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Journal Journal: My positive contributions? Bwahahaha! 8

I got a new box on Slashdot this afternoon, thanking me for my 'positive contributions' and letting me turn off advertising because of them. Wait, there's advertising on the Internet now? When did that start?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hey jcr, let's talk

So, what is your position on property ownership?
1.) Personal Property
I think, you work for it, it's yours. I help defend what you worked for from those who would take it unfairly, you do the same for me.
2.) Real Property
Natural resources should not be owned. If you are working an area, I'll ask if I can help and what the terms are before I help myself. If you claim an area you aren't working, I won't respect that unless you and I have made a personal deal to that regard. If someone tries to drive you from their land, I'll try to help you stop them, if you are willing to do the same for me.
3.) Intellectual Property
I'll always say where I got my ideas from. I'd like it if I could get some recognition for my good ideas.

Cooperation versus competition?
I think cooperation is almost always in an individual's self interest. Competition, of the form where some people have to 'lose' in order for others to win, is usually not in an individual's self interest, if it can be avoided.

Taking care of others?
I think desperate, frightened, hurt, or angry humans are the most dangerous thing on the planet. Making sure no one feels that way unnecessarily is in everyone's best interest. I resent people getting a free ride on the work some of us try to do making sure people aren't a danger due to desperation.

The free market?
A really good idea, in theory. However, a hybrid system where competition is balanced with cooperation is better for everyone. The benefits of such cooperation should be limited to other cooperators, and not extended to the ruthless and selfish.

That's a start.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A lovely Troll Tuesday

I just love trolling libertarians. They are so easy to work up into a frothing rage. Like flat-earthers and creationists, they have to shut off all logical parts of their minds in order to go on believing their patently untrue and counter-factual ideology. This makes them easy pickings for trolls. Now, unlike most trolls, I actually believe what I'm writing. But that's beside the point. The point is, watching stupid people get angry is fun.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Wiki-Dickery-Sock 1

From this comment by gringofrijolero, I got the idea to do a whole 'wiki-dickory-sock' song, I figure 8-10 verses would do. So, first verse, taking gringofrijolero's verse and making it more Wikipedia specific:

Rules lawyers ran out the clock
We all got bored
"Yeah, you're the lord."

Then the verse I came up with:

Deletionists erased 'River_Ock'
The river's not notable,
Its water's not potable,"

Now to expand on the examples I came up with in the thread:

The vandals defaced 'Iraq.'
They said it was good
When Saddam got wood

Hmm, the original rhyme does end with the same nonsense line it begins with, but Andrew Dice Clay uses the last line for the punchline to good comedic effect, perhaps I should here.

The vandals defaced 'Iraq.'
They said it was good
When Saddam got wood
So we banned their whole IP block.

But then there is the difficulty in coming up with twice as many relevant and funny '-ock' rhymes. Cock and block only go so far.

Deletionists erased 'River_Ock'
The river's not notable,
Its water's not potable,
Put it on the chopping block!

Rules lawyers ran out the clock
We all got bored
"Yeah, you're the lord."
(of making us sleepy, you cock)

Thought for latter 'Trekkies aren't quite as logical as Spock.' Work it in somehow. 'Puppet masters brought out every sock' will make a good last line somewhere.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Attention Freaks and Fans 3

I've managed to get the password to my old "mcgrew" account, so I won't be using this one any more. Its first journal will reference and link this account.

If you are on my "fans" list, I'll be adding you to the "friends" list of the mcgrew account. Please be patient; I'm doing it alphabetically, and by hand, and slashdot only lets me do so many at a time. If you are onn my "freaks" list you'll just have to add "mcgrew" to your "foes" list; I am not going to have "foes" in that account, either.

The mcgrew journals will be more rationally listed under the old mcgrew account. The first one is Under the rainbow.

So, I made a move on Charlie, and, well, let's just say that I'm not very good at seduction. By "not very good" I mean I suck at it badly. I doubt I've ever seduced a woman in my life; every one I had, they had their eye on me first. Maybe that's the way it works, I don't know.

She was gentle in her rejection.

Well almost; there is Eye muss bee knew hear pretty much saying what I'm saying here (-1, redundant). As that account started out with neutral karma, having not been used since January 2000, and this account has excellent karma, nobody can accuse me of being a karma whore! I've never worried about karma before and I don't intend to start now.

I'll see you at the new; er, I mean "old" account!

And again, a big thank you to samzepus!


Journal Journal: College Textbook Affordability Act 11

I ran across an item in the local paper today that I think will interest young slashdotters who haven't yet finished with college. My US Senator, Dick Durbin, has authored the "College Textbook Affordability Act".

The paper says major provisions of the act were "included in the higher education reauthorization signed into law on Aug. 14."

The textbook provision doesn't take effect until July 1, 2010, creating a waiting period he said textbook publishers pushed hard to get. But he urged students, faculty and administrators to work now to minimize costs of needed books.

The law will require publishers to provide in writing to professors the price of books, and also information on other formats in which the material may be available. Publishers also will be required to offer for sale some products that are now bundled -- such as a book, workbook and computer disk -- separately.

"Imagine," Durbin said, "these are professors picking books that they don't have to pay for.
They're picking them for someone else to pay for, and I hope that they'll start putting themselves in the shoes of the students when they start thinking about that cost."

UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen said "I've heard from students who ... have to avoid the courses that they need for their major because they can't afford the books that semester." Ashley Rook, 22, a Chicago native and political science graduate student who is president of the Student Government Association at UIS said "I've heard from students who avoid buying the books altogether because they simply can't afford them, so they try to get by in class" through borrowing and other means.

"It really diminishes the quality of their education," she said.

Chris Barron, spokesman for Dr. Steve Sauerberg of Willowbrook, Durbin's GOP opponent in the Nov. 4 election, belittled Durbin's press event.

"If this is what Senator Durbin, the second-ranking member of the United States Senate, is bragging about -- about getting legislation passed that will improve the situation (concerning) college textbooks in 2010, it speaks volumes about what he's actually been able (to accomplish) during his quarter century in Washington," Barron said.

Durbin is one of the few politicians I actually vote for, as opposed to holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two "weevils". He voted against bankrupcy deform, for instance (as did my other Senator, Barack Obama).

Once when I was in school, I had one class where I had to buy a book my professor authored. Some people really have gall!


Journal Journal: The Rollercycle

Springfield, home of Ward 2 alderman Gail Simpson, is a wierd town. Its newspaper has some wierd stories, like Man robbed of cold 12-pack of beer.

But there is a very geekworthy item in today's paper: 'Green' invention just needs attention.

A Springfield artist and inventor named Frank Pierce has come up with a contraption that looks like a cross between two bicycles and a pair of roller skates.

If you have spent much time on the north end of Springfield lately, you might have seen Pierce on his Rollercycle. Using the same leg motion as a skater uses, Pierce tools around the streets on wheels at speeds up to 20-25 miles an hour. He does attract attention.

"I almost cause accidents because people are looking," he says. "People want to know about it, where to buy it ...

"During the motorcycle races (at the state fairgrounds), I put them on and went past that tavern, Knuckleheads. The motorcycle riders were all out there watching. They started clapping at me, so I cruised up there. It got a lot of attention from them."


Here's how it works: Riders strap a wheel onto each leg. In the current design, people slip into one of their shoes already attached. The next model will let them take their shoes with them when they're done.

The tires are 20-inch, high-performance models. That, Pierce says, gives his invention an advantage over rollerblades. His tires can roll over grass and brick streets.

With the tires strapped onto your legs, you simply skate. When you want to stop, press down on your heel and that engages the brakes. The stability of Pierce's invention is so good that users can stand motionless and not topple over.

There's more at the link, as well as a photo of Pierce wearing his invention.

I want a pair!

In other news, Vulcan illogically caught fire and burned.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Psycho Man Slayers 1

Previously: Amy Again

I was up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning, damn it. One reason I hate that goddamned alarm clock is that it has gotten me up every day, Monday through Friday, for the last twenty years and now I'm up early on the weekends, too, even though the alarm's not set.

I should find a girlfriend named "Dawn". Then getting up at the crack of Dawn wouldn't bother me so much.

I drank my coffee as Charlie slept on the couch. She'd gone to the races the previous night. Amy had disappeared, I heard she was back with her boyfriend. Nothing unusual there; I didn't expect her to stay around long. I moved Charlie's feet out of the way and sat down to read for a while. "Aurthur Phillip Dent? You're a... wait a minute, I've done you before, haven't I?"

I drove to McDonald's for a bag of nearfood, ate it, moved Charlie's feet again and turned on the VCR, and watched Wagon's East, John Candy's last movie. I'm surprised this isn't a geek classic, as it is a cross between Saturday Night Live and Star Trek Voyager -- at least, half the actors in it are from those two shows. And William Sanderson, from Blade Runner, is in it, too.

The phone rang; it was Linda. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Watching a movie, what's up?"

"Want some breakfast?" hell yes I wanted some breakfast! I was a Hobbit this morning; I'd had breakfast at six thirty and was having it again at ten. But Linda's one hell of a cook and I won't turn down a chance to eat anything she cooks. I had the second breakfast with Linda and Tami, who was very ill as she'd had way, way too much to drink the previous night. They regaled me with tales of their (especially Tami's) drunkenness, and I promised to buy Tami some beer. Pitchers at the Blue Grouch are only $3.50 on Saturdays; Linda had other plans.

While we were at the Grouch, Amy called; she was headed home (my home). We finished the pitcher, I took Tami to Ralph's, and went home to meet Amy.

The girls do NOT get along these days. Charlie and Amy are good friends, and Linda and Tami seem to be; but since Charlie got thrown out of Ralph's she is bitter enemies with Tami and Linda, who blames Charlie for getting her boyfriend, who is Charlie's brother, put back in prison. If you're new to these journals, Charlie's brother was imprisoned for Grand Thieft Auto because he's stupid and loves cars, and was on parole when he got put back in for parole violation for being at Ralph's. Linda's on parole, too, she on a non-violent drug posession charge. I'm not really sure what it is between Tami and Amy; somehow I think Amy got jealous of Tami back when Tami was living with me.

Amy missed me and said she was homesick while living at her BF's. Stark raving loonie tunes, I tell ya. "I love you!" she said to me, into her boyfriend's phone, in front of her boyfriend, who is a pretty big guy. Fucking woman had told him I'd had a crush on her! WTF was that all about anyway?

His truck was at my house when I got home, and she got out of it and came in, with him burning rubber as he left. She wanted me to take her to Farley's, the sleaziest bar in this cartoon city, and then to get her stuff from her (allegedly) ex-boyfriend's, who had raised a stink about the ten bucks while I, only a friend, had loaned her a bunch of money that she still owed months later.

She was crying inconsolably.

I got the feeling that if she wasn't on the rag I'd have gotten lucky. The three of us went to Farley's, and I bought a pitcher. We talked for a while, Charlie went outside to smoke, and Amy spied Roger, her old boyfriend from before the guy she's with (was with?) now.

I decided I didn't want to drink by myself in this sleazy dive, told Amy I was leaving, and left. Charlie was by my car smoking, and went with me. She went to the races, and I went to the Blue grouch. Linda and Tami were there, I drank too much, and didn't remember going home.

Sunday I got up about six thirty and discovered the floor was clean. Charlie had obviously gotten the cleaning bug while I slept, or had made a mess and hurredly cleaned it up. I drank my coffee, and trudged to the Blue Grouch to retrieve my car, relieved that I hadn't driven it home.

As I walked, Tami called, worried that I had driven.

Amy called from Roger's wanting a ride. When I picked her up she had a hickey on her neck. Charlie was gone when we got back to my house. We drove to Amy's so-called "ex" BF's to get her things. My car has a huge trunk, I could fit a half-dozen dead hookers in it. Or a dozen skinny little crack whores.

Then we drove to my daughter Leila's trailer for some drugs.

When Evil-X left my daughters and me for another man, the three of us were prescribed antidepressants. We've been off of them for a long time, but my packrat daughter had kept the Zoloft she'd been prescribed. She gave us half a dozen bottles. Amy was so happy she almost gave ME a hickey! She hadn't had her Zoloft in weeks and was suicidal; I guess I saved a woman's life.

Am I dumb or what?

We unpacked her stuff, and I dropped her at her girlfriend's house, who she hadn't seen in a while. Charlie was gone to the races again, and I sat home and drank on my porch swing.

Amy woke me up in the middle of the night, gave me a hug, and told me she was back with her boyfriend. Again.

The next morning Charlie was in a foul mood. It was her turn to start her period. She'd not been able to sleep and had spent the night cleaning house, and spent the morning bitching at me. Somehow it was MY fault she'd been thrown out of Ralph's. I felt like throwing her out myself, but she went to sleep on the couch about ten. Five minutes into an episode of STNG I had on tape, the phone rang.

Damn, it was the MPAA calling to arrest me for copyright violation.

Nope, it was Linda.

I feel like I have four girlfriends, or two girlfriends and two wives, none of whom will put out. Prak would laugh harder at me than at Aurthur, I'm sure.

(If you don't know who Prak is, you really need to get out less often)

I went over visiting again, and they fed me beer and a delicious hamburger and some cole slaw. But before that, as I was ringing the doorbell, my phone rang. Charlie had left her purse in the guy's trunk, and he was at my house with it and she wasn't waking up and he was leaving it on the porch. He didn't seem too happy about it; I think they were supposed to go to the races again.

I drove back and put her purse inside and went back to Ralph's.

When I got back home after visiting Linda and Tami, who had been in bathing suits sunning in the back yard (God but Linda's gained some weight), Charlie wanted to borrow my car. I said Ok, she said she'd be an hour.

Two hours later I started to worry. Two hours after that I was sure I'd be walking to work; either she'd wrapped it around a tree and was in the hospital, or had gotten busted for a traffic ticket and gone to jail like happened last year.

Yeah, she'd spent a week in jail for driving on an expired license; well, actually she'd been broke, sentenced to community service since she hadn't had any money, done half of it, and her mom came down with cancer and she kind of forgot about the community service. She'd asked a cop where she could find a pay phone and he'd arrested her.

She finally got home and I calmly told her I wasn't letting her borrow the car any more, and she went off on me.

Tired of the bitching, I told her to get the fuck out of my house. She refused. I called the cops and asked them to "please get this woman the hell out of my house!"

By the time they came, she'd apologized. But she's on thin ice with me; I'd hate to throw her in the street but I'm not going to take any more of her hormonally fueled abuse. I keep wondering what evolutionary advantage there is to PMS? It seems a cave man would have just broken the bitch's neck and had done with her.

Next: Under the rainbow

(The title of this journal is named after some ladies who used to kick my ass when I played Quake online with them, the Psycho Men Slayer Clan. I guess this journal is dedicated to all the world's misandrists.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Amy again 5

Previously: A drunken mess

Charlie's boss hasn't been back, so instead of construction work she's been cleaning houses. She paid back the last twenty bucks she owed me this morning.

Yesterday evening we watched movies as we've been boredly doing the last week, and her ride dropped off a joint for me when he picked her up to take her to yet another filthy house in the ghetto to clean. I lit it (the doob, not the filthy ghetto house) and started the movie back up.

"Excuse me, but he explicitly asked for a nigger. To tell a family secret, my grandmother was Dutch!"



It was Amy's boyfriend. "Hey, just a heads up, Amy's going to be showing up at your house."

*Sigh.* More trouble. "Thanks for the heads up, man."

"No problem, bye".



"...and tell him I said 'OWW!'"



"Hi, It's Amy, I'm over at Alan's and I'm walking to your house."


"He beat the hell out of me, Alan saw the whole thing, it freaked Alan out, he didn't know what to do. I'm walking down eighth street."

I told her I'd meet her halfway, and hung up.

I hit "stop" and walked out to meet Amy. I walked her back home, turned Blazing Saddles back on, and sat on the couch with her.

Poor Amy. Her BF was almost broke; he had ten bucks left. She'd asked for whiskey money, and specifically told him that her alcohol addiction was getting the best of her, that she had the shakes and was seeing snakes. So he went ahead and stupidly gave her the ten dollars for food!

Of course she spent it on whiskey. I hugged her and tried unsuccessfully to dry her tears.

He called later and asked if he could drop her things off at my house. I said it was OK.

Damn it.

I let her cry on my shoulder until I had to go to bed, and left her on the couch.

No way in hell would I give an alcoholic my last ten dollars when I knew she wanted a drink! Amy's BF isn't the sharpest knofe in the drawer by any means.

She and Charlie woke me up talking loudly in the dining room. I put on my robe and went in; Charlie had a forty two ounce beer and Amy had a pint of Jim Beam. Charlie poured me a beer and Amy poured me a shot.

It seems I now have two crazy women living with me. Well, at least I got rid of Tami...

And I'm sure Amy will be gone in a day or two. I need to get her drugs; she's been prescribed Zoloft, and she hasn't had any for two weeks.

And she's on her period; PMS has hold of her as well.


Next: Psycho Man Slayers

User Journal

Journal Journal: In the news: Chicago Tribune 3

What is wrong with these people? Our next President will be either a doddering old fool or a young idiot.

WGN Radio up in Chicago apparently has a right wing wacko that is trying to swiftboat Obama. Now, if I were Obama I'd ignore the dufus.

But since I'm not Obama, the dufus isn't being ignored. The Chicago Tribune, which owns WGN, reports that the Obama campaign is trying to get the wacko fired.

"Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse," the note said.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves," the note continued. "At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz's lies."

Zack Christenson, executive producer of "Extension 720 with Milt Rosenburg," said the response was strong.

"I would say this is the biggest response we've ever got from a campaign or a candidate," he said. "This is really unprecedented with the show, the way that people are flooding the calls and our email boxes."

Christenson said the Obama campaign was asked to have someone appear on the show and the headquarters declined the request.

Barack, meet Barbara.

The show's producer said the calls dropped off after the show's first hour. He did not have a count of calls, but said it was "non-stop."

Obama's campaign has launched similar offensives against stations that have run campaign ads that it did not like.

A pox on both their houses! I'm voting for a third party loser, to hell with the Corporate Republicrats.

Speaking of corporations, corporations would rather kill babies than lose profits. I'm not talking about fetuses; I'm talking about breathing, shitting, crying infants. If you own stock in Simplicity, you are a baby killer.

Both deaths involved the Simplicity 4-in-1 Winnie the Pooh bassinet. But many other Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 models share the same design. Last year, Simplicity recalled more than 1 million cribs in the wake of a Tribune investigation that showed the commission waited years to warn consumers about the cribs' flaws, despite babies' deaths. The bassinets were not included in that recall.

Simplicity Inc. ran into financial trouble after the crib recall. SFCA Inc., a unit of Blackstreet Capital Partners, acquired the assets of Simplicity Inc. in a foreclosure sale in May. An SFCA executive declined to comment Wednesday.

I'm interested to hear what the anarchist "buyer beware" trolls have to say about this.

Commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese said the agency did not recall the bassinet last fall because "the investigation of a baby's death in October 2007 remains open because there are still questions surrounding the circumstances of that baby's death."

But McDonald County Coroner B.J. Goodwin III said there was no doubt the death was an accident. "It was clear-cut," he said. "We all felt it was the crib that caused the passing."

"It wasn't like we felt the parents were negligent," Goodwin added. "The home was clean. The baby was well-cared for."

Goodwin said he ordered an autopsy and, in the end, ruled the death an accident. If anyone thought otherwise, he said, "I would have been notified."

He said he found the bassinet extremely unsafe. "I felt it should never have been allowed on the market. I hate that another child passed because of this problem.," he said.

Jeff Slaton, attorney for the Simon family, which has filed a wrongful-death suit against Simplicity and Wal-Mart, said, "I'm at a loss on why it took so long" for the safety commission to act.

Not a word in the paper about these folks, although I guess the preceeding one about the Republicans qualifies. Their candidate, Bob Barr, was a Republican when he was in the Georgia legislature. And they are against government protecting you from the corporations.
Not a word about them.

United States

Journal Journal: Hoover for President! 4

I saw a sig today that said something to the effect of "Bush is the Republicans' Jimmy Carter". I never thought I'd ever see a worse President than Carter, but Bush proved me wrong. But he's not Carter, he's Coolige.

I fear that whichever of the two candidates I'll be voting against this November wins, our next President will be Herbert Hoover, because those who refuse to study history are indeed destined to repeat it.

Our leaders haven't been paying attention. None of them. Not our political leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, not any of them. We are led by the clueless.

That link is to an online copy of a history book I was assigned in an undergraduate general studies history class. As my late Grandmother, who was a young woman in the roaring twenties said, Hoover didn't cause the depression, Coolige did.

She also said that the roaring twenties didn't roar for anyone she know. The rich were doing fantastic, but the ordinary working class stiff did badly.

The nation at war had formed the habit of summary action, and it was not soon unlearned. The circumstances and available methods had changed, that was all. Employers who had watched with resentment the rising scale of wages paid to labor, under the encouragement of a government that wanted no disaffection in the ranks of the workers, now felt that their chance had come. The Germans were beaten; the next thing to do was to teach labor a lesson. Labor agitators were a ;; bunch of Bolsheviks, anyhow, and it was about time that a man had a chance to make a decent profit in his business.

Chapter III: Teh Terrorists. Oh wait, it's the "red menace", my bad.

Chapter IV talks about the new technologies everyone was going nuts over, which reminds me of today with the internet and P2P:

That winter, however-the winter of 1921-22-it came with a rush. Soon everybody was talking, not about wireless telephony, but about radio. A San Francisco paper described the discovery that millions were making: "There is radio music in the air, every night, everywhere. Anybody can hear it at home on a receiving set, which any boy can put up in an hour." In February President Harding had an outfit installed in his study, and the Dixmoor Golf Club announced that it would install a "telephone" to enable golfers to hear church services. In April, passengers on a Lackawanna train heard a radio concert, and Lieutenant Maynard broke all records for modernizing Christianity by broadcasting an Easter sermon from an airplane. Newspapers brought out radio sections and thousands of hitherto utterly unmechanical people puzzled over articles about regenerative circuits, sodion tubes, Grimes reflex circuits, crystal detectors, and neutrodynes. In the Ziegfeld "Follies of 1922" the popularity of "My Rambler Rose" was rivaled by that of a song about a man who hoped his love might hear him as she was "listening on the radio." And every other man you met on the street buttonholed you to tell you how he had sat up until two o'clock the night before, with earphones clamped to his head, and had actually heard Havana! How could one bother about the Red Menace if one was facing such momentous questions as how to construct a loop aerial?

Then, it seems, as now, nerds (although the term "nerd" was not to be coined for decades) were cool, even though "cool" wasn't to be coined for a long time either.

Then, unlike now, a "geek" was someone who swallowed live animals.

The book doesn't mention it (at least I don't remember the book mentioning it), but the recording labels were as scared of radio then as they are of the internet and P2P today.

Chapter V is "The Revolution in Manners and Morals", but it would paint the picture of any generation.

The dresses that the girls-and for that matter most of the older women-were wearing seemed alarming enough. In July, 1920, a fashion-writer reported in the New York Times that "the American woman . . . has lifted her skirts far beyond any modest limitation," which was another way of saying that the hem was now all of nine inches above the ground. It was freely predicted that skirts would come down again in the winter of 1920-21, but instead they climbed a few scandalous inches farther. The flappers wore thin dresses, short-sleeved and occasionally (in the evening) sleeveless; some of the wilder young things rolled their stockings below their knees, revealing to the shocked eyes of virtue a fleeting glance of shin-bones and knee-cap; and many of them were visibly using cosmetics. "The intoxication of rouge," earnestly explained Dorothy Speare in Dancers in the Dark, "is an insidious vintage known to more girls than mere man can ever believe." Useless for frantic parents to insist that no lady did such things; the answer was that the daughters of ladies were doing it, and even retouching their masterpieces in public. Some of them, furthermore, were abandoning their corsets. "The men won't dance with you if you wear a corset," they were quoted as saying.

My dad, who was born in 1931, informs me that in the twenties, as now, women (including his aunts) wore tattoos; the folks his parents' age all had them.

Not content with example and reproof, legislators in several states introduced bills to reform feminine dress once and for all. The New York American reported in 1921 that a bill was pending in Utah providing fine and imprisonment for those who wore on the streets "skirts higher than three inches above the ankle."

Not unlike now, is it? BTW, when in history have we gotten our sense of style from prisoners?

VI. Harding and the Scandals
VII. Coolidge Prosperity
IX. The revolt of the highbrows: When, however, the middle-class majority turned from persecuting political radicals to regulating personal conduct, they met with bitter opposition not only from the bright young college graduate but from the whole of a newly class-conscious group. The intellectuals of the country -the "civilized minority," as the American Mercury liked to call them-rose in loud and bitter revolt.

X. The Drug Wars -- but then, the banned drug was alcohol, with the same high prices to society as the modern day prohibition.

XI. The Real Estate Boom

Steadily, during that feverish summer and autumn of 1925, the hatching of new plans for vast developments continued. A great many of them, apparently, were intended to be occupied by what the advertisers of Miami Beach called "America's wealthiest sportsmen, devotees of yachting and the other expensive sports," and the advertisers of Boca Raton called "the world of international wealth that dominates finance and industry . . . that sets fashions . . . the world of large affairs, smart society and leisured ease." Few of those in the land-rush seemed to question whether there would be enough devotees of yachting and men and women of leisured ease to go round.

Everywhere vast new hotels, apartment houses, casinos were being projected. At the height of the fury of building a visitor to West Palm Beach noticed a large vacant lot almost completely covered with bath- tubs. The tubs had apparently been there some time; the crates which surrounded them were well weathered. The lot, he was informed, was to be the site of "One of the most magnificent apartment buildings in the South"-but the freight embargo had held up the contractor's building material and only the bathtubs had arrived! Throughout Florida re- sounded the slogans and hyperboles of boundless confidence. The advertising columns shrieked with them, those swollen advertising columns which enabled the Miami Daily News, one day in the summer of 1925, to print an issue of 504 pages, the largest in newspaper history, and enabled the Miami Herald to carry a larger volume of advertising in 1925 than any paper anywhere had ever before carried in a year. Miami was not only "The Wonder City," it was also "The Fair White Goddess of Cities," "The World's Playground," and "The City Invincible." Fort Lauderdale became "The Tropical Wonderland," Orlando "The City Beautiful," and Sanford "The City Substantial."


By 1927, according to Homer B. Vanderblue, most of the elaborate real-estate offices on Flagler Street in Miami were either closed or practically empty; the Davis Islands project, "bankrupt and unfinished," had been taken over by a syndicate organized by Stone & Webster; and many Florida cities, including Miami, were having difficulty collecting their taxes. By 1928 Henry S. Villard, writing in The Nation, thus described the approach to Miami by road: "Dead subdivisions line the highway, their pompous names half-obliterated on crumbling stucco gates. Lonely white-way lights stand guard over miles of cement side- walks, where grass and palmetto take the place of homes that were to be .... Whole sections of outlying subdivisions are composed of unoccupied houses, past which one speeds on broad thoroughfares as if traversing a city in the grip of death." In 1928 there were thirty-one bank failures in Florida; in 1929 there were fifty-seven; in both of these years the liabilities of the failed banks reached greater totals than were recorded for any other state in the Union

XII. The Big Bull Market

ONE DAY IN FEBRUARY, 1928, an investor asked an astute banker about the wisdom of buying common stocks. The banker shook his head. "Stocks look dangerously high to me," he said. "This bull market has been going on for a long time, and although prices have slipped a bit recently, they might easily slip a good deal more. Business is none too good. Of course if you buy the right stock you'll probably be all right in the long run and you may even make a profit. But if I were you I'd wait awhile and see what happens."

The book, as I said, is available completely online; just click the link at the beginning of this article, hosted by a university in Virginia. You can buy a dead tree version, too; Google tells me Amazon will sell you a copy. I still have the paperback copy I bought form the school bookstore in 1977.

This nonfiction history book is scarier than Stephen King's fiction.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Stupid Secret Security Service 6

It was a peaceful, pleasant weekend. I discovered an error in my bank balance which made me too broke to do any drinking.


I pulled weeds and watched movies with Charlie, instead. She hadn't seen LOTR or read the books, and my daughter had bought copies of the extended versions of the movies for me. Charlie and I watched them all, and a few other movies, too.

Others in Springfield didn't have such a pleasant weekend, as Obama was in town.

The ones who went to the Old State Capitol Plaza to hear our Senator and possible next President speak were the unfortunate ones, because the Secret Service banned water bottles "because they were concerned the bottles could be used as "projectiles" and thrown at Obama, Biden and other dignitaries on stage".

Your tax dollars at work - paying cowards who would rather have people sent to the hospital rather than risk a plastic bottle full of water being thrown at them. Fifteen people left the venue in ambulances. I'm sure that if it had been McCain or Bob Barr (if he is in fact protected by the Secret Service at all) the insane stupidity would have been the same. From the local paper:

Springfield Police Deputy Chief Clay Dowis said the number of people passing out from the heat was a great concern for police. Many officers found themselves helping heat-weary people to the perimeter to cool off.

A Springfield police officer carried the sick toddler out of the plaza to get the child help for apparent heat-related illness. They helped numerous other people out to find shade and tried to get water to others.

"An awful lot of my policemen took off their policemen hats and put on their paramedics hats," Dowis said.

Secret Service agents did not allow water bottles into the staging area because they were concerned the bottles could be used as "projectiles" and thrown at Obama, Biden and other dignitaries on stage.

A public works truck was set up at the public entrance at Seventh and Washington streets to collect water bottles because agents manning the security checkpoint there were making people abandon their bottles.

Apparently, no other arrangements had been made for getting water to the crowd.

No water could be found inside the perimeter of the Old State Capitol, and few crowd members were willing to leave to go search for a cool drink.

Many of them had been waiting six to nine hours to see Obama and were unwilling to give up their viewing spots.

Police arranged for a fire hydrant at Sixth and Washington to be opened up so people could catch some of the gushing water to cool themselves off with. Many people were wetting paper towels at the portable sinks near the portable toilets and using the towels to cool down their heads and necks.

Downtown Springfield Inc. had three tables around the plaza area where they were selling water for $2. They poured cold bottled water into paper Pepsi cups to satisfy the Secret Service agents.

It was unclear Saturday why no arrangements had been+ made to make free water accessible to the thousands of visitors who crammed into the plaza area for the announcement.

St. John's Hospital spokesman Brian Reardon said about 12 people were treated there for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. A nursing supervisor at Memorial Medical Center said five people were treated also.

It's Illinois in August and people aren't allowed water. Did this type of irresponsible insanity happen at Presidential candidate speeches before 9-11? When will "my" (actually the corporations') government's disregard for the health and safety of the populace for the benefit of the elite end?

This just makes me sick. Nobody got heat exhaustion or heat stroke in the Shire at Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday party!

Update (today)

I've often said that Pat Robertson has converted more Christians to athiesm than all the athiests at slashdot combined. Likewise, Jesse Jackson should STFU if he wants Obama to be President or he'll wind up converting Obama supporters to supporting someone else. From POLITICO via Yahoo's News (News for yahoos, stiffs that mutter:)

"Barack Obama has the capacity to hit," Jackson said a breakfast panel just before the opening of the Democratic National Convention. "But he is in the situation where he can't hit back, which Jackie Robinson could not do. ... He had to be able to run the bases, even though the crowd was jeering the first African-American on the field."

I suspect that Jesse Jackson is smoking crack, or some cracker whacked him upside the head, because my developmentally disabled daughter is smarter than that. Nobody but NOBODY has jeered Jackson for being a black man playing a white man's sport (in this case the sport being politics).

Jessie Jackson is a racist, and if Obama wants to win he should disassociate himself from this mean spirited, racist asswipe.

Here's a clue, kiddies: Anybody of any color who obsesses about race is a racist.

Jackson, son of the civil rights leader, said Obama is in the same situation: "He has to keep smiling, because no one wants an angry African-American man in the White House."

First, we don't want an African-American in the white house, we want an American and we don't give a rat's ass what color or ethnicity he is. Well, nobody but racists, anyway. We give a rat's ass about whether or not the man can do the job. Sadly, IMO, none of the five candidates are fit for the office.

Second, we don't want an angy man of ANY ethnicity in the white house. Jesus Christ, the man has his finger on the nuclear trigger, for God's sake!

Jesse, put that crack pipe and Black Panther book down and actually READ that bible you carry around. Your racist rhetoric is tiresome; Jesus would not like your attitude, Reverend.

Update 8/27/8
The SJR says that "Springfield authorities now estimate 150 people were treated for heat-related illnesses after crowding onto the plaza to watch Obama and his putative Democratic running mate, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, in near-90-degree weather Saturday afternoon."

Mayor Tim Davlin, a Democrat, on Tuesday urged people not to "dwell on the negatives" of the event.

"I hate for the local press to make this such a negative thing," he said.

Davlin said people in the crowd were there "on their own free will, and they could have walked away, and I think what they decided was they'd rather take the heat than lose their position and being able to see something really historical happen."

Oops, that wikipedia entry is on Mayor Quimby. Here is Mayor Dav... hey, it's the same guy!

'nother update
It seems Wikipedia has an article about Springfield's Mayor (the 3d cartoon ciity, not the 2d one). There's a picture of him there from Saturday's... hey, isn't that Mr. Burns in the crowd? Have a close look at that photo and you'll see quite a few cartoon characters.

Update 8/28/8
There's a picture of the real Mr. Burns in today's paper.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Three ships hijacked by copyright infringers off Somalia

Thu Aug 21, 11:59 AM ET

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Three movies -- German, Iranian and Japanese -- were hijacked by copyright infringers off the Somali coast Thursday in an unprecedented series of attacks, a Music And Film Industry Association of America watchdog said.

The incidents brought to six the number of films menaced in the Gulf of Aden in the past month, said Noel Choong, head of the Kuala Lumpur-based International Movie Bureau's (IMB) copyright infringement Reporting Centre.

A German-operated film, flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, was the last to be targeted, at 0945 GMT, while the Iranian and Japanese clunkers were hijacked earlier in the day between 0200 GMT and 0300 GMT.

Choong said the attacks took place very near to each other, but he was not able to say whether the same group was responsible.

"Whether it's a different group of copyright infringers, we can't tell until an investigation is carried out. We have sent out an urgent warning to all ships travelling through the Gulf of Aden," he told AFP.

"We want to pressure the United Nations and the international community to do something about it, to take steps to stop this menace," said Choong.

"Without UN intervention, we can't do anything because Somalia has no balls."

The waters off Somalia and Nigeria are the most infringer-infested in the world, with the IMB reporting 24 attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria between April and June this year.

Of the 24 Somali attacks, 19 occurred in the Gulf of Aden off the country's north coast.

On Tuesday, a Malaysian-registered porno flick laden with palm oil and heading from Indonesia to the Dutch port of Rotterdam was also seized by copyright infringers.

Last week, a Thai western was hijacked and a week before that, a Singapore-flagged chick flick was attacked by copyright infringers who photoshopped a rocket-propelled grenade that landed on the movie but did not explode.

On July 20, copyright infringers seized the Stella Maris, a Japanese-owned bulk duplication center, and demanded a ransom from the owners.

Source: Yahoo! news

Plagairism or parody? You decide!

User Journal

Journal Journal: A Drunken Mess 2

Previously: Star and Wars

It was a nice weekend and a pleasant week. With Tami gone, the place hasn't stayed as clean, but my wallet has stayed fuller, and the toilet paper seems to last forever. My good fortune does, alas, make for boring (or nonexistant) journals.

"Can I crash at your place for a few days?"

So much for the pleasant solitude and boring journals. Ralph had gone back to the hospital, back in intensive care, and Tami, Charlie, and Linda had been fighting - again. Charlie and Linda were best of friends before Tami showed up there.

"Sure, Charlie," I sighed. "But you can't live here, OK?" Linda'd had Ralph's daughter kick Charlie out, and Charlie had just been laid off, so Charlie wasn't exactly having a good time with life right now. I was pretty sure Tami was behind it, as things had been fine until she'd moved in there.

For those of you new to these journals, Charlie's a blonde girl with blue eyes.

Charlie's been a pretty good guest - far better than Tami, who had acted as if she was my lover, only without the sex. Tami had complained of my house rules, and I complained that she didn't seem to understand the difference between having a friend crash at your place and sharing a home with your lover.

Charlie and I had been drinking buddies for quite some time, and did a little drinking during the week. I bought; since she's been laid off she owes me a bit of cash. But then again, Ralph has owed me more, and for longer.

Star called, so I made a date for Thursday. Kay called Thursday wanting me to take her out again, and I told her I'd take her out Friday because I had a date with Star Thursday. I'd taken her to eat at the Chinese restaraunt last weekend.

But I'd forgotten that Charlie and I had seen that there was a band playing at JW's Friday and made plans. Damn. Charlie was great about it, even staying away so I could be with Star, despite the fact that Charlie really dislikes hookers.

I stopped by JW's looking for Mike, my old nerd friend, so I could pay him the fifteen bucks I owe him. He wasn't there.

Mike never showed up, but as I was sipping, Linda called. "There's a band playing Saturday at the Blue Grouch," she informed me.

"Cool", I said, "there's one at JW's tomorrow night." I told her I'd see her at the bar Saturday.

"So," she asked, "what are you doing tonight?"

"I'm picking Star up after she calls," I said.

"You really like her, don't you?"

"I like her cunt," I said. We talked a minute and hung up, and Star called.

I loaned her an extra twenty bucks when I dropped her off, and she said she'd pay me Saturday. I drove home and walked up to Felber's before going back home to bed.

I kept getting woke up all night. The cat that hasn't been fixed was howling all night long, and Charlie, who I'd given a key to, had staggered in late and loud. I wondered if I would be able to stay awake long enough to see the band -- I hadn't heard any live music in quite some time.

After work the next day I went home and changed shirts. "Want to drink a little beer?" I asked Charlie.

"I can't; I have another house to clean. Can you give me a ride?"

So we drove to Ralph's for her rug shampooer, then to a dope dealer's house. Yes, dope dealers get their rugs shampooed; selling drugs is a lucrative business. Most of the pimps and dope dealers here drive refurbished and modified classic cars with fancy paint jobs. If you're in Springfield and see cars with cartoon characters painted on them, those are drug dealers and pimps. Of course, this is Springfield; the Springfield with an Alderman Simpson.

I dropped Charlie and her shampooer off and went to Felber's.

I sat down next to Jan and her boyfriend, whose name I can never remember. I got a pitcher and shared it with them. Felber's was having a drawing at eight o'clock, with a cash prize, and you had to be there to win. I had a pretty good time talking with Jan and her old man. Charlie called wanting a ride home -- until she heard me talk. She got dropped off there and told me I wasn't driving home.

"I wasn't planning to. You took too long and I drank too much."

"Can I use your car to get my shampooer?" It wouldn't fit in the trunk of the car she was dropped off in; it was a little subcompact, mine has a huge trunk. I could fit a half dozen dead hookers in it. A dozen if they were skinny little crackwhores.

"Sure," I said, "but you can drive me home, too. That is, assuming you don't get shitfaced yourself.

After the drawing I staggered down to JW's, completely forgetting to call Charlie for a ride. I bought a pitcher, drank half of it, and staggered on home, too drunk and tired to stay for the band.

I woke up early Saturday morning. Charlie had come home quietly and was asleep on the couch. I drank coffee, then drove to the bank and took fifty dollars out. I'd actually gotten home the previous night with money left! But the car was almost empty.

The phone rang as I was driving; it was Star, wanting a ride. Cool, I wanted my twenty bucks and I wanted some reefer, and she could give up some pussy, too. I drove to meet her at a convienience store, as she wasn't at home. The store was close, though. As I was driving there Tami called, wanting me to meet her at the Blue Grouch. I told her I would when Star was done with me. No sooner than I hung up and Brian called.

"Hey, man, you been staying clean?" I asked. Brian is a hard core needle junkie. He had been wealthy at one time, but now is dirt poor, unable to hold a job for long, and lost his rental properties and everything else thanks to the cocaine and heroin. He's forty, but looks more like sixty, bald on the top and front with a short gray fringe and wrinkled face. He's been in prison before.

"No, that's why I'm calling. I'm going into a two year treatment program Monday morning and I wanted to get drunk with you first."

I told him I'd pick him up, and Star was waiting at the store for me. "Can my friend ride along?" she asked.

"Who's your friend?" I asked suspiciously. "Her name is Margaret," she said.

This was odd in two respects. One was that as far as I remember, I've only known one Margaret, who everyone called Meg, the most beautiful drinking buddy I ever had. We would talk and laugh for hours; she was a bit eccentric, but then I'm not exactly normal either. She was a businesswoman who had owned some commercial property. The only thing I didn't like about Meg was that she was too damned good looking. No matter where we went, men swarmed around her like flies around a dumpster. It got so we would only drink at George Rank's, where everyone knew us, and when it closed down for good last February from the smoking ban we did our drinking at her giant house.

She moved to Florida a month or so ago, and here I was meeting a new Margaret.

The other odd thing was, if she was with Star she was almost certainly a whore, and the whores all have nicknames; Laurie (the girl who stole my car) had been known as "Peps" in Springfield, and "Odie" in Bloomington.

Margaret was a young black woman with a pretty face and a nice figure, and they wanted another twenty bucks. This would have been quite a discount indeed, even considering that Star owed me twenty; a "double date" is usually damned expensive, especially with a combination like the black Margaret and the red haired blue eyed Star. This should have set off red flags, but I get real stupid around pretty young women who let me put body parts in them.

When we were done, I went to the Grouch to meet Tami and Brian. I ordered a pitcher, opened my wallet to pay - and it was empty. "God damned whores!" I exclaimed. "God damned motherfucking worthless bitches! Fucking cunts!!"

"What's wrong?" Tami and Brian asked in unison.

"My fucking money is gone!"


"Damn, when one of 'em was sucking my dick the other one must have got in my wallet!"

Brian paid for the pitcher, and when it was done Tami left and Brian and I went to Felber's, where I could cash a check. We drank a pitcher there and went to the grocery store, where Brian bought a bunch of food, a half gallon of Evan Williams, and a thirty pack of Busch. He wasn't kidding when he said we were going to drink!

"Have you seen Amy lately?" he asked. "A few weeks ago," I said. "She dropped by for some of her things when she got out of rehab." Amy drinks way too much. She had lived with me for quite a few months last year after her previous boyfriend had thrown her out; she's my ex-girlfriend's ex-husband's daughter.

Brian had been in rehab at the same time as Amy. I'd told her that Alcoholics Anonymous would do her better; I've known quite a few drunks who had stayed sober thanks to them, but never anyone who had stayed sober after going through Triangle. The state and its budget problems has the newspapers crying about its loss, but from people I talk to it's a scam; nobody ever stays off drugs and alcohol after going through it. Hell, most of Farley's patrons have gone through Triangle multiple times.

What the whores had stolen from me Brian more than made up in food and drink, which we off at my house. On the way Linda called, and said she and Tami were at the Grouch. It, too is staggering distance from my house, but I wasn't drunk (yet) and we drove there.

The band was pretty good. Linda was all over Brian, who seemed to be annoyed by her attention. If I didn't know about the heroin I'd have thought he was gay - one of heroin's effects is loss of libido. Here the guy has absolutely nothing going for him, doesn't have any interest in sex, yet he's a chick magnet. Still, loser at love that I am I wouldn't trade places with him for anything -- I've seen him go through withdrawal, and it's not a pretty sight. If they want to keep kids off dope they ought to show commercials with junkies that have no dope.

After the second pitcher I figured I'd better go home while I could still drive. He and the girls stayed. Amy called; here Brian and I had been talking about her and she and her boyfriend were coming over.

When they got there, I rolled a joint and smoked it with her boyfriend while we had a beer.

She'd lost her taxi driving job, which is what made her go into Triangle, which she'd gone through three times last year. She had a new job, I forget where but it doesn't involve driving.

The phone rang -- it was Brian. "Man, I'm in trouble, you gotta get here before the cops show up!" Amy drove my car while I sat in the passenger seat, her man in the back. I was far too drunk to drive, and she'd only had half a beer.

"So what happened, man?" I asked when he got into the car.

"Oh man, I decked this guy."

"What?" Amy said.

"Yeah, well, I was walking out getting ready to walk on over here, and I said 'hi' to this girl, and her boyfriend went off. Him and his buddy had their fists up and they were going to kick my ass and I didn't like that idea at all, so I popped the guy three times and he went down. His buddy didn't want to fight after that!"

Brian broke out the whiskey, and I don't remember Amy leaving, nor do I remember going to bed.

When I woke up, Charlie was asleep on the couch, still wearing the same jeans and halter top she'd had on the previous morning, and Brian was passed out on the floor. He woke up as I was drinking coffee, saw Charlie, and did a double take. "Wow!" he said, "Where'd she come from?"

"Oh, that's Charlie," I said. "She's been crashing here the past few days."

"Man," he said, "I'd like to curl up with that!"

"Not a good idea, man. Not if you like your face."


"She'll rearrainge it for you. She's one tough broad."

Charlie doesn't look muscular but she is fit from doing construction work, probably the reason she's got such a nice body (even if her titties aren't very big). "I ain't no powder puff girl", she's fond of saying.

"Oh man, look at that ass! Jesus Christ what a nice ass!"

"Um," I said, "she's probably awake."

She rolled over, legs spread. "Oh shit!" Brian said, "I've gotta eat her pussy before I leave."

"Man," I said, "you like to live dangerous, don't you?"

"I need a cigarette," he said. We went for cigarettes, even though I don't smoke them. Charlie was awake when we got back, and I introduced them.

"Man," she told Brian, "you ought to thank Steve for warning you, I'da busted you up!"

He looked at me. I said "I saw her almost tear an ex-marine's head off once."

"You mean Lance?" she said.

"Yeah, that's the time" I said. "I couldn't pull her off of him, she let go when she realised Ralph's shit was going to get broken." The incident had happened in Ralph's kitchen; I'd been outside when the commotion had started, and ran in when Linda yelled to me to help.

Brian told Charlie about the whores ripping me off. "Goddamn it, Steve, how many times do I have to tell you about those fucking bitches? God damn it, they do the same fucking thing to Ralph. God DAMN it!"

We made a makeshift barbecue pit out of some bricks and a rack out of the oven, and cooked some steaks. I heated up vegetables in the microwave.

We ate and drank and drank and ate, and Brian's friend picked him up Monday morning to take him to the bus station for his trip up north.

"Dude," Charlie said after he left, "your fucking house is TRASHED! I don't think I like your friend."

I left for work.

Next: Amy Again

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