The Perfect Wackiness of Kentucky

Frankfort, Kentucky (f-A-ke. P.) —

The Kentucky Department of Homeland Security is in hot water after failing to acknowledge God’s role in keeping the state safe. One requirements of a 2006 anti-terror law is that a plaque be placed in the department’s Emergency Operations Center, with an inscription that reads:

“The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

And state Representative Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister who helped to establish a requirement, is upset with the department for failing to give The Almighty his due.

Homeland Security official, Thomas Preston, responded by pointing out that his office attempted to contact the Almighty, but was forwarded to the celestial law firm of Bryan, Cochran, and Marshall. “Yeah they sent back this disclaimer and told us that we’d have to sign it if we wanted God to, ‘ensure the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky’.”


More than an opera house

The Danish architect of the iconic Sydney Opera House, Joern Utzon, has died aged 90. SMH

Given decades of controversy, and accepting the heartache suffered by the architect, the choice of Utzon’s bold design for Sydney in the bland 1950s was a miraculous accident of history.

The construction held my attention through my teen years; I have enjoyed many incredible performances and simply enjoyed being in and around this creation. Even despite the petty politics which drove Utzon off before completion, refusing to be party to the destructive cost cutting, the magic still shine through.

The very first performance, to my knowledge, a spur-of-the-moment concert for construction worker by Paul Robeson set the seal for the future magic of this building. If it suffers still acoustically, and I’ve never had cause to complain, it remains a visual treasure.

My life certainly would have been the poorer without Utzon’s great vision to dress up Sydney and the magnificent harbour in an endlessly inspiring way. Utzon never came back to Australia to experience the Sydney Opera House, but his son has been engaged in the new effort to bring the building to the level of acoustic excellence originally perceived.

Saudi King Wants to Goose Oil Prices

The King of Saudi Arabia doesn’t like seeing the price of oil dropping like crazy. “We believe the fair price for oil is $75 a barrel,” he said. OPEC will figure out how to stick it to us with much, much higher oil prices when that organization meets Dec. 17 in Algeria.

Funny, I don’t recall an outcry for $75 dollars a barrel oil when it cost $147 a barrel in July.

According to the AP, “On Friday, the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery was trading at about $54 per barrel.”

Of course, I look forward to the day when our cars do not run on oil. You know me, I say take the bus, train, wind surf, walk, hang glide, anything other than the car.

But until we stop mainlining oil, plunging gas prices serve as a type of accidental economic stimulus the Bush administration and Congress can’t pass to save our lives.

‘Buy Nothing Day’ – Absurd, Empty, Symbolic Salve

Surely you’ve heard of Buy Nothing Day, the consumption protest conceived of by Adbusters, a glossy waste of paper dedicated to making you spend $8.00 an issue to feel really guilty. But like so many American-made protests, ‘Buy Nothing Day’ is just a symbolic substitute for real attitude change about consumption.

Instead, how about all agree that we consume too much, buy too much, waste too much, and dedicate ourselves to a Buy Smart Year. In a buy smart year we might decide, for example, to put off the purchase of a new MacBook till the second generation comes out—not only saving a chunk-o-change, but extending the life of a existing product and allowing us to avoid the notoriously buggy first generation of Apple-anything.

In a buy smart year, we’ll decide to save up a bunch of necessary purchases and buy them all on Black Friday. Why would we do that? Well for one thing, Black Friday is when you get the mad discounts. So get out there and save yourself a bit of cash while at the same time saving gas by doing all your shopping on one trip.

In a buy smart year, we’ll buy just one box of Ziploc freezer bags and make it last the whole year.  We’ll turn ‘pizza night’ into ‘make something from whatever is in the fridge night’.  We’ll stop worrying so much about gas mileage and buy a used car instead of a new car.  We’ll commit to walking to every destination that is within a mile of our homes.

Finally…in buying smart for a whole year, we’ll permanently change our habits and attitudes about consumption and make an empty gesture like ‘Buy Nothing Day’ irrelevant.

Holiday locavore

This year I’ve decided in the name of helping the economy to do my Christmas shopping locally. No, I’m not brave enough to fight my way through Black Friday. Besides there’s nothing I get up at 3 a.m. for anyway. California is on the edge of the abyss financially *again*, and I think it’s my patriotic duty to keep my holiday shopping dollars in state. This is going to entail some sacrifice. No more online shopping at Amazon. I know, sacrilege! How many times have you knocked out all of your Christmas gifts with just one visit to this hallowed site? It also means having to navigate Union Square during the most crowded time of the year. Shudder. But California, I’m doing it for you. If it’s American to shop then damn it, I’m going to shop here where it really counts. Merry frickin’ Christmas everyone!

Alaska trade summit nearly fatal for Turkish officials – “Worst Thanksgiving ever,” Turks say

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is at the center of an international incident today, after an attempt to build relations with a foreign government went horribly wrong.

It began as a friendly trade summit in Wasilla between Palin and high officials from the Republic of Turkey. President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan had spent the day touring businesses in Anchorage and the surrounding area, before proceeding to a turkey farm outside Wasilla for the signing of an Alaska-Turkey trade agreement.

There were smiles all around as Palin and Gul placed their signatures on the pact, intended to promote Alaska-Turkey trade in agricultural and manufactured products.

“This is a great day,” said President Gul.

“The people of Turkey are hungry for Alaska seafood, earmarks, snow machines, and surplus G’s,” Gul said.

Palin was effusive in her comments, saying that trade helps build peace. “I am so glad that our two states are buildin’ strong relations, and both being next to Russia also, it is good that we pull together, helpin’ each other when Putin’s head rears and looms,” Palin said.

But the good feelings vanished only minutes after the ceremony concluded.

Giving a lengthy interview to a TV reporter, Palin was unaware of what was unfolding behind her, in the background of the scene being recorded on video.

As Palin spoke casually about the success of the trade summit, behind her President Gul and Foreign Minister Babacan were being stuffed into turkey slaughtering fixtures.

Minutes dragged by as a farmhand struggled to get the two VIPs into the steel, funnel-shaped devices. Palin continued her interview, finally concluding by saying how much fun the trade summit had been.

It wasn’t until Palin left in her motorcade that the two Turkish leaders were able to communicate to farm representatives that they were in fact politicians and not turkeys.

The nation of Turkey quickly reacted with anger, suspending parliamentary ratification of the trade pact and demanding an investigation.

Palin’s office issued a statement calling the incident “no big deal.”

“Governor Palin has enormous amounts of foreign policy experience, and that experience tells her that this is not an international incident,” read the statement.

Turkey’s foreign ministry called this unacceptable. “This is the worst Thanksgiving, ever,” a ministry spokesman declared, and announced a retaliatory embargo against American canned cranberries.

Palin speaks with reporters as President Abdullah Gul (left)

and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan (leg) are stuffed into
slaughter fixtures.

(Annual Turkey-Based Post ©2008 Wiseline Institute NW)

Downunder unreview

I don’t particularly like film, but still feel compelled to comment on a film I’ll never see – Australia. This epic has been so long coming, 40,000 years it seems, having been force fed the movie’s progress through its gestation.

I am reminded of an old Aussie show – Australia You’re Standing In It. We always seem to be standing in it, with only the depth and consistency changing. Personally I find Tom Cruise’s former bed mate tiresome. I despair of a world where a shirtless yoik can be regarded as the worlds sexiest man. I’ve always been suspicious of blokes called Baz.

Most of all I detest the thought of spending the rest of my life in a dark cinema watching what I can see out my window – and I don’t mean the steamy kissing scenes. The whole concept strikes me as reality TV gone insane.

An Object Lesson In Absurd Pricing

Between my job and my hobbies, I’m doing a lot of work on my laptops these days, and it’s causing a lot of eye strain.  To help, I’ve been using some drops my ophthalmologist gave me as well as over-the-counter artificial tears, basically sterile saline drops that come in .5 oz or 1 oz sizes.

Gott im Himmel!  What a ripoff this stuff is.  It’s more expensive than human blood plasma!  But just for comparison, here are the prices on some common items (well with the exception of gasoline) that I often purchase:

Regular unleaded gasoline – $2.75 / US gallon

2% milk (here in NorCal) – $4.50 / US gallon

A decent microbrew – $16 / US gallon

Premium vodka – $150 / US gallon

A decent US cabernet – $200 / US gallon

Multi-doner frozen blood plasma – $360 / US gallon

Sterile saline eye drops – $896 / US gallon (and this is the cheap generic stuff)

I could probably make this stuff at home. Which just goes to show that if you sell something in a small enough size, the price you charge  can be completely disconnected from reality.

Obama names McCain car czar – Will personally bail out auto industry

Making good on his pledge to seek bipartisan solutions to the country’s challenges, President-elect Barack Obama today turned to former rival John Sidney McCain III for help in the effort to rescue the U.S. automobile industry.

McCain to lead Big 3 rescue
“Let’s put this thing in Drive”

As head, or “car czar,” of the new Liquidity Enhancement for Manufacturing Of New Sedans (LEMONS) initiative, McCain plans to get personally involved developing sales of new, alternative and fuel efficient vehicles to be manufactured by Ford, General Motors and Chysler.

“Cindy and I, mostly Cindy, are going to buy for our personal use Detroit’s first year of output of the new technology cars,” announced McCain.

“We’re up to about 27, maybe 30 houses now, plus our time shares, ski chalets and hunting lodges. All of them have ten, eleven, and twelve car garages. Then there’s my staff who need cars, and Cindy’s staff, Cindy’s beer distributorship, and Cindy’s boyfriends all have fleet needs too.”

“I can promise Detroit sales of 100,000 cars, up front, if they can put new electric, hybrid, flex-fuel and hydrogen models in the showrooms,” McCain said.

In his message announcing the former Republican presidential nominee’s appointment, Obama was effusive in his confidence in McCain. “During the long campaign, Senator McCain repeatedly demonstrated his expertise on transportation. When people saw him on the campaign trail, he was on the Straight Talk Express bus, or the Straight Talk Express airplane,” said Obama.

“Even in the dark days of 2007 when his campaign had not yet caught fire, John McCain was traveling in the Straight Talk Vanagon Westfalia,” he noted.

“Finally, when the time came for a statement on the banking crisis, John McCain again defined his policy with transportation, suspending his campaign and taking the Straight Talk Express to the capitol,” Obama said.

McCain indicated he is eager to begin his new duties, which will not require him to leave the Senate. “Let’s put this thing in Drive and get going,” he said.