Monday, January 14, 2008


I'm about five chapters into the book Londonstani by Gautam Malkani. My advice to everybody is run, do not walk to your nearest bookstore and buy it. It is outstanding. Cut and paste the following into your search browser to hear an interview with the author from NPR (National Public Radio):
Good stuff.

Anyway... Humouroceros

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mount Everest panorama

Now this is cool. Go to and check that action out!

Anyway... Humouroceros

Friday, January 11, 2008

Boo! Terrorizing the US navy.

Reports out of Washington DC say that assets of the US Navy's fifth fleet felt they were seriously menaced by elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Persian Gulf recently. Three US warships (the destroyer USS Hopper, the cruiser USS Port Royal, and the frigate USS Ingraham) claim they were aggressively confronted by five speed-boats (one of which was a jolly blue colour) which zipped around them, bouncing around in the wakes of the larger ships and just generally being annoying. "I am coming to you," someone on the boats allegedly radioed. "You will explode after... minutes."

At first glance this story looked kind of funny. Five speed-boats (including a blue one) frightening three US warships? Sure, the US ships were outnumbered, but still. Of course when you remember what happened to the USS Cole a few years back (October 12, 2000), the wariness of the US sailors is understandable. As everybody remembers the USS Cole was at Aden harbour in Yemen when some freak drove a small boat loaded with explosives into it's side, killing 17 US sailors and knocking the Cole out of action.

But still, the public reaction of the US administration has been a little over the top. The US President's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, said, "This is a very provocative act by the Iranians," and, "it's the kind of incident that can provoke exchange of fire..."

A White House statement called this, "a reckless and provocative act." Then, just to make everything crystal-clear, US President George W Bush threw in his two-cents. He agreed that the alleged incident was a provocative act, saying, "It was a dangerous situation. They should not have done it, clear and simple. I don't know what their thinking was, but I'm telling you what my thinking was. I think it was a provocative act." Word on the street is that he then sort of threatened the Iranians, telling them they were playing with fire and that next time they would be dead, just like that armadillo he had found on the ranch back in Crawford. And he had poked that armadillo with a stick because it was kind of neat.

If Iranian acts were misinterpreted it wouldn't be the first time. On July 3, 1988 near the end of the Iran/Iraq war (widely considered to have been one of the stupidest and most pointless wars ever fought) and the guided-missle cruiser USS Vincennes was patrolling in the Persian Gulf. The crew of the Vincennes detected what they thought was an Iranian F-14A Tomcat. They tried to contact the aircraft on the military emergency frequency and on the civilian emergency frequency (neither of which are usually monitored by civilian aircraft), and when there was no response the Vincennes fired two SM-2M2 surface-to-air missiles, destroying the aircraft. It was then that the crew of the Vincennes realized that the aircraft had been civilian. Oops.

At the time it had been shot down Iran Air flight 655 had been on a scheduled flight from Bandar Abbas, Iran, travelling to Dubai, UAE along commercial air corridor Amber 59. Somehow the crew of the Vincennes decided that the aircraft which was ascending to it's cruising altitude was actually an attack craft descending to attack them. An odd (and unfortunate) mistake to make, and not one made by the crew of the missile frigate USS Sides, which was in the area with the Vincennes. The Captain of the Sides was not sure of what the Vincennes was preparing to attack, but once he realized what the situation was he contacted the airliner, using an air-traffic control frequency, and warned them about what was going on. Flight 655 turned away but it was too late and a minute later there were 290 dead civilians (including 66 children) for the US to brag about. (I have to assume that the Sides tried to contact the Vincennes as well, but I don't know for sure.)

The US President of the day, big Ronnie Reagan, said that the Vincennes had taken, "a proper defensive action" (ie: whacking civilians) although he did admit that the loss of life was unfortunate. "Oh, yeah. That's kind of rough. It reminds me of the time..." and he went on to reminisce about the time he had met Mickey Mouse, or was it Bugs Bunny? One of those cartoon guys anyway.

Ron's Vice-president, George H W Bush, was even kinder and gentler than his boss, saying "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever, I don't care what the facts are." (So you can see where his kid gets his smarts from.)

So here it is some twenty years on and these two countries are still acting like spoiled little kids. At least nobody died this time, on either side, so that's an improvement. But not much of one.

Anyway... Humouroceros

A spiffy blue terrorist boat

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dorkter Phil

I see in the news that genuine psychiatrists are all ganging up on Oprah Winfrey's good buddy, Doctor Phil. From what I can gather it appears that Phil was contacted by the family of pop-princess Britney Spears, and he was asked, or perhaps even begged, to get in there and cure whatever it is that ails the young lady. (FYI: I don't tend to follow this sort of "news" but it seems that Britney has been loudly heading towards some sort of mental breakdown for a while now. I don't know what sort of managers or advisers she has but they seem to be of the same ilk that thought the "teenage slut" image was a good one. I've been told that she's been acting out for the past year or so; shaving her head, working over cars with golf clubs and hanging out with Paris Hilton. Kind of sounds like someone asking for help to me, yet her managers, who appear to a man to be the types that molest goats and chickens, put her on TV to lip-sync to a song. I youTubed that performance and if she wasn't stoned, she should have been. What she should not have been was on television. Most recently she had some kind of fit and the police became involved and she wound up in hospital for observation. Enter Dr. Phil.)

Dr. Phil, who is possibly not a half rotten pile of garbage, decided that the best way to help Britney was to use the tried and true (as well as psychiatrically sound) method of ambush-psychotherapy and then televise the festivities. To this end, Phil and his camera crew (along with his usual gang of suck-ups and sycophants) all piled into their Lexus' and their stretch-limos and burned down to the hospital to thrust microphones and cameras into Britney's face as she was released. Would this be good for TV ratings? Probably since there is a certain segment of the viewing public that enjoys watching this sort of thing (hence the popularity of all the "reality" shows). Would it be good for Britney? Not so much. As wonderful as this sort of thing may be for Phil's bank-account, I'm pretty sure that some droop-faced, bubble-butt yelling at her would do Britney no good at all.

Of course helping people has never been Phil's #1 reason for doing anything anyway. In fact, in response to the genuine psychiatrists flaming him, philthy Phil said, "Somebody needs to step up and get this young woman into some quality care - and I do not apologize one whit, not one second, for trying to make that happen." Or for wanting to televise it all, right Phil? Anything for a buck, especially by a "man" who has been described (by some) as a hundred pounds of manure in a fifty pound bag.

Nobody is coming out of this story looking real good though. Britney's family finally realize that she needs help so the first person they turn to is a publicity-pig rather than a real psychiatrist? Real good. Mind you, judging by past practice, this seems to be the usual high quality advice that this girl gets anyway. I wonder how long until she is the subject of one of those "where are they now" bits on some entertainment channel and everybody can blame her for trusting them and taking their bad advise, and you can just bet that old full-o-crap Phil will be there, spewing his usual verbal diarrhea about how he could have helped if only everybody had listened to him.

Oprah, you have done a lot of good and accomplished a lot, but putting your name behind the greedy, self-serving creep known as Phil was not one of your better ideas.

Anyway... Humouroceros

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What would Jesus do?

In a tradition dating back over a century, priests clearing up after the Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem’s Church Of The Nativity ended up the day with an enthusiastic round of beating each other up. Church Of The Nativity is built on the site in Bethlehem where it is believed that Jesus was born some years back. In what can only be described as a totally uncharacteristic display of “getting-alongedness”, several different Christian sects have each used a different part of the church for worship. They each have their own area, or turf, and apparently heaven help the poor sucker from another sect who sets foot in an area not his own.

The tradition of the post-Christmas scrap began in the 18th-century when a priest set up a ladder to repair some earthquake damage. A priest from another Christian sect saw the first priest climbing the ladder with a trowel and immediately came to the conclusion that there was an invasion underway. He gathered a bunch of his priest pals and all set upon the first priest, crosses a’swingin’. As soon as they were done, and any unconscious priests laying around had been dragged out by their heels it was decided to leave the ladder in place as a reminder and as a warning to future priests.

Apparently the reminder has worked well as the 2007 version of Mayhem At The Manger also involved a ladder. The story goes that a priest of the Greek Orthodox church had set up a ladder to clean-up after the Christmas celebrations. Some Armenian priests felt that this ladder was in their space and so some rough and uncouth words were exchanged (it would seem that a concept as quaint as ‘cooperation’ may work well on Sesame Street, but not so well within the Christian faith). After the “smack talk” was done they got right down to it with metal rods, fists and rocks. The melee went on for a full hour until the police were called in to settle everything down. The final tally was: five priests of various faiths sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, as well as two cops, who had been worked over “by accident” by the priests.

Yep, nothing says Christian Love quite like a bunch of priests beating the snot out of each other with iron bars. “Take that! (Whack) God bless.” Excellent.

Anyway… Humouroceros

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Now it's 2008

Hmmmf. So, this is the new year. Well, it had better pick up it's socks is all I can say because so far it looks a lot like the last one.

Anyway... Humouroceros