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2007 January

Archive for January, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Frank Zappa and Big Brother

ZappaIn my previous post I used the phrase “.. treating dandruff by decapitation”. I didn’t make up¬†that expression, I borrowed it from Frank Zappa, who used it when he was referring to the attempt to setup some censorship for song lyrics back in the 80’s. I found the expression on (in?) Wikipedia, doing¬†some research¬†after I watched a video of him being¬†on ‘Crossfire’ more than 20 years ago.

I’d like to share this video with you.

My reasons:

First of all, this is, again, about freedom versus governmental control, and I totally agree with Zappa’s views of over 20 years ago expressed in this clip. Including the belief that there are strong forces at work trying to¬†turn this country into a fascist theocracy, even though the main topic was censorship.

Second, I’m a Frank Zappa fan. What this man has done in his career as a musician is simply incredible.

Third, I simply found it remarkable how he dealt with the whole event: here’s a guy who is being accused of the dirtiest things, gets words put into his mouth, is almost violently attacked and he just sits there … neatly dressed, suit and tie, very articulate, stays relatively calm (yes, okay, he tells one of the guys, when he gets too vitriolic, “kiss my ass”, but hey.. this is Frank Zappa ..¬†in this program,¬†because of his belief that one should be allowed to say things like that …), and manages to get his point across despite the three (!) loudmouths that keep yelling at him.

Fourth, it’s entertainment! Hey… this is Frank Zappa! And yes, he is very serious (he has seriously considered running for president). But still.

See for yourself .. (okay, it is a bit long, but this is historic material)

Link to Zappa on Crossfire in 1986

For more on Zappa, see Wikipedia (link).

PostHeaderIcon Big Brother School

Beers Read in the news today (link):

Teens who drink alcohol could be caught three days later under a high school’s new testing policy for students.

The test, which will be given randomly to students at Pequannock Township High School, can detect whether alcohol was consumed up to 80 hours earlier.

I think this is wrong. Very wrong.

If I had a kid in that high school I would make it very clear to the school that I, as a parent, am responsible for raising my kid. And that the only thing I expect from the school is, that they teach my child reading, writing and arithmetic (and a few other things). And where I, as the parent, reserve the right to meddle in what my kid is being taught I do not want the school to meddle in how I raise my kid. It’s simply neither their task nor function.

What is next? Tests to check if they have smoked? Tests to see if they had sex? Tests to check if they got enough sleep? Tests to see if they have been to church? Lie detector tests?

Will the phrase “there will be a test tomorrow” take on a completely different meaning?

In my humble opinon, schools should only do what they were created for: to teach our kids certain skills. And they’d better focus on that, since they’re not doing that good a job compared to the rest of the world. I know quite a few high school graduates who can’t spell ‘definitely’ and don’t know how much 7 times 8 is. Maybe the school should test the teachers for alcohol use!

This is Big Brother stuff that we should allow nor condone. It, again, is a measure that erodes our privacy and freedom. Yes, high school kids have a right to privacy too.

Besides, so what if a few kids actually do consume, oh horror, some alcohol? It’s not like they killed someone. This all sounds like overreacting anyway. It’s like treating dandruff by decapitation.

And make no mistake: you and I are paying for these tests!

(And I’m not even going to mention that the test is far from perfect and rather prone to false positives: what is that going to do to a kid, having to see a counselor for having used regular mouthwash or eaten a nice salad with Balsamic vinegar. The stigmatic effect of false positives alone should be enough reason for abandoning this whole stupid, hare-brained idea. Okay, so I mentioned it anyway. Bite me!).

(For those who wondered: there is no ‘a’ in “definitely” and 7 times 8 is 56).

(And, no, do not click on that picture)

PostHeaderIcon Pat is hearing voices … again

PatAs usual, Pat Robertson has made a prediction for the new year.

And no, I’m not going to make him NCOTW for that .. that would be too easy.

Anyway, Pat predicted that there will be a terrorist(s) induced mass killing somewhere after September 2007.

Actually, I shouldn’t say ‘prediction’, because Pat obtained this information, first hand, from God Himself.

God wasn’t very specific about the actual number of victims, the method or the place (which somehow takes away a bit from the usefulness of this revelation, but okay, apparently God likes to keep some ‘outs’), but Pat ‘believes’ millions of people will die in this disaster, which is ‘probably’ nuclear in nature and involves major cities.

Last year, God told Pat that storms and possibly a tsunami would crash into America’s coastline. The tsunami never happened (why did God say ‘possibly’ .. wasn’t he sure?), but, granted, it rained in New England in 2006.

He used this to emphasize his good track record: said Pat:

“I have a relatively good track record,” he said. “Sometimes I miss.”

What is all this I business? Isn’t it God who would have that track record? Isn’t Pat just the messenger? The channeler?

Even more curious is this “sometimes I miss“. Okay, so it’s obvious that God, being omnipotent and all that, doesn’t miss anything. But what does Pat “miss“? Isn’t he listening when God speaks to him? That’s pretty rude! Or does God speak a language that Pat doesn’t fully know (and if so, why doesn’t God speak English, just like the rest of the world)? Or does God mumble, speak too fast or too soft? How can Patmiss” things? Very odd, these “misses”.

I’ll let you in on a secret here: I can’t prove it of course, but somehow I have the distinct feeling that Mr. Robertson wasn’t told anything by the Lord, but that he just made it all up, so that in the event there is a horrible terrorist attack with millions of victims in a major city (uhm, duh, you can’t get millions of victims by bombing Bandera, Texas), he can then proclaim to be the new Moses with a direct, and proven!, line to God and that everybody has to listen to Pat “Moses” Robertson “from now on”. That’s what I think!

I could be wrong of course.

But I don’t think I am.

Here’s a question for my readers:

If you can talk to dead people, you’re called a psychic (well.. actually, talking to dead people is easy: the trick is to get them to talk back to you, and this is what most psychics claim happens).

Now, if God talks to you … are you a psychic?

Link to article

PostHeaderIcon Corporate greed

Nardelli(disclaimer: I own Home Depot stock, so I am slightly biased) 

Bob Nardelli, CEO of Home Depot, resigned yesterday.

He was an inflexible dictator with a huge disregard for Home Depot’s shareholders.

A huge disdain even: during last year’s shareholders meeting, where a lot of shareholders had some tough questions for the board of directors -about the CEO’s insanely high compensation package and the horrible business results: stock had sunk 9% in the same period that competitor Lowe’s saw a 185% increase!-, only ONE board member showed up: Nardelli himself. He was an absolute arrogant prick, didn’t acknowledge any of the severely time limited questions and ran out after only 30 minutes. The shareholders were steaming!

Home Depot stock hasn’t gone anywhere the past few years: he basically screwed up.

And now, yesterday, he resigned.

And I’m mad as hell.

Not because he left .. good riddance .. but because this screwup got rewarded with a severance package of $210 million!

That’s almost a quarter billion dollar!

NOONE should get such an amount, not even for having done outstanding work, and thus certainly not for having accomplished close to nothing (and most definitely not when it’s essencially my money!).

This is criminal. Corporate greed in its extreme. I’m so mad, I can barely type. I simply feel robbed. In a very brutal way. Violated almost. Grrrrrrrrr….

Someone… quick, get me my bloodpressure pills!