Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm totally going to hell.

If, you know, I still believed in that kind of thing. Sinfest.

Congress gives Bush the right to torture and detain people forever.

On this day in American history... it was shown that the politics of fear wins out over higher ideals, real morality and plain fucking decency.

How incredibly depressing.

But it's okay, because somewhere, somehow, swarthy brown people "hate our freedom", so that makes it all worth it.

Congress gives Bush the right to torture and detain people forever
Following in the footsteps of the House, the Senate this afternoon approved the bill which vests in the President the power of indefinite, unreviewable detention (even of U.S. citizens) and which also legalizes various torture techniques.

...Nonetheless, it is simply a fact that virtually every Republican in the House and the Senate (with one sole exception in the Senate and only 7 in the House) voted in favor of this tyrannical bill, while Democrats overwhelmingly opposed it (in the House, 160 Democrats voted "no," while 34 voted "yes"). With those facts assembled, it is fair to say that the Republicans are the party of torture, indefinite and unreviewable detention powers, and limitless presidential power, even over U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
...and don't forget this most important part of the urgency and haste in passing the bill before the next election cycle, when Republicans may lose one of the houses of Congress -

Veterans, legal experts hit deal on torture
He pointed out that the McCain-Warner-Graham bill does not expressly forbid any of the brutal practices such as “water-boarding” in which detainees are made to feel they are drowning. “But it does retroactively absolve administration officials of legal responsibility for past war crimes.
Because you've got to know what's important, right?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some of the best Mixed Martial Arts highlight films I've ever seen.

Not quite what you'd expect, but they're things of beauty.


Furious Angels

The 3rd Man

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I Clung to the Ceiling Until the Board of Regents Granted Me Tenure

Japanese professor: The peroxides are very volatile. If you drop them, we have to be out of the building before they hit the floor.
Grad student: I won't drop them.
Japanese professor: And only Japanese ninja can move that fast.
Grad student: OK.
Japanese professor: I am well trained in the art of the ninja.

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio

via Overheard in the Office, Sep 26, 2006

Overheard in NY

Ah, Buffy, we miss you so...

Not-So-Christian Scientists

Son: Is there anything we can do to get Buffy back?
Mom: Well, we could join together in prayer.
Son: Uh huh. Is there anything useful we can do?
Mom: No.

--3 train

Overheard by: Jason

via Overheard in New York, Sep 21, 2006

The cover of Newsweek

This week...

On the sidebar of the page

Europe edition- "Losing Afghanistan"

Asia edition- "Losing Afghanistan"

Latin America edition - "Losing Afghanistan"

U.S. edition - [...wait for it...] - "My Life in Pictures"

Monday, September 25, 2006

Explaining America

More at the link. Some astute, some crazy, all worth reading.

Fred on Everything:
“Fred, explain America today. Say something tendentious and irritating about what is going on in this curious country. Why do we do what we do? Sock it to us.”

All right.

The United States is an uneasy, frightened country, yet aggressive, truculent, and looking for trouble—which it finds. Fear: Terrorists are everywhere, like cockroaches and governmental cameras. Citizens should watch each other on the subway and rat out suspicious behavior, such as speaking a language other than English. People need to go through metal detectors in county courthouses, because the government is scared of them, and get spied on by the government to protect them against the ever-present danger of…of, well, the unspeakable and unspoken angst of existence. And so, in the customary manner of large scared bullies, the country lashes out, at Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Venezuela, wherever.

A friend says, “Fred, gringos want to be controlled. They love this police-state stuff. It gives them meaning. They lead miserable lives in boring suburbs. The husband is a mouth-breathing oaf with his retinas sewed to the football machine. His wife is a pucker-faced shrew with cellulite like the dark side of the Moon and his kids are whining dopers who gawp at the box and gurgle over stupid video games. The guy has no control over anything in his life. He’s scared of the boss and the pissed-off middle-aged man-hating divorcee with thick ankles in Human Resources who would love to outsource his job to Mumbai. He knows he’ll get raped if he splits from the wife. So he wants to kill something. He doesn’t care what, and anyway finding out might require reading a book, which god knows he isn’t going to do.”

This may be harsh. It also may be true of more people than one would like.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Like all things, make of it what you will.

So... Robert Anton Wilson was having an ebay auction for a card randomly selected from a tarot deck. For $5, and an autograph from one of my favorite authors, why not?

So I got this card. One of the Major Arcana.

The Devil.

[Cue spooky "woo-woo" music, if so inclined.]

Make of that what you will.

[Or read some standard interpretations below.]

The Devil is the card of self bondage to an idea or belief which is preventing us from growing... On the other hand, however, it can also be a warning to someone who is too restrained and/or dispassionate and never allows him or herself to be rash or wild or ambitious, which is yet another form of enslavement.

The Devil is the 15th card of the Major Arcana, and is associated with earth and Capricornus. Though many decks portray a stereotypical Satan figure for this card, it more accurately represents our bondage to material things rather than any evil persona. It also indicates an obsession or addiction to fulfilling our own earthly base desires. Should the Devil represent a person, it will most likely be one of money and power, one who is persuasive, aggressive, and controlling. In any case, it is most important that the Querent understands that the ties that bind are freely worn, and you are only enslaved if you allow the abuse to go on.

In Jungian terms, he is The Shadow. All the repressed, unmentioned or unmentionable desires that lurk beneath.
Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the major arcana, the Devil is not really "Satan" at all, but Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. These are gods of pleasure and abandon, of wild behavior and unbridled desires. With Capricorn as its ruling sign, this is a card about ambitions; it is also synonymous with temptation and addiction. On the flip side, however, the card can be a warning to someone who is too restrained, someone who never allows themselves to get passionate or messy or wild - or ambitious. This, too, is a form of enslavement. As a person, the Devil can stand for a man of money or erotic power, aggressive, controlling, or just persuasive. This is not to say a bad man, but certainly a powerful man who is hard to resist. The important thing is to remind the Querent that any chain is freely worn. In most cases, you are enslaved only because you allow it.

...This card explores some very frightening things, things we are taught to view as evil or shameful. Like earthy materialism, sexual desire, valuables, food, drugs. Lack of control, excess, obsession and raw ambition. At its absolute worst, this is either the addict or the stalker, totally obsessed, enslaved. At its best, this is a card about giving into impulse, cutting lose, going for the gold, climbing every mountain. Among all the cards, this is one of the most complex. Interestingly because no other card is so one-sided. Most cards urge balance, unity, restraint, yin-yang. Not this card. Completely tilted toward the masculine, it is a card that revels in extremity. There is a convincing argument that this is the most powerful and dangerous card in the deck. Magically speaking, it is the one card in the deck that holds the secret of how to escape the material and temporal bonds of Earth. It is a very potent and fascinating card.

Sports Day at Katsuura Elementary School

The Japanese love them some synchronized dancing.

Bread Fishing. Pulling pastries from strings using only your teeth.
And they said I didn't learn anything useful in college.

Playing with kids always requires the rear-naked choke.

Hey, I didn't make the rules.

More pictures here