Sunday, December 19, 2004


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


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


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
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


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.


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.