Thursday, March 30, 2006

A quick one

Via Fark.com, the Bestest Headline Evar:

UN to Iran: "Now stop your nuke program, or I shall taunt you a second time."

So true, so painfully true.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Self-inflicted punishement for the day

I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep. I will not oversleep.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Teh funnay for today

A warning: following this link while consuming a beverage may result in any or all of the following: spattered monitor, wet keyboard, stained shirt, wet pants and/or unwillingly irrigated sinuses.

You have been warned.

Oops

Sooo . . . I totally missed my first blogiversary by, like, four months and one day. Turns out it was way back in November (the 22nd, to be exact). Ironically enough, I made no less than three posts on the actual day. Too bad I had no idea what I was doing. ^_^

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Race relations (again)

Nursery schools in Britain are changing the words of "Baa baa black sheep" to "Baa baa rainbow sheep." True story. Now, this really rubs me the wrong way: for one thing, the rhyme isn't even remotely racist. For another thing, teaching children that they should tiptoe around for fear of offending someone is more of a gag than any law restricting speech. If I may speak freely, these teachers are idiots. You want kids to grow up "tolerant" of each other? Don't treat one group differently from the others. You've got dark skin? Good for you. I have freckles, and Kimi over there has slanted eyes. Whoop-de-frickin'-doo. It doesn't matter! If you wants to eat lunch at my table, that's fine! I don't care what you looks like! But if the lunch monitor decides that, because of our respective anscetries, you're entitled to half my lunch money and I can't use the word "black" for fear of offending you--never mind that it didn't bother you before--then we have a problem.

But only then.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Macintosh, it trickses us!

I've never been a fan of large-scale, pay-to-belong schemes. Credit card companies make me nervous, and I'm not about to join an MMORPG (although there are other reasons, number one being that I have a life and outside interests). So while I've been somewhat interested in the technology of the iPod, I haven't bought one because a) I don't have that kind of money, and b) I'm leery of iTunes.

Then I tried to download Quicktime 7.

I like Quicktime. I really do. Of the three major media players out there (Windows and RealPlayer being the other two), Quicktime is the one I like best for online playback. It's clean, simple, and it's obvious to see when the data is loaded and ready to play. So naturally when a new version comes out, I snap it up without any problems. Except that this last time, when I went to download Quicktime 7, I found that it came bundled with iTunes.

Worse than that, I couldn't install one without the other. ("But isn't that what bundled means?" "Quiet, you.") I am not happy about this. Sure, I can download a buttload of music for pretty reasonable prices, but at what cost? Is a copy of Coldplay worth my eternal soul?

Okay, so it's not that bad. But I'm still not happy about it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Today's list

Words that make me happy because of how they sound:

Defenstration
Kerfuffle
Raptorial
Chignon
Kalamazoo
Stump

All hail Xenu!

I don't usually watch "South Park"--I find it vulgar, crude and usually totally unnecessary. But of the two? three? episodes I've seen, the one where they lampoon Scientology is the best. Objectively speaking, it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV. There's a subplot where Tom Cruise (and eventually several other male celebrities) won't come out of a closet, and when a character explains the beliefs of scientology (aliens, H-bombs and all), they flashed "This is what Scientologists actually believe" across the bottom of the screen. The episode ended with the Scientologists threatening to sue everyone, and in the credits all the names were listed as either John or Jane Smith. Really, really funny stuff. Hilariously enough, Tom Cruise doesn't seem to get the joke.

Now, I'm automatically suspicious of someone who can't take a joke (even if he doesn't think it's funny). If someone makes a joke about Jesus, you know what? If it's truly funny, I'm gonna laugh. There's no point getting my panties in a twist over someone else's insensitivity. What I've found is that if you're truly secure in your beliefs, then someone else's joke at your expense is not going to be that big a deal. Sure, "South Park" took a really cheap shot at Tom Cruise. But they take cheap shots at everyone--and I do mean everyone. It's what all great satirists do.

Of course, the best part of this whole kerfuffle (besides the chance to use that word) is Trey Parker and Matt Stone's response:

" So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!
-- Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."
Via Ace of Spades

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The evolution of race relations

A couple weeks ago, I had the immense privilege of attending an event honoring eight members of the Tuskegee Airmen. Six were present; two were represented by their widows. They were there to receive an award from the university, and I was there to cover for a newswriting class (which I have since withdrawn from--I took on too much this semester)(don't worry, Mom, it was an elective). Next class, my professor gave us a talk about how the school paper (which I work on) had ignored the real story in its article (which I edited, BTW). The real story, he said, was not that they were here but that they had struggled against racism. To me, this pointed out a fundamental difference between my parents' generation and my own: racism for my age group is on its way to being solved.

A while back, I read a news story about a woman who complained about a picture in her child's high school year book. The photo featured the "most whipped boyfriend" and his girlfriend, who had him literally on a leash. The young man was black, and the young woman was (I believe) white. The parent complained that this image was reminscent of slavery. Here's the kicker: Up until she mentioned this, none of the students had thought of it that way.

Pretty much the same thing happened in my class. No one really seemed to think there was a problem with the paper's coverage of the event; for us, the issue wasn't that these men had overcome incredible odds (although none of us belittled their struggles). The issue was that they were here and that we had a chance to hear their stories. Their struggles against white racists were just one facet of their history; we were looking at the whole picture.

I've talked about this to other people my age, and they laregely agree with me that for us, race is becoming a non-issue. Sure, there are still bigots out there. There's always going to be someone who hates his neighbor for no good reason, or for an irrational reason. But racism just isn't the problem it used to be. In a post a while back, I talked about how certain young black men scare me not because of their skin color, but because of their angry sense of entitlement. If they were white and angry, I'd still be scared. If they dressed like gangbangers but were friendly and accessible, I wouldn't be. I've met plenty of black people that I got along just fine with because they didn't judge me. If someone carries himself with dignity and treats others with respect, it doesn't matter what color (or gender, religion or whatever) he is. It's a two-way street, and my generation is ready to get in the car and drive.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Does anyone have some acid or something that I can use to scrub my brain?

Over at Michelle Malkin, there's a transcript (and audio!) of a high school teacher's left-wing rant during class. We have this because one student taped the lecture and complained to the faculty. Ms. Malkin did us all a huge favor by transcribing it; I could only stomach about two minutes of the audio before I had to turn it off. The vitriol this man demonstrates is just astounding. But since it's in print form, I feel perfectly free to give the guy a good fisking.

Let's start with this gem:

[I]f we have the right to fly to Bolivia or Peru and drop chemical weapons on top of farmers' fields because we're afraid they might be growing coca and that could be turned into cocaine and sold to us, well then don't the Peruvians and the Iranians and the Chinese have the right to invade America and drop chemical weapons over North Carolina to destroy the tobacco plants that are killing millions and millions of people in their countries every year and causing them billions of dollars in health care costs?
If they thought they could get away with it, they probably would. And since when are herbicides considered "chemical weapons"? There's a big difference between Round-Up and mustard gas. Here's another one:
[W]hen you're looking at this definition, where does it say anything about capitalism is an economic system that will provide everyone in the world with the basic needs that they need? Is that a part of this system? Do you see how this economic system is at odds with humanity? At odds with caring and compassion? It's at odds with human rights.
Funny, I always thought the beautiful thing about capitalism was that it gave people the chance to improve their lives without government assistance. And what's all this about being at odds with human rights? Sure, it's driven by profit, but who isn't in this crazy world? Capitalist America is one of the richest coutries on the planet. Communist Cuba, North Korea, Soviet Russia and Cambodia are (were) some of the poorest. Know why? When the government controls everything, there's no room for improvement so the economy stagnates and grows algae. But that's a rant for another day. Moving on:
Why did we invade Iraq?! How do we know that the invasion of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction-- even if weapons had been found, how would you have known, how could you prove--that that was not a real reason for us to go there.

There are dozens upon dozens of countries that have weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is one of dozens. There are plenty of countries that are controlled by dictators, where people have no freedom, where they have weapons of mass destruction and they could be potentially threatening to America. We're not invading any of those countries!
Actually, there's more and more evidence that A) he did have WMDs and B) he trucked them into Syria while we danced for the UN. But aside from that, there are other reasons: We were finishing what we started, we were getting our foot in the door in the Middle East, we were setting up more dominos to fall (see: Lybia) and (perhaps most importantly) Iran is now pinned between two large bodies of American forces. With all the stuff that's been going on there, this can only be a good thing.
Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?!

Unidentified brainwashed student interjects: We are.

The United States of America! And we're a democracy. Quote-unquote.
Note that he ignores our general lack of honor killings, public stonings, beheadings and gang rapes so frequent that women are afraid to walk alone at night.
Who has the most weapons of mass destruction in the world? The United States.

Who's continuing to develop new weapons of mass destruction as we speak?!
The United States.
Would he rather Saudi Arabia had them?
So, why does Mr. Bush think that other countries that are democracies won't wanna be like us? Why does he think they'll just wanna be at peace with each other?! What makes him think that when the Palestinians get their own state that they won't wanna preemptively invade Israel to eliminate a potential threat to their security just like we supposedly did in Iraq?! Do you see the dangerous precedent that we have set by illegally invading another country and violating their sovereignty in the name of protecting us against a potential future--sorry--attack?
At the risk of sounding callous and bullying, who's going to stop us from taking over a smaller country? We could probably invade and conquer Mexico and Canada at the same time if we really wanted to. The difference between us and the Palestinians is that we need a pretty good reason to go to war. For some world leaders, declaring war ranks above what socks to wear that day but below what to have for dinner.
Sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler use to say.
Godwin!
I just keep waiting. You know, at some point I think America and Mexico might go to war again. You know. Anytime Mexico plays the USA in a soccer match. What can be heard chanting all game long?
Dude, Mexico invaded without firing a shot. Also, whatever you're smoking, I'd like some. For, you know, investigative purposes.

It only gets weirder from here. Bennish (the teacher) calls Hamas "freedom fighters", claims that Israel came into being through terrorism and draws a moral equivalence between collateral damage and deliberate targeting of civilians. Simply put: this guy is a nut.

In closing, I would like to say congratulations to the young man who had the guts to tape this guy, stand up to him in class and lodge a formal complaint afterwards. That takes guts. Wherever you are, Mr. Allen, we need more like you. Thank you.