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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Saturday, April 16, 2005
Ten Speed Indian

Ten Speed Indian

Congratulations and Good Luck, Ten Speed Indian !!

Over 20 bands wanted to be in it. Eight bands successfully made it to the competition stage. Sunday, after two weekends of live showcases, five Tampa Bay area high school rock bands are heading into the Finals of FLARO9, the 9th Annual Florida Rock-Off.

FLARO is a more in-depth competition than a regular battle-of-the-band event, according to Producer Louis Philippe. Each competing band is evaluated for numerous elements in three main categories-Live Showcase Performance, Original Material and Marketability. 'These bands are very fortunate to get the eyes and ears and scrutiny of many industry folks who volunteer on various judging panels."

The five bands with the highest overall scores include: EFFUSION (Countryside HS, Clearwater); GOOD GRAEFF (Riverview HS, Sarasota); STRANGE BREW (Newsome HS, Lithia); TEN SPEED INDIAN (Cypress Lake HS, Ft. Myers); and UNEXPECTED GUEST (Jesuit HS/Tampa Catholic HS/Hillsborough HS, Tampa).

Several hundreds of fans and family supporters were on hand during the two showcases held at Boomerz Boiler Room in Seminole. The audience also enjoyed guest performances by HINDSIGHT from Crystal River HS; CHUMLEY'S TOY, a popular Tampa Bay band that participated in FLARO3 and has just released a new CD; and Reindeer Recording Artist ALTERIA from Maine.

The Finals are slated for Sunday, April 17, 2 PM, at Boomerz, where each band will present another live performance that will be evaluated by yet another panel of musicians and industry representatives, as well as by the audience. The winning band will earn the title of 'Best Young Band in Central Florida" and receive $1,000 in cash from Reindeer Records plus a professional recording package donated by Hurricane Pass Studios.

-- Reindeer Records press release

[UPDATE] Some FLARO9 results:
I've been told that while Effusion snagged the "Best Young Band" brassring award, Ten Speed Indian snarfed up "1st Place for Lead Vocals" (Max Fields) and "3rd Place for Overall Marketability of a Band".  Way to go, guys!  You rawk!  You keep playing and we'll keep listening!

Check out their brand new song "Windowsil" on their site.  I think it's one of their best yet!  Who knows what may come from this great band when they all get their driver's licenses ...

[Headphones] :: I for an I - Ten Speed Indian

Thursday, April 14, 2005
Florida Faces of the Fallen

Faces of the Fallen
In December, I blogged about the Marin Community College Faces of the Fallen art exhibit inspired by the Washington Post feature.  In March, a new Faces of the Fallen portrait art exhibit opened at the Arlington National Cemetary.

Below is my own Florida Hometown Heroes list compiled using statistical data from with links to memorial pages.

As of April 14th, 2005, Florida has lost 69 of its own in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The average age of the fallen service member at the time of their death was 28 years old.

 Apopka  Mastrapa, Arthur S. (Stacey)  16-Jun-2004
 Apopka  Dwelley, Jason B.  30-Apr-2004
 Auburndale  Ginther, Ronald A.  02-May-2004
 Boca Raton  Mchugh, Scott R.  02-May-2004
 Bradenton  Dougherty, Scott Eugene  06-Jul-2004
 Bradenton  Schmidt, Justin B.  29-Apr-2004
 Bradenton  Cobb, Christopher R.  06-Apr-2004
 Brevard  Schrage, Dustin H.  06-May-2004
 Carol City  Randle Jr., Edmond Lee  17-Jan-2004
 Casselberry  Bowling, Theodore A.  11-Nov-2004
 Cedar Key  Buesing, Brian Rory  23-Mar-2003
 Crawfordville  Garcia, Javier J.  05-Apr-2005
 Daytona  Anderson, Michael C.  02-May-2004
 Edgewater  Williams IV, Arthur C.  08-Dec-2004
 Fort Walton Beach  Tipton, John E.  02-May-2004
 Gainesville  Wershow, Jeffrey M.  06-Jul-2003
 Gainesville  Jones Jr., Raymond Edison  09-Apr-2004
 Hileah  Gonzalez, Armando Ariel  14-Apr-2003
 Hilliard  Mitchell, Keman L.  26-May-2003
 Hollywood  Osbourne, Pamela G.  11-Oct-2004
 Hollywood  Holmes Ordˇ˝ez, Terry  10-Jul-2004
 Homestead  Segura, Juan E.  09-Nov-2004
 Homosassa  Boles, Dennis J.  24-Oct-2004
 Inverness  Weaver, Aaron A.  08-Jan-2004
 Jacksonville  Woods, Julian  10-Nov-2004
 Jacksonville  Hartman, Jonathan N.  17-Apr-2004
 Jacksonville  Lord, Richard M.  18-Aug-2004
 Jacksonville  Manuel, Ian D.  08-Jan-2004
 Lake Worth  Sapp, Brandon R.  15-Aug-2004
 Lake Worth  Brangman, David J.  13-Feb-2005
 Lawtey  Jones, Charles S.  28-Jan-2005
 Lee  Fribley, David Keith  23-Mar-2003
 Leesburg  Clark, Michael J.  20-Jul-2004
 Miami  Kenny, Christopher J.  03-May-2004
 Miami  Ewing, Jeremy Ricardo  29-Apr-2004
 Miami  Sims, Charles M.  03-Oct-2003
 Miami  Jimenez II, Romulo J.  10-Nov-2004
 Naples  Shanaberger III, Wentz Jerome Henry  24-Mar-2004
 North Lauderdale  Martinez, Oscar A.  12-Oct-2004
 Ocala  Lake, Chad W.  13-Feb-2005
 Okaloosa  Laramore, Tracy L.  17-Mar-2004
 Orlando  Gil, Carlos J.  18-Feb-2005
 Orlando  Davis, Daryl A.  29-Nov-2004
 Orlando  Smith, Antoine D.  15-Nov-2004
 Orlando  Dossett, Trace W.  02-May-2004
 Orlando  Conde Jr., Kenneth  01-Jul-2004
 Orlando  Saintvil, Gael  26-Jan-2005
 Palm Bay  Creighton-Weldon, Michael Russell  29-Mar-2003
 Palm Beach  Aviles, Andrew Julian  07-Apr-2003
 Palmetto  Mardis Jr., Paul C.  15-Jul-2004
 Panacea  Hanson Jr., Charles A.  28-Nov-2004
 Pasco  Dickinson, Joshua W.  12-Dec-2004
 Pompano Beach  Negron, Julio E.  28-Feb-2005
 Port Charlotte  Woodliff, Michael R.  02-Mar-2004
 Port St. Lucie  Zook, Ian T.  12-Oct-2004
 Rockledge  Deem, Michael S.  24-Feb-2005
 Ruskin  Orr, Cody J.  17-Jan-2004
 St. Augustine  Rapicault, Patrick Marc M.  15-Nov-2004
 Stuart  Jenkins, Robert B.  02-May-2004
 Tallahassee  Wise, Robert A.  12-Nov-2003
 Tampa  Rivero, John Travis  17-Apr-2003
 Tampa  Wilt, Nicholas  03-Sep-2004
 Tampa  Davis, Wilbert  03-Apr-2003
 Tampa  Smith, Paul Ray  04-Apr-2003
 Tampa  Quinn, Michael B.  27-May-2003
 West Palm Beach  Henry, Chassan S.  25-Feb-2005
 West Palm Beach  Felsberg, Paul M.  13-Oct-2004
 Winter Park  Roberts, Robert D.  22-Nov-2003

Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years.  Death hangs over thee.  While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good.

Book IV - 17, Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

 Florida Chapter

[Headphones] :: I for an I - Ten Speed Indian

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Conspiracy Theory - Iraq WMD Redux

Conspiracy Theory in the Imajica

Conspiracy Theory in the Imajica Menu
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"The commission report delivers a sharp critique of the way intelligence has been collected and analyzed against some of the most different intelligence targets, especially Iraq."

-- George W. Bush, March 31st, 2005
WMD Commission Report press briefing

So, after more than a year of independent investigation of the exaggerations and outright lies that the Bush administration used to justify initiating and prosecuting a pre-emptive war with another country, that's all he has to say directly about it?

Let's take a quick trip back in time with the Way-Back Machine, shall we?
The date: February 6th, 2004.
The place: the Oval Office.
The event: George W. Bush is signing Executive Order 13328.

During 2003, the CIA's own Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has failed to find those pesky WMDs and their chief inspector, David Kay, resigns and goes public.  The House and Senate are whining up a storm.  In order to quell this growing outcry, especially in an election year, Executive Order 13328 officially blames the messenger (the intelligence community) and establishes the WMD Commission.

If you happened to miss this momentous event of blame shifting at the White House, it's likely because you were too busy being entertained at the time with the made-up scandal and uproar by Bush's religious right supporters in the form of Janet Jackson's Floppy Fun Bag.  BushCo loves people like Tom Delay.  One phone call to the man and he'll create a worldwide media distraction in short order.  Tom Delay has serious ethical problems?  Who cares.  He's the BushCo Go-to Guy.

WMD Commission Report
Now, let's return to the present day.  After 14 months of investigation, the WMD Commission, formally known as The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, releases its 618 page epic tome, commonly known as the WMD Commission Report.  The Government Printing Office (GPO) is so geeked, it's been taking advance orders for it.  The White House likes it so much, it creates a whole subsection of its official website for it.

Oh, I'm sorry.  Did you miss this?  Perhaps, it is because BushCo took a page out of the old playbook and improved on it.  This time, let's just call this scandal, uproar, or distraction -- Terri Schiavo.  A month ago, Dubya made a point to publicly support Delay:
Q Tom DeLay, the House Majority Leader, has been admonished three times by the House Ethics Committee, is currently embroiled in several controversies involving a lobbyist who happened to be a pretty big fundraiser for your two campaigns. Do you have the full confidence in Tom DeLay, his tactics and his leadership role in the Republican Party?

THE PRESIDENT: I have confidence in Tom DeLay's leadership, and I have confidence in Tom DeLay. And I am -- we've worked closely with Tom DeLay and the leaders in the House to get a lot done during the last four years, and I'm looking forward to working with him to get a lot done during the next four years. We've got a big agenda.
A big agenda?  Sure, why not super-size that fucking order of fast food for our minds with patriot fries?  Then, go after the oil fields in Iran and Venezuela, when it's strategically feasible and the buzz of burying our own from Operation Iraqi Freedom has died down a bit.  First, let's use the religious right to whip up the next domestic distraction over judicial tyranny and pit them against the pro-choice majority over some federal judicial nominations.  If only Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist could just stay alive long enough for the timing to be perfect with the draw down of forces from Iraq, BushCo can act while its political opposition is still walking around with its balls still floating in the 2004 Election Loss Jar.

With such a big BushCo bag of tricks, it's no wonder that many Americans still think we went to war with Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction, or even more ridiculous Bushworld claims of Saddam Hussein ties to Al-Qaeda.  According to information in a recent ABC news report:
The issue of veracity also plays out in views of weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda. Fifty-six percent of Americans still think Iraq did possess WMDs shortly before the war, though none has been found; that's sharply down, though, from the 89 percent who thought before the war that it had such weapons.

Similarly, six in 10 Americans also continue to think that before the war Iraq provided direct support to the al Qaeda terrorist group. But nearly four in 10 say this is their "suspicion only;" just two in 10 believe there's been any solid evidence of it.
Un-fucking-believable!  Even managers in our own government beaurocracy know better than this.  Government Executive, an in-house trade publication for the GS types in our own government, had been reporting in 2003 that Iraq / Al Qaeda Links were weak, at best:
"Our conclusion was that Saddam would certainly not provide weapons of mass destruction or WMD knowledge to al Qaeda because they were mortal enemies," said Greg Thielmann, who worked at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research on weapons intelligence until last fall. "Saddam would have seen al Qaeda as a threat, and al Qaeda would have opposed Saddam as the kind of secular government they hated."

And Flynt Leverett, who worked on Middle East issues at the National Security Council until earlier this year and is now with the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, said that some administration officials pushed the intelligence envelope on the Qaeda connection. "After September 11, there was a concrete effort by policy makers, particularly in the Pentagon and the vice president's office, to come up with links between al Qaeda and Iraq."
I hate to upset anyone who again voted for their Bush/Cheney friends-in-jesus in 2004, but they've been lying to you all along the way.  Let's just pretend that George W. Bush was simply an idiot puppet, or a well-meaning and innocent cheerleader for the more savvy neocons that surrounded him.  If you abjectly believe that is the case with Bush, then don't you think a true man of god, or one with simple rational integrity, would put these demons behind him -- fire them -- not promote them to positions of more power?

[Headphones] :: Democrusader - JfZ   NEW

Sunday, April 10, 2005
Swamp Gas - v. 006

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. 006

 Papal Squirrel BOCA RATON

When Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II died, Boca resident Ms. Kelly Foxton decided to honor the religious world leader by dressing up her little rescued tree friend, Sugar Bush Squirrel. While Ms. Foxton has retired from the Grand Ole Opry, it seems her entertainment career has gained a second wind through photographing the squirrel. Ms. Foxton boasts that she has over 1000 outfits for her supermodel squirrel who is both very much alive and even patriotic. With such a prolific modelling portfolio, it makes me wonder how long it will take to popularize the phrase, "You've been squirreled!"


 Elsie the Ecoli EUSTIS

Despite the fact that over two dozen people recently have been infected by E.coli and children are still hospitalized, some with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, from having contact with animals at three other central Florida area fairs linked to the Ag-Venture traveling petting zoo, the Lake County Fair opened its gates Thursday. Here's my tip for the little kiddies to avoid infection: Wash your hands. Don't suck your thumb after petting smelly animals. And just to stay even safer, never eat the cheese burgers sold at county fairs.


 GOP dumping Martinez as he says What - my memo? ORLANDO / WASHINGTON

When I said earlier that "you're simply not paying attention" concerning the politics of the Schiavo case, I should have directed that comment to Republican Senator Mel Martinez as he handed the now infamous Schiavo Talking Points Memo to Democratic Senator Tom Harkin on the Senate floor. First pleading ignorance, then denying, then admitting, and finally passing the buck to Brian Darling, Martinez accepted the staffer's resignation. Way to go Brian, for taking a shot to the nuts for the team!

While some people point to the connection between Brian Darling and Texas Congressman Tom Delay, the rabid, do-anything-it-takes pro-life politics of Martinez likely hails back to his FSU college buddy and law partner, Ken Conner, who is not only president of Florida Right-to-Life, but also the powerful DC-based Family Research Council. Now that some Republicans are calling Tom Delay 'an embarrassment' to the party, others say the untasteful politicization of the Schiavo case by Martinez is just the latest outrage in a long pattern, prompting some to call him Sideshow Mel.


[Headphones] :: Democrusader - JfZ   NEW

Friday, April 08, 2005
Ghost Stories

Dead Souls Quake 3
While it should be obvious that I'm a Clive Barker fan, Stephen King is a shaman of horror for so many people.  I do like my horror with the raw, kinky edge one finds in Barker's Hellraiser, but I have to acknowledge that Stephen King's work is entertaining even when it is tamed down enough to be shown on PG-13 television.  I found myself glued to the television for a few hours this week as the Sci-Fi channel aired King's Rose Red mini-series.  Basically a haunted house story, it was acted well and had some appropriately used special effects.  It certainly was as scary as the original Amityville Horror, but not likely as shocking as the new Amityville Horror film coming out on April 15th.

Brought to you by the makers of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the movie trailer alone made me nervous.  The Amityville Horror films have always been billed as being based upon a true story.  Obviously, people that experience a paranormal event, or even think they have, are more prone to believe such ghost stories.  Then, you also have another group of people who profit from the paranormal experience or the unknown, like clairvoyants and even the clergy.  I don't find any real fault with this second group people.  Afterall, it's their chosen profession.  The Amityville story has Mr. and Mrs. Warren, and they have an interesting website, too.  It's all turned out to be quite an industry.  The Amityville Horror, without all the ghosts, is based upon a true story of the tragic murders of the DeFeo family by the son, Ronald, in 1974.

Coincidentally, that same year, my mom and I moved into a old house.  It was the original farmhouse when the entire square mile of property was a working farm, instead of the growing suburb that it was at that time, outside of Detroit.  You could tell it had been a farm because the roof on the neighbor's house was still mansard-shaped like the original barn that it once was.  We thought our house, or places nearby, might be haunted.

We heard some disturbing stories about previous owners.  One person had gone insane and another had committed suicide.  Also, I know one neighbor had an actual grave in their damn backyard.  Then, there was the old woman who lived in the barn-type house when we first moved in.  She creeped me out when she was alive, but then she had her ashes spread across her property when she died.  The area could have been a paranormal hotspot, for all I know.

The only thing I can remember is that much of that house and the smaller one next to it, which was also on the property, were both remodelled at some point in the 1940's or 1950's with solid 3/4" tongue-and-groove wood panelling.  All the walls had these large black knots in them that looked like eyes.  If I let my imagination run away a little, it was unnerving to go to sleep at night with the walls staring at me.

Belief in spirits or ghosts seems to be worldwide.  Checking a Yahoo Directory tonight, I found a few interesting websites.  If you like ghost stories, check out the [true stories] tab on Singapore's First Only Ghost Stories (SFOGS) website.  There are many dozen user-submitted spooky tales listed to read.  Another cool website (because I was able to control the webcam in the basement) is the one for the gothically designed Willard Library Building in Indiana.  I played with their camera, but I didn't see the ghost.

Update: I added 3 more Pheatured Phreeks. More to come.
Blue Skelton

Do you live in old, creepy apartment building or house?  Do you have any ghost stories?

[Headphones] :: EROS (m2b2) - Richard Flanagan (aka ghost)

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