Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Weapons of Mass Distraction

It seems that Waleed ibn Huffwhit, the Nigerian Underpants Bomber, is being charged with a collection of crimes, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction.

I have a couple of questions: as the weapon turned out to be nothing more than a first-class testicle toaster, the American security people should be hugely relieved. It is apparent that whatever branch of al Qaeda that the dimwitted terrorist belonged to was, and probably still is, incompetent to a degree that makes the CIA look like a collection of over-acheivers. So why aren't they all doing high fives?

Secondly: exactly what is a Weapon of Mass Destruction? I thought it would have to be a nuclear weapon, or a seriously hazardous biological weapon. They were the non-existent WMDs that GW Bush started the war over, nine years ago. If they're going to claim that something that can bring down a passenger aircraft is a WMD, then why aren't they killing all Canadian Geese, Muscovy Ducks, and Black-Backed Seagulls? Why aren't they locking up everyone who buys a box-cutter? Remember what the 11/9 terrorists used? (I've started calling the incident 11/9: I found that I'd started thinking the whole sorry affair happened on the 9th of November...)

If an explosive device that has the ability to destroy an aircraft qualifies as a WMD, then the US had better disarm its entire Air Force. Now. They have gazillions of things that are designed purely to kill aircraft and everyone in them. In fact, the Americans* even gave a vast number of them to the very Afghanis that they're trying to kill right now... And given that Major or Colonel Doctor El Sicko went wacko on a US Army base a couple of months ago and shot eleventytwelve soldiers, it's not impossible to think that an F16 skyjockey could go bananas one day and sic a Sidewinder missile onto an Air New Zealand plane full of nuns. Going back a step: I wonder if the Nutzo Doctor appreciates the irony that he was laid low by a woman? Who, quite possibly, was a virgin? One of the 76 he earnestly hoped would be there to greet him on the other side of the veil..

So it occurs to me that a WMD is only something (no matter how insignificant it may be) that can be used to kill a lot of Americans*. I which case, somebody had better tell the US Government authorities about the Smith & Wesson and Colt handgun factories. Those little buggers are used to kill something like 30,000 Americans* every year.

Americans*: We all know that I mean citizens of the United States of America. But hey, let's not forget that Canadians and Mexicans also live on the North American Continent, and so are also entitled to be called American. They might smack you in the mouth if you did, mind you.. Brazilians are also Americans, but they're uniformly either stunningly beautiful or dirt poor, so can't be compared to the Ugly Blisters who live between the Mexican and Canadian borders.

Listening to: Lucinda Williams, "Essence". It remains the solidest and coolest C/W recording of all time. Plus, she's hot. Must have a Brazilian mum.

Reading: Michael Shermer, "Why People Believe Wierd Things". He's a cool dude, for someone who can't spell sceptic.

Word / Phrase of the Day: Night-terrors. I was talking to a woman today whose husband is a 91 year old ex-soldier. Paratrooper. He was dropped at Arnhem, for the gigantic FUBARred Operation Market Garden that saw many thousands of Allied soldiers captured by the Germans. He was one of them.. and to this day has bad dreams about the treatment he received in the POW camps. Anyone who suggests we don't owe that generation a huge debt needs to know about him.

More RATS! Ya-ay!

Grampa Smith had made the scones earlier in the day. He was a fair baker, and if he was going to be away he tried to leave the boy a treat to come home to. He bought his bread from the town’s baker, however. Zebediah North was the second generation of his family to operate the big ovens for Northridge in the past 40 years, and made a fine white barracuda loaf both Grampa and Arthur were particularly fond of. But, as was the case in many a small-town bakery, he also made his ovens available to housewives who would come along with their own loaf-tins filled with home-made dough. Small-town life in the earlier years of the 20th Century was remarkably different to the lifestyle of city-dwellers. Isolations and communal living meant that the entire village was dependant on each other: it took a village to raise a village. Every third home had a chook-house, and a dozen or so hens, and that house would provide eggs to its immediate neighbours. One householder might be a keen orchardist, and his trees would provide the raw fruit for his neighbours to bottle and preserve. A neighbour might raise a couple of pigs every year, and call on the butcher to slaughter and salt them, with payment being a half of one of the beasts. One might be a hunter – as Arthur was – and come home once a month with an animal carcase on his back. Meat was shared, fruit and vegetables swapped with the day’s gossip. Everyone thought they knew everyone else’s business, and everyone had their secrets they shared with no-one. The Northridge Oracle rarely had to report local goings-on, but did so anyway: it gave a man a thrill to see his daughter or son’s name in print.
Northridge was a farming village, and had come into existence to support the growing numbers of farmer in the district. The river flowed north and escaped into the Tasman Sea only fifty miles or so from the big city of Auckland. Goods came into the town by steam-boat from down-river, and also by road, in horse-drawn wagons. The odd motor car or motor-truck made it into Northridge, but they were still a relatively rare novelty for everyone. New Zealand had a number of electrified settlements at he turn of the century: Northridge wasn’t one of them. George Weatherby’s father, James, had given financial support to the council’s importation of a large coal-fired steam generator, and around half the town was wired up for electric lighting: the Weatherbys even had an electrically heated oven, which Zeb North, the baker, was greatly interested in. The local mill was investigating electricity-driven saw-blades, and an electrically heated kiln and electrically powered factory was in the process of being built by Clarrie Hume, who had figured out a way of making concrete pipes quickly and economically. New Zealand’s economy was changing rapidly, and Northridge was keeping pace.
Jayne breathed deeply, fished into her pocket to pay Arthur for his work. Her great horse had obediently raised its hoof again when Arthur took the cool shoe to her, and it was the work of just a minute or two to nil it into place, and nip off the ends of the nails.
“No charge, Miss Jayne,” the boy had said. Me and Grampa Smith always make our first job for a new customer free. It’s our way of saying welcome to Northridge, and we hope to see you again.”
Jayne was bemused. She’d never heard of this happening before. She returned her purse back to her pocket, and thanked Arthur with a smile, and led the great horse away.

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