Saturday, April 28, 2001

The magic of networking

Funny web-page, features computers should have:

A Minneapolis fire chief has been demoted for posing for a photograph with his arm around the charred body of a woman. Captain John Caston has been demoted to firefighter for conduct unbecoming an officer, but will not be stopped from working his way back up the ranks.

Thursday, April 26, 2001

The House votes to make harming a fetus a crime, as part of the long-term strategy to re-criminalize abortion. A bunch of Dems voted for it, showing how deft they aren't over this issue,
and how well the R's are playing it, with "partial-birth" abortion and now this. When the R's refused to support upping the penalties on harming a pregnant woman, which would have the same legal effect, the D's should have walked and trumpeted that the R's rejection of the Lofgren measure showed that they were only interested in establishing a separate legal status for feti.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament is planning to decriminalize gay group sex. Plan your vacations accordingly.

And the British military pays for a dozen servicewomen a year to get breast implants. It makes them happier, more contented soldiers.

The Supreme Court ruled that because federal law only protects people from pervasive sexual discrimination in the workplace and not isolated sexual harassment, it doesn't protect people
who complain about the latter from being fired for it. Way to go,

It also said that people who don't wear a seat belt or spit on the sidewalk or whatever can be handcuffed, arrested, and made to post a bond substantially bigger than the fine for their infraction. And oh yes, arresting people also means you can make warrantless searches. The Supes didn't think that this might lead to abuses of any sort.

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

A pleasant thought from the NY Times: If you can't get a song out of your head, it could be the sign that you have a brain aneuryism. Fun thing to do for the next day or so: try to get the theme song to MASH out of your head now that I have told you not to think about it, or to think about the possibility of your imminent demise. Remember: brain aneuryism is painless, it brings on many changes...

(Note to Googlers: the reason you arrived here is that you misspelled your search term, as I did in this post. The American spelling is aneurism, the British spelling is aneurysm.)

Today Israeli troops shot people at the funeral of someone shot by Israeli troops a couple of days ago, if I'm not mistaken at another funeral... Guns don't kill people, funerals kill people.

Bushism of the Day: "It's very important for folks to understand that when there's more trade, there's more commerce."--Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001

Sunday, April 22, 2001

It'll be fun watching the CIA, Peru and the missionaries trading charges over the next few days. I've been saying for years that the drug wars were becoming Vietnam, or at least El Salvador in the '80s, all over again, and if it takes a couple of dead missionaries to put the brakes on, well, I don't much like missionaries to "primitive people" (in the words of the father of the guy in the plane, himself a missionary) to begin with.

The British have discovered bugs in the walls of the Ministry of Defense. They think it's... the French. French arms companies, to be precise.

Thursday, April 19, 2001


THE Austrian province of Vorarlberg will [31]ban the practice
of blowing up dead cows with explosives on its Alpine meadows,
state television ORF said yesterday.

What is the world coming to:

THE outwardly placid world of Belgian pigeon racing has been shaken by the seizure of substantial quantities of suspected performance-enhancing drugs.

Horrifying medical story of the week: A woman died in Britain a couple of years ago of a heart attack a couple of hours after a surgeon operated on the wrong lung. What just came out is that it was the patient herself, under local anesthesia, who pointed it out to him.

Saturday, April 14, 2001

The guy who invented the Zip code just died.

So did the guy who invented the smiley face in the '60s. :)

When I suggested that Bush apologize and then take it back, I didn't think he'd actually do it.

The press's weak grasp of matters espionagic has been ongoing, with none bothering to educate themselves throughout the last week and a half as to what the spy planes were monitoring. Since spy satellites are so much more efficient at most forms of surveillance and sigint, it is clear, as I said before, that the idea is to trigger China's defences (radar, communications, etc) in order to evaluate them. This is why the Chinese are really so pissed off: this form of spying is part of active preparations for warfare.

I haven't given a detailed analysis of the recent recount of the Florida vote, partly because it isn't done yet, and partly because I assume you found decent reports if you wanted to. What's interesting is how often journalists who knew better insisted that it proved that Bush really won the state, when it did no such thing.

The British decennial census is starting, and Star Wars fans are marking down their religion as "Jedi." New Zealanders have already done this, but the count hasn't been finished yet.

Cambridge professors have calculated the kinetic energy, centrifugal force and co-efficient of friction for different kinds of pasta in order to determine scientifically how not to
make a mess.

The team found that the safest method of eating spaghetti is to hold the fork vertically, rather than horizontally, select a few strands and rotate them against the concave part of a spoon which is held parallel to the plate. The fork can then be lifted out and the spaghetti eaten off the spoon.

The laboratory experiments proved that the risk of sauce
splatter is highest as the last 4.3ins of spaghetti are rolled on to the fork: a final flick of the wrist can accelerate the speed of the spaghetti tip to more than nine feet per second, producing enough centrifugal force to make the sauce fly four feet.

Friday, April 13, 2001

The Dutch implementation of mercy killing has received negative comments from Germans. Being Germans, I assume it's not the killing part that they're objecting to...

Most of Russia's big parties have now merged. One party was always good enough in the past...

Thursday, April 12, 2001

Harry Secombe has died. Goodbye, Neddy.

Detroit homicide cops have evidently been making a practice of arresting witnesses in order to pressure them into giving information. Consequently, Detroit is responsible for 8% of the nation's arrests in homicide cases, with a below-average clearance rate. William Saletan has an interesting piece in Slate on how both the US and China waved their hardliners at the other (i.e., good cop/bad cop, or perhaps Nixon's Mad Bomber strategy) in attempts to extract concessions. At least Dubya didn't go on tv, put his fingers next to his eyes to stretch out the skin and say "So solly, so solly," so once again he has exceeded expectations.

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Do not tell me which symbol should represent me

The Netherlands legalizes euthanasia. Now it's worried about "death tourism."

A cop in Northumbria, UK, received compensation for being exposed to skunk marijuana, whatever that might be, giving him snoring and a whistling in his noise and other such problems, affecting his marital relations.

You have your choice of disgusting news stories today. There are those Siamese twins joined at the brain. There's the singer who is back at her job (or his) after his/her tongue is surgically reconstructed. And there's the Washington Post's story about meat. Evidently beef is sliced off cows that aren't actually
dead yet.

Monday, April 09, 2001

Boy George has become the 1st Republican president to appoint an openly gay man to a post, albeit to head an AIDS office that was declared abolished in February. According to the NY Times, "refused to discuss Mr. Evertz's sexuality or its significance
in either politics or policy, saying that Mr. Bush did not take such concerns into account when making appointments." So now we're supposed to believe that it was a coincidence that a gay man was appointed to the AIDS office. There's a statement that would insult the intelligence of a George Bush.

In the big British news, a greengrocer was convicted of selling bananas by the pound. Expect the "Metric Martyr" to be a major symbol in the next election.

Gov. Gray Davis accuses PG&E of being selfish. Yes, it is. That's what it's supposed to be. That's why profit-making companies should not be monopolies in basic industries.

Sunday, April 08, 2001


Bush Lite seems to be caught between two words (not for the first time)-- apology and hostages. He can't bring himself to use either one. The obvious solution is to use both. First give the Chinese whatever apology they want, and when the spies are returned say that of course we said what they wanted, because they were holding hostages, and no statement or promised under such circumstances counts. It'll never happen, of course.

Thursday, April 05, 2001

In a piece of stunning naivete, a NY Times editorial Wednesday "trusts" that the US plane didn't violate Chinese air space because it is so sophisticated that it doesn't need to get that close. Of course one of the things such planes are spying on is the defences, radar, response time etc at the border, so spy planes violate sovereign air space all the time.

Today Colin Powell's non-apology apology, which you may have heard on the radio or seen on tv, was immediately (the sentence before) preceded by an attempt to blame the Chinese pilot. I mention this because that part was not played in several broadcasts I heard or saw today. Evidently Chinese pilots aren't as good as Americans. Something about slanty eyes. All right, he didn't say that part, but he was thinking it. He also said that we should all just move on now. He might have waited until the body was recovered.

All of which leaves the question, who thought Powell would be a good secretary of state anyway?

Israel Radio says that Viagra, because of its coating, is not kosher for Passover. Plan your holiday accordingly.

Bill Clinton buys a Cuban cigar in Britain, where it is not illegal. Does this sound at all familiar?

The Supreme Court allows Medicare and Medicaid money to go to Christian Science "clinics." Evidently it's not ok if the law says that the money can go to Christian Scientists, but it is if they write standards so that their clinics, and no others,

A judge in Spain rules that Jesus was wrongly convicted, and that there were irregularities in his trial. That's Spanish efficiency for you.

Monday, April 02, 2001

Faith-based presidency

George W. Bush Jr. III today sent a warship to China. So now we're threatening war (that's not a "show of force" as the London Times put it; it is either an actual threat of force, or it is a completely silly totally pointless symbol, except it's not a symbol because it stands for nothing and a symbol is supposed to stand in for something, that's pretty much the definition. We need a word for a signifier without a referant--possibly we could call it a georgewbush) over a spy plane, which I understand actually had the capability of intercepting Chinese phone calls and e-mail.

Milosevic will be tried, if he is tried, by the Yugoslavs and not the International War Crimes Tribunal, for something like corruption rather than, oh, say genocide. Showing impressive chutzpah for a man who had a gun in his mouth just yesterday, he is actually planning to use genocide as his defence. He admitted today having funded the Croatian Serbs and Bosnian Serbs in their little wars. So he didn't steal money for himself, he used it to fund massacres in neighboring countries. So that's all right then.

Sunday, April 01, 2001

An Iraqi newspaper owned by Uday Hussein reported today that food rations would be increased. It was an April Fool's joke. Ha ha.

A US spy plane bumps a Chinese jet, forcing it to crash and the spy plane into a forced landing. The US asks China to consider the plane to be sovereign US territory and please not board it.