Tuesday, August 19, 2003
WHY WE LOVE ARNOLD
WHY WE LOVE ARNOLD, from the same folks who brought you WeLoveTheIraqiInformationMinister.com
Thanks to GMSV for the pointer.
Ideological Balance in Presidential Elections
Ted Rall is a political cartoonist and author. I have only a passing familiarity with his other work. But his recent piece, Rall's Rule of Ideological Balance is a rather interesting take on whether its more effective to go centrist or leftisit when confronted woth a rightest political candidate.
Lessons from the Blackout
From my college friend Jeff Zoldan, who lives in Brooklyn (Park Slope), and runs a used furniture business in Manhattan. Here is his interesting and funny take on the blackout :
Zoldan's Lessons from the Blackout
1) I like my beverages cold.
2) Without electricity, we are like any other third world country, perhaps even worse off.
3) Cell phones don't really work too well during emergencies.
4) Sleeping is difficult when you are drenched in sweat and not lying on a beach.
5) I prefer "light pollution," which doesn't allow you to normally see the stars in the skies from big cities like NY, over the blank darkness and stillness of a city in a blackout. If seeing stars at night is your thing, there is always the state of Maine.
6) We need to regulate utilities. The Republican and pro-business lobbies who have forever cried for deregulation in the name of an efficient marketplace that will deliver the best and most efficient services at the best prices is total bullshit. The only thing that we are guranteed in an deregualted atmosphere is that all parties will only take whatever action is in their self-interest. If the businessperson's self-interest happens to coincide with the public's need, we're in luck. But if not, whoa nelly!
7) The Bush Administration will use this latest blackout incident to further gut environmental protections (nuclear reactors in Queens, right?) and to push for faster and deeper drilling in the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge.They will also push for more credits for the utilities that started this whole fiasco because there is nothing more certain than the Republicans shamelessly using misfortune to reward their supporters for failure.
8) Perhaps Al Quaeda may not be as entrenched in the US or NY as we have been led to believe? I don't want to mitigate the possible dangers of lunatic Muslims who live here among us but if there are "sleeper cells" poised to strike, what the hell are they waiting for? Wouldn't Thursday evening have been a prime time to do something, anything, to unsettle an already unsettled populace? Come on, how hard would it be even for a stupid Arab terrorist to drop a small homemade explosive device in a corner garbage can? We're not talking sophisticated planning. So my premise is: if not now, when? Maybe the bogeyman doesn't lurk in every shadow as the Govt. would have us believe so that they can continue to curtail civil rights in the name of fighting nameless terrorism?
9) Nothing beats the sound of the hum of an air conditioner on a hot summer evening.
As always, Jeff raises some interesting points. If he wasn't such a technophobe, it'd be up on his blog. But since he doesn't and I do, (with his permission), here it is.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Dialectizer & Pornolizer
Fun with text: Check out the Dialectizer
It will translate any web page you point to in any of the following dialects: Redneck, Jive, Cockney, Elmer Fudd, Swedish Chef, Moron, Pig Latin, or Hacker.
Its a clean piece of amusement, not unlike the Pornolizer ('cept the Pornolizer is a bit on the X-rated side)
Dialectizer pointer thanks to Silt
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Does rampant bacterial growth count as “enlargement?”
This article from the 8/13/03 WSJ: Some Male 'Enlargement' Pills Contain a Variety of Impurities (by JULIA ANGWIN, August 13, 2003) is enough to make you swear off the largely unregulated supplement business.
“Don't bank on the promised "three inches." What some customers might get from Performance Marketing's [enlargement] pills is a less-than-sexy dose of bacteria and other contaminants. Commissioned by The Wall Street Journal, Flora Research, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., conducted an independent laboratory analysis of a composite sample of 10 Performance Marketing pills and turned up significant levels of E. coli, yeast, mold, lead and pesticide residues.”
The amount of E. coli bacteria -- 16,300 colony-forming units per gram -- appears to be particularly high, experts say. "I think it's safe to say it has heavy fecal contamination," says Michael Donnenberg, head of the infectious-diseases department at the University of Maryland.
The WSJournal's independent analysis revealed the presence of bacteria, heavy metals and pesticide residues. The pills far exceed suggested limits set by ConsumerLab.com LLC, an independent rating agency for the nutritional-supplement industry, for coliform, a type of bacteria that can indicate contamination from water or feces. "You'd probably be spending more time in the bathroom than the bedroom with this product," says Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com. Yeast and mold counts also exceeded ConsumerLab.com's limits. The amount of lead in a daily dose of three pills surpassed the limit set by California's strict labeling laws for "chemicals causing reproductive toxicity."
Repeat after me: Size doesn't matter . . . at least, not enough to consume E. coli, yeast, mold, lead, pesticide residues and fecal matter.
Moral: Censorship Promotes Books Sales
File this under "When will they learn" (Subcategory: Fair and Balanced)
Name a book, movie or other publication that was actually halted in this country via prior restraint . . . Go ahead, I'll give you a few seconds . . . At least in modern times, it just isn't a viable strategy.
If anything, it merely promotes the spread of whatever Meme the censor is offended by.
Would anyone in the West have ever heard of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, if not for the death threat on his head by conservative Islamic clerics? Would Michael Moore's book, "Stupid White Men" have sold as well, if not for the initial cold feet of his publisher, HarperCollins, who feared the book's strident tone might offend so soon after 9/11? A librarian inspired buzz (no, really) over the delay of Moore's book amounted to a windfall once it was finally released from the warehouse.
Along comes the latest feat of surprising legal stupidity: Rupert Murdoch's litigation against Al "made you cry" Franken, and his book titled: "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."
Franken's political satire is very much part of the left/right debate. What's more emblematic of the left wing than Franken, and of right wing than Fox news? The legal question is whether trademark law trumps political speech under 1st amendment law; Given that no one on the planet could ever mistake Al Franken for a Fox commentator, I think Fox's "confusing the consumer" argument profoundly fails.
The irony is that Franken's book shot from # 489 according to the #5 on Amazon's bestseller list, according to the Washington Post ; A scant few hours later, it hit #1.
Now THAT'S funny.
Washington Post: Franken on Suit: What, Me Worry?
See also NYT: Windfall Publicity for Al Franken's Book
Pointer thanks to Tapped: AL FRANKEN'S REVENGE
Lets play: "Who Wants To Be Governor of California??"
The battle to become governor of California is to be turned into a game show by a United States television channel. The Game Show Network will pick five of the 193 candidates who have registered to challenge current governor Gray Davis.
The chosen five will then battle it out in challenges that could include an obstacle course dodging lobbyists with briefcases of money. The winner will be chosen by an online viewers' vote, and will receive $21,200 (£13,200) toward campaign funds.
The show - called Who Wants To Be Governor of California? - will be broadcast on 1 October. Among the candidates will be movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diff'rent Strokes actor Gary Coleman, adult publisher Larry Flynt and porn star Mary Carey. But there are no details on which five will take part in the game show.
Unique format: "We'll have podiums and buzzers and bells, but there won't be any long speeches," network president Rich Cronin said. "There may be an obstacle course where they have to get past lobbyists with briefcases of money. "There will be policy questions and issue questions - things that showcase what the contestants can do." Viewers appreciated "light-hearted entertainment" and the show will allow candidates a rare opportunity "to debate in a unique new format", he said.
Thanks to Business Pundit for the pointer
Wackiest State in the Union
Quote of the Day
"It's official: California has finally reclaimed its rightful place as the wackiest state in the union. Florida had us beat for a while with Elian Gonzalez and hanging chads, but we came roaring back with this whole recall thing. Think about it: Darrell Issa -- an alleged car thief who later made his fortune selling car alarms -- decides he wants to be governor. So he throws the world's sixth largest economy into utter chaos by paying bunch of losers to collect enough signatures to invalidate an election that's not even a year old -- right in the middle of the worst deficit crisis in state history. You can't make this shit up."
Note: I'm happily ensconced 3000 miles away in NYC; Who woulda thought the place that gave the world Mayors Koch, Giuliani and Bloomberg would look politically sane?
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Take California: Repubblica Italiano
Here's a thought about the recent, Daniel Issa financed recall process: Now that we know democratic elections are not sacrosanct in the Golden State, what's to stop the parties from alternating recalls each election? Is this the beginning of a new era of perennial elections, campign hell that never ends? Great, we can now look forward to some wealthy crank calling an election Mulligan every 18 months.
Apparently, this loophole -- long overlooked in California politics -- has effectively replaced representative government with a '70s era, Italian parliment. In Italy, the ruling coalition would dissolve parliment after few months or so, and have a brand new elections. What fun.
Living in NY, I really don't have much of a view as to who wins or loses in California; But I was surprised to learn that anyone willing to spend $1.5 million to pay professional petitioners to stand in Target and Wal-mart parking lots could undo a democratic election.
Take California. Please.
Sunday, August 10, 2003
Shrill Blonde Harpy
A request: There are some people who engage in ridiculous polemics, spew crass vitriol, and utter any venomous thoughts they can muster for the sole purpose of generating publicity to hawk whatever they happen to be whoring at that moment. Some of these figures actually make bile their career. Its practically on their business cards.
The blogosphere is filled with references to these imbeciles. By commenting, criticizing, even mocking the intellectual detritus, one incidentally legitimizes them.
The goal of uttering insupportable yet outrageous comments such as:
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianityis simply to generate publicity and hence increase book sales.
They have no true political agenda. They adopt extreme views because it generates "buzz," which in turn increases book sales, which of course, puts money in their pockets.
They are, in a word, whores.
Therefore, I propose the following: I say, lets thwart their evil plan. Let us no longer mention them by their given (also known as Christian) names. Like the movie BeetleJuice: as long as you don't say their name, they cannot appear.
I HEREBY DECLARE THAT I SHALL NOW REFER TO HER WHOSE NAME WE DARE NOT SPEAK AS:
THE SHRILL BLONDE HARPY.
Whenever I see the Shrill Blonde Harpy’s name mentioned in a blog, I shall encourage that writer to take a more indifferent approach.
It is important to understand that the opposite of love is not hate; It is indifference. Pick out the most heinous persona you can think of, and find a suitable substitute for their actual name. In the case of some of these media whores, including the Shrill Blonde Harpy, this process will take some time. SBH still has a few seconds to burn off her 15 minutes of fame. Cold turkey, simply stop.
Heres what this will look like:
The Trouble With the Shrill Blonde Harpy
My Lunch with Shrill Blonde Harpy II
(apparently, Shrill Blonde Harpies are a voracious lot)
Pick your own intellectually vapid liar and go to town! It doesn't matter if they are left or right -- Michael Moore, Geraldo, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Maher -- find someone who's utterly whoring existence offends every fibre of your being -- and denude them of name. My short list above consists of merely annoying people, who do not reach the level of the Shrill Blonde Harpy in my book -- but perhaps they do in yours! Let me know, and I'll strike their name out for you!
On behalf of sentient creatures everywhere, you will have earned the Universe's undying gratitude.
Start denuding . . .