Sign the petition to strip John Walker Lindh of his U.S. citizenship.
Virtual Sanity


NEW! My Basic Training Blog has it's own site. Click here to read a day-by-day account of the first 10 weeks of Army life.

Saturday, March 30, 2002
 
CYCLE? OF VIOLENCE
I have a problem with what is referred to as so-called "cycle" of violence in the Middle East. Putting aside all moralistic arguments about targets, etc, calling this a cycle is a heinous misnomer. It implies not only that each attack and each escalation results in an attack and escalation from the other side, but that a deescalation or cessation from one side should result in a similar manner. I am confident that if the Palistinians stopped bombing, the Israelis would stop their military incursions as well; but does any sane person really believe that if the Israelis decided to stop, the Palistinians would follow suit? After violating 11 "cease-fire" agreements and countless other informal arrangements, how much more proof does one need? The 12th cease-fire?

I'm still waiting for Sharon to call Bush and say "You are either with us, or with the terrorists."

 
INS
One of the 4 Pakistanis who were given shore leave last week has been arrested in San Antonio. Forget why was he in San Antonio, the real story here is what happened at the INS after this mistake. 2 people were reprimanded or transferred. Reprimanded or transferred??!?!?!?!? That the people who let these individuals in were not fired on the spot distresses me to no end. The INS is an institution that is supposed to stop people who dont belong here from entering the country. What in God's name is considered a fireable offense in the INS if not what happened last week?
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
 
SUICIDE BOMBINGS
Yet another. Bush condems. Sharon condemns. Powell condemns. The UN condemns. Arafat condemns (only in English). blah blah blah

The Palestinians? They just rip off Doritos: Condemn all you want, we'll make more!

Condemnation does nothing unless you back it up eventually with a swing from that big stick.
 
WHATS WITH THE PHOTO
*hack* AAACH!!! ... PRETZEL *cough* THROAT *wheeze*

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Miss Photogenic he is not.
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
 
BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS
To the right is a listing of books that I've recently read. The top one will be what I am currently reading; those that I recommend, I will move to the lower list.

The DVD is based upon the novel of the same name by Robert Cormier. A very good friend of mine wrote the screenplay so yes, I am slightly biased. Although the director and studio changed some very powerful things that were in the original screenplay, this is a must see movie that you may not have heard of.

UPDATE: Got an email from Amazon. The recommendations to the right are currently under application. I guess they could ask me to remove them once they've checked out the site. We'll see what happens.
 
BLOGGER DESCRIPTION
There is a description field included in blogger that shows up near the top of the left here. I will not have a description but will be replacing it with quotes from time to time that grab my eye. The new one is from Carl Sagan's book Contact. It is actually the last half of the last sentence, but does not spoil the book if you want to read it. Very much different (and better) than the movie. I will be adding a books section to the right soon which will show what I am currently reading.
 
SPAM OF THE DAY

Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 09:40:11 +0300
From: itsreally@chat.ru
Subject: BE A SUPERSTUND!

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(link removed)

DON'T DELAY! BECOME A SEXUAL MONSTER! PARTY ALL NIGHT!

Most other major prescription drugs also available.


 
THE OSCARS
I predicted Sissy Spacek would win the Best Actress award. I guess I'm a racist.

I am not going to say much more on this issue except that I feel that what happened Sunday evening was yet another example of Hollywood playing morality police and cramming their world view down our throats. Tunku Varadarajan at Opinion Journal pretty much has a view similar to mine:

Yet in singling blackness out for celebration, Hollywood--the academy--did itself, and black actors, a disservice. Once again, it made the point that blacks were different, and apart from the mainstream. One might say that it was a little puzzling--even irritating--that no black actor had won a leading Oscar since Mr. Poitier's in 1963. There is no doubt that racial indifference and even some hostility played a role in that omission. But to think that one cathartic night changes everything, washes away all sins, real or imagined, is folly.

Anyway, I don't think I will waste another 4+ hours of my life watching the Oscars ever again; unless, of course, someone I am close to is nominated.
 
JURY DUTY II
OK, my rant of a rant below is over.

All in all, it was an interesting experience. Boring at times, waiting around, but my name was eventually called. Security was tight, although interestingly enough, with a metal belt buckle and steel-toed boots, I think I was the only one in our group of 60 who did not set off the alarm. We get into the courtroom, are sworn in as a group, and sit. They pick 16 names at random to go to the jury box. I am #3. The case is a cocaine sale to undercover cops. The judge asks us each a few qualifying questions, then it is the Assistant DA's turn. She asks if anyone thinks that its ok to possess a small amount of drugs. I raise my hand and explain that I don't think it should be wrong for an individual to take drugs, as long as they are in the privacy of their home, and not in any position to hurt anyone else. She asks if I would feel uncomfortable judging a drug case. I said no, and explained that although my personal views contradict the current law, I understand that like it or not, the law is the law, and unless it is changed, I would not feel uncomfortable. I think this is why I was not selected :)

That pretty much did it for the day and we were told to come in the next morning at 9:30 and the first round of selection would be completed. Of the first 16, only 6 made the cut. I was indeed not one of them.

Back to the main jury selection room where another group of 60 was called. A couple more groups were called and told to either come back tomorrow or take lunch and come back at 2:00. I and a few from my initial group of 60 were still there (curious). Turns out we were done. They asked us to fill out a survey, collect our reciepts as proof of service, and were told we could leave.
 
JURY DUTY
I know I mentioned this diatribe below; but my experience was so much different (at the same courthouse), I decided I'd go through it point by miserable point:
"Failure to appear can result in a charge of criminal contempt and a fine of $250," said a pleasant sounding recorded voice.

Only if you have been absent once before.
It was another helpful representative of Big Brother in Queens County.

If it was Big Brother, believe me, you would not have had to call them. BTW, Big Brother does not exist.
I was instructed to have a pen and pencil "to take down information."

A pen or a pencil, so you can write down important information as they tell you, so they dont have 300 people asking the same questions over and over again.
I was commanded to come to the courthouse in Kew Gardens on Wednesday, November 10 at 9 a.m. I was told to have proper "courtroom attire."

During the course of the workweek, except maybe fridays, do your corporate overlords require you to wear "proper business attire"? I guess youre not a staff writer, where you would sometimes have to go into an office; if you freelance or telecommute, you can stay at home and you're appearance isn't so important, so boxers and a torn Budweiser T-shirt suffice. Hint: those that treat themselves with respect, generally get more respect from others.
The leviathan was reaching into my life. Again. I was summoned for jury duty Last year I had served in federal district court in Brooklyn, sitting in a room filled with other slaves as we passively listened to angry instructions from prissy clerks

I know you didn't listen passively because you didn't listen at all. They start off quite pleasantly, listing 6 reasons why you could be excused. #4: If you have served on a jury within the last 4 years, simply send a photocopy of your past service, along with your current summons, to the courthouse in Jamaica. After she was done listing the 6 reasons, the officer said anyone that met any of those qualifications could leave. The horror!!!! It was 9:20.
as the sounds of idiot boxes – Jerry Springer or some other moron seemed perpetually on – went through our cramped room

Whenever someone was giving directions, the TVs were turned off. As for Springer, you could have requested a change of channel - someone did it in our group, and they gladly changed from Married With Children to the 12 o'clock news. However, by bringing up Springer, Mr Bresiger is planting the seed of a point he brings up time and again: I am smarter than this low class trash, I can't believe I have to be grouped in with them.
I was not supposed to be served with another jury summons for four years, but court record keeping is not very good, a clerk would eventually tell me.

Well, Greg, if instead of seething and "listening passively", you had been listening actively, you would have been able to leave hours ago.
Jeez, if they couldn't even get my dates of jury service straight, could they be getting other things wrong, too, I thought. No, I reassured myself, our government conducts "surgical bombing" strikes in the Balkans. It never misses (They said so on CNN, the Clinton News Network). It never makes mistakes. "We will bomb to bring peace." Our courts will enslave citizens in order to free them. It is all so easy to understand as long as one knows Newspeak, the language of Big Brother in the novel 1984.

Um... yeah... ok... See Jonah Goldberg link above for the Big Brother reference.
We live in a free country in which the government is subject to law just like any average citizen from Central Queens.

Yes, but it's not the job of a pissed-off, snotty-nosed, second-rate writer to dispense this sort of justice unilaterally.
I arrived on time. I made sure I didn't wear blue jeans. Hey, these people in government bureaucracies can alter your life in countless ways. I still remember the remarkable clerk at the state DMV who was better than Grecian Formula...

I have no idea what this paragraph is supposed to mean.
What did I find at the jury assembly room? A dirty, badly illuminated central jury assembly room in Kew Gardens. No court official was there, but there was a newspaper article conspicuously posted that said one juror had been put in jail for contempt of court for not showing up on time. I was looking around for a hall monitor, when I noticed hundreds of people were sitting around. They were also trying to figure out if they were in the right place and what they should do next.

Since like Greg, we all know that bureaucracies change at glacial speeds, I will assume I was in the same room. I originally walked in the wrong door, asked the guard where I should go for jury duty. She politely instructed me to go back outside, take a left, and go in the side entrance. When I get down there, there is a big sign on the door saying "Jury Duty Enter Here". Through those doors is another guard who checks your summons, and points me to a door that is labeled with a red sign which says "Jurors and Employees only". *sarcasm on* Such ambiguity. I know I was completely lost. *sarcasm off*

Please. Everyone knew they were in the right place. If you still had questions, there was a very large partitioned-off office area where the employees worked. I guess I should also mention that the room was very large (300 of us took up about 1/2 of the surprisingly comfortable chairs) so we were not packed, and it was clean. The only rule was that no cellular calls should be made from the room. A few people still made calls, and guess what happened to them: guillotine! Well, no, actually nothing; nobody even asked them to stop. Respect hint #2 Greg: treat people with respect and they will generally treat you the same way. In this case, the officers treated us with respect and only a few were rude enough to not do the same. Why such a fascist rule you may ask? Maybe you havent figured it out yet, but people tend to talk loudly while talking on them, and those passive listeners may not be able to hear over you.
Seems the folks in authority – our betters, the people who owned us today – had more important things to do than to worry about what a herd of quiescent lumpen proletariat needed

No!! It is I who is better than THEM goddamnit!!!
At 9:20, twenty minutes late, a court official showed up. He was not a happy camper.

Yeah, after 20 minutes, I was on the verge of hari kari. Not. Please. Sh*t happens. I guess you've never had a Monday start off poorly. BTW, our guy was not very happy when he showed up at 2:15, but he still managed to act professionally. Aside from a few rolled eyes at being delayed 5 hours, there was no uprising; I guess we really are just sheep...
Imagine a Marine Court drill instructor who struts back and forth across the room like George Jefferson after he's just had an argument with next-door neighbor Archie Bunker. Imagine someone who constantly uses the subjunctive tense. ("If you don't do what I say, I will escort you outside. This is not a nursery," barks Sgt. Jefferson at one confused member of an audience of hundreds of people, most of whom seem like frightened sheep).
A person who asks a neighbor how he should fill out a form while Sgt. Jefferson is addressing the crowd is suddenly told to shut up by our impatient D.I. Frustrated and angry with this roomful of human blanks, Sgt. Jefferson tells us that we have accepted this assignment; that no one was forced into this. "When you came here you said that you were ready, willing and able to serve as a juror."

Bullshit. The same guy who tells you you will be arrested if you leave, now says you were "ready, willing, and able to serve"? Not likely. 10 points off for contradictory statements, son, but it does add to the hysterical hyperbolic thesis of your essay, so I'll only take off 5.
I came because I am a poltroon.

At this point, you didn't need to tell us this obscure piece of data.
Yet our keeper has a soft side. Are there people who might be upset if ultimately they weren't selected for jury duty? Well, Sgt. Jefferson wants to gently reassure these folks if they're rejected: "The court won't be saying that I didn't pick you because your mouthwash didn't make it this morning," he explains. The man had a way with words.

Geez, talk about lies. Sgt. Jefferson, as you so affectionately call him, has absolutely no say in who ultimately gets "picked" or not to actually sit on a jury. I'm beginning to have my doubts about whether or not you actually served just a year ago. I guess your attitude was no better back then and you paid no attention there either.
A woman next to me gasps, not believing what she has just heard our DI say about bad breath. I was far ahead of her on the learning curve. I was about to tell her: "This is not a nursery, you know." I wanted to be an agent of Sgt. Jefferson, a junior goose stepper, with possibly a warm place for me in the bureaucracy (Maybe, I'd have the same post as the pig who was always making excuses for Napoleon in Animal Farm). I wanted her to understand. I wanted her to realize that "It Takes a Village" of bureaucrats to help us make it through life.

Oh boy! Another Orwell reference. And I managed to get a lick in on a Clinton. This is my best work EVER!!!
Apparently, she labors under the delusion that Sgt. Jefferson and those other non-commissioned officers in our endless and growing bureaucracies serve the citizens. Apparently, she hasn't learned that we, the citizens, the sheep, serve the members of these noble bureaucracies that reduce us – said Alexis de Tocqueville over a century and a half ago – to perpetual childhood.

I read de Tocqueville! If this room weren't so damn packed, I'd strut. I'm better than her; and that guy over there; and him; and her; and him there... OH MY GOD HE WORE JEANS!!!!

I actually noticed a few people in jeans. Not only were they not "cuffed and stuffed", nothing was said to them either.
Granted, these representatives of our government bureaucracies are, at times, rough parents. But they are trying to "scare us straight." They must keep us in line because we're too stupid to know what is best for ourselves. We should all thank whatever deity we pay homage to that these paternalistic, although at times, impatient top sergeants are around to keep us from running our own lives. We'd screw them all up if we were left to our own devices so it's best that the government – in all its facets, most especially the courts – do more for us. And, thanks to the caring people like Sgt. Jefferson – it will!

Well, Greg, there was no outburst from frustrated citizens when I was there. Most people listened quietly and did as they were told because they didnt know what they were supposed to do. But then again, maybe they just accepted that fact that it was their duty as an American to be there, wanted to get the experience over with as soon as possible, and return to their normal lives. I saw noone turning red, seething, waiting for an anyeurism, envisioning a Daily News headline along the lines of "Red Tape Causes Head Explosion; Man's face was 'beet red' just before blood gushed out his ears, says witness".
Next time I go on jury duty I expect to receive a notice telling me that I must goose step to the courthouse and that appropriate "courtroom attire" will include getting my head shaved. Maybe Lou Gossett from "An Officer and a Gentleman" will be there to make me snap to attention. Maybe Jack Webb, who used to do training films for the Marines, will be there to bark orders at me and curse me because I'm a pot-bellied Babbitt from Central Queens who doesn't follow instructions fast enough and obviously still thinks he's "in a nursery."

Whatever.
Next time, whichever branch of our wonderful leviathan commands me, I, an unworthy citizen, will be ready and will obey. They won't have to take me into a roomful of rats like Winston Smith in 1984. No, sir, one thought of the Central Jury Assembly Room in Kew Gardens will be good enough to get me goose stepping tout de suite.

To hell with J.S. Mill, De Tocqueville and Lord Acton! Thanks to all the caring Sgt Jeffersons. This is not a nursery, you know! Sieg heil!

Whew, got in some good references there (5 Orwell, 3 Nazism, 14 military, 2 Clinton, and 5 slavery). I think my point was made... oh wait, I better list some books, so people will hold my words in higher esteem
Gregory Bresiger is a business writer living in New York City. He recommends J.S. Mill's On Liberty, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, Learned Hand's The Spirit of Liberty, H.L. Mencken's, The American Scene, a Reader and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Well, since he ends there, I believe Mr Bresiger finally managed to calm himself down enough to effectively get his point across that he had just served the previous year. If he actually was called onto a panel and went through a full selection, I have to believe he would have written at least another 1000 words.

I think he has heard a few too many jury duty jokes about how the only people who serve are the only ones not smart enough to get out of it. To think that he, reader of de Tocqueville, for chrissake, of all people, could not get exempted is a travesty.

I guarantee, if this schmuck is ever in the situation where he is in a court of law (not necessarily charged with a crime, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he were rather litigious fellow), he would most definately want the jury to be made up of people like him, rather than the "frightened sheep," or the "herd of quiescent lumpen proletariat" that he saw when he looked around him. One would thing that having to serve for a few days every 4 years would be a pretty good compromise for this guy, especially when when his deluded alternative would be to be judged by our Orwellian/Military/Fascist state.
Sunday, March 24, 2002
 
MEDIA CENSORSHIP CONT.
An Oscar observation to continue upon what I wrote below. There was just a video montage of clips taken from various movies shot in New York City. I cannot think of many films made in the past 20 years which are set in NYC that did not have at least 1 shot with the World Trade Center lurking somewhere in the background. So how many times did we see that silhouette "11" in the Oscar film? Zero.
 
CIVIC DUTY
I have jury duty this week for the first time and I'm looking forward to it. It works out nicely that I currently have no job, so instead of hoping to get dismissed for whatever reason, I'm hoping to get on a panel. However, I'm sure that getting up early tomorrow morning will be tough.

UPDATE: While looking online for subway directions to Borough Hall, I stumbled across this whining diatribe about serving jury duty in Queens. What a friggin' crybaby. Oh woe! Pity me! I have been inconvenienced! We need to rise up and overthrow the Big Brother that is our dictatorial bureaucracy! Waaah.
 
HSX
In my fun links to the left is a link to a page called the Hollywood Stock Exchange. Start with H$2,000,000 and then buy and sell ficticious movie stocks and star bonds. If you end up trying it out, tell them I referred you and I get a bonus in my account (referring member name Sixx)

Every year at this time they offer options on the Oscar winners. Unfortunately, I missed it by a day so got in on the favorites at a significantly higher price than IPO, but here are my choices:

PictureA Beautiful Mind
ActorRussell Crowe
ActressSissy Spacek
Supporting ActressJennifer Connelly
DirectorRon Howard
Adapted Screenplay  Fellowship of the Ring
Animated FeatureShrek

 
NAILBITER
With 2:39 left, Junior Jim Abbott scored to break a 3-3 tie with Cornell to lift UNH into the Frozen Four. Next up: a rematch with Maine, who 2 years ago defeated UNH in overtime of the championship game. I know we beat Maine in the Hockey East final, but that monkey is not gone unless Haydar, Hemmingway, & Co can win this game Thursday afternoon. 1:30 ET on ESPN.
Thursday, March 21, 2002
 
SHARBAT GULA
The red-scarved Afghan girl with the haunting green eyes on the cover of the June 1985 National Geographic has been found. She had never been photographed before, had not been photographed since, and the refugee camp in which she was originally photographed is scheduled to be demolished, but the magazine decided to make one last effort to find her. I still have that issue which came up just recently in a conversation with a friend who also remembered it and we both wondered if we would ever know what happened to her. She has lived a very hard life, but as McCurry writes in this month's issue of the magazine, "That she's resurfaced now is perhaps prophetic, a hopeful sign." A very pleasant surprise this afternoon when I tore open the brown bag that protects the magazine.

Note: the original cover is also the cover photo for their special edition 100 Best Pictures.
 
IF ONLY...
Dilbert at it's best
 
RHETORICAL DRINKING GAME
It's springtime kids! Time to hang around outside between classes and enjoy the sun, but wait? What's that chanting? What are they protesting now? The war? Treatment of prisoners at Gitmo? The bookstore has the gall to offer Shakedown for sale? Is Elian Gonzales back in style? Dont just sigh and roll your eyes, bring a 6-pack along and have some fun!

Rules: 1 drink = 1 gulp. chug = finish current beer.

Favorite -ism/-ist, value = 1 drink (each player choose 1):
   Racism
   Facism
   Sexism
   Classism
   Jingoism

Favorite Bush reference, value = 2 drink (each player choose 1):
   Illegitimate
   Stolen election
   Corporate cronies
   Stupid (or any synonym of)

Favorite wartime adjective for the U.S., value = 3 drinks (each player choose 1):
   Bloodthirsty
   Hegemonic
   Genocidal
   Warmongering

Favorite exploitive multi-national corporation, value = 4 drinks (each player choose 1):
   McDonald's
   Nike
   Starbucks
   Coca-Cola

Favorite revolutionary "hero of the people", value = chug (each player choose 1):
   Che Guevara
   Castro
   Mao
   Lenin

General hot-buttons, these are on everyone's list:
   Any Orwell reference1 drink
   Any reference to Mumia Abu-Jamal2 drinks
   "Jack-booted thugs"3 drinks
   Any chant that starts with "One, two, three, four!" 1...2...3...4 drinks!
   "Military-industrial complex"chug!

Of course, you are free to add your own; most schools have their own popular issues that are hammered to death every few years when each generation of undergrads decide they need to "leave their mark" before graduating.

 
MEDIA CENSORSHIP
Jonah Goldberg has a piece today that asks why US TV news outlets chose not to show the more horrifying images from September 11. For example, the video of people jumping to their deaths. I think we need to see these, not just to silence the "its wasn't so bad, we need to get over it" crowd, but because not showing it is revisionist history (revisionist present?). CNN and Fox News have decided it is apparently ok to show a Palestinian body being dragged through the streets behind a truck after being executed for collaboration with Israel. So we can take the images of non-American dead bodies, but when it comes to American casualties, what are they afraid we are going to do? General Eisenhower ordered as many allied soldiers as possible to tour nazi concentration camps; he ordered journalists to film as much of it as possible; not for sensationalism, but because he knew that there would be people in the future that try to deny that what happened actually happened. You can't walk through Times Square, Herald Square, or near Madison Square Garden in NY and not have one group or another screaming that the holocaust never happened. That was 60 years ago; we are barely 6 months after the attack here and some are trying to say it wasn't so bad. There will always be historical revisionists - they existed in ancient Egypt, they exist now, but the more evidence there is refute their agendas the better off we will all be in the long run.
The images of people leaping to their deaths from the World Trade Center were carried around the world for weeks. Many have cited and credited these images with rallying world opinion to our cause. When visiting the United States, Hamid Karzai, the interim president of Afghanistan, singled out those images as the essence of the evil we face. By the evening of Sept. 11, the only place Americans could see these morally compelling images was foreign television.

I can't agree more. NBC apparently showed a clip of one person jumping, once, then apologized for showing it! On September 12, the image that struck me most, and haunts me still, was a photo on page 9 of the New York Post. In that image, 4 people are in freefall from the WTC, another is in the act of jumping. I venture to say that not a single person alive can imagine the desperation that drove these people to believe that jumping 100+ stories was the better option. We dishonor them by not telling the whole truth. Goldberg's story is here.
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
 
DOG MAULING TRIAL
I've been following this case since it happened because my sister played lacrosse at St Mary's college (and I believe she still holds many individual scoring records there). She graduated a year or two before Ms Whipple became the coach, but the connection was made and my interest was aroused. A verdict is due either tomorrow or Thursday and I remember some REALLY wierd stuff with this case that is not making it into the mainstream press accounts, so I did a little digging:

The dogs did not originally belong to Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller - they were bought by 2 inmates at Pelican Bay Prison who were into fighting dogs, and would get people outside the prison to raise them. Noel, 59, and Knoller, 45 (as of last february) adopted one of these inmates, a 38 year old in prison for robbery and attempted murder. They apparently made the dog purchase for the inmates.

Bane, the bigger of the 2 dogs, had previously attacked a blind woman and her seeing-eye dog, and at one point got into a fight with another dog, during which he almost took off Noel's finger.

A sergeant at the prison
reported that he saw "numerous photos of Knoller posing nude with fighting dog drawings" among the property of Paul "Cornfed" Schneider and cellmate Dale Bretches. Both inmates are artists, and have made the Presa Canario dogs the subjects of many of their works.

and
reported that he "discovered communications between Noel and Knoller to Schneider that described sexual activities between Knoller and Noel and included photos and drawings of dogs and fighting dogs" as well as a photo of a male dog's genitals.

I really dont know what to make of everything there, and in the past months, maybe some of the above was proven false. Adult adoption may be legal in California, but the Presa Canario is a favorite of fighting dog breeders, and these 2 prisoners were into that, so I think that the story most people hear about a dog going berserk and attacking a neighbor has a helluvalot more behind it. I'm curious to know how much of all this the jury is getting to see, because the public doesn't seem to be getting it all recently. If you read either of those articles, I recommend Dog Case Gets Weirder, Killer pet's owner lashes D.A.. This couple led a strange life - certainly a lot stranger than Whipple's lesbian lifestyle, against which the defense is running a smear campaign.
 
WELCOME
Readers of Juan Gato and Joanne Jacobs! Juan linked back to me after I expanded a parallel of his below and all of a sudden, and in a little more than 24 hours, I've practically doubled my lifetime hit total. I wish I had something interesting to say today...
Monday, March 18, 2002
 
WHY DO THEY HATE US?
Juan Gato has posted his own "Why do they hate us?" analysis. He draws a parallel between the US and Arab countries as Net Flanders and Homer Simpson:
Ned Flanders, especially in the early episodes, was shown as a man who, because of his honesty and work ethic, always managed to have a nicer house, an easy to manage family, a wife with a higher butt, washboard abs, and generally a better overall life than Homer. Ned was always willing to help Homer at any instance, whether that be some cash, the loan of a power sander, or the invite to a BBQ.

Now consider how Homer reacts to all this. He resents the living hell out of Flanders. The nicer Flanders is to Homer, the more Homer hates him. After being invited to a great BBQ, Homer takes the first chance he can to wish Flanders' dreams of a Leftorium into oblivion. Homer constantly goes over and steals from the Flanders family from weather vanes to air conditioners. Yet Ned rarely loses his temper, always forgives, and always is ready to give more.

Read the whole thing here. I posted a comment myself because this comparison is very fitting. I think it works. However, it is disturbing when you remember what it took for Ned to finally get fed up and yell at Homer: the complete distruction of his house. Twice. Ned's home is destroyed in a hurricane and the entire town, led by Homer, comes together to build him a new one. When this one falls apart, Ned screams at Homer and checks himself into the loony bin. Was Sept 11 the hurricane that destroyed Ned's home? The world did come together for a while, of course, not led by any Arab country. What will be the disaster that comes of the bungling international community's "help"? Lasty, will it be enough that we finally say "screw 'em" and check ourselves into isolationism?
Sunday, March 17, 2002
 
GERALDO
Benjamin Netanyahu is currently tearing Geraldo a new one during an interview on Fox News. Geraldo is doing a "yeah but", "yeah but", "yeah but" and trying to get Netanyahu to somehow trip up and equate a moral equivalance between the deliberate targetting of civilians, and the targetting of combattants during legitimate warfare which results in the accidental loss of civilian life; the ex-PM is having none of it. Bravo.

 
NEW BLOGGER CODE
Blogger apparently has updated its code and Ive run across a bit of a problem. I missed a closing quote on an href in the story below and I was unable to edit the post. I had to view the source of the lower blogger window, and cut and paste the link to edit directly into the browser address bar. Tried to delete it there, and nothing happened. Post it, restart blogger to get back to the split-screen, edit it, then delete it.

I think I'll email them about this one. Missing a single " should not have that major an impact.
 
TYPICAL
Saw a blurb on NY1 (local news channel) about a protest outside The Jewish Museum. They are displaying an exhibition entitled Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery / Recent Art.
a contemporary art exhibtion accompanied by extensive education programs, forums for discussion, and a major publication. At the core of this initiative is a selection of recent works by thirteen internationally recognized artists, all of whom make new and daring use of imagery taken from the Nazi era. Employing the challenging language of conceptual art, the artists bring the highly charged imagery of the Third Reich out of the past and into the present, leading us to question how images shape our perception of evil today

Most of the people interviewed said they are protesting because the exhibit supposedly makes light of the holocaust. However, when one protesting woman was asked if she had seen the exhibit, she responded that she did not and that she would not. If you are going to protest, don't you think you should understand exactly what it is that you're protesting? Just taking the ringleading rabble-rouser's word that something is worthy of protest is dangerous, and unfortunately, something we also see way too often. Let's see, what other group of people in the past 100 years or so blindly followed what their leaders told them? Hint: this would a pretty good example of situational irony.

NY1 also asked a couple people (Jewish, no less) who had seen the exhibit and they felt it made some important points, whether or not they personally agreed with them, and felt absolutely that the exhibit had a right to proceed.

Disclaimer: I currently have no plan to see the exhibit.
Saturday, March 16, 2002
 
DEATH TO SPAMMERS
Found this at USS Clueless:
How not to spam: Lesson 1. Send huge numbers of unsolicited commercial messages to the largest law firm in California. Ignore its requests to stop the messages. Claim that it wasn't really unsolicited and that the firm's employees actually signed up for the porn, office supply and messages offering psychic readings.

I've been waiting years for something like this to happen. Its about time, and hopefully some precedent will now be set. Maybe these sleazeballs will finally get the message.
Friday, March 15, 2002
 
GOOD QUESTIONS
A column at National Review Online asks some good questions:
If the West Bank is the linchpin of the current Middle East crisis, what were wars #1, #2, and #3 there about, when it was entirely in Arab hands?

If we could not have normal relations with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, who both allowed neither freedom nor democracy, why and how can we maintain normal relations with the Islamic world?

If 19 Americans incinerated 3,000 Muslims in Mecca or Medina, and blew up 20 acres in either of those cities with a two-kiloton explosion, would the Saudis or the Egyptians a few weeks later politely listen to admonitions from the American government about their incorrect Islamic policies in the Middle East?

They aren't answered, of course, because they dont need to be. We all know the answers. There are many more. Check it out.

 
THE 7 THINGS YOU CAN'T TYPE ON TV
I just got back from the gym. In front of the cycles, there are 6 TV sets and one of them was showing a VH1 story on Anthrax (the band). Since they only play the sound through earphones, the closed-captioning is on. I'm a closet 80's metal fan, so I did have my earphones on. At one point, one of the band members said that something "just didn't have any balls". This is a perfectly acceptable thing to say on TV, it is not one of the 7 court mandated things you cannot say; however, the closed-captioning displayed "just didn't have any ..." I don't really think it is the job of closed-captioning companies to determine what the hearing-impaired are allowed and not allowed to see.
Friday, March 08, 2002
 
WANT TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT?
OK, rabble-rousers, think you have what it takes? HBO is putting together a show to follow a grass-roots type presidential campaign from inception to blaze-of-glory humiliating loss (ok, editorial comment was mine, I really wouldn't put it past the voters in this country to vote for someone because they followed the campaign for 10 years on HBO; and, people will certainly get to know the candidate more than simply through edited soundbits, so you never know). Information and application here.
 
LESS POSTING
If anyone actually reads this reguarly, I apologize for the lack of posting lately. I have been spending more time in my job search, and more time at the gym. I also tend not to post alot of what the uberbloggers already cover, unless I have a thought to add or differing opinion.
 
TED RALL
Rall was on The O'Reilly Factor last night and is obviously squirming from the pressure. He backpedalled with alot of his statements saying things like "by far the majority of the widows have acted well" (paraphrase), etc, etc. However this was the classic moment:
Rall: Political cartoons aren't supposed to make you laugh, they're supposed to make you think.

O'Reilly: Yeah, this did make me think. It made me think you're a jerk

Earth to Ted: political cartoons are supposed to do both.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002
 
DID YOU EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT?
Apparently, the Navy Seal who fell from the chopper in Afghanistan was alive after hitting the ground. He was taken by 3 Al-Quaida/Taliban and executed. It was captured on tape by a drone aircraft. I wait with baited breath the international outrage, and condemnation in the British press.
 
NY TIMES UPDATE
I got a response to an email I sent to the publisher of the Times. It turns out the executive bonus program is not based upon circulation, but upon advertising revenue which was down industry wide. However, the two are related - as circulation goes down, fewer ads are sold. I believe my point still stands.
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
 
NY TIMES EXECS MISS OUT ON BONUS
Circulation numbers are so low at the New York Times, that they did not meet the level of sales necessary for their executive's bonuses to kick in for 2001. Strange, I can't find a story about this online at the moment, but it was on NY1 TV earlier today. I wonder why people aren't buying their paper as much as they used to... *cough*Paul Krugman*cough*Ted Rall*cough*Maureen Dowd*cough*
 
TED RALL IS A SICK ASSHOLE
This so-called "comic" speaks for itself. The New York Times got so many complaints they pulled the strip. I hope the rest of the newspapers that carry this are getting the same complaints. Earth to Ted: yes, you have a freedom to publish whatever you want, but the rest of us are not required to buy it. Claiming that this crap is "social satire" is like the 9-11 terrorists saying their actions were "passive resistance".

Maybe Fox won't be able to get the Paula Jones/Tonya Harding bout to go either and they can get Ted and a few dozen WTC widows in a Royal Rumble steel cage match.

I had to grab this off the ucomics.com site and the link may not be good tomorrow. I will update is as necessary.

Update: The Washington Post has the comic here

Update: : I just found that this idiot went to Columbia. It doesnt really surprise me. That campus has almost as many people walking around with their heads up their asses as Berkeley. I'll just add Ted to the ever-growing list of why I will never give them a penny of my hard-earned income. Its people like him and Edward Said that make me ashamed to say that I went there.

Update: : : I stole this link to a 1999 Rall comic from Sgt Stryker's site. Yeah, it pretty much fits.
 
WAS IT OVER WHEN THE GERMANS BOMBED PEARL HARBOR?
20 years ago today, John Belushi died. He still hasn't been replaced.
 
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
I just got forwarded a 46-point thesis that the Bush Administration, the CIA, and the major oil and banks were in on it. It will take a while, but I will be trying to debunk this one point at a time. I already know Ive seen some proven false, like the $43 million in aid we did not give to the Taliban last year.

A lot of people desparately want to pin this on the government. They see the US as evil and not only will they will turn a blind eye to anything that shows this not to be the case, they will fabricate lies to make it seem to them like we are. I, for one, feel sorry for them.
Monday, March 04, 2002
 
COLLEGE HOCKEY
Congratulations to the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team! Not only do they sweep a weekend series versus Boston College to clinch the Hockey East regular season title, they also vault from 3rd to 1st in the NCAA division I poll. Barring a 1st round upset loss in the Hockey East quarterfinals, they should be a lock for a #1 seed and 1st round bye in the NCAAs.
 
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
I got the following link from Instapundit, but it is something I passionately believe in, so Im posting it here as well. During the Grammys the other night, Michael Greene ranted about how music swapping is killing the music business. Bull. Happy Fun Pundit has the appropriate response. Read the post, but some highlights:
I have an alternate theory for the downturn in record sales: THE MUSIC SUCKS.

You want to know why the kids aren't buying your music? How about because you package two or three 'good' songs along with 8 other pieces of complete crap, call it an album, and sell it for $20?

I got burned by that once myself. Instead, it was only one "good" song packaged with a bunch of crap. Bon Jovi's New Jersey is still collecting dust with the rest of my collection.
You screw over the artists by making back-room deals with politicians in order to slide midnight riders into unrelated bills, depriving artists of their performance rights without giving them a chance to plead their case. Then you have the nerve to get on your high horse and pretend that you are defending musicians rather than your own pocketbooks. In the meantime, your royalty accounting practices would make an Enron accountant blush.

Im wondering if Dan has worked in the music industry because he offers some good ideas on how they could welcome the new technology instead of trying to quash it, unsuccessfully, as they did to casettes, minidiscs, etc.

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