Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq votes, CNN airs Nazi propaganda film 


CNN.com screenshot

Uh, "Triumph of the Will?" Christiane Amanpour actually describes the vote as a "triumph of the will" in the linked video.

The vote! 

The reason Iraq is holding a vote today is because the religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Husaini Sistani demanded it. I'm in no way belittling the elections, just pointing out that they are occurring on the timetable of a religious leader and his popular support.

Representative government is always good and never bad, but really, think about it: an overriding quality of the international extremist Islamisist movement is patience - they realize that they cannot overcome the West's violent influence in the region by brute force. I doubt that to them the vote is as much of a watershed event as it is being played up to be by the Bush administration and in the Western press. The extremists' propaganda, "Come meet the new boss, same as the old boss" will be no less effective than supporters of the election's cries of "Well, it was a vote!"

The extremists will continue to implement their strategy of trying to make the Western occupation unbearable. And frankly, I believe the extremists have the strategic upper hand. The occupation of Iraq is expensive and the deaths that occur on both sides are politically taxing for the occupiers. In the Islamic extremists corner are cheap car bombs and improvised explosive devices and they view deaths both sides incur as glorious.

The parties running for office in Iraq are for the largest part based on religion. If a similar election was occurring in the US, it would be Catholics vs right-wing extremists Protestants vs liberal protestants vs secularists. And most have armed factions. And if those who vote are of the same sentiment as those polled by Zogby over the last few weeks - and the elected government heeds the will of the people, among the first things on their slate of business will be asking the US to leave.

Add to that the oil-rich flashpoint Northern city of Kirkuk with mixed ethnicities/denominations, and you have a very delicate post-electoral situation ... in a country already at war. "There are tensions" is an understatement.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Welcome Charlie! 

Here is my friends Ann and Dave's newborn, Charles Raymond Payne (Charlie), born on 1/13/05 at 10:43 pm.


Charlie will be the first human I get to watch grow up. All other friends and family members have had their babies in locations far away from me, such as Noah Joseph Barnes, born to my high school friend Rus' in North Carolina a day and a half before Charlie. Here are me and my new friend, Charles Raymond Payne.

Me and Charlie

Point Break LIVE! pictures 

My first acting role (at 37) is co-staring in Point Break LIVE! - a stage adaptation of the 1991 Keavu Reeves/Patrick Swayze action/thriller. Opening night last Thursday was disappointing - less than 20 audience members despite decent publicity. This Thursday's performance sold out before the doors opened. We must be doing things sufficiently ... the largest genius is in the concept/script; And I credit the writer/director for it's success in personalities - all the actors are previously inexperienced - other than the youngest member of the cast, Erica, who is 11. Here is the plot illustrated by a few dozen photographs. Here is an example:


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Kirkuk, a big salad and a zippo lighter I found onto which someone had scratched "SATAN" 

gig salad and a LIGHTER

Saddam Hussein significantly increased the Arab population in Kirkuk by moving Arabs into the city and forcing Kurds to move into various Arab dominated areas. It was called "Arabization".

Now that Hussein's regime is gone, many of the displaced Kurds feel it is their right to have property that was confiscated at unfair prices returned to them. Many of the Arabs that were moved there have come to feel they are the rightful owners - indeed, many were born there after the "Arabization". My brother's childhood friend wrote a lengthy essay in the New Yorker about the contentious conundrum.

Along with the parliamentary elections, residents of Kirkuk will have local elections and each of the three ethnic groups in the city - Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen - claim to be the majority and are already accusing each other of stealing the election. Kurds who were forcibly relocated during the Hussein regime will be voting as if they lived in Kirkuk and Turkey says a Kurdish victory in the election would pose a security problem for Turkey.

Oh yeah, Kirkuk has a lot of oil for persons of all ethnic persuasions to worry about.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I could have told them that 

File under "Wow, that's weird": In 1990, I woke up from a dream with the date January 24th in my head; it wasn't associated with the dream, it was just a bizarre anxious feeling about that date. So in years since, whenever possible, I've stayed inside each January 24th. Now someone at Cardiff University has concocted a formula that shows January 24th is the worst day of the year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Project up 

hot hot hot

I ate the meal pictured above last week. It's some cheap piece of beef, I think it was called "fake fillet mignon". It wasn't very good - actually not good at all - but served as a decent vehicle for fried onions and garlic. The reason I post an old meal is the one I just ate didn't look too appetizing: a can of tuna, water chestnuts, broccoli, black beans, garlic, onion and red pepper. Tasted great though.

My latest project is up. I kinda like it. I'm looking for my next new project now, so if you know a small business or organization which may like to work with me on a web project, give a holler and I will be thankful.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Extreme theater: week one 

Here is what my left leg has paid for all the fun of the first week of Point Break LIVE! Inner:


My right leg looks about the same as the left, with the addition of a gross strawberry on the knee, which I will spare you.

We had not tried creating the indoor monsoon or used any other actual liquids in rehearsal. On opening night, we found the area of interlocking mats in the to cushion falls scatters all over when the stage is wet with beer, water, and fake blood. We fixed the change in physics by putting a rug below the mats and taping everything down at the edges.

Notable unexpected danger we've experienced,

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nuff said 

No Google results yet, but this should settle things:

"And, yes, we thought that he had stockpiles which he did not have."
- Condoleezza Rice, 1/18/2005

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Fabulous new shoes, locked out, Point Break LIVE! plug 

Yesterday was what my family refers to as "Erik's Special Day" - the day my family picked me up from the adoption agency. It's a mini birthday - we go out to eat and I get cupcakes and a small gift. This year, we went to Figlios - I picked up my cookies at my mailbox across the street and went directly to rehearsal for Point Break LIVE! where I became separated from my keys.

It could have been worse: I remembered that I was using them as a stand-in prop to hand the stand-in Keneau character and was able to pick them up from her roommate a few hours ago. Walking home, I decided it was a good time for a new pair of shoes. Size 13,


You know what they say - big feet, big ... heart. So, you can come see me play Patrick Swayze play Bodhi while wearing my fabulous new shoes or maybe my old fake Adidas,

fake adidas

... at the Bryant-Lake Bowl - opening night is Thursday, January 20th - Bush's inauguration day. It will be "100% Pure Adrenaline". You will get sandy and wet if you sit down front, and the whole audience will get robbed at gunpoint by surfers wearing GW Bush masks.

point break LIVE! postcard

Compassionate Conservative Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Faithful reader Beth concedes that whatever she means by "compassionate conservative", there are none holding public office. Nonetheless, this liberal writer can confirm that compassionate conservative cookies do exist as a sizable sample has arrived in my mailbox. They are the tallest cookies I have ever seen.

NOTE: I do not condone the use of Splenda ... proceed with recipe at your own risk!

compassionate conservative chocolate chip cookies

Based on the premise that if you give a person a dozen of these delicious cookies, they snack for a day, but if you give them the recipe, they can make their own damn cookies anytime!

But really, the compassionate part comes in when you do make these cookies for someone who is down on their luck, under the weather, or just needs a pick-me-up, which is not meant to be from cradle to grave. Plus, they use some whole wheat flour and a sugar substitute so you can help keep your compassionate heart be as healthy as you can, just in case those evil libs ever get their universal health care wishes granted.

As you can see, we conservatives carefully measure out our ingredients, taking into account that the chickens that laid the eggs had not been previously aborted.

So, without further ado, here is my secret recipe for Compassionate Conservative Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soften margarine
1/2 cup Splenda for Baking (or 1 cup regular sugar if you prefer)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Whisk together flours, baking soda and salt, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream the margarine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix well. Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop rounded teaspoons onto baking sheets, at least 2" apart, and bake for 8 - 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 1 minute before transferring to wire racks.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Bush declares propaganda war on US 

$155K for fake drug news stories,

Although television stations knew the materials were produced by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, there was nothing in the two-minute, prepackaged reports that would indicate to viewers that they came from the government or that Morris, a former journalist, was working under contract for the government.

''You think you are getting a news story but what you are getting is a paid announcement," said Susan Poling, managing associate general counsel at the Government Accountability Office. ''What is objectionable about these is the fact the viewer has no idea their tax dollars are being used to write and produce this video segment."

$240K for some favorable opinion pieces about Bush's No Child Left Behind ...

Seeking to build support among black families for its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Shallow Republican style patriotism 


(I was designated driver on New Year's Eve, so get to have beers with my breakfast all year if I want).

I haven't heard anything for months about the wartime traitor in the Senate who is trying to eliminate the military at the same time as raising taxes. This guy allegedly conspired with the North Vietnamese enemy and plotted with domestic enemies to assassinate senators. That was after he shot himself so he could get out of Vietnam. He coined the phrase "baby-killers" while he killed babies himself. He had an affair with an intern as well. His wife's first response to 9/11 was to worry about the rights of homosexual Arabs and now funds the recruitment of Islamic terrorists in public US schools.

The GOP has completely halted their campaign to bring justice to the many atrocious activities of this Senator. To borrow a phrase, silence = death. Kerry plotted to kill those who are now his colleges and actually killed innocent babies. He could kill again - Kerry may right now be plotting to wear a homicide vest in the Senate chambers when it reconvenes Tuesday.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The good news is that the right wingers can't find any; frozen pizza, orange juice 

frozen pizza, orange juice

FOXNews.com has it's top 10 news stories of 2004 split into two articles. The only item which they present as "good" as opposed to bad or neutral news is Arafat's death. They squeeze a bit about the torture scandals in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba into the "war on terror" entry.

FOX has two articles listing the good news of 2004. The first begins with the good news of a girl who was attacked by a shark and later went surfing and ends with a performer who made a public appearance after being mauled my a tiger. So I suppose the message is that not every recent animal attack was deadly. The second only mentions long term trends, most of which are currently in reversal.

Conspicuously absent,

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