Welcome to The New Chainik Hocker. I am your host, the eponymous Chainik Hocker, here to share news, reviews, pretty pictures, and silly opinions with you. Contact me at chainik DOT hocker AT gmail DOT com

Monday, April 30, 2007

It's gonna cost $1500 to fix the car. My dad and my dadinlaw are going to help me out. It could be worse, he said to himself unconvincingly...


I'm at a customer now trying to explain how a $2500 item died due to a lack of a $40 surge protecter. Oops. Buy good surge protectors!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lights Out in the Middle East

On the eve of the First World War, Lord Edward Grey observed that “[t]he lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” To Lord Grey, World War I was the result of decades of indirect competition between rival nations. The tensions and feuds resulting from the natural clashing of the European powers from the mid 19th century on eventually culminated in the most apocalyptic war the world had ever seen. As British Foreign Secretary, Lord Grey was savvy enough to do all that was in his power to protect his nation’s interests in the coming holocaust—but even he realized that all that was left was to make the best out of a catastrophic situation.

Lord Grey realized, unlike so many of his generation, that the new war would not be a quick and pleasant affair. Grey saw that the conflict could not be concluded until the underlying disputes between the great nations of Europe were resolved—even if it meant four years of literal apocalypse across the fields and forests of Europe. The fundamental conflict between blocs of nations had reached such a point that one side would necessarily destroy the other before it was all over.

Today in the Middle East, if we are not quite facing an analogous situation, we are fast approaching a similar point of no return. The fundamental conflict pervading the Middle East is the clash between liberalism and Islamic Fascism, just as there was a fundamental conflict between Western liberalism and Prussian militarism during the First World War. However, wars are seldom fought over purely ideological matters. The imminent threat in the Middle East is not the long term clash of values but the immediate clash of religions and the nations which finance them.

Traditionally in the Middle East, power has always lain with Sunni Islam. The Sunnis won favorable terms from the British and the French after the colonial period and the Sunnis now control the ostensible U.S. “allies” in the region: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. These traditional Sunni powers are threatened by the growing power of a newly strengthened Iran. In many ways, the story of the past decade in the Middle East has been the spread of Iranian influence throughout the region, just as the specter of German unity created many of the geo-political fault lines in the decades proceeding World War I.

With Iraq’s large Shiite population freed from an oppressive Sunni minority, Iraq is now up for grabs ethnically and religiously. This power vacuum has created a battleground for the competing strands of Islam to fight it out for supremacy. Because of Iraq’s central location, a victory for either Iranian-backed Shiite death squads or Saudi-financed jihadists might permanently tip the balance of power in the region. A widespread regional war between Sunnis and Shiites—amounting to a proxy war between the conservative Gulf States and Iran—would not only have catastrophic effects on the global economy and regional stability (the gas lines of the 1970’s would for example, would look trivial in comparison) but would exponentially increase the threat of terrorism. Both branches of Islam would be trying to show that they are chosen heirs of Mohammed and would consequently wish to destroy as many American and Israeli targets as possible in order to gain bragging rights within the Middle Eastern community. It would amount to a very deadly PR war in which Al Qaeda (a Sunni organization) has already won the first round with its famous attacks on 9/11.

The only way possible to avoid such a bleak future is to regain stability in Iraq. In order to do that, we need more troops on the ground to get the job done. If the administration has the courage to request roughly 45,000 more troops and Congress is able to put partisan politics aside in order to avert the single greatest foreign policy calamity in American history, we may yet avoid wholesale slaughter in the region. However, the point is fast approaching where we will no longer have any control over events in the most strategic region on earth. Europe paid the price of global war on an unintelligible level twice during the 20th century. If we do not get our act together very quickly, future generations to come will be paying the price for our abdication of responsibility, principle, and ultimately humanity in the Middle East.


Just dropped all my mezuzos @ the sofer. I'll let you know if he finds anything.
The car is smashed up but Mrs Chainik won't let me post pics.


Dancing Hasidic Jews

Dancing Na Nachs in Times Square. Interesting.

I've had a long day, I need to be entertained.


Update: the mechanic doesn't know if he can save my car bu seems optimistic. I'll post pics when i get home.


The good news: Mrs Chainik and Chainik 2.0 are ok, B'H. The bad news: the Chainikmobile is totalled. I'm on my cellphone, more details soon.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Announcing Chainik 2.0

The Chainik Hocker Corporation (Chainik and Mrs. Chainik) wish to announce the beta release of Chainik 2.0, with a projected global release date of November 2007.

I am terrified and exhilarated.

Friday morning, Mrs Chainik and I visited our local OBGYN. Using a device that looked like a Playskool Sing With Me Karaoke machine, we listened to the baby's heartbeat for the first time.

First we heard a slow, steady whoosh... whoosh.... whoosh sound. "That's you, Mom" said the Doctor, who looked and sounded way too much like Sarah Silverman for my comfort. It took quite a while for her to find the baby's heartbeat, which concerned the Mrs and myself. "Takes a while to find the baby" said Dr. Silverman (not her name but that's what I'm going to call her and if she doesn't like it she can start her own blog). "The baby keeps moving." Just like its father, I told Mrs Chainik later.

Then we heard it. WishWishWishWishWishWishWish!

I choked up, I really did. I found it a little hard to catch my breath. That's my baby! I looked at Mrs Chainik and she squeezed my hand, and I tried to say something but no words came out of my mouth. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am not often speechless.

It was a combination of awe and fear. It really hit me. We've known for two months that Mrs Chainik is expecting, and we got a sonogram picture last month, but it was never really real until that second.

Wow. Wow.


Even now, I don't quite know what to say.



Thursday, April 26, 2007

Democracy is survival of the craziest.

With less than a year and a half to go to Super Duper Extra Special Super Happy Fun Tuesday, the day when all the states except New Hampshire and Illinois get to vote on who will be America's Next Top Model, if I understand this here New York Times editorial right, I think that it behooves us, as a nation, and also, by the same token, as a blog, to get to the end of this sentence and pick a President.

You may be wondering, who will Chainik decide to vote for? You may ask yourself, who is Keith Olbermann going to punch? You may ask yourself, did Hillary know what she was starting, announcing her candidacy so early? You may ask yourself, what brand of whitening toothpaste does Obama use?

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

Now, in order to decide who to vote for, as opposed to just picking a name at random based on campaign commercials which strongly imply that if you vote for the other guy you're voting for a Communist who advocates the hunting of schoolchildren for sport, you have to think back to a time before last Tuesday. You have to think, who did I vote for last time? Then you have to ask yourself, did that person do a good job?

I personally voted for the candidate who promised to kill the most terrorists. Yet, to my chagrin and disappointment, here we are three years or so later and there are terrorists out there who are still not dead. This makes me mad. I pay a lot of taxes and I expect to see dead terrorists in return. And maybe some pothole repair.

That is why I am voting for the candidate who has promised to murder terrorists personally. I am talking of course, of Hizzoner Rudy Guiliani, the Mayor of 9/11.

Rudy ready for action!

Rudy Giuliani told this blog in an exclusive interview, that if elected, he would "personally murder at least three terrorists a week, live on TV" when not preforming the other duties of the office of President of the United States of America, such as judging the Miss USA pageant, playing quarterback for the New York Yankees during the Superbowl, and making fun of the French.

Mayor Giuliani brandished the ceremonial New York City Mayoral Tire Iron as he described to this blogger just how he would use the tire iron, symbolic of the toughness of New York City, to "drive America's enemies before me, crush them, and hear the lamentation of their women". When asked how this would effect the war for oil, he explained patiently that "a war with a base objective, a, ah, motive based on financial gain, takes away from the purity and the, the sheer beauty of death in battle". When asked why he still had the tire iron, which technically belongs to the current mayor of New York, Mayor Mike, Giuliani said that he would gladly return it but "Mike's too scared to ask for it back, and, you know, I've kind of gotten used to having it around. Makes dealing with the press a lot easier".

Mayor (later Governor) DeWitt Clinton with the Mayor's Tire Iron in 1537 (source: The New York Post )


Fly the Unfriendly Skies.

Pilot: For those of you seated on the left, if you look out of your window you can see the beautiful Manhattan skyline. For those seated on the right... thank you for flying United.

--Flight to Newark

Overheard by: will

Captain: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm your captain, James T. Kirk, and today I'll be assisted by my copilot, Ricky Bobby.

--JetBlue flight, JFK

Overheard by: jewish girl

Flight attendant: Welcome to New York's LaGuardia airport, where the local time is way too early in the morning!

--Red-eye flight from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Overheard by: Johanna Cipolla

Female flight attendant: In response to the many requests about what in-flight movies will be playing I have decided to make a public announcement: we are playing Gone with the Wind, and you are all free to sit on the wing to watch it. There is one oxygen mask per seat, and two in the bathroom. Why there are two in the bathroom -- your guess is as good as mine. Thank you, and have a pleasant flight.

--Southwest flight to JFK

Flight attendant on PA: Be careful when opening the overhead bins. Items can shift during flight and fall on you, or even, God forbid, me.

Overheard by: Earthborn

--American Airlines flight, JFK

Flight attendant: Please take out the safety cards in your seat's back pocket and pretend to follow along.

--United flight 7418, LaGuardia

Overheard by: Natalya Petrovna

Flight attendant: Thank you for listening to the safety announcement for this Boeing 777 service to Atlanta... [Proceeds in low whisper] Go to sleep. Go to sleep. You don't want any beverages. Close your eyes and sleeep...

--Red-eye flight, LaGuardia

Overheard by: Drewp

via Overheard in New York, Apr 25, 2007


Stopping the next pandemic before it starts.

Interesting stuff from Wired. This scientist guy wants to track epidemics in the jungles of Whoknowswhere and the rain forests of Yougottabekiddinme before they hit civilization.

Mrs Chainik has been studying to be a medical assistant. As a training tool for the "don't do anything stupid or you'll get a horrible disease and die" module, they watched the Dustin Hoffman- Morgan Freeman- Ross's monkey medical thriller Outbreak. That night we went to Walgrens and bought a big bottle of hand sanitizer and a little keychain full of hand sanitizer and some Lysol.

Mrs. Chainik is funny.

H/T Instapundit.
clipped from www.wired.com
HIV, Ebola, SARS — any of the world's most horrifying diseases are caused by animal viruses that made the jump to humans. Now a UCLA scientist thinks he can stop the next pandemic before it even starts.

Today it may seem like the only opportunity to contain HIV came after its discovery in the 1980s. But what if the disease, which has infected or killed an estimated 63 million people, could have been stopped decades earlier? What if that hunter had carried the chimpanzee more carefully that day? For Nathan Wolfe, a biologist at UCLA and head of the project sponsoring Akem's data-gathering, those are the kinds of questions to build a career upon. "Very few people ask whether we could have prevented HIV," Wolfe told me over beers one night last fall in Yaound , the capital of Cameroon. "That's what I encourage people in my lab to think about."

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Amerikkka's slow inexorable decent into fascism set into motion by Chimpy McBushHalliburtonFlightsuitHitler: Al-Guardian.

Strong stuff from the Al-Guardian. Whackjob America-haters are really reaching for straws nowadays. I like Ace's take on it.
clipped from ace.mu.nu

It's just a triple decker sandwich of spiced stupid with stupid cheese smothered in stupid-sauce on whole stupid bread with a side of stupid-fries and stupid a la mode for dessert.

clipped from www.guardian.co.uk
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

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Which way do I go, which way do I go?

If not for my Garmin, I'd be lost a lot more often than I am. Unfortunately, here in Lakewood NJ, they are building faster than the map people can draw. I hate going to a customer and the thing says "Driving off map!!!" in a panic, like my GPS unit is actually sentient and doesn't want to die because it's stuck to the windshield of some moron who's just driven into the woods.

I know for a fact that my GPS is self aware by the smug and condescending tone of voice it uses when it tells me how big a moron I am for making a wrong turn anyway despite its best efforts. It sounds like Alfred when Bruce Wayne comes back to the Batcave with his Batsuit in tatters and the Batmobile is smoking and the Batsciatica is acting up again.

Maybe we could give all GPS units little arms so they can steer the car themselves and little legs so they can jump out of cars being driven into the woods by an achy Batman. I don't know how it would work with the Three Laws but the Garmins sure would appreciate it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to make a left turn onto UNKNOWN


Hungry for chometz.

Testing out Picassa. So far I'm unhappy with Blogger and photoblogging. Picassa took twice as long to set up this post as I did the previous post. I do like Picassa's photo editing features.

Anyway, this is Tov Pizza, Baltimore MD, after Pesach, from my cellphone. I cleaned the picture up a bit.

Posted by Picasa


My new hobby.

I've purchased a digital camera and have been since been taking pictures of random junk. Like this picture I took over Chol Hamoed Pesach. Mrs. Chainik and I went to Washington D.C. to see if the gubmint still needed my money or if I could have some of it back. We walked past the US Navy Memorial, where this dude was looking for his boat.
I am still unsure whether this thing is supposed to be silly or poignant or both.

Then there was the duck.
I took the picture primarily to play with the zoom function, but I'm happy with he composition, I think.
I didn't even know Washington D.C. had a Chinatown.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pope Catholic; Bears still looking for place to poop- Rueters

clipped from news.yahoo.com

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican's second-highest
ranking doctrinal official on Monday forcefully branded
homosexual marriage an evil and denounced abortion and
euthanasia as forms of "terrorism with a human face."

He listed these as abortion clinics, which he called
"slaughterhouses of human beings," euthanasia, and "parliaments
of so-called civilized nations where laws contrary to the
nature of the human being are being promulgated, such as the
approval of marriage between people of the same sex ..."

Amato, who is said to be very close to Pope Benedict,
criticized the media's coverage of ethical issues.

After denouncing "abominable terrorism" such as that
carried out by suicide bombers, he condemned what he called
"terrorism with a human face," and accused the media of
manipulating language "to hide the tragic reality of the

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Watch this space.

Big announcement coming next week! Really! I swear!