Monday, November 16, 2009

Today's Pop Quiz

There once was a creature who had feathers, webbed feet and made a noise that sounded like quack-quack.

Based on this limited information, would you guess the creature to be a(n) :

a) elected politician from Nevada

b) dog

c) cat

d) duck

That was an easy one, right?

OK, on to the next brain twister. I must warn you that this one is just a bit harder.

There once was a guy named Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

Some of the things he has allegedly said or done* are listed below:

1)denounced the "war on terror" as a war against Islam

2)said Muslims should attack Americans in retaliation for the war in Iraq

3)defended suicide bombers

4) said he was "happy" when a Muslim murdered a soldier at a military recruiting center in Arkansas earlier this year.

5)shared a "spiritual adviser" with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers

6)delivered an hour-long PowerPoint lecture to an audience of doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, arguing that non-Muslims should be beheaded and have burning oil poured down their throats. (although not necessarily in that order??)

7)tried to contact al-Qaida, and at least one U.S. intelligence official says the Army knew it.

8)entered a medical facility at Fort Hood, prayed briefly, then shouted "Allahu akbar" before he began gunning down American troops

Based on the list above, one should assume that the Maj. is/was:

a) a very good reason to celebrate diversity in the US Military.

b) a very good opportunity to demand that Americans not to "jump to conclusions" -- namely, the obvious conclusion that the attack was an act of Islamic terrorism.

c) a victim of pre-traumatic stress disorder.

d) an Islamic Jihadist or dare one say it, a terrorist.

Please choose your answer carefully.

Related discussion points:

Which presidential administration is responsible for US military personnel on US military posts being forbidden from carrying weapons on said US military post. (Hint--I did NOT have sexual relations.............)

*alleged actions borrowed from Ms. Coulter.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This and that.

Dawn from my porch a week or so ago.
As I dealt a $1-3 NL game Monday night I (had no choice but to) listened to the players laugh and joke about Darvin Moon and what an inexperienced idiot he was. At the time he, according to up to the second updates, was ahead in the chip count. Finally, as is often the case anymore when I can't take it anymore, I said, "and here we all sit, at the Palms, at a $1-3 game".
I wonder if any of those who were generous in their criticism took pause to wonder at the fact that the two players outlasted thousands of other players who would give anything to be among the last two standing, or as was the case, sitting at the final table on Monday night.
I often ask players, who I know to be dealers around town, how long they have been dealing and how they overcome/avoid utter and complete burnout. I've yet to find the cure for that particular ill. Sigh.
"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength..."--Eric Hoffer
I occasionally read blogs written by others who work with the public. I just stumbled upon this one recently. Although this particular entry hasn't much if anything to do with "serving" the public, it struck a cord with me. Additionally, the public might be well served to read it.

I worry for our future, although I fear the cause is already lost. W.W.M 11/12/09

"And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the
protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our
fortunes, and our sacred honor..."--the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of

On Independence Day, a few hours ago, they killed my son, Aaron in
Afghanistan"--David M Masters

One of my favorite speeches of all time I discovered just recently was
actually the work of Rush Limbaugh, Jr., the father of the very popular radio
host of the same name. I suppose it is odd to brand something a favorite when it
brings tears to my eyes every time I hear or read it--but this speech is perhaps
the most succinct expression of what actually made this country--the attitudes
and sacrifices and the sheer will--that exists today.A girl I dated several
years ago [who, unfortunately, I realized I was in love with only after she had
moved 2000 miles away and gotten engaged to someone else] had the speech framed
for me. It is a big piece--a little larger than a full-size movie poster--and it
hangs in a prominent place in my home office. To this very day it is difficult
for me to walk past the piece without reading at least a little of what is
printed there.When most of us think of the men who created this country we think
of the fighting kids in the militia that evaded, outlasted, and eventually
outfought the British--and we think of those patriots who had the strongest hand
in guiding our young country once it had been created--Washington, Jefferson,
and Adams. That fighting force and those individuals deserve all the credit
given them and more, but for me personally the men I think most of when I think
of our founding are those other signers, the ones who in many cases lost nearly
everything after affixing their names to the Declaration.Jefferson, Adams, and
Washington [the general, in the field at the time, was not a signer] all risked
their lives and property, but for the most part lucked out for lack of a better
term--their homes, estates, and businesses survived largely untouched. For many
of their brethren however the toll of freedom was high and harsh indeed.The vast
majority of these men were rich and had large families. Most of them committed
to the cause knowing full well that their possessions, families, and lands were,
for the most part, located in areas under the direct control or within the near
reach of the British forces.Francis Lewis of New York lost everything, including
his wife who was captured, raped, and tortured by British soldiers. She died
shortly after being returned to him in a prisoner exchange.William Floyd of New
York saved his family but lost all of his possessions and was forced to live as
a fugitive for seven years.Phillips Livingstone of New York lost all of his
great wealth and his life before ever getting to see the dawn of the new nation
he had given everything for.John Hart of New Jersey was nearly captured trying
to return home to see his dying wife. When he finally snuck back to the ruins of
his property his wife was already dead and his thirteen children gone. He never
found his children and died broke and broken in 1779.Robert Morris of
Pennsylvania spent his vast fortune in support of Washington's army. The effort
destroyed his merchant fleet of nearly 150 ships and reduced him to a
pauper.Abraham Clark of New Jersey was offered the lives of his two captured
sons near the end of the war if he would publicly renounce the Revolution and
endorse the British throne. He refused, and his sons died in captivity.My
favorite of these generally unknown heros however is without a doubt Governor
Thomas Nelson of Virginia. Nelson commanded the Virginia militia throughout the
war and was in command at the epic battle of Yorktown. As American artillery
began to zero in on the British, their General Cornwallis ordered his command
relocated to Nelson's own immense, opulent home. American cannoneers would not
fire on the residence."Why do you spare my home?", demanded the angry
Nelson."Sir, out of respect to you," replied the artillery commander.Nelson
cried, "Give me the cannon!", and went on to demolish his own home in order to
defeat Cornwallis.In total, nine of the signers died during the war, five were
captured, twelve lost their homes, seventeen were completely bankrupted, and two
saw their wives ravaged at the hands of the enemy.I have often wondered if I
could have made any of the sacrifices that these men did, just as I wonder
sometimes whether I would have found myself at a recruitment office on 09.12.01
had I been a younger man.I have lived my life doing things the hard way, because
usually the hard way is the best way. I understand, as apparently fewer people
do each and every day, that in order for something to have real value and
foundation there must be labor expended, sacrifices made, and even sometimes
little blood drawn. I comfortably admit owning a tremendous amount of contempt
for those who have decided that their life path will be the easiest, simplest
one--no matter how many broken promises, cut corners, failures, and
disappointments are left in the wake of that path. I would rather accept
responsibility than pass the buck, would rather break trail than follow meekly,
would rather do battle than dodge the draft.When someone says, "I've heard of
you," I have no worries whatsoever. My word is good, my credit is good, my bills
are paid, my businesses are successful, my reputation is intact, and I sleep
like a baby--if a baby only slept about four hours a day, that is. That is the
only way I know to live my life.Could I have made the sacrifices that many of
those fifty-six signers made? I don't know--I suppose that is a question that
can only be answered just as the deadline looms.The problem, unfortunately, is
that I am much more sure of the answer to another question, namely: "How many of
those in our current government would make the sacrifices that many of those
fifty-six signers made?"The answer to that question is a very low, disgustingly
low number--and I'm speaking about both parties.Ironically, the only name that
hits me right away as a resounding "yes" is a man in such questionable health
that he probably wouldn't last two weeks in such a stressful situation--former
Vice President Dick Cheney. Probably Senator Lieberman, who has shown a
refreshing willingness to speak plainly about important issues regardless of
party line. Probably former President George W. Bush, if he has anything left in
the tank. Maybe the two magnificent senators from Oklahoma--but I don't know
enough about them personally to be sure. Maybe crazy Dennis Kucinich--his idea
of America is diametrically opposed to mine, but he nevertheless seems to go
about his business--his insane business--in a pretty forthright manner.Not only
would our current "leaders" have recanted revolution to save their two sons as
Abraham Clark refused to do--they would have recanted for a 757 ride [private of
course] home to San Francisco, a trip to Paris [excuse me, fact-finding
mission], a post office named after their grandfather, $1.2 trillion for the
union thugs that get them re-elected every two, four, or six years, hair plugs,
custom-made Allen Edmonds loafers, a cheese steak, aluminum collar stays, a can
of aqua net, etc. Not only would they have recanted for the most minor of
trinkets and geegaws, they never would have considered revolution in the first
place unless they could have been exponentially enriched by it--not the other
way around.

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