Jerry's Links

The Blogroll of Don-O (Soon to Have His Own Nifty Graphic)


March 08, 2005

Colorado Vacation Ideas

Visiting the lovely state of Colorado soon? I mean, really soon? Then don't forget to plan a visit with the frozen dead guy.

Over the last three years, the cryogenically frozen body of a Norwegian man has become the centerpoint of a quirky winter festival in a small Colorado mining town.

"Grandpa" Bredo Morstoel, who died in 1989, was frozen by his grandson and stored in a shed in Nederland, a town 35 miles northwest of Denver that began celebrating "Frozen Dead Guy Days" in 2002 to increase tourism.

Now that's entertainment.

Read about it. (Free registration required.)

Posted by zombyboy at 09:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Free Music

If you know what South by Southwest (SXSW for those in the know) is and if you continually wish you could head to the festival and take in all the tunes, this news is for you. The event organizers have put together 2.6 gigs worth of downloadable music from the artists who will be playing the festival.

2.6 gigs (750 songs) worth of legal, free, alternative music of all stripes.

The file has been seeded as a BitTorrent file, so you'll need a client to download the file. The upside is that their site never gets bogged down by the extra traffic of having thousdands of music fans trying to download huge music files from their site.

Find out more here. They also have a handy link to the BitTorrent site so you can find a client to suit your needs.

Posted by zombyboy at 05:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Before We Get On With the Day...

...I'd just like to note three things:

  1. The new site is pretty much done. The CSS needs adjusting to make the colors a little more harmonious, but that won't stop me from launching the thing. It goes live tonight after I distribute the keys to all the authors.
  2. I should probably apologize to everyone who has been scarred by the half-nekkid Steve, but...
  3. ...dang, y'all keep coming to see the half-nekkid Steve, so apparently the scarring is that bad.

Now, on with the witty and brilliant political and social commentary.
Posted by zombyboy at 10:03 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

March 07, 2005

Men of the Blogosphere: This One's for the Ladies

Steve Green as Playgirl Model
Since Playgirl editor-in-chief, Michele Zipp, has outed herself as a Republican, can a Conservative Men of the Blogosphere special issue be far behind? While I would be far too shy, pale, and rotund to make the cut, I'm betting Jeff G and Steve Green would step up to the plate.

Or do you think that might be a little too special interest? We Photoshop, you decide.

(And, yes, I'll be mildly disturbed by this image for a few days, too. Although Steve does cut a rather striking figure...)

Posted by zombyboy at 09:40 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (2)

American Idol, Men's Night

Except for McGehee, you all come here for American Idol updates, don't you? Or, perhaps, to mock me for my bad taste in entertainment?

Whatever the reason (or, for that matter, even if you feel like boycotting me) I have once again found myself diving head first into the morass of America's best karaoke singers that is American Idol. There is one good thing about my passive obsession this year: there are two singers who actually seem a little out of the norm for the contest.

Everyone is referring to them as the "rockers," although I think that's doing a bit of disservice to the genre. These are Geoff Tate style vocalists or James Hetfield growlers. Read, hard core rock has always been less about pure singing talent and more about the ability to emote. The first "rocker," Constantine, sounds and looks (minus the genre-defining hair) like he would have been happy heading up Poison back in the latter days of metal. The other, Bo, reminds us more of a 70's throwback--a "Freebird" singing southern rocker.

While I don't consider either of these guys to be "rock" in any real sense, I do like that they've differentiated themselves from the crowd.

Scott Savol He has a fine (actually, a good) voice, but a horrible, charmless presence. He might actually make it as a session singer in the industry, but don't imagine that he could put his face on a record and sell it to hundreds of thousands of teenage girls. Won't happen.

Bo Bice He goes for a more current song and it doesn't suit him. The song doesn't let him stretch his vocals the way he needs to because, frankly, he isn't that good of a singer. When he attacks a song, he has a decent growl and a nice sound, but when he has to hold himself back he comes across as wavery and thin. It finished better than it started, but it started pretty poor. Paula and Simon loved it, but I think they're just trying to influence the voters. Just sayin'...

Anthony Federov Squeaky clean little boy. That's what I think every time I see him--a harmless, talented, somewhat typical kid who those teen girls (who stayed away in droves from Scott Savol) would absolutely adore. Perfect for the competition because of that, useless to me because it's kind of boring. I can't imagine that he won't be there pretty close to the end.

An Aside Do those Burger King Bacon Cheddar Ranch ads bother anyone but me? I mean, they're like little sex ads. Strangely disturbing.

Nikko Smith I love the song "Georgia On My Mind," and I liked him singing it at least part of the time. There were some seriously rough moments, though. He's got great range for a karaoke singer, but he doesn't have the control to pull off a song like that.

Travis Tucker He danced, he sang, he even did a little beatbox. He's a better performer than he is a singer, but he'll be another one that connects with the all important teen girl market. Not particularly good, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him stay in the competition.

Mario Vazquez He reminds me of nothing less than another Anthony Fedorov only better at being pretty and worse at the being a singer. There were some truly painful moments during his rendition of "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"--a song that can actually be quite affecting with the right vocals. Simon is right: he'll sail through on charm.

Constantine Maroulis Ooo, tackling the Police. Great song--and a nice change from all the typical pop fodder. Unfortunately for Constantine, he looks lost on the stage and his voice is a pale little thing next to Sting's. He doesn't sound good at all. He's trying to get by on his looks, but I don't think it's going to keep him in the competition. Randy liked it, Paula loved it (but she's pretty much loving everyone tonight), and Simon was the only voice of reason. To his co-judges: "You guys have lost the plot."

An Aside During this commercial break, I'm listening to "Rock Dove" by the Earthlings? (The question mark being part of the band's name, should I put a period after that question mark?) I feel a little bit better.

Anwar Robinson My girlfriend likes him as much for his looks as for his friendly personality. Well, maybe more for his looks. His "What a Wonderful World" is probably painfully typical for the show, at least in song choice and style, but still gorgeous. His voice is actually much better than most of the others tonight, and his stage persona isn't too cloying bringing just a minimum of gesturing and pose. I liked it a lot. Very good performance; he has good reason to feel good about himself tonight.

Okay, that's it and I can dive back into prepping the new site.

Posted by zombyboy at 07:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Strings for the Deaf, The String Quartet Tribute to Queens of the Stone Age

Compulsive purchases are so often wrong that I nearly put this one back on the shelf. I'm glad I didn't.

Following in the footsteps of Apocalyptica, this string quartet transforms the music of a hard rock band into something resembling chamber music. Queens of the Stone Age, the world's most famous stoner rock band, is best known for their bouncy pop rock song, "No One Knows," and have been making sludgy heavy metal music for years.

Continue reading "Strings for the Deaf, The String Quartet Tribute to Queens of the Stone Age"
Posted by zombyboy at 01:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Oh, Man...

...I feel horrible.

(Not really. I'm just getting my game face on for the next Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash. Well, for the morning after, at least.)

Posted by zombyboy at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

The Snark of the Brits

Spotted in the March, 2005 Top Gear magazine (along with pictures of sexy new Jags and Astons).

Shoehorning V8s into bog-standard saloons is as American as baseball or upsetting the UN.

Sometimes even a bad reputation is good.
Posted by zombyboy at 09:34 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

March 06, 2005

Ward Churchill: It Only Gets Worse

I had been leaning toward supporting the firing of Ward Churchill for his writing and comments concerning 9/11. The more I learned about him--from the situation surrounding his hiring at CU to the fast-tracking of his tenure regardless of academic achievement--only served to buttress my opinion. Now, Dan Caplis And Craig Silverman, in the Rocky Mountain News, have put me solidly in the "fire him" camp.

An extended quote:

Churchill stands credibly accused of ethnic fraud, grade retribution, falsification of the nature of his military service, academic fraud, plagiarism, selling other artists' creations as his own and falsely accusing Denver Post columnist Diane Carman of inventing incendiary quotations.

All this provides ample justification for termination pursuant to accusations of incompetence and lack of integrity. But it is Churchill's instructions on violence that demand immediate suspension followed by termination. Due process must be provided, but unless this accused can somehow suppress his own statements, he should ultimately lose his job.

Here is what Churchill preaches: The U.S. is fascist and Nazi-like. Genocide has been and continues to be perpetrated by our government here and abroad. America was illegally colonized by non-natives who now should be killed (One example of him saying this: "Killing the colonizer is a figurative proposition, it is a literal proposition, but either way, and by all available means, the proposition has to be fulfilled.")

Ward Churchill must go. Colorado's embarrassment grows with every day that Churchill remains on the payroll.

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at 10:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (2)

Random Heresy II

While I like the Harry Potter series of books, I haven't liked the movies. Most of the characters irritate, and while the special effects are generally excellent, the stories tend toward the repetitive. And, frankly, somehow the book versions come across as even shallower versions of what I consider to be light entertainment.

The only things that help redeem the movies, aside from gorgeous visuals, are Alan Rickman's Professor Snape and Robbie Coltrane's Hagrid, mostly in that order. And while we're on the subject of Snape, how is it that Harry and crew remain such devoted enemies of Snape, who has actually proved his willingness to protect the sniveling little Harry on more than one occasion? Sure Snape is a bit of a jerk, but, let's be honest, if you were teaching the precious little Harry wouldn't the lad grind on you, too?

I'll still enjoy the books as what they are--a few nights' mindless entertainment--but the don't count me as a fan of the films.

Posted by zombyboy at 07:54 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Network Problem

Okay, I got home, sat down to check my favorite bloggers, news sites, and stuff, and found a problem. I couldn't get to any of the sites or Instapundit. That wasn't that big of a deal--occasional network issues happen to everyone, right?

Then I couldn't get to Dean, Michelle, or

Huh. I tried some of my other favorite sites and found a good number of them not loading.

Okay, Network Utility, here I come. Pinging Instapundit works just fine, but trying to load it in my browser on either the laptop or the desktop fails. Okay, how about a traceroute? Traceroute fails ugly. After 10 hops (when it reaches (the IP is, it just flounders around trying to find a route, but failing.

What is the network problem (that has persisted from early this afternoon until now--at least five hours)?

Okay, whatever your theory might be, let me throw in a little wrench: pinging Dean and the traceroute to Dean both work, but loading the site still fails.

Now, for the worst part, while I can get to resurrectionsong and all the sites associated with this server, I can't get to sites that I'm working on that reside on another server with the same hosting company.

I'm a little confused.

Posted by zombyboy at 06:25 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

March 04, 2005

Consider the Birds

Sooner or later, I'll get around to writing a proper review, but for now I'll just suggest that you run out and get Woven Hand's Consider the Birds. That is, of course, assuming you can find it; it took me the better part of a weekend to find a local store that had the CD in stock.

The quickest way to describe the music: Country inflected, glowering, powerful music with an omnipresent Christian message.

A little more explanation: this is the, mostly, solo project from 16 Horsepower's David Eugene Edwards--a fire and brimstone singer that captures a kind of music that you're unlikely to hear in any other release.

Extremely popular in parts of Europe--and everything that Britney Spears is not. Namely, talented, unique, and relevant.

As a note: for Denver fans, Woven hand will be playing Bender's Tavern on the 25th of this month. I plan to be there--once I figure out where Bender's Tavern is...

Posted by zombyboy at 09:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2005

Ugh... (Updated)

Chinese food in my neighborhood isn't particularly good. For some reason I decided to brave a local establishment, putting my stomach on the line in search of easy take-out.

Bad decision making on my part, no?

I feel, ahem, unwell...

Update: And this story makes me feel even less well. Yuck. On so many levels. What Andy said.

Posted by zombyboy at 07:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Moderate Conservative Manifesto

Rae has posted a series of political stances that define a sort of moderate conservative manifesto. It hits everything from education to abortion, and foreign policy to prayer in school. Give her your thoughts.

Posted by zombyboy at 04:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Forwarded from a Friend

While I'm busy setting up authors and trying to figure out how the EE templating engine works, I figured you might like a bit of light entertainment.

Superman + TPS reports + Just a little bit of profanity = More hilarity than we deserve.

March 02, 2005

ResurrectionSong: Help Wanted

I have Expression Engine installed and I've begun setting it up in hopes of making the transition to the new software next week. The next two steps in getting the site ready will be creating accounts for the current authors of this site and then preparing a new template for EE. Following that, I will attempt to import all of the entries from MT--and, if that works, I'll kill off the archived files between AfricaBlog and ResurrectionSong.

I've decided that I will happily sacrifice my search engine stats in hopes of simplifying my life and solving the problem of comment spam.

Which leads me to the recruitment drive. I will be creating accounts for Don and Jerry, but I would love to open the doors to new writers. If you would like to contribute to ResurrectionSong, these are the requirements:

  1. You have to either be a regular commenter on this site or be willing to submit a sample of your writing. While my writing isn't what anyone would consider great, one thing that I've been proud of is the overall tone and ability of the writing on this site.
  2. You have to possess an open mind and a willingness to be challenged. I will be giving authors the authority to ban commenters from the site, but that is, ahem, the nuclear option. If you want to state your opinion just so that other people can agree with you, then you're missing the point of this blog. I encourage the conversation that happens when any number of reasonable people decide to disagree politely.
  3. I would prefer to welcome new voices--that is, people who don't have their own blogs--to the group. I will, however, consider other bloggers who can make a convincing case as to why they would fit in well at ResurrectionSong.

This will be an ongoing recruitment drive, but if you want to be approved and writing when the new EE-driven site is launched next week, get your request in now.

Email me (zombyboy -at- resurrectionsong -dot- com) with all the relevant information and the request. If I agree that you'll be a good fit, I'll send you the login and password information.

Diversity of thought counts as does diversity of experience. I would love to have a regular female voice, for example; this isn't because I want to fill a quota but because the difference in life experience will bring a different kind of view and voice to the site.

Posted by zombyboy at 04:06 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

All I Can Do... add a hearty "Amen!" and a somewhat redundant link to this celebration of beauty. Since it's been linked by both Instapundit and NRO's Corner, y'all have probably seen it. But I'd hate for someone to miss the pictures.

Posted by zombyboy at 01:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Re-Enfranchisement for Felons

Shawn Macomber suggests re-enfranchisement for felons in an article today, and I find myself disagreeing. Maybe. I started considering it during this last election cycle, and I still haven't found what I consider to be a solid answer.

Close to five million Americans are currently barred from voting because of felony convictions. Of this number, nearly two million have completely paid their debt to society in the form of time served behind bars, parole, and probation. There is no legitimate moral argument for denying those who have regained their status as free citizens through public penance the most basic right of a citizen.

He then goes on to note that one of the reasons people on the right oppose re-enfranchisement of felons is that they will form a large, new block of Democrats. That's a reasonable assumption, although the assumption that they will actually vote in numbers large enough to make a difference is arguable. Either way, opposition on those grounds is unreasonable. I object for an entirely different reason: not every class of citizen in the United States has the same rights (even with regards to voting) as every other class of voter.

Minors, for example, have an abbreviated set of rights, and curbs are placed on the political activity of active military personnel. Former sex offenders often have restrictions placed on them that aren't placed on other criminals. Shawn acknowledges this, to some extent, when noting that felons are restricted from gun ownership (which, I agree, has dubious value and cause in the case of non-violent offenders).

There is a reason for each set of curbs: minors aren't trusted with more than an abbreviated set of rights because they haven't yet reached that somewhat arbitrary age where we believe that they should have the education, maturity, and social knowledge to make their votes reasonable and well-considered. Even at the age of majority, though, they can't drinking alcohol or run for some public offices. Though they have done nothing wrong, these non-minor citizens are excluded from certain practices that are open to older citizens.

The question is what is it that we achieve by pushing felons out of that most basic, active level of participation? From my point of view, felons (in a broad and sweeping sense) have exhibited that extraordinary level of bad judgment that leaves in question their ability to be constructive voters. They may have paid their debt, but they have also set themselves apart by their actions.

Put it this way: while it isn't stated explicitly at sentencing, I consider the curbs on rights to be a part of the punishment of felons. It's part of the package of committing a crime bad enough to be labeled a felony: you go to jail, you complete parole, you get to be free and have a job and take part in life again, but you don't get to vote.

I don't, unlike Shawn, believe that this is dehumanizing the entire class of citizens. I think it's just due diligence. That is, when trust is broken it isn't repaired with a prison sentence. If a check forger completes his sentence, would it be wise to give him employment in a bank? The crime continues to matter beyond the prison sentence. This isn't an attempt to make monsters of every felon, but simply saying that there is a reasonable skepticism that has to be factored into the argument.

If I could leave it at that, then I would probably be comfortable. The problem comes when you start considering what constitutes a felony.

But a felony is not what it once was in America, as is made painfully obvious by the 600 percent jump in incarceration rates over the last 30 years. Indeed, it can and should be argued that a standard which permanently disenfranchises anyone who commits a non-violent felony -- of which there are now legion -- is cruel and unusual. Can any reasonable person say a non-violent drug offender should have his voting rights curtailed for the rest of his life? How about someone who once wrote a series of bad checks? Or even on the violent end of things, once engaged in an ill advised bar fight? Are we really ready to tell these people no matter what they do they can never be trusted by society again? That there is no way to reform after even a minor youthful indiscretion?

Hyperbolically screaming, opponents of re-enfranchisement for ex-felons make monsters out of men, because it lends easy justification to an abridgement of rights that would not hold up under individual scrutiny. The truth is, the real monsters are largely either still in jail or under onerous probation requirements and will not likely be able to vote anytime soon. It's high time the rest of these men and women who have served their time are released from the caricature. The punishment does not fit the crime, and no matter which way it is spun, permanent disenfranchisement will never be compatible with a just society.

And here's where I think he might be right. I don't know that it's supportable to think that "the real monsters are largely either still in jail or under onerous probation requirement," but it's reasonable to argue that we've criminalized things like drug offenses to the point that what constitutes a felony today is a far cry from what constituted a felony at the birth of our nation.

Our booming prison population is something that leaves me uncomfortable even outside the boundaries of this conversation; in the context of re-enfranchisement, it takes on an even more important role. Examining voting rights in relation to the changes we've made to our judicial system is not only reasonable, it's necessary.

I don't remain entirely convinced that re-enfranchisement is the right answer, but I am moved to address the issue again. Is any one-size fits all solution right or is their room for consideration of individual cases or new guidelines (as I think there should be in relation to gun ownership)?

Read the story.
Or comment on Shawn's site. (You might also want to follow the link to the crazy-fun-loud Free Republic side of the conversation. Some of the comments are hilarious.)

Posted by zombyboy at 10:31 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Comments Will Be Down Again (Updated)

I'll be changing the comment script again in the morning. Apologies for any inconvenience.

I've purchased Expression Engine and will be working to put that software in place and archiving all of the current content. Once I have the installation in place and the look and feel ported over to the EE engine, I will happily switch over to the new software.

MT has been good to me, and I have no complaints. For what was a free piece of software, it served me exceptionally well.

See y'all in the morning.

Update: The comments should be working on the front page again and I am currently rebuilding the archives.

Posted by zombyboy at 12:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

March 01, 2005

American Idol, Further Down the Slope (Updated)

Impressions of tonight's American Idol (at least, while I'm paying attention).

Aloha Mischeaux Weak, wobbly voice, boring song. Crap. Poor, poor girl. I'd boo her at karaoke.

Lindsey Cardinale Fun, extremely cute, lively, and singing crap I wouldn't pay a penny for personally. Oddly, I kind of like the song selection, though, because it stands out from the normal, whiny, breathy stuff we hear on this show. Not bad.

Jessica Sierra Someone tell her to stop trying so hard to be sexy. It's just sort of embarassing. The come-hither look makes me want to go somewhere other than hither. Wherever hither might be. Her voice truly bores me--it's typical, without character, and without charisma. Decent karaoke, but nothing better. As a question: does it sound that much different in the studio? Because the judges were drooling over her...

Mikalah Gordon I've despised this irritating, nasally-voiced little bimbo from the beginning. Tonight's performance, all fake emoting and over-done theatricality, did nothing to change my mind. Please, make her go away. Please. The judges, of course, liked it. This seems to be the way my night is going.

Celena Rae The most attractive of the contestants in my world. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean she should be singing in front of anyone. She wasn't particularly good. But, oh my freakin' God, is she gorgeous.

Nadia Turner The second most attractive of the group. I generally enjoy her singing, too, but tonight was a bit off. Bad song choice hurt her here: too much woah-woah and not enough emotion. Which is a shame because she has a wonderful stage presence and a solid voice. Not her best night.

Amanda Avila I didn't like it. The tempo was there, she's a decent performer, but it just wasn't there for me. Not the worst of the night, but not something that I'll remember tomorrow, either.

Janay Castine I actually kind of liked it--even though I haven't been a fan of her, I'm not a fan of the song, and I don't think she has the best voice. Figure it out, because I can't.

Carrie Underwood Back to boring. Nothing about this woman stands out to me in a good way or a bad way; she just blends into the background. Boring boring boring.

Vonzell Solomon To be polite, let's simply say that I don't know how she's still in the show.

Posted by zombyboy at 07:05 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Defining the Beginning of Life

Doug Allen provides a pro-abortion argument that will probably leave both the pro-choice side and the pro-life side a little disappointed. That's because he doesn't couch the argument in terms of religion or in terms of absolute rights. Instead, he takes a crack at defining the starting point of a life in a medical sense.

You might disagree with him (from either side of the argument), but the thought that went into his assertion is solid. Given that I support my own opposition to abortion in the thought that I don't know where life actually begins, and I believe that were are better when we err on the side of protecting life, this is actually a direct assault on my position. He's tossed the gauntlet, in a sense: this is when life begins, now argue the point.

Before I can argue it, I have to give it fair consideration, but I do appreciate the line of attack.

Jump in if you're feeling brave.

Posted by zombyboy at 05:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Intriguing Use of Technology (Cross Posted at AfricaBlog)

I'm often skeptical of claims that high tech is a great boon to developing nations in Africa. The problem of initial cost of deployment is often handled by a donor nation, but the upkeep and survivability of the technology is another question entirely. That is, if there is no one locally that can handle maintenance and updates, precisely how useful is a bank of computers when they suffer from some malady?

That's why I generally think that books are better than computers, if you take my meaning. But the geek in me can't help but enjoy seeing technology being used in innovative ways--and given that Kenya remains one of the healthier nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, the issues of maintenance and equipment survival become less pressing.

At the Mbita Point primary school in western Kenya students click away at a handheld computer with a stylus.

They are doing exercises in their school textbooks which have been digitised.

It is a pilot project run by EduVision, which is looking at ways to use low cost computer systems to get up-to-date information to students who are currently stuck with ancient textbooks.

Matthew Herren from EduVision told the BBC programme Go Digital how the non-governmental organisation uses a combination of satellite radio and handheld computers called E-slates.

"The E-slates connect via a wireless connection to a base station in the school. This in turn is connected to a satellite radio receiver. The data is transmitted alongside audio signals."

I hope that this pilot program works out; innovative and appropriate use of technology always excites me.

Read the story.

HT Slashdot.

Posted by zombyboy at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 28, 2005

Giving Back to the Community (Updated)

I like to give back to the community when I can. That's why it's so gratifying to find that I'm the number two Google search result for "screw up your kids lives."

I'm a giver. Some times I think I give too much. Still, it's good to know that I can help guide wayward (and wannabe-wayward) parents around the world.

H/T to Shad0runr.

Update: See, Steve understands...

A visitor notes that this is far better than being the number two search result for "Cat Porn." I don't think I can disagree with him...

Posted by zombyboy at 05:05 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Just Click

This looks like a mighty good time to me. I'm just disappointed it wasn't my idea.

H/T Hit and Run.

Posted by zombyboy at 01:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Euthanasia is No Defense (Updated)

So, what level of misery is it where we decide that a person's life is no longer worth living, that killing them is doing them a favor?

Everyone is living under a death sentence: my own end could come today or tomorrow or sixty years from now. One thing is sure, though, and that is that death will come. Everyone lives through times where there doesn't seem to be an end to the pain, either physical or mental; and, sometimes, mired in that pain, it's hard to imagine that life could ever possibly be better.

Certainly, for some people, a quicker end is almost assured. A seventy-year old man with lung cancer will probably pass on before I do, as would a ten-year old with Hunter Syndrome. But the date of our deaths is rarely certain, and a degenerative illness is never a free pass for murder.

A father who admitted smothering his terminally ill son told police it was a "mercy killing", a court has heard.

Andrew Wragg denies murdering Jacob, 10, who had the degenerative condition Hunter Syndrome, on 24 July last year at their home in Worthing, West Sussex.

It's a horrible thing to watch someone you love suffer. It's even more horrible when it is a heavy burden of responsibility on your own shoulders, as with a parent and child. Worse, though, is to murder your own son and call it mercy.

Read the story.

Update: Here's a follow up story from the Beeb.

Update 2: Since my trackbacks feature seems to be working in a way that would best be described as not, note that Andy has kindly linked up the post. Darned trackbacks.

Posted by zombyboy at 11:49 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack (1)

Lebanese Government Resigns, Cont. (Updated)

From the report:

The demonstrators broke into singing the national anthem upon hearing the news of the resignation. 

"Through your resistance you are writing a new page in history, one of regained independence," Druze opposition leader Walid Jumblatt said.

That's the kind of thing that can't help but put a smile on your face...

Read the story.

(As an odd aside, when I went to the site, there was a text ad for this book. An odd book to be pushing on, no?)

Update: VodkaPundit has a surprising (to me, at least) letter from a Peace Corp volunteer. Well worth the time to read.

Posted by zombyboy at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Breaking News on Fox

Lebanon's government has resigned.

"I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said.

The curious thing will be to see what coalition of interests rises next to lead the Lebanese government.

Read the story.

Update: Of course, Jeff has the funniest take on the developing situation. But you knew that already, didn't you?

And Shawn's optimism seems to be playing out rather nicely.

Drumwaster catches the mood (and Syria's situation) well. As does Darren.

Posted by zombyboy at 10:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

The Music Industry: Work Hard to Screw Up A Good Thing

Some days I wish the entire music industry would implode. I wish it would just collapse in on itself, crushing all of the boy bands and whiny little girls who sell sexuality to ten year olds. The wreckage would, if we were lucky, take the Grammy's with it, giving us back a few hours of our life every year. Time better spent with family or a good book.

If you surf Drudge every morning, you'll know what's got me upset: music industry execs want to see the prices raised on downloadable music. Ninety-nine cents just isn't enough for that three minute slice of Kelly Clarkson's latest whatever.

Luckily, there are voices of reason at some of the bigger labels, cautioning against the move. The truly ironic twist is that the reason some of the labels want to raise prices is that they want to "capitalise on burgeoning demand for legal online music." Of course, if raising the prices actually cuts into sales, the profits will be lost--and raising costs will curb enthusiasm for legal downloads.

The major, legal download sites have hit the sweet spot: the price they charge is one that most people seem to be willing to pay, the price lets the record industry tap into an emerging market that had abandoned CD singles in favor of illegal downloads, and still allows the retailers to recoup most costs or even make a small profit on each download. Move the price much lower, and recouping costs becomes more difficult, move the price higher and people will stop buying.

Think of it as the Laffer Curve of online music download economics.

If the push becomes reality, though, the pop music Armageddon might just take a whole lot of bad bands with it--and allow a new, forward-thinking industry to rise in its place. Imagine there's no Britney; it isn't hard to do...

Posted by zombyboy at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

In Case You Were Wondering...

Up to this post:

Two years.
3,381 posts.
Word count, including comments: 1,758,145.
Paragraph count, including comments: 205,802.

All of this formatted in Word: 7,017 pages.

Of course, that's just cold stats that mean nothing without the context of the friendships I've made, the shots I've drank, the quality (or lack) in the writing, the arguments and conversations, the wonderful crew of regular readers and commenters, the Screaming Trees/Mark Lanegan obsession, and the groupies.

Okay, I made up the bit about the groupies. Still, the point stands: although I remain skeptical of the blogosphere as an emergent media voice, there is some reason I keep writing, commenting, and responding. There's a mix of pleasure that I derive from writing, from being read, and from being challenged that isn't answered anywhere else in my life. I thank everyone who has played a constructive role in that, with special thanks going to those people who I now consider friends and those writers who have contributed both here and at AfricaBlog.

The next year of the blog will hopefully see an increase in quality. I don't do resolutions, but if there were one for this situation it would be to see something that I've written published and paid for in a professional setting. A lesser goal, of course, is to finally get Instapundit and Steve Green to blogroll me.

Oh, and groupies. I plan to have more groupies, if possible.

Thanks for supporting me, reading me, propping me up on those occasions when spam comments had me near blog-retirement, and for all of the insightful commentary that you've all left on the site. It's been an honor to be read and to feel respected for my opinions and my thoughts.

Thank you.

Update: Thanks to Bryan for his well wishes and for linking this post. Trackbacks, being an art and not a science, don't always seem to work as well as might be expected...

Posted by zombyboy at 09:06 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (2)

February 27, 2005

The Second Ignora-Blogging Award of the Evening (Updated)

The Movie I Wish I Could Watch Tonight (And Has Subsequently Been Moved Up to the Top of My Netflix List) and Which Has Not a Thing to Do With Any Movie Released This Year. Unfortunately.

Walt Stilman's brilliant Barcelona has been sadly forgotten, but, frankly, deserved much better. If I could have picked up his other gem, Metropolitan, this would have been a tie...

Updated: Want a taste? Check it out.

Posted by zombyboy at 08:29 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

The First Ignora-Blogging Award of the Evening

This is the un-awards ceremony, where the movies are picked by a panel of one (me), and judged not on their mass appeal, but on their Zomby appeal.

Best horror flick of the year: Shaun of the Dead. Which movie is not only brilliant, fun, scary, appropriately icky, and playing in my DVD player at this very moment.

Posted by zombyboy at 07:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

The Academy Awards: Live Ignora-Blogging from ResurrectionSong

All night long, I'll be ignoring the Oscars and talking about other stuff. That's right, I don't know who will win Best Actress. I'm entirely ignorant of which Actor might walk away with a big ol' pat on the back. And, in fact, I'm not sure how much I care which movie wins Best Picture.

So, join me all night long as we ignore the results from Hollywood, as Chris Rock either does or doesn't offend the sensibilities of Middle America. I won't be talking about who was dressed best (or worst) or who was most obsequious and ingratiating in their acceptance speech.

Hooray for Hollywood! And a bigger hooray for the off button on my remote control.

PS- Sean Hackbarth has a similar sentiment...

PPS- We like Andy because he's clever. And a trendsetter, too. Pretty soon, I predict that everyone will be liveblogging the ignora-blogging of other blogs. You do want to be one of the cool kids, don't you?

Posted by zombyboy at 06:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (1)

Soliciting Precisely What?

So, here's the set-up. Imagine a seedy little man in a seedy little auto pawnshop. Imagine a woman coming in to pawn her car and being told by the seedy little man that he'll give her $1000 more for her car if she shows him her breasts. Now, imagine that she takes the money and does as he asks.

Before I go any further, let's establish two things: I believe that prostitution should be legal and regulated by the state, and I further believe that the seedy little man was behaving atrociously. On the first, while I can't imagine ever going to a prostitute, I consider the transaction between two adults to be, simply, a private contract between two individuals. None of my business, but at least as worthy as the food service industry of being regulated for health concerns. On the second, the pawnshop employee is a cad, a jerk, an ass, and all sorts of other words that you might choose to use in description.

Let's jump back to the story, shall we?

I first saw this story on the local Fox affiliate. The leaders in the ads went something like this: "An employee at a local store asks a woman to show him her breasts. Find out why he's not in jail." That's paraphrasing big time from memory, folks, so forgive me if I'm not absolutely accurate. I think you get the idea.

The news on Fox that night featured a woman, backlit so that her face was obscured, telling a sad little tale of woe and depression. It's here that she reveals that she took the money, she showed her chest, and then she filed a complaint with the police. The worker was arrested and later released and he will later have a court date over the case (and other women have come forward with similar stories, at least one who seemingly had sex with the man for a little extra cash on her pawn).

Now, I want to pose a few questions:

First, who are these women angry with: the caddish worker for offering cash for sexual gratification? Or are they just angry that they were willing to shred their dignity for such a low price?

Second, what is the man being charged with? If there was any contact involved, it doesn't sound that it was anything but consensual--that is, the woman agreed that, for a fee, they would allow him to take certain liberties. So, from that point of view, it can't be sexual assault or rape. If it's a soliciting prostitution charge, then shouldn't the women be facing charges for accepting the money? If the charge is just making an indecent suggestion, then most drunks in bars (both male and female, if my own experience is anything to go by) are just as guilty as this guy--they just usually don't offer cash as an inducement.

I'm sorry, but these women have no room for complaint. If they didn't like the offer, they should've said no, but if the employee is guilty, then it seems that they are just as guilty for their part in the transaction.

The story may well be more convoluted than I know; there may be some hidden offense that didn't make it into the news report. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any details on either the Fox News site or the two local newspapers.

Posted by zombyboy at 11:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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