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    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    Credit Cards...Of Doom

    A day late, I find that I missed this on the Consumerist.
    PBS has joined forces with the New York Times to reveal, "The Secret History Of Credit Cards." The show airs tonight at 9pm EST.
    The bad news is that special was on LAST night.  The good news?  If you navigate to the article via the handy link provided here , you can find a link to the online version.  That's The Consumerist for you. 
    Interestingly, myself and the significant other just had a discussion about credit cards last night.  Our advice?  Scan your bills carefully, even if you get online bills like I do... because every now and then, they like to sneak in a couple of extra unannounced fees (say, an oddly-named purchase fee), and if you call them on it, they might remove them.  She's says she's saved $150 this year that way.
    That's a lot of eggs and milk.


    Blogger The Sequel

    Well, it's been a while, but I know that I'm having more blog hiccups that even switching to Blogger Beta hasn't been fixing.
    They tell me that it's the fault of Gmail, but hey, same company.  Has been for a while now.  Meh.
    For this, I apologize.  I'm hoping to have the problems cleared up soon.

    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Of Course They Knew

    Many EU member states were aware of secret CIA jails and transfers of terror suspects, a European Parliament draft report has said.

    The report follows months of investigation by a special committee of MEPs led by an Italian, Claudio Fava.

    "Many governments co-operated passively or actively (with the CIA)," said Mr Fava, quoted by the AFP news agency.

    No one should think this is the slightest bit strange... except for that whole torturing prisoners in foriegn jails part.
    9-12 should be remembered as the day that we started losing the War On Terror.
    And yippie, hopefully Blogger will post this perfect.  Please?

    Mother Of The Decade

    DAYTON, Ohio - An infant girl who died in August 2005 of a high body temperature might have been put in a microwave, and her mother has been charged in the death, authorities said Tuesday.
    Get the disgusting details on Yahoo.
    I'm not a death penalty supporter, really.
    Therefore, I am resisting the temptation to say "BURN HER!!"
    I am finding resistance may be futile.



    We Are Becoming Just As Bad As Them

    Many EU member states were aware of secret CIA jails and transfers of terror suspects, a European Parliament draft report has said.

    The report follows months of investigation by a special committee of MEPs led by an Italian, Claudio Fava.

    "Many governments co-operated passively or actively (with the CIA)," said Mr Fava, quoted by the AFP news agency.

    No one should think this is the slightest bit strange... except for that whole torturing prisoners in foriegn jails part.

    9-12 should be remembered as the day that we started losing the War On Terror.


    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Day Of The Robot

    The dawn of the Robot Age draws ever nearer.

    Oh great. As if the potent, robotic cocktail of self-replication, self-awareness, and wireless power weren't bad enough, along comes Cornell University with a robot capable of not only discovering its own nature (something we can't even do) but then adapts to overcome injury. This four-legged robot starts out knowing only what parts it has, not where they are or how to use them for locomotion. It applies a scientific method of theory and experimentation to develop computer models and ultimately, a set of commands to turn its motors for that first cautious step. Even when researchers remove part of the toddling robot's leg, the little guy still figures out a way to limp forward.

    Check it out! Engadget! They can still bring the goods.

    Notes to self:
    1. Incorporate company called Cyberdyne Systems, vigorously defend name of said organization through the legal system.
    2. Develop network of contacts throughout the Western Hemisphere where, if necessary, I could hide out.
    3. Find, and warn, Sarah Connor.

    Actually, I wasn't about to use that overworked cliché, but it was just too much for me and I had to.

    All that being aside, Cornell does it again. That's pretty interesting. The question is, can I make that robot clean my house? Will it abide by the Three Laws of Robotics? Should I be worried?

    I want one.

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    More Blog Updates

    You may have noticed a couple of changes.
    This website now has labels, which is the fancy Google name for "Categories".  What this allows you to do is click any of the topics under the "Labels" section of the sidebar, and that will immediately take you to all of the posts in that section.  Pretty spiffy, huh?
    Also, you'll notice that almost all of the posts now have a "Labels" tag attached.  This allows me to categorize each post I make.  I only ask that you allow me a few hours to get new posts correctly tagged.
    Now, I haven't yet categorized all of my posts, as I have been doing this for a while and had a lot more posts than I thought, so might take a hot minute for me to get up to date.  Also, there may be some post that are categorized where they don't belong.  If you happen to come across any of these, let me know.
    I'll probably post later how I did it.  It's not a particularly simple process, as I did not upgrade my original Blogger template to do it.
    I would also expect that I'll be posting a few more Blogger how-tos.  I have numerous hacks already built into my site, as you might have guessed.
    The layout will probably also be changing.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Caption Of The Week

    First, let's look at the article.
    Birdwatchers rushed excitedly to see a swallow that hasn't been seen in Britain for 20 years - then got a nasty surprise when eaten by a hawk in front of their eyes.
    Article in Metro UK.  Found via Fark.
    Now, *ahem*, the picture and caption.
    A sparrowhawk: I'M IN UR SKIEZ,
    No, seriously.
    That caption was, "I'M IN UR SKIEZ, EATIN UR SWALLOWZ"
    Those that don't understand this particular Internet meme should take a look at this post on Boing Boing .
    I love the parrot in the macaroni.  I'm not sure why.


    Well, I switched to new Blogger in beta.
    Let me know how it went.  If things get too goofy then I will be making other changes.  Did my template change?  Are comments still working?
    As a result of this change, you will be seeing plenty of new things, and first on my list... categories!  That's something everyone seems to want.
    More later!

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Working For The Man

    It's funny that when people reach a certain age, such as after graduating college, they assume it's time to go out and get a job.  But like many things the masses do, just because everyone does it doesn't mean it's a good idea.  In fact, if you're reasonably intelligent, getting a job is one of the worst things you can do to support yourself.  There are far better ways to make a living than selling yourself into indentured servitude.

    Here are some reasons you should do everything in your power to avoid getting a job:

    Found via The Hack.
    I've been toying with this idea for some time now.
    Really, I have been.
    The problem is that, after so many years of working, your soul is beaten down to a pulp.  You can't think straight:  you get confused, then all verklempt.  However, it IS possible to make money and not work like a dog.  I've seen it happen.  At one telecommunications company that I worked at that will remain nameless, we used to joke that you could actually feel your soul, dripping out of the soles of your feet, and pooling under the desk chair in your tiny cookie-cutter cubicle.  Bleech.
    However, this man, he does have some very good idea.  The question is: Do you have the guts to implement them?  That's something to truly think about.
    So.  There's your good news from me today.

    Eat Meat, Get Cancer

    CHICAGO -- Eating red meat may raise a woman's risk of a common type of breast cancer, and vitamin supplements will do little if anything to protect her heart, two new studies suggest.

    Women who ate more than 1 1/2 servings of red meat per day were almost twice as likely to develop hormone-related breast cancer as those who ate fewer than three portions per week, one study found.

    The other - one of the longest and largest tests of whether supplements of various vitamins can prevent heart problems and strokes in high-risk women - found that the popular pills do no good, although there were hints that women with the highest risk might get some benefit from vitamin C.

    Consult for that nugget of wonderful news.
    Seriously, I wonder if before the advent of pumping up meats and such with hormones that this was an issue?  I mean, people are meant to eat meat and vegetables, right?  Isn't that the way it was supposed to work out?
    I'll keep watching.
    In the meantime, I suspect that there will be a lot of frustrated sons, husbands, and boyfriends out there very, very soon, when they can't eat a steak at home.


    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Gay Marriage

    Top ten reasons why gay marriage should be illegal.  Tongue firmly in cheek, of course.  Here were three of my favorites.
    02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

    03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

    04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all like many of the principles on which this great country was founded; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

    Via  Ha!
    I had an interesting discussion with someone this week about gay marriage; we debated the theory from opposing points of view.  However, I went away feeling disoriented and disillusioned, simply because I can't for the life of me figure out why gay marriage should be illegal.  It simply doesn't resonate with my worldview.  In my opinion, it seems that gay people should have the same right to get married and die as happy (or unhappy) as your average, everyday straight person.  Maybe I'm nuts, but marriage would seem to be a basic human right.
    It would seem, anyway.

    The Cosmic Irony of the MLK Memorial

    I find this interesting.
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Presidents, civil rights icons, celebrities and ordinary citizens gathered Monday on the National Mall, where construction is getting under way for a monument honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Via CNN.
    Why do I find this interesting?
    Construction of the $100 million monument is scheduled to be completed in 2008, 40 years after King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

    Backers have raised more than $65 million, according to The Associated Press. Most of the funding has come from corporate donors including Tommy Hilfiger and General Motors.

    While I support the monument, I find it interesting that $100 million dollars is being spent on a monument for a man that probably would have wanted that $100 million dollars to help the poor instead on being spent on a monument for him.
    Ponder that.


    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Yes, I Know

    Yes, I know that my fonts have been going odd lately.

    It's only one thing in a pattern. Bear with me. Thanks.

    So, just to let you know that I know what you're talking about, I'll post this:

    Blog From Email

    I've been blogging from email for some time, but this particular app seemed quite well timed for me, especially since I have had so many problems getting that to work lately.

    Software blog Download Squad gives the scoop on BlogMailr, a free tool that lets you add posts to your blog just by sending e-mails.

    Glory be to Lifehacker! We love you, Gina.

    Incidentally, the link to the BlogMailr is right here. Yippie!

    I'd also like to add that you should expand your mind and listen to Littlefeat. I am doing that right now.

    Update: The first time I posted this today failed. What timing. In other words, you need this app.
    Update x2: The second time that I've posted this today failed. Arrgh.

    More Blogger Woes And A Shout Out

    Just so it's out there, for some reason, Blogger was blowing up my posts earlier this week.
    I only say that for those of you that were wondering, "Why hasn't Clark posted anything on Election Day?"
    Needless to say, things seem to be working again.  Ack.  If you posted a comment anywhere (this means you, L!), then you might want to repost your comment.  Sorry!
    In the meantime, let me give a shout out to all these places that have visited lately.  Lately I've been getting a heck of a lot of hits, and that I appreciate, but it's making it harder to give out the appropriate shouts, as the list is getting a bit long.
    *deep breath*
    Erie, Lafayette, Parker, and Denver, Colorado, Florida, New South Wales, Austrailia, Denmark, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (go Panthers!), Chicago, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Berlin, Newfoundland, Canada, Bainbridge Island and Gig Harbor Washington, Australia, Portland, Oregon (yes, I did go there!), Stockholm, Sweeden, and finally, my boys in San Antonio, TX - where I love my guys at KKD.  Keep on keepin' on.
    There's quite a few more, but my hands are tired.
    Keep coming around.  I'll get you listed on a shout out sooner or later.

    Election Night In Denver

    Oh my God.


    I arrived at the voting center in Denver last night at 5:20pm.  The line to vote, by that time, had already stretched down the block, around the corner, and up the NEXT block.


    I despaired.


    People (I assume volunteers) were walking around the line, telling people that the line was very, very long (duh), but to NOT GET OUT OF LINE.  Everyone that was in line by 7:00pm would be able to vote.


    I said to one of that there was no way in Hell I was getting out of line.


    That was 5:30.


    At about 5:45pm, people started walking around the line, handing out water, cookies, and donuts.  Bless those that brought the pizzas.  They kept us fed.


    At about 6:15 or so, someone gave me a peanut butter sandwich.  I noticed, to my great shock, that this guy was making the sandwiches IN HIS HOUSE and bringing them out to voters.  Stunning.  Others were running down to the grocery store down the street to buy food to bring to us.  These people I cannot thank enough.


    Voters were starting to mill about aimlessly.  People were angry.  Others were saying, quite vocally, "Stay in line!  Don't leave!"  It was, quite honestly, a remarkable show of unity on behalf of my neighborhood.  I was so proud, I almost cried.


    However, at about 7, at the time that the polls were supposed to be closing, I started to lose hope.  One young woman in front of me was wearing heels.  She kept kneeling on the ground, trying to get some circulation back into her legs.  Her feet were starting to get tired.  She was losing steam, and I knew it.


    She looked at me.


    "Don't leave." I said.


    "I won't.  I'm already invested." she remarked, with some thinly veiled frustration.


    I left it at that.  We talked quite a bit more that night, but that really isn't pertinent to the story.


    Right around that same time, a volunteer came around telling us that the Election Commission was giving out tickets at the end of the line, to make sure that they knew who the last person in line should be - who could be the last voter.


    I remarked, "So.  Then, what you are saying, is that if anyone walks up to this line, and says that they want to vote, then I should close my eyes and kind of trip or something, and then open my eyes again, with them ahead of me."


    "Yes." she said.


    "Damn right I will."


    At about 7:30, one man remarked to me that he thought this vote was rigged, anyway.  We were in the process of being disenfranchised, and we all knew it.  He said that this kind of line to vote for something was a violation of our civil rights, and that this bordered on criminal.


    I know, I said, but nothing, even if someone called in a bomb threat, could get me out of this line.


    At 8:00pm came my first thoughts of filing a class action lawsuit.


    At about 8:20pm, in the middle of the Corona Presbyterian Church, I finally got my opportunity to vote.  I had already researched my votes.  I knew what I was voting for.  Voting took about five minutes.


    I walked out of the voting booth, and an election official asked me if I wanted one of those "I Voted" stickers that they hand out every election.  Hell yes, I said, but I was too tired to snatch it from her with disdain like I had planned on, for many of those minutes in that insane, god-awful, 4000 person-plus line that was still three or so city blocks long.  At the back door, where I exited, a woman saw my sticker.


    "Good for you!" she said.

    "Yeah.  Good for me." I replied.

    It was past 8:30pm.  I had voted.


    But I had to fight like Hell to do it.


    The system in Denver is broken.


    That breaks democracy everywhere.


    Tell your friends.  Tell your relatives.  Tell the world.  I know that I want the system fixed, and I'm going to do it - by complaining right here.  I live in the most population concentrated area of Colorado.  Yet, we had the LEAST amount of voting centers.  I don't want to say that it's a conspiracy.  But what else would you call it, really?

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Children And Bad Stuff

    Fetal and early childhood exposures to industrial chemicals in the environment can damage the developing brain and can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs)--autism, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), and mental retardation. Still, there has been insufficient research done to identify the individual chemicals that can cause injury to the developing brains of children.
    From the Science Blog.  Show them some love.
    Look.  How hard is it to try to keep kids (and senior citizens, frankly) healthy?  As the world's weakest citizens, they should be the ones that we protect the most.  Instead, we give our kids chemical poisoning, hormone-stuffed food and liquids, too much sugar and salt and Ritalin, which is, interestingly enough, chemically similar to cocaine.
    Thank Wikipedia for that cite, by the way.
    Perfect.  And I didn't even mention the school shootings.
    Society, stop sleeping.

    Friday, November 03, 2006


    SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (Reuters) - President George W. Bush challenged Democrats on Friday to offer their plan for winning in Iraq as he swept across Republican strongholds in the U.S. heartland to try to help his party's candidates survive on Election Day.

    Encouraging audience participation from thousands of Republican loyalists at a rally, Bush said Democrats should be asked, "What's your plan?" for winning in Iraq and a host of other national security issues separating the parties.

    "What's your plan?" the audience yelled back

    What's your plan, indeed?
    Alright.  Let's put events to a time line.
    1.  9-11 happens.
    2.  We identify al-Queda as the culprits.
    3.  Every politician in Washington decides to collectively lose their minds.
    4.  We invade Afghanistan, which makes perfect sense.
    5.  Despite having little or no proof that Iraq is involved, despite the fact that there were and are worse despots on the planet, despite Iraq having no WMDs (a word that somebody just made up out of nowhere), we invade Iraq with far, far too little people to actually do the job of stabilizing the area after our invasion.
    6.  In a surprise to only the most rigidly optimist or naive or our citizenry, lots of people die.  Lots.
    7.  Widespread Panic ensues.
    I'm all about supporting the troops, because, my God, they've been shot at and bombed to smithereens.  Equally, I can tell without hesitation that I am not brilliant.  I'm a very simple man.  It says so right at the top of the page.  But.
    How could anyone really have thought that invading Iraq was really a good idea?  Really?!
    How ridiculous.
    Even worse, now we are STUCK there.  Stuck.  As in quicksand.  Or quagmire.
    Washington DC, as a whole, has much to answer for.  Too much.  We have succeeded in kicking out a dictator and destabilizing an entire region of the planet.  We don't have more oil.  Terrorists are being spawned in alarming numbers in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern and African countries as we speak. 
    Time to face facts, people.
    We blew it.
    Every politician that participated in this garbage should be tossed, really.  But they won't be.  Worse, no matter whether you intend to vote for a Democrat or a Republican next week, nothing, nothing good will come of it.  Our soldiers will still be in Iraq, and unfortunately, they aren't going anywhere for quite a while.  Mark that as a promise.  Deep in your heart, you know that I'm not wrong. 
    Don't you?

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