May 31, 2010

Altoholic | Official WoW Machinima Music Video

You change your class
like a druid changes form
Yeah you have the most
alts that I've ever seen
And you seem to think
that's the right thing to do
I should know
that you can't really play.

You're a lock then a rogue,
A mage then a priest,
You're Melee then range,
Use mana then rage.
You're cloth then you're mail
Use pet then you're solo
You tank then you heal,
You skin then you mil.
You really wanna play WoW?
But I bet you really don't know how.
You're a lock then a rogue,
A mage then a priest,
You're melee then range,
Use mana then rage.

You used to have
one main just like us.
Played it well. You had fun.
Now it seems you are done.
Used to raid like a pro
Now you're playing as a twink.
I can see
that you can't really play.


Come to some sense here!
Your main's still in TBC gear!
Stop playing new alts please
And start leveling your main!

You change your class like a druid changed form....

You're a lock then a rogue,
A mage then a priest,
You're Melee then range,
Use mana then rage.
You're cloth then you're mail
Use pet then you're solo
You tank then you heal,
You skin then you mil.
(Repeat Chorus)

May 29, 2010

Modern Religions like Wicca...

Wicca, Druidism and other neo-pagan faiths offer a great many things to their roughly one million adherents. Spiritual fulfillment, friendly communities of like-minded believers and some of the best drug fueled sex parties you'll find this side of Lichtenstein. But it's all good, people have been wearing immense hooded robes, and sacrificing goats around bubbling cauldrons since years before we had electricity, right?

Most practitioners will acknowledge that Wicca as a recognizable faith is about 60 years-old. The neo-Druidic faiths popped up around the mid-1700s. In both cases, the leaders of either movement claimed to be bringing back some ancient religions.

How old are they really? A few years younger than the con men who popularized them. Most of modern codified Wiccan thought comes back to three people who just sort of made it all up in the late 19th and early 20th century. "Old" Welsh and Druidic traditions don't fare much better; they have their genesis in 1792.

So who made it up? Trust us when we say that the average author will write literally anything for sex, drugs, money or all of the above.

Charles Leland, Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner all published books that, they claimed, held the ancient secrets of witchcraft. Leland pretended to have learned the doctrines of Old Italian witchcraft from a sorceress named Maddalena. Margaret Murray is the woman who coined the term "burning times," while Gerald Gardner asserted that Wicca began in pre-history and went "underground" throughout most of recorded history.

Gardner was probably the chief founder. Some people even call him the father of Wicca, as he founded the tradition from which most current blends of Wicca descend.

Gardner claimed to have gathered traditions and beliefs from surviving covens that had "gone to ground" centuries or millennia ago. Of course, there's absolutely no way to verify any of Gardner's claims. We do know that he plagiarized quite a bit from Aleister Crowley. Also hurting his case is the approximately zero archeological, written or any other sort of other record of any of the practices he "brought back." Since "underground" is archeologists favorite place to look, that doesn't bode well.

The foundations of neo-Druidic and "ancient" Welsh cultural traditions go back a little further. In 1792 a hallucination-prone laudanum addict named Iolo Morgannwg (originally Edward Williams) started to hold Druidic ceremonies in London. He wrote up lists of rituals and practices and set up gorseddau, or Druish sects, across Wales.

Long after his death, all of Morgannwg's writings were revealed to be outright forgeries or total rewrites of older works. To Iolo's credit, he only used his newfound religion to make a ton of money selling books and (presumably) to sleep with girls in the 18th century counter-culture. We suppose that makes him kind of a dick, but deep down, that's why we write every article we've ever posted.

May 27, 2010

taco shaped object.

Wikipedia: "The taco predates the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. There is anthropological evidence that the indigenous people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos filled with small fish. Writing at the time of the Spanish conquistadors, Bernal Díaz del Castillo documented the first taco feast enjoyed by Europeans, a meal which Hernán Cortés arranged for his captains in Coyoacán. It is not clear why the Spanish used their word, "taco", to describe this indigenous food."

Once upon a dice rolling RPG. There was an inquiry for a description of an object in game. Being the person running the game (Game Master, GM or Dungeon Master DM). It was behooving for me to provide said illumination on the item in question. Sadly there was no real definition on hand and sadly any explanation would be moot as there was no bearing on this item and the plot line being followed.

In other words the object was a dunsel.

Players being players in this situation are ready to pounce on the most innocuous things and sometimes require some steering. (In DM terms: "Sometimes you have to leave the tavern to start an adventure").

My mind, unbidden, came up with the nonsensical phrase "It is clearly a Taco Shaped Object." This provided a laugh and the understanding that the players were barking up the wrong tree.

Years later I would still hear of my compatriots utilize this phrase in place of the less civil "I don't know and it doesn't matter!"

For some reason this morning I googled Taco out of curiosity over the origin of the name. Lo and behold the above copy paste. The last line was the one that made me smile and realize that perhaps my mind is better at logical nonsense then I thought...

May 26, 2010

Penn Jillette

I am a fan of Penn and Teller. Other then the colorful metaphors that get tossed out in an over done manner.

A while back Penn had a videoblog on his encounter with an Christian which was thoughtful and insightful. I posted it on my blog.

Anyways, last night on the George Lopez show Penn and Teller made an appearance talking about The Showtime show: Penn & Teller: Bullshit. This follows in the Houdini tradition of exposing frauds. Not being a Lopez fan I rarely see the show but as the serendipity that is channel surfing, I came across this segment.

I was able to find the dialog on Newsbusters. It was rather remarkable:

LOPEZ: And have you gotten any shit for stuff that you guys have covered that people have been upset about?

JILLETTE: Well, you know, we’ve done heavy stuff. I mean, we've done the Vatican. We've done Mother Teresa. We've done the Dalai Lama. We've done really, really heavy subjects. And I've got to say it was actually a shock doing the show, the religious communities in the United States of America are the most tolerant people worldwide. I mean, we did really aggressive stuff we believe strongly, and mostly got letters from Christians and Catholics saying we really like how passionately and clearly you put out your ideas. Very few nut cases. However, the nut cases were the 9/11 conspiracy people, who we thought, you know, they're kind of nerdy, they'll be okay. They actually showed up at the offices to attack some of the writers, you know, verbally. And the chiropractors, chiropractors, we did the show on chiropracty, and they went absolutely bug nutty, and like 75 chiropractors showed up at our show at Rio, watched our whole show, then came up after and said we want you to know because of your Bullshit show we are boycotting you. And I went, 75 of you have just bought tickets in order to tell us, I guess not only is your medical science bad, your math really sucks. When you're doing a boycott, you don't give the people money. You don't show up, give them money, and then say now we're boycotting.

As far as the Catholic show goes an expose was released by The Catholic League.

May 25, 2010

Clueless incompetent... Obama..

President Obama talking to small business owners:

"Being a successful small business person isn’t just about collecting a profit or outperforming your competition. It’s about contributing to the success of this country’s economy"

This should not be an issue of big government versus small government. This is an issue that involves putting our government on the side of the small-business owners who create most of the jobs in this country.

Holy Crap! Who is advising him?

Footprints *with twist*

May 24, 2010

Connors World

(As stated before in my notes, Connor is my 12 year old son who has Autism.)

We have been informed of our travel plans this summer. The declaration was put forth by our 12 year old, stated in no-nonsense terms. This is what will happen...

School ends June 10th. Then we pack the suitcase, and drive to hotel called Holiday inn. We put on swim suits and swim in the pool, go to sleep. Then have waffles and drive north to Canada.

Pretty straightforward right? It does actually fit pretty well with what we are going to do, with good reason. Connor likes for things to be static, ritualistic if you will. He does not handle change. Everyone has different ways of dealing with ambiguity, some better then others. Connor has been able to see and be comforted by finding the static within the change.

He is adaptive in his reasoning. If we go to a Quality Inn, instead of Holiday Inn, he will accept the difference, because he can see that it is still a hotel. Now if the hotel does not have a pool or the waffle maker breakfast. Things are going to begin to get dicey. Yes, we can work him through the situation and he will emerge from the other side. The thing is this, we will probably have to help him through other things, so why not accommodate what we can, as it provides him a degree of comfort and control.

Communication is something most people overlook when it comes to kids. Imagine someone obviously hurting and crying. This person is not able to relate the problem. It could be physical, it could be mental, it could be emotional. As a parent it is paramount to help and without the knowing what is wrong, the knowing how to help, is nigh impossible. It can be heart wrenching. It is...

When Connor can relate to us something like vacation plans. We engage the communication fully. We will make corrections to his expectations. We have also, purposefully, altered plans in order to teach him he can deal with ambiguity. So when unforeseen events occur he has those skills.

No one is crazy about change. The more draconian the more we push back. It is our nature. Yet, our environment is one of near constant change. I suppose the human condition is one of conflict.


I do not enjoy driving. My wife prefers to drive (over anyone). It works out rather well.

Complimentary attitudes like this are nice to have. My Pop states the key to a marriage is finding things to do that make you have things in common. Mom and Pop played bridge, participated in square dancing and had many trips, outings and cruises. All of which gave them things to talk about.

I count myself very lucky that Tina and I, in a given Venn Diagram, have quite a large subset of similarities.

Laser of a shot!

He finds a puck size gap.

May 20, 2010

WoW TLA in song.

Wonderful parody of Single Ladies, set in World of Warcraft.

All The Ninja Raiders (all the ninja raiders)
All The Ninja Raiders (all the ninja raiders)
All The Ninja Raiders (all the ninja raiders)

All The Ninja Raiders Now put your hands up

I’m up in a pug
you’re on a flying rug
I’m doin' my hunter thing
you're rockin' mad heals
i got mad skeelz I’m bustin out the serpent sting
we're burning through mobs
some cloth gloves drop
but you’re not payin attention
everyone rolls greed but I roll need and now you’re all mad at me

But if you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
don't be mad cuz it's not like I peed on i
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it

If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
You’re only crying right now cuz a hunter got it
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it

I’m in 10 man OS
I’m toppin’ DPS
killin' some trash with my pet
they drop a nice staff I need it and laugh
everyone gets all upset
I need no permission,
did I mention everything's a hunter weapon
I yell good luck with Sarth And then I just hearth
And I really wonder if they’ll miss me

If you like then you shoulda rolled need on it
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
Yes I see that it’s got plus heal on it
But if you like It then you shoulda rolled need on it

If you like then you shoulda rolled need on it
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
I don’t care that you claim that your priest won it
Cuz if you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it


Don’t tell me that you don’t secretly Want to be just like me
And need every b o e That you see
And find a guild that’ll take you Into raids to Upgrade you
And gear you For Ulduar and Beyond
And then when no one’s on
You can go, grab all the gold, /gquit and you’re gone

All The Ninja Raiders (all the ninja raiders)
All The Ninja Raiders (all the ninja raiders)
All The Ninja Raiders (all the ninja raiders)
All The Ninja Raiders Now put your hands up


If you like then you shoulda rolled need on it
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
Don’t be mad when you see I put berserker on it
Cuz if you like It then you shoulda rolled need on it
If you like then you shoulda rolled need on it
If you like it then you shoulda rolled need on it
It’s not my fault that you clicked greed on it Cuz
if you like It then you shoulda rolled need on it
QQ more

Fun stuff but is so genre specific as to obfuscate the meaning. So as a public service I will attempt to break it down From World of Warcraft (WoW) into human (n00b)

First off 'Ninja Raider' this is someone in game who is greedy and employs all sorts of tricks (some mentioned in this song) to get the good stuff from game (ph4t l3wt aka Fat Loot)

pug is a TLA for Pick Up Group. Many of the adventures in WoW require additional players to help you out. If you do not have people you know, or they are busy elsewhere you can attempt to get a group of random players.

Flying rug refers to a mode of transportation in game.

Hunter is a class of player character in game. Hunters have a pet that will fight for them while they tend to use a distance weapon. They have quite a bit of versatility in game.

'mad heals' 'mad skeelz' is a reference to being very good at something. Healers in WoW keep you alive by replenishing something called health. skeelz is simply skills.

'Serpent sting' is a hunter skill that does damage over time (dot). After this skill is applied to the 'bad guy' (or mob) every second it will eliminate health.

The use of the term 'mob' for enemy or 'bad guy' goes way back to one of the oldest internet game clients called MUD (mutual user dungeon). It referred to an enemy that was mobile, in other words it did not stay in one place and allow you to choose to attack or not.

Cloth gloves refer to armor in wow. Armor provides additional skills and protection in game. There are many different types of armor and different classes are limited by what they can and should use. Cloth is not great at stopping damage so it is used primarily for those characters who stand back and try to avoid up close combat. Hunters use Leather and Mail armor.

The 'roll greed' or 'roll need' is a game mechanic in WoW that allows a group to access to some loot that appears on a mob after it dies. A window appears that lets you choose greed (which means you want it for profit) or need (which means you can use this item to make a character perform at a higher level. The system will award the item to the people rolling Need first then Greed second. In other words, if you are the only one in group who says 'Need' you will get that item.

In this context a hunter rolling need on on a cloth item is bad form or Ninja Raiding the loot.

Next comes the line of QQ's. QQ is a letter emoticon for crying eyes. So someone saying QQ is saying 'go cry about it'. Typically you see 'QQ more' (go cry about it more!) or 'Less QQ more pew pew' (Less crying more fighting).

'10 man OS' is an adventure setting in game (instance) called the Obsidian Shrine. In there you fight dragons and it needs some good cooperation from the players if you want to survive.

DPS is Damage Per Second. The more damage you can produce the faster the mobs die. Trash is the lesser mobs that are more annoying then dangerous. So the hunter has her pet killing the annoying 'trash mobs' to allow the other players to fight the dragon without interference.

'Everything is a Hunter weapon' refers to the fact that hunters can use any style of weapon in game and any bonus ability that a weapon has can aid a hunter (some less then others).

Sarth is Sartharion the big bad guy (boss) in the Obsidian Shrine. Loosing a top DPS can mean death for everyone.

b o e means Bind on Equip. In WoW items can be passed among other players or even sold at an in game auction. These items are designated as bind on equip, because they are transferrable until someone 'attaches them' to their character then they become soul-bound and can only be used on that character. The other types of gear are BoP (bind on pickup) which cannot be transferred ever.

A guild is a number of people in game who are members of a group that helps each other out. These groups have a cache of goods in a bank that can have mutual access for mutual benefit.

Raids are larger adventures (like the OS above) that require 10, 25, or 40 players working together. These have the highest difficulty and give the best rewards.

Ulduar is one of these larger adventures or Raid Instances.

/gquit is a command you can type into game to leave the guild you are a member.

beserker is an enchantment that is favored with hunters.

So there you go. More then you wanted to know about a subject you might have had a mild curiosity about... Thank you for reading (if you made it this far.)

May 19, 2010

Who really Cares?

Economist Arthur Brooks wrote a must-read book on volunteerism. Who Really Cares.

The conventional wisdom runs like this: Liberals are charitable because they advocate government redistribution of money in the name of social justice; conservatives are uncharitable because they oppose these policies. But note the sleight of hand: Government spending, according to this logic, is a form of charity.

Let us be clear: Government spending is not charity. It is not a voluntary sacrifice by individuals. No matter how beneficial or humane it might be, no matter how necessary it is for providing public services, it is still the obligatory redistribution of tax revenues. Because government spending is not charity, sanctimonious yard signs do not prove that the bearers are charitable or that their opponents are selfish. (On the contrary, a public attack on the integrity of those who don’t share my beliefs might more legitimately constitute evidence that I am the uncharitable one.)

To evaluate accurately the charity difference between liberals and conservatives, we must consider private, voluntary charity. How do liberals and conservatives compare in their private giving and volunteering? Beyond strident slogans and sarcastic political caricatures, what, exactly, do the data tell us?

The data tell us that the conventional wisdom is dead wrong. In most ways, political conservatives are not personally less charitable than political liberals—they are more so.

…People living in conservative states volunteer more than people in liberal states. In 2003, the residents of the top five “Bush states” were 51 percent more likely to volunteer than those of the bottom five, and they volunteered an average of 12 percent more total hours each year. Residents of these Republican-leaning states volunteered more than twice as much for religious organizations, but also far more for secular causes. For example, they were more than twice as likely to volunteer to help the poor.

May 18, 2010

Spilling Oil

For the longest time I wondered why the US pays top dollar to another country for oil. Oil production is messy and hazardous, how fair is it that we impose our oil buying will on others?

Then we get this oil spill off the Gulf, which is a horrible thing that needs to be stopped and cleaned up. British Petroleum being the operators have been working to stem the flow. So far they have not been able too. As I am reading I came across this "Since January 2005, inspectors issued just one minor infraction for the rig. That strong track record led the agency last year (2009) to herald the Deepwater Horizon as an industry model for safety". Then it blew up??!!

Then I read about the herculean efforts being made to stem the leakage. This boom being lowered the 6.6 miles down to cap and siphon off the oil. Around 1/5th of the leak... Which begs the question, why drill 6.6 miles when we have access in much, MUCH shallower water? Of course it is the government regulations and the environmentalist mindset that makes it nigh impossible to provide our own oil for our own use.

The MSM is reporting doom story after doom story. Typically focusing on the worst case scenario. Although, some are reporting on where the disaster actually is located. Many invoking the Exxon Valdez proportions.

Which brought to my mind the reports that the ocean is self cleaning. And the technology for mitigation is impressive as well.
Booms -- Floating barriers placed around the oil or around whatever is leaking the oil.
Skimmers -- Boats, vacuum machines, and oil-absorbent plastic ropes that skim spilled oil from the water's surface after booms have it corralled.
Chemical dispersants -- Materials that break down the oil into its chemical constituents. This helps disperse the oil and make it less harmful to wildlife and shorelines.

Yes its bad, its location makes it worse. It is a good that they are trying to mitigate. Lets hope they get containment and cleanup done quickly.

May 17, 2010

The Yard

Grass Grows fast in Oregon. Getting dry enough weather to cut is problematic. Having to unclog wet grass every 10 feet is annoying. Next is having to bag the first couple of cuts of the season. Mulching mowers are a godsend. However, they only work if you do not have tall tall grass.

Our mower is a self propelled Toro with an electric starter. Really it has a Briggs Stratton engine, which is the more important. Trevor is our lawn cutter. He has done a better job each proceeding year.

We got three mows in this season. Each time the grass grew insanely after. I hope this last one will allow us to go into more of a weekly mow then not.

May 13, 2010

Obama's Harriet Meyers

Must read Article about Obama's Supreme mistake appointment.

Mark Shae explores Obama's Harriet Meyers.

Obama administration follows the Peter Principal.

Kagan may have been an excellent law school dean.

As a jurist she has no experience at all. Nada, zilch, none so she would be mediocre at best.

I can see merit in the argument of appointing someone outside of judges to the Supreme Court to get real-world perspective. After all, the Constitution does not require that an appointee be an attorney or judge.

From what I have read I cannot see Kagan’s career as anything but academic and an insider of politics. She’s a lot like Obama, an academic with no experience for the position she seeks.

May 12, 2010

tandem story

note: I received this as an e-mail. Author is unknown to me.

A Creative Writing professor told his class one day: "Today we
will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is
simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting next to his or
her desk.

As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph
of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send
another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then
add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending
another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph,
and so on back-and-forth.

Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to
keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of
the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail.
The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his English

(first paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted.
The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home,
now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that
he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her
mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought
about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was
out of the question.

(second paragraph by Bill )

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack
squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think
about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie
with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to
Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar
orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could
sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a
hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him
flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.


He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before
he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one
woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped
its pointless
hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress
Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in
her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored
her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had
passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no
television to distract her from
her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around
her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered

( Bill )

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live.
Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched
the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks
who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through the
Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien
empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours
after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for
Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no
one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The
lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President,
in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off
the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which
vaporized even poor, stupid Laurie.


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature.
My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

( Bill )

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious
neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of
"Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort
of F--KING TEA??? Oh no,
what am I to do? I'm such an air headed bimbo. I guess I've
read too many Danielle Steele novels!"



( Bill )




( Bill )

In your dreams, Ho. Go drink some tea.


A+ - I really liked this one.

Shocking proof of global warming!

Give it a couple min to load. It is a changing picture. oooh!

Look at the sea level rising over the last 130 years in La Jolla! Convinced yet?

Birthers and other conspiracy.

For quite some time I have been wondering as to why Barry Obama would not just produce evidence that he was born in Hawaii and stop the nonsense.

Then I realized that in dealing with theorists no evidence will suffice. Like the JFK assassination, the 9/11 disaster, Man Made Global Warming, Area 51, Over-population, Crop Circles, Uri Geller, etc. People are going to believe how they want.

Hands raised if you drank from any conspiracy kool-aid in the past. Mine is right there with you.

Case in point: Barry's Birth announcement was in two separate papers when he was born. These are released by the hospital to the newspapers.

However, the reaction to the above information is that the papers were faked. Or they smuggled the baby into Hawaii and pretended he was born and released that announcement to two papers. Because they knew in advance that this child was to become a President...

So you could produce the doctor, nurses, film, birth announcements, quantify them beyond a reasonable doubt and your theorists would still "Demand further evidence"

May 11, 2010


So we get a teaser about the Thor film and I am surprised that very few people "get it." It just shows you that my world is not everyone's.

Marvel Comics is doing a lot of good movies with their characters. They are giving them the status they deserve (fanbois rejoice!). At the exact same time they are destroying awesome characters by pandering to the film-going audience (fanbois attack!). That is to say no one loves\hates comic book movies more then someone who loves comics.

After seeing Iron Man and waiting to the end to see the teaser I was treated to a lobby discussion of the worst sort. Proclamations of fiction as fact and a dreadfully inadequate understanding of the source material, being touted as canon. I refrained from commenting.

May 10, 2010

Athlete, am I?

Sometimes my mental definition does not seem to match a reality. Recently on Shoe's blog he announced that he had been an Athlete in High School. I recall thinking it would have been cool to have done that.

This totally disregards my two years on the swim team. Also, the countless hours playing little league baseball, skating, fencing and playing roller hockey. So what exactly is\was my definition? The more I thought about it the more I found I did not have a real definition, I just knew that it was not me.

Connor with special Olympics he is a recognized athlete. I recently ran a 10K. wouldn't that qualify?

So running down the definition: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.

Well I was trained in baseball, water polo and roller hockey. Those are sports. I have not done any of these activities in six years or so... Roller skating in and of itself is not a sport, although there are sports that require skating, it is not a game. Running is a sport and an activity.

I can easily say I am athletic... is that the same thing?

May 06, 2010

Time Travel

After warning us against contacting alien civilizations Stephen Hawkings says we can travel forward in time. Which is great considering we are now travelling in time...

I mean look at the clock. Now look again. Time has moved forward with you!

Okay, okay... What he is saying is that if you're on something that travels 98% the speed of light, time will pass slower. As Einstein theorized “as objects accelerate through space, the rate at which time passes for them slows down”. So a day on board the something would be equal to a year on Earth which will push them forward in time.

He goes onto say that travelling backwards in time is RIGHT OUT! Which is a good thing because of all the mess it could cause stopping new Time Travelers from going back and stopping Hitler...

As a Science Fiction junkie I always enjoy time travel speculation. My favorite essay on the subject was by Larry Niven: "The Theory and Practice of Time Travel" that appears in All the Myriad Ways.

This essay looks at the implications of time travel, particularly at the grandfather paradox:

He further challenges conceptions of time travel: "If time travel is so manifestly impossible, why does every good and bad science fiction writer want to write a new, fresh time travel story?"

My favorite TV series, Doctor Who. Is all about time travel and it avoids most of the pitfalls by just never delving into the paradox other then saying it is a paradox and just go with the flow.

Suspension of disbelief is a powerful thing.

News to make you wonder what the hell is going on.

This is yet another example of Government run programs.

The U.S. Census Bureau spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on promotional items used to convince more people to mail back their census forms, but a 9Wants to Know investigation found thousands of the items were dropped off, unused, at a local high school.

Label this WTH?:

Five students at a South Bay high school stirred up some controversy Wednesday for wearing t-shirts depicting red, white and blue American flags on Cinco de Mayo.

School officials at Live Oak High in Morgan Hill told the students they had to go home if they wouldn’t turn the shirts inside out.

One of the students said it appeared school administrators were worried the patriotic shirts could trigger fights.

Some students at Live Oak High in Morgan Hill said others were planning to come to school Thursday wearing red, white and blue.

Four of the five students who wore American flags or patriotic colors on campus walked into a meeting with the superintendent of the Morgan Hill unified school district Wednesday night.

They were facing unexcused absences because they chose to go home early rather than take off what they were wearing.

…Some Mexican-American students KTVU spoke with said they thought wearing red, white and blue on Cinco de Mayo was disrespectful.

“It’s just kinda disrespectful that they would do that on this day,” said student Victoria Wright. “I mean, we don’t go around on 4th of July wearing red white and green and saying ‘Viva Mexico,’ because that’s disrespectful.”

So this is an assumption that Hispanic students will respond with violence when they feel disrespected. Even worse, fearing violence from Hispanic students, the administrators solve the crisis by banishing the “offensive” items, rather than warning students that any violence will be severely punished.

In other words, the administrators insultingly assumed that their Hispanic students would erupt in violence at the sight of an American flag, and the only way to prevent this is to cower at the presumptive violence and preemptively cave in to the mob’s demands that American flags be banned from campus.

May 05, 2010

Civil liberties anyone?

Cellphone led FBI to Times Square car bomb suspect arrest

Curious, was this a warrant-less search. Where is the venom over warrantless wiretaps and other such tactics we saw during Bush's years?

This is NOT same thing as listening in on phone calls. True, but neither was the wiretapping which used keyword searches over large numbers of anonymous conversations to create databases so potential suspects could be identified.

So why no outrage from the civil libertarian left over the fact that the cell phone records were used to capture this guy?

Swahili Census video...

If the U.S. Census Director Robert M. Groves can spend our money on video guides in 63 languages–including Swahili–well, we can at least make fun of this questionable use of our tax dollars.

May 04, 2010

Radio Plays.

The BBC still produces radio drama's.

Once upon a time, radio was 'the' entertainment of choice. The big broadcast consisted of current events, comedy, drama, etc. Many of the stage performers of Vaudeville found a huge audience, stars were born! Google any of the following folks: Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Victor Borge, Fanny Brice, Billie Burke, Bob Burns, Judy Canova, Jimmy Durante, Phil Harris, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Jean Shepherd, Red Skelton and Ed Wynn. The level and degree of talent was Amazing.

I became fascinated with Old-time radio in Jr. High School. I even collected several episodes of The Shadow and Inner Sanctum. Relying upon the imagination of listener made for quite a number of exotic locations and amazing events, all within a tiny studio. One could argue that computer FX has only recently caught up with the ability to conjure that radio had. Stan Freberg, had a commercial in which Lake Michigan was made into a Sundae. Talk about imagination!

Radio has an interesting future. Once a mecca of entertainment, it is now it is largely music on FM and Talk on AM. Is anyone listening?

If you own a radio station, selling ad space has become increasingly difficult. Also, the FCC regulations require you to hire someone just to make sure you are in compliance. It is largely mis-regulated. If you do not own a number of stations, creating a thriving business is nigh impossible in most markets. Add to that the liberal attempt to destroy the AM market that they cannot succeed within.

XM and MP3 are viable alternatives to terrestrial broadcasts, as are webcasts\podcasts. As the technology has moved forward, radio struggles for viability in an ever shrinking niche. Even locally, our radio stations have opted out of using talent and going with pre-packaged single male name radio (Sam, Bob, Jack etc.) with a wide variety format. Which causes me to turn it off more then tune in.

Someone such as myself who had favorite personalities and favorite stations to tune into during those teen to twenty years, I feel a bit sad for the current generations of Ipod zombies. At the same time I do see the advantage to a personal playlist.

Video killed the radio star? No, that misses the mark. Radio needs to evolve or die, if only the government will let it.

May 03, 2010

Glowing magic box.

TV now a days is more about whats on the DVR.

As a family we watch Top Gear, Big Bang Theory and Doctor Who. We are watching Star Gate Universe but if it continues at the current pace that is going by the wayside.

Top Gear is the greatest TV show ever made. Yes is it a show about Cars, but it does not stop there. Some of the funniest TV occurs on this show. Also, some of the coolest.

Big Bang Theory is another in a long line of character driven Situational Comedy. The writers really know the genre and any show with Evil Wil Wheaton is a must see.

Doctor Who has been around almost my entire life. The adventures of a time travelling 900+ year old Time Lord, who periodically 'regenerates' into an entirely different person (even if he has not been Ginger yet) has some of the most intriguing plots and subplots.

Star Gate was always a fun Sci-Fi romp. When it first started we were living in Long Beach. Then for quite some years we had no way of watching. Finally up here in Oregon the providers aligned in such a way we could watch. SG Atlantis was a good time as well. Even the movies had a great sense of Fun. SG Universe is kind of meh... It really seems like they wanted the Angst and darkness of Battlestar under the heading of a franchise.

I hover over the 'stop recording series' button often.

Why do they do this?

Reuters: "The US economy grew at a slightly slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter, held back by inventories and exports. Resurgent consumer spending offered evidence of a sustainable recovery. Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.2 percent pace, the Commerce Department. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast GDP, which measures total goods and services output within US borders, growing at a 3.4% rate,"

of note: "Excluding inventories the economy expanded at a 1.6 percent rate following a 1.7 percent pace in the fourth quarter." Take out the census workers and you have a better picture. Recovery? What recovery??

CNN:"While there may be signs of greater strength, the report also detailed some of the headwinds facing the economy. Investment in residential real estate fell nearly 11%, ending a two-quarter rebound in that battered sector and subtracting from overall growth. And commercial real estate investment dropped at a 14% rate."

If residential real estate and commercial real estate are dropping at 11% and 14%, pretty much tells you there is no growth.

Yet this is spun like great news. I wonder why?

CNBC, August 28, 2008. The GDP was 3.3%. The media was reporting it like a recession. "Despite the surprising growth in the US economy in the second quarter, many economists and average Americans aren't convinced that the country has avoided a recession. 'The reason this feels like a recession is from the standpoint of the consumer it basically is,' said David Resler, the chief economist at Nomura Securities. 'Consumer spending is very weak. It isn't going to get any stronger at any time soon, and that's with the benefit of the economic stimulus.' The Commerce Department attributed the unexpected 3.3% jump."

Of course, this is right before the election. So the Commerce Department attributed the unexpected 3.3% jump in the GDP to stronger than expected consumer spending and exports.

So now we've got 3.2%, and, cheerleading! "We're coming back." Seems a bit dishonest that back in 2008 3.3% was DOOOOM!!!

May 02, 2010

“A lot of people run to see who's the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts.” ~Prefontaine

I have been recovering from a 10k. The day after, walking was difficult and painful. My calf muscles were strained. I figure it is due to a lack of conditioning (running four 10 min jaunts does not prepare you for a 10K), and I have not yet gotten all the nuances of forefoot running.

Ice, ibuprofen, elevation and some mild stretching and NO running or walking long has helped quite a bit. Today I walked home after church. It is a 2.5 mile. As for the nuances, I have been pouring over various forums of known barefoot runners and Pose runners. Barefoot Ted insists that the best way to learn to run is to go barefooted prior to any minimalist shoes. You cannot run incorrectly, your feet will not let you if your barefoot.

The confirmation of various posters gave weight to his already sizable yet zealous opinion. So I slipped off my New Balance and strode forth. After a few minutes, my calves feeling recovered, I opted to run. My gait was much shorter and I did note a lack of heel touch. So I relaxed and focused in running very smoothly, this seems to correct the issue. Carefully I would stop and walk a few minutes to avoid re-injury. There was a sense of whimsy, barefoot walking as though I was eight and not forty-eight.

There has been a paradigm shift mentally. Prior to my 10k I would obsess a little on how far and long I was running with a nagging feeling about when to walk. That is apparently gone with the knowing that I can just run for an hour straight without taxing my lungs. I had no qualms about the length time, other then I was still recovering.

How odd to find enjoyment in running, after all this time.

May 01, 2010

Your Opinion is Wrong!

Fact and opinion are concepts we think of as concrete. Mostly, this is because the only training we have in the matter happens in second grade and only deals with extremes. A more nuanced concept isn't deemed important enough to make part of a core curriculum at schools. That sort of thing is reserved for introductory philosophy courses where people learn what they mistakenly believe they will never use again. Fact versus opinion is actually one of the most important concepts of public discourse that a person can learn if they ever hope to be taken seriously.

Extremely Boring Discussions
The extremes we learn early on are quite boring. Opinion is something that is entirely based on someone's objective experience, while facts are irrefutable truths. "Orange is the best color," is an opinion. "I am wearing a green shirt," is an irrefutable truth although you'll have to trust me on it. I don't remember anyone in my class having any trouble telling the difference between the example facts and opinions that were used. Opinions can't really be argued, and neither can facts. Arguments would stagnate and become very boring indeed. In reality, we use fact and opinion very fluidly. Fact and opinion are essentially two concepts that exist at the opposite ends of a spectrum. Everything we say lies somewhere on the spectrum, but rarely is it completely one side or the other. What is generally accepted as a fact or opinion actually falls closer to the the midpoint. Arguments and debates can not take place when fact and opinion are rigidly used. The interesting discussions happen when we broaden what is acceptable. Opinions are no longer restricted to subjective experiences. They become interpretations of facts and data. Facts are broadened to include things like studies and statistics which are able to be refuted. Most of the problems with how people reason and argue their points stem from misunderstandings about how rigidly defined facts and opinions are.

Your Opinion Can Be Wrong
People frequently invoke opinion as a concept to shield themselves from possible criticisms. They make use of a very liberal interpretation of opinion, and often don't base their conclusion on facts at all. When someone who makes use of facts disagrees with them they pull out their trump card of opinion as a concept. As The Dude would say, "That's just, like, your opinion, man." They don't realize that it doesn't apply after we've expanded our restrictions. They don't realize that because of the expansion that opinions are able to be "proven" or "disproven" through use of facts. While opinions relying on interpretations of facts can never be proven, the facts can be arranged in such a fashion as to create an argument that is more compelling than another argument. The most compelling argument wins. These people want things to work both ways. They want something that is essentially an untrue piece of information to be considered as a very rigid opinion to create a situation where they can say what they like and not be argued with.

My Opinion is Better Than Yours
"Proven" opinions are why the opinions of certain individuals are worth more than others. A doctor's opinion about an illness is probably going to be worth more than a career waitresses. The doctor has more facts to work with along with more experience interpreting them. The waitress is able to have an opinion, but unfortunately that opinion is essentially wrong in this situation. This doesn't make her a bad person, or make her opinions invalid overall. She may have some area of expertise that she is better qualified to give an opinion on than the doctor.

In Summary
As I've written before, I find that most education is to give people training in how to interpret facts and craft opinions that can be defended. Unfortunately, this isn't sinking in or people aren't making use of it in their daily lives. Not everyone has to research every sentence they say, but they should at least attempt to be able to defend their views against criticism. There is no one more frustrating to be in a class discussion with than the person I've described in this article. Frequently, the only defense they can muster is anecdotal evidence stemming from their own personal experience which only serves to make their lack of perspective more obvious. If an opinion is a song, the facts are the musical notes. They must be arranged to create something that is worth more than the sum of the parts. A song is more than a collection of notes just like an opinion is more than a collection of facts. Songs not based on notes tend not be very popular, but unfortunately this is where the analogy screws up. Opinions not based on facts are very often taken as being just as valid as competing opinions that are based on facts.

Meaningful Conversation
The title of this article states, "Your Opinion is Wrong." It's a great title(opinion), but it is a little more forceful than I'd like it to be. More accurately it should read, "Your Opinion Can Be Wrong," but that's less exciting. I would like people to realize that their opinions can be less valid than another person's opinion and that it's okay to change. It doesn't make you look weak if you change your position on something. It's okay to back down in light of new information. Trust me, you'll look like less of a tool than if you had barreled forward despite ever mounting evidence against your claims. This is a lesson that many politicians could benefit from. Backing down in light of new information will actually make you seem smarter and more gracious in the majority of cases. People will see that you actually think critically about your viewpoints and are flexible. They'll feel that you're rewarding to talk to, and that they're in a conversation that means something. Meaningful conversation, I think, is what it's all about.

Written by John Rozewicki
Tuesday, 11 April 2006