Friday, February 29, 2008

Bumperstickers

There are lots of great ones but this is one of my all-time favorites.

Bright red bumpersticker which reads: If this sticker is blue, you're driving too fast!




Love it.

Speaking of driving too fast, here's a joke I really like:

Heisenberg is stopped for speeding.
"Do you have any idea how fast you were going?" asks the cop.
"No. But I know exactly where I am."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tarbaby redux (to the Nth power)

In a 1931 interview, Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler (TWO-time Medal of Honor recipient) said:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

I wonder what he'd have to say if he were alive today? "State-sponsored terrorism" is the continuing hallmark of U.S. foreign policy, whether it's Wilson sending assassins to poison Pancho Villa or Eisenhower's CIA coup overthrowing the elected government of Iran in 1953 and replacing it with "our friend" the Shah. And then there's the 1957-58 Marine incursion into Lebanon to give control of that country to the Christian minority.

Gosh! I wonder why "those people" dislike and distrust us? Most of our international problems are simply a case of the chickens coming home to roost.

Remember a few years back when some of us were having Viet Nam flashbacks and you Bushies were on that “Mission Accomplished” bandwagon? No, no, no; it’s NOTHING like VietNam. Right. Can you say, “Hearts and minds?” Thought so.

What’s that stale joke?

How do you spell Viet Nam in Arabic? I-R-A-Q.

It took us less time to defeat Germany AND Japan in WWII than it has taken us to totally fuck up Iraq and turn it into our nation's tarbaby of insanity and death. And meanwhile, here at home, stripping the citizens of this country of our basic constitutional rights. A two-front war, if ever there was one.

Good going, you radical right dickheads! Oliver Cromwell himself couldn’t have fucked things up more completely.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If I was...

Ok, here it is. A correction, of sorts. The "If I was" meme, according to Zenmomma's original concept of following the song's structure and NOT changing the grammar:

if i was a punctuation mark,

I'd be a tilde cuz thass how I roll, muthafuckah.
If I could go beyond the ASCII character set, I'd be an accent aigu, cuz it's da shits, like a sword slicin' fer yer head, yo!

if i was a form of currency,

I'd be a cowrie shell cuz they're beautiful, like me.

if I was a hallucinogen,

I'd be Purple Owsley cuz that shit was goooooood. Peyote buttons are good, too, but dat shit makes ya puke and thass NOT how I roll.

if i was an element,

I'd be He(lium)-4 cuz it's supercool as a superfluid and the way it rolls is as a Clausius-Claypeyron relation, inexplicable except as a function of quantum mechanics. Fuckin-A, Bubba! Stare at dat shit while you're trippin' on Purple Owsley!

if i was a best-selling book,

I'd be a Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke.

if i was a philosophy,

I'd be a Bertrand Russell hardheaded pragmatist, of course.

if i was a thought,

I'd be Huginn, Odin's raven, who is "Thought."

if i was a way to understand love,

I'd be either simple or divine. No middle ground. No intellect. Actually, then, I guess I'd be a conundrum because love is not something which lends itself to "understanding." It simply is.

if i was a boot,

I'd be an Asolo AFS 8000 mountaineering boot. With a 12-point crampon already attached.

if i was a hue,

I'd be 6438.4696 angstrom units, which would make me cadmium red; and therefore I'd also be a slightly dated standard unit of measure which is still *cooler* than using nanometers. I mean, nanometers, how pedestrian. Angstrom units – that's the ticket to Coolsville. [Did this one in my "If I were" post.]

if i was a soup,

I'd be soupe a l'oignon gratinee. My own, of course; it's delish to the power of ten.

if i was time,

I'd be the first Planck unit after the big bang. Imagine… And I'd also, naturally, be space. And I’d be luxuriously curved. And complex. But deeply beautiful. And simple in my exquisiteness.

if i was a drink,

I'd be a kir royale. Real men drink champagne cocktails. Deal wit it, homes!

if i was a play,

I'd be "Springtime for Hitler." Well, what the hell else could I be? Lysistrata? Iphigenia at Aulis? Not fuckin' likely.

if i was a long distance carrier,

I would NOT let the President have access to my customers' private conversations without a court order. Fuck that asshole! Impeachment NOW! Or, at least, criminal prosecution after he leaves office!

and, if i was this song,

I'd actually be a different song. I'd be "By Request" better know as "We Don't Play That Shit!" By me, of course.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Across the Universe... and beyond my ken

So many people LOVED this movie, I feel a bit of a compulsion to give my own review. I had three problems with it.

1. I generally don't like it when musicians cover other musicians' songs. Once in a great while, the new version has something to recommend or differentiate it from the original, but mostly not. I definitely *hate* it when poseurs or, gawd forfend, orchestrators cover heartfelt music, e.g. blues, r&b, rock. The reworking/overworking of the Beatles' tunes for this movie sucked.

2. I hate Broadway show tunes and the desperate over-orchestration that goes along with them. Not to mention the over-affected vocalizations and strained phrasing; but that's my third item. The changed tempos, changed melodies, and distasteful orchestrations sucked.

3. I hate hearing people with no heart and too many voice lessons singing heartfelt music. The main singers all well and truly sucked. Big time sucked. Hot-needle-through-the-eyeball suckage.

Joe Cocker was fun. Salma Hayek was, as always, a true hottie.

There's an old, probably apocryphal, story about someone asking one of the old delta blues guys if anybody in their group could actually read music. The answer goes: Yeah, some of them boys can read music; but it don't hurt their playin' none.

Everybody involved with this movie can no doubt read the shit out of a musical score and probably talk all night about music theory and all sorts of other music-related intellectual shit. I'm sure they all been singin' since they's babies and got work before they're two. [Identify the rock allusion and win a prize.] More voice lessons among that group than you can shake a stick at. It's musical as all get-out, I'm sure - intellectual, abstract, sophisticated, orchestrated music; but it ain't from the heart. And that means it ain't rock-n-roll.

If it ain't rock-n-roll, it ain't shit.

If I were...

a vegetable, I'd be a mirliton. Like the tomato, it's considered a fruit in some senses and a vegetable in others. Unlike tomatoes, which I detest, it's fabulous when filled with shrimp stuffing and it's an old New Orleans favorite. Just like me.

a fruit, I'd be a durian. Despite the fact that it's prickly, thorn-covered, stinky, and generally forbidding and unattractive on the outside, it's considered in Asia to be the king of fruits. Darwin said of it: "I'm suspicious/for the flavor is scented/like papaya fermented/ after a fruit-eating bat has pee'd on it." Who knew Darwin was a poet? Ok, a doggerelish poet. The flavor/scent dichotomy is often described as eating the most delicious thing in the world while standing in a sewer. A nasty sewer.

an airplane, I'd be a Velocity TXL-R(etractable, of course) cuz it's absolutely the shits. Lust alert! Canards rule and cruciforms drool.

a spaceship, I'd be FTL-capable and sleek as a motherfucker, a long-range interstellar dreamboat designed by Burt Rutan. Anne McCaffrey would write stories about me.

a sailboat, I'd be a Freedom 38 named Loup Garou. Maybe a Lagoon 42 named Schrodinger. Guess I could be a Swan 391 named Leyda.

a book, I'd be the Egyptian Book of the Dead, mostly just cuz it sounds kinda cool and it mentions that the heart of a good person is lighter than a feather (the feather of Ma'at). I like that conceit.

a game, I'd be a FPS with a BFG. As in, I call "shotgun." Response: "Oh yeah? I call BFG!"

a sport (No! Not a genetic sport, smartass.), I'd be kendo because I am a kenshi aka kendoka and it's all about the cut, babe.

a character in a novel, I'd be Dave Robicheaux , fils/freres de meres differentes. Look for the movie "In the Electric Mist" coming soon-ish, with Tommy Lee Jones as Dave. I have high hopes.

a color, I'd be 6438.4696 angstrom units, which would make me cadmium red; and therefore I'd also be a slightly dated standard unit of measure which is still *cooler* than using nanometers. I mean, nanometers, how pedestrian. Angstrom units – that's the ticket to Coolsville.

a carpenter and you were a lady, I'd be a horrible song which would get stuck in your head and make you crazy enough to commit suicide with a herring.

sane, I wouldn't be me.

'nuff fer now!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Name Game

Taken from Randi. All entries to begin with the first letter of your name.

1. What is your name? Frank

2. 4-letter word? Fuck, of course

3. Vehicle? Ferrari 599 GTB (But really, I'm not that much of a conspicuous consumer. I'd be happy with a Lotus Elise, preferably in that fabulous tiger paint job.)

4. City? Frankfurt. Well, maybe Fort Myers, it's warmer there and they're not German.

5. Boy's name? Ferdinand (one of my uncles carries this name)

6. Girl's name? Freya

7. Occupation? Fucker (professional, of course)

8. Something you wear? Franck Sorbier, haute couture, no prĂȘt a porte pour moi

9. Celebrity? Frankie Ford, the New Orleans Dynamo

10. Food? Farce, like turducken

11. Something found in a bathroom? Fixtures

12. Reason for being late? Fucking - never to be interrupted simply for the sake of being on time. How gauche.

13. Cartoon character? Ferdinand the bull

14. Something you shout? Fuck, of course

15. Animal? Freckled crawfish (cambarus maculates). Delicious in bisque, etouffe, boiled... You get the idea!

16. Body part? Fornix (for me, it's the fornix in the brain, not the ones in the vagina cuz I don't have one of those… of my own, that is)

17. Word to describe you? Fucked-up

Friday, February 08, 2008

Math Rant (Part 3)

[This is part 3. If you arrived here first, don't start here because you'll just be confused. Well, even more confused than if you had started with part one; so, start with part 1.]

Really? Part THREE? Just how long is this gonna go on? Does reading this qualify as torture under the Geneva Conventions? We know it doesn't count as torture according to our President. It's like he's channeling Torquemada. "Put that (possible) terrorist to 'the question'!" It sounds so sanitary. "The question." It's like you're on a game show and could potentially win lots of great prizes. That's so much nicer than: "Fuck him up so bad that he'll prefer death to continued existence under these conditions." Or maybe he'll just die from the experience itself. Stranger things have happened.

BTW, Torquemada died from syphilis. As for G. W. Bush, well, we can only hope. Although, come to think of it, while insanity is indeed a symptom of tertiary syphilis it's also a symptom of kuru. Imagine a world in which G. W. Bush suffers from kuru. Wow! That thought warms the cockles of my heart.

Maybe that permanent smirk of his is a precursor to the full-on uncontrolled laughter of the kuru sufferer. Coming to you live on your personal mental stage for a prolonged-but-ultimately-ephemeral period, that great new black-humor comedian, Richard Prion. [N.B. This is a purposeful spelling. A play on Pryor, a fabulous comedian, and prions, the cause of kuru.]

You'll die laughing!

But we were talking about numeracy. Mostly.

Both magical thinking models put "math" into a realm of nonreality. From different directions, they arrive at a similar place, kinda like a convergent evolution of thought paradigms. This is antithetical to actuality.

"Math" was turned into an abstraction by people. Math is the realest of realities. It is rightfully called the Queen of the Sciences. Sadly, even at a simplistic level, many of the things which cause math phobia in school were originally created to make it easier to talk about math. By having and using a common lexicon and notation, discussing math *should* be easier than having to self-define or redefine terms constantly. For example, the "Fibonacci sequence" or "Fibonacci numbers" sounds like one of those mystical, difficult-to-understand mathematical abstractions. In reality, it's a description of a very real and very ordinary actuality in "objective" terms.

Ignoring math/science/logic because it's "too difficult" to comprehend pushes it into that realm of metaphysics which equates to magic which forces it into conflict with any belief system featuring an overarching supernatural entity Who sits around watching sparrows fall (at 9.8m/s^2). Me, I dunno where He/She/It gets the time. Must be nice to be omnipresent and omnipotent. Actually, wouldn't omnipotent include the capability of omnipresence? Separating those always seemed silly to me.

Math/science/logic is not magic. It is not religion. It does not require belief, or a leap of faith, or a rejection of the reality around you. Quite the opposite, it requires you to accept the reality around you in preference to an absurd teleology which asks you to choose belief over reality. To me, this meets a casual definition of "insanity."

There was no worldwide flood a few thousand years ago and no dinosaurs rode it out on some superstitious camel-fucker's raft. (Rather than "the ark" it shoulda been called Noah's Zoophilic Smorgasbord.) Native Americans are not the lost tribes of Israel. We are not the chopped up souls of aliens dropped into volcanoes seventy-five million years ago by the evil galactic overlord Xenu from his interstellar DC-8s. (C'mon! Even E. E. "Doc" Smith wrote better material than that crap!) Etc., ad nauseum.

Belief in magic, and by extension religious boojums, is what has held humanity back from achieving full potential since the first timorous troglodyte saw lightning and, because he feared it, decided to worship it. If we don't understand something, we go all mystical. Bah!

We're treading on God's territory. Some things, Man was not meant to know. It's your original sin. It's your karma. God works in mysterious ways. We don't always understand His plan. Well, that's for sure. It's tough to turn "no-plan" (the actual, stochastic universe) into "plan" and to make sense of it and make it seem like a purposeful thing. It's inevitable that you'd wind up saying things like, "We don't always understand His plan." Very mysterious, all right. Very not-understandable simply because there is no "plan."

I feel a bit like a teleological Gertrude Stein ("There is no there there.") only mine is more like, "No-plan is no plan."

If people spent as much time reading about the *interesting* things going on in the world of math/science/reality around them as they do trying to map the writings of a bunch of idiotic snake-oil salesmen and/or self-deluded psychotics to that reality, they would no longer be innumerate or foolish or afraid of the universe around them. The more we understand our reality, the less we'll be tempted to rely on pernicious paracletes.

Almost 2500 years ago, Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth as being about 25000 miles. That's close enough for a first approximation and/or even general calculations done today. Two thousand years later, the religious zealot Columbus *believed* he could sail West to China because the Bible told him that the earth was 6 parts land to 1 part water and the poor math skills of religiously-vetted mathematicians of his time calculated the circumference as much less than Eratosthenes' value.

Columbus was wrong on both counts. The earth is 3 parts water to 1 part land *and* he would never have made it to Asia using the maritime technology of his time, given that Eratosthenes' size of the earth was the correct one. *Luck* had him stumble upon a "new" continent. Serendipity brought him to the Bahamas rather than God taking him to Asia.

Call me a radical. I'm comfortable with that term. If I am a radical, I hope I live up to the standard posed by my old chemistry professor, "The only good radical is a free radical."

I leave you with John Lennon.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Yours in freedom,
Frank
aka Cap'n Franko of The Zombie Princess of New Orleans
aka Chef Francois, le loup-garou de la cuisine

[End RANT] (And aren't you relieved? Now I can make progress on the happy thoughts of NCN and post about THAT!)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Non-con (North) is done; long live the (next) non-con

Well, I hardly know where to begin. Being the long-winded jackanapes that I am, I wanna write and write and write in excruciating detail about the weekend. But I'm tired; so I'll start with a brief post.

First, I wanna thank everyone for attending. *YOU* made my weekend with your presence. It was exquisite.

Second, at a practical level, I wanna thank everyone for their time, effort, and contributions, in all their various forms. I barely did any cleaning after the Saturday night party. Merci beaucoups to those who jumped in and did all that. And our basement family room was full of kids and food and videogames and action but somehow it looked pretty darned good "the morning after," better than it usually looks! Thanks to those of you who cleaned my house for me.

Those are practicalities and I appreciate them mightily and I thank you with all my might. However, what truly made the weekend was the camaraderie. You are the BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD and I love you all and thank you for your company because you make me a better person and that's a damned difficult thing to do!

Merci beaucoup, grazie mille di cuore, bolshoi spaseba, obrigado, danke, domo arigato gozaimasu, vobis gratias, etc.

See y'all again soon!

And I'll compose lengthy, incomprehensible, personal, steam-of-consciousness posts about the weekend later in the week. The cops'll probably issue a BOLO. (Be On The Lookout)

Frank

P.S. And part 3 of my math rant is still in progress. Be afraid, be very afraid.

P.P.S. You NCN attendees are now all honorary krewemembers of the Krewe of The Zombie Princess! Welcome, me hearties!

P.P.P.S. No! Being part of the ZP krewe is NOT like being on the Flying Dutchman; it's not like that at all. It's much, much worse!