Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 Darwin Awards: Still Time to Vote

One of my favorites only got honorable mention a few years ago:

"A man walked into a Circle-K in Louisiana, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer was $15. Question: if someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?"

And ... I always thought the story about the man who flew his lawn chair up to 16,000 feet above Los Angeles was an urban legend, but according to Darwin, it's true. Click here for the story.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Keeping Tabs On Charles Manson

Anyone wonder what Charles Manson is doing these days? Remember Charlie? He's the man who inspired California prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi to write Helter Skelter, a fascinating book about the Manson murder spree wherein Sharon Tate and others died at the hands of Charlie's followers.

Charles is alive and well, and there are numerous web sites dedicated to him, including the following, whose purpose is as stated in quote marks:

"Manson Direct offers the most accurate and current information available about Charles Manson.

For over 30 years there has been an enduring interest in Manson on the part of the public, the media, writers, the curious, detractors, and others. YOU have at least some vague curiosity as well, otherwise you would not have troubled yourself to come here.

Our purpose is to offer current and accurate information about Manson, because people, even you, want to know."

Charles Manson, cult leader, murderer, or prophet?
What do YOU think?
I suggest you read Bugliosi's book before you make up your mind.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Banned Books Cafe Remembers Gerald Ford

Although I wasn't paying much attention to Watergate, Richard Nixon and his successor, Gerald Ford, as the 38th president of the United States, I do remember something that happened when President Ford stumbled into Cottonwood City to visit the Alamo Shrine.
Somebody handed Ford a tamale, which is a local type food that is wrapped up in a corn shuck.
According to what I heard, Ford tried to eat said tamale, shuck and all.
Maybe it's just a rumor, but I believed it at the time.
It kind of reminds me of that other vice president's potato(e) incident.
I voted for Jimmy Carter when he ran against Ford (or whoever) in 1976. It was the first time I was old enough to vote.
My fondest memory of Gerald Ford was Chevy Chase's impersonation of him.
My second fondest memory of Gerald Ford is trying to picture him standing in front of the Alamo, trying to eat a tamale with the corn shuck still wrapped around it.
It can be done, but it's easier if you discard it first.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy F*&king Birthday, Mr. Jackson

Birthday Horoscopes for 12/21

The person born on this day has great wisdom. They tend to convey this in what they do, not necessarily what they say. Jupiter is the ruling planet for this day and along with it brings the vision and the will that puts them in a position of power and expansion. As a mate, the December 21st person is loving to that special person but they wont let it be seen by the general public.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Light in Sound, a Sound-Like Power in Light

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Aeolian Harp is one of my favorite poems. Here, an excerpt from his words of art. Enjoy, and click on this link to hear how it sounds.

Aeolian Harp, an excerpt:

"And that simplest Lute,
Plac'd length-ways in the clasping casement, hark !
How by the desultory breeze caress'd,
Like some coy maid half-yielding to her lover,
It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong ! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
Over delicious surges sink and rise,
Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Faery-Land,
Where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers,
Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,
Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untam'd wing !
O ! the one Life within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where--

Methinks, it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so fill'd ;
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument."

Several years ago I queried a harp maker about purchasing one, and the person I found online said (via email) that he didn't make them anymore. Judging from the links I've found on today's web, the aeolian harp is making a comeback. Click here to read, and hear, more about it. Henry David Thoreau built one, see a replica here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Graph Heaven at

Wine and Violent Crime
I'm not a statistician, but the charts and graphs at provide some interesting entertainment. I made wine once from frozen grape juice concentrate. One bottle was good, the other turned to vinegar. I wonder if there's a chart for that.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My favorite new pun

Every now and then we just have to wallow in the pity pule.

Puns should never be banned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Banned Books Cafe Empanadas at a Local B&B

It's time again to fill an order of empanadas, this time many dozens of them, for Riverwalk Vista boutique hotel in downtown Cottonwood City. If you stay overnight at this local landmark, check out our empanadas - er, theirs - for breakfast.
They come in the following flavors:
Apple with a cinnamon sprinkle
Chorizo and egg
Country sausage and egg
Spinach and egg
Ham and cheese
Ham and egg
They're made fresh and immediately frozen in the Rio Vista's kitchen.
Try 'em, you'll like 'em.
It's the empanada marathon, brought to you by the proprietors of the former BBC Cafe - still searching for a new location.
Some day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Banned Books Cafe Blogger Salem's Next Post

"Subject: Neologisms

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

1. The winners are:
1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3 . Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

2. The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:
1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.
8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
9. Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
10 Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things are good for you.
11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.
12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole."

I personally have used this last entry in reference to certain elected officials in Cottonwood City.

From Blogger Salem: A Media Joke

Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Cokie Roberts, and a tough old U.S. Marine Sergeant were all captured by terrorists in Iraq . The leader of the terrorists told them that he would grant them each one last request before they were beheaded.

Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowlful of hot spicy chili." The leader nodded to an underling who left and returned with the chili. Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."

Peter Jennings said, "I am Canadian, so I'd like to hear the song "O Canada " one last time." The leader nodded to a terrorist who had studied the Western world and knew the music. He returned with some rag-tag Musicians and played the anthem. Jennings sighed and declared he could now die peacefully.

Cokie Roberts said, "I'm a reporter to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here and what's about to happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job till the end." !

The leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder and Roberts dictated some comments. She then said, "Now I can die happy." The leader turned and said, "And now, Mr. U.S. Marine, what is your final wish?"

"Kick me in the ass," said the Marine.

"What?" asked the leader? "Will you mock us in your last hour?"

"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass," insisted the Marine. So the leader shoved him into the open, and kicked him in the ass.

The Marine went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9 mm pistol from inside his fatigues, and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he leapt to his knapsack, pulled out his M4 carbine and sprayed the Iraqis with gunfire. In a flash, all the Iraqis were either dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the Marine was untying Rather, Jennings , and Roberts, they asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them in the beginning? Why did you ask them to kick you in the ass first?"

"What!" replied the Marine, "And have you three assholes report that I was the aggressor?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Silver Capital of Mexico

A view of the City of Taxco, Mexico, from a third story window in the Hotel Aguas Escondidos, off the Main Plaza across from Iglesia Santa Prisca. Taxco is the silver capital of Mexico, where every house is a showcase of silver jewelry and other fine pieces made by local artisans. Fantastic locale for a few vacation days.

Bougainvillea Tree, Oaxaca

The splash of color in the middle of this magnificent view is a 25 foot or so tall bougainvillea tree, visible from the top of Monte Alban in Oaxaca. Closer in, it's a wondrous bit of foliage that stands out sharply from the valleys and mountains in the distance. Someday I would like to return to this spot and take another photo. Someday.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Take Thos. Edison's Pre-Employment Test

Honestly, this post will take no sides politically, despite what I think about our current president. Just for fun, see how much you know if you think you know a lot by taking Thomas Edison the inventor's pre-employment test. My first score was a 66 percent. Second time, somewhere in the upper 80s, but I qualify that with the excuse that it was after midnight when I took it. Generally, I do well with trivia games such as the ones on the bar at a given local nightclub, but this is a tough one. I give credit, however, to extended periods spent in upper division college English classrooms for all of my correct answers about various authors (I also correctly answered the question about who invented the printing press, only because I have worked in the printing business in previous lives), but Edison was a tough examiner with questions about science, geography (no geometry) and other subjects. Click here for the test. Good luck.

ADDENDUM: I'm not trying to brag about any intellectual prowess, as it appears after I've read my own post. Far from it. I'm seriously math deficient, and I had to guess at the mathematical questions such as the distance from the earth to the sun - I had no idea. And scoring an 80 on a retest is cheating. My score was still "xyz" which is what Edison gave to college graduates who failed his rigorous exam. In other words, he never would have hired me to work in his inventor's workshop.

Furthermore, I'm going to avoid politics for awhile. There doesn't seem to be much point to it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bill Clinton: Best President Ever

U.S. voters should rally around the country's best president ever to serve in the White House. Remove term limits and elect him to at least two more eight year terms. Then elect Hillary as vice president, and she could succeed him. We could have 20 or more years of the Clintons in the White House. It's what this country desperately needs.
Come on America. Put Bill Clinton back in the White House where he belongs.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wal-Mart Offers Polo Shirts to Long-Term Employees

Regarding Wal-Mart, this from the New York Times:

"Faced with public demonstrations of discontent by its employees, Wal-Mart Stores has developed a wide-ranging new program intended to show that it appreciates its 1.3 million workers in the United States and to encourage them to air their grievances.
"As part of the effort, Wal-Mart managers at 4,000 stores will meet with 10 rank-and-file workers every week and extend an additional 10 percent discount on a single item during the holidays to all its employees, beyond the normal 10 percent employee discount...

The program includes several new perks “as a way of saying thank you” to workers, like a special polo shirt after 20 years of service and a “premium holiday,” when Wal-Mart pays a portion of health insurance premiums for covered employees. Sarah Clark, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said the program was a “a more formalized, contemporary approach” to communicating with and collecting feedback from its fast-growing work force."

In my neck of the woods, Wal-Mart added a store just a mile-and-a-half down the road from our subdivision. There already was a Wal-Mart located at a major intersection on a loop highway, about seven miles away ... plenty close enough to get to if we decided to shop the Smiley-Face Big-Box Store. I must admit we have sneaked into the new Wal-Mart, but there was very little temptation to empty our pocketbooks at the check-out counter.

Meanwhile, another neighborhood near where I resided back in the 1970s has told Wal-Mart to take a hike (click here).

Why This Man Gets a Link From the BBC Blog

"All the extravagance and incompetence of our present Government is due, in the main, to lawyers, and, in part at least, to good ones. They are responsible for nine-tenths of the useless and vicious laws that now clutter the statute-books, and for all the evils that go with the vain attempt to enforce them. Every Federal judge is a lawyer. So are most Congressmen. Every invasion of the plain rights of the citizens has a lawyer behind it. If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, we'd be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half."
–H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), "Breathing Space", The Baltimore Evening Sun, 1924 Aug 4. Reprinted in A Carnival of Buncombe.

I don't have anything against lawyers. But I did get fired once as a column writer for suggesting that "Republican lawyers should be banned from serving in the Texas Legislature." Of course I was immediately hired as a freelance writer, and continued to turn in stories on deadline for the editor of a newspaper that I had spent 3.5 years writing for, editing, typesetting, pasting up and delivering to the printer. Paste-up is no longer a function in modern-day newsrooms, thanks to (or not) desktop publishing and modernization of the printing process.
I once read an argument that lawyers should be the only people elected to serve in government posts. The logic of the persuader was that only lawyers could accurately interpret the U.S. Constitution and other laws that exist in our country, as only they can understand them. I would counter that by saying it has been lawyers and judges who have interpreted us into the current state in which we exist, which is that we barely exist. And there are elected officials who are not attorneys.
I hope I don't get sued for saying that.

Google Sets Price on Words

Could we be on the road to a tax on our language? Will we be silenced, finally, by a corporation that seeks to corner the market on our words?
Or will we finally have to develop our brains to a level of competence in telepathy?
I'm shocked into a silent reverie.
Click on the link above to see what I'm talking about.
We might have to invent a new, underground, black market language.
Ssshhhhh. Don't say black market, there's probably a price on it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Blog Link Recommendations Welcome

I considered changing the look of this blog today. I thought a nice "Tequila" design would be nice for a change, but when I clicked on the button to give this blog a makeover, a message box popped up that said "template change - any template customizations will be lost." Since I have periodically posted new links on the left navbar of the Banned Books Cafe blog, I figured that hours of work would be lost. So I chickened out and left it alone.
I instead opted to invite a couple of intelligent beings out there to join this blog as new, (I hope) contributing members.
Let's see if they accept the challenge.
Other blog members have been deleted for the time being, as they have contributed no content since they joined the Banned Books Cafe blog.
Now, here's a blatent attempt to grab the attention of the Internet web spiders who might be looking for new gossip and other nonsensical stuff for web browsers:

Britney Spears. Paris Hilton. Angelina Jolie. Brad Pitt. George Clooney. Ashton Kutcher. Demi Moore, Jennifer Anniston. Marriage. Divorce. Adoption. Wedding Ring. Splitsville. Reconciliation. Forever Love. James Dean. Elvis Presley. John Wayne. Madonna. Marilyn Monroe. Pamela Anderson. Kid Rock. Jessica Simpson. Oprah Winfrey. Space alien babies.

Oh, I give up. I can't think of any other celebrity names right now.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kosovo's Osama bin Laden Mosque


"While under the watchful eye of NATO’s Kosovo Forces since 1999, more than 150 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries have been destroyed or desecrated and dozens of new mosques have been built — including the Osama bin Laden mosque that now stands on Serbian soil. Is this why peacekeepers are in Kosovo? To protect mosques named after the prime terrorist who has vowed to destroy our country?"

The author claims that U.S. peacekeeping forces in Serbia are protecting it. What do you think about that? With that said, are members of the Bush family considered a part of its congregation? Do mosques have congregations?

The Banned Books Cafe blog now invites posts from the general populace (even if you're from Cherry Hill, New Jersey - find your thrill).

And ... just for fun, the next time someone asks you where you're from, tell them, "I'm from Earth."

Katherine Harris, Among Others, Investigated

We hear it all the time, "those crooks in Washington." Take the following excerpt about Katherine Harris, the woman who helped George Bush and his cronies steal the presidential election in 2000. Click on the link above to see the entire list of Congress members who are under investigation.

"Katherine Harris is under investigation by both the Justice Department and Defense Department for her relationship with Mitchell Wade, the former head of a defense company who pleaded guilty to a series of criminal bribery offenses in February 2006. Wade made $32,000 worth of illegal contributions to Harris' House campaign in 2004. In addition, he paid for at least two dinners with her at a Georgetown restaurant in 2004-2005 that totaled roughly $6,000. Later, Wade requested that Harris help secure $10 million in federal money for a company project of his in Sarasota, Fla. Federal officials have subpoenaed records from Harris' U.S. Senate campaign office and interviewed several of her former staffers. Harris was defeated in her Senate bid by Democrat Bill Nelson in the November 2006 elections."

The Score: Republicans 15 - Democrats 4