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LAST 10 ENTRIES

Uh Huh, Right
Tunes
Gotcha?
One Nation Under Chicken Fries
How Do You Protect Innocent Women from Perverts?
Jean Charles de Menezes, Update
LesNessmanesque
Rock Star: INXSuck
Newsflash!
I Heart Tony Blair




« June 2005 | Main | August 2005 »



July 31, 2005

Uh Huh, Right

Well, this makes it all better then.

The failed July 21 bombings in London were not linked to the lethal attacks of July 7 or al Qaeda, a bombing suspect in Italian custody has told his interrogators, sources close to the investigation told CNN.

Further, the sources said, Osman told authorities the bombs were meant to draw attention to anger over the war in Iraq and not to kill anyone.

No, if you want to draw attention to anger over the war, you make a pretty banner and stand in a public place, saying something like, oh I don't know, "We want to draw attention to our anger over the war in Iraq!"

You don't put an explosive device on a vehicle of mass transit where, you know, it might kill someone.

Maybe next someone will try to justify the "Luby's Cafeteria Massacre" as a statement against the crap food served at buffet-style restaurants, and that - honest - the 22 people that died just got in the way of the bullets.

Posted by Andy at 01:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)




July 29, 2005

Tunes

Wow, it's been almost a week since I made your eyes glaze over by showing you what I'm listening to on WinAmp. My apologies!



Posted by Andy at 11:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




Gotcha?

The BBC is reporting that all four suspects in the botched July 21 London terror attacks have been apprehended.

Here's hopin'.

Posted by Andy at 12:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)




One Nation Under Chicken Fries

Well, this is an interesting ad campaign. I'm not sure what the hell it has to do with Burger King, but some of the groupies are kind of hot.

Posted by Andy at 12:03 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)




July 28, 2005

How Do You Protect Innocent Women from Perverts?

By giving the women a ticket.

A day at the beach almost turned into a crime for a Larimer County woman who got a ticket for nursing her baby in public.

"I was completely embarrassed and humiliated," said Dorian Ryan about the summons she received from a park ranger.

"We were shocked and asked why that is and they said it's to protect us from perverts and peeping toms," says Ryan.

Alas, the prudish officer did not have the law on his side...
It turns out there was no law violated and the ticket was dismissed.
And yet another bare booby walks among us! The horror!

Flashback: dumbass.

Posted by Andy at 07:25 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)




Jean Charles de Menezes, Update

Bulky jacket? Jumping a turnstile?

Maybe not.

Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian shot dead in the head, was not wearing a heavy jacket that might have concealed a bomb, and did not jump the ticket barrier when challenged by armed plainclothes police, his cousin said yesterday.

"He used a travel card," she said. "He had no bulky jacket, he was wearing a jeans jacket. But even if he was wearing a bulky jacket that wouldn't be an excuse to kill him."

If true, those who made a rush to judgment, applauding the killing of this "terrorist," are going to look even more stupid than they did originally. I suspect it won't merit even a mention by them, however.

I'm not accusing the police of intentional wrongdoing (although I'm sure plenty of you on the far-right, unable to hold two ideas in your head simultaneously, may believe so). I think the police acted in a manner they felt appropriate; however, that doesn't mean things won't and can't go wrong, and we have an obligation to understand just what went so very wrong in this instance.

Nothing is going to bring back Mr. de Menezes, not even Baby Jesus, but we can work to make sure we don't have another innocent person shot in the head seven times anytime soon.

Posted by Andy at 01:16 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)




LesNessmanesque

Granted, a lot of my 100 Words suck almost as much as Rockstar:INXS, but surely there's something of interest among them all. What say you? Any characters of interest? Any scenes that you'd be interested in seeing developed further?

I'm in the mood to write again, and I have one character I like (from this story), although she's undergoing some changes as I figure out just who the hell she is.

As for other ones I like:

If at First You Don't Succeed
Everytime
Odd Man Out
A Perfect World

Aside from a penchant for titles based on (or made up entirely of) cliched lines, primarily due to my writing it late at night, in a hurry, and wanting to post quickly, I like the ideas in those short works. Those are the ones where I feel I wasn't trying to be overly clever or funny, which I think was one weakness of the 100 Words site, a drive to "out-clever" one another (guilty as charged, your Honor!). It's improved a lot though as people have toyed with different styles and approaches.

Anyway, have a read, tell me if you like anything you see. Don't bother telling me something sucks, because I already know that (although the pimple soup story was genius, despite the ill-informed opinion of the unwashed masses, I say!).

Hey, did you know that if you take fish oil capsules, about ten minutes later you can taste the fishiness of them? Ugh.

Posted by Andy at 08:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)




July 27, 2005

Rock Star: INXSuck

So, anyone been watching this show? I have, but with the regularity of Wilford Brimley's bowels, which is to say that I accidentally saw it (the show, not his bowels) last night.

Man, that's a big stinkeroo. Lame singers and lame songs, followed by lame snark about the performances, all done with maximum (and inadvertent, I gather) cheese. Someone bring the crackers.

Aside from a wee jiggle here and there of Brooke Burke's assets, move along, folks, there's nothin' to see here.

Don't misunderstand me. Once upon a time, I loved INXS and was saddened when Michael Hutchence decided to go down the autoerotic asphyxiation highway of no return, but - ya know - the show really doesn't have to go on.

Not like this, anyway.

Posted by Andy at 05:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)




Newsflash!

The Internet has invaded youth culture!

A new survey says that the Internet has all but saturated the youth market.

The report compiled for the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that nearly nine out of 10 young people, ages 12 through 17, have online access - up from about three-quarters of young people in 2000.

And when you add in all of the 40-year-old men pretending to be virginal (but oh so horny!) young girls online, it's more like 15 out of 10 young people!

Posted by Andy at 05:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




July 26, 2005

I Heart Tony Blair

In that heterosexual, male-bonding, faux-hug-slap-on-the-back kind of way, because of things like this:

He said Britain would not give "one inch" to terrorists and said it was time to confront them "on every single level."

"September 11 for me was a wake up call. Do you know what I think the problem is? That a lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again," he said.

And this...
While rejecting suggestions he had claimed the London bombings had nothing to do with Iraq, Blair said there was no justification for terrorism.

"Let us expose the obscenity of these people saying it is concern for Iraq that drives them to terrorism," Blair said.

"If it is concern for Iraq then why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them?" Blair said.

Freedom fighters and Minutemen, indeed, huh Mikey Moore?

Posted by Andy at 11:48 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)




RINO Sightings

Over at Countertop this week. Check it out.

Posted by Andy at 09:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




Offered Without Comment

Philadelphia Inquirer reader, Mary Cantell asks:

How is it that scientists can examine a rock specimen from Mars and "affirm" that there was once water on Mars (which has no water), and look at our planet, which is 70 percent water, and declare that there is no evidence of a worldwide flood?
...errr...

OK, one comment: perhaps the same way they can look at an apple and not call it an orange.

And that pesky thing of there being no evidence - none! - of a global flood.

If you ever wonder just how more than half of his country can believe in creationism and doubt evolution, take a moment to think of the Mary Cantells of the world, hang your head low, and weep, friends, weep for all that wasted brain matter.

Posted by Andy at 08:49 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)




Heh

As software rivals, Microsoft wants to wipe Apple Computer off the map. With Microsoft's new Web service for satellite photographs, did the world's largest software company find a way to do exactly that?

Internet sleuths discovered that anyone using Microsoft's new "Virtual Earth" Web site for a bird's-eye view of Apple's corporate headquarters saw only a grainy overhead photograph of what appears to be a single, nondescript warehouse and a deserted parking lot not Apple's sprawling campus, with 11 modern buildings surrounding a plush courtyard.

Posted by Andy at 08:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




Risky Business

I realize that space travel is a dangerous endeavor, fraught with peril and things that go bump on the hull, but this seems of little comfort:

With a new realism born of disaster, NASA says that the risk of catastrophic failure during the space shuttle Discovery's mission is about 1 in 100, more than twice as great as an upbeat estimate issued before the loss of the Columbia in 2003.

The rise in estimated danger, Mr. Beutel said, came about "because we have a better understanding" of the craft's workings and limitations. He emphasized, though, that "it's a statistical probability, as opposed to what is going to happen." (The actual rate of catastrophic failure - as opposed to the calculated risk - now stands at 2 flights in 113, or 1 in 57.)

As a comparison (and a rather oogy gooey one), the chance of complications if my wife were to deliver World Wide Rant, Too the "natural way," due to a past c-section, is about 1 in 100.

Such complications would, at best, result in an emergency c-section and, at worst, loss of the child and a possible hysterectomy. We said "screw that" and are going for a schedueld c-section once again.

These astronauts are taking a similar chance, knowing full well that the outcome of failure is most likely catastrophic - they've got some serious balls on them. Big old brass balls that sway in the wind and clang together with a resounding thunder.

Astronauts rock.

Although it'd be nice if we could retire the Shuttles and pursue better technologies for space travel, rather than ones developed when we all oohed and ahhed over Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors*.

* Not that I have a thing for Lee Majors, of course. Although I did have that cool Six Million Dollar Man toy with bionic eye and the arm that went clickity-click with the roll-up rubber sleeve hiding his supa-dupa 1970s cyborg wiring. Say, remember that Lindsey Wagner and her bionic dog?

Posted by Andy at 08:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




July 25, 2005

Backlash?

Iran makes a... um... startling admission:

The Iranian judiciary has said that human rights abuses have been taking place in the country's jails.

A report drafted over several months says prison guards have ignored a legal order banning the use of torture by blindfolding and beating detainees.

It also criticises police for arresting people without sufficient evidence.

Let's begin a countdown for how long it will take the global Muslim community and the American far left to vocally criticize the Iranian government.

I'd recommend we start counting down from one kazillion gabillion.

Yeah, I'm an optimist like that.

Posted by Andy at 08:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




Jean Charles de Menezes

The Beeb has a graphic detailing what is known, so far, about the shooting of supposed terrorism suspect, Jean Charles de Menezes, at London's Stockwell Station last week.

Additionally, there's this development:

The Brazilian man shot dead by police who mistook him for a suicide bomber in south London had been in Britain on an out-of-date visa, officials say.

Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, may have run from police because of his visa situation, BBC correspondents say.

If true, it would provide some reason for him to run from the police. This assumes that the plainclothes police readily identified themselves and that claims that de Menezes spoke fluent English are correct.

It continues to look more and more like a tragic accident, which makes the idiots who cheered his shooting without any of the facts to look more and more like - well - idiots.

Note, please, that this is no way means I think the police acted improperly. It's perfectly logical to consider this a tragedy, accept that the police behaved in a rational manner, and that those who applauded the shooting when first announced are kind o'dumb.

Posted by Andy at 08:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




July 23, 2005

Killing Time

I'm killing time at the annual neighborhood yard sale, suffering in the unusual Denver heat for - so far - about $35. At least it gives me time to get some work done and, through the evil magick of wireless internet, listen to some tunes.




In other news, the man shot in the London Underground yesterday was not connected to Thursday's failed terrorist attacks. This could be ugly.

Posted by Andy at 11:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




July 21, 2005

Immortalized

On the passing of James "Scotty" Doohan, those of you wanting to see dignified homage paid to the man should probably not follow the links Tod Goldberg has found.

Arf!

Posted by Andy at 06:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)




London, Again

Unsuccessful terror attacks in London?

Posted by Andy at 09:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




The Inmates Have Taken Over the Asylum

Wow. Just... wow.

The people described in this article are absolutely bonkers.

Related: Sharon Hughes, conservative nutjob, is lying about evolution, Darwin, and science.

I sent her an e-mail with a few minor corrections; I doubt she'll reply. For example:

If she finds the time to reply or correct her errors, I'll be sure to let you know. Don't hold your breath. If the creationists can't win on their "theory," they'll try to do it through outright dishonesty.

Update: Hey - you can listen to Sharon's nonsense right here.

Posted by Andy at 08:30 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)




July 20, 2005

Another Free Answer

My first free answer was for scientists looking into prayer, and now it's for this:

Britain's Muslim leaders demanded a judicial inquiry Wednesday into what motivated the four "homegrown" suicide bombers who targeted London, as Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed an international conference on rooting out Islamic extremism.
Here's my free guess: fundamentalist Islamic craziness.

Maybe next they'll ask for an inquiry into why a dog licks its balls.

Posted by Andy at 08:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)




Insert Obligatory "Beam Me Up" Reference

Scotty is dead.

Posted by Andy at 11:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)




Ken Livingstone: Idiot

To wit:

"If you have been under foreign occupation, and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work, for three generations, I suspect if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves," he said on Wednesday.
Note to Ken: You already are producing suicide bombers.

Second note to Ken: look around the world at all of the suicide bombers. See anything they might have in common? Here's a hint, it's not poverty and oppression (only a fool would be blind to the fact that many of these suicide bombers are educated and doing okay for themselves).

I suppose the four London suicide bombers were having to endure the horrid, harsh poverty and oppression of Great Britain, eh? I believe this is called biting the hand that feeds you.

No, dear Ken, had England been under occupation (like, say, the British did with Northern Ireland), you might have seen a guerilla war, but I doubt you'd have seen suicide bombers. Going to one's glory in Heaven with all those waiting virgins takes something special. It takes fundamentalist Islam.

And you're not an Islamic nation.

Yet.

Posted by Andy at 08:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




July 19, 2005

Still More of What I Am Hearing



Yeah, slow night. I was going to mention that Bush's Supreme Court nominee looks a whole lot like the autopilot from Airplane!, minus the cap, but I don't have it in me to Photoshop that sucker.

Posted by Andy at 10:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




Impotent Protestations

I call them impotent, but "unintelligible" is more accurate.

Driving to work this morning on I-25, just after I passed downtown, I saw three people standing on an overpass holding up a sign saying "What kind of man?"

"Indeed, what kind of man?" I thought to myself, soon followed by "What kind of man what?"

Ahead, I saw more people on another overpass holding two banners. Surely, this would enlighten me to the cause of these brave voices in the urban wilderness!

Nope. "What kind of city?" asked one. "What kind of nation?" asked the other.

And that was that. No more banners. No answers to the questions. No context at all.

I figure it could have something to do with Iraq. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows?

I suppose it was supposed to provoke some soul searching, but, when I get around to plumbing the depths of my brain, I at least like to have an idea of for what I am looking.

So, since I don't know what the yahoos were on about, my answer will be "a superdy-doopery one!"

Happy now?

Update: Apparently they're pro-lifers. Pro-lifers who either all need to show up on time or who need to work on message delivery.

More here about these brave "warriors of the Word." Errr... I realize that the air above the interstate isn't so great, but I don't think you're really a warrior for holding up a banner in this country.

This would also explain the nutty Bible-reading folks we saw downtown on Saturday night. I'd have debated with them, but there were better things to do - like drink beer and listen to good live music. My eternal soul can wait.

Posted by Andy at 08:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




Like a Traffic Wreck of the Intellect

The latest star of the creationist circuit continues his parade of ignorance and outright dishonesty.

Has he no shame? Or brains?

If I didn't know better, I'd think he's an atheist plant trying make the creationist/ID movement look more foolish than even I thought possible.

Posted by Andy at 12:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




July 17, 2005

RINO Sightings

Marlin Perkins may have left us in 1986, but there's still plenty of opportunity to spot beautiful creatures in the wilds of the blogosphere. So, here are this week's RINO sightings...

Eddie Thomas comes out of the closet. Or the habitat. Or whatever it is you might keep a RINO in.

Larry Bernard is talking about sexuality, relationships, marriage, and whether he's crazy like Tom Cruise.

Gay Orbit points us to the wisdom of Focus on the Family, as Dobson and his cronies would rather you suffer a migraine than support anyone who tolerates gays. Pain makes you beautiful, I guess.

Jane from Armies of Liberation covers the continued oppression of democratic reformers in Yemen.

The Environmental Republican proposes some short-term steps we should take with China, in light of their recent threat to light up the United States with nukes.

Searchlight Crusade is arguing against cut and run in Iraq, while putting the human and monetary costs of the war into perspective. Speaking of money, you can also visit to learn the truth about negative amortization loans.

The Strata-Sphere points to an apparent fatwa against a blogger. This wasn't the link submitted (because, for whatever reason, it didn't come through on the e-mail), but I thought this was an important story to plug. (The proprietor just sent me this link, dealing with the Pope's aversion to Harry Potter and his wielding of the dark arts).

J.D. from the blog Evolution points to the continuing idiocy of the Kansas State Board of Education.

Balloon Juice reminds us that it isn't just Kansas.

Countertop Chronicles has been blogging the Tour de France. Keep scrolling.

Louisiana Libertarian says the National Education Association has a far-left agenda of multi-culturalism and political correctness run amok. Personally, I think a lot of gay people are going to be surprised to learn that the word "gay" is a slur against them.

Tom Hanna says we might as well hang a "closed" sign on the laboratory of Democracy.

Random Fate offers perspectives on, uh, perspectives.

Orac says the latest rumblings on evolution from the Catholic Church are no big deal, and that the ID crowd shouldn't get all gooey with joy about it.

Say Uncle talks about the likelihood of new attacks on American soil by our pals in Al Qaeda, with a follow-up here.

Phin says we're fighting not just for our way of life, but for the rights of man.

Decision '08 reminds us that respect is a two-way street, and that it's not just the hearts and minds of Muslims that could use some winning over.

Somewhat related, Pigilito links to a poll showing that terrorism is becoming less favored in the Muslim world - and comments on several editorials on terrorism.

The Commissar has all your super-hot and slobbery-goodness links to the evidence of Mariah Carey's wardrobe malfunction.

Big Cat Chronicles is following the saga of the BP Thunderhorse Plaform, listing in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Jawa Report tells Bush to fire Karl Rove, almost certainly ensuring that the Republican party will revoke his conservative credentials by morning.

Think eminent domain won't be abused even more after the recent Supreme Court decision? Techography says think again.

As for my own entry, well, just scroll down and read whatever strikes your fancy - just be sure to read the fine print first. Especially that one person dumb enough to accuse me of using strawman arguments by constructing one of his own.

And that's the Carnival for this week - hope you enjoy the reading!

Posted by Andy at 05:34 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (17)




I Can't Get to Sleep

Just got in from seeing Colin Hay live tonight - good, good show. Opened up with a couple of acoustic numbers ("Beautiful World" and "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You"), and then went into the "Colin Hay with band" mode. That is, louder and more rocking.

Add in another guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a backup singer/interpretive dancer, and you get the idea. The backup singer, Cecilia Noel. who turns out to be his wife, quickly goes from being a curious addition to the stage to being an integral part of the show, and not just because she can shake her bottom so fast that it blurs.

Although that doesn't hurt nothin' either.

Only real complaint is that I would have liked a stripped-down, acoustic version of "Overkill," as I think it better fits the mood and words of the song.

Damn, that was a good show, but now it's almost 3am and I want little more than to curl up under the sheets with my wife and zonk out until well past sunrise.

update: Mission accomplished. I stayed in bed until 11:30am. Go Andy go!

Posted by Andy at 03:48 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




July 15, 2005

I Could Have Told Them That For Free

In the news:

Study: Prayer no help to sick
Shocking, I say!
Praying for sick strangers does not improve their prospects of recovering, according to a large, carefully designed study that casts doubt on the widely held belief that praying for someone can help them heal.

The study of nearly 750 heart patients, one of the most ambitious attempts to test whether prayer has medicinal power, showed those who had people praying for them from a distance, and without their knowledge, were no less likely to suffer a major complication, end up back in the hospital or die.

I think the real problem here is that no one was praying to Binky the Magic Space Clown. If they had been, we'd have seen some different results. Honest.

Posted by Andy at 11:35 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack (1)




More of What I'm Hearing




Look, a graphical list of the last songs played on my WinAmp posing as content!

Posted by Andy at 09:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




The Why of Blogging

To quote Penn & Teller from tonight's episode of "Bullshit:"

We don't mind preaching to the converted if the non-converted are that fucking stupid. We're among friends here, and we like it that way.
Ouch.

I highly recommend everyone watch "Bullshit," although most people are going to, on one episode or another, spend 30 minutes watching one of their precious beliefs getting torn to wee bitty pieces.

Posted by Andy at 09:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




You've Got Your Theology in My Science

I think it's great that there is a panel of experts having a discussion around the moral and ethical implications of possibly creating human/non-human primate chimeras; however, it seems they've gotten a bit silly with it all.

A panel of 22 experts -- including primatologists, stem cell researchers, lawyers and philosophers -- debated the possible consequences of the technique for more than a year...

The panel's report cites Kant, Mills and the Bible: "Humans are set apart by God as morally speical and are given stewardship over other forms of life" (Genesis I: 26-28)...

The panel recognized that the possibility of making monkeys more humanlike is an issue that goes well beyond science.

"There are biblical injunctions and secular reflection over the course of centuries, but nothing is certain or universally accepted, either scientifically or morally," Faden said. "Debate is complicated by uncertainty and uncharted territory in all of our fields of expertise. It quickly became clear how little is known."

Kant, ok, sure. Mills, fine, fine. But, hello, the Bible? What the hell? Is this science or Vacation Bible School?

Kant and Mills, agree or disagree with them, lay out thoughtful philosophical positions for evaluation and reflection. The Bible, on the other hand, only says "God don't play that." Not much of an appeal to reason there.

I'm not averse to a Christian theologian chiming in on the matter, but he's got to come up with something better than "See this book? It says it's bad. So there."

Personally, I think it's a fascinating area of research, but one where we must tread with caution, as creating a more intelligent and sentient hybrid that can fling poo with greater accuracy is a threat to white lab coats everywhere (but, oh, what a boon to the detergent industry!).

I'm not also not certain why a Christian would have much problem with it, beyond the matter of obtaining the initial stem cells. I mean, it's not like we're actually our brains or anything, or that God's gonna give some dumb monkey a soul or somethin', right?

Seriously, my main concern comes from what I've read of some apes and monkeys and their apparent levels of self-awareness, the extent of their moral development (again, apparent), and my firm belief that there is no God up in Heaven who has made some special Yahweh-barrier between humans and non-human primates that might prevent us from creating a unique species, fully capable of joy and suffering.

That is, it may very well already be morally wrong to experiment on some of these animals - and, if not, the resultant individual may introduce more moral issues than are worth the trouble.

On the other hand, the exact opposite could be true, so maybe we should get to, uh, monkeyin' around with the monkeys.

What say you?

Posted by Andy at 08:50 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)




July 14, 2005

Shhhh, We're Hunting Wabbits Whales

Say, does anyone out there happen to own a copy of Whale's album "We Care?"

I used to, but I've no idea where it might be. I think Tom might have it.

But if you have it (your own copy, not mine), let's chat.

Posted by Andy at 09:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)




Change is in the Air

Unscrewing the Inscrutable has become an evangelical Christian blog! Oh no!

What's that? You say it's just a design change and some new features?

Oh, well, ok then. Go check it out.

Posted by Andy at 12:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)




Babies on the Doorstep

Ah, the joys of socialized medicine.

More than 70% of neonatal units in the UK have had to shut their doors to new admissions at some point in the last six months, a survey suggests.

Most said they had not been able to take any more sick and premature babies because they had had too few nurses.

The UK has some of the worst perinatal (up to seven days after birth) and infant mortality rates for Western Europe.

Small wonder some Britons are getting private health insurance to "supplement" the bloated, money-hungry, we'll-get-to-you-when-we-can NHS, isn't it?

Posted by Andy at 08:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




July 13, 2005

The Years, They Go By

It's hard to believe that "Fletch," one of the finest movies ever made in the entire history of the cinema - no lie! - is just over 20 years old.

Well, hard to believe until you hear the cheese-ass synth music throughout.

Posted by Andy at 09:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)




What I'm Hearing

In case you were curious about what I am listening to on WinAmp... here's a list that is updated almost on-the-fly as I have it running. If you come back to this post in 20 minutes, you should see an updated list.

How thrilling!




(found via Michele)

Update: Speaking of music, Brennan e-mails to say he's posted some of his post-Sextants solo work over here. Give it a listen.

Posted by Andy at 08:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




The Guardian Starts to Get It

On the news that the London terrorist attacks may have been carried out by Muslim Britons:

The Guardian described news the bombers were British as "the worst of all possible outcomes".

"If confirmed, as looks likely, it cannot be dismissed as the work of foreign extremists brought up in oppressive states suffering from severe deprivation," the paper said in its editorial.

OK, dear Guardian editors, pay attention: this isn't about oppression or deprivation.

You might have noticed that many terrorists from the Middle East have been educated, rather than downtrodden and destitute. You might take note that Osama bin Laden is educated and absolutely stinking rich, probably more so than most, if not all, the 3000 little Eichmanns he killed on September 11, 2001. Do these small details escape your feeble find-a-way-to-blame-the-victim minds?

This is about religion and faith.

It is about the fact that we don't subscribe to their fundamentalist Islamic ideology, one that says we must be converted or exterminated for the glory of Allah.

It is about the failure of Muslim culture to, as of yet, reach a plateau in which the bulk of its members have moral codes elevated beyond the brutality of their ancient myths.

It took centuries for most Christians to gloss over the God-ordered violence of their holy book. I'm not sure we have centuries to wait for Islam to do the same, not in a world of nuclear and biological weapons. We must do everything we can to change the face of Muslim culture or we will see London and Washington and New York and Bali repeated time and time again.

Posted by Andy at 08:42 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)




Vince Cowan of Bluff City, Tennessee

You are an ill-informed idiot.

Posted by Andy at 08:17 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)




A Reconsideration

Maybe I will buy the wee Fiona some Harry Potter books after all:

LifeSiteNews.com has obtained and made available online copies of two letters sent by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was recently elected Pope, to a German critic of the Harry Potter novels. In March 2003, a month after the English press throughout the world falsely proclaimed that Pope John Paul II approved of Harry Potter, the man who was to become his successor sent a letter to a Gabriele Kuby outlining his agreement with her opposition to J.K. Rowling's offerings.

In a letter dated March 7, 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger thanked Kuby for her "instructive" book Harry Potter - gut oder böse (Harry Potter- good or evil?), in which Kuby says the Potter books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.

"It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly," wrote Cardinal Ratzinger.

You know, if the downfall of the Catholic faith is going to be children's fantasy literature, that says more about the weakness of the Church than about the overwhelming evil that is Harry Potter.
The most prominent Potter critic in North America, Catholic novelist and painter Michael O'Brien commented to LifeSiteNews.com on the "judgement" of now-Pope Benedict saying, "This discernment on the part of Benedict XVI reveals the Holy Father's depth and wide ranging gifts of spiritual discernment."
Indeed. The ability to say "Harry Potter, bad!" is a clear sign of a beautiful gift from God. Sure, it's more like a Clapper consolation prize than, say, a brand new car, but who do you think He is, God?

Oh, wait.

Update: Bill, from INDCJournal, looking to continue his ratings slide among the right-wing, adds the following:

The Pope's condemnation is especially surprising in light of the popularity of the series with Catholic priests, many of whom are known to own a great deal of Harry Potter novels, coloring books, toys, themed candy and children's sleeping bags.
Ouch.

Posted by Andy at 08:14 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)




Someone Call The National Science Foundation!

Did you know that evolution cannot explain how the Grand Canyon was formed?

Wow! It also can't explain how toasters are built or why there are 57 channels with nothing on.

Of course, it doesn't try to explain any of that. Hearing your typical creationist talk about evolution is like hearing me or Zombyboy talk about being clean and sober.

Posted by Andy at 12:08 AM | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)




July 12, 2005

In Principle, Sure

This is why I am against the death penalty in practice:

Citing grave concerns that Missouri executed an innocent man, a coalition that includes a congressman, high-profile lawyers and even the victim's family pointed to evidence Tuesday that they said could clear Larry Griffin's name.
Fat lot of good it does a dead man.

Posted by Andy at 09:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)




July 11, 2005

Dishonest Paul

Paul from Wizbang is at it again, showing what a douchebag* he is. I'd love to give you the evidence, but he deleted my comment from here (and then closed the comments, because his last name is Mao).

In short, I praised Mantis' takedown of Paul's continued idiocy (which Paul then tries to refute, without success, but with a clear lack of reading comprehension) - and pointed out that Mantis should have also made fun of people who see Jesus in the shadow of a streetlight.

Damn, Paul, first you look like a putz on a complex topic like evolution and now you look like one on something simple. Does your putzosity know no bounds?

Anyway, Pauly dear, allow me to give you a pointer. You said:

So lemme see if I get this right... over the last 5 days a whopping 250 people have shown up to see something and the crowd is just so overwhelming the local PD can't control the sea of humanity?
See that, you say 250 people over 5 days... but Mantis links to an article that makes clear:
The situation got out of hand Saturday night, Machuca said, and he had the streetlight turned off at 1 a.m. Sunday to diffuse a crowd of more than 250 people.
See, dumbass Paul, that's 250 people in one night. But then you, in a fit of truly inspired idiocy, say in response:
So let's review Mantis...

I make the point they are lame because they can not control a crowd of 250 people.

No, dimwit, you said it was 250 people over 5 nights, NOT a crowd of 250 people. Christ Almighty, you can't even keep your own thoughts straight yet people (especially slow ones, it would seem) expect you to be a voice of reason on something like evolution and science in general?

The mind boggles.

UPDATE: Paul is apparently blogging from prison. What else can explain this response to my inquiry if he and I could be friends?

sure- You can be my girlfriend bitch
Paul is very surly, isn't he? I guess life on the inside can do that to a guy.

* Figure of speech. No slight intended toward actual douchebags.

Posted by Andy at 10:16 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)




We Are Not Afraid

Here's the proof.

Posted by Andy at 06:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




Stop, The Last

Two thousand five hundred sixty-six miles later, it is finished.



Astute observation made at the conclusion of this trip: The United States is one honkin' big country.

Now to unload the car, unpack, wash clothes for tomorrow, and spend the better part of tonight de-spamming the blog. Yay fun. It's good to be back home.

Posted by Andy at 05:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)




July 10, 2005

Stop, The Fifth

That would be the fine city of Grants, in the land of enchantment that is New Mexico.

Fun story: We stopped at a hotel to ask what their best rate was for the night. The woman behind the counter told Mrs. WWR that it was $72+tax. Ouch. Meanwhile, I was out in the parking lot using their free wireless to look up hotels on my own and found an online rate for the same hotel at $52.

So, in I go, and ask the woman behind the counter if she can just give me the online rate. One would think that the sensible answer would be "yes," seeing as how I knew about the rate already.

Alas, it was "no."

A bit shocked I said, "So I should just go stand at the table with my laptop, make the reservation, then walk back over here and get you to check us in?"

The answer was yes. So I did just that. Score a $20 savings for me. Woo!

En route, we stopped at the Grand Canyon, and damn if that hole in the ground wasn't a hell of a lot wider and deeper than I had imagined. Absolutely beautiful though, if you tuned out the people around you, especially the woman who was (I kid you not) explaining to her friend how it was formed the by Noachin flood.

I was too tired to laugh out loud at her, but did smile when her friend said, "So, what, did all the water just evaporate?"

Careful, son, keep asking questions like that and you might start to wonder whether God is real too. And you know how touchy fictional deities can be about such things!

After that, our next tourist pit stop was at Meteor Crater. We really did want to see the crater itself, but we didn't want to pay $12 per person to spend ten minutes there. So, we saw the lip of the crater from outside the information center instead - and I have the pictures to prove it!

We had hoped to push on to Albuquerque, but were too beat to get past lovely Grants. Now we're off to bed and up early tomorrow for the final push home.

Pictures soon. Hooray!

Posted by Andy at 11:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




Revisionism

A leading Cardinal in the Catholic Church, Christoph Schönborn, declares "we were getting a little too close to sounding rational and educated."

An influential cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, which has long been regarded as an ally of the theory of evolution, is now suggesting that belief in evolution as accepted by science today may be incompatible with Catholic faith.
Found via Theosebes, a creationist who continues his stunning display of ignorance regarding evolution by declaring that "the random nature of evolution is a key tenet of the theory." Apparently a wee little mitigating factor called "natural selection" wasn't covered in the Vacation Bible School text from which he received his education on the subject.

Posted by Andy at 01:01 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)




Stops, The Third and Fourth, With Other Updates

Hello, kids!

Greetings from Needles, California. I just clicked through to the city's homepage and it would seem that we're in the "interstate highway fringe" area of the city, as I've not seen a posh golf course or expensive houses built on the river (however, I have seen a couple of seedy motels and a greasy spoon or two). I'm sure it's a positively lovely place overall though.

So, "stop, the fourth," is officially Needles, CA.

"Stop, the third" was Claremont, CA, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles as the crow flies (or as the former football player turned actor turned double murderer leads a slow chase). We were guests of Brennan Hester and his wonderful family.

They were terrific hosts, although my memory of the evening is a bit fuzzy due to the beverages we consumed from lunch to midnight. This is probably a good thing as we earlier visited Rhino Records, whereupon Brennan purchased this book and DVD set. Which we watched. More than once.

In a similar vein, or not, but just as creepy, Brennan's friend Dan turned us on to this way cool site for Jesus, dude. Let Ed Young "go outside the box to reach inside your heart." Marvel as Ed relates the Word of God to the youth of America in a language he thinks they can understands because he thinks it sounds like their own lingo when, in reality, it sounds exactly like someone's dad trying to be hip.

Recipe. For. Disaster.

Additionally, whilst watching CNN's coverage of the aftermath of the London bombings, we learned that the British apparently have some anatomical disorder called a "stiff upper lip." It must be true, as every newscaster in every report found a way to work it into the closing of their story. I mean, this was news to everyone right? 'Cause I know that the highly-qualified and professional news industry personalities in the United States wouldn't rely on cliched pick-me-up lines in lieu of something substantial and interesting.

Wait, would they*?

Brennan also provided me with a CD of unreleased Sextants songs that were to have been on their second album, an album which never quite materialized. If he doesn't object, maybe I'll post a couple here for your listening pleasure.

After departing Chateau Hester this morning, we drove into Los Angeles and met Jody from Naked Writing for lunch. After multiple phone calls to figure out just which turn we had fucked right up, we finally met up and sat down for our meal, the drink portion of which Jody ended up wearing as the waiter knocked a glass over into his lap. Whoops.

Jody was pretty much as I had expected based on getting to know him through his blog and various e-mails. He was taller, though, but then again when you're my height one gets used to other people being taller. However, that Emmanuel Lewis, I can still kick his ass any day of the week. Sadly, we didn't have much time for lunch as we had to get on the highway and Jody had to return to volunteering at a gay/lesbian film festival (he might not be aware of this, but that event is positively crawling with homersexurals).

And so, several hours later, here we are: Needles.

Now, let's step into the Wayback Machine and go back to a time before we were quickly disillusioned with the "gaudville" that is Las Vegas, but not so far back as our few hours spent in Green River, UT. Somewhere in between we stopped to have lunch with Rae of A Likely Story.

We met at a McDonald's with a play area, allowing Fiona to burn off some of her pent up energy, while the adults chatted and Rae tried to explain to me the all-powerful love of Jesus and why won't I just accept him into my heart of hearts, the one with the little Yahweh-shaped hole right about here (pointing at my chest)? I fired back with my usual barrage of awe-inspiring reason and she soon came to see the futility of religious belief and declared herself an atheist on the spot. Hooray!

Or perhaps we just talked about normal stuff, the kind of stuff that we all seem to avoid in the blogosphere because we might find out we like each other despite our differences. Rae too was much like I expected, but then a lot of swapped e-mails and an appearance on the Larry Elder show can help one form an opinion of another person. Well-spoken, intelligent, and an able conversationalist, she'll make a fine addition to the Evil Atheist Conspiracy once the mindwipe is complete.

We then went for ice cream and got back on the road.

Tomorrow we're aiming for the Grand Canyon, then through Flagstaff, over to Santa Fe, and up through Colorado back to our home.

And now you know the rest of the story**.

* We were also impressed at how CNN provided very serious and dark, music in the background of their London coverage, letting us know that we should feel serious and dark about the resultant carnage. It's rather like emotional subtitles. Thanks, CNN!

** Apologies to clinically insane radio personality Paul Harvey for stealing his line.

Posted by Andy at 12:18 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)




July 07, 2005

Stop, The Second

Wrapping up our two night stay at the Luxor in Las Vegas tonight. Spent some quality time with family, both immediate and extended, and also got to meet the family of my brother's new wife (henceforth known as my sister-in-law). It's been fun - even if we are down an incredible $21 on our gambling.

I hear the repo man coming for the car...

Actually, Las Vegas isn't really our speed. It's too busy, too obnoxiously in-your-face, too ... much. Perhaps the burbs are different, but I don't see us returning anytime soon, except on the way to other places. Maybe I'm just bitter that I'm not walking out with that Mercedes convertible I felt was mine based on the four dollars we spent in that slot machine.

Tomorrow it's off to Los Angeles to meet some online friends, see the land of cinematic milk and honey, and then contemplate our next move. The Grand Canyon is sounding attractive...

Posted by Andy at 11:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)




Can We Call Off the Witch Hunt Now?

Nothing to see here, folks.

Florida's state attorney said there was no evidence Terri Schiavo's collapse 15 years ago involved criminal activity, and Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday declared an end to the state's inquiry.
Oh, please, everyone just knows that Michael beat that poor, poor woman into her brain-damaged state. How do they know this? Because the CULTURE OF DEATH says there's no evidence he did! And anything they say are lies, damnable lies! Lies right from the mouth of Satan!

Tonight, somewhere, the Culture of Life is looking for its next token martyr.

Posted by Andy at 07:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




London Attacks

Just awoke to the news.

Our thoughts and well-wishes to the people of London and the United Kingdom.

Maybe this will serve as a reminder to those of you who have inexplicably forgotten there is war of civilizations still raging - and we must win.

Posted by Andy at 11:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




July 05, 2005

Stop, The First

Green River, Utah. It's beyond anything I ever imagined or hoped for. Of course, I never actually found myself imagining or hoping anything about the place, so they really had nowhere to go but up.

Nice little pitstop, I suppose. Free wireless at the Holiday Inn Express, which is nifty. Up early tomorrow for the second leg of our extended tour.

Posted by Andy at 09:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




July 04, 2005

All Better Now

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans and to my British friends and in-laws!

The blog seems all better now thanks to much experimenting and tinkering on behalf of my hosting company, Hosting Matters. Kudos to them for their continued support of their customers; I've been with other hosts who would have told many of us "tough luck" when their upgrades pooped on the mechanics of so many blogs.

So, let us rejoice about both the independence of our great nation and that now I can return to enlightening the masses via the magic of them thar interwebs. Huuzah!

Starting off our celebration: fireworks, courtesy of NASA.

NASA space probe slammed into a comet early Monday, capping a six-month mission that researchers hope will give them new clues about the birth of our solar system.

"This mission is truly a smashing success," said Andy Dantzler, director of NASA's solar system division, in a news release. "Tomorrow and in the days ahead, we will know a lot more about the origins of our solar system."

He then winked at the reporters and said:
"Yes, yes, we all know the real origins are 'goddidit,' but we've got to keep our funding somehow!"
Or perhaps not*.

We're off to prep for vacation. Have a great holiday, and look for updates from the road (ooh ahh ooh!).

* There goes the pony doing his one trick.

Posted by Andy at 11:09 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




July 02, 2005

In the Meantime

Well, since Blacklist is screwed for whatever reason, and we're having a dinner get-together and then a busy weekend ahead, I'm going to disable commenting until this stuff is resolved.

Have a great Fourth!

Posted by Andy at 06:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)




July 01, 2005

Comment Woes

Howdy, looks like my hosting company has changed something which is screwing up my comments and my ability to blacklist spammers. So, just to be safe, I'm taking comments down for the time being until I figure out what the hell is going on.

I suppose it could also be that something somewhere is corrupted, or maybe God didn't find that last post all that funny. Like, really, who is he to judge anyone, you know?

Update: Um, ok, it seems that some of my more essential cgi scripts now have a file size of 0K. That could be a problem.

Update 2: Or not, just seems as though they're smaller than 1K so they show up as 0K. I also reinstalled Blacklist and noticed that one of the file sizes was different. Did it help? Doesn't look like it.

Feh.

Posted by Andy at 07:17 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)




Mystery Solved!

Science magazine, in honor of its 125th anniversary, is presenting 125 questions that still have scientists stumped. C'mon, people, this isn't hard; I've got your answers right here!

For example:

See, religion makes understanding everything easy easy easy! Hooray for Jesus!

Note: For those of you who are genuinely interested in the questions and the science behind them to date, you can go here. Amen.

Posted by Andy at 01:58 PM | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)




Insanity

When common sense gives way to uncommonly bad law, what can be done?

Fitzroy Barnaby said he had to swerve to avoid hitting the 14-year-old Des Plaines girl who walked in front of his car.

She said he yelled, "Come here, little girl," before getting out of his car and grabbing her by the arm.

He said he simply lectured her.

She said she broke free and ran, fearful of what he'd do next.

In a Thursday ruling, the Appellate Court of Illinois said the 28-year-old Evanston man must register as a sex offender.

Just think, if he had run her over and killed her, he'd probably have a clean record.

(via sort-of-on-hiatus Michele)

Posted by Andy at 08:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)






MONKEY BUSINESS








THE BLOGROLL