Monday, September 23, 2013

Teabaggers Again

So the Pakistani Taliban and Al Shabob of Somalia are once again doing their thing, in search of their 71 virgins.  How many dead? Well over 100. Maybe as many as 200 innocents. We keep referring to them as Islamic Terrorists, as though they had something to do with Islam, or the Muslim religion.  In fact, the Muslim religion explicitly rejects such actions and is offended by their claims to represent Islam. We can only offer our condolences to the grieving families for their losses.

Everyone should be outraged by these atrocities by what we know to be simply armed criminals. Al Qaida, the Taliban, Al Shabob, and others of that ilk are simply organized crime gangs who kill because they can.  There is no religious significance to their actions. They are simply killers without purpose and need to be erased from the earth.

Meanwhile, back here in LaLa Land, our very own homegrown terrorists, the Al Shabob wing of the Republican Party (sometimes know by the less charitable among us as the KKK wing of the GOP) are preparing their own guerilla action. Instead of tossing some Lipton teabags into the Houston harbor, they are busily buttoning their vests in our Nation’s capitol, preparing to blow up the full faith and credit of the United States, as soon as they finish eliminating the ability of the poor to buy food through food stamps of course.
Not clear what they have been promised for their proposed action, by their owners, the Cocks. Turns out AllahLand is overcommitted virgin-wise, so their return seems uncertain—maybe 71 ex-Dallas Cheerleaders???
Wish we could sic NSA on them, but NSA seems preoccupied with hosting the grand opening of their lavish quarters over there in Utahland. I suppose with all the champagne they will be consuming, they wouldn’t be of much use in containing the Teabaggers anyway.
Well, we will all just have to stay tuned to see how the Teabaggers perform. In the meantime, maybe John McCain will entertain us by jousting with Vlad the Magnificent, both riding bareback and shirtless of course. That would be fun . . .

Monday, September 16, 2013

NSA's Dr. Strangelove

Interesting article about the head of our NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, today in the Manchester Guardian, by Glenn Greenwald. If this stuff is true, it provides yet more evidence of a totally out of control federal agency. The NSA seems cut out of a sci-fi film . . . Dr. Strangelove comes to mind. And Gen. Alexander seems to fit the mindset of that delusional doctor of faraway sci-fi film-making. Every time I hear something about the NSA these days, the report seems to concern something else illegal, or borderline illegal that agency has carried out. The NSA makes the CIA look competent, which is a really scary idea.
I realize that the paranoid-about-government crowd—the teabaggers for example, are always making noises about the EPA, or the FDA, or Obamacare representing an out-of-control federal government. But I do wish they would turn their attention to the NSA, and maybe even the CIA. Now these are agencies that need to be (metaphorically please) blown up, so we can begin anew to figure out how really we need to protect ourselves from the “terrorists.” Frankly, I’m way more scared of the NSA than I am of Al Qaida. Between our banking system that has corrupted our global financial structure such that we are headed fast forward to a two-class society, and the NSA that has assumed Big Brother status, our entire democracy stands threatened—and I mean our entire democracy. I think we are headed rapidly towards a second world semi-feudal society in which we are regrowing the Lords of the Manor, so the rest of us can assume the position of serfs, and our republican party cheers on the shift from the sidelines.
So, read on dear folks. The Greenwald article makes for good scary bedtime reading.
And on that exoplanet Oz, Julian Assange didn’t quite make it into the big time of Oz politics. Seems he was running for office, while remaining safely locked away in his cubicle in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.  Fancy that. The Aussies rejected him as a serious candidate for political office.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The Man Who Never Was

Forgotten but Not Yet Gone 

A long time ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, and I worked for a living, we used to periodically joke about one of our colleagues, someone who periodically annoyed folks, that he was ‘forgotten but not yet gone” as a play on the old saw, “ Gone but not forgotten.” It seemed funny at the time.
But now, I no longer work for a living. I mostly pretend to work at things—“art” mainly.  But slowly, I have become aware of the phenomenon of aging. One part of the phenomenon is the dying off thing—family and friends keep dying around us. But another feature seems to be something close to the “forgotten but not yet gone” thing. It is that, after a while, no one seems to notice that you are still here.
I have begun to notice this at events, like our periodic Art Walks in Concord.  I routinely prepare a set of pictures for these events and display them proudly. But increasingly, I note that only my wife and my niece pay any notice of the pictures. They are always there, of course, supporting me in my futile efforts at art. But, virtually no one else shows. And the line of patrons of the Art Walks who do appear mostly seem to wander through in a fog, not really looking at anything, but eyes gazing off into space as they make their rounds without seeing anything.
It has also been clear for some time that few pay any attention to any of my three blogs. I do one with commentary on current affairs—Artful Notes, another on my “art” Observed Art, and a third on cooking—Farm Foodies.  Whereas fine blogs by folks such as Margaret and Helen draw thousands of faithful followers, I have one for my Artful Notes. On a good day, I might show two viewers. Generally on the other two, an average day shows zero viewers.
Then I noticed on, of all things, Facebook commentary, that I have mostly one commentator—an old friend from our India days. She mostly “likes” and sometimes comments on my postings, especially when I post some art, or some sarcastic commentary on the days events.  Whereas, other folks seem to draw dozens of comments whenever they post anything. But most of the folks doing these postings also work—they are active members of our community and work for a living. They are, in short, still here, and not yet forgotten.
Interesting . . .

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Syria Game

What can we do, what can we do?

Just as The warriors had come close to finishing their scripts for a pre-emptive war in Syria, along comes Russia. Their offer to the world was wonderfully crafted and timed—we (the Russkies)  have proposed to Syria that, if they turn over control of their chemical weapons and stockpiles to an international commission and make them available for subsequent destruction—the West (read the United States) will not commit an act of war against Syria.

Well what about them apples?? And surprise, surprise . . . Syria has now accepted.
One can almost see the balloon tires of the Obama-Kerry-McCain Express bus deflate on the way to the airfield.
I can almost hear in the distance the screams of anguish and the mutterings of the pro-warriors as they canoodle amongst themselves and to the Media about how Syria and Russia are both dissembling, and how Syria will never give up its stockpile, and how, if we fail to act now . . . immediately if not sooner, we will have lost all credibility (as though we had any).  All this makes me wonder which American chemical companies are the chief suppliers of Syria’s current stockpile and which companies are right now maneuvering behind the scenes with Assad to assure him that, no matter what, his stockpile will be replenished.
It’s like some great game of four dimensional chess, in which Russia just announced checkmate, and we are yelling that we will undo their checkmate move next week with an even better checkmate move of our own.
This would all be really fascinating were it it not for the fact that, regardless of what we do, or the Russkies do, or the French do, Assad will continue killing his people. And that if he somehow loses control and thereby his ability to kill his people, the main opposition will figure out a way to continue the killing, cuz once it’s started it’s really hard to stop.
And all we can do is to watch the Media feeding frenzy over each move made by one side or the other. The Media loves all this gamesmanship. Great for the ratings . . .
Makes me wonder also whether anyone is now busily readying a hotel room next door to Mr. Snowden, to receive Mr. Assad when he finally leaves on his private jet to Moscow.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The News of the Day from John Cleese

And Now for Something Completely Different


 The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
 The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
 The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.
 Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."
 The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose."
 Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels ...
 The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
 Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.
 John Cleese ,
 British writer, actor and tall person

 And as a final thought - Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.  Life is too short... "
Welcome back to your friendly neighborhood cranky old man blog, Artful Notes. Sorry for the diversion, dear gentle reader. I just thought perhaps we all needed a break from the depressing news and views of the day . . .