Well, I waited almost two weeks for the Atlantis shuttle to launch. Then, when it did finally launch, I didn't blog about it -- because thinking about 9/11 puts me in a mood that makes me not want to talk to anyone, in person or via the blog. I get so angry, and sad. I spent both Sunday and Monday hunkered down in a very anti-social frame of mind.
I apologize for the auto-loading flash file in the 9/11 entry. Regular Thunderstorms readers with dial-up modems are probably gathering pitchforks and lighting their torches to storm the Imajica. It's there primarily to motivate me to move forward, blog, and knock it off the main page.
I did watch the shuttle launch Saturday via NASA TV. I'm sure most people have seen newsbytes of it. If you want to check out something interesting, read the STS-115 launch blog. It has links to video footage from Saturday's launch, and odd little notes, too. I never knew that some of the astronauts were in a rock band called "Max Q."
The one thing that really puts me in a good mood is the work that the astronauts (and all of the dedicated NASA personnel) are doing right now. In a few hours, STS-115 crew members will secure the P3/P4 trusses to the ISS during their first EVA of the mission. If you want to know what they'll be doing each day of the mission, check out this handy flash file. This flash also has assembly animations for the STS-115 mission and the completed International Space Station.
Another thing that cheered me up was that Pluto Girl visited the blog. I affectionately gave her the nickname Pluto Girl, though. I thought she was funny and smart. The nickname she uses is BravesGirl5 on YouTube. She's quite a prolific video blogger, even though her beloved Atlanta Braves are doomed. She should major in mass communications, but she'll probably be a biochemist, or something.
As for me video blogging, let's just say I have a face fit for Klingon iTunes podcasts. Also noteworthy: Star Trek turned 40 this weekend. I checked out some of the fan films and I was amazed at the quality of projects like New Voyages and Starship Exeter. As much as I thought myself to be a science fiction fan, I never knew about this growing phenomenon of actual films being produced. May they live long and prosper!
Here are some of the web pages I've seen during some of the random and not so random websurfing I've been doing recently. Most of these things are not related in any way with each other, may or may not warrant further research, and will likely waste your time following the links.
You also might want to make a tasty beverage before reading any further, if you wish to comment.
People don't like their Matrix challenged. People who believe certain things to be reality will defend them vehemently. Watch as Senator Santorum (R-PA) not only defends his Matrix, but also thinks we should attack other countries, like Iran.
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) still thinks WMDs were in Iraq for justification of the invasion. That fits with his personality and politics; it just isn't true. Dubya has even backed off the Iraq WMD claim. While I'll leave the residents of Pennsylvania to make a value judgement about Rick Santorum at their elections, he does also represent the country as a U.S. Senator. I think he's a delusional ideologue. He should be spayed and neutered from the world of national politics. Maybe having his name used for this disgustion definition is enough.
If you want to know the origins of the Iraq WMD story, Mother Jones published "Heroes in Error" - How a fake general, a pliant media, and a master manipulator helped lead the United States into war - by investigative journalist Jack Fairweather. Worth a read, if you never knew about the Clinton-era "Iraq Liberation Act," Ahmed Chalabi, or the how selective intelligence reports were gobbled up and misused by neocons to "fit the intelligence around the policy." The next time the Christofascist Santorum talks about "pro-democracy" forces to overthrow Iran, someone should start screaming "Chalabi !!"
Speaking of lies and the liars who tell them, check out the MoJo Lie-by-lie Timeline. I'm really becoming embarassed that our country is so easily being played the fool by Middle East countries to help them kill each other. Whether it is our "addiction to oil" or our "addiction to Israel" -- I'm weary of both war and religion.
I added Babylon By Bus to my Amazon Wish List. A review starts: "What do you get when you mix a couple of booze-guzzling, Valium-addled, 20-something slackers from urban America with centuries-old sectarian hatred and a dubious war? Well, you get this alternately lame, alternately compelling tale from the first year after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003."
People never like their religious Matrix challenged either. I've always known about the Scientology lawyers since the internet was a fetus inside an Atari Pong game system. Codebot.org recently got a cease-and-desist letter on typically bogus legal grounds, and the hosting ISP initially folded and took it offline, but then put the domain back online.
But, damn! Check out the cops and these three self-deluded Scientology crackheads:
Since I like to explore the underbelly of our collective Matrix, look for more research into Scientology, Religion, Politics, Foreign Policy, The War Machine, Media and other control mechanisms for our minds.
Scientology?! Maybe we are the product of some intergalactic struggle. Maybe not. I have a theory about L. Ron Hubbard that I'll save for an entire entry someday. Being from Detroit, my theory concerns the historical abuse about the tax-exempt status of churches. I knew a Sicilian bricklayer that put all his income through a tax-exempt entity. Let's look at the obvious things first. A Sci-Fi author started a religion. Once CoS took off, why jump off the money train?
The historical Judeo-Christian mindset maintains about 80% of the population of the United States in all of its various forms. So, let's be clear. It's not that weird. It doesn't mean they are right just because they're the big fish in our pond, though.
Marcus Annius Verus, known to history as the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, was born at Rome in the year 121 AD. He wrote some of his own philosophical and personal thoughts about his life and his world in a private collection of his journals called Meditations. More than 1800 years later, I decided to turn his personal thoughts into a blog that I named Verissimus, meaning Most True. I'm no expert in philosophy, ancient studies, or classical literature. Yet, the act of transcribing his Meditations into a blog has created an interest, a fondness and respect for him in me. He's now long dead, but perhaps still speaks to us.
Today, I was startled and saddened to see the BBC report that Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter, had been killed. It makes you ponder what someone will write in your own obituary someday.
Coincidentally enough, I had been reading Book II of Meditations again. I came across this passage, number 11:
Since it is possible that thou mayest depart from life this very moment, regulate every act and thought accordingly. But to go away from among men, if there are gods, is not a thing to be afraid of, for the gods will not involve thee in evil; but if indeed they do not exist, or if they have no concern about human affairs, what is it to me to live in a universe devoid of gods or devoid of Providence? But in truth they do exist, and they do care for human things, and they have put all the means in man's power to enable him not to fall into real evils. And as to the rest, if there was anything evil, they would have provided for this also, that it should be altogether in a man's power not to fall into it. Now that which does not make a man worse, how can it make a man's life worse? But neither through ignorance, nor having the knowledge, but not the power to guard against or correct these things, is it possible that the universe has overlooked them; nor is it possible that it has made so great a mistake, either through want of power or want of skill, that good and evil should happen indescriminately to the good and the bad. But death certainly, and life, honour and dishonour, pain and pleasure, all these things happen to good men and bad, being things which make us neither better nor worse. Therefore they are neither good nor evil.
I thought this might be appropriate to think about today. What do you think Marcus Aurelius is saying here? Feel free to leave your comments.