is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Deadline Pushing

Today, as you may or may not have noticed, is the 28th day of February. It's the last day before March First. That means that law school applications are due tomorrow. I'll not make too many excuses, but that is the reason for the truncated edition today, but you can content yourselves with some fine links. This whole process of law school apps has been terribly off-the-cuff. I had just registered for the LSAT last year when everything went crazy, of which you can surmise the details if you read my early archives. Anyone looking for more versions of the Tortoise video will have to wait; my boy Charlie Garrison or Team Achilles© member Jay Ashfield will be doing some video editing for easy, bite sized chunks of highlights, and those will be ready soon but no date for sure.

Parasitology update: Do worms leave the body when you get anesthetized? The answer? Sorta. Sometimes. But check out the bit on the Guinea worms. Ewwww.

On reclaiming the word Pussy.

"My feeling is that we're on the verge of reclaiming 'cunt,' a fine old Middle English word, but we're not there yet with 'pussy,'" said Jong. "Pussy remains humorous, if not insulting. At the moment pussy is a laugh . It always gets them rolling on the floors in ' [the] Vagina [Monologues].'"

Reminds me of Magnolia, a movie Mag and I just rented. It was interesting, but Maggie may never get over the lack of synergy between the intro and the movie. And that last scene didn't get a "My Ass." Ask me why, if ya care.

Hmm, while I'm riding the LAPI bus, let's meet the 18-year old observant Jew who's the Emir of Porn in London.
Wow, I only ripped off from one other blog today: the Guardian.


The Odyssey Begins

The date is announced (May 24-28). The place is unveiled (San Francisco, CA). The contestants are referring to it. It's Battlebots, and Hobbsblog II has a connection. Yes, this beast was built by my brother in law, Jeron Peter Leo Stiffler, and his buddies Ian Burt and Paul Boucher, and it is impressive.

[O]rbiting at over 18 times a second, the center of mass of the claws experiences an acceleration of V^2/radius = about 13000 feet/second^2. For laypeople, that means the hooks hold on at over 400 times earths gravity, thus they pull outward with over two tons of force. Not to mention the tips travel at about 115MPH with a rotating mass of 130 lb to back it up.

What I love the best about Tortoise is it is wholly homegrown. Unlike some of the other robots, this isn't the product of five figure endorsements, corporate money, or professional robotics designers. It's three twentysomething guys working in a garage, cobbling together a robot. But don't underestimate it. This beast is made of the best materials, good engineering, and nearly indestructible design. It debuted at the last Battlebots, and lost in a match that wasn't aired (suspiciously matched up against the robot with the ideal design to handle it. Hmm). Since then, the power has been ramped up immensely. This isn't a robot to be trifled with. In fact, I'm making the claim right now, that it's the "Most force delivered in Battlebots history.®" Back me up, guys! See the five minute, thirty four second, fourteen Megabyte Quicktime Movie here. More versions, including smaller highlight clips, to come.

Other site news

I've added an Atomz search engine for the site. Thus, people who visit me with their sicko searches like for "Regular Sized Teen Penis" can go straight to whatever I supposedly said (other cool disturbing search requests at Disturbing Search Requests, the blog. Well named, eh?). It's quite useful for me, which is enough of a reason to install it. Also, you'll notice in the top left that I have an ISSN. That stands for International Standard Serial Number, and it's the number that any registered periodical can get. I submitted my application right after seeing this Metafilter thread on the subject, so I may be one of the first hundred or so weblogs to get one. What does it mean? Libraries will have to keep track of me now, I think. Otherwise, it just means I'm an Offical Publication.
Normal Lunacy

I'm usually unimpressed when I see bloggers quoting poetry. However, when I saw a website of Dorothy Parker's poetry quoted on Wherever You Are, I knew it must be shared. Example:

The Flaw in Paganism

Drink and dance and laugh and lie,

Love, the reeling midnight through,

For tomorrow we shall die!

(But, alas, we never do.)

This is just rife with temporal irony.

Apparently there's this guy in Missouri who lives in a trailer park, who decided to build a website dedicated to Trailer Trash. I never realized what you could do with a couple of trailers. I kind of want the setup where two or three or four are connected. It reminds me of the space station, or maybe a few hamster cages connected by those tubes you run through.

Which reminds me, check out the Bad Astronomy page. It points out plenty of scientific impossibilities in TV and Movies, among other great things. For instance, Arm(pit)ageddon, a movie that earned no fewer than five "My Ass"'es (my rating system for bad movies. Movies get a "my ass" when they are completely implausible or blow the whole suspension of disbelief thing). Very classy.

Hobbsblog II thanks the Gael Fashingbauer Cooper empire of MNBLOGS, and as noted.


Why did I have to read that in high school?

So Holden Caulfield's world, Catcher in the Rye, is now 50. The headline of the article says that Holden Caulfield himself is 50, but that would imply that he is an infant in the book. No, he's the embodiment of all things adolescent, and has served as a stand-in for understanding youthful minds by adults for most of, if not all, those years. Back in Sophomore English, we read Catcher, and I remember being profoundly irritated by it. No, it's not the self-centered, self-pitying drivel that Holden is always putting out, or his projected "phoney" label that he applies to everything; it's his abject lack of decisiveness that really chapped my hide. I don't care what you do, just do it. It's part of my tripartite philosophy of life:
1. Efficiency. I try not to do things that are unnecessary. Things that must be done should be done with as little effort as possible.
2. Utility. When in doubt, go the route that contributes the greatest good for the greatest number. Or the greatest good for the intended recipient. Also, although I am a fan of aesthetics, when in conflict, I pick utility. That's my justification for not dressing well in daily life; it doesn't make sense from a utilitarian view to wear expensive clothes if you mess them up. Thus, I only wear good clothes for Good Occasions.
3. Decisiveness. Make decisions firmly, be sure, and don't second guess them. Admit you're wrong if and only if it is proven to your satisfaction.

Maggie and I have been getting into literature recently. Actually, considering how many books I've read in my life, I'm shocked to report that Maggie has been much more diligent about getting her reading done than I. Whereas she has recently read The Fountainhead (thick), The Satanic Verses (thick), and is now reading War and Peace (extra thick), I have only read Bridget Jones' Diary (skinny, a four hour read), The Mouse that Roared (skinny, a two and a half hour read) and am now in the midst of The Satanic Verses myself (BTW, Rushdie's fatwa was recently re-iterated). As an aside, let me note that it is very good; somewhat scattershot in focus, but impressive in scope and imagination. Full report later. Maggie says that the reports of War and Peace's boringness are greatly overstated, and she doesn't think that she can go back to pulp novels and their lack of character development.

Did I say scattershot in focus?

While I'm on the subject of books, I thought I'd share this Salon review of a book entitled The God Part of the Brain, which has as its premise the fact that certain epileptics have had religious visions, which points to the theory that a part of the brain affected by this epilepsy must be the part that imagines God. Apparently the author was set off by a drug trip:

"I realized that my life's primary pursuit would be -- if it were at all possible -- to acquire clear and distinct knowledge of God." Sometime between that period and his 21st birthday, Alpert had a bad LSD trip that mired him in anxiety and depression, which were alleviated by medication.

His suffering made him an empiricist: "The fact ... that my conscious self had been so ravaged, scrambled and defiled in the past year and a half convinced me that there was no fixed or eternal essence in me."

An interesting read, especially considering that the reviewer, a Christian himself, decodes the book as being specifically targeting Christianity for his vitriol. (Or the reviewer is paranoid. On the other hand, as my mom always says, "It isn't paranoia if they really are out to get you.") I'm intrigued enough to where I might have to get this book and check 'er out.

While I'm on the subject of Christian links, I absolutely love the fact that this Online Bible Quiz is listed as being "for kids." I don't know which kids they're referring to, but I wasn't ever able to keep Elisha and Elijah straight when I was a young 'un. For disclosure's sake, I scored a 126 (Superb Knowledge. You obviously know the Bible!). Not bad for someone who hasn't regularly attended church in 8 years or so.

Wake me up when it's spring

The Pioneer Press has a table called the Pain in the Posterior (PIP) index, that measures how bad the winter is compared to winters past. This year, we're scoring at a 21 (serious pain). However, 98-99 was a 27, and I know it wasn't as bad as this one. I think the scoring needs to be re-tabulated. I demand a recount!

Thinking about having laser eye surgery? Why not wait a few years so you can get SUPER VISION? Sounds cool to me. Personally, I want that visor thing that LeVar Burton wore on Star Trek: TNG.

Finally, semi-LAPI: For those of you who think that Minnesotan Garrison Keillor only does the wholesome Lake Wobegone thing, here's a link to his sex and relationships column he does for Salon. Always entertaining.

Hobbsblog II borrowed links from these outstanding blogs: Robotwisdom, Follow Me Here, and the Alt-log


Winter is Awesome, Winter Sucks

It's been awhile (by web standards) since I've blogged here. On Friday I wrote the latest segment (Part XII) in the Dynamic Storytelling Blog (DSB). For those of you unfamiliar with this creation, it is a progressive story made up of five collaborating authors. I've had a lot of fun reading and writing it. Be forewarned; it is a fantasy story, geek factor 8. Saturday Mag, Krista, and I went snowshoeing at Glacial Lakes state park. I remember thinking about fifteen minutes into our hike that it was the most fun I've had in Minnesota in the three winters we've been here. Obviously I need to get out more. It's hard for me to think about doing things like snowshoeing, or skiing, or whatnot. Growing up in Norman, Oklahoma, there isn't much call for snowshoes. And when we did get our once or twice a year big snow, there aren't many (any) good hills to sled on. Skiing, on the other hand, is known about. It's what you do when you go to Crested Butte or Steamboat Springs in Colorado. Unfortunately, only the rich kids from Brookhaven and other points west of I-35 went skiing, so that's not something I did either.

One thing I really noticed out in the woods was how there was no color. Anywhere. Everything was shades of white, gray, and black, except for our clothes. It was weird getting back to the car and returning to the world of color. As we were doing so, I noticed that it was starting to mist. By the time we arrived at the gas station, it was sleeting, hard.
By the time we reached Alexandria, it was sleeting and snowing.
By the time we reached Sauk Center, it was snowing blizzard strength.
By the time we reached the first St. Cloud exit, it was sleeting mixed with freezing rain, to the point where the rain formed a coat of ice a half inch thick on our antenna.
By the time we reached the Twin Cities, it was raining so hard that it was no longer freezing, forming massive puddles on the interstate.
This morning, when I went out to shovel, there was a snow and ice amalgam six inches thick on everything. I've noticed that when I clear the walk, I don't think of how much snow we got in terms of inches, I think of it by how heavy a shovel load is. This morning was like shoveling concrete. What a mess.


I have gotten the idea while surfing Lileks' site that I'm the nerd coming late to the party. Has everyone already realized how cool his stuff is thus never told me? Latest find: the gallery of Ghost Ads, those ethereal advertisements from bygone eras you still see on the sides of old brick buildings. I remember that Portland had some of those, too, but I can't really remember any of them particularly. Here's one from Minneapolis; it says "Hotel, Furniture, Undertaker."

Another link my mom will like: the intersection where the city of Livonia, MI is ordering the family not to place memorials to their dead son.

Fran Kempa said the city is being "insensitive."
"It's ridiculous," she said. "I asked the city if I could have one flower there -- just one flower -- and they said no."

Finally, a truly funny site, Kiss My Freckled Ass Goodbye (.com), where disgruntled employees send their resignation letters. Try this one on for size:

In closing, I would like to let you know that there is a "surprise" audit scheduled for two days after I leave. (You always said I knew everything first). I have left 36 separate mistakes in the paperwork. If you can find and correct 30 of these, you will pass the audit.

Hobbsblog II acknowledges: Metafilter (by way of rcade), the Waterloo Wide Web, and as noted.


Grief is a funny thing

When God put you on this earth, he knew what you would be.
You would be the driver of the black No. 3.
Now you drive in heaven, racing for the Lord.
I only hope that God didn't put you in a Ford.

Dale Earnhardt's funeral was today. As previously mentioned, this is really impacting the South in ways that the rest of the country can't (and doesn't want to, for the most part) understand. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm no NASCAR fan. It's just a bunch of billboards turning left at 200 MPH as far as I'm concerned, but this death is really hitting home to a lot of people. Chief southern correspondent to Hobbsblog II Dr. June Hobbs reports that:

[T]he celebration of Earnhardt's life has now gone beyond mere canonization to total deification. In the sermon, NASCAR chaplain Dale Beaver explicitly compared Earnhardt to God. He explicitly denied that he was making such a comparison, and then did it anyway. He told the story of his first meeting with D. E. when he, the NASCAR priest, had to approach The Presence in his Holy of Holies (a travel trailer, probably). The task at hand was to ask Earnhardt to sign a permission slip so the younger Earnhardt daughter could go on a camping trip arranged by "our youth minister." Beaver was scared to meet The Intimidator--"I thought I'd find him eating bear and looking at me as dessert"--but found that, instead, he was talking to a loving father--an incarnation of God. Beaver asserted that God denied their prayer for a safe race at Daytona so we could learn this lesson.

As you can see, this guy was pretty important. What's interesting to me is how people's deaths can really impact others they didn't know.

Ever since Jerry's death I've been very attuned to media coverage of grief. When any tragic event happens, there's always pictures of people crying and wailing (it's an absolute staple of any Middle East event) to the degree that we've come to be desensitized to the fact that that is really someone who is incredibly upset about the worst possible thing that can happen to them. What sick people, all of us. The media are absolutely despicable for sticking a camera into someone's face that feels like that, and we're sick for rewarding them (yes, it's a humor piece; yes, it's applicable) for doing it. I think many people, especially younger ones that haven't had a person truly important to them, just don't think about death, pain, and grief. There's no empathy, and little attempt. For shame.

One thing that brought a lump to my throat reading Earnhardt coverage is the bit of a note quoted in the same article as the top poem came from: "Through your racing, you brought my Dad and I closer together when nobody else was able to. For that, you'll always be my hero." I guess there is something to be said for NASCAR.

Uzbeks and observations

Wow! Two links to stories from Central Asia in two days? On bribery and land piracy in Uzbekistan. Funny and interesting. I am reminded of the time I went with the Stifflers to Italy by car. At the Austrian border, we were waved to the side of the road by a bunch of caribinieri with assault rifles. They demanded a "car tax" or something like that in the neighborhood of $50. Jerry paid it, but I remember being pretty disgusted by the blatant corruption in a supposedly modern country. It was the first of several events that convinced me that Italy is the most overrated country on earth.

Moreover, in the article itself, there is a reference to the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride, a fine movie. One thing I could never understand about the DPR is the fact that he never took any prisoners. Yet, supposedly, his reputation was the key thing to maintain the proper fear and respect. Hello? If his reputation was what made the pirate, wouldn't you want to make it so you always released your prisoners? Sure, you'd have witnesses, but what incentive do your targets have to surrender if they know they're getting executed? Seems pretty dumb to me.

LAPI: She's got a cell phone where?!?

Hobbsblog II acknowledges the following for source material: Linkmachinego, the Guardian, and my boy Jeff.


He stepped in it, part deux

Jesse isn't the only politician making boneheaded decisions these days. Our esteemed president, George W. Bush, has been making much political hay over his proposal to create an Office of Faith Based Community Initiatives (OFBCI). Well, the shit may be about to hit the fan.

For one, community charity organizations have to abide by Federal non-discrimination statutes when they accept aid. This has already proven to be a problem in states that have similar programs, like Kentucky, where a lesbian staffer has filed suit after being fired from her government-funded job with a Christian charity. One can certainly see the problem for many religious organizations if they have to hire based on nondiscrimination statutes, since many of these religions endorse discrimination as a matter of doctrine. Bush has signaled that he will likely just exempt these organizations from non-discrimination statutes to avoid this conflict, although I can't find a link to prove that point.

For two, now it looks like Dubya will have to recognize religions he doesn't like, such as those wacky Scientologists and their kooky Narconon. Not to mention the Moonies. Talk about opening a can of worms he didn't intend. He probably didn't even consider that other faiths would want a slice of the pie. Way to go! If he was in this community, he'd likely be one of the people telling the Muslims to "go back where they came from" and not to locate their mosque in his town.

Finally, it seems like getting the government into this mess is a really bad idea because of basic problems with violating the separation of church and state. Many of the most dangerous anklebiters cling to the "nowhere does the Constitution say anything about the separation of church and state" line -- which is untrue, of course. You may ask yourselves, how does giving money to a faith based charity impact the establishment of religion? Well, as the above examples prove, it puts government in the position of assessing the relative worth of religions. Dubya doesn't want to give money to Scientologists, the ADL doesn't want to give money to the Nation of Islam, no one wants to give money to the Wiccans, and George HW Bush doesn't think atheists should be citizens. So it's probably best as a nation to stay out of it.

As a final shot to make my point, in the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971, the SCOTUS ruled that a state action can be taken as violating the Establishment clause if it causes an "excessive entanglement" with religion. If trying to sort out all of these various grasping hands at the public trough isn't excessive entanglement, I don't know what is.
You know the drill

Ohio State-Gate! The student council president at the other other OSU not only spent $2500 of students' money for a lavish steak dinner, but he also conspired to destroy campus newspapers to cover it up. Ok, that's so stupid I can't even fathom it. Did he think that the reporters and editors would then say, "wow, our newspapers are all gone, and no one seems to know about this. I guess we'd better give up on the story now!" I was in a position of authority on my college's student council for my last two years, and I never had any money to play with (although I did help get the Reverend Horton Heat to play a concert on campus once, but that was on the up-and-up).

Why does radio suck so bad? And why does the answer involve paying for it? Does that make sense to you? No matter how bad radio is, as long as there is still NPR, I'll never pay anyone (else) for it.

This story is very long, but very interesting: an account of four American kids held hostage in Kazakhstan while on a climbing expedition. Read it, and then wonder with me how long until this becomes a movie. It's gripping.

Hobbsblog II acknowledges the following blogs for source material today: Bad Hair Days, MeFi, World New York, and the Obscure Store.


Now he's stepped in it

It's my duty as a Minnesotan to report to you from time to time the exploits of ours, the most famous governor in the United States, Jesse Ventura (see sidebar for introductory pieces). Well, now he's decided to make the press corps that cover him wear badges like the one you see in front of you. This seems like a terrible idea, for a few reasons.

1. He's been under criticism from pundits, lawmakers, and ethicists for a while because of his outside money making activity. Why stir this sentiment up? I have no real philosophical problems with him writing books while in office, but to wear a badge that publicizes his last book seems over the line, as far as I'm concerned.

2. It says clearly on the back that Ventura reserves the right to revoke the badge for any reason. Excuse me? He can just cut off a member of the press that irritates him? This seems terribly imperious.

3. It's unnecessary; Reporters at the capitol already have to carry state Congress security tags; I can't see why that isn't good enough (memo to self: apply for Jesse tag, on the grounds that this is a fine journalistic publication).

The best part of this is the reactions. The Pioneer Press has returned theirs to the office of the governor, stating they are beneath the dignity of their reporters (snicker). The governor's press guy, John Wodele blasted the Pio Press, saying they are the "They are the most uptight, snooty, self-righteous organization I've ever dealt with."


More on parasites, focusing more on ours. Not for the faint of heart.

Hunter S. Thompson tries to make sense of the Dale Earnhardt crash.

Please let me live, says Napster.
Hobbsblog II acknowledges the following blogs for source material today: Randomwalks and The Obscure Store.


Leeching the weak, annoying the strong

So, Nat'ralists observe, a Flea
Hath smaller Fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller Fleas to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.
-Jonathan Swift

Ever consider what various nasty creatures share your body? Well, apparently parasites may be the most dominant form of life on earth. New research indicates they can do some really bizarre things to animal hosts, such as the liver fluke, which can make ants do things they ordinarily wouldn't:

There the flukes do some parasitic voodoo on their hosts. As the evening approaches and the air cools, the ants find themselves drawn away from their fellows on the ground and upward to the top of a blade of grass. Clamped to the tip of the blade, the infected ant waits to be devoured by a cow or some other grazer passing by.

I wonder if Discover knows that a snake oil company called Cleansing Solutions is using that same article to hawk a product that purportedly removes one's parasites from our intestines? (although CS does offer a testimonial from Tony Dorsett)

Probably the most frightening thing about this report is the idea that animals (thus, presumably humans, too) can be altered from a state of free will into doing something at the behest of a foreign host. There are also bacteria that have been proven to have major effects on the evolution of species of wasp; that's another way that parasites can affect other animals. Surely, though, there isn't any sort of deep biological signals telling us what to do, is there? Think again. Some new research indicates that women on the pill pick different men than when they're running on their own hormones. I have always thought that we humans have some sort of pheromone detecting system; it may be that we even pick our mates by relying on it. So, whether your pheromones or your parasites make you do it, it's a better excuse than saying "the devil made me do it," I guess. How long until a parasite or pill theory appears as a trial defense in a criminal case? Surely it's more compelling than the Twinkie defense.

Thanks for the love

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt died yesterday in the Daytona 500 race. This blew my mind. To have the most popular, most successful driver killed at the climax of the most important, prestigious race of the year is supremely bizarre. Mom says in North Carolina there are three religions; Baptists, ACC basketball, and NASCAR (not necessarily in that order). So the whole state has gone into mourning. Mom, somehow this seems an appropriate day to tell you: there is such a thing as a gravestone blogger. (Mom is a published scholar on the subject of gravestones, among other things. Call her "Dr. Hobbs.") There's still time to jump on the bandwagon.

I've had a neat correspondence with Catherine of Blue Ruin fame. She's not mad at me for the meanness I published here last time. That's a relief. Blivet kicked me a little love, too. It occurred to me that I could have sucked up much better to him than just pointing out his URL. After all, I also have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi...

Bonus sweet science link: The report of the two researchers that dressed up like a moose to throw urine soaked snowballs at real ones. Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat...

Finally, a beer taste test. Can you tell your Busch from your Grolsch? These people thought they could too.

Hobbsblog II acknowledges the following blogs for source material today: Honeyguide and the Null Device.



Beauty & Drunk. It's Rita Hayworth's birthday; the photographers have gathered; she's perfectly put together, and just drop-dead gorgeous. Her husband, a Mr. O. Welles, has just rolled out of bed and combed his hair with a pencil, and forgotten to button his shirt. The general impression is that he either A) had to get drunk to have sex with Rita Hayworth, or B) got so drunk he couldn't have sex with Rita Hayworth. Neither reflects well on him.

I'd probably better drop my claim to being Minnesota's Third Best Blog. I just found Lilek's blog, and it rocks, hard. That drops me down considerably. The Impetuous blog helpfully denied that I sucked, however, so that buoys my spirits. I'd just like to offer sincere apologies to anyone I owe email to, because I've been bad about writing anyone. The truth is, I started writing about my memories and thoughts of debate in the Debater's Corner sub-blog since earlier this week and I keep getting sidetracked by stupid stories, so I'm not sure it will be done any time soon. And of course, if I haven't been blogging here, I've been trying to get that done, so Big Important E-mails I need to write are being put off. Stories? Well, like some involving Sean LeMoine, a nearly legendary figure amongst the bizarre folks that populate the world of debate. Sean went to school at Northwestern Louisiana State University. No one ever accused Sean of being the sharpest crayon in the box, and Sean knew it, and loved throwing it in the faces of those debaters that were far smarter than him yet did worse. He was known for doing things like going up to rival debaters that had failed to make it past preliminary rounds and loudly yelling in their faces in a near-caricaturish southern twang, "3-5? 3-5? (Referring to that debater's record, out of eight prelim rounds) You're watching ME debate!" And now, see, I'm letting these damn things spill over into Hobbsblog. Great.

Skipping straight to the links, or Pretending to be Intellectual

Ok, so I got 6 outta 10 only on this Guardian Book Quiz. Frankly, I should have only gotten about 3 or 4. It's a hard quiz, and I got lucky.

Which modernist triumph did Virginia Woolf consider "the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples?"

From Blue Ruin, which is a fine British Blog. Let me rephrase that, considering what I'm about to write. I love this blog. It's one of my favorites, and has been for months and months. Because, there was something about this particular blog I had been meaning to say; oh yes. Catherine states that she owns

Black heeled shoes: 3 pairs
Black boots: 4 pairs (one with holes in, one with silly fluff on, two relatively practical)
'Cow hide' boots
Cowboy boots (well, sort of)
Flat shoes
Flat sandals: 3 pairs (two of which are pretty much unwearable on account of the shocking blisters they give me)
Silly, impractical party shoes: 10 pairs (seven of which are black)

Ok. That's amazing. She owns 25 pairs of shoes. I own two. What's up with that? Oh, but her immediately previous post is whining about having no money. Uh, I don't know how many pounds shoes cost across the pond, but over here they're a lot of money. I could do a lot with 25 pairs of shoes worth of Ca$h money, I tell you what. And what's a whinge?

Finally, you'll like this one; the crack dealer hired a double to serve his prison sentence. Problem? The double got sick of it and left just 47 days before completing the sentence. Now the crack dealer is in custody facing a charge of defrauding the United States. From the Obscure Store.

Oh, now that I know about this site I don't know if I'll ever post a LAPI again. They're showing pornography in there! I'm shocked and appalled! I swear I was only in there to find out about this video game intro sequence!!


Sharing more Lesser Known Blogs, sort of

It's been about a month or so since I've done my one sentence reviews of lesser known blogs. No, the irony isn't lost on me; I realize this isn't exactly a high traffic site. Yet, my prime audience doesn't exactly get out into the crosslinked hell that is the blog world much, and I enjoy kicking some bloggers props, even if they don't always like what I say. On the other hand, my number one referrer is this guy, so I guess what they say about no such thing as bad publicity is true, right? I do notice that Mr. Nathanism, or Mook Boy as I like to call him, doesn't even have the cajones to leave up his original post that I responded to. That doesn't exactly seem sporting to me. But, thanks anyway, dude!

Exit 200 is a one sentence link style blog, which isn't a bad thing, I guess; many well respected blogs have that format. I liked this one because it had a link to a cool article on why you should have your kids play Dungeons & Dragons.

Ok, admittedly, these next three aren't what I'd call "lesser known" blogs; they have traffic that dwarfs mine. But, all of them are Manila sites, and thus not really in the same circle of bloggers that I run with (they're Bloods to our Crips, I guess; or Sharks vs. Jets, or whatever other gang metaphor you want to substitute). The first is Views from the Heart, a very nicely written blog. The second is Blivet, which has good links that I've been meaning to steal from for a while. The third is Irights, which is a not-too-technical 'net blog.

In the same vein, this MeFi thread has a bunch of fine blogs to go surf if ya got the time. I'd never heard of Blind Wino, for instance, and I really enjoyed that.

I've noticed a lot of assumed information in the postings about bloggers; there's some sort of split they perceive in Log vs. Journals, and quite frankly I'm baffled. I notice many blogs just post links, many just write about their personal lives. I admit, I'm terribly wary about doing that, because I don't want to think of myself as narcissistic, which is why I usually try to let some time go by since my last "personal" posting before I write more. I try to have a topical post of the day, followed by a couple of random links. What's up with the creedalism?

Random Links

According to this report, a couple of component designers for Morton Thiokol knew the Challenger was likely to explode fifteen years ago and were unable to stop the launch.

Hey, mom, don't you think Boiling Springs needs an Ice Cream, Espresso, and Casket business? I ask that because BS already has the Pizza, Subs, and Dry Cleaning establishment. I also think the Italian/Greek restaurant is somewhat weird too, but no one asked me.

Yesterday's wasn't a LAPI, now THAT'S a LAPI (a Link Appealling to the Prurient Interest, to bring new readers up to speed on my terminology). From the Alt-log.


My Life in Fast Food

Jeff pointed me to this humorous article about a customer complaint thwarted by an employee. It's funny, sure, but it also reminded me of something that happened to me while I was working a summer job at Hardees, a truly wretched Southern/Midwestern fast food joint that specialized in, well, nothing. People tell me their horror stories all the time about working fast food, and I find I'm always able to sympathize because I too made the same food that they did. Burgers, fried chicken, fish, salad, you name it, I made it. And since people of any degree of competency are extremely rare in this industry, I quickly learned each job in the store and was asked to perform these jobs depending on who didn't show up.

My favorite job was always doing Drive Thru, for several reasons. One, either someone will help you put together orders or they leave you alone completely. Either are fine options. Two, you can entertain the people on the other end of The Speaker and yourself, as well, if you have the gumption and aptitude. Three, it was close to both the Drink Dispenser and the Ice Cream Dispenser, so cold beverages and tasty treats were always available. I'm glad the show Jackass wasn't on, however, so stuff like this never happened.

Anyway, about my story. On one particular occasion, I was working Drive Thru, and our (worthless) manager Angel tells them to shut down the chicken making at 8:30 instead of the announced 9 pm. She figured that the two whole chickens that were already made would last until 9, and she wanted to break down the chicken station so that she could get a head start on the closing process. I protested feebly, but I really didn't care, since I wasn't closing on that particular night. Well, wouldn't you know it, we had a run on the chicken and within ten minutes all of our chicken was gone. At 8:45 a very snippy woman pulled up in the Drive Thru lane and orders a lot of fried chicken. Now, I was a very friendly Drive Thru Service Oriented Employee (DTSOE), and I informed her we were out and offered a wide selection of tasty entrees to whet her appetite for our other delectable offerings. She was having none of this, and demanded to be served chicken. An abridged version of our conversation follows.

"It says on this menu that chicken is served until nine o'clock. I'm here fifteen minutes before that, so get me some chicken!"

"I'm extremely sorry, ma'am, but our chicken station has been disassembled for the evening, and that won't be possible." (I mean, why lie? Hardees' doesn't pay you enough to lie for stupid managers.)

"WHAT? You morons! You're incompetent, stupid, and your advertising is lying! I think you're lying, too!" Ok. Now she's done it.

"Look, lady. If you want to blame someone, blame my manager. You think the guy working the Drive Thru has enough clout to affect the chicken making decisions? You're wrong, lady. And frankly, I don't think I deserve your abuse. Why don't you get out of my Drive Thru and go home. If you have further complaints about me or the restaurant, call management from there. Good bye." (I then ignored her until she left. A few honks from the more civil patrons was all it took)

Fifteen minutes later, the Drive Thru had gotten a bit quieter, so when the phone rang, I was the closest, least busy employee. Sure enough, it was our Fried Chicken Lady, calling to complain. Here my story diverges with the Onion article, because I went to get Angel. "Hey, Angel," I said. "Here's that lady that you pissed off with your boneheaded decision about the chicken counter. Have fun!" The big difference, I guess, is that I knew as the only person working at Hardees' whose head wasn't entirely located up my ass that my job security was untouchable. Sure enough, she didn't really even attempt to chastise me. The moral of this story: Never complain. It does nothing.

Random links and obligatory LAPI

I stumbled upon this piece about drugs, airports, and El Debarge. Oh, and Ernest movies.

The new drug detecting device is called The Itemiser (right), an instrument normally used to detect explosives that's being modified to find drugs - much in the same way Jim Varney (above) modified lanterns into deadly projectile missiles in Ernest Goes to Camp, or how he and a small group of streetsmart campers turned two ordinary crates of turtles into unstoppable biting paratroopers. Infact, most of our government's best ideas and propaganda are based on Ernest movies. That's why Malaysia laughs at us.

This is a real Must Read: a reprint from a 1939 New Yorker about the tradition of the Beefsteak dinner. I often think about if I could be transported back in time to any point when and where I'd go. We have a winner. After women got the vote, they were allowed in to these things, and it just went downhill:

The life of the party at a beefsteak used to be the man who let out the most ecstatic grunts, drank the most beer, ate the most steak, and got the most grease on his ears, but women do not esteem a glutton, and at a contemporary beefsteak it is unusual for a man to do away with more than six pounds of meat and thirty glasses of beer.

Ok, even the "debased" version as described in this article still seems like heaven on earth. Via the superb PCJM.

Finally, apparently the way you deal with your first love affects your future relationships. I know, not a real LAPI, since no T&A. Get that fix elsewhere.


Head for the mountains. . . it's Bush

During the campaign the press corps complained that they had less access to Bush than any candidate in modern memory. Some speculation was raised that this was because Bush's handlers were afraid of him saying or doing anything off the cuff. Well, consider the trend continuing.

This week's official presidential theme is the military. Bush will traverse portions of the country visiting troops and promising a pay raise and increased military spending. Last week's theme was pushing his tax cut. So, it seems pretty obvious to me that Bush will be used primarily for public relations and tightly scripted domestic and foreign policy photo ops. We already know that Bush doesn't always even read his own executive orders, so it seems the real question is: who's in charge here?

In foreign policy, the troika of Condoleeza Rice (former Soviet Union specialist under Pappy Bush, and current National Security Adviser), Colin Powell (Secretary of State) and Dick Cheney (co-, I mean vice-President) obviously will be running the show. A London newspaper reports that Cheney and Powell seem to be "winning" the battle for control over US policy over Rice, which shouldn't surprise anyone considering the way Cheney ran the transition and Powell's reputation as a control freak. Cheney in particular seems to be using his political muscle:

Instead of shrinking into the background, like most Vice-Presidents, Mr Cheney has altered the job to become, in the words of The New York Times, “de facto chief of staff, an über-national security adviser, a shadow Secretary of Defence and even, perhaps, a demi-president”. Citing Mr Cheney’s cardiac problems and his unparalleled power, Washington wags have taken to pointing out that Mr Bush is “only a heartbeat away from the presidency”.

This conversation backs me up in my claim that when Mr. Bush conducts foreign policy, the results are banal at best. Does it not bother anyone else that our president isn't running the executive branch, that a passel of unelected bureaucrats are? Anyone who dares to set me straight can try.

Updates and Valentine's Week LAPI

Update on last week's race link: a new look at why people's skin colors evolved. Pretty cool explanation. From Robot Wisdom.

Another writeup of the big hoax about the Astoria Nuke Plant from the Portland Mercury.

Finally, how to get online sex. Apparently we men are easy. From the fabulous VD edition of the Guardian Weblog. Many articles of various intellectual appeal about online sex and love. Worth a peek.



Napster Lives!

Score one for Science

I've been downloading a crapload of Napster stuff this last weekend in case it was shut down. But, in a decision just handed down, the appeals court let Napster stay alive, for now, although things look downright grim long term. Most of what I've been downloading fit into the "Smoove" category. Lots of Glen Miller, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Benny Goodman. I don't know if recordings that old are still under copyright anyway. One thing I've noticed recently is that I know what song I want most of the time, but often I can't remember the name of it. Consider "Estranged" by Guns 'n' Roses; a fine song, off of "Use Your Illusion II," I think. The word "estranged" is never used in "Estranged," unless I'm missing a key warble in Axl's screechy voice. But finally science has an answer: software that can recognize a tune you whistle or hum to your computer. If you can't even do that, just tap the rhythm. Seriously cool, no?

In other scientific news, a fishing crew brought back a massive giant squid off the coast of Australia. Apparently these cephalopods taste awful (so they say).

However, he thought humans were unlikely to start hunting them for food because of ammonia pockets in their flesh used for buoyancy control. "You'd get giant calamari rings the size of car tyres, but they'd taste like floor cleaner," Dr Norman said.

Discouraging news if you want Jurassic Park to happen: scientists involved in a genetic sequencing project have good reason to be very pessimistic about chances of cloning extinct animals.

Finally, in the day's most important science news, the asteroid probe NEAR Shoemaker has landed on the Eros asteroid. Apparently, it even survived the landing. I'm sure I'll have more material from this as pictures begin streaming in.

Fear and Loathing for men everywhere

So we all know what's on Wednesday. Well, it sucks. If you're not in a couple, you get reminded of it. If you are in a couple, you have to Do Something About It. Well, I don't want to spend any money. It's a silly trick by companies to capitalize on a sense of obligation towards people we care about. Same trick as Xmas and any other Greeting Card Holiday. So, consider sending some of these VD cards. They're free, and well made too (by a blogger!).

An interesting article from the alternative weekly for Las Vegas: a writer retraces the steps of Hunter S Thompson's "Fear and Loathing." Some serious attention to detail was paid by the writer. Kudos, I think.

Here's an article arguing that VD should be spent drinking good beer, specifically lambic. Now, if you've never had lambic, let me warn you of a couple of things.

1. It's expensive; as much as $6-7 a pint.

2. It's funny tasting. I mean really; most beer brewers do their damnedest to keep their brewing beer free of any bacteria and airborne contaminants, but lambic is done to deliberately inoculate the beer with free range yeast and other bacteria. It tastes funky; with a sweeter taste than other beers, and little of the hoppy bitter that balances other beers. I do like it, mind you, it just doesn't taste much like Beer as we know it.

3. See number 1. If you do get this for your date, you should probably let them know about Number 2, get their approval, and then subtly let them know about Number 1. That should get you in good with your lady friend.

Finally, a LAPI a day for VD week: The Portland Mercury Sex Survey Results. Are queer boys really that promiscuous, or is there a serious sample skew going on here?



I've initiated the Debater's Corner portion of Hobbsblog II as promised. I've chosen for my first topic a subject near and dear to my heart: the undervaluation of species loss in the context of debate rounds. Now, I don't think this will be influential at all, but knowing what type of researchers debaters are, it's really only a matter of time before someone stumbles onto the page. I'll consider it a bit of an anthropology experiment; how long until I get quoted in a debate round. After all, there's nothing any other crackpot out there who's getting quoted as evidence has on me for qualifications; I have a college degree...
For those not aware of the debate culture, Debater's Corner could be rather dry. This is the sort of thing in there:

Yet, without the possibility of MAD, nuclear war becomes another disaster; locally catastrophic but not infinite. Since the risk isn't infinite, the certainty must be taken into account when evaluating impacts. To not consider the fact that ANY nuclear war impact in a debate round has almost zero risk is to not only commit a fallacy in one's thinking, it also betrays a bias on the part of the evaluator. Only in the solipsistic analysis of a short sighted human could a fraction of a percent of the total of humanity possibly outweigh an entire species' loss.

For Everyone Else (LAPI alert!)

It's Friday night, and that means it's time to get freaky. If you got somebody, go do some lovin'. If you don't, go find someone to do some lovin'. Yeah.

So, in conclusion, let me summarize by saying that I will drape you in silk and hit you doggy-style, then I will feed you eggs of every kind and variety, and my back is strong.

Yowzers! Sexy Tahitian art done on velvet. Pretty cool stuff. From the most graphic blog out there, Dr. Menlo!
Finally, a bit of worthless gossip about the breakup of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (I know, but I can't help it. It's interesting). She wasn't as into his cult as he was, apparently. I like the part in the story where Mel Gibson makes fun of it and Tom gets really pissed, while Mel cannot stop laughing at his own joke. Good work, Mel!


A hoax for our times

The entire West Coast is, of course, obsessed with the power crunch that continues to unfold (no, this isn't another "California Energy" bloggage. Bear with me...). To capitalize on the paranoia, a Portland prankster named Tim Jordan (aka Ervin Kevin, aka Harry Lime) built a fake website announcing plans for a nuclear power plant by Astoria (best known outside Oregon for being the place where Goonies was filmed) and then watched as members of the media fell for it.

KXL news jockey and Channel 12 anchor Lars Larson fell for it the hardest, actually interviewing "Dr. Tim Jordan" about the proposal. The little Daily Astorian broke the news, finally checking the source code of the web page, which has in the header:

"This is a parody. We copied a web page and added our own special touches to fool the media. George Bush is a stooge of big oil and energy companies and the corportate (sic) media are morons to believe this hoax. HARRY LIME IS GOD OF ALL HOAXES."

The Willamette Week didn't fall for it and therefore could gloat at will (next to last item).

There's quite a few great media hoaxes at the Idiosyntactix Culture Jamming website, which I've linked before. My favorite is probably the classic old Swiss Spaghetti Harvest story the BBC did in 1957 for April Fools' Day.

Back to a dull roar

Well, things are beginning to quiet down at the office. We're in between snow storms right now (check the weather magnet on the bottom of the site), so that might help explain why the technicians aren't as busy. Expunging will be done on Saturday, so I don't have to feel guilty about eating something sugary or drinking a beer. I also would like to work a bit on a piece of the story, although Maggie has called the next segment. The license plate graphic as the title is not likely to stay for very long, because she has designed me a Celtic-themed banner that we're working on converting from a Quark doc to a graphic one. It's really cool. Ok, random links.

What to do if "In God We Trust" on our money offends you.

A black author analyzes the state of race relations from an introspective view. Now, this is a tough one for me. I feel as a white man somewhat uncomfortable commenting on the status of racism now. I post this with the caveat that I would desperately love for the major social justice movements (women [wimmin, womyn] and people of color) to increase outreach to "majorities" to include us in constructive discussions of the future of the country; as it is, the historic coalitions between progressive whites and minority communities have become severely strained in the last twenty years. I think this split also explains the appeal of "masculinists" like Warren Farrell, who are misguided but are speaking to a real disaffectation by white males. Ok, I'm sure I've just irritated about half my audience or more for one reason or another, so I'll drop that.

I can't believe they're doing this in Idaho: The zoo there is offering Valentine's Day brunch complete with a slideshow of the mating rituals of the animals. From the Obscure Store.


My Ass

I have a way of rating ridiculousness in movies, television shows, and plays; the "My Ass" method. It works as follows. If I am watching a movie that has a particularly improbable turn of events, I utter "My Ass!" One tallies the "My Asses" at the end of the movie, and that total comprises the "My Ass" rating. I think the all time leader is "Wild Wild West," with a close second going to "Con Air." Now, this doesn't say anything about how much I like a movie. I loved "Con Air," which is a classic in the "so-bad-it's-good" genre, while despising "Wild Wild West" with the burning power of a thousand suns. I mention this because I spotted this article that seems to have the same rating system. Actually, it's a (fake) science report with a URL that indicates the U of Wisconsin, which smells like Onion to me. This article was found at, well, Found.

Science! And other links

Apparently dolphins don't just use the clicks and whistles to navigate, but actually use their vocalizations to stun and kill fish to eat. Whoa. Via the always good MNBLOG Honeyguide.

Update: pro wrestling. Apparently there are people that are trying this at home.

Take Luke Hadley, 21, of Sturgeon Bay, Wis. McMahon hasn't discovered him yet -- maybe because the WWF refuses to watch homemade wrestling videos it receives -- but that's not because Hadley isn't trying. He says he's had 10 concussions, a broken arm, a broken tailbone and five horrific falls, and he's got a hundred scars and a few soft spots in his brain to prove it. "Sometimes I want to say stuff, and no words come out," he says. He doesn't have any insurance, but, "in 20 years, after I hit it big, I'll be able to afford all the surgeries I need." Damn right, Luke.

It's my position that Angie Harmon is inferior as a Law & Order assistant D.A. to Jill Hennessy. Maybe it could be that Angie Harmon was in Baywatch Nights? How bizarre.


When Debaters Attack

I had an fairly long conversation via instant messenger with Jeff today. I thought it was really interesting, especially since we have fairly similar views on political matters, except on the subject of trade. With his permission, I have placed the conversation here, which I think he agreed to after I let him have the last salvo. Other cool links we bounced at each other on the subjects we discussed include:

Paul Wellstone's Nation article, arguing why the Democratic party shouldn't go farther to the center, like the DLC types argue;

Noam Chomsky's deconstruction of the War On Drugs (cribbed from Randomwalks).

Michael Moore (WTO chair) saying that WTO protestors make him want to vomit; and

Michael Moore (the other one) on the failure of the left. More spot on than anything I've read out those pinkos in a long, long time. A must!

Here's hoping for less work tomorrow

When things pick up at work I get much less of the web filtered through my jaundiced view than usual, which cascades down to what goes in the blog. I try not to get too caught up in the computer at home, but I do like to get a daily entry put together. (sigh). I'm waiting for a Major Inspiration to hit, the kind that lets me plan a week and a half ahead of time of entries that all make sense in how they fit together. Perhaps something debate related would be in order; for those who aren't in the know, the debate subculture in high school and college breeds a whole extra school of thought where ideas that seem terribly bizarre to the rest of society make perfect sense, such as: "Nuclear war would be good if it was a small one, since the rest of the world would see how bad it was and would gain a consciousness to disarm themselves." Or: "If the development of Artificial Life is inevitable, and Artificial Life is the worst possible thing to happen to the universe, the most moral thing to do would be to overtly cause the extinction of humanity before that happens." Or, like the one round in college that my dad came to, when Maggie and I argued that we should ban marriage because it's a patriarchal institution that prevents other types of familial arrangements to be accepted. Oh, and imagine each of these arguments spewed out at auctioneer speed in a jargon absolutely unintelligible by a layperson, and I think you begin to get the picture.

I did think this was really funny: ESPN's lookalike athlete/celebrities.



Foiled by a short attention span

Maggie had her mystery party on Saturday. It was awesome, yet it damn near killed me. She is very, um, detail oriented, and she can be somewhat demanding. After all was said and done, however, I heard so many superlative comments that it seemed strangely worth it. As I get pictures I'll add a night writeup -- after all, what's the point of a murder mystery party without describing the mystery? Let it be said for now that it was a night of intrigue, suspense, blackmail, heroin dealing, stolen property, contested pedigrees, and a key drunk person. Oh, and Master Bates.

So, I've been busy with the party and its aftermath and have been neglecting the blog. The other thing sucking my time away the last two nights has been that damned Napster. I never could get it to work before last night and now that I've figured it out I keep trying to think of more bizarre tunes to come up with. The winner so far is this funky German techno song by Lucy Lectric called "Weil ich Mädchen bin." Although a collective second goes to the wide variety of barbershop quartet music available. Now, I've not weighed in about my feelings in the whole Napster controversy, but I'm a big libertarian, so it should come as no surprise that I come down heavily on the side of sharing. And those punks in Metallica, who are self righteously pursuing legal action against Napster, got their start by a collection of freely traded demos and bootleg albums, but now want to prevent the same thing after they're popular and make lots of money? Puh-lease. I don't care for Courtney Love's music, but she sure seems smart as she tells us who is going to make the money from any Napster revenues, and it sure isn't the artists that record companies are hiding behind.

Updates, etc

More Simpsons Linkage: Christianity Today's homage to Saint Flanders. Crazy, yet somehow not surprising:

A 1999 survey conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide found that 91 percent of American children between the ages of 10 and 17 could identify members of the Simpson family; 84 percent of adults could identify them. In each case, this was a greater percentage of children and adults than could identify then–Vice President Al Gore.

About that license plate: I got it done at the Acme.com licensemaker. Plenty of funky stuff there, trust me. Via bOINGbOING, a cutting edge blog/zine.

Do yourself a favor and read the customer review of this Family Circus collection. Via the Star Tribune weblog, which just achieved the distinction of being the first weblog in Minnesota, if not the world, to get a regular print run in a "real" newspaper. Congrats, Gael! I've been worried about what she thinks of this site since I put the tongue in cheek moniker of "Minnesota's Third Best Blog" at the top. I've been thinking if any MNBLOGger calls me on it, I'll say it's under theirs and one of the other well known ones. But, unfortunately for that plan, Gael has three blogs (she also writes PCJM and the Alt-log), so I'm implicitly claiming that mine is better than one of hers, which is undoubtedly not true.


Corruption they get away with

You may recall that early last month I mentioned in passing Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating's history of under the table payoffs as a reason why he didn't get a place in the Bush administration (original linked article here, to save you time). Keating had accepted about $250,000 in the name of his children from an old buddy named Jack Dreyfus. Bush didn't want any of his nominees to have even a whiff of corruption about them (he obviously feels all corruption should start in the new administration. See my energy column).

Well, now Keating has come under official scrutiny, even becoming the target of an ethics complaint. I'm surprised this was even printed in the Oklahoman, the "state newspaper," because it's been so unswervingly supportive of the Governor for as long as I can remember. To thicken the plot further, field correspondent for Hobbsblog II Stephen Hobbs reports:

"Frank says he reported the "gift" to the feds/Senate Judiciary Committee when he was being touted for a federal judgeship he didn't get back in 1993. But nobody in Oklahoma ever knew that he was "on the take" from Dreyfus (though we do have an ineffectual Ethics Commission). Now, the deferred compensation program for state employees in OK has transferred its account from T. Rowe Price ... to the Dreyfus Fund, which may or may not have any connection to its founder, the same Keating sugar daddy."

You can trust Hobbsblog II to stay on top of the developments in this case.

I got to thinking about corruption in the first place after hearing more about the California energy crisis. Now, it's not my intention to keep running pieces about this over and over; but this is a truly outrageous story, perhaps the most horrible case of documented corruption ever unpunished in the US. The story dates all the way back to the turn of the (last) century, when San Francisco needed water. The only water anyone was able to get was a claim in the middle of Yosemite National Park, in the Hetch Hetchy valley. To develop this water claim, the city would need to dam the river and flood the valley, a terrible enough proposition that led conservationists like John Muir to declare:

Dam Hetch Hetchy? As well dam for water tanks the people's cathedrals and churches; for no holier temple has ever been consecrated to the heart of man.

Nonetheless, it was dammed, in a compromise with progressives under the provision in the Raker Act that the dam be a hydroelectric dam to provide cheap power to a municipal electric district for the city of San Francisco. In all of the years since, no such electric district has ever been created; something like 8 separate bond measures have been defeated that would create it. The city has for 75 years or so been (illegally) selling the power to PG&E at wholesale rates, which then sells it back to the citizens at retail prices, all in violation of the Raker Act. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has been reporting this continuously since 1969 (the article is a must read to understand this problem) fruitlessly, as major newspapers won't report it, city officials (including current Senator Dianne Feinstein) have stonewalled, and PG&E has refused to to release any documents or even comment about the matter. Truly an outrageous situation. Full archive of SFBG articles on this subject here.
Random links

Ok, I was trying to avoid talking at all about any other blogs (navel gazing, as some of the other bloggers refer to it) but can't resist linking to Our-J's 2-tite Site. It's what happens when you try to write a blog in ebonics. Compare that to Herbert Kornfeld, and then tell me which one is serious and which one isn't. Warning: either may make you laugh out loud.

LAPI: I guess masturbation doesn't shrink one's penis. Someone call Joycelyn Elders. She's still right.

Finally, go ahead; delete those Email petitions. I give you permission. They don't work at all.


The Beginning of the End?

or, Whatever

The folks over at Metafilter are freaking out because the CEO of Pyra (which runs Blogger) has posted an essay on his blog about what deep poop his company is in. This has me a little twitchy, too, seeing as the spotty performance that Blogger has been giving me the last two days, and the fact that I couldn't code my way out of a paper bag. It's only through a service like Blogger that I'm able to run this; and if Blogger were to go tits up I'd have to expend quite a bit of effort to switch to another service. Actually, it would be a huge amount of work, necessitating the change to "Hobbsblog III," which I don't want, if for no other reason the fact that "Electric Boogaloo" only works as a descriptor for number II. Speaking of which, I think Star Wars II should be called that.

Anyway, coupled with the revelation that Saturn is going on indefinite hiatus, I've been somewhat down on the whole blogging thing all day. That was the one I parodied last week, if you recall. I've got motivation from here to Tuesday, but I can't shake the thought that I entered this game on the downslope, when things were beginning to fall apart.

Jesus, what self indulgent drivel. Screw that. This blog is unlike any other out there; I'll keep doing it if I have to code this by hand (UGH!!! AUGGGH!!) so why worry? Whatever. I'm on a Mission from God.

Random link and an Update or Two

This is a highly interesting article about the fire burning in a coal seam under Centralia, PA since the 1960s. The government has been trying to relocate the eighty or so residents still there, but they seem pretty firm in their conviction that the real motivation behind this effort is to get at the billions and billions of dollars of ultra high grade anthracite coal under them. A must read.

Update for those concerned about my announced "expunging" from Monday. Ok, I admit it; I'm a wild man. I'm almost as crazy as this guy. That caffeine addiction is really kicking my ass. I had to be put in a straightjacket for a while to calm the fears of my neighbors. Whatever.

Update on the energy crisis and Bush's campaign contributers from yesterday: Arianna Huffington comes down on my side, connecting the dots between this problem and campaign finance reform.