Monday, September 24, 2007

Random Flickr-Blogging: img_2582

Originally uploaded by neaton.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
The Scandinavians, usually so stoic, shocked the world with their defiant solidarity.

Originally uploaded by Patcave.
"While your experience with the Justice League of America is impressive, Ms. -- um -- Woman, I'm sorry to tell you that -- unfortunately -- it doesn't qualify you to replace Alberto Gonzalez at the Department of Justice."

Originally uploaded by Prairie Ranger.
Dear Mr. Knievel,

Thank you for your inquiry. We have determined that -- although you are airborne, and although your engine is running -- your activities do not at this time meet FAA criteria to be classified as powered flight, and as such, are not governed by federal aviation regulations.


The Federal Aviation Administration

Originally uploaded by schnitz210377.
"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen; it's been my pleasure to play for you for the last three hours. For my encore, I'd like to play my special 20-minute version of Mission of Burma's That's When I Reach For My Revolver."

Then someone did just that.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_1237

Originally uploaded by uniqazngrl.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
Concerned about the spread of capitalist/imperialist consumerism among China's youth, officials have begun an intense early-childhood program of aversion therapy.

Originally uploaded by gbell.
"All right, Michelangelo, so it's not the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; let's see you put that liberal arts degree to work anyway and start paintin'. Kickoff is in forty-five minutes."

Originally uploaded by matlesh1.
Occasionally people were caught off guard by the child's salty vocabulary.

Originally uploaded by AJandSam.
"Yes, I know Jack Welch has expensive tastes, but in this case, a reasonably faithful copy would have been sufficient. Please return this to the British Museum at once."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_3701

Originally uploaded by EpyonZero.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
She swore off participating in focus groups after the Metamucil Pepsiā„¢ marketing study.

Originally uploaded by di5308.
"Now I just need a Taliban flag, an Al Qaeda flag, and a Khmer Rouge flag, and my collection will be complete."

Originally uploaded by Tuz.
"Where?...Really?...John Waters?...C'mon, guys, quit kidding around."

Originally uploaded by Margine Dana, Razvan
& Kevin
The last known photo of Timmy's head, just before tragedy struck.

Friday, September 07, 2007

How I Learned to Start Worrying...

With the Prezdint invoking images of nuclear holocaust and B-52s with nuclear warheads flying overhead, this might be the week to dig up the film Dr. Strangelove (full title: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) and watch it, especially if you've never seen it, and maybe even if you have.

The dark humor of this film was at least partly derived from the possibility that the plot's bizarre scenario could actually play out in reality.  For anyone who hasn't seen it, a B-52 with a nuclear warhead is sent on its mission, when the zany (but plausible) sequence of events brings the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to the brink, and can't be called back.  The context back then was that Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D., doncha love it?) was the policy of the time.  Except for the fictitious "Doomsday Machine", everything referenced in the film, from the B-52s to the "red phone" and the drunken, bellicose Soviet Premier, was part of our Cold War reality.I was not just a Cold War kid by virtue of age; we lived in Dayton, Ohio, when nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was a major operations and R&D center for the Strategic Air Command.  It seemed like there were always military aircraft overhead, and the occasional sonic boom, far from being an annoyance, was an exciting reminder that we were only fifteen years into the supersonic age.  Although the evidence suggests that some of those planes overhead had nuclear weapons aboard, if anything, it was supposed to make us feel safer; the normalization of insane concepts like MAD was a primary feature of Cold War living, just like the acceptance today that the risk of a terrorist attack far outweighs any other concern.

From the AP:

According to the officials, the weapons are designed with multiple safety features that ensure the warheads don't accidentally detonate.  Arming the weapons requires a number of stringent protocols and authentication codes that must be followed for detonation.
From the cockpit of the rogue B-52, you see the frozen Arctic landscape screaming by at 500 mph, only 50 feet below (to avoid Soviet radar), as the crew goes through the checklist of decoding their orders, going through it again when they realize it's an order to drop The Big One on a Russian city.

Major T.J. "King" Kong, pilot/mission commander (played by Slim Pickens):  "Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones. You sure you got today's codes?"

From the AP:

"Nothing like this has ever been reported before and we have been assured for decades that it was impossible," said [Ed] Markey, D-Mass., co-chair of the House task force on nonproliferation.
From the film:

President Merkin Muffley:  "General Turgidson! When you instituted the human reliability tests, you *assured* me there was *no* possibility of such a thing *ever* occurring!"

General "Buck" Turgidson: "Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."

Meanwhile, back in the cockpit...

Slim Pickens as Major "King" Kong again:  "Well, boys, I reckon this is it - nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies."

Of course, by the time the situation in Moscow and D.C. is defused, the equipment on which they would have received their callback order has been rendered inoperable by anti-aircraft missiles...

Nowadays there would be some interesting parallels between the characters in our own American tragicomedy of the last few years and the film's characters -- several of whom were played by Peter Sellers, including Dr. Strangelove (who will remind many of Donald Rumsfeld) and the president (who, because he is the voice of reason in the film, should not remind anyone of someone, if you know what I mean).

"I am a Republican. I am a conservative. But I'm not a raging lunatic. This is lunatic."
--Anonymous (for obvious reasons) neocon think tank operative, on Cheney's orders to prepare a PR blitz for invading Iran; as reported by George Packer.

Dr. Strangelove's plot pits the NARL's (Not A Raging Lunatic - HT to Tom at If I Ran The Zoo) against the RL's in a way that should send chills of recognition up any thinking American's spine.

Rent Dr. Strangelove and see it before you wake up one of these mornings to find we're living it.  The propaganda runup to war with Iran starts this week.

[cross-posted at If I Ran The Zoo]

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Random Flickr-Blogging: img_4159

Today's question: If a Republican senator taps his foot in the adjacent stall, what does it mean?

Originally uploaded by jandallada.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
"He wants to discuss immigration policy."

Originally uploaded by chuqui.
"It means he's got a banana for you."

Originally uploaded by benjy.stanton.
"He's just trying to score some weed, man."

Originally uploaded by EmmaJG.
"I think it means he wants to give you a bone."

Originally uploaded by L mo.
"He wants you to reach into his pocket."

Originally uploaded by rdflloyd.
"Isn't it obvious, dear? He's run out of toilet paper, and he needs to borrow some of yours."
[Cross-posted at If I Ran The Zoo.]