Friday, February 16, 2007

CourtTV's House of Wax

The Paw Project "advocates animal welfare, promotes public awareness about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, rehabilitates declawed cats through paw repair surgery, and supports measures to end the unnecessary practice of onychectomy (declaw surgery). "

In other words, the practice of declawing cats is unimaginably cruel and unnecessary, and The Paw Project is trying to do something about it. Please visit their site, learn more, and make a donation if you can.

Thank God for PETA and Their Wonderful Work

Hilarious: A "Book" Newbie

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Vinyl Destination

I used to spend way too much time in used record stores, doing the "walking finger-flick" through thousands of LP's, displayed in bins like musical Rolodex cards. I wasn't just looking for good music... I always had my eye out for truly bad music.

If you're like me, you miss those days. You miss "Dave's Record Collection" from Letterman's old NBC days. You miss the "floosh" from the speakers when you blew the dust bunny off the needle, you miss the smell of Discwasher fluid.

But then you remember how easily albums warped and cracked. And what a pain in the ass it was to stack nickels on the tone arm, or to land a stylus precisely between tracks so you could skip the stinkers. And there was always the hassle of flipping the album over.

I much prefer my iPod.

But if you want to take a fun, virtual trip through the worst LP's ever, you should head over to Frank's Vinyl Museum. The albums below are just the tip of the crapberg.

And I'm sorry to say that I remember the Ethel Merman album. There were a lot of used copies available back in the day.

"Money Trumps Peace Sometimes"


I mean, seriously, wow.

Did you hear Bush say that at the press conference this morning? Did your jaw drop like mine?

That one stood out... a rare burst of candor, an acknowledgment of the real reasons for this tragedy we're in. The unwitting truth was conspicuous in an hour filled with terrifyingly stubborn and stupid lies, with a petulant refusal to address the illegal conduct of three members of his Administration, with a blind ignorance of the realities in Iraq, and with a sickening arrogance more fitting to a child-King than to a President.

Still, there were other moments worth noting:

"People have to see tangible results in their lives. They have to see something better. They not only have to feel secure where they live, but they've got to see positive things taking place."

That was Bush defining success in Iraq, and describing a contentment that no Americans enjoy.

He went on to describe his vision of a free Iraq in specific terms. Read these and think about how much you wish we had these things in America:

"... a government that is bound by a constitution, where the country feels relatively secure as a result of a security force that is even-handed in its application of security; a place where the vast resources of the country -- this is a relatively wealthy country, in that they've got a lot of hydrocarbons -- is shared equally amongst people; that there is a federalism that evolves under the Constitution where the local provinces have got authority as well; and where people who may have made a political decision in the past and yet weren't criminals can participate in the life of the country...In other words, that there is a bulwark for moderation, as opposed to a safe haven for extremism."

Honestly, how does anyone in the room keep from laughing out loud when Bush says things like this? If he loves these principles so much, can we get them here?

"People want to live in peace; they want to grow up in a peaceful environment. And the decision I made is going to help the Iraqi government do that."

The decision he made four years ago? Not so much. Polls show that most Iraqis feel Bush's decisions have turned their country into a giant psycho clusterfuck. I think when given a choice between a democratic government and having electricity while not being bombed, most people would go with the "electricity/no bomb" thing.

And as I've said before: Attacking another country, without the backing of other nations, and causing massive destruction simply because you hate their leaders and want to make their way of life more like your own? That's not just what George Bush did. It's also what Osama Bin Laden did.

(By the way, whenever you hear Bush or Cheney say how unfair it is that everyone focuses on the mayhem in Baghdad, and ignores the relative peace in outlying provinces? What if, after 9/11, Bin Laden said, "Hey, sure there are isolated pockets of destruction. But the people in, say, Georgia and Indiana and Rhode Island live in peace and prosperity. What's the big deal?" Would you have been okay with that? I sure wouldn't.)

Here is another moment that had me gagging on my oatmeal, this one regarding the "surge" and the non-binding resolution...

"...which opposes our new plan in Iraq before it has a chance to work. People are prejudging the outcome of this."

"Prejudging outcomes" has another name: "planning." In a room filled with gasoline, it would not be overly prejudgmental to deny "match-lighting" a chance to work.

But perhaps the president was saying that people were merely having a kneejerk reaction, dismissing something in advance, deciding against all reason that it's not worth trying. That this "it'll fail, so why try?" attitude is sickening.

In other words, exactly what he does when he refuses to engage in face-to-face talks with Iran:

"If I thought we could achieve success, I would sit down. But I don't think we can achieve success right now."

Prejudging outcomes before they have a chance to work, anyone?

But hold onto your hat for this one, regarding the unproven assertion that the Iranian Quds force is providing IED's to Iraq:

"What we don't know is whether or not the head leaders of Iran ordered the Quds force to do what they did. But here's my point: Either they knew or didn't know, and what matters is, is that they're there. What's worse, that the government knew or that the government didn't know?"

Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! I know, as does any multicelled creature: It's worse if the government ordered it. Isn't it?

But no. Bush feels it's six of one.

Holy Schnikes. I don't know whether the Quds did or didn't do this, or who told them to do it. But this is some freaked-out doctrine. This is a very dangerous precedent to set.

Let's say a bunch of rogue American mercenaries or militia nutjobs, without consulting anyone and without authority, go wreak havoc in another country. If the President demonstrably didn't authorize it, would that other country still be justified in bombing the U.S.?


And what about the Saudis, supplying the Iraqis with shoulder-launched rockets, the better to shoot down our helicopters with? Or our own Pentagon, which was selling F-14 parts to Iran
until two weeks ago??? WTF??

But the President's message to Iran was boiled down to one inspiring passage. A passage which could have come out of any European newspaper article about the United States:

"The message to the Iranian people is that your leaders are making decisions that are isolating you in the world, thereby denying you a brighter future. And I believe Iran is an unbelievably vital nation. It's got a great history, it's got wonderful traditions, it's got very capable, smart people. There is -- I believe there's also a desire to not be isolated from the world. And our policies are all aimed at convincing the Iranian people there's a better way forward, and I hope their government hears that message."

Yes, I hope the American one hears it, too.

iPod Alarm Clocks

CNET has a roundup of the best iPod alarm clocks. This is a very fast-growing product category, and frankly that puzzles me. It seems unnecessary.

Recent iPods have a built-in alarm clock. They even have a sleep timer. All you need is a speaker or speakers.

I use my iPod as an alarm clock right now, using speakers, and without the inherent sound quality loss that comes with a small and inexpensive device like a clock-radio.

Check in your iPod menu, especially under "Extras"... You'll find some surprises, and possibly save some money.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

This Morning's Today Show Revealed That Some of Anna Nicole's Friends and Family Are Exploiting Her Death for Money

Outrageous! Don't they know that's the media's job?

I've Watched Closely, Again and Again, and It's True: They Don't Lie

"If I Knew Then"... "We All Thought"... "20/20 Hindsight"..."None of Us Had Any Idea At The Time"...

I knew. At the time. I weighed all the reports available to me, considered all the experts' opinions, and concluded that there were no WMD's, and that removing Saddam would cause horrible unrest and be a terrorism recruitment poster. I could see that Bush and Cheney were playing a shell game. I had bitter arguments with a former friend over the issue.

I'm not saying I'm a genius. I'm not. I'm just some guy. But the point is that a lot of people knew back then "what we know now." So whenever you hear phrases like those above, understand what you're hearing: excuses, rationalizations, evasions, and bullshit.