31 July 2010

Alcohol, arthritis and 100 years of medicine

I shall never cease being amazed by discoveries made in the modern MMM (Mass Media Medicine). And the latest one that undoubtedly brought its author a significant quantity of glory and other laurels, didn't fail to astonish:

Drinking alcohol can not only ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis it appears to reduce disease severity too, research suggests.
Of course, no aficionado of good old O'Henry could forget the story Makes the Whole World Kin. Essentially the story is about a cat burglar who, being surprised by the owner of the house, discovers that the owner, as the thief himself, suffers from rheumatic pains. The outcome is that, after a lively discussion of various (but useless) remedies*, the burglar invites the owner for an outing - to partake of the only true remedy:
I'll tell you what! We're up against it. I only find one thing that eases her up. Hey? Little old sanitary, ameliorating, lest-we-forget Booze.
Yeah, well, it took our good doctors only a hundred years** of scientific effort to come to same conclusion. I guess that many distillers with sufficient years on record in the industry can sue the medical science (how does one go about it, I wonder?) for loss of profit during all these years.

Oh well: your health, ladies and gentlemen!

(*) Snake oil is also mentioned, by the way. No offense to the folks bound by Hypocritic Hippocratic Oath intended.

(**) Let's be charitable here: Makes the Whole World Kin was written in 1911, so there is still one year for other doctors to come up with a study that will refute this discovery. As it goes in the medical circles.

29 July 2010

Paul the Octopus answers Mahmoud the Mad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [aka Mahmoud the Mad] said:

Paul the Octopus, the sea creature that correctly predicted the outcome of World Cup games in South Africa, is a symbol of all that is wrong with the western world.

During a speech he delivered in Tehran over the weekend, Ahmadinejad said the octopus is a symbol of decadence and decay among "his enemies", and accused the octopus of spreading "western propaganda and superstition."
It appears that after his smashing success with the last Mondial, Paul was trained to use Ouija board. When the derogatory remark by Mahmoud the Mad was conveyed to Paul, it took the latter less then 3 hours to produce this response:
Lassen Sie ihn leck mich am Arsch!
Followed immediately (in one and a half hours) by:
Ich meine "tuches",
showing Paul's multilingual ability.

Upon completion of this task, Paul demanded a triple ration of fish and, thus fortified, embarked on compilation of a report which, after cleansing of multiple expletives, was immediately forwarded to CIA and another unnamed intelligence agency.

New developments rumored imminent.

Mr Grumpy on political correctness

Read these two posts carefully. But watch out if you are going to sound off on the subject...

Montana Fishburne Sex Tape

Will definitely not be posted here. And anyway, if you are ready to call your daughter Montana, you should be ready to cope with the consequences. So, to make you feel better, here is a picture of another nice colorful birdie.

Enjoy, but in moderation.

27 July 2010

From war in the ice to the Israeli Navy via a lot of vile crap

A fascinating bit of naval history, as usual by one and only Jams. And try as I may, it's impossible to improve on that headline.

26 July 2010

Advent of Amina Tariq, the Lettuce Lady

It looks like the PETA is spreading its poisoned roots to the Middle East now.

An animal rights protester clad in lettuce leaves drew a crowd in the Jordanian capital Amman, but also got the attention of city police. Officers led Amina Tariq, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) to a restaurant where she could change out of her leafy garb.
It's quite hot in the area right now - about 35 C (95 F), so the restaurant chef could let her stew as she is for a while, although some vinegar/olive oil mix with salt, pepper and a tad of garlic could add a delicious background taste. My preference would be to go for medium-rare, with a side order of baked potato and, possibly, beans. No lettuce.

P.S. Re the placard she was carrying, saying (in Arabic): "Let vegetarianism grow on you": I have been cursed in my life, but this one really takes the cake. Ain't there some limits?

Haveil Havalim Bahston fashion

Expertly turned out by David Levy here. Enjoy.

25 July 2010

Knoxville 1863

It is with some trepidation that I've opened Knoxville 1863 - the new book by my friend Dick Stanley aka Texas Scribbler. While his previous book, Leaving the Alamo, found a place in my library and my heart, being a collection of candid and true glimpses into lives of veterans of Vietnam war, this time I was facing a completely different challenge. My most hated subject in school and afterward was history, especially the part dealing with specifics of various wars, their battle maps, their homicidal commanders and their no less homicidal leaders. The sentiment spread forth and, as a result, I rarely if at all read any books dealing with military history.

Anyhow, my trepidation had mostly to do with my fear of being obliged to go through another boring military history book and then feeling obliged to make appropriate noises in order to satisfy Dick's author's ego and sensitivities. Boy, was I mistaken...

The book starts, surprisingly enough, with Leila Ellis (or Mrs. Clayton Ellis as was acceptable at the time), widow of a Confederate officer Clayton Ellis, visiting a First Lieutenant Samuel Nicoll Benjamin of the Union (!) army with an offering of a dinner. The plot thickens from the first page, I warn you.

And then the book, after a rather unhurried start, grips the reader. I know almost nothing about this specific war and I am not certain that I shall ever invest more time in its study. But there is no doubt that learning about the unimaginable level of deprivation and suffering and, at the same time, the valor and the sacrifice of the soldiers on both sides cannot be forgotten soon, if ever. And learning about a brilliant military mind opposed to amazing lack of military intelligence is a revelation to a layman.

Well, I wouldn't be the spoiler and, aside of saying that I enjoyed the book very much and learned from it a lot, I can offer a priceless bit of advice: click here and buy it!

And, after reading the book, visit the brand new and shiny site KNOXVILLE 1863, the novel, to learn more about the battle, the place, the time and the people.

22 July 2010

The delights of Inspire Magazine by Al Qaeda

According to this:

Samir Khan, a 24-year-old American citizen who left the country last October, is believed to be the top editor of Inspire, a newly launched online magazine that seeks to recruit members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula...
Unlike Fox News in this article we'll not begrudge the young and obviously talented editor in his new and exciting venture. Bloggers of all persuasions should help one another, I say. So, being of Elders' habits and training, we have found ways and means to take a look at the upcoming new edition of the esteemed magazine. Some selected headlines and excerpts follow:

Religion: Why depiction of any object could be insulting to Islam. By Sheik Anwar Al-Awlaki PBUH (Yemen).

Yes, on the face of it this picture of a telephone by Motorola is perfectly innocuous, but take a close look. How could we be sure that the infidel in his treacherous duplicity didn't really mean to burn into a hidden microchip of this phone the sacrilegious image of the Prophet with a bomb in his turban, or upon a dog's body - or both?

Cooking (for Jihad): Your mom's food processor and the way to eternal glory. By Imam Abu Hamza al-Masri (The Hook) PBUH (UK, jail).

You may be surprised how easy it is to prepare your own explosive belt using the ingredients easily found in your mom's kitchen. Well, you may need some quicksilver, ammonium and fertilizer that should be purchased separately (and discreetly). But even if you are unable to get one of those, you could always surprise and delight your parents by a delicious dish of humus or couscous.

From the field: Stopping a rocket-propelled grenade with your forehead. By Al Qaeda Deputy CiC, Aiman Al Zawahiri PBUH (Pakistan, cave).

This ability stems from the power of your faith. After about ten years of hitting the prayer rug with your forehead, replace the rug with a sandbox. After a year of praying this way, advance to gravel, and after a year of gravel proceed to a concrete block. Do not attempt any heavy thinking at this stage!

Family affairs: Adding a new goat and keeping peace and harmony in your tent. By Adam Gadahn aka Adam Perlman PBUH, Al Qaeda PR manager for Europe and Americas (Pakistan, cave, via satellite link).

You may think that adding a new goat to your stable is simple. But consider the senior goat's response and the friction that will inevitably arise between the junior goats and the newcomer. Consider the possible impact on your main source of cheese and the possible impact of hoofs on some of your more painful bits...

Science: Response to my learned colleague Mr Osama Bin Laden, Esq PBUH on some aspects of Global Warming. By Al Gore PBUH, ex-VP of the Big Satan (Montecito CA).

It is with great interest and increasing happiness that I read the discourse by my learned colleague on the subject matter in the previous issue of this esteemed magazine. I am glad to establish that we have reached a complete accord on this vital issue. However, I would suggest that my learned colleague attend to the use of 20 foot wave as a solid and proven mechanism of GW Hasbarah* effort...

Of course, not yet free of his past as a Zionist stooge, Mr Gore PBUH still uses some Zionist terms [Ed.]

Romance: 72 virgins and handling thereof - do we require protection? By Abdullah Hassan Tali al-Asiri PBUH (The Assbomber), posthumous (Paradise).

After my first year in Paradise, sitting in the lap of Allah in the garden of everlasting bliss and my nightly sojourn with the eternal virgins, I can safely say that there is no need for the barbarous protective sheath invented by the infidels. Allah takes care of his martyrs. The only advice I can extend to the martyrs to come: do reconsider the location of the explosive charge. It is true that the bang gives you an incredible boost and propels you to the Paradise directly. However, the virgins...

Centerfold of the month:

Subscribe to the new and exciting magazine! Yearly subscription: $25 or 300 grams of Semtex. All credit cards accepted, no COD. Local taxes may apply.

17 July 2010

Heathrow blues 1

"Sir, you have been chosen for a random security check. Would you, please, step over there."

The tall well dressed gentleman, armed by one of the incomprehensible but officially looking badges you see in the airports, pointed at the direction of a nook behind the check-in counter.

"Er..", I bleated sheepishly, making a vague gesture in the direction of the backs of my family members, already disappearing down the steps to board the Jumbo that was priming for take-off. Which take-off was supposed to take place in something like thirty minutes. But of course, under the kind, albeit unyielding, stare of the gentleman, I have stepped as prescribed. Being of a swarthy Mediterranean appearance, further encumbered by a big all-revealing schnozzle, I am used to being randomly selected for security checks, so in a way it was really no skin off that schnozzle.

The entrance to the nook was guarded by a table and a chair occupied by a person whose appearance hinted at Pakistani or similar origins, who kindly asked me to surrender my passport and the boarding pass, adding them to the bottom of an already sizable stack of similar documents. Aside of this stack, the table held a folder of forms, vaguely reminiscent of accounting, and a few pens. Another gentleman of Pakistani origins hovered near the table, somehow adding to the slightly puzzling ambiance of the whole setup.

After being relieved of the passport, I have entered the enclosure and sat down at the first available chair, immediately starting to survey the group that has already gathered there. To my surprise, all of the specimen selected for the random security check and sitting in the enclosure, looked absolutely the opposite of that ominous "young male of swarthy Mediterranean appearance" image: mostly blond WASPish males and females with a few kids (!) of the same un-terrorist exterior. This notice, however, was abandoned when, with a slight start, I have discovered that the only person totally answering the above mentioned ominous image, a young Arab gentleman, was seated next to my own seat (which I have, of course, chosen randomly). Not only was he young, swarthy and Mediterranean, but his unshaven face, unkempt hair and sullen looks clearly indicated (to me, that is) that he must be the real cause of that "random" security check. Very soon, I said to myself, an anti-terrorist squad will rush in and clap irons on the culprit's appendages, removing the blighter from the innocent population.

Upon further reflection, though, this line of thought was slightly marred by a realization that I myself, with my exterior, my unkempt hair and clothes, my unshaven mug (after about ten hours spent on the way to London), could easily be a target of the security brouhaha. That is, aside of my age, I said to myself, swatting dead the whole ridiculous idea. All this while busily (but inconspicuously, of course) watching the terrorist bastard with a corner of my left (myopic) eye. Just in case where he decides to sneak a hand into his shirt where, no doubt, the switch of his explosive belt is located. Or a gun. Or... whatever.

Meanwhile the activities in the enclosure continued, albeit in a tortuously slow pace, so familiar to any frequent flier. A few new arrivals were added to our population of inmates. The Pakistani-looking gentleman at the table was busy reading the passports and scribbling something in his papers. This intrigued me in a way, since with the abundance of information about each of us already lodged in the computers it was hard to imagine any need for writing down anything whatsoever.

But then I have concentrated on the second Pakistani-looking gentleman. He was still hovering in the vicinity, murmuring something inaudible into his walkie-talkie when, as the habit of all walkie-talkies, it erupted from time to time in a cacophony of unintelligible noises. Every few minutes he approached the table and, after a brief consultation with the scribbler, picked up and looked at a passport or two.

After a few minutes, however, this routine was interrupted. The hoverer, after another consultation with his walkie-talkie, took one of the passports and entered the nook. In an unhurried stride he approached the terrorist at my side and handed him the document. "You may proceed to the plane, sir", was his verdict. Of course I, who has already foreseen a completely different outcome, have been stunned.

After this inexplicable folly, the activities started to pick up. A few happy inmates where handed their passports and directed to the plane. Yet some others were escorted in a different direction by another badged airport employee. Eventually my turn came too. Carrying my passport and boarding pass, the official guided me to a door, courteously opening it for me. Behind the door was a windowless room lighted by merciless glare of fluorescent lights and lined on three sides by long tables, covered by what looked like scattered contents of the bags, obviously belonging to the passengers standing inside the open rectangle. The external side of the rectangle was populated by a motley crew of badged officials busily handling various items on the table.

I was guided to the only gentleman that wasn't busy at the moment and, without being asked, put my hefty backpack on the table. The first sentence, uttered by the gentleman, was completely unintelligible to me (aside of the word "security"), and I've swiftly realized that with my ears blocked by the flight to London and with my general inability of coping with cockney, my chances of successfully communicating with the gentleman are nil. The next communication from the man only exacerbated the issue. "Blah blah blah.... blah blah blah... zipper" was the request. Since the gentleman issuing the request wasn't looking at my eyes at the time, but rather in the direction somewhere at or below my midriff and since I have visited a restroom not a long time ago, I have naturally assumed that I have left that part of my clothing unattended after my use of the restroom. After a quick check, however, I have established that my pants are zippered and an uncomfortable moment of silence ensued.

After about half a minute of pregnant silence, the gentleman raised his eyes at looked at me directly. "Blah blah blah... blah blah blah... your bag", he stated somewhat impatiently. "Oh, you want me to unzip my bag!", cried I, resumed my breathing again and started unzipping the countless pockets of my backpack. The security gentleman looked somewhat mollified by my obvious diligence.

When all the zippers (of my backpack) were undone, the man's hands went into a veritable storm of activity. In a few moments the contents of my bag, filled with all kinds of photographic paraphernalia, were scattered on the table, and the torrent of the gentleman's activity came to a sudden end. Instead, he started to pick up a single object at a time and examine it in an exceedingly slow fashion and with utmost attention and care. After viewing each object from every possible angle and gently fondling some (no doubt more suspicious) bits of it, he put it, somewhat regretfully, as if still suspecting something, aside.

After a few uneventful minutes of this activity he, finally, came upon something that caused his eyes shine. "Blah blah blah... blah blah blah... not safety matches", he proudly declared, showing me a matchbook that I picked up in some hotel a year or two ago, and, as many a smoker will do, squirreled away in my bag for a rainy day. The matchbook went into a trash can near the wall and the unhurried contemplation of the contents of my bag resumed. Surreptitious glance at my watch told me that the plane should take off in a minute or two...

After a few more minutes a back door that I haven't noticed before opened, and a man in a flight uniform stepped in. "Ladies and gentlemen", he announced loudly, not addressing any specific person in the room particularly, "I appreciate the importance and the value of training our security personnel as much as anyone, but let's not forget that our goal here is to let our planes to fly after all, and that we are late as it is".

My checker and his colleagues in training looked at a man lounging in a corner of the room and, upon receiving some signal, started to wrap up the procedure. My checker gave me a glance of some regret, conveying a feeling that a few more moments would have revealed my true terrorist nature. I have returned a look of pure innocence, artfully mixed with total understanding of his hurt feelings, and helped him to stuff my belongings back into the bad. We didn't part as best friends, I regret to say. The time simply wasn't sufficient for that.

I, with other randomly selected training objects, have entered the plane and was followed on the way to my seat by suspicious stares of the long seated and impatient passengers. Among which was that Arab terrorist, of course, seating next to an Arab lady (his wife? bride? sister?), mostly covered by the traditional Muslim garb.

In another twenty minutes we were in the air, and after ten hours or so of a totally uneventful flight landed in foggy and cold San Francisco. Where I eventually got to light my first cigarette after about 24 hours of abstinence...


According to The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams:

AIRD OF SLEAT (n. archaic): Ancient Scottish curse placed from afar on the stretch of land now occupied by Heathrow Airport.

07 July 2010

Obama Plans To Send Muslims to the Moon

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a recent interview that his "foremost" mission [given by Obama] as the head of America's space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world"


What do you think is the task given by Obama to the US Department of State? Could it be... populating moon with Muslims?

After all Muslims were the first people ever to follow Lunar calendar. Moon is mentioned in the Holy Quran on 3 separate occasion (albeit under different names) and, as a religious symbol, it is present on flags of many an Islamic Nation. Everyone should be aware that it was Muhammad (PBUH) who made the first lunar mission some 13 centuries (!) before Americans, who never landed there anyway; they just filmed it all in Hollywood. It was there that Mo landed having taken off on the site of the Far-Away-Mosque.

As such, it is of paramount importance to ensure that the Moon (or, more accurately, Al-Moons) should be populated by nobody other than the indigenous people, i.e. Muslims. It is absolutely vital to secure the Al-Moons from the bloodthirsty settlers formally known as "Jews".