September 30, 2006

A dance step too far

We all have moments of extreme discomfort about political correctness; school curriculums that ensure students go through an entire education with no knowledge but lots of opinions and a dead-set devotion to relativism, in lieu of rigorous and objective thought; the beiging-down of the body politic; technology that invades every public and private space; the language and actions of obsufacation that have come to dominate all spheres of life.

Did you ever consider where this might all lead to in the West? Did you ever consider that your little John or Jane might miss out on the opportunity to grow up to be the next Rudolf Nureyev or Margot Fontane, because we continue to manufacture fear, competition, insecurity, distrust, envy – about everything – necessitating that we protect, sanitize and minimize endlessly (while, paradoxically, maximizing on consumer goods – the only legitimate area left unscathed by political correctness)?

No? Well, me either, but in Britain the next generations of dancers have been nipped in the bud before they could get their pointy toes off the floor.

“One problem is the virtual ban on teachers touching students. Child protection policies now mean that male tutors touching female dancers is ‘virtually prohibited’; students need a letter from parents in order to permit limited touching in certain circumstances; and classes must be observed ‘to make sure that there’s no indiscretion’.”

The likely star ballet dancers of the future, in Britain at least, are foreigners. Little Brit’s with a whim to dance will have to become accountants instead, where touching isn’t part of the training regime.

September 29, 2006

Duck Friday

Who's a pretty ducky?

September 27, 2006

BBC shows the way!!!

Some staff at the BBC really do have a sense of humor, although they have been given a stern dressing down for their delightful spoof video of the well known Peter Kay hit “Is this the Way to Amarillo”.

There’s a link to download the video here.

Mona had a bun?

Find Mona's bun - a fun new game for the whole family.

New 3D imaging has revealed that the Mona Lisa originally wore a maternity garment and had her hair gathered up in a bun.

Bill of Rights – Revised

Mitchell Kaye State Representative from Georgia has given the US Bill of Rights a spit and polish by providing an alternative Bill of No Rights.

We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt-ridden, delusional, and other liberal bedwetters.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a "Bill of No Rights."

ARTICLE I:

You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II:

You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc., but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III:

You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV:

You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

ARTICLE V:

You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI:

You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII:

You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII:

You don't have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you'd like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.

ARTICLE IX:

You don't have the right to a job. All of us sure want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

ARTICLE X:

You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness -- which, by the way, is a lot easier if unencumbered by laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

September 25, 2006

Chucky Returns

Who is Chuck Hagel?

And why would the electorate of the US of A even be considering having a President Chuck?

Satirical board game

Fun for the whole family with a new terrorist inspired board game.
This is the War on Terror, the boardgame: A quality boardgame for 2 - 6 players, lovingly illustrated and politically correct (in a very literal sense). Playing it will bring out the nastiest, greediest, darkest, most paranoid aspects of your character. It's all great family fun.

Outrage and disgust all around, even before the game is available here.

So, is this in poor taste, insensitive to victims of terrorist actions, or is it just a board game?

If we have to stop larking about, in a capitalistic profit making manner, have the terrorists won?

The words, they ain’t a changin’

Seems that Bob Dylan isn’t quite the rock poet that some like to believe. Well, maybe he is, but he nabbed some of his words from literature, rather than going to the trouble of writing them himself.

You can read the article here, but for the list of examples you’ll need to look at this link - If I was a master thief

I don’t particularly care for Dylan, especially since The Story of Hurricane, which was played every 29 minutes on the radio (they couldn’t play it more often, because the song lasted for 27 minutes). I hated that song with a vehemence. Still do. I hated his whiny voice. The cliché ridden story-poem. The tortured acrobatics of fitting those words to music. The lame rhymes. The fact that two juries found Rubin Carter guilty of a triple homicide. The fact that he was released by a judge on some strange procedural grounds, not on the grounds of new evidence, or innocence.

I don’t imagine the occasional bit of plagiarism is going to bother his fans. Still, it's mildly interesting.

September 23, 2006

Osama bin Laden Dead - Again?

A bit like glitterati weddings, pregnancies, and divorces that is, if the MSM and tabloid magazines print the "rumors” year after year, there is a reasonable probability that the person / people concerned, at least some portion of the time, will, indeed, eventually get married (to someone), or divorced (from someone), or will breed (with someone).

Well, it’s the same with the death of Osama bin Laden. He’s almost certain to die eventually. Perhaps he already has, as is often alleged. Maybe this time it’s true – of typhoid no less.

We’ll wait and see, hey?

Toddler Politics

From Jill Greenberg's End Times. The rest can be found here.

In general, toddlers don’t give much thought to politics. In general, toddlers are kept busy enough squealing and jumping and yelling, in the manner that toddlers do, so as to assert their authority and centrality in the world. In general, toddlers don’t spend much time crying because Bush is still President of the US, or because Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction, or because one third of Americans believe in a literal interpretation of the bible.

All of which might explain why Jill Greenberg decided to express her personal political angst about US politics and the evangelical religious right by stealing lollies from toddlers, photographing their resulting distress, and giving the photographs highly charged political titles such as “Four more years” (of Bush in office ed), or “Torture” (I expect we can guessed), or “Armageddon”, or “Apocalypse”, “Faith?”.

The over all title of Greenberg’s collection is End Times. Supposedly it has both “political and personal relevance”. Well, if you think stealing lollies from toddlers to make them cry is politically relevant, then yes, I suppose you’ll get the point of Greenberg’s work. You’ll also get why she photo-shopped the photographs into the ground, so as to exaggerate every tear, every fold of skin, and in doing so she also added a saturated sheen to each shot, resulting in an oddly sexualized perspective, not dissimilar to shimmering naked women in a blokes magazine.

Greenberg and her supporters seem to think that these photographs make a political statement, and are beautiful and poignant. According to Greenberg, the images are a way to "begin a national dialogue”. Huh? About what honey, abusing toddlers for your political beliefs? Politically speaking, Greenberg believes “their pain is a precursor of what is to come.” Funny about that, I thought their pain was because some tosser stole their lolly pops and manipulated the resulting photographs.

September 22, 2006

September 21, 2006

Pretty Baby

The remains of the oldest known baby, 3.3 million years old, were found in 2000, and scientists have spent the last 6 years excavating and examinating the 3 year old female, dubbed “Lucy”.

Meanwhile Wikipedia has a new off-shoot, called Citizendium.

Yeah, right, try saying Citizendium quickly 12 times.

Actually, they’re calling it a “progressive fork", rather than an off-shoot. They have made no comment on when the rest of the cutlery set will be rolled out.

Update: speaking of family photo's, you must check out one of Cubicles posts here.


September 19, 2006

Going Guantanamo

The US Department of Defense has released the top ten reasons why prisoners choose Guantanamo Bay:

1. The detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility include bin Laden’s bodyguards, bomb makers, terrorist trainers and facilitators, and other suspected terrorists.

2. More money is spent on meals for detainees than on the U.S. troops stationed there. Detainees are offered up to 4,200 calories a day. The average weight gain per detainee is 20 pounds.

3. The Muslim call to prayer sounds five times a day. Arrows point detainees toward the holy city of Mecca.

4. Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued.

5. The International Committee of the Red Cross visits detainees at the facility every few months. More than 20,000 messages between detainees and their families have been exchanged.

6. Recreation activities include basketball, volleyball, soccer, ping pong, and board games. High-top sneakers are provided.

7. Departing detainees receive a Koran, a jean jacket, a white T-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, high-top sneakers, a gym bag of toiletries, and a pillow and blanket for the flight home.

8. Entertainment includes Arabic language TV shows, including World Cup soccer games. The library has 3,500 volumes available in 13 languages — the most requested book is “Harry Potter.”

9. Guantanamo is the most transparent detention facility in the history of warfare. The Joint Task Force has hosted more than 1,000 journalists from more than 40 countries.

10. In 2005, Amnesty International stated that “the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times.”

Fact number ten was intended as a shot at Amnesty for comparing the five-star Guantanamo lodgings with the Soviet labor camps. After all, the Russians never provided high-tops, teeth cleaning, ping pong tables, or Harry Potter books.

[For the folks at home: there really are much easier ways to get a dental appointment or a Harry Potter book, really there are – ed ]

September 18, 2006

Word of the Day

Everyone needs this word in their personal lexicon: snirtle

Snirtle is both a noun and a verb.

Meaning: A soft, suppressed laugh, a soft snortle (itself a reduced snort) or shortened snigger.

A snort is greater than a snortle, which is greater than a snirtle.

A snirtle should not be confused with a snigger, which is more vigorous and lasts longer than a snirtle.

September 17, 2006

Girly Guns

This is so wrong, in every possible way, that I’m gagging and frothing at the mouth just thinking about it.

Lady's Weapons by Antonio Reillo should be illegal. Sorry Antonio, but hand grenades aren’t meant to be pink and guns aren’t meant to have fake Leopard print covering the handle (or whatever the hell it’s called in the trade). Weapons are not meant to be cute, or fluffy or pink. Weapons are meant to be tough and cold and very, very butch.

This oozes of all the worst marketing to women, all rolled into one product line.

This is far worse than cars with extra cup holders, a makeup mirror and a pink swish on the driver’s door, being touted as “especially” designed for women. Yeah, right, must have taken years to come up with those clever motoring ideas.

This is far worse than the mail that lands in my spam box, declaring in the subject heading “finally help for women with debt”, sent by someone called Daisy Debt. As if female debts are pretty and yellow and easily managed if you cut them at the right angle and put them in a vase with a teaspoon of sugar added to the water.

This is even worse than advertisements for feminine hygiene products, which would have us believe that, by some miracle, women of all ages turn into buff blonde beach volley ball players at that time of the month.

No Antonio, you need to be taken out, preferably with one of your cute little heart lined hand grenades.

Nuns out of time, out of style

So, what will happen to mainstream western religions when there is no-one left who wants to be a nun or a priest? The numbers have been dropping for decades (and the wealth increasing), yet the churches are doing nothing. Perhaps they're praying for an answer, or perhaps in their usual patriarchal arrogance, they don't think nuns are worth saving, so long as there are a handful of priests left on earth to tell everyone what to think, nuns can go the way of the dodo?

"The sisterhood is a dying way of life in America. Forty years ago, the United States had about 180,000 nuns. Today there are perhaps 70,000. Fewer than 6,000 are younger than 50. There are estimated to be about 5,000 cloistered, contemplative nuns, a piece of women’s history that may be on the way out."

Teevees before toilets

It may be a booming economy, and it may rule the universe of call centres, but in India defecating in the streets is still de rigueur for most of the population.

”In Tamil Nadu, surveys show that more than 40 per cent of homes have televisions but only 14 per cent have toilets. In Punjab, the figures make Dr Singh flush with anger: 70 per cent of rural homes have a TV but not even 40 per cent have toilets.

"Such priorities would have horrified India's first prime minister after independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, who wrote: "The day everyone of us gets a toilet to use, I shall know that our country has reached the pinnacle of progress."

"But Dr Singh also wields the stick. He has said that all candidates standing for elections to village councils must be able to prove they have a toilet at home, or risk disqualification."

Alas, the article does not say whether or how Dr Singh will establish that the candidates actually use their toilets, or whether they only show them off on special occasions.

The pinnacle of progress would seem to have a way to go in India.

Didn’t stop him the first time

Yes, I know, this is old news, and other people have already made the best jokes about it, but I’ve never claimed to be a cutting, leading, or bleeding edge blog. (Besides, a gel has trouble keeping up with anything when she’s dragging herself around like a limp rag doll.)

Brad Pitt is refusing to marry that woman with the pillow lips and a multi-national clutch of children until gay marriage is legalized. Politicians all over the world are cowering in the corners of their offices at such a daring and devastating threat.

The Pitt household has, of course, been inundated with thank you cards from men all over the world, who, just like Brad, have suddenly discovered their deep and abiding empathy with gay people everywhere.

Of course, if gay marriage is legalized,and Ms PillowLips decides to make a further statement by marrying one of her lesbian lovers Brad won’t have to come up with any further excuses. Could work out well all around.

September 15, 2006

Duck Friday


Still a sick little duckie in this part of the woods.

September 11, 2006

Tribute - Jeremy Glick

Under the auspices of the 5th anniversary tribute initiated by Dale Challener Roe, bloggers are today remembering those who died in the terrorist attacks on American soil on September 11, 2001.

A full list of 9/11 tributes, with links, can be found here. (Note: while this is the right link, there seem to be server problems, so it may or may not work.)


Bloggers have been asked to focus on the life of the person allocated to them, not on their death. Well, that’s easier said than done when my September 11 tribute is for Jeremy Logan Glick, much loved third child of Lloyd and Joan, sibling to five brothers and sisters, former martial arts champion, beloved husband of his high school sweet-heart Lyz, adoring father to their only child, Emerson, businessman in transit with access to a GTE Airfone, and a passenger on Flight 93.

In Yiddish, Glick means luck, but of what kind isn’t defined.


Timing is everything.


By my rough reckoning, as many as half of the passengers and airline staff who boarded Flight 93 were there through last minute changes, many of them having wanted to get home sooner.


Jeremy’s circumstance was different, he wasn’t heading home, and if not for a fire a Newark Airport the previous day Jeremy would never have boarded Flight 93. If not for that delay, he would have been one of us, already at his business destination, perhaps watching television with some colleagues in collective awe and silence as the news of September 11 unfolded.


Even Flight 93 was delayed. Still sitting on the tarmac long after the due take off time, four terrorists on board, whose task that day would be out of kilter – out of time – with the work of the other terrorists, thus providing ample time for the WTC to be hit and for that fact to register as an attack on America. Time enough for that message to be repeatedly conveyed to passengers on Flight 93, including Jeremy.


Lyz and Jeremy had met during 7th grade and were still together when they were crowned king and queen of their high school prom, before going separate ways to attend college. Sport was central to the Glick family, and through college Jeremy continued to show a singular determination to win and to do things his way. He used to say that he worked very hard to make national events so that he could get free trips to see Lyz.


On one such trip to San Francisco, where Lyz was studying, Jeremy won the national judo title for his weight class. Perhaps not remarkable in itself – all of the Glick children had been taught judo as children, by the same coach, and, after all, someone had to win – but by then, Jeremy had no coach, his college had no team, or rather, he was the team for the University of Rochester. He was there all on his own. All except for a one man cheer squad – by chance his childhood coach, Ogasawara, was at the event too. So it was Jeremy, all alone, winning the national title, with Ogasawara cheering in his corner.


Together again after they had graduated from college, Jeremy and Lyz were married in 1996. Jeremy became a sales representative with Giga Information Group, until 2000, when he joined Vividence, a provider of Internet service products.


By all accounts, Jeremy wasn’t especially the best of anything. Not the best looking, not the most graceful or most talented athlete, and not the smartest student, but he was unforgettable, and every other kid wanted to be like him. Determined, courageous, physically and mentally strong. A natural leader with a fine character, decent and considerate. Jeremy’s parents had instilled in their children the values of compassion, courage and character. It would seem that Jeremy had added charisma, effortlessly.


When Jeremy called his wife at her parent’s home their relief at hearing from him was fleeting. The truth of his circumstance was clear all too quickly.


Jeremy and Lyz stayed on the phone for more than 20 minutes. Time enough to confirm that the plane was to be used as a missile, just as three others already had been that morning. Time enough for Jeremy to sob quietly as he realized that he wasn’t likely to survive. Time enough to speak of their love for each other.


Time enough for Jeremy to make a last joke about still having his butter knife from breakfast, the amusing suggestion left hanging that he could, at a pinch, use airline cutlery to overwhelm four terrorists, who had already murdered at least two people on the flight. A momentary offering of levity, a grim determination, a final gesture of connection with a wife and mother about to become a widow. No matter how hard they try, the living are not adept at suddenly acquiring such qualities at the moment before darkness.


At a little over six feet tall and at 220 pounds, three other passengers matched Jeremy’s physical size. The four of them were going to prevent the plane from reaching Washington. Brute strength, a force of will. We imagine them running, fast and furious, toward the locked cockpit, a final act of redemption.


Since Jeremy’s death Lyz has written a book, an act of preservation for her baby girl, who was only 3 months old when her father died: Your Father's Voice :Letters for Emmy About Life with Jeremy--and Without Him After 9/11by Lyz Glick and Dan Zegart

Jeremy’s sister Jennifer established a non-profit group, called “Jeremy’s Heroes” to help talented but financially struggling young athletes get top training. The group is dedicated to building character and confidence in American’s youth.


In one of the first letters written to her daughter Lyz wrote: "The truth is, the ending wasn’t the best part or the worst part, it was just an ending.


At the very end, the last words Jeremy spoke to Lyz were: OK, we’re going to go do it. I’m going to put the phone down. I’ll be right back.”


At Johnstown tower, controllers had been told to evacuate. Cleverland Air Traffic Control phoned again, only 45 seconds later, telling them to disregard, as the aircraft had turned to the south.


Two traffic controllers at Johnstown studied the horizon to the south. They couldn't see a thing. It was 10:06 a.m.


Jeremy was 31 years old when he died. His life ended fearlessly and for others, exactly as he had lived.


September 8, 2006

Oh, gross!

Only click if you have an overwhelming need to see a photograph of a python after it has eaten a pregnant ewe.

Yes, yes, it really is "ewe" to look at too.

Here.

Duck Friday

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

No, I haven’t really been sleeping on the job, quite the contrary, hence why I’ve had such a quiet blogging week, just been busy is all.

September 4, 2006

Steve Irwin

Steve Irwin 1962 - 2006

Crikey!

Way too soon to go mate, you should have been around for much longer.


Crocodile Hunter Dead

R.I.P

Update: If you're not a true believer, read this piece from the New York Times.

September 1, 2006

Supernova

Scientists have created a new image of the tattered remains of a supernova explosion in our galaxy using Nasa's Hubble space telescope.

“It's all that's left of a star that went supernova 340 years ago, collapsing from the weight of its own gravity, then bursting in a sometimes galaxy-obscuring flash. This was followed by the expansion of its remnant materials—shown here in green (oxygen), red and purple (sulfur), and blue (hydrogen and nitrogen).

Centuries after the Cas A explosion, its gases are still on the move. Comparisons of Hubble images taken at different times reveal that some of the debris is traveling up to 31 million miles an hour (50 million kilometers an hour)—fast enough to go from Earth to the moon in 30 seconds.”

Awesome.

From National Geographic News

Duck Friday

Butt, butt, butt ... oh, duck it!

(Pic via Green Gabbro)

Update:
Duck doping rampant at race (not the above illustrated 'race', a different duck race).

Update II: there is one seriously fine goat pictured for Goat Friday, over at Jacob's place.