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Hi there. My name's Laurence Simon, I'm in Houston, Texas, and welcome to my padded cell in the basement of the Blogosphere. Striding the fine line between pundit and putz, I've been drawn by the cheap whores of fancy and fate to share some half-baked thoughts with you. It's not a question of sticking my foot in my mouth but which foot goes in first and do I shoot my mouth off as well.

Thanks for visiting, and let's have some fun.



Saturday, February 01, 2003

OPINION TELEGRAPH: (Mark Steyn) Americans are tougher about these things now
(Via Little Green Footballs)

Mark is dead-on as usual with this one, and he's got an added bonus treat for everybody's favorite mad prophet of the Blogosphere:

Two weeks ago, when the Shuttle was launched, the enterprising internet commentator Charles Johnson posted an almost note-perfect parody of an Arab news report denouncing the presence of Colonel Ramon:

"'This is surely but the first step towards complete and outright illegal Zionist occupation of space,' said the Arab League spokesman Abr Souffla. Sheikh Yermani-Makr, appearing on Palestinian television, said, 'It is not enough that the unbelievers have come on our land, but now they also take our heavens?' In New York today, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that an Israeli presense in space is 'unhelpful' and would only serve to further aggravate tensions between Israelis and Arabs."

A couple of days later, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reprinted the internet story, apparently taking it for real. In an odd way, the world's reactions are beyond parody now. No doubt in the big-time mosques the A-list imams really will regard what happened as the judgment of Allah on the American-Zionist plan to seize the heavens. The rest of us will mourn the dead and urge Nasa to get on with the next flight. That's the American way.

I figure we'll be seeing translations in MEMRI of batshit loony rants in Al-Hayat and other Islamic rags in the coming days. Do they still assume that nobody's translating their screeds and passing them along to the target of their hatred, or do they just not care now and go for broke?

My response is that I will slip the surly clasp of my belt and they can kiss the ass of me.

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REUTERS: Cell Phones May Cause ICU Machinery to Hang Up

I wonder how the cell phone manufacturers are going to deny this claim that their product is a hazard to peoples' health?

When a hospital asks you to shut off your cell phone, you better listen. The electromagnetic energy emitted by cell phones may be strong enough to interfere with mechanical ventilators found in intensive care units, to the point where the machine even shuts down, Harvard researchers reported here Thursday.

Biomedical engineer Cheryl Iden Shaw presented results of a study of the effects of cell phones on 20 different medical devices, including mechanical ventilators, which help patients breathe, and defibrillators, which are used to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.

Cell phones caused interference with ventilator function in 8 of the 20 machines. Interference had the potential to be life-threatening in 2 of the 8 cases. And in one case, the ventilator shut down when a cell phone was brought within about an inch of the machine.

My brother-in-law has been in the hospital for a week and change, and I've been dutifully shutting off my cell phone as has everybody else when we visit.

However...

In the less extreme cases of cell phone-induced malfunctioning, the phones caused false alarms and unintentional cycling of ventilators. Interference disappeared at distances greater than 12 inches.

It may seem unlikely that a cell phone would come within an inch of a medical device and turn it off, Shaw said.

However, "you have to remember that physicians or staff often will wear their cell phones turned on in their pocket or on their hip, they'll be next to a ventilator while taking care of the patient...close enough to shut it down."

Shaw said that the manufacturers of the ventilator that shut off in the study have already upgraded their machine so that cell phone interference should not be a problem with that device at this point. But, she added, the study shows that cell phone use policies and standards "might be a little outdated. And it's not just cell phones. It's any wireless technology."

I guess we never saw those lost episodes of Star Trek where Nurse Chapel waved a tricorder or medical device over a patient, entered his info into a pad unit, and killed the poor red-shirt.

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CNN: NASA weighed retiring Columbia in 2001
OBSERVER: NASA chiefs 'repeatedly ignored' safety warnings

Not one whole day has gone by, and here come the woulda shoulda couldas from the press.

Yes, there's probably going to be a "smoking gun" memo pointing to something somebody overlooked or cut corners on. But it's not going to float to the top of the stack on the first day.

Time will tell.

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Mister Clean

I've spent most of the day vacuuming, scrubbing, and cleaning. The kitchen's shaping up quite nicely, the stove's soaking with all sorts of icky grase-cutting chemicals, and the bathroom is being scrubbed by the scrubbing bubbles.

What is it about those bubbles that makes them scrub that other bubbles don't have? Why don't all bubbles scrub? Is there any way to make scrubbing bubble gum so that when you chew, your teeth get cleaned?

As nations mourn, my mind wanders.

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Minerva

Many years ago, Minerva was the Roman Goddess of Widsom.

Today, Minerva is the Houston Goddess of Lacking Widsom.

For just a moment, I flipped to watch the local news. It didn't take long for that blithering cow to say in a package that Shimon Peres was the Prime Minister of Israel. You know, forget about that election thing they just did with Ariel Sharon's name all over the headlines.

Maybe to her, we all look alike?

I figure I'll flip it back to CNN while I clean the bathroom.

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It's a boy!

Congratulations to Solly Ezekiel the GedänkenPundit and his wife on the birth of their son.

I'd have posted congratulations sooner, but Solly (among many others) do not ping weblogs.com. Yeah, I blogroll him, but I tend to focus on the recent updates because I know there's activity on them.

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REUTERS: Museum unveils restored Rosa Parks bus

The simple act of defiance and refusal that Rosa Parks did on that bus all those years ago took courage and the greatest respect for the rights of the individual. From her action, a whole nation was forced to look itself in the mirror to discover the lie it was leading.

Every act of murder and massacre that any Palestinian has done in blowing themselves up on Israeli buses has been of the worst cowardice and the most horrifying attempt to destroy the rights of the individual to impose the hive-mind obedience to a twisted religion. As an entire poisoned strain of our species celebrates each blast brought about by their most evil suicide-murderers, we see them for what they truly are and wince in revulsion.

Those that confuse the two acts as morally equivalent in terms of defiance need their heads examined, while still or their necks or not. I figure that the revolting, uncivilized masses that call themselves Palestinians would love for a museum of their own to be founded, where they would display the shattered husks of buses blown up by their deranged "martyrs."

For the good of freedom and mankind, that day must never come.

(The Henry Ford Museum has more information of a less incendiary nature about "The Rosa Parks Bus.")

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ARAB NEWS: Israeli, US astronauts die in shuttle blast over ‘Palestine’

Put down your beverages and take a moment to stick your finger down your throat and heave up your lunch before reading this article on Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper, Arab News.

Barbara Ferguson starts off with a smirk and then clears the runway for a complete wacko loon to take off:

“Once again we see that space technology can fail,” Bruce Gagnon, international coordinator for the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, told Arab News last night. “I’m troubled because the Bush Administration has recently announced a program called the ‘Nuclear Systems Initiative’, a $1 billion research and development program to expand the launching of nuclear power into space. The problem is that as you increase the numbers of launches carrying nuclear payloads into space, but you are also going to dramatically increase the chances of a catastrophic Chernobyl in the sky.”

Asked why NASA was advising extreme precaution at the crash sites, Gagnon said: “We haven’t heard that there was a nuclear payload on this shuttle, but one of the great hallmarks of the Bush administration is increased secrecy. I must admit that when NASA said no one should go near a site because of the toxic potential of the fuels and ‘other reasons,’ I couldn’t help but wonder what those reasons are.”

Due to cuts in NASA’s budget in recent years, NASA has been forced to turn to the Pentagon for increased funding, said Gagnon. The result is that the space shuttles are now also NASA missions and carry both military and civilian technologies.

“What you have now is the military takeover of the space program. NASA is not just about gazing at the stars, it now also has a political and military agenda.” What is of concern, he said, is that the Pentagon in now working on a program called the “Space Based Laser.” “Its nickname is the ‘Death Star,’ and its job is to destroy other country’s satellites, and also hit targets on the Earth below. NASA hopes to have the first operational tests by 2016 or 2017,” Gagnon explained.

“This would give the US full control and domination of space and the earth below, because whoever controls space will control the Earth.”

Leave it to the Arab News to turn a horrific tragedy turning a scientific and exploration mission for all humanity into an opportunity to wax berserkly over the military research by their dogfaced suckers most tolerated customers saviors in 1991 American allies.

I figure that one day the House of Saud will beg for such weapons to be used to defend them against their own worst enemies, who will have used the wall of money they have tried to hide behind to buy their way out of the pit they've dug.

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Dead Man Ranting

As a body dies, the sphincters release and the person releases shit and urine.

It comes as no surprise that as the moment of death rapidly approaches the current moribund Iraqi regime, it fouls itself similarly:

Immediate popular reaction in Baghdad on Saturday to the loss of the U.S. space shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew -- including the first Israeli in space -- was that its was God's retribution on Americans.

"We are happy that it broke up," government employee Abdul Jabbar al-Quraishi said.

"God wants to show that his might is greater than the Americans. They have encroached on our country. God is avenging us," he said.

When it comes time to flush you, Abdul, we'll make sure to flush twice. It's a long way to Hell.

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Miles to go before Miles sleeps

Walter Cronkite is having problems understanding Miles O'Brien's long-winded ramlbing questions.

Got a message from a former college. They're describing Jessica Willey's reporting as "Breathless, Brainless, and Braless."

I'm going back to cleaning the refrigerator and racking my brain for with something for Cold Fury while washing the racks.

UPDATE:
John at BlogsOfWar demonstrates what I've known for a long time... the ABCNEWS.com webproducers are jackasses.

William Gibson weighs in without getting all... Gibsony.

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Amish Tech Support 2003 Blog A Day Tour - Day 32

Tragedy may be in our hearts, but the Tour must go on.

Today's stop on the Amish Tech Support 2003 Blog A Day Tour will be at Cold Fury. I'm still working up the piece, having shelved the one I was working up with my own cold fury as inspiration.

You can see the year's progress on this handy sidebar thingy.

I also just remembered to make selections for stops for next's week's leg of the Tour. Sorry for the last-minute notices, and if y'all have already volunteered but haven't gotten notice, you might want to keep an eye out for

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Turning idiotarian peaceniks on their over-pierced ears

Michele of A Small Victory obliterated the peacenik idiotarian arguments against a war with her What If experiment.

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Blogathon 2003 Plans

Based on today's events, this year I'll be blogging for Magen David Adom again. My goal will be to raise funds for the sponsorship of a new ambulance.

The dedication plaque will read "COLONEL ILAN RAMON."

Not sure how to incorporate Texas in there in a positive and hopeful way. He lived here during training, after all. I don't want "LOST OVER TEXAS." Maybe one of the following:

"AS IS ISRAEL, FOREVER WITH AMERICA"
"EXPLORER, ADOPTED TEXAN"
"STAR OF DAVID, LONE STAR STATE"

Any suggestions?

This year's project will include video clips demonstrating bread baking again (long before Jarvis coined "vblogging," thank you very much), this time doing a challah and my pretzels.

Mark your calendars for June 2003, save up your pennies, and spread the word.

SUGGESTIONS:
Dave of Greeblie suggests "COLONEL ILAN RAMON: A Star of David in the Heart of Texas"
Enigmatic E.Nough of LGF suggests Vodkapundit's: "They turned into shooting stars so bright, you could see them against the morning sun." I think that would require all seven of their names with it.

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AP: AOL Reports Its 1st Drop in Subscribers

Corporate officers usually react to such bad news with idiocy and hare-brained plans of fixing the things that ain't broke.

When threatened by Pepsi, Coke abandoned its longtime formula with New Coke. ABC took a shaky Prime Time lineup and copy-pasted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire into four nights instead of one to shake it completely apart. AOL will do no less a stupid act.

Instead of intelligently pushing the synergy of Roadrunner Time Warner Cable regional monopolies with AOL Broadband, reducing content redundancy and wasted effort, I predict that they will perform only bogus cosmetic changes to AOL 9.0 and shed the "You've got mail!" sound and try to go hip and new.

They've already done a celebrity "You've got mail!" thing to mess with the old standard, it's only a matter of time.

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Experiments

I received an e-mail a few minutes ago wondering how many results of the experiments on the shuttle had been reported back and how many have been lost forever.

I know of at least one experiment that survived.

The experiment of democracy in the Middle East.

Mission Specialist Colonel Ilan Ramon voted in the Israeli elections.

He participated in a free, unfettered choice in his country's leadership.

No other country in that region can claim such a thing.

The experiment will continue. And flourish.

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South Park said it best... "Fuck Canada"
UPDATE: Mick is saying that these were not the opinions of the guest. I guess that leaves the CBC Presenter as the sole guilty party... waiting on transcript...

From Nick Packwood:

I am watching coverage on different networks. CBC Newsworld just interviewed writer Robert Sawyer for his reflections on the shuttle program and potential causes of the disaster. The Newsworld interviewer asked Sawyer whether the cause was "arrogance" on the part of the U.S. government. (Sawyer said no.) This is one of the most odious questions I can imagine. It took minutes for the CBC to twist a tragedy into a politically motivated theatre of hate. Talk about manufacturing consent.

Furthermore... the interviewer linked American "arrogance" explicitly to current potential conflict in the Middle East. My only surprise is the CBC did not manage to sneer at the death of Israel's first astronaut in the same breath.

He has a link to the CBC Ombudsman. I sent the following just now:

It takes ignorance of a global scale to blame the shuttle tragedy on American arrogance.

If space exploration and technological achievement were truly arrogance, it would be hypocritical of a Canadian to label it so, seeing as the shuttle's robotic arm is Canadian.

This American arm is fully extended, it's American middle finger is erect, and it is presented to your CBC presenter and guest.

Just as CNN posted the Connie Chung Comedy Hour transcript where John King blithercasted about Norman Mineta being the off-site Cabinet member, I look forward to linking the Canadian presenter and guest's shameful remarks and archiving them so that the Maple Leaf Network may wilt in eternal embarrassment.

UPDATE:
Arthur Silber comments.

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Humor as a defense mechanism, in desperate need of repair

Phone rings at the White House. It's Yasser Arafat calling, so the operators transfer it to Camp David.
"I express the deepest condolences of the Palestinian People over the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia, the loss of the first Israeli astronaut, and we with to condemn this act of senseless terrorism."
He then repeats it in Arabic.
Bush's response:" Who said it was terrorism?"

UPDATE:
For more on my Inner Clown rushing out too quickly in the event of a disaster, try Tears of a Clown. There's other 9/11 Humor/Tragedy stories under "Nine Eleven."

UPDATE 2:
You knew that the old terrorist would put on his mask and play puppy to the President, always dreaming of the day he can bite the hand that feeds him.

UPDATE 3:
Happy Fun Pundit is neither happy nor fun today.

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JERUSALEM POST: Israeli Astronaut on his way home

This was at Jerusalem Post before "it" happened:

The government office for medallions and coins says it will commemorate the flight of the first Israeli Astronaut with an official coin.

The second side of the coin will commemorate 100 years of manned flight since the Wright brothers first took to the skies in 1903.

The coin will probably have to change to a memorial coin.

They will dance in Gaza and Ramallah tonight, as they did on September eleventh.
Civilized humans mourn the loss of brave explorers and technological achievements.
Savages dance with joy at such things.
As they dance with joy, let them dance in the dark. Turn off their electricity.
As they dance with joy, let them starve. Obliterate any food shipments.
As they dance with joy, let them fall and die. Grind them to dust under Merkava-4 treads.
Give them their state... of necrosis.

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Well, shit
NASA: STS-107 Contingency

They're going to have to add seven more figures to the painting at Houston's Dave and Busters.

UPDATE:
I got an e-mail last night with the following:

Subject: Rare opportunity to see shuttle reentry in western USA

The shuttle is scheduled to be landing at 6:16AM Pacific Time in Florida early Saturday Morning, after a reentry that will cross just north of the Bay Area of California and then continue eastward before sunrise. The Shuttle shoudl be very visible as it reenters (I saw this once before for an >Edwards landing and it stopped traffic on I-5 it was so dramatic).

>We don't see these on the West Coast very often. This should be visible over much of California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah and east at least to the edge of the Mountain Time Zone.

Now it's visible all over Texas. Just don't touch, because the edges may be sharp.

Not a good morning.

UPDATE #3:
How much you want to bet that the next one has a name that doesn't begin with "C."

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Friday, January 31, 2003

HA'ARETZ: Sedbon: Police pro-legalization of prostitution and gambling

No, we're not talking about Las Vegas here. It's Tel Aviv. Israel.

I guess that's one way to give the economy a kick after having to kick some raghead ass.

Speaking during a lecture to members of the Trade and Industry association at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Sedbon said that most of the criminal offences committed in the city were related to gambling, drugs and trade in women.

"Between 2,000 and 3,000 women work in Tel Aviv providing sex services," he said. "Generally, for every charge sheet filed by the vice squad, you will find hundreds more."

The police chief added that the Israel Police believes there is a basis in law for permitting gambling and prostitution, in order to ease the government burden of trying to control them.

Let me get this straight... if you can't control a crime, you make it less illegal, or do you just make it legal?

Thank goodness they don't apply that towards terrorism and suicide bombings, instead just sending in tanks to kill the assholes.

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REUTERS: Teacher fired after condom demonstration

So, how do they teach students how to use condoms in Naples, Florida? Well, here's not how to do it...

School officials fired a high school teacher who gave ninth-graders a demonstration on condoms -- using props including mood lighting, music and a banana.

The Collier County School Board gave no specific reason for firing Colin Nicholas Thursday, asserting it had the right to dismiss an employee without cause if the worker was still within a 97-day probationary period. The board's decision cannot be appealed.

"The information is so clear: he doesn't belong in the classroom," board member Pat Carroll said.

Nicholas, who also had two of his students pretend to be sex therapists to answer other students' questions, was not present at Thursday's board meeting because his wife was in labor.

Here's the kicker...

But he has maintained he never got proper sex education training -- and was never told condoms weren't allowed in classrooms. Nicholas has also said his intent was to simulate situations his students might face, because he believes teaching safe sex benefits students.
They never gave him any guide as to the boundaries he wasn't supposed to cross. Sure, common sense ought to rule out and make a sane person say "mood lighting isn't appropriate for school" but this guy must have lacked that codon in his teaching gene.

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Poetry

I think that Bigwig at Silflay Hraka is just itching to start up a 101 pro-War Poems to counter the anti-War poems by those... well, poets.

Which poets? Well, those poets. You know the ones. They look all poetic and shit.

If Bigwig isn't planning such a thing, my bad.

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Amish Tech Support 2003 Blog A Day Tour - Day 31

Today's stop on the Amish Tech Support 2003 Blog A Day Tour is Down to Zero.

You can see the year's progress on this handy sidebar thingy.

It's been one month. Help me get through 11 more months and volunteer your site for the Tour today!

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The real symbol of the Palestinian resistance...

Little Green Footballs has top secret photos of the Al-Krappah Anti-Tank Bomb in action.

I can't wait for the posters and web sites glorifying the Ty-D-Bowl Martyr. Does he receive a 144,000 Flushes when he gets to the restroom in Paradise?

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REUTERS: Journalist Shot Dead by Gunmen in Indian Kashmir

I guess they couldn't figure out who was going to deliver a letterbox to the editor...

A journalist in Indian Kashmir died on Friday after unidentified gunmen burst into his office and shot him, police said.

His death brought to at least seven the number of journalists who have been killed by gunmen in violence-torn Jammu and Kashmir since a bloody uprising against Indian rule erupted in 1989.

Uprising against Indian rule... that sounds a lot like "uprising against Israeli occupation" that Reuters uses all of the time. I guess it's their way of saying Muslim-sponsored terrorists did this?

The attackers shot Parvaz Mohammad Sultan, editor and owner of the local Urdu-language news agency NAFA or News And Feature Alliance in his office in the heart of Srinagar, summer capital of the disputed Himalayan state.

"Sultan succumbed to his injuries in hospital," a police official told Reuters, adding no militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

At least four journalists have been wounded by unidentified gunmen in the past 12 months, officials say.

Maybe somebody ought to take a peek in Pervez Musharraf's little black book and identify these gunmen.

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