It's like Mardi Gras meets the bombing of Dresden...
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
MP3 Players
I'll put something real up later when I get to work, but for now I'm looking for suggestions for an mp3 player to purchase. I'm fighting buying an IPod because I eat meat, hate their marketing campaign and U2, but I'm struggling to find something else comparable. It also has to have one of the car jack things so I can play it in my truck... suggestions?

5+ gig
car dock
under $250- ish
and if it could play games that would be uber-sweet
Sunday, August 28, 2005
It's about Vampires, Ostensibly of course
The cable package we have at my house currently has something like forty movies channels between the HBO's, Cinemax's, and Starz('s). You would think with all those movie channels there would generally, at least more often than not, be a movie on that I would consider watching. Wrong.

Most of the time the same movie is being shown on multiple HBO channels. Currently, this movie is either What's Eating Gilbert Grape or a coinflip between some crap like the Garfield movie and The Chronicles of Riddick. However, last night, I got the choice between Blazing Saddles and Van Helsing. I chose Van Helsing.

I IMDB'ed it to see if it was worth watching and got this for the plot outline, "The notorious monster hunter is sent to Transylvania to stop Count Dracula who is using Dr. Frankenstein's research and a werewolf for some sinister purpose." Wow, now my interest is piqued. Some sinister purpose? What could that be? I better watch to find out (This post may contain spoilers, but read it anyway, no one watches this movie for the plot)... Starring Roger Federer as Dracula alongside Kate Beckinsale (who apparently has made a whole career out of vampire films) and Wolverine as Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing- Van Helsing was, at best, not as bad as I expected.

The plot is basically the plot of Underworld reversed and shares the same reliance on Kate Beckinsale's breasts to keep you interested. The dialogue is equally uninspired, drawing from the standard Hollywood fare of flippant remarks to deep personal introspection such as, "To have memories of those you have loved and lost is perhaps harder than to have no memories at all." Nice.

"See, all of a sudden you're interested in this post again"

Anyway, this post really isn't as much a movie review as much as it is a platform to show you my thought process while watching the movie, which went something like this. "Hugh Jackman? Wasn't he Wolverine? I bet Wolverine could kick Dracula's ass, with or without an adamantium crucifix... Those female vampires are hot, if I was a vampire I'd bite every hot chick I saw. Wait... what if a vampire bit Wolverine? Would he become a vampire? ... Kate Beckinsale is freaking hot. That accent makes her hotter... I'd bite her first... Would Wolverine's vampire fangs be adamantium? I bet if Wolverine was a vampire he could kick Donny and Mike Morgan's ass- even if they had chainsaws and got help from a grizzly bear, a shark, and a bunch of squirrels all at the same time... Why doesn't Kate Beckinsale get naked in this movie?"

Turns out the theoretical Wolverine vs. Dracula match was more relevant than I expected, as Hugh Jackman turns into Sabretooth in order to beat Dracula...
Thursday, August 25, 2005
My Lack of Moral Outrage Explained
For a majority of the recent posts dealing with the Iraq war between the quadfecta of blogs (you know who you are) and J. Morgan, it seems that the argument has come down to this. I'll label the sides red vs. blue for, well, obvious reasons.
Red- "The Iraq war benefits everybody"
Blue-"But Bush lied to us to lead us into it in the first place"
Red- "Yeah that sucks, but the Iraq War totally benefits everybody."
Blue- "Yeah, that's great, but Bush totally lied to us to lead us into it in the first place"
Red- "Yeah that sucks, but the Iraq War totally benefits everybody."
Blue- "Yeah, that's great, but Bush totally lied to us to lead us into it in the first place." etc...
Ok, we agree that the Iraq war should be carried out to the end and that it's rationale was spotty at best. It seems to me that the main difference between myself (I won't speak for the others on my side) is best illustrated in this question to me from J. Morgan.
"It should matter to you that the administration made a huge effort to construe spotty, irrelevant, and inconclusive evidence as complete certainty. It should also matter to you that they were wrong. Why doesn't it? Why doesn't that stir some moral outrage?"
After mulling it over quite some time (by mulling it over I mean not really thinking about it except when blogging) I had an epiphany. The reason that this fails to stir some kind of moral outrage or really even affect me at all is this: I believe that I already had some a priori belief that taking out Saddam and instituting a pro-US democracy style government was a good idea based on those merits alone. Call it manifest destiny and label me an imperialist, but I'm really not opposed to the idea of spreading American influence for the goal of spreading American influence. I'm not in any way advocating colonialism or even comparing us to a Biblical Israel out to inhabit a global Canaan, but I really don't care about the rationale for taking down some anti-US government and putting up a pro-US one in its place, I think that goal is rationale in itself.

I think good American foreign policy would dictate that we do whatever we can to make the world a better place for us, not that we make the world a better place for altruism's sake, or that we continue to prop up some fanatical regime for the sake of it's unfortunate citizens. In this sense, I never really believed that the US invaded Iraq in the search for WMD's. Well, yeah I believed the Iraqis had them after using them on the Kurds and because the President told me, but I think I recognized that there was more at stake than Al-Queda acquiring a bomb laced with anthrax. The point was that by changing things in the Middle East we won't have to worry about Arabs with nukes anymore than we worry about Russians with nukes, or hell- the Chinese with nukes.

In essence, Bush was forced into providing some rationale for the invasion of the war to satisfy those who preach that Arabs have as much right to their extremism as we to our comparitive safety. Had Bush said, "We are going to rewrite Middle Eastern politics because the current ones don't promote stability in the region or the safety of the US"- there would be the same amount of talk about how "unjustified" the war is. The tragedy is that liberalism has demonized America and capitalism so much that Bush couldn't, or at least thought he couldn't, come out and say, "Extremist middle east authoritarian regimes are undermining global security and our security while exploiting their own people. In the effort to combat terrorism and improve the lives of impoverished Arabs, we are going to form an alliance with our real allies (i.e. England, Austrailia, etc..) to help modernize the Arab world and reduce the influence of those leaders who are a thorn in the side of peace and tolerance- starting with Afghanistan and Saddam, who, respectively, have harbored terrorists and aided the 9/11 hijackers, and violated 14 (or 16 or whatever the number is) of UN resolutions.... etc..."

In regards to the Middle East, I think that economic sanctions or any kind of non-authoritarian plan is pointless. For us to stabilize that region of the world, we need modernism to temper extremism- not in any kind of philosophical sense, but in the sense that an Iranian with the internet, a washing machine, and a future is less likely to strap explosives to their their body and take out a few Jews or Christians. We need to capitalize the Middle East. The reason the plan has to be authoritarian is that we it won't do us any good in the long run to pump aid, education, and trade to the people without some assurance that their government in turn won't confiscate it (or the fruits of it in regards to education) to turn back on us as a nuclear program with scientists we effectively trained or bombs that we paid for. As I quoted Friedman earlier, "Terrorism is 98 percent about what governments let happen- the charities they allow to raise and funnel money, the lies they allow to be told about us in their press and the terrible intolerance they allow to be preached."

Fire Away... and read the new post at Michael Yon's blog- it will rock your face off.
A Veritable Hodgepodge
I haven't posted anything worthwhile in a few days, and unfortunately, I don't intend to do so now. I will, however, write down a few things and point out some news tidbits that I found interesting.
  • My infatuation with the frusion game is over... it now takes me a couple of minutes to beat the entire thing without getting hit a single time. I emailed Dannon and told them to add some new levels... so we'll see how that turns out.
  • While in North Carolina I bought a strawberry limeade from Sonic- it was awesome... except for the end where some of the syrup froze together in strings and came up through the straw.
  • Hurricane Katrina is coming ashore as I write this. I'm not even sure if it is a hurricane yet and I don't feel like spending the two seconds it would take to check on the internet. Apparently Central Florida could get up to 12 inches of rain- shitty.
  • Windtalkers- Worst. Movie. Ever. It had three strikes against it within the first ten minutes. One for being directed by John Woo, another for having Nicholas Cage and a third for having a plot lending itself to some crappy "racist white people begrudgingly accept minority" theme. I'm not sure how it ended, but I would guess there was a large nudity pile and with at least one actor saying something along the lines of "Diversity enhances my life experience!" and then a cut to the obligatory scene of Nicholas Cage smoking a peace pipe or laughing with his new Indian buddies while watching a rain dance. It was so bad it made me wish for a second that I was watching Alexander again. If I gave awards for bad movies, it would get two just based on the first ten minutes. One for worst action/battle scene and another for worst acting by an actor who made a movie as good as Con-Air.
  • I made the drive up to North Carolina in a little over six and half hours. It's 520 miles- I'll let you do the math. It's a direct result of having another courtesy Acura and some fast moving traffic.
"Ass kicking will no longer be unscripted"
  • Word on the street, is that Microsoft has signed a $5 million dollar deal to bring Master Chief to the big screen sometime in 2007. The general consensus (i.e. me) is that this movie will either be sweet or just totally blow. Think Matrix vs. Matrix: Revolutions. However, just like Matrix: Revolutions I'll go see it anyway.
  • Finally, the drycleaner got the tree frog out of my pants.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
The Frusionator
I'm up in North Carolina for a few days getting the last of my GPTP done to get my PGA card, so I have neither the time nor the focus on putting up a proper post of some intellectual consequence that will incite debate and personal introspection. However, I do have enough time and willpower to post a tribute to my new favorite time waster on the internet- the so called yogurt game, the "prt scr" key, and blogger's picture capability.

A quick glimpse at the title screen prepares you for all out boxing mayhem against the most diverse and increasingly deadly collection of breakfast foodstuffs on either side of the Mississippi. Time to grab your ass-kicking gloves and notify your next of kin...

Fight #1: The first step towared glory comes against Ray Zinbran, who appears to be a giant, yellow bowl of soggy cereal with an axe to grind. Standard equipment is a giant spoon, which he saves for slinging fibery projectiles at you from across the ring in his special move, "Raging Bowl." You (from here on referred to as Lil Mac) better have brought your A game...

... or at least your c game. Ray Zinbran is the typical first round patsy who fights like I assume his namesake would, Ray Charles. Strategy isn't required for this fight, as Lil Mac need only throw punch after punch through Ray Zinbran's pourous defences. However, even while knocked out, Ray realizes that Lil Mac has the potential to bring down the corrupt morning heirarchy and urges Mac not to obsess over his end, but to keep on fighting.

Fight #2: The next step is to take on a breakfast staple so evil that even the homeless will refuse to accept the stumps. Don't let his hobbies fool you, next on the list was "Rip your face off" followed by "Take your mother out to a nice seafood dinner and NEVER call her again." When things get tough, Moe will fall back to the dreaded "Muffinheadbutt" and knock you into next week unless you can preempt him with Lil Mac's Coup De Grace, "The Frusionator"- a devestating blow that will cut through any defences...

... including those offered by Moe Finntop, who crumples, er.... crumbles into the corner and dreams of ponies. Lil Mac is halfway to his goal...

Fight #3: Mac's toughest to date. Dave "A sausage, egg and cheese sandwich" Jenkins is every bit as deadly as the ones you get from McDonald's- with an attitude to match that off the person in the drive-thru. His special move, the aptly titled "Burpscreen", involves emitting a noxious green cloud and throwing a withering barrage of punches through the fog. Only fast feet and fast thinking can keep Mac out of the way of such an onslaught and balls of steel to be able to counter immediately after...

"I've got a problem, and the only prescription is more Fusionator"

...ending the tyrannical reign of Mr. Jenkins and setting Mac up with the final fight against the only Jewish boxer left since the retirement of "Elliot" Butterbean to appraise jewelry in South Florida.

Fight #4: "Papi" C. Debagel- the pinnacle of breakfast. The gaping hole in his chest only serves to remind Mac that he has no soul. "Papi" is on top of the boxing world for a reason, an unlimited array of death dealing moves, inexhaustible energy, and a special move learned from Hemingway on the banks of Lake Michigan that results in an automatic knockdown for Lil Mac- "The Dough Also Rises." Not even God can save Lil Mac now...

... but I can. I rule.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Terrorist Chic
I found this picture on CNN, and I decided to just make up sweet Gaddafi quotes for it:
"I gel my hair with the blood of political prisoners" or "This perm blocks out the screams of those being tortured in my jails"
"Is this shirt metro enough for my GQ Arab cover?"
"This umbrella protected me from raining Pan Am flight 103 parts" or "This umbrella reflects the lasers from laser guided weapons- but Ronald Reagan already knows that..."
"Can I be in Will Smith's video for MTV Africa?"
"I was Johnny Damon's catcher on Queer Eye" (just think about that one...)
"These glasses are coated to keep out UV rays... and human rights violations"
"Read Jackscolon's blog! Or I'll fucking kill you!" Seriously though, the title of that article should have been, "Libyan leader invites Bush, Rice for Dinner" Hey-O!

I found the cord to my digital camera, so I've decided to throw up some random pics. The first couple are Scrap Diesel.

"I actually sleep like this"

"I'll beg for hours, but if you feed me anything- I'll throw it up on the carpet"

Scrap and I did some sweet wrestling under the pool table, until he got so excited that he started choking on his own phlegm. Then I put a treat on the floor and grabbed it whenever he made a move for it, when I let him get it finally he tried to grab it and run away so fast that he ran into a leg of the pool table and started crying. I laughed.

That's my high score baby! Play here.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Screw the Op-Ed page, Read Playboy
So I was reading Playboy tonight (the roomies have a subscription) and I came across this interview with Thomas L. Friedman. I thought some of what he had to say was interesting, so I decided to put my pants back on and post it. Just kidding about the pants, I left them off. But seriously, I wasn't wearing pants anyway, it's too freaking hot.

Anyway, here it is:
Friedman: There were four reasons for the war: the right reason, the moral reason, the stated reason, and the real reason. The stated reason was WMD's. It was an excuse the President used. The moral reason was the genocidal regime responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of its own people. The right reason was regime change, to try to build a democratic context in the heart of the Arab world. But the real reason was to send the following message: "Ladies and gentlemen of the Arab world, we mean you no ill, but we noticed something on 9/11. Many arabs and muslims applauded it. So listen when I tell you the following: You are now going to see American boys and girls go from Basra to Baghdad. Which part of this don't you understand? We will not sit here idly while you come over to our country, kill 3,000 of our brothers and sisters and then bake a cake... to celebrate. Try it again and we are going to come into the heart of your world and there are going to be vast and unpredictable consequences.

Playboy: But Iraq didn't attack us on 9/11. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda did.

Friedman: Yes, but in my view terrorism is 98 percent about what governments let happen- the charities they allow to raise and funnel money, the lies they allow to be told about us in their press and the terrible intolerance they allow to be preached.

Playboy: Then why didn't we attack Pakistan, Iran, Syria, or Saudi Arabia?

Friedman: We went to Iraq for one reason. We could.

Playboy: But if the real reason was to send a message and deter future attacks, how do you respond to the experts who say the war will create more, not fewer, terrorists because of increased resentment and even hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world.

Friedman: I don't believe it. I'm ready for somebody to prove it to me if it's true. What the left has totally missed is how many people are quietly rooting for us to succeed. Look at Lebanon, Egypt, and Palestine... We have unlocked a democratic movement in that region that has the potential to transform it. And that is how we will win the war on terrorism. Some things are true even if George Bush believes them. The only way to win against terrorism is to win the war of ideas, which can be fought only by Arabs and Muslims. American public diplomacy can't do it.

I'm not the biggest Friedman fan, but I think that makes a lot of sense and hopefully even CharlesPierce will appreciate his pragmaticism. Hey-O! But seriously, sometimes the right thing has to be done for the wrong reasons.

Now onto CharlesPierce's question, it seems to come up in every comment string- so I'll try to just answer it here and let you extrapolate to all the comments:
"Has any country ever started an unjust war? If so, how do you oppose it while still supporting the armed forces? I asked redhurt once whether or not it would be courageous for a Soviet soldier in 1979 to have laid down his arms and refused to invade Afghanistan (the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan being one of the most illogical, bloodthirsty and power-driven conflicts I can think of in recent years.) I say YES. There's the classic debate about following orders, but if your commander orders you to go into a village and rape all the women, you say no, sir. So when do we say no sir to Bush?"
I'll go through it point by point, artfully dodging where I can't answer.
  • Countries starting unjust wars: Unjust according to our definition of morality, sure. However, I believe they can still be justified though.
  • Opposing a war while supporting the troops: I don't think it's possible. The time to dissent is before they engage the enemy. Once they're gone, I think the only thing you can do to support them is to give them all the tools and support to win as quickly and decisively as possible.
  • I'll let you get away with comparing rape to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but not with the Iraq war. They just totally aren't on the same level. A successful conclusion to the Iraq war is mutually beneficial, whereas a Soviet victory results in total exploitation of the Afghani people and no real benefit for the populace of the USSR. I think you have to say no to Bush when our motives aren't altruistic, and the opinion of the people we invade is a little different than this (See A message to Cindy Sheehan, the post from August 12th)
Now, where are those pants?
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Last Cindy Sheehan Post... most likely.
Ok, this is the last one. I swear. At least until she gets back from her vacation from "Camp Casey". Actually, I flipped a coin to see who I should rip on, and she narrowly beat out the NY Times Op-Ed columnists by a score of 3-2 (ok I made that up, it was a best of one... and both sides were Cindy Sheehan).

While surfing the web, (mainly because of the lack of new posts redhurt, standingoutinthecold, and pragmaticism) I came across this letter Cindy Sheehan wrote to Ted Koppel at Nightline, and she is PISSED! I'll pick out some her better paragraphs and break them down, because she makes as much sense as British comedy.
"The show last night was also not fair and balanced. To see all the wives being interviewed who had not lost their husbands and to hear what "hard work" it is to be left behind when their husbands are at war. How hard to you think it is to have a child killed in an illegal and immoral war? In this "wonderful" group of families left behind, we had exactly ONE of the wives call us..she is Diane Rose who was my son's Colonel, Frank Rose's wife. The last time we heard from Diane was in October and we feel we have been left behind by anyone connected to the 2-5 Cavalry. Is support only given if your loved one stays alive? One wife was quoted as saying that Sundays were the hardest for the families left behind. My son was killed on Palm Sunday last does anybody think Sundays are for my family?"
Hmmm... maybe the rest of the ol' duece five families don't want their grief used as political ammunition or just can't stand the "my pains hurts worse than yours" attitude. Oh wait, I forgot- that's how she gets more "moral authority" than the rest. Seriously, why would Palm Sunday make any difference? Moving on...
"A distraught father who lost his son was shown telling how much his life was so adversely affected. Why wasn't a mother (like me) who has been an outspoken critic of this war and of the President's policies interviewed for this piece? Why wasn't I given a chance to talk about 04/04/04 and the series of lies, mistakes and miscalculations that led to my precious oldest child's death??"
She may as well be Ben Affleck... "Why doesn't anyone come to my movies? I have as much talent as Matt Damon..." Someone should tell her that the History Channel is more likely to buy her conspiracy theories, or at least Gore TV. I'll skip ahead in the letter to keep this post from dragging...
"Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by a George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11."
Apparently, Cindy Sheehan is reporting that this paragraph of her letter has been tampered with online. Which makes total sense because she hasn't ever said anything like that before...

I'm getting tired so I'm cutting this off. I think I recently picked up taste loss, so I've been drinking Miller Lite as my beer du jour to combat it. Only because I can't get good Canadian beer down here it the swamp though...
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
A Navy Seal weighs in on Cindy Sheehan
While randomly going from bloglink to bloglink starting here, I ended up at froggyruminations- a blog authored by a navy seal (I think). Apparently, he takes a break from ripping terrorists' faces off every once in a while to write something like this. I'll quote extensively-
"Although military recruiting has clearly suffered over the past year as a result of the unrelenting propaganda campaign against the Iraq War by the MSM, reenlistments by deployed troops have never been so robust. I don't think that Selective Reenlistment Bonus’ can explain this “phenomenon” since most of the troops that are re-upping are not eligible for them. I do not know what Casey Sheehan’s reason was for reenlisting, but since he was certain that he would be deploying to Iraq it seems reasonable to assume that the instinct to fight for his Nation was something that Casey felt deeply. That he answered his Nation’s call to service with the sacrifice of his life indicates to me that he is worthy of honor and gratitude from his fellow citizens and especially his family.

For that reason, I believe that his mother’s very public effort to steal his honor is one of the most despicable acts that can be perpetrated by a family member of the fallen. Nothing would bring me greater shame than to know that my own mother was using the willful sacrifice of my very life as an opportunity to garner public attention for the belief that my life was wasted. I am utterly disgusted by a woman, her loss notwithstanding that would allow her son’s enemies and those of the Nation he died to defend to profit from his death. Her self centered actions have created what amounts to a pack of hungry hyenas fighting over the corpse of her fallen son. The honor and respect that Casey is entitled to is being torn apart by the likes of, Michael Moore, Code Pink, the Kossacks, and the MSM anti-war establishment for the whole world to see.

Casey, as a brother warrior, I bid you rest and pray that you have not seen what your mother has wrought. RIP."
Since the left has postured Cindy Sheehan's views as especially relevant because of her position as the mother of a fallen soldier- "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute." (Maureen Dowd)- clearly showing their willingness to exploit the military for political gain. I don't want this to seem like I'm playing the "dems hate the military card" but I think it is valid in this case. How else could you ignore the "moral authority" of those who give their life for a cause they believe in?
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Bad Habits
I bet on my first horse race the other day. One aspect of working as a golf professional at a "Golf and Turf Club" (turf meaning horses) is that you meet a lot of trainers, owners, Rohirrim and other people who either know or love thoroughbred race horses. Acting on a tip from the guy who trained Afleet Alex and Songandaprayer (I passed on the first four tips from him and they all won), I put five dollars on Stream Cat to win and then put another six on a 3,5,6 trifecta box between Stream Cat and two other horses that were recommended. A trifecta is picking the first three finishers in order and a trifecta box is any trifecta combination of three horses. Depending on the odds (determined by the amount of people betting), picking a trifecta can pay well over a hundred dollars for a one dollar bet. I was also getting 5/2 odds on Stream Cat, so my $11 dollars could have netted me some serious cash. Stream Cat tore out of the gate and was leading (along with the other two I had in my trifecta) until he got kicked around the last turn and fell back to sixth, ruining all my bets. However, I had the field at the PGA Championship over Tiger and Vijay at 3/2 so that paid me $10, breaking me even basically on the weekend.

Also, I woke up this morning and there was nothing in my fridge except beer. So I drank until I wasn't hungry, then went to work- which I enjoyed more than usual. Weird. Also, I was the only one here in the morning- so does drinking by myself for breakfast make me an alcoholic? I would think it does.
Monday, August 15, 2005
200+ MPG and the Idiocy of Leftist NY Times Op-Ed Contributors
Read this article and tell me there isn't going to be a ton of money in modifying hybrid cars within the next 3-10 years. First one to patent the conversion and market it around populated areas is going to make a killing. It kinda makes me wish I wouldn't have traded in electrical engineering for the golf profession...

Whether or not you think there exists a bias amongst the contributors to the NY Times Op-Ed page, a quick survey of recent articles will lead you to the obvious conclusion that most of them disapprove of the handling of the war in Iraq. Frank Rich, Bob Herbert, and Maureen Dowd have all ripped the president in the past week for troop deaths, failing to help Iraqi women, and the expected mantra of "wrong war, wrong pretense."

It's not that I'm finding fault with these articles for disagreement, it's that there seems to be no consistency of position among them except that whatever the President does is the wrong decision. For example, take this recent post by Frank Rich. A white columnist, he ironically plays the race card in the first paragraph refuting the President's motto "We will stay the course" with the racially charged, logic heavy, "What do you mean we, white man?" I can't even begin to fathom what the term "white man" at the end of the sentence connotates. Is it just racial pandering? Is Frank Rich even aware that white males outnumber every other ethnicity in the military by at least a 4-1 margin? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure "we" means, "I and the 98 senators who voted for the war, will not withdraw troops until a stable Iraqi government is in place."

Then, on the next page, apparently he forgets what he wrote just a few sentences ago and pens this truly amazing paragraph. I'll quote it-
"WHAT lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson's March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam: some kind of negotiations (in this case, with Sunni elements of the insurgency), followed by more inflated claims about the readiness of the local troops-in-training, whom we'll then throw to the wolves. Such an outcome may lead to even greater disaster, but this administration long ago squandered the credibility needed to make the difficult case that more human and financial resources might prevent Iraq from continuing its descent into civil war and its devolution into jihad central."
So what side is he on? Should we stay there and circumvent "jihad central" or leave and circumvent "distraught parents outside the ranch" central?

Rich then blasts the president over troop deaths. I did some math on the troop deaths and found some startling results. Roughly 7/10,000's of a single percentage point of the US population has lost their life in Iraq, or roughly, less than one US soldier for every 40 Americans who died of degenerative kidney lesions, especially of the winding uriniferous tubules during the same time. Furthermore, 100% of all US troops killed volunteered to be in the military, whereas (I'm assuming) 0% of those killed by nephrosis signed up to get lesions on their pee tubes. Truly remarkable.

I know it's hard to follow, so in conclusion, I'll sum up all of their articles into this one, concise paragraph -
"Bush, an evil, elitist caucasian, took us to war when he shouldn't have, exploiting and causing the death of thousands of poor, urban youth so that he could gleefully listen to the tears of their mothers outside his ranch. In light of this, we, along with the majority of the population, are demanding that we pull out immediately. However, if he does (which he can't because he is too busy taking vacation and ignoring the rights of Iraqi women), we are also prepared to demand that he stay to protect those Iraqis not loyal to caliphate, so that our position of "whatever Bush does is wrong" is well protected and no cracks will appear in our impenetrable, reactionary fortress."
Yup- that's basically it. I just saved you the hassle of reading the op-ed page for the next three months. Also, for the most unintenionally ironic blog on the web, visit here. Easily the funniest thing I read today.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Drug Induced Paranoia
I'm not sure of the format to use for this story, so I'm going to copy a format I've seen used successfully on
6:30- I get home from work, eat some burritoes, and sit on the coach to watch TV with my roommates.
6:40- Roommates agree to pay me ten dollars to do a double shot from a dusty bottle of cherry brandy that has been sitting on the mantle for years. I'm told it will "knock my dick in the dirt." I decide I feel invincible.
6:41- Double shot is poured and consumed.
6:42- Brandy is much smoother than expected and actually quite good. Another double shot for fun, this time I feel my esophagus contract.
6:49-One more double shot. I feel like my lymph nodes are in a vise. I decline the offer to eat a cherry from the bottom of the bottle for $20.
6:55- Balance is noticeably lessened. I decide sitting is a good strategy and make my way to the couch. Scrappy, a boston terrier and my buddy, tries to jump on my lap and lands square on my testicles. We are no longer friends.
7:00- Two hot girls knock on door and enter. I now have new friends. Marijuana produced and offered. I decline.
7:01- Marijuana offered. I accept.
7:04- I accept again.
7:08-And again.
7:10- King of the Hill amuses me. Apparently the weed is of good quality.
7:20- Hot girl #2 shows nipple ring. I'm entranced and take another double shot to impress her.
7:30- Roommates leave with girls to go to an expensive bar, I decline. Feeling hungry, I turn on the Simpsons and head to the kitchen for some more burritoes.
7:40- Finish burritoes and head to kitchen for cookie dough ice cream, leaving plate on couch.
7:42- Return to couch to see that Scrappy has eaten what was left on the plate and is now licking up what remains of the Scorned Woman hot sauce.
7:43- Scrappy begins to sneeze uncontrollably. I decide this is much funnier than the Simpsons. Our friendship is restored.
7:45- Scrappy pukes in my lap, my elation is somewhat lessened.
8:00-10:00: I watch Kung-Fu Hustle with Scrappy sleeping in my lap. Every twenty minutes I convince myself that his fur feels cold and the smell of dog fart convinces me that the burrito remains have killed Scrappy and he has taken his last undignified dump on my leg. I panic until I manage to wake Scrappy up- each time he is less amused.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Reserved for J. Morgan's Comments

"The Bell Curve (Hernstein & Murray) is a sociological analysis of stratification. The argument is that intelligence, as measured by a series of psychometrics, is a) largely a product of genetics, b) correlated with, among other things, race, and c) the single most significant factor in determining one'’s position in a stratified society." -J.Morgan

First- I'd like to thank J. Morgan taking the time to put together a pretty good summary on The Bell Curve and some of its problematic areas. (Read 1st Comment)

However, even though there are some reasons why the book is not as definitive as the authors intended, I don't think that we should "throw the baby out with bathwater". I think that a few of the points made in the book deserve some consideration and are not wholly without merit- provided that you believe intelligence varies between individuals and is at least partially heridatable.

I'll totally finish this post later- I have to run to Port St. Lucie to check out MATT.

Ok, back.

First- let me quote the summary found in The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Stephen Pinker.

"Herrnstein's argument, he was the first to point out, should have been banal. He wrote that as social status becomes less strongly determined by arbitrary legacies such as race, parentage, and inherited wealth, it will become more strongly determined by talent, especially (in a modern economy) intelligence. Since differences in intelligence are partly inherited, and since intelligent people tend to marry other intelligent people, when a society becomes more just it will also become more stratified along genetic lines. Smarter people will tend to float into the higher strat, and their children will tend to stay there. The basic argument should be banal because it is based on a mathematical necessity: as the proportion of variance in social status caused by nongenetic factors goes down, the proportion caused by genetic factors has to go up. It could be completely false only if there were no variation in social status based on intellectual talent (which would require that people not preferentially hire and trade with the talented) or if there were no genetic variation in intelligence."

This J. Morgan- is the baby. I think we can safely assume that is this theory holds true because of my anecdotal example A) I'd rather blargue (arguing through blogs- go ahead and use that, I just made it up) with all of you (a trade of ideas) than Paris Hilton, who common sense stipulates is a certifiable idiot and B) if height, weight, disease, and athletic ability are partially heridatable, it would totally illogical that intelligence isn't. If anyone reading this believes that intelligence is merely a factor of environment, I believe that you are sadly mistaken- but I would be interested to hear your argument.

In the second point J. Morgan made as to the unreliability of the book, he stipulates that

"The most convincing critique to me, although the most hotly debated, is that the AFQT does not accurately measure intelligence. This is the major source for data for Hernstein & Murray and, if these criticisms are accurate, it pretty much means that they have no meaningful data. The larger context of this debate is whether or not intelligence is a measurable quality in the first place. Most recent research, as I understand it, indicates that there is absolutely no reliable way to measure, or even define intelligence. Everything from IQ tests to SATS are pretty much bunk in this view."

Let me define intelligence as "the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge" and the "faculty of thought and reason" ( and I'll agree with you on the fact that neither IQ tests nor SATS are a perfect measure of intelligence, HOWEVER I will defend to the death (or at least the threat of death) the concept that these tests reflect intelligence, i.e. that more intelligent people tend to perform more successfully on these tests. Intelligence may or may not be a measurable quantity- but it is observable indirectly, and our society is structured around this in regards to the college and job application process. (Note: I'm disregarding professions that involve virtually no technical knowledge or ability such as being a golf professional- where success depends on connections, people skills, and as I've found here in the south from a few of our old white members who objected to me giving a golf lesson to a Rastafarian, your ethnicity) This notion I felt was covered adequately in The Bell Curve and I'll quote:
"Spearman noted that as the data from many different mental tests were accumulating, a curious result kept turning up: If the same group of people took two different mental tests, anyone who did well (or poorly) on one test tended to do similarly well (or poorly) on the other... This outcome did not seem to depend on the specific content of the tests. As long as the tests involved cognitive skills of one sort or another, the positive correlations appeared. Furthermore, individual items within tests showed positive correlations as well. If there was any correlation at all between a pair of items, a person who got one of them right tended to get the other one right, and vice versa for those who got it wrong. In fact, the pattern was stronger than that. It turned out to be nearly impossible to devise items that plausibly measured some cognitive skill and were not positively correlated with other items that plausibly measured some cognitive skill, however disparate the pair of skills might appear to be."
If anything, I think that acknowledging this view of intelligence means there is a greater need to restructure our society to avoid the eventual Aldus Huxley like conclusion.
Monday, August 08, 2005
What Should Democrats Do?
While glancing through the op-ed page of the New York Times, I stumbled across a few discombobulated opinions on the current state of the Democratic party. While the most lucid opinion came from an Austrailian, the most non-sensical came from (imagine this) some liberals.
I'll quote-
"Political leadership is the act of saying where our country can get to in the future. For the Republicans, the future is pure win-lose. To the Democrats, the goal is a future where everyone prospers. Unfortunately, they haven't figured out the "values" for getting there.

This clash of worldviews is at the heart of today's struggle. And the Democrats are traumatized by the "take no prisoners" aspect of the Republicans' goal.

Until the Democrats declare the Republican worldview to be obsolete and offer a clear plan for getting to the future they know in their hearts we can get to, the Republicans will beat them in every election to come."


"Although writers and political pundits never tire of deriding the Democratic Party for its failure in 2004, it is for some reason verboten to place the blame where it properly belongs: the American people."

If anyone can explain to me why apparently I believe the future is "pure win-lose" or what that entails, why the Republican worldview is obsolete when demographics are trending Republican, or why we should blame the American people for not voting Democratic- by all means do so.

Sunday, August 07, 2005
Forget Daredevil, Alexander is Colin Farrell's New Worst Movie
Last night I watched the Director's Cut of Alexander. It was, without a doubt, one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Had I not been completely comfortable on the couch with Scrap, my roommates boston terrier, sleeping on my lap or if I had been able to reach the remote or if I hadn't thought the movie couldn't get any worse (it did), or if I knew I wasn't going to see any more boobs... I would have totally turned the movie off.

Criticism #1- This movie was entirely too homoerotic, and by homoerotic I mean just flamingly gay. Look, I understand homosexuality was not in any way uncommon in the Greek military, BUT- that doesn't mean the movie has to resemble a New York City AIDS walk. ("Who? Who does not want to wear the ribbon?!") Apparently, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey and Greg Louganis consulted on the movie and their suggestions consisted of -"You know what, let's play up this whole homosexual angle." I don't care if Alexander making out with some Persian eunuch is historically accurate, I don't want to watch Colin Farrell do it. Contrast this with Achilles in Troy (a movie that didn't suck), who, when he wasn't killing someone for fun, was shacked up back on the beach with a couple of wenches.

Criticism #2- The movie suffered from an overall lack of direction. Name any good (or at least watchable) epic and it generally is focused around a key battle or specific plot line (Gladiator, Troy, Saving Private Ryan, Gettysburg, Braveheart) with most of the movie building to a climactic finish. Not so much the case in Alexander, as the biggest battle scene comes early and then the movie just drags up until Alexander's death. By the very end (when the Greeks get their collective ass kicked by some elephants and the ancestors of Dell's customer support) I was hoping to see Alexander ride Bucephalus around an elephant, tying its legs with rope, before finally jumping up and slashing out its midsection, toppling the elephant so I could say, "WOW, just like The Empire Strikes Back!" and feel like I didn't just waste two and half hours of my life.
Not even the goodwill associated with Val Kilmer for making Real Genius or spitting lines like "you ten-titted bitch from Hades!" could bail this movie out.

Criticism #3- The movie had way too much of an agenda. When the director wasn't busy cutting out any hint of heterosexuality (minus the token marriage scene), he was busy forcing the impression that Alexander was trying to conquer the world to make all men equal and establish some kind of glorious, gay, multicultural empire where movies like this would make $400 million dollars and The Passion of the Christ would receive the indifference that awaited Alexander's opening weekend.

Criticism #4- Everything else. When it wasn't the gayness, the lack of plot, or the political agenda, it was seeing Alexander cry every five minutes, the crappy fight scenes, or watching Angelina Jolie's lips compete with her skin for highest overall face coverage percentage.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
IGN's Top 100 VideoGames
IGN has released its list of the top 100 videogames of all time. Some highlights:
#87- Thief II: Never played it, but Thief I rocked my face off with the ability to hide in shadows and kill unseen.
#83- Contra: Besides having the sweetest cheat code of all time, Contra made multiplayer fun.
#74- Syndicate: I never owned it, but I remember wanting it.
#65- Mechwarrior 2: The last game I bought new that would run on my dad's P133, four-foot tall Gateway tower (which he still hasn't upgraded).
#63- Sonic the Hedgehog: In second or third grade I got a Sega for Christmas. I don't think I ever got past Stage Three in Labyrinth Zone before my mom kicked me outside under the excuse that "The Sega was about to overheat from being played too long" (if you remember the wall power packs that warmed up after an hour or so of play), but I bet I can still beat the first level in under thirty seconds.
#60- Maniac Mansion Day of the Tentacle: I still love this game and I've spent hours looking through my house trying to find it.
#57- Mike Tyson's Punchout: I still don't think this game is as much fun as everyone wants me to believe. And I played it last year at college before my roommate broke the NES.
#51- GTA III: I've spent at least a couple days playing this game (probably well over 100 hours), and for some reason I'm still able to distinguish real life from it. Weird, luckily we have Hillary Clinton to save those who can't...
#47- NHL '94: I'm partial to '95, the original four way play for Sega, All-Stars West, and Sergei Fedorov back when he was cool enough to marry Anna Kournikova.
#39- DOOM: (I'll just quote IGN here) "The dark, disturbing hell-based theme, coupled with distinctly memorable sound effects from doorways opening, to hissing, howling and gnashing creatures, put atmosphere in the first-person shooter genre. Doom was packed with dozens of levels, awesome guns (the shotgun, plasma rifle, and BFG, for example) and adrenaline-pumping action. You couldn't look up, but it didn't matter. The game challenged your skills, saturated you with then-awesome graphics and sound, and genuinely burned into your subconscious. The fact that you could play multiplayer deathmatches via LAN vaulted this first-person shooter into gamers' hearts and minds forever." Exactly.
#34- Tony Hawk Pro Skater Two: Definately one of the most addictive games ever made, the only problem is that after you master the basics the game is just way too easy.
#30- HALO: If I ever meet the person who is responsible for ranking HALO behind behind Ms. PacMan and Super Mario Kart, rest assured that I will end them with a quick melee to the back of the skull before humping their body mercilessly. Best. Videogame. Ever.
#29- Goldeneye: Until the release of Halo, Best. Videogame. Ever.
#5- Super Mario 64: It was a good game... but not a top five game and most likely not a top fifty game unless you are an 11 year old girl.
#3- Tetris: Single most addictive videogame ever.
#2- Zelda Ocarina of Time: Right where it belongs at #2, only HALO should be ahead of it.
#1- Mario Brothers: Nostalgia strikes again... but easily a top ten game.

Although the list is fairly comprehensive, let me hit a few titles that I think deserve to be up there. (In the order they come to mind)

  • Dr. Mario- sure it's a clone, but I love it like Dr. Evil loves Mini-Me
  • Morrowind- any game that I skip class for a week for deserves a Top 100 (even if I can't find those damn dwemer airship plans). Paying $29.99 and playing into the hundreds of hours- it's as cheap as masturbation and twice the fun.
  • Hugo's House of Horrors 1,2, and 3- shareware Maniac Mansion and the first videogame to display pixelated boobies
  • Duke Nukem 3D- no explanation necessary
  • Interstate '76- the best game you've never heard of
  • Hitman and or Splinter Cell- Hitman is cooler, but Splinter Cell deserves to be there
  • Tiger Woods and Golden Tee- made golf cool at bars and parties
  • Medal of Honor/Brothers in Arms/Wolfenstein 3d/any game with Nazis as bad guys because... Nazis make kick ass bad guys
  • Warlords- Dark Lords Rising: an excellent mix between an rpg and turn based strategy
  • Excitebike- design your own levels? cmon that was huge
  • Commander Keen- non linear 2-d action scroller
  • WarCraft- StarCraft got a nod... but I think WarCraft is better
  • Terminal Velocity-