Monday, May 02, 2005

Last week, President Bush signed a bill which protects DVD-filtering companies from being accused of copyright infringement in their quest to purify movies for home viewing . (Side note: I originally misread the title of the article and thought Bush was allowing amateur family porn).

People often seem to forget the fact that personal responsibility and avoidance are a much more effective deterrent than censorship. If parents would spend more time wiping the snot off their kids' noses or having quality family time instead of passing responsibility on to the TV-nanny, this would be a moot point. Yes, your precious Snotty McRunnynose will be exposed to material unsuitable for kids if you let them watch grown-up movies, but why are you letting them watch Gayniggers from Outer Space in the first place ? How can you take your screaming four-year-old to the theatre to watch Dodgeball and then complain about movies that you made the conscious decision to rent or buy? You have the right to police the influences on your child's life, but you also need to step up and take responsibility for your child's growth without complaining to everyone else in the world who are watching lowest-common-denominator college comedies and Coen Brothers flicks.

More importantly, for those few movies that are culturally significant, this bill cheapens the creator's original vision. He or she put a particular scene in the movie for a reason, and third parties should not have the right to alter their work on whim. I know I would be upset if someone took out a chord in the middle of one of my songs because it "reminded them of incestuous camel humps". (Side note: the intent of the previous phrase is solely to increase my Google visibility dancing squirrels buy teldrassil online enhancement).

Racial Data Sought for Bush Event
No Democrats Allowed
You're not fat. Really.

tagged as newsday, politics | permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Prescription drugs have taken over the commercials on nightly television. "This is Bob" cable commericials notwithstanding, I saw five prescription drug commercials in the space of one hour on Sunday night. The commercials and their messages played so often and ran together so much that it was like a contrapuntal elegy of non-fatal side effects and scabrous limbs.

Evidently there's a new prescription drug for chronic dry eyes. Now, millions of Americans will run to their doctors based on misdiagnosed allergies and hypochondria. I'm sure there's quite a few people out there with legitimate dry eye problems which are severe enough to warrant a trade-up for a risk of heart attack, inverse constipation, and genital blistering, but everyone else should try out some home remedies first, like blinking.

The plague of judges is fast approaching
I got out and I was very upset because I realized that I was showering in our own crap [and I didn't notice for two months becuase I figured, you know, well water is brown]
How to get in the Army while on drugs and without a diploma

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My new bedroom furniture arrived today with a "dark Espresso finish". I moved all the old stuff into the guest room, which also included the bookshelf full of important-looking music theory texts.

New Lost and Alias tonight. Watch.

The sixty-quarter-pounder
Scouts unveil the fake anti-piracy merit badge. PETA responds with a statement saying it's discriminatory to parrots.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Two recent movies that I've seen are Ocean's Twelve and Sideways. The first used up its entire plot budget on paying the stars, so it wasn't as well-crafted as the original. It had plenty of style and was a fun diversion though. The Twelve in the title is something of a misnomer since there are fewer than five fleshed out characters, so it really should have been called Three with Ocean's Sounds.

Sideways was a good, quiet, well-done film with a few funny bits. If you know nothing about wine, you might even learn a few things. There really haven't been any superb non-animated movies in quite some time -- movies on par with Memento, L.A. Confidential, and Howard the Duck.

Update on the ban on suggestive cheerleading
Ugly children get no respect
Where will Jesus pop up next?

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, May 06, 2005

Much to the chagrin of heavy metal bands everywhere, a recent retranslation of the New Testament has identified the Devil's number as 616, and not 666 . Apparently the Devil has been hanging out in Grand Rapids with Elvis all this time, lazing on the back porch and drinking "pop".

Specific theological debates aside, this is one of the issues I have with treating ancient texts as dogmatic fact or basing a belief system around them. No matter how true the middle man tried to be to the intent of the author, the receiver is never going to be left with the exact same ideas that the original messenger intended. The game of historical telephone is exacerbated by dead languages, mistranslations, honest mistakes, and middle men intentionally warping things for their own purposes. If any link in the chain is fallible, you cannot truly have 100% faith in the end result.

Three thousand years from now, expect to see people worshipping dung because of misrepresentation of the "Shit Happens" bumper sticker.

More signs that human-eating maggots are taking over the world
Keith Schwartz worries about the "dark undertones" in his brown pants

tagged as newsday | permalink | 4 comments

Monday, May 09, 2005

Nine members of the East Waynesville Baptist Church were voted off the church last week, after failing to pass the Immunity Challenge. The Challenge was simple: Don't vote Kerry . It's okay to make fun of Baptists, though, according to Montgomery County's new sex education program which defends homosexuality against the intolerance of religious groups like the Baptists. The judge who wisely put a temporary block on the curriculum noted that "The Revised Curriculum ... paints certain Christian sects, notably Baptists, which are opposed to homosexuality, as unenlightened and Biblically misguided" .

You'd think that the group who persevered enough to get permission for a factual and balanced sex ed program would have enough common sense to not antagonize major religions in their curriculum. It doesn't take much logic to realize that if a pamphlet with the title "How to put a condom on a banana" can get the majority up in arms, then a pamphlet titled "How to put a condom on a banana when your belief system is intolerant and you smell like pee" is not going to nullify the original angst.

When I was in ninth grade I already had a full course load with band, art, and World Civilization, a history/English hybrid class taught by a quirky lady who had random outbursts in a foreign language which she claimed was Estonian that sounded like "Humnakakeshneeko", and an English teacher who thought everything was "tragic", told people who talked in class to "ostracize" themselves, and dictated word-for-word notes on various literature for a good 50% of each class period. With built-in entertainment like this, I already had to come in an hour early for the Early Bird period 0. I had to choose between "Fundamentals of Human Growth and Development" or Lunch for my last remaining period. I chose Lunch and got exempt from FHGD on religious grounds. I think it was against my religion at the time to skip lunch.

When I'm independently wealthy, having inherited a sizeable fortune from a string of poorly defended credit unions in the Midwest, I'm going to make a sex-ed book. It will not have a single vocabulary term or clinical sketch inside of it -- instead it will be one of those do-it-yourself pop-up books where you cut out the cardboard shapes and make the book yourself. Page one will have the instructions "Insert Tab A into Slot B". Page two will be the cut-outs. I'm not sure yet, how marketable a two-page book is, but there's something to be said for brevity.

Happy Birthday Emily!

Student suspended for call from mom

tagged as newsday, politics | permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Work has been pretty light so far this month, giving me more energy to work on fun side projects at home. Today though, I just mowed the lawn and ate potato chips.

I'm in the middle of reading Code Complete: The Second Edition by Steve McConnell. It's one of those language-agnostic all-purpose programmer books that's supposed to be on everyone's shelf. The book has some smart information in it and passes my "you're a programmer not a comedian so stop trying to write jokes" litmus test. I'd recommend this one along with the usuals, Effective Java, Refactoring, and Pragmatic Programmer.

Didn't study? Just kill your cat and make it look like an accident
Band banned from playing 'Louie Louie' because the lyrics are naughty on mellophone
Rusty Wallace begins plugging his new show, "WHO'S THE BOSS NOW, BITCH??"

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

While reading various news stories about the tensions between the Chinese, Japanese, North Koreans, and other Asian cultures, I noticed that no one has particularly strong feelings against the South Koreans. South Koreans aren't being accused of rewriting history or threatening to take over the Taiwanese and mass distribute cheap electronic gadgets. In general, I guess we're just a more cuddly race than the rest.

There's a new Lost and Alias on tonight. The Alias episode is Jennifer Garner's directorial debut.

We were smart enough to catch the scripted ones.
Pakistan is not for the dogs
"It's like having your tongue hit with a hammer. Man, it hurt."

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

I was driving around Alexandria this morning on my way back from getting my car inspected and passed Patrick Henry Elementary School. Someone had rearranged the letters announcing the next PTA meeting to read "gay ass sluts". This is another example of our fine education system at work, although I suppose there's a slim possibility that gay ass sluts were actually on the agenda.

Happy Birthday Mike Stafford and Madeleine!

Secret Service saves President from grenade, a day later.
Schwarzenegger not mad at moon

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Friday, May 13, 2005

When it comes to falling asleep, I can only doze off in certain positions. If I'm taking a nap, I generally fall asleep fastest while lying on my stomach but can occasionally fall asleep on my back. If I'm hitting the sack for the night, I can never fall asleep on my stomach, and must be on my back. However, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I can go back to sleep on my stomach with no problems. Booty has the same behaviour -- she can only fall asleep in her bed, or on any reasonably flat surface.

Even funny penises are not protected by the First Amendment
Tikrit suicide bombers must now have friends
$96.6 million in rebuilding cash for Iraq can't be found, and people keep stealing those bricks we used to build the power plant

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Monday, May 16, 2005

I like the music of No Doubt, but some of Gwen Stefani's recent songs are just retarded. Her recent chart-climbing hit, Hollaback, sounds like a hiphop-cheerleader chant from the day they lost the football game. I think a song is automatically in trouble when the phrase "This sh*t is bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s)" repeated over and over is the best you can do for a chorus (unrivaled in its repetition by even the Kaiser Chiefs). Is she really afraid that her listening fanbase might not know what a banana is, or is it a misguided attempt to protect young ears from naughty words?

I also find it amusing that in Rich Girl, the take-off on If I Were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof, Gwen simplifies the descending chromatic line by one half-step, which coincidentally makes it much easier to sing.

Did anyone lose a pianist?
Because it's funny to pour drinks on the homeless

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It's time for two more capsule reviews of recently rentable movies. Darkness with Lena Olin and Anna Paquin is a horror movie that's got a passable amount of "creepy", but at the expense of "scary" or even "plot". It employs a lot of standard horror devices which seem relevant but aren't, and an ending which tries to be different and generally succeeds. You won't miss anything if you miss this movie.

I Heart Huckabees is a weird movie. It's interesting, has decent performances, and is easy enough to watch, but it's not really a movie I would recommend to a friend. At times, its "deep" themes seem to be satires of satires of itself, as if the writers felt they were being clever at turning serious philosophy into a lightweight movie, but then got carried away and ended up serious themselves. Watch this movie if nothing else is on the shelf, but skip it if you hate any movie which can effectively be described as "whimsical".

Because you can never have too many copies of "Freddy Got Fingered"
A little too far into the role

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The yearly date for making fun of TV executives has come . On the plus side, Lost, Alias, and Arrested Development were all picked up for a new season (Jennifer Garner's Affleck-baby and FOX's habit of canceling every non-reality show except for the Simpsons notwithstanding). On the minus side, J.J. Abram's new bounty hunter show with Greg Gunberg wasn't picked up, and Lost has spawned millions of wannabe-lookalikes that mix sci-fi and Survivor together into a murky soup. ABC must be drunk on the power of their hit dramas, because their comedy lineup is spearheaded by an attempt to bring back the Geena Davis Show (except this time she's the President of the United States! Move over, Chris Rock).

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Last night's episode of Lost was one of the most well-written and satisfying segments I've ever watched on TV, an opinion made more notable because nothing really happened in the episode. It was the first of the three-part finale (the rest of which will air next Wednesday for two hours), so it spent most of its energy prepping viewers for the end, but it still managed to be completely intriguing while tying up several character relationships satisfactorally. Alias's first and second seasons may still hold the torch for incredible plots and twists that keep you guessing, but Lost is just pure goodness.

Speaking of Alias, which had two back-to-back episodes last night, the writers have definitely recovered completely from the season three pothole -- it's only disappointing that it took almost two years of episodes swimming in plot circles to do it. Of course, you do what you have to do with casting issues, even if it involves killing off characters when the actresses can't come back.

Mother's milk saves flaming vet
Mother uptight about slavery, son doesn't care
The man [...] filed suit against the woman in 1997, claiming she was negligent when she suddenly changed positions, landed awkwardly on him and fractured his penis.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

For this rainy Friday, here's a collection of news stories about stupid people recently in the news. Enjoy!

Who not to solicit for drugs
Saving the sharks, sort of
Man calls police from camper he broke in to
Friends' Boat Trip Fiasco Ends With Lesson Learned (Maybe)
Drug dogs useless after learning what talc smells like
Because "I am poisonous" is a catchy slogan

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Monday, May 23, 2005

I finally hit level 60 in World of Warcraft, which is currently the maximum level you can reach in the game. It was a fun trip, though I probably wouldn't want to do it solo again. Looking back, I still recommend this game if you like MMORPGs. It's well implemented, not very annoying, and is fun both as a solo game and with friends. It's definitely not like the original Everquest at all. Now that I'm 60, I'll probably play less than before, but it will still be fun to jump on with the rest of the guild for dungeon runs. If you don't play WoW, and have no interest in such games at all, you can skip ahead to the news links. Otherwise, here's a screenshot of the gear I currently have:

Camel mistakes woman for a chair
However, they did edge out law students, who were able to distinguish truth from falsehood 44 per cent of the time.
Walk down the aisle to the sweet sounds of the lawn mower

tagged as games | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

There is a subset of our society known as the "Easily Offended". People in this elite clique are characterized by one or more of the following traits:

    1) They're ready to crusade at the drop of a hat, taking examples of poor taste as indicators of the moral decline of society (see Michael Powell).
    2) They're quite willing to let their outrage stem from secondhand sources, without getting all the facts themselves (see anyone who pickets movies without seeing them, or the local Fairfax representative who sent his aide to spy on a sex-awareness fair at George Mason so he could lambast it from a high tower of purity)
    3) If any of their talking points are shown to be false, they use "the greater good" as a set of blinders and shrug off the criticism (see these people who incidentally have all three traits).

Safety Tip of the Week: Blow the drink out first (1 MB GIF)
Family protects themselves from radiation with tin foil

permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ending a news article is an art form. The last paragraph of your article is the one that readers will walk away with, rivaling the importance of the headline. This heartwarming tale of a rhino and his goat friend and this informative article on throwing like a girl show us that, luckily, this art form has not been lost.

Speaking of Lost, the two-hour finale is airing tonight (Note my artful use of another writing device, the "transition"). It will be followed by the season finale of Alias, and both shows are expected to have excellent cliffhangers.

Why you should be scared of bugs
Man Leaps From Car to Retrieve Cigarette
"Respecting religion is important and respecting other people is important," said [the guy who wrote the sign]. "Hopefully, a lot of people will have that thought when they see the sign."

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Lost finale was quite good, but I don't think they gave enough answers for the old questions before introducing new ones. Whoever voted for Arzt kicking the bucket got their wish, as he managed to explode himself with nitroglycerin while teaching the other survivors how dangerous it is. The Alias finale was partly satisfying and partly disappointing. I will reveal the cliffhanger in this post, so stop reading now if you tape the show to watch later.

Alias has always been a family drama first, which just happens to be set with spies as a backdrop. The element that separated it from other spy shows and movies was the presence of the 15th century prophet, Milo Rambaldi, whose works and prophecies end up involving the Bristow family for various reasons. Over the past two years they transformed the stately mysticism of Rambaldi into a James Bond weapon-of-the-week endgame. Many people hated the whole Rambaldi aspect of the show, but it's figured in since the beginning, and without it you don't have the same show -- you just have a weekly serial with cops and robbers.

With this finale, the writers decided to finally end the Rimbaldi plotline, but the way it played out was much less worthwhile than its dramatic beginnings. However, the fact that all the original threads tied together for his Endgame made for a satisfying episode. It could have been a perfect ending to the Alias run -- the world is saved, the main characters marry, and Irina Derevko gets away.

Instead, the show ends with a stupid cliffhanger -- Sydney Bristow's husband-to-be reveals that he's not really who he says he's been for the past five years. Before he can explain further, they're both hit from the side by a speeding car and the credits roll. Yes, it was shocking and will provide watercooler fodder for the summer, but it seems like something the writers came up with for lack of better ideas. So now we have a new season without Rambaldi, with a character who apparently has been completely rewritten back to day one.

What could the main characters ever face in the next season that could ever match the importance of the Prophecy? Without that unifying thread, we're left with boring self-contained Law & Order style episodes until the writers run out of ideas again and bring back Rambaldi for his Endendgame. There is a fantasy book by Raymond Feist called Shadow of a Dark Queen which starts a four-book series in an existing Feist universe. He completely negates the major plot points of all his previous books, puts the big-baddie-fight in book 3, and then writes a snoozer book 4 about picking up the pieces after the land has been razed. This episode and my expectations of next season are like that, except with much better dialogue and writing.

I guess that's what you get in world of TV where ABC has no idea how to promote a show and continues to move it to different nights and important cast members quit or make babies with Ben Affleck. Season One and Two are still the best writing to ever air on television, so rent those at Blockbuster the next time you're out. Season Three and Four had a few great episodes in a swamp of average ones, but I have a feeling I'll be watching Season Five out of loyalty to the show, and no longer because it's the best show on TV.

Reinforcing the case that Star Wars should have been PG-LessThan16OrGreaterThan20
Monstrous duct taped penis shuts down highway
Gang makes use of the elderly

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's been quite some time since I mentioned the welfare of the kittens. Everyone can be assured that neither one has met an untimely demise from hyenas or other natural predators. Since it's the end of the month, I'll take a news post to enthrall you with status reports on the major players:

Booty is still Booty. She likes to chase Amber all over the house or wrestle Kitty to the ground for world domination. She thinks Sydney is annoying and smacks her around when she won't shut up, but will use Sydney as the fall-cat for stealing food out of cabinets or the sink. Booty is slowly becoming a lap-cat and knows two tricks, "Fetch the String" and "Run to fridge when Kitty is doing tricks".

Kitty is losing weight and spends most of her time staring out the window at chickenhawks or crying at the door to go into the hypoallergenic non-cat part of the house. She likes short walks on the beach, and can Sit, Shake, Speak, and Roll Over. She's learning Come but it currently only works when you're standing by the fridge.

Here's a video clip of Kitty playing with Sydney, titled "Veiled Threat": (3.5MB WMV)

Sydney is the most obnoxious yet cute kitten ever. She has a 40-year-old smoker voice and whines for food all the time. Through perseverance, she's learned how to open food tins, closed trash cans, and cabinets in her quest for food. We considered changing her name to Alley since she acts and looks like an alley cat. Sydney follows Kitty around and Kitty licks her.

Here's a video clip of Sydney entering a room: (403KB WMV)

Amber is very shy and not too bright. We considered renaming her Eldie. She will sometimes stand on both legs to reach something and then fall over sideways. She plays pretend by herself a lot, and has the tendency to get toys stuck to her claws. Amber is the lappiest of lap cats, but skitters away from anything that moves.

Here's a video clip of Amber playing with herself: (1.5MB WMV)

Principal stabs self, blames student
Principal has no sense of humour
Student who was "Most Likely to Assassinate Bush"
Yearbook identifies girl as "Black Girl"
Hacking students denied admittance

tagged as cats | permalink | 1 comment


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