Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Facebook ban of breast-feeding photos sparks protests

Facebook ban of breast-feeding photos sparks protests | Reuters | Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:57AM EST | CANBERRA - "Are photographs of a mother breast-feeding her child indecent? The social networking site Facebook has sparked a massive online debate -- and protests -- and after removing photos that expose too much of a mother's breast.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said the website takes no action over most breast-feeding photos because they follow the site's terms of use but others are removed to ensure the site remains safe and secure for all users, including children.

For some reason this is big news in Western Society (i.e. societies and cultures based on Western European origins). In the rest of the world it's just a natural, normal thing. Ever wonder why? It's because in the rest of the world a woman's breast is not considered a sexual object. They are for feeding children. This begs the question of why such a very small number of cultures think of it otherwise.

Lingerie makers.

If there is no sexual connotation of breasts then why would people want to buy expensive and visually appealing bras? You wouldn't spend $200 on a baby bottle holder, would you? Boobs are sexy only because of effective marketing by lingerie makers. After all, why should a bra be made with lace and frills if it's only purpose is functionality? Who cares if it "lifts and separates" or "brings the girls out?"

This has had an effect on the perceptions of female beauty in most western cultures. Big breasts are more attractive. If you look through the porn of the 70's, 80's and 90's you'll see the evolution that sexy means big, plastic boobs. For myself, I like breasts but they aren't a major point of focus for me (unless she wants them to be).

But no matter the size it shouldn't be taboo to breast feed a baby. The one concession to the puritans could be that the non-feeding breast be covered. But since, as a guy, I don't have milk producing breasts what the heck do I have to say about it? No male should.

P.S. There's lots of links I could put in this post but it's more educational if you look for them yourself.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Catwoman Kitt Is Dead

Catwoman Kitt Is Dead 12:00 AM, 29-DECEMBER-08 | "Eartha Kitt, the singer and dancer best known to genre fans as one of the original Catwomen in the cult 1960s TV series Batman, has died, the Associated Press reported. She was 81."

She was my 2nd favorite Catwoman of all time (there's no question who's #1) but she had the best purr. And oh that voice! If you've never heard her sign I strongly encourage you to find some of her old recordings and give it a listen.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Guitar Hero Man

My son's birthday is 9 days before Christmas so he gets a lot of presents in a short time span. This year he got Guitar Hero. Specifically, Guitar Hero I, II, III, and Encore "Rock the 80s" including two guitars. This is not only great for him but for me, too. I used to play for years until my health kill that. Playing GH gives me a little of the feeling back.

It's funny, though, because since I did play for real my fingers want to play the actual cords and riffs for the songs. This is why real musicians tend to tank in these games. The fun factor is still very high so I'll keep playing as much as I can.

Of course my son is kicking serious @$$ in them. It only took him two days to beat GH III on easy. This unlocked the song "Through the Fire and Flames" by Dragonforce. It's a cool song and he does extremely well on it. The only thing is he plays it over and over. Still, it's nice to see him appreciating the music his dad loves. He'll still watch only the Hip Hop stuff on the music channels but his musical taste has widened.

Next on the list is GH Aerosmith and World Tour. And when GH Metallica comes out in '09 we're get that as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jingling Bells?

I like Christmas. Not just for the presents and food but also for the message. Many people don't realize it is the day to celebrate the birth of Christ. At least for Christians. But there is one part of the season that I'm not a big fan of.

Christmas songs.

I hate Christmas songs. Really. I guess it's because we're inundated with them for a month. Turn on the radio and it's "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night" all over the place. The songs themselves aren't bad, it's just the constant bombardment that gets to me.

A couple of decades ago the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" was played on every channel multiple times a day. It nearly killed the film as people were getting sick of it. But a little while back someone somewhere decided that it should be shown sparingly. Now it's shown maybe twice over the holiday season.

If there was some way to limit the flow of songs to a trickle or something maybe that would help. As it stands now I'll just have to grin and bare it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient - "PO2 (EOD2) Mike Monsoor, a Navy EOD Technician, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for jumping on a grenade in Iraq, giving his life to save his fellow SEALs."

This has been floating around the 'Net since the summer but it still needs to be told. This is the kind of thing that should be front-page, headline news. In a year when we were all preoccupied with gas prices and the stock market here's a man who gave everything to save the lives of others. The current economic and financial problems are all caused by greed; gouging profits out of every little thing. Even in this so-called time of giving it's all about money.

Petty Officer Monsoor is a blinding example of how selfless one can be. When selfishness isn't the primary (if not the only) motivation for our actions it elevates us all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let There Be Sound

Blogger has added another great feature. They've joined with iLike to add songs to your blog. This looks pretty slick, in my opinion. Check out some songs you might not have heard before.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lawyers turn to Facebook to serve legal papers

Lawyers turn to Facebook to serve legal papers | Tue Dec 16, 10:37 pm ET | CANBERRA (Reuters) – "Lawyers in Australia expect the internet social network site Facebook to become a new way of tracking down defendants after a landmark court ruling.

The Supreme Court in Australia's capital Canberra has ruled that Facebook is a sufficient way of serving legal documents to defendants who cannot be found.

This is starting to get a little worrisome. The party to whom the responsibility of delivering legal papers can now just post something on Facebook and, whether you are able to retrieve it or not, you are served. Next thing you'll have to actually be the one who has to come into court to be served or you'll be locked up.

I'm all for law and order but this police state mentality that's taking over the world is getting very annoying.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Microsoft Issuing Emergency Patch For Internet Explorer

Microsoft Issuing Emergency Patch For Internet Explorer By Thomas Claburn |
InformationWeek | December 16, 2008 03:15 PM - "Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is planning to release an out-of-band patch for Internet Explorer on Wednesday to address a critical security vulnerability that is being actively exploited.

The company on Saturday warned that 1 in 500 Internet Explorer users worldwide may have been exposed to malware hosted at both legitimate Web sites and porn sites that exploit an unpatched vulnerability.

It would be so easy to take shots at Microsoft for this but ragging on them for making unsafe crap is like yelling at a dog for pooping. You know the pup is going to do it and there's no way to stop it from happening. However, in the case of Microsoft there is something you can do.

First, never, never, ever use Internet Explorer. Use Firefox or Opera or even the new Google browser Chrome.

Second, if you are running on an MS Windows operating system never, never, never, never run any Microsoft products on it. If the software was built and released by Microsoft stay as far away from it as possible. Use alternatives like OpenOffice, Thunderbird, the GIMP and just about every application you could ever want.

And lastly, if it's at all possible, you should never, never, never, never, ever, ever, EVER run use a Microsoft Operating System. The biggest computer security problem in the world is systems running any version of MS Windows with MS applications on them. Use a Mac or a Linux system. You'll be many orders of magnitude safer and, in the case of Linux, the cost is fairly trivial.

But if you don't want to deal with change just keep running what you're running. The Internet could always use more spam, viruses and hijacked systems to break into your bank or credit card company.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Mobile Blogging

Hey, I'm sending this from my phone! Check out Blogger Mobile in Blogger in draft.

Christmas meme

I can't sleep so here's a time waster post...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
A. Neither. Mum wraps the presents.

2. Real tree or artificial?
A. Artificial, but only because my son has allergies.

3. When do you put up the tree?
A. Christmas eve, of course.

4. When do you take the tree down?
A. January 6th. The day after the 12 Days of Christmas[1].

5. Do you like eggnog?
A. Yes, but no rum in it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A. All of them, probably. Who can remember?

7. Hardest person to buy for?
A. I only buy for my son and nieces. Sometimes for Mum.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
A. My son. Any kind of driving video game and he's in 7th heaven.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
A. Yeah, but I can't find it.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
A. Another task that Mum does. It's both, I think.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A. Who knows? I can't remember last Christmas let alone earlier ones.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
A. "We're No Angles" 1955. Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov. And the 1947 version of "Miracle on 34th Street." Classics. Oh, and yes I do love "It's a Wonderful Life."

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
A. Ha! Before 'net shopping it was Christmas eve. Now, it's usually around a week or so before Christmas.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
A. No. The only present recycling I did was wedding gifts.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
A. Snowflake cookies. I can't remember the proper name for them. Something like Pitzafrit.

16. Lights on the tree; colored or white?
A. The lights are built into the tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
A. Generally I have a dislike for Christmas songs. They got played so much when I was growing up it burned them out for me. I do love "Carol of the Bells" by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
A. The whole family lives within 5 minutes of everyone else so any traveling is just down the road.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
A. Of course. Can't everyone? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Thunder, Lightning[2] and Rudolf.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
A. Star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
A. All on Christmas morning. The presents aren't under the tree until Santa delivers them the night before Christmas.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color?
A. Whatever color they are.

23. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
A. Manicotti. A traditional Italian Christmas dinner.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year?
A. To spend as much time as I can playing with my son.

25. Who is most likely to respond to this?
A. No one. Everyone. Who knows? It's no like anyone reads this blog anyway.

[1] Do you know what actual days the 12 days of Christmas are? Most people have no idea. Hint, the first day is Christmas day.

[2] In German Lightning is Blitzen and Thunder is Donner.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

If u cn rd this quickly, gd 4 u

If u cn rd this quickly, gd 4 u | SYDNEY (Reuters) - "Mobile phone text-message abbreviations and simplifications are not ruining our spelling, but they do take much longer to read and understand than conventional English, a small Australian study has shown."

I knew there was a reason I disliked txt-speak. It's only real positive is making it quicker for the sender to type. Ever since I started texting I've always typed out whole words. It may take a bit longer but at least I know the receiver will understand what I'm saying.

More or less.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Humorous take on Gay Marriage

Ok, some people might be offended by this but there's no rational reason to be. Just watch the video and enjoy the joke.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Guitar Hero Moves

Ever wanted to learn some really hot moves for your Guitar Hero/Rock Band performances? Well look no further.

Update 12/11/08 - Hey, I thought this was funny.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A day that still lives in infamy

It was 67 years ago today that the greatest war in history was forced upon the US by the attack on Perl Harbor. Most kids in school think of it as something that happened so long ago it's ancient history. Like the Egyptians or cavemen. But I'm very proud to say that my son knows more about WWII than most adults. If I can help it he will know more about history than just about all of his peers. For the old saying is true...

Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Outlook for Vista Gets Even Worse

The Outlook for Vista Gets Even Worse | November 28, 2008 Posted by: Glyn Moody - "As someone who has been following Microsoft for over 25 years, I remain staggered by the completeness of the Vista fiasco. Microsoft's constant backtracking on the phasing out of Windows XP is perhaps the most evident proof of the fact that people do not want to be forced to “upgrade” to something that has been memorably described as DRM masquerading as an operating system."

It's no secret that I am not a fan of Microsoft products. Especially the frelling OS. Since I've started University I've been forced to work with this crappy platform and it's been a major PITA. How does anyone get anything accomplished with this incredible mess they call an operating system and their unusable applications? Ok, call me a Microsoft h8r if you like. It doesn't change the fact that the EOL date for XP keeps being pushed back because businesses are staying away from Vista in droves. The number of home users wiping it and installing XP is staggering when compared to previous Windows upgrades. If it weren't for the fact that Microsoft has a stranglehold on the hardware market such that it's nearly impossible to buy a new computer without Windows on it there probably wouldn't even be any Vista users. All that can be hoped for is that one day the public will wake up and see what kind of fraud Gates and company have perpetrated on them. Maybe then Microsoft will be forced to build products that actually work and don't extort massive amounts of money from their customers.

I'm not holding my breath, though.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

CIA Scandal Erupts

CIA Scandal Erupts | By Colin Clark Thursday, November 20th, 2008 4:15 pm | Posted in Intelligence, International, Policy - "It must be the worst nightmare of every CIA director — the agency ignores its own rules and regulations and kills innocent Americans, and then the people in charge of the operation lie to Congress and cover up what happened."

There's all kinds of conspiracy nuts loving this news. But it's not about secret spy missions or Black Ops. It's about abuse of power. When you think you are god you don't care what you do. This is why I am not happy with the "Patriot Act" and other similar laws. You can fight crime and terrorists without creating secret police or KGB like organizations.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm not like Taffy 3

From 23-26 October 1944, the greatest naval battle in the history of the world was fought in what become known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf. While Gen. Douglas MacArthur lead the landing and invasion of the Philippine island of Leyte, a small support force of escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts held off, and defeated, a Japanese task force lead by the greatest battleship ever built. The Yamato. The massively out gunned and out numbered support group designated Taffy 3 pulled off a miracle and kept the Army invasion force from being annihilated. The actions of ships like the destroyer Johnston and destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts (affectionately known as Sammy B, the destroyer escort that fought like a Battleship) are some of the greatest stories of WWII. So what does this have to do with anything?

This week, Thanksgiving week, I pretty much torpedoed myself completely. Circumstances found me alone for the holiday and most of the week. This seems to be a state in which I am not functional. I did nothing at all until today when my son came over. This includes my school work. Now I have two-and-a-half days to get everything done, including the special projects that are worth 30% of my grade. I already lost a significant portion of the weeks score by not performing the actions needed to get attendance credit. This week is likely to be the poorest grade I've had to date. It could knock me out of being on the honor roll, which would be the first time in my scholastic life I've ever been on it.

But that's all done with now. The only thing I can do is work these next few days to kick @$$ on everything else and finish the last two weeks on a high note. I believe I can do it but I'm not sure how to overcome this kind of problem should it come up in the future.

P.S. The story of Leyte Gulf is one that I feel everyone in the world should know. Look at it from a military perspective and learn how massive battles can be won or lost by the actions of a few men. And if you happen to be a USian feel free to glory in the determination of our brave sailors, soldiers and marines.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai attacks kill 80, police shoot four gunmen

Mumbai attacks kill 80, police shoot four gunmen | By Rina Chandran | MUMBAI (Reuters) – "Gunmen killed at least 80 people in a series of attacks in India's commercial hub Mumbai and troops began moving into two luxury hotels on Thursday where foreign hostages were being held, local television said.

The attacks by small groups of gunmen armed with automatic weapons and grenades on the hotels and other sites in the city came amid state elections, including in Kashmir, and risk destabilizing the country ahead of national elections next year.

More insane killing. While killing is not a sane thing to do these kind of "terrorists" attacks just don't make any sense. At least not to me. I guess that's because I'm not an insane, irrational whack-job. Most of the time the people being killed in these attacks are the people who are supposedly being fought for by those doing the killing. Just look at the attacks in Iraq and other places around the world.

The problem, though, is how do you stop people joining these fanatical cults? Striking back doesn't work, just look at the Gaza strip. Ignoring them is a little better but doesn't lessen the violence all that much. What is needed is some way to get to the young people before the terrorist recruiters do. External forces don't work (e.g. Military or Governmental action) but neither does internal work (e.g. Social or Cultural action). It's takes community leaders, starting in the neighborhoods and working all the way up to National & International levels. No group or organization can really stop the madness. Only people can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rotting teeth... Not quite

It seems I grind my teeth when I sleep. Over the last 8 or so years this grinding has led to some teeth cracking with whole chunks falling off. Specifically three molars. I had the first one worked on this month. On the 11th they dug out everything (pulp, nerves, etc) all the way down to the root. This is where the term Root Canal comes into play. I got a temporary filling until the 18th when I went back to have it built up. The first part wasn't really painful at all. The second part, well, that was a little different.

There was a lot of pulling, scraping, sanding and even some little things that looked like needles. The wildest part, though, when when the dentist started using a torch to heat up these little metal things and stick them in my tooth. The smell of things burning isn't one you'd usually associate with the dentist office. This visit had a lot more being done on the tooth. Once it was finished I had a usable tooth again.

Well, almost usable. Once feeling started to come back into my jaw this procedure was a little painful. Lots of throbbing and tenderness in the tooth, jaw and jaw muscles. I wasn't able to chew much more than "Cream of Wheat" (I prefer the instant mix). But by this morning it was feeling well enough to have a cinnamon bun thingy, which was really good. I figure by Thanksgiving I'll be able to chow down on whatever there is.

As for the other two teeth, one I'm just going to have pulled. At least that's the plan at the moment. The other will get it's own rooting out in January. After that I think I have a cavity or two then maybe some teeth whitening. That'll be the only cosmetic thing I'll do for my teeth. It's more so that I can see my smile through the beard. My bottom teeth could use some serious straightening but I've become so used to my funky bite I don't want to change it.

Besides, it'll give CSI a unique bite mark to trace after I lose it and go on a three state killing spree.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy birthday to me

Forty-six years ago at approximately this time on this day I was born in an Army hospital in Bremerhaven Germany. And the rest is history.

Ticking away the moments that make up the...

Man, this going to school stuff is fun but complex. Not having any abilities in organization or time management, I've found it difficult to do school, web/email & this blog all at the same time. It's not a matter of a lack of time, I got nothing but these days. It's more about using the time I have in a productive way. I tend to spend many, many, many... (Did I mention many?) hours doing nothing but watching TV.

However, I have recently found some methods and tools for helping me get a handle on everything and make better use of my day. If/when I get things going I'll be much more active on posting things here. Though it's not like anyone actually reads this anyway.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Is the Internet haunted?

Is the Internet haunted?
"Have you ever noticed something online that you couldn't explain and was more than a little creepy? You're not alone. Whether it's sites that seem to looking back at you or Facebook profiles that update themselves, the Internet has a ghost problem. Who ya gonna call?"

A tad late for Halloween but still fun. See if you can find some ghosts.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Historic Election! Does it matter?

Thank $DEITY, it's finally over! Another day or so and hopefully all this political crap will be behind us.

There's lots of reasons to rant and rage about the US electoral process; the Electoral Collate does nothing but invalidate the voting process, the misuse of absentee ballots by those not physically absent, the ridiculous fund raising laws and rules which allow a party to get $5M a day (which could have helped fix the financial/economic problems), etc. But this particular rant is about the idiotic idea that one candidate or party is "better" than another.

As you may have noticed when you voted yesterday, there were more names on the ballot than just the Dem and GOP offerings. We had Independents, Greens, Libertarians, blah, blah... But the reality of those also-ran's is they are nothing more than pipe dreams. The system is setup for two parties when it comes to the presidency. This election we had McCain vs Obama. Republican vs Democrat. But what did that distinction really mean?

Abso-fricking-lutely nothing! The reality of it all is that there's no effective difference between the two parties. Nor between the two candidates. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

"But wait," I hear you cry, "There's a huge difference in what the parties and candidates put forth as their positions on just about everything dealing with the governing of the country." True enough. But it's all smoke and mirrors. You have to look at the situation from an objective view in order to see what's really going on. But that's virtually impossible for people to do. There's three positions on the value of the parties; The Republicans are right and everyone else is wrong, the Democrats are right and everyone else is wrong, and then there's the position that both are wrong. If you thought that one or the other candidate/party in this presidential election was the tool of the anti-Christ then you are, by definition, unable to see the reality of what is happening.

See, the differences between the two parties and their candidates are really very superficial. They pick positions based more on what they think will keep them in power than anything remotely related to helping the country and it's citizens. Think I'm full of it? Go back and investigate the last 12 or so elections. Look at what the candidates promised and what they actually did once elected. Look at the prevailing cultural and social norms of the times and see how that effected the way the parties ran their campaigns. If you look at it with no preconceived ideas, no biased emotions you'll discover something very fascinating.

So what does all this have to do with the election yesterday? Simply put, Barack Obama is a horrible choice for the presidency. But before you go apes**t on me the fact is that John McCain would have been equally as bad a choice. All of the "good" things Obama will do will be canceled out by the harm he'll cause. The only difference if McCain were elected is that the "good" he'd do would be in the areas that Obama will screw up. And the harm he'd cause would be in the areas Obama will improve. They are two sides of the same coin. That is also true of the two parties. If there were such a thing as common sense in this world neither of the parties would be let near the government. Unfortunately you can't have common sense in politics. It is like trying to build a fire with a water hose.

The only saving grace the US has is that we put a term limit on the office. We just came out of 16 years of extremely bad leadership. The last two presidents were like fraternal twins; both destroying everything they touched only in two different ways. Now we get to see whether the twins are actually triplets.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treating? Yes, No, Yes, No...

My son informed his mother and me that he was to old to go Trick or Treating this year. He's at that in between age and feels it's not cool to dress up and all. I told him it was no problem but I wouldn't mind if he went so that we could have more candy to eat. But he didn't want to go so that was fine.

This evening I mentioned to him that his nieces were going to try and bring something over that he could wear if he wanted to change his mind. He was still professing that he didn't want to go until he had the idea of going as a hip-hop gangsta thug dressed in white. That got him all excited, since he already has all the clothes anyway, so tomorrow he might actually go. There's a small side street behind our house all the kids call "Candy Lane" because of the inordinate amount of houses that give out TONS of candy. He can't wait to go trick or treating now.

To quote the great song from Bye Bye Birdie, "Kids! What the matter with kids today."

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Voting Machines in the USA

Voting Machines in the USA | "The voting machine you'll encounter on Nov. 4 takes the most important right in a democracy — your right to vote — and makes it real. And just like the people who make and use them, machines aren't perfect. DVICE has researched all of the nation's voting machines to tell you what technology you'll be using on Election Day and what potential problems and vulnerabilities it might have."

These are two very informative maps. If you want to see the correlation between potential voter error and potential for hacking you'll be intrigued by the way they are related.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Did WWI Hero Sgt. York Have Help?

Did WWI Hero Sgt. York Have Help? | October 08, 2008 | Philadelphia Daily News | "It was 90 years ago today that 17 U.S. soldiers -- including two Philadelphians -- attacked a German machine-gun nest in the heart of France's Argonne Forest.

As the story goes, Sgt. Alvin C. York of Tennessee, a former conscientious objector, single-handedly killed 28 German soldiers and captured 132 others. He won a Medal of Honor and became popularly known as the greatest hero of World War I.

You've probably seen the movie with Gary Cooper about this (and if you haven't you really should) but this article has some very good questions about the event. There's a lot of history from WWI that's hidden, forgotten or just lost. While this is true for all of history before mass media became ubiquitous, WWI had a far greater impact on the coarse of history than is known.

Another question this brings up is whether it's better to have accurate historical records or to keep our legends/heroes. The answer is far less obvious that you might think.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sex Addiction

Yesterday Tyra did an episode on Sex Addiction. From my prior investigations it seems like there are two main types of this addiction. One is a compulsive need for sex rooted in some psychological base. The other looks to my like it's a psychological need rooted in a psychological base. There are likely chemical/biological things in there, as well, especially in the former. But being ultra promiscuous does not make you one. The real issue of sex addiction is not in the sex, it's in the underlying psycho-emotional things that drive it.

At least that's what it seems to me. Granted I have no training in anything remotely related to this topic. That includes an extreme dearth of sexual experience. I have gone years, if not decades, without "gettin' some." Of course I do know the physical, emotional and psychological reasons behind that. Basically, most of the troubles in the world really are all in our heads.

(And a dare anyone to ask what my sexual past was like!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Time management?

I've got just under four hours to get all of week one's work done. In the one class I have a chapter to read and a short paper to write. In the other I have an assignment with two deliverables (maybe more), a chapter to read and a test to take. I guess this is where time management is needed.

To bad I don't have the remotest ability to do it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bush signs controversial anti-piracy law (Reuters)

Bush signs controversial anti-piracy law (Reuters) | Posted on Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:45PM EDT | WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "President George W. Bush signed into law on Monday a controversial bill that would stiffen penalties for movie and music piracy at the federal level.

The law creates an intellectual property czar who will report directly to the president on how to better protect copyrights both domestically and internationally. The Justice Department had argued that the creation of this position would undermine its authority.

More crap laws to make rich people richer. Did you know that the penalties for pirated music were already much harsher than for steeling/selling nuclear fuel? I can't find the reference link to this fact but it's probably on Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram. Anyway, while the big companies are moving closer to making software piracy a capitol offense, you can kill someone and get only 12 years. Or less.

If there was a way to make greed a crime world piece would be significantly closer to realization.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blaming the Good Samaritan

Blaming the Good Samaritan | Houston Carr, 2008-09-26 | "In the early 90's, I attended an academic conference in Hawaii. At one presentation, a colleague from the University of California at Berkeley whom I'll refer to as "the supervisor," told a story of young hackers, who he referred to as the Urchins.

The Urchins, according to the supervisor, remotely accessed several corporate mainframes as a way of learning and found vulnerabilities in their systems. They told the supervisor, who contacted the effected companies and told them of the illicit access and the vulnerabilities. He explained what he was told by the Urchins: There was no intent to do harm and they only wanted to notify the companies of weaknesses in their systems.

This is something that's become a real issue in the last decade or so. People doing the right thing yet getting in trouble for it. And the laws that have come into existence boggle the mind. Did you know that the penalty for "hacking" is harsher than for stealing plutonium? Does this make any sense? Is the world being run by idiots?

Don't answer that.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Knight's Poitier Still Lesbian?

Knight's Poitier Still Lesbian? | Sci-Fi Wire | 12:00 AM, 25-SEPTEMBER-08 | "NBC's Knight Rider threw viewers for a loop when FBI agent Carrie Ruvai (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) was introduced in a February television movie/pilot: She was shown climbing out of the bed she had just shared with a blond woman."

It seems that gay characters in film and TV are becoming more and more acceptable. But are they? Is their portrayal being used to show that what was once thought of as an "alternate lifestyle" is now considered normal or is it just to get ratings? I don't know anymore. It seems like there's so many reasons for doing things but none of them come from simple common sense.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Going to collage. Finally!

It's been almost 30 years since I graduated high school. I did make an attempt to try collage afterwords but it just wasn't something I was ready for. After two years of socializing that garnered me just 20 credits it became apparent that I wasn't the scholastic type. I dropped out and entered the work force. Needless to say this meant minimum wage labor jobs and the like. In 1982 I lucked into a job as a computer operator and, over the next 24 years advanced up the IS/IT world to some really high-end stuff. It was fun and the lack of a degree didn't hamper my advancement as a coder/systems/hacker guy. Then came the health issues. Since 2004 I haven't been able to work in my profession and am physically unable to do "regular" jobs. It seems that now I need a degree.

While wandering around the web I saw an ad for degrees from Westwood Collage (see the post "Back to Back to School"). They have a program in Game Software Development which looked interesting. Turns out many of their degrees can be done 100% online so I decided to look into it. When my son found out he said I HAD to do it so that he could be a tester for any games I might develop.

The program is completely online, as I mentioned, and finished in three years. The school has been doing everything they can to help me get in. They also have some assistance for managing your classes and plenty of tutors. There's also a program to help you find employment and their alumni program is killer. The only major down side is that their online systems are very MS Windows centric. Uhg!

I honestly can't see how anyone can get anything done. It's like pulling teeth just to get programs to work. And don't get me started on simple things like cut'n'paste. I can sit down to a Linux box or a Mac and within a few minutes be as productive as a rabbit. But MS has outdone themselves with Vista. Win2K and XP were bad enough but the interface to Vista is worst than the old DOS prompt. No, seriously. But I digress.

With a little luck I will be back to a place in life where I can find a somewhere to live (it sucks being homeless) and take care of my son in a more stable environment. My classes start next week and I can't wait.

Friends, Family, Colleagues Remember Paul Newman

Friends, Family, Colleagues Remember Paul Newman | E! Online | Sep 27 2008 11:30 AM PDT by Jovie Baclayon - "With his passing on Friday, Paul Newman leaves behind an inspirational, 83-year legacy of talent, love and compassion. This morning family, friends and colleagues are paying tribute to the prolific film star, race car aficionado and passionate philanthropist."

There's nothing I can say about Mr. Newman that isn't already being said far better than I ever could by millions of people all over the world. The thing that popped into my head right away, though, was when he did an interview with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio. He explained that one of the techniques he used was to put breaks in non-obvious places during his lines. Something along the lines of -

"The murder happened between eleven and midnight where were you [pause] last night Mr. Smith"

Of course he did it the right way. Little things like that are what made him more than just an actor. If we're lucky the TV and Cable stations will be showing his movies for some days to come.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

True Blood - True Dat

There's a new series on HBO called True Blood that is, so far, quite enjoyable. It's about an alternate reality where synthetic blood has been manufactured, thus allowing vampires to "come out of the coffin." Vampires can now live in the open with humans since they no longer need to feed on them. But, as one would expect in any reality containing humans (or former humans), there's a lot of animosity (sometimes bordering on hate) between the two "species."

The show is set in a small town in Louisiana that gets its first "out" vampire. The focal characters are the vampire, named Bill, and a waitress, named Sookie, who works at the local watering hole. However she is much more than just a waitress. Sookie is being played by Anna Paquin, who is fast becoming a favorite of mine. While most people know her from her Oscar winning performance in the 1993 film The Piano, according to IMDb she proceeded that as the English voice of Sheeta in Hayao Miyazaki's Tenk├╗ no shiro Rapyuta (US title "Castle in the Sky").

True Blood looks like it will be a winner and has already been picked up for season two, scheduled to air in January 2009. If you get HBO I highly recommend giving this show a whirl. After all, with Buffy gone, we need a good vampire show.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pink Floyd Co-Founder Passes Away

Pink Floyd Co-Founder Passes Away | Mon, 15 Sep 2008 12:52:00 | "Richard Wright, Pink Floyd's co-founder and longtime keyboardist, has died of complications from cancer. He was 65.

In a statement, Wright's spokesman said, "The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Age and time catching up with us all. I'd guess that there are more people in the world now who don't realize the significance of Pink Floyd, especially the album "The Dark Side Of The Moon." This is more than just an album. Dark Side is a cultural phenomena. A record smashing tour de force the likes of which will probably never be seen again. Wright's passing was marked by former Floyd mate David Gilmour on his blog saying, "I really don't know what to say other than that he was such a lovely, gentle, genuine man...".

So I say break out your black lights, turn the record player up to max volume and take a ride with the Floyd to the "Dark Side of the Moon." It'd be a nice trip that I'm sure Richard Wright would be happy to see us take.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Ruling Inspires New Hope For Transgender People

Ruling Inspires New Hope For Transgender People By Ann E. Marimow | Washington Post Staff Writer | Monday, September 15, 2008; Page B01 | "To Allyson Robinson, it means accompanying her young children to public restrooms in Montgomery County without worrying that someone will call the police.

For Colleen Fay, it brings the hope that the next time she applies for a driver's license she won't be badgered about her previous life as a man.

And for Chloe Schwenke, it means other people like her will be able to enjoy the job security she has found in her international development work in the District.

This is very good news. There's a lot more that still needs to be done but this is a start. I knew a transgendered woman back a while ago (in fact she sent me an email that I still need to get to) and she was just like any other woman as far as I'm concerned. Some people get all freaky on this subject but I have never quite understood why. I realize it's partly due to the whole concept that gender is immutable and set in stone when you're born. But that's not a given as there are many babies born with both genitalia. It's not about the body at all.

The only thing that determines, well, everything about us is our brains. Between the chemistry and hardwired synapses we are who we are. And even this is not set in stone as anyone who's known someone with brain damage can attest to.

I am a heterosexual male, one hundred percent. And I would have absolutely no problem dating a post-op transgendered woman. Heck, as long as it doesn't get to, well, let's say "physically intimate" for now... I would even date a pre-op.

There's be some serious negotiations on that one, though.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Africa's 'Unicorn' Caught on Camera

Africa's 'Unicorn' Caught on Camera | AFP | Sept. 11, 2008 -- "The okapi, an African animal so elusive that it was once believed to be a mythical unicorn, has been photographed in the wild for the first time, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said Thursday."

After this summers unicorn appearance here's another one. Fantasy? Why not.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LPGA backs down on English requirement

LPGA backs down on English requirement | The Associated Press | "Under increasing criticism, the LPGA Tour on Friday backed off plans to suspend players who could not efficiently speak English at tournaments.

LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said she would have a revised plan by the end of the year that would not include suspensions for players unable to speak English in pro-ams, trophy presentations or interviews. Fining such players remained an option.

Heh, this is one of those subjects that can be quite dodgy. While I am in favor of mandating English for US citizens, requiring it for an international organization like the LPGA seems a bit much.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturn Moons Sport Rings, Too

Saturn Moons Sport Rings, Too Irene Klotz, Discovery News | Sept. 5, 2008 -- "They're not like the thick, beautiful bands hugging Saturn, but two of the planet's little moons sport faint, partial rings of their own.

New findings from the Cassini science probe confirm ring arcs ahead and behind the small moons Anthe and Methone, a discovery that is giving physicists new insights into the sculpting prowess of gravity.

More fun facts from space. This one is great in than it's partial rings. How do they stay on orbit with the moons? Why don't they encompass the entire circumference? What keeps them in the positions of leading and trailing?

Man, this is so cool.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Group Plans To Picket Katie Holmes' Play

Group Plans To Picket Katie Holmes' Play Thu, 04 Sep 2008 10:45:41 - "Anonymous, an anti-Scientology group known for wearing faceless masks, has announced plans to picket the opening night performance of All My Sons, the long-awaited Broadway debut of actress Katie Holmes, a former Catholic who is now a member of the controversial Church of Scientology. Holmes became a member of the Church after her marriage to one of the world's most famous Scientologists, Tom Cruise."

I had been more-or-less ambivalent about this whole Scientology thing until a few years ago when they started using gestapo tactics on anyone who disagreed with or "leaked" information about them. And, while I like Tom Cruise as an actor, he is a bit off his nut which doesn't imply sanity in the cult... uh, I mean "Church." But picketing a play just because Katie Holmes is in it seems a bit left field, as well.

Seems to me everyone is extremely uptight these days.

Why am I still conscious?

It's Oh-Dark-Thirty and I'm still up. My eyes are barely functioning, my brain fell out a couple hours ago, and now I'm trying to post this with fingers that can't find the keys. I really hate insomnia!

My son got his locker assignment at school. All the kids think lockers are cool. His locker number is 929. Usually being an odd number would be a less than ideal option; seems we both prefer even numbers*. But for him it's not that big of a deal, him not being obsessive/compulsive like his Dad. However I can handle it because the number is a pattern. Seems I like patterns more than I dislike odd numbers.

Anyway, it's 03:55 now so I'm going to try and get some sleep.

* I will not enter a movie theater with an odd numbered ticket and he can't have the volume on the TV set to an odd number.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to Back to School

My son started school today. Not only is he moving into middle school but it's a different school from where he went to grade school. He was so nervous this weekend he almost made himself sick. Hopefully things will settle down for him quickly.

The biggest problem with this is that he's now back living with his mother for the year. I'll only see him alternate weekends and holidays. This was exceedingly difficult last year and I'm not looking forward to him being away so much but it might have a bright side to it. I am looking into going back to school, more or less. Westwood College has a three year program of online courses to get a degree. If I can swing the financing I'm going to try for a sheep's skin in computer Game Programming. It'll be for MS Windows systems but with a little effort and some breaks I might parley this into an income.

Normally I have a very strong block about schooling. Back after high school I did a little dabbling in higher education and found it to be less than useful. My best learning style isn't suited to regular academia. I do much better with a little classroom work and a lot of examples. Having the freedom to work beyond the confines of a standard syllabus lets me learn at the pace I'm best able to absorb the input. It's just the way my mind works. Hopefully everything will work out.

But I'll still miss being with my son.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reiser confesses to strangling estranged wife

Reiser confesses to strangling estranged wife Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer | Saturday, August 30, 2008 | OAKLAND -- "Hans Reiser killed his estranged wife by strangling her after she made a "cavalier" remark during an argument over who should have custody of the couple's children, his attorney said Friday after the Oakland computer programmer was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder."

I was following this sordid story for a while due to the Linux connection. During the trial there was a large contingent of techies who were finding all kinds of "reasons" how & why Hans didn't do it and why he was acting so belligerent during the trial. As for myself, after reading a few weeks of reports on the proceedings I got the impression he likely did do it. Still, I'm not on the jury so my opinion doesn't count.

Now there's no doubt he did it, but I'm not sure that his final sentence it what I'd call justice served. If you'd like more background on this you can find plenty on Google.

Thai Protests Spread, Shut Airports

Thai Protests Spread, Shut Airports
BANGKOK -- "Waves of antigovernment protests spread beyond Thailand's capital Friday as clashes between police and demonstrators intensified, forcing the closure of several regional airports and disrupting rail services."

More fun for the Thai people. It's either to much democracy or a military junta. No pleasing the "people" it seems. Maybe they should give political power back to the monarchy?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama? McCain? No Difference!

Whenever I think I can't get more cynical about this US political season something comes along to prove me wrong. What now? Believe it or not, the new TV show The Cho Show. Now, I love Margaret Cho. She's fall down funny. But her blind devotion towards one political view based solely on perceived positions and partial truths is indicative of the majority of people in the country. Don't get me wrong, there are just as many blind devotes in the other political camp. In fact, that's the only way these parties can continue to function. Ms. Cho is just one example of millions.

How many people do you know vote for a political party rather than a politician? My ex-wife's mother was a Democrat. Period. She'd vote for Jack the Ripper for president if he was on the ticket. She also was one very southern woman. Most of the things the party claims to stand for she was against. But she never let the facts interfere her position. My sister is nearly the same way on the GOP side of the aisle. I'm sure everyone knows at least one person like this.

The irony of it all is that when you dig through the rhetoric and misinformation you find that the two parties are nearly identical twins. The things they differ on are simply smokescreens. Vagaries on topics to cloud the reasoning faculties of the voters. Neither of them actually care about the "issues," only about how they can get more money and more power.

Here's a sanity test; if you are staunchly behind a political party then you might want to investigate the rest of the political world with an open mind. If you are able to I'm positive you'll find some very compelling and disquieting realities. If you can't or won't give it an honest, open look then you already think I'm full of crap so nothing I say will make a difference.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Water on Mars? How'd I miss that!

Good grief. They find water on Mars and I'm oblivious of it. This is beyond thrilling for me, I love this science stuff. The first book report I ever did was on stars and their makeup. White dwarf, red giant, yellow, blue, orange... All of them. Now, water on Mars. Man! This is just awesome.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Re: Favorite female Olympians 2008

Wanna see what a bunch of poker nuts have to say about their "favorite" female Olympians? I give you ten guesses what criteria they use to decide. There is an interesting picture in the thread showing the first married couple competing against each other (it's from a recent past Olympics, though).


Monday, August 11, 2008

California lawmakers consider cyberbullying bill

California lawmakers consider cyberbullying bill August 11, 2008 8:40 PM PDT Posted by Steven Musil - "Assembly Bill 86, introduced by Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, passed the Senate on Monday by a 21-11 vote and now heads back to the Assembly for consideration of Senate amendments, according to an Associated Press report. If the Assembly approves the Senate amendments, the bill will be sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."

Cyberbullying is a real problem, especially for school age kids. I'm not sure there's an easy way to combat it from a technical standpoint. What they should do is make the parents responsible for any underage (as in < 21) offenders.

Yeah, I said it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Commentary on Gay Marriage Today

I have always been one who felt that everyone should be allowed to be who and what they are. As long as no one is getting hurt what's the problem? Of course this isn't how the vast majority of the human race feel. It's the basic situation of "Us" vs "Them" syndrome. "We" can't be right unless there's someone who is wrong. One example of this is the whole Gay Marriage issue.

The so called "Family Values" people are against anything that isn't what they feel is the right and correct way. That's the foundation of the anti-Gay Marriage people. They claim that it will destroy the family and the society of the country and, by extension, the world. But this isn't the first time these claims have been made. Here's an article that shows this.
Why the Ugly Rhetoric Against Gay Marriage Is Familiar to this Historian of Miscegenation
By Peggy Pascoe
"The arguments white supremacists used to justify for miscegenation laws--that interracial marriages were contrary to God's will or somehow unnatural--are echoed today by the most conservative opponents of same-sex marriage. And supporters of same-sex marriage base their cases on the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, echoing the position the U.S. Supreme Court took when it declared miscegenation laws unconstitutional in the case of Loving v. Virginia."
You think this is an over reaction by Ms. Pascoe? Read these and instead of gay marriage substitute interracial marriage.
There's more if you search Google News.

Maybe I'm just living in Never Never Land with my Rose Colored Glasses but I just don't understand how people can be this closed minded and cruel.

Construction Worker's Dream Come True

On Italian TV a guy uses a giant mechanical shovel to slowly strip off a woman's clothes. This is why roads never get fixed in Italy ...

Having lived and grown up in Europe I can tell you all about the road crews in Italy and Germany. At least as they were in the 70's and 80's.

In Germany when ever you pass roadwork you will see the guys working very hard. Practically day or night they're digging and paving and everything. Yet if you pass by the same stretch of road a few weeks later the work has advanced maybe a kilometre or two.

In Italy when ever you pass a road crew they're on break. Or lunch. Or nap-time. The machines are idle and it nice and calm. Pass the same site a couple of weeks later and they road has been fixed for tens of kilometres. And the crew will still be on break.

This has led us to believe that the Germans get paid hourly while the Italians get paid by the meter.

Or something like that.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thailand halts Grand Theft Auto sales after murder

Thailand halts Grand Theft Auto sales after murder By Nopporn Wong-Anan Mon Aug 4, 4:29 AM ET - BANGKOK (Reuters) - "A Thai video game distributor halted sales of "Grand Theft Auto" on Monday after a teenager confessed to robbing and murdering a taxi driver while trying to recreate a scene from the controversial game.

"We are sending out requests today to outlets and shops to pull the games off their shelves and we will replace them with other games," Sakchai Chotikachinda, sales and marketing director of New Era Interactive Media, told Reuters.

I wonder how many times this has happened in the States. I'd be surprised if it hasn't already been done in CA or NY or some place like Atlanta.

While I do not believe that video games are the Spawn of Satan, it would be good if there was a little less realism in games like GTA and their like. I don't see the fun in playing a game where you are a gang banger.

Even Black is better because there's no way to try and replicate scenes from it outside of Iraq or Afghanistan.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mass. Gov. signs gay marriage bill

Mass. Gov. signs gay marriage bill BOSTON (AP) — "Massachusetts on Thursday began allowing any gay couple to get married there as Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill repealing a 1913 law that had blocked most out-of-state same-sex couples from tying the knot."

Hopefully this will be the start of something. I don't expect to see every state running out and allowing gay marriage. But with any luck the tide has turned and the State and religious groups will get out of the bedroom. Maybe by the time my grand kids are old enough to marry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NASA confirms Saturn's moon Titan has liquid on its surface

WhooHoo! This is cool.

NASA has confirmed that "At least one of many large, lake-like features on Saturn's moon Titan studied by the international Cassini spacecraft contains liquid hydrocarbons, making it the only body in the solar system besides Earth known to have liquid on its surface, NASA said Wednesday."

There's more on Irene Klotz Discovery News Space Blog.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Army Wrestler Earns Greco-Roman Berth

Army Wrestler Earns Greco-Roman Berth June 23, 2008 | Army News Service | by Tim Hipps - LAS VEGAS - "Staff Sgt. Dremiel Byers secured an Olympic berth by defeating U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program teammate Spc. Timothy Taylor in the Greco-Roman heavyweight finals of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling on June 15."

This will be great to watch. You know there'll be military in events like the pentathlon and shooting but it's great to see them in other events as well. I'm reminded of the 1984 Olympics in LA. The winner of the 400m and 4x100m relay gold was a guy I went to high school with. He went to the Air Force academy and on the Olympic gold. Maybe I'll dig up all the info and post something about him later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

South Carolina's 'so gay' travel ad upsets state officials

South Carolina's 'so gay' travel ad upsets state officials [USA Today] By Page Ivey, Associated Press Writer COLUMBIA, S.C. — In late June, travel agent Matthew DeGuire got a call from a customer about an ad in London's subway.

"South Carolina is so gay" read the ad, alongside others touting Las Vegas, New Orleans, Boston and Atlanta as also being "so gay." The ads were timed with London's annual gay pride festival.

"He was pleasantly surprised about it," DeGuire said of his client.

But several state officials, including Gov. Mark Sanford, think the ad went too far. While the state's tourism agency initially agreed to pay $5,000 for the ad, the governor and other officials are now refusing to pickup that tab, saying taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to promote any group with a particular social or political agenda.

The employee at the state Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department who approved it has resigned, and Republican Sen. David Thomas has called for an audit of the state agency's spending.

Yes, more stupid crap from the homophobes. All they needed to do was use any of the first five definitions of the word "gay" from WordNet. Instead they get all pissy and make some poor slob Tourism Department fall on his sword.

Get a life.

[Yes, I'm extra cranky today. Can you tell?]

No Life Here

No Life Here | July 23, 2008 | Irene Klotz | Discovery News - "Looking for life in the universe? Here’s one place you can skip: a new view of the Pinwheel Galaxy, aka Messier 101, in infrared light shows a coral-red outer ring devoid of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons."

Doesn't matter how old I get, I still love this space $#!t as much as I did in my K-12 days. Check this article out if for nothing else than the image of the galaxy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Soldier Gets Silver [Medal] for Killing Bomber

Soldier Gets Silver [Medal] for Killing Bomber July 15, 2008 Knight Ridder FORT LEWIS, Wash. - "It took Sgt. Michael Espejo Jr. a moment to realize that the injured Afghan policeman he was dragging away from a burning truck was no policeman at all."

It's not uncommon to hear about an American Soldier killing an Insurgent in Iraq. You're more likely to hear about it the other way 'round. But when it happens have you ever wondered what the back story was? How did it come to take place? What happened to cause the incident? Here's one story where you can get a perspective of what it's like over there.

I'm usually fairly vague when it comes to political discussions on the war in Iraq. Primarily because so many people are so unbelievably polarized on it. It's impossible to have a conversation with someone who has their opinion and will refuse to even listen to anything else. My opinions on the issue are not ambiguous and based on my knowledge and life experiences. However I am always willing to listen to someone else's point of view. They might have a perspective that I haven't thought of which could help clarify my position one way or the other.

If anyone would like to calmly and rationally discuss this topic with me just let me know.
Like that's ever going to happen

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Abigail Adams leads rhetorical charge against Britain

November 12, 1775: Abigail Adams leads rhetorical charge against Britain
Upon hearing of England's rejection of the so-called Olive Branch Petition on this day in 1775, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, "Let us separate, they are unworthy to be our Brethren. Let us renounce them and instead of supplications as formerly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseech the almighty to blast their councils and bring to Nought all their devices."
I was just wandering around the History Channel web sight and thought I'd see what happened on my birthday. This one was interesting because I am a fan of the movie 1776. Anyone who's seen this film will not be surprised by Mrs. Adams position on this subject. If you haven't seen the movie then you are missing some very interesting information on the happenings of the American Revolution. The movie isn't just for those of you in the States, either. Knowledge of historical happenings in every part of the globe is fascinating and goes a long way towards keeping us from repeating it.

Keep away from the dark side!

With all the computer annoyances going on here lately I thought I'd give Windows Vista a try and see what all the (non)fuss is about. I reinstalled from the vendor supplied DVD, which went smoother than I'd expected (based on previous WinXX version installs I've done). As for how it fairs for me, here's the short and sweet of it...
It sucks!
No, wait. Make that...
The two of you who might be reading this will immediately suspect that I cam to this conclusion due to my fervent dislike of Microsoft and my near-zealotry for Linux. It's an understandable conclusion but not quite accurate today.

The biggest reason for the total suckage is the attempts that Microsoft has continually made to make everything "User Friendly." Every version of Windows from Win95 on has made the interface more cumbersome and less usable. It works fine if you only run a web browser, mail client and office-like applications. If you want to do any real work it's like pulling teeth. If you really want to see a well designed user interface check out a Mac running OS X 10. Heck, even older ones running OS 9 kick the pants off of anything Microsoft has done. Playing with Vista might be entertaining but this box is going to be wiped and have Fedora installed very soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Computer wars

I finally got one of my systems back up. There's still some customization that needs to be done but it's pretty much back to "normal" (whatever that is). The newer box is still very unhappy. If I can find the paperwork I'll see if it's still under warranty. It would be better not to have to spend any fund$ on it. Getting ready for that I put Vista back on it. Man, every time I think there might be something redeeming about Microsoft & Windows I give it a spin and it's just as sucky as ever. So far Win2K has been the best OS they've had. It's the one that sucks least.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Drug-Free Depression Treatments; More Effective?

Why Drug-Free Depression Treatments May Be More Effective | Newsweek Health
Source: www.newsweek.com - "In a new book, psychiatrist James Gordon explains why he believes there's a more effective and drug-free way to treat depression and anxiety.

About 10 percent of American women and 4 percent of men now take antidepressants (according to a 2004 CDC report). Gordon's new book, "Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression," outlines a treatment program he believes can be an alternative to medication. NEWSWEEK's Anne Underwood spoke to Gordon about his recommendations and how he's implemented them around the world.

As one who's taking three different anti-depressants this is an interesting read. It's always curious to me how the human race ever survived the first umpteen thousand years before all these drugs and therapy. But then again, one common theme in Science Fiction is how modern industry and technology are the cause of new ailments. And there's always the case that medicine has removed natural selection from humans allowing more "defective" genes to propagate.

Who knows?

Finally, I can take a normal shower

The cast is off and the doctor said the ankle is looking great. It was actually broken on both the bones in my leg. There was a small break on the big bone and a fairly good one on the small bone. I know, I know... These bones have proper names but I'm just feeling to lazy to look them up. Right now the ankle seems pretty strong but it still hurts if I bend it out. I didn't get a picture of either the red or the black cast but I'm sure two of you readers won't mind. It's nice that I will be able to drive again, though.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Saw it all off

I'm going to get my cast off today (Monday). I hope the ankle is all healed as I really don't want to be "casted" anymore. Hopefully I can last a little while before some other medical malady decides to inflict itself on me. I should have been asleep more than 45 minutes ago but, oh well. I'll still make it there.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Help Support 1-800-SUICIDE

"1-800-SUICIDE marks its tenth anniversary this year. It was founded in 1998 by Reese Butler in memory of his wife, Kristin who had committed suicide. The Kristin Brooks Hope Center has helped almost three million callers connect to help and hope.

As they enter their second decade of service to the public, continued support is needed to ensure that the confidentiality of every caller is protected. Because they are totally privately funded, they need to prove to the government that they are capable of supporting 1-800-SUICIDE to keep control of the line from being taken over by the federal government.

The Hope Center's volunteer staff and Board remain committed to preserving confidential suicide prevention programs. Your action today assures their sustainability!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

PWCS Student Named Miss Teen DC International

PWCS Student Named Miss Teen DC International Date: 6/17/2008 - "Ashley Fleming, a student at Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, has been named Miss Teen DC International 2008 and is now eligible to compete for the Miss Teen International 2008 title. Through her platform of education, Ashley will be encouraging youth to take advantage of the educational opportunities that exist in our nation within their reach."

Just a little local news for some light reading. PWCS stands for Prince William County Schools.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Hotter Away from Home

It's Hotter Away from Home By Sharon Begley | Newsweek Web Exclusive Jun 16, 2008 | Updated: 5:57 p.m. ET Jun 16, 2008 - "Andrea, a 27-year-old writer who lives in Philadelphia, recently went to Paris for a weeklong vacation with her 30-year-old boyfriend, a chef in the Philly area. The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and the Tuileries all lived up to their advance billing, but one aspect of the getaway scored a clear "better than expected": the after-hours activities. "Even though we were running around like crazy seeing all the sights," Andrea recalls, "we still had sex almost every day," compared to an average of once or twice a week back home. "And the sex was better; we both seemed more relaxed.""

I must say that I have experienced this, myself. Not when I was in Paris, though. You can get this effect at home, too, with a little work. Just some simple redecorating, a few well chosen outfits and you can have a nice romping weekend. Apply rules number one and five from the Seven Ways to Keep Your Man list and keep the van rockin'.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ban on Sex for Soldiers in Afghanistan Lifted ... Sort Of

Ban on Sex for Soldiers in Afghanistan Lifted ... Sort Of Stars and Stripes | Drew Brown | May 15, 2008 JALALABAD, Afghanistan -- "Single soldiers and civilians working for the U.S. military in Afghanistan can now have sex legally. Sort of.
A new order signed by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-101, has lifted a ban on sexual relations between unmarried men and women in the combat zone.

This is about interfacing with the local mores and customs. There's been sex in war zones ever since the first pseudo-man cracked another with a jawbone. IMO, because of the location and culture it would be advisable to make sure all nookie happens behind closed doors and away from the locals.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One-Horned 'Unicorn' Deer Born in Italy

One-Horned 'Unicorn' Deer Born in Italy Marta Falconi, Associated Press June 11, 2008 -- "A deer with a single horn in the center of its head -- much like the fabled, mythical unicorn -- has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy, park officials said Wednesday."

This is really far out, I think. Yes, it's just a mutation but it's still cool to see a unicorn in some fashion. After all, the world should still have a little magic in it.

Have I ever told you about my belief that dragons are real?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ubuntu's need to catch a wave

Ubuntu's need to catch a wave Submitted by dag on Sun, 2008/05/18 - 00:38 -- "Let me play devil's advocate here. Mark Shuttleworth's recent pledge to join a synchronized release plan for Enterprise Linux distributions is no more than a wish to benefit from a lot of work that Novell and Red Hat are already doing in the Enterprise space."

Just ran across this. It's not an Ubuntu bash op-ed piece. It's simply pointing out some business aspects of the Enterprise Linux world.

Most Linux enthusiasts are Linux desktop users or Open Source supporters, like myself. This demographic is not likely to be paying for support due to the fact that they are much more capable of handling their own support issues with the help of the community. In the business world there is no way an Enterprise entity would ever use anything without a strong and detailed support contract. Not having one would be like throwing their revenue into the furnace.

Would you do that with your paycheck?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Congressman: Chinese hacked Capitol computers

Congressman: Chinese hacked Capitol computers By Pete Yost And Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press WASHINGTON — "A congressman said Wednesday the FBI has found that four of his government computers have been hacked by sources working out of China."

This won't come as a surprise to anyone in the tech/security industry. The real shocking thing is that even with decades of first hand evidence the governments and schools are still using Microsoft products. Might as well hang out the proverbial sign saying, "Come one, come all! Here's free data for everyone to get with little or not effort!"

Monday, June 02, 2008

Seven Ways to Keep Your Man

I was watching a repeat of the Tyra Banks Show (I seriously love Tyra) and the topic for the day was how to keep your man from leaving. Seems there's some occasions where a guy breaks up with a girl and she has no idea why. She had seven guys who had broken up with their girlfriends for various reasons plus a team of "experts" on relationships. I thought it was interesting so here's the list and some comments on it.

1) Don't go longer than 2 weeks without sex - This is more about not using sex as a bargaining tool. Sometimes women, when they get into a "disagreement" with their guys or want them to do something, will withhold sex. Making sex a part of the "battle" will do nothing but drive a wedge between you. Sex should be for love and enjoyment (and occasionally making babies). This goes for adults in a mature relationship that is already intimate.

2) Don't be a bitch - No picking at, nagging, complaining about or any other "bitchy-like" behavior. The only thing you're going to get out of this is dumped.

3) Don't be clingy - It's good to let men have a little guy time. The occasional boys night out or letting them have their man cave is good. But more specifically, no calling every 15 minutes or checking up on them or dragging them to something completely out of their realm (the example on the show was don't drag your guy with you to get your hair done). Like the old adage, the tighter you hold the more they move away.

4) Trust or get out - This one simply means if you don't trust your guy, especially to the point of spying on them, then you're not in a healthy relationship. If you are digging through his email or checking all his phone numbers or even following him around then either he's no good for you or your paranoid. Either way break off the relationship.

5) Keep it fresh - Don't get into a rut. Plan a date night or the like. The number one recommendation from the show was "Lingerie." Variation and surprise were the rule-of-thumb.

6) Don't let money rule your heart - If the only reason you like a guy is how much he can buy for you then you're likely going to be single soon. IOW, no gold digging.

7) Love yourself - If you don't like who you are how is anyone else supposed to? Self confidence and self assurance are very strong attractors for both genders.

And lest we forget the women, here's three good rules for when to get out of a relationship.

1) Never stay in an abusive relationship - While this might seem like common sense the fact is many women will stay with an abuser thinking they will change him. While you may love him if he's physically, mentally or psychologically abusing you then he doesn't love you.

2) Leave controlling men - In my opinion I feel that this falls under abusive behavior. A controller is just using physical and emotional tactics to get their way.

3) Leave if you find evidence of cheating - There are some basic indicators that cheating lovers usually exhibit. This doesn't mean forgetting #4 above but if you have evidence of cheating then it's time to bail.

And there you have it. If you keep to these general rules then your man will be happy at home. Unless he's a psycho or something.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Limpin' Loner

Last Thursday evening, while standing over the bathroom sink, I had a slight blackout and fell1. It's not the first time that's happened and probably won't be the last.

The difference is that this time I fell in such a way that I broke my right ankle. This is only the second time I've had a broken bone in my life. The first was in 2002 or 2003 when I broke my toe in Tae Kwon Do class. That was slightly annoying but as it was on my left foot it didn't have a major impact on my lifestyle. See, my left leg is substantially weaker than my right. Now, I'm in a bit of a mix because I have no solid support to stand on. Thankfully a few years ago I bought an electronic wheelchair off of e-bay for a song. The Orthopedic doctor isn't thrilled with the chair idea but right now it's the only way I can get around. Hopefully the ankle will heal enough so I won't need it for very long.

[1] Yes, the whole blacking out thing was noticed by the doctors. Seems they weren't happy with the idea I'd been having this nearly everyday for a few years and didn't tell them about it. Hey, wha'da expect? I'm a guy. They're lucky my family dragged me in to look at my ankle.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Would you listen to your future self?

Teenagers Listen to No One Not Even Themselves
(As seen on the blog temporarilyme.com)
May 16th, 2008

At 1:00pm today, 27 years ago, I was born. Three years until I am 30. I can’t even believe how fast it feels like time has passed. It seems like just yesterday I was starting grade 10 and falling for my first true love, when in actuality - that happened 12 years ago! 12. Wow.

Now, at 27, what would I tell my former high school self?

Interesting theoretical exercise, this. What would you tell your high school self? Thirty years ago I was just finishing my sophomore year. And 28 years ago it was about three weeks until graduation. There are a lot of things I've learned in the intervening time that, if I could put them to use back then, would really make me an popular and highly sought after guy by the girls. But then, as implied by the title, I know I'd never have listened to a 45yo man in a wheelchair.

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