8.31.2005

I don't know that much about copyright, which is why I've never posted about it. I'd rather leave it to the experts. But this, I think it's safe to say, is just absurd: "Maine AG implements antipiracy education in state schools". When he gets old enough, Simon's getting a strict curriculum of music theft.
America, you so crazy! And by crazy, I mean really fucking stupid. Good thing we have No Child Left Behind to clean up this mess. Oh, wait...

8.30.2005

The Scrabblor, an effort to defend screw music, pointed out the other day that screwed and chopped is to hip hop what Piper at the Gates of Dawn is to rock, and everyone else looked at him as though he had just said, "your mother sucks cocks in hell!" Rockists.

As I Live and Breathe

Listening to a really sad song by The Streets right now. God, this shit is breaking my heart. I don't know why, but it makes me think of The Office. BBC, of course. Why would a sad love song make me think of the Office? I guess because Tim and Dawn's story (the focus of the show for me) was a sad one for so long, up until that glorious moment at the end of the Christmas special. I was so deliriously happy as I watched them walk hand-in-hand off the set, despite Tim's ill-fitting pants, which only killed a tiny bit of the magic for me.
On a semi-related note, I saw two performances by the band Keane on SNL last weekend (a re-run, I think, with Paris Hilton). I have to say, I found myself falling a bit for their crooner of a frontman. I have no idea if this band is entirely dorky to like, but I'm thinking of buying their album, just based on those two songs, which I've been humming all week. What's so special about these songs, you ask, and what do they have to do with the Office? The songs that I've been softly singing to myself give me a certain feeling.... There's no way to describe this without sounding completely cheesy, so I'll just say it. They remind me of falling in love. That's right. Somehow, they just send me back a few years to when all of my emotions were throbbing and raw. I'm glad love doesn't always feel that way... it's quite exhausting, really. My life now is exhausting in other ways. Fewer turbulent emotions, more physical repetition. Picking up dishes, picking up my child, changing diapers, changing towels and sheets, etc etc, on and on. I'm glad that the love in my life now exists on a simple plane of unconditional acceptance and unshakable stability. I wouldn't have the energy for the all-consuming romance of yore. Still, I appreciate music that can take me back to those days. Because it's nice to remember once in a while that I felt that way. I had a love story, complete with ups and downs, and now I'm living out its much less dramatic conclusion. I guess I'm in the "happy ever after," which, of course, no one in their right mind would trade for the world. A little Keane in my life would help me recall what led up to this point. And that is nice. I hope the songs are short, though, because I can't think about it too long. There is laundry to do, damn it, and toys all over the floor.

8.29.2005

Docu-drama

So many lefty propoganda films, so little time. If I have to hear another person drool over one of these things, I don't know if I can take it. The same people who love to bitch about how dumb George W. is would rather take their socio/political opinions hand fed to them in an easy to digest film, rather than deal with the confusing messiness of the issues. Read, goddamn it! Read! It only takes a little more time, and if you're reading from the right sources, you'll have a much better handle on the facts.

8.26.2005

Housekeeper of the Year

You know you're doing a poor job of keeping up with housework when someone crawls around on your floor and repeatedly says, "dirty, dirty, dirty." Especially when this critique comes from a person who has a urine-soaked bulge strapped to his person constantly. This same person, while walking outside, would gladly put a dried-up dog turd in his mouth if you weren't cowering over him with a look that said you were ready to pounce. Dirty, he says. And the thing is, he's right.
My floors are dirty. It's not my fault, though. The Roomba isn't working. I have tried, Lord knows I have tried, to fix it. I've spent extensive time in the "troubleshooting" section of the irobot website, and I've spoken to a very polite operator on the phone. All to no avail. I think I'll finally bite the bullet this weekend and ship it off for service.
Godspeed, Roomba. When you return, I'll treat you better than ever before. I'll clean all your sensors on a regular timetable. I'll use q-tips and even rubbing alcohol! Just come back and clean my floors again. Please. I have to show this two year old that I can be cleaner than him.

8.25.2005

The Great Fruit Fly Invasion of 2005
It all started innocently enough; I had some tiny tomatoes from the bounty of Sam and Janna's Louisville garden sitting in the kitchen. Since we moved I've been "cooking" mostly frozen pizza or pasta, and, despite my best intentions, most of our fresh produce meets a soft, mushy, or moldy ending before being tossed. Such was the case with the Louisville tomatoes. Except, this time, due Chicago's spate of spectacular weather, the windows were open. Enter the fruit flies.
A week has passed....
Of course, the tiny tomatoes are gone by now. But the pesty flies are not.
Dear God, how do I get rid of these fuckers? Here's the thing: my house is not clean enough to be unappealing to a fruit fly. It's true that they are no longer lured by the stinky siren song of the tomatoes, but now they have the hanging plant, the orange peel that I left out after lunch, and the garbage. The GARBAGE, for God's sake. We will always have garbage, so does that mean we'll always have fruit flies?
This reminds me of the story of...
The World's Cleanest Garbage.
This story is true. I witnessed it with my own eyes.
In my grandmother's trash can, you will not really find trash. You will find folded paper and boxes. You won't find any aluminum foil in the trash can because it is in the pantry, washed and folded for its second, or fifth, use. The same goes for ziplock bags. Most amazingly, you won't find any food scraps. No banana or potato peels, no bell pepper seeds, no apple cores. Where are these remnants of former fruit and vegetable glory, you ask? In the refrigerator, of course. That's right, they go in a bag back in the fridge from whence they came, all to prevent stinky garbage.
This method also works to prevent fruit flies.
If you want to behold this awesome sight for yourself, you'll have to travel to Southern Illinois to my grandmother's modest home. She'll gladly give you the world's cleanest garbage tour.
Please note that I love my grandmother dearly. After living with her and her regimented garbage system for two years, I feel I've earned the right to poke fun a little.
This is in direct contrast to Dow Jones, who feels he has the right to make fun of fat people, even though he's never been anything close to fat himself.

8.24.2005

Watched Goodbye Dragon Inn last Friday, and although I hated it while I was watching it, in hindsight I think it was really good. It's definately not entertaining to watch, but it's haunting. I find myself thinking about it a few times a day, the images popping into my head, triggered by something I see on the sidewalk or on the train. There's no score and almost no dialogue, just beautiful shots, the slow movement of the actors, and the sounds of Dragon Inn, the film playing in the theater where Goodbye Dragon Inn takes place. The ticket lady slowly walks around in the halls behind the theater. An aged actor from Dragon Inn sits in the audience, watching himself doing kung fu on the screen. I can't remember the camera moving a single time. Weird, but in a good way.

U.S. crude settled at $67.32 a barrel, up
$1.61, shortly after hitting $67.40, the highest level in 22 years of oil
futures trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Get ready for $75.
Jitney is playing a show Saturday, the 27th, at Texas.
Where do they come up with this shit? The U.S. attourney's Office says homeless people may be terrorists in disguise. "...[S]ome terrorists may be pose as street people to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations for future attacks." (via Theory of Everything)
It's wrong to laugh at people for being fat.
Pinko commie leftist crazy that I am, even I thought that Iran's claim that the highly enriched uranium residue on their equipment was left over from Pakistan was rediculous. Just goes to show you how controlled we are by Big Daddy Media. Thank you sir, may I have another?

8.22.2005

Bappy Update

The baptism went off without a hitch, so our son is now sin free and ready to enter the pearly gates with nothing more than a high five to Peter. It was a beautiful service, as usual our pastor delivered a great sermon with lots of fiery lefty rhetoric. During the baptism, I managed to not burst into tears, which is a difficult task for me. Anyone who was at my wedding knows what I'm talking about. Afterwards, lots of friends and family came over for lunch. The part where the adult males fall asleep is always one of my favorite parts of family gatherings, so I was glad to see some of that. All in all, a wonderful day.

8.19.2005

Geekdom

Yes, Google is slowly becoming a giant corporate behemoth. Yes, their work presents valid concerns for privacy advocates. But I have to respect a company that's so geeky that their re-issue of stock will be 14,159,265 shares, reflecting the first 8 digits after the decimal point in pi.

8.18.2005

West says hip-hop was always about "speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people."
...
Kanye's message: "Not just hip-hop, but America just discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, `Yo, stop it.'"
While I don't quite understand why he thinks gay is "the opposite, the exact opposite word of hip-hop", this is just another reason to be absurdly excited to check his new album. Now if he'd just move back to the Chi.
Rick Warren wants to turn Rwanda into the first "purpose driven nation." Choicest quote from the Time article: "Warren says he was 'looking for a small country where we could actually work on a national model,' and Kagame, impressed by The Purpose-Driven Life, volunteered Rwanda in March." What good luck for Rick.
China and Russia kick off "Peace Mission 2005". Good to see that the Bush administration doesn't have a monopoly on Orwellian misuse of language.

bappy

Really busy around the house this week because the young heathen is getting baptised this Sunday, which means all sorts of folks are going to be showing up here, at our previously quite chaotic house. We had a lot of stuff still sitting around from when we moved in a few months ago. I wish we were the type that believed that baptism magically saves the soul of the recipient. That would make it all worth it. Ceremony symbolizing the embrace of the congregation? Worth all the cleaning and shuffling around? Maybe.

8.17.2005

Reasons to love Chicago:
1. We have reference tone.
2. We have the Red papers.
I can't afford Comcast broadband, but I wish I could. Then I could be their Bitch Dog.

8.16.2005

Hit Louisville with LB and the kid last weekend to visit some friends. Cherokee Park was the best part. Beautiful.

Fundamentalism, American style

James Dobson was with his buddies in Nashville last Sunday for Justice Sunday II, a nationally broadcast Christian fundamentalist rant against the power of the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Jewish fundamentalists are clinging to their homes in Gaza, trying to hold on to land so dangerous to live on that most Americans wouldn't be willing to visit there. While I certainly support the withdrawal from Gaza, I find it interesting to see the gaping difference in how the Jewish fundamentalists are willing to sacrifice so much for their beliefs, while what American Christian fundies fight for seems so, well... easy.

8.12.2005

I remember when I was growing up in central Illinois (read: the boonies), I had to listen to my friends talk about how English should be the official language of the U.S., and "why can't those idiots just learn to talk right?" That's part of why I left to come to Chicago. But I guess that bullshit is alive and well here too.

that sticky icky

Kevin Drum is right to assume that the run up in the price of oil is due to fundamentals. Due to the nature of my work, I pay close attention to the price of oil, and it's not coming down any time soon. I was talking about this with my wife during dinner, and she asked me what I thought could possibly bring the price of oil down significantly, and the only thing I could think of is if the mideast became completely peaceful overnight some day soon. Save for that miracle, we can expect to see $75 a barrel long before we see $50 again.

8.11.2005

Yesterday Slate published "Evolution vs. Religion" Jacob Weisberg's baseless argument that religion and evolution are incompatible. Weisberg grabs at any straw he can to make the two seem like polar opposites on the spectrum of belief systems. "Evolution vs. Religion" reminds me of physicists who want to claim that they've discovered the theory of everything, but don't want to do the math required to actually prove their theory true. Just come up with a big, simple theory that seems to make "obvious" sense, and then find the evidence later.
Weisberg spends the first few paragraphs explaining his distaste for intelligent design. Fair enough, I think it's stupid too. He then goes on,

In much the same way that intelligent-design advocates try to assert that a creator must be compatible with evolution in order to shoehorn God into science classrooms, evolutionists claim Darwin is compatible with religion in order to keep God out. Don't worry, they insist, there's no conflict between evolution and religionĂ‚—they simply belong to different realms.

...

That evolution erodes religious belief seems almost too obvious to require argument.

This is lucky for Weisberg, since he doesn't provide this almost unnecessary argument. He provides two pieces of evidence that "evolution erodes religious belief":
1. Darwin became an agnostic.
2. This 1993 NORC survey: In the United States, 63 percent of the public believed in God and 35 percent believed in evolution. In Great Britain, by comparison, 24 percent of people believed in God and 77 percent believed in evolution.
Speaking of science Jacob, I don't think many sociologists would be keen on the idea that the statistics in 2. constitute an argument that "evolution erodes religious belief".
Apparently in Weisberg's mind, if God didn't directly control the process of the development of a species, then he's not much of a God. "Post-Darwinian evolutionary theory, which can explain the emergence of the first bacteria, doesn't even leave much room for a deist God whose minimal role might have been to flick the first switch." OH, SNAP! I guess I don't believe in God now that Jacob's shown me that he didn't cradle the first bacteria in his hand and place it gently on the good earth.
The argument that teaching evolution will lead to more students becoming atheists seems like saying that teaching that the Earth revolves around the sun lead to more people becoming atheists. It seemed like an idea dangerous to faith at the time it was initially taught, but I would guess that almost all Americans believe the Earth revolves around the sun, regardless of our high percentage of believers in God.
The scriptures of the major faiths are not meant to be read literally, as the fundamentalists and apparently Weisberg believe. They are metaphorically rich texts, and reducing the argument over intelligent design to "Evolution vs. Religion" is insulting to both evolutionists and the faithful.

8.10.2005

I almost completely agree with The Rude Pundit in this rant about the Bush/Cindy Sheehan standoff, although it's unfortunate he has to drag out the "liken my cause to Rosa Parks" meme.

Public relations-wise, this is an easy one, isn't it? If you're the President, you meet with Sheehan. You invite her in. You give her some lemonade. You listen. You say you're sorry. And then you let her go back out. PR problem over, no? Fuck, while she's talkin', you can have monkeys dancin' in your head. But doesn't this seem like a no-brainer?

Unless, of course, you don't give a shit. Unless, of course, you think of yourself as unquestionably right and, frankly, you couldn't give a happy monkey fuck what the opposition says. And, of course, Bush doesn't.

I don't think he doesn't care what the opposition says. He thinks that most of the public doesn't care what the opposition says, and I'm afraid he's right. Media coverage (not counting blog coverage here folks) of Sheehan has been scarce thus far. I hope I'm wrong, and that Sheehan does become "a more powerful figure than [Bush] could ever imagine", but I'm doubtful.

8.09.2005

Things Fall Apart

Today I overheard my boss talking about someone in the office getting fired in the near future, and I have a suspicion he was talking about me. Later, at dinner, my son pushed a plate off of the tray on his high chair, and it smashed on the floor. Damn.
Went for a bike ride today, and since the child's feeding/bath/bed time usually falls in the 6-8pm range, I'm never outside then and forgot how many people live in this goddamned city. It was like a party on the sidewalk out there.