Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Lawyer on Reverse Populism

Ruling that corporations are the same as individuals, when it comes to free speech, the Supreme Court has overturned portions of the McCain-Feingold restrictions on corporate spending and advertising, and has opened the gates wide for corporate money to be spent on "documentaries" like the one that was meant to paint Hillary Clinton's ass black in 2008.  Faux News and their faithful devotees are howling with delight that the Supreme Court's ruling signals the triumph of free speech over tyranny.

The issue is whether a corporation should be equated with an individual when it comes to voicing its opinions in the public arena with money.  Corporations are amoral entities concerned with one thing only--profit.  Corporations do not read good books, fret over death, worry about the price of milk, seek transcendence, get speeding tickets, have children, write poetry, get cancer and denied health insurance coverage.

Democracy, if it is ever to really work, should be of the people and for the people--that would be making it real.  What we have now is a perversion of Democracy, its machination being of corporations for corporations.  There are five justices, sitting on their fat asses in Washington D.C., who don't get that.  And Faux News is hamming it up, giddy with delight that "free speech" is being preserved and championed for all the functionally illiterate Joe "The Plumbers" out there.

Health reform is going down the same way.  The conservative purse, filled with the ill-begoten gains of big Pharma and the insurance lobby, has convinced scared, ignorant Americans, through the medium of a "news" organization called Fox, to spit and rail against their own best interest in the name of 'freedom,' though they don't know what 'freedom' really means.  The beast the populist herd is feeding is the potential for unlimited corporate profits at the expense of Joe "The Fucking Plumber."  "Real" America will continue to get really screwed by the same people they vote for.

Wake up, Joe.  Corporate America doesn't give a damn about you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The road to hell is paved with red herrings

After reading a Facebook posting, from a very wise "FaceFriend", about the news of politicians trying to pass into law a requirement for drug testing if receiving public assistance, my rant urge became too strong to not write. I have viewed some of the crap out there like NotWithMyMoney, blahblah, etc.

How is it even possible for Republicans to be concerned about this? Have they not been informed of the present state of the country right now?

Folks, we are fighting wars on 2 fronts, the economy is in shambles that may take decades to get out of, the general public has just been taken for the biggest heist ever by Wall Street, and our manufacturing base is being exported to whichever country will sacrifice their enviroment and health the most. Did you know that about 25% of the pollution hanging over California right now has been traced to China?

The previous administration allowed the use of the techniques that we EXECUTED the Japanese in WWII for as War Crimes. They basically gutted the Dept of Justice from investigating any social injustice. Not one person has gone to prison for that whole 8 year madness. Remember those Haliburton non-bid contracts for infrastructure that didn't get built? Blackwater mercenaries?

Okay, say that drug testing is an important issue. Skipping the fact that it is applied to only the group that probably doesn't have 10 lobbyist working for them at the Capitol, what are the issues that are raised by this and what is hoped to be gained by this?

 Let us list the possibilities..

    We may be able to save money by not having to give it to people on drugs.
If they were concerned with saving money, they would scream about pork barrel projects like  $1.4 billion welfare for an alternative jet engine for the Joint Strike Fighter that the military has repeatedly officially stated that they don't want. How about $1.9 million for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service project. There is a very long list of items so it can't be about saving money or applying government money fairly.

By not giving them money, it may make them change their life choices and improve their lives.
If they were concerned about that, they would offer rehabilitation and education services so that they would have a chance. Education is the key.

Drugs are bad, okay.
 Just the bad drugs are bad okay. Drugs produced by companies that eliminate shifty eye syndrome are okay. Existing drugs that are acceptable like smoking or drinking that do more damage than all of that "tested for" drugs are fine. But if testing was a concern, they would do it for everyone that gets public money, including teachers, politicians, police, firefighters, even those pricks on Wall Street who got TARP. But that would complicate things, applying testing equally.

What it really is....
This is a Red Herring issue, used as something to divert attention away from the more complicated issues that aren't solved with a 5 second sound bite. This to them is one of those screaming black and white issues that raises emotions from the Rush Limbaugh group and allows easy remembrance for the people that cannot make up their own mind and have to tune into AM talk radio to learn what a opinion is or what opinion they should have. They are too lazy to look up the actual facts or research an issue so they turn to a cigar chomping drug addict for their answers. (Is that irony? I get confused ever since that Alanis Morrisette song).

 For those 5 minute attention span people that gloss over the important stuff, seek easy solutions to complicated issues, and are easily mis-directed by "Red Herring" issues of the day, here is something to read so that you can make up your mind.

 Unemployment went up to 10 percent today as the gradual decay of the manufacturing base...Britneys VahJayJay...drug testing for persons receiving public assistance.

 Crime is on the increase especially in the urban areas due to decreased funding and lack... Saying Happy Holidays not Merry Christmas.... intelligent design taught in schools.

Divorce rates continue to climb as family stress conditions....Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.....Ban gay marriage to save the sanctity of the marriage.

See how easy that works.....look, a chicken!...send me all your money.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jamaican Jimjam

"Go fish," I said.

"Damn it!" said The Engineer taking another card off of the floor of our cozy, little jail cell.

Before I could bask in the glory of having beaten The Engineer for the seventh straight time, the deputy warden in charge of our block informed us that our federal public defender had arrived to meet with us.  We were escorted to an interview room where Chuck Pradmore, Esq. was waiting for us.  A manic depressive looking sort, he opened our file for the first time and flipped through its pages as we sat in silence.

Pradmore slowly shut the file, laid his head on it and began to weep.  Beguiled with the distinct impression that we were fucked, I resisted the urge to swat Pradmore across the head beseeching him to get a grip and speak.  "Oh, come on," said The Engineer.  "What is it?"

"Oh, nothing," said Pradmore, wiping tears and snot with the sleeve of his jacket.  "I'm sorry.  It has nothing to do with your case," he said to our great relief.  "It's just--I'm having one of those days I feel like I can't do it anymore.  I have no idea why I went to law school, I'm one-hundred thousand dollars in debt to student loans, and I hate this job with every fiber in my body.  I'm thirty years old going on fifty, on a steady diet of beta-blockers, anti-depressants, and vodka.  Days like today, I just want to disappear."

"Well," I said, "that's some sad shit.  My heart goes out to you, but is there any chance we could get you to opine about our case?"  The case was The United States of America v. The Lawyer and The Engineer, filed by the U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia at the urging of the Department of Justice, charging us with among other things, treason and terrorism.

"Right," said Pradmore.  "Your case.  I'm sorry.  Ha!  That's why we are here, isn't it?"  The Engineer and I nodded our heads in agreement.  "You guys are screwed."  Pradmore explained that he was going to do everything he could to cut us a deal with the prosecution and that if all went well we would only have to serve twenty years in prison, give or take a couple. 

In the way of mitigation we explained how, with the aid of a couple of nice Russian girls that Tareq and Michaele Salahi had entered the black tie event at The Whitehouse, resulting in the termination of employment of the security guard who had formerly been employed by Satan.  We had, in essence, saved the world!  Our personal defender of The Constitution peered at us through his dark, sagging eyes, one of them twitching, as he closed his file.

"We might have to go the route of proving that the two of you are not competent to stand trial," Pradmore said, leaving us to brood in our misfortune, vanquished of hope.  

The day before our preliminary hearing was scheduled, Pradmore had returned to the jail to meet with us.  As depressed as ever, Pradmore opened our file and held up a letter that he read to himself.  Putting the letter back in the file, he sighed deeply.  "What in the hell is it?  Speak up, damn you," I insisted.

"I just feel rotten today," said Pradmore.

"Sorry about that," I said.  "Does your emotional disposition have anything to do with our case?"

"No.  Not at all," said Pradmore.  Conjuring a smile, Pradmore looked us in the eyes and explained that our case was being dismissed, costs to the government, in exchange that we enter into a gag order, promising never to speak of the matter to anyone.  The Engineer and I jumped to our feet, dancing madly about the interview room, never so thrilled to be alive and free.  Interpretive victory dance complete, we asked why the case was being dismissed.

Pradmore answered, "According to the Justice Department, the whole thing is just too fucking bizarre to persue."

We were ushered to the courthouse and presented to the judge that afternoon.  "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"  We did.  The Engineer and I eagerly agreed to be bound by the gag order, and we were released.  We felt pretty damn happy to see that hell-hole of deceit and idiocy, called Washington D.C., in the rearview mirror of The Engineer's Nissan Cube as we sped twenty miles per hour over the limit out of the nation's capital, free to fight another day.

Loitering about HQ, I searched every online news source I could think of in an attempt to see if there was any mention of The Engineer and me regarding The Whitehouse party crashers.  There was none.  The Engineer paced about, making me nervous, as he was consumed with the thoughts of digging into a styrofoam take-out of spicy beef lo mien, while co-commitently lamenting that Edgar, the "intern" editor, had ditched us.

We were disturbed from our meditations by the sound of a knocking and the front door crashing to the ground off of its hinges.  The Engineer had not yet had time to fix it from when the door had been damaged by The Pentecostals who had busted through it in a spitting rage to kill us before the world came to an end.

At the front door, at the street, the mail man stood wide-eyed at the sight of the door laid out in front of him.  "What did you do?" I asked the mail man with feigned surprise.  "You broke it.  God!"

"But, I-I, just knocked, and--"

"What do you got there?" I asked, and the mail man handed certified mail for me to sign.  Any lawyer who has been around the block knows that good news never comes via certified mail.  My stomach churned and heart sped up as a dose of cortisol was being released in my veins while I signed the green card.

"There," I said handing the green card back to the mail man.  "Well," I said, "you could at least say you are sorry for destroying my door."

The mail man shook his head, regained his bearings, muttered, "Sorry," and shuffled off.

Feeling paranoid, I looked up and down the street, picked the door up and propped it back in the door jam.  Having barely reached the loft upstairs, where The Engineer was still pacing around thinking about crab ragoon, the door came crashing to the ground again, causing me to jump a foot off the ground, and involuntarily blurt out a string of profanities.

I walked back down stairs where standing in the doorway, staring stupidly at the door sprawled out in front of him, was a smug looking bastard, with a buzz cut, in a dark-blue windbreaker.  "What did you do?" I asked buzz cut with feigned surprise.  "You broke it.  God!"

He looked up at me with a scowl on his face, and asked if I was The Lawyer or The Engineer.  I confessed that he stood in the presence of no other than the man the world knew as The Engineer.  Buzz cut whipped out a badge.  "Agent Guy Ballkalsky, Drug Enforcement Agency.  May I come in?"

"What the hell for?" I asked, genuinely confused.  The Engineer and I had done a lot of weird things, some sort of illegal, but drugs?  Searching my mind for the purpose of this unwelcome visit, I could not estimate the reason for a DEA agent wanting to have anything to do with us.

"I just want to ask you a few questions," Ballkalsky said in such a warm, brotherly way that it made my skin crawl.

"Fine," I said.  "Come on up.  Don't worry about the door," I said, lifting it back up into its jam.

Ballkalsky asked us whether we knew anything about a used school bus.  We didn't.  He asked whether we had made any purchases within the last few months amounting to $15,000 on a credit card.  We hadn't.  He wanted to know if either one of us had a green thumb.  I confessed that I had a thing for hostas, Knockout roses, and ornamental grass.

"Grass?" Ballkalsky asked, his eyes wide with suspicion.

"Yeah," I said.  "You can stick it in the ground about anywhere and it grows.  You don't even have to fertilize it."  At this Ballkalsky took a note pad and a pen from the pocket of his windbreaker and started scribbling frantically.  I decided to shut the hell up, and announced that the interview was over.

"You guys don't mind if I have a look around, do you?" asked Ballkalsky.  Before The Engineer could answer I put my hand over his mouth.

"Shove off, and come back with a search warrant," I said.  Agent Ballkalsky gave The Engineer and I a wry smile and snapped his fingers.  The door came crashing to the ground, causing me to clear a foot off the ground and set into another litany of profanity.  Three more agents in blue windbreakers with DEA scrolled on the back in yellow, came clamoring up the stairs.

"Funny you should say that," said Ballkalsky.  "I just happen to have one right here," he said, pulling a warrant out of that damned, government issued windbreaker.  He handed me the warrant, which I read out loud to The Engineer.

It was something about the words, "for suspicion of the cultivation of a controlled dangerous substance, to-wit: marijuana," that put The Engineer and I in a state of panicky confusion.  "Marijuana?" I asked.  "What in the hell is this about?  This can't be right?"

Ballkalsky was unaffected by my pleas of ignorance as his fellow agents and he rifled through HQ, turning over papers, looking through desk drawers, and reading everything.  The bastards even downloaded all of our documents and the blog off of our computers to a thumb drive.  Three hours later, on their way out and over the door, Agent Buzz-cut suggested we stick around for the time being, and not leave town.

Feeling supremely agitated I ripped open the certified mail we received.  It was a dunning letter, threatening suit, if The Engineer and I did not make good on the $15,000 worth of horticultural products purchased on a credit card that we didn't know we had, within thirty days.  I called the company, Amsterdam Express, Inc., from which the purchases had been made.

Somebody, some where, had opened a credit card account under our names and purchased, within the last year, a top-of-the-line drip irrigation system, a hundred twelve inch pots, grow lights with pulley kits, Ph specific soil, and gallons of liquid fertilizer.  I called the toll free number in the letter to speak to someone at the credit card company.  A woman with a rich Indian accent asked, "And when will you be able to pay your account current, sir?"

"Never," I growled.  "We didn't open this account.  It is not ours."

"Very good, sir, but I see nothing to indicate that there is any iota of truth to what you say, sir.  And if I may be so bold as to say, you are a poor liar.  If you do not pay the account, we will have no other option but to turn this matter over for collection and possibly a law suit, sir."

"Damn you," I said.

"Sir, if you continue to use that tone of voice with me, I will hang up and transfer your account to collection immediately, sir."

"Look here.  Tell me where these purchases were delivered," I demanded.

The Indian account representative sighed.  "You should know, sir, since you purchases were made on your account, and delivered to the delivery address that you provided the merchant from which the purchases were made."  I hung up, and called Amsterdam Express, Inc. back.

"Amsterdam Express, duuuude.  How may I help you on this beautiful day?"

"I need to know where my order--" I stopped at that, knowing full well that everything I said on the phone, and in HQ, was being intercepted and taken down by the DEA.  "Er, an order that was made by someone pretending to be me was shipped to."

"You should know, man, since your order was shipped, received and signed for, dude."

"Look, damn you, I need to know where it was shipped," I demanded.

"Hey, whoa.  If you're going to take that tone with me, I'll just hang up.  So chill out, man."  Finally I was able to persuade hacky-sack for brains to fax our--er, somebody's, invoice to us.  The shipping address was a P.O. Box number in a rural township.

With an order of crab ragoon, egg rolls and spicy beef lo mien to go, we rolled out of town in The Cube.  Destination:  the sleepy and impoverished community of Jimjam, USA.  I called ahead to a process server I had used in and near Jimjam to do what is called a "box buster," and was able to learn the the name and physical address under which the box was registered.  Not surprisingly, the box was registered to The Engineer and me.

While in route, I called the county assessor to determine who owned the property with the address we were given.  Not surprisingly, The Engineer and I were the proud fee-simple land owners of the property in question, though neither one of us before that day had ever so much as put our toes in Jimjam.

With the aid of GPS we drove a few miles down a county road and turned onto a dirt road that took us another mile or two deep in the sticks.  With the GPS indicating that we were on top of our destination, The Engineer parked The Cube out of sight, obscured from the road by a thicket of tall shrubs and trees.

Armed with tazers, we hiked around the twenty acres the property encompassed, keeping low and treading cautiously.  After a couple of hours, and very thirsty, we considered giving up for the day, having found nothing of interest, not even so much as a little tar-paper shack, which you would expect to see in those parts.  Resting under a tree we considered our options.

"There's nothing here," said The Engineer as he jumped up and walked around, kicking rocks.  "This is a complete fucking waste of--" said The Engineer before falling through the ground as he was replaced by a plume of dust.

"What the...," I said walking over to the hole in the ground where The Engineer once stood.  I got down on my hands and knees, and no sooner than I had peaked my head over the edge of the hole, a large and hairy arm grabbed me by the face and pulled me down it.

"Drop the water guns," said a burly looking, gapped-tooth, hillbilly.  The Engineer and I dropped our tazers.  "You don't want to excite Cleetus here," he said pointing to another itchy looking hillbilly with a double-barrel, sawed-off shot gun trained on us.  "His finger starts to twitch sometin' fierce when he gets nervous, don't it Cleetus?"

"Sure enough does, Darl," said the bastard, Cleetus.  "And I reckon I'm feeling a bit nervous and twitchy right now, Darl."  The two scumbags started to snort wildly, which I assumed passed as laughing in Jimjam, USA.  After the initial shock of being yanked face first through an obscured hole in the ground and being confronted by the cast of Deliverance had worn off, I focused on the room behind Darl and Cleetus.

It was our credit card, hard at work.  We were standing at the back end of a school bus that had been completely buried and modified with hanging grow lights, over pungent and healthy looking marijuana plants fitted in pots.  Black tubing neatly ran from one pot to the next, methodically dripping water to nourish the roots.  From one end of the bus to the other, marijuana plants thrived and reached upwards towards the grow lights, gently waving in the air moved by oscillating fans.

"Boss?" said Darl into a walkie-talkie.

A scratchy voice came back, "Yes?"

"We's got ourselves a couple trespassers.  Whatchya want us to do with 'em?"

"Kill them," the voice came back in an instant.

"Hey there, Cleetus.  It's your lucky day.  The boss said kill 'em."  The inbreds started into a hardy round of snorting and laughing.  The Engineer and I shuttered.

"Woo-hoo!" yelped Cleetus.  "Whichy oney do I wanty to killy first?" asked Cleetus alternating pointing the gun at me then the Engineer.

"Wait a second," came back the voice on the walkie-talkie.  "Describe what the tresspassers look like."

"Well," said Darl.  "They definitely don't look like they're from around here.  Kinda look like smart-ass city types.  Yip, both look like a couple of smug, know-it-all, punk, sons-of-bitches, boss."

"Ah, I know them.  Take them up to the barn, and let Candy take care of them, over," said the voice.

"Oooo-weee!" exclaimed Darl.  "Candy's gonna be takin' care of you all, you lucky sons-of-bitches."  The Engineer's face twitched and contorted.  I fought back the urge to piss my pants.  Darl and Cleetus burst out snorting and laughing as hard as they had ever in their simple and despicable lives.

With Cleetus and his shotgun at our backs, we marched about half a mile to a wooden barn.  Inside, Cleetus opened a box and pulled some articles of clothing out, threw them at us and commanded us to strip.  The Engineer flat refused.  Cleetus put the barrels of his shotgun right into the nostrils of The Engineer.  "I suggest you do as I say," said Cleetus.

That was all the motivational inspiration The Engineer and I needed.  We stripped and put on black latex shorts that were about two sizes too small for us.  Cleetus pulled a couple of orange gag balls and made us put them in our mouths and fasten them around our heads, and then made us put a pair of hand cuffs on.  We were made to raise our arms as Cleetus fastened the cuffs to a couple of hooks hanging from the rafters.  The hooks were high enough that we could not raise our arms high enough, on our tippy-toes, to release them.  Feeling very vulnerable, we expected to see Dick Cheney walking into the barn at any moment to deliver up a smarting round of torture.

"There we go, sweet hearts.  I'll leave you all to think things over for your selves a little before Candy gets here," he said, snorting and laughing out the barn door closing and locking it from the outside.

An hour later, a stunning blond, attired in close to nothing, appeared in front of us.  She wore emerald thigh-high boots.  Other than that, she wore a pair of green panties. The only thing covering her breasts were marijuana leaf stickers over each nipple.  "You boys ready for the shoot?" she asked winking at us, as she set up a tripod with a camera mounted on top of it.  "Okay," said Candy looking pleased with her seductive self.  "Say, cheese," she said, lighting a joint.

I dare not describe what happened after that.

The photo shoot over, Cleetus returned and released us from the rafters and the cuffs and directed us to put our clothes back on.  "I hope Candy treated you boys real nice.  Now hurry the hell up, and getch your clothes on.  The boss wants to see you all."

In double time, Cleetus marched us to a mobile home close by.  It was clean on the outside--there were no cars on cinder blocks, rusted-out kitchen appliances nor a pack of flee bitten dogs scratching about--a rare sight in a place like rural Jimjam.  From inside, in the main living area, you wouldn't necessarily know that you were in a mobile home, especially in rural Jimjam, USA.  It had an Ikea feng shui that was pleasing to the eye and cozy to the soul.  It was the sort of place you expected to see black turtle necks, leather boots and black dresses, and martinis.  Cleetus pointed to a door with his shot gun.  "Thata way," he grunted.

We walked into what should have been a bedroom, but had been outfitted as an office.  Candy was standing next to an executive seat with its back to us.  We took it that this was 'The Boss' with his back to us.  As we stood on the other side of the desk from them, they were looking at a computer monitor that sat on the credenza behind the desk.

"Wow, how did you learn to do that?" asked The Boss, whose voice sounded awfully familiar.

"I told you, I paid my way through college by being a stripper," said Candy, still in her cannabis costume, and giving us a wink.  Peering over the back of the executive seat The Engineer and I could see that they were inspecting the photos of the recent shoot that Candy directed and produced.  In each photo Candy had assumed a provocative pose, while smoking a joint, nestled up to either one of us as we hung from the rafters with gag balls in our mouths, looking like helpless morons.  The Engineer and I were in a complete state of shock as we contemplated what it would portend for our careers and marriages if those photos ever made there way to the commons of the world wide web.

The executive chair pivoted around to us, and there sat no other, looking at us through squinting eyes as red as the devil's, our "intern" editor.  "Edgar!  You sorry, little prick," I said.

The Engineer followed up with, "You sack of shit," or something equally insulting.  Edgar laughed as Candy rubbed his shoulders.

"Welcome to my farm, guys.  I hope you have been treated well," said the stoned smart ass.  "I take it you have met my business partner, Candy?"  Candy blew us a kiss.

"Hey," said The Engineer in way of salutation back to Candy.  It was hard not to be enamored with her talents, no matter how tawdry.

"Come on, Edgar," I said.  "What's the deal here.  You are going to get us all in a shit-pot full of trouble if you keep this up.  We've already been visited by the DEA back at HQ.  Once the fed's get a whiff of you, there is no shaking them."

"Don't worry, I've thought the whole thing through.  I suppose, in part, you guys are a little concerned about this property being titled in you names."  The Engineer and I shook our heads in agreement.  We were mortified.  "I have already deeded the property to Rush Limbaugh by way of forging your names to a quit claim deed.  Anyone investigating will see that it is an obvious forgery and that your pens never came close to a piece of paper that has anything to do with this enterprise."  Edgar started laughing again, though we didn't share his enthusiastic humor.

"Okay," said The Engineer.  "But that doesn't mean we won't be investigated.  Being investigated kind of sucks, you know.  And besides, what is going to keep us from telling all, and pointing the finger right at you?"

"I'm glad you brought that up, bitch," said Edgar pointing at the monitor behind him.  "All I have to do is click 'send'," he said, his index finger hovering precariously over the right button of the mouse, "and you will have a whole lot of explaining to do to the press, and your wives and families.  All the photos will be up on the blog and emailed to your families and all of the local media."  He widened his blazing red eyes and looked at us with a crazed, opened mouth smile, taunting us to dare him.

"Say, Edgar," I put forth, "there's no need to do that.  Let's consider our options.  You wouldn't have $15,000 lying around, handy?"  He nodded in the affirmative that he did.  "Wow," I said.

"Good job," said The Engineer, impressed with Edgar's and Candy's entrepreneurial spirit.

"If you will pay us what we owe on your credit card," I continued, "we can close that account and protest it with the credit bureaus as having never been ours to begin with."

"This is pretty damn good hydroponic stuff," said Edgar as he took a long drag off of a joint, kicked his legs up on the desk and blew a few smoke rings.  "I call it Jamaican Jimjam--good name, huh?"  Edgar fell into a deep contemplative silence.  After a minute, and still no word back from Edgar with regard to our proposal that we get everything set straight and be allowed to get the hell out of there, The Engineer stamped his foot.  "Hey!  Edgar, come back."

Edgar bolted straight in his chair.  "Do what?"

"What we were talking about, with the credit card and all," said The Engineer.

"Credit card?" asked Edgar.

"Goddamn it!"  I explained the whole thing to him again.

"Sure," said Edgar.  "No problem."  Edgar opened a drawer of the desk and threw a wad of cash across it to us.  "That should be a little more than fifteen g's there for you."

"Sixteen exactly," said The Engineer having counted the sum in a flash.

"Well, it's getting dark out," I observed.  "Just give us the keys to The Cube, and we will let Candy and you get on with your lives."

"Wait," said Edgar with a look of alarm on his face.  "Did you hear that?"

"You're just paranoid," said The Engineer.

"Eat some chocolate chip cookies, and drink a gallon of milk, and you'll feel better," I added.

"No!  Shit!" Edgar said, panicking.  Picking up a walkie talkie he yelled, "Cleetus!  Darl!  Get out of the bus.  Repeat, abandon the bus.  Code Green!"  Darl's and Cleetus's voices came back in a sonic collage of redneck angst, driven mostly by drawling explicatives that only a fellow redneck-hillbilly, bastard could decipher.

"What the fuck is it?" I shouted.

"Listen," said Edgar.  For the love of all the holy saints, it was the sound of the air being repeatedly dissected by the blades of a helicopter.  I didn't know whether to run or jump in place.  The Engineer was stricken frozen in a state of utter fear.

Candy danced around, her c-cups bouncing up and down, repeating, "Fuck, fuck, fuck!"

"Come on," said Edgar with a large duffle bag slung over his shoulder.  "Down the hole," he commanded, dropping down a hatch in the floor of the mobile home, and into a tunnel.  We popped out of the ground fifty yards from the home.  Edgar took what looked like a control for a remote control toy car out of the duffel bag.  No sooner had he hit a button on it than a ball of fire lit the night sky with a considerable concussion that came from over the hill where the buried bus was.

"That should take care of the evidence," said Edgar.  We could see the helicopter, and dangling beneath it the silhouettes of men sliding down ropes to the ground.  Edgar ran to a pick up truck parked in the dirt drive way.  He started it up, turned on its lights, and put it into drive.  We watched as the pick up idled off, driverless, down the dirt road and out of sight as the helicopter above followed it.  "Let's go, this way.  Stay low," said Edgar, the perfect homosexual version of Rambo.

We lit out into the surrounding woods.  After there was about two-hundred yards between us and the home, Edgar took out the remote control, hit a button and blew the home to smithereens as agents ducked and ran for cover all around it.  All that was left were the axles, ablaze.

"This way, keep up," Edgar implored The Engineer, Candy and me.  After what seemed a half mile of trudging through shrubs and woods we came to a happy sight, indeed.  It was The Cube.  Edgar through the duffle bag in back, as we all climbed in.  Darl and Cleetus popped out of the ditch and came running to us, but not before we were all inside The Cube and The Engineer had locked the car.

"They aren't coming with us, no fucking way," said The Engineer.  "Where in the hell are the keys, Edgar?"

"Oh, shit, the keys.  I left them in my desk."  The Engineer and I turned, looking at Edgar in the back seat with a lust for murder in our eyes.  "Hahaha! Just kidding.  Here they are," he said handing them to The Engineer, while Cleetus and Darl banged on either side of the car demanding to be let in, like their lives depended on it.  "Hit it," yelled Edgar, "but keep your lights off for at least a mile."

"What about the hillbillies?"  I asked.  "They are going to get caught and will tell the fed's everything to get out of this.  They'll sing like song birds," I said as I watched Darl lose his footing and crash to the ground in a cloud of dust as Cleetus continued running after us, his arms flailing about wildly.

"Don't worry," said Edgar.  "They have been greatly misinformed about who Candy and I are.  Tell them your real name, Candy."

"Sissy," she said.  The Engineer and I were not predisposed to believe that was her name either.

Edgar swept HQ for bugs and ran a few programs on our computers to prevent any further hacking by the DEA.

"So, what's in the duffle bag?" The Engineer asked Edgar.

"Oh," said Edgar, unzipping it, "after Sissy's cut, just a hundred thousand dollars more or less."  Sissy took her share, loaded it into another bag, and said something about putting her business administration degree to good use and opening up a strip club, and sauntered off.  It was for the best.  Only a homosexual male, like Edgar, could be in business with trouble like that.

"Holy smoley," said The Engineer.  "That's a lot of money.  Say, Edgar, you wouldn't want to pop around the corner and pick us up a pizza, extra garlic?"

"Go fuck your self," said Edgar.  Our working relationship with Edgar would have to be renegotiated on more favorable terms to our "intern" editor.

The next morning reading the paper, I blurted out, "Hey," getting The Engineer's and Edgar's attention, "check this out."  I read them the AP report.

AP--Jimjam.  DEA agents raided a rural estate located outside the small town of Jimjam last evening at dusk.  The property was suspected as being the site of a marijuana growing operation inside a buried school bus.  DEA agents confessed that there was little in the way of prosecutable evidence left on the property.

Two explosions rocked the area atomizing a mobile home on the property and what was believed to be an old school bus buried beneath the ground in which marijuana was being cultivated, according to DEA Agent Guy Ballkalsky.  No agents were injured in the raid, he said.

Two local men have been taken into custody.  According to agents, the two men were wondering about the property, bewildered and under the influence of marijuana.  "They have been interrogated," said one anonymous source with the DEA.  "We believe the two hillbilly, redneck scumbags were running the illegal operation, but we are still not sure.  They don't seem smart enough to pull something like this off."  

According to another anonymous source, the two men, while being interrogated, insisted that they were working for a man they only new as 'The Boss,' who they believe to be a wealthy son of a Polish oil man, and his assistant, Candy who 'The Boss' had met in New Zealand and brought to the U.S. with him.

Agent Ballkalsky indicated that the investigation will be dropped.  The reason cited for closing the case is, "the whole thing is just too damn bizarre," according to Agent Ballkalsky.  

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Atomic Dinette???

 Heard on the radio the other day that "The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists" has dropped back the Doomsday clock by one minute. This is sort of a coincidence as I am trying to write a blog entry about certain events that occurred not too long ago that most people didn't even realize had occurred. This particular series of events, by the opinion of some historians, actually brought us closer to doomsday than even the Cuban Missile Crisis! But until that blog, as I am somewhat of a Cold War history buff myself, here is some trivia facts for the interested....

1) Klaus Fuchs was a famous spy during the Manhattan Project. There was another spy, just as important, codename Perseus whose identity was never found out.

2) In the middle of Hollywood, there was a secret film studio called Lookout Mountain that filmed all of the atomic tests and had 250 employees. At one time they were producing more film footage than any of the major studios.

3) Several sites were set up so that a plan called COG or Continuity of Government could be implemented. Congress was supposed to go (but not their wives and children), when warned, to a designated place called GreenBriar which was a secret complex built underneath a luxury hotel. All of the luxury hotel employees were told that the secret complex employees for the underground site were "TV Repairmen". It was undiscovered for 30 years until a reporter disclosed its existence.

4) During the peak of the US Bomb making in the 50's, 50 percent of all the stainless steel produced in the country went to the process of making bomb. 30 percent of all the electricity produced in the country went to the same purpose.

5) During the fallout shelter debates of the 60's, a congressman who was a major proponent of cheap shelters that could be made by anyone for 40 dollars and would survive a attack, proved so by making one in his backyard for that amount. When he had a fire on his property caused by burning trash, the shelter was completely burned and destroyed. This prompted physicist, Enrico Fermi, to state "There is a God and he has a sense of humor"

6) Right before the first test during the Manhattan project, there was a science fiction writer that wrote a short story about such things. It was specific enough in detail that he was arrested and interrogated by the FBI before they were finally convinced that it was a coincidence.

7) During testing for pilots in the air that may observe accidentally a megaton burst, a mileage number was needed so that the pilots could be assured that they would not experience eye flash blindness that may hinder their ability to fly. The testing was abruptly stopped and the report was classified when it was discovered to be more than 750 miles.

8) During a SAC flight a bomber carrying a 1.2 megaton H-bomb collided midair with a jet fighter. They had to eject the bomb out of the plane into the waters because they thought they were going to crash.
The bomb was never found after 6 weeks of intensive searching by the military. It still sits in the water somewhere off the coast of Savannah, Georgia in the good ole USA.

9) Before the first test at Alamogordo , there was concern that it would be a fizzle and the only sizable quantity of plutonium on the face off the planet would be scattered to the winds. So they came up with a design called JUMBO, a metal tank that was 25 feet long and weighing 214 tons that would contain the fizzle. They found the one foundry in the country that could make something of this size and had one produced. Then a special railroad car had to be designed to ship it to New Mexico. Special routes had to be then constructed to get from the rail lines to the site because normal roads would collapse with the weight. When it was brought to the site, the scientists decided it wasn't needed and left it in the desert where is still sits today.

 10) No, Indiana Jones would not have survived in a lead lined refrigerator as shown in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull". So impossible was that scene that it gave rise to the saying "Nuke the frig" meaning a scene in a movie that is so implausable as to destroy any credibility of plot for the whole movie.
There WAS such a thing as the Doom-Town test in which the Atomic Energy Commission built a whole town complete with all the infrastructure and placed mannequins throughout the town and then blew it up with a A-Bomb. 

11) There was sort of an "atomic energy is our friend" crazy pr campaign going on although by this time it was well known the dangers of radiation by government departments (AEC, etc). One of the things that I would have sold my soul to the devil for was this toy. It was the equivalent of the erector set and easy bake oven rolled into one! Behold the Atomic Testing Lab for kids!! And you thought that toys weren't educational. My 6 year old vision, a perverse sort of Christmas story, was me in a white lab coat saying
"and with this last step, I shall rule the world!! Bwaahaahaa!"

As the literature for the toy by the company stated.....
comes with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own short-lived alpha source (Po-210), an electroscope, a geiger counter, a manual, a comic book (Dagwood Splits the Atom) and a government manual "Prospecting for Uranium."
For some reason my mom refused to let me have it. I eventually came around to understanding the wisdom of that.

12) The picture is of Miss Atomic Bomb 1957. The title of this blog is a cheap take of a profound piece of media called "Atomic Cafe" by Jayne Loader. The Atomic Testing for Kids toy was produced for 1 year I think around 1951 by the Gilbert Company. The kit was expensive at the time but a neighborhood friend had that toy, used,  that he was willing to part with for 10 dollars. He also had the largest box of M80's and Cherry Bombs that I had ever seen in one spot. And a Playboy magazine hidden for his paying customers to view. I think he later spent time in prison for some reason or other. Something about this kid just made bells go off in your head without the need any spoken words. Natures defense mechanism at work I suppose.