I use a Nokia N800 and can be contacted via Google Talk, Skype or the Gizmo Project. My user name and email is the same for all of these services:
I would love to test the Nokia's voice chat and/or video chat capabilities, so feel free to contact me if you too have an N800....or if you have a comment about my site.
For Nokia VoIP compatible PC (blech) software go here.
Wow, nearly a year without adding any thoughts to my page. And what compels me? Something called The Fashion Show? It's a completely poor attempt at replacing Project Runway. If you want to see a much more thorough run down of the things wrong with this show see the very entertaining guys at Project RunGay here. But for me this one, very short clip says it all. While I like Isaac in general, this is clearly not his forte. Click on the photo of little Isaac and you can see him trying out a new number!
See that's the problem with the show. No one has anything interesting to say. Especially its host, and is that not the sadest of all. Poor Isaac comes of as, well....impaired.
OK, I am not completely against prescription drugs. I am not a weird scientologist jumping around on Oprah's couch. I work in a field where I often see evidence of the efficacy of some medicines. But I also see abuse. And I see the ways that pharmaceutical companies sell their product. And like soft drinks and electronic pets, sometimes a market is created out of thin air.
I am sure many would be surprised to know that the claims made by some drug companies in the ads seem a little bold if you read the caveats and small print.
For instance, take a look at the home page for the drug Wellbutrin. It shows a smiling woman with caption saying "Wellbutrin works for my depression". But clicking the BENEFITS tab brings up this text:
"Research suggests that depression may be caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Scientists believe that WELLBUTRIN XL helps balance the levels of two of these neurotransmitters called dopamine and norepinephrine."
Emphasis mine to accentuate how the wording tells you how little they understand their own product. Or the disease. This short paragraph essentially says (1) they don't know what causes depression and (2) they don't know exactly what their drug does to alleviate depression. But take it every day for the rest of your life, plea$e.
While there is no single explanation for how Mirena® works, it may:
--Block sperm from reaching or fertilizing your egg
--Make the lining of your uterus thin (this may also result in benefits like less menstrual bleeding over time)
--Stop the release of your egg from your ovary (but this is not the way it works in most cases)
It is believed that all 3 of these actions may work together to prevent pregnancy.
Well geez, okay, I'm convinced. Aren't you? Sounds more like a religion than science with all that believing going on. I thought about collecting more of these for examples, but you get the idea. All I am intending to do here is shed light and encourage others to read up thoroughly on all chemicals you put in your body. Sometimes you need to take a chance to get better. To quote Paracelsus: "Poisons measured in doses are remedies". Very true. But if they don't remedy the problem, perhaps it's time to try something else. Perhaps Panexa.
Tucker Carlson is a twat.
OK, so that's juvenile. But honestly, does anyone without highlighted Ayn Rand books on their shelves like him?
When discussing how approximately a third of the United States believes in a 9-11 conspiracy he asked, "How could you still live in this country if you believe that?"
This is one of the go-to plays that conservatives use when they have run out of replies. This childish notion that liberals should leave the country if they don't like some aspect about the USA ....Hillbilly Heroin Limbaugh and every caller to his and other anachronistic AM radio shows seem to use a variation of this line daily. It is pregnant with implications that you are not patriotic, not in-step and therefore do not belong.
From a purely practical point this is fantasy and proves that they don't care if what they say makes sense. This line makes it sound like moving to another country is as easy as moving across town. Of course it is a very long, difficult and costly process to get citizenship in another country. A cursory look is all you'll need to verify this. But truth has no place when your grand ideas are at stake. Facts, to paraphrase someone I have forgotten, have a liberal bias. (It's eye-opening how many conservative don't even understand why that quote is funny.)
Even if it were easy to load up the car with belongings next weekend and drive into Canada and plant your roots, this still misses the point entirely. Whenever a liberal expresses dissatisfaction with some aspect of our collective existence it is somehow the liberals that are the problem. But if conservatives dislike something and want to change it, well, that's just common sense. Or something. I couldn't begin to explain such cognitive dissonance. But why shouldn't conservatives have to leave? If they don't like the social safety net that we've created why aren't they headed for some other land? If they don't like that we have laws protecting the environment why don't they find other environs to destroy? If they don't like everything they way it is right now, why won't they leave? Really Tucker: if you think one third of the U.S. is crazy then "how could you still live in this country if you believe that?" What'll be the next stamp on your passport?
But if you do plan to stay, why don't you grow up.
Now that that is out of the way can we actually discuss the issue?
Today I read an oh-so-sweet story about a boy with a fun idea. From Reuters:
LONDON - A 4-year-old British boy who released a balloon with a message hoping to find a pen pal in a foreign land ended up having a correspondence with the Queen.
But it is impossible for me not to think of this story (Google cache) when I read about that balloon:
A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse.
I know being responsible takes the fun out romantic notions like connecting with a pen pal via the random path of a balloon. But we have to think about the consequences of everything we do. Is it really worth talking with the Queen? Will she really write anything so interesting that it is worth doing this to a turtle?
For more see the following videos, or search of "Pacific Gyre" and get yourself properly disgusted at humanity.And stop buying bottled water. We are not a third world country, and those damned bottles are helping destroy the planet.
VIDEO / Synthetic Sea - Plastic in the open Ocean
Video / Alphabet Soup
On my last trip to the grocery store I express-laned it; I bought some Odwalla snack bars, some tea bags, and orange juice. I make a point of not getting a bag when I buy few items. If I can carry my purchases to the register without a problem then I never get a bag for them. Europe is way ahead on these wasteful, polluting bags. Especially the plastic ones. I do have mixed emotions on a ban since I use these exclusively for my trash cans at home. Seriously, I can not ever remember buying plastic bags for home. I have a small trash can and I empty it frequently. No problems. (Besides, why would I want a large trash can full of trash in my home?) So as always I told the clerk that I did not need a bag. She argued: "Maybe just a little bag?" "No thanks," I replied. So as I entered my PIN for the debit card she proceeded to do this.
Yes, she put one of those absurd stickers on every single item I bought. I was stunned and I think she could tell. I said nothing; I was too amazed to say anything. It always amazes me when the drones follow stupid rules to the extreme due to an inability to see the line they've crossed. This practice is pointless to begin with and HEB (the store) should get some common sense. Those stickers are more wasteful than the bag I tried to avoid, and altogether insulting in their intent. They tell the customer: you can't be trusted to walk from the register to the door, and we are watching you.
As the country I live in slowly goes insane I ponder its latest symptom: legalizing torture. In my opinion any discussion of torture should start by pointing out the obvious: torture doesn't work. Experts say so. The military says so. The CIA says so. The Pentagon says so. It is the neo-conmen that currently control this country that don't get it. It is simply another example of how they don't get it. It being facts, science, empiricism...What's one more policy based on nonsense in a sea of them called the Bush Administration.
A favorite argument is the Ticking Time Bomb (TTB) one--taken straight out of Hollywood blockbusters. And like most of what comes from those types of movies it's all a bunch of posturing nonsense. The argument goes thusly: if a huge bomb were about to go off (say a "nucular" one) then we would have to be able to torture the person with the information to stop it.
As I said before we must start out with fact that studies and history show that information received via torture is unreliable. To say the least. Still, one can imagine a very real circumstance with the TTB. Wouldn't any good American (played by Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise) torture that ethnic person to say peoples lives!!! Of course a hero would! But the fact is if this impossibly rare circumstance were to come up that hero would torture the guy whether legal or not. And post-happy-ending that hero would be happy to take whatever punishment he would face knowing he did the right thing. And all of us know too, that little-to-no punishment would come. The fact is that being a hero means taking risk. If you're right, you're right. Besides, the public would not allow such a person to go to jail if it were under such circumstances. That's what pardons are for.
Put it another way: say you were walking by a city street store front and you saw that a store was on fire. You also saw a small child alone in the store. No one is around and the child is in very real danger of being harmed or killed. You could break the glass in the store front--but wait! You can't because that is against the law. Who would not break that window? Right. So, should we now make it legal to break all store front windows in the event that we need to save a child from burning alive? Of course not.
I could possibly entertain the thought that we could make laws that allow torture as long as very detailed circumstances were documented before hand. But that would require accountability, and even though Dubya likes to use the word he does not like it applied to himself. He has not taken responsibility for not heeding the Presidential Daily Briefing that warned him about 9-11. He has not taken responsibility for the failed Iraq occupation. He has not taken responsibility for...this would take too long to go over them all. What the President wants is to be able to break all store front windows whenever he wants. Actually he wants more than that; he wants to be able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And he is using terror to get it. It's not a "war on terror", it's a war using terror. He's using it on you America.
Recently on the Al Franken Show they discussed the way that Republicans have been using the term “Democrat Party” in instead of Democratic Party. (See the Media Matters entry on this for more.) I was thinking about it and I am convinced that the use of "Democrat Party" serves multiple purposes. First is that it distances the party a little from the positive connotations that go along with "Democratic Party." It is also harsher sounding without the –ic. But there's a card that the Republic party (wink) likes to play and is playing here—the arrogant, elitist card. They love to--because tactically it works--make Democrats look like snobs. And they know that using "Democrat" in a grammatically incorrect way will make many Democrats point it out, and by pointing it out they'll come off as bookish, snobby, elitist, etc. Less intelligent Republicans will fume at this, while smarter ones will revel in the irritation felt by Democrats. In this way they fire up their base, and feed the elitist line that has worked so well for them.
This type of tactic runs throughout the Republican machine. Another guest on the Al Franken Show thought it was so odd that Bush’s reading list for this summer included Albert Camus’s The Stranger among other unlikely titles. Bush has been president for 6 years, and everyone has made up their minds about whether he is an idiot or not. They will not be swaying anyone with this loftier, unlikely reading list. Previously they had released easier-to-swallow reading lists full of biographies, like of Joe DiMaggio. So the question is why would they try to make him look more intellectual now? For the same reason they use the term “Democrat Party”; they are intentionally trying to provoke a response from Democrats that will make Democrats come off as arrogant. The only “reality-based” response to the idea that Bush is reading Camus will be framed as arrogant disbelief. There go those elitist blue-staters again…
The fact that this works is an indication of where we are as a nation. It’s more than just a failure of the education system—though that is true. The Republican machine has made it a goal to make all things associated with intelligence, facts, education, science—all things related to a higher education (higher than the American median)—a bad thing. They prey on the people by lighting a fire of inferiority under them, then making them angry about that inferiority. And they make Democrats the messenger that they want to kill (to mix metaphors). They have done it so many times and so well that it’s ingrained in those on the right to distrust expertise. I could not explain this better than Charles Pierce has already. If you haven’t read "Idiot America" yet you should stop everything and do so.
My point is that Republicans have become so good at manipulation that sometimes what looks like a chink in the armor is actually a tactic. They made the desire for accuracy, the search for knowledge, and the elevation of science all just ways that the brie eating and champagne drinking elitists in the Democrat Party are ruining America.
A rant on salt water fish keeping.
So often when someone discovers that I have a salt water tank I am asked: "It's a lot of work, isn't it?" Well, sure, it can be considered some work. But not an inordinate amount as long as you know what you're doing. Learn what you need to and it's rather easy and not very time-consuming. I am convinced that people ask this because they'd like a tank for it's beauty, but aren't willing to do the work because they don't care about the fish. I know many people with dogs and they dote and dote; they take them to the vet, they take them to the groomers, they buy them toys and they treat them like kids. In short, they spend a lot of time, money and energy caring for their dogs. But that's because they love their dogs. A salt water fish tank will seem like work because it requires a little knowledge, and because you don't actually care about the fish. I spend less time on my fish than most do on their dogs. But I really care about the health of my fish, and it doesn't seem like much time or work to me. If you're that worried about the effort, yes!, it's a lot of work. Thousands--if not millions--of fish are killed by this kind of indifference.
I am late on this but I finally found a place (in this backward state) where I could have my television recycled. I held on to a 26" TV because I refused to dump that toxic trash in a landfill. So for anyone in central Texas needing to do this, contact E-Waste Solutions (EWS-US) at:
106 E. Old Settlers Blvd.
Bldg. E, Suite 110
Round Rock, TX 78664
Just imagine the reaction from Republicans and the Media if the previous administration did what the current one has done. For instance:
Imagine the uproar if Al Gore had shot a man in the face while in office.
Imagine the uproar if Al Gore had told someone in the Senate to "fuck himself" (as Cheney did).
Imagine the uproar if the Clinton White House had put a gay hooker with a false name in the White House press pool pretending to be a journalist (as Bush/Cheney did).
Imagine the uproar if Al Gore's office had outed a covert CIA agent (as Cheney's did).
Imagine the uproar if Clinton had refused to meet the mother of a soldier who died fighting for the USA.
Imagine the uproar if Clinton had covertly wire tapped US citizens and then lied about doing it (as Bush did). Or see here for alternate video link.
And here is the Official White House transcript of this speech:
Imagine the uproar if Clinton had fired a government employee so that the real cost of his program would not get to the public before the bill passed (as Bush did).
Imagine the uproar if Clinton had done nothing but read to children for 5 minutes while knowing that the World Trade Center was being attacked by terrorists (as Bush did).
supporters are hypocritical (I refrain from making a blanket statement about
conservatives). And if you still believe that BS about there being a liberal
media then you are delusional.
Listen lemmings: we are not "at war". We are occupying the defeated nation of Iraq—but we are not at war with them anymore. We won, didn't you hear? And there is no such thing as a war on terrorism; you can not wage war against a tactic. It's as absurd as a war on knitting, a war on sarcasm, or a war on tap dancing. The current president wants you to think war, war, war because it helps him get away with things. That's why he washes away every bad thing learned about him with the "we're at war" sound bite. He thinks he can do anything he wants while "at war". We'll be "at war" as long as it is convenient and expedient for Mr Bush. And technically a war can only be declared by congress. So stop with this nonsense. Right now. You are being manipulated.
I finally have The Reflecting Skin (IMDB) on DVD! This is wonderful. This movie was one of a handful (After Hours, The Rapture...) that made me buy a laserdisc player in 2000 because they were not released on DVD. TRS was butchered on the laserdisc (full screen) but is thankfully anamorphic widescreen on the DVD. I had heard about German and French DVD releases in the past but never got a copy of those. From what I understand they were dubbed anyway. This release--Japanese--is not dubbed; it has Japanese subtitles that can be turned off, so it's nearly perfect. The only issue is the region coding, which of course is region 2. I have a DVD player that is hacked to be region free so I am lucky. Though it was tricky I also managed to make a backup copy that is region free, just in case. If there are any other fans of this movie out there waiting for a proper [mostly] release--know that there finally is.
I own a Samsung TV. This one. It is model TXP2675WH. My review of this TV is short: stay away. In my own, personal, humble opinion I'd suggest staying away from Samsung completely. Against anecdotal evidence and better judgment I bought this TV and it was a poor choice. I had known of poor Samsung cell phones and one tragedy of a DVD player, and have now added the television. This thing has had around 6 service calls and still is not fixed. I have had it about 5-6 months and am so frustrated with it--and Circuit City who will not allow me to replace this obvious lemon (even bought the extended warranty--and for what?) When the TV works it looks great. And it has a wealth of features. But it is so erratic (turns off on its own, won't turn off, white/black lines on screen, picture not centered...) that it is nothing but a nuisance. I wanted to like this TV, but it and Circuit City are lame.
For lack of a better place to put this on my site...I have an old LG Phenom Ultra that does not work properly that I am wanting to get rid of. Perhaps someone needs one for parts or curiousity...contact me if you're one of them.
Again with the CRT problem...at the bottom of this page (dated 1/04) you'll see a post about my troubles trying to dispose of a TV that no longer worked. Well, here I am again with a TV that needs disposal. And again I am unable to find anywhere to dispose of it properly. Every avenue leads to: landfill. I just can't do this! It's absurd. There are many harmful substances withing that piece of e-trash. Do you want to drink that mercury? Do you want your children/nieces/nephews to get that lead in their blood? Who does? So why is there NO PROGRAM at all for safe disposal? Is anyone but the mindless, Limbaugh dittoheads against this concept of safe disposal? I doubt it. So why the problem? Someone explain, please.
Mindless me. Selfish me. Unaware me. Yep. Lest ye think I am only capable of external criticism or observation, here's one on myself: My favorite coffee is Sumatra. I buy organic coffee only these days and wanted some Sumatra beans this time around. But the store I usually go to did not have any. I was a bit annoyed at this. Mentally I began flexing my shop-elsewhere muscles; the power of consumerism will change the world. Capitalism bravado! That'll show 'em. Well with a little reading online I quickly realized that Sumatra was hard hit by the tsunami, and no wonder coffee is not available. Shame on me for forgetting.
I simply can't get a grip on this insane country I live in. Why the nimrods here get whipped up into a voting frenzy at the thought of gay people marrying, yet are so blasé about the unnecessary deaths of so many soldiers and innocent civilians in Iraq. Why they put people in prison for life for smoking marijuana by choice (a "justice" system based on baseball metaphors-3 steee-rikes!-is a joke too), yet support a church that hides the hideous acts of rape and various other scandals. Virtually everything that Bush has done is to benefit corporations, war profiteering and the weakening of the government-that same government that has made this country so great. Somehow half of the country has gone mad. They consistently vote in ways that directly hurt their own interests.
On NPR this morning they asked people on the street (if you will) who they voted for and why. One man said (and I paraphrase): "I voted for Bush. I think he has made a real mess over in Iraq, and he needs to go clean up that mess." How revealing this maddeningly illogical answer is. The wildly apparent inadequacies of this president are not held against him. No, instead the president's incompetence causes such supporters to turn quasi-paternal toward him.
Instead of firing the man--as anyone else who did their job so poorly would be--people treat him like a messy toddler needing redirection. Now go clean your room, George!
How can I feel comfortable in such an atmosphere? It truly is an altering of reality. And this is just what Bush and Company want. Here's a telling quote:
A Bush aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'
Ron Suskind, "Without a Doubt", New York Times Magazine
Reality does not matter. Facts do not matter. And a majority of the population has clearly moved into the fantasy world created by this administration. What are the rest of us to do, those of us who plan to stick around this reality-based community? I am looking for ideas. Send them my way if you have any.
Am I the only person not plagued with spam? I seem to be. All I can say is that people are doing something to bring it on themselves, because I have 'been online' for many years and hardly get any spam. Seriously.
Busier Americans Are Less Informed Americans After meeting with the 9-11 commission, President Bush said, "We wouldn't have met with them if we had anything to hide." But the President is counting on most of the country not knowing the timeline of his position on the 9-11 commission. The Bush administration opposed the creation of the commission. They did their best to strangle funding for the commission once it was created.
initially refused to meet with, or testify, with the members. And when they
finally agreed to talk with them, they required that it be only with two commission
members nd for only and hour. All these changes to their positions, and more,
were a result of political pressures and the bad press these uncooperative
stances generated. So it is quite clear--when you know the history--that Bush
provides the logic behind this statement: Bush has something to hide about
9-11. Even though he eventually allowed all members of the commission to attend
the meeting, one can not just ignore the preceding positions. And even though
he met with them, there were limitations: he and Cheney had to appear together
and no recording of the meeting could be made. The obviousness of these limitations
needs no explanation. When I try to engage friends or family members or acquaintances
in political conversation, most do not know basic facts about the issues.
They brush off their admitted ignorance with the defense that they are busy.
They work, they have children, they have spouses and significant others. Their
own lives take up so much of their time that they assume that the business
of running the country will take care of itself without them. Bush knows this.
So he can say things like, "We wouldn't have met with them if we had
anything to hide," and not worry too much about the
Americans seeing the big picture. By Bush's own reasoning, he had something to hide when he repeatedly declined to cooperate with the 9-11 commission. And it may be cynical to do so, but one could also see in the Bush administration's other policies ways to make Americans even busier, and therefore even less informed, than ever. By revising the overtime regulations, more people will be working more hours for less pay due to their positions being redefined (similar to the Bush administration's attempt to redefine jobs at McDonalds as assembly work). Thousands, if not millions, of people will end up busier than they are already. That's the ticket. And what of other changes brought about under Bush? One can see more of Americans time being usurped by cutting the funding for child care and after school programs. An unjust, illegal war surely fills the airwaves with more patriotic and rallying information, so that if Americans do find time for the news their attention is still diverted. What of all the other decisions Bush has made? It is a matter of seeing what may be hidden. Ater all, Bush himself has reasoned that he has something to hide.
Taxes misrepresented. This needs to be well-known: most of the more conservative states in the U.S. get more money from the federal government than they pay in. Conversely, the more liberal states pay more to the federal government than they get back in services. Remember this next time some right wing hater spouts out about 'big government', taxes and welfare. (You can read more fully here and/or here.) Constantly you hear Republicans saying taxes are too high, but they seem more than happy to take money they don't deserve.
Where did this ridiculous trend to say utilize--instead of just use--come from? It's as if everyone thinks this makes them sound smarter. Keep and ear out for it. I swear, no one uses anything anymore. Only common people use things!
Weapons of Mass Play Station The insanity is not new. Read this article from 2000 and you'll see that paranoia knows no bounds.
*But see here for more on the veracity of the above numbers.
Our President is not smart, but he is micromanaged. This is why he will not hold a press conference unless he can memorize answers in advance. And only 'reporters' who agree to the charade can attend. And it's why he's held fewer than every other president in memory. This is not a smart man. For more read here, here, here, here, and here. Though conservatives love to take stabs at hollywood and the liberals they see lurking there, this entire administration is one large production. It's imaginary. Just like the way he names things incongruously. (No Child Left Behind: left behind children even before the president underfunded it.)
Absolute Insanity I realize that I live in a backward, cowboy state (TX), but it is insane how little we care about the environment. Sad thing is, I think my current beef is likely a US thing in general, so I should not be hard on the bubbas. Problem: I had a TV that no longer worked that I needed to dispose of. Being "green" I worried how the CRT (the tube inside) contained serious levels of lead that would leach out in the landfill and contaminate the environment. Like the drinking water that you give your children (you too, you know-nothing conservatives). I could not find a place to do this. I called around and everyone said just put it in the landfill. This is apparently legal. Only a few states outlaw this. I could not even FIND a place to safely dispose of this thing. Even if one cares about public health there was nothing I could do. Am I the only one that thinks this is insane? C'mon people, it's not that complicated.
UndatedSome language irritants: The next time I hear the phrase "on the ground" in any context other than I dropped X on the ground I am going postal.
Rush Limbaugh is a hate-spewing bastard, and gets paid a lot to be so. America should be ashamed of making such a person so rich. He deserves all he gets from the press (that's coming) as he has said so many awful things about others. Couldn't happen to a more deserved guy. As for his drug problem: not a laughing matter, but just proves once again what a hypcrite he is. I swear that finding out about his resignation and the drugs--in one day!--was like Christmas morning as a child.
This company really caught my ire when it was discovered
that seller and buyer information to 'law enforcement' without a
order. Just whenever they ask. Now with the Ahnold
thing it is clear this is a company that deserves caution. I know I will
always consider these stories when dealing with this company. I think you
should too. If you are one of those simpletons who reply:
"If you have nothing to hide you shouldn't be worried." Well,
I quote you a wiser man: "They that can give up esssential
liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor
--Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
The Top 25 Censored Media Stories Says it all really. I would have to say that the 15 minutes (combined!) that the big media outlets gave to global warming last year was a serious disgrace as well.And the fact that AIDS has killed millions--especially in Africa--and the United States seems oblivious. Due to lack of coverage of course. These are not censored stories precisely. Still...
lancewex @ GMAIL