Sunday, September 30, 2007

From Bush to Clinton, back to Bush, then back to Clinton

A couple of weeks ago, on Real Time with Bill Maher, the actor/rapper Mos Def said something really funny, and something that actually had never occurred to me until then. I should have my head checked, because it was one of those things that any political animal would be paying attention to. He referred to the situation as like a group of people exchanging a joint at a party. First, Bush Sr. had it, than he gave it to Bill Clinton, than Clinton gave it to Dubya, and lastly, Dubya gave it to Clinton's wife, Hillary. By "it", I'm referring to, of course, the presidency of the United States. When he said that, it hit me like a slap. In a time period of 20 years, and possibly 30 if Hillary wins the presidency and is re-elected four years after, there will be two families who would have possessed the presidency. That's food for thought, fit for a feast.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Killed on Camera

As some of you may have heard, there is an increasing tide of repression in Burma (also known as Myanmar) due to protests by monks and other citizens due to rising fuel prices. Soldiers have hit the streets and are shooting and killing these unarmed protesters. One particularly brutal event occurred the other day, as a Japanese photographer was shot dead in cold blood, and on camera. I wonder what goes through the minds of the soldiers who are doing these things. Is the feeling of power so great, with that gun in their hands, that they can just shoot unarmed people?

I've always been untrusting of military and law enforcement, even our own, for that very reason. You just see and hear too many of these kinds of incidents. When you train these guys, give them weapons, etc., you're giving them an extreme amount of power, one that's very easy to overstep and abuse. On top of that, they're trained from the get-go to follow the orders of their superiors. When a superior, like a military dictator of a country like Burma, is telling them to beat and even shoot at innocent protesters, they're taught not to question or to follow their conscience, assuming that they have one.

But there is actually something you can do, and it isn't some impotent event like a candlelight vigil. As Michael from Brighton, England comments after the article:

Since the Burmese regime exists purely on the say-so of China, if you don't like what's happening in Burma, boycott Chinese-made goods and write to the manufacturers' parent companies (Nikon, Canon, Sony et al) and tell them what you're doing and why. People are dying and the least we can do to stop it is forgo a new DVD player.

Nothing has an impact to influence the decisions of those in power like withholding your money. Yeah, I know Chinese goods are everywhere and impossible to forego, but bear with me. There are other countries like Taiwan and Thailand who make cheap crap but aren't supporting the ruthless dictatorship of Burma. So buy a cheap DVD player from them, instead of China.

Bush's Climate Meeting: Talk, But No Action

Another bit of good news is that George W. Bush, long a denier of global warming, is holding a White House summit on global warming. This is a sign of progress. But probably not a sign of huge progress. This administration has a habit of taking a problem, and making a series of token gestures to show that they realize it's a problem and that they care. They'll have Bush make speeches around the country with spiffy backdrops behind him, or he'll hold summits. This fine article in Business Week details how his head-in-the-sand approach to global warming can not only put us all at risk, but has already cost us many billions by missing out on the emissions-reductions technology market. Bill Clinton, who admittedly wasn't exactly a green president (besides having Mr. Inconvenient Truth as VP, he backed out of the Kyoto Accord), has said that by ignoring the need to reduce carbon emissions, that we've missed out on "the biggest job-creation machine in years."

About how we can probably expect out of this summit is for Bush to have his staff do "more research", like he has in the past.

Poll: More Americans believe in global warming

In some rare good news, 7 out of 10 Americans believe that global warming exists and that they can do something about it, according to a recent poll conducted by Yale University. Better yet, most Americans support regulations beyond Kyoto and want to see higher energy efficiency standards, even if it costs them more money.

The only caveat is that nearly half in the poll still think that there is a sharp divide in the scientific community over whether global warming is real. The scientific community decided long ago that global warming was a reality. The only few holdouts are likely funded by the oil industry.

What your phone company doesn't want you to know

Many of our nation's phone companies, among them Verizon and AT&T, have been assisting our government for some time by wiretapping many Americans without a warrant. The phone companies also did things like install spy rooms and turn over personal information of its customers, like phone and email records, to the government. Of course, this was a plainly illegal thing for George W. Bush and the telecommunications companies to do.

But now, the phone companies are lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would give them immunity and protection from any penalties for breaking our privacy laws. Some of the lobbyists who work for the phone companies are part of the ever-spinning revolving door between government and business; one was an attorney general for Bush Sr., another was an assistant secretary of state, and on and on. There is pending legislation that was written by the Administration, providing blanket immunity to the telecom companies, as well as anyone in the Bush Administration.

The basis of granting immunity is that it's irrelevant that these companies engaged in illegal conduct, because Bush asked them to do it. Just read your Constitution and you'll know that that's hogwash.

For more, including contact information for your congressperson and senators, click here.

Newt Gingrich in Second Life

I downloaded and installed Second Life last Monday. My avatar is named "Alife Iwish". This took some thinking, while I was allowed to put in my own first name, I only had a limited selection of last names to choose from. After trying to take some names that were already taken (like Miles Sideways), "Alife Iwish" just sounded right to me. It runs on my computer, but very slowly. While I'll use it now and again, I probably won't get as immersed in it as some people have. Which is really unfortunate, since I could see how something like Second Life and the metaverse had been foreseen by works like Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash", published all the way back in 1992. In that book, there were also events in this metaverse, you could own your own house if you want, but this was only a part of an epic story. I recommend reading it if you're a sci-fi fan.

Anyway, thanks to for this. I'll occasionally post on the unique events and situations that happen in Second Life. This afternoon, on the steps of the virtual Capital Hill in Second Life, former Speaker of the House and possible presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke to a crowd of 50 avators. Things like this are just really cool. I see a lot of potential, especially for presidential candidates who want to get close to potential voters, in a way that just isn't possible in televised debates or 20,000 dollar a plate fund-raising dinners. And it's always a pleasure to hear Gingrich speak. While I don't agree with a fair deal of what he says, and think he was an utter hypocrite when it came to the Clinton scandal, he always makes valid points and you end up learning a lot.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Life in a Game

I saw this on Youtube and got a big kick out of it. I love all the gaming-inspired television that is on the Internet. This is great, especially if you're a fan of RPGs, Nintendo, Super Mario, or Legend of Zelda.

As you can tell from the lack of posts, I'm still really tied up, but hopefully things will slow down a bit in the next few days. BTW, check out the new Ben 'N Jerry's flavor, Dublin Mudslide. Really good shit.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hi, All

Just a quick update. I'm so bombarded. I'm going to be busy every day this week, not to mention that it's TV season now. So I'm gonna be watching a lot of TV, "Heroes" came on tonight, "House" is starting its new season tomorrow. Not to mention that there are shows I missed that are also online that I'm gonna have to catch. In addition, I took out two movies from the library today, "Pathfinder" and "Death Proof". So I have to somehow squeeze time for all of this.

I have to get up early tomorrow, so I now have to go to bed. Which sucks, because I really wanted to blog about the visit of the Iranian president to NYC. But I'm sure there are countless bloggers on that. Oh well, till next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Vietnam War Memorial to be made for Second Life

A replica of the Vietnam War Memorial is slated to be made for the... I guess you'd call it the "Life simulator", Second Life. I think that it's a way cool and honorable idea. There are already a number of 9/11 memorials in the virtual world as well. I think I'm going to take the plunge and get into Second Life, although the last thing I need is another reason to be on the Internet 24/7.

Life's Too Short for the Wrong Job

This is an ingenious set of ads for an employment agency in some country. I'm not sure which one, but the web address ends in .de, so I'm guessing Denmark. But maybe it's in the UK, since it's in English. What I find funny is that when I was a kid, I thought there were actually people inside these machines too, giving out the candy or the cup of coffee.

Starbucks competitor begins a green program

A competitor of Starbucks, Tully's (which is based in Seattle, has stores in 5 states), is pursuing green-based business practices, including compostable paper cups and recycling in its stores. I always wished Starbucks would do that. I always try to recycle cans, bottles, or cups, and for Starbucks to have a can for recycling shouldn't take too much effort. You'd think that since they promoted this movie about global warming, they'd talk the talk.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Our real estate market not the only one going "bust"

You think our housing market is crumbling? Take a trip to Baghdad. Due to ongoing insurgent violence and civil war, housing prices have taken a freefall, after soaring back in 2003 after the initial U.S. invasion brought hopes of stability and foreign investment. Is this a Bush thing? He's the "decider" of both the U.S. and Iraq. Both countries have a crumbling real estate market and a dysfunctional government.

A couple of weeks ago on "Real Time", Bill Maher asked a New York Times reporter stationed in Baghdad a very interesting question; more or less, it went like this: What if Iraqis were asked the same question that Ronald Reagan asked of Americans in 1980, "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" I forget the man's answer, but if the plummeting housing prices and Iraqis being forced out of their homes by militias is anything to go by at all, I'd have to think that the answer to that question would be a resounding "no."

Columnist gets Starbucks Manager fired

Last month, someone wrote on a Starbucks chalkboard a picture of a man with a large Afro saying "I lubs me some Breakfast blend", and a columnist for a major newspaper in Oregon (where this Starbucks was) wrote a column complaining about this, complete with the name of the person who managed the store. Starbucks reacted by firing the manager, who'd been with the company nine years. This was certainly a callous decision on the part of Starbucks, to terminate an employee for, at worst, using poor judgment. We're way too politically correct and thin-skinned, and really need to lighten up. It's a crying shame when people lose their jobs because of shit like this.

But for me, the worst part of this story is how it arose in the first place. This columnist, S. Renee Mitchell, was sent a photo by a friend of hers, and went hunting through the various Starbucks' in the area. Upon finding the one where it happened, she spoke to a few employees, and then grilled the manager, Hillary Barnes, on whether this was the right thing to do. This was fine, Mitchell certainly had a right to confront something that she felt was offensive. But, then writing about it, complete with explicit details of where it happened and who did it, and having it published, that wasn't cool. An employee at Starbucks isn't going to be able to defend him-or-herself from an attack in a major newspaper. Barnes wasn't going to be able to handle being Sharptoned, she doesn't have a huge nest-egg like Don Imus.

So sure enough, the manager was fired. But I'm not done. A month or so later, Mitchell wrote another story on Barnes. She visited Barnes' home, Barnes made coffee for her (if I'd just gotten someone fired from their job, I wouldn't drink their coffee). In the story that resulted, while showing sympathy for Hillary Barnes and stating that she should have a job, Mitchell takes no responsibility for having her fired in the first place. She calls on other people in the Portland area to help Hillary Barnes find work. But the only person who has the responsibility to help Barnes find a job, the person who should be devoting all her free time to this task, is S. Renee Mitchell. She made a mess out of Barnes' life, she should be the one cleaning it up.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Socialized Medicine

Another great post from Liz at the Contemplation of Preponderance blog. She talks about how the nation's senior citizens are up in arms about the positions of the various Democratic candidates on health care, which they find lean into "socialistic" territory. You know, I find that as I'm soon wading into my 30s, I get easily irritated by children and young adults. But the good thing about them is that they can't vote and they'd rather get an IPod with their parents' money than donate it to a political candidate or organization. Unfortunately, you can't say the same for old people. They have many lobbying organizations, the biggest of them all AARP. And they're truly a force to be reckoned with in the electoral field. This is bad news for the rest of us.

I have a confession to make, one that might well cause me to lose a few visitors. For the most part, I loathe old people. They're rude, unpleasant, loud, and are generally a displeasure to be around. Of course, there are exceptions, but those are usually the kinds of emotions I feel when I'm around them. However, that doesn't compare with how I feel about them in terms of their influence in policy, and their general feelings and interests in terms of our nation's policies. What Liz puts so elequently here, that I am failing at right now, is that while old people are decrying "socialism" in health care, they have reaped the fruits of socialism for many years. Of course, I'm referring to Social Security and Medicare. Those programs are the very definition of "socialism." I'm in complete favor of these programs, and when I get old, I hope I'm well taken of with some form of safety net. But, I also would hope that I don't make others pay at my expense, in the form of fighting to deny these same benefits to others.

Seniors always have wanted to preserve their programs, while at the same time fighting to ensure that others' needs aren't met, hence meaning they'd have to sacrifice a little. But oh no, seniors can't have that. They've always been intent on taking from us, and giving nothing back. They rail against universal healthcare, but they're well taken care of. They own homes that they'll get to pass down to their children and grandchildren, while they're way out of reach for many people in my generation. They bitch about paying property taxes, and they gripe about an estate tax, but they think nothing of using their clout to cut programs in other areas, like school programs, for example. So, fuck them. Finally, off to the post:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Socialized Medicine

Hillary, Barack, and John all have our health in the forefront of their campaigns. I have to tell you, though, I really find it hilarious that so many senior citizens are up in arms about all these "liberal democrat's ideas that are nothing but socialism!" Medicare and Social Security are the backbone of any socialist society, and yet American senior citizens just can't understand that. I've made reference before to the system and the uproar from those that are the most benefitted, but I feel that it is high time to truly understand this burden of respect and care that has been thrust upon the working class of America all in the name of tax laws, nationalism, and respect. In 1935, the young generation "respectfully" left the farm and said forget it. Since there was no one to take over the family business of farming, this young heady generation gladly paid a miniscule percentage of their city wages to support their aging country parents. The ratio was 16 workers to 1 recipient, and although the percentages have changed all the way around, many of those original working class are now and have been collecting for over 20 years. So, they should remember the fact that what they were paying in, was not for them to collect. Their parents collected what they contributed so they could go to town! Now, we come to the next generation which is also now collecting, because "they paid into it." Well, apparently "they" weren't listening in school or were absent that day. Social Security was never established for the payor to be building a personal retirement nest egg. Social Security was for the elderly without income, and that was when the work force outnumbered the collections. Then along came Johnson with his "Great Society" plans and medicare was added to the already lucritive pot of reward for living long enough to no longer have to contribute. With medicare added, now the simple formula of collecting 13 Social Security checks could multiply many times over, by extending the life expectancy of the average American. With medicare added, living 13 months after retirement, rapidly turned into 13 years, and beyond. But these people knew, they hadn't really contributed all that money and they knew what they had contributed had already been spent by the previous generation, and they knew they didn't have nearly the number of children that their parents had, and yet . . .
So now, these same people are up in arms because they are just sure that one of those democrats, if elected, plans to implement socialized medicine.
The way I see it, the big concern is not socialized medicine, because the seniors have had it for some time. I don't understand how so many of our nation's seniors can live by the benefits of history's democrats, yet donate and vote against the same political standard that brought so many of their benefits about. Are the senior citizens afraid that socialized medicine would mean they have to share their medicare rights with everyone?
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. New Testament

It's a Free World

This is a review of what sounds like a really good film from the filmmaker Ken Loach. It deals with one of the major, pressing issues of our day, illegal immigration. From what I've read, it seems to deal with it in a unique way and approaches it from a realistic perspective, rather than a preachy and patronizing one, which is really easy to fall into. The underlying theme to the film, as stated in the last sentence, seems to be that this issue is so large and complex, that there aren't merely no simple solutions, but that it's in a lot of peoples' interests to ensure that no solution of any kind is sought.

Tony coming back to 24

I know at least one 24 fan (and a friend) reads my blog, and I'm hoping there are more, since this post is specifically directed to them. In case you haven't heard, Carlos Bernard is reprising his role as Tony Almeida in the new season of 24. But, you ask, how is that possible? Wasn't he killed in Season 5? He was zipped up, declared dead, and everything, wasn't he? Yes, he sure was. But in a move that has already stirred up controversy among 24 fans, it's been announced that Tony will be coming back to the show. I don't know, folks. I'm a huge fan of 24. Tony's one of my favorite characters. Carlos Bernard? Great actor. But I have to say, on the surface, this sounds like a really crappy idea.

Over the years, particularly this past season, people have said that 24 has "jumped the shark" (term for reaching its peak and having a moment that leads to a significant and total decline). I have always found this laughable. But with this decision, 24 isn't merely in danger of jumping the shark, it might become the very definition of "jumping the shark". I feel it was a shitty idea to kill off Tony in the first place, it served no purpose other than some short-term shock value, but what's done should be done. Undoing the mistake can be worse than the mistake. I know you have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief while being a loyal 24 viewer, but this might be too much.

Where I've Been

I always feel bad when I'm not posting regularly to the blog. It allows me to share things I read and discover online with others, and give my take on them. It also serves as a sort of personal diary. So now and then, when I don't post as often as I want to, I do feel compelled to let any reader know what's going on. It's also as much for my sake, as hopefully far off in the future, there'll be one day where I have little to do, and out of curiosity, I can browse through this blog that'll hopefully still be running and read posts like these.

Things are fine, despite the fact that I haven't posted 30 times yet this month, whereas I made it over a hundred last month. It's for a few reasons. Between reading this really hefty book, and watching Season 2 of Supernatural, and this new part-time job I have, my time is at a preninum. This is still far better than it was when I was working 50 hours a week, so I'm definitely not complaining. Things are actually going pretty well, all things considered. I'm enjoying this new job I have, it's a lot of work, but I work far less hours and get along very well with everyone there. As much as I value making lots of money and paying the bills that need to be paid, that isn't always a recipe for happiness. So while I'm busy planning my next move, this job is perfect. I filled out what's called a reactivation form since I'm returning to Suffolk Community College to take a program to be certified as a paralegal. Also, I applied to Smith Barney months ago for a position, and got a phone call from them today. So I'm wondering if I should try to see what I can make of this opportunity, or stay on course to be a paralegal.

Anyway, just wanted to let readers of the blog (hopefully there are a few) in the loop. I'm going to make a few more posts and get back to watching Supernatural.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Going to watch Season 2 of Supernatural

I probably won't be posting as much for the next week or so, I just got Season 2 of Supernatural in the mail from Netflix and am going to watch it, all 23 or 24 episodes. Great show, it's like watching a condensed horror flick.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Starbucks Saved My Life

This is a very fascinating article from the New York Times. There's a new book out, "How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else", about an advertising executive who lost his job and then become a barrista at Starbucks. Thankfully, my library has it. A really good movie I saw awhile ago was "The Pursuit of Happyness" with Will Smith, and I feel this is "The Pursuit of Happyness" in reverse. A man who's already at the top comes crashing down to the bottom, takes a job at Starbucks and really puts all of himself into it, and finds that he loves the job. I don't think I'll be at liberty to observe much more until I read this book, but there's something to be said for the virtue of work. There is no job too menial, just the fact that you're working is very important. We live in a dog-eat-dog world in which, all too often, unless you're at the very top, making lots of money and big decisions, you're looked down upon. We forget that the people who mop floors at our offices, make our Big Macs (or lattes, in this case), play an essential part in keeping our way of life how it is.

By the same token, it's of importance that an employer, no matter if it's employing 10 people or 100,000, treats its employees with respect and dignity, and makes their working environment one in which they look forward to being in every day. I'm a huge Starbucks guy, and while there are things I don't like about it, there are a lot of things they appear to do right, like giving health insurance to their employees and making them generally proud to be there. One of the blogs I visit regularly is the Starbucks Gossip blog, and many of the people who post there are Starbucks employees (mostly barristas); most of them love their jobs. I think that's a rarity when it comes to a large corporate outfit in the service industry. I haven't searched for, say, a McDonald's or Target employee blog, but if I were to, I don't think it would be too flattering of those respective companies. If I didn't already have a part-time job (hopefully, only until I finish my paralegal certification, which I might begin taking this winter), I think I'd be interested in trying out being behind a Starbucks counter, rather than in front of it.

New Season of Prison Break starts tonight

Finally, the fall TV season is starting tonight, with the season premiere of Prison Break. What a great show. I've been waiting months, since it ended in a cliffhanger. Michael's in a prison again, only this time, it makes Fox River look like a country club. It's in a Latin American hellhole. Bellick and the FBI agent (damn, I know his first name is Alex, he's played by William Fitchner, a great actor) are also imprisoned. In a twist of fate, it's Linc (Michael's brother who he got out of prison in Season one) who is now on the outside, looking to rescue Michael. Anyway, sorry about that, I was doing that more for myself, as a way to refresh my memory. Anyway, watch Prison Break tonight at 8 on Fox. After that's K-Ville, which I talked about a few weeks ago. That looks like it's gonna be really good too.

Well, I'm off to the theater cause my brother wants to see The Brave One, that new Jodie Foster movie. I want to see Shoot-Em-Up but maybe next time. Later.

Feds May Step In to Reduce Airline Delays

This is a very good post by Steve B. from the Conflicting Opinions blog, on a recent statement by the outgoing head of the FAA on possible government intervention if the airlines continue to delay flights. I completely agree with what he says. Our government has consistently bailed out the big airlines, to the point where they no longer have any incentive to operate competitively or competently. I love all these capitalist fundamentalists out there who preach and gloat about how great the "free market" is. Yet whenever an industry like the airline industry is in danger of going belly up, those same people suddenly cry for the government (the same government they lambast for regulation, mind you) to bail them out. Now we're seeing the fruits of that position.

I agree with Steve B. in that we should let the free market be the free market. If a company fails, let them fall. Another company will just rise to the occasion, and hopefully do a better job.

Alan Greenspan says Iraq war was about oil.

In what I find a stunning revelation, Alan Greenspan, the former head of the Fed and a Republican to boot, has acknowledged what many of us know: that the invasion of Iraq was about oil. I only wish people like Greenspan had spoken up when this was in the process of happening, rather than 5 years later, when it's too late to do anything.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Beat Scarface!

Everyone who's a gamer knows how good it feels, the sense of accomplishment, in finally beating a game. I feel that and more, as I've just beaten Scarface: The World is Yours on the PS2. I've pretty much been playing it off and on since it came out last October, so I've been playing it for a fairly long time, nearly a year. I'd originally planned to buy it for my brother's birthday, but Gamespot gave it a pretty mediocre review, so I just rented it from Blockbuster to try it for myself. I guess Gamespot's been wrong before, as they were that time. Yeah, it was a GTA clone, but a very good one. I became addicted to it, like Tony was addicted to his yeyo, immediately. On Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving and the busiest shopping day of the year), Target had it on sale for 30 bucks, so I got it. It was well worth it.

It's a very long game, with lots of missions. You also have to make money to buy "exotics" such as fast cars, boats, and furniture for your mansion. As someone who isn't that materialistic, I wasn't planning to use that feature often, but you have to to enhance your reputation level and get further in the game. The graphics are really good, beautiful in some places. I kind of think of sitting in front of the TV now, turning the game on, and just sending Tony to one of the beaches, with a drink in my hand, pretending I'm at the beach, LOL. Yeah, I'm really weird.

But yeah, it's an awesome feeling, since the game is so lengthy and some of the missions are really difficult. If you love the movie or GTA-type games, and haven't played this, you really should.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson is a GOP presidential candidate who just, very recently, has thrown his hat in the ring. I don't know much about him other than that he's fairly conservative, and I've seen him in some movies like Die Hard 2, In The Line of Fire, as well as Law And Order. Oh, and his wife is hot. Anyway, he's come under fire from a statement he made Thursday, that he didn't "remember" the details of the Terri Schiavo case. Since it happened two years ago, I guess he should remember, right? But no matter. Anyway, this guy's coming under fire, and I know I'm probably in a minority, but I find him a very savvy man. The Schiavo case was one of those situations, in which no matter what position you took, you were pissing people off. A large number of Republicans disagreed with how Congressional Republicans handled it. Congress passed a bill into law to put Schiavo back on the feeding tube, a bill that was rebuked by every court up to the Supreme Court. So, it was a case that sharply divided people, especially within the Republican Party. Why take a position on it that's going to lose you votes, when you can make a benign statement like "I don't remember?" Two years is an eternity in the newscycle anyway, isn't it? It's perfect.

Thompson has finely-honed political skills. I thought waiting so long to declare his candidacy was an act of genius. Why come under scrutiny and be confined to fund-raising limits like the other candidates, when at the same time, you can go on the news and talk shows and use those as a platform? Then, and only when the time is right, declare your candidacy. I'm sure I won't like him in the White House, but I admire his astuteness.

Friday, September 14, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model

VH1 is airing a new reality series (as there aren't enough already) in which beautiful people engage in a series of contests to show who has the brains as well as the beauty. What I find cool about this is that Ben Stein (Win Ben Stein's Money) is hosting it. I wonder if Miss South Carolina (of Miss Teen USA and Youtube fame) will be a contestant.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The new AVGN

This is a pretty funny edition of the Angry Video Game Nerd, centering not on a game this time, but on the Nintendo Power magazine. I only read a few issues of it, in the SNES era, but it still brought back a lot of humorous memories.

Check it out here:

Dog Barking ruled illegal

A town in Florida, Mount Dora, has banned dogs from barking.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Video of Karate Champ

A new person on YouTube, Arcade Run Reviews, is putting up reviews of old arcade games. He lives in an area that actually has an arcade with really classic games. That's the bomb, I'd seriously love to be near that place. I'd go there every day. Anyway, here is a little review and glimpse of a great game, Karate Champ. I mostly played it on the Commodore 64, but I played it in the arcade as well. I think it's the first fighter ever made. Data East was a great company too.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dark Castle

I never had the (mis)pleasure of playing this game for the Genesis (one of the few it seems I haven't played) but The Fat Man Judgeth has a pretty good video of it, which I've managed to find and download onto the blog. This game should be a punishment in lieu of prison in some countries.

This guy's been in office for nearly 7 years, and he's still a buffoon.

While speaking at the APEC summit last Friday, Bush made a multitude of errors in minutes. He first referred to it as the "OPEC summit". Then he joked that John Howard (Australian PM) "invited me to the OPEC Summit next year", an impossibility since neither Australia nor the U.S. are in OPEC. He referred to Australian troops as "Austrian" troops. Finally, he walked off stage the wrong way.

Even the Iraqis don't think the "surge" is working

I've made a silent pledge to myself not to post that often in Iraq, not because it isn't important, but because it's always the same shit. How often can you point to something and say that it's an utter failure? But, I did feel this deserved mentioning. Bush, Petraeus, and a few other prominent people think that the surge is working. However, not only most Americans, but even Iraqis who were polled don't think it's working. In a poll conducted by the Washington Post, 7 out of 10 Iraqis say that the buildup of U.S. troops has made the security situation worse. Now, if we did this to give democracy to Iraqis, if that's really true, than why don't we heed these results that they don't want us there, and leave? But, I almost forgot, Bush doesn't govern by polls (the will of the people).

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Advance peek at 24 Season 6 DVD cover work (let's hope it's geniune)

This is an image of what 24's DVD set cover could look like. I don't know whether it comes from a genuine source or is just something a fan created, but it looks fantastic. It'd win my favorite cover hands-down. I think I'll be pretty upset if Fox goes with another design.

24 Named one of the best shows ever by Time Magazine

What a milestone, and well deserved for my personal favorite show of all time. From Time Magazine:

I was hesitant to include this show after its sixth—and admittedly terrible—season. It's easy to forget, though, how new and bracing the format that's now routine once was. Created before Sept. 11 and debuted just weeks after, 24 captured the country's edgy mood, and not just because it was about terrorism. With its breathless real-time format and multi-screens, 24 reflects the same information-overload media culture that gave us the zipper and screens-within-screens on cable news. The computers work a little too efficiently, the LA traffic is suspiciously light and Jack Bauer never has to take a leak, but Kiefer Sutherland gives Bauer psychological weight in the most outlandish situations, racing against a ticking clock that tolls for us.

You'll soon be able to download music at Starbucks

Apple and Starbucks have reached a deal where you can use ITunes to download MP3's to your Ipod, Iphone, or laptop while you're sipping your latte at Starbucks, with no additional charge. But if you want to write a research paper or post a blog, you still have to pay 30 dollars a month for the pleasure. Together, they don't make sense. I really hope Starbucks gets out of the 1990s soon. I'm a fairly regular customer, but would go there more if they had free wi-fi.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Alaska's global warming problem

This is an article I found (via Cursor) about an Alaskan village's shoreline being swallowed, little by little, by the sea each year due to increased temperatures. Solutions by the Army Corp of Engineers don't work, and the senior senator from Alaska says that there is hope; you see, we're approaching the end of the warming "phase" that has taken place for the past 700 years, and so the "cooling phase" should start very soon, and the village of Shishmaref will be saved. It's all so hopeless.

Adrian Campbell speaks out at rally

Here's a video of Adrian Campbell from Sicko speaking out on healthcare and the war at a rally in Michigan. She appears in the first minute.

Predator sex sting in Nassau County nabs 21 pervs.

I know I haven't been posting nearly as frequently as I was last month. I'm reading The Count of Monte Cristo, which is a huge book, so that's probably why. Also, I might be going back to school in January to take a one-year program in paralegal studies. I really wanted to go to law school, but just the money that would be involved, as well as the time, it's just too big an undertaking for me to really consider right now. And I think this is a nice middle ground.

Anyway, I got this from Newsday. Nassau County had their own kind of a "To Catch a Predator" like sting operation, and they busted 21 people. Thankfully, Newsday spares us the sanctimonious crap of it being "entrapment", that it wasn't the pervert's fault, etc. We just get a solid news story about 21 sick people being brought to justice. Until next time..

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Live Fast, Die Young, yada yada yada...

A recent research study shows that rock and pop stars are more than twice as likely to die quickly than the general population. Who knew?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Super Mario Frustration

Someone modded a version of Super Mario Brothers that just looks so freakin' frustrating. This series of videos with one guy playing it is pretty funny, it's worth watching through them.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Onward, Christian Soldiers

In yet another breach of the separation between church and state, the Pentagon has had Christian evangelical groups within its confines on multiple occasions. On at least one of those occasions, one of its leaders has been said to be passing around Christian literature to Pentagon personnel, as well as "saving" some of their "souls."

Also, "care packages" that were organized by another Christian group for transport to our troops in Iraq, and that included Christian-themed goods, as well as a copy of the video game "Left Behind" (based on the end-of-times themed Biblical apocalypse books) in which Christian soldiers must convert and hunt down non-Christians. Thankfully, this was made public in the nick of time, and the U.S. Army won't be sending these packages.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A few questions and thoughts about this Larry Craig scandal

I've been following this, and I have a mixed opinion about it. I'm really new in knowing about this communication system for men to signal that they want to have sex in a public place like a men's bathroom, so bear with me. I'm still perplexed as to what exactly Craig did that resulted in him getting arrested. To me, giving signals, knowingly or not, shouldn't be enough to warrant an arrest and sentence. But again, rumors have been circulating for years of Craig cruising for men, and he did plead guilty rather than fight the charge, so there might have been something to it.

However, I have a few questions and thoughts:

1) Why the outcry and ceaseless pressure from many in his own party for Larry Craig to step down and retire, when one of his colleagues, Sen. Vitter, didn't get the same treatment for a similar transgression? Although this wasn't a police matter, it came out that Vitter was having sex with prostitutes, according to the diary of some well-known madam in Washington. Vitter, like Craig, was also married. This didn't happen long ago, a few months, but while it was a scandal, it was nowhere on the scale of this, and not too many people on the GOP side of the aisle were pressuring Vitter to resign. It's probably because Vitter was a bit more, should we say, "traditional" in his methods of extramartial affairs. He didn't make the mistake of going on the wild side and cruise for men, unlike the unfortunate Larry Craig.

2) Also, this "sting" took place in a public bathroom, that happened to be in an airport in Minnesota. Now, in the wake of 9/11, the only business a police officer or any member of law enforcement has in a public bathroom located in an airport, is to do either #1 or #2. It's been almost six years, but as a result of the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq, and in a climate where we're hated by many, especially Muslims, our law enforcement must be vigilant and keep on the ball, and watch out for any who could do us harm. Catching gay men having sex in bathroom stalls should be pretty much at the bottom of their list of priorities. Who's in charge of the Minnesota Police Department, Ashcroft?

The country moves on, but not New Orleans

Another really good post from The Bru Notes, containing a variety of articles on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, as well as some of the blogger's personal thoughts, which I share. It's monumentally staggering to compare and contrast our reactions as a nation to 9/11 and 8/29.

Also, there's a new television series coming up that takes place in New Orleans, and is also filmed on location. It's called "K-Ville." I saw the pilot episode yesterday, it's a pretty good buddy-cop action drama. Hopefully, amidst the gunfights and explosions, there'll also be room for some examination and social commentary of the post-Katrina recovery. I find it'll be a worthwhile program, only because it's being filmed in New Orleans, providing jobs and a much-needed boost to the economy there. Hopefully Fox will give it a real chance to succeed, rather than pull it too quickly, which is what they do with a lot of shows.

You can watch the pilot episode here.