Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quote for the day

"People say the glass is half full. But they dont say of what."
Scott Adams

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Guest Posting

My Brother came to town on the way home for Christmas. After checking thoroughly to make sure it really was my brother, and not some practical-joking Diety, I took him home from the airport, and we chatted for a while before he drove off in my truck for the holidays. Among the things we talked about was whether or not he'd do a guest post for this blog. He said, Yes.

So here it is.


I'm sure you will anyway, but check for technical errors only. No editing of content. Got it, mister?

(Got it)

Greetings to all, hoping that this finds everyone enjoying a wonderful holiday season, whatever particular holiday that may be for you. This is Dave's brother, contributing a guest posting upon his request. I've never done anything even remotely like this before, so bear with me as I ramble on for what will seem like an eternity, while saying what will amount to next to nothing. Writing has never really been my strong suit, which is probably why I'm a bean counter now. I'm going to dig deep, deep into my arts & sciences past when I used to write alot (poli sci major - fat lotta good that one did me) to come up with whatever it is that I do come up with, but what the hell, it should be fun.
Well, for me anyway.
As far as an introduction goes, I'll be brief. In fact, since he's done a fair, but not completely accurate, job of describing me, there's really only a couple of clarifications that I want to note. The first is that I have never voted for Dubya.
I want to stress that.
Even when that meant voting for that simp Kerry. God, what a dead fish. I felt like it was the 80's and I was faced with Michael Dukakis again. Ew.
I think Dave still sees me in the light of my college days, though, when I actually was the stereotypical right-wing frat boy. But I've mellowed since then. Basically, I'm a pretty centrist guy with a healthy distaste for extremism from either side. If I had one political wish for the year, it would be for complete Congressional re-districting, done by a wholly independent, bipartisan committee of some sort (former judges and lawmakers who are completely removed from the system - and that by their own choice - usually do a nice job in situations like that). The people should pick the politicians, not the other way around. Not sure who said that, but I agree whole-heartedly. I believe that that would be the first domino to fall in the chain leading to the return of civil discourse in politics.
I know, I know.
That's probably about as likely to happen as Ann Coulter having Al Franken's love child, but a man can dream, can't he?

The second clarification? I loathe and detest everything about Family Circus, including little Billy's trails.

Now that I've got those things cleared up, from here, I think that I'll just do some random, stream-of-thought-type stuff.

- I would suggest to everyone that they include in their day a visit to the comics page of whatever site you enjoy. I use the Houston Chronicle. Never read the actual paper (I'll bet the editorial section is pretty scary - it is DeLay country, after all), but they have a top-notch comics page. Huge selection, and the best part is you can build your own page. You get only the ones you choose, and they're from that day. The only drawback is that they don't carry the Sunday comics on most of the selections. The Washington Post has a pretty broad selection as well. Any way you go, adding that bit of laughter to your day is a nice treat.

- Is it just me, or is the 24 hours of A Christmas Story one of the greatest television programming moves ever? First off, the movie itself is arguably the best Christmas movie out there. And the fact that it's on for an entire day? Genius. Catch a scene here, go do something else, watch another scene later, whatever. My four favorite scenes, in no particular order: 1) The "f dash dash dash" scene. Specifically, the part where Ralphie's mom calls Schwartz's mom to rat him out. The screaming on the other end of the line is hysterical; 2) Ralphie modeling the bunny suit from Aunt Clara; 3) The flagpole scene. Enough said; 4) and finally, Ralphie beating the hell out of Scott Farcus. Not the actual beating up, but two tiny pieces of the scene: the hushed and awe-filled, "Did you hear what he said?" from the crowd, and Schwartz trying to warn Ralphie that his mom was coming, and then trying to play it cool when she got there. Loved it.

- How about Judge John Jones, huh? I think that "breathtaking inanity" is going to be one of my favorite phrases of the decade. Unfortunately, from reading the fallout and reaction from his decision, there's going to be plenty of opportunity to use it. I read where one of the former Dover school board members said that the Constitution does not call for the separation of church and state. Wow. Luckily for him, he's wrong, and the same amendment that makes him wrong also provides for his right to make such asinine statements.

- One month, two weeks, five days before pitchers and catchers report.

- I was sitting in my seat on my flight to Big-D during boarding, and a lady comes down the aisle looking for her seat. She finds another person sitting in her seat, and says, "I think you're in my seat. I'm in 18C. What is your seat?" The person in 18C says, "I'm not sure. Let me check." Now, how do you get on a plane and not know where your seat is? I could see, "Oops. I'm supposed to be in 17C", or "Oh, I thought this was 18D", but "I'm not sure"? Hello, there are other people in the world, and they don't need to put up with your dumb ass. And this person wasn't kidding, either. They had to dig for the ticket stub to find out where they were supposed to be sitting. Amazing.

- Saw a flyer posted to a street light in my neighborhood the other day. It said, "Lost Dog, Miniature Terrier, Lucky". Irony is a cruel bitch.

Well, I think that's all from me for now. It's been fun, but I'm reminded why I don't do this on a consistent basis. I can't seem to just sit down and write off the cuff. It's got to be in final form, for lack of a better term. I suppose that trying to do this more often would be good practice for getting over that, but I guess that's up to Dave.
And even if he said I did fine, could I trust him?
I just found out, for instance, what he really thought about the chili I made for lunch one day during last year's trip home. At the time he said he liked it. In fact, when I pulled out the chili mix package just two days ago to show him that I'd brought some with me (can't get it in this part of the country), he was all excited. But when I got home to Mom's and showed her, she filled me in on how things really were. Sure, he can call me a fascist neo-nazi to my face, but all of a sudden he's too worried about my feelings to tell me what he really thinks about my chili. Oh well, it's not like I can think of a screen name, anyway.

Steve (the Brother)

As a final note, I'd like to add that Mom is wrong. I did like the Chili (Cincinnati-style, over spaghetti. mmmm).

Friday, December 23, 2005


Busy, busy, busy. But since this is a quickie, I'll let Gisher tag me just this once:
  1. I can... slice a pizza into 9 even slices.
  2. I love... to print in a darkroom for hours and hours.
  3. I have... no football paraphenalia in my house, whatsoever.
  4. The Big Sleep my favorite movie (today).
  5. I started... writing on computers in 1988, but I still like a good typewriter.
That's all, folks! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone, even the Boys at Homeland Security!

Oh, and a tag to, um...Library Bitch!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Carnival of the Liberals #2

The winners at this week's Carnival of the Liberals are up, and obviously they were having trouble with their mail server because Daveawayfromhome has won a spot in the Carnival, which can only be explained by a lack of entries.

So, quick! Go read everything in the Carnival before they come to their senses!

quote for the day

"There are times when the best light comes from a burning bridge"

Brian Burns

Blogtrolling, so you dont have to

Okay, here's this month's selection of potentially worthy blogs that I've come across during my nomadic wanderings

about the blogosphere:

a very angry woman just started at Anon
*Amuse-bouche: singaporean girl
Automatic Writing: conservative amateur journalist (new one here)
*Trials and Tribulations - Deployment Time: military wife
*Marced for Trouble: about the train commute to Washington DC
*Hollywhatever: actress' blog; funny, profane
*HP Sauce: her comments link says this - "n People Think yogi was not smarter than the average bear and was nothing but a picnic basket thieving little shit"
Get-Well Wishes for Chris Newman: a blog get-well card, kind of cool (update: done, but still lovely)
*Word Salads: nice analogy - earthquakes/social change
Fish or Cut Bait: art!
Define Normal by the Red Pants of Justice
Spastic: amusing
Kevin Mills Photography
*Where Dreams Have All Gone: brand new marriage/blog
*Semper Gumby: from a blogging class, is there a sell-by date?
I like Mad Mustard, I might have to sidebar him
*My Life: college girl
Solo Mojo: ex-stockbroker now journalism student
Tomas Muse, stories n' links
*the Skeptical Observer: sidebar? (now empty, called "Kakmazoo")
My Crazy Naked Girlfriend: is this porn, or real?
*Hope - for Kids that dont fit IN!: educational crusade by a long-distance walker
ephlis01: quotes, poetry, what all
*the Natural Tailor of Natural Joy: whoa. great/disturbing "comic" art
*Misinformed Machine: more cartoons
the Reform Club: decent conservative blog
*Swapatorium: an antique / junk shoppers collection - cool stuff
*Marina Piatkowski: diary of a polish immigrant - real?
*Roots and Wings: college girl from livejournal
*This is the way I serve my sentence: articles + photos
The Working Families Party Man: leftie blog (new site here)
*This Sistah Says: girl in rehab - excellent!
*iamtheshadow: humor
Walking English: poems
*Sloppydawg: politics - "o'reilly/falafel" thing mentioned
Twitz: a strip a day: comix
*the Forgotten Tree: Cries for Help: liberal?
Kiss and Blog: man and woman on dating and sex and so on
thedalyblog: cool sketches - daily!
Paul W Ruiz : Paintings and Drawings life drawings/paintings
Flan: not quite jelly, not quite cake: funny, young punk
*Illusions: optical illusions
*Red Shift: arts reviews
Freedom Now: political - unsure of orientation Conservative
Back of the Napkin:
*The Moon Split: an american girl converted to islam
A Softer World": more comix... well, sort of
Uncyclopedia: not Wikipedia
*War on Christmas: Reporting on the Great Battle for Christmas
everybody cares, everybody understands, a music site

(update 1/22/06 - * indicates a site either dead or more than three months since functioning)

As always, I dont guarantee any of these. For the most part I looked at them once, then noted them briefly and moved on. Now I'm putting them in link form to easier hit them whenever I get a chance or an urge. Eventually, if I like them, they may end up in my Blogroll, or even on the sidebar where my Daily Reads go.

And what have I learned about the "next" button:
If you his a porn site, jump out as soon as possible, or they'll just keep coming.
There are way too many self-involved folks making dark "artsy" blogs with everything stuffed into a small square.
The ones who use different colors and different font sizes for each post are rarely worth the time reading them.
Blogging really is a world-wide thing.
And what is it with the anime imagery? Seriously.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A New
Contract with America

I love Rude Pundit. He's one of my "daily reads" for a reason. Here's his suggestion for a new "contract" between the Government and the People:

"I (the undersigned) believe President George W. Bush when he says that the United States of America is fighting a 'new kind of enemy' that requires 'new thinking' about how to wage war. Therefore, as a loyal citizen of President Bush’s United States, my signature below indicates my agreement to the following:

"1. I believe wholeheartedly in the Patriot Act as initially passed by Congress in 2001, as well as the provisions of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act. Therefore, I grant the FBI access to:

"a. my library records, so it may determine if I am reading material that might
designate me an enemy of the nation;

"b. my financial records, including
credit reports, so it may determine if I am contributing monetarily to any
governmentally proscribed activities or organizations;

"c. my medical
records, so it may determine if my prescriptions, injuries, or other conditions
are indicative of terrorist activity on my part;

"d. any and all other
personal records including, but not limited to, my store purchases, my school
records, my web browsing history, and anything else determined as a 'tangible
thing' necessary to engage in a secret investigation of me.

"I agree
that I do not need to be notified if my records have come under scrutiny by the
FBI, and, furthermore, I agree that no warrant is needed for the FBI to engage
in this examination of my personal records. Additionally, I agree that the FBI
should be allowed to monitor any groups it believes may be linked to what it
determines to be terrorist activity.

"2. I believe that the President of the United States has the power to mitigate any and all laws passed by the Congress and that he has such power granted to him by his status as Commander-in-Chief in the Constitution as well as the 2001 Authorization of Military Force, passed by the Congress, which states that the President can use 'all necessary and appropriate force' in prosecution of the war. Therefore, I grant the United States government the following powers:

"a. that the National Security Agency, under the direction of the President, may
tap my phone lines and intercept my e-mail without warrant or FISA oversight;

"b. that the President may hold me or other detainees without access to
the legal system for a period of time determined by the President or his agents;

"c. that the President may authorize physical force against me or other
individual detainees in order to gain intelligence and that he may define
whether such physical force may be called 'torture':

"d. that the
President may set aside any and all laws he sees as hindering the gathering of
intelligence and prevention of terrorist acts for a period as time determined by
the President, including, but not limited to, rights to political protest.

"I agree that the Judicial and Legislative branch should be allowed no
oversight of these activities, and that such oversight merely emboldens the
terrorists. I also agree that virtually all of these activities may be conducted
in complete secrecy and that revelation of these activities amount to treasonous
behavior on the part of those who reveal these activities to the press and the

"3. Finally, this document is my statement that I believe the President of the United States and the entire executive branch, as well as all departments and agencies involved, as well as all of its personnel, will treat these powers I have granted them with utmost respect. I believe that these powers will not be abused, nor will any of the information I have given them permission to examine be misinterpreted. However, should such abuse or misinterpretation occur, I agree that such actions are mere errors and no one should be subject to investigation, arrest, or employment action as a result.

"My consent freely given,
"(Your signature)"

Hmm. Ready to sign? Looks different all laid out in print, doesnt it? Print this out, and hand it to anyone who still doesnt understand that BushCo is one of the Greatest Criminal Organizations of the last 50 years. If they are actually stupid enough to sign it, send it to the White House. They wont thank you for it, but you can be damn sure they'll use it if it suits their purposes.
Not that they "need" your permission.

this time I'm quoting me

There's a bit of lively commentary going on today over at Polanco Consulting, and I just wanted to post something here that I said over there, because I think it's important:
The easiest way to piss off everybody is to make assumptions about what someone is thinking based on what they are saying. Both Left and Right are grossly guilty of this, and I think it is a major contributor to the political rancor we now "enjoy".
Oddly, though, few people, even as they assume what the other side is thinking, seem to pay attention to what their own side (or even the opposition) is actually doing, despite their words. There is a huge disconnect these days between words and actions, everywhere in America.
Maybe that's what we ought to be concentrating on.
Listen to what they say, comment on what they say. If what they say refers to someone else's words from the past, comment on what that person has done since. Specualtion is all well and good, but dont assume you "know" someone's motives by following a chain of logic(or illogic) from their words to your own conclusion.
You can guess, you can speculate, you can even ask, "is this what you're thinking?", but unless you're looking for a fight, dont say, "Oh, you just think thisansuch" unless they say it.
On the other hand, dont just take them at their word, 'cause people lie like dogs in a sunny backyard. If their actions dont match their words - call'em on it! If their logic has gaps, ask them to fill in those gaps. Maybe they'll get angry - that's probably a hole that can be exploited (and by exploited I mean attacked; but dont expect to change anyone's mind, that doesnt happen much)

That's all. I am trying to contain the madness shown yesterday.
It's not easy.

I may require a cheeseburger.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It can happen here

Credit to Coturnix for bringing this to my attention:

Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel It Can't Happen Here envisioned an America in thrall to a homespun facist dictator.
By Joe Keohane December 18, 2005 - The Boston Globe

PICTURE THIS: A folksy, self-consciously plainspoken Southern politician rises to power during a period of profound unrest in America. The nation is facing one of the half-dozen or so of its worst existential crises to date, and the people, once sunny, confident, and striving, are now scared, angry, and disillusioned.

This politician, a "Professional Common Man," executes his rise by relentlessly attacking the liberal media, fancy-talking intellectuals, shiftless progressives, pinkos, promiscuity, and welfare hangers-on, all the while clamoring for a return to traditional values, to love of country, to the pie-scented days of old when things made sense and Americans were indisputably American. He speaks almost entirely in "noble but slippery abstractions" - Liberty, Freedom, Equality - and people love him, even if they can't fully articulate why without resorting to abstractions themselves.

Through a combination of factors-his easy bearing chief among them (along with massive cash donations from Big Business; disorganization in the liberal opposition; a stuffy, aloof opponent; and support from religious fanatics who feel they've been unfairly marginalized)-he wins the presidential election.

Once in, he appoints his friends and political advisers to high-level positions, stocks the Supreme Court with "surprisingly unknown lawyers who called [him] by his first name," declaws Congress, allows Big Business to dictate policy, consolidates the media, and fills newspapers with "syndicated gossip from Hollywood." Carping newspapermen worry that America is moving backward to a time when anti-German politicians renamed sauerkraut "Liberty Cabbage" and "hick legislators...set up shop as scientific experts and made the world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution," but newspaper readers, wary of excessive negativity, pay no mind.

Given the nature of "powerful and secret enemies" of America-who are "planning their last charge" to take away our freedom - an indefinite state of crisis is declared, and that freedom is stowed away for safekeeping. When the threat passes, we can have it back, but in the meantime, citizens are asked to "bear with" the president.

Sure, some say these methods are extreme, but the plain folks are tired of wishy-washy leaders, and feel the president's decisiveness is its own excuse. Besides, as one man says, a fascist dictatorship "couldn't happen here in America...we're a country of freemen!"
Scary. Way too real.

tin-hat time, again

Okay, I'm freaking myself out a bit, again.

Remember the late 70's, early 80's. Most people were more or less resigned to the coming nuclear holocaust, it seemed inevitable that it would happen at some time (Reagan didnt help that feeling).
And let's not forget the talk of Armageddon. I remember seeing a movie, in a real theatre, about the coming apocalypse. The primary sign of the coming of the end, was the emergence of the Anti-Christ, right? 666, the Number of the Beast. If you're like me, even if you think it was all a load of crap, encountering that number still sends a little frisson of horror through you.

Now, we've got a Fundamentalist (emphasis on "mental") President, taking our armies into the Middle East, just a few hundred miles from Apocalypse Central. No doubt, in an ignored corner of your mind, you took comfort in the fact that while Bush's first name, George, contains 6 letters, and his middle name, Walker, contains 6 letters, his last name, Bush, contains only 4 letters.
Whew! Monster, but no Beast.

But wait. Wasnt Jewish society matriarchal? So I wondered, "what's Barbara Bush's maiden name?"



6 letters...

Good thing I'm not religious, huh?

heh, heh...


Sunday, December 18, 2005

a reminder

Hey, hey, hold up a minute.

Before everyone goes crazy talking about Bush and the Patriot Act and spying and torture, and all that stuff, lets take a moment to reflect on a simple truth:

Assuming that BushCo doesnt successfully throw a coup or something, all laws and executive orders can be repealled!

Now, dont you feel better?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

that sucking sound you hear is your rights being Hoovered away for another 30 years

Will people never learn? Remember a certain dress-wearing head of the FBI who held onto power because he knew all the dirty secrets? Remember the sigh of relief once he finally died and the rules were changed so we wouldnt have to endure another one like him?

Oh wait, but then some very angry men did the unthinkable, everybody panicked, and hey,ho, Hoover! Happy spying days are here again! There are enough members of the U.S. Senate who care enough to try and change things, but their foe is implacable, and shows little interest following rules anyway.

Let us not forget that whatever the rules may say, the Bush Corporation has a great love of sub-contracting. So perhaps it wont really matter what Congress or the courts, or anybody does. Maybe BushCo will get all the information it needs from "concerned citizens" who are just keeping an eye on their neighbors. For money.

Hey, if it'll work for torture, it'll work for everything.

Friday, December 16, 2005


dem bones
Poetry time, with Uncle Dave

What are little girls made of?
     sugar and spice
     and everything nice,
that's what little girls are made of.

What are little boys made of?
     Snips and snails
     and puppy dog tails,
that's what little boys are made of.

What are little daveawayfromhomes made of?
     Bad puns and weirdness
     and unshaven beardness,
that's what little daveawayfromhomes are made of.

What are little presidents made of?
     Propaganda and spice
     makes the poison taste nice,
that's what little presidents are made of.

What are little fundies made of?
     Inventing great rifts
     twixt us and God's gifts,
that's what little fundies are made of.

What are little CEOs made of?
     Less workers, more onus
     means the boss gets a bonus,
that's what little CEOs are made of.

What are little televangelists made of?
     With their tongues forked in honey
     they sell God and make money,
that's what little televangelists are made of.

What are little lobbyists made of?
     Connections and meddling
     and influence peddling,
that's what little lobbyists are made of.

What are little pop stars made of?
     Fame that is fleeting
     whatever the bleating,
that's what little pop stars are made of.

What are little fashionistas made of?
     Ever renewing
     what is ult'mitly pooing,
that's what little fashionistas are made of.

What are little supreme court nominees made of?
    Constitutional violence
    'midst conservative silence,
that's what little supreme court nominees are made of.

What are little bloggers made of?
     Independence and guile
     and a whole lot of bile,
that's what little bloggers are made of.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

conscientious objection followed by appeal to authority

Okay, I've had enough. Yes, I've participated in it. I'm not proud of that. But really, enough is enough.

I had tried, and failed to take the High Road. Attempts to ignore the issue failed, as charges grew ever more ridiculous. Torture, War, the Economy, and Governmental Corruption, all brushed aside.

Yes folks, we have come to the point where even our social battles are Themed for the Holidays.

I am talking, of course, about the latest facet of the Liberal War Against Christianity: The War on Christmas.

Is it stupid? Yes.
Does it distract from other, more serious issues? Boy, does it ever.
Should Jerry Falwell and his ilk burn in Hell for adding their two cents to the marketting campaign for Christmas? Hell, yes!

Why do I think the "Christmas Crusaders" are so stupid? Well, let's see. Suppose they win, and Christmas becomes really Christmassy. What happens then? Only Christians will want to participate in Christmas, that's what. Then some misguided busy-body will bring forth a law suit charging that Christmas Break is Unconstitutional because it gives state holiday status to a Religious Observance (plus, let's face it, as anyone in a pre-college school knows, Christmas break and the end of the semester do not coincide unless the school year starts really early, i.e., weeks before Labor Day). So we may lose that.
But more important to Christians should be the loss of Good PR.


Think about this. Regardless of your religion, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Wiccan, Buddhist, Taoist, Shinto, Animist, Satanist, whateverist, unless you work at 7-11, you've got a day off, courtesy of the Baby Jesus. You cant buy that kind of appreciation. All over America, when anybody but convience store clerks and movie theatre employees think of this particular Christian Holiday, they feel happy. Maybe nobody does say "Oh, I owe my day of rest to Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you!" But it's in their head, whether they know it or not. Just as Republicans have managed to equate "civic responsibility" with "robbery by taxation", so does "Winter Break" equal "Christmas".

Still, despite any satisfaction my internal snobbery for my superior reasoning may have given me, the issue was still buggin me. If I couldnt maintain the high road, perhaps I could call upon a Major Authority Figure.

So I e-mailed God (I had His e-mail after our last encounter).

---dave wrote:
> What's your stand on the Christmas/Holiday dispute?
> dave

--- God TheFather wrote:
> Sometimes you humans really amaze Me, and I'm
> omniscient. A few points:
> 1) Holiday = Holy Day - what more could one ask for?
> 2) Even Biblical scholars will agree that I'm the same
> God for Islam, Judeaism, and Christianity,
> which covers a sizeable chunk of holiday-goers right
> there.
> 3) Jesus is a big boy now, and He doesn't mind
> sharing His birthday.
> God

---dave wrote:
> Cant you have a talk with Faldwell, quiet him
> down or something?
> dave

---God TheFather wrote:
> I know I've tried, but each time he simply claims I'm the
> Devil come to decieve him, sticks his fingers in his ears,
> and sings the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" really loud.
> And deliberately off-key.
> And don't ask me to descend upon him My Heavenly
> Wrath. I've told you before that I dont do that stuff.
> God
So, there you have it. The Ultimate Authority, and He's come down on the side of Holiday. Any questions?

the continuing war

Well, this is odd. This morning on NPR I hear a report on how Dennis Hastert has weighed in on the Christmas side of the Great Holiday War. You can see a report here on But while I found this story in a Google search, all the mainstream links to this story (WaPo, YahooNews, Seattle Post-Intelligencer) were dead. Here's the link to the Buffalo News. See, dead. So what happened?

Ah, wait. The Guardian has the scoop. God save England.

But wait, there's more. Check out this juicy tidbit from last years "Holiday" Tree.

You know, I can just picture Hastert, snoozing in his chair after a hard day of Politiking... Do you suppose he had a late-night visit from an old friend? A bit of all-night indulging of spirits? A morning awakening filled with remorse and a fierce joy at still being able to make a difference?

Too bad he's pissing it all away on this stupid Christmas vs. Holiday crap

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


There's another Carnival of the Liberals coming up. It'll open on the 21st of December, but if you want to try to get in, you must submit (yours or someone's who you liked) by the 19th (Monday).
I tried for the last one. I didnt get in though, and the goons they sent 'round to my house afterward roughed me up pretty good. Still, I'm getting some feeling back in my fingers again, so I may try again.

yet more action

Hey, I dont know why I'm coming across all this video today, but I'm a sharing kind of fellow, and so I pass it on: John Stewart takes on Bill O'Reilly. props to Word

camera, action

Looks like it's a good day for the movies. Here, you can watch Saddam get jiggy in the courtroom. Woo hoo! props again to Khalid

scientology kills

Okay, now this is a much better waste of my time and yours: Tom Kills Oprah!

on the war front

I am filled with self-loathing at my own complicity at giving any more coverage to this stupid non-issue, but I'm going to share this anyway. Kolmogorov is running a blog called "The War on Christmas", which I sincerely hope is a tongue-in-cheek updating of the latest "war" news.

Seriously, an on-going war unpopular with everyone but BushCo and their sheep, a budget deficit nearing crisis proportions, energy prices at record highs, and torture; and this is what idiots have to discuss in this country?


ready for it?

People talk about Iraqis not being ready for democracy, but sometimes I think it's us who arent ready. This morning on NPR they were talking to Amal Kashif al-Ghita about her run for a seat in the Iraqi Government. She said more in two minutes than most American candidates say in two hours worth of soundbites. If she loses, do you suppose we could get her to come here and run for office?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

holiday sights

Huzzah! I've had my first "Festivus" sighting of the Holiday Season (that's right, I said h-o-l-i-d-a-y). Oddly, it was on StinkHorn Rodeo. For a bunch of busy ranchers, they sure know a lot of pop references.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I've come across this quote from an article in the U.S. News several times, and so I feel compelled now to share my two cents worth on it. First, here's the quote:
Alito Backlash in the Works
The GOP team working with the White House to win confirmation of conservative Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is putting out a warning to Alito's Democratic critics: Question his ethics and character at your own peril. In their sights: Sens. Edward Kennedy and Joe Biden. "We're absolutely prepared to have an ethics debate with Teddy Kennedy," says one insider who mentioned the "C" word: Chappaquiddick. "Questioning Alito's credibility and character will be hit back hard," said one of the Alito supporters.
Let's just start out by saying that I'm not a big Ted Kennedy fan. I've got nothing against him, but yeah, the goings on that night in Chappaquiddick seem a little odd. But guess what, that's an issue between Kennedy, and the voters of Massachusetts. The issue here is whether or not we, the entire United States of America, want Samuel Alito to represent us as one of our nation's top nine legal scholars, whose job it will be to defend the People from the UnConstitutional whims of the both the Congress and the President. That's why we must ask the "ugly" questions. Because the constitutionality of laws for the next twenty or thirty years will be in the hands of this man (with 8 others, of course). Additionally, every time one president, whoever he is, replaces more than one Supreme Court Justice, it becomes more important than ever to make sure that the choice is a good one.
On top of all this, the Bush Administration more and more shows itself to be an administration entirely unconcerned with Law, Morality, Fair Play, or anything that might get in the way of it satisfying it's own all to personal desires. This makes it more important than ever to ask Alito the hard questions. That makes the lack of real answers recieved from Roberts all the more worrying.

Let's just hope that the Senate feels the cold wind of next November on the backs of their necks, and tries to do something right for a change. (besides the obvious, like anti-torture legislation.)


Let me just add, what they're describing above is not a backlash. It is retaliation. It is thuggery.

bad parent, bad!

Do not buy these toys for your children, I implore you!
(props to Falafel Sex)

It is just paper, if you treat it so

I got this from G, and I'll just print the quote and give the link, because if it doesnt explain BushCo, you'll never be convinced. The only thing missing is an "authorative" confirmation of "fact", and we'll never get that with the current compromised state of the News Media.
Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”
The source is something called Capital Hill Blue, which I've never heard of. This doesnt mean it's not true. The actions of the Bush Corporation make it quite clear that they have little respect for any rule but their own desire.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

my tragicly skewed humor gene

Sad, really. I posted the thing below, hoping someone would take the bait and say, "I've looked and looked, but I dont see how it's any different from your regular logo".
At which point I would triumphantly answer, "The glass is half-full of eggnog!"


I should have known it wouldnt work by the lukewarm response (at best) that my wife gave it, and she's endured my sense of humor for 16+ years.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Special Edition Daveawayfromhome Holiday Logo

can you guess what's special about the special edition daveaweayfromhome holiday logo?
This is the Special Edition Daveawayfromhome Holiday Logo, made especially for this season. After the New Years we'll go back to the regular logo. Special Edition also available with T-shirts, or as available as the T-shirts are.

what's that buzzing?

Well, despite the attempts of the right, the buzz over the Battle between Christmas and Holiday has just a tad sarcastic sound to it (and I feel guilty for even mentioning it, it's so damn stupid and obviously manipulative).

No, the buzz I'm hearing these days is over torture. Troll the blogs at random and you wont have to go far before you find someone talking about torture. Usually they're saying it's a bad thing, but not everyone has left the Inquisition behind (and I'm not talking about the "comfy chair").
Did you listen to John McCain taking to Terry Gross the other day on Fresh Air? You should have. This is a man with a personal understanding of torture. He points out that even if you do get valuable information from torture (unlikely), it is never worth the price.
Or check out the tale of Benyam Mohammed, as told to the Guardian. Both parts. (props to The Working Families Party)
Even the Administration is being forced into talking about it. Condi's traipsing all over Europe right now telling how Americans "do not torture". Of course, this statement ignores the very real BushCorp love of outsourcing and privatisation. Damn lawyers and their sophistry anyway. Shakespeare was right.

Somebody pointed out somewhere that BushCo was safe from the International War Crimes court because Dubya hadnt signed on to the Treaty. The also said that Tony Blair may find himself in a very hard place because he's an ally of the U.S., but has signed on to the treaty.
I would have to ask what any treaty has to do with anything. Ask Slobodan Milosovic. I dont think he signed any treaties either, but he's still under indictment.
Here's another opinion: The U.S. does torture. If they did not, Dick Cheney would not be running around trying to block an anti-torture bill, because there is only one reason to do so: Because the BushCorp wants to continue the practice - its own practice - of torture. Any attempts to parse the term torture are, at best, self-deception, and at worst...
Ask any ten-year old boy, and he'll tell you (possibly in graphic detail) what torture is. Describe for him U.S. practices, or those condoned by us but performed by our sub-contractors, and he'll tell you what's torture and what's not.
Let me offer this paraphrase: I cant define torture, but I know it when I see it. Definitions beget loopholes. And dont tell me (as one person did at Spoonfighter) that you dont know the "meaning" of torture. You do.

I'll finish up with Terry Pratchett: “When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried they wont like the truth" from Carpe Jugulum

Keep the buzz alive. Talk, talk, talk.

quoth Dave:

Everyone is guilty of the good they didnt do.


thought for the day

Never hold your farts in. They travel up your spine, into your brain and that's where shitty ideas come from.

stolen from *C'est la Vie! Life*

Thursday, December 08, 2005

some thoughts on racism

"It's our job to keep that small percentage in check". i totally agree! there's this small percentage of the world that's like totally bullying and dominating everyone else.
They're called "white people".

Dumb Guy 2
The other day I discovered late that it was "Blog Against Racism" Day. Well, not being a fan of racism, but also not being prepared, I just tossed off this thing based on a comment I made on Less Idiots.

Several days later, I read the result of a controversy over at the Rev's. A lot of feathers were ruffled (or perhaps yanked out by the hand-full, depending on your perspective and love of under/over statement) between the Rev and a kind of troika of people at another site. All this bruhaha was built upon the troika's feelings that Billy Bob was being an insulting and insulated white boy who knew nothing of the suffering of minorities, and Billy Bob's feelings were that they were themselves a bunch of racist hypocrits.
Now, normally, despite my ranting and raving here, I am a kind of laissez-faire kind of guy. That is, I try to accept people as they are. I dont mean politicians, or anyone else who makes their living by trying to sell me something, but just ordinary people. This has a tendency to make me much less irritated at individuals, but I think also contributes to my feeling that people, as a whole, suck much of the time. This doesnt mean that I'm non-judgemental, just that I try not to let it get in the way of my relationships with people in general. Once upon a time, I believe it may have been refered to as common courtesy. But this little flame-war made me think about more about race and racism, which led to this post.

So I'm going to try again.

Let's define racism first.

From Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary:

rac-ism n 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
Now my turn: I would describe racism as the assumption that a person is automatically a certain way based solely on their race; that is, that they will be more likely to do something, or unable to do something, because of their ethnicity.

This seems simple enough, doesnt it? Black men are all criminals = racist statement. White boys cant dance = racist statement. All Gypsies are thieves = racist statement. All Orientals are inscrutible = racist statement. The French are pompous snobs who never eat Tomatoes = ...well, we'll get back to this one. Maybe not so simple, after all, though. I myself have (jokingly) used the "white boys cant dance" one. Was I making a racist comment against white males? Or, was I making a racist comment against blacks, because the flipside of that statement is the implied "all black men can dance"?

Okay, let's come at this from a different direction. Let's ask, "Should we care if people are racist?" But that's a stupid question, isnt it. We should care because racist statements often act to dehumanize the one they are aimed at, and this is never a good thing for human relations or civilized behavior. Racism is also wrapped up in the power issue. Racist statements are often used to de-humanize those who are under the power of those making the statements, to make crushing those under that power less unconscionable. They are used in time of conflict, to make it easier to destroy someone who under better circumstances might be just another human being. So, yes, I think caring that people are racists (and trying to make them stop) is a good thing. Better yet, let's call it a moral thing, an imperative, if you will.

So how do we stop racism?

I dont know. I wish I could answer that question.

I dont think the PC movement has been very effective. In fact, I'd say that racial tension has actually increased in the last decade or two since PC reared its head. I have no scientific or sociologic evidence for this, it's just a feeling. I think that the PC movement was just another American Easy Fix, like bussing and school testing, that will ultimately end up doing far more damage than good. It's certainly already contributed to the Rise of Republican Power. How many people sided with the GOP because of the Left's embracing of Political Correctness? If it's more than just 2%, would Bush have won either race without them?
Once upon a time, you knew who the racists were, because they'd tell you themselves. Now you cant tell who's a racist, and who's a perfectly nice person who also happens to be an insensitive boob, or an angry person lashing out at The Other, or just someone repeating the words they grew up with without any real malice behind them.

Think I'm wrong? Let's redirect:

Whatever "color" you are, think about these questions: If you're a tall man, and you are angry at someone shorter than you, have you ever described that person as a "little bastard"? Yes? Does that then make you a heightist? If you are a petite woman, and you've been in a conflict with a larger female, have you ever refered to her as "that fat bitch"? If so, are you a weightist? Is it worse to make fun of black people than it is to make fun of bald people?
I myself am rather tall. I work with a shorter man who irritates me. I have refered to him, at least in my own thoughts as, "that little bastard". I could have used "russian" or "armenian" or "ex-communist" or "apologist" or "swarthy", but "little" is just more satisfying. Is this because I hate short people? No. Is it because I wish to dehumanise him a bit and sub-consciously recognise heighth as a possible cleave-point with which to separate him from the crowd? Maybe.
There's great satisfaction in occasionally dehumanizing The Other, whoever that may be. I suspect a little bit may even be healthy. When it becomes a lifestyle is when it becomes a problem. When it focuses not occassionally on an available subject at hand, but repeatedly on a specific group or groups (or even every other group). When it is the result of ingrained belief rather than a passion of the moment.

Like any self-esteem builder based on running others down to raise yourself up, it's not only ineffective in the long run, it also damages your soul.

I wish I could advise people to switch from jokes about ethnicity (or any other thing which one is born into) to jokes about choices made (like lawyer jokes, or blond jokes), but I dont think, ultimately, that these are any better. There are good lawyers, there are bad lawyers. There are good whites, there are bad whites. There are good blondes and bad. There are good asians and bad. Same for blacks, same for Republicans, same for Nordic types, same even for the French.

Okay, forget the jokes. What about stereotyping? Bad, right, just bad. Bad, bad, bad.
No, actually, I wouldnt exactly say that. Stereotypes are shorthand for an identifiable group. Maybe that means a racial group, maybe that means a professional group, maybe that means a meat product. And they serve a purpose: they give you a starting point.
When you meet a big, hairy, tattooed, leather-clad guy on a Hog named "Crusher", do you really want to approach him the same way that you would a wizened, old, blue-haired lady with a cane. But you shouldnt be surprised if Crusher turns out to be just a tattoo-loving guy who works at an auto-scrapyard and arrived at Budhism by way of Robert Pirsig. Or if that sweet little old lady pays you with a ten, then claims she gave you a twenty. Because, you see, stereotypes and other blanket statements are good for about the first few minutes you meet anyone, and that's about it. Any further use of them is pure laziness. Oh sure, often, maybe even most of the time, a stereotype may be more-or-less true, but it's that phrase, "more-or-less" where the trouble begins. People, however sheep-like they may act much of the time, are not cut out with cookie cutters. They are all different, even bubble-headed rich blonde girls, even neatly-dressed bespectacled Indian fellows, even whiskey-swilling, jig-dancing Irishmen. And all should be treated as individuals using stereotypes only as a starting off point. Anything else is lazy, and unfair, and just simply disrespectful. Everyone you ever meet will start giving you personal information as soon as you meet them, whether face-to-face, or through some form of media. Use that information, and deal with them as individuals.

That said, racism doesnt have to be a conscious decision. Try taking one of these tests from Harvard. You may be surprised, regardless of your color.

Finally, this note: In the Troika/Gisher incident, there was one voice who managed to stay reasonable and calm throughout the discussion. Can you guess who this person was? A Conservative Gun-nut.

That's right.

Can you say "Individual"? In-di-vid-u-al. Sure, knew ya' could.

post-script: I had hoped to adress "culturism" also, which I think many people confuse with racism, but I'll save that for another time.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

boy scouts and propaganda

Hoo-boy. Check out this poem. Reads like something for the Boy Scouts or a junior high classroom from 1938 doesnt it.
The Leader

Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to accept every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real,
Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn't conform to the usual mold,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight wont do
Never back down when he sees what is true
Tells it all straight, and means it all too
Bracing for war, but praying for peace
Using his power so evil will cease:
So much a leader and worthy of trust,
Here stands a man who will do what he must
Yes, lovely. Except for one tiny thing. Read the first letter of each sentence.

Now it's almost ironic, aint it?

This somehow found it's way into a textbook for Pakistani high school students.

shamelessly stolen from Khalid's comments by Haliburton

four months

Warning: this post will be a bit self-involved. You're probably used to that, though, arent you.

Okay, officially I started 6 months and 16 days ago. But in the first week I wrote two empty posts, then nothing for over two months. Then one day, George Bush announced that he was in favor of teaching Intelligent Design in the classroom. I was floored, and so I ranted. It was August 7, and it was that day when I started blogging.

And I've managed to keep it up more or less everyday since then. It's fun. I like it. The other week Coturnix was redoing his blogroll, and I shamelessly asked if I was to be on it. He graciously said yes, then asked me which Catagory I wanted to be in.
This set off a kind of existential crisis which I'm still trying to work through. What the hell am I doing here. The one friend that I could get to read my blog said it was "kind of ranty". Yeeeeessss. I suppose it is. Is that a bad thing? I dont know. I dont think so though.

So what is it that I'm doing here?
A few weeks ago there was a bit of drama/crisis/theatre at the Reverend's, during which I described blogs as being "streetcorner discussions". I think that sums the state of things up pretty well. Imagine if everybody went around speaking their thoughts out loud. Occassionally someone might comment about something you said. Perhaps groups would form at stop lights and bus stops, everyone exchanging a few thoughts before moving on. Famous people would draw more crowds, but while more people would listen to them, fewer people would discuss things with them. Does this sound like the blogosphere, perhaps? (And why, when I think of The City, do I think of New York City, though I've only been there a couple of times?)
Anyway, as a night-working, daytime-child-rearing guy who sleeps when he can and sees his wife mainly on weekends, I deeply appreciate that Streetcorner. As an Art Major who's spent the last 10 years with almost no creative outlet, blogging has been a godsend. As a former compulsive letter-writer who simply ran out of time to write detailed letters that elicited little similar response, comments (any comments) are manna - because it means somebody out there is actually responding. Conversation, almost.

Better, in a certain way. I long ago read and immediately appreciated Kurt Vonnegut's line that he "looked much smarter on paper than he actually was". Hey! I thought, that's me! That thing where, in real life, you think of the perfect thing to say 15 minutes later, is easier to overcome in the blogosphere, where "conversations" take place one post at a time at the speed of your fingers.

So what is it that I'm doing here? Again.

It's a real mixed bag, isnt it. Sometimes I just share something interesting (like this), sometimes it'll be something disturbing (like this), and sometimes it'll be something that's really pissing me off (like this). Commentary ranges from simple posting to full-scale multi-paragraph ranting to occassional forays into fictional satiric scenarios (these are rare, and usually leave me exhausted and abed for several days).
I'm still having trouble with the balance between posting and commenting and reading. Lately I've been leaning too far in the commenting direction (not that there's a lot of evidence of that, I know), and reading too many "random" blogs (I love that button), but I have had almost nothing coherent to say on my own. Balance is a tough act. I feel like I'm trying to learn to ride a bicycle with an ear infection.

Wait. Have I figured out what I'm doing here yet? Yeah, maybe.

I'm having fun.

I've noticed that half the things I do, see and hear now get filtered through a kind of process that asks "how would this blog?"

The Carnival of Liberals

The first ever Carnival of the Liberals is up now. I submitted something to it, but I didnt get in. Bummer. Go see it!

BranV speaks!

(but she doesnt allow comments)

Monday, December 05, 2005

more quoting

I seem to be using up all my words elsewhere these days, so I'll give you another quote:

Granny (a witch) is talking to the Count (a vampire who attempted a new form of vamprism where everyone in the village was supposed to line up and be bled, just a little, for the Count and his "family"). The Count has just had his head severed, though it is still sitting up on his neck.
"It was a sharp ax", she said. "Who says there's no mercy in the world? Just dont nod, that's all. And someone'll take you down to a nice cold coffin and I daresay fifty years'll just fly past and maybe you'll wake with enough sense to be stupid."
There was a murmer from the crowd as they came back to life. Granny shook her head.
"They want you deader than that, I see," she said... "An' there's ways, oh yes."... She raised a hand to silence the crowd.
"No, fifty years to think about things, that's about right. People need Vampires, she said. "They helps 'em remember what stakes and garlic are for."
from Terry Pratchett's Carpe Jugulum

Saturday, December 03, 2005

today's quote

Stolen from Colbert Nation by way of The Regime Machine:
"Most disappointingly, my own Catholic Church is against the death penalty. Pretty hypocritical considering they wouldn't even have a religion if it weren't for capital punishment."


If you ever worried about mankind bombing itself back to the stoneage (all you born in the sixties know what I mean), here's the way to make sure that it never happens (if you throw in a jumpdrive or two full of information). I sincerely hope these wont be available exclusively in poor countries. Got a hot-spot park in your town? You're ready for it. No electricity? No problem. Poor people, rich people, students, old people, everybody should be able to get one of these.
Will we be able to?
Well, let's think about this. It's really, really cheap. It uses Linux. Big business in America has no ability to circumvent market forces. And one of these statements is a lie.

Gimme my green crank laptop!

see it

I ♥ HuckabeesI just saw I ♥ Huckabees last night, and I had to put my thoughts down in writing about it. I came in late, I missed a sizable chunk of the dialog and some of the action due to household noise and insistantly intruding children. I didnt understand half of what they were talking about when I could hear it. And yet, and yet.
I knew what was going on, I think. Certainly I could see things coming from a mile away. And in the end, the movie left me feeling really, really good, without really knowing why.

I may have to buy it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

another quote for the day

"A man who chooses not to read is just as ignorant as a man who cannot read." Mark Twain
(swiped from Bitch, PhD)

trollin' the blogroll

Kate/A/ has an interesting post about a Bushie, which runs from Mary Kay Letourneau to Blackwater...

This from Welcome to the Now, refering to yesterday's BushCo speech:
From December 1941 to August 1945, the U.S. government mobilized an entire nation; manufactured a mighty arsenal; played a huge role in defeating the armies, air forces, and navies of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan; and emerged from battle poised to shape the destiny of half the globe. By comparison, from September 2001 to December 2005, the U.S. government has advanced to the point of describing a path to victory in a country the size of California.
these for Tree Story: Majikthise's "Feminism and Domesticity" and Bitch, PhD's "My Radical Married Feminist Manifesto"

Cats! (stolen from Bitch, PhD, who seems to be supplying a lot of stuff today)

Vent all your frustrations away (via Sweet and Somber Fairy Tale)

the coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in Antartica

There's a new blog in the "daily read" section of my sidebar: "Scott of the Antartic".

Scott is the husband of the a good friend from High School. He's a physicist, so I'm not quite sure what he's doing in Antartica, but I'd imagine it'll be cool (not a pun). Hopefully he'll read this and feel the pressure to keep up his blog, knowing that people are watching him besides his friends and Big Al.


Wow, four posts and not a single comment. Either I was a lot more dependant on the Rev than I thought, or I just sucked yesterday.

(this is not a sad cry for commentary, by the way)

(not much)

quote for the day

"A dangerous leader is one who knows nothing of sacrifice"
Scott Link

cribbed from ephlis01

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why didnt someone tell me it was "blog against racism" day

First, the disclaimer: I am a (so-called) white-boy. I really dont think of myself that way, but of course that doesnt really matter. Like any "majority" member, I think of myself as "the norm", but I'me rally just the biggest group. The culture I grew up in is the culture I grew up in, and that's all it is to me.
But then, that's because I'm in the majority. Still, I have an idea wha it is to be outside of the norm. In school I was pretty much an outsider. I still am, really. But that's as close as I can get, and I doubt it's much use for deep insight into racism.
Mostly, I try to avoid it, as much as I can. I think I do alright.

Lemme tell you a story:

When I was in junior high, say, 13 or 14, I saw the movie "Donavan's Reef" for the first time. In it, John Wayne conspires to hide the half-polynesian children of his off-island friend from their presumably uptight half-sister, who was arriving from Boston to their little island paradise. The oldest girl, who was about my age, becomes upset about Wayne's plan, crying out, "it's because I'm not white!"
Now, I'm watching this, and thinking, "what?", because I would have very happily taken that girl to the next school dance. But once you acknowledge that, "yes, I suppose she isnt really white, is she?", but that you are OK with that, then how far is it, really, to say that a beautiful girl is OK whatever race she is. And then a not so beautiful girl.
And if the girls are OK, then the guys must be, too.

Now, culture, that's different can of worms, and I suspect that some of what is called racism these days is actually culturalism, but that's a whole 'nother post.


random random random, keep on reading random...

Okay, this one I'm picking because as much as I hate to agree with a Conservative, extremists on both sides need to be chastised (article cherrypicked from "Federalists").

Here Mike S. Adams takes some "feminist scholars" to task for their study linking hunting and abuse of women. Now, I'm no hunter, and have no desire to be. It's unnecessary when there's a Kroger down the road, at least as far as I'm concerned. All my hunting kicks are supplied by junk and antique stores and flea markets. But some folks (and not just men) need the woods and a weapon of some sort, and considering that a mere 200 years ago this was a necessity for almost everyone, and had been for millions of years, I cant get bent out of shape about that. At least as long as they eat it.

Here's one bit of silliness from the study

"…hunters (like batterers and rapists) are widely considered not responsible for their actions, and hunted animals and abused women participate in (and thus agree to) their exploitation…"
and here's Mike's reaction:

I guess I’ve never had a deer tell me it was okay to pull the trigger. If they ever do start to talk, whether offering or refusing consent, I promise to sell all of my firearms immediately.

See, conservatives can be funny.

Okay, that's all I'm going to say in favor of Adams, especially since he offers no link to the study (a common trick when misrepresenting somebody). But I tracked it down, here.

Now for my turn, or rather, why I think this study is silly. Not for Adams' reason (feminists are silly, and so is their scholarship). I thinks it's a silly study because it takes hunters to task for using sexual imagery when discussing hunting.
Why is this silly? We human beings use sexual imagery when talking about everything. For that matter, we use hunting imagery when talking about everything. Men and women both. It's a little something called allusion (or something like that). Certainly it makes conversation a lot more interesting. Imagine discussing going to the store in purely economic terminology. I think not.
No doubt, there are Hunters who also prey on women. I also have no doubt that there are Accountants who prey on women. There are also women who prey on men, and describe their actions in hunting terms, just as men do. What's that movie from the 50's with Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall as husband-hunting single girls. Sinister? Well, maybe.

I'm sure there is some useful information in this study, a bit at least. But lets face it, it's mostly more publish-or-perish collegiate garbage, telling us something we already knew in inflated terms to make it seem more important than it really is. Read it, shake your head, and get on with your life.


Once again, I fish the wide oceans of the blogosphere, seeking a fine catch...

I really should just leave it alone. I really should.
But I cant.
It's just too ridiculous.

So I'll quote this from brand-new blogger Rondi in Florida:
Merry Christmas 2005

As much as I would like to wish you well, and say Merry Christmas, I am limited due to the societal tides that have ebbed toward the shallow end of the pool. We are a people with well & good intentions just as long as they do not include Christian views. The loudest voices have done
strikingly well in strangling the conservative views of our magnificent country.
George Bush is pretty loud, is she talking about him?
No-ooo, I dont think so.

I'd guess that maybe this has something to do with the "Holiday Tree" in Boston that Jerry Falwell is so bent out of shape about. Seriously though. Conservatives, and therefore Christians, control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. They are about to be in position to dominate the Supreme Court for a decade or three regardless of their future performance at the Polls. Gay Marriage is taking a beating in most of the country, and the farcical "Intelligent Design" continues to make headlines despite all common sense. How exactly have conservative views been strangled?

Maybe I'm reading her wrong though. Maybe she is a real Christian, rather than the ersatz breed one sees so often these days. Perhaps she's lamenting the deaths of both soldiers and civilians in Iraq (not just Americans, but all nationalities, something one never hears from Republicans). Perhaps she's feeling sadness at the uncharitable acts of this years Congressional budget, with its continuing cuts to programs for the poor (wouldnt Jesus have given medical help to the poor?).
Maybe she just feels the same weariness that so many of us feel as we watch the Republican Party talk one direction, yet behave in another.


I'll say Merry Christmas. Give me a couple weeks, and I'll even mean it. Meanwhile, I'm going to put on Vince Guaraldi's masterpiece "A Charlie Brown Christmas". That always makes me feel better. Maybe she should try it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

maybe torture would be appropriate...

Under certain circumstances. For instance, I'd support using torture on every member of the current Administration when we finally start really looking into things. How many people wouldnt experience a little frisson at the thought of Dick Cheney on the rack... s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g.
Imagine what he might confess to, finally. I'll bet he would even clear ol' Bill Clinton, given enough "persuasion". ("Yes, yes, I'll confess, it was me, I stained the dress").
Where does this thought come from? Why from Republicans, of course. Well, not directly, but they seem to think so much of the technique for gathering information, how could they possibly object if it was used on them. So much simpler, so much faster. Isnt that a common Conservative gripe, the "coddling of criminals"?

Listen to this:
Sen. John McCain is leading the charge against so-called "torture" techniques allegedly used by U.S. interrogators, insisting that practices like sleep deprivation and withholding medical attention are not only brutal - they simply don't work to persuade terrorist suspects to give accurate information.

Nearly forty years ago, however - when McCain was held captive in a North Vietnamese prison camp - some of the same techniques were used on him. And - as McCain has publicly admitted at least twice - the torture worked!
What further proof could one have of the effectiveness of torture, especially on Republicans?

Okay, okay, not really. Oh, the above quote is real, coming from I got this from Rude Pundit, and he seemed pretty incensed by it, but maybe it was just a joke. I confess to not being familiar with the blog, and there were a lot of ads about fighting, viagra, and picking up women.
Personally speaking though, I figure Torture to be an evil "highlight" for BushCo, on a long list of very bad things. Still, I might be less averse to it if, perhaps, an amendment was attached to any Pro-torture bill which said that all those who voted in favor of the bill would themselves assent to torture should they be suspected of criminal activity.
It's too bad someone didnt think of this years ago, when the go-ahead for torture was first given. This whole Tom DeLay thing, for instance, would have been a lot less messy (well, except for in whatever room Tom's twitching corpse {oops, too much} lay). Talk about your deterent.

I'm going to have to send this idea to someone in the Legislature. Kennedy, maybe. If he's grateful enough, maybe he'll finally give me my rovin'-eye Jesus.

news brief

The homepage for my SBC/Yahoo account shows "news" items for the day. Here's today's "top" stories:
  1. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie will be doing a new "Simple Life" show, but wont actually be having any contact with each other.
  2. Jerry Falwell, and friends, are upset about Boston changing the name of their Christmas Tree to "Holiday Tree". "There's been a concerted effort to steal Christmas," Falwell told Fox Television.
  3. Bush maps out new strategy in Iraq War: "These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington."
  4. Possible Miniature Solar System Discovered: scientists observed a brown dwarf (a failed star less than one hundredth the mass of the sun) that appears to be undergoing a planet-forming process that could one day yield a solar system.
This is news? Let's look at CNN's top four:
  1. Bush: "America will not run"
  2. Supreme Court hears abortion notification case
  3. Alito argued in memo for state laws 'mitigating' Roe
  4. CNN/Money: Will judge's ruling shut down your BlackBerry?
  1. "It was a beautiful little community" (NOLA")
  2. Garage Music Barrage (not actually news, but musical VW ad)
  3. "10 Food mistakes people make"
  4. Bush: Iraq victory "will take time"
Google News
  1. George Bush, Meet Reality
  2. Israeli [foriegn minister] vows to rehabilitate Likud party
  3. Pacifist group experienced in war zones
  4. Supreme Court seeks Middle Ground in Abortion Case
hmmm. Who would I choose for my news? Who would you choose?

    cool toys

    Step 2 racer bike
    Really, only someone with kids can probably understand this, and then only if you're a guy, but still I just had to share this, because it's just plain cool.

    I think most electronic toys are crap, but kids today got it made, big, plastic toy-wise.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    classify my soul

    Help. I need help. Yes, you knew that already, but this is a more specific help, and, as you see, my initial help has no exclaimation mark, so it's not like it's urgent or anything. Here's the deal: A week or two ago, Coturnix, at Science and Politics, was putting me in his Blogroll. He asked, "Where should I put you?".
    Catagorize myself? O Lord, that's never been something I've ever been very good at. I finally stuck myself in the Skeptic catagory, which was later combined with Atheists. But I dont know. At the risk of getting on poor Coturnix's nerves by asking to be moved into a different catagory, how would you, my half-dozen or so readers, classify what I do here? Feel free to make up new catagories...

    Oh wait, maybe I shouldnt have said that.

    This I believe

    I've been inspired by NPR's essay series "This I Believe" to sit down and write my own.
    There were, I figured, two ways to write this essay. One, boil everything down to the absolute basic underpinning, the one thing that I can relate to nearly everything I believe in. Or, two, a laundry list.

    I went with the laundry list.

    I know, it's the easy way out, but I've got a lot on my plate these days, what with the Holiday season and all... okay, that's not true, the Holidays have nothing to do with it. I'm just plain busy, and that's a convienient excuse. Someday, I'll boil this laundry list down, and write something worthy of NPR. For now though, it's enough for me just to figure out and get down in words just what it is that I do believe. More or less.

    For now.
    • Because the first thing I believe is that if you cant change your mind about anything, you might as well be dead.

    • Love is easy. Compatibility is hard. Too many people think that because they "love each other" that's all they'll ever need, and it's just not true. You need to remember that you will be sharing your life with the person you marry for decades. Neo-Cons and fundamentalists blame the high divorce rate of this era on decadence (or gay people). A far more reasonable explanation is that one hundred years ago odds were pretty good that one of you would die before you got sick of each other.

    • Electronic voting will prove, eventually, to be No Good. Anything that can be tampered with during the voting process, will be, given the chance. When one member from each party both keep an eye on a physical ballot box, it is hard to tamper with it. But who watches electronic voting boxes? I predict Electronic Voting Fraud will be one of the Great Scandals of the 21st Century.

    • I believe in some form of Higher Intelligence, but what it might be I'm not arrogant enough to say that "I know". I personally suspect that Intelligence arises out of Complexity. Thus, the idea of an "Earth Mother" may not be too far off (the Earth is certainly a complex place), and as for the Universe, I wouldnt exactly call it simple, would you? Man is such a parochial creature, to stuff God into such a tiny box as his "likeness".

    • I believe Station Wagons, the best vehicular form for the pragmatic person, never went away. Millions of men and women who swore they'd rejected the old Family Wagon, just called it different name. Dont believe me? Go take a good look at that Tahoe in your driveway: Four doors, covered and windowed cargo area behind the backseat, A-pillar, B-pillar, C-pillar, D. Yep!, all there, Hello! It's a tall station wagon, Family Man (or Woman)!

    • I believe half of what is today refered to in America as "racism" is, in fact, Culturism. When you say someone is a certain way because of their Skin Color, that's Racism. If you think someone is a certain way because they behave in a certain style, such as the gangster-rap derived "thugging", then that is Culturism, and a whole different arguement (and you'd still be guilty of Prejudice, which can operate outside of Race). To reject a Culture is not to reject a Race, and vice-versa. I reject Paleo-Conservative culture, but this doesnt mean I dont like White people ( just nasty, greedy, hard-hearted, narrow-minded, tight-sphinctered, bible-clubbing apocalyptocrats of any color). Those who use the term "racism" to describe what is actually culturism dilute outrage over real rascism by way of "the boy who cried wolf" syndrome. (This is the shakiest one in the bunch, so I'm not quite sure of the details of my beliefs here, dont hold me too tight to them.)

    • I believe that Profitting from Sick People is Immoral. I'm not talking about Doctors making a living, or even about Doctors making a very good living. Nor am I talking about for-profit hospital chains (although, to an extent, I could). I'm talking about two massive corporate organizations that make billions of dollars a year from the Business of Illness: Pharmaceuticals and Insurance. Drug Companies spend as much money on Marketting as they do on Research, yet when blame for high prices is assigned they mention only the cost of Research, or "lost" patents. Insurance Companies take in billions of dollars a year from people in the good faith that when those clients get sick, their health care will be paid for; a faith too often abused either through outright denial of service, or impentrable rules, regulations, forms and permission requirements.

    • I believe that the Government should not be involved in any for-profit scheme unless all the profit goes back to the government.

    • I believe Elvis is dead. If Lisa Marie marrying Michael Jackson didnt bring him out, he cant possibly be alive.

    • I believe Michael Jackson did do it, and will do it again.

    • I believe Fundamentalist Governments have nothing to do with Faith, and everything to do with Power. Want a simple test? Ask this question: Will the person who observes religious law faithfully for their whole life, as dictated by secular law, but doesnt believe recieve the same reward when he dies as the person who observed religious law his whole life because he believed? If not, then what is the point of making Religious Law into Secular Law? To mitigate Temptation? Isnt that a Test from God, so to thwart that test is to attempt to thwart God? Religious Power, like any other, Corrupts, and Man, however Holy he may be, is still Man. I believe most who would see Religious Law made into secular law are people of weak Faith, who require that others be forced to act and "believe" as they do in order to re-enforce their own shaky beliefs.

    • I believe Black and White photography is superior to Color.

    • I believe that the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are being held illegally, and that the "Enemy Combatants" policy will come back to bite us on the ass very, very hard. Our current treatment of prisoners in the "War" on Terror most likely qualifies as a War Crime. The BushCorp should be held accountable, but we are all complicit in this. This goes double for torture, triple even.

    • I believe that other people's sex lives are none of anyone's damn business except for the people involved, and if people want to get married, then let 'em!

    • I believe the Death Penalty is OK. I dont like it, but I dont like a lot of things. Those convicted and sentenced knew the rules going into the crime, and Death (ought to be) reserved for the most heinous of killings. BUT, when an innocent person is "proven" guilty by deceit, inneptitude, rascism, or laziness, then the Prosecutors should be held liable for (attempted) Murder or Manslaughter.

    • I believe most Modern Art is a Con Game, a three-card monty with Arists, Dealers and Investors. The only real losers are the public, who generally show their contempt through their absence.

    • I believe the "pre-emptive strike" in Iraq was about as Un-American thing as has been done in this country since the WWII internment of the Japanese. It was the moral equivalent of instructing traffic cops to stop drivers at random and hand out tickets for speeding, running stop signs, failure to yield, and parking violations because "we know you're going to do it someday". Innocent Until Proven Guilty, that's supposed to be the American Way. Only Bullies and Dark Lords strike first, A Gentleman waits until he is attacked, but then George W. Bush is No Gentleman.

    • I believe that the Press is not only biased, but that it's not a liberal bias. We need more newspapers, and more diverse ownership of media outlets. I believe the primary effect of narrowing ownership of media outlets will not be control of people's opinions, but the destruction of the legitimacy of those outlets. I hope that David Brin's theory of the Age of Amateurs comes true and includes an amateur press (blogs, for instance, he says smugly).

    • I believe if Unions ever want to regain any kind of effectiveness then they need to return to their grass roots. It's time to do some serious slashing and burning at the administrative levels, and give more power to the locals. National level administration should be more about co-ordination than control.

    • I believe people who commit suicide simply arent paying attention. It's a big wonderful incredible fabulous world filled with more cool stuff than you can shake a stick at (including the notion of wanting to shake a stick at something!). We live in the most mobile society ever in the history of the world. If you hate your life, Change it! You can, you know. It wont be easy, but it wont be death either. And, as the saying goes, you can always jump tomorrow.

    • I believe it is Evil to treat People like Commodities. If you simply want to be an asshole, that's your business, but dont try to make it sound like you're doing nothing wrong.

    • I believe that no one should be made a leader who cannot articulate a detailed vision of the future at least twice the length of his maximum term in power. Too much American leadership is done by Accounting, unable to see anything beyond the next fiscal period or two.

    • I believe that America's messed-up priorities are evident in it's choice for heroes - actors, musicians and sports stars - in other words, entertainers. Where are the people like Thomas Jefferson, Jonas Salk, George Washington Carver, Eli Whitney, Henry Ford, Franklin Roosevelt, Francis Bacon, Johann Gutenberg, Thomas Edison? Hell, even Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? Why do we choose, not people who made our lives better, but people who merely made our afternoons better? Heroes should be people who inspire you to go out and improve, not just your game, but the world's.
    I could probably come up with more stuff if I thought about it for another week or two, but then I could probably come up with more stuff, and change other stuff, or tear it up and start all over, or any number of things, if I thought about it long enough. So I'll throw it out there as is, right now.

    There. Comment on it in fury or agreement. Ignore it in embarassement. Roll your eyes. Such is life.

    That I believe also.

    Monday, November 28, 2005


    Well, I'm back.

    Samwise said that, and settled down to his life. I say that, and then stare at the screen for a while...


    Man, remind me not to take anytime off for Christmas. Or to just not worry about Billy Bob if he has another episode.

    Whoops! time to get the little one from school!

    Friday, November 25, 2005

    so sorry

    I just read the review I wrote yesterday, and I'm terribly sorry.

    I completely missed teling the whole point of the book, which was how the brain can make split-second decisions about things (especially things you could be considered "expert" in). These quick thoughts can be useful or harmful. Useful, because they can bypass the uncertainty that can come with too much information and cerebrating about something. Harmful, because they are often based on unconscious stereotypes.

    So read it anyway, despite my inept reviewing skills.

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    dont miss it

    I just finished this book last night, and heartily recommend it. It discusses the "adaptive unconscious", and its ability to make nearly instaneous decisions on very little information (what most of us might call "instinct"). There's a lot of fascinating stuff in here.
    It discusses things as seemingly diverse as the New Coke Debacle, high-speed chases (they're not dangerous soley because of the speeds involved), mind-reading (sort of), autism, an over-looked musician named Kenna, military wargames, why doctors are sued for malpractice, sub-conscious racism, antique fakery and why experts "just know".

    Try this on for size:
    The psychologists Claude Steel and Joshua Aronson created an even more extreme version of [a test that studied the effects of pre-test thought patterns and their effect on testing], using black college students and twenty questions taken from the Graduate Record Examination, the standardized test used for entry into graduate school. When the students were asked to identify their race on a pre-test questionaire, that simple act was sufficient to prime them all with negative stereotypes associated with African Americans and academic achievement - and the number of items they got right was cut in half
    Then there's a story (in two parts) about a massive wargame that was conducted in 2000 called "the Millenium Challenge". In it, the Massed Forces of the U.S. Military staged a "war" against a "rogue" military commander in the Persian Gulf. That "rogue" commander was Paul Van Riper, a heavily decorated Marine commander. Van Riper had standard third-world weaponry, and a command style based on on-site real-time decision-making. The U.S. had massive infrastructure, intelligence and state-of-the-art-weapons, combined with lots of strategy-planning meetings. Guess who won? So the timetable was backed up, and the exercise resumed. Sort of.
    The day after the attack, I walked into the command room and saw the gentleman who was my number two giving my team a completely different set of instructions... I said, "What the hell's going on in here?" He said, "Sir I've been given guidance by the program director to give completely different directions." The second round was all scripted, and if they didnt get what they liked, they would just run it again.
    Naturally, this time the U.S. forces won.

    Anyway, read the book. I've never been any good at book reviews.