Oh, To Be Stuck Between a Govenment and a Military

There are very few things I like in politics less than the mingling of government and religion. As a guy with strong libertarian political leanings, I believe that pouring the two into the same bucket is a pretty good way to ensure that the government is in your bedroom, your kitchen, your car, and most disturbingly, your pants. If there’s one thing I like less than a government sleeping with a religion, it’s an elected government being overthrown by its own military.


On Friday evening military chiefs said in a statement they could intervene if the election process threatened to undermine Turkish secularism.

Influential business leaders expressed their dissatisfaction with the government on Sunday in a statement which called for early elections to “protect secularism and democracy,” The Associated Press reported.

The statement by business group TUSIAD said: “The indivisible integrity of secularism and democracy lays the foundations of the Turkish republic, a sacrifice of one for the other is unthinkable. Turkey can healthily emerge from this process by lowering tensions and renewing the will of the nation.”

On Sunday at least 700,000 demonstrators gathered in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, to protest against Erdogan’s Islamist-influenced government in defense of the country’s secular political traditions, The Associated Press reported. Local media estimated that around one million people took part.

“Turkey is secular and will remain secular,” flag-waving protesters shouted as they demanded the resignation of the government and called Erdogan a traitor.

Others chanted: “The roads to Cankaya (the presidential palace) are closed to imams.”

“This government is the enemy of Ataturk,” said 63-year-old Ahmet Yurdakul, a retired public worker, invoking the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founded of the modern Turkish republic. “They want to drag Turkey to the dark ages.”

The rally was the second anti-government demonstration in two weeks after around 300,000 people gathered in the capital, Ankara, a fortnight ago.

“Neither Sharia, nor coup but fully democratic Turkey,” read a banner carried by a demonstrator, in reference to Friday’s statement by the military which attracted condemnation Saturday by Turkey’s government as well from the European Union, the U.S. and human rights groups.

You only have to look at the Middle East to see the big clusterfuck that happens when government and religion mix. It’d be a shame if Turkey started slipping down that steep slope with the Taliban at the bottom.

Ghandi Baked

Generally, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to films – yeah, don’t mention Snakes on a Plane. The campiness and the openness of that campiness is what makes it great. Anyway, so when I was trying to encourage a coworker to go see Hot Fuzz — because it’s the funniest movie since Shaun of the Dead — our discussion turned to The 40-Year Old Virgin which he declared as “the funniest movie ever.”

The 40-Year Old Virgin? Are you fucking kidding me? Yeah, I’m sure it’s a movie on the same line as Liar, Liar or The Cable Guy or some other comedy mass produced by the studio relying more on stupid gag jokes than on a smart script. Anyway, but I Netflixed it anyway because if it has no other worth, playing it while cleaning my apartment should provide at least a little distraction.

So imagine my surprise when I was laughing my ass off at it. I know there’s some irony in me watching it – I fucking decorate my apartment similarly to Andy, and while I may not be a virgin (no, I’m not lying), it has been over two years since I got any action from someone other than my left hand (yes, my left hand has a name and a personality). Anyway, hilarious movie – laughing my ass off – and certainly going to be doing some apartment redecorating (when I have the time to clean and redecorate my apartment).

For some reason, I have the urge to watch Ghandi baked and get high as a fucking kite.

PS – Catherine Keener’s hot.

It’s Ireland, Jim, but not as we know it…

In Belfast, Ireland, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival runs for ten days in May. On Monday the 7th, an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s third season, The High Ground, will be shown. Despite the fact that it originally aired in 1990 here in the U.S., it has never been shown unedited in the United Kingdom.

The program’s write-up:

Beverly Crusher, who is trying to help wounded based on a terrorist attack on a non-aligned planet, is taken hostage. Based on what she learns, she comes to see what terrorism means first hand.

In his study of terrorism, Data notes that Ireland would be reunified in 2024 as a result of a successful terrorist campaign. Due to its content (and specifically its mention of Irish reunification), this episode has never been shown on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland, and initial airings were edited when shown on Sky One.

And The Belfast Telegraph‘s take on the situation.

Neat, huh? Not quite — still on the British cutting room floor is a scene at the end of the episode, after Dr. Crusher is rescued, where the senior staff goes to Ten-Forward and knocks back some Irish car-bombs.

Arthur & George

A few weeks ago, I stopped in to Borders to redeem a $25 gift certificate. I went to the “Buy Two Get One Free” table and began picking through the books looking for three interesting, compelling works of literature that would keep me occupied when I had a chance to finally read them. Over this last week, I’ve been reading one of those books every time I had an opportunity to get through a few pages at a time. When I picked it up and saw the title and the description, I really didn’t realize that the titular “Arthur” was the famed creator of the Sherlock Holmes character.

Arthur and George is the story of what happens when an author best known for his unfallable detective character decides to cast himself as his own Holmes in the case of George Edjali, a solicitor (that’s English for “lawyer”) of Parsi heritage who became the victim of a campaign of harrassment and a conviction for crimes he did not commit.

Julian Barnes‘ “George and Arthur” isn’t exactly fiction, but it isn’t entirely a history either. I don’t quite know where it comes down between the two, but it’s a fascinating read and an amazing work of storytelling. Need an idea for the next time you go to the library or The Book Thing? This one’s for you.

My Power Animal Is Not A Feline (WTF)

I done seen this over on sanity optional and said to myself, I said, “Neat!”

Your Animal Personality

Your Power Animal: Eagle

Animal You Were in a Past Life: Whale

You are active, a challenger, and optimistic.
Hard-working, you are always working towards a set goal.

So, my power animal is an Eagle, and the creatures in the illustration are … fish. How very interesting.

Raider’s March, The (A Post About Young Indiana Jones)

I was once asked, “Where do you think the Ark is?” And I said “In a big secret government warehouse in DC somewheres.” And the person said, “No, not that Ark, the Ark of Moses.” And I said, “I’m sure sooner or later there’ll be an Indiana Jones film about it, and I’ll tell you where it is once I’ve seen it.” Anyhow:

I’m ambivilant about news of Indiana Jones IV – are they actually doing it? I’ll believe it when I see it, but I don’t know that I want to see it. Sometimes, movies are so good they don’t deserve sequels. But then, when they do sequels, and they’re just as good or better, then you get a two decade wait, you’d rather they never bothered making it a tetralogy. Or, for that matter, a prequel trilogy (thanks, George).

But of course, there was more to Indy than those three movies (of which my favorite was Temple, followed by Raiders, with Crusade bringing up the end of the pack): anyone remember the short-lived “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”?

The episodes were framed by Old Indy, generally doing things like bitching about taxi service. The episodes themselves took place in the early 20th Century with young Indy (Sean Patrick Flannery) as everyone’s favorite snake-hating, whip-packin’, fedora -wearin’ archeologist. Hell, even Harrison Ford did a guest-spot on one – if memory serves, he used a flute to cause an avalanche of snow to tumble off a roof and foil his evil pursuers.

The show lasted maybe a season before it got canceled – only Harrison can play Indy, it seems. When they were released on VHS in ’99 or ’00, the frame stories (except for the one with Harrison, of course) were cut out and the episodes edited together into “movie length” (hour and a half or so). Frankly, for the DVD release, I hope they give them to us as they were aired – I thought it was charming at the end of the first episode when the weird old creepy guy turns out to be Indy then goes sliding down a bannister to the Raider’s March.

Oh, did I mention a DVD release?

Anyway, according to Rick McCallum, they’re (hopefully) coming out to DVD before Christmas. Rock on, Indy!

(PS – Drunk Indiana Jones – he’s like the regular Indy … only drunker!)

want free shit?

Hey, somehow I wound up with a whole crate-full of self-sealing stembolts I’m not going to need. If you want ’em, just leave a comment and we’ll figure something out.

Do you awnt a prosperous future? GET YOUR UNIVERSITY DIPLOMA!.msg

Spotted in my Towson University e-mail inbox:

Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 20:41:40 +0500
Fwd: Do you awnt a prosperous future? GET YOUR UNIVERSITY DIPLOMA!.msg
From: “(270) 818-7244 Lionel ” <174jermayne@km.ru>
Subject: Fwd: Do you awnt a prosperous future? GET YOUR UNIVERSITY DIPLOMA!

Yo Iiyhbi!
A Genuine University Degree in notime!

Have you ever thought that the onyl thing stopping you from a great job and better pay was a few letters behind you name?
Well now you can get them!

Want the degree but can’t find the time? WHAT A GREAT IDEA! We provide a concept that will allow anyone with sufficient work experience to obtain afully verifiable University Degree.Bachelors, Masters or evne a Doctorate.Think of it, within four to six weeks, you too could be a college graduate.Many people share the same frustration, they are all doing the work of the person that hasthe degree and the person that has the degree is getting all the money.Don’t you think htat it is time you were paid fair compensation for the level of work youare already doing?

This is your chance to finally make the right move and receive your due benefits.If you are like most people, you are more than qualified with your experience, but arelacking that prestigious piece ofp aper known as a diploma that is often the passport tosuccess.
100% Verifiable!

These aer real, genuine degrees that include Bachelors, Masters, MBA and Doctorate Degrees. They are fully verifiable and certified transcripts are also available.

Just call the number below.
You?ll thank em later?

Dial Now +1 (270) 818-7244
Live 7d 24 hour

Two quick thoughts —

Perhaps sending these to university e-mail addresses is not the most effective use of the marketing tools under your command, Lionel. After all, this recipient is less than a month away from those “few letters.”

And, second, why don’t you hire a college graduate — y’know, of a real college? — to proof-read your e-mails? Sure, I make spelling mistakes on occasion, but I am fond of that question mark after your closing line. I think that’s very appropriate – would you really be thanking them later? Except perhaps for causing you to be laughed at everytime someone saw your resume?

Yesterday, I Had A Beer At Lunch (Or: How I Managed To Get My Ass Kicked At Tic-Tac-Toe)

With a two hour break between my afternoon and late-afternoon night classes, and tired of the food at the Brick, I said “why not?” and walked over to Bateman’s on the far end of campus. I had a burger and a Bass Ale, and, comfortably buzzed on one Bass (‘cuz I’m a lightweight, you’re entitled to know), walked back across campus to Linthicum Hall. On my walk, I passed a student complaining on his cell phone about how some paperwork eff up was preventing him from graduating. In my buzzed state, I panicked, and quickly called the Graduation Office to confirm that I was, indeed, graduating.

“Well, I can’t tell you if you are graduating,” the woman said. “But we show you scheduled to graduate with no flags, so check with your department and advisor.”

So I stumbled into Dr. D’s office (he’s the Chair of the English Department) and made a quick inquiry. About five minutes later after he graciously went above-and-beyond the call of duty, he was able to confirm that, yes, indeed, so long as I do well enough on the final for History of the English Language, I’ll be on my way into The Real World (because as we all know, I’ve been living in The Fake World for so long).

Then I went to class, proceeded to play seven Tic-Tac-Toe games with the girl who sits next to me. An hour later and enough of that beer was still in me that I won zero, tied five, and flat out lost two.

she raider boskle from Droodle Park to dantan Ballmer wither oz clazed

Sometimes I really love “History of the English Language”, like Tuesday, when Dr. D handed out a worksheet on the “Merlin (Maryland) Dialect.” It’s a printout from the internets, and I’d like to highlight it here because it is oh so very true. Bonus points to non-native speakers or current residents of the Greater Baltimore area who can translate this post’s title (translation provided at the bottom).

The Merlin Dialect is spoken by a mixed population which inhabits a triangular area on the western littoral of the Chesapeake Bay, bounded roughly by a line commencing at Towson’s Toyota, then westward to the Frederick Mall, thence following the western border of the cable TV franchise and the string of McDonald’s along Route 50 to the Bay.

All of these lands and the natives thereof are known as the Land of Merlin. They divide it further into semi–tribal areas called “Cannies” (e.g., Ballmer Canny, PeeGee Canny, Muntgumry Canny, Hard Canny, etc.).

The dialect area is centered on a market center called Glimburny, there the people come on weekends to trade their goods. Because of the numerous words and phrases common to both Merlin Dialect and modern English, linguists have long postulated that there is some kinship between the two.

Speakers of Merlin Dialect are all able to understand standard English from babyhood, chiefly because of their voracious appetite for television. However, they invariably refuse to speak standard English, even with outsiders who obviously cannot understand a word they say.

Ballmer — The City of Baltimore, also known as “Balmer” or “Baw Duh More.”

Merlin — Our State

Arn —- What you do to wrinkled clothes

Bulled Egg — An egg cooked in water

Chest Peak — A large body of water nearby

Downey Owe Shin — Summertime destination “down to the ocean”
(such as Ayshun City)

Flicktid — A word only Merlin natives have ever heard of or
used. Possibly deriving from the word “afflicted” taken from standard
english (ex. “Shut up. Yor jist flicktid!)

Hi Hon — How we always say “hello”

Hode Ooon — When a secretary puts you on hold.

Holluntown — Highland Town

Nap Lis — Capital of the state of Merlin

Oreos — Our baseball team

Payment — That strip of cement that you walk on

PohLeese — Those guys in uniform that git ya when you’re speedin’

Share — What you take in the morning to get you clean
Sem Elem — Seven Eleven

Allanic — an ocean

Duddeney — “He sure does, duddeney?

Err — a time measurement of 60 minutes

Mudnlaw — the woman who’s married to your fodlaw

Natty Boh — Beer

Warshnin — our nation’s capital

Wooder — what you wrench your hands with

Yerp — Eurohands or wash your dishes

Merlin: she raider boskle from Droodle Park to dantan Ballmer wither oz clazed
Standard: She rode her bicycle from Druid Hill Park to downtown Baltimore with her eyes closed.

No, really, it’s a very serious class.

A Trio of Movie Reviews

To be specific, The Queen, Night At The Museum, and Deja-Vu. Do I have to warn you of spoilers? I would hope not.

The Queen

What a great movie! Tony Blair’s the newly elected Prime Minister, and Helen Mirren is the Queen of England when Diana, no longer an HRH but still the Princess of Wales dies in a car accident in France. It’s a clash of culture with the fate of the largely symbolic English monarchy hanging in the balance — Blair represents the modern factions pushing to undo the crown, the Queen, of course, represents a long and proud tradition which finds itself forced to bend to the will of the people.

There’s not a lot of action – it’s a character piece, and a wonderful one at that. Highly enjoyable.

Night at the Museum

Or, to be specific, three nights at the museum. It’s dumbed down (family movie), but a fairly interesting story – long story short, a magic Egyptian tablet causes the wax- and stuffed-figured population of the New York History Museum to come to life at night. New night guard Larry (Ben Stiller) has some trouble adjusting to the problems of controlling the museum’s population, which becomes especially problematic when the old security guards decide to rip the place off.

Yeah, it’s a movie “for the whole family”, but it’s on the entertaining side (although, to be blunt, if the skeleton of a T-Rex started chasing me around the museum trying to play catch, I’d say “oh holy mother of fuck” instead of “gee wiz”). But it’s entertaining, and funny, and I know when I was a kid I would’ve loved this film. It’s quite worth watching, and gee golly if I didn’t just get all smiley at the end.

Deja Vu<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=malnusnay-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00005JPD0" width="1" height="1"

It's as smart or stupid as any action movie you're likely to see. I think it was Will Riker who once said "quantum mechanics makes my head hurt", but I think they covered all their bases in this quasi-sci-fi movie about time-travel — why people won't survive a trip through time, and the "branching" alternate universe they create when they do send Denzel back. There's a giant plot hole in the film I saw, and I hope I can explain it:

So Denzel gets all concerned when a woman — Claire — washes up on the beach after a ferry is blown up by a domestic terrorist. Except he's able to determine she wasn't on the ferry when it blew up. Using technology that can look four and a half days into the past, he's able to determine that the terrorist killed her after arranging to buy her truck to transport the bomb onto the ferry. Denzel is able to track the terrorist back through time by a phone call the terrorist uses to call Claire to arrange to buy the truck. From there, Denzel tracks the terrorist to the ferry, but is unable to identify him. He attempts to send a note to himself back through time so that early-Denzel can see it and stop the terrorist. Unfortunatly, early-Denzel doesn't: his partner does, goes to the ferry, and engages in a shoot-out with the terrorist which results in Denzel's partner getting shot. Now present-Denzel gets all pissy: "we caused Claire to die!" Why? Because the terrorist's own truck has bullet holes in it, and he can't use it to transport the bomb. Clearly, the implication is that the terrorist now arranges to buy Claire's truck and kill her so that he can use her vehicle since his has a few .40 bullet-holes in it. Well, wait, but he was already arranging to buy Claire's truck … I mean, hell, it's a plot hole big enough to drive a ferry through.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an Amazon.com associate, so clicking on those links and buying off Amazon will put some dinero in my pocket.

A Meme That Makes Me Think

So a couple of weeks ago, A Slave to the Dogs tagged me as a “thinking blogger.” Well, flattery I enjoy, and it took some time to think up five bloggers who make me ‘think.’ I read a lot of blogs, and I put a lot of thought into this list – it’s harder than you might, um, think! This was a very difficult meme – two came to mind immediately, the others required a lot of, um, thinking.


Baltimore Crime

I remember when I first really became aware of this blog, which chronicles, as the name might suggest, crime in Baltimore. It won “Best Blog” from the City Paper, and I remember thinking, “A crime digest won Best Blog? Are you kidding me?” But there’s a reason the blog won, and why I read it every day (or almost every day, anyway).

Right Thinking From The Left Coast

I think I found Lee’s blog after Andrew Sullivan linked to it. Agree or disagree with this liberal and Republican hating libertarian — and let me tell you, he’s not afraid to pull his punches — he’ll make you think. It’s impossible not to read any of his posts and either be thrilled in agreement or pissed with angry.

Searching For Oz

Becky doesn’t hit you over the head with stuff … she just sort of slides it under the door and you find yourself thinking about stuff when you’re not expecting it.


Three, however – words, that is: Food. Fat. Feminism. Rachel’s got a lot of strong opinions on a lot of subjects, the only thing that make this blog more interesting might be if she would drop that other f-word here or there.

Up The Hudson With Gun & Camera

It’s hard not to think on this blog when Al keeps asking questions at the end. And they’re not like “do you have your toilet paper under or over the roll?” Those would be easy.

The rules:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the origin of this award, and
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.