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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nuggets Beat the Blazers

You might see more Nuggets highlights posts, but that's only because the NBA lets you embed video.

The best play comes from Nene at around 1:56. He takes the rebound with his weak hand, flops it up, a dink shot that even the worst defender could block. But then he grabs the ball again, spins around and hooks it in for a nothing-but-net two points.

Two boards and two points. Not bad, Nene, not bad.

Cullman Liquidation Center

This commercial from Alabama cracked me up.

"My wife's boyfriend broke my jaw with a fence post, so if you don't buy a trailer from me, it ain't gonna hurt my feelings."

Friday, October 30, 2009

WTF?

CNN follows its ground-breaking series Black in America with Latino in America, and now...

The New Jews?

X-Static

I've been digging on a lot of Static X the last few days, so I made a mash-up of songs that highlight some of the cool things they can do with rhythm. You should listen to it.

The songs are, in order:
Tera-Fied
Cold
Cannibal
Skinnyman
Just in Case
I Want to Fucking Break It
Dirthouse
Push It

A Slacker's Life

As the snow fell, I thought about shoveling my walk. But then I did some math.

10 hour shift
3-4 hour commute
7-8 hour sleep

Best case scenario: 4 hours of free-time

More likely scenario: 2 hours of free-time.

(Keep in mind that "free time" isn't "time sitting on my ass doing nothing." It's time NOT used working, commuting to work, or sleeping, which includes things like meals, brushing my teeth, showers, everything else.)

So guess what I didn't do? That's right...

Shovel my walk.

More Libertarian Bashing

(Pre-thought: I wonder if Libertarian bashing would be covered under the new Hate Crimes law.)

Thought:

This was a great blog post about that libertarian debate I mentioned a few days ago. The choice bit:
I think it is high time that people like Kerry [link provided for context], who are rightly and righteously concerned with actual liberty, the actual freedom of human beings as individuals to construct and determine the paths of their own lives within their own families, communities, and countries, behave in their own rational best interest and stop calling themselves libertarians. I did! It was not difficult. Indeed, I would go so far as to call it . . . liberating to be unyoked from the ceaseless burden of shit-polishing. Libertarianism is the plaything of cossetted white Americans. That is a fact. In its relentless insistence on state-supremacy, it commits precisely the sin that Kerry identifies: it reifies that which it claims to seek to undermine. It is narrow and parochial, American. What has libertarianism got to say about life within failed states, or clerical democracies, or about Japan, or China, or Myanmar, or Nepal, or occupied Palestine, or Israel, or South Africa? What has it got to say about the construction of community, the nature of cooperative endeavor in the absence of coercion? Most libertarians aren't even willing to accept that property, their central fetish, is itself a cultural artifact, not a constant of nature.
This is the sound of me banging my stein on the table, shouting Hear, hear!

In her essay, Kerry Howley asks:
Libertarians traditionally have viewed coercion, especially when institutionalized in the form of government, as the main threat to freedom. But cultural pressures outside the state also can restrict people’s ability to live as they please.
Unsurprisingly, this has sparked a huge debate within bloggy libertarian circles, much of it raspberries.

This strikes me as intuitively true but it took me some time to come up with an example. And here it is:

Let's say you're the type of person who posts naked/drunk pics of yourself on Facebook.

If the government tried to prohibit this, the average libertarian would no doubt defend your right to post naked/drunk pics to your Facebook profile. "What about the first amendment?" they'll cry.

On the other hand, if the company you worked for tried to prohibit you from posting naked/drunk pics to Facebook, the average libertarian would no doubt defend the company's right to fire your ass.

What does that tell you about the libertarian's commitment to "liberty?" If anything, it should tell you that their commitment to liberty is entirely conditional on who's wielding the power.

In other words, it's not much of a commitment...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Steps

This cracked me up.
DENVER - 9Wants to Know has discovered that anyone for any reason can get a doctor's prescription to buy medical marijuana - all they have to do is say they have pain and they don't have to offer proof.
Um, that's kind of the point.

You didn't think medical marijuana was actually about medicine, did you?

Snow

It's still snowing. The boss tried to get me to stay at a hotel yesterday. "Hell no," I said, sounding like Mike Epps. "The buses are running. The trains are going. I'm going home."

He was worried I wouldn't make it back. I made it back. I have a 3-4 hour commute on a clear day. You don't really think this hurts my feelings too much, do you?

Today I'm actually thankful I don't have a drivers license. Let someone else do the driving. I'll sit here and read the paper.

Of course, it's not really fun to walk in ankle-deep snow with ill-fitting boots on, but what's the worst that can happen? Blisters. That's the worst that can happen.

There's a lot of drivers out there that would gladly trade a wrecked car for some blisters.

Grrrr

I just got off a frustrating 30 minutes phone call with a dude in Chicago. Bottom line, I was trying to determine whether his issue was A) user error or B) an actual technical issue that I could fix.

If it was A, I can't do nuthin for you, man.

If it was B, maybe I can help.

After talking to the guy for 30 minutes, I was as confused as ever, but I was pretty sure his issue was user error.

Like we used to say at the phone company, an IYS alarm on the DAU.

Or, in English, an It's Your Shit alarm on the Dumb Ass User.

Not to be Ungrateful...

My Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I had already decided that this year all my Christmas and birthday gifts would be diverted to other people, namely the gift-givers themselves.

So I told my Mom that for my birthday, I wanted her to do something nice for her wife, and I wanted her wife to do something nice for my Mom. Part of the reason is the whole "pay it forward" concept. Rather than buying me things, do something nice for someone. A good deed is worth more than some cheap consumer product anyway.

But beyond that, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but over the last couple of years, getting gifts from my Mom has been kind of...well, counter-productive.

We're both practical people, mother and son, so when she asks me what I want for my birthday or Christmas, I usually have practical suggestions.

A couple years ago, when the Indiana Jones trilogy came to DVD, I asked for that, thinking...well, I'm going to buy it anyway, but if I get it as a gift, I can save myself some money and fulfill the whole gift-giving obligation for someone else. Win-win!

My Mom, bless her heart, bought the Indiana Jones trilogy for me from Amazon.com. Of course, not knowing how particular I am about these things, she inadvertently got the Full-Screen version.

Again, not to sound ungrateful, but I already HAD the full-screen version...on VHS. The whole point of this exercise was to upgrade to the digital not-available-on-VHS wide-screen version.

I made her take it back (keep in mind, she got it from Amazon.com) and get me the one I wanted. (Sadly, on this one, I was doomed to have regrets either way: Regret being an ungrateful jerk, or regret having two equally useless full-screen versions of the Indiana Jones trilogy.)

Then about two years ago, for Christmas, I requested some steel-toe boots "that laced all the way up." Now, looking back on it, I can see how my request can be misconstrued. "Laced all the way up? Don't all boots lace all the way up?" If I had been more direct in my language, I might have said, "One that laces all the way up, in other words, none of those stupid hooks."

You see, I have odd-shaped feet. They need the goldilocks of boots...loose enough for my foot to fit, but not so loose they come flying off with each step. With hooks, you've got to tie it tight enough to stay on the hooks, but you can't get it loose enough so that it's not cutting off circulation. Not on my mutant feet.

Which is why I wanted eyes, so I can lace it all the way up. Last night, knowing that I'd be trudging through a half-mile of snow, I grabbed the boots...and now my feet are killing me!

The last straw came last Christmas. I asked for a bagless vacuum. Like I said, I'm a practical person and a bagless vacuum has been on my want list for a while. Not because I needed a new vacuum -- because my old one worked just fine -- but because I wanted to upgrade to a bagless unit.

Wouldn't lose suction, can dump it right on the compost heap, never need to buy or throw away bags.

But what did I get? A regular old bagged vacuum. Not the end of the world, of course, but not exactly what I wanted. I mean, here I am replacing a perfectly good bagged vacuum with...a perfectly good bagged vacuum. My old one lasted over ten years. This one will probably last about the same.

Which means I'll be over 40 before I get a goddamn bagless vacuum!

I'm not mad about it. (How could I be? It's the thought that counts, and it's not like I said "bagless or nothing." I said "bagless vacuum" and she definitely got the vacuum part!) But I'm not exactly satisfied, either.

So here I am, stuck with boots that don't fit right, a vacuum that doesn't do what I want it to do, and if I hadn't been a wide-screen Nazi, I'd be stuck watching 4/5ths of the Indiana Jones movies.

Snap!

Kevin Drum is a true liberal. Just listen to him make sense!

To paraphrase William F. Buckley, if I had an extra million dollars to divvy up, I'd rather give it to the first thousand names in the New York City phone book than to the CEO of Goldman Sachs.
Ha! No doubt.

I'm still waiting for some pro-business toady to explain to me why the inverted pyramid model of corporate compensation is the best way to go. Yeah, I know that big-dicked Masters of the Universe deserve their tens of millions. But why am I only making 5 figures? Is it because I don't have any friends on the Board of Directors?

Buckley's quote, by the way, was:
"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."
Yeah, there was a time (in the recent past even!) when conservatives stood up for the little guy rather than the entrenched elite.

Those days are sadly over.

Hate Crimes

I'm with John Cole on Andrew Sullivan's queer* opposition to the hate crimes bill Obama just signed into law.

Cole says:
He’s lost his damned mind.
Sullivan says:
Does anyone seriously believe that a hate crimes federal law will actually prevent gay bashing? How exactly?
Um, I doubt anyone believes hate crimes laws will prevent hate crimes. But then again, that's not how the legal system works. By nature, the law punishes more than it prevents. (See the War on Drugs.)

Andrew seems to sense this, so he outlines what the hate crimes law will do:
What it will do is allow for extra federal penalties for anyone found guilty of such an attack if its victim was selected by anti-gay bias and if local authorities refuse to prosecute.
That's it? Oh the humanity! Once we start down this slippery slope... (Sigh.)

Sullivan digs deeper:
Now recall that Matthew Shepard's murderers were given the harshest sentence allowed under the law (a hate crime provision would have added nothing) and that sentence was passed down in the absence of any hate crime law in Wyoming. So this bill has zero actual relevance to the Shepard case: in fact, the Shepard case is really salient in showing why hate crimes laws are unnecessary.
Note the changing goal posts.

In the previous paragraph, Sullivan seems to acknowledge the federal hate crimes law is only relevant "if local authorities refuse to prosecute." And then he says the Matthew Shepard case, where the local authorities did prosecute is "salient in showing why hate crimes laws are unnecessary."

No, it isn't. Wyoming didn't refuse to prosecute Matthew Shepard's killers!

Consider, too, that this is the same Andrew Sullivan who spent a lot of time this summer highlighting a police raid on a gay bar in Fort Worth. Also here, where he writes:
The feet on the ground are those of a slight 26 year-old who is now in intensive care with a blood clot caused by his head being bashed against a wall - because, as the police chief explained, he was allegedly flirting with one of the officers and so deserved the beating.
Meanwhile, the Fort Worth Chief of Police apologized for the raid, and an investigation is still pending.

Is this lame-ass apology and lack of local authorities prosecuting also "salient in showing why hate crimes laws are unnecessary?"

Like I said, weak sauce. In my book, the Rainbow Lounge case is more salient than Matthew Shepard, and salient in a way that says, "Hey, if we had a federal hate crime law, these cops might not have felt so free to go gay-bashing."



* No, not "queer" as in "gay." Queer, as in "differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal" or, better yet, "absorbed or interested to an extreme or unreasonable degree."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

F**k You (aka Fuck You)

If Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did indeed hide this vulgar message within the contents of this very business-like letter, then he's both more clever and subtle than anyone could have ever guessed.

If it indeed was just a coincidence, that's one fine coincidence. The best ever, perhaps.

A Few Things

When I saw Xeni Jardin on Rachel Maddow's show, I threw up in my mouth a little. I have nothing against lesbians, even when they gang up together on TV. I'm just not very fond of Xeni Jardin. Sorry, there was that whole Violet Blue/Minitrue episode, but I've seen enough Boing Boing TV to be truly and welly annoyed by the woman.

An interesting debate over libertarianism (at the League, among other places) but for my part, I don't have a dog in this fight. I used to think I might be a libertarian, but then I got to know a few...and well, I find the libertarian complaint of "taxes are theft" as tiring and wrong as the old Marxist complaint that "property is theft." No, it's not. Now take your little plate and your little fork and go back to the kiddie table where you belong.

I saw this story on Outside the Beltway, although to be fair, it was actually posted here.

It's a funny description of an attempted mugging:
Saturday leaving my office, I was the subject of an attempted mugging by a member of the Indianapolis Choir Boy School of Good Men Who are Only Down on Their Luck.
And the gun that saved this guy's ass.
"I politely demurred by hurling a cup of hot Starbucks at him while fishing my Beretta Jetfire out of the stupid pocket holster it was riding in. "
Yep, very funny.

But the dude's conclusions are all wrong:
The moral of the story for me anyway is twofold: keep your head up. While you can’t be in condition orange or yellow or whatever all the time, there are certain times when it behooves you to keep your head on a swivel. Secondly, as pdb is fond of saying, “carry your f***ing guns, people!”
"Keep your head up" is just obvious. The second one, of course, is the true object lesson.

You never know when your gun is going to stop a mugging.

Although, I suspect it's likelier that you're just going to build a better mugger. He's going to go home, catch his breath, and think, "Next time, I'm bringing the fucking gun."

But no, better to think he wet his pants, went home, and reconsidered this whole "life of crime" thing because someone pointed a Beretta at him. Yeah, because human nature works just...like...that.

(And can I just say that it's hilarious that this guy is man enough to carry a Beretta in a pocket holster, but much too dainty to type the "uck" in "f***ing?" Typing "f***ing" when you mean "fucking" is kind of like wearing an unloaded gun on your hip. In other words, what's the fucking point?)

And now, those Gold-Line commercials. They're on CNN all the time, with that guy trying to sell you on gold as a "safe haven asset" (safe as houses??) that "never drops to zero."

Whenever I hear this, I think, this dude could use the same exact pitch to sell dollar bills. Rather than saying "safe haven asset" (which doesn't mean much) he could say "international currency," and rather "never drops to zero," he could say "always worth 100 cents."

It would make as much sense...

Of course, if he really wanted to be honest, he'd start his pitch with something like, "Do you want to be part of the next speculative asset bubble? Buy gold!"

Oh, and it's snowing...that's going to make it tough to ride my bike home.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Defense, Defense, and More Defense

This week should be it. After flirting with it since the beginning of the season, my team should finally take the top spot in my fantasy football league.

I am, as of right now, the undisputed cumulative points leader with 830. Second place has 738, giving me a 92-point advantage, but the standings are not just based on points and until now, there's a dude with a better win-loss record.

He lost this week. I won.

I had to pick up a kicker since Prater had a bye-week, so I picked up Kansas City's Ryan Succop, the logic being that the Chiefs don't have much of an offense and what points they do score seems to be field goals. Well let me tell you how that worked out...

Succop sucked. He kicked an extra point but missed a field goal. He got zero points, a big goose egg.

And yet, I managed to score 148 points. Without a kicker, basically.

Thanks Peyton, Ochocinco (the Bengals are "for real," whatever that means), Larry Fitzgerald (who scored 2 points on a tackle; yep, my wide receiver got more points for a tackle than my kicker got for the whole game), and Thomas Jones.

Defensively, I'm ruling the field with the Polamalu/Sharper attack. With that tandem the question isn't can they get an interception, but which one of them will it be this week? Last week, his first week back from injury, Troy Polamalu got it.

Thankfully I had him starting.

But he's not 100% yet, missed a few practices this week, so I started Sharper this week. And he returns an interception for a touchdown, netting me 17 points. Polamalu didn't get any picks, but sitting on my bench, he was good for 14 points. The best part: My opponent's quarterback, Matt Ryan, only scored 13 points for his efforts.

Considering that in fantasy football it's much easier for a quarterback to score points than anyone on the defense, it's almost embarrassing. For the other guy.

I'll post the results when the league does.