Saturday, March 10, 2007

I was never lucky enough to own the Batmobile...

...but I totally had a couple of the action figures.

Ah, 1984, I remember you so...

" We're the Government -- and You're Not."

Hilarious bit of satire.

"What if the U.S. government released an "educational video" to teach today's Americans how to be good citizens?"

YouTube - Earthlings Featurette

Narrated by Academy Award Nominee Joaquin Phoenix and featuring music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist Moby, EARTHLINGS is a documentary film about humankind's complete economic dependence on animals raised for pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research. Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, EARTHLINGS chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit. Powerful, informative, controversial and thought-provoking, EARTHLINGS is by far the most comprehensive documentary ever produced on the correlation between nature, animals and human economic interests.

Prescient article on the continued deification of American Kids...

...who may continue to grow up to be soft, soft headed, and with esteem and entitlement that far exceeds their capabilities. Or not. I'm just sick to death of the world being increasingly bubble-wrapped "for the children."

Extremely long article that gets into the why's and wherefore's of where this whole mentally comes from... Great read, in full, if you follow the link...

Reason Magazine - Child-proofing the World:
"..."...About six months ago, I received another unscheduled lesson in contemporary childhood (or, more precisely, contemporary parenting). My wife and I had moved to a small town in southeast Texas, and I was dropping our 3-year-old son off for the first time at his new day care center. As I started out of the U-shaped driveway, I saw something that made me hit the brakes so hard I almost cracked my head against the windshield: A car pulled into the driveway with a toddler jumping up and down in the passenger seat of the automobile; in the back seat, I saw another unbelted child climbing the upholstery. What the hell kind of parent would allow such a thing? I wondered for a second before the answer came to me: my mother, my father, and every other parent I knew growing up during the '60s, '70s, and early '80s.

Things sure are different nowadays with the kids, and in a most puzzling way. By most standards, the vast, overwhelming majority of American children are doing better than ever. With some notable, insistent, and tragic exceptions, indicators such as mortality and accident rates, life expectancy, and educational attainment all suggest that the kids are more than all right. In fact, they are flourishing, brimming over with the potential to live longer, to live better, and to be smarter than their parents (just as their parents outstripped their parents).

And yet, the national discourse on children--the way we talk about "the kids" and their future--describes a tableau of unremitting fear and trembling, a landscape marked by relentless risk and deprivation. Although apocalyptic rhetoric in general has diminished in recent years--overpopulation, nuclear war, global warming, and the like just don't pack the same wallop they did in years past--the air remains thick with stories of how children must be protected from a world that is conceived largely as a malevolent presence that seeks only to hurt them, a sort of Mad Max environment for the younger set.

...The threats are everywhere, we are told: If children are not hounded by ritual satanic child abusers at day care or by perverts on the Internet, then they're sucking in too much asbestos at school, or chewing on too much lead at home; if television, purportedly the babysitter of choice in the overwhelming majority of American homes, hasn't transformed kids into underperforming, slackjawed dullards, it has overstimulated them into feral children who must be tamed with Ritalin and Prozac; if we haven't failed the kids by not spending unlimited amounts of tax money on them, then we have transformed them into shallow consumers who can only measure affection in terms of dollars spent; if they're not at elevated risks of brain cancer from eating hot dogs, then they're likely to become punch- drunk from heading soccer balls; and on and on.

Interestingly, such stories tend not to focus on the kids who may truly be most at risk, such as impoverished children in the inner city or rural outposts. Instead, the tendency is to paint with a broad brush, to talk about that great hypothetical abstraction, "middle-class America."

..."Yeah, I'm really worried about raising my kids," a college friend with two pre-teen girls tells me. "Everything's out of control: drugs, schools, college costs." I try reminding him that he himself first smoked dope at age 15 and that his and his wife's combined income--somewhere around the $100,000 mark--should let them be good providers, but he cuts me off: "No way, it's totally different now. Do you know how much college costs? Have you seen the kids today? Do you hear the music? They're out of control," he says, forgetting for the moment his early-'80s penchant for humming Sex Pistols lyrics such as, "I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist, don't know what I want, but I know how to get it" and "God save the Queen, she ain't no human being....No future for you!"

We are suckers for tales of decline. Most of the fears and worries regarding children, however, are less based on shared experience and more the result of relative affluence, indiscriminate risk assessment, and a generational solipsism that seems particularly acute in baby boomers. The first generation to "discover" alienation, rebellion, sex, and drugs has been painfully slow to recognize recurrent truths: that parenting is an awesome and fearsome experience, that your children grow up speaking a foreign language, that youth culture is always precisely calculated to maximize disgust in parents.

...Risks that were once taken for granted have now become plainly intolerable and have fueled any number of "common-sense" policies passed during the past decade or so...

...Consider a fairly representative family history: When my grandparents were born in Europe near the end of the 19th century, a fair question was whether they would survive their first few years of life. By the time my parents were born in America a quarter-century later, the question was whether (or when) they would contract polio or some other life-threatening, debilitating disease. When my siblings and I were born toward the end of the baby boom, the question was whether we'd have our own bedrooms. When my own child was born a few years ago, the question was which college he would attend.

...In fact, despite lower absolute percentages, the rate of increase in life expectancy and educational attainment for black children--who are disproportionately poor--actually outstrips that of whites. In these very important ways, things are, on the whole, getting better for the overwhelming majority of children.

...At some point, the rate of return runs into the negatives in cultural terms, as well. What sort of message, we might ask, borrowing a favorite phrase of child advocates, does it send to paint the world in the most horrific terms possible, to see danger and disorder lurking everywhere? Do we best prepare our children for responsible, engaged lives by seeking to child-proof the world? What are the costs (to adults and minors alike) of thinking of our children as little Buddhas who must at all costs be prevented from living in the world they will one day inherit? Will kids imbibe such an ethos and respond by shrinking from the world in all its dangers and opportunities alike, seeking first and foremost to avoid the confrontations, negotiations, and possibilities entailed by a robust life? Or will they rebel against overprotection and take more and more unmeasured risks? Perhaps a harbinger of the second response is the rising popularity of extreme sports and increases in teen smoking (still far below 1980 levels). Whatever happens, it seems likely that extremity will breed extremity."

Anarchists Helps New Orleans

Great story about how individual volunteers, hippies and anarchists worked to help the Katrina victims in New Orleans when government and other bureaucracies couldn't or wouldn't...

Reason Magazine - A Healthy Dose of Anarchy:
"I first heard about Common Ground in an email from my friend Jeff, a New York bohemian who frequented underground art parties and halfway legal street events. It’s fair to say that many of the people who organized and attended those events were of a type. They had odd jobs and even odder side projects; they made their own clothes, and it showed. And they threw really good parties.

So when I learned some of the same people were helping organize a relief project in New Orleans, I was both fascinated and skeptical. When I poked around further and learned that many were alumni of Burning Man and the Rainbow Gathering, two of the nation’s biggest, strangest counterculture festivals, I was even more fascinated and even more skeptical. Could a bunch of middle- and upper-middle-class kids, many of them fresh from “alternative” experiences, connect with poor, churchgoing residents of the South? And if they could, would the experiment affect more than a handful of residents?

To my surprise, the answers were yes and yes. As I watched these groups in action, it became clear that they were connecting with the locals and that their services were invaluable. Residents used words like “heaven-sent” and “angels” when describing the volunteers, even the guy serving food in a cowboy hat and a dress.

...volunteers decamped in Waveland, pitched tents across from the police station, and started serving hot meals to the displaced. “The FEMA people said, ‘You can’t do this—it’s not in the manual,’ but we got away with it,” Sayotovich said with a grin.

Dubbed the New Waveland CafĂ©, the operation didn’t just feed residents. It encouraged them to participate in cooking, cleaning, and other details that went into running the aid effort, transforming the helped into helpers. Tales of how the residents of this small Southern town took to a group of hippies reached as far as the Chicago Tribune, which reported that the group ran its kitchen so well that one Red Cross volunteer quit to join them instead. The Gambit, a New Orleans alt-weekly, described a police officer looking the other way when the smell of marijuana drifted out of the Rainbow camp.

“You’re not just seeing a truck driving around passing out Styrofoam containers of food,” said Mark Weiner, taking a dig at the Red Cross. “You’re seeing life here.” Behind him a 40-foot geodesic dome—a tent repurposed from the 35,000-person Burning Man art festival in Nevada—was beginning to fill with the day’s lunch crowd. The 23-year-old Weiner is a founder and executive director of the nonprofit Eme...

That conversation was a sharp contrast with the measured words of the director of the New Orleans chapter of Habitat for Humanity, or the director of the Red Cross chapter, or any representatives of the large, traditional relief and post-disaster recovery organizations that normally claim the authority to perform this type of work. Those people had decades of experience managing crises. They had staffs of volunteers who expected leadership. They reported to national hierarchies and had a brand name to protect... But these big groups end up turning away the Young Turks who are ready to ride their bikes around a deserted city with nothing but a hunch that they will find people in need.

...Kay Wilkins, CEO of Red Cross’ Southeast Louisiana chapter, called Katrina “the great equalizer” of relief organizations. After its blunders with supplies and volunteers, the Red Cross’ reputation as the charity that could do no wrong has been squashed.

“I’ll go to any meeting now,” Wilkins says. “I work with groups I had never really worked with.” While the grassroots groups will gladly take help from the behemoth Red Cross, they emphasize that their lack of hierarchy and take-anyone approach were not merely born of necessity. They worked that way by design."

Hey look, Japan has batshit crazy right wing politicians too.

One of the greatest of all time.

And, to Sandy's dismay, the only reason I know the lyrics to any U2 song.

Kazushi Sakuraba.


Gym Jones - Knowledge - Twitching:
"What's your problem? I think I know. You see it in the mirror every morning: temptation and doubt hip to hip inside your head. You know it's not supposed to be like this. But you drank the Kool-Aid and dressed yourself up in someone else's life.

You're haunted because you remember having something more... Your debt encourages acquiescence, the heavy mortgage makes you polite.

Aren't you sick of being tempted by an alternative lifestyle, but bound by chains of your own choosing? Of the gnawing doubt that the college graduate, path of least resistance is the right way for you - for ever? Each weekend you prepare for the two weeks each summer when you wake up each day and really ride, or climb; the only imperative being to go to bed tired...

Because the ground is hard. Monday morning is harsh. You wear the hangover of your weekend rush under a strict and proper suit and tie. You listen to NPR because it's inoffensive, PFC: Politically Fucking Correct. Where's the counter-cultural righteousness that had you flirting with Bad Religion and the vintage Pistols tape over the weekend? On Monday you eat frozen food and live the homogenized city experience...

...Use the mirror to cut to the heart of things and uncover your true self. Use the razor to cut away what you don't need. The life you want to live has no recipe. Following the recipe got you here in the first place:

Mix one high school diploma with an undergrad degree and a college sweetheart. With a whisk (or a whip) blend two cars, a poorly built house in a cul de sac, and fifty hours a week working for a board that doesn't give a shit about you. Reproduce once. Then again. Place all ingredients in a rut, or a grave. One is a bit longer than the other. Bake thoroughly until the resulting life is set. Rigid. With no way out. Serve and enjoy.

...But there is a way out. Live the lifestyle instead of paying lip service to the lifestyle. Live with commitment. With emotional content. Live whatever life you choose honestly. Give up this renaissance man, dilettante bullshit of doing a lot of different things (and none of them very well by real standards). Get to the guts of one thing; accept, without casuistry, the responsibility of making a choice. When you live honestly, you can not separate your mind from your body, or your thoughts from your actions.

Tell the truth. First, to yourself. Say it until it hurts. Learn the reality of your own selfishness. Quit living for other people at the expense of your own self, you're not really alive. You live in the land of denial - and they say the view is pretty a long as you remain asleep.

...Wake up. When you drink the coffee tomorrow, take it black and notice it. Feel the caffeine surge through you. Don't take it for granted. Use it for something. Burn the Grisham books. Sell the bad CDs. Mariah Carey, Dave Mathews and N Sync aren’t part of the soundtrack where you're going.

...Go to the weight room. Learn the difference between actually working out and what you've been doing. Live for the Iron and the fresh air. Punish your body to perfect your soul. Kick the habit of being nice to everyone you meet. Do they deserve it? Say "no" more often.

...Burn the bridge. Nuke the foundation. Back yourself up against a wall. Have an opinion one way or the other, get off the fence and rip it up. Cut yourself off so there is no going back. Once you're committed the truth will come out. You ask about security? What you need is uncertainty. What you need is confusion; something that forces you to reinvent yourself, a whip to drive you harder.

...Only acts undertaken with commitment have meaning. Only your best effort matters. Life is a Meritocracy, with death as the auditor. Inconsistency, incompetence and lies are all cut short by that final word. Death will change you if you can't change yourself.

© 2005 - 2007 Gym Jones all rights reserved "

We can only know our own model of Reality.

Words of Fire, Ink of Blood: Beyond Belief - Or How We Can Stop Killing Each Other In A Few Easy Steps (version 1.1):
"No model that attempts to take into account the 'true' nature of Universe can be proved or disproved, we just don't have the information (as our brains reside within Universe, and a very small part of Universe at that, and to 'understand' Universe we would have to have brains that are capable of holding 'all' data in Universe which would take, well roughly a brain that would be equal to the size of Universe to contain all the information, which seems to be, plainly impossible).

..Any model that YOU choose can also be a very effective form of rebellion - the biggest 'fuck you' to all those people out there who try to program your brain for you. In my view, in the nature of religious models of all types, none can be empirically proven to be 'true' or 'false' but I find this the fun bit, so long as it works for you, does it really matter? You also don't have to stick to one model all your life, try out a few........see which one works best. To me it appears less a matter of what 'is true' and what 'is false' than primarily a matter of utility. Choose what you want to believe in and if it benefits you, than it has a certain amount of 'utility' in your life, and if it has 'utility' then should be worth keeping. Of course you should consider bearing in mind that what has 'utility' for you might not have the same effect on others, or me, but that's ok...

...The point being, that if you have a true/false approach to religion or spirituality, you will find that many ideas or opinions that you have, once contradicted by another group or person (even if they do not intend to criticize you or your beliefs) will immediately cause 'you' (being a person who has a dualistic belief system) to feel that your beliefs 'are being threatened' or invalidated by this other. Thus, you either have to convince him or her that you 'are right' (convert them) or get rid of them (burn the damn heretic). Also this kind of thinking in my opinion tends to cause the individual to seek out more people that agree with exactly the same dogma as they themselves do, as a way of validating their own beliefs (This seems to lead to thinking that, the more of 'us' there are the more 'real' our Deity is.) When these groups form you tend to start to hear phrases like 'Look all of these guys think the same way boy, and you're a long way from home.' Then it tends to be in the interest of your own health to agree with them - or invest in some security for your home."

But, but... the Patriot Act was just about making us safe!

It would never be abused! Consider this your "Patriot Act Abuse of Power Round Up."

Boing Boing: DoJ: FBI misused Patriot act in domestic spying activities:
"A Justice Department audit released today concludes that the FBI broke the law in its use of the Patriot Act to secretly obtain phone, business, and financial data about people in the US.

..FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters today "I am to be held accountable," then added that he has no plans to resign."
Boy, that's a different kinda accountability than I learned about in the military.

The most important part of FBI Director Mueller's press conference about the domestic spying scandal - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth:
"We're talking about the phone companies and the Internet companies providing copies of your phone records, possibly copies of your phone conversations, your email traffic, the Web sites you've visited, your online chat conversations, and more to the FBI. Let's just make that clear right away.

...The FBI just spied on American citizens in clear violation of the law and the Constitution. The big phone companies and the big Internet providers were overly-willing accomplices. I want to know what's going to be done about it. For starters, let's haul those phone company and Internet company CEOs before Congress, under oath, and ask them why they're so willing to violate the privacy of millions of innocent Americans."

Boing Boing: PATRIOT Act makes us all terrorists:
"In a chilling analysis of the PATRIOT Act, the ACLU points out that the new definition of 'domestic terrorist' redefines any US criminal as a terrorist, exempt from due process and an open trial. 'Domestic terrorists' can have their assets seized without a hearing, have their educational records pulled, and a host of other nasties. 'Terrorism' is now officially meaningless: as far as the PATRIOT Act is concerned, if you do anything the government doesn't like, you're a terrorist. When you put it that way, it seems even less likely that we'll win the 'war on terrorism.'"

Wired: AP Technology and Business News from the Outside World on
"The nation's top two law enforcement officials acknowledged Friday the FBI broke the law to secretly pry out personal information about Americans. They apologized and vowed to prevent further illegal intrusions.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales left open the possibility of pursuing criminal charges against FBI agents or lawyers who improperly used the USA Patriot Act in pursuit of suspected terrorists and spies."

My Hyundai never looked this cool.

Of course, the fact I drove it into the ground over 7 years might've had a little to do with it. Good car tho'.

An Intriguing Concept: Hyundai’s QarmaQ and Its Recycled Plastic Skin (TreeHugger):
"Hyundai unveiled its QarmaQ proof-of-concept car at this year’s Geneva auto show. Among the many green features that this car boasts, its plastic shell is the most intriguing. Hyundai partnered with GE to integrate advanced materials from the Ecomagination line into this vehicle’s design. Key portions of the light outer shell are made from GE’s Xenoy iQ and Valox iQ resins, which are composed of 85% post-consumer recycled PET, the stuff of plastic soda bottles. On the interior, molded resins replace components that might otherwise be painted, reducing the release of volatile compounds. The molded exterior panels are also presumably colored during the molding process, avoiding the need for body paint, the single most polluting process in a car’s manufacturing process."

Friday, March 09, 2007

More military culture in policing...

Weblog Entry - 03/09/2007:
"This latest misuse of SWAT tactics from Ohio shows the same mentality. Police in civilized countries don't treat innocent people this way. Police in civilized countries don't use military tactics as a first resort in ordinary law enforcement -- ie. a shoplifting and fencing case.

Free people don't accept lame, bureaucratic -- and typical -- explanations that the most heinous behavior by police is acceptable as long as 'procedures were followed.'"

A short history of... well... everything.

Fantastic bit of writing. Follow the link and read in full...

Words of Fire, Ink of Blood: The Short History of our Future(s):
"How many futures do we have now? How many futures have we had in the past? How many futures that yearly are discarded as the present incorporates unexpected and surprising aspects of ideas turned to technology turned to societal change? How much turbulence on the crest of the wave form that lies between today and tomorrow?

The future isn’t what it used to be. It’s an ever changing multifarious beast that is constantly sprouting new limbs and discarding old ones. Has it always been like this though?

Have we always had a future?"

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Un. Be. Liev. Able.

Boing Boing: USC fines Free Culture club for protesting "Free Speech Zone":
"The University of Southern California has fined the USC Free Culture Club. The FC club's sin was failing to get permission to post fliers that protested the school's use of a 'Free Speech Zone' -- the only place on campus where free speech is permitted.

Apparently, the university doesn't see the irony of this.

I'm spending the year teaching at USC, as the Canada-US Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy, and this is just embarrassing. The whole point of the university is to foster free inquiry and free speech. It was ridiculous of the university to impose an Orwellian free speech zone on its students, and more ridiculous still to punish kids for protesting this."

The point of the game is to figure out the game. - Living The Myth (Part 2 of 3):
"I have said before that philosophy is as useful or useless as playing a game of chess. Perhaps I will say it again, however I only partially agree with myself—with chess the rules of the game are clearly laid out; they are already static. The rules of logic are static, but logic itself is only one tool of inquiry, and not necessarily the most useful one. To keep to the analogy, analytic logic is like the movement of the rook. The movement of some of the other pieces is less clearly defined, at least until you search them out and discover the possibilities of their movement. What major scientific discoveries have been made without the use of intuition? What can a writer contribute to others if they don’t also use their eyes, their ears, their hands, their gut, their fears and hopes? Thus, if the analogy itself holds any water, the objective of this game is to discover what the game is, to contribute to it, to interact with it, as it changes endlessly around us."

For those of you playing... and you know who you are.

Via DC Comics Vertigo Tarot, which I actually own and play with on occasion.

Interestingly, or not, the three cards here are on pages 51, 41 and 61, respectively.

The Devil, which has turned up for me on at least two different occasions.

From the text, by Rachel Pollack:
Divinatory meanings--Struggles with oppression. Illusions. Dark feelings or desires, especially sexual.

Reversed--Liberation. Bringing things to light.

The Wheel of Fortune.
Divinatory meanings--Change of circumstances. Events taking place of their own accord, without conscious control.

Reversed--Taking hold of your destiny. Discovering the causes behind events.

Divinatory meaning--A time of great and positive change, especially in the way we see ourselves. A new beginning.

Reversed--Resisting the knowledge that something has changed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Oh god, they've got a name for what I've got...

Stacks of unwatched, burned CDs of media files and tons of unread e-books attest I may have a problem.

Wired News: Downloading Is a Packrat's Dream:
"Like everyone else, compulsive hoarders have gone digital. Infohoarding may be the first psychiatric dysfunction born of digital age.

"Jim" is an infohoarder like few others. In the last four years, this 37-year-old Brooklyn native has downloaded and burned every piece of broadcast and print media that's been digitized. Or so it seems. His apartment is filled with DVDs and CDs packed with bootleg anime, comic books, books, e-books, television programs, movies and, of course, music. He's a completionist who must have every episode, every issue, every track.

Using Jim's stacks and drives -- which contain 2,500 GB of data -- aliens could recreate a low-res version of human civilization from 1990 to the present day.
Okay, I'm not that bad. Not even close. But still, I've got a lot of digital junk laying about.
Dr. Renae Reinardy is a psychologist who specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorders. Last year, she presented a paper on infohoarding to the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, or OCF. More and more, she meets people whose "computers are full" not only of digital music and movies, but e-mail, bookmarks and documents.

The web is awash with self-declared "digital packrats" who swap horror stories about hard drives bursting with unneeded MP3s and JPEGs. Like font collectors in the late '90s, these digital junkaholics swap suspiciously boastful confessionals: "You think that's bad? You should see my porn collection." And so on.

Infohoarders are doing more than just amassing files. Like their physical counterparts whose lives eventually become unbearably cluttered -- such as New York's Collyer brothers, who died under piles of collected rubbish in 1947 -- they're sliding down a dangerously slippery slope. Reinardy admitted that most of her hoarders "are very high-functioning people (who) just got caught in this behavior."

"It starts with good intentions. 'I'm going to get all of these movies while I can.' But then what happens? It becomes such a huge selection that if you want a particular movie, you have to look through thousands and thousands of others to find it," Reinardy said.
Hey, that's me!
In practical terms, the collection becomes useless.
...But there are warning signs. According to Reinardy, infohoarders avoid making decisions because they need to get all the right information before acting..."
Scarily accurate, that.

Sandy's a Code-Switcher.

Don't get excited. It's not as sexy as it sounds.

Code-switching - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Code-switching is a term in linguistics referring to alternation between two or more languages, dialects, or language registers in a single conversation, stretch of discourse, or utterance between people who have more than one language in common."
Also describes the tendency to adopt the local dialect, and having lived with her in Hawaii, NC, DC and Japan, I'll attest she does that with relish.

Your kick-ass comic book moment of the day.

60 years of comic book history in that pic.

Journal: JLA #7 Cover Revealed:
"Here it is, the cover to JLA #7, courtesy of Eric Wight, George Perez, Luke McDonnell, Kevin Maguire, Howard Porter, Gene Ha, and Ed Benes."

In other news, Captain America is dead. Seriously. New York Daily News - Daily News Exclusive: Captain America killed!

Your tax dollars at work.

Stifling and crippling innovation at every turn. God bless bureaucracy.

Herald & Review Newspaper Website - Decatur, Illinois - Central Illinois Newspaper Group (CING):
"So David Wetzel, 79, was surprised to hear a knock on the door at their eastside home while he was still getting dressed.

Two men in suits were standing on his porch.

"They showed me their badges and said they were from the Illinois Department of Revenue"...

The agents informed the Wetzels that they were interested in their car, a 1986 Volkswagen Golf, that David Wetzel converted to run primarily from vegetable oil but also partly on diesel.

Wetzel uses recycled vegetable oil, which he picks up weekly from an organization that uses it for frying food at its dining facility.

'They told me I am required to have a license and am obligated to pay a motor fuel tax,' David Wetzel recalled. 'Mr. May also told me the tax would be retroactive.'

Since the initial visit by the agents on Jan. 4, the Wetzels have been involved in a struggle with the Illinois Department of Revenue. The couple, who live on a fixed budget, have been asked to post a $2,500 bond and threatened with felony charges.

Marvin, is that you?

One of these has got to be him.

It's okay, I can make fun of him. He won't read it.

All via Overheard in the Office:
"Boss: I don't get it. Why are these entries all wrong?
Data entry grunt: Look at the user report. Out of 75 users, 67 of them are entering the data incorrectly. We need to get those 67 in a training session so we're all on the same page.
Boss: I'm not sure how -- I've never had to do this before.
Data entry grunt: Right... Can we just take a moment here so you can explain to me why you're the manager but I'm the one that does the managing?

K-V Road
Victoria, Virginia"

Overheard in the Office | Then My Work Here Is Done:
"Boss talking about movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ... And he sees the body out of the corner of his eye just when you're thinking that, and he turns and pees on it...
Female cube rat: We just had a seminar on our sexual harassment policy, and I am offended by that. I should report you.
Boss: Go ahead, I have pictures and emails.
Male cube rat: Do we have an official blackmail policy?
Black male cube rat: I take offense to that.

1771 N Street
Washington, DC

Overheard by: afraid to speak"

Overheard in the Office | You Should Come This Sunday:
"Boss: Call it 'team environment,' because I don't like the word 'culture.' It reminds me of that other word. You know, what they call my church...?
Office manager: [Stares in silence.]
Boss: Cult! They call it a cult.


The true evils of paganism.

Bring back the witch hunt | The Daily Telegraph:
"Since that time I have come to the conclusion that pagans are evil – not because they get in touch with the devil or warp the minds of the young or are responsible for more bad heavy metal art than anyone else, but because they have such appalling taste.

I mean, sure, get in touch with the Great Spirit, run through the woods and kill a goat. But do you have to do it while wearing crushed velvet harem pants, Robin Hood shoes, pentagram jewelry and a purple satin cape?"

"Kneel. Kneel before Zod" just takes on a completely different connotation, dunnit? - Drill Sergeant Accused of Forcing Trainee to Dress as Superman, Submit to Sex Acts - Local News:
"The soldier told Estrada that he felt depressed after being relieved of his training status, and said Estrada suggested 'a technique that he had used previously to help soldiers with their self-confidence and alleviate depression.'

The soldier said he eventually was forced to 'dress in a 'Superman' or similar outfit' while Estrada performed sexual acts on him."

"Bacteria and spit and germs? Baby, it's what we are."

Oh yeah.

Innocence Is So Overrated / Are you not scarred for life? Isn't everyone? What's more, isn't that how it should be?:
"We seem to have this bizarre notion...

It's this sincere, fantastical idea that we are born pure and simple and clean like bright happy cotton balls and then we somehow quickly become horribly corrupted by the icky Satan-ruled world, and it's all we can do to stumble our way through and not get too soiled and damaged and emotionally shredded before finally wheezing our last emphysemic breath...

Take sex. Take a lot of sex. Take lots and lots of wet dangerous imperfect sex and mix it liberally with hyperactive religious piety and conservative sanctimony and wanton Christian hypocrisy and you've probably got the greatest recipe for our culture's devout belief in the inevitable corruption of innocence of all time.

See, there was a study. A recent report about teen sex (yes, a new one emerges roughly every nine seconds) concluded that any sexual encounter teenagers endure, from oral to anal to upside-down to groping each other's nether regions through some nicely faded True Religions, any sexual encounter could cause emotional damage to your otherwise perky, cherubic teenager.

That's right. They say sex of any kind can harm teens emotionally. Even permanently...

This is where it gets interesting. This is where it gets confusing. This is where you go, Wait wait wait, something is just not right here. Are we not missing some essential truth? Something core and vital and deeply human? I think we are.

Perhaps it's this: There is simply no such thing as an authentic human experience that doesn't somehow and in some way affect, stain, taint or scar the human animal. It cannot be avoided. It cannot be shunned or quieted or talked off the ledge. This is, in fact, what we do.

In other words, there is no such thing as a perfectly innocent life, or childhood, or experience, no such thing as strolling through this world wholly sheltered from, say, everyday trauma, abused puppies, shocking imagery, bad sex or inappropriate fondling or confusing orgasms, and if you insist that there is or that there should be or that this is the way God intended it, it is quite likely you are one violently oversheltered home-schooled virgin and now might be a good time to read a book and buy a vibrator and head into therapy very soon and I can say that without fear of reprisal because, well, you are not reading this column anyway.

Let's flip it around: There is no human child on the face of the earth who has had some sort of ideally perfect, sex-free, trauma-free, drama-less life by which we should measure all our failures and woes. There is no standard, no perfect score, no idyllic model. And there never was. It's the equivalent of arguing that we are meant to go through the modern world free of raw flesh and sticky blood and parasites, ever struggling to remain clean and pure, when in fact this is the stuff of which we are made. Bacteria and spit and germs? Baby, it's what we are.

The notion of "pure" innocence invites one of two perspectives: One is the aforementioned cheerless Christian view, an all-too-common attitude that implies that human life is mostly pain and suffering and forbidden, guilt-ridden midnight masturbation interspersed with slivers of blind faith, and we are here to endure Satan's nasty trials until armies of happy dopey angels come and lead us into the giant Blue Light special in the sky. Familiar? Sure is. Hell, even the president believes it.

The second perspective goes something like this: Drama is what we are designed for. Emotional (and physical, and spiritual) scarring and discoloration is, in a way, what we do. Our spirits are, after all, here to experience and taste and immerse in it all.

...Is this not what it's all about? The wise ones, the gurus and mystics and the energy readers, they will tell you that unless you're the Dalai Lama or a Bodhisattva or some rare precious otherworldly creature who's already essentially transcended this plane but who's decided to hang around to show the rest of us how to untie those wicked knots of divine misunderstanding, most of us are here to learn some very particular lessons, perhaps over and over again, until we get it..."

I'm a chick, apparently.

At least I'm a cool chick.

You are Catwoman

You have had a tough childhood, you know how to be a thief and exploit others but you stand up for society's cast-offs.






Green Lantern


The Flash


Iron Man

Wonder Woman

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Out of Date, but I'd have joined The REVOLUTION®

Details of the Platform at the link...

"The Revolution is a broad-based, non-ideological anti-authoritarian political party/organization. If even the alternative parties like Libertarian and Green seem a bit rigid to you, consider joining us."
15 Point Party Platform for National Politics

# Convert to clean energy now!

# Drug peace! We call for an immediate end to the War on Drugs...

# We will repeal twice as many laws as we pass.

# End corporate rule!

# Radical simplification and reform of the tax system: We call for an end to all Federal Personal Income taxes on an individual's first $100,000 of income...

# You can't own the human genome.

# Close down the prison/industrial complex. Pardon all prisoners who are in for victimless crimes, provided they have no known history of violent activities. Pardon all prisoners listed with Amnesty International.

# Defend civil liberties. For the first time in recent memory, let's have a federal government that respects The Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

# Stop the war on youth. It's time to end absurd zero-tolerance policies in schools, curfews, and other impositions of martial law on the youth of America.

# It's time for a new globalism.

# Stop policing the world.

# Emphasize human rights in foreign policy, and be consistent about it.

# Close down the National Security State. Since the end of World War II, representative democracy has been hostage to the National Security State.

# Put environmental concerns before profits and jobs. On the other hand, put scientific consensus and reason ahead of emotion-based environmentalism.

# Open federally-funded birth control clinics all across the country...

# Allow 'autonomous zones.' Offer ways in which localities and even households can -- with a very few limits -- opt out of the system.

# Study the possibility of replacing demeaning welfare by using government to create an ultimately self-sustaining 'generic' maintenance economy.

# Study the possibility of restructuring the economic/money system toward making money consistent with actual value in an age where money-as-information is excessively abstracted from the creation of real wealth and unfairly favors those who know how to manipulate it.

# Fund a 'Manhattan Project Toward Utopia.'

# Victory Over Horseshit! The political process in America is hostage to certain obvious absurdities that are an embarrassment before the civilized world... Let's have a national government that calls ridiculous horseshit what it is."

American Drug War: The Last White Hope.

Elston Gunn Interviews Director Kevin Booth Of AMERICAN DRUG WAR: THE LAST WHITE HOPE!! -- Ain't It Cool News::
"It's the coincidences that kill me, such as during the Reagan administration, oddly enough, we had mandatory minimum sentencing for drug possession. Reagan's Drug Act that made the penalties for crack a hundred times worse than powdered cocaine and, lo and behold, private corporations being allowed to build and run prisons. What's the point of building all those new Wal-Mart's if you can't fill them with customers?

...Why would people do crystal meth if they could have a real drug that comes from the Earth? I wish everyone who considers themselves to be a Christian would examine the organic basis of the drug laws in Amsterdam. Do you trust guys in white lab coats who only answer to a board of directors, or do you trust a plant that has been growing on this Earth long before mankind existed? Believing that both evolution and all of the religions that preach brotherhood are true, I'm am going to have to go with God and not the lab guys, even if he or she is only the lesser of two evils.

...I would be lying if I told you that we should legalize crystal meth, or many other strong drugs that will cause people to do crazy things. That said, does someone belong in prison for possessing these substances? And how do you draw a line between the type of person who would sell to a child or someone who is responsible and simply wishes to use behind closed doors, perhaps harming themselves, but not harming others? Seems like the basis of all laws in a free country should be based on Ye Old Ten Commandments deal.

Though shalt not Steal, Kill, Rape, you know all the real crimes. But as Republican Governor Gary Johnson says "we give people in some cases longer sentences for possession of marijuana than we do for murder or rape." I would like to hear Mr. DEA or Mr. Undercover Narc explain that one when someday he or she must pass through the pearly gates. "You see, God, we decided this plant you left growing everywhere poses too much of a threat to our entire industrial, war, pharmaceutical, prison machine... AHHH OK, you caught me, I just wanted to keep my job and I didn't care whose lives I destroyed."

That none of these gung ho drug warriors have the guts to be on camera. In a way I really respect Sheriff Joe because he has the balls to allow everyone to see who he is, which is more then I can say for the bulk of them. If you're willing to ruin people's lives because of your personal beliefs, then have the balls to stand up and say why. But they don't because its all a bunch of gray-haired fearful little men who fight to protect Nixon's fraudulent war that in turn protects their profit margins.

[Trailer for American Drug War: The Last White Hope]

Most every black person living in the ghetto will tell you that they hate the police. I don't hate the police; I hate the fact that these drug warriors are using my tax money to pay police for basically protecting the interests of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Pharmaceutical corporations. Don't take my word for it, look up the yearly death stats of all illegal drugs vs. Alcohol, Tobacco and Pharmaceutical.

Then look up the yearly death stats of marijuana and ask yourself, "Why would they lock people up for this?" Superior Court judge Jim Gray puts it best, "Eighty five percent of all illegal drug users only use marijuana, so if you took marijuana out of the equation, the entire drug war machine would crumble."

[the LAST WHITE HOPE .... 7 minute sampler]

I HATE those damn unskippable DVD PSA's.

Boing Boing: Best "anti-piracy" graphic EVAR:
"This might just be the best send-up of the MAFIAA's anti-piracy ads ever, making the case for buying pirate copies, rather than being stuck with DVDs that complain about piracy in unskippable, condescending PSAs."

Positive Steps in Law Enforcement.

Maybe it'll spread.

Worthwhile reminder that government, and law enforcement's role, is supposed to be there to serve the people.

Oregon community reins in its police for minor infractions: Local News: The Seattle Times:
"No seatbelt? No citation. No tail light? No ticket. In too much of a hurry? Not to worry.

...the Sunriver Service District, which governs police and fire departments, voted in February to tell officers to make Sunriver's roads, which are private but open to the public, exempt from minor vehicle infractions.

So residents and the public alike can run a stop sign at will in the 5-square-mile area that makes up Sunriver.

Police there can only stop drivers for what the state calls traffic crimes, such as drunken or reckless driving.

The Sunriver police are the main patrol presence in the area. Radar units have been removed from their cars.

Sunriver Police Chief Mike Kennedy referred all questions to Sunriver District Chairman Doug Seator, who said the directives reflect the will of the Sunriver Owners Association that serves as a sort of government for the community south of Bend.

The unincorporated community has about 2,000 full-time residents, many more when its vacation homes are occupied.

Seator said the association, which owns the roads, told the district that its roads are private, but open to the public.

That means police have limited power in what they can enforce, much like in a supermarket parking lot, Oregon State Police Lt. Carl Rhodes said."
You can read the article in it's entirety for the full dose of the other side of the argument, so you can get all the requisite fear mongering and and bleating for "safety" that will surely result from the anarchy of this "dangerous" action.

"It's NWA Day!"

It's just so, so wrong. And against everything it was supposed to be.

But so well done. Those wacky Brits...

"From a new BBC3 sketch show called Rush Hour. Adam Buxton is an overly enthusiastic muso dad who plays his son NWA's "Fuck Tha Police," with live censoring."

"More or less, the way it is in the 'hood."

America defeats Iran, toppled by North Korea in the finals.

But my current land of residence ranks third, so there's that.

BBC Survey: A view of nations' influence

"Because the dude loves him some witches with big tits."

Man this is hilarious. And true.

An inspiring tale of following your dreams, no matter what.

Even if your dreams are witches with large, bodacious ta-ta's.

Dave's Long Box: Let Fly The Freak Flag!:
"There’s something admirable about a guy so committed to his dreams, so immersed in his life’s work that he risks everything. There’s a thin line between that level of commitment and lunacy, and I don’t know where it is. But how many of us get bogged down in our day-to-day existence, letting the dictates and requirements of society weigh us down while our childhood (or childlike) dreams slip away? “I can’t quit my job and go hunt for the yeti in Bhutan – I’d lose out on my stock options!”

...As a less extreme example, take Jim Balent, creator of the witchy T&A book Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose. This guy had a pretty good gig drawing comics for the major publishers and is probably most known for his lengthy run on Catwoman. Balent turned his back on work-for-hire art and took the plunge, self-publishing his own small line of Broadsword Comics built around the Tarot title.

Because the dude loves him some witches with big tits.

Setting aside any value judgment about the merits of Tarot, you have to admire the guy’s commitment. Jim Balent is 100% geek, and brother, he is letting it all hang out. Have you seen pictures of his Star Wars wedding? Holy shit. That’s hardcore. The guy is living the dream – he’s found a way to make a living out of doing what he loves most. He just happens to really dig supernatural shit, geek stuff, and heaving bosoms... And he found a woman who digs on all the same stuff and I mean, come on. Look at that wedding photo. It’s kinda sweet. Living the dream, baby.

...Living the dream involves living honestly and not giving a shit what other people think of you, and that can be hard. Because let’s face it, people like to make fun of weirdos. Mea culpa."

Grant Morrison is Brilliant.

In many senses of the word.

geniusboyfiremelon: Deleted Scenes: The Grant Morrison Interview:
"Grant: No, JLA [Justice League of America] was done...the whole psychedelic period lasted for all of the 90s, basically. All those JLAs were written on drugs [laughter]. You can see the crossover with themes from The Invisibles. So that was the period--because it was a real psychedelic period--it was my Sgt. Pepper time, you know?"

See, if you smoke marijuana, you'll be lazy and never accomplish anything.*

Like say, defeating the #1 fighter in your weight class in your Pride Fighting debut.

Unless, of course, you actually do just that.

Breaking News: Diaz Tests Positive for Marijuana:
"Nick Diaz (Pictures) has tested positive for marijuana following his stunning submission win over Takanori Gomi on Feb. 24, learned Monday afternoon."

*From "Drugs Make You Lazy and Other Lies Taught to me by the D.A.R.E. Program in the 1980's," my forthcoming book** from Harper Collins.

**Not a real book. I'm making this crap up as I go.

But as for D.A.R.E., that annoying tripe I was forced to sit through in high school, and whose bumper stickers still abound and haunt my nightmares, here some interesting info for you:
The U.S. Department of Education concluded in 2003 that the DARE program is ineffective and now prohibits its funds from being used to support it... Studies by Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum, and by the California Legislative Analyst's office found that DARE graduates were more likely than others to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco and use illegal drugs.

Administrators of the DARE program have tried to suppress unfavorable research by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) that found that "DARE simply didn't work". A Federal judge ruled that DARE had sought to "suppress scientific research" critical of its program and had "attempted to silence researchers at the Research Triangle Institute," according to editors at the American Journal of Public Health and producers at Dateline NBC.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Joe Rogan is funny. And wise.

If I left you alone in the woods with a hatchet...

Sneak Peak of "Joe Rogan: Live"

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The meaning of life... and DMT.

Joe Rogan explains life

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The Federal Government "malicious"?

Noooooo. Couldn't be.

Disclaimer - I also believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Ed Rosenthal Blowback:
"Rosenthal, you may remember, is that pot activist convicted by a federal jury of growing marijuana, even though he was growing the plant for the city of Oakland, legally under state law. The federal jury wasn't allowed to hear any evidence about how Rosenthal was a grower licensed by Oakland, only that he broke federal law. The jury convicted him, then several jurors expressed their outrage when they realized what they had done. The sympathetic judge sentenced Rosenthal to one day in prison.

Rosenthal appealed, entirely out of principle. A federal judge overturned the verdict on the grounds of jury misconduct. Now, federal prosecutors are bringing the entire case again, with added charges against Rosenthal. He's clearly being targeted because he's a political supporter of reforming marijuana laws and because he stood up to the federal government in 2003, and won.

The good news is, the federal judge in the case is at least entertaining the idea that Rosenthal is being maliciously prosecuted..."

Nationalism. Always bringing out the best in people.

Soldier confirms wartime sex slavery | The Japan Times Online:
"Yasuji Kaneko, 87, still remembers the screams of the countless women he raped in China as a foot soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.

Some were teenagers from the Korean Peninsula serving as sex slaves in military-run brothels. Others were women in villages he and his comrades pillaged as they battled in eastern China.

"They cried out, but it didn't matter to us whether the women lived or died," Kaneko said in an interview at his Tokyo home. "We were the Emperor's soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctance."

Japan's forced prostitution of some 200,000 women in military brothels in the 1930s and '40s has long constituted one of the most horrifying chapters of its wartime rampage across Asia. The top government spokesman was finally forced to acknowledge wrongdoing in 1993.

Now the government is questioning whether the apology was needed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday publicly denied women were forced into the military brothels in conquered lands, boosting renewed efforts by rightwing politicians who claim the women involved were professional prostitutes rather than victims of abuse.

...After decades of denial, incriminating defense documents discovered in 1992 forced the government to acknowledge that the military government ran brothels populated by women forcibly taken from their homes, and to offer an apology the following year.

...For rightists, however, Japan's apology went too far. Just hours before Abe spoke, a group of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers met to prepare a proposal that urges the government to water down parts of the 1993 apology and deny direct military involvement.

"Some say it is useful to compare the brothels to college cafeterias [Are you fucking kidding me? - Rob] run by private companies, who recruit their own staff, procure foodstuffs, and set prices," said Nariaki Nakayama, chairman of the group of 120 lawmakers, of which Abe is a member.

"And where there's demand, businesses crop up . . . but to say women were forced by the Japanese military into service is off the mark," he said. "This issue must be reconsidered, based on truth . . . for the sake of Japanese honor."

Though rightwingers are unapologetic, actual participants say the assertions are far from the truth.

"The brothels were run by the military. There's no question about that," Kaneko said, adding that he was once ordered to guard sex slaves being circulated around military posts.

"There were so many soldiers, and so few comfort women. Sometimes, four or five women had to serve several hundred soldiers," he said."

Acquitted after 5 years in Gitmo.

I'm sure they, and their fellow Middle Easterners, won't be pissed at all, and they'll just love them some America forever and ever. Amen.

Kuwaiti court acquits 2 ex-Gitmo inmates -
"A criminal court on Saturday acquitted two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners of joining al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Omar Rajab Amin and Abdullah Kamel al-Kundari denied any terror connections at the start of their trial. Their lawyers argued there was no evidence against them and the case was "political." Defense attorneys said the accused were in Afghanistan for charity work — not to fight.

...Amin, 41, and al-Kundari, 32, were released from the U.S. detention camp in September after spending nearly five years there. They were detained by authorities for questioning upon their return to Kuwait.

...Six other Kuwaitis formerly held in Guantanamo have been acquitted here of terror charges. Another four are still imprisoned there.

"We call on the United States to either give our four sons a fair trial in America or any other place in the world, or to hand them to Kuwait so that they can be ... given their legal right to defend themselves," said Khaled al-Odah, who heads a private group that lobbies for the release of the Kuwaiti prisoners — including his son — from the U.S. naval base in Cuba."
A trial? Someplace? Anyplace? How very unAmerican that request is these days...

From Texas cell, Canadian, 9, pleads for help

I swear, sometimes I hate the world so fucking much it hurts. Feel safer? I mean, we're using threats of separating 9 year olds from their family, and sending them back to Iran so they can get tortured some more, so we must be safer, right? Cause otherwise it's just retarded, pointless, evil, bureaucratic bullshit. So we must be safer.

From Texas cell, Canadian, 9, pleads for help:
"“We can't go home because I am Canadian but my parents are not,”Kevin said in a telephone interview with The Globe and Mail — no personal interviews have been granted.

Majid and Masomeh — they prefer their last name not be used — initially fled Iran for Canada in January, 1995, to seek political asylum. Majid did odd jobs, eventually becoming manager of an east Toronto pizza parlour, paying the rent for their one-bedroom apartment.

In 1997, their only son, Kevin, was born. “For the first time, I was happy,” Majid said from the Hutto detention facility.

“I had my family with me — it's the only family I have — we didn't have any problems and we lived happy in Toronto.”

Kevin attended a Toronto school until Grade 3. Meanwhile, his parents were seeking refugee status, based on fear of persecution in Iran, but their application was denied and, in December, 2005, the family of three was deported.

Upon their arrival in Tehran, Majid said he was taken away from his family to a prison cell. For three months, he was detained, beaten and tortured
, he said. When he was released, the three were reunited, and, with the help of friends and relatives, they connected with a people smuggler in Tehran.

...Carrying Greek passports — which do not require visas for entry into Canada — they travelled to Guyana, where they eventually boarded a Toronto-bound plane.

...It was that belief that got Kevin and his parents onto a Zoom Airlines chartered, non-stop flight from Georgetown to Toronto.

No one could have anticipated what happened next.

“The woman sitting two seats behind me, she kept running to the washroom for vomiting. They put oxygen on her, and tell us to stay in our seats. They just said we have to divert to another city because of an emergency landing.”

A woman had suffered a heart attack and died on board. After landing in Puerto Rico, everyone was told to disembark while emergency crew removed the body.

“They say we have to pass immigration, and they say because we have Greek passport, you need to get a visa for United States. I said no, our ticket is to Toronto, we have no plan to come here.”

...Now, the three of them are locked inside the centre that, U.S. refugee advocates recently alleged, features inadequate medical care, lack of privacy and abusive behaviour by staff toward the green-uniformed detainees.

Everyone must wake up by 5:30 a.m. to take showers. They get 15 minutes to eat each meal. Everyone must be in bed by 9:30 p.m., when laser-triggered alarms are set to detect if anyone gets up.

“The day is very regimented,” said Barbara Hines, a law professor at the University of Texas who runs an immigration clinic with her students — the only way many of the detainees get representation.

This is a prison. They have a head count three times a day where they have to be in their cells for an hour to be counted down.”

At one point, Majid walked into the room where Kevin and his mother sleep to help them fix a broken bed.

“They were told that if he violated rules, because the father's not allowed into that room, the family would be separated,” Ms. Hines said. “One of the things the detainees have reported to us is the threat of separation as a means of discipline.”

The only other detention facility that holds families is in Pennsylvania, she said — but that used to be a nursing home, not a prison. “No amount of softening it [Hutto] up, as the government says, is going to change the fact that this is a secure prison facility, not a family residential centre,” she said.

...Kevin, meanwhile, has lost six pounds in the past two weeks because he hasn't been eating, his father said. Nearly all of the meals come from cans, Kevin complained.

“Beans, beef, sometimes they give rice. But it's all garbage.”

Kevin goes to school for four hours a day, of which only one is instructional. He said that since he left Toronto, he hasn't gone to a real school.

“My biggest wish is to go to Canada and be free, to go to my school, go for my books,” Kevin said, his father's voice audible in the background.

“I want to be safe with me and my parents, and see my teachers and my friends again.”

...If they were allowed back into Canada, Prof. Macklin said, they could seek what is called a pre-risk removal assessment based on “new facts about what happened in Iran when they were deported.”

Above all else, Kevin, Majid and Masomeh say they want to live in Canada.

“We want to be free and safe,” Majid said. “Our plan was to go to Toronto, Canada, because it's my son's home and our home for the past few years. We have nothing there, but we were there for 10 years and it was good.""

Randy Couture Versus a Bear? Go with Randy.

Versus Mirko Cro-Cop? Couture. Couture Versus a Goddamned Shark, and the Shark has already eaten one of Couture's arms and both of his legs? Gotta go with Couture.

Because whenever the odds are against the man, he up and totally kicks somebody's ass.

43 years old. He gives up 13 years, 40lbs, and 6 inches in height to Tim Sylvia. Everybody expects him to get totally wrecked. Instead he absolutely DOMINATES for five rounds to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Just awesome.

High Five: Couture Pitches Shutout for Fifth UFC Title:
"COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 3 — Randy Couture had heard the critics writing him off as the hype for his return to the Octagon ramped up over the past couple months.

He wasn't given much of a chance against the gigantic heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. But before a record crowd for MMA in North America of 19,049, Couture emphatically answered any and all doubters with his domineering performance en route to a unanimous decision victory, locking up his fifth UFC title in the process.

...After two rounds it was apparent the champion was completely frustrated as he headed back to his stool. A visibly disgruntled Sylvia could be seen shaking his head as he looked to his corner for instruction.

The third and fourth frames were more of the same.

Couture kept up the staggering pace, throwing the more meaningful punches and taking the fight to the mat whenever he got close enough to clinch or shoot. Sylvia had no answer for the venerable Couture, be it on the feet or ground. Couture kept up the head movement and when the fighters exchanged he consistently beat Sylvia to the punch. The right hand found its mark on more than a couple occasions and Sylvia's left eye showed the cumulative effects as it ballooned throughout the fight.

..."I didn't really realize what I had done until there were 10 seconds left," Couture commented after the bout. "At that moment, I sort of looked up and looked around and realized that I actually did it and I was able to enjoy it. But not until then.""

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Feeling like a man outta time and outta place.

Me too. Me too.

Fred On Everything:
" this I am at odds with the times. I do not care about gross national product or the terrible need to manufacture things that could not be sold without force-feed advertising. Everywhere I read that we must have economic growth. Why, I wonder? Do we not have enough? I don’t belong here.

...Yes, I understand that we must keep the population growing so that the economy may expand. We must breed lest the housing industry suffer, and we must build roads so that the highway industry may prosper. Without roads there would be no new suburbs and no malls and no people to buy things. If the population falls we must import Mexicans or North Africans or somebody because the purpose of a country is to build suburbs. We must breed so that the white race will not go extinct under the onrushing Chinese tide. I know.

No doubt something is wrong with me. I do not greatly care whether the white race continues, though I suspect it will, and I would like to see the economy shrink. I do not belong here.

One night years ago I dove off Belize on coral luxuriant with sleeping fish and things hunting. The sea at night is a magnificent place. An otherworldly silence reigns in the depths, sometimes broken by the click of shrimp. To hang almost motionless in warm water, rising and falling with your breath, with nothing but blackness all around except in the beam of a dive light, watching an arrow crab stalking redly about in the hollow of a barrel sponge—this always seems to me a sort of privilege, and something to be preserved. The things that live in the ocean lead their own strange lives. It is their ocean, not mine. They were here before we were.

...I have never seen a fish that did not seem more worthy than a developer of real-estate. Quite truet: I am wrong-headed, and a wretched Green, and against America and progress and freedom. So be it.

Recently I drove with friends from Washington up through rural Maryland, if so it any longer can be called, and into Pennsylvania. I hadn’t been there for a few years. The trip was disheartening. In pretty countryside the subdivisions grew, stamped-out plots of pricey and shoddily built boxes for the shelter of televisions. From these people will commute long distances to Washington. Perhaps they deserve it.

...Something is wrong with me. I cannot understand why people don’t keep their numbers down and live in delightful towns like Boiling Springs. I do not understand economic growth. I for one, and I sometimes think I am the only one, am content with books, music, horses, dogs, fishing, the internet, and broad countryside where one may enjoy the wind and rain. I do not want more of what I don’t want any of at all.

...I might have preferred Greek times, when humanity was a small speck in a large world. Or perhaps Rome of the first century, with more order but man still not a spreading uncontrolled blight. Those horrible mid-eastern religions had not yet raised their grim and censorious heads, and one might still worship a sacred grove, or the statue of a goddess, or the moon. Capri was yet a lovely place, with misted peaks on a blue bay, not yet carpeted in tour buses and fat people from Rhode Island.

Meanwhile for a few hours in the night I listen to the wind and still see stars, though soon progress will come and they will dim in the smoke."