Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The difference between Liberals and Conservatives

In short: we check our facts!

Sean sent me a link to this flash animation, a quick little piece comparing our current government to 14 criteria all fascists governments hold in common, according to Dr. Britt Lawrence in his book "Fascism Anyone?". Well, if the restrained shouting of the narrative makes you doubt the veracity of the facts presented therein, join the club.

Turns out the Dr. Lawrence is not a doctor, just plain Britt Lawrence, a commentator for Free Inquiry Magazine, published by the Council for Secular Humanism. Also, it's not a book, just an article published in that magazine. While I'd agree with most of the points in the article, some are definitely up for debate, but the author doesn't present any sort of evidence to back up the different points. In fact the article reads more as an abstract than an argument. He cites references at the bottom of the article, but again, doesn't actually quote or reference them in the article. If Mr. Lawrence's thoughts were more thoroughly examined, it might make a book worth reading. Instead Professor Chico gives you a College Writing 101 C- for merely presenting your conclusions without developing them or citing any evidence in any way.

Anonymize Google

Granted Google is fighting the government's request for search data, but why take the chance right? Not when you can easily anonymize your Google cookies, making it harder for your searches to be tracked later on. Only takes a minute to do.

Watching the State of the Union address?

Why not enjoy a drinking game then? You'll definitely need it. Courtesy Mike Lawler, it's the State of the Union drinking game.

The Strokes - First Impressions Of Earth

The Strokes released their third album a few weeks ago, and I've been listening to it ever since. Is it a great album? No, but it is a good album, and a step in the right direction for the band. After releasing their first album, Is This It (an instant classic), fans and critics alike expected them to burn out or implode under the weight of their own talent. Well, either that or drug overdose or two. That album was followed by Room On Fire, which was a great album, but didn't stray too far from the first and could almost be considered the second of a 2 disc album, or a collection of b-sides from the first.

The Strokes could have made a third Is This It, and slowly deteriated into a bad self parody (Rolling Stones anyone?). Instead, they took a chance, branched out, tried some new things. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but there are several good songs, and plenty of moments of pure rockin' out.

All in all, it's a good album and a step in the right direction. I'm enjoying it and can't wait to hear their next release. For those with access, it's up on my Ampache site.

Exxon posts record profits

Exxon posted a record profit of over 36 billion dollars last year.

Now repeat to yourselves, "I pay $2.50 for my gas because the rich need to get richer!"

I'm back

Howdy all. After a couple weeks hiatus, looks like I'm back blogging.

That flu I had a couple of weeks ago had me feeling the usual physical symptoms for about 4 days, but then just mentally exhausted for the next 14. It really was one of the strangest things I've experienced, having a viral infection cause me some serious problems in my headspace. Serious ugly depression. Hrmph. Maybe it was just exhaustion from fighting the virus, or maybe it triggered some weird hormonal thing or something.

Anyways, I'm back to my normal, manic self. I know you're all thrilled to hear it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Game called on account of flu

Expect very light posting, if anything at all, over the next week. I'm getting over a case of the flu from this weekend, so I'll be lucky to get through the work week, let alone have the concentration to actually post anything. Wish me luck...

Friday, January 13, 2006

OSS & Global Realpolitik

Salon's got a great little piece on Venezuela's move to open source, as mandated by law. And by move, I mean everything. A good real world example of the power and potential of open source software in changing people's lives.

The Coming Constitutional Crisis

Dear readers, I was set to come into work today and declare the death of American Democracy. Our system of checks and balances designed to keep any one branch from becoming too powerful and preventing the kind of tyranny we fought a war of independance for over 200 years ago is breaking down at an alarming rate. The concentration of power within the executive branch has been happening slowly since WWII IMHO, but seems to be hitting critical mass with the current administration. We've got a president who can ignore habeas corpus, declare war, and spy on American citizens without fear of arrest or retribution. Congress, fattened and contented with special interest money, has either given him these powers outright, or done nothing to fight this dangerous concentration of power. The Supreme Court, with the confirmation of Samuel Alito, will now be packed with enough right wing ideologues to shield the president from any sort of legal recourse. (Like they weren't in his pocket already when they gave him the 2000 election). Even the Fourth Estate, now a collection of corporations, are firmly within his grip.

George W. Bush is a tyrannt, and that's not hyperbole. He rules this country (and maybe the world) without fear of restriction of his power by a constitution, laws, or opposition. Just remember, Rome was once a republic too.

Well, a post today at TomDispatch.com, has softened me up a bit. He lists the top 4 disasters that will hit the Bush administration in 2006, and explores a few wild cards the Bushies may have up their sleeve. In an unexpected twist, he reports that one of things that may just save this country is our massive Bureaucracy itself. He predicts a constitutional crisis in 2007. I say it's already here.

Strange times my friends, strange times. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Doctor Who coming to Sci-Fi


It's just been announced that Dr. Who is coming to Sci-Fi this March. Be sure to check out the official BBC site for the announcement as well. Woo-hoo!

Scientists have created three glow-in-the-dark pigs.

That alone is enough to nearly turn this geek into a Luddite.

Are you as cool as a 15-year-old?

If you're looking for something to listen to while you stare at your cubicle walls waiting for the little hand to reach the "5" and the big hand to hit the "12", try tuning into Zoe's Radio Show. She's only 15, but from the looks of it, she's got pretty good taste in music. Or at the very least you should go support a kid who isn't a screeching, MTV watching Britney clone.

More rootkit nonsense

Symantec, makers of Norton Anti-Virus, have been caught using rootkit like features in it's Norton SystemWorks software much like the Sony DRM Rootkit fiasco that happened last year. Once again poorly written software running on a poorly written operating system will open you up to all kinds of problems. In Symantec's defense, they did release a patch that removes those features when the rootkit was revealed. But still, I can't help wondering why they did it in the first place...

Have you all stopped using Windows yet?

Cute or creepy?

This is a few days old, but I'm in the mood to post some detritus.

A one eyed kitten was born this past December, only to live one day. Check out the photo. Some have commented that it was cute, but I think it's creepy.

And no, it's not a hoax or photoshop job.

Digital vinyl

Several indie labels are beginning to offer free mp3 downloads of their artists songs to those who've bought the album(s) on vinyl. Hear hear! As an iPod owning vinyl lover, I can only hope more labels will do this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Yukio Mishima's "Spring Snow"

Just got done reading Yukio Mishima's "Spring Snow" and I'd highly recommend it to anyone else.

I first became acquainted with Mishima through a movie of the same name which dramatized his life story. Though it has been years since I last saw the movie, I found a copy of the first book of his Sea Of Fertility tetralogy, Spring Snow, at a local used bookstore.

Spring Snow centers around Kiyoaki Matsugae, a young man living in 1918 Japan. The book takes a lot of its themes and characters from Mishima's life, so I'd recommend reading a little bio of him before hand. His characters are well developed, but the narrative always moves forward. He focuses any passages exploring a character's feelings and thoughts to the exclusion of others, even if they are in the same scene. The visual descriptions of the places his characters inhabit so beautiful that I wish I could read them in the original Japanese. They're employed with great skill to establish the emotional tone of the scene or to foreshadow things to come. Like a zen garden, everything in the book is in its place; nothing is extraneous or wasted.

Im already anxiously working my way through the second novel of the tetrology, Runaway Horses. I've got the both the movie and Spring Snow if anyone wants to borrow it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Beth Berlin's got her blog going again, so I'm giving her a little ping here at Chico vs. The World. Check her out for the latest in the dark and unforgiving world of Library Sciences, as well as a post mortem analysis of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. She's owed several shots for just having the balls to get through that stinker.

The failure of modern capitalism

In an age where, ever increasingly, the evils of the world seem to be rooted deep in greed and the amoral machinations of global corporate capitalism, I say it ain't all that it's cracked up to be. At the very least, there is still one area where the "free" market has yet to penetrate, subvert and commodify:


I need sex. Now, before you go skipping over this post, this is not, I repeat, not a whining , "I'm single and so lonely" or "I can't get laid, why doesn't anyone like me?" rant. I know the reasons and answers to that, and I ain't going into them here. I don't want to hear it and neither do you, trust me. And I'm not talking about pornography either; Girls Gone Wild, while a sign of the impending apocalypse, is far from sex itself. In fact it's the exact opposite, just an electric cock tease, a digital dry hump.

I need fuck. I need it on a very base, biological level. I know this in the same way that I know I need sleep or food. Deep down in the back of my mind is an itch I can't scratch. I'm distracted all the damn time. My blood feels like 100 proof rocket fuel. I can't tell if I want to curse, scream or start a fight. I know this feeling, *grunt*.

Here's my beef though: I don't see why I can't take care of this like I would a haircut or a dentist appointment. I want to be able to show up, slap down my money, take care of my business and get on with my life.

In my eyes this is no different than eating. If for whatever reason I don't or can't cook for myself, I can go out and buy food that someone else has prepared. Society provides! Maybe I just don't have the time to cook, or maybe I shouldn't be allowed near an open flame. Regardless, I don't have to starve, sitting around being miserable, cursing myself for my inability to make toast. Pissing away my self esteem because I don't know the difference between a steak knife and butter knife.

If paying for and selling cooked food were illegal, it would have the same negative connotations and realities that prostitution has today. You would have to go to the worst part of town to get it, and there it would be ill-prepared, taste bad, and be rife with disease. Or, you'd have to go to horrible bars, make small talk with total idiots, buy $50 worth of drinks, just in the hope that some cute little thing will deign to take you back to her place and make you an omelete. And if you want to keep eating buddy, you better go buy a ring, and nevermind what a cow she is, 'cause she can make chicken wings! There'd be preachers, popes, and padres reminding us of the sacred place that cooking has in marriage, as a sign of God's love in the bond between a man and a woman. Loaves and fishes, baby, loaves and fishes.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Podcasting for (horny) Dummies

Want to learn how to podcast? Like boobies?

Well, you're in luck. French Maid TV can show you how and look cute doing it.

Ooh La La and all that...

What sort of crazy parallel universe is this?

Loyal Slashdotters will probably have seen this, but I'm posting it anyways: One man's adventure switching to Windows from Linux. This could have been written by me, while cursing under my breath, as I try to troubleshoot Windows at work. The operative word in that sentence: try.

A moving call to arms

georgia10 has a great post over at DailyKos I hope you'll take the time to read. Very timely with the new year, it completely matches my political mood. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Viva Harry!

Blessed be those who speak truth to power: Harry Belafonte calls Dubya "the greatest terrorist in the world" at a Hugo Chavez rally in Venezuela.

Day-O, I say Day-O...

New blog!

Sam Barnett's got a blog up, so go over and check out My Near West Side Story.

He's already a prolific writer, so expect good things and lots of them. Already we've got a cute cat, good beer, and the impending ruin of our economy thanks to a coming Iranian oil exchange based on the Euro, not the dollar.

Welcome to the big, bad blogosphere Dr. Love!

Wikipedia Word of the Day

And the word is...


Seriously, have you ever read their entry? At the very least, the photos they include in the article are worth the look. BTW, Wikipedia could always use a donation, even $5 would help.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New blog name?

Due to the smashing success of this little blog ;)~, the idea is being tossed around to start up a group blog. That way, the occasional posters can do there thing with little overhead, and I can maintain and keep it alive with my voluminous braindroppings.

Only problem is, we need a name. Can anybody suggest a name?

My suggestion was "The Analog Hole", as it's geeky with perverted overtones, but I thought that might be too "me".

New links!

Check it, check it, check it out y'all. A few of my favorite sites on the sidebar to the left.

Pat Robertson Strikes Again

Jeez, old Pat is becoming quite the regular around here.

Once again demonstrating what a humanitarian and all around great guy he is, Pat suggested Tuesday on the 700 Club that Ariel Sharon, in critical condition following a series of strokes, was punished by God for "dividing God's land." I'm sure that's just what Jesus would have said.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Letterman 1, O'Reilly 0

Hoosier boy David Letterman recently had Bill O'Reilly on his show and definitely one upped him. You can watch the video here. Keep you eyes on the mug of water seen at the beginning of the clip.

Cheers and kudos to Dave for keeping his disgust for O'Reilly under control and not letting O'Reilly bait him with it. The money quote from Letterman: "I have the feeling that 60% of what you say is crap..."

2006-01-05 16:57 EDIT: Courtesy Sam:

The other 40% of what he says are lies. Bill's story about the schoolchildren being forced to sing alternative lyrics are entirely false:

Nixon = Bush ?

As seen on Kos, HST from the October 10, 1974 issue of Rolling Stone:
"But the climate of those years was so grim that half the Washington press corps spent more time worrying about having their telephones tapped than they did about riskign the wrath of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Colson by poking at the weak semas of a Mafia-style administration that began cannibalizing the whole government just as soon as it came into power. Nixon's capos were never subtle; they swaggered into Washington like a conquering army, and the climate of fear they engendered apparently neutralized The New York Times along with all the other pockets of potential resistance. Nixon had to do everything but fall on his own sword before anybody in the Washington socio-political establishment was willing to take him on."

This Modern World rebutts:

MS Office 2004

... or, how Microsoft wants to own your Mac. Maybe it's because they don't have that labyrinth of horror and evil known as the Windows Registry to work with in MacOS X that they have to secretly open ports on your machine to make sure you're not running a Hong Kong bootleg copy on your Powerbook.

When any Office 2004 program starts on an Apple computer, it opens up a 2222/udp port and a tcp port randomly in the 3000 range. It will then broadcast to any other computer on the subnet looking for similar ports on other computers and check it's license code against the other computer's license code. If it finds one, it terminates the application. Here's the details.

Here's why this drives me crazy:
  1. So now I'm stuck without a usable piece of media or license key to install this with, despite the fact that I have perfectly valid, legal licenses for all of those computers.
  2. Opening ports up on a computer is a security risk. Doing so without informing users of your software is inexcusable.
  3. Adding a firewall rule is enough to defeat this, so why bother using it???
  4. I'm sick and tired of being treated like a criminal everytime I deal with Microsoft and their arcane licensing model. I purchased the license, now why am I jumping through hoops to be able to use it??
Goddamned Microsoft. *ack, spit*

Burned out

Bargh! Well, the holidays are over, and I'm back posting.

Hungover. Burned out. As I had hoped/planned/expected, the past few weeks, hell, months, have been filled with good friends, good booze and good times. So much so, that I need a damn break. Or at least some sleep. And sex. And clean laundry. In that order.

Thanks to everybody who came up to Chicago to hang out, it was blast, let's do it again soon, stop by anytime, mi casa es su casa, etc...