BLASPHEMY!

BLASPHEMY!Gr. βλάπτω – hurt, injure; φήμη – fame, report : an indignity offered to those who self-righteously believe themselves to be God’s messengers in words, writing, or signs which are not acceptable by those who believe themselves to be God’s messengers.

No One Murdered Because Of This Image
No One Murdered Because Of This Image

WASHINGTON โ€” Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday. The image of the Hebrew prophet Moses high-fiving Jesus Christ as both are having their erect penises vigorously masturbated by a trans-gender Ganesha, all while the Hindu deity anally penetrates Buddha with his fist, reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.

okay

so the idea that i had for art the other day has taken on an entirely new, and monitarily positive aspect…

but i should start from the beginning, since this is being told for the first time.

idea factoryi was sitting in my workshop the other night, and i had just finished a beer, and i realised: i have diamond-tipped drill bits, and a bench motor, and i know how to use them: it wouldn’t take much to take this otherwise useless empty beer bottle and re-purpose it for my own, moist, innermost desires… so why don’t i modify this beer bottle, and make an entirely new, “useful item” out of it.

so, i drilled a hole in the bottle, and rumaged around in the boxes of miscellaneous bits and pieces i have (quite well organised, mind you) until i found a glass pipe stem and a collet that the pipe stem goes through, that was left over from a water-pipe from years ago, which didn’t make it…

and i quickly discovered that i had drilled the hole in the wrong place, so, of course, i had to drink another beer, so that i could try it again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

the second ideaonce i got it right — and verified that it was, indeed most exactly correct — i started casting about for empty bottles likely candidates, and quickly came up with the first idea, which turned out to be an empty bulleit burbon bottle… which is part of the hoard of empty whiskey bottles i have been inexplicably saving for about a year and a half, not knowing exactly why i was doing it…

now i know… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

i figure i can easily retail devices like this for $25 to $50, or wholsale them for $10 to $20 a piece. so, i went to the pike place smoke shop and told them that i could drill holes in bottles, and wondered how much they would pay me for finished beer-bottle water-pipes. they were very excited to learn this, and it turned out that i don’t even have to hand over finished water-pipes. they are just as happy to receive bottles that have holes drilled in the right places, so that they can put in their own doo-dads and mark them up the way they want. they said they would pay me $10 a bottle, for regular ol’ beer bottles, and left the door open for negotiation on “specialty” beer bottles… which i am assuming includes the antique grolsch bottles, the “Arrogant Bastard Ale” and the “Dead Guy Ale” bottles…the third idea

and it also means that the really fancy ones, like the bulleit bottles, and the fancy italian water bottle and stuff like that can be finished and retailed at my own web site for whatever i think i can get for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

so i dug around and actually produced 10 “regular ol’ beer bottles” — although i’m not certain that they won’t take the “new” grolsch bottle and the “Hobgoblin” bottle as “specialty” bottles (to be honest, if they do, i DON’T CARE) and drilled holes in all of ’em… i actually drilled holes in 13 bottles, but i broke three of ’em, because i was being impatient and working with tools that were almost worn out… diamond-tipped drill bits wear out really fast when they’re used for a project like this. i figure ⅜" and ½" diamond-tipped drill bits are going to become sort of like #2 jewelers’ saw blades, in that i will always have a whole bunch of them, and about half of them are going to be worn out, or almost worn out.

now all i’ve got to do is alert my beer-drinking friends to save their bottles for me… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Stanley says "chirp"
Stanley sez “chirp”

HA HA!!

HAH HAH!when i was in training to be a tech support drone for microsoft, they told us that “in 10 years, the default format for all web documents will be the microsoft word .doc format”…

WRONG!!

it is now more than 10 years later (actually, it is almost 20 years later), and Google kills support for old MS file formats in Google Apps…

i knew when i heard it that micro-slop was having a pipe-dream, believing that their proprietary document format was going to become a public standard…

okay

moe has gone to southern oregon for the national sheep-dog handling finals — yes, we have not one, but two championship-quality dogs in this house, thanks, in part, to moe, who is the dog-whisperer to dog-whisperers… ๐Ÿ˜Ž (and that guy who is “The Dog Whisperer” really doesn’t know what he’s talking about most of the time… really… you should hear moe rant about how cesar milan is wrecking dogs, when she gets to ranting about him)

but, of course, the down side to all of this, is that moe is gone for a week, and i have to stay here, because i have a performance on saturday and it would be too far to drive back from klamath falls for, especially since we’d either have to take both cars, or i would have to drive from klamath falls to seattle for a 2 hour performance, and then drive back to klamath falls to pick up moe and her dogs and gear… which would be especially important since we just bought a trailer/pop-up-tent/RV-like-thing, and that isn’t going anywhere without a vehicle to tow it.

so, the upshot of the whole deal is that i am alone for a week, with an ancient, decrepit dog, two ancient, decrepit cats, a bird (who is neither ancient nor decrepit), and an ancient, decrepit snake… i guess, since i am verging on ancient and decrepit myself, i’m in good company, but i would really prefer it if i was with moe, or she was with me… there’s nobody but stanley to talk to, and, while some of the things he says are definitely amusing, he doesn’t always respond the way a human being would…

the performance is with the sousa band, at Festa Italiana, and they’re probably going to feed us… which is always the right thing to do for musicians that you hire to come and play for your party… ๐Ÿ˜‰

apart from that, i’m still going back-and-forth with the incense guy from india. everything was going as expected until he quoted me a price that is essentially what i charge my retail customers for what would essentially be a wholesale purchace. when i responded, he didn’t come back with an answer for a few days, and then, this morning, he came back with a response in which he, basically, offered me the same incense for a quarter of the price, but only if i order more than a certain amount of it… which i would do, but i don’t want to seem too eager, because i know that if i can put him off long enough, the price has a very good probability of going down even further… and if not, it will also give me time to build up my bank account to the point where i can actually afford to buy a whole pile of incense from india… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

i still haven’t gone out to busk with my didjeri-flute/delay/amp setup yet, but i have been out busking with my tuba at least twice in the past week. a couple of days ago, i went out to the ballard sunday market, ostensibly to play with hobbit, but as we were getting set up, we were joined by julie b. who plays “delicious violin” (really, it says so on her cute little business card), who hobbit knows from the pike place market… and with a very little prompting from hobbit, we played quite acceptably, got a couple of inquiries about whether or not we were available for house parties(!) and made some generous tips for playing for a little less than 2 hours… i get the impression that, with a little more prompting, we could either add a violin to snake suspenderz (on a more-or-less temporary basis) or we could simply bill Accidental Rhino as a separate band and have twice as many gigs… either way is fine with me.

OY! 8/

so i woke up yesterday and i immediately noticed that i was getting A WHOLE BUNCH of PHP “deprecated” notices on my web site.

i’m getting all these “deprecated” notices because my site has recently been moved to a server with a different IP address, because the server that i was on previously has been having MAJOR problems with the CBL, and the new server either ONLY serves PHP 5.3, or doesn’t have the notifications turned off, so that nobody sees the notices that the code may be deprecated. i’ve been fighting with my host provider (AGAIN ๐Ÿ˜ ) for the past few weeks to fix the CBL problem, so, now that it has apparently been fixed, i don’t want to ask them to go in and make a trivial change to something i can’t change myself, when i can do something constructive (which will also make my web site more compatible, for longer) anyway, so i set about doing something myself.

i rallied around and found the solution to that particular problem, fixed it, and was feeling pretty good about myself, because i had “successfully diagnosed and resolved an issue that i don’t quite understand” when i got an email from a customer of my web site, telling me that he had experienced A WHOLE BUNCH of PHP “deprecated” notices on my site… so i wrote back and told him that i had fixed the ones that i could see, and if there were more, i didn’t know about them, so any help that he could offer would be greatly appreciated. in return he sent me a link to the osCommerce public contributions page which had a zip file with precise descriptions for how to upgrade my site from PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.3 all at once, without having to track down and eliminate the deprecated notices one at a time…

and it turned out that it was A LOT more complicated than it first appeared… and it turned out that it was a REALLY good think i had specific instructions, because there were a few little details about PHP that aren’t really that intuitive, and, while i thought i had the problem fixed, what i had done, ultimately, made things worse. ๐Ÿ˜

ultimately, it meant making the following changes in about 100 different files, in multiple locations throughout the site:

OLD PHP5.2 NEW PHP5.3
ereg(‘whatever’) preg_match(‘/whatever/’)
eregi(‘whatever’) preg_match(‘/whatever/i’)
ereg_replace(‘whatever’) preg_replace(‘/whatever/’)
split(whatever) EITHER
explode(whatever)
OR
preg_split(‘/whatever/’)
DEPENDING ON OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES (which i still don’t understand)

the “whatever” parts were the ones that ecaped my attention originally… so, i got started fixing the problem for real, and then the power went out. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

this is september, there’s no snow… it hasn’t even rained for the past couple of months, and the power went out?!?

FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ก

so i sat in the dark for a while and cooled my jets, then i went for a walk…

and when i got home, THE POWER WAS STILL OFF so i rummaged around in the workshop with a flashlight and located a couple of battery-powered lanterns, which made things slightly better, at which point i sat in the “dim” until moe came home, at which point we went to bed, because there wasn’t anything else to do.

some time in the middle of the night – i’m not sure when, because all of our clocks are electric – the power came back on. i remember getting up and stumbling around the house turning off the lights which were still on, but nothing more than that.

when i woke up this morning (and the power was still on), i went back to my PHP coding, and i think i’ve got it all fixed — after “thinking” i had it all fixed once before, only to discover that a single period – . – that was left out of one file meant that the whole site was replaced with an incomprehensible PHP error…

so if you notice something wonky about the main Hybrid Elephant site, i would appreciate it if you would send me a note, saying what the error is (copy and paste from the web page) AND (especially important) the URI of the page that you were viewing… hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it does, that would be good… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

thanks.

incense!

i got a notification from the letter-carrier yesterday, indicating that i had a package that they hadn’t delivered because i wasn’t home, and the package delivery required a signature… naturally, i wasn’t home, so i went down to the post office today to pick it up.

it’s really bizarre to me, because of the fact that we live so close to the border between king and pierce counties, that the post office to which i had to go to pick up my package, is the third farthest post office from my actual location: the first is in milton/edgewood, but that “doesn’t count” because it’s in pierce county, and the second is in federal way, which is in king county, but it’s on the “wrong side of the freeway” from where i am…

Incense!anyway, i went down to the post office, wondering what it was, because i wasn’t expecting a package. when i got there, they took a lot of information from me for a “normal” package – signature, printed name and street address – and the lady went back to retrieve the package… and it turned out to be from india, which i was totally not expecting at all. of course this made me wonder even more what it was, and i opened it up as soon as i got out to my car… after all, it isn’t every day that you get an unexpected package from india… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Incense!

i seem to recall, a month or so ago, corresponding with a “mr. sriram” from india, regarding the possibility of my doing business with his company, and it may have been that i asked him if he could send me samples, but it was long enough ago that i don’t remember…

but the incense smells OUTRAGEOUS!! it smells like the kind of incense that i remember getting in the early ’70s when it’s not lit, and lighting a stick immediately transports me back to when incense actually smelled good, and not like it does today, which is like a chemical factory… the paperwork that came inside the package doesn’t have an email address, so i’m going to have to hope that my recollection is correct, and that i have an email address somewhere for “mr. sriram” at srinidhi solutions… ’cause their incense is AMAZING! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

paeudt

i actually took my art car to the rainier beach artwalk today, which is the first time since i actually put art on it, and i wasn’t planning on doing something else, that i have attended an “art car function” this year… and i was pleasantly surprised to discover that the art-cartists were paid $25 just for being there. ๐Ÿ˜Ž i also brought my didjeri-flute and played for a while… sort of like at burning man, with no expectation of anything other than making weird noises for people. the weather was cooperative, and not windy enough that it was impossible to play, but there was no electricity, so the delay/amplification wasn’t there, and, as a result, i competed with the bands across the street for most of the time i was there.

and, while i’m on the subject, Snake Suspenderz, the Official SACBO Band, is playing at The Can Can in the Pike Place Market, tuesday 9/18 at 7:00. cover is $5.00 and we hope to see a lot of art car people there! ๐Ÿ˜Ž the snake suspenderz site or buy tickets.

but i’m still struggling with a couple of tunes, which i don’t remember, in spite of the fact that i’ve attempted to play them a number of times recently, and vowed to remember what they were… i really need to start writing down stuff like like that, because my memory is CRAP… ๐Ÿ˜ and that has been complicated by the fact that my band-mates don’t feel like checking and responding to their emails: there are two days between now and when we play at the can can, i have repeatedly requested a rehearsal, or some busking, or (preferably) both, since wednesday or so, and i have gotten mediocre and lack-lustre responses AT BEST from the other members of my band… and i’m feeling frustrated about it, because my performance is going to suffer if a rehearsal (at least) doesn’t happen before tuesday! ๐Ÿ˜

but, back to my didjeri-flute ravings for a moment: i REALLY need to get out to somewhere where there’s a publically-accessible electrical outlet and no wind (the public space at crossroads mall immediately springs to mind. why? i don’t know, but there it is), and see how i do busking on my own. i’ve got to put together a “busking kit” sort of like the one hobbit has, which includes a tip container and a sign indicating that it’s there… i wonder if the broken wire music stand i “donated” to hale’s palladium is still there?

i’m still “brewing” some new art, as well. it may be that it has something to do with my didjeri-flute, but i’m still not sure. ๐Ÿ˜‰

oh yeah, we also rocked their world at cholmondleighland last saturday. we got raving reviews from avner the eccentric who said “If I have a pit, I want you in it!” and said that he’d put in a good word for us with tim at the moisture festival for next year! (WOO HOO!!)

Peace Be Upon You

Peace Be Upon You
Internet videos will insult your religion. Ignore them.

By William Saletan, Sept. 14, 2012

Dear Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Jews,

You’re living in the age of the Internet. Your religion will be mocked, and the mockery will find its way to you. Get over it.

If you don’t, what’s happening this week will happen again and again. A couple of idiots with a video camera and an Internet connection will trigger riots across the globe. They’ll bait you into killing one another.

Stop it. Stop following their script.

Today, fury, violence, and bloodshed are consuming the Muslim world. Why? Because a bank fraud artist in California offered people $75 a day to come to his house and act out scenes that ostensibly had nothing to do with Islam. Then he replaced the audio, putting words in the actors’ mouths, and stitched together the scenes to make an absurdly bad movie ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed. He put out flyers to promote the movie. Nobody โ€” literally nobody โ€” came to watch it.

He posted a 14-minute video excerpt of the movie on YouTube, but hardly anyone noticed. Then, a week ago, an anti-Muslim activist in Virginia reposted the video with an Arabic translation and sent the link to activists and journalists in Egypt. An Egyptian TV show aired part of the video. An Egyptian politician denounced it. Clerics sounded the alarm. Through Facebook and Twitter, protesters were mobilized to descend on the U.S. embassy in Cairo. The uprising spread. The U.S. ambassador to Libya has been killed, and violence has engulfed other countries.

When the protests broke out, the guy who made the movie claimed to be an Israeli Jew funded by other Jews. That turned out be a lie. Now he says he’s a Coptic Christian, even though Coptic Christian leaders in Egypt and the United States despise the movie and want nothing to do with him. Another guy who helped make the movie claims to be a Buddhist. The movie was made in the United States, yet Sudanese mobs have attacked British and German embassies. Some Egyptians targeted the Dutch embassy, mistakenly thinking the Netherlands was behind the movie. Everyone’s looking for a group to blame and attack.

The men behind the movie said it would expose Islam as a violent religion. Now they’re pointing to the riots as proof. Muslims are "pre-programmed" to rage and kill, says the movie’s promoter. "Islam is a cancer," says the director. According to the distributor, "The violence that it caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people are and it is evidence that everything in the film is factual."

Congratulations, rioters. You followed the script perfectly. You did the propagandists’ work for them.

And the provocations won’t end here. Laws and censors won’t protect you from them. Liberal democracies allow freedom of expression. Our leaders and people condemn garbage like this video, but we don’t censor it. Even if we did, the diffusion of media technology makes suppression impossible. The director of this movie was forbidden, under his bank-fraud probation rules, from using computers or the Internet without approval. That didn’t stop him. Nor did it stop the Arabic-language distributor from reposting the video and disseminating it abroad.

Online propaganda is speech. But it’s also part of the global rise of lethal empowerment. It’s easier than ever to kill people. In Muslim countries, mass murderers favor bombs. In the United States, they prefer guns. In Japan, they’ve tried sarin nerve gas. The Oklahoma City bomber used fertilizer. The Sept. 11 hijackers used box cutters and passenger planes. Then came the letters filled with anthrax.

Derision is that much harder to control. The spread of digital technology and Internet bandwidth makes it possible to reach every corner of the globe almost instantly with homemade video defaming any faith tradition. It can become an incendiary weapon. But it has a weakness: It depends on you. You’re the detonator. If you don’t cooperate, the bomb doesn’t explode.

This isn’t just a Muslim problem, though that’s been the pattern lately. On YouTube, you can find videos insulting every religion on the planet: Jews, Christians, Hindus, Catholics, Mormons, Buddhists, and more. Some clips are ironic. Others are simply disgusting. Many were posted to bait one group into fighting another. The baiters are indiscriminate. The promoter of the Mohammed movie founded a group that also protests at Mormon temples.

The hatred and bloodshed will go on until you stop taking the bait. Mockery of your prophet on a computer with an Internet address somewhere in the world can no longer be your master. Nor can the puppet clerics who tell you to respond with violence. Lay down your stones and your anger. Go home and pray. God is too great to be troubled by the insults of fools. Follow Him.

halvah!

0011between 1982 and 1984, before i went into the tech school, i had a “job” as a cookie baker. part of that job involved making halvah, a yummy treat made of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder and other goodies, stuck together with honey or maple syrup. the reason i called it a “job” was because, as far as i knew, i was the owner of the business, and more-or-less it’s only employee, which may have actually been the case, although i never found out. i got the “job” from the PHBFH when she got pregnant with ezra and couldn’t work any longer, and when the “job” ended – when i went to seattle to start attending the tech school – i “gave” the business, called “Celebration Cookies”, back to the guy who had originally started it as a restaurant called “Celebration Cookery” several years before… but i never worked out of an “approved” kitchen, i never paid B&O taxes, i never had a health-department inspection or any of that “real business” stuff that normally goes on, so i don’t know for sure whether or not it was a “real” business, and thus i don’t know for sure whether or not it was a “real” job…

and, after i gave it back to the guy, i probably shouldn’t have worried about whether it was a “real” job or not, because, while i tried (and mostly succeeded) at making it a profitable use of my time, the guy i “gave it back to” was out of business within two months: he went out and spent the entire bank account on two ingredients that we used only a very little, and when he needed more of an ingredient that we used fairly regularly, there was no money in the bank account for it… so he went out of business… oh well, i’ve never looked back.

after having baked anywhere from 25 to 100 dozen cookies a week for a short period of time, i got to the point where i stopped eating cookies all together, except for the gingerbread cookies, and the halvah, because they were both yummy enough that, despite the fact that i had experienced the raw ingredients up to my elbows (and in my hair, and pretty much everywhere else), i still wanted to experience the finished product. eventually, after giving up the cookie business, i still made halvah, because the grain grinder was the only part of the business that i didn’t give back to the guy… because he didn’t ask for it back, and because i wanted to keep it so that i could continue to make halvah, because it was IS so yummy… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

i even modified the halvah recipe to make it more yummy, because… well, that’s what you do with recipes for yummy treats… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Halvah!the last time i remember making halvah was before we moved into our current house. the grain grinder “disappeared” around the time that we moved, and i didn’t notice it until several years later. i tore the house apart looking for it, and couldn’t find it anywhere… it was because i wasn’t looking in the correct place, of course, but i didn’t find that out until i had given up looking for it, and had considered it a lost piece of history for several years.

until yesterday, when i looked in the correct place, while i was in the process of looking for something else… i suppose i should have looked for something else in that place before last night, but it was behind a whole pile of other stuff, and the cabinet that it was in was full of a whole bunch of other stuff that is “too cool to throw out, but otherwise useless”, which was put back in the cabinet and had stuff piled up in front of it, so it isn’t too surprising that it was overlooked…

but, the upshot is that i found my grain-grinder. so, i decided to make halvah. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

and it still is as yummy as i remember it. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Halvah!

i only made half a pan, because i wasn’t sure if i remembered the modified recipe correctly, but i did, so now, as soon as that’s finished (likely within the next two or three days, depending on how yummy moe thinks it is), i’m all set to make a full pan. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

September 11

Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace: The Saudi businessman who recruited mujahedin now uses them for large-scale building projects in Sudan. Robert Fisk met him in Almatig
ROBERT FISK
06 December 1993

Osama Bin Laden sat in his gold-fringed robe, guarded by the loyal Arab mujahedin who fought alongside him in Afghanistan. Bearded, taciturn figures – unarmed, but never more than a few yards from the man who recruited them, trained them and then dispatched them to destroy the Soviet army – they watched unsmiling as the Sudanese villagers of Almatig lined up to thank the Saudi businessman who is about to complete the highway linking their homes to Khartoum for the first time in history.

With his high cheekbones, narrow eyes and long brown robe, Mr Bin Laden looks every inch the mountain warrior of mujahedin legend. Chadored children danced in front of him, preachers acknowledged his wisdom. ‘We have been waiting for this road through all the revolutions in Sudan,’ a sheikh said. ‘We waited until we had given up on everybody – and then Osama Bin Laden came along.’

Outside Sudan, Mr Bin Laden is not regarded with quite such high esteem. The Egyptian press claims he brought hundreds of former Arab fighters back to Sudan from Afghanistan, while the Western embassy circuit in Khartoum has suggested that some of the ‘Afghans’ whom this Saudi entrepreneur flew to Sudan are now busy training for further jihad wars in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. Mr Bin Laden is well aware of this. ‘The rubbish of the media and the embassies,’ he calls it. ‘I am a construction engineer and an agriculturalist. If I had training camps here in Sudan, I couldn’t possibly do this job.’

And ‘this job’ is certainly an ambitious one: a brand-new highway stretching all the way from Khartoum to Port Sudan, a distance of 1,200km (745 miles) on the old road, now shortened to 800km by the new Bin Laden route that will turn the coastal run from the capital into a mere day’s journey. Into a country that is despised by Saudi Arabia for its support of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf war almost as much as it is condemned by the United States, Mr Bin Laden has brought the very construction equipment that he used only five years ago to build the guerrilla trails of Afghanistan.

He is a shy man. Maintaining a home in Khartoum and only a small apartment in his home city of Jeddah, he is married – with four wives – but wary of the press. His interview with the Independent was the first he has ever given to a Western journalist, and he initially refused to talk about Afghanistan, sitting silently on a chair at the back of a makeshift tent, brushing his teeth in the Arab fashion with a stick of miswak wood. But talk he eventually did about a war which he helped to win for the Afghan mujahedin: ‘What I lived in two years there, I could not have lived in a hundred years elsewhere,’ he said.

When the history of the Afghan resistance movement is written, Mr Bin Laden’s own contribution to the mujahedin – and the indirect result of his training and assistance – may turn out to be a turning- point in the recent history of militant fundamentalism; even if, today, he tries to minimise his role. ‘When the invasion of Afghanistan started, I was enraged and went there at once – I arrived within days, before the end of 1979,’ he said. ‘Yes, I fought there, but my fellow Muslims did much more than I. Many of them died and I am still alive.’

Within months, however, Mr Bin Laden was sending Arab fighters – Egyptians, Algerians, Lebanese, Kuwaitis, Turks and Tunisians – into Afghanistan; ‘not hundreds but thousands,’ he said. He supported them with weapons and his own construction equipment. Along with his Iraqi engineer, Mohamed Saad – who is now building the Port Sudan road – Mr Bin Laden blasted massive tunnels into the Zazi mountains of Bakhtiar province for guerrilla hospitals and arms dumps, then cut a mujahedin trail across the country to within 15 miles of Kabul.

‘No, I was never afraid of death. As Muslims, we believe that when we die, we go to heaven. Before a battle, God sends us seqina, tranquillity.

‘Once I was only 30 metres from the Russians and they were trying to capture me. I was under bombardment but I was so peaceful in my heart that I fell asleep. This experience has been written about in our earliest books. I saw a 120mm mortar shell land in front of me, but it did not blow up. Four more bombs were dropped from a Russian plane on our headquarters but they did not explode. We beat the Soviet Union. The Russians fled.’

But what of the Arab mujahedin whom he took to Afghanistan – members of a guerrilla army who were also encouraged and armed by the United States – and who were forgotten when that war was over? ‘Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help. When my mujahedin were victorious and the Russians were driven out, differences started (between the guerrilla movements) so I returned to road construction in Taif and Abha. I brought back the equipment I had used to build tunnels and roads for the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Yes, I helped some of my comrades to come here to Sudan after the war.’

How many? Osama Bin Laden shakes his head. ‘I don’t want to say. But they are here now with me, they are working right here, building this road to Port Sudan.’ I told him that Bosnian Muslim fighters in the Bosnian town of Travnik had mentioned his name to me. ‘I feel the same about Bosnia,’ he said. ‘But the situation there does not provide the same opportunities as Afghanistan. A small number of mujahedin have gone to fight in Bosnia-Herzegovina but the Croats won’t allow the mujahedin in through Croatia as the Pakistanis did with Afghanistan.’

Thus did Mr Bin Laden reflect upon jihad while his former fellow combatants looked on. Was it not a little bit anti-climactic for them, I asked, to fight the Russians and end up road-building in Sudan? ‘They like this work and so do I. This is a great plan which we are achieving for the people here, it helps the Muslims and improves their lives.’

His Bin Laden company – not to be confused with the larger construction business run by his cousins – is paid in Sudanese currency which is then used to purchase sesame and other products for export; profits are clearly not Mr Bin Laden’s top priority.

How did he feel about Algeria, I asked? But a man in a green suit calling himself Mohamed Moussa – he claimed to be Nigerian although he was a Sudanese security officer – tapped me on the arm. ‘You have asked more than enough questions,’ he said. At which Mr Bin Laden went off to inspect his new road.

a "smart" spammer??

i may have worked out why the mailing lists that i administer have been not delivering messages to all of the registered members of those lists recently. it was because of a “smart” spammer.

if you recall, Rule #3 of The Rules of Spam states that Spammers are stooOOpid, so how could a “smart” spammer even exist in the first place?

in this case, it’s a matter of degrees. you can be smarter than the ordinary spammer, but if you’re a spammer yourself, you’re still pretty stooOOpid compared to those of us who aren’t spammers.

the “smart” spammer shared my IP address, and was very definitely sending out spam, but he was not flooding the net with spam, like most spammers do, he was trickling spam out at a rate that was just below the point at which my host providers’ spam alarms would indicate. thus, while other, more brash spammers got the mallet immediately, this “smart” spammer continued to share my IP address for several months before he got the mallet.

of course, this was also complicated by the fact that, for several weeks, my host providers’ answer to all of these problems i was having, was to delist my IP address from the CBL without actually attempting to discover why that address was listed at the CBL to begin with. which is where persistence comes into play. instead of accepting that “the host provider knows best” and closing the work ticket the first time they requested delisting, i actually checked CBL myself, to determine whether or not what the host provider had told me was true, and when it turned out that my IP address had been relisted, i called them on it… and then, i called them on it again, when they told me that everything was the way it should be… and then, i called them on it again… and again… and AGAIN! ๐Ÿ˜

i think they finally got the idea, because as of 10:00 this morning, my IP address had not been listed at the CBL for 24 hours, which is the longest time it has not been listed in 2 months.

let’s keep it that way, okay?

eric

eric and i were good friends for a long time. we met back when i was seeing kitty, in the early 1980s. i don’t remember exactly what circumstances brought us together, but eric was living in the house of a friend of kitty’s (alan?) and because of the fact that we were both brass players (eric played french horn) and both enjoyed cannabis, we became friends.

later on, eric was playing french horn with kenyth in the stairway (excellent accoustics), and i started playing along with them on my flute, and we liked it so much that it became the Stairway Jam, which is the miscellaneous and ever-changing group of musicians that met and jammed in the stairway (and, later on, elsewhere) for 25 or 30 years, but only performed in public one time — which was the “Free Money Concert” where each of the audience members was payed 10ยข if they stayed for the entire, 1½ hour performance… we only had to pay one audience member, a fellow named Ken Yanik, who had fallen asleep during the performance. every other audience member (and there were quite a few) left before the concert was finished, and before we revealed how much we were going to pay.

but, eventually, eric met my older-younger sister*, and my sister turned him against me. i don’t know exactly what she said (although i have a pretty good idea), but eric’s behaviour toward me got worse and worse, until there was a major “scene” at the stairway jam one evening, eric left the group for good, and i haven’t seen him since.

that is, until today. i responded to a linkedin request from Amy Denio, a musician whom i have admired for a long time, and while i was responding to that, linkedin suggested that i may also know Eric Barcus… as far as i can tell, this is the same eric as the one to whom i am referring, although i can’t be 100% certain, because the last time i knew for sure, kathryn and eric lived in bellingham, and he wasn’t a computer technician… the problem is that if it is the same eric, any message i send to him is likely to be responded to with the same kind of emotional outburst that i experienced at the stairway jam, these many years previously, and i’m not sure whether i want to experience that or not, regardless of how good a friend eric might have been at one time. UPDATE: nope, it’s not the same guy.

the one thing i do know for sure is that linkedin is getting more and more brash about advertising the fact that they know a lot more about people than the people, themselves, probably realise… ๐Ÿ˜

Continue reading eric

it’s time for art

there’s some kind of art brewing inside of me. i’m not exactly sure what form it will take quite yet – it could be music, or graphic art, or sculpture of some sort, or an as-yet-unrealised combination of the two or three, or it might be some new, different kind of art that i haven’t tried yet. i don’t know what it is yet, i just know that it’s there, waiting for the right time to make itself known.

i think this is one of the most frustrating times to be an artist… you know that the art is there, but you don’t know what form it will take yet. i imagine that it’s somewhat like a what pregnant woman feels prior to giving birth… minus the labour pains and suchlike… ๐Ÿ˜‰

interesting…

10 Signs That You’re Fully Awake – this is an article that is intended to be read from a political point of view, but, with very little change, it can also be read from a spiritual point of view and have exactly the same meaning… while i doubt that the people who wrote it were considering a spiritual point of view when they were writing it, it is rather unusual that it can be read that way and have it mean exactly the same thing.

so, “what kind of world do you want to live in?”

Continue reading interesting…