Monday, February 28, 2005

Compile time link: Punk my Baby

Nothing like a long compile to get one to check the feeds. Punk Accoutrement for Baby, via Boing Boing.

Face to the World

What's up with the AP wire? Check this out: Box: Anglers Turn to 'Hardwater Fishing'. I'm going to have to give AP the Face to the World today.

daily dose of w

Mr. Vice President, in all due respect, it is -- I'm not sure 80% of the people get the death tax. I know this: 100% will get it if I'm the president.

GWB
17 Oct 2000
From Presidential Debate in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Peak Oil Optimist and The Ergosphere

Just stashing a couple of links for followup: Peak Oil Optimist and The Ergosphere. POO (acronym fortunate or unfortunate?) has some nice links I need to cache somewhere, too. Both cats seem sharp and and rational.

Update: Peak Oil Blog.
Update: Peak Oil: Slashdot style forum for peak oil issues.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Are you Rapture Ready?

Just in case you were wondering when the rapture would be upon us, there is a cat who's promulgating The Rapture Index. What's The Rapture Index? According to the site, it's "the prophetic speedometer of end-time activity". As of posting, it's up to 153 due to some new activity in the occult sector:

A study by City University of New York noted a jump in the number of adult Pagans, from 8,000 in 1990 to 274,000 in 2001.

Pagans! Record high: 182 24 Sep 2001. Record low: 97 12 Dec 1993. Celine and I were in Barbados on the first day of our honeymoon during the record high.

Face to the World

We're gettting outed by a couple of kid from Cornwall. Richard Smith and Luke Bateman are road tripping across the US breaking stupid laws. Whaling in Utah. Napping in South Dakota cheese factories. All fifty states win the coveted Face to the World.

I wish I had thought of that when I was young and smart.

Here's an idea. All laws expire every 10 years. If it's a good law, it'll get re-upped.

Greatest Band in Any Space-Time Continuum

That would be Electric Six. Electric Six, you ask? Yes. See what google brings you. Yeah, I know that video is old news, but the lyrics and weeda rule all beings in all space-time continnui. Electric Six also have a Cabbagetown connection. They played a gig with a band called The Hiss, who E6 described as "having a bluesy rock thing going on" and "their own swimming pool". The Hiss played a gig at The Art Farm (watch your eyes!), thus the Cabbagetown connection. The Hiss is going to play a gig at The Star Bar 4 March. No Atlanta gigs for E6 in the forseeable future, dadgummit.

Friday, February 25, 2005

W's Letter to the "China Guy"

Ever since Hunter S Thompson performed the "will my head keep my .44 automag from knocking a hole in my William S Burroughs collection some 12 feet away" experiment (result: no), I've had the great fortune/misfortune of channeling both of their savage and rambunctious spirits. HST came to me in a dream, obviously agitated, clutching a banana daiquiri, a piece of paper, and a sweet Luger with the loveliest cherry grips you have ever seen. I asked him if he came to give me a drink or to prove that 9mm is hi-power enough when it comes to slack-ass, out of shape hackers. Turns out, neither. He had, through copious application of cocaine and calling in some favors from folks in the little black book that the little black book which thought it was the little black book that the little black book didn't know about, didn't know about, come into possession of a letter from W himself to the "China Guy", and he wanted to read his new found treasure to me. Turns out that he had a whole goddamn pitcher of those banana daiquris, laced with who knows what, but my memory is an iron trap and I've got the recitation:

Dear China Guy, [Ed: Wen Jiabao?]

Lookee here, we got a problem over here in The States [Ed: I remember that the capitalized "The States"]. Seems like our old people just goddamn don't know when to die, pardon my blasphemy. Well, me and my posse, we've got a plan. Trouble is, we've got a bunch of goddamn snot nosed youngsters to placate as well, pardon my blasphemy. So here's the deal: in order for us to rip the guts out of that goddamn communist social security program, and by communist I mean Stalin, not anything Chinese, or communist like that, and by goddamn I mean, pardon my blasphemy, I need you to buy, oh, about two trillion dollars worth of US T notes.

Now Condi, Condi is my "workout partner", Secretary of Strange, and she kicks the technocrat ass of all of those liberal fuck nuts at Foggy Bottom. What kind of gay-ass name is Foggy Bottom, anyway? Maybe I can get my friend Jeff Gannon a job over there. Ain't nothin' foggy about his bottom, not that I think about that kind of stuff. Where was I? Oh yeah, so Condi tells me that there is no way that you're going to do this, because, to you, it would appear that we'd just take your money to fund a foreign policy designed to thwart you from accessing the oil you need to fuel your economy, that, despite the sundried tricks you've played to cool it off, has been growing like kudzu on a shit farm. I told her, whoa there my little broncette! China Guy danced with Laura one time, or two. I think he even grabbed her ass a little. Now, if that is some punk-ass Senator like that loser (what a LOSER) Kerry, I would have kicked his ass, and maybe paid for some hospital time to get him back on his feet so I could kick his ass some more. China Guy danced with Laura and grabbed her ass, but I said cool, because, like me, he's cool. He da man. He knows that I would never knowingly approve of a foreign policy designed to keep him from the oil he needs to drive his economy, and I would be goddamned if I did it with his money! Pardon the blasphemy.

So, China Guy, please by some securities, and I'll bring Jenna over for some dancing. I can't wait to see you again! You da man!

Your MAN (the only MAN) in DC,

W

PS: Dear China Guy, please find Christ, because if you don't you and 1.3 billion little yellow people and one motherfucking huge yellow person are going to burn in hell. Luvya W

Entendre thy name is Aseff

I love it when I throw down the gauntlet and someone picks up said gauntlet and smacks me upside the head with it. Behold Wild Sects, the brainchild of John Aseff.

About John: John is a padna in crime when it comes to calling hypocrisy by its name. Smart, funny, and with a little edge, he makes life go down better.

Naughty bit: his cell phone does the 24 deet-deet-deeeeeeee-booooooop, never failing to crack me up.

Permutations

My tootise pop.
Tootsie my pop.
Pop my tootsie.

Complete pandemonium in the office... we need to get all of the stuff of off the floor for the floor cleaners and it's pandemonium!

WWGD: What Would Google Do

Lunchtime Experiment: Search for Jesus and X

Results are presented X (number of hits) (notable google results)

Let's start with the old school dialectic:
 
poor 2.66 M No ads
rich 2.16 M tip: try finding maps with address or zip code

Looks like the rich are movin' in on the turf. The poor had better watch out!

New school dialectic:
 
homosexual 444 K No ads
heterosexual 200 K Lucky Baby Jesus ad
gay 1.57 M helovesyouministry.org ad *
straight 1.71 M Jesus 101 class ad

* helovesyouministry.org supporting text:
Whoever told you Jesus hates gays is off his rocker.

Almost identical totals if you sum it up. Can this mean something?

Jesus in action:
 
saves 470 K wholesale gold Jesus Saves pins and
Jesus Saves Jesus Swings CD ads
loses 432 K Jesus responds to Job book ad

I wonder how the 0.521 save percentage compares to other deities...
 
Cthulhu: 0.562
Buddha: 0.543 (not a diety, but plays large)
Allah: 0.523
Satan: 0.403

At least he can whip his old nemisis.

Acronyms that you find in the news and on conspiracy websites, in descending order of hits:
 
cia 470 K COLD WARRIOR ads
gop 326 K MSNBC Jesus and Jack Daniel's in the I feel lucky slot.
aclu 177 K Communist for Kerry, Boing Boing 1 and 2
wwjd 101 K 0.875 WWJD Ichthys charm ad
nsa 90 K Lost Books of the Bible ad (really!)
nra 75 K Pungent Pulpiteering ad (WTF?)
aarp 54 K Blog entry link featuring hiccups and blasphemy.
jfc 7 K Jesus Fan Club in I feel lucky slot (that's nice)

Jeff Gannon

David Corn has a take on the Jeff Gannon affair worth reading. Subscribe to The Nation -- it's good for you. Note to self: I gotta figure out how to get a cut if people actually do...

daily dose of w

I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness.

GWB
30 Aug 2000
From an CNN online chat.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Robots and the Elderly, The Robot and the Baby

Lunchtime Links: The Infectious Greed of Paul Kedrosky

I found Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed from a post on Barry Ritholtz's The Big Picture. Paul describes Infectious Greed as "musing about the money culture", but there's more to it than that. Much like PT Barnum's The Art of Money Getting, there's much more to it than the title might indicate.

Milk out the Nose: Steve Lindstrom Shamelessly Antagonizes

Steve Lindstrom, The Shameless Antagonist paid rantzilla a visit. I'm a sailor from birth, and I have to thank Steve for giving me the heads up.

daily dose of w

Every morning I wake up. And when I wake up I go to the Oval Office.

GWB
5 Jan 2001
Town Hall Meeting in Ontario, CA. Source: C-SPAN.

And when I go to the Oval Office, I play patty-cake with Andy Card. Then I take a nappy-nap.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Jeff Gordon Caught Reading, Further Enrages NASCAR Nation

This is another installment of Note from a Neighbor. Neighbor Jonathan Abner Tobias Pissoff, XIV, great-great-great-great-great grandson of the J A T Pissoff made famous by Ed Sanders' The Illiad on The Big Ball found out that I had a blog, and requested that I "tell the cheese eating liberal Frenchies on the dubya dubya dubya about the latest Jeff Gordon outrage!" Johnny once picked up a cheeseburger wrapper that he dropped in front of my house, so I figured I owed him one. What follows is my best recollection of what he told me, but told in the first person. Easier for me to remember that way.

My friend Mortise Farthingsworth -- you may have heard of him, as he's the Major General, CSA Third Army out of Kennesaw and president and CEO of Southern Tactical Correctional Solutions, LLC. Mortise is up in New York City at that security contractors convention. He was on his way to meet some South African clients when he saw Jeff Gordon in a Starbucks. That's right -- number 24 Jeff Gordon, the sumbitch. He was reading, I think I got this right, the New York Review of Books. Did you know that Gordon lives in Manhattan? He does. Mortise said he was wearin' black sweater and was sippin' on a chai latte, whatever that is, reading. Reading the New York Review of Books. I mean, what is the New York Review of Books? I bet he had a beret on too. (Note: I suggested to Johnny with a wink that I'd bet it wasn't a green beret, to which he responded "You're goddamn right it wasn't! Pardon my blasphemy.") You want a book to review? Review the bible!

I don't know what sort of cheatin' Gordon engaged in, but there is no way that 24 beat my man Little E and that cheatin' bastard Tony Stewart in a fair fight at Daytona, where, God rest his soul, The Intimidator met his eternal reward. So, that transplant Yankee takes the Daytona trophy to Hillary Clinton's town? Bill Clinton's town? What if Bill Clinton, or, Hillary actually touch it? What if he takes the trophy to Clinton's office in Harlem? Jesus help us. What if he fornicates on it, or, ugh, in it? Dale woulda kicked his ass for even thinkin' about it. Gordon's too. Both of them at the same time.

NASCAR needs to ban that book readin' chai latte sippin' Yankee Jeff Gordon from racin' and declare 24 the number of the beast.

You know Gordon is gay. What do you think all of that Rainbow Warrior stuff is about?

Face to the World

W in action in Europe. No tomfoolery humorous enough on The Guardian worthy of the rantzilla faithful.

Juan Cole on Democracy Now!

Caught Juan Cole with Amy Goodman on WRFG on the way home from work. Juan Cole's Informed Comment is an invaluable resource for those who seek a deeper understanding of what's happening in Iraq and the Middle East. Democracy Now! is a great source for news lying outside the mainstream coverage, but shouldn't be. Get to hear from Robert Fisk, Greg Palast, and others from time to time. WRFG is the community radio station nestled not far from our Cabbagetown digs in neighboring Little Five Points.

Post-oil options

The Engineer Poet takes a look at some energy options for a post-oil economy, with some poetry thrown in. Much, much higher signal to noise ratio than you find here on rantzilla.

Pair of Flip-Flops: Bush and Brooks

David Brooks. No, he's not a shrill blonde harpy (never to be named). I force myself to read him, Kristol, and others just to see what they're up to, and it's seldom anything good. Finally, Brooks is talking, just a wee bit, like an old-school conservative. Have a gander at what DB had to say about W:

Perhaps the benefits should be limited to those earning up to 200 percent of the level at the poverty line. Perhaps the costs should be capped at $400 billion through other benefit adjustments. These ideas are akin to what the candidate George Bush proposed in 2000.

But the White House is threatening to veto anything they do! President Bush, who hasn't vetoed a single thing during his presidency, now threatens to veto something - and it's something that might actually restrain the growth of government. He threatens to use his first veto against an idea he himself originally proposed!

Have we entered another world, where up is down and rationality is irrational?


David Brooks? Is it really you? An how 'bout that cheap plastic no-good flip-flop, W style?

My Crystal Ball Says... DOH!

On 1 November 2004, I challenged the daily dosers to make predictions. Dan Chapman and John McCosh answered the call. I've summarized the results in styles that reflect the spirit and form the predictions were made. Kudos for Dan and John for the style and accuracy I didn't deliver.

Me


In a tight popular vote, JFK wins by a fairly wide electoral margin.

Uh, yeah. Tight popular vote was a hit, JFK and electoral margin were misses.


GWB appoints successor to Rehnquist, Scalia becomes Chief Justice.

Jury still out on this one.


Invasion of Fallujah starts at dawn, Iraq time, with some shock and awe this PM.

Started on the 7th. In hindsight, a little too cynical and pissed off to think rationally about this at the time.


70% of the voters in GA approve constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

76.2. I'll take this one.


Dan Chapman


N - Kerry by 3 points
Y - Thune wins SD
Y - Burr wins NC
Y - Martinez wins Fla
Y - Bunnings wins Ky
N - Dem wins Alaska senate seat
Y - Falcons make the playoffs
N - Eagles win super bowl

5/8... not too bad. Whipped my ass.

John McCosh

Everything following this is belongs to John, presented without comment:

Prediction: GWB wins the electoral and popular vote, but Osama bin Laden files suit in behalf of the Kerry campaign over balloting snafus in Wisconsin. Family gatherings during the holidays are once again ruined by political disputes and all TVs are tuned to round the clock cable news from Eau Claire.

Prediction: Despite promises of restrained use of exit polling data, CBS anchor Dan Rather is unable to contain himself and announces at 7:43 p.m. EDT Tuesday that Al Gore appears to be winning the 2000 popular vote. He is unable to recall the name of Gore's running mate.

Prediction: Across the state of Georgia, rioting protesters furious over the defeat of the seemingly innocuous Amendment Two prompt Gov. Sonny Perdue to declare martial law.

Prediction: The leader of the Swift Boat Veterans appears on Good Morning America Wednesday to admit he is just a film student at UC Santa Barbara, the "veterans" in the Swift Boat ads are his student actor pals, and their whole campaign was a lark dreamed up over "I have no idea how many shots of Cuervo."

So you want to be a Warren Buffett

Benjie mentioned something about wanting to get a little more financially saavy. I'm a little wonky when it comes to economics, but generally steer clear of hard-core technical finance. Barry Ritholtz strikes a nice balance, and throws some interesting views about music (and more) along the way.

Masa versus the Missionary

Masa provides an interesting look at the rise of the missionary in Japan.

Greatest Band in Any Space-Time Continuum

Ween. Greatest album ever: GOD WEEN SATAN.

Jack Simms and AU Journalism

Celine and I headed to Manuel's last night for an Auburn Journalism Alumni, featuring the ever charming Jack Simms. The PR and marketing side is doing some interesting things with marcomblog. Journalists take note.

Like Mexico?

Do you like Mexico? I hope so, because W and his posse are working hard to bring the Mexican model to the US of A.

GeekSpeak: Ask Dr Aybabtu

Dear Dr Aybabtu,

Emacs or vi?

Vim Vigor


Dear Vim,

Mu!

One schmack upside your head, or two? Answer: at least eight. Please grok that the purpose of an operating system and computing hardware is to boostrap some form of emacs, and that modern vi implementations share more in common with old emacs implementations that with old vi implementations. With this were you enlightened? No. Vi users seldom are.

Dr Aybabtu

PS: If you'd like to ask Dr Aybabtu "mac or pc" or "bsd or linux" or "ginger or mary ann", please re-read the previous answer carefully, then please kindly get bent. DA

PPS: I wanted to use stronger language, but my editor shot me down. Dadgummit! DA

PPPS: Sorry about the dangling preposition in the previous PS. Ed.

daily dose of w

I've coined new words, like misunderstanding and Hispanically.

GWB
29 Mar 2001
From speech given at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

FINALLY! Georgia not in a Top Ten Shit List

Worst Cities, States for Diesel Exhaust. Loser states: NY, CA, PA. Loser cities: NYC, LA, Chicago.

Face to the World

Georgia one time with the obit Vandiver, Former Georgia Governor, Dies. Phrase that pays:

Former Gov. S. Ernest Vandiver, who won office vowing that ``no, not one'' black child would integrate a Georgia classroom, but went on to preside over peaceful desegregation, has died at age 86.

The first part of the sentance was, at the time, very popular with Whitey. Having the courage to keep UGA open wasn't. Some folks still think this way.

Geosnapper

Geosnapper looks like a pretty nifty service that lets you upload geo-tagged pictures to share and poke around by location and see what others have shot. I don't know anything about terms of service so won't say anything more than check it out. Geospatial information is not yet pervasive, but it's moving that way.

daily dose of w

The administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end.

GWB
10 Apr 2001
Washington, D.C.

Those dadgum solutions. I hate when they work.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Face to the World

W's home state of Texas wins today's Face to the World with Mexican Assassins a Threat in Texas. Doesn't get much sweeter than that. No, sir. It doesn't.

daily dose of w

Bush: "First of all, Cinco de Mayo is not the Independence Day. That's Dieciseis de Septiembre."
Matthews: "What's that in English?"
Bush: "Fifteenth of September."

GWB
31 May 2000

Dieciseis de Septiembre is September 16. Speaking on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews.

Fear and Loathing loses Gonzo Edge

Sunday, February 20, 2005

iZoo: Visit to the Lenox Mall Apple Store

We hauled our defective eMac off to the Apple store at Lenox Mall in scenic Buckhead. You've got to hand it to Steve Jobs. He's got a slough of people absolutely ga-ga over those goddamn iPods. There must have been 300 people in there fighting over the little devices that scream of their wearer-addicts "Excuse me if I ignore you because I'm in la-la land!" He's got these temples built to his products. Inside are bemohawked priests and pierced acolytes in jeans and black long-sleeve t-shirts, which he faithful instantly, reverently recognize as the ceremonial garb of St Steve. We had to make an online appointment for an audience with high priests, or Apple Genius in the Apple cant, at the Genius Bar. The Genii were in great demand, so we had some time to kill.

If you've never visited an Temple of Apple, I'll describe the layout. I'm sure that, despite differences in scale, they're likely all the same. Apple is nothing if not relentlessly homogeneous. The temple has six transepts devoted to different products, but are organized by quirky categories: music, photo, video, kids, home, and professional. There are three altars. The great altar, a giant projection screen, is centered in front of the nave, with a pulpit on the left. Pretty traditional, eh? The Genius Bar Altar is tucked away on the right. The most important of all is the one where they collect your money on the way out.

When one of the priests is not performing a ritual at the main altar, there is some Apple indoctrination propaganda material playing on the screen. One of the better ones was a pretentious bald guy dressed in -- wait for it -- the black long-sleeved t-shirt vestments of St Steve going on about the continuity of design elements between the iPod and iMac. He was trying to answer "what does this product say about it's consumer?" for the faithful without having them think too much about it. Wandering about the Temple with this in mind was enlightening.

The faithful can be segregated into two groups: iSheep and iWankers. iSheep are dumb, dumb, dumb. Example: people are dukin' it out in the music transept to try on an iPod. There is no one in the home transept, except a lonely acolyte watching over three iMacs and their matching iPod. Yup. If you're in the music transept, you're likely iSheep.

iWankers are not dumb, but they're more irritating. You can kick a iSheep, and it will get out of the way and leave you alone. iWankers come up to you and evangelize. I was trying to figure out how to do input of multibyte UCS codepoints in emacs. I had kicked off a terminal and reading the info browser in emacs. So, some iWanker comes over and tells me how Apple and OS X has rendered Unix "quaint". Quaint? Who the fuck are you, iWanker? Goddamn Alberto Gonzalez? I knew better than try to engage him, so I played the iSheep with "That Unix stuff is way over my head. I'm just closing this thing down so I can start Photoshop Elements SE Version 3!" There are only a few defenses against iWankers. A Sig Sauer P210 is a good one, but, alas, not an option in the Temple. Playing the iSheep is another, so I went with that one.

I've gotta run, but there's more to come.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Progressive Libertarianism

Mostly good. Protect the good bits. Note to self: explore ideas of Progressive Libertarianism.

Face to the World

How 'bout DC one time: Feds Warned About Fake News Videos. Things are pretty bad when the GAO has to warn the Gummint off propaganda. The bad thing is, kids don't get why this might be bad.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Face to the World

Slam dunk. Minnesota with Rowdy Minnesota Vulcans Come Under Fire.

Encoding geospatial information in URLs

I admit it. I'm a geowanker. It comes with the territory of someone trying to bring the joys of geospatial information to the world of PDF aficionados. Andy Armstrong had a couple of nifty ideas on the geowanking mailing list:

Now define a 'geo:' URL scheme that uses that representation as the address:

The location is <a href="geo:astbfqklzp">here</a>

Clicking on a link would take you to a map but it'd be your choice of map rather than the author of the original page's choice of map. You could, for example, set things up so that clicking on a geo: URL fired up your route planning software and started a new route with your home as the start point and the location described by the link as the destination.


If you use the Military Grid Reference System with WGS84 to encode the location, your system is now compatible with any GPS on the planet. If google puts a hacker or two on hacking Firefox to kick off a map search request, maybe with context from the content of the stuff between the a tags, can you say see ya, mapquest?

Here's another cool thing about using MGRS for the encoding. You can include implicit information about the scale by limiting the precision of the code. For instance, I'm hunkered down at 81 50 16.8W 36 25 51.5N, or MGRS 17SMA2488532078. That's probably overkill for the notion of Marietta, Cobb County, or Georgia. Say we want something to only 100 m resolution: 17SMA248320. Your zoom level has arrived...

This is cool.

daily dose of w

Presidents, whether things are good or bad, get the blame. I understand that.

GWB
11 May 2001
Washington, D.C.

What was his childhood like?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

You Pick the Post

I'm still getting used to the mechanics of Blogger, and the combination of new interface and typing on the edge of disaster, I do my share of pooch-screwing. The Better know Gung Fu post, I though, was lost to the aether. So, I did a rewrite. I'll leave them both up for a compare and contrast. Maybe I'll merge the two, maybe I'll nuke one. Let's hear what y'all think.

Rantzilla Scoops Boing Boing

You read about the bomb-making teacher here before those slackers over at Boing Boing did.

Better know Gung Fu before tangling with Inflamed Petrol Traders

Eagle-eyed Kyoto foe Jeff Harmon spotted Kyoto protest beaten back by inflamed petrol traders in The Times Online. If you are going to be an environmental activist, there are a couple of things you'll want to do before heading off to the WTO protest. The first is get acquainted with the conservation of energy, conservation of mass, and conservation of momentum, with maybe a dash of economics thrown in. A very nice framework for analysing these things is that of Odum's eMergy Evaluation. The second thing is to master gung fu. It's really embarassing to have your ass handed to you by a liquored-up petroleum trader, especially when it was you that picked the fight.

While global climate change is a very real and pressing problem, Kyoto is deeply flawed, and might even be counter productive. I'm skeptical of the differential treatment of developing and developed countries. Jeff is well suited to expound upon this...

Better know Gung Fu before tangling with Inflamed Petrol Traders

Eagle eyed Kyoto foe Jeff Harmon spotted Kyoto protest beaten back by inflamed petrol traders in The Times Online. Before you want to be an environmental activist, there are a couple of things you probably want to do. The first is try to get a handle on a few of concepts brought to us by physicists, namely conservation of mass, conservation of energy, and conservation of momentum. You can combine the first two, but we'll leave that for another time. The second is pick up a little gung fu. It's really embarrasing to have your ass handed to you by a liquored-up petroleum trader, especially when it's you that picked the fight.

Idealistic environmentalists who try to do the first usually say fuck it and head out to Burning Man.

Global climate change (and I'm not avoiding global warming to be PC, it's more complicated that than) is a serious and real thing. That doesn't keep Kyoto from being deeply flawed, and even counter productive. Jeff might expound more upon this. My beef is with the differential treatment of developing and developed countries.

Face to the World

Utah crosses the Face to the World finish line with Judge Upholds Ban on Polygamous Marriage. Though I enjoy my subscription to The Nation, I'm steeped in enough libertarian sensibility to think that if people really are consenting adults and they really want to do that, then, by all means, get married to as many people as you like. What we need to do as a civil society is punt marriage all together. Leave marriage up to churches, social communities, and individuals. If you want your marriage to be recognized by the Pope, then you have to do the Catholic shuck and jive. If you want your marriage recognize by me, then buy me a Frank Zappa album, and I'll recognize the marriage of you and your iguana. Since money is involved, government won't be able to get completely out of the civil union business, too, but the laws should be contractual and non-discriminatory.

daily dose of w

Our priorities is our faith.

GWB
10 Oct 2000
From campaign speech in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Our priorities isn't our grammar.
The worser wees is, the mores theys love us.
Praise be!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Sit! Sit! Goddamnit I said SIT!

According to Thomas Stinson of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution (we in the ATL call it the AJC), a German Shorthaired Pointer won Best in Show at the 129th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. There exists, perhaps, somewhere, a link to Mr Stinson's article, but I read the paper variety of the AJC. If you find the link, please let me know, and I'll update this for those who are interested.

In my experience, though limited, the GSP victory bodes ill. Before I get to that, however, let me call those Westminster folks out, right here, right up front. NONE of those dogs live in kennels. They only call it a kennel club because that's what they've been calling it for years. My grandfather had a dog named Trinka who looked a whole lot like the Canis Whoopedyourdoggiedogsbootiusminimus crowned by Westminster pupophiles, and that was the last dog I ever knew to actually call a kennel home. When she wasn't in a kennel, she was tromping the hills and dales of New Jersey (maybe New York and Pennsylvania as well) looking for things my grandfather needed to shoot. Now, my beautiful bride Celine is not one to tell tales (though she does tell a story about her cat that slew a dog) tells me that her folks had a GSP named Duke who enjoyed kennel digs and worked for a living. Celine's dad Sidney backs her up on this, and can discourse at length about Duke's innate abilities and cultivated skills that set him apart from his four footed friends better suited to round out a Pyonyang BBQ.

If you know nothing about GSPs, and you don't ever care to, never, never engage in a conversation with someone who has ever had one. However, if you enjoy the company of people who care passionately about things, and you feel that you have sufficient intellect to absorb the information contained in the Library of Congress every 2.718 seconds, then, by all means ask the gal with the dog with the liver spots "Is that a German Shorthaired Pointer?" If you're somewhere in between, let me distill some of the main GSP talking points. The dogs can be trained to do stuff that generally spans the abilities of different breeds. They can point and retrieve on land and in water. They are rugged, strong, and tolerant. The few that I've been around have not been aggressive toward other dogs.

So, these German Shorthaired Pointers sound like God gave the GSP the short end of the stick with the creation of Adam "Fetch my slippers!" Firstguydoesntneedalastname and Eve "BAD DOG!" Phallotheocraticpatriarchygoesbacktodayone. Were it that simple.

There is a story here, and I intend to tell it. However, I've got bread baking and I need to get cracking on the sauce I'm making for dinner. Dadgummint! If you know a blogger, please schmooch her. If you don't, please start one and let me know how it goes.

Face to the World

Orlando comes through for Florida for today's coveted awarding of Face to the World with Teacher Allegedly Gave Bomb-Making Lesson. We never got to blow anything up when I took chemistry. Dadgummit.

English do Things Differently

Woe was me to glance at the headlines that appeared along with the Bunk with Basil article. Pluck of the Irish, How Bambi Fought the Viet Cong, You be illin' and Mind the Orgasms. Let's sample a little of that last one, shall we?

According to the right-wing Christian fundamentalist lobby in the US, the sexologist Alfred Kinsey was practically Satan's gatekeeper, responsible for the sexual revolution and heralding a new age of Sodom and Gomorrah. If so, nobody invited the bosses of London Underground to the orgy. They have proved as squeamish as choirboys in vetting "offensive" posters for the forthcoming film about Kinsey's life and achievements, starring Liam Neeson as the bow-tied professor.

When I first heard about the objections, I envisaged a robust image of, say, a youth coupling with a horse; after all, it was Kinsey's research that revealed 17% of American farmhands had sex with their four-footed charges. But no, it was the naughty words that bothered the Tube censors. They demanded changes to the lettering that runs behind an image of Neeson as Kinsey: whereas once there was the legend "orgasms, masturbation and sleaze", now the punters merely have to grapple with "pleasure" and "sexually". Yuck!

Bunk with Basil

Fans bought the hotel that was the inspiration for Fawlty Towers. From The Guardian article:

Cleese, who stayed at the hotel with the Monty Python team in 1971, described Sinclair as "the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met".

Bald Faced Lies

What is it about the bald face lie to get the blood boiling? FRONTLINE showed a clip of Paul Wolfowitz refuting Eric Shinseki's assertion that it would take hundreds of thousands of troops to stabilize post-invasion Iraq. He said something about how he couldn't imagine how the number could possibly be much different than the number of folks needed to occupy and stablize would be much different than the number required to destroy the Iraqi army.

This is the same cat who came up with the Defense Policy Guidance. I've never met the guy, but I doubt that there is much beyond this guy's imagnination. It's galling to see a the Deputy SecDef lie, and lie so poorly.

I understand why he lied. Had he said:

The magnitude of the force presence suggested by General Shinseki, while most likely accurate, is not politically tenable. But who cares if the rabble sacks Bagdad after the invasion? Geosociopolitico realities combined with free market forces will correct the situation, and freedom will be on the march.

I wouldn't have lost my dinner.

daily dose of w

I've supported the administration in Colombia. I think it's important for us to be training Colombians in that part of the world. The hemisphere is in our interest to have a peaceful Colombia.

GWB
11 October 2000
Presidential Debate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

GeekSpeak: Ask Dr Aybabtu

Dear Dr Aybabtu,

Those iPods are pretty hip, but they are made by, well, you know, Apple. Can a real geek have one and maintain his cred?

Possibly Podding in Pullman


Dear PPnP,

Indeed it's possible, but you've got to bring something to the table. If all you do is download from iTunes and buy skins for your iPod, you'll slip slowly into iWankerdom. In the time it takes to say "Wheee! Look at me I'm Bono!", you'll be shining a flashlight covered in orange cellophane on yourself thrashing about while pretending you're in one of those godforsaken commercials and getting Steve Jobs tatoos. Try getting it to boot Linux or TOPS-20 or something like that. It helps to denegrate iWankers and complain about the construction quality. You could do something as simple as write WHAT A PIECE OF CRAP! or WAFTED FROM SATAN'S BOTTOM with a marks-a-lot on it. That's sure to piss off the iWankers and get a nod from hardcore set.

Good luck, kid.

Dr Aybabtu

FRONTLINE Wonkery Filling Up Forseeable Tuesday Evenings

Face to the World

There was some gruesome stuff this AM, but I wasn't in the gruesome mood. I wanted some good stuff, and, Loki be praised, Michigan came through! Woman Drunk on Listerine Sentenced wins the coveted Face to the World. Why a woman juiced on Listerine would make the AP wire is beyond me, but it did, and now students in Ann Arbor can run naked around the stadium to celebrate their State's accomplishment. I wish I could join them, but my compile has completed. Back to testing...

Note from a Neighbor

Word about the blog gets around. My neighbor, Myrten Crumbolfisk, heard about it, and asked if I would post a message of great import to him. I don't socialize regularly with Mr Crumbolfisk and we don't agree about many things, but, he once pushed a crosswalk signal button while I was waiting at an intersection for a light to change, and I figure I should return the favor. He declined to write it himself, but rather just told me what to write. What follows is my best recollection.

Is any of this Priest altar boy stuff really a surprise? Ever since Thomas Edison engraved an image of sound into wax, Catholics have used this latest technological innovation of idolatry to promote their nefarious schemes. They corrupt the message of our Lord to promote, among other things, pediphilial miscegenation. What do you think they are trying to say Jesus Loves the Little Children? ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD? (Mr Crumbolfisk was pretty worked up at this point -- Ed.) I'm surprised they haven't claimed that Michael Jackson isn't the Messiah himself returned to Earth to begin the millienial reign. I invite everyone interested in Godlyness and redemption to my church. We have no graven images, and we certainly don't sing. I've asked this blasphemer to spread the Word, in what, alas, seems to be a vain attempt to save a neighbor's soul.
MYRTEN CRUMBOLFISK, MAN OF GOD

Note: Mr Crumbolfisk's church is the shed in his backyard. It has no sign (no graven images, and, besides, it would be immodest). He meets with himself on Saturday from 6 to noon. I have no idea what he does in there, but I'm sure it's Godly.

daily dose of w

There's a huge trust. I see it all the time when people come up to me and say, 'I don't want you to let me down again.'

GWB
3 Oct 2000
Boston, Massachusetts

And again, and again...

I call that Bold Talk for a One-Eyed Fat Man

Jeff Harmon has been keeping me honest in some of my rants about War for Oil and Social Security Shell Games, and for this I'm most grateful. It's been a pleasure to know Jeff on and off these many years, and I regret the time we fall out of touch, like I have with other friends. My relationship with Jeff has been formative. The man gave me my first copy of GOD WEEN SATAN for goodness sake!

Jeff, you'll be happy to know that you're the first hit for Harmon and Brel on google.

Send me your email address some time.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Tokyo Damage Report

Would I lead y'all wrong? Boing Boing likes
Tokyo Damage Report too.

Happy Saint Valentine's Day

Here in Atlanta, there is a billboard campaign targeted at AIDS awareness. The billboards have a black background and a smattering of poingant questions like "Does your boyfriend have AIDS?" and "Does any of his girlfriends have AIDS?" The solution to this dilemma is presented in big menacing letters: WRAP IT UP OR DIE!

So, if your boyfriend is out sharing the wealth this SVD, make sure he brings the requisite equipment, and please make sure there is some left when he comes home to you.

Face to the World

Seattle wins the coveted Face to the World for Washington with, what I hope is the final nail in the coffin of a story that wouldn't die: Letourneau, Ex-Pupil Plan to Wed April 16. Remember this one? Teacher gets pregnant by 13 year-old student, goes to jail, gets out, gets busted having sex with student again, goes to jail. Well, she's out and they're getting married. Good luck to them. Tawdry, yes, but I was hopin' for some really good stuff, like Sandy Springs Man Caught Swimming Naked with Orca during SeaWorld Vacation. Dadgummit.

daily dose of w

We will use our technology to enhance uncertainties abroad.

GWBush
6 Mar 2000

The president was referring to foreign threats, including terrorism. Quoted in the New York Times.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Collateral Damage

Sixty years ago today, the RAF ignited Dresden. The resulting firestorms immolated tens of thousands of people, their city, and centuries of history. Today, we (humans in general, no fingers pointed at any particular group) continue to fill the ground with bodies separated from their lives by violence. When it's a We doing the killing, the We do a pretty good job of demonizing the enemy, lumping them all together in a tidy They. Every once and a while, a picture floats up, a kid with a burned face and body, and some missing limbs that reminds us that no matter how bad They are as a group, at least part of that They invariably are children, folks who want no part of the conflict, and folks who are actively fighting for peace.

So the We call that immolated future weeping in its bed Collateral Damage.

Ward Churchill resigned his position at the University of Colorado for writing a polemic that, among other things, likened some of the folks immolated in the World Trade Center attack as little Eichmanns. His choice of words was more effective than he anticipated, I guess, and he set ablaze his chances for making any meaningful contribution to discussion of the violence of nation-states in an inglorious Suttee. I've read it and am not going to comment on it other than it's hard to talk about this without setting yourself on fire. If you are, don't pour gasoline on yourself while you do it.

When nations raise arms against one another, who is a legitimate target, who is the victim of war crimes, and who is collateral damage is blurred. There are few sharp edges, but rather a fuzzy continuity of humanity from militarist who invades his neighbor to the peace activist who opposes him. Is there a point at which indifference becomes a tacit endorsement? The projection of force is not possible without the supporting infrastructure, thus it was OK to raze Dresden and reduce her children to ash. Later it was OK to vaporize the children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for this reason as well. These horrific moments polarize many who think about them, and it's easy to take sides. But little Dresdens happen every day. On this anniversary, it's worth taking out a few moments to contemplate our role in it all. An aspect I think worth contemplating, too, is that of the folks who decided to launch the Dresdens and that of those charged with carrying out the Dresdens, large and small. These folks are people with families and dreams. They carry a heavy burden for all of us, whether we asked them to or not.

GeekSpeak: Ask Dr Aybabtu

Dear Dr Aybabtu,

My "friend" Gimlet (not his "real" name) and I disagree on which Linux distro is best. I say it's Debian and he says Fedora Core. Can you help?

Tommy Freehack, Knight of the Debian, Sys Admin


Dear Tommy Freehack,

Not to put too fine a point on it, no, I can't help you with that question, though it's clear you need help. In the future, when contemplating which is the better of two anything, ask "Which is better?" If you are actually employed as a system administrator, make sure that the Tommy Freehack handle cannot be traced back to you.

Good luck, kid.

Dr Aybabtu

Wicked Foulmouthery! You can't kill the Rooster!

My nautical perspective comes naturally. While other infants were coaxed to sleep with, well, I don't know (that's the point!), but I'm sure it wasn't sea shanties. My mother uncorked sea shanties on my sister and me when we were but wee. The effect, in hindsight, was predictable, but there was some surprise when, upon having my green crayon stolen by fellow second grader Aidan Frompolov (I only had the 8 pack and I couldn't afford the loss of a color so important), I screamed "You scurvy son of a whore! I'm going to see you keel hauled!" Miss Whinny had to play it back to herself a couple of times before she realized this was something that was punishable with corporal punishment. Upon reaching the S-bomb conclusion, she sent me to Mr McGrumpole's office for one more in a endless series of spankings that characterized my K-12 development.

So, if I resort to a bawdy retort, I try to use it like a powerful, but highly prized, spice. I have cultivated an appreciation for thems that can do it, too, and a reverence for Masters of the Craft.

David Sedaris is a Master of the Craft. From Me Talk Pretty One Day, You Can't Kill the Rooster:

"The Rooster" is what Paul calls himself when he feels threatened. Asked how he came up with that name, he says only, "Certain motherfuckers think they can fuck with my shit, but you can't kill the Rooster. You might can fuck him up sometimes, but, bitch, nobody kills the motherfucking Rooster. You know what I'm saying?

Social Security Shell Game

The whole Social Security Shake and Jive has been pretty entertaining to watch. The core issue is how is a government, the revenue of which conservatives would like to pinch off like the head of a shrimp (POP!), going to meet is Constitiutionally-mandated obligations (Amendment 14) to the SS trust fund, the nearly two trillion bucks collected by the government and spent, among other things, blowing up Iraqis and making sure Florida sugarcane growers and destroy the environment at considerable profit. But (BUT!), you say, didn't the government buy Treasury securities with that money before they blew it like a sailor on shore leave? Well, sure, but riddle me this: who holds the note? GWB has a bunch of his wealth in these securities, but he holds the notes! The gummint holds the notes for the trust fund. GWB himself has hinted where this is all going in a talk given at the Department of Commerce:

Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund -- in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money -- payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They're spent on benefits and they're spent on government programs. There is no trust.


There is no trust.

No trust, no two trillion that you need to pay back, no problem.

There is so more to it than just this, and I'd like to go into the relationship about availability of cheap oil energy to the growth of the economy and its relationship to this Social Security. So little time. However, Josh Marshall is on top of this story (although without the energy underpinnings slant) and more. He's the guy from whom I've cribbed the Constitutional responsibility and I AIN'T PAYIN'.

Face to the World

Buena Vista won Face to the World recognition for Pennsylvania with Driver Said to Make 'Survivor' Tape on Bus.

Confused? A bus driver wants to get on the show Survivor, so she makes a film of herself driving a bunch of frenetic wild-ass hellions to school. Elizabeth Township police Chief Robert Wallace breaks it down for us:

She encouraged the children to be disorderly on the bus while it was moving. In viewing the tape, there was so much commotion going on, we felt it was a very unsafe situation for her to allow this to happen.

So, what do the parents think of all of this? The driver had 21 permission slips from parents.

daily dose of w

I want it to be said that the Bush administration was a results-oriented administration, because I believe the results of focusing our attention and energy on teaching children to read and achieving an education system that's responsive to the child and to the parents, as opposed to mired in a system that refuses to change will make America what we want it to be -- a more literate country and a hopefuller country.

GWB
January 11, 2001
Washington, D.C.

No mention of a more articulate country.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Face to the World

The State of Florida (land of my birth) wins today with Woman Accused of Making Up Baby-Toss Story. Yesterday a story showed up that a woman had found a baby that had been thrown into a well from a speeding automobile. Dadgummit! I had already awarded the Face to the World to Texas. I was hopin' hopin' hopin' that this one would make it. O frabjibbious day! Sheriff Ken Jenne sums up how things are down in Ft Lauderdale:

It's not as horrible as we first thought. The baby was never thrown out of a moving car.

I'm happy that the baby's OK, too.

UPDATE Rant by Proxy: Trade Deficit

This just in. Actually, these two things just in. First, ranting is best left to the rantor. Celine informed me that I didn't capture her anger and indignation. She is a professional journalist with a keenly developed sense of professionalism and is afflicted with that misery with which only a very few suffer, but the world is immeasurably better for suffering: she gives a shit about what she does and what she makes. Slugs and makers get along like slugs and salt.

The trade deficit caused by wine imports comes from a Commerce Department release. This does not take Pam Martin off of the hook. The job of a real journalist not to parrot facts, but set them in context that is meaningful for their readers. Corporate journalism is increasingly missing this point. The journalists don't, especially the good ones, but the environment in which they work is increasingly hostile to meaningful interpretation.

daily dose of w

Other Republican candidates may retort to personal attacks and negative ads.

George W. Bush fund-raising letter
March 24, 2000
Quoted in the Washington Post

ABOUT THE DOSE

The dose is drawn uniformly from a collection of of quotes collected from different sources. The primary source is the fortune-mod dubya collection packaged by Don Seiler. Note to self: I need to update that, btw. Since the quotes are drawn uniformly from a finite set, there is a finite probability you may see a quote duplicated. If you do, feel free to send me a neener-neener, but that's just how it's gonna be.

It started out as (and still is) a emailing to folks who find amusement in the expert execution of what most certainly must be Karl Rove's carefully crafted mispeakery by the POTUS. If you want to get in on the push side of the dose, let me know.

Friday, February 11, 2005

When are we going to see $100 barrels of oil.

Here's the deal. World consumption is in the neighborhood of 83 million barrels per day. World production is around 85 million barrels per day. Excess production capacity (how much more could be pumped right now) is about 1.5 million barrels per day. Barring divine intervention, the considerable capacity of Iraq will not be coming online anytime soon, thus the excess capacity is not likely to change much any time soon. So, (surplus plus excess capacity) divided by (surplus plus current production) times (100 percent) is less than two percent. If demand for oil increases much more than this sub two percent figure, there's going to be a serious bidding war. In the seventies, people held each other up at the pump for a gallon of gas. In this age of the H2 because I deserve it, I don't think it will be much different, unless it's worse. You see, economists have a fancy word for the demand of stuff like oil. They call it inelastic. Run low, and the price skyrockets. The Chinese have intentionally cooled off their economy, but they're still having car shows. The US, well, a SUV is a god-given right, apparently. Two percent growth ain't much in the grand scheme of things. Anyone care to guess when oil's gonna break $100 (probably about 0.3679 Euros, or half a yen, for our viewers with assets in currencies that do not enjoy a petrodollar premium)?

If you have any problem with the numbers I've presented here (admittedly from memory), please let me know, and I'll revise them. I doubt they're too far off the mark to make any substantive difference in the argument.

GeekSpeak: Ask Dr Aybabtu

Dear Dr Aybabtu,

Like I'm totally (!!!) going to DragonCon (first time!!!!), and, like, there is this totally hot chick. Like, she would be a 25 charisma elf babe in a Tomb Raider outfit before the airbrushing... ;) ;) But she is totally like a hacker and I, like, asked her about games, and always says something like "roguelike" and she once heard her say to a hacker friend of hers "How can you call a language that has no closures and tail-call elimination a real language?" Like what does that mean? Is she just fucking with me?!!?!! Like, I'm totally into PS2, but I don't know anything about what those hackers do? What should I do?

Two Hands on Two Joysticks in Kennesaw


Dear Two Hands,

I've written GeekSpeak for 19 years now, and I can't relate to anything that you've said. I once barely defeated a super elite gamer guy with a gung fu simulator on a PS2, but discovered after the "victory" the dude had passed out dead drunk some 30 minutes earlier. However, I totally know where your hacker friend is coming from. She's not fucking with you, and she probably never will. I think I can still help you, if only in a small way. I'm going to give it to you step-by-step, because you PS2 folks, well, yeah. If you've got a computer with some sort of internet access, start there. Otherwise get thee to the library. You (emphasis on you) don't have time to get Linux, BSD, or HURD on L4 up and going. (Note: If she says the word GNU, say: "It would have been funnier if they called L4 L7. I love L7! L7 would put a HURD on you! HA! HA!" (practice in a mirror before trying to pull this one off, please)). On second though, there is no way you can pull this off. Not that, nor the other thing, either. Best thing you can do is say "I played nethack once and it was really cool. I got killed by cockatrice in the Mines of Moria. Have you ever ascended? I wish that nethack was extensible in scheme. Oh yeah, don't forget the "!!?!!!"

Good luck, kid.

Dr Aybabtu

If you have a question for Dr Aybabtu, please pass it along!

JB and the 52 Day Challenge

I earn my keep slinging code at a place called Layton Graphics. My main role is to do the weirdo stuff. Consequently, I'm either being pestered by someone who needs something weird to go down or I'm pestering somebody who knows what they're doing. I pester JB when I need an Adobe Acrobat plug-in to jump through a certain hoop. JB comes at things from a slightly different angle than do I, but that's to be expected. He's remarkable cat. He once told me he was 6'2", but I'd swear that he can, flatfooted, see over the top of my (almost) 6'1" crown. Let me assure you, his eyes are further than an inch from the top of his head. He used to be massive. I mean big. More than 300 pounds (two truckload half assload and three-quarter buttload for the metric readers). A variety of events conspired to make JB rethink his lifestyle and he uncorked a remarkable physio-nutritional gung-fuing on himself that he called the 52 day challenge. The transformation was unbelievable. Through careful attention to his diet and a new-found iron will, he ate thousands of calories a day and the weight melted off of him. You could see the difference week by week. Not only did he lose weight, he started working out, getting active, and turned into Dr Social Nite Life is the Rite Life. It was a real conversion. JB is a prime example that a person can transform themselves. He's not the guy I met, he's much better than that guy.

DAWG! Wazup with the language, Playa? My Momz don like it!

I learn all of my hip-hop speak from Riley in The Boondocks, by Aaron McGruder, so if I didn't do it right, it's because I'm a rank amateur. Sorry. You'll find other posts littered with foul language, and you might find that offensive. There is an important work that addresses this very subject. I suggest you read it before proceeding.

You might even start at the beginning.

OK. I have to confess. At least some of the foul mouthery is contrived. It's a technique for expressing outrage in a tempered, humorous framework. If you find it offensive, please take it up with my Minister of Puritanical Decency.

PowerPoint Suicide Presentation

I'm glad The Onion covers this kind of stuff because no one else seems willing to do it: Project Manager Leaves Suicide PowerPoint Presentation. Whether leaving something like this behind is the right thing to do is subject to debate. Please see Edward Tufte's The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. Peter Norvig does even a better job with The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation.

Face to the World

Texas wins for Texas Father Criticized After Baby Attack and Texas Father Criticized After Baby's Death. It's the same story with different headlines. I think that a headline troll thought they were going to bring some levity to one of those stories that has no positive angle (that's been revealed to me) with the image of a man being reprimanded for not controlling his vicious baby. The headline pushed Texas over Arizona.

daily dose of w

The education issue ought to be discussed about.

George W. Bush
December 15, 2000

Speaking to press during meeting with
Louisiana Senator John Breaux in Austin, TX.


When Jeff Gannon agreed to Scott McClellan's request
that Gannon give the POTUS a nice softballing at an
upcoming press conference, do you think they agreed
to the same thing?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Rant by Proxy: The Trade Deficit

Thems that know me know I tend toward the wonky. Reeeeely wonky. So much so that simple rational thought depresses me. If I'm yang, then my beautiful bride Celine is Bruce Lee foot up your yang yin. Fun loving, sweet, and foxy. She's been around Bono (the U2 guy) four times, of which he's availed himself of a kiss three times. Twice smack-dab on the lips in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans and once a chaste schmooch at the King Center here in Atlanta. One of the lip jobbers made it as a centerfold in USA Today -- full color, and everything. So imagine my surprise when I get a lunchtime email from Celine complaining about Pam Martin's coverage of the trade deficit on Atlanta TV WSB. To paraphrase "the trade deficit is caused by people buying too much oil, wine and cheese."

Huh?

WTF?

Wine and cheese?

Now, I can bring rational analysis to any kook-ass conspiracy theory you might have. Celine speculates that WSB is trying to jump in on the Fuck France! bandwagon. I must concur. Knowing what I know about the NSGSOG, I can tell you that Celine's suspicions are well-founded and non-conspiritorial. Jesus Food Machinery Corporation! I would hope that our (collective, certainly not personal) irrational hatred of the people kind enough to finance our revolution and give us the words Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity (not the leather couch kind, Mr Limbaugh, you dumbass) would be passe. Alas, not on WSB. So Celine was naturally curious about what were some of the top sources? Well, the World Bank (no links now, all from memory) had a big three list containing oil, autos, and consumer electronics. The top five trading partners, in order (if memory serves) was Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and Germany. France was way down the list, barely a blip. Wine and Cheese French Conspiracy to Topple American Capitalism indeed!

WARNING! Wonkiness Alert!

One of the things that popped up on the way to trade deficit factoids was an open letter to Warren "the stock market thing is now a house of cards built on a foundation of sand by palsied crack addicts so I'm getting into the insurance business" Buffet poo-pooing his consternation about the ever-increasing trade deficit. I provide no link because it's not worth reviewing, but I would like to dispense with some myths. This fool tried to say it didn't matter because the dollar didn't represent debt. The assertion is true enough, but doesn't have a whole hell of a lot to do with the trade deficit. Here's the problem. Americans pay Japanese, say for Hondas. We get Hondas, and they get a bunch of dollars. Dollars can buy you three things: oil, US Treasury notes, and Mayor McFartknockers from the Golden Arches. There is only so much oil that you can buy, process and store. 99 cents will by you a Mayor McFartknocker, and one is more than you should ever have in a lifetime. This leaves you with Treasury notes. Since they've got nothing better to spend it on, why not buy something with which you can buy oil in the future? For Congress, this is a great way to pass the future earnings of your grandchildren along to their friends in the build a boondoggly widget in the name of defense of the homeland, Jesus, and Mom's apple pie bidness and look good doing it. Imagine passing out credit cards with no limit that never have to be repayed to people who stay alive by giving other people money. That's the dynamic. So if any supercalifragilistic dumbass tries to tell you trade deficits don't matter because dollars aren't debt, tell them it's a mite more complicated than that, and they might consider a career in burger flipping, er, sorry, "the fabrication of Mayour McFartKnockers (pseudo-UK spelling can bring a premium!)" rather than anything that requires more than two seconds thought.

Jim Jawitz on the Word Blog

Jim Jawitz has a something to say about blogging, or, more specifically, the word blog:

Only problem is "blog" sounds like "bog" which be Scottish for shitter; "bog-shyte" being a heartily flung expletive that I enjoy.

I fail to set the problem. It all makes perfect sense to me. The acute observer will certainly blurt "WTF did you create a google search link for Jim rather than, say, link to some picture of him doing the Soil and Water Science Christmas, er, Holidays production of the Full Monte?" Well, turns out there is too much good stuff spread across multiple links. Consider:

Hit One: Professional Page
Spare, stylish, and no motherfucking flash. Things have come a ways since I was doing anything academic.

Hit Two: Burrito Bros
Jim Jawitz and friend holding the Intergalactic Sunfish Regatta Trophy in front of the Freemantle Sailing Club, wherein America's Cup rests. The friend is John Rayner, the Austrailian Wonder, who, with a bad case of dodgy guts, could drive you slap out of Alachua County.

Hit Three: Personal Page Under Construction
Last modified while the world was a simpler place and Republicans and Democrats alike thought that a certain someone was a babbling dumbass.

Hit You Sank My Motherfucking Battleship: Dr Death
Flag football at UF. I played back before they were good, which they are now. The Aussie Wonder John Rayner was likewise a member in the BeforeTime. Jim was fearless leader then, now and all the time in between (The BetweenTime).

BONUS TRIVIA

The first hit on a google search jim jawitz dr death was titled Woody Guthrie through film: a selective guide.

Not enough Atlantans so open an Ikea


It has even been estimated that one in 10 Europeans are conceived in an Ikea bed.

BBC via BoingBoing. BoingBoing and Benjie are my sources for this kind of information.

John Aseff and Stuart Hill

John Aseff and Stuart Hill can get rants pub'd in the hometown paper as easily as a Cobb County Republican can evade taxes or evolution in the classroom. These guys are natural bloggers. So, I've got to ask you, where're they at?

Face to the World

The not so great State of Virginia wins the coveted Face to the World award with Why underpants must stay under in the state of Virginia. This one is not off of the wire, but written by Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian correspondent in Washington, DC.

Ms Goldenberg saves face for the NSGSOV with her dulcet prose. Two samples:

Mr Howell's ire is directed against publicly-visible boxers, briefs and thongs. His targets are those who follow the hip hop trend of wearing low-rise or baggy trousers which put such garments on display.

and

Delegate Lionell Spruill appealed to his fellow politicians to cast their minds back to their own fashion faux pas - shell suits, Afros, and platform shoes.

The prime instigator Algie T Howell defends his decision to be a ass, wasting time and treasure on a complete non-issue:

"It's not an attack on baggy pants. It's not about Janet Jackson," he said. "To vote for this bill would be to do something good not only for Virginia, but for this entire country."

Funny, responsible stewardship of money, resources, and the environment seem like something that would be more pressing than outtie undies. Shows you WTF I know.

daily dose of w

I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against
racial profiling, which is illiterate children.

George W. Bush
October 11, 2000
Comment made during presidential debate.

The man knows how to address his audience.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Time to get into trouble: Stochastic Subsurface Hydrology

There are two main camps of hydrologists in the world. The first camp, the older and less wiser, views the subsurface as a structureless blob, unknowable and forbidding. Rather than delve into the archana of crap like "physics" and "thermodynamics" (notice how "they" always "quote" "crap" "they" "distain" "?"), "they" say "'tis too complex and expensive to know, so fuggit!" They reduce the complexities of the world to an expanding football shaped cloud that moves in some direction that is not owned by their clients or people likely to sue said clients. These cats get hired by civil engineering firms to stamp drawings so developers can drain swamps and put in golf courses.

The exceptionally good looking, fit, smart, hip and wiser camp views the subsurface as a blob too, but one that has a structure that is knowable, if only in a conditional probabalistic sense. Knowing a bit of physics and thermodynamics and enough probability theory to take applied economics courses in risk analysis and actually enjoy it, they reduce the complexities of the world into an ever expanding football shaped cloud with a squiggly outline. Unlike the smooth football set, these cats get hired by Wall Street or Big Oil or spend their time begging for change outside the Five Points Marta station and sleeping off hangovers in Woodruf Park.

Impossible to Find

Celine and my home broadband is of the BellSouth variety. It comes with a fairly punitive "free as in your time has a similar value" web hosting. You know, five kilobytes of storage and eight kilobytes of "traffic". One of those deals where the bucket truck will run over your house if you ever do something as unfortunate as getting listed on slashdot, and the resulting thirty hits have taken you well over your 8KB limit. You know, right? But the best part is, it is simply impossible to find. There are actually two URLs that can get you there. Check 'em out:
http://home.bellsouth.net/personalpages/PWP-gdemmy and
http://bellsouthpwp.net/g/d/gdemmy
No, goddamnit! I didn't mean click them, just behold the uglyness, with contempt. A little lip curl would be nice. Thanks! That's nice! Both have certain WTF elements that would lead one to confer eternal suckitude on either. Not even almighty google can track that stuff down. The site is mainly a cache for crap that I don't want to email to people, but for which people have asked. Like mondo PDF copies of dissertations on stochastic subsurface hydrology. I can now, and with great comfort and relish, forget these sons-o-bitches-bumpuses URLs once and for all, cozy in the knowledge that they'll be safely cached here on Rantzilla.

Glimpse of Japan from Altered Perspectives

Here are some atypical takes on Japan.

MasaManiA As Masa himself describes it:

Japanese culture report by MasaManiA with fucking photo & poor English you never seen at boring CNN, Time or major sophisticated jurnalism.

Dear Masa loves to drop the F-bomb. I think that he must run his site out of his house, or off of his cellphone, or something, because it'll take a while for it to load. He takes some great pictures and his idiosyncratic storytelling reveals a gifted and thoughtful storyteller, once you get past (what I believe to be somewhat) contrived Engrish and F-bombery.

Tokyo Damage Report is an American in Paris, if Paris was Tokyo, and Hemingway was a connoisseur of tentacled punk rock and transvestite noodle wrestling. The link you're looking for is his current page wherein you'll find the latest (which, at time of posting, was Sex Gandam. If you're wondering about the Gandam part, you might try gundam. If you're wondering about the sex part, well I can't help you.

Alllll righty, then.

Face to the World

Idaho wins today's coveted Face to the World award with two entries on Guardian World Latest: Drugged out Bus Driver Takes Kids Cruising and Mohawk-Wearing Teen Survives Scalping.

FRONTLINE Update

Stayed up past my bedtime watching FRONTLINE House of Saud. The US -- Saudi relationship is pretty simple: Saudis have oil, and US wants oil. But my, the details are complex and dangerous, and for serendipitous reasons.

daily dose of w

This case has had a full analyzation and has been looked at a lot. I
understand the emotionality of death penalty cases.

George W. Bush
June 23, 2000
Quoted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

If Alberto says "Hang em", the W hangs em high!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Guardian

When it comes to online papers, I've got a few opinions. For easy reading of lengthy articles, The International Herald Tribune is pretty sweet. The articles are lain out in three columns, and you navigate with simple clicks on the columns on either side of the page. Fitt's law macho supremo. I like rambling through Google News and peeking at what pops up on the versions targeted at foreign (to the US) audiences. Plus, they've got their Zeitgeist which is pretty nifty, too. But there is one paper that I love, and she is The Guardian. Every so often, I'll check out the World Latest page to see what's going on. Georgia always seems to pop up in the AP "crap from the US" section. Boy trying to mate with dog, or man attacks family by driving 67 Impala through trailer, or some such. The headlines on their main page cover stuff you don't see in the mainstream press here: stuff about oil depletion, global climate change (not to be PC, some predictions have local areas trending colder, some much warmer... and it is happening, despite what flat-earthers claim to the contrary), the re-release of Deep Throat (WTF? Front page, too). To top it all off, they post their style guide on the front page along with a quote from Elmore Leonard (current as of time of posting):

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Not enough? Read the introduction Neither Pedantic nor Wild, which begins:

The Guardian has always been a newspaper for writers, and so a newspaper for readers.


They get it, and it shows.

daily dose of w

See, free nations do not develop weapons of mass destruction.

George W. Bush
October 8, 2003
Washington, D.C.

Uh... US, UK, France not free, I s'pose. Nukuler bunker buster not a WMD, I s'pose.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Makers or Marketers? Who should lead?

Via Doc Searls, I came across this juicy quote from Jim Thompson:
When you put a salespuke or "operations" idiot in-charge of a technology company, you get total, abject failure. Examples abound.
Harsh words worth contemplating. It's sure to get rah-rahs from cubicle-dwelling Dilberts and offend the marketing types who see themselves as the company vangard and the real engine that drives the company. One reason that it's likely more true than not is that the ever-increasing flow of information between customers reveal whether or not a product or service is good -- they don't need advertisments to tell them. Makers focus on products. Marketers focus on the presentation of products. Customers focus on products. Who's the odd man out here?

Jim Thompson's catalyst for the quote was a Business Week interview with Steve Jobs


FRONTLINE takes a look at the House of Saud

Freedom is on the march and democracy is whuppin' ass all up and down the Middle East. Funny how very little W talks about Saudi Arabia and their suspect monarchy. FRONTLINE is going to take a look at the House of Saud tomorrow PM, and methinks I'm going to take a look with them. FRONTLINE remains a bright spot in TV journalism. They're following that one up with Rumsfeld's War, so, yeah, I'll be wonking out these next couple of Tuesdays...

It was bound to happen sooner or later...

There is nothing like a good rant. Nothing like working up a frothy lather, flecks of which flying every which way as you hold forth on the minutiae of lentil subsidies and its effect upon oil futures, or something equally as stimulating. The environment for the serious ranter has improved greatly when GWB ascended to his second term, and his legacy will likely leave plenty to rant about for decades to come.

Given this environment, and my propensity to rant, I suppose Rantzilla was inevitable.