Friday, April 23, 2004

["Persil" is a very old and very popular brand of washing powder in Germany. It long had a reputation for being THE thing to clear up even the nastiest stains. After the Second World War, certain jobs in the Brit/French/US sectors required the applicant to submit a document (a Schein) which certified that the holder had in no way participated in any sort of Nazi party business or related nastiness. Folks called these things Persil Scheine, since they washed away the past, no matter how dirty.]

The hawks have been (I thought, overly) fond of using West Germany as an example of how one can rebuild a country one has just destroyed. To compare Iraq now to Germany then requires more than a bit of imagination.

Never let it be said that the US government lacks imagination, however. Sure, things haven't gone smoothly so far, but soft! What light through yon end of the tunnel breaks? It is the (middle) east! And the evildoers who hate freedom are the sun!

Saddam's former officers to be offered jobs

And they won't even need Persil Scheine!

(The money quote in that article, by the way, is this: "We want it to be implemented in the way it was designed." Monorail, anyone?)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Kids say the darnedest things.

Upon grading the question "What is shrapnel?"* I came upon a student who answered thusly:

"What isn't?"

Clever boy. He gets no points.

* That is not the sort of question I normally ask on exams. It was a bonus based on the fact that I showed the kids some actual shrapnel I found in a field near Ypres, Belgium. I also explained what it was and how it worked and how much it sucked. I also told them that it is named after a French officer (a Lt., I think) in honor of his having come up with the idea. Stupid asshole.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

A rundown:

Spain is pulling its troops out of Iraq, ASAP.
Honduras is doing the same.
Bob Woodward's new book is making waves.
John (fucking) Negroponte will be US ambassador to Iraq.
Afghanistan's national soccer team ran away.

Things could be worse, I reckon. But then, my capacity for reckoning exceeds that of most humans: I am a mighty reckoner.

And then there is Diego Maradonna, who has nothing much to do with Dubyah (except for the drugs and alcohol, possibly). Can you believe Maradonna is only 43? Yeesh. He looks like Avery Schreiver. A message to the kids: drugs are bad, mmn kay?

Thursday: Cubs 10, Pirates 5
Friday: Cubs 11, Reds 10
Saturday: Cubs 2, Reds 3
Sunday: Cubs 10, Reds 11
Monday: Cubs 8, Reds 1

7-6 so far then. Not bad, considering that Maddux is winless and Prior hasn't pitched at all (and may not: could it be that they wore his arm out last season just as they did during Wood's first season? The young fella DID pitch a ton of innings last year).

If anyone reading this is actually in Guadalajara and would like to buy a few things (car, fridge, tv, vcr, stereo, lamp, fan, blender, space heater, phone) for a good price, let's talk!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Shelley ("I'll think about that tomorrow") showed me this:

I'm Ludvig II, the Swan King of Bavaria!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Cubs 8, Pirates 3. The good guys are now 4-4 AND Mark Prior has thrown a baseball *from a mound*. Hope springs eternal.

In other news: plagiarism springs eternal, despite my vivid and (meant-to-be) chilling warnings regarding what would happen to such evildoers who hate freedom. I believe that my students must learn that Gregmericuh is a country that means what it says, so I'm turning the blog over to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Punishing Students for Cheating, Donald Rumsfeld. Don?

Thank you.
The problem is that when people have freedom, sometimes they do things they may not should do. Should the students have cited their sources? Probably. Should they have used quotation marks when quoting? You betcha. Did they? You be the judge. Will they pay for their crimes? Yeah. Are they gonna hate it? I'm sure. What were they thinking? This is what I like to call an unknown unknown.
Thank you.

Thanks, Don.

We have a saying back in Zimbabwe, well, in Mexico or Alabama, but probably in Zimbabwe too, that says "Fool on the hill? Only a fool would say that. Foolin'? Everybody plays the fool." And I believe that historians will look back and agree.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I forgot to mention that your Cubs whomped on the Chrislanta Braves on Sunday and then got whomped upon by the (your?) Pittsbugh Pirates on Monday. 10-2 and 2-13. That makes us 3-4 so far.

I'm don't like it when the Cubs lose, of course, but if they HAVE to lose, let them lose to the Buccos. Pittsburgh is a great baseball city, and all 5 Pirates fans deserve our support.

I won't say how I got it, because I don't want to place my source(s) in jeopardy, bit here is an actual copy of an intelligence memo read to Dubyah on the evening of 4 September 2001:


Once upon a time, there was a great kingdom. In this kingdom, everything was just great: the people were great, their things were great, and they had a great king. The only thing that made the people of this great kingdom feel bad was that there were some people who didn't think they were great. Those people were bad.

One day, the bad people came up with a plan. They said to each other "Let's do something bad to the great kingdom because we hate them and don't think they are great." They also said "Let's do it really soon."

What the bad people didn't know was that the great king of the great kingdom had great people who worked for him who were watching the bad people. These great people knew all about the bad plan and had great ideas about stopping it. The great king would surely ask them to do something about the bad peoples' plan.


Unfortunately, Dubyah seems to have fallen asleep somewhere between the first and third paragraphs and he looked so cute that Condi didn't dare wake him. Instead, she kissed his forehead and went back to studying the collected works of Josef Stalin.

I'm listening to a replay of today's "O'Franken Factor" on Air America Radio.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Speaking of dying for sins, I'm watching "Apocalypse Now."

An Iraqi intifada

Sunday, April 11, 2004

The title Mexicans? Bring 'Em On! is meant to be ironic, I think, regarding Iraq. The review underneath it, however, misses a parallel it might have done well to catch.

Reckon why those Texans and their allies (almost all of whom were from the southern US) were so keen to get shed of Mexico? The answer is far less noble than you may think (unless you know the answer, in which case you may catch my drift. If you know the answer and don't catch my drift, I may try again.).

In other news, the Cubs lost 2-5 at Atlanta (and Alfonseca, of all people, got the win). Harumph. That means we are below .500. The season is over. We'll get 'em next year!

In other other news, I was pondering Jeebus, what with this being his very special day and all (and what with me not being able to sleep and all) and the following crossed my tiny mind:

1) Jeebus rides into Jerusalem (on his ass! Look it up!) and is welcomed with palms and whatnot (which, in Bible days, was quite a welcome, since palms were precious).
2) A few days later, after dining with his gang, he goes out to meditate in the Garden of Gethsemane. There (while preparing Peter for his future duties as gatekeeper) he is set upon by Judas (a member of the gang) and Roman soldiers. Judas has ratted him out to the Romans for 30 pieces of silver (size never specified: they may have been huge pieces, or may have been tiny, or may have varied).

Here's the thing: did the Romans really need Judas? I mean, it seems like everyone knew he was in Jerusalem (or at least a quite a few people did: didn't the Romans notice the palm parade?). It ain't exactly like he snuck into town in a thief in the night, or anything.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

I'm back. Birgit and I went on vacation.

When I was a lad I once went to Lake Lurleen B. Wallace State Park (in Alabama) with the family and we slept in a massive old army tent. It was OK, but not great.

When I was 20 I went rafting with a friend and we ended up hanging out with the rafting guides afterwards. They lived in tents. I got drunk and woke up in the "guest tent" (my friend slept with one of the guides, as was her wont). I was disoriented at first, and my back hurt, but it wasn't bad.

That was the extent of my camping experience until this week. Due to lack of funds and lack of planning, B and I ended up going to a secluded beach called Punta Raza and camping (in a borrowed tent) with a friend who goes there often. We spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights there and it was not bad at all. In fact it was good. We enjoyed ourselves (Birgit had camped a few times before, and so was optimistic to begin with). Wednesday we struck out to find a colleague of mine and her boyfriend who were planning to camp on a little island. We didn't find them, so we spent that night in a hotel in Barra de Navidad (which is a very nice town, not least for allowing us to shower). Thursday we went back up to Punta Raza. We got there just as the sun was going down but our friend was gone! Even worse, someone had taken over the campsite (which was really nice, with a couple of big shade trees). It was too late for us to realistically leave in search of a hotel and far too late to drive back to Gua (4 hours away), so we threw caution to the wind and found our own camp site and set up.

All by ourselves.

It worked well, and we were happy. I'm glad to be back in a building, though.

Happy Dead Jeebus Weekend!

While I was gone, your National League Central Division Champion Chicago Cubs started the season. At Cincinatti they won 7-4, lost 1-3, and lost 3-5. At Atlanta they won 2-1. The Cubs are now 2-2. and tied for third place in the division with Houston and Pittsburgh (Cinci is in first at 3-1, Milwaukee is in second at 3-2, and St. Louis is in last place at 2-3).

Holy Cow? Not just yet.

By the way, how goes the democritisation of Iraq?

Thursday, April 01, 2004

The Randi Rhodes Show rocks. It rocks like Randy Rhodes, in fact. I'm goin' off the rails on a talk radio train!

The coolest thing just happened. A caller wanted to talk about instant runoff voting (which is a great idea) and Randi seems to have misunderstood what the caller was saying and just went off on how fucked up Diebold machines are and went to commercial. It was like Rush Limbaugh, but cooler.

Poor caller, though. She's all frustrated now. If she's reading this, I hope she can take solace from the fact that I'm giddy about this. I'm thrilled to hear angry lefties on the radio (even if, technically, I'm not listening to the radio), even when they eat their own young.

Air America Radio is on the air! Listen live on the web or move to Portland: it is your choice.

I heard the O'Franken Factor (har!) last night and am listening to Morning Sedition (har! har!) now. Give it a try. Right now they are interviewing Pat Buchannan. I'm not sure why, BUT they are really giving him hell, so that's nice.

Scott ("I Know What I Know", at left) pointed out that since they have so few stations, they've likely got lots of web listeners, which may explain why the feed isn't so great, but patience will be rewarded.