Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Very key in comparing the points of view. While it's biased towards New York and Britain, it's still a very good view of the biases out there. Plus I like the inclusion of the Muslim view; as I believe they've taken the Russian's place as the USA's (and The West's) main enemy.
(At least I hope it's like that. I'd hate to think we've taken the soviet's place and they've taken our place. After all, you know how everything turned out...)
Monday, May 29, 2006
Just what I need to find out: Bury someone in a military fashion and the place becomes a speech-free zone where only those who are expected to speak can speak.
Where's the ACLU when you need them? With this precedent, the idea of free-speech free zones can expand to include every aspect of governmental
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I just turned on my iPod (while new to me, it's actually a refurbished 40 Gigabyte 4Gen iPod) and turned it to my collection of Tori Amos tunes (all legal, as I have the CDs they come from). The third song in the list was "Silent All These Years."
When "Silent..." came up, everything stopped. I remembered first driving a cab around Lansing Michigan and she would come up on the "Women's Show" on WDBM Sunday. I'd listen to that show just for her; and when the radio station stopped doing their "Women's Show" I ended up buying her CDs. Both the first two CDs of hers, plus the "Crucify" single (the one with the Garlic Necklace and her kick-ass version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit").
I lost track of her right after Boys For Pele (her third album). I actually went to a coffeehouse to listen to it on its release night; found myself turned off by the music (the repitition of the piano parts turned me off). Don't ask me about the words, all I remember is her bawking like a chicken at the end of one of the songs (Oh Yeah; and "Caught A Light Sneeze" was okay for a single)
Been a while since I kept up with her. I'm sure the library has plenty of her stuff, maybe I can catch up with her there.
Friday, May 26, 2006
I would have been happy had Detroit been doing mere .550 ball (and they may drop to that level before the year is through). As long as we have a team able to win more than lose and what looks like a strong future, I'd have took it. However, this is a definite plus.
If this keeps up through the end of the season, the Tigers will have finally gotten out of the doldrums they were stuck in since the second half of the 1988 season. While Detroit came in second that season, the team stalled to a halt over the second half, and went to fall totally apart in the nineties and the early years of this new century.
And now? At the very least, I can call them the TIGERS!!! Yes, the Tigers. No longer the "Detroit Baseball Putty-Tats" (musn't confuse them with their football bretheren, who've perfected the art of sucking in another league), but now the "Detroit Tigers!"
(Yes, it's been that long since I could point to my baseball team with pride.)
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Interesting article. Jeffery Rosen (the author of the article) predicts that there would be a battle upon the repeal of Roe v Wade and that, should there be an end, we would settle on a middle ground that would give all early abortions a pass while putting restrictions on later abortions that grow stronger until the fetus is pushed out of the body by the mother-to-be.
I'm not sure I buy that.
First off, don't be too sure that such an outcome would occur. Remember, the anti-abortion side has been more organized and active all these years. They're not about to roll over and play dead over popular opinion; indeed they'll likely be emboldened by such a ruling, especially in states that still have abortion bans on their books (Michigan is one of them, let's remember). Don't be surprised if the Republicans, in desperate need of captive votes to continue their corporatista rampage, pass and enact national anti-abortion laws. Don't be surprised if secretly encourage Cuba to start providing abortions on its soil for Americans (why else are they offering Free Doctor Training to Americans? Ever think of that?)
Second, don't be too sure that the Supreme Court can only keep the South Dakota law legal by revoking Roe v Wade. Don't be surprised if they rule that the law fits in with the rulings of both Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton. That would do more to limit abortion than a full reversal of Roe and Doe, as what South Dakota allows would work out to be a full ban (fact is, "danger to the mother" is too little to allow for abortion; at those levels it'd be easier, less costly and simpler to merely give last rites to the mother and pray the last rites were unnecessary).
Besides, it wouldn't be the first time a Supreme Court ruling was given flexibility with the okay (stated or implied) of the Court. Probably the most nortorious was Plessey v Furgeson; the phrase "Seperate But Equal" was readily redefined as "Seperate, Equality Impossible" by the states. The "Corporations Are People Under The Law" interpretation has been run with until it reads "Corporations Have Rights, People Don't (when they go against corporation rights)."
Something else to consider.
Monday, May 22, 2006
And according to this article, it looks like EVERYONE'S responsible, from the federal government to the local crews constructing the dikes. From shoddy design to stuff built in too tight a space to knowing corner cutting, New Orleans was left to hold on with too little margin for error, and the margin was quickly passed through.
Some areas are improved, of course. New locks make the smaller dikes less open to breaking; some areas are actually rebuilt to proper standards.
I still say the best thing to do would be to rebuild New Orleans elsewhere. Like on the Achafalaya, forty-fifty miles to the west. Use the present Mississippi as a spillway for excess water; something is VERY wrong with a city when the city's high point is a riverbank.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
That's right, Hillary put up a bill to link the Minimum Wage to the Congressional Pay.
Of course, there's always the possibility that Congress will wildly inflate their pay over the first part (where the minimum wage goes up by its own) then drop it with a Congressional Pay Plummit, making the minimum wage useless (or making illegals legal wage earners). (or more to the point, they'll likely ignore it. After all, it's not just her, but too many democrats and not enough republicans sponsoring this)
But at least someone's making an attempt to make government work.
Which explains their hatred of her (after all, when government doesn't work, corporations lord it over the people).
Friday, May 19, 2006
About time someone said sense about celibacy. And not "How Hard It Is Not To F%ck In Today's Society."
Thing is, I remember when I was a practicing Fundamentalist Christian. I was celibate. Not necessarily by choice, but I wasn't exactly hurting, either. I desired sex and connection, but I can't say that my life was missing things because I didn't get naked and swap body fluids with the girls around me. In short, I was celibate, and probably blessed by it.
Probably the one thing missing from this is the idea (pointed out by the story) that maybe Celibacy is a blessing. A blessing in that you're allowed to live a leaner life, unencumbered by spousal and parental duties, with more of your attention able to be turned to God. No distractions, no worry about whether you're about to raise children that would have been better destroyed in the womb (God Forbid(tm)!), less of a need to focus on money and things, more an ability to focus on the important things in life.
It's actually one thing I miss from those days. What with all the other stuff I pay attention to nowadays, I look towards the older days when I readily rode my bike across town to do church activities. And we're talking about across Flint, Michigan. Across the northern part, the poor black part, by the olde Buick Factory and across neighborhoods that probably don't exist (certainly a large part of the neighborhood just north of downtown doesn't exist anymore except as fields viewable from Saginaw Street).
And "The Ring Thing?" It can't work. That ring is a reminder that you're not supposed to F%CK. And guess what: enough reminders that you're not supposed to F%CK will lead to F%CKING, with lots of pre-F%cking activities beforehand. Remove the ring and instead meet once or twice a week with like-minded people and you'll find your celibacy more than a vow made in the heat of the moment (with all the arousal THAT implies).
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Remember the old Coppertone ads? Not the recent ones, the ones with more buttocks?
Yes, those ads used to run. Well into the seventies and eighties, even up to the start of the new millenium.
Thing was, back when the painting was in advertisements and on the packages people didn't think of a young girl's buttocks as sexually exciting. We were able to take the picture in context and understand what was being said.
Look at the old picture, and you'll see a girl looking at a dog who's biting her bikini bottom down. Her hand's holding onto the front of the bikini, and she's got a mortified look on her face. No sign of wanting attention of any kind, instead she'd rather disappear into the woodwork.
Not only that, but in a beach scene you'd understand that the girl was properly dressed. (Okay, she needs a top; but the bottom piece would not be out of place had it not been being pulled down by a dog.)
Admittedly, this was before the internet and the present-day hyperawareness of pedophilia. Before priests and scouting and junior high-school gymnastic coaches became objects of strong watchful surveillance. Before we understood that college wasn't the only place where teachers were bedding students (and that in college, the teachers are being logical about it).
So maybe it's better that there's less of the bottom shown, and that the image is smaller. Anything to not signal to pedophiles and their ilk that their perdillictions are gaining any acceptance.
Still, there's something to be said about a society that could accept such a picture, knowing full well what was meant (and what WASN'T).
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I'm not so much laughing as cringing. Not so much at the idea of "Listen to the crowd yell out 'Look At These Suckers Trying To Get Noticed, They're Too Pitiful To Even Be Pitied' then walk away" cringing, but in the way of "Listen to the hacker crowd say 'Look At These Losers Act Like They're A Real Platform, Let's Crush Them Out Of The Internet And Out Of Business Once And For All' then walk to their computers to pilfer the Operating System" cringing.
Probably one of the blessings over the past few years has been the utter absence (sp?) of virii aimed at the Macintosh. Sure there's spies and similar items, but nothing meant to take the platform down.
And, sadly, I think this is because we've been blessed with an invisibility. We're still the standard for graphics related stuff and a favorite on colleges (and there's the iPod, natch) but there's a small enough group of us for the hacker group to ignore us. Makes things much easier.
But now with the commercials, I'm sure there's enough hackers out there ready to take aim at the Macs. Worse, they now know how to make things really bad for computers, having figured out ways to make people suffer and really damage things at the same time.
And with the Macintosh so long unattacked and open, watch out...it could get as ugly as letting loose a fourteen year old redhead among a bunch of college-aged football players. (Me: I'm glad I've just read about the problem so far...)
Monday, May 15, 2006
What would be interesting if these guys were to bolt the Republican Party. Either someone would get them back on, or they would be written off for a couple of years.
Thing is, they could easily cause more ruckus on the off-year elections, when people generally don't pay attention to things because there's no governor or president being elected. They wouldn't even need to support anyone for President; all they'd need to do is act when everyone else is sleeping.
And they're the type of people who'd act when people are asleep.
And it's those type of people who succeed.
You know. The sleepy left derisively refers to them as conservatives. They then fall asleep and wake up again at the mercy of the conservatives.
Seen it too many times to cry anymore.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Okay, I understand why the people (The Haulapai Indian Tribe) would want to build it, and I can see why someone would want to take the view from such a point.
However: what would be gained from such a view that wouldn't be gained from the side? Even if we're talking about a view from the bottom, I'm sure there's plenty of helicopter and airplane tours that would give you that.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Okay, I get it...I guess....
Thing is, there's other benefits to a wife/husband that don't come from a PlayStation (or another similar item):
- Sex. And no, masturbation doesn't
count --it's not nearly as satisfying, especially when you get the other person to come. You'd be surprised at the ego boost you get from getting the other person to come, especially repeatedly.
- Division of Labor. One person takes care of dinner, the other does the yard. One person holds down the fort, the other earns enough to keep it warm dry and shiny. One person rises up the corporate ladder while the other makes sure he looks the part. One person makes music (or art) while the other makes sure the art can be made and sold. Two people can live cheaper than EITHER could alone. You get the point.
- Roots. From personal experience: I tended to go out every night when I was alone. Now, with someone, I go out maybe once a week (sometimes less) and am more satisfied with the nightlife I imbibe.
- Balance. Simply put, two people together can balance each other out, holding back each other's excesses and weaknesses. Where one person is blind, the other can see and catch; thereby correcting possibly fatal mistakes. It's no accident that single people die sooner, single men average a decade less life than married men.
- Investment Grows with Time. As your SO/spouse grows older, they grow in worth (they know you , you know them, you grow comfortable). Video games tend to grow stale as they grow older; even the long-lasting titles need revivification every so often.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
(Must Register To View)
I know, I usually do current events, or various fixations (Universities, Soda Pop). However, this story touched on a couple of interesting memories which I'd like to share with you:
- In one of my last visits to a friend I happened upon a portrait I hadn't seen before. It was dark, but still viewable; I asked my friend who it was. Turned out it was his mother who was painted, and his father was able to win it at a carnival game.
- When I went to a party at a friend of a friend's house during the nineties, I should have looked around at how the second floor was hanging from the ceiling; but at the entryway was a really good picture. I asked where the householder got it, he said he inherited it, and that it was unusually good quality for a portrait. I had to agree, as it literally stole the show from the house itself.
Indeed, in a way I'm always interested in ways of doing stuff that predate what we have now. While it's fun typing stuff on the computer and other stuff, it's always good to see how things were done. Especially since civilization has gone backwards before, probably more times than we know about.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Okay, so you'd choose to disagree if you were rooting for The Beatles. Fair enough, but even you'd have to admit that the Apple Corporation of Britain has been badly serving the Beatles, what with their unwillingness to remaster their catalog and preferrence to sue anything that uses an apple in their logo instead of breathing new life into themselves by finding and helping new talent.
But be assured, the Michael Jackson owned blokes at Apple Croporation aren't about to take their latest defeat lying down. They're getting ready to a-ppeal (and no, I'm not making this up).
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Yet another problem with Universities Today: The greater dependence of students on Student Loans.
The fact is, while many students are happy to get anything to go into college, the fact that they've become dependent on loans is a crime. Most students will, when they graduate, start their adult life in deep debt, which is bad
It doesn't help, of course, that Sallie Mae owns some massive collection companies. So all they need to do is get a Default judgement, and their potential profit explodes. They get their money from the government (all principle, interest and fees from late or nonpayments), plus they split what they can extract from collections with the government, 25% to them, 75% to the government. Imagine: Automatic collection of the full debt and interest, plus the ability to collect as much extra money as you can get (including higher levels of interest, since they're no longer protected by the contract they signed). Sallie Mae profit, the government gets back some money (if the whole thing is collected, it's more than the original loan), and as for the former students unable to pay...well, they deserve your vindictiveness anyway, since they didn't insure their future would cover their loans.
Which makes sense if you study any of the Liberal Arts as a major. However, if you happen to suffer a sudden reversal, or don't find a job immediately, or get radically ill, or are unemployed for a period of time, or find yourself in desperate need of money; you've just had your life given away to Sallie
So what should be done?
How about a looser system. One that allows for full forgiveness for people forced onto disability, one that allows for breaks and forgiveness, one that has a limit to what the former student needs to pay (try twice the original debt), one that doesn't allow Sallie Mae to profit twice from Defaulters (once from the government, again from the collection agencies it owns). One that allows for certain Bankruptcies (I'd say ones where the student loans account for less than half the total debt. After all, hospital debt can rack up fast, and sometimes you're stuck in a position where you can't halt the debt until it's too late.).
Also, better fund the universities. We need to make it so students don't have to throw themselves into hock just to gain needed skills or documentations. Maybe some of them can learn some trades; we're in desperate need for plumbers, electricians and other skilled trades. Maybe instead of Masters for teaching, a concentration that allows the student to gain their teaching certificate without breaking themselves with two years of higher costs. Maybe some of these jobs that supposedly require degrees could do without them, giving people unable to afford school a chance to prove they deserve a better life.
Sadly, the United States is working to become the first nation where ambition is a sure path to enslavement. The above suggestions can go a long way to stop this slide.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Looks like they're opting for a smaller circle line instead of the more logical, more egalitarian mid-city line (Jefferson Park to Ford City alongside Cicero, then Ford City to Red Line 89th street alongside abandoned and presently used rail lines). There's also a couple other lines (as well as the mid-city line) I'd like to see done before this thing gets built, but you know how things are...
Nevertheless, there's positives from what I've seen, and they come from the fact that they didn't limit themselves to using the Paulina Corridor:
- One of the three accepted options goes all the way to Western Avenue, expanding service to an area with enough need that it has Express Service over much it. That could be the start of a Western Avenue El, which would benefit one of the busiest roads in Chicago.
Looking at the poll, it looks like the people are with me on the Corridor to choose. The Western Avenue routing outpolls the two others (and if stuck with an Ashland/Paulina corridor route, avoid the Odgen routing, please). But why the popularity of Light Rail, especially since they already have a strong Heavy Rail Presence, is beyond me. Heavy Rail would allow interconnections and make ordering easier (one set of railcars, not two different types).
- Some of the other considered routings had positives of their own besides the circle routing itself. The Halstead and Canal/Clinton options could act as through routes connecting other routes through downtown, and the Ashland/Odgen alignment could allow for through-routing from the Howard to Douglas or Midway while bypassing downtown.
Originally they talked about a three-part building plan for the Circle Line (one part finished, as shown by the Pink Line). Even if they end up doing the Western route, I'd allow for them to add on the Pershing Street connection after building the rest; just as long as the line is planned for and eventually built.
Friday, May 05, 2006
I hope it was just the idea of rolling things out so that people drank it first, then the demand for other sizes would follow.
How big is Vault supposed to be? Simple: they actually have 1 litre sizes for this stuff. For Coke and Pepsi/Dew, litre sizes are used for the higher-selling brands. You don't see Fanta Pineapple or Pepsi w/Lime out in litre sizes, and for good reason: it's an extra size, one you don't want to put out unless you know you can make money on it.
More to the point: I saw Surge in Litre bottles. I didn't see Citra in litre bottles. You also saw OK in litre bottles when it came out, but that was more psycho-biological programming than actual expectation; as I doubt they actually expected people to get into OK longer than was needed to create a Gen-X Republican Robot Army.
But the fact that Vault came out in Litre bottles should show what Coke expects of Vault: A challange to the Dew.
Too bad I never saw dnL out in 1 litre bottles.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
What should one expect when the internet in the United States is robbed of its nuetrality? What happens when SBC and Verizon and Comcast and other similar companies are allowed to gateway the internet to their fun and profit? I can imagine a few things:
- A tiered Internet.
There will be two ways to access the internet; one for people paying a small amount, the other for those willing to pay "more." Those who pay more will find a wider internet and quicker access, those who pay less will find slower access and limited options.
- Harder to get porn, Not necessarily harder to get kiddie porn.
Those chasing after kiddie porn know damn well how to hide; they'll hide just a little better and everyone will adjust to it. Adult porn will find things harder as those who want it will pay more and find barriers still placed (thanks to those who think everyone's business is fair game).
- Death to P2P.
The RIAA will cause the internet companies to put sniffers on the routers to figure out which programs the users are using. If you're using a P2P program, the server can then disconnect, slow down the connection so that everything gets downloaded at a creep, or act in ways that mess with the software or hardware, even with firewall and anti-virus software. The server may just erase the P2P programs, leaving the Browsers and other definitely legal (read: not widely used for "intellectual property theft") programs.
- Timed Internet Access.
Since it's obvious that many in the entertainment and communications areas already believe that our basic needs can be covered by a slower connection, the next step will be limited access time. An extra charge will be done for those who want more time per day.
- Say Goodbye to Innocent Before Proven Guilty
Since there's going to be a major need for entertainment and communications to make sure their intellectual property rights aren't trampled by the little internet user, internet spying will not so much become legal but mandatory. And with it: the idea that something not directly allowed becomes illegal (the reverse of what we have now)
- Much more restrictive file formats forced on us.
Instead of .m4a formats which allow a limited amount of copies, you'll get something that won't allow you to copy. Worse yet, don't be surprised it you're forced to pay for every listen (or every 10 listens) or every X days of ownership.
So goes all revolutions. First comes the moment of freedom, then the restrictions come in worse than before.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Another Book Found Plaigarised, Maybe?
(Will need to register to read both articles)
Comment to the first link: I remember, when I was younger, I had caught the storywriting bug myself. One of the stories that I wrote involved a character named "Superbear" which was heavily influenced by an Underdog episode (let's just say there was more of that episode in the story than there was other input, including my own). When one of my classmates said he saw a VERY similar Underdog episode (something I never considered, believe it or not. I was nine at the time, so go figure), I stammered my way through, saying something along the line of "yes, I did use it as inspiration; but I added things of my own invention".
Lucky for me it was just in fourth grade. The worst I could suffer was a bit of embarassment and an "F," and have multiple chances to redeem myself (as the teacher liked to assign writing assignments on a frequent, regular basis). I wasn't eagerly waitied with a book ready to sell in a world with eight million critics, each one ready to point out where I stole stuff from.
Comment to the second link: Now this is beginning to be piling on.
There is such a thing as emulation. Indeed, it used to be that people used to say "he sounds like so-and-so" and people would have fun figuring out who influenced the artist, and where. Not it's almost like you have to be a tabula rasa to get your dues.
Here's the NYT article involving one line:
Thing is, I remember watching a movie titled "The Opposite Sex" in which the first words in the song played over the first shot (a fur scarf, may I add) are "Why do foxes get willingly Trapped?"
In one scene in Ms. Kinsella's book, which was published by Dial Press, the main character, Emma, comes upon two of her friends "in a full-scale argument about animal rights," and one says, "The mink like being made into coats."
In Ms. Viswanathan's book, Opal, the heroine, encounters two girls having "a full-fledged debate over animal rights."
"The foxes want to be made into scarves," one of them says.
Maybe I should shout about Ms. Kinsella plaigarising MSM? Or, better yet, assume that sometimes people hold interesting phrases, ideas and sentances they come across and they come out later.
Maybe because Ms. Viswanathan had already been found out as a plaigarist (as admitted by her, even if she claims it was unintentional) she gets a harder, deeper grilling that already assumes guilt where similarities pop up. An obvious move, since guilt in one area implies guilt in other areas. Otherwise, this would be treated not so much plaigarism as reuse; something every artist does.
And didn't we just see a case about someone using "similar plot points" fail; thank god?
Monday, May 01, 2006
True, in the United States it has been historically linked with the mandatory marches held by the Soviet Union and the Communist World (until Communism fell from the Soviet Union, and thus from Europe). However, the rest of the world has considered this its Labor Day since from before the establishment of "Labor Day" in the United States on the First Monday in September.
The reason for the establishment of a "Labor Day" is obvious. Mayday had become symbolic of revolution, and while there were portions of the working class who wanted revolution, the main part of the working class wanted better pay, fewer hours and a weekend to relax. "Labor Day" became a way to honor workers without referring to revolution and worker's republics.
Of course, now Mayday has been forgotten in the United States. Only immigrants would remember the importance of this