Thursday, October 12, 2006

Remember the good old days, when "contractors" were just mercenaries?

America doesn't torture.

We contract it out.

To Americans.

Corporate Torture in Iraq
When the Hussein regime fell, Mr. Saleh heeded the United States' call for expatriates to return to and rebuild Iraq. He did so with his own funds. Upon his arrival in September of 2003 he was detained and sent to the same Abu Ghraib prison where he had been previously tortured by Saddam Hussein. Instead of getting a chance to rebuild his country he became prisoner #151138 and was subjected to "interrogation."

Mr. Saleh's genitals were roped to those of other prisoners; his penis stretched with a rope and beaten with a stick; his own semen poured on his head; his naked body poured cold water upon it in the dead of winter; his naked body shocked with an electric stick; his neck wrapped with a belt which allowed him to be dragged; his head beaten with a pistol and slammed against a wall; his anus probed; his body urinated upon. Yet this "interrogation" was different than the others. It was conducted not by soldiers but average American citizens, serving as contractors with major American corporations, CACI and Titan.

I need to get some rest.

Weeds and Life’s Purpose
The problem is that most folks, besides not believing they are special (a tragic oversight, by the way), are so dulled out or fatigued that their innate intelligence, creativity, and passion are encrusted with inertia and thereby rendered sluggish.

The sharpness of our intelligence, and the liveliness of our creativity, and the intensity of our “spark” are all directly proportional to how rested we are. If we dissipate our energy in inane activity and pointless work, and if we squander our time in traffic jams and commutes, and if we eat empty, dulling foods, and if, with whatever time we have left, we watch mind-rotting television, then finding our purpose will be darn near impossible.

The intensity of our spark in life is completely dependent on how rested we are. ...get deeply rested. Then the path becomes both obvious and irresistible.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I would like to see this also.

The Internet Has Somewhat Dampened Joshua's Sense of Wonder

Dude: What I really wanna see is a baby shot out of a cannon through a waterfall of gasoline, over a bundle of lit sparklers, and knock an old lady off a horse, 'cause then I could say I really saw something. [notices cleaning lady] Oh, shit.

Dearborn, Michigan

Overheard by: dude thats fucked up

via Overheard in the Office, Oct 10, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Feel-good story of the day.

Witness the power of the internet combined with the power of compassion.

Monday, October 2, 2006
Robert Anton Wilson needs our help
I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say Robert Anton Wilson is one of my heroes. [Me too - Rob] His writing has had a profound influence on the way I view life, more so than any other writer...

Note from Robert's friend, Denis Berry: Sadly, we have to report that wizard-author-intelligence increase agent is in trouble with his life, home and his finances. Robert is dying at his home from post polio syndrome. He has enough money for next months rent and after that, will be unable to pay. He cannot walk, has a hard time talking and swallowing, is extremely frail and needs full time care that is being provided by several friends-fans-volunteers and family. We appeal to you to help financially for the next few months to let him die at his home in peace.

Douglas Rushkoff: I hope people I've inspired with my work would band together to help me out in my later years if I needed it. Which is at least part of the reason why I'm sending what I can to support cosmic thinking patriarch Robert Anton Wilson, whose infirmity and depleted finances have put him in the precarious position of not being able to meet next month's rent.

In case the name doesn't immediately ring a bell, Bob is the guy who wrote Cosmic Trigger -- still the best narrative on how to enter and navigate the psycho-spiritual realm, and co-wrote the Illuminatus Trilogy, an epic work that pushes beyond conspiracy theory into conspiracy practice. Robert Anton Wilson will one day be remembered alongside such literary philosophers as Aldous Huxley and James Joyce.

But right now, Bob is a human being in a rather painful fleshsuit, who needs our help. I refuse for the history books to say he died alone and destitute, for I want future generations to know we appreciated Robert Anton Wilson while he was alive.

Let me add, on a personal note, that Bob is the only one of my heroes who I was not disappointed to actually meet in person. He was of tremendous support to me along my road, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to be of some support on his.

Three days later...

Thursday, October 5, 2006
Note from Robert Anton Wilson and his daughter

...Today, I received this email from Bob's daughter, which contains a note from Bob. It's very moving. People opened their hearts and their wallets, and Bob is going to be able to live out his remaining days in peace. Thank you all very much.

On behalf of my Dad, RAW (Bob), I want to throw my arms around you "like a circle 'round the sun!" for your loving graciousness in posting Bob's need on your site. As of about 5 minutes ago, over $68,000 has come in. We are all overjoyed as it now means that we can continue to celebrate this phase of his life in the comfort of his own home, with all the care he needs, until his passing, honored by the loving support of so, so many wondrous folks. Just last week I was sick with heartache as we were faced with giving his notice and now, the world has simply and completely - transformed. Last night, he dictated a note that he wanted me to forward to you - below is the text. He is very weak, cannot sit up or eat on his own, and as he struggled with a whispery voice to express his gratitude, he broke into tears several times. How my heart swelled as I gazed at this man who has been both one of the most frustrating - and incredible - beings I have ever known. I would not be who I am today, had I not grown up with him. Much love, Christina Pearson


Dear Friends, my God, what can I say. I am dumbfounded, flabbergasted, and totally stunned by the charity and compassion that has poured in here the last three days.

To steal from Jack Benny, "I do not deserve this, but I also have severe leg problems and I don't deserve them either."

Because he was a kind man as well as a funny one, Benny was beloved. I find it hard to believe that I am equally beloved and especially that I deserve such love.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, know that my love is with you.

You have all reminded me that despite George W. Bush and all his cohorts, there is still a lot of beautiful kindness in the world.


Robert Anton Wilson

Ninja Bachan

On Saturday we went to... well, there's an official Japanese name that escapes me [it's right up there if you can read Japanese. Gambatte.]... so I just call it Ninja Town. A small little period theme park featuring folks dressed as Ninja and Samurai and the like. Shows, food, and other things you can play around with. Think Busch Gardens, but only Japanese culture, and no rides.

Sandy's caught the vapors! The Ninja Vapors! Oh lordy!

Bachan got her palm read.

All trips with grandma require period dress-up activity.

Bachan seemed to really enjoy these standups where you put your face through. We took many, many pictures.

How Green Arrow ever got those damn suction cup arrows to work is beyond me. Much more difficult than it would appear.

Bachan also has an almost unnatural love of posing with various displays wherever we go. It's quite cute.

Sandy demanded I pose with the ninja diorama. She did not, however, demand I assume a fighting position. That was all me. You're welcome.

More pics here:

Pregnant teachers, new teachers, enkais and karaoke.

Yamane-sensei, one of the english teachers at the Jr High School got married last year and now is all sorts of pregnant. With the end of the semester, she's starting her year off of maternity leave. So we have a brand new teacher coming in - Shibata sensei - who, in the "hey, small world" category, went to college at Seinan University with Sandy's cousin Aiko. So last Friday we had a "hail and farewell" enkai at a restaurant with about a dozen teachers, followed up with a rousing karaoke adventure.

Commence Karaoke!

I always thought Yamashita-sensei had that J-Pop boy band thing going on...

As deeply soulful as a white boy and his Japanese compatriot can be.

This is our brand new English teacher Shibata-sensei. Check out that singing!

Alcohol makes me entirely comfortable serenading other men.

Itazaki-sensei, on the left, went to sleep as soon as we got there. Yamashita-sensei lasted a little while. At least I had the decency to wait till I got home to pass out.

Look how happy I look. If I knew the brutal hangover that was to follow, I would not have been so genki...

Coming home after a night of hard drinking karaoke and attempting to get anything else done is an endeavor in futility. But look at that effort! Hand still clutching the mouse with a mighty arthritic grip!

More pics here, if so inclined.

Warning! Humorous thinking ahead.

Too funny.

Via Scott Adams Dilbertblog: Your Ancestors Disgust Me
It has come to my attention that many of your ancestors were pedophiles. They probably didn’t know it, since marrying 15-year old girls was considered “normal” by those perverts. And I’m sure they had excuses such as the fact that the life expectancy was 17. So maybe they rationalized it by saying they had to start pinching out new farm hands before the plague got them. Blah, blah, blah. But that’s no excuse for being a pedophile.

I also have it on good authority that your ancestors from several thousand years ago rarely washed their hands with soap after pooping in the desert, or forest, or igloo, whatever. You come from a long line of unhygienic child molesters.

If you follow your repulsive blood line far enough back, you will find that your ancestors were atheists at best, but more likely worshippers of phalluses.

That’s right: You are the genetic fruit of unhygienic, penis-worshipping, child molesters.

And they couldn’t read – those illiterate, unhygienic, penis-worshipping, child molesters.

Keep going back in time and there’s a virtual guarantee that somewhere a cousin married a cousin, or a brother married a sister. Statistically speaking, you’re probably an inbred spawn of illiterate, unhygienic, penis-worshipping child molesters...

A foreign policy of domestic abuse.

The continued quest of bombing people into loving America.


Via Kung Fu Monkey:
John: We bomb Iran, and they won't all line up behind the nationalist radical clerics who stand as a symbol against Western oppression. Instead they will realize we bombed them for their own good, they've learned their lesson, and will revolt against the leaders who have led them astray!
Tyrone: Exactly as has occurred every other time an Islamic nation is attacked.
John: Precisely. We don't want to bomb them, but we have to. For their own good. If they could just see that --
Tyrone: (slapping his left hand with his right) "Look what you made me do! LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!"
John: "I don't want to hit you, baby. But you make me all crazy sometimes."
Tyrone: A foreign policy based on domestic abuse. But Iran has allies. That's not going to work.
John: China's going to slide up. "MMmm-mm. He hitting you? That's fucked up. I'm just saying. "
Tyrone: "I don't know why he won't let you have things. Come over to my place. You want to have nuclear power, makes you feel pretty, I gots no problem with that."
John: (girl voice) "What about nuke weapons?"
Tyrone: "He lets that bitch Pakistan have nukes, and she rolls with Osama."
John: (girl voice) "Yeah!"
Tyrone: "Now bring your sweet oil over here for Daddy China."

The most honest religious song ever.

At least it's upfront with you about it.

The answer is the obvious one.

It's that they've been pretty much making it up the whole time. [Along with most of the rest of it.]

Via the BBC: How can limbo just be abolished?
The Pope may be about to abolish the notion of limbo, the halfway house between heaven and hell, inhabited by unbaptised infants. Is it really that simple?

Pope Benedict XVI's anticipated pronouncement on limbo will have been informed by the International Theological Commission - a group of leading Roman Catholic theologians who have been meeting to consider the issue.

The Pope, himself, has been quoted in the past as saying that he would let the idea of limbo "drop, since it has always been only a theological hypothesis".