Saturday, September 26, 2009

bragging on the nieces

i visited my family this weekend, including my two nieces, ages nearly 7 and nearly 4.

as we sat down at the restaurant, both of them opened up cell phones and started pressing buttons. i figured they were just playing on old phones, but my sister said they both have already learned how to text message... !?!

after the older one told me she was texting a friend from school, the younger one said "i'm texting too!", to which the older one said "but mine make sense!"

:D

Thursday, September 24, 2009

a week of firsts

pop quiz: each of the following statements contains elements of both truth and untruth. each event was a first, please guess in comments how the rest of each statement varies from the truth.
  1. i sat in the second row behind the rangers' dugout for the first time at friday's game
  2. i heard "bela lugosi's dead" and "warm leatherette" in their entirety for the first time
  3. i was nominated for a grammy award for the first time
  4. i ate at dixie house cafe on wednesday night for the first time
answers & explanations here next week sometime after everybody's had a chance to guess.

---

update: with a score of... um, something... local malcontent wins!
  1. i sat in the second row behind the rangers' dugout for the first time at saturday's game
  2. i heard "bela lugosi's dead" and "warm leatherette" for the first time, but disliked them so much i stopped listening
  3. i was nominated for a local emmy award for the first time (as part of a team at work)
  4. i ate at dixie house cafe on thursday night for the first time (until this month, they only served breakfast & lunch, not supper.)
#2 was the only unenjoyable item on the list, though it is somewhat reassuring that i no longer like a lot of that morbid kind of music.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

the reclamation of independence

read it. live it.

count me among the "smattering"

If this isn't "the" mark of the beast, it's definitely a practice run:
An implantable chip could allow you to charge purchases or even start your car. It'd be convenient, to be sure. But would it be too creepy?

It's a simple concept, really: You inject a miniature radio frequency identifier the size of a grain of rice between your thumb and forefinger and, with a wave of your hand, unlock doors, turn on lights, start your car...

The problem is, the whole concept is a little geeky for most of us, nauseating for some, Orwellian for a few and even apocalyptic for a smattering of religious fundamentalists.
It's not worth risking the "blue screen of death", even if it uses 666-bit encryption...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

mixed reaction

Obama on missile defense:
President Barack Obama on Thursday shelved a Bush-era plan for an Eastern European missile defense shield that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia. He said a redesigned defensive system would be cheaper and more effective against the threat from Iranian missiles.

"Our new missile defense architecture in Europe will provide stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America's allies," Obama said in an announcement from the White House.

Anticipating criticism from the right that he was weakening America's security, Obama said repeatedly that this decision would provide more — not less — protection.

"It is more comprehensive than the previous program, it deploys capabilities that are proven and cost effective, and it sustains and builds upon our commitment to protect the U.S. homeland," he said....

The new plan would rely sea and land-based sensors and interceptor missiles intended as a bulwark against Iranian short- and medium-range missiles.

(this) alternate plan would deploy Aegis ships armed with interceptors, giving the military the ability to move the system around.

Another key to the near-term network would be new, more mobile radar used to detect and track short- and medium-range missiles if they were launched from Iran.
In the unlikely event that Obama's statements that "stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America's allies" are correct, I'll agree with him.

I definitely agree with Eric Cantor's statement that:
"Our allies, especially Poland and the Czech Republic, deserve better and our people deserve smarter and safer."
And I care not one iota about Medvedev's concern "that the system would undermine the nuclear deterrent of (Russia's) vast arsenal."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

child safety hints

My list of helpful telemarketing hints from five years ago keeps getting hits via google and other search engines. In that spirit of public service, here are some new hints, designed to help today's moms on-the-go.
1) When seated in your vehicle, you may notice that there are several large pieces of glass all around you. These are designed to afford clear visibility to the outside world. When traveling, please use these "windows" to observe the actions and reactions happening all around you.

2) Through all of your vehicle's windows, you might observe other vehicles which appear to be growing larger. You need not be frightened, this is merely a useful illusion, one that indicates you should not get much closer. The speed of this illusion will indicate its importance. Also, it is certainly not safe for your vehicle to move in perpendicular or opposite directions to those other cars at the same time.

3) If you happen to hear a loud sound (such as a "honk"), that is often an indication that a nearby driver thinks that you should get out of his or her way. If it is safe, you should try to get out of his or her way, no matter whether you think the other driver's opinion is justified or not.

4) Please do not be confused by the varied and numerous lights around you; they are designed to help you and your precious cargo travel in safety.

4a) Through the front window, you might observe red lights, either on vehicles or on poles of various design. Please interpret these lights as indications that you need to bring your vehicle to a stop, not as indications of sale specials of limited duration.

4b) Also through the front window, you might observe green lights on poles. These lights generally indicate that it is safe for you to proceed in your travels; please do so in a timely fashion, so that others may enjoy proceeding in theirs.

4c) If you are observant, you will see many other varieties of lights and signs as you travel. Please familiarize yourself with the meanings of these lights and signs, and how to discern which ones represent laws to be obeyed. There are many resources that can help you learn, such as libraries, police and highway departments, and reputable websites. If you refuse to learn, there will be a pop quiz administered by local officers - an expensive quiz that you will fail miserably.

5) Family communication is important, but it is much less important than keeping your children safe. Please refrain from using your cellphone while driving. You might be surprised how difficult it is to communicate over the wail of sirens, or while breathing through a tube.

6) When an event occurs in the back seat which requires your immediate attention, please bring your vehicle to a safe and complete stop out of traffic before attending to that event. If your vehicle continues moving without your full attention, you will soon find your daily routine impacted by unwanted outside events.
(This message inspired by the League of Hurried Shoppers of Southwest Tarrant County.)

don't b flat

just surfing around, i found a quote here*, which accurately describes my opinion of typical american-idol-style singing:
"They (sound awful because they) try to muscle their way through singing as if they were power lifting at the gym!"
(* not an endorsement of the site, just that opinion.)

muslim call to prayer

A passage from either 1 Kings or 2 weeks in the future...

(comments in italics, graphic links are - graphic)
(The false prophets...) called on the name of Baal (Allah) from morning until noon saying, "O Baal (Allah), answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made.

It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened."

So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them.

When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.

...and a little acorn shall lead them

over the cliff, hopefully...

lies of omission

Did you hear the news of that huge march on Washington?!?!
Why doesn't the Times want you to know the size of the biggest rally opposing the federal government ever? At One Million, was it bigger than Vietnam protest? (The Democrats war?) Bigger than Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream Speech? Bigger than the so-called million-man march?

The more the White House and the New York Times try to ignore the protests - the louder they will be.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

extry extry!

read all about it! Biblical Headlines Written by Today's Media!

The first one is about the crossing of the Red Sea:
WETLANDS TRAMPLED IN LABOR STRIKE
Pursuing Environmentalists Killed
...and they get better, as do the cartoons

Friday, September 04, 2009

re: You Might Be a Lunatic If...

snadrs mentioned a post to me, entitled You Might Be a Lunatic If..., by Megan McArdle, who received an email that reminded her...
of a lengthy email dispute I had with a liberal commenter/emailer a few years back. After some initial heat, he (she?) calmed down, and we had a fairly reasonable discussion of his/her fears problems with the Bush administration, some of which I shared.

But then my correspondent mentioned that they thought it was reasonably likely that there would be no election in 2008. Not certain, but enough that we should be preparing for it. I think at one point they called it more likely than not.

At this point, I was at a loss. What does one say in the face of an entirely sincere belief that an American system of government that revolted when FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court would, suddenly and for no apparent reason, allow George Bush to cancel elections and appoint himself dictator for life? I mean, other than, "You are a lunatic. An apparently nice and well meaning lunatic. But nonetheless. A barking moonbat."

So I'm kind of dizzy with deja vu when I read this sort of prime-aged poppycock coming from the right of me. When you hear that "some people fear" that an utterly anodyne bill creating emergency response centers "could be used as "concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany", the correct response is not to repeat that remark, except to make fun of it...

...these things can creep up on you. There was a time when people did not understand the threat that Hitler posed...

...There will be plenty of time, should such camps be proposed, to leap into action and unleash the mighty force of your righteous opposition on the hapless would-be dictator. Premature anti-fascism just makes you history's clown.
I understand the point that none of us should be "the boy who cried hyperbole", and that all citizens should try to rationally discuss political issues, rather than just shout slogans past each other. But I think we should be able to state that our current administration belives strongly in silencing dissidents with whatever means they have available, and - like all bullies - will only be emboldened by any silence of their opponents.

I would also ask Ms. McArdle to please name the specific date, sometime between "plenty of time" and "these things can creep up on you", when it stopped being appropriate to appease Hitler and start opposing him? Would it have been before or after Chamberlain gave his "peace for our time" speech?

And if "premature anti-fascism just makes you history's clown", anti-fascism delayed just makes you the victim of tyrants. There is no bad time to be anti-fascist.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

headlines

"Obama wants control of health debate"

Everybody who believes in freedom of speech should be terrified of this concept, no matter what part of the political spectrum they're in.

Of course I suspect that those who screeched loudest about that freedom being taken away during the Bush administration - yet somehow remained unsilenced by it - will suddenly agree with President Hussein's crushing of dissent.

update: today's health care putsch includes the quote:
"Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the Obama administration is fiercely determined to get a health care overhaul, although he conceded it likely won't happen without "an awful lot of screaming and hollering.""
I assume he means the screams of those dying while waiting in line to receive healthcare. So the logical conclusion is, if we don't want to hear an awful lot of screaming and hollering, we should prevent Obama from pushing this socialist fiasco on us. Right?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

post-racial

anchoress:
Our “post-racial” president has managed to take the sting and the scar out of the word in just, what, 9 short months, not because he’s “transcended” race and brought us all together into the sunshine of his love, but because he and his minions, his presscorp, his party and many of his supports have so quickly made “racism” the de facto excuse for his every failing that they have managed to render the word almost meaningless, to the detriment of those people who actually do suffer the real effects of racism, still, in this country.