Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some Things Don't Translate

So, when it comes to television and movies we have a big industry here, but strangely when something really good happens elsewhere and we try to import it and "make it our own" it usually bombs. I'm not a fan of The Office, and I'm told that it might be the exception to the rule (though most of the feedback says the UK version is better).

The example I ran across this week really disappoints me. I LOVE Japanese television. I don't understand a word of the language, but they are crazy in a way that resonates. I also love MXC, the Most Extreme Elimination Challenge which airs on Spike TV. It's basically highlights from a crazy old Japanese game show called Takeshi's Castle, with smart ass commentary- sort of like Mystery Science Theater 3000 (also a fave).

What I saw was a show on ABC called 'Wipeout', and it's a domestic crazy game show that in now way captures the spirit of the shows upon which it's based. It got one thing right though:

Meet Jill Wagner. She's niiiiiiiice.

She has been hawking Mercury cars for a while now, and while I can't say that I'm interested in the cars- I will watch the ads. As much as I like to watch her, I can bear to watch Wipeout. It's just so bad, and I honestly don't know how you screw up that formula.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On Second Thought, Maybe I CAN Dance...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fahten Strippah


Friday, August 22, 2008

I Don't Know What This Is...

OMG OMG OMG! I'm Ecstatic!

Canned Bacon! Sliced, cooked and ready to go! Oh my God, I've been waiting for this day... I don't need a case though, so who wants to go in with me on an order? 12 cans to a case, 40-50 slices per can.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not Everything I Think About Is Angry

I know of late it's been a little crabby here, and I'm really not especially angry in "real life". Fatalistic, perhaps, but not angry. And believe it or not, I discovered (well, it came up in conversation with "my Rabbi*", and he was the one that discovered it) a positive attribute of this country that has not yet been destroyed. He's a Rabbinical student who just completed a year of study in Israel, and will be completing his training in Berlin, and then remaining there to help re-establish Judaism in Germany. He's lived all over and reports an interesting (positive) quality that is so far unique to the US.

I forget how the subject came up, but I may have said something flip (as is my wont) about chucking this whole IT thing and becoming something else, like a sex toy inventor, container ship crane operator, chemist, or a porno cameraman. There are lots of other jobs that I could see myself doing. However it came up, Paul allowed as how that was a very American thing to do. Turns out, that in other nations, it's not really an option. Not that there are any rules against it- it's just not something that occurs to anyone. The educational systems are tailored in a manner that once you've decided upon a vocation, the academic curriculum are tailored accordingly. This is sort of an extreme opposite to being undeclared. There are no rules that say you can't change- it's just not widely recognized as an option.

I put a fair amount of trust in Paul's judgement on this, and if it's true that would be an interesting situation. Beyond the obvious advantages of geology and geography, I think this willingness to re-invent, to challenge- to abandon the pretexts of convention, are what actually made this country great. That and being open to stealing everything that wasn't already claimed by white people. When exactly we went from a nation of (white, male and privileged) enlightened rule breakers to a bunch of milquetoast alpha-wave zombies is unclear but I think it began around WWI.

Apparently Pauley was met with some measure of skepticism about his sincereity or ability to complete his academic pursuits, stemming from the distrust of unfamiliar things. Paul mentioned that some advisor or muckety muck over there said as much in a direct and matter of fact manner (oh, how I am weary of false modesty and political sensitivity). This person said that they hadn't previously had any confidence or faith in Paul's willingness, determination, and drive to complete this study as a consequence of it being a significant personal re-invention.

So, is it contagious? My last post mentioned emigration. Could this be a point of positive or negative discrimination? How can the existence of this characteristic be determined? I've make wildly significant changes in my life in terms of vocation and location, but is this something that can be quantified if someone hasn't demonstrated it?

I think it's an interesting thing to ponder, and it makes me want to travel even more so that I can see this with a less partial eye.

* While I've got zero Jewish heritage and am an unabashed atheist, I was enjoying a nice lunch with my friend, the soon-to-be Professor Rabbi Dr. Paul (yes, all of those) and we ran kind of long. When we got back, we were harassed about the delay, to which Pauley said something to the effect of "a fellow can lose track of time when he's talking to his Rabbi". True enough. I took his use of the possessive words "his Rabbi" as a remarkably kind gesture of inclusion. He's not the sort to say such things out of mere courtesy.


America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between - Oscar Wilde

It's so sad, and I'm getting the idea that we're just far enough along toward globalization that when this intellectual vacuum finally falls into our next impending "Dark Age", that it will be planetary in scope. The original Dark Ages started somewhere shortly before the year 500 A.D. and lasted at least through 1000 A.D. Here we stand again, with religious zealots and ideologues who are willing to smear or even kill the dirty elitist educated liberals like me.

We celebrate the mediocre and look to blame others for anything that we don't like or understand. I routinely hear asinine shit like this country is a "Christian Nation". What- like Vatican City? This is bullshit on every level. First, this is not a religious nation (also called a THEOcracy, as opposed to a representative DEMOcracy). Second, I can count on one hand the number of actual Christians I've ever met. The rest of you poseurs have all the credibility to that title as I have to "skinniest porn star".

Besides, I know the real story- there IS a religion here, but it's shallow and cancerous. It's the love of money, and it's omnipresent, and is the real undercurrent of everything that happens here.

So this time around, we'll probably fall faster into a global dark age, and if we're really lucky maybe we can throw in a pandemic of some sort for good measure. A nice bug that makes Ebola look like a slacker. It'll be fine though, because the television will tell you all that Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden are brothers, gay lovers, voodoo practitioners, illegal whalers, and baby killers, and that they caused all of the pain you feel. Then you'll vote for some purely evil and corrupt bastard with good hair and photogenic features who will find a way to remove any rights that you have left and enslave your children. And you'll dutifully raise your malnourished children on foods that come from a lab, and they will be taught to believe in an angry all-powerful man who lives in the clouds, who will punish them forever unless they do what they're told.
Then they can go to war and die pointlessly in a battle against the other little children who believe the angry cloud-man's name is different. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I'm not invested in this. I was going to say "anymore" there, but in retrospect, it occurred to me that I've never really been a part of this place. I'm like a natural resident alien. I'm convinced that at some point in (hopefully) my lifetime, and surely the lifetimes of my kids, that we're going to have to emigrate somewhere. I'm trying to make time to get back to where I was in my command of German, although I don't suppose the Germans will want me/us. I'd like to go to somewhere in northern Europe before the walls go up here, but I can't imagine many nations would want to receive Americans. Maybe I can get asylum somewhere, based on the hostile environment for liberals here. I mean, if Jesus Christ were to turn up here today, he'd get his ass handed to him, and be tied to a fencepost and left to die in a snowstorm (a la Matthew Sheppard) I have no compunction in telling you that if I had an opportunity to sell this place out, in order to get out and be free of this lunacy, I'd sell this culture down the river in a New York Minute.

One Nation Under God.

Uh huh.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wiggle Wiggle Wuh!

This cracked me up.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Land of the Who?

For the benefit of those who, like me, went to public schools, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights, and are supposed to be the freedoms available to you (if you are of the right race, gender, and socio-economic class). The idea at the time was that these are a partial list- the minimums or guidelines if you will. That somehow shifted recently in the view of the Supreme Court that if something wasn't explicitly stated, it wasn't a right, but that's a rant for another day.

Today, I'll focus solely on the Fourth Amendment, also known as "protection from unlawful search and siezure". It reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No let that soak in for a moment. Got it? Okay, great. Now have a look at this:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers' laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies.

Agents are empowered to share the contents of seized computers with other agencies and private entities for data decryption and other reasons, the newspaper said.

DHS officials said the policies applied to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens, and were needed to prevent terrorism.

The measures have long been in place but were only disclosed in July, under pressure from civil liberties and business travel groups acting on reports that increasing numbers of international travelers had had their laptops, cellphones and other digital devices removed and examined.

The policies cover hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes -- as well as books, pamphlets and other written materials, the report said.

The policies require federal agents to take measures to protect business information and attorney-client privileged material. They stipulate that any copies of the data must be destroyed when a review is completed and no probable cause exists to keep the information.

(Reporting by Paul Eckert, editing by Alan Elsner)

I'm so sick of this fucking place.


I Don't Support the Troops, Or Anyone Else For That Matter

It really chaps my radical liberal atheist fat ass to see all these "support the troops" magnetic ribbons (that are made in China, no doubt) and the intellectual laziness that accompany them.

Have a look at this report- 41% of female veterans say they've been victims of sexual assault and 29% were raped? Well, fucking "duh".

At the risk of shortening my life by upsetting dumb fucks with weapons, I'll say it- Bill Maher nailed it when he said the military was full of "low hanging fruit" (he said this in reference to the ectomorphic and androgynous Lynndi England). Yes- it's a sad truth. The bulk of the military are not our best or brightest. They are treated by the administration as "bullet stoppers" on purpose. Losers that can't hack PUBLIC SCHOOL drop out and go to (or get duped into) the service. Rapists? These are our ambassadors of freedom? Torturers? Those that aren't irrevocably stupid (and lets be honest- anyone who joined up after the Pat Tillman deal are really goddamned stupid) or so societally screwed by the class system in this country that they saw the military as the answer are broken badly once they are enlisted. What of all the suicides and murder/suicides that happen there and when they come home? Why don't we hear these staggering statistics?

I don't support any of this bullshit. If you are or were in the military, you may be a saint or you may be a psychopath. If you enlisted in the last 8 years or so, I tilt the odds toward the latter. You don't get a fucking pass for serving. It's a job. A job where you can be killed, but also get to kill others. You want to kill people but don't like travel? Become a cop. Having a job where you don't get to make decisions on your own, and are sent to kill others is no kind of accolade in my view. Semper Fi(delis)? Gimmie a fucking break. Stand on your merits, and maybe exhibit some of that esprit de corps (you know that's a French/"Surrender Monkey" term, yes?) that you boast so loudly about and DON"T FUCKING RAPE OR ASSAULT YOUR FELLOW SOLDIERS. Look at the picture from that article. That was somebody's little girl. How her parents cope with this is a complete mystery.

Oh, and if you have one of these magnetic ribbon dealies- congrats! Your blind blanket support also applies to the raping of one in three enlisted females. Good on ya! Yay Team America! Now get those panties off and shut up before I slit your throat, bitch. You tell anybody and I'll fucking kill you.