Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What's for Desert? -or- I'll Mojave What She's Mojaving

Okay, I really only have two freaky stories from driving through the mojave desert, but they're weird enough, I think. The back story is that before my wife and I moved to California in 2003ish, we made a few trips from Az to Ca. Part of this journey involves plunging headlong into the Martian landscape where no sane creature would set foot, let alone stop for long, and as far as setting up housekeeping out there, well... yikes.

Story One: So, we are driving through the desert on our way to CA. Careening across the wasteland, we experience various patches of inclement weather, from light drizzles to heavy downpours. At one point it is clear but overcast, and windy. Keep in mind that we are surrounded by vast, limitless stretches of barren desert, utterly alone as we rocket our way along the highway. No one else in sight. Nothing, in fact, but sand, tumbleweeds, and a distant horizon...

But wait.

What's that?

Far ahead, a tiny speck on the horizon. It seems to bob about on the wind. It bounces to the ground and rises again into the air. It grows steadily larger, but it's still too tiny to make out.

Nothing around for miles and miles and miles and miles except for ourselves and the bouncing speck up ahead that slowly forms a recognizable shape.

It's a plastic gallon milk jug.

It bounces along, seeming to take short little flights as it moves toward us. It isn't really headed directly at us... just in our general direction. Still, it moves toward us, seemingly slowly, but propelled by the desert winds.

Finally, it seems to... notice us.

It changes course every so slightly, altering its direction a bit but still looking like it won't come near us. Much. But it does. It soon is heading right for us, and we are a captive audience, because in the middle of this vast, humungous, big-sky, wide-open, seemingly limitless expanse of desert, we can only travel along one thin tape-like ribbon of highway, and it is that strip of highway that the predatory, kamikaze milk jug decides is the only strip of real estate worth claiming, and claim it, it does. It focuses its attention on us like a guided missile, but with a dreamlike, drifting, spiraling quality as it homes in on its target.

And in the middle of the vast wasteland, with endless space to roam, the odds are challenged by fate and two points collide beneath the desert winds.


It was over in an instant. The milk jug, spent, bounced off through the desert in search of other conquests. And we, well, we continued on, stunned, asking ourselves questions like "What are the odds?" and the more accurate and relevant, "Why does it seem so normal when this sort of thing happens to us?"

Story Two: So, we are driving through the desert on our way back home from CA. I don't recall if it was the same trip, but I don't think so. We have just driven through the little town of Mojave, CA. Two things to know about Mojave: 1) They do a lot of aerospace stuff out there; and 2) right on the edge of town is a vast airplane graveyard, where airplanes and jetliners of all kinds are lined up in the desert and sit idle, waiting to be stripped for parts or whatever they are used for. It's like a huge dry-storage of aircraft.

As we were leaving the town of Mojave, driving past the airplane graveyard, a jetliner passed us overhead. We didn't think much about it, except it was flying rather low. But soon I noticed the aircraft goes quite a ways ahead of us and then turns around. A full U-turn, over the highway, and then heading back directly toward us. I thought, "Hmm, that seems odd".

At this point we are driving toward the jet airliner at approximately 50+ mph, and it is flying toward us at whatever speed it takes to keep a jet airliner aloft. To my unschooled-in-aerodynamics-or-physics-mind, it seems that the plane should pass over us rather quickly, since we are heading toward each other. Makes sense, no?

Instead, the plane, now facing us, seems to simply stop in midair. Hovering there. We are still speeding towards it at 50+ mph. It's not very far ahead of us, so we soon reach the plane. It's also not very high in the air, at least not for a jet airplane. I mean, I've been just as close to planes at the airport, and I could have walked right up to them within a minute or two. So this airplane was that low, and was now directly above us... hovering in mid-air.

I couldn't help myself, I was so enthralled. I stopped the car and got out and stood beneath the aircraft and looked up at it. It remained hovering above me, absolutely silent.

Insert any combination of expletives at this point, because I recited them all as I stepped out of the car and looked straight up at a jet aircraft hovering silently in the air, so close I could make out the details of the plane.


The scene remained unchanged. After a minute or two, we decided to continue on our way, trying to convince ourselves that it was some sort of optical illusion, that a rational explanation was available. As we drove away, I looked in the rear-view mirror, and the jet remained hovering in the same spot until we climbed a hill and left the scene behind.

This story is absolutely true, and everything happened as I described it. I will never forget it, and I will always wonder what the hell I saw.

Time for bed...

I'm back!

Okay, so where have I been, anyway? Good question. I'm always somewhere, that I know.

Well, let's see. I can use work as an excuse. I was recently elevated to a slightly loftier perch, so that was a bit of mental transitioning. More responsibilities, yet luckily for all my ego humbly remains in check. Nonetheless, I took the time to enjoy some stress.

Then there was a family visit which included a 14-hour drive through the desert, followed a few days later by another one. Ah, the good times. Remind me to tell you my freaky tales from drives through the Mohave desert sometime. Psycho weirdness. Hard to believe a burning desert can give you chills, ay?.

And I’ve also been doing a lot of this lately, too. Twang-twang-thump-zwoom. Trying to get my digits back into fighting trim. Lovin’ being back in the company of a bass guitar after a long dry spell.

And then, of course, there's that old standby, politics. All I can say is:

Let the madness begin anew...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On Vacation 'Til Tue 8/22 or Wed 8/23...

...or so. Something like that. See you when I get back!

By the way, sorry about recent inactivity, really. I've been a little bizzybizzybizzy lately, but I'll get back on that horse alrighty!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Repuke Rebuke: No Fluke

Boy, you know you really suck if you're so repulsive that even your fellow republicans won't accept you: Republicans running in more ways than one!
Just as voters are about to tune in to this fall's battle for control of the House of Representatives, many Republican incumbents are running away from President Bush out of fear that they'll be caught in an anti-Bush tidal wave that could sweep them from power.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hmm, I say.

The Carpetbagger Report: The Bush administration has its priorities

Ah, Those Fickle Voters...

Polls Shows More Americans Favor Democratic Candidate for Congress
When asked whom they would vote for "if elections for Congress were held today," 45% of U.S. adults said they would vote for the Democratic candidate and 30% would vote for the Republican, the Harris Interactive poll shows.
This is going to make their electronic vote-fraud theft of the next election look very suspicious, no?

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Picked from Usenet Newsgroups VI: Republican Pervs Permeate Politics

And so on... business as usual.

Lake Wales, FL. The pastor at the Church of the Nazarene has been charged with sexually assaulting a male 17-year-old youth leader three times in 2001.  The Rev. Gene Francis, 52, of Lake Wales, was arrested Tuesday and charged  with unlawful sexual activity with a minor. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 4, 2003) Lake Wales minister arrested in sexual assault case

Tuscon, AZ. The Rev. David Valencia, 47, assistant pastor of a Pentecostal church is expected in court Wednesday on rape charges issued by  Pennsylvania authorities. In Pennsylvania, Valencia was an assistant pastor at Christ Church at Grove Farm, an interdenominational church that uses Anglican liturgy.  The pastor of Christ Church, the Rev. John Guest, told the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette that Valencia was dismissed in late 2001 because he was found to have pornography on an office computer after he was warned about a similar incident months earlier. (Tucson Citizen, May 31, 2003) Rev. David Valencia allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old girl he was counseling

An associate pastor of a San Fernando Valley chapel was sentenced to 32 months in prison on Tuesday for failing to register as a sex offender. Ilger, a former second-grade teacher, was convicted in 1988 of molesting four students in  his San Luis Obispo classroom. After being released from jail, Ilger and his family moved to Los Angeles, where he took a position with Hope Chapel of the  Valley in Canoga Park. "We've lived and learned a painful lesson," the Rev. Jeff Fischer of Hope Chapel said outside court. Fischer has said he and about 30 church elders knew that Ilger had molested young girls before he was hired. Sentencing (Associated Press, April 3, 2003)

Marty A. Hynes, 33, is charged with eight counts of criminal sexual  contact of a minor, three counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and one  count of attempted criminal sexual contact of a minor. Hynes was a youth pastor at  the First Assembly of God church when the alleged incidents occurred, between July and December 2001. (Las Cruces Sun-News, March 24, 2003) Trial of former youth pastor begins

Dayton, OH. A Trotwood minister, whose lawyer said he has been a "sex  addict" since age 10, sought treatment rather than face trial in a Brookville  police- run Internet sting that presented a virtual 14-year-old boy in a chat room.  But a Montgomery County judge denied his plea for treatment Tuesday. Turner's attorney, Dwight Brannon, wrote "He had his first sexual experience with another male at the age of 19 while in college. Shortly after he began surfing the Web . . . his addiction slowly began to grow." Turner had been pastor of Anchor Community Church, 38 S. Fairgreen Drive, for seven years when he was  arrested last summer. (Dayton Daily News, 01.29.2003) Minister arrested in police-run Internet sting

Riviera Beach, FL. A prominent minister, his church and deacon have  reached a $600,000 settlement with a mentally disabled man who accused the minister  of rape. The Rev. Thomas Masters, pastor of the New Macedonia Church of  Riviera Beach, and Church Mutual, insurer for the church, negotiated the  settlement with the man, according to his attorneys and court papers filed Monday. The  man, who has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, attended New Macedonia and  accused Masters of coercing him to smoke crack cocaine and then raping him twice  on church property over Thanksgiving weekend in 1991. (The Palm Beach Post, January 14, 2003) West Palm Beach minister, church pay $600,000

Anaheim, CA. Anaheim pastor admitted Monday he fondled two teen-age girls  18 years ago while working as a part-time counselor at a Colorado church a decade before he was assigned to an Orange County church. "I was acting like an irresponsible teen-ager. There's no excuse for what I did," the Rev. Greg Tucker of Anaheim First Church of the Nazarene told The Orange County Register.  The church settled lawsuits by two women, who said Tucker, then 22, molested  them when they were 16. A Colorado jury sided with the women in a civil trial, ordering Tucker to pay the two $70,000. Tucker said he never told church leaders about the indiscretions before his ordination in Southern California seven years ago. In Colorado, sexual relations with a teen-ager were not considered criminal then, which led the women to sue for civil damages. The former youth  pastor is now a senior pastor in a Nazarene Church in Anaheim, CA. The Nazarene  General Superintendent's remarks about the case were very telling, i.e. "This happened a long time ago. . .the man has 'grown' since then. . . isn't the Christian faith all about forgiveness. . ."(North County Times, April 17, 2002)

A Christian pastor in Indonesia was sentenced to four years imprisonment  for sexually abusing seven refugee children under his care, officials said Tuesday. Saderah Sudiro, a Protestant clergyman with the Foundation For the Village Bible Society, was found guilty Monday of molesting refugee children ages 14 and  15 in his house in Solo in Central Java, said prosecutor Ika Ria Wati. "For more than a year he abused the minors who sought refuge in his foundation," said  Wati. (Associated Press, April 30, 2002) pastor gets four years for molesting refugee children

Chelsea, VT. Pastor faces trial or stiffer sentence for child molestation.  A judge on Tuesday denied a plea agreement for a former Newbury pastor  accused of child molestation. The decision means Rev. Joseph A. Rinaldi may go to  trial or receive a stiffer sentence on charges of molesting children while he was pastor of the Newbury Bible Church and principal of the Newbury Christian School between 1993 and 1998. ``The crimes you committed are heinous crimes,''  said Vermont District Court Judge Amy Davenport. ``They are crimes that have  left long lasting scars on their victims. And it is because of that, in the court's view, the court cannot accept the plea agreement.'' Rinaldi had pleaded guilty to five counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child in exchange for  a prison sentence of two years. He admitted fondling three boys in his care. (The Associated Press, December 03, 2002) Newbury Pastor Pleads Innocent To Molestation

South Kingstown, New Zealand. 53-year-old Bruce C. DiMaria,the pastor of  the Church of the Nazarene in Wakefield who also served as a teaching  assistant in the South Kingstown School District's Farm School for learning-disabled students was arrested Friday by North Kingstown police and charged with three  counts of second-degree sexual assault for alleged incidents involving a 17-year-old female student who has autism and cerebral palsy. (NKStandard Times, Nov.  17, 2002) Youth Paster charged

Denver, CO. Denver police arrested a 26-year-old youth minister with St. John's Church of God in Christ after a 15-year-old member accused him of sexual assault. (November 15, 2002, Rocky Moutain News) Youth Paster arrested News Report

Tulsa, OK. Son Minh Rockstroh, 48, was arrested Saturday on three counts  of rape by instrumentation and one count of lewd molestation of a child. He was jailed about 2 a.m. Saturday and is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail. The allegations have no apparent link to his work as a schoolteacher but to  his leadership of a small religious group called Church Life, Tulsa police  said. The victim and her mother met Rockstroh through Church Life, whose members  meet in each others' homes, Detective Chuck Haywood said. "There is not a pastor  of the church, but everyone considered him to be the guy in charge," Haywood said  of Rockstroh. During an interview with police, Rockstroh admitted that he had molested the girl on three occasions, jail records show. (Tulsa World, 11/12/2002) Church Leader Arrested

Tishomingo, OK. Kentucky pastor accused of raping a 12-year-old Oklahoma  girl has surrendered to Johnston County officials. The Rev. Chadwick L.  Keathley, associate pastor of Ark of Mercy Church of God in Winchester, Ky.,  responded Tuesday to an arrest warrant issued Aug. 26. Prosecutors charged Keathley, 27, with lewd molestation, first-degree rape and rape by instrumentation. He  was released after posting a $25,000 cash bond and an Oct. 22 preliminary  hearing was scheduled. The alleged incident occurred during summer 2000 at a  Church of God gathering at Camp Bond Youth Camp near Tishomingo. (The Winchester  Sun, Sept. 2002) Pastor surrenders to Oklahoma officials

Concord, NH. Charles Gravenhorst, the self-described pastor who once  preached his fringe Christian ministry on Concord Community TV, was arrested again yesterday, this time by federal agents for allegedly sending obscene  material over the Internet and for using the Internet to induce teenage girls to engage in sex acts. Gravenhorst, 45, was charged earlier this year with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in her Windham, Maine, home. The police said that he had met the girl over the Internet. (August 13, 2002, Concord Monitor) Pastor arrested again on sex charges

Sunday, August 6, 2006


Here's our government cleverly disguised as a middle-school clique.

If a report falls in a forest…

Crooks and Liars » If a report falls in a forest…
It’s been about 48 hours since Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee issued a sweeping indictment of the Bush administration’s casual approach to law-breaking in a report called, "The Constitution in Crisis." How’s the media reaction been?
I dunno, when does American Idol start up again, anyway?

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Afghanistan set to have record opium crop - Rush Limbaugh squeals with delight

Afghanistan set to have record opium crop
"Afghanistan is set to produce its largest ever opium crop, with the biggest increase in Helmand province where British troops are engaged in bitter combat with the Taliban, western officials said. The $1bn campaign to eradicate the crop has been 'an absolute disaster', a top western counter-narcotics official said."
But the tried-and-true CIA funding source of illicit drugs is still strong, this blogger said.