Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Leicester, the Beagle has Landed  (JimPooley, /.)

While the world waits to see if the Beagle Mars Lander successfully touches down on the red planet, ponder this: Would an American space mission include art by Damien Hirst, or play a track by Blur to signify its successful landing?

[Fox News must have finally won its battle with my perception of reality, because I'm going to abruptly segue from this neat British effort to America's War on Terror™.]

In the long run, I hope that America's unending, post-9/11 fear -- which I don't see subsiding any time soon -- doesn't squelch our creativity to the point of where American scientists, American artists, and American politicians would be too humorless to send up a Mars probe that had some artsy knick-knacks on it.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Dueling Tragedies: Wholesale Slaughter vs. Wall Street Scandals

Those who take the Bible at face value believe that Herod, Roman governor during the first Christmas, killed all the children in Bethlehem in an attempt to avert the birth of Christ. Now, you'd think that this senseless obliteration of human life would qualify the first Christmas as a good candidate for the saddest Christmas.

Not so.

According to Martha Stewart, her stock scandal has made this holiday season the saddest holiday ever. Future generations will mark these black days, asking us, "where were you during Martha's sad Christmas?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Hypocriternity

I'm being too harsh on Strom Thurmond with that title, for fathering an illegitimate child with a black maid is not inconsistent with being a virulent white segregationist. Such behavior is surprising in today's society only because segregation has become synonymous with racial hate ...a correlation that may not have been necessary for many of yesteryear's Southern gentility.

I wonder if this child troubled Thurmond at all.

Just as pre-Civil War white landowners often fathered children with their slaves, Thurmond may have felt that such a secret was a perfectly normal episode to have tucked away in one's closet.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Canada claims the Should this be Legal? Crown from California

One of the joys of California's direct democracy is feeling like we pass laws for the sole purpose of testing them out for the rest of the country.

Year in and year out, California's proposition ticket is pretty much a survey of wacky activities to be deemed legal (medical marijuana, for example) or illegal (such as consuming horse meat).

On a global stage, Canada has apparently decided to usurp this crown from California. Legislation sits before the Canadian parliament concerning decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, legalizing gay marriage, and now the Canadian Copyright Board has deemed P2P downloading legal.

Is The Worst of Blogspot.com on the Way?

Remember the long-expired Mirsky's Worst of the Web? Mirsky was an online force until about 1997, when he suddenly closed up shop.

In the early days of the everyday internet, it was amusing to watch Mirsky expose hapless HTML hard-coders, laughing at their broken links, bad tables, and otherwise nasty design. However, the introduction of WYSIWYG HTML-editing programs (and people generally learning how to build web pages), helped make Mirsky's attempted return in 1999 a non-starter. Since then, people just been too busy to revel in this form of humor.

Now that Blogger, et al. empower us to half-anonymously disclose our particular points of view, I wonder if hapless bloggers' push-button musings might just be crappy enough to revive this dead art.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

No.

No. No. No. Not happening.

La la la, la la la (fingers in ears). Not happening.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

What do you mean I look disgruntled?!?!?!

Jeez, Postal Service. Don't be so touchy.

Nice to see Nixon break all 11 Commandments

By most accounts, Dick Nixon's personality wasn't all roses. However, he apparently didn't think much of Reagan once the cameras stopped rolling.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Arnold Decides He's Innocent

Did I say an independent investigation after the election?

I meant no investigation at all.

Anyone Got a Good Recipe for Quagmire?

Although the article concerns military best practices (rather than policy), U.S. Eyeing Israeli Tactics for Iraq Insurgents has a disturbing title.

How much advice would you take from Israel concerning how to deal with a disgruntled Arab population?

To the Moon and Bust

I'll reiterate what I've said before. The Chinese Space Agency is bound and determined to kill somebody.

Monday, December 08, 2003

News Junkie

The guy just got hurt, so he can't really be blamed for his most recent media item. However, it does seem that Ozzy Osbourne misses his The Osbournes spotlight just a little too much.

I wish Ozzy a fast recovery, and I hope he (or those around him) begin to question the value of this fame-for-fame's sake.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Who Wouldn't Be Pissed?

In life and comedy, some things don't require an explanation.

With this simple truth in mind, every week The Onion runs some headlines on its front page that aren't linked to articles. This week, Perverted Ninja Enjoys Being Seen and New York's Finest Protect New York's Richest are non-articles that exist solely as titles.

I was certain that Salon's Fans in Sierra Leone Riot When Dwarf Comedians Don't Show was one of these fakes. Boy, was I surprised to see that it was an actual news item.

Friday, December 05, 2003

How Convenient

It looks like I won't need to turn on Fox News to be reminded that a know-nothing conservatism has hijacked America.

I can just look at the change in my pocket.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Steely Lies

In lifting steel tariffs today, President George W. Bush [aka a miserable failure (why?)] said "these safeguard measures have now achieved their purpose, and as a result of changed economic circumstances, it is time to lift them."

What a bald-faced lie.
What a complete evasion of reality.


Would it have been too frightening for him to be honest, to say that lifting these sanctions is the only way to avoid a trade war?

I suppose I must be too partisan.
I must be too naïve.


...because it occurs to me that every time this President opens his mouth out he restates some small defeat as if it were victory. Anyone who's paid their dues in corporate America knows this double-speak all too well -- how the language of optimism in the face of the facts has to be used with the utmost care -- lest the speaker be regarded as a know-nothing who will toe the corporate line at all costs.

...even at the cost of seeming more than a little disingenuous.

Right Wing Bowl Cut

What I find interesting about this picture is not that the Drudge Report ran it with a caption announcing Dean's current 32 point lead in New Hampshire, nor that Dean's laugh looks a little menacing.

What caught my attention is that this photo conclusively proves that young conservatives should not make their own decisions regarding haircuts.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Ouch.

As a President, George Bush is a miserable failure.

Why echo the Democratic candidates' campaign vitriol? Well, apparently enough people have linked the above phrase to George Bush's online bio that it appears as the #1 result when searching Google for miserable failure.

And you thought your Google profile was bad.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Kim Jong Il on IM

With each passing day, the world becomes more and more dependent on instant messaging. As evidenced by Kim Jong Il's IM logs, even paranoid, ruthless dictators need to IM to get anything done.

That Girl Got a Demi on Her?

Having lost its way long ago, it appears that DaimlerChrysler has decided that competing with Victoria's Secret is easier than competing with Toyota. During halftime of this year's Super Bowl, Chrysler's Dodge unit will host the Lingerie Bowl. What's more, one team is coached by Lawrence Taylor, the fearsome NY Giants linebacker who has informed America that his on-field prowess was enabled by a off-field regimen of hookers and crack.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Who Invited You?

Like a majority of Americans in my age group, I'm in favor of legalizing gay marriage. However, my law school-enrolled wife noted that it'd be interesting to see how public support would fare for the groups certain to follow gays into this public dialogue: polygamists and people in incestuous relationships.

It seems that her test case maybe be on its way, as a convicted Utah polygamist claims that the Supreme Court's decriminalization of homosexuality means that polygamy should be made legal. His case would probably be stronger if he weren't facing life in prison for having sex with one of his wives when she was 13.

Although Tom Green's adolescent wives will probably keep him off the streets, more palatable non-monogamists are sure to emerge. Pundit-worthy incestuous couples will follow.

...and these ways of life will gradually all become legal. As well they should.

From where I sit, Leviticus 18:22, Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination, warrants as little attention today as Leviticus 19:19, Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. I doubt that sexual morality laws will end up hinging on much more than involving consenting adults and avoiding cruelty to animals.

The only real question is timeline.

Suppose gay marriage is legal in the majority of American states in 2020...
When will polygamous marriage be legal?
2050? 2075? 2100? 2500?

How long until incestuous couples can enter into legal unions?
Since inbreeding is famously unpopular, and children raised communally generally exhibit the Westermarck effect (whereby they're not attracted to one another), I'm sure incest will take longer before it becomes legalized.

...but how much longer? 10 years? 100? 500?

Like Night-Vision Glasses Held Together by Masking Tape

In the 20th Century, the US military maintained an advantage on the battlefield through superior technology, superior tactics, and superior information. Now that the Pentagon is exploring the use of Segways in the battle, it appears that we’d like to begin intimidating our enemies through profound dorkiness.

Monday, November 24, 2003

We're a Family Now. We Protect Each Other!

...or so the Klan intiate thought, until he was accidentally shot by a Klansman who'd been firing shots into the air during his initiation ceremony. Had the rally been held in Geuda Springs, Kansas (where it's now illegal to NOT own a gun) the injured would have had a chance to defend himself.

I'm Not Just a Cage Dancer, I'm a Cage Artist

While checking out an article at the New Zealand Herald, I noticed this dignity-preserving classified ad.

In other important news, U.S. Customs is finally cracking down on smuggled bologna.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Hard Numbers

Killed by Tobacco (Annually): 3,000,000
Killed by Marijuana (Ever): 1

Back to Terrible

A playoff-caliber Golden State Warriors would almost certainly signal the Apocalypse. Therefore, the world can breathe a collective sigh of relief as our Bay Area squad squanders a good start and claims last place in the West, a position it will doubtlessly hold for the rest of the season.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Depends on Your Definition of "Wholly"

Wholly unfounded, Michael? Wholly unfounded?

Allow me to remind you that...
...your house is called Neverland.
...you live with a chimpanzee named Bubbles.
...you settled with a kid in 1993 in response to similar allegations.

SCO: Go Away Already!

Since its chances of winning its frivolous lawsuit against IBM seem non-existent, I have to interpret SCO's wild IP claims against Linux as an attempt to inflate its valuation (up more than 1000% during this balderdash).

I really wish some big fish would hurry up and consume this minnow, putting an end to their all-too-often nonsense claims. All it takes is an acquisition, fellas. Please ...someone step up to the plate.

The real victim in all of this will prove to be David Boies, the brand-name attorney who defended Gore in Election 2000, attacked Microsoft, and tried to save Napster. Why is he dragging his reputation through the mud by defending the IT equivalent of Big Tobacco?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Holy Men with Beards Risk Bringing New Meaning to Phrase "Russian Bear"

Though we Liberals applaud the American Episcopalian church for consecrating V. Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop, the church is feeling real consequences in response to its brave action. Yesterday, the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it would "freeze its relations" with the Episcopal Church USA.

This Cold War-like action is clearly an attempt to clarify the sexuality status of dudes who look and dress like this. Personally, I think these men look like rockstars and need not go to such great lengths to tout their heterosexuality.

Did we question the sexuality of 80's hair rockers Warrant or Poison? Of course not. You see, it's okay for rockers to look just a little gender bent.

His Holiness should rest easy. We know he's all about the honeys.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Dang, It’s Hot Out Here. Pass the Chardonnay.

Looks like (for now) global warming is improving the quality of wine. The conspiracy theorist in me says that this is probably part of a vast effort to keep us all loaded while the world goes to hell in a handbasket.

Wally and the Pointy-Haired Boss at an Offsite Meeting

While I’m a huge fan of Dilbert and The Simpsons, I occasionally worry that these series possess a lifeless, timeless repetition. Although it’s often a point of strength, I’m sometimes bothered when there’s not an underlying plot furthered by the current action. Occasionally, these series break out of their molds, like when Maude Flanders died in November 2000. Maude's death changed the status quo for the Simpsons, dividing their episodes into BMD (Before Maude's Death) and AMD.

With this in mind, I was really pleased to see this Sunday’s Dilbert comic, which I overinterpret as providing a glimpse into the characters of Wally and the Pointy-Haired Boss.

Wally’s perpetual evasion of down-sizing makes so much more sense now that I know these two bumblers share a weekend pew.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Corporate Grief Makes Me Weepy

Burger King's apology to a booted breast-feeding mom feels so heartfelt. "Burger King Corporation and our franchisee apologize for any inconvenience any of our guests experienced at our restaurant on November 10, 2003." Wow. Touching.

Thank goodness for this "any of our guests" coverage. Since this is essentially a class action apology, does that mean that anyone who happened into a Burger King on Monday is due some kind of inconvenience award? A couple of fries?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Buy a Box of Cookies or I'll Cut You

Some Girl Scouts learn about teamwork and volunteering.
Some Girl Scouts trap and skin beavers.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Double Entendre

I find it amusing that an article on Jessica Simpson's new TV deal would include the phrase "the ideal showcase for her considerable talents" alongside the particular picture they decided to run.

Driving While Predictably Impaired

I'm tremendously skeptical of anyone who wears sunglasses indoors, so it comes as no surprise to me that former Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon, famous for always wearing shades, would be pulled over while driving with a .261 blood-alcohol level.

Though he and Jack Nicholson both claim to have sensitive eyes, we can guess the real truth. Watching basketball's just that much more entertaining when you're higher than Jesus.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Yellow Ledbetter Has Lyrics?

I'd always thought that Eddie Vedder was singing jibberish (grunge scatting, if you will) on Yellow Ledbetter, the Pearl Jam B-side classic. According to these acute ears, he's actually singing in English. I'm shocked, totally shocked.

I Don't Think We Ever Invaded Iraq

The White House is dubiously blocking search engine access to Iraq-related material, preventing Google from caching Bush's schpiel and spin while he changes it to fit the public's mood.

Whew. We Escaped.

If your worldview guarantees you a cozy afterlife situation, blowing yourself up to elude capture is a little bit like comic book villians who disappear in a cloud of smoke.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The Good Ship Lollypop

The sun's recent spate of solar flares has me more atuned to astronomy news. Along those lines, it appears that Voyager 1 has crossed beyond one of the boundaries of our sun's influence in space, termination shock (Isn't that a gorgeous term?).

In the article referenced above, the graphic of the solar system moving through deep space reminds me of how the Van Allen belts are depicted, shielding the Earth from solar radiation.

It's all such a delicate balance, isn't it?

Who's My Boss, Sir?

Though only 23% of Americans correctly identified the Department of Defense as a part of Bush's cabinet, it appears that more Americans may become conscripted employees of the DoD sometime soon.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Get a Haircut?

I'll admit it.

I'm among those coffee house-types who extole the genius of Eminem without providing any evidence to support this outlandish claim. Others go further, granting Eminem a significant spot in music history. Still others go on and on about his good looks.

Regarding his place in musical history, I guess we'll see. Regarding his good looks, I dunno. The certain thing about his appearance is that he looked like an alien as a child.

Ah, to be famous and have people posting your elementary school pictures on the internet...

Thursday, October 30, 2003

DERRTY Thief

I'm not a rap star, and I don't have an entourage.

However, it seems to me that the purpose of a trusted entourage is to hold your stuff while you're performing, lest it get stolen. Your entourage should be able to guard your $150,000 tennis bracelet while securing your diamond encrusted "DERRTY" pendants. I mean, they're all armed, right?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

World Beard & Moustache Champions

Some men just play the game.
Other men become champions.
These men are champions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Nothing Illegal Here, Officer

The Secret Service recently found an armed man following President Bush's daughter also had a lot of ammunition in his car. However, since it's legal to carry a licensed gun and to have crates of ammunition in your car, this is no problem.

What if the Bush Administration's policy of proactive intervention were applied to gun laws?

In the name of safety, we're content to occupy a foreign power. When worried that a country might bring some future harm, we intervene.

In the name of observing an outdated amendment, we endanger our populace by allowing almost anyone to carry a firearm. When worried that a person might bring some future harm, we stand by and wait.

Meanwhile, on the Sun...

While we silly, hairless monkeys are busy consuming products and killing one another, the Sun's busy ejecting one of the largest solar flares ever recorded. Go out tonight and tomorrow night and look for auroras.


Update: Now that the flare effects have come and gone, we can appreciate tongue in check headlines like Space Storm Hits, Earth Survives.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Sage Advice for Bay Area Sushi Eaters

Particularly if you live on the Peninsula, Josh and Mika's Sushi Guide should not be ignored. They've got humor, discerning palates, honest writing, and a web page that looks like it's from 1996.

Where's Mr. Freeze When You Need Him?

With California aflame, I'm expecting our state's Bodybuilder-in-Chief to begin sprinkling meaningless movie reference remarks any day now.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Egads!

World's New Tallest Building? Yes.

Blends in with other tall buildings?
Attractive?
Appropriate?
No. (story here)

Will the Defendants Please Crumple?

A case of some forged JFK documents. Unexceptional, except that the documents themselves are listed as defendants.

Fo' Shizzle, Sir!

With each passing day, our military resembles the military in Starship Troopers a little more. This movie's military, with its cool feel and unquestioning loyalty to questionable tactics, is similar to the Army of One marketed to us post-9/11.

One of the ways to keep our military full of grunts is to step up recruiting in our cities, adapting the cool Army message in audience-appropriate ways.

I'm not sure whether or not I support urban army recruiting, for though military service may often represent a path to a better life, our enlisted military is dispropotionally staffed by minorities. Grunts in the line of fire are too frequently Grunts of Color.

All that said, I'm fully in favor of articles with titles like Salon's The Army be thuggin' it.

Not-So-Great Deceiver?

US Lt Gen William "Jerry" Boykin has made the extremely helpful claim that the Christian God put Bush in charge. However, former Secretary of State and Friend to Truth Madeleine Albright has countered that Bush's foreign policy "is not good for America, not good for the world." How can both be factual?

There's really only one way.

My problem with construing President Bush's ascendency as indicative of the End of the World is not the 1,000 years part of the Revelation verse above ...maybe a process that began in 1003 A.D. just ended. My problem is that I don't see the nations of the world being deceived.

The world doesn't seem deceived at all. The power of Bush's deception seems to peter rapidly once you pass America's borders. Even here, only half the population is deceived, though Fox News is working on the other half.

Fashion Designer Wants a Job with Lucasfilm

That's really the only reasonable conclusion I can reach in reaction to John Galliano's Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

First & Last Name

Misbehaving sports fans are generally granted anonymity by the press, nameless hooligans who emerge from gameday scrapes to regular life without their exploits trailing them close behind.

Not so for the hapless Cubs fan who contributed to their Game 6 NLCS meltdown. I'm surprised that the articles demanding that peeved Chicagoans leave him alone insist on repeating his name as if it were a vindictive mantra.

A guy who wears headphones to a sporting event so that he can listen to a radio account of the game is a real fan. Please return him to the anonymity that he now craves so dearly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

It's a Simple Transaction

More than ever before, US workers are finding themselves marginalized in our new and education-intensive economy. With manufacturing jobs quickly moving overseas, this condition is a sad (but perhaps temporary) outcome of America's shift to Information Economy in a globalized environment. Unless these unfortunate workers land in blue collar employment, many will find themselves in the service sector ...independent of whether their personalities work well in a service setting.

The Smoking Gun highlights the humor created some of these service personnel, NY toll attendants, go bad.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

TV Gut Bomb

I wouldn't normally link to a food review, but UGO's review of
Swanson's Hungry Man All Day Breakfast is hysterical.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Cartoons of Ribaldry

Life with the Feathering-Walthamstones.
Note: Movies with sound. Subtitles enable silent enjoyment.
In fact, please watch these without sound, for the terrible British accents are more than a little distracting.

What's the Problem with State Secession?

Though the majority of voting Californians chose Arnold as their pick for the next governor, the Bay Area (and LA) voted against the recall. A glance at the recall map and a perusal of Bay Area recall comments and you'll see how different the Northern California coast is from the rest of California. Though Federal secession has already been tested, what are the prospects of large areas seceding from states?

Sunday, October 12, 2003

That's Why He Bounced on the Turf

If you watched Saturday's 4th inning fracas between the Red Sox and the Yankees, you probably saw a young, angry Pedro Martinez throw 72-year old Don Zimmer to the ground. Pedro looked atrocious, executing an Aikido move to direct Zimmer turfward. However, he never would have had the chance to upset Zimmer had the Yankee coach not charged him, flailing a pathetic left cross to Pedro's chin.

Mayor Bloomberg has said that Pedro should have been arrested, but I find the situation much more uncertain. After yesterday, the only thing I'm really certain about is that Don Zimmer looks like the offspring of Don Rickles and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Update: Don Zimmer is having a tough ol' time. It's too bad, for his public persona is that of a likeable fellow. Plus, you've got to have sympathy for any 72-year old with a job.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Rush Becomes a Double Entendre

Rush Limbaugh should be forgiven for previously denying his addiction to painkillers.
Lying about addiction is what addicts do.

He should not be forgiven for wearing this tie.

Just a Big Scary Face

Whether you agree or disagree with him, you've gotta admit that this administration only rolls out Dick Cheney when they really want to scare us.

Boo!

What Would Jesus Detonate?

It's hard to misconstrue Jesus/Joshua's ideas about the poor.
The poor must be treated well.

It's hard to get him wrong regarding how to treat your neighbor.
Love your neighbor.

Would Jesus blow up the State Department?
Pat Robertson thinks it's a definite maybe.

Since 9/11, America's been terrified by religious extremists from only one religion. All religious extremists pose a threat to us in one way or another, for all religious extremists consider themselves sacred and view the rest of us as hopelessly profane.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

A Quest for Better Bladder Control

It appears we're approaching the day where randy partners no long beg for sex, instead highlighting the way sex improves your sense of smell.

Vatican: Condoms Don't Stop AIDS

Though all reasonable people stopped getting their science news from the Catholic Church around 1624, the Vatican still feels it proper to deceive AIDS-stricken Africans, telling them that condoms don't stop AIDS.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Are Pictures of Grad Students Inherently Funny?

Don't ask me how, but I stumbled across these PhD's at Loyola Chicago. Scroll the page. These faces make the perfect cast for an American Pie knock-off film. You've got heroes, villians, friends, crushes, assorted students from abroad. It's got all the elements. All they need is a producer and they've got a hit.

Gallup Poll Spin Machine: Liberal Media Poll

In my youth, I associated The Gallup Organization with an unbaised read on what Mom and Pop America were thinking. Since the 2000 Election, in which Gallup presented an election day poll in which >60% of respondents said they would vote for Bush, I've come to see Gallup as frequently presenting numbers skewed in a conservative direction (On that day, Gore won the popular vote by ~500,000 votes). Today's poll results are even more depressing. This poll, titled Are the News Media Too Liberal?: Forty-five percent of Americans say yes, could just as easily have been titled A Majority of Americans Believe Media is Either Even-Handed or Too Conservative.

In this Fox News/James Carville world, I feel that the financial rewards of reaching a partisan audience are forcing journalists & pollsters to choose a side. Impartiality is an impossible ideal, but the quest for impartiality now seems a worthy cause all but abandoned and forgotten.

Scroll Lock and Other Keyboard Mysteries

Though 90% of the keys on my keyboard are subject to everyday use, some keys are never touched (and, quite frankly, they scare me a little). The Straight Dope unlocks the mystery of Scroll Lock and other strange, leftover keys that reside on our grubby expanded keyboards.

[I'm glad to discover that these sacred keys are not harmful. In my heart of hearts, I'd always suspected that the Sys Rq key was the reason that my keyboard bore the ominous "Warning: Some experts believe that the use of any keyboard may cause serious injury."]

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Too Stupid for Democracy?

On this day of California's Recall, I'd like us to reflect and ponder that we may just be too stupid for democracy.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Touching More Than the Glowing Red Finger

Arnold's starting to look like a sexual predator. He even groped E.T.'s stunt double.

Happy Dog

My best friend's name is Maggie. Yesterday was her 3rd (or 21st) birthday.

Chinese Space Amibitions

Don't you think the current Chinese space exploration plans are a little ambitious? The emergence of China as an international player is inevitable, but their pursuit of a vigorous space program smacks of a Cold War-esque nationalism. Doesn't China have bigger fish to fry?

Update: While getting a space program off the ground is a priority for the Chinese government, serving as a playground for Japanese Sex Tourists is not.

Another Update: I really hope they don't accidentally kill these guys. Take a glance at a prospective astronaut. I don't know whether it's the sacrificial lamb look on his face, or the 1950's look to the entire picture, or that the caption refers to him and his compatriots as "spacemen," but it just looks really risky.

Final Update (10/17/03): He lived. Whew. However, he did mess up his only job.

Trillian Still Broken

In the race to rational business models during the past 4 years, companies have devoted considerable time and energy toward transitioning consumers from free services to fee-based services. Though Yettie staffers abound, it appears that Cerulean Studios doesn’t have any employees who learned how to conduct this process in an organized fashion.

On September 26th, Trillian’s products were rendered partially operable by a change in Yahoo’s messenger protocol. Within hours, the Cerulean staff had a patch available for their paid product. Moreover, their familiarity with the new protocol allowed them to help GAIM (an open source interoperable chat app) return to full functionality. Despite these successes, a patch is still unavailable for the free version of Trillian (.74E), and the userbase is starting to grumble.

By alienating their unpaid userbase, Cerulean risks failing to convert millions of unpaid users into thousands of paid ones. Each passing day without support for their free product is a day in which Cerulean’s PR machine – their free users – is offline.

I hope Cerulean Studios will soon learn the error of this strategic play and return to supporting the users who are most likely to become their future customers.

Update (10/9/03): A patch is available and my geeky grumbling ceases.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

It's a Slippery World

Sometimes, things at GVC go horribly wrong. WARNING: The preceding link includes video of moderately gut-turning schadenfreude humor.

Where'd You Learn to Do This?!?

Doc Gooden's son has been charged with crack possession. I learned it from watching you, dad!

Election Years are the Cruelest Years...

It's nice to see the President not take himself too seriously for once.

Friday, October 03, 2003

The More Fox News You Watch, the Less You Know

Metafilter's got some heartbreaking news regarding "Media Misinformation" and Americans' views about the Iraq War.

At Least Call it "Lawrence"

My apologies to all the Larrys out there, but somehow Tropical Storm Larry lacks a certain formality that I've come to expect from my named weather patterns.

What's this Film on My Keyboard?

Conflict is in the air, and it's tempting to describe most every dialectic as a "war." Sure, there's the War on Terror and the Culture War (Domestic US -- Conservative Christians vs. everybody else). But what about my favorite, the War between Mold and Our Stuff?

Tell Me After the Fact

A somewhat impressive asteroid just missed us. (Just in case the other news of the world didn't have you on edge.)

North American Neighborhood Gets Stranger with Each Passing Day

Since 9/11, the US has been sprinting toward panic-fueled madness. Meanwhile, Canada has been overtaken by reefer madness. How'se a-boot some more of that kind bud, eh?

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

God Hates Lateness

"We have to be on time for the sake of God, of the country, our people and our consciences," said the Ecuadorean President. Absolutely. You know, the Almighty's not peeved about genocide, profound disrespect for our fellow men (and women), or the wholesale destruction of the environment.

Heavens, no. Lateness, people, lateness. That's what gets stuck in his (or her) craw.

Beautifying Arnold

How many times has the Governator gone under the plastic surgeon's knife? Let's see... Compare before with after. What do you think?

Copy Catsuit

Madonna, Madonna. Tsk, tsk, tsk. As the future 55th President of the United States, I expected so much more from you.

Yahoo Contacts ...Speak to Me!

5 days without a patch for the .74 version of Trillian and I feel like I'm holding my breath underwater. I want my interoperable IM client back!

Whew. I feel better.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

More Than a Healthy Glow?

Is our President getting too much sun?

Taking a Stand on Football-related Violence

What amuses me most about public officials who reference their own moral character is that they display confidence precisely when most of feel cramped by moral ambiguity. Such is the case with Deputy Randy Christian, who has the courage to stand up and say, "I know we take football serious in the South, but that's crossing the line," when referring to an Alabama man who attempted to murder his son in a fit of rage after an Alabama defeat.

Way to be brave, Christian, and stand up for what you believe in ...er, I mean to stand up for what's right.

Friday, September 26, 2003

George Plimpton

What I'll miss most about George Plimpton is the way he lived as a public intellectual capable of addressing the interests of the common man. Foucault never wrote about football, and Satre didn't extol the virtues of cartoons, but George Plimpton made Joe Public feel like football, boxing, and baseball were appropriate outlets for one's attention. That such an intelligent and dignified person could humble himself enough to host Disney's Mouseterpiece Theater is evidence enough that he knew a thing or two about connecting with people of all types.

To view his curriculum vitae is to see a man talented at the art of living and capable of maintaining wide-eyed interest in topics from literature to humor to his beloved New York City.

In a day where Renaissance Men & Women seem in short supply, we need more George Plimptons, not fewer.

In a time where the rift between the Intellectual Left and The Working Man is growing (and undermining the support of the Democratic Party), we need more George Plimptons, not fewer.

In an age where everyone seems a little less understanding and tolerant, we need more George Plimptons, not fewer.

His was a life well-lived. He will be missed.

Wonder Leaf

Beam me up, Scotty. Get a load of the design of Nokia's new 7600 phone/mp3 player/digital camera. It'll be like talking to a big metal leaf.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Most Domestic Telemarketers Work in the Midwest

I'm curious why a Federal court in Oklahoma would be the venue for the Do not call case.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

VentureWire Trashes Late VC

Poor Mark Saul. You're a young, successful venture capitalist ...but then you die tragically.

...then VentureWire includes the following in your obituary:

    
Mark Saul of Foundation Capital Found Dead
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Mark Saul, a 42-year-old partner at Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital firm Foundation Capital, was found dead on September 10 at the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City, Calif.

Sgt. James Stoney of the Redwood City police department said employees of the hotel found the body and notified the police. Sgt. Stoney said Mr. Saul was found on the bathroom floor of his room with a glass smoking device and a white, powdery substance. (emphasis mine)


Newsworthy tidbit or mean-spirited inclusion?

Would it change your opinion to know that VentureWire is a borderline spammer? (SpamNet frequently dumps VentureWire's newsletters into my Deleted Items folder)

Is this blurb inappropriate for a wire service that covers corporate finance, but appropriate in a mainstream newspaper?

What to Do in Budapest

They Must Not Have Tivo in Hungary
I guess everybody's got to be some kind of est. Looks like the Hungarians are officially the horniest.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Dwindling Ice Caps, Dwindling Case for Denial

Does the pressure ever get to global warming nay-sayers? How much must the global average temperature increase before we get serious about curbing our CFC and C02 emissions?

Update: Here's a great discussion of these findings on Slashdot.
Another Update: President Bush striving to remain part of the problem for yet another issue of global import.

James Sanborn

I just discovered Artist/Sculptor James Sanborn through a Slashdot article discussing how a Cyrillic code in one of his works had been cracked. Some beautiful sculpture.

His most famous work is Kryptos, outside CIA headquarters.

Start a Blog (It's Cheaper)

When perennial candidates enter races for office, does they always think they have a shot at winning? Does someone devote months of energy just to make a statement? [I guess "statement" implies that there's a chance someone is listening. But with a democratic field already crowded with near-anonymous choices, I don't think the national attention span will take much note of candidates like Mosley-Braun.]

Friday, September 19, 2003

Talk Like a Pirate, Matey

Please join me in celebrating Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Thanks, Galileo

Thank, Galileo, for your informative trek across the solar system. As one of Earth's noblest instruments approaches oblivion inside Jupiter, this article doesn't know whether to call Galileo a robot ship, droid, or a heap of metal, plutonium and gadgets.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

The Shizzolator Breaks!

Ah-ha! I have broken Tha Shizzolator! Enter "www.asksnoop.com" into this beautiful device. Instead of viewing a slice of the web from Snoop's perspective, you'll be viewing a big, fat stack of nothing.

Can Snoop not stand his own scrutiny??

Criminal Consumption

Why should a vehicle that looks like this get only 13 mpg? Oh, that's right, oil is endless and cars aren't undermining environmental and geopolitical stability.

A Point of Clarification and a Question

First, Tampa has no right to refer to itself as the Bay Area. The Bay Area is in California. Tampa is forever Tampa or Tampa Bay.
Second, are bands named Hell on Earth allowed to champion social causes?

Stock Bulletin Boards: Outlet for Crazy People with Keyboards

I'm a shareholder in Peet's Coffee & Tea for three reasons:
A. I'm a coffee addict (just being honest)
B. Peet's is a customer of mine (just being honest)
C. With Starbucks approaching domestic ubiquity, Peet's seems like the regional (nearly national) company best positioned to grab the Anti-Starbucks Market, the Up Market looking for more coffee choices, and the Socially Progressive Market.

...but this is beside the point. The point is that, as a shareholder, I occasionally check out the Yahoo! message board for Peets.

Oh my God.

Like so many stock message boards on Yahoo, this forum seems to exist for one reason: To provide a platform for the rarely-sensical views of rambling, offensive people. In Peet's case, the role of resident lunatic is played by wakemnshakem1. Wakem's foil is played by the rather obsessive OZ___________.

Together, these two forces of nature create real-life black comedy of the kind you rarely see. Wakemnshakem1 is clearly not playing with a full deck (at least when he's behind the comfortable cloak of online anonymity), and OZ___________ has the need and the time to dignify wakem's posts with responses. If I were a more dedicated blogger, I'd cut and paste some examples here, but you'll just have to go to the board to experience the beauty of their ongoing conversations.

Archfriends

...and so the veiled battle between Saudi Arabia and the United States takes a turn for the worse.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The Price of Leadership

Superb Manager = $140 million in compensation? At some point, business people started focusing only on the managing and forgot about the actual doing. What would the NYSE look like under poor management? Would it ultimately cost the exchange more than $140 million? I doubt it.

During the bubble, E*Trade ran a telling billboard advertisement: If your boss could pay you less, he would. Without a view into otherwise sealed corporate books, no worker has an idea if he or she is getting a fair shake. Alas, my utopian hope for this working world is that our pay will continually become more in line with the value we create for our companies, not in line with the non-economic expectations we have about a hazy appropriateness.

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

College freshman creates fusion reactor while all his friends were busy using Kazaa.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Credit Card Prank

Although humor + personal finances = A Dangerous Concoction (usually), the Credit Card Prank is hilarious.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Sad Demise of Women's Soccer

At least when I first visited this page, I saw a banner ad touting the Top 99 Most Desirable Women next to an article noting the sad demise of professional women's soccer.

More than a little apropos? Just as top-flight male sport is supported by an odd menagerie (Jocks, Die-hard Zealots, Civic Endorsers, Corporate Perkers), top flight women's athletics are boosted by a strange syndicate of Social Liberals, Female Athletes, Gentler Men, Lecherous Men, and Lesbians. All my stereotyping aside, it's sad to see a professional league disappear. In these days of estrangement, professional sports provide positive enforcement of the geographic partisanship that makes us ...well, us. San Jose will be a little less San Jose without its CyberRays.

Sounds Like Someone Had a Bad Experience

C'mon. Arnold's a nice guy, he just has a real beef with gay prostitution.

Why Space?

In a day where US citizens don't bat an eye when asked to pay $90 billion for Iraqi reconstruction, it frustrates me that Americans perpetually question the advancement of space sciences. Space.com provides 10 compelling reasons why we need to continue space exploration (manned or otherwise).

Freeatures

Blogger just made a bunch of features available for free. Fantastic. Now if they'd just make premium features (like traffic monitoring and commenting) available for free, I'd know if anyone came to look at this page!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Friday, September 12, 2003

Counterfeiter Holds Bush in High Regard

Think future Americans will think Bush worthy of a bill of his own? Hell, we put President Grant on the $50 bill...

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Global Rich List

According to the Global Rich List, I'm the 46,777,565 richest person in the world.

Is It Plagarism to Copy Yourself?

At least for this article, Lars Anderson only plagarizes himself.

You've Got to Say it in a Menacing Way

I guess I'm never surprised when violence intrudes into the world of rap. I'm always surprised when a grown man is referred to as Fiddy.

Freedom

Since last 9/11, I've thought a lot about freedom. Our freedom was identified as the thing which the terrorists (which I believe Bush pronounces "terse," by the way) would destroy. Iraqi freedom was the false mantle Bush would occasionally roll out as a humanitarian reason for the recent war. Though life in the country lingers somewhere near Coppola's wildest war dreams, it appears that some kind of freedom has found Iraq. Now they discover that sometimes freedom is just being a freak without getting locked up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My Dad's Middle Name is A. Yep, just A.

Guilty or not, you've got to feel bad for Kobe Bryant.
Don't feel bad because privacy does not exist for the famous, or because well-covered scrapes with the law are tried in the media.
Feel bad for him because his middle name is Bean.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Weird Science

Ok. Embryonic tissue creating entirely new little rat organs in rats? That's officially strange.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Rumsie and Britney Stand United

Rumsfeld and Britney are uniting to form a no-Bush-criticism front. Darn those troublemakers with their lefty idears!

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Google Calculator

Dude. Google has a built in calculator. That's awesome.
Fun to play with and easy to break.
The speed of light*10^299 has an answer, but
the speed of light*10^300 does not.

You Can Take the Girl Out of Louisiana

If there's one thing that The Greatest Living Artist stands for, it's giving a good show.
If there are two things that The Greatest Living Artist stands for, it's giving a good show and not questioning authority.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Speaking Without Saying

Arnold just has nothing to say. Really. Read the article and let me know one thing of substance that he says.

Breaking the Male Monopoly on Random Violence

Some people must wake up in the morning and say, "Hey. I'm part of the problem."

Monday, September 01, 2003

Happy Labor Day

Labor day always puts me in a reflective mood, a day-long meditation on the place of American workers and American work in a world of people trying to make a living.

So, here's to the thousands of people working on Labor Day, those people who probably most need a day of paid leave.

Friday, August 29, 2003

In Real News, The Onion is Now a Stable Business

Who would have guessed it? I thought for sure The Onion was headed down the tubes. Personally, I'm glad they'll be around -- otherwise, we'd need to rely too heavily on Al Franken for straight talk on the Ten Commandments.

Giants in Salary Mess

If you follow the San Francisco Giants, it's mystifying to see them succeed as they have with a payroll that makes this little sense. Two outfielders who almost never play (Jeffrey Hammonds and Marvin Benard) make $1,500,000 more than Tim Worrell ($2M), Marquis Grissom ($1.85M), Benito Santiago ($1.78M), Neifi Perez ($1.5M), Dustin Hermanson ($900K), Scott Eyre ($725K), Andres Galarraga ($500K), Pedro Feliz ($325K), Ryan Jensen ($317K), Chad Zerbe ($317K), Yorvit Torrealba ($312K), and Joe Nathan ($300K) COMBINED.

No amount of Billy Beane-ball could solve this contract problem.

Conclusion: Whatever they do during this post season, next season could look like the 1998 Florida Marlins, a 54-108 squad with a completely different roster from the team that won the World Series the previous year.

A bad day. A very bad day.

Initiation Ritual

This is merely Madonna passing her stage persona, life force, and personal history to the next carrier of the torch.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Demolition Man Convinced Him

"I haven't lived my life to be a politician." Well, why start now?

Quite a Line-up

Republicans get serious actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, and Fred Thompson. Democrats get Al Franken and Bill Maher.

Who gets the old magicians?
Jugglers?
Aging pop stars? (I suppose the Republicans get that one.)

Who would you take?

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Say Anything

...and so it begins.

The Hall of Documentation Weirdness

The Hall of Documentation Weirdness proves what we all suspected: That the people writing product documentation want to hurt and confuse us.

The Bills are Iraqqing Up

How much did they say this was going to cost?

Jane Fought the RIAA

Go, Jane, go!

PanIP: Lamprey to Industry's Shark

This is great news. PanIP claims to have (more or less) patented e-commerce, and they've been suing the little guys to assemble a war chest before taking on the likes of Amazon & eBay.

Silly Rahu

Sure. Blame Rahu, just like you always do.

A Lack of Sunshine Can Make You Depressed

Thank goodness. I expect Canada to be on the forefront of important issues like this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Dude. I Totally Know Where You Can Find That Guy

I know the article claims that the monk is holding a toy Yeti ...but I'm confident that the doll in question is actually the snow monster from Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer.

Philosophy Talk

Good or Bad? After listening for about 5 minutes, I'm reminded why analytic philosophy interferes with my digestion. It's too bad that Richard Rorty wouldn't engage in this self-promotion.

Geek Glee

This + This = Tivo in our bedroom! Hurray!

Iraq UN Tragedy

Heart-wrenching.

Update (4/8/2005): Why would CNN remove the original article? It seems like most of their important content lives forever.

Backdoor Draft

Though it was an atrocious movie, Starship Troopers contained some challenging take-away ideas. In that movie, people who had not completed military service were civilians, while the military and military veterans were citizens, thus able to vote. I wonder how the current administration would fare if only our military could vote...

Monday, August 25, 2003

Can the Fox News Ship Be Lefted?

"It's time to return Al Franken to the obscurity he's normally accustomed to" ...man, could Fox News sound any less professional in this Al Franken lawsuit? Rupert Murdoch's ship is adrift; if only they knew that the only way to discourage parody is to avoid inviting it.

The Shizzolator

Snoop's post-modern digestion of society is beautiful art. Thank you, Mr. Dogg. Of course, we all carve up society in lovely ways.

Passing: Wesley Willis

Though a multi-faceted individual, Wesley Willis will forever be known as a man capable of thoroughly whooping Batman's ass.

Good Numbers for Gray

50% and falling.

Desire

Want.