||Saturday, March 1, 2003
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Things are more like they are now than they've ever been before"
- - Dwight D. Eisenhower
ANTI-WAR SLOGAN OF THE WEEK
"Bombing For Peace Is Like Fucking For Virginity"
CARTOON OF THE WEEK:
War is just the same old shit! And for that matter, so is greed! Will mankind ever be capable of making the quantum leap necessary to wage peace? I wish my crystal ball was working, but without it, all I have is a story about mankind being stuck in a rut. The story, "A Question Of Standards" comes compliments of blog reader, Chip Commins.
Then THE BOTTOM LINE this weekend is on whose bottom line increased by the duct tape bullshit scare tactics of the Office Of Homeland Security, or should we just call it " Homeland Depot". But first, a few politically entertaining tidbits:
On March 3, Learn the Powerful Lesson of Lysistrata
"On March 3, 2003, the Lysistrata Project will present worldwide readings of Aristophanes's bawdy ancient Greek antiwar comedy Lysistrata. To date, 817 play readings are scheduled in 49 countries and in all 50 U.S. states to voice opposition to the war on Iraq; those numbers increase hourly. Readings will raise money for charities working for peace and humanitarian aid in the Middle East and elsewhere... Lysistrata tells the story of women from opposing states who unite to end a war by refusing to sleep with their men until they agree to lay down their swords. Powerless in their society, with too many of their sons and husbands being slaughtered in battle, the women take the only tactic available to them: a sex strike... The Lysistrata Project was conceived just six weeks ago by New York actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower. 'We emailed all our friends and put up a web site. The response has been enormous.'" FIND THE PERFORMANCE NEAR YOU:
"Wrap Artists to Put Terrorism Under Wraps"
(Reuters) World famous artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude announced a new project slated to begin immediately. Responding to U.S. Homeland Defense Secretary Ridge's call for artists to rally the cause through anti-terrorist art, Christo has received permission to wrap the White House in Washington D.C., using duct tape & plastic sheeting. Much like the artists' 1995 project "Wrapped Reichstag" in Berlin, "Wrapped White House" will, according to the artists' plan, seal the building and those inside. Of the project the artists said, "We are very excited to use our art making methods in the international fight against terrorists. By wrapping the White House we hope to help keep terrorism under wraps, so to speak."
THEIR WEB SITE IS:
"The Saddam & George Show"
Ignoring that shrub's puppet string pullers declined Saddam's challenge to a TV debate, Tim Dowling of the UK Guardian has envisioned what might have been. Worth a good weekend giggle.
...Bush: First of all I would just like to welcome my evil friend to the UN, one of the great American institutions for the propulsion of freedom throughout the world.
Saddam: Thank you, Great Satan. I hope that in today's debate we may find some common ground between the Iraqi people's commitment to peace and human progress and America's desire to destroy the Middle East.
Bush: Do I answer that?...
READ THE REST AT:
A QUESTION OF STANDARDS
Does the statement; "We've always done it that way" ring any bells...? The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US Railroads. Well, not actually. As in most cases with white folk, they supervised.
Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.
And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a spec and told we have always done it that way and wonder what horse's ass came up with that, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.
Now the twist to the story. When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.
The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the worlds most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a Horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important ??
THE BOTTOM LINE
By Al Kamen, Washington Post, 2/21/03
That most lamentable duct tape suggestion last week by a Homeland Security official -- which drove countless panicked citizens out to buy the product -- has been widely derided as useless and pretty crazy. But maybe not so crazy. Turns out that nearly half -- 46 percent to be precise -- of the duct tape sold in this country is manufactured by a company in Avon, Ohio. And the founder of that company, that would be Jack Kahl, gave how much to the Republican National Committee and other GOP committees in the 2000 election cycle? Would that be more than $100,000?
His son, John Kahl, who became CEO after his father stepped down shortly after the election, told CNBC last week that "we're seeing a doubling and tripling of our sales, particularly in certain metro markets and around the coasts and borders." The plant has "gone to a 24/7 operation, which is about a 40 percent increase" over this time last year, Kahl said. The company had more than $300 million in sales in 2001.
And Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge keeps pushing the product. "You may want to have a safe shelter for four or six hours," he told PBS's Jim Lehrer on Wednesday, "until . . . the chemical plume moves on." So "you may need that duct tape." Even if you don't want to suffocate in a shelter, there are myriad uses for the sticky stuff. The March Consumer Reports on Health newsletter hails a new study "indicating that simply covering warts with duct tape . . . works significantly better than the common chemical freezing therapy. "It's worth trying," the newsletter says.
Clearly not useless. And crazy? Like a fox. Wonder who manufactures all that plastic sheeting.
© Copyright 2005 Gary Rhine.