Archive for February 2011

Mad Magazine memories   1 comment

Today on the CBC radio program Sunday Edition hosted by Michael Enright, the current editor of Mad Magazine John Ficarra was interviewed.  It brought back so many memories from my teens when I read the magazine religiously. 

 Working on the farm one of my jobs was driving the manure truck (we called it the honey wagon, or less affectionately the s**t wagon). While loading up liquid manure into the wagon I would sit in the trucks cab reading Mad Magazine.  To say this was a really bad job would be understatement.  A person can get dirty when disconnecting and connecting hoses that pump liquid hog manure.  The odd bit of spray does escape at the wrong time.  And the smell was something to behold.  To this day my olfactory senses have not recovered.  I still can’t smell things properly.

But to make the day pass quicker while doing this thankless job I would read Mad.  It diverted my attention away from the smell, noise and flies.  And even though I was doing one of the worst jobs in the world,  Mad would still make me giggle at the absurdity of it all.

Here are some classic covers which often featured the Mad mascot Alfred E. Neuman.































Posted February 28, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Crazy Redneck decorates pick-up with stuffed critters   Leave a comment

Somewhere in the southern U.S some guy decorates his truck with stuffed critters.  I could not pinpoint exactly where this original artist lives.  Probably Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama, somewhere in the south where artistic taste is still developing.  If you see this guy coming grab the cat and bring it inside.












Shudder to think what this mountain man has in his backwoods cabin.



Posted February 27, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Is U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet going to move on Libya?   3 comments

As the civil war in Libya intensifies, and more and more people are being killed, will the U.S. send in military forces to quell the violence?  There are reports that Muammar Al-Gaddifi possesses chemical weapons and may use them against the opposition forces.  This could turn into an atrocious bloodbath.  The U.S. Sixth Fleet’s area of operations include the Mediterranean. 

U.S. Navy fleets:

  • United States Second Fleet (HQ Norfolk, Virginia) – North Atlantic
  • United States Third Fleet (HQ San Diego, California) – East Pacific
  • United States Fourth Fleet (HQ Mayport, Florida) – South Atlantic
  • United States Fifth Fleet (HQ Manama, Bahrain) – Middle East
  • United States Sixth Fleet (HQ Gaeta, Italy) – Europe
  • United States Seventh Fleet (HQ Yokosuka, Japan) – West Pacific
  • United States Tenth Fleet (HQ Fort Meade, Maryland) – Reactivated as Fleet Cyber Command. Formerly anti submarine warfare coordinating organization.

The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise is in the Gulf of Aden just south of the Red Sea.  It is within striking distance of Libya.


The U.S. and the civilized world cannot allow another Rwanda style massacre.

The United States may soon be getting involved in another war in the Middle East.  According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, “no options” have been taken off the table when it comes to the situation in Libya.  By saying that “all options” are being considered, that is basically a way for the Obama administration to threaten Gadhafi without actually coming right out and threatening him.  In recent days, news reports have been appearing all over the mainstream media hyping the possibility that we may have to take military action in Libya.  This would not be happening if the White House did not want it to happen.  The truth is that Barack Obama is apparently seriously considering U.S. military action in Libya.  At first that would probably consist of air strikes and missile attacks, but if the Obama administration decides that it is going to take ground forces to get the job done then we could eventually see the U.S. military actually invade Libya.

The first ground forces would likely be U.S. Marines.  The Marines are deployed on amphibious assault carriers such as the U.S.S. Wasp pictured below.

2,000 marines are deployed aboard these ships.  The U.S. Navy operates 10 such ships.  There is currently one in the Mediterranean with another one on the way. 

Each side’s claims are difficult to confirm but it is known that the opposition controls the second city Benghazi, while Col Gaddafi still controls the capital Tripoli, home to two million of the country’s 6.5 million population.

The UN estimates more than 1,000 people have died in the 10-day-old revolt.

The global body’s World Food Programme has warned that the food distribution system is “at risk of collapsing” in the North African nation, which is heavily dependent on imports.



Posted February 27, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Michael Moore’s Thompson, Manitoba observations   5 comments

Why I Support the People of Thompson, Canada — And You Should Too

By Michael Moore, The Huffington Post

To people down here in the U.S., Thompson, Canada and its fight with the Brazilian mining giant Vale may seem very far away.

It’s not.

(Don’t be embarrassed if you need a map to find Thompson, though — blame the U.S. media, which will only tell you about Canadians if they have some connection to Justin Bieber.)

Right now Thompson is fighting a frontline battle in a war that’s been raging for the past 30 years — the global war of the world’s rich on the middle class. It’s a war the people of Flint and all of Michigan know much too well. It’s a war going on right now in Wisconsin. And it’s a war where the middle class just won a round in Egypt. (You probably didn’t know — because the U.S. media was too busy telling you about Justin Bieber — that Gamal Mubarak, son of Egypt’s dictator and his chosen successor, worked for years for Bank of America.)

Canada isn’t like the United States — it’s still a first world country, where corporations are supposed to exist to benefit people, not the other way around. They don’t just have universal health care — they even have something called the Investment Canada Act, which says multinationals like Vale can only invest in Canadian industries if it will benefit all of Canada. I know, crazy!

The mine in Thompson used to be run by Inco, a Canadian corporation that made peace with unions and shared the wealth. When Vale bought Inco in 2006, they signed a contract with the government setting out what they would do to benefit Canadians.

Immediately afterward, Vale violated the contract and went on the attack — forcing miners in Sudbury, Ontario out on the longest strike in their history. And now in Thompson they’re trying to shut down the smelting and refining operations that have made the city a major economic hub of the province. Meanwhile, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper — think of George W. Bush with a Canadian accent — is actually helping Vale do this to their fellow citizens, with a giant $1 billion government loan which Vale is using to move jobs out of Thompson. Moreover, the largest institutional investor in Vale is Blackrock, an investment firm which in turn is owned by several of America’s bailed-out banks … including Bank of America.

So this is about one thing and one thing only: killing the social contract of Canada. Vale and the Harper government don’t want a future where Brazil gradually becomes more like Canada. Instead, they want a future where Canada becomes Brazil. And not just Canada: the corporations’ plan is that the Third World will become the Only World.

That’s why people everywhere need to support Thompson. As Niki Ashton — the MP who represents Thompson and the second-youngest woman ever elected to the Canadian Parliament — says: “It Was Flint Yesterday, It’s Us and Wisconsin Today, and Tomorrow It’s Going to Be Everyone.”

And that’s why I’m proud to feature Ashton and voices of the people of Thompson on my website. And it’s why I’m asking you to watch their powerful video, hear their stories, and share them with everyone you know.  

Regular people across the world are standing up right now and saying “No!” to the future they have planned for us. We won in Egypt. We’re waking up and fighting back across the U.S. Let’s all stand with Thompson and make it the place where we turn the tide in this awful war. As Kamal Abbas, one of Egypt’s most important union leaders, said in a video message to Wisconsin: “We stand with you, as you stood with us.”

(Confidential to people of Thompson: we’re not saying Americans will only help if you promise to introduce us to Justin Bieber. We’re just saying, you know, it couldn’t hurt.)

Posted February 27, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Porky Pig needs his mouth washed out with soap   Leave a comment



 Smoked pork.  A cigarette smoking Pig, how politically incorrect.  Not to mention the Duck.

Posted February 25, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Space traffic jam up at International Space Station (ISS)   Leave a comment

After months of delays, mission managers are conducting one final review to make sure the space shuttle Discovery, its six-astronaut crew, and the conditions at its destination – the International Space Station – are in order for the launch of Discovery’s on her 39th and final flight. The shuttle is currently slated to lift off on Thursday, Feb. 24. 

A big item on the review docket is whether adjustments need to be made to Discovery’s launch schedule to accommodate other cargo craft heading to the orbiting outpost.

The European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 launched Wednesday (Feb. 16) from the northeast coast of South America after a one-day delay due to a technical glitch. The ATV-2, called the Johannes Kepler, is now in the midst of an eight-day journey to the space station to deliver about 7.1 tons (6,400 kilograms) of supplies.

Discovery is targeted to liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Feb. 24, the same day that the ATV-2 Johannes Kepler is now scheduled to arrive and dock at the space station.

Artist impression of ATV docking with ISS.

European Space Agency ATV

Initially, NASA officials thought the space traffic jam would force mission planners to delay Discovery’s launch by one day – to Feb. 25. But, NASA officials announced Wednesday (Feb. 16) via Twitter that the launch of Discovery’s STS-133 mission will not necessarily be moved. This was also confirmed early on in today’s meeting, where live updates are being provided through Twitter.

Last week, space shuttle program managers met and unanimously agreed to proceed toward the orbiter’s targeted launch. Officials also discussed the possibility of adding a bonus photo session to the flight, in which the Russian Soyuz capsule will undock from the space station and fly around to snap photographs of Discovery while the ship is docked to the fully completed orbiting lab.

The unique photo opportunity is being discussed during today’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR), but the latest Twitter update from the meeting confirmed that a final decision on the matter will not be made prior to Discovery’s launch.

“All partners will have a vehicle docked to ISS during STS-133 – decision for Soyuz fly about for pics will be made during flight,” NASA officials said via Twitter.

Also docked at the ISS is the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), nicknamed Kounotori (Oriental Stork or White Stork), is an unmanned resupply spacecraft used to resupply the Kibō Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and the rest of the International Space Station (ISS). The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been working on the design since the early 1990s. The first mission, HTV-1, was originally intended to be launched in 2001. It lifted-off at 17:01 UTC on September 10, 2009 on an H-IIB launch vehicle.

HTV is about 10 m long (including maneuvering thrusters at one end) and 4.4 m in diameter. Total mass is 10.5 tonnes, with a 6,000 kilograms (13,000 lb) payload.  HTV is a larger and simpler vehicle than the Progress spacecraft currently used by Russia to bring supplies to the station, since it does not have a complex docking and approach system. Instead, it will be flown just close enough to the station to allow capture by Canadarm2, which will pull it to a berthing port on the ISS Harmony module.

The Progress is a Russian expendable freighter spacecraft. The spacecraft is an unmanned resupply spacecraft during its flight but upon docking with a space station it allows astronauts inside, hence it is classified manned by the manufacturer.  It was derived from the Soyuz spacecraft, and is launched with the Soyuz rocket. It is currently used to supply the International Space Station, but was originally used to supply Soviet space stations for many years. There are three to four flights of the Progress spacecraft to the ISS per year. Each spacecraft remains docked until shortly before the new one, or a Soyuz (which uses the same docking ports) arrives. Then it is filled with waste, disconnected, deorbited, and destroyed in the atmosphere. Because of the different Progress variants used for ISS, NASA uses its own nomenclature where “ISS 1P” means the first Progress spacecraft to ISS.

As mentioned above also docking at the ISS will be the Automated Transfer Vehicle or ATV which is an expendable, unmanned resupply spacecraft developed by the European Space Agency (ESA).  ATVs are designed to supply the International Space Station (ISS) with propellant, water, air, payload and experiments. In addition, ATVs can reboost the station into a higher orbit.

Jules Verne ATV at bottom of photo docking at ISS.

With all this action the following spacecraft will all be docked at the ISS at the same time: the Space Shuttle Discovery, The European Space Agency Kepler ATV, Russian Progress supply vehicle, Russian Soyuz-TMA capsule and Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle.  Five spacecraft hovering around the Space Station all at once.  They are going to need a traffic cop up there to keep everything straight.  m

Idea for this post provided by D.N. 

Posted February 24, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Libyan oil   Leave a comment

The people of Libya have a lot at stake in the current power struggle in that country. Libya is a major world oil exporter.  It ranks ninth in proven oil reserves in the world.  And it has a relatively small population of 6.42 million. 

Country proven reserves of oil (bbl)
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
United States


Gaddafi and his cronies have committed to fight to the death to maintain power.  It could get real ugly before it is over.  Oil can do that to people.


Posted February 23, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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VLT gambling control card could stop a lot of grief   2 comments

Many people are inclined to take the leap into the dark and deep abyss that is Video Lottery Terminal addiction.  Once they sit down in front of the electronic bandits they can’t pull away until the mortgage payment or rent money has been swallowed up by the little mechanized devils.  For a small percentage of the population VLT’s have become a major problem.  A drain and burden financially and psychologically.

Since the widespread introduction of the gambling machines back in the early 1990’s in Canada provincial governments have become addicted to the revenue they generate.  In Manitoba some half-hearted attempts have been made to reduce the negative impact the mesmerizing metal buckets inflict on addicts.  Reducing the number of machines in establishments was one effort.  Come to think about it, that was the only effort.  Now hard-core VLT addicts have to drive around to different lounges and bars to find an open machine.  But if that doesn’t work they can drive to one of the provincially run casinos where there are hundreds of the contraptions waiting to suck dry the last hundred dollars from a down and out addict.


But there may be an idea out there that will help control the out of control gamblers.  The good people of Norway came up with the idea after experiencing many social problems caused by VLT addiction.  It is a VLT gambling control card.  VLT’s are configured where they can’t take coins or bills, only government issued cards.  A player can only get credits of $400 to $500 on the card per month.  When the $500 is used up the player has to wait until the 1st of the next month to get back into the action.  $500 is still not pocket change, but some addicts report spending thousands of dollars a month on the hazardous machines.

But before this takes place the Libertarians will be screaming about more government regulations affecting the average Joe’s life.  If the idiot can’t control his gambling urges tough luck.  Stay out of our lives government, the strong and righteous will prevail.  After all what is next?  Spending limit cards on beer consumption.  A person will only be allowed to spend $400 dollars a month on beer.  Where does it end?  Will there be spending limit cards on potato chips and chocolate bars?  The government is trying to control every aspect of our lives. Vive laissez-faire!

But if this control card idea can stop the horrid gambling problems that certain people face let’s go ahead with it.  Governments started this VLT blitz on society, it should be the government’s responsibility to help rectify gambling addiction.

Posted February 23, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Carrier aircraft take-off.   Leave a comment

No matter what your opinion is of American foreign policy, these huge carriers and their F/A-18’s are a formidable big stick in terms of 21st century gunboat diplomacy.

Posted February 22, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Dictators falling like dominoes in Middle East   1 comment

The spark was ignited in Tunisia, a small country in terms of land area with a population of 10.5 million.  It spread to Egypt, where Mubarak was forced to resign, Yemen, Iran, Algeria, Bahrain and to some extent Jordan, Syria and Morocco.  And now it looks as if one of the longest running dictatorships in the Arab world is about to collapse in Libya.  m

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi; also known simply as Colonel Gaddafi; born 7 June 1942) has been the de facto leader of Libya since a coup in 1969.

On 1 September 1969, a small group of junior military officers led by Gaddafi staged a bloodless coup d’état against King Idris, while he was in Turkey for medical treatment. His nephew, the Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, had been formally deposed by the revolutionary army officers and put under house arrest; they abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic.  The slim 27-year-old Gaddafi, with a taste for safari suits and sunglasses, then sought to become the new “Che Guevara of the age”.  To accomplish this Gaddafi turned Libya into a haven for anti-Western radicals, where any group, supposedly, could receive weapons and financial assistance, provided they claimed to be fighting imperialism.

Gaddafi’s days may be numbered as military units are switching sides going over to the opposition.  Even Vladimir Putin may not be able to save him now. 






Posted February 22, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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