The Idiom

Can You Grok It? Free Grokistan!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I Have $500 For The Ahn-Woon. Do I hear $600?

Dude! Christe's is auctioning off STAR TREK paraphenalia...

Trekkies will be setting their phasers to "bid" this fall when Christie's holds the first official studio auction of memorabilia from all five "Star Trek" television series and 10 movie spinoffs.

Among the highlights are a miniature of the Starship Enterprise used in visual effects for the film "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country," expected to sell for $15,000 to $25,000, and a replica of Kirk's chair from the original TV series that was recreated for the 1996 "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," which is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.

Fans with more modest budgets can train their sights on a host of Trekkie ephemera like the 10-inch Resikkan nonplaying prop brass flute used by Patrick Stewart as Picard in the episode "The Inner Light" in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which carries a low estimate of just $300.

What, are the auctioneers at Christie's under the influence of the neural neutralizer on Tantalus V or something? $300 for the Resikkan flute? Kid Various will pay that right now, just give him the prop!

The flute is the crux of an entire episode that is regarded as one of STAR TREK's finest. "The Inner Light" is a classic in the vein of TOS's "The City on the Edge of Forever" or DS9's "In the Pale Moonlight" or "Far Beyond the Stars." It won the 1993 Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation, the first for a television show since "City."

These people have no idea of what these things are worth. The Kid predicts a bidding war over the flute will push it as high as $5,000 at least.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Kid Various was just about to make his MOVE!

Kidman, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund For Women, brought Urban as her date when she hosted the organization's 30th anniversary gala in New York City May 13. "He's actually my fiancé," Kidman told People Magazine. "I wouldn't be bringing my boyfriend."

Set Phasers on... DAZZLE!!

Well, it seems that we're doing in Iraq what we do best - adapting to new conditions with technology. Take this new laser contraption the checkpoint guys will soon have in their arsenal.

The U.S. military is deploying a laser device in Iraq that would temporarily blind drivers who fail to heed warnings at checkpoints, in an attempt to stem shootings of innocent Iraqis.

The pilot project will equip thousands of M-4 rifles with the 10 1/2 -inch-long weapon, which projects an intense beam of green light to "dazzle" the vision of oncoming drivers.

"I think this is going to make a huge difference in avoiding these confrontations," said Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the commander in charge of day-to-day operations in Iraq. "I promise you no one — no one — will be able to ignore it."
Of course, we haven't been doing as well at the adaptation thing as we historically have, it HAS been three years. However, there are new systems comign online to do things like defeat IED's which will help better protect our troops in a dangerous environment against an unformed enemy.

Naturally, no article on a new weapons system (even a non-lethal one) would be complete without the requisite bitching about the Geneva Conventions.

A decade ago, the experimental use of tactical laser devices by U.S. Marines in Somalia was curtailed at the last minute for "humane reasons," according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, which called their use "repugnant to the public conscience" in a 1995 report.

The Pentagon has canceled several programs for the stronger "blinding" lasers, in adherence to the Geneva protocol, according to Human Rights Watch. But the group has said that even less powerful "dazzling" lasers, similar to the one to be deployed in Iraq, can cause permanent damage.
Because, you know, a bullet is so much more humane.

And this not a theoretical topic, innocent Iraqis are dying regularly because they aren't paying attention or don't understand the soldiers' injunction to STOP. And you put one of our soldiers in the position of making a split second decision, with a car barrelling down on him who's ignored his warnings, of whether or not to shoot. Is Human Rights Watch trying to tell us that we shouldn't be using a system which may cause retinal damage instead of a system which will assuredly kill?

Of course not. But that's not HRW's agenda. HRW's deeper assumption is that U.S. soldiers should not be in Iraq at all, and therefore, anything that makes that reality more palatable (such as a decrease in accidental deaths at checkpoints) is to be resisted.

More interesting is that this new system is the first in what will most assuredly be a slew of weapons systems developed to take into account new strategic realities.

On a tactical level, a bullet works just as well. You've shot the driver of the oncoming vehicle, doing your force protection job.

But you may achieve your tactical objectives while losing the larger strategic battle, which now takes place in the realm of the moral high ground and in which the Enemy deftly uses our own media against us.

Every uneccessary Iraqi death retards our ability to achieve victory. The thinking behind this of course goes back to Mao and his 8 Points of Attention, but in today's battlefield environment, where the media is set to pounce upon every (presumed) atrocity, the tightrope we walk is ever thinner.

Our job is to thicken the tightrope.

Technological solutions such as this new laser give our forces more flexibility in the battlespace to achieve their tactical objective without retarding strategic victory.

Kid Various has always said that the invention of the standard sci-fi powered battle armor will not stem from the desire to build a super warrior with superior capabilities. Rather, such a program will be developed in order to allow soldiers the flexibility to achieve tactical goals in an urban environment with a minimum of casualties - either their own, or (strangely in our world) the Enemy's.

Man Portable Armor will be developed for the same reason armored vehicles were orginally developed, to allow for mobility while guarding against uneccessary casualties. Tanks and Infantry fighting vehicles are great, but they're difficult to use in an urban environment, and you certainly can't enter building with them.

What you want is the ability to move into areas occupied by the Enemy, with time enough to make clear decisions about the amount of force required. Ideally, if the Enemy is holed up in an apartment building, you want to go in there and drag him out alive, while avoiding casualties among civilians and your own troops. That's not really possible now where when our troops have to clear a building, the proper response to an unexpected threat is to shoot.

Man Portable Armor could give our forces the critical few seconds they need to decide what level of force is required. And that's why it will eventually be developed.

You Da Man!

Nominee Gen. Michael Hayden vows to "fight the power" at the CIA

There's A Joke Here Just Struggling To Get Out

Psychic Fraud Uri Geller buys the house that Elvis Presley used to live in with his parents and grandmother on Ebay, after getting a psychic message from the King.

There's so much material here and Kid Various just can't seem to get his head around it...

Gym Teacher Arrested For Taking Bribes From Students

Kid Various hated gym class*, but he never thought of this...

Another middle school teacher has been arrested for allegedly letting students skip gym class in exchange for a bribe.

Police in Pensacola, Florida say Tamara Tootle turned herself in yesterday and faces six counts of bribery.

Authorities say she told students at Ernest Ward Middle School during the 2004-2005 school year that they didn't have to dress for her PE class, but could still receive 100 percent for participation by paying a dollar a day.

A dollar a day??? What are they paying those teachers down there?

*In New Jersey, only two subjects are required for high school students for their entire 4 years, English....and Gym. Math, Science, History, Language...pfft! But Gym... that's important! Kid Various has found it imperative in his career to have those ball-dodging skills so accutely refined in PhysEd.

Jarrett Throws Over Ford For Toyota, Fans PISSED!

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) - Butch Meyer walked outside Darlington Raceway in his No. 88 hat and UPS racing jersey, testament to a 14-year allegiance to Dale Jarrett, one of NASCAR's most popular drivers.

But what Jarrett did last weekend in moving from his Ford team to one fielded by Japanese automaker Toyota in 2007 was enough to have Meyer cutting his longtime ties with DJ.

``That's it, he's done with me,'' said Meyer, a fan from Clearwater, Fla.

It's a sentiment Jarrett figures to hear often as he finishes his run at Robert Yates Racing, his home for the past 12 seasons. Jarrett said last Saturday he was joining Michael Waltrip Racing as a second Toyota entry.

Man, Kid Various is so far away from whatever planet these events are occuring on...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Iranian Dialogue

President Bush has a new pen pal:

Rice said the letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was 17 or 18 pages long and covered history, philosophy and religion.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator called the surprise letter a new "diplomatic opening" between the two countries, but Rice said it was not.

"This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort," the top U.S. diplomat said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It isn't addressing the issues that we're dealing with in a concrete way."
You're kidding us. You mean a rambling, 18 page, Unabomber-like manifesto isn't particularly relevant to the situation at hand? Namely that Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear weapon state? But isn't this dialogue? Isn't all dialogue productive? Doesn't it at least make us feel good?

Surely this "opening to dialogue" will be the hook on which the talkers in Europe and on the American Left will hang their jester hats - as until now, their attempts at "dialogue" with the Islamic Republic have been stymied by the regime's inexplicably unccoperative behaviour. (Inexplicable, that is unless you believe Iran wants to destroy Israel and blackmail the United States and Europe. Then thier actions are wholly 'splicable.)

As stated by Amir Taheri
Something interesting is happening with regard to the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Slowly the blame is shifting from the mullahs to the Bush administration as the debate is redirected to tackle the hypothetical question of U.S. military action rather than the Islamic Republic's real misdeeds. "No War on Iran" placards are already appearing where "No Nukes for Iran" would make more sense.

The attempt at fabricating another "cause" with which to bash America is backed by the claim that the mullahs are behaving badly because Washington refuses to talk to them.

God, Kid Various wishes that letter was public! How crazy must that guy sound? 10 to 1 he makes reference to the CIA's orbiting mind control lasers...

UPDATE: Kid Various wanted a peek at the letter. James Lileks gives up the goods...

. . . Do you not realize you are beaten, as a donkey is beaten, but knoweth not his donkeyhood is cursed? Your comics have turned against you in your own lair, and mock you without mercy. We have seen the videos of the Meal of the Correspondents, and we know how your left regards the men of the laugh as prophets and seers. It is only a matter of time before Johnny Carson (applause be upon him) returns from occlusion to request that you, Mr. President, take the Slauson cutoff, get out of your car, and cut off your Slauson, Hi-yo, salaam. And a third part of the Slauson shall be stained with the tears of the womenfolk, and (9323 words excised)

Nancy Pelosi... SUPERGEEENIUS!

Nancy Pelosi has opened the door to talk about endless investigations of the Bush Administration should the House go Democrat, and John Dickerson from Slate slams her with our favorite idiom for self-destruction.

...It is important to investigate the ways the Bush administration has used and abused its executive power, but it is much more important not to talk about those investigations when you're trying to launch your policy agenda. It's unbelievably tactically stupid. Perhaps Pelosi couldn't have stayed completely mum on the topic, but she could have given some bland answer about Congress needing to play its oversight role and then returned to her positive agenda items. (She tried to backtrack on Meet the Press and failed.) Republicans, and Karl Rove in particular, want to paint Democratic leaders as cartoon Ahabs fixated on taking down George Bush, so why would you promise that you're going to turn the House into the Pequod?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Party In ME-HI-CO!

"America, You Lost!"

Funny words coming from a man who's being led away in shackles to sit in a 6x8 cell for the next 40 years.

So Moussaui escapes death for his role in September 11th.

What Kid Various finds interesting is this
But they did not give sufficient weight to those findings to reach a death sentence, balancing them against mitigating factors offered by the defense. No jurors, however, accepted defense arguments that Moussaoui was mentally ill or that he wished to be executed to achieve the radical Islamic vision of martyrdom.
Kid Various is agnostic on the death penalty. He is neither for it nor against it. But somehow, to him, death has always seemed inadequate for this sub-human. He wanted to fly himself into a building, is sticking a needle into him supposed to be some form of punishment?

The Kid thinks that sitting in a cell for the next 40 years is a more apt punishment in this case. Preferably with a 6 foot 6 inch member of the Aryan Brotherhood as a cell mate. Can we arrange that Warden?


Jean Francois-Revel is dead.

Revel was one of those most unlikely of characters; a rational frenchman.

Rather than becoming obsessed with the raw power or cultural dominance of the United States, Revel, a philosopher by training, was more interested in how America continues to be a revolutionary force for freedom in the world and how, together, America and Europe should be standing together to ensure the triumph of Liberty.

In 1970, after the first of many visits to America, Revel published Without Marx or Jesus: The New American Revolution, in which he predicted that the great revolution of the 20th century would turn out to be the "liberal revolution" of multi-party democracy and market economics, rather than the "Socialist revolution" of Left-wing theory. This revolution would take place not in Cuba, but in California.

On his visit to the States, Revel had been "astonished by evidence that everything Europeans were saying about the US was false"; and most of his book consisted of a heavily sarcastic point-by-point rebuttal of the knee-jerk, anti-American prejudices of the day. Europe's loss of leadership during the post-war era, in his opinion, had led to an irrational envy and resentment.

Kid Various read his book "Anti-Americanism" some years ago, which is required reading for anyone interested in current U.S.-European relations. The interesting nature of that book prompted The Kid to pick up "Without Marx or Jesus," where Revel, in de Tocqueville fashion, travelled the United States talking to ordinary people. What he found was something highly different form the American caricatures proffered in urbane Europe, specifically a resilience and dynamism which convinced him that the U.S. would continue to be the dominant power on the planet.

We need more like him.

Au revoir, mon frere!