Sunday, December 19, 2004

Now

I sat down to eat breakfast (or lunch, considering it was about noon) and turned on CNN, to see that Time had named Bush II it's Man of the Year. As it went to commercial the promo made it clear that the Bush story was going to keep going on and on and on. So I flipped over to PBS, to find Now With Bill Moyers on.

Now is a great show and I don't watch it often enough. Of course, no one else does either, because it's more than ten minutes long, contains facts, and no one is shouting at anyone else. This episode was all about the media. Shortly after I came in, it turned it's eye to the right-wing media machine and how it is distorting our perception of the world. Like how the Swift Boat vets can quickly write a book, go on O'Reilly's show, then talk radio, and Drudge will pick up and put it on the net. Moyers had one guest, Richard Viguerie, described as the founding father of the conservative movement, claiming, "That’s what journalism is, Bill. It’s all just opinion. Just opinion."

That's a dangerous suggestion, and I think one that goes to the heart of the media today. Sure, we all have our own personal opinions and biases, but what makes a good journalist and even a good scientist, is the desire and the attempt to set those biases aside and just look at the facts. If all news is opinion, who's opinion isn't news? Then it's ok to create a network and a media movement where everything is slanted in one direction. After all, it's all just one opinion, right?

Moyers then said a short goodbye to the show, since this is his last broadcast on the show. He had a great quote, which I will have to paraphrase here, "News is what powerful people don't want known. Everything else is just publicity." With this White House, and it's obsession with loyalty and security, that's truer than ever.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I, Viewer

I rented I, Robot this evening. It wasn't doing real well in any of the online reviews I could find, but it looked interesting and I was in the mood for something mindless and entertaining. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, and fairly faithful to Asimov's writings. It could have been a lot better, though, and the product placement was a subtle as Mike Tyson.

Then I made the mistake of poking around in the IMDB forums just to see what other people were thinking. I'm amazed at that place. Usenet is about as faceless and consequences-free an environment you can get in terms of communicating with other people, and the flame wars there are nothing in comparison with those forums.

I'm also amazed at the quality of the postings there. It looks like the average person has the writing and spelling skills of a drunk 13-year-old with a concussion. (I don't know, maybe the average person there is a drunk 13-year-old.) I'll admit I'm a bit of a grammar Nazi, but I do realize that blogs and forums and email are not the areas where one will find the most formal and polished writings. But this?

Please dont said, that this is the worst movie, becouse youre not know what are you talking about and maybe youre realy supid, becouse its not right to said anythink like this, becouse aparently you not a kritik and defenitly not a sci-fi entiusiast, becouse if you were, and said this is the wors movie ever, you must be realy sick, becouse this is one of the best movie ever.

I read an article a few days ago about how companies are having to send new employees to remedial classes because the generation that grew up with email, cell phone text messaging, and IM clients is almost functionally illiterate. Or at least ilgrammatic, if you'll permit me to invent a word. Reading those forums, I can believe it.

They hate us because we're "free"

A Cornell University study revealed that a near-majority of Americans want to place restrictions on the civil liberties of American Muslims. Specifically:

  • 44% of those surveyed wanted restrictions on the rights of Muslims. (Compared to 48% against)
  • 27% wanted Muslims to be required to register with the federal government.

The numbers were highest among those that were particularly religious, and those that got their news primarily from television. Fox News, ya think?

Mind you, this comes three years after the last terrorist attack on our country. God only knows what will happen if there's another one.

How come after Oklahoma City we didn't have a call for white Christians to be registered with the government? Oh, yeah, I forgot. They're not brown-skinned, funny-looking furriners.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Yikes

I've actually been cited (scroll to the bottom). I'm not sure what's worse: that people agree with me, or that they think I know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Let there be (a small) light

Just finished changing the light bulb in my oven. Was it absolutely necessary to make it so freaking hard to get to? Three screws, all a bit rusty, holding a fairly rusty metal plate over a glass cover over the bulb. All way in the back, so I basically have to crawl inside the oven to get to it. If anyone had seen, they'd probably think I was trying to do myself in. Although, in an electric stove, it's pretty hard to do that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

TAR

It was sad watching Don and Mary Jean get kicked off The Amazing Race this evening, while watching Jonathan and Victoria take second place even with all their vile bickering and shouting and even one shove from him. Those two couples are like night and day. Don and MJ are class all the way, while Jonathan is just ... repulsive. Repulsive in every way, to be frank.

That's the nature of the Race, I suppose. Winner take all, and nice doesn't mean you get in front.

And it's sad that, as much of an asshat as Jonathan is, he still gets laid more than I do.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

My number

I'm not sure I agree with this, but who am I to argue with an internet quiz?

You Are the Peacemaker
9
You are emotionally stable and willing to find common ground with others. Your friends and family often look to you to be the mediator when there is conflict. You are easy going and accepting. You take things as they come. Avoding conflict at all costs, you're content when things are calm.

Found via Reports From the Edge.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

They think so we don't have to

It looks like the we-have-more-moral-values-than-you crowd has discovered the Internet. It looks like Boobiegate and Towelgate are the work of a single, right-wing group that thinks their judgment should supersede everyone else's.

Mediaweek reports that the FTC is receiving many more reports than in previous years. In fact, 2003 saw twenty times more complaints than 2002. Not because TV is becoming more indecent, but because of the Parents Television Council. In fact, of the 240,000 complaints received in 2003, 99.8% of them were from the PTC.

Ninety nine point eight percent.

It looks even more ridiculous in graphical form:

PTC_FCC_Complaints graph

This is getting fucking absurd. One right-wing organization shouldn't be able to dictate to the rest of the country what is acceptable on television. The FCC is supposed to regulate decency based on "community standards." That community is supposed to be the country as a whole, not what's acceptable for a kindergarten classroom.

One amusing thing to note: in an era when the MPAA and RIAA are suing 12-year-old girls for piracy of intellectual property, the PTC seems to be doing the same sort of thing on a vastly larger scale. Their own website admits that they have archived 89,000 hours of prime-time television broadcasts. All probably without the consent of the copyright owner. The CEO of Turner Broadcasting claims that fast-forwarding through commercials is stealing. I wonder what filling up 14,000 videotapes counts as?

OK, I promise, no more politics blogging for a full week.

Monday, December 06, 2004

So Alabama really *is* filled in inbred rednecks!

Stunningly, Alabama voters rejected a bill that would have removed the segregation-era language from their state Constitution. Seriously. The overwhelming rejection is supposedly due to some people saying the repeal could lead to higher taxes. Why? Because, in Alabama, public education is a gift of the state, not a right of every child in the state. I guess the population of Alabama realy is made up of a bunch of dumbfucks.

Not to be content with keeping segregation alive, now a state legislator want to ban all books with gay content from public libraries, including university libraries. It only includes books that "promote homosexuality" in order to protect children from the "homosexual agenda." I'm not really sure how many children in Alabama (the few that can actually read, thanks to the public schools) are reading about homosexuality in university libraries.

In the Bible, it's very easy to read David and Jonathan as gay lovers. ("After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." 1 Sam 18:1) Also, when Jesus heals the servant of a centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), the terms in Greek and Latin used for "servant" both have a sexual conotation. Not only did Jesus heal him, but held up the centurion as an excellent example of faith. That's a pretty strong "promotion" right there. So I guess we'll have to get rid of the Bible, as well.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

WNHMAU?

|[)?/[[
+.@++]!
|+))%+)
If I were a NetHack monster, I would be a shopkeeper. I'm exceptionally polite and helpful, but get angry when people try to take advantage of my trusting nature.
Which NetHack Monster Are You?

And if I weren't that, I'd be a little dog. Arf.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Please, leave me behind

For a variety of reasons which I won't bore you with, I wound up at Amazon reading the reader reviews for the incredibily popular, Christan porn, Left Behind. This one cracked me up and so I thought I'd share:

Lord Jesus I Sure Hope You Save Us!!!!!

I just dun finished this here book. Now I'll tell all ya fellas that I aint too much on book learnin or readin words but I was goshdanged by this here book. It's just like I always dun knew it was gonna be. The Lord Jesus God gonna come down here on this Earth and be a whuppin up on all those people that aint right like christians. That includes all the dirty muslins and the stoopid aytheists (can't never be spellerin that word correct-like). Anyways I only hope the Lord God Jesus's repersentive on Earth, George W. Bush, can a get this here 'pocalypse a comin soon enough. Theez damn books are a goshdamn sight better than a watchin Jerry Springer or beatin up ma kids like I usually be doin'. One of them stoopid revewers said this here book was a ritten at a sixth grader level. Well thats a bunch of spit and possum vittles. I dint even finish the fourth grade and I'm a readin it just fine. Ima just hopin somebody gonna make nifty cartoon out this here book. YEEEEEHAAAAWWWWW!!!! PRAISE JESUS!!!!!

-- Patrick Burns

The scary thing is that, although it's obviously tongue in cheek, at its heart I think it pretty much sums up the attitude of the people this book appeals to.

Evolution-shmevolution

Things like this make me almost wish I was back in high school.

(Found at Patriotboy's site.)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Thank you for thinking so I don't have to

The Arbiter of All That Is Not Indecent, Michael Powell, wrote an editorial piece in the NY Times defending all his ridiculous actions since Boobiegate. So you can imagine how I find it appropriate that this same day, I read about the US distributor for the Merchant of Venice asking parts of it be modified so that certain parts inappropriate for American viewers were painted over. What were those parts? A 16th century fresco by an acclaimed Viennese master painter was visible. Seriously.

This is part of the chilling effect we're going to be seeing as the conservative movement tries to wrap its claws around the media. Networks and news agencies are already running scared: Saving Private Ryan can't be shown because the network might get a huge FCC fine; churches can't advertise that they welcome gays because the Executive branch of the government opposes gay marriage; and now works of art by the great masters are considered obscene.

On a related note, Jeff Jarvis has a point-by-point (if rather irreverent) response to Powell's editorial.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Just who's in charge here?

You may have heard this before:

Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. ... Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

-- Jesus, Matthew 5:38

And then, thanks to a clip from the Daily Show:

blow [the terrorists] all away in the name of the Lord

Rev. Jerry Falwell, CNN, Nov. 11, 2004

Oy, veh.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The DH scandal

There was an interesting editorial by Frank Rich in the New York times yesterday about the Desperate Housewives promo scandal. I think one of the most telling points he makes is that the promo aired Sunday, but complaints did not start coming in to the FCC until Tuesday night and Wedneday. Rush Limbaugh didn't get around to reporting on how "shocked" he was by the promo until Wednesday. I suspect that right wing media machine didn't get around to telling all the "moral values" crowd that they were supposed to be scandalized by the promo until then; that's when the scandal began.

I didn't hear Limbaugh's show where he yapped on about the incident, but Rich points out that Rush claimed the promo showed Nicollette Sheridan's bare butt (which it didn't) and that it reminded him of the Kobe Bryant case. The last is particularly telling. Why would Limbaugh immediately be reminded of an alleged rape scandal by this innocuous promo? Because Terrell Owens is black, and Nicollette Sheridan is white. If she had been jumping into the arms of some white football player, or she wasn't as blonde and white as she is, I doubt we'd be hearing nearly as much about this incident.

On a slightly related note, Rich points out something very interesting about the record $1.2 million fine that was levied by the FCC against FOX's Married by America. I think this is best shown in picture format:

Three complaints. Just so we're clear, that's 0.000001% of the US population. And that was enough to get the FCC to levy the largest indecency fine it ever had. Just imagine if had actually been something scandalous.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A media grump

No, the title to this post does not refer to Ann Coulter; if it did, it would be titled A media skank, which is a horse of a different color. But then again, so is Ann.

Anyway, I was looking online for a copy of the (in)famous Monday Night Football promo that has everyone so up in arms. I wanted to see if it really was as scandalous as the press is making it out to be. So many people are apologizing about this promo, I'm surprised that CBS and NBC haven't apologized for it at this point.

Unfortunately, even with the Internet being the amazing content delivery system that it is, I can't find it anywhere for download. The Dallas Morning News has a version available for streaming, and iFilm may have the same thing, but I can't seem to get anything at their site to play. But neither site will let you download the clip, just stream it in a separate window.

I hate streaming video. Yes, I realize I'm the last person on Earth that uses a modem, but streaming means that the DMN crappy version is a useless slideshow with audio that cuts in and out, even after setting my preferences in WMP to the lowest possible quality. And god forbid you press the pause button. Resuming streamed video from "pause" is a 50/50 proposition at best.

You know, I really don't mind waiting 20 or 30 minutes to download a movie file if I know the quality is going to be better, and that I'll be able to view the whole clip through without getting RealVideo's obscenity-inducing "buffering ... buffering ... buffering" every five seconds. I'll just start the download and go off and do something else for 15 minutes. I do have an attention span longer than a camera flash, really.

OK, I understand that these sites want to make sure that you view the movie clip along with their ads, and links to other locations on their site that I'll never use. That's fine. They have to pay the bills, too. Just embed those in the video, and let me download the freaking thing already.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

Four-day weekends are nice, except when you have nothing to do. Oh, there's lots of stuff I should do. Updating my resume and laundry come particularly to mind, but I can't seem to work up any enthusiasm for that. I even went out to Blockbuster last night, but couldn't find anything compelling to watch. I was thinking about cooking something, too, but before I knew it, the day was half over already and it was too late to start. So I'm really fucking bored, and almost looking forward to going back to work on Monday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Who's running this joint?

You've probably heard about the Istook Amendment. That's the name being given to the amendment to the current spending bill that would have let certain certain congressmen, their staffers, and pretty much anyone else they authorize to look at the tax returns of any American for any reason. Like the Democratic prosecutor that's trying to indict Tom Delay for breaking campaign finance laws. Hypothetically.

Talkingpointsmemo.com points out that it's been four days, and still, no one knows how that language got into the bill.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Firefly

Joss says: Serenity delayed five months

Eric says: Waaaaaaaaaah!

To be fair, if it's in the best interest of the movie, I'm all for it. Like, if good movie with a hard-core, yet fairly cult, following opened opposite the third Star Wars prequel, it might be a good idea to delay the release of the former.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Isn't hypocrisy grand?

First the Republicans send out flyers in the south saying that Democrats want to legalize gay marriage [1] and ban the Bible. Then, the Washington Post accepts a 16-page advertising insert saying how evil and horrible gays and lesbians are.

Now, here's a story about a top Republican National Committee staffer advertising online: not for sex; not for casual sex; but for multiple-partner, casual, bareback sex. This is, as you'll recall, the "abstinence-only" party. This is the "recriminalize sodomy" party. [TX GOP Platform, 2004] This is the "family values" and "value voter" party.

Of course, the liberal press has snapped this scandal up and is trumpeting it from the rooftops. Right? Well, no. A quick search of the Lexis-Nexis news database turns up absolutely no hits on Dan Gurley's name.

What is it with Republicans and multiple-partner bareback sex? This is the second in the past few years, what with Andrew Sullivan's bareback.com incident. I realize it's unusual for gay men to actually use condoms, but why is it only Republicans getting embarassed by the scandals?

[1] Of course, no one ever seemed to realize that both the Republican and the Democrat candidates opposed legalizing gay marriage.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Hey, Jude

What is with all the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital commercials on TV lately? I swear I've seen half a dozen in the past few days. And not just the same ad repeated, different ones each time.

Sure, little kids with cancer are a bad thing, but I don't need to be reminded every 2.5 minutes I'm a terrible person because I'm not giving them all my money.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Specter's spectre

There's a big brouhaha growing in DC about Arlen Specter's comments about what will happen when Bush II should nominate a pro-life judge for a federal or even Supreme Court position. He is now being attacked right and left, or rather Right and left, for being "disloyal." This increasing notion that Party loyalty trumps every other consideration is beginning to disturb me.

Arlen Specter wasn't elected by his consituents to do what's best for the Republican Party. He was elected to look after Pennsylvania's best interests. And the idea that he and, presumably, every Republican is expected to rubber stamp any action by the President is dangerous.

It's been said many times that politics is about compromise. Hundreds of Senators and Representatives come together from many different states, with many different competing interests, and try to hammer out aggreements and make laws that are good for the country as a whole. Not to implement Party doctrine. And, lately, it seems that the Republicans are treating this election with the attitude of, "Ha, ha, we can do whatever we want now."

Similarly, the CIA has begun a purge of those similarly "disloyal" to the president. The linked Houston Chronicle article reads in part:

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

Let me make this very clear: it is not the CIA's job to assit the President's agenda. It is the CIA's job to provide intelligence to the government. Period. If the administration can not spin that intelligence to support their policies, that's their problem. They have no business firing people because they might tell the Emperor he has no clothes. Dissent is not disloyalty.

These two things taken together bother me greatly. Now, I don't say this lightly --- I am not a conspiracy theorist and I don't want to sound shrill -- but I think these could be the baby steps toward an authoritarian state. We are seeing one branch of the goverment acting more and more to secure, not the ability to serve the electorate, but it's own power. There is a fine line between no one being able to speak the truth for fear of reprisals to no one being permitted to speak without punishment.

Just a further note about the Specter situation: the right-wing press machine is already starting to spin him as a "liberal," and even an "extreme liberal." He's not. He's a moderate Republican. He is reasonably pro-choice and pro-stem-cell-research. The Christian Coalition gave him an 81% rating in December of 2003.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Value Voter

Haven't blogged in a while. Been tired lately, so no energy for writing.

This letter from Bob Jones, of Bob Jones University, to Bush II has been floating around the blogosphere, but I thought I'd post the interesting bits anyway.

In your re-election, God has graciously granted America—though she doesn't deserve it—a reprieve from the agenda of paganism.

Paganism? Excuse me? Was I napping when the worship of the Earth Mother became our official state religion?

You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ.

Really? Most liberals (like most Americans) are not only religious, but Christian. But the Republicans have managed to frame the debate so, and therefore it is known so.

Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government.

That's funny, last I looked in the Bible, it didn't say much about religious freedom. In fact, "I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no Gods before me," pretty much leaves religious freedom out of the mix entirely. And as for freedom of speech, "The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak" makes it clear that it applies only to some people, anyway. And limited government? The only response to that I can think of is, "What the fuck you talkin' about, Bob?"

Bob, I wonder if Jesus ever made him mind up about a good Christian boy dating one of them colored women? You'd better ban that, just in case. Oh, never mind, too late.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Election results

(I originally wrote this on Wed, and am just getting around to finishing it now. I have some time waiting for this microscope to pump down, and nothing else to do right now.)

Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

-- The White Queen, Alice in Wonderland

Unless Kerry gets a big proportion of the provisional ballots in Ohio, it looks like the election is going to Bush II. That's not entirely out of the question, because Gore got a huge fraction of them in the last election, but I'm not holding my breath. I also wouldn't be surprised if the Republicans sued to stop the vote-counting.

But how can so many people vote to reelect a man that has done so much damage to our country's reputation and honor? I think here is one clue:

  • 57% of Americans believe that before the war Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda before 9/11
  • 20% believe that Iraq was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks
  • 65% believe most experts say Iraq did have WMDs
  • 75% of those said they were going to vote for Bush (pre-election)

The only reason I can think of is cognitive dissonance. Basically, people don't *want* to believe Bush is a bad President, so they don't. I forget where I read it, but someone suggested that people voted their shame. If Bush is a bad President, then the Iraq war is a bad idea, and the deficit is going through the roof for no reason, and even the torture at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo keep us safe.

The problem with this sort of attitude is that it's hard to get through. Logical arguments won't work, because it's an emotional state of mind. The Democrats are going to need to get through somehow, though, or we're up for a long, hard ride.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004

Where is the outrage?

The election is tomorrow, and I will either shut up about politics for a while, or I'll curl up in the fetal position for the next four years. But one thing I just don't seem to get is that the Republican party is mounting what appears to be a coordinated attack on our country and no one is paying attention.

  • In Ohio, a swing state (surprise), it took a judge to prohibit Republicans from challenging voter elegibility actually inside the polling locations. They were planning to mount these challenges in primarily minority neighborhoods, which would likely go slanted toward the Democrats.
  • In Florida, they are dressing up as gay ACT-UP activists from San Francisco and claiming that a vote for Kerry is a vote for gay marriage and gay adoption.
  • In Michigan, Republicans are calling voters and posing as Democrats. The pre-recorded message asks voters to "remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry" and that "Gay marriage is a right we all want. It's a basic Democrat principle."
  • In a number of swing states, Republican firms have destroyed Democratic voter registration forms.
  • In West Virginia, calls to Democrats from the Eastern Panhandle Republican Headquarters falsely told the voters that they were not registered, and would not be able to vote in this election.
  • And then in Alabama, there's this:
    Vote Nov 4th!

Kos has a great blog post up (the last two came from there) with even more outrageous examples of these nearly-treasonous activities.

And no one is reporting on this! This is a direct attack on our government and our way of life, and it's basically being ignored or treated as business as usual. The level of cynicism and lust for power on the part of the Republican party that it shows is simply astounding.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Fuckwits

I had the pleasure of having this conversation in the Champaign gay.com chatroom the other day:

{Antaeusz}oy erik
{Antaeusz}what maxe you think anyone wantz to hook you up?
{[me]}were you born an asshole, or did you have to take lessons?
{Antaeusz}the latter, definitely
{[me]}your teachers would be proud of you, then
{Antaeusz}lol...hoo ha...you didnt like that, did you
{[me]}not really, i just don't like you in general
{Antaeusz}you don't even know me
{Antaeusz}but U sho is ugly

The sad thing is that it's the first time in I-don't-know-how-many months someone chatted with me that wasn't a man 20 years my senior wanting to hook up. So I've given up and uninstalled the damn chat client so I won't waste any more of my life on there.

This is why I don't date: because other than David, Billy, and Jon, gay men are all assholes.

OK, so I'm really lazy

I just finished balancing my checkbook for the first time in eight months. Oops. Just been letting those statement build up. Do you know how hard it is to figure out what an electronic transfer was for from February? I think there are a couple where I'm still not sure what they were for.

I should learn by now, dont let things like this build up. Fortunately, it also means I'm close to seeing the dining room table again.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Fuck the spambots!

One of the more persitent spam bots in the gay.com chatrooms is one for gayroomie.com. Interestingly, it's always the exact same thing, a bot enters, repeats the ad exactly three times in succession, then leaves. It looks something like:

Devin1011 Entered the chat
«Devin1011» Gay Roommate? http://www.gayroomie.com/
«Devin1011» Gay Roommate? http://www.gayroomie.com/
«Devin1011» Gay Roommate? http://www.gayroomie.com/
Devin1011 Has left

This lovely piece of network abuse has been brought to you at the ethically-challenged bastards at:

MoveOn Media. LLC
Toby Benjamin
1825 Logan St.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-564-7726
Fax..: 303-861-2427
Email: Chadben024@aol.com

So fee free to drop Chatben024@aol.com and tell him what a parasitic wanker he is. Better yet, drop a line to abuse@qwest.com, who hosts the gayroomie.com website and ask them to stop hosting their spammer.

Now here's the funny part. I can't find anything on this MoveOn Media, LLC, and there's nothing really interesting at the gayroomie.com site itself. However, Googling for the chadben024@aol.com email address gives one hit. A personal ad, and a rather amusing one, at that.

inexperienced seeks experienced
Posted by: toby
February 07, 2004 at 05:30:22

I've only given a BJ so far and i want to try more in the Denver area. 19 years old 155lbs smooth body. Email me at Chadben024@aol.com or call me at 303-861-2427.

The area matches the registration info for gayroomie.com, as well as the email address and the phone number. I guess finding gay roomates isn't good for getting laid.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Someone shut him up...

I caught the last five minutes of the Keyes/Obama debate on WILL tonight. I wish I'd known it was on or I'd have watched more of it. It looks like it would have been rather entertaining. I tuned in just in time to catch Keyes claim the US Constitution applies only to the federal government, so it would be perfectly legal for the individual states to establish an official religion. Something tells me he has a particular religion in mind.

Just another tiny piece of evidence showing that Alan Keyes is a fucking nutjob.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cats and dogs working together!

It looks like Darby Conley has it right: if we had more wise pets in the world, we'd have a different president today.

The missing explosives

By now, you've almost certainly heard that the Bush administration failed to secure an Iraqi military installation, resulting in the theft of about 380 tons of high explosives. After the invasion of Baghdad, securing the installation wasn't a priority according to Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary. Most of what was stolen was RDX and similar high explosives. Theoretically, this stuff could be used to trigger a nuclear bomb, but that's not particularly a concern. Rather, it makes for excellent conventional bombs. In fact, this cache is likely the source of the explosive used in the recent car bombing attacks in Iraq.

Less than a pound of RDX was used to bring down PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. To put that in perspective, that's about the volume of my coffee mug at work. There were 760,000 coffee mugs of explosive stolen from this weapons cache.

All because protecting it wasn't a priority.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Web stats stuff

To whoever just came to my site from a Google search for "clips of Dick Cheney's daughter having sex", please go the fuck away.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Five word movie review: The Day After Tomorrow

Schlock with great special effects.

(And I haven't even finished the movie!) Come on, when they play the "little orphaned boy with cancer" card, you know it's crap.

Although it might be worth seeing the world destroyed to get to huddle together for warmth with Dash Mihok.

Huh?

There's just something about sports I don't get. This week, it looks like the Yankees were playing the Celtics or Red Socks or something in the World Series. When whichever team won, their fans went wild. One fan was actually killed when struck in the eye by a rubber bullet fired by cops trying to break up rioting fans.

I just can't seem to wrap my brain around the whole idea that a bunch of multi-millionaires vaguely geographically associated with me have beaten some other group of multi-millionaires in a physical contest is cause for celebration. Not just any celebration, mind you, but a "let's go flip some cars over and set them on fire" kind of celebration. Do these people really think that they somehow share in the victory by living in the town associated with the winning team?

I guess the sports gene really is incompatible with the gay gene.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Hi, Bud

E. Bud's sign at 909 W. springfield currently reads:

BUSH, HISTORYS
MAN FOR
OUR TIME

Come November 2, let's all get together and make him history, shall we?

(I'll give E. Bud the benefit of the doubt and assume his sign letter pieces did not include an apostrophe, rather than him being an ingorant twit. Or at least an illiterate ignorant twit.)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

You should be watching

If you're not watching Desperate Housewives, you should be. It's smart and clever and funny, which means it probably won't last out the season. Just off the top of my head, there are four good reasons for watching: the hot and hunky next door neighbor, played by Jamie Denton; the cute and horny gardner, who I hope to God is at least 18; one of the husbands is played by the guy that was the cute, yet celibate, Matt from Melrose Place; and Felicity Huffman. That last one was a reason entirely different from the other three.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Lesbogate

Boy, the flannel has hit the fan. Kerry made one reference to Mary Cheney and her being an out lesbian in the debate, and Republicans can't stop crying crocodile tears about it. Kerry's words were really quite benign:

We're all God's children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as.

But Republicans can't denounce it fast enough. Lynne Cheney was quick to come to her daughters "defense" saying that it was a "cheap and tawdry trick" and that Kerry "was not a good man."

It was only a few months ago that Alan Keyes, running for Republican office here in Illinois, called Mary Cheney a "selfish hedonist," like all homosexuals. Where was the outrage then? Where was Lynne Cheney's righteous indignation when a member of her own political party was attacking her daughter? All Kerry really did was acknowledge her existence, something her own parents have been loathe to do in this campaign. No, the outrage from the Right is clearly just trying to make a mountain of this molehill. It is all sound and fury, and truly signifies nothing.

I'm reminded of the Republican National Convention a few months ago, the same place Keyes made his repugnant comment. After Cheney's speech or Bush's (I forget) the entire Cheney family got up on stage to give Dad a big hug for the camera and smile and look happy. That is, except for Mary. She was there at the convention; the networks showed cutaways of her sitting in the audience. Ah, but I think I remember that she was sitting with her girlfriend.

Mary has been silent on both these occasions, and has refused to be comment. But the fact that she wasn't up on the stage I find particularly peculiar. It's not like she doesn't support her father in his campaign, in fact, she works for it, as the Director for Vice Presidential Operations. I am strongly suspicious that she didn't go up on stage that day because she wasn't welcome there. Probably not by her father's request -- he's always seemed quite supportive, if quietly supportive -- but there had to be someone on the campaign that realized it would not look real great for the "family values" ticket to have openly queer family members on stage, possibly with their partners along. Possibly even (gasp!) holding hands.

Other people have written about this topic probably better than I have. Read more:

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

One more, then I'll stop. Really, there are better people than I pointing this stuff out. And I didn't plan to write this much this evening; I just can't seem to stop myself.

BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.

Hmm, that's odd:

So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you... I truly am not that concerned about him.

-- press conference, March 2003

SCHIEFFER: Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

You know, Bob, I don't know. I just don't know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. It's important that we do that. And I also know in a free society people, consenting adults can live the way they want to live. [blah blah blah sanctity of marriage blah blah defense of marriage blah blah]

I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that Bush thinks "tolerance and respect and dignity" can go hand-in-hand with the Texas sodomy law.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go spit.

Debate *facts*

From the second question in this debate:

SCHIEFFER: Flu kills thousands of people every year. Suddenly we find ourselves with a severe shortage of flu vaccine. How did that happen?

BUSH: Bob, we relied upon a company out of England to provide about half of the flu vaccines for the United States citizen, and it turned out that the vaccine they were producing was contaminated. And so we took the right action and didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country.

OK, that's a great response. Except it's completely wrong. Now it's true that the factory that was producing the vaccine was in the UK, but the company is based in California. So it wasn't really "a company out of England" that was producing the vaccine, but an American one. That's like saying Intel is "a company out of Ireland" because the have a fab in Dublin.

Secondly, Dubya says that "we took action" and "didn't allow contaminated medicine into the country." Again, it wasn't our fearless FDA agents inspecting the factory that came up with the contamination problems that it shut down, it was the Brits! It was Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency of Great Britian to take the action that shut down the factory.

According to the NY Times:

Even though bacterial contamination was first reported more than a month ago at a British flu vaccine factory, the Food and Drug Administration relied solely on the factory's owner for information on whether the problems were being resolved...

So the F.D.A. was caught by surprise when the British agency suspended the factory's license on Oct. 5, depriving the United States of nearly half the 100 million flu shots federal authorities expected to be used this winter.

I don't know why this one is affecting me more than the other three debates, but I'm so mad right now, I could just spit.

Question #3, and we've just had the "Kerry raised taxes 98 times" distortion. I have an idea, let's just start making facts up; it wouldn't make things much worse.

Debate #3

We are on the second question of the debate, and Bush has been less that truthful (or at least just plain wrong) about both the first and second questions. I'm pretty sure that he did say that he wasn't worried about bin Laden, and he's been wrong about the flu vaccine shortage.

And we're not even 15 minutes in.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Ten years

I think it's really an oversimplification to dismiss Dubya as dumb, or simple, or just a plain redneck. Which is why I have never really given much stock to the theory that his deteriorating ability to speak clearly was due to presenile dementia, as one doctor has hypothosized. But this movie, comparing Bush's performance in the recent debates with that from when he was running for governor ten years ago, shows a rather astonishing contrast. It's clearly partisan, and therefore not to be entirely trusted, but it's worth taking a look at, anyway.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Patriotboy

If you have not yet worshipped at the altar of Jesus's General, go. Now. Drop whatever you are doing and click that link. His unwavering support of Our Leader will bring a (manly) tear to any red-blooded heterosexual American's eye.

Cho-cho-cho

I have to keep telling myself that this is just preliminary, and doesn't really mean much yet. From zap2it.com:

NBC Resurrects Pilot From 'Wonderfalls' Co-Creator

Back in 1998, Todd Holland and John Riggi's "Five Houses" was one of FOX's hottest pilot scripts. It didn't make it to the air. Now, years later, "Five Houses" may get a second chance with NBC.

...the original pilot, which looked at a gay couple and the suburban neighborhood into which they move, was viewed by FOX network executives as "a gay show" at a time when such things weren't in vogue. Holland says that the show was never meant to be about sexuality so much as the blending of cultures and a study of communal life.

...It's possible that actors from the original pilot, including Margaret Cho, may be asked back for the second go-round.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

MPAA ratings

I sent this to David, since he's the film nut, and he suggested I post this article on the MMPA and their ratings board here. You know, the people that are responsible for assigning the G, PG, R, NC-17 ratings.

The article points out that NC-17 movies run the risk of being picketed by conservative groups, and not carried by Walmart or Blockbuster. There's no legitimate reason for this, of course. After all, NC-17 just means that it's not suitable for anyone under 17. Are they really suggesting that it's not right to portray some aspect of adult life, to adults, and not market it to children? What's actually wrong with a movie that's targeted to and appropriate for people over 17?

Frankly, I think it's because they have this idea that our society is sinking into depravity and evil, largely because of the 'mo's in Hollywood. They'd picket anything that's at the upper end of the ratings spectrum.

So I propose that we keep the NC-17 rating, as something that's appropriate for adults, and not for children, and create a new rating, NE, not appropriate for everyone. From Justin to Kelly comes to mind.

That way, the conservatives get their rating to boycott, and the adults get their movies. How do you like them apples, Jack Valenti?

Friday, October 08, 2004

The stage isn't even cold yet!

Oh, man, you just can't make this stuff up.

From tonight's debate:

KERRY: The president got $84 from a timber company that owns, and he's counted as a small business...

BUSH: I own a timber company?
(LAUGHTER)
That's news to me.

Then, from factcheck.ORG: (emphasis mine)

President Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business owner" under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a "small business owner" in 2000 based on $314 of "business income," but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as "royalties" on a different tax schedule.)

Geez, the man has so much money, he doesn't even know about it all! (Pointed out by Electablog.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Music #2

(Continuation of this entry.)

I stuck Winamp on shuffle this evening while making dinner, and these both came up. I think the first is my offical theme song for this election season.

Republican is the way you vote
You've got a sticker on your bumper that's how I know ...
Hey, it's Saturday night so go on down the road
I'll cancel you out when I go to the polls
Nanci Griffith, One Blade Shy of a Short Edge

I'd like to dedicate this song to the twits on Springfield that have that constantly-changing Bush/Cheney sign in front of their house. I'll be cancelling at least one of you out come Election Day.

We're living in a time of inconvenience
Compassion fails me with this meanness in the air ...
We're living in the age of communication
Where the only voices heard have money in their hands
Where greed has become a sophistication
And if you ain't got money
You ain't got nothin' in this land

Nanci Griffith, Time of Inconvenience

I think these lines just about sum up the current political climate. And they were written in 1994. I hope they won't hold true forever.

Veep, veep!

Now this is a debate! Distortion ... inaccuracies ... distortion ... inaccuracies!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Gell-O

I just finished making a couple of gel candles (my first, thanks David!), and I have to say that gel wax base is some of the weirdest stuff I've ever touched. Even when melted, it's very viscous -- think extra-thick honey -- and pouring it is an exercise in not making a mess all over the kitchen. I'm not even sure it really hardens from the liquid state; it just seems to slowly, well, gel. It looks really cool, though.

It's sort of like working with Satanic Jell-O.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate

Bush seemed inarticulate, overly prepared, and especially at the beginning, bored. Kerry seemed strong, consistent, and rational. (OK, I'm hardly impartial.)

How long until Bush is declared the winner?

Not just a flip flop ...

... but a flat out lie.

Found this on Salon today:

In a question-and-answer session in December 2001 -- just three months after the attack -- Bush remembered watching the first plane hit the World Trade Center while he was waiting to enter that classroom in Florida. "I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on," Bush said. "And I used to fly, myself, and I said, 'Well, there's one terrible pilot.' I said, 'It must have been a horrible accident.'" Bush repeated the story at another event in January 2002.

The only problem is, it never happened. The first attack wasn't broadcast live -- who would have known to show it? -- and videotape of it wasn't available until much later. Bush may believe the words he says, but there's no way he saw what he said he saw.

-- Fact-checking Bush

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Don't blame me for your hangover

Tomorrow night, we will have the first of three Presidential debates. I use the term loosely, because they are orchestrated from start to finish to actually prevent any actual debating from going on. Candidates will actually be prohibited from asking each other questions. So this will be less of a give-and-take of ideas, and more of a joint press conference with preprepared speeches.

In that vein, I give you the Presidential Debate Drinking Game:

  • Whenever "terrorism" or "terror" is mentioned, drink.
No, strike that. We don't want any alcoholic comas. Start over.
  • If the War in Iraq is conflated with the "War on Terror," drink.
  • If Saddam Hussein is mentioned, drink.
  • If Saddam Hussein is refered to as a "dictator," "terrorist," or we are told America is safer without him in power, drink twice.
  • If Bush implies that 9/11 is related to Iraq, drink three times.
  • Someone remembers that Afghanistan exists, drink.
  • Either candidate avoids directly answering the question, drink.
  • Bush mispronouces "nuclear," drink.
  • Kerry gets longwinded, drink.
  • FOX annouces Bush as the winner before the night is over, finish your drink.

That's all I can think of right now.

This debate is about foreign policy and international issues, which means it will be wholly about Iraq. Not about Afghanistan, which basically did attack us, but Iraq. That worries me. Paul Krugman wrote an editorial in the NYT not long ago talking about a book that suggested people are unwilling to believe a wartime leader is weak, regardless of what the facts say. (I have had a blog entry on this topic forming in my head for some time now. I'll get around to it eventually.) And that's what worries me. If he's right , I'm not sure Bush really can "lose" this debate. He will just have to act tough, mouth some strong-sounding platitudes and he's got it made. Unless Kerry has photographs of Bush, himself, sodmomizing prisoners in Abu Ghraib or maybe Cheney accepting envelopes of money from someone in a Halliburton T-shirt, I think Bush has this one already wrapped up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Stupid fucking Republicans

Atrios pointed out recently a comment by Andrew Sullivan made shortly after Sept. 11:

The middle part of the country - the great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead - and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.

I won't even comment on Sullivan's hawkishness and his claims that people against Gulf War II were "objectively pro-Saddam." But when he said "decadent Left" my irony meter went into the red zone and started shaking and spewing smoke. I'm sorry Andrew, but you don't get to get caught in an HIV+ barebacking scandal and still get to insult anyone by calling them "decadent."

The moral high ground called. It wants you to stop tracking mud everywhere.

Monday, September 27, 2004

... so shall ye reap

This is roaring over the blogosphere as we speak, and he is supposed to address the issue tonight at 7, but it looks like Alan Keyes's daughter is an out lesbian.

Yes, the very same Alan Keyes that claimed Mary Cheney was a "selfish hedonist," like all homosexuals. This is because gays can't have children (*cough* adoption *cough*), and are therefore "impossible of seeking any higher good than orgasms," to quote Ms. Keyes.

This was discovered through her own blog. Apparently, as this is becoming more well-known, she is taking down parts of the blog, but Chillinois has archived some of her posts. Let's just say it doesn't paint such a rosy picture of the Keyes family.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Go Satan!

OK, I guess my encounter with evangelists this week could have been much more annoying that it was. Now I'm real glad I don't live in Chicago. She gets around a lot, it seems.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Aboutablog

Greetings, fellow Electablog sycophants! (Why do you all seem to use Macs?) In my defense, I wasn't amazed by his cuteness, just thought it was an added bonus. It's the smart and funny parts that are the most important. And the talented writing. He should consider doing it profesionally or something.

Note to Mrs. Electablog: I'm not trying to steal your man, even if he did play on my team. It was just an observation.

Little green books from Mars

I just had to walk a couple of buildings over to the electrical engineering's storeroom to pick up a spool of wire. On my way back, I was accosted by one of the several well-dressed evangelists currently prowling the Engineering Quad. I didn't even let him finish his sentence, so I don't know if the little green book he was trying to foist on to me was the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, whatever the Jehovah's Witnesses use, or what.

What with Jimmy Swaggart's recent vileness , I'm just fuming. I'm at work. OK, maybe I do work at a public university which probably has lots of drinking, dancing, partying, and otherwise Hell-bound students, but I shouldn't have to put up with self-righteous, holier-than-thou evangelists trying to convert me over to the One True Religion®.

Just go away and feed and clothe the poor, and keep your religion to yourself, thank you very much.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Not exactly a subtle hint

This was posted on rec.humor.funny today:

Governor Jeb Bush
700 North Adams St.
Tallahassee, Florida 32303

Dear Mr. Bush,

We aren't going to have a presidential election with the problems that we had in 2000, are we? Frankly, I don't care who your brother and father are -- don't make me send any more hurricanes.

God

CSI minus one

I like CSI, because it's a bit of a geeky show. Marg Helgenberger is a hoot to watch, George Eads is hot, Eric Szmanda is hot in his own little nerdy way, and even William L. Petersen is fun to watch playing Grissom's quirkyness. CSI: Miami, however, is dreck. I watched the few episodes because I'd enjoyed the original CSI, and rather regretted it. I still tune in now and then because I have no life and it's something to do. The writers for this show have so little originality they even reused the boss-has-a-thing-for-a-coworker subplot from the original. It doesn't help that David Caruso has a single facial expression: constipated.

CBS has been hyping the hell out of the season premiere because one of the characters is going to die in this ep. Gee, CBS, thanks for ruining what could have been a dramatic moment. I'll probably tune in just to find out who it was. [1] I warn you though, the only reasons left to sit through this show are because Rory Cochrane is cute in an odd sort of way, and to hear Emily Proctor talk. She was fun on the West Wing, and is one of the few good points of the show. Kill everybody else off, you'd be doing us all a favor.

[1] And, crap, now that I've looked up the show in IMDB, I think I know who it is. Listing an actor as "(2002-2004)" pretty much gives it away.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Polls

From Reuters: Poll Finds Bush Lead Surging Among Likely Voters

From Salon: Bush's dead cat bounce ... [A] new poll shows that the battle for the White House is once again deadlocked.

Make up your freaking minds, people!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

In the mail today

I got an invitation to join the Black Expressions book club. Someone needs to refine his mailing list. I'm about as likely to watch BET as the Playboy channel.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

ALFIL 2: Casting

David wants to know who should be cast in the movie version of Almost Like Falling in Love.

Like I said, Fried Green Tomatoes was written with a similar device, and they managed to turn it into a reasonably good movie. The key, I think, is to stay true to the story, but you have to abandon the literary device the book can use. As for who to cast it, I'm not sure. I'm never any good at those things. I'd be concerned that they'd probably cast hot late-twenty-somethings to play the characters in high school, and early-thirty-somethings to play them later in life.

Craig needs to be someone that you can believe was a jock in high school, and is now a lawyer. Buff and fills out a suit real well. Jeremy Piven? He's just about the right age and height as well. Travis is the nerdier/obsessive compulsive one, which in Hollywood terms means he's buff and wears glasses. He's especially quirky, and Johnny Depp could pull that off beautifully. But maybe he just springs to mind because I recently saw Secret Window.

Most importantly, they need to have a great and believable chemistry together. That's not the easist thing in the world to achieve, and I doubt Depp and Piven would have it.

As for Clayton, I'd go for John Corbett. Then again, I'm in the midst of season four of Sex and the City, where he plays a sensitive yet butch carpenter, much like Clay.

Just please, God, no Rupert Everett.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Music

I'm starting a list of music lyrics I find particularly compelling and evocative. Probably an ongoing sort of thing.

"What once was Emerald City is now a crystal town."
Scissor Sisters, Return to Oz

This is the song that spawned this idea for this post. I can't really explain why, but I just love this lyric. The whole song is a wonderful metaphor for lost innocence, and the fact that it uses a children's story makes it all the more poingant. The song also has a shout-out to The Dark Crystal, continuing to draw imagery from children's literature.

"...the vows we made weigh like a stone in my heart.../
I'm not saying I'm replacing love for some other word/
to describe the sacred tie that bound me to you

10,000 Maniacs, Jezebel

There is just something about this song that makes me visualize a woman sitting in the dark looking at her sleeping husband regretting some of the choices she made in her life. Note that the singer specifically doesn't want a divorce; she seems to be asking for forgiveness more than anything else.

Suggestions for additons are always welcome and appreciated.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

It's good to be The Man

60 Minutes had an interview this evening with Ben Barnes, who pulled political strings to get Dubya into the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam. It's nothing particularly surprising, but I think this is just another example of how Dubya has gotten ahead in this world due to his family's money, power, and prestige, and not necessarily because of any particular talent of his own.

To be honest, I have a hard time relating to Vietnam. It's just something that's so very far out of my experience I think I have a hard time imagining what it must have been like to live in this country when so many men and women were dying overseas. It's even harder to imagine living through WWII, when there was actually rationing. Think about going to your grocery store to find that, no, they didn't have any butter that week, but here's your half loaf of bread. Then think about what it must have been like in London during the Blitz, when bombs fell in one part of the city or another every night for 57 consecutive days.

We have just passed the one thousandth fatality in the entire second Iraq war. This was reported by the national press as a significant milestone. Just to put this in perspective, in the same month that George W. Bush got into the Texas Air National Guard, two thousand Americans died in Vietnam.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

ALBIL

David loaned me Steve Kluger's Almost Like Being in Love this weekend. I find myself having a hard time putting it down, I'm enjoying it so much. I was having to supress fits of giggles reading it on the bus this afternoon. It's like the gay Bridget Jones's Diary. (And if you know me, you know that's high praise, indeed.)

I have a feeling that it's about to take a turn for the serious soon, though. And it's the sort of book that I enjoy as I read it but feel bad when I stop, because I've never had a boyfriend like that and probably never will. (Same reason I gave up renting romantic comedies.)

So far, I think it would make a really good movie, if they correctly adapted the book's device of telling the story in memos and journal entries. Since Fried Green Tomatoes managed to do it, I can only hope this one would, too.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Poke!

I'm embarassed to say I was watching ESPN this evening. I feel so ... heterosexual. I hope I will be redeemed by the fact that it was the 2004 World Poker Championship. This is *so* much more cutthroat than Celebrity Poker Challenge. It's also a bit harder to follow since there are 2,500 players instead of 5.

It's amusing that the primary sponsor seems to be Milwaukee's Best Light. As we're reminded at every commercial break, that's Milwaukee's Best Light: Brewed for a Man's Taste. They never specify which part of the man it's supposed to taste like, though. The fact, however, that sponsor that always follows MBL is Levitra, makes the mind boggle. Milwaukee's Best Light: Brewed For the Man That Can't Get It Up. Or maybe one is just supposed to drink so many that one can't properly function anymore, and that's what the Levitra is for.

[I wrote this a few days ago and accidentally saved it as a draft, rather than posting it.]

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Cashew, Brazil, Keyes

Alan Keyes is a certifiable nut job. Seriously.

If you're in Illinois (and since it's mostly my friends that read this blog, you are), you probably are already aware the Alan Keyes is carpetbagging to run against Barack Obama for the Senate. What you may not know is that he's a complete freak. ArchPundit links to this Keyes interview by a FOX News anchor. It's an 11 MB download, but worth it. In it, Keyes:

  • accuses Democrats and Obama of "corruption" eight times
  • accuses Democrats and the interviewer of "lies" and "distortions" ten times
  • questions whether the interviewer is working for the Democratic party four times

All that is in a clip only seven minutes long! I also love how he monopolizes the interview and tries to prevent the host from asking questions by constantly repeating himself and his points, and not letting the host get a word in edgewise.

How anyone can consider him a serious candidate is beyond me. Maybe the GOP should have considered running a white guy, rather than scouring the country for a Republican that just happens to be the same race as Obama.

Gmail

Does anyone want a Gmail account? Total geek chic. Drop me a line.

Yet another one?

An anti-gay Representative from Virginia, Edward L. Schrock, abrupty withdrew from his race for reelection amidst allegations that he is gay. Funny how this hasn't gotten much coverage, but Governor McGreevey's resignation was all over the airwaves.

Found this on Eschaton.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Are you kidding me?

The Republican Convention just opened with a series of showtunes.

There are apparently some gay people still working in the Republican party.

Ugh

I think it's ragweed season or something. Yesterday, my vengeful allergies came by to say hello. At first, I thought it was the flu or a cold, but I'm pretty sure it's allergies. Ugh.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bush and gay rights

Dubya's big campaign slogan in 2000 was "compassionate conservatism." Well, in the four years since then, we've seen a lot of conservative, but not so much compassion. The Federal Marriage Amendment didn't get nearly enough votes and died in Congress a few weeks ago. Bush, not surprisingly, supported it.

"I am mindful that we're all sinners, and I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor's eye when they got a log in their own," he said. "I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country.

Which doesn't really say much about his position. He claims to be a tolerant person, and that an individual's sex life is his private matter, and that he supports "equal rights, but not special rights for all people."

Ann Richards was the governor of Texas when my home state's sodomy law was enacted. In her defense, the bill came to her with a veto-proof majority, so there's not really a damned thing she could do about it. When running against her for governor, Bush promised to veto any attempt to rescind the sodomy law, which specifically targeted gay sex; heterosexuals could bugger each other as much as they wanted.

In the interest of full disclosure, Bush never called for actual enforcement of the law. He claimed it was valuable as a symbol. Which makes it rather unusual in my mind. I'm not familiar with any other aspect of criminal law that exists only in a symbolic manner. I'm not clear if the $500 fine for sodomy in Texas would be accepted by the state in symbolic money, or if they would insist on the real stuff.

What I think the best part of this whole thing is that it shows exactly how unconservative the Christian ultra-Right is. They like to call themselves conservatives, but they're anything but. Rather than try to write it in my own words, I will turn things over to this excellent explanation, which sums it up better than I ever could: (emphasis mine)

[Bush] promised to veto any attempt to repeal the Texas sodomy law, which he defends as "a symbolic gesture of traditional values."

Yet Bush has never called for actual enforcement of the law.

Implicit in Bush's endorsement of the sodomy law as a mere "symbol" and "gesture" is the idea that it should not be enforced. This soft defense is disingenuous. It says to the religious right, "I share your values." It then winks at everyone else and whispers, "But I don't really mean it." It's the kind of politics that promises something with its fingers crossed behind its back. Is this compassionate conservatism in action?

"A penal law not ordinarily put in execution seems to me to be a very absurd and a very dangerous thing," Burke argued during a passionate speech urging tolerance for religious minorities. He reasoned that if the law at issue punishes a genuine evil it would be irresponsible not to administer it.

However, if its object is not the suppression of some real wrong, "then you ought not to hold even a terror to those whom you ought certainly not to punish." If it is not right to enforce the law against an offender, Burke argued, then "it is neither right nor wise to menace" him with it. "Take them which way you will," he said of unenforced criminal laws, "they are pressed with ugly alternatives."

Not that this will matter. The GOP is trying to save America from the International Godless Homosexual Conspiracy, and rhetoric like this plays directly into the closed-minded, family-values, Christian-nation-or-bust mindset that they pander to.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Fun with bots

The gay.com chatrooms are getting increasingly overrun by advertising chat bots. Brought to you by the same industry that brought you spam and telemarketing, these send you a private message, pretending to be a real person, then hit you with the ad for their porn site. The recent twist is that there is some Eliza-like coding in these and they'll respond if you accuse them of being a 'bot. But it's not done very well. It seems to only look for "bot" in your statement then reply with a canned response. So I had a bit of fun with one:

oursecretkept_-: sup
[me]: bot, huh?
oursecretkept_-: a bot? hahaha no
[me]: yes you're a bot
oursecretkept_-: yeah right im no bot man
oursecretkept_-: i'm bored, let's get on cam or just watch me, pics & cam at www.dudepages.com/ogfactor
[me]: stupid bog
[me]: stupit bot
oursecretkept_-: uhh me a bot? dont think so dude
[me]: uhh, yes you a bot
oursecretkept_-: uhh me a bot? dont think so dude
[me]: you're a bot. you dont think at all
oursecretkept_-: a bot? hahaha no
oursecretkept_-: i'm bored, let's get on cam or just watch me, pics & cam at www.dudepages.com/ogfactor
[me]: argle bargle bot boom wakka wakka
oursecretkept_-: uhh me a bot? dont think so dude
[me]: garbage text bot just greping for the word bot, huh?
oursecretkept_-: Im 26 man, you can see pics & my cam at www.dudepages.com/ogfactor
[me]: you're a 26 year old bot, huh?
oursecretkept_-: Im 26 :). pics and cam up at www.dudepages.com/ogfactor
[me]: freaking bot
oursecretkept_-: uhh me a bot? dont think so dude
oursecretkept_-: i'm bored, let's get on cam or just watch me, pics & cam at
www.dudepages.com/ogfactor

Of course, the dudepages.com page is just a shill for ifriends.com / webpower.com porn cams. iFriends is well aware of the fact that their service is massively abused in this sense, they just refuse to do anything about it. This is assuming they're not part of the scam themselves. They are well-known for their spam friendliness, and have even been in certain blacklists for ages. May they rot there forever.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Electablog

It's sad that some of the best political writing I've seen in quite a while has been in blogs. The press isn't really interested unless it's been released as a White House talking point (They're true because they're said a lot!) or your garden-variety soundbite. It's as if, as a nation, we are uninterested in having serious debate about the (yes, complicated) issues that face us today. Instead we get: nonstop claims that Kerry is the most liberal Senator in the US (false); we get lurid photos of Abu Ghraib prisoners, but no discussion on whether or not we are willing to accept tortue in extraordinary circustances; hell, CNN spent time talking about changes to the stage at the DNC before Kerry's speech.

One of the excellent political blogs that I've come across is Electablog, written by Dave Pell. His site puts my little exercise in navel-gazing to shame. He's smart, funny, well-written, and actually sensible. And now I find out he's cute, too! Check him out on CNN. Cute and, unfortunately, married. Oh well, at least the good guys have another one on our side.

Update: Followup post here after I noticed the aboutablog.com link

Friday, August 20, 2004

The collective IQ of Kansas just went up a notch

Fred Phelps and his jolly band of inbred wankers will be visiting Bloomington this weekend:
Fred Phelps to Bloomington

Phelpsie-poo's pamphlet is amusing in a depressing sort of way. I especially liked, "Sweden: Land of the sodomite damned." Where's my passport?

Monday, August 16, 2004

Show them the money

[Argh! Just deleted his blog entry by mistake. Starting over...]

Now that I have a real job and everything, I'm renewing my membership / continuing my contributions to the Human Rights Campaign and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The HRC was iffy, after they "disinvited" Margaret Cho from the UNITY 2004 event (oh, so ironically named) at the Democratic National Convention after the outcry from Whoopi Goldberg's comments on Bush. (By the way, did you know that Dennis Miller made jokes at a Bush rally calling Kerry and Edwards gay lovers? Neither did I. So much for the liberal press.) Anyway, I figure if Margaret can be big about it an continue to support the HRC, who am I to say no?

And so, for the first time, I'm thinking about supporting a political candidate as well. I'm thinking about sending money to Kerry or to the Obama campaign. Probably not both, as I'd rather send a larger check to one than a smaller check to both. They say it's better to do that, because your money can get used more efficiently. I'm not talking about a lot, just maybe $50 or so.

So I'm torn. The Presidential race is probably more important. But I'm not in a "swing state" so we've pretty much been written off as going Democratic (probably correctly) so my money wouldn't be used here. Obama is running for a more local office, so the outcome is probably more likely to affect my life, if even in a small way. But since his opponent has only recently moved to this state, and is a fairly wacko Right-wing candidate, hopefully he's a shoe-in. I'm torn and am looking for suggestions.

Got any?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Keyes to the city

Here's a good quote for you:

I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it.

-- Alan Keyes, Fox News, March 2000

Last week, Keyes moved from Maryland to Illinois to run for Senate. I wonder why the press isn't picking up on this Republican flip-flop?

Saturday, August 14, 2004

It's a small world after all

I just found out that I went to the same high school as Jon Stewart. We missed each other by a couple of years, though. How cool is that?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

@#$^&$

I'm trying to write a paper on the project I'm working on. The problem is that the rough draft was written by the guy that had my job before me (until he got a real job and left), and he was not a native English speaker. Here's one of the sentences from the original:

It should note that the current design takes the advantages of the insulating layers on surfaces.

The whole thing is written like this. I'm basically having to read each paragraph, decipher what he's trying to say, and completely rewrite the paragraph.

Tedious and frustrating. ARGH!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Liberal bias, my ass

A number of big media are owned by particular conservative organizations and people. It's odd that the "liberal" media like CNN actually tries to maintain some degree of impartiality, while the "non-liberal" media are so conservatively biased it's not even funny. The problem I have is that I can never remember which ones are which.

The other day I ran across a link on Wonkette to the Washington Times. When I brought it up, here's what I saw:
No liberals allowed

I've tagged some of the interesting parts:

  1. A link to The Conservative Book Club. Their slogan is probably, "Why think? Read Ann Coulter instead."
  2. Look, Sean Hannity has a new book! I'll bet it's very fair and balanced.
  3. Reads: "Learn how Democrats exploit our national crisis for political gain -- and how we can fight back to defeat terrorism, despotism and liberalism!" Yeah, those damn bomb-planting, prisoner-torturing, liberals. Because, we all know that the Republican administration would never exploit our national crisis for political gain.
  4. Remember, kids: a good conservative is a Christian conservative! Preferably one that believes the end of the world is nigh.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Poker

If you ever get a regular poker game going, remember to never invite Dick Cheney.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Stargate: Recycled

I've been watching Stargate: SG-1 for a while now, first on Showtime, now on the Sci-Fi channel. It's a fairly innocent piece of fluff. It's diverting, and it's on Friday nights, when there really isn't much better to do. Now entering it's eighth season, it's just spawned a spin-off series Stargate Atlantis. The build-up to the season seven finale set up the premier of Atlantis, and would have replaced SG1, but SG1 was renewed for at least another season, so we've got both.

I'm not sure how good an idea it was to have both series running at the same time and in back-to-back time slots. It just emphasises the fact that Atlantis is complete copy of the SG1 formula. Even the cast is basically the same: female scientist, slightly stiff; male scientist, the nerdy, talking one; male military figure, irreverent and distrusting of authority; and the token black guy. Atlantis does add one more person to the central group of characters, and mixes up the power structure a bit (the female scientist is in charge), but the basic structure of the show seems to be the same. Group visits a random and previously unexplored world, group experiences alien weirdness, hijinxs ensue. There's even an overwhelmingly powerful alien race bent on the destruction of humanity, that humanity manages to outwit at every turn. Just a different one from SG1.

There is, however, a bright light in all this. Paul McGillion plays Dr. Beckett, a supporting, but recurring, character. Hunky, and that (Scottish?) accent.... Woo. Screenshots here and here.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

For crying out loud

I think there's a weirdo convention in town. Poor David was cornered by a guy in the chatroom last night that just would not take, "No I don't want to date you after chatting for five minutes" for an answer. That and the masseur/escort/hustler that's been making the rounds lately. So, of course, Needy Guy messages me too this morning and is pressing me for a date before I'm done with my coffee. Thankfully David had told me about him, so I was wise for imminent weirdness.

Then, some guy messages me, and his first words to me are -- swear to God -- "So it's 8 inches. That's nice." [*] Surprised, I looked around to see if I had misplaced a cucumber somewhere. After that intro, he seemed friendly enough, if needy, pushy, and dumb as a hammer. His last words to me were, "Take care, Steve."

This is why I gave up on dating.

[*] OK, those weren't his exact first words to me. I compensated for the complete lack of spelling and punctuation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Dahling...

Come november, the White House had better start stocking a lot more smoked salmon and nibbily bits:
http://towleroad.typepad.com/towleroad/2004/07/shed_be_an_iabs.html

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

JC

I never really paid much attention to Jimmy Carter. I was just 7 when he didn't get reelected, so it was all Reganomics and jelly beans by the time I was old enough to pay attention to politics. (Although I do remember being disappointed when Regan got elected. How's that for starting a Democrat early?)

I've also been avoiding much of the DNC convention coverage this week. I figure it's all going to be a bunch of political chest-thumping. But I took at look at this paragraph of Carter's speech from last night, and was just in awe:

In repudiating extremism we need to recommit ourselves to a few common- sense principles that should transcend partisan differences. First, we cannot enhance our own security if we place in jeopardy what is most precious to us, namely, the centrality of human rights in our daily lives and in global affairs. Second, we cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic. Third, we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country. Next, we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others. And finally, in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.

Electablog has posted the text of his entire speech. It really is worth a read.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Machining

I haven't had time to do much blogging lately, and may not for a while. Three days a week, I've been taking training in the evenings to be able to use our machine shop. I've been making up engineering drawings for someone else to turn into real-world items for a while now, but taking them from a raw piece of stock to something else is a different experience. It's actually rather fun. And the fact the machinist that's doing the training is pretty cute doesn't hurt, either.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Oy veh

Following up on the previous post: Islam doesn't have a monopoly on religious freaks and weirdos. This guy needs to put down the weed and stop listening to oldies stations.

I will never understand some people

I was poking around in the web statistics again this afternoon, as I am occasionally wont to do, and notice that'd I had a visitor from Saudi Arabia. My first through was, "Wow, the Internet really is neat." Heck, I've never even been out of the country, and here I am basically talking to someone in the Middle East. My second thought was to see how they got to my site, and I noticed it was via a Google search for "what sodomized means." Hmm. OK. And, yes, my site is currently #10 if you run that Google search. Odd for a gay guy that can't get laid, huh?

So, if I'm ranked #10 for that search, what's #1? Well, it's this little site call www.truth-and-justice.info, and boy, is it anything but. This wacko has a page for those that don't know what sodomy is. OK, I can understand why someone, especially a non-native-English speaker like our friend here from Saudi Arabia might need a bit of help, and his page does do a pretty good job of defining the term and even giving a bit of background and legal history. But then it gets freaky: (emphasis mine)

The verb "sodomize" means to commit an act of sodomy, and more specifically to turn a man into a homosexual by inserting some objects into his anal passage. The reason that such action can "turn a man (or boy) into a homosexual" is that stroking the internal walls of the anal passage produces in the victim sensations similar to those experienced in the course of normal sexual relations by women. Once subjected to such act, a sodomized male becomes addicted to these sensations, and experiences cravings to repeat these experiences again. This also leads to a personality change, and such men begin to imitate female behavior and become "effeminate". [He never said what happens to the personalities of the tops...] Such men can also develop emotional dependence on their sodimistic partners and form with them a "long-term relationship".

So, of course at this point, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor, dust it off, and put it back on. The rest of this fuckwit's site is just as interesting. Like how animals can be forced into homosexual behavior by "unnatural" situations like domestication. Sounds like someone needs to read this book. But he's probably not interested in facts if they disagree with his dogma. I was extremely amused by his claim that a man having merely one wife will drive her to "drinking, smoking, or gambling."

I was raised pretty much a-religiously, and I'm basically an agnostic. I just have a hard time understanding the mentality of "I know what God really wants, and your religion is wrong. Now do what I say." This twit appears to be British, but we certainly have our share of religious know-it-alls as well (*cough* Fallwell *cough*), and they all share a similar mindset with this dork. They seem to be growing in power, or at least in volume, and I worry about what's going to happen if they gain more control than they already have.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Fuckwit

I mentioned this guy's blog in a previous post.

I've changed my mind. He might have some interesting political opinions, but he's an asshole.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

They didn't realize it was actually for money, either

Celebrity Poker Challenge is a fun little show on Bravo, where actors and celebrities get together on camera and play poker for charity. They're usually B+ grade cebrities, but it's fun nonetheless. Each week, the winner from the original five players goes on to the finals, in which the winner of that round gets the biggest chunk of the "Cingular Wireless Prize Package," as host Dave Foley reminds us every episode.

That is, until now. Cingular has decided to pull its sponsorship of the Bravo show because there was (gasp!) drinking on the show, and the occasional (bleeped) swear word. Come on, this is a Las Vegas casino for crying out loud, not a nunnery. The drinking seems to be their biggest beef with the program. Geez. These people are adults taking part in a perfectly legal, respectable adult past time, one most American's do as well. It's even doctor-recommended! It's not like they were out getting trashed and falling all over the poker table slurring their words or anything.

The truly ironic part is that using Cingular's product while driving is even more dangerous than driving drunk.

[On a side note, I found it very interesting to find out that CPS is the creation of Joshua Malina, one of its executive producers and currently of the West Wing cast. That explains why West Wing cast members have been regulars on the series this season and last. Malina was also seen in Sports Night, which, if you ask me, was one of the best TV shows of all time. According to his IMDB biography, he is an avid poker player, even playing for rent while he was a starving actor.]

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

People that want to make me screech my nails on the blackboard...

I'm not the world's best typist, I know. I'm not even a master grammarian. (Although I do appreciate the occasional punctuation joke.) But I'm constantly amazed at the inability of many native-born speakers in this country to handle even some of the simplest aspects of the English language.

Case in point: there's one guy that comes into the local gay.com chatroom (a place in which I hang out far too often) that has a nautical-themed screen name. I'll refrain from naming names. Oh what the hell, he's SailorHere. Now, you'd think with a nickname like that he might know a little bit about sailing. Or even just read something about it. The thing that bugs me is that he's constantly greeting the room with, "AHOY MATTIES." It's even in his bio line.

I don't want to get snippy about the shouting or the lack of a comma because, well, that would be anal. This is a chatroom, after all, and the regular rules of formal language are a bit relaxed. OK, limper than an overcooked noodle. I'm willing to be tolerant of that and the more-than-occasional misspelling; this is conversation, not publication. But it's not a typo, it's always mispelled as "matties," never, not once, as "maties." It doesn't appear to be intentional, he just doesn't know how to spell it.

Is it really unreasonable of me to expect that someone should want to put up a public persona that makes them look like they have more than a fourth-grade education?

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Another blog

This guy has a pretty good blog. David sent me the link. I'm not going to link to it over in the menu, since it doesn't seem to be updated too often. He's a bit on the brash side, but what do you expect for 23? I thought he had some good points to make on cable TV news, gay Republicans, and the whole dating thing.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/waltwhippy99/

The joys of motherhood

In waiting for the bus the other day, I noticed a woman waiting nearby pushing her kid in a stroller. The stroller had two cupholders built into the handle, and I was trying to decide if that was a clever idea, or too Yuppie-riffic for words, when I saw what the cup holder contained ... a Bartles and James wine cooler. This was at like three in the afternoon. Yeah, nothing says mother-and-child bonding like taking Junior out for a little fresh air and getting liquored up in the process.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Web usage statistics. Mmmm, tasty!

I get a kick out of watching the statistics for this blog. Seeing where everyone is from, what they were searching for when they came here, and what else they read once the get here. (All courtesy of statcounter.com, which does the neat little visitor counter on the right.)

  • On June 24, I got a hit from someone in the US House of Representitives doing a search on "John Kerry and 'bad for the economy'". Damn Republicans. I feel soiled.

  • Strangely enough, lately the hits have pretty much all been from searches on Vadim Dale, Outback Jack's real name. Go figure.

  • And to the user from the Bronx who came here on July 5, looking for "nude pictures of Dash Mihok," please feel free to share the results of your quest.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Know your audience!

I caught a few minutes of this season's Big Brother before watching The Amazing Race last night. It's interesting to see how well the CBS executives know their audience. About a quarter of the Racers are middle-aged or up. Several of them are fairly overweight, and some are not what you would generally call attractive. On Big Brother, however, everyone is young and reasonably hot.

These are not unintentional decisions, I'm sure. People don't watch BB for the interesting conversations. (There aren't any. Lets just say that these people aren't chosen for their ability to talk.) They don't watch for the suspense. (There really isn't any, unless you count the fairly stupid and rather contrived contests for head of household and this week's food.) They don't watch for the exotic locales. (They're stuck in a house the size of my apartment, for crying out loud.)

No, people watch BB for T&A and P&D (pecs and dick). The producers ensure there's plenty of that by not air conditioning most of the house, plying them with lots of alcohol, and putting cameras in every inch of the house, including the shower. And with uncensored 24-7 feeds, it's basically CBS porn. In the interest of full disclosure, maybe I'm just bitter. I've always been unattractive, and now that I'm old and and fat, to boot, maybe it's just that I'm jealous of all these hotties people want to watch fuck.

Which brings me to the other reason people watch: to see who's gonna hook up. I think CBS made history last season by being the first major network to actually televise people having sex, although admittedly, it was only shown over the Internet feed.

The first big twist this season is that two of the contestants are half-brother and half-sister, and don't realize it. Fortunately, one of the two has figured it out, so we're spared the possibility of them hooking up. But that makes me wonder, what would happen if he had not figured it out, and they had hooked up? Would the camera crew stop them, and let the secret out? The cynic in me says no. After all, it would make *great* television.

Monday, July 05, 2004

One hell of a brave penguin

I can't remember where I found this, and I really wish I could. It cracks me up no end.

A brave penguin
One brave penguin.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

IE sux

According to their website, United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) is a partnership between the US Department of Homeland Security and the public and private sectors. This week they recommended people stop using Microsoft's Internet Explorer and switch to a different web browser.

I was surprised. Not because they were making this recommendation; with the security-hole-of-the-week in IE being particularly bad this time, it seemed only sensible. What surprised me was that people were still using IE when there are a number of superior choices out there. I use Mozilla Firefox, others prefer to use Opera, and there are any number more.

I just can't understand why people would use IE given the choice. I had to go to some news website becaue it used an IE-only ActiveX control the other day. The result? Popups all over the place. I didn't even realize that advertisers were still using pop-ups, since Mozilla blocks them all. Banner ads? Similarly gone. Mouse gestures? The best thing since sliced bread. And you don't have to worry about some stranger installing softward on your computer without your permission.

Switch. It's the best thing you can do for your blood pressure today.