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Thursday, February 27, 2003
 
No, bathroom in tower, tower! I'm not thrilled with the proposed design for the new World Trade Center (or are they gonna call it something else, like World Trade Center Memorial/BusinessSquare/Park). I know that the proposed design will probably not look a whole lot like what's eventually built, but I just wasn't thrilled with the little pictures I saw of the model. It sort of looks like the architect sat down at his desk with plenty of number 3 drafting pencils and a good supply of opium. I guess I preferred the THINK design, or whatever the hell it was called. Perhaps it was as impractical as this current design, but I liked the idea of two eiffel-esque towers reaching into the sky. Really, though, the design will change so much by the time it's implemented that I almost feel like the public comment period wasn't even worth the effort. PS: The commenting system is back.
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Tuesday, February 25, 2003
 
The Ghost and the Darkness Part II in my Weblog's continuing coverage of the 60 minutes last night when my house was without power It was a rainy day in Los Angeles. I was working the night squad out of robbery-homicide division; my commanding officer was Lieutenant Joe Seton... Or more accurately. I was doing homework when the power went out in my house. Suddenly everything was in darkness; darkness, eternal enemy of the caveman and bringer of awkward groping among teenagers. What bothered me most wasn't so much the darkness, but the way this loss of electrical power changed THE power in the house. Suddenly, the only creatures in the house who knew what the hell they were doing were our cats. Damn them and their sneaky night-vision I thought. Through the beams of my flashlight (which has become heavily magnetized because my mother keeps buying me magnets as toys), I saw their bright, searing eyes. Without the comforting hum of the computer to guide me, I was left in silence. What bothered me most was the way I would watch the silhoutted devil-like heads of the cats twist and turn at every tiny sound. Soon I began to suspect that perhaps the cats were not mere passive observers of this blackout. What if cats everywhere, in an attempt to gain power using a Pinky & the Brain-esque plot, had conspired to cut off the world's power. I worried. Our male cat, Marco, has recently become quite political. He makes endless rants about how paper money is a conspiracy perpetrated on the world by the Peyote Indian tribe and he constantly talks about dipping Jeff Bridges into a vat of spiders as punishment for unknown crimes. Luckily, before the cats could follow through on any of their evil machinations; power was restored. But now when I look into our cats' eyes, I wonder; are we all doomed to live in some sort of horrible world of the cats, dominated by 18th century economic plans?
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Monday, February 24, 2003
 
Hilarity I had planned to write something here. Something that I'll assume was brilliant and hilarious, while at the same time informative. Unfortunately, the power died here for about an hour and trying to do calculus with a flashlight tends to kick most things out of your mind. So instead, here, is my proposal for an exciting new episode of CSI. As we all know, the key to CSI's greatness lies in both its visual style and the interesting cases. So earlier today, I was thinking about interesting ways to kill people, as often happens during my time at school. Here's the way the case would play out. Some business manager collapses and dies in the middle of a meeting. CSI is on the case! Soon they find blue ink in his mouth and searching his office, they find a piece of chewed up plastic. How was he murdered? Well, you see this business manager, who we'll call Scott Torous for now, was always chewing on his pens. So the clever murderer injected poison into the pen's ink holder and then weakened the tip so that it would burst when the pen was chewed on. Wala! Murder from afar.
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Friday, February 21, 2003
 
The Nightclub Fire I'm still rather confused by this whole Rhode Island nightclub fire thing. First of all, even when the death toll was listed at 50, I thought that number was ludicrously high, but now it's all the way up to 96. I simply can't imagine how a nightclub with four functioning exits could end up killing that many people when they literally saw the fire start right before their eyes. Obviously I'm not trying to insult the victims; I just think it's really an astounding thing. I can only assume that the building must've had some sort of fatal design flaw that allowed the fire to spread extremely quickly. The worst image I saw on TV was from a video taken during the fire; there were 20 or so people all jammed in the main exit, with none getting through. That's really the worst sort of example you can find of human panic. I know I probably would've acted the same way, trying to push my way out of there, but the frantic pushing only meant more and more people got stuck in the door.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2003
 
Protests Here's an 18 meg quicktime movie of interviews with war protesters. It's obviously heavily edited to skew some things, but I think it still does a nice job of demonstrating the failure of the anti-war movement to really solidify behind any sort of alternative plans for dealing or not dealing with Iraq.
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Sunday, February 16, 2003
 
He loves me, really, he does Like a battered wife coming back for more, I once again tried to watch Smallville. Everytime I think this stupid Superman show has turned the corner, I come back and the show just starts slapping me upside the head. But today may have been the final straw. While playing street basketball, Superman, defender of truth, justice, and the American way, goaltended. It was blatant goaltending! Not only was the shot clearly coming down on its arc, but his hand, the ball, and the backboard were all touching at once, which is a clear violation of NBA rules. I've always thought Superman was one of the stupider comic book heroes, but I'll be damned if I'm going to watch his good name become sullied by what I'm sure will become more and more frequent violations of basketball ethics on his part. Oh yeah, and the show is slow and annoying and everyone is a fucking male-model.
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Footnote Well, Asparagirl was posting protest pictures and gave out a link to a site that had photoshopped some of them. Seeing as I have a rather dense collection of pointless historical facts with which to make confusing political humor, I thought I'd lend my hand:
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Convenient It was really nice of the free commenting service I use to go down the only time there were enough people visiting the site to actually make the commenting system useful.
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Saturday, February 15, 2003
 
Tivo-riffic Since yesterday, I've watched 4 episodes of John Doe, and 5 episodes of 24. It's so great. I just move from one excellent show to another without any commercials. If yesterday's episode of farscape was any good, and I watch that tonight, then this will likely be the longest stretch of great TV I've ever watched. And I've covered the gamut: Scifi space fantasy, crime drama, political thriller, etc... I love you Tivo.
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Friday, February 14, 2003
 
A sentimental tribute to Dolly Breaking away for a moment from the gripping discussion of whether I met with CIA spooks or merely very bored elderly men who had been carrying around fake CIA IDs for 15 years just in case the opportunity to interrupt a college interview came along, I'd like a moment to speak about Dolly, the cloned sheep. I was going to say that Dolly met her maker today, but that'd be inaccurate because she met her maker (Ian Wilmut) everyday of her life. Already cloning has rendered one euphemism for death inaccurate. I had a peculiar affinity for Dolly because in sixth grade I did my first High School style report on her birth. And of course, from Dolly we learned why people seem to see Sheep in their sleep; they're very funny animals. Just today I had to smile watching an old clip of Dolly bleating and moving around her stall like an angry old woman waiting for her dry cleaning. There's been much talk of the genetic horrors involved with Dolly. Unlike most Scifi movies, where cloning mistakes lead to grotesque creatures that eventually melt or shoot lasers from their eyes, Dolly's problems were rather confusing. She was genetically identical to the sheep she was cloned from, yet she grew up to be overweight, with arthritis, and lung disease. It's disturbing that she died so much younger than her life-span, but this Washington Post article says lung disease is common with sheep that live indoors. It's been said that Dolly may have prematurely aged because of her cloned nature, which certainly paints a disturbing future for any human clones down the line. But even thinking of all the moral and scientific repurcussions of her death, let us remember some things. She was just a sheep. She sat in her pen. She bleated at reporters. Good-bye dear Dolly. You can safely know that you are the most significant and well-known sheep in the history of sheepdom, and your picture will grace biology notebooks for generations to come.
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Beverly Hills, edible dogs, and the CIA I had a college interview today for Georgetown at a cafe in Beverly Hills. I found Beverly Hills disquieting. It was like a big society of me's. Everyone had the same dull casual dress that I wear; it was just a sea of khakis and blue sweaters. And everyone had such clean-cut haircuts. The flood of high-class cars was made more noticeable because it rained yesterday so everything looks shiny and new. And finally, of course, everyone had cellphones and sat in the cafe having high-concept conversations while drinking special mocha blends. I just fit in way too well. And what's more, I was annoyed by how safe the streets were. Now I'm a real push-over and I tend to have ludicrously high amounts of money in my flimsy hand-me-down wallet, but everywhere you looked there was an easier target than me. But there was no one to take advantage. Even the homeless people had an air of sophistication that puts traditional homeless people to shame. These were homeless people with clear and direct pronunciation and a sense of when asking for change is appropriate. These are the sort of homeless people you could entrust your tiny dog to without fear of them eating it. Anyway, after a long wait doing crossword puzzles, the interview began. It tended to cover mostly my life and then shifted to what the college offered, with one brief interruption by the CIA. During the interview, two large men boldly sat down next to us. The white-bearded gentlemen in front of me asked if we spoke Russian in Russian, then he asked if we spoke French in French, and finally he conversed briefly with my interviewer in Spanish. It should be noted that he switched accents flawlessly between each exchange. Then he said, "Young men who want to join the CIA need to be able to discuss things in many languages." He flashed a piece of CIA identification that looked about 15 years old, and then said in a vaguely British accent, "We're here to protect you all you know." He then left, and the interview never quite got back on track. Analyzing the event, it's clear that the two gentlemen (probably retired CIA), heard my interviewer mention that the CIA sometimes recruits people from Georgetown, and then promptly listened to our conversation for 10 minutes.
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Thursday, February 13, 2003
 
I need to sit down I'd like to thank Scott (who thanked his friend [something unpronouncable]) for pointing me to this site about MST3K. Scott covered the many flaws with this aged article over on his site. So really, I have little to add to what Scott quite rightly wrote except for this. That article was physically painful for me to read. There are so many things wrong with it that I'm amazed Scott even managed a coherent argument against it. I pondered some detailed insulting of its points, but it's impossible to view any one section of the article without being overwhelmed. There's so much sheer stupidity involved that anything other than an epileptic fit would be unable to fully convey how many things are wrong with the article. Everytime I searched for a single point of attack I was distracted. I'd start to think of something to say about the piece's bloated syntax and verbiage, but then I'd suddenly be struck by how pretentious merely putting an entire article in italics is. What's perhaps most frustrating is how the author struggles to define MST3K as a juvenile puppet show (whose tiny viewership of a few million people apparently set Western culture back 200 years). It reminded me of how the media at large has struggled to make me feel bad for playing videogames. The closest parallel I could find to this article in my mind was an article made a year or two ago that tried to paint the new Star Trek show enterprise as sexist dogma designed to undermine women. What these two articles share is a devastating method of attacking my higher brain functions. They both begin with laughable premises and then devolve into examples taken so far out of context that one can only assume the authors didn't even believe what they were writing. In the MST3K article this involves the bit about the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, whereas in the Star Trek article it involved taking one comment in the first episode of Enterprise to claim that characters in the show supported the trade of women as imprisoned sex slaves. I shouldn't have even written this much because Scott wrote copiously about the article (see, I can use big multisyllabic words just like Mr. Fujiwara!), but this is just one of those articles so offensive to human thought that I felt the need to kick and scream a little.
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Forgotten Poet? Well, Hitler was a disgruntled art student. Maybe Bin Laden's problem isn't with the Great Satan but actually with his 10th grade literature teacher who told him his poetry was cliched and overdone: From Bin Laden's latest purported statements (I still say he's dead): 'In this final year I hurl myself and my steed with my soul at the enemy. Indeed on my demise I will become a martyr,' Osama bin Laden purportedly says in 53-minute tape obtained by the British-based Al-Ansaar news agency. 'I pray my demise isn't on a coffin bearing green mantles. I wish my demise to be in the eagle's belly.'
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Wednesday, February 12, 2003
 
Look away Here's this link (School Humor Mag). No one reading that page who doesn't attend or hasn't in the past attended Harvard-Westlake High School will find that page funny, and even those who fit that criteria will likely find the page lacking. [Rodney Dangerfield Voice]I tell ya, that page's humor is rough.[/Voice] "How rough is it" [Rodney Dangerfield Voice]It's so rough that there are many dangling phrases and unnatural run-on sentences being used to convey rather simplistic humor, which already has a very limited audience.[/Voice] Sadly I wrote most of it. Designed most of the webpage (which I assure you, only looks strange because the page was redesigned for printing purposes). And made all the graphics. My friend Merritt was rather insistent that we make the webpage. I was somewhat cool to the idea, which is why it took him 5 months of continuous prodding to get me to write 2 pages of poorly phrased garbage. Still, I think there's a simple elegance to it. I'm still quite fond of the title (written by me), the title of the first issue (written by me), the picture of the wolverine (captured and photographed by me), the color pallette (done by me), and the only two funny jokes (one written by me, one by Merritt) on the page.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2003
 
Anthony Michael Hall is no longer a punchline I believe it was the first episode in which Mike Myers hosted Saturday Night Live, but I was reminded of something Tim Meadows said when telling Myers to host the show for all the cast members who'd never get the chance to host: "Do it for the Anthony Michael Halls!" Well, I'm here to say that Anthony Michael Hall is currently starring and executive producing what I'm going to declare the second best scifi series on television. And it'll be the best soon enough because Farscape's almost off the air. The Dead Zone is a god damned gem. Maybe I'll change my tune later on, but this show is riding a streak of great episodes that rivals any I've ever seen. I watched the show somewhat irregularly in its first season, not really getting hooked until I got to see the show in marathon form. Then last year's season finale had such a fantastic ending that I knew I wouldn't be able to stop watching. It was literally the perfect type of finale. There were big changes that affected the overall plot of the show, but at the same time, while the ending was a cliffhanger of sorts, it wasn't the type of cheap "Will he or won't he die!" plotline I've come to expect from the likes of Stargate, Enterprise, and Farscape. But, and believe me, I know that I'm rambling and that none of you really care about this, the second season has been a thing of beauty. Such consistency! And I don't mean the type of consistency where there's only a few shitty episodes. I mean, EVERY GOD DAMNED EPISODE IS FANTASTIC! The only shows I can compare it to are the CSI's. The CSI's are a wonder because both shows can be incredibly formulaic, yet they never cease to be enthralling. A large part of this owes to the visual style, though the credit should really go to the plot structure created by that visual style. The Dead Zone is quite similar. It's almost as if constricting the writers by trying to force them to figure out ways to use the shows' signature visual tricks makes them create great plotlines. Sunday's Dead Zone had a complicated plot that started off silly and ended brilliantly. Our protoganist, Johnny, saves a small boy from getting hit by a car, and in the classic silly TV/movie style, of course gets hit by the car himself. While being treated in the hospital for apparently invisible injuries, he's given donor blood. Now the show center's around the visions Johnny gets when he touches people and objects. So of course, having 6 other people's blood in him makes him a vision machine, leading up to him witnessing the future death of one of the blood donators, without knowing who or where they are. The second half of the show followed his and his friend's attempts to figure out which of the donors was going to die, and how they could be saved. (don't worry, only a paragraph or so more) Now this is hard to describe, but when Johnny has his visions, basically the visual style of the show changes in many complicated ways. In his visions, Anthony Michael Hall plays whoever's future he's viewing, so we end up with episodes like tonight where he played the main character, a pregnant woman, a bike messenger, a teenage bookstore clerk, a depressed man, a fat oyster-lover, and a homeless Gulf War vet. And then we add the trick that'll probably make you cringe upon first reading its name, the matrix effect. The difference is that Johnny's never seeing bullets flying by or explosions frozen in time. In a very low-tech effect, he sometimes simply sees an entire scene filled with hundreds of people, perfectly frozen. It's really quite impressive to behold, and combined with his visions, it creates an engrossing visual narrative that makes even the dullest storyline fantastic to watch. So, finally, watch the Dead Zone. Do it for the Anthony Michael Halls!
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Monday, February 10, 2003
 
Everyone already fucking knows! Look, I'm very happy that everyone on the internet is excited that Steven, the Dell Computer guy, was arrested for possession of marijuana. But as much as I could see how the arrest of a guy you've never met (for something that will land him perhaps 30 days of jail-time if he attacks the judge during sentencing) is cause for celebration, PLEASE STOP POSTING ABOUT IT! Even the very first person on the net to write: "Dude, you're getting arrested for pot!" wasn't being clever. If Britney Spears is captured by Islamic terrorists and sold into the white slave trade, you're not being clever by writing "I'm a slave for youuuu!!!!" I don't pretend to be the foremost authority on humor, but for something to demonstrate wit, there have to be a few people on this earth who couldn't have thought up the same joke if given 30 seconds and a box of crayolas.
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An Education Since Scott soaks up knowledge like a pyrex plate soaks up water, I've decided it's up to me to educate the "Bloggerdom" at large. Let's say that 95% of the time you post inoffensive content (inoffensive is defined as not being offensive). Then one day, you decide to post something offensive (offensive is defined as not being inoffensive). For instance, Scott posted a link to boobies. Cheers to him, you might say! Cheers, indeed. What you fail to realize though is the concept of NSFW. NSFW is the abbreviation used by web forums and chat rooms around the globe to explain that whatever pot of content lies at the end of that particular hyperlink rainbow, is in fact, Not Safe For Work. Not Safe For Work is a largely self-explanatory term, but then again, some of you find Scott to be funny, so I'll dumb it down (*rimshot*). Some people like to visit blogs and web forums while at work because in today's hyper efficient go-go world of modern business, 40% of all work time is actually spent whoring webpages. But employers are not willing to let their company dollars be wasted on just anything! It's fine and dandy to spend 6 hours shopping for harmonicas at work, but you look at a picture of a naked lady, however fetching she may be, and there'll be so many lawsuits flying back and forth by lunch time that you'll need to spend the rest of your life sucking quarters out of vending machines just to keep from starving (special note: in a pinch, eat the dirt from ash trays. It's quickly replaced and helps fill a hungry tummy). And so, when you feel the need to randomly post a young lady's mammaries, please remember to preface that link with NSFW. This expression is used to cover both school and work. The only real exception is NSFA. This is a level above NSFW. It stands for Not Safe For Anyone. In general, this means that people with bladder conditions or a history of heart disease should not click the link because it most likely contains bodily orifices stretched so wide that you could drive tractor trailers through them. Class Dismissed.
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Sunday, February 09, 2003
 
Rugged Click for Cross-Promotion gone mad Pew! Pew! Zoom! Tremble before my mighty laser shooting walkie-talkie of doom! *cough* "Jim, if it's not too much trouble, would you put your new cell phone away. We're trying to have a meeting here."
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Saturday, February 08, 2003
 
Set Threat Level to ludicrous speed! It's become incredibly clear that we will never see a threat level of "green" in my lifetime. The agencies are simply too scared that that's when a terrorist will strike and everyone will realize how full of shit this ranking system is. Then again, it could simply be that ... It ain't easy bein' green.
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[beat] Thanks to the new monstrously popular 20/20 special about Michael Jackson, we now know even more clearly how big a crazed freak he is. I have to say, the more I hear about this guy, the more I think that maybe the Islamic fundamentalists may be right about us. Hell, isn't Michael Jackson mentioned as an example of US evil by the Iraqi torturer in Three Kings?
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Friday, February 07, 2003
 
Quick Note I have no idea what the hell is wrong with the left box on the page. Frankly, I have no idea how to fix what's wrong and I don't even know how many people are affected. My computer at home running IE6 renders the page just as it always has, but in the last few weeks, the computers at school have started butchering the left side of the page (the area with the site and archive links). If you have a moment, please let me know how it looks to you by using the comments section and telling me what browser you're using would help. I've never exactly been an html guru, and I'm a pretty IE-centric guy (sorry 2% of you using other browsers), but hopefully I'll fix this and clean up some of the inconsistencies with the margins while I'm at it.
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Wednesday, February 05, 2003
 
Interesting I read an interesting article in Time magazine today. It's all about why the shuttle is a money-guzzling, impractical, astronaut-killing machine. It seemed a little too one-sided for my tastes, but I thought it had a good core argument, namely that we really don't need to have all these expensive manned missions when most of what we're doing really doesn't require much human interaction. The article falls rather flat in trying to describe the shuttle as some sort of flying executioner. Sure, there have been big problems, but I hardly think two shuttle disasters in 22 years is monstrous. The author is, however, probably quite right that NASA really has no good reason to keep sending so many people into space when it merely serves to make all their tasks more expensive. Obviously, not having many manned launches into space could hurt NASA's much beloved publicity, but then again, wasn't everyone waiting excitedly for the first pictures from that doomed Mars explorer satelite? And that certainly didn't have any people strapped aboard. Unforunately, I have neither the scientific nor common sense to really judge his specific proposals all that well, but they sounded alright to me. Basically the article reccomends shifting the space program so that we use more throw-away unmanned rockets to deliver payloads and use a very specialized smaller craft for situations when we need to put people into space.
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So wrong This is from the IRC chat log in which that guy killed himself live on the internet. The drug Overdose guy is "ripper." [ 02:51:06 ] [ ripper ] u are so fucking stupid [ 02:51:16 ] [ grphish ] we're not the ones about to fucking die That's a pretty funny comment, in a horribly gruesome and awful sort of way.
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Tuesday, February 04, 2003
 
Drudge I was thinking about doing a detailed analysis of everything that's wrong with news world's guilty pleasure, TheDrudgeReport, but instead I think I can convey everything that's wrong with his site by simply posting the three pictures currently festooning his mainpage:
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Monday, February 03, 2003
 
Factual From now on I get all my news from the internet: Einstein's brain must be spinning in its jar. Actually, the word light looks photoshopped. I guess Einstein can relax.
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Suicide, Thy Name is Ripper I'm sure you all heard about the guy who committed suicide on a live webcam while guys in a chatroom rooted him on. (there's even a log of the chat: Here) I shall try to act as a window into this subculture of the internet, which I shall label "IRC geeks." When I'm done, I hope that you'll see that those rooting for this kid to die were actually not too far out of line. The IRC Geek is an advanced form of the forum geek. That's not to say that an IRC Geek is always necessarily a fan of web forums who has evolved, or devolved if you will, into an IRC lover; I'm merely stating that from a psychological standpoint, the IRC Geek is really just a less coherent and slightly more social variant of the web forum surfer. There are a few constants in the world of internet chatting and surfing. 1. Someone is always having problems with their girlfriend (whether mythical or real). 1(a). Someone is always asking a sex ed question so basic that it could be answered by Asparagirl's cats. 2. Microsoft is spelled using a dollar sign instead of an "s" atleast 80% of the time. For instance: "Doze fukkerz at M$ should all get M.S. and die." 3. Atleast once a week, someone claims they're going to kill themselves and then shows up an hour later laughing. So you see, the problem is that too many people have cried wolf too many times, and now no one cares when someone mentions killing themselves. Who's to blame? ... Kenneth Branagh.
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Sunday, February 02, 2003
 
A joke With the whole nation gripped by tragedy and sadness, I felt it was my personal duty to lift everyone's spirits up by their boot straps (it's a little known fact that boot straps are worn by nearly 4 out of 5 spirits). And so, here is a copy and pasted joke: Are you a Raiders fan? The Coach had put together the perfect team for the Oakland Raiders. The only thing that was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges, and even the high schools, but he couldn't find a quarterback who could ensure a Super Bowl win. Then one night, while watching CNN, he saw a war-zone scene in Afghanistan. In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Afghanistan soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand grenade straight into a 3rd-story window 200 yards away, ka-boom! He threw another hand grenade into a group of 10 soldiers 100 yards away, ka-blooey! Then a car passed, going 90 mph, bulls-eye! "I've got to get this guy!" Coach said to himself. "He has the perfect arm!" So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football, and the Raiders eventually go on to win the Super Bowl. The young Afghani is hailed as the Great Hero of football, and when the Coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants to do is to call his mother. "Mom," he says into the phone, "I just won the Super Bowl!" "I don't want to talk to you," the old woman says. "You deserted us. You are not my son." "I don't think you understand, Mother!" the young man pleads. "I just won the greatest sporting event in the world. I'm here among thousands of my adoring fans." "No, let me tell you," his mother retorts. "At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and this week your sister was raped in broad daylight." The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says "I'll never forgive you for making us move to Oakland!"
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Saturday, February 01, 2003
 
Capitalism at its best One post about today's very sad Space Shuttle event. Rather disgustingly and predictably, Ebay went crazy after the shuttle crash. Columbia memorablia all over the place, and a few people even tried to sell pieces of debris, though ebay canceled those sales.
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