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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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

 No ... you eat it !

Scanning my personal archives, I just came across an article I had submitted to Plastic in July 2002.  Everyone was still pretty raw from 9-11, so it never got published.  All this happened sometime this very week that summer.  How soon we forget little items of concern in the news.  Recently, no one in the U.S. media seems to be that concerned about Mad Cow since we are all now so entranced and pre-occupied with our ongoing shock and awe in Iraq.

But that summer, the Baltimore Sun had reported that the USDA just announced a recall of 19 million friggin' pounds of beef due to contamination from e. coli 0157:H7. The Food Safety and Inspection Service categorized the recall as a Class I recall: This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

As if just reading Robin Cook's novel TOXIN wasn't enough that summer, my neighbor Dennis also had just finished taking antibiotics for the previous two weeks because of an e. coli 0157:H7 infection.  He was very sick.  He may have been sickened by bacteria in the water.  I do have to drink from the same water supply as my neighbor.  Personally, I didn't plan on becoming a vegetarian, or a camel, but this was getting ridiculous.
Infection often causes severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps; sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea.  In some people, particularly children under 5 years of age and the elderly, the infection can also cause a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail.  In the United States, hemolytic uremic syndrome is the principal cause of acute kidney failure in children, and most cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome are caused by E. coli O157:H7.

In 1999, people became sick after drinking contaminated water in Washington County, New York and swimming in contaminated water in Clark County, Washington.  About a week ago, all three NYC newspapers reported about a localized outbreak near a Bronx daycare.  Three or four toddlers were hospitalized and eighteen more became sick.  Today, in Washington state, 15-year-old Jenna Richardson lies in a hospital bed showing early signs of kidney damage and pancreatitis likely from eating under-cooked beef.  She is only one sick little girl with e. coli infection, but Washington state alone will report between 125-200 cases on average each year.

Health officials take cases of e. coli seriously because children can get sick and die very quickly.  They also monitor whether or not several cases of infection may point toward a larger outbreak from a food source.  In late 1992 and early 1993, more than 600 people were sickened and three children died after eating contaminated, under-cooked hamburgers sold at Jack In The Box restaurants.  The hamburger was tainted with the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.  The epidemic prompted several lawsuits and settlements totalling more than $15 million.

Even with that history, sometimes I hear of some very odd cases. For example, back when I wrote the article for Plastic, Colorado inmates were served meatloaf made with the recently contaminated beef and it wasn't the first time this had happened.

With the serendipity of my reading Robin Cook's TOXIN, Dennis being very ill, and the recall happening about the same time, I was more than a little concerned.  Looking behind some of the headlines, I started thinking about just how much ground beef was involved in that 2002 recall and did some math.  19 million pounds of beef would probably make a meatloaf the size of your favorite major league baseball stadium.  If it all were packed into 18 wheeled semi-trucks, it would create a bumper-to-bumper convoy 4-5 miles long.

Although the contaminated beef was served up more than once to a group of people like those inmates who would not get much sympathy from anyone, the everyday consumer of fast food burgers continues to be at risk because of the burger wrapper-thin veil of government oversight in this industry.  And then, an hour ago, I'm treated to more government bullshit.

The bottom line: I honestly can't recall eating a fast food hamburger since 2002.  Atkins can flip burgers in hell, for all I care.

You Can't Make This Shit Up

Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Tales from the Crypt

It's a muggy night to be stuck in a windowless room staring at hanging chads down in South Florida, but Dave Ortega is a veteran of the infamous 2000 election and he wants to keep his spirits up for the rest of the team.  Silently though, he says a small prayer for a fast-moving,  cleansing rain storm to come in on the sea breeze to clear the humidity and send the gaggle of television news crews outside scrambling and stumbling away.  In charge of announcing the elections results, Dave imagines himself having a Jimmy Hoffa moment and mumbles, "Ants at a picnic," under his breath.

Interrupting Dave's slightly vindicative daydream is Manny Hernandez, one of the technology student volunteers from the university assigned to help the team makes sense of the electronic voting results that have been a pain in Dave's neck since 2004.

"It's pretty clear," says Manny, "Hillary Clinton has won the 2008 presidential race."

[... to be continued?]

Look, I know some of you didn't realize I could write horror fiction, but maybe like you, I grew up on Stephen King, too.  I appologize if my little future scene made your stomach tighten or your socks become stained with a little trickle of urine.

I stopped short of bringing up the Hillary topic in comments yesterday to Brandon Starr.  Even though it is related, I thought it better to have an entry about it rather than going off topic in comments.  But I've been thinking about this for a few days now.

As I've mentioned in the past, I like to have C-SPAN droning away on the television set at times because it is so helpful in overcoming my insomnia and putting me fast to sleep.  This past weekend, I caught part of a BookTV broadcast with Dick Morris speaking about his new book, Rewriting History.  Being part of the Clinton Whitehouse at the time, I thought he might be in an unusually good position to comment about the Clintons.  Some people have said that rather than simply reviewing or commenting on the Hillary Clinton autobiography, Dick Morris wrote Rewriting History as a response to Hillary Clinton's Living History.

What struck me were some comments Dick Morris made during this book signing and in the question and answer session.  He basically stated that the Clintons, being faithful Democrats but very savvy politicians, want George W. Bush re-elected.  They aren't going to anger other Democrats and bad-mouth Kerry directly.  Dick Morris posed this framing question, "What might you do if you're Bill Clinton?".  He then went on to say how Bill Clinton's My Life was timed to come out this summer.

The hope is that by having Bill Clinton doing so much publicity for his memoir book, it will steal the spotlight away from Kerry and flatten any momentum his campaign would normally garner from naming his VP or the Democratic National Convention.

Another brand new book talking Hillary and the Clinton "plan", is Christoper Andersen's American Evita.  I caught about three minutes of Andersen's appearance on Hannity and Colmes in the middle of a channel surf, tonight.  Maybe some of you regular Hannity-ites can comment more on it.

I just scanned some info on Amazon.  Andersen is a venerated celebrity author who has had best-sellers on members of the Kennedy family.  Interestingly, not only is Morris' Rewriting History suggested as a related book, but also Sean Hannity's Deliver Us From Evil.

All in all, I think it may come down to this.  Bill and Hillary don't want to wait until 2012 or 2016.  If Bush gets re-elected, he can't run again.  Dick Cheney is not going to run and, from the look of the Republican Party, there isn't a very promising stable of up-and-coming stars to run against Hillary Clinton in 2008.  On the other hand, if Kerry wins in 2004, he or Edwards would be the presumptive 2008 Democratic candidate.

So, I think I may have a subtitle for my own little horror story:

"How the short-sighted christian-right voted for Bush and helped get Hillary Clinton elected"

Monday, July 12, 2004
Bush Bashing 101


Kerry - Edwards

in 2004

Does it really matter? Vote

Bush - Cheney

in 2004

I just thought I might point something out to some people who may think that I'm pro-Kerry because they think I'm bashing Bush.  To me, it honestly makes no sense to vote for the "lesser of two evils", or for the idiot son of a billionaire power family like the Bushes, or for a politician who married into another billionaire family.  See, if you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still get evil.

Look, for all you staunch hereditary Republicans, I'm truly sorry George W. Bush isn't acting like a Republican.  Republicans are supposed to be for less government.  Bush's government is probably one of the largest in history and its burden on tax payers is growing larger by the second.  Dubya certainly hasn't remembered what the Reagans taught us about less government.  I hope you saved your $300 Dubya-bucks Fun Park certificate for the ride he'll take you on during his second term.

For you Born-Again-Christians who are going to vote for Dubya because you're so tickled to get 'a man of faith' in the presidency, get over it.  The RNC is going to promise you some things about morality, family values, yadda-yadda ... things the government should not be in the business of doing.  Your 'values' are your values.  The government can't mandate them.  This is still the United States, not Iran, so move there if you want to live in a theocracy.  Church-State seperation not only protects non-christian citizens from discrimination, but also protects you.  If the government mandated christianity tomorrow morning, what are the odds that it would be your brand of christianity?  Look, if you want your kids to pray in school, send them to Bible Camp, or enroll them in your church's madrassa.   The seperation of church and state is there for a good friggin' reason.

As far as the Kerry - Edwards ticket goes?  There's another Fun-Park ride.  Sheesh!  I feel like there should be a little plywood cut-out in front of the voting booth with an arm sticking straight out and a caption reading, "You have to be this gullible to vote for me!".  Kerry has been a professional politician for decades -- and just how in touch with the common man do you think he really is?  He's married to a friggin' heiress and doesn't even know how many SUVs he owns.  Edwards?  At least he's a fresh face.  It's likely Kerry picked Edwards as a running mate because of his good show at the Bilderberg conference in Italy, last month.  Edwards may actually be more connected to the world's power elite than Kerry himself -- or at least he makes a good poster boy for them.  At the same time, he comes across as concerned for my well-being as the successful ambulance chaser that he was for most of his professional career.  Call me now! 1-800-suckers.

Why haven't I been bashing Kerry as much as I seem to complain about Dubya?  Dubya and his cronies have had four years to prove to me that they are truly pathetic, and devious, and pompous, and short-sighted, and outright thieves.  If I haven't bashed Kerry, I think it's mainly because I don't know enough about John Kerry to intelligently bash him beyond what I see most Dubya-defenders do -- parroting some FOX news political pundit, or Hannity, or O'Reilly, or Limbaugh. 

While they are all professional critics and complainers
, they take themselves way too seriously and that's just not my style.  If I think of something witty that I can use to bash Kerry - Edwards, believe me, you're likely to see it here first.

Sunday, July 11, 2004
TAG board archive

Everyone!  Into the pool!!
So ... why?  Well, I go through the TAG board periodically (or when asked) and delete entries.  Mainly I delete/clear entries because it reloads the page periodically or when you add a new entry for chatting and when it gets too large, it takes up bandwidth loading constantly.  My general rule was this: if you put an annoying little smilie emoticon on the TAG, that entry was the first to go when I cleaned house.

The second rule: if the entry was older.  But the second rule bummed me out because I hate to throw away memories, so, some entries were deemed to be classics and had to be preserved (like Hygelic reading my blog in the bathroom on his cell phone).

Then the first and second rules unfortunately clashed when it came to old school phreeks who might put an ascii emoticon at the end of their sentence, like Skennedy (et al).  These people were violating my first unstated rule through no fault of their own, and, because the programmers of the TAG board must have thought to themselves, "how handy-fucking-dandy would it be if we just translated every ascii emoticon to a different happy little yellow face?"  So, they dropped another few hits of Exstacy, patted each other on the back and went back to coding the TAG board.

So, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, whether it is wise or terribly, terribly wrong -- I've decided to archive the TAG board here for all to see -- and still be able to delete older entries (and keep the TAG.html small) with a clear conscience. 

Helleena It is so good to have you back! I now have something to read.
JfZ *blush* Thanks Kristi ... I was just nuking the blog layout when you stopped by
Kristi I remember the days of Imajica! One of the best BBS's in the Metro Detroit area! lol Hi Mel, Hi JfZ!
Duke The ERIC bird lives!
Brandon Starr Nice to have you back, JfZ.
Fire-Eyes Hey! thanks for the comment!
Toulon HEY! Well okay then. I'll have to go and check out Verissimus Hope that you're doing well!
John Furie Zacharias blogdrive has upgraded some of its functions, so I'll be upgrading and fine-tuning Thunderstorms as soon as I'm finished with the rough carpentry over on Verissimus.
John Furie Zacharias [[ yawn, stretch ]] Welp, it was a refreshing month-long nap I just took from being online ... Now, I need coffee.
Helleena Well I would not bet on that mel. He has some kind of project that he is working on. But maybe soon. later
Melicious Hi Christine - that's exactly the book its from! JfZ will be back soon maybe today yay.
Dennis YOU'RE GONE? (Just kiddin') I thought I had lost you electronically. Hope you get back soon. you are Loved!!
Helleena Well for anyone who cares JFZ will be back soon very soon.
Christine Hey John! is that name from a book called Imajica? Good book.
Helleena Hey everyone just thought that I would let U know since I can get to a computer with internet that JFZ and I are off line for a while We will let everyone know when we are going to be back. Miss U all
Melicious I miss my jfz!!!!! <sniffle>
Komisarios Hi JfZ!
Phases ROFL you said 'crap-tastic'! I'm going to have to use that Hey is my browser messed up, or is the right side of your page cut off? Thanks for stopping by!!
JfZ Heh. I know. I got uglier and then handsome again. (j/k) Those pix are 7 years old now!
Kristi I was looking at the pics and I can't believe how everyone has changed.
JfZ Kristi ... Shhh! Only blonde haXXor grrls know about it !
Kristi Hey, I just figured out the redline thing! That's cool dude! Makes me laugh, gonna have to come in and read more of them. lol
Duke I just scrolled down and noticed that Mayhem visited you some time ago...and here I thought he fell off the face of the earth
JfZ Thanks Brandon, will do. Somehow I have stayed awake about 30 hours now.
Brandon Starr Hey, JfZ, keep up the good stuff! And you may want to check out my entry about Bush from today, 4/27/04.
dennis Breaking news: Oil discovered in New Jersey. Canada assured NJ has WMD's stockpiled. Trying to get NY and Michigan and Ohio to form alliance to invade - and free NJ people.
Brandon Starr No problem, JfZ. In fact, I was disappointed with the lack of interest in that entry at the time, so thanks.
JfZ ERIC: Just click the 'contact me' link under the counter to send me an email and I'll reply right back. Meanwhile, I'll head over to Plastic and see if you're in that address book.
Persecution Smith Oy!! JFZ Send me your current email address..........GO WINGS!!!!
JfZ Thanks Dennis. I said Howard Dean earlier. I meant John Dean, Nixon's guy. Heh. Howard Dean is still trying to pay off the doughnut and coffee tab from his presidential campaign ...
dennis Hey, Parsons is the author of One For My Baby - I know you'll like it. The Collin's book gives great insight into Blair, Bush, Rice, etc.
JfZ I've been, Myisha! U?
Myisha HI how ya been??
The Girls at Casmin Ok we have a question for anyone that might know the answer. Why is a Blow Job called a Blow Job when all the girl does is suck?
melicious Unknown!! Wassup girl xoxox you need to email me at
Kristi HEY MEL! How are you doing? It's "Unknown"! I moved to Ohio.
AnOldFriend Wow. Must be nice to do nothing at work except chat chat chat heheheh
Mayhem I went to a complete hermit! I have no phone, No cable, No Internet (well work) HEHEHE
hygelic One more thing - I'm waiting for your editorial on the republican polar bear root canal surgery.
hygelic I'm on the toilet, wirelessly reading your blog. You, sir, can put yer weed in there!

Saturday, July 10, 2004
Gray Spaces - Soldier's Sunset

I didn't think this would look that good on a shirt, so I made a print (poster) instead.  Should I put this on a shirt, too?  I don't know.  You tell me.

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