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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

The WWI Post

So a lot has been happening since we last met, and I will try to summarize rather than put you all to sleep.

The last of the declarations of war were finally issued when Austria did it's diplomatic loose-end tying and declared war on Belgium.  As the Belgians were already buttocks deep in Germans, I'm sure it was a huge shock.  The next day, after a request from the British for help (which I'm sure was unnecessary given the circumstances), Japan declared war on Germany and began marching on Tsingchao in China (which of course was a precursor to later incursions in China).

(NOTE to those who pay attention:  Supposedly "noble" incursion into China leads to Japan taking whatever it wanted and eventually attacking Pearl Harbor.  If you don't read history and are thus doomed to repeat its mistakes, pay no attention to Russia and Ukraine.)

In the meantime, Germany was blasting it's way through Belgium and into France, driving back the valiant but outmatched Belgians, the brave but outmanned French, and the brave BEF being led by the bumbling idiot Sir John French.

Beloved by nobody in France, he was so worried about his own destruction he basically refused to cooperate even with the French army under Larenzac that guarded his flank, and soon would get a chewing out from Lord Kitchener for nearly destroying his allies with his retreat.   The French retreat, much slower before the German onslaught, might have been slower still had it not been for French, and only the intervention of Winston Churchill saved the Belgians from being abandoned by the BEF.

Meanwhile, the Austrians did what they came to do- invade Serbia- and were sent reeling back across the border at the Battle of Cer.  But the Serbs took a beating too, and nearly exhausted their ammunition in the victory.  The pyrrhic nature of this victory was offset by the Austrians' woes in Galicia to the north.  There, after an initial victory over the invading Russians, Brusilov so convincingly defeated them that the entire province fell in a fortnight and the fortress Przemysl was besieged.

Of course this only made up slightly for the fact that two Russian armies had stumbled into an East Prussian trap laid by a staff officer, Max Hoffman, after his commanding General Pritzwitz pulled a "French" and began to retreat.  Even then afterhe was replaced by Ludendorf and Hindenburg, it took an alomst rogue action by Herman von Francois to start the ball rolling.  Samsonov's army marched headlong into the jaws of the german trap, and Samsonov himself, muttering how can I ever face the Tsar, shot himself.  Hoffman, seeing the historical significance, named the battle Tannenberg after a 1410 battle that occurred some 30 miles away.

Aw, shucks, ant idiot coulda done it... sorry, Gen. Pritzwitz.
By this time, the French and their less-than-helpful British allies were making the retreat that would finally see them make a last stand on the Marne... and to wrap things up, Japan got around to declaring war on Austria on the 25, while German forces in Togoland surrendered the one place they had in Africa worth fighting for.

In my musings about this post, I thought it would be fun to do a "power ranking" of the forces eventually involved in the war.  So, here's the "top 12" of WWI:

12- Romania.  Russia knew that getting them to join would just be that much more front for them to police, but their allies thought, "the more, the merrier."  My understanding is some units went into battle armed with pitchforks and shovels.  They were easily taken out by German third stringers.

11- Bulgaria.  Would have made it a little higher, but 1916 was a little early to be fighting again after just being beaten by Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Turkey in 1912.

10- Austria.  What did Germany, Britain, and France have that Austria didn't?  How about loyalty to their nation, for one.  The Slovenes did great against the hated Italians, and the Czech Legion was a powerhouse in Russia, but fight for the Emperor?  Most of the reason they lost the Galician battles was that so many Slavic soldiers decided to fight for the Russians instead.  Even the Serbs kicked their butts.

9- Serbia/Montenegro.  Despite the same weaknesses as Bulgaria, despite being isolated from any allied help, they managed to hold off the Austrians until the Germans and Bulgarians joined in... and after total defeat, rose back up to contribute to the final victory.

8- Belgium.  Only their size keeps them down this far.  While the British sipped tea and the French dawdled in Alsace, Belgium bore the weight of the German onslaught for an entire week.

7- Japan.  They didn't do all that much in WWI, but they were the ones whose land armies defeated the Russians in 1905.

6- Turkey.  For "the sick man of Europe", they beat back the British in Kut and Gallipoli, held off far larger Russian forces in Armenia, and after their government collapsed, still managed to drive French and Greek troops out of their country in 1920.

5- Russia.  There is no doubting the courage of well-led Russian troops, and some generals like Brusilov were among the finest in the war.  But government corruption and all-out stupidity diminished their effectiveness until the only thing separating them from the Austrians were patriotism and size.  Certainly they were almost as fragile as Austria.

4- USA.  Hard to really judge in the short time they were there.  At full strength, maybe a match for Germany.  As it was, they contributed beyond their numbers.

3- France.  I weighed this one mightily.  If you make all the French jokes you want, one word puts them to shame- Verdun.

2- British Empire.  The British troops themselves were extraordinary, but because of poor command decisions, I'd have dropped them to third (or even fourth) if not for the Dominion troops- the Anzacs, the Indians, the Canadians, that fought under their banner.

1- Germany.  This entire nation was built for war- and it took an entire world to bring them down.

What do you think?  Let me know!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Time Machine week 19

It's August 29th, 1972... and pitcher Jim Barr of the Giants is coming off of a 2-hit, 8-0 shutout of the Pirates, in which Milt May's second inning single was the last hit- or baserunner- he gave up.  Tonight, it wouldn't be until the Cardinals' Bernie Carbo doubled with 2 outs in the 7th that he would give up another- a 41-batter streak that broke Harvey Haddix's 13 year old record, and would stand alone for 35 years.

UPDATE:  I finish the post and go on ESPN, only to find that today, another Giants pitcher Yuniseiro Petit, has snapped this same record, held by Mark Buerhle since 2009, with his 46th straight batter retired.  How's that for a coinkydink?

Welcome to another adventure in my Time Machine,  from the week that brought us the first chart appearances of the Eagles' Witchy Woman, Johnny Nash's I Can See Clearly Now, Danny O'Keefe's Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues, and the beautiful From The Beginning by Emerson Lake and Palmer.  Up this week, we have Italians, Japanese, and Germans on the best selling hits of all time; #14 on the "one-hit-wonders' next best hit list- a song we WON'T play (and why); and we leap up to 1977 on the top top tens- because everything in between has a spot in the top ten top top tens! (What?)  All that and the farthest drop from #1 in history!  Oh, and a slight shift in the logjam at the top of this week's chart.  The set, the pitch...

Why not unravel the top top ten business first.  As I explained on the first of these, what I did was use an extreme subjective scoring system to figure out my best top ten weeks in the Martin Era (1962-79), and I have been going up the list since then- but I promised we would pull out the top ten of those weeks to do last.  Well, that time has arrived, so we skip from 1969 all the way to 1977- which begins a string of the three lowest rated years (outside of the partial year of 1962).  With all that finally said, here is the top top ten of 1977, from the week of April 16th:

10- Lido Shuffle, Boz Skaggs.  Love Boz, had this single, played the flip-side- his original of We're All Alone- way more.

9- Right Time Of The Night, Jennifer Warnes.  Much better than her movie duets, IMHO.

Oh, you and me, baby... we could think of something to do...
8- Hotel California, Eagles.  Boy, these birds are sure coming up a lot today!

7- Southern Nights, Glen Campbell.  Good memories of a trip through the south with my brother Tom's family on this one.

6- So Into You, Atlanta Rhythm Section.  I haven't been able to spell Rhythm right without looking it up in 5 years!

5- I've Got Love On My Mind, Natalie Cole.  Got good pipes from her dad, eh?

4- The Things We Do For Love, 10cc.  The first song at #1 when I first started making a top ten.  A good song to hear when you're walking in the snow and you're feeling like a part of you is dying, believe me.

3- Don't Leave Me This Way, Thelma Houston.  A song that I appreciate much more now than I did then.

2- Rich Girl, Hall and Oates.  The rise of this song coincided with the return of spring that year.


1- Don't Give Up On Us, David Soul.  May have been at #1 in my top ten that week, too.  If you missed last week, go back and listen to HIS next single, Silver Lady.  I promise you it was even better.


This week, we had seven new songs in the top 40.  For a second week in a row, we had a song sneak in from 41 to 40.  This week, it's the Crusaders, a long time jazz-pop outfit with a tune called Put It Where You Want It.  Like last week's, Billboard stupidly peaked it at #52; the Crusaders wouldn't cross THEIR top 40 until 1979's Street Life.  This tune is better.

Next in is Neil Diamond's Play Me, up 10 to #39.  The Staple Singers are next, climbing 7 to #38 with This World (which was a tad repetitious, but FAAAAR from the most repetitious we'll hit today.  Then comes Hot Butter with the long-awaited instrumental Popcorn, moving 6 to #36 (and still not repetitious enough), followed by Elton John's Honky Cat, going up 11 to #35.  Next is another song which I'd guess would also have been an also ran in the "repetitious sweepstakes" this week- though I haven't listened to it yet- James Brown and Get On The Good Foot, up 10 to #34.  Finally comes the biggest mover inside the countdown- 16 spots to #32- the Main Ingredient with Everybody Plays The Fool.

(After a listen, James Brown "sings" get on the good foot 23 times by my calculation, throws in about a dozen "hey"s.  Good guess, huh?)

Now, the song that went from 41 to 40 last week- I Miss You by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes- is one of three You Peaked entries.  The others are Bobby Vinton's Sealed With A Kiss at 14, and Sonny and Cher's When You Say Plagiarize Love at #30.


Remember last week when I messed up and said, "Oh well, we'll play #14 on the one-hit-wonder's next hit list next week?"  Ain't gonna happen.

Not that I don't like the tune, mind you.  After hitting the top with Venus, Shocking Blue's next biggest hit was Mighty Joe, which followed it up.  Mighty Joe was a bigger hit in their Dutch homeland than Venus, hitting #1 to Venus' #3.  It crapped out at #70 here, but a cool tune.  But in researching, I read where the flip side of Mighty Joe was even better- and it was.  See for yourselves:


Time for the next five songs on the list of biggest physically-selling hits of all time, and it's a real mixed bag:

I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles, 1963-4.  It had advance sales of over a million in the UK, which would have put it at #1 in it's first week- except that it couldn't knock She Loves You from the top. Like the next two, this one is in the 12 million range.

Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brighton, Time To Say Goodbye, 1996.  This duet by the Italian tenor and the English soprano is the fastest selling, and biggest selling, hit in German history, sitting at #1 for 14 weeks, going gold 11 times.  Not far behind it was a solo version in Italian only ( the duet had some English) by Bocelli which hit #1 in France and Switzerland and was the biggest hit ever in Belgium.  If you like GOOD opera, here's your song.  (I like the song by U2 and Pavarotti better myself.)

Gene Autry, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, 1949.  Not only the first #1 of the 1950's and with covers the biggest selling song all time save for White Christmas at over 150 million, but the only song to ever go from #1 completely OFF the chart.  Of course, it is a little late to buy Christmas songs in mid-January, I guess.

TRIO, Da Da Da, 1981.  If you liked Kraftwerk back in the day, this is your bag.  It's catchy, simple, and OH so repetitive.  If you weren't a fan of early electronica, this will be what you listen to whilst awaiting your turn at the Last Judgment.  I kinda liked it... It was top ten across Europe, #1 in Austria, Switzerland, and South Africa. It has sales of 13 million.

The Casio VL he was playing on the video for this song was actually about a foot long...
Kyu Sakamoto, Sukiyaki, 1961.  Another one we've mentioned heavily recently.  It spent 1 week at #1 in the US of A- and 3 MONTHS on top of the Japanese charts.  Another one at 13 million.  And that leaves us 13 more songs on this list...


Okay, we're closing in on the end this week, and we have three new top tens, which means we have three former top tens.  Dropping out are Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast (7 to 22), School's Out (6 to 23) and How Do You Do, from 8 all the way to #42!  (And that's a fine how-do-you-do!)

Jim Croce sneaks up one to #10 with You Don't Mess Around With Jim.  First time it ever dawned on me that the singer and the title have the same name, if you can believe THAT!

Donna Fargo holds at #9, but she's still The Happiest Girl In The Whole USA.

The Carpenters plow in from 12 to 8 with Goodbye To Love.

But the real big move belongs to the O'Jays, who leap 12 spots to #7 with Backstabbers.

Argent climbs a quick 4 to #6 with Hold Your Head Up.

Just to let the top set change a little (because he's that kind of a guy), Luther Ingram drops 2 to #5 with If Loving You Is Wrong, etc.

Accordingly, the next two logs in the jam move up one each- the Hollies' Long Cool Woman to #4, and Al Green's I'm Still In Love With You to #3.

That means that Looking Glass remains at #2 with Brandy, and #1 for a third week...

Here's an old picture of me and my buddy Baxter.  Baxter's not been feeling well, so keep him in your prayers!

.... Gilbert O'Sullivan and Alone Again Naturally!!!!!

That's a wrap, kids!  Hope you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Finally- no depressing news stories!"

... though the first part of this could qualify as a serious note.  As I may have intimated here and there, a "minor health problem" popped up last week.  Wednesday last, I decided to visit our twice-weekly nurse at work to ask after a somewhat stiff back,  Well, this nurse has a thing about blood pressure.  As in, "You need to watch yours or you'll be on medicine."  Now, last time they took mine I was 150/100, enough to get yet another scolding, back in late May.  Wednesday, I "blew" a 172/108.

How does it go up so far so fast?  I've no idea for sure.  Granted, in the interim, I was laid off 2 weeks and have been on short hours since.  Which means, besides the lowering of constant activity, my lunches went from the work usual of two cold frosted blueberry Pop-Tarts to actual meals.  And, my three-week episode with the little kidney stone that couldn't was also in this frame.  But these are all conditions I've dealt with similarly with no problems in the past.

So Monday came with the Dr's appointment and I was a bit stressed.  In addition to spending a weekend "feeling" like my BP was high, I was a bit nervous to see Dr Wuest again.  "Diet, blah blah... sugar, blah blah...weight, blah blah blah."  I had the words he told me last time ringing in my ears- "You need to lose 10 pounds by the next time I see you", which had a good deal to do with the fact that I hadn't seen him in 4 1/2 years.  But I thought I had gotten my stress down to manageable by the time the nurse took my BP at the office.

Guess again.  188/112.  WTF?

The actual time with the Doc was not near so bad as I made it out.  "Hmmm, 194, you've gained 7 pounds since last time."  The end.  For now... because he scheduled me to return next month, and to have a slew of blood work done the week before.  Oh and put me on Benicar, a name I never remember so I call it Booferal.

So we went to Walgreens to procure the Booferal.  "That will be $189."
"You don't want my insurance card?"
"We ran it through your insurance.  It saved you $38.  Unless that's old insurance."
Lord, I hope so. "Here, try this."
"Oh, that's much better.  $34.95."
But this stuff is supposed to LOWER your BP.

So I had Laurie run me over to Wal-Mart to check my pressure on their gizmo.  166/105.  Not great, but better.   The next two days I "blew" 158/100's, so it's starting to work.  And a good thing too.  I went through the store today looking at sodium levels in foods.  Moments later, I caught up with Laurie and sat down on the verge of tears.  "I am NOT (expletive deleted) living like that."  But I am going to make a decent effort to do SOMETHING.

The nurse at work basically told me to eliminate 95% of my diet.  "Microwave dinners are full of sodium."  Boy, are they.  She recommended me Cavender's salt-free Greek seasoning to use in place of salt.  Which I am using, but I don't use the salt shaker a lot in the first place.  I have four main demons that need shrunk.

#1 is potato chips.  I have them with every meal, on every sandwich (yes, on, not with).  I have cut myself to one small handful per meal, and have purchased some low-salt chips as well.  (of course at the new rate, it will take me about two months to polish off the bag and a half of regulars I have to work my way through first.

#2 is reading.  Yes, reading- I almost have to have something to read when I eat.  And it boils down to "I eat till I'm done reading" instead of "I read till I'm done eating."  That will be the easiest of the ledges to climb down off of.

#3 is eating after 7 PM.   GRRRRRR.

#4 is Pepsi-Cola.  Cutting sugar/caffeine has to start here, but I don't do diet and caffeine free Pepsi is like decaf coffee- a placebo, nothing more.  I have plenty of room to cut down, but this will be the big will power challenge.  Especially when I know SO many women whose Mountain Dew intake exceeds my own (including a co-worker that confessed to me that she was basically consuming my lifetime consumption of Mountain Dew every week and a half or so) and it PISSES me off that they can drink so much of something with MORE caffeine and sugar and be fine and I have to give up the pop or two a day habit of mine.  GRRRR again.

Laurie noted this afternoon, "It surprises me with all the joking you do about 'working on your coronary' that this even upsets you."  Exactly what I told my boss- "Here I've been working on my coronary for years, and now I gotta take medicine to PREVENT it!"  Well, I still have my "tumor" to rely on.

At least until I get that chest x-ray next month with the blood work.


Bark Park party!!!!

Dexter and Cooper after the ball, with Brinkley closing fast.

Everyone gathers for the ball tug-of-war.  Except our hero, sniffing to one side.

Ball tug-of-war close up: Dexter and Cooper, with Brinkley watching intently, and Kaiser... er, bringing up the rear.

Gimpalong Cassidy.

The white dog in the way back, I don't know.  Boomer is next, and the rest you know.

Hooray!  Daisy's here!!!

And there she goes!

L-R: Brinkley, Georgia, Boomer, Daisy, Dexter, Scrappy, Cooper.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On a serious note, part two...

Sorry to interrupt the levity again, but I have found two more stories I wish to expound upon, involving two of my favorite topics- political correctness and secular science.  You have been warned!

Things to think about, number one:

This first one is a story I wish no one, anywhere, had to tell.  It takes place in an English city of South Yorkshire named Rotherham.  Rotherham, like many nearby cities, apparently has a large Pakistani population.  It also had a dark secret.  For the last sixteen years, gangs of Pakistani men have been subjecting children- mainly pre-teen girls- to all manor of attacks.  And their very ethnicity has protected them.  Quotes from the BBC articles:

At least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, a report has found.
Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated, it said.
"Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist”
Professor Alexis Jay

The inquiry team noted fears among council staff of being labelled "racist" if they focused on victims' descriptions of the majority of abusers as "Asian" men.

Among the other sins of the town council were apparent quashing of investigations and news stories for the reasons seen above, along with a fear of targeting the gangs that were doing this- because they were "Asian", and targeting a gang so heavily one ethnic group would be racist.

Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the latest report, said there had been "blatant" collective failures by the council's leadership, senior managers had "underplayed" the scale of the problem and South Yorkshire Police had failed to prioritise the issue.

The inquiry team found examples of "children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone".

The report found: "Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so."

Failures by those charged with protecting children happened despite three reports between 2002 and 2006 which both the council and police were aware of, and "which could not have been clearer in the description of the situation in Rotherham".
Prof Jay said the first of these reports was "effectively suppressed" because senior officers did not believe the data. The other two were ignored, she said.

The town's former Labour MP, Denis MacShane, claimed police had kept the abuse secret from politicians.
"The Rotherham police exposed, arrested and broke up an evil gang of internal traffickers who were sent to prison," he said.

"But it is clear the internal trafficking of barely pubescent girls is much more widespread."

In October 2012, the council, South Yorkshire Police and other agencies set up a Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) team to investigate the issues raised in the report, although South Yorkshire Police denied it had been reluctant to tackle child sexual abuse or that "ethnic origin had been a factor" in its decisions.
But the force was criticised by the Home Affairs Select Committee and told by its chairman Keith Vaz they needed to "get a grip".
Rotherham was not the only community in the North and the Midlands to have uncovered such abuse. There have also been arrests or prosecutions of groups of men in 11 towns and cities, including Oldham, Rochdale and Derby.
"In the other cases, overwhelmingly, they were men of Pakistani origin and we need to understand why this has been happening," said Mr Norfolk.

He described a previous report into gang exploitation as a "missed opportunity" because of its failure to look at the proportion of men of Pakistani origin committing such offences.

Do I highlight the ethnicity of the men because I don't like Pakistanis?  No... I highlight it because they were allowed to continue raping, molesting, murdering, and trafficking CHILDREN because someone was afraid of "racial profiling".

You know why LEOs practice racial profiling?  Because if you want eggs, you look in a henhouse.  You know why it makes me sick to hear that "it's an injustice that X percent of the prison population is black "?  Because those that have the ability, opportunity, and reason to change that statistic are more concerned with using it to attack the white man and the legal system then they are to say, "We have to find a way to keep young black men from doing the things that get them put in prison."

Mr Vaz said the council had not done enough since the 2010 prosecutions.
"In Lancashire there were 100 prosecutions the year before last, in South Yorkshire there were no prosecutions," he said.

"We're talking about hundreds of victims, of vulnerable young girls, who have not been protected because, at the end of the day, what people are looking for are prosecutions."

And where is the fine, upstanding leadership of this community while all this is going on?

... in August 2013, the council's deputy leader stepped down over claims he knew about a relationship between a girl in care and a suspected child abuser. Jahangir Akhtar denied the claims.
In July 2014 the town's mayor Barry Dodson quit over separate claims he sexually abused a 13-year-old girl in 1987. He did not comment on the claims.

To date, South Yorkshire Police say 29 people have been charged with child sexual exploitation offences in Rotherham. However, the force said it was unable to say how many had been convicted.

For those of you not of a mind to click links, may I add that Mr. Ahktar (a Pakistani, perhaps)  both knew what was going on and had copious opportunity to prevent it (the girls three children by the abuser since age 14 tell how well he did that), and that the illustrious Lord Mayor was in charge for three whole weeks before someone warned him of the shitstorm barrelling his way.

Speaking about her abuser, Isabel (a victim who spoke to the BBC under an assumed name) said: "I think because the police were aware and social services were aware and he knew that and they still didn't stop him it I think it encouraged him.
"It almost became like a game to him. He was untouchable."


On a lighter yet perhaps more far reaching topic, I read an article about a new scientific documentary coming out this fall.  Called The Principle, It starts out with a premise that has drawn howls of protest from the crowd that gave you Global Warming:  The once dead theory that earth has a special place in the cosmos.

While most of us today assume that our brilliant scientific minds, space exploration programs, and high-tech telescopes and equipment have long since proven that the Earth orbits the sun, Mr. Delano explains that no experimental evidence has ever been obtained that unequivocally proves this to be true. As historian Lincoln Barnett states in The Universe and Dr. Einstein, “We can’t feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.” Hence, Mr. Delano states that the Copernican Principle is not a scientific fact, but rather a metaphysical assumption supported by profoundly convincing ideas and theories. His film, The Principle, is the first documentary ever to directly examine the scientific basis of the Copernican Principle by bringing together top scientific experts in a commentary, which he says, will leave us questioning our very place within the cosmos.

Now you might think that this is over the top back-to-the-Middle-Ages stuff, but the point they are trying to make is to challenge existing theory with the scientific observations already recorded.  Basically, those of you who follow such things have probably heard that cosmologists put together a microwave map of what they believe are emissions from the Big Bang itself.  And, you may have heard, they were a bit puzzled when against existing theory, the "background radiation" which has had 10 billion years to become uniform, hasn't. put it simply, the Copernican Principle requires that any variation in the radiation from the Cosmic Microwave Background (thermal radiation assumed to be left over from the ‘Big Bang’) be more or less randomly distributed throughout the universe. However, the results of three separate missions, starting with the WMAP satellite in 2001, has shown anomalies in the background radiation which are aligned directly with the plane of our solar system and the equator of the Earth. This never-before-seen alignment of the Earth results in an axis through the universe, which scientists have dubbed the ‘Axis of Evil,’ owing to the shocking implications for current models of the cosmos.
Laurence Krauss, American theoretical physicist and cosmologist, commented in 2005:
“When you look at [the cosmic microwave background] map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That’s crazy. We’re looking out at the whole universe. There’s no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.”

Albert Einstein set this up himself with his theory of relativity:

Einstein, puzzled by the failure of every experiment to measure the universally assumed motion of the Earth around the Sun, searched for a reason to explain why this could not be measured. The result? Einstein’s famous Theory of Relativity. Shockingly, Einstein maintained that absolute motion cannot be detected by any optical experiment as no particular frame of reference is absolute. In other words, the physics works just as well to have the Earth at the center with the Sun going around, as to have the Sun at the center with the Earth going around.

Nevertheless, Einstein maintained that even though it may look like we are at the centre of the universe with all the galaxies moving away from us (as Edward Hubble observed through his telescope in the 1920s), this is only an illusion. He maintained that since space is not flat but curved, and since space is expanding, wherever one may be located in that space, the movement of the galaxies would appear to be radiating away from that point. This theory certainly supported the Copernican Principle that there are no centers, no edges, and no special positions. 

But globs of supposedly random background radiation lined up with earth's equator?  That blows holes large enough in it to drive the Battlestar Galactica through.

“The thing that has really launched the media hysteria about our film, is that we are pulling the covers off the dirty little secret that not only is there structure, that structure is related in astonishing ways to one and precisely one location in the universe, and it happens to be us,” said Delano.
“If there is something fundamentally wrong with the Cosmological and Copernican Principle, our entire picture of reality is about to change again, and the irony is that just like the last two great scientific revolutions, both were centered around this puzzling persistent question about our place in the cosmos.”

Whether The Principle documentary presents a convincing enough argument to seriously undermine the Copernican Principle and more than four centuries of science remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, come the October 10 launch date, we can’t wait to find out.

That we being Ancient Origins, whose article was reprinted in the Epoch Times.

Am I saying that we need to throw Copernicus out with the bathwater?  No.  I am saying what I have said for a long time- Science several decades ago cast away it's founding principle of observe, conceive a theory, test and see if it works.  It now operates on, here is what I want to see, let's line up the observations that fit the plan, disregard the rest.  As I told Bob Radil, look up "predictions made at the first Earth Day " (or you can go here and scroll down to my MWN item on it), many of them made by the same cloth of pseudo-scientist who gave us global warming, and see how the "science" changes according to the direction of public hysteria desired.

Monday, August 25, 2014

On a serious note...

Things to think about, part one:

This is Albert Ebosse.  A Cameroonian by birth, he played for a team in the highest soccer league in Algeria. He was a team leader in the 2013-14 season, scoring 17 goals.  He was poised to be a big star in the just started new season.

Now, he's dead.  His home fans were mad that their team, his team, got beat 2-1 in the second game of the seasons.  They decided to throw rocks at their team; one of them struck and killed the 24-year-old player.

You don't get that much in the US of A, where a more civilized (usually) kind of sports fan dwells.  But even here, we've seen fights in the stands, knifings in the parking lots, men taking swings at women.  And outside of criminal or civil proceedings, what have we seen the teams themselves do?

Why, they've banned all purses, backpacks, etc., except for the clear bags THEY sell.  Wow.

Now, for perspective, let me tell you what ALGERIA did.

- ALL soccer stadiums in the nation are closed indefinitely.
-The season at ALL levels is suspended indefinitely.
-The family of Ebosse will be paid the full amount of his contract, plus EACH of his teammates will be donating one month's salary.
-If the culprit is caught and he was indeed a fan of one of the two teams, that team might well be expelled permanently.
-The Interior Ministry will be investigating WHY a stadium that was in the midst of construction maintenance (hence the availability of broken pavement to throw) was open in the first place.

I wonder how long they will be without the season before one of the "good friends" of the perpetrator turns him in?

Point being, American sport has been willing to give hand slaps thus far just because we don't tend to do these things.  Oh, we can strip an owner of HIS property for saying the "N" word in private, such a heinous crime!  But pull over the Pittsburgh Steelers' top two running backs ( and a young lady) for DUI and marijuana possession, and three days later the ESPN headline is coach Mike Tomlin "might suspend them".  How is it a nation with such idiots in the fan base is enlightened enough to bring down a harsh and necessary punishment, where in the US of A, a team is only TRULY punished if the crime is PC enough?  Because death is just part of the game, but "God forbid" if a game is started with prayer.  Or an owner feels he can express his private thoughts without worrying about a wire taping him in his own home.

Things to think about, part two:

We hear a lot of people say about Muslims: if they aren't all bloodthirsty terrorists, why do we never here any of them stand up against Hamas, al-Qaeda, ISIS?

Well, listen:

CAIRO—The top Islamic authority in Egypt, revered by many Muslims worldwide, launched an Internet-based campaign Sunday challenging an extremist group in Syria and Iraq by saying it should not be called an “Islamic State.”
The campaign by the Dar el-Ifta, the top authority that advises Muslims on spiritual and life issues, adds to the war of words by Muslim leaders across the world targeting the Islamic State group, which controls wide swaths of Iraq and Syria. Its violent attacks, including mass shootings, destroying Shiite shrines, targeting minorities and beheadings including American journalist James Foley, have shocked Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, previously said the extremists violate all Islamic principles and laws and described the group as a danger to Islam as a whole. Now, the Dar el-Ifta he oversees will suggest foreign media drop using “Islamic State” in favor of the “al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria,” or the acronym “QSIS,” said Ibrahim Negm, an adviser to the mufti.
This is part of a campaign that “aims to correct the image of Islam that has been tarnished in the West because of these criminal acts, and to exonerate humanity from such crimes that defy natural instincts and spreads hate between people,” Negm said according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA. “We also want to reaffirm that all Muslims are against these practices which violate the tolerant principles of Islam.” (From the Epoch Times)

Next time the subject comes up, why not ask Brian Williams, Scot Pelley, or Chris Mathews why they don't report stories like these?  Answer- Giving any Muslim a break is not good ratings news.  You get a lot more viewers in this, or any, story by focusing on the loud, noisy, nutball minority.  Thus you never here about your Hometown Baptist Church's latest food drive, missionary sending, or VBS week, but PLENTY about Westboro Baptist Church and their never ending quest to mock everything good and pure in the service of Christ.  Notice I grabbed that story from a non-traditional news source- actually a pretty balanced source built by Chinese immigrants in NYC.  Watch network news, CNN, even FoxNews if you want to see what plays on sweeps week.  For truth, you need to get past the sound bites and be more aware.

Recently I unfriended someone on Facebook who thought his opinions were the well thought out, be-all, end all, while I was a member of the "Flat Earth Society" and was "Well programmed".  Moments after I unfriended him, another commenter on the post said to him to the affect, "Last time we had this discussion, you cited MSNBC as credible because a large network news channel surely thoroughly vettes their stories."  Needless to say, I laughed.

Be warned- I do research beyond the mainstream.  I don't hold that up as being always right, but it does give me the right to tell anyone who says I'm "programmed" to go shit and fall in it.  At least in Bob Radil's case, I was nicer than that.

I told him to "have a nice life."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday message-grace you can't see

I'm reading in First and Second Kings right now- and those of you versed in the Bible might say, "Agh, the boring historical stuff."  Of course, me being a historian by nature, that's not a thing for me.  I'm sure the lawyers among you probably are thrilled to study Leviticus, too.  Anyway, it struck me as I was reading that the reason why non-believers might not buy the concept of Grace is that it comes at times upon everyone- sinner and faithful alike- and thus, "must be mere coincidence."  But it really isn't, and here are some examples to think about.

I started my reading with the first Jereboam of Israel, the "son of Nebat."  Now in Grace he received the kingship of Israel, because God was to punish the later infidelities of David by tearing his throne in two.  So God was using His will through Jereboam, and Jereboam received a measure of God's grace to complete that will.  But did he merit any of that grace?  Heck, no!  Jereboam was so thoroughly evil that the curse on him was that all of his male heirs- save a baby that mercifully died while an infant- would die without benefit of graves.

And to do this?  God used Baasha, who overthrew Jereboam's heirs and extinguished the line.  Again, though, it was a total skunk that received God's grace, and his line would meet a similar fate.  So why is God even messing with these people?

We get the reason when Rehoboam's (this is the king in Judah, the other half of David's old kingdom) grandson, Asa, becomes king- "So that David might have a lamp burning in Israel."  What does that mean?  Because David, who had sinned against God just the once, was faithful, God allowed the grace He showed to David to continue protecting His people.  Asa was faithful, and did the best he knew how to remove the sin of Israel.  And this leads us to a sort of side point here.

One of the curious things is, if God was going to use Jereboam and Baasha, why then destroy them afterwards?  And to get at that answer, I had to look at another nebulous verse- actually two verses.  One is I Kings 14:24; the other in the next chapter, 15:12.  They involve a group of people in Israel and Judah my Bible labeled "perverted";  other translations use the terms "cult prostitutes", "whoremongers", "effeminites", and "sodomites." 

Uh-oh, here we go with another rag on homosexuals, right?  Not if you read it correctly.

See, the original word used actually translated as "sacred".  What the word was getting at was, these were like priests and priestesses, but were perverting worship by using altars and temples dedicated to God for quasi-religious orgies to honor Astaroth/Astarte, the fertility goddess throughout Mesopotamia.  The point being, they were their, selling sex to the "faithful" so that they could "honor" their goddess.  How the translators of the various Bibles attached sodomite to this, when to us, a sodomite is synonomous with a homosexual?  Well, if you go back to Genesis, you'll see that the sins of Sodom (from which the term comes from) included BUT WERE NOT LIMITED TO homosexuality.  So in this case, a sodomite is someone committing any perverted sexual sin- and in this case, in a religious frame.  Or to put it another way, their religion was their lust.  Put like that, you probably know a few "sodomites" yourself.

So how does this chunk all tie together?  Because the kings that were removed, the "sodomites" who were removed by Asa, were all in the business of perverting the people.  These received a much worse fate than the people they corrupted.

But Asa endured through his faithfulness- but the people themselves continued to sin.  They continued to receive God's grace.  Why?  For this, we move to 2 Kings and the second king named Jereboam.  Even though he was just as evil as the first Jereboam, God allowed him to retake much of Israel that had been lost to the Syrians.  God allowed him His grace to accomplish this, despite his evil.  Why?

2Ki 13:23 But the Lord was kind to them and had pity on them, caring for them, because of his agreement with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; he would not put them to destruction or send them away from before his face till now.
You see?  God allows His grace to fall on the evil and the good so that the good may benefit.  Like in Jesus' parable about the wheat and the tares, the rain and the fertilizer has to fall upon the wheat AND the weeds; in the final harvest, they will be separated.  Thus we have atheists and Christians, pro-life and pro-choice, gay and straight, innocents and scum, all enjoying the benefits of living, say, in a great nation like the United States- so that the faithful might be blessed by God's great plan, unbelievers get blessed too.

Oh, that's a cop out, the unbeliever says, and we're right back where we started.  Or is it?  As the numbers of faithful flag, we see new crises- ISIS, global warming, ebola. AIDS.  One day, those saved by Grace will be removed from the board, and unbelievers will face a world without grace.  The faithful know what that will be like, we have read the Book of Revelation.  And it tells us the unbeliever will still unbelieve even as the world falls apart around them.

Rev 9:20 And the rest of the people, who were not put to death by these evils, were not turned from the works of their hands, but went on giving worship to evil spirits, and images of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood which have no power of seeing or hearing or walking:
Rev 9:21 And they had no regret for putting men to death, or for their use of secret arts, or for the evil desires of the flesh, or for taking the property of others.
So I know I won't turn those set in their ways by my words, or by God's Word.  But to you who believe, here is a comfort.  God allows the evil to triumph at times because His plan is to save YOU.  Not to pull you up by the roots in removing the evildoer.  But rest assured, the time is coming.  Will you trust in the Grace the rest of the world cannot see?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Astromenda Swarm

Once again, my son KC made a right mess of an innocent attempt to do something on my computer.  He wanted to download songs on the free, and wanted to use one of those "free-don't tell anyone" sites.  I had had it downloaded in the past, only uninstalling it because they got clever in blocking you from burning to CD, so I figured, "No harm, go ahead."


Because somehow (and I don't exactly know how), it brought along a "pc backup" site (which popped up when I returned to the computer), a "speed up my pc" site, and had two separate (and different) shortcuts to the download site on my desktop.  At this point, I had no idea the extent of the problem until I opened up Google Chrome (my unwillingly downloaded backup browser) and instead of the Google home screen with our bookmarks on it, I got a blank search site headlined "Astromenda".

First thing, go back to my IE browser- which is now asking me if I want it to be the default browser.  WTH?  I check the "yes, you idiot" option and search Astromenda.  First site I find offers a free "Astromenda remover" to download.  So I start it- and it says, this will take aproximately 20 minutes to load.  At this point, I went on Facebook and messaged KC (something to the extent of, "You can get your music at Best Buy like the rest of us from now on"), come back, and stop the download, saying, "the heck with this, just uninstall the garbage."  Four programs had to be uninstalled.  Away they went, tried again.

Still There.

So I got on settings, made sure the home pages were what they were supposed to be.  The URL for Astromenda is about 50,000 characters long, took me two minutes to totally erase it and put in

Still there.

So I said, "Screw this, just do a system restore back to yesterday."

Still there.

By this time my already elevated blood pressure is reaching the tips of my longest remaining hairs, and Scrappy is trying desperately to calm me down.  I searched some more on how to remove the damnable thing, and found there were three things yet I would have to do.  Because, you see, Astromenda not only installs itself, but independently changes your settings.  Even after uninstalling, it would bring up two pages on Google Chrome: one in behind was the original home screen I should have been getting, the second over the top of it was the Astromenda home page.  On IE, believe it or not, IE fended it off.  It tried to gain access by shutting down the Google toolbar (one of the main reasons I cling so stubbornly to IE), but the computer would always ask, and I'd say yes, I want it.  Then it would slow the Google homepage to a crawl loading, though everything else came up just fine.

So anyway, this next site tells me I had to go to Tools- Extensions- and put whatever I found labeled Astromenda there in the "trashcan".  Then I had to go to settings and redo what I thought I had done earlier, because it had just gone right back in where I spent the 2 minutes erasing it.  Finally, after changing all these settings, I had to get on advanced settings and have Google Chrome reset to its default settings.  Then go back and tell everyone who the proper default browser was.

Ding dong, the beast was dead.

So basically, the Google toolbar kept IE safe;  but since Google Chrome DOESN'T OFFER the GOOGLE TOOLBAR, it got hijacked fairly easily.  The next time the spies from Mountain View, CA, come by, I hope they read this and answer me one question:  Why can't we use YOUR toolbar on YOUR browser?  I might actually use Chrome for more than the ever-growing list of things the Google Empire won't let IE do IF I could have my Google toolbar- and if I didn't have to raise the zoom on EVERY individual page on Chrome (where on IE, one setting fits all).

Okay, so that rant over, I caution you to avoid Astromenda, it is a hard weed to pull.  I am told (but since I was too smart to use it...) that every time you try to search something on it, it takes you to a series of ads first.  And here is a word for advertisers slimy enough to use Astromenda- if I ever find out you are an Astromenda customer, you will be CUT FLAT OFF.  And I will warn everyone who reads this blog.  And I will share anyone's Astromenda horror stories on my blog.  Which is published to Facebook, BTW.  Think about that before setting up clicks for some slimy scam site, okay?