June 27, 2002

More on the Pledge -

More on the Pledge - It's a ritual that the kids are encouraged (through instruction and peer pressure) to participate in. It involves standing up, special gestures and mentions God. Sounds an awfull lot like church to me. In fact, if you've done it lately in a school (as I have) it feels like church, too. I can't say it really bugged me all that much. I just didn't say the "god" part. But I'm an adult.

What about a right to keeping your religious beliefs private? Is it sensible to make a child either profess his faith in front of his peers daily or choose not to? In public school?

How about if we add "in heterosexuality" to the pledge? Most of us are heterosexual, so no big deal there. Gay folks can just skip that part. It'll make them easier to pick out and all. Sounds like the tyranny of the majority to me.

Posted by James at 3:18 PM

Unconstitutional Pledge - It's true.

Unconstitutional Pledge - It's true. The 9th Circuit court ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional (when children are coerced into saying it in schools). It that darned "under God" part.

Sadly, it's unlikely that this decision will stand. Why do people want to coerce children to say this pledge? It's certainly not good for religion. It means that I have to tell my children all about how the majority religionists are going to do their darndest to try to get you to say you believe the same things they believe. In this land of freedoms it makes the religionists the adversaries in the minds of atheist children. That's a great way to build a disgruntled future generation, isn't it?

These people have no foresight. Besides, it's just plain rude and disrespectful to make people take such a pledge. But rudeness and disrespect are things we have in abundance nowadays.

Posted by James at 9:12 AM

June 26, 2002

DynCorp story almost ready to

DynCorp story almost ready to be told? - In the first week of this blog I mentioned the DynCorp story, which seems completely invisible in the media. This is the story of military contractor DynCorp employees buying and selling underage sex slaves in Bosnia, and Ben Johnson getting fired for blowing the whistle. Well, the story finally seems to be hitting these shores to some extent, at least in Salon magazine. I still have to wonder, where are the major media outlets on this story?

Salon's story is a premium only feature, and I am not a premium member. Here you can read Ben Johnson's statement to the House International operations and Human rights sub committee. It's on the House website. See the earlier blog entry referenced above for background.

Posted by James at 12:12 PM

June 25, 2002

- New Addiction -

- New Addiction - While I may be stuck on GTA3 (see previous entry) an old PlayStation One game is entertaining the whole family. Parappa the Rapper is a unique game which tasks you with learning to rap well enough to impress the girl of your dreams (who just happens to be a flower).

The raps are addictive, and they've got the kids jumping all over the place. Of course, since this game was originally Japanese, the lyrics are a little odd. Check out the lyrics to the first rap in the game (Chop Chop Master Onion). What the heck is a "ya jockey?"

Posted by James at 12:09 PM

June 24, 2002

Scotland: Alien Vacation Destination -

Scotland: Alien Vacation Destination - Apparently, Scotland is the place to be if you want to see a UFO. They've got the highest concentration of UFO sightings there.

"UFOs tend to be attracted to regions that are fairly remote. Plus if you have a remote area, look out for airbases; Scotland is littered with them," Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO magazine, said. "In 90 percent of UFO reports a bit of diligent research will produce a simple explanation."

I've got a better explanation as to why the aliens are attracted to Scotland. Put simply: single malt. (Or, some of you may think that scotch whiskey is responsible, but for other reasons)

Posted by James at 12:37 PM

NO KILL I - to

NO KILL I - to borrow a little from Star Trek. The US Supreme Court seems to be on an anti-death kick. Today they overturned a bunch of judge-ordered death sentences. See the BBC story: US court overturns death sentences. Last week it was declared unconstitutional to execute mentally disabled killers.

Let's punish people justly. Can we do that, please, without giving government employees the authority to decide to kill an individual off?

Posted by James at 11:53 AM

How Awful? - I haven't

How Awful? - I haven't figgered out this website yet. Rui sent it to me and it's plain goofy. I need some plain goofiness, as I am still looking for a car. Thanks, Rui. : Something Awful
Comments welcome.

Posted by James at 11:47 AM

June 20, 2002

Poker Progress - Well, I

Poker Progress - Well, I busted out early in the Foxwoods Wed. night no-rebuy 7-Stud tournament. My cards were lousy, and I was burned at the end when I played a pair of aces and a king fast against a pair of eights and lost when I didn't improve. He improved with a second pair - of kings no less.

Luckily, I was able to sit down at the 1-5 Stud tables and make back my entry fee plus enough to buy a copy of Rockstar Studios' Grand Theft Auto 3 for PlayStation 2. That, plus the free meal they gave me and the baseball cap made it a good night all around.

Speaking of GTA3, that game is insane. It's great if you're just in the mood to watch and cause video game-style mayhem. My favorite part? Stealing an ambulance and delivering people to the hospital by cutting across the park and running people off the road. Runner up - stealing a police car and taking vigilante assignments.

Posted by James at 11:18 AM

June 18, 2002

Maureen Dowd's Take on what

Maureen Dowd's Take on what CNN dubbed "The Case of the Slipped Disk" (referring to the Democratic Senate Staffer who found a White House presentation dropped on a street corner by an intern): Secrets of the Yo-Yo's

"Maintain a positive issue environment," they instruct. Not a positive global environment, of course, just a positive issue environment. In midterm elections, they intone, "Presidents' standing matters." No kidding.

Karl urges Republicans to "Focus on War." Milking that war again. And "Promote Compassion Agenda." Not compassion itself, mind you, just the trompe l'oeil agenda.

Trompe l'oeil? Cool! I love trompe l'oeil!. Oh, wait, she doesn't mean it literally.

Posted by James at 8:34 AM

June 17, 2002

The Gambler - Forgot to

The Gambler - Forgot to mention, I'm going to be participating in another poker tournament at Foxwoods. It's Wed. evening and it's their weekly 7-Stud $35 no rebuy tourney. Can I top coming in second the last time I entered? We'll see.

Posted by James at 2:32 PM

Slow - Posting is going

Slow - Posting is going to be slow until things settle out. A number of obligations and the fact that I am looking for a car and have borrowed transportation are goign to make it less likely I will come across fun little tidbits to post.

Stress makes me want potato chips. Have I mentioned that before?

So I'm looking for a used car. Aiming for a Toyota Corolla or maybe a Honda Civic or Saturn S-series. Used because I shudder at new car prices and the inevitable depreciation that occurs when you drive a new car off the lot. I should psych myself up for battle to avoid the depression of the marketplace. Any suggestions?

Posted by James at 2:29 PM

June 16, 2002

Spike and Mike's Sick and

Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted did not disappoint. The Avon hosted the show last night, which was a little less sick and twisted than I remember. But still, twisted enough.
Most memorable, in my opinion were Don Hertzfeldt's Bitter Films, specifically "rejected" and "ah, l'amour." "rejected" was the evening's finale piece, and it really defies description. Hertzfeldt's stick-figure drawing combined with his goofy, twisted wit had the crowd in stitches. Mike and I remembered past festivals and reminisced about our favorite bits. One treat in this festival, a short documentary film featuring Spike himself in a Rasta cabbie's hat.

Posted by James at 10:45 AM

June 13, 2002

Unrelated - You can find

Unrelated -

Posted by James at 4:38 PM

Bleh. - That pretty much

Bleh. - That pretty much sums it up today. I feel "bleh." Not even Mr. Yuk can cheer me up, but he helps a little.

My car is pretty much dead. I can choose to repair it for (probably) more than it is worth, or look for a new car. I hate car shopping, and the prospect is not amusing. On top of that, we have lost our daughter's doctor for the second time in a year. Doctor shopping and car shopping. I suppose I can look to the news for at least a little bit of fun.

Hmmm. Looks like Ashcroft overplayed the "dirty bomb" scare. Is this going to be a new theme? Frighten us to quell criticism?

And lookie, lookie. Bob Barr, the impeachment junkie, is suing Clinton, Flynt and Carville for "emotional distress." He's emotionally distressed? The word I would have used is "disturbed." (Also at the end of that column, catch Ashcroft revealing his favorite Simpsons character. Who knew?

At least I have a reliable source for realtime U.S. spyplane images. You'd think that this would cheer me up.

The news that a relative of mine (a cousin) may very well soon be posted as second in command (XO) of a new destroyer was the best news of the day.

Perhaps I can look to the weekend for a lift. Getting to work won't be an issue for 3 days (tomorrow I'm taking off) and there are a few interesting things happening. Maggie and I are getting our gaits analyzed, there's a big graduation party for my cousin Sarah and Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted is slated for Saturday night accompanied by Mike. Stop complaining! Things are looking up!

Posted by James at 3:55 PM

June 12, 2002

Bush on 9/11 - A

Bush on 9/11 - A video is appearing on the internet, taken at the elementary school reading class which Bush was visiting when the WTC attacks took place. BuzzFlash News Analysis - What Happened at Emma E. Booker School on the Morning of September 11th? I haven't seen the video yet, but this is going to become a part of history like other vivid images of the day.

Posted by James at 1:23 PM

June 11, 2002

Bathroom humor? - No, it's

Bathroom humor? - No, it's not humor but useful information. A Woman’s Guide on How to Pee Standing shows that if you have assumed that men have some advantage over women in the area of elimination, you have assumed wrong. Women who are not peeing while standing simply don't know how.

My favorite comment on the page: "It works best when we are all drunk!" For women who don't want to have to practice as much, there are devices which will help.

This information is courtesy of the Restrooms of the Future website. Among other things, you can learn all about Bashful Bladder Syndrome!

My urge to make multiple adolescent-quality jokes aside (and they have their own comedy section on the site) this is an interesting idea for a website.

Posted by James at 11:41 AM

June 10, 2002

UFO absorbs F-18 fighter! -

UFO absorbs F-18 fighter! - Or perhaps this is a plane coming through a dimensional vortex. Or you can click the picture for the true explanation, which is that this interesting image is formed when a vehicle breaks the sound barrier under particular conditions. The web page where I found this also has an MPEG movie of the phenomenon. Scroll down to "Aviation."

Posted by James at 12:29 PM

Designated driver kicked out of

Designated driver kicked out of bar for refusing alcohol - This is plain goofy. Mr. Wong is awarded this week's Four Flush of Disgrace. It's certainly within his legal rights to refuse her entry to the establishment, but where the law ends is where the Four Flush begins!

I don't see why anyone would want to be a patron where the management has so little tact or clue.

Posted by James at 12:05 PM

June 7, 2002

Which is it? - One

Which is it? - One of the following statements is true. Please choose.

  1. This man is your president and he needs your help.

  2. This man is in front of you in line at Cumberland Farms. The guy at the cash register just stiffed him on the change for a bag of Fritos and he needs your help.

Posted by James at 3:37 PM

Romney admits to not filing

Romney admits to not filing as resident of MA - Suddenly it's in Romney's interest to admit that he filed as a nonresident and later (when he announced his candidacy) went back and ammended his tax returns.

Posted by James at 1:57 PM

Behold the Lizardman - The

Behold the Lizardman - The Lizardman is a performance artist and body modification enthusiast. He's slowly turning himself into a lizard. At least, that's the theme of his body modifications. My favorite quote from his website? "The Lizardman is a preferred customer with Avis Rent-a-Car."

Posted by James at 9:57 AM

Fun with Global Warming -

Fun with Global Warming - Don't miss Mark Fiore's latest cartoon, this one dealing with the administration's report on the inevitability of global warming. I can hear you thinking: "The administration!!!?" - Well, yes. But Bush, of course, has dismissed the report as the product of "the bureaucracy" whatever that's supposed to mean.
Fact is, we now have most sane people and some of the ones that only aspire to sanity agreeing that there is global climate change caused, at the very least in part, by human actions. Don't expect the government to go out on a limb and try to do anything to safeguard the future, though.

Posted by James at 12:07 AM

June 5, 2002

Update! - New York Exams

Update! - New York Exams to Regain Intact Literary Passages

Posted by James at 3:34 PM

Spaced Penguin - Bored? You

Spaced Penguin - Bored? You have to visit Spaced Penguin. It's an addictive Flash game that reminds me of an orbital simulation Chuck and I used to play with. While you're at it, check out curious frog which is where I got the link.

Posted by James at 10:47 AM

Mitt Romney, Nomad for hire

Mitt Romney, Nomad for hire - Now when you say you've been a Massachusetts resident for the last 28 years, it doesn't look good if you've been listing your primary residence back to 1999 as being Park City, Utah. Especially if you're the out of towner new Republican contender for MA governor. "Oops."

Posted by James at 10:25 AM

Not so fast, media giants

Not so fast, media giants - The New York Times reports that Hollywood studios suffered a setback yesterday in their efforts to place strict controls on digital content which would inconvenience the user (and prevent fair use) while not protecting their property from piracy anyhow.

It seems that the device makers sense that consumers will not go for some of the ridiculous restrictions that Hollywood would like to see on digital content.

Posted by James at 10:17 AM

June 4, 2002

Standardized and sanitized - The

Standardized and sanitized - The Elderly Man and the Sea? Test Sanitizes Literary Texts - NYT

Yes, it's true. The New York State High School Regent's Exams contain literary passages from speeches and well known works, except that they have been modified to remove references to race, religion, alcohol and nationality. Some of the examples are amazing.

Certain revisions bordered on the absurd. In a speech by Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, in addition to deletions about the United States' unpaid debt to the United Nations, any mention of wine and drinking was removed. Instead of praising "fine California wine and seafood," he ends up praising "fine California seafood." In Carol Saline's "Mothers and Daughters" a daughter no longer says she "went out to a bar" with her mother; on the Regents, they simply "went out."
Posted by James at 1:54 PM

June 3, 2002

Play the money-making game -

Play the money-making game - Calif. man jailed after grandchildren show off his counterfeit bills. It bugs me that this guy is a grandfather (2 grandchildren) and he's 42. Am I getting old?

I can picture these kids with over a grand in conterfeit bills at show and tell. A coin from another country was good enough when I was a kid.

Posted by James at 3:48 PM

Training Day - It

Training Day - It takes me a while to see films because i don't get out to the theatre much. I know Denzel won an Oscar for his role in this film, and I have to agree on that decision. Was it Chuck who recommended this film to me? I can't recall, but it was a good recommendation.

I'd write a review, but I stink at movie reviews. Stink!

Check out the DVD if you get a chance and are looking for a moody cop drama that takes place over the course of one day.

And speaking of moody, Johnny Depp is not bad in From Hell, a Jack the Ripper "based" adaptation of Alan Moore's comic of the same name. That's Alan Moore of "Batman: The Killing Joke", "Swamp Thing," "The Watchmen" and a ton of other good stuff.

If you're familiar with Alan Moore's work, you won't be surprised that From Hell is blunt, brutal but not completely without compassion. It takes off wildly from the "ripper" theme, and enjoyably so. Depp is good as the inspector who is "chasing the dragon" for visions having to do with his cases and gets a little too close to the Ripper case for his own safety. Especially good if you like these victorian era movies. Has a little bit of that Bram Stoker's Dracula feel, mixed with Se7en.

Posted by James at 3:54 AM

Quality Control Problems - Wow

Quality Control Problems - Wow - what's with my proofreading lately? I know I'm often a little off, but "compouter"? And the Spike and Mike's entry is barely readable. ARGH! I don't even have the excuse that I was posting late at night, because the time stamp shows it was early afternoon. Folks, it's not that I don't care. It's that my typing and editing stink.

Posted by James at 3:48 AM

June 1, 2002

Cut through the BS about

Cut through the BS about compouter security - Vmyths.com- Truth About Computer Virus Myths & Hoaxes seeks to stamp out misconceptions.

Posted by James at 1:28 PM

Spike and Mike's Sick and

Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted!!!! - It's not up on the Avon Cinema website yet, but I just got their newsletter and Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted will be in Providence on June 15th and 16th for the midnight show. I know none of you actually live around here anymore, but if by some chance someone can make it to one of those midnight show, I'm planning to go to one or the other. Now, whether I ought to get a Spike's hot dog or go for Wings To Go... it's a conundrum.

Posted by James at 1:26 PM