I’m An Author Now

My history textbook, “A Biblical Interpretation of World History,” has officially come back from the print shop!  Today UPS dropped off three copies and a letter from my publisher, Rosedog Books.  I also got some tips by e-mail on how to promote it, like doing an author’s signing in a local bookstore; that got Leive excited.  This is a project I have been working on since 1997, so I’m glad to see it finally completed.

Rosedog “publishes on demand,” meaning that they only print books when they get requests for them.  That saves warehouse space, among other things.  At first it will only be available through the publisher.  I looked on their site, the RoseDog Bookstore, but I didn’t see it; until I call them tomorrow, I will assume they haven’t put it up yet.  Later I’ll try to sell it through Amazon, and as I get the price and other vital information, I’ll let you know about it here, and post links both from here and from The Xenophile Historian.  I also plan to write and send out another newsletter in October, the second for this year.

Back in the 1960s, Mao Zedong shook China with a “Little Red Book.”  Now how much can I change the world with a big green book?

So There IS Something Worth Seeing Under the Burqa

Back when I was a kid, I heard a silly song on the radio entitled, “My Daddy Was a Preacher and my Mama Was a Go-Go Girl.”  Now it has come true, sort of; in this case the preacher’s daughter is the go-go girl.  The preacher I’m talking about is Omar Bakri, Britain’s fiery Moslem clergyman.  He’s the UK equivalent of the Reverend Louis Farrakhan, and was bad enough to be deported a few years back; his sermons are believed to have inspired the July 7, 2005 bombings in London.  The news story begins as follows:

“As the daughter of firebrand cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, Yasmin Fostok might be expected to share his fanatical beliefs.

But the radical Muslim’s daughter has ditched his extreme interpretation of Islam – as well as most of her clothing.

The busty blonde has been revealed as a topless, tattooed pole dancer.

The 26-year-old single mother has been displaying her charms in London clubs and touring as a ‘podium’ dancer with a troupe called Ibiza Untouched.

Hundreds of youngsters go wild over the daughter of the preacher of hate who rants against Western ‘depravity’.

Yasmin shrugged off the secret life that her father would abhor. ‘I don’t agree with his views – I just get on with my life and that’s it,’ she said.

Perhaps predictably Bakri, now exiled to Lebanon, dismissed the news as a ‘ fabrication’ and described it as an attack on him and Islam.”

Read more at the link below:

Revealed: Radical cleric Bakri’s pole-dancer daughter

Unquote:  Here are some pictures of the improbable family.  First, Yasmin Fostok.  I put her “professional” picture behind a link, because some may find it distracting.  And yes, she has had cosmetic surgery, in case you were wondering.  Click here to see it.

And here’s how she’d look if you met her on the street.

Now here are the parents, Omar Bakri and his wife Hanan Fostok.

Finally, here’s a picture of Omar and his kids, taken back in the 1980s.  Yasmin is on the right, of course; to the left are her brothers Mohammed and Abdul.

If you’re like me, you probably think she’ll be in danger, now that word of her lifestyle has gotten out.  You know, the whole “honor killing” business, which shows that there are still barbarians in today’s world. Well, it happened with amazing speed.  The above article from Dailymail.co.uk was published last Saturday, and on Sunday night a follow-up story appeared, stating that police had taken her from her home to a secret location.  It looks like now she’ll know what life is like for Salman Rushdie.

Extremist cleric Omar Bakri’s daughter leaves home after pole dancing revelations

Next week marks seven years since we went into Afghanistan to uproot the Taliban and Al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda may only be a shadow of its former self, but the Taliban is still giving us a lot of trouble.  Of course we went in because Afghanistan had become a major terrorist stronghold, but let’s not forget that a Sharia-based Islamic state is also very bad news for at least half of its population.  Here’s an old picture from 2001 to remind us of what we’re fighting for, with or without the help of Western feminism:

Shana Tova, 5769!

Yes, tonight marks the start of a new year on the Jewish calendar.  The weather cooled down last night, to let any doubters know that summer is over.  All we still need are apples with honey, the appropriate food for Rosh Hashanah.  When I lived in Florida a new crop of North Carolina apples always showed up in time for the High Holy Days.  So far I haven’t seen that in Kentucky, though this is my third September here.  Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place.

It’s also time again for my favorite Rosh Hashanah video, “Shofar So Good”:

Happy New Year, and don’t let today’s bad news from Wall Street get you down; God still provides for His People!

Even Fanatics With Visions of Armageddon Must Have Their Caffeine

Imagine if you owned a coffee shop, and a customer said to you:  “This is magnificent coffee! I shall spare your life in the upcoming jihad!”

On The Xenophile Historian, I have the history of coffee in several segments.

From Chapter 4 of the African history:

Not only did the Ethiopian highlands provide a ready-made defense for the newcomers, but the different elevations of the mountains created several climates, allowing for a more diverse agriculture. In addition to the crops we’re familiar with from elsewhere, early Ethiopian farmers grew teff, a grain found nowhere else, and coffee trees. Coffee may be Ethiopia’s biggest contribution to the world at large (it still accounts for at least a fourth of Ethiopia’s income today), but until it was introduced to the Middle East, sometime between 1200 and 1500 A.D., it was only grown here.

While only the Ethiopians had coffee, the rest of the world used West African kola nuts instead.  From Chapter 5 of the African history:

Kola nuts were not in demand as a foodstuff, but as a source of caffeine; the world hadn’t discovered coffee yet.

If you’re from my generation, you may remember this 7-Up commercial featuring kola nuts, from the early 1970s:

Finally, a footnote in Chapter 13 of the Middle Eastern history will show you where I’m going with this:

A similar story surrounds coffee. Native to Africa, the coffee tree was introduced to the town of Mocha, Yemen, near the end of the Middle Ages. In the late sixteenth century the rest of the world discovered it, and the ulema almost unanimously took the view that coffee-drinking is the same sort of vice as wine-drinking. Some people were actually executed for satisfying their caffeine cravings. This time, however, the will of the people prevailed, because coffee is mentioned nowhere in the Koran, so coffee is now consumed even by fundamentalists.

I’m talking about coffee because I just saw a cartoon named Geeks on Caffeine, which shows what happened when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited an American coffee shop.  You probably heard that he was in New York City last week, to make another speech at the United Nations.  I posted a message about last year’s visit (see my entry from September 25, 2007), but didn’t say anything this time because he delivered the usual, predictable rant against Israel and the United States.  He didn’t even call on us to vote for Barack Obama in November, the way some other foreign leaders have done.

Anyway, the author of the cartoon, Scott Maxim, has requested that others refrain from posting it anywhere besides his website, so click on the URL below to see it:


Unquote:  Personally, I think the comic strip would be funnier if it happened in a Starbucks.  Do you remember some prominent foreign Arabs buying up Caribou Coffee a few years back, so it could compete with Starbucks?  They were bothered by Starbucks because it has a Jewish CEO, who supports the War on Terror.  In the case of the Saudis, they were probably also offended by the Starbucks logo, which shows a woman’s face (I always figured it was a New Age symbol, a mermaid or fairy queen, perhaps).

I seldom go to Starbucks; their products are all right, but they cost twice as much as the coffee and snacks I can get in a local convenience store.  In Orlando they have a similar company, Barnie’s Coffee & Tea.  When I lived in Orlando, I made it a point to have a cup of Barnie’s, whenever I was in an establishment that served it.  We ought to support the home team, after all!

“Do you think our Founding Fathers would have put up with any of this ****? They were blowing people’s heads off because they put a tax on their breakfast beverage. And it wasn’t even coffee.” — Dennis Miller

Joe Biden’s Historical Gaffe

First, an update to the previous message:  the Chinese spacewalk was a success.

China Completes First Spacewalk

Back in America, the Democratic vice presidential candidate is still putting his foot in his mouth so often, that I wonder how he can walk.  If the whoppers he told early this week haven’t gotten a lot of attention, it’s because our main attention is on the economy.  For example, Washington Mutual went out of business on Thursday night, and was bought up by Morgan Chase.  Therefore, the next time I go to central Florida, I expect that all the WAMU offices in the neighborhood where I used to live will have “Chase” signs on them.

The week began with Biden saying that an Obama administration would not allow the building of new coal-burning power plants, though Obama had earlier promised that clean coal would be a part of any future solution to our energy problems.  Well, Biden has just made sure that Kentucky and West Virginia won’t vote Democratic in November, though the polls currently show Obama ahead elsewhere.  Then on Tuesday Biden said this:

“When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed.  He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.'”

I’m mentioning this because I have a low tolerance for historical errors, when made by folks who ought to know better.  Did you spot the two mistakes there?  First, hardly anybody had TV sets that early.  Having a TV before the late 1940s was like being on the Internet in the 1970s and 1980s; you were in a domain reserved for geeks only.  Surely Biden must have known that FDR’s “Fireside Chats” were conducted on radio.  The first politician to use television successfully was Richard Nixon, with the “Checkers Speech” of 1952.  Second, the Great Depression had been going on for more than three years when Roosevelt became president.  Click here to read what I wrote about the Depression before Roosevelt got involved.  As a comment on another blog put it:

“And if you owned an experimental TV set in 1929, you would have seen him. And you would have said to yourself, ‘Who is that guy? What happened to President Hoover?'”

No wonder the most popular rumor currently going around on the right is that Biden will be replaced, a la Thomas Eagleton in 1972.  The current version I’m hearing goes like this:  The next time Biden says something stupid, he will either say he’s stepping down for the good of the party, or Obama will “throw him under the bus.”  Then Obama will do what he should have done to unite the party, and pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate.  Sometime after that, Obama himself will be disqualified, because he cannot produce documentation proving he is a natural born US citizen; the copies of his birth certificate posted online have been identified as fakes.  Like this one:

I am two years older than Obama and was born in the nearest state to Hawaii, California, so if this birth certificate is real, I would expect it to look something like mine.  Instead, my birth certificate contains much more information:  the name and address of the hospital, the name of the doctor, the ages of my parents, and a bunch of signatures from everyone involved except me.  What is the Obama campaign trying to hide?  That he wasn’t born, perhaps?

Anyway, to finish the theory, if Obama is disqualified after picking Hillary, then Hillary would become the Democratic candidate, or the 44th president if the election has already happened.  Sheesh, just when I thought we were free of the Clintons at last!  I guess I’ll need to get one of those bumper stickers that says, “No more Bushes, no more Clintons.  Deal?”

Chinese in Orbit, Fried Chicken for this Weekend

My mind is wandering all over the place this weekend.  Here are the random thoughts and comments that result from it:

1. Yesterday morning I heard that China launched its third manned space mission, this time with three astronauts, and one of them is going to try a spacewalk.  I have followed their space program with considerable interest; if I could talk with Yang Jiwei, the first astronaut they sent up, I would say to him and his country, “Now that you are here, I hope we can still be friends.”

This is only their third space flight since 2003; by contrast, back in the early days of the American and Soviet space programs, the USSR launched eight missions in the same amount of time, and the USA launched sixteen.  I’m guessing part of the reason is because space capsules and launch vehicles cost a lot more than they used to, as our own space shuttle showed us.  Another factor might be pride.  The Chinese are insisting that they do it all by themselves, rather than get help from us or the Russians, the way the European Space Agency does.  In fact, the excavation of the tomb of China’s first emperor has been proceeding very slowly for the same reason — the Chinese are waiting for the day when they can properly dig into the main mound, without assistance from foreign scientists.

China:  Space Craft Launches in key Mission

2. A website called Spike.com has posted a list of the top ten bad songs that hit #1 on the billboard charts.  For whatever reason (the author thought it was bad taste), people liked these songs when they came out, and because they did so well, they’ll never fade completely away.  Here they are, with a few comments from me:

10. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley (1988).  The video for this one is enjoying new life on YouTube.  I take it this is somebody’s idea of a practical joke?

9. “Batdance” by Prince (1989).  The theme of most Batman movies is that the hero is a borderline psychotic, especially in the latest one, “The Dark Knight.”  It seems to me that a heavy metal star would do a more appropriate song for a moody story like that, rather than a quirky star like Prince.

8. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin (1988).  Darn, I liked that one.  I even remember my pastor using it as the topic for a sermon!

7. “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys (1999).  For what it’s worth, the Backstreet Boys were Orlando’s biggest contribution to pop music.  Other central Florida bands worthy of note were N’Sync and the Genitorturers.  I still remember taking three hours to download this video for my daughter, back in the days of dial-up connections.

6. “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred (1992).  The article said this one’s supposed to be a satire.  I thought the satire was Elmer Fudd’s version of the song.

Weird Elmer Fudd Version

5. “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter (2006).  I never heard this one at all; it’s probably just as well.

4. “Who Let the Dogs Out?” by Baha Men (2000).  The less you hear of this one, the better.

3. “Wannabe” by Spice Girls (1997).  For someone like me, who prefers exotic music, this one is dull, D-U-L-L.

2. “Macarena” by Los Del Rio (1995).  Like #6 above, the parodies of it were better.  I’ll probably bring back bad memories if I say more.

1. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt (2005).  I honestly thought Rod Stewart was singing this one.  Which shows I wasn’t really paying attention to pop songs back then.

My main complaint is that the author of the article is too young to remember any bad songs from before 1988.  My memories go back to the early 1970s, so I’ve got a decade and a half more full of songs I’d like to forget.  Here in Lexington we have three classic rock stations and no top 40 station, so I hear the oldies just about every time I turn on an FM radio. Of course, some of them were probably meant to be be bad, like Loudon Wainright III’s “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” (1973), and most of the stuff that Dr. Demento plays.  If you want to read the whole article, and have the stomach to watch the videos, click on the link below.

The Ten Worst Songs That Hit #1

3. Speaking of dead skunks, I have noticed that there are more skunks in Kentucky than in Florida.  Since I drive through the countryside to get to work, it’s normal for me to smell one on the way.  You definitely don’t want a skunk to become roadkill, because if it does, you can smell it a mile away, and the stench on that spot can last as long as two weeks.  One time last week I passed one that was bad enough to make me gag, and I rolled up the windows — too late.  Evidently some of that stink got into my car while I had the window down, because I smelled it again when I got into the car to drive home that afternoon, eight and a half hours later!

Anyway, on Wednesday I happened to see a live skunk running across the road in front of me. Don’t worry, it was lucky enough to reach the other side.  This reminded me of the time down in Florida when I was driving Lindy home from a music practice, one Saturday afternoon, and I happened to see an armadillo strolling on a sidewalk.  Now armadillos are nocturnal, so what was this one doing out in the daytime?  I don’t know.  I told Lindy, but she was too slow in turning her head, and missed the shelled mammal completely.  Because of the armadillo’s habits, most people are far more likely to see one dead than alive, and Lindy had never seen a live one, so she didn’t believe me.

4. Finally, yesterday I found out that September is National Chicken Month.  The town of London, KY is in the part of Kentucky where Colonel Sanders got started (you may remember that I visited his first restaurant last June), so this weekend they’re having the 19th Annual World Chicken Festival.  Sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun for everybody but the chickens.  Meanwhile, back here in Lexington, the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus has arrived in town, and the city celebrated by getting some firemen with a hose to wash five elephants in a downtown park.

Something to Cluck About

Bullwinkle Assassinated

This is a bad year to be a kiddie show character.  A few months ago we lost Larry Harmon, better known as Bozo the Clown.  I still remember when he ran for president as an independent in 1984.  He campaigned with his Bozo makeup on, and his slogan was, “Put a real Bozo in the White House.”

From a blog named Explorations.

p.s., A moose bit my sister . . .

Quiet and Dry

Man, we sure could use some rain.  We didn’t get any when Hurricane Ike zipped through the Midwest a week and a half ago, just wind.  In fact, I don’t remember any rain over the past two weeks.  The weather forecast has a 20 percent chance of rain for tomorrow, but otherwise we’re quiet and dry.  According to the radio, Kentucky is now officially in a drought.  It also seems to be warmer than usual; with highs in the 80s, our air conditioner still kicks on during the day, if not at night, and the heater hasn’t started running yet.

It now looks like the very wet fall we got in 2006 is the exception, not the rule.  Yesterday I learned that October and November are the months when Kentucky is at the greatest risk for forest fires.  By contrast, in Florida the most dangerous month for fires is May (and sometimes the nearest parts of April and June), because in May we get the full heat of summer, but the afternoon thunderstorm cycle doesn’t start until June.  May is also the time for sinkholes in Florida, because that is when the water table drops, revealing limestone caves under the dirt.  The big one in Winter Park, for example, that engulfed a house and six porsches, occurred in May of 1981.

Parts of my lawn is brown, and I’m starting to think that it won’t recover before the winter snows arrive.  I also hope the fall color leaves are not delayed, like they were in last year’s drought.

Two Years Until the Horsey Olympics

Since the middle of 2006, there has been a digital clock in the middle of Lexington, counting down the number of days until the FEI World Equestrian Games.  Today marks exactly two years before they start.  I am mentioning it because last Monday the schedule for the games was announced, and today it was announced that tickets would go on sale in one year and one day, meaning on September 25, 2009.  I’ll keep everyone posted as the hype grows and the event gets closer.

Today also marks three months since my mother’s time on earth ended.  Last week was Mom and Dad’s anniversary; I forgot to show you a picture of the flowers I sent.  Mom’s favorite color is blue, and Dad’s is red, so I ordered an arrangement of blue irises and red tulips.  Here it is.