Saturday, April 24, 2004
Friday, April 23, 2004
Staff at the English National Opera, in London, "have been banned from calling each other 'darling' in a bid to bring the theatre world into line with Government guidelines on sex discrimination."
This is guaranteed to put the zip back into the daily commute. I can hear the boasting down the pub already....
Ooh, and it just got worse: an NFL football player has been killed in Iraq. Hey listen America, if you can't handle pain, you'll never handle the fight. And no, it's not different just because it's your children dying now.
This is what happens when you send your sons and daughters off to war. By the way, your government really didn't want anyone to see those pictures.
The discussion board following the article is a real hoot, too. My favourite (though the language is unfortunate I suspect "the medium is the message" applies here):
"Those Bush f***s better not do that s**t.
This is going to be my first summer after my first year of college and I plan on going all out this summer."
Maybe I live in a different world from others but I would have thought that this would need explaining by those same US authorities. I mean, if these guys didn't do the killing then who did?
Thursday, April 22, 2004
I was originally going to chuck in some of the rock songs I've recently been enjoying as a counter to charges that I'm gay. You'll understand this when I let you know about some of the non-rock songs I've been enjoying. To be honest, some of them make ME wonder if I'm turning gay. In the meantime, this rock stuff is just too good not to let you know about RIGHT NOW.
I'm flabbergasted by the quality of music I keep turning up in Thailand. The Thais are an amazingly creative people and they just keep churning out fine track after fine track. The women ain't too bad, neither.....
I've long appreciated Silly Fools for their silly album covers but their music is wicked, too. Check out Laew Tae Pae and Nam Laai.
Ao Pai Luei by Kala & Clash features is a nice tight piece with some awesome solo licks. Even better, though, is the monstrous twinleadasaurus the likes of which haven't roamed the earth since the late seventies-zoic period or perhaps early eightiesassic.
Someone's been listening to their Scorpions collection.....
Plae Nai Jai by Clash (no, not THE Clash)
Rock ballad in the finest German style and surely a great candidate for an epic air guitar night "moment".
Another stunning cigarette-lighters at Cobo Arena track is Jam Fang Jai by I-ZAX.
Paradox have clearly been swimming in their punk album collection as their Man Kor Yang Ngong Ngong demonstrates but they do it so damn well, it's amazing. Makes me feel like I'm back in highschool - that or a Jonathon Demme film.
Yet more mouthwatering power rock, Loong Baang Mai, courtesy of a joint effort called Rock Project 2. Again, a health warning is in order if your heart, like mine, grows weak at the sound of twin lead.
Kala's Sia Mai is a rather impish combination of hard-edged rock guitar, cheesy computer drums (and some real drums, too) and bleeps. At least I think that's one way to describe it. I defy you not tap your fingers or foot.
After all that, I guess it was inevitable that they had to "do" Metallica so listen to Dab Khrueng Chon by Ultra Chuadz.
I'm sure someone's set-up a secret lab in Thailand where they're cloning the finest session musicians of the 80s.....
America loses its soul: Rushing Toward the Rubble of History
Fuel Rod Pieces Missing at Vermont Nuclear Plant
Meteor Shower Peaks Before Dawn Thursday
Killer cyberloo kidnaps kiddie. But why does the BBC report say the boy is thought to be "10 or 12"? Surely it's also possible he's 11 years old?
I respect his writing ability, though I often find him rather arrogant (perhaps that's what it takes) and certainly don't agree with everything in Second Thinking - What I got wrong about Iraq by Christopher Hitchens.
Saigon and Saddam: The use and abuse of Vietnam analogies by David Greenberg.
Both of these articles essentially claim that, for a variety of factually-correct reasons, it is incorrect and misleading to draw fundamental parallels between the current conflict (the war's over, remember?) in Iraq and the Vietnam conflict (that never was a war, remember?).
I would continue to disagree. Fundamentally, I think the scenarios are too similar in ways that are worrying. In both cases, the world's most powerful military and government just plain got it wrong. In both cases, military action was taken on flawed premises. In both cases planners underestimated the people of the country concerned. In both cases, America initially supported the peoples' biggest enemy - its own government - thereby turning itself at least partially into an enemy of the people, rather than its true saviour. In both cases, the military challenge was underestimated, poorly-handled and offered a more complex challenge than planners expected or assessed. In both cases, poor intelligence was a major factor. In both cases, Western soldiers cannot easily distinguish friend from foe. In both cases you have a uniformed, conventional army facing guerillas. In both cases, suspicious control of the media was exercised. In both cases, popular support at home was a major issue. In both cases, senior members of administration and the military reckoned they would succeed through the use over overwhelming power, constantly making positive statements about "crushing" the enemy, etc. I could go on.
Essentially, in both cases arrogance and a near-criminal wasting of young men was used to prosecute the questionable aims of REMFs. In both cases, the outcome threatens to be the same. A nation that should, for the most part, be lauded for its objectives, its principles and the support and aid it provides for millions around the world is turning itself into a pariah. That's a real shame.
I reckon anyone who fits one of these needs help, too:
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Surely it's time for cards for some of the following scenarios:
"So you're having a LAN party!"
"So sorry your Beemer has that stupid iDrive."
"So sorry to hear your 80 thousand dollar BMW runs Windows."
"An expression of sympathy for your dead hard-drive. May time help to replace your MP3 collection and bring back your address book."
"So you've been labelled an illegal combatant!"
"In these difficult times of the Congestion Charge."
"In this time of throttled bandwidth."
"So sorry your job went to India."
"Whoops! You forgot to back up your work."
"For my darling iPod."
"So your internet access is 10 years old!"
"Thinking warm and caring thoughts of you, Wishing you exactly what you need to see you through the reinstallation of Windows."
"Wishing you a great, big Fallujah welcome!"
The average computer user will be ignorant of such things and will probably have their web browser set-up "out of the box" which allows unwanted software to be installed on your computer. Alternatively, a lot of the popular free software also installs adware and spyware.
To find out if you have this problem, use Earthlink's handy checker. They're a large US internet service provider who have been good enough to make this service available.
Once you've checked your machine, you'll also probably want to run AdAware from Lavasoft.
For more information, have a look at the Spyware-Guide.
I've long tried to keep my computer free of these things, using AdAware and I don't worry too much about cookies but some of the other stuff can really be a problem so don't delay - act now!
Then, there's always the Mad Prophet which led me to this blog with more reports about the US unloading WMDs in Iraq. Oh, and a link to this about Colin Powell.
One thing's for sure. In about 10 years or so, we should have a bumper-crop of Hollywood blockbusters about all sorts of intrigue, conspiracy and action.
The Suzuki ST 250 appears to be a mildly retro-styled road bike.
Suzuki Japan is also offering a 250cc factory super-moto, a fairly wicked-looking 250cc "Grass Tracker", one model called the "Big Boy" (oooh, allo!) and yet another retro-bike - the Volty (who thinks up these names?).
Meanwhile, what on earth is the Honda Griffon supposed to do? Glad it's a prototype.
Another in the what-on-earth-are-they-thinking department is the PS250 scooter. The tagline is "Take Your Girl for a Ride or Carry Luggage-It's All Fun!" - shouldn't that read "Take Your Baggage for a Ride or Carry Luggage-It's All Fun"?
Honda do offer us the attractive (as in 400cc single-cylinder attractive) CB400SS (I think this is a better photo) and the eency-weency Benly 50S.
Yamaha bring us the Tricker XG250 and the natty little RZ50
Not to be outdone in the quarter-litre fun stakes, Kawasaki has the D-Tracker super-moto, the Estrella in two forms - RS and Custom (period drum brakes) and the 250 TR. For something a bit more meaty, check out the W650. Retro seems to be the new modern, eh?
The other night, I was chatting to a friend outside my house at about 10pm when I heard a flapping noise followed by a Pterodactyl swooping out of a tree, soaring over the house and returning to the tree.
Of course, there are no Pterodactyls anymore (except perhaps in some mad scientist's lab) so in fact what I saw was a Large Flying Fox or Pteropus vampyrus, the largest species of bat.
Despite its name, it is in fact a fruit-eater, not a vampire. However, the first time you see a bat with a 1.5 metre wingspan is really something, I can tell you!
I shudder to think of the impression made by a group of Pterodactyls, with their 10 metre wingspan.
No, not that ring around the bathtub and not that stuff that floats on top of ponds. I'm talking about true scum of the earth.
I'm talking about chavs, neds, scallies and the like. "Wossat?", you cry?
Well, if you live in the UK, you probably already know. They're one of the reasons I just had to get out.
To aid your research, here are some resources. Now bear in mind that these are meant to be humourous, and they are to a certain degree - especially the Glasgow one - but this is reality. They are not fabricated. Go to any British town centre and you will run into real-life sewer scum, just like portrayed (in fact, photographed) in these sites and they make life a complete misery for normal, honest, hard-working people.
They would be an ideal subject for reality TV - apart from the fact that any TV crew would be abused, pummelled and have their equipment stolen, broken and (in the case of their TV van) set on fire.
The first site I found (thanks to Francesca) is Chavscum which gives a reasonable overview of the general UK scum but this led me to a few others, most notably Glasgow Survival which had me alternatively wetting myself with mirth and then almost crying as I recalled that this is no joke, these people really exist, really behave like this and really (most worrying) think they look good, especially in their stupid cars.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
The much-anticipated memo is out now.
You know, I used to be quite a conspiracy theorist but with the almost never-ending ineptitude I see I simply don't understand how it would be possible for most of the conspiracy theories to hold much water.
Kevin's an assistant manager at TJ's in the US midwest and his blog is frequently hilarious.
Well the "fi" bit is getting more and more tenuous....
I happened to hear about Widespread Panic recently and was chagrined, nay, upset to find that they've been going for 20 years and have been a recording/touring tour-de-force (sorry about that) for the last 10 of those. Shame on the pathetic thing the UK radio market (AKA "kiddie-pop marketing machine") has become. Apparently, their music is a mix of southern boogie and San Francisco jam rock.
Check out their website (espesh some of the album reviews) and this Rolling Stone article.
I have to admit, this is cool.
First With the Scoop, if Not the Truth. Whew! For a minute there, I thought they meant me but I never get any scoops....
Bush's choice to replace Carlin raises concerns.
Secret Service Documents Cite Mystery Video in Oklahoma City Bombing
Make sure to check this site at 10am EDT on Tuesday.
Apparently, "British troops might have to stay in Iraq for up to 10 years". Then again, maybe not.
Some people really go over board.
Meanwhile, I haven't even sampled 3G mobile communications and they're talking about A4G!
While some people really like to live dangerously. I'm sure there's a play on the phrase "early-adopter" in there somewhere.
Monday, April 19, 2004
I was stunned to see a piece saying that NORAD used to practice exercises involving the scenario that has since become all too familiar to us: hijackers using a jumbo jet as a missile. Remember how the US administration's official line has been all along that there was no reasonable evidence such a credible threat to America existed before 9/11?
I didn't have time to look at the report in detail so mentally logged it for later use. Well, I just looked again at the Drudge Report. It's hardly changed, apart from the fact that this report is now nowhere to be found.
Strange, eh? Especially as it was in bright red just 6 hours ago so somebody must have thought it worth highlighting.
In the meantime, have a look at these.
Oh, and don't forget that security moves for the G-8 Summit in July 2001 included shutting down Genoa airspace after a threat was received about hijackers crashing a plane into the summit.
After you're done with that lot, why not enjoy Marty's NORAD Cam?
What is Agent Orange if not a weapon of mass destruction? Most people in the West think or are aware only of the long-term health effects on American Vietnam veterans. Remember there were people from many other nations as well as the hilltribes and the people of South Vietnam. The chemical was used in Laos and Cambodia, too, so the people of those countries also suffered. Then, there is the inevitable effect on the environment of such a nasty mix of toxins.
Oh, by the way, do you think the US Government learned its lesson with Agent Orange? Don't be so stupid.
Wanna know where Saddam got his weapons? Have a look at this or maybe this. See the name Alcolac? Keep an eye out for it in this article.
Now, I don't suppose for one second that all of those references I've supplied are completely impartial, free from any politcal or other agenda or bias (or even accurate) but it certainly doesn't look good, does it?
So, if we want to discount all of the above, that still leaves me with the following two articles from the USA Today newspaper.
U.S. supplied the kinds of germs Iraq later used for biological weapons
A look at U.S. shipments of pathogens to Iraq.
A few more weapons to consider: napalm, fuel-air bombs, cluster bombs, runway denial systems, land mines.
You see, the US Government doesn't give a damn what anyone does as long as they:
1. Do what they're told by the US Government
2. Make money for the US Government
3. Serve the purposes of the US Government
and most important,
4. Whatever they do, DON'T EMBARASS THE US GOVERNMENT.
After all, just ask the people of Panama, Chile, Cuba and Argentina, for example. Ask Manuel Noriega, Ayatullah Khomeini, John Gotti, Osama bin Laden and, of course, Sadaam Hussein. But, heck, I'm going off on a tangent and it takes me down another long and winding story. Perhaps another time.
To be honest, I'm a little disappointed that it's so damn easy to find so much that paints such an awful picture about what's going on today, what's happened in the past and what the US Government seems to be up to but that's nothing like the disappointment I feel when journalist after journalist and news outlet after news outlet fail to make a bigger stink about this. Maybe they're just worried about their livelhoods and life expectancies. But that's a fairly short-term strategy for, as Pastor Niemöller once famously said, "First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me."
You see? I have not forgotten. (and no, I am not drawing a direct parallel between Hitler and Bush)
Well, not yet, at least.
Meanwhile, to lighten the load a little, you could have a laugh at this.
One was about the Eirik Raude (Eric the Red) deep water oil drilling platform. This behemoth is used to drill in deep waters where drilling for oil has traditionally not been possible, due to the great depths. This thing uses GPS, computers and thrusters to maintain a near fixed position in some of the world's most inhospitable seas. While doing that, it can drill in seas up to 3000m deep and go down another 6000m. Pretty amazing stuff. We can probably thank the SUVs of America for making it possible.
The other was the Queen Mary 2 - 345 metres and 150,000 tonnes of incredibly luxurious, and expensive, way to get across the Atlantic. With a top speed of nigh-on 30 knots, you have to be impressed. But why did they have to use an Arabic numeral instead of Roman and why that nasty-ass font for "Queen Mary 2"?
Recently, I have mostly been enjoying few good books. Trust me when I tell you I don't choose these books, they choose me. John Burdett's Bangkok 8 is an entertaining and rather fantastic thriller based in Bangkok, Thailand. It certainly employs some concepts I've not come across in other thrillers and has some wicked twists in it. Just remember it's fiction. One reviewer states, "Thick with the authentic - and hallucinogenic - atmosphere of Bangkok" - a typically "farang" view and one that does great disservice to the real Bangkok. A bit like saying Mars is just so weird!
An outstanding antidote to such Western arrogance on things Eastern is Pira Sudham's Monsoon Country. I defy anyone to read this and fail to be touched in some way. I ended up being unable to put it down, finishing it at 4am and, unable to sleep, learning the ancient Chinese game of Go on my mobil e phone.
I find it maddening that my phone still beats me at a rate of something like 4 to 1.
The story: the funeral of Israel's latest assassination target. BBC stated that "thousands of Palistinians" were in attendance. CNN referred to them as "dozens of Hamas supporters".
Or was it the other way around? Aw heck, I can't keep up anymore. I suppose both is possible and probable but it just illustrates the subtle use of language.