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AgnostoLibertarianTechnoGeek

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Do not vote!

The Voting Ritual by Butler Shaffer
To create a system which, by definition, enjoys a legal monopoly on the use of force, and then allow that system to become the judge of its own authority, is an error of such enormity that one can only wonder why grown men and women would be surprised to discover such powers being “abused.” Creating the system is the abuse. Directing our criticism to members of the present cast while overlooking the backers of the play – who have substitute performers waiting in the wings – exceeds the bounds of innocence. It is like placing a bowlful of candy in front of a number of small children, and expecting the candy not to be touched in your absence.

"if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal" -- Emma Goldman

Friday, October 13, 2006

My new favorite ejaculation

Also from the Penn Jillette radio show:

"Jesus Christ puking on a monkey!"

And btw, for you disgustingly minded folks...

ejaculation (n.): A sudden short exclamation, especially a brief pious utterance or prayer.

Things I've leared from Penn

Gleaned from the Penn Jillette radio show:

Q. A person addicted to drugs is said to have "a monkey on his (or her) back". Well, what does a drug addicted monkey have on its back?

A. A drunken rat

Wanna know why? It would take too long to explain. I think it's on this podcast.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Firefly + Serenity

Watched the series in one big gulp. Loved it. Was incredibly surprised that my wife liked it as much as I did. Then watched the movie. Several heartbreaking events (at least one of which was completely unnecessary, IMHO), which soured it a bit for my wife (who is big on happy endings), and it still left a number of unanswered questions. But the movie was great too. What a horrible shame the series only lasted one truncated season. But I wonder how much longer it would have been able to keep going and still be creative and work well and so on.

And Suze, I remember you being concerned about being compared to River. You should definitely not be concerned about that. Besides being a babe (all the women aboard that ship are babes in their own way), River is brilliant, psychic, intriguing, and kicks ass at a level beyond anyone else in the 'verse.

An incredible show. I'm glad I took a chance on it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Twofer

Two quotes for the price of one:

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.
       -- Paul Gauguin

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
       -- T. S. Eliot

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yawn

I really, really, really have nothing to say. Or, whatever I have to say is spoken and not written. Or, I'm just boring. Which is the most likely explanation.

Quotes worth repeating, volume XVLIII

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

          -- Thomas Jefferson, to Archibald Stuart, 1791

Friday, June 02, 2006

Widely applicable quotes, episode XVIII

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."

           -- Mark Twain, Letter to Mrs Foote, Dec. 2, 1887

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Things are going well

And they are very glad to have us there:
U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women — one of them about to give birth — when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday. Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Which do you care more about?

Which makes you feel worse: an apartment building fire a mile away from you that kills ten people, or this:
An earthquake that shook the area around the ancient royal city of Yogyakarta [in Indonesia] on Saturday killed more than 2,700, a government official said.

Why?

Monday, May 22, 2006

It's not that I don't believe, it's that I don't care

After reading this post at LRC, wherein the writer relates his former "militant atheism", I was reminded of the following quote by Eric Hoffer:
The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.

Others who likewise don't care should consider visiting The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Exit singer

A sad event. Sorta. New singer made it through round one of auditions. Now let's see how he does with other stuff at our next practice.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My Kind of Menu

Brad Edmonds knows how to eat:
If I were to open my own pub, I’d be famous instantly. The fat nannies would faint like antebellum plantation debutantes – cue the southern-belle sotto-voce drawl: “Oh, daddy, I believe I’m getting the vapors” – upon reading my lunch menu:

From Mulligan’s in Georgia: The Hamdog [a hot dog wrapped in a beef patty, all deep fried, then slapped on a bun, covered in chili and cheese, and topped with a fried egg].

From McGuire’s in Florida: The Liverwurst Sandwich, an entire pound of braunschweiger with raw onions, rye bread, and mustard.

From Denny’s Pub in Pennsylvania: The 15-lb cheeseburger (I’ll give it to you for free if you can eat it without leaving the table; 2-hour time limit).

For the more traditional half-pound, 3/4-pound, and one-pound burgers, my available toppings would include cheese, bacon, liverwurst, duck liver pate, caviar, fried eggs, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, pork barbecue, roast duck, sushi, sashimi, oysters, extra salt, and anything else anyone wants to order made from animals that walk, gallop, swim, slither, fly, or whatever it is that crabs do.

Doctors recommend exercise. Merely lifting my plate-wrecking sandwiches to your mouth will qualify as exercise.

For the dinner menu: Family-style entire roast beasts; 7-layer meat casseroles; bundt-pan-molded ground beef, pork, and veal, seasoned Italian style, covered in Parmesan cheese; deep-fried meatballs the size of your fist; steaks the size of your thigh. My waiters won’t have trays, they’ll have wheeled carts, perhaps motorized. My refrigerators and freezers will have to be the size of motor homes.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rush several songs into new album

Via The Rock Radio
Work has begun in earnest on a new Rush album. Singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson recently flew from Toronto to the mountains of Quebec to visit drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, who had sent them lyrics a few months ago. Peart wrote on his official neilpeart.com website, 'There were five song sketches -- guitar, vocals, and drum machine -- and I liked them all. I also noticed those songs already seemed to have a sort of unity, a stylistic approach of chord structures, rhythms, and vocal delivery that I could only describe as 'spiritual.'' Peart didn't explain what he meant by 'spiritual,' but he did say, 'It was wonderful that after 30 years of working together, we could still find different paths to explore together.' Peart also wrote, 'I'm going to spend the month of May in Toronto, where we have rented a small studio. It will be great to have the opportunity to work together on those songs, and hopefully some new ones, too... Lately I've been getting all inspired about 'hitting things with sticks.''

There's no word on when the album might come out, but Lifeson previously told us that he expected it sooner rather than later: 'Hopefully we'll be done by summer -- I mean, all of us are really hoping that we'll be done by summer. I think the juices are starting to flow, and there's an excitement about getting back to work.'

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reasonable questions

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

If you're reading this post, it is not directed at you

Get over it. Get over the drama. Get over yourself and grow up.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sometimes...

Sometimes the petty annoyances of life pile one atop the next in a seemingly neverending cascade of unpleasantness. The torrent of minor frustrations combine and compound until they gradually overwhelm the senses and become the sum of life's existence. At times like these, I must forcefully remind myself of why continuing matters, else not continuing seems a viable method of neutralizing all that is negative.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A project for the industrious

How to destroy the Earth:

Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.

You've seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You've heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.

Fools.

The Earth is built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily. So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do NOT think this will be easy.

This is not a guide for wusses whose aim is merely to wipe out humanity. I (Sam Hughes) can in no way guarantee the complete extinction of the human race via any of these methods, real or imaginary. Humanity is wily and resourceful, and many of the methods outlined below will take many years to even become available, let alone implement, by which time mankind may well have spread to other planets; indeed, other star systems. If total human genocide is your ultimate goal, you are reading the wrong document. There are far more efficient ways of doing this, many which are available and feasible RIGHT NOW. Nor is this a guide for those wanting to annihilate everything from single-celled life upwards, render Earth uninhabitable or simply conquer it. These are trivial goals in comparison.

This is a guide for those who do not want the Earth to be there anymore.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Yawn

Man, I really have nothing to say. Let's see, what's going on? Oh, I ended up having to fire that guy. So now I'm doing his work as well as mine until we have a replacement.

And we're looking for a new singer for my band. The current one is unaware of this. Purchased a used bass amp head and I'm awaiting delivery of a new speaker cabinet to mate with it. Then I'll probably sell my current combo amp.

Other than those things, nothing much going on to report. Or far far too much to report, depending on your outlook.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A night at CBGB

So last night was The Big Night. My wife and I packed up the car with my equipment, and after ensuring the kids were in bed and the sitter well-situated, off we went. It was a drizzly night. After reaching downtown Manhattan and finding the club, we drove around for a while looking for parking and eventually found a garage a few blocks away. It's a good thing I bought a dolly for my amp, because that is one heavy piece of equipment, and the geniuses who designed it neglected to include any wheels, so I've given my arms and back a good workout getting to our previous gigs. I wheeled everything over, met my bandmates out front, and after exchanging some smalltalk, in we went.

It's a small, dingy, dirty, narrow place. The stage is a good long way away from the door. Some kind of metal / hardcore band was playing when we arrived. The singer was doing a fair Iggy Pop impersonation. I lugged my gear back to one of the "dressing rooms" and left it there while I went back out front with my wife and the guys in the band. We hung and talked and listened to the band, who was finishing up with their set. After they were done, we waited for them to clear their equipment off the stage. And it was our turn.

I hauled out my amp and bass and lifted them up onto the stage. Not much setup for me, other than plugging in and using my stage tuner to make sure I'm in tune. My bass is really solid when it comes to staying in tune. It was still right on from my last gig, even with the long car ride. Drummer, guitarist, singer all set up. The venue has an actual sound engineer who runs the PA and the board. He came back and miked us all up. A mike for my bass amp, for the guitarist, the singer, and a separate mike for each of the drums in the drummer's kit. He set our levels quickly, and after the singer and I exchange a few words about how it was so cool to be playing on the same stage where Talking Heads, The Ramones, Blondie and countless others had gotten their start, it was time.

We played our full set of originals, leaving out the few covers we do (CBGB only allows original material). We played very well. We sounded really good. Sure, I made a couple of errors, but that's ok. There were very few people there, maybe a dozen, but they enjoyed us and gave us a good reception.

When it was done, I was tired and hot and sweaty, but pumped full of adrenaline. The adrenaline lasted me most of the drive home, but by the time we got there, I was ready to collapse. Which I did. I slept away half the morning and got into the office by 1PM (which was OK, as I had requested the morning off already).

All in all, it was a pretty great night.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I've left the ecosystem

I am now a transnatural being. I've deleted the code that shows where I am in the food chain of The Truth Laid Bear ecosystem. I forget how high I'd gotten, but when I saw that I was demoted back down to Multicellular Organism, I decided the hell with it, I don't need the additional load time on my page just to tell me that I'm a loser, blog-wise.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Call Me The Seeker

With apologies to The Who

You Are a Seeker Soul

You are on a quest for knowledge and life challenges.
You love to be curious and ask a ton of questions.
Since you know so much, you make for an interesting conversationalist.
Mentally alert, you can outwit almost anyone (and have fun doing it!).

Very introspective, you can be silently critical of others.
And your quiet nature makes it difficult for people to get to know you.
You see yourself as a philosopher, and you take everything philosophically.
Your main talent is expressing and communicating ideas.

Souls you are most compatible with: Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul

Pretty right on with my own self-assessment.

Source: Ruth

Yay for Google! Again!

I think this is the greatest thing in the world, but how long until the government sues them to make them stop?
What if Google wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America? And what if it had technology capable of targeting advertising to a user's precise location? The gatekeeper of the world's information could become one of the globe's biggest Internet providers and one of its most powerful ad sellers, basically supplanting telecoms in one fell swoop. Sounds crazy, but how might Google go about it?

First it would build a national broadband network--let's call it the GoogleNet--massive enough to rival even the country's biggest Internet service providers. Business 2.0 has learned from telecom insiders that Google is already building such a network...

So once the GoogleNet is built, how would consumers connect for free access? One of the cheapest ways would be for Google to blanket major cities with Wi-Fi, and evidence gathered by Business 2.0 suggests that the company may be trying to do just that.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Crossing the threshold

I am now officially a professional musician. Fifteen dollars isn't a lot of money to make, but still...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Thank goodness we liberated them

VOA News - Afghan Man Faces Execution After Converting to Christianity

An Afghan man who recently admitted he converted to Christianity faces the death penalty under the country's strict Islamic legal system. The trial is a critical test of Afghanistan's new constitution and democratic government.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Is it the most well-known club in the world?

Maybe it is, maybe not (who cares, actually?). But CBGB (& OMFUG) was the primordial ooze from which sprang such luminaries as Talking Heads, The Ramones, and Blondie. And we're playing there in a week. Granted, it's just an audition night, but still.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hey Anthony Gregory!

Plug me again! My visits increase more than tenfold when you link to me over on LRC.

Just a few minutes late

I missed it by just five minutes (in my time zone at least), but yesterday was Pi Day.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Drama

Must bands be so full of drama? Witness the following:

  • Band on the brink of dissolving recruits awesome new bass player (ahem), rehearses the songs they have played before, bass player kicks butt, they play a couple of open-mic nights, and they kick ass.
  • Band decides they must record songs in a good studio to help promote themselves
  • Band works on new songs to expand set list so they can play a full set
  • Working on new songs goes slower than hoped, so guitarist says we should hold off for a while on the recording
  • Singer has hissy fit, yells at guitarist, gives him all kinds of crap about his behavior to date (most of which the kick-ass bassist has not witnessed, him being new and all)
  • Guitarist quits
  • Bassist convinces guitarist to continue, but guitarist says new singer must be had. Bassist somewhat reluctantly agrees.
  • Singer calls bassist trying to court bassist to join up with him.
  • Singer and guitarist have extensive e-mail hate-fest.
  • Bassist contacts different singer he knows asking if new singer wishes to join band. New singer tentatively agrees, since he likes band, but then declares he's too busy (which he is) to give it the attention it deserves.
  • Guitarist sends e-mail to singer saying he'll give him one more chance.
So I've gone from being in a kick ass band, to the band no longer existing, to convincing the guitarist to continue, to the singer trying to convince me to join him, to the guitarist, drummer, and I trying to find a new singer while the guitarist and singer trash each other via e-mail, to now seeing the possibility of reconciliation.

If I didn't think we really sounded awesome, I probably wouldn't put up with such drama. My old band was completely devoid of any kind of drama whatsoever. We were also so incredibly mediocre that I couldn't stay with them. So if the choice is between mediocre with no drama and excellence with drama, I'll stick with the drama as long as I can take it.

Well, natch

You Are New York

Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.

Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Important notice from the Department of Duh

Study Warns Women About Spring Break - Yahoo! News

83 percent of college women and graduates surveyed by the AMA said spring break involves heavier-than-usual drinking, and 74 percent said the break results in increased sexual activity.

I am shocked, shocked I say!

Meme of Fours

Despite my protest about the use of the term "memes", Anthony Gregory of LRC (and many other places) tagged me (the bastard), so here goes:

Four jobs I've had:

Stockboy at 7-11
Camp Counsellor
Cashier at fast food joint
Software developer / manager

Four movies I can watch over and over:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Godfather and Godfather Part II (but not III)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Brazil

Four places I've lived:

Long Island, NY
Upstate NY
that's it

Four TV shows I love:

Deadwood
The Sopranos
The Odd Couple
M*A*S*H

Four highly regarded and recommended TV shows I haven't seen:

House
The Office
My Name is Earl
Nip/Tuck

Four of my favorite dishes:

Fettucine Alfredo
Spaghetti and Meatballs
A well-prepared hamburger
Grilled cheese with bacon

Four sites I visit daily:

Reason's Hit and Run
Lew Rockwell
Suze's blog
Wikipedia

Four Places I've Vacationed:

The Grand Canyon
Disneyworld (Orlando, FL)
Williamsburg, VA
Hershey, PA

Four albums I can't live without:

Rush - Moving Pictures
Rush - Vapor Trails
some Beatles collection
I ought to be able to think up a fourth, but my moods and tastes change so often I can't think of another essential album...

Four places I'd rather be right now:

Lying on a beach being served a cool drink
In a jazz club listening to a band
In bed
Where I am right now, at home with my family

Four new bloggers I'm tagging:

Ruth
Suze
Audrey
and anyone else reading this

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Because sometimes you just have to do something like this...

The Sarong Theorem Archive




Saturday, March 04, 2006

Calling Paracelsus

In a Yahoo News article discussing the upcoming availability of hydrogen-powered cars
There are still a number of barriers to the commercialization of hydrogen-powered cars. One is the infrastructure cost of building refueling stations. Another big challenge is reducing the cost of obtaining hydrogen itself, which has to be extracted from fossil fuels, such as carbon, or from water.

Let's leave aside for a moment the fact that carbon is not exactly a fossil fuel. Now, short of alchemy, can someone please explain to me how we are to obtain hydrogen from carbon?

Monday, February 27, 2006

A failure to communicate

As a followup to "Managing sucks", I submit the following:
  • Person is told via e-mail, "Here is the updated list of things you need to accomplish within your probationary period. Please indicate your receipt and acceptance of this list."
  • Person responds, "Yes I have received your e-mail."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Puzzled children of low moral character

You may not always agree with him, but Fred Reed is always an entertaining read:
The great fallacy of childhood is the belief that grownups must know what they are doing. There is no evidence for this in the historical record. You would do better by grabbing a government at random from the denizens of a rural high school. Democracy brings us twerps, psychopaths, ambitious ciphers, short men, and well-born drones. They are what they are. They can’t change any more than a leper can change his spots. I need some really strong drugs or someone to hit me on the head with a rubber mallet. Opium is the religion of the masses. Let us pray.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Managing sucks

Being a manager sucks overall. Some people get off on it, but not me. I just want to do my thing and not worry about being responsible for the work of others.

I just had to give one of my staff members the warning letter. I.e., the letter which states you've been screwing up, and you have thirty days to stop it, work effectively, and communicate appropriately, or you're gone. One aspect of "communicating appropriately" means being non-adversarial with your supervisor(s) when being criticized about your work. So upon being given the warning letter, he promptly accused my boss of being incompetent to judge whether he has been taking too long on his issues, and accused me of being a liar for saying his documentation was not up to the level of others on the team. And then he asks my boss if he can have a private conversation with him, without me. My boss said yes and later asked me if I was ok with that. I said yes, because I knew that even though this guy would try his best to trash me, there's very little that he would be able to criticize. The worst that he could get me for is that I'm somewhat disconnected from what he's doing -- I'm not intimately aware of every technical aspect of every issue on his plate. And I shouldn't have to be. They're his issues to complete.

Non-adversarial.

Is he gonna try accusing me of crap like having seen me browsing or IM'ing when I could have been working instead? Please. He takes a half-hour break every morning for breakfast and every afternoon. A bunch of people do. Officially, people are supposed to be allowed to take 15 minute breaks in the AM and PM, but a number of people have let it get stretched out to half an hour each time. Plus lunch is routinely an hour and a quarter, an hour and a half. Do I take AM and PM breaks? No. Guess where I take my lunch 4 days out of 5. That's right, at my desk. And besides, I can't count the number of times I've walked past his desk and saw him running something in his browser down towards the bottom of his screen where most people couldn't see it...

And now I'm here blogging this, because all of this is preventing me from being able to sleep.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

This one time, in band camp...

So I'm in a new band now (I told you about my old band right?), and I'm loving this band. My old one was doing covers of hard rock tunes... mediocrely. After being with them for six or seven months or so, we were still mediocre, and the other guys didn't seem to have any drive to go out and play gigs. I had to push them, and that's not a position I wanted to be in. So I shopped myself around, found a band that played original metal tunes -- though they had been on hiatus for six months or so -- and needed a bassist. A much better band. A much better situation. After four practices we played our first show -- an open mike night at a local bar -- and we were very well received, even tho the audience seemed more like a classic rock crowd. Two days later we played an open mike night at another place. A tiny little place. But, they were our crowd. A bunch of young metal heads. They loved us.

Oh, and after our first gig, the guy running the show grabbed us and insisted on booking us for one of his Saturday night shows next month -- a paying gig. Now we need to write more songs...

It was a good move.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

War is a scam

Lew Rockwell
War is a scam whose foundation is lies. That is why dissenters are so dangerous.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I have seldom seen such nonsense

Following an odd advertising link on a site I was reading today, I came across the "Crystal Clear electron water/air machine". My eyes widened in shock, surprise, and sadness when I read the following on the page explaining what this machine does:
In the beginning, as the earth cooled down, clusters of water molecules gained Electrons and tremendous energy with every expansion-contraction... explaining Biblical ages! Patents and proprietary secrets show we have duplicated that process with properties so unique we can prove in court it’s our water! These properties can also be used to expose a scam!! Today, water LACKS ENERGY because there is very little expansion-contraction AND THAT’S WHY VITAMIN/MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS PRODUCE NO RESULTS (see below).

Ordinary distilled is the worst because KEEPING WATER AT THE BOILING POINT FOR HOURS DRIVES OFF ELECTRONS NEEDED TO LIVE... it’s biologically dead, nothing will grow, fish die... it’s NOT “distilled like in nature” and yet people drink this water?? To get around the boiling problem, we boil for ONLY SECONDS (expand) and then cool about 80 degrees (contract), repeating several times a minute, GAINING ENERGY WHILE DUPLICATING NATURE’S PROCESS!!

Holy crap. I wonder if Randi knows about this one. I think it's time to notify him.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Man, the universe is pretty, um, big

From The Atlas of the Universe:
* Number of superclusters in the visible universe = 10 million
* Number of galaxy groups in the visible universe = 25 billion
* Number of large galaxies in the visible universe = 350 billion
* Number of dwarf galaxies in the visible universe = 3.5 trillion
* Number of stars in the visible universe = 30 billion trillion (30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)

So if intelligent life exists around one in a trillion stars (0.0000000001 percent of stars), then there are 30 billion planets with intelligent life in the universe. Is one in a trillion still overestimating the likelihood of intelligent life?

By the way, check out that site -- the map of the large scale structure of the universe is worth the price of admission.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Help Steve Kubby

Link via Lew Rockwell:
As many of you are already aware, Steve Kubby—a prominent medical marijuana activist, former Libertarian candidate for governor of California and contender for the LP's 2000 vice-presidential nomination—was forced to return to the US from Canada yesterday and is now in the custody of our beloved drug warriors.

Steve will die without his medicine—and odds are he isn't going to get it in jail. Time is of the essence. What I'm about to propose may not seem like much, but it's better than sitting around feeling powerless and it may do some good. It's time to create some buzz about Steve outside the libertarian and the medical marijuana activist communities. You can help do that at no financial cost ... just a few minutes of your time:

1) Point your browser at www.technorati.com and search for the phrase 'Steve Kubby.' That in itself does some good—we've pushed Steve's name to number 9 on the list of top searches at Technorati, the blogosphere's search engine of record, which should elicit more coverage, more attention, etc. But there's more:

2) When the search results come up, visit the blog articles listed

AND

3) 'Bookmark' any or all of those articles on any or all of the following sites:

http://del.icio.us/
http://www.furl.net/
http://www.simpy.com/
http://www.spurl.net/
http://www.reddit.com/
http://www.blinklist.com/

All of the sites above feature material on their front pages based on how popularity—how many people 'bookmarked' that material. Even 100 'bookmarks' or so will get Steve Kubby's name and story on their front pages for awhile, where it will be noticed by more bloggers.

No, the blogosphere can't save Steve Kubby by itself, but it can draw attention to his case, get activists pumped up to do other things to help, and help attract 'mainstream media' attention. The first step is to get people asking who the hell Steve Kubby is. Once they ask -- and have an answer—they're more likely to act.

Thanks in advance.

Regards,
Tom Knapp
thomaslknapp@yahoo.com

Friday, January 27, 2006

Justifications to follow

Documents Show Army Seized Wives As Tactic
The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of 'leveraging' their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

...

n one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspect's house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.

"During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," wrote the 14-year veteran officer.

He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.

"The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing," the intelligence officer wrote. She was held for two days and was released after he complained, he said.

Now that the conservative / right / republicans have defended torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretapping, and a few more things in the name of protecting our "freedoms" (not to mention the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis), I can't wait to see the justifications for this to start. If it even rises to any level of attention in the media.

Here's a thought experiment: If the painful, prolonged torture (I mean real torture, pick anything that *you* would consider torture) of ten innocent children would ensure no further 9/11's, would it be the right thing to do?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Following a good lead

In the tradition of Dave Barry, this is the inaugural edition of ALTG's "... would be a good name for a rock band." Our first entry is... The Monkey Cops.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm the New York Times

I'm a technology manager in a non-technology company. When speaking with one of the company executives recently, I was told that a "liaison" would be fielding some of the calls which ordinarily would come to me, so that there are no misunderstandings due to non-tech folks trying to communicate their issues and needs to a tech critter such as myself.

Now, I take a reasonable amount of pride in my communication skills. I am able to navigate my way through a board of directors meeting with relative ease and not come across as a buffoon or a completely unskilled, socially awkward nerd.

So I mentioned this to a coworker, and she recognized how little I need a "buffer" between myself and the sales drones. To illustrate this, she told me, "You're like the New York Times and everyone else is the Daily News".

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The world is surreal

Via BLABBERMOUTH.NET
Last September, while on the SS Professor tour, Lorne Wheaton, RUSH drummer Neil Peart's tech, stated that Neil will be making an appearance on 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' sometime in the future. It turns out that Peart won't just be appearing in an episode, but in fact will appear in the big-screen movie coming later in 2006. In a recent interview with creators Matt Maeillaro and Dave Willis, Maeillaro stated, 'We got Neil Peart to be in it. The drummer from RUSH. No, we didn't get Geddy Lee. We didn’t need him for this. We're waiting for the sequel for Geddy Lee,' while Willis quipped, 'We're done with Geddy Lee. Geddy Lee missed his opportunity. Now we'll put everyone in the movie, but Geddy Lee.'

For those who are unsure what this all means, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" is a cartoon geared towards adults which runs on Cartoon Network in the US. "Rush" is a band. Neil Peart is Rush's drummer. Geddy Lee is Rush's singer and bassist. The "SS Professor tour" was a tour in which the drumset used by Peart on Rush's 30th anniversary tour last year ("R30") toured the US. Yes, just his drumset. Big drumset.

Why is this news? If you have to ask, then you wouldn't understand even if I explained it.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Vital traffic statistics

Further review of my blog traffic indicates that, at least for the moment, a posting on this blog is the twentieth ranked result on Yahoo for the search term "horse poop".

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The grammar police

From The Times Online:
Alert readers will have spotted that I am not averse to beginning sentences with conjunctions or ending them with prepositions. Indeed, I applaud the rather gauche young man from the Deep South who, I was told when I was writing my book, won a scholarship to Harvard. On his first day there he approached a couple of elegant young New Englanders who clearly knew their way around.

“Hey y’all. Can you tell me where the library’s at?” One of them looked down at him with disdain and sneered: “At Harvard, we tend not to end sentences with prepositions.”

The young man thought for a moment. “OK,” he said. “Can you tell me where the library’s at . . . asshole?”

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Un-unpopular

I learned from the referrers on my traffic log today that one of my postings is the number one search result on Yahoo for the term Unpopular Blogs. How ironically refreshing.

Welcome

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