Saturday, September 30, 2006

The disturbing ironies of public service

Rep. Mark Foley, the Republican Congressman from Florida who recently resigned after it was revealed that he wrote sexually inappropriate email messages to at least one underage boy, also "chaired the House caucus on missing and exploited children and was credited with writing the sexual-predator provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which Bush signed in July," according to the Washington Post.

I think we can all take comfort in knowing that this law protecting children from sexual predators was authored by somebody who very likely had a great deal of knowledge and expertise on the topic. What a breathtakingly repugnant piece of work that man is.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tooling around YouTube

As of late, I've been spending quite a bit of time at the website YouTube, searching for and watching live videos of the band Tool. While Tool has been around since the early '90's, they didn't show up on my radar--which obviously must have been pointed in the wrong direction--until fairly recently. Fortunately for me, they did show up eventually, and now they're one of my favorite bands. You might even call me a Tool convert. And while I may be a newbie, what I lack in experience, I make up for in enthusiasm. As I do with many of the other things I enjoy the most, I have taken it upon myself to spread the good news of Tool's existence to those presumably uninitiated people around me (Mom and Dad, you're not closet Tool fans, are you?). For this reason, please allow me to present--with thanks to YouTube and some lucky fan with a video camera--this excellent video of Tool performing "Pushit" live in concert circa 1995. Enjoy!

*Warning: The following contains profanity*

Edit: As I mentioned in the comments, YouTube pulled the video for "Pushit" from their website. I've replaced it with another live Tool video, a two-part song called "Parabol/Parabola." There's no profanity in this one, just amazing music and an oddly satisfying animated video. Again, enjoy!

Monday, September 18, 2006


Here are some photos from the wedding I recently attended in Rosarito, Mexico. Enjoy!

The beautiful bride:
The bride and groom (plus random children):

The Bridesmen: "Girly men? Who called us girly men? We'll kick your asses!"

More friends:

Alcohol-inspired randomness:
A good--and safe!--time was had by all. I, for one, couldn't have asked for more.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A novel weekend

Things I've recently done for the first time:

- Driven to and around Mexico, getting lost (or nearly so) on multiple occasions
- Acted as a Bridesman in a wedding (no, I didn't wear a dress, but I offered to)
- Ate Filet Mignon
- Endured minor harrassment at the hands of uppity U.S. Border Control Agents
- Attempted--badly and under the influence--to salsa dance
- Patronized a McDonald's restaurant--okay, it wasn't the first time ever, but it was the first--and, hopefully, the last--in quite a long while.

All of these new experiences were centered around the recent wedding in Rosarito, Mexico of two of my friends. If I get my virtual "hands" on any pictures, I may just post a few of them here.

Just in case your Bush Administration "Outrage-O-meter" hasn't already burst into flames. . .

. . .Read this Washington Post story about the government's display of incompetence and croneyism in the effort to rebuild Iraq. Here is a howl-inducing sample (but really, you should read the whole thing):

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .

Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.

These days, I've been having a difficult time getting a really good righteous indignation fix. It use to be that I could just read any old news story about Bush saying or doing something dihonest, incompetent, corrupt, or evil, and I'd be set for a days. But lately, it seems that Bush rarely does or says anything that isn't dishonest, incompetent, corrupt, or evil anymore. For this reason, the kinds of news stories that had formerly compelled me to thrust my head into the wall--a compulsion I soon learned to supress--are now I dime a dozen, and I increasingly find myself in a state of political anger-fatigue. It's only the most brazen demonstrations of government ineptitude and unscrupulousness that can pull me from my apathetic slump. This WaPo article sure managed to do the trick, though. I think I'll be good to go for at least the rest of the day, but I'll make no promises that I won't be jonesing again by tomorrow.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ken Miller talk at KU

Recently, Kenneth Miller, a Cell Biologist and Intelligent Designer-debunker extraordinaire, gave a talk at Kansas University entitled "God, Darwin, and Design: Creationism’s Second Coming." He's an extremely smart guy, an engaging speaker, and, while I don't agree with everything he says (For instance, his proclivity to lay the blame for creationists' problems with evolution almost entirely at the feet of certain atheists tends to irk me. See here, here and especially here for a very interesting--and, in my opinion, somewhat overstated--three-part discussion related to this topic from PZ Myers), I think Miller is an important and powerful spokesman for science. The talk can be heard here. Jack Krebs of Kansas Citizens for Science also posted a summary of the talk at The Pandas Thumb.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Asher and me

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting my new nephew. Here are a couple of photos from that momentous occasion:

Don't be confused by the peaceful facade. Beneath this adorable surface, lies a raging maelstrom of discontentment, which, when disturbed (and in this case, "to disturb" is synonymous with "to induce consciousness"), can only be appeased by massive amounts of breast milk. He's a cutie, though, and the word on the street is that he may be turning over a happier leaf.

Personally, I think it must the influence from his uncle that's responsible for Asher's change in demeanor. Let me be clear, though: my status as a positive role model will go no further. From here on out, I'll do nothing but teach him profanity, feed him candy before dinner, and give aid to all his efforts at mischief-making and rule-flouting. Kid, you are going to love me!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Be still my poor, downtrodden ego

How much is this blog worth?

Not a thing, apparently. I think that we can all agree that there must be some mistake here. A blog of such caliber as mine must surely be worth a great deal, indeed! The most logical conclusion to be reached from this embarrassing miscalculation is that something is severely wrong with Capitalism. Obviously, the valuation methods in current use have not even the most tenuous connection to anything resembling reality. Therefore, by the powers invested in me by the state of California, I am officially declaring the demise of our free-market system, which will be replaced by a new system in which an object's market value is based solely upon my whims; and my whims dictate that this blog be worth $100,000,000,000. It looks like I won't need to be going into work anytime soon!

Take that, you elitist bastards!