Off-Topic Tuesday: Is a Potential Cancer Cure Being Ignored?

If you'll pardon the off-topic, non-humoresque... Da-da's father-in-law was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer, and Da-da would be remiss in letting this potentially very important article (ignored by the mainstream media because there's no money in it) get lost in the shuffle. Offered without further comment.

Is a Potential Cancer Cure Being Ignored?
Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer
Date: 17 May 2011 Time: 05:02 PM ET

On April 12, 1955, the first successful polio vaccine was administered to almost 2 million schoolchildren around the country. Its discoverer, University of Pittsburgh medical researcher Jonas Salk, was interviewed on CBS Radio that evening

"Who owns the patent on this vaccine?" radio host Edward R. Murrow asked him.

It was a reasonable question, considering that immunity to a deadly disease that afflicted 300,000 Americans annually ought to be worth something.

"Well, the people, I would say," Salk famously replied. "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"

In a world where the cancer drug Avastin — patented by the pharmaceutical company Genentech/Roche — costs patients about $80,000 per year without having been proven to extend lives, Salk's selflessness has made him the hero of many medical researchers today.

One of Salk's admirers is Evangelos Michelakis, a cancer researcher at the University of Alberta who, three years ago, discovered that a common, nontoxic chemical known as DCA, short for dichloroacetate, seems to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors in mice. Michelakis' initial findings garnered much fanfare at the time and have recirculated on the Web again this week, in large part because of a blog post ("Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice") that ignited fresh debate with people wondering if it was true.

The mechanism by which DCA works in mice is remarkably simple: It killed most types of cancer cells by disrupting the way they metabolize sugar, causing them to self-destruct without adversely affecting normal tissues.

Following the animal trials, Michelakis and his colleagues did tests of DCA on human cancer cells in a Petri dish, then conducted human clinical trials using $1.5 million in privately raised funds. His encouraging results — DCA treatment appeared to extend the lives of four of the five study participants — were published last year in Science Translational Medicine.

The preliminary work in rodents, cell cultures, and small trials on humans points to DCA as being a powerful cancer treatment. That doesn't mean it's the long-awaited cure — many other compounds have seemed similarly promising in the early stages of research without later living up to that promise — but nonetheless, Michelakis believes larger human trials on DCA are warranted.

Like Jonas Salk, Michelakis hasn't patented his discovery. It's not because he doesn't want to, but because he can't. When it comes to patents, DCA really is like the sun: It's a cheap, widely used chemical that no one can own.

In today's world, such drugs don't readily attract funding.

Pharmaceutical companies are not exactly ignoring DCA, and they definitely aren't suppressing DCA research — it's just that they're not helping it. Why? Drug development is ultimately a business, and investing in the drug simply isn't a good business move. "Big Pharma has no interest whatsoever in investing [in DCA research] because there will be no profit," Michelakis told Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.

[read more]

Make sure you take these five times a day with plenty of water.
Pay your cashier on the way out.

Unsuccessful Parenting Strategies Meet With Success and Other Inspirational Nonsense


Recently Da-da read about a 23-year-old mother who left her 2YO and 9MO kids on her mother's doorstep (presumably to ride grandma's ostrich) late at night. Reprehensible, o'course (and it shows you that once you're a parent, you're one FOREVER), but this did give Da-da an idea. Da-da's since left his own children (for the day, officer) on the doorstep of the Buck Institute for Aging so they can determine why Da-da's children have not only made him into such an old man in such a short time, but also to determine what skin conditioner he needs to keep from looking like solid rock. Good luck, guys.

Da-da undergoing special anti-aging therapy at the Redundancy Institute of Redundancy.


The Hitler Channel

Hitler liked to sew fear amongst his enemies (jeez, who doesn't?), and so does The History Channel -- except they do it to everybody. What once offered a decent historical overview (years ago) of various subjects -- most of them involving Hitler until all this fundamentalist, apocalyptic fervor began -- The Hitler Channel and Hitler International have denigrated into a morass of questionable programming, much of which revolves 24/7 around Armageddon and the Apocalypse and Nostradamus and the Mayan calendar (which says nothing about the world ending) -- that is, when it isn't serving up some of the most reprehensible depths of the horrid genre that is Reality TV. Indeed, it's gotten worse. The Hitler Channel now pollutes the airwaves with commercials highlighting their end-of-the-world fear mongering. And it's not even 2012, yet. Heads should roll at The Hitler Channel... hopefully during French Revolution Week (July 14th).

If this is where television is going, is it any wonder that the current crops of young people (who are savvier than previous generations in terms of knowing media brainwashing and manipulation when they see it) are turning away from TV to internet fare? If thine eye offends thee, wear a colored contact lens. If thy screen lies, pop it with a ball peen hammer. Be sure to turn it off first -- the screen not the hammer: it's tough to achieve enlightenment when you're dead.

NOTE: Terry Jones', "BARBARIANS" series, shown on Hitler Int'l, is worth watching.


A Memorial Day Conundrum

Time to memorialize where Uncle Sam put all of Da-da's -- and everyone else's -- tax money... which is where exactly?? It's certainly not in the pockets of veterans. Since 2001, the U.S. Government has spent $1.3 Trillion on wars no one wanted (no one except military contractors and paid-for politicos). Da-da seems to recall a war fought over "taxation without representation," but what about "spendability without accountability"? Show Da-da the money.


Our Bipolar Sun (or, "Is That Your Pole Moving, or Are You Just Glad to See Me?")

A few days ago, the folks at SpaceWeather posted a story on our, "Quiet Sun," then three days later edited it to, "Intensifying Solar Activity." The sun's up, it's down, it's up, it's down, it's... bipolar, and needs to go back on its meds. What Da-da's not seen anyone talking about is the sun's increasingly frequent Bz oscillation between north- and south-facing polarity (not to mention the puzzlingly low 10.7 cm flux). Regardless, from the earth's perspective, it's like switching a light on and off again, with more -- then less -- high energy particles streaming into the poles as the magnetic fields either attract or repel, like flipfloppy happy/sad faces.

What this does to the earth is unknown, though Da-da suspects that the sun's core is... well, flipfloppy happy/sad, which should cause the earth to follow its flipfloppy happy/sad magnetic lead; the earth's north pole has been wandering quite a bit these days, so it's only a matter of time before south is the new north. From magnetic striping on the sea floor, we know that the earth and sun have changed polarity many times in the past, causing what's called 'zebra striping' as iron particles in cooling magma align themselves with the dominant magnetic field present, like little bar magnets floating in setting Jell-O (the last event was 780,000 years ago, which is a long time between snack cups); the Cenozoic has seen tons of reversals compared to the Mesozoic.

What's most interesting is that during these south-facing episodes, both the sun's and earth's magnetic field is typically a whole order of magnitude weaker than when it faces north. Again, we have no idea why, except that the sad face usually has less energy, which is to be expected with sad faces. Interestingly enough, the south-facing periods line up nicely (though it's not very nice) against the record of extinction intensity (southern polarity potentially bringing more extinction events).

What this means is that more high energy particles reach the earth's surface and the core during times of southern polarity, theoretically causing more volcanism and tectonic eventage (the earth has to do something with that extra energy), and potentially lower temperatures due to volcanoes spewing sulphur and carbon dioxide and all-purpose dust into the upper atmosphere. It also means increased instances of genetic mutation, along with huge radioactive reptiles attacking major cities and waves of Sgt. Pepper hippie zombie attacks, but that's a whole other post. Get your tie-dye bullets at Walmart now.

And you thought Davey Jones was dead. He is... and he WANTS TO EAT YOUR BRAIN.

Da-da's Listening to...


Da-da's Listening to...

...101 strings attached. No need to fight over the booze, baby. And stolen library books make Da-da HOT (he's already turned you in for the reward).


What the Heck's Going on Here?

Local Dallas news called these, "transformer explosions" in the early hours of May 10th, apparently after a storm, but no storm is apparent. So... what's that sphere-like object that pops in an out just prior to each explosion, but in different places? Could be a lens flare, but not all of them can be chalked up to lens reflection, as they appear in places where there shouldn't be any reflection.

Da-da's Secret LEFT-BEHIND Burger Recipe

This one comes with its own paramedic.

Now that nearly all of us survived the Rapture (well, the first one), there's really nothing left to do but share Da-da's favorite burger recipe, with sincere apologies to vegetarians, big-eyed cows and Ascended Masters everywhere. As many of you know, few things can replace a really good burger... except for maybe sleep... ...and sex... and maybe a fresh baguette and a cup of coffee... and enlightenment. Ok, lots of things can replace a really good burger, but that messes up Da-da's article so get thee behind me, un-Raptured Left-Behind hunger-monger.

Da-da refuses to eat fast food burgers. 99.9999% of them contain vast amounts of chemicals to make the "meat" taste like "meat," not the least of which is RIBOFLAVIN (not the vitamin, but the Jerry Lewis nuclear/alien variant, try saying it out loud), along with radioactive waste, ground up attorneys and vampires (tough to discern that one), Agent Orange (now used as a "green" household cleanser, go figure) and old burnt tires from behind elementary schools. Mmm-mm.

The good news is that YOU can make a better, tastier burger with just a quick, mincing tweakage. Few of you realize that Da-da has already spent too many years sleuthing out the best burger recipe in the world, let alone one epsecially suited to those of us... LEFT BEHIND. [sniff.] Like finding the best take-out mexican food place in existence, this wasn't easy (more on that later). A lot of chefs won't tell you everything that's in their burger (and they have the advantage of prime beef), but after torturing several with a mixtape of Montovani and Jose Jimenez and Burl Ives and "Chipmonk Christmas," PLAYED SIMULTANEOUSLY, they cracked, and now Da-da's gonna spill. It's pretty simple, actually. Enjoy.
Da-da's Secret LEFT-BEHIND Burger Recipe

4 lbs ground beef (90/10 or 80/20)
2-3 shallots minced
1 T. red bell pepper, minced
1 T. dijon
2 T. ketchup
3 T. worcestershire (Da-da typically uses a tbls per lb of beef)
S&P (IMPORTANT: Use Lawry's Seasoning salt.)
Get good beef from a reliable source, or don't and see if Da-da cares. Grass fed might be vogue (why?), but it's got half the flavor, so get the other kind, with decent fat content (80/20). Set the beef out for about an hour to warm it up to room temperature, then mince and mix all ingredients by hand. Squishy squishy. Let the formed burgers rest while you fire up the grill (if you're going to use charcoal, light the grill first).

Note: In forming patties, Da-da presses down on the middle of the burger, so the center is a little thinner than the sides; this helps cook the whole thing evenly, without a rare patch, unless you like ze rare patch. Grill 5-6 min./side (or to your burnt-offering liking), and top with cheese, if desired. Toast the buns, and be sure to make a plate of lettuce and onion and real kosher pickles, etc. If you want an In-N-Out-esque burger sauce, use equal parts mayo and red chili sauce (which is better than ketchup, don't ask Da-da why) and a little sweet relish and pinch of salt. Note: Da-da slices Bronko and Nagurski's burgers in half, horizontally, before putting them on the bun, so they can get their mouths on them. Serve with whatever you like to serve with burgers. A steroidal ear of corn, perhaps?

The 'Nome Synch Zone

Submitted for your approval: five 176 bpm metronomes that are about to take a trip through oddness and obsolescence, through a zone whose influential boundaries are that of synchronization. Your next stop: the 'Nome Synch Zone. This is not unlike effects seen in junior high school band drum sections (and some rhythm-challenged high schools and colleges) where the sections are suddenly suspended above grounding substrates, either by extremely large cans of diet soda, or shouts coming from the band director.


Ping Pong Ball vs. Giant Testicle

This is very interesting -- provided you like fluid dynamics and... well, pain -- and if you've studied any physics or chemistry or casino operations, you know that it's all about fluid dynamics and pain (and not just giant testicle simulacra). Everything acts as a fluid. Except Da-da's head. That's a solid.

Here, a water-filled ping pong ball impacts a giant testicle water-filled balloon at 600 fps (impelled by a leaf-blower, which influences the "bounce"). The obverse view is especially interesting. BTW, guys, next time put some dots on the ping pong ball, so we can see if it's spinning. And wear your cup.

Gimmick UP, Movie Pants

HEY. Earth to Hollywood: 3-D is STUPID. If your movie sucks, don't gimmick it up with another dimension. That just makes it a sucky movie with a Z-axis (sucky being the technical term). Like a bunch of other parents with a limited budget, Da-da will never take his kids to see a 3-D movie. Same goes for 3-D TVs, which are such a myopic waste of rare earth minerals it slags Da-da's bile meter. So, Hollywood, you can do one of two things to secure future amounts of Da-da's moolah:
  1. Stick with 2-D, or...
  2. Go William Castle.
If you're going to make mediocre movies with recycled story lines and drive-thru dialog, at least take a page from old-school-schlock producer William Castle. Review the following schlossian tactics for each movie and gimmick employed (courtesy wikipedia, lightly edited by yours truly); Da-da doesn't normally like to quote this much material, but it's very good, as you'll see. Each link is a William Castle film (duh):
  • Macabre (1958): A certificate for a $1,000 life insurance policy from Lloyd's of London was given to each customer in case they should die of fright during the film. Showings also had nurses stationed in the lobbies and hearses parked outside the theater.[1]
  • House on Haunted Hill (1959): Filmed in "Emergo." An inflatable, glow in the dark skeleton attached to a wire floated over the audience during the final moments of some showings of the film to parallel the action on the screen when a skeleton arose from a vat of acid and pursued the villainous wife of Vincent Price.[2] The gimmick did not always instill fright; sometimes the skeleton became a target for some audience members who hurled candy boxes, soda cups or any other objects at the skeleton.[3]
  • The Tingler (1959): Filmed in "Percepto." In the film a docile creature that lives in the spinal cord is activated by fright, and can only be destroyed by screaming. In the film's finale one of the creatures removed from the spine of a mute woman killed by it when she was unable to scream is let loose in a movie theatre. Some seats in theatres showing the Tingler were equipped with larger versions of the hand-held joy buzzers attached to the underside of the seats. When the Tingler in the film attacked the audience the buzzers were activated as a voice encouraged the real audience to "Scream -- scream for your lives!"[4] Articles regarding this often incorrectly state the seats in the theatre were wired to give electrical jolts.
  • 13 Ghosts (1960): Filmed in "Illusion-O." A handheld ghost viewer/remover with strips of red and blue cellophane was given out to use during certain segments of the film. By looking through either the red or blue cellophane the audience was able to either see or remove the ghosts if they were too frightening.[5]
  • Homicidal (1961): This film contained a "Fright break" with a 45 second timer overlaid over the film's climax as the heroine approached a house harboring a sadistic killer. [Talk about picking up the pace.] A voiceover advised the audience of the time remaining in which they could leave the theatre and receive a full refund if they were too frightened to see the remainder of the film. To ensure the more wily patrons did not simply stay for a second showing and leave during the finale Castle had different color tickets printed for each show.[6] In a trailer for the film, Castle explained the use of the Coward's Certificate and admonished the viewer to not reveal the ending of the film to friends, "or they will kill you. If they don't, I will."[7] About 1% of patrons still demanded refunds, and in response:
"William Castle simply went nuts. He came up with 'Coward's Corner,' a yellow cardboard booth, manned by a bewildered theater employee in the lobby. When the Fright Break was announced, and you found that you couldn't take it anymore, you had to leave your seat and, in front of the entire audience, follow yellow footsteps up the aisle, bathed in a yellow light. Before you reached Coward's Corner, you crossed yellow lines with the stenciled message: 'Cowards Keep Walking.' You passed a nurse who would offer a blood-pressure test. All the while a recording was blaring, "'Watch the chicken! Watch him shiver in Coward's Corner'!" As the audience howled, you had to go through one final indignity -- at Coward's Corner you were forced to sign a yellow card stating, 'I am a bona fide coward.' Very, very few were masochistic enough to endure this. The one percent refund dribbled away to a zero percent, and I'm sure that in many cities a plant had to be paid to go through this torture. No wonder theater owners balked at booking a William Castle film. It was all just too damn complicated."[8]
  • Mr. Sardonicus (1961): In this gothic tale set in 1880s London, a baron's face is frozen into a permanent, grotesque, hideous smile after digging up his father's grave to retrieve a lottery ticket left in the pocket of his father's jacket. The audiences were allowed to vote in a "punishment poll" during the climax of the film -- Castle himself appears on screen to explain to the audience their options. Each member of the audience was given a card with a glow in the dark thumb they could hold either up or down to decide if Mr. Sardonicus would be cured or die during the end of the film. Supposedly, no audience ever offered mercy so the alternate ending was never screened.[9]
  • Zotz! (1962): Each patron was given a "Magic" (gold colored plastic) coin which, of course, did absolutely nothing.[10]
  • 13 Frightened Girls (1963): Castle launched a worldwide hunt for the prettiest girls from 13 different countries to cast in the film.[9]
  • Strait-Jacket (1964): Advised by his financial backers to eliminate gimmicks, Castle hired Joan Crawford to star and sent her on a promotional tour to theatres. At the last minute, Castle had cardboard axes made and handed out to patrons.[9]
  • I Saw What You Did (1965): The film was initially promoted using giant plastic telephones but after a rash of prank phone calls and complaints, the telephone company refused Castle permission to use them or mention telephones. So he turned the back rows of theatres into "Shock Sections". Seat belts were installed to keep patrons from being jolted from their chairs in fright.[11]
  • Bug (1975): Castle advertised a million-dollar life insurance policy taken out on the film's star, "Hercules" the cockroach.[12]

C'mon, Hollywood, there are TONS of weird, fringey, unemployed people (like Da-da) who'd giggle like little girls to be given the $10/hr. opportunity to touch people in dark movie theaters with long plastic skeleton arms and other marital aids. Can you afford not to?? No. To (badly) paraphrase an old William Castle line, "SCHEME -- scheme for your lives!"


What Serves as "Manly" These Days?

Now that The Rapture has come and gone, it's time to tackle the tough questions, like: what's the post-post-modern definition of "manly" now, anyway? Da-da has said for years (well before best-selling books on the subject) that men are the new women. Men have become so pathetically sensitive that they cry at the thought of a soiled canape, hug anything within reach, tell their life stories at the drop of a chromosome, pine for design, yearn for That Perfect Font (which is Courier, hello?), turn horribly tragic poetry into horribly tragic "art" foisted on Tumblr between crying jags, and stay at home to raise the children while wearing feckless tie-dye and blogging about it (hey).

Confounding this is the new-and-improved truth: women are the new men, even without the italics. They're all tough and sexy and cool, heavily armed zombie killers climbing that corporate glass ceiling and taking everyone prisoner while rock climbing and spelunking -- and looking HOT doing it, ow. What really passes for manly these days? WOMEN. But that's a different point that leaves Da-da looking for a new font family.

So what passes for manly these days -- for men? To Da-da's boss (ze wife, or Ma-ma to you), manly merely means taking out the trash and keeping the kitchen clean, as well as tolerating the slow, quantum parenting death of a million errands, a billion tinytown tantrums, and a quadrillion kid-meal explosions. To Da-da, manly means... talking about yourself in the third person? No. Um, it means... ok, he's forgotten what it means. What was he saying? Oh. Like any unsung hero, DA-DA DOESN'T CARE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER WHAT IT MEANS. Indifference? Yes, INDIFFERENCE. That's MANLY, right? No, not really, but that taco-meme is already wrapped and bagged and passed through the drive-thru window of your mind, where it will give you some initial digestive problems, but won't be life threatening... at least not directly. You're welcome, here's your change. Time for that celebratory creme de menthe... wait... what? Oh, right. Have to take the trash out first. Crap.

Manliness starts with three remotes, taming a possessed cat, and chugging
a tumbler of creme de menthe after a hard day in the Mr. Mom trenches. Does to. Shut up.

Oh. Now Da-da understands. Perhaps too much.



Sadly, Da-da's bid for Paradise was rejected because of some priors on his record (Da-da didn't know the chicken OR the plunger both had built-in recording devices, damn), so he got sent back down to Triple-A Pergatory (highest level, cool). At least he got this great t-shirt that reads:


When Da-da got home he realized that they gave him a medium. Crap.

Dang. Da-da looked HOT in that angel outfit, too.

Da-da Got Raptured After All

Da-da can see your house from here.

Hi, all. Yeah, so Da-da got Raptured (they were backlogged). He's currently sitting at a gynormicon weigh station in the clouds, sipping espresso and awaiting his number to be called (Da-da has ticket #4,989,342,007). Luckily, they have free wireless Internet here and free netbooks -- and this amazing espresso machine -- so Da-da's posts go on for... uh... hold on, there's an announcement... ah. They just called #4,989,342,001 (they're crankin'), so Da-da's pretty close. More news after Da-da's number's called.

Wow, the music here is first rate -- and LIVE. Martin Denny is currently onstage with Miles Davis doing a techno-polynesian cover of the Clash's, "London Calling," with bars of 5/8 sprinkled with 17/32, Woody Guthrie and C.P.E. Bach doing tropical bird calls. Amazing.

Huh. The Rapture Actually Occurred...

...for prairie dogs. First it was the dinosaurs, then the dodos (except those on Capitol Hill), then the turkeys, the pigs, and now the prairie dogs. Damn. (So to speak.) Krikey, when will it be RAPTURE TIME for those of us with mommy brain? Like many before him, Da-da will simply have to take comfort in a really big spiky pickle. All Hail Spiky Pickle!


Going UP... or Not

(image courtesy Elevator Bob)

This just in. Escalators for the... uh, larger members of Rapturian society have been appearing everywhere in anticipation of the main event on May 21st (a.k.a, the RAPTURE). Those who might put more strain on the machinery than others (like Da-da, but muscle weighs MORE than fat, hello?) might want to show up early (and flash the barcode tattoo under your hairline). Da-da's always straining machinery of some kind or other.

Note: most of these escalators go UP, but some of those pesky DOWN escalators have also been appearing (like this one in the Pentagon, see below)... and they look oddly compelling. Next stop: The Blood of the Vanquished. See you all in the lounge. Da-da will be in the off-white sequined smoking jacket. (No, you can't go with Da-da, as he'll be taking the DOWN escalator from The Big White Spirit House, as he already secured a, "Purgatory and All Points South" hall pass from the Big Kahuna, Who's cool with... well, everything. Most of you think He's ANGRY all the time, but you're so wrong. Man, is He MELLOW.)

(image courtesy lecasio)

Rapturians, Please Feed the...

For those Rapturians heading out on Saturday, May 21st's, "Rapture Day," would you please feed all the pigs and turkeys that vanished due to this past holiday Turkey Rapture and Pig Rapture? And it would be great if you'd cut some of the mold off the hams and pile more wood in the smokehouse, thanks a bunch. In the meantime, Da-da needs to get busy occupying your properties and driving all your Buick LeSabres. Livin' the dream!


The Smoking Ruin?

Showing his oldest how to use an online reference tool, Da-da did a dictionary.com/thesaurus search for, "American," and it said: "No thesaurus results. Did you mean marijuana?"

[techno-overhead: FF9PG59VXAMC YGWUGAG3SFSQ]


Haunted Candy

Da-da is taking the inmates to one-of-the-many-few school fundraiser carnivals this evening, "in the night-night time," as Bronko says. All morning, he's been talking excitedly about getting some, "haunted candy." Haunted candy? Da-da asked him to repeat it, over and over, gave up then tried again, trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about. Turns out he was excited about, "COTTON CANDY." Haunted candy sounds better, and is probably more aptly named, long-term.


Da-da's Open Pre-Commencement Day Letter to the President

Let's get this baby off the ground.
To: President Barack Obama
From: A Man Called Da-da

Greetings, Mr. President. First off, please forgive the third-person tenor of this open letter. After being Mr. Mom for six years, the nerves in Da-da's head have ostensibly lost the art of self-centered self-awareness. Anyway, Da-da writes you this letter as Commencement Day for schools everywhere is almost upon us, and Da-da had an idea that might not only help kids, it might also help those writing Commencement Day speeches. Now, rather than backtrack and talk about the past and the present and the sputnik and the thing, Da-da's gonna do one quick run-on PAST, then plunge headlong into the FUTURE. Here we go.

Da-da will begin with a big, "duh": Education is important. It's also broken, and no one seems to be able to do anything to fix it. And with Every Child Left Behind working no wonders -- but definitely getting kids used to taking lots of tests and not learning much and being stressed out all the time because of all the tests and preparing for tests and not learning much and the fact that teachers pass on this stress due to having to deal with all the soulless busywork homework and tests and preparing for the tests and not... you know, TEACHING -- well, no one's very happy. Indeed, 98% of folks agree that the program should be abolished, esp. as suicide rates among kids are increasing in step with Every Child Left Behind, but that's another issue. The purpose of this letter is the offering of a quiet, reasonably inexpensive and not-so-radical idea for the future of education. Ready?

You, Mr. President, could create a new university system called, "The University" (or somesuch), based on small, liberal arts college models, installing an inexpensive university and fully wired library in every state -- and in every country the U.S. is friends with -- granting untold access to a whole world of students via collaborative, global-reach learning. This would inject money into building projects in every state, and employ all those teachers and PhDs who are currently bagging groceries and piloting taxicabs, or simply feeling hopelessly unemployed. It would build libraries with real books that work even if the power goes out. It would install high speed networks linking all these universities and libraries and students and faculty and brain trusts together into a massive living global encyclopedia of shared humanity, fostering distance learning and international unity. (Might want to read that last one again.) It would open doors to students who are interested in both learning and serving their fellow beings who see other people in other countries as PEOPLE, people without the pressure of politics or sports or parties or consumerism or expensive corporate research... you know, education without an agenda. Create a university system whose charter is to create enlightened, omnidimensional thinkers who love learning and teaching and exploring, and can think abstractly for themselves.

Most importantly, the group of (say a few thousand) students would receive the best education money can buy -- for free -- so a clear higher-ed alternative exists for kids to shoot for, kids from all over, worldwide.

Those who think this is all about spending *their* money will invariably be howling at this point (if not much sooner), calling Da-da all variety of names. But Da-da has news for you: it's not your money. It's OUR money. It always was. And OUR money is being wasted on things with no value. What things? Da-da will tell you.

If we table untenable missions to Mars that benefit no one, and cease wars that no one wants (except military contractors and oil companies, boo hoo), and cancel blackworld projects that no one can account for (and are thus illegal), and stop participation in unwinnable wars on drugs, we could use a tiny fraction of those saved trillions of dollars (yes, trillions) for something constructive. We could not only rebuild education, we could boost it a whole order of magnitude -- you know, like a "leader" country would, back when we were one.

Do this, Mr. President, and you're suddenly, "The Education President." Why the hell not? The American Dream doesn't have to be dead. Why not install the hope of education everywhere? It would act as a global stabilizing influence. I think you'll also find that educated people are kinder people, less willing to foment violence and lust for power and call for the, "death of enemies," and who are more willing to... well, COMPROMISE.

Correct Da-da if he's wrong here, but COMPROMISE is what used to make America work. The lion's share of self-absorbed, self-centered ME-ME-ME special interest Americans have forgotten the word -- COMPROMISE, it bears repeating -- as evidenced by all the suffering it currently causes. We can not only remember it, but reify it here, getting together to educate future generations in an educational experiment like none other, raising a child's mind higher than any mind has ever gone before. Isn't this what all parents want? Shouldn't this be the goal of humanity? Educating people not just so they can get high paying jobs, but educating such that the system yields decent, open-minded people who can, "think sideways," and naturally work together. Every employer would fight over these kinds of graduates -- in every country. This may sound preposterous to some, but it's nothing if not entirely rational. And entirely do-able. And entirely human. Mr. President, Da-da eagerly awaits your feedback.

Best regards,

A Man Called Da-da
U.S. Citizen Taxpayer

Kids don't have to look like this.


The House of NO

Da-da has built and lives in the unapologetic House of NO. NO, you can't watch any more TV today, one hour is enough. NO, you can't play video games, they rot your attention span and serve no purpose. NO, you can't run around naked outside (not till college). NO, you can't bite your brother's neck, Da-da doesn't want to clean up the blood... NO! And YES, Da-da has reasons for all these negations. He will explain them in detail, if you'd like, with chalkboard illustrations, sources and character witnesses, if necessary. And YES, your feelings are noted, as always.

However, as Da-da says many times every month, he is not here to be liked. He's not your friend, he's your FATHER and zoo keeper. He's here to do his duty, to wear the Arbiter's Sweatpants of Safety, Common Sense (which is certainly not common anymore), Goodness, Fair Play, and a lot of other Capitalized Words that are increasingly archaic no matter how terrible the cost is to Da-da himself. Otherwise, he would be a poor candidate for Da-da, and hence, no use to small beings everywhere, so there. 

Ok, which one of you detonated the atomic bomb in the living room again?


Da-da's Post-Postmodern Pledge of Allegiance

Now that my oldest is in kindergarten, they're starting to try to make them mindlessly chant the Pledge of Allegiance. Pledge of allegiance? Da-da thought that Cold War dinosaur was long buried and yielding dirty crude at some lower, blackworld strata, but BOOM, there it is, like Dick Cheney back from the dead. Da-da's pretty sure some won't like this, but to what, exactly, are these kids pledging themselves? With this in mind, Da-da got cranky and wrote his own post-postmodern pledge of allegiance for today's schools.
Da-da's Post-Postmodern Pledge of Allegiance

I'll try to look at that flappy stripey thing above this place I live in
      (which isn't all that united, lemme tell ya).
And to the police state which will tax me till I die (and for what, exactly?),
Many corporations, wa-aay divisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all the executives.
"Guy Fawkes, clean up on aisle nine. Guy Fawkes...."


A Pre-Father's Day Volley

In Da-da's previous post, Mother's Day Post-mortem, he featured Bronko and Nagurski's school questionnaires re: their Ma-ma, with someone (probably Da-da's mother-in-law) anonymously commenting:
"Why is Mom, according to Bronko, cleaning house so much? Isn't that your job?!" 
Indeed, it is, though we share the house duties, so Da-da can at least keep some rights to his penis, if not the actual member itself, most of which was decommissioned at least one kid ago and shipped off to some containment facility, O the humanity. Wherewasi?  Oh. Da-da let the commenter know that much of Da-da's cleaning work is done when the kids are at school, but also promised to do his own questionnaire. About Da-da. So, here we go. Below are Bronko's responses, unedited and uncoached (the underlined portions are his answers), with Da-da's inexorable comments [in brackets]. Da-da hopes this puts this issue to rest.
From Bronko: "My Da-da"
What is your Da-da's name? Da-da. [Bronko actually gave Da-da's real first name.]

What does he look like? What color are his eyes and hair? What does he like to wear? He looks tired. His hair is white and red and brown and no hair. [Thanks, kid.] His eyes are blue and red and blue. [Must be the spice.] He likes to wear tie-dye shirts. [Damn hippy.]

What does he do for work? His computer.

What does he do at your house? He does games and cleans the house up and goes to school with me. [Ahem. As Wellington said to Napolean at Waterloo, "HA!"]

What do you do together? He plays with me. And builds robot box monsters. [True. Pics later.]

What makes your Da-da happy? Huggies and kisses. [In a manly way, arrrr.]

What does he do for fun? Do his computer and play with me. [Mmm. Da-da might need to work on his computer less.]

If you could give your Da-da a present, what would you give him? I would give him a trumpet. [Da-da used to be a musician -- indeed, he's now a recovering musician, having sold his prized horn to a friend so her kid could get some professional mileage out of it.]

This exercise must've worn out poor Bronko, as he promptly went into his room and crashed (getting up at 5:00 am didn't help). Anyway, there you have it. Da-da is tie-dye afflicted, cleans the house and spends too much time on this stupid computer (usu. editing lame html). That means it's time to start spend more time making kosher pickles and sauerkraut, as per this guy; his pickle recipe is awesome, btw. Speaking of pickles... gotta go. "Dr. Freud, clean up on Track Nine."

Da-da's decommissioned manhood on its way to a containment facility [sniff].


Mother's Day Post-mortem

Hi, honey. Looking good today.

The best thing about Mother's Day -- besides being compelled by Corporate America to buy cards and flowers and brunch, what a racket -- is the fun things kids make for mom. Bronko and Nagurski's respective schools had them do questionnaires about their MOM, which Da-da has compiled below, unedited (the underlined portions are what they wrote in). Enjoy.
From Nagurski: "My Special Mom"
My mom is the most wonderful mom in the whole world! She is as pretty as a butterfly. She weights 5 pounds and she is two hundred feet tall. Her favorite food is goldfish crackers. In the good old days, when mom was little, she used to like to sleep. I think mom looks funny when she
is hugging me. I wish mom would stay home everyday. I wouldn't trade my mom for all my stuffed animals! Happy Mother's Day, Love Nagurski.
Yes, that's right. Da-da married a lepidoptera -- a BIG ONE. 
From Bronko: "My Mom"
What is your mother's name? MOM

What does she look like? what color are her eyes and hair? What does she like to wear? The same big eyes as me. Brown hair, feather wings. She wears different clothes almost every day.

What does she do for work? She works with moms. [She actually doesn't.]

What does she do at your house? She cleans up.

What do you do together? Do puzzles, watch the chickens. [NOTE: we have no chickens.]

What makes your mother happy? Hugs and kisses make her happy; flying.

What does she do for fun? Clean up the house.

If you could give your mother a prsent, then what would you give her. Why? A flower. I think she likes flowers.
So, to sum up, Da-da's sleepy, giant, feather-winged butterfly-spouse clothes-horse apparently likes to clean and has a thing for flowers. What giant butterfly doesn't like flowers? But what's weirder is that Da-da MARRIED SUCH A CREATURE, which probably surprises no one, not even Da-da.

When MOM picks up the kids from school, it's an EVENT.


Happy Hallmark Day

Honey, why am I getting so big... and gray?
Happy Hallmark Day to all the mothers who had no idea that motherhood (and fatherhood) would accelerate the bigger grayer tireder machine ticking inside all of us. Of course this can be avoided, but for many, it's unavoidable. Happy M-day to all the mothers of the world who put up with all the children of the world, of all ages... regardless of what state they're in.

No, honey, you look... radiant!

Uh Oh...

...Da-da's listening to harp music. That means he's either soon to transition to the Land of Floaty Whiteness (Scotland?)... or it means that Da-da's New Age neighbors are up. The question is: HOW HIGH UP?


The Ultimate Prophylactic

Fig. 1. The female.
Ahem. If Da-da may have your attention, please. The Ultimate Prophylactic, that is, the ultimate pregnancy prevention device, involves the following. We could start anywhere, but let's start with one possible fated outcome: cat woman. She leads to...

Fig. 2. Opening the hood.

Fig. 3. Sharing germ-laden saliva. Sexy!
 ...and perhaps THIS, occasionally progressing to...

Fig. 4. The naughty bits.
...THIS (disgusting, but fuzzy), which every now and then (nine months later) leads to a couple months of...

Fig. 5. Pregnancy nausea (beta carotene version).
...THIS, along with denial and doubt and other D-words, but not in a nice, fun way. This moves on to...

Fig. 6. The alien.
...THIS, which other humans encourage for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is sharing the misery.

Fig 7. Post-pregnancy cleavage. Enjoy.
However, it's not all bad, as you do get these for a time, but eventually...

Fig. 8. The child (with future pot pie).
...you get THIS (and not always with a chicken, but it's a nice bonus). Soon after, you invariably find yourself firmly entrenched in...

Fig. 9. Parenthood.
...THIS. Parenthood: The Ultimate Prophylactic. Of course, this is only the beginning. Your cute little chreub eventually turns into...

Fig. 10. The teenager.

...THIS. If by some miracle you're still in the mood, Da-da suggests reviewing the above images again.
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