Strange Brouhaha

Friday, September 28, 2007

Four For Friday Grab-Bag

From Belliblog, here's Four For Friday. Sometimes I really like the fact that these questions are so long. Other times, maybe not so much. But these were interesting.

Q1 - Next Tuesday: Instead of going to work next Tuesday, if you could spend the entire day doing something else--any one or two things that you absolutely love doing--what would you do?

Q2 - Telecommunications & Privacy: Earlier this week, San Jose, California-based Pudding Media announced the availability of a new service that allows anyone to place free telephone calls from the Web or a cell phone. However, as many "free" offers turn out to be, there is a catch. Pudding Media uses voice recognition software to monitor your calls, and when certain keywords are spoken, timely news, entertainment, and other offers are displayed on your computer or cell phone screen. For example, if you were talking with a friend about an upcoming movie, you may see links to trailers, reviews and show times for nearby theaters. A sports fan talking about her favorite team may see commentary and game statistics on a computer or handset screen. How likely are you to use this service? Does the ability to make free telephone calls entice you enough to open up your conversations to a computer generated voice recognition software program, or does privacy dictate that you would never use such a service?

Q3 - Architecture: Back in the late-1960s, construction began on a six-building structure at the Coronado Naval Amphibious Base near San Diego, California. Designed by a respected architect, the original blueprint consisted of two central buildings and a single L-shaped 3-story barracks. Eventually, the plan called for the L-shaped building to be repeated three times at 90-degree angles from the central buildings. That's right, the United States Navy constructed a series of buildings that when viewed from above, appears to look like a giant swastika--the official emblem of the Nazi party and the Third Reich. (Don't believe me on this one? Fair enough. Google the words "Coronado" and "swastika" and see for yourself. Trust me, I could not make this stuff up even if I tried.) Now, some 40 years later, after fielding requests from the Anti-Defamation League and at least one member of Congress, the Navy plans to spend nearly $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that the complex looks like a swastika when viewed from above. How do you feel about this? Is the $600,000 expenditure an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars or is this not an issue that deserves our time and money?

Q4 - Magna Carta: Later this year, Sotheby’s auction house in New York will present for sale The Magna Carta, the royal document revered as the birth certificate of freedom. This iconic manuscript, dated 1297, is the original charter that enshrined the rights of man into English law, and inspired the passion for liberty that flowered in America in the 18th century and continues around the world today. Quite simply, The Magna Carta is widely considered to be the most famous single document in existence. According to Sotheby's, it is estimated to sell for between $20 and $30 million. How do you feel about items such as The Magna Carta being sold? Do you think historical documents of such significance should be banned from ever being bought and sold? If your knee jerk reaction is that there is nothing wrong with the practice, would you change your mind if oh, I don't know, it was the original version of the Declaration of Independence that was up for sale?

Q1. Well, let's see. I would probably want to spend the day finalizing designs for the model spaceship I want to build. The next time I take a vacation, that's probably what I'm going to do. Hurray for being a dork!

Q2. Put me in the "never" camp. I wonder what happens if you say, "Thank God they caught that asshole with the child porn!" Do you get ads for churches? (don't ask if you don't know)? Porn? Day care? Anyway, this idea just sounds so horrifying. It's like something from 1984. Who am I kidding, though--No Such Agency and the rest of the United States Government are already listening in on domestic calls. Okay, seriously, though, presumably one would already need to have phone service in order for something like this to work, and actually paying for phone calls is the least part of our monthly phone bill. This is a stupid idea.

Q3. What boggles my mind about this story is that supposedly nobody ever realized it. Puh-leaze. Are we seriously meant to believe that there was not one sketch made of the entire layout? No model built? Not one person who visualized what the whole thing would look like? For 40 years? If that's the case, then dig up the architect and fire him. Anyway, this is obviously a national embarrassment now, so something needs to be done--but slapping a fresh coat of paint on the Yugo is probably not going to do much. It will always be "the swastika building."

Q4. Are you kidding? I would LOVE to own the Declaration of Independence. I mean, Jesus Christ. There is nothing wrong with the buying and selling of historical documents, mostly because it's safe to assume that a collector of such would take meticulous care of them. A private collector would take much better care of the Magna Carta than would, say, the Bush Administration, which has pissed on it and wiped its collective ass with it.


  • I got to the second sentence on the second question and lost interest. I have no abilty to concentrate on reading fiction anymore. I think I burned myself out on it in college.

    By Anonymous FrankieCrisp, at 6:33 PM  

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