Archive for the ‘Pusilanimous Politics’ Category

Here in the athletic offices of The Curmudgeon, many of the office staff are engaged in sports.  It is unlikely that anyone is good enough to compete professionally, including yours truly, Crusty.  But now an event comes in which even I might compete.

The event takes place in Swaton England.   This is the sixth time the event has taken place and includes athletes from many countries, meticulously trained, of incredible strength and agility, their bodies fine-honed to perfection, the very essence of superhuman musculature, intelligence, and virility.  England and Germany are expected to draw the most attention, their fierce rivalry stretching back to World War II.  The competition?  Egg throwing.  That’s right.  Tossing the little white orbs that come from chickens and taste delicious.

Other teams represent the Dutch, Americans, and Welsh persons.  The most extreme competition involve a medieval siege machine resembling a catapult called a trebechet.  Teams launch their eggs at a human target 390ft (120m) away at speeds of 100mph (161kph).  The human target is himself an accomplished athlete, superior to other humans, Joel Hicks, the world gravy wrestling champion.  He won his title in Lancashire by overcoming his opponent in a 200-litre vat of chicken gravy.

  • The egg throwing event involves a two-person team throwing a raw egg between them as far as possible without breaking it.
  • The static egg relay involves 11-person teams passing a dozen raw eggs from person to person along a 100m route.
  • The egg target throwing event involves a human target and points are awarded for distance and accuracy.
  • The eggs shot from the trebuchet can travel at speeds of 100mph (161kph) and points are awarded for hitting a human target.

Safety is taken very seriously.  Competitors wear eye protection and an orange cape.  It’s not all just serious competition.  Proceeds go to Leukemia Research, Lincolnshire Air Ambulance and other charities.

(Some information for this story came from BBC news.)

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Here in the top secret offices of The Curmudgeon, we are constantly on the lookout for spies.  I am particularly suspicious of bugs, expecting them to be little robotic creatures equipped with cameras and recording equipment.  This is just the type of corporate espionage some of our competitors would engage in, such as the site All Stupid Things and Important Stuff Ignored.  Naturally, countries are known for spying on another, for example, Pakistan and India.

To support this accusation, India has arrested a spy from Pakistan.  Or so they say.  The spy is being held under armed guard. No one is allowed to visit the prisoner, being held in an air-conditioned room (bloody nice of them – with the heat in India and all), and probably kept in a cell.  More like a cage, really.  Appropriate, because the spy is a pigeon.

The pigeon was found by a local resident with a ring around it’s foot and a Pakistani phone number and address stamped on his body.  The Pigeon carried a message, though no note has been found.  Local pigeon fanciers said that Pakistani pigeons are easily identifiable as they look different from Indian ones.  Maybe the pigeon speaks Urdu instead of Hindi. In any case, senior officers are taking it seriously and have ordered they be updated 3 times a day.  So far, the updates say, “Pigeon still won’t talk. Just that incessant cooing.”

What I can’t comprehend is how the pigeon could go back to Pakistan and report his findings?  Unless, of course another spy – a human one – would tie another message to it to be delivered.  But that’s ridiculous.  India is a free society, with cell phones and the Internet and everything.  Surely there are better ways to communicate with Pakistan?

I’ll say this though. Things are getting desperate when a country uses carrier pigeons for spying.  I thought that went out with World War II.  But it’s not so strange to think about spying Pigeons. Iran arrested two pigeons they said were spying on a nuclear facility just in October, 2008. We all know how logical and sensible Iran is. Naturally, they accused the United States, and believe the bands around the pigeons feet are actually communication devices.  Ah ha!  Now we’re getting somewhere. Although they can’t figure out how they work, Iran is sure the bands somehow communicate with the U.S.  Sound familiar?

Very close to robotic spying bugs. Stranger things have happened.

(Some information for this story came from Breitbart.com and the London Daily Mail.)

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Battle Scene by Unknown Artist. Photo by CharlesFred on flickr

Here in the fantasy offices of The Curmudgeon, we like to dream about our new world headquarters.  I say “dream,” because we can never actually afford to build it, but then we don’t have the American taxpayers to foot the bill.  Not so for the U.S. Government, who can build a $1 Billion embassy with your money and they don’t need your permission.

The move is desirable to the people who live near the current embassy, hassled by new security measures adopted since 9/1/1.  More than 100 citizens took out a full-page ad opposing the new security measures, not to mention the ₤32 million in congestion charges and fines, which the U.S. refuses to pay, saying they are exempt.  This caused the then mayor of London to call the then Ambassador “a chiseling little crook.”  I would have thought he would say “scoundrel” or “cur” or something Dickensian.

In defense of the U.S. on the traffic fines issue, living in Manhattan shows you how the Diplomats from the United Nations scoff at the law, parking wherever they damn well please and even committing crimes of a much greater import, and they are immune to any retribution.  Nothing but a bunch of sofflaws.  So the same should apply to us when we are guests in a foreign country.

Proposed 1 Billion U.S. London embassy.

And so the embassy will move and build a giant ice-cube for $1 Billion, and that’s not counting the 17.5% VAT tax, which the U.S. also refuses to pay.  It will have a power plant, the aforementioned moat 100 feet wide, and rolling parkland that will separate the building from the main road, protecting it from would-be bombers.

A new embassy is understandable, but a moat?  What?  They are expecting maybe an attack from the Visigoths?  Riding their sturdy stallions in full fighting armor?  “Sound the alarm!  Lower the draw bridge!  Man your posts!  Prepare the boiling oil!”

Chances are if you have ever been inside of a U.S. Embassy it was on some unpleasant business.  Perhaps you lost your passport, or worse, were in some sort of trouble.  Did an Ambassador ever say to you, “Well, Mr. Smith, if you have no place to stay, perhaps you can stay in one of our visiting dignitary suites, and your attendance at the Embassy Ball is requested.  Perhaps some kayaking in the moat?  After all, you own the joint, Mr. Smith.”  No, no, I think not.  More than likely, you were treated like trash that must be tolerated.

No, the only way to go is to be an Ambassador yourself.  But where would you go?  I’ve perused the possibilities.  Definitely keep away from places like Rowanda. You could always choose a major country like Ireland, Scotland or France, but you’d actually have to work so that’s no good.  One interesting choice would be the Maldives, but as usually the case, you have to know somebody or have scratched someone’s back.  The ambassador to the Bahamas, for example, is the daughter of a Motown record executive, and she was chairwoman of Obama’s Campaign fund on the west coast.  Obama himself appointed her.

But I’ve made my choice, and coincidentally, it is the only current vacant post:  Granada.  It’s stable.  Its small.  It’s beautiful.  It’s Caribbean.  Perfect.

Now, who do I know?

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Saudi Kings Palace

Saudi Kings Palace

Here in the opulent and ostentatious office of The Curmudgeon, we are, financially speaking, well off.  This is not because of the money we make in our endeavors, but what we have made I have invested wisely.   We own one of the largest oil fields in the world and I have invested in properties both here and abroad (among other things –  possibly illegal).  And yet, I have decided to petition the United Nations for aid.

One palace's doors.

One palace's doors.

How can I do this?  Because I can.  I figure if the Saudi’s can do it, why not me?  Saudi Arabia is ruled by the royal family, the House of Saud, led by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.  There are 7000 to 25000 members of the family (depending on who you talk to) but only about 200 or so hold the power and influence.  They sit on the largest oil reserve in the world, and oil revenues go into the Saud’s…um…fanny packs?  What do they carry their money in?  Oh, it’s probably that servant with the suitcase.  Of course, that means any government expenses come from the Saud’s too, but that leaves a sizable chunk to the family, some estimate as much as 40% and up to 1 Trillion dollars, most of which is spent on opulent palaces, luxury yachts, and tricked-out private jets.

But they need the money, just like I do.  If all this “reduce dependence on oil” crap comes to fruition, think what it will do to the Saud’s income?  Why it’s un-Saudi Arabian!  “This despite an International Energy Agency report released this week showing that OPEC revenues would still increase $23 trillion between 2008 and 2030 — a fourfold increase compared to the period from 1985 to 2007 — if countries agree to significantly slash emissions and thereby cut their use of oil.” (dailystar.com., Oct. 9, 2009)

Poor dears!  Poor me!  Of course the royal family could get by on a little less, but those palaces, yachts and jets need maintenance, so they have to think ahead.

This request for Saudi aid has come during negotiations for a world agreement to reduce carbon emissions, and an “Arab

A Saudi palace interior.

A Saudi palace interior.

environmental group IndyACT and the environmental group Germanwatch released a report today accusing Saudi Arabia of blocking key elements of the negotiations. Among their tactics, the groups said, was slowing negotiations by insisting that the economic woes of oil producers be included in the text.” (ibid)

That’s just the beginning of the Saudi’s arrogance.  The palace pictured at the top had to be demolished because it was too revered, and opulence  and prayer don’t mix, so the subjects demanded it’s destruction.  A member of the Saudi Royal family agreed to an interview in Las Vegas, having consumed a few drinks: “We’ll just build another one,” said Prince Himarshi al-Saud. (The Fig Tribune, May 22, 2009)

“…wallahi we’ll build the tallest freaking palace in the world in its place.”

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Here in the friendly confines of the Curmudgeon offices, we are constantly surfing the web looking for tasty morsels to bring to you, our readers. Naturally, we love to point out foibles, inconsistencies and the outrageous, but we’re not exactly looking to throw people in jail. Not so the police who surf sites such as Facebook and Myspace looking for nefarious activities. This is necessary, I suppose, for who can tell what terrorist plots are tweeting through the Internet?

What they found instead was a song called “Kill Me a Cop,” written and produced by Antavio Johnson a few years ago when he was a teenager. Remember the uproar over rap lyrics 20 years ago? Oh, what fun times those were. Ice Cube and N.W.A. were singing “@$&% the Police” as a form of protest and Tipper Gore was talking about putting warning labels on music. So here comes a kid who wants to protest just like the big boys, albeit 15 years later.

Several years after recording it, the cops find the song on Myspace, and in it he waxes philosophic about two police officers who harassed him. In it, Johnson raps, “Im’ma kill me a cop one day.” Unfortunately, he calls the two cops by name – well, nobody ever accused rappers of being smart – and he promised that he would shoot them with a “glock” in the dome” if they ever “get my timing wrong.” The great irony is if you Google the guy’s name he is now a self-proclaimed Christian rapper.

So the cops investigate, and the result is the now 20 year-old Johnson gets two years for threatening a cop. Ok. I’m not going to discuss whether that should be a punishable offense, but two years? For a song that was never even played on the radio? This reeks of “the man” pushing down “the people.” What about all the politicians and pundits who are criticizing the current President of the United States? Are they not guilty of treason? And isn’t treason a hangable offense? Oh, no, no, you say, that’s freedom of speech. Okaaaaay. And this is…what? It is about silencing protest. It’s about denying our basic rights as defined in the Constitution. (Never mind that the kid is already in jail on cocaine charges.) It is about keeping the people down so we can serve the elite and finance their lifestyles while clamoring for a slice of bread.

You may think I am being overly dramatic, but then I say to you that you fail to see the truth. It was unfortunate that the would-be rapper did not have a lawyer and simply plead guilty. At least now publicity over his case has opened discussions, gotten him a lawyer and backing from the ACLU, and he’ll probably get an appeal and a reduced sentence.

So pay attention. The bloodless revolution is coming, and I’ll write more on that and Dropout Nation later, but two years in prison for lyrics in a song?

That’s a bad rap.

(This story was reported by the Orlando Sentinel and other leading news services.)

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Here in the dialectic but not polemical offices of The Curmudgeon, we are amused at the hubub over President Obama’s returning to England a bust of Winston Churchill. The bronze of the former British Prime Minister by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush’s tenure. Figures Bush would hold up a foreigner as his ideal.  Couldn’t he think of an American, say, oh…I don’t know…George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, or Theodore Roosevelt come to mind.  Ok, so Churchill was an amusing guy and even great in his way, but come on.

But Obama chose instead a bust of Abraham Lincoln, responding to the British offer to keep the Churchill bust with a “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Makes sense to me.  Besides, there is the little matter that during Churchill’s second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President’s grandfather. So it could be said that Churchill was complacent in the torture of Obama’s Grand Papa.  I’d have returned the thing too, a lot less decourously than he did. I would have dropped it out the window and when asked about it, said, “Whoops.”

Nothing against the British, you understand.  They are our allies.  They are our friends.  But they need to chill.  Is there a bust of an American at 10 Downing street?  I doubt it.  So listen up, my English friends.  Don’t be so gobsmacked.  Keep a stiff upper lip.  We still like you.  We’re chuffed that you offered to let us keep you admittedly valuable statue of an admittedly great man, but he’s yours–not ours–and we don’t have a place for it right now and thought you might like it back.

Police photo - After the beating.

Police photo - After the beating.

We wish you the best…and God save the Queen.

P.S. Oh, yeah. Did you get a load of that picture of Rhianna with her face all beat to hell?  I don’t cotton to men beating up women.  I’d like to beat the crap out of that no-talent, chicken-shit bastard.  Chris Brown says he’s sorry and he’s getting strength from God.  Aw, nuts.  Ain’t they always looking to God to bail them out?  What a maroon!

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