Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Archaic Words

Okay, so I finished my book- "The Secrets Of The German War Office" by Armgaard Karl Graves, and save for the last few chapters it wasn't bad. Clearly the author was smitten with all things German (although he was Scottish), and as this was published at the outbreak of WWI, his predictions were laughably amiss. The bullshit factor and factual inaccuracy level was pretty high, but I think the "meat and potatoes" part of this tome were the stories he told that were detailed enough to be plausible. I'm inclined to think that he told the truth about a secret meeting of heads of state from the UK (Haldane, and Churchill), Germany (Wachter, and Kaiser Wilhelm) and Austria (von Auffenberg) at Taunus Hills in Schlangenbad. I'm inclined to believe this for a number of reasons, not limited to the fact that it would have been logistically possible, the relations between France and the UK were not as solid as outward diplomatic appearances would have suggested, it would seem consistent with the authors mysterious release from prison, and that this is one boast that he buttresses with physical evidence.

But that's not what I'm posting about.

The copy I have is the 6th printing (it was a minor phenomonon* at the time) and I was struck at the number of words used that I couldn't extemporaneously define. I submit the following (the links provide definitions- and if I've snarfed up any of the links, please let me know):

Acme - yes, really- not like on the Road Runner cartoons.
Appanage - not appendage
Parley- if you saw Pirates of the Caribbean, you're probably right on this one.

He was fond of using French terms and I never studied French, but I knew these: bon vivant, mondaines, gendarmes, and qui vive. I also knew that Albion is the ancient name for England, but I didn't know that Basutoland was the former name of Lesotho, and that Touareg (like the Volkswagen SUV) or Tuareg is the name of a group of Saharan Berbers. I can't imagine a VW Touareg being all that useful in the Sahara...

So, these are my newest words, and I'll try to drop them in often enough to befuddle the mouth-breathers with whom I invariably must converse. Incidentally, this book while surely out of print, is also apparently out of copyright, and is available online as a PDF file if you would like to read it- get it here (and that Project Gutenberg is some seriously cool shit.)

* See this


Monday, July 30, 2007

Quickie Post - What Are You Worth?

CurtMac sent me this and it made me laugh. It's so damned wrong- it said I was worth $5900 (which is a ridiculous overcalulation). I'm consumed with interest in an old WWI book, and am keeping a list of all the words I find within it that I've had to look up. I know that many times you can deduce the meaning to a fair degree from the context, but I figure if I can't tell the chillun's what a word means in a manner that they'd understand, then I really don't know the definition. I mean- I can tell them what "antidisestablishmentarianism" means...

Anyway, another couple hundred pages and I ought to have an interesting post (yeah, for a change).


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Not So Fresh Feet

Okay, so I'm a bit of a clean freak and my particular hangup is smells- I don't like them, and don't want to have a smell of any kind. Schmoopie knows this and whenever she wants to freak me out, she merely has to hint that I have the beginnings of a smell and I'm showering with bleach and boiling myself a new outfit. Well, okay- that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.

Into this neurosis, add three dogs. Fun, charismatic, filthy, dogs. The other day, Sal, the moose of a chocolate lab, comes over and sits on my bare foot. Right on it. At first, I noticed how warm it was under his ass. Then I began to wonder if he wasn't using the top of my foot as hairy toilet paper. He soon got up to go do something or another and the next dog that passed in front of me starting intently sniffing the top of my foot.

Damn it! Time to boil my feet.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And I Thought I Was A True Romantic...


I Love The Internet Crazies

Seriously, who couldn't learn from this guy. It's like listening to the mentally disturbed street people, but without the smells.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Say Howdy To El Diablo!

So, this is a story from the last week at home, dealing with my afflicted missus, Schmoopie The whole Harry Potter thing was going on last week, you see, and while I'm willing to watch the movies, I don't have the whole rabies thing about it. I think Schmoopie took advantage of my forgetful nature, and just made plans that included me going to a 10PM showing of the first Harry movie with new (7th) book distribution at the end. I don't remember being asked or agreeing to this sort of thing, but she assures me I was and did. So very well, I like hanging out with them, even when they are too hopped up in some frenzied book release to notice me. But this story actually begins the day before that.

I have some kind of peculiar or de-tuned charm for finding really weird shit on the Internet. J says I find "every pothole on the information superhighway". It's been said worse. So, I normally use (abuse) this skill/talent/whatever to look for really freaky porn (disclosure: I am male, and this is as natural as breathing. If porn upsets you- please try and relax, or at least don't click the last link in this entry.) But as fate would have it, I came across a PDF file of the whole new Harry Potter book, so I downloaded it. Schmoopie will be happy, I'm thinking to myself, and I like to do nice things to, er... for her. So I head upstairs to tell her what I've found, and it's more than one day before the release. She's just gotten out of the shower and is finished dressing (damn it) and I tell her that I'm about to make her happy. She thinks it's a vulgar come on (does she know me, or what?) and I tell her that I have the Harry book.

She looks at me as though I have killed a puppy. No shit. Now, for background here- we've pre-ordered and paid for two copies at full retail- we're not shorting Ms. Rowling on this deal. But no- she looks at me with wounded eyes and says- "you're the devil!"

Yup. Stucco. El Diablo. Mephisto. Big Lou Cipher. Judas. Satan. Howdy!

To say I was surprised is an understatement. Then a transformation happened. After accusing me of being the devil, she began lecturing me about how the experience was all about "cracking the spine" and holding a book, etc. This lasted almost a minute. Then she began asking how I got it and wanted to know details about what I had. I'm still stunned, mind you, but I answer her questions as we go downstairs. I sit down at my computer and within another minute, she is asking where the PDF file is. The next minute, she starts reading and my widowerhood begins, only to pause long enough for her to email Pants that she'd gotten a copy and had started reading. Not 10 minutes later the phone rang- it was Pants demanding a copy...

By the time the movie and book deal rolls around, she's forgotten all about calling me the devil, and is happily shuffling me off to her nerd event (and is 250+ pages into the book, courtesy of the PDF). If I'm still a devil in her mind, it may be more like this:

So, the lessons learned:

1.) If you try to do something nice for someone, be prepared for grief.
2.) Book embargo dates are really stupid.
3.) If I were the devil, I think I'd find that sort of work to be pretty easy. Once people get over their righteous indignation performances, they seem happy enough to break rules and do what feels good/naughty/whatever.

And this NSFW (Not Suitable For Work) little gem cropped up while I was looking for a devil image, and I really appreciate this sort of thing...

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Friday, July 20, 2007


Yes, not everything on my mind is political or angsty. These are supposed to be 200 bad comics, but they are actually pretty damned good. Better than that Ziggy or Family Circus bullshit.


I'm Freaking Out

Maybe I shouldn't be, but I'm freaking out over gray hair. On my head, okay- I can deal with that. My whiskers too. I should be thankful I'm not balding I guess. What's freaking me out are the gray nose hairs, leg hairs, and, umm... Well, use your imagination.



Thursday, July 19, 2007

"You're a no-good dumbo nothing" - The Late, Great, Douglas Adams

Meet the Honorable Senator Patty Murray, from my home state of Washington. I read that she is inexplicably one of the many(!) remaining Senate Democrats that is not yet supporting bill S.185, the restoration of FUCKING HABEUS CORPUS (that should have been the name of the bill). I emailed her with my my passionate - polite and respectful- feelings on the matter. I'm not ruling out the possibility that there is a valid reason to not support this critically important un-fucking of the rule of law. Here is the reply:

Dear Mr. [Stucco} :

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the use of

Let me be clear, I have strongly supported giving our military and
intelligence agencies the tools they need to protect our nation. To
defend our country and our liberties, we must find information from
those who seek to do us harm.

As you may know, in December 2005, Congress approved the Fiscal Year
2006 Omnibus Appropriations bi ll which included the Detainee Treatment
Act that clarified American policies against the cruel, inhumane and
degrading treatment of detainees. These provisions prohibited inhumane
treatment and limited the use of certain interrogation techniques on
detai nees at security facilities like the one operated at Guantanamo
Bay , Cuba . When President Bush signed the bill into law, he issued a
statement that as President and Commander-in-Chief he would only follow
the law insofar as it did not restrict his power t o treat detainees as
he saw fit, with very limited court review.

In June 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that
President Bush's policy of trying detainees at Guantanamo Bay using
so-called "military commissions" was not authorized by existing law and,
partly because they allowed evidence obtained through torture, did not
comply with the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions are a
fundamental part of the laws of war and protect our nation's troops

As a result of thi s decision, Congress had to act. In September 2006,
Congress addressed this issue and the Senate took up S. 3930, the
Military Commissions Act. This legislation set new
Congressionally-authorized rules for trying unlawful enemy combatants by
amending the Uniform Code of Military Justice and federal criminal law.

While S. 3930 specifically barred cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment
or punishment of enemy combatants or detainees, the actual changes to
the War Crimes Act only include a new definition that is so vague that
some cruel and extreme interrogation techn iques may still be permitted.
S. 3930 also stripped American courts of the power to consider whether
the President properly tried detainees, allowed the President to
unilaterally interpret the meaning of the Geneva Conventions, and
declared that the Genev a Conventions were no longer a source of rights
under the law. It also effectively allowed the President to detain enemy
combatants not held at Guantanamo Bay outside the law.

Though legislation was certainly necessary after the Hamdan decision,
this p olitically motivated bill failed to honor the commitments to
basic moral values and international law that underpin our identity as
Americans. That is why I voted against it. Practically speaking, S.
3930, may not meet the standards set by the Supreme Co urt in its Hamdan
decision and as a result may be ruled unconstitutional. And as a matter
of principle, by failing to adhere to the fundamental tenets of the
Geneva Conventions, I am concerned that the U.S. will alienate our
allies and, more importantly, endanger American troops, leaving troops
captured abroad without the most basic protections the Geneva
Conventions provide.

Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind if this issue
should be brought up during the 110th Congress . Thank you again for
contacting me and please keep in touch.

I hope all is well in Seattle .

That's the whole of it, save for the typo's I've fixed (I know I make typo's on Blogger because the spell check is dodgy on my Mac, but DAMN, who can manage a spell check from an email client?). So there's the laser-focused-hyper-accurate reply from the Senator. Here is my reply:


Do you need to be a galloping dipshit to get into Congress, or does being there make you one? Holy crap, pay a little goddamned attention! (I feel a bout of Tourette's coming on here...) Fuck! And it's not even the Senator that was behind this I'm sure- I know the drill, they have staffers that, in the case of male Congressmen, are Hooters girls polished up for the rotunda, and are probably not known for pressing charges when the Honorable Gentlemen press themselves inappropriately upon thier feminine features, or in the case of female Congresspersons, "causes" or "the indebted"- people who are for one reason or another unable to find something better to do. It was surely a minion that read my email, chose the nearest pat reply (people go missing without Habeus Corpus, and they also go missing and Guantanamo Bay- a match!) and replied, and then deleted my email without bringing it to the Senators attention.

Incidentally, I replied to the email, using the "reply" button in my Outlook and that uses whatever the sender has specified as the appropriate address for response- in this case "senator@murray.senate.gov. No where in the email did it say that this address was invalid, but it is. The only way to email a Senator, is to use the online Web based email form (unless your Senator has made other arrangements). How can I trust these idiots to pass sensible laws about technology when THEY HAVEN'T EVEN FIGURED OUT FUCKING EMAIL? Dear lord- I thought Sentator Ted "The Internet is a bunch of TUBES!" Stevens R-AK (and senile as the day is long) was the odd man out in this crowd...

I'd run against these damned people in a New York Minute if it weren't for all the unsavory bones in my closet, and my tendency to cuss like a wounded sailor.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

File Under: Lost Rights

From the New York Times (the link is via Truthout.org, since the NYT requires login bullshit)

In San Diego, poor people who want public benefits must give up their privacy. Investigators from the district attorney's office there make unannounced visits to the homes of people applying for welfare, poking around in garbage cans, medicine chests and laundry baskets.

Applicants are not required to let the investigators in. But they get no money if they refuse.

Lawyers who have sued on behalf of the applicants say that being poor should not mean having to give up the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable government searches. So far, the courts have disagreed, saying that rooting out welfare fraud justifies the searches, but not without drawing some fierce dissents.


I'm only mentioning this, so in the future should you get cancer or something from the oh-so-healthy envirnoment, you'll be prepared for when the State inspector comes over unannounced to your home (if you have one then) to check up on your life and habits, you'll be prepared. Now that you may have already had your right to vote taken away, I thought you might like to know about this.

I really liked the Bill of Rights when it was around. Was? Papieren? Ich habe keine Papieren! Heil Dubya!

* For the Record, they were the first 10 Amendments to the Consititution, and they read like this:
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Vulgarity Of Vogue

This set me off.

Those of you who know me in "real life" know that I am a student of WWI history and have a daunting library of books that I continue to collect and slowly read. This post isn't about why I study- this post is about the crass and shallow way in which history is handled in this culture. The above picture started making the rounds today as is often the case in the ever-so-short-attention-spanned-instant-gratification-something-for-nothing Internet of today. It is an artists work- there was no such thing as color photography in the period. Someone felt the need to make it "real" by coloring it. It still isn't as vivid or jarring as the video games of today, and that is the point. Look at what we require to get our collective attention these days.

Where are we as a culture that this should be the case?

There are a series of these photos taken from Passchendaele (or the Third Battle of Yper). Goddamned miserable nasty awful slog that consumed men by the hundred thousands. It was a battle with a fools plan (maybe you can relate a little), and lasted longer than even a cynic would have expected (again- familiar?). All the Yper campaigns there considered, there could be the blood of over a million young men in that field, and that's not good enough. It's not usually taught, so no one from public schools have heard of it, and it's not grotesque enough to captivate the blood lust of today's youth. Meanwhile the Army makes video games that teach and de-sensitize killing. I'm worried for my children and disappointed in (and increasingly afraid of) my fellow countrymen.

Update- I stand corrected on the existence of color photography in the WWI era. Thanks Hammer!

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Friday, July 13, 2007

What Do You Really Know?

So, imagine you get sent back in time. Do you actually know anything useful? Those people won't care how to set the page layout in a word processor. Try this quiz, and see if you'd help the cause. I missed one.

Monday, July 09, 2007

For The General

List 5 bands(/artists) that you like and why:

1.) Van Morrison. This is my "stranded on a deserted island" choice. The dude has a long history of turning out really fantastic work and his lyrics can be remarkably revealing of his unguarded soul. It's clear that he's been searching for a very long time, and maybe he's warming to the idea that the searching is as significant as knowing the answers.

2.) Miles Davis. Kind of Blue. If this doesn't touch some part of your soul, you may not have one. Plus, Modal Jazz? Brilliant. My buddy Eddie name his son after Miles. My long lost buddy Don once said that his life would have been complete if only Miles Davis had told him to "fuck off, white boy".

3.) Yes. No, not the pop iteration of later years. Yes, as in Close to the Edge- back in their progressive rock halcyon days. I've always liked progressive rock, which has limited exposure. Most folks have heard Rush, or Yes, and maybe ELP, but no one has heard of Triumvirat. Pity.

4.) Public Enemy. Seriously. I held such high hopes for rap in those early days, and PE is still the high-water-mark for the form. I still think that the potential is there, and I guess we'll all have to wait for a retro period. In the meantime, this is goddamned hysterical:

5.) Frank Zappa. Wonderful lyrics and interesting arrangements. I wish he was still with us. Sadly, he is remembered for Valley Girl.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

8 Thingies

Having been tagged, I submit:

1.) I believe I was supposed to be dead by now. I'm thankful to be here.
2.) I took a Viagra and nothing happened. I mean Schmoopie indulged me in my filthy depraved endeavors all over her, but no spontaneous, bigger, more intimidating, 4-hour long lasting, or otherwise remarkable wood experiences happened. I didn't check the "output" fluid- not my thing, but I knew a guy who was obsessed with his.
3.) My Ego is probably well out of check. I tend to think I am smarter than damned near everyone else. It may be true, but I can't help but thinking that this mindset is unhealthy.
4.) I always match my boxers to my shirt, and my shoes with my belt. Schmoopie says I have latent homosexual tendencies. Whatever.
5.) I REALLY suck at games, perhaps because of the tremendous guilt I feel after playing games over the time wasted.
6.) I've stolen things. Not in some time, but under similar circumstances I would again. It all started when I'd been accused and interrogated about the theft of some things in which I had no part. After that treatment it seemed appealing. I worked with a guy who STOLE HIS FUCKING COMPUTER, DESK AND CHAIR! Amazing.
7.) I consider "obsessed" a pejorative term, used by jealous people, to describe my feelings on the subject of pornography.
8.) I fear that all those years of drinking gallons upon gallons of Diet Coke will still beget medical problems in my future. That shit is highly addictive and just can't be good for living things.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Standing By To Stand By...

Sit tight folks- can't blog while Mother is visiting. Friday I'll sound the all clear and have something funny to share...