Comments by: YACCS
Saturday, June 29
davidwarrenonline.com - ESSAYS ON OUR TIMES
In Christendom, and in Christendom alone so far as I can see, was this principle established to "render unto Caesar". There can be no such thing as a "holy war" in Christian doctrine, though truth to tell, fallen Christians have tried to start some, in such as the Crusades. (The idea for which was imported, it was an attempt to Christianize the Islamic notion of "Jihad", which finally collapsed because it was unChristian.)On the separation of church and state and Christian pacifism, this is a pretty good article and I agree with his points. (Like it really matters to the majority of one-stop shoppers here who are looking for photos of your favorite celebrity nude.)
IMRA - Thursday, June 27, 2002 Michael Widlanski/Media Line: VIRGIN VIDEO ON ARAFAT'S TV PROMISES SEXY AFTER-LIFE FOR 'MARTYRS'
When Palestinian terrorists who blow themselves up in order to murder as many Israelis as possible, are they acting out of despair or out of hope?Never mind we don't seem to have anything documented on Israelis deliberately killing Palestinians that aren't actively trying to kill them first. A certain amount of creative license is expected...
Never mind that this is from Arafat's channel. Who, as has been mentioned by others "asking Arafat to refrain from terrorism is like asking Tiger Woods to not play golf."
Never mind that this commercial doesn't encourage trying to make a better world TODAY - just blow yourself up or get killed by the Israelis and you'll have a brighter tomorrow...
It's a culture of death. Pathological, un-sane, and perverse. As such - it could either be encouraged to continue (which is bad) or stopped, which would be almost as bad.
No easy answers - just readily apparent questions...
Thursday, June 27
TownHall.com: Conservative Columnists: Dennis Prager
Why does the left support the Palestinians?Good question... And the answer the author comes up with makes a LOT of sense.
International Watch - June 17, 2002 - The Ornery American - By Orson Scott Card
You Can't Have Peace When the Enemy Wants WarSo, if by following your religion you are being outproduced by the rest of the world, the solution is to force the world to stop producing. Not change the way YOU work, but change the rest of the world.
Yahoo! News - Man Who Won Pledge Suit Says Has Received Threats
Michael Newdow, an atheist from Sacramento, California, said his "patriotic" lawsuit was filed on behalf of his elementary school daughter. She was not required to recite the pledge but he argued she was hurt by being forced to watch and listen to a government-enforced ritual that proclaimed God.Wow.
What a hero.
I can't wait until his 'fifteen minutes' of fame are over. Which should, I think, happen probably... next Tuesday.
I feel sorry for his kid, though. Imagine having a daddy who won't tell you "There's some things that just aren't worth the effort of fighting, so you need to pick your battles carefully", but will instead IN YOUR NAME make a blazing fool of himself.
I've got to give the guy credit. He's doing what he thinks is right - but it's incredibly petty, nonetheless.
Reason - "Silent Spring" Debunked
Carson was also an effective popularizer of the idea that children were especially vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of synthetic chemicals. "The situation with respect to children is even more deeply disturbing," she wrote. "A quarter century ago, cancer in children was considered a medical rarity. Today, more American school children die of cancer than from any other disease [her emphasis]." In support of this claim, Carson reported that "twelve per cent of all deaths in children between the ages of one and fourteen are caused by cancer."A couple of years back, I noticed a woman in one of the forums I frequented who maintained that polio shots (indeed, any vaccination of any kind) were totally unnecessary, and she pointed at the vastly declining rates of childhood mortality as proof that they weren't needed. The idea that the declining rates could be due to the vaccination programs run by the government didn't figure into her thinking - she KNEW that vaccinations were harmful, and used statistics out of context to fuel her fears.
This article on DDT, and the growth of the environmentalist movement shows that a lot of the same concerns and misstatements were used to get things banned that may not have been warranted. After all, they reasoned, these things MIGHT be harmful, so better to get things banned (like DDT) than wait until the evidence was solid.
So because DDT was banned it's been estimated that over 100 million people have died of malaria. And we won't even wonder at how many are ill from the parasite, or how many companies have NOT put in facilities where they could have done well because of the expense of pest control.
The law of unintended consequences is still in effect.
Culture of Tolerance
In the past, I've posted that I think Islam is a relatively tolerant religion. However, I've been rethinking things. And I also found this site, which has some pictures on it that are disturbing. There is no english translation, but I understand it's a preschool graduation ceremony in an area held by the Palestinians.
And if Aaron ever learned anything like this, we'd yank him from the school so fast there'd be a vaccum where he was.
I'm going to link pictures here because they're relevant. I know that some folks consider it bandwidth stealing, but the way I look at it - they've got it up on the net so they want to share them.
So I'll share them with you.
Update: Apparently, I won't. The site is down, and down hard. My guess is, they realised showing children playing at killing Israelis didn't do one bit to advance their cause.
So they pulled the site completely - not even the base page at jislamia.com is available.
Guess they weren't so proud of showing things to the world after all.
I'm going to leave the picture links here - perhaps it's just down 'temporarily'. Hey, guys? Next time, don't put a picture of a little girl with bloody hands supposedly dipped in the blood of lynched Israeli soldiers up on a web page - unless you're really proud of her. You see, it really DOES show the rest of the world what you're thinking - and you really don't want that.
I'm fully willing to see this as an anomaly - but I'm REALLY starting to have my doubts about the inherent peacefulness of the Islamic culture.
Wednesday, June 26
Live from the WTC // Comments
I think that the lawsuits have stretched the establishment clause all out of proportion in order to make the world more comfortable for the plaintiffs at the expense of everyone else.Ummmm... Good question.
Near as I can tell, it's just a comfort issue with this guy - that, and an ego-trip. "Woo, I managed to get a stupid-ass case all the way to the Court of Appeals! I'm big, manly, studly, and atheist chicks are going to want my body." (And yes, I think he's a jerk.)
"If I were in a muslim nation, I wouldn't complain if they mentioned Allah, and if I were in an atheist nation I wouldn't complain about tracts that said there was no God. My personal beliefs are not threatened by the beliefs of those around me, and if your beliefs are, then I personally don't think that they're strong enough for the nation to be legislating about in the first place."Apparently, athestic beliefs are pretty fragile. If they don't believe there's a god, why would it matter if others did? If they don't believe there's a god, what would it matter what you say - as in the "Under God" part?
The Spoons Experience: AN EMBARASSMENT OF RICHES
How true it is. I could easily spend two or three hours a day reading blogs and writing comments. But between earning a living, my family and other projects, there's just not the time - unless I sacrifice sleep.
And I'm just not willing to do that any more. (I'm just a wimp, ain't I?)
CNN.com - Litigant explains why he brought 'pledge' suit - June 26, 2002
Neville: How long have you been contemplating this suit?It's a cool thing.
Everyone should try it.
Everyone should bring a frivilous suit. Everyone should tie up the courts over the wording in something that offends them.
And because this fool was offended, he feels it's his right to impose his feelings on others.
California. Only in California...
Pledge Declared Unconstitutional
SAN FRANCISCO –– A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and cannot be recited in schools.It's the water. It's GOT to be the water. This is so... so...
Ah, hell! Words fail me.
But my gast is DEFINITLY flabbered at this point.
The Only Ant In Aviation brings you a Public Service Message
The Dasher Project
This is a MUST-SEE. Possibly the most innovative approach I've seen to text entry I've seen - and fun, too.
There's a 1.6 mb download, if you want to try it out. In the course of about five minutes, I got up to an input speed of about 20 words a minute.
Tuesday, June 25
UNICORN JELLY by Jennifer Diane Reitz
Every so often I find things on the web that stop and make me think. Rarely, however, do I find things like this - a simple rephrasing, a redefinition of a word - that strikes me like a velvet-wrapped eight lb. sledgehammer.
Consider the word "Victory". What does it mean to you? I would imagine there's about as many conceptual definitions as there are folks out there reading this. But in this case, in this cartoon sequence, a dying fighter realizes that...
"Victory has nothing to do with killing or with dying. It is the creation of a better future."
And it's true.
The future is what we all try to create - a future where, for example, my son will be able to grow tall and strong and healthy and free. For someone else, the desired future for their child is to be a martyr - they can imagine no higher calling than for their child to explode themselves and take some enemies with them.
Which of the two societies compared is liable to be a viable one? Prosperous, with long-term economic and social health?
They feel that dying and killing others is a way to a better future for their culture, instead of staining themsleves by cooperation with folks who are not like them. I feel that living in peace provides a better future than any splodydope (And thanks to James Lileks for providing that term - I think it was him, at least) could hope to achieve by an expedited self-disassembly. Not to mention passing my genes to the future (hmmm.. could I leave out the myopia, please?) while the other one scatters his over the landscape...
Death. Versus Life.
Ah, hell. I know Entropy is going to win in the end - Death comes for us all. But embracing it before it's time is not a victory - it's a defeat. And glorifying that as a GOOD thing, a laudable ambition, a viable long-term strategy, is just plain stupid.
Daily Pundit Archives
What A Coincidence!Three, four letters against an invasion of Iraq - using very substantially the same words. One from the Sacramento Bee, one from the Philadelphia Daily News, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, Seattle & St. Louis...
The phrase to look for is "200,000 servicemen in bloody ground combat". The rest of the letters are substantially the same - a few bits and pieces added or missing...
Spamming the opinion columns... isn't that interesting? It's also rather interesting that bloggers CAUGHT it. The major media didn't.
David Brin's Official Web Site: "Survival of the Fittest Ideas" (speech excerpt)
The following is excerpted from a speech that I gave at Brigham Young University in 1989, and later transcribed and lightly revised for publication in a small zine. Of special note is my prediction, even before the Berlin Wall fell, that our Cold War with the Soviet Union would give way to an era of dire strife with some version of frenetic, male-centered fundamentalism... such as we now see manifesting in a new century. While this early forecast may read a little rough (it was a speech, recall), it is an unusual view of our world's troubles, one that may bear further discussion. Since then I have further developed most of these themes, including the notion of criticism as an antidote to error and the idea that tolerance depends on openness.MOST worthwhile read. Take the time, and think on it.
For example - he sees four memes battling it out in the world today.
Paranoia - as exemplified by the USSR (and, in a way, by China or any country that won't allow openess of intellectual ideas)
Machismo - "Wherever you see women oppressed and the environment ignored, wherever professionalism and skill are downgraded in favor of strutting and male-bonded loyalty groups, it's a good bet that Machismo sets a culture's major chord."
Eastern -"Everyone should subsume their sense of self to the larger group, to the nation, to the tribe, whatever. . . . individualism is dangerous. Deviation and eccentricity are worse. The nail that sticks up gets hammered down."
"The Dogma of Otherness" ... "is a worldview that actually encourages an appetite for newness. A hunger for diversity. An eagerness for change. Tolerance, naturally, plays a major role in the legends spread by this culture."
"Still, I've thought of an amusing experiment you might play, using these four protagonists. Try to picture what might happen if a ship full of extraterrestrials landed in a Macho culture, or a Paranoid one, or in the East.Heh. Enjoy.
Monday, June 24
President Bush Calls for New Palestinian Leadership
President Bush is going to get criticised for this speech, big time. Yet today he said a lot of things that needed to be said - and how.
Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. This will require an externally supervised effort to rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services. The security system must have clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command.And I predict that the Palestinians, finally being shown a way to get what they desire, with conditions for getting what they want put out clearly and simply, will fuck it up quickly and completely.
And the other Islamic countries will aid them in this process.
You have no idea how I hope I'm wrong on this, but I'm expecting the suicide bombings to intensify, now that we've basically shown them a way out of the mess they're in.
Saturday, June 22
Yahoo! News - Advice Columnist Ann Landers Dies
CHICAGO (AP) - Ann Landers, the columnist whose snappy, plainspoken and timely advice helped millions of readers deal with everything from birth to death, died Saturday. She was 83.Ah, rats. I'm gonna miss her...
ajc.com | Metro | Arab-American money supports McKinney
Arab-American leaders, including some who believe their community has been singled out for persecution since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, say the explanation for their generosity is simple: McKinney is a longtime supporter.Probably tears of laughter!
"Can you believe how stupid that woman is? She bought the lies! ALL of them!"
"What do you expect? She is so convinced that her government is evil, that she'd do ANYTHING to make it look bad!"
"That $10 million offer she tried to get - oh, it would be worth it in entertainment value alone! And that PICTURE! I've seen CAMELS that looked more intelligent!"
"Yes - but she's more useful than a camel! Why, she's almost an honest politician - she stays bought!"
"It is SO good to have useful idiots in the US Government! Just feed her some stories, and she believes them! That accusation against President Bush - it was a wondrous leak! We MUST make sure she is outside the danger zone for the next attack!"
In short - she's a bloomin' idiot who would scream at the idea of being forced into a burqua, but she gleefully supports those who would do it to her, or kill her for not wearing one.
Sudan: Today's Ignored Holocaust - Conservative Society & Culture
So why aren’t we hearing more about this dreadful situation? Why is the media relegating the holocaust from the Sudan to the back pages of the newspapers, if at all? Perhaps it is because the crimes being committed are by blacks upon blacks, which is something the media doesn’t care about since it is not politically correct to point out. Perhaps it is also because the victims are Christians, which are usually the media’s target of ridicule and criticism, not their sympathetic victims or heroes. So the message from the media is this: if you are a black Christian, your death is a lot less important than somebody else’s death. Sounds eerily similar to how the early U.S. viewed the black slaves, who were primarily Christians - as 3/5 of a person. Funny, since the liberal-leaning media never ceases to insist that their “progressive” left wing philosophy is the least racist philosophy.Got little to say about this - except that if the folks doing the killing in the Sudan were white or Christian, it's be front-page news.
As it is, it should be.
MSN Tech & Gadgets / Internet
Some lucky "Star Trek" fan will have a chance to take the captain's seat in an upcoming auction available on eBay.Starfleet's fallen on hard times. Next thing you know, they'll be holding garage sales...
Thursday, June 20
FOXNews.com - School says game of tag is out...
SANTA MONICA — A Santa Monica elementary school has banned the game of tag, once synonymous with youth and innocence, because they say it creates self-esteem issues among weaker and slower children.There's times I wonder just what might be in the water in California. Aside from dihydrogen monoxide, and I understand they're trying to remove even that...
What's going to happen when kids who are raised in a self-esteem enhancing environment hit the real world? They've been insulated from having to actually perform well to get praise, they've been protected from anything that might damge their self-esteem - and then they're going to hit the real world, where people won't think twice about telling them they're incompetent or inadequate in their jobs.
Dr. Judy Young, executive director of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, disagreed with Samarge, saying that games like tag "are organized to have a winner and a loser," which is simply a part of life.In other words - she knows the issue is bogus, and wants her child to understand that the world won't coddle him.
It's interesting that they did a CYA second letter. Sounds like they're reaching, though, trying to find justification that doesn't sound stupid.
And failing... but what do I know, anyway?
Al Qaeda tied to intercepted phone calls
'Tomorrow is zero hour' in Arabic heard on September 10
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Messages intercepted by U.S. intelligence one day before the September 11 attacks came from telephone conversations between people in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, sources said Thursday.Hindsight.
It's always clear in retrospect that something is going to happen. Somehow, with all the shouting and such about "who knew what when", the dots still don't connect.
Finding the Speed of Light with Marshmallows-A Take-Home Lab
Now this is the sort of thing that would have made a big impression on me in HS. And, lo these many years later, it still does.
Wednesday, June 19
Baby star hints at a planet’s birth
WASHINGTON, June 19 — Employing a worldwide battery of small telescopes over several years, astronomers have done something the Hubble Space Telescope can’t do: Peering deep into the disk of material around a newborn sunlike star, they detected what might be a developing planet. Further study of the system is expected to provide important insight into how and when planets are born around stars like our sun.AAawww.... ain't it cute?
Kind of hard to see, though...
House panel endorses arming pilots
WASHINGTON, June 19 — Lawmakers moved closer to a confrontation with the Bush administration over guns in airplane cockpits as a House panel endorsed legislation that could arm more than 1,000 pilots in the next two years. The House Transportation Committee’s aviation subcommittee vote Wednesday runs counter to the administration’s decision last month not to allow the arming of pilots. Similar legislation also has been introduced in the Senate.The thory that it's best to keep pilots defenseless went out on 9/11. Of course, any hijacker will likely be killed by the passengers - the 'gotta do what they say or they might hurt us so we'll cower' crowd has been definitively silenced.
Personally, I'm for arming pilots. And making sure that the hijackers KNOW the pilots are armed and ready to shoot. (Personally, I'm all for having the pilots hang their practice targets from their last range session on the cockpit doors. A nice, tight grouping would make me feel a lot better....)
Super-size meals mean super-size fat
June 18 — A few extra cents at the fast-food counter to super-size a meal can buy hundreds of extra calories and far more saturated fat, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity.We go for what's fastest in the fast food line - and if it's a combo meal (supersized...) well, we know what we're getting.
We just don't think about it much.
Rocketeers hope to make history
June 18 — A group of rocketeers hope the next two weeks will put them in the history books with a vehicle that, if successful, would be the first amateur rocket shot into space.Cross your fingers!
(Ummm... what kind of recovery equipment you got on that thing?)
Tuesday, June 18
Odd search engine...
I stumbled across Kartoo today - and... it's neat. Got a blog? See where you're linked. Got something to search for? This is the place.
Please note - I DO prefer Google for most searches - but this graphical search engine is just plain... neat.
Not to mention thought provoking...
Yahoo! News - Fire Closes Beijing Internet Cafes
BEIJING (AP) - Beijing officials have closed down the city's 2,400 Internet cafes after a fire at an unlicensed cafe killed 24 people, a move that could temporarily keep millions off the Internet.Wonder how many hard drives are going to be missing from the cafe computers after the 'safety inspections'...
Sunday, June 16
Evil on a Budget ... or, How to threaten the free world on fifty dollars a day
Part IV, getting that "high-tech" evil lair look, before you've robbed Fort KnoxHilarious bit on honing your evil scientist persona.
Soviet smallpox outbreak reported
WASHINGTON, June 15 — Experts said on Saturday they were worried by a leaked report that describes an outbreak of smallpox in the Soviet Union — one they say may point to the testing of a smallpox biological weapon.Hate to say it, but this is REAL old news. I think I saw the first reference to it close to 20 years back. Of course, these days it's not surprising that someone goes "Oh! Bioweapon research! We gotta tell the public!"
Well, DUH! In 1971, the USSR was NOT our friend. Is it that surprising that they'd work on smallpox as a weapon? Also anthrax, and anything else they figured would be needed in the final battle against the evil forces of capitalism?
Man - some of these jerks need to learn history. Just because the USSR doesn't exist now, and we are in a fairly friendly relationship with Russia, doesn't mean it was always like that - and 30 year old news is 30 year old news.
No Smallpox in Pakistan - it was Chickenpox, instead!
Friday, June 14
CNN.com - Japan invites the masses to land on asteroid - June 14, 2002
(CNN) -- Want to land on an asteroid with a legion of fellow explorers? You can, thanks to a Japanese space mission that launches later this year. But the achievement will be in name only.Likely the closest I'll ever get to space travel... I put Aaron's name on the plates that were aboard the Mars Polar Lander when NASA had a web site open to do so, so his name is on Mars. Think I'll put the whole family on this one...
Talk about space cases...
Anyway, the place to register YOUR name(s) is right here. Enjoy.
ajc.com | Metro | Miller backs McKinney's opponent
Georgia Sen. Zell Miller has contributed $1,000 to the opponent of Rep. Cynthia McKinney in her upcoming congressional race, according to news reports today.Tempting thought - I may donate to Ms. Majette myself.
Thursday, June 13
S. Africa battles over Internet control
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 13 — In a battle brewing between South Africa’s government and those who fear government suppression of free speech, the administrator of the country’s Web addresses said Thursday he had hidden the key to the country’s “.ZA” domain network abroad.Hero? Villain? Time will tell.
(Personally, my money's on 'Hero'.)
A distant cousin to Jupiter is found
POTENTIAL FOR EARTH TWINWhat an exciting time to live - in the 60's the race to the moon. Now, if we could only develop a decent interstellar drive (and all the attendant life support systems needed...)
Maybe Aaron will see it, or his children. Then again, maybe not. But I'm not going to be cynical on this one...
Wednesday, June 12
FOXNews.com - U.S. Military Battles Environmentalists
U.S. armed forces are fighting what could be a prolonged battle, this one far from dangerous hotspots like Afghanistan or the Philippines.So, it's important that the military be limited in what they can do and how they can train so the environment is protected.
Protecting the environment has priority over protecting the country. (Of course, the Taliban were staunch environmentalists, too. They'd be glad to support these folks. And I hear Al Quaeda is very concerned over the plight of the Mojave Desert Tortoise, and want Marines to cease desert training so the tortoises don't get hurt.)
Make toys at home with common household materials, often in only a few minutes, that demonstrate fascinating scientific principles.Neat, neat stuff. Especially the crystal radio and the laser transmitter. Also, check out the copper solar cell - not large enough to be useful, but neat anyway.
Tuesday, June 11
Smallpox? Maybe not.
Checked with a friend at the CDC who checked with the National Immunization Program folks, who confirm that World Health Organization and CDC folk are looking at the possibility of smallpox in Pakistan - and it looks more like chickenpox.
Not that chickenpox isn't a health threat on it's own - but it's rather like a candle against a kilowatt searchlight compared to the threat from smallpox.
For more info, check out the CDC's Smallpox home page here.
Again - whew. But I wonder how long we're going to be lucky...
Monday, June 10
SWABI: Smallpox epidemic spreading in Swabi -DAWN - Local; 09 June, 2002
SWABI, June 8: The smallpox epidemic is rapidly spreading in these parts of the province, but the district health department has failed to take any step to contain this deadly disease, Dawn learnt here on Saturday.Does this give you the same chills it gives me? A friggin' SMALLPOX epidemic in Pakistan?
Where's the CDC? Where's the rest of the media? What's the reliability index of this particular newspaper?
Gods, I hope it's chickenpox or something. Measles. Maybe cowpox. But if it IS smallpox...
Man. I don't even want to think about it. I'll likely get immunized at the base, but Sue and Aaron...
Man. I'm gonna be watching this one...
IMRA - Monday, June 10, 2002 EU SUSPENDS FUNDING TO PA IN WAKE OF TERROR VICTIM SUIT
The European Parliment's budgetary committee has temporarily suspended its financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the wake of a lawAbout damn time, if you ask me. Or are they just going to whitewash it and say "Yep, everything's okay and accounted for, including the Semtex and belts" and continue business as usual? (I mean, you gotta have belts to hold pants up, and the Semtex is useful for bombs - I mean DEMOLITION work, yeah, that's what I meant, ignore that B-word...)
Saturday, June 8
Don't know why, but the system's crawling tonight. Was okay earlier, may just be one of ATT Broadband's glitches. Things have been pretty good for the last 6+ months, so we'll see what tomorrow is like.
Went looking at houses today. Uuurgh. Even though we aren't serious, still major Uuurgh...
Friday, June 7
Shaolin Soccer - After soccer superstar "Golden Leg" Fung (Ng Man Tat) decides to take a "dishonor" check to lose an important soccer match, his career goes down the drain as the crowd rushes the field and beats and cripples Fung for his missed goal. Twenty years later, Fung is a lackey for evil soccer furor, Hung (Patrick Tse), who happens to not only used to be the teammate Fung picked on, but now a soccer legend and the chairman of the National Soccer League. Depressed and broken for his reversalof fortune and the particular truths he finds out about his accident, Fung walks the streets finding reasons to live. Fortunately, Fung stumbles upon Sing (Stephen Chow), a martial artists trying to find ways to bring Kung Fu into the mainstream. Aftermuch preparation and soul searching, Fung gathers Sing and his Shaolin brothers together to form a team like no other: a Kung Fu based soccer team. While Sing trains and battles it out Shaolin style in the soccer ring, he attempts to woo Mei (Vicki Zhao Wei's), a shy, charming but hideously-looking girl who uses her Tai Chi skills to make the damn best mantou (steamed bread) in the world.Ahhh....
Isn't the Internet ... ummm ... wonderful?
A Full Spectrum
The world of blogging ranges from lighthearted to damn serious. Some of the serious ones can bring a lump to your throat and tears to your eyes, or give you the feeling you're watching a slow motion train wreck that you KNOW is virtually inevitable but you can perhaps hope to turn aside with a few well-chosen words. Perhaps, as Spider Robinson says so well in his Callahan's Bar stories, "Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased."
I've been reading a very impressive blog, BorderlifeBlog, for the last couple of months. It's a journal of a young woman with borderline personality disorder as she works through it all. I am very impressed by her determination and bravery, and occasionally make what I hope are helpful comments. And it's funny that I find myself so drawn to her struggle - perhaps it's because I've had to deal with a lot of the same internal problems she is confronting. Only difference was, I got to deal with them over 20+ years - she has them all piled on at once, God help her. Because if ever someone needed Callahan's Place, this young woman does.
I mean, how do you deal with the weight of the world when it crashes down suddenly? How would I have dealt with all the things I've had to over the last 25+ years if they'd all hit when I was 18? God, just thinking about that year I spent with Ariann is enough to give me the shudders 20 years later. Not to mention all the failures I percieved in my own personality and actions, all the mistakes I made with people over the years, and dealing with results from hurried, faulty decisions from, oh, the time I was 15 or so... the episodes of depression, the thoughts of suicide. (Which, for those who read this and are concerned about the possibility, were almost 30 years back. None lately at all. Don't worry about it, ok?)
So I occasionally comment with what I hope will help, with some of the strategies I've developed to cope with similar situations, with encouraging words and (hopefully) inspirational and amusing stories about the stupidity of things I've caused myself and survived through. To let her know that there's someone out there who cares, who wants to give help without taking anything in return.
Sometimes, perhaps, it's enough for someone to validate your feelings - to go "Yeah, I know it's tough. Hang in there - it DOES get better." And that may be enough. It was for me, many years ago.
I hope it is for her, too.
Thursday, June 6
The National DDay Museum - New Orleans - Oral Histories
Oral History: Joseph Henry Esclavon
The National DDay Museum - New Orleans - Oral Histories
Oral History: Felix Branham
Then National D-Day Museum
What does the "D" in D-Day mean?They strove and suceeded, though many died. Let us not forget them.
Wednesday, June 5
Bum Ankle Update
The dang thing aches. It itches, inside where I can't scratch. The bruising is going down, it no longer looks gangrenous. And the swelling is down - I can see the tendons when I curl my toes up.
All in all, things are proceeding. Two more weeks, and I'll be dancing the mazurka. Of course, it would help if I took lessons on how...
Have a nice night...
IMRA - Wednesday, June 5, 2002 Poll of Palestinians by PCPO May 24 - 30, 2002
Poll of Palestinians by PCPO May 24 - 30, 2002Well, good luck to them. Reform in the PA would probably be best accomplished by killing off their leadership - but I ain't cynical.
Israeli tanks enter Ramallah
June 6 — Israeli armored vehicles entered the West Bank town of Ramallah early Thursday, surrounded Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s office and exchanged fire with Palestinian soldiers, witnesses said.Arafat's lost control of his organization. Did they really expect a car-bomb detonated next to a bus would fail to anger the Israelis? Are they really so far gone they're thinking "The next bomb will do it, and make the Israeli people do what we want?"
It almost looks like it.
Reuters | The World's Leading Provider of Financial Information and News
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Wednesday that the U.S. government will fingerprint, photograph and register about 100,000 foreign visitors during the first year alone of an anti-terrorism effort that outraged lawmakers and Arab and immigration groups who say Middle Eastern men will be targeted.I'm of two minds on this.
First, I've been fingerprinted. It's not an arduous process, and with advances in technology it shouldn't even be a problem to do it without ink. I don't have any problem requiring new immigrants and visitors to leave a copy of their fingerprints on file. Get everyone coming into the country to have valid ID and be fingerprinted, and it becomes a big 'So What?' from a discrimination standpoint.
Where I've got the problem is the Arabic groups and the folks pandering to them saying that it'll be used unfairly. The assumption is it WILL be used unfairly, because of their ethnic background.
My first thought was - "How many aircraft have been flown into skyscrapers intentionally in the last 25 years?" And the answer, I believe, is 2, 3 if you count the Pentagon. (It's not really a skyscraper, more like a ground-sprawler.) And that plane into the Italian skyscraper - I think they determined that to be pilot error.
My next thought was - "What was the ethnic group of the hijackers?" Answer: Arabic.
Then I read further:
Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, denounced the system as employing racial and ethic profiling.Okay, can someone explain to me how it's reasonable we should IGNORE the fact that Al-Quaeda is Islamic/Arabic based, that the terrorists who bombed the WTC were Arabic, the hijackers who flew the planes into the WTC, the Pentagon, and took over Flight 93 were Arabic, and the guy who took the credit (Bin Laden) was Islamic & Arabic - can anyone explain WHY we should ignore this and drop the idea of fingerprinting and registration?
At this point, if Daschle says something negative about a way to increase security in the US, I'm really willing to look for the good in it. I am NOT willing to trust his judgement, or that of the syncophants that surround him.
Again - get everyone. Then no one can gripe. (The funny thing is, the ACLU is even saying it won't work and is discriminatory.)
Something's got to be done, and this is the best suggestion I've heard yet.
Monday, June 3
CNN.com - Milky Way caught ripping up star cluster - June 3, 2002
The Milky Way galaxy has been caught in the act of shredding an ancient star cluster and leaving a tell-tale trail of stellar debris smeared across the sky, astronomers reported on Monday.I suppose Johnny Cochran is expecting a call...
Every so often you run across something that's almost as good as the advertizing hype that goes along with it.
Got two tonight... the first is a neat little product called "Catch A Bubble" by Spin Master Toys. A rather viscious goop, it make decent, long-lasting bubbles. In fact, we've got some on the back deck that have been whole for roughly 4 hours. I think the humidity is making them sticky, because they're rather hard to catch intact, but it can be done. It's neat, a bit more expensive than standard bubble liquids, but the endurance of the bubbles is worth it. It's very odd to watch a large group of the bubbles move around the side of the house... illustrating the airflow that you know is there.
Item 2 is for the more accident-prone among us. Don't know about you, but having a 4-year-old around brings on an urge to buy stock in Band-Aid, Inc. They've got a VERY neat product for skinned knees and such other cuts that we're all vulnerable to - their new Liquid Bandage, which looks to be a variant of surgical superglue, which needs a catalyst (which I think is in dry form in the applicator sponge tips) to activate it and seal things up. And seal it does - Aaron skinned his knee Saturday, and it's healing fine with one application of the stuff so far. It's not thick, and it doesn't provide any protection against re-injury, but it DOES stop bleeding and it seems to last like crazy.
Ah, the wonders of modern technology...
Saturday, June 1
Movies X 2
Last night Sue and I went to see a rare double-feature. Her sister took care of Aaron, and we snuck out to see Attack of the Clones and Sum of All Fears. We don't hit movies often, so we made a night of it and spent darn near as much at the concession stand as we did for the tickets, and had a fine time.
Ratings are as follows - (as if you're going to go by MY opinon whether to see them or not...)
Sum of All Fears: On a 1 to 10 scale, I'd rate it right at 9.5.
Meanness of the Bad Guys: 9
Heroism of the Heros: 10
Special Effects: 9.5
Character Personalities: 10
Movie Physics: 8.5
This one didn't take itself too seriously, but was serious when appropriate. Pacing was perfect, suspense and drama mingling with humor. Only one thing I didn't much care for, and it's a minor movie quibble - one character was shown as having radiation poisioning from simply touching a warhead - but I've long since given up expecting accuracy where things like this are concerned. The nuclear weapon construction was reasonably accurate (again, considering limits of movie accuracy, but the parts shown weren't anywhere near the tolerances I understand are normal) and the explosion effects were pretty well displayed without overdramatization. They even got the bumpiness right during a mid-air refueling sequence, and Air Force 1 was a flying command post with some office space instead of the flying palace with a little bit of com gear seen in previous Clancy films.
(One thing I was grateful for - it seems to be a cinematic staple that if you've got a nuclear weapon you have to spend at least ten minutes showing suspenseful scenes with countdown timers, the explosion, and then the explosion from five different viewpoints and the results from at least 10. This was more like a "Boom" - and then direct to the aftermath. Rather refreshing, in a depressing sort of way.)
I won't go onto the plot here - if you've read the book you'll know it, but it's a bit different than the book. Go. View. Enjoy.
Overall, this one we'll get for the DVD library when it comes out.
Attack of the Clones: This one rates right at about a 6. It was good, but it wasn't that good.
Meanness of the Bad Guys:10
Heroism of the Heros: 10
Special Effects: 10
Jedi Combat Tactics: 2
Character Personalities: 6
Movie Physics: 5
Overall, this one's an 'Eh.' There are parts that are very good, there are parts that just plain didn't work for me. The chase scenes on Coruscant were pretty good, the fight scenes were well choreographed, the special effects were pretty well seamless. And the film's got about all the charm in the long run of a McDonald's hamburger. It's food for the franchise, but that's about it.
What did work: The romance, oddly enough. Annakin & Padme are obviously both smitten, but neither has a clue as far as relating to the other gender goes. It doesn't hurt that Natalie Portman is small, shapely, and very pretty (and has a costumer that knows how & what to emphasize - I could just wish that women these days dressed like she does) - you can smell the hormones buzzing in Annakin's brain, clouding his judgement. He's 18. You can tell. (Thankfully, Padme never said "Is that a light saber in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?") And (in all honesty) I wouldn't be that age again for all the world, even WITH Natalie Portman as my girlfriend. But hey - I ain't blind.
Also, the special effects worked. They were seamless, but I'm going to admit that I'm not all that thrilled with the idea that a movie is all just special effects. I want to see ingenuity and detail - not just spectacle. (For example, I recently picked up a DVD set of the "Thunderbirds", Marionette-Animation from the '60s. The level of detail, when you consider that it was all done with puppets and physical models, is tremendous. Sure, it's cheesy and you can see the puppet wires, but it's a labor of love and it shows. Attack of the Clones - well, it's glossy and glittery, but it was kind of ... sterile. A lot of work went into it, but I didn't feel much emotion.)
And Yoda kicked butt. Boy, those battle-endorphins got him zippin'.
What didn't work: The mass battle with the Jedis vs. the Droids. Guess I expected the Jedi to behave with a fair amount of combat discipline and common sense - and they didn't. Their idea of fighting is just like the samuri of Japan - Go into battle bravely, find a foe, slice off parts till enemy is dead, stop and pant, find the next foe, repeat until dead or no foes remain. And they got slaughtered, pretty much as the Japanese army in WW2 (which was still adhering fairly closely to the Bushido code) got killed by the US Army, which used group tactics instead of berserker battle heroism. Instead of dozens of Jedi getting killed, I'd much prefer to have seen them form up in lines or squares, with three Jedi bouncing back blaster bolts and 4 Jedi slicing & dicing - the equivalent of sword and shield work. But it's supposedly been a thousand years since an army was needed - perhaps it's not too surprising that they don't know small unit tactics. (I swear, I think the local SCA group would be able to put together fighters that knew what to do better...)
Overall? Eh. See it if you want to. We'll probably get it on DVD, there were some fun chases in it, but it wasn't that satisfying. It'll make a mint, though. It is, after all, Star Wars.