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December 7, 2006 BUTTerfinger

Am I the only one disturbed by a national ad campaign featuring a brown index finger?

What if I told you it was supposed to make you think "Butterfinger"? Something they want you to put in your mouth.

I just react to what I see in our twisted culture. My biggest fear is that I'm helping to promote what is an idiotic attempt at "viral marketing" -- and I've fallen into the trap. My only hope is that I can point a finger at the emperor and make others laugh at the aburdity of selling chocolate bars with a stinkfinger, or promote guys having their way with a double meat burger.

I'm amazed at the cluelessness. Amused too.


December 7, 2006 And you may say to yourself, "How did I get here?"

Here's an introspective clip of the Bush-Blair news conference on Iraq I ripped off CNN.com on Pearl Harbor Day.

Same as it ever was?


November 22, 2006 Forbes 15 Richest

Forbes Magazine has just updated its list of the 15 fictionally richest people. Daddy Warbucks tops the list at $36 billion (due to the ex-U.S. Army general's profiteering in Iraq and Afghanistan and an oil-well maintenance contract in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge arranged by Jack Abramhoff).

I'm very upset about this.

They've bumped Lex Luthor off the list, and kept the contemptable Scrooge McDuck and the weenie Richie Rich. And Thurston Howell? gimme a break. Charles Montgomery Burns

1. Oliver ''Daddy'' Warbucks

2. C. Montgomery Burns

3. Scrooge McDuck

4. Richie Rich

5. Jed Clampett

6. Mr. Monopoly

7. Bruce Wayne

8. Tony Stark

9. Prince Abakaliki of Nigeria

10. Thurston Howell III

11. Willy Wonka

12. Lucius Malfoy

13. Tony Montana

14. Lara Croft

15. Mario

C. Montgomery Burns has recently doubled his fortune due to to a "technology exchange" deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. But didn't he have a trillion dollar bill?

At the end of the war he was personally hired by President Truman to transport a specially-printed trillion-dollar bill as the U.S. contribution for European reconstruction. As America's richest citizen, he was thought to be also the most trustworthy. However, the bill (and Burns) vanished en route. It was later discovered in his wallet, and ended up in the hands of Fidel Castro ("What trillion dollar beel?")

So isn't Fidel Castro the fictionally richest person on earth?


November 2, 2006 Think Different

To see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. -- Buddha

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in adapting the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. -- George Bernard Shaw

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. -- Henry David Thoreau

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. -- Henry David Thoreau

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. -- Adlai Stevenson

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income. -- Samuel Butler

When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way. -- Stevie Wonder, "Superstition"

Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.

The mind resorts to reason for want of training. -- Henry Adams, "The Education of Henry Adams" (1907)

Mathias Rust in Moscow's Red Square, May 29, 1987 ===>

If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance. -- Orville Wright

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common. -- John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

Never doubt that a small, dedicated group of individuals can make a difference. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress. -- Thomas A. Edison

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority. -- Thomas H. Huxley

An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn't take his education too seriously. -- Charles F. Kettering

An incredible army of people give us a thousand reasons to be hopeful [about grass-roots environmental activism]. Our strategy is simple: tell important stories in terms that real people understand, make it fun, and never give up the essential belief that every single person has the capacity to change the course of human history. -- Adam Werbach, "Act Now, Apologize Later"

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. -- Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey. -- Beck, "Loser"

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. -- Pablo Picasso

In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. -- John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (1806-1873)

Things happen best for people who make the best out of things that happen.

Complete adaptation to environment is death. If you don't make an effort not to fit in, you become part of the landscape.

Don't be afraid of AMBIGUITY -- it's what LIFE'S all about! -- Zippy

Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality. -- Theodor Adorno, philosopher and composer (1903-1969)

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. -- Henry David Thoreau

He never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes, and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today. -- Tryon Edwards

Progress and growth are impossible if you always do things the way you've always done things. -- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. -- Irene Peter

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. -- Oscar Wilde

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. -- Henry David Thoreau

As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency. -- John Cage

In the middle of every difficulty lies an opportunity. -- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. -- Albert Einstein

To be ignorant of one's ignorance is the malady of the ignorant. -- Amos Bronson Alcolt

The question is not what you look at but what you see. -- Henry David Thoreau

Everything change at every moment. -- Kauai Community Church

Always in motion is the future. -- Yoda

When A Zen Moment Occurs -- Wazmo

RM: Buddha, Thoreau, Shaw, Yoda, and Zippy! Only in a Wazmo email. I take issue only with Yoda, in that ‘times arrow’ toward the future is a transient moment until the accelerating universe reverses and collapses into the size of a grain of sand. ‘Always’ is a vulnerable concept within the context and company of thought as outlined below, but then again Yoda is a puppet for Christ sakes! But then too ‘we’re all puppets unless we embrace the underlying philosophy of the great minds you have so aptly compiled.’ And yes I too will set aside my issues with Yoda because these troubling times will require all of the warriors against conformity we can muster. Basically Wazmo, if you say Yoda is ‘in’ that’s all the reference I need.

Wazmo has to think I’m a real putz! Soon I will forget everything I learned about the cosmology of the universe and I’ll be talking trash about other stuff. My new book is about the return of life to glaciated North America. It’s a real hoot so far! What? You want me to talk about birds? You should be happy I’m not. Seriously, Wazmo has complied some of the greatest quotes of all times. When the Hippies return, where will Wazmo be? Frank Zappa is gone, when will Wazmo take on his destiny? Questions, questions, questions, where are the answers.

DP: I don't know ... I'm just happy to be a recipient of this stuff. You and Waz ... 2 great, if not somewhat contorted, perspectives on life, love and the pursuit of levity.

September 19, 2006 Improving the Jedi's Weapon of Choice

I just watched the fifth Star Wars (Episode II) and a major enhancemenet to the Light Saber occured to me -- you might think a wrist guard would be a good thing with all the hands flying off, but no.

Seems every battle results in a Light Saber being knocked from a Jedi's grasp, sometimes several times in a single battle. And it's often inexplicably just out of reach of Jedi Levitation Powers.

How about adding The Wrist Strap(tm) -- a braided nylon loop added to the handle, like the one on your collapsable umbrella.

The Wrist Strap(tm) would keep the Light Saber "close at hand", and possibly prevent loss of limb. How about it, Jedi Council?

--Wazmo Nariz, WhereTruthLies.com

The Light Saber does power down when leaving a Jedi's hand doesn't it?


September 1, 2006 Worry About the MFing Lobsters

The recent raising of the Homeland Security threat level to Orange was accompanied by a airliner ban of all liquids and gels -- including ice and gel packs used to transport live lobsters, commonly sold at duty-free shops along the northern Atlantic seaboard.

I heard on NPR that one Nova Scotia businessman, who had business drop to zero after the ban, got approval to pack the lobsters in -- frozen peas, carrots, and lima beans. Well that's a mistake.

Take a bag of peas and tray of ice out of the freezer -- the peas have a higher latent heat, and will defrost faster.

So we'll have wild lobsters waking up pissed in a bag of succotash beneath YOUR seat, and the vicious sucker will go for your Achilles tendon, and then he'll get into formation with the other lobsters, savagely ripping the backstraps of every human on the plane and there’ll be chaos, total brutal crustacean chaos. So why isn't Samuel L. Jackson making a movie about THAT?

-- Wazmo

July 25, 2006 Hide A Yellow Ribbon

They’re just gone.

Those magnetic yellow “Support Our Troops” ribbons, once ubiquitous on every SUV in the region, have mysteriously vanished.

What’s going on here?

A reaction to soaring gasoline prices? The revelations that this campaign is a Pentagon-sponsored front for blunting opposition to the Iraq war? Just another fad come and gone?

Why have they been removed? And on who's authority?

--Wazmo Nariz

July 11, 2006 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

The results of the 2006 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are now posted.

Sadly, the Wisdom of Wazmo didn't make the cut....

I was passing through the airport in Boston earlier this year, and had just finished the Globe article reporting that the Level 4 Bioterrorism Lab, proposed for U.C. Davis until a community uprising quashed it and led to the ouster of the City Council, had been moved to Boston University in the middle of a downtown area...

Standing at the airport urnial, I was simultaneoulsly bombarded with a "security announcement" and the muttering janitor kicking my suitcase as he wiped the sink and cursed his employers and his disinfectant, "Fooking Port, fooking two-and-a-half, fooking two parts two percent, fooking two parts three percent, gimme fooking ten percent, fooking Port." And that inspired my entry:

"Just paroled after serving five years for combining bull DNA with human embryos, and having momentarily left his belongings to respond to a biological imperative, Warren found himself stranded at Logan Airport without ticket nor change of clothing and the biogeneticist realized that he still hadn't fully grasped the law of unattended con suitcases."

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is the essence of simplicity: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the _expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "pursuit of the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."


June 22, 2006 Santa's Village

Great site. I grew up in San Jose in the 1960s, and visited Santa's Village frequently.

For a six-year-old, my favorites were the frozen-in-July north pole, and the christmas tree ride, where you sat in the ornaments and could pull a handle that would make them rise as the tree twirled around. I honestly don't remember the monorail through the redwood trees shown in the pictures on this site. I'm pretty sure this got shut down by the late 1960s, and the support poles converted to giant candy canes.

Years later, in the late 1980s, I did a flood study of Carbonera Creek for the City of Scotts Valley.

I slashed my way through the spore-covered vines of the Highway 17 overcrossing and was puzzled to come across... a four-foot diameter purple mushroom.

Santa's Village mushroom

Coming closer to inspect it, I noted a water-wheel-powered clock tower looming on the creekbank above. Climbing up, I found myself in a candy cane forest...

I wandered around the site, taking pictues of the gingerbread cottages and the christmas tree ride (lying on its side). I inspected the playground and the giant humpty dumpty egg. The concrete boot of the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe was still on its small island in the middle of the creek, where it obstructs high flows, and figures prominently in the computer model of the creek I built for the City.

Santa's Village christmas tree forest

After a while, the caretaker came to confront his trespasser (me). I identified myself as an agent of the City, and we had a fine conversation. He boarded horses on the land, and lived in one of the gingerbread cottages with his two teenage daughters (who might now be having trouble adapting to the real world).

Shortly after the time I did the study, the land was sold and became a corporate headquarters for the Seagate corporation, who make disk drives. Unless Seagate has a sense of humor, I presume the Village went to the landfill. The highway exit is still called Santa's Village Road.

Other nearby attractions that are still there include the Mystery Spot and the Circus Trees. Some of the Circus Trees were relocted to the Bonfante Gardens amusement park in the 1990s.

I believe,

--Wazmo Nariz, WhereTruthLies.com

Santa's Village gingerbread cottage

JNW writes: "What's the roughness coefficient of an old woman in a shoe?"

January 26, 2006 Royal Tyrrell Museum

Reminds me of my visit to the dinosaur museum in Drumheller, Alberta. They had a 5-foot conical mound of rubberized plasticene shit on exhibit modeled after the massive dump that Laura Dern digs through to see what's ailing the Triceratops in Jurassic Park. They had pine needles and stuff you could feel if you put your arm in far enough, which I did. My 2-year old daughter also wanted to touch this model o'crap -- and I was holding her in my other arm causing me to lose balance and imbed my bicep shoulder deep into the 4-inch diameter shithole.

Imagine if you will the long minute hanging in this awkward shit-faced (literally) position as my daughter grasps the peak of the mound before sliding down and I manage to extract myself with a loud vacuum-breaking sucking sound very much, I imagined, like the Triceratops' bowel movement.

Ah, memories.

January 17, 2006 Rock and Roll will never die, but Rock and Rollers do

I had picked up souvenirs on a weekend hike along the historic Transcontinental Railroad through Donner Pass but was still surprised when I was pulled out of the airport screening line on a business trip a few days later -- they strip-searched me and questioned my intent but after a quick huddle determined the oddly colored railroad spike that had fallen to the bottom of my daypack was okay to carry onto the airliner.....

The 8000-foot San Gabriel Mountains loom over the Ontario airport but are usually invisible due to the infamous air quality, but I was headed over them to the High Desert of California to research water supplies in the fifth ring of urban development surrounding the Los Angeles megalopolis and was booked, quite by accident, into the Joshua Tree Inn, a low-slung 1950's cinderblock hotel surrounded by yucca palms, Joshua trees, a Christian revival tent, and trucks from a nearby Marine base proclaiming "Helping to Kill Those Who Deserve to Be Killed" in four-inch letters across the back window.....

The locked hotel office greeted me with a sign proclaiming "The Home of Gram Parsons’ Spirit". Wandering the shaded corridors around the pool I found a rear entrance -- the office didn't have a front desk, and was instead a room filled with overstuffed sofas and surrounded by original posters from the Fillmore West, Avalon Ballroom, and the Altamont free Rolling Stones concert immortalized in "Gimme Shelter". I'm a collector -- I have forty or so Fillmore posters, most ripped from telephone poles in Berkeley and San Francisco, and I asked Dan the proprietor what the Gram Parsons connection was -- "Gram died here," he told me, "in your room."

"Does that bother you?"

Sweetheart of the Rodeo Gram Parsons is idolized as the progenitor of country rock, "discoverer" of Emmylou Harris, member of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and for a brief year one of the post-Crosby Byrds, a collaboration that resulted in the Byrds' only country album, the landmark "Sweetheart of the Rodeo". Gram frequented the area around Joshua Tree National Monument for its serenity and stark beauty, and as an excellent place to get high, climb the rocks, and scan the skies for UFOs.....

Room 8 remains a destination of choice for Gramophiles from all over the world. The tacky motel artwork that hung in the room on September 18th, 1973 remains but is now enshrined with dozens of guitar picks and other homages jammed into the periphery of the frame. On the bedside table is a scrapbook which details Parsons’ life, his music, the night he died, and the sordid details of what followed. The most comprehensive accounts were published by Rolling Stone writer Ben Fong-Torres, and by road manager Phil Kaufman. The Inn also keeps a journal, portions of which are posted online. After toasting Gram with the sunset and a couple of tall Buds on the top of nearby Eureka Peak, I was surprised on my return to find votive candles burning outside my room.....

Dan says Room 8 guests often have strange experiences, like Gram playfully hiding their car keys. I did not have such an experience, though I note an apparition in a photo taken from Gram’s memorial looking back toward Room 8…

The journals describe Gram's recently-completed Grievous Angel tour with Emmylou and provide other useful facts, like how you can keep an overdosed person alert by applying an ice cube suppository. Despite his friends’ efforts, Parsons became a rock legend that September night with a mix of tequila and morphine.....

Parsons' stepfather was convinced he could profit from the death if he could get the body buried in Louisiana, which has customs based on the Napoleonic code instead of English common law. Though he was raised in the South, Gram's friends were just as convinced he should never be removed from the desert, and hatched a drunken plot to steal the body using a beat-up hearse they used as a camper. Despite two missing windows and so drunk they smashed into the hanger door, they managed to convince airline officials at LAX that the family had changed their minds and would be burying him in California.....

They drove him straight to Cap Rock in Joshua Tree Monument, stopping only to pick up beer and some gasoline that they used to torch the casket and its contents. Apparently it's not a crime to steal a corpse, because the only charges filed against them was destruction of personal property, the casket. The incident is portrayed in the 2003 comedy “Grand Theft Parsons”.

I went on a hike to Cap Rock the next day, following the directions in the journal to the location of the torching. On my way out of the Inn, I passed the shrine outside my room -- a small colored rock sign that reads "Safe At Home" stacked high with flowers, rocks, bottles, homages, and now... a rail spike from the Transcontinental Railroad.

-- Wazmo Nariz, WhereTruthLies.com

January 4, 2006 Near Wheatland, California

Rice fields with waterfowl near Wheatland California

January 3, 2006 All the grace of a collapsing building...

"April 18th marks the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Phil."

  "Well, Alice, we should do something special to commemorate one of the most significant earthquakes of all time."

  "How 'bout we put on a ballet?"

 "A ballet, Alice?"

  "Yeah, a special dance production commemorating 100 years of advances in earthquake engineering!"

  "Brilliant!  But who could appropriately stage such an event?"

  "Way ahead of you, Phil.  The Structural Engineers Dance Company!"

  "Of course!  They'll really 'rock the house'!"

  "Oh, Alice, no."

Earthquake ballet

DWW writes: If this is half as good as the musical made for the anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre it should be great!

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