Sunday, December 30, 2007

Purrr

Mencken thinks he's died and gone to heaven. I'm rubbing his tummy, and The Mighty Fang is grooming behind his ears.

That's my girl!

The meltdown in Pakistan

Lest we forget: Pakistan has the noo-coo-lahr bomb. So we invaded Iraq (which didn't have the noo-coo-lahr bomb) because, well, because noo-coo-lahr bombs are bad, and didn't invade Pakistan (which does have the noo-coo-lahr bomb, as well as hosting Osama bin Forgotten) because, well, uhm, well, because. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Noo-coo-lahr Penguin

Torturing the innocent

So, it turns out that we've released half the folks we've held at Gitmo because, well, because they were innocent. So the question becomes this: Have we tortured innocent people?

The answer, of course, is "No." Don't worry, people we torture never are innocent. They always confess to something. Indeed, that's why fascist dictatorships torture -- to extract confessions from dissidents to justify show trials and executions. Heck, torture me enough, and I'll confess to being the guy behind the grassy knoll who *really* killed JFK. Well, except for the nasty fact that I was born the year after JFK was assassinated but... oh yeah, I did it while I was a fetus. Yeah!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A rare sighting

The elusive Northern Mojave Desert Penguin was spotted with a miner friend near the thriving metropolis of Rhyolite, Nevada.

Normal blogging will resume shortly.

-- Badtux the Traveling Penguin

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas story

That morning, Jesus got up after noon. He always got up after noon, ever since he'd quit going to school when he never showed up at middle school after graduating elementary school. One of his teachers had told him he had a gift for math, but school was lame. Anyhow, Jesus shared a bed with his brother, but his brother was already up and gone.

Jesus went looking for breakfast. He found a box of corn flakes in the pantry. There were no clean bowls so he rinsed one out and poured corn flakes into it. Then he looked for milk in the refrigerator. There was none. He shrugged and ate the corn flakes dry.

Jesus went looking for his momma and found her passed out in her bed, a bottle of whiskey clutched to her like a lover. Jesus found his granma in the living room, watching a telenovela. Nobody else was home. Jesus went into the bathroom and washed his hair in the sink. Jesus was proud of his hair, it was long and black and straight and shiny and set off his honey-colored skin well. He loved looking at his last school picture, which his granma had mounted on the wall. He did not recognize the wistful look on that face though.

Jesus was bored. He found his .38 and his bicycle and headed out to do a drive-by of the Lamers. It was only fare, the Lamers did drive-bys of his gang too. Afterward he played a game of high stakes hide-and-seek with several Lamers as his heart raced with an adrenalin high. Eventually the Lamers gave up and Jesus pedaled home.

Some of the gang were playing basketball and Jesus joined them, long black hair swirling as he dodged and juked. He was short for his age, and skinny, but he could move with the basketball as if it were part of him and had a good eye for the basket too. They played basketball until it got dark, then Jesus went home, where spaghetti and meatballs out of a can was waiting.

Afterward Jesus went out to the streetcorner to sell the merchandise. Black tar. Cheap, nasty, not even as sexy as crank nowdays, but Jesus's family had connections back in Mexico and Jesus was only twelve so could not be charged as an adult if arrested. Business was slow. People weren't buying, for some reason. Finally Jesus figured out why when one of the customers said, "Merry Christmas!". Jesus replied, "Ho ho ho!" as he realized that hey, it was his birthday.

So Jesus went home and found his momma and said, "Hey, today's my birthday! I'm thirteen years old!" And his momma said, "Wow, big boy. Lemme give you a present." His momma got up and went to a cabinet that was too tall for him to get into, and pulled out a bottle of whiskey and gave it to him. "Here you go."

Jesus took the bottle of whiskey to the bed he shared with his brother and drank a long hard slug out of it. It tasted funny, like medicine. But then it made him feel warm inside, and peaceful. Jesus drank and drank and drank, until finally he fell asleep, bottle of whiskey clutched to him like a lover. It was Christmas in the 3rd Ward of Houston. It was Jesus's birthday. Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas.

They say a boy by the name of Jesus was born on Christmas Day over two thousand years ago, died, rose from the dead, and went away. But only after he said he'd be back again.

What if Jesus was born again, two thousand years later, to a family in a bad neighborhood of Houston? What if he was raised the way that kids are raised in those neighborhoods, treated the way those kids are treated? What hellfire and damnation would await us all when he grew to adulthood -- and who, amongst us, would not deserve it?

-- Badtux the Former Teacher Penguin

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Miner's cabin

A penguin finds a cozy nest in the desert...

-- Badtux the Desert Penguin

Friday, December 21, 2007

2007 in snark

So anyhow, someone asked me to round up my best posts of 2007. So here we go...

World Nut Daily got the year started off brilliantly with expose of the evil conspiracy by terrorists to kill us all with snakes scorpions on a plane. But don't worry, they had a solution: Pack heat. Just like Jesus said, alrighty! World Nut Daily also solemnly informed us that if we don't let the terrorists tell us what to do, the terrorists have won, as well as having a very special guest editorialist (our dear friend Bubba the Suthern Penguin, who, sadly, seems to have lost his voice and appeared only once during the entire year).

Cops made the news a lot this year dealing with terrorist threats to America. They shut down large portions of a major city to handle the Light Emitting Diodes of Mass Destruction, headed off the dire threat of Poems of Mass Destruction, eliminated the threat of Jazz Musicians of Mass Destruction and made sure that a bank was not blown up by the Eyeglasses of Mass Destruction. We were also protected from the threat of Immigrant Children of Mass Destruction, who learned what the inside of a jail cell is, because of course the best place for a child is in a prison cell. I must applaud them for their fine application of the principle "spare the rod and spoil the child", doncha know?!

Cops also made the news a lot dealing with people who threatened them, like the British professor who demanded of a scruffy young man claiming to be a police officer that he show ID, the naked deaf man who threatened them with his, err, Gun of Fun, and the sleeping dude who threatened them with his snores.

Speaking of terrorism, we were told by a New York politician that if we don't elect politicians that lie, the terrorists win. That "truth" thing is, like, so 20th century.

On the science front, we learned that the best way to fight drought was not rationing or disaster loans or whatever, it was prayer. I can't wait to see their solution to the problem of forest fires, which'll probably involve Bible readings or something. We also found out that politicians know more science than scientists know and if the scientists say they know better than us about that science stuff, those scientists are just... just... POOPY HEADS!

On the military front, our brave men and women in uniform protected us from the Underwear of Mass Destruction. The U.S. and Russia got into an argument about who has the biggest penetrator, though it is unknown whether Pooty-Poot and Dear Leader got together to drop trow and compare penetrators to settle the question once and for all. There was the surge, the manly manly surge, of course, though no news on whether the penetrator was surging or what.

This was the year that we found out that there was a bigger enemy of America than Osama bin Ladin, a bigger threat than Iraqi terrorist, a bigger menace to society than inner city gangsta thugs. This enemy is... teachers. That is how we know that the Democrats themselves must be enemies of America, because the Democrats are... are... nice to teachers. How dare they! I was sorta looking forward to the introduction of the electrical shock to the genitalia of teachers for the purposes of improving test scores. Sadly, with Democratic victories over the past two years it appears this dream must be deferred.

But even worse than teachers was that mighty supervillain, The Gay Agenda. First, The Gay Agenda sued to attend school in Massachusetts. GASP! Then, The Gay Agenda did tons of other nasty things like forcing a girl to marry another girl, or maybe Senator Santorum's dog or Senator Cornyn's box turtle depending on his mood. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff clarified that The Gay Agenda is more deadly than terrorism. The Gay Agenda was a very busy supervillain this year, making regular appearances on Fox News and World Nut Daily to terrorize the populace and require the assistance of discriminated-against white men in order to foil his evil plans.

Finally, in religion news, I discovered that religions that demand personal responsibility suck. I said to the priest, "I'm going to go to one of those religions that tell me that all I godda do is bend the knee and pray to Jesus and give all my money to some guy with greased-back hair and fat jowls and I'll be Saved and go to Jesus and don't need to solve my own problems because Jesus will solve them all for me." But after some thought, I decided to go all the way. Why go with a religion that simply promises delights in the afterlife, when I could have a religion that promises delights in the current life?!

And that's 2007 in snark. Happy Holidays! (And fuck you, Bill O.).

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Need to go to work, but...

The Mighty Fang is sitting on my lap purring.

Choices, choices... (sigh!).

-- Badtux the Well-warmed Penguin

Regrets

Last night I realized that my whistling teakettle had become my whistling irrigate-my-stovetop kettle. Picking it up, I found it had developed two pinhole leaks. Sigh. So I tossed it into the trash can. Later that night I hauled out the trash, and it's at the bottom of the dumpster somewhere.

A few hours later, I realized this was one of the few things my grandmother (R.I.P.) had given me.

Ah well. I'll have to get a new teakettle when I get back from my summer solstice celebrations. (Because, of course, it's *summer* solstice in the southern hemisphere). Because this deal of boiling water in a pot then trying to get it to fall into a coffee cup just does not work...

-- Badtux the Time Moves On Penguin

So that's what happened to my pizza...

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Obama tries to work with Republicans...

sits down with Newt Gingrich while his relatives and Newt's relatives settle down for Christmas dinner. Then... Now you know why I'm dubious about Obama's insistence that he can work with Republicans. It's like a zebra saying that he can work with crocodiles. In the end, the zebra ends up as dinner, and the croc ends up with a big grin.

-- Badtux the Realist Penguin

Comic: Pearls before Swine by Stephan Pastis, with custom modifications by a certain snarky penguin :-).

The War on Competence

Big news about a family who got turned around in a blizzard and ended up miles away and got rescued. Now, what I can't figure out is this. There's this nifty innovation called the "compass". Now, I know it's new, it was only invented in 1300 or so and that's, like, just yesterday (I mean, that's only 700 years ago!), but sheesh. You'd think someone about to go into the woods would, like, have one. Even a lousy one. You can even buy them at Wal-Mart if you're a cheapie like me. I have one that is on a lanyard and is built in to a whistle that I flop around my neck whenever I get out of my Jeep, even if I'm just going onto the other side of a tree to take a leak. Get out of truck, figure out which direction the road is from where you're going, then when you've done your business use your compass and go that way. Duh. I think I paid a whoppin' $5.99 for the thing. Yeah, it isn't accurate enough for orienteering. But it certainly is accurate enough to get you going the right general direction, which these people definitely did not do.

Then there's the celebrity mom who was about to publish a book on how to parent superstar kids. Now, her older kid is a drunken slut known for flashing her vagina to anybody and everybody and whose kids got taken away from her because, well, she's a drunken slut. And now we find out that the younger kid, 16 years old, is pregnant. Uhm, celebrity mom, here's a clue for you: You suck. You raised your kids to be irresponsible sluts. Crap, who needs a book to do that, in this day and age? Gah, the stupid, it burns, it burns!

Anyhow, no ID on any of these folks because then I'd have to take the names off when I recycled it next year for the *next* group of morons who got lost in the woods because they're too stupid to use a 700-year-old invention, or the *next* group of celebrity kids in trouble and their idiot celebrity mom who's writing a book on how to raise irresponsible drunken sexpots. Stupidity, alas, seems as American as apple pie nowdays. Dear Leader is not the problem. Dear Leader is the symptom. The problem, alas, appears to be that we as a people have become the stupidest, most irresponsible morons on this planet, which is probably why a buncha ragheads armed with 40-year-old weapons are kickin' our butts over there in Iraq (and if you don't believe that's the case, I got oceanfront property ta sell ya in Nevada...).

-- Badtux the Stupidity-burned Penguin

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

War on Christmas continues

Santa's package groped by grown woman who sat on his lap and demanded a picture. She's now charged with sexual harassment of Santa. There's a lady whose only package for Christmas is gonna be lumps of coal.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

How to make sure you remain a "War President"

Just arm both sides of the conflict! That way you make sure that the war will be endless and that you can continue to use the "war president" stick against the spineless Democrats.

Oh, BTW, here's my suggestion for a Christmas gift for Harry Reid, who conveniently flops over like the invertebrate-American that he is when it comes to funding for the Mess in Mesopotamia...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

America's gulag, America's shame

Read, then come back here.

You're back? Okay. So who's to blame for allowing the President to open his own private gulag to disappear random people into with no evidence, no due process of law, nothing but sham "hearings" no different from Soviet show trials? I can't name him or her, but I can show you his or her picture. Go into your bathroom. There is a picture of this person hanging above the lavatory, generally. Or maybe on the medicine cabinet. Examine this person carefully. Does this person look familiar?

I don't exclude myself from this, of course. I can do the same thing. I'm just an average American, after all. The average American is too complacent, too comfortable, too… bought… to actually *do* anything. It takes about 1/3rd of the population actually *doing something* to effect any real change, until then it’s “oh my what a shame” then back to our sheep-like consumer-lifestyle grazing. Oh sure, we may blather and rant on the Internet, but actually do what it takes to bring democracy back to America? Uhm, no. Might get arrested. Might lose my job. Might have my car taken away. Whatever.

Note that this is also how Saddam Hussein stayed in power. Saddam was a nasty character. But Saddam was careful to not come down hard on ordinary Iraqis. If you were an ordinary Iraqi, the streets were safe, you had food and drinking water, and if you had no job Saddam found some work for you somewhere such as building a useless palace in the desert. Saddam came down on people who opposed his rule ruthlessly, but if you kept your mouth shut, life in Saddam’s Iraq was okay. So most people did not do anything about Saddam’s rule. It’s not because they lacked the capability — as we’ve now found out, every Iraqi home had an AK-47, an RPG, and the ammo for them — it’s because they simply *did not care*.

The average American today is similar to the average Iraqi in Saddam’s time. They *do not care*. Until the average American cares more about democracy than about his home, his car, his job, etc., democracy in America will no more happen than democracy in Saddam’s Iraq happened.

- Badtux the Subversive Penguin

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Warm fuzzies

It's odd how, once the weather turns cool, cats find the warmest place in the house to curl up and nap.

Odd, too, how the people who are owned by the cats are reluctant to interrupt a purring kitty on the lap even when the bladder is saying "Restroom break! Restroom break!".

Personally, I think they're just testing us to see just how good of slaves we really are. I'll need to evict The Mighty Fang from my lap soon, though. My bladder only holds so much, after all! (Uh oh, he musta heard me, he got up and started kneading my bladder with his paws while purring...)

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Oh the surge! The manly, manly surge!

So Paul Greenberg of Clownhall sez the surge is a success.

By his standards (fewer deaths happening), the U.N. mission to Srebrenica was an astounding success. The surge has been successful in stopping factional killings in Baghdad much in the same way that the U.N. mission in Srebrenica was successful in stopping factional killings in Srebrenica. The factional killings in Srebrenica, if you recall, stopped once the Serbs overwhelmed the Muslim militia forces defending the town and exterminated every Muslim man in the town and evicted the Muslim children and women. At that point Srebrenica became peaceful. By Greenberg's standard, that makes Srebrenica a glorious victory for the United Nations.

Better clowns, please?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, December 17, 2007

The death of parody

With all the things going on -- the collapse of the U.S. mortgage industry, skyrocketing foreclosures, record oil prices, continued decline in the income of the average American, and so forth -- I thought about writing a parody where Bubble Boy Bush was the captain of this Titanic. "Don't worry," he shouts to the passengers as the ship lists to one side upon hitting not one iceberg, but a whole friggin' boatload of the damned things. "This ship is unsinkable!", he shouts. "Those weren't icebergs, those were just... farts! Yes, big farts by the engine room crew that they light off for fun! Go back to your cabins, there's no problems here!"

Just as I was about to put flippers to keyboard to pound it in... President Bush in reality goes on television and makes the above speech.

Crap. How can you parody something that's already a parody?

-- Badtux the Parody Penguin

Life in America

Merry Christmas to whoever from the NSA, FBI, CIA, or whatever other TLA is reading this! And a Happy New Year too.

-- Badtux the Well-surveilled Penguin

The War on Christmas continues

Christmas at K-Mart. What a concept!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Kimchi

I went to the local Korean grocery today to get Christmas gifts for the family -- Korean teas, and a little teapot with a colander in it for steeping loose leaf tea. Outside the front door was a couple of teenage Asian girls dancing to an Asian Salvation Army bell ringer. A second glance showed that the girls were wearing the Salvation Army bib too. One was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, the other was wearing a short skirt, tights, and tan suede boots with lighter tan fur cuffs (the "Nanook of the North" look, I like to call it -- I think these are imitation Uggs). The tights-and-boots is a good look for Asian girls, they have the calves to pull it off.

The girls were still dancing and laughing at each other 30 minutes later when I came out with my teas and a bunch of kimchi (plural -- kimchi is a process, not a vegetable, and I had multiple kimchi'ed veggies). Oh, to be that young and energetic again! Of course I dumped out my pocket change and a few extra bucks into the kettle. Because while the Salvation Army has to be the world's oddest religion (and as I've noted earlier, the Koreans are similarly odd), for the most part they put their money where their mouth is -- in my area, they run several shelters and soup kitchens for those in need.

Over at the Mockingbird's place, we had a bit of a discussion about where to donate your money. I donate the majority of the money I give to a local soup kitchen that serves hundreds of thousands of meals per year with one (1) paid staffer who is paid a very modest salary -- everything else is done by volunteers (mostly retirees trying to keep active and involved). My suggestion, if you're doing an end-of-year donation, is to donate to a charity where you can walk in their doors and see what they're doing -- a charity that operates locally in your area. I don't donate to the United Way or anything like that. I donate to people I know, who I know will use the money wisely.

In the meantime, you know that two days worth of kimchi'ed veggies? Uhm... err... I ate them all in the 6 hours between me getting home from the store and now. Sigh. I do love that kimchi. And those cute Asian gals dancing in front of the store weren't a bad thing to see either :-). Now to gift-wrap the teas for the family...

-- Badtux the Well-spiced Penguin

Friday, December 14, 2007

The War on Christmas continues

A rendition of a Christmas classic by a few bored college students shows that the War on Christmas(tm) is well underway, despite Bill O'Lielly's declaration of victory!

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Fical... iscal... responwha?

Anybody else think that President Bush lecturing about fiscal responsibility is kinda like Jeffrey Dahmer lecturing about vegetarianism? Hmm...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's...

It's SUPERCAT! Flying off my bed with shiny fur just a'glistening...

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, December 13, 2007

GAH! My Wallet! It screams! It screams!

Was browsing the Apple Store and... Apple re-brands Logic 8 as "Logic Studio" and drops the price to $499.

At the previous price of $1000+ it was completely unjustifiable given that I'm not a music professional. Now? Hmm. Somehow I know what I'm getting for Christmas :-).

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Singin' the rock'n'roll blues no more

Ike Turner has gone to that great blues gig in the sky. While mostly he's remembered nowdays for beating the crap out of a young lady by the name of Anna Mae Bullock ("Tina Turner"), Ike was one of a select group of black performers who brought "African" rhythms to pop music, mixed with a blues influence, and thereby created "rock & roll". While white performers like Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis got the fame and glory, they were building on themes and sounds that came out of an entirely different experience -- an experience Ike grew up with.

Meanwhile, I'll share with you this commentary by a music industry insider who says it better than I ever could:

While oogling at Tina & The Ikettes singing and dancing on one of their many television appearances in the 70's, my mother Adele gave me an important piece of advice: "If you really want to get into the music business, then don't look at Tina. Study Ike. He is the one that produces and writes those Ike & Tina records you listen to." Mother was right. I began listening to Ike's arrangements and production work. I collected tons of the various Ike & Tina singles and albums, the latter which I presented to Ike to autograph during my opportunity to co-interview him in the mid-90's on KFI/Los Angeles. Ike was so cool, so energetic that it was a shame he did not bring his guitar to perform on the air, which he most certainly would have done. Upon seeing my tons of his albums, Ike smiled and told me that many people had told him they had the best Ike & Tina collection, but I had the best he had ever seen.

I got a chance to meet Ike a few times after the interview, slowly watching him come back into public view with much deserved acceptance for the true musical genius Ike was. How did Ike totally reconstruct then current hits by other artists, making them something altogether more powerful than the originals, from "I Want To Take You Higher," "Proud Mary," "Living For The City" and countless others. How did Ike hobnob with Sam Phillips at Sun Records, The Bihari Brothers of Modern-RPM-Kent Records, The Chess Brothers of Chess Records, getting these famous label heads to release his product. How did Ike discover, develop and produce so many legends---Tina, The Ikettes, The Kings of Rhythm, Howlin' Wolf, Jackie Breston, Fontella Bass, and others. This, in addition to Ike leading a powerhouse band, doing the bookings and, in essence, controlling both the product and the artistic presentation---a rare feat for just one person to do before the age of the internet, but then again, Ike made it look all so easy back in the day. Today we lost a true music legend. Thankfully, Ike Turner will always be forever with us as he left tons of music and video footage that future generations will even enjoy. Ike, to borrow your title of one of my favorite songs, you know "I Idolize You." My sincere condolences and love to the Ike Turner family---Mark Matlock/Andromeda International Records androintl@earthlink.net

In remembrance of Ike Turner, the Turner family asks that in lieu of flowers that you donate to the music department of your local school in memory of Ike's name so the music lives on. Given the elimination of music departments in most K-12 schools thanks to Dear Leader's "Every Child Left Behind Act", which forces schools to eliminate any courses not on the test, it may be hard to find one, but if you can find one I think that'd be a great idea.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Russian democracy

A day after President Vladimir V. Putin endorsed a loyal protégé, Dmitri A. Medvedev, as his successor, Mr. Medvedev declared that he in turn would name Mr. Putin as his prime minister. So Putin, as expected, will be the real power, since Medvedev has no power base of his own (he is part of Putin's machinery) and no connections with the FSB or Kremlin.

Reminds me of a former President having his Supreme Court justices install his son as President, or the wife of a former President being installed as President after that. It's the kind of thing that only happens in a banana republic, not in a modern Western nation. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday dinners

George W. Bush's Christmas dinner:

Christmas dinner for several hundred people in one of the richest cities of the United States: No other words are necessary.

-- Badtux the "Two pictures are worth a thousand words" Penguin

Good riddance to bad rubbish

Voters in small Southern California town evict town council for inviting Blackwater to town. Even rural folk (and we're talking pretty redneck here) have had enough of Blackwater's black-clad stormtroopers. Private armies of mercenaries in the pay of men of wealth and means are un-American.

-- Badtux the Un-mercenary Penguin

Best...comment...EVAH... on WGA strike

"... talks between the WGA and AMPTP have been suspended while the producers try to find some negotiators who aren't taking large quantities of LSD and other club drugs. They might have to move the negotiation site because the producer's team has already worn out the supply of teen aged hookers from both sexes on Sunset. They're thinking maybe San Francisco would be a better site. The producers are foolish to think this. The hookers in San Francisco were unionized by Margo St. James back in the 70's. They. Hate. Them. Some. Scabs." -- Minstrel Boy

Life in general

I still love my Macbook. It's just a well-sorted little machine -- fast, handy, and it just works right. I upgraded to Leopard, the new MacOS release. Now, they say don't upgrade to a new Windows release until after the first service pack, which usually comes out several months after the release of the new Windows version. Leopard had a couple of annoying bugs when it came out ("X" had an annoying glitch, a couple of applications wouldn't work), but within three weeks they were all fixed either by OS patches or fixes to the applications and everything's back working again just faster (because Leopard is 64-bit) and better-backed-up (due to the built in "Time Machine" backup system in Leopard). If all you do is read EMAIL and browse the Internet, go buy a $400 Compaq laptop at Wal-Mart. If you want a well-sorted laptop for serious music, video, and software development work, the Macbook is a great little machine, and with Parallels virtualization software installed can be used to develop for multiple OS's all at once (I have two different versions of Linux installed in virtual machines on my MacBook for my development pleasure and with Spaces, I just do COMMAND-UP to go to my Mac screen, and COMMAND-DOWN to go down to my Linux screen... with just one lozenge-shaped thingy on my desk rather than multiple computers and a tangle of cables and KVM switches).

I am blessed with sweet cats. Well, Mencken complains a lot and pukes all over the place, but all is forgiven when I give him a belly rub and he writhes with happiness so extreme that his mouth pops open and his tongue lolls out and his eyes roll back in his head as his purr threatens to cause the neighbors to complain about the noise. This morning The Mighty Fang was on his back leaning against the patio door in the sun while licking his belly. So of course I went over there and started rubbing his shoulder and behind his ears (he doesn't like his belly rubbed). And he reached out his paw and grabbed my hand and pulled it to his face. As usual, I just basically went along with him rather than resisting, and as usual, when his "prey" wasn't doing any wriggling or anything, he just, uhm, uhm, uhm... groomed my hand. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Celebrating Late Thanksgiving Penguin

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Congratulations to President Gore

Congratulations to President Gore for his Nobel Peace Prize for his work popularizing environmental issues, especially the issue of global warming. Taking the general consensus of the scientific community and polishing it up for public consumption is something he's been doing for literally decades now, starting with his 1992 tome Earth In The Balance, and he does it well.

And what does the Never-Right Wing(tm) say about all this? Well, to quote one of their minor troglodytes:

Global Warming is a religion, and Al Gore is their Messiah. Science and the scientific method are bullshit.

Sigh. Where to start. First, science is about things that can be directly observed and measured. The scientific method consists of designing experiments to test directly observable phenomena (such as the temperature of the Earth over time, the effects of CO2 gas upon heat retention inside a greenhouse, the amount of CO2 gas produced by burning a ton of coal or a barrel of oil, the number of tons of coal and barrels of oil extracted over the decades, etc.), then using this data to validate or invalidate a hypothesis such as "human activity of burning coal and oil can cause global warming". However, just gathering data and making hypotheses is not enough. The experimental design must pass muster via peer review to qualify for publication in a peer reviewed journal (and peer reviewed journals will publish pretty much anything that passes a basic laugh test), and the experiment must be independently replicated by other researchers in the area. If, and only if, a phenomenon can be independently validated by the overwhelming majority of researchers in an area as published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, is it accepted as a scientific fact. Human contributions to global warming have passed this muster. Thus global warming is a scientific fact, not a religious one, and the Never-Right Wing Troglodytes are wrong (as usual) to call it religious.

Given that, their next step is to try to discredit science and scientists as a whole by calling it, and the scientific process involved, "bullshit". We have over 500 years of experience saying that this is a lie. You are using one of the product of those 500 years of experience right now. If you want to go back to living in filth picking lice out of your beard, smelling like ripe garbage, losing your teeth by age 30, and with 90% infant mortality giving an average lifespan of 30 years meaning that your family graveyard is full of tiny headstones saying "Baby Republican B April 5 2005 D April 6 2005", fine and dandy. That's a personal choice you make. But personally, I prefer having all these products of science available to me. If science is "bullshit" as the Never-Right Wingers put it, it's "bullshit" that has worked pretty darned well for you and me, my friend, which is all I care about (this is the philosophy known as "Utilitarianism", BTW, if you want to go study Philosophy 101 in college).

If you can find me an alternative to science that works better, tell me about it. Until then, I'm going to continue relying on science and the scientific method to produce the advances in our knowledge that make our life safer and better, because we have 500+ years of experience showing us that it's pretty darned good at doing that. Just one stroll through my family's old family graveyard looking at the dozens of tiny little headstones surrounding every large headstone in the old section of the graveyard is enough to tell me that much.

As for the Never-Right Wingers, when was the last time they were right about anything, whether it was weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the genius of George W. Bush? Personally, I will rely on the scientists to do the science. Since I am not a climate scientist, I will rely on the climate scientists using the mechanisms of science (i.e. peer-reviewed papers replicated over time to validate experimental data) to tell me this, not PR people in the pay of oil and coal companies or random ignorant people off the streets or even random former weathermen who are not climate scientists and have never done any climate science. Science. It has a 500+ year track record of working. Right-wing faith-based argumentation, on the other hand... shrug. Only track record it has is of being never right. 'Nuff said.

-- Badtux the Warming Penguin

Torture definitions

So what is torture anyhow? That's a question that the apologists for torturing U.S. prisoners of war are quick to take advantage of. They try to paint things like, say, simulated drowning, as "not torture".

Personally, I have an easy answer to that question. A human being is a human being, whether two years old, 22 years old, or 72 years old. If you do it to a two-year-old child, will the child be taken away from you and then you go to jail for child abuse? Then it's torture.

If you put a two-year-old child naked into a cold room for days at a time, with a lightbulb turned on 24 hours a day, will you go to jail for child abuse? Then it's torture when you do it to a 22 year old.

If you tie a two-year-old child to iron rings in the wall with rope so the child cannot sit down and rest and sleep, will you go to jail for child abuse? Then it's torture when you do it to a 22 year old.

If you pour water onto a two year old's face until the two year old is frightened out of his or her mind thinking he is drowning, will you go to jail for child abuse? Then it's torture when you do it to a 22 year old.

If it's not okay to do it to a two year old, it's not okay. Period. People are people, regardless of their age, abuse is abuse regardless of age, and abuse or torture is wrong, period. People who try to justify abuse of anybody make me want to look at them suspiciously -- and I sure as hell wouldn't trust them with a two-year-old kid. Someone who would torture a 22 year old certainly isn't going to blanche at torturing a 2 year old, and is not to be trusted with anything that relies on people having even a modicum of moral values.

-- Badtux the Torture Penguin

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dangerous jobs

Here are the most dangerous jobs in America, as ranked by the U.S. Department of Labor:

Rank Occupation Death rate/100,000 Total deaths
1 Fishers and fishing workers
118.4
48
2 Logging workers
92.9
80
3 Aircraft pilots
66.9
81
4 Structural iron and steel workers
55.6
35
5 Refuse and recyclable material collectors
43.8
32
6 Farmers and ranchers
41.1
341
7 Electrical power line installers/repairers
32.7
36
8 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
29.1
993
9 Miscelleneous agricultural workers
23.2
176
10 Construction laborers
22.7
339
Note what occupation does not show up on this list. Guess. Hint: It's an occupation whose members often say "I was scared so I had to do X" (where X is some infliction of pain or harm upon another human being), or "being a Y is dangerous so if I can't do X to protect myself, you hate Y's!" where Y is the name of this occupation.

So what is this mysterious X and Y? Well, X is "taser", and Y is "police officer". Yeppers, being a police officer is NOT the most dangerous job in America. In fact, police officers have an occupational death rate of 18.2 per 100,000, which is less than roofers, steel riggers, or pretty much any other construction trade, not to mention fishermen and crop dusters. And most deaths of police officers are from traffic accidents, not violence -- 2/3rds of those cops died in traffic accidents or other incidents, rather than from violence.

So yeah, being a cop isn't the safest job in America. But it's far from being the most dangerous one either. If you're going to justify tasing or shooting someone because "he had his back turned to me and started turning toward me and I couldn't see his hands and I was scared", may I suggest the purchase of some stones from a steel rigger or crop duster or fisherman? 'Cause those dudes have some cast-iron stones. Unlike, apparently, today's cops, who apparently think "to serve and protect" applies only to their own safety, not to the safety of the general public they encounter.

-- Badtux the Statistical Penguin

Scooter realizes he's wasting money

Scooter Libby drops his appeal of his obstruction of justice conviction. After all, Dear Leader has already commuted his sentence, thereby reducing it to a slap on the wrist and a stern "don't do that!", and Dear Leader is likely to pardon him on Dear Leader's last day of office, so why waste money?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, December 09, 2007

There is no global warming and the Earth is flat

  1. Just as The Heartland Institute ((R) ExxonMobile Inc.) has demonstrated we don't have proof there's global warming, we don't have proof that the world is round.
  2. Oh sure there's all those photos, but how do we know that the photos from outer space of the earth aren't fakes? It is all propaganda of the liberal media just l ike global warming!
  3. If the earth was round then we would need curved lumber to build our houses. Otherwise our houses wouldn't fit flat on the ground. Try building a matchstick house on top of a beach ball and tell me you can do it with straight matchsticks!
  4. Pres. Bush should support a commission that would build a big wand that would extend from the earth out and take a "real" picture of the earth.
  5. Teaching our kids that the earth is round is "junk science" and they need to understand that as part of God's master plan, it is flat......
  6. The proposition that the earth is a globe moving through space at over 1000mph is referred to as "the orbiterran fallacy". It is demonstrated amply every time we send up a space shuttle. You will note that when the shuttle comes back down, the earth is still there. If it were moving through space, when the shuttle came back down, Earth would be long gone.
  7. Also note that when the shuttle lands at Edwards AFB, it lands, rolls to a stop, and stays there. Try landing a pea on a basketball. It will roll off every time.
  8. Photos taken from space that purport to show a spherical earth suspended in space are easily explained by the relativistic bending of light rays in the presence of large gravitational fields.
In short: Let's quit making decisions based on junk science, and embrace the truth -- that, just as there is no global warming, the Earth is flat!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday, December 07, 2007

Multiple Choice Mitt sez lack of air is... air.

And lack of religion is... religion. To whit, from Multiple Choice Mitt's latest speech on the role of religion in government:

In recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
So lack of religion is a religion? Err... right. And lack of water is... water. And lack of money is... wealth. And lack of food is... gluttony. Fucking dipshit.

But then, it's not as if he believes any of that bullshit anyhow. Multiple Choice Mitt says whatever he thinks the audience he's addressing want to hear, and in this case his audience was batshit-crazy "Christian" worshippers of an invisible sky demon who reject any appeals to logic and reason in favor of whatever their shaman or "preacher" says their invisible sky demon wants them to believe ("faith"). So of course he had to spout batshit-crazy bullshit to convince them that he's not some meanie who wants to convert them to Mormonism or, even worse, might try to keep them from imposing their batshit-crazy paganistic invisible sky demon religion upon the rest of us. Multiple Choice Mitt had to convince them that he was as batshit-crazy as they are. Mission effin' accomplished!

-- Badtux the "Lack of air is a VACUUM" Penguin
Vacuum as in, the interior of Mitt Romney's head if he really believes this crap.

Shiny shiny kitty

The Mighty Fang sure is shiny. And unlike the silver, I don't have to do anything to keep him shiny -- he shines himself. All I do is the normal kitty care stuff -- dump kibble in the bowl every night, change the kitty litter every week, etc. -- and he does the rest.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The beginnings of a new song

I was doodling around with the microphones and guitar tonight, as in, about 30 minutes before I started writing this post, and wrote this song (warning - 5 megabyte mp3 download), which I will call, for the moment, "Bloody Hands". Raw. Especially the lyrics, where I knew the general idea of where I was going but not exactly what I was going to sing until I sang it, other than the chorus and first two lines which predates it by at least a year. So I'll need to go back and write down the real lyrics now that I have the bones laid down, I know what they should be (basically fix the clear glitches in the current ones) now that I have the bones.

The doodling at the beginning is me trying to back in to how the song should feel. The tune for the chorus is derived from one I heard on a Mexican radio station one day -- I don't understand what they're singing, but the passion comes through, and that was an especially bloody day in Iraq and I was feeling especially depressed about the state of things. Post-production consists of selecting "Male RnB Vocals" for the vocals and "New Nashville" for the guitar off of the GarageBand side menu, with a slight tweak to the compression on the vocals (the guitar was fine, my guitar playing is pretty even insofar as dynamics go and the "New Nashville" has a fair amount of compression to begin with). Unfortunately, while the mix sounded good when I previewed through the phones, when GarageBand mixed it down to mp3 it applied its own compression on top of all of this and as a resuilt there was a couple of places where the guitar ended up coming up a slight bit too high in the mixdown. Fuggetabout it, this is just a scribble anyhow, I'll worry about it when I record for real.

So anyhow, now you know *one* way I write songs... i.e., bang around ideas in my head until one day I grab the guitar, turn on the Lexicon, and start playing and singing until something is down, then fix/polish/finish. Of course, with all these days at the office and nights managing folks in That Big Country Overseas, I don't get to do that as often as necessary for all the ideas banging around in my head :-(.

Tune and Lyrics copyright 2007 E.L. Green All Rights Reserved yada yada.

Multiple IP addresses in Windows XP

I need to assign multiple IP addresses to an Ethernet interface in Windows XP. The problem is that it appears that I must set *both* IP addresses to "static" in order to do this. On Linux or MacOS it's okay to have one IP address be DHCP-assigned and the other statically assigned, which lets you setup a private network on one set of IP addresses (like 172.16.3.0/24) and let your main interface "float" according to which public network you're on (192.168.x.y at home, 10.x.y.z at work), but if I select "DHCP" for the IP address on the Windows XP interface setup dialog, it then greys out the dialog that lets me add additional IP addresses.

Anybody know if I'm asking something that's even possible for Windows XP? I really need this so that my laptop can travel easily between home and work and I can access resources on the laptop without worry about which network I happen to be on and what DHCP address got assigned to the laptop. It works fine if I'm booted in MacOS, but when I'm booted in Windows XP, well... :-(.

-- Badtux the Geeky Penguin

Working on da railroad

It is 12:05 and I have been writing emails and proposals to my team in That Big Country Overseas for the past four hours. I left the office at 7pm, and have been working here since 8pm getting things whipped into shape and communicating with the overseas team so that the overseas team can do what they need to do.

I have no life :-(. Yeah, outsourcing saves time and money. (SNORT!).

-- Badtux the Tired Penguin

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lighter fare

Okay, okay, so I'm a sucker for tiny smart kick-ass gals on the silver screen. But given the depressing fare around here, I think I deserve a bit of circus to go with the bread and water and jail cell bars of the cage that is Soviet America (though they are quite fancy jail cell bars, jail cell bars of gold, the better to buy a penguin's submission to the State with, jail cell bars they remain). And from what I'm reading, Juno is likely to make those bars seem rather more comfortable for a couple of hours. So sue me. I'm gonna go waddle to a theatre and get entertained.

-- Badtux the Needs-a-comedy-film Penguin

Drug wars, Florida voting rights, and racism

In some precincts in Florida, half the black male population is not allowed to vote. Statewide, 30% of black males in Florida are not allowed to vote. If these men were allowed to vote, we'd be turning on our televisions to President Gore. Now, I hear you saying, "but how can that be? Didn't we pass a Voting Rights Act back in 1965 to enforce the right to vote granted by the 15th Amendment to the Constitution? Well, yes. But you see, there's a loophole: The "due process" clause of the 14th Amendment. If a judge and jury convict someone of a crime, it's fine to strip them of citizenship rights, because a) due process has happened, and b) it's not explicitly due to race.

Southern states during the apartheid era of government-enforced segregation ("Jim Crow") were quick to pick up on this loophole shortly after the passage of the 14th Amendment. They passed "Vagrancy codes" that basically made it illegal to be a black man in public. They could then station sheriff's deputies outside of polling places to arrest any black man who tried to vote and charge them with "vagrancy" and thereby legally strip them of the right to vote. These "vagrancy codes" have since been ruled by the Supremes to be unconstitutionally vague and overturned, but with President Richard Nixon's declaration of the "War on Drugs" in 1971, a new tool for use in the Republican Party's "Southern Strategy" of pandering to racist whites was swiftly devised by states wishing to disenfranchise blacks: They could enforce the new drug laws, but primarily target blacks for enforcement. Thus while all surveys of drug usage find that the percentage of drug users is largely identical across all racial and socio-economic boundaries, in some Southern states a black cocaine user is seventeen times more likely to be arrested than a white cocaine user. Meanwhile, Rush Limpdick is still a free man despite scoring enough hillbilly heroin to croak a horse.

So the fact that Florida disproportionately disenfranchises black males under its law prohibiting felons from voting is not a bug in the law. It's a feature. It's what this law was designed to do from the beginning -- i.e., disenfranchise blacks. The notion that any American should not have the right to vote, regardless of conduct in the past, is reprehensible enough. The fact that the law is rigged so that one race is disproportionately affected by this stripping of the right to vote is just plain, well, evil.

-- Badtux the Law Penguin

Thought for today

Cats are like wives -- they are always right.

-- Badtux the Aphorism Penguin

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A well-hung man

Apparently Donnell Williams of Wichita Kansas is hung like a friggin' stallion, given that, as he stood in the doorway dripping from just getting out of the bathtub, clad only in a bathtowel, the Wichita Police tasered him. Apparently police were scared that he was hiding a loaded weapon beneath his towel and was not responding to their demand that he let go of the towel and put his hands up.

Cue the porno music... have we found the new Dirk Diggler? Or just a buncha ball-less cops who confused a guy's, uhm, package, with a pistol and, well, shat their pants in the midst of tasering someone who scared them with the mighty Gun of Fun?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, December 03, 2007

Kitty orchestra

In which I abuse my fancy recording gear for nefarious purposes. Interesting how a penguin can meow and get two cats to meow with him, hmm?

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

All yur data are belong to Rus

KGB buys LiveJournal. So the KGB (via their front company SUP) gains control over the biggest bloghost for Russian-language blogs.

Unknown, yet, is the fate of Russian bloggers who previously used the American-based LiveJournal to criticize their Dear Leader, Vlad the Impaler Putin. But I'm sure nothing will happen to them. Russia is a bastion of freedom and liberty, after all, George W. Bush looked into Putin's eyes and said he saw Putin's soul. Or maybe that was just the coke speaking, Whatever.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Chavez accepts defeat at polls

So long for those "dictator" comments. Chavez defeated in Venezuelan elections, accepts outcome of election.

Now can we put that "dictator" nonsense to rest? Chavez may be a goon, but he's an *elected* goon, just like George W. Bush. And in a few years, he's going to be a *formerly* elected private citizen, just like George W. Bush. Neither man is a "dictator" and claiming he is, is just plain silliness.

-- Badtux the Observant Penguin

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A modest question

When I was a kid, I ran around the neighborhood (and not a good neighborhood either) without an issue. Cops back then were armed with .38 revolvers and tactical batons. There were no paramilitary SWAT teams. If the .38 revolvers weren't good enough, they had pump-action shotguns. If they needed to serve a warrant on someone dangerous, they took a couple of cop cars, one for the back door and one for the front door, and a cop walked up to the front door and knocked on it while his buddy covered him from behind the car. Body armor was unheard of, Vietnam-era flak jackets were the best available and were considered too heavy and cumbersome for the limited protection they provided. There was no such thing as a "no-knock" warrant, and a couple of cops did get off'ed during my childhood but that was back when men were men and cops shrugged off the risk as just part of the job. All in all, our police force was pretty lame, more adept at handling drunks at the local bars than anything serious. But I was safe to roam my neighborhood. Indeed, murders were extremely rare -- I think that a dozen people were murdered in that mid-sized city during my entire childhood, and each time it was a major front-page story in the local news rags.

Today, cops in that town are outfitted like a paramilitary force, with automatic weapons, tasers, body armor, pepper spray, the works. They clank like freakin' robo-cops when they walk down the streets, they have so much shit hanging off of them. Routine traffic stops often turn into alarming confrontations as hyped up cops under loosened rules of engagement (under the mantra "force protection") end up pulling down on people they stop for driving while black. If you call them on it, they insist that force protection requires that cops act like a bunch of thugs -- in other words, compared to the cops of my childhood, they're all a bunch of cowards who apparently think that the point of being a cop is to keep themselves safe, rather than to keep the general public safe. Cops routinely kill several unarmed people per year and nothing ever happens because the cop says "I thought he had a gun" and of course the life of a cop is more important than the life of an innocent man. When warrants are served on someone suspected of being dangerous, entire city blocks are shot off and dozens of cops armed with automatic weapons burst through the doors after firing stun grenades through the windows in order to terrorize innocent women and children who had the misfortune of living at the wrong address, and there is never an apology or any compensation, "ve must haff order!" is the order of the day and if you question these tactics you must be a criminal.

The population of this city has remained pretty much constant over the past 40 years, but the murder rate has soared. They now have over a hundred murders per year in this city. And that's not counting all the lesser crimes. There are neighborhoods where I would have cheerfully roamed as a child, where I wouldn't dare go today, even though they weren't "good" neighborhoods when I was a child either.

So here's my question: What has all this militarization of our police forces in pursuit of the "war on drugs" gotten us? Other than a steadily increasing body count, that is? Curious penguins want to know!

-- Badtux the Unmilitarized Penguin
Cross-posted at The Medley

Scam Nation U.S.A.

So I was sitting back thinking about this cool new product I'd like to create, and how great it'd be if I could round up some venture capital and put together a team to do it. But of course, that isn't happening, because I'm not the kind of person who can sell heaters to Eskimos, much less a new gadget to dubious venture capitalists. Then there's the possibility of somehow working my current company into building that product even though it really has little to do with their current product line except insofar it's in the same basic industry. But that would require me to engage in a nasty bit of internal warfare that I'm ill-suited to pursue. At that point it hit me what my biggest drawback is as a potential leader of an enterprise: I'm not a con artist capable of scamming people.

The whole art of creating a new business in the post-dot-com era is akin to working a complex con. You need a face man, which obviously isn't me -- let's face it, penguins are cute, but not exactly what shouts "stability!" to a venture capitalist. You need a plausible scheme to Make Money Fast, the participation in which I'm dispositionally incapable of doing. You need to make promises that you know can't be kept, and you need to be able to fool potential customers into buying your product even though reality is that it'll be years before your product is as stable and feature-filled enough to be a slam-dunk must-buy purchase in the industry even if it's innovative and "good enough". This last bit -- the need to scam people into buying your product -- is the most important bit. Most new businesses in the high-tech industry fail because the venture capitalists run out of patience before you have a product compelling enough that customers eagerly seek it out without having to be scammed into buying it. Marketing, not product, is the primary issue causing the failure of most new businesses.

In other words, the heart of the modern American economy has nothing to do with producing a good product for a good price. It all has to do with how good you are at scamming other people out of their money. The American economy, in the end, is one big con job. And like all con jobs, this one seems to be crumbling under the weight of the many, many scams needed to make it go around, but everybody is just closing their eyes and pretending that if they just wish hard enough, the con will turn out to be real.

As for my cool new product, I'll just have to think about it for a while longer, I suppose. Maybe someday I'll run into a con artist good enough at running the scam that I can actually get it built. Until then... (shrug).

-- Badtux the Geek Penguin

Purple toe

I stubbed my toe against something and now it hurts and it looks like the nail bed is bruised and/or damaged (it's purple and blue). I'm debating whether to head on down to K-P Urgent Care, but the toe seems to be the same shape as the corresponding toe on the other foot and isn't swollen up like something's broken so I'm not sure what good that would do other than waste my time on something that only time can heal... hmm...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Evel Knievel's last jump

So famous motorcycle stuntman of the late 60's/early 70's, Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel, has made his last jump. Diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis, two strokes, hepatitis C, a hip replacement, arthritis, liver transplant, 38 formerly shattered bones, including a seven-times-broken back, twice-crushed pelvis and frequently fractured legs, plus several comas, one lasting 29 days, all of that finally took its toll and he died Friday at age 69, years after he probably should have been dead.

I ride a motorcycle, as you may have figured out, but never had the slightest inclination to copy Evel's stunts, being of sound mind and quite a bit brighter than our boy Robbie. Watching his body flop along the ground in this disastrous jump , for example, all I could think was "ouch, that hurts!" and resolve to keep my motorcycle firmly affixed to the ground.

Still, his dumb courage certainly makes today's wuss-boys who cower in terror of dusky-skinned fellers overseas look like the pussies they are. So here's two flippers up and a basket of herring to help the Evel one on his way. In the end, he was as American as, well. any other American who does stupid things because, well, just because.

-- Badtux the Nostalgia Penguin

New blogs on blogroll...

I have not been keeping my blogroll up to date. Here's a few new ones:

Politicky Bitch
.Common Sense
Guys from Area 51 (really cool!)

-- Badtux the Blogrolling Penguin

From the tabloids...

Britney knocked up... AGAIN! Or maybe she just stripped in the middle of a sex toy store. Or something.

And we're supposed to care about the travails of modern-day trailer trash because... uhm... why?

Bread and circuses and palace intrigues oh my.

-- Badtux the Retching Penguin

Why I sleep with a pillow over my head

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Friday, November 30, 2007

Florida fun police go after motorcyclists

A state representative in Florida has an idea:

South Florida has a motorcycle problem, and lawmakers are introducing legislation to show bikers that they'll go a long way to punish those who break the rules. Stunt riding (including wheelies), excessive speeding, and concealable license plates will get you a 10 year ban on your motorcycle license, mandatory jail time, and an impounded bike. If the punishment sounds like the medieval practice of cutting off the hand of a man for stealing, that's exactly how State Representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera wants it.
In my opinion, this does not go far enough at removing hazards from the road, though. So I submit these suggestions for Rep. Lopez-Cantera's consideration:
  1. All drivers going 50mph in the fast lane should immediately have their license destroyed on the spot, car confiscated and be given one of those electric mobility scooters as their form of transportation, since it is obvious that they are no longer capable of driving a car.
  2. Drivers talking on the cell phone while driving should not only get a one month prison term and $5,000 fine and have their car confiscated, but they should have their mouth stitched up so that they must eat through a tube in their nose for the next ten years. That'll teach'em not to talk so much!
  3. Changing lanes without signalling: Since your turn signals obviously do not work, the cop who stops you is required to smashe them in with his sledgehammer, rip the turn signal stalk off the steering wheel, and call a tow truck to have your car hauled to where its turn signals can be repaired. You are then not allowed to drive without a DMV employee in the car and are required to make left and right lane changes 1,000 times properly using your turn signal each time prior to being allowed to drive unattended again and must pay the full salary of the state employee who supervises this. Each time you improperly signal during this process you will be tasered on your crotch just to remind you what you're supposed to do with that "turn signal" thingy.
  4. Driving down the road for more than a mile with your blinkers on: Your cell phone, radio, and any other noise-making gadgetry in your car is smashed with a hammer, and you are then required to change lanes 1,000 times properly using then cancelling the turn signal for each lane change before you are allowed to drive unattended again. A hearing exam is also mandatory.
  5. Stopping at the top of a freeway ramp: Since obviously your accelerator and steering mechanisms do not work, your car is immediately towed to a wrecker yard and smashed to be 6 inches high as a menace to the driving public. You are then banned from driving anything other than one of those electric mobility scooters since obviously you are incapable of properly maintaining and driving an automobile and obviously will never be capable of doing so
I am sure that this modest proposal will meet with the approval of all. Yessiree, Rep. Lopez-Cantera be da man! Just the man we need to deal with all the menaces to the driving public, whether on two wheels or four, doncha think?!

-- Badtux the Motorcyclin' Penguin

Friday Fat Kitty Blogging

"I'm not fat, I'm just big-boned!"

Err... right. Whatever ya say, mighty mighty one...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Mission accomplished!

No Child Left Behind has been so successful that... we've gone from #5 to #11 in international reading comparisons.

Time for Dear Leader to land on an aircraft carrier and strut under a “Mission Accomplished!” sign with his mighty, mighty codpiece leading the way again! Because, of course, it really IS “mission accomplished”. The stupidification of America is the mission, didnja know?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Go give Dennis or Ron some bloggy love

If you make a donation up to $250 today, they get 1st quarter 2008 federal matching funds in the same amount.

Dennis Kucinich for President (click "Donate")
Ron Paul for President

Remember -- vote for the "crazies". Because haven't we had enough fun with the "sensible people" running our country into the ground?

-- Badtux the "I donated to Dennis" Penguin

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Dictator" Chavez?

I’m not a big fan of Hugo Chavez, I think he’s an ignorant goon, but he was elected by an *overwhelming* majority of the vote in elections that were judged free and democratic by impartial third-party observer. Polls of the general Venezuelan population by impartial U.S. polling organizations (as vs. local polling organizations owned by the Venezuelan equivalent of the neo-cons, the former ruling class pissed that a “peasant” got elected instead of one of their own) find that his support is still well over 60%. Calling him a "dictator" is like calling Jack Daniels “soda water” — it just ain’t correct. Not that this will stop the wealthy elite who run the American press from calling Chavez a "dictator", of course. They're upset that their counterparts in Venezuela are no longer allowed to run the place. "Mob rule" (i.e., rule by the majority) is abhorent to them, and thus all the anti-democratic rhetoric regarding Venezuela coming out of the American press, which might as well be the Soviet press insofar as its "reporting" goes.

In the end, Chavez is a symptom, not the disease. The disease is a diseased U.S. foreign policy which supports true dictatorial regimes such as the white-skinned former ruling class in Venezuela (which disenfranchised the dark-skinned majority and ran the place as their own personal banana republic) because they’re “pro-American”, and opposes any attempts at democracy in “sensitive” locations like Venezuela because “they might elect a government hostile to America”. When you do this, you *guarantee* that when the people eventually *do* get to vote for the President of their choice, they’re going to vote for someone anti-American. If we had a sane foreign policy, Chavez would just be a disgraced former army sergeant bitterly eking out a living on a tiny subsistence farm on the edge of the jungle. We made Chavez, in the end, through our own interventionism in Venezuelan affairs.

Oh, and for the hoity-toity effete of the former ruling class upset that they had to wade through a sea of their former slaves to vote in the last election, and their thousands of college-age children "rioting" in the streets (kinda like the College Republicans "rioting") — cry me a river. The Indios of Venezuelan were treated like the blacks of the American South. They were Venezuela’s niggers, disenfranchised, often murdered when they tried to register to vote, and relegated to the worst jobs on the margins of society. They were slaves in all but name. And the United States supported that treatment of them for many decades because the whiter-skinned ruling elite was “pro-American”. So now the white minority population of Venezuela is rioting in the streets because the dark-skinned majority is now taking back some of the nation's wealth that the white population stole over the years? Oh wah! What you dish out is what you get back, in the end. I have no sympathy. None. Zero. Zilch.

-- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Heritage, not hate"

That's what those who support flying the Confederate battle flag (the "Stars and Bars") always say.

Funny, I grew up in the American South during a time when white bigots waving the "Stars and Bars" regularly made sweeps of "nigger town" to go "nigger knocking" in order to "keep the niggers in their place" because black people had gotten this notion that they might be equal to whites and it was necessary to deal with "uppity niggers" (note -- all terms in quotes are direct quotes from these bigots, not my words). That's the heritage I remember -- a heritage of hate.

The Confederate battle flag, like the swastika, may have originally had another meaning, another heritage. But you can't tell me that it is any way appropriate to fly the Confederate battle flag anywhere that a black person can see it, given the heritage of hate that it embodies. Emmett Till, Addie Mae Collins, Herbert Lee, Willie Brewster, and hundreds of others killed by battle-flag-waving bigots have completely destroyed any other meaning that the battle flag may have once had. Flying the Confederate battle flag today is akin to flying a swastika-emblazoned flag and yelling "Seig Heil!" outside a Jewish synagogue. It's got nothing to do with heritage, and everything to do with hate. You may not like it, you may think swastikas are just cool symbols and battle flags are neat, but their use as emblems of hate is far too recent in memory for your likings to be relevant. Until the last man dies who saw the battle flag used as a symbol of racism and bigotry, it will always remain a symbol of racism and bigotry. Like it or not, reality simply is.

-- Badtux the Southern Penguin

Overheating penguin

One cat is on my lap, the other cuddled against my side, and my laptop is sitting on my tummy as I lie in bed.

Life is good.

-- Badtux the Cuddly Penguin

Seig Heil!

Republicans in Virginia require loyalty oath to vote in Virginia primaries. The loyalty oath reads like this:

Ich schwöre bei Gott diesen heiligen Eid, daß ich dem Führer des Deutschen Reiches und Volkes Adolf Hitler, dem Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht, unbedingten Gehorsam leisten und als tapferer Soldat bereit sein will, jederzeit für diesen Eid mein Leben einzusetzen.
Well, uhm, not exactly, but close 'nuff!

Do these guys hate democracy, or what? Seig Heil!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Random cuteness

Scene: I am loading up my motorcycle to ride back home. I look to my left and there is the ultimate cuteness -- a young blond girl maybe six years old, wearing full camo complete with camo hat, holding a puppy and cooing soothing words to it and the puppy licks her face. I turn back to the right and walk a few steps and hear a woman say something along the lines of, "George, look at what your daughter is doing!" and look back. The young girl is licking the puppy's face in return.

-- Badtux the Random Penguin

I feel safer, Part 912,223,342

Canadian jets took over U.S. air defenses while F-15's were grounded because, well, because they've been worn out doing ground attack duties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yeah, that Iraq war in particular really makes me feel safer...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, November 26, 2007

Beware the Photos of Mass Destruction!

It seems that finally the U.S. military is going to do something about Bilal Hussein, a member of the AP's 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team that they've held without charges for 19 months now. They're going to send him to an Iraqi court with only a few hours notice for his defense attorney to prepare a defense for the crime of, err, ah... uhm, well, not shooting at people… not blowing up people… but, uhm, err… taking photographs of bad people.

Wow. Musta killed a lotta people with his camera. Why, our brave men and women in uniform just trembled in terror when this sod came at them with his dastardly Camera of Mass Destruction. I can see it now, our brave GI’s on patrol in Ramadi, and suddenly… a soldier falls to the ground. “Sarge! I’m hit! I’m hit!” “What’s the matter, Private?” “The nasty terrorists … TOOK A PICTURE OF ME! Oh the horror!” “Medic!” (Medic trots up, looks at the dying soldier writhing on the ground, looks back at the Sarge). “I’m sorry, Sarge, there’s nothing to be done. He’s been killed by… by… A PHOTOGRAPH OF MASS DESTRUCTION!”.

Phew, boy are we lucky that the perpetrator of such dastardly deeds against our soldiers is now off the streets! But never fear. If the Iraqi court releases this evil heinous perpetrator of Photos of Mass Destruction, the U.S. military has sworn that it'll take custody of him themselves again so that he will not use his camera to perpetrate photos of mass destruction again. I feel safer! Yeargh! U S A Fuck yeah!

—Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, November 25, 2007

In the desert

It's funny, how some people look at the desert and just see rocks and dirt and dead things. I post a photo of my campsite in the desert, and these people think it's some sort of horrible place, rather than one of the most interesting places on the planet. What's with that?

-- Badtux the Puzzled Penguin

Back home

This migration was much more pleasant than the one last year, despite the fact that I didn't get to do what I'd set out to do (a particular loop trail). Part of it was a cute-as-a-button Asian REI chick who rolled into the campground on the same day I did on a dual-sport motorcycle. She'd bought the motorcycle, strapped on some saddlebags, strapped her sleeping bag and tent onto the luggage rack, and simply set out for the desert. But really, I'm about twenty years too old for that kind of action, so I mostly just warned her that the multitudes of proposed rides that the swarm of male dual-sport riders around her were proposing were probably a bit, uhm, over-aggressive, for someone who'd never ridden a motorcycle offroad before. Given that her initial reaction to anything that sounded like adventure was "Sure!", somebody had to be the voice of reason there :-}.

Anyhow, one reason I got back so late is because I had to do surgery to my mule in the parking lot of the hotel where I stayed last night. On my morning checkout, I added 1/3rd of a quart of oil to bring it back up to the top of the window, filled the chain oiler with oil, and eyeballed the chain. I was primarily looking to see if I needed to turn the flow up or down on the chain oiler, but that was when I spotted that the master link had lost its clip.

Luckily (well, no luck involved) I had a chain riveter and a couple of rivet-type master links in my bags. That of course required kicking one of my side bags under the skid plate to get the back tire off the ground so I could loosen the axle nut and chain adjuster and shove the tire forward to make some slack. Then I discovered that my brand-new chain riveter required a size wrench that I didn't have in my tool pouches. Luckily a dirt-bike rider that I'd talked with earlier saw me sitting there with tools and parts spread out around me and offered the services of a large pair of channel-lok pliers, which did the trick. I popped off the old link with just a quick squeeze of the pliers (eep!), fiddled with the tool to press on the side plate and mushroom the rivet heads, voila. Well, almost. Took about an hour altogether to do all this and get everything back together and packed. Which put me right into the middle of the holiday traffic.

Heated vests are great, BTW. Coming up I-5, it got a bit nippy. But plug in the vest and put some heat to the trunk, and the cold air hitting my face as it swirled up under the nose of my helmet was bracing, rather than uncomfortable. Much better than dressing up like the Michelin Man, because this adds heat to your body, rather than just preserve whatever heat your body is already producing.

Anyhow, gotta go. The cats had plenty of food, but are meowing for some additional attention. I don't want to make them too unhappy. That might not be good for this penguin's health :-).

-- Badtux the Migratory Penguin

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Big bees

Desert bees build really big hives. See my tiny little motorcycle in the background?!

-- Badtux the Desert Penguin

I can see for miles

I ate lunch amongst the ruins at an altitude high enough for pinion pines. Mt. Whitney is in the background.

-- Badtux the Desert Penguin

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Too much freakin' crap

Time to start dumping shit off the side of the bike, when I sit on the bike it sags on its springs until the kickstand is useless because I got too much freakin' crap in the luggage...

On the road

The Green Mule in a parking lot (crappy cell phone image, okay?).

-- Badtux the Wandering Penguin

Mission accomplished!

Pravda on the Hudson announces Baghdad so safe that 20,000 Baghdadis go home.

Hooray! A few thousand returned, 4,000,000 to go. And another 1,000,000 aren’t returning anywhere. Because they’re dead. D-E-A-D. But hey, it’s just a little thinnin’ of the herd on Dubya’s Messopotamian ranchy, it ain’t like they was, like, PEOPLE or nothin’.

The pre-war estimate of Iraq’s population outside of Kurdistan was about 20 million people. In short, our little war for—uhm, what was the war for, again?—has managed to kill or displace 1/4th of the population of Iraq. A few thousand return to Baghdad? Yeah, big accomplishment. Can we just put a “Mission Accomplished” sign over the place and go home, now?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Forecast: Light blogging

Not going to be around an Internet connection until Thursday...

-- Badtux the Wandering Penguin

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Penguin's Presidential primary picks

Okay, here's some principles I'm going to use this time. First of all, I'm going to automatically disqualify the "sensible" candidates, those who stick to "conventional wisdom". It was "conventional wisdom" that got us into this mess our nation is in, and "conventional wisdom" ain't gonna get us out. So I say we ought to vote for the nuttiest, flakiest candidates around, because what we need in insane times is a candidate who isn't bothered by insanity.

Oddly enough, the "crazy" candidates in this Presidential race actually make more sense than the "sensible" candidates. Let's take, for example, Republican candidate Ron Paul. Okay, so his proposal to return the U.S. to the gold standard makes absolutely no sense at all. The gold standard automatically builds deflation into the economy, since the amount of gold in circulation rises slower than the amount of goods in the economy. Deflation basically makes dollars more expensive. Deflation is good for rich people with lots of money in the bank, their dollars are now worth more, but is horrible for poor slobs like you and I who actually owe money and have to repay those debts in the now-more-expensive dollars. The gold standard was a major cause of the Great Depression, which is why one of FDR's first acts upon becoming President was to ditch it.

Many of his other proposals are similarly nutty. Still, Ron Paul is the only candidate in the Republican race to not only have voted against the Iraq war, but to have voted against the Patriot Act too. And he's the only Republican to take a clear stand against torture and against "disappearing" terrorists into extraterritorial prisons such as Guantanamo Bay. And he's the only Republican to point out the simple fact that it's America's constant overseas interventions that make America hated, not our "freedoms". As the only anti-war anti-torture pro-habeas-corpus Republican in the race, he is thus the only Republican candidate that any of the few remaining sane Republicans should vote for, no matter how nutty his other beliefs are. In these insane times, Ron Paul's lack of sanity is an advantage, not a disadvantage.

Okay, now over to the Democratic side of things. There is a gnat's difference between the top four candidates other than their gender and ethnicity. You toss their policy proposals on the table and they all pretty much look the same. So let's look at the bottom tier. Mike Gravel is an interesting character, but way too old. He's at a time in his life when he's supposed to be out on his front porch shaking his fist at the kids and yelling "you kids get off my lawn!". Of the rest, there is only one candidate who voted against the Iraq War, voted against the Patriot Act, and proposes a single-payer Medicare for All system for reform of the U.S. health care system, and that's the hobbit -- Dennis Kucinich. Okay, yes he says he saw a UFO. So what? The top candidates didn't see a UFO but they all either voted for the Iraq war or weren't in a position to do so. In these insane times, maybe what we need as President is someone who thinks there's aliens stashed in Area 51. At the very least we might find out whether that's so or not :-).

So that's this penguin's picks for the Republican and Democratic primaries: Ron Paul(R), and Dennis Kucinich(D). Vote for the crazies. Because haven't we had enough fun with the "sensible people" running our country into the ground?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Changing tires is not a job for wimps

Been busy getting the green mule into traveling shape. The above photo is when I was changing the radiator fluid (and making a mess because the container I drained it into had a leak that I hadn't noticed when I put it under the drain plug on the bottom of the water pump, sigh). That one required removing a bunch of stuff -- side covers, seat, tank, tool tube (that black tube under the bike), skid plate (in front of the bike near that tupperware tool bin). Not difficult, just tedious. Today it's putting the new tires on that you see on the top left of that photo.

Changing dirt bike tires is not a job for wimps, but it's the only way to a) know it's been done right (last time I had a shop do it, the wheel was *not* balanced correctly and they lost one of my really trick stem covers), and b) know you can do it if you get a flat on the trail. I just finished changing the front tire. It took two hours. Now, part of that is because I'm very meticulous. I clean the rim inside and out after I get the tire out, inspect the spoke rubber (tube protector), re-pack the speedometer gear with grease (the bearings are rubber-shielded and sealed so they're immune to being packed with grease, but the speedo gear is not), carefully balance the wheel, powder the tube when I put it in, etc. And in truth, it's not a hard job to change the front tire, it popped off the bead with a firm shove with the axle, then I used a tire spoon/axle wrench combo with a tire iron through the wrench loop to go around the bead and twist the rest off. Then pop it over the rim, pull the tube out, pop the other side of the rim, reverse to install. It's just tedious. Especially the balancing part, though luckily my spoke weight already on the wheel was the right weight to balance it when I got the wheel on my balance rig (the front forks of my bike with the speedo gear removed and the brake wheel cylinder removed to reduce friction to almost zero), it just required relocating the weight about 1/8th of the way around the wheel to make it balance, making this one of the easiest balancing jobs of the past four tire changes I've done on this bike.

But now comes the back tire. That's a PITA, always, because this is a fat tire with short stiff sidewalls that do *not* want to go down into the "pit" between the beads and furthermore does *not* want to go over the side of the rim even when the other side *is* down in the pit. And you have to deal with the chain, and getting the rear brake mechanism (which is on a sliding rail inside the swingarm so it can go back and forth when you adjust the chain) to line up with the axle as you shove it through the hole is always a PITA...

I'll be back in four hours or so with my official endorsements for the Republican and Democratic nominations. They will not be who you expect. Unless you are really acquainted with my bizarre ways of thought, that is :-).

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bat For Lashes - Trophy

This is an odd bit of art-house indie rock by a Pakistani-Brit (father was Pakistani, mother was British). The cross-cultural influence can definitely be heard in the rhythms and phrasings. Natasha Khan has quite a set of pipes on her too.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Action sequence

This is an animated picture that runs for five minutes long. Please watch it carefully. What? You mean it didn't do anything?

Uhm, yeah. After his initial disdainful "what, why are you bothering me?" look, Laundry Cat went back to his vibrating heat soak. This apparently is the cat equivalent of one of those vibrating heated barcaloungers, because no matter how many photos I took over the next five minutes, he didn't budge one millimeter from the position you see.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, November 15, 2007

71 Names

Jose Luis Montes De Oca Teodoro, Jopey Draper, Bruce Polite, Peter Wah, Duane Mark Anderson, John Joseph Summer, Maria Cook, Estaban Avail, Hoa Pham, Jonathan James Neilson, Diana Lynn Perea, John Carl Riggins, Sara Rose Tevlin, Patricia Ann Harper, Donald Whitfield, Johnny Ruper, Francisco German Moreno, Lavon Jones, David Tgom, Corneilus Vanderviers, Lindi Dileonardo, Allen Richard Stahl, Chris Ramon Juarez, David Pratt, Chris Long, Nicholas Bartell, Robert Ovedo, Efrem Vela, Robert Cisneros, Elva Garcia Navio, Manuel ROdriguez, Margaret Fay, Stanley V. Brockman, Thomas Farmer, Charles Parton, James Collier, Lee Garcia, Alan Ray Alsop, William Martinez, Rachel Richards, Franjo Plese, Deborah Corrine Leonard, Francisco Contreas, Charles Krinard, Efraim Ramirez, Kyle Baron Barnes, Kimberlie McLaughlin, Yolanda Thomas, Constance Hayes, David Sneddon, Donald Whitfield, Timothy Lee Holcomb, David Nicholson, Clovis Bessard, Rodolfo Cale Gonzalez, Hector Pencer, Phillip Lawes, Bruce William Dunn, Stacy Lee Drayton, Lindi Lawrence, Julie Herrera, Ian Brown, Ruth Carley, Emmanuel Gibson, Andrew Payne Mazilli, Sydney Barrett, Quey Xuan Ho, Quativia Johnson, Loveanisha Johnson, Samuel Criado, Ted Quesada

You walked by them as they sat there on the sidewalk, pretending you did not see them. In the wealthiest area (the Silicon Valley) of the wealthiest nation on the planet, they were the invisible people that nobody wants to acknowledge exist. Some were crazy, some were addicted to drugs and alcohol, some simply didn't have a job and were doing their best to try to figure some way to get out of the gutter, but two things all those people -- the youngest 27 years old, the oldest 66 years old -- have in common is this: a) They were homeless, and b)they're all dead, found on the streets, sleeping the big sleep, remembered only by a few social workers and do-gooders who refuse to admit that the richest area of the richest nation of the planet simply doesn't give a shit about anything that doesn't have a picture of a dead President on it.

And so it goes in the United States of Delusion, where we pretend that we are a kind and charitable people. The 71 people above salute you. Or would, if they weren't all dead.

-- Badtux the non-snarky Penguin