Just Another Blog
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Can I Borrow a Wheelchair?

Here is a great tale of a fun adventure you can have in a wheelchair. This is the kind of thing that I could talk about and laugh at forever but know that I would never really have the guts to try. But a 60% success rate asking to feel up strangers - impressive.

On the Importance of Sex

I have not been reading or following any of the debate going on on a number of other blogs regarding the virtues and vices of teen sex. But I did stumble across this interesting little bit on The Simon (stumbled across this site via The Onion and it's provided two posts already). I have never met the author, Will Leitch, but he describes me as, "a guy friend." Whoa, that hits close to home. I've actually thrown around the idea of trying to write a similar article myself, but talking about the fact that everyone else has sex doesn't seem particularly helpful to the situation. I agree with the feeling he ascribes to his friend, "at this point, there's no rush." Yep.

Update: Damn. I just realized that Glenn Reynolds already linked to this story. Honestly, I had no idea. I do find it interesting that we both stumbled upon the same article. Weird.


Vince and the Hyena do more in depth hockey analysis than I am capable of. But one thing that I said before the start of yesterday's game is that if Detroit loses tonight then they are in big trouble. And I still think that's true. I know home ice advantage is statistically almost nil in the NHL (especially during the playoffs), but I think that the Avs smell blood now. I think they feel that Detroit is probably the best team they will have to beat all year, and now, they just need to win one game at home. If Roy plays smart, look for Hull and company on the golf courses by this weekend.

On another note, there has been plenty of talk that whoever comes out of the West will have a cakewalk through the finals. After having the opportunity to watch the third period of the Leafs - 'Canes game 5, I'm not so certain. Both of those teams look awfully quick to me, and they really fly around the ice. Vince made the great point that although Irbe is hot, he's still the goaltender that you would rather face over Cujo. Cujo, I think, may be a bit like Hasek: at times unstoppable, but subject to mental lapses. Hopefully Hasek doesn't revert to unstoppable.

The Osbournes

I followed a link off The Onion and came across this article on The Osbournes. I've only seen the show one time and even then not in its entirety. But judging from what I have seen and heard, I think that this paragraph sums things up very well.
I’m sure the 14-year-olds for whom Ozzy is merely the heavy metal cliché who brings the new crop of rap-metal bands to town every summer for Ozzfest found it rip-roaring hilarious. But Ozzy influenced about every hard rock band worth their salt, from Metallica to Soundgarden to the White Stripes. And watching this glassy-eyed, unintelligible stooge falling over in his own chair while a group of no-name who-the-fucks sit in the adjacent room discussing a tour — which he seemingly would rather not even do — was far more sad than it was amusing. If that’s funny, it’s funny because we’re laughing at how fucked-up he is. All I could think of at that point was the future that Kurt Cobain must have feared when he chose instead to put a shotgun to his head eight years ago.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Hoffa's Next

They found Daniel Pearl's and Chandra Levy's bodies this week. Some one dig up the endzone in Giant's stadium and we'll have Hoffa too.

Monday, May 20, 2002
School Nonsense

Sgt. Stryker has recently had his first run in with the popular public school philosophy of zero-tolerance. The comments to the post are an endless stream of what is wrong with our education system and are a must-read. It's a scary state of affairs in the education system right now. I can only hope that if I am ever blessed with children it will be at a point in my life where home schooling is a viable alternative for my family. If it is not, I will find a way to pay for my kids to go to some sort of private school be it religious or otherwise. I think that as a child I received a fantastic education at the hands of the Catholic Church. I am grateful that I was not subjected to the mediocrity of the public school system. Twenty-five years ago it was mediocre. It seems to have been all downhill from there.

Escalating Levels of Defense

InstaPundit has this story about a Nashville, TN man who stopped two intruders into his home with the use of his wife's .38 caliber gun which was loaded with "snake shot." The man also had at his disposal his own gun, a .45 caliber handgun - presumably not loaded with garden rounds. I shot an email off to Mr. Reynolds asking him whether the homeowner was bound by some aspect of the law to attempt defense with the less lethal force first of all. If the homeowner had walked downstairs and killed the two burglars with the .45 and the investigating police subsequently found the less lethal .38 would there have been hell to pay? If he responds, I'll let you know.

Where's Drudge?

I haven't been able to get to the Drudge Report since I logged on an hour ago. What's up? Is this some sort of terrorist attack to prevent all of America from knowing what's going on in the world? Maybe it's the CIA who has shut him down once and for all because he really does know too much. Perhaps Ted Turner finally went completely wacko and killed Matt. The possibilities are endless and terrifying. (Or maybe it's just something with my crappy ISP.)

Good Star Wars Review

Pejman has the best Star Wars review that I've read yet. I hate the idea that so many people keep saying that the one Yoda scene at the end is reason enough to see the movie. I would think that a movie should offer more than one good scene to get me to go. Pejman says the scene is enough to make him pay to see it a second time, and he lives in California where I imagine movies are around $20. Maybe in a week or so I'll go catch a mid-week matinee. By then I can hopefully see it in a quiet theatre.

War on Terror VS War on Drugs

I think that Coyote at the Dog Show probably has a really good point when he says - in regards to the FBI's knowledge of suspicious foriegners in US flight schools - that, "If they'd had a hint that this involved drug smuggling I'd bet they'd have done more investigation."

Friday, May 17, 2002
More on Assimilation

Blog newcomer Eric Raymond who unbeknownst to be is some sort of open source hero / crusader writes this very nice piece on assimilation. It fits well with my comments from yesterday I think. He talks about Asians in the United States and contrasts them to the "black urban underclass."
Eugene Volokh comments that many of the leading promoters of racial identity politics in the U.S. have begun to lump Asians in with white people, but declines to attempt an interpretation. Actually this development is very easy to understand. All you need to break the code is to know that "white" = "assimilated".

Asians tend to be perceived as "white" not because they have white skin but because they behave as white people are expected to behave -- they pursue prosperity and value education, and seek to blend into the U.S.'s broad middle class rather than creating a defiant, adversarial ghetto or barrio culture. Compare the epithet "acting white", used among urban blacks to sneer at kids with black skin who work at being good students or holding down regular jobs.
The rest of the post is certainly worth reading as well. Asparagirl turned this guy on to blogging, and I found him through her site. Keep up the good work Mr Raymond.

Brand Power

Tim Blair has an interesting article in The Australian about corporate logos on professional athletes' uniforms in Australia vs the US.
The reason [Kobe] Bryant's shirt isn't decorated with logos has nothing to do with opposition to capitalism. It's because of capitalism. The NBA earns many millions from the rights to broadcast games and the sale of replica uniforms. Sharing the NBA brand with other corporations would dilute its power.

Thus, capitalism preserves the sanctity of sport. Only in the USA.

Intelligence Reports

From Little Green Footballs via Pejman:
Let's go even further: assume that the FBI had information on the exact date, time, flight number, and descriptions of suspects. So they raid all the planes, and arrest the 19 dirtbags.

...And then what? Not much, I imagine. Oh, CAIR and it's ilk would be having a fit, of course, complaining to everyone including George W. about profiling and unfair targeting of Arab-Americans. After all, just what did the FBI find? Some box cutters? Those aren't illegal on airplanes. Flight manuals? These men were all attending accredited flight schools, trying to achieve the American dream, etc. etc. So they had one-way tickets: is that a crime? Funeral shrouds? Are you honestly arresting these men for bringing white sheets onto a plane? Korans? So because these men are pious Muslims, you dare to assume...! And really, folks, come on: flying a Boeing into a skyscraper? You've been watching too many movies! Who would come up with something this complicated, when a truck bomb in a garage would do just as well?

And so on and so on. I'm sure at least half these men would have been released within a couple of days. Profiling would be discussed at length on CNN and PBS. Several specials would be made, with weeping, hijab-wearing photogenic young women, describing in perfect Midwestern English the ordeal of being singled out by airport security. American Airlines would issue an apology, and make a contribution to the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Society, with a promise of more "outreach efforts." Norman Mineta would be outraged! and put in all sorts of new restrictions designed specifically to avoid giving extra scrutiny to "people of Middle Eastern appearance." (hey! wait a second!) George W. would go on the record saying that "pro-filling" is "discriminatational" and against everything he holds dear. Clinton would tell a story of his Lebanese-American great-uncle who was once denied entry into the White House. Al Gore would talk about his years of service under Lawrence of Arabia. Pretty soon, the whole thing would be forgotten as another embarrasing example of the Latent Racism in American Society.

Until one day, another group of men board an airliner...

Las Vegas

I've been looking for an excuse to go to Las Vegas for some time now. The chance to learn how to shoot an Uzi for free might be just the thing. (Thanks to The Monkey for the link.)

Gun Control

Eugene Volokh has been getting some pretty good national press lately as he argues for and explains the current Justice Department, White House, and Constitutional position that the Second Amendment ensures an individual right to keep and bear arms. Swen Swenson takes him to task though for his comments that a clear ruling by the Supreme Court on the legitimacy of that individual right will lead to an atmosphere facilitating increased gun controls. I agree with Swen who says, "I would argue that at the point that an individual right to bear arms is indeed firmly acknowledged, further gun controls such as firearms registration will become moot, as there is no legitimate purpose that further firearm regulation would fulfill."

One thing that bothered me about the comments was that Eugene Volokh seems to suggest that gun registration is a moderate form of gun control. I guess that's true in the same sense that third trimester abortions are a moderate form of birth control. Long and short though is that there seems to be a lot of discussion lately regarding gun control, and the country's leaders seem to finally be alligning themselves with the populace. And that is good.

Gotta Get Away

There's been some kind of awful racket (pounding / thumping / scraping / more pounding / rattling) coming from the unit next to me for the past 3+ hours. I can't take it anymore. I'm leaving for a while. Look forward to some late night posting accompanied by loud background music - gotta get even.

Ring Around the Rosies; Pocket Full of Posies

A second outbreak of the bubonic plague has been confirmed in Colorado. Right now the problem seems to be confined to prarie dogs. Of course PETA thinks prarie dogs are cute, cuddly creatures that can do no wrong. In reality, besides causing broken legs for cows, horses, buffalo, and other grazing animals, they are now a threat to spread bubonic plague. Now I understand that the plague is treatable with an antibiotics regimen, but I don't particularly care for the idea of the plague in my backyard. And how hard would it be for some terrorists to go grab a few dead prarie dogs and harvest this stuff and start attacking us with it?

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

No Clones in Quebec

This interesting tidbit was at the bottom of the story about Clones opening day take of $27 million that's on Drudge.
Fox and Lucasfilm required theaters to keep Attack of the Clones for a minimum of four weeks, and they demanded 70% of the box office for the first three weeks, 60% the next two and 50% the two weeks after that. Many exhibitors balked at these terms, and in Quebec many refused them, resulting in Star Wars playing at virtually none of the province's 363 independent screens.
Good for the Canadians for standing up to what strikes me as overly aggressive contract terms.

Thursday, May 16, 2002
On Immigrants

Thanks to Iain Murray for pointing out this immigrant piece from yesterday's Telegraph. I don't normally like to quote such long passages, but the bulk of the article really is in these few paragraphs. The article was titled It takes more than English to escapre from the ghetto and written by Janet Daley an English immigrant from America.
The Asian immigrants of Bradford and Oldham may not come from an officially enforced ghetto but they do come from villages where extended family, not to say racial and cultural homogeneity, are the only context in which daily life is intelligible. To accuse them of failing to "integrate" - which is to say, to forsake their communal security - is quite unforgivably stupid and insensitive. They abandoned their home countries to avail themselves of the opportunities that another place had to offer - as my family did - but the transplantation itself will have taken almost all the courage and initiative that any human being can summon up in a lifetime. Leave them alone to make what they can of the new life with whatever familiar comforts they require. They are not the problem. It is their children who are the problem.

As I said, when I was a child it was my parents' generation who were the translators: they were the bridge between the foreign grandparents and the quintessentially American grandchildren. What happened to them to make them so comfortably bilingual and bicultural? What happened was that they went to common-or-garden American state schools where they were taught English (rigorously in those days, with no nonsense about concessions to other native languages), and inculcated with a profound sense of pride in their American identity.

That did not just mean, as many British cynics seem to think, that they were forced to salute the flag and recite the pledge of allegiance every day (although they did that, as did I). It meant that they were taught the meaning of their Constitution and the values which it was designed to protect. They learned by heart the essential passages of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution (which begins "We the people"). Most particularly, they learned to understand why their own parents had risked so much to give them a life in a new, free country.
America seems to face the same problem with hispanic immigrants. They cluster in their own tight communities and maintain as much as possible the customs, morès, and habits of their previous home. The communities are self-sufficient enough that the children never assimilate; they don't have to. There now is no risk in coming to America - only reward. There seems to be little appreciation for the life offered here. Immigrants come here and are immediately overwhelmed with a sense on entitlement. I wonder what it is like in Europe where the social welfare system is even more liberal than ours. I wonder if there are dramatic differences because their immigrants are Asian and ours are hispanic.

Jennifer Love Hewitt Gets It

Here are some hot new pictures of JLH. There's an interview too. I have previously heard comments from her similar to these:
By the way, how many production assistants did it take to squeeze you into that children’s top in I Know What You Did Last Summer?

It took one—me. And one precious little bra. When I first got my boobs, I was the most insecure person in the world. I was 11 years old with this chest, and it was like "Whoa, what is going on?" I was really insecure about it. Then I finally went,"Wow, what a great accessory to a T-shirt. My T-shirts have never looked so good, how exciting." You just kind of have to embrace them and. . . .

Embrace! I agree—

It comes along with the territory. If you think about it, who wants to go to a movie and see a girl running around in sweats three sizes too big? Nobody. I get it. I put on small tops everyday, knowing darn well that as I was crawling around with the camera down my chest it was all in good fun. It’s eye candy.
I think that she is one of the absolute hottest of all of the Hollywood stars. This picture (the enlargement from page one of the interview) is absolutely stunning! (Uhh! Can't get the link to work. Just enlarge the pic on the first page.) What a body! I almost miss the days when she was in every tv commercial that ran between 7 and 9 pm. I am such a fan that a number of years back I actually purchased her album Let's Go Bang. I think there was one song on the album that was bearable. The rest was awful, but I often see her getting praised for her singing talents. She does have such big lungs! I now understand that there was a Japan-only release called Love Songs that had her singing Heart of Glass and Dancing Queen among other numbers. Well, I guess I'm off to Kazaa then to try and find those treasures.

Screw RIAA

This article explains one possible hack for defeating audio CDs that are protected from ripping. All it takes is a little electric tape. I really like the subtle editorial comment at the end that puts copy-protected CDs in quotations as a descriptor for corrupt audio disks.

The Lottery

I was reading the comments over at Red Sugar Muse regarding what one might do if they won the Powerball (which was at ~$80 million for last night's drawing). I find it interesting that the daydream of sudden, profound riches is such a pervasive daydream for so many folks. I added a comment there that I often intentionally do not check my numbers until a few days after the drawing. It's my own lottery-version of Schrodinger's cat: if I haven't lost, than I may have won and the millionaire fantasies can continue.

p.s. Follow that link about the cat. It's one of my favorites from Cecil Adams.

While I Was Away

Other than losing and regaining my comments, I have noticed a couple of other interesting things of note relating to I Can Blog! since I was away. First of all, someone is apparently starting a Everyone Should Hate Jonathan Harrington club. My comments on what I perceived Mr. Pejman Yousefzadeh to be like in person apparently were somewhat irritating to him and greatly annoying to his loyal fans. He made a comment on my comment and his fans had plenty of disdain for me in their own comments.

Reading over what I wrote, I am not certain why there was such a fuss. I thought that ultimately I came across like I would like to meet the guy. And I would. He's a very good writer and obviously very intelligent. I just wonder if I could handle the energy. Oh well. He is far more famous than I in the blogosphere. It was nice for him to point at least a few hits my way.

I've also noticed a few hits lately from a blog called Eristic. I'm not sure who exactly they are or how exactly they found me, but I certainly appreciate the perma-link and the fact that it's generated a few hits for me. Thanks.

Harry Potter

Quite a while back, a friend gave me the second, third, and fourth Harry Potter books. Well, I finally went out and bought the first one so that I could read the others. I read book one yesterday and book two today. I am not a big fantasy fan, but this was nice light reading. The books are fun and well written. Really, they reminded be a good bit of the Hardy Boys books that I enjoyed as a child. It's a group of friends off on different adventures trying to solve the mysteries that the adults can't seem to figure out. But they're more fun than the Hardy Boys because of the magic and wizardry. I never really felt like I wasn't reading a children's book, but that didn't detract from the fun of the stories. Books three and four are longer and may have to take a back seat to blogging for a while.

Comments Are Back

The Netcomment system is back after moving from electrichamster.com to netcomments.co.uk. All of my old comments carried over too. I guess I can stop muttering about getting what you pay for.

Hockey States

The Colorado Avalanche pulled off a win in game seven last night against the formidable San Jose Sharks. While cruising along looking for commentary, I came across this article on the state of hockey in North Carolina - traditionally a strong bastion of basketball. I thought it was particularly interesting especially in light of my recent trip to Kentucky, another basketball haven.

If you think that hockey is too dull or too low scoring or too violent or too long you probably haven't given the sport enough of a chance. I read an article somewhere recently (I'm pretty sure it was by Mitch Albom, but can't recall for certain) that talked about how great Detroit was as a hockey town. The author recollected an anecdote of being behind two women in line at the grocery store who were discussing the merits of the Red Wings forecheck. He was so proud that hockey was so deeply ingrained in the local citizenry. I've been keeping my ears open lately and have been hearing similar well versed women through Denver discussing the various merits of hockey. My brother's girlfriend - who is from the Dominican Republic and a most unlikely (traditionally) hockey fan - impressed me a great deal with her discussion of the Kyle McLaren hit on Montreal's Richard Zednick.

I will join the Laughing Hyena in imploring all of you who don't think that you like hockey to turn on ABC at 1 PM MST this Saturday to watch the first game of the Western Conference Finals between Detroit and Colorado. The game will feature more future hall of famers than you can shake a stick at. Detroit-Colorado has become one of the biggest rivalries in sports. It will feature, argueably, the two best goalies in hockey. It has all of the making of a very exciting game and should be enough to make just about anyone like hockey. Watch it.

Back to the Blog

After being laid off and taking a vacation to Louisville, Kentucky for the Derby, I feel well rested and ready to comment again. It's interesting: I have been back for a week and have had little desire to do much blogging. I think that part of that is that I formerly used this medium as a distraction from the stress of work. Remove the stress of work and suddenly I am a lot less interested in writing. But, I figure that I need to keep in the practice of attempting to think critically and translate those thoughts into words. If I happen to be admitted to law school, I feel certain that this will be a good skill to have fresh. So without further ado, let me see if there's anything out there on the internet that I find interesting...

Friday, May 03, 2002
War Is Tough on the Hookers Too

Chances are you saw this story already on Instapundit. It talks about a bunch of US soldiers on leave in Australia. The cat houses were so busy they had to close down for a day because of all the work they were doing. My question is what would all of these soldiers have done if they just returned straight to America? Surely the ones with wives and girlfriends are not cavorting with the prostitutes. Do we send all of our men through Australia so they can work out their frustrations before we bring them back to the US? Why isn't there a general uproar about the Army putting our men in situations which greatly increases their chances of bringing communicable - and maybe even deadly - diseases back to the mainland. Surely syphilis, gonorrhea, and AIDS are far greater and more real threats to the American populace than the more sinister sounding anthrax.

Greetings from Louisville

Well, I made the 1,100+ mile commute with no problems and no tickets, so that's good. The weather here has turned gorgeous just in the past couple of hours. It was surprisingly cold and rainy last night. Now suddenly it is low seventies with low humidity. I haven't lived here for about 14 years now, and this is not exactly how I remember it. Mostly I recall terribly hot temperatures with unbearable humidity accompanied by a profound stillness that stifled any air flow at all. I am pleasantly surprised today.

Kentucky is definitely in Derby mode. Both the Goodyear blimp and Snoopy 1 have been overhead. There are lines at all of the liquor stores. And everyone is talking about their picks. I keep trying to talk about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and people look at me like I'm from Mars. I am told that the high schools here now have hockey teams, and I find that extremely encouraging. I suspect that any of my efforts to watch the Avs on tv tomorrow afternoon will be met with fisticuffs, but some day hockey will make it to Kentucky too. Heck, they've only had shoes for like 40 or 50 years...