John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica



 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Sunday, February 20, 2005
Swamp Gas - v. 004


Welcome to Swamp Gas in the Imajica.  Similar to the You Can't Make This Shit Up (YCMTSU) section, Swamp Gas will focus solely on news and items of interest in the sunshine state of Florida.

They say, "All the nuts in America roll downhill to Florida," so let's just see how true that phrase really is.

Click on the Swamp Gas logo for the smelly menu.

Swamp Gas v. 004

 200,000 rednecks can not be wrong DAYTONA INTL SPEEDWAY

"This is the Super Bowl Sunday for racing NASCAR."

"Meeting people all the way coming out here, from gas stations to truck stops, as soon I told them I was coming here, they honestly thought it was unbelievable. They would have given a lot of things just to make it here. All through this week, there's been a huge passion. It's a subculture. People I've met just seem to live and breath it in everything they speak. It's a whole new vernacular."

-- Matthew McConaughey, 2005 Grand Marshal [source]


 Jesus is almost as popular as Dale Earnhardt ON THE BOARDWALK

Arthur Blessitt's ministry is literally a cross to bear.

"One night I felt I clearly heard the voice of Jesus speaking to me, telling me to take the cross down off the wall and to carry it on a mission to identify the message of Jesus with people where they are," Blessitt said.

Some credit Blessitt with playing a pivotal role in the religious awakening of President George W. Bush. Blessitt talked with Bush in 1984 in Midland, Texas. The talk was similar to discussions he's had with "tens of thousands" of people on his "crosswalks."

-- By John Bozzo [source]

 Nazis and NASCAR DAYTONA BEACH

Police in Daytona Beach have been alerted that a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance plans to promote white supremacy and recruit members at the Daytona International Speedway during race weekend, Local 6 News has learned.

"We have some information that the National Alliance may come into Daytona Beach," Daytona Beach police chief Dennis Jones said. "The biggest fear is that they could cause a problem in a crowded situation if they were to incite a disturbance."

-- WKMG TV [source]






[Fullscreen] :: The Redneck Rapper - Bent TV


Friday, February 18, 2005
Coffee and other symbols of freedom


January 2005


I have one neighbor who recently moved from the Northeast U.S. upon his retirement.  Being fairly new to this area, he finds himself craving the Dunkin Donuts coffee he drank every morning before work for the previous few decades.  He will drive for an hour roundtrip to buy a dollar cup of coffee.

Sometimes I join him on his coffee runs in the evening on his quest for that holy grail of caffeine.  I welcome an occasional joyride after being practically shut-in for a year following my shattered leg injury.  I think he is aware of this, too.  He generously invites me to get the hell out of the house whenever he runs an errand for himself.

I have also drank several thousands of gallons of coffee to warm me up in the Winter Wonderland during the many years of construction work in my past.  But, sometimes I just want a frosty Sobe Energy drink since these coffee quests are now taking place here in the moderate temperatures of Florida and not while standing outside ankle-deep in the ugly, gray, salty slush and frozen rust of Detroit of my past.

I took the above photograph on one of these coffee runs in January.  It was a spontaneous urge to capture a small moment in time.  Technically speaking, it's a crappy photo -- taken at night with a glovebox camera and out of focus -- but it is a helpful illustration for me.  Perhaps I can bring the image into focus and shed some light upon it with less than a thousand words.

On that night's coffee run, we spotted this odd-looking contraption in the parking lot of the store where I wanted to grab something else to drink besides coffee.  It was taking up two parking spaces.  The damn thing was not only a three-wheeled motorcycle (trike), but also it had a loaded cargo trailer hitched up behind it.

Looking at the trike more closely, it was apparent the entire odd thing was custom built by the owner.  It had fat car wheels in the back as you can see from the wide fender sporting the Support our Troops yellow ribbon in the lower left of the image.  That shiny metal object with the straps to the yellow ribbon's right is one of two small Falstaff Beer kegs used for some bizarre mechanical purpose.  I think they were additional fuel tanks.

In a moment of rare extroverted behavior, I decided to limp around with my cane and find the owner.  I knew I wanted to snap a photo of the custom-built trike.  And I also knew I didn't want the owner to freak out because two crazy people were loitering around his property taking flash photos in a dark parking lot.  I located Frank (back left) who was drinking a beer with his friends after a long day.

Frank gratiously answered all of our questions about his curious work of mechanical art.  Honestly, I had a few questions about this thing that I envisioned being part of some small hometown holiday parade.  I imagined good ol' Frank has been photographed waving while puttering down a few main streets in his time since he built the trike in 1978.  Both Frank and his trike were quite a piece of work, as they say.

Imagine, if you will, a large steamer trunk with a myriad of stickers on the luggage representing all the places some intrepid world traveller has journeyed.  You, yourself, may still have a twisted gaggle of those annoying elastic airport tags wrapped around the handle of your suitcase in the closet.  I think most people who don't constantly travel on business tend to leave those destination tags attached as little reminders of a happy vacation.  Frank's homemade trike and attached trailer had a few symbolic things attached to it as well.

One of the things important to this stranger I had just met was his family.  More specifically, but unseen from this photograph, Frank had a large oval photograph of his son laquered onto the top of the front center gas tank.  Sealed there for the ages was the image of a child who was most likely my age some 25 years later.  Oftentimes, people have images like that in memoriam of someone who has died.  So, not wanting to bring up something uncomfortable, I simply pointed at it and said, "Wow, that's really cool."

Other symbols were more obvious and self-explanatory.  I already pointed out the yellow ribbon decal on the fender.  Also visible at the top of the photograph, although a bit fuzzy, is the American flag mounted on a golf flag staff like a tall whip antenna.

The retiree down the street from me also displays an American flag, as do many other people in the neighborhood.  He also properly displays a second flag under the national colors. This second flag is sky blue.  Flying proudly is the unit insignia and the words, "82nd Airborne Division."

All of the men in this photograph are military veterans (including the terrible photographer who is not shown).  Today, it occured to me when I happened to see that familiar sky blue flag again that the most symbolic image of freedom was actually this goofy picture of these men.  Patriotic people often display their own country's flag, but where the rubber meets the road in the symbolism of freedom is in the person.








[Headphones] :: Evil Stevie: Activate! - JfZ



Wednesday, February 16, 2005
YCMTSU - Veterans Administration


 The United States Congress
Andrew V. was an Army officer that I served with in Sadr City. A police officer in civilian life, he was decorated with the Bronze Star for his acts in Iraq. Upon his return, he faced serious problems dealing with the readjustment to civilian life. Alcohol, PTSD, and family problems worsened, and nothing helped. In the summer of 2004, he donned his formal Army uniform, placed a noose around his neck, and stepped from a bridge, killing himself. He left behind a wife and a legacy of faithful service to his country.

-- from an open letter to U.S. Senator Cornyn
by Jason Thelen via Veterans for Common Sense

Read the letter by Jason Thelen.  His concern about veterans health care is not solely based on a few personal anecdotal examples -- as tragic and moving as they are.  Jason's concern also stems from reading articles in his local newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, about the lack of proper health care for veterans, especially in the Dallas area.

It has to be a bitterly ironic pill to read the headline, "Dallas VA hospital is nation's worst," in the Democrusader's home state of Texas.  If I was a returning veteran from Iraq, I'd be outraged to read newspaper headlines like "Survey rips VA nurses -- Medical students say Dallas hospital staff incompetent; chief says problems are 'isolated'."

I'm concerned about the seeming disconnect from the Bush Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress with the facts on the ground.  I'm not talking about the Democrusader's spin machine concerning Iraq.  I'm specifically talking about the Veterans Administration.

You Can't Make This Shit Up
The newly appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson, is now in charge of the largest health care operation in the United States, comprised of more than 230,000 employees servicing over five million veteran patients annually.

What are Nicholson's qualifications for this position?  For the last three years, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican -- the smallest principality on the planet.  While Nicholson is a Vietnam-era vet, I think the fact that Jim Nicholson was a national Republican Party Chairman weighed more heavily on his work resume than anything else.

So, while we all know that the demands on the VA will be increasing because of the Democrusader's global war on terror, we also know that the guy in charge of the Veterans Administration may be nothing more than a loyal GOP Insider, a Yes Man and a Bush Buttboy.

My opinion of Nicholson may be poor simply because he seems to be simply spinning the 2.7% percent increase in the FY2006 budget as wonderful.  At the same time, I listen to GOP budget priorities:
Larry Craig, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said the proposals to charge some veterans annual health care fees of $250 and increase their prescription drug co-payment from $7 to $15 must be considered in lean budget times.
While that may seem reasonable enough to you, it's a slap in the face to veterans when our so-called lean budget times are caused by the never-ending cost and consequence of the Democrusader's war of choice in Iraq, compounded with a multi-trillion dollar federal budget deficit.

I fail to see the compassionate conservative ideals and priorities that we were all sold in 2000 and 2004.  Like Jason Thelan, other veterans in the Democrusader's home state of Texas are not so pleased, either.




More BDKv1.0 MP3s





[Headphones] :: Disfigured Humanity - Yves 'evillair' Allaire



Monday, February 14, 2005
Bugs n Cheese 003 - Dateless Wonder


Saturday, February 12, 2005
Swamp Gas v. 003


Welcome to Swamp Gas in the Imajica.  Similar to the You Can't Make This Shit Up (YCMTSU) section, Swamp Gas will focus solely on news and items of interest in the sunshine state of Florida.

They say, "All the nuts in America roll downhill to Florida," so let's just see how true that phrase really is.

Click on the Swamp Gas logo for the smelly menu.

Swamp Gas v. 003

 It's all fun and games until you put an eye out PORT ST. LUCIE

A Fort Pierce Central High School junior apologized to his former girlfriend while he stabbed her in the back and neck Wednesday night, law enforcement officials said.  Then, as she lay bleeding in the street, Bryan Gordon, 16, told the high school freshman he would kill her family if she told anyone, according to officials.

"He was talking to her, looked at her, said, 'I'm sorry,' and pretty much stabbed her in the back," Detective John Holman said. "He apologized the whole time he was doing it, while he was stabbing her."

-- By Will Greenlee [source]


 Oh Baby! FORT LAUDERDALE

The woman who claimed to have seen a baby being tossed from a moving car fabricated the story as a cover to abandon her newborn and hide an unwanted pregnancy from her family, authorities said Friday.

"It's not as horrible as we first thought," Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne said. "The baby was never thrown out of a moving car. This is the case of a disturbed woman who gave birth and did not want to keep her child."

-- By Curt Anderson [source]

 Not Limbo, Please! PALM BEACH

On Monday, the WildFyre Society, South Florida's 1200-member all-male nudist group, takes a break from nude shopping excursions, nude theater nights, and nude country line dancing in order to present the Hot Wheels XVIII "Get Your Heart On" Nude Valentine's Day Skating Party at Gold Coast Roller Rink (2604 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). No wallflowers -- nudity is mandatory at the event, which costs $10 and includes skates. The club's spokesman, Seth Paronick, says there won't be any races because "we don't allow horseplay," but limbo is on!

-- By Deirdra Funcheon [source]






[Headphones] :: Jessica: Sanibel Island - JfZ


 
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