Silflay Hraka

7/13/2002




Going to see Reign of Fire tonight. It's gotten bad reviews. On the other hand, it's gotten good reviews

Update:
It's a really, really bad movie, one that we thoroughly enjoyed, but not for any reasons that the filmmaker intended. Reign of Fire was meant to be shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. That's the target audience. Two robots and one smart-ass. The flaws are so numerous that by the time you point out one, several others have popped up and moved on. Note to the director: Hey Rob, if dragons sound like the Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park when they walk, then THEY'RE TO FREAKING HEAVY TO FLY! Dumbass. The one dragon that has been "hibernating" for millions of years is a male, they specifically point it out, the entire ending depends on it, yet they don't waste a second of screen time explaining how all the other dragons appear. All you need to show is an egg field. It's one goddamn shot. Lazy Bastard. And if dragons feed on the ash created by burning plants and animals, why is there grass everywhere? It's like they spent 60 million on the effects and a buck-fifty on the script.

Pete's Dragon is more realistic. Sadly, Pete's dragon also has better acting and dialogue, though RoF does have better fire. It got to the point that whenever Matthew Mcconaughey opened his mouth, people giggled. Bitching about Reign of Fire was by far the funnest part of the entire movie, and one that kept us entertained for the entire trip back. The sad thing is, we wanted to like the movie. We were pulling for the movie. The world needs more Helicopter vs. Dragon chase scenes. The dropoff from the first weekend for this movie is going to be phenomenal. People were heading for the exits during the climactic scene, for god's sake. People with a regular diet of Springer and the WWF were bitching about plot holes. Oh my God, did it ever suck.


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Nature Tip: If you ever need to get two hummingbirds out of your in-law's garage, a mop comes in very handy. Not one of your squeegee mops, but one like this. Gently sweep the mophead towards the hummingbird. If you get close enough, they latch on, and perch there while you walk back outside.


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Hey! Let's you and him fight!

Link via War Now. If you don't read War Now, read him later.



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Cowboys and Muslims

Idea via War Now. He didn't have a direct link, though.


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Anti-globalism, the preferred policy of racist white power movements everywhere.


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What we can look forward to in Riyadh, July 2059


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It's baaaaack!

Thanks a lot, George. That's just what I wanted to see again.

"If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democrat!" - Harry S. Truman


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Obviously he doesn't have any problems putting "under god" in the pledge.


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It was his last wish, and it's good for the flowers.


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Al-qaeda and steganography? Pish-posh. Maybe it was one of those fake USA Today stories.


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George on Human Rights;

Respect for human dignity and individual freedoms reaffirms a core tenet of civilized people everywhere. This important observance honoring our Bill of Rights and advocating human rights around the world allows all Americans to celebrate the universal principles of liberty and justice that define our dreams and shape our hopes as we face the challenges of a new era

Unless you're an inconvenient American woman in an oil-producing "ally".

Link via the MJC


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Yes, you may have an unconquerable crane style, but still I am your master, for I have fashionably thin eyebrows!


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7/12/2002




Astronomers have detected an event horizon. No word on whether it is blue or not.


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He flies thru the air,
with the greatest of ease.
That daring young man,
about to break both his knees.


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Fatty-Fatty, Two-by-four, got kicked out the airplane's door.

Hurrah. I didn't rally care about this until the other day. Writing the rhymes was fun, but that was about it. But I was riding the bus, and this girl who was 450 at a minimum, decides to squeeze her 72-inch ass into the the 36-inch seat beside me without a by-your-leave. I was literally shoved over to the other seat. Bitch. If you're that fat, don't go sitting on the damn bus. Stand up, you need the freaking exercise. I don't care if you have a glandular condition. I don't care if you have a 300 pound tumor. I don't care if God himself reached down out of the heavens and made you fat. It's goddamn rude to force yourself on other people like that. So stand up. Because now I'm watching for you, bitch, and i'm packing thumbtacks.


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Annoying the Wife - Chapter 7 - Singing in the Rain


It rained yesterday, a hard rain, one that we hadn't seen in months. No lightning, and only occasional faraway thunder. I sat with Ngnat in the garage and exchanged observations with her about the weather.

"Do you see the rain?" I asked, as if she had suddenly gone blind.

She looked out at the driveway rather doubtfully. "wain. cold."

"It's not that bad, honey." I reached out beyond the lip of the garage, into the downpour "Put your hand out here and you can feel the rain!"

"no daddy." She was having none of it. "go inside".

"Rain is fun, honey. Do you see it splashing?"

"go inside now!" She headed for the stairs to the kitchen. "Bye-bye!"

"Wait, Ngnat! You want to hold the umbrella?"

"no."

Time to roll the bones. I picked her up, opened the umbrella and walked out. She protested vehemently.

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" gasp! "what's that?"

"That's the sound of the rain on the umbrella." The nylon made a crackling sound, like drops of water bouncing about in hot cooking oil. "You like it?"

"uh-huh"

2 years is admittedly not long to experience much in the world, particularly if they're your first two years, but you'd think that a kid would have rain down pat by now. We'd been in a drought ever since Ngnat was born, so her greatest exposure to rain had come from the Itsy-Bitsy Spider song. She knew lightning, and she knew thunder. Neither particularly bothered her, since on the rare occasions we did have storms her mother and I would walk around grinning madly, ecstatic storm fanatics, saying things like "Did you see the lightning? It was pretty, wasn't it? Pretty lightning! Loud thunder!" in the hope that this would immunize her against fear, keep her from cringing in the corners when a future storm came by. We did the same thing when we first introduced her to the baby pool at the community center, exclaiming "Wheeeee!, What fun!" whenever she lost her footing and toppled over. After the first couple of times she was convinced, coughing out "wheee" while rubbing the water out of her eyes.

I don't remember missing a chance as a kid to play in the rain. As long as there was no thunder or lightning, we could go outside during the storm. One bolt of lightning, one crack of thunder, no matter how far away, and Mom would appear the front door, calling us inside. If that didn't happen, then we'd drop twigs in the gutters and follow them down the miniature rapids as they raced to the storm drain at the end of the road. We'd pull hard for our speedboat to outpace the others, and we weren't above tossing the occasional well-placed rock to disrupt a competitor. We'd snatch the winner from the mouth of the drain, just before it fell through the iron grid into the dark sewer below, and race back up the hill to do it all again. The losers were abandoned to the inky depths. They had lost, after all, and must pay the price. The downpour would slacken, and the boats would get smaller and lighter as the torrent in the gutter turned into a trickle, until even brown, curled grass clippings from the lawn caught on the asphalt and ground to a halt. Mom would make us undress and dry off on the back porch, and we'd run to hang our clothes on the line. Naked of course, which was cute when we were 7, but rather disturbing at 17.

I've taken showers in the rain. The first had to have been before I was five, because my grandfather was still alive. We were at his house, in a tiny little town on the coast, and apparently I was going through a stubborn stage, because I was refusing to take a bath. It was late afternoon, and the clouds just opened up. Not a thunderstorm, but with the heavy, heavy rain of the older Peanuts strips, where you can barely see the outline of Charlie Brown on the pitcher's mound through all the rain Schulz has drawn coming down around him. Rain so heavy that when you breathe in you get a mouthful of water. Dad stripped himself down to shorts, did the same to me, threw me over his shoulder and ran out into the rain. I was immediately soaked. The water in the street probably wasn't more than a couple of inches deep, but it seemed like an enormous flood to me. He produced a bar of soap and started lathering up.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Taking a rain shower. You want to?"

Well, yea! This was the oddest thing I had ever seen, and I'd seen a lot in my four or five years. So I bathed under the sky, rubbing soap into my hair, watching the suds flow away from me down the street. By the time I was done, the rain was almost over, the sun was coming out, and Dad held me under the waterfall from the parsonage's gutter for a final rinse, while my mom watched with her parents from the screened-in porch. I don’t remember much from that age, but I remember that.

So Ngnat and I stood in the driveway and sang in the rain, well hummed,

The rain, rain, rain, came down, down, down
In rushing, rising, rivlets
'Til the river crept out of it's bed
And crept right into Piglet's

Poor Piglet he was la,la,la
La,la,la,la,la,la,la,la.
La,la,la,la,la,la,la,la


And we stomped in the puddles, and looked at the flowers. Ngnat was fascinated with the gutter rapids, but feared entering their mighty flow.

“Daddy, sit down.”

I sat on the end of the driveway, soaking my tail in the puddles, and she lay spread-eagled across my legs, watching the water run through her outstretched fingers.

“waaaain, waaaain, waaaain, waaaain, waaaain, waaaain,” she sang, over and over again, hardly moving at all except to wiggle her fingers, finally catching the r-sound “raaaain, raaaain.”

“What are you two doing out there?” Mommy!

Ngnat jerked up and yelled back, “Mommy! Rain!”

I stood her up in the road, water swirling around her ankles. “You want to run to mommy in the rain?”

“uh-huh”

“Ok!” I tossed the umbrella into the yard. “Ready? One, two, three, ruuuuuuuuuuuuun!”

She pounded up the drive, screeching and giggling as if she was being chased by happy chocolate puppies, until we reached shelter. She looked up at us.

“More?”

Down we went. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!.” Back we came. “Runrunrunrunrunrunrun!”

“More?”

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Stomp in the puddle!” Stomp. Stomp. “Run back! Runrunrunrunrunrun!”

Sainted wife and mother was busy snapping pictures as we ran back and forth, up and down, with another “More?” always awaiting us in the garage. Until….

“Mommy, run in rain?

Oh my, that was a good idea. I joined in, bouncing.

“Mommy run in rain! Mommy run in rain!”

You could see the battle behind her eyes. On the one hand, dry clothes and comfort. On the other hand, a toddler and an idiot husband, jumping up and down, yelling “Mommy run in rain!. Mommy run in rain!”

She grabbed hands. Down we flew. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Stomp in the puddle, stomp in the puddle!”

I plopped down, upping the ante. “Sit in the puddle! sit in the puddle!”

Ngnat sat down and started splashing.

Dirty look. Dirty, dirty look. Then mommy sat in puddle! Oh, the pleasure this gave the little one. Mommy sat in puddle!

Later that night. Ngnat in pajamas, sucking her thumb as we rocked the last of the day away.

“Did you have a good day, hon?”

“es.”

“What did you like best?

She looked up at me, eyes full of wonderment and awe.

“Mommy run in rain!”


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Brother, can you spare a dime?

According to Forbes.com, the 25 richest people in the world are worth a combined $444.4 billion dollars. Four-hundred and forty-four billion, four-hundred million dollars. Twenty-five people. Add the next 25 richest folks with a combined worth of $175.2 billion for a grand total of $619.6 billion dollars. The number of billionaires on the planet runs all the way up to 497. Grand total net worth? $1.54 trillion dollars. 497 people. One trillion, five-hundred and forty billion dollars. It boggles the mind. What do you do with all that money? I guess you build forty-four million dollar homes.


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Nigerians are entering Britain on golf visas, then vanishing.

Let me see here. You have 43 citizens from a highly corrupt, heavily Muslim nation that have apparently used false credentials to enter your country, then vanished. The region they hailed from has a known Al-Qaeda presence, there's been at least one anti-American riot, all of a sudden Osama is a popular baby name, and intolerance has been skyrocketing for years.

Here are the countries on the State Department's Watch List:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Male visa applicants from these countries are automatically profiled.

See who's missing? All of these countries are Middle Eastern or part of Saharan Africa. There are no Sub-saharan countries on this list, despite the fact that of Interpol's list of most wanted terrorists, 4 hail from that region. If you were Al-Qaeda, who would you pick for your next mission? Sure, you can try and sneak some arabs into the west, but why take the risk when you can use Nigerians?

Five bucks says the next terrorist attack involves some of these guys.


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Drop your weapon or there will be...trouble.

Looks like another Robocop movie is in the works. Sweeet.


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7/11/2002




Tom the Dancing Bug, whether you agree with him or not, is funny. Tom Tomorrow has more good moments than bad. Aaron McGruder pisses people off just by breathing, but he's funny. Doonesbury isn't laugh out loud funny much anymore, but it's consistently amusing. There's more like them. The land is awash in liberal cartoonists. Lot's of these cartoonists draw things I don't necessarily agree with, yet I consistently find them humorous.

Why aren't there any funny conservative cartoonists? Heck, the only conservative cartoon I can even think of the top of my head is B.C., and that strip hasn't been funny for 20 years. It was flat out hilarious in the late 60's. I know, I have the books. But all Hart cares to do nowadays is heavy-handed preaching. Walt Kelly's dead, as is Al Capp, but neither of them are really classifiable as right or left-wing. It's not that there isn't conservative humor. P.J. O'Rourke and Christopher Buckley spring to mind, and a good number of conservative columnists have a innate wit, so you would think that there would be at least a prominent conservative cartoonist. But since MacNelly died, and I'm not sure you could classify him as a conservative either, there's been nothing of that caliber. I'm not going to pretend that Mallard Fillmore is, and neither is this guy. Now, Jack's funny, but I don't think he means to be. I'm not saying they're not out there, I'm saying that they don't achieve.


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There's a new virus out there as of Tuesday, W32.Liac.A@mm. Norton and McAfee both have updates for it. I've got virus protection from both, though I prefer Norton, since it doesn't make me re-boot my computer after every update. Though come to think of it, McAfee is on a Win98 box, and Norton is on a Win2k one, so that may be why I don't have to bounce it as often.


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Fred First is having Aliens to dinner. He's lucky. Whenever there's a dinner at my house, it's the Queen of England.


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Movies I want to see

While we're on the subject of movies with comic book heroes, I thought I might make my Top 10 list of comic-to-screen movies that I want to see.

1.) The Badger

He's like a cross between Wolverine and Batman with a healthy portion of homocidal psychopath thrown in for good measure. Still got #1 issue. Evidently it's worth $1.75 here

2.) Cerebus the Aardvark

Conan the Barbarian meets Alf. He'll do you one, mate. BTW, looks like another Conan movie is in the works.

3.) Groo the Wanderer

Conan the Barbarian meets The Simpsons. He'll do you one, mate, even if you're on his side. I had the number 1 issue of this comic. Treated it like crap because I didn't think it was valuable. Now it's very valuable, or so I'm led to believe. Dammit.

4.) GrimJack

The Three Musketeers meets Star Wars meets Detective Comics. Still have the number one of this comic.

5.) The Tick

Let's keep it animated, for crying out loud. Whereas I kinda liked the live-action series with Patrick Warburton, it didn't have the same comic feel as the animated series.

6.) Judge Dredd

Okay, yes, I KNOW they made a movie of this one already. I didn't like it. I want them to do it AGAIN. The Stallone version did NOT do justice to the character. He's a badass.

7.) Marshal Law

I loved this comic. Judge Dredd in an alternate universe. Check out the picture. One of my buddies stole my collection. Bastard. Purported to be in line for production.

8.) Doctor Strange

Am I the only one who really dug this comic? Maybe it was all the mystical shit.

9.) Moon Knight

Sure, he's Marvel's answer to Batman, but I still want to see the movie. Maybe they can get George Clooney to play him in the movie.

9.) Megaton Man

On second thought, I really don't care to see a Moon Knight movie. Megaton Man was like Superman meets the Hulk meets The Tick meets the Three Stooges.

10.) Thor

Sure, it's mainstream, but I still want to see it. I'm sure it'll be cheesy.


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Saw a unix joke a t-shirt today. Probably old, but new to me.

rm -rf /bin/laden

mmmmmm.....geeeky


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You know, if i was to visit Britain in the near future. I bet I could find all sorts of significance in the analemma.


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The Time Travel Fund

You know, this is at least as logical as freezing yourself, and I've been planning on doing that since I was 11. It's also cheaper. And, the $10 is easily worth the sight on the wife's face when she sees the charge on the credit card bill.


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Tom Tomorrow, one of the best cartoonists around, no matter what Ann says, talks about the Orwell quote "Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist". He points out that in 1944, two years after he first said it, Orwell disowned it.

The real message of Orwell's work, as well as of his heroic personal example, is that intellectual integrity is more far crucial to an embattled democracy than orthodoxy. Without vigorous dissent, there's no creative thinking. Honest people can change their minds; demagogic bullies, alas, almost never do.

True, but in 1942, Britain was losing the war. In 1944, Britain was winning. It's really two different intellectual environments.


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Chandra Levy on Anne Frank:

Anne Frank thought that in spite of all the bad in the world, people are basically good. I agree with her. Hey, even Hitler was a good person some time in his life. But people also make big mistakes about judging others at one time or another. This is a fact of life and it is all in the course of human nature.

Spooky link via PCJM


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Everything's fun and games until someone rolls the window up on a nipple.


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7/10/2002




So, who will win?

Superman vs. Batman. My money is on Batman. I'm assuming that the people who are going to make this movie have read Return of the Dark Knight by Frank Miller, hands down the best comic ever written. (My brother, BigWig, also approves of DK2 (Dark Knight 2), but I thought it sucked, at least in comparison.) For those of you who haven't read Return of the Dark Knight, an aged Batman gives Superman all he can handle before throwing the fight. I'm hoping that the filmmakers have enough artistic sensibility to consider emulating the comic. However, it's Hollywood, and the director mentioned Matt Damon as a possibility for one of the heroes, so it looks like they will actually make it a draw. Bummer. But I'm hoping that Batman will be just as dark and questionable as in the comic and Superman will be just as...compromised?

Notwithstanding who wins, who would you cast as the heroes? And do you think that the director will be able to avoid the overt homosexual themes that destroyed "Batman and Robin"? (Okay, the overt homosexuality was only partly responsible for that movies failure. The other three reasons are George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, not necessarily in that order. Oh...and the retarded Bane character. Oh...and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. Oh...and the fact that she was somehow related to Alfred rather than to Commissioner Gordon. Val Kilmer was the best Batman and they should have kept him, pain in the ass or no. Patrick Stewart would have made an AWESOME Mr. Freeze, and he can speak English. Robin should have been killed at the end of the third movie. Batgirl and Poison Ivy should've made out at least once. A little nudity from either one of them wouldn't have hurt.)

Where was I? Casting...I still like Val Kilmer as Batman and wouldn't say no to Michael Keaton again, though he seems to have really disappeared and looks emaciated. Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn from Lord of the Rings)? Not a bad choice, but speaks English only a little better than Schwarzenegger. Tommy Lee Jones wouldn't make a bad Dark Knight, if they did the older Batman. Too bad he already played Two Face, though that wouldn't be an issue for me. Tom Hanks? Tom Cruise? No and maybe? I know Nicolas Cage was mentioned as the next Superman. Maybe John Travolta as Superman. Joking of course. "Oh, Geez! Kryptonite! Oh, Geez, Mr. Kotter!" David Hasselhoff? Maybe when he gets out of rehab, and only if you showed the movie with French subtitles. Bruce Campbell! He would make kindof a wiseass Superman or Batman, but at least looks the part. "Hail to the King, baby." Bruce Willis? A little smug for either hero. Vin Diesel as Batman and The Rock as Superman? At least the muscles would be real.

I got it. Heath Ledger as Batman. Maybe.

I dunno. Whoever they pick is bound to piss me off one way or another. They'll probably get Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and I'll have to refuse to go see the movie. Or Freddie Prinze Jr. or Matthew Lillard or Ryan Phillipe. Oh, God Forbid! They might cast Richard Gere as one of the heroes. I might have to burn something down if that happens. Val Kilmer would probably piss me off least as Batman. Tommy Lee as an old Batman. Maybe Will Smith as Superman? Just for kicks? Nooooo...I got it again. Scott Glenn as the old Batman. He's perfect. He's got kinda chiseled features and he's gruff enough to pull it off. No, no, no, no, no! Peter Weller from Robocop! The perfect Batman, older or younger. Maybe even Superman. "Dead or Alive, you are coming with me." Kurt Russell as Superman? Maybe Kurt Russell as Batman? This could go on forever. I think Superman is harder to cast than Batman, of course. Keifer Sutherland as Batman. Works for me. What about Jeff Bridges as Superman? He could have done it when he was younger. Keanu Reeves? The Matrix made him a pretty convincing action hero. Maybe he could play Batman and that guy that played the Agent in Matrix could be Superman. "Humans are...a virus.", quoth Superman.

Maybe they should just make it computer animated a la' Final Fantasy.

And who do you think the next Batman villian will be? I'm hoping for The Scarecrow. Played by Robin Williams or Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellan.

Obviously fertile ground to plow. But I hope Batman kicks his ass.

Update: I can't believe I didn't think of this before. The perfect Dark Knight (older Batman): Clint Eastwood. He's gruff, he's surly, he's bad as hell. I did momentarily consider Jack Palance. Too comical maybe? Maybe he'd be a campy old Batman. Someone made the comment to me that if you made Keanu Reeves Superman, you'd be in keeping with history. First George, then Christopher, then Keanu. You have to wonder what horrible fate would meet Keanu afterwards. George killed himself and Christopher fell from a horse. And people say there's a curse if you play Jesus on screen...

Second Update: This discussion continued over at A Small Victory. New thoughts: Brad Pitt as Batman, Jason Patric or Ray Liotta as Superman, Johnny Depp as Batman villian The Mad Hatter, and Ed Norton as...some villian. I just don't know who yet.

Third Update: One of the silly Hrakas over at A Small Victory suggested that Brendan Fraser play Superman. I was astounded. Even with as many people as I've mentioned here, I never considered Fraser. I mean, have you people seen Blast from the Past or Monkeybone or Bedazzled or George of the Jungle or even The Mummy? The man can't act. He's goofy in a "I can't get past it" kind of way. (As opposed to the Bruce Campbell "he's goofy but I can get past it" goofy.) The one and only movie that I've seen him in that I really enjoyed in any way, shape, or form was Encino Man. Oh, okay, and I kindof enjoyed Airheads. And those aren't exactly movies that qualify him to play Superman. I can picture Fraser as one superhero and one superhero only. Plasticman.


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How to say the things you've always dreamed of saying to the kids at Gallaudet.


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Instapundited

85
93
195 (A good day.)
69
129
49 (Weak.)
71
82 (Lots of Ballchinian searches on Google.)
165 (DailyPundit link.)
1424 and counting.

Holy shit.

That's the power of Instapundit. Glenn Reynolds is to be revered.

Update by Bigwig: Hey Friends of Hraka, I'd be interested in hearing how much, if any, of that Instapundit firehose spilled over to you. Any effect?

Second update by Kehaar: Don't go editing my post, godd*mmit! I LIKE it vague. Let them go figure out what the numbers mean! And BTW, your CHINESE MAN-TITTIES link doesn't work, and never has.

Third update. by Bigwig: I'm touching you!. It works now.


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Spamdemic

Where Spam comes from. (And, no, it's not THAT kind of Spam. It's the BAD, often ILLEGAL kind of Spam.)


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Say hello to your newest cousin, Sahelanthropus.


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al-Qaeda is using E-bay to communicate with its operatives.

Well, half a year after we first started worrying about terrorists using steganography to communicate, terrorists are using steganography to communicate. The first thing to do? Buy stock in Iomart, perhaps the only publicly held company that currently has a tool that detects steganography. Wetstone also has a tool, but it looks like they are private.

There's also a handy list of list of terrorist websites

Alneda.com, which is currently down
azzam.com
Almuhajiroun.com
Qassam.net
Jihadspun.net

And a whois on alneda.com gives us this

Registrant:
Neda Co.
Edificio Omni, 6a Av
Calle 9 entre Carreras 3 y 3A
Boulevard, oil monopoly 1945
VE

Domain Name: ALNEDA.COM

Administrative Contact:
Aljiha, Neda nedacom@yahoo.com
Edificio Omni, 6a Av
Calle 9 entre Carreras 3 y 3A
Boulevard, oil monopoly 1945
VE
0058 212 2375487
Fax: 0058 212 2379854

Technical Contact:
Aljiha, Neda nedacom@yahoo.com
Edificio Omni, 6a Av
Calle 9 entre Carreras 3 y 3A
Boulevard, oil monopoly 1945
VE
0058 212 2375487
Fax: 0058 212 2379854

Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.

I wonder if a journalist has spoken to Tucows about this. Want to whois the other ones? You can do that here.

I would think that the US is monitoring these sites heavily. If so, their usefulness is probably at an end, unless they're decide to hang around and go after the script kiddies that will soon be pinging these sites to death.

The volume of the messages has nearly doubled in the past month, indicating to some U.S. intelligence officials that al-Qaeda is planning another attack.

Tuesday, al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith told an Arabic newspaper that the group's suicide militants were ''ready and impatient'' to attack U.S. targets in America and around the world.


Or they could be moaning about how they've got nothing left to attack with. If they're so impatient, where the hell have they been?

The groups use their Web sites to plan attacks, recruit members and solicit donations with little or no chance of being apprehended by the FBI ( news - web sites) or other law enforcement agencies, officials say.

Recruit members over the Internet? That's idiotic. You might as well ask to be penetrated by the CIA. They probably wouldn't hear you, or be able to translate the request until 6 months later, but it's still stupid.

Donors are asked to send an e-mail to an address on the Web site. Recently, they received a response telling them to transfer money to ''Ahmed Mohammed Ali, Elbatech Bank, account no.: 38926/9/510 Arab bank -- Gaza branch -- Palestine.'' The account name and number appear to change every 48 to 72 hours. ''Dear Donor: Please tell us the field in which you prefer your money to be spent on such as: martyrdom attacks; buying weapons for the mujahadeen; training the youth; or inventing and developing missiles, mortars (and) explosives,'' the e-mail said.

Again, butt-ass stupid. A bank in Palestine? If Mossad is not actually running it, they're all over it. Actually, I hope Mossad is running the bank. It would be nice for all the jihad donations to go straight to the Israelis.


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7/09/2002




Israelis Shut the Jerusalem Office of a Moderate Palestinian

Israel today shut down the office here of Sari Nusseibeh, the leading voice of moderation among Palestinians, accusing him of undermining Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem by serving as an agent of Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority.

Dr. Nusseibeh, scion of one this city's princely Arab families, a tweedy, Oxford- and Harvard-educated intellectual, has been a driving force among Palestinians who have signed a statement urging their compatriots to abandon suicide bombings against Israeli civilians as counterproductive. He has publicly said Palestinians must abandon their claim to a right of return to Palestinian lands. His stands have drawn death threats from other Palestinians, and the Palestinian Authority has had to provide him with guards.


My, my, my. I bet Sari wasn't very popular with the Palestinians. Being the leading voice of moderation among a people who's favorite political tactic is blowing up themselves to kill toddlers must be a pretty thankless task. But if he's a moderate, then by definition he's going to be easier to deal with than Yasser. So how do you make his voice more widely heard among his people? Declare him an enemy. Once Yasser is gone, who might the people turn to? Well, it could be the "tweedy, Oxford and Harvard-educated intellectual" that you so widely decried just a short time ago.

Update: Michael at Uncommon Sense has a good post on Sari.


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America West Airlines has removed a passenger from a flight after she asked if the pilots had been checked for drunkeness.

Nowack said the crew decided to take the woman off the aircraft after determining that her remarks constituted a potential security problem.

Bullshit. You punished her for asking a question your airline should be asking before each flight.


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You don't know terror untill you've been face to face with a thundering herd of Chinese man-titties.

Every summer, day and night, it's the same story: young men, old men, skinny men, fat men, all walking the streets of the Chinese capital with bellies bared for the masses to see. In Beijing, they're known by their nickname — "bare-chested masters."

The Bare Chested Masters sing their hit song, One Week

It’s been one week since you came me
Said "Put on a shirt cause
your titties make me angry."
Five days since you laughed at me saying
"Goddamn, your belly's really slimy."
Three days of my armpit fumes
I realized it’s all my fault, but couldn’t tell you
Yesterday you’d forgiven me
But it’ll still be two days of nipple safari

Hold me now and smell my man-stink
As I make you stop, think
You know you’re looking at a Chinaman
I summon fish to the dish,
Although I smell like pig piss
I like the sushi
‘Cause it’s never touched a frying pan
Hot like wasabe when my bust sweats
Just like Boba Fett's
Because I’m all about value.


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North Korea has set the new world's record for the number of simultaneous gooses.


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C'mon honey, show me your pricks.


Mating behavior in the hedgehog involves much biting, cuffing, panting, spitting and hissing. The male will circle a female for several hours before mating occurs. The boar will circle 10 to 12 times between advances. The unreceptive female will keep her spines erect and occasionally butt at the male if he comes too close. When the female is ready to mate, she flattens her spines so that they are not an impediment. However, they are slippery, and the male must hold on to her shoulder with his teeth in order to copulate.

I'd scream too.


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A reader, (a reader , we have a reader!), Don Wolff, has posted a pretty cogent critique of the Top 15 Welfare Queens post. Thanks Don! My reply appears below it.

Your analysis is fascinating but fundamentally flawed. I live in one your welfare queen states, New Mexico. When you find out why money is spent rather than just spent, something
else comes out. The rich don't build garbage pits in their own neighborhoods, they zone the poorer parts of town for that opportunity.

The federal flow of dollars here are for many NIMBY activities. The Waste Isolation Pilot Project which now receives the low level radiation waste from all over the country, Los Alamos National
Laboratory [which also storages the high level materials], White Sands Missile Range and McGregor Missile Range where anti-ballistic missile and Patriot firing and training take place, and several major Air Force Bases which enable the service to conduct all levels of training. Not too many states let alone communities welcome the AF flying high speed low level attack patterns over large distances as here. In fact it is so advantageous to training, that the German Luftwaffe has fixed facilities and personnel at Holloman AFB to get in training which would never be available anywhere in Europe for the same NIMBY reasons.

Another big federal tit out here has not so much to do with the state per se rather than the nation. New Mexico has one of the highest ratios of native Americans and their land. The native lands are under federal authority not state. Regardless, of maps or imposed borders, this would still be a federal responsibility. New Mexico as with a couple of the other queens is a convenient point of
reference when calculating where the money flows to, but is not ,as an entity or object, the recipient of such largess. Much of the funding stays on the reservations. Since the nation has
determined to make this compensation for taking the natives' land and resources regardless of locale, it is a bit disingenuous to play a game of tacking such flow of funding to a state entity.
BTW, the native population does great things in driving the per capita income levels right down the rank order. Again this is on federal territory which the state has no actual influence. The issue
of poverty there can only be answered through federal actions. However, bean counters have no problem with simply wrapping the natives' poverty into the state's per capita.


I’d say there are two distinct arguments here. Number one is that New Mexico gets an abnormally large amount of federal money due to the regrettable American predilection for forcing projects we don’t want anywhere near us onto the poor. Yucca Mountain is a pretty good example of this. I think the problem with this is that as far as money is concerned, one federal project is much like another, even the ones that deal with waste. Sure, New Mexico has some large federal installations, but so do many states. North Carolina has Fort Bragg, Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, as well as a huge EPA footprint in the Research Triangle Park. In any case, federal funds spent on projects like the above tend to act as pump primers for the local and state economies. If New Mexico was putting up Alaska-type numbers in the “dollars per person (dpp)” category, I’d see this as a more valid point. As it is, Alaska, Virginia and Maryland get more dpp than New Mexico.

The other argument is a pretty good one. Native Americans are a higher percentage of the total population in New Mexico than any other mainland state, standing at 9.5% of the whole in 1999. The unemployment level on reservations is sky high, so it’s going to drive the state per capita level down. The problem here is Alaska, where 16.4% of the total population is classified as Native American. (The actual classification used by the census bureau is “American Indian and Alaska Native”, but it is used for all states). Alaska is the hands down winner for dpp at $6436 per person over the surveyed period, but is saved from the Welfare Queen list due to a really high per capita income. Only 5 states had a higher per capita income over the 12 year period I looked at than Alaska; Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland. I figure it’s the oil money that saves Alaska, but that still leaves the problem of where to draw the line on the native population argument. 4 of the top fifteen Welfare Queens have a native American population percentage of over 6.5%; New Mexico, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Montana. 5.5% of Arizona’s population is Indian, but it sits solidly in the middle of all the rankings. If you draw the line at 6% then, it only excuses 4 states. North Dakota and West Virginia still top the rankings. So there's now 11 Welfare Queens, and four guys who say "It's not us, it's them damn lazy Injuns!".

Unfair? Yes, probably. I don't intend to tar Don with the "lazy Injuns" brush here, nothing in his post leads me to believe that's what he thinks. I just couldn't resist closing with it.


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7/08/2002




Naturally, Ralph was seated to the left.


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If the question ever comes up, freeze me.


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The Top 15 State Welfare Queens


One of the most consistent and logical argument against welfare boils down to "if you give poor people money with no strings attached, what you get is more poor people". Welfare reform was predicated on that basis. Try to improve your lot, or you lose your funds. Improve your lot enough, and you no longer need funds. And it's been working.

But there are other types of welfare. Tariffs on foreign steel are welfare for the steel industry. Paying farmers not to grow crops is welfare for farmers. Each of these have many detractors and few advocates, yet they remain in the budget year after year. Mohair anyone? Corporate welfare is as bad, if not worse, than funding the "Welfare Queens" of a generation ago.

But there's another large group of recipients for the federal largess, the states. This post grew out of a comment that I made back on Bill Quick's site a month or so ago. I don't remember the specific post, but the comment I made dealt specifically with the "pork" in the federal budget. Pork is universally decried, yet still ubiquitous in the yearly federal budget. Robert Byrd is known primarily as the master of pork barrel politics, as the inordinate number of things named after him in West Virginia testifies. But has anyone actually ever looked at the effect federal monies have on a state? If pork is good, then West Virginia ought to have one of the most potent economies ever. But no, West Virginia's economy has been in the dumps for quite a long time, and it's not getting any better. So could pork just be welfare for states, with all of the expected consequences?

For those of you who just want the shocking conclusions without all the dry and extremely boring explanations of how I crunched the numbers, here it is.

Not really. California consistently gets the most money from the government, year after year, and it consistently has the largest gross product, year after year. It also ranks consistently among the top 12 states in per capita income. A better argument might be Alaska, which rules the roost as far as average dollar amount sucked from the federal teat per person each year. Over the eleven years that I have data for, Alaska got an average of over $6400 for each an every citizen. On the opposite end of the scale is Wisconsin, managing to bring in only a measly $3303 for each of the cheeseheads. Alaska makes the top 10 as far as per capita income goes. Wisconsin doesn’t even crack the top 20.

But wait!. There is a way to see which states are pulling their own weight, and which ones aren’t. There are states that consistently get large amounts of money from the government, yet have crappy gross domestic products, and low, low, low per capita income. These are the welfare queen states, the parasites on the body politic, the free cheese eating, unemployable baby machines that the rest of us support. So, without further ado, here are the Top 15 Welfare Queen states.

1. North Dakota
2. Montana
3. West Virginia
4. Idaho
5. South Dakota
6. New Mexico
7. Mississippi
8. Utah
9. Arkansas
10. Vermont
11. Wyoming
12. Maine
13. Kentucky
14. Oklahoma
15. South Carolina

North Dakota, obviously a drunken wife-beater of a state, consistently ranks in the top ten of federal dollars pulled in each year, about $5200, yet has an economy that consistently ranks last or next to last. The numbers crunched here don’t include 1998 or 1999, since I can’t find anything listing how much each state pulled down from Uncle Sugar after 1997, but North Dakota continued its stellar trend of pulling up the rear economy-wise, finishing ahead of only Vermont. The unhardy Dakotans also have a per capita income ($17,581 average) that dwells in the bottom 10 states. Maybe we should just give it back to the Indians.

Then there’s Montana, where people don’t want government in their lives unless the government shuts up, bends over while Montana does its business and then pays Montana for the pleasure. Which it does, granting the Big Sky Country an average of $4662 a year for every one of its cowpokers, good for the top ten. Montana’s gross domestic product? Fourth from last. Per capita income? An average of $17,060 - 7th from last.

Conversley, since there are states that should probably be given back to the Indians, there are others that do more than earn their keep. Upright, sturdy citizens with a sense of community, who go to work sober each day, and give to charity until it hurts. They are thrify, brave, clean and reverent. Here are the top 15 Boy Scout States of America.

1. New York
2. New Jersey
3. California
4. Illinois
5. Massachusetts
6. Maryland
7. Connecticut
8. Pennsylvania
9. Florida
10. Virginia
11. Michigan
12. Ohio
13. Washington
14. Minnesota
15. Texas

New York, despite not cracking the top twenty for federal largess, has an economy second only to California’s and a per capita income ($25154 average over the 11 years) in the top five.

There seems to be a trend here. Of the bottom 15 states, the Screeching Welfare Queens, 12 voted for Bush in the 2002 elections, including the top (bottom) five. Of the Boy scouts, 11 of the top 15, including the top 8, voted for Gore. I'll let you draw your own conclusions here. All economic analysis and no beer make bigwig a dull, tired boy, without his normal ability to create smarm out of nothingness.

If the federal government is going to hand out money, perhaps it should do so on the basis of a certain amount per citizen, call it $5000, for each of us. Once the total is calculated for a state, the government divides it up among the various channels it normally hands out money through. That way West Virginia and it’s ilk will have to stop sponging off the rest of us, and Robert Byrd will have to figure out something that will help the people who elected him, rather than helping himself to whatever money is nearest.

The Boring Number Crunching Bit.
Yes, I know, like the previous parts were an edge of your seat thrill ride. I also know this is more boring because the wife said so. She’s an accountant, and accountants know boring.

All figures below are taken from the time period of 1986 to 1997. I looked at the Gross domestic product (known as Gross state product, GSP) for each state yearly, the total population each year, the per capita income for the same period and the amount of money the state received from the federal government each year. All sources are available via the web. Here's a partial list. If you are unable to find the provenance for any of my numbers in the list below, let me know and I'll add more links.

Bureau of Economic Analysis - Regional accounts data
Gross State Product
The Book of the States 1991-92 Chapter 6
The Book of the States 1998-99, Chapter 6

For each year, I ranked the states 1 to 50 by GSP, by per capita income, and by dollars received from the federal government per person, which is calculated by dividing the total amount received by the population. To figure out the average ranking in each of these three categories over the 12 year period, I added all the rankings together, then divided by 12. To find the Welfare Queens and Boy Scouts, I then added the overall averages for GSP and Per capita income together and divided by two. North Dakota received the highest score, New York the lowest, for the period studied. I’ll add in more data as it comes in, but don’t really expect the relative rankings to change that much. If you’d like a copy of the Access database and Excel spreadsheets I used, email me at the bigwig address.

Update: Reader response


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Chasing the Dragon

Once again, link via Doctor Weevil.


Hero Guild Name


Villains fear me.

Heroes envy me.

Kehaar is...

The Green Dragon




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Public Nuisance

I like this guy a lot. I was going to link to a wonderful article in which he enumerates all of G.W.'s qualifications to root out corporate fraud, but I can't get his archives to work. It doesn't matter. All of the stuff on his site is entertaining and insightful. Check it out.


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What does he care?

Does anyone else find it humorous that Michael Jackson is complaining that the recording industry is racist?

"The recording companies really, really do conspire against the artists – they steal, they cheat, they do everything they can," Jackson said in a rare public appearance. "(Especially) against the black artists."


That may be the case, but since when was Michael Jackson black?



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Googles

Looks like we're getting a lot of traffic from Google for people searching for "Ballchinian". It looks like people searching for Ballchinians might be responsible for quite a high percentage of the traffic we've received in the last few days. It does my heart good to know that, under the threat of terrorism and in the midst of corporate scandals, Americans can still find time to search for Ballchinians on Google. For those of you who don't know, Ballchinians are aliens with scrotums attached to their faces. God Bless America.

Update: We also appear fairly high when searching Google for "Boy with Balls on Chin". Damn, I love America.


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Census data made easy

I've had several occasions in the past to reference the 2000 census data. CensusScope.org makes finding census statistics simple and also allows you to make comparisons to data from 1980 and 1990.


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Botswana's AIDS infection rate...38.8
Japan's AIDS infection rate......0.02

Botswana's credit rating...A-1
Japan's credit rating......A-2

Now that is a crappy, crappy economy.



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Albania, Albania,
You border on the Adriatic.
You are mostly mountainous.
And your main export is crones.


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7/07/2002




Ok, so here's Article 1 of the Bill of Rights

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The general interpretation of the religion part above is that Government can't choose say, Methodism as the official religion of the US. Fine, that makes sense. Here's what the judge who ruled the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional had to say.

"A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,' a nation 'under Zeus,' or a nation 'under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion," Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote for the three-judge panel."

Since when is atheism a religion? It would seem by definition that Atheism is not a religion, and therefore has no standing in the "no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" sweepstakes. Since the Pledge doesn't actually say "under Jesus" or "under Vishnu", it would seem to pass the first amendment test. But what Judge Goodwin actually did in order to invalidate the Pledge was to essentially declare that atheism is a religion. Sure, Atheism is a belief system, but so is Science, and I'm pretty sure we're not going to be calling Science a religion anytime soon. Though I bet Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would be tickled pink if it was, since then teaching the theory of evolution in a public school would violate the First Amendment.


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Obvious fake. Everyone knows velociraptors had no jump shot.

Link via Explorator


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