Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm not some Karl Rove inspired meathead. I'm a Canadian!

This is a most excellent and useful read. Not only does it cover quite a handy number of facts and arguments in relation to Iraq today, but it also contains the most excellent statement, "I'm not some Karl Rove inspired meathead. I'm a Canadian!"

For that reason alone, it's worth reading. It's a long read but it's a valuable one.

The Stein of Sir Eppo?

Hmmm, not so sure about that. Anyway, while searching online for an old friend, I stumbled across this interesting posting about Epstein, Eppstein and, allegedly, a knight named Eppo.

Knights called Eppo are cool, especially if they've retired to the sea.

If Eppo married Rosanne Barr and they had kids, would the kids be little Epstein-Barrs? Luckily for all of us, I think, didn't Tom Arnold turn Rosanne into a lesbian?

Best house remix ever?

I think it's possible. Few tracks have me bopping my hairy l'il butt on down like Louie Vega's remix of Patti LaBelle's New Day. Ok, so it's not so l'il (my butt, not Louie) but it's uh, erm, oh I better not even go there.

This is one of those recordings that make you wanna stay wherever you are when you hear it and just keep playing it again, and again, and again, and again.

One of my all-time favourite "it's sunny, it's Friday and it's time to leave work" dance toonz. 'cept I can't leave teh office yet cuz I gotta lay down a CD so I can get the whole gym boppin too. I really must insist they install a Media Center PC with USB....

It's not half bad on a rainy Monday morning, neevah. Louie Vega and Masters at Work are surely doing the work of the good Lord herself.

Please excuse me while I hit the "Play" button for the umpteenth time...

Wow, what a happy slice of soul this is!

Apparently, HE knows only one chord, in one key...

but, OH! what a chord and in what a key!

Kneel at the alter of Chic and thank Nile Rodgers and Bernard Evans, AKA God's own funksters, for some of the greatest songwriting, recording and production. EVAH.

"Say, old man, what brought on this bout of ancient nostalgia?", I hear you kiddeez cry.

Well, I was just enjoying Biquini Cavadão's recording of Chove Chuva, a mighty, mighty Brasilian classic, never mightier than in the Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 rendition (AKA "The Single Most Coolerest Piece of Music Ever Recorded, Ever")

Aussies At Odds With Oz-Based US Weapons Testing

And can you blame them?

Controversial documentary to be screened in Bega

Blowin' In The Wind is the latest film from two-time Academy Award nominee, David Bradbury - arguably Australia's most contentious and provocative documentary filmmaker. It examines the secret treaty that allows the US military to train and test its weaponry on Australian soil. It looks at the impact of recycled uranium weapons and the far-reaching physical and moral effects on every Australian. The film's release is timely as the government currently moves to approve more uranium mines while arguing the contrary - that by going nuclear we are being both 'safe' and 'green'.

Blowin' In The Wind reveals that Iraqi babies are now being born with major birth defects. Bradbury wonders whether Australians living downwind from the military testing ranges will be next. He argues that we were lied to by the British over the Woomera and Maralinga atomic tests. Can we trust another equally powerful partner in our 'war on terror'? With a cash budget of just $12,000 Blowin' In The Wind raises pertinent questions which cannot be ignored by the Australian public. The film shocked, angered and surprised large audiences recently when shown at the Sydney and Brisbane Film Festivals.

Stop the insanity!!!

Is nothing sacred?

Disney is re-launching Winnie the Pooh. Yet again, it appears the usual Hollywood rule applies: why maintain quality when you can really screw something up?

At first, I misread this article in The Independent and thought perhaps they were really gonna go for it, with Christopher Robin perhaps leading the National Front or something but, alas, the truth is more shocking still. They are offing the laughably effeminate character based on AA Milne's own son.

Dainty CR is replaced by a girl. Yes, a girl. Why? Wasn't he already enough of a girlie? Hollywood Rule number 2: if it ain't broke, break it.

Why not do it properly? Why not turn the Pooh stories into a "touching, heart-warming drama about a poor West-Coast Latino boy from the barrio who turns to his amigos for botherly support and low-riding good times"?

Kreestophah Row-Been: "Yo Pooh esse, kick anotha old-school rrrrolla' fo tha homies!"

I suppose this is a good time to tell you about two of my favourite books, The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. They make excellent bedtime stories for your children. When you're done with those, you can read The Dancing Wu Li Masters which, unless your child is as precocious as I was (and arrogant as I am now), probably won't make such great bedtime reading. When you're done with that, try In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, which definitely ain't for six-year-olds. Even your faithful correspondent had to wait until he was about twelve to get into that one.

Ahhh... that's much better. Remember, only MY blogs could possibly take you from news about Disney raping Winnie the Pook to quantum mechanics in a single post.

Right, I have to go play with my space-time continuum. Toodle-pip!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Google Video of the Day

Always a good part of your daily routine.

Pinter demands war crimes trial for Blair

Looks like Pinter is definitely planning to go out in style. The Guardian brings you coverage of his latest tyrade. You go girl!

There's some hope, at least that SOME Americans still use their noggin, as Members of Congress press Bush to stop under-counting the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the members point out, not to include many of the injured in casualty lists results in an innacurate and misleading perception of reality. Oh, wait, Messrs Bush and Cheney, isn't that the definition of psychosis?

Anyway, it's obvious to anybody with a basic grasp of these things that modern warfare, military kit, communications, science and medicine mean that the ratio of killed to injured in Afghanistan and Iraq is going to be very different to that of say, Vietnam, par example. On top of that, Iraq may well turn out to result in more deaths of Americans than even did Vietnam.

Basically, many, many more horrendously injured (inside and out) soldiers, non-combat servicemen and women and members of the various "support" arms will survive their injuries than would be the case had these military operations taken place thirty years ago. This is a veritable K1 of pain and it will lean heavily on American society and psyche for a long time to come. The long-term ramifications have yet to be considered, let alone understood, by all but a few of us cynics/realists.

This is before you even consider all the "enemy" casualties and all the innocents and non-combatants who are suffering.

Maybe you have noticed the effect of the Vietnam "experience" on American (un)consiousness? Factor in depleted uraniuam and, my friend, you have set the scene for a truly awful reality to settle upon the human race over the next many decades.

Mark my words.

Indian internet user base grows 54% in 2005

At least in India, the "digital divide" appears to be narrowing. That's 38.5 million down, only 1,450 million to go. Narrowly narrowing?

A man appeared before St. Peter

A man appeared before St. Peter at the pearly gates, "Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asked.

"Well, I can think of one thing," the man offered. "Once, on a trip to the Black hills of South Dakota , I came upon a gang of high-testosterone bikers who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen.

So, I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him on the head, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring and threw it on the ground."

"Then I yelled, 'Now back off biker boy or you'll answer to me!"

St. Peter was impressed, "When did this happen?"

"Just a couple of minutes ago."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

1984, and Bush's Unusual Dictionary

Argentina's La Nacion carries an excellent Spanish-language editorial on the eery (or perfectly normal, depending on wear you carry your head, and your tin hat) parallels between today's America and Orwell's 1984.

A machine-translation of the article is available here. It's surprisingly readable. Go Google!

Anyway, this reminds me of another excellent piece on the eery (or perfectly normal, depending on wear you carry your head, and your tin hat) parallels between today's president GW Bush and past Mexican leaders.

Is the world run by Moonies?

An interesting posting about the Bushes et al and the Moonies.

Apparently the good Reverend Moon is "certifiably insane". Not only that, but four of Bush's cabinet are Moonies. Or were, depending on when this was written

I can't wait to see the movie.

US Gov't Went Back in Time via Remote Sensing, Holographic Radiation, Longitudinal EMF, Sound Wave Holographic Energy

Nuf respect to memepool for the heads up on this gem about US government surveillance and mind control.

Keep up with the, erm, 'Global War on Terror'

or the totally-selfless rescuing of the Iraqi people or the installation of democracy or however it's being packaged these days... has a bunch of relevent media, organised by month.

A variety of other raw video footage is available here.

In War Crimes, USA, an interview with Jeremy Brecher, Jill Cutler and Brendan Smith, Mother Jones asks, "Could administration officials be called to account?"

Information Clearing House provides streaming video of a Dutch television documentary about the 9/11 attacks. They also carry Mike Whitney's perspective on a nuclear Iran and Bill Henderson's take on Iraq, oil and the US economy.

I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying it's there...

Stupid, lazy journalists.

Yeah, I know that's a relatively redundant trio but some people today are still worthy of the terms "journalist" and "writer".

And then there are people who get paid to write stuff like, "The tech giant's new line is aimed at helping Web-based businesses handle millions of tasks quickly." I don't expect humans to be perfect but please - "helping Web-based businesses handle millions of tasks quickly.."?

It's not even buried down in all the other crap, they stuck it right up front, like they're proud of it or something. Then again, maybe I'm just suffering yet again from my usual inability to get all excited and lose the head off my Starbucks cappuccino over technology that to me seems pretty, well, rudimentary whilst everybody else jumps up and down.

But the ability to handle many tasks quickly? Wow. How awfully space-age....

The whole article is a bit surreal. The real shame, however, is that the vice-president of IBM UNIX server division isn't named Freud. This passage would have been a beauty (it still could be):

"Rivals are quick to ladle big helpings of fear, uncertainty, and doubt onto the new machines. Karl Freund, vice-president of IBM's UNIX server division, derides the Niagara processor as "Viagra chips. But Viagra might have more staying power." Freund argues that Niagara lacks enough on-chip cache memory to handle anything but the simplest jobs -- most of which are already handled well enough by cheap Linux-based Intel machines."

And you tell that to the kids today....

It's quite awesome how we have come to expect instant, right-damn-now-and-not-a-second-later communications. Despite appearances, I'm not actually that old. Don't ask how old "that" is. I might have to throw me slipper at you.

Somehow, someway, we can now pretty well expect to contact somebody within minutes, if not seconds. Through some pretty cool combination of fixed-line, mobile, WiFi, Hotspot, Bluetooth, WiMax, cellular, radio, switched-packet, phone, watch, TV, set-top box, SMS, MMS, Playstation/Xbox, earphone, wearable technology, messenger, Skype, chat or whatever, we expect to get hold of somebody and carry on a conversation.

In my lifetime, there was a time without mobile phones. Heck, I remember life without telephone answering machines. Oh that was a hoot, it truly was. I have a vaigue recollection of a time when you did not expect to do anything NOW and were not expected to do anything NOW. Whole weeks could pass by before your failure to reply might be considered remiss. Especially in summer. Now you're expected to fire fresh content daily to your video blog from the deepest trek into the forbidding jungle that time forgot in PNG. What's headhunterese for "say cheese"?

Let's go way, way, way back to the 1970s. Say you want to arrange drinks with, oh I dunno.... John? You rummage around in your head or in a book made from PAPER. Don't get too hung up on the technicalities but there was a time when somebody killed a tree, ground it down into small pieces of ex-tree (called WOOD) and put it in a big building called "PAPER MILL". And out would pop paper. Sorry, I meant to say PAPER - very thin pieces of ex-tree. This PAPER stuff was available in various sizes (all of varying degrees of thick- or thin-ness). Anyway, people would use a PEN to write numbers and letters down. But I digress...

So, you would look up John's number and input the numbers (we once had ROTARY dial phones and before that we didn't even have dials, we had operators called Marge or Mary Anne or Dale or something).

And nobody would answer. Yes, that's right. They would be out actually physically buying something from a real store, not online. Oh, and they would probably pay cash, too. No, not e-Cash, I mean paper and metal money. Kind of like seashells but easier to fit in your wallet. No not your e-Wallet but a leather, nylon or plastic folding thingy with at least one pocket where you could stuff stuff.

So you might try calling John again later that same day. Perhaps from a PAY TELEPHONE. And, still, nobody would answer. So you would call back the next day and hey, his mom would be home or his wife or whatever. And you would leave a message for him, which she would (hopefully) write on PAPER, using a PEN.

Two days later, John would call back. But, as luck would have it, you would be out and you would not get his call. Two days after that, John would leave a message for you, because somebody was in your house.

You can see where I'm going with this. The upshot is that nobody would freak out if it took a week to arrange meeting three weeks' hence.

Anyway, I got all ta thinkin' 'bout the likes of what we calls "progress".

The earliest mobile cellular phones I remember were actually handsets attached to small, lightweight "briefcases", only they were neither small nor lightweight. Nobody mugged you for one of these puppies. They could never run off with it. Then came the early handheld cellphones, now infamous (collectible, coveted and trendy now, too). The Motorola "bricks" were, again, not just something for a mugger to take from you, you could actually beat the daylights out of any attacker.

Now, the phones are so small that if you don't lose them first, somebody will try to rob you for the phone and the best you'll be able to do is swallow the phone and offer the assailant a chance to collect it from the other end. They call this progress?

I used my first computer in 1978, a dumb terminal connected to a city mainframe. Oh that was fun. You ain't played awesome computer games until you play on a TTY that outputs on line-fed paper, d00d.

I remember my earliest days on the internet, pre-web and then my first, fascinating days exploring this shiny, new, rather esoteric technology called the World Wide Web. A friend helped me get my Apple Mac (yeah, I admit it, I have used Macs) online, using an awesome 9600 bps US Robotics Sportster external modem. By 4am, we were all running and gleefully surfing the internet and web. Within minutes, I realised the true magnitude of these new technologies. Turning to my friend, I said "Isn't it amazing that we now have access to the most unbelievably sci-fi amalgamation of computers, computer networks and communications technology around the world, just so we can find porn?"

This was all kicked off by my wondering to myself last night how many websites really DID exist in the nascent days of W3? I'm not sure if you guys have ever noticed but I am a bit of an information junkie. Honestly, I'm a lot better than I used to be. I used to almost EAT National Geographics, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and Popular Electronics back in the days when we all had to go to the library to research anything. No, I mean the print magazines, you dolt, not their websites. Who could eat a website? Besides, they didn't have websites back then, capeche? Anyways, I had a voracious appetite for information and the library was pretty well the only concentrated source of the stuff.

Now I seem to recall being able to remember the locations of, and visiting, most of the website in the early days of the 'web. TodayI doubt I can even conceive of the number of websites. I found a history of the WWW but it doesn't chart the number of websites.

Bragging rights: I still own an original installation floppy for NCSA Mosaic 0.9b on Apple Mac. Oh won't my grandchildren look up me as their hero?

Yes, I did finally find the information I was seeking.

Along the way, I stumbled across a few other gems.

"First computer-to-computer chat takes place at UCLA, and is repeated during ICCC, as psychotic PARRY (at Stanford) discusses its problems with the Doctor (at BBN).", thus establishing the most fundamental requirement of internet chat - psychotic chat buddies.

"There is lingering affection for the challenge of breaking someone's system."
RFC 602 - "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care"

Plus ca change, eh amigos?

The 70s TV Show Title-Slayer

Last night, a friend and I went to the bar to finish off his bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label. We got into a nasty, nasty mano a mano free for all over 70s and 80s TV. He went to high school and university in Nebraska.

I opened up on him easy with the likes of Family Feud, Jeopardy, Taxi, Airwolf, The A Team etc... but he leaned back and really threw his weight into it, trying to deck me with something like Hawaii Five-O. I parried his blows and delivered a few heavy shots of The Brady Bunch, Get Smart, My Favorite Martian, Welcome Back Kotter and H.R. Pufnstuff.

He sucker-punched me with Kojak but I was still able to get up and throw Cannon and Barney Miller at him. Finally, when I got him in a full-nelson with Land of the Lost, he cried "no mas! no mas!"

Man, oh man is he lucky I didn't have to pull out my trusty Equalizer: Battlestar Galactica and Miami Vice!

I still think his ignorance about HR Puff 'n' Stuff is the only thing that kept him going.

BTW, whilst looking up links for this, I stumbled over this weirdness: Adrienne Clarkson Presents: A Tribute to Peppiatt & Aylesworth: Canada's First Television Comedy Team. Moron Adrienne Clarkson.

Village Idiot?

One of the FBI's best marksmen was passing through a small town. Everywhere he looked he saw evidences of the most amazing shooting. On trees, on walls and on fences there were numerous bull's-eyes with the bullet hole dead centre. The FBI man asked one of the townsmen if he could meet the person responsible for this wonderful marksmanship. The man turned out to be the village idiot.

"This is the best marksmanship I have ever seen," said the FBI man. "How in the world do you do it?"

"Nothing to it," said the idiot. "I shoot first and draw the circles afterwards."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Why Fi and not Wifi?

I actually read this, uh, trendy term --> 'fi <-- in a blog yesterday. Yeah, somebody thought "oh man, "WiFi" is SUCH a waste of time and space, I really gotta cram more into my blog, life, brain, whatever.

Meanwhile, in other news, there's a well-crucial CD release here, a good editorial on the Deb Davis Debacle (last upper case D was my bright idea) here

Meanwhile, in vastly more other news, some hot Thai babe kindly requested being allowed to see when I am online on Skype. Only there's a catch. In the words of Rolf Harris, do you know what it is yet?

Hint: this guy could give you a hint.

The questions Condoleezza must answer

This article in The Independent does a pretty job of hitting the main points. Unlike some countries I could name, it does it without the use of a Predator.

Use your Gmail account as a virtual drive.

Oh yeah, this is killer-app-tastic alright.

You get a tonne of storage space free with your GoogleMail account, right? This slick little widget lets you drag and drop files onto your Gmail account as if it's just another drive on your Windows PC. Tres cool, methinks. Don't be a moron and risk critical files on it, of course, and read the documentation. Oh, and if you're on a shared PC, bear that in mind, too, eh? And, oh wait, I'm not your mother. Take care of yourself. Sheesh.

News from the world of travel.

A handy guide to countermeasures YOU can use against the unhealthy and immoral seat-saving tactics employed by the Bad Guys.

I'm still trying to track down the original authors of "Airbus to build seven story airliner". Not sure it matters but it's quite interesting how, in this day of overt blogs, blogs masquerading as "proper" websites, "proper" websites et al., it can be difficult to verify stories or find out where and how they originate. For some reason, this joke about the Airbus A390 has been doing the email rounds lately. It looks like it was first penned at TravelFox in 2004 but, according to Google, it has been around atleast since 2003.

Achtgung Amerikkka!!!

My American friends, if the Deb Davis story doesn't scare you, you really need to wake up. But hey, this is your choice...

It's all 'appenin', mate!

Global Crossing Network Supports Record in International Visualization. If "During the experiment, network usage peaked at 19.5 Gbps, with a sustained rate of 18 Gbps -- a world record for bandwidth usage by one single application showing actual scientific content." pumps your nads, then you are truly a sad, sad, individual. Welcome to the club, my fello saddo.

What I'm listening to these days.

One day, psychiatrists will peer over their bifocals as they peruse our MP3 collections, muttering "uh huh", "I see" and "interesting" under their breath, before declaring, "I'm sorry, it appears there is little I can do to help you. You need more help than even I can provide."

I'm enjoying these recent releases: Bossa N' Stones: The Electro-Bossa Songbook of the Rolling Stones, Bebel Gilberto Remixed and Times of Romance by The Lovemakers.

Decided it was time to get down and dirty with the history of Brazilian music. I found a handy page and since then have been laying down supressing fire of great Brazilian toonz.

Thanks to John (AKA GrooveMaster J), I'm also enjoying a variety of classic grooviness/cheesiness by the likes of Jenifer Jackson, the Nelsonics, McLemore Avenue, Sugar Free Allstars, Beatrice Ardisson, Amy Rigby and some, uh, "different" tracks by Fabio Frizzi, il maestro del'Italian horror film soundtracks.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I remember when journalism was a craft.

Now, we have writers who cannot write, researchers who cannot research, editors who don't edit and publishers who don't publish. Unless they've been paid by the US government or military, of course...

Like, oh my god, who okayed "Merci, says woman to team who gave her a face"? Is it time for the ClunkMaster 2000 automatic headline generator?

Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake

There is simply no excuse for this.