Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The power of nature

Some of these are pretty heart-wrenching.


Indonesia photobooks
Central Java earthquake

http://indahnesia.com/photobook/36/central_java_earthquake.php

Monday, May 29, 2006

For the lazy and indifferent...

Tthis seems kind of like non-alcoholic wine and sugar-free candy.

The Ropeless Jump-Rope

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Canned Coffee Review

Living in Japan, I've gotten to experience the many joys of Canned Coffee. There is even a website out there devoted to "reviews" of various canned coffees.

...And since the elitist pig wont bother to print any of the 73 emails I sent him, I decided to write one myself! HaH! That'll show 'em. And soooo....


Dydo "Black"

This is angry coffee. Bitter, angry coffee. This coffee has serious issues. Ever since Black’s father ran off with that frothy, decaf cappuccino, well, he’s never been the same. This coffee is full of pent up aggression and unresolved angst. You can always find a can of coffee like this pushing other, smaller cans down on the playground and stealing their lunch money. Oh, sure, that’s how it all starts. A little harmless “fun.” Pretty soon, though, he’s a thug enforcer for some two-bit, petty hood, shaking down old men and scared kids for the chump change he calls “protection money.”

Years later, he’s a dried up, empty shell of a can. Life has been a dark road of bad choices and worse consequences. No friends, no family, no one who give a tinker’s damn about you except the old half-blind Eurasian hooker who only hangs out with you because your own self-pity and loneliness inevitably translate into free smokes, the occasional highball glass full of cheap rotgut Folgers, and maybe a quick pop of your top in the dank confines of some corner in the storeroom of a run-down, has-been coffee bar on the backside of nowhere.

This coffee isn’t just angry, it’s mean. I toss back a slug of the viscous, black liquid, and it assaults my tongue like the back-handed “love” of an abusive spouse. A haze falls before my eyes, and I’m transported, I can see it all, like I was standing there when it happened. The charcoal taste lingers, coats, corrodes, like the time he clamped on to the old shopkeeper’s tongue with a pair of grimy, rusty vice grips. And pulled. Pulled until the tongue of the poor sap who’d come up short on a payment to Lenny the loan shark was stretched out like the red carpet for a Hollywood premier day. Black takes a long slow drag on a cheap, hand-rolled cigarette, and then slowly rubs the burning stub into a crumbled ash against the shopkeeper’s savaged taste buds.

I suddenly snap back to reality, much like the old man’s tongue snapped back into his mouth after the vice grips were removed.

This coffee leaves a bitter aftertaste, a lingering calling card that promises more violence if its demands aren’t met. I find myself laughing an empty, mirthless laugh. I take another long, slow look at this thug, this violent punk of a coffee, and with a negligent flick of my wrist, dump the half-empty can into the trash. I walk away feeling abused, violated, and somehow even…well…dirty.

Then, from somewhere behind me, I can almost swear I hear a voice filled with the deepest sarcasm and bitter resignation, tinged with just the barest hint of childish petulance call out, “Go ahead. Leave. That’s what they all do. You’re no different.”

Somehow, I can’t seem to dredge up any pity for the little bastard.

None. None at all.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Basic Physics in the 24th century.

Okay, so I'm watching "Next Generation" like the trekkie geek that I am, only, I've got a real problem. Well, I mean, besides being a trekkie geek. 'Cuz like I'm watching this episode where Geordie (sp?!) and the rebellious, mouthy Bejouran (sp?!) chick get all phase-shifted whilst transporting betwixt two ships cuz some Romulan gizmo went all haywire. So anyway, they can see the Enterprise and crew, but the crew can't see them, seeinz how theyz is all phase shifted like.

So how come THEIR eyes work and can see the stuff which is technically out of phase to THEM, but the crew can't see them cuz they are out of phase...by exactly the same fa-reakin' margin?

And so in one seen, a Romulan dude who was also phase shifted is sitting in a chair. In the next scene, Roe, Row, Rho, whatever is passing her hand all through a table and a computer monitor. The fu...? So how come the dude can sit in an out-of-phase chair, but chica can walk through a table?

Then later they are in this big chase scene and running through bulkheads like they ain't there, what with them all being out of phase, but then Rho trips and falls to the floor with a grunt from the impact. A fight ensues and Romulan dude gets kicked through the side of the ship into space (silent gasp of dismay). So, if the walls don't work, and tables and computers are like air, THEN WHY DOES THE %$@#^&ING FLOOR WORK? Is there some special phasedness to their shoes that keeps them from sliding through the floor like they do the walls and tables, hmmm?

And near the end of the episode Jeordee talks about how hungry he is not having had anything to eat or drink for two days. So if you can't eat out of phase food, how does the out of phase AIR work in your contra-phased lungs?!

And when you set the Romulan phaser on overload, and then dove behind the bar for "cover," minutes after repeatedly demonstrating that the phaser's energy goes through everything in the "real" ship like it was thin air?

And, since you are out of phase with the Enterprise, you would be unaffected by its momentum or intertia, and so as soon as it changed direction, you would continue in the original direction, as bulkead after bulkhead and finally the ship's hull slid past on the new vector until you were left standing on space.

One of the most scientifically boneheaded epidsodes I think I've ever seen.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

On the Davinci code

I found the book to be an engaging and entertaining read. Of decidedly dubious theolgoy, but a fun book nonetheless.

I by no means took it to be theologically definitive, and thus enjoyed it immensely.

Dan Brown gets to be wrong about a great many things, and I still get to enjoy reading his books.

I guess I have to turn in my Fundie Card.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Blather...

As one pauses to ponder, the whats and wheretofors of life, it is by chance that on occasion one glimpses round the edges of one’s preconceptions the merest glimmerings of insight and the faintest hints of recognition of the much vaunted "higher truth." Peeking out 'neath the covers, a cautious, often frightened gaze meets mine. It fears my own reaction to its oft unwlecome message, and so with tremulous regard for my rage, hesitates to present its discourse of epiphanic wonder.

Needless to say, the human mind is seldom a fertile breeding ground for incautious and unrestrained cogitation. Safe and sane and all that. Go with what ya know.

And leave the fractured pieces of explosive cerebral exhumation discarded by the wayside. Safer that way, idnt it? Cain't 'ave the boat bein' rocked, what with the implications of bein' forced outside the carefully manicured and pruned boundaries of my understanding, what?

Don't question. Don't criticize. Don't presume to meander through random discourses of dangerous thought, navigated by the merest glimmerings of a "hunch" or feeling which might lead one, as though towards an errant lighthouse, upon the rocks of unconventional thinking.

Accept that which is taught, mind you, lest you run afoul of yer betters. 'eaven forbid you dare to look too closely at the institutionalized methodologies and carefully managed acceptabilities.

And yet, one cannot escape the undeniable attraction of the dangerous thought. The rapscallious and unmanaged ideas which haunt the fractious minds of those intellectual gatekeepers who by means of their own stern reproof seek to keep such wild notions as bay.

Dangerous thoughts. Like some alligator lazily navigating the tepid waters of socially acceptable thought. A rapacious beast, it prowls, seeking the unwary. It hungers for that mind so unsupervised that it lays open and vulnerable to the influences of a singularly insidious disease – free thought.

The creature smells its prey, lingers, considers, and then bites. With a gasp and cry, the mind awakens as sharp insights penetrate deep, strong convictions grab and shake and seek to drag you under, deep beneath the murk, turning you over and over and dragging you down until at last you must surrender and breathe your last…your last carefully considered breath.

You’ve become a victim. A victim of that savage beast we name – though only in hushed and uncomfortable whispers – "conviction."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Observations during my travel odessey....

gawwwl-DAMN this here is The Nation of the Fat People.

Holy frickin' cripes, people. As I wander through the airports on my planes, trains, and automobiles whirlwind tour of the east coast, I am shocked, nay, dare I say nonplussed at the amazing volume of FAT wrapped 'round the bones of we Americans.

Young, old, more old than young, but still. Men, women, kids. Just friggin' OBESE! I mean, I'm not talking a little pudge or a bit o' the old love handles. I'm talkin' folks lugging around 60-80 extra pounds, easy. And it's not just onesey-twosey. It's beyond even a trend. More like an epidemic. I guess coming from Japan where there just ain't that many fat people, it's like culture shock to walk around and see all the basketballs being smuggled under oversize t-shirts.

And holy effin' moses, how people DRESS?! We are not just the Nation Of Fat People, we are also the nation of I don't give a rat's ass holy damn about how I look/dress. I guess when you let one aspect of your appearance slide so far into the shitter, then the rest is bound to follow suit. Ratty t-shirts with threadbare sweatpants. Pajama bottoms as "pants". Bright pink pajama bottoms with a frayed navy blue sweatshirt. The chick with the green and yellow top and the orange running shorts. For the love of all that is noble and good in this world people! AND PUT YOUR FUCKING HAT ON STRAIGHT, YOU MORON! One would think that it would be nice to be viewed as someone who can adequately dress themselves. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE STANDING BEHIND THE COUNTER OF A BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT. Dorks. Auugh, it makes my brain hurt.

And don't get me started about the fine folks of the TSA. One asshole tries to light his shoe and now the rest of us have to walk around in our socks at every friggin' airport. Hope the bastard burns.in.HELLLLLLL!

And of course the octegenarian who is a good 100 lbs in the red, with the white hair and a slightly bemused look gets the nod for "additional screening." Holy mother of pearl, how does that make ANY sense?! In the entire history of terrorism, hijackings, and car-bombings, when has the asshole EVER been an overweight 68 year-old white guy who has to have his grandson show him how to use a cell phone?

And you, yes you. The space-case right in front of me. You know who you are. There is one door off this fucking plane, and the place to stop and check your tickets, scratch your ass, or fire up the $&#$*@! cell phone is NOT in the big middle of the one route between it and the BAGGAGE CLAIM! Yes, you and the three-piece mondo expano-carry-on nightmare from hell that you absently drag behind you (which of course extends your effective interference radius another good seven feet) as you shuffle along at a snails pace while bemusedly punching at the keys on your cell. HOLY FREAKIN HAYSOOS as much as old people shouldn't drive, they sure as hell shouldn't fly either.

But, on the plus side, I've got wireless highsepeed internet in my hotel room. Oh, and there's a Borders and a Red Robin within walking distance!

Being here ain't bad. Getting here? Whole different story....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Is it just me, or...

...does it seem like that whole "probable cause" thingy is just pretty much out the muthafuckin' window?

Finally, from a true authority!

Now you know!


(h/t to Carin for the link)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blogging light to nonexistent....

It twouldst behoove me, in this the hour of my virulent angst, to bequeath upon thy faithful eyes a treatise in the way of explanation vis-a-vis the recent lack of substantive additions to the aforementioned "blog."

In that, with respect to said postings, I am currently embarked upon a journey both perilious, and yet fulgent with the promise of grand adventure; namely, a "business" trip to "the States."

Verily, if I am to be truly and genuinely forthcoming with regards to matters of full disclosure, I am inclined, nay, honor-bound to also reveal my recent tremulous battlings against a scourge called by some with the seemingly innocuous appelative, "the common cold." I find little common about it, for my distaste and displeasure at its presence are UN-commonly vivid and enduring.

That said, and the colloquial "dirty laundry" having been aired before the assemblage of my readership, I fear that I cannot in good faith or conscience present any assurances of improved performance in this regard at any time in the near future.

Though I fear that in taking the time to "pen" such an exhaustive missive, I have, after a fashion, put to the lie my assertions of victimization at the hands of my frenetic schedule. Alas, it was indeed a costly burden, but I felt that the sacrifice needed to be bourn, as the needs of you, my dear readers, for some sort of explanative interlude far exceeded my own need for sleep or sustenance.

Now, as I quail in the throes of hunger and bleary sleeplessness, I must set aside pen and ink, as it were, to continue ever-onward in my quests to face the onerous burdens placed before me in the name of my own professional development.

Farewell, for now, good readers. I shall write again anon, the fates willing...

Friday, May 05, 2006

And then, one day...

{{sorry, that was way too whiney...}}

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Thoughts on Mizzowie Dodging the Bullet

1) I can only imagine the fate of an American convicted of the same crime in a Taliban court.

2) I am all about helping as many Isalami's achieve martyrdom as wants to. So, you say executing Missowee would just be giving him what he wants? Great. It'd be giving me what I want, too. Everybody goes home a winner.

3) Given the growing pervasiveness of conversions to Islam in prisons, one wonders if, instead of being some outcast or hated pariah this rabid shill won't just maybe enjoy a certain celebrity in prison. He could very well be ushered right to the top of the inmate heirarchy, and rather than suffer untold violations at the hands of Bubba and friends, as some have, uh, intimated, he would be protected by his muslim brethren. So instead of silently poisoning the soil in some potter's field, mildewed and forgotten, he'll be allowed to become some expatriate Imam who continues to espouse his Dogma of Hate to an ever-growing constituency.

Nice one guys. Silent martyrs we can handle. Live terrorists with book deals penning the Islamic version of Mein Kamp are guaranteed to cause problems.

Boycott Cinco de Mayo!

I've got it! If Les Immigrantes want to show their economic power by walking away from their jobs, I think WE should show OUR economic power by walking away from their jobs, too!

For Cinco de Mayo, that much cherished 5th of May, instead of getting all rowdy at the local Mexicali eatery quaffing back icy cold cervezas...don't.

Our little illegal friends wanted to show how much money businesses who hire illegals would lose if they didn't show up to work. Let's show how much money businesses will lose if customers don't show up at business that hire illegals!

Cancel your lawn care for tomorrow. Give the nanny (another) day off without pay. Stay away in droves from Mexican restaraunts. Drink domestic beer or go to the local Irish pub for a Black-n-Tan. On potentially one of the biggest money making days of the year for a whole host of bars and upscale beaneries, leave every table empty. Let the salsa curdle and the chips grow stale.

And let's see who really has the more economic muscle here, shall we?

(On the other hand, Cinco de Mayo DOES celebrate the defeat of the French, and really, who wouldn't want to crack a cold one in commemoration of THAT?!)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

One cup of activism please, hold the froth.

I have just realized that in no less than three of my previous posts, I have used the word "frothy." As in, "churned into a frothy whip," etc.

This disturbs me, if only because the repeated use of the same literary device shows a lack of journalistic creativity.

Why do I continue to use the same metaphor (or is it a simile?)? Because to me, it ascribes to the group being so labeled the character of a bubbly, swirling, and yet essentially insubstantial, well, froth such as you might find ladeled across the top of a half-caff latte or some fruity conconction just bludgeoned together in a high-speed blender.

I see those aerial shots of immigration protestors or not-quite-a-million mom marchers, and if I cross my eyes just right, I can almost see the effervescent foam on a freshly poured Sprite, or the mountains of pretty rainbow bubbles floating aimlessly along the top of my bathwater.

For a moment they are all-pervasive. Hissing and spitting and fizzing and popping like a greasy burger on a hot grill. And yet, with distrubing rapidity, the bubbles burst, and you're left with nothing but an overpriced, luke-warm coffee or a tub of tepid bathwater in which floats the detritus of the day.

To coin a word, ephemeral. Activists of the moment roused from their social torpor by the latest cause de rigueur of the perpetually outraged. Only to wakeup the next morning with the equivalent of a hangover from their bender of righteous indignation, facing the same reality as before, with the added addition, of course, of a boss pissed because you called in "sick" from work and then had your face plastered across the 6:00 news waving a Mexican flag. So you turn your attention once more to paying bills and living your life, things essentially unchanged, save for that little piece of happiness down somewhere inside that says, much like a bumpersticker across your conscience, "I DID something!"

Whether you did anything MEANINGFUL is completely beside the point. And whether or not you did the RIGHT thing simply does not bear examination.

As long as it made you FEEL GOOD, all full of foamy goodness and light, well then. That's what really matters.

UPDATE:
Pretty, fizzy, bubbles....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid! (The terrified are easier to manipulate!)

I can't tell if this is just a poorly written article or a repackaging of a press release from the Sierra Club. Either way, its penchant for wild generalizations and unsupported assertions make my head hurt. For example:
Some scientists say the receding glaciers, like canaries in a coal mine, are
providing an early warning system for the Earth
Which scientists? Details please, not vague generalizations. "Some scientists" tell me nothing about their credibility to speak on the issue.
They say global warming is responsible for extreme weather and outbreaks of
diseases throughout the world
Well, if "They" say it, it must be true!
Scientists say "greenhouse gases" — especially carbon dioxide and methane —
emit from tailpipes and smokestacks. These gases trap heat and prevent it from
escaping into space, just as glass traps heat in a greenhouse.
I need to go back to college and take another chemistry class so I can figger out how gasses behave like solids. How carbon dioxide and methane obtain the same physical properties as a solid, impermeable sheet of glass.
As the gases accumulate, they say, the Earth heats up and climates
change.
Hey, news-flash: climates change about four times a year. It's called "seasons."
Contrasting present conditions with a photo from 1938 in which a man is standing on a 60-foot-high slab of ice, Fagre said: "There's no ice here at this time; it's all just liquid water."
"When we see a place like this changing," he said, "we can attribute it to climate change and to the human influence on the planet."
As long as we also have a photo of the same from 70 years before that one so we can have an accurate baseline for measuring trends.
Harvard's Paul Epstein, a physician and an expert on emerging diseases, blames global warming for recent droughts in Spain and Portugal, as well as heavy rains in other parts of Europe, and says the climate change is linked to outbreaks of malaria and cholera in Asia and Africa and an increase in asthma cases in the United States.
As well as athlete's foot, bad breath, teen pregnancy and Cynthia McKinney's hair. Anything else we want to blame on global warming?

So global warming causes both droughts AND heavy rains!! Simultaneously. In the same general geographical areas. Huh?
"By warming the surface of the ocean, greenhouse gases are providing the feedstock for more and more intense hurricanes,"
Wait. Greenhouse gases are warming the oceans? I thought the sun did that.
The cost of stemming global warming is steep. The Kyoto Protocol, which required the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent and other industrial nations to cut emissions by 5 percent by 2012, was pushed as a solution.
The problem with the Kyoto Protocol is that it leaves out some of the world's worst polluters. And is more about granting the UN more sovereignty/control over developed western nations than cleaning up the environment.

Let me just state that I honestly do think that the scale of industrialization and the deforestation of many areas cannot help but have an impact on the environment, as well as the weather/ climate. I think we are over-fishing our oceans and believe strip mining should be banned. I support preserving the rain forests and preventing urban sprawl. My beef is with the just plain bad science and spurious correlations that get swallowed whole because they happen support the prevailing social meme. And with using global warming as this terrible bugaboo to churn the useful idiots of the world in to a properly compliant froth with which you can push a social/ political agenda having little if anything to do with saving the planet.

And never trust the conclusions of a group that gets more funding by providing the "right" answer.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I gotta ask...

...just how bright is this?

'A Day Without Immigrants'
Illegal immigrants and their allies took to streets across America Monday to take part in "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes" — "A Day Without Immigrants" — in an effort to show their economic importance to the country.

Lessee here...on the day the call goes out for all illegal immigrants to stay home from work..and you don't show up...aren't you kinda showing your hand, so to speak?

"Hey Boss, in case I forgot to mention it...."

Clearly illegals do not fear any repurcussions. One wonders where else this arrogance will take them...