- BestBuy has a decent 200Gig HD for $180 after rebate. Check your flyer, or go to your local BestBuy. The website has it, but does not seem to reflect the $50 off that I saw in the store: Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 200.0GB Internal Hard Drive at BESTBUY.COM
I can't believe you can get a gigabite of storage for $.90 nowadays.
I'm playing this silly online game called "Kings Of Chaos." If you click my recruit link and join up, you will help me build my army, which is part of a larger army. Once you join, let me know and I'll send you the link to the larger army's hierarchy page.
If you just click the link for the heck of it and sign up, you need do no more. But if you find it to be fun, you can try recruiting your own folks, fight battles for money, etc. I'm not much good at networking, so my army is growing very slowly thus far. It's a pyramid scheme kind-of-thing, except instead of real money it's fake money and orcs.
A silly diversion from real war, but welcome at this point.
Here are the instructions from the website:
In Kings of Chaos, you are a warlord controlling an army and attempting to become the most powerful force in Middle-earth. You can choose your race, either humans, elves, dwarves, or orcs. Once you choose your race, you cannot change it for the duration of the age, so choose wisely.
You build your army by sending people your unique link (found in your profile page). If they click on the link, they will be recruited into your army!
If someone joins from your link page, they will become one of your officers, and when their army grows your army will get extra recruits. Also, your army will help them when they are being attacked.
Every game turn (30 minutes), you will generate money. The amount of money you generate is based on the size of your army. The larger your army, the more money you will make by using it to pillaging the surrounding countryside.
Use your money to buy weapons from the Armory. Weapons make your forces stronger by giving them attack and defense bonuses.
When you want to attack someone, the number of attack turns you use determines how much money you will plunder if you win. Use attacks wisely though, as you only get 1 every 30 minutes. Different races have different bonuses. Keep this in mind when choosing your race.
I'll eventually add my KOC link somewhere semi-permanent on this page, for convenience.
- What is it with this administration and its ability to give us a straight story?
Vice President Dick Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press" March 16:
"The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but that they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."
"My guess is even significant elements of the Republican Guard are likely as well to want to avoid conflict with the U.S. forces and are likely to step aside."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN March 23:
"The course of this war is clear. The outcome is clear. The regime of Saddam Hussein is gone. It's over. It will not be there in a relatively reasonably predictable period of time."
- I had pro-war people telling me this entire war was going to last 10 days. Some were saying we'd be in Baghdad 2 days into the war. Here we are at a week and then some, and this clearly isn't going to be over by Monday.
And so we see how some opinions were not based on reality.
- Frontline's "The Long Road to War has been recommended to me by a number of people, but I haven't caught it yet. If I keep missing it, I may have to settle for the website. Apparently it has the full text of interviews and such. If I weren't so busy, I might stop to read it. It will have to wait.
- I commented the other day on how the war is pushing other things out of the news. Well, it pushes things out of our consciousness, too. So much that was going on in my mind seems to have been pushed off because of the war. On the other hand, so much outside of it seems to still be going about its daily existence.
Anyone else have this odd feeling?
- News.com reports that the House is scheduled to vote on proposal which could result in the owners of misleading domain names being jailed for up to 2 years.
Under the proposal, a last-minute amendment to an unrelated child abduction bill, people who knowingly use an innocent-sounding domain name to drive traffic to a sexually explicit Web site could be fined and imprisoned for two to four years. An example of an innocuous-sounding domain name with pornographic content is WhiteHouse.com, which is not sponsored by the Bush administration.Thanks, JC, for pointing this out.
- it's the Random H. P. Lovecraft Story Generator! Hold onto your Necronomicon, it's a long way to R'lyeh. Or whatever.
More Cthulhu links (or loosely related):
- I'm buried at work today, so I'm just going to provide a miscellany of quick links.
The neo-imperialist in the Boston Phoenix. (Thanks, Patti)
Harvard says common virus, MS may be linked reports the Boston Globe. Interesting to me, because my daughter's disease is, in some ways, similar. Both diseases have mysterious causes. I often wonder if it wasn't triggered by some infection she had, causing her immune system to go into a crazed overdrive. The more they learn about this kind of thing, the better.
China Pneumonia Toll Jumps; Singapore Shuts Schools via Yahoo and Reuters. Holy cow. What's this doing in the "Oddly Enough" subhead?
A lot of people have been outraged by his speech. Many were offended by the fact that he had people on stage with him who may not have shared his views, and sprung this on them without their knowledge. I can understand why that might bother people.
I was thinking about this. I am not always a fan of Moore's tactics, though I have long followed his work and agree with a lot of his politics. And I have gotten a real kick out of a lot of what he has done.
He claims that he told people he'd be making a statement on stage:
"Moore said backstage that he invited the other nominees to join him while walking up the aisle. He had warned them during the commercial break that the invite and the rant were coming."Realistically, when Michael Moore calls you onto the stage and is about to say something, don't you know what's coming if you know anything about the man. Just the warning about the rant should have been enough.
Folks were applauding his political commentary (in his movie) moments before, and then when he gives them his honest opinion in his statement, all of a sudden it's distasteful. It's a little inconsistent. People don't have to like it (and many don't) but at this point to be surprised by it is puzzling.
I know a lot of people aren't going to agree with me on that. But I also think it's great that someone is willing to express an unpopular conscience. The people booing didn't get up in front of the world - they remained anonymous.
If Moore is guilty of anything, it's putting those other directors on the spot when he invited them up, since they knew what was likely coming. They weren't denied their decision just because they didn't know the exact text of his rant - they were forced to make a decision. No one made that decision for them, but no one likes to be forced into making a decision.
That's not a very strong complaint, in my eyes. And if Rush Limbaugh told me he was going to rant on stage and invite me up, I sure as hell would not follow him up there.
They knew what they were getting into.
(And I've stayed pretty much away from the substance of his speech!)
- The here and now is fucked up. Self loathing doesn't stop the war, make it right, or fix the here and now. Neither do jingoism, gung-ho mentality, apathy, or a host of other things. Killing more people doesn't "fix things" but it is a way of moving on. The way through the Gordian Neighborhood is, apparently, to blow it up first. That's what we're looking at in the here and now.So, what happens next? What will we do in Iraq? Will we hand control over to people who will rule it like Saudi Arabia? Turkey? Pakistan? A new version of Saddam? If we don't point to past administrations, and the ghosts who have risen again to haunt the current one, how do we have any hope of avoiding just starting over again? Same Git, Different Decade. Is "democracy" just something we say as long as the democracy makes decisions we like? If you're an Iraqi daisy about to be cut, what's your feeling about the democracy that built the bomb, and the pumping fists and surging popularity numbers riding that bomb like a skeletal Slim Pickens? How, exactly do I learn to stop worrying? Is it easier to be killed by a few madmen with a plane and a mandate from god, or by someone with who feels he has a mandate from the voters? A war about our safety in a world where it's not nations who are our worst enemies, it may be that perception is an important battlefield. I guess there are a lot of questions in the air.
- At WEEN---AUDIO you can hear the two versions of a jingle that ween wrote for Pizza Hut. The jingle was rejected. I don't know if they wrote that second version before or after the rejection, but it made me laugh out loud.
I guess I have a love/hate relationship with advertising. Whoop - scratch the "love" part. Thanks Mike, for pointing this out.
Click the image for the full-sized version. Print quality versions available on request.
- We've heard that there are things the Bush administration knows that it would rather not reveal because it would comprimise security. The Smoking Gun has revealed one of these tidbits.
The BBC has had to apologize for showing Bush getting his hair adjusted just before speaking.
- Last weekend I took the kids to see a new IMAX film called The Human Body.
Mattie spent most of the time with her hands over her eyes. Kit was fascinated by the heart pumping and remarked "I didn't know my heart was so loud!" Both enjoyed the part of the film dealing with babies and reproduction.
The film uses CGI and other methods to illustrate the processes at work in the human body. Among them, the skeleton, respiration and circulation, the reproductive cycle, digestion, and how neurons fire. There is probably little new here in the way of facts for longtime documentary enthusiasts, though one or two facts were new to me. What's special is the presentation, which is superb. It's a little gross at times, but very well done, as many IMAX films are.
In the previews we were treated to a trailer of the new Titanic IMAX film, done by James Cameron and a crew of explorers who go down to film the actual wreckage. They take actor Bill Paxton along with them. Game over, man!
- MSNBC is reporting More suspected SARS cases in U.S.
In Massachusetts, a health official said a man there who traveled to Hong Kong and Singapore last week, has shown possible symptoms of SARS but has never been ill enough to be admitted to the hospital.
Minutes before the speech, an internal television monitor showed the president pumping his fist. "Feels good," he said.I wonder if this ranks up there with receiveing oral sex on the "feels good" scale.
USA Today reports that Iraq war could herald a new age of Web-based news coverage.
This time, reporters and producers with wireless laptops and handheld digital cameras will file reports from battlefields and military installations. Cameras are at key locations for live feeds 24 hours a day. Interactive, 3-D maps will update troop movements, casualties and weapons used.
Hey, I have a great idea. How about a script that allows you to click a button and display a picture and bio of your own dead Iraqi civilian. Every person who clicks gets a name and a face of a civilian casualty. That would impress me.
Although it should be obvious that I have the members of our armed forces best interest in mind (since i don't want them over there in the first place) since this war has begun I hope that they return home both safely and soon.
- BBC News reports:
- Somehow I apparently disabled the subscription service temporarily. I've re-enabled it now. I swear I don't remember pushing that disable button. Darn poltergeist!
- She's said to be one of the most downloaded women on the internet (photos, that is.) Now, the next time you see a picture of this youngster, John Ashcroft may be looking over your shoulder with interest.
- So, the air of inevitability that the administration has worked so hard to spread has permeated our skin. We're now at the point that I can practically hear people sighing around me, hoping the war would start so that it can just be gotten over with. Let's start this war, we're bored with it already. Next news story.
I think I'm going to be sick.
- Yesterday it was positively sweltering compared to recent weather. This made for a beutiful day to be outside, but did make it a bit tougher for shose running the New Bedford Half Marathon. Maggie was among them. CONGRATS on finishing your second 1/2 marathon!
You can feel spring. Having the windows open in the house, the fresh air perfuming the office... coming home after the race to the house like that was very relaxing.
Unfortunately, I am indoors now. But I can see the pine trees right outside the window. I've got it wide open and I'm about to open the back door to the landing, to let the air flow through.
- Bush is going to address the nation tonight, embassies are closing, the government is recommending that inspectors leave Iraq and the networks are telling their reporters to leave Baghdad. I wonder what's up?We were at a peace vigil last night in Westport. There were 25-30 people there in front of the Quaker meeting holding candles, part of a larger vigil which took place all over the world.
- Just in case you were getting sick of news stories about pro-war songs, here's Salon.com Audio | The antiwar sampler - Anti-war music from John Mellencamp, The Beastie Boys, et al. Here's a John Mellencamp lyric snippet:
What is the thought processMaggie was involved with a peaceful peace demonstration today along the highway and was, along with her companions, treated to people hurling expletives from cars. Ah, the art of debate is alive and well among our citizenry! Thankfully, those people were an insignificant fraction of the passersby.
To take a humans life
What would be the reason
To think that this is right
From heaven to Washington
From Jesus Christ to Washington
[Oops! It just came to me that the Salon article is premium content only available to subscribers. So, here are direct links to some of the artists with peace-related music]
- There are so many important stories flying by now about the war that I'm just going to point to them briefly in one post.
The forged nuclear documents story is heating up. This was the evidence cited by both Powell to the UN and Bush in the State of the Union. "Obvious forgery" is the term being used now.
Kerry is getting his shots in. "What I regret is that the United States of America, the strongest military power on the face of this planet, has not had diplomacy that matches it. In fact, it has had some of the weakest diplomacy that we have ever seen in the history of the conduct of this nation."
Is this war going to be good for the economy? Ask George Soros. He says "The deficit policy that we are now pursuing is a very dangerous one. Not in the near term -- because as long as the economy is languishing there is no negative effect on interest rates. But the moment the economy shows signs of life, interest rates would jump because of the budget deficit and choke off the recovery," Known for his financial acumen, Soros' comments echo sentiments I have heard elsewhere. What gets me is the title of this Reuter's story "Soros Predicts Brief War Rally." To more accurately reflect the story, it ought to say something like "Soros Predicts All-Too-Brief War Rally."
- Domestic violence is a devastating problem in our society. Here's a small thing you might be able to do to help, which I only learned about recently.
This organization can allow you to help, if you've got cell phones you have replaced which ar eno longer useful to you. Proceeds from the sale of phones help fund agencies that fight domestic violence. Other phones are refurbished and become lifelines for domestic violence victims when faced with an emergency situation.
- Whatever happened to doing a magic trick for a kid, or cooing at the kid, blowing in her ear, tickling her, making funny faces, doing a silly dance, giving her candy or other food, or, you know, any of those time-honored practices for distracting and occupying a child?
A former Northwest Airlines flight attendant was charged with assault for allegedly putting a prescription depressant in a toddler's apple juice to stop her crying on an international flight.
According to the New York Times story, the guy was also caught carrying a bunch of Xanax and Valium. If I were this child's parent, there would be fireworks.
This feature currently only covers the latest links that are on my blog's front page, so after a week the links fall off the end and disappear into the archive.
Also under tools, "add PDA channel" for AvantGo users.
- My daughter is learning "conflict resolution" in school. It's something they teach to give kids tools to deal with avoiding violent situations.
When you put something in a kid's head, it doesn't just sit there, they put things together on their own. We get
Kids Discover, and a recent issue was about war. This prompted my wife to explain to her that we are in a situation that may lead to war today. My daughter's conclusion (in her words):
President Bush is "going up the conflict escalator." "At the top, people get hurt or sick." He needs to "calm himself down and try to solve the problem."
- First, this little link which looks like an error at first, but has to be read to be appreciated.
"Making Congress look even sillier than it sometimes looks would not be high on my priority list," said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts.Right on, Mr. Frank. (For those who'd rather not register, Annanova is also covering the story.)
"There's a potential war going on. There's a lot of debate about is Congress being actively involved in foreign policy. It's bad enough not to be able to do anything, but I think self-caricature is a poor substitute for thoughtful discussion."
- Thanks to Ed for digging up the text to G.H.W. Bush's Tufts lecture.
Incidentally, the Madrid conference would never have happened if the international coalition that fought together in Desert Storm had acceded the U.N. mandate and gone on on its own if the United States had gone on on its own, had gone into Baghdad after Saddam and his forces had surrendered and agreed to disarm.Papa Bush's observation applies, I think, even today. Going it (relatively) alone is going to set back peace in the middle east. This lecture, overall, is not critical of the president, but it does show there is a difference of approaches.
- Yeah, I always thought it was a little creepy that Billy's grandparents' ghosts were always hanging around the comic strip. (Note: The site hosting the animation I linked to above has a sucky layout, so you may need to scroll down to see the real animation. Don't be fooled if you see an ad that says "hit me")
- One of those wonderful visions of the future that you see in sci-fi is computers that talk to you, and that you can talk back to. We've had voice interfaces for a pretty long time now, very useful in things like wireless phones. However, as a past coworker of mine used to say "I wish my computer would shut up."
I was geekily setting up my home computer to use Star Trek LCARS themes which include computer sounds for all of the little things your Windows PC does. What I realized was, I didn't want my computer talking to me all the time. A beep or two suffices for communicating the most frequent things. A talking device is a huge annoyance, like having an idiot babbler in the office with you. So I replaced all the spoken-word sounds with Star Trek beeps of various kinds.
The meaning of each beep might not be immediately apparent to the new user, but people learn quickly, and will associate the sound with the meaning soon enough. A good interface does not mean the user doesn't have to learn anything.
- Okay, this is a learn-as-you go kinda thing. The new comment system didn't work with enough platforms to make me happy, but it turned out to be a problem with the default template. When I changed it to allow rich text, it also fixed the smiley problem. Comment away.
- Just when I was thinking I needed some humor from someone in my generation, along comes John Cougarstein. Check out his MP3s on IUMA and his CD at CDStreet. The sample from his CD ("Smurfette") had me laughing out loud. I haven't gotten a chance to read through much of his written humor, but I bought the CD. Sure, his voice sucks. But I have to hear "Livin' Like Deepak Chopra."
- I was in the supermarket today and I overheard two women talking about t heir children. One woman's son (middle-school age, I gathered) is going to be in a sporting event that will take place in a nearby professional sports arena. They were saying that this was great, and she must be happy, etc. Apparently her daughter was also going to be cheerleading the event.
Then the mother said, "This is something the kids will remember for the rest of their lives. It will be a real Mastercard moment."
Maybe I'm overly something-or-other, but that bummed me out. The important moments in your child's life are compared to an advertising campaign...? She tossed it off as a normal part of the conversation.
I suppose all I was seeing was two people simply talking in pop culture shorthand. This would be an indication of the effectiveness of Mastercard's campaign, that it has memed its way into our thoughts and language. On the other hand, the woman didn't stop to think that her son't life experiences are something real, wheras an ad campaign is manufactured emotional manipulation, and that the comparison brought her son down, rather than lifting him up.
It's the natural evolution of the language. But I wish something more valuable than ad campaigns were providing the linguistic fodder.
- Apparently, Bush won't speak at the European Parliament unless he's guaranteed a standing ovation.
Anybody else catch this story? No wonder we're looking like a bunch of ya-hoos to the Europeans. Our leaders are afraid of dissent or challenge to their opinions. Holy moley. Please, someone tell me I'm wrong about this story.
- If you look at recent UN resolutions on Iraq, you'll see that they end with the phrase "Decides to remain seized of the matter." Wondering what, precisely, that means, I found the following article: What Is the United Nations Seizing, Anyway? By Brendan I. Koerner.
Perhaps another way to say it might be "We're handling it, for now."
- I'm not going to suddenly go all fluffy on you, blog readers. But I am going to make an effort to make this blog more personal. Not less political, but a little more interesting on the personal side. More journal to balance out the stridency.
Part of the difficulty of disliking Bush's governing so much is the fact that there are so many things to complain about, you start to feel like every comment on the day is a shrill criticism. Your entire attitude becomes shrill.
The Utne Reader this month has an article about how the conservatives have been better at getting their message across than the left has. I think part of it has to do with always coming from a position of criticism. I am a critical person, critical of our government. But I really don't want to turn into the people I remember from the Clinton years - the knee-jerk Clintonhaters. That was just plain sad.
I don't know how I can change people's minds. But I do know that even people I disagree with have stories, and people like to tell their stories. Those stories are much more valuable than quoting what someone else wrote in an article, back and forth. That makes listening a valuable skill. You will have a hard time conveying your point of view if you don't know where your audience is coming from.
I'm making a concerted effort to listen. It is, in fact, much easier to disagree if you listen carefully, and find out where it is that you fundamentally differ from someone else.
- I'm tired of posting war-related, Bush-related stuff on my blog. I wish I could stick to airy observations, fluff, poetry, amusing links and such. However, the fact that we're going to start a war is really bothering me, obviously. Simultaneously, the suffering of the Iraqi people under Saddam's regime bothers me. I'd feel a lot better about our aim to supposedly free Iraq if I thought we had tried some other way to help the people of Iraq, but I didn't see any actual diplomacy happen.
If war does happen, I really don't expect rebuilding Iraq will be easy, or cheap, or quick. I don't expect them to actually be allowed to form a popular Iraqi government any time soon, either.
Kiesling later asks: "Has "oderint dum metuant" really become our motto?"That's the passage that stood out the most when I read: Colin Powell Should Make An Honorable Exit.
This phrase, now quoted regularly among the most militant denizens in the White House, means, "Let them hate us so long as they fear us." It was penned by Lucius Accius, the Roman poet (170 B.C.), and was said to be a favorite phrase of the emperor Caligula.
- Now you can subscribe to Aces Full of Links via email, so you don't miss a post! Check out the subscription form in the right column. Enter your email address, hit the button, and "Bloglet" does the rest. It'll mail you once a day with a summary of posts.
- I like this setup much better. I may make some small changes, but this is the new, basic look for now. More room for content means less scrolling. Smaller font because, dammit, I'm not a senior citizen yet!
- I'm royally sick of the way my blog looks. It's part of why I am reluctant to blog lately - bloggerface shame. So I'm changing it. I'm also sick of how slowly it loads, which I believe is partly the fault of the comment system. So I may be switching it out very soon, which means old comments will be lost. Try not to give in to that feeling of unease.
But some people have taken his idea and run with it. Yahoo! News - Mall Wants to Drop Peace T-Shirt Charges. Yes, the mall that booted a guy and his son for wearing peace-themed T-shirts (and had them arrested) is now sorry. Whoops! Imagine their confusion. "What? Peace is an OK thing now? Will someone please give me the playbook - I swear I heard the president say war was the way to go. C'mon folks! What happened to with us or against us!!!??"
Shocked that anyone would be shocked at their actions, the mall is now dropping charges as it tries to figure out what is best for commerce. The peace t-shirts are bad for duct tape sales, but national news coverage is worse for everything else.
Be careful - you don't want to be caught yelling "PEACE" in a crowded mall.
Selective Witnessing - Over and over I've had conservative acquaintences tell me about Saddam Hussein's son in law - the one who escaped from Iraq and told us all about his weapons of mass destruction, but then returned to Iraq only to be killed.
For example: "Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation to the U.N. Security Council claimed: "It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons. The admission only came out after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's late son-in-law."
Only, it turns out that Kamel was talking about weapons that Iraq had before 1991 - weapons our witness says Hussein secretly destroyed in order to avoid admitting they ever existed.
Selectively using the information from Kamel does not increase my confidence in this administration's strident claims that war is necessary. We keep being told that they can't tell us the whole story (which they imply would obviate war) but when the story starts coming out we see that knowing the whole story weakens their position.
We Spy - When reason does not sell the war, it's time to resort to the trick bag. This was brought to my attention by a number of peopl eover the weekend (thanks, all). The Observer | International | Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war
My children love the "Spy Kids" movie series. Is it possible that these DVDs are on Dubya's playlist, too?