Thursday, June 30, 2005

Breakfast, lunch, bloodsucking, dinner, snacks

Over at Tingle Alley, they're a lot less pleased with Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian than I was. They take issue with the fairly numerous stops to sight-see some protagonists take while they are supposed to be trying to save kidnapped victims of Dracula
As a lot of the novel's action was being conveyed through letters, at some point I started to imagine the plot as told through the journal of the poor sod locked up in Dracula's tomb: Day 3 Light-headed from loss of blood. Still, spent two hours clawing against stone of ancient monastery walls in vain search for some form of escape. I fear I am losing my sanity. I also fear that the MOTHERFUCKERS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE LOOKING FOR ME ARE SMACKING THEIR FINGERS OVER SOME BAKLAVA RIGHT NOW INSTEAD OF HITTING THE GODDAMNED BOOKS.


M_ notes I was also mostly immune to the constant eating and sight-seeing in Lord of The Rings, so perhaps I have a weakness there.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Quote of the unspecified time period

:
Book tours are designed for authors who love flying from city to city to entertain small groups of people who have been unable to obtain theater tickets or bridge club invitations for the evening. It would be cruel to disappoint them.

--Hillel Halkin

(found via Bookninja).

Wednesday cat unemployment blogging

Someone noticed a problem in small, coastal Nova Scotia towns with feral cats. Now that some fisheries are closing, the cats are having a hard time finding scraps:
Humans don't understand what's happened to the fishery - how can cats? Who's got a job for unemployed boatyard cats?
--Sunny MacMillan
I noticed back when I lived in another small fishing town, Lockeport, there seemed to be a lot of feral cats for a town of less then 300 people. Rather than hope for hundreds of Sunny MacMillans to rescue them all - there aren't enough of her - people need to start spaying and neutering their cats if they haven't got the sense to not abandon them in the first place. Yeah, I know, wishes, fishes, et cetera.

Curling

How to get more fans for curling? The Canadian Curling Association thinks it has the answer: screw the fans.
The trouble came about on the first Sunday of the Scott tournament after the Jones team, which entered the event with a record four straight national titles, defeated the host Newfoundland and Labrador foursome 7-3 in eight ends before a packed house.

Autograph seekers mobbed Jones and teammates Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Nancy Delahunt near the sideboards, but a tournament official told the players to scurry along as other games were in progress.

The players asked for a little leeway because they didn't want to disappoint the fans. One woman begged for an autograph, saying she'd driven nearly five hours to watch them play.

"Mostly we were just trying to get the kids signed," said Jones, who estimates they stayed for only five minutes. "So were fined $300 for that."
Do they think curling fans or near-fans are sitting at home saying "I sure wish they'd hurry the players out of the building"? The motive is probably that the higher-ups in the CCA are an entrenched network that is used to dictating to players and fans alike how they prefer the game be played. Curling even has advantages over hockey as a sport that Canada could possibly export to the US: older people can play it more easily, and there are no fistfights.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bookstores

John Etorre of Working with Words sings the praises of the local Indy booksellers, including "Mac's Backs " in Cleveland Heights. Unfortunately for me, I have no easy way to get there weekdays, and am the other side of the city. Lakewood has no bookstore. I'm not sure if it's a lack of interest - not judging by the successful library here. Are the Borders and Barnes and Noble's too tough to compete with so that one of Lakewood's many storefronts couldn't have a small bookstore? Perhaps in this case the market has already decided. I'm not sure how, but if enough Lakewoodites tear themselves away from "I want to be Hilton" and become more avid readers maybe a market will emerge here of sufficient enough pollen to attract some bees. Would it be mad to suggest that condo building might not be the wave of the fiscal future - those new ones at Cedar-Fairmount were still mostly empty when I last looked - and cities need to consider other, small ventures on which to give the odd break? I can understand the risk-aversion they might have - though this doesn't explain the enthusiasm for a new strip mall lifestyle center here, for which they tried and failed to use the eminent domain power. Retail is the one mistress crueler than any sea.

No surprise, and a new newspaper for Lakewood

Joni Mitchell expressed should not be surprised about the Kelo decision. Any existing paradises in the US that are adjacent to any megashopping centers have some paving coming to them soon. In Ohio at least, plans to charge people a dollar and a half (or more) to see the trees in the tree museum (aka, State Parks) was shelved for now. Paradise aside, anyone who bought a house with a nice view had better hope no one richer is eyeing you land and thinking of buying up a local government into declaring it "Blighted".

Speaking of Lakewood, The Lakewood Observer is Lakewood, Ohio's newest newspaper. There is an existing weekly in my town, although it leaves a bit to be desired.

Shorter Bill O'Reilly

The original is here, but a condensed version - to help save all you time-starved folks out there - might be:
- Americans no longer support the war in Iraq, so the President should give a really good speech
- It costs a lot to fill up my SUV now!
- Why are all the clerks Mexican?
- I am scared of Hilary Clinton.

"Popular President" watch

Michael John McRae, writing at Useless Knowledge, says a number of things that I disagree with, but one jumps out at me:
Liberal hatred for a successful and highly popular President has turned the American brand of liberalism into a hateful and vile little group of malcontents; all screaming for resignations and impeachment.
However:
The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted June 24-26, finds that 45% of Americans approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, while a slim majority, 53%, disapprove. Since he took office, Bush's lowest disapproval ratings occurred in September 2001, a little over a week after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. A Sept. 21-22 poll found 90% of Americans approving and only 6% disapproving of Bush. In contrast, the current results represent the worst ratings of Bush's presidency. The current approval rating ties Bush's lowest (45% in March 2005), but this poll finds his highest disapproval rating ever.
source: Gallup.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Lies, damned lies, and books

Bookninja (can't quite figure out the permalinks), title is "Liars", discussion is here
Canadians say they love reading books as much as watching TV, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of hours spent, the ratio tells the tale. 4.6:23. You lying Canuck bastards.
Admittedly, the question is akin to asking people to honestly count how many donuts they eat. I think one way to right ratios might be to have a kind of Deal-a-Meal for reading. Start by not allowing yourself to watch more hours of television than hours spent reading books.

I don't want to fall into the camp of the do-not-watch-or-own-tv crowd,. My response to who should always be "are you blind, or just purposefully ignorant"? But since B. Franklin, printer, could make up maxims and rules based on little else but chutzpah (or crib notes from other books on maxims) I figure this idea is as good as any.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Democracy, whiskey, sexy?

As posted by Thomas Leavitt of Seeing the Forest, China has a handle on the whiskey part of the blog-borne meme of "democracy, whiskey sexy" - a quote from an Iraqi cab driver, if I recall correctly - that some used to imply that Iraq was the on the verge of being a happy little slightly naughty democracy. Albeit this was some time ago - still waiting on that one, I guess. Meanwhile China, having no democracy, and only limited sexy (they'd a bit more crouching, covering eyes tiger than the West), is 'Raising the brown bottle' instead of the red lantern with whiskey. I expect the other two items to shortly follow with as much success as we are seeing in Iraq.

Rove in context

They have the far-superior-reaction-to-9/11-by-conservativescovered. I'm so glad he found time to read, though it would have been nice had he perused some memos from the prior month.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Library Photo blogging

M_ and I took in a bit of downtown Cleveland the Cleveland Public Library and she snapped a few interesting images - click one of the thumbnails below for the page in a new window.


Blogger Survey

Interesting blogger survey at MIT here:

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

One think about it is it randomly selected weblogs from my blogroll - but none of the several I met in person. So I probably register as an angry loner, alas.

Lost in summation

This story startled me with it's last sentence
Hawks typically attack humans when their young are learning to fly.
I have to admit, if I saw a human teaching their kids to fly sans a plane, I'd be tempted to attack them as well - or perhaps back away in awe of this scary new power. Or did they mean something more along the lines of the original article:
Miller said parent hawks attack during fledgling season, in early summer. They aggressively protect their young when they are learning to fly and are out of the nest for the first time.

Burning flags

My, my there are some eager little beavers trying to attach a big old asterisk to the first Amendment of the Constitution:
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There's even a song!
There's a lot of flag-burners,
Who have got too much freedom,
I want to make it legal
For policemen to beat'em.

'Cause there's limits to our liberties,
At least I hope and pray that there are,
'Cause those liberal freaks go too far.
(per The Simpsons).

But back in supposedly non-cartoon land - here's what they say in defense of a flag burning amendment:
Supporters said emotions after Sept. 11 created more public support than ever before. They said detractors are out of touch with public sentiment.

'Ask the men and women who stood on top of the Trade Center,' said Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, a California Republican. 'Ask them and they will tell you: Pass this amendment.'
Acutally, I would guess they're saying "please stop terrorists from crashing planes into our buildings", but I'm sure "grandstand and wrap yourself in a flag" was the number two thought in their minds. All that being said, there's enough resistence in the Senate to stop this from being sent to the President. Little comfort can be had since the very useful congress keeps sending it up the flagpole.

Not happy

I not happy with the sentence given to Edgar Ray Killen of 60 years for three murders. He could get out by the time he's 140, and that seems a bit soon to this reader.

Excuse of the day

From the Halifax Herald story by Tera Camus
Mr. Brogan, who was a sitting councillor and member of the region's police commission at the time, said he went to the legion in his official capacity as regional councillor and left after drinking two rums and a beer between 9:30 and 11 p.m.

As he was driving, he said, he had a back muscle spasm that caused him to accelerate and drive off the road into a ditch near his mobile home.
My congratulations to Tera who presumably had to note down this story without laughing. Also, I think we will see an influx of immigrants moving to Nova Scotia if there are jobs that involve drinking in an official capacity.


Nit-Picky Postscript: They should give a kick in the pants to whoever's running their website. The title tag on this story was clearly from some other article: <title>Nova Scotia man pleads not guilty to child pornography charges</title>. I emailed them about a similar problem on another story - no reply.

Nit-Pick #2: It seems like they are randomly changing the title tag to various stories. Next time I am up in Halifax, I'll drop an HTML for Dummies book off at their office, methinks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The promising land?

Meryl Yourish, of Yourish.com, takes note - with a smile - that tourism in Israel is up 30%. In the same post, she points out Palestinian TV invoking a culture of death, of sorts, for kids. How fun. Israel's one of those places I would love to visit. It fits very well in my own back-of-a-cocktail-napkin rule: Don't visit a country unless it's an actual* democracy.

* = Putin, you're putting your land on the brink, brother.

Get some posters, you America hating foreigner

So to summarize this NY Times story (you may have to register for free to read it all), if you don't have posters on your wall, talk in chat rooms, and are not a US Citizen, the men in black will fall on you like a ton of INS forms. I would have to assume that if you are working for pennies in a very dangerous slaughterhouse job - as an illegal alien - that's A-OK with the boys upstairs. I'm sure this will help round up all the real terrorists here in the US, who are no doubt planning everything on IRC channels like #I_want_to_blow_up_Im_a_Hamas_Kid. Since this confirms everything I was worried the FBI was wasting it's time on, I suppose I no longer need worry. Were I a teenager, or had dark skin - since as a foreigner these are apparently sins now - I would be tempted to go off to the store to buy some Clay Aiken posters, in case the Georgia O'Keefe print in our bedroom isn't sufficiently American.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Frist "changes his mind"

A search of Google news for "frist flip-flop" only gets two old hits. Now if I were LGF, I could post this and have hordes of commenters decry Google's obvious "problems". Luckily, my readers are as refined as they are rare.

Tables that p--, Crime, and Genocide

Randomly wandering mind of mine post...

gnotalex of the blog québécois has some pictures of furniture that appear to be relieving itself. No, really.

This may be a bit rhetorical, can a notorious murder really be called a "classic"? Do people refer to genocides as classic, as in "the murder of untold thousands of Armenians - boy that was a classic"?

In that same thought line, I just finished A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide by Samantha Powers. It's a terrifying book. The terror is not so much in the actions of the genocidal, but in the bland indifference by the so-call free people's of the world. Not only would many governments, not just the US, refuse to stop the genocides in the face of evidence, they often refused to condemn it at all. items like US backing of the Khmer Rouge after they knew of the atrocities are just horrifying, but are a piece of 20th century history it would do well to keep in mind. Powers elucidates with scholarship, and reviews the very embarassing tales of polticos and others ignoring the worst possible crime humanity has.

Certifiable

Thomas Ptacek has a go at CISSP certification. My favourite line:
Is it prima facie unethical to offer to render life-or-death security services based on experience you can claim only by having read a Que '... in 21 days' book? Yes.
This reminds me of a fellow at a former workplace of mine with an MCSE, who was forever asking me just how the registry worked. One can hope people doing the hiring recognize some acronyms as being worth exactly what they should be.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Then, and Now

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
President George W. Bush, 9/11/2001

When you go to the question of sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play...

We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community.
Porter Goss, Director of the CIA, in a interview to be in the June 27 issue of Time.

It's interesting how we now need to be "acceptable" to get bin Laden, when that didn't seem to be a problem when we went in to get Saddam.

Toy I don't need

Still browsing news.com piece by Jennifer Guevin I came across a new tool callee Audioscribbler: "So at the end of the day, you can check to see what your friends have listened to most, ranked by most recently played, most-played artists and most-played tracks." I'm not sure if I want a tool that lets me know that K_ is listing to Survivior, R_ is listening to Beyonce - though I admit I don't know what Dr.'s B_ and R_ listen to nowadays. I'm 99% sure they don't care to know how much old Tom Lehrer I listen to though.

Tiny profundities

"At Google, engineers are expected to spend one day a week on a project of personal interest." (from a news.com story). It's interesting to imagine what you could accomplish with 8 hours a week creating something of personal interest - outside of the office. Google makes their whole staff an R&D department this way on the cheap. It's not a bad mantra outside of business either. I should track down my ogranizer and start tracking how much time I spend on creative pursuits, blogging excluded.

Friday, June 17, 2005

In which direction should the convention center grow?

In which direction should the convention center grow? This is what you call begging the question. Rather than acknowledge that the debate should be should on whether we pour more public dollars into projects that private business will not undertake, because they're so clearly unprofitable, they say the debate is over what kind of glass triangles should be present in the center. This would be akin to me proposing to Jodie Foster not by saying "Will you marry me" or "would you marry me if I were a woman", but "should the cake at our wedding by multilayered or in the shape of an FBI badge?". Meanwhile, back in reality,
The overall convention marketplace is declining in a manner that suggests that a recovery or turnaround is unlikely to yield much increased business for any
given community, contrary to repeated industry projections. Moreover this decline began prior to the disruptions of 9-11 and is exacerbated by advances in communications technology. Currently, overall attendance at the 200 largest tradeshow events languishes at 1993 levels.
(source: Brookings Institute study [PDF file - html link here] by Heywood Sanders).

Update 10:58 AM: more Heywood Sanders at Brewed Fresh Daily. That's a meeting I would to have liked to have attended, but I don't get out of work til 6 PM. Luckily, George is making recordings available on his site. I think the city should abandon it's convention center project and just clone George.

Update: 12:50 PM. Couldn't stand looking at the missing "the" the PeeDee left out of the headline.

Fork it over?

This column in Salon by Patrick Smith raises an interesting point
For me, the seminal nonsense moment (every regular flier has experienced one) came in those twitchy days just after Sept. 11, when I was still in the active employ of a Certain Large Airline. In full uniform, in full view of passengers, a small metal fork was scornfully confiscated from one of my bags. (Yes, used in the consumption of ramen noodles, boiled to perfection in hotel-room coffee makers.) The screener was neither impressed nor entertained when I pointed out that forks were, and continue to be, handed out routinely with first-class meals, and in dozens of concourse restaurants beyond the metal detector checkpoint.

Not to mention there's an ax in every cockpit.
Aside from the silliness of searching the pilot for weapons, it makes me wonder if they still ban forks? The TSA doesn't mention them. I fail to see how more than one timid person could be held at bay with the average fork - given the likely response to an attempted hijacking nowadays. I think the TSA is continuing to suffer from middle management syndrome. Victims of MMS think they can dream up all scenarios by sitting in their chair, and contemplating what they would do to try and hijack an airliner, and think of ordinary household objects they might use. Forget that lighters are banned but I could bring on multiple match boxes. Forget that almost no airport workers have any security screening at all - including all the workers who clean the planes just before passengers board. How about screening the airport workers for thing likes - oh, I don't know - machine guns and explosives, to name two things terrorists are likely to want. Until then, we can rest easy knowing the pilots will be forced to eat ramen noodles with a spoon.

Friday Dog Blogging

three dogs watch man enjoy hamburger
King B_ entrances some subjects with a hamburger.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Spyware Profiteers, coining a curse for clickers

Preston Gralla, blogging on the O'Reilly Weblogs, has some wisdom on spyware:
There's no single way to stop spyware from growing. But there is one that will help, and that no one talks about. That's to punish those who benefit from the spyware scourge --- the advertisers who benefit from pop up blizzards and home page hijacking. Once they start hurting, they'll police how their ads are used, which in turn will cut off money to spyware purveyors.
I wonder if there's already a blacklist of companies that advertise via obnoxious popups or spyware out there? I know I seldom visit Drudge, even to mock his use of flashing police light 192 point headlines, because every time I go to his page I get two to three popups despite having all my anti-popup settings on. Enough bad publicity about their crappy marketing techniques could take at least some wind of of spyware's sails. And to all you people who actually click on those ads and driver the desire to create them - may you fall into the sea and spent eternity contemplating the salty blackness above you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Attention students - this will not help you with homework

I noticed in my logs some come here looking for "Red Wheelbarrow analysis" to which I repeat my previous advice for those seeking to figure out just what Dr. Williams meant - crack a damn book. The other, more mysterious search is for "Red Wheelbarrow summary". They want a summary of a poem that's sixteen words long. Dickinson wept. How about this?

Important: Wet red farm implement
white feathereds nearby

That's half the size. I think Reader's Digest did something similar in their condensed version.

Laugh or cry, your pick

K.J. Lopez says on The Corner:
The medical examiner said today that the video interaction everyone saw of Terri Schiavo and her parents wasn't impossible.
(emphasis is mine) Hmmm. The examiner in question said what now? From Yahoo News:
He [the medical examiner] also said she was blind, because the "vision centers of her brain were dead," and that her brain was about half of its expected size when she died 13 days following the feeding tube's removal.

Michael Schiavo said his wife never would have wanted to be kept alive in what court-appointed doctors concluded was a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery. The Schindlers, however, doubted she had any such end-of-life wishes and disputed that she was in a vegetative state.

The medical examiner's conclusions countered a videotape released by the Schindlers of Terri Schiavo in her hospice bed. The video showed Schiavo appearing to turn toward her mother's voice and smile, moaning and laughing. Her head moved up and down and she seemed to follow the progress of a brightly colored Mickey Mouse balloon.
It seems to a relatively intelligent reader that is exactly what he's saying, dear K.J. It must be nice to read the second quote and come to the conclusion reached in the first. Must be like being high all day long - I expect Federal Agents are on the way to the National Review offices even as I type this.

Personal Snopes

Back in 1991, my college tried to convince me to shell out several hundred dollars for an "X Ring". One of their marketing wizards had been circulating - for years - a tale that this ring was the second "most recognizable" ring in the world. The tale continued that the most recognizable one was the Pope's ring. I might beg to differ, that these days the average person wouldn't recognize the Pope's ring even if it was being bitten off their hand by a small, feral creature with a speech impediment. The source of this is evidently someone (PDF link1 ) remembering seeing Alex Trebek mention the X-Ring preeminence amongst the host of recognizable rings as a bon mot tossed lightly aside by the mustaschioed Canadian whilst hosting Jeopardy. Jeorpardy, of course, says they have never heard this before when contacted by the plucky editors of my school's alumni Mag, aforelinked. Unconfirmed and very likely the result of too many blows to the head, the story is part of my person collection of Snopes. This tale has never failed to elicit laughter from M_. I wonder though, if the power of the Internet would allow mye to find my ring. It joined the ranks of many Shelly Long sitcoms by being lost somewhere between Lockeport, NS and Cleveland OH, in October 1998.

1 I wish the editors of the website would pick a permalink format for issues, rather than just shoving it into a "current" folder. I think remedial library training would be a good start for some webmasters. Perhaps M_'s pal Y_ (from Texas) could do the job, as she has a mastery of all thing library-ish.

Stories Frist would rather you not read

Just as medical experts - the ones who actually examined her - expected, the autopsy of Terri Schiavo confirms their diagnosis:
An autopsy on
Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding that she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.
I take it now the - how shall I put this diplomatically - nuts who were all but calling for a mob to string Michael Schiavo up a tree, and insisted Terri could recover, will apologize. I'll be waiting right by this lake in Hell, making sure my ice skates still fit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Traitors?

So one night near the DMZ in Korea, an American soldier walked over to the North. Now he's coming back. The CNN article notes:
He wasn't likely to find much sympathy in his hometown of Rich Square, North Carolina, however, where some were considering protests at what they called his betrayal of his country.
What "they" call betrayal? What do you have to do to be called a traitor - I mean in the actual sense, not in the Ann Coulter, anyone-who-is-not-Christian-and-Bushian-is-a-Traitor school of thought (such as it is). I think when it comes to word definitions, Ann and those who follow her could not be trusted to define "cat". At times like this, we look - as always - to Patrick Stewart for wisdom:
You have already betrayed your people. You have made your choices. You are a traitor, sir. If the bitter taste of it disagrees with you, I am truly sorry. But I will not risk the lives of my crew because you think you can dance on the edge of the Neutral Zone. You have crossed over, Admiral. I suggest you make yourself comfortable.
- Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, a Frenchman, I might add

When they came for the bloggers?

Jeff, of Have Coffee, Will Write, makes note of a new legal guide for bloggers published by Electronic Frontier Foundation. Excellent for those of us lacking in legal training but having an abundance of insulting things to say about people, places, and politics.

Nice picture, thief

Jen over at Very Big Blog finds that some photo-printers are refusing to print photos that are....too good. Yes, Blanche, they are making judegments as to the qualities of photos and refusing to print those they deem too polished. A few thoughts occur, firstly, that I think this indicates digital photography - and photo editing software is making much better photographers out of amateurs.

Second, the policy at Wal-Mart and elsewhere seems very arbitrary. The management - trained in such luminaries as Ansel Adams, no doubt - makes judgements about what they will print based on I suppose his gut instincts about how good of a photo it is.

Thirdly, this is a good reason to buy a high quality photo printer.

Finally, this is yet another reason to avoid Wal-Mart.

When to stop reading

It's hard to know when to stop reading a news story
Insider notes from United Press International for June 8

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds...
(emphasis mine). I put just as much weight behind his thoughts on this as his thoughts on UFO's. 9/11 anti-nonsense is here. I didn't use to pay much mind to conspiracy theories, or statements so dumb, but that's how things like "Intelligent Design" gain a foothold - lack of exposure to reality.

Making my own maxims*

When possible, avoid making blog posts of lists.
Lists of the greatest anything are, in general, the result of assignments by idea-challenged editors.
- Roger Ebert
(from here).

* = Meaning maxims for me, not neccesarily intended for others.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Nothing to see here

Patrick Smith, who writes "Ask the Pilot" on Salon notes that pilots and crew of planes pass through security, whilst everyone else with access to the plane via their job does not.
The requirement that pilots and flight attendants undergo checkpoint screening was imposed by the FAA after the crash of a Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) flight in 1987. A recently fired ground worker, David Burke, used his credentials, which the airline had failed to recover, to carry a concealed handgun onto flight 1771 from Los Angeles to San Francisco. En route, he shot both pilots and nosed the airplane into the ground near Harmony, Calif., killing all 44 on board.

The FAA's response was not to implement screening for ground workers, but for pilots and flight attendants instead. As a public relations gimmick, passengers now saw crews having to wait in the same annoying security queues as everybody else. It looked like a tighter system, when in reality it did nothing to preclude another David Burke.
The fact they want to do lots of window-dressing security makes me wonder what other items that we do not see might be menacing us in the skies. I'm really wondering what it will take to wake up the FAA - since I thought that alarm clock went off on 9/11/2001.

Headlines that almost were

Michael Jackson was found not guilty, which is a shame partly because we didn't get to see use made of Defamer's proposed headline:Dead Man Moonwalking.

Gitmo = the Southernmost US Frat house?

Lileks makes light on the recent revelations about acts in US run facilities, aka Gitmo.
"On Dec. 2, Rumsfeld approved 16 of 19 stronger coercive methods. Now the interrogators could use stress strategies like standing for prolonged periods."

What, he made them stand in line for eight hours to vote? Fiend.
I might point out the differences are 1. the people in line to vote could go home 2. the people in line to vote could sit down 3. the people in line to vote could have someone make a burger run. But other than that, it's the same thing.

Anyway, back to Lileks making light...I wonder how low he will set the standard of behaviour he thinks we should endeavor to meet...?
isolation for as long as 30 days, removal of clothing, forced shaving of facial hair, playing on "individual phobias" (such as dogs) and "mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing."

If you’ve read accounts of the Soviet gulag

Not to nit pick, but as bars go, that's pretty goddamned low.

you may recall the tales of men forced to march ten miles to a labor site in shoes made of cardboard and frozen spit, and digging hard dead beets from permafrost with hands that hadn’t seen mittens in three years. "Light pushing" in this context was a rifle butt to the chin, twice. Did the 19 methods in the Bill of Cruelty itemize "poking in the chest with the finger" as a separate method, or was it folded into a general go-ahead for acting like a high-school gym teacher?
So it's like gym! I have to wonder at what kind of scary-ass gymn class Mr. Lileks attended. This seems in line with the Limbaugh-think that's it's all just college fun. People were always theatening to have dogs maim or kill me in college, what a crazy time that was.

Our enemies are often vile creatures with no semblance of civilization. What some fail to realize, is that is one of the differences between us.

Plausibilities

I wonder what choice of words Mr. Reynolds would make if some left-wing hack wrote a book claiming President Bush was conceived by rape, and insinuated that Barbara was a lesbian? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure the word "implausible" would not come up, and stronger terms would be used. The main concern of the article he links to is not so much whether any of the allegations are true, or if the writer of the book is a nutball, but whether this story is true enough to be used in a 2008 campaign (the blog Reynolds links to warns against it).

Micosoftspines

SO MSN is blocking words like "democracy" from China. Do they also block the phrase "MSN is a bunch of dictator enabling, simpering cowards"?

Videodrone

Ever since excessively violent video games created such monsters as Ghengis Khan, Hitler, and Charles Manson, politicians have been eager to regulate them. I just love when politicians want to regulate anything akin to speech But this idea is far too stupid to be limited to one political party.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, that weathervane of modern Democratic Party politics, complained about video games in March: "Probably one of the biggest complaints I've heard is about some of the video games, particularly 'Grand Theft Auto,' which has so many demeaning messages about women and so encourages violent imagination and activities and it scares parents."
It's a good thing there are no books with demeaning messages about women, that encourage violent imagination, or scare parents or we'd have to regulate them as well. My only joy would be in that the Bible would be the first tome needing regulation under such a scheme.

The real problem

The Governors Highway Safety Association.concluded that state's are giving too much of a buffer for speeders (report is here). No doubt if they lowered the "real" limit it might have some effect on deaths. If you lowered the limit to 5 MPH deaths would plummet. The question is how efficient do you want our economy to be? Has any enterprising economist figured out the optimal ratio between deaths and speed?

In the State of Ohio, if the limit on a road is under 55, you can speed up to 5 over without incurring any points on your license. If the limit is over 55, you can go up to 10 over without any points. But even if they enforced some kind of "zero tolerance policy" (we all know how well those work out), there aren't enough police to pull everyone over. I don't think the problem is that the majority of citizens are lawbreakers. They don't go into the grocery store and shoplift 1-5 items. They just see the way traffic tickets are used as revenue generators, and have a fairly cynical (sadly, correct) view of speeding enforcement. If drivers had one iota of the training and regulation of private pilots (who get medical checkups to see if they can still fly) I think you could both raise speed limits and have fewer deaths, by increasing the skills and knowledge of all. Or is the problem that we rely too much on one person in each car, and there are too many cars for the road? Do we need more public transit? Whoops, I just received $50 in an envelope from the car-makers, let me revise my opinion: trains are for commies.

This does little to alleviate the problem of white men in short sleeve dress shirts listening to rap music very loudly in traffic jams, however.

Once, again, a later graf

Interesting how the later grafs of some stories contain the most illuminating information. There's some worries over the Palestinian Authority (such as it is) re-imposing the death penalty. Questions of whether this would hurt their bid for statehood have been raised - although the more pertinent question should be if they have the kind of justice system that can be free enough of error and corruption to avoid executing innocents. I acknowldge a state (or neo-state's) rigt to have or not have a death penalty, but not without any conditions and fairness which I am frankly dubious the so-called governbment in the Palestine areas can give. The penultime paragraph in the story (interesting placement) gives one more cause for concern:
The issue is particularly controversial because about half of the 50 or so Palestinians on death row are convicted of collaborating with Israel.

June 14th, 1919

John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown were the first pilots to fly over the Atlantic on the 14th of June in 1919. Linked above are some pilots attempting to recreate their flight in a replica plane. MS Flight Simulator has this plane in it as well, and it handles like a barn with wings. Good luck to Mark Rebholz and Steve Fossett in their Vickers Vimy.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Quote of the day

It has this Chilli/Ranch dressing. It has Ranch and Chilli in it.

Please Choose Mel

There's an interesting blogger named Mel with a blog about unemployment: Please Choose Me. Sometimes life-event blogs provide more help than all the jobseeker advice I saw during my last round of joblessness.

Friday Cat Blogging


K_ and R_'s new cat, Momo.

Another invention noted

It's good to know in the Buckeye state that the Governor has installed a new safety device - Buckstops. Is the buck heading your way, sure to stop at your desk and get nasty blame all over you, your office, and by extension, shame the state? These handy little items make sure the fault of any scandal stops just before the highest office holder onto his underlings. They are padded so the blame was merely an error of ommision. I'd invest in the makers of these, as I suspect Ohio will be eating them up faster than the returning buzzards of spring devour road kill.

Misreadings

It's funny, but when I read the headline for this story, I initially thought it said : "Bush says Congress must act in terror" instead of the actual "..act on terror". Yet if they had picked the headline imagined by my somewhat randomly firing neurons, the appropriateness for the story would not have changed a whit.

Geepers, creepers, peepers

Having solved all the drug related crime, murders, rapes and robberies in Cleveland, city council is now insisting on putting cameras in peep-show booths. Also,
The city ordinance further demands that the video monitor that receives transmissions from the booths be placed in full public view so that anyone in the store will be able to see what is happening behind closed doors.
I can't see how this can possible go horribly wrong. The ACLU noted there isn't a "first amendment right to masturbate", which is true, though I must applaud heartily the council use of time and money on this issue. I can hardly sleep at night wondering fearfully if some pervs downtown are "polishing their People's Choice Award", so to speak. I think next on the agenda should be cameras in all area hotel rooms, set to switch on if anyone turns on Playboy TV, buys a porn movie, or lingers too long on Cinemax.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Use your inside voice, dear

The other day on the bus a fellow allowed us his travel-mates to enjoy a rare treat. He pulled out his cell phone - and in the loudest voice let loose into the air in the world since Bill O’Reilly found out he had not, in fact, won a Peabody award - proceeded to converse with someone. It may have been his wife, paramour, brother, neighbour, his gardener, or possibly urologist. It is hard, poor prose-wright that I am, to convey the effect of his booming voice as it traversed the bus, outdoing the noise of traffic and engines by several tens of decibels. He stated that he was "on the bus". Once more into the breach, he repeated: "ON THE BUS. THE 55. YEAH". My friends, you have not experienced emotion till you have heard someone shout ‘yeah’ but still sound bored by the whole affair. We were all enthralled. "I’LL BE THERE IN A FEW MINUTES. YEAH. OK". I was tempted to begin a course of action that would - if retold - contain the Frank Constanza inspired phrase "...as I rained down blows upon him..." but thought better of it.

It occurred to me that perhaps I suffer needlessly. I had just put away a tome on the life of B. Franklin, printer, and he always looked for pragmatic solutions, and was author of many inventions. Further inspiration came in the form of TV-B-Gone. With that device, skinny vegetarians who play hackey-sack (badly) can enter sports bars and turn off TV's from a distance, the better to avoid pummelings. I wonder now if I could invent a device that would create a small but handy Electro Magnetic pulse - like a tiny nuclear warhead - and thus shut down any cell phones. Remaining limited enough to not destroy the bus, or created radiation-enhanced insects that would trample my city and cause what few Japanese live here to flee whilst pointing to my unintended, horrible, horrible creations. Then I thought - "foolish lad! Surely the Patriot Act enhanced FBI would discover my plans for such a weapon and shut me down". Then in deeper reflection I realized that Bush might bemoan my works from afar, but in the end would simply try to negotiate with me in a series of multilateral talks while I prepared more of my cell-phone-killing machines.

Franklin

Just finished the very readable Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. Learning how he constructed his own image, to a degree, ends up lending more interest to his character. It was pleasing to learn he proposed "truths to be held self-evident" in place of a more religious phrasing in the Declaration of Independence. Realized that had he lived more recently, he could have been thought of as exchanging inappropriate emails, using sock-puppets on his blog, and being a flip-flopper. That's another phrase I'll have to mark down in my book as being one that should be consigned to the flames, as if one can never change an opinion, regardless of further information or reflection. Once wishes for one of Franklin's parodies, written under a pseudonym, perhaps as he often did, as a woman - to take such foolishness to task.

Booksluttish

Margaret Atwood may have said: 'The June issue of Bookslut makes every other English-language publication in history look like worthless crap.'

Floods, plainly

Residents of Alberta are complaining that the government didn't do enough to prevent the extent of the recent floods there. To misquote Sam Kinison "If you don't want to suffer from floods - MOVE OUT OF THE F*CKING FLOOD PLAIN! Aaaagh!"

Most disturbing automated email of the day

...since nothing says 'let's be friends' like grilling meat (or meat-inspired vegetable things) alongside someone new, now is the perfect time to start lining up potential barbeque mates
'Barbeque mates' makes me imagine the worst toy idea ever hatched, some kind of sauce encrusted, sunburned plastic toys with "Kiss me - I'm the cook" aprons.

Coffee shops

Neat little website called CafeSpot.net for finding your indie coffee shops - and you can add or rate your personal faves. George doubtless knows all of them in NE Ohio, he should visit it sometime and rate the various beaneries.

Link via O'Reilly Radar - which in the interest of humour, should be called Radar O'Reilly.

Thursday Cat Safety Blogging

Shawn Wright of Colombus Ohio, deserves much scorn for trying to feed a kitten to an alligator. When confronted, he threw the kitten off his front porch where it reportedly bounced off the concrete. Here's hoping someone adopts it from the Franklin County Humane Society, to forget it's prior owner.

As for the owner, I blame the influence of Disney villains.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Gas is cheaper than milk

According to MSNBC, we should be pleased with the price of gas
'On a per-barrel basis, gasoline is America's bargain liquid: 10 percent cheaper than bottled water, a third the cost of milk, a fifth the cost of beer, and less than 2 percent the cost of a bottle of Jack Daniels,' the study said.
It's also cheaper to obtain than other liquids, so I guess we should all keep buying cars, improving roads, and letting mass transit be forgotten.

They paved Antarctica, put up a Eurasia

Antarctica sure has changed a lot since I was a kid.

A time for heroes

The Poor man is almost inevitably one of the funniest blogs I read - this photo-comic is no exception.

B. Franklin, printer

Quote of the random time period:
The most dangerous hypocrite in a Commonwealth is one who leave the gospel for the sake of the law. A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under colour of law.

-Benjamin Franklin
(source: Bejamin Franklin - an American Life by Walter Isaacson, p 32)

Atwood was prophetic?

In Oryx and Crake Margaret atwood describes a genetically engineered type of human that was designed to breed using 5 men to one woman at a time - which divides things up correctly well given this blurb on CNN
Males are also quicker at 2.5 minutes, while the average time it takes for a woman to reach orgasm is 12 minutes, according to Spector.
Which makes me think that the invention of baseball was mostly for women's enjoyment, giving the fellows something to think of to prevent Washington from crossing the Delaware too soon.

Unsurprising

NYTimes has a story that should be of little surprise
In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase 'significant and fundamental' before the word 'uncertainties,' tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.

Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the 'climate team leader' and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training.
No if only we could take a red editing pen and alter reality instead of reports, we wouldn't need to trouble ourselves about pesky issues like "science" and the so-called "environment". I wonder if the reaction of some in the blogosphere will be to react to this story by saying
a. that global warming isn't happening because they had a cold winter where the live
b. say that if it is happening, it just means more warm summer days
c. the Times Hates America.
d We'll fix it all with nanites.

I hope d turns out to be true, either in reality or at least in a few blogs.

Unfocused, unconventional

The hoople-heads downtown are still trying to shove a taxpayer funded convention center down our throats. So is their thinking centered on deciding if it's a good idea? Not so much.
With Forest City's decision Monday to withdraw its site behind Tower City Center from consideration, the city is down to one option - renovating and expanding the current center off Lakeside Avenue.

In the past, creating jobs ranked as the strongest positive argument. As for negatives, opponents feared cost overruns and felt that other community needs should supercede a large investment in a building used mostly by visitors.
I am wonder who came up with that negative, as I suspect it was draw directly from the posterior of of the pro-center folk. The real negative is that if this is such a gangbuster plan, how come no company anywhere wants to do this sans taxpayer milk? Could it be the dropping convention business - which started dropping before 9/11 - is a noted dead end? Could it be the only real interest is getting a few short terms gains from Cleveland? Could it be the promises of Browns Stadium and Gateway to revitalize have been forgotten, and they plan to try and fool us one more time? Only a cynic would think in such dark terms. We just need to convince people they need something, whether they actually need it is a consideration only for busybodies and "elites".

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Yourish, cease-fire-ish

Meryl Yourish of the epynomous blog, points out that a cease-fire is only such when parties numbering more than one actually cease firing: "What cease-fire? Hamas shelled Sderot. Again. Yeah, that Hamas. " They're getting elected in some places in the Middle East. These are the guys that ransom the body parts of Israeli soldiers. One would think the knowledge that they plan and act out suicide bombings, target women and children, and want to push the actually democratic state of Israel into the Sea (I'm sure they only want to push in each Jew, not the land itself) would be enough to convince us of how we should treat them. Meryl, as always, keeps an open eye on the situation with her usual readable-ness.

No Cleveland Walmart

This site discusses the idea of a Walmart in Cleveland. I haven't commented on the issue much, because I think in a capitalist society, I'd prefer to let the market make the choices when possible. Cleveland's economy is hurting, no doubt, and it would be nice to have more jobs and prosperity here. This leads me to conclude we should stymie any attempt by the city to spend one red nickle to get Walmart to move into the city. Chasing big corps to invest here by offering tax subsidies is the same as the residents of Cleveland paying for Walmart to move here. If it's such a great market, why not just do it on their own? Are they running low on capital funds? I hate to point to the examples of big business begging for city help followed by a whoosh of jobs leaving scant years later (*cough*, BP, *cough*) or tax breaks to those who don't need them (*cough*, Browns, Indians, *gag*) but why is the city in the retail biz?

So the city should be involved more directly in trying to create jobs? How about breaks for smaller businesses? You know the kind that will still be here in a few years? I am dubious of the theory of economic development by offering bribes to companies, because, Blanche, there will aways be a town down the road willing to offer a better deal one day.

It's interesting to me that most of the Walmart practices that seem rather odious - controlling suppliers through sheer size, screwing employees with low wages and poor benefits - all work when there is less competition in the market. Fine if they can do it on their own, but I hope the public becomes more aware of sites like the aforementioned one, and my tax dollars aren't directed towards private profits without my consent.

It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier?

Atrios on Eschaton reminds us that Jonah Goldberg said although he supported the war, he wasn't actually IN it because "...I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter...". Well thank goodness no one who's over there is 35 or older, or has a family that could use a better job than being in the army, or has kids, right? BTW, according to this Army web page, Jonah can sign up for the Army Reserve till he's 39. Unless he is a little bit less than confident in the current administration's decision making abilities regarding some of the wars we ask our volunteer army to fight

Fixations

Cato Institute defense analyzt Charles Pena says the US is overly fixated on al-Zarqawi in Iraq. There's one line in the Glove and Mail story that irked me: "He resurfaced in the chaos of postwar Iraq, a phantom who terrifies U.S. soldiers, civilian foreigners and many Iraqis with the sheer brutality of his campaign." Terrifies U.S. soldiers? That's more than a little insulting, and of dubious accuracy. But it's not clear in the article if they are paraphrasing Pena or if Paul Koring, the reporter, wrote it.

Since we have still not captured or killed bin Laden, we've seen a few individuals paraded out as being threats we all need ot be concerned with, first Saddam, then al-Zarqawi. If they finally catch or kill al-Zarqawi, I have little doubt we will be hearing of another leader we need to get to finally be safe. That each fellow is vile is of no doubt, that it has made us safer is more dubious, if it takes our minds off of bin Laden remains to be seen.

Vampire time

Like a vampire, the bad, bad, idea of a convention center in Cleveland just won't die. Needless to say, they want the public teat to be the suckling point for developers to build this attempt to grab a share of a universally declining market in convention business. If it's such a great idea, let the government pull back and let the business seeing it as a viable idea step all over each other eager to build it with private funds. Now now, boys, form an orderly line.

Style question

I'd like to see a consistent style for referring to the names of blogs, but it's problematic. It works ok to say: George Nemeth's Brewed Fresh Daily when I just refer to the blog. But what if I want to link to it? Then I have linked italics, which doesn't look so hot in this example: Brewed Fresh Daily is a blog I frequent. An alternative is to do this: Brewed Fresh Daily(link) which is just cumbersome to enter and to read. So are linked italics too ugly, or can there be a rule to put blog names in italics, except when they are links?

Marathoner

John Ruberry of Marathon Pundit extols the virtues of Cleveland as he viewed them on foot (link via George Nemeth's Brewed Fresh Daily)
And this point in the race, mile 5, I already have a tight calf and I'm feeling the humidity. That's not stopping me from enjoying the neighborhood of Lakewood, where there are plenty of large and beautiful homes, reminscent of Chicago's toney Edgebrook neighborhood--so Cleveland is not composed solely of run-down houses. A couple of miles later, I discover that Lakewood is not a Cleveland aberration, as I enter, tight calf and all, Ohio City. I guessed correctly that Ohio City was once a separate municipality, annexed by Cleveland many years ago. It's quaint and charming, yes, this is Cleveland, but quaint and charming Ohio City is. I even spotted a Victorian-era home operating as a bed-and-breakfast. Yes, a bed-and-breakfast in Cleveland!
And to think we managed to impress him without a Wal-mart.

On bears

After a horrific attack on a hiker in Alberta, CBC put up a some tips for dealing with bears. Though I cannot recall where I read them first, the only two maxims I think are of use when it comes to bears are #1. When in bear country, do not go out without a gun as big as your leg and #2. A bear can kill a person with ease - give them a wide berth.

But let's look at a few snippets what the CBC says:
;If you spot a bear at a distance and can get away without it noticing you, do it. Quietly. Shouting at or attempting to scare away a bear that is unaware of you could provoke an attack.

I find the same is true when encountering middle managers
If you spot a bear and can't leave the area without the bear spotting you, alert the bear to your presence and do what you can to show it that you're human.

Show off your opposable thumbs? No, monkeys have those as well. Many animals can also build tools...instead I suggest building a Roman-style aqueduct to impress upon the bear your human-like characteristics.
Climbing a tree is sometimes an option, but it doesn't guarantee safety, as was seen in Canmore, Alta., in June 2005. Isabelle Dube climbed a tree to get away from a bear she encountered on a trail. The bear pulled Dube out of the tree and she was killed.

That's the loosest definition of 'doesn't guarantee safety' I've heard in some time.
Do not try to outswim a bear.
I'm picturing those scenes from nature flicks where bears pick out salmon from streams, sometimes in mid-air. Gotcha, no swimming.
Recommended ways to fight back with a black bear or a grizzly that regards you as prey:

* Act aggressively.
* Defend yourself with whatever is available - baseball bat, rake, tent pole, axe, anything.
* Try to appear dominant.

Try to appear dominant? I'm thinking leather, a whip, and perhaps a black lace choker, but that may not intimidate so much as disturb the bear.
Bears standing on their hind legs swinging their heads from side to side are trying to pick up scents to determine who you are. Bears do not charge on their hind legs.

Unless - and this is just a hypothesis - they are trying to scare other bears by 'trying to appear human'. If a bear did charage at me on it's hind legs I'd probably fall over laughing, and THEN die. But I think the best advice on Bears comes from Hilaire Belloc's Moral Alphabet:
B stands for Bear. When Bears are seen
Approaching in the distance,
Make up your mind at once between
Retreat and Armed Resistance.

A Gentleman remained to fight.
With what result for him?
The Bear, with unconcealed delight,
Devoured him limb by limb.

Another Person turned and ran.
He ran extremely hard.
The Bear was faster than the Man,
And beat him by a yard.

MORAL

Decisive Action in the hour of need
Denotes the Hero (but does not succeed).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Just when I think people can't get dumber, they take a little more water from the pool

So the marketing geniuses want to analyze music
The listeners classify hundreds of characteristics about each song, including beat, melody, lyrics, tonal palette and dynamics, then plug the data into a music recommendation engine -- software designed to find songs that share similar traits.
Wow, that's fascinating. Good thing they are finally coming up with a system for all of this. It's really a shame no one has thought of a way to put down music in written form til now, but I knew they'd crack that puzzle in the marketing biz.

Quincy

Also known as Jack Klugman, was trying to generate interest in a book relating to Tony Randall. He recalls
'After Tony died (in 2004) I went into a deep depression, and I didn't know why I couldn't shake it,' Klugman said, his once-gravelly voice a hoarse whisper since throat surgery 15 years ago. 'I never told him how important our friendship was to me, how important he was to me. And I didn't know it until he died.'
I think he probably knew. And Jack is doing better than his role as the famous fictional L.A. County Coroner, who usually ended up digging up bodies once or twice per show to find things he forgot to check the first time.

Next time you're trying to visit a monkey...

...bear in mind that the monkey* can tell how many people are coming just by hearing their voices. Which I suppose makes it easier to decide how many coconut cups to put out, and how many pizzas to order.

* = Warning for those in Kansas - aforelinked article presumes evolution over time, as opposed to a white-frocked gent sitting on a marble throne, is responsible for man, monkeys, and the relationships between same.

Want to bet?

Who wants to bet that no real state or Federal election reforms will take place before 2008? The Repubs accuse the Dems of being hysterical sore losers (unless a Democrat wins, in which case 'the system is broken and it must be fixed'). The return on investment for real reform is too low for short-sighted current office holders, eager to placate the interests that funded their rise to power. Only when it becomes and stays a top issue for voters will the pols deign to notice the flaws in the system.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Gotta Eat

Maude of Maude Newton notes writers pleading with Oprah to promote contemporary fiction, rather than books by William Faulkner. Hey kids, Faulkner has to eat too. I think what the literary scene needs to do is give Jonathan Franzen an atomic wedgie, leave him hanging off a nail outside Harpo studios, and hopes that sacrifice brings back the rain.

Friday Cat-blogging


Conner cares little when I rant.

Sixteen

It was Sixteen years ago tomorrow when the Chinese government brutally murdered it's own citizens in Tiananmen Square for protesting in favour of democracy. The less the Chinese regime wants it remembered, accurately, the more we should bring it to the forefront, and perhaps not all of their internet filters will block out the past.

The Subhead

There amusing part to this story isn't that an architect is claiming he found an eight-hundred year old Chinese settlement in Nova Scotia. Nor is it that he won't tell anyone where it is, exactly. It's the sub-headline for the Alison Auld penned story: "Hypothesis disorients experts". Or fails to Orient, perhaps.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Not to name the guilty...

But doesn't the phrase "...the flashback, non-linear narrative..." say the same thing twice? I'm just saying.

For want a comma, the government killed 814

Am I wrong in thinking there is a change in meaning in this story
Insurgents killed 39 people in a series of rapid-fire attacks Thursday, as they ratcheted up a bloody campaign against the Shiite-led government that left at least 814 dead.
If it looked liked this:
Insurgents killed 39 people in a series of rapid-fire attacks Thursday, as they ratcheted up a bloody campaign against the Shiite-led government, that left at least 814 dead.

Gamer's Manifesto

Funniest thing I've read all day is a computer game player's Manifesto, by David Wong and Haimoimoi . My favourite quote:
Seriously, get rid of the crates. The crate has long been held up as an example of lazy game art design, a crutch that game level decorators have been falling back on for fifteen damned years. Come to think of it, have you ever actually seen one of those wooden crates in real life? And did you smash it to see if there were bullets and medicine inside?

Weep

If Karla Homolka cried the river Nile it would be nothing to the horrors she inflicted on her victims. Pulling her teeth out, carving her into sections, and tossing her in the lake would be the eye-for-an-eye style. She's about to be released after just 12 years (torture-murders not being such bad crimes, apparently) with a chance of "no restrictions", which basically means she would not be on parole.