Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Satan's Chips



I think most of those wierd flavored Doritos are crap, but these were quite drool-worthy. I knew they would be since they're "limited time only".

Monday, December 20, 2004

Technical Woes

I had to help a user a couple weeks back who was putting documents through the network scanner and trying to open them. She reported that they weren't there even though I saw the PDF files fine on my end. I went over and discovered that she was trying to open them in Word, which not only will no display the files (apart from "*.* All Files") but it won't even open the PDF files anyway (at least not in any readable format). This in and of itself is forgivable, but conversations like this are not (keep in mind, the user is trying to do something that's impossible!):
User1: I don't understand what's wrong, this was working just last week!
Me: So you're opening up the files that same way you always have?
User1:Yes.
Me: You're sure you didn't open the files in some other way?
User1: YES.
Me: [contemplates a 'liquid lunch']

I thought this was a freak accident, until I went through the exact same conversation with a different user who was experiencing the exact same "problem" not more than three days later. Of course today I had a user who went one up on that when she was trying to open an Excel spreadsheet in Word (must be lead in the water here). It shouldn't be any mystery as to how that conversation went:
User2: I don't understand what's wrong, this was working just last week!
Me: So you're opening up the files that same way you always have?
User2: Yes.
Me: Are you sure you weren't, like, opening those Excel files in like...Excel?
User2: YES.
Me: [contemplates an Irish Coffee...hold the coffee]
Of course the one that always takes the cake is this:
User3: You have to check this out because everything is down!
Me: Huh? My e-mail looks like it's working, is yours?
User3: Yes, but everything else is out, trust me.
Me: [Oh yeah, I trust you. You're a regular Bill Gates.]

Sunday, December 19, 2004

What The World Needs Now

From the discription of a Japanese anime movie on JBOX.com:
A wonderful story from Japanese novelist Saeko Himuro and Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, this is the painful story of growing up in a rural high school in Kochi Prefecture, on the Japanese island of Shikoku. In the summer of his 17th year, Taku Morisaki is making preparations for college when Rikako Muto transfers into his class. A mysterious and sometimes difficult city girl who has trouble getting along with others in the school, Rikako nevertheless slowly captures the interest of Taku. A beautiful movie based on a Japanese novel that captures a painful and melancholy moment in the lives of two people growing up in modern Japan.
Hmm, an anime about TEEN ANGST! Why, there's hardly any of those, eh?

But truth be told, the teen angst in anime ranges from mildly tolerable to gut wrenching crap. I can well imagine at what end of the spectrum that film resides at.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Time Waster

180.05 is the best I could do before lunch ended, thanks Jonah from The Corner:
CatQuart.com - Cat A Pult

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Lake Effect

My patio furniture tells the tale of how much snow we received in the past 24 hours:

My thick coated pooch has no respect for the elements:

One more:

Monday, December 13, 2004

Bitter Pill

Looks like I misjudged the weather up here again. I always think I have "one more week" to do yard work, but my yard inevitably freezes before I get to it, which doesn't really matter since it's just muddy slop come May. I've seen many an unpleasant snow fall in my five years here and the one we're having now definitely rakes up there with the worst of them. Of course where's Mr.Kendall now that I could really use some help shoveling out the two tons of snow I have in my driveway? Well that guy had the audacity to go visit his folks for Christmas...in Florida!

May his Pina Colada be made from that gut eating pre-mix crap!

Oh well, here's some Cleveland winter cheer!


Sunday, December 12, 2004

Rock Hall


The Rock Hall is the odd building front left.

I was debating whether to go the lewd or crude route for my next blog post when I noted a comment from Jill about whether or not I had any Rock Hall pics. Interesting she should ask. I'd been in front of the Rock Hall several times, but this past summer I went in for the first time when the troop I was with developed a desperate hankering' for some restroom facilities. You can actually see a good deal for free by just stopping by. I can't recall how much it costs to get in to see the actual exhibits, but I know it's exorbitant and the hall is generally attended by out-of-towners (or 'marks') who don't know any better (In my whole time living here, I've only met one Clevelander who'd been to the place, as opposed to several in Cincy that I know have been there).

As for photos, well the problem with the Rock Hall is that it's content has no real worth apart from the fact that you may not have seen it before. More music industry commercial than actual museum, you see signs like this all over the place:


UH OH!

Before finding this out, my buddy had his camera mooched by goons who gladly gave it back to him on the way out. While he distracted them, I took the following discrete shots:


A jukebox ATM.



Phish concert stage props. The hotdog appears to be a bobsled or something.

Sorry, that's all I got, but it's three more than I should have, so there!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

CBS Control freaks

If someone didn't know any better, one would think CBS is bitter about something, from Blogs: New Medium, Old Politics:
"People are free to say whatever they want to say and not reveal any financial inducements and not reveal in whose pay they are," Volokh added. "Now there is an exception for speech that urges the election or defeat of a particular candidate." But where this exception relates to Internet blogs is unclear.

Beginning next year, the F.E.C. will institute new rules on the restricted uses of the Internet as it relates to political speech.
It seems this would terrify bloggers on the left and right. Now where are those Democrats that are always bragging about how they're the paragons of liberty? Hmmmmmm.....

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Sinners in the Hands of a Benevolent Dictator

NPR had a story on the other morning where they were talking about how gay marriage will one day be accepted as normal, blah, blah blah. I couldn't help but think that this gay guy spouting this crap has an extreme hatred for society. I don't mean in a vague Marxist way, I mean a very personal disdain for anything that doesn't meet his 'standards' for how society is supposed to operate. (okay, maybe that's Marxist as well, moving on...). To him, gay marriage was less a right that he was striving for, than it was a club with which to beat the rest of society. It goes without saying that if this club isn't around anymore, the malcontents that dislike western civilization will find another club with which to beat it.

I didn't listen to the whole story, but I can fill in the blanks. I know these lefty activist types have no interest in what other people actually think and feel about their cause, so they're obliged to use activist courts to shove this drivel down people's throats. Of course to oppose such moves will get you labeled as a bigot, a 'homophobe' (which isn't even a real word. I mean, what's it supposed to 'mean'?), or a religious nutjob.

It's that last bit I had in mind while reading Dr. Kwanda's post where he said (and I paraphrase) that the labeling of the Democrats as Godless religion haters is a bum rap. I was of course taken aback by this since, much like left wing bias on college campuses, I figured the anti-religious bent of the Democratic party is a fact to all parties involved. To back up the proposition that the Democrats are pro-values, and pro-American values at that, Dr. Kwanda says that (and I paraphrase again) the fact that irreligious people hang out in the Democratic party is shear coincidence and that the Democrats carry the true values for individual liberty, and it's incorrect in his view to disparage them as inherently anti-religion. Of course facts like the one below give the impression that hatred of religion has become a way of life for the Democratic party:


According to the 2000 ANES data, the hatred of religious conservatives long apparent among Democratic convention delegates has found a home among a disproportionate number of Democratic voters. Twenty-five percent of white respondents in the ANES survey expressed serious hostility towards religious conservatives, as opposed to only one percent who felt this strongly against Jews, and 2.5 percent who disliked blacks and Catholics to a strong degree. (Ironically, these are people who say they "'strongly agree' that one should be tolerant of persons whose moral standards are different from one's own.")
Okay, so the Democratic party has an anti-religion streak after all, but is this a coincidence of shared political views among those in the party? Hardly. Besides the fact that tax payer funded partial birth abortion and gay marriage are hardly things even the non-religious can get behind, the left's vision is by it's very nature disdainful of religion, and by extension, people of faith. The fact that those that hate religion hang out in the Democratic party isn't some sort of coincidence, or some failing in modern religions, but because those on the left cannot accept there's a higher power than that of the state. As Karl Marx said:

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
Karl Marx never went around saying "communism is great...and oh yeah, I don't like religion". He saw the elimination of religion and making man the final arbiter of right and wrong as a prerequisite to the creation of his dream state.

One might think I'm being a lazy 'red baiter', but while the Democrats anti-religious streak might not exist for the purposes of implementing Marx's dream; it does have as it's basis, the belief that man, meaning themselves, has the final say in what is right and wrong. Of course with the American left, it isn't 'right and wrong' as much as it is 'fair and unfair'. Rights and wrongs would entail a definitive definition which is often housed in religious values, while fair and unfair are antithetical to this and are based on the subjective judgment of those whole feel they are most able to make it.

This mind-set comes up in another post by Dr. Kwanda which demonstrates the world view of the American left. In this post on his site Dr. Kwanda knocks an executive compensation package given by the pharmaceutical firm Merck where the executive staff will get paid three years salary and bonuses if the company gets taken over. On it's face one may consider this 'unfair', but what isn't considered is the fact that if the company were to get taken over the executives would get sacked. In this situation, if the executives suspect a takeover attempt they may well leave (as any of us would) in order to get the drop on a different job. As anyone who has worked in a corporation before would know, when you see the executive staff leave, that's your cue to find yourself a new job as well. So while it's not 'fair' on the face of it, the board (i.e. the owners of the company) made a decision that, while not equally advantageous to everyone, was none the less in the best interests of the company and thus everyone who works there.

This issue shows just a slight hint of the disdain many of the left have for the decisions other people make about their own personal decisions. While espousing all manner of left wing causes in the name of liberty, the left actively seeks to limit all manner of liberty by banning that which they personally deem 'unfair'. Since there are no absolute rights and wrongs in this mindset, it is impossible for those in the modern left to weigh the 'pros' against the 'cons' in any situation.

This opposes with religion where individuals do their best to make the best decisions that they can given whatever situation they may be in. These individual decisions are shaped not only by doctrine and traditions, but also by the knowledge that the unobtainable perfection of God provides a benchmark for their behavior. However, in the social justice, i.e. fairness, worldview the state determines what it feels to be right or wrong. Since liberal views on fairness are completely arbitrary and are often formed with unspecific knowledge about the subject on which they are passing judgment, 'fairness' will always be a moving target because it is a preference and not a value of any sort. 'Fairness' is thus completely unlike 'rights' and 'wrongs' which can weighed in different situations, but not changed.

As well, in order for the left to intellectually justify this mindset, moral relativism, the mortal enemy of strong religious values, seeps into their decision making process. The failure of a policy can thus easily be shrugged off as "well x was as bad as y, so it makes no never mind". The end point of this line of thought not only inevitably leads to a resentment of the those who abhor moral relativism (i.e. people of faith), but also to bizarre comparisons, such as when Democratic senators say that Osama is okay because of his mythical child care program, or American nudie pictures of prisoners are as bad as the abuses wreaked by Saddam.

For instance, the fact that homosexuality might be wrong (from even a non-religious point of view) would mean that at some level the prohibition of homosexual marriage, while 'unfair', is none the less correct. The idea of unfairness, such as the fact that some people make more money than others, that some races do better in school than others, or that some people don't have the health problems of others, is completely intolerable to the modern political left. Their quest to implement their own personal view of fairness and social justice, by judicial fiat if necessary, runs counter to everything a strong religion stands for. After all this, it's ironic then that the left's strong desire to implement their view of perfection from the top down has the stink of extreme religious zealotry.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Linker

After handing out what I'm sure is a record number of 'F's to the people who call themselves students over at Case, Mr. Kendall has takent the time to post a number of good articles. How about a taste!
But consider this—for Roosevelt to have refrained from opposing Japanese imperialism at the time would have made the United States an accomplice in its savagery. Moreover, the idea that the United States literally forced Japan into attacking under these circumstances only holds up as long as you presume the blinkered point of view of the Japanese militarists. From their peculiar perspective, there truly was no other option. Japan needed to have an Asian empire and if that meant a war with the United States, so be it. And the result, needless to say, was absolute ruin. But did Japan really need an overseas empire in order to prosper, as the militarists thought? The remarkable success of post-1945 Japan speaks for itself.
Of course if you're not up for intellectual content there's Something Awful on pets:
Besides, dogs don't chew just for the sake of chewing, they do it for the emotional payoff of seeing you approach in the distance, squinting your eyes and asking, "what are you chewing on?" shortly before realizing a majority of the new stereo system you just purchased is passing through the digestive system of an animal who just finished dining on an all-you-can-eat buffet of his own feces.
There you go, something for everyone!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Bombs Away

Justin touches upon some common views that the Japanese hold towards Pearl Harbor (as well as an example of good, old fashion, U.S. bigotry). Although I also think these views give an incorrect assessment of the cause of Japan's entry into WW2, it is at least, partially excusable. A similar analogy in feelings can be made to the U.S. Civil War. In the South after the Civil War, people had to convince themselves that they had suffered horrible casualties in a losing war for some reason other than owning slaves. It must have been...oh..."States Rights", yeah that's it. It was simply unacceptable to have suffered so greatly for such a perverted cause.

In Japan, they likewise suffered greatly for a losing cause; and it's simply unacceptable for many people to accept that the losing cause was the rape and plunder of Greater Asia. So, it must have been...oh..."Those Nasty Americans"!

What about Germany? Why aren't they afflicted with this mindset? Well follow my drowsy logic here. What was Germany's "losing cause" in the war? Why, it was taking over the planet. That's certainly a worthy cause for any power mad kraut. The fact that they gave better than they got and almost succeeded is icing on the cake!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Another evil sandmich.



I got this bad boy in downtown Cleveland before an Indians game. It has two quarter pound beef patties, about a pound of fries, a tub of cole slaw, and ketchup and hot sauce. Oooooooh Yeaaaaah!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Underground

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati was recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal. When I was in Cincinnati I happened to take a picture of it and I feel obliged to post it since it is so rare for something to be mentioned about Cincinnati that doesn't involve mediocre sports franchises:


Did I mention it cost $100 million? I mean, geez! Of course it when it comes to pork barrel social value it definitely has the rock hall beat!

Chinese bullet torture

I thought I read the headline incorrectly when I saw this, Bank Fraud Brings Executions:
BEIJING - China executed four people, including employees of two of its Big Four state banks, for fraud totaling $15 million, the Xinhua state news agency said on Tuesday, amidst a high-profile campaign against financial crime.

Of course the shame of it is, is that this fraud was more than likely perpetuated by Chinese government officials; which means it has the stink of eliminating political opponents.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Lazy Blogger

I meant to blog during Thanksgiving, but for some reason, I never got around to it. As well, work is cranking up a bit (as it always seems to do around the holidays, what's up with that?), and I'll be traveling later in December, so this coming month will probably be light on updates.

Anyway, I went down to Cincinnati to my parents house for Thanksgiving. While there, I went to see my brother run in the Turkey Run, or whatever they call it, Thanksgiving morning.



The runners get ready





Although my brother posted a good time, I didn't have the heart to tell him that they guy in the tiger suit beat him.





The suspension bridge. I thought the lack of cars meant that the bridge was closed because of the race, but no.


I'm going to take this opportunity to vent about the current sorry state of PC computer games (as opposed to Mac games, ha!). I spent the better part of the evening Wednesday getting a game to work on my dad's PC. The problems it exhibited were the same kinds of problems I'd had getting Return to Castle Wolfenstein (greatest multiplayer ever!) to work on my PC. Unsurprisingly the video card manufacturer was the same: ATI, who is well known for great hardware and crappy drivers.

This whole situation brought on my inevitable comments about how much better consoles are than PCs as gaming platforms. Sure consoles suck at RTS, FPS, and to a lesser extent MMORPG games, but computers worse at all the other genres that the console can do. The game (which I eventually got working by laying down different revs of the ATI drivers like lasagna) was entertaining enough, but not hardly as entertaining as even Devil May Cry, which I can play through (on easy, I suck) in the time it took to fix that PC game! The faults with computer gaming could be forgiven if PCs didn't have a shorter lifecycle and cost ten times as much as consoles (for a cheap gaming system).

On a seperate note, kudos to my chef (non-running) brother for whipping up some tasty Thanksgiving day viddles, he went all out!



Tuesday, November 23, 2004

H-1B Exemptions Sought

I've written about this topic before, and I'm still rather ambivalent. On one hand I think that the U.S. should seek to have the best and brightest from around the world immigrate here. On the other hand, immigration policy in the U.S. absolutely sucks, and I have a hard time believing that the whole H-1B thing (which allows companies to hire 'temporary' foreign tech workers instead of native Americans) is little more than a corporate welfare sop to tech companies. This article didn't exactly reassure me:
The software companies joined manufacturers and several universities in warning Congress last week that U.S.-educated experts will be forced to work for the country's competitors because the H-1B quota for next year was reached last month.
Jeez, if that doesn't sound like a hollow threat, I don't know what one is. Is that all the industry has? I guess screwing over the tech workers native to the U.S. in order to save a buck has nothing to do with it?
'Long term, we should look at the education aspect and why we are not producing enough Americans to fill these jobs...'
Well genius, maybe keeping wages depressed with the hiring of foreign workers has something to do with.
While continuing the fight to retain the cap, Courtney said he fears that the prospects for raising it next year are good. Despite a high level of unemployment among skilled American IT workers, they have not developed political clout.
And there is the rub. No lobbyist means you'll get screwed over. Oh, and where are the Democrats on this issue? Those champions of the little guys? In typical fashion, they're lining up with the rest of the corporate suck ups to empty their bladders on the people they purport to represent.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Business Shenanigans

It's after stories like this that I have to re-convince myself as to why socialism doesn't work (see Cuba). I guess Kmart stock went through the roof when Sears said they were going to pay en exorbitant price for some Kmart property. Continuing from Christopher Byron:
After all, here was a CEO [of Sears] who had just agreed to buy $575 million worth of Kmart real estate, for cash, from one of Sears' largest shareholders [who is also the CEO of Kmart]. Yet now he was preparing to sell it all back - along with the whole rest of Sears, to boot - for Kmart stock instead of cash, and at what amounted to a discount of fifty cents on the dollar.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The ConAgra Way of the Gun

(That's right, it's time for another recycled article. For anyone who is curious, I'm pulling these articles off the old web site I hosted off a machine at my house that was hooked up to a DSL line. Of course, except for Mr. Kendall, no one else ever bothered to read them, which was a good thing since 90% of my bandwidth was dedicated to downloading anime boots doing work from home).

Not too long ago, Ohio finally passed a law to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms. Now it goes without saying that this caused much consternation in more ignorant liberal corners of the state; and of course I happen to live in one of those corners. The immediate concern was that people who weren't previously given to carry firearms, would all of the sudden get a hankering to bring them into work.

The concern is all the greater at my current workplace. The place was subjected to bomb threats a few years ago after a management mistake cost many workers a pile of money and their jobs (to be fair, it wasn't the current management team, and many other workers got rich off the mistake). I personally wouldn't blame management from carrying firearms, and I would think them all the wiser for doing so, but of course they had better ideas.

What could best be described as panic ensued at my workplace when the Ohio state house passed the concealed carry bill. Form letters were written up for employees to sign; form letters which made it abundantly clear in no fewer than five paragraphs not to bring firearms or illegal(duh) weapons onto the property. I'll have you know I signed that and turned it in with as much haste as the non-compete agreement a previous employer tried to...I mean, made me sign, yeah, that's the ticket! As well, signs kind'a (well, exactly) like this one were posted all over the property:

Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us

Now of course my first logical thought was something along the lines of "now that'll stop those raving lunatics looking to shoot up the place!" My second thought was something like "could they have found a lamer firearm to put a line through? I mean no Glock or HK?"

Unfortunately, the sign led to a grim chuckle when, months later, some raving lunatic went in and shot up the ConAgra plant he worked at in Kansas. The pictures outside of the scene were all like this:

Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us

Well would you look at that! Didn't that loon bother to read that sign? I mean, it says no firearms; he could've brought a knife in or something though I guess.

Of course that stupid sign is small solace to family members who had a loved one gunned down that day. In their memory, I've made a slightly better sign that I promise will be every bit as effective:


Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Another fine Japanese product

The lack of noise on this product tells me that it's existence is common knowledge among Japan-o-philes, though this is the first I've heard of it; The Girlfriend Lap Pillow:


(Hat tip to Octopus Dropkick)

Japan #9 - Sirens #2

(At the end of August/beginning of September I took a pleasure trip to Japan. I meant to have all the blog postings done in the first week, I'm now on track to have it done within 90 days of the trip.)

Okay, I admit it, I'm a sucker for a pretty face, and there was no shortage of pretty faces in Japan. As a result, I couldn't resist squeezing off a few shots. The one's below are a bit of a mish-mosh, but more wacky outfits are to be seen!



Nothing says "Athletic Sexy" quite like high heeled Converse sneakers.



A broken ankle waiting to happen.



Everyone at the station couldn't resist squeezing off a shot of this freaky git up.



A young lady in a kimono makes a phone call.



Ladies at a Kyoto shrine



And of course, geisha!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

DSL woes

How about a little computer lingo fisking? A special my ISP is running, SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro - Incredible Speed, Incredible Price:
SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro is ideal for online gaming...

Well, besides getting illegal bootlegs, that's about the only thing it's good for. Computers themselves are much the same way. The computing power required by the average computer user was met about 1998, the only reason to get a new system anymore is for service reasons or gaming.
...working from home...
Sounds like a good thing to blow money on.
...downloading feature-length movies...
And there's such a plethora of places to get legal movies from over the net! I hope you like watching trailers for Ben Afflect's latest turd of a movie!
and just about anything.
[i.e. 'legal' music downloads]
With all that speed, you'll be able to do more online and do it faster than ever. It's incredible how much time you can save."
You mean how much time you'll blow. It's great how the ISPs throttle down the bandwidth and then come around as great saviors that are ready to give you your speed back for ten more bucks a month!

Monday, November 15, 2004

An evil sandmich

Ah the Royal Red Robin burger! It comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and a quarter pound patty topped with a fried egg and bacon. I had them throw on another patty and some jalapeƱos for good measure.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Smoke 'em if got 'em!

These two PCs are the same model. The one on the left was used in an office, while the one on the right was used in a smoking booth that passed itself off as a guard shack.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Saucy!

I love how people of the Caribbean have absolutely no sense of political correctness when it comes to race (and probably everything else for all I know). When we were in the Dominican Republic, a tour guide, like all the tour guides, was talking about the varied racial makeup of the natives in a manner in which westerners are unaccustomed (and mostly uncomfortable with, unfortunately). We were traveling with a darker skinned Brit (think Vin Diesel) and the tour guide said "well look at you, I'll bet your father is black!". I about choked on my rum and coke!

Well, while my mom and dad were down on one of the islands, they picked up a killer hot sauce for me. You can tell by looking at the label that it is not made in the States:



The Palestinians don't love their children

Doing the old 'next blog' thing I came across this blog. I didn't really take issue with the comments posted, but I did post this comment that elicited an interesting response (as a note, my comment will probably be deleted any minute since hard lefties don't accept criticism).

As well, though I feel bad for the plight of the Palestinians, if I lived in Israel and I had relative, especially a child, who was butchered by those animals, I would be all for killing every last one of them. And don't give me that 'violence begets violence' BS. Whatever moral qualms one might have about nuclear bombing, it certainly stopped the Japanese from trying to kill us. Maybe if Israel had wiped out a Palestinian town or two, this whole peace thing would be a done deal.

The Palestinians should thank their lucky stars they have the Jews as their enemy; any other ethnic group would not deal with them so kindly.

As for old Arafat, I'm dreaming that his tombstone will be a urinal.

(Update: I was confused about being labeled a 'Zionist' in the comments section in the mentioned blog. I couldn't get my head wrapped around it until I figured out that:
  1. How labeling someone a 'Zionist' is a de facto justification for the odious behavior of the Palestinians is beyond me.
  2. I don't think one need be some ardent supporter of Israel to come to the conclusion that behavior of the Palestinians is unacceptable. I've always been fairly agnostic on Israel: it's not my country and I don't live there, and I leave it to that the country's inhabitants to come to their own decisions that are in their best interests.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Incredibles


The Incredibles


Yeah, I caught The Incredibles over the weekend. Although my son wanting to see it provides the excuse, I'm quite the sucker for Pixar movies, and this one didn't disappoint. I don't feel like going over everything that's already been pointed out, but I do want to touch on a couple points:

  1. This movie was a little bit more violent than Pixar's previous offerings. In one section a character relates some darkly humorous stories about the demise of some previous heroes. As well, some of the later fights left little doubt about the fact that some of the henchmen won't be 'henching' ever again.
  2. This movie was also more adult than previous Pixar films. When the Holly Hunter character suspects her husband may be cheating on her; the artwork and Holly Hunter's voice acting are just about enough to tear your heart out. I'd never thought about it before, but Frederica Mathewes-Green pointed out that "Most kids' entertainment is about kids. Pixar movies are about adults."
  3. It's become almost a default fact that the artwork in Pixar movies is second to none and this movie certainly fits the mold. In a way though, it's almost too good. Several times I had to remind myself that I was watching an animated movie, but it was kinda counter productive. Although the chase scenes were amazing, they probably wouldn't have been made any differently if the movie was live action. Especially since The Matrix came out, the lines between some live action movies and out and out animation has blurred quite a bit.
  4. Although I don't think anyone agrees with me, Monster's Inc. is still my favorite Pixar film, that was a film that featured scenes and techniques that exploited the animated medium. I literally got chills in the theater during the 'door chase' scene towards the end. The Incredibles is difficult to compare to Pixar's earlier offerings, but I'd probably say that it ranks a strong second.
  5. Despite what the Internet will tell you, the character below did not appear in the film:


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Canadian 'Health' care

From an article on the increasing dire straits that the medical system in the Great White North finds itself:

Ottawa has in the past withheld health care funds to provinces experimenting with for-profit clinics and new federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh took up his job in July with a vow to "stem the tide" of privatization.

Now if healthcare is 'free' why would for-profit clinics be needed. An often unpublished fact about the Canadian medical system is that if a good or service is offered by the system, it is illegal to acquire that good or service outside of the plan. Why the people of Canada thought that a monopoly, and a government monopoly at that, would provide better care than the private sector is beyond me. As well, from Mark Steyn:
One thousand Americans are killed in 18 months in Iraq, and it's a quagmire. One thousand Quebecers are killed by insufficient hand-washing in their filthy, decrepit health care system, and kindly progressive Americans can't wait to bring it south of the border. If one has to die for a cause, bringing liberty to the Middle East is a nobler venture and a better bet than government health care.

Muslims in Denmark

From Rod Dreher (emphasis mine):
Holland now has an alarmingly large, alarmingly radical Muslim subculture to deal with, and the people there are just now waking up to the sobering fact that multiculturalism -- the idea that all cultures are equally good, and that making distinctions among them is racist and immoral -- is a lie. A frustrated Dutch friend e-mailed on Sunday that the papers are full of journalists telling people that they need to dialogue with more sensitivity with the Islamic extremists among them. Wrote my friend, 'What [barnyard epithet]! No matter how nice we put it, they will still want to kill us.'

Monday, November 08, 2004

Cr8zy!

Talented tech pundit John C. Dvorak wrote a column knocking blogs, probably because they helped nullify main stream media attacks on Bush. How about a quote?
Almost everyone on the Net is anonymous. When you see someone on the street handing out a flyer, it is usually not hard to determine whether he or she is a lunatic. Not so with the haughty blogger who, by hiding behind a good online template, is actually taken seriously. A blogger who stays hidden long enough may even become famous. I know, not every blogger is a whack job—but that's the point. How can you tell?
Well, I don't think I use a good template, but I still don't want anyone thinking I'm a lunatic. So here for your viewing pleasure is me on a fairly normal day so that you can be rest assured as to my sanity level:


The Questing Cat

One more dig at Kerry before he fades back into obscurity. From The Questing Cat, a soldier stationed in Iraq (emphasis and foul language in original):

Those trauma plates [in 'flak' vests] are a big piece of ceramic, stiff and heavy, but comparatively light weight. A piece of steel with similar protective value would simply be too much to carry. It is contoured to curve around your body on either side. Shrapnel hitting it will generally either imbed into the plate, or more likely deflect off. The plates are expensive, and can crack if mistreated. Each one has a serial number, and costs hundreds of dollars. They are worth every fucking penny.

A sergeant in my unit was hit months back, in the elbow. Shrapnel absolutely destroyed his joint, but made a clean entrance and exit through his elbow. I only found out recently that the piece that did it actually deflected from his chest, off his trauma plate.

Same deal with the kid here. He could have had a sucking chest wound, where I would have to try and help him while he slowly drowns on blood from the inside. All those horrible scenes in movies where a guy vomits blood in movies...yeah, that’s a sucking chest wound. I know how to treat it in theory. Of course in theory I know how a nuclear reactor works, doesn't mean I should build one. He could have been killed outright. Then what would I have done? Get a body bag?

The only parts hurt on this kid were parts not covered by his IBA. That shit works, I'd buy stock in it. I will gladly continue to wear my plates and stop complaining.

This shit has me so freaked out. I'm not scared for me; I'm scared of what could have happened. I am so glad this kid had his plates. Long before any of us got there, those things saved his ass. They save lives all over Iraq.

Thanks again Kerry, you shit, for voting against them.


Friday, November 05, 2004


Snack time at Sandmich's office.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Rough and Tumble

The fabulous Mr. Kendall takes Dr.Degenaro to task over some political characterizations. I'd only like to point out the following quote for now:
Now, make no mistake about it - American electoral politics has always been pretty rough-and-tumble. In that respect, at least, the election cycle just ended was hardly unique or even very remarkable.

I'd much rather have rancorous campaigns than put up with the near worthless parliamentary system practiced in much of the rest of the world. The parliamentary system isn't immune by nature to this kind of thing, but the fact that everyone can vote for their own kook and get representation relieves some stress in the competition.

UPDATE(11,5,2004): As a note, I mean no disrespect in stressing Dr. Degenaro's title, I mean to stress the fact that I'd gotten it wrong lo these many months. I've gone back and corrected the articles I'd gotten wrong, apologies.

Campaign Dynamics

In response to information I had posted in an earlier post, Gabriel at The Sanity Prompt didn't think there was any way that Bush/Rove wouldn't bring this information up:
I can't believe that a campaign operation as skilled as GWB-Cheney '04 would miss this opportunity.

To which I replied:
The Republicans haven't run a good campaign since 1994, and there weren't that many before that. Republicans absolutely suck at campaigning. The fact that they've succeeded as well as they have is a testament to the bad ideas espoused by the left.
Of course after the election Gabriel called me on this:
Still think Republicans can't run a good campaign? I think this one was a work of strategic brilliance. Not only do they win, they win by clearly stating exactly what they believe. Kudos.
I will admit to being happy with the election results, but I'm of a mind that it should not have been as close as it was. Imagine back after September 11th I said that the Democrats would nominate a northeastern, liberal, gigolo senator who lied about his military record, slandered veterans in an effort to improve his political viability, sided with every tin horn dictator who had it in for the U.S., and ran regular polls to find out what his opinions are. Even if you were given to side with said candidate, would you honestly think he had a prayer of getting more than %40 of the vote? Ann Coulter writes (yeah, I know...):
Of course, we could have done it a lot earlier on election night but for "Boy Genius" Karl Rove. It's absurd that the election was as close as it was. The nation is at war, Bush is a magnificent wartime leader, and the night before the election we didn't know if a liberal tax-and-spend, Vietnam War-protesting senator from Massachusetts would beat him.
If Rove is "the architect" - as Bush called him in his acceptance speech - then he is the architect of high TV ratings, not a Republican victory. By keeping the race so tight, Rove ensured that a race that should have been a runaway Bush victory would not be over until the wee hours of the morning.

Now, to Gabriel's credit, I'd like to point out the following:
  1. I was amazed that Bush talked openly and frequently about Social Security reform. He wasn't just touching the third rail, he was dancing on it. And it wasn't just this issue, but several issues that Bush touted that should've been turned into campaign killers.
  2. I think, at least for me, it's difficult to assess the mindset of the Kerry voter. Here in northeast Ohio, I was amazed at how fervently union thugs pushed for Kerry. Are they so self destructive that they'd vote for a candidate who has said he won't work as hard to defend America and will make an effort to pass regulations that will kill their industry? Of course unions, like many other lefty special interest groups vote out of a 'gimmie goodies' type of premise. They could care less about the ideology, as long as there's presents under the tree (or someone else's presents are taken away). It's probably quite unrealistic of me to expect any mass conversions of these constituencies.
  3. The press really skews the results. If they had gone after Kerry with the same ferocity that they used to go after Bush, this election would've been over at the end of September.

Additionally though, Republican ads were rarely as effective as the Left's and Bush did nothing to crack down on the violence directed at Republican offices (imagine if the NRA had organized protests that resulted in the destruction of Democratic campaign offices).
There's only so much Rove/Bush could do, I guess; but at least living up here, I saw one too many an outrageous charge by Kerry, et al. go unchallenged.

Update (11,5,2004): Mark Steyn agrees:

But he’s [Bush] very poor at selling them [ideas] to the American people, and what seems obvious to him isn’t necessarily that obvious if you’re in one of the many cities with a reflexively anti-Bush monodaily. It should have been a bigger victory, and Republicans need to examine carefully why it wasn’t.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Muslim Mango Pudding

(Yeah, another page port, enjoy!)

I love those little Asian jelly deserts they sell in better stores (you know, the ones that also sell squid). This site has some pics of some Asian jellys; my thanks to the Federation of Canadian Idiots for the link (and before you get to feelin' all high and mighty, the U.S., U.K., and Ireland want you to know they have just as many idiots as the Canadians).

So anyway, I'm munchin' down on these bad boys (while trying not to choke on them like a bloomin' moron), and I glance at the back of the package and am shocked to see that there may be secret ingredients in the pudding that may make me a Muslim:

I decided to do a web search to make sure that there was no 'Jim Jones' goodness in my snack. I, of course, found out that this is just a symbol from some organization in the Philippines that certifies it as being 'Kosher' for Muslims. But additionally, I found an article with some interesting notes on Islam in the Philippines. Firstly, let's find out who is behind the Muslim terror network in the Philippines, it's not a big surprise:

Khalifah, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, lived in the Philippines from 1986 to 1994 when he ran the International Islamic Relief Organization, a Saudi Arabia-based charity group. Khalifah is said to have given funds to the Abu Sayyaf. Al-Lahim joined the IIRO Manila office after Khalifah left. [Emphasis mine]

Okay, okay, but how did so many Muslims get into the Christian Philippines to begin with?

The massive number of workers in the Middle East boosted the ranks of Filipino Muslims. Lacar estimates the number of converts from 1970 to the present to be more than 100,000. Abdul Rahman Linzag of the Islamic Dawah Council of the Philippines (IDCP) observes though that some convert for convenience. In the Middle East, workers who switch to Islam enjoy benefits that non-Muslims don’t [like living!].

Well how bad is Saudi Arabia? Fortunately, Derb over at NRO found this long article that details how nasty a place it is. How about a taste, it's almost as good as Muslim pudding!

The self-effacement of an entire sex, and, in consequence, of sexuality itself, was the most unnerving feature of Saudi life. I could go through an entire day without seeing any women, except perhaps some beggars sitting on the curb outside a prince’s house. Almost all public space, from the outdoor terrace at the Italian restaurant to the sidewalk tables at Starbucks, belonged to men. The restaurants had separate entrances for “families” and “bachelors,” and I could hear women scurrying past, hidden by screens, as they went upstairs or to a rear room. The only places I was sure to see women were at the mall and the grocery store, and even there they seemed spookily out of place. Many of them wore black gloves, and their faces were covered entirely—not even a pair of plummy, heavy-lidded Arabian eyes apparent. Sometimes I couldn’t tell what direction they were facing. It felt to me as if the women had died, and only their shades remained.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween pics

A former coworker of mine always puts a lot of time into setting up a snazzy Halloween display and after several years of promising to do so, I finally got off my butt and went over to check it out. While I was there, I saw plenty of kids running for their lives from the setup. Here's a couple pics...

Skulls a pleanty!

Coffin with fog

Working gullitine (with wood 'blade')

Butchers Block

Entrance

A vote for Kerry is a vote for Osama

Don't believe me? Ask Osama yourself! From lgf:
This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Wrath of Fashion

(okay, I appologize to everyone who has already seen this, but I'm going to be busy the next couple of days, and recycling old material is better than nothing, no?)

These images are taken from an interview special that was included
on The Wrath of Khan DVD. It was probably filmed sometime in 1982.
Now let's see if the coolest character in Star Trek lore also has
the best fashion sense.



First we have the normally cool James T. doin' some rico suave
circa 1977:


Maybe next time Kirk!



Next up we have 'Bones', who is rarely cool, going for that British
dandy look, also circa 1977:

Am I the only one who looks at that picture and thinks he has kids
chained up in his basement? Okay it is just me, sorry.



Okay, so maybe Spock is the coolest of them all....maybe not. God
knows when this monstrosity is supposed to date from:

I've seen many an ugly leisure suit, and I have a hard time believing that he honestly thought it was anything other than embarrassing to wear that. It must'a been wash day.



Ah, but at least someone had the good sense to show up in something he didn't pick up down at the Goodwill:

Go Ricardo! You're definitely the coolest!

A Bush haters case for Bush

I've talked about this article elsewhere, but I figured I post the pertinent quotes from it...

YEAH, YEAH, I KNOW: Nobody who opposes Bush thinks that terrorism is a good thing. The issue is not whether the United States should be involved in a war on terrorism but rather whether the war on terrorism is best served by war in Iraq. And now that the war has defied the optimism of its advocates, the issue is no longer Bush's moral intention but rather his simple competence. He got us in when he had no idea how to get us out. He allowed himself to be blinded by ideology and blindsided by ideologues. His arrogance led him to offend the very allies whose participation would have enabled us to win not just the war but the peace. His obsession with Saddam Hussein led him to rush into a war that was unnecessary. Sure, Saddam was a bad guy. Sure, the world is a better place without him. But . . .

And there it is: the inevitable but. Trailed by its uncomfortable ellipsis, it sits squirming at the end of the argument against George Bush for very good reason: It can't possibly sit at the beginning. Bush haters have to back into it because there's nothing beyond it. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, but . . . but what? But he wasn't so bad that we had to do anything about him? But he wasn't so bad that he was worth the shedding of American blood? But there are other dictators just as bad whom we leave in place? But he provided Bush the opportunity to establish the doctrine of preemptive war, in which case the cure is worse than the disease? But we should have secured Afghanistan before invading Iraq? But we should have secured the cooperation of allies who were no more inclined to depose Saddam than they—or we, as head of an international coalition of the unwilling—were to stop the genocide in Rwanda ten years before? Sure, genocide is bad, but . . .

We might as well credit the president for his one great accomplishment: replacing but with and as a basis for foreign policy. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, and we got rid of him. And unless we have become so wedded to the politics of regret that we are obligated to indulge in a perverse kind of nostalgia for the days of Uday and Qusay, we have to admit that it's hard to imagine a world with Saddam still in it.
.....
I WILL NEVER FORGET the sickly smile that crossed the president's face when he asked us all to go shopping in the wake of 9/11. It was desperate and a little craven, and I never forgave him for it. As it turned out, though, his appeal succeeded all too well. We've found the courage to go shopping. We've welcomed the restoration of the rule of celebrity. For all our avowals that nothing would ever be the same, the only thing that really changed is our taste in entertainment, which has forsaken the frivolity of the sitcom for the grit on display in The Apprentice . The immediacy of the threat was replaced by the inexplicability of the threat level. A universal war—the war on terror—was succeeded by a narrow one, an elective one, a personal one, in Iraq. Eventually, the president made it easy to believe that the threat from within was as great as the threat from without. That those at home who declared American moral primacy were as dangerous as those abroad who declared our moral degeneracy. That our national security was not worth the risk to our soul. That Abu Ghraib disproved the rightness of our cause and so represented the symbolic end of the war that began on 9/11. And that the very worst thing that could happen to this country would be four more years of George W. Bush. In a nation that loves fairy tales, the president seemed so damned eager to cry wolf that we decided he was just trying to keep us scared and that maybe he was just as big a villain as the wolf he insisted on telling us about. That's the whole point of the story, isn't it? The boy cries wolf for his own ends, and after a while people stop believing in the reality of the threat.

I know how this story ends, because I've told it many times myself. I've told it so many times, in fact, that I'm always surprised when the wolf turns out to be real, and shows up hungry at the door, long after the boy is gone.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Use your Delusion 2

Gabriel over at The Sanity Prompt had a rant article up that I responded to. He replied to me asking for more information on my points and I dug around for some articles I knew I'd read, but didn't quite remember (despite my well formed opinions, I'm not a profession pundit; hard to believe, I know...)

I found these articles that expound upon the facts. I could've rounded it out from different sources, but the effect is the same:
James Robbins on Iraq WMD
More James Robbins on Iraq WMD
Deroy Murdock on Iraq and Atta

This last article I'd actually never read, but it is quite damming to those who think Iraq posed no threat to us:
Andrew McCarthy makes a damming case (Best article, but quite long)

Again though, most hard lefties don't care; their hatred of America and their fellow humans in general runs so deep that they even found time to excuse Uncle Joe of the Soviet Union. Oh well, I tried...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Japan #8 - Love Hate Love

(At the end of August/beginning of September I took a pleasure trip to Japan. I meant to have all the blog postings done in the first week, I'm now hoping to have it done within 90 days of the trip.)

I should clear something up: why am I such a minor league otaku (i.e. Japan fan boy)? First and foremost, I'm a sucker for eye candy and no one cranks out eye candy like Japan. I can stare at Anime or walk around a crowded Japanese city all day. I can't describe it very well, but its like a massage for my brains vision center as it repeatedly tries to take in more information than can possibly be processed.

Secondly, lets face it, outside of the English speaking world, most places suck. The only place that bats in the same league is Japan. Japan long ago showed up the economies of Western Europe and it is way safer to live in than the U.S.

But, thirdly for all its success, Japan sucks too. Racism still abounds, teenage girls pimp themselves out for fancy jeans, new ideas are poo-poo'd, the management structure is often ridiculously stiff, the economy has sucked for more than a decade, the place is undergoing a demographic implosion, corruption, etc. But would Japan be the same place without these aspects? I tend not to think so. In this manner, Japan is a knot that can never be untied.

Kyoto
Anyway, continuing on, after Hiroshima, my Japan trip turned into a little bit of a blur. We next paid a visit to Kyoto, but I was cruising on auto-pilot, taking pictures so that I could soak in the photos later since I barely remembered being at these places, even while I was at them. Kyoto was also where various aspects of Japanese culture started to get me down. (As a matter of fact, I was enough of an ass in Kyoto that I decided to note it in my journal so that I wouldn't delude myself into thinking I was Captain Suave) . Also at this point I determined that I wasn't going to enjoy the trip much while it was going on. I knew that afterwards, the power of nostalgia would make the uncomfortable events good, and the good events great.

We walked around the fancy alleys, went to a tea ceremony and checked out a lot of cool looking shrines. However, I want to point out two things that I most definitely did not care for. First up was the geisha show that featured different forms of classic Japanese entertainment. About halfway through the show they said they were going to put on a performance of an art form that was mooched from China. While the Chinese abandoned it several hundred years ago, it kept going in Japan. I figured that if the Chinese dumped it and the Japanese continued tuning it lo these many years, that it must either be quite spectacular or some thing so nasty that even classic Chinese culture had given up on it. Unfortunately for me, it was the latter. The show featured a guy (I think) doled up in a weird costume who was dancing staggering to some of the worst instruments that Asian culture has to offer.


Make it stop!

The closest equivalent I could come to the noise the musicians were generating was that of a sack of cats rolling down a cliff. I'm sorry I'm too lazy to look up the name of this art form, but avoid it at all costs!

Second up is the shrine of 300 Buddhas (or whatever it's called). First, imagine you are in a huge musty attic in a house that's several hundred years old and is lit only by creepy indirect light. Then imagine it is filled to the brim with ultra creepy, multi armed Buddhas.



A hello to arms

Then on top of that, it also has statues of gods whose glass eyes have deteriorated to that of a floating corpse. As you might imagine, I was creeped out beyond belief and couldn't go through it (am I the only one who has nightmares about multi-armed deities coming to life? Guess so...). (As a plus, it was at this time I went into my first and only urban Japanese grocery store where the drinks cost more than the friggin vending machines. What gives with that?)

How about some pics? Now I did take pictures of the Golden Temple and whatnot, but there's enough of those on the Internet already; so here's some of my not so impressive shots:



To look at Internet pictures of Kyoto, you'd think it's some ancient Japanese panacea, while in actuality, most of it looks like the shot above.



I added a book to my hotel rooms selection, see if you can figure out which one it is!



This building houses (among many other things) Kyoto's train station. The extreme size of this building is impossible to convey through photos.



The Japanese seem to have some taboo about Lawn mowers. The school play fields that I saw were all dirt.



Sorry folks, but I didn't want to pony up 10 bucks to see what 'Collon' candy tasted like.