The Second Side

I could put something really witty here if I wanted.

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When you stop believing in coincidence, paranoia is only a heartbeat away.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Blow, Buckle and Go

Unfortunately, not as good as it sounds. Volvo is testing several new gadgets to make driving safer. The first one is a breathalyzer‚—not just for convicted drunk drivers, but everyone. Second is a high-tech seatbelt that will prevent the car from starting unless the belt is latched. Third is a smart key that can be programmed to limit the vehicle to preset speeds. Fourth is a specially designed seat that will measure the width of your ass and send a coded satellite message to the Department of Health recommending a mandatory diet . . . okay I made the last one up, but just you wait.
A Volvo spokesman, however, doubts that such oversight would be tolerated in the United States. Apparently, this spokesman has never heard of sobriety checkpoints, traffic light cameras and seatbelt laws.

What Judges Won't Tell You

Did you know that if you serve on a jury, you have the right to judge not only the facts of the case, but the law itself? Did you know that a jury can refuse to convict if they believe the law is lacking in merit? Did you know that juries can set aside laws they deem to be unfair, unconstitutional or misapplied?
If you were unaware of all this, you're not alone. The rights of the jury are not taught in schools, nor do judges inform juries of their full powers. Instead, judges tell the jury that they must consider only the facts of the case, and in some cases attorneys have been held in contempt of court for attempting to inform juries of their rights without the judge's approval.
If you find yourself called upon to serve in the wretched U.S. court system, go to the American Jury Institute and learn your rights, powers and responsibilities.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Stevie Ray Vaughan

It was 15 years ago today. Still hard to believe.

Alpine valley in the middle of the night
Six strings down on the heaven-bound flight
Got a pick, a strap, guitar on his back
Ain't gonna cut the angels no slack
Heaven done called another blues stringer back home.

Friday, August 26, 2005

How to Survive a Plane Crash

It came as a surprise to me that 19 out of 20 people survive plane crashes. So, as a public service, here's an article about how to make it out alive. Strap on those Depends and educate yourself.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Violence at the Movies

There's a film that is in limited release called "Chaos." By all accounts, it borrows heavily from "Last House on the Left." Roger Ebert savaged the film for what he called its "heartless cruelty." The film's director and producer responded to Ebert's criticism, and he in turn elaborated on what he thought was wrong with the film and why.
I'm not taking sides on this. Indeed, it's my nature to run right out and watch (or read or listen to) whatever it is someone says I should avoid. However, I thought this was a fascinating discussion, and I thought I'd share it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What a View

This is a pic of the Lagoon Nebula. There's no shortage of awesome space pics at NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive.

Stop the Presses!!!

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie visited a dinosaur exhibit in Canada!! They did not ask for any special treatment!!! They arrived at 7 p.m. and stayed for an hour!!! Other museum patrons were very respectful!!! They visited the gift shop, bought toys and left!!! The museum staff was very impressed at how nice they were!!!
Good Lord.

"It's Something New."

So says a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey about a strange, blob-like creature that is threatening the ecosystem in the waters off Nova Scotia by forming a gelatinous carpet that separates fish from their food sources. In one year it grew from 15 square kilometers to 104 square kilometers (that would be 9 to 65 square miles for us Yankees).
It has no known predators, and disrupting it only seems to spread it further.
Let me be the first to welcome our new Blob overlords.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

School Officials Not Sure What Causes Pregnancy

In an Ohio high school, 65 out of 490 female students are pregnant. There is too much to chuckle at in such a short story, but here are the highlights:
  • The school is launching a "three-prong program" to deal with the issue . . . perhaps an unfortunate choice of words.
  • School officials are not sure what caused so many pregnancies. Maybe it's the prong thing.
  • "This will make it difficult for the Canton City School District to shake its academic watch designation by the state." No shit.
Remember, kids, it only takes one prong to get you in trouble.

I'll Bet This Record Stands Forever

I'll bet you didn't know (and neither did I) that the distinguished Guiness Book of World Records recognizes Madeline Albrecht as the world record holder for the most feet and armpits sniffed. Ms. Albrecht tested products for Dr. Scholl's. She's sniffed 5600 feet and an "indeterminate number of armpits."
And you thought your job stunk.

What Is That?

It's an image from a 14th-century fresco in Kosovo. It's one of several works of ancient art that show strange objects lurking in the background. Here's another link with similar images. Skeptics tell us that all of these anomalies can be easily explained. Party poopers.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hey, these cops, like, found a pot plant as big as a tree, man.

Indiana State police busted a marijuana farm containing pot plants as tall as 8 feet. Hey, King Kong needs to blaze one up once in a while, too.

OKC Cover-Up Unraveling?

Just a note that the cover-up of the Oklahoma City bombing continues to fall apart. This is getting little notice in the national media, but it is huge, and is continuing proof that corruption and secrecy cuts across all political parties.
The FBI admits that they are investigating the case again, as a U.S. District Court judge orders the FBI to turn over unredacted copies of all documents relating to the bombing.
If you haven't read Jayna Davis's book, The Third Terrorist, consider it essential reading.
Here's a series of stories about the bombing, including a series about the death of potential witness Kenny Trentadue, who was horribly beaten and tortured and his death ruled a suicide.
Your blood will boil.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"You're Being Watched."

Now here's one even Orwell didn't think of. A pest control company in Florida is being trained by police to spy on their customers and report anything suspicious to police. A worker for the company says that "Our point is not to invade people's houses or make them feel like their privacy is being invaded. It's just to try to have an extra set of eyes and ears out there." Also, if you see one of the company's yellow VW bugs, "you're being watched."
This brings to mind a quote from 1984, the most important book ever written:
A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous.
When the shower cam is introduced to keep us safe from bathroom intruders, I suppose I could volunteer for camera duty . . .

Find Out Where the Nukes Will Hit

If you're wondering where we'll get hit in the event of a nuclear attack, and where the prevailing winds will carry the fallout, just scroll down a little bit and click on your home state to see where the potential targets of a nuclear attack will be. It also gives tips on how to survive.
According to this, my home state of Nebraska will be a major fallout area. Nice.

Behold the Power of Pee

Apparently, urine can now be used to generate electricity and power batteries. Not sure if this was developed by a frat house, but now everyone has a power source in their very own bladder.
If they ever adapt this for automotive use, the filling stations will look mighty funny. I mean, a guy won't have a problem, but how will the ladies fill 'er up?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Main Event

In this corner, an octopus. In that corner, a shark. Who would you put your money on? You might be surprised.

Where Was the Proofreader?

Unfortunate headline of the day.

Atlantis For Real?

A scientist from a French university is proposing a possible resting place for the mythical (?) continent of Atlantis.
Of course, as everyone knows, Atlantis was the home of a ruling class of alien beings who created humans in a lab. Then, there was a pole shift, due to either a solar explosion, polar ice or alien bombardment which caused the crust of the earth to slide around and put Atlantis to the South Pole and assume the name "Antarctica," while the survivors of Atlantis sailed forth to settle on lands previously underwater where they founded civilizations in Central America, South America, Egypt, Europe and Africa. This explains how supposedly disparate civilizations could have so much in common (pyramids, serpent legends, light-skinned gods with red hair, end-of-the-world prophecies, etc.). It doesn't really matter because according to the Mayan Calendar, it's all going to end in a fiery cataclysm on December 21, 2012, so it's all a moot point.
You could believe that, or you could believe something that isn't so far-fetched and crazy . . . like the September 11th attacks being a complete and total surprise to our government. Yeah, that's much easier for me to swallow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"Turn This Plane Around, Or I'll Shit My Pants!"

In case you haven't heard, the skies are now safe from potential toddler terrorists. Children whose names match or resemble those on terrorist watch lists are being prevented from boarding planes with their parents. Are we feeling safer yet?

Do You Believe Your Eyes?

A Scottish TV news crew went to enormous effort and expense to place a fake Nessie in Loch Ness. The idea was to see if people would believe in the Loch Ness Monster if it were to pop out of the water in front of them.
Not sure what the point of all this was. If you are standing on the bank of a loch where a strange creature has been sighted off and on for 1400 years, and suddenly it rises out of the water, you might be inclined to believe your own eyes, right?
What a stupid-ass stunt. Proves nothing. Disproves nothing. A complete waste of time.

Let's Hit the Showers, Ladies!

A family activist group is criticizing an Allentown, PA, ordinance granting "special non-discrimination rights" to homosexuals and those with "non-traditional gender identities. According to the family activists, the ordinance could lead to men who think they are women using the restroom and shower with women.
This is great news for those of us who are actually lesbians trapped in men's bodies.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Beautiful, Aren't They?

They don't exist. They can't exist either, according to this article, because there's no such thing as a wrinkle-free face with perfect lips, eyes or eyebrows. This is a computer-generated image of what an "immaculately beautiful" man and woman is supposed to look like. Apparently, women who have an enlarged head, a large curved forehead, a shortened nose, rounded cheeks and enlarged eyes are "breathlessly beautiful" . . . 'cause it makes them look young and child-like . . . which men like subconsciously . . . because young women are fer-tile as the Nile Valley . . . yeah, that's it . . . .

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Bikers Against Child Abuse

If you know of a child in need of protection from physical and emotional abuse, or you're looking for a worthwhile charity to support, you might give a call to your local Bikers Against Child Abuse chapter. BACA is a fraternity of bikers that have organized to provide support and protection to abused children. They adopt the children into their biker family and lend financial support to provide therapy, toys, clothing and anything else they might need. They attend court proceedings on behalf of the children, provide "biker escorts" if the family needs to run errands but doesn't feel safe to go alone. The kids are given their own vest, patch, stickers and a group photo with their new biker friends. The children are given these items to send a message to abusers and bullies: "I am not alone, and you don't want to mess with my family."
You just gotta love this, my friends.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

"Well, looky here, Dick!"

A 400-foot waterfall was recently discovered in northern California. The giant waterfall escaped even the notice of a 92-year-old miner who's lived in the 43,000 acre wilderness for 70 years.
Kinda makes you wonder what else might be lurking in those densely wooded areas . . .

A Nifty Headline.

Apparently, flashers and nudists don't play (sorry) well together.

Walken for President.

Finally, a candidate we can all really get behind. Campaign platform includes midnight Russian roulette programs, a national discussion on hiding watches and telling the U.N. they need more cowbell.
Update: Sadly, it's all a hoax.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Random Thoughts for Your Friday Enjoyment.

  • Sometimes, when I'm meowing at my cats like a little boy, they will suddenly look at me as if I said something they understand. That gives me the creeps.
  • Christians wear the cross as a symbol of their faith, but in Jesus's time, the cross was just another method of execution. If Jesus had been crucified in our time, would his followers be wearing electric chairs around their necks two thousand years from now?
  • I will not die of cancer. I won't allow it. Interpret that how you will.
  • In the wedding and engagement section of the newspaper, have you ever noticed that the ugly couples look happier than the pretty ones?
  • I wouldn't talk on the phone while sitting on the can, but I would while soaking in the tub, but wouldn't while standing starkers in my living room. Why is that?
  • Are urinals set up higher on the wall in NBA locker rooms?
  • When I die, nearly six billion people won't notice.
  • I don't have any guilty pleasures. It's all pleasure, baby.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Science and Religion Incompatible? Depends.

A recent survey reveals quite a difference among scientists of different disciplines regarding their beliefs in God. For example, 76% of doctors believe in God, while only 27% of Political Scientists do. I think if I were a political scientist forced to devote my career to the sewage that is American politics, I would doubt the existence of my own sanity.

Dragons Over Tibet

Here's a story about a Chinese photographer who supposedly caught two dragons in a photo as he (and they) flew over the Himalayas. Naturally, it's quite hard to make out, but what we're looking at is apparently the dragon's tail. The original Chinese story has some larger pics.
Let me be the first to welcome our reptilian overlords.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Go Fighting Pigeons!

If you get a chuckle out of runaway P.C. silliness, you'll love this column about the recent NCAA ban on mascots that are "hostile and abusive" to Indians. The Florida State Seminoles cannot display their nickname or mascot at any postseason tournament; this despite the recent unanimous vote by the Seminole Tribal Council to support Florida State's use of the name.
The Illinois Fighting Illini may wear uniforms that say "Illinois," but not "Illini." The NCAA executive committee is apparently blissfully unaware that "Illinois" is French for "Illini." This would be the same NCAA that is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It gets even better . . .

Deep Thoughts

After the kids had gone to bed the other night, I went in search of some brain food, and pulled Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius off the shelf. The book fell open to a page where this passage leapt out at me. I thought I'd share it . . .
Remember how long you have been putting off these things, and how often you have received an opportunity from the gods and yet have not used it. You must now at last perceive of what kind of a universe you are a part, and the true nature of the lord of the universe of which your being is a part, and how a limit of time is fixed for you, which if you do not use for clearing away the clouds from your mind, it will go and you will go, and it will never return.

"It Will Be Humbling. It Will Be Spiritual."

Virgin Galactic (gotta love that name) will begin commercial space flights in 2008. A seat on the spaceship can be reserved for a refundable deposit of $20,000, which will be applied to your total ticket price of $200,000. The maiden Virgin Galactic craft will be the VSS (Virgin Spaceship) Enterprise. No word on transporter beams and universal translators.
Thanks, Monkey, for the link.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Kolchak Is Comin' Back!

ABC is bringing out an all-new series based on the Darren McGavin 1974-75 show The Night Stalker. It's being produced and directed by Frank Spotnitz and Dan Sackheim of The X-Files, so there's reason for hope.
Soon we'll again be safe from alligator-headed monsters with a zipper up the back.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Lost In Space, Just In Case

Speaking of the Moon, here's a copy of statements prepared for President Richard Nixon in the event the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon. Courtesy of the Smoking Gun.
Clergymen were instructed to follow the same protocol as a burial at sea.
A quote: "These brave men . . . know there is no hope for their recovery."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Moon Landing Hoax?

While watching a recent National Geographic Channel special about conspiracy theories that the Apollo moon landings were faked, I was struck by two things: First, there was the young man who had devoted his life to debunking said theories. To prove that the moon photos could not have been faked (where are the stars? why aren't the shadows parallel?), he proceeded to do just exactly that—fake them. In the desert, he staged a fake moon landing, taking pictures of a man in a spacesuit. Putting aside the fact that his pictures were taken on the surface of the Earth, not the Moon—thereby making it a dubious comparison at best—the photos he produced looked remarkably similar to the Apollo photos, inadvertently proving how easily the fraud could have been pulled off.
Second, while the debunkers were surprisingly straightforward and lacking the snotty arrogance one usually sees when dealing with those who parrot the government line, it was inevitable that one of the debunkers finally got around to calling the conspiracy theorists "cultural vandals" (you just knew name-calling was eventually going to enter this debate). The idea, of course, is that only those who hate their country would dare question the statements and actions of its government. However, after Pear Harbor, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the KAL 007 cover-up, the POW/MIA cover-up, 9/11 and any other government misdeed or cover-up, you'll forgive some of us if we aren't so easily convinced anymore.
For the record, I believe we did land on the Moon. What we found there, however, is a discussion for another day . . .

Friday, August 05, 2005

Twilight Zone Pic of the Day

Here's a pic of Lee Iacocca and Snoop Dogg golfing together. Apparently, Iacocca had some trout fishing planned for later that day.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Why Can't I Be a "Special Project?"

The new Highway Bill has plenty of goodies for elected officials wallowing in the slop of pork-barrel spending. The bill appropriates our tax dollars for 6,371 "special projects" (there were only two special projects in the original highway bill signed by President Eisenhower).
Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young of Alaska got $941 million for his home state (the third-least populated state in the Union). Of that, $231 million will go to pay for a bridge to be named "Don Young's Way." Jesus.
Keep this in mind next time you hear a member of Congress weeping that we can't afford to eliminate the 107-year-old telephone tax, enacted in 1898 to help fund the Spanish-American War.
Oink, oink, to ya!

Arrested for Casting the Second Stone?

An 11-year-old Fresno girl is going on trial for assault with a deadly weapon. The girl was arrested for throwing a two-pound rock at a boy and opening a two-inch gash in his head. Sounds pretty cut-and-dried until you consider that the "victim" and 6 of his friends teased the girl, called her names and pelted the girl and her brother with water balloons. The "victim" admits to starting the fight, and the girl had been bullied before. The girl has already spent 5 days in juvenile detention and a month on house arrest. Wow.
This is just another lesson, kids. You don't swing back at the bully. You cry and meekly beg for mercy, and if you fight back, you are in trouble. People who push back at bullies as children are likely to do it as adults, and that's a problem in a society that values social order over justice.
The story does not mention whether or not charges were filed against the water-ballon bullies.
A support site for the girl, Maribel Cuevas, is here, and it includes the police department's side of the story.Here's Fred Reed's take on the case.
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."—John F. Kennedy.
UPDATE: The girl's felony trial is off. She has been ordered to attend a mediation program with her "victim." She will not face detention nor will she have to plead guilty.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

U.N. Wants Global Internet Control

If you're feeling that icy finger of fear running up your spine, it's probably just the mere mention of a U.N. taskforce called the United Nations’ Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). This group wants to assume worldwide control of the internet. Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman opposes the idea, claiming that putting the internet under the control of this bloated, corrupt bureaucracy would be a "giant and foolhardy step backwards."
Now is the time to be more vigilant than ever, for as history has shown us many times, a bad idea is often replaced by an even worse one in the guise of solving the problem.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Things I'll Tell My Daughters, Part Two

The power to offend is just that—power. People who are easily offended are people who are easily manipulated. You'll be wise to accept ugliness and vulgarity as a part of life. This doesn't mean you embrace it, only that you don't allow it any power over you.

If anyone quotes a verse from the Bible (or any other religious text) to justify their beliefs and behavior and try to influence yours, you'd damn well better read the verses that come before and after.

It's okay to change your mind. Always be ready to admit to yourself that your beliefs might need a little modification. In fact, there may come a morning where you discover that everything you ever believed about everything and everyone might be wrong. It probably won't be that drastic, but the point is to deal with life as/is.

Anyone is capable of anything at anytime. History has shown human nature to be anything but predictable. Don't buy into this foolish notion that some things could never happen. If you see some politician bloviating about how it "could never happen here," you'll know he's lying.

Once in a while, sit in a chair and just stare out the window, or put on a pair of headphones and listen to a great album start to finish. It's very invigorating.

Leviathan Beached by China Typhoon

An unidentified sea creature nearly 40 feet long and weighing close to 2 tons was found near a seawall in China after a typhoon. It is badly decomposed, and experts have been unable to identify it. The creature has hair, orange stripes and a three-foot snout. As a point of comparison, the whale shark—the largest known fish—averages around 50 feet in length.

Hollywood Looking for the Son of Satan

Twentieth Century Fox Studios is remaking "The Omen," and the search is on for the "perfect demonic child" to play little Damien Thorne, the spawn of Satan. Rosemary's kid is probably working in middle management by now, so he's out.