Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2021.01.15
Turn back the pages of history and see the men who have shaped the destiny of
the world. Security was never theirs, but they lived rather than existed.

		Hunter S. Thompson


Janet’s Day of Days

I wanted to write about Janet’s last few days before the memories fade like delicate colors in the sun or the edges of objects in waining daylight. This post has been in draft mode for several months, undergone numerous revisions and will likely be revised again as I remember various points.

During the week Janet was in hospice, she said on three separate occasions “I want to go.” What an incredible forward looking statement. It wasn’t “I want to die.” or “I’m ready to die.” It was “I want to go.” The day before she died, she said “I want to go before they get here.”, referring to the impending visit by some of her family and out-of-town friends.

We had made it as clear as possible last Fall that Janet was facing a battle with the grimmest odds yet. No one we had known, met or read about had survived the predicament Janet was in. A month later, our good friend Linda would die from the very same complications Janet was dealing with. Getting the idea across to family was difficult because Janet had pulled this trigger several times in the past and ended up pulling through. Almost like crying “wolf”, but not quite. My sense was the family wasn’t completely sold on the idea this was going to be a problem. Can’t say I fault them for thinking this. I certainly knew that if anyone was going to fight in face of such odds, it was going to be Janet. And she did. Nonetheless, we made the call to family that if they wanted to see Janet while she was reasonably comfortable and available, now was the time. The family answered the call and each of her brothers, some of their family and her parents made the trip to Denver. (more…)


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…)


The Righteous Left

Interesting article from an Iraqi perspective (How the Left Betrayed My Country – Iraq, by Naseer Flayih Hasan).

It strengthens my growing opinion that a fundamental problem with the Democratic party is it’s inability to connect with the pulse of a culture – including our own. I don’t mean the art circles and philosophy, rather the underlying drivers that emerge from the masses – things like pet rocks and weblogs. Not that the Republicans have the clearest insight, but they do seem to have a clearer view than the Democrats. Hence their popularity.

It also echos something I wrote about in my weblog last year:

War and Pieces

Feeling Libertarian more and more each day…


Great moments in TSA security

Unlike prior examples which had at least a shred of physical “evidence” (an air sick bag with “BOB” written on it and Arabic writing in a magazine), this one is pure fantasy with real consequences. From a March 27, 2004 AP story:

“A self-described psychic’s tip that a bomb might be on a plane prompted a search with bomb-sniffing dogs that turned up nothing suspicious, but forced the cancellation of the flight.”

Doug Perkins, a local administrator for the TSA director, had this choice quote: “But in these times, we can’t ignore anything. We want to take the appropriate measures.” When the TSA officials declined to identify the psychic who made the tip, it was undoubtedly done for security reasons – the psychic’s security, I mean, not our’s.

With such unwitting allies, it’s little wonder the terrorists seem to be winning.



Infected with Hate

[Note: Much of this article was written in the months following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2001.]

On September 11, 2001, the unthinkable became all anyone could think about. The stunning reality is that, in fact, the unthinkable had been well thought out. With a great deal of planning, a small group of humans meticulously thought through every step, solved every obstacle. They thought the unthinkable until it became the familiar.

We are left to ask what is the path that led to these events? Surely not the faith of Islam any more than beer makes a man psychologically capable of murder. It’s something much deeper within the individual that makes such heinous acts possible. Self-rightous self-loathing, a festering maggot riddled sense of self provides the fuel. The larger context, intentionally or not, provides the spark. In this case, shallow interpretations of Islam by warped minds, false prophets bent on installing their personal hallucinations on the world, provided the incubator to collect and raise an army of sick individuals. It didn’t have to be Islamism. There are a wide variety of candidates floating around the world. (more…)


Canary’s in the coal mine (in the land of democracy)

[Note: Much of this article was written in the months following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2001.]

One of the “superpower” traits of America’s government is it’s sheer size as well as the colossal power of it’s potential military punch. However, it does not possess any “superpower” qualities we like to ascribe to comic book super heroes. Rather our government is a collection of garden variety human beings, bundles of emotions teaming with conflicting desires and tangled by primal drives. Hardly the substrate for collective superpower capabilities.

The thing about bringing groups of people together, you only get superior capabilities in rare circumstances. In the case of large groups, like governmental bureaucracies, what typically results is something that functions closer to it’s least common denominator. Expecting such an organization to protect us from other smaller groups of humans with malicious goals is a bit like expecting peace of mind when enrolling your children in a daycare run by unfit parents. (more…)


Urban Scare Crow

I believe I’ve hit on a solution for the incessant door-to-door solicitations at my home. There used to be a sign on my front door that said, in bold, “NO SOLICITORS“. Except for a few self-rightious bible thumpers and the occasional butthole, the sign was honored. But someone, probably one of the more aggressive solicitors, pulled the sign down – screws and all. Frustrated after being hit three times within an hour one evening, I ordered the following placard from one of those custom on-line sign shops:

Violators will be charged a

This is taped next to the doorbell and on the inside glass of the storm door where it cannot be removed without serious damage to the door. Since posting this, there hasn’t been a single violation and summer is typically prime door-to-door sales time.

Apparently, the bastards don’t give a crap about respecting a homeowner’s wishes. But they sure as hell are sensitive to hits on their wallets.



Thoughts on the “T” Word

As reported by CNN, Education Secretary Rod Paige told a room full of governors that the nation’s largest teachers union, the NEA, is a “terrorist organization”. I’ve certainly had dark feelings in regard to positions taken by the NEA, however, terror is not one of them. This, and other abuses of the “terrorist” label, have reminded me of those odd occasions where, for what ever reason, a particular word just strikes me as goofy. I say it over and over in my head wondering just what was it about that particular word was so important. What collision of human experience created this word and where has it’s meaning gone?

The Security Theater currently showing on Pennsylvania Avenue has, it would seem, thus crippled the word “terrorist” and all it’s permutations. The abuse and over use of the word has beaten the poor critter green and white and yellow and orange and red, to a final terror alert status of black and blue.

Well, being an average bear, I thought it would be better if I explored this word in hopes of discovering what all the hoopla is about before getting left behind. What I notice is that the “terrorist” moniker is most frequently applied to people, places and things that inconvenience or irritate us from time to time. They probably always have, it’s just that now we get to vent a little extra by using the “T” word. So now to experimentation.

As an example, I’ve taken to calling my dogs “terrorists” when they misbehave. They are terriers, after all. The terrorists terriers, apart from being an excellent name for a band, don’t seem to behave any differently to my elevated rants regardless the color. They’re still terriers, just more confused than usual by my behavior.

My conclusion is that splashing “terrorist” colors around and tagging anything or anybody that gets in our puny little way as card carrying members to the “axis of evil” club is making it harder to find a solution – much harder. Nobody notices anymore. When the terrorist in sheep clothing shows up again, he’ll sneak right by because we’re too busy dealing with the “terrorist” cable guy, or the “terrorist” city counsel person, or the “terrorist” [fill in irritation here].

I certainly hope you agree with my observations. If not, well, don’t be sending me any or your terrorist objections.


Couds of War

The following recipe for stopping war within 10 days was recently sent to my attention. It required a “strong commitment of each person involved progressing exponentially to a massive scale worldwide.”

“The basis [sic] idea is one person would find 9 other persons to stop work for 10 days straight as a personal commitment to stop war and hold for peace. Those 10 persons would each commit to find 10 more persons to stop work for the next 9 days. Those 100 persons would each commit to find 10 more persons to stop work for 8 days. Those 1000 persons would each commit to find 10 more persons to stop work for 7 days. And so on multiplying by the power of 10 the total number of persons stopping work each successive day until on the 10th day the entire world would stop war and realize peace.”

Personally, my hope for peace diminishes when I see solutions like these being circulated. Is this the depth of thinking and compassion that will actually bring peace forward? I’ll leave the problems with the math alone. Mostly because I want the keep the reader. So, let’s say we have that “strong commitment of each person”. What’s going to happen? (more…)


From The More-Tears-Than-The-Oceans-Can-Hold Department

Does one really have to fret
About enlightenment?
No matter what road I travel,
I’m going home.
– Shinsho

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