Strange Brouhaha

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The End Of...I Dunno What

As of today, I am officially unemployed.

It's an odd feeling. On the one hand, it has been a long, dragged-out process just getting to this day, so it's a giant relief. On the other hand...well, I'm sure you can figure out the other hand.

For me, it was a strangely unemotional day. I went in, turned in a few forms, made a last sweep through my desk and bookcases, uninstalled a few pieces of personal software and made sure that any private data was gone. Said no goodbyes, went out to lunch with a couple of friends, and that was it.

If I haven't said this before: I don't recommend being laid off. It's not good for the psyche.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

More Captain Kirk Is Never Bad

If you like Star Trek--and I mean Star Trek, not "The Next Long, Drawn-Out Boring Speech From A Preachy Bald Guy Who Sucks," not "Deep Space Please God Kill Me," not whatever the heck else--then you owe it to yourself to check out Star Trek New Voyages.

Have I already linked to them? I may well have. But I just watched episode 2 and it had me jumping all over the place, it was so good. These are the guys who should have been in charge of Trek all along, maybe we would have gotten something good. They certainly couldn't do any WORSE than Rick Berman. Did you know you can rearrange the letters in "Rick Berman" to spell "The Antichrist?" It's true!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Quote of the month

[T]his is a good man, and I would hate to see the entirety of his life and the good things he's done defined by one incident.

You know, I saw reports on the 'net about a similar case with which I am familiar, and the individual charged in that case was also reported to have been in an "administrative position" which had no contact with children. In that case, they were wrong. I wonder if they're wrong in this case, too. (And yes, the "no contact" part came from officials in the other case as well. It was even--I think--part of the legal record. I will accept correction from anyone who knows.)

In my opinion, this guy should get the baseball bat. Then let him heal up. Then give him the bat again. Repeat.

Monday, March 28, 2005

More about that horrible narcissistic Salon columnist

Her first column is up over at Salon. I didn't read it, but it was going to be all about her seven-year-old son (again).

What burns me up about this obvious exploitation is the number of people who wrote in to the Salon letters column to defend this author, among them another author with a national reputation. The defense generally ran along the lines of, "I guess all you goody two-shoes mommies out there can't handle a mom who's imperfect and real! Well, grow up!"

No. We can't handle a mom who repeats, on the internet, things that her very young child has trustingly told her.

I hope everyone (and they all seemed to be women) who defended this columnist all wake up to discover that their husbands have started a blog.

"Hi! This is [Real Name] of [Real City]! My wife [Real Name] had another episode of stress incontinence last night. God, I hate that. It really smells, and plus, the thought of her distended urethra really squicks me out. Not to mention the other thing. It's like throwing a pencil down a mine shaft these days. And did you know she has rape fantasies? Every month when she's getting near her period, I have to hear her go on about how she wants two 25-year-old gangsta-rappin' black guys to chase her down in an abandoned parking lot and have their way with her. This, while she's leaking on me. Well, I've got an extra twenty bucks, so I'm going down to [Real Street] tonight, if you know what I mean. I need a break! Besides, I still have muscle tone. How can you expect me to be satisfied by some squishy 45-year-old with bladder control problems?"

Hey--he's being real! Grow up! Right?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

More Helpful Parenting Advice

The entire family was at the Y this morning and we had to listen to this woman in the locker room attempting to embarass her daughter out of diapers. We both agreed that we pretty much wanted to smack the lady. She was saying things like "You'll be the last girl in preschool not wearing big-girl underwear," and "Everyone will say, Shmoozilla is still wearing diapers! That's so silly!" and things like that. (No, her name wasn't actually Shmoozilla.)

To put it politely, this is Not The Way To Do It.

Here is the Jahrling method of toilet training. It works, based on empirical evidence on a sample size of one. You just need to remember two things: It Is Not A Big Deal and It Is Not About You. Ready? Here goes:

It Is Not A Big Deal.

It Is Not About You.

That's it! Oh, you want more depth? Okay. Introduce your child to the toilet. Don't make it a big deal. "This is where Mommy and Daddy use the toilet. We pee and poop here. We do it every day. It is neither mysterious nor complicated. If you are ready, you can use it too. If you are not, then we can wait."

And if they are not, they are not. And you can wait. It Is Not A Big Deal.

Do you find diaper-changing a pain? Me too. Guess what? It Is Not About You.

If you let them decide when they are ready, with some gentle reminding every few days (along the lines of "Would you like to try?" and remember to drop it if they say no), you'll have the job done. Do not nag. Do not pressure. Do not tell them they're "silly" for wearing diapers, do not try to embarass them.

It Is Not A Big Deal.

It Is Not About You.

Friday, March 25, 2005


If I could find any of my various writings on the subject, I could prove to you that I've been saying for years--ever since he broke the record--that Mark McGwire didn't deserve any accolades. I guess the Hall of Fame voters agree with me.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mark Morris Was Here

The Mark Morris Dance Group performed last night at the Overture Center, and we were fortunate enough to be there. Not only that, but there was a discussion with Morris himself after the show, which was even more fun.

First of all, there was live music. It made a huge difference. It was like having fresh versus frozen; everything was lighter and fuller and more resonant. Second of all, I knew I was in the presence of real dance art. Nothing against Momix or Trinity, but Morris was aiming to the side of and significantly beyond those companies. There was an overall coherence and obvious meaningfulness to his work which was so fulfilling to watch. I just felt that I was getting *more* from him and his incredible company (which he called "strong, mature, beautiful dancers" and he was absolutely right, plus I would add "totally individual") than I have from any of the other performances we've been to.

It was a real treat that Morris himself was there. When he came out to share in the curtain call, he was on the same level of performance energy as the dancers, and shared in their graceful gestures. In particular, Morris has a stunning port de bras (carriage of the arms) and I wished I could have seen him dance. Then afterwards, when he came out to talk to us, he was funny, very intelligent, and drolly authoritarian ("All these other choreographers talk about 'giving the dance to the dancers' and 'their ideas are just as valid as mine,' and I think that's total bullshit!"). There was a real intellect there, and I appreciated it. We all would have kept him there all night--which I'm sure happens everywhere he gives a talk, given the way that he actually got up and pretty much ran offstage ("And we love the Overture Center and thank you and that's all goodnight!!") when the time was up.

I hope he comes back next year.

Here We Go Again

Y'know, it's not (exactly) that I disbelieve her. Psychologist Martha Stout says that there are many many many more sociopaths than we ever imagined. They walk among us, their charming eyes hiding the reptilian coldness that they will only reveal when they have us in their power. Quieter brothers to the serial killers, they will humiliate us at work, twist our minds, and laugh at our displays of empathy and conscience. And there are so! Many! More of them! Than we ever imagined! Aaaaa!!!!

Excuse me, but this is just the latest in a very long list of bugaboos in my lifetime. In approximate order:

There are so many more people with ADD/ADHD than we ever imagined!

There are so many more people with depression than we ever imagined!

There are so many more cases of physical/emotional/sexual abuse than we ever imagined!

(Even) There are so many more gay people than we ever imagined! (One in ten has become accepted wisdom, but was not what people thought for most of the century.)

Our society perceives a syndrome--hyperactivity, depression, fabulousness, sociopathy--and suddenly it's everywhere. Notice that these are all relatively squishy, vague categories that depend largely on self-reporting. Notice also that we are basically ALONE IN THE WORLD on all of these things. ADD/ADHD, for example, is an almost exclusively American phenomenon; NOBODY else medicates their kids the way we do.

In other words: it's still 16-whatever. We're still in Salem. And we're still...looking...for witches.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Oh yeah!

And plus! In that Schiavo "law"! Where have we seen this before? A special law which is only meant to apply one time to one situation. Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

That's right, kids! "Bush vs. Gore."

There again, we had a ruling which, we were explicitly told, was only meant to apply one time, to one case.

Apparently we have been under dictatorial decree for longer than we thought.


The Insane Schiavo Law

Did you know that Terri Schiavo's parents got a special law passed, just for them, that overrides Florida law--in *their case* only? Apparently that's what the Congressional session was about. I had managed to avoid realizing that because I have enough challenges to maintaining my blood pressure. I knew that loonies and cynical jerks were meddling unconscionably, and that was all I wanted to know.

Well, now I know more. This article for which you must register on the New York Times website explains it all for us in all the gory, totalitarian details. Basically, the Bushies created a special "law" specially for these specific people, because these people asked them to. A "law" like that is not a law at all. It is a dictatorial decree. Period.

Time to haul out the old "END IS NEAR" sandwich board and start pounding the pavement.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Yeah, But Not Before The Damage Is Done

This eloquent, smart and depressing essay by William Rivers Pitt, which amply demonstrates that "these people [the Republicans] will say anything" to get what they want, ends, for me, on a false note.

After the brilliant "Sun Hudson versus Terry Schiavo" point (the state of Texas just pulled the plug on a vegetative 5-month-old while the loonies in Florida were busy meddling in poor godforsaken Michael Schiavo's business), Pitt rages that "these people" will blithely engage in any degree of lying, any degree of hypocrisy, any degree of anything, because they want to have everything their own way. Very true.

And then it goes south. Stepping one rung higher up on the rhetorical ladder, Pitt goes on to say that this is the delusion of despots everywhere, that they can have everything their way. But, Pitt reminds us, they always fall. Sooner or later, they always fall.

Um--yeah, but not before they've gassed six million Jews, semi-intentionally starved a combined sixty million SOL peasants (China and Russia), gulaged how many tens of thousands more, made it an ironclad social custom for women in hot countries to wear black blankets outside, confined Native Americans to reservations and outlawed their religions and languages, and even stopped along their busy course to wreck the life and reputation of one single man who was already the victim of a tragedy. I could go on. When you're in the way of a bulldozer like that, it's pretty thin comfort to say "But someday they'll fall."

Monday, March 21, 2005

The END OF THE WORLD is nigh!

Perhaps crisis can be averted if we can induce Satan's turtle to eat The Nun Bun.

Two things about this story strike me...

The venerable New York club CBGB is in financial trouble. Two things immediately came to mind when I read this story, plus a third bonus thing that we were thinking about the other day.

First: The bands specifically mentioned in the article--The Talking Heads, The Ramones, and Blondie--have to have some money. And yet all we have is Tommy Ramone saying, "Man, that sucks." Maybe if the people who made CBGB famous (and whom CBGB made famous) aren't interested, it should be allowed to die.

Second: If "outside investors" are involved, CBGB will lose whatever cachet it still has. It's gonna turn into House of Blues or Hard Rock Cafe. It already kind of has, but don't let Mark Cuban turn it into...well, whatever he'll turn it into, just in the name of nostalgia. Kind of like Terri Schiavo. Let it die, and remember it for what it was, not what it would become.

Bonus thing: Excuse me, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, Ohio. Why are they having induction ceremonies in New York? Play the HALL!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

And It's A Total Disaster (But Angelina Jolie Isn't)

Remember how it was fashionable a while back to point out that George Bush was our first president with an MBA?

In this brilliant essay, Stirling Newberry shows exactly how Bush is treating Social Security the way the cowboys of the business world treat our livelihoods: like a cash cow. He maps out CEO Bush's all-too-typical shenanigans with America Incorporated--first, a hostile takeover (Iraq). Whoops, that didn't pan out (aka deliver massive short term cash flow). Next, a leveraged buyout (Social Security). Surely, thinks CEO Bush, *that* will break open the pretty piggy bank. Meanwhile, he's borrowing money hand over fist. If the United States was a person, nobody would lend them any more money; they're too busy paying off what they've already borrowed.

Can I just remind everyone that this has all happened *in the last five years*? We used to have a surplus, people. And a very short time ago. Now, we're sitting on the international street corner going "Spare change? Spare change? Spare change?"

Anyhow, the hostile takeover having proved just a teensy bit problematic, CEO Bush is pinning his hopes on the leveraged buyout, only this time, everybody seems to realize that it's not such a good idea. That is why Bush is pushing the crisis angle. (Apparently businesspeople do this a lot; when they want attention, a promotion, or funding for a pet project, they act like Chicken Little.)

It's all too horrible to contemplate, so I'm going to go see what's up in the ongoing Brad And Angelina saga. (I wasn't paying attention when this happened, but Angelina Jolie has stopped being Elvira without the humor and started kicking ass on behalf of the world's children. I am totally serious. She has found a purpose in life working on behalf of the phantasmagorically large numbers of children wandering around hungry, scared and in tears on Planet Earth, and more power to her.)

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Magnificent Rude One

I was going to scrape together my own dribblings on the Schiavo case, but as always the Rude Pundit has a much better take on it than I would have come up with.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Actual Conversation From Work Today

I'm standing in the kitchen, cutting my lunch (leftover roast beef) into bite-sized pieces prior to microwaving it. Someone comes in and says, "Ooh, is that corned beef?"

Huh? "Uh, no." I go on cutting.

A second person comes in. "Hey, corned beef, alright!"

I am thoroughly puzzled for another few seconds. Then I remember today's Google logo. "Oh," I say, the light bulb going on, "it's Saint Patrick's Day!"

The first lady says, "Come on, you must have known. You're wearing a green shirt!"

I look down. Sure enough. And suddenly it hits me that there are an awful lot of people in the office today wearing green. "No," I say, "it's just the top shirt from my pile of clean shirts."

I mean, come I LOOK Irish? (Answer: no.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

No Energizer Bunny Jokes!

A few months ago, Opportunity, the Little Rover That Could, got a miracle cleaning that increased its available power. Now, Spirit has gotten one too. The teams in this case, however, know exactly what cleaned Spirits panels. Opportunity...still a mystery.

I love space.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Pfft. And pffft again.

Zero Intelligence has a little update to the story about the kid who was arrested for writing stories in Kentucky. The Zero Intelligence piece links to a story from the Lexington Herald-Leader which Savannah also sent to me a few days ago--Kentucky trying to defend itself.

I'll believe it when we can read the journal for ourselves. As someone who used to write stories about a secret group of anti-terrorist ninjas...I just have to quote me some Prince: "If a man is considered guilty for what goes on in his mind, give me the electric chair for all my future crimes."

My favorite part of the update? The part where somehow, it turns out to be a problem that his teachers never assigned any short stories, as if the only reason someone would want to write is if it was forced.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Blogging and the confessional impulse

If you want to sit through an ad, you can access this article at Salon written by a blogger who thinks she knows how severe her confessional impulse is, but really has no idea.

I was really disturbed by this article. I'm not sure I even know where to start. First, there's the hall of mirrors. "I wrote about my suicidal thoughts and now I'm writing about writing about my suicidal thoughts! I wrote about the time my daughter screamed at my husband, and now I'm writing about writing about the time my daughter screamed at my husband!" Then there's the rest of it: "And how is this affecting me as a novelist? And, oh! My children! My children! How angry they will be at me someday. After all, not only have I revealed their childish outbursts on my blog, I have now quoted their childish outbursts for my article, which is adding insult to injury! Meanwhile, let me tell you about my son's tearful confession that he feared I would kill myself." [FYI: she wrote about these subjects, but these are not quotes]

The author seems aware that this all has something to do with her personality--but not aware *enough.* She seems to feel that blogging by nature *is* a confessional form, or at least that it's natural for it to be used that way. I'm going to be really mean and snotty here, and say: *Not if you have other things to talk about besides yourself.* You know--interests? Projects? Some dim awareness of the world beyond the length of your nose?

'Course, talking about your late lamented Unix server (or whatever the hell julius actually was) ain't as sexy as pimping your oh-so-precious "suicidal ideation" (which didn't sound like such a big goddamn deal to me, except for the part about how she leveraged it to punish her husband, get her friends to drop everything, and oh yes, induce tearful proofs of love from her children, because, as she tells us, she made damn sure to use sufficiently poor judgment to talk about it in front of them).

(Note: This does not mean I advocate ignoring people who talk about suicide.) (It just means: come on. If you can't handle a couple of sessions of casing your medicine cabinet or wondering if your bedroom window is high enough, you've got to be one of the biggest wusses on earth. I have never known anyone who has *not* "suicidally ideated!" *My* friends are the kind of people who like to laugh about it, not use it to frighten their children for publication.)

Everyone who encourages this woman by reading either her blog or her new column (which I will never do again) should be ashamed.

Friday, March 11, 2005

R.I.P. julius

Here's how I remember it, anyway.

When I started my current job, we only had one Unix host of any stripe on which we could do testing. There were actually two Solaris machines in the building, but TPTB were understandably hesitant about having us do any large-scale testing on production machines. (Now that I think about it, maybe we had two testing machines as well.)

At the School District, I had had good experiences with Linux and AIX, using the latter, eventually, to serve up router traffic analysis with MRTG. I wanted a more modern, faster Unix machine. Lotsa luck--I ended up with a Pentium 133 with 32 MB RAM.

Good enough for Linux.

A perfect Slackware platform, that little machine was one of my main development and testing boxes for almost four years. It saw very little use over the last two, and maybe it got lonely or something, because today, julius died. Pages of disk errors, and a really loud grinding noise on reboot. So long, buddy.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Does this mean I have to apologize?

Turns out that white supremacists probably weren't behind the Lefkow murders in Chicago. I still stand by the other things I said about them, though.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

This Is What I Do To Stay Sane

I visit this vast clearinghouse of online information about Alexander the Great. Even if you barely know who he is, visit the site. It's worth a look. Start with the clickable "Alexander's Character," or "Death," or "Friends and Enemies," or the links about Oliver Stone's poor movie, which in my opinion was unfairly judged only by its bad parts. (There were just as many good ones, and it was a hell of a lot more ambitious than most of the other crap out there. Stone should have at least gotten points for trying.)

I don't know why this site comforts me after I've had too much of the disasters in the world. Maybe because all these things happened so long ago. It puts things in perspective. And they had different problems then, so it's an escape. And you learn a lot. I especially like the extensively-linked work of Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman. Her webpage about Hephaistion is particularly informative and fascinating--witty too--and I know Alexander would be pleased to see Hephaistion getting the credit he deserves.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"Is our democracy that fragile?": Or, That Damn Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead famously said, "Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Liberal-hippie types like to use this statement to make themselves feel better. They fail to grasp its full implications. The Brown Shirts started out as a small group of committed people. The Bolsheviks started out as a small group of committed people. The Spanish Inquisition started out as a small group of committed people. Al Qaeda started out as a small group of committed people. And as Seymour Hersh demonstrates in his book, "eight or nine neoconservatives," aka A Small Group Of Committed People, have changed America, Iraq, and the world.


Tony Kushner Is Wrong: Or, Why I Never Throw Anything Away

This is from my Working Assets bill. "'Our despair,' Tony Kushner writes, 'is a lie we tell ourselves.' The truth..." continues the bill, "is that we can change the world when we do two things: hope and act. For instance: Ukrainians took to the streets and overturned a rigged election. Americans did not, and here we are."

Oh yeah? Taking to the streets works? Well then let me try a date out on you: February 15, 2003. You remember it, right? Right?

February 15, 2003, was the day that ten million people gathered in cities worldwide, including the United States, to protest the coming Iraq war. It was the largest demonstration on record in human history. It...did...zilch.

Now of course, the Ukrainians, once they took to the streets, stayed there. Perhaps this was the February 10 Million's mistake: they went home. Perhaps if they had not only showed up, but stayed there for four weeks, things would have been different. But...probably not. After all, as has subsequently been made abundantly clear, the plans were already in place. And our godlike Bush Administration lords and masters can't let a little trifle like the global will of the people get in the way of their plans. Can they.

Yes, hope and act. But don't fool yourself, either.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


This whole thing with my job has made me start thinking a lot about work in general. I saw a commercial on the television device today for the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, and it started me wondering how people choose their careers. I started with Veterinary Medicine--how do you *choose* to do that? And I think you do have to choose it; medicine in general isn't something you just dabble in, veterinary medicine even less so. I doubt loving animals is sufficient, because otherwise the 87-year-old retired lady down the street with her thirty cats would be a retired vet rather than a retired secretary.

I quickly moved on from that, though, broadening out into something more general: Are people out there just more focused on their future more than I am? I mean, I majored in German in college mostly because the only other thing I had enough credits in was English, and I couldn't bear the thought of having to take yet another class where you couldn't get the books and had to interpret everything from a feminist perspective anyway. Besides, British Literature and I don't get along, and I didn't think I could fake enthusiasm for Dickens and Trollope. (Not that German was much better, you understand--I mean, Peter Handke? And I probably could have gotten higher grades in English.) But I went to school with people who had their futures mapped out. My first roommate was taking as much Biology and Chemistry as he could so that he could go to medical school, for example. For that matter, so was my second roommate, I think.

What made you choose your path in life? Are you like me, on the "I had nothing better to do" track? Or were you lasered in from the start? Why?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Four words you never thought you'd hear...

"Ving Rhames is Kojak." (Annoying Flash intro least there's a Skip Intro button.)


I saw my doctor today for a followup to the rash of appointments I had at the end of 2004. We ended up agreeing that I would start medication for high blood pressure. (Well, to be honest, he agreed and I just kind of shrugged.) Somehow, that makes me feel like I'm some kind of horrible failure as a human being. I know it shouldn't, of course,'s just one more *thing* to deal with. Increased exercise and decreased sodium don't seem to have worked, but then again I'm not 25 anymore, am I?

In the "thank goodness for small favors" department, at least the medication isn't expensive. And the blood test for my cholesterol screening went swimmingly, which is unusual.

I actually kind of hope that I can keep this insurance provider at whatever my next job might be. Yes, I've complained about the antiquated procedures in effect at some of their clinics, but my doctor is actually a pretty nice guy.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Come ON, George!

I think we can agree--can't we?--that the murder of Judge Lefkow's husband and mother was the work of white supremacists. Doesn't this fall under the rubric of terrorism? Or is terrorism only committed by swarthy types? Where's our new Director of Homeland Security in all of this? Where's Little George? Hell, where's ANYONE, ANYONE! to light a fire under the feet of our "leaders" and get them to acknowledge that these people are terrorists, too? And that's not even to MENTION "Reverend" Fred Phelps. I mean, come on, someone--Howard Dean, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy...anyone?

So let's get this straight...the Lexington police can arrest a guy for writing a story about zombies attacking a school and charge him with TERRORISM, but the Klan and Aryan Nation and Fred Phelps wander around, free?


A friend of Rob's sent me something by John Shelby Spong about atheism. I was very interested in it. In urging an atheist to find some sort of spiritual practice, Spong painted a beautiful picture of the true, searching church, which is open-minded and open-hearted and knows itself to be on a journey where the "answers" only lead to more questions. (By the way, that's exactly what Unitarian congregations strive to be like, so Spong was essentially telling this man to go become a Unitarian.)

Along the way, however, there was a swipe at "secular materialism," aka, the age-old idea that non-religious people must be a bunch of shallow go-getters who blind themselves to the deeper values of life. (By the way, Rob's friend made it very clear that she was not trying to imply that I personally was like this.)

But I do want to talk about that. One of the many things that ended up driving me away from organized religion was an article that I read in what was otherwise an extremely inclusive and welcoming Christian magazine published by a group of Episcopalians. (I'm blanking on the name.) They published an interview with a man who repeatedly criticized "those flaccid secularists" who have no sense of deeper values.

And I suddenly thought, Whoah! Hold on a minute! That is a really insulting phrase. Would he say "those neurotic Jews"? What makes him think it's okay to blatantly insult folks who don't go to church? My *mother* is secular. He's insulting my mother!

The thing is, he's not alone. It is pervasive in the religious community to assume that non-spiritual people *must be* shallow in some way. If not, they'd have religion, right? *Wrong.* There's more than one way to grapple with the big questions of life, more than one way to live your ethics, more than one way to make peace with the universe. And when it comes to that, sometimes "shallowness" is the most profound response of all. Or as the epically-screwed infantrymen of the Pacific theater put it back in the 40s, "We're the battlin' bastards of Bataan/No mama no papa no Uncle Sam/...and nobody gives a goddamn." Lock and load.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I am NOT responsible for your lost time

If you play this game where the little Japanese girl rams her bike into the guy and sends him flying, do not blame me when you come out of the fog an hour later, trying to eke just a few more meters out of the poor guy's headlong flight.

The rules are in Japanese, but it's pretty easy to figure out. Stop the angle-of-attack meter by clicking and holding your mouse button. This starts the power meter going--release the button when the meter is full. While your guy is flying through the air, you will note the word "AERIAL" alternating between red, gray and blue. When it is red, you can click the mouse to bump the guy with the bike, sending him flying farther. (You can do this three times.) When it is blue, you send the guy careening downwards. (This power is unlimited, but depends on the blue meter building up.)

Notice also the SPECIAL icon strip. If you hit a character of the same color as the icon highlighted in the strip, you get a chance at a special--click the button as soon as the words "SPECIAL - press!" appear on-screen. You get a big power boost.

In addition, some of the characters on the way grant boosts, some of them block the others' power, and one of them stops the game.

So far, my record is 5458.58 meters.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Do I Really Need To Say Anything?

If a student can be arrested for writing a story, this country is in worse shape than I thought. Go. Read the link. I shudder to think what would happen to us if we were going to high school now. I never wrote about zombies, man, I had Mick:Defender taking on people by name, spewing cleansing fire from the SQ MagnaFlame Gun.

You know what the worst thing is? HIS OWN GRANDPARENTS TURNED HIM IN.

They have to say it, but...

Let's see. A white supremacist group threatens to kill a judge who ruled against it in court (in a TRADEMARK DISPUTE!). Its leader is in jail, convicted of trying to arrange for the judge to be killed. Less than a year after said leader is convicted, the judge's husband and mother are murdered.

But there's "no clear link."

By the way: how does this not count as terrorism? Come on, Little George, let's start dealing with white supremacist groups inside our own borders. Take down the Klan and Aryan Nation. I know, I know, it'll never happen: they're white and they don't have any oil and they voted for you.