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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JfZ making a mess of the web
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Friday, February 13, 2004
Inventing a better future

It's all we got -- when it's broke, we're done.

Since it is Friday the 13th, let's discuss the luck and future of the planet.  Last week, Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, was given a report by the InterAcademy Council entitled "Inventing a better future: A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology".  Upon receiving the report, he remarked in part about tapping into human creativity and innovation to reach millenium goals:

"Issues that most directly affect what we hope to achieve for ourselves and our families.  Issues that relate to building a life free of poverty and deadly disease, with enough food and clean drinking water, in a clean and safe environment.  Issues that are identified in the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by all the world's leaders here at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000."

Unfortunately, the IAC report has some bad news.  The full report is available online.  Here is a brief excerpt:

"For the first time, the majority of human beings are now classified as urban, a phenomenon that will continue unabated, mostly in the developing world, even though some will use the new information and communications technology to work out of more rural surroundings. Urbanization will challenge the capacities of developing nations to deal with the enormous problems of their 'megacities' (those with populations over 10 million). Over the next three decades, India alone will face an increment of urban population twice the size of the total populations of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined."

This fact is borne out in the research done by the Committee on Population and published in "Cities Transformed: Demographic Change and Its Implications in the Developing World (2003)" also available to read fully online at the National Academies Press (NAP).

The IAC report goes on to say:

"Poverty, destitution, and hunger still stalk humanity. Despite the enormous improvements that have been achieved in human welfare, 38 percent of the people in the least developed nations are malnourished and the shadow of starvation and famine still looms large in parts of the world especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, where civil strife has exacerbated an already bad situation. One-sixth of the human family lives on less than a dollar a day, and almost half of humanity survives on fewer than two dollars a day. The richest quintile of the world's people earns more than 70 times the income of the poorest quintile."

These facts are well documented in last year's report at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) web site.  There are some astounding facts in the 2003 report that make what your mother told you about "eating your food because kids in so-and-so country are going hungry" sound lame.  If you follow no other link today, check out the quotable facts of HDR 2003.  Additionally, the IAC report continues:

"Problems such as HIV/AIDS strike globally, though responses to the disease's devastation vary enormously with a nation's capacity to deliver treatment and modify societal behavior. Some societies are producing a generation of AIDS orphans, with large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia facing enormous and crippling losses. The decimation of young adults at their most productive moments is a human tragedy of gigantic proportions and a social and economic nightmare. Dramatic policy changes are required to address this issue, as well as persistent diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis and the more recent threat of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). More research is required to find better responses. Scientific collaboration on confronting the challenge and on making the results of the research available to those who need it most is essential."

Unfortunately as I heard one witness testify in congressional hearings on NASA's budgetary hearings in light of president Bush's big "Go to the moon" plan, (paraphrasing) "We need to fund this technology, this research and development, to stay ahead of the world.  Do you want China on the moon before us?  It's a national security issue, frankly".  So, while it may sound good and be the right thing to do -- to share technology, that is -- we (the U.S.) are not always going to do so.

But what happens if we continue doing things as we always have --  Think, act and consume like it was the 1950s?

"Environmental challenges abound. If present production and consumption patterns are not changed, the impact on our biosphere will be astounding: the air and water we depend on will become increasingly polluted; the soils will more and more erode; and forests, habitats, and biodiversity will continue to be lost. If the entire population of the earth were to produce and consume at present U.S. levels, we would need three Planet Earths. The need to implement more environmentally friendly and socially responsible economic activity has never been greater."

I don't know about you, but I would drive a hydrogen-fuel car if I could.  We better start soon too.  The Millenium Goals are supposed to be reached by 2015.

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Thursday, February 12, 2004
Daytona 500

200K rednecks will attend

It gets more national news coverage than Bike Week and Bike-toberfest and culminates Daytona's Speed Week.  It's a big deal when 200,000 rednecks gather in one spot to do anything besides talk about the one shared branch of their family tree back in Kentucky.

Secret Service arrived on Tuesday.  It seems Dubya will have another opportunity to play Mr. Dress Up and get a photo-op bonding with the common man.  Speedway concession stands were thoroughly searched using the latest technology and all threats to the president (pretzels) have been removed.

In sad news, a local man was killed last Sunday at the International Speedway while clearing the track after an accident by a parapalegic race car driver running his very first race.  He was the first emergency service worker to be killed at the track.  Over 30 race car drivers have died in Daytona, including the infamous death of Dale Earnhardt.

The first race at Daytona International Speedway, won by Lee Petty, was Feb. 22, 1959.  Winning the Daytona 500 is the final prize of this 45-year-old racing tradition recently coined as Speed Week.  This week, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Elliot Sadler won the qualifying Gatorade 125 races.  Greg Biffle ran the fastest lap so he qualifies to start the 500 in pole position.  Sarah Silverman can explain more about what pole position means than I can, but I imagine that it is a good thing.

The big race is Sunday.  I guess that means pork rinds.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Bones are us

my knee bone is connected to ... my penis

Welp, it's been about two months since Dr. Mitchell fileted my leg and installed the plates and screws (shown above).  So, it was time for a follow-up appointment after the surgery.  Last time I saw the doc was when I was a meat popsicle and he pulled out the 40 or so happy little metal staples from my leg.

He told me I could start putting weight on the knee and leg very gradually.  He said I should use the HFD walker for a while longer, then graduate to a cane with the immobilizer.  The immobilizer sounds like a fun BDSM toy but it's just a removable cast thang with velcro straps and some long metal stiffeners.  Did I just say, "long stiffeners" out loud?  Maybe it is a BDSM toy, afterall.

Regardless, he said I could go swimming again once the wound finally heals totally up.  It's not to smart to swim in Snow Bird urine with an open cut, I guess. 

He also told me that I can start exercising my atrophied leg muscles now.  He suggested I lie face-down on the bed with my legs hanging off with some light ankle weights.  So now I have an excuse to wear my steel-toed construction boots to bed during sex.  Pretty cool.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Fuck Winter

Its all fun and games until you freeze your balls off

Melicious sent me this today.  She had to travel back to Detroit over the weekend. 

I'm not very empathetic -- it almost hit 80o this afternoon. 

How is your winter wonderland shaping up so far?

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Monday, February 09, 2004
YCMTSU - Pink Pistols Bag Big Gay Buck

Pink Pistols Bag Big Gay Buck  While I was hobbling around downtown Tampa for about about a half mile using my HFD walker looking for an open entrance to a municipal building, Plasticians were discussing how the recent gay marriage laws were creating a huge grass roots recruitment of born-again organizations against that law.

Meanwhile, my arms were turning to jello after going around the 2nd or 3rd city block only to find the one and only security entrance had a flight of stairs to negotiate or a ramp with such a slight incline a ball wouldn't roll down it and so long that it doubled back on itself.  After hobbling a quarter mile, I monkeyed up the stairs.  The second quarter mile came after the security check point where I basically hobbled back to where I started inside the massive fucking building.

Anyway, since we're talking about security and gays, think about this.  For a number of years now, homosexuals have been getting killed for being themselves after they have come out of the closet.  Everyone can think about it for a minute and recall some horrific gay-bashing incident that has made the evening news.  PBS' Frontline web site is my favorite for reading about all the angles of any story or topic.  One such Frontline story is entitled Assault on Gay America about the murder of Billy Jack Gaither.

It was only a matter of time before GBL people armed themselves in self-defense.  Two organizations, Pink Pistols and Cease Fear (whose logos I have displayed above) are more than just a gay parody of the National Rifle Association (NRA).  They take their 2nd amendment rights seriously and have 41 chapters of their national organization in 29 states.  It's likely there is a chapter in your area recruiting members and making news like the Michigan Pink Pistols chapter written up in the Detroit Free Press a few months ago.

Michigan, like many states in the U.S., has a not-so-insignificant portion of their economy depending upon the various yearly hunting seasons.  I can remember when I was working as a union bricklayer, our company would nearly shut down all construction work during the opening weekend of deer hunting season.  They had to do it.  Typically, there wouldn't be enough people to man even a small crew as everyone would be in the woods with a beer in one hand and a rifle or bow in the other hand depending upon the type of hunting season.  There are plenty of game animals to hunt in the U.S. afterall.

According to nature biologist, Bruce Bagemihl, there are plenty of gay animals in the U.S. to hunt too.  He wrote a book about it.  In a Salon article by Susan McCarthy, that you have to check out if only to see the gay monkey illustration by Zach Trenholm, she talks about Bruce's book:

Bruce Bagemihl spent 10 years scouring the biological literature for data on alternative sexuality in animals to write "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity," 768 pages about exactly what goes on at "South Park's" Big Gay Al's Big Gay Animal Sanctuary.

So here's my question: If a pink pistol bags a big gay buck, is it a hate-crime?


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