seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

Wack the Iraq??

Just published another review. This one deals with a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly detailing some private emails that were recovered from an old computer.

Saw an article on CNN talking about a game at the Wildwood boardwalk area in NJ. I used to go there as a kid ... apparently, it is called "Wack the Iraq" and you get to shoot people dressed up like Arabs with paintballs. After enough complaints, they decided to change the name of the game next year when it re-opens.

I love how Americans can pat themselves on the back with one hand for bringing democracy to the Iraqis while aiming at their culture with the other hand. I was reading some book reviews on Amazon today for a particularly heinous Christian book which villifies Muslims. The reviewer made a great point saying, "Other Christians will be alarmed by the way it promotes hate-filled stereotypes of Muslims even while it argues that Muslims are dangerous precisely because they promote hate-filled stereotypes of Jews." The other thing this whole story reminds of is a quote from one of Bill Maher's books: "They hate us because we don't even know why they hate us."

Lest you think I am out of ranting today (well, mildly ranting), I got more below.

MPR's midmorning show discussed poverty this morning in light of a recent U.S. Census report that says the number of people in poverty increased by more than 1 million between 2002 and 2003. This comes 7 years after Clinton reformed welfare. Success!

I'm glad to say that no one was calling in to attack Bush for being responsible - it would really make me sick to hear Democrats urging us to vote Kerry so that we can get the poverty level back down to the unacceptably high level it was at following Clinton's term.

I'm consistently amazed at the ways in which we accept poverty and homelessness (2 separate but related issues) as normal. Especially in a country in which the Fed fears full employment. Greenspan et al do not want everyone to have a job seeking unemployment rates between 2 and 4% if I remember correctly. So essentially, people who cannot find jobs are doing their part to help the economy! If they all got jobs, other people would have to lose them in order to maintain the system that Greenspan believes is optimal.

Perhaps that is a bit of a stretch - but the fact remains that there are simply more people than there are jobs. And there are far more hard workers than there are well paying jobs.

Time to deal with Rail Issues

Was listening to MPR this morning - to a discussion about how to deal with highway congestion and whether the metro area needs to expand both light rail and other rail opportunities. To me, a happy car-free person, this is a no-brainer. In the next several years, the population will expand while the cost of oil increases. Even if commuters are not yet ready to commit to riding rail now, it takes many years to build the rail lines. By the time people are paying $3.00 a gallon to sit in their car for an even longer commute, they will be more ready to use these lines.

But they have to be planned and started now. This is something I think I will have to learn more about. Regardless of all of this, there should be tax breaks for people like me who bike to work on a regular basis. ME ME ME ME.

The Eagles were fun to watch tonight - as were the Steelers. Definitely looking forward to football, especially since my friend George Norris is back in town for a bit. He dropped in unexpectedly today which was nice.

Team America Movie Redux

I found some more information about the upcoming movie by SouthPark creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker,
I am so excited for this movie - if you are one of those people who has never seen South Park because you have heard bad things about it - think about this... if Mark Twain were alive today (perhaps in the body of Samuel Clemens) he would watch it.

I also found this interesting article talking about former running back, Ricky Williams, and how the drug company for which he originally advertised, dropped him quickly after he declared marijuana far more effective than their FDA-approved drug. One last fun link: - the site for recalling St Paul Mayor Randy Kelly. I support this because I love when politics is more fun than boring.

I spent a lot of time scanning more photos from Hawaii today - which is why I had time to netsurf more than usual. The photos are coming along nicely even though I yearn for a new scanner that will speed the process and make removing dust easier.

I like to keep on top of the right wing, so today I was perusing - a conservative Michael Moore watch blog. What interested me most was the advertisements on the site ... mainly the ad. A dating service for conservatives. I have no doubt there is one for liberals also - or if not, there will be soon. Gotta love that free market.

At any rate, I wonder at what point we can label this inbreeding? I know many people who suffer from the idea that they should isolate themselves around others who think like them. This is quite sad. Monocultures die quicker! In my mind, this is possibly the biggest problem with the latest communication technologies: they allow each person to only hear what that person wants to hear. This does not allow for a broadening of the horizons and stunts growth. Another reason that education is so important. People need to realize how important it is to be exposed to alternative viewpoints.

Think how many times you have changed your mind on important issues in the past. What if you hadn't been exposed to the stimulus that caused that? It may be a frightening thought for some of you - especially since this is something people do to themselves in relatively free societies. There is no Saddam Hussein preventing you from broadening your horizon, there is only you - not afraid or unwilling to challenge your beliefs.

Back on the Rock Again

Went rock climbing again today for the first time in some 6-8 weeks. Indoors at the gym. Tough stuff - didn't do so hot. I've lost a lot of ability - hopefully I will get it back quickly. We'll see.

John Kerry was on the Daily Show. It was fairly entertaining. I suppose I am hoping that Kerry will win the election - but mainly because I am interested to see if he totally betrays his promises regarding how America must invent itself out of the oil crisis. This is something I would really like to see - but I seriously doubt Kerry has the vision to encourage it. I hope we'll see. Either way, I don't care that much. The nice thing about Bush is that he unites the world against the U.S. empire - which is good for the world. I guess my curiosity about Kerry outweighs world unity - hehehe.

Photo Gallery Returns

I have fixed my Gallery problems and once again have my old photos available. New photos will be posted in the next couple of weeks. If you need new photos now, check out where I have finally posted the spring sports photos.

Saw that Chuck0 has an insightful article discussing the upcoming protests against the Republican National Convention in NYC. Basically, it won't be a replay of 1968 Chicago or 1999 Seattle. It is a chance to regain momentum in what has been termed the anti-globalization movement that has been lacking since 9-11.

I hope it isn't more of the same lame protests consisting of people chanting "boot Bush" rather than actually understanding the issue. This is not to say booting Bush is a bad idea, but too people miss the point that the problems with governance in this country goes far behind the person ostensibly at the helm.

Media wrapup: Last night I watched Adaptation and Stuck on You. Adaptation lived up to the hype around it. Very enjoyable. Stuck on You was funnier than I anticipated, but certainly not worth paying money for. If you can get it for free, it might be worth it.

I see that Bush, who is lately using the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq are in the Olympics, has been rebuked by the Iraqi National soccer team. In other election news, Bush again called for an end to the 527 ads (political ads created by groups that are not limited in their spending). Both he and Kerry benefit enough from these ads that they don't really want to do anything about them, but want to be seen as opposing them as they are nearly all negative attack ads.

sigh. If you haven't realized it yet, the TeeVee is good for one thing. Making money for corporations. It is not good for educating any one on any issue - unless Ken Burns is involved. That guy knows what is up. I've been slowly watching the Lewis & Clark Ken Burns documentary at work - and enjoying it. As for politics on TV - good for reinforcing thoughts, not creating new ones ... I think it has something to do with the flickering.

Flash animation is good for entertainment though. I just caught the latest Fiore cartoon. Good stuff - but nothing made me laugh harder than the most recent Get Your War On comic strip. Read them all if you haven't.

More IOC Stupidity: Can it get Worse?

I got up early for a soccer game - biked 14 miles, played soccer poorly, and went to work. At which point my stomach rebelled, and I have felt ill ever since. Reading this article detailing how the IOC is making the Olympics safe for its sponsors, coupled with this article about how you cannot bring in or drink from non-Coke beverages, I have to wonder why anyone is surprised at low attendence figures. Who is running this show? High School principals?

Slashdot did have some good news though. South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have made a new movie (non South Park). Check out the trailor on their site.

That reminded me of another favorite site: the Jib Jab parody musical flash thingy.

I fixed the problems with gallery and will have my old photos available online momentarily. I've also started scanning my Hawaii vacation photos. I can't imagine having them online in the next week. Hopefully before September.

Congratulations Kris and Amanda

My co-workers Kris and Amanda joined in marriage yesterday in a pretty outdoor ceremony beside a fountain in a park in St Paul. The reception was lots of fun and followed by an after party at a downtown Irish pub. Steff, her friend Matt, Russell and his wife Rebecca, Katherine, Martin Devaney, and his friend Alix. Good times. Late times. Not much sleep last night.

I finally posted my review of the Outfoxed documentary on It is actually half reaction / half review if you want to nit pick - although any good review has to have some reaction in it.

I have been working to get my photo gallery back online here. I am frustrated with a couple of bugs I have not been able to work out - I don't have time to deal with unplanned problems at this point. My planned problems are keeping me busy enough!

Got up this morning to another reason to ignore the Olympics. The athletes and people involved in the Olympics have been barred by the Olympic Committee from blogging and posting photos of their exploits to the internet. Can't let any of these athletes describe themselves unless it is mediated by someone who has paid the IOC for the exclusive media rights to cover the Olympics. Its all about the athletes - just ask NBC to ask the athletes to tell.

I've also been catching up all the Daily Show stuff I missed while on vacation. They have some funny clips available - including stuff that hasn't been played on TV - here.

Day off

I love having a day off. It means I try to accomplish 2 times as much as I would during a day at work. I think day off is a little misleading. Web design work, photography work, weddings to attend - do I have any me time?

Last night I had some Andrea time - we watched the movie Calendar girls. Enjoyable - probably more so for a middle aged woman than I, but I'm a sucker for any movie with accents from the UK. No complaints.

Al Franken is supposed to be on the Prairie Home Companion on Saturday. I may have to tape that or find a way to listen to it at work.

I did a lot of computer work today - which leaves me listening to MPR more often than not. This morning, they interviewed Larry Flynt - the porn king and first amendment crusader. Very interesting interview. I happen to support Flynt's views on the first amendment - I think I might even like him if he weren't so full of shit so often. The interviewer called him on it a couple of times - like when he said he was bored by photography (I can believe that) and did it because he liked the artistic aspect of it (please!). The interviewer rightly noted he probably was more interested in its effect on his bank account.

At any rate, I wrote most of my comments on the Outfoxed video, but probably will not post them until I have time to revise them tomorrow. Til then, I'm off the enjoy the wedding of Amanda and Kris, my co-workers.

Two Wheels on the Road

Got up this morning and put my two wheels back on the road. A one hour, 13 mile trip over to the Minneapolis Stone Arch bridge. Rode on the west side of the river there and an on the east side on the way home. It's nice to be back. A little chilly in the 50's, but still nice.

Saw this story and got a kick out of it. Senator Kennedy was harassed in airports - a security risk! I'm sure many Republicans consider him a security risk, but not in that way exactly.

Last night I watched Outfoxed, a documentary about Fox News. It is worth a watch ... I'll be writing a review of it here soon and posting it to once I get a chance.

Today's Accomplishment: Groceries

Woo hoo - I can cook again! Dropped by Cub Foods for my every-other-week food shopping expedition. I always try to park by a cart carousel. I don't mind walking a long way to the entrance, but once I've unloaded my cart, I hate a long walk to dispose of it. (Yes, I really do think about these things)

Spent another 8 hours at the bookstore today - still have lots to do after my 3 week vacation. They boxed over 13 boxes worth of computer books for me to go through, price, and shelve and I have more than a week's worth of shelving to try and accomplish before the weekend.

Also, I'm not working Friday because of Kris and Amanda's wedding.

Watched some of the Olympics, but not much. I'm not a big Olympics supporter. I like sports but I like fantasizing about a world in which sports are not used solely to make money for corporations. I guess the reason NBC's coverage sucks is that they spent too much on getting the rights to the Olympics and not enough to come up with decent commentators. I enjoyed piece by a Greek citizen about this year's Olympics.

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