Monday, June 30, 2014

The Whirlpool Galaxy

Click to enlarge.
The Whirlpool Galaxy, known as M51 or NGC 5194, is a neighbor of our own Galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy. Historically, M51 was the first "spiral nebula" identified by astronomers.

Bright spots in the spiral arms correspond with warm dust clouds where star formation is proceeding on a large scale. These are linked by regions of cooler dust along the spiral arms and in the spaces between the arms, where previous generations of stars have left their debris. The spiral arms can be traced right into the heart of the galaxy, where there are hotspots of star formation on either side of a bright central nucleus.

A companion galaxy (M51B (NGC 5195)) at the top of the image looks much smaller than it does by visible light. This is because starmaking is concentrated near its nucleus.

Charles Messier
Discovered 1773 by Charles Messier, M51 is the most well-known Whirlpool galaxy in the sky. It was one of Charles Messier's original discoveries: He discovered it on October 13, 1773, when observing a comet, and described it as a "very faint nebula, without stars" which is difficult to see. Its companion, M51B (NGC 5195), was discovered on March 21, 1781 by his friend Pierre Méchain, so that it is mentioned in Messier's 1781 catalog: `It is double, each has a bright center, which are separated 4'35". The two "atmospheres" touch each other, the one is even fainter than the other.' In addition to the description, in his personal copy of the catalog, Messier has added a small drawing, or sketch of the two "nebulae," M51 and NGC 5195, one of the rare cases a detailed drawing by Charles Messier of one of his objects is preserved. M51B (NGC 5195) was assigned its own catalog number by William Herschel: H I.186.

M51 is the dominating member of a small group of galaxies, which also contains M63 and a number of fainter galaxies. As it is about 37 million light years distant and so conspicuous, it is actually a big and luminous galaxy. The value of M51's (and the whole group's) distance is still not very well known. Our value, of 37 Mly, is based on photometric methods and e.g. given by Kenneth Glyn Jones. Some authors give significantly lower values (less than 20 Mly), but a recent (2001) STScI Press Release gave 31 million light years.

This galaxy was the first one where the spiral structure was discovered, in spring 1845 by Lord Rosse, who made a very careful and acurate painting. Therefore, M51 is sometimes referenced as Rosse's Galaxy or Lord Rosse's "Question Mark" - he is cited with this name (see, e.g., NED).

According to our present understanding, the pronounced spiral structure is a result of M51's current encounter with its neighbor, M51B (NGC 5195, the fainter one in Messier's description). Due to this interaction, the gas in the galaxy was disturbed and compressed in some regions, resulting in the formation of new young stars. As is common in galactic encounters, spiral structure is preferably induced in the more massive galaxy. Halton Arp has included M51 as No. 85 in his Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies as "Spiral with Large High-Surface-Brightness Companion".

For the amateur, M51 is easy and a showpiece if the sky is dark, but is quite sensitive for light pollution which easily makes it fade in the background. Under very good conditions, even suggestions of its spiral arms can be glanced with telescopes starting from 4-inch. Low magnification is best for viewing this pair.

The Hubble Space Telescope has investigated especially the central region of M51. Its compact nucleus is now classified as of Seyfert type 2.5. Newer HST investigations (published 2001) focus on investigation of the inner spiral arms and dust clouds, which are the birth sites of massive and luminous stars. ESA's ISO (Infrared Space Observatory) satellite has investigated the Whirlpool Galaxy in the infrared light.

Click to enlarge.
Three supernova have been discovered in M51 so far:

On April 2, 1994, SN 1994I was discovered 14"E and 12"S of the nucleus of M51 by the Atlanta amateur astronomers Jerry Armstrong and Tim Puckett. It brightened to mag 12.8 and was classified as of type Ic.

On June 27, 2005, German amateur Wolfgang Kloehr found SN 2005cs 15"W and 67.3"S of the nucleus of M51 as it was at mag 13.5 (and rising) - this supernova was found to be of type II by the analysis of its spectrum.

On May 31, 2011, SN 2011dh was discovered by four astronomers: Tom Reiland (USA), Thomas Griga (Germany), Amedee Riou (France), and Stephane Lamotte Bailey (France) when it was at about Mag 14.2, and had not been present the night before. It was found to be of type IIP.

Charles Messier's Catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lest We Forget

Excessive boozing kills 10 percent of working-age Americans.

Heavy drinking caused one in every 10 deaths among working-age adults from 2006 to 2010 in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Excessive drinking — which the CDC says includes binge drinking, copious weekly drinking, and drinking while underage or pregnant — led to a staggering 88,000 deaths among 20- to 64-year-olds over that five-year stretch. Moreover, those premature deaths cost the U.S. about $224 billion in 2006 alone, while shortening the lifespans of those effected by an average of about 30 years.

"We're talking about a large economic impact, people who are contributing to society," Mandy Stahre, one of the study's authors, said. "They're in the prime of their lives."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hive Mind

"It is not a matter of what is true that counts,
but a matter of what is perceived to be true."
- Henry Kissinger
A hive mind or group mind may refer to any of the scenarios listed below:

  • Collective consciousness or collective intelligence, or a similar concept in sociology and philosophy.
  • A group of people who believe and think and act similarly.
  • In culture, a collective of knowledge, art, artifacts, symbols and social ritual.
  • The apparent consciousness of colonies of social insects such as ants, bees and termites.
  • Swarm intelligence, the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial.
  • Universal mind, a type of universal higher consciousness or source of being in some esoteric beliefs.
  • Group mind (science fiction), a type of collective consciousness.
  • Egregore is a phenomenon in occultism which has been described as group mind.
  • Groupthink. Decision by committee?

    A group mind, hive mind, mind coalescence or group ego in science fiction is a single, collective consciousness or intelligence occupying many bodies or entities. Its use in literature goes back at least as far as Olaf Stapledon's science fiction novel Last and First Men (1930). A group mind might be formed by telepathy, by adding brain-to-brain communication to ordinary individuals, or by some unspecified means. The term may be used interchangeably with "hive mind". A hive mind is a group mind with almost complete loss (or lack) of individual identity; most fictional group minds are hives. The concept of the group or hive mind is an intelligent version of real-life superorganisms such as ant or bee nests, and consequently, insectoid aliens.

    Hive minds are group minds with (almost) complete loss (or lack) of individuality, identity, and personhood. The individuals forming the hive may specialize in different functions, similar to social insects.

    Here are some examples from science fiction literature:

    • The extraterrestrial hive mind named Medusa in The Cosmic Rape (also known as To Marry Medusa) by Theodore Sturgeon.
    • The alien children in The Midwich Cuckoos (also known as Village of the Damned) by John Wyndham.
    • The Bebebebeque in Larry Niven's The Draco Tavern.
    • The Boaty-Bits in the Saga of Cuckoo by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson.
    • The Bugs in Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers. They include workers, warriors, brains, and queens however the films and subsequent TV series feature several other castes.
    • The Drummers in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.
    • The Formics in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind).
    • The Hive Mind in John G. Cramer's novel Einstein's Bridge.
    • The Joined in The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter.
    • The Majat in the novel Serpent's Reach by C. J. Cherryh.
    • Man in "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.
    • The Phoners in Cell by Stephen King.
    • The Precogs in "The Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick (and its film adaptation).
    • The Taurans and, later, Man in The Forever War by Joe Haldemann; Man in Forever Free.
    • Palador in "Rescue Party" by Arthur C. Clarke.
    • The Phindin from the Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice book series by Dave Wolverton and Jude Watson.
    • The Swarm in Michael Crichton's novel Prey.
    • Ygramul in The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.
    • The Squeem in the Xeelee Sequence future history by Stephen Baxter: a group-minded aquatic race, and the first extrasolar intelligence contacted by mankind.

    Sorry about the long lists in this article. The point is, there are tons of examples, I even had to pare down what I could find. It makes me wonder if the thought of being absorbed by a central controlling authority is an innate fear. I don't want to be absorbed. Do you? From the movies, we have:

    • The alien children in the 1960 film Village of the Damned (and its 1995 remake), as well as its sequel, Children of the Damned (1963)
    • The Xenomorph race in Alien (1979) and its many sequels.
    • Nestor, from the Roger Corman film Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).
    • The ghostly "Twins" in The Matrix Reloaded (2003).
    • The Machines in the Matrix trilogy form a seemingly connected mind, especially at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, where they coalesce into a face to speak to Neo.
    • The children in Clive Barker's The Plague (2006).
    • Eywa is formed by a complex neural network composed of many organisms on the moon Pandora, in the film Avatar (2009).
    • The team of motorcycle Autobots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) known as Arcee (including Arcee, Chromia, and Elita One) share a hive mind.
    • The Kaiju from Pacific Rim (film) share a hive mind. The scientist Newton Geiszler creates a machine which allows him to create a mental link with a kaiju brain fragment.
    • The conehead crystal skulls in the fourth Indiana Jones film.
    Even zombies have some kind of tacit agreement among themselves. I mean, they don't attack each other, right? But they do tend to mass up even if they're not gossiping. So, if that's the case, think about all those zombie movies like world War Z and Night of the Living Dead.
    In television, there are:

    Resistance is futile.
    • The Borg in Star Trek. The Borg Queen takes a coordinator role; the drones, although having group consciousness, have species identifications and individual designations. Some Borg unconsciously retain their identities in "Unimatrix Zero"
    • The Bringers of the First Evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • The Cybermen in Doctor Who are connected via computer link, so that each individual knows what the group knows
    • The Delightful Children from Down the Lane in Code Name: Kids Next Door
    • The Replicators in Stargate SG-1
    • The Rutan Host in Doctor Who
    • The Toclafane in Doctor Who
    • The Ood in Doctor Who
    • The X7 transgenics in the Dark Angel series.

    A group mind that is not a hive either lets individuals retain some individuality, or can itself split back up into functional individuals at need. The dividing line is blurry; some Star Trek Borg, such as Seven of Nine, have been split from the collective. I had another long list here, but decided enough is enough with the listing of samples.

    Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences. Sound familiar? Politicians?

    Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the "ingroup" produces an "illusion of invulnerability" (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the "ingroup" significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the "outgroup"). Furthermore groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the "outgroup".

    Antecedent factors such as group cohesiveness, faulty group structure, and situational context (e.g., community panic) play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.

    Groupthink is a construct of social psychology, but has an extensive reach and influences literature in the fields of communication studies, political science, management, and organizational theory, as well as important aspects of deviant religious cult behavior. Such as, devotion to a leader or belief or philosophy without regard to reality.

    Groupthink is sometimes stated to occur (more broadly) within natural groups within the community, for example to explain the lifelong different mindsets of conservatives versus liberals, or the solitary nature of introverts. However, this conformity of viewpoints within a group does not mainly involve deliberate group decision-making, and thus is perhaps better explained by the collective confirmation bias of the individual members of the group.

    Click to enlarge.

    Most of the initial research on groupthink was conducted by Irving Janis, a research psychologist from Yale University. Janis published an influential book in 1972, which was revised in 1982. Later studies have evaluated and reformulated his groupthink model. Nevertheless, outside research psychology and sociology, wider culture has come to detect groupthink (somewhat fuzzily defined) in observable situations, for example:

    " [...] critics of Twitter point to the predominance of the hive mind in such social media, the kind of groupthink that submerges independent thinking in favor of conformity to the group, the collective"

    "[...] leaders often have beliefs which are very far from matching reality and which can become more extreme as they are encouraged by their followers. The predilection of many cult leaders for abstract, ambiguous, and therefore unchallengeable ideas can further reduce the likelihood of reality testing, while the intense milieu control exerted by cults over their members means that most of the reality available for testing is supplied by the group environment. This is seen in the phenomenon of 'groupthink', alleged to have occurred, notoriously, during the Bay of Pigs fiasco."

    "Groupthink by Compulsion [...] [G]roupthink at least implies voluntarism. When this fails, the organization is not above outright intimidation. [...] In [a nationwide telecommunications company], refusal by the new hires to cheer on command incurred consequences not unlike the indoctrination and brainwashing techniques associated with a Soviet-era gulag."

Monday, June 23, 2014

First Born Among Astronauts

Of the first 23 American astronauts sent into outer space, 21 were firstborns and the other two were only-children. All seven astronauts in the original Mercury program were firstborns.

First Born Perfectionistic, reliable, list maker, well organized, critical, serious, scholarly, thirsty for approval, conservative and law abiding, self-critical, bad at delegating, more likely to seek help.
Second Born Mediator, fewest pictures in the family photo album, avoids conflict, independent, extremely loyal to the peer group, many friends, relaxed, diplomatic, easily persuaded, realistic about own talents and abilities, champion of the underdog.
Last Born Manipulative, charming, blames others, shows off, people person, good sales person, precocious, dependent, disorganized, creative and innovative, lower self-esteem, easily disappointed.
Only Child Academically successful, self-confident, happy alone, logical and organized, not street smart, perfectionist, afraid of disorder.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Robert Todd Lincoln And Bad Luck

Robert Todd Lincoln
Robert Todd Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln's oldest son, was at Lincoln's side when he passed away in 1865.

Years later, on July 2, 1881, as Secretary of War, Todd Lincoln was present and ready to meet President James A Garfield at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station, on the southwest corner of present day Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., when Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau. As Guiteau surrendered to authorities, he uttered the exulting words, repeated everywhere: "'I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! Arthur is President now!'" This statement briefly led to suspicions that Arthur or his supporters had put Guiteau up to the crime. The Stalwarts were a Republican faction loyal to ex-President Grant; they strongly opposed Garfield's Half-Breeds. Like many Vice Presidents, Arthur was chosen for political advantage, to placate his faction, rather than for skills or loyalty to his running-mate. Guiteau, in his delusion, had convinced himself that he was striking a blow to unite the two factions of the Republican Party.

Robert Todd Lincoln was also present at the Pan-American Exposition Hall in Buffalo, NY, when President William McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz. The Secretary to the President, George B. Cortelyou, feared an assassination attempt would take place during a visit to the Pan-American Exposition Hall, and twice took it off the schedule. McKinley restored it each time. Czolgosz had lost his job during the economic Panic of 1893 and was influenced by the economic turmoil of the time. He regarded McKinley as a symbol of oppression, and felt it was his duty to kill him. Czolgosz shot McKinley twice as the President reached to shake his hand in the reception line at the temple. One bullet grazed McKinley; the other entered his abdomen and was never found.

McKinley initially appeared to be recovering, but took a turn for the worse on September 13 as his wounds became gangrenous, and died early the next morning; Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him. After McKinley's murder, for which Czolgosz was put to death in the electric chair, the United States Congress passed legislation to officially charge the Secret Service with the responsibility for protecting the president.

It's only a guess, but I'll bet Robert Todd Lincoln didn't get invited to a lot of parties after the third presidential assasination.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

-- George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Tangled Middle East

Most people, if they're not Jewish, don't know much about Israel beyond what they hear in the news and the news can be, shall we say, slanted. So, what follows is an effort to reveal the modern history of the nation of Israel and some of the political dynamics influencing that area of the world.

Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a parliamentary democracy in the Middle East, located on the south-eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip on the southwest, and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea to the south. For such a small country, it contains geographically diverse features. In its Basic Laws Israel defines itself as a Jewish and Democratic State and is the world's only Jewish-majority state.

On November 29 of 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the adoption and implementation of the partition plan of Mandatory Palestine. On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel," a state independent upon the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine, issued May 15, 1948. Neighboring Arab armies invaded Palestine on the following day and fought the Israeli forces. Israel has since fought several wars with neighboring Arab states, in the course of which it has occupied the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula (between 1967 and 1982), part of South Lebanon (between 1982 and 2000), Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. It annexed portions of these territories, include East Jerusalem, but the border with the West Bank is disputed. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have so far not resulted in peace.

Israel's financial center is Tel Aviv, but Jerusalem is the country's most populous city if occupied East Jerusalem is included. The population of Israel, as defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, was estimated in 2013 to be 8,002,300 people, of whom 6,030,100 are Jewish. Arabs form the country's second-largest group with 1,653,900 people (including the Druze). The great majority of Israeli Arabs are settled-Muslims, with smaller but significant numbers of semi-settled Negev Bedouins; the rest are Christians and Druze. Other minorities include various ethnic and ethno-religious denominations such as Russians, Maronites, Samaritans, Black Hebrew Israelites, Armenians, Circassians and others.

Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation, and universal suffrage. The Prime Minister serves as head of government and the Knesset serves as Israel's unicameral legislative body. Israel has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. It is a developed country, an OECD member, and its economy, based on the nominal gross domestic product, was the 43rd-largest in the world in 2012. Israel has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and the third highest in Asia.

In regard to the Palestinian situation, the beginnings of a separate Palestinian national identity are traceable to the mid-19th century, perhaps partly in response to renewed Western interest in the “Holy Land.” As early as 1919, the first “Arab Palestinian Congress” called for Palestinian unity and independence, albeit still understanding Palestine as part of Greater Syria.

1948 was a watershed year in the process of Palestinian nation-building.

During Israel's war of independence against invading Arab armies, some 600,000 Arabs were dispossessed from their homes and became refugees. Not only individuals but embedded social patterns and relationships were uprooted, causing traumatic societal and cultural discontinuities. A society that had been centered on family, locality and traditional social patterns felt itself shattered.

Worse, the same predicament befell it again less than 20 years later in the aftermath of the Six Day War (June 5 and 10, 1967), which created many new refugees and saw the West Bank and Gaza Strip transferred from Jordanian Arab control to Israeli Jewish rule.

Throughout the Palestinian world, and especially in the refugee camps of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank, as the established social classes and patterns were unexpectedly shaken up together, a new social essence began to ferment, with the old local and communal affiliations becoming transmuted into a national one by a sense of shared history, suffering and hope.

Since 1967, the Arabs of Palestine have increasingly insisted on a separate identity for themselves. Even many Israeli Arabs, torn by ethnic loyalties and perhaps radicalized by decades of ethnic conflict, now routinely refer to themselves as Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.

The Palestinians have also had "peoplehood" conferred on them by prevailing international usage, including 30 years of UN resolutions identifying them as a people and recognizing them (despite strong American and Israeli objections) as having "inalienable rights" to sovereign independence. “Palestine” now exists as a partial political entity with its own passports, postage stamps, international calling code and internet domain name.

As the Palestinians move toward defining their identity as a nation, what is still unclear (and under debate) is exactly where that nation's homeland is--whether in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, perhaps confederated with Jordan or Israel; or in Jordan itself, of which two thirds of its population is ethnically identical to the Arab population west of the Jordan River. Finally, many Palestinian militants still argue that Israel itself is a suitable future homeland. This, naturally, does not sit well with the Israelis.

There is the question of why other Arab countries don’t take in Palestinians. Actually, some Arab countries have accepted Palestinian refugees, notably Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. With the exception of Jordan and to a lesser extent Egypt, the other countries treat Palestinian refugees poorly, as second-class citizens.

Arab unity is something of a misnomer. According to common sources, most don’t even like each other. In the Arab world, Lebanese have the reputation of being shrewd, sleazy, and players with women, but outstanding businessmen. Egyptians are generally regarded as nice, good hearted people, but somewhat simple, crude, and not good at running a business. Saudis are viewed as rigid, elitist and snobbish. Jordanians are mixed, but are viewed as the most tolerant of the bunch. Palestinians are viewed as hoboes or gypsies and looked down upon.

All these people have had tribal conflicts for centuries. For instance, many consider the tribal bloodlines when it comes to marriage.

It’s interesting to note that Arabs don’t really hate Americans, the West and, most surprisingly, they claim they don’t hate the Jews. Even if they did hate Americans, it’s not like they hate them anymore than they hate any other Western country. What bothers them is Zionism (the Jewish movement to settle in the area known as Palestine, established centuries ago). Aside from Lebanon, Iraq and maybe Egypt, no other Arab country really has a problem with Israel. Egypt and Lebanon have land disputes, and Iraq has problems of its own (religious issues, civil war).

Now, Iran supports Hezbollah because they are Shiite Muslim, but Iranians are not Arabs -- they are Persian, and Arabs and Persians have never lived in peace.

In the middle of all this conflict are the Palestinians who have been displaced, and they are angry for a reason. So, why don't the other Arab countries accept the Palestinians into their countries? They don’t like ‘em, plain and simple. If it were the Lebanese instead of the Palestinians, there would be the same reaction – nobody would take them in.

In the 1940s and '50s, many Palestinians lived in Jordan. They staged a revolt in order to destroy the government and take over the country. The revolt failed and thousands were killed. The rest were thrown out of the country.

In the 1960s, the same thing happened to the Palestinians living in Syria. In the 70s and '80s, the same scenario was played out in Lebanon. The revolt failed and led to the war in 1982 when both Israel and Syria invaded Lebanon and fought it out with each other and the Palestinians. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, Palestinians took up arms against Kuwait and supported the invaders. The invasion failed and many Palestinians living in Kuwait were killed. Typically, the rest were thrown out of the country.

In the 1990s, Israeli Palestinians took up arms against the Israeli government and gained world support via a sympathetic media while Israel was denounced as a fascist aggressor.

Click to enlarge.
Israel gave the Palestinians self-rule over large parts of the country in exchange for a ceasefire. So far, this uneasy truce has been tested numerous times. Political intrigue and agitators from the surrounding states continue to clamor for war and even the total destruction of Israel.

There is far more to this situation than hatred of Jews or religious differences. I personally believe it is the land itself. The location of Israel lies on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, literally the gateway between the east and the west, a place where two very different worlds meet. Israel is surrounded by its enemies who most likely would prefer Arab (read Muslim) control over this incredibly strategic area. Bear in mind that the US has traditionally been an ally with Israel and so has had not only a friendly staging area and partner, but information and intelligence as well. The American (and British) allegiance with Israel is key to understanding the larger picture in Israel and the Middle East.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kim Jong-un Is A Wild Man!

They say clothes make the man, but I think it's the hair. A case in point is North Korean leader's Kim Jong-un's recent, rumored proclamation that ordered all men in North Korea to get the same haircut he sports. With all the propaganda in the news these days, who knows if it's true. There is some precedent for the story, however, in that the North Korean government has ordered 14 acceptable haircuts for its citizens. Seven for men and an equal number for women.

Some news organizations have said it's not true but others say that the state is simply being lax in enforcing the new haircut rules. The same stories admit that North Korea has its own fashion police.

It has been verified that members of a government-run youth organization routinely check for people who are not dressed appropriately, looking to see if people are wearing the mandatory lapel pins with the images of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, or for violations such as blue jeans, clothes with English words or above-the-knee dresses. Not so with Kim Jong-un, though. Look at the three photos above and I'm sure you'll agree he's rocking that navy blue Mao jacket. A regular fashion horse.

Most Koreans I know say that directives on hairstyles aren't much of an issue since people voluntarily keep their hair neat and conservatively styled anyway.

In 2005, the North Korean government waged war against men with long hair, calling them unhygienic anti-socialist fools and directing them to wear their hair "socialist style." It condemned long-haired men as "blind followers of bourgeois lifestyle." The country's state-run Central TV even identified violators by name and address, exposing them to ridicule from other citizens. I know what that feels like.

The hair campaign, dubbed "Let's trim our hair according to socialist lifestyle," required that hair be kept no longer than 5 centimeters (2 inches). Older men received a small exemption to allow comb-overs.

The campaign claimed long hair hampers brain activity by taking oxygen away from nerves in the head. It didn't explain why women were allowed to grow long hair. Perhaps this is just another way of controlling women. You know, by keeping them stupid.

Photos of suggested hairstyles posted outside women's hair salons in North Korea are depicted as showing the only sanctioned styles North Korean women can choose from. The Huffington Post says it's not true, but then again, the Huffington Post says the recession is over.

While anything coming from the Huffington Post is up to question, remember that Kim Jong-un's American basketball buddy is none other than Dennis Rodman who strays beyond the bounds of Korea's social conventions simply by getting off the plane. I suppose Kim wouldn't want to arrest his friend. But wait, didn't Kim allow an uncle to be savaged by wild dogs and broke up with a girlfriend by firing squad? More rumors? More propaganda? I don't know.

Imagine if we had state-sanctioned haircuts here in the US. You think people would rebel? Would it include exemptions for gay people? Or, would it draw us together? If we all looked alike, wouldn't it help us all to think the same way?

Well, it's something to think about. Personally, I kind of like the Kim Jong-un look but I'm not sure it would compliment the shape of my face.

Fidus Achates:

More than an internet acquaintance,
a fidus Achates ("FEED-us uh-KAH-tays") is a true friend.
It's like "BFF" in Latin.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Introducing...The Beatles

A relative explosion of popular music in 1964 was led by the Beatles first album released in the US, called Introducing...The Beatles. The album is a slightly abridged version of Please Please Me, which had been released in the U.K. four months earlier. It includes two fewer tracks than the British version, deleting "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why." It was produced by Vee Jay Records and was the only American album containing some of the Beatles' initial recordings.

Here are the #1 chart hits for 1964. The Beatles had six #1 hits.

Bobby Vinton
There! I've Said It Again--Bobby Vinton - 4 weeks
I Want To Hold Your Hand--Beatles - 7 weeks
She Loves You--Beatles - 2 weeks
Can't Buy Me Love--Beatles - 5 weeks
Hello, Dolly!--Louis Armstrong - 1 week
My Guy--Mary Wells - 2 weeks
Love Me Do--Beatles - 1 week
Chapel Of Love--Dixie Cups - 3 weeks
A World Without Love--Peter & Gordon - 1 week
I Get Around--Beach Boys - 2 weeks
Rag Doll--Four Seasons - 2 weeks
A Hard Day's Night--Beatles - 2 weeks
Everybody Loves Somebody--Dean Martin - 1 week
The Supremes
Where Did Our Love Go--Supremes - 2 weeks
The House Of The Rising Sun--Animals - 3 weeks
 Oh, Pretty Woman--Roy Orbison - 3 weeks
Do Wah Diddy Diddy--Manfred Mann - 2 weeks
Baby Love--Supremes - 4 weeks
Leader Of The Pack--Shangri·Las - 1 week
Ringo--Lorne Greene - 1 week
Mr. Lonely--Bobby Vinton - 1 week
Come See About Me--Supremes - 2 weeks* (1 week in 1964)
I Feel Fine--Beatles - 3 weeks (1 week in 1964)

Roy Orbison
Other popular tunes in 1964 were: A Fool Never Learns (Andy Williams), Blue On Blue (Percy Faith), I Love How You Love Me (Maureen Evans), I Love You Because (Jim Reeves), Nobody Else But Me (Tony Bennett), Oh, Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison), Pretty Paper (Roy Orbison), Rebel Rouser (Duane Eddy), The Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel), Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley), and When I Fall In Love (Bobby Vinton).

The songs from Introducing...The Beatles hearken back to a more pleasant era with intricate melodies and individual musicianship. The tunes are basically songs about love and relationships and are delivered with youthful gusto. The Beatles were a musical and social phenomena, delivering fourteen more albums to the US over the next six years. They changed pop music enough to dramatically influence world cultures.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rocky and Bullwinkle

Rocky & Bullwinkle (known as Rocky & His Friends during the first two seasons and as The Bullwinkle Show for the remaining seasons) is an American television cartoon series that aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on ABC and NBC. It was packaged as a variety show, with the main feature being the adventures of the two title characters, the anthropomorphic moose Bullwinkle and flying squirrel Rocky. The main adversaries in most of their adventures are the Russian-like spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Supporting segments include Dudley Do-Right, Peabody's Improbable History, and Fractured Fairy Tales, among others.

The show is known for its quality writing and wry humor and appeals to adults as well as children. It was also one of the first cartoons whose animation was outsourced; storyboards were shipped to Gamma Productions, a Mexican studio also employed by Total Television. The art has a choppy, unpolished look and the animation is extremely limited even by television animation standards at the time. Despite its shortcomings, the series has long been held in high esteem by those who have seen it; some critics described the series as a well-written radio program with pictures.

The show was never a ratings hit and was shuffled around (airing in afternoon, prime time, and Saturday morning timeslots) but has garnered an influential cult following over the decades, influencing programs from The Simpsons to Rocko's Modern Life. Segments from the series were later recycled in the Hoppity Hooper show.

There have been numerous feature film adaptations of the series' various segments, such as the 2000 film The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle which blended live-action and computer animation and the 1999 live-action film Dudley Do-Right, which both received poor reviews and were financially unsuccessful. By contrast, an animated feature film adaptation of the "Peabody's Improbable History" segment, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, was released to good reviews and box office success in 2014.

In 2013, Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show were ranked the sixth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time by TV Guide.[

The series began with the pilot, Rocky the Flying Squirrel. Production began in February 1958 with the hiring of voice actors June Foray, Paul Frees, Bill Scott, and William Conrad. Eight months later, General Mills signed a deal to sponsor the cartoon program, under the condition that the show be run in a late-afternoon time slot, when it could be targeted toward children. Fitzgerald, & Sample — the advertising agency for General Mills — set up an animation studio in Mexico called Gamma Productions S.A. de C.V., originally known as Val-Mar Animation. This outsourcing of the animation for the series was considered financially attractive by primary sponsor General Mills, but caused endless production problems. In a 1982 interview by animation historian Jim Korkis, Bill Scott described some of the problems that arose during production of the series:

"We found out very quickly that we could not depend on Mexican studios to produce anything of quality. They were turning out the work very quickly and there were all kinds of mistakes and flaws and boo-boos ... They would never check ... Mustaches popped on and off Boris, Bullwinkle's antlers would change, colors would change, costumes would disappear ... By the time we finally saw it, it was on the air."

The show was broadcast for the first time on November 19, 1959, on the ABC television network under the title Rocky and His Friends twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, following American Bandstand at 5:30 p.m. ET, where it was the highest-rated daytime network program. The show moved to the NBC network starting September 24, 1961, broadcast in color, and first appeared on Sundays at 7 p.m. ET, just before Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Bullwinkle's ratings suffered as a result of airing opposite perennial favorite Lassie. A potential move to CBS caused NBC to reschedule the show to late Sunday afternoons (5:30 p.m. ET) and early Saturday afternoons in its final season. NBC canceled the show in the summer of 1964. It was shopped to ABC, but they were not interested. However, reruns of episodes were aired on ABC's Sunday morning schedule at 11 a.m. ET until 1973, at which time the series went into syndication. An abbreviated fifteen-minute version of the series ran in syndication in the 1960s under the title The Rocky Show. This version was sometimes shown in conjunction with The King and Odie, a fifteen-minute version of Total Television's King Leonardo and His Short Subjects. The King and Odie was similar to Rocky and Bullwinkle in that it was sponsored by General Mills and animated by Gamma Productions. NBC later aired Bullwinkle Show reruns at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday afternoons during the 1981-1982 television season.

The lead characters and heroes of the series were Rocket "Rocky" J. Squirrel, a flying squirrel, and his best friend Bullwinkle J. Moose, a dim-witted but good-natured moose. Both characters lived in the fictional town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, which was based on the real life city of International Falls, Minnesota. The scheming villains in most episodes were the fiendish, but inept, agents of the fictitious nation of Pottsylvania: Boris Badenov, a pun on Boris Godunov, and Natasha Fatale, a pun on femme fatale. Boris and Natasha were commanded by the sinister Mr. Big and Fearless Leader. Other characters included Gidney & Cloyd, little green men from the moon who were armed with scrooch guns; Captain Peter "Wrongway" Peachfuzz, the captain of the S.S. Andalusia; and the inevitable onlookers, Edgar and Chauncy.

The "Rocky & Bullwinkle" shorts serve as "bookends" for popular supporting features, including:

Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties, a parody of early 20th century melodrama and silent film serials of the Northern genre. Dudley Do-Right is a Canadian Mountie in constant pursuit of his nemesis, Snidely Whiplash, who sports the standard "villain" attire of black top hat, cape, and over-sized moustache. This is one of the few Jay Ward cartoons to feature a background music track. As is standard in Ward's cartoons, jokes often have more than one meaning. A standard gag is to introduce characters in an irised close-up with the name of the "actor" displayed in a caption below, a convention seen in some early silent films. However, the comic twist is using the captions to present silly names or subtle puns. Occasionally, even the scenery is introduced in this manner, as when "Dead Man's Gulch" is identified as being portrayed by "Gorgeous Gorge," a reference to professional wrestler Gorgeous George.

Peabody's Improbable History features a genius talking dog named Mister Peabody who has a pet boy named Sherman. Peabody and Sherman use Peabody's "WABAC machine" (pronounced "way-back", spelled WAYBAC in season 1, episode 4, and partially a play on names of early computers such as UNIVAC and ENIAC) to go back in time to discover the real story behind historical events, and in many cases, intervene with uncooperative historical figures to ensure that events transpire as history has recorded.[24] The term "Wayback Machine" is used to this day in Internet applications such as Wikipedia and the Internet Archive to refer to the ability to see or revert to older content. These segments are famous for including a pun at the end. For example, when going back to the time of Pancho Villa, they show Pancho a photo of a woman and he promptly feels the urge to take a nap. When Sherman asks why this is so, Peabody says that the woman's name is Esther, and whenever you "see Esther" (siesta) you fall asleep.

Fractured Fairy Tales presented familiar fairy tales and children's stories, but with altered storylines and modernized for humorous effect. This segment was narrated by Edward Everett Horton; June Foray, Bill Scott, Paul Frees, and an uncredited Daws Butler often supplied the voices.

Aesop & Son is similar to Fractured Fairy Tales, complete with the same theme music, except it deals with fables instead of fairy tales. The typical structure consists of Aesop attempting to teach a lesson to his son using a fable. After hearing the story, the son subverts the fable's moral with a pun. This structure was also suggested by the feature's opening titles, which showed Aesop painstakingly carving his name in marble using a mallet and chisel and then his son, with a jackhammer and raising a cloud of dust, appending "And Son." Aesop was voiced (uncredited) by actor Charlie Ruggles and the son, Junior, was voiced by Daws Butler.

Bullwinkle's Corner features the dimwitted moose attempting to introduce culture into the proceedings by reciting (and acting out) poems and nursery rhymes, inadvertently and humorously butchering them. Poems subjected to this treatment include several by Robert Louis Stevenson ("My Shadow", "The Swing", and "Where Go the Boats"); William Wordsworth's "Daffodils"; "Little Miss Muffet", "Little Jack Horner", and "Wee Willie Winkie"; J. G. Whittier's "Barbara Frietchie"; and "The Queen of Hearts" by Charles Lamb. Simple Simon is performed with Boris as the pie man, but as a variation of the famous Abbott and Costello routine "Who's on First?".

Mr. Know-It-All again features Bullwinkle posing as an authority on any topic. Disaster inevitably ensues.

Rocky and Bullwinkle Fan Club, a series of abortive attempts by Rocky and Bullwinkle to conduct club business. The fan club consists only of Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha, and Captain Peter Peachfuzz. These shorts portray the characters out of character.

The World of Commander McBragg, short features on revisionist history as the title character would have imagined it; this was actually prepared for Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales (and later shown on The Underdog Show). Although the shorts were animated by the same animation company, Gamma Productions, they were produced for Total Television, rather than Ward Productions. These segments were packaged with pre-1990 syndicated versions of The Bullwinkle Show and appear in syndicated episodes of The Underdog Show, Dudley Do Right and Friends, and Uncle Waldo's Cartoon Show.

Character(s) voiced by the following:
Bill Scott -- Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, Fearless Leader, Gidney, Mr. Big, Mr. Peabody.
June Foray -- Rocky, Natasha Fatale, Nell, various witches, princesses, and hags in Fractured Fairy Tales, and every other female character in the show.
Paul Frees -- Boris Badenov, Captain Peter Peachfuzz, Cloyd, Inspector Fenwick, narrator for Dudley Do-Right (shared), various historical figures in Peabody's Improbable History.
Walter Tetley --  Sherman.
Daws Butler -- Aesop Junior, various characters in Fractured Fairy Tales and Aesop and Son.
Charlie Ruggles -- Aesop.
Hans Conried -- Snidely Whiplash.
William Conrad -- narrator for Rocky and Bullwinkle, narrator for Dudley Do-Right (shared).
Edward Everett Horton --  narrator for Fractured Fairy Tale.

As a publicity stunt, Ward and Scott campaigned for statehood for "Moosylvania", Bullwinkle's fictional home state. They drove a van to about 50 cities collecting petition signatures. Arriving in Washington D.C., they pulled up to the White House gate to see President Kennedy, and were brusquely turned away. They learned that the evening they had arrived was during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

British Invasion band Herman's Hermits got its name because bandmates thought lead singer Peter Noone looked like Sherman of "Mr. Peabody" fame, and the name "Herman" was close enough to "Sherman" for them.

In 1999, Mattel made Rocky & Bullwinkle-themed cars under its Hot Wheels line. In 2002, Rocky and His Friends ranked #47 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In January 2009, IGN named Rocky and Bullwinkle as the 11th best animated television series. To date, Rocky and Friends has aired in 100 countries.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Message For The Slow Half Of The Class

Ah, another shooting in the news today. They're coming hot and heavy now. This one claims to have two policemen gunned down by a he/she team of killers who've said "the revolution has begun." Gee, ya think so? If you're one of the few who still buys into these staged hoaxes, understand that in the near future you will be considered as part of the slow half of the class.

This is what a hoax looks like.
A good gauge for discerning whether or not one of these "incidents" is real is if there are pictures and/or videos within the first hour of the initial report. If there's no blood and no victim, then most likely there's no crime. These are set-ups, enactments with fake blood, dummies, police and media collusion. Don't give me that tired old line about a conspiracy being impossible with so many involved. Instead, use your own eyes and ears as well as your own powers of discrimination, if any still exist in a zombie's brain.

Post-amnesty -- the future of America.
In a related news story, we hear that illegal immigrants are flooding the country at a rate that can no longer be stemmed. While that may be true, it certainly doesn't necessitate a surrender by the forces opposing amnesty. Remember, amnesty will assure the liberal communist agenda for many years to come. The only way for the Democrats to win and maintain control over the country is to add 26 million more liberal voters to the books. This should not be allowed to happen at any cost.

Does anyone out there see the same revolution in our future that I see? Why are our corrupt politicians allowed to continue the destruction of a free America? Why are there so many blind, obedient zombies in my nation?

Operation Neptune

The United States has been at war for as long as I can remember. In one form or another, most of the major players on the world's stage have also been at war, or revolution, or some covert operation or another. It's been going on for so long that I believe war must be an unavoidable part of the human condition. The accompanying suffering and deprivation is sad but seems to prove that the purpose of government is to oversee the protection of its citizenry by the maintenance of a standing military.

As elsewhere stated in this blog, I served as a fleet sailor and had tours of duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era, as well as side trips to the Indian Ocean and the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Most of my friends and acquaintances didn't enlist and somehow avoided the draft. To this day, one cousin (registered Democrat, vocal Obama supporter) proudly brags that he would have gone to Canada to avoid service had he been selected. I don't understand that -- that is, how someone can be proud about being a coward. Those of us who did serve during war were from the ranks of the poorer classes. In my case, I dropped out of college my senior year and enlisted because I was so poor I couldn't afford tuition and fees. I also wanted to test myself, to see if I could survive. I'm happy to report that I did. However, I didn't have to go through anything like the battle at Normandy during World War II.

German bunker at Normandy.
The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on June 6, 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of German-held Normandy, France during World War II. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history, and kicked off the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, which led to the liberation and restoration of the French Republic, and eventually the Allied victory.

Planning for Operation Neptune began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal, but postponing would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days in each month were deemed suitable. Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.

USS Nevada
The amphibious landings were preceded by an extensive aerial and naval bombardment as well as an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 British, US, and Canadian paratroopers shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France starting at 06:30. The target was a 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors called Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beach. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha Beach, due to its high cliffs inhabited by armed and reinforced German bunkers. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting.

Headed to the beach.
The Allies failed to achieve all of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five bridgeheads were not connected until 12 June. However, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day were around 1,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 12,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.

Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy. A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded the amphibious assault that involved more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than three million allied troops were in France by the end of August.

In the dragon's jaws.
 The American forces were assigned to land at Utah and Omaha Beaches, the British at Sword and Gold Beaches, and Canadians at Juno Beach. To meet the conditions expected on the Normandy beachhead, special technology was developed, including two artificial ports called Mulberry harbours and an array of specialized tanks nicknamed Hobart's Funnies.

A failed counterattack by German forces on 8 August led to 50,000 soldiers of the German 7th Army being trapped in the Falaise pocket. The Allies launched an invasion of southern France (Operation Dragoon) on 15 August, and the Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August. German forces retreated across the Seine on 30 August 1944, marking the close of Operation Overlord.

The Normandy invasion took place 70 years ago. To put things into perspective, 700 years ago, the battle of Agincourt of the Hundred Years' War between the French and the English was held. English archers with their longbows were able to keep the French with their crossbows too far away to shoot. The French decided to charge. The ground was wet and muddy, causing the heavily armored troops to slip and fall. The French lost at least 5,000 men; another 1,000 were captured. The English losses totaled only 140.

The Hundred Years' War between England and France lasted from 1337 to 1453, more than 100 years. It ended when the English were driven out of France.

A thousand years ago, the Battle of Hastings (England, 1066) resulted in the Norman conquest of England. Edward the Confessor, the king of England, had no sons and promised that when he died his throne would go to his cousin William, duke of Normandy. On his deathbed, however, the king chose Harold, the powerful earl of Wessex, as king. An enraged William rushed into battle to claim the English throne. At the battle's height, the Normans pretended to flee. When the English ran after them, the Normans turned and attacked them again. Harold was shot in the face with an arrow and died on the battlefield, leaving the throne to William. To this day, the English royal family can be traced back to William the Conqueror.

Yet even further back in history, 2600 years ago, the battle of Marathon is remembered, not only because the underdog won, but also because of a legend of courage and sacrifice. Darius, the leader of Persia, Egypt, Babylon, and India, decided to become the ruler of Greece as well. But the Greeks, armed only with javelins and swords, defeated the much larger and better armed Persian army. What we remember today is the story of the messenger who brought the good news to Athens, the capital of Greece. Upon completing his 26-mile run, legend says he delivered his message, collapsed, and died. Today, the word marathon means a footrace of exactly 26 miles, 385 yards.

The numbers of battles, both significant and forgotten, in the history of the human race number in the thousands with literally millions upon millions of deaths. Still, a practical government relies not only on treaties and political manipulations but the threat of warfare as well. The message remains a simple one to this day: peace in one's homeland is only insured through the strength of a standing military and fortified borders. To believe otherwise is foolish. And deadly.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Once In A While

A normal, healthy amount of food for an average teenager or adult is about 1,800- 2,600 calories a day. During a bingeing episode, it is not unusual for someone to eat 20 to 25 times that amount, which is more than 50,000 calories - which is roughly equivalent to an entire extra-large pepperoni pizza, a tub of ice cream, a package of cookies, a bag of potato chips, and an entire cake. Bulimics might engage in this type of eating several times a day.

On a side note, I fell off my diet today and had a cheeseburger with fries on the side. It was fantastic! I probably won't eat for the rest of the day. Maybe tomorrow too. My brother, who is way smarter than I, told me it was all right to splurge once in a while.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A fully armed and trained public is the only way to save the Republic. Do not feel disenfranchised or defeated, that is what they want. You have the power within you to change the world, but you must want to change it, and you must have the intention to change it. It is your thoughts, feelings, and intentions that mold the world around you, not the other way around. Stop being a zombie, and create your own world with me. Train your mind. Train your spirit. Train your body. Do these three things and you can not be defeated, ever.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm Shakin'

Gil Perez

The strange tale of Gil Perez. Gil Perez was a Spanish soldier who suddenly appeared in Mexico City on October 26, 1593. He was wearing the uniform of the guards of the Del Gobernador Palace in the Philippines. He claimed to have no idea how he had managed to appear in Mexico. He stated that moments before finding himself there, he had been on sentry duty in Manila at the governor’s Palace. He told them that the governor (Don Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas) had just been assassinated.

Two months later, news arrived from the Philippines by ship. They carried news that confirmed that the governor had been killed and they verified other aspects of Perez’s story. Witnesses confirmed that Perez had indeed been on duty in Manila just before arriving in Mexico. In addition, one of the passengers on the ship recognized Perez and swore that he had seen him in the Philippines on October 23. Perez eventually returned to the Philippines and resumed his life – which was uneventful until his death.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Go here to shut down the internet.

Monkeys Are Funny!

There's lots going on in the news these days. Not a day goes by without some new revelation. There's also the creeping sense that all this news is manipulated, manufactured for effect, staged in order to present an impression to the American people and, by extension, to the world. These events are taken with the utmost seriousness by a paid media who shovels it down the throats of willing citizens every night. It doesn't matter that many of these whoppers are ludicrous lies, they are readily accepted by a population of consumers who it seems couldn't think their way out of a room with dozens of open doors.

It's like a nation of monkeys being led by a league of monkeys. It's an America full of hijinks and monkey business where constitutional rights are neglected, even ignored, and common sense is -- well, it's monkey business.

It's the planet of the apes and the simian population are paying customers to the theater. It's funny to watch them behind the glass. It's funny to watch their practical jokes on Youtube. They twitter and tweet and pass barely legible messages. They display and scream and no one really knows what they're talking about.

You may automatically think -- because you've been programmed to do so -- that this rant is based on racial prejudice. You'd be wrong to think so. A monkey is a monkey without regard to color.

We generally think that monkeys do funny things. We like to watch them at the zoo because they make us laugh with their almost human behavior. That's it, isn't it? That's what makes them funny. Their behavior is almost, but not quite human. It's kind of like recognizing that a society must have rules and standards in order to exist, then saying okay let's put the innocents on trial and release the criminals. Good is bad and vice versa. It's funny, right?

When you think about it, some of them aren't so funny. Baboons and chimps and gorillas have been known to literally tear people limb from limb. They are so human-like, we forget they are wild animals, and so sometimes we get too close.

Now, if I had a monkey, would I let him run around the house and do as he pleases? Probably not. I can imagine the ensuing arguments: Tarzan let Cheetah run around free! It's slavery to chain 'em up! Why, you can't do that! Animals are people too. No, they're not, you moron.

Well, in these United States, it seems most people are little more than animals parked in front of the television and receiving their instructions. They are the United Monkeys of America and they number in the millions. Furthermore, the establishment doesn't just allow them to vote, they encourage them to vote. Perhaps entice is a better description; cell phones, entitlements, food stamps, mmmm good!

It's really no wonder the general population are treated like livestock. Oh well. At least monkeys are funny.