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


Baseball season, almost

The boys of summer are about to begin playing. I can't help but think about the proposed Twins Stadium that's now passed the first hurdle in the state Legislature. Besides the obvious problem of corporate welfare, these people are discussing an outdoor stadium. Hello? It's less than a week before opening day and I still have OVER A FOOT OF SNOW in my backyard! Damn, what are they thinking? I'm thinking that maybe Major League Baseball doesn't belong here. Dome baseball is dumb; it needs to be outdoors. Outdoor baseball in April is a bad bet for the Twin Cities due to weather (who wants a Snowout?), so either make a retractable roof or let the damn Twins go to a warm venue that wants them.

While I'm on the baseball kick, here's an article critical of ESPN's Peter Gammon. His sources are poor, his defenses are weak, and he's basically washed up and dumb, says the author. He's had critics write about this before. In this last link, from 1997, Gammons is criticized for dishing back out the corporate line of the Marlins fed to the public about them losing money. And thus the bloggage comes back to greedy owners and corporate welfare. (First link via Drat fink)

Oh, and did you hear what our president has decided to do with the White House backyard? That's right, he's building a baseball diamond at the official residence of our chief executive. Well, at least he's not in charge of the rosters:
During his presidential campaign, Texas governor and former Rangers owner George W. Bush called this trade his biggest mistake of his adulthood. On 29 July 1989, the Rangers acquired infielder Fred Manrique and DH Harold Baines from the White Sox for shortstop Scott Fletcher, future All-Star pitcher Wilson Alvarez and a 20 year old rookie outfielder -- some guy named Sammy Sosa.
Odds 'n' ends

The Leaky Cauldron is a Harry Potter blog. I've now read all four of these books, and they're all good. Each has been better than the last, although there are some pretty easy criticisms to make. Who cares, though? I like them just for the neat little details. Personally, I'd love some Floo powder so I could instantly go visit my mom.

Update on Psycho Ex Girlfriend (.com): Newstrolls alleges it's an elaborate hoax. I really don't know enough about the technical issues to take a stance.

Finally, why flouride treatments for water may be the straw to break the Salmon's back. To explain; research indicates that flouridated water is an intoxicant for the Pink Fish. While all stoned on small levels of flouride, they are unable to traverse dams' fish ladders and other portions of their migration. A bill is currently pending before the Oregon legislature to mandate such treatments to water statewide.


Current events

As you may or may not have noticed, I have officially spent money on Hobbsblog II. Yes, I've paid to shut off the ads. They irritated me to no end, whether they bugged you or not. I hated waiting for a damn banner to load to see my site, and the irritation finally won over my niggardliness last night. However, the improvement in performance will likely not be noticed, as I decided to add the discussion function again, which will likely mean no difference in load times. On the whole I'm happy with it.

I also decided to re-start the Debater's Corner sub-blog, mainly to keep my debate stories and digressions off HBII and localized. Now I just need to figure out what to do with my other side project, the Dynamic Storytelling Blog, which started strong but ran out of collaborator desire to keep it going. I'm considering a few options, including turning it into my own personal free form serial fiction blog, starting a new story with new collaborators, and just deleting the whole thing. Either email me or discuss what you think I should do.

Several updates

The place where "What Would Jesus Do" originated was in a novella called "In His Steps" by Charles Sheldon, 1896. Mom also points out another example of why the Cochlear implant phenomenon enrages the Deaf community: insurance will cover CI but not hearing aids. For most Deaf folks, hearing aids are an immense help in getting around in the hearing world but as anyone who either has hearing aids or knows someone who does, they're terribly expensive. An update on the Bush as Republican proxy: he will no longer do formal press conferences. Surprised? Me neither; all you had to do was watch his performance at any of these and you knew he just never performed the way his handlers wanted him to. Speaking of handlers, his number one attack dog, Ari Fleischer, has been using his position as press secretary to claim reporters are in error and stories about Dubya are false when in fact they aren't. In doing this, apparently Fleischer is relying on Clintonesque verb parsing to differentiate between say, a plan and a proposal, to criticize media reports of the administration. I guess it depends on what the definition of "is" is.

Cool links for your edification

An academic view of modern courtship presenting several different points of view. The portion that deals with Evolutionary Psychology is especially interesting, including such tidbits as….

Given these courtship dynamics, sociobiology predicts the emergence of a "marriage gradient" with women "marrying up" and men "marrying down." This puts a "marriage squeeze" on high-status women. High-status males have an immense pool of potential female mates from which to choose, but high-status women seeking to "marry up" face a very restricted pool of available males. The male tendency to "marry down" tends further to sideline high-status females. Feminists often disparage this pattern as a patriarchal strategy aimed at female subordination: Men socially entrench the subordination of women by marrying down and ruling over their younger and lower-status women. This male strategy also contributes to the social marginalization of high-achieving women.

A neat pictorial illustration about how it's cars, not people, that create overcrowding. This is so true; and it's a vicious cycle. As metro areas get bigger, the ability of people to walk and bike to their work and businesses is diminshed, which means you need to drive more, which means everything gets more overcrowded, which means you need to move farther away. From the provocative Randomwalks, a lefty blog that I've been reading for well over a year.

Finally, why the interest in Cremonese Viols as collectibles mean musicians can't afford to play them. Another great link from Catherine. I play the Viola, and have been looking for a community orchestra. If you know of one in St. Paul that I should go check out let me know.


Watermelon, anyone?

Mag and I have been watching the Antiques Roadshow for as long as it's been on (domestically, of course; like so many shows in the US these days the original was a British program[me]). One of the most memorable of the early ones I saw was a bit where a guy brought in a sword for appraisal that turned out to be from the Civil War. "Gosh golly," he said, or something like that, "I used to use that to cut watermelon when I was a kid." No fooling. It's now been a year since the appraiser, George Juno, was kicked off the AR for his role in this appraisal, which turned out to be a scam promulgated with his partner, a Russ Pritchard III. Basically, the sword was Pritchard's, and he got a huckster to bring in the sword for his buddy George to appraise. Only after the Boston Herald article I just linked was published (one year ago tomorrow) were the two dropped from the Roadshow. Now these two are being named in a criminal complaint alleging they defrauded a descendant of one of the best known Confederates in the War of Northern Aggression, General George Pickett (amazingly, this article doesn't even refer to the earlier brouhaha). George Pickett V won a civil lawsuit over the matter in 1999 to the tune of $800,000, which is roughly the amount he was defrauded.

Speaking of ancient history

More fun with Google: find your earliest evidence of residence on the internet. For me, it's almost definitely this message I posted to a debate listserv in October 1994.

Another fantastic link from PCJM: The Irish Curse Generator. For instance "May the malevolent hedgehogs gnaw at your manly part" is translated to "Go gcreime na gráinneoga cealgrúnacha do bhall fearga." Complete with phonetic pronunciation! A must. Not quite as good but still amusing is the automatic Dis generator available from the Spark. It delivers such tasteful insults as "My fairy godmother is coming to kick your jock.." All righty then.

Finally, an update on "plushies." A letter to Newza da Weird from a Plushy lover about how they've been defamed by the recent Vanity Fair article. Methinks he doth protest too much.


Slow ride

Bob called in sick today, which means my workplace blogging time has been restricted to a minimum. Nevertheless, I still managed to filter a few dozen pages, so all is not lost.

Last spring, I went and heard a paper presentation by eminent scholar and beloved mother Dr. June Hobbs, on "What Would Jesus Do." It was a rhetorical analysis of the modern mantra as it related to its origin piece from the end of the 19th century, which I forget the name of (I have no doubt in my mind she'll immediately write an email reminding me of what it is with some sort of good-natured scolding about how I ought to remember. Even if she doesn't I still feel guilty. Unbidden guilt happens all the time to me. Last night I was making some Tuna fish salad and needed to boil an egg. I couldn't remember the time for boiling a good hard boiled egg and so I looked it up on the internet, even though I had remembered multiple times during my childhood where mom explicitly told me, "this is how you boil an egg…" Sure enough, at the top of the page was an admonition about how this is how to boil an egg if your mom never told you how. Sheesh. I felt so guilty. But, I digress.).

Anyway, while WWJD is terribly interesting and deserving of its own bloggage, that wasn't what I was thinking of. At this same panel one of her colleagues gave an overview of some of the confusion that hearing people have when dealing with members of the Deaf community. This immediately came to mind when I read this article about a breakthrough in laboratories that will make cochlear implants work better. Cochlear implants (all of this is from memory, someone write me if I mess up any facts) are a huge issue in the Deaf community. Basically this procedure involves drilling a hole through the ear to the cochlea, which is a spiral shaped organ that connects to the auditory nerve. There, a wire apparatus is connected that essentially takes a microphone's electrical output and converts it to a signal that the auditory nerve can pick up, restoring some hearing. Most hearing folks are surprised to learn that much of the Deaf community is rabidly against this procedure. On the other hand, if you learn something about this group of people it makes sense; a minority group with their own language, Deaf people are discriminated against and fighting the current in a hearing world. When Deaf issues do come up (like this one), they seem focused on taking away specific members out of that group rather than doing simple things that would help more than a few Deaf people live easier in society, like providing interpreters or funding closed captioning in movies and Television. A very confusing but informative FAQ about the issue is also available if you'd like to learn more. (As people will inevitably fill me in with more links I'll pass them on as updates. Jeff also points out that his favorite site, Wrestlecrap, has descriptive narration to go with their video clips. Very nice.)
Short blurbs, cool links.

My late friend and colleague on the debate circuit, Becky Galentine, was very involved in starting an urban debate foundation towards the end of her life. I'm very gratified that it's taking off the way it is. I know or have met just about all the people in this story, too. Cool!

HOLY HELL! Now that Wizards of the Coast is being swallowed by MNC Hasbro, tell all stories are beginning to pop up. Sex, geeks, and Magic: the Gathering. Mag and I were Magic players back in Portland back when M:TG was still cool. I even won a tournament once. Hell, we still have a number of good older cards (just ask Mag to show you her Gauntlet of Might).

Finally, also from Salon: Why I like Camille Paglia. This is dead on.

Forcing restless teens of both sexes to sit like robots in regimented rows in crowded classrooms for thebetter part of each day is a pointless, sadistic exercise except for those with their sights on office jobs.This school system is not even 200 years old, yet most people treat it as if the burning bush floated it down from Mount Sinai. Too often, school has become a form of mental and physical oppression. Exactly what is being taught? Certainly not wisdom or perspective on life. Can anyone honestly claim that current high school students know more about history, science, language and the arts than students 40 years ago? As for college students, the shallowness of their training in the humanities has become all too evident as graduates of the elite schools have entered the professions and the media over the past 20 years.


Spring? What spring?

The days are getting longer, the sun angle is getting higher with every passing day, yet here in Minnesota we still have nine inches of snow or so on the ground. Today's high will be somewhere around 25 degrees. In my backyard there's a neat effect where the snow closest to the house (north side) is never out of the shadow of the house and is still two feet deep. Farther to the back of the yard, where the sun shines, the snow is dwindling down to only a few inches and even a few bare patches. Last year spring was well underway by this time. I planted the sunflowers on May 1, although May 15 is the generally accepted last frost date. Mag and I did buy some seeds yesterday. We've decided to cut down to a few crops for maximum productivity for our limited space. Tentatively we're planning cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, and maybe some carrots. Our novelty crop this year will be a funky type of melon that I already forget the name of.

What we really want to have happen is for the lakes to thaw. Mag and I have been talking about getting a canoe for quite a while now, and with a few weeks to go before paddling season starts, it's the best time of the year to buy one. This is a buying guide that Paddling magazine has put together. It's a neat guide that allows many ways to sort what you want. Mag and I are looking for a canoe that we can take out nearly every night on Lake Phalen, which is about a mile from our house, as well as to take camping. There are a number of campsites in Minnesota that are canoe-in only, so with a fun paddle across a remote lake we can have a campground all to ourselves. Cool!

Most major canoe manufacturers also have their own websites. Wenonah makes a number of very nice models, one of which we're looking at. Mad River is another big manufacturer, and Old Town also produces comparable options. Bell canoe makes nice canoes, but the site is all Flash and pretty annoying on an underpowered computer.

I'll do a bloggage sometime about places to take your canoe.
Update and further link jettison

My first experience ever with newsgroups was when Jeff showed me one called alt.sex.plushies, which was a group dedicated to people who LOVED their stuffed animals a little too much, if you know what I mean. You ask why I even refer to this, right? This link is to a page where you can buy a stuffed moose. When I say stuffed, you know what I mean. Like, is that a flying squirrel in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Via notsosoft.

The top 100 reasons we love Rasheed Wallace.
6.Reporter had to go to the student union arcade to try to find him to do an interview because that's where he always was, playing NBA Jam or Mortal Kombat II.
59.Admitted that weasely media-type John Feinstein was the reason he often forced himself to get up and actually go to class.
62.Boyhood bedroom was a basketball court, complete with foul lines drawn on the floor.

Strom Thurmond's estranged wife (she's 52 to his 98; picture from 1987 here) is making it very clear she doesn't plan on taking over his seat if he is incapacitated. I saw Strom on the Senate floor when I visited in 1990. He looked damn near catatonic then; I can't believe he's won two more elections since then. It reminds me of a fringe argument we sometimes ran in debate at the end of Deng Xiaoping's reign in China; there were people that said that Deng was already dead and the Chinese just weren't telling us. It made a good answer to "when Deng dies, then the disad kicks in" scenarios. (Yeah, I digress.) Anyway, if Strom died, who would tell?


Link Jettison Edition

It's been a week at work where I have to actually do work. It's been irritating, and doing work trades off directly with quality blog time. So, where to start, where to start. Ok, I'll begin with a tangential update.

Recently I blogged the researchers that got to dress up in the moose outfit and throw urine soaked snowballs at the moose. Now there's a story about a Norwegian moose that tried to mate with a car, got frustrated, and defecated on it. Via Cheesedip. Speaking of Moose, my favorite name for a blog is probably Mooselessness, a name so catchy that I sometimes just start thinking of my life as a state of Mooselessness. While trying to remember the URL for that site I just typed in www.mooselessness.com and was surprised to find that it's actually a site that belongs to some house somewhere. Bizarre. Mooselessness the weblog is published from Victoria, B.C., where Hobbsblog fanatics will remember Mag and I honeymooned last October.

Next weakly threaded series of links: FOOD. At good ol' Norman High School, I was a part of a special English class called Ægis, taught by legendary figurehead Dr. Betsy Ballard, and one of the things we did was read the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. To this day, I recite the opening lines with a massively overdone flourish to impress and irritate party guests (kinda like my odd remembrance of every president of the US in order): "Whan that Aprille with the shoures soute, the droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote…" Ok, enough of that. Why didn't Dr. Ballard help our enthusiasm for the period by cooking us Medieval Food? Among the choice selections are such things as Tourtes Parmeriennes, which are meat pies with crenellated pasta. Looks good, although I'm a bit more leery of wine thickened with eggs. Hmm. From old to very very very new; the latest convenient food item is: Push-up food. The pictured example in the link is push-up Mac and cheese. Seriously. It's just like those Push-Ups Sherbet pops we ate as kids, but grosser. From Blue Ruin, again. I take too many links from Catherine. It's embarassing.

Damn, I still have more links to dump

For those still looking for a team to root for in the NCAA basketball tourney, this article gives you a good background on John Chaney, coach of the Temple Owls, and was enough to make me want them to win. I get the idea from all that I've seen with Temple that they're kind of like the way the Lewis & Clark debate team always was; a small school that could hang with huge state schools, always underestimated, never very highly regarded, but always scrappy, well prepared, and itching to kick some ass. Temple plays Penn State tonight. Go Owls!

Cool pictures of Mir's return to earth. Wish I could have been there.

Twin Cities radio officially sucks. Tell me something I didn't know. All I listen to is public radio. (I've found I manufacture excuses to run long errands on Sunday mornings because that's when Car Talk is on.)

Did you know there's a town called Fucking, Austria? No kidding. They sell T-shirts.

T-shirts can also be purchased at Pscho Ex Girlfriend (.com), although the funny part is the voice mail collection. Basically, this guy broke up with a girl, stole her cat, and then put the 53 (!) voice mails she left for him online for us to listen to. The first few are really funny. After that they're really sad and pathetic and I couldn't listen to any more. Still worth checking out.

Anyone still looking for a late birthday gift to get me can get this Decepticon sticker for under $3. Sean got me a gift certificate to Amazon. I am shocked, amazed, and incredibly touched. Thanks, Sean! Now go visit his website.

I still have more links but I'm tired of typing.


Stupid people suck

Some cool people from Metafilter have started a mailing group that is unabashedly only for smart people. I love it. I’ve often said that stupid people are no good and should be eliminated. Ok, maybe not eliminated, but certainly it’s time to remove them from power.

That reminds me of a story. Near the end of my collegiate debate experience, we went for a tournament in Kentucky. While we were in the van, Mag saw a baby in the backseat of another car that wasn’t in a carseat. Mag immediately denounced the parent of the child as negligent, irresponsible, and generally worthless. Aleava defended the parent, as they were obviously of a lower income bracket, and piped up that she might not be able to afford the carseat. Mag, being unimpressed with this argument, quickly engaged Aleava in a somewhat heated repartee. Eventually, Mag ended the discussion by saying “Poor people shouldn’t breed,” which was obviously a throwaway line and made the van explode with laughter. For the rest of the trip, to make any of the Pioneers chortle all you needed to say was “Poor people shouldn’t breed” and that was it. I now will amend that to “Stupid people shouldn’t breed” and see who defends the right of stupid people to procreate.

The best part about making fun of stupid people is the inherent lack of defenders they have.


When I was working at Farmers’ insurance in Portland, Miles T. Benzler, a colleague, introduced me to the world of sushi and sashimi. Miles had spent a year or two in Japan, so he was very familiar with all of the foodstuffs there are. Well, I am not. Thus, when I see some of the Mysterious Snack Foods of the Far East, I am somewhat surprised and amazed. For instance, Asparagus Biscuits. Found at After the Rain.


A LAPI deconstruction

It has come to my attention that some of my faithful readers are unable to read some of my links due to the presence of Net Nanny programs that filter their web browsing experience. That sucks. I've been doing a little bit of research on how to get around such problems, and believe I'm most of the way to a solution. Pages exist that help you convert an IP address to hexadecimal, which isn't looked at by filtration programs. Here's the embarassing part: to utilize these pages, you have to get the IP address of the page. All of these sites that refer to this process say, "Ok, get the IP address. It's really easy, just PING the site." Uh, ok. Let me reiterate my status as perhaps the preeminently untechnical blogger, but I have no clue how one PINGs a site. A little help?

In the meantime, here's an intermediate solution: Safeweb will take a site and open it remotely so your filtration software doesn't see the address. Which you probably won't need for the following LAPI (monthly refresher: a LAPI is a Link Appealling to Prurient Interest): An indepth look at the US porn industry. This is an absolute must read for anyone who ever wished they could be a porn star. It may also be my penance for every other LAPI I've ever linked. As I remarked to my buddy Jeff, there is something to be said for monogamy/inexperience.

"But I don't want you to write about that. And could you not mention my real name? . . . I don't have relationships any more. They make life unstable. The only sex I have is the sex on screen."

Americans spend more on strip clubs than they spend on theatre, opera, ballet, jazz and classical concerts combined.

"I have herpes," said Chloe... "After you've been in this business for a while, you have herpes. Everyone has herpes."

From Linkmachinego, a widely respected Brit blog. I think I now read more British blogs than from any single other nationality.


The Utne reader ran this article about ways to have fun. Without exception, they are not fun suggestions. Edifying, maybe. Worthwhile, yes. But… Booooooring! Here's what is "fun": studying languages, crochet, work, work, being Ira Glass (now that would be fun), and work. Of course I'm oversimplifying, but jeez. What a stupid article.

Finally, congratulations to Ellen Ripstein, who broke her longstanding hex by finally winning the American Crossword Puzzle Competition. She'd been a top 5 finisher for 18 consecutive years before she came out on top this year.

Today's picture is from I Love Bacon, the source for naughty and otherwise funny pictures and ephemera. The sign is from a bait shop in Oregon.


One way bloggage

The reports in the blogging world about the Monarch butterfly slaughter in Mexico started two weeks ago with a post on Metafilter. Eleven days later, Jimwich picked it up, and from there Follow Me Here had blogged it as well. The issue? Homero Aridjis, an important Mexican environmentalist, poet, and activist (eminently cardable, too: I cut much evidence from him in college), claimed that Mexican loggers had sprayed pesticide to kill 22 million Monarch butterflies to gain access to the protected woods in which they spend their winters. This would be incredibly tragic and senseless, except it's probably not true. The deaths weren't caused by spraying, and the number has been exaggerated by a factor of ten.

But Missrie told New Scientist that the mass deaths were probably caused by cold, not pesticides. Recent heavy snowfalls in the area would have been particularly devastating to butterflies trying to winter in the heavily logged forest, she says. A similar cold snap in 1996 also killed millions of Monarchs. "It can look like they were sprayed," says Missrie, because the butterflies' fat comes to the surface of their wings when they die, giving them an oily feel. The WWF has sent biologists into the field to collect samples and they expect to confirm the cause of death within a few weeks.

Obviously it would take a real set of monsters to kill a bunch of Monarchs. They're among the most impressive insects out there, and when they swarm they can make whole trees turn fiery red. I'll be interested to see which of these blogs run followups. Oh, and one other interesting thing about this story; this CNN writeup of the story has 2.2 million in the title, but 22 million in the body. What a difference a decimal makes…

Say it's your birthday? It's my birthday too, yeah

As a 26-year-old, I'm now getting old. One of my dreams is to make it to 80 so I can sit on my front porch, take up chewing tobacco so I can spit a lot, and yell at the whippersnappers. For those who haven't gotten me anything, for the amazingly low price of $5.95 a month you can sponsor Hobbsblog II to make it advertisement free. Think about it. The gift that keeps on giving.

Quiz: if you walk into a store and ask the cashier for ca$h money, is it robbery? Apparently not, if you don't use any threats. At least in Iowa. Mad props to that lawyer…

And then there's the neverending cascade of levels of perception. Before President Dubya took office, many people were mad because he was predicting a recession. The claim was that he was both lowering expectations and attempting to inoculate himself from the commonly known Republican Recession effect. Well, the new administration's media manipulations don't stop there. Critics note that Dubya is talking down the economy to get a tax cut, overstating the energy crisis to justify breaking his campaign promise to regulate CO2 emissions, and maybe even antagonizing North Korea to justify ballistic missile defense.

Lastly, an online Monster Manual. This isn't perfect; it needs more pictures, and some listed Hit Dice would be nice (a joke, a joke. sheesh), but pretty cool nonetheless. From one of my all time favorites, Blue Ruin. Please note that Catherine is threatening to buy more shoes. (Inside joke. Click here to be clued in.)


Survivor, the job

Another week over. Yee haw! More importantly, another round of layoffs apparently avoided. Now, I don't have any great love for my job, but it's the first one I've ever had that I don't just outright loathe, so that's worth something. Moreover, my boss has pledged to maintain flexibility while I go to Law School, which is awesome. Who wouldn't choose to stick around to work part timefor a job that pays pretty well for what I do? It has been pretty ugly morale-wise around the office this week. Everyone has anticipated this round of layoffs for a while, and while it looks like everyone has been spared, we've been not busy at all and that bodes ill for the future.

To help Gary and Bob pass the time, I gave them this link to the best online games. Seeing as I'm the boss, they don't have to worry too much about the boss catching them play marbles, which is the game du jour here. I brought the book I'm currently reading today, which just happens to be the latest Harry Potter, which Scott Minority helpfully allowed me to borrow.

Setting myself up

I've been getting a lot of weird search requests recently. There's a whole website devoted to this phenomenon amongst bloggers. How it works: If one checks their referrer logs, you can see how people got to your website. For example, I get a lot of "Jenna Bush falling out of dress" searches because of the entry I did after inauguration.

These next few LAPIs will help increase my amount of Disturbing Search Requests, I have no doubt.

This doctor restores men's dignity. Dignity being, I suppose, the Russian translation for "penis."

Other common problems include a break or rupture in the penis. It is impossible to break the penis when it's flaccid, but once it's erect severe pressure can rupture the corposa cavernosa - the three tubes that fill with blood to make the penis erect. Cases reported often include when a woman tries to jump on her partner and misses. As well as being extremely painful - a loud popping sound is often heard when the penis "breaks"- it can cause severe problems, both sexually and with the urinary tract, if not treated immediately.

So I can be an equal opportunity panderer, this story is from the Beaver Times (I am not making this up): Woman caught with over $2,000 stolen cash in her vaginal cavity. Banks don't want the money back. No one does, apparently. The Fed is destroying the cash. (Previous two links from the Obscure Store. Many other fine links there today, but I can only rip off two without feeling too guilty)

Inside joke within the link: Can dry humping get you pregnant? and other stupid questions fielded by online columnists. I think I'd like to be an online sex columnist. Send your questions here.


Beware the Ides of March

I just finished the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. It's quite a good book, so much so that I have something to say about the controversy sparked by it.

First, the issue of the fatwa that put a bounty on Rushdie. This is really sad on so many levels. Nothing written in literature should ever be worth a death sentence for the author; no idea is so powerful that it renders a life void. Worse than that basic problem, the fact is that the portions that supposedly slander Muhammad are absolutely taken out of context. A huge portion of the book is separating madness from revelation, exposing the falseness of dichotomies, as it were. When you read a book, you consider the history and statements the author makes within the solipsistic world of the narrative. It seems obvious to me that there is zero historic relevence meant by these passages, at least within this narrow context.

Second, I know that those who condemn this book have never read it. This is the sort of anti-intellectualism that makes it impossible for most thinking people to countenance religion in our world. I find it difficult to blame Islam for this; there are plenty of other religions that put orthodoxy before thinking, valuing sheep-like following over exercising the cognitive capabilities that the creator(s) they value supposedly endowed us with. There is a recurring theme within SV that is deeply threatening to religion, but I bet no mullah has ever discovered it, because they were too busy condemning the book via hearsay to actually read it. That theme is the distrust of absolutism; the inability to say with any reasonable certainty the truth of someone being Good and another being Evil. Without dualism, what is any monotheism? It's really sad to consider that life isn't as simple as most sheep herding religionists would have you think, but that's exactly what Rushdie indicates via his sublime narrative. No character is presented as absolutely good, or bad either. To some degree, every bad character has a redemption, and every good character has a moment of weakness. That's just how life is.

It's worth a read.

I'll be watching NCAA basketball tonight

The true story of a message in a bottle that led to a pen pal relationship. Someone needs to write an application that sends an email to a random address so we can do that in cyberspace (since I'm quite far from an ocean).

Nearly 150 years later, now someone in the North wants to secede from the South? Wow. Another issue worth an above the fold bloggage. I've been collecting material on the Northern hatred of the South for a while. It's been so long since I've done a Special Edition (the Orange Bowl was the last one), this one will be huge. If I can finish it. Well, anyway, this jerk blames the South for the downfall of the Democratic party, anti-progressiveness, etc. etc. Ever heard of Ronald Reagan?

Finally, every year the US State Department issues condescending little reports on every country's human rights records. Ever wonder what the US's would look like? China has done just that. And it's all true, if full of spin.


Shrub the scrub

Mark it down: Our President has officially broken a campaign promise. At issue here, regulation of CO2 emissions. Not only was this among his most specific campaign promises, it also comes fewer than two weeks after his new EPA director, Christine Todd Whitman, explicitly reiterated the promise.

"George Bush was very clear during the course of the campaign that he believed a multi-pollutant strategy, and that includes CO2, and I have spoken to that," Whitman said during a February 26 interview with CNN's Crossfire. "He has also been very clear that the science is good on global warming. It does exist. There is a real problem that we as a world face from global warming and to the extent that introducing CO2 to the discussion is going to have an impact on global warming, that's an important step to take."

Obviously this shows the clout that Whitman has in his administration. While I'm bagging on our Vile Filth In Chief, as predicted, the plan to fund Faith Based Community Initiatives has been put on hold over fears that crazy cultists will get their grubby paws on some of the money.

The administration prepared for an outcry from organisations and public figures who oppose any links between church and state. What it did not expect was that most of the loudest criticism come from the conservative Christian right …In an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Mr Robertson described the prospect that Scientologists might be beneficiaries of the scheme as "an intolerable situation". Mr Falwell, in an interview last week, objected to Islamic groups having access to federal funds. But the main complaint … is the White House declaration that religious groups which receive federal funds must not proselytise for converts.

Shortsighted morons.
Good Links! Evil Clowns!

A fat interview with Noam Chomsky on international media globalization. I think this is worth a full above-the-fold bloggage, but I'll just toss out the link for now. Very interesting.

Jeff has passed on this bit on Doink/Dink the Clown(s) in pro wrestling. Now, who wouldn't love a wrestler dressed as a clown, entering the ring to bad circus music, popping balloons of little kids with a smelly lit cigar on the way? The writer of the piece seems genuinely sorry to see the clowns go.

And then there's the Sports Team Names You'll Never See. I especially relate to the "Minnesota Asses Frozen Off," although the "Indiana Jones" is also funny. It kinda reminds me of the controversy a couple of years back over Jason Williams' nickname, which was "White Chocolate." His mom didn't like it because she didn't like him being compared to a black player, I guess, so ESPN had a contest to come up with a new nickname for him. I was mad because they didn't like my suggestion, which was the "Smokin' J," referring to his penchant for pot. However, while looking for a link, I ran into a nickname for JW even better than mine: Tokin' White. (Peter Vecsey came up with that one.) That's hilarious.


Immense Pain

I have mentioned that this state isn't fit for human habitation. Yesterday refreshed my memory why. Just when you think it's safe for spring to come, we get another nasty snowstorm with more on the way for tonight and tomorrow. We lost probably six inches of snow out of our snowpack last week and it's now worse than it was before. I still have two to three feet in the backyard. What a mess. Our current PIP rating (that's the Pain In the Posterior index used by the Pio Press) is up to 31, which, hence the title today, corresponds to "immense pain." By the way, I have a Weather Channel magnet on the bottom of this page for those who want a local weather report. I know no one ever goes down that far. My mom is my biggest fan, and she didn't know about it until I told her. The Twin Cities have now recorded 72 inches of snowfall this winter, which puts this winter as the 10th snowiest on record here. Yuck.

Meanwhile, in the Big Leagues, Spring Training is underway. I note that Portland is looking hard at getting a team (third-to-last item), or rather, Paul Allen is. He has more money than God, so I have no doubt that if he really wants a team he'll get one. It looks like he's already beginning to buy off the Oregon Legislature to divert $150 million of lottery revenue towards a new stadium. That's great. As far as most Minnesotans seem to be concerned, he can just have the Twins, as long as they just quit whining about a stadium. I voted for the stadium proposal last time, but that was entirely out of enlightened self interest. The stadium proposal on the ballot then was probably going to be about a mile away from my house, so I figured my property values would jump if it won. It lost. The latest corporate welfare plan will attempt to get us to pony up cash for a Twins stadium in downtown St. Paul, so I probably won't support it. Besides, the odds of getting a stadium referendum passed here is slim to none. How can you support baseball in a dome, anyway? If it's a retractable roof, maybe; but that would be expensive.

Updates, site news, links

I'm really behind on some basic updates. Such as the "MNBLOG" section. I got pointed at Ian Whitney's Minnesota blog list and it has at least 8 blogs I have yet to list. Ouch. Also, I was planning on putting back in the discuss feature that went the way of the dodo awhile back. Crap.

Priceless. I am not the first (or even second, Toast boy) to find the D&D Jack Chick tract. In this link, the author adds snarky comments every frame or so to make fun of it.

OK, I played Dungeons and Dragons back in 7th grade and we never had hot brunettes for the Dungeon Masters. In addition, the complexions of these players are remarkably clear for your average D&D player. Something evil definitely is afoot here. In fact, I'd challenge anyone to prove they played a D&D game with even 1 girl at the table, let alone 4.

Very very funny. One of the things I'll always remember about D and D is the original set in the box. (That is, not ADVANCED Dungeons and Dragons). There's a portion there where a cleric turns some sort of undead creature by saying "Begone, evil filth!" My mom overheard this, misheard it as "vile filth" and it instantly became her single favorite pejorative. To this day, if you irritate her, she will refer to you as a vile filth and sometimes she'll even tell you to begone. In her defense, she uses this in a less than serious manner almost all the time, but as you can tell, I come by my geekiness honestly. Link via LMG.

Here's a cool link for ya: Space Food. This site looks at the various things that were supposed to become the Food of the Future, like food pills and Beef-in-a-tube. Sure, they're terribly efficient ways to deliver nutrition, but they taste so bad. Maybe that's why…

Astronaut John W. Young (left) decided to avoid the atrocious offerings altogether, smuggling a corned beef sandwich aboard the five-hour Gemini 3 flight on March 23, 1965. Consumed by his partner Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, the contraband sandwich resulted in a Congressional investigation and the first official reprimand of an astronaut.

This is a section of the Retrofuture site, found via Boing Boing.

Finally, to note a bit of Link Love, as is the term for those who link you; This Boy is Toast says very nice things about us, and Weird Links has featured Hobbsblog II near the top of his link list, although it's inexplicably listed as Hobb's Blog. Amusing. (Hobb must be my evil twin; he comes out at night and adds LAPIs when I'm not looking to make this look more like an E/N site. )


Somehow I missed out on that campaign

This panel is taken from a tract created by a particularly virulent evangelical Christian named Jack Chick. The D&D tract was shoved in the middle of my Monster Manual when I bought it at the Waldenbooks at the Sooner Fashion Mall (somewhere around 1986, if my memory serves me correctly). It was so priceless that I saved it for years and years as a bookmark, although I’m not sure where the MM or the tract are now. Maybe Kevin has it. Anyways, Chick is a real piece of work. Check out some of his others. I’m especially fond of the anti-animal rights and anti-Islamic, which is so bigoted and condescending it should buy Mr. Chick his own fatwa. That being said, I find it ironic that the reason I know that Chick is wrong is because of Rushdie. To explain: Chick’s tract, entitled “Allah Had No Son,” takes the condescending presumption that because there was a pre-Islamic cult of Al-Lat, the moon goddess, then it must be the same character that Muhammad chose for the center of his monotheistic religion he was “inventing.” This Al-lat, as is clear in the Satanic Verses is not Allah. In fact, there was Allah before Islam, Muhammad just insisted that none of the others be worshiped. there is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.

Then the time of the idols began; by the time of Mahound, three hundred and sixty stone gods clustered around God’s own stone. … There is a God here called Allah (means simply, the god). Ask the Jahilians and they’ll acknowledge that this fellow has some sort of overall authority, but he isn’t very popular: an all-rounder in an age of specialist statues. … [L]astly, … the mother-goddess, whom the Greeks called Lato. Ilat, they call her here, or, more frequently, Al-Lat. the goddess. Even her name makes her Allah’s opposite and equal. (99-100)(emphasis Rushdie’s)

Chick just didn’t bother to check before he jumped to his conclusion.
Big, fat props to This boy is toast, which is where I found the linkage.
I’d be remiss in my duties…

Ok, I’ll admit that I consciously steer clear of the big bad fads in the blogging world just so I’m not seen as a follower. Now that I’ve admitted that, let me say this: I use Hobbsblog II as a links archive as much as an entertainment vehicle, so I have to include the next two, for my own sake if not yours.

This is a Realplayer Movie of a video called “Tunak Tunak Tun” by a Punjabi pop star named Daler Mehndi. This video will probably take those still stuck in dialup land a long time to load. It will still be worth it. More Daler here.

And then there’s the insane but irresistible “All Your Base Are Belong To Us", which is a badly translated video game intro. The game is called Zero Wing, and I have it on my computer. Courtesy of a friend, I have an amazing collection of emulated arcade games from the 80s and early 90s. To show off with houseguests I sometimes ask what their favorite game was from that era and then I let them play it. Anyway, this AYBABTU thing is everywhere. Trust me. (Mag informs me that this bloggage tars me with the geek brush pretty indelibly. Rats.)

I leave you with this, the Babelfish translation engine from Altavista. This may be the coolest thing yet on the web. I again am asking myself why didn’t anyone tell me about this before?

Hobbsblog II thanks Metafilter, as always.


End of the week Levity

When we were in Munich for two weeks at the end of 1998, there were many amusing things posted on the wall of the apartment at which we were staying. One of them was this:


The police are British
The mechanics are German
The cooks are French
The lovers are Italian
And the whole thing is organized by the Swiss;


The police are German
The cooks are British
The mechanics are French
The lovers are Swiss
And the whole thing is organized by the Italians.

Oh, so true. Another funny sign was in the bathroom (er, WC), which read: "Keine Binden in den Toiletten Werfen." Considering the style of toilet they had, also known as the "Shit Shelf," I can see why they didn't want any Binden thrown in the toilet (Americans only know those blessed water hungry toilets we have here. On the Continent, just about all the Johns I saw had a flat platform upon which one, uh, deposits his or her waste, which is then rinsed by water into the drain when one is done. Needless to say, bathroom facilities in Europe are somewhat more malodorous than their American cousins). Fortunately, I am male, so the sign didn't apply to me.

I've mentioned before the cycles of bloggage I go through. If I write serious posts a couple of days in a row, I think I'm getting stodgy and thus make sure I need to write something funny or get links of hilarity or whatever. If I write too much in a frivolous vein I get the opposite reaction. You'll see where I'm going.


Ok, who forgot to tell Nickelodeon about that scene in Three's Company when John Ritter's scrotum falls out of his shorts?

I'm delighted to share the Breast Chronicles, a Brit blog about, well, mammaries. ("Misty water covered mammaries....." sorry)

Dr. Menlo took note of me calling him the "LAPI blog," and even recognized it as a compliment. Very nice. He's currently featuring the Sand Spring calendar, that my boy Jeff tipped me off to about a month ago but I failed to blog at the time. Jeff has married into a family of nudists, which has helped to inspire the debate team he coaches to run Nekkidness as a case on the privacy topic (whoops, a little debatespeak creeps into this site). The Sand Springs ladies are posing nude to raise money to save the habitat on their island. Maybe they were inspired by the Aussie women's soccer team, who similarly posed for some ca$h money. Now THAT's sport. Wow.


This is routine, this is not routine

So much press about the vice president these days. Before Cheney, most people considered the VP position the way George Dallas did: "It ain't worth a bucket of warm piss." But now, with president Halfwit, we all know Cheney is the most important VP in history. That's probably why we're so scared about the recent "procedure" that Cheney had to reopen a clogged artery. Normal press be damned, I say. Let's look at this from the point of view of webloggers.

Al can't understand what the fuss is about. From his point of view (he's an RN in coronary care in my former home of Portland, OR) this is part of a normal maintenance of someone who has Acute Coronary Syndrome.

He got a diagnostic cath, found out that he had lost the roll of the dice (1 out of 5 stent patients have restenosis) and he bought himself an angioplasty. I mean, yeah; he needed urgent therapy, and he got fixed. Where was the news?

He points out that care has improved greatly, and concedes that this is a novel experience for many Americans, who think that ACS is a death sentence sooner rather than later. No big whoop, in short.

Jason takes a different view (He's also in health care):

I can tell all of you that there's not a chance in hell that any doctor would perform a cardiac catheterization if there weren't an urgent need. The White House is spinning this one big time.

Note the rhetoric: exactly the same, in the use of the word urgent. But it's clear that while Al thinks that "urgent" refers to the prior situation of Cheney's condition, Jason sees in it a more dangerous problem as symptom of ongoing risk. Very interesting. I'm worried because I'm not sure either Bush or Cheney will make it full term. Cheney because of his heart condition, Bush because of the Curse of Tecumseh, which supposedly is why presidents elected in years ending with "0" die in office (every president so elected after 1840 did, except Reagan, who just missed being the latest). The only President we've ever had that wasn't elected to anything was Gerald Ford, whom you may recall was appointed by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew, a VP more crooked than Tricky Dick himself.

Seeing these articles about people's treatable heart conditions hurts.
This is so nice.
This nearly made me cry, for the same reason.

Copyright issues for webloggers

Two of the sites listed for the part above, Q and IRMIYL, have disclaimers that say that nothing can be reproduced, distributed, etc., without their permission. While I'm naturally predisposed to respect the rights of writers, and don't want to irritate webloggers in particular, I can't help but be a little put off by that. I'm not using any other material for commercial gain, and I'm crediting by hyperlink their sites directly. What's the harm there? If someone else uses my material, crediting me, for noncommercial purposes, I guarantee I'll never be unhappy about it.

Groping for levity

India's parliamentary rules barring cell phones in the chamber are being ignored. During a recent speech by President Narayanan, at least half a dozen rings went off in the middle of it, leading them to install cell phone jamming devices in both houses. Prediction: US theatres will move to install these things quickly. There's nothing more irritating than a cell phone going off in the movie.

Penguins invade Copacabana! These flightless avians normally stick around Argentina, but are going way farther north to Rio de Janeiro. Why not? I hear the beach is pretty nice.

Finally, go check out the archives at Snopes for good surfing. For example, the pregnant woman who was forced to prove she wasn't shoplifting a basketball.


Labor Pains

In 1938, after a long fight, the US passed a revolutionary labor law, the Fair Labor Standards Act. This act had an interesting effect on worldwide labor:

In 1938, America introduced the 40-hour week when anything up to 56 hours was common in Europe and the weekend was something only the rich enjoyed. By world standards, it was a revolutionary move and, according to classical economists, should have been a disaster for the United States. On the contrary, it focused pressure on quality, not quantity, and gave America a great boost.

Here we are nearly 65 years later; stuck with the same work week, and that's just for the standard work week. Now we've entirely reversed the trend; the rest of the industrialized world works 40 hours or less and we work 56 hours a week. A comparison of the US to the rest of the world shows that we get the shaft for time off, and this article gives us credit for nine paid holidays. I wonder where he got his information; last I checked, many Americans get as few as six days off: New Year's Day (we didn't get this one off last year; Y2K and all); Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day (September, not May 1, grrr), Thanksgiving, and Xmas. That's it. When we were in Europe, every time we wanted to go to a museum it was a holiday. AND they get six weeks or so vacation.

Well, screw that. We need to take a chapter out of our own history, and focus the American work habit on quality, not quantity. We win economically because our productivity and efficiency kicks ass, not because we're always at work. As this author points out:

The United States is the most extraordinary country to visit, but it has the world's most underexploited tourist and vacation possibilities. As a European who loves visiting the United States, I often feel that with my annual six weeks' paid holiday I have seen more of this stunning country than my American friends with their miserable fortnight.

Also check out a comparison of working norms from an American who grew up in Germany. Time for a new political movement.
What's in them Scooby Snacks?

Why can't Hollywood come up with any new ideas? They're making a Scooby Doo live action movie. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? I don't care if Sarah Michelle Gellar is Daphne, this movie is guaranteed to suck.

"It sounds like this individual was not 100 percent in recovery.'' A speaker for Narcotics Anonymous got busted with a 53 pound shipment of doobage. Apparently he left from giving his "I got off drugs" pep talk early to go pick it up.

Hobbsblog II thanks Randomwalks and the Obscure Store for links.


The Google Spike

This article got blogged extensively when it first showed up. It's about how people are starting to use Google to run net searches on people they're starting to date. Pretty handy to know whether the guy about to pick you up is on the lam from a bunch of date rape charges, no? I shrugged when I saw the article, until I began thinking about it; it isn't just people interested in you romantically that are going to be doing this; the Web represents a semi-permanent record in real time of events that happen, and people are going to be mining this information for years. In elections to come, we'll be poring over what the candidates wrote as part of various newsgroups (or debate listservs) to ascertain their true beliefs.

And then there's employment. This leads me to my grand point of the day; injustice will come back to the dealer of the injustice by means of what we write about people by way of the internet. This I will call the "Google Spike," where we write the truth about someone to appear when their background is checked by employers or prospective romantic partners. The first subject of the Google Spike will be Michael "Mike" Sutherland. Mike graduated from high school in Eugene, Oregon in 1994, and then went to Lewis and Clark for a year. He debated on the team (with Christi Siver), and during this time committed a heinous act, which gets him the Spike. Namely, theft of compact discs:

Beastie Boys: License to Ill, Paul's Boutique, and Check Your Head.

The Specials: Singles

Erasure: Pop!

REM: Wood Green (a bootleg CD. The most terrible loss out of all of them. I'll never find the replacement for it.)

The Police: Singles
These are only the CDs I'm absolutely sure he stole. I'm also missing some that I assume he took, but I can't say for certain. These include a Bad Religion and an ABBA disc.

The circumstance of the theft is uniquely bad because it represents a breach of confidence. Mike stole these CDs while in my apartment to get debate evidence. Yes, he was asked to return them; yes, he acknowledged taking them. Mike, may you rot in hell until I get these back. Ladies, Gentlemen, Employers: MICHAEL SUTHERLAND IS A THIEF.
Updates, etc.

Update on Courtney Love and record contracts: She's filed a lawsuit to get out of a standard recording contract. Analysts predict that if successful, it could be earth shattering the way Olivia de Havilland's suit getting out of her studio contract was in the 1950s, or Curt Flood's 1970s lawsuit was for baseball free agency.

Update on Sealand (that's the anti-aircraft platform off the English coast that was taken over by a minor member of Brit royalty thirty years ago and no country has enforceable jurisdiction over): a rumor has it that a Napster clone will pop up out of there. The article I've linked doesn't buy it, though.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Hobbsblog II thanks these blogs for borrowed links: The Null Device and PCJM.


Author unknown?

I've blogged tales of disputed authorship before, but this one is really interesting. According to an old, crotchety friend of the family, Ernest Hemingway was not the primary author of his well beloved works, his second wife was. According to this theory, she came on board in 1926 to revise The Sun Also Rises and did the bulk of the work through 1940, when The Old Man and the Sea was published. After that point, Hemingway did squat.

Hemingway was uneducated, and, as his "Selected Letters" showed all too painfully, only barely literate-only one edition of those letters was ever issued, in 1981, and was quickly pulled from the market, Kelley says, when Hemingway admirers realized how damagingly revealing the letters were- and the supple, dexterous prose of the stories and of the famous passages in "The Sun Also Rises" and "A Farewell to Arms" would have been not only beyond his artistic reach but beyond even his artistic hope.

I'd love to see some of those letters. Anyone have a copy?

I've always been intrigued by history that Ain't Really So. In fact, I think I chose the name Hobbsblog for this title as a subconscious homophonic nod to EJ Hobsbawm, who is an eminent theorist on invented traditions and history as it relates to nationalism. But I digress. Other cool examples of disputed authorship of words and items include:

The theory that Shakespeare (the doper) was actually Francis Bacon, although judging from this page, it looks pretty wacko. The claimant uses as his primary warrant cryptological embedded proofs he finds in various sonnets. I am skeptical.

Mikhail Bakhtin, master forger or channeler of other authors?

A big page of forgery related materials. The antique fakes stuff is really interesting.

Of course there's always the bible, but I'll just put up the link and duck.
It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim

I have been an admirer of the Leaving Oklahoma blog for a while, so imagine my surprise when I get invited to join it. Sure, why not, think I. So I wrote a bit there on my Sooner-ness. Feel free to check it out. I'll probably do an entry a week, and hope that the other posters don't get mad if I write long entries. I've always been a proponent of longer blog entries, especially if you do the personal blog style that I've fallen into.

From the "I can't believe anyone would sell this" file -- the Talking Tombstone. Yes, tired of only seeing epitaths? Why not have a recorded message from beyond the grave to welcome visitors. "Hi, I'm Nathan. Thanks for visiting. I sure could go for a beer about now. I recommend the Blackstrap Stout at the pub about 500 feet behind you. Go check it out after laying your flowers."

This bit in the Atlantic about the making of a good obituary is interesting. I especially like that the extra-big celebrities make some of the worst obits.

I leave you with this: Samson may be history's first recorded sociopath. Think about it.

Hobbsblog II owes the following blogs for links: Backup Brain and Arts and Literature daily


The streak is over

Yesterday, after 114 consecutive days, the temperature in the Twin Cities broke 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Mag works downtown, where the high school wrestling tournament is currently going on, and I saw all these teenagers in shorts and T-shirts when I picked her up from work. Only in Minnesota, I guess. I'm pretty sick of winter. We've got a buildup of ice (we call them "ice dams" here) on our back porch about two and a half feet deep that's been slowly melting into the porch area, creating a disgusting mess. The snow is still so deep that many of the storm sewers are blocked from the melting snow, so when we took Relffits for a walk we were negotiating massive puddles ten feet wide and four inches deep. I know better than to get my hopes up for a speedy end to winter, because we can still get big snow. Arggggh.

Addendum to Law School applications: I posted my essay here.

Any good movies out there?

The Willamette Week takes the occasion of the closing of a neighborhood landmark theatre to wonder why America's taste in movies is so bad. I don't know.

These are the same people who complain there are no good movies out there, but continue to pay to see the crap churned out by Hollywood. No one is forcing any of you to watch the movies you watch in the theaters you watch them in, or rent from the heartless corporate video stores that promote censorship. But you do it anyway.

I blame Julia Roberts. Her movies are so bad, she's so unattractive, she's such a bad actor, and she's so overpaid, that to me, she's a symbol of all that's wrong with America.
I'm not too sure what to think of the string of superhero movies we're about to be hit with. The Guardian has a quick look at the directors being tapped for the new (formerly Incredible) Hulk, Spider-Man, and Batman movies. The one I'm looking forward to is Spider-Man, because it's being directed by Sam Raimi, who was at the helm for the classic Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness titles, which are truly excellent movies. Any movie with lines like, "It's a trick -- get an axe," and "Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the gun," has to be great, right?

Finally, they can oppress their women, kill their minorities, force guys to grow beards to their waists, but when they start using bazookas to blow up 2,000 year old Giant Buddhas, they've gone too far. The Taliban in Afghanistan are a disgrace to the human race. These are despicable, sick, worthless wastes of DNA. I'm ashamed to share the same world as these monsters.


My mom calls me procrastinathan

Finally got those law school applications out today. For the refresher; I took the LSAT in December, and have spent the last month getting various things straight, like getting filed with the LSDAS, which is the organization (cartel) that holds the keys not only to the dreaded LSAT but also coordinates your letters of recommendation and transcript disbursal. Also, I've had to clear my name from the besmirched rolls of the Registrar's office at Lewis & Clark, so I could get my transcript released. Finally, I needed to solicit at least two letters of recommendations. Being resourceful, I asked for three-- all from respected authority figures at LC, and all people that I liked, and so hoped they liked me too. My final three choices are the University of Minnesota, Hamline, and the University of Oklahoma. Ideally, I'd like the U of M to give me a lot of money to go there, but the slim chances of that scenario makes my final decision, should I have to make one, difficult. I'm hoping I have a strong case for any law school, but I know from personal experience not to be overconfident.

When I was applying for college eight years ago, I thought I had it all, from test scores to activities to grades, and was deferred, then rejected from Georgetown, my top choice, and Claremont, my third choice. My second choice was Kansas, which accepted me, but the legislature of Kansas failed to vote in their National Merit funding and thus I couldn't afford to go. LC was my failsafe, but they came up with a generous financial aid package when it looked like my college would be none of the above. I had thought up to that point that my path to power, glory, and fame would be easy, and involve schools that wanted me, firms that would pay me large sums when I graduated, and my eventual niche at the top would be waiting. Alas, life does not work like that, and my previous collegiate experience was the start of a continuing lesson in the real world; things do not just happen to most people, they are made to happen by the ambition of people. I wish that I hadn't procrastinated and been unfocused in the law school application process, but I plead extraordinary circumstances and low level depression, of which I'm breaking out of nicely.

The question of funding this education is a looming one. Schools limit the amount of work for full time law students to 20 hours a week, so working full time is out. I can defer my other student loans, but that won't offset the decline in our income, especially considering the cost of law school. Loans look inevitable at this point, barring some major cash money from a generous law school.

It's new to you!

Two new MNBLOGs I've found recently; The first, Johns' Journal, is done by a frosh at the U of Minnesota-Morris, not far from where we went snowshoeing last weekend. I couldn't really find any archives, so I don't know how long it's been going. The other is about as old as Hobbsblog; Matt of Mecawilson wrote me after coming across this site from an unspecified source. He's a very good writer, but I can't help but be somewhat concerned by his, er, scatalogical preoccupations.

2/13: I made an unneeded stop to the nearest bathroom to buy some time. I forced out a pee and over-primped for awhile...

2/9: I made one last trip to the pisser before I headed out. Now, I'm pretty used to the fact that I don't exactly work with some Annie Oakley-straight shooters when it comes to urinal usages, but last night I discovered something unearthly. A slick of piss sludge was coating the floor right under the middle urinal. As if a toxic dump was housed immediately above the bathroom, there it lay, shimmering with decomposing nitrogens and bile.

2:1 I still think a fate worse than the stinkpiss is the urinal piss splash. Ladies, I'd trade periods with you for this one. And yes, I'm over-reacting, but to be pissing in some public urinal, minding your own wares and thinking of something else, something fresh and clean, only to be dumbstruck when you feel it.

12/8: And then there's this, which will either make you laugh or cry when you see the pitiful paean to personal propriety.

12/5 When I go into the bathroom at work for a daily duke, I always opt for the far stall. It's bigger, nicer, and more importantly, farthest away from any other potential restroom occupants.

Honestly I am misrepresenting this fine blog, or if you want to get technical, I think it's what labelers refer to as a personal journal, although I've never really understood the relevance of differentiation. I would say my site is both a log of links and a personal journal, and it's evolved in design considerably. I could make it a journal only site very easily, but then what would I do with the bizarre links I come across?

Such as this one. A University of Oklahoma professor is caught; he's been lying for years about being a Navy SEAL when he wasn't. Oops. He apparently really has a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. Hmm. Weird. Just to complete the MN-OK-SEAL synergy, here's an old link from a guy that claims that Jesse Ventura's been lying about his SEAL-ness. I never heard any followup on this story in the year+ since I heard it. While I'm certainly not an expert on such issues, I do know that his profile on the the National Governor's Association site lists his military experience thus: "While on active duty, he was a member of Underwater Demolition (SEAL) Team 12." The previous article's author states categorically,

These are not distinctions without differences. No one from UDT during the Vietnam War would dare misrepresent himself as a SEAL. Consider this: SEAL Team One, with roughly the same number of men as UDT 12, had 34 killed during the war. I knew many of them. UDT 12 lost but a single man. 34:1.

Wow, he actually specifically calls out Jesse's team. With no followup by the press, it seems like Jesse's key criticism of the media being jackals rings hollow. If they really had it out for him, they'd bust his chops hard.

How about this for a mouthful: the Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion system. Basically, it's a magnetic solar sail that can get us to the outer planets far quicker than now. I wonder how they'd generate the power for it. One would hope it wouldn't be the same radioisotope thermal generators as used by Cassini, but I wouldn't necessarily doubt it.

Finally, why do I find Herbert Kornfeld SO FUNNY? Chris Hangsleben, I love ya, but you were so like this back in Tha Day. Word, yo.