my small contribution
to Katrina reportage: Click on the video link here, then on the "Mayor" link in that window. Straight from the horse's mouth; not much for trainwreck images, if that's what you're looking for, but very good for information. Simply amazing. My favorite city I've never visited has been set back years, perhaps decades.

Early on, during a list of damage, the Mayor mentions that the twinspans, the huge bridges coming into New Orleans from the north, were damaged. Later, one of the newsguys asks him just how bad: "Totally destroyed. Totally. It's gone." Pause. More pause. Nobody knows what to say, it's just dead, shocked airtime for a good five seconds while everybody stares at the desk and tries to absorb that.

Disasters like this, bad as it is, always make me glad we live in a country like the US, with the resources we have. Most of the people evacuated before hand, and those that stayed have the full force of the US trying to save them, which is nothing to scoff at. Same goes for the rebuilding effort: large portions of New Orleans have just been wiped off the map, but that won't last for long. Beats the hell out of hiding in your plank hut in someplace like Haiti or Cuba. Sucks, no doubt, but at least we have the ability to limit the human toll of a catastrophie like this.

Ace has a list of ways to make a donation
, and some more news coverage.

And Michele has a growing list of positive stories out of New Orleans, as a reminder to the doom and gloomers out there. As Andrea Harris puts it: Man up, Nancy.
cleansing breath
After that last one, I needed something to wash all the crappy music out of my head. If you do too, go check out Interpol. Good stuff.

One of my problems, when it comes to music, is that I don't really have, like, friends. We moved to the suburbs of Pittsburgh without alot of local connections, most of my high school friends are long gone or don't want to talk to me. Between school and work, I don't really have time to hang out with people. My girlfriend, who is my friend, isn't really terribly sociable and dosen't like many people I do want to hang out with. For that matter, I'm not overly sociable myself; I talk to people, but I don't go out of my way to try to get to know anybody either.

That's by way of explination, not whining. The biggest reason I don't have friends locally is that I don't much care to. We don't talk to people in our apartment complex, when we go out, its very much of a twosome, I don't try to get involved with people at school or work. I talk to people, I'm not a total introvert, but only at school or work. Three conflicts: I don't have time or energy to work my schedule around going to a bar or whatever, my girlfriend is my first priority people-wise, and I don't think I'm missing anything enough to try to change it. Interpersonal contact with my girlfriend and my dad and brother every once in a while is good enough for me.

But what I am really missing out on is good music stuff. I don't like a whole lot of the stuff they play on the radio 24/7. Most of it is just the same old crap, over and over. People out there know where the good bands are playing and what the good new albums are, but I don't know any of those people.

So the other day I was talking to a guy at work about music, and it turns out he likes alot of the same stuff I do. But when we drifted away from radio stuff into what he really liked, I hadn't heard an awful lot of it. It's not really obscure stuff, just stuff that you would have to be familiar with the scene to know.

So yeah, sucks to that. Again, the old tradeoff: I can go to school and keep up a steady relationship with a great girl, or I can know what the good bands are of the moment. Not exactly mutually exclusive, but there's only so much time in one's day.
where's my fuckin pumpkins?
Meme via Ilyka: go to the webpage, enter the year you graduated high school, click the top 100 songs link.

Strikeout songs you hated, don't do anything to songs you don't remember or don't have any feeling about either way, underline your favorite, and bold the songs you like I just bolded songs I would leave on the radio if it came on. The ones that don't make me want to stick pencils in my ears are bolded. Scan the list, comments at the end.

Breakout the earplugs and Y2K hat; let's party like it's 1999:

1. Believe, Cher
2. No Scrubs, TLC

3. Angel Of Mine, Monica
4. Heartbreak Hotel, Whitney Houston
5. ...Baby One More Time, Britney Spears
6. Kiss Me, Sixpence None The Richer
7. Genie In A Bottle, Christina Aguilera
8. Every Morning, Sugar Ray
9. Nobody's Supposed To Be Here, Deborah Cox
10. Livin' La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin
11. Where My Girls At?, 702
12. If You Had My Love, Jennifer Lopez

13. Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
14. Have You Ever?, Brandy
15. I Want It That Way, Backstreet Boys
16. I'm Your Angel, R. Kelly and Celine Dion
17. All Star, Smash Mouth
18. Angel, Sarah McLachlan
19. Smooth, Santana Featuring Rob Thomas
20. Unpretty, TLC
21. Bills, Bills, Bills, Destiny's Child

22. Save Tonight, Eagle-Eye Cherry
23. Last Kiss, Pearl Jam
24. Fortunate, Maxwell
25. All I Have To Give, Backstreet Boys
26. Bailamos, Enrique Iglesias
27. What's It Gonna Be?!, Busta Rhymes Featuring Janet

28. What It's Like, Everlast
29. Fly Away, Lenny Kravitz
30. Someday, Sugar Ray
31. Lately, Divine
32. That Don't Impress Me Much, Shania Twain
33. Wild Wild West, Will Smith Featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee

34. Scar Tissue, Red Hot Chili Peppers
35. Heartbreaker, Mariah Carey Featuring Jay-Z
36. I Still Believe, Mariah Carey
37. The Hardest Thing, 98 Degrees
38. Summer Girls, LFO
39. Can I Get A..., Jay-Z Featuring Amil (Of Major Coinz) and Ja

40. Jumper, Third Eye Blind
41. Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill
42. Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...), Lou Bega
43. Sweet Lady, Tyrese
44. It's Not Right But It's Okay, Whitney Houston
45. (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You, 'N Sync
46. Lullaby, Shawn Mullins

47. Anywhere, 112 Featuring Lil'Z
48. Tell Me It's Real, K-Ci and JoJo
49. Back 2 Good, Matchbox 20
50. 808, Blaque
51. She's So High, Tal Bachman
52. She's All I Ever Had, Ricky Martin
53. Miami, Will Smith

54. Hands, Jewel
55. Who Dat, JT Money Featuring Sole
56. Please Remember Me, Tim McGraw
57. From This Moment On, Shania Twain
58. Love Like This, Faith Evans

59. You, Jesse Powell
60. Trippin', Total Featuring Missy Elliott
61. If You (Lovin' Me), Silk
62. Ex-Factor, Lauryn Hill
63. Give It To You, Jordan Knight
64. Black Balloon, Goo Goo Dolls
65. Spend My Life With You, Eric Benet Featuring Tamia
66. These Are The Times, Dru Hill
67. I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, Mark Chesnutt
68. I Do (Cherish You), 98 Degrees
69. Because Of You, 98 Degrees
70. I Will Remember You (Live), Sarah McLachlan

71. Chante's Got A Man, Chante Moore
72. Happily Ever After, Case
73. My Love Is Your Love, Whitney Houston
74. All Night Long, Faith Evans Featuring Puff Daddy
75. Back That Thang Up, Juvenile Featuring Mannie Fresh and Lil' Wayne

76. Almost Doesn't Count, Brandy
77. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, Shania Twain
78. Steal My Sunshine, Len
79. I Need To Know, Marc Anthony

80. So Anxious, Ginuwine
81. Faded Pictures, Case and Joe
82. Back At One, Brian McKnight
83. When A Woman's Fed Up, R. Kelly
84. How Forever Feels, Kenny Chesney
85. Amazed, Lonestar
86. Sometimes, Britney Spears
87. Ghetto Cowboy, Mo Thugs Family Featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
88. Out Of My Head, Fastball
89. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), Jay-Z

90. Jamboree, Naughty By Nature Featuring Zhane
91. Take Me There, BLACKstreet and Mya Featuring Mase and Blinky Blink
92. Stay The Same, Joey McIntyre
93. Lesson In Leavin', Jo Dee Messina
94. Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
95. Satisfy You, Puff Daddy Featuring R. Kelly
96. Better Days (And The Bottom Drops Out), Citizen King
97. Music Of My Heart, 'N Sync and Gloria Estefan
98. Write This Down, George Strait
99. When You Believe, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
100. God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You, Alabama Featuring 'N Sync

You'll notice that there isn't a whole lot of bold. That dosen't surprise me, but there are a few things about this list that do. First, is just how few of these songs I remember. I think I hit the strikeout on a few I don't really know just on principle: Whitney Huston? Nah. 98 Degrees? Forget about that.

I mean, we're talking about 1999 here. I didn't graduate high school fifty freaking years ago. But there's an awful lot on there I don't recognize by title, and a pretty good many I don't think I've ever heard at all.

Second is the complete lack of any type of alternative music whatsoever. I see the Goo Goo Dolls made the list, as well as Pearl Jam, but that's about it. I can stand the Goo Goo Dolls, or at least could at 18, but neither of these bands are favorites of mine. Even Dave Matthews, who I'm pretty sure released an album that year, didn't make the list. I loathe Dave Matthews, but I can't believe he didn't have one of the top one hundred songs of the year.

No Radiohead? No Smashing Pumpkins? Rage Against the Machine? Blur? Green Day? Not even the Beasty Boys? Hello? How did none of the Alternative Grammy Nominees not make the list, over freaking Mambo Number Five, a song written to be sung by plastic frogs in the clearance aisle of your local department store? Or a song by Gloria Estefan, who was apparently still alive in 1999?

Give me a break. For that matter, look for rock songs period on that list. You know, electric guitars and singing and shit. I expected hip-hop to be heavily favored, they sell records like nobody's business. N'Sync and Brit'ny Spears sold alot of albums to people that were five years younger than me at the time. Country certainly has its following. But only one or two bands from one of the top music sectors out there? Nobody in the entire audience of Rolling Stone bought any albums that year? Music played by a huge number, perhaps even a majority of radio stations out there, and no representation in the top 100?

Anyway, enough ranting. If the list is correct, it's no wonder I didn't like High School. Jesus, look at what everybody was listening to. I'd prefer being poked to death 100 times by a dull spork than listening to all those songs in a row.

I never owned a single one of those songs. The only one I can think of the words to is the Everlast song, which wasn't half bad, and I'm sure the words to Iris are in my head somewhere as well. As you can see, the vast majority are songs that I was subjected to at school dances and functions.

I don't think I'm a music snob; there's alot of probably bad music I like. But holy crap, if there's anything to like about that list, I don't see what it is.
okay, alright already
Sadie's new digs are...somewhat boring. :P


Just a poke. Soon as I have the cash, I'm going to pay her to redo this shithole. Have I not yet mentioned her new design studio? Visit, and weep.

I've had offers from people to redo this place, but I keep turning them down, telling them and myself I'm going to learn CSS myself, dammit, and all the attendant bullshit that comes with running a blog. I'm starting to think that's never going to happen, or at least not soon enough to suit my tastes.

But I've liked Sadie's designs from the past, I think she could probably come up with something pretty cool for this dump. Right now, all my money is tied up in rent and PBR, but I figure good times are on the horizon, and then I'll have a wicked cool looking site with no visitors, instead of a halfass translation of a blogger template with no visitors. Grand designs, I know, but I think I can make it happen.
I put up a post pointing out that Nazis are not welcome at a border-security rally, and guess what? A week later, the Nazis are heading out to join Cindy Sheehan. In her fight against our "War for Israel", dontcha know.

Well, we all have our crazies. I've said it many a times. Trouble is dealing with them, I suppose.

But this one does raise some questions: What if Cindy was black? What if she was a Jew? I know the Stormfronters are okay with being on the same side as Robert Byrd and David Duke...but what if this particular protestor looked more like Al Sharpton or, god forgive...well, I can't think of a prominent liberal Jew right now, but there's got to be zillions of 'em, right? Can't take over the world without your name coming up in a google search. Is Arlen Specter Jewish? He isn't really a liberal, and I don't know if Specter is a Hebrew name, but I always thought he was Jewish. I'm sure the Stormfronters can fill me in on this one.

How will the Stormfronters deal with the rastafarians that are sure to be in attendance? Or the pro-Palistine Arabs? This is Texas, there's sure to be a few Hispanics in the mix, as well.

So...When the skinheads show up, what will be their reception? This is a Peace Protest, after all, so there can't be any violence. When the Stormfronters decide it's time to hang a doped out Rasti from the nearest lynchin' pole, they'll just...talk it out, right? Go for root causes, understand their hate, and all that.

Right. Good luck with that.

Link via Ace.
mars attacks
Watch this, and tell me that maybe a dozen frames in there isn't a human shape in the dust devil.

The fuckin martians are attacking our rover! Git me my shotgun and break out the nukes!
a rose by any other name
Should you blog anonymously?

My opinion: YES, yes, a thousand times over, yes. I suppose, if you fancy yourself a serious political commentator who plans on recieving calls from CNN regularly, a real name lends credibility. Talking to Larry King from behind a mask, with a voice distorter, using the name "REpUbLiCaN MastiZOR" or whatever isn't likely to garner you much respect. But you better have the resources to back it up.

A name search can yield a million things to someone, and a bit of digging can yield a million more. And even if someone dosen't come looking for you, the fact that you are a real person on the web can damage you.

But here's my problem: finding a cool internet moniker. There's so few out there. There's a lot, a majority, of really, really dorky ones. I used to comment as "Francisthegreat", which has a long geeky history I may sometime share with you. But I'm bored with that, so lately I've been commenting with simply "Francis", which is my real first name. And is both dorky and boring. I kindof like my blog name, Geek Empire, except that I don't do a whole lot of posts on some traditional geek stuff (Video games, for example), and the domain was already owned by these folks, who are kind enough not to sue me for using it. But I'm at a loss for what to call myself here on Al Gore's Internets.

Waiting for my Muse on that one, I suppose. If there is a "Muse of Dorky Internet Handles".

Anyway, personally, I don't want to say something bad about a protestor I met in Oakland this weekend and have him show up at my doorstep. What do I think are the chances of that happening? Not likely, but possible, and I have neither the time, energy or cash to make myself anonymous against my full name. And once someone has your name, address, etc, they can cause other havok as well, none of which I feel like dealing with.

But there are other reasons. You'll notice that I did a considerable amount of bitching about a company I used to work for here. Never once did I mention that company's name, or any specifics of business conducted there, much to their dismay. Part of it, honesly, is respect. But largely, it's what's called Operational Security to the army. I can bitch about stuff, but as long as nobody outside the company knows what I'm talking about, it can't hurt them, and they can't hurt me.

If I say, "Gee, this company is run by a bunch of f'n morons and they're about to make a very bad decision", that's ranting. If I say "I'm a VP of IBM, and something's about to happen that will cause our stock to plummet", that's a liability, and, honestly, grounds for termination.

Frankly, I don't understand people that write bad things about a company, using both their name and the company name, especially on company time, and don't expect to be fired for it. If you're working for me, I'd fire you.

Beyond that, writing under your real name becomes a part of your resume, especially if you are a somewhat popular blogger. If there is anybody out there that you don't want reading your rants, be it a current or potential employer, a friend, or your dog, don't put your name to it in pixels. Because it will turn up.

Same goes for college: I've said bad things about profs here. What if one of them googled my name? That's not brownie points. Same goes for alot of other things. I like my blog to be a place to bitch when I feel like it; every time it's intersected with my personal life, it's been a pain in the ass. If I could take back ever telling anyone I've met that I blog, I'd do it, just so when I realize I said something bad about them six months ago it wouldn't come back to bite me in the ass.

Working under cover is definatly the way do go, in my book; now if I could just think up a nom de keyboard I liked, I'd be set.

Top link via Ilyka.
friends and hellspawn
From the same article linked below:
Benedict, who had a meeting with Jews on Friday, is making good inter-religious relations one of the aims of his papacy.

How, exactly, does this work? I was brought up Catholic, and as I recall according to the Catholic faith, everybody who isn't a Catholic is going straight to one of the less pleasant parts of Hell immediately following their demise.

For some C&E Catholics, they find wiggle room there, but it's pretty clearly spelled out in Catholic Doctrine: Either you're with us, or you're going to burn for eternity. I used to argue about this endlessly. My non-Catholic friends would say, "But I still believe in Jesus" or "I believe Jesus was a prophet", and I'd say, "Not good enough, here's your ticket into the fire". No wavering, no forgiveness.

Unless there's been a huge change in dogma over the past few years, that's still the case. So how does one make reaching out to people that are destined to the fires of hell one of the primary points of your Papacy?

And of course, it has to complicate matters that the Pope isn't the only one in the room thinking "This guy's gonna burn". Jews and Muslims, not extremists but traditionalists (i.e., the leaders of their faiths) believe the same thing. The biggest common thought here is "If you don't believe like I do, no matter how you live your life, you're going to hell and endless torment". Dosen't matter what they say in press releases, that's the core of the faith, taught every weekend in church, mosque and synagouge: If you aren't a believer, you're going to hell. Just that simple.

So how does the leader of one of these faiths make gracious, accepting overtones to the leader of another? How does one say, "You're gonna burn for eternity, but I'd like to have tea this Friday"? How do you say good things about someone who is, daily, committing a sin so egregious it is tantamount to rape or murder?

I like to see these people getting along, on a political level, I just fail to see how one can stay ideologically faithfull and still sit down and have lunch with, or for that matter call for closer relationships with, someone who is a hellbound soul; a leader of a group of people that are calling others into hell before them.

To a strict Catholic, a Jew or a Muslim is no better than a Satanist. While it would make for great satire, I have a hard time seeing Benedict sitting down with the leader of the Church of Satan.

Don't understand. Maybe some good Catholic out there can explain it to me, but make sure you're a good Catholic first; someone who lives by the rules. Maybe there is a reason, beyond current events, that a Pope should be making nice to the Children of Abraham and the Children of Mohammed. I just fail to see what it is, and it seems to me like blatant, perhaps sinful dishonesty to do so.
learning from your elders
Not to sound like a cynic, but the Pope should have some ideas on violent radicals within a faith. Learning from experience, and all that...If Islam suddenly turned into the Catholic Church as we know it today, cast off its midevil violence as the Catholics have, I think most of us would be pretty pleased. Liberal protestors would have to change their signs from "Terrorists are freedom fighters" to "Abortion makes the baby Mohammed cry", but I think we can deal with that.
email from the great beyond
Every once in a while, I get an email from God. I think it's God, maybe some angel or just a dead person or something, but obviously they are a supernatural being, communicating the great secrets of life.

For example, tonite I recieved this one from "Farrell Colin" (Lim@Austraila.edu), as he is currently calling himself. It started out saying something about sperm, but he went on to give me the following message:
Inc se Yo xua ire and rm vol by 0% rea ur Se l Des Spe ume 50 SP -M e wes an e Saf y of rma UR is Th Ne t d Th est Wa Pha cy 10 Nat al and Si ect in con st to l-k n bra 0 ur No de Eff s tra wel now nds. Exp enc ee tim nge ga s eri e thr es lo r or sm Wor de ng wi n 24 rs ld Wi ppi thi hou BU W! Y NO Inc se Yo xua ire and rm vol by 0% rea ur Se l Des Spe ume 50 SP -M e wes an e Saf y of rma UR is Th Ne t d Th est Wa Pha cy 10 Nat al and Si ect in con st to l-k n bra 0 ur No de Eff s tra wel now nds. Exp enc ee tim nge ga s eri e thr es lo r or sm Wor de ng wi n 24 rs ld Wi ppi thi hou BU W! Y NO Inc se Yo xua ire and rm vol by 0% rea ur Se l Des Spe ume 50 SP -M e wes an e Saf y of rma UR is Th Ne t d Th est Wa Pha cy 10 Nat al and Si ect in con st to l-k n bra 0 ur No de Eff s tra wel now nds. Exp enc ee tim nge ga s eri e thr es lo r or sm Wor de ng wi n 24 rs ld Wi ppi thi hou BU W! Y NO Inc se Yo xua ire and rm vol by 0% rea ur Se l Des Spe ume 50 SP -M e wes an e Saf y of rma UR is Th Ne t d Th est Wa Pha cy 10 Nat al and Si ect in con st to l-k n bra 0 ur No de Eff s tra wel now nds. Exp enc ee tim nge ga s eri e thr es lo r or sm Wor de ng wi n 24 rs ld Wi ppi thi hou BU W! Y NO

Indeed. "wi n 24 rs ld Wi ppi thi hou BU W! Y NO" indeed. I'm not sure how I feel about that; it is, after all, illegal, and immoral. But that's what my friend told me to do, and I believe him, after all, he's the one who told me: "wi n 24 rs ld Wi ppi thi hou BU W! Y NO Inc se Yo xua ire and rm vol by 0% rea ur Se l Des Spe ume 50 SP -M e wes an e Saf y o."

It all makes sense now.
more simple linkage
because I don't feel like writing tonite, but I'm curious.
more "must"
Read it. I don't know all the backstory, but it's one hell of an email.
mandatory writing
Why do my nipples hurt?
more hoi
Moonoo is down, so I'm linking Steve from Hog on Ice tonight. Steve has alot of haters out there, but for some reason I enjoy it when he offends me. He's good at it. There may be some form of masochism in there. Also because I made the brownies from his cookbook today on a whim, and after much trouble finding the recipie correction and the time to do it, they are f'n fantastic. My girlfriend was actually moaning while she ate them, something I hear precious little of.

He has a post about exercise, which I should do some time, but I wanted to share this completely unrelated bit about bicycle laws:
It’s funny. I can get a ticket for not wearing a bike helmet, but I can get on my motorcycle in a bathing suit and bare feet and no helmet and ride to the courthouse to pay the fine.

Also, I didn't know Johnny Depp was a Hunter Thompson fan, but there's a good piece at Huffington's Toast about the funeral, cannon, etc.

Speaking of Johnny Depp, I think he must have signed something somewhere that says he is entitled to be in every Tim Burton film from now to forever. Him and that Helena whatserface. Which is cool by me; I've never seen a Burton film I didn't like. A lot, in fact, the first Batman and Nightmare Before Christmas are two of my all time favorite films, and everything else he's done is at least very good, if not great.

The girlfriend and I saw Willy Wonka recently; it was playing at our local Imax. The Imax is neat to see big films at, rather than documentaries, except it is too long to be sitting at that angle, and watching conversations on screen like you're at a tennis match can get to be a bit trying.

The movie, though, was great. I don't want to say that it was better than the original; it wasn't. But as an updated spin on the story, it was very good.

I had expected more creepy scenes (This is Tim Burton we're talking about), but if anything the movie was less creepy than the original. The Oompaloompas were...something like "Menacing" but not that, in the original. Creeping. In this one, they're just goofy. It isn't dark at all. I don't know if he deliberatly avoided being dark or what, but I think that it led to a few missed opportunities. Most notably, the scene where they're in the boat, a great and freaky scene in the original, is almost bypassed completely in this one.

Depp does a really good job playing a slightly differant Wonka. They mostly use that understated, converstional type of humor that I love, like Kevin Smith's movies or the Snatch and Lock, Stock etc. movies, and he's great with it.

The resemblance to the original Wonka kids is amazing. If anything, I like the ones in this one more than the originals; their parts are written and played to better effect.

Really, there wasn't alot of Burton. With one exception I can think of, the classic Burton patterns were nonexistant. The film was mostly very bright, and ended on a very positive, cheery note.

Anyway, I recommend it, and if you've avoided seeing it out of fear of what they've done to the original, don't. They're both good, and one dosen't detract from the other.

I can't wait for Corpse Bride.
School resumed on monday. This, combined with working a job full time, means that I probably won't be staying up till dawn getting shitfaced every night, which will lead to fewer posts on this blog.

My traffic's higher when I don't write often anyway.

And if anybody can explain to me exactly what a class titled "Discrete Math" will involve, it would be greatly appreciated.
Don't quit your day job
Steve H has a post up about making money from blogging. Do people actually do this? Does anybody get into the blogging biz for the cash involved? Writing a blog for ad money is dumber than joining the army for college money, which is saying alot.

Blogging is a growth industry. There's more readers, but from what I can see, the number of people picking up writing blogs is exponentially higher than people starting to read blogs every day. There's what, roughly ten gazillion bloggers out there now. Even if you take blogging as a full-time job, you are going to have to be incredibly talented and, probably, rather lucky to get anywhere with it. And even then, you'll be lucky to make a couple hundred bucks a month off it.

If I ever took this site seriously, and if I got successful with it, I'd probably put ads up. I'd expect to make enough to cover beer, which, oddly enough, is roughly the same amount of money I get from the Army to pay for college. Compared to what you'd make writing a few articles or stories a month for a local paper or magazine, it's peanuts.

Blogging is a fun place to vent, or to practice and refine writing. It's sure as hell not a career, especially these days when everybody on the planet is doing it.
I believe I mentioned that my cd's were all ganked from my car a while ago. I still haven't caught the bastards, although I have some ideas, and I'll make those fuckers eat my "Cabaret" cd in very small pieces if I ever get the chance.

In the interim, I've tried several internet music services. The free ptp ones gave me digital herpes; more bugs than I care to try to erase every day. The pay ones not only cost money, they generally suck. I now have a bunch of mp3s on my pc I can't play because I got tired of paying for the rights to them on a daily basis.

I'm trying streaming. Right now, I have Punk Radio playing. They play an awful lot of stuff I don't like, but it's better than silence, and I maintain hope that I'll find the Next Great Thing there. Too much whining.

When I get bored with that, I put on radiopower's punk 45. Classic punk, much more my style. Good stuff.

That's what a very little research has yielded; when I do find that Next Great Thing I'll be sure to share it. Until then, other suggestions are welcome.
strangest story of the year
This'll be major news for about ever (or, then again, maybe not), but this is the first I've heard of it so I wanted to share:
Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley ordered 26-year-old Skylar Deleon, who once starred in the "Power Rangers" TV series, and his wife, 24-year-old Jennifer Henderson Deleon, to stand trial for the murders after a two-day preliminary hearing in Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles...

Miles off the coast of Newport Beach, prosecutors say, Thomas and Jackie Hawks were attacked with a stun gun, handcuffed and gagged with duct tape. After signing over power of attorney to one assailant, they were tied to the boat's 66-pound anchor and thrown overboard.

I hope he isn't the Green Ranger, he was my favorite. I still have my Dragonzord.

UPDATE: Don't trust the mainstream media! It's all a pack of lies! SOMEBODY ALERT HUGH HEWITT!!!!!!!

I was tooling around to try to figure out when he was on Power Rangers and how big of a part he played (to protect the sterling reputation of Green Ranger, and because it's more interesting reading than Instapundit), but according to this bunch of dorks, who seem to, unfortunatly, know what they're talking about, this guy was never actually a Power Ranger. At best, according to them, he might have had a walk-on somewhere. I can't find him credited anywhere, so it would appear that they're right.

Score another one for the blogosphere!
tilting at windmills
A post about the hypocracy of fat, drunken, filthy rich, rapidly aging political hacks. No, I'm not talking about Limbaugh here, this one's for old Teddy.

It's an argument so old, I don't even remember when I first heard of it, but I still love reading about it: hardcore environmentalist and the original limosine lib (after his driving privliges were revoked), Ted Kennedy dosen't want to save the planet if it will fuck up the skyline from his beachfront mansion.

Goldberg scores some good points in this article, which is very much to his credit as this issue is older than the moss in Michael Moore's undies. The pros and cons have been gone over a million times, we all know what's going on here, and yet I loved this line:
let's be honest, it's not a huge sacrifice. If Teddy really thinks his fat — or, if you prefer, "phat" — crib on the beach will be ruined by the prospect of having to look at some windmills 5-13 miles offshore, he can swap pads with me.
Okay, forgive the white-boy ghetto phrasing early on. I just want to suggest that if Ted thinks looking at windmills from his palace is so horrid, he can have my place.

My apartment makes Abu Garib look like the Hilton. I've got screaming babies nextdoor at all hours of the night, a gorgeous view of the apartment building beside me (Identical to my own), air conditioners that haven't worked since the Carter adminstration and a heating system that is even worse, hallways that stink constantly of sandals and curry thanks to the fifteen Indian families that live two apartments down, and a nasty letter on my door any time I'm a few days late with my generously inflated rent.

And I consider this place a bit of a luxory. It's nice. A bit aging, but clean, decent neighborhood, fairly well maintained, etcetera. Beats the hell out of everyplace else I've lived in my adult life, that's for sure. But hey, if Ted is so annoyed by the windmills he can barely see on a clear day from his ocanfront veranda, then he's more than welcome to come here.

Sacrifices of the wealthy, and all that. Just watch out for the guy in 13, he's a bit hinky and he dosen't like rich white people.
fiscal conservative/foreign policy hawk/social liberal
Prepare the trumpets, I'm about to make a grandiose statement:

I want a new Republican party.

It's odd, there seems to be an awful lot of people that fit the description in the title of this post. They don't take it too far, but they are generally, and I mean generally: fiscally conservative, hawkish on foreign policy, and socially liberal. I've never liked the term "South Park Republican", I don't know where it came from, but it seems to fit the bill.

But so far, there have been zero politicians that have tried to cater to this group. Basically, its a socially liberal Republican. But all the "Liberal Republicans" out there are liberal on the wrong issues. I've refrained from joining the RINO webring because, where I come from, it reflects a politican who is either liberal on issues he shouldn't be, or is talking liberal to get media face-time.

Coniser the biggest RINO's: John Mccain. He led the campaign finance reform bill, certainly not a fiscal conservative. Rudy Guliani: anti-gun, off the top of my head, and a bunch of other stuff. Arlen Specter: I'm not sure why he still calls himself a Republican. He's the right's Zell Miller, only boring. He hasn't agreed with anything any Republican has said for years.

Why is it so hard to find a politician that fits? There's certainly enough people out there, why no national face for them. Essentially, what I'm asking for is a common sense, secluar, modern Republican party.

Such as:

-Thinks tax cuts are a good idea, but dosen't want to cut all welfare programs. Encourages welfare-to-work programs and stuff to help people who actually need it, but wants to cut the ties on a life-by-welfare plan.

-Cautiously pro-war. In a general sense, someone who dosen't want to go to war, but isn't afraid to if the need arises. In a particular sense, Able to criticize the war when fuckups are made, but supports the principle and, mostly, the execution of it.

-Generally approving of gay marriage, or civil unions.

-Strongly against censorship, of either the Politically correct variety or the "For the children" variety.

-Pro-gun for the general populace, but very hard on people that shouldn't have them.

-Very hard on most criminals, with the possible (emphasis possible) exception of minor drug convictions.

-Tough on border security. Not to the point of completely sealing the borders, but making sure that we know who and what comes across them. This alone will win you every southern state in the Union.

What else? I'm sure there's more. Basically, I suppose what I'm looking at is a blend of the Republican and Libertarian parties, with even a little Democrat thrown into the mix. The libertarians have some good ideas, but they often take them to the point of kookiness. The Democrats have very few good ideas, but their arguments against extremism make sense. Sortof a Libertarian Lite, I suppose.

Really, what I'm asking for is a generally right-leaning politician who is grounded in common sense with knowledge of how life is in this here Modern USA. I don't want a party focused by religion or ideology, or overt hawkishness or dedication to business, or longing to return to a 1950's society that never really existed and certainly never will.

Common sense. Respect for people, no matter who they are. Reality, not hopeful (or hopeless) guesstimates. Is that so much to ask? I suppose so, as there isn't anybody out there representing those qualities.

Christ, who am I kidding, he'd get crushed in the primaries.
A question occured to me while writing the previous post, but I didn't want to interject out of context: who is harder on the "Moderate" wing of their party? Or, who has a greater tolerance for dissention amongst the ranks of their base? I don't really mean among the party hacks and politicos and talking heads; for them, any misstep is equal to treason. I mean, among people, and around the blogosphere?

I've seen alot of leftie bloggers castigated by the primary powers for getting out of line on a single issue. And I've seen alot of rightie bloggers make that same step, but the reaction seems...less angry? Maybe it's just the media I focus my attention on, but it seems that the leftosphere has no room for, say, a pro-life democrat, or someone who supports the war but agrees on all other points. Whereas among the rightie blogs, there is constant debate on the "South Park Conservative" vs. Traditional conservatives. That debate has gone around a hundred times, and is sure to come around again, but the fact that many of the major players on both sides of the argument are still popular bloggers among conservative readers speaks to...what? Tolerance? Laziness?

Ace is far from a traditional conservative. He dosen't talk about it much, but he is cautiously pro-choice. Goldstien and INDCent Bill both disagree with the party line on occasion, but I can think of only one instance of PW being seriously castigated for it, the infamous hundred percenter debacle, and the guy calling for fire and brimstone was pretty roundly criticised for it. All three of them, among other similar bloggers, are at the top of the charts.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see alot of that on the left. Again, maybe I'm just not paying enough attention to the leftosphere, but it seems every time a lefty blogger steps out of line he gets smacked, hard, by the big bloggers and majority of readers.

Am I off on this?

This guy's getting alot of linkage because he declared himself a sudden Republican today. I wasn't going to link it; epiphanies, for some reason, tend to bore me. There isn't usually much to say.

But he's pretty good, contrary to my expectations. I've been trying to put into words my exact feeling on the "Kids" thing for days now, with little luck. I just rattle on. From Scott:
Guess what folks….they signed up to join the Army, not the boy scouts. Anytime your orientation to a new job involves an automatic weapon, you should be smart enough to figure out there’s danger involved

That isn't exactly what I've been trying to say, but its close, and its a clever way to put it.

Then, in the following post, he goes on to say that he isn't really a Republican true believer; he's just mostly so annoyed with the left that the right looks good by comparison. Join the camp, brother, there's alot of us here, and we can always use the company. Not a whole lot of people agree with either party 100% of the time, those that do are generally called "Ideolouges", and they annoy me also.

Really, I find it hard to believe this guy was ever a voting democrat. He makes too much sense to me. Look at this:
Was the war in Iraq waged under dubious pretense - possible. There were no WMD’s..as far as we know.
Did we unseat an evil dictator that was a threat to the US and the scourge of his own people - yes.
Has Bush and his administration dropped the ball a few times - it appears so.
Does the same administration believe that what we are doing is good for the U.S. , as well as the rest of the world? - definately.
Or this:
I think it’s just my personality that lead me to this decision. I think the left is too concerned with everyone’s immediate rights and needs, and refuses to sacrifice a bit of comfort and happiness in the present, for something that will make life better for everyone in the future..
I could've written those exact same statements, and I consider myself a pretty solid rightie.

Anyway, good work on a well written, thoughtful and fair post, and good luck to the author on his newfound republicanism; a lot of people with (R) after their name will probably still irritate him, but that's part of the deal.
the harsh reality of the American dream
Editorial rewrite of this thoughtful column. Curtosey Ace's place.

Just beyond a stretch of grass where people lay with books and lovers, blah.

It turned out to be four men outside a cafe, blah blah blah.

The Starbucks logo of the cafe struck me as a little old-fashioned until someone mentioned that this was the first Starbucks ever opened anywhere in the world. That isn't really relevant to the column, just throught it was interesting.

I had come to Seattle because of a recent survey by the Centre for Economic Performance in London, on how easy or difficult it was to get rich in different parts of the world - or if not rich, at least move out of poverty.

"If you are born into poverty in the US," said one of its authors, "you are actually more likely to remain in poverty than in other countries in Europe, the Nordic countries, even Canada, which you would think would not be that different." This study shocked even me, as it flew in the face of all the facts regarding unemployment and creation of wealth. But surely, who knows more about life in America than the Centre for Economic Performance in London? I know that I, for one, am convinced.


The study, together with general anti-American sentiment which has become more prevalent since the Iraq war, raised for me a question about the American dream. Armed with this factoid, I ventured forth in to the hamburger joints and Wal-Marts of our inbred cousins across the pond.

I had chosen Seattle not only because Starbucks was created there, but also because Microsoft and Amazon Books and Boeing airliners all come from this small city. Dreams, if you want, which began small but are now global brands. And because they are probably one of the most European of American cities, so I wouldn't feel too uncomfortable, like I would, in, say, Texas. And because the pot is cheap here, and the girls are easy.

I wandered into the poorest section of town, looking for success stories. Surely, if the American Dream were to be found, it wouldn't be in suburbia, land of small business owners and up-by-your-bootstraps self-motivators. Instead, I focused, laser-like, on the people who, surely through no fault of their own, just couldn't make it.

"Great day, isn't it?" I turned to see the lined, and drawn face of a man I will call Dave. He was wearing a Che Guerva shirt and smelled of Patchouli; as American as Apple pie.

"Are you getting what you want?"

We had met a couple of days earlier when he was having breakfast at a charity for the broke and homeless, where he was protesting with some Communist party friends for higher wages for the homeless and unemployed. I had asked him if he believed in the American dream.

"The American dream," Dave said, eating a muffin and wiping his lips with a paper napkin.

"Well, it comes and goes. It will come again. As soon as we get rid of the Fascist right wing, and my communist brothers can begin creating Utopia."

Winners and losers

In a low-ceilinged eating hall, maybe 100 men sat side by side along trestle tables.

They had queued up since five, registered in case there was any work, then ate while security guards watched over them in case there was trouble. I don't know what trouble they expected from a bunch of drunk, drug addled, possibly insane homeless people, but I could feel the weight of their gun-toting eyes on my back as I waded into the smelly throng.

In Europe or just across the border in Cuba, they would get social security, but this was America, where society is starkly divided into winners and losers.

Strangely, though, there seemed to be little resentment or blame of government. This may seem a strange concept to educated Europeans, but American culture is about self-reliance and the individual fighting a way through. Weird, huh?

"The American dream," said one of the men, his eyes dartingly alive, his nose so skewed it must have been broken many times in different fights, a testament to his character.

"I guess you are talking about a home, wife, children and all that."

"Do you have it?" I said.

"No. No. I don't. I had my opportunities, but I lost." I wanted to ask him just how he lost those opportunities, but couldn't stand the smell of Thunderbird wine any longer, and moved on.


I ran across some construction workers, good blue-collar American types, and explained to them that I work for the BBC and asked them what they thought of their potential for reaching the American Dream. They called me a "Liberal Homo" and "Commie" and suggested I get myself back to Edinburgh, even though I'm obviously Welsh. They then gave me a sound beating.


Just up the road in a small print shop, a fit, thoughtful former air force officer, Bobby Ray Forbes, was slotting calendars into envelopes.

In America, I felt a sentiment that the more say the government has over you, the more you carry a sense of failure. I considered the possiblility that this was obviously, blatently, patently true for a while, but didn't get far with that line of thought.

His life collapsed when his marriage went wrong. He had ended up on the street, but recently had managed to get a job and keep it.

"Oh sure, I have had the house, picket fence, two cars," he said.

"But I put myself in a position where the government could take control. Right now I am happy just being back in control. You see, what a lot of people do not know is that the key is not getting the American dream. It is holding onto it."

In Europe, the government is entwined with a lot of what we do, yet in America, I felt a sentiment that the more say the government has over you, the more you carry a sense of failure. My USAF friend let the government into his domestic life, and became a failure for it. This certainly couldn't mean that...no, no, nevermind.

Flag waving

At the landscaped Seattle centre, using cards and newspapers to shield themselves from the sun, rows and rows of immigrants at a naturalisation ceremony listened to local officials speak about various aspects of the American dream.

They came from everywhere: Britain, France, Iran, Iraq - the name of every country read out, to cheers, as if we were at the Oscars and, of course, the waving of American flags. I had to retreat to the lavatory to vomit, and when I returned it was thankfully over.

"Why do you want to live here and not in Europe?" I asked a young woman from Ethiopia, who tipped back her Seattle Mariners baseball cap and looked at me as if I were completely mad.

"Europe," she said disdainfully.

"What do they ever hope for in Europe? There they have laws prohibiting unhappiness. Here they have a law that you can dream to be happy. Now get out of my way, you dope-stinking hippy, before I give you another black eye. I plan to make that dream into a reality, and I have work to do."
five quirks
A meme, via Ilyka. List five idiosyncrocies:

1. I can't spell "Idiosyncrzisnaiceas". Does that count?

2. I don't like people touching me. I'm very big on the personal bubble thing, in all circumstances. A little while ago, the clerk at my hardware store touched my hand while giving me my change. Drove me nuts. She flashed me a cute smile and let her hand linger, and I almost freaked out right there.

3. I carry a weapon everywhere I go. Everywhere, and the bigger the weapon, the better. If I don't have something I can kill somebody with in my pocket, I'll tweak like I'm on a five-day crack bender. Last Tuesday, I went to my local package store to pick up a 30 of delicious Pabst, and on the way out a homeless guy tapped my shoulder looking for change. I had just run out for my "Nectar in a can", and didn't bring anything sharp or that fires a bullet, so I had to kill him with a Kennedy Half-Dollar I had gotten in change. What a fucking mess that was.

4. When I bury a body, it has to be just so. The depth of the hole, the position of the corpse, even the brand of shovels I use. There's a special brand made just for gravediggers that is perfect, but that cute teenage hardware-store clerk gave me a funny look when I bought five of them (never know when you might need one!). I think she understood, though; after all, would she want me shoveling dirt onto her naked, mutilated corpse with an inferior shovel? Of course not! I'm sure she's thanking me for my refined tastes right now. Or she would be, if I hadn't cut out her tongue first.

5. Janeane Garofalo kindof turns me on. Not a lot, just, you know, a little bit.
che is just a pretty face
I'm going to do this some time. Me, in all my German-bred glory, asking where the Nazi merchanise is; if they sell Che stuff, there must be a Hitler section around here somewhere. Somehow, I don't think that will go over so well.

I don't know how often Val's wife frequents head shops, but stuff like that is regular fare in the peace-driven market sector.

Sometime, I'm going to do a blog post on explorations into Pittsburgh's Southside. Our Carson Street is the blue-collar equivilent of Haight-Ashbury street. Lots of fun, lots of material there.

Unfortunatly for me, places like that sell a lot of stuff I like. Clothes and records, with all their attendant crap, are big ones. Artsy stuff and decorations are another. I'm kindof an artsy type, but once you walk into an artsy store, you are immediately confronted with all variations of far-lib propaganda. I just ignore it, but actually carrying a Che card to the counter and demanding an explination carries a certian appeal.

I'd probably just get my skinny ass stomped for my trouble. Those peacenicks, they can be unusually hostile to opposing debate.

But yes, there's alot of Che crap in every head shop, art shop, alternative clothing or record shop, even in some seemingly innocuous general purpose shops. I don't expect the clerk there to know what they are selling. From experience, a vast majority of people on both sides have no idea who he actually is or what he did. He's an icon, for whatever reason. Everything else gets swept under, and they won't listen to any other view.
more on those kids
I just wrote about his recently, rather inelegantly unfortunatly. But the constant use of "Kids" and "Children" reffering to Soldiers really, really bugs me.

Phil Hendrie, who I have heard of somewhere before outside the blogosphere but I can't remember where, and who has a blog with the unfortunate title "George Bush is God", has a post about it:
To call the men and women who serve in our armed forces "kids" is typical of the Poseur Left. They know that by tossing this little emotional hand grenade into the discussion any hope there might be for a debate on fact, as opposed to hysterical rumor, flies right out the window. Who can not, at a moment like that, bow their head, and ponder ever so deeply, the meaning of children dying in a war.

Calling the adult members of the best trained and best equipped military in the history of the world, "kids" is an obscene insult.

And it's intended as one.

It implies that they are unable to decide for themselves their choice of career and unable to understand the very mission they're on.

Good answer. It goes on from there, but I like that bit.
blogger hearts me
For some reason, my traffic went through the roof today. So, like any good little monkey, I tried to figure out who linked me. Dug through sitemeter, TTLB, and even bravenet, looking for who gave me this sudden flood of visitors. It had been so long since I logged into bravenet, they didn't even recognize me, I had to do an email verification to prove that, indeed, nobody else cares what my site stats look like.

Turns out, as far as I can tell, for the past twenty four hours everybody that clicked that random surf button at the top of a blogspot page landed on this POS. I don't know why. All of a sudden, I'm getting about twenty times what I usually get from those links. Of course, none of those people care what is on this blog, they read the first few lines and surf to the next blog. I've done it myself. So, as we used to say on weekend drill, I have a flood of paper people: They're on my roster, but aren't really participating. Which, hey, there's worse things in life; it works for the Army, then it works for me.
your kid
I'm hoping I'll have time to work on this later, but...

There's another thing that is a spinoff of Cindy Sheehan's protests that annoys me, and it's pervasive.

I hate that the people killed there or serving there are constantly reffered to as "Children", or "Kids".

Yeah, they're somebody's kids. Strom Thrurmond was somebody's kid. I recognize that, at eighteen, they have not realized their full potential as an adult. They are still teenagers, and may be subject to the whims of adolescence. As many people are at 18, or 20, or, sometimes, 25 or 30.

But they are not children. They are well beyond the period where they need their parents to make every decision for them. They do not need to be coddled.

In many ways, they are more adults than many people older than them. They completed basic training. They showed up for deployment. They went out on the run that got them killed, because, for whatever reason, they decided to.

Reffering to them as "Kids" or "Children" is, in my mind, a disgrace. Saying they were "Sent" there, as lambs led to the slaughter, as preschollers are herded into the nap room, is absolutely wrong. It dimishes the sacrifice those people made.

They may be someone's "Children", but they are not Kids. Reffering to them in the diminutive is a ridiculous insult. They are not to be pitied as fools doing what they were told to do because they didn't know better. They are trained, intelligent adults, making the decisions they feel best, and they should be respected as such.
I was just going to put this in the comments, but I probably shouldn't clutter them up, so it's going to get a post here instead.

The original post is about cockroaches, and, more importantly, killing them. I firmly believe that the only things to survive a massive nuclear war will be twinkies and cockroaches. My dad says they can live for a month off the sweat in your underwear drawer, which isn't a particularly appetising description, but it is an accurate one.

I can't describe how disgusted I am by cockroaches. I'm a firm believer that there is "Dirt bugs" and there's "Earth bugs". If you get a few earth bugs every once in a while, it happens. They're god's creatures, and all that. But dirt bugs survive on all the gross stuff humanity produces (garbage, poop, Michael Moore), and have an appearance and habits according to their natures.

I think the most disgusting thing on the planet has to be the hissing cockroaches, which I have fortunately only seen at the zoo. If there's anything more repulsive than a giant bug that screams at you as you step on it, I don't want to know what it is.

I used to live in an apartment that was known by me and my 15 roommates, affectionaly and accurately, as "The crackhouse". We had what you might call a cockroach problem. The fact that there was bunny shit all over the floor didn't help (different story), but generally, we kept up after ourselves and the bunny.

Dishes didn't sit in the sink for more than, oh, two or three weeks. We used borax, which the roaches laughed at and ate for dessert. Everything edible went into the fridge, which we figured was mostly safe. That included dry flour and our cigarettes. Fortunately, we didn't eat at home much, because literally everything that could be possible food for the fuckers had to fit into our fridge, along with the beer.

This is nasty: one of their primary entry points into our apartment was through a hole behind a broken tile at the far end of the bathtub. This meant that, every once in a while, you'd be taking a shower, the water backing up a few inches in the bottom of the tub, and all of a sudden a giant cockroach appears out of nowhere and does a slide down your bathtub like he's at a fucking waterpark and is swimming around in the water, trying to grab onto something not porcelain, like, say, your feet.

Needless to say, I usually jumped out of the shower at that point. I actually showered with a girl in there once, but somehow the constant checking to see if we had a six legged friend grabbing at our feet somehow spoiled the romance.

As I said, they laughed at boric acid, which we had a very attractive two inch line of along the entire edge of the apartment. They understood traps as nothing more than "Traps", and avoided them as such.

But see, we could've kept our apartment so clean that Martha Stewart would have been proud to eat fondue from our toilet. It didn't matter. Our downstairs neighbors were, to put it gently, at the low end of the white trash scale. It was a guy and a girl, the girl worked at a local adult book store, I don't know what the guy did except kick the crap out of the girl so often that the cops knew all the neighbors by name, they had seen us so many times.

They had a cat, and, if you were standing on the landing outside of their apartment, the smell of the litterbox was so overpowering some people actually vomited from it. I don't think they ever cleaned the fucking thing. I don't even want to know what the rest of their apartment looked like.

So, we'd find a temp home for the rabbit and bug-bomb every room in the house about once a month, and the roaches would take a nice little vacation in the shithole downstairs. A few days later, we'd have roaches swimming in our shower again.

On the average, I'd kill one per night. I tried to train the rabbit to hunt them. He was free-range around the apartment and didn't do much of anything useful, and he was bigger than them, so I figured he ought to earn his keep. Either that, or we could build a little chariot for him and the roaches could pull him around in it, which I thought would make for a neat trick.

No shit, I used to have nightmares in which the roaches crawled into my bed at night. Hundreds of them, crawling all over my body, biting my skin, all through the blankets, pointy legs in my eyes, streaming into my mouth, getting crushed by my teeth and seeping cockroach-goop onto my tongue, crawling live into my ears, nose and throat. Scurrying over every inch of my skin, climbing around inside my head, lungs and stomach.

I think, at one point, there was a King Cockroach, a man-sized bug. He didn't talk much, he just sat in the corner, where the roof had caved in, glaring at me ominously and directing his millions of subjugates to do whatever would gross me out the most. Of course, they didn't care about their own safety, there were millions more; I could kill them as long as I liked, and there would still be more, crawling across the floor from the darkness, up the bedposts, and onto my skin.

The solution? I moved. Then I got deployed, and eventually wound up in an apartment complex that would be appalled by the sighting of a cockroach, because the owners are big enough that a resident could write a letter to the local paper and do them serious harm. God bless the American suburbs; half the people that live around here only know of cockroaches from news stories, like coyotes or gangbangers. Something that only happens to someone else, and usually someone not as high on the social scale.
so wrong
Didn't see this one in theaters, but I just finished it for the second time on dvd. Not really what I had expected, which is both good and bad.

I had expected yet another movie shooting for the title of goriest movie of all time. This one was surprisingly tame, by that standard; I had expected close-ups of people getting limbs hacked off and such, but they generally cut away from stuff like that. Low budget, perhaps.

Instead, this shot for a tension-type horror flick. It started out with what could be a great premise. The confinement theme has been done, but not overdone, I don't think. It requires fantastic scripting and acting to make it work; there's no distractions in that type of film. No fancy effects or tricks, just pure story and acting.

And that's where this one falls short. I give them an A for effort, but the final effect isn't so great. The acting by the supporting cast (including Danny Glover, as well as a wife and kid, and a crazy villian) was fantastic. Unfortunatly, none of that matters. The entire movie revolves around the two guys in the room. And that's where the movie falls apart, at the crux of the theme: Neither of the guys playing those parts were up for the task presented to them, and they weren't helped by whoever wrote their script. They didn't do a bad job, per se, but a rather mediocre one; and since the whole movie revolves around those scenes, it creates a rather mediocre movie.

I liked it, I enjoyed it to a certain extent, but I never got really into it. In a really good movie, the audience should forget they're watching a movie. In this one, the scripting and acting flaws never let me forget that I was watching a movie.

Overall, not bad, not good. A C+ effort, ranking the "+" only for original concept rather than execution.
link to
Fred Schoenman (whose name I may have just misspelled), on general principle. The motto on his blog is "Give War A Chance", and he regularly posts polls consisting of a photograph and the single question: "Would you hit it?"

Gotta respect that. Also, he's a real milblogger, and a talented one, unlike this asshole you're currently reading, who is constantly getting bitched at for not being military enough, whatever the fuck that's suppossed to mean. I didn't get it while I was in, and I don't get it now, but this guy does it pretty well.
open question
Inspired by the reactions at this post.

Let's play the opposites game. I do this alot while figuring politial questions: What would I say if the situation were reversed.

Consider these scenarios: Sheehan is camping out at "Bush's Ranch of Make-believe" in support of the war. Or she has taken up residence on Howard Dean's front lawn, calling him worse names than even Sean Hannity has dared.

Obviously, her political allies would be the same. But how far would her allies be willing to go to defend her? And how far would her enemies be willing to go to defame her?

How similar would the reaction of the right be to that of the left, and vice versa? Both the moderate poles, and extreme poles? To me, there lies several interesting answers there.
how to win a debate on the internets
This, my friends, is genius. Genius, I tell you.
bodybuilders are hot
Don't get it. A poll for the ladies: while you're sitting around the house, watching soaps and scarfing Ben and Jerry's, fantisizing about the man of your dreams, does he look like this:

Okay, congrats to him. Really, he has a compelling story: first officially recognized Mr. Afganistan. So good for him.

But still, I don't get it. Is that the height of the male form? I'm asking the women here, because I don't terribly give a shit what the men think. (Side note: gyms are big-time hangouts for gay guys. I don't know why that shocks so many straight men. It's true: that guy watching you in the mirror isn't just impressed with your squat weight.)

And granted, waking up next to that guy is certainly better than this guy:

I don't know. I don't get it. Bodybuilders of both genders just gross me out. But, to me, it makes sense for a hardcore female bodybuilder to less generally appealing; men prefer curves and, not to be read into too deeply, a bit of softness in a woman. (This is, of course, all massive generlization.) Men are suppossed to be strong and hard, and that guy certainly epitomizes strength. I'm sure he could bench press my Toyota if he felt the desire.

Maybe it is, as with many things, about that happy middle ground. Everybody prefers varying degrees of a certain quality in a mate; be it physical strength, emotional dependance, mental prowess, whatever. But the vast majority are turned off by extremes: Extremely physically refined or extremelly unrefined, completely emotionally dependant or completely cold.

That is, of course, assuming that every chick reading this blog isn't saying to herself, "I reached for my vibrator the moment I saw that picture." I think he's goofy looking, but then, I'm not attracted to men. So for those in the audience that are, what's the verdict?

Christ, I'm turing this blog into "Hot or Not?". Nevermind, don't bother responding, I'm going to go kill myself now.
more parkour
I'm actually embrassed that this is primarily a French thing. Not that I'm going to get out of my comfy chair and try it myself, mind you. All those dorkwads that are trying to emulate the pro wrestlers and slapping each other upside the faces with folding chairs and stuff should give this a shot.

I wish (again, if they weren't French; the accent would fuck it up) that they could get one of these guys to play Batman or, even better, Spiderman in a movie. Maybe it's just me, but I watch that stuff and say to myself, "That guy should be wearing tights and kicking the shit out of some evildoer's henchmen, while throwing off cheesy one-liners." The poses are even right. The guy looks like pictures out of a Spidey comic.
ring the wine glass
Sadie is returned from her trip to Vegas, with a husband in tow.

Congratulations to her, and sorry about that nasty post. I'm sure she didn't have a threesome with the Elvis impersonater on her wedding night. I mean, as sure as I can be, since I wasn't actually there. Also, I apologize about speaking ill of her Irish hubby, I'm sure he's a very nice guy that would probably kick my ass if I said that stuff to his face. Deservingly.

Seriously, congrats and well wishes. I'd buy a present if I could; a tip of the beer can will have to suffice. To a happy day, and many more to come.
a message to cindy sheehan, from Iraq the Model
Stuff like this kills me.

Maybe I'm just an emotional type. I don't know.

I worked for a while at a police station in the sector of Baghdad formerly known as "Saddam City", now called "Sadr City", after a cleric who was persona non grata under the Saddam regime.

From the roof of that police station, you could see this huge apartment complex. It looked like the type of thing built in America during the 70's, a set of gigantic, identical, ugly buildings, like the buildings my current apartment is in. The only differance was that it had a wall, concertina wire, and gunposts; the area around the buildings looked more suited to a fortress than an apartment complex. But I always assumed that was post-war, lots of places had concertina wire around them. But the buildings still struck me as out of place; I have pictures of it somewhere.

So one day, I was standing on the roof of that police station, and I asked my translator (a very good guy; an english major at Baghdad U named Quasay, of all things) what exactly those buildings are.

He told me: The Fedayeen Saddam and secret police used to take people there. Once inside those walls, you didn't come back out. Everybody knows somebody that had been taken there.

That's a short version, and one of several stories I have about that place. But that moment was a dawning realization, a dawning horror for me: those buildings could house hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Taken from the street, from their homes. No reason, just taken. Read Mohammed's post, and think about those buildings.
because the internets are so wide open
Steve got burned on a personal post. Read that link before this post; he lays out a situation completely differant than mine with the exact same results. I don't really do personal posts as much anymore. Someday, I'll get pissed off enough to do one again, but it's caused me considerably more headeache than it's worth.

It's understood that these here internets are an open medium. What will surprise you is where they'll turn up, and how what you'll say in a moment of indescretion will come back to bite you in the ass later on. Sometimes much later on.

I avoid stuff related to my life, except in the most general terms, from experience. If I write something negative about a fellow student, it's going to burn me later on. Almost guaranteed, even if nobody within ten degrees of that person knows about this page.

A big part of it is the way I write...anyone who reads my stuff knows I don't write for halfway. If I'm going for criticism, it's full bore, especially when there's an emotional component to it. Anything less bores me and isn't worth writing. That sounds like a bullshit excuse, and maybe it is; it's not really me, my personality, but it is very much my writing.

I've pissed off family members whom I generally have no problem with; my family has its incompatabilities, which are intensified in stressful situations, but it's never intended as a general condemnation.

Most famously, I spent a very long post on someone I used to work for, who didn't deserve all of it. Some of it? Yes, I think so. I think that there was some seriously bad decisions made along the way there. Problem is, I don't really know who made those decisions. One of the biggest things that used to drive me crazy there was the lack of straight answers, the obfuscation of the real problem. I don't work for them anymore, but I still don't know who made what decision and why. I do know that I was well within company standards, and have the paperwork to prove it if I cared to try.

But the manager that I focused on at the time didn't deserve everything I fired at her. I used to say, when I worked there, that I had seen bad managers in that place, and she was far above them. There was a rumor going around for a while that her boss was going to get rid of her, and I was one of the most adamant protestors. I stand by that; she, flaws included, did a very solid job there; anybody else they got was guaranteed to be worse. Potentially much worse. I consistently defended her against many accusations; even, occasionally, where I thought she was wrong. Because I thought she was a good person and a good manager who shouldn't be tripped over stupid trivial bullshit.

Sucks for me that the same bullshit I defended her against is what led to my eventual departure, at her hands. I don't understand or agree with some of the decisions she made; but I also don't know what exactly was driving those decisions at the time. That, as I said, is what used to piss me off to no end: I didn't know who was saying what and why; I didn't know who was making what decision or what their motivations were. Part of that is company politics, but part of it, I think, is very bad business.

Anyway, I know some of those folks still read this stupid moronpage, so I offer a partial apology. I shouldn't have said many of the things I did, I was incredibly harsh, and I wasn't a model employee. I don't think I warranted the treatment I got in many instances, and I remain unapologetic about them. But I am genuinely sorry for a several of the accusations I leveled here. It was irresponsible on my part.

New disclaimer: What you read here is a personal rantpage. It is often written when the author is under the weight of at least a baker's dozen of PBR. If you are personally offended, write me and tell me so, so I can explain my thoughts. If you don't have the energy to do that, then my opinion obviously isn't bothering you that bad, so get bent already.

It's a simple philosophy, and one I've used both personally and professionally: Tell me what's wrong, or get lost.
visions of starship troopers.
I gotta get me one of these.

Ace also has some links up about politics and shit, that you should probably check out. I just skimmed 'em to get the important stuff, like pvc flamethrowers.
the best thing to come out of france since port salut
Actually, I think this is pretty fuckin' cool. Crazy? Sure. But hard as hell. Reminds me of some of the shit Army guys pull. Be sure to check out the video linked at the end.
needs work

The shuttle is a hooptie. I actually had the idea for that incredibly bad p-shop before I read that post, but it fits too well to pass up. I just wish I could find cinder blocks to put under it. Also at that link is a helpful description of every car I've ever owned.

The shuttle we're sending into space today is running on technology that would embrass your Atari 2600. The thing is an antique. We're sending people into the most hostile environment imaginable in a piece of machinery older than what most of us drive to the grocery store.

Personally, I have no problem giving any funding necessary to the space program. For me, the mountain-climbing explination of "Just because it's there" is good enough. But beyond that, research funded by the space program has resulted in many, many uses in the civilian sector. Scientific applications and materials developed by the space program are used daily in many items.

The number of problems with this flight is ridiculous. One news story described the ceramic plates covering the shuttle for the heat on re-entry as "very delicate". What? They can, apparently, be cracked by a piece of foam coming off the gas tank launcher.

Why can't we solve this problem? Here's an idea: coat the entire shuttle in Kevlar. It'll burn off in re-entry, but until then it will protect the delicate re-entry plates from extraterrestrial foam, for chrissakes.

I try not to offer my opinion on stuff that is way beyond my comprehension, and I am certainly no aerospace phycisist. But it is obvious, by any measure, that it's time to update the shuttle. Astronauts should not be spending their time checking the caulking between the tiles that will seperate them from ten gazillion degree tempratures while they fall through the Earth's atmosphere.

This is America. We spend a billion dollars a day on Cheetos. I think we can afford to build a space shuttle that I wouldn't be embrassed to drive to my local Wal-Mart.
not f'n acceptable
I am generally a supporter of the Minutemen project. I don't know a whole lot about it; I live in Pennsylvania, which, not counting Philadelphia, has a total Hispanic population of about 15. This state dosen't exactly have a huge illegal immigration problem (unless you count the West Virginians that keep sneaking up here).

But I do know that our border security is, largely, a joke. No shock there; as I've pointed out, Americans seem to love the appearance of security, they like knowing that somebody out there is working on it, but they don't much care for the actual imposition of real security or spending money to actually do something about it. Until a spectacular failure of the security system occurs, of course, then it's all anger and recrimination.

Anyway, a bunch of private citizens getting together to help out with patrolling parts of the border, if it's done in the proper manner, seems like a good idea to me. It wouldn't be, if it wasn't so obviously needed, but as things stand if people are willing to volunteer for the effort to improve the security of the nation's borders, good for them.

A big part of the reason I like the project is that the representatives I've heard, on news and talk radio, seem like pretty reasonable, sensible people. From my understanding, they sometimes carry guns, but only for defensive purposes, and possibly intimidation. There hasn't been a single incident of brutality or violence. They don't have anything against hispanics in general, and have no problem with proper immingration. The problem comes in massive amounts of people of unknown origin or motivation sliding in, with drugs or weapons or whatever. Stopping that is a noble goal, and it is one that our government isn't doing enough to accomplish. It isn't extremist to want to slow or stop people that are great big unknowns from coming into the country illegally in massive numbers.

But only in that format. This, on the other hand, is absolutly, unequivocably unnacceptable:

See that Confederate Flag? Trashy, not acceptable. But not half as bad as the one next to it:

Us right-wingers keep getting all pissed off when the nutjobs at DU call us "Nazis" or "Fascists". And rightly so: nothing I say bears any resembelance to Nazism. For that matter, nothing Sean Hannity, considerably to the right of me, says bears any resemblance to it.

But this is ridiculous. I don't care if they just suddenly showed up with those stupid flags, they should've been kicked the hell out. The only excuse I can think of is that this is somehow a less-than-honest story, as it comes mostly from indymedia, not exactly the world's most trustworthy news source. But if it is true, as it appears to be, there is no excuse for it.

The people driving that project need to put a lock on shit like that, and weed them out of their organization. It dosen't really surprise me that they'd try to get in, but all they will do is corrupt a good cause. That kind of thinking is damaging to and has no place in any responsible organization.

Links via Lab Kat, via Army of Mom.
how to be sexy wearing a full body condom
Swimsuits for strict Muslim women.

The thing I find funny about those pictures is that the poses are mostly the same ones you'd find in a Victoria's Secret catalouge. They're covered head to toe, but they're pretty women striking poses that, if not explicitly sexual, are certainly intended to make the wearer attractive.

Dosen't that defeat the purpose? We aren't suppossed to see these people as attractive; from my understanding, we aren't suppossed to see them at all. The swimsuits should be displayed on a hanger, or a mannekin, or maybe a beefy woman standing straight up, like for a mug shot.

Every once in a while, we'd drive past an exercise field in Iraq. Women in a fundamentalist Muslim society are, of course, suppossed to stay covered head to toe when in public no matter what they're doing. Some, when they aren't busy mowing the lawn or being beaten by their husbands, like to get some exercise. So they'd go down to the local running track and do a few laps. With every square inch of their body draped in several layers of black fabric. In case you don't know, it is very hot in Iraq. I think maybe it was an attempt at suicide.

But you have to admire that dedication. I can't get my lazy ass off the couch long enough to go to the air-conditioned weight room in my apartment complex.
So, I've been a bit out of the loop. But Sadie is heading to Vegas, and she's getting married soon?

Soooooo, is Sadie eloping? Is Elvis, or perhaps Vincent Vega performing the rites?

Because, if so, I have a whole new respect for her. Nevermind her crushing my dreams of a beautiful 1000 mile internet romance. Really, I think a shotgun wedding performed by a guy who may have looked a bit like Elvis twenty years ago is just what she needs.

And, of course, she's marrying one of those damnded ferigners. Bastards come to this country, take all the hot chicks with their brouge and IRA toned muscles, and leave us USA bred dorks in the dust. Kill anyone with an accent, is what I say.

Anyway, good luck to Sadie, St. Patrick, and the Elvis impersonater. I hope they all live long, happy lives, and that the ensuing threesome dosen't fuck up their marriage.

(More serious wishes when Sadie actually does get married. Or, again, maybe not. Depends which seems funnier at the moment.)

I also want to point out that while everybody else is on vacation and calling in the pinch hitters, I have yet to be asked to guest blog anywhere. Just because I write once a week and never write about anything relevant to anybody, I'm being discriminated against. Blogism! Help, help, I'm being repressed!
Christina from Feisy Repartee signed off today. Personally, I'm hoping this will be a temporary reprieve, which all bloggers need to take every once in a while, and not a permanent loss.

Christina is one of a select group of bloggers I read for talent, for writing power, more than for subject matter. To be brutally honest, I don't initially care about alot of the stuff she writes about. But I read her regularly because she has the ability to make that stuff interesting, relevant, and worthwhile.

She's a blogger with actual writing ability, which can be a precious commodity in this stupid hobby.

If she does actually quit blogging, I expect to see a book out with her name on it in the near future. I'll accept her quitting this as a hobby; I hope she dosen't give up on writing altogether. I hate to see talent wasted.
this one kindof irritates me
New York Times can't seem to find any heros in the Iraqi war.

I don't buy into the nonsense that everybody over there is somebody special, or some kind of hero, as Ace says. The vast majority are just people doing a job; even dangerous jobs are just a part of a day's work. Only the truly unlucky become real heros.

But it's awfully short-sighted of the NYT to be completely unable to find a single "Hero", a single shining light, in this ongoing war. Every day, Heros, in the true sense of the word, are both made and murdered there.

Ace mentions Timothy Haag. I have a story somewhere around here about a guy who took on a squad-size element of enemy combatants with his freaking pocket knife, and won.

I knew a guy that was killed chasing a shooter in downtown Baghdad into hostile fire. A girl that dragged her gunner's dead body back to their truck, in the face of direct fire. A platoon leader that dodged mortar fire across open desert to try to find an unlocated team.

Not everyone that serves is deserving of the title of "National Hero". What makes someone into a Hero is the way they perform in the face of overwhelming threat. In WWII, it was the guy that singlehandedly charged an enemy pillbox and saved his team; in this war, it is the soldier that pulls a friend out of immemmediate danger. Or a hundred thousand other reasons. Nobody except the foolishly brave goes to war wanting to be a hero; in real life, the Medal of Honor is almost always posthumous. It's the people that, when it comes down to it, are willing to make that jump, to take that monumental risk to save themselves and their team, that are heros. And they should be honored as such.

The NYT should call me. I could give them a list of names of heros from Iraq; people who were demonstrably willing to sacrifice everything they had for their team, their misison, or the survival demands of the moment.

But I personally know a very small percentage of Iraq war veterans; certainly there are people even more deserving of the "Hero" label than I know. To say that you can't find any, a single one, is not only stupid, it's insulting.
quick site note
Just on the off chance: Haloscan seems to have done me the kindness of deleting all archived comments. If it fixes itself and you're seeing comments, great. If not, and you've left one here in the past few days, it's probably gone forever, which sucks. If you feel like it, type it out again, or let me know what you said.
i don't want him guarding me
Half the Sins of Mankind says that he is embrassed to learn of this story from a Boondocks comic, which is certainly understandable, but I just heard of it from his post, so apparently I'm even further out of touch.

Reader's digest version: A guy working security at an airport is also a rapper going by the nickname "Arabic Assasin", who writes pro-terrorist lyrics. That guy, apparently, is currently standing in the undemployment line. Color me shocked.

There is alot of room for debate about what one is allowed to say off duty when employed for the government, and what stupid people will say for that all-important tough-guy appearance without really meaning to act on. I don't understand why threatening to kill everyone who could potentially be a fan of your music generates a fan base, but there's alot of things about pop culture I don't understand. One of the biggest sources of contention between the US and Al Queda is our lax moral code, which is perfectly exemplefied by the hip-hop crowd. Rick Santorum bitches about the exact same thing on a daily basis.

Fundimentalist Islam rap is like KKK rap. We hate you for who you are and everything you stand for, and we're going to do everything we can to kill you and everyone who looks like you. Now buy my records.

Anyway, the author of the above linked piece doesn't seem terribly bent out of shape by this guy's termination, but he does make one analogy I'd like to disagree with:
if Khalaf rapped about getting an STD from Mandy Moore, but consistently said in interviews that he'd never even met her, he should not be liable for slander because his rapping was not a statement of fact. In this real life instance, he says that he's opposed to terrorism, he just raps about being pro-terrorism in his songs.

See, that isn't quite right. Let's say I've suddenly become Mandy Moore. After spending a few hours staring at my newfound glorious naked body in the mirror, I am checking over my bodyguard staff. One of the guys has been writing rap songs under the title "The Guy Who Will Kill Mandy Moore". He writes lyrics supporting people who have tried to kill me, Mandy Moore, in the past. Specifically, he says "I'm gonna wait 'till we're alone / then I'm gonna cut her prissy head off / fuck her empty head / and the world will be better-off". Not only is that bad rapping, but it's just not kosher to say things like that about a person whom you are suppossed to be protecting. I don't care how much he swears he dosen't want to kill me, Mandy Moore, and claims that those (multiple) songs were just an act to look hard. That dude's looking for a job as of right freaking now, and he's getting a restraining order to boot.

Really, I doubt this guy is a serious terrorist. Terrorists don't run around screaming "I'm a Terrorist! Arrest MEEEEE!". But he dosen't have any business screening bags that are about to get on a plane I'm riding on, either. It's a standard part of government employment that you undergo a background screening; depending on the sensitivity of what you're doing, affiliation with certain groups is a big no-no. Specifically, telling people you agree with the people you're suppossed to be defending against is an huge no-no. Which, wonder of wonders, makes this seem to me a rare case of common sense breaking through the bureaurocracy.

viva le resistance
I hope that's spelled right, my French is somewhat lacking.

This one goes out to all the wackjobs at DU, and most especially to the girl two semesters ago that wouldn't let me talk because my opinions are "Exactly the same as the Nazis'":

Der Resistance
Achtung! You are 38% brainwashworthy, 13% antitolerant, and 61% blindly patriotic
Welcome to the Resistance (Der Widerstand)! You believe in freedom, justice, equality, and your country, and you can't be converted to the the dark side.

Breakdown: Your Blind Patriotism levels are borderline unhealthy, but
you show such a love of people from everywhere and a natural resistance
to brainwashing, you would probably focus your energy to fight Fuehrer with furor, so to speak.

Conclusion: Born and raised in Germany in the early
1930's, you would have taken up ARMS against the oppressors. Or even
your friends' oppressors. Congratulations!

Less than 5% of all test takers earn a spot in Der Resistance!

Actually, I wasn't all that terribly impressed with the test; the questions are, perhaps by nature, awfully subjective. Having said that, I like that result, and hope I could live up to it in reality. Some of what they say is true; I am a patriot in the sense that I do think this country and what it stands for is the best thing going, I am willing to fight for it if need be (obviously), but there's only so much bullshit I'm willing to put up with. Really, I would be (and am) willing to fight for the ideas of America, the universal freedoms it stands for, more than simply for a flag and name. I hope that I would have the courage of my convictions when it came time to actually do something about it, under penalty of being ostracized, tortured and killed. Fighting in the German resistance is a truly scary thought, one that I hope I could pull off in reality but am terrified by just the thought of.

Test curtosey of Half the Sins of Mankind.
a few notes
just found this blog: Half the Sins of Mankind. Tonight, I'm going to add a few leftie blogs to the blogroll. I've been meaning to do it for a while, I don't know if they'll get their own category (probably not, seems a bit...divisive, or something. Maybe great big "L" beside their name, or perhaps a hammer and sicle. Kidding, kiding). For, primarily, two reasons: One is that, in the conservative blogosphere, only the far-left wackjobs tend to get linked, usually in a sentance like "Check out these assholes". Really, we already know what Kos thinks. I don't have to read Kos or DU or Oliver Willis, I already know most of what I'll find, and it will either bore me or irritate me. Same goes for Powerline and some of the other right wing politicos, I don't read them much either.

But the vast majority (I think, or I hope) of lefties and Democrats, while they may agree with Kos on occasion, are not so angry and, well, disagreeable when it comes to talking about ideas. We may not agree, but at least we can disagree and throw childish insults at each other without anyone becoming seriously offended.

I used to work with a guy that was a hardline, far-left liberal and proud of it. He is, as he described it, a "European Socalist", in the grand tradition of Zapatera, and, I suppose, Stalin (heh). He was also a Poly-sci and Econ major, who had a much better idea what he was talking about than me on many issues, especially international economic ones. He respected America for what it is, not in a phony "I burn the flag because I love it" or whatever bullshit way, but as a country that had done alot of good but that he had a great many disagreements with; he was reasonable but we were often looking at a problem from two different perspectives. We had many conversations, nobody's mind was changed but they were interesting and we were still friends at the end. He didn't call me a Nazi, I only called him a commie pig a few times, and we both respected each other's opinions (at least, I think. He may have been going home and bitching about this right-wing dorkwad he had to work with, but it didn't seem that way).

Anyway, that's what I like to find. Someone whom I disagree with, on an intellectual level, that can keep it from becoming an emotional firestorm; and whose opinions aren't wack-job conspiracy-theory crazy. The two seem to go hand-in-hand, the more of a wack job a person is, the more likely they are to call you a Nazi or a traitor.

The other reason, and I'll try to keep this one shorter, is that I generally find interesting stuff to write about at these places. I enjoy reading right-wing blogs, but there isn't much to write about when I agree with the author. I don't have to do much. I simply say "Yep, that seems about right", and move on to the next post. But when I disagree with a post, I have to figure out why, then figure out if that's a defensible reason, and then, for my own ego, I want to tell him or her why I think they're wrong. Much more entertaining than just blithe agreement.

Anywho, it's a short list, for the moment: Talkleft, This is Class Warfare, and Half the Sins of Mankind. Two of those came from Protien Wisdom, the other from Sadie. Hopefully, I'll be able to add more as time goes by, I know I'm glossing over alot. And note that these folks aren't exactly Zell Miller; they're talented folks I enjoy reading with defensible opinions I happen to disagree with, and aren't likely to descend into name-calling within the first two or three posts. The biggest reason I'm adding them tonight is because I have some links from Half the Sins of Mankind I want to write about, which will be the next few posts here.

This also means I'm going to have to watch my drunken rhetoric. Or, then again, maybe not.


howdy, thanks for stopping by. what you're looking at is the intermittent ramblings of an iraqi vet, college student, goth-poseur, comic book reading, cheesy horror loving, punk listening, right-leaning, tech-obsessed, poorly typing, proudly self-proclaimed geek. occasionally, probably due to these odd combinations, i like to think i have some interesting things to say; this is where they wind up.

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us...We need the books that affect us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside of us.

ace o spades hq
bargain-basement allahpundit
a small victory
army of mom
babalu blog
beautiful atrocities
being american in t o
belmont club
blame bush!
castle argghhh!
citizen smash
the command post
common sense runs wild
curmudgeonly & skeptical, r
curmudgeonly & skeptical, pg-13
dean's world
drill sergeant rob
exit zero
enjoy every sandwich
feisty repartee
fistful of fortnights
free will
four right wing wacos
ghost of a flea
half the sins of mankind
the hatemonger's quarterly
hog on ice
house of plum
id's cage
ilyka damen
incoherant ramblings
in dc journal
the jawa report
knowledge is power
lileks bleat
the llama butchers
memento moron
the mudville gazette
naked villainy
nerf-coated world
those damned pajama people
professor chaos
professor shade
the protocols of the yuppies of zion
protein wisdom
the queen of all evil
seven inches of sense
shinobi, who is a f'n numbers ninja, yo
tall dark and mathteriouth
the nose on your face
the thearapist
this is class warfare
texas best grok
tim worstall
way off bass

other must reads: