Saturday, April 3, 2010

Blog # 134: Through the Looking Glass

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The Court of the Queen of Quits

‘A Tea Party in Wonderland’

Lewis Carroll Meets Modern Day American Conservatism

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by Joe of Arizonaland

• This is the story of those who drink the Conservative Tea (‘DRINK ME’), the kind that makes your brain small enough to fit down the rabbit hole.

• Beyond the sleeping Dormouse, Michael Steele, you may see a sight to behold: dancers in bondage cheered by Young Republican Eaglets, or Tea Partying Caterpillars on mushrooms smoking hookahs.

• If you follow the White Supremacist Rabbit a little further, you may run into the delusional mad Hatter, Glenn Beck, reciting his favorite nonsense.

• Or the harpy-clawed Gryphon, Ann Coulter, trolling for easy prey.

• Or the smiling Cheshire fat cat, Rush Limbaugh, disappearing after an overdose of Conservative Cake (‘EAT ME’).

• Or the Dodo, George Bush, wondering where he went.

• Or the sad Mock Turtle, Dick Cheney, hiding in an undisclosed location, afraid that one day he will be made into soup.

• But most curious of all is the Quitter Queen of Hearts, Sarah Palin, who lost her tarts, and was seen shouting, "Off with their Heads! Off with their Heads! Don't Retreat. Reload!”, as the Grand Old House of Cards collapsed.

• But then our American Alice awakens and realizes that having this wacky pack of characters in charge of her land was just a bad dream….

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Behold! The Age of The iPad

Marco Grob for TIME

For reviews of the iPad from the leading technology writers, Walter S. Mossberg of the Wall St. Journal click here! David Pogue of the N.Y. Times views the iPad from 2 perspectives here! And finally Edward C. Baig of USA Today’s review lurks here!

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However if you read nothing else about the launch of the iPad and the reviews it has garnered, be sure to read Stephen Fry’s The iPad Launch: Can Steve Jobs Do It Again? in the current issue of Time Magazine. Fry tells of how in 1984 he and Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) were the first Apple Macintosh users in the UK, and how at the launch of the iPad he got to fulfill his lifelong ambition to visit what he calls the coolest address in the universe: 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, Calif., where Apple has been headquartered since 1993. He got to meet among others, Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs. And as the climax of his day he got to play with a brand new iPad. To access his remarkable account of his day at 1 Infinite Loop click here!

And Finally, Stephen Colbert Has an iPad

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Gets a Free iPad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

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Pardon us while we salute President Barack Obama for his new found voice of strength. Nothing like pulling off a piece of legislation that virtually all the Presidents who preceded him had tried and failed to enact. Guess that puts him up on a new level. First President to stand up to Netanyahu. The Russians agree to agree. Behold our photo tribute below, Super Obama Speaks to Us From Cloud Nine?

Graphic from The Daily Beast

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Moscow Protesters Playing for Keeps

WTF? What’s going on? Two female suicide bombers blow themselves up on two Moscow subway lines, killing many innocent people in the process. It’s bad enough when men do this kind of shit, but women. They are our life givers, the propagators of the human race. WTF are they blowing themselves and their neighbors up? What is more important than ones’ own life?

Two Moscow Subway Victims

And we’re not a damn bit better off over here in the Good Ole U.S.A. Take those Michigan militia jokers, were they planning to protect us from intruders? No, they were going to off a police officer, and then at his funeral, off as many of his fellow officers as possible, in the fond hope that this would bring on Armageddon. They wanted to save us from our police forces, and from our federal, state, and local governments. Pathetic isn’t it? And they call themselves Christians. The ghost of Timothy McVeigh attempts to carry on in the most devious of ways.

Friends and relatives mourn Maxim Mareyev, a 20-year-old university student who was killed in Monday's suicide bombings in Moscow. Mikhail Metzel-AP

Folks, seriously what is happening to the human race? People weren’t doing this kind of bloodlust when I was a kid. Of course we had only recently come out of the caves and trees back then. But we didn’t take army-grade weapons to Middle School to blow away our classmates and teachers. Hell, we didn’t even have military grade weapons back then. The best we had was cap-pistols.

Society is taking a devious turn towards the worse lately, and it behooves us to stop and think about where the hell we are, and try to turn around some of those areas that are facilitating this mindless destruction. This means Russians need to begin serious Peace negotiations with Chechens, not just flex their muscles at them. Same with Netanyahu, who needs to forget further building in the occupied lands and begin substantive talks for peace in the region. And as for these home grown militia styled militants, who knows what in hell they are after? And what it will take to defuse them. But they can be ignored at our own peril.

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GOP’s National Chairman, Michael Steele

Can’t figure out where you want to invest your money? That’s a no brainer. Why invest it in the Republican Party, of course. Number one reason, the Grand Old Party sure as hell knows how to party.

According to FEC filings, Mister Republican Michael Steele (pictured above) travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,946.25 spent in Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

Never heard of the club? Here’s a Yelp testimonial: “The girl at the door sent us in right away and told us to go to a table by the bar and get some free Champagne. Seriously. This club is amazing. There are topless "dancers" acting out S&M scenes throughout the night on one of the side stages, there's a half-naked girl hanging from a net across the ceiling and at one point I walked to the bathroom and pretty much just stopped dead in my tracks to watch two girls simulating oral sex in a glass case.”

Obviously the Republican National Committee knows a thing or two about ferreting out topless entertainment. Of course, once the world learned about the sex club the person behind arranging for the visit got an immediate axe. It’s no wonder that for the first time in modern times the Democratic National Committee is ahead of the GOP in the funding race. With big time spenders like Republican Fund Raisers plowing through their take, there’s not likely to be a helluva lot left over to fund the candidates this fall. So hurry up and give now. L.A.’s finest in Sex Clubs are anxiously awaiting your donations.

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Taking Security to An Extreme

Perusing Google News coverage of the Technology section on Monday, I came upon a most interesting article. It seems that the company behind the Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox, has issued a most secure USB memory stick. In case you’re not very far into tech, a USB stick is a bit of technology which allows you to put extra technology onto your personal computer. It is like having extra memory you can plug into your computer.

Victorinox says the Secure is "the most secure [device] of its kind available to the public." It features a fingerprint scanner and a thermal sensor "so that the finger alone, if detached from the body, will not give access to the memory stick's contents." So it won’t do them any good to cut off your finger to try and get into the contents. If they want to get into the contents they have to keep you intact and in one piece, which is always good news for you.

The Victorinox Super Secure Memory Stick

And shades of Mission Impossible, there's even a self-destruct mechanism. Victorinox offers no explanation how this works, only saying that if someone tries to forcibly open the memory stick it triggers a self-destruct mechanism that "irrevocably burns [the Secure's] CPU and memory chip."

Victorinox says the device uses the Advanced Encryption Standard 256 to protect your data as well as its own proprietary security chip. And finally being a Swiss Army Knife, the Secure also comes with the usual other features, including an LED mini light, retractable ballpoint pen, 2 jackknife blades, scissors, nail file, screwdriver, and key ring. Truly a Swiss-Army Knife for the digital world.

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Fond Memories of Ma Bell?

Return with us to those chilling days of yesteryear, when lovable old Ma Bell ruled the world of the telephone with an iron fist. Rotary dialing was the way of life, and innovations like tone dialing and wireless phones were banned as they “might have an adverse effect on your telephone service.” Finally the courts broke ATT’s stranglehold on Alexander Graham Bell’s nifty little communication invention. And today’s wide variety of innovation stands as proof of ATT’s original collection of lies.

No one summed up the monopolistic world of ATT more succinctly than did Lily Tomlin, as the storied switch board operator on yesteryear’s Laugh In. Join us in this fond look back, courtesy YouTube and The Sunday Funnies.

To my mind, one of the true blessings of the post Ma Bell telephone era was the development of caller ID. At last the call receiver has a tool with which to check on the identity of any incoming caller. It wasn’t always accurate, to be sure, but it was sure as hell better than nothing.

However, imagine my surprise when I got a call this morning from a caller with the strangest Caller ID I had yet to see. The ID line simply read Do Not Answer. I have to admit that that was intriguing enough to tempt me to answer the call just to find out who had the balls to have so brazen an ID. In the end though I deferred to their request, and did not pick up the call. Now I’ll never know who it was who didn’t want me to pick them up. Damn! §

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Island Trip Second on Teen Camp Agenda

Maine’s oceanfront offered a truly unique trip experience on a Maine Island. Camp had permission to camp on either of two islands which we subsequently took trips to. High Island which as I remember as being the second island on the right after turning left while rowing out of Tenants Harbor, and Mosquito Island, which was a much longer row on the other side of Hart’s Neck unless we trucked our boats over to Martinsville Beach and rowed over from there. I remembered Teen Camp trips to both beaches with fondness, each had its uniqueness and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite.

The Island trip was the second planned excursion of the summer, following the Tumbledown Mountain climb by about a week. Unlike Tumbledown which was a tune up for the Katahdin trip which would end the summer, the Island trip had no over all accomplishment beyond rowing to get yourself there and later to get yourself back.

On the face of it, Island trips seemed lacking in purpose compared to trips with a definite accomplishment, such as climbing a mountain or canoeing a stream. But in some ways it was the more challenging of the trips as it caused campers to actually use their ingenuity to avoid boredom. It provided lots of time for individual introspection. And it provided a refreshing break from the usual trip which was guaranteed to more fully occupy your time.

Of course initial effort was expended in rowing to the island, and setting up the camp once you got there, but the only other compulsive efforts after that were in preparing meals on an outdoor campfire and cleaning up your gear thereafter. Whereas other trips over the summer were trips which required climbing or paddling, island trips were lazy in comparison. Leisurely bathing in the sun was high on our list. Exploring the island was also a highly favored activity, as was exploring for berries growing wild.

Ah, the salt air, the chill and humidity, and the constant crackle of the ocean surrounding us. However, the ocean could only be heard from the shore. Both islands were heavily wooded, and inside the woods each island had a strange quietness. This was because there were no insects on the island, and consequently no birds to eat them, other than sea gulls cruising the ocean surrounding us fishing for fish. And so, other than our campers there was no life in those woods.

Of course there were activities available on island trips which were unique to them. The most obvious was fishing, and rarely did we send out a trip where some were not anxious to spend hours in the boat patiently waiting for a bite. And on days when the fish were biting, the whole trip would get treated to fresh grilled fish for dinner. Rowing was also a popular activity, and hunting for clams and mussels was a fun alternative which for some reason wasn’t very often exercised.

Swimming was also a popular pastime on an island trip. The Atlantic Ocean wasn’t one bit warmer around the islands (the warming Gulf stream ran a hundred miles out to sea, or so we were told.) Because we were almost always by ourselves swimming was clothing optional. On sunny days swimming was an especially popular option, though on cold, cloudy days, dry land activities like exploratory trips around the island were a preferred alternative.

On the Island itself your time was your own. As a result there was a lot of lying around, sunning, swimming, and still more sunning. The island trip saw campers using their ingenuity in passing the time. Some decorated themselves by designing wreaths of flowers which they would wear on their heads as crowns, or their wrists as bracelets.

If the tide was low a few of the more energetic camperss would muddle, which was a camp activity consisting of playing in the mud at low tide and using mud and seaweed as decorations for the face and body. And campers with a penchant for sketching would spend time capturing the unique look of the island, not to mention capturing the apparitions that the muddlers became.

High Island and Mosquito Island were both tree covered islands with picturesque rocky coast facing the open ocean and secluded beaches on the lee side. High Island boasted a firmly constructed tree house high up between several trees. We weren’t allowed to sleep in it, but most campers would climb up to try it out at least once on a High Island trip.

Mosquito Island was in plain sight of the Martinsville Beach where the children’s camp used to sometime come and swim when the tide was out back at camp. There was a lot to be said for a leisurely Island trip which had no particular goal to accomplish. They made for a nice break in the routine.

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And so our journey through the iPad's Looking Glass onto two of Maine's lovely islands comes to an end. The row back should be brisk as the seas are rolling with Tea Partiers skinnydipping fore and aft. We promised not to look, though, so we won't. Besides who the hell wants to see a naked Tea Partier anyway?

We thank Joe of Arizonaland for his contribution to this week's blog, and hope you will surf your way back again anytime next week. Meanwhile, bye bye, and watch out for that collapsing conservative house of cards. It's falling all around us.

The Real Little Eddy §

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