Saturday, March 22, 2008

Birthday Celebrations!

[More chronological imperfections, but easier, and mayhaps more important, to post.]

Birthdays in Japan bring - Kaiten Sushi! Something we've been meaning to do around the neighborhood for a while. So, for Sandy's B-Day, we done did it.

Best sushi I've had in Japan, though Sandy said she had better in Kagoshima. [Oddly enough, best sushi ever? Still Morimoto Restaurant in Philadelphia. Yes, that is the fine dining establishment of Iron Chef Morimoto.]

Corn sushi, I kid you not.

Chili ebi and egg yolk. Surprisingly good.

Check out that stack of plates. Copious amounts of sushi, karage, beer, and New York style [well, kinda] cheesecake, all for under $30. Gotta like that.

Chronologically incorrect, but by request.

Haven't gotten around to organizing/posting graduation pics yet, but I wanted to get some pics of Sandy and the family's graduation/university-entrance-exam celebratory 2-day trip to Okinawa posted up. Although I did not attend last weekend's whirlwind adventure, I share with you now photos. Tales of wonder and adventure you have to get from the participants themselves.

By [Sandy's] request -

Photos I dug...

[You know, I get paid in yen, so if the US economy continues to tank... well...]

The hair is so important...

I dig the sunspot.

Big kid...


More pictures here:

Proof I have a job.

So I wanted to pick up a copy of the JHS Album [not quite a yearbook, as it's only for the graduating class] because, at the time orders were due, I wasn't sure if I'd be here a fourth year - though it turns out I will - and because, and I guess it bears repeating, I really, really liked this year's graduating class. So now there's officially documented photographic evidence of my teaching days in Japan. And a way to remember a great group of kids.

"We can never get back our school days again."

Isn't that the truth...

The teacher group shot, which I didn't know was being taken that day - else I'd have dressed better. Not much better, mind you, but a bit...

Plus, they had to pick the photo my eyes were closed? Seriously?

Where are the goofy English teachers, hamming it up for the cameras?

There they are.

Rallying the troops in the Sports Day tug of war.

Good times, all.

Happy Easter! Via Bill Hicks and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

"'They celebrate Easter the exact same way we do: commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night. Now, I wonder why we’re fucked up as a race. Anybody got any idea? You know, I’ve read the Bible. I can’t find the word bunny or chocolate anywhere in the fucking book.

Where do they come up with this shit? Why not goldfish left Lincoln logs in your sock drawer? As long as you’re making shit up - you know - go hog-wild. At least the goldfish with a Lincoln log on its back going across your carpet has some miraculous connotations: 'Mum, today I found a Lincoln log in my sock drawer.' 'That’s the story of Jesus.'' - Bill Hicks"

As an aside... you know, when the JWs show up on your doorstep on Xmas Eve, you can chalk that up to happenstance... but when they drop off their lit on Easter weekend as well, well then... then you know they're being intentionally subversive. Which I'd admire, if their faith wasn't as batshit nuts as the rest of them.

And oh yeah, the bunnies and the eggs and all that nonsense come from pagan fertility rites co-opted by the Catholic Church during their expansion. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

"That's some good shit, you can quote me on that." - Sandy, on Disney's 'High School Musical 2.'

"A dubbed Billy Ray Cyrus is Hot, with a capital H."
- Sandy, on the free, dubbed in Japanese, Hannah Montana episode included as a bonus feature in her DVD rental of High School Musical 2.

Benkyou ni natta.

I Felt Awash in a Sea of Lower-Back Tattoos

Teen boy: Disneyland is the MILF capital of the world!

Vacaville, California

via Overheard Everywhere, Mar 22, 2008

The Awesome.

For Buffy geeks only.

Via Culturegraph.

This one is tough, but if you know who Joss Whedon is you should get it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

SCHP Lcpl Garren - 'Yeah, I hit him. I was trying to hit him.' ...With his patrol car. As the suspect fled on foot.

Just... wow...

Who Needs Tasers? Let's Just Ram Em with Our Patrol Cars - Don't Tase Me, Bro!:
"South Carolina Highway Patrol officers have been caught on dash-cam video hitting African-American suspects with patrol cars, and using a racial epithet during at least one pursuit, a U.S. attorney said...

In one video, dated June 24, 2007, Lance Cpl. Steven Garren strikes a suspect running away during a pursuit at night. The man slides onto the hood of the car before landing on the roadside.

In an exchange with another officer afterward, Garren is heard saying, 'I nailed the f--- out of him. He went flying up into the air.'

Someone is heard asking, 'You hit him?'

Garren responds, 'Yeah, I hit him. I was trying to hit him.'

...In another video, dated April 28, 2007, Lance Cpl. Alexander Richardson chases a suspect through an apartment complex. Richardson drives his car over the sidewalk, across the grass and through a common area as other people scramble to get out of the way."

"The most important voting bloc now are libertarians who like gays and guns, low taxes and free speech. They are pro-globalization and antiwar."

I go 7 for 7 in agreement.

Where the votes are - Los Angeles Times:
"...As David Boaz of the Cato Institute and David Kirby of America's Future Foundation note in a study of public opinion polls, roughly 15% of the electorate can be considered libertarian. Such folks are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. They like gays and guns, low taxes and free speech. They are pro-globalization and antiwar. They are at the center of American politics. Win them over and you'll win every national election for the next several decades.

Here are some smart -- and popular -- policies that will appeal not only to libertarians but to other centrist voters fed up with budget-busting compassionate conservatives and nanny-state buttinsky liberals.

* Let patients smoke dope. In the mid-1990s, a number of states, including bellwether California, passed ballot initiatives and legislation allowing use of medical marijuana. The federal response, first under Bill Clinton, later under George W. Bush: Send armed feds to raid dispensaries that are legal under state law and harass glaucoma patients with zero criminal records. The first party to denounce this buzz kill can expect a 72% approval rating from Americans who favored medical pot in an AARP poll.

* Ban the use of eminent domain for private gain.
A vile 2005 Supreme Court decision, Kelo vs. City of New London, touched off a grass-roots rebellion, with dozens of states and municipalities passing laws to protect against eminent domain abuse. Polls consistently show that up to 90% of Americans are appalled at the idea of officials pushing homeowners off their property to aid big developers.

* Legalize online gambling...

* Make the Internet tax moratorium permanent. Speaking of online freedom, the Internet Tax Fairness Act of 1998 banned state and local governments from levying sales and access taxes in cyberspace. That was back in the days before the Net economy -- and telecommuting and various other adjunct activities -- had become a mass phenomenon. Every few years, the moratorium comes up for renewal. The party of the future -- even the party of today -- will be the first one to make the ban permanent.

* Grant amnesty
...Neither Democrats' fears that unskilled arrivals drive down union wages nor GOP concerns about assimilation are borne out by facts. Most new arrivals go to places with hot economies, and Spanish-speaking households go English-only at the same pace as previous waves of Jewish, Italian and Polish immigrants...

* Bring the troops home, already...

* Decouple health insurance from employment. At a time when every business trend is hurtling toward flexible working conditions, constant job-shopping and project-based assemblages of freelancing humans, both parties are doubling down on an employer-based healthcare system. We retain an expensive, regulation-choked system that assumes company-town-style job security from cradle to grave.

Give consumers more control over their health coverage, health providers more leeway to provide flexible products and employers the option -- not the duty -- to offer coverage as a perk, and you'll be acknowledging that we indeed live in the 21st century. Last one through the door gets stuck with the $100 co-pay.

Nick Gillespie is editor of and Reason Online. Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason magazine. This is adapted from an article in the April issue of Politics."

The obstinance of ignorance - "Lynndie England Blames Media For Abu Ghraib Photos."

Lynndie England Blames Media For Abu Ghraib Photos - Media on The Huffington Post:
"Lynndie England, the public face of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, told a German news magazine...

"I guess after the picture came out the insurgency picked up and Iraqis attacked the Americans and the British and they attacked in return and they were just killing each other. I felt bad about it ... no, I felt pissed off. If the media hadn't exposed the pictures to that extent, then thousands of lives would have been saved," she was quoted as saying..."

Yes, you amazing douchebag, the problem really was that your crimes weren't covered up by the media.

See, it's stuff like this that makes ya go "hmmmm." News:
"The People (a Mirror sister publication) identified Power, 41, as the psychic on Sunday 9 March, and carried a photograph of him with Karen Matthews. It reported that he had been told by the spirit world that Shannon had got into a car near her school. He gave various details about the car.

...Reporting the safe return of Shannon, The People (16 March) said he came up with vital clues “which could have led to her discovery”. It confirmed he had told the newspaper:

* Shannon knew her abductor, who was a relative possibly named Michael or Paul.
* She had sat on this man’s knee at a family funeral.
* An area named Batley is involved in her disappearance.

Mick Donovan, also known as Paul Drake, was arrested at the address in Batley Carr, Dewsbury, where Shannon was found. He is an uncle of Shannon’s stepfather."

Oh China, you rapscallion.

Note to China: Please Implode / Could the Olympics rain down shame on Chinese oppression and Tibet abuses? Let's hope:
"But the 'good' news is, China's leaders already seem to be getting a bit desperate, having been caught off guard by the widespread uprisings and protests happening now across the world. The premier has already accused the Dalai Lama of trying to sour the Olympics by inciting violence, which is a bit like Dick Cheney accusing a butterfly of murder."

Of course.

[Freud and Jung were geniuses, clearly.]

Robert Skolrood: Reflections On Life And How Not To Live It | The Wall of Separation:
"Like many of his Religious Right cohorts, Skolrood was rabidly homophobic and sought to curtail the rights of gay people. He helped draft a Colorado constitutional amendment curbing gay rights that was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Similarly, Skolrood helped write a Cincinnati City Charter provision denying gays certain rights.

How shocking it was, then, to read in the obituary that Skolrood was arrested in 2002 at a well-known gay cruising spot after making advances toward a male undercover officer. Skolrood was accused of exposing himself and grabbing the genitals of a Roanoke County police detective working undercover at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway."

"The concern though is that sharing sexy photos is becoming increasingly popular for teens with cell phone cameras." Colorado Springs, Pueblo - Weather, News, Sports - Nude Teenage Pictures Being Investigated:
"Pueblo's largest school district is punishing at least one young girl for allegedly sending nude pictures of herself to boys via cell phone. School District 60 won't give specifics of the incident but confirm that they are dealing with this as a disciplinary action, which means they don't have to discuss what happened publicly. The concern though is that sharing sexy photos is becoming increasingly popular for teens with cell phone cameras."

You know, the phrases "Duh" and "No Shit?" come to mind.

Sex always leads technology, from Super 8, to Polaroid, to VHS, to DVD to the Internet. [And let's not forget the car, and its rumble seat, which helped lead to the sexual freedoms of the Roaring 20s.]

As soon as you numbnuts quit pretending that human beings aren't sexual creatures with biological imperatives [yes, including teenagers flush with puberty and adolescence], then this realization won't be so cognitively dissonant for you.

Except, of course, that'll never happen... because it'll make the baby Jesus cry.

Grandpa McCain appears to be kind of dangerously clueless.

You know, not all the swarthy dark skinned people are the same...

Crooks and Liars » Oops! He Did It Again: McCain Confuses Iran/al Qaeda Link In Speech Marking 5th Anniversary of Iraqi Invasion:
"...For the third time in two days, the Arizona Republican has pushed the definitively false statement that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda was getting assistance from Iran, even though he was publicly ridiculed for the same false assertion on Tuesday.

...Many in the media seem willing to dismiss McCain’s statement that Iran is training Al Qaeda as a simple slip of the tongue. This is wrong. McCain did NOT misspeak. If he had simply made the statement once, he could perhaps expect to be given a pass.

But he didn’t just say Iran was training Al Qaeda once. He said it in his initial statement. He was then asked about it in a follow up question where he repeated it. It is not a simple slip of the tongue if when challenged on the “slip” you then REPEAT IT. [He also repeated it on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show]

That is not a gaffe. That is called believing something that isn’t true. It is called being confused. And being confused about the differences between Shia and Sunni when claiming that you should be elected president of the United States on your foreign policy knowledge and experience, is simply not okay."

Balloon Juice:
"Nobody who pays the faintest attention thinks that Shiite Iran has or wants anything to do with the Sunni radicals in al Qaeda. For one thing bin Laden’s Iraq branch spends more energy slaughtering Shiites than it does attacking us. Sounds like a great program for Shiite Ayatollah Khamenei to promote, doesn’t it? Yeesh. Thinking that the two have some mutually supportive relationship is like proving your baseball knowledge by arguing that the Dolphins should start David Beckham. It makes a person hard to take seriously.

John McCain says crap like this every day. Joe Lieberman corrects him (twice) and McCain keeps saying it anyway. By any reasonable measure McCain’s crayon-book understanding of the mideast ought to be his candidacy’s most prominent weakness, a shameful sore point that he avoids talking about at all costs; his Chalabi if you will. Yet through some weird oversight that hasn’t happened..."

Crooks and Liars » Bill Maher on McCain: “Not Tougher. Dumber.”:
"He is not tougher about the war — he’s dumber about the war. He’s dumb about the war because he thinks by keeping troops in the heart of the Muslim world that’s going to help the war on terror. That’s exactly what started the war on terror. That’s why bin Laden was so angry at the us because we had troops in Saudi Arabia. We pulled them out after 9/11, by the way. Of course, we go right back in and plant them in the heart of the Muslim world and build Pizza Huts. That is why young Muslim men want to come here and blow themselves up and kill us. It is not about what happens in Iraq; we need to get out of Iraq — not build bases there."

Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rules~ McCain’s a warrior who’s dumb about war:
"New Rule: Old soldiers never die, they get young soldiers killed. This week John McCain said for the third time in two days, that Iran, a Shi’ite stronghold was training al Qaeda a militant Sunni organization. That the Hatfields of the Muslim world would be working with the McCoys is so not true even Dick Cheney hasn’t said it. Now the press, which loves McCain because he feeds them BBQ, dismissed this as just one of those senior moments. Not to worry, he’s only going to have his finger on the nuclear trigger. But it’s not just a ‘gaffe,’ it’s what McCain really thinks. And therein lies the paradox of this campaign: McCain’s strength is really his weakness. He’s a warrior who’s dumb about war. Whoever read The Art of War, chapter three of The Art of War says, “Know thy enemy.” And John McCain plainly doesn’t. He thinks the solution is our presence in the Middle East. No, the problem is our presence in the Middle East. That’s why I don’t care if John McCain is better than Bush on global warming or torture or campaign finance, because he’s exactly the same as Bush on the war. They both don’t get the same thing. As long as we’re setting up shop in the heart of the Arab world, we’re not keeping America safer. Bin Laden goes ballistic over cartoons in Danish newspapers, and Goober and Grandpa want to put up a Hooters in Fallujah. They don’t “hate us for our freedom,” they hate us for our fiefdom. Winning the War on Terror comes down to this: what will make us safer from pissed off Arab teenagers who are willing to die? There are a number of good answers to that question, but occupying their land for the next 100 years is not one of them.

Some people look at McCain and see a tough guy who is going to protect us from the “Islamofascists.” I look at him and see a walking Tom Clancy action figure who is going to get us all killed..."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

INFP, though I remember scoring INTP way back in HS.

Which is Introverted Intuitive Thinking Perceiving, on the Myers-Brigg typology.

Which means, as I've gotten older, I think less and feel more?

[Actually, that sounds kind of right. Maybe.]

"Your Type is INFP
Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
78 50 25 22

Qualitative analysis of your type formula

You are:

* very expressed introvert
* moderately expressed intuitive personality
* moderately expressed feeling personality
* slightly expressed perceiving personality"

Oh yeah, quiz here.

Keirsey Temperament Website: The 4 Temperaments:
"Healer Idealists [INFP] are abstract in thought and speech, cooperative in striving for their ends, and investigative and attentive in their interpersonal relations. Healer present a seemingly tranquil, and noticiably pleasant face to the world, and though to all appearances they might seem reserved, and even shy, on the inside they are anything but reserved, having a capacity for caring not always found in other types. They care deeply-indeed, passionately-about a few special persons or a favorite cause, and their fervent aim is to bring peace and integrity to their loved ones and the world.

Healers have a profound sense of idealism derived from a strong personal morality, and they conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place. Indeed, to understand Healers, we must understand their idealism as almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. The Healer is the Prince or Princess of fairytale, the King's Champion or Defender of the Faith, like Sir Galahad or Joan of Arc. Healers are found in only 1 percent of the general population, although, at times, their idealism leaves them feeling even more isolated from the rest of humanity.

Healers seek unity in their lives, unity of body and mind, emotions and intellect, perhaps because they are likely to have a sense of inner division threaded through their lives, which comes from their often unhappy childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood, which, unfortunately, is discouraged or even punished by many parents. In a practical-minded family, required by their parents to be sociable and industrious in concrete ways, and also given down-to-earth siblings who conform to these parental expectations, Healers come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. Other types usually shrug off parental expectations that do not fit them, but not the Healers. Wishing to please their parents and siblings, but not knowing quite how to do it, they try to hide their differences, believing they are bad to be so fanciful, so unlike their more solid brothers and sisters. They wonder, some of them for the rest of their lives, whether they are OK. They are quite OK, just different from the rest of their family-swans reared in a family of ducks. Even so, to realize and really believe this is not easy for them. Deeply committed to the positive and the good, yet taught to believe there is evil in them, [Fucking Catholicism. - Rob] Healers can come to develop a certain fascination with the problem of good and evil, sacred and profane. Healers are drawn toward purity, but can become engrossed with the profane, continuously on the lookout for the wickedness that lurks within them. Then, when Healers believe thay have yielded to an impure temptation, they may be given to acts of self-sacrifice in atonement. Others seldom detect this inner turmoil, however, for the struggle between good and evil is within the Healer, who does not feel compelled to make the issue public."

INFP Profile:
"Their extreme depth of feeling is often hidden, even from themselves, until circumstances evoke an impassioned response...

Of course, not all of life is rosy, and INFPs are not exempt from the same disappointments and frustrations common to humanity. As INTPs tend to have a sense of failed competence, INFPs struggle with the issue of their own ethical perfection, e.g., performance of duty for the greater cause. An INFP friend describes the inner conflict as not good versus bad, but on a grand scale, Good vs. Evil...

Functional Analysis:

Introverted Feeling

INFPs live primarily in a rich inner world of introverted Feeling. Being inward-turning, the natural attraction is away from world and toward essence and ideal. This introversion of dominant Feeling, receiving its data from extraverted intuition, must be the source of the quixotic nature of these usually gentle beings. Feeling is caught in the approach- avoidance bind between concern both for people and for All Creatures Great and Small, and a psycho-magnetic repulsion from the same. The "object," be it homo sapiens or a mere representation of an organism, is valued only to the degree that the object contains some measure of the inner Essence or greater Good. Doing a good deed, for example, may provide intrinsic satisfaction which is only secondary to the greater good of striking a blow against Man's Inhumanity to Mankind.

Extraverted iNtuition

Extraverted intuition faces outward, greeting the world on behalf of Feeling. What the observer usually sees is creativity with implied good will. Intuition spawns this type's philosophical bent and strengthens pattern perception. It combines as auxiliary with introverted Feeling and gives rise to unusual skill in both character development and fluency with language--a sound basis for the development of literary facility. If INTPs aspire to word mechanics, INFPs would be verbal artists.

Introverted Sensing

Sensing is introverted and often invisible. This stealth function in the third position gives INFPs a natural inclination toward absent- mindedness and other-worldliness, however, Feeling's strong people awareness provides a balancing, mitigating effect. This introverted Sensing is somewhat categorical, a subdued version of SJ sensing. In the third position, however, it is easily overridden by the stronger functions.

Extraverted Thinking

The INFP may turn to inferior extraverted Thinking for help in focusing on externals and for closure. INFPs can even masquerade in their ESTJ business suit, but not without expending considerable energy. The inferior, problematic nature of Extraverted Thinking is its lack of context and proportion. Single impersonal facts may loom large or attain higher priority than more salient principles which are all but overlooked."

The obligatory Carlin preface, and the modern day "Nonsense of Indecency."

Preface, of which I am in agreement, and which has caused many a dissent in my household -
"'I love words. I thank you for hearing my words. I want to tell you something about words that I uh, I think is important. I I say, they're my work, they're my play, they're my passion. Words are all we have really.

We have thoughts, but thoughts are fluid. You know, [humming]. And, then we assign a word to a thought, [clicks tongue]. And we're stuck with that word for that thought. So be careful with words. I like to think, yeah, the same words that hurt can heal. It's a matter of how you pick them.

There are some people that aren't into all the words. There are some people who would have you not use certain words. Yeah, there are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven of them that you can't say on television. What a ratio that is. 399,993 to seven. They must really be bad. They'd have to be outrageous, to be separated from a group that large. All of you over here, you seven. Bad words. That's what they told us they were, remember? 'That's a bad word.' 'Awwww.' There are no bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad Intentions..."
- George Carlin, from the classic bit - Seven Words You Can't Say on TV.

Onwards, to modern day idiocy.

Reason Magazine - Nonsense of Indecency:
"...different rules apply to broadcast TV, where the Federal Communications Commission has decreed that anything it deems "indecent" may not be aired between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. One day soon Americans will marvel at the bureaucratic energy expended on censorship in this one arbitrarily chosen segment of the media universe.

The FCC imposed its first fine for broadcast indecency in 1975, provoked by a mid-afternoon airing of a George Carlin monologue on a New York City radio station. In upholding the fine, the Supreme Court emphasized the distinction between Carlin's "verbal shock treatment," involving the deliberately provocative, repeated use of expletives, and "the isolated use of a potentially offensive word."

...The 2nd Circuit suggested that the FCC's indecency rules are unconstitutionally vague, creating "an undue chilling effect on free speech" by drawing seemingly arbitrary distinctions. A single fuck or shit on a live awards show can cost a network millions of dollars, for example, but the same words are OK in a "bona fide news interview," even if the interview is a thinly disguised promotion for one of the network's own entertainment shows.

The accidental airing of Cher's "fuck 'em" is indecent, but the deliberate airing of the very same footage in the context of a news report is not. The "repeated and deliberate use of numerous expletives" is OK in a fictional World War II movie because they are "integral" to the film yet indecent in a documentary about real-life blues musicians.

It's obvious by now that the FCC makes up the rules for acceptable speech as it goes along. In the paradigmatic example of broadcast indecency, Carlin's monologue about "the words you couldn't say on the public airwaves," there's no question that the expletives were "integral" to the routine, which was partly about the very censorship to which it became subject.

The premise underlying the Supreme Court's decision upholding the fine for Carlin's monologue was that TV and radio over the airwaves are "uniquely pervasive" and "uniquely accessible to children." With nine out of 10 U.S. homes receiving cable or satellite TV, with downloads and DVRs making a hash of "time channeling," with ratings and parental controls available across video sources, that premise is no longer tenable. The only question is how much longer the courts will pretend otherwise."

[It's all made up, kids.]

I just love that there's a group called the "Pink Pistols."

Reason Magazine - The Right Kind of Gun Rights:
"Yesterday, unbeknownst to itself, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a gay-rights case. To most people, admittedly, District of Columbia v. Heller is a gun-rights case. In fact, it's the most important gun-rights case in decades, one that may cast a shadow for decades to come. But to gay Americans, and other minorities often targeted with violence, Heller is about civil rights, not shooting clubs.

...Although gay life in America is safer today than it once was, anti-gay violence remains all too common. The FBI reports more than 7,000 anti-gay hate crimes in 2005 alone, and since 2003 at least 58 people have been murdered because of their sexual orientation. Perhaps because gay-bashings often begin in intimate settings, the home is the single most prevalent venue for anti-gay attacks. In public, of course, gay-bashers make sure that no cops are around. For that matter, sometimes the police are part of the problem, responding to gay-bashings with indifference, hostility, sometimes abuse.

Those facts are from an amicus brief that two gay groups—Pink Pistols and Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty—have filed in Heller. Pink Pistols is a shooting group, formed partly in reaction to stories like Palmer's (and partly, full disclosure, in reaction to an article I wrote urging gays to take up self-defense with guns).

"Recognition of an individual right to keep and bear arms," says the brief, "is literally a matter of life or death" for gay Americans. The Heller plaintiffs are asking the Supreme Court to strike down Washington's gun law as unconstitutional. One of those plaintiffs, not coincidentally, is an openly gay man: Tom Palmer..."


Okay, Now Tell Me How You Know That

Male fashionista: Deepness is just a less shallow superficiality.

São Paulo

Overheard by: paparazzi
via Overheard Everywhere, Mar 19, 2008

Old time ads are the best.

Via deadlicious: Things to buy

"Freedomfighter69, as you are a new member, please read IATT Bulletin 1147 regarding the killing of Hitler before your next excursion."

Outstanding time travel/SciFi short story, told through [pseudo] message board posts. Funny and brilliant.

Abyss & Apex : Fourth Quarter 2007: Wikihistory:
At 14:52:28, FreedomFighter69 wrote:
Reporting my first temporal excursion since joining IATT: have just returned from 1936 Berlin, having taken the place of one of Leni Riefenstahl's cameramen and assassinated Adolf Hitler during the opening of the Olympic Games. Let a free world rejoice!

At 14:57:44, SilverFox316 wrote:
Back from 1936 Berlin; incapacitated FreedomFighter69 before he could pull his little stunt. Freedomfighter69, as you are a new member, please read IATT Bulletin 1147 regarding the killing of Hitler before your next excursion. Failure to do so may result in your expulsion per Bylaw 223.

At 18:06:59, BigChill wrote:
Take it easy on the kid, SilverFox316; everybody kills Hitler on their first trip. I did. It always gets fixed within a few minutes, what's the harm?"

Rest of the tale at the link. Check it out.

Start 'em young - the first taste is free.

ComicMix at WWLA: Photo Gallery - Costumes - ComicMix news:
"Awesome. Almost makes me want to have kids. Almost."

Just... wow.

Busted for Pot: It's Jesus or Jail - Don't Tase Me, Bro!:
"In 2001, a young man in Michigan named Joseph R. Hanas was arrested for possession of marijuana. He pleaded guilty and was told he could avoid prison by entering a drug rehabilitation program.

The program Hanas ended up in is called Inner City Christian Outreach. It is sponsored by a Pentecostal church. Hanas is Catholic, and upon his arrival at the program, his rosary and prayer book were confiscated. He was told Catholicism is a form of witchcraft and that he would not be allowed to see a priest.

When a relative of Hanas's complained, she was told the young man had given up his religious freedom when he signed up for the program.

Hanas says he was indoctrinated with Pentecostalism. He was forced to attend worship services, read the Bible for hours a day and denied access to his attorney. He wasn't offered any actual drug rehabilitation; the program merely referred clients to another religious provider for rehab."

Well, Catholicism clearly is a form of witchcraft, but the rest is just crazy!

Great, funny talk by Dave Eggers at the 2008 TED Conference.

"Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, author Dave Eggers asks the TED community to personally, creatively engage with local public schools. With spellbinding eagerness, he talks about how his 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired others around the world to open their own volunteer-driven, wildly creative writing labs. But you don't need to go that far, he reminds us -- it's as simple as asking a teacher "How can I help?" He asks that we share our own volunteering stories at his new website, Once Upon a School."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spiderman type goodness - I want one.

NET-2000 Shooting Net Rod Makes Anyone a Webslinger - Boing Boing Gadgets:
"The 'NET-2000 Shooting Net Rod' fires a 52-square foot nylon net using compressed air, capable of subduing someon from almost 50 feet away. You can buy one for just $420 from Chinagrabber. The net is reusable, too, provided it isn't torn apart by your quarry."

Hey, I think I'm 'that' friend.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > The Audacity of Friends:
"...Now we have the Jeremiah Wright "scandal," which frankly makes me like Obama more. If you don't have a friend -- a real friend, someone who means something to you and sometimes influences your decisions -- who occasionally expresses a nutty opinion ("The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color") or an impolitic truth ("a country and a culture controlled by rich white people"), then you really, really need to get out more. Obama's connection to Wright is like his cigarette habit, his willingness to talk about his past drug use, his fondness for gritty TV shows -- it's a sign that there's an actual human being in that suit after all, no matter how empty it may seem when he's blathering about "an insistence on small miracles" and the like. It's a sign he might know a thing or two about the real America after all."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Man, that's a great card.

Fightlinker » Blog Archive » Another DREAM coming right up!:
"OLYMPIA DREAM.2 Middleweight GP 2008 1st Round
Date: April 29th, 2008
Place: Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan

Middleweight GP Participants:
Kazushi Sakuraba
Yoon Dong Sik
Yoshihiro Akiyama
Shungo Oyama
Kin Taiei
Masakatsu Funaki
Kiyoshi Tamura
Denis Kang"

Only in Japan.

Stoned man cleared of stealing vehicle due to mental incompetence - Mainichi Daily News:
"A foreigner accused of stealing a woman's car and injuring her and a passenger was cleared of the crime after a court found that he was under the influence of drugs and was mentally incompetent at the time.

However, the 34-year-old defendant, Jamshid Mohammadi, was found guilty of violating illegal drug and immigration laws, and was handed a suspended prison sentence in the ruling at the Gifu District Court on Monday."

See if you can spot the clever ruse here.

Unguarded hospital escapee yakuza dies in Fukuoka - Mainichi Daily News:
"An elderly yakuza who walked away from an unguarded Chiba hospital where he was receiving treatment last month while in police custody during an appeal against a life sentence for a drug smuggling conviction has died, prosecutors said.

Officials from the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office said they received notification from relatives of 69-year-old yakuza Atsunori Fukushima that he had died in a Fukuoka hospital on March 15."

The police are a trusting bunch here in Japan.

Why is this idiot sullying my family name?

Scotland Yard wants DNA samples from 5-year-olds in case they grow up to be criminals - Boing Boing:
"As reported in The Guardian: Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard, says primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life. Civil liberty groups condemned his comments last night by likening them to an excerpt from a 'science fiction novel'. One teaching union warned that it was a step towards a 'police state'."
Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers...

'If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,' said Pugh. 'You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won't. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society..."

On the other hand, my 13 year old inner child and Sherlock Holmes fan thinks it's cool that someone in my family tree works for Scotland Yard.

Wow, there are some idiots in the Alabama legislature.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > "What the Matter with the Beer We Got?":
"...Last year, a legislator proposed raising that limit to 13.9 percent, thus permitting the sale of craft beers, and the measure failed to make it to the floor. Again this year, the topic came up, and when it did, the chamber was graced with this deep, introspective, and wide-ranging declamation from state Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery):
'What's the matter with the beer we got? I mean, the beer we got drink pretty good, don't it? I ain't never heard nobody complain about the, uh, beer we have. It drink pretty good, don't it? Budweiser. What's the names of some of them other beers?...'"

Hooverville, pt 2.

America's new subprime shanty-towns - Boing Boing:
" of LA's new shantytowns made up of people who've lost their homes in the subprime meltdown and now live in tents, improvised shacks or RVs on abandoned land. It's the contemporary Hooverville...

I wonder why I found out about this from the BBC and not US media."

Because, clearly, the BBC hates our freedom in Patriotismstan. And they're communists.

Disney World - The Police State.

A creeping nation of subservience.

Fingertip biometrics at Disney turnstiles: the Mouse does its bit for the police state - Boing Boing:
"The readers aren't very effective at stopping admission cheats. You can choose not to register your fingertip, and to use photo ID for admission instead...

What these readers are effective at is conditioning kids to accept surveillance and routine searches and identity checks without particularized suspcion. One morning at Epcot Center, as we offered our ID to the castmember at the turnstile and began to argue (again -- they're very poorly trained on this point) that we could indeed opt to show ID instead of being printed, a small boy behind us chirped up, "No you have to be fingerprinted! Everybody has to be fingerprinted!"

To all those parents who worry that Disney will turn their kids into little princesses, it's time to get priorities straight: the "security" at the parks is even more effective at conditioning your children to live in a police state."

"The White Slavery Panic."

The full article with all the involved history, at the link, was pretty fascinating.

Reason Magazine - The 'White Slavery' Panic:
"In 1907 a group of evangelicals visited Chicago’s Everleigh Club brothel, where they handed out leaflets that said, “No ‘white slave’ need remain in slavery in this State of Abraham Lincoln who made the black slaves free.” According to the Illinois poet Edgar Lee Masters, an Everleigh Club regular, “the girls laughed in their faces.”

In Sin in the Second City, the Atlanta-based journalist Karen Abbott recounts how Minna Everleigh, one of the club’s proprietors, “explained graciously, patiently, that the Everleigh Club was free from disease, that [a doctor] examined the girls regularly, that neither she nor Ada [Everleigh, her sister and co-proprietor,] would tolerate anything approaching violence, that drugs were forbidden and drinks tossed out, that guests were never robbed nor rolled, and that there was actually a waiting list of girls, spanning the continental United States, eager to join the house. No captives here, Reverends.”

The Everleigh Club was an ornate mansion. Thirty themed boudoirs (“the Japanese Parlor,” “the Moorish Room,” “the Egyptian Room”) included absurd touches of decadence, such as hidden buttons to ring for champagne and a fountain that fired a jet of perfume. The city’s finest chefs prepared the women’s dinners. They read poetry by the fire with guests, who included the writers Theodore Dreiser and Ring Lardner. Sometimes Minna and Ada let swarms of butterflies fly loose throughout the house.

Some anti-prostitution activists nevertheless believed the Everleigh ladies were no different from slaves. Then as now, opponents of prostitution assumed that no woman in her right mind consensually exchanges sex for money.

...Karen Abbott’s book suggests that prostitution was better respected a century ago. While today’s high-profile johns hold press conferences at which they ask the public for forgiveness, Everleigh Club clients boasted of their membership. Perhaps prostitution was considered a necessary evil, keeping husbands from defiling their wives with their prurient fantasies. Or perhaps, as the Chicago Tribune suggested in a 1936 article about the Everleighs, people believed respectable women “were safer from rapes and other crimes if open prostitution was maintained and ordered as an outlet for the lusts of men.” Patronizing as that viewpoint might be, it is no more insulting than the implication that women never consent to sex work.

Just as feminists today rally around anti–sex trafficking measures, many anti–white slavery activists at the turn of the 20th century were politically progressive and believed in women’s suffrage. “White slavery gave women a chance to insert themselves in political discourse,” Abbott notes. “America’s women would best know how to protect America’s girls.” But such activism infantilizes women instead of promoting gender equality. Women don’t need protection from their own choices. "

Dayum. That's some party.

Via DoseNation: Here's how the next generation gets down-
"Oh sure, you think you know how to party. But every now and then, a 15-year-old comes along and steals the crown for a day or two. Presented without comment:

15-year-old Gemma Anscomb told her parents she was having a few friends around for a video night. But instead she had advertised a party on social networking site Bebo and invited everyone she knew.

When Robert and Julia Anscomb arrived home the next day they found their dog Bailey unconscious. He had overdosed on ecstasy tablets. Their dining room floor was covered in four inches of beer, their lap-tops, iPods and jewellery had been stolen and they found handcauffs and underwear in their eight-year-old daughter's bedroom.

...In her own bedroom the scene was little different. The walls were covered in black marks and there was evidence of group sex.

...Traces of cocaine, marijuana and alcohol bottles littered the house and the family estimates it will cost thousands of dollars to clean up.

But Gemma, who drank to excess and passed out at 7:30pm is not repentant. While she has gone into hiding she has managed to post comments about the party on her Bebo site.

"Yeahh it (the party) went wrong but it was well good. . . I mean it was f****** good," she wrote."

Apropos of nothing in particular...

...rumination from an earlier discussion.

Unhealthy or dysfunctional emotional compartmentalization is not the result of the recognition that there are different situations, contexts and meanings that require different approaches or uses of language. Or the recognition that other people frequently alter their behavior in accordance with them.

It is the result of personally attempting to manipulate those contexts and situations in such a way that you are attempting to maintain a [false] demarcation between them... usually due to your own insecurity, fear or arrogance. [Hi Jr!]

Obama Preacher Roundup.

Balloon Juice:
"...I guess now we need to sift through the political views of everyone’s minister and find out if they are acceptable and “patriotic” enough...

PS- There is no such thing as god, you fairy tale believing morons.

PPS- Can you jackasses stop pretending he is Muslim now that you are denouncing his Christian minister?
Balloon Juice:
"...I don’t know George Bush’s minister’s name, but I know that whoever he is probably thinks I’m going to burn in hell for all eternity for the sin of being a feminist atheist.

Nothing that Rev. Jeremiah Wright said from the pulpit is, in an objective sense, any worse than damning the majority of the population to hell, which is a bare minimum requirement for the religious right
assholes in this country that we’re supposed to show such great respect for because it’s their beliefs and they’re religious."
Crooks and Liars » Remembering another Jeremiah:
"...1. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said America is damned — cursed by God, though not permanently — because we tolerate feminists and queer people.
2. John Hagee says America is damned — cursed by God, though not permanently — because we tolerate Muslims.
3. Jeremiah Wright says America is damned — cursed by God, though not permanently, suffering from hate and division, from bitterness and envy — because we succumb to hating one another.

For my money, my Bible, and my democracy, that last sentiment has the ring of truth, and I’m not even a religious man.

...mainstream media is telling us we must tolerate hate — Hagee — but not those who don’t believe we should tolerate hate — Wright."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ya gotta have a goal...

Translation: They Have the Best Coke

Dude #1: So, whatever happened to that stripper you were dating?
Dude #2: It's over. I think it's a bad idea to date strippers. You realize there's a good reason they're strippers, then it fucks it up every time you go back. It's like, you look at these hotties and imagine all the possibilities, but now, after dating enough strippers, you realize the possibilities include consoling her drunk ass as she cries about being abused as a child while she lines up another rail of coke, then tells you her secret fantasy is to see you get nailed in the ass by another dude!
Dude #1: I still want to date one.
Dude #2: ... Yeah, they're fun.

--LaHaina's, Mission Beach, California

Overheard by: sean

via Overheard at the Beach, Mar 14, 2008

The Invisible Hand of Governement Bailout [+Hypocrisy.]

Balloon Juice:
"The companies said that the Federal Reserve would provide special financing in connection with the transaction and that the Fed had agreed to fund up to $30 billion of Bear Stearns’s “less-liquid assets.”
Bailouts suck. The GOP should do something about welfare moms with widescreen televisions and Cadillacs."

You know, I had family in Okinawa this weekend...


3 foreigners rob Okinawa taxi driver of 8,000 yen - Mainichi Daily News:
"Three foreigners robbed a taxi driver of about 8,000 yen near a U.S. base in Okinawa Prefecture over the weekend, police said."


LA Times: why you should care about wiretapping - Don't Tase Me, Bro!:
"It's tempting to say, 'I'm not a terrorist, so the government should be given whatever powers it needs.' ...But in actual point of fact, when the government is allowed to spy on people without oversight, history shows us that it always uses these tools to suppress dissent.

Governments aren't inherently evil, and on the record, I don't even think the present Administration is evil. But government is made of fallible human beings, and it's all too easy for human beings to see themselves as necessary for the good of the nation, and to see all their enemies as a threat to the nation. But when their 'enemies' include their political foes, it gets tough to draw that line -- and the result is fiascoes like Watergate and, now, probably, the Bush Administration's adventures in crime even before 9/11."

As good a reason as any, I suppose.

So I Never Get to Use Them

Hoochie: I do have good morals, I'm just really drunk all the time.

Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia

via Overheard Everywhere, Mar 16, 2008

Oh, the irony.

Blog@Newsarama » Quote, Unquote:
"“Media content has gotten more graphic, more violent and more sex-based… Currently, nothing under New York State law prohibits a fourteen-year old from walking into a video store and buying… a game like ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ which rewards a player for stealing cars and beating people up. Children can even simulate having sex with a prostitute…”
- Soon-to-be unemployed New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, showing off his campaign skills back in 2006 (Thanks to JK Parkin for the link [by way of])"

So... Spitzer played Grand Theft Auto then? Always blame the media, the games, the TV, the movies, the rap music... you douchebags.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What I've Read - The Question, Vol. 1: Zen and Violence by Dennis O'Neil and Denys Cowan.

First published back in 1987, this was probably [along with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns] the formative comic book of my burgeoning adolescence. In the very first issue, the hero The Question/Vic Sage [portrayed as kind of an S.O.B.] is beaten half to death by the martial arts mercenary, Lady Shiva, and some thugs, shot in the head with a pellet gun, and thrown into the river to drown. Then he dies. That's the end of issue #1.

Hooked, I was. Sold, all the way.

Of course, he lived. And then the series got really good. Deeply infused with eastern [mostly Zen] and western philosophy, it started me down a path I remain, for good or ill, to this day. The monthly recommended reading list in the letters column lead me to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, The Tao of Physics, A Scanner Darkly, Invisible Man, The Art of War, and Shambala... my mind was warped appropriately, and the rest is [my] history.

And plus, there was lots of martial arts and kicking people in the face.


The Question, Vol. 1: Zen and Violence: Dennis O'Neil,Denys Cowan,Rick Magyar

A weakness for women who play acoustic guitar.

I blame my collegiate Tracy Chapman indoctrination.

This first vid is from festouverture, who's apparently a young lady named Joanna Wang. She's an American who had some pop music success in Taiwan. Her YouTube channel is, I guess, really a departure from her Taiwan career. Hell of a singer, I think.
People Are Strange [The Doors Cover]

This next singer is actually an English teacher here in Japan. I caught her video a while back on Japan Probe and watched a bunch of others this weekend. She came over as a NOVA teacher right before NOVA went bust. This first song is her lyrical tribute...

My Nova Song- You Still Owe Me

She Will be Loved (Maroon5 cover)

Joe Rogan smacks down a heckler in Columbus, Ohio.

Just destroys the dude. Why, oh why, do people think it's a good idea to taunt the professional comedians? It's the alcohol, I tell ya...