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Monday, July 11, 2005

Who Knew…

...That the wig and hair-piece business could lead to such deadliness.

He was able to study these arts while serving as the Director of a wig and hair-piece firm based in India, China, Indonesia, Korea and Japan; where he availed himself of the opportunity to train and practice with the masters of every field in addition to participating in and surviving several Oriental Death Matches.

The power of Count Dante.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Words That I Hate

Moist. It reminds me of mold and mildew--the things that grow in the cracks of dank cellars. Unfortunately, I’m not fond of “soggy,” either. That leaves me somewhat limited on terms describing mildly wet objects.

“Damp” isn’t so bad. But people get cranky when you describe their cakes as being “deliciously damp.”

“Dewy.” Now that’s a good word. “Dewy.”

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Weekend of Rest

As a follow up to yesterday’s post: I’m still tired as hell and I need more sleep. This weekend, I intend to remedy that by doing nothing much beyond laundry, taking a walk with the g-phrase somewhere pretty, and reading a bit. Hopefully that will be the cure for my weariness.

Before I’m off for the weekend, though, here’s a few things for all my friends out there.

  1. Woven Hand has a MySpace account where you can listen to a handful of their songs on a streaming media player. The first song up is “Oil On Panel,” complete with expertly trilled R’s. If you’ve wondered why I’m so ga-ga over the group, check out the site.
  2. Someone should fisk Fisk. I just don’t have the stomach for it right now.
  3. I have to go to the DMV later today. Unfortunately, they’ve been consolidating the offices and the location in the strip mall near where I live has been closed. I have absolutely no idea where I need to go to pick up new plates.

    And that is truly the nature of government, isn’t it? We pay more in taxes nearly every year for the privelege of getting worse service and less convenience. Hell, you’d think they could manage that trick with less money from us.

And, with that, I’m out for the weekend.

Y’all enjoy the sun.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Last Few Months Have Ground Me Down

I’m weak. I’m weary. I’m off to bed.

I offer my prayers and my well wishes to those who have lost a friend, a co-worker, or a family member to terrorists today. May God comfort them.

Mr. Answer Knows it All

People search for answers and I share my wisdom.



How do you pronounce Sinn Fein?

Rhymes with Shin Rain.

You’re very welcome.

Not That You’ll Care…

...but the pre-flight and packaging feature in Indesign CS and CS2 works like a champ.

Love it.

Brent J. Brents: 1,319 Years in Prison

Brent J. Brents, the serial rapist who terrified Denver this year, was sentenced to 1,319 years in prison. In what has to be seen as a tremendously rational moment by the judge presiding over the case, the idea of rehabilitation was soundly dismissed.

Rehabilitation is out of the question for Brents, the judge said. “You must simply be contained, kept away from society as long as the court can do that to make sure you are never free again.”

Officials said they believed it was the longest sentence ever imposed by a Colorado judge.

The only good in the case--when you can work past the violent attacks, the theft, the rapes, and the indiscriminate nature of his assaults--is that Brents did plead guilty instead of forcing a drawn out process that would have kept the psychological wounds raw much longer than necessary.

Read the story.

The Wrong Reaction

From Salon’s War Room (subscription or willingness to watch an ad required) :

We’re sure that the president, like all of us, is deeply concerned for the victims of the attacks—the families who have lost loved ones, the hundreds of bus passengers and train riders who have suffered injuries, and the 7 million Londoners who are suddenly feeling the kind of shock and vulnerability that the residents of New York and Madrid know all too well. And yet, it’s hard to imagine that Bush and his advisors aren’t feeling something like a sense of relief this morning, too.

I find it highly unlikely that any American President would be feeling relief at any attack on a friend. I find it unlikely that he is finding some happy silver lining in an attack engineered that left innocent civilians dead and hundreds injured. I can’t even fathom that he would take a single moment of joy from the thought that we still have so far to go in our battle with the murderers and thugs.

Any suggestion otherwise is offensive.

“The war on terror goes on,” Bush said, and it was hard not to think that he likes it that way.

People forget that this President was something closer to being an isolationist than an imperialist when he first stepped into office. His instinct seemed to be to follow in Clinton’s footsteps when it came to questions of the Middle East: leave it alone as much as possible and hope that the problems don’t require much in the way of American attention. That only changed following 9/11--and, regardless of how history will remember W, I’m also convinced that he would give up that place in history if he could have been a President that presided over 8 years of peace instead of having to send young men and women to fight and die far from home.

No, the President doesn’t “like” the continuing war any more than Tony Blair does; he just recognizes the necessity of fighting back against the threat. Suggesting otherwise is just trying to score cheap political points

Terrorists Strike London and Other News of Terror (Updated)

Everyone has already heard the news this morning: terrorists have struck London. They’ve struck buses and the subway with the result of at least 45 dead and hundreds more wounded, not to mention the very real economic damage that a shutting down the entire subway system for a day is likely to have on the city.

Their message from the “Secret Group of Al Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe”, aside from the implicit threat to European governments that have lent support in Iraq and Afghanistan, is this:

“Rejoice, Islamic nation. Rejoice, Arab world. The time has come for vengeance against the Zionist crusader government of Britain in response to the massacres Britain committed in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said the statement, which was translated by The Associated Press in Cairo. “The heroic mujahedeen carried out a blessed attack in London, and now Britain is burning with fear and terror, from north to south, east to west.”

As I said yesterday: the kind of culture that believes that this is honorable and good is not a culture that can ever peacefully co-exist with our own. We can’t simply build a fence around the Islamic extremists and say, “Here’s your playground. Now be good.”

Hopefully, the terrorists are wrong, though. Hopefully, Britain burns with righteous anger and a renewed resolve that, at the end of this larger war, theirs is the side that will be victorious. Threats aside, withdrawing from the world and withdrawing from the conflict won’t keep the terrorists away; isolation and retreat will only convince them that the West can be bullied because Allah is blessing the suicide bombers.

In other news, Al Qeada may have killed Egyptian diplomat, Ihab al-Sherif. Again, this marks the kind of action that sets the terrorists apart from the civilized world and from the moderate Islam that co-exist with the West (perhaps not always in the most friendly way, but certainly in less of an openly combative way).

Their message, aside from the threat to Middle Eastern governments to never stray from the righteous path of Allah as defined by the Godly men of Al Qaeda, was to not do business with, help, or even acknowledge the government that is being set up in Iraq.

“We announce in the Al Qaeda in Iraq that the verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been carried out. Thank God,” a written statement in the Web posting said.

That the terrorists are increasingly targeting what are, ostensibly, their own people is good news for us. It means that we have made headway in bringing Islamic governments into the process of rebuilding--we have “buy in” from those governments and that makes our success more likely. It may not be quite as supportive or helpful as we’d like, but it’s more supportive and helpful than the terrorists can stomach.

This morning is a sad reminder: it’s a damned long road ahead of us.

Update: Bryan has his usual excellent round-up of responses and adds his own thoughts. Be sure to read the response from the British Council of Muslims. Wizbang has extensive information on the attack.

Across the Atlantic has a timeline of events as they watched them unfold.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Evil Genius At Work

  1. Evil Genius Hidden Island Military Base.
  2. Harem.
  3. My own reality show. Evil Apprentice: Win a chance to the the Number One henchman to an Evil Genius. “You’re fired?” I think not. More like, “You’re pirana chow.”
  4. Still need a Brilliant Evil Plan for World Domination.
  5. Lifetime supply of Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie would be nice, too.
  6. Could the Evil Ruler of the World engineer a Screaming Trees reunion tour? I’m thinking so.
  7. Evil Plan, Evil Plan, Evil Plan...Where’s My Frickin’ Evil Plan?

Free Jeremy?

Fuck Jeremy.

Background story here. Hat tip to Bryan.

Update: Another proud response to Jeremy.

War of the Worlds: What Doesn’t Kill Us is, Sometimes, Still Damned Hard to Sit Through

image

Spielberg isn’t to blame for everything that’s wrong in this movie. I’ve always thought that the abrupt end to the story is an unavoidable let down, so I don’t blame Spielberg for the anticlimactic last bit. Beyond that, though, it’s all on him.

The action is intense, it managed to startle the g-phrase with a few good scares, and Tom Cruise (for a man who appears to be mildly insane) fit his role about as well as Dakota Fanning, who was truly impressive. The special effects are some of the best that you’ll see this year--truly worth seeing on the big screen in a much larger than life setting--and the sound work is spectacular. In many ways, it’s the perfect summer flick: big, dumb, action packed, and pretty.

So, how is it that I was so disappointed? It’s because Spielberg made the mistake of frontloading the movie with all the good stuff--almost completely opposite his buddy’s Revenge of the Sith. For the first twenty minutes of ROTS, I was convinced that the movie wasn’t going to rise above the first two prequel episodes. After that first twenty minutes was up, though, I was sucked into the energy and motion and even the quiet, little emotional bits. By the end of the movie, I had a smile on my face, I had mostly forgotten the first act, and I was a satisfied customer.

Read the Rest...

Honor?

Every time I see a headline or a story with the term “honor rape,” I wonder how anyone could ever imagine such a violent act as being honorable or righteous.

In the latest incident, eight men kidnapped the woman, Fauzia Altaf, in the town of Chiniot in late June after the main suspect, Anwar Ali, got angry about an affair between her cousin and his daughter.

Ali was among the five men accused of raping and torturing the woman for two days. Two other suspects had absconded while one had turned himself in and been released on bail, Mumtaz said.

I also realize that here is the crux of the West’s problems with militant, fundamentalist Islamists: that a sub-culture could be so twisted as to believe that vicious, mean crimes could be honorable proves that their system of ethics is so completely out of line with ours that their is no way for them to coexist within the same regions and under the same law. For that matter, it proves the lie of cultural relativism.

I can’t imagine that any good, liberal Westerner would defend these acts, yet it’s really just a cultural difference, isn’t it? It’s really just how some folks want to live, right? And how could we possibly enforce our own ideas of morality and ethics on another culture? Such things just aren’t done.

Our society has progressively made being judgmental a bad thing, but discriminating judgment is precisely what we need in understanding those things about our enemies that we cannot tolerate. At the end of the day, they don’t have to look like good little Americans, but those there are elements of their society which cannot ever peacefully coexist with our own.

The same thought process that allows the honorable gang rape of a woman for any real or imagined offense is the same thought process that allows terrorists to brutally murder thousands of civilians while expecting God to give them some reward. That same, warped sense of justice and self-justification is what we cannot tolerate and why we render our judgment as forcefully as we need to in hopes of proving the point.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Speaking of Circumcision (Because We Were, You Know)

Andrew Sullivan and Dean Esmay might have something to say about this study:

Male circumcision reduces the risk that men will contract HIV through intercourse with infected women by about 70 percent, according to a study reported in The Wall Street Journal.

After discovering the dramatic results, French and South African researchers halted the study about nine months in order to offer the uncircumcised men the opportunity to undergo the procedure, the newspaper reported.

Just sayin’…

Thunderbirds: 10 Point Review

image

  1. Hey, this thing isn’t worth a whole ten points. This is the half off review.
  2. It’s obvious that they were going for the intentional cheese and wackiness effect.
  3. It’s just as obvious that they failed.
  4. The visual effects are pretty cool.
  5. A few decent moments, a few laughs, and then, thankfully, it’s over. I’ll take the old series with the funny puppets, thank you…

Bumper Stickers Idiocy

Spotted over the weekend on a big SUV driving through Denver:

Frodo Failed: Bush Has the Ring

Yeah, pal, that’s the way to be taken seriously. Not only have you lain claim to being a member of the ultra-geek hordes who make Lord of the Rings a reference point for everything in the world, but your statement, even within its own context just sounds idiotic.

I’ve always thought that it was kind of cats like this to give us a sort of warning sign as to whether their thoughts can be taken seriously. Just one more person in the world that no one has to pay that much attention to…

Monday, July 04, 2005

4th of July Reading List

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow Americans (and a jovial smile to those of you who aren’t citizens). And to those who are serving or who have served in the military, a very sincere thanks for everything you have done, for what you have foresaken in offering yourselves up for a profession that offers no chance for stardom or true monetary wealth. You’ve chosen something more meaningful, and we are grateful.

Here’s a list of things to read today while you celebrate the very spirit of our nation--the wonder that is the United States of America. All of our imperfections can’t mask the achievements, all of our errors haven’t stopped us from being a dynamic force for good iin the world, and all of the nay sayers can’t change the fact that America and most Americans still believe that we can’t achieve good things throughout the world.

Today, here’s to us.

  1. Let’s start off with De Doc. He has the right idea for how to approach the day and our Declaration of Independence.

    We are at war abroad, with enemies whose beliefs are antithetical to Liberty. We struggle at home, amongst ourselves, about how we ought to live, and what governments should, and should not do, to “secure the blessings of Liberty”.

    In celebration, then, of the Fourth Of July, let us refresh our memories, and renew our resolve.

    Can I get an amen?

  2. This just makes me feel good.

    Tribal leaders in Husaybah are attacking followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist who established the town as an entry point for al-Qa’eda jihadists being smuggled into the country.

    The reason, the US military believes, is frustration at the heavy-handed approach of the foreigners, who have kidnapped and assassinated local leaders and imposed a strict Islamic code.

    The more that Iraqis believe that the enemy is the militant Islamist, the closer we have come to winning the war. Believe it.

  3. Starr Parker, brought by Molotov, brings us thoughts about the kindness and generosity of Americans--and what makes that generosity possible. The last paragraph is, perhaps, the most important.
  4. Get your Stars and Stripes fix here.

And that’s it for me for the day. I’m off to enjoy my freedom. Freedom hard fought and hard won by hundreds of thousands of men and women, most of whom have never heard of me, but who I honor.

Friday, July 01, 2005

UK Jedi Knights (and Other Bits of Intriguing Fluff)

In what has to be considered a major coup for the Anglosphere, the Jedi Order is now being represented in Parliament.

COPELAND’S MP Jamie Reed raised a few eyebrows when he introduced himself as a Star Wars’ Jedi Master in his maiden speech in Parliament.

Copeland’s first new MP for 35 years said: “As the first Jedi Member of this place, I look forward to the protection under the law that will be provided to me by the Bill..”
[...]
Mr Reed, was speaking on the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill and said that such legislation is required to ensure that Britain not only safeguards but improves its record on protecting civil rights and liberties.

The other members of Parliament are still giggling, nervous, and confused by the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill that will make saying not nice things about others very very illegal. Less confounding was their enthusiasm for Reed’s light saber--although Reed noted that, “I hope the novelty wears off soon. I’m not sure how many times I can hear the same little joke about President Bush and the Jedi mind trick.”

And in other news, China is taking square aim at the Damned, Evil Clouds in hopes of stealing water from South Korea.

Cannon and rocket-launchers still protect Beijing from their vantage point in the Fragrant Hills, just as the Great Wall nearby has done for centuries.

But they are aimed not at the Mongols, or more recent enemies such as the Americans or Russians. They are pointing up into the clouds and their foe is thirst.
[...]
Nevertheless, there is no certainty that rain-seeding works, says Zhang Qiang, the deputy head of the Beijing artificial climate office.
[...]
Moreover, even if the procedure works, it can be criticised as stealing other people’s water. Miss Zhang acknowledges that there have been “questions” from South Korea across the Yellow Sea.

Take that, Damned, Evil Clouds!

And in other news, people still seem to care that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were caught in doing, well, not really much together.

Our entire country never really left middle school, did it?

Oh, and, in case you didn’t know: Sandra Day O’Connor is retiring from the Supreme Court.

In case you didn’t know.

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