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


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. 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


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.