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NEOGNOSTIKOS
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Genealogy
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Better Living through Science
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
SETI
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Iraq
Hammorabi
Sunday, 25 May 2003
Cat's Pajamas
Watching the UT women's softball team at their little world series thing. Not too compelling, but that girl who pitches for us is very cute. Cat Osterman. That's a great face. Hope she wins.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 11:41 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 24 May 2003
Boxing Week
Well, I'm in the middle of trying to get all of my possessions boxed up for a move across town. I can never believe how much crap I've collected over the years, but there's little chance of me weeding out my library by more than a handful of books. I just can't get rid of books. Or, magazines (unless I've cut them up enough for my clip-files). Plus, I keep virtualy everything I've ever written. I'll even mine and redact bits of scratch paper if I think something in them might be useful later. It's a real neurosis trying to keep the chaos of the past from disintegrating into meaninglessness. I could go further out onto this avenue with all my habits, but there's no reason to scare the neighbors, you know. Just keep it light and breezy and never mention that the only heaven is perfect knowledge.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 5:53 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 23 May 2003
You Can't Always Get What You Want
That's good news about the tax cuts. Seems the President was stopped short of his goal to help the superwealthy feather their nests. And let's be clear about it: that's all this double-taxation of dividends stuff was about. Keep the big-time contributors happy.

The President would have to go out of his way to put his loyal supporters off, but he would do well to remember that the good will that lower-income people like me have for him depends on his character and his strength of resolve against the Muslim. Cuz I'm telling you: his economic ideas leave me cold.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 8:24 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Third Stone from the Sun
I found a link to some of the new pictures of the Earth taken from Mars. It is the manifest destiny of human beings to inhabit the solar system. I hope we don't forget that in the mad dash to cut taxes for the rich.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 8:12 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Saw Some Old High School Friends at Lunch Today
A few old friends from high school and I got together today for lunch at the internationally-famous Chuy's restaurant on Barton Springs Road (it's the same Tex-Mex joint where Barbara and Jenna Bush got busted for underage drinking a while back). Anyhow, we had planned on this lunch for a while via e-mail and finally followed through on it. And well we did, for it was a success all around. I hadn't seen one of them in a dozen years and another in probably five (the third friend and I see each other pretty regularly).

Anyhow, my recommendation to any of you who has fallen out of touch with the people of your youth is that you should make it a point to see them again. Most people come in two types about their high school days: they're either very bitter and dismissive about those memories or they look back on them with a healthy nostalgia. I am decidedly in the latter camp, although my powers of recall are not so great as I would wish. But these are the people who knew you before you settled into your present persona. There's no judgements to be rendered or apologies to be made. The friends of your youth are a blessing of old age: memory-sharers, circle-finishers, reference-getters, context-knowers, etc.

I sometimes hear people say that they don't care to go to class reunions or see old pals again because the only ones they care to keep in touch with are the ones that they still do. But, even though I didn't go to my 10th or 15th class reunions, I just can't agree with that sentiment. Yes, you may have lost track of so-and-so after high school, but what was the biggest thing on your mind when that contact was lost? Getting out of town or away to college to see how the other halves lived or getting into your own thing or whatever. I know that, having spent most of the past four or five years with these people on a daily basis, I figured I'd either see them again with little effort or I'd see them again on my own terms. Well, it turns out that even in a town the size of Austin, Texas, you don't always get to see these people again. It can take years if you're not careful.

So, what's the moral of this story? Uh, it's "Don't be a stranger."


Posted by Toby Petzold at 6:26 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Thursday, 22 May 2003
Premonition
It's nothing at all to say that our country will be attacked again by Muslim terrorists; it's as predictable as the next number in a sequential recitation of multiples. But, every now and then, even the least attuned of us (viz., me) gets the idea that something wicked this way comes. Maybe it was the upgrade in the threat level or some surge in the ether, but I have a feeling that the Muslim is about to commit mass murder against us. Again.

In which case, I hope that this government and society respond with unanimity of rage and resolve. Whatever it takes to command the respect and absolute attention of the Islamofascist world, I hope that we do it ---and with the quickest, most thorough kind of violence. They do not understand any other language, so let us speak to them morning, noon, and night.

Afghanistan and Iraq are great victories, but our men and women in uniform and our leadership in Washington (and, really, we, too) must earn the peace that those victories purchased. We have to do it every day with vigilance and a willingness to respond. We are obligated now to teaching a very old dog a new trick, but one supposes that we will first have to rub his nose in the messes he makes before we can count on his cooperation.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 10:33 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Algerian Earthquake: Yet Another Imperialist American Plot
That 6.7 that rocked Algeria was likened by some of its survivors to their being bombed. Hmm. They're onto us. Obviously, we used some of our NASA-Hollywood-Microsoft-El Diablo technology and choreographed that quake to punish the locals for being Muslim. And, uh, to get their oil. Always trying to get their oil, even if they don't have any.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 8:19 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 23 May 2003 5:26 PM CDT
Wednesday, 21 May 2003
Then Again....
Well, here's another story about the Lynch rescue. What's a poor, dumb blogger to do?


Posted by Toby Petzold at 6:00 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
The Unravelling of Private Lynch
A while back, a friend and I exchanged a few e-mails on the subject of Jessica Lynch (the POW rescued from the Iraqi hospital) and how we might not have been told the full story. (Our exchange was precipitated by an observation I had made on the then-recent spate of attractive blonde teenaged girls coming back from the dead: e.g., Elizabeth Smart and Pvt. Lynch.)

Anyhow, my friend has followed up with a story confirming his original suspicions, which I had chastised him for as mere cynicism. Read this story and tell me what you think.

Re-enactments and fudge-factoring is nothing new to the American military: they're as quick to spot a Hollywood moment as anyone up or down Madison or Highland. (Douglas MacArthur directed his famous amphibious landing in the Philippines like Stanley Kubrick.) But we can at least know the truth of the matter and keep these moments in perspective.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 4:51 AM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2003 4:57 AM CDT
Plague as Tool
The Bush Administration has implemented a ban against Canadian beef on acount of a case of mad cow disease in Alberta. It is believed to be an isolated case, but you can never be too careful. Sometimes, mad cow disease is mistaken for foot-in-mouth disease, with which Canadian Prime Minister Jean-Paul Chretien is eminently familiar. Surely he won't hold Bush's caution against him, knowing that a leader's moral superiority (also) depends on a consideration of his people's physical health. We'll still have to see about the financial health of Canadian cattle men. Here in a few months. Maybe.

I see also that the SARS epidemic has been put to equal good use by our Government. By limiting the influx of people from infected countries, a perfect cover is provided, giving us longer arms with which to keep these people at a distance. Gives us more time to weigh our options. Let's have more quarantines, please. Who knows? Maybe we can fill some of the seats in our universities' science and engineering programs with native asses, now that we're working on keeping SARS from spreading to our shores.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 2:34 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2003 2:54 AM CDT
The Education of a Blogger, Continued....
I will now provide you with this fun link. But, surely there's an easier way to do this!


Posted by Toby Petzold at 1:41 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2003 2:02 AM CDT
Tuesday, 20 May 2003
Terror Alert Level Orange
Okay, so now we're back to security level Orange (which is high). With everything going on in the lands of That Peaceful But Misunderstood Religion, it seems, indeed, quite likely that something could also be afoot here. But, if you think about it, we've been spared terrorism domestically since September 11th. That's coming up on two years now. Maybe we should thank our police state-like government and all of its Constitution-circumventing right wing Nazi cowboys for doing us a good job.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 4:46 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2003 5:05 PM CDT
Monday, 19 May 2003
Cutting off Noses, Spiting Faces
There's a lot to feel sorry for the Iraqis about, but when we hear stories about them stealing crucial monitoring equipment from water treatment plants, there's nothing else to think but that they are dumbasses. What sort of black market for such machines do they imagine? They're good for one thing: monitoring the treatment of water in water treatment plants. It's pathetic.

We're glad you're happy with the outcome of the war, Mo. Now it's time for y'all to grow up and quit fucking around.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 3:11 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 18 May 2003
Hear, Hear!
I could watch the question sessions from the British House of Commons all day long. It is clearly the most entertaining program on television. Heh, heh. Just listen to all of these "honorable friends." It's really the best.

Hail Britannia!


Posted by Toby Petzold at 11:19 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Take This Cup of My Irrationality
Quaff on this, jackson: I don't want or even need to "understand" or "tolerate" Islam or any of its psychopathic offshoots. You might think that's a necessity for a thoughtful person, as I presume myself to be, but no way. Any belief system that could even be misconstrued into what you see before us today is one not worth reasoning with, but one worth crushing. Cut its throat, drain it off and pump it full of formaldehyde, and stick it under glass and charge the tourists, but don't let it continue to fester and infect the whole world.

It comes down to making a judgement: holding one thing above another. Of course, it's a distasteful attitude to take when the guiding principle for Leftists and the masses of the ignorant is to not judge certain things superior or inferior, but to accept the beliefs of others on their own terms. Well, that's the conduct of a polite dinner guest or partygoer, not the course of a spiritual or political person declared to be independent or constituted of real human rights and liberties.

I don't bend my knee to the east or lie prostrate on the ground in worship of some ancient desert marauder and his imaginings. I don't live my life by the nonsensical gibberish and xenophobic bile found in some holy book. I don't treat women like garbage or hide them in veils or cut out their clitorises. The golden age of Islam is a far distant memory. The only thing its adherents now should undertake is to make of their worship what the great majority of Christians and Jews have made of theirs, which is to secularize it into a harmless idolatry. We can't have these beliefs in monotheism merge entirely into our political lives. Modern man cannot stand a theocratic state; it is anathema to the rights of the individual.

I haven't known many Muslims in my time. Maybe I should be ashamed to think so little of their religion and to heap the easiest-going Shiite together with the most psychopathic Wahhabist, but it's clear that their common denominator is a real problem. Islam was founded by military men and forced upon the world at the point of a blade. There is a savagery inherent in their beliefs that no amount of protesting to the contrary is going to ameliorate. It may some day be difficult and embarrassing for me to face a Muslim in light of my beliefs and explain my intolerance and irrationality, but I can't pretend that Islam is a peaceful and progressive religion if I know it is not.

If it takes a hundred years and the blood of tens of millions, it will not lessen the pain and suffering of those whose experience and sacrifice it was, but, in the end, the Earth cannot abide the expansion of such a regressive belief system. Let the fire of war burn it away. Let the arts of propaganda confuse it into the ground. Let the market buy and sell it. But don't let it continue to sicken and metastasize.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 8:28 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2003 1:52 AM CDT
Saturday, 17 May 2003
The Old Feigned-Knowledge-of-US-Treasury-Anti-Counterfeiting-Measures Ploy
On my way home from work last night, I stopped by a grocery store to pick up a few items. With my shopping done, the check-out counter I picked was ideal: the line consisted of only a pair of really pretty blonde-haired college-aged girls with just (it appeared) a few items left to be checked out. I didn't realize, of course, that they had bought so much crap that the cashier was running ragged trying to scan and also bag all of it to keep his counter from stacking up. The poor guy was starting to run out of gas. I wasn't really in any hurry, as I was fully enjoying the sight of these very well-designed young ladies, so it took me longer than usual to slip into my slightly-annoyed-with-our-progress-here mode.

However, slip I did. Not really all that much, but I was interested in seeing their huge purchase be completed and moved out of my way. After all, these girls' perfect faces and sleek, manhandlable little bodies with long, luxurious, tuggable heads of hair weren't doing me any good. So, when the shorter of the two little chick-a-dees hands over her money to the poor cashier guy, my heart sank as he began to study ---really study--- the $100 bill she had given him. For a good minute, he held it up to the light and in different positions and, finally, told my imaginary lover (is "object of my erection" too crass?) that the bill was a phoney.

"Please don't be telling me that. I just got that from my bank this morning."

At this point, I butted in and asked the cashier if he was looking for the security thread. He nodded, then got on the horn and called out for his manager.

I noticed from a distance that the bill was pre-1996 (the year of the great makeover) and so I asked the girl what year was printed on the bill.

"Nineteen seventy-five."

At that, and without any good reason (other than to appear knowledgeable to this exquisite pair of Tootsie Roll Pops), I casually offered up AN ABSOLUTE LIE:

"Nineteen seventy-five? They didn't start putting security threads into hundreds until the Carter Administration."

Just like that. As matter-of-factly as giving my name, rank, and serial number. I said it with such ease and conviction that the poor cashier's manager, who had shown up to help, nodded his assent. "Yeah, that's a good bill."

"You're so smart," the one girl said to me. I just shrugged, making sure not to make eye contact with my conscience, who was gazing at me with a contempt for balls.

"THE CARTER ADMINISTRATION?! Where the fuck did you get the Carter Administration?"

Anyhow, by the time I had finished up with my own business and was on my way to my car, it started to occur to me that I might just have facilitated a major theft. Then again, I was even more certain that I had done something to move things along and prevent a whole bunch of register-voiding on my time. Still, the whole way home, there was but one question on my mind:

"When did they start putting security threads in our hundreds?"


Posted by Toby Petzold at 5:18 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 16 May 2003
Bless Your Heart, Mrs. Cash
I didn't know that June Carter Cash had co-written "Ring of Fire," which is one of the all-time best songs ever. Who could ever truly be said to have died who had played some hand in that?

I don't know how long it's been out, but Mrs. Cash appears along with Johnny in that incredible video for his song "Hurt." I'm sure Country Music Television (CMT) will have it in rotation for a while yet. The first time I saw it (heard it), I was woefully unprepared for the impact. It is absolute genius. And I cried big, manful tears for such beauty. Be sure to catch it, if you can, and realize what he's singing to you. It is devastating.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 10:58 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Heroes? Get the Hell Out of Here!
You know, I actually know a few of those derelict state reps from my time as an "operative" with the Texas Democratic Party: Richard Raymond, Eddie Rodriguez, Pete Gallegos, et al. One of my brothers went to high school with Jimmy Dunnam there in Waco. They're personally likeable, but that don't pay the bills. People aren't going to look at what they've done with the proper dispassion; it's too much an act of political disobedience with too much of [local Texas flavor] to be seen for what it was, which was an infantile outburst against a whole new partisan paradigm in the Lone Star state. They didn't solve shit; they postponed it. They didn't make friends; they alienated the opposition in ways they haven't thought of yet. Oh, and Tom De Lay? That old bug exterminator's got a hard-on for every one of you foot-draggers.

By the way, I watched a little of the coverage of that welcome rally down at the Capitol today. If you look real carefully at the very farthest point on the perimeter from the Heroes of Ardmore, you can see old Lloyd Doggett a'clappin' an' a'grinnin'. What were you holding back so far for, Lloyd? Your fellow-titty babies wrecked this session for YOU. So that YOU won't lose Mr. Pickle's seat.

(If he ever came up to the front for a photo op, can someone tell me here? Drop me a line in the comments link, if you will.)


Posted by Toby Petzold at 10:41 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 15 May 2003
The Mets Have Won the Pennant! The Mets Have Won the Pennant!
Man, did I ever enjoy watching the Spurs beat the Lakers! And there at Staples Center ---right in Jack Nicholson's fucking face!!! Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!

Anyway, you gotta love Popovich and the Admiral and Duncan and all those guys. They've got more class than pro teams are supposed to have.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 10:01 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Robert Stack, RIP
One of my all-time favorite voices has been silenced with the passing of actor Robert Stack. His performance in Airplane! is a work of comedic genius.

I thought about sending his family a card, but ---no.

That's just what they'll be expecting me to do....


Posted by Toby Petzold at 9:51 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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