Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blog # 115: Republican's: ACORN Done It!

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Latest Republican Fantasy

According to Talking Points there was a new poll which asked the question, did President Obama win the 2008 election or did ACORN steal it for him? The overall top-line is legitimately won 62%, ACORN stole it 26%. Among Republicans, however, only 27% say Obama actually won the race, with 52% – an outright majority – saying that ACORN stole it, and 21% are undecided. Public Policy Polling communications director Tom Jensen says: "Belief in the ACORN conspiracy theory is even higher among GOP partisans than the birther one, which only 42% of Republicans expressed agreement with on our national survey in September."

So that’s the kind of tea they were smoking at those Tea Party demonstrations. Isn’t it wonderful how much fecal matter the right wing is willing to throw into the fan these days, to see what, if anything, will stick to the walls.

For the entire bizarre story point your cursor and click here

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Ask a Republican politician the $64 Question

Which is: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be the President of the U.S. in 2012? Then watch them dance and dodge.§

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God-Awful Dancing in a Microsoft Store

Bet You Can’t Watch This Video All the Way Through

Observation One: Time in milliseconds that Steve Jobs would have allowed this video to stay up if it had been filmed in an Apple Store?

Observation Two: Video leaves no doubt that Dance Monkey Boy is an extremely contagious affliction, catchable from the top down.§

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The Late Molly Ivins: A Blessing Deeply Missed by Texas Liberals

One of the few blessings in the realm of Texas liberals was the writings of the late Molly Ivins. A recent book on her, the cover of which can be seen below, records the fact that she was a Houstonian, a product of River Oaks who went to the St. Johns school next to Lamar. A fascinating article about the book which includes an interview with one of the writers, may be found here

And here are a few Molly Ivins moments courtesy Wikipedia:

• In 2003, she coined the term "Great Liberal Backlash of 2003," and was a passionate critic of the 2003 Iraq War. She is also credited with applying the nickname "Shrub" to George W. Bush.

• On the subject of Pat Buchanan's famously combative "culture war speech" at the 1992 Republican Convention, which attracted controversy over Buchanan's aggressive rhetoric against Bill Clinton, liberals, supporters of reproductive and gay rights, and for his comparison of American politics to religious warfare, Ivins famously quipped that the speech had "probably sounded better in the original German," implicitly comparing Buchanan to Adolf Hitler.

• On Bill Clinton: "If left to my own devices, I'd spend all my time pointing out that he's weaker than bus-station chili. But the man is so constantly subjected to such hideous and unfair abuse that I wind up standing up for him on the general principle that some fairness should be applied. Besides, no one but a fool or a Republican ever took him for a liberal." (Introduction to You Got to Dance With Them What Brung You)

• "Having breast cancer is massive amounts of no fun. First they mutilate you; then they poison you; then they burn you. I have been on blind dates better than that."

• "So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was." — quoted by John Nichols for The Nation. Original source: "The Fun's in the Fight" column for Mother Jones, 1993.

After her death, President George W. Bush, a frequent target of her barbs, said in a statement, "I respected her convictions, her passionate belief in the power of words. She fought her illness with that same passion. Her quick wit and commitment will be missed."

As indeed it is. R.I.P. Molly Ivins, and thanks for cruising our way.§

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My True Feelings Regarding Republicans

I’ll be frank. Regular readers of this blog may have noticed, I don’t have much use for Republicans. They are country club types, and the type to join the local church with the most business influence. And they are most likely to urge you to do the same.

They think of money, and only money. I probably should think more about money, but I don’t. Republicans seem to be a well disciplined bunch, and are presently sticking together like no other party in history has before them.

They seem to have evidently decided on their course of action during the Obama administration. And it is to oppose anything the Obama administration offers. They seem to be dedicated to the proposition of fighting each Obama proposal tooth and nail at every step of the way, regardless of its possible usefulness to the country and the needs of our economy. This, they have evidently decided, is their surest way back to power. Which is of course all they really care about, they care not a whit about you nor me, or the rest of the country’s inhabitants.

And so, whatever President Obama attempts to bring to the country as a way of returning the people’s tax dollars to them rather than delivering them to the terminally wealthy, the Republicans will fight him every step of the way. Why would they do that, you might ask? Because Republicans don’t feel that government should be run for the benefit of its taxpayers. They believe that government should devote it’s time to cutting taxes, curbing government services, and after severe cuts funneling what resources it has left over to the wealthy, to assist them in their eternal quest to get wealthier.

Is this going to work to re-bloom the Republican Party in 2010, much less 2012? Who knows? It has gained Republicans two recent victories in governors races in New Jersey and Virginia. But it caused them to lose a congressman in New York State when an ideologically pure conservative forced a Republican moderate to quit the race, and thus allowed a Democrat to win the seat.

Whether or not this GOP strategy is going to be a winning one in 2010 and 2012 depends very much on us, the voters. If the Democrats continue to prove that they can’t govern, as they are seeming to be hell bent in doing at the present time, then the chances are that change will be born out with Republicans winning back some of the seats they lost in 2006 and 2008.

However, if voters analyze what the Republicans are really standing for, and what changes they will enact if and when they do get back into power, then chances are it will be a freezing day in Hell before knowing voters put Republicans back into power. Just think back on eight years of Bush/Cheney running up the national debt to heights of spending that eclipsed the spending of all previous Presidents put together. Of course, as Liz Cheney unblushingly points out, we could always replace President Obama in 2012 with her father, Dick Cheney. Line forms to the right.§

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A Note About my Picture

A note about little Eddy’s picture which may be found page right, second from top as well as above. This picture was taken with the iMac’s on-board eye sight camera, using a distortion effect called Light Tunnel in a program called Photo Booth, a program which comes free with any Apple Mac computer these days.

Light Tunnel is one of nine optical effects you can get on page 2 of your options. Other page 2 distortion effects include, bulge, dent, twirl, squeeze, mirror, fisheye, stretch, and of all things, normal. The page shows you a small version of each effect, and clicking on any one of them brings that one to the fore. And clicking on the camera icon at bottom center brings on a three second countdown and SNAP – your picture is captured for posterity.

There is also an Effects Page 1 which gives you a more organic level of effects, sepia, black and white, glow, comic book, colored pencil, thermal camera, x-ray camera, pop art, and again, normal. Once again each effect is seen in small view until you click on one to bring it to full screen.

I couldn’t resist the temptation of captioning my picture recalling L.B.J.’s famous light at the end of the tunnel remark, although just how much light can actually be found at the end of my tunnel is perhaps open for debate.

Programs like Photo Booth horrify staid business types who only think in terms of bottom lines (the money making kind, not the fun kind) where anything unrelated to business is frivolous and somehow sinful, but built in extras like these help make owning a Mac a fun and creative experience. In addition to Photo Booth, you get 5 iLife programs free with every Mac, iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, and a music program called Garage Band. In addition you get three business programs, a word processing program called Pages, a presentation program called Keynote, and a spreadsheet program for business users called Numbers.§

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What Happens When the Woods is On Fire?

In New York State You Can Get Drafted as a Firefighter

As I deftly cruise into this week’s children’s camp memories, I am first off going to deal with an ingredient which must be handled with a great deal of care. Fire is a useful tool for cooking your meals, and for sitting around afterwards singing and telling stories. But it can be a dreaded side effect of a careless camping trip.

I remember one night I returned with several Settlement Camp counselors from a trip to a tavern down the road in Beacon, N.Y., only to find out that some group of our campers had left the mountain on fire where their cookout had been, and we subsequently found ourself greeted by a representative of the New York State Fire Commissioner, who duly conscripted us as firefighters for the night. We were issued large water tanks which were strapped to our backs, and hurriedly directed up the mountain to fight the fire. It took us three hours, and was coming up on three a.m. before it seemed to us that our night’s endeavor had finally come to an end.

There were no more glowing embers that we could see. However, it seemed that now we were in the service of the State of New York’s Fire Service, and we would damn well man our backpacking water tanks until our commanding officer had determined that the fire really was completely out, thank you very much, after which then and only then we would be duly dismissed. It was another hour before that happened, the blaze was decreed over, and we were dismissed for the night.

The Settlement Camp had several completely beat counselors the next day. And because we felt guilty that the fire had been caused by one of our own camping groups, none of us ever tried to bill N.Y. State for our services, even though the law would have allowed us to do just that. In fact, in retrospect we were damned glad that the N.Y. State Fire Service was there for us when we needed it. I never found out which trip had left the fire we were drafted into putting out. Myself, I didn’t want to know.§

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A Lake with Woods

A Rude Awakening on a Trip by a Lake

Fire played a part in one of our more beautiful lake trips from Camp Killooleet in Hancock, Vt.. It was a two nighter to a beautiful pristine lake somewhere in the wilds of Vermont. It was almost completely private, although there was one fisherman with a particularly noisy outboard motor who broke our morning peace with the put-puts of his engine. However once he got to his location of choice, he was quiet. He was moored completely on the other side of the lake from us, and was well out of our sight, and so we were free to go about our skinny business as usual.

Everything went well, we had an impeccable day, we had a nice cookout late in the evening, and had a short round of singing around the campfire after dinner. We put out the remains of our campfire the old fashioned boy scout way, with all of the boys lining up around the fire to douse the remains with their urine, sending up rancid odors but thereby killing two birds with a single stone, as it were. I felt really good about every aspect of our trip, and I was soon sound asleep without a care in the world.

It was about two hours later that I was awakened by a camper named John who was shaking me violently, saying, “Wake Up! Ed! Wake Up! The woods is on fire! ”

My eyes flew open, and sure enough, a small tree near where the campfire had been, was wildly burning. I was out of my sleeping bag in an instant, and had the good sense to grab my canteen, which I had filled after dinner, preparatory to confronting the flames. “Get the big pot from dinner and fill it at the lake,” I suggested as I rushed to the flaming tree. I emptied my canteen on it, to little effect, but a minute later John was there with the filled pot, and that did have somewhat more of an effect. Upon emptying it, he was back down at the lake refilling it. It took about four pot fulls of water to douse the flaming little tree completely.

Then I started trying to figure out how the fire had started.Turning the flashlight off, I could clearly see strings of glowing embers that went out from the campire in several directions, as if anxious to see what each could inflame. You could actually trace the progress of the fire from the site of our campfire to where it had inflamed the tree, and had we not discovered and doused it, before long it would have caused several other blazes to go along with the small tree.

What I discovered after closer examination was that much of the soil around our camping area was not soil at all, meaning not ordinary dirt, but instead was a flammable organic material that resembled soil. It was made up of a combination of decayed leaf and bark material. And so our campfire was never really extinguished, but instead had bided its time before it could escape the campfire area and travel several directions seeking mischief.

It took five or six more loads of water carried in the big pot before all of the glowing ember trails were extinguished. I shut off the flashlight, and both of us carefully studied all of the ground around the campfire, to finally determine that the glowing embers were indeed all extinguished, and that it was safe to go back to bed. I told John, “good job,” and he acknowledged my praise with a grin, proud that we had been able to put out the fire all by ourselves, without waking up the others. It was awhile before I found my way back into sleep, my mind kept going over what might have happened had John not waked up and discovered the fire and awakened me. But finally once again sleep overtook me.

It was with a great deal of pleasure that our group hiked out of there late the next morning leaving our campsite just as pristine as we had found it, with only a single blackened tree to give a hint as to what might have been. With a great deal of effort I manage to purge thoughts of what might have been from my thinking. However, after that trip I got a healthy appreciation for more thoroughly testing out the soil around future campfires. It was the camping equivalent of a grade A insurance policy.§

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When Technology Met the Outdoors

Technology is usually not thought of in combination with a camping trip. And for good reason, as a camping trip is a basic fundamental experience, which we can date as far back as humanity goes. And technology is on the cutting edge of what is new, and where tech is going. But on at least one particular trip a quite unique piece of technology played a somewhat bizarre role in my experience of the trip. The piece of technology I’m talking about was a tiny battery powered Sony short wave radio, no bigger than a deck of playing cards.

Like many Sony products of the time, the product was elegant looking, coming completely in white. And it could do amazing things, this tiny piece of technology which could fit comfortably in my jeans pocket. It could draw in short wave signals from the other side of the planet, an intriguing thought indeed as I lay in my sleeping bag on that night, contemplating this remarkable piece of machinery.

However, it was a grown-up’s toy which had no place in the day’s camping experience, it was a toy meant for use only after the campers were asleep. I’m not exactly sure just what trip the incidents I am about to describe happened on. It could well have been on a Tumbledown trip, like the one l described last week where two of my almost teen campers, Kirsten and Gretchen, had their little bathing suit off interplay. Anyway, it could have very easily been the same night, taking place only after all the campers were asleep under their tarp.

Event number one that was happening that night was certainly a major event in itself, as it was a spectacular display of the Northern Lights. There are two phenomenon that happen when the earth’s northern or southern magnetic fields act up. The Aurora Borealis, which I have never seen in Maine, only in Beacon, N.Y., throws colored lights, red and green every time I’ve seen it, throughout the sky. The skies seems to crackle with near soundless sounds that seem to crackle along with a vibrant, ever changing visual display.

The Northern Lights in Maine

But in Maine, on this given night, there was a display of primarily white Northern Lights. Had I been on a Lake, the scene might have resembled the photo on display above. But there were no reflections off the water, and no color tint. The display lighting up the night, consisted of all of the colors in the spectrum, and the resulting light came out as the purest of whites.

It was after all of my campers were soundly sleeping, that I dug out my Sony short wave radio from my jeans pocket, inserted the ear piece, and turned it on. As the Northern Lights display lit up the night sky I tuned the radio. I got stations broadcasting in French, and I suspect stations broadcasting in Russian, but not understanding a word I quickly moved on. I finally settled in on a short wave station which was in Canada, and which was broadcasting a newscast in English. The newscast was one I found of intense interest as I followed the story. The story being featured was an A.P. story from the western part of the United States.

It seemed that there was this traveling group of teen agers touring the west, who were camped out on this night in their tents. Montana could be the state, my memory is foggy there. At any rate, two teen agers of opposite genders were sharing a tent, according to the story, and were evidently indulging in an activity which not only bared the male’s buttocks and which was pretty sure to have invoked some pretty elemental odors on both their parts, when suddenly a bear burst through the top of the tent and took a bite out of the young man’s hindquarters. Fortunately, his and her screams seemed to have frightened off the animal after his initial bite (perhaps he did not care for the taste of an American teen boy’s buttocks) but at any rate help also quickly flocked from nearby tents, and the animal was run off, after which the boy was carted off to the nearest hospital to be treated for his wound.

Imagine if you will, listening to this story as it accurately described the unfortunate young man’s experience via short wave radio while camping out oneself in an open field in Maine. All the while viewing an incredible display of Northern Lights. It was indeed a heavy situation, which found me continually checking on the campers’ tarp for any sign of bears, although Maine’s black bears are nowhere near the menace that western grizzlies are. It was an incredibly creepy story all the same, and given the circumstances one I will likely not forget any time soon.

However, to tie the description “small world” onto the story, a couple of weeks later as our camp was closing down for the summer, I was telling the story of my camping trip to two of our parents, complete with Northern Lights and the Sony shortwave radio carrying the news story from Canada, and suddenly they started in some heavy blushing, coughing, and throat clearing.

And low and behold, it turned out that the boy in the news story had been their nephew Hugh W. They both blushingly told me that of course they and the boy’s parents had no idea that the campers were sleeping coed in their tent. They blushingly admitted that Hugh and his paramour were indulging in some lively, odor causing physical activity when the bear burst through the tent and took a bite out of the poor boy’s gluteus maximus. Both parents had seemed a wee bit embarrassed when the incident first came up, but later looked back upon it with the humor it deserved, as it could have certainly turned out far worse. The parents assured me that the boy was doing well, and would probably eventually forget all about the incident. Twas a small world indeed, to hear another version of this bizarre story, coming from relatives of the boy in question to boot.

I had no further adventures with that remarkable piece of technology as I was relieved of it a couple of weeks later when I made the dreadful mistake of leaving it unattended in my VW bus as I parked it in a N.Y. City garage. I had yet to learn of Rule One of New York City’s Basic Rule for Survival, which is if you want something do not leave it unattended in your car or anywhere else for that matter. Or as Lilly Tomlin once explained, “New York is always knowing where your purse is.”§

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And so as we leave Little Eddy learning the basic rule for retaining one’s possessions in the City of New York, so we also have to take leave of Blog #115. We promise to never let the images of Microsoft’s Genius bar workers livening up an afternoon at a Microsoft store with their unforgettable dancing, leave our memory banks.

Next week will roll around all too soon, and if next week goes anything like this week has, the first thing Saturday morning we will upload next week’s edition of L. E.’s Blog, after which we will finish our breakfast of Irish Oatmeal well covered with Saigon Cinnamon, and eaten with a banana and four strawberries, after which I get to spend my post breakfast cycle proofreading it. Join us Saturday, or anytime there after to witness the results of whatever our week produced. Bye now!§

The Real Little Eddy

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