Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Just How Dangerous Is Police Work?"

More details/stats at the link.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Just How Dangerous Is Police Work?:
"So just how dangerous is police work? Generally, police are about three times as likely to be killed on the job as the average American. It isn't among the top ten most dangerous professions, falling well behind logging, fishing, driving a cab, trash collecting, farming, and truck driving. Moreover, about half of police killed on the job are killed in traffic accidents, and most of those are not while in pursuit of a criminal or rushing to the scene of a crime. I don't point this out to diminish the tragedy of those cops killed in routine traffic accidents. My point is that the number of annual on-the-job police fatalities doesn't justify giving cops bigger guns, military equipment, and allowing them to use more aggressive and increasingly militaristic tactics. A military-issue weapon isn't going to prevent traffic accidents. In this context, then, it makes sense to remove from consideration deaths not directly attributable to the bad guys.

So take out traffic accidents and other non-violent deaths, and you're left with 69 officers killed on the job by criminals last year. That's out of about 850,000 officers nationwide. That breaks down to about 8 deaths per 100,000 officers, or less than twice the national average of on-the-job fatalities.

...Twice the national average means police work certainly carries added risk. But is it the kind of risk that justifies, for example, a more than 1,000 percent increase in the use of SWAT teams over the last 25 years? Does it justify the fact that our cops that once looked like this

now look like this?

Your call, I guess."

On New Year's Eve, I'm staying home to watch large men beat the hell outta each other.

Including Fedor V Hong Man Choi.

God bless free fights on Japanese TV.

I am 99% sure...

...that this is the toy bike I had when I was a kid.

Sadly, one day I left it in the driveway and my dad backed over it. Driveways were for playing in, not cars! Such is the mind of the young.

Just crunched the damn thing.

Sigh... That's okay. Makes ya tough, it does.

God, I love Sinfest.

See, I said "God." It's kind of a pun, yes? Oh my, I've been hanging around Sandy too much.


Mmmm - Sacrilicious!

Overheard in the Office | Sacrilicious! - Quote this entry!: " 9AM Sacrilicious!

Tech, watching movie trailer online: Man, that's delicious. It's like drinking Jesus's sperm.

Hyde Park
Austin, Texas

via Overheard in the Office, Dec 28, 2007"

God damn, the man can still write.

Dennis O'Neil, author and comic book scribe, gives you his holiday parable.

Little Ditty About Danny and Fred, by Dennis O'Neil at ComicMix:
"Danny and Fred were the last two kids in their grade to still believe in Santa Claus.

Danny had first believed in Daddy, but he stopped when Daddy began to yell a lot, and drink whiskey, and throw things. So Danny could believe he had a father, because he could see a man coming and going, but he stopped believing in Daddy.

But he still believed in Santa Claus. Santa Claus would never yell or throw things or drink whiskey, and besides, he brought presents and all Danny had to do was be good, which he was anyway. Fred, who lived next door, also believed in Santa, though he and Danny never discussed the etiology of it, so Danny didn’t know why Fred believed. He didn’t care, either.

Then, when Danny was fourteen, Father, who was once Daddy, came into Danny’s room on Christmas Eve and pulled Danny from bed and hustled him into the front room, where the Christmas tree was. Father sat Danny down on the sofa and got a big cardboard box from a closet.

"Look, you little freak,” he said, not merrily, taking gifts from the box and throwing them at the tree. “It’s me. There is no Santa Claus. Me – I buy the friggin' gifts and I put them under the tree. Me, you little fruitcake.”

When Danny told Fred about this incident, Fred said that obviously, and for reasons of his own, Santa had disguised himself as Danny’s father. Which pretty much ended the conversation and the friendship.

But Danny still had things to believe in. He could believe in the Lord, and he did until he really, really liked this girl, Louella, and planned to ask her to be his bride. He prayed and prayed and prayed that Louella would say, “Yes”, but she didn’t. She said, “I really, really like you as a friend, but I plan to marry Horace.”

It was hard to believe in the Lord after that, and eventually Danny stopped trying. But he could still believe in his Country and his President and he did until his President told a bunch of lies and, to make the situation even worse, his Vice President told a bunch more. Finally, Danny just stopped believing, period. This made Danny sad, but that was life.

Fred still believed in Daddy, Santa, the Lord, and his Country right or wrong. Fred was a happy guy."

Very little new under the sun.

Why is it actually less comforting to know that the Bush administration has predecessors? You know, in the whole douchebaggery trashing of the Constitution sense...

Declassified doc shows Hoover planned mass jailing in 1950 - Boing Boing:
"The NYT reports today of a recently declassified document which reveals that longtime FBI head J. Edgar Hoover once planned to suspend habeas corpus in the US, and imprison 12,000 citizens he suspected of being disloyal."

Well played, indeed.

Questionable Content

Kid's got a future.

Hope he uses his powers for good, not evil.

Kid uses mousetrap to catch money-thief - Boing Boing:
"Harry Cordaiy, an 11-year-old Australian boy, was tired of thieves stealing his and other students' lunch money and bus tickets from classrooms. The school administrators weren't doing anything about it, so he rigged up a mousetrap coated with green food coloring, attached a $5 bill to it, stashed it in his backpack, and waited...

"I thought 'Oh my God, I might catch these guys'," Harry said. "Everybody was running around seeing who had green on their fingers."

One of the offenders was caught green-handed en route to the bathroom in a desperate bid to wash off the evidence. The younger boy confessed his guilt. An accomplice in the same year was also nabbed."

Priest Fight!

Just too awesome.

It's almost as if religion is designed to cause conflict and strife. Show me some more of that Jesus love, you Christian nutjobs.

Priests brawl at Jesus' birthplace - Boing Boing:
"At a Bethlehem church built over the manger where Jesus was alleged to have been born, two groups of 'robed and bearded' Greek Orthodox priests and Armenian priests fought each other for over an hour 'using fists, brooms and iron rods as weapons.' Seven people were injured in the brawl."

Pic Via.

Talking sense.

11AM You Know, Killing All Those Spades

Boss, holding meeting: So, you want to handle this thing?
Female employee: No.
Boss: What's the matter? You can't handle Harlem at night?
Female employee: No.
Boss: Faggot.
Queer employee: I'm surprised you used that word.
Boss: What? 'Faggot'?
Queer employee: Yes.
Boss: Obviously I don't think she's gay. I said 'faggot' in the sense of, you know, a sissy. No guts.
Drama queen employee: Besides, you faggots call each other 'faggot' all the time. I know you do.
Queer employee: I guess.
Boss: Glad we settled that. [To female employee] Now... I expect you to take your sissy ass to Harlem and take care of this thing.

Law firm
Long Island, New York

Overheard by: Big Larry

via Overheard in the Office, Dec 28, 2007

Typhoon Cindi II - The Reckoning.

To all those who shall hear these presents... Greeting.

Not 10 minutes... 10 minutes... and Cindi attacks my manhood. Just a joke, of course. [Hi mom, hi dad!] Which of course demanded my responsonating interrogatively-like whether she would die alone.

[First blood was Cindi's, so whatever tears result, it's important to note that.]

Now she and Sandy are chattering about.

Gonna be an interesting [and loud} week.

Not really all that different...

That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.—Paul Valery

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back from China.

Back once more into the land of the Rising Sun. 6 days and 3 cities in China, land of... umm... smog and air pollution?

Anyways, good trip, though I don't think I'd do it again.

In brief... Peking Duck, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Terracotta Soldiers, Hot Springs, the beginning of the Silk Road, Museums, Parks, the Shanghai Circus and far too many shops and peddlers. Oh, and two cases of food poisoning.

Anyways, still playing catch up with events and pics on the blog from before our trip, so the next few days should be getting those uploaded plus getting all the China pics on the computer and then blogging 'em.

Plus, Typhoon Cindi is in town and there's a UFC this weekend. Thank god I've got next week off. Priorities, people.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Burn. Out. [Yeah, I know it's one word. Quiet down, you rabble.]

If, by any chance you're swinging by the blog to see pictures I said I'd have up by now... or, if you've attended any of the vast variety of events I've been to these past 3 weeks or so... sorry no pics, and it is sooo not gonna happen, at least till Sandy and I get back from China at the end of this week.

Been battling a case of burnout the last week and a half or so. Exhausted... bad sleep... blah, blah... cry me a river, yeah? Last weekend was four events in a little over 2 days. Gaijin dinner and drinking [far too much drinking, resulting in drunken martial arts. Never a good idea, a lesson I've failed to learn on at least 4 separate, distinct occasions], elementary school mochitsuki the next morning [slightly hungover], a Christmas party for Sandy's Kokusai Spirit group after that, helping out a friend at an English eikaiwa/kid's Xmas lesson/party...

Then a full day of six classes at elementary school the next day, 4-6 classes a day the rest of the week, makeup English tests, closing ceremonies, bonenkai [more drinking... shochu = evil], [faux] Xmas celebrations today... and tomorrow we leave for China.

Then 3 cities/6 days in China, back to Japan, Cindi's in from America, family and oshogatsu on the 1st over in the city. And just like that, there's no real "vacation" in my vacation. No time in my time off.

So yeah, kinda burned out. Tired, grumpy, yadda yadda.

And yes, from the outside looking in, a vast # of social functions wouldn't wipe out the normal person, but as I've explained to the Mrs, social gatherings beyond one or two folks are always a source of stress for me. Yes, I'm damaged and have issues. Shut it.

[Natural introversion + child of divorce = every occasion/family gathering/special event for a good 20+ years is one awful smorgasbord of drama, peacekeeping and making, people unhappy with one another, all around hatefulness and discontent. And overly developed, thoroughly draining coping mechanisms. Ah, childhood... I don't miss you even a little bit.]

Nevertheless, gatherings = stress, regardless of whether I end up having a good time. [Which I do, actually. That being the only reason I keep getting myself to go.] But it wears on a man's soul, it does.

So anyway, swing by around the beginning of January, after Oshogatsu, and [hopefully] I'll have caught up on the pictures on the blog. Fingers crossed, knock wood, etc, etc.

Till then, have a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! [From Japan.]


[This is pretty damn funny. In the geeky way, of course.]


Three nerds turn a nativity scene into a LARP [Live Action Role Playing Game] battle; sacrilege ensues.


Hoping for a better, more free, at least a more constitutional 2008. - Government Power Grabs: 'Predicting' 2008 - Opinion:
"As the end of the year approaches, it's time for another column of government overreach predictions for the New Year. What outrageous, beyond-parody grabs at power and erosions of civil liberties will transpire in 2008? My predictions:

— The Bush administration will claim it has the power to kidnap citizens of foreign countries for violating U.S. law, and extradite them to the U.S. for trial and imprisonment—even for white collar crimes unrelated to terrorism, and even for acts that aren't illegal in the countries where the target is a citizen.

— Police will take enforcement of prostitution laws to a new level, by arresting and seizing the cars of anyone who merely talks to an undercover cop posing as a sex worker. Good samaritans, beware.

— The war on prescription painkillers will also reach new absurdities, as people will begin to be arrested and convicted of possessing painkillers for which they have a prescription . Prosecutors will weirdly argue that there is no "prescription defense" to possessing prescribed medication...

— Public schools will teach not just reading, writing, and arithmetic, they'll start teaching students to spy on their parents , and to report their parents to local authorities for minor violations of city codes, such as failing to recycle, or failing to keep their lawn trimmed.

— Pressed for revenue, at least one state in the country will pass draconian new traffic laws mandating fines of $1,000 or more for routine traffic violations, in a bald attempt to fill state treasury coffers. The bill will be sponsored by a lawmaker who, conveniently enough, also has a law practice that specializes in defending people accused of traffic violations. He will not disclose during the debate that the bill will almost certainly benefit him financially. He'll be reelected, anyway.

— A state governor will propose legislation calling for two-year prison terms for people who play online poker . Rather shamelessly, the proposal will come in the same bill that calls for allowing the construction of three new casinos in the same state...

— Standing on the sidewalk will become a crime.

— Cities will begin seizing the cars of people who play their stereos too loud . In fact, they'll seize the cars based on the word of someone else that the car's owner was playing his stereo too loud.

— Two years after banning traffic cameras in the name of "liberty," the Virginia legislature will decide that revenue is more important than liberty, and will revoke the ban .

—The FBI will imply to Congress that sometimes it has to let it's undercover informants get away with murdering American citizens so as not to disrupt drug investigations.

— Following up on the enormous "success" (that's sarcasm) of laws putting cold medicine behind the drug store counters because they can be used to make meth, legislators will propose putting baking soda behind the counter, too, because it can be used to make crack.

Too over-the top? Too paranoid? As you may have guessed... none of the bullet points above were actual predictions. Each of the above already happened in the past 12 months, in 2007."

More, sadly, and links to all the stories, at the above link.

Friday, December 21, 2007

If I had a kid, I'd totally make them do this stuff.

And then I'd make them fight a bear.

Seriously, I think I've done/did when I was a kid, maybe 3 or 5 of the five.

TED | Talks | Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do (video):
"Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, talks about our new wave of overprotected kids -- and spells out 5 (and really, he's got 6) dangerous things you should let your kids do. Allowing kids the freedom to explore, he says, will make them stronger and smarter and actually safer.

This talk comes from TED University 2007, a pre-conference program where TEDsters share ideas.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

But canned coffee REALLY IS good!


These are pretty funny.

All 100 at the link.

[I've courteously selected the ones I've done/agree with.]

100 Reasons Why You've Lived in Japan Too Long:
"You've Been In Japan Too Long When... rush onto an escalator, and just stand there. find yourself bowing while you talk on the phone. think US$17 isn't such a bad price for a new paperback. don't hesitate to put a $10 note into a vending machine.

...when you are talking on the telephone to your parents and your father says, "Why are you interrupting my explanation with grunts?" see a gaijin get on the train and think "Wow, it's a gaijin!" start thinking can coffee tastes good. have trouble figuring out how many syllables there really are in words like 'building'. don't think it unusual for a truck to play "It's a Small World" when backing up. think the opposite of red is white. get blasted by a political speaker truck and think "sho ga nai.." think the best part of TV are the commercials. have mastered the art of simultaneous bowing and hand- shaking.

...when you find nothing unusual in a television commercial for candy in which a model dressed in a high school girl's uniform comes up behind another model dressed in a high school girl's uniform, grabs her left breast, gives a devilish grin, and skips away. think the natural location for a beer garden is on a roof. think "white pills, blue pills, and pink powder" is an adequate answer to the question "What are you giving me, doctor?". have discovered the sexual attraction of high school navy uniforms.
[It makes sense, people. Guys hit puberty surrounded by these uniforms. Of course they're a fetish. - Rob.] think the meaning of a red traffic light is: "Hurry up! 10 cars now in quick succession, and then we'll think about slowing down."
...when you get on a train with a number of gaijin on it and you feel uneasy because the harmony is broken. think curry rice is food.

...when in the middle of nowhere, totally surrounded by rice fields and abundant nature, you aren't surprised to find a drink vending machine with no visible means of a power supply...

...when having gaijin around you is a source of stress.

. ..when getting ready for a trip you automatically calculate for omiyage and you leave just the right amount of space in your suitcase for them.

..."natsukashii" comes out of your mouth instead of "what you're saying makes me so nostalgic that I must look like one of those wide- eyed manga characters with a tear rolling out of my eye." buy a Christmas cake on Christmas eve.

...when you accompany your "no" by the famous waving hand-in- front-of-nose. use the "slasher hand" and continuous bowing to make your way through a crowd. put eleven 10 yen coins in the vending machine before you notice it's sold out."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sometimes people are assholes because they really don't think someone will whup their ass.

It's true.

Funny essay out of Esquire.

In Defense of the Fistfight - Esquire:
"This whole thing started -- or maybe it ended -- with these guys engaging in some ritualistic, Hare Krishna clapping shit. They were sitting at a table across the bar from my buddy Phil and me. We were trying to enjoy a quiet pint in our quiet local on a quiet evening, but these hippies wouldn't quit with their clapping. Swear to God, they might as well have been crashing cymbals in my ears.

I asked them politely to stop. "Make us," they said, and then they clapped louder, smiling their dirty-toothed smiles at us, twisting our nipples. One of them was named Jericho, I picked up. He was a skinny bearded guy who looked as though he'd wear Guatemalan mittens in winter. "Jerry," I said when they finally took a break, "come on over here, have a chat." He did, and shortly thereafter, he loosed a throat pony into my face. It was Jerry's bad luck that I had resolved to start punching people again.

It wasn't a snap decision. I'd reached the end of the road after what seemed like a perpetual assault from life's Jerichos -- the sorts of assholes who not only act like assholes but celebrate their assholedom: the grease spot who gave me the forearm shiver in our recreational soccer league and said, "It's a man's game, bitch"; the walnut-headed midlife crisis in his convertible who cut me off and then gave me the finger. It felt like they had me surrounded, clapping in concentric circles. I mean, Jesus, a skinny bearded hippie named after a biblical city had just spit in my face.

How'd we get here? Blogs are part of it, along with the incessant frothing of TV pundits and reality-show contestants, especially that lippy midget from The Amazing Race: Everybody thinks they're above being edited. And the saddest part is, the Jerichos are right to feel bulletproof. Somewhere along the way, we've evolved into a culture without consequence, taught so much hokum about the bigger man walking away. Yet to appease us, we've also been told that what goes around comes around. What kind of contradictory horseshit is that -- that one day, accounts will be settled, but by the universe? I like karma as much as the next guy, but lately, watching my city behave more and more like an Internet comments thread in the midst of a flame war, I've grown tired of waiting for the planets to balance the ledger...

...constrained by fear of cops, by fear of lawyers, by fear of the wife, all of our judges. Not anymore. I would submit, Your Honor, that if someone is doing something demonstrably asinine, and I ask them to stop it, please, and they say, "Make us," they've entered a binding oral contract whereby I am permitted, even obligated, to try to make them.

And so, before I wiped his spit off my face, I grabbed Jericho by his beard and dragged him outside. By the time I had him squared up, I saw all that I needed to see to know that I'd found a new habit: the regret on his once-smiling face. I was surprised by how good it felt, and I stopped for a second, frozen under the streetlights, satisfied that Jericho was about to make like the walls of that bitch city, and that I was about to settle my own accounts."

Somehow I keep thinking that Cindi should be scrambling her private jet and epi team to handle this.

But I may have read Preston's The Hot Zone too much.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Hunt on for escaped TB patients:
"Twenty-three patients with incurable, highly infectious and drug-resistant tuberculosis have escaped from a South African hospital, local media report.

A total of 49 patients have absconded from Jose Pearson hospital near Port Elizabeth this week, officials said.

Although 26 have since returned to the wards, police are now primed to join door-to-door searches for the rest..."

Sensitivity Training remains as effective as when I had to take it, clearly.

Overheard in the Office | So, "My Face, Ma'am." - Quote this entry!: "11AM So, 'My Face, Ma'am.'

Office girl arriving in meeting: Is there anywhere I can sit?
Manager: My face, but I can't say that because I just got out of sensitivity training.

North Hollywood, California

Overheard by: I have a face too

via Overheard in the Office, Dec 19, 2007"

You gotta wonder how exactly that happened.

Balloon Juice:
"Modern-day conservatives wholeheartedly support domestic surveillance, torture, detention without a habeas corpus hearing, unchecked executive power, international influence through armed belligerence and pseudo-religious leader cultism. But liberals are sometimes vegetarian, just like Hitler. So we know who carries the fascist flag around here."

“The man who listens to reason is lost: reason enslaves all whose minds are not strong enough to master her.” — George Bernard Shaw

Man, I better not ever get in trouble for saying "oriental" again.

1PM Likewise.

Office lady #1: It's so cold in here. Oooh! The hair on my arm is sticking up -- I didn't even know I had hair.
Office lady #2: Of course you do! You're a mammal...
Office lady #1: No, I'm Chinese! Oriental!
Male coworker: I have got to write this down.

185 Cambridge Street
Boston, Massachusetts

via Overheard in the Office, Dec 18, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Note to self; do not visit Chicago.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Want to Get Away With Murder in Chicago?:
"Join the Chicago Police Department.

...The Tribune found that even when information is later made public that contradicts the findings of internal investigations, the police refuse to reopen a case.
..."Once a case is closed, it's closed," said Sylvia VanWitzenburg.

"Your testimony is, once you close out a [police shooting] case, no matter what new information comes in, you're not going to go back and review it?" asked the attorney representing Ware's family.

"Correct," she replied.

The paper also found that even on those rare occasions when investigators find a shooting to be unjustified, the officer in question isn't disciplined.

Officer David Rodriguez asserted that he shot Herbert McCarter in the abdomen in a struggle over the officer's gun in December 1999. But Smith concluded Rodriguez lied and recommended his firing, according to Smith and a lawsuit filed by McCarter.

Key to that recommendation: medical records showing that McCarter actually had been shot in the back, and gunshot residue tests on his clothes indicating he had not been shot at close range.

Rodriguez, who declined to comment, remains a police officer. According to McCarter's lawsuit, no disciplinary action was taken despite the OPS chief investigator's conclusion.

McCarter, however, was charged with aggravated battery of a police officer. He was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years in prison.

In his 2006 lawsuit, McCarter alleged that city officials hid the OPS conclusions and recommendation from his lawyer in his criminal trial. The city settled McCarter's lawsuit for $90,000 this year.

The same officer was later sued in another questionable shooting. That suit resulted in a $4 million settlement from the city.

Finally, the paper found that this incredible deference to police officers extends also to officers who shoot people while off-duty. Cops who've shot people after drinking at bars, in road rage incidents, and during domestic disputes are given the same administrative privileges (privileges not given to you or I) as cops who shoot someone while on duty."

You know, this is the only interpretation of this I've ever heard that makes sense.

Of course it all loses translation and meaning and grammatical structure and whatnot going from the Hebrew to the English...

And it certainly makes more sense than any of the official explanations.

...a nifty little thought experiment.

"Inner Game Tricks" | ideaGasms:
"...The Truth is that We Are All One.

...Every time you see something outside yourself, don’t separate yourself from it. Merge with it. Don’t encourage your mind into thinking thoughts of separation.

Look at that bum and say, “There I am, being a drunk.”
Look at the movie star and say, “There I am, being famous.”
Look at the grass and say, “There I am, being the grass.”

Just keep seeing yourself everywhere. Just look and say, “I am that.”

Next thing you know, you’ll be walking down the street with a friend. He’ll more than likely notice the way you’re looking at things in such a deep way and ask you “What are you thinking?”

The conversation might flow something like this:

“Well, I was thinking about that I am that.”

“You are that? What are you talking about?”

So you start pointing to things all around you and say “I am that. I am that. I am that.”

He’ll counter, “No you’re not. You’re you.”

“Not really. Not in ultimate reality. In this world of illusion, I am ‘me’ over here, but in ultimate reality, I am ‘me’ over here, and I am that.”


“Really. I am that… I am.”

All of the sudden, you realize you’ve merged with God himself. You’re now pointing to different things, telling people, “I am that, I am.”"

The Jehovah's Witnesses were right all along!

You know it's true.

While most Christians embrace Christmas, a few recall a more complex history --
"As Christmas draws near, Pastor John Foster won't be decorating a tree...

He's one of very few American Christians who follow what used to be the norm in many Protestant denominations--rejecting the celebration of Christmas on religious grounds.

'People don't think of it this way, but it's really a secular holiday,' said Foster...

In researching his book, "Christmas: A Candid History," Forbes discovered that major American denominations--Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Congregationalists--either ignored the holiday or actively discouraged it until the late 19th century.

That rejection was rooted in the lack of biblical sanction for Dec. 25 as the date of Jesus' birth, as well as suspicion toward traditions that developed after the earliest days of Christianity. In colonial New England, this disapproval extended to actually making the holiday illegal, with celebration punishable by a fine.

...Christmas became acceptable as a family-centered holiday, Restad said, once it lost its overtly religious significance.

At the same time, aspects of the holiday like decorated trees and gift-giving became status symbols for an aspirant middle class. When Christmas began its march toward dominance among holidays, it was because of a change in the culture, not theology.

..."It's common knowledge that Christmas and its customs have nothing to do with the Bible," said Clyde Kilough, president of the United Church of God, which has branches all over the world. "The theological question is quite simple: Is it acceptable to God for humans to choose to worship him by adopting paganism's most popular celebrations and calling them Christian?""

Monday, December 17, 2007

You know, this actually makes a lot more sense than the bible.

, as per usual, rocks it hard.

"The Death Clock - When Am I Going To Die?"

Curiousity killed the... well, you know.

The Death Clock - When Am I Going To Die?

"Your Personal Day of Death is...

Sunday, July 30, 2045"

So... 38 more years it is.

Barring the apocalypse/singularity in 2012, that is.

We've got some sharp minds in charge of the criminal element.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Dept. of Rounding Errors:
"...So it comes as both a surprise, and no surprise at all, that as many as 33,000 prisoners are serving sentences that actually expired, but went unnoticed due to clerical error..."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If you're bitterly cynical, like I am at times, this comes as no surprise.

Bureacratic Battle Royale.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Trapping the Entrappers:
"So remember the story about New York City police leaving wallets and bags around, then arresting people who picked them up and walked by a cop without turning the found goods over?

I suggested someone do a "reverse sting," to see how much stuff turned over to authorities actually makes it back to its rightful owner.

...Well, turns out the city's Metropolitan Transit conducted just such an experiment. They had subway riders turn 26 personal items to transit authorities, then tracked how many of the items made it back to the rightful owners. It didn't turn out so well. Only three of the 26 were properly returned.

...Maybe NYC authorities should spend less time trying to bait city residents into committing crimes, and do a better job keeping their own employees in line."

"...there was no massacre at Nanjing. We don’t want our children to grow up thinking Japan is a barbarian country.”

Holy moley, that's some Holocaust-denial level of bullshit going on there.

Nanjing Massacre. . . Fact or fiction?:
"A new movie out of Japan named The Truth About Nanjing attempts to claim that the Nanjing Massacre never happened.

According to Satoru Mizushima, the film’s director, “There is one indisputable fact: there was no massacre at Nanjing. We don’t want our children to grow up thinking Japan is a barbarian country.”

...The film is based on the writings of Shudo Higashinakano, who asserts that the Nanking Massacre story as invented by Americans and Europeans who were living in Nanjing at the time.

Director Mizushima is also on record claiming that Japanese war criminals martyrs sacrificed to atone for the sins of Japan, making them similar to Jesus Christ.
"They resemble Jesus Christ who was nailed to the cross in order to bear the sins of the world. They died bearing all of old Japan’s good and bad parts and headed for the gallows.", you just don't know where to begin with this one, do you? Do you start with the far right's obsession with appearance over substance in this case? [Appearance over substance, of course, de rigeur all too often in Japan.] Cause god forbid anyone ever have the wrong impression of the Japanese. As barbarians, no less.

Or do you go with the inanely fuckedupitness of the religious allegory there at the end?

Choose your crazy and just go with it, I guess.

I'm going to China in less than a week...

...maybe I can pick up a fake Mao.

Fake Mao antique, Shanghai "antiques" market - Boing Boing:
"...this artfully aged Chairman Mao statue stood about a meter high, on sale at an 'antiques' stall in Shanghai. The street market was filled with cheerfully fake pieces (I found a nice fake Omega antique brooch clock and when the vendor argued for a few more RMB on the price, he said, 'Omega, Omega!' and I countered, 'Fake Omega!' and he said, 'Chinese Omega!' and we both cracked up). At the next stall over a man was working with sandpaper and some kind of chemical to age a revolutionary-era plaque.

The revolution-kitsch antiques were in great supply, each of them [artificially] weathered..."

Photo of the fake at the link.

Hypocrisy, thy name is politics.

They live in a world of blind denial.

Alternatively, they're simply just lying... all the time.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Scenes from the Revolution:
"From Reuters, the tale of a stammering representative of the bolibourgeoise who treated reporters to a stinging denunciation of capitalism...while wearing a $180 Louis Vuitton tie and $500 Gucci shoes:
A video of a Gucci- and Louis Vuitton-clad politician attacking capitalism then struggling to explain how his luxurious clothes square with his socialist beliefs has become an instant YouTube hit in Venezuela.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Pedro Carreno was momentarily at a loss for words when a journalist interrupted his speech and asked if it was not contradictory to criticize capitalism while wearing Gucci shoes and a tie made by Parisian luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton.

"I don't, uh ... I ... of course," stammered Carreno on Tuesday before regaining his composure. "It's not contradictory because I would like Venezuela to produce all this so I could buy stuff produced here instead of 95 percent of what we consume being imported." The video clip ( had been viewed more than 15,000 times on Thursday, a day after it was posted on the YouTube Web site.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The 70s were a magical time.

Overheard in the Office | Sure Thing, Tammy. - Quote this entry!: " 4PM Sure Thing, Tammy.

Waiter #1, pointing: Tammy's* either gettin' a poochy belly, or she needs to trim that beaver.
Waiter #2: It's beaver. I fucked her last month, after her sister died, and I thought I was suddenly in a '70s porno.
Manager: You guys need to go find something to clean.

Circle Centre Mall
Indianapolis, Indiana

Overheard by: Shatmandu

via Overheard in the Office, Dec 13, 2007"

I know one of my JTEs is gonna use this song next week.

I have got to send this to him. Too funny.

It's not fun, it's just different.: Happy Xmas (English Is Done For):
"Today we played a game of fill in the gaps with the third graders. While listening to John and Yoko's 'Merry Xmas (War Is Over)' they had to fill in the appropriate words on their lyric sheets. The results were mixed to say the least.

Here are some edited highlights:

So this is Christmas
And what have you don't
Another year over
And a new one just discuss

And so this Christmas
I wow you have ever
The me and the dear ones
The new and the year

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for fear
The old is so young
The rod is so long

"In Fukuoka, it was once illegal to attack a naked intruder."

God bless cultural differences and all that, but, man...

Yobai (Night crawling):
"Until quite recently in rural Japan, yobai, or “night crawling” would have been an introduction to sex for many young people. While a young woman slept, a silent intruder would creep into her room, slide behind her and make his intentions known. If she consented, they would have discrete sex until the early morning, when he would have to slip out of the house as stealthily as he had slipped in.

The young man might be known to the girl and her family. Also, in a seasonal agricultural economy, farmers might have a number of laborers sleeping under their roofs sometimes, knowing that their daughters might be targets for yobai. In some cases, groups of friends would travel miles to neighboring villages, where the embarrassment of capture wouldn’t be as great, and each target a different girl.

In many cases, yobai would be conducted entirely with the knowledge of the girl’s parents. In fact, it was sometimes a prelude to marriage - parents would turn a blind eye the first few nights a young man secretly visited their daughter, but then he would be “caught”, and a more public courtship would begin.

Yobai tactics

* Take your clothes off before you even sneak into the house. In Fukuoka, it was once illegal to attack a naked intruder, as he was probably engaged in yobai rather than theft.
* Keep it quiet, even if socially questionable acts are required. One technique to avoid detection was to urinate along the bottom of doors to prevent them squeaking as they were slid open.
* Practice safe sex. A night crawling man would often cover his face with a cloth, protecting himself and his chosen lady from embarrassment if she rejected his advances.

Yobai clubs

Reportedly, yobai still happens in the more remote areas of Japan, and there seems to be nostalgia for the practice elsewhere. The seduction of sleeping women is a popular theme of Japanese pornography, and some image clubs offer special yobai services - providing prostitutes who pretend to be asleep while the client slips into their futon."

That is some nice ink.

Feridun in Japan: Tattoo on japanese girl's back:
"There is a long history of Tattoos in Japan, which remarkably evolved very artistic. This one combines Kanji Characters with Figures from japanese Mythology. However, nowadays many people with tattoos are affiliated with yakuzas, organized crime groups..."

There was in June 2006 a tattoo convention in Tokyo, which was called "Love and Tattoo Daikanyama". A 25-year-old Chiba woman, attending the "Love and Tattoo" exhibition in Daikanyama said
"When you get a tattoo, something you can treasure the rest of your life is added to your body. There's a feeling of joy to be had from that."

Is it true? Probably not...

...but sometimes it feels like it.

And that's some good writing, too.

"My Common Enemy":
"Lady, people aren't chocolates. D'you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bobble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine."

You know, one of the best parts of my job is that no matter what kind of bastard-ly mood I wake up in, it is nigh impossible to maintain that in the face of scores [okay, we'll say 2 out of 3] of enthusiastic, cheerful Jr High School students.

I won't say it never fails... but often enough, some cheery, goofy kids who want to try out English with the ALT just makes my god-damn day.

The JET Programme, preventing bastardism since 2005. [At least.]

I say steroids for everyone!

But given that they won't do that, you'd think they'd pay more attention to steroid use by these folks than by baseball players.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > The Other Steroids Problem:
"Given that police officers carry guns, night sticks, and tasers, and that they have the power to use lethal force when necessary, one would think our politicians would be more concerned about illegal use of a drug known to contribute to fits of rage and violence among law enforcement than use by a bunch of baseball players. Of course, it's easier to score political points with the latter. It's also probably a pretty sweet power rush to make larger-than-life sports icons cower at the sound of your hearing gavel."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

" if millions of voices suddenly cried out in... umm... geeky delight."

Veronica Mars herself [Kristen Bell] as Slave Princess Leia, via IgwanaRob

...and geeks everywhere did rejoice.

[From the upcoming flick Fanboys.]

THAT is a nice bit of design. Breakfast Table: Kitchen & Home

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Sadly, no.

Politicians everywhere... just useless.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > The Deadliest Thing Since (Thinly) Sliced Bread:
Will no government agency regulate the thickness of sliced bread in Britain?

The House of Lords has been listening with interest to a call for thick slices of bread to be cut down to size.

Baroness Gardener said: "I speak as a member of the All-Party Group on Obesity. Why is it that in central London you can hardly find a thinly sliced or medium-sliced load of bread to buy, and any sandwich you buy in any supermarket is now made with thick bread?

..."Surely at a time when we want to reduce people's consumption, there should be more pressure from the Food Standards Agency, or one of the many departments the Minister speaks about, to take us back to normal-sized bread instead of these super-sized sandwiches."

Image via.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bishop Desmond Tutu - US and Britain are as full of crap as the South African apartheid government was.

I'm paraphrasing, of course.

Don't know why he's so surprised, honestly. The US opposed any real sanctions of South Africa until the late 1980s. "Constructive Engagement" and all that. While they brutalized they're own people. Wonder who remembers that they labelled Mandela a terrorist?

Crooks and Liars » Desmond Tutu: Terror Detentions Like Apartheid Era:
"Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused the United States and Britain of pursuing policies like those of South Africa’s apartheid-era government by detaining terrorism suspects without trial.

At an event to commemorate the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDR) today, the Nobel laureate said the detention of suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban members at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was a “huge blot on a democracy”.

"Whoever imagined that you would hear from the United States and from Britain the same arguments for detention without trial that were used by the apartheid government...”"

For Dad Snider...

...cause he enjoyed the last one. And archery is a goodness. Howard Hill would be proud.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A neat intellectual exercise... that it could actually cause some right-wing brain-lock.

Crooks and Liars » A Week Of Shootings:
"All this has had me thinking about the FISA debate when proponents of the warrantless wiretapping were quick to argue it was necessary to give up freedoms for security. Would these same people apply that argument to the second amendment instead of the fourth? I think we all know the answer on that. Perhaps the next time a Republican Senator says that we should give up freedoms for security when it comes to listening in on phone calls, then he should be asked about giving up the right to bear arms as a way to protect us in church or at the local mall. Let’s see how quickly the subject changes then."

The Democrats!

Reproduced in full. Cause it's that damn good.

[See The Aristocrats if you don't get the joke.]

Balloon Juice comes with the correct.

Balloon Juice
A well-known writer walked into a producer’s house and said to the producer that he had come up with a great act. The producer, intrigued, told the writer to briefly describe his idea.

“Well,” said the writer, “I have an idea for a political party who claims to be against the war in Iraq, but won’t do anything about it. The party will also claim to be against torture, but won’t do anything about that either. In fact, they will be swept into power precisely because of their public opposition to both of those things, but privately they will be informed of possible acts of torture performed by our government, and they won’t say anything about it. At any rate, they continue their two-faced behavior- publicly opposing the war and torture, but privately being apparently content with it, until the end of their congressional term, when they will all gather together on the floor of the House, where they will all publicly shit on the original version of the Constitution, on loan from the National Archives.”

The producer looked at the writer, and said, “That is really quite disgusting. What do you call the act?”

The writer responded, “The Democrats.”

Hallelujah, brother.

Let’s Go Burn Some Books, by Mike Gold at ComicMix:
"I haven’t seen the movie The Golden Compass, but I will, and soon. I don’t care if it’s a complete piece of crap – I want to see it because the Religious Right told me not to.

They say that sort of thing a lot. Here’s what pissed me off. They said the author of the books upon which the movie is based, Philip Pullman, is an atheist. They’re afraid that if your children like the movie, they might actually pick up the book and read it. Somehow, the book will destroy their belief in the unigod.

Now that seems a little paranoid to me, but even if it happens, well, damn, we sure don’t want kids to make up their own minds – overruling the evidently flimsy influences of their parents, their relatives, their pastors, and their friends just by reading a damned book, right?

...I’ll tell you what scares me even more. Last week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, and I quote, “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” Say what? Historically, organized religion and its militant outreach has been an astonishingly awesome suppressor of freedom. That’s history, folks, and we’ve had a hell of a lot of wars, crusades, pogroms, inquisitions, cross-burnings, and Jihads to prove it...."

Japan, you magnificent bastard.

Japan is special, indeed.

First off, a contest between Thai ladyboys versus the tendency of Japanese celebrities to cross dress.

Thai Ladyboys & Japanese Boys : Japan Probe:
"Here’s a pretty interesting concept: see if a few of Thailand’s prettiest ladyboys could beat some handsome young Japanese actors dressed in drag (For those of you who don’t understand the Japanese spoken in the video below, Thailand = blue door, Japan = red door)."

More reasons I can't go to Thailand. A couple of those guys are cute.


And now I feel unclean.

Next up, cramming as many naked Japanese women into a phone booth as possible. Video, at the link, completely NSFW.

ectoplasmosis » Your Daily WTF: How Many Naked Japanese girls Can You Cram Into A Phonebooth?:
"From our experience in Japan, Eliza and I find this video to be very similar to getting on a Tokyo subway, except replace exhausted salarymen on the cusp of a nervous breakdown with naked schoolgirls."

The oddest part, surprisingly, is not scads of naked Japanese women crushed up against one another, but how... regardless of the situations, the effort of the team and the encouraging of your teammates is paramount in Japanese society. Until you've heard a Japanese women scream "Daijobu?" as she shoves the butt cheeks of another woman into a phone booth, you really haven't seen it all.

And finally, via Warren Ellis, you get... well... just watch it. It's magical.

Warren Ellis » Your Monday WTF

"Fan" - atics, indeed. "First March Of The Mutant Enemy - Part 1 - WGA Strike 2007"

All hail Joss.

YouTube - First March Of The Mutant Enemy - Part 1 - WGA Strike 2007:
"December 7, 2007 - Fox Studios, Los Angeles California. When Joss Whedon put out the call to Mutant Enemy fans to join him on the WGA Strike line at Fox Studios, 400 enthusiasts trekked from as far away as Australia and England to show their support for their favorite writers, many of them flying in for the day so they could walk the line. Many members of the Screen Actors Guild were also in attendance, including Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Ron Glass, Juliet Landau, and a host of others. 'First March' looks at the events of the day, and a few of the basic issues that brought the WGA to strike."

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold." - Yeats

[Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world]

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Only in Japan - "National Chauvinistic Husbands Association."

Ha-Ha, I say. | living | Wives get revenge by demanding Big D:
"FUKUOKA, Japan – Salarymen are the black-suited corporate warriors who work long hours, spend long evenings drinking with cronies and stumble home late to long-suffering wives. Now they have danger waiting for them as they near retirement.


A change in Japanese law this year allows a wife who is filing for divorce to claim as much as half her husband's company pension. When the new law went into effect in April, divorce filings across Japan spiked 6.1 per cent – 95 per cent of them made by women.

Many more split-ups are in the pipeline, marriage counsellors predict. They say wives – hearts gone cold after decades of marital neglect – are using calculators to ponder pension tables, the new law and the big D.

Skittishly aware of the trouble they're in, 18 salarymen gathered at a restaurant here recently for beer, boiled pork and marital triage. These members of the improbably named National Chauvinistic Husbands Association began the evening with a toast that summed up their strategy for arguing with one's wife.

"I can't win. I won't win. I don't want to win," they bellowed in unison..." goofy extreme to the other goofy extreme.

Let's see... that's destroying evidence and obstruction of justice.

At least.

Balloon Juice:
"The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fukuoka in the news.

It is to laugh.

5 students arrested for dealing marijuana at Fukuoka prep school - Mainichi Daily News:
"FUKUOKA -- Five youths have been arrested for trading in marijuana at a major preparatory school here, police said. The five, aged 18 to 19, stand accused of violating the Cannabis Control Law. They include one student at Kawaijuku Preparatory School in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, and several vocational school students."


"Rules for men's happiness
1. It's important to have a woman who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, cleans up and has a job.
2. It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh.
3. It's important to have a woman who you can trust and who doesn't lie to you.
4. It's important to have a woman who is good in bed and who likes to be with you.
5. It's very, very important that these four women don't know each other."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Which Chow Yun Fat are you?

These are important questions.

Which Chow Yun Fat Are You?

You are John Lee, exotic assassin from The Replacement Killers. Often, you feel as if everyone around you is speaking a strange foreign language. You speak tersely, going directly for what you want without much preamble. Watch out for men with submachine guns that look like briefcases.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Some people just need to be kickfucked to death.

...otherwise known as "why I have no use at all for religion."

I'm all for sending them straight to their god. You know, in a "this isn't a direct threat, don't sue me kind of way."

God... the religious... these people are the enemy.

Just one more biblical level plague, is that too much to ask?

Warren Ellis » God Hates The World:
"The Westboro Baptist Church (that “God Hates Fags” crew from the heart of Jesusland USA) presents their cover “We Are the World,” rewritten and retitled as “God Hates the World.” The following spectacle managed to be both surreal and fleshcrawlingly creepy at the same time. I’m fairly sure all the people on screen are related to each other. If you can stomach it, the last twenty seconds are as close to pure evil as I’ve seen today." - Watch more free videos

What do you know?

And why do you know it? Whose story did you choose to believe?

Apropos of nothing, here some Pakistani students blow an ABC reporters mind by explaining how Bin Laden works for the CIA.

"Good Morning America host Chris Cuomo is schooled by four Pakistanis on Bin Laden's CIA connections. Cuomo seems surprised."

That's just crazy talk, right?


Who do you believe?


Beatboxers and Hambone got nothing on Bobby McFerrin.

Speaking of hambone... this gets props cause of the NC connection.

"This starts out at a normal pace and then increases in tempo to a blazing finish. Shot in North Carolina back in early 1990's while visiting my brother. Enjoy!"

"Merry Christmas, From Chiron Beta Prime."

It being December, I now wish you the finest of Holiday Greetings.

Merry Christmas Internet!

[Plus Robots.]

Inspiring - "Saying Good-Bye to 20 Years of Debt."

And vaguely familiar.

Well, the beginning part, anyways...

Free at Last! Saying Good-Bye to 20 Years of Debt ∞ Get Rich Slowly:
"Twenty years ago I was a freshman in college. I was a poor kid from a poor family, but my roommates came from wealth. In order to fit in, I went out and picked up a department store credit card. I bought some new clothes, an electric shaver, and a bottle of cologne. From that day on, I’ve been in debt.

...When my father died in 1995, I received a small life insurance settlement. To my credit, I applied this money to debt, and for a few years my balances declined. But then I returned to my profligate ways, buying a new car, buying computers, buying any toy I wanted. By 2004, I had accumulated over $35,000 in debt.

...It took a lot of time and effort, but these actions have finally paid off. Today I wrote a check for the last of my consumer debt. I am now debt-free, except for my mortgage."

How he did it, at the link...

The Meaning of Life? A vehicle for bacteria.

Something similar I read, maybe it was scifi, or maybe that madman Terrence Mckenna, that postulated that humanity was evolved as a message delivery system for DNA through millenia. Code in DNA, imbue the bags of water and tissue and meat with huge self defense and self preservation drives, and voila! Your message is guaranteed delivery in 10,000,000,000 years.

Bacteria, viruses, DNA all outnumber us exponentially by huge factors. Maybe we're the byproduct, not the purpose?

Boy, that'll kick the ego right in the nuts, won't it?

Kinda takes the pressure off though.

Your body has 10x more bacterial cells than human ones - Boing Boing:
"Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho claims that our bodies contain 10 times more bacterial cells than human ones (bacterial cells are a lot smaller and thus occupy less volume). Human genome researchers believe that at least 40 of our genes are bacterial in origin."

"George Bush says 'we are losing the war on drugs'. Well you know what that implies? There's a war going on, and people on drugs are winning it!"

Bill Hick's wisdom reaches out from beyond the grave -
"George Bush says 'we are losing the war on drugs'. Well you know what that implies? There's a war going on, and people on drugs are winning it! Well what does that tell you about drugs? Some smart, creative motherfuckers on that side."

New article in Rolling Stone on Losing the Drug War is getting attention.

Slate's Jack Shafer on Rolling Stone drug war article - Boing Boing:
"Wallace-Wells captures the complete costs of the drug war better than any journalist I've read in a long time. He documents how the federal government has dropped about $500 billion combating illicit drugs over the past 35 years. Nearly 500,000 people sit in jail or prison for drug crimes, 'a twelvefold increase since 1980,' Wallace-Wells writes. For all the money the government has spent and all the people it's jailed, it's still failed to make a long-term impact on the availability of drugs. The militarized drug-control techniques favored by the Bush administration, he reports, have increased violence and political corruption abroad, violated human rights, and destabilized several Latin American nations."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Drowning Pool supports the troops. Special Bill O'Reilly smackdown bonus.

Crooks and Liars » Bill O’Reilly vs. The USO & Drowning Pool

I am definitely good at that second one.

16 years strong!


The mind reels at the audacity and the stupidity...

And remember kids, anybody can be labelled a terrorist. And they don't have to tell you why...

Maybe we should just call them gulags and be done with it?

Crooks and Liars » Suicide As A P.R. Tactic To Make U.S. Look Bad?:
"US Navy Cmdr Andrew Haynes said there was “an impressive effusion of blood” but the prisoner was treated by guards and taken to the prison clinic.

Officials would give no details of the man but lawyer Zachary Katznelson said the inmate had been held without charge for nearly six years.

Cmdr Haynes said “self-harm”incidents were a tactic to discredit US forces."

Right. Because it’s impossible to imagine why someone left to rot in a prison for six years without charges, doomed to indefinite despair, would have any legitimate reason to want to end his life-except to make the people holding him look bad."

"...long hours are almost always self-inflicted."

Too true.

Stress: Unhappy? You May Just Be a Perfectionist

God has a lot of Class 1 Felonies to account for...

The blindingly obvious.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Give Up the Toad Now:
"This just in from the Associated Press:
'Law enforcement authorities have discovered that people are willing to go to great lengths to get high.'
If that's a recent discovery, it explains a lot about drug policy in America.
..."There are a lot of things that are created naturally but they are still not legal," he said.

Evidently God committed some serious felonies when he created all those psychoactive plants and animals. Manufacturing with intent to distribute on such a massive scale probably would trigger a life sentence even for Him."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My birthplace becomes more inane.

My own island kingdom, is that really so much to ask? Cause everyplace else seems more and more unintelligent.

NC continues it's descent into dumbness.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > How to Lose Your License Without Really Trying:
"Careful about doling out glasses of spiked eggnog to the college-aged kids in your family this Christmas. A glassful could cost you your license, even if no one gets near a car.

North Carolina is taking bans on booze to a new level as part of a passel of legislation that also bans alcohol inhalers and changes requirements for ankle bracelets for boozers:
As of Saturday, people can lose their driver's licenses for providing alcohol to anyone under 21. The penalty is important because many underage drinkers get alcohol from friends or family members, said Craig Lloyd, the executive director of the North Carolina chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The law means that, theoretically, parents could be punished for giving a glass of wine to their 20-year-old son or daughter, even if the 20-year-old never gets behind the wheel.

Lloyd said that's not excessive."

You also have to love the making of alcohol inhalers illegal. See, it's not the substance that's bad. That's okay. [So say our friends in the alcohol lobby.] It's the potential that someday the marketing for the same substance may skew in a way that could possibly be bad. For the children.

Kill me now.

You have fewer friends than you think.

Your awesome of the day - Bear Massage!

Massage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"In Romania some illnesses were treated by a massage in which the patient was treaded on by a tame bear."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Perhaps the finest business meeting of our time.

Overheard in the Office | Except for Larry, Who Can Keep the Tutu:
"Coder #1: I just can't work in these pants!
Coder #2, raising hand: Seconded!
Boss #1: No! Motion fails!
Boss #2: Indeed -- pants remain a workplace requirement!

7255 East Hampton Avenue Mesa, Arizona

Overheard by: Chris Cardinal"

"Time, time, time..."

One of my favorite pics, now officially backed up online.

Barring, you know, an electromagnetic pulse that wipes out all the world's hard drives in a The Day After scenario.

Excuse me now while I go look for my youth.

<*cries softly*>

The Speech Presentation - Chikuzen Area English Exchange.

A few of my Jr High Kids at the Chikuzen English Speech Presentation and Exchange. They had practiced really hard this past month, having survived our own Jr High Elimination contest, and they all did really well.

A couple of them gave performances that probably exceeded any previous effort. Which was really awesome to see and hear.

Prepping and Posing.

A thank you note from one of the kids. They definitely know how to do "kawaii" in Japan. Warms my cold, dead, unfeeling heart, it does.

New at Reason: Drew Carey Defends Poker

Cops bust VFW vets for charity poker games. What amazing douchebaggery.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > New at Reason: Drew Carey Defends Poker:
"In his latest video for, Drew Carey examines a paramilitary-style raid on a poker game at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1837 in Dallas, which has now been forced to close its doors.

"This story highlights the hypocrisy that surrounds gambling in this country," said Nick Gillespie, editor of "States will gladly take your hard-earned money if you want to play the government's lottery. But if you sit down with some veterans to play Texas hold 'em you may end up with cops, in full riot gear, busting down your door. No one gets hurt when consenting adults sit down for a game of cards. And there's no reason for the government to get involved.""

Cold Mask.

It's almost a guaranteed lock that, despite living in Japan, I will never wear a cold and flu season mask.

However, Sandy's creative purchasing, and ode to the Dark Knight, will now be forever immortalized online before adding it to the JET-ALT sickness/doctor visit lesson materials.

Glasses I almost wouldn't be ashamed of wearing in public.

Of course, getting glasses in the 6th grade, when you're already kinda a bookish geek, and they help cement it, pretty much guarantees you'll always hate wearing glasses in public.

But these are as stylish a couple of pair as I've ever owned.

Which is just sad, really.

The irony...

...of high-fiving my adorable 6 year old Japanese elementary school students on the bike ride home, all while NWA is blasting through my earbuds, has not escaped me.

What has escaped me, till just now, is that NWA's last CD was out in 1991.

Jesus... old.

Korea wins the immigration policy "Retard-Off" of 2007.

It was a close race, what with the brown skinned paranoia of the US battling with the Japanese fascination/distrust of all things gaijin, but the big winner is clearly South Korea, with its inane new policy.

English Teaching Visa Procedures in Korea Now Require Fingerprinting, Drug Test, HIV Test : Japan Probe:
"The Justice Ministry has announced that starting in less than two weeks foreigners who teach English will be required to provide their criminal record and undergo a medical checkup to renew or receive a visa. In many cases, the new requirements will force English teachers to return to their home country to get the criminal record check. Many embassies here have already announced they cannot or will not conduct such a service.

...The US and Canadian embassies have already informed the South Korean government they cannot carry out criminal background checks, creating a very difficult situation for Americans and Canadians currently teaching in Korea to renew their visas should they want to stay. Those applying for new visas will also have to go through an interview at a South Korean consulate in their country before having their visa applications approved (this is in addition to their criminal background and disease tests).

...Korea blogger Michael Hurt has posted harsh criticism of the new rules, which he believes were enacted because of xenophobic fears spread by exaggerated media reports of criminal English teachers... "Treat all foreign teachers like criminals, and force them to produce these documents every time they apply for or even RENEW a visa. So, now the hagwons and schools will be more apt to hire the many more foreigners working here illegally on tourist visas, while the number of the vast majority of completely non-child molester, non-drug runner foreigners willing to put up with an extended life of being treated like a child-molesting, AIDS-ridden, drug abusing criminal will surely decrease.""

"Cherry Chocolate Rain" by Tay Zonday

From internet meme celebrity to Dr Pepper salesman in 3 months. God Bless America.

On the other hand, Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper is totally something I would buy if I was back in the the States. I envision a tasty amalgam of Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda + the old Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper.

Aspartame-y brain cancer-y goodness, indeed.

...Man, I really want some now.

I'm simple.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The hubris is UNBELIEVABLE.

What. The. Fuck?

Warren Ellis » America Can And Will Kidnap Anyone Anywhere Anytime:
"America has told Britain that it can kidnap British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States.. No, really..."

More police tasing idiocy.

Balloon Juice:
"Got it? The Trooper screwed up, pushed the situation when he didn’t even need a signature, refused to make any attempts to defuse the situation, then didn’t behave correctly (turned his back on Massey), but the tasering was ok because it was a “scary situation” for the cop. Ain’t being a cop great! You can screw up every part of your job, have your superiors admit publicly that you screwed up, and you are still justified doing whatever you want if you can claim you got ‘scared.’ It is time to take the toys away from the police and teach them how to do their jobs without the quick “fix” of the taser."

How is it that they already don't have enough to do?


Balloon Juice - Not enough Crime:
So the cops are trying to gin some up:
Nine months ago, a similar police decoy program called Operation Lucky Bag was effectively shut down by prosecutors and judges who were concerned that it was sweeping up the civic-minded alongside those bent on larceny. Shopping bags, backpacks and purses were left around the subway system, then stealthily watched by undercover officers. They arrested anyone who took the items and walked past a police officer in uniform without reporting the discovery.

Now, a new version of the operation has started to catch people in public places outside the subways, and at much higher stakes, Criminal Court records show.

Unlike the initial program, in which the props were worth at most a few hundred dollars, the bags are now salted with real American Express cards, issued under pseudonyms to the Police Department.

Because the theft of a credit card is grand larceny, a Class E felony, those convicted could face sentences of up to four years. The charges in the first round of Operation Lucky Bag were nearly all petty larceny, a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

...As noted in the comments:
It’s a twofer: you discourage good Samaritans (who might actually try to return the purses) while at the same time promoting a view of the police as a sneaky organization out to get you.

Idiots. Maybe if everyone reports them as suspicious packages and it costs them an arm and a leg to scramble the Homeland Security apparatus, it will nip this bullshit in the bud.

Europe is different than America.

Maybe it's something in the water?

They seem... what's the word... kind of sane?

The Worlds Best Country to live in - Michael Moore edit

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Project Not-Mayhem, apparently.

How very cool.

Guerrilla clockmakers fix famous Paris clock - Boing Boing:
"'It seems a team of clockmakers broke into the Pantheon in Paris in September 2005 and spent a year fixing the historic and neglected clock, which had been abandoned by the authorities. They were prosecuted for breaking in, but have just been cleared of the charges in court. The group, 'Untergunther' have a catalogue of subterranean lo-jinks to their name.'"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, don't call 911.

DHS to firefighters: snoop on emergency victims for evidence of terrorism - Boing Boing:
"The Department of Homeland Security is asking firefighters to snoop around in homes they're called to for emergencies. The DHS likes the idea because firefighters aren't bound by pesky warrants and probable cause... they've also asked meter-readers to peer into our windows and sheds to find evidence of bad-guy-ery. This stuff doesn't work and won't work: amateur pecksniffs snitching on their neighbors just flood cops with bad intel, and turn the country into East Germany, a land where everyone is on alert lest they say the wrong thing and get turned in to the secret police"