Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Creepy-Crawly Secrets of the Minnesota Fair

I took issue with T Hussein Miss over at Mississippifarian because it seemed to me that his humor might finally have reached the point where it killed people – or at least their arteries. He wrote:

[T]he Fair goers go ever northwards into the realm of chocolate-dipped bacon and more things on a stick than are dreamt of in heaven or cleaned up after on earth.

That was too much for me. I replied:

These are jokes, right? Not actual items for sale at the Fair. Not even Minnesotans could be that clueless. Or tasteless.

You shouldn’t kid around about stuff like that. What if some innocent boob thinks you’re serious? You could have cholesterol-induced heart explosions on your hands and that would be bad. Also messy.

I was also concerned about those amorphous, threatening things on a stick. “Like what?” I asked. It seemed a harmless enough question until a certain “Tild”, one of his regular readers, left me a link to a menu that she claimed had 71 things-on-sticks featured, and I had to wonder: was this shit real? Or was I the victim of a tasteless (literally) practical joke?

“OK, Tild. You’re playing with me. That link goes to a list of restaurants and only some of them serve things on sticks. Most of the food is pretty ordinary but a few items did catch my attention, and I wouldn’t have believed them if I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes.

“(Altho I’m still somewhat suspicious, knowing from Mark what a graphics whiz you are. You could have invented a phishing site pretending to be a Fair Food Finder just for me but since there’s a whole website with multiple links, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. For now. Still, some of these things have to be made up. Don’t they?)

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The Bush Library Unpacked

This came in via email from Thomas Nephew and is apparently being passed around. It may or may not be an actual rundown of Bush Library features, but if it isn’t it ought to be.

Please Support the Bush Library

The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages.  Please consider a contribution to our President’s new library, which will be located in Crawford, Texas, and also in a satellite facility in the Green Zone in Baghdad.  The Library will include:

The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.

The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won’t be able to remember anything.

The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you won’t even have to show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don’t let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don’t let you out.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one will be able to find.

The National Debt room which is huge and has no ceiling.

The ‘Tax Cut’ Room with entry only to the wealthy.

The ‘Economy Room’, which is in the toilet.

The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, you will get to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tour.

The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.

The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.

The Alaska Wildlife Room, which is currently closed for oil exploration.

The No Child Left Behind Room, where you and your children are pre-tested, then tested, and afterward post-tested in an endless cycle.

Adjacent to that the Mission to Mars Room, where — as you would expect — no child is left behind.

The Compassionate Conservatism Room, which charges a separate admission fee and is actually a chute leading down to the Guantanamo Bay room.

The Water Boarding Demonstration Room, which doesn’t meet the definition of torture.

The Supreme Court Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.

The Decider Room complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.

The museum will have an electron microscope to help you locate the President’s accomplishments.

Admission: Republicans – free; Democrats — $1000 or 3 Euros

PS: Your User ID is now listed with Homeland Security. Feel better?

Xtian-Fundy Biker Gang Charged with Attempted Murder

One of the things that has always puzzled me about Xtian fundamentalists is the ease with which they interpret an anti-violence message (“Turn the other cheek”?) and transmute it into a call for violence. I sort of came the conclusion that it’s because Xtian fundies spend a lot more time with the pro-violence OT than they do with the anti-violent NT. Jesus isn’t as much fun as beating people up.

Seven members of a Christian biker gang remained in custody on $1 million bail late Wednesday after their arrest on charges of attempted murder in connection with a bloody barroom brawl in Newport Beach late last month. Three members of a rival gang were also arrested.


Overall in the case, 10 have been arrested, with police hunting for an 11th suspect, authorities said. Of these 10, seven are Set Free Soldiers arrested for alleged conspiracy to commit murder; each of the seven was being held on $1 million bail.

One of them is Pastor Phil Aguilar, 60, of Anaheim, police said. He is described as the founder and director of Set Free Churches Worldwide, according to the group’s Web site.

Another who was arrested – John Phillip Lloyd, 41, of Costa Mesa, a Hells Angels member – was being held on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, Sailor said. Two others, believed to be Hells Angels, were arrested for alleged drug possession.

The stabbings, which officials believe involved members of the the two motorcycle gangs, occurred the afternoon of Sunday, July 27, at Blackie’s By the Sea, near the Newport Beach pier, Sailor said.

Pastor Phil’s church is, well, different.

A neighbor to one of the Archer houses with Set Free Soldiers said that the group has been a nuisance.

“The neighborhood has been trying to get them out of here for years,” said Sharon Murphy, 50. “It’s supposed to be a sober-living place, but they’re always at the liquor store buying beer. They’re running their motorcycles all night long. They own three or four houses up and down the street.”

The collection plate must be full every Sunday.

I’m not saying that fundies are bad because a biker gang is fundamentalist. I;m saying fundamentalism is bad because it leaves room for people like this and often welcomes them while it rejects perfectly peace-loving gays and tolerates so much hypocrisy among its members that it’s become a joke.

Orange County is a very conservative, very far-right Xtian area. The kind of area where Pat Robertson would be considered middle-of-the-road, maybe even a Lefty. It’d no surprise at all that a violent, likkered-up gang would be welcome there as long as they were white, not obviously gay, voted Republican, and went to a sufficiently fundy church. In this case, the leader of the gang is – like Charlie Manson – also the leader of the church. A definite plus.

Save the Netroots For Us – The Food Will Come Later

 Over at Suburban Guerrilla Susie is asking if maybe the netroots‘ priorities are all backwards.

For a while now, I’ve had the very strong sense that things have been exactly ass-backwards, upside down in the blogosphere – that the peak of Maslow’s triangle is nowhere near roomy enough to carry the weight of a meaningful movement. And yes, of course telecom immunity is an important issue – but where would you place it on the triangle? Fight first to make sure people are fed, take care of their most basic needs and build the netroots coalition from that.

…See, to me, progressive values have always been about economic and social justice…


I get her point. I even thank her for it. But there’s something she’s not considering.

Yes, the online netroots is to a degree elitist, no question. In order to take part, you need either the money or the time, preferably both. And yes, there are real-world needs (as opposed to virtual world desires) that have actual consequences attached to not meeting them, like starvation or poverty or no education. But beyond all that there is a deadly political situation to be considered – deadly for us, down here in the trenches – which, if it isn’t turned around, will almost certainly wind up killing us and the nation, and the netroots may be (I said may be) our only way to affect that kind of change.

You see, we’re not much for politics down here even though it is politics that determines the economy that feeds and houses us (or not, like the Bush Economy). We’re kinds too busy making ends meet to get organized in our spare time, which we don’t have much of in the first place because either we don’t work at all and have to hustle 24/7 or we work 16 hours a day and take care of the kids at night and spend our weekends (if we don’t have to work overtime for straight pay) cleaning the house, food shopping, cooking, and so on (and on and on and on….).

So we need the netroots. They got the time, energy and money we don’t have to fight the people who are making us miserable, and they’re trying to figure out how to do that. We’ll help when we can but first we have to ensure our own day-to-day survival – you know, those things you were talking about earlier. Besides, the PTB don’t listen to us anyway. We know that. But they do listen to the activists, to the media, and, of course, to that virtual combination of the two, the netroots. Oh, not about everything. But some things, and that’s already more than we could make them do.

See, that’s kinda how it works. The establishment learned a long time ago that if you keep slaves busy and worn out, they’ll be too tired to revolt. And so we are. We have been pushed so far down that we have no energy left for anything but mere sheer survival. We struggle with everyday matters trying to keep our heads above water, which leaves no room for giving the Boss a hard time about – well, about much of anything.

And it’s important to us that we eventually have access to the net. If they shut us off from that, too, we will have lost one of the last tools of non-violent protest available to us. They’ve closed or cut back the libraries, or attached fees to library use that we can’t afford to pay on the meager salaries they give us; they’re taking away analog (over-the-air) tv so we have to buy cable; they’re even trying very hard to make radio a pay service. Short of the local papers, which are as big a joke as local news shows, the best way to find out what’s going on, respond to it, and even organize around it, is the internet. We need it, and right now we need somebody to save it for us.