Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Micro$oft Licensing

Daddy has a new bootleg DVD case!

The tabs on the right side can lock in up to three disks in a stack. All I have to do is take off the Visual Studio 2005 crap. Which, VS2005 is in beta - who in their right mind would code an app with a beta compiler, from Microsoft no less!

I received this because my company has a licensing agreement with Microsoft. I don't know how many of you are familiar with MS's licensing schemes (hopefully no one), but they're only slightly less complicated than the U.S. tax code. And like the tax code, everyone complains about it, and efforts to 'simplify' it inevitably result in it becoming more complicated. As one example which grates me to no end, check this out - if you go to http://office.microsoft.com or http://www.microsoft.com/office you'll go to the same site. Almost all Microsoft sites are like this (like http://support.microsoft.com or http://www.microsoft.com/support ), but if you try to do the same thing with the licensing sites (http://licensing.microsoft.com and http://www.microsoft.com/licensing ) you'll wind up at two different sites. Now granted, one is slightly more worthless than the other, but one has to be accessed to get your licensing benefits (like your install keys) while the other only gives the impression that it has that information. (Oh, and even though the one site says you can download your products there, that's actually a completely different subscription site, even though the licenses are acquired in the same manner.)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bento Watch #15


I love this scallop/shrimp mix, though I went a little over board with the fluids and the teriyaki glaze turned out to be a teriyaki gravy (especially since I used an old trick and coated the meat with cornstarch before I sauteed it).

Friday, May 27, 2005

FreeCell #11982

I'd read that this match was difficult and I'd also heard that all matches are winnable. I didn't give up after a couple hours worth of work and I resisted the urge to do an Internet search for fear that a web site would inform me of the proper way to beat it. At one point in time I had an off hours job where I played this game to death, repeatedly racking up +30 win streaks and never coming across an unbeatable match; unfortunately, I don't have the time I once had and I threw in the towel, and I'm glad I did! From FreeCell #11982:
According to the on-line FreeCell FAQ, Game #11982 is officially, utterly, proven to be, and undeniably unsolvable.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Murderous Green Bigots

I don't think I can see enough noise about this. From The Spectator.co.uk:
The ban [of DDT], decided in the USA by William Ruckelshaus, an administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was a travesty. Ruckelshaus ignored the massive evidence that DDT was not harmful to man or wildlife and refused to give reasons for the ban. It was purely ideological. This was the time of Rachel Carson's mendacious book Silent Spring, about the horrors of pesticides, when the newly emerging green ideology was looking for a cause célèbre. Study after study has shown that DDT, even when abused, as it certainly was, did not cause cancer or serious disease in humans, did not harm bald eagles or peregrine falcons, and did not cause eggshell thinning. None of this mattered. The greens, leaning heavily on Ruckelshaus, were determined to ban it and did so, with catastrophic consequences for poor people with dark skins. Tens of millions of humans were sacrificed on the green altar.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bento Watch #14

What do you get when you have left over peas left over crab delights and a pack of udon? A little impromptu noodle stir fry. I mixed in a little miso and tabasco soy sauce for good measure.

911 Over IP Phones

I sometimes look to get the goat of control freaks by asking seat belts should be optional in cars. One might think "who in their right mind would go without?", but one never knows all the extenuating circumstances that might lead someone to not want to pay the additional $500 for seatbelts. What if they don't want ones in the backseat? What if it's just going to be a show car? What if the person is stupid? "Well we have to protect those people from themselves" say nanny-staters, but why's that? Who is the universal arbiter of what's stupid? If something should be mandatory because it makes a product safer, then there is no limit to the extent to which products and businesses can be dictated over by those with a grudge.

Of course the whole seatbelt debate bears a striking resemblance to the debate over mandating that VOIP (i.e. Internet telephones) carriers maintain an effective 911 service. From
E-Week - Can the VOIP 911 Problem Be Solved?:
The FCC hearing included testimony from users who didn't get 911 service on their VOIP calls. In at least some of these cases there was no service because someone didn't bother to sign up for the service. (VOIP providers were not invited to attend.) Until Thursday I just assumed that the user bore some responsibility in these cases, but this was naive. It's clear that the FCC has decided that full E911 service is something that should be expected to work on anything that looks like a telephone.
Naive indeed! We're talking about the Federal Government here! The whole concept seems kind'a mushy though. If I run a piece of software through my PC and I communicate through my headset, does that automatically make that a phone? Does Microsoft's messaging software require 911 capability? Since me and my homies communicate through a Counter-Strike server, does it need 911 support? Should people be forced to pay for 911 support if they already have a phone at their location that has it? What if (as I've known people to do) someone doesn't have a phone at all? Wouldn't a VOIP phone without 911 service be better than no phone at all?

It's not my bag, but it seems pretty simple to me that if someone wanted to use a VOIP phone without 911, then that's their issue.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

At the Reds Game

I made a quick stop over in Cincinnati this past weekend to catch a Reds game and managed to keep my older Kodak camera working long enough to get some shots.


One of my better Fountain Square shots.


A view of the river from the back side of the stadium on our way to the 'fancy people's entrance.


I guess these build-a-bear things are in every stadium. If I had to guess, I'd the 'Gapper' is a creation just for the store since he disappointed the kids and didn't show up to the game.


The teams take the field.


The Indians manager argues with the ump and gets the boot.


The nifty baseball themed tallstacks in the back of the stadium from which the homerun fireworks come from.

24 show

I don't know, this speeding train of a show always seemed like it was about to jump the track at any minute; but every time it seemed like it was about to go over the top, it found a way to ground itself. The treatment of Washington politics seemed disappointingly accurate and some of the character interactions seemed decent. I can't help but think that 85% of the show is Kiefer Sutherland, whose deadpan delivery makes even the most ludicrous statements somewhat believable.

Two of the more unbelievable aspects repeatedly got to me though. The first, which is kind'a nerdy, is the near instantaneous ability the tech people had at cracking encryption. There may very well be faults in some algorithms, but we're talking, at the very least, days to crack, not minutes. More than likely though, if something were encrypted, you're screwed. Secondly was the rate at which the lead terrorist lost men, and the lack of affect it had on his operation. He would lose a couple squads, and the very next scene would be him talking on his cell phone saying "good, right on schedule". WTF? He lost several operators who were supposed to meet up with him, and after they died or got captured, it didn't have any impact what so ever. Why did he need to meet up with them them? How did he acquire several platoons worth of operatives and still keep the lid on the operation?

And anyway, why was a disco in LA all crowded just a couple hours after a nuclear meltdown down the coast and during a terrorist emergency? Why was a national emergency being handled by a two bit outfit in LA? Why did the guards at CTU where those ridiculous red outfits? Why were the producers of the show such whores for Cisco? I mean "get me so-and-so on the (Cisco) video phone" - who would actually want or need to do such a thing?

I being overly anal though, the show was perfectly enjoyable, and I'll probably make an effort to see the old ones as well now.

Monday, May 23, 2005

ROTS

I caught Revenge of the Sith yesterday and I (and many others) mark it as easily the best of the three prequels. Seeing Vadar back on the big screen made me realize why I had any interest in any of the prequels: I wanted to see more of the characters that made the 'first' three so good. I think I was the only one that had any liking for Episode 1, but it was basically a standalone flick and in hindsight I see why many fans didn't care for it since it had nothing to do with the classic Star Wars movies. I thought Episode 2 was so bad that only the presence of other people in my movie going party kept me from getting up and walking out.

I have to wonder though, how much of that is Lucas's fault personally. Many consider Empire to be the best Star Wars movie made, but Lucas did not write or direct that film. Much of the dialog in the prequels felt canned, like Lucas went into the staff meeting and said "you know what would be a great line?" and of course none of the 20 year olds there were going to disparage their boss! And then of course, there's the crude manner in which the plot advances and the very poor character development (it's difficult match up the motivations of any of the characters, but particularly Vadar-to-be, to anything they experience on screen).

Then there is the inescapable idea that the first three movies could have been paired down to one. Mr. Kendall pointed out this article that basically makes that point and many others. It's by Jonathan V. Last, and he also did a good article on the problems with the moral play within the prequels - The Case for the Empire.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bento Watch #13

I've been without the camera and the system with my blog pics on it for almost two weeks, so I hadn't been able to put any bento posts up. Bento pics might be boring, but taking them force me to make a healthy lunch, and without the inspiration to post, I hadn't been making them; so I'll probably catch up next week.

The bento above is rice with this Japanese/Eurapeon brown gravy curry with beef and 'shrooms. It's a fairly faithful rendition of the type of curry I saw in Japan and England. As a bonus, it stunk up the microwave at work for like a week with curry stink!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Airfright

From Penny Arcade!:
Every time I survive air travel, I kiss the precious Earth and swear grave oaths about ever boarding such a contraption again. I beseech nebulous powers whose existence I remember only when convenient. You would think that after so many successful sky journeys I would become enamored with the convenience and efficacy of it, but the way I actually perceive it is that I have an unknown (but limited!) number of flights total before I die in one, and each trip merely winds that diabolical mechanism.
I was never able to pin down my edginess about air travel until I read that paragraph. The first time I (was aware I) flew, I had no problem with it what-so-ever. The second time? A little edgy, but not too bad. By about my sixth crack at air travel though, I was quite nervous, not ‘hysterical scream in aisles’ mind you, but I was gleaming no enjoyment from it. Of course what my brain is doing is thus: on the first flight, the chance of something catastrophic happening was nearly 0%, but each successive flight increases the odds of 'in flight trouble'; until, I'm sure, it will be statistically impossible for me to survive another flight!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Gaming Junkie

Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! What a line up for the PS3 as well:
Later, Sony trotted out a whole host of publishers that are backing the PlayStation 3. And in the process, it confirmed several games for the console. Hideo Kojima introduced Konami's Metal Gear Solid 4, Capcom showed off Devil May Cry 4, Namco unveiled Tekken 6, Polyphony Digital trotted out a fifth Gran Turismo, SCEE showed off the next Killzone, and Rockstar Games showed a new Western title.
While Sony has a fairly international cast of developers and publishers, Microsoft's non-American stable consists of a reissue of FFXI and, of course, a sequel to the notorious jiggle fighting game. Talk about a labor of love getting those physics 'right'.

IT Scams

$450 for a glorified sales guide on Network Intrusion systems? And they won't even bother to send a hardcopy? Who buys this crap? (I guess someone who knows nothing of IDSes, but has to fake it to their boss).

Muslim's Misplaced Concern

OpinionJournal comments on the Newsweak story:
The more consequential question here, it seems to us, is why Newsweek was so ready to believe the story was true. The allegation after all repudiated explicit U.S. and Army policy to treat Muslim detainees with religious respect, including time to pray, honoring dietary preferences and access to the Koran. Yet the magazine readily printed a story suggesting that what our enemies claim about Guantanamo is essentially true. Why?
I used to subscribe to Newsweek in the early nineties, but I gave up after the bias contained therein became unbearable. I must admit though, when I first heard this story I was like "so the f$%# what? We should be giving those boys the Jack Bauer treatment!" Now that Newsweak has come clean that the story was false, I'm quite tempted to savor another example of blatant media bias.

It must be said though, what is up with the Muslims? Some crappy U.S. rag mag makes an off the cuff comment and they go out killing each other? Is their faith so weak that even the least slight is seen as an assault on their religion? One Clayton Cramer comments (thnx tks):
I know that most Muslims kept their cool - but there is something truly bizarre about the intensity of childish behavior in response. If this same crowd were this angry about Muslims being murdered, most of the Arab world's governments would have been overthrown decades ago.
Andrew McCarthy writes:
What are we saying here? That the problem lies in the falsity of Newsweek's reporting? What if the report had been true? And, if you're being honest with yourself, you cannot say — based on common sense and even ignoring what we know happened at Abu Ghraib — that you didn't think it was conceivably possible the report could have been true. Flushing the Koran down a toilet (assuming for argument's sake that our environmentally correct, 3.6-liters-per-flush toilets are capable of such a feat) is a bad thing [I guess...]. But rioting? Seventeen people killed? That's a rational response?

Monday, May 16, 2005

VRWC

Cleveland division...

There used to be a Hooters litterally right down my street at which I could drink with impunity and not have to worry about driving home. Mine and Mr. Kendall's (right) eight hour Saint Patrick's Day bender still lives in infamy (for the tab if nothing else), but community preasure finally closed the joint down. After several years, we finally wandered out to one this past weekend that's about 30-40 minutes away to get our fix.

The shame of it is, the place has the greatest wings. They could serve gruel and still get a draw, but as it is I'm forced to be embarrassed when the subject of wings comes up at work and I tell my female coworkers about the delicious bounty that can be had at Hooters.

Of course my wife has long been aware of the tastiness of their wings, and though she probably would prefer I not post pictures of my visit, she'll be more upset that I didn't wait for her to be at home so that she could go with.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

UAL Bailout

Jane Gault makes some okay points about how the pension guarantee system is not corporate welfare, but is a benefit for the employees, not the company. Fair enough, but it doesn't address (at least) two points:
  1. The benefits that, particularly, airline employees receive have, to a certain extent, been extorted from the company they work for. The airline business is so leveraged that any prolonged work stoppage could kill the company so management generally folds to the union's demands; that is, until the cost of the demanded benefits drive the company into chapter 11. Should all taxpayers guarantee a cushy retirement for a few that happen to find themselves working at such a place?

  2. The fact that the plans are ultimately insured by the federal government and not a private company means that no one is ultimately responsible for how the plan is managed; meaning there is no impetus from either the unions or management to make sure nothing threatens the plan.
The fact that this system is a crock is no surprise to me and to many others (not in Congress). Robert Reich, secretary of labor during President Bill Clinton's first term, has repeatedly made the point that the pension guarantee system is lacking in a fundamental way:
The lesson: When government insures an industry against loss, it's only a matter of time before those losses are shifted to the government.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Bigot Down Mexico Way

I've heard (mostly conservative) people make the comment that governments south of the border are usually fairly racist, and usually as proof they site the fact that the people in charge of the governments look different than the people coming across the border. Although I've repeated it on occasion, I can't say as I truly believed it; but holy mackerel, did you see this? From My Way News:

Mexican President Vicente Fox called recent U.S. measures to stem illegal immigration a step back for bilateral relations on Friday and said Mexican migrants do jobs 'that not even blacks want to do.'

In comments likely to raise the temperature of the immigration debate, Fox defended the role of undocumented Mexican workers in the United States to a group of Texas business people meeting in Mexico.

'There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States,' he said in a speech broadcast in part on local radio and reported on newspaper web sites.

Fox said recent, tougher measures against immigrants do not represent 'the road we should be building between friends and partners.'

This is callous on so many levels! In his view blacks are the bottom of American society, except for his fellow countrymen who he obviously believes are bottom feeding scum. Way to make 'friends and partners' Vicente!

Friday, May 13, 2005

VDH on World War II

An excellent military historian sets the record straight on all this WWII revisionist hooey, from Victor Davis Hanson (emphasis in original):
If there were any justice in the world, we would have the ability to transport our most severe critics across time and space to plop them down on Omaha Beach or put them in an overloaded B-29 taking off from Tinian, with the crew on amphetamines to keep awake for their 15-hour mission over Tokyo.

But alas, we cannot. Instead, the beneficiaries of those who sacrificed now ankle-bite their dead betters. Even more strangely, they have somehow convinced us that in their politically-correct hindsight, they could have done much better in World War II.

Yet from every indication of their own behavior over the last 30 years, we suspect that the generation who came of age in the 1960s would have not just have done far worse but failed entirely.

Reasons why English is hard to learn

Blatantly stolen from here:
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese?
The bit then wears (wheres? wares?) itself down with figures of speech of which every language has. And of course it doesn't even get into the exception-rich grammar rules which abound in English (I also notice that the various uses of the word 'pound' doesn't come up either).

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ugly Plug

Did anyone else catch that overly blatant plug for Cisco gear on 24?
"No the terrorists can not break in, our CISCO NETWORKING GEAR is self healing and can deal with it! Where would we be without our strong CISCO security?"
Well either CISCO doesn't use their own products or they suck, from CNN:
The theft of software from a Cisco Systems network last year was only part of a series of widespread attacks that breached thousands of computer systems, federal officials and security investigators now say.
...
The paper reported that security specialists at U.S. supercomputer laboratories, looking into intrusions there, discovered a year ago that passwords to Cisco's computers were compromised.

While they notified Cisco (Research), some of the company's software was stolen before officials could respond. Soon after that theft, a portion of the Cisco programming instructions appeared on a Russian Web site.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Test

Mr. Kendall sent over an Internet test that attempts to identify one's ideological perspective. Since Mr. Kendall does not partake in wanton crap-e-mail forwarding I decided to check it out. Of course the test turned out to have the same flaws as many other Internet humanity gauges, namely, a lack of scope and uncreative/biased questions. It puts up two statements that are supposed to be opposing and the user inputs to what extent he/she/it agrees with which statement. There's some zingers like the one below:

What in the hell is a 'Dangerous Idea"? If there's a book that goes into detail about how to abduct children and lock them up in your basement, then I think a consensus can be reached that taxpayer dollars have better places to go to, especially when many a bungled, mismanaged school spends so much time begging for chalk money. While I'm on the topic:

Is it not possible to believe both? I think the postal service is a wasteful, bloated monopoly, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I automatically think the private sector can do a better job. Then there are the environmental questions that are basically "Do you like current policies or do you hate the planet?" (...when did you stop beating wife?) . Trying to aim a black and white question (a'la many a 'news' poll) over issues which are more nuanced is going to give more inaccurate results than not.

(UPDATE 5/14/05: Mr. Kendall comments on this quiz. Although I'll agree with him that this one is better than most, my distaste for Internet tests in general make me a biased observer.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Lawn Care

Let's see if you can tell where my lawn ends and my neighbors lawn begins.


Now in fairness the house has been re-po'd, but her lawn looked the same way last year too when she was still living there.

Defining Sin Down

I’d think it was an April fools joke were it not the middle of May, from Opinion Journal:
As gas prices continue to top $2 a gallon, all those drivers of fuel-efficient cars may not have reason to gloat for much longer. Oregon is worried that too many Honda Insights and Toyota Priuses hitting the roads will rob it of the cash it expects out of its 24-cent-a-gallon tax. So the Beaver State is studying ways to ensure that "hybrid" car owners pay their "fair share" of taxes for the miles they drive. That means allowing the taxman to catch up to hybrid owners just as often as he catches up to gas guzzling SUV drivers. And if Oregon goes ahead, it won't be long before other states follow.

Oregon won't complete its study until 2007. But it's already clear the state is looking to influence behavior in addition to raising revenue by implementing a "vehicle mileage tax." Under a VMT a motorist would pay a tax for each mile driven, probably around 1.25 cents. To administer this tax, a global positioning system would be mounted in each car. As a driver fuels up, the device would relay mileage information to the gas pump, which would calculate the VMT. A simple electronic odometer-reading device would do the trick, but Oregon is looking at GPS devices because they would also allow for charging higher VMT rates for miles driven in "congested" areas during rush hour or to exempt miles driven out of state.
Being a pain in the ass concerned friend, I hurriedly forwarded this over to my buddy that owns a hybrid. He quickly (and correctly) pointed out:
I mean, gasoline taxes have always been sort of a fringe version of the "sin tax" wherein we tax those who indulge in some "undesirable", but otherwise legal, activity. So, if we follow Oregon's reasoning, we shouldn't have any trouble taxing people who don't smoke for the cigarettes that they aren't smoking, and thus are not paying tax- stamp taxes on. And, let's not forget to tax those who selfishly choose not to drink alcohol for all of the alcohol stamp-taxes that they escape through their irresponsible temperance.
One has to wonder to what extent 'sin taxes' were never about sin in as much as they were about a majority passing a tax that they wouldn't have to pay (but for small amounts). Since taxes stunt whatever is being taxed, and egregious 'sin taxes' suppress revenue in what is seen as a social ill; then what happens when the dream comes true and the 'sin' goes into remission? Why it's time to find a new sin. No doubt eventually we'll all have to wear GPS devices so that we can be taxed when we loiter or jaywalk.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bento Watch #12


These are some california rolls with some orange roe. Quite filling.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Weekend Bum

Welcome to scenic (really) Harrison, Ohio:

I may have been a little lazy, but I'm quite paranoid that someone may be reading over my shoulder when I'm doing a post, and the only computers I had access to over the weekend were of that type, not that I would've posted anything anyway (I'm quite certain the world can do without 'The Adventures of Sandmich's Barium Coated Innards'; but BTW, if you do the barium thing, you better hope you're dying from something).

I was in Cincinnati to work and catch up with a bit of a family reunion. While I was down, I went to my first Japanese steak house. The whole idea generally gets roundly mocked for being inauthentic, but a good portion of the experience rang fairly true (particularly the co$t) for me. I told my dad that the main thing they could do to make it authentic would be to shrink the restaurant by half and keep the same number of seats. Degrading the service wouldn't hurt either. :-)
Here's some shots...


The chef makes a show with the eggs.


Flaming onion volcano.


Smokin'


On one hand, I wish they had authentic green tea ice cream, but on the second hand, Americans will actually eat the tasty take they have on it here. (Afterwards we went to a grocery store down the street that I know has imported green tea ice cream, but my cravin' wasn't strong enough to warrant a purchase).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Barium Watch

No bento today as I gotta have the witch doctor check out my innards - so it's a barium shake today!

Anti-war fervor fades at KSU

Of course it fades, those radical communists have long since graduated and the system they supported has been proven a complete failure. I love the balance in this Pain Dealer article though; and they wonder why no one buys their crappy rag mag. From Anti-war fervor fades at KSU:
On a recent spring day, sunbathers blanketed the grassy hill where bullets once drilled through chants and jeers.
I'd long thought that this was an unfortunate incident, but I wasn't much familiar with the events. I was discussing this with my old boss at one point and kept my opinion fairly guarded since I figured that the fact that he supported weird-o political candidates would mean that he was given to supporting the protestors. I was about halfway through my spiel about "what-an-unfortunate-series-of-events" when he slowly shook his head. He said that it's a well known fact that the protestors were marching on the guardsman with the intent to do bodily harm and were throwing large rocks and bottles at them. This might not sound like much to those given to the students point of view, but if it was a bunch of hillbillies intent on lynching a group of black men, I'd bet the sympathies would, correctly, go the other way.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Elephant Dinner

I guess old Bob Mugabe (whose government sits on the human rights commission at the U.N.) has discovered a way out of the unholy hell he has made of his country - killing off animals in the wildlife reserves to feed his people that are starving because of his policies. Of course Zimbabwe was once ruled by a white elite much like the old South Africa and many would be loathe to admit that things were better then (again, much like South Africa). From Dvorak Uncensored - Mugabe orders cull of elephants to feed starving villagers:
I remember when I was a kid how all the politically correct of that era were bitching about the Rhodesian government and how much better everyone would be off without them. Now there is almost no coverage of Zimbabwe (former Rhodesia) and it's crazy bloodthirsty government. After all, maybe someone would have to admit that things didn't go so well.

So the government policy is to rout the Whites and burn their farms. Kill any tourism. Rape the resources. Kill dissidents. And kill and eat the African animals until none are left. And we, in the West, will ignore all this and pretend it is not happening. After all, it might make one look like a 'racist' if one were to be critical. What a joke.
Of course the sorry part is that I'm sure there's more than a few people in Zimbabwe who sit around scratchin' their asses while wondering why they are so poor. This also makes me recall a story I once heard about Haiti. Haiti's history is a rather nasty and sortid affair, but I guess the high point of the country's history was when it was ruled by the Marine Corp in the early 1900s.

I think part of the problem may be that natives of backwater countries see the success of other countries that espouse western (i.e. Anlogspheric) values as something easy to attain, thus, they must be being cheated in some form. What one must realize though is that these values are a great exception to the normal behavior of man. Indeed, many of the currently successful western countries themselves had to have these values blown into them by force of arms.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Bento Watch #11

This is my first attempt at ura maki (inside out sushi rolls). I picked up the orange roe down the street at a Korean grocer, and although it tastes fine and looks good, it's as pervasive as sand and difficult to clean. The rolls tasted fine, but I wish I had something besides fish cake to put into the middle. (My buddy got me some wasabi packets from Japan and I packed in a couple with this lunch.)

KoH

I was mildly intrigued by the ads running for Kingdom of Heaven, the new Ridley Scott film about the crusades. I was further intrigued when the local Christian radio station (a favorite of my wife's, and more importantly, her bird) was running spots for it. "Could this be the fair handling of this time in history that we've been looking for?" I asked myself. I must admit that my own knowledge of crusade related events is culled from the day or so it was covered in my high school freshman history class. Besides that I know enough to know that the crusades in general are covered quite poorly in the media since it's only ever brought up as a bat with which to beat Christianity ("Who cares about 9/11?!? Just look at the Christians in the crusades!"). Well, it looks like I'll have to hold off on the fair hearing a little bit longer; from
Kingdom of Heaven info page (by way of LGF):
* The film distorts history to portray Muslims in a good light.
* Nevertheless, Muslims at first attacked the film while it was being made (including death threats).
* Ridley Scott then subsequently slanted the film even further to appease Muslim special interest groups.
* Eventually most of them agreed it was sufficiently dhimmified.
* (The film, is also explicitly anti-religion, to please the Lefties.)
* Dr. Hamid Dabashi, featured in Columbia Unbecoming, was given a private screening by Ridley Scott and gave the film his stamp of approval, as Scott viewed him as "an important Muslim in New York."
* Khaled Abou El Fadl at UCLA is still opposed to the movie, claiming the film will cause hate crimes against Muslims.
* The IMDB message board for KoH was deleted in its entirety due to Muslim extremists flooding the board.
* Christians may be planning a boycott of the film.

Okay, but what about the historical content?
"It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilized, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality."
The film makers then went out and found a Christian 'mark':

The Rev. George Dennis, a Jesuit priest and a history professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, who was one of five experts provided with the script for ''Kingdom of Heaven,'' said he was impressed by its nuance and accuracy. ''Historically I found it pretty accurate,'' he said. ''I can't think of any objections from the Christian side. And I don't think Muslims should have any objections. There's nothing offensive to anyone in there, I don't think.''
I'm not going to bother looking the Rev. George Dennis up, but for the non-Catholic folk out there, nine times out of ten, Jesuit=Lefty Kook. This isn't to say that Christians or even any westerners in general feel they have a dog in this fight anyway. However, it certainly appears that many Muslims (and particularly radical ones) certainly feel that way.

But anyway, if the Western powers at the time behaved all that badly, and the crusades were a horrible idea, why did Muslim organizations feel that the historical record had to be fudged, hmmmmm?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Incredible shrinking Ohio

From Incredible shrinking Ohio:
Ohio will grow a lackluster 1.7 percent, to 11.6 million people, by 2030, far below the national growth rate of nearly 30 percent and ahead of only Iowa, West Virginia and North Dakota, the Census Bureau predicts.
It will be interesting to see if Ohio can avoid the death spiral that goes something like this: (1)government bloat and high taxes drive off businesses (Late 1990s) and then (2)working Ohians follow them (early-present 00s) followed by (3)higher taxes to support government bloat since so much of the tax base has left(2002) eventually leading to the fact that only those that have been established in Ohio for years are left (i.e. retirees and near retirees) (est. soon) and the demand for services skyrocket while the tax base goes through the floor. Looks like Bob "the RINO" Taft is making a late effort to address this, probably too little too late in my mind:
The census numbers go to the heart of Gov. Bob Taft’s proposals to overhaul Ohio’s tax structure — including a 21 percent cut in the income tax rate — and to invest more money in attracting high-tech jobs [i.e. spend taxpayer money on corporate welfare], said the governor’s spokesman, Mark Rickel.