Friday, January 30, 2009

Off Into the Sunset

I'll be gone 4 a bit. Meanwhile here is a picture for you to look at it if you get bored...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Sad Farewell

Staff Sgt. Roberto Andrade Jr is home. He was greeted by a military formation, an honor guard, his family, and a group of kindred spirits come to pay their respects. At 1000Hrs a nondescript charter plane pulled up, the door swung open, and the crew took loving respectful care disembarking Roberto. The waiting honor guard rendered a final salute, as the flag draped casket was lowered and funeral detail marched the Staff Sergeant’s casket to a waiting hearse. Roberto Andrade is home at last.

He is one of many who have died fighting Islamic Terrorism, the war and his death all but lost in the din and turmoil of the day. Sadly, it seems as though he will not be the last for many years to come. You are not forgotten Roberto, as little comfort that may be. Welcome home comrade, and thank you for your sacrifice.


While campaigning our first African American president promised change, particularly change in the way Washington does business, however, aside from a media event meeting with the Republican leadership things haven't changed all that much from Bush's reign. Osama bin Obama is using the same fear mongering tactic George used to get us into Iraq and push TARP through in order to rush through that big steaming helping of pork called an stimulus package.

The stimulus package, for those of you in foreign lands or glued to NASCAR on TV, is allegedly designed to jump start the economy, provide immediate job relief, and save the working class. It is a 647 page document (so far) that will, with interest because all of this money will have to be borrowed, cost US citizens and their progeny close to 1Trillion dollars. The package was crafted by the Democrats with little or no Republican input, though some tax cuts were added in hoes of luring Republicans across party lines, there has been no analysis of its impact on the economy, and in fact the vote in Congress came so rapidly there is some doubt as to whether any of our erstwhile representatives have had time to even read through the phone book sized package.

Some of the projects due to receive the money are repair of the NASA shuttle buildings, re-sodding the Capitol Mall (which was dropped as of last night), and 450M to study climate change. While studying climate change is a worthy endeavor it is hard to see how it will provide more jobs or trigger consumer spending. Another item was bringing broadband to rural areas - nothing wrong with that, but it will be some time before they'll need ditch diggers to cut the trenches for the cabling, maybe 2012 or so.

While I can understand something needs to be done about our economy quickly, rushing this pork roast through the legislature without thorough analysis isn't the best route. It isn't going to help anyone, except those on the receiving end of the funding from the stimulus package, to pass a piece of crap just so it can be made to appear as though Osama bin Obama has taken steps to alleviate the economic depression we now face.

Repealing NAFTA, withdrawal from the World Trade Organization, and establishment of reciprocal trading agreements in their place would be a good first step. Meanwhile, we have a lot of very bright economists in the US, bring them in to help craft a bi-partisan package (yeah, like that could happen) that will provide jobs now, relief for the working class, and help keep people in their homes. TARP is an abysmal failure with the beneficiaries such as Citibank actually contemplating buying a $41M jet (they finally came out and rejected the idea after the deal came to light). This is a mockery and nothing more.

As I have said before the only thing this election has accomplished is to change which party's hand is in the till.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mute Monday: Big - Supersizing Religion

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Monday begins the Year of the Ox!!!

Palm Before the Storm

The Winter rains have set in, we are due to receive rain through out the weekend and into the week. This is a good thing in that we need the water in these parts - today's rain and snow pack is tomorrow's drinking water...

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Somtimes its a good day, sometimes not so much...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Trouble With News

I am a news junkie. Perhaps this stems from having been an intel specialist in the Air Force, where tracking events in the world was my bread and butter. I love the news and check it throughout the day even now; tune in the evening news at 5 and 9 and sometimes catch Lou Dobbs on CNN (one of the few news shows that is actually relevant).

The news this week here in AZ has been floating plane, Cardinals game, American Idol (FOX NEWS). The “Miracle Landing” was news last week, the coverage was intense, the pilot proclaimed a hero and rightly so, he saved around 150 souls by his quick thinking, training, and following the emergency check list. He has exceptional aeronautical skills and should be commended for his actions, along with his crew. However, almost a week later this is no longer news, so the talking dogs on the news need to move on. The Cardinal’s victory is also news, but should be relegated to the sports segment. It’s hard to believe there is nothing important going on locally beyond some circus animals winning the Big Game. Often the Cardinal’s big victory news is followed by a canned segment showing warehouses burning in Pennsylvania, a baby left at a fire station in North Dakota on a freezing cold day. Tragedies, yes, but do they have local or National impact? No. Then the Fox people round out the news telling the viewers what Britney or her ilk have been up to this week, a sad testament to the intelligence of their viewing audience.

When I was young and we finally got TV the news was much different. The local news was just that, local, generally followed by a corporate world news broadcast. The local news wasn’t always that great, but did fix its sights on things that mattered to the residents of their area. Instead of airing all the latest Hollywood gossip, the station would present a Point-Counterpoint segment where a News person would do an editorial piece, followed by a rebuttal from a citizen with an opposing view point. It was nice to see both sides of the argument and allowed the viewer more information on which to base his or her opinion. The news shows today don’t do that as they don’t want you to have an opinion; they want you to share their view and their view only. The news has become slanted to the republican or democrat agenda and an informed educated public is a threat to that process of indoctrination. The Media has even gotten to the point where they endorse candidates - where is the objectivity in that?

Back to the Lou Dobbs show. While there is no local news presented, there is news that affects us all, and a good analysis on the part of both sides. Lou generally has a multiparty panel and allows each of the panel members to express their opinions on the subject at hand making it one of the few news shows that strives to present both sides. This allows the viewer to make an informed decision, not based on emotion, but based on facts.

I am reading a book by Neil Boortz, a Libertarian radio talk show host. He is of the opinion that not everyone should be allowed to vote, even advancing the idea that you get votes based on the amount of taxes you pay, similar to buying shares of stock in a company, with a cap of four votes. He points out that nowhere in the Constitution is there a clause that gives us the right to vote, though some state constitutions may have some provisions. His scheme is predicated on the thought that people who haven’t bothered to educate themselves on the ramifications of their choice shouldn’t be allowed to vote. After all we’re selecting the individual that will be leading the country for the next four years, a decision that should not and cannot be taken lightly or based on emotion over pragmatism

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Few Questions

Are you truly free if you depend on the government for food, money, shelter, and medical care?

Are you free if the government can monitor your communications, search your car “for their safety?”

Are you really free if laws are in place to keep you from carrying a gun?

Are you really free if the government can raid your retirement or wages you’ve worked hard for and use it to finance those who haven’t?

Is outlawing drugs, tossing offenders in jail, and interdiction the best way to stop drug crime and gangs?

Is a fence along the border the best way to stop illegal immigration?

Mute Monday: A

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Power of Power Tools

I am trying to do some woodworking -minor stuff, fixing some drawers and finishing a gate for the kitchen. Of course power tools are involved. I did have shop when I was in 7th grade, and aside from being beat up by the thugs that were doomed to the factory floor for the rest of their lives, I was traumatized by the table saw and it's relatives. Something about a whirling blade o' death and my hands in proximity to said balde makes me break a sweat. Fear sweat, not overworked sweat.

Mrs. Phos belives my woodworking goal is to rebuild some drawers, she doesn't understand my actual goal is to finish the project with all the digits and limbs I started with. With my highly developed hand to eye coordination that is a tall order. If I actually produce something beyond turning good wood into scrap I'll be amazed, if there's no blood on it I'll be thrilled.

Well, back to the buzzsaw...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cards v. Eagles

It is finally here the Big Game! My excitement isn't over the event, but the possibility that the Eagles will hammer the Cardinals and I won't have to listen to the shit anymore. Last night the AZ news was:

Plane floating in the Hudson

The plane was interesting when it happened a couple of days ago, yes it was fantastic that everyone got out of the thing alive, but after the initial report its time to move on. As far as the cardinals, I don't need to see them getting on to their plane, off their plane, arriving at their hotel, or the ticket lines at the muffin dome in Glendale. A good 3/4 of the evening news is now sports. As I generally watch the Fox Network, normally 3/4 of the evening news is a promotion for American Idol, even that has taken a back seat, beyond past winner Jordan Sparks singing the National Anthem at - wait for it - the Big Game.

Everyone was now a die hard Cards fan, well almost everyone. I do wear my Cards hat, but not as a sign of support. While back in WI I wore a Badger's hat for the U of WI game and the Badger's lost; wore a Green Bay Packers hat for the Packers game and the Packers lost. Detecting a trend here I figured if I wore a team's hat it assured their imminent demise, but as with playing the lottery, I was just fooling myself. Despite wear the hat the Cards kept winning, showing the power of steroids over Phos's bad Mojo.

Even more saddening than the crapification of the news is the number of suckers buying tickets to the game and appearing on the news going on about what big fans of the team they are, have been for life, yada, yada, yada... Nothing about the obscene profits the NFL receives, the fact that many of the players make more in a season than most of their fans will see in their lives - all for chasing a ball one day a week. Let's Make a comparison between two entertainers, because when you come down to it that is all the football players are:

Sadly it is almost as expensive these days to go watch Pongo as it is to watch Warner, though personally I find Pongo more entertaining and scalpers won't be selling circus tickets for up to $2500 a piece.

Anyway, Go Eagles!!!

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Future Car

Forget the flying car, electric car, hydrogen power, and fancy navigation gear. Top of my list for the next car is a self-washing feature. Sensors all over the car detect when the car becomes dirty and activate built in jets that rinse the dirt. Cat on the hood? Bird mistake your car for the bird shitter? No problem, the car applies a mild shock stunning the offender and you simply kick the carcass into the street the next morning. Getting even more high tech, maybe a generator that creates a strong field to repel flying insects as you drive, no more bug splats.

I hope the auto companies put some of our plundered tax dollars into self-cleaning research and don't piss it all away on trips to Japan to find out how to build cars.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Phos's Cykik Korner

I've been accused of being a psycho, but a little known fact is that I am psychic. To prove this I am boldly putting forth my predictions for '09. Will they come true? Will Phos find his place in history beside Nostradamus? Only time will tell. Here's what my Magic Eightball and I came up with:

Phos’s Predictions for 2009

- By the mid point of Obama’s term he will become a three pack a day man and be censured for handing out cartons of presidential cigarettes to a touring group of school kids

- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will survive the impeachment trial and serve several more months before being eaten by his own hair.

- Burris will be seated in the Senate as the junior senator from Illinois and do absolutely nothing. Despite his lackluster performance the people of Illinois will elect him to a second term in order to keep an African American in the senate.

- George Bush will be gored by one of his own steers enraged by tainted NAFTA beef imports. Bush will survive only to be diagnosed as delusional and will die five years later firmly convinced he is George Washington.

- Aging rocker Mick Jagger will end all his concerts by spraying the crowd with the contents of his colostomy bag.

- Daylight Savings time will be extended to the point where it is always 9 A.M. in Great Falls, Montana

- AZ Senator John McCain will introduce legislation to install revolving doors in the new fence along the Mexican border

- To save the ailing economy, the government will issue the entire middle class shovels and tell them to start digging and pay them in surplus cheese

- The entire state of California will go into foreclosure and be returned to Spain. Arnold Schwarzenegger will go back to making crappy movies in the vein of Indiana “Geriatric” Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

- Nancy Pelosi will profess her forbidden love and quit the senate to wed Oprah Winfrey. Oprah will give up on weight loss and take advantage of her size to sell advertising space on her backside.

- Ted Kennedy will live ten more years and continue on in the senate doing nothing but being a Kennedy.

- Caroline Kennedy will be selected for Clinton’s vacated senate seat and celebrate by flogging her entire domestic staff. She will serve six years and her carbon footprint will increase by 60% because of her continuous open mouth breathing and renowned flatulence

- Republican Ex-Sen. Larry Craig will be admitted to a Boise hospital with a severely dislocated shoulder caused by an unfortunate reach-around accident. He will go to his grave claiming to be straight, though an autopsy will reveal a strange assortment of foreign objects lodged in his rectum, including a coke bottle, two gerbil tails, an Idaho license plate, and three Idaho potatoes

- The US will withdraw completely from Iraq, but the country will still be the complete shithole it was before the US showed up. They will then plus up the troops in Afcrapistan, put up a banner claiming “Mission Accomplished” and depart, leaving it the same shithole it was before they got there.

- The FDA will approve Melamine milk and imports of Chinese baby formula will soar

- Arizona will remain the most ignorant state in the Union, trailing Mississippi by 50 points

- In order to save the US Dollar from freefall the Treasury Department will back each dollar with surplus government cheese creating the “Cheese Standard.”

- The last American jobs will be outsourced to Uzbekistan

- In an effort to increase mileage and lower emissions while combating the problem of obesity in America GM will come out with a car based on the one used by Fred in “The Flintsones” cartoon

-Jimmy Carter will be accidentally added to the Smithsonian’s Egypt collection after being mistaken for a mummy

- Elvis will make a brief appearance in public and then they’ll rebury him

- Europe will be annexed by Saudi Arabia bringing 731 million new Islamists into the fold

- Palestine will quit firing rockets at Israel and use them to start a space program forming the Palestinian National Institute of Space , or PNIS

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Already? Crap.

Seems as though I just shut the alarm on the clock down for the weekend and there it is going off again, somehow tuned between radio stations so I get the worst of both. I forget to tune it in, maybe just as well, it is so annoying there's no way to fall back asleep.

Looks as though we'll be sprucing up the ol' shanty, AKA The Tiny House. Might even slap a new coat of paint on her, never know. Working on some drawers for the kitchen, the cheesy ones that came with the house are falling a part, damn you Dietz-Crane (the builders of Tiny House, using the term build loosely).

A few short days and we'll have the first African American president and so far it appears that's all he has going for him. Didn't take long for the senate to slam dunk his recovery plan, even his pals in the Dem party didn't seem too impressed. Fortunately I have the commemorative plate. Ok, it's paper and it was minted by the George and Weezy Jefferson plate company. Got a certificate and everything. It ain't for eatin' off of, just for lookin' at. Got the coins too, of course they're chocolate (no pun intended) and unfortunately are starting to prove chocolate and Arizona are not a good mix. Have to move them to the freezer before they become a commemorative puddle.

Watching the John Addams miniseries DVDs I got for Christmas - I already went through the Kung Fu ones my daughter gave me - they were great, but John Addams is a bit more realistic, though I have seen a couple parts where a little crouching tiger wire fight would pick things up. I just had to look, having read the book. Still trying to figure out why Gates wanted to attack Canada, unless he wanted to start his own Hockey team.

Have A Lion in the Whitehouse in the queue, will start that one soon. It is interesting to see how our republic was formed and how far we've strayed. Of course Jackson really bent the Indians over (Trail of Tears) so he won't get a life time pass to the local casino any time soon. Seems when they wrote the All men created equal part Women, Indians and slaves weren't included. Had to appease the South to get the Declaration passed and even Washington felt the Indians were just in the way. It has been interesting to see that a lot of the political skullduggery we have today isn't new, though I didn't read about any of the founding fathers heading out to the privy to pick up guys.

There's a couple other series that I'd like to get eventually. The Revolution and Generation Kill are tow of them and I suppose it is time to get Ken Burn's The Civil War on DVD - don't know how much longer the old VHS machine is going to hold out...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mute Monday: X

Thanks Foam!!!

Drop X from the Alphabet

X is probably the most useless letter in the entire alphabet. Mute Monday is supposed to be X, and Beyond X-rays, Xavier Cougat, and 1/4 of the towns in Mexico I can't think of much exciting about X. Sure sometimes X can mark the spot, or can be contrived to show the past, such as X-girlfriend, and while I think I may have a picture of her lying around I certainly wouldn't post it. I like to use my own pictures, mainly because I enjoy taking them and showing them, but I always feel as though I am thieving if I use someone else's shots. I know I am not making anything from them, but still my conscience would bother me to no end - shocking, but I do have one. That is also the reason that though I love music but make none of my own I won't post songs. Believe me, you do not want to hear Phos try to sing. The only time I do sing is to make up songs about Mrs. Phos and annoy her with them while she is trying to fall asleep. Hey, everyone has to have a hobby!! Anyway there won't be any Mute X this Monday. I do enjoy Mute Monday but there are times I just don't feel terribly inspired, this is one of those times.

Frankly I am going through one of those "bored with life" phases this weekend. Everything is the same as last weekend and next weekend and so on. I get into the work, eat, sleep rut (I am sure we've all been there at one time or another) and just can't get motivated. If I was an artist, perhaps it could be put down as artistic temperament, but being a pogue I think it is just stasis setting in, with some notes of general laziness.

Anyway, hope you all are having a good weekend and things are running smoothly for you. In these times just having a roof over your head and some sort of job is really saying something. I should be ecstatic about the things because I have a lot going for me but need to really work at pulling my head out of my ass to realize the fact.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wanted Dead or Alive

If you come across this joker, please wrap him up and send him my way so I can beat him to death with the POS Verizon phone I just got. I would love to hear him saying "can you hear me now?" from a shallow grave in the desert somewhere. He'd make a nice buffet for the coyotes anyway - something on earth should get some use out of him. We had to swtich becasue we get our wireless ervice through our regular phone company. They switched the service they partnered with to Verizon Useless, so here we are.

I always hear about people lost in the wilderness calling on their cell for help. I have to find out who they use, I can't even make a call from the store down the block, let alone buried under six feet of avalanche snow.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I'm Not Ignoring You, Really!

I have been inordinately busy lately for some reason or another and have just now found a moment to scribble a quick note. I want to thank Troll for invite to the bible meme, but I fear I am one of the faithless souls mentioned in his post. Shocking as it may seem I may have a bible around the house, I did spot the Episcopal Prayer Book the other day, a souvenir from my last religious experience I had. It was a great church, mostly because of the great folks that filled it - each and every one was a caring individual and I have to say I enjoyed the mass. Even so what I know about the bible could fill a thimble with plenty of room left for your thumb.

Somewhere a long the line I lost faith and transitioned to being a Humanist with Buddhist overtones. Maybe it was the carnage and deprivation throughout our world. Tough to believe anyone is watching over us all after watching the news. This feeling was only exacerbated by the pompous piety and ill considered words from some allegedly religious figures I'd hear on TV. The pope was amongst these declaring the Catholic church was the only one and true church.

Having said all that I do believe there is a divine spark that unites us and everything in the universe - if one wishes to apply some name to that force, that is fine wiht me. I may well be wrong in my belief, my theological knowledge is sadly lacking, there's no way I would care to debate anyone on Christianity or any other religion, for that matter, yet I find it hard to believe that any divine entity would turn its back on those who might worship another deity or may have come before a single deity became the vogue. Tough to picture all the Romans and Greeks burning because they figured Zeus was the man, or the Norse doomed because Odin was their choice.

I in no way am making light of anyone's beliefs, having faith is a great thing and I have to admire those who possess it. As I have said previously I think religion plays an important part in providing a moral compass, in my case the religious education I had went a long way in developing my conscience. I have a fairly well developed sense of right and wrong as well as compassion for my fellow beings. I am not perfect by any means, but strive to follow the rules handed down as they apply to my place in society.

So again, my thanks to Troll, I do appreciate your offer, it is very kind. If anyone would be interested I'd encourage you to check it out. I think Troll is a fine person and enjoy his visits as well as visiting with him, so I also encourage you to visit his blog...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mute Monday: W

Where's the Style

Back when US Auto manufacturers were the big boys on the block they produced some pretty stylish cars. Too bad they forgot how.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Phos Mooning the Camera

God v. Allah

Up to 1948 the British controlled the Palestine territories when economic problems caused them to relinquish control of the area. In order to preserve peace the U.N. partitioned the region creating the Jewish state and leaving the rest of the land to the Palestinians, though the region including Bethlehem was put under international control. The Jews accepted the U.N. resolution, the Palestinians did not. Kind of understandable in that it was their territory, along with the parts they’d lost to Syria and Jordan earlier. This overview is probably pretty simplistic, but had the effect of exacerbating an already combative situation.

So now we go into a New Year with yet another bloody squabble in the region and another prime example of the dark side of organized religion. Christianity has had its dark side as well, the most recent the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the less violent Reformation. While I have always maintained faith is a great thing, and an important formative tool, creating a conscience as well as providing a moral compass, some branches of organized religion have twisted it to provide their followers a license for violence against anyone not maintaining the that sect’s doctrine - the Middle Eastern brouhaha being a prime example. The Iranian leadership has vowed to wipe Israel from the map, other Arab countries are attempting to deal with Israel in a peaceful fashion, if under the table, but the zealots aren’t; about to let that happen. Unfortunately there are zealots on both sides creating friction, whether it is Hamas or Israeli settlers grabbing land in contested areas. I’m not going to point fingers, primarily because it is tough to pick out the aggressors and victims at any given time. I am sure some people have already accepted one side or the other as being the antagonist, but I believe the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of extremist religious leaders. Instead of preaching love of all they spout hatred from their pulpits and educate the children of their followers in that hatred in order to propagate the violence to their own ends.

Until a way is found to change that culture of hatred the world will be in turmoil, innocent humans will die for no reason other than the other side doesn’t agree with their religious practices or beliefs. There seems to be no peaceful solution and violence just begets more violence and therefore presents no solution. It is going to take the rational leadership of each religion to rein in their more exuberant brethren before any kind of peace can happen and I don’t see any of that happening in the Israel/Palestine conflict. In fact it appears as there are outsiders doing their best to inflame the situation. All in all making it look as though it will be more of the same for 09.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Comes a Time...

In keeping with K9's post, I have voted Dick Clark most disturbing sight of 2009. Comes a time when it is good to pull the plug and I think Dick has passed the mark. When you consider Bondo make up and have to ask Ryan Seacrest to help out it is time to move on. He looks as though he were dead, but just hadn't been informed - that or it wasn't really Dick Clark, but a Muppet made to look like him. Toss in some of Disney's animotronics and ol' Dick could be doing Rockin' New Year's Eve 2020.

So to Dick "Zombie" Clark, goodnight and good bye, please!!!