Sep 19 2011

The Gentle Jesus Myth

Category: humor,theologyharmonicminer @ 5:55 pm

Not that Jesus isn’t gentle.   He certainly is.  But He isn’t ONLY gentle.

My latest post at Renewing American Leadership is up.

It’s called “The Gentle Jesus Myth.”

There is a little humor in the situation regarding the photo they put up.  It isn’t me.  Instead, it’s this guy.

This is not harmonicminer

Who is this guy, you may reasonably ask?  Well, he’s one of the stars of the original Jurassic Park movie, in the role of the mad scientist, if memory serves.

Oy vey…..  I’ll be trying to get them to change the photo to reflect my own inestimable physical beauty.

This is harmonicminer

I suppose I can understand the confusion.


It’s possible that the ReAL website will have changed the photo by the time you read this.  I’m sure it was a practical joke or something.

And I’m laughing about it.


UPDATE:  as of Sept. 20, ReAL fixed their post to show the correct photo.  I’m almost sad about it.  It was really pretty funny.

Sep 12 2011

What do you get when you mix Evil Kenevil and Kenny G?

Category: funny but sad,humoramuzikman @ 8:55 am

Finn  Martin in a 'Vertigo' performance in Paris

Swedish artist plunges to his death in Germany

A Swedish musician plummeted 20 metres to his death at the weekend during a performance at a street festival in Leipzig, Germany.

The man, Finn Martin, was supposed to use a rope to help him vertically slide down the façade of a building while playing a saxophone before dozens of cheering fans late Friday evening. But during the attempt, the harness apparently broke and Martin plunged to his death before the shocked audience.
A doctor quickly determined that the 49-year-old performer had died from the impact.
Police said they were investigating the incident under the assumption that safety devices had failed and were also looking into whether participants had been under the influence of alcohol.
The performer was scheduled to do his 15-minute act four times while video images were displayed onto the building façade.
“He was a world-class artist, one of the top-ten saxophone players in the world, but almost unknown in Sweden,” Martin’s cousin Peter Martin, told the Aftonbladet newspaper. Finn Martin had carried out similar dare-devil performances, which he called ‘Vertigo’, many times in recent years.
In 2005 he played on the façade of a tower in Cologne that was nearly 150 metres tall.
On his website, Martin referred to Vertigo as “an unusually emotional music aerial performance”.
While he was born in Sweden, Martin has lived abroad for most of his career.
According to his cousin, Martin’s dare-devil performances were used to help him finance musical projects in West Africa.
“Finn had a passion for African music,” his cousin Peter Martin told Aftonbladet. “His art was his life and he was an artist and musician from every pore of his body.”
I want to feel bad for this poor chap, I really do.  But there’s only just so much sympathy one can muster for an obvious Darwin Award finalist.
Do you suppose the last thing this guy heard was the bridge to “Over the Rainbow”? (very inside musician’s joke)
I can just hear all the sax players cringing right now, praying he wasn’t playing a Mark VI
I suppose now we’ll start seeing a lot of “Don’t drink and play the sax hanging from the side of a tall building” stickers on public vehicles.
And how about that doctor!  Imagine being able to make such a difficult determination so quickly.  I suppose the fact that he had an Otto Link sax mouthpiece protruding from the back of his head provided some key evidence.
Well at least it’s a good day for the formerly eleventh-best sax player in the world…

Sep 05 2011

Europe is indeed crazy

Category: Europe,humor,Obama,societyharmonicminer @ 10:43 am

I know, you probably saw this news bit already, but since Nearly 40 percent of Europeans suffer mental illness, and it’s now official, I feel constrained to point out that many of us have thought Europeans were crazy for many years.

Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.

With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden — measured in the hundreds of billions of euros — as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.

“Mental disorders have become Europe’s largest health challenge of the 21st century,” the study’s authors said.

At the same time, some big drug companies are backing away from investment in research on how the brain works and affects behavior, putting the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience.

“The immense treatment gap … for mental disorders has to be closed,” said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany’s Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.

“Those few receiving treatment do so with considerable delays of an average of several years and rarely with the appropriate, state-of-the-art therapies.”

Wittchen led a three-year study covering 30 European countries — the 27 European Union member states plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway — and a population of 514 million people.

Let’s not kid around. When you’d rather be on the dole than taking care of yourself, you’re nuts.  When you think the world owes you a living, you’ve definitely gone bonkers.  When you think the solution to keeping your government benefits is to import foreign workers who are hostile to your very way of life and basic beliefs, you’re crazy.  When you think it’s natural to  live like a dependent teenager up to the age of 40 or so, you’re positively certifiable.

Of course, the American elite, whether political, social or academic, seems to think that Europeans do almost everything better, and frequently compare the USA to Europe in a way they think is unfavorable to the USA.

I’m pretty sure, though, that only 19% of America is crazy.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 19% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president.

Proving, I think, that only half as many Americans are as crazy as Europeans.

Aug 29 2011

Bathroom Issues

Category: humoramuzikman @ 8:00 am

I visited my daughter the other night.  Her apartment is outfitted with a dual flush toilet.  These are an originally Australian invention in which the user has a choice between what amounts to a half-flush or a full flush, depending on the nature and quantity of the contents of the bowl.  The goal is, of course, to use only the flushing power needed, thereby conserving water.  One has only to push one of two buttons on the top of the tank.  There is even a small graphic on the buttons to help in proper selection.  I visited Australia some years back so was at least familiar enough with them to understand the workings, though this was the first time I had used one in the USA.  I was grateful I had some experience from which to draw.  I could only shudder thinking what it would have been like to stick my head out of the bathroom door and yell, “Hey Honey, what’s with the two buttons on your toilet ?”  Comments like that are almost guaranteed to get your kids thinking they may need to start looking for a nice assisted living facility for you.

Up until then I hadn’t given toilets much thought.  As long as there is a clean one reasonably nearby when I need one, I’m happy.  I will, however,  reluctantly confess I did snicker when someone told me the toilet was invented by a guy named Crapper, though I never bothered to find out whether that was true or not.  Bottom line – a toilet is a toilet and no one worries about theirs unless it becomes clogged, at which point it demands your full attention.

But this choice of flushes really got me thinking, so I stood there considering my options.  My first inclination was to simply give the toilet a full flush, wash my hands and get on with whatever I was doing. I suppose that is a reflection of my age and having an “old-school” attitude about toilets.  The dual-flush toilet was not around when I was growing up. But upon further reflection I thought perhaps I should go for the half-flush, it just seemed the more responsible and “green” choice.  But what if a half-flush ended up being insufficient for the task at hand, so to speak?  What if I had to flush a second time?  And what if the two half-flushes used up more water than a single full flush?  Or what if I opted for the full flush, knowing it was more than was needed?  Would I later feel guilty for having wasted water?  Would I then feel compelled to perform an act of penance, like 3 days of half-flushes only, no matter what?

This is also not the kind of thing you can ask others about.  “So, hey, Jim, do you find the half-flush is sufficient to meet most of your bathroom needs?”  This is not going to happen.  And there are no posted guidelines.  It would be nice if there were some sort of written assistance, or even a website to visit (not right at that moment of course, but later, when there is time to seek more information on flushing etiquette).   Perhaps a little booklet left in the bathroom, right next to “Jokes For The John” , on top of the October, 1996 National Geographic and the March, 2006 Reader’s Digest.  It shouldn’t be too technical or folks like me will be even more intimidated.  Let’s face it, if the booklet is called “Flush vs. Half-Flush: A Comparative Analysis,” I’m going opt for the National Geographic.  But if it has a happy, Dr. Seuss sort of cover with a title like, “Half Flush, Whole Flush, Tank Flush, Bowl Flush” it might help make the experience a little more user-friendly.

Fortunately the flushing choice dilemma has, in large, been alleviated by government regulation.  We are now required, by law, to purchase so called “low flow” toilets.  These amount to toilets with a half-flush-only mechanism, which is a source of frustration in situations that clearly call for a full flush.  And in commercial establishments I am now seeing more non-flush bathroom fixtures.  It really alleviates the stress of worrying about water use or which button to push.  It also gives the restroom facility that nostalgic “Greyhound Bus Station” aroma.

All this does lead one to try and imagine what the next step in bathroom evolution will be.  Perhaps the bathroom will go the way of the phone booth.  Perhaps the government will make certain bodily functions illegal, eliminating (pun intended) the need for bathrooms all together.  Whatever the brave new world before us I’m sure our government will continue to make wise and appropriate choices on our behalf.  And, since I cannot even comfortably choose between two flushing options I welcome federal guidelines in this area.  I’m sure you agree.

Aug 13 2011

Crop circle science

Category: humorharmonicminer @ 7:50 pm

Crop circles are contended by some to be the work of aliens (maybe from some other dimension or something), and by others to be the work of hoaxers.  A new theory for how crop circles are created is described in Crop circle creation theory: physics, not aliens |

The question led researcher Richard Taylor of the University of Oregon to rule out at least some traditional explanations of the tools involved in creating the circles. Taylor contends that in the modern age, planks and ropes (to flatten plants) and even bar stools to jump from one area to another undetected, are just too cumbersome to produce results in the comparatively brief period of their creative incubation.

Instead,  he argued that latter-day crop-circle auteurs use high-tech gadgets such as GPS monitors to place the shapes and magnetrons (tubes that use electricity and magnetism to generate intense heat) to cause the crop stalks to fall over at high speed.

It seems to me that any scientist who actually believed his own theory could simply prove that it’s possible for crop circles to be created this way.  All it takes is some of the high-tech gear described above, a field with some crops, and nice evening with decent weather.  Go to it, experimenters.  Create a convincing full-sized crop circle in a night.

Or, alternatively, admit you don’t have a clue about what’s going on and leave it for someone else to first devise, and then demonstrate a reasonable method for producing them, in situ and in one night.

Personally, I strongly suspect it is the work of the Lithuanian Espionage Service….  but that’s just because I frighten easily.

Aug 04 2011

Money Madness!!

Tum da de tum, here is another entry in the Powerline Prize contest. This one didn’t win anything, but it has the singular distinction of having been a project of my family, with my son, “A. Shack,” composing the rap and performing the song, my wife (Mrs. Miner) performing some pseudo “baby voices,” with some music production and amateur video editing from me, Harmonicminer.

You can see many more entries in the Powerline Blog YouTube Channel, along with Money Madness.

Jul 07 2011

Life imitates satire

Category: Al Gore,freedom,humor,jihad,society,technology,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:05 am

In yet another case of life imitating satire, we have the US warning of airline plot to implant bombs in people (what a clumsy headline…. sounds like the airlines are implanting bombs in passengers)

The White House said Wednesday there was no danger of an imminent attack on airplanes after reports that terror groups were mulling implanting bombs into the bodies of passengers.

The assurances came after news that the US administration warned airlines that extremist groups were considering surgically implanting explosives into people to try to beat tight airport security measures.

Passengers flying to the United States could now face even tougher screening measures, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, Nicholas Kimball, told the Los Angeles Times.

“These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport,” Kimball said, adding existing methods could not detect plastic explosives under the skin.

“Measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods such as pat-downs and the use of enhanced tools and technologies.”

I warned about this possibility here around 18 months ago.  The salient points:

In the meantime, ever more restrictive airport boarding regulations seem a certainty, and ever more intrusive searches, until we figure out that we have no choice but to identify who is more likely to have evil intent, and give them more scrutiny, because we surely don’t have the resources or the time to give the necessary scrutiny to everyone, including your grandmother in a wheelchair from Peoria, or Trenton, who may choose not to visit you next Christmas due to a distaste for body cavity searches and x-ray glasses (like the ones they used to sell in D.C. Comics, except these will work) in the hands of prurient security types.

Sooner or later, someone is going to figure out how to make high-explosive dentures and hip/knee replacements.  While Christian “fundamentalists” will be getting only fluoride treatments, young adult male Islamic fanatics will be lining up to have all their teeth pulled and get dental implants made of enamel coated plastique.   I predict an influx of wealthy foreign nationals, of Islamic extraction, into European schools of orthopedic surgery, particularly focusing on lower extremity joint replacements.  Our too-faithful recent oral surgery patients, who will not have flossed much, will enter airplanes with a slight limp.  It’s tough to recover from double knee/double hip transplants, especially when it hurts to eat.

The other passengers will feel sorry for them, briefly.

Eventually, the only people on airplanes will be strip-searched people with no scars, who just endured body cavity searches and had their stomachs pumped.  But they will be very, very safe, wearing their airline-issued flying uniforms.  When they land at their destinations, they will report to the changing room/luggage area, where they’ll get their clothing back, which was sent in a transport plane.   Cost of a ticket from L.A. to Phoenix?  About $1,000.

Coming up next:  explosive hair.

There has already been at least one other report of terrorist plans to implant bombs.

We’re moving way past having to look for bombs in your Nikes and Fruits of the Loom. 

So what can we do about this?  Will we carry the no-profiling policy to such a ludicrous extreme that random strip searches are going to be made to look for recent surgical scars, and then require CT Scans in the indicated area (and if that isn’t revealing, we can always have a team standing by for exploratory surgery, just to be sure….  brought to you by Obamacare, of course)? 

Should we just reject anyone with recent surgical scars?  That’ll be tough on the envirobabe groupies with recently acquired, uh, enhancements to the gifts of nature.  Instead of flying first class to the next climate change seminar so they can mingle with rich Goreaphiles (in search of suitable husband material among the ecopagan intelligentsia, of course), they’ll have to stay home and watch it all on Skype…  or worse yet, on Youtube.  But hey…. that’s better for the environment anyway.  And who knows what the nice Egyptian surgeon with the funny name inserted besides a little silicon…  Maybe there’s a reason something felt a bit lumpy (did he show you the photos from his relaxing summer vacation in the mountains of Pakistan?).  We’d better keep all well-endowed ladies off the planes, just in case…  unless, of course, some self-sacrificing TSA official wants to check them all, one at a time.

I think I have an idea.  We can’t profile for ethnicity/nationality/religious background, so says the great Ozbama from behind the curtain (he’s just clandestinely checking up on those TSA officers, his version of Undercover Boss).  But here’s what we can do, and indeed there is a tie-in with Obamacare’s plan to computerize all medical records for “efficiency.”  Let’s just have everyone fill out a questionaire at the airport on all recent medical procedures.  Let’s get a new generation of scanners going that can detect surgical scars.  And let’s have computer software that compares the results of the questionaire, the scan, and the complete medical/surgical record that will be online for everyone (obviously, this will give the Obama administration the pretext it needs to extend Obamacare into the entire middle east, parts of Africa, Indonesia, and other Islamic regions.  Hope and change.).  If there is a scar or a mention of a procedure that isn’t on the “universal medical record” for each individual, we yank the offender out of the queue for “special processing.”  Allah alone knows what that might entail.  I think I don’t want to know.

I was intrigued by this line from the news report above: 

“Measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods such as pat-downs and the use of enhanced tools and technologies.”

“Interaction with passengers,” eh?  How will a “pat down” locate a surgically implanted bomb?   I’m guessing the terrorists have already done dry runs by inserting passengers with recent surgical work (maybe even something benign implanted internally), just to see how well it works.

“Enhanced tools and technologies”?  Hmm….  maybe TSA has developed the tricorder.

Staying home is looking better and better.  With Skype, Youtube, Netflix and satellite TV, what else do you need?  International travel is over-rated, anyway.  You can only tolerate being referred to as the “ugly American” so many times, and everyone knows the world hates America….  that’s why they all want to come here.



Jun 21 2011


Category: humorharmonicminer @ 11:27 pm

At the end of the day, it’s all about humility.  Or maybe just humiliation.

I was asked to write a post for another website, one with much larger circulation than humble harmonicminer usually gets. The proprietors of that site asked me for a headshot photo.

Well… I didn’t really have one. I mean, I did, a couple of them, actually, but they are both from 30 lbs ago (thanks, weightwatchers), and I look fairly different now.

Not to put too fine a point on it, my face is now noticably less…. porcine.

On the other hand, what formerly looked like a pelican’s pouch now looks a bit more like a turkey wattle.  You can take away some fat, but the skin is still there. Sigh.

Still, it’s an improvement, and my wife thought I should really take a new photo instead of using one of the old ones.   That doesn’t sound so hard, does it?

So off we went with my Blackberry cell-phone camera to take a headshot.

First we tried the living room. I stood up against a white wall in a black sport coat and smiled.  It would seem that the white wall confused the white balance of the rest of the picture, and so I kept coming out looking just slightly ghastly…. I’m sure it couldn’t have been the actual smile that created the, uh, vampiric effect.  When I wasn’t looking ghastly, it looked like I had a slightly crazed look in my eyes… due only to some unfortunate flash reflections in my glasses, of course.  Maybe it’s the trifocal in the lense for the eye that works (I’m almost totally blind in one eye).

We had to go to Target anyway, so after about 10 failed photos at home, we took ourselves off to the concentric circles in hopes of finding a usable background in the store.  As it happened, there was a nice beige wall nestled charmingly between the non-wrinkle-free sheets and the trashcans (where we later discovered the sheets really belonged).  But the fluorescent lights all over the ceiling kept glinting off the top of my head, in a way that didn’t look like mystical enlightenment spontaneously breaking out due to the renewing of my mind.  Once, we thought we’d found a spot to shoot in that would work, with less ceiling light reflection… but the tile background, upon review at home, made it look like we’d shot it in a shower stall.   Really not the thing.

I think it was in Target, after 10 more attempted photos or so, that my wife (Mrs. Miner of these premises) began laughing.  Rudely.  Disrespectfully.  Sure, she was laughing with me.   Ri-i-ight.   And this after I rescued her from a life of penury and whisked her off to the lifestyle of the …well…  moderately middle class.

But I digress.

We came back home and tried to shoot photos in front of the kitchen cabinets, which are stained fairly dark.  Still getting reflections off my head.  Mrs. Miner, never one to shy away from her duty, disappeared momentarily, and returned with her makeup kit.  She began putting powder everywhere the light was glinting off me….  which, apparently, was essentially all of my face and the the top of my head.  I consoled myself with the thought that Ronald Reagan had worn makeup for speeches from the Oval Office.

Someplace in this photo series, it was decided that I should button the top button of my shirt.  I had been going for the casual look, but that also highlighted the, uh, extra flesh below my chin, which there is less of these days (did I mention that?), but still more than one might wish.  So after a couple of shots this way, Mrs. Miner began trying to tuck the extra flesh under my collar.  She tried the one finger tuck.  The two finger tuck.  The three finger tuck with simultaneous collar tug.

Then she began laughing again.  Do you think Nancy made fun of the Gipper?  Did Bacall break-up at Bogart?  (Bogart wore a toupee, didn’t he?)

In any case, after she calmed down from her convulsive cackling (ran out of extra oxygen, that is), we picked one of the photos.  Well, she picked it.  She said that in the photo I looked… subtly sardonic.  Hmmm.

So I emailed it to my daughter for her opinion.  My son-in-law emailed back and said it looked like a mug shot.  Apparently my daughter was too craven to deliver their considered judgment herself.

And this on Father’s Day.

So I sent the pic.  If it doesn’t result in the web master rejecting the entire article I submitted, I’ll link to the post here when it comes up in the rotation.

I wonder how much a facelift costs?

Or maybe next time I’ll just use one of those wee people avatars.

Mar 09 2011

I Knew It!!!!!

Category: humoramuzikman @ 7:01 pm

I should be kicking back on some Greek isle, right now!

Dang it!

It’s about time someone realized how tough it is to be a trombone player!

And don’t mess with this early retirement or I’ll go to Wisconsin and protest.

Feb 09 2011

High speed rail? Obama tries to turn economic lead into gold

Category: Congress,economy,government,humor,legislation,Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:36 am

Obama to call for $53B for high-speed rail


President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan for high-speed rail, as he seeks to use infrastructure spending to jumpstart job creation.

An initial $8 billion in spending will be part of the budget plan Obama is set to release Monday. If Congress approves the plan, the money would go toward developing or improving trains that travel up to 250 miles per hour, and connecting existing rail lines to new projects. The White House wouldn’t say where the money for the rest of the program would come from, though it’s likely Obama would seek funding in future budgets or transportation bills.

Obama’s push for high-speed rail spending is part of his broad goal of creating jobs in the short-term and increasing American competitiveness for the future through new spending on infrastructure, education and innovation. During last month’s State of the Union address, Obama said he wanted to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

At the same time he’s calling for new spending on sectors like high-speed rail in the upcoming budget, Obama also has pledged to cut overall spending as he seeks to bring down the nation’s mounting deficit.

Well, to be clear, Obama only called for a “freeze in spending”…  a freeze at the ridiculously high levels he set in his first two years.  Only his sycophants in the press would call not raising spending even further “a cut.”

In any case, America is not Europe, nor is it Japan.  There is not now a demand for high speed rail, nor will there be anytime soon.  If there was a demand for it, private interests would be busy investing in it, expecting to make money from it.  Obama seems to have learned nothing from the subsidy infested mess that is Amtrak.

I propose a better way to spend the money.  He should invest in research in alchemy.  Turning lead into gold is probably impossible….  but maybe not.  And along the way, spending 50 billion dollars is likely to accidentally result in some real science getting done, something with at least “spin off” benefits, technologically and economically.

So lets hear it for alchemy in the federal budget.  That makes a LOT more sense, and is probably a better way to spend large amounts of money, than high-speed rail, which will continue to be a sinkhole for money even after it’s built, which will probably cost a lot more than anyone now projects.

Of course, we all know Obama has no actual hope of doing this.  He just brought it up to play to his lefty audience, who love anything that makes people get in lines and wait somewhere.  But Obama knows he has no chance of getting this through a Republican House of Representatives.  He’s just talking for effect, and public relations with his base.


Still…  maybe in trying to turn lead into gold, the scientists would finally discover cold fusion.




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