Monday, January 31, 2005

Happy Birthday, Lauren!!!

To the coolest person I know - happy 21st. =D

1 in 3 teens says First Amendment goes 'too far'

AP - The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech. It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school attitudes released today.

The original amendment to the Constitution is the cornerstone of the way of life in the United States, promising citizens the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly. Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

Sigh.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Listening to Louis XIV

Test tomorrow... wish I knew the material. Meh, there are worse things in life than not knowing everything. I may not have all of the answers, but at least I can still ask questions. Maybe that's not what you want your future doctor saying to you (lol), but I can't help how my mind works (or fails to work). Wondering, wandering.... my thoughts jump from the ridiculous to the inane (and I'm not just speaking in terms of hexosaminidase A deficiencies). Bah, it's a stupid time of year.

Thought this was funny.

What book are you?



You're Catch-22!
by Joseph Heller


Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of people.

Take the Book Quiz.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Auto Dave Barry

Generate your own Dave Barry column! Mine:

Recently in Kansas City (motto: "You, sir, have a foul and unpleasant odor."), residents reported an outbreak of medical students. Perhaps you think there are no medical students in Kansas City. Perhaps you are an idiot.

As the French say, au contraire (literally: "You're dumber than a box of rocks!"). I have here in my hands a copy of an Associated Press article sent in by alert reader Brian, whose name can be rearranged to spell "BNRAI", although that is not my main point. "Brian", by the way, only has the letters "ian" in common with "Monica Lewinsky", so there is no other reason to mention Monica Lewinsky in this column.

According to a quote which I am not making up, from Kansas City Mayor Sir Winston Keitholopolis (formally "Mayor Sir Winston Keitholopolis" and informally "B-Sizzle"), medical students ranks as a major crisis just behind washing machines, dryers and Tide detergent (insert your "dirty laundry" joke here), as evidenced by the following conversation between Kansas City government employees:

FIRST KANSAS CITY EMPLOYEE: "I'm LEAVING, on a jet plane.... don't know when I'll be back again."

SECOND KANSAS CITY EMPLOYEE: "Watch where you're going, turkey!"

FIRST KANSAS CITY EMPLOYEE: "Jackass."

Fortunately I have a suggestion for Mayor B-Sizzle, and that is: shave every inch of George Steinbrenner's Yorkshire terrier.

No, seriously, my suggestion does not involve George Steinbrenner's Yorkshire terrier, although it might involve watching a pack of ravenous skunks attack Tobacco Institute scientists. My suggestion is more along the lines of a coup de grace, from the French coup, meaning "rocking", and de grace, meaning "in a retirement home". The procedure (you may want to write this down):

1. invent more tourist-friendly landfills
2. forcefully thrust a plunger into the offending hole

But instead the Kansas City city council (motto: "We'll protect the interests of the people when you pry the rubber ducky out of our cold, dead fingers") thinks that they (the medical students) will discuss the philosophical implications of meiosis soon, sending this message to the public, and to the world: "BUCKLE-UP: IDIOT-ON-BOARD".

Speaking of which, "The Kansas City Medical Students Outbreak" would be a great name for a rock band.

CIA Sees U.S. as a Declining Power

FRED KAPLAN, SLATE - Who will be the first politician brave enough to declare publicly that the United States is a declining power and that America's leaders must urgently discuss what to do about it? This prognosis of decline comes not (or not only) from leftist scribes rooting for imperialism's downfall, but from the National Intelligence Council, the "center of strategic thinking" inside the U.S. intelligence community.

The NIC's conclusions are starkly presented in a new 119-page document, "Mapping the Global Future: Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project." It is unclassified and available on the CIA's Web site. The report has received modest press attention the past couple weeks, mainly for its prediction that, in the year 2020, "political Islam" will still be "a potent force." Only a few stories or columns have taken note of its central conclusion:

The likely emergence of China and India ... as new major global players - similar to the advent of a united Germany in the 19th century and a powerful United States in the early 20th century - will transform the geopolitical landscape with impacts potentially as dramatic as those in the previous two centuries.

In this new world, a mere 15 years away, the United States will remain "an important shaper of the international order" - probably the single most powerful country - but its "relative power position" will have "eroded." The new "arriviste powers"- not only China and India, but also Brazil, Indonesia, and perhaps others - will accelerate this erosion by pursuing "strategies designed to exclude or isolate the United States" in order to "force or cajole" us into playing by their rules.

Nothing Important Ever Happens There Anyway

AMERICAN JOURNALISM REVIEW - Only two news organizations have full-time reporters in Afghanistan. They're the Washington Post and Newsweek. The New York Times uses a stringer, although a full-time one. "Other major newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, rely on stringers in Afghanistan and correspondents based in New Delhi, India, to cover the region, a stark contrast to the hundreds of reporters pouring into Iraq since the war began," writes Kim Hart. "Television networks have nearly disappeared."

Student Suspended for Writing Protest Letter

PITTSBURGH POST-TRIBUNE - A Portage student's punishment for writing and printing 200 protest letters over new school policies is taking on tones of a 1960s U.S. Supreme Court case. Tyler Zilz, a sixth-grader at the Willowcreek Middle School, said he received a one-day, in-school suspension Wednesday for writing a three-page protest letter and passing some of the copies out to his classmates. In the letter, which he wrote with the help of his brother Eric, a Willowcreek eighth-grader, he called for students to show their opposition to the rules.

Since Monday, all students have been prevented from wandering halls before the start of school and roaming the cafeteria during lunch period. The moves were designed to make it easier to monitor students, said Andrew Halaschak, Willowcreek's principal. Students haven't been happy with the changes.

"We, as a student body, we are strong," Zilz wrote. "We are also intelligent enough to realize an unfair judgment when we see it." He encouraged students to wear white shirts and blue pants this week to protest. Reports have filtered out that some students are following the protest dress. . .

Zilz's mother, Sherry, said she was called to the school and signed a letter for Halaschak accepting the suspension. She said Halaschak said her son's letters were "interfering with the educational process."

Friday, January 28, 2005

"Are you SURE this is the right movie, Alan?"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

"I don't remember this happening in the version we saw in the theatre."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Seriously... isn't this headline just a TAD biased?

From CNN's homepage - GOP lawmaker: Stop Sudan 'genocide'

From the actual article:
"A bipartisan congressional delegation, accompanied by an Oscar-nominated actor, urged the United States and the international community Thursday to take action to end the war in the Darfur region of Sudan. The six-member delegation, led by Republican Rep. Ed Royce of California, recently returned from the region after getting a firsthand look at the humanitarian crisis and examining how the United States and other countries are responding....

[skipping to the second-to-last paragraph in the article]

On the mission with Royce and Cheadle were Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, Barbara Lee and Diane Watson of California, and Betty McCollum of Minnesota.
So let's recap... an actor, 4 Democratic congressmen, and 1 Republican congressman go to the region, return, and hold a press conference urging Congress to take action to prevent genocide. And CNN thinks the headline should focus on a GOP lawmaker? Explain that to me.

One for Mr. Keith....

HEADLINE OF THE DAY

India Plans Two Moon Missions. First Will Map Lunar Terrain, Second Will Establish Call Center - Fark

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

NO on Gonzales

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." ~ MLK

Tomorrow, the United States Senate will vote on whether to confirm Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. I am hereby adding my voice in opposition to his appointment as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

Being from the home state of the outgoing AG, I didn't honestly believe Bush could select a worse nominee for the post. He proved me wrong, however, by picking his right-hand man, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, as the successor to John Ashcroft. This should alarm all conscientious citizens of the U.S.; Armando of Daily Kos explains why:

"As the prime legal architect for the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Administration, Gonzales's advice led directly to the abandonment of longstanding federal laws, the Geneva Conventions, and the United States Constitution itself. Our country, in following Gonzales's legal opinions, has forsaken its commitment to human rights and the rule of law and shamed itself before the world with our conduct at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. The United States, a nation founded on respect for law and human rights, should not have as its Attorney General the architect of the law's undoing."

In the spirit of justice spoken of most eloquently by Martin Luther King, I too must say NO to the man who is responsible for lowering this country's moral standing to heretofore unimaginable levels. He is wrong for the job, wrong for the country, and wrong for the world.

First they came for Bert and Ernie....

......and I said nothing because I was not a Muppet.

Then they came for Tinky Winky, and I said nothing, because I was not a Teletubby.

Then they came for Sponge Bob and Patrick, and I said nothing, because I was not an asexual cartoon sea creature.

I'm just wondering who'll be the next target of the Righteous Conservative Wrath Against Imaginary Creatures... [seen on the internet]

Monday, January 24, 2005

Germans Find Original Way to Protest Against Bush

ANANOVA - Police in Germany are hunting pranksters who have been sticking miniature US flags into piles of dog poo in public parks. Josef Oettl, parks administrator for Bayreuth, said: "This has been going on for about a year now, and there must be 2,000 to 3,000 piles of excrement that have been claimed during that time." The series of incidents was originally thought to be some sort of protest against the US-led invasion of Iraq. And then when it continued it was thought to be a protest against President George W. Bush's campaign for re-election. . . Legal experts say there is no law against using faeces as a flag stand and the federal constitution is vague on the issue.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ahem....

Slightly fewer than four hours now before that bittersweet day is upon us once again. That's right, I'm talking about Inauguration Day (aka my 21st). If there was ever a day deserving of alcohol..... *sigh*

Monday, January 10, 2005

Annie Dillard on Writing

ANNIE DILLARD, NY TIMES - People love pretty much the same things best. A writer looking for subjects inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all. Strange seizures beset us. Frank Conroy loves his yo-yo tricks, Emily Dickinson her slant of light; Richard Selzer loves the glistening peritoneum, Faulkner the muddy bottom of a little girl's drawers visible when she's up a pear tree. "'Each student of the ferns,"' I once read, "'will have his own list of plants that for some reason or another stir his emotions."'

Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote "'Huckleberry Finn"' in Hartford. Recently scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room...

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your fists, your back, your brain, and then - and only then -it is handed to you. From the corner of your eye you see motion. Something is moving through the air and headed your way. It is a parcel bound in ribbons and bows; it has two white wings. It flies directly at you; you can read your name on it. If it were a baseball, you would hit it out of the park. It is that one pitch in a thousand you see in slow motion; its wings beat slowly as a hawk's...

North Korea Wages War on Long Hair

BBC - This man was singled out by North Korean TV for his hair style as part of an effort to prevent the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development." Long hair it was noted "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy." This offender's excuse was that he had recently returned from a foreign business trip. But the program found another businessman who said "Whenever I go on overseas trips, I tidy myself in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle."

No Sketch Zone

WTVD, RALEIGH NC - Over the weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Art there were works by Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Degas and some Illanas. Julia Illana is a second grader who was visiting the popular exhibit there with her parents and was sketching the paintings in her notebook. . . A museum guard told Julia's parents that sketching was prohibited because the great masterpieces are copyright protected, a concept that young Julia did not understand until her mother explained the term. . .

Actually, the museum guard was mistaken. There was no copyright issue, and the museum apologizes and is telling artists to sketch away as long as they do not interrupt the flow of traffic in the always crowded gallery. Julia admits that she's not ready to show her artwork anyway. "I wouldn't publish my notebook with the sloppy writing," she giggled.

New Earth Time

Interesting concept.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Blogworthy

numanuma.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy New Year and All That Jazz....

I've been purposefully avoiding blogging for the past few weeks like the plague, so I apologize if any of you have visited my site each and every day in the hopes that I would have posted something new, only to find nothing had changed.... but worry no more!!! I've finally found something interesting enough to comment on (before I return to my blogging hibernation) and surprise, surprise... it deals with my own mortality!!!! :^D

According to The Death Test, I'll be dead by October 2066 at age 83 years. The probable cause is cancer.

This didn't seem too bad until I kept reading and found that in actuality, I'd only be 82.8 years old by then.... that's when I realized I have a meager 22560.3 days left on this earth, and I've already lived 25% of my life.

Here's to the remaining three-quarters!