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John's Blog

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day....Teach him to use the internet and he won't bother you for weeks!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stir Things Up

I find my enthusiasm for blogging keeps diminishing, largely because I don't have that much time these days and because I feel like I keep doing the same things I've done before. We've all been down this road, and sometimes just when you think it's time to walk away something exciting comes along and renews the interest and energy. This isn't one of those times. I recently saw another blogger who also felt stuck in a rut, and ask readers for suggestions of music, websites, etc. to break the log-jam. But since it's well established that I don't ask for directions and mostly ignore good advice, that doesn't seem like the answer for me.

I keep coming back to the recurring idea of turning this blog into a recipe sharing site. Seems odd, I know, especially since I reluctantly cook. And yes, I'm only considering it as a goof. But the hand of fate keeps giving me signs. The other day I picked up a floppy disk to save a file to take to work, and I found it filled with recipes that I saved (and never made) from years before. And somehow I keep stumbling on other recipes and cooking links which have been taunting me to spend more time in the kitchen. Let's start the sharing with Emo Philips' MY COLE SLAW RECIPE:
  1. Chop cabbage into large bowl.
  2. Look for green peppers.
  3. Drive to store.
  4. Choose green peppers.
  5. Carry them to cashier.
  6. Drive home.
  7. Find wallet.
  8. Drive to store.
  9. Buy green peppers.
  10. Drive home.
  11. Chop green peppers into bowl.
  12. Look for mayonnaise.
  13. Drive to store.
  14. Buy mayonnaise.
  15. Drive home.
  16. Mix mayonnaise into bowl.
  17. Look for raisins.
  18. Drive to store.
  19. Buy stupid raisins.
  20. Ignore stupid cashier's snickering.
  21. Drive home.
  22. Mix raisins into bowl.
  23. Look for miserable lousy stupid carrots.
  24. Drive to stupid lousy store.
  25. Buy miserable stupid lousy carrots.
  26. Call stupid miserable snickering cashier a Nazi.
  27. Crawl to car.
  28. Drive home.
  29. Chop stupid damned miserable lousy carrots into damned stupid lousy miserable bowl.
  30. Look for finger.
  31. Look harder for finger.
  32. Look everywhere for finger.
  33. See cat scurrying away.
  34. Follow cat into new neighbor's house, surprising him in middle of drug deal.
  35. Dive over sofa to escape gunfire, landing on cat's tail, causing cat to screech and jump up into new neighbor's face and claw his eyes as he's bending over the sofa about to shoot you, enabling you to grab the gun from his hand, enabling you to hold the gun on him until the cops arrive, who then arrest him and drive you and the cat to the hospital where the cat's stomach is pumped and your finger is found and sewn back on good as new.
  36. Collect reward of half of neighbor's property from drug auction, then just buy all the delicious cole slaw you want from a nice deli.
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Due Process

A quaint look back via Sheriff Andy Taylor to the days when warrantless wiretaps were still viewed as illegal. And am I being paranoid thinking that this "say one thing/do another" administration will continue to do this, despite their recent pledge to abide by the FISA provisions?
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Big, Bad Words

A site compiling a list of uncommon and misunderstood words that probably should NOT become part of your everyday voculabary, the Pompous Ass Word Home Page might be worth a look. I DO have to take issue with the inclusion of the word "palaver", since I've felt it was pretty expressive, although I can't really claim to have ever used it. And he picks on Maureen Dowd for using it. Leave my pretend girlfriend alone.
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"Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand."
Woody Allen
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The 30-Second Bunnies Theatre

From The Republic of Bunzakhstan and Angry Alien Productions comes BORAT in 30 seconds and re-enacted by bunnies. I'm waiting for the DVD myself, so till then this will have to do.
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Monday, January 29, 2007


I just realized that my recent dependance on my GPS unit has one major unintended consequence. Now I apparently become even less aware of directions than I was before, since I'm now completely dependent on being spoon fed each and every turn. Comparing notes with my co-workers on how I navigated to and from a recent trip made me aware that I wasn't paying attention to route numbers and directions like I normally would have without this little crutch.

But then I stumbled upon an interesting piece about the technology, Why I got the damn thing in the first place. It explains the increasing popularity of GPS as being due to male drivers inability to ask for directions, as well as appealing to their insatiable desire for new, expensive, and unnecessary toys. Ah, it all makes sense now!

And as tempting as it was to get one of the optional celebrity voices like Mr. T or John Cleese I didn't bother to try that yet. Although the optional "Comrade Stalin" voice DOES sound sorta' interesting...
"Greetings Comrades, and welcome to the people's democratic social path finding system. Let me begin by asking you, Comrade, how come you actually have a car? Are you corrupt Comrade? What? you are a member of the central committee? Very well Comrade. So, where would like to travel today? Your dacha at Crimea? I think Lefortovo prison would be more like it. Stand by Comrade, calculating time till mother Russia achieves world domination. What? Drive time? OH, hold on. Calculating drive time. Your drive time today, Comrade, will be 45 days and 23 minutes. What you ask Comrade? Why so long? Because we don't take right turns comrade. NEVER. We would rather take the long route.
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It's Called The Aristocrats!

I have a bad habit of putting a movie on my Netflix list, and then by the time it gets here I've lost whatever enthusiasm I might have originally had to see it. As a result the DVD sits on the shelf until I break down and watch it, rip it, or return it. That's what happened with The Aristocrats until just recently. In a moment of boredom I finally broke down and watched it, and I was pleasantly suprised. Not for the modest or easily offended, this documentary talks with over 100 comedians about a joke seldom heard outside of the comedy community before this film.

The joke has been told over and over with endless embellishments meant to shock and surprise as well as make the joke an expression of individual style. It's bound to make you squirm uncomfortably (that's part of the point) as well as leaving you laughing out loud. Making it the subject of a blog entry is another case of having an experience or good idea and seeing somebody else doing it first leaving me looking like a plagiaristic putz, but that doesn't always stop me.

Although I loved the card trick version, the one done by Billy The Mime was a close 2nd that just might make me retract all the nasty things I've said about mimes. A few other versions in the event you haven't seen it, but the DVD with all the extras is worth a look if you don't mind people going over the line:
South Park Version
Gilbert Gottfried Version
As Edited for TV Version
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Calling All Idiots

A Wikipedia examination of the question How to keep an idiot busy for hours ignores the obvious answer: the internet! For those with a shorter attention span, just go directly to How to keep an idiot busy...(for at least a couple minutes).
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"A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with."
Tennessee Williams
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Sign Post Up Ahead

If you need a trip to another dimension and want to catch all the old episodes of TV 's The Twilight Zone be sure to check out this link (VIA linkfilter). Looks like the kind of thing that might disappear once the lawyers get involved, but it's a nice distraction for now. Classic tales that involve the viewer's imagination in a way that current shows seldom achieve, as well as containing relevant social commentary.
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Friday, January 26, 2007

The Best Candidate Not Running?

From the ROLLING STONE: Run, Al, Run essay, a few of the reasons that Al Gore just might be the ideal candidate for the Democrats in the next Presidential election:
If the Democrats were going to sit down and construct the perfect candidate for 2008, they'd be hard-pressed to improve on Gore. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has no controversial vote on Iraq to defend. Unlike Barack Obama and John Edwards, he has extensive experience in both the Senate and the White House. He has put aside his wooden, policy-wonk demeanor to emerge as the Bush administration's most eloquent critic. And thanks to An Inconvenient Truth, Gore is not only the most impassioned leader on the most urgent crisis facing the planet, he's also a Hollywood celebrity, the star of the third-highest-grossing documentary of all time....

If Gore does decide to run, there is no question that his entry into the race would instantly reshuffle the deck. "He would dislodge a whole lot of Hillary support," says Luntz, "opening up this race so that anyone would have a shot." He would also have history on his side: Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland, both of whom won the popular vote but lost the presidency, reached the White House on their next tries....

But Gore's greatest appeal may come, ultimately, from what he represents to voters fed up with two terms of the Bush administration. "He'll be able to make the case that he should have been president already," says Carrick. "And that had he been president, things would have been a lot different, with the Iraq war being Exhibit A."
And there is speculation that if a slimmer looking Gore shows up at the Oscars, he just might be in the race.
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"It is easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit to forgive them for having witnessed your own."
Jessamyn West
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Yes, I Can!

Just in case you thought YOUR job sucked, just be glad you don't have to put up with THIS everyday at work.

Despite their apparently cruel treatment of their employees, I recently switched my cell phone coverage to these guys. After years of having a phone that barely gave me a signal at home, and didn't have ANY reception at work, I'm amazed that now I have a phone I can really use. Unfortunately, the last few days have been filled with calls that were the functional equivalent of the "can you hear me now?" conversations from spots that I wouldn't have been able to make them with my old phone.

And also from the "department of technological amazement" I continue to find my new GPS unit a real treat. Having to sometimes travel to unknown destinations for work, I don't know why I waited to get one of these electronic co-pilots. The only problem I've had is that I sometimes ignore or misinterpret the direction it gives. Yesterday after hearing "turn right" I did an immediate right, only to see that it really was telling me to turn right a little farther down the road. Then after it recalculated my route to correct for my mistake, I still thought I knew better and was about to follow where I thought I should go. Luckily, I reconsidered and put my faith in the new directions and everything worked out just fine. If only life offered a GPS type unit sometimes, but I'm guessing I'd be tempted to ignore that as well!
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Beneath The Blue Suburban Sky

Who knew that the long standing assumption that A penny dropped from the top of a tall building could kill a pedestrian would turn out to be yet another myth? Apparently if you were to drop it off a tall building it only picks up enough speed to strongly sting the person unlucky enough to be at the receiving end. I'm guessing that the maxim "a penny saved is a penny earned" is equally suspect.
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Today In History...

On this day in 1986 the infamous wapping dispute began. I must admit that I initially thought this might have referred to Elmer Fudd describing the whole East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry but, alas it did not.

But since I went there, why not take a look at the Elmer Fudd Rap battle from Adult Swim instead?
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"Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting."
John Russell
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Blonde Moment

I'll have to confess that pure boredom led me to take the What kind of blonde are you? quiz that I stumbled upon recently. (ANYTHING to avoid watching the Shrub's performance last night!) Perhaps it was just my way to get in touch with my "inner blonde" but once I found out that I was Nicole Kidman, I just had to share this good news. I'm a...

Strawberry Blonde

You are very energetic for a blonde, you are almost like a redhead!

Personality Test Results

Although I hope that this doesn't mean that I've got baggage from my previous relationship with a short actor who belongs to a freakish cult.
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Silly Pr0n

In the spirit of "two great tastes that taste great together", The Accidental Video Game Porn Archive offers up a look at glimpses of pr0n and erotic images that pop up in video games. I'm just disturbed that after all the time I wasted playing around in The Sims trying to make a moment like this happen, it appears that somebody actually pulled it off!
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Monday, January 22, 2007

A Real Crock

Crikey, this just seems like a really BAD idea. Although this was put in motion before his untimely passing the Crocodile Hunter action figure seems in questionable taste. At least the accessories don't include a toy sting ray.

But as horrible as this idea is, the thought that I can't get out of my head after viewing the picture of the doll is much worse. Let's hope the doll isn't anatomically correct, particularly if the traditionally accepted Shoe Size-Penis Size Relationship proves to be correct.

And on a personal level (or at least what passes for one here) a small confession on a related matter. I can't help recalling the annual elementary school field trip to Washington, D.C to visit The Smithsonian. Although I risk creating the impression that I'm obsessed with the subject, I was always the rabble-rouser child who led the quest to find where John Dillinger's penis was displayed. Way back then, we didn't have the internet to find out that this is yet another urban legend.
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Thanks, Hillary

Now you've done it...gone and thrown your hat into the ring, making official what pretty much everybody except Hillary knew was a foregone conclusion. Becoming the instant front-runner at this very early phase may not be the best place to be, since it places you in the position of having the race to lose. Seldom do we see the early leader emerge victorious since there is way too much time for an event that could change the momentum, although the brain-trust and money that she has assembled makes her a formidable candidate.

The problem that her entry poses for me is that the wife is a big Hillary fan, and she seems to expect me to be one as well. Like we can't find enough to disagree about without help from Hillary? Although the prospect of having Bill back in the White House is intriguing, I'm much more excited by the possibility of Edwards or Obama as the Democratic standard-bearer. And who knows, a dark horse could yet emerge to join the already crowded field and leave everybody in the dust.

It isn't that I wouldn't love to get behind a woman candidate; and no, I'm NOT in the gutter for once! But I'm bothered by her pandering to the right wing and her early and continued (until just recently) support for the war. Also working against the viability of her candidacy is that she many times comes off as stiff, cold, or insincere which can be a problem when your main opponents are brimming with camera capturing charisma. On paper, she's probably the most qualified candidate, but I'm not sure that is what is going to matter in the end. Let's not forget that the last President was elected because most Americans wanted to have a beer with him. I really wish they would have just had the damn beer, and not pulled the lever in the voting booth.
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Low Rent & High Maintenance

Always one who can separate the wheat from the chaff, George Carlin whittles down the Ten Commandments to a more manageable two. George has made a career out of questioning authority and tweaking the status quo; an attitude that we need more of in these troubled times.
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"I've begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It's there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There's no mystery, no one asks for money, I don't have to dress up, and there's no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to "God" are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate."
George Carlin
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Ya' Gotta Start Somewhere

Impeach Alberto Gonzales features an on-line petition targeting one of the architects of our current political and moral morass. As our top law enforcement official, he has crafted policies allowing us to ignore the Geneva Convention and commit war crimes, embrace torture as acceptable, deny citizens their right to habeas corpus and a fair trial, and has allowed domestic wiretapping without the proper authorization. He seemingly advocates a Presidency without boundaries, using the excuse that a "war President" has a blank check and doesn't have to recognize constitutional limitations.

Sign the petition and add your voice to the chorus of outrage. If we chop away at the roots of the tree, we will make it difficult for the tree to grow. Anybody have a chainsaw so we can go after the trunk and branches?
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Surge On

Although the cutting edge political humor of Get Your War On can now also be experienced as an off-Broadway play, most of us will have to settle for the on-line version. Although tongue in cheek, makes as much sense as what The Shrub has suggested.

And Mad Kane's take on the madness of the ill-advised surge:

If you can’t solve a problem, expand it.
Demand an enlargement. Command it.
What else could explain
Dubya’s bellicose reign
Of great terror and shame? Please disband it.
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"Dude, if Americans tolerated as much shit in their socks as they do in their president, they'd have mushrooms growing out of their fucking ankles."
David Rees (from Get Your War On)
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Coming Soon...

If the current James Bond tanks, Tom Hanks is waiting in the wings. Yet another re-mixed trailer; somehow these things never get old for me.
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New, But Not Necessarily Improved

50 ALL NEW sex positions
Quite a few new and innovative new sexual positions; I'd describe them as being the result of "out of the box" thinking, but that might suggest an obvious and ugly pun. Many are pretty funny such as this "American Idol" position, which suggests you "let millions of people watch your mediocre performance." This might be a work safe site depending on how enlightened your work environment is, but it's not for the easily offended.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Don't Have A Cow?

How many times have you wanted to sacrifice a cow, but you just didn't have the time or didn't want to deal with the messy clean-up? Now, thanks to dearOnes you can order your Sacrificial Cow (VIA LinkBitch) on-line for only $490! And for the budget minded, you can offer up a goat for only $130, or just share a part of the cow for $70!
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More Than Meets The Eye

Wow, apparently the iPhone has a few more features than I expected!
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T-Shirt Wisdom

Yet another selection from the "T-shirts I love, but probably wouldn't actually buy" department. This one courtesy of Anti-Bush T Shirts and Gear by A Rose is a Rose. Since this one so succinctly captures the essence of the dumbass we elected...TWICE... I just might have to make an exception and buy this one.
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"The secret of eternal youth is arrested development."
Alice Roosevelt Longworth
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McSweeney's: Suggestions for a Proposed National Code of Health Emoticons and Abbreviations for Instant Messenger
?AB? alcoholic blackout
SHOT shot
AR allergic reaction
IJOD I just overdosed
B3D burn, third degree
HA heart attack
ROTFC rolling on the floor choking
RFLOTL renal failure likely owing to lifestyle
====> stabbed or hit by an arrow
BOBHCS being overcome by hazardous chemical spill
PSND poisoned
SBKBPWMS slowly being killed by parent with Munchausen syndrome
MPOS Munchausen parent over shoulder

Then again, you could just go with the more traditional internet slang.
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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kahless Would NOT Be Pleased

Representative David Wu recently made a speech and told us There are Klingons in The White House. And at the roughly the same point a Something Awful Photoshop Phriday "Star Trek Bonanza" contest produces this image. Perhaps Wu wasn't speaking metaphorically after all! Although it's important to note that while true Klingons DO seek combat, they also do so with honor, which sets them apart from the imitation version in The White House.

The larger question for ST geeks remains: In the Mirror Universe does this mean that there is an intelligent, effective, benevolent President in office?
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The Secret Word: Funny

I had originally found this clip of Groucho Marx on "You Bet Your Life" posted on TV Squad, reminding me of just how funny his largely ad-libbed responses to contestants really were. The show originally aired in the 50's and early sixties, but thanks to the magic of re-runs (and now YouTube) other generations get the opportunity to appreciate Groucho's talent. But the resemblance of the one woman in this clip to Britney Spears almost ruined it for me. Luckily, there are a ton of other YBYL clips available on YouTube as well; much time wasting fun and laughs to be found.

But if you are looking to find the famous exchange between Groucho and the mother of a large family where he offers a risque response, you'll be disappointed. Supposedly he ask her why she had so many children and she replied "Because I love children ... and I love my husband." Groucho responds "I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while." Sadly, this is probably yet another urban legend.

A few more links on this innovative comic genius just to round things out:
Groucho on TV: The Sixties & Seventies
Letter to Warner Brothers: A Night in Casablanca
Groucho on What's My Line?
Groucho on I Dream Of Jennie
Captain Spaulding: 7 Cent Nickel
Duck Soup Mirror Scene
Tags: , ,
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A few Groucho Marx Quotes:
  • "Go, and never darken my towels again."
  • "I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought I'd rather dance with the cows until you come home."
  • "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five."
  • "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
  • "Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms."
  • "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
  • "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
  • Tags:
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    Five Eight Eight, Two Three-hundred

    At some point in the not too distant future; expect to see some sort of addiction treatment that deals with excessive YouTube usage. The first step in realizing that you have a problem? When you find yourself watching old Empire Carpets commercials.

    Seems odd that I would watch the plethora of commercials posted there, since I find their annoying jingle and their animated Empire Carpet Guy extremely obnoxious when they are actually on TV. While poking around looking for Groucho clips, I stumbled upon this one, and then I felt this masochistic urge to watch all the rest of them. I've always assumed since they advertised in the NYC metro market, that they were a local firm (taking their name from Empire State perhaps), but in reality they were originally from Chicago before becoming a national firm generating $90 million in annual sales. We all know what they say about assumptions.

    Yet another indication of YouTube intoxication is watching this compilation of David Caruso One Liners from CSI Miami. I occasionally watch the show just to see the over the top, overacting that Caruso sometimes exhibits. Now, I can waste just seven minutes, instead of the entire hour.
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    Sweet, Sour, & Tasty

    Scratch, Sniff, and Lick Stamps

    "Stamps released in China to celebrate the Year of the Pig taste of sweet and sour pork. When you scratch the front of the stamps, it smells of the popular chinese dish and when the back of the stamp is licked it tastes of the dish too."

    Seems like a great idea; I'd expect this one to do well if released here with the same enhancements.
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    Friday, January 12, 2007

    A Sorry Legacy

    In the wake of yet another foolish foreign policy choice, Keith Olbermann points out the folly of the path Dubya wants to lead us down and his lack of credibility. A snippet from his Special Comment pointing out the madness of stirring up the middle east pot Another shameless effort to achieve an obviously political end while attempting the illusion of leadership. Seems like this time fewer are as inclined to buy this load of crap snakeoil.

    Only this president, only in this time, only with this dangerous, even messianic certitude, could answer a country demanding an exit strategy from Iraq, by offering an entrance strategy for Iran.

    Only this president could look out over a vista of 3,008 dead and 22,834 wounded in Iraq, and finally say, “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me” — only to follow that by proposing to repeat the identical mistake ... in Iran....

    This is diplomacy by skimming; it is internationalism by drawing pictures of Superman in the margins of the text books; it is a presidency of Cliff Notes.

    And to Iran and Syria — and, yes, also to the insurgents in Iraq — we must look like a country run by the equivalent of the drunken pest who gets battered to the floor of the saloon by one punch, then staggers to his feet, and shouts at the other guy’s friends, “Ok, which one of you is next?”

    Mr. Bush, the question is no longer “what are you thinking?,” but rather “are you thinking at all?”....
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    "What luck for rulers that men do not think."
    Adolf Hitler
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    Despite having to clean up the drool with a mop after viewing the recently announced iPhone, I have to keep telling myself that I really don't "need" it. As sexy as it is, I just keep having a vision of the look on my face after I've dropped it and cracked that kewl display screen. And the fact that it's only going to be offered by Cingular is a huge turnoff. I'll have to assume that this announcement is also a tease for a similarly featured next-generation widescreen iPod. Just sign me up for that and I'll struggle along with my current phone...maybe. Perhaps the debate between Bill Gates VS. the "I'm A Mac" Guy may help me make up my mind.

    But for now, let's peruse the current iPod and do a shuffle to come up with a "Friday Random Ten" since I haven't done that for a long time, and more importantly I haven't got anything else. Here goes nuttin':

  • Fall Behine Me; The Donnas
  • Me And Mia; Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
  • Allison; Elvis Costello
  • Hide Away; Rock Kills Kid
  • Wild Wild Life; Talking Heads
  • American Idiot; Green Day
  • In My Place; Coldplay
  • I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For; U2
  • Don't Bring Me Down; Electric Light Orchestra
  • I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor; Artic Monkeys
  • Tags: , ,
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    I Rest My Case

    I've been way too busy the last few days to have much time for blogging, both reading and posting. So it was a pleasant surprise to find a recent post from Boing Boing discussing a NY Times article about people from Denmark being happier than any other Western country. Why, you ask? Well, apparently they don't expect good things to happen as much as other western cultures, so as a result when good things happen, they appreciate it much more. Seems to validate the point of view that I advocated not too long ago.
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    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Ain't Science Grand?

    "Virtual sex is not quite virtual anymore! The Virtual Sex Machine is the world’s first interactive real time sex system that gives you the virtual reality experience of having a sexual liaison not only with an adult video star, but also with your distant loved ones!...Use MagMag-HOLE with our original Virtual-STICK. You can enjoy virtual real time sex with your wife, girlfriend, or even with your friends!" Well, not ALL of your friends at least. No link to actually order...not that I was looking or anything.

    But if you're not ready to make that leap, a few humorous pointers on how to Be a Good Lover on the Net from the oh so NSFW WikiAfterDark.

    And although many have noted the Nintendo Wii and it's potential for virtual sex, here's one gamer's solution until a better answer comes along.
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    Truth In Advertising

    The Truth In Ad Sales
    As appealing as the vision of blind lesbians with golden retrievers might be, once you see men doing extreme sports holding babies, it becomes an image that's really tough to get out of your head.
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    "To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer."
    Mahatma Gandhi
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    A Cute Cover-Up

    futuronomie: emotibuds
    They claim these cute little earbud covers were discovered in a train car in storage in Queens. Supposedly the product of an unsuspecting commuter as a result of the intense and varied emotions she experienced as she shuffled through her music library on her iPod. I've made up worse excuses, I'm sure.

    I'm sort of favoring (for obvious reasons) #19, the neurotic ("or maybe just more perceptive than most") model. But if I were to wear them, I'm sure that many people would miss the meaning and just assume that this has something to do with a wet t-shirt contest.
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    Sunday, January 07, 2007

    Too Many Flags

    With Each Fallen Soldier, a Field of Flags Grows

    “Just imagine if instead of flags, there were soldiers standing here.” An upstate NY woman's poignant memorial to the continuing tragedy and loss of life in the Iraq quagmire. She lovingly and painstakingly makes the flags at her kitchen table from rolls of yellow plastic tablecloth fabric, and updates the number of flags and the sign daily. A dramatic and moving way of honoring this unnecessary loss.
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    A Talking Bowl?

    Touted as a way to "keep your pet company while you're gone" The Chatterbowl offers you the opportunity to record a ten second message that will play every time your pet takes a drink. Seems much more likely that this will satisfy the pet owners guilt over leaving their "best friend" alone, than actually providing any real comfort to the pet, but what do I know?

    I can't help thinking it would work along the lines of the classic Far Side comic where the first panel showed "What we say to dogs" ("Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger?"). The next panel showed us "What they hear" ("Blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah blah blah GINGER blah...).
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    An Unnecessary Suit?

    Another from the "Weird Al" Yankovic catalog, a parody in the style of Rage Against the Machine. I'll Sue Ya is kinda' cute, but I've got some real mixed emotions about it. Sure, suing Ben Affleck doesn't sound like a bad idea, but did you have to throw in the "New Jersey sucks" line?
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    "Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it."
    Jane Wagner
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    Did You Know?

    FROM Strange Facts:

  • The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. It was the fashion in Renaissance Florence to shave them off!
  • In Tokyo, a bicycle is faster than a car for most trips of less than 50 minutes!
  • Your body is creating and killing 15 million red blood cells per second!
  • The king of hearts is the only king without a moustache on a standard playing card!
  • Tourists visiting Iceland should know that tipping at a restaurant is considered an insult!
  • A lightning bolt generates temperatures five times hotter than those found at the sun's surface!
  • Forest fires move faster uphill than downhill!
  • It's illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while you're sitting on a curb in St. Louis!
  • During your lifetime, you'll eat about 60,000 pounds of food, that's the weight of about 6 elephants!
  • In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II was named an "Honorary Harlem Globetrotter."!
  • Men are 6 times more likely to be struck by lightning than women!
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    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Random Ramblings

  • Last night as I was shopping in Target, I overheard a kid talking about "that woman who was in Con Air". Having seen the movie more times than I care to admit, I couldn't recall who portrayed the wife of Nick Cage. I made a mental note as I drove home to check IMDb for the answer, but the real "ah-ha" moment was the realization that the movie was much like Space Mountain at Disney. You've got to see it, gives you a huge adrenaline rush, and both leave you without too many memorable details after they are over. Oh, and both involve being on a plane with alot of rude, shady, and undesirable people, but maybe that's just my experience.

  • I broke down recently and opened one of my Xmas presents, another iPod dock. It replaced a boom box I had in the bedroom, but since it is one of the few devices I have left that plays cassette tapes, I didn't want to see it go to the purgorty of junk called the basement, so I decided to put it in a drawer in the TV stand in my office. I probably haven't looked in there since we moved in, and I was a bit surprised to find that I've made this space "the land of obsolete technologies". I was able to carve out a nice space right next to the PS1, 2 GameBoys, remotes for god only knows what, and a rabbit ear antenna for an old TV set.

    Another "ah-ha" moment soon ensued; reminding me of my changing point of view concerning technology. At one point I was the guy who "didn't need a ____" (insert: answering machine, cordless phone, computer, cell phone). Then, I got over that and went through my "tech junkie/early adopter phase". Now, I seem to have settled into my "I'll get it once the price starts to come down" phase, otherwise known as being a "cheap-ass".

  • My recent stay in the hospital seems to have broken the blog addiction pretty nicely. I rediscovered that the written word can be nicely experienced via these things called "books" that I hadn't been as involved with as I should have. I still surf, but just not as much. But I've also find myself drawn to the boob tube more. I found myself watching the new show "The Knights of Prosperity" which I was fully prepared to hate. The show is about a bunch of blue collar losers who decide to rob Mick Jagger. It exceeded my expectations and was actually pretty funny, but it's hard to tell if that will continue. But for now, one more show to add to my list of time wasting fun.

  • Is it me, but the first time I saw the previews for upcoming film Freedom Writers, I wasn't sure if it was Hillary Swank or Natalie Portman in the movie. After doing a GIS to see if this had any "separated at birth" potential, I have to conclude that they don't look anything alike and I'm a dork. The mind plays strange tricks when you are tired.
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    A Chat With God

    Just in case you missed the results of nutjob Pat Robertson's recent chat with the Almighty, David Letterman brings us a few more of those special messages: God! Still The One!
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    "If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
    Tallulah Bankhead
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    Mego Mania

    From the Mego Museum comes this slice of Americana, The Waltons Action Figures. In much the same way that I was in the "wrong demographic" for classic TV shows like The Brady Bunch, I somehow missed the Mego Action Figure craze of the 70's. Too bad, since these cheesy collectables are probably worth something these days.

    I am more than a little bit concerned about just what exactly Mary Ellen is doing with her left hand. But I've heard that things are different in that neck of the woods.
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    Tuesday, January 02, 2007


    Another timely Keith Olbermann Special Comment on the pending announcement of the "new" Iraq policy and Dubya's new found buzz word. Time and time again they just change the message, as if new talking points negate the need for new ideas and policies. Let's hope that America finally sees "the man behind the curtain" and rejects this politically motivated foolishness.

    Olbermann: Special comment about ‘sacrifice’:
    If in your presence an individual tried to sacrifice an American serviceman or woman, would you intervene? Would you at least protest? What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them? What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them — and was then to announce his intention to sacrifice hundreds, maybe thousands, more?

    This is where we stand tonight with the BBC report of President Bush’s “new Iraq strategy,” and his impending speech to the nation, which, according to a quoted senior American official, will be about troop increases and “sacrifice.”

    The president has delayed, dawdled and deferred for the month since the release of the Iraq Study Group. He has seemingly heard out everybody, and listened to none of them.

    If the BBC is right — and we can only pray it is not — he has settled on the only solution all the true experts agree cannot possibly work: more American personnel in Iraq, not as trainers for Iraqi troops, but as part of some flabby plan for “sacrifice.”


    More American servicemen and women will have their lives risked. More American servicemen and women will have their lives ended. More American families will have to bear the unbearable and rationalize the unforgivable —“sacrifice” — sacrifice now, sacrifice tomorrow, sacrifice forever.

    And more Americans — more even than the two-thirds who already believe we need fewer troops in Iraq, not more — will have to conclude the president does not have any idea what he’s doing — and that other Americans will have to die for that reason...

    Mr. Bush, your judgment about Iraq — and now about “sacrifice” — is at variance with your people’s, to the point of delusion.

    Your most respected generals see no value in a “surge” — they could not possibly see it in this madness of “sacrifice.” The Iraq Study Group told you it would be a mistake. Perhaps dozens more have told you it would be a mistake.

    And you threw their wisdom back, until you finally heard what you wanted to hear, like some child drawing straws and then saying “best two out of three … best three out of five … hundredth one counts.”

    Your citizens, the people for whom you work, have told you they do not want this, and moreover, they do not want you to do this.

    Yet once again, sir, you have ignored all of us...
    || JM, 10:59 PM || link || (2)||comments|| Email this link:

    Half Empty or Half Full?

    I did a quick post yesterday and fessed up that my world view can be characterized as pessimistic. Only later did I realize that a statement like that would probably need much clarification. Although my point of view on this stance is certainly not as evolved as a Nietzsche or Schopenhauer, I do want to offer up a few thoughts on the positive power of pessimism.

    When most people hear and use the word, it is synonymous for "negativism". It's thought of as being at the opposite end of the spectrum from optimism. One has to be able to choose if the glass is really "half empty"or "half full" as the litmus test of which camp you belong to, which is in reality a foolish distinction to make. Lacking context I've never been able to answer that question. If someone is drinking from it, it's probably a half empty glass. If it has been or is being filled, then it's probably half full. OK, so I'm not a black and white kinda' guy, I see about 20 shades of grey on most things.

    It's not that with a pessimistic outlook you think that things will fail, but you recognize that odds favor the negative outcome. So as a result you do your best to plan and execute to produce a positive outcome. "IF" that isn't forthcoming, you aren't the victim of a crushing defeat, but you've just experienced one of the many results that life will sometimes deal. Being prepared for this possible outcome with a contingency plan should allow you to continue towards your goal without missing a beat. Is this negative? Perhaps. Is it realistic? Absolutely.

    Does this mean that a pessimist doesn't take risks? No, but it means they may take a careful and considered "look before they leap". Does this mean that they may be critical? Sure, the process of criticism challenges assumptions and solutions and if done creatively and constructively can lead to a better way of doing things. Need I remind anyone of the blind optimism and lack of challenge and criticism as exhibited by our Preznut and his "leadership" the last few years as an example of just how flawed that path can be?

    Well I'm sure I haven't changed anyone's mind with this little tirade, but at least I feel better. Go ahead, call me negative. Just don't call me late for dinner.
    || JM, 12:34 PM || link || (2)||comments|| Email this link:

    Big Dick & The Power Grab

    Although I'm sure some PBS outlets will time shift this, tonight's FRONTLINE visits The Dark Side and takes a look at the "expansion" (read: abuse) of power that Darth Cheney has been perusing since 9/11. A ton of great material to be found here, as well as giving you the opportunity to watch the program on-line or buy the DVD.

    And if you are in the buying mood be sure to order one of these attractive dark side buttons & t-shirts as well.
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    "When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, 'Did you sleep good?' I said 'No, I made a few mistakes.'"
    Steven Wright
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    Sn-NO Way!

    With temperatures is the 40's and 50's again this week, it certainly doesn't feel like January. I'm beginning to think that the only way I'll see any snow is if I order this Instant Snow, which come to think of it is just fine by me! The 8 oz. size makes 2 full gallons, which is just about all I'd need. Now, we just need to start spring early. Unfortunately, global warming seems to be taking care of that as well!
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    Monday, January 01, 2007

    Happy New Year!

    Let's hope that turning over the 'ol calendar page marks the beginning of a happy and healthy new year for you and yours! I'll momentarily set aside my pessimistic tendencies and allow the optimism that the new year represents to take over. Good luck to those of you who are doing the New Year's Resolution thing, but hopefully all of us can find some small way to make this year better than the one than came before it. If we are really lucky, let's keep our fingers crossed that our leaders can do the right thing and bring home the troops before the ball drops next year!
    || JM, 10:00 AM || link || (2)||comments|| Email this link:


    "And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
    And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
    To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
    Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -
    Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
    The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
    And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
    Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen."

    Thomas Hood
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    Faces Of The Dead

    FROM The NY Times: Casualties of War

    A moving tribute to those who who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq, an interactive list of the over 3,000 casaulities. Each service member is represented by a square, allowing you to click in and see their picture and information. It also gives you the ability to search by name or state.

    Let's make sure this list stops growing in the year to come!
    || JM, 9:53 AM || link || (0)||comments|| Email this link:

    Bullet-point Wisdom

    Thoughts to Get You Through Almost Any Crisis:
  • Indecision is the key to flexibility.
  • You cannot tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
  • There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.
  • Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
  • Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.
  • Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
  • Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
  • All things being equal, fat people use more soap.
  • If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
  • By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.
  • There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
  • This is as bad as it can get, but don't bet on it.
  • Never wrestle with a pig: You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it.
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    || JM, 9:52 AM || link || (0)||comments|| Email this link:

    A New Direction?

    The New Year typically gives us an opportunity to review where we have been and refocus and commit ourselves to new goals in the coming year. Usually, this manifests itself as the classic "New Year's Resolution", but occasionally larger life and/or career changes take place as well. If you are seeking something a little more "edgy" in terms of the dream you want to chase, The Graying of Naughty reminds us that a career in porn is always an option. But you may want to follow through on that New Year's diet resolution first!
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