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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Thursday, July 01, 2004
Saddam's Evidence Shocks Criminal Court

Thunderstorms in the Imajica exclusive

Thunderstorms in the Imajica breaking news shocks South Park residents

In a news story whose quantity of spun headlines is undoubtedly giving good Noam Chomsky a full blown woody, people in the news and propaganda business are working overtime to tell their readers and viewers what happened for 30-minutes in a criminal proceeding in Bagdad, Iraq today.

Everyone everywhere is talking about the court appearance of Saddam Hussein.

 USA Today  In an Iraqi court, Saddam hears charges and scoffs
 Bloomberg News  Hussein Defies Court's Authority, Says He's Leader
 N.Y. Times  First Public Appearance by Former Dictator in 7 Months
 Canada News  A defiant Saddam Hussein appears at hearing in Iraqi court
 Reuters UK  Saddam and 11 aides to face tribunal
 Radio Netherlands  Saddam hears the charges
 Islam Online  Defiant Saddam Denies Charges, Slams "Theatre" Trial
 South Africa  Saddam refuses charges
 Xinhua China  Defiant Saddam rejects charges against him

Fortunately for you, I'm here to tell you what really happened.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Mind Melding

The original Spock

From the last few storms here about politix and religion, and even porn, I have mostly been dumbstruck by the similarities between things that are very old and things that are new.

I have been working on the Verissimus and Web-Litter blogs most recently, so my thoughts have been occupied with those two things, besides the normal distractions and concerns of having a life in 3-d space and time.

But when I read, or perhaps I could honestly say, studied the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius for the Verissimus blog, I came away with one odd observation from it at the time.  That being; Marcus Aurelius was very much like Star Trek's Spock; and the Stoicism which I felt I may have learned from him was not like the flavor from Diogenes, the Dog Boy, from whom Alexander the Great even sought knowledge, but perhaps something beyond his time -- more like Saint Francis of Assisi -- a thousand years hence -- but Marcus' Stoicism was more like that of a Vulcan, extolling the virtues of logic and reason with a disdain for physical pains and pleasures.

And not to get in a long discussion here about the merits (or lack thereof) of Stoicism, or why logic (and the ruling part) should trump any desires of the physical form, but I did want to say, how odd is this?  That the Roman Emperor of the second century, who was no great fan of christianity, would repeatedly extoll the virtues of not only an abstinence from physical pleasures but, also even the deleterious effects of thinking in that manner.  And that his manner of philosophy, of thinking, would square up solidly on this point with those of the modern-day BAC christian belief?

When you read Verissimus, the Spock vibe comes through.  Perhaps, the writers of Spock's character had these ancient Romans, or maybe the Stoics in mind.  Star Trek episodes always seemed very allegorical, like short Sci-Fi fables.  Given the times, I always wondered who the writers of Star Trek were thinking about when they told stories that expanded and explored the future nature of our species and that of the Vulcans, Klingons, or those dudes with the two blue antennae sticking out of their heads.

Anyway, it strikes me as odd, or just interesting, that the ancient Stoic belief by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, would not only be so like that of a Vulcan but, also like what I've read a faithful Born-Again-Christian should pursue as a lifestyle.  What?!  

We've all heard of the phrase "your body is the temple of your soul", or something very similar, in religious teachings.  The same concept is repeated constantly in the Meditations.  Your soul, the ruling part, whether or not it is or is not eternal, is from God, or gods, or the universal consciousness, (or not); but whatever the case may be, it is far more important than your body, which is subject to the desires, pleasures, and pains of life; and is also subjected to growth, change, demise and death.

And while it may be the BAC ideal to have no pornography in the world -- to tempt us, to weaken our souls, to lead us astray from the straight and narrow path -- I think the world would not be so very ideallic without it.  I think, like most things which have been known commonly to be called vices, that one may be ideally better off without them but, is probably healthier now to have suffered with them in moderation than to have never experienced them at all.

Some people, in order to teach and promote (proselytize and witness) their version of the BAC religious ideal, foister guilt and shame on the believers, rather than using reason and logic to make their argument.  Whether it is because of a holier-than-thou attitude, or sheer laziness, I don't know.  Rather than taking the time to learn and then teach reason and logic, perhaps it's just easier to tell a young person that God kills another kitten every time they masturbate.

The problem with that approach is easy to see.  After a child realizes there is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, it's not a great leap in the logical little thinking machines to reason that everyone around them has been lying to them about other things, too.  A child quickly understands that you have been lying to them all along and using emotional guilt and shame as a means of control over them.

And then, because it is the nature of all humans beings to be free from the control of others and be in control of their own lives, children then learn to distrust these BAC beliefs of a judgemental (or loving) god.  The god of their parents vanishes in their minds quicker than the Easter Bunny.

Monday, June 28, 2004
Roger and Me go Bowling for Fahrenheit 911

The 300 pound gorilla tipping the scales away from Bill O'reilly ...

Common sense wisdom passed down for hundreds of human generations says something like "... there must needs be opposition in all things."  And so, scientists, philosophers and prophets have given us plenty of examples like positive vs. negative, benevolence vs. malevolence, good vs. evil, wisdom vs. ignorance, und so weiter.  You get the idea.

Increasingly, the politix in the U.S. has become more polarized, away from the common sense middle ground that makes no one particularly happy nor unhappy but, is fair, and now seems to be gravitating toward either end of the political bell curve wherein you'll find the few, the proud, and the extreme examples of either liberal or conservative thought.  The only real downfall of this situation is that come election time most voting citizens have to choose from either of these extreme ends, oftentimes trying to cancel out the last extremist in a position of any power and our country has been on a political yo-yo diet for many decades because of it.

The only reason I mention any of my observations about it is because I wanted to bring up Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 for Movie Monday.  You can briefly read what I blogged last year about Bowling for Columbine.  After watching it, being disturbed by it, and yet laughing at it, I think I was more personally struck by the similarities between Moore and my friend, Dances with StumpsRoger and Me seemed to be for the 1980's, Bowling for Columbine for the 1990's and I think no matter what your political views are, Fahrenheit 911 will become an important film depicting our time in this country right now.

If, like me, you haven't seen Farhenheit 911 yet (or even some that don't plan to ever see it), you might still be interested in the conversation going on over on Plastic about F911.  It's no small wonder that MAYORBOB has major karma:

Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's caustic look at the "War on Terror" and the Bush family legacy of dealings with various players in the Middle East, has finally debuted in the U.S., specifically in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of enthusiastic invited guests, none of whom could be called a Bush partisan.

It is the film that was loudly applauded at the Cannes Film Festival; the film that became the focus of intracompany feuding at Disney over distribution rights; the film that pissed off Ray Bradbury (well, the title did); the film that the Motion Picture Association of America gave an R rating, despite the legal assistance of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and supporting testimony from industry executives.

I wasn't particularly shocked that MAYORBOB's Plastic article generated over 300 comments in very short order from people all over the country and beyond but, I was very interested in the number of very thoughtful comments.  It wasn't just a flame-war.  It's worth checking out.  Since I haven't had a chance to see it yet, please feel free to make some thunder here if you've seen Fahrenheit 911.  I don't care if you loved it or hated it.

Sunday, June 27, 2004
Dear Big Fundie Brother

Take the blue pill, Neo.

I'm so very glad I spent so many long nights tediously adding in my [>permalinks<] into all those past entries as a work-around for not having them here on blogdrive at the time.  Do you want to know why I'm so very-to-the-Nth-degree glad?

Because while blogdrive's latest upgrades (even the free features) make my manhood swell, now I can go back, re-edit about 150 entries and remove my work-around in all of them.  Or I may not even bother.  It's not like anyone is going to care to read any of my past entries.

Who cares that the CIA has a happy little blue cartoon bear named Ginger on their web site that wants to take your kids on a virtual tour and while doing so basically teaches them that lying and sneaking around behind your back is cute?

While at the same time, John Ashcroft, who shall from now on be called Big Fundie Brother, wants to 'protect the children' from anything morally unacceptable beyond his puritanical views using our tax dollars to prosecute LEGAL pornography.  I'm sure he'll find some cute legal justification to use Patriot Act provisions to further his investigations as part of the anti-porn crusade he embarked upon soon after raising his hand and vowing to (among other things) protect and defend the constitution.  Maybe I should write him a nice open letter:

Dear Big Fundie Brother,

Hey, you uptight little ashcroft, we know where Buttman lives.  The FOX News cadaver, Greta-in-Cistern, just interviewed him as well as Drew Oosterbaan, chief of the division in charge of obscenity prosecutions.  Could you tell Drew that we understand that he went through high school as the ugly kid with a funny name and that going after and prosecuting the guys now who have beautiful naked woman around them all of the time isn't going to change his teenage humiliation? 

May I ask, Big Fundie Brother, how many millions of our tax payer dough is going toward paying for your crusade by hiring people like Bruce Taylor?  That Fundie idiot couldn't win against Larry Flynt, remember?  And so now Bruce, Drew and you are going to crack down on consenting adults watching legal entertainment, right?

Let me give you this advice.  Next Sunday, when you walk into your church, look around at all the snot-nosed little kids running around putting holes in the knees of their Sunday best.  Look at the toddlers, and the infants, and the pregnant mothers bulging with the promise of new life.  Now, how do you think they got there?

Absolutely everyone in that church on Sunday is there because at one time or another their own parents hooked up and did the nasty.  As a matter of fact, many of those good people were likely doing it doggy-style only hours before Sunday School with the help of some Budweiser and a Pay-Per-View porno on Saturday night.

Now, look.  You only have a few more months left in your job.  Going after the cable industry is like biting the hand that got your good old boys elected.  America doesn't like to have its sense of morality legislated by election-year politicians or prosecuted by zealots.  Please stop justifying your job by catering to the technophobes who can't seem to fathom the purpose of their remote control to change the channel, or let alone operate the Tipper Gore V-Chip in their television sets, and are praying to their God daily for Judgement Day to end their terribly confused and miserable little lives.  And, if this applies to you -- don't be angry if there's no more lead in your scrawny old pencil and stop venting that frustration by going after all the fornicators -- go talk to Bob Dole and take a chill pill, a little blue chill pill.

Instead of harassing Buttman for producing legal porn, re-assign Bruce and Drew (wait just a minute -- "Bruth and Drew get re-ass-thigned by Big John" -- nevermind) and please go find Osama bin Laden so I can be safe at home to masturbate to whatever legal pornography is left after you finish thumping away at all of our civil liberties.

Oh, and tell Lam Nguyen that I did his job for free -- keeping the porn legal on Imajica BBS for years.  Tell him, "You just have to pace yourself."

Friday, June 25, 2004
Fraggin' Friday: Thunderstorms

I don't like you, and here's why ...
JfZ makes a mess all over the web
phreek-wently scoped out sites
Well now, this may be a nice time to tell you about a change in the weather around here.  I prefer not to blog about myself, or for fuck's sake, blog about the blog too often.  But, this first Fraggin' Friday back for me, I've decided to take a BFG to the blog itself.  I'm nuking it.  It's going to be messy around here for a while.  I thought I should say something like -- I don't know -- put on your safety glasses.  Prepare for Shock and Awe.  Well, maybe that one's a bad metaphor.

I had more than a month away from almost daily bloggin' recently, as you might notice by that big hole in the calendar, from Mother's Day to Father's Day.  While I missed everybody and everything*, the time away has helped me look at this site with more detachment.  I put alot of time and effort over the months into Thunderstorms beyond simply typing up my latest rants.  Change is a part of the nature of things.

Blogdrive did some significant upgrading on their end right before I left and while I was on my little digital hiatus.  I like the upgrades they've made.  The less time spent on form and function is more time that can be spent on content.  One nice thing is that the handy-dandy  permalinks  I so lovingly MacGyvered manually into all of my entries are now standard fare and can be added automatically.  The archives are easier to deal with.  Another thing that I just found and tried out is the file manager.  This saves me time from having to type in a 50 character Img Src URL so often.  Now, I can simply select the happy little orange insert image icon in the WYSIWYG editor.  Maybe the pages will load just that much faster.  We'll see.  I can tell you one thing, I'd get a serious digital woody if I had the coinage to pay blogdrive for some of their premium services about which I've read.

When I did get back online, I hestitated to even type up a blog entry for Thunderstorms.  I like consistency.  If I started bloggin' here again too soon after my break, I'd never get caught up on email accounts grown obscenely fat or anything else.  One thing I did do for several days before returning was put 500 blog entries online at Verissimus.  It's a good start.  It's the equivalent of getting the foundation and rough carpentry completed for the construction of a house.  While the site is functionable, I have alot more to get accomplished over there.  It can wait a bit longer though.  There are specific topics I need to do some more research on for Verissimus.  Even though I selected different options in its configuration and layout than the ones used here at Thunderstorms, I was able to see how some of the blogdrive upgrades looked and felt there since it is newly created.

Unfortunately, in order to get Thunderstorms working well with the new upgrades, it seems it's just going to be easier to get that done by tipping this freaky little etch-a-sketch upside down and shaking it vigorously.

* "I hate everybody and everything.  I hate everything about everybody"
   - Don Imus

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