Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kofi Onan Withdraws

Will Kofi Onan complete his mission in Syria? Or will he suspend operations and withdraw altogether?


Onan to world: "Increase the pressure."

But the world wonders what will it take to RELIEVE the tension in these inflamed parts.

Britain's U.N. envoy warns TIME IS RUNNING OUT! Time? Something is running out for sure. Opportunities are being wasted. In the air and on the ground.

Moby Dick: "There she blows! She blows!''

We can only hope Kofi Onan's plan will "take hold." Indeed. Get a grip on things. Try to relax.

Be bold Kofi! Take the bull by the horns and shake it! Avast Assad!

Far from disengaging, the U.N. Security Council believes "much tougher action" will be required.

Holy Mackerel!

Carrot, stick. Carrot, stick. Thrust, parry. Thrust, parry. Stick and move, stick and move.

Mark Lyall Grant: "Time is clearly running out for the Kofi Onan plan, but ALL OUR ENERGIES ARE FOCUSED ON MAKING THAT PLAN WORK! ASSAD MUST WITHDRAW!

Russia and China have refused to call for his removal.

Onan is on the job.

In-depth coverage brought by Times of India.

In other Indian Times news today: "EUROPE'S CRISIS EXPLODES."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Onan the Barbarian

I don't want to beat this to death.

I only want to have one more go at it before I withdraw from it completely.

I have so many thoughts on this Biblical episode. They are just spilling out.

I am going to try to gather the spunk to make one final thrust at this story. I feel God would want me to go to work on it just one more time, to plant the seed of clarity, if you will.

To begin with, Onan the Barbarian came from good stock. Good, solid, circumcised Hebrew stock. Except, perhaps, for his grandpapa Jacob who screwed his own brother out of his inheritance. But Jacob (later named Israel) went on to have 12 sons (and probably 20 or so daughters that were not important enough to mention in the Bible) and one of those sons was Judah. Except for the great Onan incident, relatively little is said about Judah in the Bible. Mostly, his space is taken up with accounts of his half-brother Joseph whose coat Dolly Parton later wrote a song about.

The important thing to remember, if you are to get a firm grip, a proper grasp, on the situation, is that God gave the (rather gullible) Hebrews a lot of odd laws and practices. The Hebrews followed these practices because .... because... well, God would also smite some of them from time to time.

For example, one afternoon God and Abraham were talking, as they often did. God had promised him great wealth and land and had told Abraham that his (unspilled) seed would multiply for generations. I imagine Abraham nodded solemnly at this thought. Then, out of the blue, God told Abraham that he wanted him to go cut off his foreskin. Whoa! Just like that. With little more emotion than, "Would you pass the bread, please?" And so Abraham hacked it off and from then on out until today, they still do that. God gave them many laws to follow and they did, without actually subjecting the laws to much analysis.

The system of passing down land was apparently another of those laws they followed. Inheritance only was possible if a man had a son to pass on his land to. Obviously, one could not just give the land to his widow, she being a woman and all. If a man died without a son-heir, then there was, apparently, an ensuing land-grab event. And the widow was just told to hit the road. But there was one legal loophole to the land-grabbing, and that is where Onan "came in" so to speak. Actually, there must have been TWO legal loopholes, if you count blackmailing your father-in-law, but that one is hazy at best. This being before the days of artificial insemination, enter Onan the Barbarian.

Incidentally, if you didn't see the movies about Arnold the Barbarian, then much of this is not very funny to you. There's a good chance it isn't anyway.

There are many unanswered questions in my mind. Or, if they ARE answered in the Bible, they remain unread by me. For exampe, was Onan married with children? If so, what did his wife or wives have to say about this law-enforced adultery? After God killed Onan, did they just tell his wife to get off Onan's homestead too? And besides, weren't they all Egyptian slaves by this time? They didn't have any land to inherit in Egypt. Grandpa Jacob was old by now and they would have been in Egypt. By gosh, I want to have that cleared up! Was Onan a stone-cutter by trade? Or just working with wood? Inquiring minds would like some answers.

The thing to remember is that Onan disobeyed God's law. Once you are clear on that point, then killing Onan after the fact, even in a barbaric manner, seems a reasonable thing to do. At this point, I am going to withdraw from this saga. I will admit I didn't read far enough to find out if Onan had a younger brother who could rise up and carry on.

[Semi-obscene animation removed from this spot]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hats to Habits: Following the Links

There are so many links in Wikipedia articles. Rather than finding this overkill annoying, I like to follow them. Quickly I drift far away from the subject I was originally researching. But I am a drifter.


Rudeboys were (are?) from the poorer sections of Kingston, Jamaica. In the 1960s, they dressed "sharply" in nice suits and those narrow ties. They wore HATS, commonly "Trilby" or "Pork Pie" hats.

Trilby hats and Pork Pie hats are both of the fedora family.

A fedora is a felt hat, worn mostly by men, with a crease in the (round) crown and pinched at the front.

A Porkpie hat has a flat-topped crown. The crown is not as tall as a regular fedora. Sometimes Pork Pie hats are made out of straw, like "boaters."

A Trilby hat is like the ones men used to wear from about 1958 on through the mid 1960s. Elvis Presley wore a Trilby around his house. The detective in the original Psycho movie wore a Trilby. They were everywhere.

A boater is a straw hat with a hard flat lowish crown and a hard brim. Think Gay 90s. Think Maurice Chevalier. Boaters were worn by liberated women as well. Think suffragettes. Think Gibson Girls. Women often held their boaters (and other hats) in place by "hatpins."

"A hatpin is a decorative pin for holding a hat to the head, usually by the hair." [I boggle: "usually" by hair? An option is to simply drive the pin directly into the skull??] "In Britain, demand eventually outgrew the number that could be supplied by hand-making, and they began to be imported from France." [Where they did NOT have to be hand-made?? He wonders.]

The hatpin was invented to hold wimples and veils in place. Wait for it...

A wimple (as you all know, of course) is a garment worn around the neck and chin, which usually also covers the head. Worn by medieval women because it was unseemly for a woman to show her hair. Also, even today, in some cases, part of a religious habit.

A "habit" (never to be confused with a "hobbit") is a distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order, especially those leading an ermetic or anachoritic life.

Ermetic derives from "hermit" which denotes "seclusion" - a secluded life. An Anchorite is one who "departs to the countryside" or "withdraws." [Digressive psychobabble begins here] When Max connects religion with the "habit" of withdrawal, his doggie-mind harkens back to Biblical times (as I'm sure yours does too) to the story of Tamar and Onan. Not the famous Tamar, King David's unfortunate daughter, but an earlier Tamar before the King David era. (King David's daughter Tamar was the one who was raped by her half brother.) So... this guy named Onan was given the assignment to impregnate his dead brother's wife, the EARLIER Tamar. You'd think they would use different names. In those days, not sure why, it was the thing to do for the brother to do his dead brother's widow until "he gave her a child." This is true. Swear to God. May God strike Adullamite down if I am lying about this. So it came to pass, verily, that brother-in-law Onan became the widowed Tamar's unwilling fill-in husband. Now, Onan gave his name to the practice of Onanism - unfairly, because Onan did not choke his chicken but rather, umm.... "withdrew" much like a later Anchorite might do, or, as the Good Book puts it, he spilt his seed. But not where God wanted him to spill it so God was pissed. It occurs to me that God participated in the daily intimate affairs of men back in those days more than He does now.

Pork Pie
Choke the Chicken

That about covers it, I think. Thank you for your attention.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jesse Jackson Demagoguing Again

Surely Jesse Jackson is not so ignorant of American history that he really believes the nonsense he is now again spouting about "only three-fifths human." Nobody but the most racist of haters still believe that old story anymore, do they? But Jesse said it again today, and for the same old reason: to further inflame racial hatred against whites by a specific group of African Americans. What is his point? What has he got to gain? - his followers who believe his ignorant demagoguery already dislike white people in America. I suppose they are the people who keep him well-fed and well-housed, so he must periodically lie to them to keep the racial hatred fires burning. If the fires go out, he is out of a job.

What set Jesse off this time? An athletic shoe company named Adidas was about to release a new shoe which had a plastic chain attached to it, running up to an ankle shackle. Poor taste? It doesn't even rise to poor taste. They are scumballs for trying to make money off the misery of slavery. After an uproar, Adidas backed off and isn't going to sell the shoe after all. They say the concept of the shoe had nothing at all to do with slavery. Right.

And yet, it might have not been a totally bad idea for Jesse's cause for the shoe to have made its way into the marketplace. Ask yourself who would have bought it, or worn it if not bought. I say not Asian office workers. I say not black businessmen. I say it would be worn by the cool foul-mouthed dudes of the hip-hop culture and the same ones who like to get their arms branded in black college fraternities. The only purpose for this kind of stuff is to make white people who see it feel embarrassed or ashamed or self-conscious. Anything that can do that is cool in the hip hop community. I'm sure you get the logic: people who have never been slaves trying to make people who have never owned slaves feel bad. The reward is to continue racism for yet another generation. Anyway. The shoe would have sold well to that group and for that reason. Hip white kids would then also buy them as a gesture of sympathy to the cause of their oppressed brothers and sisters. Adidas would have made a killing. Jesse Jackson should have just let the scenario play out. But his bread is buttered by stoking racial hatred.

Now, if the Rev. Jesse Jackson had only denounced the shoe as a bad idea that was hurtful to black people who remembered the history of slavery in the U.S., that would have been just fine. And whites of good will should have joined him in denouncing the insensitivity of Adidas. But no, Jesse couldn't stop at that. He had to demagogue. That's his stock in trade. So he brings up this tired lie about the U.S. Constitution. Jesse knows its a lie, and he knows he is lying to his followers when he talks about it, but he still does it after knowing the truth all these years. That sucks. From the AP news story today:

"The attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our Constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive," said Jesse Jackson, one of the most high-profile critics.

Rev. Jackson is right that the part about black slaves being counted as only three-fifths of a person was certainly originally in the constitution in 1787, though long since amended. But wouldn't it be more helpful and healing if he went on to explain what was REALLY going on in the minds of the constitution writers at that time, instead of letting it stand as "proof" that white people then only considered blacks as less than a "real" person? Wouldn't it? So why doesn't he? Because the truth would be detrimental to his goal of keeping his followers nodding their heads in unison about bad white people.

The truth? There would have been no United States of America without the southern states being a part of it. At that time the South had slaves in great quantity. If the northern states wanted the South to join their proposed union, there would have to be a compromise. That compromise was to agree to continue to allow the importation of slaves until the year 1808 (congress later outlawed the further importation of slaves effective January 1, 1808.) The South wanted something else: they wanted their slaves counted in the census enumeration so that they could have more representatives in congress. The northern states rebelled at this demand. They felt (rightly) that the black slaves would still not have representatives in congress arguing their cause; their white owners would just have more representation in congress. The South would not give up on this demand entirely (and they were very powerful, especially Virginia; without Virginia there would have been no union) but the north at least was able to back them down a bit. Just a bit. Virginia and the others finally agreed to count only three-fifths of their slaves in the census. That still gave them more representation in congress than they should have been entitled to, and make no mistake: that representation did not represent black slaves. It gave lopsided representation to black slave owners. But a union was forged, an imperfect union that would be under constant construction over the next centuries.

So Jesse Jackson is still telling his followers that the dirty old white men who started this country believed that their slave ancestors were only three-fifths of a man. And there he stops.

In other news, Rodney King drowned Sunday. I think it was Sunday. Rodney King of the infamous LA police beating and subsequent race riots in LA. It was Rodney King who said afterward, "Can't we all just get along?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Collecting and Cataloging

Basically a cataloger is a collector. If the cataloger is employed as a cataloger, the collecting is done for him. If the cataloger is a hobbyist, he has a subject of interest and he collects all things related to it. For example, if the subject is music, he will not only collect (and catalog) various genres of music, but will likely collect books about music, concert programs, and even articles from magazines about music.

There are collector-catalogers for practically any subject one can conjure up. Museums (probably the biggest of the collector-catalogers, right after libraries) are often funded by universities or cities. If one doesn’t personally like to collect, most people still like to go look at the collections of others (in museums, usually.)

Collecting and cataloging seems to be an analytical exercise. People seem to have an urge to collect and classify as many examples within their field of interest as they can, sometimes doing it over their entire lifetime. Those who collect but don’t catalog may have large collections, but they are just stored in boxes in the attic - or all over their house. An unordered collection is not very useful to the collector or anyone else.

I have often thought about the psychology of collecting, but haven’t come up with an explantion for it that is very satisfying. I haven’t found anyone else who has either. Perhaps a need to preserve and document. If so, that still doesn’t tell us why there is a need felt inside a collector to do that.

If anyone has a theory, I would love you to talk about it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Make money online with your blog

I tried to find out what people like and want online by checking out the big sites that have a lot of visitors. There are a few categories. One big categoriy are blogs and sites that encourage visiter participation, such as political blogs and newspaper letters to the editor. These sites get huge traffic numbers and make millions yearly on selling advertising.

Another major category of large traffic websites, a category that has interested me (I am a collector and analyst by nature) are the ones I call “reference” sites. Dynamic database sites, mostly. The best example I can think of right now is the huge movie database site IMDb dot com. You have probably visited it. If you are a movie person, this site has answer to every movie trivia question you might ever have.

There are database or “reference” sites on just about every category you can imagine. I found one the other day on Greatest Trials in History. I like crime, criminals, trials. There are other database type sites on the American Old West, for example. The old gunfighters and like that. And sports sites, info on every baseball player or boxer you can imagine. Some of these sites are slick dynamic sites (where the visitor can enter his own additional data about the subject, like editing wikipedia or adding bio information on the movie site) and some are just plain websites with page links. Many are blogs. You can do a lot of info with blog posts on various trials or crimes or gunfighters or recipes. Databases, more or less, but a reference library too.

If you have a good one, an interesting subject, you will get lots of visitors and lots of links and lots of repeats. Then you can sell adverts, either general or specific to your subject. I would think you could make some money by running even a very specilized niche database site. Of course, if you are not into research or learning new things all the time, then this would be boring for you to collect stuff. I wouldn’t recommend trying to set up an info blog or site on a subject you are not really personally interested in.

But that still leaves the question of how to get traffic initially. I don’t know how to get traffic except through advertising. Commenting on other blogs is advertising. Using the proper words in the title to your page or the title of your post is advertising. So are proper labels and the use of keywords in your blog body or site article. Of course, advertising can be purchased, but, except for adsense, perhaps, I would wait a bit and try the free ways first. “Free” means getting more and more traffic because Google sends it to you. In that sense, your own writing and layout and attention to words are your best advertisement.

Have enough good, interesting stuff to bring people back. Think of some subject you like, then think of some type of reference material related to that subject that would make people want to check back frequently.

Making money with a website or blog is a matter of thinking of ways to get large numbers of people to visit you. That needs to be your primary goal. If you want to be successful at making money online, spend time researching the ways other people are using to get people to visit. Make sure your site is interesting so when they get there they will want to stay a while and want to come back. Be interesting. At least to your niche audience.

Friday, June 15, 2012

How to make a killing with your blog

Isn't that a catchy title for a blog post? I did it for the SEO, of course, in an effort to suck in the newbies and desperate housewives who still haven't lost hope of getting rich on the internet.

The prime requirement to making money with a blog (or a traditional website for that matter) is deceptively simple because it requires only one ingredient. If you have that one ingredient, the other things you have to do will fall into place. If you have that one essential ingredient, you will make money with your blog or other website. In fact, it would be quite difficult NOT to make money if your blog has that one essential ingredient. In all cases, the amount of money you can make online is directly proportional to the amount of that one ingredient your blog must have.

Holy Mackerel, but this is already starting to sound like a teaser lead-in to a squeeze page. Fear not, nothing is being sold on this blog.

Of course that un-secret essential ingredient is “traffic.”  You could have a pretty boring and sloppy blog and still make a huge amount of money if you have huge amounts of traffic. Of course, that is a stupid statement, because you can’t be boring and sloppy and still have a lot of traffic. Be that as it may, traffic is more important than good grammar when it comes to making money online with a blog.

[Was that a sigh of relief from Adullamite I just heard? Upon leaning good grammar is not required?]

If you google “how to make money online” you will get about 5 billion, 230 million results. That's true - I just googled it. I have never seen that many results returned on a Googled subject. Wow. (that was Googled on images, not sites, though. Still, there are almost 2 BILLION sites returned if you do it that way.)

This tells me that one common way to make money online must be telling other people how to make money online, for a price. Read: “Buy my book which explains my incredibly original and secret system for getting rich on the internet and which includes an additional 57 FREE eBooks with your book order of only $29.99.” So don’t bother Googling like I just did.

Most of these secret systems will tell you how to choose a product to sell and how to buy Google Adwords and how to OPTIMIZE YOUR SEO and how to set your site up in such a way that the book author gets a link and a cut of your money. And more. There is surprisingly little real information about how to get tons and tons of traffic to your website (unless you count the HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SEO part.) Sadly, that is the part you really need to know and work on.

Ask yourself why hundreds of thousands of people would want to visit your blog or other website. Again, the answer is deceptively simple but hard to achieve. Answer: these multitudes of people would visit you because you have something they WANT and LIKE and ENJOY. See? So simple.

All of you, practically, already have blogs. If so, you already have traffic in varying degrees. People blog for many reasons, and making money with their blog is often not that reason. This blog you are reading right now is one such example. I have no affiliate ads in my sidebar and not even any Google ads. This is because this particular blog is just a place for me to hear myself talk, meet interesting people and (often) argue with them. This blog attracts intellectuals. Smart people. Usually liberal people. But very FEW of them. I could fill the sidebars of this blog with adverts and never make a dollar. Probably. This is because, in the world of assessing WHAT PEOPLE WANT, reading the pontifications and ramblings of an imaginary little dog is low on their list of burning desires. But you can do better.

(Continued next time: (what people seem to want”)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Never Been To Spain. Either.

Well I never been to Spain
But I kinda like the music
Say the ladies are insane there
And they sure know how to use it
The don't abuse it
Never gonna lose it
I can't refuse it

Well I never been to England
But I kinda like the Beatles
Well, I headed for Las Vegas
Only made it out to Needles
Can you feel it
It must be real it
Feels so good
Oh, feels so good

Well I never been to heaven
But I been to Oklahoma
Well they tell me I was born there
But I really don't remember
In Oklahoma, not Arizona
What does it matter
What does it matter

Listen to the song

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chemical Warfare

Chemical weapons are classified as weapons of mass destruction. In addition to chemical weapons, other weapons in the "mass destruction" category include biological weapons and radiological and nuclear weapons. Chemical concoctions of this nature, and their delivery systems, have no alternate civilian application; they are instruments of war.

The first (and most famous) example of a chemical weapon used in military combat that I could find is mustard gas, so-called because of it's smell of mustard or horseradish or garlic - not because it is made from the oil of a  plant of the mustard family (such as rapeseed.) The blistering and often fatal inhalation of mustard gas comes from sulfur. Sulfur mustard is made by treating sulfur dichloride with ethylene.

Mustard gas was first produced in mass quantities by the Germans in WWI, used mostly by the Germans in that war against the British and their allies. Mustard gas can be delivered by several means. Artillery shells were a primary method of choice in WWI. Since the chemical lingers on the ground for days and weeks, it was used as a "territory denial" agent as well as being fired directly at and over troops on battlefields. Ict should be noted that a gas mask is insufficient protection against mustard gas, even when used properly, because the gas attacks unprotected skin as well. Although chemical warfare is primarily a province of the military, it has also become a favorite of terrorists and crackpot groups (especially in subways.)

Chemical warfare also includes the nerve agents as well as the blister death methods. The category includes all poison gasses, really. Here are notable instances in history where chemical weapons (as we know them today) have been used on a large scale:


1. In WWI by the Germans; by both sides towards the end of the war.

2. By the UK against the Red Army in 1919.

3. By Spain and France against insurgents in Morocco 1921-1927.

4. By Italy in Libya in 1930.

5. By the Soviet Union in China in 1934, and again in 1936-1937.

6. By Italy against Abyssinia (Ethiopia) 1935-1940.

7. Nazi Germany against Poland and the Soviet Union in a few instances in WWII. (And Poland against Germany in one isolated incident.)

8. By the Japanese against China 1937-1945.

9. By Egypt against North Yemen 1963-1967.

10. By Iraq against Iran 1983-1988.

11. By Iraq against the Kurds, 1988.

12. Probably by Sudan against the civil war insurgents in 1995 and 1997.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Soooo... do we bash Basher, or what?

There's more news today of the "unrest" in Syria.

More massacres of civilians by the Syrian dictator. U.N. investigators thwarted.

What should we do? What should we do?

Choices available:

1. Take military action to overthrow the present cruel regime and thereby secure the blessings of sweet liberty to the oppressed Syrian people, just as we did in Iraq.

2. Let the U.N. "handle" the situation. (Translation: let thousands of people continue to die while the U.N. bumbles and stumbles along with years of fact-finding missions, carefully worded condemnations, and, of course, scores of "resolutions.") Meanwhile, be very vocal in our condemnation of the terrible tyrant dictator, but from a distance. Try to make political points against Russia and China by framing them as uncaring supporters of ruthless dictators.

3. If an organized resistance happens to evolve, support it with limited military aid and advice.

4. Do nothing. Mind our own business. Work on our own troubles at home. Use money borrowed from China to feed our own hungry rather than giving the borrowed money to Syrian Freedom Fighters.

Oh, my. It is a poser. It is a real pickle.

The last one seems tempting, but still fraught with many pitfalls.

Are there any other options that come to mind?

Some main points to keep in mind:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Growing Out of Control

Well, the next thing she found was a little cake: and it had the words "EAT ME" marked on it. So of course she set to work and ate it up. And THEN what do you think happened to her? No, you'll never guess! I shall have to tell you again.

She grew and she grew, and she grew. Taller than she was before! Taller than ANY child! Taller than any grown-up person! Taller, and taller, and taller! Just look at the picture, and you'll SEE how tall she got!

—Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In the beginning, in 1788, George Washington's cabinet consisted of 4 departments: State, Treasury, War, and Attorney General. Can you history buffs name the first heads of these 4 departments? Jefferson, Hamilton, Knox, Randolph. Easy. Sadly, Jay Leno received 3 answers starting with, "Barack Obama?...??....???" Yet, while American's knowledge of their government has plummeted over the years, the size of their government has grown much faster than Alice and her cake or mushrooms or whatever it was.

In addition to the above named Executive Branch of our early government, we also had a congress, consisting of 26 Senators and 65 Representatives. I was not there, but it is a pretty good bet that their first order of business was probably to start dividing themselves up into committees. Or perhaps that only came after the issue of fringe benefits was debated.

Even with this, I am pretty sure there was yet not a House Foreign Affairs Committe, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversite. Most of you will be relieved to hear that there is one today.

Now, that is no longer quite true. You see, the House Foreign Affairs Committe, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Righs, and Oversite was apparently not able to cope with all its business, so, recently, it was broken up into two separate subcomittees: the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; and the Human Rights folks became the Subcommitte on Africa, Global Heath, and Human Rights. I'm assuming the House thought there was no longer any U.S. domestic heath or human rights problems, and that those things belonged under the heading of "Africa." On the other hand, there is already an entire Executive Branch Cabinet-level Department of Health and Human Services, or used to be, unless it has been broken up and subcommitteed out. Now, I should hasten to add, that our Department of Health and Human Services used to be a subcabinet subdepartment under the old HEW (Health, Education, and Welfare) - what folly it was back in the 1960s to ask one department to do all of that under one roof! Or under one "big tent" as the politicians are fond of saying.

Yes, our government is too big and out of control. Sadly, it seems to be the main model for the United Nations internal organization, which is what I really wanted to talk about here today before my preface again outgrew (get it? "outgrew"?) my main thesis. Talk about grossly obese, bloated, and top-heavy bureaucracies. Oh, my, god. OMG OMG. Please tune in next time. This would be funny if it weren't actually YOUR money I am talking about here. If only we could pattern (patten?) ourselves after the clean and efficient, lean and mean, government of the U.K.

My thoughts keep returning to Alice's Cake. Dear U.S. government: EAT ME!


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