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Awesome Vendetta Mask
Nattering Nabob of Nuttiness
Warning: could be radioactive
Recent Entries 
27th-Jan-2010 03:56 pm - Proud Mom Showing Off!
Awesome Vendetta Mask
Here's a video with my son Matt in it. He's the driver in the beginning of the video, plus the one with the paper sack over his head. SPOILER: I don't think he meant to trip, but it's funny anyway.

Birds
I took exception to the part of the article that said:

Yet big-time stardom eluded her. Her "Drop Dead Gorgeous" costar Kirsten Dunst went on to meaty dramatic roles and a plum place in the "Spiderman" franchise. Angelina Jolie, who tore up the scenery with her in "Girl, Interrupted," walked away with an Oscar and a secure spot atop the A-list. Sure, Kate Hudson and Reese Witherspoon had their share of duds but consistently managed to balance crowd-pleasing comic fare with award-baiting serious work. Why not Murphy, a star as beautiful and talented as any in the lot? Why, when others were walking the red carpet at Cannes, was she toiling in voice work? Bad choices, bad luck, bad timing? Or could it have been something else?

I responded in the letters section:

King of the Hill was my favourite cartoon series of all time. Brittany Murphy's voice on it was essential, as Luanne was an integral part of the Hill family. Her Luanne was certainly not bright but she had a real kindness that was very endearing. She was also poignant because she was abused as a child by her jailbird father and sloppy, alcoholic mother, yet she remained kind and gentle and tried to rise above her trailer park sensibilities. She knew was not bright but knew it. Luanne was also used by unscrupulous businessmen because of her beauty and got into bad dating situations because of it. She was somebody that millions of people could relate to. And I don't see how anybody else could have put herself into that role so deeply and not mean it. There is nobody else who will come close to her good works on King Of The Hill.

This situation is just as it was when Mel Blanc died. There has been nobody who has taken his place as the voice of Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Wile E Coyote Yosemite Sam and Pepe Le Pew. Nobody will ever take the place of Brittany Murphy as Luanne.


I really dislike all those pundits who claim that the didn't realize her potential. She did just fine in King of the Hill and I think this will be remembered as her finest work, her most authentic work. Her art. Work that was definitely her. 13 seasons of authentic work where she could be herself is not a bad bargain. Please be more kind to her in the future.
15th-Dec-2009 06:02 pm - Oral Roberts
Awesome Vendetta Mask
I guess his credit ran out with God. He called him home.
15th-Dec-2009 03:21 pm - Fricking Hilarious Video.
Animated Addams Family
I just stumbled upon these videos while I was looking for the songwriter for "I'm A Wigga. (it's BloodyFetus, not Weird Al, as many think)

Here are the lyrics to "I'm a Wigga" I wear fake gold to make up for my little cock
got my rag on backwards so I look just like 2pac
with my cap tilted cause im trying to hide the fact that im from maine
but I represent the south side
got a bb gun that looks just like a Mac 10
if I shot your bitch it might not even break the skin
I wear my jeans so low you can see my booty crack
got chrome painted rims on my 86'pontiac with fuzzy dice
in a rigged up black/white
my curfew's at 10 but I stay out till midnight
sitting' in my ride puffin bennys from my one hitter
can't smoke at home cause ill get caught by my baby sitter
I wanna be black but with my mustache I look Mexican
I learned how to spit rhymes from reading green eggs and ham
I talk plenty shit so that must make me hard
I did a 2 day stretch for stealing at Wall-Mart
im a wigga so go figure im just a white boy that wants to be a nigga
don’t forget the dew rag take me to the tanning booth
got a little bling bling next week im getting a gold tooth
calling up some honeys they only give me pussy cause I say I got the money
none of my hoes are over 13 'cause to 2 of these little tricks my dick looks humongous
I live my mamma's basement and im almost 23
other than that there’s nothing going for me
never had a hard day in my life you see except when I took my mother fucking g.e.d.
I aint a gangster bitch im just a prankster bitch and if you step to me I run just like a bitch
I run just far enough to where you cant catch me
peel out in my ride and call you pussy
but living in the suburbs im the toughest on my block
and every little hoe is riding all up on my jock
not packing too much meat so I stuff it with a sock
remember the first line yeah I said I had a little cock
im a wigga so go figure im just a white boy that wants to be a nigga
my closets full of Fubu sipping on the 40's
my name is really Carl but you can call me shorty
when you see me strutting down the street walking with a limp
its not because im hard its cause I got my ass kicked by a bunch of real G's
they beat my ass and shanked me with a knife
for trying to be down and claim in ghetto life
it'll all catch up to you in the end some day
you'll be alone and ill be with all my friends and we'll kick your ass
yeah we'll beat you down mother fucker
don’t make me act a clown I ain't in a gang
but I can talk the slang I know the Ebonics hand book like it aint no thang
so I must be real yo I listen to mc hammer
and im down with my new dough so that pretty much how the story goes
im the suburban gangster that fucks 12 year olds
just a skinny honky that tries to act tough
but i'm the first to back down if you call my bluff
im a wigga so go figure im just a white boy that wants to be a nigga
smoking token stank weed
wear a pick in my hair
stomping in my air force 1's but cant afford 2 pair

Oh, and here is the funny video: My apologies if you have seen this:
:
9th-Dec-2009 01:31 pm - A Renaissance of Music?
I love music
Why is it that economic downturns always seem to result in huge influxes of good music?

I'm very impressed by such bands & singles, such as

Owl City: Fireflies
K'Naan: Waving Flags
Timbaland: Luv 2 Luv U
IYAZ: Replay
Shakira: She Wolf
MGMT: Time to Pretend
Jedi Mind Tricks: Freedom of Speech
Stereos: Throw Ya Hands Up
Faber Drive: Get Up & Dance
Jason Derulo: Whatcha Say?

These are a few that I'm very impressed by. Are you the Itunes addict that I am? Heh, heh.

How about you? Any new music that impresses you?
What songs are they?
27th-Nov-2009 09:01 am - Happy Thanksgiving!!
Bluejay
All my American friends and compatriots.

I miss you.

Eat a plate of goodies for me. Especially the Pumpkin pie with real whipped cream that totally covers the pie from top to bottom.
25th-Nov-2009 06:54 pm - MEEP! The New Cry Of Freedom!!
Through Being Cool
Okay. Is it that broken at the Danvers school system Massachusetts that they have to trample on the First Amendment?

"Danvers High School in Massachusetts has banned students from saying the word "meep." Officials say students use the word, which was popularized on The Muppet Show and has no meaning, to disrupt school. Attorney Theodora Michaels says that after reading about the ban, she sent school officials an e-mail reading simply "Meep." She says they responded by reporting her to the police. "

Seriously. Click this link:

http://reason.com/brickbat

You HAVE to read the comments section. They are priceless.

MEEP!!
Petercushing
I was laughing just this very morning at the thought of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck running as a team in 2012 only to find out that ol' Sarah and Glenn are contemplating it for real. According to a Newmax snippet found in my trashbin tonight:

By: David A. Patten

It's no secret that former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Fox News host Glenn Beck share great respect and admiration — so their fans can be forgiven for wondering: Is a "dream ticket" of Palin-Beck ticket completely out of the question?

Perhaps not.

Palin initially chuckled when Newsmax broached the idea. But then she had some serious words of praise for the popular Fox personality.

"I can envision a couple of different combinations, if ever I were to be in a position to really even seriously consider running for anything in the future, and I'm not there yet," Palin tells Newsmax. "But Glenn Beck I have great respect for. He's a hoot. He gets his message across in such a clever way. And he's so bold — I have to respect that. He calls it like he sees it, and he's very, very, very effective."


•••••Loud sound of heading banging on wall.•••••
19th-Nov-2009 05:27 pm - On A Happier Note…
animated cockatiel
So… as I am typing this I have two cockatiels on my shoulder. One, Homer (er, female) stretches out her neck to bundle with my cheek. I turn and kiss her on the head. She nibbles my nose as a kiss back. What is it about birds that make you want to kiss them? Every bird owner I have met kisses their birds.

I remember one mascot cockatiel in a pet store in Indianapolis constantly had lipstick marks all over his head. Everytime the owner passed by, she kissed him again. They must have bred Super Cockatiels there because they were the size of small pigeons. Anybody else hear of Super Cockatiels? I have never seen such big cockatiels in my life.

We have 31 birds. Some are super cuddly, some are attack birds and cannot be approached without very thick gloves. (A couple of these unfortunates are rescue birds who just haven't gotten over the trauma yet.) One of the rescue birds, Cheeky is very kissable. He likes his feet to be tickled and he loves to play in between my fingers. That is, he goes to my hand and squeezes himself in between my fingers. I only had one other bird who did that, a Stella's Lorikeet named Ringo.

Okay, all you bird owners. Admit it. You like to kiss your birds, don't you?
18th-Nov-2009 06:09 pm - Saw the New Star Trek Movie.
Emotional advisory ranting
Patently. Awful. If I wanted to see Star Wars, I would watch Star Wars. The reason I liked Star Trek is that it was always more cerebral than Star Wars. Why did the Nero character look like a reject from the Pirates of the Carebbean set? Where is the undertone of Humanism that was Gene Roddenberry's touch?

What was the ladder climbing scene from some brewery in aid of?

Why did the small ship flying scene look like it came from Star Wars VI? All it was missing was "Red leader standing by." At least UP had the good sense to acknowledge the homage at the end of the move.

Every die hard Star Trek fan knows that the ship building capital is in San Francisco, not Iowa.

Spock and Uhura?! I don't THINK so.


Don't get me started on the stupid drill from the "Romulan" ship scene. (The Romulan ship looked like an Alien from Aliens standing on end) Oh, yeah, tell me again how a drill that has to measure about 120.000 feet is going to be able to drill into a planet travelling 22,000 miles an hour. How are they going to geosynchronise it?

People being able to make a orbital dive and not burn up in the stratosphere? Where is the SCIENCE in this thing?

Are the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes retarded, fucktarded or just that bought off to give this piece of SHITE an 89% on the Tomatometer?!
Awesome Vendetta Mask
Here is one that I thought was very effective. Because it's true.


http://my.barackobama.com/hrvcrating?v=tWKici6hOhw
Bleah Opus
 Thank you, Media for all your fearmongering. You created a continent wide panic for no good reason. People are waiting in line 24 hours a day to get a vaccine and being turned away because they are not one of the group most vulnerable: pregnant women, asthmatics, children under 5.

I am an asthmatic and I didn't wait in line for the vaccine. Why? We already had it. This is why I was so quiet on my journal this past month. It hit us. First in my head, sinuses and lungs, then it swooped around a second time and hit me in the intestines. It hit Ron hard in the lungs, but he is recovering and has not had to miss a day of work.  And Alex blew it off in 2 days.

Why am I not panicking? Aside from missing a half of a shift, it was NOT THAT BAD!!! I mostly rested in the easy chair, eating light foods, lots of apples, oranges, blueberries (I recommend frozen blueberries—they are superfoods with lots of antioxidant and stuffed to the hilt with Vitamin C.)

See it's our present trend of over panicking and running to the doctor and overdoing it with the Tamiflu (do not take that unless you have the flu. Do not take it as a preemptive.) and disinfectants antibiotics that is going to produce a super virus. A drug resistant virus.

WE must let our natural immune systems handle this one. 1300 hundred people in the U.S. have died but this is out of 300,000,000 million people. A normal flu bug carries off 20,000 people annually.

Now the media, realizing the monster they have created by causing a stampede to the clinics, are trying to get people to settle down and emphasize only the most vulnerable can be taken care of. In Canada, they are turning away more people than they are treating. In the U.S. with the shrill CNN, I can't imagine.

What is it like there? Are the lines a disaster pit? Is it true some people are getting into fist fights there?


But please. Please: Don't Panic!!!


24th-Oct-2009 03:50 pm - Trolls
Hallofreakinween
I thought this was a good post from Seth Godin's blog, so I am passing it along.

Trolls

Lots of things about work are hard. Dealing with trolls is one of them. Trolls are critics who gain perverse pleasure in relentlessly tearing you and your ideas down. Here's the thing(s):

1. trolls will always be trolling
2. critics rarely create
3. they live in a tiny echo chamber, ignored by everyone except the trolled and the other trolls

4. professionals (that's you) get paid to ignore them. It's part of your job.

"Can't please everyone," isn't just an aphorism, it's the secret of being remarkable.


I think Glenn Beck is nothing but a Troll on TV.
23rd-Oct-2009 01:54 pm - Glenn Beck's continued Insanity
Awesome Vendetta Mask
Does this video make any sense to any of you? I watched it several times and I still don't get what he's after?
What is it? Pure insanity or gaslighting. What do you think?


23rd-Sep-2009 11:51 am - New Drug Czar, Same as the Old One
Emotional advisory ranting
Pain patients in the U.S. should get used to the fact that your medicines are going to be further scrutinized, thanks to the high profile death of Michael Jackson and Rush Limbaugh's famous addiction to Oxycontin.

Thanks guys, thanks for making it so much harder to get effective pain relief in America.

Home of diminishing freedoms.

President Obama wants to encourage police interference with pain doctors' ability to prescribe.





I'm glad we don't live there anymore.
21st-Sep-2009 01:22 pm - Ku Klux Klowns
Amused
I don't know why the video that I posted yesterday was deemed "private only" but the gist of it was this:

There were about 60,000 members of protesters, many of whom did not have any idea of what they were protesting about.

Their march was ugly, ignorant and in many cases racist and creedist as hell.

Of course many of them made a big deal out of his middle name: "Hussein."

There were many placards that showed him with a Hitler mustache.

Many signs called him a Nazi and a communist, apparently completely clueless that the Nazis hated communists and executed them.

Many signs were misspelled.

Many people had no idea what they were really protesting about.

There was a few signs that were deeply racist.

There are disturbing signs that the "unworthy" that should not be insured are black and Hispanic people. Ask them right out and they will deny it but they parrot the same things said during the Reagan Administration when Reagan dredged up the ol' black welfare queen. Then the Reagan administration hammered the idea into people's heads that welfare queens deliberately have more babies to get more money, that they drive cadillacs while raking in the dough.

The same things were said in 2009. "I don't want my tax dollars to pay for some welfare queen to have more babies."

Very disturbing stuff. Keep tuned but we now have what these people are: the Ku Klux Klowns.
31st-Aug-2009 05:28 pm - Joke Of The Day
Awesome Vendetta Mask
 So I was reading a Washington Post article and I see this section on religion. Any of you Facebook users answer the question on Religion? I left that blank. But this one poster replied with something I thought was funny:

militant agnostic - I don't know and you don't either!
27th-Aug-2009 12:44 pm - Michael Jackson's Ghost
Awesome Vendetta Mask
Neverland is apparently haunted by MJ's ghost. At least that's what Larry King reported. It could be true, who knows? But I find this "ghost story" much funnier:

AAAYendie
 These days I delete these 419 type scams daily. Most of them I give a cursory glance, nothing more. Once in a while, though, I come across one that is just too funny. I left all the spelling, lack of spacing, punctiation, inappropriat small caps and just plain bad English intact in this letter. I did not change a single thing about it. 

From: mercelgissio161@msn.com
Subject: From Mr.Mercel Gissio,

Date: August 7, 2009 11:30:17 AM GMT-04:00

Reply-To: mercelgissio@gmail.com


From Mr.Mercel Gissio,
Drirector,contracts and manpower development,
Ivory Coast Ports Authority.
Abidjan,Republic of Ivory Coast.
EMAIL; 
mercelgissio@gmail.com 

 

                                                         Confidential/Top Secret.

Sir,

I am Mercel Gissio of the above mentioned office,i got your contact from the internet during my search for one to trust  and decides to share mutual busines idea that has been in existence for two years now.
A certain american contractor named Jack Molley of Molleys associates based in Texas won and executed a contract worth $13.5 million united states dollars which was simply installations of LIFTING DEVICES and CRANES in our port to change the old worn out and out-dated type that was in use which became ineffective.

 
This contract which was awareded by Ivory Coast Government through my office have been paid for but due to the time it took government to clear the debt with Molleys associates of texas,the contract acrued some fees which the contractor is not aware of.This lapses or the red-tape approach in government offices to disburse payment in time,i used my office and position to over-influence this contract to the tone of $3.8 million united states,what i want is for you to come in and act as partner to Jack molley  to claim this over-influenced sum as i will provide you with neccessary guidelines needed.
Based on this,send to me the following;

 
1. Your full name and address.
2. Your company's proforma invoice.
3. 4 blank sheets of your company letter headed-paper.
4. Your id---like drivers license or international passport.
5. Company name and address.
6. Company's banking details in totality.
 
With these information as demanded,i will approach the ministry of finance and economic planning,office of budget at the presidency and ports authority for approval on your behalf or that of your company.
After these approvals has been granted by appropriet offices,the central bank of ivory coast will have no option than to release and wire this $3.8 million united states dollars into your nominated bank account.
For using your account,i will share this over-influenced contract sum with you on the basis of 50/40% and 10% will cover all fees to be spent in the execution of this said arrangement.

 
When you respond,i will give you the contact of the department of planning and execution where you send all paper work and correspondences so that i will not be involved directly as i will be giving you clues and all the information needed to actualize this.
This transaction is risk-free once you take instructions from me.

Thanking you in anticipation for your understanding.
Yours sincerely,

Mercel Gissio
Director,contracts and manpower development
Ivory Coast Ports authority(ICPA)
AAAyeah, right
 Terry Ferguson Chambers
(170 Canary Wharf  London,United Kingdom,W4 5RY)

Hello My Good Friend,

I apologize if the contents of this email is contrary to your moral ethics. I humbly solicit your immediate assistance. Though this mail may come to you as a surprise, due to the high level of crime emanating from the internet. But please treat with absolute secrecy and personal. I know we have not met before, but with trust and honesty we can work this project out.

Let me start by introducing myself,I am Mr.Terry Ferguson,Attorney to your late uncle whom was my client when he was alive.Before his death,he use to tell me about his relations in the Eastern Europe and United States of America.

Ever since he died in September 1999 have been trying to contact you or any other relations of his who will stand as his next of kin to inherit his $10million fixed deposit he made with a security company here in the United kingdom. The finance house has called me several times this year to come up with the details of my late client next of kin because the term of the fix deposit elapsed in January 2009.

The finance house wants to know if the next of kin will want to roll the fixed deposit for another 10years or make the withdrawal immediately, so they have ask me to come up with my late client next of kin details.

I made alot of research before i was able to get your information,I will want you to let me know if you would want to roll the deposit over for the next 10years or make the withdrawal immediately.

Please get back to me as soon as possible with your information as place below.

1. Full Names
2. Present Occupation
3. Age
4. Contact Address
5. Any of your proof Identification
6. Phone and Fax number

As soon as I get this information from you I will start preparing all legal documents that we are going to use for the application.Also I will disclose your Uncle detail to you once i verify your information that you are the rightful person am look for.

Hope to read from you soon.
Thanks,
Terry Ferguson(Esq). 
18th-Jul-2009 10:48 am - Food For Thought
Brains
This is why I put one foot in spirituality:

This quote I heard yesterday:

If you talk to God, you're praying.
If God talks to you, you're a schizophrenic.


Damn good point.
15th-Jul-2009 02:50 pm - Religulous Review
AAAYendie
I'm spiritual and agnostic at the same time. I've seen and encountered otherworldly things that can't be explained away easily. I believe that we all have the ability to connect.

But…I become agnostic when I encounter the damage the monotheistic religions have done to the world and the sheer insanity of some evangelicals. And I don't like middlemen in general. They remind me of the RIAA. They take your money and you do all the praying. How's that supposed to be a benefit to you?

A Great example of that sort of evangelical huckstering Robert Tilton, Mr. "make a thousand dollar vow." He was discredited in 1991 when it was exposed that he threw away the prayer cards without reading them. Plus there was that pesky spoon up his nose. You can actually see him sweat on camera!

h

He was mentioned in Religulous, a DVD I rented by comedian turned to investigative reporter Bill Maher, and let me tell you, if you are sitting on the fence about religion, this will push you over to the sceptic's side too.

John Wescott is interviewed, a guy who believes in curing homosexuality, which was a funny bit.
And Maher actually gets inside the Vatican only to be kicked out.
He's not easy on the Scientologists either.

Beware of that evil lord Xenu.

Thanks for the great response on Yendie! She's going to appear as a webcomic on this blog to start. I'm still scripting.
14th-Jul-2009 02:41 pm - This Just in!
AAAYendie


19 years ago I created Yendie Wildcritter. She was dubbed the "Little Monster With An Attitude. Many people have been asking about her, so I decided to do something about it. Now she's updated and refurbished with same attitude and more fashion sense and sex appeal and coming soon as a web cartoon.

So here she is!
AAAstupidpeople
There has been a real dearth of funny scam spams lately, but this one was so badly spelled and executed, I just can't resist.

(H A P) 2010 WORLD CUP EVENT SA (2010) ORGANISING COMITTEE

(HOUSING AUTHORITY PROMOTIONS)

From, the coordinator,

Real estate and property developers,

Messers, Bright O?Brien &co,

Floor 4,times square, theartre building

Johannesburg.





The above subsidiary has deemed it necessary in promoting the

aforementioned event taking place in SOUTH AFRICA (2010).

An official gazette was issued after due consultation, to carry out

awareness campaign in attracting people, (visitors, investors) and

otherwise to our great country, SOUTH AFRICA, prior to the soccer fiesta

2010.

In accordance with regulatory ACTS. A format was issued enabling

us promote the event, inview of these we decided to dish out winning

prizes ranging from, HOUSES, CARS, LCD TV, FRIDGES, MOTORBIKES, BALL?S

and T-SHIRTH'S with MANDELA'S picture inscribed on it. A ballot via

Internet directory was selected to carry out these, HITHERTO...

CONGRATULATION (S) as in reciept of this mail...you've won a

luxirius HOME in SOUTH AFRICA, valued at $5.7us dollars. GOD BLESSED YOU.

NOTE-All valuable documents, and the location of the luxirius home

will be forwarded to you, as soon in reciept of your-NAMES, CONTACT

ADRESS AND DIRECT TEL-LINE.

Meanwhile, in avoiding Internet fraudsters, hackers. Your winning

number, keys and valuable documents has been deposited in a coperate

bank, FNB.SOUTH AFRICA......

Please duly contact your temporal estate agent alotted to your

property, WILLIAM NICHOLE &co, with the following details/intention for

clarifications......

Do you wish coming to South Africa to see your new home and resident

here?

Do you wish collecting the house value in cash. $5.7million us dollars?

Do you require an ATTORNEY (legal practictioner) here in South Africa to

handling all options, pending upon in reciept of your home or cash?

Please do contact your temporal Estate Agent via our gazetted e-mail:

william.nichole@gmail.com
Tel: +27 786 926 074



Note your names and picture will be published in major networks

internationally CNN'BBC'TIME MAGAZINE ETC as our objectives is to

advertise this great fiesta...

Prior to contacting your Estate Agent its advised you keep all

information secrete pending upon IN reciept of your DATA NUMBER.

WELLCOME TO OUR GREAT NATION SA

BEST REGARDS&CONGRATULATION (S)

BRIGHT O'BRIME...
chief coordinator
13th-May-2009 08:08 pm - Haven't Seen the New Star Trek Movie
hello computer
But I was puttering around YouTube and I came across this gruesome twosome. Who out there is a Star Trek:Deep Space Nine fan? I am and my favourite captain is Captain Sisko, who was too long ignored.

Among you fans remember the repellant relationship between a disguised Gul Dukat and Kai Winn? Ugh: (oh, and the sound is down because of some severe corporate puckerbuttery)



By the way, the actress who played the Kai also played Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Yesh.

And is it just me or are there a lot of Weyoun fans out there?



Bleah Opus
First of all, I wanted to thank everybody who congratulated me on getting my green card. I always like to thank everybody when you comment, but it so happens that almost immediately after commenting, my husband fell sick of a bad illness that hit his lungs and I had to tend to the family. I intended to get a Social Insurance Number this week, but that got delayed due to illness. It's not easy blogging because as I said in my info page that I constantly get interrupted. Sorry.

Now on to this news that's getting way out of hand.

Does anybody remember the Great Swine Flu debacle of 1976?

When CNN first blared on the news about the swine flu epidemic unfolding on this planet, I immediately thought of the Great Swine Flu "Epidemic" of 1976. 

Here is a Salon article from April 28th that sums up that madness better than any other news story I've come across so far.

 "There is evidence there will be a major flu epidemic this coming fall. The indication is that we will see a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of the flu. In 1918 a half million Americans died. The projections are that this virus will kill one million Americans in 1976."
 
-- F. David Matthews, secretary of health, education, and welfare (Feb., 1976)
 
In January 1976, 19-year old U.S. Army Private David Lewis, stationed at Fort Dix, joined his platoon on a 50-mile hike through the New Jersey snow. Lewis didn't have to go; he was suffering from flu and had been confined to his quarters by his unit's medical officer. Thirteen miles into the hike, Lewis collapsed and died a short time later of pneumonia caused by influenza. Because Lewis was young, generally healthy and should not have succumbed to the common flu, his death set off a cascade of uncertainty that confused the scientists, panicked the government and eventually embittered a public made distrustful of authority by Vietnam and Watergate.

Lewis was a victim of swine flu, a form of influenza endemic to pig populations. Flu genes mutate easily; for this reason, each new flu season brings a slightly different form of the disease into the population. Most year-to-year mutations bring little change to the virus, but for some still unknown reason, influenza seems to undergo a significant genetic change every ten years or so.

This major mutation results in a radically new strain of flu, one that races through a population because few people are immune to it. The dangerous influenza epidemics of 1938, 1947, 1957 (60,000 dead in the U.S.) and 1968 (the dreaded Hong Kong flu) fit this pattern. It was believed that swine flu, a particularly deadly form of the virus, had a 60-year mutation cycle that brought on worldwide pandemics, killing millions of people. Both the 10- and 60-year cycles were due to converge in the mid 1970s; Lewis' death in 1976 was thought to be the first instance of a new, incredibly lethal type of flu.

Doctors from the Centers for Disease Control tested Private Lewis' blood, and determined that his immune system had developed antibodies to a strain of flu similar to the Spanish influenza of 1918. That particular strain of swine flu produced the worst human pandemic of the 20th century: 1 billion sick in every country of the world, at least 22 million dead in the space of a few months. If Lewis had been exposed to something like the 1918 flu virus, the world could be in for an extensive and lethal outbreak. CDC doctors, charged with protecting the U.S. from epidemics, began to worry.

By the end of January, 155 soldiers at Fort Dix reported positive for swine flu antibodies. None of the soldiers' families or co-workers, however, had been exposed to the virus; all of the reported swine flu cases had been limited to the soldiers in Private Lewis' camp. The virus wasn't spreading. For some reason this information did not mollify the doctors, and on Feb. 14, 1976, the CDC issued a notice to all U.S. hospitals to be on the lookout for any cases of swine flu.

By March, the normal end of flu season, worldwide cases of all types of flu had diminished, and not one case of swine flu had been reported outside of Fort Dix. For some reason this news did not placate the doctors either, and on March 13, 1976, the director of the CDC asked Congress for money to develop and test enough swine flu vaccine to immunize at least 80 percent of the population of the United States, believed to be the minimum needed to avoid an epidemic.

1976 was the year of the U.S. Bicentennial. 1976 was a presidential election year. 1976 was two years after Watergate caused Nixon's resignation, and one year after the fall of Saigon. The U.S. government, both Republicans and Democrats, had never been held in such low esteem. Practically every elected official felt an overwhelming itch that patriotic year to do something to get the public thinking of them as good guys again. A swine flu pandemic was an opportunity on a plate. What better way to get into the good graces of the voters than to save them from a plague?

Between March 13 and March 24, the U.S. government dealt with the perceived flu emergency at fever pitch. The vaccine request went from the CDC to the secretary of HEW (Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the forerunner of today's Department of Health and Human Services), and reached the president's desk in less than a week. On March 24, the day after he lost the North Carolina primary to Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford welcomed the top virologists in the nation to a meeting in the White House and asked them if the nation was facing a swine flu epidemic. Would mass vaccinations be necessary? The doctors all said yes.

After the meeting, President Ford held a press conference with Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, developers of the polio vaccine. The president heralded the impending flu plague and asked Congress for $135 million to investigate the development of a swine flu vaccine, with the goal of vaccinating the citizenry. This was probably the first time that most of the nation had heard of swine flu.

Congress, with few exceptions, raced to support the bill. President Ford signed the bill on April 15, 1976, and incorrectly remarked to the press that the Fort Dix swine flu was identical to the deadly 1918 variety. He announced the immunization program would begin in October.

The scientists began to come to their senses. By July, they were pretty much agreed that a flu pandemic in 1976 would not lead to 1 million U.S. dead. The flu strain extracted from Private Lewis, they learned, was much less virulent that the 1918 strain, and modern medicine could handle an outbreak far better than the World War I doctors could. The World Health Organization ordered hospitals to keep a global lookout for swine flu, but it did not request mass immunization of the population.

But the U.S. government was unstoppable. Congress began to pressure the drug companies to work faster toward development of a swine flu vaccine. The drug companies insisted that proper vaccine development required years of experimentation and clinical trials, and they were reluctant to develop and distribute an untested drug. The drug companies suggested that they could work faster if they were given immunity from lawsuits in the event something went wrong with the vaccine. Congress refused. The issue of legal liability remained at an impasse until Aug. 2, 1976.

On that day, two members of the American Legion died of a strange respiratory disease they acquired at the Legion's convention in Philadelphia. Congress collectively freaked. Panicky news reports out of Philadelphia hinted that the deaths were the beginning of the Great Swine Flu Epidemic of 1976. On Aug. 3, Congress agreed to completely indemnify the drug companies against any and all lawsuits they might incur as a result of the distribution of swine flu vaccine. The drug companies got to work.

On the same day, the CDC Disease Etiology Team sprang into action, and it had never performed better. On Aug. 5, the head of the CDC was able to testify before Congress and announce conclusively that the Legionnaires had died of a new disease, a type of pneumonia that was definitely not swine flu. When Congress was informed that the dreaded epidemic had not started, they canceled their indemnification agreement with the drug companies. The drug companies announced that they would immediately cease development of swine flu vaccines. They also began to hint that even if they were to be re-indemnified, they now wanted Congress to guarantee them reasonable profits from the development of the vaccines.

President Ford went on television that night and delivered a speech to the nation, telling Americans that Congress will be to blame for your deaths when the flu season begins in October. Congress caved in, and on Aug. 15, President Ford signed the National Influenza Immunization Program (NIIP). This set as a goal the immunization of at least 80 percent of the U.S. population, indemnified the drug companies and left vague the government's power to limit the drug companies' profit. The drug companies got to work.

By September, the swine flu scaffolding came crashing down. Pollsters reported that while 93 percent of the population had heard of swine flu and knew it could cause a million U.S. deaths, only 52 percent planned to get immunized. The press was claiming that Congress had not done a good job of educating the public. Congress members blamed the failure on the CDC. The CDC was busy looking into the deaths of the Legionnaires; while they were able to say that the Legionnaires had not died of swine flu, they were unable to pin down what exactly what had killed the men. The American Legion thought the whole thing was a Communist plot. Congressman John Murphy of Staten Island claimed the CDC was stalling on identifying the Legionnaire's disease to panic people into fearing swine flu. Murphy demanded an investigation into the CDC and the indemnification deal made with the drug companies. The heroic miracle that was supposed to overhaul the government's image was rendered futile before it had started.

On Oct. 1, 1976, the immunization program began. By Oct. 11, approximately 40 million people had received swine flu immunizations, mostly through the new compressed air vaccination guns. That evening, in Pittsburgh, came the first blow to the immunization program: Three senior citizens died soon after receiving their swine flu shots. The media outcry, linking the deaths to the immunizations without any proof, was so loud it drew an on-air rebuke from CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, who warned his colleagues of the dangers of post hoc ergo propter hoc ("after this, therefore, because of this") thinking. But it was too late. The government had long feared mass panic about swine flu -- now they feared mass panic about the swine flu vaccinations.

The deaths in Pittsburgh, though proved not to be related to the vaccine, were a strong setback to the program. The death blow came a few weeks later when reports appeared of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing neuromuscular disorder, among some people who had received swine flu immunizations. The public refused to trust a government-operated health program that killed old people and crippled young people; as a result, less than 33 percent of the population had been immunized by the end of 1976. The National Influenza Immunization Program was effectively halted on Dec. 16.

Gerald Ford's attempt to gain credit for keeping America safe was busted. He lost the presidential election to Jimmy Carter that November. The 1976 to 1977 flu season was the most flu-free since records had been kept; a condition that was apparently unrelated to the vaccination program. The Great Swine Flu Epidemic of 1976 never took place.

I should point out that the flu epidemic of 1918 was not caused by a swine flu at all but an avian flu.
23rd-Apr-2009 10:42 am - Who is your God?
Charlie Brown
 Who is your favourite person, your personal god, your idol that you had the pleasure of meeting?

MIne is Charles Schulz. I got into cartooning because of him. I related to Charlie Brown being teased in school, feeling like an outcast.

I met him in 1994. He was there, in the Santa Rosa phone book. The address 1 Snoopy Lane. It was as simple as calling him up and making an appointment. So we did. (it was me and my ex) It was an awesome time. He was approachable, full of energy and boy did he get on his soapbox about the lack of talent in the strip cartooning world. He brought out his books such as Terry and The Pirates and said "Why don't people draw like this anymore."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was because of him. He made it look so easy with his simple lines and expressions. But it was the content that captured everybody's heart.

The most awesome part was when he asked us to stay longer. I wish we had. 

It was a memory I will always treasure.

Who is yours?
17th-Apr-2009 10:27 am - A Generation of Free Agents
Zonker
 “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.” 


So sayeth Chris Guillebeau. The master DIY man. Self employed all his life and making money on his own terms. Check out his freebie book 297 Days To Overnight Success.

My parents came up to visit this weekend for Easter and as usual no project that I am working on is the right project according to them. I talk about going to school and I get a negative reaction, a stern look. The usual toxic energy. The usual reminder of the reason why we left the U.S. and moved to Canada.

I had to pull it out of them but I heard that my sister, who supposedly did everything right 30 years ago by going into a safe, stable, business--banking--is on the line to get laid off. She was a loan officer. Right now, her bonus got canceled, her car allowance, apartment allowance, gone. In a city that got the worst of the axe, Columbus. The bank is bleeding $500 million a quarter because they went on a bank acquiring frenzy and bit the poison apple. The bought a bank that hid it's debts well and they didn't ask enough questions in their quest to become the biggest bank in the U.S.
Her position is so precarious and the situation is so bad that her son had to get a second job to pay the bills. No more going on six month cruises. No more smugness.

Throughout the years I always got the "why don't you get into banking?" speech.

No Country For Old Men said it best. Just before Carson Wells got blown away by Anton Chigurh, he says:

"If the rule you followed led you to this, of what use was the rule?"

It's a part-time DIY world now. Something I've known ever since I graduated from college. My parents are the last generation to know full time, lifetime work with generous benefits and retiring with a pension.

Here in Canada 23% of workers are part time, temporary or contract. It can be frustrating but freeing at the same time. We're not tied down to one job for 40 years doing the same thing and retiring just to suffer the fades and lose the ability to stay in touch with the rest of the world.

The one thing I noticed about my parents is just how out of it they are. My mom is afraid to touch the wrong button and completely delete my dad's files not knowing that with Apple, that's impossible. Their minds are no longer challenged, so I see them gradually fading.

It's the post-retirement syndrome.

My former in-laws have it too. My former FIW couldn't wait to retire. Literally counted the days and retired the day he turned 65. That was 18 years ago. Sure they enjoyed an explosion of travel. For a while until his health faded. But there is only so much they could travel because they weren't flooded with money and there is only so many dancing classes and Shriner's meetings they could attend until it started to get really boring. Neither use the computer.

Before Social Security was instated in the 1930's, all previous generations never knew retirement. They just worked until they dropped. I'm now looking at a generation that will not know retirement. But it's no longer "work until you drop,"  because most of us don't work hard labour jobs. Now we work until we can't. But it doesn't have to be all bad. It's also a way to stay connected to the world, be useful, productive, active, have an income and avoid the fades.

There is real opportunity for adventure out there working part time jobs all over the world--or at least all over North America, if you're North American and Europe, if you're European. And because you're working part time, you can quit any time, take a back pack and hike for a while. Couch surf. Visit youth hostels instead of staying at hotels. It requires cutting down on material goods and having just enough to eat. There's ways to do it in a DIY (Do It Yourself) world.

It goes both ways. If the work place no longer commits to us, we are no longer committed to the work place.

That makes us a generation of free agents.

And this means that we can become successful at any age, at any time. It's fantastic that a 47 year old Scottish woman from an obscure small town can become an overnight sensation. (Susan Boyle on YouTube)

It's because she's 47 year old, not traditionally beautiful, from an obscure small town that many people are committed to buying whatever CD she puts out. This is because she is not the usual beautiful, privileged, second-generation LA princess with all connections in place before she even makes the attempt, making it at age 15 (think Miley Cyrus) at the usual Disney factory. Ho-hum.

This is inspiring. Age no longer matters in the viral world.

How about you? How have you been affected by this recession? Are you DIY now, too?

 

3rd-Apr-2009 11:09 am - Are we in a paradigm shift?
Doctor Who
The government is now urging GM to go into bankruptcy protection. The Obama administration sees this is the only way to save the company. To spin off the unprofitable divisions and keep the profitable cars. "Too big to fail" has become the joke of the decade.

Even Wal-Mart is laying off workers. The whole Big-Box concept is dying off as people are tired of the hugeness of it all. The wow power that "power centres" once had has worn off.  Power centres are huge conglomerates of Big Box stores lined up so that ostensibly you can get all your shopping done in one centre. Assuming that you need to completely outfit your house, your car, your yard and buy all the food you would ever need in such huge quantities that you would need a huge basement to store those Sam's Club special deals. You can even buy your own vending machine and all the supplies you would need to put in it. I get exhausted just walking into a Costco. And now I am tired after even thinking about the overwhelming bigness of all these stores. The layout and placement of products is for the young, fit and long-armed, not the middle aged, elderly or handicapped.

And as I grow older, I need to consume less. Is everybody else in the same boat? Speaking of boats, there have been a record number of boats being abandoned. By the hundreds. People are scraping off the names of their boats, the serial numbers and any other form of ID and simply scuttling them in the harbour, leaving them floating in the water or leaving them at the end of the street. In South Carolina, it's gotten so bad with 150 boats abandoned just this past year, that they had to pass a law heavily fining people and possibly sending them to jail. The first time they have ever had to pass such a law. Here's a link to the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/business/01boats.html?em

Are we saturated? Have we consumed all that we could possibly consume? You should see how many people are trying to sell jewellery, mink coats, the trappings of wealth that people in the 50's-through the '70's thought were such it things to have.
Take a look at the e-bay auctions. Watch the DVD Maxed Out. Watch it again with new perspective that hitting us by the day.

But back to the eventual demise or deconstruction of GM. Is this symbolic of a basic paradigm shift? A world-shaking one similar to the one that occurred in the 1800's when the world went from an agrarian culture to an industrial age?

Are we about to outlive the automobile? What are we as a world culture going to become next?

Any ideas?
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