Friday, December 02, 2005

Goooooo Team Democracy!

Not enough good news in Iraq? No problem, we'll just plant our own:

U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press
WASHINGTON — As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism," since the effort began this year.

The operation is designed to mask any connection with the U.S. military. The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories. The Lincoln Group's Iraqi staff, or its subcontractors, sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets.

The military's effort to disseminate propaganda in the Iraqi media is taking place even as U.S. officials are pledging to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech in a country emerging from decades of dictatorship and corruption.

See also Knight Ridder's U.S. military pays Iraqis for positive news stories on war.

Periodically, I find myself having the urge to move to the Upper Peninsula and join one of those paranoid militias that stockpiles weapons and makes plans to fight the Federal Government. Luckily, I always manage to fend off these ridiculous notions. Hearing about stuff like this sure makes it hard, though.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back to hitting the books?

After a two year hiatus from the academic world, I have turned in my application and am now a prospective student at the University of California at San Diego. Now I only have to wait five long months to find out if I'm one of the lucky five percent of accepted transfers who don't come from other California colleges and universities.



ps. Biological Anthropology, baby! Oh yeah.

Friday, November 25, 2005

What's that spell?

Because Outward Rotting Enables Drama...
Bringing Other Respectable Entities Downward...
Bourgeois Otters Remain Enviable Dudes...
Braggarts Ordering Remarkably Exceptional Doilies...
Boosting Our Retinue's Esteem Daily...
Bannister Organizations Ruining Every Descent...
Brazenly Ousting Routine Endemic Dowries...
Before Ontological Reasoning Executes Diabolically...
Bastards Only Retain Excellent Dialectics...









Friday, November 11, 2005

There really is no justice in this world


'Arrested Development' gets the Ax

Arrested Development is one of the best and funniest shows to be aired on network television in the past decade and Fox cuts it because nobody was watching it. Unbelievable. If you are reading this and happen to be one of the many people who turned a blind eye to fantastic television, I want you to know that I blame you for this. In order to get my proper satisfaction for this egregious wrong-doing, I'm reserving the right to stop by your house and key your car.



(ps. the reason for the non-post below is that I didn't feel comfortable with the juxaposition of a real tragedy with my pseudo-tragic melodrama. I needed a buffer)

This post has no content

See above.

Friday, November 04, 2005

To Allan

The world lost a good one today. Allan Glenn, better known to the internet world as WinAce, has died of complications related to Cystic Fibrosis. He was 20 years old. I'm tempted to try to say a few words about him, but I really didn't know him very well. We talked via email a few times, but mostly I knew him as the creator of Fundies Say the Darndest Things and as a member of the Internet Infidels. Allan, you will be missed. You already are.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chronic stupidity is not a preventable disease

Via Pharyngula, The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a "new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teen-agers could encourage sexual activity. "

Good lord, some people just don't have any common sense. Does anybody really think that somebody who wasn't sexually active because she was afraid of getting cervical cancer is just going to start sleeping around once she gets the vaccine? Call me crazy, but my guess is that she still might be concerned about contracting a few of these little buggers:

Amebiasis
Bacterial Vaginosis
Campylobacter Fetus
Candidiasis
Chancroid
Chlamydia
Condyloma Acuminata
Cytomegalovirus
Enteric Infections
Genital Mycoplasmas
Genital Warts (HPV)
Giardiasis
Gonorrhea
Granuloma Inguinale
Hepatitis
Herpes
HIV Disease
Lymphogranuloma Venereum
Molluscum Contagiosum
Pediculosis Pubis
Pubic Lice (Crabs)
Salmonella
Scabies
Shingellosis
Syphilis
Trichomoniasis
Yeast Infection
Vaginitis
Amebiasis
Bacterial Vaginosis
Campylobacter Fetus
Candidiasis
Chancroid
Chlamydia
Condyloma Acuminata
Cytomegalovirus
Enteric Infections
Genital Mycoplasmas
Genital Warts (HPV)
Giardiasis
Gonorrhea
Granuloma Inguinale
Hepatitis
Herpes
HIV Disease
Lymphogranuloma Venereum
Molluscum Contagiosum
Pediculosis Pubis
Pubic Lice (Crabs)
Salmonella
Scabies
Shingellosis
Syphilis
Trichomoniasis
Yeast Infection
Vaginitis

(from HAC)

This has got to be the stupidest political position anybody has taken in a very long time. The plain truth is that some people will engage in sexual activity no matter what the risks may be and those that are abstaining due to safety concerns will have absolutely no reason to change. This vaccine will save lives. It will not promote sexual activity.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Times They are A-Changin'.

Well, I haven't written anything here in almost a month. Things have been a bit crazy in my neck of the woods lately. In the past few weeks I have both started a new job (with the same company) and moved to a new apartment. If that wasn't enough craziness (and it was), I also chopped off all of my hair. I went from over a foot long to an inch or less. One of these years, I'll get around to buying a digital camera. When I do, I'll post a picture.

I also managed to get tickets to the Sigur Ros show in San Diego that I wasn't expecting to be able to attend. It was nothing short of pure, transcendent sonic bliss. Basically, seeing them made my year.

I haven't gotten around to getting my apartment set up with internet access yet (I know, I know: where are my priorities??) and I probably won't be able to update this blog very often until I do. I'm sure my massive audience will find a way to cope for now. Somehow...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's nice to know that we're in such good hands...

From the Washington Post:

As fiscal hawks surrendered, would-be government contractors were meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building to figure out how to get a share of the money. A "Katrina Reconstruction Summit," hosted by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and sponsored by Halliburton, among others, brought some 200 lobbyists, corporate representatives and government staffers to a room overlooking the Capitol for a five-hour conference that included time for a "networking break" and advice on "opportunities for private sector involvement."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) sent his budget director, Bill Hoagland, who cautioned that federal Katrina spending might not exceed $100 billion. But John Clerici, from a law firm that helped sponsor the event, told the group that spending would "probably be larger" than $200 billion. "It's going to be spent in a fast and furious way," Clerici said.
Somewhere, a Libertarian is crying.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Ugly Truth about Superman

Well I guess you really do learn something new every day. Today, thanks to Superdickery, I found out about the true nature of Superman. And the truth isn't pretty. Contrary to popular opinion, it's obvious that this guy's no hero or friend to mankind, he's nothing but a thug!. When he isn't torturing his friends or finding new ways to murder Lois Lane (and it appears that a substantial portion of his time is spent on these activities), he's no doubt off getting some sadistic pleasure from bullying and extorting the everyday citizens of metropolis. Here's some of the damning evidence:




While that evidence is certainly more than enough, it's just the tip of the iceberg! I, for one, am thankful for the people who run the Superdickery website and their dedication to proving to the world, once and for all, that Superman is a dick. The next time I find myself under attack from an arch-villian bent on world-domination or some tentacled science experiment gone awry, you can bet that I'll be calling on Batman, Spiderman or the X-men for help. That pyschopath in blue pajamas can go eat kryptonite!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Skinny Foreigners Making Beautiful Music

I got the chance hear NPR's live webcasting of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros in concert tonight. I really love those guys. Their music is haunting and satisfying at the same time. I find that lying in bed with the lights turned off and my headphones on is the ideal way to listen to them. Succinctly put, Sigur Ros is about as close to pure sonic bliss as it gets. Needless to say, the concert was great, but it just made me want to see them in person all the more. I'm afraid, though, that I may have already missed my shot at getting tickets to their current U.S. tour. Oh well. One of these years...


Thursday, September 08, 2005

It's not that I don't respect your opinion....well...yes it is

Offering unsolicited political opinions to one's coworkers should be grounds for automatic termination. I decided this today after having to listen to two of my colleagues bloviate regarding the terrible situation in New Orleans and who is and is not to blame. Actually, no. That's not true. I came to this conclusion some time ago after enduring a rant over lunch on how the French people are all arrogant (anybody who doesn't see the rank hypocrisy in declaring that the entire population of a country he's never visited is arrogant deserves a swift kick to the shins), but today I really reached my limit.

Everybody has opinions, but for whatever reason some people have this silly notion that just because they have an opinion, somehow that means it needs to be expressed and with as much bullshit armchair analysis as possible. It's not that I have anything against bullshit armchair analysis. I don't. It's just that there's already a place for such things and it's called the Internet. Hence this blog...

Let me tell you something: I've got all kinds of opinions on all sorts of topics too, but do I subject you to them? No. Why? Because I'm not an obnoxious prick who feels the need to waste work time in an (unsuccessful) attempt to convince my colleagues that I'm smart and well-informed. How about this? You refrain from telling me that Hillary Clinton "just needs to be shot" and I'll restrain myself from letting you know that I think Tom Delay should be given the world's longest lemon juice enema. Capeesh?



Friday, August 26, 2005

Incontrovertible Evidence of Common Descent

Zookeepers Try To Get Chimpanzee To Stop Smoking

"XI'AN, China -- The handlers of a smoking chimpanzee in a zoo in northwest China are trying to get her to kick the habit.
The 26-year-old female chimp has been smoking for 15 years. Her mate died recently, which caused her to smoke even more
."


That settles it. We're related.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pat Robertson: World-class Tool

Apparently having become bored since he last made a complete fool of himself by wishing death on the U.S. State Department, Pat Robertson had this to say about Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez:

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."

Simply Amazing. In one fell swoop, Mr. Robertson again succeeds in single-handedly making the world a stupider place. As somebody who has nothing but disdain for groups like the Christian Coalition, I welcome inane comments like these. Keep talking, Pat. Your utter ridiculousness only serves to make your opponents look that much more reasonable and intelligent in comparison.

Now, what I want to see is how Pat's theological and political brothers-in-arms react. What, if anything, will people like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, James Kennedy, and Gary Bauer have to say about this? If anybody happens to come across any interesting reactions from some of these folks, I sure love to see 'em.





Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I've been Googled!

So I decided to install a Site Meter in order to find out if anybody I don't know in real life has ever seen this page. I was pleasantly surprised to note that the answer to my question is yes! Despite all predictions (by me, to myself), there actually have been a few people who aren't motivated out of pity for their silly blogging friend stop by this site.

In particular, I was interested to note that Thoughts from Some Other Guy popped up during an internet search (hence the subject line), prompting one of these unexpected visits. Take a look!
I guess technically I've been MSNed not Googled, but I believe that, unlike "To Google," the use of "To MSN" as a verb describing the act of searching the WWW is stilling pending acceptance by the Vernacular Lexicon of Internet-Speak.

I'm also happy to note that my comment on the use of the word "ass" as a pejorative-multiplier was what inadvertently found its way into the search. I guess that must mean it's my creative use of profanity that brings people in, but I have no doubt that my charmingly irresistible whit is what will keep them coming back for more!

-Dave

Saturday, August 13, 2005

On the Joys of Being Propagandized


War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

These are the three famous examples of Doublethink (described as "holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them") used by George Orwell in his great dystopian novel, 1984. Based on experiences I've had at work in the past week, I would like to add another: Punishment is Privilege. A bit of background is necessary to explain what I mean.

For as long as I've worked there, my employer, Very Large Financial Institution (hereafter abbreviated to VLFI), has provided a lunch for their employees one time each month as a "thank you" for the work we do. The lunch is always the same: Grilled burgers, baked beans, chips and soda. It's not much, but it's free (for us anyway) and everybody I know appreciates it. Alas, for reasons unannounced, VLFI has decided to stop providing this service to their employees. While I'm certainly not happy about this decision, what has really gotten my goat is the manner in which VLFI announced it to us. Did they tell it to us straight, giving the reasons for the change? Don't be ridiculous. Did they even state in plain words that they weren't going to feed us? Hell no. Instead we got a proganda fluff-piece that would make George Orwell proud.

The memo started with this: "Tired of the same old burgers every month? So am I!!!" As soon as I read this, I knew things were heading south. Nobody with any sense of self-preservation gets tired of free food. The annoucement goes on to state that, from now on, VLFI is going to be doing new and exciting things for their employees each month. Interestingly enough, feeding us is not one of these new and exciting things (neither is anything that will cost them more than five dollars). That's not to say that they're not doing anything good for us. Oh, they are. For instance, this past Friday they allowed us all to wear flip flops. Forgive me if I don't jump out of my chair with excitement. Last I checked, my flip-flops weren't filled with protein. They also don't go well with ketchup.

The most notable thing about the memo was that its sole purpose was to let us know that they wouldn't be feeding us from now on, but this inconvenient fact wasn't even stated. Instead, we were accosted with happy words and flowery language about exciting events and privileges (the privilege to go hungry?) we would be given that were designed specifically to dance around the simple truth that they don't want to shell out the cash for a simple meal every thirty days (that, incidentally, they've never had to pay anybody to cook because a group of employees always grilled it themselves). In essence, the messages (both implicit and explicit) were two-fold:

1. They weren't going to feed us anymore.
2. We should be excited about this fact.

What's that noise I just heard? Oh....that's just the sound of my intelligence being insulted.

But I'm not bitter. Oh no. In fact, I've decided to make amends with my gratuitously asshatish company. Instead of complaining, I've decided to make myself useful by providing for VLFI a new memo (free of charge) that they may use should they once again feel the need to make the lives of their employees yet even more hellacious. I think that this memo, unlike the one we actually received, gets right to the heart of the matter and doesn't insult anybody's intelligence:

Dear Employees of VLFI,

Due partly to a down-turn in markets, but mostly to the near sociopathic greediness and all-around selfiness of the Board of Directors, we will no longer be paying the monetary pittance it costs to feed you people a decent meal 12 time a year. We deeply regret that this decision was necessary, but we were not willing to take a 0.00001 percent pay cut in order to show you that we care. Please do know that we still consider you, our employees, to be our single greatest asset. And by "Considering you to be our single greatest asset" we mean that we create meaningless phrases attesting to this fact and paste them on company letterhead. That's got to be worth something, right? Right? Okay, we don't really think so either, but we also just don't care. The fact of the matter is that you simply aren't important enough for us to do anything nice for you. If you were in our position, you'd feel the same way. Not that you will ever be in our position, but if it ever happened (and it won't) you'd be just as callous and unsympathetic as we are. You see, we have the all-important Marketshare to consider and catering to your whims just gets in our way. We very much hope that you can understand this. If not, guess what? That's right - WE DON'T CARE.

Without a modicum of anything resembling sincerity,

The Assclowns Who Run This Company


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturn: Refuge for 1950's horror movie soundtrack composers?


From NASA:

Cassini Reveals Saturn's Eerie-Sounding Radio Emissions

Saturn's radio emissions could be mistaken for a Halloween sound track.

That's how two researchers describe their recent findings, published in the July 23 issue of the Geophysical Research Letters. Their paper is based on data from the Cassini spacecraft radio and plasma wave science instrument. The study investigates sounds that are not just eerie, but also descriptive of a phenomenon similar to Earth's northern lights.


Click here to listen to a clip. It's pretty wild! For some reason, when I close my eyes and listen to those sounds I can't help but picture an old black-and-white sci-fi/horror movie and the guys from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 making sarcastic comments.

-Dave

Got an hour to kill?

Head on over to Public Radio International's Open Source and listen to a great interview with Dr. Kenneth Miller, author of Finding Darwin's God, on Evolution, Intelligent Design and God. It's a thoughtful and intelligent (must...resist.....puns) discussion that people who are interested in this debate should find well-worth their time.

-Dave

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fun with "Cut-'n-paste" Smashing Pumpkins, part 2

As promised, I present my results:


Behold! The Everlasting Mayonaise

Lately I just can't seem to believe
Time has ravaged on my soul
and for a moment I lose myelf
Cause I want you to stay, with me

Forgotten and absorbed into the earth below
softly stolen under our blanket skies
Pulled the heavens down just to please you
What's a boy supposed to do?

Sleep will not come to this tired body now
and if I can't sleep can you hold my life?

Wrapped up in the pleasures of the world
Just maybe we could lose ourselves this time
In knowing this was meant to be the last
If you have to go don't say goodbye

Sleep will not come to this tired body now
and if I can't sleep can you hold my life?

Someday I'll follow you
Through the empty space
Lost inside the dreams
She was by my side
Tell me I'm the only one
I need you tonight

Sleep will not come to this tired body now
and if I can't sleep can you hold my life?

With this ring I wed thee true
in faith, in compassion, and in love
Suffer my desire for you


That's a top-10 hit if I've ever seen one!

-Dave

Interruption

Holy pleasant suprises, Batman! While rummaging through all kinds of old Smashing Pumpkins websites, I found out that Billy Corgan's debut solo album was released on June 21st, 2005. What have I been doing for the past month? No matter. It looks like Part 2 of SP lyric cut-'n-paste might have to wait for a bit because I'm off to Best Buy right about....NOW! Woo hoo!

Fun with "Cut-'n-paste" Smashing Pumpkins, part 1

I'm in the mood for a little science experiment. I'm a pretty huge fan of that most fantastic of 1990's rock bands, The Smashing Pumpkins. I love their music despite the fact that I think a lot of the lyrics Billy Corgan wrote don't make much sense (especially the songs on later SP albums). For example, here are the lyrics to the song "Annie Dog" from Adore:

"Annie-Dog"

Amphetamine annie-dog
Has her leash and a face
Her velvet spleen her shackle spine
Her diamond curse
It comes with mine

A vessel she
For violent I
Confession arms a wake
Mine, mine you were always mine
Possessed by my taste

And below the angel dog
Combs her hair and sings her psalms
The bombs go off
She doesn't notice
It all goes wrong
She sets things tragic
She is venus
She is mars
She's electric
And the struggle of

Upon my face we leave no trace
But in her stomach mercury aged

She holds the blood
She carves the knives
She digs the wives in our babies

Amphetamine annie-dog
Pulls her trash
And her stories
From place to place
And bed to bed
Gives of herself and the magnet head

Another floor another ceiling
Counting stairs with double meanings

Is it wrong to be swallowed whole
To disappear in her
To give her the priceless peace
Of giving up control

We tumble out into the streets
And annie-dog she drags her leash
Pretty face
Ugly mouth
Bitter bred and so released

And by the no
And by the yes
Annie goes if you couldn't guess

A simple man
A sycophant
Her elephant with the laughing call
She wants clean sheets
And fresh flowers
And dental shots
And the hong kong glue

Amphetamine annie-dog
Has her leash and a face

From my perspective, Billy Corgan shows only a passing familiarity with common usage of the English language in this song, as in many of his songs. I think that the complete incomprehensibility of these just adds to the sheer sonic pleasure of listening to them .

It is my conjecture that the lyrics to Smashing Pumpkins' songs don't need to make sense to be enjoyed. To test this hypothesis, I will take a representative sample (by "representative sample" I mean whatever I feel like choosing) of SP lyrics, remove them from their original contexts and bring them all together in one giant cornucupia of Billy Corganocity. It is my belief and hope that the lyrics to this new ├╝ber-song will be pleasing on a level similar to that of the original songs (for people who don't like the Pumpkins, that might not signify much, but who cares what they think anyway?) and will probably make about as much sense to boot. The results of this experiment* will be forthcoming.

*Okay, so this obviously isn't a scientific experiment by any reasonable definition of the word and the "results" won't really indicate anything more than that I have too much time on my hands, but I'm bored and this sounds mildly interesting so I'm going to do it anyway.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Not-so Dapper Dave

Pomade should come with a warning label. A government warning, even. Something like this:

Stylist General's Warning:

This product is intended for use in small amounts and should only be applied by trained professionals. You are not a trained professional. You do not know what you are doing. Should you have plans for a hot night on the town and are in need of a hair-styling aid, we recommend you look elsewhere. You can't handle this shit, so don't even try. Just walk away. Why don't you go buy some mousse? If, in a feeble atttempt to look cool at a club, you not only decide to use this pomade, but to also coat your hair with half of a container of it, you are a moron. We told you to walk away, but you didn't listen. What were you thinking? Oh, that's right. You weren't thinking. Good luck getting that out. We at the Federal Aesthetics Adminstration sincerely hope you enjoy spending copious amounts of time in the shower, scrubbing at your digusting, oily hair. Dumbass.

Yeah, that sure would have been helpful.

-Dave

Monday, July 04, 2005

Textbook purchase = proof of nerdiness

I've just done something that some people might consider to be rather odd. I just purchased a 700+ page textbook. That I'm planning to read. For fun. The book I bought is Evolutionary Biology by Douglas J. Futuyma (pictured at left). Believe it or not, I'm very excited. I've wanted to own this book for some time now, but I've consistently waffled on getting it because I didn't want to shell out the big bucks. As anybody who's ever gone to college, thought about going, or known somebody who went can tell you, textbooks are expensive. Not just expensive, but ass-expensive*. And science textbooks are the worst of all.
Finally, after much soul-trying waiting and tear-soaked googling, I was able to locate a third-party seller at Amazon who was willing to part with a new copy for only $47.95. Actually, in all honesty, I probably could have bought the book at that price a long time ago. I think I just forgot to check Amazon's third-party retailers. Oh well. Live and learn, I guess.
Some people might wonder why I would read a textbook for fun and why I would choose this textbook in particular....well...evolutionary biology has become something of a passion for me and this particular book is supposed to be one of the best college-level texts that is currently being published on the subject. Someday, when I go back to college (and it is a when, not an if!), I would like to pursue a degree in a evolutionary biology-related area. Call this preparation for that day. Anyway, I'm very stoked about my new purchase and I wanted to share my excitment. Some people like to show off their new cars, their new clothes, or any number of other "cool" things. Well, I'm showing off my new textbook. If that's an automatic induction for me into the Fraternity of Nerdom, so be it!

-Dave

*For some reason, I'm of the opinion that whenever the word "ass" is added to an adjective with negative conotations, the combination of the two is somehow doubly descriptive. Call me crazy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Take Two

Well, it's become painfully obvious that this whole blogging thing is not going to come as easy to me as I would like it to. I'm a fairly quiet and reserved person in real life (under most circumstances, that is) and I tend to live by the old cliche, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" (incidently, I googled this quote and found that it has been attributed to Samuel Johson and then I researched some more and found out that he probably didn't say it). That's not to say that I think all of my ideas are foolish or uninteresting. I think I do have some interesting things to say, but it's not always all that easy to tell what's worth saying and what's not.

Anyway, the point I'm making here is that since I'm generally not bubbling over with things (interesting or not) to say in real life, I don't know why it should surprise me that the same is true on the internet. Sure, there's a much greater sense of anonymity in posting words on a webpage than speaking to somebody face to face (just read an internet debate on any contentious topic - people are far less civil than they would be in person), but at the same time, I find that there can be an even greater sense of vulnerability in sharing my thoughts on the internet than in person. When sharing my thoughts in the real world, I can choose how vulnerable I want to be with each person I talk to. I can decide to communicate with people on different levels of comfortability. On the internet, that's impossible. If I choose to be vulnerable at all, I choose to be vulnerable to the whole world (the fact that I know of only one person who currently reads this blog should help, but I still know in theory that anybody could read it!). And, historically speaking, vulnerability has not been one of my strong suits.

Having said that, I'm feeling a sense of self-directed generousity at the moment. I've decided that, despite the scarcity of my posts thus far, I'm not going to give up on this blogging business just yet. I may not have something interesting to say all the time. Hell, I may not have anything to say at all. I may still have a hard time being vulnerable with "the world." Who cares? I'll write what I feel like when I feel like it even if it's not great and the posts don't come everyday...or every week. Why not? After all, this is my blog, right? As that great font of wisdom, Eric Cartman, would say, "Whatever! I do what I want!"
Damn straight.

-Dave

Friday, April 29, 2005

Proposed: An Expansion of the Death Penalty

I like to consider myself a fairly compassionate and tolerant person. In fact, by most people's standards, I'm probably considered to be one of those pinko-commie dirty liberal types that are always talked about on the radio. I oppose capital punishment for murderers, rapists, and child molesters, but recently I have been made aware of a breed of humanity (I use the word generously) for which the death penalty is being shamefully underutilized: malicious computer programmers. Specifically, I am referring to those people who have decided (no doubt using some sort of twisted, sociopathic reasoning) that it is a good idea to create adware and spyware. These people, like the programs they create, are nothing but social viruses. They contribute absolutely nothing useful to society and as far as I am concerned, anybody who thinks that writing programs that covertly infiltrate my computer in order to provide me with unsolicited advertisements for online poker, penis enlargement, and (ironically) spyware/adware blocking software every two and half seconds have absolutely no right to breathe the same air that I do.

As such, I am proposing that two new criminal sentencing rules be mandated in all federal, state, and local courts:

1. All persons convicted of creating spyware/adware or conspiring to do so will be sentenced to death. There will be no appeals and the execution will only wait as long as it takes to power up the generators.

2. All employees of companies that have ever profited from adware/spyware-generated advertising will be expelled from U.S. soil and forced to live out the rest of their lives performing menial and pointless labor in Siberian Re-education camps. The only employees who will be spared this fate are those who report their company's illegal practices to the Board of Technological Terrorism (a soon to be created division of the DHS).

I think that any dispassionate observer (such as myself) should be able to see that these rules are both eminently reasonable and pragmatic. In this post-9/11 world in which we live, our country cannot afford to be weak on terrorism. And I ask you this - if spyware and adware are not terrorism, what is?

-Dave

ps. The above proposal has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I spent over four hours last night unsuccessfully attempting to remove untold numbers of spyware/adware programs that managed to sneak their way onto my computer without my knowledge. Nothing at all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Friendster is evil

At the invitation of a friend of mine, I decided to join the website Friendster. After finishing my profile, I was looking around the site and found out that I could search for other Friendster users by their hometown. I grew up in an extremely small town in Minnesota (approximate population: 1,000 people) so I figured that if I found anybody there was a reasonable chance that I might know them. My search revealed two people. One of them was a guy whom I had never met. The other person., well....

Do you remember that girl from highschool? Yes, that girl. The one you met at the beginning of your Freshman year and immediately fell head-over-heels in love with. The one who could make your entire day bright just by saying "hi" when you passed her in the hall (or ruin your day if she ignored you). The girl who completely changed who you were before you even knew yourself. The first girl you could ever truly say you were in love with. The girl whose very existence helped to define that stage of your life bewteen childhood and adulthood. Maybe you never knew anybody like that in highschool. I did...

The other person., well, it was her. That was one shock right there, but apparently one wasn't enough. I immediately clicked on her profile and received shock number two. In her profile was the one soul-crushingly cruel word I wasn't ready to see: Married. I was amazed at how quickly that one little word could erase the hopes and dreams I had carried with me for such a long time. Granted, it had been three years since I last talked to her and I had moved on (for the most part), but for whatever reason, seeing this still felt like getting an emotional sucker-punch in the kidneys. Weak.

I am basically recovered from my experience now and I've learned a lesson from all of this that I would like to share: Friendster is evil.

-Dave

Maiden Voyage

Well, I caved. I've managed to make it 22 years through life without an Ipod or cell phone, but I've decided to jump on the web log band wagon. I'm not sure what kind of shape this blog will take or what I'm going to talk about. The only real purpose I have in starting this blog is to learn to express myself better and to get into the habit of writing on a (hopefully) regular basis. If for some inexplicable reason you find yourself reading this, feel free to leave me a comment. Otherwise, I'm fine just talking to myself. Well, I guess that's about it. By the way, my name's Dave. Good to meet you.