Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sharks and Tasers

Dual post today ~ one vexation and the other vindication.

First, the story is that a shark was caught in the Euphrates River about 200km from the sea. Locals blame the U.S. military for placing the shark in the river: "Tahseen Ali, a teacher, said there was a '75 percent chance' Americans had put the shark in the water. 'This is very frightening for us. Our children always swim in the river and I believe that there are more sharks. I believe that America is behind this matter,' said fisherman Hatim Karim." I hope that they found the most paranoid teacher and deluded fisherman to quote, because if these types of assumptions are commonplace in Iraq, then we are apparently seen as three-headed demons there.

Second, the funny tasering incident returns with what I believe to be the proper result. Mr. Meyer avoids further charges by apologizing to the University for breaking the rules of the forum and agreeing to 18 months of probation: "I'm so sorry that I lost my control in that auditorium," he wrote. "I went there to ask an important question. The question of voter disenfranchisement in America cuts to the heart of our democracy, and my failure to act calmly resulted in this important town forum ending without the discourse intended. For that, I am truly sorry." He seems much more intelligent when he's not hijacking a Q&A to turn it into his own personal soapbox.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Note to self: follow the rules and you won't be tased

Perhaps my favorite incident this summer was when Andrew Meyer was yelling, "Don't tase me, bro! Don't tase me! ~~ YAOAOWOOOAOW!!" The exquisite schadenfreude of an overzealous moron getting zapped is a mystery of the human psyche, but dammit if I don't enjoy it.

I'm glad to see that the peace officers that attempted to enforce the rules of the Q&A session and ended up tasing Mr. Meyer were cleared of wrong-doing. Of course, I am not unsympathetic to Mr. Meyer's plight. It's gotta suck being tased after a politician dodged your questions. Zzzzzzap.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Osama =/= Obama

I know Mitt Romney is a busy guy, and I know that sometimes what political rivals do can be mystifying and hard to comprehend sometimes. Sometimes I wonder what ultra-conservatives are thinking, and I'm sure they wonder when liberals will be scourged from the earth in a sea of hellfire. I kid (kinda). But regardless of how busy you are, there's really no excuse for confusing a leading Presidential candidate with the grand-poobah of our enemies.

Basically, Romney thought that it was Obama, not Osama, that had put out a tape yesterday. Because that's how Democrats spread the word: with recordings made in caves and released over the internet. Sure... It was no slip of the tongue either. He actually brought it up while talking about Democrats and corrected "Osama" to "Barack Obama" in mid-speech.

Some people probably think, big deal, anyone can mistake the two names. Yeah... maybe if the names were of Paulo and Pablo, two random dudes in Brazil. But these are two of the most famous people in the world with ideologies diametrically opposed. If you can't identify friend (and as Americans we are all friends regardless of our differences) from foe when you have no power, I don't want you having any power.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Awesome imagery for the day...

A flaming squirrel lands on a car's engine compartment, which subsequently explodes. Terrorist/kamikaze squirrels have new martyr. Story here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fun Google Statistics

According to this Reuter's story, Italy leads in searches for "Viagra" and Chile leads in searches for "gay." Other word stats included, too, like "Kate Moss" and "burrito" (Ireland and the U.S. respectively lead).

Monday, October 15, 2007

WWII Gun Battery Reopens in Marin

I remember hiking in Marin Headlands in 6th grade as part of a week-long school field trip and seeing some very impressive concrete bunkers left over from before World War II. There were also Nike missile batteries, as I recall, although I may be confusing that with Angel Island's missile batteries. Anyhoo, flat concrete slabs from a Cold War missile battery are not nearly as impressive as concrete bunkers hewn from the hillside with views out over the sea. Missile hatches do not elicit the awe that gun anchorages meant to secure 16-in naval guns into the hillside do.

Reading about a recent re-opening of "Battery Townsley" in Marin makes me want to go up there and take a look around. Maybe it will remind me of that trip in the 1980s as an 11-yr-old.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"In Rainbows"? only from another's perspective

I'm currently in queue to download Radiohead's "In Rainbows." How much do I plan to pay for it? Exactly $0.

Am I heartless? Do I not wish to support artists? Do I merely dislike Radiohead?

The answer to all of these is NO (well, at least the last two). I have enjoyed Radiohead's music immensely in the last two decades. Ordinarily, I would have no compunction against paying for their music. However, this whole "pay what you want to" mechanic smacks of some idealistic experiment in socialism ~ kind of like wearing hemp clothes you grow in a commune.

I think that the danger of socialism happens when people confuse the successes of socialism (yes there are successes!!) with some deduced conclusions about human nature that are untrue. The conclusion people might draw from a successful online sale of "In Rainbows" is that people are in fact willing to pay for music online in general, instead of the conclusion I would argue: people are willing to pay for Radiohead's music when it's distributed in an experimental format that conforms with how they would like the music industry to function.

Anyway, I would call myself liberal, but I don't like experiments that are, in effect, exercises in socialistic masturbation. [Edit: I do not, to be clear, think that Radiohead's online sales mechanic is necessarily masturbation, only that it is in danger of being used as such.] I'm probably over-thinking this, but hey, I just got "In Rainbows" for free!

Gold-digging the Wrong Way

If sincere, a self-described "spectacularly beautiful" woman threw herself to the wolves of the internet last week by posting a bald-faced request for a sugar-daddy on Craigslist. She confessed dissatisfaction with her current businessman s.o. (earning a meager 250k/yr) which would not even get her into Central Park West! She was aiming for a goal of 500k/yr, which apparently is not overreaching because the "middle class" in New York is 1M/yr.

Someone claiming to fit her bill responded with some cold, hard economic analysis of her situation: "plain and simple a crappy business deal." Concluding that as her companionship, based mainly on her beauty, is a depreciating asset coupled with significant and steady or increasing liabilities, he would much rather lease than buy.

Oh, if only love were as rational as this. Sight unseen, gold digging sounds moronic, but guys aren't known for rationality when faced with spectacularly beautiful women. Herein lies her error ~ don't ask for rational advice when peddling irrational goods.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Gatorland gapes anew

The plucky folks at Gatorland in Florida are rebuilding after a devastating fire last November that destroyed some of their tourist complex, including (with tragic pic) the gaping "gator" mouth entrance.

I remember visiting Gatorland years ago and being very much impressed with how many gators died there to fill their store with gator products and their restaurant with gator burgers. That mouth-entrance was an iconic memory of my trip to Florida, so it's good to hear they're putting it back!

Friday, October 05, 2007

How to raise political zealots in one easy step

Since me and hermit Eric Rudolph were the last two people in the country not to have cable TV, it's been hard keeping abreast of trends. Luckily, the intarwebz are here to save the day. I've been watching the Daily Show with John Stewart at Comedy Central dot com and the recent video "One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State" with John Oliver (originally aired Wed. Oct. 3) is good stuff.

Apparently there are book publishers out there who peddle politically indoctrinating books for children. Now, the way we raise our children is usually our own business, but I think these books border on child abuse:

REAL titles from the publishers:
  • Help Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed! - with such classic children's story characters as a Ted Kennedy-esque liberal hitting a lemonade stand for sales and income taxes (by holding out "his meaty hand"). As John Oliver so astutely observes: "Finally! A response to the universal healthcare manifesto, Everyone Poops." The publisher touts jokes in the book like "Teddy's Carwash," because then parents can explain that Ted Kennedy was suspected in a murder decades before they were born and they can all chuckle to the partisan humor in familial harmony.
  • Help Mom! The 9th Circuit Nabbed the Nativity!
  • The Sky is Not Falling: Why It's OK to Chill About Global Warming

And they found a liberal publisher too! Of: Why Mommy Is a Democrat.

Not to be left out, the Daily Show mocked up some childrens' books of their own: Help Mom! The Liberals Gutted the Patriot Act and Now There's a Suitcase Bomb Under My Bed! and Heather Had Two Mommies; Now Heather is a Prostitute.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Will they? Oh please, will they?

After some recent major third-party candidates that impact Democratic candidates (I'm looking at you, Nader), reading this article about Christian conservatives chafing about the possibility of Massachusetts Mitt or "Abortion-on-demand" Rudy being the Republican nominee fills me with an unseemly glee.

Apparently, Christian conservatives, who liberals and moderates alike consider to have heavily influenced the Republican party in the last 20 years, think that they have been treated as a "mistress" (love-you-but-don't-talk-to-me-in-public) by that party. I laugh.

Yes, please, endorse a far-right candidate! I think it's a great idea.