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30 July 2006

will they wiggle for you? they wiggled for me.

Images created by Davide P. Cervone
of Union College Mathematics Department.

Okay so like we live in a 3-D world. If you want, you can call us Spacelanders. We can go right and left, forward and backwards, up and down. And that's it.

But Flatlanders are stuck in a 2-dimensional world. They can go right and left, and they can go forward and backwards. And that's it.

They're straight lines, triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, etc., all the way up to circles, but they have no thickness; they live their entire existence travelling around within a plane.

From time to time, a Flatlander claims to have had a weird "encounter" with a strange 2-D shape that appears first as a point, then grows into a 2-D shape like a circle, triangle, square, polygon, then it shrinks again down to a point, then vanishes again. A Flatlander who has one of these bizarre experiences runs screaming to tell the Authorities all about what he saw. The Authorities immediately lock him up in an insane asylum for life.

What's really going on in these encounters is that a Solid 3-D object "falls" from above the Flatland Plane, intersects with the Plane, and then falls below the Plane again, vanishing from Flatland altogether. But while the Solid intersects the Plane, the Flatlander sees plane slices of the descending Solid.

"Flatland" by Edwin Abbott Abbott is a wonderful story about life in Flatland, as told by a Square who had one of these weird encounters with a Solid Object, and when he tried to explain the 3rd Dimension to his neighbors, he was immediately locked in an asylum for life.

If you Leave a Comment asking what the top image is, I'll report you to Homeland Security because you're probably a terrorist. The top image is of something that can't possibly exist intersecting through another thing that can't possibly exist. Everybody knows there's no such thing as dimensions greater than 3.

29 July 2006

the Japanese pie chart -- NOW SOLVED!

I just got this in a spam e-mail today. If anybody can tell me what 49, 21, 16 and 14 percent of something or other represent, I'd really appreciate it. 6 percent of me thinks it could be important.


* Now talking in #tokyochat
{Droog4} konichi-wa
{Droog4} also hi
{Droog4} also salaam shalom howdy aloha buna privet salut bonjour
{JellyFish} pooper
{pooper} bellyfish
{JellyFish} hahha
{pooper} jellybelly
{JellyFish} i am going to sleep
{pooper} ok
{JellyFish} pooper cooper
{Droog4} goodnite jellyfish
{pooper} nite nite
{JellyFish} nite pooper, nite Droog4, nite Eijii, nite yavie-f, nite all ~~~~~~~
{yavie-f} night
{JellyFish} oyasuminasai
* yavie-f huggles JellyFish
{pooper} oyasumi
* JellyFish has quit IRC (Quit: Gone Fishing @}+++++{)
{Droog4} okay who can help me please with a little Japanese translation problem?
{Droog4} don't make me sing karaoke thru your computer speakers
{Droog4} i know every one of ABBA's Greatest Hits
* Droog4 installs new karaok-e software
* Droog4 plugs in microphone
{Droog4} for my first song thru your speakers i will sing "Dancing Queen"
{yavie-f} Droog4 try #learnjapanese
{Droog4} hi yavie!
{Eijii} pooper is the only one here who sings karaoke daily
{Droog4} hi Eijii!
{Droog4} no this is a tiny little problem
{Eijii} Hi Droog4!!
{Droog4} i got this e-mail spam today
{Droog4} it has a pie chart in Japanese
{yavie-f} ok
{yavie-f} explain i
{Droog4} what is it???
{Eijii} is that ur blog?
{Droog4} that is my wonderful brilliant highly entertaining blog, yes
{Eijii} ok
{Eijii} are you just trying to make us read it :P
{Eijii} u sneaky blogger
{Eijii} looks like a chart of employment
{Droog4} oh, after translating the mysterious pie chart, please feel free to spend the rest of your lives reading my wonderful blog, that would do me a great honor and pleasure
{Droog4} i think morigen a long time ago helped me with a Japanese problem for my blog
{Eijii} furiitaa is someone who only works part time
{Eijii} OL is an office lady
{Droog4} which percentage is furiitaa?
{Eijii} 14%
{Eijii} Im a furiitaa :P
* Droog4 DCCs pizza with double anchovies to Eijii
{Eijii} 21% is gakusei
{Eijii} or student
{Eijii} I dont really know what the rest is
{Droog4} that's a huge amount more than I knew before i asked
* Droog4 knowledge of pie chart = 0 percent
{Eijii} funny someone would spam you that though :p
{Eijii} maybe it's a political message
{Droog4} yes, but i get all sorts of inexplicable spam from Asia
{Droog4} i spent my school language years learning a language all of whose speakers died in 750 AD
{Droog4} except the Pope, he and I chat on the phone once or twice a week
{Eijii} Im taking latin next year
{Droog4} Eijii i hope you like it, it really is a very nifty tool for travelling all over Europe and South America
{Droog4} you will not get lost or wind up in jail
{Eijii} I don't have a habit of :P
{Droog4} but be careful of Bulgaria, when they shake their head from side to side, that means YES and when they shake their head up and down, that means NO
{Droog4} you could end up married
* TheWrongGuy has joined #tokyochat
{Eijii} :|
* yavie-f sets mode: +v TheWrongGuy
* yavie-f sets mode: +v Droog4
{Droog4} there's a really cool filthy novel your Latin teacher won't give you: Satyricon by Petronius. It's sort of like Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" but from 100 AD
{Eijii} oh
{Droog4} ty yavie-f
{yavie-f} yw
{Droog4} Eijii i will memorialize you on my blog when i explain the pie chart
{Eijii} I think we'll get Commentarii de bello gallico
{Droog4} yes, they always start with Caesar
{Droog4} and i think I know why
{Droog4} he wrote his Latin in a very simplified way
{Droog4} he only uses the present tense
{Eijii} yah
{Droog4} I think he knew this was a shortcut to becoming popular forever
{Droog4} Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres
{Droog4} he himself admired Cicero even though he had Cicero executed
* Droog4 falls asleep from boredom listening to his own Latin lesson
{Eijii} the last is married women
{Droog4} oh, the Satyricon -- you can Rent The Video -- Fellini made it into a really great movie!
{Droog4} ah thank you
{Eijii} I have seen some fellini movies
{Droog4} just last week for the first time I saw (very young) Donald Sutherland in Fellini's "Cassanova," it was totally wild and beautiful
{Eijii} I read an article on him a few days ago at work, forgot the occasion
{Droog4} Fellini or Sutherland?
{Eijii} sutherland
* Droog4 whores his blog further: Older posts are
{Droog4} I think he's my all-time favorite actor
{Droog4} his first Hollywood screen test, they told him he was ugly and weird-looking and had no future in movies
{Droog4} okay i am very grateful for letting me bother you nice folks, and thanks so much for the translation!
{Eijii} welcome
{Eijii} Im not sure what the last part means though :p
{Droog4} don't forget to Leave COmments if you waste portions of your lives reading vleeptron
{Droog4} maybe it's "people who do no work whatsoever but live like parasites off their parents"
{Eijii} yah :p
{Droog4} if you figure it out, leave a Comment
{Eijii} yah sure
* Droog4 dccs sashimi to everyone on chann
* Droog4 dccs Kraft Vegemite to those who are in Australia
{Droog4} (nasty stuph)
{Droog4} wait a sec, i will see if I can find the first time somebody on #tokyochat helped my pathetic ignorant blog
{Eijii} lol
{Droog4} I found it! I think morigen sent me the ideograms for Hiroshima and Nagasaki
{Droog4} if those ideograms really mean "shoelaces" and "halvah," don't tell me
* Droog4 vanishes now in gratitude
* Disconnected

studio executive expresses his disappointment with Lindsay Lohan

Clicking might help.

We've searched the entirety of Planet Earth today,
from Antarctica to the North Pole, from Lebanon and Israel to Ethiopia and Somalia, from Washington DC to Moscow, and this is the only important or significant news happening on Earth. Nothing else is happening.

"Georgia Rule" is -- or maybe someday will be -- or maybe someday won't be -- a movie currently in production, produced by Morgan Creek Productions, whose chief executive is 70-year-old James Robinson, a notoriously blunt movie executive.

Robinson's letter mysteriously appeared in Agence-Vleeptron Presse's mailbox with 934 BCC addressees. There's a leak at Morgan Creek.

"Georgia Rule" stars -- or maybe will star -- or maybe won't star -- Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman, and some 20-year-old hot babe named Lindsay Lohan. I'm sorry I can't tell you when "Georgia Rule" will be released in theaters. James Robinson doesn't know, either.

The letter was hand-delivered to Ms. Lohan at the Chateau Marmont hotel. I don't know if she tipped the messenger or not.

A-VP apologizes for its lack of an audio dimension to this story, but we recommend you find an mp3 of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and run it in the background.

If you have ever seen a motion picture with Lindsay Lohan, or partied with Lindsay Lohan, or been at the scene of one of her car accidents, please Leave A Comment.


* Speechless (2007) (announced) .... Sara
* A Woman of No Importance (2007) (pre-production)
* Georgia Rule (2007) (filming) .... Rachel
* Chapter 27 (2007) (post-production) (attached) .... Jude
* Bobby (2006) (post-production) .... Diane

* Just My Luck (2006) .... Ashley Albright
* "Saturday Night Live"
- Episode #31.17 (2006) TV Episode .... Host
- Episode #29.18 (2004) TV Episode .... Host
* Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards '06 (2006) (TV)
* A Prairie Home Companion (2006) .... Lola Johnson
* Herbie Fully Loaded (2005) .... Maggie Peyton
* "That '70s Show"
- Mother's Little Helper (2004) TV Episode .... Danielle
* "King of the Hill"
- Talking Shop (2004) TV Episode (voice) .... Jenny Medina
* Mean Girls (2004) .... Cady Heron
* Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004) .... Mary Elizabeth Cep/Lola
* Freaky Friday (2003) .... Anna Coleman
* Get a Clue (2002) (TV) .... Lexy Gold
* "Bette" (2000) TV Series .... Rose #1 (2000)
* Life-Size (2000) (TV) .... Casey Stuart

* The Parent Trap (1998) .... Hallie Parker/Annie James
... aka Disney's The Parent Trap (USA: complete title)
* "Late Night with David Letterman"
- Episode dated 29 October 1992 (1992) TV Episode (uncredited) .... Trick-or-Treater Dressed as Garbage

27 July 2006

assorted platonic objects

Clicking is probably good.

They don't exist in our universe and spacetime.

We can't have contact with them with our senses. We can only make contact with them through our intellect.

They exist unchanged in a Locus which is eternal. Their existence is independent of the existence of human beings. If we never existed, they would always have existed, and always will exist.

Each image had never been seen by humans until a human specified equations and data points for a computer to draw it. But the platonic object the image represents had always existed. So a human cannot invent a platonic object; a human can only be the first to discover it.

They are Perfect (like perfect circles, perfectly straight lines, dimensionless points, etc.); nothing in our Universe of matter and energy is perfect or immune from decay, entropy, disorder or corruption.

The Pythagoreans (e-mail Vleeptron for a Membership Application) believe that Number is the Ultimate Reality. The stuff we bumble around in, and in which we are currently having a senseless ultraviolent war with yet no end in sight, is just a pale distortion of the ultimate numerical reality. The more we think our Reality is the Ultimate Reality, the more we need new eyeglasses or a hearing aid. Of course this isn't Reality. Who in his right mind would design such a place, inhabit it with sentient creatures, and then subject them to all this crap?

In the Platonic Locus, we can experience a seemingly infinite volume of Absolute Objective Non-Personal Truth. Where do you get much of that around here?

I filched all of these, Leave A Comment if you want to know where from.

25 July 2006

high school pal e-mails Bob, Bob replies

War refugee and baby at a shelter
in a school in Beirut. (Agence-France Presse)

----- Original Message -----
From: M***** G****
Sent: 7/24/2006 10:01:22 PM
Subject: RE: Bob of Vleeptron on BBC World Service today!!! Soon! Quick!Schnellst! Pronto! immediatement!

Can you summarize for me the viewpoints discussed, especially yours?



From: Robert Merkin
To: M***** G****
Date: 7/25/2006 1:08:15 AM
Subject: big dustup on the phones at BBC

Hey hey M*****!

Oh, okay, a summary. Well, uhh, try to imagine a big angry screaming fight between a dozen family members, like maybe at a big wedding reception the week before the Bush-Gore presidential election. Only worse, bombs are dropping and everybody's got automatic weapons.

The poor BBC radio host -- very un-ethnic proper BBC Brit -- was trying to keep everybody on the narrow question of whether Rice's trip to the region could possibly extinguish the conflict, but everybody on the phone from all over the world was pouring out sixty years of concentrated outrage and frustration from two (maybe more) entirely opposite viewpoints. I'm certain that when the hour segment ended, the poor man staggered across the street to get drunk and pray that tomorrow's topic will be about a flower controversy in Kent.

With my one brief opportunity to scream, I represented the American old hippie peacenik army vet viewpoint, and said we all need to get ready for a big shock: There are now limits to what the world's mightiest superpower can achieve, and Rice's visit was nothing more than "flooded basement" diplomacy -- so removed from the deep festering root causes of the conflict, which American diplomacy had neglected for decades, that she could hope to do nothing except offer a bit of humanitarian relief.

Then the audio engineer turned my pot down to let the other eighteen enfuriated people from Beirut to Nigeria to Jerusalem to Atlanta have their chances to scream at each other. Moiself perhaps included, nearly everyone represented a rigid, entrenched position with clear ideas of Whose Fault All This Was. Culprits mentioned prominently were Hezbollah, the Israelis -- not much distinction made between the government and the people -- Syria, Iran, the Bush administration, the European Union (for doing nothing).

My cord phone wasn't giving a good signal, so the producer called me on Cynthia's cell phone, and I ended up wandering all over the front lawn to find the invisible sweet spot while my cats stared at me in confusion.

This was my second BBC radio roundtable show; in February, my screwy blog caught their attention and I was invited to babble about Google's censored search engine in China. Compared to yesterday's mess, that (human rights vs. obligations to shareholders) was a dainty tea party at the Shoreham.

I can't recall the last time you and I exchanged a political opinion, but the topic was probably about the New Frontier or Civil Rights marches or possibly Sputnik. Well, here we are thrust into 2006, two American Jews shaken by what could be the prelude to World War 3 or, as the fundamentalists cheer for, the Armageddon preceeding the End Times. Forgive me if I inadvertently step on a toe or press a hot button. Forgive me if I natter on too long.

It's the dismay of my life that these faiths and ethnicities haven't been able to construct some grudging kind of peace -- perhaps on the order of the French and the English, who still detest one another, but now confine themselves to insults and wine and cheese trade disputes.

I spend a lot of time in the Netherlands. Amsterdam has 28 mosques (locally pronounced moh-SKAY), and the mayor is a Jew named Cohen. Everybody gets along, Muslims think they get a fair shake from the government and the community, and the last thing they'd ever want to do is go back to North Africa or the Moluccas. Likewise the Jews there don't want to go anywhere else, either the Slavic hell they came from, or to Israel. An Egyptian lunch counter guy on Middleeastraat pointed to an Israeli restaurant and said: "We don't all love each other. But we all moved here, because here our kids don't have to murder each other every fifteen years." I think it's Paradise, a sort of Grudging, Realistic, Violence-Free (or Violence-Lite) Paradise. Detroit/Dearborn has also evolved a community of Muslims and Jews all shoving their kids through the public schools toward good colleges with about the same amount of violence we experienced at Wilson.

Let me know if you want to hear more, or if you want to hear less. But it's always a swell day for me when the phone rings and it's a BBC producer wanting to talk to Bob the Yank Blogger. Doubly swell to hear from M*****!

I hope all's well with you. Love to all you hang with from Olde Tymes.


24 July 2006

Vleeptron notices a few things

Vleeptron has faithful readers going back more than a year,
and readers from surprisingly many places all over the planet. Vleeptron is a very self-indulgent blog and writes what it likes, about what it likes, and resists all pressures to be an All-Politics blog, or a This Is Mufflez My Cat blog, or (the horror!) a Sports blog.

And of course when Vleeptron gets totally disgusted with goings-on on Earth, we just merrily hop the Zeta Beam and write about stuff on Planet Vleeptron in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy. Or even more cowardly (but in accord with the ancient tradition of my Pythagorean Kult), we escape into the beautiful land of Mathematics, where all is Truth and Mystery and Adventure.

In the Vleeptron Complaint Department is a somewhat stale e-mail wondering why our political passions ducked and dodged a particularly odd and dubious roundup of a dozen big-mouthed teenage suburban e-mail terrorists somewhere in NorthAm. For what it's worth, Nostrabobus predicts the government will try to frighten and badger and harrass these Youth, and in about 18 months will let all of them go if they plead guilty to cheap, sleazy petty misdemeanors and promise not to shoot their mouths off to journalists about what a lame non-case prosecutors had to begin with. Their families will have to bankrupt themselves with legal defense costs -- and that will be their Punishment, and a warning to all other big-mouth teenagers and college kids in the suburbs.

In the USA, the Justice Department's record with these high-profile Terrorist Roundups has been less than stellar. If they're citizens, having the rights to defend themselves with lawyers and demand their day in court really seems to put a big crimp in the Justice Department's efforts to win slam dunks. I don't really recommend hiring Bush-era Justice Department lawyers after they set up in private practice. These people could fuck up a wet dream.

Faithful readers might get the impression that Vleeptron hasn't noticed that there's a new nasty war going on in the Middle East.

We've noticed.

I could plead that I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that
Condoleezza Rice's trip to the Middle East will bring a prompt magical end to all the violence.

Not really. Dr. Rice and the Secretary of State who preceeded her are the Drunk Drivers of Middle East Policy, with barely any grasp of the short-term crisis issues, and utterly no heed or comprehension of the Long-Term Systemic Problems which have produced this war and offer almost no hope of any prompt end.

The State Department during the Bush years has essentially been running a Fiesta of Failure of Vision and Leadership from India to the Mediterranean. (Bush, after all, is the presidential candidate who didn't know the name of the Prime Minister of India, and said that, if elected, he wouldn't need to, he'd have Experts to tell him.) Dr. Rice inherits and celebrates an American foreign policy which seems to believe that the United States can achieve its economic and security wishes by direct military Shock and Awe here and there, and by threatening and bullying a half-dozen other uncooperative sovereignties and sub-national entities whom we're not quite ready to go to war with.

(One reason we're holding off on the next wars is that we've exhausted our reserves of combat-ready ground troops, and achieved no measurable or perceivable military objectives for all our losses and pain.)

As a former soldier during a war, my concerns have been understandably focused on the deaths (2565 of US military personnel to date) and maimings of our troops in Iraq, and on the bizarre (but not unprecedented) failure of commanders to enforce a respectable discipline on their troops. Iraq is rapidly degenerating into a ghastly re-run of American military forces in the Philippines during the decade after the Spanish-American War.

Our government's only possible excuse for that is that everybody who ever knew anything about American military activities in the Philippines circa 1900 is dead, and those with knowledge of American military activities in Vietnam are getting deader or at least quieter and more ignorable all the time. Our military activities in Iraq are justified the same way Steve Martin justified not paying taxes: "I forgot!"

But another frequent Commenter -- you know who you are -- is a Big Economics Brain, and has also cast some e-mail light not on the Red Blood issues in Iraq, but on the Green Blood issues Iraq and Afghanistan are doing to America's economy.

In small words: How much are these wars costing, when will we get the bill, and what will the bill do to the American economy?

Okay, here it is as of this moment:

That last question sounds too dry.

How many kids won't be able to finish their college educations, and instead of becoming economic contributors, become economic drains and dead weights for the rest of their working lives?

How many Americans will lose their jobs?

How much more crammed and packed will my homeless shelter be when it cranks up this winter -- when Johnny comes limping home, and he who will have borne the battle will be entrusted to the tender mercies of the Department of Veterans Affairs?

America as this is written is experiencing a startling upsurge in youth murders in its large cities. The primary cause is that federal funds for youth programs -- sports, clubs, after-school stuff, tutoring, summer jobs -- have dried up since 9/11 and all the federal money has been prioritized to Homeland Security. Kids are now on their own on the sidewalks around the clock; the alternatives that were there for them not long ago have vanished.

To make absolutely sure your loved ones and neighbors do not die from a Muslim terrorist bomb in our cities, your loved ones and neighbors are dying from youth gang driveby gunfire in our cities instead. As patriotic Americans, I am sure they would have preferred it that way.

The clueless Bush foreign and military policies are matched only by its far less noisy economic policy. How much are these wars, and Homeland Security -- which has quickly turned into The Mother Of All Pork Barrels -- costing America and where is the money coming from? When will the bill come due?

In your own personal or professional experience, when have you known six years of a spending spree, blowing thousands, millions, billions, trillions heedlessly, without any consequences?

I know some stuff about how America finally got the bill for the Vietnam War, and what happened to the American economy when the bill came due. Have we fixed things since then so we can blow these trillions on endless losing wars and never suffer economic consequences? With gasoline at around $3 a gallon, how does that work, exactly?

Incidentally, Iran -- one of our wannabe war pushpins -- has a much more worrisome and immediate threat than its nuclear enrichment program or its support for Hezbollah.

Iran can just stop its oil production and world oil sales for six months.

22 July 2006

nightlife in Beirut

The Gemayze neighborhood of Beirut,
from visitor's 2005 photo.

The Associated Press
Saturday 22 July 2006

Famed Beirut nightlife
shows resilience

by DONNA ABU-NASR, Associated Press Writer

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Fewer restaurants than usual are open, making the narrow street appear dimmer. A staff shortage has owners tending bar, and the menus have thinned.

Still, despite the death and destruction wrought by an Israeli offensive against Hezbollah militants, a small and tenacious coterie of war clientele have clung to Beirut's famed nightlife, hoping for a moment of reprieve from the violence.

The fact that the restaurants and bars lining trendy Gouraud Street, a narrow one-way thoroughfare cutting through Beirut's downtown, are still open and drawing clientele is a testimony to the resilience of a city and a country too painfully accustomed to war.

Even at the height of the 1975-1990 civil war, Beirut residents braved militia fighting and Israeli bombing to head to the beach for a dip or to cafes and restaurants for an evening meal.

While the conflict now is different, the expressions they wear on their faces are eerily reminiscent of those worn by Lebanese during the earlier war.

At one pub along the street, Sana Taweeleh sits next to her young son, Maxim Abi-Aad, at the long wooden bar dominating the tiny room. The outing was a treat for Abi-Aad, who was spending the weekend with his mother. Taweeleh and her husband are divorced.

"Do I look happy?" asked Abi-Aad from behind a giant glass of a frothy, pink fruit cocktail. "Well, at least this is better than being bored at home."

Abi-Aad said the summer has been miserable, particularly since the fighting started July 12.

"What's really not cool is that it happened just before my birthday," says the boy, who turns 12 next Sunday.

Taweeleh said her son had trouble sleeping, kept awake by the sound of Israeli bombing of Hezbollah's stronghold in the southern suburbs. They live in a nearby Christian area.

As she spoke, Michel Ghanem, a 36-year-old divorce lawyer, slid onto the stool next to her. When he overheard her saying she needed milk and medicine to donate to refugees who have fled Israel's relentless attacks in south Lebanon, he told her he had a friend who runs a charity.

On the other side of the bar, a waiter and a client played Janga, carefully stacking the wooden blocks to form a column. A small television flashed the news that an international conference on the conflict was scheduled in Italy.

Standing behind the cash register, Sharbel Nahed said business was down by about 85 percent. He said the bombing of the nearby Beirut port nearly panicked some of his customers when it happened a few days back.

"They asked for the bill, but when they saw how calm we were, they changed their mind and stayed," he said.

All along Gouraud Street, the scenes are similar, and speak of a country that rebuilt after years of fighting -- looking at a future beyond the immediate violence. The restaurants and bars along the street were built during the last couple of years, when hope for Lebanon's revival was at its height.

Where traffic was congested, valet parking became the norm and reservations were required at many restaurants. But in a telling reminder of its history, the facades of some of the century-old stone buildings that house many of the restaurants still bear some marks of the civil war: bullet holes.

This weekend, the lights that just weeks earlier had been as bright as Lebanon's future appeared dimmer, with just a half-dozen eateries open. Staff shortages have forced owners to tend bar and, at one pub, a journalist was asked to run the sound system after the DJ failed to show up.

The clientele, usually sticklers for the latest fashion trends, dressed informally. The muted laughter wafting into the street had a brittle edge, the conversations focused on violence. The appetites for food, drink and cigarettes seemed whetted by an undercurrent of apprehension.

At a restaurant down the street from the pub, waiters set juicy steaks, cooked rare, in front of diners. The place was busy, unlike a sushi outlet and a pizza joint nearby.

Amin Younis, who was having a drink with a couple of friends, said he went out to "vent a bit." But unlike many Lebanese, Younis, 36, a coffee shop owner, was optimistic that Lebanon would return to normal. He complained that life was not nearly as fun this weekend as it was before the fighting started.

"We're just kidding ourselves," he said.

His friend, Sabine Chamaa, a documentary film producer, said she had added jogging to her regimen of swimming to keep fit and relieve tension. Her last documentary was on war-ravaged Bosnia.

"I was interested to see how people lived a war," she said. "Instead of finding answers, I stumbled upon a question: 'Why is it that humans everywhere like to kill other humans?'"

Nada Abu-Farhat, a star of the Lebanese version of "The Vagina Monologues," said she and her fellow actresses are putting on a "Children's Monologues" to help cheer up displaced children.

"I hope the play we are working on will allow them to express their feelings and take their mind off their misery," Abu-Farhat said.

- 30 -

Monday Morning Quarterbacking / Why Bob is now bankrupt / NostraCHpatus Predicts World Cup winner

Click all you want.
Clicking cannot change the Past.


patfromfootballand said...

10 Things Vleeptron needs to knwo about Football
1) Do not even dare to call this sport Soccer. Only Americans call Football Soccer because
2) We play Football...without a bloody helmet
3) "the ball is round, a game lasts 90 minutes and in the end the Germans win " (attributed to Gary Linecker)
4) Ajax is not relevant in the World Cup. Not a bit.
5) You cn get a sausage (Bratwurst) during halftime.
6) UB is absolutely right about the Offside Rule. Can't explain it but I know it when I see it. Watch "Bend it like Beckham" for a funny explanation.
7) All FIFA apparatschniks are arrogant twirps. the fIFA Presdent (a swiss) is the biggest twirp of them all. Unless he is standing next to Franz Beckenbauer
8) Everybody on this planet knows who David Beckham, Diego Maradona, Pele, Ronaldino or Socrates are. compared to those legends ben roethlisberger is but a fleafart in a hurricne.
9) Football is more than just a sport. It is Religion, social event, entertainment and much more all in one. Never ever forget that.

10)go to reno, vegas, atlantic city or your local bookie and bet your dough on Brazil as the winners of this World Cup. trust me, you will not regret it.


Bob Merkin said...

yes yes i know Ajax has nothing to do with the World Cup. But you know how much I love Amsterdam and how little I know about Footie (I had to call it Soccer for A-VP Sports' American readers), so I have become an Ajax Fan, and have even sworn to go to a game the next time I visit. And I want an Ajax t-shirt. (They were sold out in Curacao.)

If I buy the Ajax t-shirt, will I be safe to wander around other Dutch cities and other European places? Or is it safer to just wear my George Bush t-shirt with the big American flag?

The new Ajax stadium is supposed to be architecturally one of the first Warm, Fuzzy and Safe anti-hooliganism stadiums in Yerp. The stands are filled with huge mirrors, so when you're betronken and start to cause trouble, you look in a mirror and see yourself, and then you are Ashamed, and you schnellst stop making diese Betronkenaffengesselschaft.

Well, that's how it's supposed to work in theory, anyway.

I saw a crowd of about 40 Suisse Footie Fans at the Dover ferry terminal once. They looked Safe, but were dressed as ... uhhhh ... long striped scarves, silly top hats ... I guess the scarves and top hates were the Suisse colors.

The only time I have ever been anywhere where there was a cop with a machine gun on every corner was Amsterdam. Ajax was playing Iuventes, and they didn't know the Final Score yet. They just wanted to be ready in case some fans were Disappointed when they exited the stadium.

Pls tell altakaker editor more about Franz Beckenbauer. This name entirely unknown to moi.

In (8) you mention 6 names. I know 2 of them. 3 if you are talking about the ancient Greek philosopher, but I suspect you aren't.

Bob Merkin said...

oh also pssst you want to bet some Currency on the USA-Ghana game? What odds are they giving in places where Sports Betting is legal? In USA Sports Betting is only legal in Nevada. Also prostitution, Verboten everywhere except Nevada.

Bob Merkin said...

oh also i read Togo was threatening to take their footballs and go back to Togo if FIFA didn't give them more money. How did that work out?

patgotnohat said...

Now you can get your Ajax tee here
Just don't go to Rotterdam wearing that one. if you wear the "Bush Hates Me" tee from you will be safe as rain all over europe.
Franz Beckenbauer is a legend, a Lichtgestalt. won the world cup both as a player and coach, currently ceo of bayern münchen and the main force behind germany's hosting of the world cup (and a bloody money machine). rumours claim that he declined the post of the next fifa prez because he would loose valuable sponsor contracts. but still a legend for what he achieved.
togo has indeed threatened to call it quits. the togo football association has recieved 8m from FIFA (television rights etc) but for some strange reason they failed to pay the players. so the coach quit and the players went on strike untill FIFA apparatschniks negotiated with them. We beat 'em 2:0 eventually and qualified for the next round.

Just go to Nevada, bet your cash on Brazil. And don't ask about those darn bloody swiss hats.

DespicableTeacher said...

Go Go Portugal!!!

Bob Merkin said...

well this truly sucks the hairy wazoo.

okay, when's the next World Cup and where?


Thursday 22 June 2006


Ghana's 2-1 victory over the USA in Nuremberg booked their place in the Round of 16 and left Bruce Arena's men facing an earlier than expected flight home from the FIFA World Cup™ finals.

The Africans took the lead in the 22nd minute when Haminu Draman robbed Claudio Reyna of possession on the edge of the area and cooly slotted the ball past Kasey Keller.

Clint Dempsey's powerful finish two minutes before half-time gave the US hope of winning the match, but they were soon behind again through Stephen Appiah's penalty, scored in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half.

Try as they might after the interval, the US could not find a way past a stubborn Ghana rearguard and leave the tournament after claiming just one point from their three group games. For Ratomir Dujkovic's Black Stars, however, a match with the winners of Group F in Dortmund awaits.

The match:
9': The first attempt at goal came from Ghana, with Michael Essien receiving a square pass in the box and firing wide.

15': It was an extremely physical match in the early stages, with each team picking up a booking in the first 15 minutes.

17': After winning a corner, the first effort on goal by the US was a header straight at the keeper by Clint Dempsey.

22': Five minutes later, Ghana opened the scoring. Draman dispossessed Claudio Reyna on the edge of the box and coolly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Kasey Keller at the far post. Worse yet, it was a double whammy for the Americans as their skipper was injured in the process. Although he soon returned, he was substituted before the end of the half. 1-0

30': Ghana almost added a second on the half-hour mark, Essien threading a ball for Razak Pimpong and the forward shot wide of the right post.

35': The US missed a golden chance to equalise when Brian McBride knocked a ball down for Landon Donovan to shoot from close range, but the LA Galaxy man blazed his shot over the bar.

43': The US levelled matters when DaMarcus Beasley won a ball in midfield and played it across the face of goal and Dempsey slammed it past Kingson. 1-1

45+2': But the Americans went from high to low within a matter of minutes when Oguchi Onyewu was penalised for pushing Pimpong in the area. Appiah was perfect from the penalty spot, giving Ghana the lead as they went into the interval. 2-1

Appiah's appetite for goals
55': A counterattack by Ghana ten minutes into the second half almost extended their lead, with a brilliant one-handed diving save by Keller denying Appiah.

60':The first quarter-hour of the second half was similar to the first 15 minutes of the first half, with a lot of physical play in midfield and few chances for either team.

66': The scoring frustrations of the US team were illustrated when Eddie Lewis did well to make space for a driven cross from the left and McBride's header hit the post.

67': The Americans went close with another header as Onyewu rose high into the air to meet a corner but saw his effort go just over.

80': After the two quick chances, the Americans began to attack with more passion than precision, repeatedly getting caught offside as they desperately tried to beat Ghana's trap.

83': Arena's side showed some life again after the introduction of Bobby Convey, but first Donovan and then Convey failed to deliver good balls with targets waiting inside the box.

90': With the desperation mounting for the US, Ghana almost added another when Alex Mensah-Tachie tried to deflect a driven pass on goal, but it went just wide of the left-hand post.

In conclusion:
As was the case in every game they played at Germany 2006, the US conceded the game's first goal. Although they managed to equalise as they did against Italy, the scoreline did not stay level for long, and they just did not have the firepower to overturn another deficit.

Post a Comment

Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians? / Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?

Journalist Lloyd Dobyns

I was right, Hitler's quote about the Armenian genocide wasn't an urban legend.

And I was lucky -- it turns out I've resurrected The Mother Of All Controversies.

But anyway my original citation was Lloyd Dobyns, who ran an entire half-hour segment about the Armenian genocide on "NBC News Overnight," television news for vampires co-hosted by Linda Ellerbee, after reporting a tiny story about the assassination of a Turkish diplomat in Paris.

Dobyns and Ellerbee were American commercial television's finest moment in news broadcasting. While their shows lasted -- they also did "NBC Weekend" -- you could watch television news and think you were seeing something as thoughtful, intelligent and serious as reading an excellent national newspaper. Well, you were.

(Vleeptron will shortly have a bit to say about CNN / Cable News Network, the degenerate cockroach cartoon descendent of commercial television something. I don't know what the something is, I only know it's not news. But check out the Tekno Beat that pumps up every story!!! TV News you can DANCE to!!! And those hot babe announcers and the way they smile at me!!! And those gorgeous hunk lox announcers!!! Hubba-hubba!!!)

(On a "Murphy Brown" episode, Ellerbee confessed that she stole the tagline "And so it goes." from Dobyns.)

Anyway, here are two quotes. The second one, hosed from Wikipedia, contains its own questions about authenticity.


"We must already be thinking of resettlement of millions of men from Germany and Europe. Migrations of people have always taken place. Are we really going to remain a nation of have-nots forever? We have the capacity to rouse and lead the masses against this situation. We intend to introduce a great resettlement policy; In 1923 little Greece could resettle a million men. Think of the biblical deportations and the massacres of the Middle Ages and remember the extermination of the Armenians [erinnern Sie sich doch an die Ausrottung Armeniens]."

-- Adolph Hitler, interview with Richard Breiting that apeared in the German daily newspaper Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten, 4 May 1931.

from Wikidedia:

The Armenian quote is a paragraph allegedly included in a speech by Adolf Hitler to Wehrmacht commanders at his Obersalzberg home on 22 August 1939, a week before the German invasion of Poland. The authenticity of the quote has been disputed. The key area of contention regarding the "Armenian quote" is its last sentence, which contains a reference to the Armenian genocide, an episode during World War I in the Ottoman Empire, during which, according to many estimates, approximately 1,500,000 ethnic Armenians were killed. The authenticity of the quote has become hotly contested between Turkish and Armenian political activists. Since the quote is now inscribed on one of the walls of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., its authenticity has become an issue in debate over the politics of Holocaust commemoration.

Third paragraph of Hitler's speech:

"Unsere Stärke ist unsere Schnelligkeit und unsere Brutalität. Dschingis Chan hat Millionen Frauen und Kinder in den Tod gejagt, bewußt und fröhlichen Herzens. Die Geschichte sieht in ihm nur den großen Staatengründer. Was die schwache westeuropäische Zivilisation über mich behauptet, ist gleichgültig. Ich habe den Befehl gegeben -- und ich lasse jeden füsilieren, der auch nur ein Wort der Kritik äußert -- daß das Kriegsziel nicht im Erreichen von bestimmten Linien, sondern in der physischen Vernichtung des Gegners besteht. So habe ich, einstweilen nur im Osten, meine Totenkopfverbände bereitgestellt mit dem Befehl, unbarmherzig und mitleidslos Mann, Weib und Kind polnischer Abstammung und Sprache in den Tod zu schicken. Nur so gewinnen wir den Lebensraum, den wir brauchen. Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?"

The above is verbatim according to a takedown in writing to be found in the German Foreign Office's archive. English translation below; as with any translation, due to lexical, grammatical and semantical redundancies in both languages, a variety of different wordings have been published since World War II, mostly retaining linguistic accuracy nevertheless:

"Our strength is our quickness and our brutality. Genghis Khan had millions of women and children hunted down and killed, deliberately and with a gay heart. History sees in him only the great founder of States. What the weak Western European civilization alleges about me, does not matter. I have given the order - and will have everyone shot who utters but one word of criticism - that the aim of {translator: this} war does not consist in reaching certain {translator: geographical} lines, but in the enemies' physical elimination. Thus, for the time being only in the east, I put ready my Death's Head units, with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Only thus will we gain the living space that we need. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?"

21 July 2006

this is my cat Fluffumz!!!

Sci-Tech Today
Thursday 20 July 2006 13:21

Report Exposes
the Real Deal
about Bloggers

by Walaika K. Haskins

After just a few years on the Internet landscape[,] blogs have become an influential force in the technology industry and even politics. Scads of people read the online diaries, but, what do we really know about bloggers? The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a survey on Wednesday that has the answers.

Cyberspace is riddled with some 12,000,000 blogs with a readership numbering roughly 57,000,000 people, the researchers revealed in the "Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers" report. Bloggers themselves tend to be young and racially diverse, unpublished and accustomed to using the Web to catalogue their personal successes and travails.

"Blogs are as individual as the people who keep them, but this survey shows that most bloggers are primarily interested n creative, personal expression," said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at The Pew Internet & American Life Project

The survey is based on in-depth interviews of 233 bloggers conducted between July 2005 and February 2006. Additional data was gathered from November 2005 to April 2006 in telephone surveys of 7,012 adults (including 4753 Internet users).

Who's Blogging

Equal numbers of men and women blog, but 54 percent of blogs are written by the under thirty set, the survey found. Unlike the general Internet population, bloggers are less likely to be white. While 74 percent of Internet users are white, only 60 percent of bloggers are white. Conversely, though 11 percent and 9 percent of English-speaking Hispanics and African-Americans, respectively, surf the 'Net, 19 percent of bloggers are English-speaking Latinos and 11 percent are of African heritage.

"Blogs have given those who perhaps don't feel that their issues, thoughts or opinions are addressed in the mainstream media, an outlet to express themselves in some way," said Daren Siddall, an analyst at Gartner research.

About 51 percent of bloggers live in the suburbs. Another 36 percent live in urban areas and only 13 percent live in rural areas.

The vast majority, 84 percent, of bloggers said they go online every day. 95 percent get their news online, with about half turning to other blogs as their news source. And they spend an average of five hours updating their blog each week.

This is my cat Fluffumz: What They Blog

The media tends to focus on a small subset of well-known "A-list" sites that receive a high volume of visitors. These blogs tend to focus on politics or other hot button topics such as technology. For these bloggers, a blog is more than just a hobby, it is a job.

However, according to the survey, the majority of bloggers, 76 percent, said the reason they have a blog is to record their personal experiences and share them with others, and 64 percent reported that they wanted to share their knowledge and skills with others.

Most bloggers said they write about a myriad of different topics, but about 37 percent focus on "my life and experiences", with only 11 percent of bloggers said they concentrate on politics and the government, and 4 percent blog about technology. A scant 7 percent of respondents focus on entertainment and 6 percent use their blog to discuss sports. And, just 34 percent of bloggers look at blogging as a form of journalism.

Looking at the level of participation overall in U.S. elections, it is not surprising that few bloggers focus on politics, Siddall pointed out. Although people have political views, it is not the principle motivation in most people's lives. And, they probably do not want to spend their personal time creating political content. There will be other things that drive them to blog.

"This idea of expressing yourself creatively is really just about being an exhibitionist in some way," he said. "They want to tell people who they are, what their interests are and who their friends are. That's what the majority of blogging is about, especially among young people.

Blogging has changed the way people use the Internet, Siddall said. "It has had an impact and will continue to." According to the survey, 62 percent of bloggers said they did not have a personal Web site before launching their blog. That is a telling statistic that indicates that blogging has changed how people use the Internet, Slidell explained. The Internet is much more interactive for them now.

Bloggers get involved in content, Siddall said, pointing to survey findings that 44 percent of bloggers have taken online content, such as songs, text or images, and remixed it to reflect their own artistic vision. A whopping 77 percent, researchers said, have shared the results of their creativity online, including artwork, photos, stories and videos. Only 26 percent of average Internet users have done something similar.

"The fact that they post photos and videos or take content from other sources and mash it up to create something new," Siddall said. "It's much more of a creative outlet for people and that's a big change in the way people used the Web."

"It is also a publishing tool where people can go and create their own little world in which they can show all the content they like, photos, videos, podcasts and anything they like," Siddall continued. "They can spread the word about what they're up to their friends and family and the entire Web. So clearly it has evolved that type of keeping in contact with friends and family. It has evolved beyond the simple e-mail to a publishing type of environment."

- 30 -

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"Do not be afraid. We are not like you." -- Václav Havel

A tree used for killing children at the Choeung memorial on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. (Associated Press photo)

Well, he died in prison, that's something. A lot of accused genocidists in our lifetimes have never seen the inside of a prison cell. Some from the Balkans, not old men, are still at liberty, whereabouts unknown. Or wherabouts known by their governments, but undisclosed to the outside world. They are regarded as national heroes.

How to deal with genocides and war atrocities after the fact in order to deter and prevent future genocides and atrocities is one of the most perplexing of all political and judicial questions.

Genocides are historically regular and ancient occurrences.

The notion that genocidists can actually be tried and punished is practically a brand-new idea, dating from 1945 and the end of World War II. The law -- to put it charitably -- is still developing.

A concern I have about the relationship between Jews and the European Holocaust of the 1930s-1945 is that many Jews focus on the European Holocaust as a singular event of importance only to Jews and to Europe.

If there is a lesson to the Holocaust -- haShoa /
השואה in Hebrew -- it is that all decent people everywhere must transform the horror of the European Holocaust into opposition against all genocides everywhere. Respect for those who died in Europe during World War II is best expressed not in memorials that look backward, but in preventing future genocides, atrocities, ethnic cleansings. Someday soon it may be possible to honor each one of haShoa's dead by preventing the death of a human being somewhere else on Earth.

The killing fields of Cambodia are part of the same world abomination that was the European Holocaust. The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 -- 800,000 murdered is the lowball conservative figure -- was part of the same abomination.

This is apparently true, not some urban legend. When a staff officer asked Hitler what the world would think of his "final solution," Hitler replied: "Who remembers the Armenian genocide?"

I would add one small thing. The few accused genocidists who are arrested and brought to trial and convicted of mass murder should never be executed, but should live out their lives in prison.

We have an obligation to tell the world (as Václav Havel told Czech Socialist secret policemen):

"Do not be afraid.
We are not like you."

We need to show the world that the difference between murderers and civilized people is that when civilized people capture murderers, we do not kill them. That is how the children of the world will be able to tell the difference between Pinochet and his judges.


BBC News
Friday 21 July 2006

Khmer Rouge 'butcher'
Ta Mok dies

Ta Mok, one of the main leaders of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime, has died in the capital Phnom Penh.

Nicknamed "The Butcher," he was the regime's military commander and linked to many atrocities of the 1970s.

About 1,700,000 people died under the Khmer Rouge, through a combination of starvation, disease and execution.

Ta Mok was expected to be one of the first people tried for genocide and crimes against humanity at UN-backed hearings due to start next year.

He was one of only two surviving Khmer Rouge commanders in detention, and with most of the remaining figures from the regime in poor health, some analysts question whether the trials have been left too late to see justice served.

Brutal legacy

"Ta Mok passed away this morning," military doctor Tuoth Nara told reporters. "He was an old man and died of natural causes, given his poor health and respiratory problems."

Fresh fears for trials

Ta Mok, who was in his 80s, had been unwell since last month, suffering from high blood pressure and tuberculosis, and slipped into a coma last week.

"We are saddened by his death," said his nephew, 33-year-old Morm Mol, as he announced the news to reporters outside the Phnom Penh hospital.

Of all the Khmer Rouge leaders, Ta Mok was regarded by many as the most brutal, the BBC's Guy Delauney reports from Phnom Penh.

He played a key role in a series of massacres and purges, which started even before the Khmer Rouge took power.

Ta Mok was in charge of the forces which destroyed the former royal capital Oudong in 1974, expelling civilians and killing officials and government soldiers.

Later he instigated purges as the Khmer Rouge went to war with itself.

He eventually became the overall leader of the organisation in 1997, but he was captured two years later and spent the rest of his life in jail.

Evading trial

Ta Mok's death leaves a Khmer Rouge prison boss, Kaing Khek Iev, more commonly known as Duch, as the group's only surviving leader in detention.

Pol Pot died in his jungle hide-out in April 1998 from an apparent heart attack.

Many Cambodians fear they will never get a chance to see justice, because aging Khmer Rouge defendants are dying before they face trial.

Earlier this month, judges and prosecutors from both Cambodia and other nations were sworn in for the UN-backed tribunal, which is due to start in 2007.

A spokesman for the tribunal, Reach Sambath, said on Friday that a "key resource of information" had passed away.

When he heard of Ta Mok's death, Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group researching the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge, said: "It's sad news -- it's outrageous."

"Some people may be happy with this, but not the victims who have been waiting for justice for a long time," he told the Associated Press.

- 30 -

20 July 2006

this one is awful -- but it's Nobody's Fault!!! Hoorah!!! We don't have to be ashamed!

Top: The volcano Mayon, on the island Luzon, Philippines, photographed from space.

Bottom: Mayon erupting in 2001.

okay several things is happening on Vleeptron and Earth.

i got to get some Serious Work done.

Not that Vleeptron and Vleeptron_Z are not Serious. They contain some of the best writing and journalism I've ever done, or at least of which I'm proudest. Newcomers: HERE is the first 18 months of Vleeptron. Then skrood up my access, so Vleeptron_Z was born.

Bob writes novels, and is cranking out a new one. So probably Vleeptron_Z will slow down a bit, fewer long original posts. We will just filch interesting stuph from hither and yon, and comment briefly on its implications and consequences.

You can find Bob's novels in big public libraries in North America, and on and places like that. They are not boring; it is a Sin to chop down forests to publish boring novels, and everyone (like Stephen King and Henry James) who has done that will burn in Hell for all eternity.

Meanwhile I am also spending a lot of time on Vleeptron this week. That's because Earth really bites this week. Earth is having a total collapse of Vision and Leadership, and, as usual, that means enlisted low-rank conscripted/drafted young soldiers will get their snrzqq shot off and blown away.

Also big-ass bombs are dropping from the sky onto the heads of infants, children, women, men, old men, old women, and housepets and zoo animals. If you think I am making jokes, when we all learn The Ultimate Truth about God and Theology (I don't know just when this will be, if ever), I don't think God is going to be any happier about the way we treat the animals whose well-being we were entrusted with than God will be Happy about how humans treat their human neighbors and siblings.

Total collapse of Vision, Leadership, Diplomacy, Politics. Low-rank enlisted conscript soldiers dying and killing all over Asia.

I think The Holy Land is in Asia, is it Asia? Why is this so ambiguous and vague a geography question? It ain't Africa and it ain't Europe, so it's got to be Asia, right? Leave A Comment.

Also, NGO Vleeptron is proceeding with its Plan to make the Holy Land 30 percent Less Holy, immediately. We going to make The Holy Land about as Holy as Pittsburgh or Antwerp. People in Antwerp and Pittsburgh kill each other because God wanted them to, too, but far fewer such Holy Homicides, and the killers are properly placed in locked psychiatric hospitals, rather than elected or appointed to high political office or positions of authority involving weapons and high explosives.

A great deal of what is happening in the Holy Land right now can be very well explained in psychiatric terms and paradigms. It is perfectly possible for 1,830,000 people to become psychiatrically ill at the same time in much the same way, with largely the same symptoms, and to want to do violent things to each other.

One test of this is that psychiatric medicines liberally distributed for free throughout the Holy Land right now would probably have Positive Benefits for community safety and health. A lot of Diazepam. A lot of Bekaa Valley hashish. Prozac where necessary, anti-psychotics. See what happens in two weeks, More Violence, or Less Violence?

If Less Violence, than it wasn't really The Voice of God commanding all this killing, it was probably major mass imbalances in Seratonin. The Holy Land is having a mass community epidemic of violent psychiatric disorders, and Big Pharma and the Bekaa farmers could play important roles in getting this epidemic under control before too many more people and animals suffer.

~ ~ ~

Bob is listening to: Dennis Brain (English horn), soloist, Horn Concertos of Richard Strauss and Paul Hindemith.

~ ~ ~

Now here is a Much Better Thing happening on Earth right now.

Another volcano in the Ring of Fire is blowing its top, this time on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

Everybody pooping their shorts, thousands fleeing for their lives. Pyroclastic flows. Fear of Lahars!!!

Who is telephoning Reuters to take credit?

"Hello, haha, my associates and I are Evil and we have caused the volcano to erupt! We hate your Freedom!"

Nope. Nobody. It's nobody's fault. Nobody to blame. Death, fear, destruction, innocent victims -- and No Human Being is to blame.

Sometimes you can blame administrators and polticians, like Mike ("helluva job Brownie!") Brown, for screwing up the relief and evacuation plan, and that can kill 400 more people than really had to die.

But the volcano blowing its stack? No villain. No Osama. No IDF. No Hezbollah. (How is this correctly spelled in the Roman alphabet? How does Hezbollah spell Hezbollah?) Bush has an alibi. Cheney was off hunting, and Rumsfeld was in Iraq, I think.

Theologically, maybe Satan made the volcano erupt.

Or maybe God. Like when God pulls a little girl out of the path of a speeding PVTA or Peter Pan bus and saves her life. On Tuesdays God cures childhood leukemias, on Wednesdays God surprises Luzon with an erupting volcano.

The Vleepton Theological Truth Agency (VTTA) is still having a little trouble clarifying aspects of the Anthropomorphic God who Loves and Cares and Intervenes in the goings-on on and beneath the surface of Earth.

An alternative is the Spinozan Pantheist God, who is simply equated with Nature. God is the Totality of Nature and the Universe. And therefore is Uninvolved and Nonjudgmental, and shortly after God's fundamental Creation of the Universe (Big Bang), no longer cares what happens to the little girl who wandered in front of the bus. She's on her own, good luck. No Complaint Department. Prayer uneccesary and totally useless, prayers neither heard nor considered nor responded to.

This is almost universally considered to be a Heresy and Blasphemy worthy of being burned at the stake.

So which is it? Check one:

* He created all of us, He loves us, He cares, He intervenes, He is stirring up the Holy Land pot to boiling over, He is responsible for two or three sets of His True Believers to murder each other for a week or two weeks or a month, or maybe ceaselessly. War Without End, Amen.


* He created the Yglem and then the Quarks and Leptons and Hadrons, and that was Enough, He retired then, permanently. Everything that followed is Not His Doing.

Leave A Comment. I can check my e-mail in Ciudad Vleeptron.

And now, back to the volcano. Notice again that the Manila Bulletin is running a Deutsche-Presse Agentur story. That's like sooooooooooooo pathetic. I guess maybe they're a coupon advertising free throwaway. Or maybe they have more important stories to cover than erupting terrifying volcanos. They can't afford the plane or ferry fare to send a reporter to Luzon. There's a Zoning Commission meeting tonight.

I have more trouble understanding newspapers in the Ring of Fire who use wire stories about their erupting neighborhood volcanos than i have trouble understanding the Nature of God. I think the last Hot Volcano, Merapi, the Jakarta newspaper ran the Associated Press story and fotos.

Bad publisher! No Beluga caviar! No mistress tonight!

There is also a Theory that God is Anthropomorphic and Interventionist and Judgmental, but is also a hopeless drunk, or a crazy sick puppy with a vile sense of humor, and enjoys seeing us all run around screaming in fear and suffering. This is all some kind of Sick Joke, and we are perpetually powerless even to say, "That's not funny! Stop that!"

As we might have said in Syllogistic Class:

A. Thousands of human beings are Acting Out in the Holy Land in violent ways of mass psychiatric violence this week.

B. They claim they are doing God's bidding.

C. God created human beings in His image.

Therefore, D: _______________ .

The following passage is a reflection of that Theory, possibly expressed by God Himself:

[1] Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
[2] Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
[3] Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
[4] Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
[5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
[6] Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
[7] When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
[8] Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
[9] When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
[10] And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
[11] And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
[12] Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
[13] That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
[14] It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.
[15] And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken.
[16] Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
[17] Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
[18] Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
[19] Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
[20] That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?
[21] Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?
[22] Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
[23] Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
[24] By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?
[25] Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;
[26] To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
[27] To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
[28] Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
[29] Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
[30] The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
[31] Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
[32] Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
[33] Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
[34] Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?
[35] Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?
[36] Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
[37] Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,
[38] When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?
[39] Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions,
[40] When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?
[41] Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

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And now back to the Volcano. It's nobody's fault, certainly no human being's fault.

What a fucking relief that is! We don't have to be ashamed of this one!

Like skinny-dipping under a cool waterfall on a hot summer day in the rain forest! (Me and some pals did that in a mountain jungle in San Luis Obispo, Mexico one time! Outstanding!)


by Cet Dematera

LEGAZPI CITY, JULY 20, 2006 (STAR) -- The fiery shower of lava from Mayon volcano’s near-perfect cone may be a spectacle but the man who has been guiding local and foreign tourists up the crater since 1953 has advised them to keep their distance.

Seventy-three-year-old Ricardo Dy, a retired employee of the Office of Civil Defense in the Bicol Region and consultant on disaster to Albay Gov. Fernando Gonzalez, cautioned tourists not to venture into the volcano’s six-kilometer permanent danger zone.

"It is best for the tourists to stay in the elevated areas of Legazpi City and Daraga if they want to view the lava oozing out of the volcano," Dy said.

He explained that at the present rate of lava extrusion, an avalanche of house-size boulders and rocks down the steep upper slopes is imminent.

He noted that the Bonga gully, which is about 300 meters wide and 160 meters deep, was filled up with lava very fast.

"Some of the lava and giant boulders are already tumbling out of the Bonga gully and flow at great speed down the volcano," Dy told The STAR.

"If the gullies are already filled up with lava before pyroclastic flows come out, it is very likely that they would find new paths while cascading down the volcano," he added.

Ed Laguerta, resident volcanologist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), confirmed that Mayon had already spewed about 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 cubic meters of lava since Friday.

Dy last climbed the Philippines’ most active volcano in 2002 when he accompanied engineers from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in installing lahar sensors and rain gauge devices.

"Despite my old age, they were confident that I could still guide them to trek the volcano through its safe routes," Dy said.

Mayon’s slopes, which Dy had climbed more than 600 times, have an incline ranging from 15 degrees at the lower slopes to 60 to 90 degrees in the upper slopes.

His exploits in climbing Mt. Mayon had been published in several local and international books, newspapers and magazines and featured in video documentaries. He is also noted for giving Phivolcs important inputs drawn from his observations as a veteran climber.

Dy was the one who tipped off volcanologists on the status of the volcano’s lava dome during a climb with Swiss tourists in 1983. Mayon erupted a year later.

He said his very close contact with Mayon’s slopes allowed him to notice lava flow even in the absence of explosions that usually trigger pyroclastic flows.

More lava flows

Phivolcs said the volcano has resumed exhibiting high-level tremors and the flow of lava has now reached three kilometers from the crater, while rocks and burning fragments were falling about four kilometers away.

Light ashfalls were also experienced in areas beyond the permanent danger zone because of prevailing winds.

"At this stage, Mayon continues its mild eruption with little or no explosions. The sulfur dioxide emission rates are also elevated at about 2157 tons per day, which is expected," Phivolcs said.

Authorities appealed to thousands of farmers and their families yesterday to leave the immediate vicinity of Mayon.

About 7400 people live inside the permanent danger zone, growing vegetables and rice but the government cannot force them out until a mandatory evacuation is ordered. Many farmers are reluctant to leave their livestock and fields.

"This is our worry -- they are tending to their livestock, but when Mayon explodes, the cows are likely to end up roasted," regional disaster relief chief Arnel Capili said.

He said the farmers would be "forcibly removed" from the area if volcanologists determine that an explosive eruption is imminent.

The government of Albay had earlier declared a state of calamity in the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao, and the towns of Sto. Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan and Malilipot. The move will enable the local government to quickly release emergency funds.

Gonzalez said provisions in evacuation centers, including comfort rooms, lighting and water facilities, would now be installed in preparation for a possible big eruption.

Early yesterday morning, volcanologists and disaster relief officials flew around Mayon in a helicopter, but the survey was hampered by low clouds that obscured the view of the summit.

— With Sheila Crisostomo, Celso Amo, AP, AFP

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All Rights Reserved.


Big boulders
trapped in Mayon’s


LEGAZPI CITY -- Boulders as big as houses are seen trapped in the mid-section of Mayon Volcano, which is some four kilometers from the crater or approximately 3,000 meters at elevation and 700 meters above sea level in Bonga gully.

"It is very dangerous for these boulders to stay in the mid-section of the volcano because the lava continues to push the boulders down towards Bonga gully," an official of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said yesterday during an inspection at the Bonga gully.

During inspection with media, Phivolcs said that boulders as big as house and lava fragments have reached farther down the slope of Mayon Volcano about four kilometers and the boulders will be carried down towards Bonga gully when it rains hard.

Philvocs said that all flow and rockfall activities are occurring well within the six-kilometer radius of the permanent danger zone (PDZ), adding that light ashfalls derived mainly from the lava fragments may be experienced over areas beyond the PDZ due to prevailing winds.

Alert Level 3 remains hoisted over Mayon.

As this developed, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Albay district engineering office said that they have necessary equipment to remove boulders blocking highways.


Volcanologists said yesterday that seismic activity in Mayon apparently resumed to high levels although this mainly reflects lava extrusion and rockfalls with about 250 tremor events.

"At this stage, Mayon continues its mild eruption with little or no explosions. The Sulfur Dioxide emission rates are also elevated at about 2,157 tons per day which is to be expected from ongoing eruptive activity," Phivolcs added.

Phivolcs, however, reminded the public that explosions are still very possible and the probability of life-threatening pyroclastic flows resulting from explosive eruption remains high.

Experts, however, allayed fears of a massive lahar flow towards the towns situated at the foot of Mayon amid forecast of continuous rains in Albay.

Dr. Renato Solidum, Phivolcs director, said lahar flows would not likely to happen even if heavy downpours occur since there is very little ash deposits on the slopes of Mayon.

"What the volcano released in the past few days were molten rocks or lava," said Solidum, adding that there was only a few reported ash falls since Alert Level 3 was hoisted over the Mayon last week.

"So there is no threat of lahar flow so far," he added.

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Schoolchildren scamper
to safety as explosions
rock Mayon

MANILA (dpa / Deutsche-Presse Agentur) -- Hundreds of schoolchildren rushed out of their classrooms on Thursday as loud explosions rocked restive Mayon volcano, but no one was injured, officials said.

Classes were suspended in Bonga Elementary School in Legazpi City, Albay province, 330 kilometres southeast of Manila, one of the communities at the foot of Mayon Volcano which has been belching out lava and ash columns since last week.

Renato Solidum, chief of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said the explosions were triggered by secondary pyroclastic flows at the slope of the volcano and was not an explosive eruption.

"There is nothing to worry about,"
Solidum said. "But we would like to reiterate our warning for people to stay out of the 6-kilometre permanent danger zone to avoid unnecessary casualties."

Albay Governor Fernando Gonzalez said he would order a forced evacuation of some 10,000 people residing within the 6-kilometre danger zone if the residents continued to ignore Phivolcs' warning.

Army troops securing the area have complained that some farmers have even been climbing closer to the summit just to enjoy the view of Mayon's "quiet eruption."

Local and foreign tourists have also flocked to the towns at the foot of the volcano to watch the incandescent lava flows at night.

More than 50,000 people would have to be evacuated if a major eruption occurs, according to disaster relief agencies.

Mayon Volcano, famous for its almost perfect cone, has erupted about 50 times since 1616. It last came to life in a series of eruptions in 2001, forcing some 50,000 people to evacuate.

- 30 -