Schmaltz und Grieben mit Alois, Klaus und der Lugers
July 2003

7/01/03:

BFE's. Big F*ing Engines. Let's talk about Big F*ing Engines, shall we, men?

I know that it's a very Manly thing to like Big F*ing Engines, but to tell you the truth, I don't. As a matter of fact, I think they're stupid. And obnoxious. And loud. And annoying. And a pretty damned pathetic representation of Manly Manhood.

Now that we've got that outta the way... Just exactly what is it with BFE's? I live on a state highway. Every morning, HUGE trucks shudder by pulling HUGE machinery on HUGE trailers. My entire house shakes. Here's a guess: The HUGE machinery could probably be rebuilt to do the same exact job with half the horsepower (don't argue with me, I studied engineering!). Which would mean that a truck half the size would be adequate to haul it to and from its gig. Which would mean that people living along the highway wouldn't have their houses being slowly moved off their foundations by the endless procession of BFE's.

But, hey, then nobody would get to rev those BIG ENGINES. I'll bet it gives you a hard-on. Why else would someone keep f*ing doing it?

Oh, and, hey: Jet skis. Snowmobiles. ATV's. "Personal Water Craft." BFY's (Big F*ing Yachts). What's up with this stuff? I might be able to accept the thrill of zipping along in one of these things--if they would PUT A F*ING MUFFLER IN 'EM. But there I go again--what would be the point? What's the point of zipping along in your Personal Whining Engine Craft if the whole f*ing world can't hear you coming from 600 miles away? If those crazy Luddites out there just trying to commune with nature in their own unobtrusive way can't have their communing torn to neat little shreds? If all the wildlife in the area has to either head for the hills or lose whatever hearing it has left? If we can't turn the whole f*ing world into the soundtrack of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

What I'm really saying is this:

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

posted by Alois 07/01/03

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TODAY'S DON'T-MISS: Lileks on unions. Nice to know I'm not alone.

posted by Alois 07/01/03

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Thanks to our Estonian correspondent Dr. DNA for unearthing this priceless nugget:

As the self-confessed field commander of the Bali bombings was being led from court in Denpasar – arms in the air and shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), Mr Ryan approached the barrier.

Pointing at Samudra, Mr Ryan shouted: "You're a f*ing dog, mate, you're going to die . . ."

Postscript: Mr Ryan was right. Samudra was sentenced to death. One more lonely grease spot in the Godforsaken desert of Islamofascism.

posted by Alois 07/01/03

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7/02/03:

SHUT UP AND MAKE THE GODDAM WIDGET, ALREADY: There has been a lot of pissing and moaning, especially since the departure of Bill Clinton, about what is "wrong" with the American economy. Sure, the aftereffects of 9/11 have and will continue to have enormous repercussions—the terrorists knew that and it was probably at least as much a reason for the attacks as the appeal (to them) of mass murder—and there is frequent lamenting of "shaky consumer/investor confidence" which can largely be attributed to spoiled baby-boomers and high-rolling seniors who failed to understand that the stock market is not necessarily a one-way up-elevator. Be all that as it may; a more serious underlying cause of our economic downturn is much more fundamental. It’s that many Americans have, basically, quit working.

And I don’t mean the unemployed either, God love ‘em.

Look at it this way: almost all of us, in one way or another, are employed in the process of making widgets. Be it a good or a service, Mr. A is building something or "doing" something that will be purchased by Ms. B for X amount of money. Some of that money will contribute directly to the American economy and some will go to support the functions of government. That’s it, in a nutshell. That’s the structure of free enterprise.

Let me introduce a phrase here and see if I get any raised eyebrows: meeting industry. If you caught on, good for you. If not, allow me to explain why this was not a non-sequitur, although I certainly wish it was.

The problem is this. More and more of us, no matter what line of work we’re in, spend more and more of our time in meetings. There is, yes, even a burgeoning meeting industry--something that was practically nonexistent ten years ago.

I think my own situation is fairly typical. I do PC and network support for a large government agency. The widget I produce—functioning computer systems and more productive employees—is not an inconsequential part of our business. Yet, if I were so inclined, I could structure my week in such a way as to spend fifty percent or even more of my time in meetings (I don’t—I go to an average of one meeting per month, the only one I absolutely cannot get out of). And now the infection has seeped deeper into the tissue of most corporate cultures, through the further inroads of "seminars" and "employee development." [NOTE: by "seminars" I do not mean a convention in which our apps developers are introduced to the newest Java-script technologies, and by "employee development" I do not mean job-specific educational opportunities. No, I mean seminars like "Boom in the Bust: Dealing with Change and Stress" or "Adapting to Carpooling for Managerial Personnel". And by "employee development" I refer to employer-sponsored classes in Kundalini Yogic Breathing and Volleyball.] The deal is this: We work for our employers. We do a job for them, for which they pay us money. That’s it. They are not our babysitters and they do not (or SHOULD not) have any responsibility or say in what we do in our off-hours. We are not their "family." That’s what we have our own families for. Soft-focus beliefs like this, on both sides of the employer-employee fence, are beginning to destroy the American economy.

And let’s face it: The real function of our current meeting-obsession is to avoid actual work, scarf free goodies, and pontificate or chitchat. Or worse: more and more employees "pre-register" for meetings to which they have little or nothing to contribute so that they can sit in the back of the room and play games on their PDAs. Our national corporate culture has evolved to a point where many meetings are so fuzzily defined, and the reasons for holding them at all so questionable, that basically anyone in the organization can think of some reason why they should attend. Long gone are the days when meetings were reserved for developers and engineers in mid-project, or senior management plotting the fiscal strategy for the next quarter. Those are viable reasons to hold meetings—and, obviously, the list of invitees will be quite specific.

There are very few other reasons to hold meetings. Let’s face it, folks—there just aren’t. We’ve all got real work to do. The American economy itself relies upon us all doing our jobs, at least most of the time.

So can we all shut up now and make the goddam widget?

posted by Alois 07/02/03

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TODAY'S DON'T-MISS: Michele Catalano deconstructs the Perfect Guy.

posted by Alois 07/02/03

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sorry

HE'S BAAAAAAACK.... Photo courtesy CNN.com

posted by Klaus 07/02/03

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7/03/03:

OUTTA HERE. Time für Alois und Klaus to trinken der Schnapps und der Bier, und tanzen... ja, ja, you know how we do zat! Ha, ha! You are funny. Jürgen! Bring zem a stein auf der Dinckler Bock, schnell!

Seriously. Have a safe and splendiferous Independence Day. See you all on Tuesday...

posted by Alois 07/03/03

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7/09/03:

WE SUPPORT DEMOCRACY IN IRAN!



sorry



AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY

We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.

What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.

Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:

- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties.

- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny.

We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians' ability to make those choices for themselves.

And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.

And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come.

--John Weidner, via Kathy Kinsley

posted by Alois 07/09/03

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AND ON THE SUBJECT OF IRAN... hard to beat Lileks' unusual-as-usual perspective.

posted by Alois 07/09/03

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IN CASE YOU NEEDED SOME GOOD NEWS... Klaus und I have always figured that the lives of dogs are worth many times more than the lives of islamofascist scum. So, come to think of it, are the lives of pigs.

posted by Alois 07/09/03

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7/11/03:

I... NEED... A... VACATION. And I am going to take one, ja! Mit mein son. Ve vill drive der autos und shoot der guns. Ha, ha!

In the meantime, here's some food for thought:

Mayhem wreaked by Islamist goons at Tehran University this week. How come our liberal, sensitive, multicultural friends don't have anything to say about it?(Via Andrew Sullivan)

This Iranian has some thought-provoking "second thoughts" about revolution in his native land. (Via Klaus)

Finally, Mitch Berg has the FINAL WORD (as far as I'm concerned) on Ann Coulter's Treason (scroll down until you see "Speaking of Irritating Conservatives...")

I'LL BE BACK on or about Tuesday, July 22. In the meantime... do good.

posted by Alois 07/11/03

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7/25/03:

SORRY, SORRY, SO SORRY. As we used to say in high school, "Sheriff, a whole lotta shit been goin' down at the ranch!"

First of all, my son and I did go to South Dakota. Quite by accident, we passed through the hamlet of Manchester, destroyed by a violent tornado on June 24. Actually we passed through the town without realizing that we had; had to turn around on Highway 14 and drive seven miles in the opposite direction to locate the remains of the town. Here's a couple of pictures:

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Anyway, it's good to be back.

Hopefully before the month is out, I will have a little screed about "girlie blogs"... und, oh yes, congratulations to Klaus on his chipper performance after having his gall bladder removed last week. Pip, pip, carry on, cheerio and all that rot! Bloody good show, no pun intended!

posted by Alois 07/25/03

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7/29/03:

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"In the Sunday book pages of the Strib was an article about the women of Afghanistan. It was discussing the new-found freedoms of women in the post-Taliban society, about girls queuing for school after years of oppression. Quote: 'No matter what one’s political misgivings about the war might be, the sight of those girls was a thrilling shock.'

That sentence stuck in my head, and made me think back to October 01, to all the discontent over the Afghan campaign. We’ve forgotten what that was like - the marches in Europe, the predictions of mass casualties, the accusations of empire-building, how it was all about (cue Twilight Zone theme) an oil pipeline, how it would become a quagmire, how it
was a quagmire, how we should have used international law to bring OBL to justice. It was the dress rehearsal for Iraq. The same blind sputtering fury; the same protests with Bush = Hitler posters and giant mocking puppets; the same inability to accept that a byproduct of the campaign would be a freer society for the very people the protesters supposedly cared about.

Any mass executions at the Kabul soccer stadium recently? No?

Wonder why.

That book-review quote says it all. We have to honor those who had 'political misgivings,' because dissent is a virtue too pure to be stained by truth. Nevermind that the end result of those 'political misgivings' would have been another generation of Afghan daughters beaten with bats for winking at a cute guy. Those 'political misgivings' would have assured that any young Afghan woman who stepped outside her house and asked to be educated would be whipped with 2 X 4s by the Committee for Flaming Theocracy Gynophobe Committee.

But that
can’t be said. People who were wrong for the right reasons will always get a pass."

--James Lileks, just totally nailing it

posted by Alois 07/29/03

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DAILY GAAAAAAZ-O-LEEEEEEN! AWARD goes to Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay for this:

"To try to gauge just how out of touch the Democrat leadership is on the war on terror, just close your eyes and try to imagine Ted Kennedy landing that Navy jet on the deck of that aircraft carrier... I don't know about you, I certainly don't want to see Teddy Kennedy in a Navy flight suit anytime soon."

Read the whole thing--it's classic.

posted by Alois 07/29/03

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QUOTE OF THE DAY II: "What goes on here is just not just, in other words, it's unjust!"

sorry--Marla

posted by Alois 07/29/03

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7/31/03:

UHH... is it just me, or does someone else find it just a wee bit unsettling that His Holy Esteemed Eminence John Paul II has wasted no time in coming down on gay marriage--but still hems and haws about the sexual abuse of children by the priests in his charge?

Nice to see that we've got our priorities in order here.

posted by Alois 07/31/03

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SOME "SOCCER MOM." Some readers may remember our "outing" of so-called Soccer Mom for Peace Medea Benjamin and her group "Code Pink" (April 2). We stumbled upon information that demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that Benjamin is a longtime communist sympathizer who had a leading role in organizing the 1999 Seattle riots and once said, after visiting Cuba, that "it [seemed] like I died and went to heaven."

Well, our harmless little soccer mom has a new schtick now: encouraging American troops stationed in Iraq to declare themselves "conscientious objectors" and be sent home. Benjamin has even traveled to Iraq herself to set this nefarious plan in motion.

Question for Tom Ridge et al: Why did we let her back in?

posted by Alois 07/31/03

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DONTCHA LOVE IT? This little bit is courtesy Iraq Occupation Watch, yet another fifth-column mob:

"[Iraq Occupation Watch will:] Act as a watchdog regarding the military occupation and U.S.-appointed government, including possible violations of human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly."

So my question is... how come they didn't give a shit if Iraqis had these things under Saddam's regime--a regime that these same fifth-columnists desperately tried to keep in power?

posted by Alois 07/31/03

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