Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Check it out as a baseline, OK?
Now go listen to this - it's the same bit, with every track removed except Roth's vocals. Absolutely hilarious!
DiCaprio, whom I have come around on, is a very convincing Rhodesian smuggler who uses/helps Honsou's refugee Sierra Leonean fisherman find a huge diamond and get his family back. Connelly is a bit more than the usual bosomy love interest as an American journalist who helps Archer (DiCaprio) in an effort to get the real story behind diamond smuggling from the late-90s Sierra Leone war zone.
I've always been a fan of the white African - not the die-hard, bring-back-apartheid Afrkaaner fascists, but the regular dude and dudette who has lived in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia or South Africa for generations and is just looking to make his/her way. DiCaprio, though portraying an ex SADF special forces soldier of minimal moral constraint, pegs the accent and mannerisms of the southern African who's seen way too much carnage from way to early in his life.
Blood Diamond hits a lot of accurate historical points regarding the civil war in Sierra Leone, the terrible tragedy of child soldiers, the incredibly corrupt and manipulative diamond trade, and the sheer evil of blood diamonds.
Go check it out.
The main point of Kristof's column is China's support for the Sudanese government's war on its ethnic African population in Darfur. This support shows up in the form of arms, dough, and political air cover. In return, the Chinese get access to Sudanese oil.
I hope its not a surprise to you all out there that the Chinese are supporting all sorts of rotten behavior around the world in return for access to oil. The West buys the bulk of oil production from the "good guys" (comparatively speaking, of course) in the petro-world - the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the others who are not actively engaged in napalming villages. That leaves the Chinese, who's super-hot economy is gagging for energy, to buy from the really foul bastards who have stocks of that black poison.
Don't forget, the Chinese don't listen to Greenpeace or Amnesty International very closely either.
The Chinese are making deals with a variety of devils, and you suspect it will come back to haunt them sooner or later. Of course, being a bit less restrained in how they respond when those devils get rowdy may help keep the lid on for a while. The Chinese are probably a bit harder to pressure than your average Western democracy, and are likely to respond somewhat more violently than we might when pushed.
Still, it's important for us to remember that we are not the only military and economic super-power out there on the world stage.
Writing in a Brit Arab-language paper, Rashed said, "Hamas committed a stupid act when it gave the Israelis an excuse to launch attacks in retaliation for a few antique rockets."
The PA joined the dogpile. Information Minister Riad al-Malki said the latest crisis was the result of Hamas's "insistence on creating an Islamic republic in the Gaza Strip." He also accused Hamas of trying to evade responsibility for the situation in Gaza by blaming it on the PA.
Nice trick. Kick out the rivals, then blame them for your failure to replace them.
Maybe the most interesting part of this Jerusalem Post article is the nugget about the food and fuel situation in Gaza. Hamas will have you believe that Israel's semi-blockade of Gaza has fomented an enormous humintarian crisis, as there food and fuel stocks are dwindling rapidly.
According to the PA, Hamas has forced Gaza bakers to close their shops, even though there is sufficient stock to keep them baking for the next two months. In addition, again according to the PA, if there is a fuel shortage, its because Hamas has stolen most of the fuel in Gaza for their own vehicles.
Once again, we see how fundamentalist Islamic "leaders" place their agenda ahead of the welfare of their populace. They are more than willing to sacrifice their people in order to "save" them.
"When Moses was leading the Jews out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, he had to go through the nearly endless Sinai desert.
"When they reached the Promised Land, the people had become very thirsty and needed water. So Moses struck the side of a mountain with his staff and a pond appeared with crystal clean, cool water. The people rejoiced and drank to their hearts' content.
"Moses put down his staff and went to a solitary corner of the pond to drink, and meditate in prayer. But once Moses returned, he found that his staff had been stolen.
"I have reason to believe ladies and gentlemen that the Palestinians stole the staff of our great Prophet Moses.'"
The Palestinian delegate to the UN, hearing this accusation, jumps from his seat and screams out, "This is a travesty. It is widely known that there were no such thing as 'Palestinians' at that time!"
"And with that in mind," said the Israeli Ambassador, "let me now begin my speech."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I think you'd have to want that holiday pretty badly...
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This car is worth more than all of my body parts combined.
All of a sudden, KA-BOOOM!! Those pesky neighbors from Hamas have just tossed another Qassam missile over the fence, and you're picking glass out of your sofa (if you're lucky) or your daughter (if you're not).
How do the Israelis do it?
Got a couple of posts in the old RSS folder today which set me to thinkin'. They were from all over the place, but each had privacy as a central theme.
First, the "music" in the headline: Some dude named "Pete" (no relation) wrote to the Boing-Boing kahunas with some interesting tidbits on Amazon's "DRM-free" music downloads. Turns out they might not be quite as DRM-free as one might hope. Apparently, Amazon has some proprietary code in the tagging of each track. The whole idea behind true "DRM-free" files is that there's nothing proprietary, and the purchaser can do whatever he/she wants with it. Comments in the post seem to indicate there's nothing untoward going on here, but just the fact that it's getting some play makes me a bit nervous.
It's little things like this which keep me from completely trusting those fine folks at Amazon.
And speaking of enormous corporations doing some things you might not a) be aware of, or b) like: When you go to Build-A-Bear Workshop to, er, build a bear, you get a "Birth Certificate" for your new stuffed buddy. What you may or may not notice, in your consumer-spending frenzy, is the amount of info you're asked to key into the little Birth Certificate kiosk in the store. Name, address, email, birth date, gender; all this and more gets plugged into the orange-and-purple Seusserrific terminals before your certificate is spat out. What, pray-tell, does Build-A-Bear do with all this pedophile-starter-kit info? Nothing serious, one would think - I don't confuse Build-A-Bear with the organs of the police state.
The point is kids, and parents, are getting numb to this disclosure of very personal info for the most mundane of reasons.
If I had a dime for every time my 10-year-old daughter handed over my email address to everythinggirl.com or cartoonnetwork.com or webkinz.com or any of the half-dozen other sites she wastes HOURS on, I'd have a sack-full of dimes, brother. I never even think about it, and neither, obviously, does she. Perhaps we should...
Lastly, Cory Doctorow's new column in The Guardian has to do with all that very personal info which has been harvested by means nefarious and less so, and its ultimate fate out there in the electronic ether. Doctorow compares it to nuclear waste, in the sense that its safekeeping is at least as important as that of the weapons-grade plutonium coming out of the world's fission plants. It's release into the wild would have ramifications not unlike the nuke-napping of a whole bunch of yummy strontium-90 - whole civilizations can be laid waste by unscrupulous use of either.
Some sobering reading for a Tuesday evening!
That is, until I read this little post-a-rooney on Wired's Danger Room blog: The Israelis are tinkering about with a "thinking" machine which can, under certain circumstances, take over national defense from those quivering buckets of protoplasm called humans.
The scenario is a massive "doomsday" strike launched by (insert name of hostile, nuclear-armed Islamic state here). Said unnamed state launches so many missiles that the humans are overwhelmed. The "thinking machine" acheives supreme situational awareness, and is able to calculate and execute actions and reactions more quickly and effectively than the best battlefield commander.
I saw the Terminator movies. I know where this leads. Count me out.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Corely Delaney, a 16-year-old suburban Melbourne kid, recently threw a party while his parents were away. Who amongst us hasn't done the same? When I was in high school, I had PLENTY of parties whilst the folks were off in parts unknown. There was (gasp) alcohol involved, perhaps a drinking game or two, a number of people crashed out on couches the next morning; the usual high school shenanigans.
Well, young Mr. Delaney took it a few steps further. Actually, quite a few steps further.
Young Mr. Delaney, presumably with help from his juvenile delinquent friends, posted adverts for his party on MySpace and via text message. Enough people found out about this bash that 500 of them showed up for it.
Trust me on this one: 500 16- and 17-year-olds, drinking in someone's back yard, with no adult supervision, is a recipe for disaster. This combination is NEVER going to produce good results.
As you have no doubt surmised by now, the party spilled into the neighborhood, with drunken 16-year-old douche bags smashing windows, vandalizing homes, shouting obscenities at the neighbors, etc. Someone called the cops, the aforementioned douche bags started pelting the first responders with bottles, and things went from bad to worse.
It took 30 cops, a police helicopter, and a K-9 squad to bring things under control. Victoria state police are considering billing Mom & Pop Delaney for the approximately A$20,000 spent in cleaning up young Corey's mess.
A couple of priceless quotes from young Corey himself seem to indicate that he hasn't quite learned his lesson yet:
"I can't remember. I was just off my head. Can't remember."
But when asked what advice he had for other teenagers planning a home alone party, (Delaney) appeared unrepentant and told the Nine Network: "Get me to do it for you.
"Best party ever, that's what everyone's saying."
I first heard a Lou Reed song when I was 14 or 15 (a dot before the eyes). It was "Sister Ray" from the White Light/White Heat album. I was gonked at my friend David's house and he put on this record for me and we lay on the floor and let the music crawl gently across the rug and snap into our brains. Oh my god -- I think I sh@* myself listening to that, be it gonked or be it real (nay, we are but men) -- but oh my god. The sound -- the churning churning churning and telling me all about transvestites and smack and ding-dongs -- oh -- my -- god -- suburban Jew middle class meltdown.
Later there was "The Blue Mask" an album of highs and lows -- the title track being the most honest assessment of how pathetic and self-deluding and mud covered we are. And I noticed it was true, but had to push it away, and I pushed it away some more -- it is only lately after a series of poor choices again and disregarding people in my life, again -- I see my Blue Mask in the mirror.......
If you want, I can make you a sandwich. It will be tasty and you will be glad to eat it. Get comfortable: slacks and slippers, sweaters and socks. Breathe Deeply and Let the Tension Ooze out of your toes. Now let's listen to "Black Angel Death Song" and see where you go.
Some day we all got to pray........................
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I hate to say it. I really do. I am on board with this group of Cowboys. Hell, I'm even a TO Owens fan now. I would love to be wrong, and to see this thing keep going.
But I can't get past the recently-sputtering offense, the season-long inconsistency on defense, and the deal Jerry Jones made with Satan back in the early 90s, where he got a decade of dominance and the name of a good plastic surgeon in exchange for his soul and Quincy Carter.
I hope I'm wrong, and I'll gladly take the abuse of one and all if I am. But I foresee Giants 24 - Cowboys 10.
May God have mercy on us all.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The book starts with the UN forces up around the Yalu and Chongchon Rivers, in far North Korea, thinking the war is over and they'll be home in time for Christmas 1950. Just as MacArthur's command is thinking about victory parades, the Chinese Army shows up and takes the Americans completely by surprise.
Today's YouTube clip is part of a 15-installment series about the war. This one focuses on The Chinese Surprise.
As we've mentioned here before, it's unlikely you're going to see much, if any, detail around this story discussed in public any time soon, if ever. There are big legalities and big bucks at stake here (The Ticket is, and has been for some time, a money factory; one which Williams lawyers would love to raid), and the surest way Cumulus, Ticket management, or the on-air staff can kill the golden goose is to start blabbing. Perhaps, some day when the dust has settled, Richie Whitt will write the details for The Observer or for himself. But we're a long way from that day.
Reading comments on Unfair Park, and the few which have been left here, sort of amazes me. It's striking how many listeners feel personally betrayed, and how many have sworn off The Ticket in general, The Hardline in particular. This is entertainment, and pretty sophomoric entertainment at that. Don't get me wrong, I am a loyal listener and regularly laugh out loud at the pranks, on-air chaos, double entenderes, and general mayhem regularly featured on the airwaves at 1310 AM and 104.1 FM. But it's just entertainment - filler for the time I spend in the car morning and evening. I don't owe these guys anything, the don't owe me anything. We have a mutually beneficial, if anonymous, relationship, but neither they nor I lose any sleep if I don't listen.
With all that said, I'm still enjoying the Hammer-less Hardline. Friday's show, with drop-in guest John Rhadigan, had all the giggles it's ever had. I like the chemistry between Rhyner, Davidson, and Balis, and, let's face it, Greg Williams had barely been contributing to the show for months prior to his disappearance. I don't miss him at all.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I bet this would hold the attention of today's average 7-year-old for about 10 seconds.
The catch is that you have to do it by March 6, 2010.
It's worth mentioning this offer has been on the table since 1998. No one has claimed the prize yet.
No bits allowed. You have to actually do what you say you can do. Get cracking, people!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
A scouser walked into the local job centre, marched straight up tothe counter and said "Hi, I'm looking for a job".
The man behind the counter replied "Your timing is amazing. We've just got one in from a very wealthy man who wants a chauffeur/bodyguard for his nymphomaniac twin daughters. You'll have to drive around a big black Mercedes and wear the uniform provided. The hours are a bit long but the meals are provided. You also have to escort the young ladies on their overseas holidays. The Salary package is £200,000 a year".
The Scouser said "You're bullsh*tting me!"
The man behind the counter said "Well you started it!"
If you see a Scouser on a bicycle, why should you never swerve to hit him?
It might be your bicycle
Why does the River Mersey run through Liverpool?
Because if it walked it would be mugged
What do you call a Scouser in a three-bed semi?
What do you call a Scouser in a tie?
What's the difference between a Scouser and a coconut?
One's thick and hairy, and the other's a coconut.
What do you say to a scouser in a uniform?
Big Mac and fries please
What's the first question at a Liverpool pub quiz night?
What you looking at?
What do you call a scouser in a White Shellsuit?
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Well, here's a real one, which appeared when a user installed Adobe's upgrade to Creative Suite. Not only has it failed, it's failed "catastrophically".
In fairness, the error is related to Intel's Active Management Technology, and not an Adobe product. It's still funny, though. As long as it's not happening to you.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
"Sir," the cop says. "Why do you have all those knives?"
"They're for my juggling act," the man says.
"I don't believe you," says the cop. "Prove it."
So the man gets out of his car and begins juggling the knives. At the same time, a car with two guys in it drives by.
"Man," says the first guy. "I'm glad I quit drinking. These new sobriety tests are hard."
I can't do it any justice in writing. Watch the video and you will understand. Is this thing worth the time, money, and effort it clearly took to build? I have no idea, but it is cool to watch:
This is one of the great methods used to keep Wikipedia entries reliable and (more or less) factual.
Matt from biphenyl.org has printed a bunch of "citation needed" stickers and distributed them to his friends. You'll start to see these stickers pasted to advertisements, graffiti, anywhere you see a claim of dubious veracity.
This is all part of Operation Mindf**k, which sounds intriguing. Sort of strange in a "these people have too much time on their hands" way, but intriguing.