28 December, 2006

I'm In

John Edwards is to officially announce today.

Of all the '04 also-rans, Edwards was the one that showed the most promise to me. His ideas were (mostly) sensible. His policies were thought out. His ducks were in a row.

Label me as part of the bandwagon. Again.



But if it comes to Edwards against McCain... Then I might have a serious conflict.

Carpe jugulum.

18 December, 2006

No Tree

There will be no Christmas Tree here at Off Colfax World Headquarters.

Nor has there been in a while.

The answer is simple: the tree would not remain intact for longer than 48 hours.

First, Buffy, in all her glorious klutz-itude, would climb up it and cause the tree to overbalance severely, causing the tree to collapse into a sad heap of branches and twinkling lights causing the other two to come to either a) see what's going on or b) laugh at her silly butt which causes c) a massive cat fight that, in the midst of the three-cat furball, dumps the water reservoir onto all three cats, causing much insult and injury to their pride. Not to mention the carpet.

Then, once we clumsy humans upright their new plaything, Alice would get herself stuck somewhere in the smaller branches, causing the other two to come and either a) see what's going on or b) laugh at her silly butt, both of which would cause c) a massive cat fight which permanently removes the branches that we specifically chose the tree for, as they would be perfect places to hang certain ornaments that either of us have sentimental appreciation for.

Then Wendy will see all the shiny ornament balls and, thinking that there's a cat in there that is invading her territory, go immediately into ferocious attack-mode, causing much mayhem all by herself. The resulting noise will attract the other two who would either a) try to see what's going on or b) laugh at her silly butt, which would yet again cause c) a massive cat fight that permanently removes the branches we chose as substitute branches for the ornaments we wanted to hang on the first branches.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

My roommate and I haven't had a tree since 2004. The poor tree is going to die anyways. Why should we torture it to death in the meantime?

From The "I Can't Believe He Said That" Files

Via the Insta-deity:
"Those six people should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists."
Newt, Newt, Newt... If you didn't exist, we'd have to make do with Rush Limbaugh.

Newt Gingrich should be arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be Pat Buchanan.

04 December, 2006

Evil Grin

I want the Colorado version of this one.

No. Seriously.

And on this license plate, just for that slight ironic touch.

Ai! Ai! Cthulhu fhtagn!

[Turn Signal: Zach Wendling]

29 November, 2006

Hmm-Wha?

Here's an odd-ball thing for you folks to chew on.

This test, The Alternative Recreation Test, just pegged me as being one for the flying trapeze.

Only one problem with that.

I'm afraid of heights. And not just plain afraid, but deathly-ZOMG!!!~1!-heart-attack-imminent afraid. Anything under 20 feet, I can handle with no problem. Anything with a stable platform, I can handle. Anything where I can hang onto something with a death-grip, I can handle. Like rollercoasters, for instance. Sure, you're high up in the air, but there's a nice and sturdy chunk of steel holding you up from the ground and your flightpath never takes you straight down. (I am a rollercoaster fanatic, by the by. Never met a coaster I didn't like.)

Leaving myself to the unchecked embrace of gravity, however... No. Just no. I can work myself into a panic attack just thinking about it.

Of course, this also leaves out skydiving. Jumping out of any airplane not showing a sign that it is about to turn into a ball of glowing plasma is not something I would do, particularly not for fun. Nevertheless, if it was showing said signs, I'd probably jump. But I'd let everyone else go first until I could get enough testicular fortitude to achieve terminal velocity.

Terminal velocity. What an apt word choice. Then again, it's not really the trip down that scares the crap out of me. It's the sudden stop waiting for you when you reach terra firma again.

[Mostly crossposted from my OKCupid profile. And no, I'm not saying the username, but it's fairly similar to the one I blog by.]

26 November, 2006

Not-Un-Birthday Day

I keep telling people that I have been cursed. That's the only way to explain how Novembers can keep turning up as rotten as they have.

Why this year? Simple.

Apparently my entire apartment building got bedbugs. No one knows the source, but every single unit in this building had been colonized by the little bloodsucking bastages.

So the exterminators had a field-day around here, spraying everything down with a double-dose of pyrethrin. (Could be the wrong insecticide, but I distinctly remember one of them saying that.)

I knew I couldn't leave my cats around for it, though. Not even locked in the bathrooms could Alice have withstood it due to her very low body mass. And where one goes, the others must as well, simply on general principles. And so, every bit of my expendable income for the month, plus my roommate's, after setting some aside for exterminator's fees, got used to put them up for the night.

So. I'm broke. I had my entire apartment taken apart. And my cats spent three days hating the sight of me.

But not all is quite lost, for I had set aside enough to let me go out and release some stress night. Which means that this year, for the first time since the late '90s, I actually get to go out and celebrate on my not-un-birthday rather than shoving it off until some later time.

Yup. I'm going dancing. The Chargers won. I have no insect infestation. And my cats are speaking to me again.

Wow. For once, I have a November that just might end well.

20 November, 2006

Zen Moment

Here's a mind-blowing thought for a breezy midnight.

If there is no reader, there is no text.

So tell me: how many times did you blink at that statement?

08 November, 2006

Canary Meet Cat

Methinks that this will be the theme of a vast majority of Democrats after tonight's festivities.

Just sayin'.

[UPDATE: 03:07a]

Or maybe this one.

05 November, 2006

We Interrupt This Blogging Break For An Important Announcement

And now, a mere 38 hours before polls close here in the rarefied air of Colorado, I feel it safe to toss out my own predictions in response to Andrew's rather safe prophesy on state races. For the amendments and referendums, I'll add the Rocky Mountain News' profile for each.

CO 1: Easy win for DeGette. Surprised she hasn't been seen on the campaign trail across the country, really.
CO 2: Slightly less easy win for Udall. You'd think that Boulder wouldn't dominate the district by that much, wouldn't you?
CO 3: Salazar by 15 points. What could have been close turns into a laugh-fest with the Dem landslide about to happen.
CO 4: Musgrave by 5. Angie Paccione ran a good race, but it didn't get enough attention from the big boys in the DCCC and blogosphere until a bit too late to stem the tide. Of all the nasty political ads in the market, though, this one has the biggest share of them.
CO 5: Lamborn by 13. This is, after all, Colorado Springs and Pueblo (Meh. My bad. Thanks for the correction, Andrew.) we're talking about. And the President's recent visit will cement the loss for Fawcett quite firmly.
CO 6: Laugh fest for Tancredo.
CO 7: Perlmutter by 7. Ed takes the Dem wave all the way to the big House, and by a bigger margin than the polls suggest.

State House: Margin of Dem control goes up by 5.
State Senate: Dems will not only gain seats, but will not lose a single one they already hold.

CO Gov: Ritter by 13. Bob Beauprez kept getting in the way of his own feet with this one.

Amend 38: No by 15. Anyone that reads the thing can see this will make things worse for petitioning onto the ballots, not better.
Amend 39: No by 6. It'll be a tough row to hoe for all the school districts not in the Front Range, and the rest of the state already knows it.
Amend 40: No by a landslide. Term-limiting judges is not the way to do things. Making commonsense legislation is.
Amend 41: Yes by over 30 points. Ethics is the key phrase in politics this year, and anything that makes ethical behavior more prominent will resonate.
Amend 42: No by a nose. Raising the minimum wage is a good thing for those of us on the bottom of the scale. Too bad the electorate won't see things this way.
Amend 43: No by 2. Legal definition of marriage... Well, let's just say that recent events haven't really helped the cause too much.
Amend 44: No by a landslide. Marijuana legalization in the entire state won't fly. And the authors were probably using the substance recreationally when they wrote this thing.

Ref E: Yes by 6. The right sees it as a tax cut. The left sees it as helping the disadvantaged. And the two are arguing against each other enough to confuse the issue. But not quite enough.
Ref F: Yes in a laugher. Ever try to initiate a recall? I bet the ones behind this one have tried it.
Ref G: Yes by a squeak. There goes the constitutional provision for a free and independent militia. Damn.
Ref H: Yes by 12. Illegal immigration is still a hot-button issue this year, and punishing employers for not paying attention will fly quite well in this weather.
Ref I: Yes by 5. Domestic partnerships are in vogue. Why get married when you can just live together?
Ref J: Recount. I think my Magic 8-Ball is stuck on "Outcome Murky. Try Again."
Ref K: No by 10. Well okay, so illegal immigration isn't THAT much of a hot-button issue this year.

For my national predictions, see the post here on Creative Destruction.

03 October, 2006

Uncomfortably Numb

This has certainly been one of those times that numbs the brain. Every single time I try to sit down and write about the recent epidemic of school shootings, my mind draws a blank and my fingers refuse to move.

For the love of every God we have ever known, let there be no more shootings. One is a tragedy. Two is senseless.

Three starts to turn the mind into goo. And, in simple self defense, we start to acclimate to the horror in an attempt to lower the shock to our systems. But when it comes to violence in a school, the last thing we as a society need to do is have a lessened sense of horror. For a grown adult to kill a child is certainly one of the greatest evils available. Should we become sensitized to the shock of it happening, it will no longer be a horrible thing to happen, but will simply be one of those things that happen.

And that is something that I found myself thinking last night. And I still find myself horrified that I could even start down that path.

My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone in this nonsensical orgy of bloodshed.

28 September, 2006

Why? Just Why?

It is a parent's worst nightmare.

A gunshot in a school. Your child's school. The place where you send them to learn. To socialize. To be safe.

It is a student's worst nightmare.

Your school, a place where normally the only worries are how well you did on your math test or who you will go to the prom with, but now the halls are now filled with the smell of panic. Of fear. Of death.

These things shouldn't happen. Yet they do.

Westside Middle School. Thurston High School. Columbine High School. Santana High School. John McDonogh Senior High School. Red Lake High School. And many other schools falling victim to the pain of losing a student to violence.

And now, we add Platte Canyon High School to this list of tragedies.

Yet something sets this one aside from the majority of school shootings, as this time it was an adult that pulled the trigger. One adult. One handgun. And, according to some witness accounts, one target in mind.

Why did this individual pick out this victim? What was going through his head? What was actually he intending to do?

Was he, as I first said to myself when I turned on the television and sat down in shock, completely out of his skull?

In the coming weeks, these questions will be answered. And yet no amount of answers will help the family and friends of this young girl, her young life cut down far too soon, fill the hole in their lives once filled by an intelligent, hard-working, and pleasant person.

To those that knew this young woman: I don't know you. You don't know me. But know that you have my prayers, my good wishes, and my sympathy. When the time comes, say your good-byes. Mourn your lost friend, your missing child, your absent student. But never forget her, for as long as a person is remembered in life, they are never truly gone.

And to the rest of us, we must learn from this. There are those who will use this sad day as a political platform to advance their causes, whether gun-control or school safety or mental health, just as with any tragic event. Do not let the people or the causes overshadow the tragic event that happened twelve hours ago. Do not let them simply turn these painful times into their times in the spotlight. For the events of September 27, 2006, there should only be one spotlight shining.

On the empty desk, the empty bedroom, the empty locker of one girl who was taken from this world far too soon.

27 September, 2006

Shots Fired

Reports of shots fired in a school. To be specific, Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, CO. No reports of injuries, unconfirmed reports of 5 hostages. Unconfirmed report of an adult male gunman. Possible bomb in a classroom. School in lockdown, along with the connected middle school.

I'll have more later when I get off of work. In the meantime, start counting down until an expert mentions the word Columbine.

And pray for safe resolutions.

14 September, 2006

Good Things Come In 3/4 Time

Seeing as how David tagged himself with a meme, I went ahead and tagged myself for the same one. I will be adding a few editorial comments to each one of them.

Four songs you could listen to over and over again:

This one gave me a bit of pause, as I didn't even do this when I was a kid. You know that annoying "Let's play it again!" thing kids do for popular songs? Nope. Not me. But here are the ones that come close:
  1. Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These): Seriously good, and one that all 80's kids should know by heart.
  2. Enya - On My Way Home: I know it's an odd one, but I just love it.
  3. The Ataris - Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start: It brings out the inner geek in me.
  4. Apoptygma Bezerk - Kathy's Song (Beborn Beton Remix): "You know I'm not a saint." And I prove it by loving this song. One of the few times where a remix is an order of magnitude better than the original.
Four songs that drive you up the friggin' wall. With a chainsaw.:

This is definitely a category of no-brainer decisions for me.
  1. R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People: Just don't even think about it. I will destroy your sound system.
  2. Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy: This song made me go goth. If this guy is happy, then by God, I don't wanna be.
  3. Britney Spears - Oops! I Did It Again: More like "Oops! I just cut your car in half with a chainsaw!" In fact, just about every single one of her songs could fit in this category, but I picked this one as the most obnoxious of the lot. Sue me.
  4. Hanson - Mmmm Bop: 'Nuff said. If there's a Top Ten List of Obnoxious Songs, this one should make it in the top 5 with no problem whatsoever.
  5. Bonus! Los del Río - Macarena: This one will LEAD the aforementioned list. By a comfortable margin.
Four songs that you're embarrassed (or should be) to admit you like:

See, this one's kind of odd for me. I like stuff that few people have ever heard. (David might, but he's wierd like that.) So I'm used to getting blank stares when I recite off the lists of songs I like.
  1. The Vestibules - Bulbous Bouffant: While not technically a song, this is the one that gives me more looks of distaste than blank stares. And when I say it's the Macademia song, then the looks of distaste seem to multiply.
  2. Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It: Of all the cheesy 80's glam-rock, this is the one that smells the most. Like decade-old limburger left on a Palm Springs sidewalk in the middle of July during a Hell's Angels rally. Sadly enough, some of us actually like it that way.
  3. Aqua - Barbie Girl: C'mon Barbie! Lets go party! Sadly, few people get the joke.
  4. Styx - Come Sail Away: Not the album version. The Eric Cartman version. Ummm... Why are you picking up that chainsaw? OhshBRAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Run!
  5. Bonus! Julie Brown - The Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun: I always wondered what it would look like if a prom queen went postal on everyone. I mean, usually it's the runner-up that breaks down.
Four Best Driving Songs:

Aw hell. I actually have a CD burned just for this occasion, and you only want me to list four of them? Sheeeesh, talk about cramping one's style.
  1. Assemblage 23 - Drive: Seems like a no-brainer with that title, no? Fortunately for me, it kicks more ass than a donkey herder on Red Bull whose Prozac prescription just ran out.
  2. Joe Satriani - Summer Song: Joe should have a seat on the right hand of God as far as I'm concerned.
  3. Wolfsheim - I Don't Love You Anymore: Actually, this is one of my favorite songs to dance to. Amazingly enough, most of the songs I like to dance to are also songs I love to drive to.
  4. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Don't Come Around Here No More: Only time I've ever gotten a speeding ticket was while listening to this song. The cop clocked me at 105 on the way back from Vegas, apparently right near the end. When I went to court to try and get a reduced fine, the judge asked me why I was going so fast, so I told him. He dismissed the ticket on the spot. (And again. Thank you, Your Honor. And thank you Tom Petty.)
  5. Bonus! The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Someday I Suppose: When it doubt, ska your way out. Busy horn sections make for lead feet.
Four songs that make you cry:

Damn, but this is another one of those tough choice categories. All of these songs have an extremely painful memory attached to them, and I can't help but be reminded of all the misery whenever these songs play. Unfortuantely, I also happen to love these songs. Call me a masochist.
  1. The Cure - Pictures Of You: One day when I was still living in San Bernadino, California, after having a highly nasty fight with my then-girlfriend, I decided to take the long way home. The very long way.Via San Luis Obispo, Fresno and Tuscon. This song was the first on the radio when I got in the car. Everything after that is a blur. I only know where I was thanks to the credit card receipts from getting gas.
  2. Nickel Creek - When You Come Back Down: A friend of mine sent me this song during the time known only as The Ten Weeks Of Pure Hell. (Trust me, you don't want to know. But if you do want to know, be prepared to buy me a lot of coffee. And a 90 minute story.) And whenever I hear it, it starts to bring all that pain back to the surface. And believe me, there still is a ton of pain still left in those memories. If ever there was a reason to go through therapy, this would have been it.
  3. R.E.M. - Nightswimming: This is one of those songs that drudge up all kinds of painful memories. Even those that have no prior attachment to the song. It's just that sad.
  4. Goo Goo Dolls - Iris: Have you ever fallen in love with someone, and had someone completely different fall in love with you? Unfortunately for me, I've been on all three sides of that situation. And this song sums them all up for me, complete with a bow made of barbed wire and razor blades.
Four best risqué songs:

A category I'm not very good at, but I think I've dredged up a few goodies for you.
  1. La Tour - People Are Still Having Sex: I think I can let this one go without too much comment.
  2. Madonna - Like A Virgin: C'mon, folks. We all know what she's really talking about. Fortunately, we all know what we really think she's talking about.
  3. ZZ Top - La Grange: To quote David from a different category " A sing-along about a whore house in Texas. How cool is that?"
  4. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes - Tainted Love: Another no-comment-needed listing. But the original is almost as good.
Four best kid songs:

I don't have kids. So here are some I'd play for them if I do ever have kids. (Now now. No more insane laughter from the peanut gallery, or I'll have to go Gallagher-style Sledge-O-Matic on you.)
  1. They Might Be Giants - The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas: It really is never to early to teach your kids about science. Hopefully mine will be better at it than I am.
  2. Blind Melon - Three It's The Magic Number: Schoolhouse Rock songs should be mandatory. Hell, I'd be happy to have a congressman who could sing "I'm Just A Bill" with me.
  3. Harry Belafonte - Shake, Shake Senora: Hey, if they can have a very young Winona Ryder dance to this song, I can let my kids dance to it.
  4. Bear - Welcome To The Blue House: Probably my favorite kids show since The Muppet Show went off the air. And it's no stretch to figure out why.
Four best (fill in your own category here) songs:

I'll take Modern Instrumental Music for $800 please, Alex.
  1. The Seatbelts - Goodnight Julia: I knew I loved the show Cowboy Bebop from the moment I first saw it. This song made me fall in love with the soundtrack as well. A slow sad saxophone sending sweet sorrows to the star-filled sky... Inspiration for alliteration, thy name is Yoko Kanno.
  2. Joe Satriani - Always With Me, Always With You: I dare you to listen to it and not think about holding hands with your significant other(s) and taking a long walk on the beach at sunset.
  3. JerryC - Canon Rock: Dare I say it, but this guy is just that damn good. But, dare I say it, Funtwo is even better.
  4. Brainbug - Nightmare (Sinister Strings Mix): Best. Club. Song. Ever. Too bad some jerk named Paul Oakenfold tried to "make it better" and ended up totally killing it. But it's okay. The original will always be around.
And now, let me just tag two people with this. Fiat Lux? Flannel Avenger? Come on down! You're the next contestants on Tell Me What's On Your Mind! (Insert hoaky 70's disco theme music here.)

But in the meantime, try giving the aforementioned Funtwo song a try.



11 September, 2006

In Memoriam



Photo respectfully borrowed from Jane Galt.

08 September, 2006

Words That I Couldn't Say...

... have just been said by Joe Gandelman. Basically, everything that I would want to say about the Path To 911 is in there, as well as quite a few things that I have not yet put thought to.

And yet, I think that the most telling statement I have read about this came in the middle of the comment stream.
"Fake but accurate" just doesn't cut it for documentaries of any flavor.
Yup. BrianOfAtlanta sums it up nicely.

[Turn Signal: Tim F.]

01 September, 2006

Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Ftaghn!

The Cthulhu Movie? Apparently so. And apparently real.

When I show up to opening night, remind me to have this t-shirt already in my closet.

Because that would be just so damn cool.

31 August, 2006

I Am Not A Terrorist

For one thing, I drove a taxi at night.

See? We're all good here.

27 August, 2006

Lesson 16

When in a social gathering and you find a tray of Jaegermeister shots laying around with no one paying any attention to them...

LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE!

This helpful tip has been brought to you by the American Association For Hangover Prevention in association with the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash.

PS: If anyone has a few spare bottles of Excedrin laying around, I'd be happy to take some of them off your hands. And white backgrounds on Blogger's Dashboard really hurt the eyes. Ow.

25 August, 2006

Adventures In Housekeeping



You know, sometimes I actually want to make my bed. And all I get is this triple glare indicating that they like it just as it is, thank you very much. And to think that I had just been in that bed a mere 5 minutes before, and none of the cats had actually moved.

But that's okay. If that was an example of the Glare Of Dissapointment, just imagine the Clear Feline Death-Ray Of Disdain that will be coming my way after I get home from tonight's little escapades.

So if you see on the news that a man in the Denver area was found slaughtered, apparently by his cats... You'll know what happened to me. But the Bash will be worth it.

UPDATE - 1:55p: This is a scary thought to walk out the door with.
I'm officially starting a countdown to when Goldstein appears in drag on this show. And my money is on next Friday. Who's in?
I just hope it's not tonight. But if it is, I hope that I have enough of a blood alcohol level to not panic.

Ugh.

Via Instapundit.

EDIT: What edits? I was just removing some Blogger-forced errors. Like double comments, and disappearing pictures. That's not an edit, that is preventing the population growth of Typo vulgaris from outstripping its food supply. Nothing to see here.

24 August, 2006

Haven't We Heard This Line Before?

From a reader email to Talking Points Memo:
Theme number 1 - Iran is a bigger security threat and more important to deal with quickly than Bin Laden.

Theme number 2 - Iran is supporting Bin Laden anyway, via their intelligence services and funding, so going after Iran is really the same thing as getting Bin Laden.
Hmmm... A case of deja vu all over again, perhaps?

Too bad they used these exact same justifications in the run-up to Iraq, really. If they would have saved them for Iran, they might have actually worked for the population in general. Now, all it does is read like the same tired reasoning as they used to bring about the fall of the Hussein regime.

I find it ironic, really. People will look at this and dismiss the possibility of Iran being a possible credible threat to the region simply because the former government of Iraq turned out to be an impossible uncredible threat.

That's not simply a case of shooting yourself in the foot. It's a case of firing an entire magazine into your leg before getting into an ass-kicking contest.

23 August, 2006

Untitled... For A Reason



From David Darlington at In The Agora comes a series of motivational posters.

Old school Star Trek-style.

My personal favorite is this one.

Spread the news. We have a new leader in the clubhouse. Now go and pick one for yourselves. Maybe two.

Who knows... We might end up seeing these in a Spencers near you. If so, I'm buying at least three of them.

22 August, 2006

The Legacy Of Happy Harry Hard-On

Sixteen years ago today, a movie hit the theater screens. At the time, it was not well noticed, just another movie to be reviewed through Hughes-colored glasses, to use the words of one writer. Yet today, Pump Up The Volume has a meaning, and message, much more appropriate than those innocent summer days of 1990.

For those of you who have never seen the movie, first let me say this. What are you, crazy? Go now. Rent it. Buy it. Amazon it with next-day air. Because for us here in Blogville, it personifies our raison d’être in a way that nothing else out there can.

Right now, there are 51.8 million blogs being tracked by Technorati. Each and every single one of us started off as a lone voice crying into the wilderness. We had no audience. We had no feedback. We had no clue that anyone even knew we existed. Yet still we sat, sending our missives into the vast emptyness of inner space, not caring that there was no ears to hear our cries.

Certainly we all have our own vast and varied reasons for starting in this enterprise. Yet, when it’s all said and done, our reasons are eventually reduced to one: getting things out of one’s own head. Regardless of how we do so. (Or how often.) Regardless of the programs we use. (Even Myspace. Ugh.) Regardless of the time we do it. (No fair glaring at the timestamp, people.)

For the average blogger, we will eventually find that we have an audience, however small or large it may be. Like-minded souls (or sometimes opposite-minded ones) who found our words to hold a certain something: a deeper meaning, an excellent analysis, an interesting turn of thought, or whatever comes to mind. And soon, where there was once wilderness, tiny villages of interaction are formed.

Some remain static and remain as they are, small outposts still able to contribute to the whole like my own little island of inane rambling. Some become shining beacons, providing direction and certitude to a vast multitude, like Glenn Reynolds and Duncan Black. Some, like ourselves at Creative Destruction, become crossroads, bringing together those of us who, by ourselves, would never have thought to cross paths. Some grow beyond all imagination, creating entire civilizations of thought and discussion, such as DailyKos and Little Green Footballs.

Yet still, the basic concept remains the same regardless of how big or small our traffic counters become. These are our thoughts, our emotions, our ideals, our philosophies, our selves we set into these pages. By doing so, we have taken control of an entire medium of our own creations. (Although who was first on the scene seems to be up for debate.)

And as such, we have fulfilled the battle-cry of Harry.

Sieze the airwaves. They are ours. Pick a program. Choose a name. Find your voice. There is nothing that they can do to stop us. They can try. And they may stop some of us. But they will never stop us all.

And the day will come when they will look inside themselves and see us waving up at them.

Naked.

Type hard.

[Crossposted from Creative Destruction]

15 August, 2006

BOOOOOO!!!

Remember back in January when I said that if someone "proves that there's a chemical in coffee that causes impotence" would get a cup of Sanka as punishment?

We may have our first winner. Not really entirely within the lines of the concept, but it's close enough.
"One cup or less of coffee per day may set off heart attacks in people with a sedentary lifestyle or with three or more risk factors for heart disease," said study author Ana Baylin, an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown University, in Rhode Island.

This latest finding will most likely keep the coffee debate percolating among health experts. Previous research has suggested that coffee does not raise heart risks, and might even protect against high blood pressure and diabetes. As a matter of fact, only decaffeinated coffee has been shown to possibly boost the chances of cardiovascular trouble.
Definitely decaf Sanka. Less than one cup per day, even.

[Turn signal: Ezra]

13 August, 2006

British Humor

Seems like the folks at the Guardian have an even greater penchant for humorous article titles than we Yanks do.

Turn Signal: David

01 August, 2006

A Day Late

Don't you guys just hate it when you're wandering around, knowing that you're forgetting something important but you can't for the life of you remember what it is? Or, for you women out there, when the man in your life forgets something that's important to you?

I've been doing that for the last three days. Something was supposed to have happened yesterday, and I couldn't remember what it was.

Now I remember.

One-year blogiversary.

The good news is that you don't have to go out to dinner, buy a dozen roses, and do all the household chores for a full week in a futile attempt in apologetic exercises to your blog. Inanimate objects rule!

(Of course, my computer is a bit put off. It's been making Winamp start of with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for the last week or so. And I don't even have any Beatles songs on my hard drive... Ummmm... Someone call the Turing people. I may have a problem here.)

30 July, 2006

Just About Right

Go read today's Ezra-blog posting by Shakespeare's Sister. And let the title be my only editorial comment.

24 July, 2006

Meatloaf Experiment Gone... Right?

In a post I just got done writing over on Creative Destruction, I mentioned meatloaf. To be perfectly accurate, it was a meatloaf experiment, and one I was making up as I went along because we didn't have any more onion soup packets in the apartment.

But by God, it worked well.

Here's the recipe, while I still have it stuck in my head.
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 cup bread (four slices, without crust)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  1. Peel and chop onion almost to the mincing stage. (For you non-technical chefs out there, that means small-but-not-too-small pieces.)
  2. Manually tear bread into pieces the size of your fingerprint.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Setting aside ketchup and brown sugar, mix remaining ingredients well (about 5 minutes of constant kneading action) and form into a loaf in a greased baking pan.
  5. Pour ketchup on top of loaf (I mean in lines across the loaf, not one big gloop of tomato-based condiment.) and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  6. Put in oven and bake for 50 minutes.
  7. Enjoy. But leave some for everyone else.
The result? Moist, juicy, and tasty meatloaf, just like my grandma used to make. Only better. And seeing as how my grandma was a gourmet chef... Well, at least I can say I've done well in something. Even though meatloaf is hard to screw up (But believe me, it is very possible to screw meatloaf up.), it is even more difficult to have a "Wow!" moment with one.

And by my count, this one has three "Wow!" moments. Try it, kids. Trust me.

21 July, 2006

So Sad To Say

And here is the third and final part of the three-part series called "The Cats Of OC"!

Tell me, what is this cat sad about?

Is it because she isn't in Barcelona with Fiat Lux? (I know I'd rather be in Barcelona.) Or that she doesn't have a chance to take a nap in the new Tesla Roadster? (Singing: All I want for Christmas is...) [Turn signal: Political Animal]

Meet Wendy. As she is technically my roommate's cat, my roommate got the rights to name her, and then she proceeded to hang the most horrible name of Gwyndolyth Fyionna on to the poor soul. (Note of odd reference: While I was typing her full name, Wendy decided to cough up a hairball. Coincidence? I think not.) And then she shortens it to Wyndy, which is simply too much for me to do. Hence my more common spelling of her name. And like the other two, she has her own list of official nicknames: Her High Sable Eminence, Dark Mistress Of The Ebon Night, The Royal Drool, Felis Snuggleupagus, and She Of The Claw.

I must profusely apologise to Wendy for the above photo, as it does not do her fur justice. When in normal house lighting, she looks as black as a moonless night. But when seen in direct sunlight, she has the kind of highlights that most human females would have to go to a salon to achieve: layers of burgundy, rust, amber, and mahogany. One of the most beautiful cats ever known, thy name is Wendy.

Wendy came into this household just in time. Just in time for Wendy, that is. She was found at a county animal shelter, mere hours before she was to be put to sleep. And that would have been a pure shame, as she is probably one of the most loving, adoring, and attentive cats I've had the pleasure to know over my 29 (plus) years on this planet. Just about every human that crosses her path becomes Her Human. And if they don't like cats... Well, it's bad luck to be them. That goes triple when they would wear an especially roomy sweater, as she has dug herself inside that self-same sweater and snuggled up into a little ball of purr on the resulting stomach.

Unlike the other two, Wendy does not have any socially embarrassing habits. Yet when newcomers take a close look at her front legs, they are usually wierded out by the double dewclaws. On both paws. Well, no. I take that back. She does tend to drool heavily when she is curled up with one of Her Humans. Like a teenager falling asleep in history class, what/whoever she curls up on tends to collect a small puddle of drool.

And as she is feeling particularly affectionate tonight, I'm going to go to bed and collect a puddle of drool on my elbow. Either that or we'll fight over who gets to sleep on the pillow. In which case, I might end up with her drooling in my ear. Again. And you dog people complain about the cold nose on the foot in the middle of the night... Sheeeeeesh, you don't know how good you have it.

14 July, 2006

Samba Time Later

No, not just former U.S. Senate candidate Pete Coors...

Welcome to the second of a three-part series known as "The Cats Of OC."



This is Buffy. And like Alice, she has a long list of nicknames: Dearest One, Barfy, The Cat That Knows Stephen Hawking, The Lapcat Singularity, and The Philosopher's Stoned.

She came to me via a long, convoluted game of Six Degrees Of Seperation as my then-girlfriend's mother's friend's daughter's co-worker (Got it? Good. There may be a quiz.), whose parents happen to be highly allergic to cats, had to boomerang back to the empty nest after a particularly nasty divorce. And due to me already living with The Amazing Pretzel Cat (Scroll down if you missed it. For you can't miss her.), it came down a long line of "Hey, do you know anyone who likes cats?" and brought her into my life. For which I am profoundly pleased.

Unlike Alice, however, Buffy did not come from a pet store. She originally was found at the Denver Dumb Friends League (Please, send them some love. They do good work.) by the end of that long SDOS chain and, as is common for cats in residence there, is extremely introspective, often staring at the wall for hours on end and thinking deep thoughts. Probably about advanced-level particle physics or a study in lesser-body gravitational theory, as sometimes I come home and actually find these things on my computer screen. After I had turned the computer off, too. (I don't read anything above the layman level in those fields. I can't understand the math, and that gives me a headache. So you tell me how they get there, hmmm?)

But when Buffy is stationary, particularly while sitting on and/or near a human she cares for, you better not have any plans. She has mastered the ancient feline art of gravity control, and brought it to a whole new level. A Buffy on your lap means that you will not move. Bladder full? Tough. Phone ringing? Inconsequential. Remote out of reach? Bad luck to be you. Hungry? You need to go on a diet anyways. Bed time? Why bother, as she is already asleep.

Yet as wonderful and caring as she is, Buffy has two problems, neither of which are cause for anything other than mild disgust and/or human hilarity. First, she also practices the ancient feline art of bazooka barfing. This is probably a leftover habit from her previous human, as she tends to simply inhale her food rather than sit and chew. With this, we tend to have little piles of Buffy-Barf (tm) scattered around the apartment. And my bed. The monitor. On the PS2. Kitchen sink. On the fridge. Behind the sofa. Under the sofa. In shoes. And on clothes just before a job interview. Truly prolific regurgitation. She's like Bill The Cat, but without underwear. And smarter. And no beer. And doesn't have a penguin for a friend. And... Okay okay okay, so she's not like Bill the Cat. Berkeley Breathed, you can stop threatening to sue now.

Her second problem is that she is really a klutz. This is the only cat I know that can roll out of bed, loosely defined term for cats I realize, while being fast asleep. And as one of her favorite sleeping places is on top of my monitor (I have to have at least a 19" CRT so as to leave Buffy enough room to curl up.), I cannot count the number of times that the sound of a sudden scramble of claws echoes through the apartment. And, of course, in the truest traditions of the Feline-Murphy Treaty of 1793, she will land on my power strip, sending whatever I'm working on down the memory hole. And for which, dear readers, you should thank her. Some of those posts were completely awful.

I wish I could join the Buffy in that picture right now, but I'm almost late for work. Perhaps later. For she is one of the dearest cats I've ever known. Unless she's been in the catnip, that is. Then there's no getting a straight answer out of her...

Oh crap. She's in the catnip again. I'll go put on The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Side Of The Moon for her.

Darned stoner cats.

12 July, 2006

Hey Blenderhead!

(Title taken from this song by Bad Religion.)

Atrios just linked to this post by Glenn Greenwald, and I find myself perturbed at the lack of comprehension involved. Here is the parenthetical comment that makes me wonder if Mr. Greenwald truly understands the concept he is ranting about.
(Incidentally, Instapundit, who claims with great self-satisfaction to be an adherent to the privacy-protecting "Online Integrity" concept, links to Riehl, who currently has posted on his blog satellite photographs of Punch Salzburger's home along with his home address).
Now, please show me where in the Statement of Principles it says that signatories are to police the blogosphere for violations? (Short answer: It doesn't. Compliance is voluntary.) Where does it say that the Statement applies to any blog writer, even those that do not sign on to the concept? (Another short answer: It doesn't. "Adherence to this statement begins at the moment of endorsement[.]")

Now, I was part of the first 24-hour rush to sign on to the Statement of Principles. I found this to be one of the best concepts I have run across. Why? Because I found it disturbing that folks would post the private information of people, simply because they vehemently disagree with them. (Atrios himself has done that many times over the years, as I recall. Yet for some reason, Google Blogsearch doesn't have his site available to search through so I can bring up the specific examples. Odd, that.)

Now, on the off chance that Duncan Black would sully his pointer over a link to my site, he would probably point to this post of mine and proclaim my hypocracy on the issue. Why? Because I linked to the professional e-mail addresses of the FCC commissioners. Yet look again at the Statement of Principles. It only protects private information such as home addresses, personal email, telephone numbers, and the pseudonymous. A member of a governmental agency's professional email would not be considered a violation, particularly seeing as how the right to petition the government for redress of grievances is enshrined in the same First Amendment as the right to freedom of the press that we bloggers use every single day.

So the Cliff Notes version of Online Integrity: Voluntary. Self-policing. Applies only to signatories.

Is that really so hard to understand? I don't see why obviously intelligent, though misguided, people such as Duncan Black and Glenn Greenwald have difficulties understanding this.

[UPDATE: 12:01a MDT]

The impossible has actually happened. I crossposted this over on Creative Destruction on an impulse and... I GOT INSTALANCHED! Does that mean I go from a W-List blogger to a V-list blogger? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, I feel like another rabid squeal.

09 July, 2006

Questions Answered

You know, I've been reading this for the last hour or so and, even constantly going over it in my head, I cannot find anything that I disagree with. Anything at all. It seems tailor-made to answer more than one of the questions I put forth in this post back in October.

So go read Terry Michael's post called "Re-claiming our Jeffersonian liberal heritage, with a back-to-the-future re-branding of the Democratic Party" over here on Thoughts From A Libertarian Democrat. Seriously. The whole thing.

And for the second time in a week, I find myself going "I really wish I could write like that." Maybe I should take a class or something.

07 July, 2006

If She Only Had A Brain

I know. You're looking at that post title and thinking that this will be about Ann Coulter's ongoing plagarism problems, right?

Wrong.

While I would love to see the Queen of the Damned tied to the same burning stake as Ward Churchill and Jayson Blair (Not to mention owning the TV rebroadcast rights to that one... Yeowsa!), that's not what this one's about.

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first of the three-part series called "The Cats Of OC!" I finally got around to borrowing a friend's digital camera, and my cats actually cooperated with me for a change. And so, I'll be starting off with perhaps the dumbest cat ever to accidentally walk off a kitchen table.

The Grey Daemon
This is Alice. Also known as Kätzchen, The Grey Daemon, Miss Alice, Malice, The World's Only Codependent Feline and, as you can tell by the above photo, The Amazing Pretzel Cat.

There are few things this cat appreciates more than being curled up with me. Whether underneath my arm while I'm trying to sleep, on my shoulders while I'm trying to cook, or on my lap while I'm in the bathroom. (I still haven't figured out the eternal feline fascination with humans while we are using the toilet. Are we a source of amusement? A source of a convenient lap? Or simply a source of "You're weird, mister"? The floor is still open for debate.) She is my cat and I am her human. And not Hell itself, much less a "I thought I closed that" door, will keep her from my side.

Oh, and she is dumb. Sack of hammers-style dumb. I've known many intelligent cats over the years, and trust me when I say that this one is on the opposite side of the spectrum by any meaningful definition. She's dumber than how President Bush is viewed by most of my left-hand-side cohorts. If there was an intelligence competition between Alice and the dumbest Labrador retriever puppy ever known to Humanity, the puppy would win in a landslide. She's so dumb, she makes the commenters over at Eschaton sound like Nobel Prize physicists. If stupidity was the equivalent of gravity, she would have her own event horizon.

Yes. She's that bad.

Should anyone ever come over for a visit, don't plan on seeing this cat if your stay is shorter than 5 hours. When I said that I am her human, I mean it. Antisocial does not begin to describe Alice's general outlook to the human species. Any human that does not already have her seal of approval will be fortunate to view a single ear as she peeks around the corner, wondering if it's safe to dash for the food dish.

Of course, this is all readily explained by the fact that she was a pet-store cat. She was purchased for me by a now ex-girlfriend as a birthday present, and has never wanted to leave my side since she first arrived in my life four and a half years ago. Most of the pet-store cats I've known have been neurotic to a fault, and more than half have had under 10 working neurons available to them.

And really, I wouldn't have it any other way. For she is my cat. And I am her human. Ad infinitum. Ad astra. Forever. World without end. Omayn.

Now, if you will excuse me, it's time to go and curl up with my cat. She's been glaring impatiently at me for a while now, as purr time is a-wasting.

06 July, 2006

Gibson Speak. You Listen.

I wish I could write like this.
“A nation,” he heard himself say, “consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual’s morals are situational, that individual is without morals. If a nation’s laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn’t a nation.” He opened his eyes and confirmed Brown there, his partially disassembled pistol in his hand. The cleaning, lubrication, and examination of the gun’s inner workings was ritual, conducted every few nights, though as far as Milgrim knew, Brown hadn’t fired the gun since they’d been together.

“What did you say?”

“Are you really so scared of terrorists that you'll dismantle the structures that made America what it is?” Milgrim heard himself say this with a sense of deep wonder. He was saying these things without consciously having thought them, or at least not in such succinct terms, and they seemed inarguable.

“The XXXX—“ [Four-letter word edited for content. Ed.]

“If you are, you let the terrorist win. Because that is exactly, specifically his goal, his only goal: to frighten you into surrendering the rule of law. That's why they call him ‘terrorist’ He uses terrifying threats to induce you to degrade your own society.”

Brown opened his mouth. Closed it.

“It's actually based on the same glitch in human psychology that allows people to believe they can win the lottery. Statistically, almost nobody ever wins the lottery. Statistically, terrorist attacks almost never happen.”
I mean, really. I was trying to say the same thing over on Creative Destruction a few days ago. But Gibson's method of prose and smooth usage of language simply annihilates my pitiful attempt to call myself a writer, even at the base amateur level.

And hells, I didn't even know William Gibson blogged... This one's going into the blogroll immediately, I assure you.

[Turn signal: Fiat Lux.]

(P.S.: Wouldn't it have just been so freakin' cool if Gibson wrote that after reading my post? Pardon me whilst I squeal like a fanboy from the merest vague possibility.) [INSERT RABID-FANBOY SQUEAL] (Ah. Much better.)

28 June, 2006

The Right To Keep Arms

With the United Nations taking up , again, the issue of small arms, I find my civil-libertarian-absolutist instincts kicking in again. (Don't blame me for that way of describing it. Blame Jeff Goldstein. He's the one that put it that way.) And, just as with my views on immigration, this one will probably alarm my more progressive readers (All three of them.) and shock my more conservative readers (All three of them.) But what is life without a little apoplexy?

Personally, I don't like guns. I find them far too noisy for my tastes. (And yes, folks. Silencers for firearms are highly regulated.) For personal defense, I much prefer a pistol bow similar to the one found here. No muss, no fuss, and no inconvenient brass laying around for the cats to play with afterwards. And there are few people that will dare to move quickly when they find themselves with a 2-foot long piece of live cold steel held to their necks. (I keep this exact one sheathed under my bed.) Yet just because I don't personally like firearms does not mean that I do not specifically endorse the right to bear arms in this country. Indeed, I would suggest that the right to bear arms has been reduced too far. But first, a history lesson.

The right to bear arms came from the heavy reliance on citizen militias during the Revolutionary War. (Or, if you are British, the Great War Of Insurrection.) That was precisely why they phrased the Second Amendment that way: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. These days, with a standing army and both active and inactive reserve troops available, the concept of an independent militia has been degraded in the public eye to being mostly a bunch of conspiracy theory secessionist whack-jobs running around the woods of Montana and Idaho. (Albeit there actually are a number of those folks, which helps maintain the public viewpoint.) Yet militias are still active in every state and county in the country, with a good number of cities and townships also containing an, at minimum, semi-organized militia. (One of my former roommates was a member of the First City Rifle Corps in Redlands, CA, for an example. And could still be, for all I've heard from him.)

Now, it is argued that the creation of the National Guard has entirely consumed the concept of the state militias, at least in the realm of jurisprudence. (Scroll down to Sec. 3.22) Yet, for the local example, the Colorado State Constitution's Article XVII is in regards to the purportment of the state militia, not the National Guard. One major difference: In the National Guard, all officers are promoted to their positions, just as in the regular army; in the State Militia, company-level officers are elected into their positions. Note of full disclosure: There is, yet again, a ballot measure to strike Art. XVII from the Colorado Constitution. This makes the fifth effort to do so, by my count.

Yet that says nothing about the county-, city-, and township-level militias out there. And as they obviously exist, there should be some provision in gun regulations for them. So my proposals are:
  1. All members, current or former, of any branch of the United States Military, including the Coast Guard of the Department of Homeland Security, of good standing and/or honorable discharge from said service(s) shall be held exempt from laws limiting the possession of semi- and full-automatic weapons upon request.
  2. All members of organized militias, of sound moral character and current good standing as determined via the bylaws of said militias, shall be held exempt from laws limiting the possession of semi- and full-automatic weapons upon request.
  3. All citizens, regardless of military standing, of sound moral character, shall be granted, upon request and after the completion of a rigorous training and safety program, carry and/or carry-concealed weapons permits.
  4. Use of the above approved weapons upon another human being, except in cases of a)defense of self, b)defense of others, c) defense of personal property, or d) with the authorization from duly constituted authority, shall result in the permanent removal of said weapons from the person of the offender.
For the first part, anyone that goes through military training has been instructed as to the use of these forms of weapons. And if you can't trust them to be able to use it, why in God's name are we training them to do so in the first place? And should those members of the military choose to maintain their personal weapons after they complete their terms of service to the military, I see nothing wrong with it.

For the second part, this holds true with the entirety of the Second Amendment. If people wish to ban military-grade weapons from the hands of those not in the military, they should first strike down the Well-Regulated Militia Clause. Also, please note the inclusion of the term "sound moral character" above. That means, essentially, that people who have not committed a felony or violent misdemeanor. (I believe that felony tax evasion would be part of the grey area here. Jaywalking and parking tickets are well into the realm of the white area.)

For the third part, things get complicated. On the one hand, the National Rifle Association has pressed for the weakening of carry permits around the country. And, for the most part, they have gotten what they ask for. On the other hand, the Brady Campaign has a point when they talk about the statutory lack of training involved with carry permits. But for this issue, falling back on one of the bedrock principles of American justice, that of "presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law" as they say on Cops, should be the base principle for determining whether or not a person should be allowed to possess a weapon. (Again, the prionciple of sound moral character comes into play.) So should the person pass an NCIC background check, that would be considered sufficent to prove a sound moral character.

And for the fourth part... Well, this should be self-evident. Society at large has determined that hurting folks for little to zero legitimate reason is not appropriate. Period. Ad nauseum. And contrary to the time-honored traditions of shotgun weddings and the code duello, simple matters of honor are not considered legitimate reasons.

To actively defend yourself from harm? Yes.

To actively defend your family from harm? Certainly.

To defend your personal property from theft or destruction? Absolutely. (The bastage that stole my wallet in February would have found out how hard it is to run with a 12" steel shaft through one leg, for example.)

And when people who are technically civilians finds themselves under the orders of due authority (National Guard duty, for example. Indeed, if I were in the Guard command structure, I would look into using the irregular militias in cases of natural disaster as a force multiplier.) then they should be treated as they would under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Any other use of a weapon against a human being, however, would be ruled as a violation of the other person's rights. And, as such, would result in the removal of all weapons, permits, and ammunition from the offender for the remainder of their lives. (Note that hunting is exempt. Unless you're hunting humans in order to try out the new recipe you found in To Serve Man. Then you're FUBAR anyways.)

This should be the principle behind our gun control regulations. Instead, what we have is "guilty until proven innocent". And that is not how this country works.

29 May, 2006

Old Dogs And New Tricks

By now, the good ol' 419 scam has been an old trick for most of us who've been clogging the Web since the early '90s. Yet even the oldest scam needs a new wrinkle here or there to remain effective.

Here's a blatant copy/paste from their latest attempt to defraud billions of U.S. dollars from people around the world. (Yes, dear fans of my parenthetical comments. That was a B there. And this figure was from as far back as 1996, so I would assume that number has gone up quite a bit since then.)
Attn/ Please

Good day to you and your lovely family. I am Mr. Yassan Ali-Fayadh, the son of Late Dhari Ali al-Fayadh (Prominent Iraq's House of Assembly Member) who was killed along with three of his bodyguards and my Bother in a suicide bomb attack in the neighborhood of Rashdiya Northern Baghdad. Please view the news website below for detail Story of how I lost my Father and My Bother.

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/28/iraq.main/
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1119953467273_37/?hub=World
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-06-28-us-offensive_x.htm?csp=34

My late Father deposited a huge amount with Company here in Dakar Senegal. I got your contact detail from a friend in the neighbor and have so much in trust in you. All I need from you is an assistance to transfer the fund my late Father deposited to your country for investment until I regain my freedom. I will give you 32% of the total sum but most of all is that I solicit your trust in this transaction and will not want you to betray me, and I also want you to know that is a legitimate transaction and which is total risk free and we both will benefit from it. Please all correspondence should be directed to my private email: [XXXXXXXXX@XXXXXXX.ca] [Address deleted. - ed.] as await your reply soon.
Note the new addition? This time, they are actually using the identities of actual people, and prominent ones at that, killed by the constant violence in Iraq. Even complete with links to the legitimate news stories about their deaths, the scum-sucking bastages.

And this isn't the only new wrinkle available in the scammer's arsenals, either. (For my more vulgar-minded readers, feel free to substitute -nals with -holes if you are so inclined.) From the FBI's Cyber Investigations alert list comes this wonderful bit. (Emphases mine, a la Jeff Goldstein.)
The scam contains the usual e-mail requesting assistance in transferring millions of dollars out of Nigeria. The sophistication begins when the recipient is directed to open a bank account at Suffolk England Bank and is provided a link to the bank's website. After clicking the link, the victim is directed to a professional-looking bank website that appears to be that of Suffolk England Bank; however, it is actually a fake replica of the true bank site. Within hours after opening the account, a balance of millions of dollars appears to have been deposited in the victim's account. When attempting to transfer or withdraw funds from the account, the victim receives a notice requiring certain "fees" to be paid. The victim is then instructed to wire transfer the fees to Africa. If the victim makes an inquiry concerning the wire transfer, they are given instructions for a Bank of China branch in London and provided some reason justifying why the Suffolk England Bank cannot handle the transfer. A review of the wiring instructions indicated the funds are actually being transferred to the Bank of China in Beijing.
To quote a fictional character, one thing must be required when something, such as an opportunity for getting rich for very little effort, both seems too good to be true and gets dropped into one's lap unexpectedly: CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

This is the same type of grifting that's been going around for years and years. (For a good primer on what to watch for, read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Well, it's also a damn good book.) So these two examples of 419 scams are actually new wrinkles on new tricks learned by old dogs. Instead of saying you got the wrong change at a gas station, you're saying that you got the wrong change from a bank transfer. All that's changed is the position of the decimal point.

As long as there are greedy people out there, there will be those who will prey on their greed and ignorance. Don't be one of them, even if you do tend to be a bit on the greedy side. And the sooner these bastages stop scoring hits off of unsuspecting suckers, the better my spam filters will feel.

Smoothe The Worries Of The Soul

Folks seem to be randomly tossing out their iPod lists these days. Particularly since Hillary and Condi have both had theirs released. So who am I to not follow along with the trend?

Of course, I don't actually have an iPod. With my monthly take-home, I really can't afford anything with an approximately $200 price tag. Instead I got one of these through eBay. (Great deal, though. $23 bucks plus shipping and insurance. All told, I paid under fifty bucks for a gig.)

So... What's on my MP3 player? Here's a random top twenty.
  1. VNV Nation - Standing
  2. The Ataris - Punk Goes Metal - I Remember You
  3. They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
  4. Peter Gabriel - Biko
  5. Midnight Oil - Truganini
  6. Loreena McKennitt - Marrakesh Night Market
  7. Wolfsheim - Kuenstliche Welten
  8. Counting Crows - Omaha
  9. The Cure - Pictures Of You
  10. Fictional - Blue Lights
  11. Styx - Come Sail Away
  12. The Seatbelts - Goodnight Julia
  13. Apoptygma Bezerk - Kathy's Song (Beborn Beton remix)
  14. ZZ Top - La Grange
  15. The Cranberries - Dreams
  16. Nickel Creek - The House Of Tom Bombadil
  17. Enya - Storms In Africa
  18. Goo Goo Dolls - Name
  19. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Someday I Suppose
  20. Daft Punk - One More Time
You know, part of me really wishes someone could sort through that and give me a detailed analysis of my political viewpoints. Of course, that would be just so I could sit there and laugh as they contradict themselves. Only one thing is for certain: you won't find rap or country on my playlists. Why? Because they've become too contrived and market-focused on their specific part of the market. It doesn't matter whether it's 50 Cent or Kenny Chesney (whom I've actually met, by the by), it has the exact same polished feel to it. And I can't stand it.

Of course, some people might argue that some of what I listen to has the uber-market polish as well. But there's a slight difference between the two:

I like this stuff.

23 May, 2006

Dogpile

A brief note before I head out the door and run errands, but this is a bit interesting...

Seems like the Kossacks have done better than I expected them to and quite a few of them are calling for William Jefferson to resign. Including Kos himself who, in the front-page-promotion note, says that "Corruption is corruption, no matter where it may arise"

I'll hold my nose long enough to scan through DU when I get home... Maybe they will come to their senses as well.

21 May, 2006

Jefferson Takes Franklins

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls for Representative William Jefferson.
Federal agents searched the Capitol Hill office of a Louisiana congressman under investigation on bribery charges Sunday, while newly released court papers said agents found $90,000 in cash last year in his Washington home.

In a 95-page affidavit used to obtain a warrant for the office search, investigators stated that an August 2005 search of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson's home turned up the cash sum in a freezer.

The money was divided among various frozen food containers, according to the heavily redacted affidavit.

Agents told a judge the money was part of a $100,000 payment that had been delivered by an informant in the bribery probe, which already has led to guilty pleas by a Kentucky businessman and a former Jefferson aide.

Even worse, ABC says that he was caught taking the bribe on camera.

Seriously. Can we have consensus here?

Every single Democratic/Liberal/Progressive blogger should be calling for Jefferson's immediate resignation. If even Duncan Black can say it (Albeit he was not quite so forthright in saying it, but he at least said something along those lines. So a rare credit point from me to Atrios.), then it should be practically unanimous from our side of the aisle. Well, except for the flag-wavers over on that Kos site... They haven't said a single peep about Jefferson's little corruption problems, from what I could search out. But that's okay, seeing as how RedState barely mentioned Randy Cunningham's minor difficulties. Let the partisans bury their heads in the sand. (So far, no word about this story from Ezra's little page. But Ezra himself usually doesn't post anything on the weekend itself, so I still have hope that one of the most intelligent liberals in the blogosphere will raise the red flag.)

Of course, I said it over two weeks ago, plus Josh and the Cool Kids over at Talking Points Memo hinted at it a few days before I did. Let's see who else joins in, shall we?

Mr. Jeferson? The Grim Reaper of Politics is about to knock. (No, not Dick Cheney.) Will you dare open the door?

[Turn signal: that Insta guy.]

[UPDATE: 11:35p] A good run-down by TPM Muckraker's Paul Kiel can be found here. Face it. The man is just as dirty as Cunningham, and deserves to suffer the same embarrassing fate.

[UPDATE: 8:56p 22.05.06] Kevin Drum joins the sensible ones. A few more, and maybe the bastage will get the hint, no?

20 May, 2006

And The Dust Settles... Mostly

Time to turn the camera towards local politics, I'd say. For now, at week's end, a vast majority of the state-level races here in Colorado have been finalized.

Except for a little office sitting eight miles away from me.

After the folderol of the Republican State Assembly, Bob Beauprez (Who happens to be my current Congressman, by the by.) captured the sole endorsement for the Governor's Office by a good 44 points. His opponent for the primary ballot, Marc Holtzman, refuses to bow out and will go via the petition system to gain a slot on the ballot. This, to my analysis, goes true to form with an organization that would publicly announce that "[w]e're sorry that the girls from our campaign beat up the boys from their campaign." (Note to NewMexiKen: Use that for one of your best lines of the day posts. Double-dog-dare ya!) Of course, I find it highly doubtful that, even if they do make the primary ballot, there will be much better of a result for the Holtzman/Spradley ticket. I'd give odds of 21-1 that those two will see their names on the ballot on November 7th.

On my own side of the double-yellow-line, Bill Ritter is cruising along with absolutely zero opposition on Primary Day. And to improve the Ritter campaign's mood must be the master odds-makers over at ColoradoPols, who put him at 5-1 to win the whole thing. (Personally, I'd put it at 4-1, but that's just my opinion.)

And that's not the only hot race I need concern myself with this year.

Here in CO-7 land, there's still a three-way race for the Democratic primary, while the GOP have gotten in line behind Rick O'Donnell. Contrary to what most pundits have said earlier in the year, it looks like both Peggy Lamm and Herb Rubenstein will make it through the petition process and join Ed Perlmutter on the ballot. And for my thoughts...

I haven't really been a fan of Peggy Lamm, mostly because of my disdain for political dynasties. (She's the daughter-in-law of former Colorado governor Richard Lamm.) Trust me, you've never seen my eyes roll whenever someone mentions Hillary '08 in their blog posts. Or hear me start swearing when I read about a rumor that Jeb Bush might be considering a run for the White House. So while I might agree with Lamm over 35% of the time (And also give her a better shot at beating Rick O'Donnell in November than the other two enjoy.), she still suffers from my formal dislike of political families. However, I will say that she definitely has the personal charisma to meet O'Donnell head-to-head.

Perlmutter, on the other hand, is someone that most folks on the left-hand-side of the road would love to see as their congressman. However, it's been a while since I've read anything about/by/for/regarding him that would help me see him doing the difficult: beating O'Donnell in the first place. He doesn't do anything about taking one of the Three G's (Namely God, Guns, and Gays.) away from the sole contender for the GOP nomination. And without that, especially here in an evenly split district (33% Rep, 32% Dem, 30% Libertarian, 7% mixed Independents, IIRC.), there's few chances he can win out.

Rubenstein, however, does take one of those three away. Or at least makes a serious effort at it. There are very few extremely religious people in the Democratic Party, and Rubenstein is one of them. And while he's strongly religious (Jewish, to be precise.), he's also reads to me to be smack dab in the center-left. His policies are more thought out than most would produce in a primary race, and his views are so well-described that only someone from the extreme end of the GOP spectrum would call him a screaming liberal. Sure, he's on the short end of the stick, at least where the polls are concerned. But I've always had a soft spot for the dark horse, particularly when that horse makes things extremely uncomfortable for those in the lead. If he can keep it close until August, then it'll be a horse-race in truth all the way to the finish line.

Keep running, Herb. I've got ten bucks on you to win. (Of course, to hedge my bet, I've got $30 on Rubenstein to place. Dumb bookie gave me 30-1 odds, and I took those in a flash.) (Oh, and just guess what his odds to win were... I should go to Republican bookies more often.)

[Disclaimer: The author and this blog are in no way connected with any political campaign. Should such status change, the author will make the appropriate announcement.]

And on a side note, I've been wondering about the history of Colfax Avenue, the same street I take my nom de blog from. I've been saying to myself that I'd sit down and do some research one of these days. But now, the Denver Post has beat me to the punch. (The bastages!) Even worse, they do so with a nifty Flash presentation. Clink the link for a bit of education in completely useless, but pretty darned neat, information.

16 May, 2006

Goodbye And Good Riddance

For what seems like forever, I've been waiting for this day with baited breath... The votes are tallied, and Ward Churchill appears to be on his way out.

From the (Extremely long title, don't'cha think?) Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill (PDF warning):
Two members of the Committee conclude and recommend that Professor Churchill should not be dismissed. They reach this conclusion because they do not think his conduct so serious as to satisfy the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal set forth in section 5.C.1 of the Law of the Regents, because they are troubled by the circumstances under which these allegations have been made, and because they believe that his dismissal would have an adverse effect on the ability of other scholars to conduct their research with due freedom. These two members agree and recommend that the most appropriate sanction, following any required additional procedures as specified by the UniversityÂ’s rules, is a suspension from University employment without pay for a term of two years.

Three members of the Committee believe that Professor ChurchillÂ’s research misconduct is so serious that it satisfies the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal specified in section 5.C.1 of the Laws of the Regents, and hence that revocation of tenure and dismissal, after completion of all normal procedures, is not an improper sanction. One of these members believes and recommends that dismissal is the most appropriate sanction; the other two believe and recommend that the most appropriate sanction is suspension from University employment without pay for a term of five years.
Oh boy oh boy. Talk about something that feels better than Fitzmas! As this article from the Denver Post summarizes:

Three of the five scholars who examined the ethnic studies professor's work for four months believe Churchill's academic misconduct is serious enough that CU could fire him from his tenured job, the report said.

But two of those three said the most appropriate sanction would be to suspend him without pay for five years.

The other two committee members did not believe Churchill's research misconduct was serious enough to warrant termination. They suggested the university suspend him without pay for two years.

While the committee was split on exactly how seriously he should be punished, the fact that all five members believe that some punishment is warranted renews much of my faith in the principle of academic honesty, particularly as practiced at CU-Boulder.

Even though I happen to despise the man's opinions, I must agree with one thing he's said over the past few weeks. None of this would have come to light without the power of the alternative medias known as talk radio and blogging. If it hadn't been for the constant digging by, for perhaps the local example, Denver talk show hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, very little of this would have come into the light of day. It wasn't just the Republicans that were after Churchill, regardless of what Churchill himself believes. Once the stories about academic dishonesty surfaced, quite a few of us on the left-hand side of the road began to ask for his tenure to be revoked. Indeed, contrary to the opinion of this IndyMedia article, Craig Silverman is not a conservative but a registered Democrat. (I think I've mentioned before my habit of listening to talk radio, so I'll just assume that this "A Citizen" simply prejudged his political standing by the media reports.)

Ward has the right to his opinions about the 9/11 victims. That was not the issue that came down today. But rather than admit his gross academic dishonesty, plagarism, and vast multitude of other sins against the halls of academe, the only issue that will come to the fore from Churchill and his lawyer, David Lane, will be that he is being persecuted simply due to those opinions. Personally, I expect a full-blown press conference at 3p MT on Wednesday, complete with someone comparing Colorado governor Bill Owens to Adolf Hitler. (Thus proves Godwin's Law.) Oh, and they've already threatened to take this to federal court, too.

Still, let Mr. Churchill do whatever he wishes. At least once he's been placed on suspension, that is. Hell, I'd take suspension-with-pay until after his lawsuits are settled. (That would be worth my tax dollars, I'd say.) And then he'll suffer through his revocation of tenure and suspension without pay for five years... And wind up right back to where he was before all this started: an academic hack with an ego the precise size of the chip on his shoulder.

Carpe jugulum.

[UPDATE: 21:30] The Pirate Ballerina says that Churchill's wife resigned her position two weeks ago. Via Instapundit.

12 May, 2006

Coming To The Table

Sounds to me like Iran, contrary to the fears of a previous post of mine, is actually willing to sit down and talk.

From TIME.com, Iran would be willing to submit the following:
  • Iran would make an active contribution, provided that other countries with similar sensitive fuel cycle programs also do the same, to fixing the loopholes in the non-proliferation system and to developing a technically credible international control regime.

  • Iran would consider ratifying the Additional Protocol, which provides for intrusive and snap inspections.

  • Iran would address the question of preventing break-out from the NPT.

  • Iran would agree to negotiate with the IAEA and states concerned about the scope and timing of its industrial-scale uranium enrichment.

  • Iran would accept an IAEA verifiable cap on enrichment limit of reactor grade uranium.

  • Iran would accept an IAEA verifiable cap on the production of UF6 — uranium hexafluoride, which is used for enrichment — during the period of negotiation for the scope and timing of its industrial scale enrichment.

  • Iran and the IAEA would agree on terms of the continuous presence of inspectors in Iran to verify credibly that no diversion takes place in Iran.

  • Iran's readiness to welcome other countries to partner with Iran in a consortium provides additional assurance about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
This makes things sound alot better than the alarm-filled tone of that post of mine over on Creative Destruction. Keep things going on the diplomatic front. That is how to avoid conflict. And looks to me like Iran will be giving the world, via the UNSC and IAEA, a vast majority of what they want.

[Turn Signal: Washington Monthly]

10 May, 2006

Mmmmmmm...

Damn, but I really shouldn't have read Instapundit today...
ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES fell while hiking in the mountains and had to have four vertebrae in her neck fused (she's lucky she can walk). While she's recovering, we're taking turns cooking dinner for her. Tonight's my turn and I'm taking Insta-Chicken, which travels well.
And he even provided a link to the recipe for Insta-Chicken which sounds almost good enough to eat.

Ingredients: 3 large baking potatoes; 3 sweet potatoes; two large onions; one fryer hen; assorted spices

Preheat an oven to 350. Start with a nice fryer hen, about 3 lbs. Clean and then mist with olive oil. (If the InstaWife isn't around to object that it contains fat, also rub with one tablespoon butter, which doesn't add many calories, but does add a lot of flavor). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika (lots), garlic, and a bit of sage. Place in a large, covered roasting pan.

Now chop the onions into quarters, and add to the roasting pan. Slice the potatoes (both kinds) into inch-thick sections and add to the pan as well. (Some peeled baby carrots are nice, too, but the InstaWife is allergic to carrots, so we skip those). Next, in a measuring cup add two ounces each of worcestershire, teriyaki, soy, and whatever wine you have around (I used the last of a bottle of Reynolds Merlot tonight). Pour over the chicken and vegetables, then cover the pan.

Put in the oven for about two hours and go do whatever you want -- you're done cooking. Two hours later, serve the chicken, which will be wonderfully tender and succulent, on a platter. Remove the vegetables and serve separately in a large serving bowl. Total prep time is about 15 minutes, there's not much to clean up, and as a nice side effect, the house smells wonderful when your family gets home.

Oh yeah. Now I'm hungry, all right. I think I'm going to go and see if I can make this when I get home from movie-watching tomorrow. (Methinks I'll bite the bullet and pay matinee prices for MI:3. I've seen the other two and, quite frankly, it can't be worse than MI:2 was.) Of course, I'm fresh out of worcestershire, so part of me is wondering if a few shakes of tabasco will do just as well, particularly if I go easier on the paprika.

(And my next plan? Come up with a way to become a) a colleague of one Glenn Reynolds and b) suffer some debilitating injury. 'Cause that would just rock.)

Of course, seeing as how I am inherently a decent guy, I'd probably have to invite a certain embattled local blogger over for dinner if this recipe works out well for higher altitudes. (Don't worry, though. I won't ask him to put out or anything. But his armadillo, on the other hand...) On the other hand, looks like someone else is having a bad day as well. (See, this is the trouble with being a nice-but-highly-indecisive guy. All these people around me seem to be having a tough bit, and all I can do is look like a dumb-ass while trying to figure out who to extend a hand towards first.)

[UPDATE: 21 May 06 01:00a]
Trust me. Leave off the tabasco. Oick. Almost tasted like it was pickled rather than baked. Guess I'll put that one down for Great Cooking Mistakes Of History. Will try again at the end of the month.

And trust me again, M:i 3 is not worth regular ticket prices. Matinee pricing is okay, though.