We don't need no stinkin' NHL. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman can kiss the pallor off of my hairy ass. When I moved from Detroit to Florida, the first thing I truly missed was being able to watch Detroit Red Wings hockey games on televison. This last year, everyone has been deprived of the NHL. And to think that one season, I coughed up $1000 to a charity auction for a friend and I to enjoy one Red Wing's playoff game in an executive suite. Guess what? I'm enjoying hockey playoffs in a number of leagues for free this year.
Here are the teams of some of the hockey leagues in North America where the motto is still "Beat me with a stick and call me Claude."
The typical teenage daughter is in her room, online, using AOL instant messenger, taking digital pictures of herself with a sign that says, "I love Boiis." Apparently, she also loves Brent, but this month it is Bryce that preoccupies every waking minute of this girl's day. Seems perfectly normal and natural to me.
Biologically, a typical teenager's sexual drive is like a speeding car on a freeway. Mom and Dad are just nervous backseat drivers who can't reach the brake pedal, but if they're lucky -- they can remind the driver of the speeding sex drive car to wear her seatbelt, provide a car with airbags, and they may be able to reach over and grab the steering wheel once in a while to avoid a nasty accident.
I know what you're thinking. Why does he always use automotive analogies? I grew up in Detroit, that's why.
But, seriously, the Culture Wars in the U.S. have been fought between the right-wing social conservatives and everyone else in the country since the Puritans decided everyone needed to live by their rules because their god had better weapons than the Native American deities. The Bush Doctrine is no different. He and his god run the world these days, so get used to it. Maybe next time, you'll remember that your vote counts.
If you read some of the ideology on the social conservative groups' websites that the media mindlessly gave credit for the Bush 2004 re-election, you quickly notice that they are not happy. They are not filled with joy and singing halleluahs.
Even though Bush gave them untold billions of tax dollars through Faith-Based Initiatives early on, they weren't satisfied. Even an election year freebie bonus from the Health and Human Service Department of $31 million dollars solely to promote abstinence only until marriage programs wasn't enough:
"Sexual activity before marriage can have a negative social and psychological impact on teenagers," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "Abstinence-only education programs support teens in their decision to remain abstinent until marriage."
I'm fairly certain Bush's good old boy, Tommy, didn't mean gay marriage when he said that last year, either. As a matter of fact, the Bush administration had to shred Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to allow FBCI religious organizations to receive federal funds and discriminate against pesky non-believers. Personally, I'm in favor of religious organizations discriminating in any way they wish. If the Church of Bob doesn't want to hire a one-legged lesbian Muslim to spit shine their holy cross, I'm all for it. Get someone from the Church of Joe to do it, but don't expect me to support the Bush administration giving religion-at-large billions of U.S. tax dollars on top of the lost billions of tax revenue religious organizations already suck up and flush down into their holy toilets.
I'm just one of those quirky Libertarian people who believes that the constitutional principles concerning the seperation of church and state protects both the church and the state. It is clear from every available opinion poll that the citizens of the U.S. thought the politicization of the Terri Schiavo case was both distasteful and troubling. The United States rightly persecuted a Global War over terrorism by radical religious fundamentalists, but has it broken all the mirrors in its own house?
Now, we must urge our own politicians to honor their oath of office -- to protect and defend, from enemies foreign and domestic. Religion in government, or government in religion, is a pollution that destroys the credibility, validity and worthiness of each societal institution. Nearly a century and a half after the U.S. Civil War, we have political parties and popular mass media so enamored with the promotion of the Red State vs Blue State political and cultural divisions that the United States is in serious danger of losing all of its global clout and credibility, except for its capacity for war.
One of the most famous Incan cities in the world, sun alignments are found throughout Machu Picchu. Many features, including the Sacred Plaza, The Temple of Three Windows and The Intihuatana platform, align with the summer solstice azimuth of 65-245 degrees. Scientists believe these alignments were primary considerations in the construction of the shrines. A shaft of light, shining through an east-facing window, reportedly illuminates The Torreon, or Temple of the Sun, during the summer solstice. The city was built between 1460 and 1470 AD at an altitude of 8,000 feet. Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite took this image of Machu Picchu September 8, 2003.
If you go to spaceimaging.com, you can check out their images of Ancient Observatories. They have some interesting places on the globe to check out.
I found it a little bizarre to zoom out from the close-up of Stone Henge and see the surrounding farms, and roads, and the development. I expected to see a stripmall with a Subway Subs and a Starbucks Coffee.
I just had this weird thought about viewing these ancient places from space satellites. When the Hubble telescope started viewing out into the vastness of space, it was said that it was like being a time traveller, looking back across the millions of lightyears at interstellar objects.
Satellite imagery looking down on our planet has revealed some secrets from our past. Changing the miniscule human perspective of vision into a god's eye view has revealed things previously kept unknown. The Meso American Zuni indian complexes have been shown to align themselves over the course of miles beyond the visible horizon, yet served some unknown purpose. It wasn't until satellite imagery became so commonplace that people started listening to Shoemaker about the asteroid impact history of our own planet.
If you like ancient places, check out the Virtual Egypt entry from last year. Where is the ancient place that most interests you located?
"As this community came together, the nation shared in the sorrow and the outrage over the violence directed at innocent and unsuspecting men, women, and children. One hundred and sixty-eight had been killed, more than 800 injured. Two hundred and nineteen children lost at least one parent, and 30 were orphaned. And a few days after the attack, a minister of the Gospel officiated at the funeral of his own grandsons. "
A truck bomb went off, buildings were blasted, and people died. Now, there is a memorial site with victims' names engraved in a park full of office chairs where the building once was. Those are facts. Ten years later, there still are as many unanswered questions as there were victims in the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal office building.
The events leading up to April 19th, 1995 are cloaked in some mystery, even today. The U.S. government appears to be satisfied with the simplistic fact that law enforcement investigated and courts have found Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols guilty for this terrorist act. The Murrah federal building was demolished, the debris cleared away, and the Memorial site put in its place. When McVeigh decided to waive all his rights to appeal his death sentence, he was executed on June 11th, 2001. Let's all just move on with our lives -- case closed.
Immediately, the media broadcast stories asking, who and why? But with ongoing rescue and recovery operations taking place at the blast site, that became the media focus. Foreshadowing the nationwide volunteerism we all so poignantly witnessed in the aftermath of 911, rescue workers and people of everyday walks of life came pouring into Oklahoma City to help. I remember chatting online with a friend in California who was organizing a truck convoy from his family business at the time. Their business was wholesale ice. They planned to drive ice to OKC for the rescue workers and if needed, donate the use of the refrigerator trucks as a temporary overflow morque facility.
Oddly, on the day of the blast, an armed McVeigh was taken into custody without incident after he was pulled over by a state trooper for driving his vehicle with no license plate. Terry Nichols literally walked himself into custody after seeing his face on television and realized he was wanted for questioning. Were these two men suddenly remorseful, wanting the publicity of martyrdom, or just dumb and unlucky perpetrators?
John Doe #2
Early on, eye witnesses talked about John Doe #2, but then the investigators moved on to dig deeper into the lives of the two people they had in custody, McVeigh and Nichols. Friends, family and known associates were questioned. Both men were army buddies and by the end of the Gulf War, it can be said that both were disappointed and disallusioned with the government. McVeigh had earned honors in combat, but back in the states he was just another unemployed veteran with few skills applicable to the work world.
Mcveigh and Nichols tried to make a buck selling things at flea markets and gun shows where paramilitary enthusiasts of all stripes can be found. Some of these skinheads didn't play around -- and have now been linked to bank robberies in the Midwest. Many people think there were more people involved in the Oklahoma City bombing that frequented a certain ranch in the middle of nowhere called Elohim City.
For the serious researcher, not only are volumes of conspiracy theory information about OKC online at the websites of organizations whose self-labelled indentities span a range from conservative, right-wing, and patriot to militia, christian identity and neo-nazi -- but also online at organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and others. One need only remember the actions of the first Clinton administration, especially Attorney General Janet Reno's Department of Justice and federal law enforcement agency debacles in the cases of Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians in Waco to understand the deep hatred these right-wing groups felt for the federal government at that time. It's no wonder why much of the archival information is stored at these sites. That nasty bit of U.S. history validates and reinforces their world view -- the origins of which go back in history far earlier than the Clinton presidency.
Hûsker Dû ??
I lived in Metro Detroit during this time. People were well aware of groups like the Michigan militia before our local TV news interupted scheduled programming and broadcast live during the FBI raid on the Nichols' Farm. Personally, I was preoccupied with silicon-roots activism over attempts of government censorship of the internet coming in the form of the Communications Decency Act. Unlike McVeigh, whose primary military training was in weaponry and explosives, my own training was in communications and intelligence. My disappointment with the government eroding personal liberties was focussed primarily with First Amendment issues in 1995.
Although I had actually voted for the first time in 1992 -- for Clinton -- by 1995, I was a card-carrying member and supporter of both the Libertarian Party and the ACLU. Previously politically apathetic, suddenly I found myself working with cyber rights groups like EFF, CPSR, EPIC, and CDT. To my way of thinking, information itself is the greatest defense against any oppressive government or administration. I busied myself with organizing people and educating techno-phobic and digitally-illiterate legislators in office at that time. To me, losing the right of free expression or the right to information about a supposedly open goverment in a free society is the first domino to fall toward losing other civil liberties. I continue to believe that.
Rather than advancing my own specific conspiracy theory concerning the Oklahoma City bombing, I will simply leave that up to those who may have an interest in researching the specifics of this case. I have read so many online documents about OKC over the last four days that my fragile little brain has been spinning in my skull so fast that it has melted my tinfoil hat on my head.
Where there is smoke, there is fire.
There seems to be some sort of government cover-up concerning OKC. Whether the nature of it concerns protecting sources and methods, or informants, or agents, or misdeeds, or mistakes. Information surrounding the involvement of known people, like ATF informant, Carol Howe or possible CIA agent provocateur, Andreas Strassmeir -- both at Elohim City before the bombing -- definitely thickens the plot.
I chose the four books (shown above) because they have some inherent credibility due to their proximity to the truth. The Third Terrorist is written by Jayna Davis, an award-winning OKC investigative reporter. Others Unknown is written by Stephen Jones, Timothy McVeigh's defense attorney. Freedom's End is James Nichols' (Terry's brother) account. And, American Terrorist, written by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, is Timothy McVeigh's authorized biography.
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.
[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 myspace.com 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 ...