Castro Resigns, ACME Corporation Mourns What Might Have Been

Castro’s been a fixture in US political life (not to mention Cuba’s) for nearly fifty years.

As of today, he’ll no longer be Cuba’s official leader. It won’t change much immediately, but it opens up a lot of possibilities. One possibility being that our government can deal with Cuba without being embarrassed because it’s dealing with Castro.

Amusingly, our government has tried some pretty crazy stuff to “deal” with Castro in the past.

I recall hearing on the news that the CIA had actually tried to assassinate him with an exploding cigar.

It’s as if they outsourced that hit to Warner Brothers animation department. I’m thinking specifically of Wile E. Coyote.

It was just as successful as you might expect.

Weird though.

The Medical-Industrial Complex

I do work for non-profits. At one non-profit I actually draw a part time salary in addition to my computer consulting. For a while, in fact, I did all my work for that non-profit from my house, connecting via a VPN.

It’s thanks to that, I suspect, that I got a call tonight.

As I was sitting down at my laptop, catching up on email and meditating on how soon I should make supper, I received a phone call that asked for one of my supervisors at work.

The caller wanted to know exactly what we did as part of our AIDS related program.

I told him. I also attempted to make it clear that we weren’t doing much with it at the moment because all our state funding had been cut off.

It didn’t make much of an impression, but it was after that that the call turned a little weird.

He wanted to know if any of our patients were ever cured of AIDS. I explained that no one gets cured of AIDS. At best, your virus load gets down to near impossible to detect levels.

“That’s with pharmacia,” he said, “not God’s medicine.”

Over the course of the next half hour, I learned a number of things:

1. That disease is not caused by bacteria or viruses. It is caused by chemicals, and parasites. For example, people with AIDS have benzene in their pancreas (or maybe their liver? I forget). Also, cancer has been cured in at least one person by removing a tape worm.
2. AIDS has been cured in Africa by using seven herbs plus a little bit of electricity.
3. “Pharmacia” (sp?) is the original word for our current style of medicine and it comes from a word that meant sorcery.
4. The real reasons for disease have been known since the 1930’s and are in every public library.
5. The reason you’ve never heard this before is because the government does not want you to find out.
6. Doctors know all this too, but they’re using the current methods because it will make them more money.
7. That whatever form of medicine this guy is using uses the “qxci.” Search for it on Google. The results are… wacky. Oh and incidentally, qxci is short for Quantum Xeroid Consciousness Interface device.
8. I can learn even more if we get together everyone in our office and watch a videotape. At that point, all will be explained.
9. And we may even make some money…

The end of the conversation left me thinking that I need to learn to be considerably less polite. The guy talked for more than half an hour, needing no encouragement at all beyond “mm-hmmn” and a brief yes or no.

I would have hung up on him if he’d been a telemarketer, but hanging up on him as a salesman would probably reflect badly on the organization. Also it seemed like he was about to wrap up three different times.

He never did.

In the end, I gave him the organizational number, made clear the fact that he was calling my house, and directed that he leave a voicemail for someone that I’m quite sure will be out tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m sending everyone an email…

Last Night I Dreamed That…

I was working and someone wanted me to get information out of a database and I ended up moving from one computer to another even though the database should be accessible to everyone.

Then I decided to go to lunch only somehow in the process of leaving I stripped down to my underwear.

Instead of going to lunch, I then went to the Dominican Center (as in Dominican Order as in full of priests and nuns) for some sort of book reading about J. K. Rowling. No one paid attention to the fact that I was attending in underwear, but I nonetheless picked up a sheet (with green fringe) to cover myself.

After that I left.

In walking, I found that I was no longer in Grand Rapids, but was actually in Denver.

So, I went to a mall in Denver (but not one I’m familiar with) that somehow included a swimming pool. It was there that I discovered that I was in a t-shirt and shorts.

After that I got on the bus. While I was on the bus, I realized that I had an airplane which I could use to fly home except that the engine wasn’t inside. I didn’t know how to fix the engine.

When we passed a park (which included some amusement park rides) it occurred to me that I could ask one of the ride operators how to put the engine back in.

But I didn’t.

While riding the bus, however, I did talk to one of the other people on the bus. He invited me to stay in the park. I declined. Thus, when he got off the bus, he and others in the park urinated on the bus, some of it coming through the windows.

Yuck.

In any case, soon after that, I realized that I was really at home sleeping in bed and that I really didn’t have to find my way home from Denver after all.

At some point after that, the dream ended. I don’t know whether I woke up or not.

Whatever happened, I think I can safely say that this dream made no sense at all and I can’t imagine why people have ever bothered to try to interpret them.

Real Live Preacher

There’s a blog out there called Real Live Preacher that you’ve probably heard of. I say probably because I know pretty much everyone who reads this blog and know that most of them know Ed. Ed linked to Real Live Preacher every so often a couple years ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure the blog’s writer commented on Ed’s blog once.

In case you didn’t know, Real Live Preacher is a blog by Gordon Atkinson, a pastor who writes about his church, his life, his family, depression, religion and a multitude of other things.

Eerdmans (right here in Grand Rapids) published a book of his blog entries a couple years ago and apparently it didn’t sell as well as they hoped.

As I understand it (and I could be wrong about the details), they sent him the remainders and now he’s selling them on his website.

Along with the books (which are signed), you also receive odd surprises within the covers.

Kristen ordered one and we received a key (he doesn’t know what it’s for) and some religiously themed candy. Pictures of both to be attached to this post someday.

Kristen reads the blog regularly and I read it occasionally. As someone who attended seminary for a couple years, I’ve been on his end of the pulpit/visitation/church politics.

It’s interesting to be reminded of what that was like and of other things I spent more time thinking about in seminary than I do right now.

Not to mention the fact that beyond anything else, he’s a good writer, making it an interesting blog whether or not you connect with his major topics.

Huh. Weird.


You Belong in Amsterdam


A little old fashioned, a little modern – you’re the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

UPDATE: I suppose I ought to be a little bit more explicit regarding what amuses me about this. My grandparents (on my dad’s side) immigrated from the Netherlands. My great-grandparents on my mom’s side immigrated from there as well. Basically, the vast majority of my ancestry comes from the Netherlands and it looks like I need to go back.

Flipping Off the Police Can Make You Money

One night during college I was sitting in a friend’s car and talking. As I was talking I would occasionally make a gesture with my hands. At one point, I raised my index finger as I explained something.

As I did this a campus police car came around the corner, drove past the car (which was parallel parked) and stopped.

The policeman (who I can only assume had stopped one too many parties that weekend) got out of the car, knocked on the window and then proceeded to lecture me on how I had no right to flip him off.

I wasn’t able to persuade him that I’d raised a different finger. Fortunately, he didn’t bother (or didn’t have the ability) to charge me with anything.

Oddly enough, to judge from the following article, it appears that I might have been paid thousands of dollars if he had.

Motorist who made obscene gesture to cop awarded $3,000

It makes me start to reconsider my tendency toward being respectful of authority.