Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Tuesday, 2018.10.16
Ships may be safe in harbor, but they were never meant to stay there.


Psycho Ward – Hijacking the Hijackers

Ward Churchill, the latest mushroom to sprout from my alma mater’s1 manure heap of unintended consequences, is a model for how to milk the random moments of fame foisted upon the equally random few.

Are Churchill’s arguments right or wrong? No one seems to be getting far enough to ask that, yet it is Churchill who carries the burden of blame for this. Interjecting parallels to Nazism without extensive context taints all preceding and subsequent arguments made by the author with irrationality and crudeness. As measured with Godwin’s Law2, it can be said that Churchill’s paper attempts to vaguely (and, having read the essay, I’m being generous here) relate his arguments to Nazism but is basically seeking to be insulting and inflammatory. At this point, all prospects for rational debate and discussion related to his central thesis are effectively over.

Like a fart in a crowded elevator, its unmistakable and offends everyone with the exception of the scatologically inclined. Most people want to exit the elevator as quickly as possible, others may want to linger with the fumes and complain while an unfortunate few will have no choice but to follow the fumes all the way to work. One of the problems Churchill is struggling with is he cannot un-fart, no matter how hard he tries. (It has been great entertainment watching him try.) The stink is out there and it is his. (more…)


Back to School

I’m headed back to school. I was accepted to the Master’s Computer Information Systems program at Denver University (University College).

This has been on my private wish list (going for a Masters) for close to 10 years, but Janet’s health placed this on permanent hold. This past fall, Janet and I had a number of discussions in regards to the “crisis” of her health. She has been fighting breast cancer for over 10 years now – for most of that time it looked as if she could die within months. Well, she didn’t and even though her health isn’t the greatest at the moment, we needed to begin to find ways to have a “normal” life.

Fewer and fewer friends were asking us to dinner less and less frequently. Most of these evenings were spent talking about Janet, her health and the issues that surround her situation – the state of western medical care (usually it’s shortcomings), the politics of “alternative, complementary, integrative” care, chemotherapy – all great, important stuff. But it was all the time and I believe people grew weary of hearing about bad news. No doubt, they have their own issues which trouble them and talking about such things can seem pointless with a cancer patient at the table. (more…)


Tapioca Utopia

Odd thing happened on the way to work. I was accosted by several individuals – either smallish males or bulky females, couldn’t tell really – wearing dark aviator glasses, camel hair trench coats and wide brimmed safari style hats. They were welding fresh, extra hot lattés and threatened to douse me with them if I didn’t meet their demands.

Sizing them up, I figured I could pummel the soy foam out of the lot of them even if they were bulky females. But I thought, “Why waste a half dozen perfectly good lattés?” So, I said, “Let’s hear it. Whadayawant?”

“We need a spokesperson.”, chimed a spooky androgynous voice. “Please”, said another.

“What are you selling?”, I asked.

“Nothing. We need a spokesperson for our country.”

Twenty some years of martial arts training and a sandan rank in Aikido tuned my mind for facing all sorts of dangers – weapons, tempers, politics, Paris Hilton. But it never prepared me for this attack. Here, I was being threatened with a job.

What could I do? I did what any normal, untrained person would do. I panicked and said “Ok, sure.”

The steely cold silence that followed was refreshing.

“You chose wisely,” said spooky androgynous voice as a piece of paper was pushed at me. “Post this”, was the directive with a “Please” voiced by one of the lieutenants. “There will be more,” was the parting comment as the camel haired latté mob scattered like so many coffee beans dropped on a tile floor.

Who am I to dissuade anyone’s attempt at nation building. It’s a sport so popular, even our nation’s President has fielded his own team of nation builders. So here’s my first press release as spokesperson for the new nation of Tapioca Utopia…

Proclamation: We hereby declare the creation and existence of a new country that shall be known as Tapioca Utopia.

Location: Currently, Tapioca Utopia is positioned approximately 2,000 meters above international waters off the coast of Kauai, Hawai’i.

Flag: The Shirt Off Your Back

Currency: Tree Bark – Let it be declared that money does grow on trees.

State Religion: Atheism, or maybe Frisbeetarianism (the belief that when you die your soul goes to the top of the garage and stays there for eternity. Believers live in fear of the coming of the great god Whamo.)


  • Military buildup can only consist of things that can be purchased at an office supply store – paperclip missiles, staplers, spit wads, rubber bands, etc.
  • Red states are illegal. Blue states are illegal. All states shall be purple.

All content copyright © 1994 - Gregory Paul Engel, All Rights Reserved. The content or any portion thereof from this web site may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of Gregory Paul Engel. Queries may be sent to greg dot engel at javazen dot com.

No posts for this category or search criteria.