« January 2004 | Main | March 2004 »

February 2004 Archives

February 1, 2004

On the Northern Front

The United States, in cooperation with coalition forces, announced that the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is now considered a terrorist organization, along with any affiliated organizations.

If you haven't heard of them, the PKK is a Kurdish separatist group that has fought with Turkish forces in the past, as well as being responsible for attacks in Turkey.

I'm sure the Turks feel better, now.

My prediction

It's only 10:36 a.m. EST, so I still have time for a Super Bowl prediction:

Panthers 23, Pats 21.

And you heard it here first!

Terrorists up the ante

ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - The second-worst attack since the US occupation began took the lives of 56 people in Abril today.

The attacks were directed at the Kurdish leadership in Northern Iraq, targeting the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Among the dead are Sami Abdul-Rahman, deputy prime minister of the KDP government in the north, Arbil Province governor Akram Mantik, and deputy governor Mehdi Khoshnau.

It would seem that the terrorists are changing tactics. Instead of trying to kill US/Coalition troops, they are now starting to focus on the civil infratstructure in Iraq.

The goal is obvious: to turn the country into another Lebanon, so that the group with the most guns and money comes out on top. This is how the Sunni Baathists expect to regain power after the US leaves.

SCO: Under the gun

For Linux fans, the MyDoom worm has a silver lining. Worm-infected computers have knocked the SCO company website off the net with a DOS attack today.

I gotta say it: it couldn't happen to a nicer guy (er...) company!

But the fun's not over yet. A newer variant, called MyDoom B, seems to be targeting MicroSoft as the next victim.

February 2, 2004

A new Super-Villian is born!

Frank does it again, when he reveals that John Kerry (who -by the way- served in Vietnam) is in actuality Botoxulon!!

Alas for our villian, his secret vulnerability seems to be... Go read the story and find out. :)

Will Botoxulon return? Will George Bush bet on the Cowboys next Superbowl?

Stay tuned for the next episode of In My World, only at Frank J.'s place.


And only Ariel Sharon can evacuate Jewish Setttements in Gaza.

Apparently Prime Minster Sharon is serious about removing the settlements, even if his timeline isn't very specific at the moment.

Before the critics start flailing away, I would like to point out that even this much shows terrific courage on Sharon's part.: 'A Gaza settler spokesman called Sharon's comments "miserable" and vowed that the nationalist camp would work "to cut short Sharon's term as prime minister through legal means."' (from the Reuters article)

Everyone knows that the Israel/Palestine problem is nearly impossible to solve; the problem is that both sides have something they don't want to give up. The coservative Israelis want to keep the settlements; the Pals want to keep killing Jews.

The good thing for Israel is that giving up the settlements -as long as they keep building the Security Wall- is to their long-term benefit. Even if the Pals don't give up their murderous agenda, all Israel has to do is shoot every SOB that tries to cross the wall. The sections they have up have already dramatically reduced the number of terrorist attacks, as well as casualties.

Once the wall is done, they can hand Gaza and the West Bank over to the Palestine Authority, and let the newly-minted citizens of that country support themselves.

They want freedom? Then give it to them, good and hard.

February 5, 2004

Yeti Madness

Ok, it's official. The Penguin Bashers have gone insane!

Me, I like the "Internet Explorer has encountered a penguin" message. Heh.

Even the Syrians are starting to get it

Now this is interesting; over half a million Syrians have signed a petition that is scheduled to be presented to Syrian authorities on March 8.

"Some 600,000 citizens, including intellectuals, lawyers and human rights activists, have already signed the document, the Committees for the Defense of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria said.

The group said it hoped for a million signatures by March. Syria has a population of around 18 million. "

But this has nothing to do with the Iraq invasion. Not a bit.

Purely coincidence, I'm sure.


February 6, 2004

A "costume malfunction," eh?

By now everyone but the Hottentots know about Janet Jackson's little "accident" during the Super Bowl half-time show. I'm sure way too much bandwidth has been spent on it, but I just couldn't resist one more observation.

Over on Dean's World, Dean himself said several times that "I continue to believe that Jackson's costume was fragile--anything made of cheap stuff leather and rivits can come apart easily," even though he had no basis for that.

Tonight I just found out that the shop in New York City that made the outfit is kinda pissed at Janet J. for dissing their work:
' Furious staffers at the freaky Manhattan fetish shop that sold Jackson the bustier she wore at the Super Bowl say she altered it to make a tearaway bra cup — giving folks the impression that their clothing for the kinky crowd is badly made.

"There's no way it would have ripped that way," fumed Sam Hill, the female manager of DeMask. '

You talk about keeping jobs here in America; you encourage folks to "Buy American," and this is the thanks that honest, hard working citizens like Ms. Hill have to face.

There ain't no justice, I tell ya...

February 7, 2004

Molecular Expression artwork

That gallant adventurer, Blackfive, recently posted some links to absolutely lovely microscopic photos of his favorite drinks.

I personally enjoyed the Tequila..

These scans come from a website called Molecular Expressions. The site includes a Microscopy primer, a marvelous teaching aid entitled "Science, Optics & You," and of course pictures of teeny tiny things, some of them measuring only microns across.

What I thought was really cool was the information that chip designers like to draw pictures on their chips!! These guys obviously have too much time on their hands.

Still, I enjoyed:
The California license plate,
this Cincinnati Bearcats logo,
a Coat of Arms on a Hewlett-Packard chip,
a lovely Osprey,
the RoadRunner (meep! meep!),
and finally, one of my favorites,
Tux the Linux Penguin.

How cool is that? This is a great website to get the kids interested in science.

Highly recommended.

February 10, 2004

What is it about politicians, anyway?

Any party that reigns unchallenged for a long period of time tends to become corrupt. Acton once said "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Analog editor John Campbell once said that he would change that to "unchallenged power corrupts absolutely." I think that this is largely true.

Recall that for at least a generation after the Civil War, the GOP reigned supreme over the United States, damn near literally. A single act sufficed, generally, to quell any possible Democrat upstart: waving the bloody shirt; a phrase introduced at this time by actually waving a bloody, torn shirt supposedly taken off of the body of a man flogged by unreconstructed Rebels in the South.

Continue reading "What is it about politicians, anyway?" »

More Star Wars

The good news is that Lucasfilm, Ltd. and 20th Century Fox Home Video are releasing the three original Star Wars films on DVD this fall.

The bad news is that it's going to be a boxed set, so expect to pay a hefty premium.


February 11, 2004

One Hand Clapping Loudly

Don Sensing, over at One Hand Clapping, has been very busy lately, with topics ranging from The Great Christian Divide to al Qaeda, and why conservatives are "too stupid to hire," according to a Duke University professor.

Check him out.

February 12, 2004

Q.O.A.E. Speaks, the blogosphere listens!

Rosemary Esmay (AKA Queen of all Evil) has Laid Down the Law:
"I have had it with the hurling of criminal accusations at the President of the United States. Or anyone else for that matter.

Being AWOL, a rapist, a deserter, a murderer are crimes. From now on, this is a conspiracy free zone."

Amen, Your Majesty!

Please note that Rose is not excepting Democratic/liberals with this: anyone coming up with the latest version of the "Vince Foster conspiracy" will get short shrift as well.

This is as it should be. I strongly lean towards Bush these days, but we -as citizens- should handle our obligation to select representatives in a responsible manner.

Even if Bush looks like Curious George, and Kerry is Botoxulon.

(By the way, Rose, have I told you lately how damned sexy you look, when you get mad? Heh)

February 13, 2004

More Penguin Madness

So you're bored. You've become the Mickey Mantle of the penguin-homerun crowd, and hitting 'em out past 330 yards just doesn't do it for you anymore.

My friend, I have the answer: YetiSports - Orca Slap.

This one's a bit different: you don't use a bat to hit the penguins, and it's a timed game. The trick is to nail ten penguins in the shortest time possible.

Mucho fun. But I'm still waiting for a Linux-lover to do a shockwave of Tux knocking MSYeti into a snowbank. Heh heh heh...

Really Cool Stuff, part xxx.

Here's what you have to do:
1)drink a sixpack, do some tequila shots, burn a splif; whatever you usually do to alter the ol' conciousness.
2)fire up some of the Beatles' odder tracks, like Tomorrow Never Knows, or Within You Without You. Or Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, if you like.
3)click on this link.


My Valentines Day Entry

Ok, I have to come out of the closet, and admit something that personally embarasses me.

Hillary Clinton turns me on.

There! I said it....

February 18, 2004

Mo' Money, Mo' Money!

Ara over at E Pluribus Unum sez (if I understand him) that the big money always wins in elections.

In fact, he even did a little thought experiment:

Imagine that we're running for the Senate from Iowa. Imagine that Dick Morris is your senior campaign consultant if you like. [shiver]

Now, imagine that you are standing in a room where there are two stacks of money on two tables. One table holds a stack of money totaling $2.5 million. The other table holds a stack of money totaling $5 million. You are free to choose whichever pile on one condition: your opponent will get the stack you leave behind.

So, which one do you choose?

I'd say that's not the point. To quote Sun-Tzu: "A lion will attack an ant with all of his power." In other words, it's human nature to take the $5 million, no matter whether it affects the election or not.

But that's not the real point. The real point is that Howard "I have a Scream" Dean spent upwards of $60 million up until the Iowa caucus (with Iowa getting a lions' share), but Kerry still beat him like a red-headed stepchild in K-Mart in every state.

Now, what was that about big money again? Heh.

February 27, 2004

Testament to a friend

Dear Dean and Rosemary,

I was going to write to you the other day, to explain why I hadn't dropped by the blog very often lately. I didn't think Dean to believe that it was due to hard feelings about the book critique. Nothing to do with that!

Part of that explanation was to be about depression about my own life, and difficulty getting a job now that I'm out of school.

Then I dropped by Dean's World, and read some truly sad things. On the other hand, I read some truly lovely things as well. The odd bit is that both involve the same words.

I guess the best way is to turn back the clock... Back when I was a kid we would drive our mom insane by bringing home cute kittens. We just didn't Get It; "But, mom, it's just a kitten!" To which my mother would reply "Kittens turn into cats!" But, God bless her, mom always relented, and away we went. After a couple generations of more cute kittens, mom would lay down the law, and away the entire (excuse the pun) kit and caboodle would go.

Until the next irresistible foundling came along. Sigh... {wry grin}

Certain members of our continual Cat Empire still come readily to mind. Leo, the red tabby. Felix, a perfect replica of his namesake. Sheba, a lovely chocolate Burmese, who gave birth to Inky, a black longhair with the most mellow personality I've ever seen in a feline body.

Then there was Snoopy. There was, at first, little to set Snoopy apart from the crowd, aside from his name. He was "Yet Another Grey Tabby With A Cute Name." But that was before he disappeared for two weeks, and our family had decided that Snoopy had found a family he liked better.

After we came to terms with Snoopy's abandonment of our family, he returned in a dramatic manner. One summer morning we opened the front door to find on the front porch an emaciated grey tabby missing his back right leg. All that was left was a shred of a tendon below the joint.

We never found out how Snoopy lost his leg, or how he returned. The best we can guess is that he ran afoul of a vermin trap, or some vicious sadistic punk with an axe. What we can say is that my older sister Amy took our friend to the vet, and paid the bills out of her own pocket.

You know, in a way it was really funny watching Snoopy run, after that. You haven't seen anything until you've seen a three-legged cat run, full out! Not only that, but the Snoopster showed how smart cats could be. He would walk up to you, look you straight in the eye, cock his head, and start waggling his stump just as if he were scratching behind his right ear. The message: "Scratch behind my ear, cuz I can't you dolt!" But we always got the message....

But that's not why I'm talking about Snoopy right now. He lived to a ripe old age, and veteran cat lovers know what frequently happens to old toms: kidney stones. Alas, with Snoopy and his old age, there wasn't much we could do by then, but how could we explain that to him? All he knew was we let him down! It hurt, dammit!

I don't think I'll ever forget his last minutes on this earth. I was in the dining room, near the door to our back porch. Snoopy hobbled up to me, and flopped down on his side with a disgusted air. He looked up at me, and gave an abbreviated yowl, as if to say "Blast it, this hurts. Do something."

I say, "abbreviated" because I've never heard a cat just stop in the middle of saying anything. Right after that he flopped back, and quit moving. A minute later some fluid ran out of his nose. He was dead. I had never seen any living creature die while I watched. I hope to God you never have to watch anything you love die, while you watch.

We found out later his bladder had burst. The fluid was the urine that had backed up in his body.

Why do I bring this up? I know, in my bones, what happens when a pet you love suffers. And I'm not the only one. We know, Dean and Rosemary, what you are going through; and we're there for you.

In your other post you say that you realize that you are an alcoholic:

"I can't stop. It's affecting my life, and I can't stop.
Damn it.
How pathetic is it that I share this with you publicly?
I can't stop. What's wrong with me?"

Dean, my dear friend, there is nothing wrong with you! It isn't pathetic. It's human. Actually, it's healthy, because you have confronted your demons, in public.

I have no words to say how much we love you, and support you. All I can do is give my own testament. Please find attached an article I wrote for a journalism class I took last summer at Miami University, taught by Professor Hugh Morgan. Hugh isn稚 "just" (as mentioned in the article) a journalism teacher; he's an Associated Press veteran of 15 years standing. Hugh is also an alcoholic; something he decided to reveal to our class...

Feel free to publish this article, or not. It's up to you.

All I can say, at the end, is that: Dean and Rosemary, there are quite a few
of us in the blogosphere who love you, and yours, and we care.

God be with you, my friends.


Testament of an alcoholic

The following article was written June, 2003, for a journalism class for Miami University.

I publish it here in testament to the spirit of a great journalist, Hugh Morgan, and my friend Dean Esmay.

They share, to some degree, many of the same gifts, and faults.


Continue reading "Testament of an alcoholic" »

Late Breaking news

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - In a surprise move today, the Bush administration announced the funding of a $5 billion project to build a time machine. White House representative Scott McClellan said today that the Democratic Party leaders' demands for a 24/7 accounting of Bush's whereabouts during his ANG service have, yet again, forced the administration to increase Federal funding for yet another ground-breaking new program.

McClellan said that the basis for the new project originated when several Missile-Defense analysts accidentally ingested some TCH pellets soaked in hash oil that had been designed for terrorist behavior-modification applications. This apparently induced an insight into the nature of time; that "one's location in time depends on a point of view moving on a specific vector on a toroidal surface," to quote one habitual user research specialist.

"We feel that the Worldview Anacron Yester-Balancing Annular Clock/Kinetic (WAYBACK) Machine will prove to be a ground-breaker for scientists," remarked McClellan, and followed up a FOX News question whether Chappaquiddick/1969 would be out of bounds ("We needed Massachusetts support," Scott explained) by saying that "No one will be allowed to go back and bet on the Super Bowl, or the World Series. Or, in the case of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, strangle liberal reporters in their cradles."

McClellan refused to comment on rumors that President Bush wanted "Mr. Wizard" to head the WAYBACK Machine project.

(with a tip o' the hat to Chris Muir)

About February 2004

This page contains all entries posted to The Gantry Launchpad in February 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2004 is the previous archive.

March 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33