that we brought to their country. Why should I give any special meaning to 2600 Americans who died in New York City five years ago? What makes them more important than the 2600 Iraqis who died last month in Baghdad? Well, other than the fact that we're a nation of racist bigots who don't believe Iraqis are human, that is?

Man, there are some days when I'm glad I'm a penguin rather than a chimpanzee, and yesterday was one of them. Watching all the chimpanzees leap around howling and throwing feces at another band of chimpanzees that they define as "not human" was one of the most disgusting spectacles I ever saw.

- Badtux the "Glad to be a" Penguin

Monday, September 11, 2006

Victory in Iraq

Grim days for the gravedigger of Baghdad

One man's mission grows awesome
FOR 23 years Sheikh Jamal al-Sudani has taken it upon himself to bury the bodies of murdered Iraqis — men, women and children — whose families were too afraid to retrieve them from the mortuary slabs of Baghdad.

Until recently they were the victims of Saddam Hussein’s pitiless and paranoid regime, which hunted down critics with ruthless efficiency and often dispatched their sons as well to eliminate the risk of revenge.

When Saddam was overthrown three years ago, Sudani thought his workload would ease. But now he is busier than ever and can barely imagine the suffering of those whose grisly remains are being tipped into new mass graves reminiscent of the old tyranny.

In July, which saw the worst sectarian slaughter so far in Baghdad, Sudani collected up to 500 bodies in a single week. There was one particularly dreadful day when he wondered how he would find the strength to carry on.

Arriving at al-Tub al-Adli morgue in the capital, he was asked to remove a coarse cloth sack of heads that had been left on a filthy floor. Among the heads was that of a boy no more than 12 years old. Sudani could see that it had been cut off.

“I felt something snap inside me,” he said last week. “My guts were knotted and I started to cry. It was like looking at my young son. He had such an innocent face.”

Ah yes, the smell of rotting flesh in the morningtime. It smells like... victory. If victory smells like complete and utter disaster and defeat, that is.

-- Badtux the Somber Penguin

The day nothing changed

On September 11, 2001, I got out of bed as usual. I drank my morning coffee, showered, got dressed, and headed to work, thinking about the product we were wrapping up, a NAS front end to a DVD-RAM storage silo, and what work remained to be done before it was ready to be released. I'd been working for the company for five months by that time, after the best job of my life had gotten acquired and the staff laid off, and was focused only on making sure I stayed employed at my new job. As I passed by the exits to the airport, the electronic signs said "Airport Closed". Odd, I thought. I wonder what that's all about?

I got to work around 8:30am, and my boss asked me, "Did you see the towers go down?" I said "What?" "The World Trade Center towers." "No! What happened?" "Airplanes crashed into them."

I went to the Internet and checked a couple of news sites. They were all crashed. I went to Slashdot (this was back when Slashdot actually mattered, rather than just being a place for trolls to hang out), and they already had a couple of articles online and had links to mirrors of wire articles and such already. Then I sat back to consider. A couple hours later, I went back to work.

In the days that followed, one phrase was repeated, over and over again, a phrase which confused the dickens out of me: "Everything has changed." But what changed? This wasn't the first act of terrorism against American citizens. Oklahoma City, remember? WTC 1993, remember? Reluctantly I had to conclude that the only thing had changed was that my fellow Americans had become bat-shit insane, willingly accepting huge expansions of government power (the "Patriot Act", the Transportation Safety Administration, etc.) in order to "keep them safe". As a nerdy white guy who'd taught in inner city schools and more than once walked to the door of a crack house to talk to parents, I had to conclude that the majority of my fellow Americans were not only bat-shit insane, but they were also craven cowards.

Which, unfortunately, is God's own truth. What 9/11 brought forth was the reality that the majority of Americans are craven cowards, shuddering in fear behind the gates of their gated communities and behind the heavy doors of their armored SUV's, shuddering in fear of dusky brown people, of their fellow Americans, of anything and everything. And the biggest culprit is the Baby Boom generation -- the most coddled, least-connected to reality, most craven generation in American history, a generation with an inherit ignorance (due to overcrowded schools during their upbringing) and sense of entitlement that is only surpassed by their craven cowardly nature. It only took one volley of bullets at Kent State to make them abandon their principles and become craven corporate cogs. It only took two jet airliners crashing into two buildings to make them abandon every principle of American freedom in exchange for a fictitious "safety" provided by a Big Brother government.

So what did 9/11 change? Utterly nothing. If 9/11 had never happened, something else would have triggered the reflexive asshole-pucker of the craven baby boom generation, a generation which every day shudders in fear of anybody and everybody. Or someone would have engineered something. The only good thing about 9/11 happening when it did was that it happened during the regime of the most corrupt, most incompetent, least-connected to reality administration in American history. A competent administration with the same totalitarian instincts as the Bush administration could have crowned their President as Emperor for the duration of the "war on terror", which, like the "war on drugs", is a perpetual war that cannot be won because it presumes, like Communism, that human nature can be changed with sufficient application of force. While the Bush Administration has come close thanks to the fact that the majority of Congress is as craven and cowardless and principle-free as the majority of the American people, they have come nowhere near assuming full imperial powers, otherwise I would not be posting this right now -- I would be in some gulag or "re-education" camp somewhere learning how to be a good little Republican and cower in fear and terror like the rest of the American poulation. However, we cannot rely on imperial incompetence to preserve the American republic forever, which is why the fact that, to put it bluntly, the majority of the American public is a bunch of bat-shit insane craven cowards is disturbing, to say the least.

So what changed on 9/11? Nothing. Utterly nothing. The risks facing this nation were no different on 9/10/2001 than they were on 9/12/2001. The craven nature of the Baby Boom generation was no different on 9/10/2001 than it was on 9/12/2001. Nothing changed, other than that the most incompetent, most corrupt administration in American history managed to put together a successful propaganda campaign to convince similarly craven members of their generation that they were the saviors of America against some sort of imaginary existential threat. But frankly, given the instincts of Karl Rove and his ilk, that was a given anyhow. 9/11 merely gave him another tool to use as part of his propaganda campaign of terror against the American public -- it did not change anything fundamental.

So why do I stick around if the majority of my fellow citizens are craven cowards who will willingly give up their freedoms in exchange for feeling protected by a Big Brother father figure? Well, I'm not quite sure. One possibility may be that I hold more hope for the younger generation, which is far more cynical and less risk-averse than their craven baby-boomer elders. Or maybe it's that I'm too scared to take that leap, leave everything I know behind in order to splash down someplace in some culture foreign to me. I'm not sure. The only thing I am sure of is that 9/11 changed nothing -- except the rhetoric of some men of power who use it to do evil against the Republic and the Constitution that they swore to uphold and defend.

-- Badtux the Remembering Penguin

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How rich women stay thin

Have you ever noticed that rich women are so thin as to almost be emanciated? Think of any rich woman you've ever seen on the television news being interviewed. Have you ever seen one who was fat?

I think I know why. It's the shopping.

Yes, I said "shopping". From about 4pm to 8:45pm, I was at the Great Mall of Milpitas, getting some clothes and a couple of pots after stopping at Home Depot to buy some stuff for making a tail-light bracket for the new auxiliary brake light on my KLR. Then on the way home I popped over to Wal-Mart and bought some tuna and toothpaste and a few other odds and ends. I finally got home around 9:45pm, and promptly collapsed into my chair as if I'd just finished running a freakin' marathon...

Did you know that the Great Mall is over a mile around if you walk the main hallway? And that's if you walk straight. I wasn't walking straight. I was going into stores and looking at slacks and shirts and pots and pans (I needed a couple of 1 quart pots -- a stainless one and a non-stick one -- because my old non-stick pots inherited from my father have pretty much bit the dust, they show more aluminum than non-stick coating nowdays). And I was doing all this while hauling bags around. LOTS of bags towards the end. Scored some good loot for cheap (this is sort of an outlet mall), including a new glass cutting board for $5.95, a splash screen for $1.00, a 1 quart non-stick pot for $5.95, and two good-quality polo shirts for $23.95 (for the pair). But man, I've hiked five miles uphill with 40 pounds on my back and used less energy!

Now, if only I had unlimited sums of money, and really liked shopping... why, I might even be as thin as Ann Coulter! Uhm, on second thought, maybe it's a good thing that shopping is a once-a-month (at most, other than groceries and Home Cheapo or auto parts runs) thing for me... I mean, why would a guy want to look like Ann? (Shudder).

-- Badtux the Shopping Penguin

My Pet Goat

Mimus Pauly asks, in comments below, "Why does the notion that Bush knew what was going to happen that day [9/11/2001] refuse to die?"

I think my answer to that question is important enough to move up here to the front page:

Mimus, I think it's just that people don't want to admit that the majority of Americans voted for a shallow drunken cocaine-addled frat boy not once, but *twice*. So they try to turn the town drunkard and druggie into Richard Nixon, a conspiratorial Machiavelli working a deep game. Thing is, George ain't deep. He's not stupid by any means, but he was a shallow frat boy in college, and he's a shallow frat boy today. Anything deeper than "Condi! Where's my beer!", belching while watching a football game on TV, or sticking his middle finger up in the air at a reporter he doesn't like just ain't in him.

On the other hand, I surely wouldn't put it past President Cheney to pull some really eeeevil crap...

-- Badtux the "Working on my 9/11 essay" Penguin

Revolutionaries and power

One of my regular commentators BBC did this pithy statement below:

"The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution."

Let us examine this, then, in the context of historical revolutions. I will not count the so-called "American Revolution" as a historical revolution here, due to its unique nature as the revolt of the power structure of colonial America against a far-removed government which wished to reduce or eliminate their power. In short, the "American Revolution" was not so much a revolution, as it was a battle between two groups of men of power over whether one group (the Colonial aristocracy) would be allowed to retain its power. In that regard, the "American Revolution" can be seen as a throwback to medieval power struggles between rival lords, rather than as an uprising against the existing power structure. The men who won the American "revolution" *were* the power structure of the Colonies -- they acted to preserve their power, not to overthrow an existing power structure.

If we look at that as a defining quality of a "true" revolution -- that it overthrows an existing power structure (rather than being an action to preserve one) -- it becomes clearer that revolution rarely has a good outcome. The French Revolution led to bloodshed, war, and eventually widespread destruction and the loss of a generation of French manhood in the Napoleonic Wars. The Russian Revolution led to Stalin and the death of tens of millions of Soviet citizens in his gulags. The Chinese Revolution led to the deaths of yet more tens of millions of Chinese citizens and a brutal dictatorship. The closest revolution I can think of that had anything approaching a non-bloodbath outcome was the Mexican Revolution in the early part of the 20th century, and even that ended up with the PRI basically ruling the country as a dictatorship for the rest of the century.

A true conservative, by contrast, spends his time attempting to preserve the current power structure. In essence, the American Revolution was a revolution by conservatives, who were intent upon preserving their power from a ruler (George III) who wished to reclaim possession of colonies that were nominally his.

Given that, let's examine BBC's statement above. How does his statement correspond with the realities of those revolutions in particular?

In Russia, we ended up with Stalin. Who spent most of his tenure attempting to preserve his power structure. Very conservative. In China, we ended up with Mao. Who spent most of his tenure attempting to preserve his power structure. Very conservative. Napoleon believed that warfare was the best means of preserving his power. Very conservative. The PRI ruled Mexico as their personal feifdom for 80 years, providing few services to the people and doing everything in their power to maintain the power structures that they had put together. Very conservative. Everything that these dictators did was calculated to preserve and maintain the power structures that underlied the State.

I'm not sure whether I'm willing to call Mao a conservative. He made too many changes to Chinese society during his rule for me to feel comfortable saying that. But he was decidedly conservative in his approach to power -- he spent the majority of his rule establishing and preserving the power of the Communist Party in China. His successors who currently rule China are most certainly are conservatives of the old-line sort, the General Franco or PRI type of conservative rulers who keep a close clamp on society in order to preserve their power.

So how shall we view BBC's observation? In the short term, it may be wrong. In the long term, it is always correct. The revolution sets up a power structure. His successors spend their days preserving and conserving said power structure. When you spend your days preserving a power structure rather than attacking it, you are no longer a revolutionary. You are a conservative -- despite any rhetorical flourishes (like "Institutional Revolutionary Party" as the name of the party that ruled Mexico for 80 years) to the contrary.

- Badtux the Analytical Penguin

Friday, September 08, 2006

First they came for the Muslims...

... preventing them from praying on aircraft...

then they came for the Jews.

That's what bigotry and hate lead to. if you have an AIPAC going around sowing bigotry and hatred against Muslims, eventually some of that is going to land right back in their laps. Pots calling kettles black rarely works out well...

-- Badtux the "What goes 'round, comes 'round" Penguin

"Yeah yeah, quit witcher flashin' lights, hear?"

Mencken is a bit of curmudgeon. His philosophy is "life sucks, and people suck too." Sorta like his namesake newspaperman/philosopher. He has a more properly cat attitude -- the purpose of people is to worship him, but only people who he has chosen to worship him. Any other person, he either ignores or goes under the couch if they try to bother him. He isn't exactly a tiny cat -- as you can see, his butt is sliding off the edge of the scanner -- but he's a couple pounds lighter than the Mighty Fang even after the Mighty Fang's diet that took him down to 15 pounds.

I don't have as many pictures of Mencken because, well, he's just not into that whole modeling bit like the Mighty Fang. But here he is sunning himself on his personal butt-warmer, giving me a look of disgust as I flash bright lights at him...

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, September 07, 2006

To those who think Bush knew...

that planes were gonna crash into the WTC:

This is a brain:

These are drugs:

This is a brain on drugs:

Any questions?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Hey, I'm a girl, I don't do that crashing of cars into stuff thing, y'know?"

Someone's out to get Kathy. She decides it's time to drop out of sight. A slight issue comes up...

I stopped around the block from my apartments and checked the webcams. Coast seemed clear. Nothing in range of the 'cams, anyhow. I checked my watch. Five minutes. Not enough time, hopefully, for whatever was about to happen to have arrived yet. I drove around the block and parked my Toyota in the driveway, and ran into my apartment and grabbed my go-bag, a large duffel packed for these kinds of occasions, then ran out. And stopped short, looking at my Toyota.

Hell, what if they'd already bugged my Toyota?

I was pretty sure my apartment wasn't bugged. Not by anybody except an inept FBI agent over a year ago, and those bugs had already quietly died as their batteries expired and the FBI lost interest in listening to irate tenants whine about how their faucet was dripping or those kids were playing their stereo too loud in the parking lot. But my Toyota? It lived out in the open. Shit.

I looked around for a solution, and I saw it.

I jogged over to where Jose Mendeles was caressing his classic Impala with a dust mop. "Yo! Jose! I need to borrow your wheels for a couple days."

His jaw dropped. "Wha? No way!"

"I'll let you borrow my Toyota. A month's free rent! All I need it for is a couple days, I need to do some stuff my Toyota won't do. I won't hurt it, I promise. Hey, I'm a girl, I don't do that crashing cars into stuff thing, y'know?"

"A month's free rent?"

"Yeah. For two days use of your car. Three, max. And you get the keys to my Toyota. Hey, c'mon, think how proud your grandma will be. A whole month's rent!"

"Okay, but..."

"Thanks! Gotta go. Here's the keys to my Toy. Where's the keys to Critter? Oh, there they are, in the ignition, of course. Thanks!" I tossed my keys to him. As he caught them I shoved past him, tossed my duffel in through the back window, and jumped into the front seat, reaching down and hauling it close enough for me to reach the pedals as I turned the ignition key. Critter started up with 454 cubic inches of Detroit madness rumbling under its hood, and I jammed the automatic tranny into reverse and hit the gas pedal. Hmm. Bad move. Tires screeching. 400 horsepower tend to do that. Oops! Jose was yelling something at me, but I was trying to avoid hitting a car that was turning into the parking lot. I jammed the transmission into drive, and headed out the other entrance of the parking lot, hitting the buttons to roll up the very illegal tinted windows on this beast, and bounced out onto the avenue, barely missing an Accord in the other lane as I wheeled the big steering wheel wildly trying to get the barge to turn. Hmm, note to self -- a classic Impala doesn't turn corners as sharply as my Toyota. I glanced backward and Jose had run to the corner and was shaking his fist at me. I hit the gas pedal and moved.

Moral of story: well, I guess there isn't one.

PS: Jose's car comes out fine. It woulda been a nice cheap stunt to crash the car, but she ends up abandoning it in a shopping center parking lot and paying cash for a used Nissan being sold by a private party, because a classic Impala just sticks out too much. Her Toyota, alas, does not turn out so well -- Jose barely avoids getting crispy when he goes to start the thing the next day.


Most of the people who claim to be Christian, I believe, should actually be called "Christians" with the quotes, because they certainly don't seem interested in following the word of that Commie bastard Jesus Christ, who most famously said to a would-be follower, "go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."

Somehow, Mark 10:21 seems to be completely ignored by these "Christians". Indeed, the latest outrage by these so-called "Christians" is just typical of the new breed of "Christian", who want a world where children are property to be used or abused as their owner (parent) wishes (man, you should hear these "Christians" rail about how CPS wants to take their children away because of their belief in beating their child black and blue for every tiny offense!), women know their place (i.e., as barefoot and pregnant chattel), and Jesus loves you but only if you let the pastor rape you. Oh, I know that most "Christian" pastors don't literally rape their congregants, but financially, morally, ethically... it is rape. It is rape all the way. You see these million-dollar-a-year TV preachers, there's just one way they got where they are: raping the innocent and the gullible (often one and the same).

Thankfully, Tuxology is immune to such a syndrome. See, Tuxologists don't have a clergy. Tuxology's ice cathedrals also double as ice-skating rinks and pay their own way, so Tuxology doesn't have building upkeep or building funds. Tuxology does have some patron saints, mostly dealing with gluttony -- for example, Chef Paul Prudhomme is the patron saint of spicy charred fish, which is one of the preferred ways to prepare herring for the Ceremony of the Herring (except amongst the Rawist schismatics, who, like the Latin-Mass Catholics, insist upon doing things the old-school way and eat their herring raw). Chef Paul also serves as a role model for good Tuxologists who are seeking their inner penguin, having the near-perfect penguin build and all. But no real "clergy" as such, unless you count the chef who prepares the herring for the congregants before the Monday night Ceremony. And he isn't paid for his services, unless perhaps the ice skating rink pays his salary as a normal food preparation professional. (And I must add that the Rawists claim this is yet another reason why their heretical schismatic sect is superior to mainstream Tuxology, because they claim that the Chef is how corruption shall enter the Church).

Furthermore, Tuxology does not have this power trip deal. As I explained elsewhere, the Great Penguin just isn't much of a kick-ass god. He mostly just sits there eating herring and letting out the occasional belch, and occasionally lays an egg that becomes a universe with a big bang a few fento-seconds later. A deity that waddles and eats herring and belches and incubates the occasional egg, well, this just isn't a deity that inspires hate-filled lunatics to rape little children and whip their wives with leather straps.

But never fear. I'm sure that the lessons of the Great Penguin shall be corrupted in the end just as the lessons of Jesus Christ were. It'll just take a few centuries, and you'll have Tuxologists, too, claiming that their faith in the Great Penguin justifies any evil that they do. Such is human nature, which is why Tuxology -- the search for one's inner penguin -- is clearly philosophically better than any religion that emphasises the "humanity" of the hairless monkeys that infest this globe. After all, what kind of animal best expresses His grace and peaceful attitude? The aggressive feces-throwing monkey? Or the graceful, rotund penguin, who spends most of his time eating herring and letting out the occasional belch? I rest my case!

-- Badtux the Tuxologist Penguin

Idiot lefties want to preserve non-native invasives

Okay, I've found at least two of the lefty set anyhow that criticize Senator Conrad Burns (R-Stupidsville) because he got a law passed allowing wild burros in the West to be shipped overseas and eaten.

Now, Senator Burns should be opposed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is his famous "Taxi Drivers of Mass Destruction" speech, which unfairly slandered terrorists. But this ain't one of them.

Look: Wild burros are NOT natives to North America. They are invasive exotics, released there either accidentally or on purpose by prospectors. They are, literally, four legged eating-and-shitting machines with no natural predators in the American environment. And they are causing widespread ecological disaster in the West, driving the native bighorn sheep literally to the brink of extinction via eating the forage and, more importantly, contaminating the springs and water holes that the native animals depend on.

I don't know if you've ever seen before-and-after pictures of one of these springs after the burros discover it. But it ain't pretty. I've been to one of these. What had been a beautiful oasis in the desert with lots of greenery and crystal clear water had been turned into a muddy reeking feces-laden wasteland, utterly desolate of all life except the incessantly braying burros that have driven away via starvation or water contamination all of the birds, longhorn sheep, rabbits, etc. that once lived there. It was horrible. The smell alone would almost kill you.

Something has to be done about these pest animals before they drive the longhorn sheep completely into extinction (when the burros move in, the longhorn populations plummet), and one or two occasionally being captured and going to do-gooders' farms is not working. If it takes turning them all into dogfood (or Chinaman food) to get rid of this non-native assault upon the ecosystem of the West, so be it...

-Badtux the Western Penguin

Why not just seal off the borders of Iraq/Afghanistan?

The notion of American exceptionalism and Imperium holds that things like, say, drug smuggling across the Mexican border or resupply of insurgents in Iraq or Iran, cannot happen without the cooperation of the Imperium. However, as with the Roman legions, the soldiers of the Imperium are far too few in number to secure the borders of even one country (the United States) via force of arms, thereby relying upon the barbarian tribes' fear of the Imperial legions to get the barbarian tribes to police themselves.

The problem, of course, is what happens when the barbarians no longer fear the legions due to Imperial overstretch. We all know what happened to Rome. The American Imperium happens to have a big ditch between it and the barbarians, thus is likely to survive, unlike Rome, although it may take the destruction of a legion or two before the American Imperium retreats back to its side of the Rhine. But the Imperial project is doomed to failure in the end, because it rests upon a false premise -- that Imperial arms in and of themselves are sufficient to secure the borders in the absense of the cooperation of the barbarians on the other side.

I can go into any barrio in the American Southwest and buy Mexican black tar heroin for cheap. If despite many billions of dollars and many hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers we cannot stop the smuggling of black tar heroin by the ton, how in the world could we stop the smuggling of bullets for AK-47's into Afghanistan or Iraq? But the Imperial apologists, eager to excuse the failure of their Imperial project, are quick to reply "but we aren't even trying." I am not trying to flap my flippers and fly either. But that does not mean that, should I indeed flap my flippers, that it would do anything other than make me look entirely silly... yet the Imperial apologist insist mightily that all that must happen is that the flippers must be flapped especially vigorously, that's all...

What we are seeing in the Middle East, in the end, is the limits of Imperium. An Empire built upon lies and fears cannot, in the end, sustain itself without turning the entire nation into one large garrison state. Yet said reality utterly passes over the head of the apologist for Imperium, the believer in American exceptionalism, who will neither turn the nation into a garrison state (for surely such disruption of his pointless life is not necessary in a real Empire, right?), nor admit that his Imperial dreams are doomed to founder upon the rocks of reality. Instead, he will insist that if we but flap our arms, flap more vigorously, clap harder, praise our Lord and Savior George W. Bush yet more loudly, then, why, then we shall fly, and the Imperial dream shall become true!

But in the end, we are all doomed by gravity to stay on the ground (where "ground" includes jet airliner seats to which one is held by gravity), unless one is in free fall. And the problem with free fall is that, unless one is in orbit around the planet, the end result is a loud and unseemly "Splat!".

- Badtux the Flightless Penguin

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Blame Canada!

The U.S. Air Force has identified the primary threat to American soldiers in Afghanistan: Canadian soldiers. While the USAF has been unable to kill Osama bin Laden, they have proven over the past four years to be quite effective at killing Canadian soldiers.

Contacted for comment by Penguin News International, a spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper states, "We are not sure why the Americans killed our soldier, but we're sure they had their reasons. We support our President." Asked whether P.M. Harper had given President Bush a blow job when last visiting the White House, the spokesperson said "no no, that was just ice cream." He did, however, confirm rumors that P.M. Harper also gave President Bush a doormat with a Canadian maple leaf for the President to wipe his feet on.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

I don't know how I missed this important news...

Al-Qaeda's No. 114 Killed On Office Depot Run. Said FBI Agent Lloyd Hopkinsen, who led a team of 36 investigators to the accident scene, "This is an important victory in the war against terror." It is claimed that the man, Jalal Dawoud, was going to purchase Pens of Mass Destruction at Office Depot and was plotting to assassinate President Bush by stabbing him through his eyeball with a BIC Round Stic medium-point pen (with blue ink). In other news, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that all ball-point pens are now classified as weapons of mass destruction by the Transportation Security Administration and will be confiscated at airport security checkpoints. "We must protect Americans from the threat of terrorists armed with shampoo products and ball-point pens that can be used to hijack jet airliners."

Traditionally, all members of al-Qaeda are Number Two. It is unknown why this al-Qaeda operative is #114. The FBI is investigating this unusual event and hopes to discover what happened to numbers 3 through 113. Rumors that they can be found at Florida and Arizona flying schools practicing flying but not landings have been roundly dismissed as "nonsense". Said FBI spokesman Jack Hadanuff, "Why would anybody ever want to know how to fly a jet airliner without knowing how to land it?".

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Cruise control project complete...

Just got back from the final final shakedown cruise. The first time, it wouldn't maintain a speed higher than 71mph. So I got back home, and realized: hey, a motorcycle revs higher than a car. So I looked at the DIP switch settings, and they were set at 4000ppm (pulses per minute) like the manual had told me to set them for a manual transmission car. Well, at 4000rpm, my motorcycle is barely going 60mph. So I set it at the next higher, 5000ppm, and not only will the cruise now set all the way up to 85mph (woo!), but it got rid of the last of the jerkiness when engaging the cruise (setting the switches to 'high powered vehicle' made the jerkiness acceptable, but now it's about as smooth as you'll get with a high-revin' motorcycle engine).

For the brake light -- I'm leaving the stock bulb in there now,. The problem is that the low resistance to ground thingy is a critical safety feature. If I put a relay in there and the relay failed in a closed position, I'd have hard ground to the cruise control brake sensor all the time and it would never disengage. Right now, if the wire breaks to the cruise control sensor, it loses its hard ground through the brake light bulb (which is about 3 ohms) and disengages. This avoids the situation of hitting the brakes to disengage the cruise and it won't disengage!

So I need that 3 ohm resister called a "light bulb" in the circuit, or it won't work (at least, not safely). The LED module has about a 1K ohm resistance with the low voltage that the cruise puts out, which is too much. I could of course add a 3 ohm power resister, but if I'm going to convert power to heat, I might as well make light with it too! Which brings up the *real* solution: add an additional (non-LED) brake light to the rear of my bike. That way I can put the flashing LED module back in, because I'll have a new 3 ohm resister (the additional brake light) to ground the cruise control!

Now for my next project...

-Badtux the Mechanic Penguin

Monday, September 04, 2006


"Crikey! Lookit the size of that one, mate! AGH!!!!!" [CROAK]

The world now has a little less color, as Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin goes to that great croc huntin' preserve in the sky... killed by one of his beloved Australian critters, of course. I suppose that's like a biker getting killed in a motorcycle accident, or a mountain climber getting killed in a mountain climbing accident, etc. Ya don't wanna go, but if ya gotta go...

--Badtux the colorful-person-admiring Penguin

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Didn't work :-(

And I think I know why.

From a FAQ on installing this cruise control on another motorcycle:

Q: Will the Audiovox CCS-100 electronic cruise control work with LED brake lights?

A: YES. However, if you have ONLY LED’s for your brake lights, it will be necessary to add a SPDT relay to the circuit between the brake light switch and the cruise servo. The cruise is grounded through the brake light bulb. This ground is “broken” when the brake is applied (bulb lights) and this is what cancels the cruise. Since current will only flow one way through an LED, no ground is seen by the servo and the unit will not work. The relay will bypass the brake light, providing ground to the servo for normal operation, but will cause the ground circuit to open when the brake is applied, thereby canceling the cruise. If you have a combination of incandescent bulbs and LED’s in the brake lamp circuit, a relay should not be needed but can still be used if desired.

Well, it's off to Radio Shack I go... yet more wiring. Bleh.

- Badtux the "Tired of wiring" Penguin

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What a mess....

I'm under the front cowling of my KLR right now. Talk about your wiring nightmares! I'm getting rid of all the aggregated accumulation of hacks, jumpers, splitters, and general crap, and running all new wiring to a brand new fuse block so that I have a power source for my new cruise control (which is hooked up except for the all-important *power*). Good thing, too -- I found that my master ground connector was corroded and thus I was at risk of having a fire under there. Fire bad :-(. I will be making sure to coat things with dielectric grease this time to keep the water from causing corrosion...

- Badtux the Electrical Penguin

Friday, September 01, 2006

Where am I?

In the middle of a major hackfest, wrote an entirely new subsystem today in one big gestational lump...

Will hopefully be back soon!

-- Badtux the Computer Penguin