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Monday, March 28, 2005

On Pontiac, Buick, and not wanting to say Goodbye

The coffee is extremely bitter this morning.

I don’t say that in a proverbial sort of way, truly, the coffee is terrible. We used to have one of those ancient coffee-mat type machines that you punched a button and it dropped a cup of the poison of your choosing. I would often get what I termed “crapuccino”. And although it was a miserable replacement for a foamy, light cup of the “good stuff”, it would do. And it was at the very least consistently average.

The machine has been broken two weeks, the fellow who services it says he has replaced the thermostat three times in as many weeks, and that it is kaput.

The office staff has taken it upon themselves to brew their own coffee now, which I steal a cup or two of each day. But it always varies in taste, and I just miss the consistency.
***********************

Read the Rest...

(Angry) Thoughts for the Morning

  1. I hate women with 70’s-era big hair who primp, pat, and tease their irritatingly out-of-date hairdos while they drive. Hate. With a passion.
  2. Do you think it’s meaningful when the radiator light, ABS light, and check engine light all come on in sequence on the drive in to work? Yeah, that’s what I thought…
  3. I wonder how much this is going to cost me.

The end.

PS- It’s not the phone conversations that get me most of the time. And the sighs, gigantic, elongated sighs only do the trick once in a while. But the freakin’ crunching crunching crunching gets me every damned time. Every time.

Oh, this is going to be a long day.

Science v. Religion

Paul at Wizbang took quite a beating over his remarks concerning creationism, evolution and intelligent design.

My problem with the “oozers” is that if someone challenges their orthodoxy, they stick their fingers in their ears and scream LA LA LA LA I AM SMARTER THAN YOU LA LA LA. and they refuse to even listen to the most basic of arguments.

I don’t really enjoy arguments along these lines and don’t get involved in them. My belifs have developed over a lifetime of living, just as have yours. I don’t mind spirited debate, but only to enrich my understanding. I don’t get involved the type of debate Paul instigated, where either party is out to prove the other party wrong (been there, done that).

I stated that I was going with Paul on this one, and am sticking to my guns. I especially liked his line ”A scientist who does not admit he might potentially be wrong is really a theologian.” Flip it around and it’s still true.

Of course, the question is, just what kind of company are Paul and I keeping. Are we close-minded fools with minds clouded by the mysteries of religion, or do we keep good company? As the noted philospher Albert E. once said:

But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.[link, scroll down a little]

Which is all Paul was saying to begin with (I’m not speaking for Paul, just saying what I got from his words), and what I signed on for. If you read the whole thing you’ll see that that enquiring mind, while not ascribing to religous belief, decided that people out to blindly prove something aren’t the best people to trust. I accept the facts, though I don’t always agree with the conclusions drawn. However, if we are products of the ooze, then so be it.

Which brings up another good point. Every few years the newsweeklies discover the “God gene.” If survival of the fittest requires belief in God, then what’s wrong with believing in God? That’s how we got to this stage in millions of years of humanoid history. And, to tell you the God-given truth, I would rather be here at this stage of history, than a hundred, or a thousand, or ten thousand years ago. Thank God my ancestors followed their genes.

I guess we could evolutionize the God gene right out of existence if all the Atheists would just get together and copulate. Oh. So much for that idea. (h/t The Forest For The Trees)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Peaceful Uprising? (Updated)

It would be shocking if the elections in Zimbabwe were an open and honest affair. In fact, even if the elections are fair, the intimidation and quashing of dissenting views that led up to the elections would probably still put the results in question.

The idea of a “peaceful uprising” in the face of the election results seems to be the new (and welcome) wave in political action these days, and, hopefully, Archbishop Pius Ncube’s call for demonstrations leads to the same sort of visibility and potential for change that we saw in Lebanon.

“I hope that people get so disillusioned that they really organise against the government and kick him out by a non-violent, popular, mass uprising,” he told the paper.

“Because as it is, people have been too soft with this government.

“So people should pluck up just a bit of courage and stand up against him and chase him away.”

Archbishop Ncube insisted he was not advocating violence but simply backing a peaceful uprising like that in Ukraine last year.

Of course, Robert Mugabe has shown himself to be the most stubborn of dictators, pushing ahead with his destructive and self-serving plans even in the face of harsh criticism from neighboring African nations. The more he is pushed, the more he seems to expand his power and influence. Zimbabwe under his guidance isn’t failing; it’s failed and, even given new leadership, there is little chance for a speedy turn around.

I want to see the people stand up and force the issue, but I fear the potential bloodshed that could follow. Zimbabwe remains a country on the verge of complete collapse and these elections could, in effect, lead the nation over that cliff. Constitutionally backed elections should be a time of national pride--but only if they lead to the peaceful transfer of power in accordance with the will of the people. In Zimbabwe, elections are a time of fear, food shortages, and repression.

President Bush has made lofty promises to support people who stand up for their own liberty. I find myself wondering what the United States would be willing to do in support of a popular, non-violent uprising in Zimbabwe?

Read the story.

Update: Via Instapundit, Publius Pundit has more information and thoughts on the subject.

Is there anything in this universe cooler than Condi Rice?

I’m black and female and me.”

Sorry Bill, I gotta take the lady on this one.

Poetry Corner

Doc gives us Easter poetry. And it is perfect.

Happy Easter, all.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Jay’s Sunday Sermon #2

I am not sure if Easter Sunday is welcomed by Catholics in America with a midnight Mass the way we used to in the Philippines. The Filipino term, Pasko ng Pagkabuhay literaly translates as the "Christmas of Rebirth," which reads more and more like a geeky recursive acronym. Beyond the fertility fun associated with bunnies, eggs, and Ostara, this is the day when we try to contemplate on the fullness of the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth's resurrection and subsequent Ascension.

Without this miracle, He'd be just some madman spewing forth heresies against the establishment of His time. I doubt He'd even have been remembered were it not for this.

Stripping away thousands of years of theology and philosophy, piled on from discipline after various discipline, His life, death and resurrection are the core of a Christian's faith.

There is little room to sermonize on a day like this. Happy Easter, everyone.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Is there anything in this universe cooler than William Shatner?

I don’t think so (except maybe for a flask of liquid nitrogen).

Rethinking my position on gun control

On Wednesday, in Shooter’s Paradise, I reported on Anthony Harwood and his take on American violence. In the post I opined that England has crime problems that gun control did not fix. I erred in that I didn’t include Canada in my analysis. Canada has strict gun control, and has managed to find a way, as this CBC report indicates, to keep guns out of gangs:

Police on British Columbia’s Lower Mainland are investigating a series of swarming attacks that claimed a father on his way home from the store with milk for his newborn baby as the latest victim.

The attack in Richmond late Wednesday night was the fourth violent assault this week by groups of young people.

RCMP say the 28-year-old man was walking through a parking lot when a group he described as Asian men, aged 18 to 20 and wearing “sporty type” clothes, started to chase him.

The man said he tried to outrun them, but they caught up and began beating him with their hands and feet.

He told police he begged his attackers to stop because he was the father of a five-day-old baby. He thinks they finally stopped because of all the blood.

The victim was taken to hospital with a broken nose and facial cuts.

On Tuesday night, two people were stabbed in separate gang attacks near the Metrotown SkyTrain station in Burnaby. Both were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

One of the victims, a 30-year-old man, had been stabbed eight times.

In a similar incident Monday night, a teenager was attacked in Burnaby’s Central Park by a group of five young people after they asked him for money and he showed them his empty pockets.

Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Pierre Lemaitre says police are concerned about the rash of attacks. They haven’t seen such violent group attack-robberies in the past, he says.

Now, if we can just find a way to get rid of the knives, hands, feet, and “Asian men, aged 18 to 20 and wearing “sporty type” clothes” we will just might be able to live in a perfect world. I apologize to our cold, unarmed, beer drinking friends to the north for my oversight. Peace.

Good Company

Can I just say that, for a Right Wing Christian Fanatic Whack Job like me, I find these folks--the Godless, the Heathen, the Heritics--to be mighty good company.

Because Bikes Need Taxes Too

I had gotten my bike out, fully intending to go for a long ride this afternoon. I had checked the cables, made sure that the tires were still true, cleaned the chain, and readied myself for a day in the sun. Of course, that was Monday, and by Tuesday the weather had turned nasty.

I make this point to make a larger point: I like accessible, well-maintained, extensive bike paths. The ride I was going to take was going to extend from where I live in Northwest Denver down a bike path that skirts the south side of downtown and head down to Cherry Creek reservoir in Aurora. The entire trek would have been on these wonderful bike paths that run through a good portion of the Denver metro area. Having these bike paths is on of the things that make living in Denver pretty nice.

But damned if I want to see Federal highway money tied to funding paths like these around the nation. Especially at such a tremendous cost.

Last week Earl Blumenauer, a Democratic Congressman from Oregon, was railing about the “body blow” that minor budget cuts in the Republican budget resolution would deal to the nation with “devastating impact.” This week he’s making the media rounds in near ecstasy about the $875 million being thrown at bicycle and pedestrian programs in the apparently misnamed “Highway Bill,” gushing that “this is probably going to be probably the best bicycle bill in history.”

Nearly a billion dollar budge for the “best bicycle bill in history.” Just let that roll around in your head for a while and feel your anti-tax and anti-government leanings grow.

Money is tight, everyone publicly worries over the growing deficit and the long-term damage it will do to the country, and still stuff like this leaks through. The government needs to take a lesson from common Americans: when money is tight, the budget gets prioritized. Not everything that would be nice is necessary, and the difference between the two is where the Federal government should draw the line at spending.

Bike paths are great--but they aren’t even remotely a Federal concern. If Bush can’t muster up a veto for a spending bill with almost a billion dollars for bike paths, then any pretense toward fiscal conservatism will be utterly shattered. The argument that the 875 million accounts for less than half a percent of the overall spending bill isn’t a good argument at all: how much of the spending bill is as utterly devoid of reason as this, how much of the spending could be cut, and couldn’t spending be prioritized better.

Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath.

Read the article here.
Leave a comment with Shawn (who wrote the article that inspired this rant) here.

The Denver Nuggets Don’t Suck

If you live in Denver, the Denver Nuggets not sucking is a story it would be easy to miss. They existed as the joke of the league for so long now that it seemed almost impossible for them to ever be contenders again. For a fan that grew up in the Doug Moe era, idolizing Alex English’s graceful shots and humble ways, the past decade has been basketball hell. The media has barely noticed them for years now, and with good reason. But that’s why it would have been easy to miss the story: these Denver Nuggets don’t suck.

Now, Denver is surging toward the end of the season. They are making an honest-to-God run for the playoffs, beating teams, playing well, and looking like a team. They’ve remembered how to pass, how to score, how to hold onto leads, and, most important, how to win. I feel all giddy inside.

Last night they beat a Lakers team that is in decline--an important victory to keep the Nuggets in the playoff fight and to give them confidence down the stretch.

Good for the Nuggets, and, I agree with Bernie Lincicome, good for the Lakers.

The Lakers are now finished, finished as a threat, as a contender and as an attraction, except for the freak-show value of Bryant, so inconsequential that the Pepsi Center boos were less cruel than obligatory. 

When Kobe comes to Colorado, Colorado is supposed to dislike him. 

Not that Bryant did not provide endless encouragement for mockery, turning over the ball, missing shots, butchering the break, dribbling out the shot clock. He was a one-man calamity, the way Carmelo Anthony can be at times. 

Anthony should take the lesson offered. Being the man is an empty title when the man loses game after game, as the Lakers have done for seven games in a row. 

This is what Bryant wanted, the responsibility for everything, and he makes obvious gestures as a leader, conferring with teammates, consoling, encouraging and then doing whatever he feels like doing. 

It is a little like a patch of weeds being led by the whacker.

I can’t quite help but root against Kobe and, by extension, the Lakers. Seeing them lose is like a tonic to me: a proof that karma, divine intervention, or just plain good luck really does punish the jerks once in a while.

Go Nuggets (and welcome back to the game).

Read the story.

Firefox Update

I am probably the next to last person in the blogosphere to know this, but here’s going, just in case your happen to be the last person: UPDATE YOUR FIREFOX BROWSER RIGHT NOW. Here’s why. I have a rant about this bug down below.

If you don’t use Firefox, give it a try. With Firefox, popup ads really do die an ugly, but silent, death; spyware is cut off at the knees; and tabbed browsing is worth selling your mother for.

Whenever I update my browser I go through my extensions and settings and generally clean stuff up. I saw a GoogleSearch bookmark and wondered what in the world was so special about it. I don’t normally keep a Google bookmark on the toolbar. It had this nifty piece of javascript in the Location field (rather than a website) that I tried out. Cool, it pops up a dialog box for your search term. Here’s a link. The way too easy instructions are on the page.

If you aren’t using Firefox extensions, definitely spend an hour or two going through the list. Finally, on the Firefox homepage check out the new search engines you can add to the search engine bar, including: IMDB, Merriam-Webster, and Wikipedia. I could spend a few hours writing about all the great features and extensions, and another or two why this is the best browser for those doing web dev work. But, this is a blog, not a tutorial. I’ll just say, explore and try stuff out, it’s worth it. For those who like to tinker (even if you aren’t technically adroit).

Rant:

Firefox’s new security hole involves a buffer overrun in some legacy code. Come on guys, buffer overrun exploits are almost as old as the web. How can it be that in 2005 your code still has these types of problems? That is so Microsoft. By the way, I know this stuff is free and the result of the hard work of many who want to do things better. I appreciate that. I’ve been a freeloader so far, but next payday I’m buying a T-shirt and a hat. Until this little bug cropped up, I hadn’t realized how important FF is to what I do. It’s time I paid for my tools. Thanks for your good work.

In FFs favor, they are now going through the 2 million lines of code looking for similar exploits and getting them fixed.

UPDATE: I fixed the link to the Firefox download.

I think this explains why I’m such a confused individual

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (52%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (60%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by similarminds.com

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that as we mature both sides of our brains “grow”. Just because one side is dominant, it doesn’t mean the other side stays a shrinking violet. What’s interesting are the internal battles I go through when it comes time to implement a decision. Sometimes I have to slap myself a time or two to break out of the loop and get moving.

Me: Just do it.

Self: But what if it turns out to be a mistake?

Me: We won’t know until we do it, will we?

Self: But what if there’s a flaw in the reasoning?

Me: You won’t find the flaw until you try it.

Self: But --

CUE TWO X FOUR UPSIDE THE HEAD

I wonder how zombyboy’s brain is split.

Judaism vs. Christianity

I read this article at Dean Esmay’s place this morning, and with some obvious exceptions, I think you could substitute “Catholic” for Jewish and “Protestant” for Christian, and the essay would lose little meaning.

Thoughts?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Thank God for Frank Sinatra and Bruddah IZ

My whole day today has been kind of… uhm, poopy. It all started this morning when I decided to log on to my favorite website and my laptop decided it doesn’t like its job anymore. That led to another thing, and to another, and next thing you know 30 seconds later I’m half-way down that slippery slope into complete and total bad moodiness (I think I’m just a few feet away from the manic/depressive borderline). So, deprived of the Internet, I get ready for work and ask myself, “Well asshole, now you’re all depressed. Are you going to be this way all day?” (or words to that effect).

Decision time. Do I want to be perky, or a mood slut all day long. That’s when good old Frank Sinatra made an appearance:

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself, flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

There were a ton of little things all day long that just annoyed the hell out of me. But, looking back, all in all, it’s been a good day. Just like every day is. God knows, there were days I was flat on my face, but it’s been a long time since then. And, you know what? I wouldn’t trade those days away for a pile of money, or a day full of rainbows.

Well I see tree’s of green and red roses to
I’ll watch them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Thanks Frank. And you too, Bruddah IZ.

What are they saying about us?

Watching America

If you didn’t see this at over at Vodka dude’s then go check it out. I’ve pulled some excerpts. What I find interesting is that the world press is not as filled with America bashing as some would have us believe. While it is true we are not “loved” by all, (I don’t give a flying frito as to whether or not we are), it is also not true that we are universally reviled.

Teshreen, Mar. 19, Syria:
When Will America Live Up to Its Slogans?

—Iraqi TV: Iraqi Terrorists Confess; Tell Of Training In Syria, Feb. 24
“This is the state of the world today, a world turned on its head ... Because of the deceit of the one nation that pins its name on human rights, freedom and democracy.”

La Prensa, Mar. 20, Nicaragua:
The Eternal Migratory Headache

“… the deaths on the [U.S.-Mexican] border should remind us that any system that forces people to risk their lives evading it is doomed to failure.”

French People, Open Your Eyes!

“For us Chinese, today the true defenders of democracy are on the other side of the Atlantic, in the United States.”

Better than the Drudge Report

While it is true that saying “Better than the Drudge Report” is like saying better than a “Pentium 3 at 800Mhz,” but, the Roth Report is definitely a “dual processor Xeon”. I’ve changed my bookmarks. (h/t Viking Pundit)

The evils of global warming

I’m about to curl up in a ball and cry. I guess once we have this global warming problem all figured out we won’t have to deal with snow in the winter anymore.

Update: I forgot to add—“You’re a freakin’ Viking. Buck up and put on another layer of long underwear.”

Update II: Hey Mr. Viking, please put down that sword. And the hat with horns too. I was just kidding, honest. Here, you can borrow my long johns. What’s that? Gimme a break! You’re a freaking Viking. Who cares if I’ve worn them before? Uhh, just kidding. I’ll go to the store right now and get you your own pair. That’s a 3XL, right. And dude, get a shave. What’s that? No, I didn’t say anything. I was just reminding myself to, uh, to get the driveway paved.

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