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User Journal

Journal Journal: I need a new browser 7

At least until I put Linux on this notebook. FireFox 21.0 is wierding out like IE6 on a lot of sites, including slashdot. I can't even change my sig.

What browser are you using?

United States

Journal Journal: Obama's Soft Totalitarianism 10

Obama's Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America

A Commentary by Jakob Augstein
Is Barack Obama a friend? Revelations about his government's vast spying program call that assumption into doubt. The European Union must protect the Continent from America's reach for omnipotence.

On Tuesday, Barack Obama is coming to Germany. But who, really, will be visiting? He is the 44th president of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. He is an intelligent lawyer. And he is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

But is he a friend? The revelations brought to us by IT expert Edward Snowden have made certain what paranoid computer geeks and left-wing conspiracy theorists have long claimed: that we are being watched. All the time and everywhere. And it is the Americans who are doing the watching.

On Tuesday, the head of the largest and most all-encompassing surveillance system ever invented is coming for a visit. If Barack Obama is our friend, then we really don't need to be terribly worried about our enemies.

It is embarrassing: Barack Obama will be arriving in Berlin for only the second time, but his visit is coming just as we are learning that the US president is a snoop on a colossal scale. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she will speak to the president about the surveillance program run by the National Security Agency, and the Berlin Interior Ministry has sent a set of 16 questions to the US Embassy. But Obama need not be afraid. German Interior Minister Hans Peter Friedrich, to be sure, did say: âoeThat's not how you treat friends.â But he wasn't referring to the fact that our trans-Atlantic friends were spying on us. Rather, he meant the criticism of that spying.

Friedrich's reaction is only paradoxical on the surface and can be explained by looking at geopolitical realities. The US is, for the time being, the only global power -- and as such it is the only truly sovereign state in existence. All others are dependent -- either as enemies or allies. And because most prefer to be allies, politicians -- Germany's included -- prefer to grin and bear it.

'It's Legal'

German citizens should be able to expect that their government will protect them from spying by foreign governments. But the German interior minister says instead: âoeWe are grateful for the excellent cooperation with US secret services.â Friedrich didn't even try to cover up his own incompetence on the surveillance issue. âoeEverything we know about it, we have learned from the media,â he said. The head of the country's domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, was not any more enlightened. âoeI didn't know anything about it,â he said. And Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was also apparently in the dark. âoeThese reports are extremely unsettling,â she said.

With all due respect: These are the people who are supposed to be protecting our rights? If it wasn't so frightening, it would be absurd.

Friedrich's quote from the weekend was particularly quaint: âoeI have no reason to doubt that the US respects rights and the law.â Yet in a way, he is right. The problem is not the violation of certain laws. Rather, in the US the laws themselves are the problem. The NSA, in fact, didn't even overreach its own authority when it sucked up 97 billion pieces of data in one single 30-day period last March. Rather, it was acting on the orders of the entire US government, including the executive, legislative and judicial branches, the Democrats, the Republicans, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Supreme Court. They are all in favor. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, merely shrugged her shoulders and said: âoeIt's legal.â

A Monitored Human Being Is Not a Free One

What, exactly, is the purpose of the National Security Agency? Security, as its name might suggest? No matter in what system or to what purpose: A monitored human being is not a free human being. And every state that systematically contravenes human rights, even in the alleged service of security, is acting criminally.

Those who believed that drone attacks in Pakistan or the camp at Guantanamo were merely regrettable events at the end of the world should stop to reflect. Those who still believed that the torture at Abu Ghraib or that the waterboarding in CIA prisons had nothing to do with them, are now changing their views. Those who thought that we are on the good side and that it is others who are stomping all over human rights are now opening their eyes. A regime is ruling in the United States today that acts in totalitarian ways when it comes to its claim to total control. Soft totalitarianism is still totalitarianism.

We're currently in the midst of a European crisis. But this unexpected flare-up of American imperialism serves as a reminder of the necessity for Europe. Does anyone seriously believe that Obama will ensure the chancellor and her interior minister that the American authorities will respect the rights of German citizens in the future? Only Europe can break the American fantasy of omnipotence. One option would be for Europe to build its own system of networks to prevent American surveillance. Journalist Frank Schirrmacher of the respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper recommended that over the weekend. âoeIt would require subsidies and a vision as big as the moon landing,â he argues.

A simpler approach would be to just force American firms to respect European laws. The European Commission has the ability to do that. The draft for a new data privacy directive has already been presented. It just has to be implemented. Once that happens, American secret services might still be able to walk all over European law, but if US Internet giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook want to continue making money off of a half-billion Europeans, then they will have to abide by our laws. Under the new law, companies caught passing on data in ways not permitted are forced to pay fines. You can be sure that these companies would in turn apply pressure to their own government. The proposal envisions setting that fine at 2 percent of a company's worldwide revenues.

Government

Journal Journal: If You Still Believe You Live in a "Liberal Democracy"? 34

You're just not as bright as you like to congratulate yourself.

It is very simple. Follow the money. Years ago the wealthy needed a strong middleclass. Henry Ford even commented that a strong middleclass bought the products of the wealthy. But the wealthy no longer make products. Money is earned through money games. And the economy is global.

The goal now is the destruction of the middleclass. Why? So that we'll work for nothing. A sort of coal mining economic theory. Work for nothing and then give what little money you have back when you buy life's necessities at the company store.

As the wealth gets concentrated and the middleclass destroyed there might be some uprisings. The Corporate Government will be able to get the leaders very quickly and thereby diffuse the uprisings literally before they start. Like arresting the persons behind "Occupy Wall Street" before the occupation.

With indefinite detention being the law of the land there will be no need for trials.

And with all that anti terrorism security money going to crowd control weapons like sonic beams that make you burn those crowds that do assemble will be quickly dealt with.

It is always about the money.

Posted by: Ray | Jun 29, 2013 9:27:54 PM

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why does McDonalds want to make me fat? 15

From Food Business News:

NEW YORK â" For McDonaldâ(TM)s Corp., it may seem like a supersized dilemma: Offer a healthier menu or serve customers their coveted fattening fare?

Itâ(TM)s a matter of social responsibility versus sales, said Don Thompson, president and chief executive officer, who addressed the topic during the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York on May 29.

âoeToday, we are in this time period where people are defining quote-unquote âhealthyâ(TM) and ânon-healthy,â(TM)â Mr. Thompson said. âoeAnd the question really is, in the restaurant business, what does the customer want? ⦠Whatever it is a customer wants, we will be selling more than anyone else.â

Ok, Mister Bernstein, I say you're full of shit. I think you WANT us to all be fatasses.

I usually go home for lunch, but my car's in the shop today and don't have time to walk home, eat, and walk back, so I walked down to McDonalds. McDonalds is a lot closer than home. They had a promotional thing up with some new quarter pounders, so I decided to try one. I got the habañero Ranch quarter pounder, which I will get around to trash talking later. I ordered a small fry and a small coke to go along.

"That will be $7.52".

"How much was the burger itself?" I forgot what her answer was but it seemed like a hell of a lot for a hamburger. When I was 12 a McDonald's hamburger, fries, and small coke was 37 cents plus tax. Of course, the minimum wage was something like a dollar back then. She told me the price, I winced and said "too much, but I'll pay it anyway."

"The value meal may be cheaper," she said. I said ok. She rang it up. $7.01.

A burger with a small fry and small coke costs more than a burger with a medium fry and a medium coke. Why does McDonalds want me to get fat? I wound up throwing half the fries away, that's way too much food. Plus McDonalds fries are nasty. I didn't like the burger, either. False advertising if I ever saw it. Habañero? Really? Habañeros are one of the hottest peppers there are, and that burger had no hint whatever of any kind of hot pepper.

Of course, there's a sit-down restaurant that's even worse on the spicy front, on the corner of Second and South Grand named the (checks Google Maps... WTF, google? I search for 2nd and South Grand and it gives me 2nd and North Grand. Should I start using Microsoft Bling? Drags map down to South Grand... here it is) sorry, called the MeKong Cafe. It seems that General DuCatt or however you spell it traveled back in time from Cardassia and opened a barbershop in Springfield... anyway, the MeKong's window says they specialize in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai food. Having been in Thailand in the USAF and loving that food, I ate at the MeKong diner once.

I was not impressed.

Thai peppers are ounce for ounce some of the hottest peppers there are; they're tiny little things, half an inch (couple of centimeters) long and eating one will bring far more tears to your eyes than eating a jalapeño. I grew some, years ago -- they're great for getting rid of a sinus headache. Like Mexican food and for the same reason, Thai food is hot. Damned hot. Shirt wringing wet hot, which is why spicy food is so popular in Thailand and Mexico; Thailand is almost at the equator. The whole year I was there it only got cooler than eighty F once.

So I'd stopped at this so-called "MeKong" restaurant and ordered cowpot. Cowpot is Thai for "fried rice".

"Um, what?" the oriental waitress said, obviously not being from Thailand or, indeed, South East Asia at all.

"Thai fried rice," I said.

"Do you want it hot?"

"Of course I want it hot. I want it to taste like what I ate in Thailand. Blistering hot."

It was wimpier than Chinese fried rice.

There are a lot of fake foreign restaurants at that corner, probably catering to all the government employees that work in two large buildings that sit caddy-corner from each other there. There's a Taco Gringo, which is about as far from Mexican food as you can get, a Chinese place called China One, and another oriental restaurant named, hilariously, Dynasty.

Sheesh, I thought software devs came up with stupid names, like GIMP and WinCE. But a restaurant named the Die Nasty?

Anyway, back on topic, it isn't just their "value meals," either. Why is a hamburger with one patty and one slice of cheese more expensive than a hamburger with TWO patties and a slice of cheese?

Why do they want everybody, especially the poor and/or frugal, to be fat?

I will say one nice thing about McFatsos, though -- their side salads are really surprisingly good. Yeah, it's hard to screw up a salad but Burger King manages to. I'll get the salad, take it home, and eat it with a steak and baked potato. THAT's food, not faux cowpot or a hamburger with bacon (to disguise the taste of the beef, of course) or a taco some gringo made.

Privacy

Journal Journal: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON 7

NSA Trigger Words for PRISM:

This is an (admittedly huge) list of words that supposedly cause the NSA to flag you as a potential terrorist if you over-use them in an email.

We found this on Reddit, where James Bamford, a veteran reporter with 30 years experience covering the NSA, is answering questions from the community. This list comes from Reddit user GloriousDawn, who found it on Attrition.org, a site that very closely follows the security industry.

http://attrition.org/misc/keywords.html

Waihopai, INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Privacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, defence Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, Reno, Compsec, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, ISS, Passwords, DefCon V, Hackers, Encryption, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, PEM, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, COSMOS, DATTA, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, Active X, Compsec 97, LLC, DERA, Mavricks, Meta-hackers, ^?, Steve Case, Tools, Telex, Military Intelligence, Scully, Flame, Infowar, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, ISACA, NCSA, spook words, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, LABLINK, USACIL, USCG, NRC, ~, CDC, DOE, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, DREO, CDA, DRA, SHAPE, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, SAS, SBS, UDT, GOE, DOE, GEO, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, CQB, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, MYK, 747,777, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, Duress, RAID, Psyops, grom, D-11, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, MP5k, DREC, DEVGRP, DF, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, PSAC, PTT, RFI, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, SUSLO, TELINT, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, VHF, UHF, SHF, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, smuggle, 15kg, nitrate, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Rapid Reaction, Corporate Security, Police, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, Counterterrorism, spies, eavesdropping, debugging, interception, COCOT, rhost, rhosts, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M.,Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, csystems, passwd, 2600 Magazine, Competitor, EO, Chan, Alouette,executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, sweeping, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, Anonymous, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, counterintelligence, industrial espionage, PI, TSCI, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, loch, Ingram Mac-10, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Blowpipe, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Wackenhutt, EO, Wackendude, mol, Hillal, GGL, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, Blacklisted 411, Internet Underground, XS4ALL, Retinal Fetish, Fetish, Yobie, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, l0ck, spook keywords, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, press-release, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, plutonium, Texas, jihad, SDI, Uzi, Fort Meade, supercomputer, bullion, 3, Blackmednet, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, Planet-1, cryptanalysis, nuclear, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, Area51, SABC, basement, data-haven, black-bag, TEMPSET, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, unclassified, utopia, orthodox, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, Pseudonyms, MITM, grey Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, Sugar Grove, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, Flintlock, cybercash, government, hate, speedbump, illuminati, president, freedom, cocaine, $, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, assasinate, virus, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, Atlas, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, HoHoCon, SISMI, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, MOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, Peering, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, EG&G, AIEWS, AMW, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, THAAD, package, chosen, PRIME, SURVIAC

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dirty Old Man

This is actually a few years old but I've never posted it on the internet, but I did drunkenly sing it at a karaoke bar. One woman was laughing so hard she literally fell out of her chair, although I didn't think it was THAT funny. When I got off the stage I told the bartender "I want whatever she's having!"

I heard this song on the radio this morning and I said to myself, "those geezers are even older than me!" So I changed a few words...

Hey, baby, if you're feelin' down
I know what's good for you all day
Are you worried what your friends see
Will it ruin your reputation fuckin' me

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Yeah I'm a dirty old man
A dirty old man

Don't drive no big black car
Don't like no Hollywood movie star
You want me to be true to you
You don't give a damn what I do to you

I'm just a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man

Well, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
A dirty old man

I've been trouble since I don't know when
I'm trouble now and I know somehow I'll be trouble again
I'm not a loner, but I'm always alone
Every night I get one step closer to the fucking grave!

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

C'mon, c'mon man
Dirty old man, old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

Hey, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man, yeah!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Keith Richards is ten years older than me 1

I live in an house on the ninety-ninth street on my block
And I sit at home looking out the window
Imagining the world has stopped
Then in flies a guy whos all dressed up like a union jack
And says, Ive won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn, baby

The telephone is ringing
I say, hi, it's me. who is it there on the line?
A voice says, hi, hello, how are you
Well, I guess Im doin fine
He says, it's three a.m., there's too much noise
Don't you people ever wanna go to bed?
Just cause you feel so good, do you have
To drive me out of my head?

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn baby

I was sick and tired, fed up with this
And decided to take a drive downtown
It was so very quiet and peaceful
There was nobody, not a soul around
I laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream
In the morning the parking tickets were just like
A flag stuck on my window screen

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn

Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around, baby, twos a crowd

(Sorry, I had to do that. Wait 'til you see what I do to Foreigner's Dirty White Boy)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Not enough paranoia around here, I see. 10

I think he gave away the whole game in that one sentence, and his meaning is clear: The interception, collection and storage (not to mention collation, reproduction, distribution, analysis and many other important sounding words Iâ(TM)m forgetting right now) of untold millions of petabytes is simply a byproduct of whatever it is that the NSAâ(TM)s really been up to these last few decades.

It would be irresponsible to speculate at this juncture, but consider that whatever the NSA is truly doing, it is of such horrible provenance that theyâ(TM)re willing the coverup to be âoeWeâ(TM)re running some fairly comprehensive Police State shit on your ass.â

User Journal

Journal Journal: John thinks I'm a space alien 10

Back by popular demand...

"Hi, Steve, how ya doin?" Ruthie said as she got a mug out of the freezer.

"Hi, Ruthie. Pretty good, except I don't think I'll ever get that book finished. I keep finding mistakes," I said as I sat down next to Crazy John and pulled out my wallet. Ruthie handed me the beer she'd just poured.

"Computer's battery died so I thought I'd get a beer or two while it was charging," I said.

Crazy John really is insane; he suffers from schizophrenia and its delusions. They tell me he used to be really intelligent, but one night he was beaten, robbed, and thrown in a dumpster and left for dead. He was never the same afterwards.

John's passion is his main delusion - that he was once abducted by space aliens and that space aliens have infiltrated our world. I try to debunk the poor fellow's insane ramblings with scientific facts. I've explained how Einstein had worked out relativity and the cosmic constant, that the faster you go the slower time goes and there's no way to go faster than light, obviously not mentioning space warping which some theorize might someday get us past that hurdle. He talks of Area 51 and I respond with how unlikely that even if there were space aliens, they wouldn't be the least bit humanoid. In fact, that's where the idea behind Little Green Men came from -- talking with Crazy John.

He gave me a pointed look, and by that I mean he actually pointed at me. "I know who you are!" he said sternly.

I was amused. "Of course you do, John, I've been drinking with you for years!" pretending to not know what he was talking about. He changed the subject. Sort of.

"Where did that face on Mars come from?" he asked.

I groaned; not this nonsense again. "It's a trick of the light and where the position of the camera is, John. Other photos of the same rock show that it doesn't really look anything like a human face. It's the same with the Martian bunny rabbit."

"What bunny rabbit?"

"There's a rock one of the robot rovers took a picture of that, from the angle it's taken, looks just like a rodent. There are a lot of other things like that."

I tried to explain the concept of Pareidolia to him, pointing out so-called images of the virgin Mary made from rust running down overpasses and things, but he would have none of it and simply changed the subject again. "There is one thing that will go faster than light," he said. "Human telepathy!"

I rolled my eyes. "Show me some proof of telepathy's existence, John. If you can show me someone who can read my mind or even some biology that shows it's possible I'll believe it. But I've seen no documentation of anyone actually being able to do it."

I finished the mug and put it and another buck and a quarter on the bar, and Ruthie poured another beer. John got a weird look on his face and wandered off.

Good, I'd had enough crazy for one day.

Ruthie shook her head sadly. "Poor guy," she said.

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