April 28, 2007

Um, About Those Press Conferences...

I know Jeff Cowan isn't used to being an overtime scoring hero and all, but maybe someone should catch him up on what phrases to use when talking to reporters:

"For a second, I thought it was in, and then I was like, 'Aw, maybe it's not,' and then all of a sudden I got bear-hugged from behind. It was very exciting. It's my first, and I'll always remember it."

On the other hand, I suppose it beats the usual rote answers we hear from athletes, eh?


posted by Thursday at 1:27 am 0 comments

April 26, 2007

Sleeping 'Round

A simple equation:

Work + School + NHL Playoffs + weather finally good enough for yardwork + occasionally paying some attention to the Significant Other = no time for blogging this spring.

The more complicated version:

T / [(Wcash + Wedu) + (Hyard + Hso)] - Hockey = Busy Time. Plus, it's proof that I'm old.

Which sucks. But is temporary.

However, it's easier when someone else does your blogging for you! This being said, I'm going to go take a nap while you can go read the (rather poetic) 59th edition of the Skeptics' Circle.



posted by Thursday at 8:27 am 0 comments

April 20, 2007

Motorcycle Riding Is Safe!

Even when something goes wrong, it's a simple manouver to get back to riding!


Looking at the number of items I linked to last post, I think I'll keep these a bit simpler. It takes almost an hour to get through them all!


posted by Thursday at 8:41 pm 1 comments

April 17, 2007

NOW What?

You look at the NHL playoffs for a few days, and what happens?

Well, Kurt Vonnegut dies, for one thing. Fox News, continuing their fine tradition, rendered an eulogy that was either an inept attempt to mimic his style, or simply ignorant blatherings by a mediocre intellect. It could, of course, be both.

So I suppose he's laughing up in heaven with Isaac now.

We have an American citizen (and former Navy officer) who was jailed and tortured by the U.S. because of the company he worked for receiving the Ridenhour Prize and going on a speaking tour.

I wandered across a baby-purchasing scheme promoted by a Texas State Senator who can't figure out why offering $500 to women to NOT have abortions isn't a great idea.

And some stranger links I seem to have lying around:

A effective counter-argument for anyone who thinks science isn't sexy;

A documentary about the difficulty of proving you're not dead is coming out, if you can find it. No kidding: there are 10,000 officially dead people walking around one district in India;

A site for all your gluing needs... (Why are these things in my bookmarks? What was I looking for that day? Did I find it?)

A facsinating card game that you invent as you play...

And two pieces about art displays: one called "Running The Numbers", and another featuring the first solo showing of Fred Herzog's photographs happening in the Vancouver Art Gallery. He's got nearly 60 years of Vancouver on display until May 13th.

The brilliantly surreal Zapato Productions, which I found looking up details of the Pacifc Northwest Tree Octopus. He's got a great anti-mind control beanie design, too.

The strange and artful Ad Generator.

And a dismantling of one of the last remaining deans of global-warming contrarians.

While I'm looking at this stuff, I'll clear out the older bookmarks again:

Why is DeLay still getting air time? Because he's funny! Plug in the headphones for this gem.

How to go on to a political opponent's program and, frankly, make him look stupider than cardboard shingles.

Perhaps the most affecting demonstration of what war can be on a continent that hasn't experienced one for a century and a half.

Speaking of which, how about a reminder of what the basic arguments were back in 2003?

And finally:

Want a scare? Here's a quote to terrify any Canadian:

"It's no secret that the U.S. is going to need water," said project director Armand Peschard-Sverdrup.

"It's no secret that Canada is going to have an overabundance of water. At the end of the day, there may have to be arrangements."

And what, exactly, is "an overabundance of water", pray tell? And is it just me, or does this sound like a mob shakedown to anyone else? You can picture the line from the Sopranos, can't you: "There may have to be... arrangements."

I do believe I'm going to have to see just who the hell the North American Future 2025 Project is, and why this ened up being relesed on news-dump Friday...


posted by Thursday at 8:01 pm 0 comments

April 12, 2007

Same Year, Second Season Part II

To continue in the West:

Detroit vs. Calgary

In Goal: A toss-up. Teams that sign Hasek do so for one reason - to win the Cup. As brilliant as he is, he's also a pain in the ass (Ed Belfour, anyone?). Kiprusoff is another money goalie, coming up big when the game is on the line.
Up Front: Detroit had a reputation for soft play during the season, something that they addressed with Calder and Bertuzzi coming in trades. They are fantastically deep and the skill is all there, but one of their big names has a question mark: Datsyuk hasn't produced in the playoffs (3 goals in 42 games). The Flames, who have relied heavily on their goaltending in recent years, finally have some scoring outside Iginla and whoever he lines up with. But their bread and butter is still outworking teams with a heavy-pressure forecheck and attacking the puck carrier. It worked well enough for a final appearance two years ago and for 43 wins this year.
On the Blue Line: The Wings awesome skill continues throuh the defense, with multi-Norris winner Lidstrom and the ageless Schneider leading the way. The 45-year old Chelios is FINALLY slowing down, but they're more than capable of filling his minutes. The opposite holds true in Calgary, where the anchor is sophmore Phaneuf, who's going to be getting more than one Norris himself before his career's over. There are veterans here, too (Hamrlik and Warrener), but they're in a supporting role.
Special Teams: Surprisingly, neither team excelles on special teams, with the Red Wings at 21st on the power play and 7th in penalty killing, and the Flames at 10th and 18th. One thing to note is Calgary's 15 short handed goals, so they're always looking.
Other stuff: Zetterberg has has 10 game winning goals this season, tied for the league's best.

Detroit wins if: They don't try outrunning the Flames, and focus on set plays and moving the puck more than holding the puck and forcing the action.
Calgary wins if: Kiprusoff stands on his head (again) and they can keep control of the puck, forcing Detroit to chase them.

Prediction: Detroit

Anaheim vs. Minnesota

In Goal: The Ducks had a minor contreversy last season when Bryzgalov proved to be starter Giguere's equal during the season, replacing him in the playoffs and having a stellar run. Giguere reclaimed the starter's role this year, but has had family issues of late, and it's doubtful he'll be in any time soon. The Wild seem to have a habit of finding goaltenders. When top goaltender Fernandez went down to injury, Backstrom filled in and got even better numbers than Fernandez - arguably the best goalie in the league this year. Then there's third-string Josh Harding, with a .960 save percentage in seven games... What I'm saying is these boys are strong between the pipes.
Up Front: Selanne became the oldest player to post back-to-back 40-goal for Anaheim, and he drives this engine as far as the forwards go; but they've worked a lot of youth into the line up, and everyone knows their designated roles. There's not a lot of mixing and matching here, but then there hasn't needed to be, with secondary scoring coming from the solid youth movement. For the Wild, anyone who thinks this is a dull team needs to either give their head a shake or go watch basketball. This is a fast, dangerous team that loves to counterattack and uses the stretch pass as well as anyone in the league. That being said, the oft-injured Gaborik is head and shoulders above any of the other skaters for the Wild, and if he can be neutralized, your odd of beting them increase exponentially.
On the Blue Line: Ducks GM Brian Burke (could someone please nominate this American as the next NHL commisioner?) builds his teams from the blue line out, and he has two of the league's best in Pronger and Niedermeyer. Both are incredibly talented offensively (128 points between them) and defensively, can eat 30 minutes minutes in a game, and are on the ice in any situation. Minnesota, on the other hand, lets the forwards handle the offence, with their top scorer (Burns) having just 25 points for the season. It's a solid bunch who are used to shut down opponents rather than press an attack, including former Duck stud Carney.
Special Teams: It's said that special teams are more important in the playoffs; if that's the case, these teams are going to have quite the series. The Ducks ended the season with the 3rd best power play and 4th best kill; for the Wild, it was a 6th best power play and 2nd best penalty kill.
Other stuff: The Ducks are one of the few teams to carry a goon (Parros, 1 goal, 102 minutes in penalties, 32 games) this year, but so does Minnesota (Boogaard, 1 assist, 140 minutes in penalties, 48 games).

Anaheim wins if: They can keep up with the Wild. Good positional play will counter a lot of Minnesota's speed, but keep a heavy eye on Gaborik.
Minnesota wins if: They can entice the Ducks into a run-and-gun game. Minnesota is a team of master improvisers, and can turn an attack around quickly.

Prediction: Anaheim

Vancouver vs. Dallas

In Goal: It's a battle of twins, starting here. Luongo has never been in the Stanley Cup before, and is eager to see what the second season is like. This isn't to say he hasn't handled pressure: both he and Turco have represented Canada at world championships, but those are one-game tourneys, not seven game slugfests. His endurance will be tested. Turco has yet to emerge from Ed Belfour's Stanley Cup-winning shadow, and each year in the last two seasons he followed a solid regular season by going 1-4 in the playoffs with a goals against over 3.30, and that's not going to be good enough to win.
Up Front: The Canucks were mostly disappointing offensively this year, with few players meeting scoring expectations. The exceptions would be Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and no, you can't mention one without the other. They've been in the league long enough to not only expect physical play, but have learned how to play off hits and even to relish the opportunities. Every team in the league knows that you have to stop the Sedins, and they still hit career highs. Dallas has also had a rather dismal season for scoring, fighting injuries and cold streaks for most of their scorers for much of the year. With their health back (so they say - it is the playoffs, after all) this is a solid team, but their fast skaters aren't their finishers and vise-versa. They need to establish a physical presence before their game clicks.
On the Blue Line: The Canucks can boast of a strong and versitile defense corps who have no fear in joining the rush, contributing 13 game winning goals. After the first four, however, the skill level slides; but what team doesn't can't say that? Dallas has two absolute hammers on their side in Zubov and the ever-improving Boucher, and Sydor and Daley can chip in points, but for the most part the rest focus on clearing the puck out and keeping Turco safe.
Special Teams: The Canucks know what they do best, having the 18th best power play but the top penalty kill in the league. But then, they had to, being short-handed a 5th worst 436 times (59 more than Dallas). The Stars ended the season at 9th on the power play and 11th on the penalty kill.
Other stuff: In four games, these two teams split the season series; every game ended 2-1.

Vancouver wins if: They can get more than two goals. If they can pick up the first win, Turco has already heard all about his playoff record, and he (and the Stars) could start squeezing their sticks and getting the yips.
Dallas wins if: Vancouver plays to its habit of sitting back in the third period, if they have a lead. Coming back is always possible agains the Canucks, so long as the players feel that they can beat Luongo - not an easy thing. But when it comes to a series, one comeback can change momentum for all the games.

Prediction: Vancouver

Nashville vs. San Jose

In Goal: Though probably going with Vokoun, the Predators have two starting-caliber goaltenders with Mason ready to go at any time after splitting starts with Vokoun 38-44. For the Sharks, it's also a problem of bounty, as Nabokov and Toskala ended the season with near-identical stats and a similar number of games played. Nabokov will get the start, but like with Nashville, he'll feel the pressure of having a capable back-up who wants to start.
Up Front: The Predators have has lots of injury trouble, but nearly succeeded in taking first in the West from Detroit. Legwand has finally bloomed into a number two draft pick, and the acquisition of Forsberg added an extra step to the whole team. Though they lack a 30-goal scorer (see "injuries", above) they do get goals from a variety of sources, and love to do it on the rush. San Jose has had their top players slip a little in total scoring, but also a couple increase nicely (Michalek and Clowe). The addition of Guerin gives them yet another finisher for teams to worry about, boosting a scoring depth that was once three players deep.
On the Blue Line: Shea Weber is Nashville's answer to Calgary's Phaneuf: he hits like a truck and knocked in 17 goals in his second year. Timonen also has a nice eye for the goal, and the rest of the line up is filled with a solid mix of maturing youth and seasoned vets. The Sharks have placed and enormous amount of pressure on some very young players, and for good reason: they can handle it. Erhoff is in his third year; Carle in his second; and Vlasic is a rookie who should, if there's any justice in the world, get some notice for the Calder trophy this year. Those are the Shark's top three scoring defensemen, and they're doing just fine, thanks.
Special Teams: Another case of opposites facing each other here. On the power play, Nashville finished a mediocre 19th, while the Sharks were second. For the penalty kill, the Predators finished 3rd, with San Jose 14th.
Other stuff: Cheechoo had a bit of scoring trouble earlier in the season, but finished with 15 goals in his last 18 games.

Nashville wins if: They bump and grind. This team is grittier than sand in vaseline, if I may quote the Talking Heads. Thornton isn't as easily distracted as he used to be, but young players can get suckered into an emotional game, and that's one the Predators will win.
San Jose wins if: They get to play with a special teams duel. Power plays are low-impact, and their top players are just a little better than Nashville's. I think.

Prediction: Toughest series to predict. I'll go with San Jose, but barely.

Right then, that's it. I'm off to watch the game. For the next two months. 8)


posted by Thursday at 6:29 pm 0 comments

One Of Us, One Of Us...

The Skeptics' Circle is in orbit at Geek Counterpoint today; read it at work and feel like you've accomplished something productive!


posted by Thursday at 4:29 pm 0 comments

April 10, 2007

Same Year, Second Season

The playoffs are about to begin, just in time for my night course. Horrible timing! I know, I know: the education can change my life, get me a career, blah blah. This is the playoffs, damnit! They're important!

A quick run-down, East today, West tomorrow:

Buffalo vs. Long Island

In Goal: Ryan Miller (arguably the best goalie the U.S. has ever produced) or Wade Dubi... Dub... Dubble... You know, I'm gonna go with Buffalo on this one.
Up Front: The Sabres have scoring coming from everywhere, with four players having more than 30 goals. They love rolling four lines, and their speed is deadly. The Islanders made a fantastic pick-up in Ryan Smyth, instantly adding to their credibility. Under coach Nolan, this is a grinding bunch, who want to forecheck opposing defences into the ice. Miller can expect a lot of traffic.
On the Blue Line: Buffalo has a simple plan for their defense - get the puck, pass it to a forward. They do get their points, but they're almost entirely assists. The Islanders added Marc-Andre Bergeron when they got Smyth, and he's put up 21 points in those 23 games, adding a point shot that was sorely lacking. Not known for his defense, he's also a surprising +5. There aren't a lot of goals from the rest of the squad; though there is a lot of intimidation.
Special Teams: Neither team is great, but the Islanders have better results in power play and penalty kill (12th and 12th) than the Sabres (17th and 20th).
Other stuff: Two of the leagues best face-off men will be dueling this series. Buffalo's Drury and the Islander's Sillinger are tied with a 58.8 win percentage.

Buffalo wins if: They keep their feet moving and their lines churning over. Oh, and if they can avoid the corporal punishment that Long Island's defence loves to dish out.
Long Island wins if: Their defense can catch Buffalo's speedy forwards. This team can crash and bang with the best of them (D-men Hill and Witt and forward Trent Hunter have over 230 hits each this season), something the Sabres may not be able to handle for a long series.

Prediction: Buffalo Sabres.

New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay

In Goal: Another apparent mismatch, with the three-time cup winning veteran Martin Brodeur up against (probably) Johan Holmqvist, who has 52 NHL games to his credit. But his can be deceiving, as the Lightning tend to abandon their end of the ice in search of goals, and the Devils adhere to a strict defense-first policy. That being said, there is a reason New Jersey's goalie has Olympic and World Cup championships on his resume.
Up Front: Very disappointing seasons from Gomez and Gionta have peen partially countered by the emergence of Parise, but the Devils are looking for more from their money men. On the other side, Lecavalier was the league's leading scorer, and St. Louis' rebound from an off-season offset a slight drop in performance by Richards and Prospal. Tampa is relying on individual brilliance for goals, and they'll probably get it.
On the Blue Line: New Jersey has very little coming from the point. Their most dangerous threat is Brian Rafalski, and he doesn't make opposing goalies tremble. Dan Boyle, on the other hand, has one of the big shots in the league and isn't afraid to use it (over 200 times this season). Kuba is also a scorer, and that mixes up the Lightning's game enough to stretch opposing teams' defensive coverage.
Special Teams: Exactly what you'd expect:Tampa Bay is better on power plays (9th) than penalty killing (28th), and New Jersey leans the opposite way (16th and 4th). Lecavalier and St. Louis are leaned on heavily for their team, and for good reason: they each have 5 short handed goals.
Other Stuff: A portrait of opposites, this will put to the test the age-old sporting maxim "defense wins championships".

New Jersey wins if: Need I say it? Lecavalier stays boxed in by team defense. Oh, and if they remember to score the one or two goals Brodeur needs to win games.
Tampa Bay wins if: They can break through Brodeur and get scoring from anyone other than Lecavalier.

Prediction: New Jersey

Atlanta vs. Manhattan

In Goal: A Finn against a Swede, eh? Not the first time that's happened. In an case, Lehtonen has had a healthy year and shown his abilities in a fine second season. Lundqvist has been better, but this isn't a series that will come down to the goalies.
Up Front: The Thrashers boast two of the most exciting players in the league in Hossa and Kovalchuk, the dangerous Tkachuk, a great shut-down centre in Holik, and... Well, Kozlov can contribute too, but the rest are worker drones, though Belanger has taken to the change of scenery quite well and could surprise. The Rangers are simply deeper here: Jagr actually stepped into a leadership role last season, and that's carried through to this one, though having Shanahan as your wingman has got to help! Avery, much as I hate the player, is an effective agitator who can add some goals to the penalties he draws.
On the Blue Line: The Thrashers defense are all about clearing the front of the crease. Zhitnik adds a bit of firepower to a pop-gun offense, and Havelid blocked 225 shots this season, but the story here is the shovels the rest of the guys bring. The Rangers defense is deceptive: the first word that comes to mind is "plodding", but Rozeval has picked up a perfectly decent 40 points, and Malik is startlingly efficient at clearing the puck from his zone. Looking again, "solid" may be a better choice.
Special Teams: Atlanta hurts here, big time. They ended the season 23rd at the power play and 26th penalty killing, while Manhattan had the 8th best power play and 12th highest penalty kill.
Other Stuff: Atlanta's Andy Sutton may have to double as an enforcer this series: the Rangers
have three players with well over 100 minutes in penalties, the Thrashers have none with 90.

Atlanta wins if: Lehtonen plays an inspired series, and the Rangers get into penalty trouble.
Manhattan wins if: They keep their cool and play a controlled game.

Prediction: Manhattan

Ottawa vs. Pittsburgh

In Goal: For the Senators, it's "The Enforcer" Ray Emery (30 minutes in penalties); for the Penguins it's Marc-Andre "The Future" Fleury. This match is a toss-up, with Emery having slightly better numbers more playoff experience, but also on a team notorious for crashing out in the playoffs, while Fleury comes in with a clean slate.
Up Front: Ottawa has arguably the most dangerous group of forwards in the league, right from 50-goal man Heatley to tough guy Neil who has 12 goals of his own. Pittsburgh is one of the teams that will argue, however: they may not have a 50-goal man, or even a 40-goal scorer, but they do have 12 players with 12 or more. They've got veterans who have been there, too, with Recchi (twice) and Roberts holding Stanley Cup rings, a feat only matched by Senators back-up goalie Martin Gerber.
On the Blue Line: It took a while for newcomers Preissing and Corvo to catch on, much like the rest of Ottawa at the start of the year, but the Senators defense no longer looks like it really, really wishes Chara was back; this is a deep, rock-solid bunch. Veteran Gonchar and sophmore Whitney have been a deadly 1-2 punch for Pittsburgh all year, making for a mean power play.
Special Teams: Ottawa was surprisingly indifferent at this, ranking 14th in the power play and 9th on the penalty kill, but with 17 short handed goals from all through the line-up. Pittsburgh, less surprisingly, ended the season 5th in power play percentage and 17th at the kill. And you can't mention special teams without the Penguins 14 short handed markers, a league leading 7 from rookie Jordan Staal.
Other Stuff: The first and second most accurate shooters this year are playing each other: Jordan Staal is first (22.1%) and Jason Spezza is second (21%).

Ottawa wins if: They focus on playing a complete game. They can out gun pittsburgh with their depth, and Emery is a slightly better goalie, they just need to keep their confidence.
Pittsburgh wins if: They win the first game, or are split after four, and the fear of failure hits the Senators.

Prediction: Ottawa

The West tomorrow. I know, it's kinda cheating since I won't get to it until the first games are played: so call Rick Tocchet, already.


posted by Thursday at 9:57 pm 0 comments

The New Commies

Storytime once again!

Once upon a time, there was a belief system. It was called "Communism".

This belief system, like others, had certain flaws in it. They were called "humans".

Whenever these "humans" tried using "communism", it wouldn't work anything near what they thought it would. The reason for this was that the ideals of the belief system kept coming into conflict with reality: the humans just wouldn't behave the way the they were predicted to behave!

So some otherwise very smart people tried to come up with a solution for this strange problem of the belief system's failure. It looked so pretty and shiny, that it just HAD to work!

It didn't occur to them that there are other things that shine, too, because they were trying to find a solution for their own troubles.

Soon, they realised just what the problem was with their lovely system. Since the system was so lovely, that couldn't be it; so the difficulty must be with the rest of the world! If only everyone lived by this lovely system of theirs, then all the problems with it would go away, and everyone would be happy and everything would be perfect.

No, really. That's what they came up with.


But there is another group currently hard at work doing much the same thing. They have what they are certain is the single best belief system in the whole wide world ever: the only problem is that not everyone agrees with them. Humans again; go figure.

Oh, and there have been these little problems with reality, too.

But that aside, they've learned from other people's past, and now work in two ways to rectify the problems their belief system keeps running into: the first, of course, is to get everyone in the whole world to live by this lovely system of theirs, so that everyone will be happy and everything will be perfect; the second is to change reality to match their system.

It could be tough, but gosh darn it, they're gonna try!

And why not? The government side is nearly there, what with influence in the White House, 24 Sussex Drive, camps, education, courts, the U.S. Military and mercenary forces, and throughout the media.

As for changing reality, well... how else would you explain this exchange on CNN:

COOPER: Things which have been clearly scientifically disproven, do you still want them taught?

YOEST: Well, absolutely. That would -- that would come in, in a history of science, in a philosophy of science.

If that's not trying to avoid reality, I don't know what is.


posted by Thursday at 6:58 pm 2 comments

April 05, 2007

Little Thoughts on Big Stories

Time to play a little catch-up:


When you've already encountered God-as-banana, then somehow God-as-peanut butter doesn't seem all that surprising. For a more practical, coherent, and factual study on peanut butter, may I suggest The Effects of Peanut Butter on the Rotation of the Earth.


Ah, Easter! The time that celebrates (for Christians) the witnessed resurrection of Christ! Even if some editing was necessary to tell about it.


For fuck's sake: if you can't leave the bullshit in religion behind, then don't bring the rest of it. Okay?


Quoting Syrian Ambassador to the U.S. Imad Moustapha: "Syria will take a step forward every time the Americans take one."
Quoting Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem: "Dialogue is ... the only method to close the gap existing between two countries."
Quoting Bush on diplomacy with Syria: "Sending delegations doesn't work. It's simply counterproductive."
Quoting Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley: "We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future for our children."

Strange how politics can actually work, eh, George?


Rory Stewart has proposed that the mission in Afghanistan should change: from a battle to root out the Taliban, an expensive and brutally difficult task, to focusing on building the infrastructure of those locations currently held. This isn't as far-fetched as it may seem. As I mentioned before, Afghanistan isn't a single nation (despite the best efforts of map makers the world over), and the break isn't an unnatural one.

The point he makes is that if we stay to the communities that are welcoming us, building those permanent structures that improve daily lives of the people there (as compared to these), then that will make it a more stable and prosperous region. And that, frankly, could do nothing but help.


Another GHB death, this time right close by. This is one of the date rape drugs running around - dangerous this time because GHB looks and smells like water. It also frequently comes as a white powder, but that is more likely to be purchased by a deliberate user than a predator.

There is something in common with all the date rape drugs: they're depressants, just like booze. It does what booze does, only with far less needing to be consumed. This means it's far easier to die while using it, or to accidentally OD; it's tough to stop the heart from working by making it beat faster (as stimulants do), but quite easy to make it stop by slowing it (with depressants).

There is NO time when a woman should leave her drink unattended, and that means carrying it around with you, even to the bathroom. No, I'm not kidding: if you're out with friends, they can be very easily distracted by a decoy (or two) while the drink(s) get tampered with. Think about it: they're out to have a good time too, right?


Happier story: I recently found a collection of photographic erotica from a wide selection of artists. The endless variety of imagery is astounding and delightful. Enjoy.


Sign off! A University of Manchester report studying 10 million married couples found absolutely NO corelation between relationships and astrological signs. Hardly surprising to me, as the Significant Other and I are 90 degrees off from each other in pretty much every way, according to both Western and Eastern astrology. Really, it's not even a case of opposites attracting: we are flat-out wrong for each other, even going into the strange mount of ass-covering that astrologers do (houses, degrees, moon signs, rising signs, etc.). So will this finally kill the invincible astrology bug?

Not hardly - I did say invincible, didn't I?


Anyone who thinks that they can ignore politics doesn't know what the word means. Physicians from around the world are talking to one of the premier medical journals (the Lancet) to convince them to switch publishers.


Because they are tired of piecing together what publisher Reed Elsevier encourages others to blow apart.

This isn't the first time writers have tried applying pressure, but it is the perhaps the best organised effort by medical professionals rather than artists.


Personal opinion, but I've always felt that motorcycles are all about the elegance. It can be any bike: from the sleekest lines to wind tunnel tested designs to the most obnoxious, clapped-out, or just downright freaky rat bike going, once they enter a curve, then the elegance is what it all comes down to.

Elegance typifies skill; it defines it; it is the proof that you are capable of doing something with consummate skill if you can do it with elegance.

The biggest flaw with motorcycling, perhaps, is that bikes have become extremely specialized, surrendering capabilities in one field to improve in another.

R-Bike is trying to change that, with what can only be considered a true hybrid. I'm guessing that the owner of the company used to watch the Transformers a lot as a kid. (Heh - I know I will.)


'Tis the season, and less than a week away from all the matchups being set for the second season. I get the feeling I'm going to be doing a lot less with my time for the next few months. I'm still leaning Anaheim's way to win the hardest champonship in the world, but the playoffs are rife with plotlines, as always...


The CBC has reached a deal with the NHL to broadcast in Canada for another six years; you'd think it would be a done deal, given 54 years of Hockey Night in Canada, but it's no guarantee, given Comissioner Bettman's awkward track record... Speaking of which, hockey has made a couple reappearances on FOX!


A couple of years ago, my mother (otherwise a mostly well-meaning and rational woman) decided I really, really needed a book called Doga, which was a parody of yoga positions performed by dogs.

I have just read a report on this very thing. Life? Parody? Who can tell any more?


posted by Thursday at 8:04 pm 2 comments

April 01, 2007

I Do John Doe

A letter has appeared from… well, I’m sure you know at this point. Suffice to say, it’s someone who regularly shrieks that “The Left” is full of hateful, paranoid totalitarians that are out to destroy America.

In fact, she’s written a book about it, taking as her sources third-string blogs and comments left on websites. At the same time, of course, she conveniently ignores the folks on the right that spew invective daily that appear on television as authoritative voices; have their own network radio shows; and are first-string blogs.

So the formula runs: ignore the embarrassment of mainstream, right-wing commentators while complaining about less-read bloggers (and even the commenters) on the political left. If you can’t see the problem with that math, then how on earth do you have the wit to operate a computer?

In any case, she’s decided to rattle off this astoundingly hateful, paranoid and totalitarian piece of prose. In the spirit of today’s date (and of random spam received), I’ve decided to add a bit of commentary to it:

Dear Muslim Terrorist Plotter/Planner/Funder/Enabler/Apologist,

And I’ll tell you who you are, damn it! Though I have to ask: do all the folks in favour of the Iraq war count as “enablers”?

You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you.

Awww! That’s so sweet!

You are my enemy. And I am yours.

So, this whole complicated mess gets reduced to a simple, easy-to-understand format: game of tag. She knows her audience, I guess!

I am John Doe.

That what you tell the cop who pulls you over for DWI?

I am traveling on your plane. I am riding on your train. I am at your bus stop. I am on your street. I am in your subway car. I am on your lift.

“I’m right inside your head, man!” Hey, wait: “lift”? She is NOT British, so my guess is that her husband wrote this whole thing, and she just slapped her name on it. He’s not British either, but you know how economists get sometimes…

I am your neighbor. I am your customer. I am your classmate. I am your boss.

I am DEVO!

I am John Doe.

Which, this John Doe, the creation of a fictitious and power hungry fascist?

I will never forget the example of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who refused to sit back on 9/11 and let themselves be murdered in the name of Islam without a fight.

Gosh, thanks for reminding me – would have forgotten about that completely if you hadn’t said something!

I will never forget the passengers and crew members who tackled al Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid on American Airlines Flight 63 before he had a chance to blow up the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.

Who? Oh, right!

I will never forget the alertness of actor James Woods, who notified a stewardess that several Arab men sitting in his first-class cabin on an August 2001 flight were behaving strangely. The men turned out to be 9/11 hijackers on a test run.

Repeat after me: “We are all James Woods.”

I will act when homeland security officials ask me to "report suspicious activity."

…Whether you see it or not: acting is the most important part! I’m pretty sure, for instance, that my parents are doing something strange on Wednesday nights…

I will embrace my local police department's admonition: "If you see something, say something."

Oh! I know how this goes: “Sigh something, so something”, right? Childhood rhymes are soooo cool!

I am John Doe.

So I’ve heard. I’m not convinced: he’s frequently dead, for one thing.

I will protest your Jew-hating, America-bashing "scholars."

Hey! Not everyone who bashes America also hates Jews; and likewise, not everyone who hates Jews bashes America! Jeeze – get your prejudices straight!

I will petition against your hate-mongering mosque leaders.

And just those ones, right?

I will raise my voice against your subjugation of women and religious minorities.

Even if I ignored them pre-9/11.

I will challenge your attempts to indoctrinate my children in our schools.

Just like teh gays r doin!

I will combat your violent propaganda on the Internet.

But ignore literally decades of violent propaganda against you in the national mainstream.

I am John Doe.

Oh, for crying out loud: you are not! You’re either a Jewish economist or a Filipino commentator, okay? And frankly, neither one of those is “John”.

I will support law enforcement initiatives to spy on your operatives,[…]

And everyone else

[…]cut off your funding[…]

Better talk to Boy George, then.

[…]and disrupt your murderous conspiracies.[…]

Which are just everywhere!

I will oppose all attempts to undermine our borders and immigration laws.

Now that I’m here, anyways.”

I will resist the imposition of sharia principles and sharia law in my taxi cab, my restaurant, my community pool, the halls of Congress, our national monuments, the radio and television airwaves, and all public spaces.

Gosh, you’ll stop people from banning alcohol, shaving their pubic hair, cutting hands off thieves and whatnot? How very, very brave of you!

I will not be censored in the name of tolerance.

Translation: I want to act like a racist asshole, and you’re not allowed to do anything about it. If you complain, you’re just being “politically correct”.

I will not be cowed by your Beltway lobbying groups in moderates' clothing. I will not cringe when you shriek about "profiling" or "Islamophobia."

And yet, here I am cringing when I read this drivel. The world is just so unfair.

I will put my family's safety above sensitivity. I will put my country above multiculturalism.

“Because my country isn’t about people of all races, creeds and colors coming together in… uh… Wait a minute...”

I will not submit to your will.

Oh, but you might… (Note: NOT family friendly link!)

I will not be intimidated.

But will you ever figure out who you are?

I am John Doe.

Apparently not.


posted by Thursday at 7:33 pm 0 comments