Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday of hate?

Ronald McKinley Everett was born July 14, 1941, in Maryland. Everett ended up in Los Angeles and, since a young man, has devoted his life to promoting hatred for the white man and all things white. That includes Christmas.

Although other more important black separatist- and black supremacist-militant movements sprang from or benefited greatly from the Watts ashes of the mid- and late 1960s riots, such as Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, Malcolm Little's Black Nationalist movement, and the Black Panthers, Ron Everett's hatred of white people and all other things white was second to none of these people.

Everett soon changed his white "slave" name to something that sounded African, began dressing as he fancied an African would dress, dropped the white religion of Christianity for that of Muslim, and so on. Of course, perceived white holidays had to go too, and Christmas soon gave way to a holiday he dreamed up himself: Kwanzaa.

Everett formed his own band of white haters called, at first (at least by the Panthers) the United Slaves. Later, he took the Us from United Slaves and began calling his group simply "Us" as in Us (blacks) against them (whites.)

Early on, before he was such a big cheese in do-it-yourself cults, Ron and his group had a feud with the Black Panthers, his followers killing a couple of them. Ron never went to jail for this. Unfortunately, though, one of Ron's favorite power-trip pastimes was abusing and torturing his women followers, and he DID go to prison for one of those episodes in which he tortured one of the women by putting a hot soldering iron in her mouth and clamping another's toes in a vise. There was also electrical wire involved, and some laundry detergent that wasn't intended to be edible. But you can read the sordid details of that in the old court records.

Later, he obtained a doctorate from a South African school and even later from some U.S. schools, and today is styled Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga. He now heads the African Studies department at UCLA, surely the only ex-felon to hold such a position.

In an amazing lapse of memory, or lack of background investigation, or simply wanting to humor the separatist portion of the African American community, the U.S. government some years back put out a Kwanzaa postage stamp, thus legitimizing Ron's Holiday forever. Beats me. Ron would have you believe that Kwanzaa is an ancient "African" tradition, when in fact he dreamed it all up in his cell while he was doing time for torturing women.

"Kwanzaa" as Dr. Ron called his dream of white hatred, or at least his dream of not doing white things, goes on for a week, starting today (white man's Christmas is over now) through January 1st. Sad that he used the white man's calendar after all that effort to Africanize.

Read more here:




Saturday, December 25, 2010

A paradox

Today I was reading from the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I noticed a message at the top of the page:

"Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Please read how you can help keep the encyclopedia free."

I confess I didn't read how I could help keep it free. I assume it is the same way I can keep Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, free, or my local channel of the Public Broadcasting System free: send them money.

I know most of you already think I am pretty dense, so exposing my quandary to you doesn't bother me. It is this:

If I send these people money, that means I am paying. If I am paying, then it isn't free anymore. At least not to me. So how have I helped keep it free by sending money to them?

Here I will also confess that I have never sent in any money to any of these folks over the past decade and it is still free to me. It is only not free to the suckers supporters who send them money.

This is also the season where brother Wales over at Wikipedia reaps his annual income as well with the same message: "Help keep it free by sending me money." Or something to that effect.

I should probably also tell you that I don't give a damn if any of these "purist" sites run adverts in their sidebars; PBS already does run commerical messages, though they lie and say they don't. Of course, they also say if we send them money then they will run quality programming, and they don't. Not unless you consider constant fund-raising with reruns and 30 year old endless bombardments of Are You Being Served? quality programming.

Maybe you can tell me how, by sending these people money, I will be doing my part to keep it free? Free for ME, I mean.

Friday, December 17, 2010

German doctors claim first HIV positive man cured

A man who was HIV positive who was given stem cell therapy for leukemia is no longer positive, his doctors say. This is the first instance of a person with the HIV virus ever getting rid of it. If this turns out to be a true "cure" for HIV/AIDS, it will be (like so many other major discoveries of the past) be an accident.

Apparently more research is needed to find out exactly what the stem cells did. Promising.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Big toys

[Click on picture to enlarge]

I was fascinated by the pictures on this website by a man who obviously loves playing with big toys. I envy someone who has apparently done what he wants to do all his life. If you like BIG mechanical things and down-to-earth people who play with them, you should spend some time looking at the photos on this website.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed looking at the pictures on this website. (And you thought Relax Max didn't like to get dirty. He does.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Preaching to the choir

There's something not quite kosher right about the boys and girls of the choir this session, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Enlarge the above 2010 class picture and help me out.

No black justices? No, got one of them. Good ol' white boys? Check. Jesuit-taught Sicilians? Check. Wild-eyed liberals? Check.

What then?

Hispanics? Check. Women? Check. Straight Jews? Check. Lesbian Jews? Check. Dead Jews? Check. (Some say Ruthie is still among the living, but we know better. Ever see the original "Psycho" with Anthony Perkins? A dollar to a donut says Ruthie is Norman Bate's mother, stuffed like a bird with sawdust and a wig put on her and sat up straight in a chair. Doesn't matter. We all know how Ruthie will vote.)

Wait. Did you guess? A first in the history of our country: the mindset of the majority religion in the U.S. is not represented on our esteemed Supreme Court anymore. Go ahead, count 'em: 6 catholics and 3 Jews. Protestants? Zilch.

We've come a long way, baby.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Airport #2

Freedom isn’t lost overnight. It is lost little by little in small pieces, and the excuse is always the same: give up this one more little thing and in return we will keep you safe.

—Karl Rove

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mystic wonders of the internet

Google is a wonderful tool. Today I googled "photography communicates essence" and here is one of the things on that search's front page that Google passed on to me in their might and wisdom:

Sharon Callahan is a writer, photographer, internationally recognized animal communication specialist and leading pioneer in the use of flower essences for the treatment of animals.

Although Sharon's ability to communicate with animals has been with her from childhood, a near-death experience in 1987 enhanced her ability to communicate with animals telepathically, giving her a deep understanding of the role of animals in the spiritual lives of human beings. This experience led to the creation of the Anaflora flower essences for animals, the first flower essences made exclusively for the animal kingdom. Since that time Sharon has pioneered the use of flower essences in the treatment of animals. Her books on the topic are the first in their field. The
(more)

Note that this DOES contain the word "essence" and "photographer" and "communicate". So.

Dear Ms Callahan, I wish you well in your work. This is not meant to convey any disbelief or lack of cosmic harmony on my part, I assure you, but only to exemplify the wonders of advanced search engine algorithms. Peace.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Government think, airport edition

Some of you may have heard the latest grumblings over airport security measures in the U.S. over this past weekend.

One troublemaker took offense at having his genitalia felt up by TSA workers and accused them of sexual assault and threatened to sue them.

When they felt up a 3-year old girl, she began struggling and screaming, "Don't touch me there!" and made an unpleasant scene. Another little malcontent, undoubtedly. Apparently her misguided mother had told the little girl never to let strangers touch her.

90-year old disabled grannies in wheelchairs get the same rude treatment.

People get doses of radiation every time they stand in front of the new body scanner which shows them naked under their clothes. This because of the "Underwear Bomber" in a flight coming in to Detroit last year.

Since the "Shoe Bomber" Reid, everyone who flies in the U.S. has to take off their shoes and have them x-rayed. Or whatever the new see-through technology is called.

Pilots of the passenger airlines have to go through the same security and are complaining that their doses of radiation are piling up because of the frequency of the scans they have to endure.

Now there is talk of exempting Muslim women from searches because... I don't know. Just because. It offends them I guess.

Ann Coulter, the columnist hated by the far left, made an interesting comment yesterday (on Fox News, no less, so you know it is something to be immediately dismissed) that if a Martian were to come to earth and observe our "anti-terrorist" efforts in airports, he would undoubtedly point out that we have one advantage over the terrorists that we are not taking advantage of: they all look alike.

Ah, well. Profiling is sooooooo politically incorrect. I wonder what airport security in the enemy's land (Saudi Arabia) would do if all their terrorists were white? But, holy cow, they are barbarians and we're not, right?

So are the Israelis. If they don't like how you look, they pull you out of line and check you out up close and personal. But if you pass inspection and get on the plane, they hand you a steak knife to go with your in-flight meal. Seems to work. But they are concerned with security rather than hurting the feelings of shifty-eyed nervous-looking people in line.

Profiling is not the American way, though, by gosh. That would be (horrors) ummm... unfair to a few and fair to 99%. Americans would rather make everyone be screwed with. And their children. And their grannies. And the pilots of the planes they are about to ride on.

So, what IS the American way?

Stupidity:

Pilot of aircraft to TSA worker: "I don't like to keep going through that thing so often. I'm getting radiation poisoning. Why do you have to feel me up each time, anyway?"

TSA worker: "We want to make sure you don't have a box cutter hidden on your person. If you did, you might storm the cockpit and take control of the plane."

Pilot: "But I am ALREADY in the cockpit. I'm ALREADY in control of the plane. I can crash it anytime I get the notion. So what are you proving?"

TSA employee to supervisor on radio: "I have another troublemaker here. He's trying to use logic on me. Permission to stip search."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Servants and masters

Soldier's pay (enlisted) (E-4 with 3 years service) - $25,128*

Average American worker's pay (Note: these are the employers of government workers) - $50,462

Average pay of government employees - $74,403 (not really begrudging them that, btw.)

Base pay before extras for congressmen and senators (the public servants of the American workers) - $174,000

*They also get free food and free ammunition.
---------

A motion: "Congress shall never make a higher salary than the people who are standing on the front lines taking bullets."

What do you say? Are are military families the only ones who are expected to sacrifice for their country?

Motion #2: If congress declares or allows war, their children must withdraw from university and go to the front lines with the poor people's sons and daughters. Better yet, every 4th congressperson, by lot, shall serve on the battlefield in some capacity as well.
---------

The constitution says congress gets to set their own compensation. The constitution was written on the erroneous assumption they were dealing with honorable men more or less. It used to be that every time congress voted to increase their salaries, there was a big stink from their employers back home. It made them look bad to slap on another 10 grand a year when so many of their employers were making only a fraction of their congressman's OLD salary. So congress, I'm told, got a bright idea and passed a law which increased their salaries AUTOMATICALLY every 3 months, without having to have a public vote. Ok, not every 3 months. Not quite. So, they DO have workable thought processes, even if devious.

Why can't I do that too?

Crap.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two possible theories of government

1. The purpose of government is to facilitate an environment that allows for maximum personal liberty and personal advancement, while maintaining civil order, regulating commerce, and protecting citizens from outside attack. Equality of opportunity is the goal.

2. The purpose of government is to take care of "its" citizens and work to make their lives better. Generally, it is the role of government to provide things for citizens and make helpful decisions for them so they may enjoy a higher quality of life. Equality in material possessions and benefits is the goal.

There are many, many other kinds of governments in the world as well.
--------

A Red Sox fan friend of mine told me he saw an interesting piece on Fox News' Bill O'Reilly show last night. John Stossel, ex-employee of ABC, now working for Fox, was talking about an interesting experiment he had just run to illustrate how Affirmative Action works. He said it was hilarious, but ever so true.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Historically speaking


On this day in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.
---------

By eerie coincidence (to me, anyway) November 9 is also considered by many to be the beginning of the Holocaust, as 9 Nov. 1938 marked the beginning by Nazi storm troopers of invading Jewish neighborhoods, taking their belongings, and shipping them off to concentration camps.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cities of the world with the cleanest air

Above: City with the cleanest air in the world.

Ever wonder who is getting the job done, environmentally? Here are some stats.

1. The 25 cleanest cities are in 13 countries.

2. Only two that made the top 25 in the world are south of the Equater (and both of those are in New Zealand, an island country which seems to me has some help from ocean winds.)

3. Japan is the only country on the list with clean air cities in Asia. Another island nation.

4. Honolulu is on the list. Another island. Trade winds.

5. None of the top 25 are in Central or South America. Or Africa. Or Australia.

6. All of these places still have jobs, transportation, and need places to put their garbage. So, IT CAN BE DONE!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Documentary films

A documentary film, as opposed to a film which simulates or portrays a work of fiction, is, technically, a film whose object is to document some aspect of reality. There is wide latitude under this definition, and several genres which call themselves documentaries.

1. The "true" documentary.

A "pure" documentary is the act of setting up a camera somewhere and then walking away and coming back later to pick it up. Set it up on a busy street sidewalk, turn it on, forget about it and just stand there and talk to your friend until the film or tape runs out. What you capture is an absolute true and pure "documentary" - that which unfolded in real life and real time in front of a camera. You have "documented" that particular slice of life for a certain period of time.

The closest I can think of to an actual pure documentary today is the film in a bank's surveillance camera, but even that is tainted due to the fact it is not running at real speed and therefore leaves time lapses, however short, to accommodate the size of the camera and it's limited capacity.

Perhaps a "real-time" camera in the halls of a hotel which are sent on a closed circuit to a security room is a better example. Sometimes, those are not even recorded on film or tape though.

2. The next step "down" in the hierarchy of documentary films are the films that consist of honestly edited footage which has been obtained in a documentary manner. These are what most of the documentary films you see today are, the most common.

These are produced by analyzing your subject or event and making a list of scenes you want to go out and capture. This requires that you know your story or event thoroughly, and have determined what elements an honest portrayal of that subject would consist of. Let's say I wanted to "document" San Francisco. Assuming I didn't want to go into great interpretive depth, my list of things to film would include the famous structures and streets and water and normal events that take place in San Francisco. I would go out and set my camera on a tripod and take some footage of the Golden Gate Bridge (if only to have viewers know where the film was taking place); then Market Street, a cable car, Coit Tower, maybe. Alcatraz footage would be obligatory as would Fisherman's Wharf and maybe the Tenderloin District. Maybe the Bay Bridge and sports stadiums. City Hall. Chinatown. Whatever.

Then I would come home and begin the VERY long and laborious process of post production: making my film out of the recorded scenes I had shot. Add interviews in the background and some music. Seagulls. The sounds of a crowd at a baseball game. Whatever. Hopefully the result would edify an out-of-town viewer about what a little bit of San Francisco tastes like.

That's a small, basic project. A huge project might be Ken Burns' documentary of the American Civil War, or the history of Baseball. Those are big-time, big-money projects that require investors. The key here is to tell the story truly, almost dispassionately. No axes to grind, no sponsors to please.

How about if someone wants a video of their wedding? Is that a documentary film? Sure. You set up the camera so you can see the audience, see the bride coming down the aisle, see the newlyweds dancing at the reception. And on-and-on ad-nausium. And that it is, make no mistake about it. But a documentary? Sure. You go home and edit out Uncle Charlie and his big stinky cigar pointed at the camera and Aunt Doris puking in the punch. Bingo. Documentary. (At least by this particular definition.)

3. The propaganda film.

Think Nazi Germany and Josef Goebels portraying the low down animal character of the Jews. Think of Michael Moore filming only the things that support his agenda and purpose, sticking the camera needlessly into the pathetic face of a dying Charlton Heston, or selecting snippets of conversation from the mouth of the CEO of General Motors. Like that. Now you know what a propaganda film is. However, if you take your propaganda to Cannes like Michael Moore does, you get a Golden Palm for an "Important Documentary, " just as if it really WERE a documentary. Whatever. The key to a propaganda film is to only present one side (YOUR side) and to leave out stuff that might diminish the sensationalism of your argument.

4. Reality TV.

This type of work is very common nowadays. It is one more step away from a "true" or "pure" documentary. Basically, in Reality TV, you stage events and scenes, but you don't rehearse. You take a non-professional "actor" and say, "Please ride your bike down this hill and smash into that truck over there" And then you film him as he smashes his bike. Maybe you leave the camera running until the ambulance has left. You collect several of these events and then you put together a film called "Jackass 2003" and sell it to MTV. I guess it is SORT of a documentary. The action is real enough.

I prefer number 2. How about you? I know, I know - Jackass 2003 for this crowd. Ha!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Confusing defense with social work

Not wanting to stir up trouble, but, in spite of my overabundance of patriotism, it occurs to me that there is a big difference between defending one's country and giving one's life trying to make a temporary slight difference in a few Afghani women's lives.

It is also pretty expensive. Seems cheaper to just relentlessly bomb the folk in Pakistan who attacked us 10 years ago. A little late, perhaps, but who knows.

Our election is Tuesday and it strikes me as odd that there are more female members in the Afghani Parliament than we have in the U.S. Senate. Just an observation; perhaps a little more attention should be paid to the home front women.

I suppose this is a political opinion, so I apologize.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of Phrygian caps and nostalgia for real money

The "Mercury Dime" was, I think, one of the most beautiful coins the U.S. has ever produced.

For one thing, it still had intrinsic value, being made of .90 silver. For another thing, it was a work of art. I still have a few in my boyhood coin collection, stored away somewhere.

It is pretty enough that some think it is a Saint-Gaudens, but, in reality it is the work of Adolf Weinman, another American sculptor of considerable renown. Weinman also produced the most beautiful U.S. silver coin of all, in my opinion - "Walking Liberty" - which appeared on half-dollars 1916-1947. (If you clicked on the link and are confused at the date of issue on the illustration, you should know that the U.S. Mint still produces many of these coins annually for bullion-traders, not for circulation.)

The most beautiful U.S. coin of all time, gold OR silver? The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, bar none. The Double Eagle is a gold coin with a face value of $20. A $50 face-value version (1 oz.) is also minted for bullion-trading purposes now. Of course, face-value means nothing nowadays, since you would hardly take one of these coins out shopping. The gold spot price for one ounce on 28 October 2010 was $1,388. Incidentally, a 1933 Double Eagle is also the most valuable coin in the world today, one at auction in 2008 fetching just under eight million dollars.

But back to the "Mercury Dime."

Everyone calls it a Mercury Dime because everyone, myself included, has always assumed the face on the obverse of the coin is that of the Roman messenger-god Mercury. Those pesky winged helmets again. But au contrare - further research leads to the discovery that it is really the image of the mythological goddess of liberty, and is properly called "Winged Liberty."

This (of COURSE) brings us to the subject of Phrygian caps. It's not a helmet at all, by gosh, and you can plainly see that it is not a helmet if you study the image of the same lady, Walking Liberty, on the above linked half-dollar. No, sir, it's a cap. A Phrygian cap. Phrygia being the central part of Anatolia, which is itself the western two-thirds of the Asian part of Turkey.

But you knew that. Or, at least, I'm sure Soubriquet did. Soubriquet knows all.

Suddenly I've run out of things to say about the Mercury Dime. ::Scratches head and slowly walks away::

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To a friend

Sometimes bad things happen to us through no fault of our own.


Sometimes children are taken advantage of by people they trust, people who should be protecting them instead of hurting them.


Later in life, the hurt never having left, the sense of outrage sometimes builds to a desire to avenge the outrage.


In times like that, we can only go off by ourself and come to terms with the damage. Will we allow the betrayal to affect us forever? Or will we resolve not to give it continuing power in our lives?


In such times, the only right thing to do is that which will bring us the most peace, regardless of what others close to us urge us to do.


Sometimes the only true justice to be had is in letting go and moving forward.


The farther forward you move, the farther behind you will leave the hurt.


Try to take control. Keep your own counsel and stand by the decision that you know is best for your own well-being. Remember that many people care for you and wish you well.


"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

—Helen Keller

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An instruction manual too far

I'm all for instruction manuals. I like efficiency. But sometimes manual writers can take it a little too far. As an example, here is the essence of an instruction manual I found online.

HOW TO CLAP
  1. 1
    Begin by finding someone in the audience that can clap. Define the rhythm (cadence) of the applause around you. A good way to determine this is to find a person with rhythm, and use the counting method. To use the counting method count out numbers each time the clapper's hands connect. Watch this clapper closely.

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  2. 2
    Start off slow. Continue to watch the clapper closely. Now that you have determined the clapping cadence try one or two. With a few successes you'll gain the necessary confidence needed for full blown clapping.
  3. 3
    Get some confidence under your belt and stop watching your clapper-mentor. Make sure the audience around you is still clapping.
  4. 4
    Concentrate. Using the same counted out cadence, bring your hands together with each number counted. Listen carefully. as those around you start to slow down as that will be your cue that you can stop. Advanced clapping will cover speeding-up, slowing-down, clapping while standing, clapping to a different drummer, and clapping while dancing.

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    -------
    I'm not sure what the top Google adwords are about, but the bottom one is apparently customized for me since Steve Pearce is a corrupt congressman from my state who is now running for reelection. So Google zeroed in on my IP address, apparently.
    Either that or Google thinks Steve Pearce has the clap.



Speaking of claps...
Disclaimer: Please don't confuse this guy with the dead gay porn actor Steve Pierce. Spelled differently.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Odds and Ends. Mostly odds.

When traveling in the U.S., there are many out of the way, sometimes odd, attractions that are sometimes worth the trip off the beaten path. Sometimes not. I remember in the movie "Michael" he insisted on detouring so he could see "The World's Biggest Ball of String" somewhere in Iowa. The world largest skillet was in Indiana, wasn't it? I guess not - they were on their way to Chicago. Somewhere, though. Here's some more odds and ends I have visited or have heard of. If you don't live in the U.S., some of these may not be worth the airline ticket to get here.

MUSEUMS

"The Southwest Arkansas Toothbrush Museum"

This one is in the town of Hope, or close by. This one is a joke, of course, since there aren't any toothbrushes in SW Arkansas. Apparently there was ONE tourist who left one in the motel when he left. That's the one that is in the museum. Odd, that two presidential candidates have come from Hope, Arkansas, in the past few years and both of them were governors of Arkansas before they ran for President. One of them actually made it, but his wife ran the country while he sat in his office and smoked big cigars.

"Museum of Camouflage"

Once, while driving through the wilds of southern Missouri, not really as far from Hope as you might have imagined, I stopped off at Fort Leonard Wood specifically to see the U.S. Army's famous Museum of Camouflage. The building proved too hard to find, though, so I finally just left, my curiosity unsatisfied. It wasn't THAT much of a disappointment since I have seen camouflage before. I think.
Honorable mentions:

Also in southern Missouri (I think) is the "National Chainsaw Hall of Fame Museum and Pigsnort Indian War Memorial." A twofer.

We don't have Route 66 going through there (officially) anymore, so you won't find that many snake pits or large balls of string anymore. However, if you are willing to travel a few miles off I-44 near Joplin, I once stopped at a flea market there where there was this guy in a white flannel suit who, for $15, would let you spit on him. No museum, though.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Relax Max personal counseling services now available by prepaid appointment

["Counseling Questions and Answers" is a public service of this blog. Previously known as "Shrinking the Masses."]

Dear RM counseling services,

I find flaws with people, and once this happens I do not like being around them, and they irritate me. I am not sure I like people that much. I do not get it, though - because I have a lot of friends and am an extrovert. Why is it that once I find out someone is not perfect, I dislike them?


Signed
"Troubled in Idaho"

[Counseling questions are answered by one of our staff clinical psychologists, randomly selected]

Dear Troubled,

The obvious answer that springs to mind is that you are simply an arrogant asshole. Of course, giving an answer that quickly would not allow us to set up years of counseling appointments, so we can assure you your problem is more deeply rooted. Like an Idaho Potato.

Are you sure people like you? Sometimes it may seem like it on the surface, but in reality they are making fun of you behind your back. That is just one possibility, so don't go get paranoid or your counseling sessions will need to be extended. If you knew how people really felt about you, you would probably not be such an extrovert. Just saying.

Do you have any flaws yourself? If so, do you dislike yourself or just other people who have flaws?

In our profession, we say what you have is delusions of grandeur as an offshoot of a sick superiority complex. Of course we never use the word "sick" when actually talking to patients. We say this in order to get you into formal counseling. In reality, you are quite inadequate. In fact, your case reminds us of a classic Napoleon-ic syndrome, except you are not being poisoned on an island. (Are you?)

It is really difficult to diagnose and offer treatment by letters in a blog, but we thought we would give it an awkward try. So our counsel is to lighten up and don't be this way anymore. Just try to smile and keep it bottled up inside, would be our free advice. Perhaps take up pottery or fish-gazing.

Thank you for your letter. Please disregard this advice if you work for the government. Or if you are a lawyer.
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In Capital Punishment news:

Virginia just executed its first female a few days ago. First since 1912, I think they said. Well, not first female since 1912 in the U.S., just in Virginia. She sex-hired a couple of guys to kill her husband a few years back for some insurance money. After the sex, they also said the killers wanted a cut of the insurance money, too. The newspaper said she got religion and was always happy and laughing while living on death row. Sobered up quickly when she entered the death chamber, though, witnesses said. A guard compassionately patted her shoulder as she was in mid-croak, the paper said. So I'm guessing it wasn't the electric chair.

In California, Governor Swartzhoweveryouspellhisname had to stay an execution this week. Why? The expiration date on the death drugs had expired at midnight last Thursday. You think I am kidding? This is America. God forbid the killer gets some bad lethal drugs. They are finding some more now to restock the medicine cabinet, I guess.

Cheers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Winged Victory

There has been some unfortunate derogatory female discussion as to whether or not a burnished winged helmet is sufficient in and of itself to attract women. Only Boris was savvy enough to instinctively recognize the truth in this, even to the point of intuiting that the addition of a Camel cigarette in the (probably sneering) lips of the helmeted one would obviously emit enough pheromonic karma to effect a full knee-buckle swoon in even the most too-much-protesting of frails, to not quote Shakespeare. This is pure scientific fact, of course, proven daily by watching the most educated of lab-babes lose the long white lab jackets and involuntarily begin to froth at the wafting passing or even semi-nearness of your standard tatooed long-haired bad boy metalhead lead singer. Also included in the body of evidence (which can be obtained by sending a self-addressed pre-stamped envelope to Boris, along with €200 in currency) is the origin of Conan's third law of conquest, "The more educated and scholarly the female test subject, especially if she has a background in IT, the more shallowly susceptible to raw maleness they are." Or, as Adullamite so concisely explained it recently, "Of course I love you. Now bring me a beer."

I will go ahead and put a paragraph break here, just in case I should have done so above. Not sure. Irish rules of grammar don't really call for paragraph breaks, and Irish rules are what are being used in this post, of course.

I remind you that the IT statement is included in Conan's Canon, and is not something Relax Max himself would ever say or even think, for gosh sakes.

Many of you long-time lovers of truth will remember that I have addressed this phenomenon before within the sacred pages of the earlier incarnation of this award-winning blog, but obviously it needs repeating because some newbie readers of the female persuasion are still living in denial, even delusion.

I could simply put a link to that earlier blog post HERE, but I know none of you will bother going to read it. Hence, the pertinent portion of that storied post's wisdom is repeated below. Please file this on your iPad under "Edify: I stand corrected." Gracias.

The wisdom of how to pick up girls (especially the aloof-feigning ones) is reprinted below. Those of you who would actually jump in the car will remain nameless, but you know who you are.
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As if this [Lidian's] post wasn't sufficiently droll enough on its own merits, it reminded me of another ad on tv about something called a "Mr. Microphone." By Ronco, of course. Ron Popeil is my personal idol, without whom we would never have had the Vegematic or the black string stuff you can spray on bald spots, and so much more. My absolute idol. I swear to god. [Note: I no longer swear to god. And Popeil has been long-since been replaced by Desmond Llewelyn as my invention hero. ]

In the tv commercial, a carload of obnoxious guys pull up at a stoplight next to a babe in another car and one of them harasses her by talking into a cheap plastic microphone that transmits a low quality signal over her car radio. Like she couldn't hear the creep anyway, since they are both in convertibles. You may remember the commercial if you were unfortunate enough to have been alive in the late 1970s and watched late night old movies. That is what the old ad on Lidian's Kitchen Retro reminded me of - that old Mr. Microphone tv commercial.

Right now you are probably thinking wishing hoping that this post is over so you can leave and go drop on someone else, but the Mr. Microphone commercial reminded me of my third digression: that of a carload of young males cruising main street for girls to pick up. Trolling trolls. Maybe you remember.

The way it works is to find an unpopular guy in school who has a car and cram about 15 pimply-faced male adolescents into it, so that several of them are forced to hang out the windows, and then drive slowly down the main drag hoping to pick up a pretty girl. Why? I don't know. Perhaps they somehow dreamed they could all make love to her in the back seat and then drop her off before they ran out of their $2 worth of gas. It doesn't matter because there never seemed to be any girls, pretty or otherwise, who were looking to jump in the back seat of an old car loaded with 15 pimply-faced vulgar-mouthed teenaged virgins. But it was a rite of passage, and I was reminded of it when I thought of the crass dope with Ron Popeil's Mr. Microphone. Which in turn was brought to mind by the even older magazine ad on Lidian's blog about the Radio Microphone that would help you practice your voice. Or whatever.

Here I should be plain, in case any of you new readers get the wrong idea, that Relax Max has never personally participated in any packed-car pimply-faced "Here Chicky Chicky" main street trolling rituals. For the record, Max was cool. Is cool. Whatever. He had his own car and wore sunglasses and smoked filterless Camel cigarettes and therefore never had any trouble getting plenty of sex whenever he wanted it. (This foolproof "Camel Cigarette Sexual Attraction" technique is outlined in another of Lidian's old ad posts.)

No, Max was talking about other boys.
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Brennis, leader of the Gauls at the battle of Allia

The Daily Tribune
A syndicated story by Titus Livius

Dateline 387 BC, more or less.

"In the mean while the Gauls, on hearing that honour was even conferred on the violators of human law, and that their embassy was slighted, inflamed with resentment, over which that nation has no control, immediately snatched up their standards, and enter on their march with the utmost expedition. When the cities, alarmed at the tumult occasioned by them as they passed precipitately along, began to run to arms, and the peasants took to flight, they indicated by a loud shout that they were proceeding to Rome, taking up an immense space of ground, wherever they passed, with their horses and men, their troops spreading widely in every direction. But fame and the messengers of the Clusians, and then of the other states one after another, preceding them, the rapid advance of the enemy brought the greatest consternation to Rome; for, with their tumultuary troops hastily led on, they met them within the distance of the eleventh mile-stone, where the river Allia, descending from the Crustuminian mountains in a very deep channel, joins the river Tiber not far below the road. Already all places in front and on each side were crowded with the enemy, and this nation, which has a natural turn for causeless confusion, by their harsh music and discordant clamours, filled all places with a horrible din."

(Continued on page 13)

Heroic headgear

I have always been a sucker for winged helmets. I find they attract the ladies even better than smoking Camel cigarettes on the beach.

Anyone know who this boy is?

Three points for a right answer. 5 without google.
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Whoever he is (I will say later) he has spared you from reading a very long and boring post about a battle in the American Civil War whose anniversary passed a few days ago.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Love that left and their National Enquirer headlines

On the front page of the Huffington Post yesterday (9.19.10):

"Glenn Beck Mocks Michelle Obama"

Stunned, I breathlessly followed the link to the interior. How did this bastard mock our first lady? Let me at him. On page 2, the horrible story unfolded:

Beck received a standing ovation from the Sears Center crowd when he took the stage, the Chicago Tribune reports. With his chalkboard behind him, Beck discussed many of his usual [hateful?] topics--Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution and God, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He also made fun of First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-junk food campaign:

The Sun-Times reports:

. . [Beck] ridiculed first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to get people to eat healthier snacks like apples or carrots.

"Get away from my french fries, Mrs. Obama," Beck warned. "First politician that comes up to me with a carrot stick, I've got a place for it. And it's not in my tummy."

Sheesh. That's it? He MOCKED the first lady by patting his fat belly and saying he loved french fries? He MOCKED her and her campaign for healthier eating???? HE MOCKED HER????

Most truthful journalists would have used "Beck joked" instead of "Beck warned," Since it was obviously a self-deprecating joke and since the whole audience laughed. Christ - I'm sure Michelle Obama herself would rolling in hysterics on the floor of the White House had she been watching Beck on TV.

Who says the Looney (but dangerous) Left needs to lighten up and grow a sense of humor? I do.

This non-story left me as empty as The Incredible Bat-Faced Boy promised on the front page of the Enquirer.

Kudos to Glenn Beck, a registered Independent, for taking shots at self-righteous idiots on BOTH sides of the political spectrum.

















And Kudos to President Obama for daring to eat a greasy cheeseburger like the rest of us, even knowing Michelle could beat the living crap out of him.

Bonus: here's his birth certificate, Birthers. Read it and weep.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Scotsman

In the late 1950s, Studebaker was living on borrowed time. Studebaker (soon to be Studebaker-Packard) had had a fairly good run, had stayed the course, had lost the battle with the "Big Three" automakers in the U.S.

In one of its last horrifying wheezing death gasps (Avanti was the very last) Studebaker came out, in 1957, with the Studebaker Scotsman. The insultingly named Scotsman was meant to undercut the Big Three cars (of GM, Ford, and Chrysler) and attempt to gain the auto business of....mmmm... the unemployed? Of the FRUGAL I mean. Scotsman, get it? The Scotsman was a stripped down (WAY down) version of Studebaker's allegedly-popular Champion, and it came with a 185 cubic-inch 6-banger that belted out a whopping 101 horsepower, or so Studebaker said in their print ads. This, I'm thinking, was probably enough to catapult the Scotsman from 0-60 in probably 7 or 8 minutes flat, or thereabouts.

The Scotsman came with no frills. It didn't even have chrome except for the bumpers. The trim was removed or painted over. It cost $1,776 in 1957. That's about £30, more or less, if you are REALLY a Scotsman. Well, probably more than that.

Did I say NO frills? I lie: you could choose among blah red, sorrow blue or battleship gray. Over the next 3 years, Studebaker sold about 61 of them. Oh, I'm lying again!

Technically, Studebaker limped on until 1966. It had moved to Canada and was using Chevrolet engines. It died in Hamilton that year. R.I.P.

Anyone care to hazard a guess what a rare (3-year run) mint-condition blah red Scotsman would fetch on on today's collector's market?

Tah-Dah!

$87.

There are no mint Scotsman(s) Scotsmen? and never were. Additionally, the sole collector died in 1997.

Oh! I'm lying again! Take me away!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is economic hard times teaching us anything?

GDP stands for gross domestic product.


Gross domestic product is the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country in one year.


Recession means a temporary economic decline, and is defined as having begun when a country’s GDP falls two quarters in a row.


Since demand for products and services drops during a recession, people lose their jobs; the unemployment rate rises.


The cure for an economic recession is not to “create” jobs but to recreate demand for goods and services; jobs follow.


Economic recessions seem almost cyclical without rhyme or reason, and without regard to what politcal party is in power, and often without being able to point to any specific things the party in power did wrong.


Certainly, logic tells us that the political party in power, or at least the federal government in general, CAN do things to hasten the advent of a recession.


“Uncertainty” is the enemy of both the stock market and robust economic growth in general.


Uncertainty means producers of good and services are reluctant to take chances on expanding their businesses or embark on new business ventures until they are more certain the rules of the game are not going to be changed in mid-investment. When uncertain, money tends to stay on the sidelines in the form of more secure investments such as Treasury Bills, and banks become more and more reluctant to lend money until they find out what the government is going to do.


If nothing bad happens for a while, money begins to seep back into the economy and producers of goods and services begin to take cautious chances little by little.


What can the federal goverment do to create fear and uncertainty in the marketplace, and thereby exacerbate a recession?


What can the federal government do to promote confidence and reduce fear?


If the federal goverment assumes huge paper debts (borrows on whatever is left of its good name) and “injects” that money into the economy to be used to hire and pay workers on temporary jobs, is this action likely to magically make these jobs turn permanent once the money runs out, and thereby make the recession go away?


True, it will put money into the pockets of workers and employers, and, true, they will go out and spend this money. George Bush did much the same thing by simply mailing out checks for $400 to everyone on the tax rolls, but that was hardly a permanent economic fix, either. It did put some money in lots of people's hands and they did spend it. That only works until that temporary money runs out, in my opinion.


No, mailing out money to Americans created only a temporary and false demand for products and services, not true long-term sustainable demand. It helped people sell their goods and services for a few weeks, and it helped a few people get temporary employment, but it didn’t really address the real causes of a recession.


I do realize that what Bush did and what Obama is doing is strictly textbook Keynesian economics, but I am arrogant enough to think I have enough common sense to fly in the face of the experts and enough ignorance to sit here and write my contrary opinions down.


My gut tells me, similarly, that the recent injection of borrowed money into make-work projects (some projects were sorely needed, many we could have lived without), though better than Bush's simple mailout, because we at least got some infrastructure repaired for our money, still didn’t address the real reason we are in a recession. Besides, the government can put billions of dollars into the economy overnight, if it wishes to do so, by simply declaring a payroll tax holiday. I don't think injections of any sort are really the permanent answer.

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Another reason our current recession is deeper than most, borderline depression, is that, for a lot of high-rolling thieves and assorted bad managers, the bubble burst and the rent came due. Bankers and investment brokers had been screwing around with worthless paper for a very long time, without any meaningful oversight hassle from the goverment “watchdogs.” Finally, the Ponzi scam pyramid caved in on them. And did our government finally do the right thing and let them fail and drag them off to jail?


Some others weren’t especially dishonest, but were merely poor managers on a staggering scale: General Motors comes to mind. Did our government make them take their lumps for being terrible money managers?


What have we learned from this recession and its causes? One thing I hope we have learned is to put new laws in place that trigger automatic (mandatory) action on the government’s part, earlier on, when a large corporation or financial institution starts emitting smelly signs of mismanagement.


To me, if a company is truly “too big to be allowed to fail,” then that means that particular business is large enough to affect the lives of many America citizens, and the rules need to be different for that business. I’d like to see the government changing the boards of directors (Warren Buffett would have to sit on each such board, to pay him back for being so financially savvy) and setting up an emergency office there with government auditors and financial experts watching over and approving each contract and financial transaction as long as that large company stays unprofitable. I would like to see a “special master” appointed to oversee badly managed large businesses and brokerage houses. The symptoms in both cases are that common people begin losing their money and jobs because of executive mismanagement practices.


While I'm on this rant, huge corporations that are "too big to fail" should not have the option of building factories in Mexico and exporting American jobs to Mexico as one of their cost-saving measures. Think of something else, boys. Or don't expect a bailout from American workers down the road. And even smaller corporations like Stanley Tools and Polaris ATVs (never buy another snowmobile from Polaris as long as you live, or a screwdriver from Stanley, for that matter) should be sorely penalized when they move off-shore and strand hundreds of loyal American workers in Wisconsin without jobs. Fuck them. No more tax breaks. Tariffs on their now-foreign-made stinking products when they leave the country that made it possible for them to become big in the first place. May I have an amen?


We need to have learned enough to heed warning signs of recession and put rescue plans into place before the ship takes on too much water to save.


The Fed is not the answer anymore, if it ever was.


My opinion.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another 9/11 come and gone. Imagine.

A song by Relax Max (With apologies to John Lennon)


Imagine there’s no liberals

Conservatives gone too

No safety nets below us

Just sunny skies all blue

Imagine all the people

Living so stress-free


Imagine there’s no labels

Just close your eyes and dream

No rudeness or agendas

Only lollies and ice cream

Imagine all the people

Walking hand and hand


You may say that I’m a dreamer

And likely the only one

But I hope someday you’ll join me

We’d all have lots of fun


Imagine there’s no hatred

Nobody calling names

Just working hard together

No need to point or blame

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world


You may say that I’m a dreamer

And likely the only one

But I hope someday you’ll join me

And our world can live as one

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