Saturday, February 27, 2010

Surreal is a state of mind.

Guy catches tuberculosis, makes epic quarantine video.

This is awesome/funny/clever/WIN.

From the YouTube description -
"I was eventually let out of hospital on the 2nd Jan, but then brought back in on the 18th Jan and diagnosed with a more serious form of TB... As a result, I have been back in quarantine since the 18th Jan, and all up now I have spent 55 days on the inside of a single room in hospital... This is starting to take it's toll on my mental stability, and this song is about the impact (or lack thereof) it has had so far."

1970 DC Comics survey...

Kinda awesome.

Via Historical Document of the Day - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine:

Source: Detective Comics #403, September 1970."

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's all ridiculously insane. And inane.

Seriously? The Pentagon has nothing better to do?

Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages' worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood - Boing Boing:
"The Electronic Frontier Foundation has forced the Pentagon to release over 800 pages of classified material documenting 'possibly illegal' spying during the Bush administration. The heavily redacted documents include details of a spying program against Planned Parenthood and white supremacist groups in the runup to the Atlanta Olympics, as well as spying on Alaskans for Peace and Justice, an anti-recruiting group, civilian cell phone conversations, and other breaches of spying laws."

Applicable to all Presidents re: Executive Privilege.

Pretty funny. *update* I think this is via - Credit where it's due, etc. Found it on a message board, meself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"...the faith card simply cannot be allowed in adult conversation."

Matt Thornton makes his bones as a martial arts coach, and he posts blog wise, infrequently, at best. Nevertheless they're always deeply interesting and philosophically dense. Lengthy, as well. Click over, full post, etc, etc...

Thornton's Guerilla_Blog - Carving Nature at the Joints:
"...many religious people will call full stop, and they will play the faith card. The faith card is simply this; it is a matter of faith. And on that note, all possibility of mature dialogue is ended. And that is the moment of admission by them, that there is no evidence for the particular proposition being espoused.

All of us within the world of the rational, reality-based community have a fundamental, and unmistakable responsibility when this happens. It is on us to explain to them, that the faith card simply cannot be allowed in adult conversation...

The moment we allow a belief without evidence, “faith”, to be entered into the public dialogue, is the moment we concede all the advances of the enlightenment, and negligently allow the forces of barbarism and superstition the fuel needed to drag us kicking and screaming back into the dark ages of ignorance, and human stupidity...

As we speak there are Christian pastors and missionaries in Africa that are actively preaching the ‘sin’ of condom use, in areas that are ravaged by AIDS. There are religious groups in various states that are preparing petitions to ban gay and lesbian Americans from being able to marry each other. There are suicide bombers strapping on explosive vests, in the belief that they will have an amazing sex life post death. And there are millions of women unable to go to school, and forced to wear bee-keeper suits, all because of faith based beliefs which hold no more basis in factual reality then does the idea that Earth rests on the back of a turtle. And because it is all being done in the name of some “faith”, we as rational human beings are supposed to render the topic off limits in terms of criticism, satire, and the reason based debate that we would apply to every other field of human knowledge?

When we really think about this we should all realize, that it is truly demented."

Cannot be trusted, the historical edition.

You know, I consider myself fairly well versed, history wise, but I had never heard this particular tale. Much more at the link. [Hat/tip Sandy.]

The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition. - By Deborah Blum - Slate Magazine:
"Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.

Although mostly forgotten today, the "chemist's war of Prohibition" remains one of the strangest and most deadly decisions in American law-enforcement history."

Texts From Last Night roundup.

So wrong, so funny.

Texts From Last Night:

Hookers taste better with whip cream

Maybe we ought to get some pennicillin too

Fair enough"

Texts From Last Night:

I love Japanese schoolgirls with short skirts riding bikes on windy days.

You're never coming back, are you?"

Texts From Last Night:

I love having hate sex."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Santa Rosa War Veteran Foils Robbery Attempt -
"Donald Clouston, was walking with a grocery bag in each arm when the boy approached him with a large knife.

The boy said, 'Old man, give me your wallet or I'll cut you,' Bair said. The man told the boy he was a veteran who fought in two wars and had been threatened with knives and bayonets, Bair said.

Clouston then put his bags on the ground and told the boy that if he stepped closer he would be sorry. When the boy stepped closer, the man kicked him in the groin, knocking him to the sidewalk, Bair said. The Army paratrooper picked up his grocery bags and walked home, leaving the boy doubled over, Bair said.

The man reported the attempted robbery to police 45 minutes later."

[Country] Rock Baby is Awesome.

Chatroulette WIN.

Chatroulette explained here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Watched - 2 weeks of TV...

NCIS Season 4, The Middle, SNL, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Millionaire Matchmaker, NCIS, Castle, Community, Modern Family, The Office, The Big Bang, Monk [series finale], Stossel, Archer, The Mentalist, Burn Notice, UFC 109, Smallville, Human Target, Men of a Certain Age, Batman The Brave and The Bold, Modern Family

Best of...

Friday Night Lights is just awesome. Best drama on TV.

30 Rock - "You are truly the Picasso of loneliness." - "I learned to talk to gorillas when I worked for GE Medical... 'We're - going - to - test - poisons - on - you.'" - "She was on Maxim's 'I'd Rape That 100.'"

Leverage - "My name is Nate Ford, and I am a thief." Truly outstanding season finale.

Janken WIN.

*Their* failed business model not *my* problem.



Thanksgiving drama on steroids: Adding a family business to the mix | Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist:
"...the job of families is to keep you in line with the rest of the family, in a predestined path that is good for the family. And your job is to create your own path."

I, too, have fallen prey to the insidious 2AM worm.

You learn everything on the internets.

Gene expression, epigenetics, twins and choice.


Jukin' the stats - just like in The Wire.

Or what we non-law enforcement types call lying.

"More than a hundred retired New York Police Department captains and higher-ranking officers said in a survey that the intense pressure to produce annual crime reductions led some supervisors and precinct commanders to manipulate crime statistics, according to two criminologists studying the department.

The retired members of the force reported that they were aware over the years of instances of “ethically inappropriate” changes to complaints of crimes in the seven categories measured by the department’s signature CompStat program, according to a summary of the results of the survey and interviews with the researchers who conducted it."

This is, of course, completely and undeniably true when you think about it.

A concept first revealed to me years ago through the works of Robert Anton Wilson. Despite his, and The Onion's illumination, however, it's doubtful folks will abandon this mutually agreed upon illusion any time soon.

U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion | The Onion - America's Finest News Source:
"What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."

According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of it—the money, our whole economy—it's all a lie!"

..."I've spent 25 years in this room yelling 'Buy, buy! Sell, sell!' and for what?" longtime trader Michael Palermo said. "All I've done is move arbitrary designations of wealth from one column to another, wasting my life chasing this unattainable hallucination of wealth."

"What a cruel cosmic joke," he added. "I'm going home to hug my daughter."

Sources at the White House said President Obama was "still trying to get his head around all this" and was in seclusion with his coin collection, muttering "it's just metal, it's just metal" over and over again.

...Likewise, the real estate industry has all but vanished, with mortgage lenders seeing no reason to stop people from reclaiming their foreclosed-upon homes.

"I don't even know what we were thinking in the first place," said former banker Nathan Collins of Brandon, MS, as he jimmyed open a door to allow a single mother and her five children to move back into their house. "A bunch of people sign a bunch of papers, and now this family has no place to live? That's just plain ludicrous."

The realization that money is nothing more than an elaborate head game seems to have penetrated the entire country: In Wilmington, DE, for instance, a collection agent reportedly broke down in joyful sobs when he informed a woman on the other end of the phone that he had absolutely no reason to harass her anymore, as her Discover Card debt was no longer comprehensible..."

Well done, North Carolina.

This Week in Innocence - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine:
"North Carolina's state-run innocence commission—the only state-run innocence agency in the country—has found its first exoneration.

...a panel of North Carolina judges ruled Wednesday that a man was wrongfully convicted of murdering a prostitute in 1991 and freed him after 16 years in prison.

The three-judge panel found “clear and convincing evidence” that the man, Gregory F. Taylor, was innocent and had been convicted based on flawed evidence and unreliable testimony.

It was the first case won by the commission, which was established in 2006 after a wave of embarrassing wrongful convictions in North Carolina..."

I would totally buy a Warren Ellis alarm clock.


Via Warren Ellis � While I Was Away

How incredibly fucked up is that?

School district admits installing covert webcam activation software on student laptops, denies wrongdoing - Boing Boing:
"The Superintendant of the Lower Merion School District -- where parents have initiated a class action suit over the covert use of students' laptops to surveil them in school and at home -- has sent a letter to parents with more information about the spying. The school admits that there was spyware installed on students laptops that allowed for remote, covert activation of their webcams..."

Homeland Security ...and kind of incompetent as well.

Homeland Security reports losing guns -
"The nation's Homeland Security officers lost nearly 200 guns in bowling alleys, public restrooms, unlocked cars and other unsecure areas, with some ending up in the hands of felons. The problem, outlined in a new federal report, has prompted disciplinary actions and extra training.
Most of the misplaced weapons — including handguns, shotguns and military rifles — were never found. 'Most losses occurred because officers did not properly secure firearms,' says the Homeland Security inspector general report."

Michelle Trachtenberg, a long way from Buffy, breaking it down...

Pretty funny. And funky. [Bonus appearance by James "You wouldn't last a day on the Creek. A day" Van Der Beek.

Hi, my name is Rob, and these are my people.

The Introvert's Corner blog: "We Gotta Fight for our Right Not to Party" - Boing Boing:
"A woman who read one of my essays on introversion said that when she explained her introversion to her family, her brother said, 'We didn't know you were an introvert. We thought you were just a bitch."
Introversion vs. Shyness: The Discussion Continues | Psychology Today:
"...The two get confused because they both are related to socializing-but lack of interest in socializing is very clearly not the same as fearing it."
"It'll Be Fun!" and Other Extrovert Lies | Psychology Today:
"As introverts in an extroverted world, we frequently must justify our reluctance to participate in activities that make extroverts giddy with delight. They can't believe that things that make them tingle either leave us cold or fill us with horror. They assure us that really, if we just get over ourselves and try, we'll have a grand time."
Introverts and Parties: Just Add Alcohol? | Psychology Today:
"Buck up, introverts. It's party season and chances are very good that you'll have to attend at least one or two over the next few weeks. We need to steel our spines and plan our approach.
Those of us who drink alcohol probably use it to help us loosen up for social events. And most us probably have, at one party or another, loosened up a little more than we would have liked. You know what happens next: morning-after regrets, perhaps a headache, or worse, depending on how loose we got."
I Like People. Just Not All of Them All the Time. | Psychology Today:
"Let's clear up another misconception about introverts: As a rule, we're not antisocial, we don't hate people, we're not even necessarily bored by them, as one reader suggested here.
I'm bored by boring people. I'm bored by long stories about people I don't know, by hollow chit-chat, by anyone whose idea of conversation is a monologue."
"Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice? ...If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out? ...If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren't caring for him properly... Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses.""

The fundamentals are often overlooked.

Free Speech, Democracy, and Citizens United - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine:
"...the view that the government should censor the speech of people who do business in the form of corporations is rooted in the idea that free speech is an instrumental good that serves "democracy." That is the Progressivist interpretation that sees "democracy" as the central value of the Constitution, and sees individual liberty as a privilege that is created by the government in order to promote "democracy."
This is the opposite of the view of the Constitution's authors: they believed that the fundamental constitutional value wasliberty, and that democracy existed only to serve liberty. That's why the first sentence of the Constitution declares that liberty is a "Blessing," and why the Constitution goes on to impose serious limits on democracy. In their view, speech is protected because individuals have the right to express themselves--not because speech has a relationship to democracy. Obviously they understood that free expression was good for democratic decision-making, but their primary concern was protecting the rights of individuals, not with preserving some vague conception of "democratic society.""

Hitler goes metatextual - makes a Downfall parody vid.


The TSA - cruel, callous, idiotic.

TSA forces travelling policeman to remove his disabled four-year-old son's leg-braces Boing Boing:
"Philadelphia TSA screeners forced the developmentally delayed, four-year-old son of a Camden, PA police officer to remove his leg-braces and wobble through a checkpoint, despite the fact that their procedure calls for such a case to be handled through a swabbing in a private room. When the police officer complained, the supervising TSA screener turned around and walked away. Then a Philadelphia police officer asked what was wrong and 'suggested he calm down and enjoy his vacation.'"

First Amendment Win.

Rude, but funny.

Trash-talking your high school teacher on Facebook is constitutionally protected speech Boing Boing:
"A federal magistrate today ruled that a former Florida high school student suspended after creating a Facebook page to diss her teacher should receive constitutional protectionunder the First Amendment. The name of the page? "Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I've ever met.""

Sometimes, the past was better.

Rerun alert at 1:08.

Ah, I see.

"If there was a god don't you think he would've flicked Hitler's head off?" - Eddie Izzard

"'Oh, I'm not allowed to do anything.' - Well fuck off then. If you're not allowed to do anything, what's the use? Just piss off. And stop asking us to mumble things on Sundays..."

"The Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world..."

Stephen Fry breaks it the fuck down... Brilliant. In all respects. [Later, Hitchens hits cleanup. Effectively.]

Covers discovering moral truths, the Enlightenment, the importance of history, limbo, purgatory, buying indulgences, the evils of intercession, sexual abuse scandals, the current "pope" and more...

"...over a thousand years... sometimes as little as 2/3 of a year's salary could ensure that a dead loved one could go to heaven... and money could ensure that your baby, your dead child, your dead mother, could go to heaven...

...the last Pope, the Pole, he made Thomas More the patron saint of politicians... this is a man who put people on the rack for daring to own a Bible in English. He tortured them for owning a Bible in their own language... the idea that the Catholic Church exists to disseminate the word of the Lord is nonsense...

For me to be called a pervert by these extraordinarily sexually dysfunctional people... is a bit like food in that respect... the only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese. And that in erotic terms is the Catholic Church in a nutshell...

...the words of Ratzinger, the current Pope... his first act was to write a letter to the Catholic bishops ordering them on pain of excommunication not to talk to the police or anyone else [regarding alleged sexual abuse - Rob...]

My favorite bit... "'re a child made in the image of God - oh no, you're not, you're a faggot. And you can't join your church and you can't go to heaven. This is disgraceful. It's inhuman. It's obscene. And it comes from a clutch of hysterical, sinister virgins who have already betrayed their charge in the children of their own Church. For shame."

The benefit of living in Japan is I can be amused by SuperBowl commercials weeks later...

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." - Mark Twain.

Fred On Everything:
"Oh lord. Oh lord. I can’t stand it. Somebody get me a drink.

Recently I saw an interview with General McChrystal...

The guy was Westy, I thought. They’ve dug him up and added animatronics. He had the same statistics, drew the same comforting graphs showing the same progress in pacification, the same decline in Bad Things and rise in Good Things. Yes, he thought, we really should stop killing so many civilians, but we would stop. We were going to help the Afghans...

So now we are invading Marjah, a city, to build schools and hospitals. Schools and hospitals are characteristically built with heavy artillery. As soon as we have destroyed the place, they will love us and see the virtues of the American Way. (The first thing we did was to blow up a house, killing twelve civilians including the mandatory contingent of children. If that’s not a hearts-and-minds move, I can’t imagine what could be...)

The strategy makes perfect sense, really. I mean, if Afghans killed your tyke, wouldn’t that make you want to adopt their form of government, and let them improve your life? It would me.

All of this is so eerily familiar. Westmoreland, the Ghost of McChrystal Past, was also a pacifier of hamlets. Kill their kids, give them five hundred bucks and a lollipop in compensation. Explain voting. What a plan.

Sez me, officers should not be allowed to try to think...

Protestant Reader’s Digestism doesn’t transfer to Kandahar. “We’re here to help you” suggests to most of the world, “run like hell.” The sense of righteousness among field-grade officers is strong. They are doing God’s work. It doesn’t occur to them—can’t occur to them—that devout Moslems don’t want any Christians at all in their country, much less Christians who kick in doors and humiliate their women. The colonels think they are trying to extirpate evil, and that six robotic-looking alien troops hand-cuffing a man in front of his family is a small price to pay for democracy...

What McMoreland doesn’t get is that people just don’t like being invaded. Yes, yes, it’s for their own good. We, of course, will determine what constitutes their own good.

Such is the ingratitude of these people, and their lack of respect for borders, that we find ourselves forced to expand the war into Cambod—Pakistan, I meant. Pakistan. And so the Predators fly..."