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Sunday, October 01, 2006

My final post:

It has truly been a privilege and honor to know all of you. I wish all of you the best in life.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Comments on the controversial comments by Pope Benedict XVI:

I've read the text of the address, and what seems to be the problem is a few paragraphs. I have copied the relevant paragraphs below:

"In the seventh conversation ("diálesis" -- controversy) edited by professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that sura 2:256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion." It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under [threat]. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Koran, concerning holy war.

"Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels," he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

"The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably ("syn logo") is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...."

"The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

"As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?

"I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the 'logos.'"

"This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word -- a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. "

While all of Islam is not reflected by their most radical leaders, they certainly are the most vocal at this time. From what I read, the Pope greatly condemned the use of violence to advance religious agendas, and called for more reasoned dialog between the Muslim and Christian worlds. The implied message was a call for their elders to take their youth in hand and set them straight. As a result of this, churches have been burned, a nun far greater than Mother Theresa was murdered, and worse may happen still. More analysis is here, but this should have been a tempest in a teapot. Instead, terrorists are using this as further "proof" of why a jihad is needed. Many of these same groups, if Pope Benedict XVI were to read the weather report, would cite this as a further example of his hatred of Islam. I'm no Catholic, but I think it would be far more accurate to say that Pope Benedict XVI abhors violence in the name of religion, and I'm sure this is a position with which most can agree. I may not always like or agree with Pope Benedict XVI, but I think he had a point.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Random food thoughts

I went out of town recently, just a short day trip, and needed to pick up something at the store, so, I went to this large grocery store that was on the way. One of my favorite areas of any grocery store is the ethnic food aisle, since that's just about the only part of any store I know I'll find something I probably haven't tried before. I saw this soda I'd never seen before: Sidral Mundet. Since I have a friend who has travelled abroad, I do know what the Spanish word "manzana" means, and even if I didn't, I know what a picture of an apple looks like. :P It was a 1.5 litre container for right around $2 or thereabouts, so I figured, why not take it home, get it nice and cold, and try it? I'm not a huge fan of apple juice, but it looked interesting, and besides, my friend had had something similar during his travels and had mentioned how good it was. I do, however, love a good cider, both plain and when used as part of wassail. I'm very glad I did. I learned later that "sidra" means "cider", something part of me figures should've known from the beginning, but I digress. I tried it, and the next time I'm out that way, I'll buy two or three of them. It's a much more interesting flavor than I was expecting: Definitely apple, but more like the cider upon which the name of this particular product was based. I should have also picked up the Sangria Se├▒orial, but I didn't. Perhaps next time I'm out that way, I'll pick some up.

On a different note, I have two entries into the "What the HELL?!" column. First, I'd never heard of Lonelygirl15 on YouTube, and I may be one of only four people in the United States to have never even visited the YouTube website. Also, I'm almost 30, and that probably puts me above the age of the target audience. That said, I can't understand how anyone could be surprised by at least the possibility of this happening. This is a public website where people can post their videos of either real or creative content, and that includes the possibilty (in this case, realized) of acting. My opinion, therefore, is this: Ms. Rose is obviously a good actress, and my first instinct is that I hope some crazed fan doesn't decide to express their disappointment or anger in a direct manner. Bah.

And finally, for the entry into the "bullshit" column, there's the recent arrest of Duane "Dog" Chapman, Leland Chapman, and Timothy Chapman. They find and capture this serial rapist, and they're the ones arrested. Fucking bullshit. They should be given a medal, not bracelets. That's all for now.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11/01: Five Years Later

I have seen plenty of people wearing their red, white, and blue outfits. I've seen American flag headwraps. I've seen the ribbons, the makeshift memorials, and the recollections shown on CNN and elsewhere in lieu of actual news. Before I continue on my rant, I want to make absolutely clear that I believe we should never forget the sad events of 9/11/01. I believe we should never forget those who were lost on United Flight 93, or the Pentagon, or the World Trade Centers. I believe we should never forget their families and friends. The terrorist hijackings of 9/11/01 is the second-worst event I've seen during my lifetime, and I do not wish to demean this at all.

All that said, I believe the time has come for us as a nation to move on with our lives. Are we going to be mourning this event in such a maudlin manner ten years, fifteen, twenty, fifty, or even a hundred years hence? I know many of you have lost loved ones in the past, and it is in this sense that I mean to move on. I feel the best way to remember the victims is to remember their loss and to remember their families and friends, but not to engage in this maudlin, self-flagellating bullshit. The time for wearing sackcloth and ashes is over. The time to bring those responsible to justice, either in this life or by sending them to the next, is now and began the moment the first plane hit the building. Five years after Pearl Harbor, this nation did not have parades, or 24/7 coverage of nothing on the various television stations. The time has come for us to remember that bit of wisdom from our grandparents and stop giving the terrorists even this small bit of legitimacy by treating the anniversary of this horror as tantamount to a national holiday. We were hurt that terrible day. However, this nation was once great and has no excuse not to be again, and our resolve should be no less than it was five years ago, though this resolve should be tempered by wisdom, a wisdom I have not seen nearly as much as one might hope.

As for how I've observed the fifth anniversary of 9/11/01, well, I showered, went to work (wearing something that was NOT red, white, or blue), and basically treated it like a Monday. Last year, well, I was probably having a severe anxiety attack for reasons unrelated to the anniversary and everything to do with the tropics. Next year, who knows? However, my opinion on this is not likely to change.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stan Lee: Brilliant artist, useless as a television personality.

I could have put "I am dead, and this is hell," but I have a good bit of life left in me, and I've already said that this is hell before, I think. I can't quite be bothered to check the 169 prior rants I've done on this blog. To those of you who may be unaware, Stan Lee, the brilliant artist who introduced the world to Spiderman and other very popular comic book superheroes, now has his own reality show. I've caught The Real World, Road Rules, Survivor, Big Brother, The Surreal Life, and even a few seconds of that crappy show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. However, I have truly seen what is digesting in the bowels of Satan himself, and it is Stan Lee's reality show, "Who Wants To Be a Superhero?" I really see no need to elaborate on the show, since even the title reeks of the type of dreck this show vomits from the television screen in every episode. If I weren't a bit odd already, this might've warped mah fragile little mahnd. As it is, it has obviously brought about an Eric Cartman moment, and, while that's... interesting, it is not all that scary.

On a different note, my deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. His work educated and entertained hundreds of millions of children and adults alike and helped make others more aware of the beauty and wonder in nature, and he will be sorely missed.

Finally, I took an ethical philosophy selector test, and, according to the test, my personal philosophy was most similar to Baruch Spinoza (top rank) and the Stoics (second). There's no particular point in this statement. I just think it's interesting.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One fewer person on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List:

I'm sure by now, you've heard about Warren Steed Jeffs, the polygamist child-molestor on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List, being arrested during a routine traffic stop in Nevada in a red 2007 Cadillac Escalade. I mentioned the car's color because on Larry King Live, one of the members of his sect who ran away the day before she was to be wed to some older pervo when she was 14 years old mentioned that the color red is considered evil by that sect. I know little about that cult and care even less, but I find that a bit odd, perhaps even Freudian. I've read a bit about this guy, and every article I've read about him has disturbed me on a different level. He truly belonged on a list of the worst criminals who have committed crimes against citizens of the United States, and his capture can only be a good thing for the people of the states of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. I wish Mr. Jeffs a long life in prison, preferrably served in the general population and assigned to a cell with a large, scary cellmate who, as a child, was subjected to the same kind of abuse he inflicted on so many children.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sidebar and Jim Cantorre of the Weather Channel

You may have noticed a new feature on my sidebar. I now have the current Department of Homeland Security Terror Alert Level in an easy-to-read format. As for me, I think it's bullshit, and I'll personally be on red alert until October or November at the earliest, but I've already addressed that in my other post today.

That brings me to my second comment. I've noticed Jim Cantorre on The Weather Channel, and I remember how unbearably smug and happy he was with every monster during Ivan, Dennis, and other monsters. I also remember how that changed, as did so many things, after Katrina, when The Weather Channel lost communication with him for 24 hours and his van floated away. I've seen him on TV in the days leading up to the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday, and he's very somber. Gone is the arrogance and thrill of the hunt that once infuriated residents along the Gulf Coast, replaced, instead, with a far more mature respect for the fury nature can unleash. I wish, well, almost no one any ill will, and for that reason, I'm glad he survived. He may come across as being an ass, but to my knowledge, he has done no direct serious harm to anyone. I'm also glad that he finally understands what those of us along the Gulf Coast and East Coast have known all along: That this isn't a game. I think he learned this is life and death, and whenever there's a monster in the water, lives will be ruined and ended.

Because the lion's share of the coverage has been about those who died during Katrina and those who have suffered and continue to suffer, I can't help wondering if the survivors have been forgotten. We haven't seen all that much about those who survived and are once again thriving. We haven't seen all that much about those hurt by the storm in Mississippi or along the Alabama Gulf Coast. As this first anniversary of Katrina nears, let's think about those who lived and those who have been forgotten. Let's give a thought to those who are still trying to piece their lives back together. And maybe, if you feel so inspired, donate some time or money to some charity involved in easing others' suffering.

Hurricane Ernesto, or, five weeks in Hell:

I haven't said much this season about storms, and I certainly have not expressed the level of raw panic I did last season. The simple reason for that is that I'm too tired and I generally feel like shit. My blood pressure is spiking up to levels that should be medicated, I'm not sleeping well, I'm about 40-50 lbs. overweight, I don't exercise, and I eat pretty much everything I shouldn't. I know the forecast cone encompasses Florida, but that can easily change, so I have no intention of relaxing yet, or at all, until this season is over.

Hurricane Ernesto, like all storms in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, has me very worried. I know it's a phobic response brought about by repeated trauma, but, looking in the grocery store, I'm far from alone. People are starting to stock up on soda, beer, and bottled water. Thusfar, I haven't seen the shelves at the grocery store denuded like a plague of locusts had descended upon them, but it's still Sunday yet. I fully expect to see that in one to three days, assuming I'm still at home then and not on the road running from this storm.

I mentioned five weeks in Hell, because that is the time remaining in the peak of hurricane season for the Gulf Coast, although storms are possible at any point during hurricane season. If you don't have any experience with this, I cannot begin to express my happiness for you, and would like to express my sincerest desire that you never know this. The ocean temperatures are slightly above normal for this time of year, but they're not at body temperature like they were last season. This means that storms have the potential to be a bit stronger than normal, but I refuse to speculate on the rest of the season, or, in fact, this storm. What I do know is that we're not on last year's pace, a fact for which I'm grateful. I only hope no one is harmed.

Finally, you know this wouldn't be one of my posts if I weren't angry at someone, and once again, that person is Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans. His words and actions have led to the deaths and suffering of many, and may ultimately lead to the death of New Orleans. I have never seen this level of insensitivity, incompetency, and love of the taste of one's own shoe leather from any elected official in my lifetime. You may think I'm exaggerating when I say that his words may lead to the death of New Orleans, but take for example his words on 60 Minutes. I believe the comments speak for themselves. He criticizes the federal government for reacting so slowly to Hurricane Katrina, but the destruction it wrought over such a wide area hampered relief efforts. The events of 9/11/2001, on the other hand, left the rest of the city intact, there was still a civil infrastructure including fire and police departments, they still had running water and electricity, the streets were still as passable as they ever are, and they still had mass transit services available. His comments only showed his deep ignorance and disrespect for everyone, including himself, and only served to alienate those whose help this entire region still needs and will continue to need for quite a while. It is my sincerest regret that he was elected to yet another four-year term, and my sincerest hope that his words are not thought to be representative of the opinions of this region. The people of the central Gulf Coast are, by and large, good people, not assholes like this shit-stain on the political landscape.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Some food for thought, and may your belly pleasantly ache from the glut.

Maybe I say "pleasantly ache" because gluttony is my favorite of the "7 deadly sins". At any rate, though this is laziness in the best sense of the term, I post these articles because I want to spur debate and thought, partly because they're the cornerstones and guardians of a representative democracy, and partly, frankly, because I'm bored. The titles will be whatever I feel is more fitting, not necessarily that which the author chose. All links, of course, will open in new tabs, or windows if you're still cursed with Microstiffy's Internet Exploder.

Bolton: This year's Daniel Patrick Moynihan?

War on the Home Front Here, I wish to make absolutely clear that I have no problem with anyone of any religion who wishes no harm and takes no actions to cause harm to me, my family, my nation, or any other nation. At absolute worst in the case of such an individual, I simply won't give a fuck about the individual, and at best, hell, everyone can use more friends. However, whether you're talking about anarchist rioters, ecoterrorist fucktards and their supporters (ELF, PeTA), inbred morons from some Christofascist (Is that even a real word? If not, look no further than Timothy McVeigh for the definition.) conclave, or Islamofascists from both here and abroad, the only things I wish for those who take action on their beliefs or incite others to do so are a prison cell at best, and at worst, I wish them a permanent removal of their ability to harm others and themselves. Interpret that however you may.

The Fall of Detroit, an article that in a few short paragraphs has more honesty than Michael Moore has expressed in his entire career.

Flight From Honesty, an article that everyone should read.

Rock Death and Music, finally proof that two more people get it: Garbage in, garbage out, and garbage is all those of us who love rock have gotten lately. How many Top 10 hits did Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, or any of the other most influential bands of the late 1960s/early 1970s have, and who today gives a shit about those who dominated the charts at the time? For a more modern perspective, how long have Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, and Tori Amos spent at the top of the charts? I firmly believe there's still a lot of good shit out there; it's just nearly impossible to see with the Gwen Stefanization of modern pop. Until this changes, I shall wear sackcloth and ashes in mourning for rock and roll, though figuratively of course since sackcloth itches like a motherfucker.

Impugning Joe Lieberman, yet another must-read.

And, finally, Flex Fuel Fuzzy Math. Again, the title says it all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

For your entertainment, a music video. Not for work:

This is "These Things" by She Wants Revenge, and expresses, well, nothing deeper than my love of this music. Still, the tonality is a good expression of my mood. Not for work.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Thoughts for Northerners:

I consider myself a Southerner first and foremost. It is a term I wear with pride, while realizing that our history is every bit as ugly as those from the North would like to pretend they don't have. I'm proud to be a Southerner, and I'm proud of the food and culture I grew up with, especially the food. When I'm talking about Southern food, I'm not talking about this "everything deep fried" crap, though that is an important part of it. I'm talking about gumbo, and collard greens with ham hock, and biscuits, and good buttermilk cornbread. I'm talking about, yes, fried chicken, and sweet potato casserole, biscuits and gravy, and chicken and dumplings. For a more convenient example, just go to your nearest Cracker Barrell restaurant. Though locations outside of the South may not get it right, at least they'll have the right idea.

We're often portrayed in popular culture as dumb hicks, or inbred rednecks, or as racist troglodites. Just for fun, why don't I list a few such people from my native beloved/hated Alabama: Harper Lee, W. C. Handy (one of the grandfathers of Jazz), George Washington Carver, Truman Capote, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Condoleeza Rice, Booker T. Washington, William Edward Campbell, Hank Aaron, Courtney Cox, and Jim Nabors. Also, the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine is one of the most highly respected medical schools in the United States. But we're all just hicks. To my friends outside of the South, if you happen to come across a Southerner who seems slow, or stupid, or clumsy, or just apparently has trouble understanding what you want, there are a few people who fit that description, but more likely, it's just our way of politely telling you that you're an asshole. Toodles.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Personal musings and news stories I think are cool

First, on a personal note, there's this guy I've known for about 20 years, ever since we were kids. I knew his parents growing up, knew the kind of environment he was raised in and am still close to some of his family, knew him about as well as anyone can know anyone. I loved him like I would a brother. A few years back, he moved across the country. At first, he was great, the same guy I remembered, but now, I'm just wondering what ever happened to that mischievous smartass people, myself included, couldn't help loving. I knew he had the potential to be a real asshole (as do we all), but I never thought he'd realize that potential to this extent. I know that when he's with certain of his friends out there, he's less of the guy I knew. I loved who he was. This person he's become... The term "split the uprights" comes to Bill Gates is mind. Bah, I just wish I could fly out there and talk some sense into the dumbass. Oh, and no, I'm not gay, not that there's anything wrong with that.

On a different note, I think Bill Gates is right about his stance on focusing on the prevention of HIV in females as a means to dramatically reduce its transmission overall. He may be an ubergeek, but he does understand business and statistics, and I think his stance and the renewed focus of his charitable foundation may potentially save a hell of a lot of lives some day.

For a little bit of good news, the TSA has announced that men and women can once again put solid lipstick in their carry-on luggage, though mascara must be in checked luggage. Tara Reid, emo-wusses and Goths started to be outraged by this declaration, until they remembered that they were too dead inside to care.

For yet another reason never to move to Arizona, other than the fact that it's a fucking desert, here's this idiot who got 70 speeding tickets in 5 months. First, ask yourself if you know anyone who's ever had 70 speeding tickets in their life. Second, ask yourself why they didn't suspend her license after about the 10th such offense. Third, ask yourself if any sane person, especially in this age of state budget crises brought about and/or exacerbated by soaring fuel costs, would think that the local government would not want to collect on those fines. Idiot.

Has the world gone mad, yet again? Big-butt ants are now all the rage in Columbia and France, but then again, the French will eat anything.

And finally, this drunk picked the wrong parking lot to piss in. On the upside, at least it didn't take much effort for law enforcement to arrest him and take him off the roads.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

I've read a disturbing debate on ZDNet.

The story in question is one where the courts have ruled against a man who claimed a right to privacy when he was discovered viewing child pornography on a work computer. Aside from the sheer amount of stupidity it takes to search for any type of pornography from a company-owned machine, there's the not so small issue of what punishment this pervert should receive. If the debate had stayed on that vein, I would not be posting today. However, others actually supported his nonexistent right to privacy in this instance, while still others expressed support for the "right" to view that filth. My name on that forum is MageOfChaos, and you'll see what I had to say, in all its snarky glory. Or, to save you time, I'll sum it up as follows: "Ugh!! I hope the rat-bastard is locked away until squirrels evolve into the next dominant lifeform on this planet." On that note, good night, and don't let the bastards grind you down.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What do Cynthia McKinney and Mel Gibson have in common?

They both promote anti-Semitism when they're drunk. In Mel Gibson's case, the drug in question was alcohol. In Ms. McKinney's case, the drug in question was power. I for one will miss her presence in Congress in much the same way I look back with fondness on that time I sustained a severe concussion. Furthermore, most people by now have seen the footage of the scuffle between her bodyguards from the New Black Panther Party and reporters. If this shrill, bigoted bitchzilla is an example of how she truly believes an elected official should behave, I shudder to think about how she defines the term "out of line". I have oft been a vocal critic of Nancy Pelosi and her leadership of the Democratic Party in the House, but I think Congresswoman Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats did about all she could do in this instance. If Ms. McKinney had gotten even one or two major Democrats to campaign with her, I think she might've had a chance of winning the primary. Instead, the House Democrat leadership decided to give her the type of platform and power she deserves; in short, none at all. Her forced retirement will deny Republicans a rallying point against the Democrats, and this can only be seen as a good thing for, well, everybody, because she belongs in Congress about as much as David Duke, as her comments and public record attest. I hope all will join me in wishing her a pleasant, permanent, and quiet retirement, though I doubt any of us will be that fortunate.

As a bonus, here's a post from Wonkette. Enjoy.

I'll be lazy again.

I've seen numerous bits of commentary about the events in the Middle East, and more specifically, about the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Rather than post my own commentary, I will again post links to others' comments with whom I agree and whose words, I believe, should at least be viewed. These links will be, once again, from one of my new favorite websites, the Jewish World Review. I admit that this is a bit of laziness on my part, but I think these comments shed a different light on what's going on. The links will open in a new window/tab and are as follows:

Will Israel suffer Poland's fate?

The Reuterization of war journalism

Worry about the West, not Israel

How Israel fights

And finally, The American Dog Didn't Bark, an article about one of the few ways this administration hasn't fucked up. I would've called it "Even Broken Watches are correct twice a day", but that would've been a bit too unwieldy, and besides, with the prevalence of digital watches, meaningless as broken digital watches are simply blank.

As a bonus, here's a completely unrelated bit about internet law from ZDNet. As for me, I'm glad the court ruled in this sensible manner to protect children. How fucking stupid do you have to be to view any type of porn at work, much less search for it on a computer owned, maintained, and monitored by your company? And child porn? My emotional response to this would be to point and laugh at his stupidity, get angry at his actions, then violate the Eigth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. My more mature, reasoned response (okay, not necessarily more mature) is to point and laugh at the stupid bastard, get angry at his actions, and hope they lock up the bastard and throw away the key. On second thought, I would have no problem at all with excessive fines being imposed or excessive bail being required in this instance. That's just my tuppence for now.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Well, the "big tent" just got a good bit smaller.

And on that note, I give a hearty "Go fuck yourself" to Senator Lieberman's fairweather friends, the most infamous of which are the Clintons. He has voted in line with the Democratic Party 90% of the time, has been an excellent legislator for progressive elements in his state of Connecticutt, and his reward for a lifetime of service is "Just take it up the ass like a man, Joe." But the Democratic Party is a great and honorable institution. Just ask them. The only difference between their behavior and that of the Republicans is the line of bullshit they try to feed their constituency. I certainly wish Senator Lieberman all the best in his bid as an Independent to retain his seat. Senators, members of Congress, and other elected officials are responsible for and to ALL citizens in their districts, not just the members of their party, and it is ALL citizens who belong, or should belong, to their constituency. But surely, Ned Lamont is a good and honorable man. He distorted Lieberman's record, disparaged his honor, and eked out a victory using the basest of tactics, but surely, Ned Lamont is a good and honorable man. To my Democrat friends out there, look long and hard at what your party has done, and ask yourself if you are now ashamed. If I were you, I most certainly would be. As someone of a more independent bent (though my leanings are plainly obvious to anyone who has read my blog for a while), I am disgusted.

Oh, and one last thing: Could someone take the microphone out of soon-to-be-former-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's hands? All her concession speech proved is the desperate need she has to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, learn how to speak, and take singing lessons. I haven't seen that level of insanity since the last time Whitney Houston gave an interview.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Aaaah, good shit. Or, stuff you're not likely to find on the radio... yet.

I haven't watched very much MTV2 lately, or, for that matter, ever. I'm coming to learn that this was a mistake. While I also tend to adore Fuse, I think MTV2 has more of an underground sensibility to it. Thanks to that network, I have discovered a very good new band called Flyleaf, a true metal band that, unlike most in their genre, isn't devoted to wallowing in their own angst. True, it's angsty, but also manages to transcend it. Also, the lead singer is hot. I recommend the "I'm So Sick" video. Of course, that's the only single of theirs I've heard, but it really impressed me.

The second group I would like to mention is Cobra Starship. You may have heard their song "Snakes On a Plane", and yes, it is related to the movie of the same name. That particular video is very well done, and the female vocalist is somewhat reminiscent of Paris Hilton in one notable part, though with all of the hotness and none of the nastiness. The story behind the name as stated on their website is interesting. The last part is fucking brilliant.

Finally, I know Amy Lee is, at this point, very well-established, but I can't help expressing my barely contained joy that Evanescence is back, and they're exploring new ground. I've heard their latest single, "Call Me When You're Sober," and it's retains the feel of Evanescence while also being something quite different from their first mainstream album. Also, again, Amy Lee is hot.

With all of this and other good music out there, one may wonder why the recording industry is doing so poorly. The answer is obvious to anyone who turns the radio onto a rock station: Most of the bands the major record studios promote are shit. These, however, are more than worthy of a your time. On that note, good night, and happy hunting. May your searches for good music be productive.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Of unmatched beauty and weather phenomena:

Well, I saw satellite photos of Tropical Storm Chris, though by the time you read this, it may be Tropical Depression Chris or something even less. The center of circulation was well-removed from the main line of thunderstorms associated with that little bastard, or, in layman's terms, that storm got bitch-slapped by some upper level wind shear. So, on that note, I wish a long, restful, and permanent slumber for that storm and its ilk.

In a related bit of good news, Dr. Gray, respected meteorologist, has revised down his tropical forecast, down to 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, with 3 of those being major hurricanes. This is down from the earlier prediction of 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, with 5 of those being major hurricanes. That said, better news is better, not necessarily good.

In my area, there are (or were until the last year or two) two storms the old-timers talked about as examples of times to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye: Hurricane Frederic in 1979, and Hurricane Camille in 1969, the sixth and third named storms of their year, respectively. 1979 was a slightly less active than normal year, with 8 named storms, with six of those being hurricanes and two of those hurricanes achieving major storm (category 3 or higher) status. Hurricane Frederic made landfall on September 12, 1979, providing but one small bit of proof that it only takes one storm to wreck lives and have the potential for widescale loss of life.

Camille, now that was a scary cunt. She was, obviously, the third named storm of the 1969 Atlantic hurricane season. In the Atlantic basin, only the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 made landfall with a lower central pressure. She made landfall on August 17, 1969, a few years before I was born. The coastal counties of Alabama are a nice stretch of highway from Pass Christian, MS, an area you may know from stories about Hurricane Katrina, though you probably don't because it's not New Orleans. Even so, I've heard some interesting stories about that particular beast. Oh, and apparently, the Richelieu Manor Apartments hurricane party is merely a persistent urban legend, though I've heard some interesting tellings of it. At this point, my point falls apart because 1969 was one of the most active seasons on record.

I started off this post angry, but now I just feel numb and with a sense of relief that I know will be short-lived. Fuck it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An alternative, sane look at the Israel conflict:

Instead of adding my own commentary, I will instead, again, allow others' words to speak for themselves. Though this site tends to slant a bit conservative, the words of these individuals actually make sense. So, again, I refer you to links: Krauthammer 1, (if you have no sense of humor, ignore this) Borowitz 1, Dershowitz 2, Jacoby 1, Prager 1, Pruden 1, and Gaffney 1. Sure, I'm single-sourcing, but the other sources are the ones getting the airtime. For those of you who are offended by this, it's called "debate". Look into it.

A nasty take on horoscopes.

Aries: Your symbol is a Ram. However, you're an ass.

Taurus: Your symbol is a bull, which is fitting because you're full of shit.

Gemini: Your symbol is a twin, or metaphorically, being of two minds. Thank you so ever much for being that guy who takes a half hour deciding between citrus and regular Listerine in the store.

Cancer: Your symbol is a crab. Aaaah, so many jokes, so little time.

Leo: Your symbol is a lion, but you're really just a farting kitten.

Virgo: Your symbol is every bit as rare as a unicorn: a virgin. If you watch enough horror movies, you know the only real use for virgins.

Libra: Your symbol is the scales of justice. They say justice is blind. See your optometrist as soon as possible, you myopic fuck.

Scorpio: Your symbol is a scorpion. You're just all cute and cuddly, aren't you?

Saggitarius: Your symbol is the archer. Too bad your aim is often poor.

Capricorn: Your symbol is the goat, as evidenced by your appetites.

Aquarius: Your symbol is the water bearer. Maybe that's why you have a bladder the size of a thimble.

Pisces: Your symbol is the fish, yet your odor is that of one that's been in the sun for three days.

This little bit of cynicism was brought to you by your friend, Fred. Remember that I fall into one of these twelve signs, and that I did not do myself any favours. I'm just in the mood to be a shit.

Fuck your god.

Well, it's time for the Atlantic hurricane season to really get underway. Tropical Storm Chris is in the water, and I'm already twitching. I don't know where this little bastard's going. All I know is that his very existence is bad enough tidings on this first day of August. I certainly will not rest easy until the sounds of Christmas music are pounding in my ears, the shrill bleating of other people's demon-spawn about how they want this, or that, or whatever. Right now, it's just the "school's about to start; let's rupture mom's eardrums" cacaphonizing going on in the stores; that is, when the little hellions aren't coughing up their spleens. It is my sincerest hope that this is the worst I see in the stores in the coming months. Happy motherfucking August.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thoughts about gay rights and the Middle East:

Two very disparate topics, but I thought both germaine. First, I read that the Massachusetts lesbian couple who spearheaded the debate over same-sex adoption are now in the midst of a breakup, and like sensible parents of all type, wish to do so with minimal impact to their 10-year-old child. Barring revelations to the contrary, these two have been good parents and provided their child with a loving home, so the only thing this really reveals is that same-sex couples are every bit as capable of utterly fucking up a relationship as straight people. Big news flash there. On that note, I would normally say that now it's time to hit the snooze button, but it seems there's something more important happening elsewhere.

I recently read something interesting on the Jewish World Review by Paul Greenberg. In addition, I have posted a second editorial by Mr. Greenberg and another columnist whose intelligence and wisdom I respect and whom only the most foolish would question, Professor Alan Dershowitz. Frankly, I don't know as much about the ethics and copyright law implications of posting others' work online. Therefore, I will only provide the links, but I strongly recommend reading all three. They are as follows: Greenberg 1, Greenberg 2 and Dershowitz 1.

In response to the link shown as Greenberg 1, I find myself agreeing with the words, but not the intent behind them, of French President Jacques Chirac. Israel's response has been totally disproportionate, and for that, the people of Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and Syria should be very grateful. A truly proportionate response would be far uglier than what we've seen thusfar.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

And for today's What the FUCK?! moment, a Coca Cola employee tries to sell their trade secrets.

Yes, like something out of the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", an administrative assistant for one of the executives in The Coca-Cola Company tried to sell trade secrets and insider information to PepsiCo Inc. The whole story is here, but here's the gist. Since I can't bother myself to look up the guy's name, I'll just call him FM, short for FUCKING MORON. Anyway, FM sends a letter in an official Coca-Cola Company envelope offering to sell trade secrets. PepsiCo did the responsible, ethical, and legal thing by contacting Coca-Cola Company, who then contacted the FBI who, in turn, set up a sting. PepsiCo then continued to do all they could to assist the investigation, and never actually saw the insider documents, which were authenticated by Coca-Cola Company. This all culimated in three arrests.

Aside from the obvious, my question is this: Why would Pepsi want Coke's formulas? The flavor of Pepsi products is far superior to that of Coke, and at least Pepsi's name isn't on the execrable Vault soda/energy drink. My only real complaint about Pepsi is their discontinuation Josta soda a few years back, though this is a very minor point and was probably a sound business decision at the time. I just miss it from time to time. Anyway, in the end, the criminals were caught, and everyone involved in resolving this issue did the right thing and caught the bastards, so it's all good. Still, it's pretty weird shit.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flag Burning Amendment

I am of two different but far from dissimilar minds on this issue. On the one hand, I'm very happy to see that the proposed amendment failed in the United States Senate today. On the other hand, I'm more than a bit concerned that it was by the smallest margin ever. One more vote, and the measure would have advanced. Furthermore, the very fact that 66 Senators out of a Senate comprised of 100 members voted in favor of the proposed amendment is, frankly, terrifying. One of the cornerstones of this representative democracy is the concept that all speech, no matter how offensive, is protected, in whatever form it may take, as long as said speech does not lead to the direct harm of others (such as shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre), and with other very proscribed restrictions. In fact, as numerous points of case law and our own nation's history attest, offensive speech, or rather, the right to it, is particularly critical to the health of our society. In the earliest days of the United States, we had very vicious personal attacks during the course of campaigns for public office or by various newspapers against public officials they disliked. Look at some of the early "broadsides", which have evolved into today's pussified editorial cartoons.

My response to this was going to be some utterly brilliant quote I heard once. However, I was unable to locate this gem, so instead, I'll go with a lesser one that starts to express my opinion, a gem from Doug McLeod: "I still say a church steeple with a lightening rod on top shows a lack of confidence." Or perhaps this quote from Ambrose Bierce is more apropos: "In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office."

Monday, June 26, 2006

I have heard the music at the entrance to Hell...

And it is the sound of Scott Stapp singing. I saw him on TV not too long ago, and I tried to listen to one of his songs all the way through. I really tried, like I would when trying some incredibly nasty yet exotic and possibly interesting dish at a restaurant, but my brain wanted to burst its way out of my skull to save me any more of that incredible misery. I swear, a few more seconds, and I would've been a twitching human vegetable for the rest of my life. Thankfully, I had just enough motor control left to change the fucking channel, and after watching VH1, I was able to function as a human being again, though I still suffer from flashbacks to that horrific experience. *shudders*

For those of you who thought he was a self-righteous, egotistical, talentless hack whose voice was reminiscent of hydraulic cutters being used on a mangled automobile, you don't have any idea how much worse he sounds without his band to keep him straight. Oh, and how about that? The band kicked him, the person who defined that band, out, with the probable knowledge that they were ending their careers as rock stars, and they pushed him out anyway. To them, I offer my most sincere condolences for having dealt with him for as long as they did. As for his singing, I roughly quote the Luke's Spirit Test scene from the original Star Wars series, when Luke says that he's not afraid of anything. In response, I quote Yoda when I say, "You will be." While his voice sounded like a hydraulic cutter before, now it sounds like a stereo playing a dirge while said stereo is going through a woodchipper. Oh, and he comes across as being even more insufferable than he was before. But not to worry: Kids who can't quite bring themselves to buy Christian rock will flock to his, ahem, CD, and he'll once again be "the next big thing" and people who enjoy real music will once again weep for this young and foolish generation, for they know not what they're doing. I can only hope that they get ahold of some real music instead before they suffer permanent damage. In the meantime, I wonder if the local grocery store has a special on Kleenex.

A challenge:

Name ten or more celebrities you think are hot. For this one, I tag Evie. My incomplete list is as follows:

1) Alyson Hannigan
2) Jessica Alba
3) Jada Pinckett-Smith (who was a touch lower on my list until I saw her sing.)
4) Eliza Dushku
5) Amber Benson (Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
6) The redhead from the Pussycat Dolls
7) Morena Baccarin (Inara Serra from Firefly/Serenity)
8) Jewel Stait (Kaylee from Firefly/Serenity)
9) Mischa Barton
10) Jennifer Connolly
11) Lark Voorhies (Lisa from Saved By the Bell, and no laughing)
12) Amy Acker (Winifred "Fred" Burkle from Angel the Series)
13) Katie Holmes (before she got involved with that creep Tom Cruise, which knocked her down 8 spots on my chart)
14) Tyra Banks (lower on the list because she's a model and probably a bit high-maintenance)
15) Angelina Jolie (much lower on the list because she's a bit crazy)

Well, that's about all I could think up for now. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A positive thought about Bill Gates...

I've been thinking a lot about Microsoft's WGA snafu, about which I reported recently. I also heard that Bill Gates is making plans to switch to part-time as of 2008. I got to thinking about it, and somehow, the strange and as yet unplotted workings of my mind got me to thinking about military culture. From what little I understand of the culture of the U.S. military, if an officer for any reason feels they cannot perform their duties, if they feel strongly enough, their duty is to resign. While I cannot even begin to speculate on the reasoning behind Mr. Gates' decision, and whether or not the WGA snafu had anything to do with that, I think the timing in and of itself is very interesting, and I think, at least raises that question. Or, maybe he's just getting old and wants to spend more time with his family and his other commitments. Either way, this is good news for the world and (hopefully not) good news for Microsoft.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I would say Bill Gates=Satan, but Satan has a better approval rating.

The latest incident to which I refer is the WGA update, which many unsuspecting people will download as part of the automatic update feature of Windoze. Before I continue, I want those of you with Mac OS X or one of the many distributions of Linux to finish pointing and laughing at we sad sacks of shit who still use one of the flavors of Microsoft (failing to) Operating Systems. The update is listed by Microsoft as KB905474, and installs the Windows Genuine Advantage program onto unsuspecting computers. Some of the reported issues with this have been with those who have had their hard drives serviced but have legal copies of their version of Windoze having annoying balloons popping up and saying that they're not running legal copies of Microsoft's software. A much better outlining of this issue can be found on ZDNet in the blog post titled Microsoft Presses the Stupid Button, and I recommend reading the post as well as the ensuing discussion. I have griped about the evils of the Sony rootkit CDs, but I would venture to say that this is even moreso; hence, the title of this post. As for me, I plan to install the critical updates and send this which was intentionally added in error to the dust bin where it belongs. I'm sure Big Bill will wonder where he went wrong in a few years, when Linux carves out a market share Mac can only wish they had, but by then, it will be too late. Not to worry. As soon as I get better hardware, if Microsoft won't be dead to me, they will certainly be close enough.

Oh, and to the Mac users, blame Steve Jobs for your minority status. Besides, he's an even bigger wanker than Bill Gates.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hurricane Fatigue, Part 16,001

This is a topic I find myself revisiting from time to time, though whether it's because I suffer from a form of this or because it's so intrinsic to living in my area these days, I don't know. For two years, ever since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, we've been constantly hearing about hurricanes and their dangers and the devastation they leave behind, and this only worsened with Hurricane Katrina. Combined with our first-hand experiences and the vastly increased coverage of hurricanes in general since Katrina, this has only worsened over time. Where in the past, the news media would reduce or halt coverage of hurricanes once the season was over, allowing people to recover emotionally from the past season, the opposite has been true since Katrina. It seems that every time you turn on the Weather Channel, CNN, or any of the local stations along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, they have to have at least a token story about hurricanes. Leading into this season, the local stations even reminded people that hurricane season officially started in one month, or two months, or four months, or whatever it happened to be at the time, and since June 1, the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, they've been even more insufferable. I can only ascribe this to a desperation to improve their ratings, no matter the cost to their respective communities. In this respect, at least, Fox News has been far superior to CNN, since they have focused more on terrorism and kissing Bush's ass, and for their lack of monomaniacal focus on the tropics, I thank them. With the exception of those who are new to my area and the areas affected by Katrina, Rita, Dennis, or any of a number of other monsters last year, you already know what to expect and what to do, and what the consequences are for failing to do what you need to do. I stopped watching local news as a general rule months ago, but still, I do happen to be in the room when it's on from time to time, and I can't escape it.

This brings me to the first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Alberto. To the untrained or inexperienced eye, the satellite photos show a storm that may appear very disorganized. If this is your impression of this storm, you're absolutely right. If you see the term "tropical storm" and the projections that this will be the strength at landfall and start to feel bad for the people of Florida, then congratulations, you're an idiot. I know someone in one of the areas likely to be affected by Tropical Storm Alberto, and she's looking forward to the rain. Some areas of the Florida peninsula have had as little as 1/3 of the normal annual rainfall to date. Assuming this makes landfall as a tropical storm, a likely scenario considering its lack of organization and no signs of it strengthening, this will be a thunderstorm, and not even a particularly nasty one, and will be just what the doctor ordered for that area.

I'm just tired. Tired of being scared half of the year while being reminded of the source of my fear the other half of the year by speaking rectums on the news, and tired of wondering, "Will this be the year?" I'm tired of eating antacids like candy, and popping over the counter pain relievers like it's going out of style, and trying my damnedest to feel something other than fear gnawing at my gut. I'm tired of the constant anxiety that's sucking away the joy I take from life. I'm tired of seeing those I care about lose a lot of their most precious belongings. I guess it would be more accurate to just say that I'm tired of this shit. So on that note, I wish everyone a happy, safe, and above all else, boring hurricane season, though the experts have ruled the last bit out.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I wanted a video that expressed anger and despair...

But all I could find was one that expressed horniness instead. Enjoy. As usual, I can only wish I owned this video, and no infringement is intended. Don't sue. I'm po'.

"Tear You Apart" by She Wants Revenge

"Got a big plan, his mind's set, maybe it's right
At the right place and right time, maybe tonight
In a whisper or handshake sending a sign
Wanna make out and kiss hard, wait never mind

Late night, in passing, mention it flip to her
Best friend, it's no thing, maybe it slipped
but the slip turns to terror and a crush to like
when she walked in he froze up, leave it to fright

It's cute in a way, till you cannot speak
And you leave to have a cigarette, knees get weak
escape was just a nod and a casual wave
Obsess about it, heavy for the next two days

It's only just a crush, it'll go away
It's just like all the others it'll go away
Or maybe this is danger and you just don't know
You pray it all away but it continues to grow

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, and close your eyes girl
So lovely, it feels so right

I want to hold you close
Soft breath, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I want to fucking tear you apart

Then he walked up and told her, thinking maybe it'd pass

And they talked and looked away a lot, doing the dance
Her hand brushed up against his, she left it there
Told him how she felt and then they locked in a stare

They took a step back, thought about it, what should they do
Cause theres always repercussions when you're dating in school
But their lips met, and reservations started to pass
Whether this was just an evening or a thing that would last

Either way he wanted her and this was bad
Wanted to do things to her it was making him crazy
Now a little crush turned into a like
And now he wants to grab her by the hair and tell her

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, and close your eyes girl
So lovely, it feels so right

I want to hold you close
Soft breath, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I wanna fucking tear you apart

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Is Ann Coulter really Eva Braun reincarnate?

Her latest antics have forced me to say something I thought I'd only say when hell froze over: Hilary Clinton is right about something. Specifically, Hilary Clinton is not only right but also proper to be outraged and express her outrage at what Ann Coulter said in her appropriately-dated book release about the 9/11 widows, saying of the widows "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much," and calling the grieving 9/11 widows "The Witches of East Brunswick." We've all become accustomed to Ann Coulter's insane rantings and not-so-pretty hate, but this is a new low I didn't believe even she would approach. Peter Rost on the Huffington Post takes an interesting position, and I certainly see his point. It's a point I've made here a time or two about different people and groups. The difference in this case, though, is that Ann Coulter is just such a bitch that I find it difficult to keep my silence each time she vomits a new and horribly, intentionally stupid belief. I think, however, that Keith Olbermann of MSNBC expressed it best when he asked a question I'm sure many of us have asked ourselves, though never so succinctly, "Honestly, if you were Ann Coulter's attorney at a sanity hearing where could you possibly start?"

She attacks "godless liberals", and yet I probably qualify as one of the roughly 6 billion people she hates. I am godless, though there are a very few things I believe are sacred. I certainly don't worship anything she recognizes as a deity, or to be more blunt, I don't worship her. I swear, she's a waste of perfectly good fake breasts. I don't really worship anything in the sense that she means it because I question and, at times, take to task those I revere and my beliefs on occasion instead of being a mindless cretin like her fans. All that I really find holy is the love of my family, friends, and a fondness for a few other people and pets, and a belief that things should get better and ideas for the same and a knowledge that this will require a hell of a lot of work. For some people, that's not enough, but for me, that's more than plenty. And liberal? Only if you're to the right of Attila the Hun, which in her view means that I am, in fact, her definition of liberal. And if she or anyone else doesn't like that or cannot for some reason accept me for who I am, I will be happy to bend over and wear a thong so those offended can kiss my ass.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I feel the need to celebrate...

I've been reviewing the results of yesterday's primary elections in my lovely state of Alabama, and I want to jump for joy. Roy Moore and his entire slate of candidates were resoundingly defeated in yesterday's Republican primary, though one aligned candidate did advance yesterday. That candidate, whom I had incorrectly identified as a member of Roy Moore's slate, was Glenn Murdock. The four members of Roy Moore's slate, not including Bierficker Moore himself, are as follows: Tom Parker (candidate for Chief Justice, lost 59%-41%), Ben C. Hand (candidate for Associate Justice Place 1, lost 58%-42%), Hank Fowler (candidate for Associate Justice Place 2, lost 71%-29%), and Alan Ziegler (candidate for Associate Justice Place 3, lost 70%-30%). Glenn Murdock, while not affiliated directly with Moore's slate, was aligned with them, and I fully intend to vote for his opponent in November, Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge John England. Oh, and I left out the results of Roy Moore himself in his campaign against incumbent Governor Bob Riley. That putz lost 65%-35% in an unusual display of good sense and taste on the part of the people of Alabama, myself included. He slated 5 candidates including himself to run on his God and disrespect for the law ticket, and each lost by double digits, three by 30% or more. I think I'll take this moment to say, in the words of the bully from the Simpsons, "Ha-ha!"

Roy Moore was such a distasteful option that I know at least a couple of people crossed over, much like Snave did in his native Oregon, to vote in the Republican primary, and I know they weren't alone. I thank them all, and to all who voted against Roy Moore and his chosen candidates (such as I who used Roy Moore as a negative litmus test), I say "Well done. Well done indeed."

As a side-note, there are two coastal counties in Alabama. I have mentioned in the past how Mobile County recently lost a sheriff due to charges relating to misuse of his office. Obviously, there was no incumbent running for the vacant sheriff's seat in that race. Across Mobile Bay, however, there was a 5-term incumbent, Jimmy Johnson, who ran against his former Chief Inspector, Huey "Hoss" Mack and some other guy. It's not terribly unusual for an incumbent to lose, though it's far from common for someone of that long a tenure. What is unusual is the margin by which he was defeated. The people of Baldwin County, AL, sent Sheriff Johnson his walking papers by a margin of 69% to 24%. My first, and indeed, only reaction, is DAMN!!! Since the only candidates for that office ran in the Republican primary, "Hoss" Mack will be formally elected to the office of Baldwin County Sheriff with the first Republican straight ticket ballot in November. Rock on.

Proof that Paul Oakenfold is GOD!!! Or, a shout-out to Evie.

This is one of the hottest videos I've seen in a long time, and I'm surprised that a singing celebrity can actually sing, in this case, Brittany Murphy. Enjoy.

Neither this video, nor this music, nor the lyrics or anything else on this belong to me. In short, don't sue. I'm poor.

Faster Kill Pussycat by Paul Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy

"Faster, kill faster" said pussycat
I can't stand to see you cry
honey you know where the world is at
get what you want with your lucky eyes

you turn me on
yeah you turn me on
you turn me on
yeah you turn me on

better wake up, you sleepy head
the big old world will pass us by
so many things we can do instead
get what you want with your lucky eyes

Faster, kill faster still pussycat
those high heels are not your friends
honey you know where the world is at
come home with me
when the party ends

you turn me on
yeah you turn me on
you turn me on
yeah you turn me on
you turn me on
yeah you turn me on
you turn me on
yeah you turn me on


Heaven knows I tried to let you go
I cant help myself
you know I'm out of control
Heaven knows I tried to let you go
I cant help myself
I think I'm losing control

you turn me on
yeah you turn me on
you turn me on
yeah you turn me on

Yeah you're turnin' me on"

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Alabama's impending primary on 6-6-06:

First, I want all of you to take a moment to laugh to yourself at the fact that Alabama, the very heart of the Bible belt, will be voting on what some believe is the most evil day in a century. Personally, I think that will only be true if ultraconservative Roy Moore wins the Republican Party primary. As this article points out, this will be the 21st time the abbreviation 6-6-6 for a date has happened since the start of the current era.

Moving along, in addition to voting for various local and state positions, we will be voting on, by my highly inaccurate estimate, our 6,660th proposed amendment to the 1901 Constitution of the State of Alabama. Although Alabama already has a law against gay marriage, ousted former judge Roy Moore has somehow gotten the state legislature to put such a ban on the ballot in Tuesday's election. Doing a search on Yahoo, I found this interesting article from the Decatur (AL) Daily. I could very easily be the only person voting in the Republican Primary to vote against this poorly-written and even more poorly-thought measure, though I certainly hope I'm wrong. I've heard, as I'm sure you have, a wide variety of paleoconservative pseudochristian asshats talking about how gay marriage is somehow a threat to traditional message. Aside from telling them to go fuck themselves, I have a suggestion for them. If they want to fight real threats to "traditional marriage", don't look outside the set of people for whom "traditional marriage" has been an option. Richard Simmons, Ru Paul, and the Hearty Boys on the Food Network aren't a threat to traditional marriage, because they're not a part of the real problem. To those who view this as the next sign of the Antichrist, I advise you to do some introspection for once in your miserable, pathetic, worthless, and ultimately futile existence. Ask yourself what percentage of all people you know have been divorced, and of those, how many have been divorced more than once, or if you're Catholic, had your marriage "annulled" which is just like a divorce with the added benefit of any children born into that marriage being rendered illegitimate; and on that note, I also send a "go fuck yourself" to Senator Lurch, er, Kerry from Massachusetts. Ask yourself why more and more people are choosing to cohabitate before or instead of marrying their opposite-sex partners. Ask yourself how many husbands and wives are the victims of spousal abuse or how many children are abused by their parents, and if you know any who fall into those categories. Then ask yourself if this is a result of bad choices in mates on the part of those getting the divorces, or if the gays are secretly responsible.

Roy Moore in my state and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist are engaging in what can only be described as a modern-day reenactment of the Senate hearings by Senator "Tailgunner" Joe McCarthy. The difference is that, at the time, a Communist nation was actually attempting to do harm to the United States, though almost none of those actually accused of such misdeeds by the great and powerful Oz were guilty of anything other than being disliked by one cunt in a position of power. This, on the other hand, is even nastier if that's possible, since gay couples are only "guilty" of wanting that which heterosexual people not only have a right to do, but take for granted. Gay couples are only "guilty" of wanting to live their lives as consenting adults in the manner they see fit. By and large, they work hard at their jobs, pay their taxes, and contribute to society as the rest of us do. The only difference is that they are attracted to members of their own sex. As a result, I oppose this ban on both substantive and procedural grounds, as I also feel this does not rise to the level of requiring a new amendment to the Constitution of Alabama or the United States.

Oh, and for the record, I reiterate my support of current Governor Bob Riley and my utter contempt and lack of support for his opponent Roy Moore, as well as Roy Moore's allies currently running for state office: Tom Parker, Ben C. Hand, Hank Fowler, and Glenn Murdock. For more information, please read this editorial from the Montgomery Independent.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Damn the man!!! Don't Buy Sony products!

I'm sure by now you are all aware of the attempts by the Recording Industry Association of America's attempts to deny the fair use of their products to the consumers, and while it is true that they are far from alone in doing so, they did something far more cheesy and dangerous to the security of their consumers' computers. At the beginning of last week, a judge approved the settlement of a case against Sony over their "rootkit" CD's. For more information on why this is such a bad thing for your computer, please click on this link. For those of you who do not wish to do so, the nuts and bolts of it is this: Certain CDs produced by Sony after August 1, 2003 contain Digital Rights Management software that sends back information to Sony on their consumers' use of these products and runs in a manner that leaves the infected computers' hard drives more vulnerable to malware attacks. For a more thorough explanation of what exactly these "rootkits" did, I recommend visiting the articles linked above.

Since even Sony and the courts have agreed that this was a wrong and dangerously defective product, the question then becomes "What is the next step?" For me, that answer is incredibly simple: Boycott the sacks of shit. By visiting Sony's website, I have been able to compile this partial list of companies and brands owned or in partnership with Sony: Sony; BMG; Vaio computers; BluRay videodiscs; PlayStation; Nav-U GPS devices; GSN (Game Show Network); the Columbia, Epic, and Legacy record labels; and Walkman. All of the aforementioned trademarks belong to Sony, and I encourage everyone to research this further and find other brands and labels affiliated with Sony so that they may learn that abusing their customers is not in their own best interests. On June 6, it will be time for the primary elections in my native Alabama. In that vein, I encourage all of you who read this to vote with your wallets and tell Sony NO MORE!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Food for the body, then food for thought...

I had a very interesting meal tonight, nothing too fancy, but it was good. I mention this because this was also much better for me than my usual fare. It was spaghetti, but instead of ground beef, I used ground turkey, but what really made it great was, as usual, the sauce. I've long been a huge fan of Newman's Own and, more recently, Newman's Own Organics, products. Part of it is the knowledge that profits from the sale of their products go to charity, to the tune of over $200 million since 1982. However, the benevolent nature of a company alone is not nearly enough reason to keep coming back to a product. I and many others keep coming back because of the taste. Their Sockarooni sauce is my favorite, and is an excellent sauce for everything from spaghetti to lasagne to even stuffed bell peppers, and works well with both ground beef and ground turkey. It's the closest I've ever had to a perfect commercially-available tomato sauce. Also, the Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian Dressing is of equally high quality and flavor, and I've only seen its equal in restaurants. It costs a little bit more than other brands, but it's worth it, and besides, it helps someone out.

Now that I've pretty much eaten a disgusting amount of food and enjoyed every second of it, it's time for the food for thought as advertised in the blog's title. Ken Lay and Jeffery Skilling have been convicted of various charges in the Enron trial, bringing to a close one of the worst economic disasters in recent years. The actions of Mr. Lay, Mr. Skilling, and others cost thousands their jobs and life's savings, and the fallout of this scandal rocked corporate America, and the aftershocks cost even more jobs and led to a change in corporate law. In all likelihood, both men will spend the rest of their natural lives in prison, and considering the harm they caused, I find this both fair and just.

On a different note, I have a long history of giving credit where credit is due, even to those I detest. This is true of the current administration, and now, this is true of Nancy Pelosi, a person I find very poorly suited to her job as House Minority Leader. All that said, I think she is doing the right thing in asking Congressman William Jefferson to step down from the House Ways and Means Committee in light of the allegations against the Congressman from the Big Easy. These are very serious allegations, with some very serious evidence, apparently, to support them, and this is the right decision. Perhaps she is doing this because she feels it prudent to put forth at least the appearance of a commitment to ethics, if not a genuine commitment.
However, this unbridled skepticism is not limited to Ms. Pelosi, but rather, extends to Congress as a whole. I have heard yammering from Congress about how the raid on Congressman Jefferson's office was a violation of the separation of powers. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The task of Congress is to write the laws and perform other legislative duties. The task of the Judiciary branch is to make sure those laws, upon enaction by either a supermajority or the Executive Branch, does not violate the Constitution of the United States of America. The task of the Executive Branch is to enact or veto bills, and to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and enforce the various laws that have been passed. At present, Capitol Police is in violation of this most important principle, as was most recently exposed in the brouhaha over an obviously impaired Congressman Kennedy not being given a Breathalyzer test or field sobriety test after running into a barricade at an odd hour of the morning. Should some members of Congress get their way, Capitol Police, who answer directly to Congress, would be responsible for any searches in the Capitol. Many members of Congress are mistakenly referring to this as a violation of the separation of powers. I call this a violation of the law and common sense, and sets up a wide variety of potential conflicts of interest. If Congress were to get its way, the rooster would be left to guard the henhouse, and that is in no one's interest. Devolve the powers of the Capitol Police to DC Metro P.D., or place them under the chain of command of the Justice Department. I would probably prefer the former over the latter, though I would allow for FBI involvement upon the request of the DC Metro P.D. To do otherwise is madness and an invitation to corruption and other criminal activity.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Fate of Barbaro, or why Nick Zito is a cunt...

I'm sure that for those of you who watched the Preakness Stakes yesterday, you were alarmed to see poor, adorable Barbaro brought up lame about 1/8 of a mile into that jewel of the Triple Crown. I happened to read a story on USA Today, since they had updated more recently than any other news source I could be bothered to find as of the writing of this post. I admit that I too was a little bit upset when I saw that footage, but that was nothing compared to the deep and abiding anger that was sparked when I read what Nick Zito, trainer to this four-legged juggernaut, had to say on this matter. "It's a little bit like Hurricane Katrina. It happened to us now." Well, Mr. Zito, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but as a show of my deepest sympathies and well-wishes for someone else's livestock, I would like to invite you to go to fuck yourself using the object(s) of your choice. Yeah, a horse, even an expensive one, breaking three bones and dislocating another in the ankle area is every bit as awful as the deaths of 1,747 people with 485 people still missing, the destruction of a major city and several small and mid-sized towns, the first mass evacuation of an American city since Atlanta during the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of people rendered homeless, either temporarily or permanently, and damage estimated around US$75 billion. Mr. Zito, just do everyone a favor and take a vow of silence, since you are obviously too stupid to be allowed to speak in public.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Now, for something completely pointless: New 7-Up(tm)

I bought a bottle of 7-Up(tm) just to see if the flavor had improved in the years since I last tried it. I saw on the label that it is now 100% natural. So, to test their claim, I read the label. The contents are as follows: Filtered carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, natural citric acid, natural flavors, natural potassium citrate. Aaah, I remember the halcyon days of my youth, when I frolicked (Okay, I've never actually frolicked at any point in my life, but work with me here) along the shores of a brook of filtered carbonated water. As I bent my knee to grab a pebble to toss, I remember how the carbonation tickled my nose, and in the winter, how the ice was full of tiny frozen bubbles of carbon dioxide. And as I passed farms in my travels, I remember seeing farmers tap ears of corn to harvest the high-fructose corn syrup. And as a kid in the grocery store, I remember seeing natural citric acid in the produce section, though it was most plentiful in the sources of the natural flavors implied by this product, lemons and limes. I even remember seeing people grab natural potassium citrate by the side of the road, or was that road apples? Despite my searches, I have yet to find a natural source of this chemical, though I'm sure there must be, because, after all, why would a major corporation mislead the public. Or maybe they're not misleading us after all. After all, if this is made by people, and people are part of nature, isn't everything we as a species do "natural"?

But enough of that. How did the new 7-Up(tm) taste? It was fairly alright, but the formula will need to be tweaked quite a bit to replace Sprite(tm) or Sierra Mist (tm) in my refrigerator. Nice try, but not even close.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Music Review: Fort Minor's new single, "Where'd You Go?"

Some of you may know that I'm a fan of Linkin Park. Fort Minor is a side-project of Mike Shinoda, who you may know as the rapper in the aforementioned band, and this new single also features Holly Brook. The song "Where'd You Go?" just struck a chord in me. It sounded very desolate and yet very matter of fact. It's definitely one of the better songs I've heard recently. Fort Minor and Holly Brook will be performing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday, May 24 if you want to see this live, and I certainly recommend it. I know I'll be watching it. I would be remiss as a red-blooded male if I didn't also mention the fact that Ms. Brook is as beautiful as she is talented, though this in no way influenced my opinion of this single. I certainly wish both Fort Minor and Holly Brook plenty of success in this and future endeavors.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My bullshit meter went way off the chart with this one:

First, this in no way should be construed as support for Bush, Rumsfeld, or any member of the current administration. Frankly, I'm more than a bit disgusted with them over a variety of issues, and this is not exactly a new phenomenon. However, sometimes people need to be reminded that President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and others are not the source of all evil in the world. There's more than enough blame to go around, both inside and outside of the United States, and, for that matter, inside and outside of the Republican Party. The link is here, and the specific bit of bullshit is the "Rumsfeld connection".

On my friend Snave's website, I posted two rebuttals to the spam. I won't dignify that spam with yet another forum, so instead, I'll refer you to his site and post my responses here The only thing I have redacted from my original responses have been the names and snark This amounts to the loss of one fairish-sized paragraph and a few sentences.

"I'm not so sure about all of the conclusions in your post. I do know that FDA approval is among the toughest hurdles in the world to overcome. Furthermore, most of the star anise, which differs from aniseed and is the basis for the shikimic acid which, in turn, is the base of Tamiflu, is grown mainly in China, and I sincerely doubt any American company has a dominant stance in that nation. Star anise gets its name not from its actual relationship to anise, but rather, because of the similar flavor. China is the major exporter, though the Phillipines and Jamaica are starting to play a significant role in its cultivation. Finally, the number of confirmed fatalities is 122 according to the World Health Organization, though the number of actual fatalities could be an order of magnitude higher. It's amazing how otherwise sensible people can be conned into believing a conspiracy theory when that theory in some way meshes with their world view. Oh, and Rumsfeld actually was not president, but was chairman of Gilead Sciences, though this did not occur until 1997. He's not the only politically-connected person to hold stakes in Gilead, though. For more information, click here, but this comprises of people from both sides of the political aisle.

"I think that this is a potential threat, but that potential has yet to be realized and may, hopefully, never be realized. As for me, it's currently a very tiny blip on my radar, though I am certainly keeping an open mind and will reevaluate should additional information become available. I think the threat of a worldwide influenza outbreak is a very real possibility and that measures to prevent it and prepare for such an eventuality should be taken. Just because such a pandemic on the scale of 1918 hasn't happened in the 88 years since then doesn't mean it couldn't happen again, and half of 6.5 billion is a lot more than half of 1.8 billion, and there are a lot fewer isolated communities than there were 88 years ago."

The only conclusions I have been able to draw from this are that some people are willing to believe the worst about people they don't like, regardless of any amount of evidence to the contrary, and that Rumsfeld isn't a crook. That does not mean that he is competent to fulfill the duties of his position (though he would be more than adequate as the Secretary of the Treasury or Commerce), but this and actual corruption are far different animals.

As a bonus, I think I'll take this moment to point and laugh at that son of a bitch Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado. Awww, poor little bitch was found guilty of plagiarism, falsification, fabrication, and misrepresentation of facts, and could lose his job. To the good people at the University of Colorado, first, I think you took your sweet time, and second, I'm glad you finally did something. Now, perhaps, we will never have to hear that son of a bitch's name ever again. Never again will we hear him compare victims of the 9/11 disaster to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi organizer of the Holocaust. It is my most sincere hope that Mr. Churchill live a very long life, and that he see only heartache and failure the rest of his days.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Random thoughts about Ubuntu

I visited the Ubuntu website, and I couldn't help noticing that they charge no extra fee for their enterprise edition. After checking out their downloads page, I found that they only have one type of their current version, instead of distinguishing between an enterprise and a home version. I cannot help thinking that this is bloody brilliant, and actually saves their people a lot of work. After all, they're not having to cripple the better version so that they can make a home user's version, and that allows their programmers as well as the independent contributors to the Ubuntu projects to focus on more important things, like making it a better operating system. I also admire the decentralized approach to the decision-making, as I feel this affords them a much greater level of flexibility than might otherwise exist. I am somewhat concerned about their long-term viability since they do not charge for their software, and instead rely on donations and sales from their shop. They even sell a Ubuntu thong, though I think it may be best if I not go there. However, this concern has been ameliorated by news I just read on ZDNet about Sun Microsystem's interest in shipping their servers with the upcoming "Dapper Drake" release of Ubuntu, a move that could very easily prove beneficial for both organizations and communities.

I've seen some mockery of Ubuntu over the delay in their release of the "Dapper Drake" version; however, I find this puzzling since the release date has only been delayed 6 weeks, and they have otherwise been very good at sticking to their schedule of a new major release every 6 months. Compare this to other Linuxes, Mac OS X, or Windows. What are the current figures of the delays that Vista will face? How long has it been since XP? What are the current reviews of the Vista betas that are out there? Like I said before, I'm not a computer geek, just someone who knows how to track trends, and I feel these trends are compelling and bear watching. But that's just my tuppence.

Monday, May 15, 2006

An unfortunate realization...

I have just been forced to come to the realization that, while I am a geek, it is of a highly unfocused variety and not in the useful manner that is in common usage in the programming and IT community. This realization was spawned when I realized I can't even program in Java decently, and am seriously considering buying a "Dummies" book for it. Perhaps "nerd" or "dork" would be more accurate, but in its current usage, I'm not a geek. At least I lack the monomania or all of the psychological diseases of an otaku, well, except for those that narrowly overlap with being a nerd or a dork, and only to those much smaller definitions.

And while I do believe Bill Gates is the enemy in the revival of the OS wars (google the reviews of the Vista betas), I think Steve Jobs is clearly the bigger asshole and idiot. His decision to control both the hardware and the OS, while producing a more stable product (though that's now questionable based on some stuff I read about security holes) kept the prices of his hardware artificially inflated. Add in his unwillingness to add x86 support for his operating system (though that may change with the Intel builds) and his obvious dictatorial designs, and you have the fall of Apple and the rise of Microsoft and PC hardware. And the thing of it is this didn't have to happen. Microsoft won the initial platform wars of the early 90s not with a superior product, but with a (for that time) good product, at least once 3.11 came out, and a strategy that was vastly superior to that of Apple, IBM (OS2 Warp), and I think even Linux was in its infancy back then. Well, it's 2006, and the new platform wars are upon us. This is, as it was back then, basically a two-horse race, and Microsoft is still one of the horses. The difference is that Apple isn't the other, and more's the pity; still, Linux, while each distribution is considerably smaller individually, the community as a whole is gaining a solid grass-roots support and is slowly becoming a serious challenger to Microsoft. I don't understand all of the issues of the IT world, as that is not my area of expertise. I do understand trends and at least the rudiments of tactical reasoning, and I am more than capable of recognizing when someone is being cool, and when they're being a tool, and Steve Jobs is, as he has always been, a tool. The Mac OS did not have to be on the brink of extinction as it has been at several points, and may even be dominant or coequal today if ego had not been allowed to supplant sound reasoning at the highest levels of Apple. Ownership of a company, even ownership of the loyalty of a community of customers, is not a divine right to profits or even continued survival. Such things are very valuable assets, not guarantors of future success. Just ask American Motor Company.

I mean no disrespect to the Mac users out there, it's just that your savior's (Steve Job's) feet are made of clay even moreso than your sworn enemy, Bill Gates. As a side note, I'm starting to find reading about the Vista betas particularly traumatic, as I'm getting flashbacks to Windows Millennium Edition. I feel my blue vocabulary starting to surface.

Also, I'm removing moderation from all posts on this blog, as I don't think the perv will be returning.

Apophis-Unlikely but scary as hell

My various webcrawls took me to a potentially scary event that may or may not occur on April 13, 2036, though the odds are only 1 in 6250 that this will occur. As is usual, this number may change between now and then. I certainly hope it changes for the better. This eventuality is named Apophis, and should it impact, it will do so with a force of 880 megatons, or roughly 65,000 Hiroshimas. This asteroid is roughly 300 metres wide and has a mass of approximately 46,000,000,000 kg. Compare this to the Tunguska event, which was a meteorite that detonated with the force of 15 megatons, wiping out an area roughly the size of Rhode Island, though thankfully, with minimal loss of human life.

After doing a touch of research, I find the naming of this object oddly fitting. Apophis, alternately known as Apep, Apepi, or or Aapep, is the Egyptian deification of darkness and chaos, the opponent of Ma'at, and was represented by a snake. His identity was later completely subsumed by Set in a bit of nationalistic furor after the Middle Kingdom, so if you're more familiar with Set, basically, duplicate it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Changes to the blog

You may notice that I have recently changed this blog to allow only registered users. Upon reflection, I've found that this was a mistake. I still want to encourage everyone to post on my website. However, "Gary" has made me realize there are people to whom I do not wish to give a forum to express their disgusting views. I have no problem with dissent or alternative viewpoints on most things. However, he has more than crossed the line as evidenced in my most recent posts, specifically, regarding his beliefs on the proper conduct of adults with children. Therefore, I have decided to allow anonymous comments again. That said, all comments on this blog will be moderated, unless you are members of this blog. I will not modify in any way any post that comes my way. If I find it offensive, I simply won't post it. To make it easier for those who regularly comment on my blog, I will allow the option of membership to bypass the moderation features of Blogger, since I have seen what type of people you are over the last several months and have a reasonable belief that, though we will probably disagree a goodish bit of the time, you're still decent people.

Happy Mothers' Day to everyone out here in blogland.