For President

Posted in Commodity Wisdom by chamblee54 on June 30, 2012

I want a dyke for president. I want a person with aids for president, and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to aids, who still see that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no air conditioning, a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and layed off and sexually harrassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown, always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief, and never caught. This monolog was borrowed from facebook.

Collateral Damage

Posted in Race, Religion by chamblee54 on June 30, 2012

This post was originally published four years ago. In the intervening forty eight months, many women and children have been killed in crossfire. The United States will send a roboplane to bomb a village, and then send another roboplane to kill the rescuers, and a third roboplane to attack the funeral. Isreal killed hundreds of children in Gaza, most of whom were too young to fire missiles. Closer to home, people who choose not to denounce a drag queen are labelled racists. It is a funny world. Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

Back a war or two ago, a phrase entered the vocabulary. The expression was collateral damage. This referred to civilians killed in a combat action. It sounds a lot nicer than dead women and children. To hear the war supporters tell it, the enemy was causing this. The terrorists would move women and children into areas they knew were going to be attacked, so they could be killed. To the war supporters, it was a cost of doing business.

The past few days, there has been discussion at this facility about speaking out when you hear something you don’t like. People say it is bigotry and hate, which sounds a lot worse than something you don’t like. Just like collateral damage sounds nicer than dead children.

When people put on their warpaint about to fight bigotry, there is frequently collateral damage. There was an incident that illustrates my point. This was when I was at Redo Blue, working with the Bully for Jesus. I will use the initials BFJ. One day BFJ heard someone make a comment using the phrase
“your daddy said”. This comment was made by a white person, referring to another white person. BFJ is a black person, and the comment offended him.
BFJ decided to vent his feelings about this comment. This happened all the time, BFJ had a nasty mouth, which would run off at the slightest provocation. Since he was working on a rush job across the room from the white person, he made his comments in a loud voice. This way the white person across the room could hear what he said, and BFJ could work on his rush job.

Towards the end of his speech, BFJ made the comment
“when your mother and your father forsake you, you still have your father in heaven” This is supposed to be in the Bible. BFJ was staring at me and shouting when he said this. Later, he said he had not been talking to me. This was very common at redo blue. People would stand in front of you screaming offensive things. If you looked at them, they would go off, screaming “I’m not talking to you”.
There is a bit of backstory here. Three weeks after my mother died, I went to the bathroom. I started to realize how much I missed her, and felt very sad. When I came out of the bathroom, a woman was praying for entertainment on the BFJ’s radio. I was offended. When I asked the BFJ to turn down his radio, he declared war. This poisoned our working relationship the entire time I was at redo blue.

This comment pushed me past my limits. BFJ conducted a ministry on company time, and had a nasty temper. I had to say something. Sometimes, you need to stand up to a bully. And you best be prepared for a fight, which is exactly what the bully wants. You should never wrestle with a pig. You will only get dirty, and the pig will enjoy it.

I left a note on his desk saying that
”My mother and father have not forsaken me.” We had a closed door meeting. He argued with everything I said, admitted no wrongdoing, and chewed me out repeatedly for what the other white person had said. When I was at the point where I thought he was the lowest scum on the planet, BFJ said “Jesus made me what I am today”.
We continued to work closely together for another three years or so. I witnessed a few hundred more hours of his ministry. One day the manager called me into the office, and told me not to come back.

The point of this story is, when you “Stand Up” against “bigoted comments”, you might need to be prepared to mud wrestle with someone who thinks he is building his faith. You should learn the difference between bigotry and being too sensitive. It is best to keep things between you and the person who offended you, and not cause collateral damage.

Brookhaven Town Hall Meeting

Posted in Georgia History by chamblee54 on June 29, 2012

There was a town hall meeting about the proposed City of Brookhaven. . It was sponsored by Brookhaven Yes. Many people who say No City Brookhaven attended. The meeting was in the cafeteria of Cross Keys High School, and was hosted by The Cross Keys Foundation.

PG attended Cross Keys, two or three lifetimes ago. The cafeteria has been remodeled. The bathrooms no longer smell like cigarettes.

There was a panel to answer questions. Representatives of Brookhaven Yes were there, and the mayors of Decatur, Johns Creek, Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs. They, and a few others, gave brief talks before the Q&A. You will have more local control if you have a new city. There is enough money for the new city to operate.

The questions were mostly civil. An old man, who was hooked up to an oxygen tank, did not believe the new city would save him money. He was the closest the meeting came to disruption.

The issue of whether or not the new city will have enough money is hot. Estimates range from a $360,000 deficit to a $1,100,000 surplus. The people from other new cities said that the same things were said to them when their cities were starting up. The taxes would be collected by DeKalb County, and a portion sent to the new city.

There was not much talk about police. The no people say there will not be enough, and the yes people say there will be. Little new information was presented.

Apparently, the DeKalb County animal shelter is a disaster. A lady asked if Brookhaven will have it’s own shelter. There are currently no plans to have a local animal shelter. The Chamblee dogcatcher is a familiar sight.

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis was not a popular person. The county has issued press releases saying the new city will be broke. Allegedly, another branch of the county says the new city will have a surplus. It breaks down to who you believe. All the speakers had moving lips.

The evening went smoothly. At a few minutes before nine, there were two people wanting to ask questions. A city council lady from Sandy Springs got to talking, and did not want to stop. Finally, the last question was asked, and the meeting was over.

Few minds were changed by this meeting. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. The election is July 31.

Something To Think About

Posted in Commodity Wisdom, The Internet by chamblee54 on June 28, 2012

In the wake of 911, the following email wormed its way around the internet. It is a classic of the genre. PG will add comments.This is a repost.

This letter references an appearance by Anne Graham Lotz. on “The Early Show”. Thank you, Angel Ministries, for the transcript. Mrs. Lotz is the daughter of Billy Graham. They also say, regarding the Early Show comments and the following email,
“Any mutation of it on the Internet would have occurred without Mrs. Lotz’s involvement.”
Subject: SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT i recently got this email from a close relative and i was left in awe about what Billy Grahams daughter says on TV. also the things that she says is shockinly true. i hope you read through this medium sized email and have a little food for mind in whatever you say in the future. G-d Bless. Javi

In light of the many perversions and jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke, it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could G-d let something like this happen?” (regarding the attacks on Sept. 11).
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said
“I believe G-d is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling G-d to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect G-d to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”
In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. It was the Supreme Court which ruled that Public School Prayer was unconstitutional. It was a controversial decision.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school ….. the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. The Bible says a lot of other things as well.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK. Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. The school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued (there’s a big difference between disciplining, touching, beating, smacking, humiliating, kicking, etc.). And we said OK. Maybe this is a good time to ask who this WE person is. A lot of parents disagree with this concept. Many of the people who don’t want corporal punishment have good reasons for feeling this way. Also, in that parenthetic statement at the end, PG wonders what is being compared to what. There is a list of actions, and no way to know what is not what.

Then someone said, let’s let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won’t even have to tell their parents. And we said OK. Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to do it anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said OK.

Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn’t matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. Agreeing with them, we said it doesn’t matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good. Ah, nostalgia for good times past. A good economy was a healthy thing, no matter what went on in the Oval Office. The next President started a War of Choice in private, and the economy is not good.

Then someone said let’s print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said OK. And then someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then further again by making them available on the Internet. And we said OK, they’re entitled to free speech. This bit of rhetoric may be the biggest lie in this letter. Child pornography is an aggressively prosecuted crime. Government agencies have been known to advertise such materials, and then bust anyone who answers the ad. PG has NEVER heard anyone say that child pornography is protected by free speech.

Then the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. Let’s record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it’s just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. In the years after 911, we have engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. There are lots of strangers being killed over there. But, it is going a bit far to say that it doesn’t bother soldiers to kill strangers. PTSD and suicide are serious problems among troops who have been to war in Babylon.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.” Funny how simple it is for people to trash G-d and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Many of the people who forwarded this message whine about “liberal media bias”, but call the Bible the “Word of G-d”.

Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of G-d is suppressed in the school and workplace. Are you laughing? Does a cynical smirk count?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they WILL think of you for sending it. It is a good idea to only send a message to someone who is going to trust what you say. If they don’t trust you, what is the point? Also, if a message about G-d creates ill will, is that message not in vain? Any questions about this, see the Third Commandment.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what G-d thinks of us. If G-d lives in the hearts of Man, is there a difference between what man thinks and what G-d thinks? Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.


Posted in The Internet by chamblee54 on June 28, 2012

PG was working on a post with an eye on the clock. Any minute now, the Supremes were going to rule on the Affordable Care Act. This is part of the process. After the law comes out of the sausage factory, the lawyers attack and defend. Finally, it goes to the Supremes. Scotusblog has the story.
Tom: 520,000 contemporaneous readers. 10:07
Tom: First American was dismissed. 10:07
Amy Howe: We have health care opinion. 10:08
Amy Howe: Parsing it asap. 10:08
Amy Howe: The individual mandate survives as a tax. 10:09
Amy Howe: It’s very complicated, so we’re still figuring it out. 10:10
Kali: We are still here. Don’t worry. 10:10
Tom: So the mandate is constitutional. Chief Justice Roberts joins the left of the Court.10:11
Amy Howe: The Medicaid provision is limited but not invalidated. 10:13
Tom: The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read. 10:15
Tom: We’re still here; taking a deeper dive into the opinion. Back soon. 10:15
Tom: Link to the opinion isn’t up yet. 10:15
Tom: Chief Justice Roberts’ vote saved the ACA. 10:18
Pictures, with one exception, are from The Library of Congress.

Yossarian Part One

Posted in Book Reports by chamblee54 on June 27, 2012

This is part one of a homage to Catch 22. Parts two, three, four, five, six, and seven are also available.

I The Texan How can you not like a story that begins “It was love at first sight”. Somehow, this had always happened to PG with Catch 22. He was beginning his third attempt at reading it, and thought that maybe writing about it would improve the chances of finishing the damn thing.

PG does not remember when he bought the book. It is a nice hardback edition, with grocery bag paper scotch taped around the cover. Whether or not the original dust cover was there is irrelevant at this time, although it would decrease the value to a collector. The copyright page says 1961, and there is no indication of a subsequent printing.

After the first attempt at reading, PG used the book as a tool. He operated a blueprint machine, with an electric sensor. The sensor would cut the machine off if a piece of paper did not go over it every minute. This was annoying, as PG sometimes used the developer on the machine, without feeding paper into the front. The book would tell the sensor that paper was over it, and the machine would not cut off. It worked very well.

PG had the good fortune to bring the book with him when he left the job. Several things got left behind. There was an architects rendering of a Christian Science church n 15th street downtown, that was a source of great pride and pleasure. The day when PG stormed out of shaky reprographics the print got left behind.

So begins the chapter by chapter breakdown of the great american novel. It may go unfinished. The last time PG tried this was Eat, Pray, Love, which nobody considers the Great American Novel. By the middle of the book, the lady writer was in the bathroom writing notes to G-d. PG wondered why he was fooling with a book like that, but felt the need to finish what he started. No such constrictions will apply to this series. It is about war, and modern americans wars are not supposed to be finished.

The first chapter starts with Yossarian in the hospital. Whether he is sick, or goofing off, is a matter of conjecture. After a while, you realize there is very little difference between the two. He decides the spend the rest of the war in the hospital, until a Texan moves into the ward. He does not like the Texan, does not have a good reason for not liking him, but does not need one. Yossarian is soon out of the hospital.

At this point it is essential to know how to spell Yossarian. He is the most important character, and some say the hero. Spell check can be used, but that is cheating. It is easy to break down. Yo is obvious. SS is a popular set of initials, especially for someone being shot at by Nazis. ARIAN can be tricky. If you take the Nazi theme a bit further, you can say that it is Aryan, with an I in the middle. This would be the American version anyway, to have the I in the middle of the master race, but to deny that you are a racist. Or crazyist, (spell check suggestion:Craigslist) which would be a genuine handicap while reading this book.

II Clevinger PG is beginning to think that Catch 22 is a bunch of crazy people having ironic interior conversations, and not doing much of anything. Now, in a war, this is not a bad thing. If nothing is happening, that means you have not been killed. This is a downside of war. Maybe a plot will hatch if we stick with it long enough. The style of writing is fun, even if there is no plot to sustain it. We will see. The original plan was to read fifty pages, and if it was not a barrel of laughs to consider putting it down. This is not a library book, so there is no deadline.

Not much happened in chapter two. Yossarian and Clevinger called each other crazy, and they were both correct. Towards the end of this chapter, someone says something about the Colonel wanting fifty missions from his flyers. This book might have a plot after all.

When writing this chapter, it would appear helpful to mention what Clevinger does. The first two chapters do not say what the man does, but they do mention that he used to live in a tent near Yossarian. While trying to track down the function of Clevenger, PG decided to underline the names of the characters, with a red pencil, the first time they appear in the story. After that, if PG wants to underline them, then he can. This should make it a bit easier to determine what the swarm of characters in this story do. These red pencil marks will further undermine the resale value of this book, what resale value it has left with a grocery store bag dust cover.

In 1992, PG had a downstairs neighbor named Ron Clevinger. He was a nice guy. His boyfriend, named Keith Maffey, was a jerk. They had violent quarrels, which was disturbing to someone living upstairs. If the house caught fire, then PG’s apartment upstairs would be affected. One night, they were wrestling in the living room, and the tv fell to the ground with a spectacular crash.

The guys downstairs were trying to start a remodeling business. They did not know what they were doing. The landlord let them put a new roof on the house, and it leaked. The roof was finally replaced a couple of years later. After a few months, they didn’t pay their rent, and were evicted. PG did not miss them. In the winter of 1993, there was a snow jam, which is a once every ten years big deal in Atlanta. A few days after the snow melted, PG read a funeral notice for Keith Maffey. Someone shot him dead during the storm. PG never did hear the details.

III Havermeyer This peace story about a war story is being written, at first, on a laptop. PG has long been a desktop only kind of guy, but the advantages of having a second machine were piling up. Finally, the computer store in Doraville had a sale, where they offered laptops that had been leased out. When PG got his it was $20 off, which paid part of the sales tax.

This is a fun device to use, but it takes a bit of getting used to. The touchpad is very different from a mouse, and this model does not have a number pad to the right of the letters. PG is trying to train himself to use the numbers at the top of the keyboard, and one day he will learn how. The most troubling thing about this machine is the tendency of the cursor to drift to another spot on the screen without warning. You will be typing merrily away, put the machine down, and when you get back the letters are going in a place halfway up the document. It is very annoying.

Chapter three is part crazy person noodling, and part plot action. Yossarian and Orr, his roommate, get into a discussion about why Orr likes to stuff crab apples in his cheeks. The reason is that they are better than chestnuts. They go round and round, talk about a whore that beat up Orr, but never get to the bottom of his love for big cheeks.

A couple of characters with funny names are introduced. General P.P. Peckum is a pretentious prick, which is a bit redundant. At least the pretentious part, unless it is a female, in which case a different body part is used. All prick implies is the masculine gender of the individual. Captain Aardvark is Yossarian’s navigator, and is usually the first name called at roll.

The plot part involves Yossarians desire to get out of the war alive. He takes evasive action when he flies, and is not overly concerned if the target is hit. Havermeyer, by contrast, never takes evasive action, and hangs around the crime scene to make sure the target is hit.

“Havermeyer was a lead bombardier who never missed. Yossarian was a lead bombardier who had been demoted because he no longer gave a damn whether he missed or not. He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive.”

Yossarian is thought of as a good guy. However, when he went on missions, he dumped bombs wherever it felt right, without concern about hitting the target. It is probable that some of these bombs landed on Italian civilians. Our hero murdered people whose only crime was having a dictator who was buddies with Hitler. The fact that all armies do the same thing does not make the barbequed Italians any less dead.

IV Doc Daneeka Doc Daneeka is a character with a lot to say. He was setting up a profitable practice in New York, involving crooked pharmacists and abortions. The war got in the way. Doc has little sympathy for any airman with problems, because his are worse.

Chapter four is a bunch of people hanging out talking nonsense. Except that it is all men, but it is still nonsense. Somebody asks if any poet ever made money, and someone says that T.S. Eliot did. Soon, General Dreedle, and his idiot son in law Colonel Moodus, thought that T.S. Eliot was one of their men.

There are some online resources that are going to make this project a lot easier. One is SparkNotes It is like CliffNotes, only digital. It tells us that Colonel Peckum thinks that T.S. Eliot is a coded message, and worries because he does not know the meaning.

Another handy device is wikiqotes. It has quotes from the text, and is easier than copying passages on file cards.
“This literary-work article needs cleanup. Please review Wikiquote:Templates, especially the standard format of literary-work articles, to determine how to edit this article to conform to a higher standard of article quality. This page has been listed as needing cleanup since 2008-09-11.”
V Chief White Halfoat The namesake of this chapter is Doc Daneeka’s roommate. CWH was from a tribe in Oklahoma. His family had a way of settling where oil was going to be found, so they were followed from site to site by oil company men. The term native american had not been invented when this was written, so CWH is called Indian. He likes to drink, which is another unfortunate stereotype. Catch 22 probably would not be helped by being politically correct.

CWH staggers into the tent while Yossarian is having a chat with Doc Daneeka. In this chapter, Doc is happy that the war came when it did, because his practice was broke. After CWH retires to his bottle, Yossarian gets down to business with the Doc. He wants to be grounded from flight duty. The reason for this is a desire to not be killed, and the excuse is that he was crazy.

There is a difference between an excuse and a reason. In Iraq, the reasons for wanting to invade were multiple: oil access, making Israel happy, revenge for the survival of Saddam after the first oil war, and a desire to make money for the military industrial complex. None of these were thought to be very convincing, so a decision was made to say that Iraq had WMD, and was about to give them to terrorists. A committee made a decision to use this as the rationale for the war. It was the excuse. An excuse does not have to be true, it just has to convince the people who need to be convinced.
Getting back to Yossarian, he had sane reasons for claiming he was crazy. The army was wise to him. WW2 was a serious struggle for survival, and excuses like insanity or homosexuality were not accepted. On page 41, the title of the book is mentioned for the first time.

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.
“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.

VI Hungry Joe Hungry Joe is an airman. He has screaming nightmares, which disturb his neighbors. He has flown more than enough missions, but the order to send him home never comes. The number of missions needed to complete a tour of duty keeps going up. It is now set at fifty five.

Fifty five became a notorious number during the seventies. There was a gas shortage, followed by a very convenient war, and the price of gasoline went up. One of the ideas for reducing the use of gasoline was to lower the speed limit on the interstates. This had been set at seventy, which people regarded as their right as free americans. The speed limit was lowered to fifty five, and people were not happy.

The interstate system was not finished yet. There were gaps, where you had to get off the freeway and go for a while on surface roads. One notorious bypass was in Cobb County, where I75 stopped just a bit past the Big Chicken. You had to get off, and travel north on highway 41 for a while, until you could get back on the interstate. This was when roads in Cobb county were fun to drive. There was a one lane bridge over the river on Akers Mill Road. You had to wait until it was clear to go across. On the other side was the Riverbend apartments, widely regarded as the king of swinging singles apartment complexes. Those were the days. And people wonder why the Big Chicken rolls his eyes.

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”

Spelling Tragedy

Posted in Book Reports by chamblee54 on June 26, 2012

PG went out on his bike, and saw something disturbing. A small American flag was laying in the dirt. PG leaned his bike against a mailbox, which might be illegal, and looked at the situation. The pole was broken in half, and the flag was filthy. Before you could say Supreme Court Decision, the flag was in the luggage box on the bike.

Burning a worn out flag is the proper way to dispose of it. “When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.” A splash of rubbing alcohol, and a kitchen match were applied. The flag was made of a flame resistant material. Maybe that was part of the Supreme Court ruling, or perhaps another helpful regulation. PG turned the remains over and lit it again. Finally, the embers were doused in water, and the ashes buried next to the driveway.

Going inside, there was a post to be considered, The Seven Deadly Spelling Sins. The first sentence should send any sane person running…
“Because I am a writing teacher and a former editor, I am constantly exposed to the most egregious mistakes in writing, grammar, and spelling.” PG is not a sane person. Here is the post, with supplemental comments for your reading pleasure.
1. There, Their, and They’re These are three different words, and they are not interchangeable. “There” refers to a place and is the opposite of “here.” “Their” refers to ownership of something. “They’re” is a contraction that means “they are,” as in: They are having a spelling party.

This is what is known as a homophone. You might have thought that was a communications device in midtown. If you think about it a bit, you realize that one is possessive, one is a place, and one is a clumsy third person plural verb. They’re going to take their ice cream and go there with it.

2. To and Too “To” is the beginning of any infinitive form of a verb: to run, to be, to smile, to write, to blog. Taking foreign language classes is the best way to drive this one home. It is also a preposition. “Too” means “also” or “in addition to.” It can also mean “in excess,” as in: There are too many shoes in my closet. (Well, that’s simply not possible, but you get the idea.)

This forgets two, which is a number, but the spelling is so different that usually the distinction is made. Just like spelling, as in bee, is different from Aaron Spelling. He was the father of Tori Spelling, and a Hollywood producer. Aaron Spelling made lots of money, built the biggest house in California, and was married to Morticia Addams.

3. You’re and Your “You’re” is a contraction form of “you are.” “Your” again refers to ownership.

Words like this are a problem with spell check. If the word is spelled conventionally, it will not set off the device. This also happens when you mean to say to, but type do instead. This is a normal word, and spell check will not know the difference. The possibility exists of a grammar program that will catch mistakes like this.

4. Judgment This word never ever (in the United States) has an “e” in the middle.

Words like this are pronounced in different ways by white people and black people. White people say “munt”, and accent the first syllable. Black people say “mint”, and accent the second syllable. The mint sounds like a brand of gum, like spearmint or double mint. Did you know that the doublemint twins have had substance abuse issues? They are currently in a twenty four step program.

5. Definitely I don’t know why, but some 90 percent of my students have difficulty spelling this word. There is it, in black and white. Memorize it. I have seen it misspelled as: Defiantly, Definately, Definetley, Definitly And so on. I’m sure there are numerous variations to a bad spelling.

PG is part of the ninety percent here. This is a toughie. Maybe if you break it down into parts, it will make sense. De Finite Ly. De is pronounced duh, which is smart. Finite means only so many, all there is and there ain’t no more. Ly is one of those suffixes that gets tacked onto everything.

6. Its and It’s Again, we have a contraction. The contraction means that two words have been combined, so “it’s” means “it is.” Now, the tricky part is the fact that possession usually uses an apostrophe. However, because this apostrophe is already taken for “it is,” “its” refers to possession in this case.

This is one of those things that make you think English was invented by a race of drunks who call soccer football. To any reasonable person, a word meaning possession should have an apostrophe and s. Here, it’s means it is. Sometimes, the best thing to do is play along and don’t wonder why things are so screwed up.

7. Lightning This one is my personal pet peeve. This refers to that giant flash of light in the sky that usually occurs during a rainstorm and is always followed by thunder. However, I see many people spell it as “lightening,” which can refer to making something lighter, in color or weight. However, it also means the dropping of the baby before a woman gives birth, and that’s what I always think of. So, when people write on Facebook, “The lightening was fantastic last night,” I can’t help but wonder if they are relieved to have finally given birth.

PG was going to end with a comment about religion, but was afraid of being hit by lightning.

Water Lawsuit Thrown Out By SCOTUS

Posted in Georgia History by chamblee54 on June 26, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal of the lawsuit over the water of the Chattahoochee River. (Here is the ruling that was upheld.) Until the next round of regulation and litigation, Atlanta can use the water from Lake Lanier.

If you look at the size of the Chattahoochee watershed , you might wonder why anyone would build a city here. The water is coveted by Alabama and Florida, as well as downstream Georgia. For some bizarre reason, there is a nuclear power plant on the river, using enormous amounts of water.

Water simply is not regarded as a precious commodity in Georgia. The drought in 2007 is forgotten, except for a few environmental wackos. What water we do have is not well managed. A comment at the fishwrapper says it better than this slack blogger.

“Now can we do ourselves a favor and outlaw ‘homeowners associations’ from requiring water hog vegetation? Can we raise the money to fix water system leaks? Will we join the rest of the civilized world in realizing that water is NECESSARY and PRECIOUS and treat it that way? Is it possible to require electric utilities to reduce the amount of water they waste through evaporation? Will another year come and go in the General Assembly without reining in the influence of the turf grass growers? Has there ever been a better opportunity to RAISE THE LEVEL of Lake Lanier to 1073 ft. above sea level which would completely eliminate the need for any wasted money and unnecessary fights over reservoirs? We dodged a bullet with the SC decision. It would be a shame not to learn from it and modify our laws and practices so the problem is solved instead of ignored.”

Certainly, the amount of water released from the lake can be altered. Perhaps, when it is raining South of the perimeter, we can take that into account, and release less from the lake. More reservoirs are clearly needed, which will give the developers something to build luxury homes around.

There is a blog post today, Dirty politics and decrepit strip malls. It has a picture of an empty strip mall, a sight as common as kudzu. The difference is, kudzu goes away in the winter. For years, the developers have built as if there was no tomorrow, without a thought as to where the water for these projects is coming from. The money quote
“All you have to do is look around at the never ending, hideous, suburban sprawl and you will come to the conclusion that there is a massive amount of cronyism in the State of GA. There was obviously no thought put in to quality of life/environmental factors, only who could line his pockets more by building yet another decrepit strip mall.”
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

Suicidal Strategy For Empire.

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on June 25, 2012

There was a comment left at a post, Never leave a cybernetic organism behind! The post was about the emotional impact, or lack of same, of shooting down an unmanned aircraft. Losing one of your toys is not the same as losing a crew of humans.

The comment dealt with another effect of advanced technology.
“In the long run it’s a suicidal strategy for Empire. Thanks to Moore”s Law and micromanufacturing, before too long this stuff’s going to be available as a cheap off-the-shelf technology for the resistance. Networked resistance forces will be using cheap h-k drones to target U.S. regional chains of command, logistical tails, support infrastructure on the airbases the drones are staged from, the factories that build them in SoCal, the corporate boards of directors, the American engineers who design them, etc. In which case the side with the most concentrated target profile loses.”
Ever since the first monkey hit his neighbor with a stick, there has been an arms race. Side a builts a better weapon, and has an advantage over side b. Then side b gets the same weapon, and things are even, unless one side builds a better weapon.

The ability to kill people more efficiently is a driving force of science. Many of today’s products were first developed for military use. It has been said that if we had destroyed Hiroshima with sunbeams, we would be using solar power today.

Even more troubling than unmanned aircraft is the potential of cyberwarfare. Our side let the genie out of the bottle with Stuxnet. It is only a matter of time before the other finds a way to use malicious code as a weapon of war. It is ironic that the use of Stuxnet was against Iran, to keep her from getting nuclear weapons. Nukes are another technology that gave us a temporary advantage, until other people figured out how to do it.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

Motivational Recycling

Posted in Commodity Wisdom by chamblee54 on June 25, 2012

This is a repost double feature. It is on the general subject of motivation, inspiration, and manipulation. Such things are like perfume…nice to sniff at, but dangerous to swallow. Pictures are from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”

Back when I was at redo blue, we traded some printing for a motivational speech. The speaker was D. J. Harrington. He came on stage with a telephone handset, demonstrating how to answer the telephone. There were a lot of statistics, like you get 50 percent more information when you use your left ear. ( This is a made up example, not a quote. I don’t remember any of his examples) It reminded me of something a teacher said once…:
” The best way to win an argument is to use statistics. The best way to get statistics is to make them up”
On the all important issue of what to say when you answer the squawk box, he suggested
“How may I direct your call?” Now, I like to identify the company and myself as briefly as possible, and quit wasting the customer’s time. Mister customer knows why he called. HMIDYC is seven unnecessary syllables that do your customer no good.
As some of you know, I have a sensitive BS detector. This gets in the way of being “motivated”. When confronted with a entertainer motivational speaker, I try to glean one or two worthwhile tidbits. I give D.J.H. credit, he did make one good comment.
“You must sell yourself first, your company second, and your product third” There are some idea mongers who feel I owe them my trust. I beg to differ.
Mr. Harrington used to call his dog and pony show “C*** U* F*** T** N*** U*.That phrase is currently a registered trademark of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and may be used with permission only.

Redo Blue was a diverse company. I suspect D.J.H. toned down some of the good ole boy touches from his presentation. Towards the end, he described a speech he gave in Oklahoma.
“The only Catholics they have ever seen are Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne” He proceeded to tell a tasteless story about the Catholic Church. I was almost motivated to walk out.

In an early morning discourse, I said that Martin Niemöller was rolling in his grave looking for the royalties from his poem, “First they came…“. A little research later, I don’t think he ever wrote it down. For those of you with very short memories, here is the work…

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Martin Niemöller

Martin Niemöller was the son of a Lutheran minister. In World War 1, he served on a U boat crew. Harold Marcuse tells this story: “Niemöller was a commander of a German U-boat in World War I. A seminal incident in his moral outlook, as he related in many public speeches later in his life, occurred when he commanded his submarine crew not to rescue the sailors of a boat he torpedoed, but let them drown instead. “
After the war Mr. Niemöller became a Lutheran Minister. He was originally a supporter of Mr. Hitler, but became an opponent. He was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945.

After the war, he began to speak out. The famous poem was derived from these speeches. It was never written down in typical poet fashion. There are several versions of it from him, and many more as the years rolled by. It has been quoted, updated, and quoted again.

In addition to the four groups mentioned above, the Nazis also came for mentally ill, incurably ill, or people in occupied countries. The legend is that when asked if he included Catholics, Mr. Niemöller said
“I never said it. They can take care of themselves.” (If you have a few minutes to spare, the page that quote came from is worth looking at.) When the McCarthy fever hit America, he declined to mention Communists.
With regard to the royalties, I could not see that it was ever copyrighted. I do not know who “owns the rights”. Some have even speculated that the poem was not composed by Mr. Niemöller.

Recently, there was a blog post that quoted “First they came…” The post was about gay marriage. With all due respect to the people affected by this, the ability to marry someone of the same gender does not come close to a government killing six million Jews. .

There is the Rebel looking for a cause syndrome. Many people just want to fight about something, and the cause is secondary to the lust for battle. When a poem like this is used to fire up people for a shaky cause, it brings discredit to the poem..

There is the matter of the “Next Hitler” argument. During the run up to the first war against Iraq, Saddam Hussein was routinely called the next Hitler. While this may be a valid argument at times, it is like the boy who cried wolf if used too much. (This is also known as Godwin’s Law ).

Maybe a general moratorium is needed on the use of “First they Came…”

Buying Water In Kenya

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 24, 2012

One part of life taken for granted in America is indoor running water. You turn on a faucet, and get what you need. There are concerns about the future, and fussing about water rights. What does happen here is a person walking to a water vendor to buy a 20 liter supply of water. In Kenya, that is a way of life.

Kibera is euphemistically known as an informal settlement. It is located in Nairobi, Kenya. A land mass 75% the size of New York’s Central Park is home to a lot of people.
“More accurately, Kibera turned into an unauthorized settlement after Kenya gained independence in 1963 and the new government made illegal certain forms of housing. Nonetheless, landlords rented out cheap properties to impoverished Kenyans who could not afford legal housing, and has since earned the reputation of being one of Africa’s largest urban slums. Importantly, the precise population of Kibera is hotly debated and remains uncertain. Some estimates are as high as one million and others as low as 170,000 (e.g, 2009 Kenya Census). Estimates are difficult because Kibera is made up of residents who are extremely mobile, and often prefer to remain in the shadow of the law.”
Very few of the residents have running water. Every day, people have to carry a 20 liter jerrycan to a water vendor. Often, there are shortages, and the price goes up. The water is often contaminated. There are water mafias, which create artificial shortages to boost the price.

“If the root of water problems in Kibera centered on price and supply it may be more manageable, but issues of water quality substantially complicate clean water delivery systems. Most water pipes in Kibera run above ground and are made of plastic (due to issues with theft of steel pipes), which are highly fragile and easily manipulated. These pipes will often crack or break (either accidentally due to traffic or intentionally by competitors), allowing sewage to seep into drinking water. Indeed, water sources that are generally clean can easily become contaminated without notice. This is reflected in public health data—infant mortality rates and bloody diarrheal infection rates in Kibera are more than three times the average of Nairobi as a whole (UNDP 2006).”

Stanford University is setting up a program to use mobile telephones to help people find water. Evidently, mobile phones are more common is the slums of Kenya than clean water. The program is called M-Maji, which is Swahili for mobile water. A database will have information about who has water for sale, the price, and the quality of the water. This information will be available to water users via mobile phones.

HT to Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. The spell check suggestion for Kibera is Liberace.

Do You Feel Safer?

Posted in Georgia History by chamblee54 on June 24, 2012

A recent episode of Radiolab, Grumpy Old Terrorists, spotlights Georgia. It is about four elderly men, arrested in North Georgia for terrorist activity. The episode features Tom Junod, who wrote an article for Esquire Magazine, Counter-Terrorism Is Getting Complicated. The article has much more information than a twenty minute radio show.

The story focuses on Fred Thomas. A retired Navy man, he worked for Lockheed in Virginia, and moved to Georgia when he retired. He began to hang out on the internet, focusing on a militia forum. After BHO was inaugurated, Mr. Thomas felt that America was going downhill. He met some men online who agreed. The men started to meet, first at Mr. Thomas’s house. One of the players was a government agent.

The informer was named Joe Sims. (PG does not know if this is his birth name.) According to Esquire, Mr. Sims is a slimy character. He got in trouble, and then got out of jail to work as a snitch.

It is interesting to note that two of wives, of the accused, did not like Mr. Sims. Charlotte Thomas, the wife of Fred, only met him once. Mrs. Thomas was a Frank Sinatra fanatic. When Mr. Sims was in their home, he saw the Sinatra shrine. Joe said,
“The trouble with Frank Sinatra is that he can’t sing”.
As the story went down, the old men, and Joe the snitch, had many meetings where they said that something violent needed to be done. Joe the snitch encouraged them, and set up a meeting with an “arms dealer”. Joe handed over his money,and the old man handed over some money. The federal swat team moved in, threw flash grenades, and arrested the old men. The conspirators were so scared they wet their pants. At the same time, a the Frank Sinatra shrine was raided. The carpets have burn marks from the flash grenades.

A question was raised on radiolab, do you feel safer now? The feds encouraged the scheme, and helped drive it forward. One person speculated that the sheriff should have had a talk with the old men. Let them know that the law was wise to their game, and the activity would have stopped. Is it a good role for the government to encourage people to commit crimes? In at least one case, government agents recruited and paid people to take part in the “terrorism”. Is this a good use of taxpayer money, and, indeed, does it make us safer?

There are some crucial details left out of this post. Readers are encouraged to read the Esquire magazine article, Counter-Terrorism Is Getting Complicated. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.