Friday, February 27, 2009


Appreciate how amazing things are (if video doesn't show click here):

Conan O'Brien will takeover as Tonight Show host on June 1. That's all I have to say today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I bet the ancient people of Pompeii wished they had a volcano warning system. Unfortunately, they lacked the technology and didn't understand the warning signs.

But 1700 years later, technological and scientific research was progressing. In 1839, King Ferdinand II agreed to the construction of the Vesuvius Observatory. It was celebrated as a place of research and observation of natural phenomena. Today, the observatory is still a center for Geophysics, Volcanology, Geodesy and Geochemistry studies.

Where are we today in the US? Do our politicians possess the same logic, forethought and self-interest? Paul Krugman sums up the current philosophy of the GOP as "snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. " Of course Krugman is referring to Bobby Jindal's speech earlier this week where he attempted to discredit the economic recovery package by mocking magnetic levitation trains and volcano monitoring...

A $140 million provision of the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act goes to the United States Geological Survey for "repair, construction and restoration of facilities; equipment replacement and upgrades including stream gages, and seismic and volcano monitoring systems; national map activities; and other critical deferred maintenance and improvement projects." After all, the goal of the USGS is to reduce the vulnerability of the people and areas most at risk from natural hazards. And surely the employment of people for these projects will have the intended stimulative effect.

Jindal should know all about natural disasters, but he'd rather remain ignorant and play politics with people's lives. How is it that a king of yore was more enlightened than this guy?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Now Is The Time...

Hey, I thought American Idol would be on tonight? I turned on the TV and all I got was speeches. Well, I wasn't really in the mood, so I only half listened and watched. I watched the amusing game of simon-says going on with Pelosi trying to be the first to jump up and applaud...

But President Obama's speech was worthy of applause. He didn't present any new policy, but I have to say I felt a tiny bit more optimistic by the end. And despite all the devotion to bipartisanship, Obama stuck it to the Republicans:
In other words, we have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.
I've recently learned that the looting of a company's wealth is called a "bust-out" con, and it accurately describes eight years of the Bush administration: "...fraudsters pretending to take an interest in running a business use a down payment to gain access to the company’s credit lines and assets, then max out all the credit lines, sell off assets at fire sale prices, then clear out just before the deposit check bounces, leaving a bankrupted company hollowed out by unpayable debt." I'm assuming that's against the law.

After Obama's speech, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stepped out to give the Republican boilerplate response. Oh God. First of all, why the rebuttal speech? I guess it's automatically assumed that the other party will be opposed to everything the President says. But obviously, if you want the public to ever trust Republicans again, don't remind them about Hurricane Katrina! Don't go there Jindal! No! Anyway, my response to Jindal's response: "a star was not born tonight."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Right Next Door

¡Sorpresa! You thought the only action was in the Middle East? There's a lot going on in Mexico.

The Pentagon's Joint Forces Command names two countries that may suffer a "rapid and sudden collapse." One is Pakistan, and the other is Mexico.

Foreign Policy has a in depth look at Mexico’s surge in gang violence which left more than 5,300 dead in 2008. The brazen drug cartels have launched unprecedented campaigns using narcomantas (drug banners) vilifying the Mexican government.

The New York Times reports that the cartel's push to expand operations in the United States has led to a wave of kidnappings, shootings and home invasions in Arizona.

If we ever acknowledge that our war on drugs is not a war but a disastrous policy that funds terrorism, then we can begin the search for a better solution. The former presidents of three leading Latin American countries — César Gaviria of Colombia, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil — recently voiced their opinion to the WSJ:
The revision of U.S.-inspired drug policies is urgent in light of the rising levels of violence and corruption associated with narcotics. The alarming power of the drug cartels is leading to a criminalization of politics and a politicization of crime. And the corruption of the judicial and political system is undermining the foundations of democracy in several Latin American countries.
Then they outline some of the rather obvious actions that must be taken:
In this spirit, we propose a paradigm shift in drug policies based on three guiding principles: Reduce the harm caused by drugs, decrease drug consumption through education, and aggressively combat organized crime. To translate this new paradigm into action we must start by changing the status of addicts from drug buyers in the illegal market to patients cared for by the public-health system.
Yeah, caring for drug users in our public-health system will really fly well with the wingnuts. No Sorpresa. Their solution will involve more security theater.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Brutal Lectures

This diary on the Daily Kos describes one college students arrest at an Ann Coulter lecture at The College of New Jersey. The account is quite detailed, so it's best if you read it yourself. Some commenters point out that the student admits to not following the police officer's orders and, therefore, was lucky he wasn't tazed. That's all true, though it doesn't dismiss the brutality and vulgarity of the arresting officers.

But this story causes my brain to rocket off in another direction. Didn't those officers actually create a security hole? The whole thing seems allegorical to our War on Terror. While several officers tackled a weaker nonthreatening character on the lawn, who and how many were left inside protecting Ms. Coulter? My god, somebody could have thrown a shoe at her!

Not that I'm recommending anybody throw a shoe at her! I'm just joking! Har Har! Isn't that how Ann and other wingnuts escape culpability over ugly suggestions like certain Supreme Court Justices should have "rat poisoning" mixed with their food? They claim it's humor, but if you're gonna do humor, learn how to do it!

I have no doubt that crazed rants inspire acts of violence. That's why I think I'm going to be very worried after I watch this HBO documentary that presents conservatives who feel so alienated over cultural and political issues that they say they will never trust the new president, the Congress or the media.

Well, I'm not the trusting type either, but Coulter and those jackbooted Jersey cops aren't the answer I'm looking for.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Terms of Endearment

My grandma was a racist. I was slow to figure it out, just like this guy in Clerks 2 (if video doesn't show, click here):

Honestly, my grandparents used "monkey" as a term of endearment. I thought it was cute. I knew very little about that part of history where racists portrayed blacks as chimps to denigrate the entire race... But I was young.

That level of ignorance, though, would be inexcusable for an adult working for the Murdoch-owned NY Post. But ignorance isn't even the apology offered for this recent cartoon by Sean Delonas depicting police officers shooting a monkey for writing the stimulus bill. Instead, the editor-in-chief defends the unfunny cartoon as a "clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut."

Other apologists have suggested that the monkey symbolizes congress and not the president, or that the cartoon is a reference to the infinite monkey theorem -- except, of course, the cartoon depicts only one monkey.

Really though? We're expected to buy these excuses? No editor recognized the racism? Sean Delonas accidently tripped and crossed the line... like he's done so many other times in his other vile cartoons?

Ok, we can agree or disagree on the intended racism, but the bloody assassination part is undeniable. The message from the NY Post is we can solve all our political problems with guns, encourage acts of treason, and still provide a healthy profit to Murdoch, that little carnivorous vulture. And that's not a term of endearment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Guantánamo Testimonials

I just finished watching Rachel Maddow interview Spc. Brandon Neely. Neely served as a guard at Guantánamo and voluntarily gave his testimony to The Guantánamo Testimonials Project (if video doesn't show, click here):

After watching this video and reading Neely's detailed testimony, I'm struck by one part that reveals the young soldier's initial naivety and lack of training:
After waiting a couple hours we got the call that the detainees were at the air strip and being loaded up to bring to the camp. I started getting really nervous; almost scared. I keep thinking "Here it comes; I am fixing to see what a terrorist looks like face-to-face." I remember my escort partner saying over and over "I got your back, man, if anything happens." I could tell he was as nervous as I was. Everyone in the camp that day was nervous and scared; you could literally hear a pin drop moments before that bus full of detainees arrived.
I know one intended effect of war propaganda is to dehumanize the enemy, but what could he have been expecting? Glowing eyes? Fangs? I guess Rumsfeld's rhetoric about the "worst of the worst" really worked on these guards.

So I take that into account when I read the rest of the testimony. Neely was a good person in an evil environment with orders coming down from Rummy. He has, by coming forward, demonstrated his conscience.
I am fine with this being part of my testimony. I want it to be told no matter how it makes me look. I believe it's very important people know what happened there. I am sure there were (and are) a lot of detainees in Guantanamo that are guilty of something. But, on the other hand, there are a lot that are not guilty of nothing at all other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And no one, guilty or innocent, should be treated in the manner they have been.
But his accounts of the psychological and medical abuse he witnessed was more shocking and evil than I expected. That medics can laugh while stretching injured limbs and giving rectal exams is sickening. I was raised to believe that only Nazis did this shit and we're better than that. Not true. Not true at all.

Who's going to be held responsible?

Monday, February 16, 2009

a/k/a War on Drugs

Yesterday I watched a/k/a Tommy Chong. The documentary chronicles the entrapment and incarceration of comedy icon Tommy Chong of the legendary comedy duo, Cheech and Chong. The story is an infuriating one about a U.S. Attorney, Mary Beth Buchanan, who went on a money-wasting witch-hunt to prosecute Chong and others for selling water pipes over the Internet. Feel safer? Not me.

In fact, one comment by Chong expressed how unsafe we should feel. When asked what prison was like, he answered "You'll find out."

When a moralistic government is on a mission, they'll prosecute anybody they want. It doesn't matter how benign your business or private life is... they'll come and get you with a SWAT team if it makes for a good photo-op.

You should probably try to see this DVD while it's still available. Mary Beth Buchanan still has the power, and she obviously doesn't want you to see it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Meet The Press

I'm so famous now. The paparazzi is camped on my front lawn, and every news magazine wants to interview me.

Well no, not really. Only one blogger wants to interview me, and that's because I asked him to interview me after reading his answers to the five questions posed by another blogger. In the same fashion, I will gladly interview YOU if you'd like. Here are the cut-and-paste rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Now on to the tough part -- answering these questions.

1. Seriously? You've been blogging since 2001? Is that crazy? (Oh, I see you took a five year break. But still!)

Yes, I've been blogging since 2001! And yes, it's crazy! Originally, my friends and I had a little chat room where we'd hang out one or two nights a week. This blog was simply a springboard for conversation. As I found odd stories during the week (e.g. penis found in jar of fruit juice), I'd add them to the blog. Then we'd discuss them on our chat night. My friend Mo was and still is skeptical about everything and usually with good reason. The penis in the fruit punch story ended up being mold.

During my five year hiatus I was absorbed in some other interesting projects like programming cell phone games, and I also had a short gig on the Hexed Reality blog writing about reality TV.

When my friend Trung convinced me to pickup blogging again last year, I suddenly discovered I had an urge to write. I wasn't satisfied with just logging links any more. I wanted to give my opinion and I guess you'd say I found my voice or something like that.

2. What has the internet taught you today?

I spent a little bit of time trying to understand artificial DNA, but don't quiz me on it. Also, thanks to Twitter, I learned how Batman and Robin spent their Valentine's Day:

3. Do you sometimes feel the need to make your blog more personal?

Yes. No. Sometimes. I tend to be quite reserved and apprehensive of strangers. I have distant relatives who don't believe I can talk. Coursework and jobs that involve collecting data and explaining it in a rational way have always appealed to me because such work avoided controversy. I like harmony.

So what I'm getting at is -- even giving my opinion on current events and politics is personal to me. You might even say it's therapeutic. But I suppose there is always room to be more introspective.

Give this blog another five years or so, and it could make another transformation.

4. What's the most beautiful place in the world?

That's probably the hardest question. I guess I'd have to actually see more of the world in order to answer that. The most beautiful place in the world certainly isn't where I've already been: Bay Area, Los Angeles, Reno, New Jersey, Florida, Honolulu... eh. I might have to meditate and find idealistic beauty in my own mind... or wait for a more advanced generation of virtual reality.

5. What's the saddest place in the world?

It's in a the Los Gatos cemetery in front of a headstone marking the graves of my twin nephews who were stillborn. Their short lives existed inside my sister's womb, but they will be in my heart and mind forever.

That concludes my interview. Thanks to People In The Sun for the great questions. Now I'll just wait for that call from Katie Couric...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Twits on Twitter

I thought the days of investing millions in internet startups with no plans for profit were over. But apparently if that startup company is Twitter, it's raining money like 1997 all over again. One of the venture capital firms behind Twitter also invested in eBay in the early days... so I guess they've got some credibility.

In case you don't know what Twitter is, I'll explain as best I can. It's a "micro blogging" site where you enter your messages (or "tweets" as they call them) in 140 characters or less. You can submit them on the web site, through a 3rd party application, or from your cell phone. You can follow as many other Tweeters as you like and they can follow you.

The results should be an interesting mix of conversations. More so, I find it to be a bunch of people self-promoting their projects, products, and blogs... like me.

I try to be thought provoking and creative in my tweets, but ultimately it's the stupid messages like "should I drink this expired orange juice" that gets the responses from the strangers who are following me. It's all rather weird.

But I suppose the service is handy if you're a news correspondent who wants to get quick input from viewers.

And it's also perfect for a politician who wants to reach out to the masses... or potential terrorists. Rep. Peter Hoekstra made a rather bad judgment call when he gave detailed updates on his recent trip to Iraq via Twitter.

Now Karl Rove wants in on the fun. The former presidential political adviser recently twittered his Texas hunting trip. I admit that I'm slightly relieved that his tweets are no more exciting than mine. Yet I have to wonder -- what if Rove had been tweeting the last eight years? Might we have seen something like this:
KarlRove @JohnMcCain I know about your black baby.

KarlRove Damn! Misplaced my caging lists again!

KarlRove @W woke up with a great idea! Let's out a CIA agent for shits and giggles!

KarlRove I'm just going to blow off that whole subpoena thing today.

KarlRove Let's kill stuff.
So now that I have a direct link to Rove, I feel rather icky. But besides that, I'm wondering if I can craft the perfect 140 character message that will make him open his eyes, repent for his transgressions, and become a better man. Probably not, but I'm so glad we have the internet.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pterosaur Hunting

Happy birthday Charles Darwin! Look how far we've come!
The goal of Project Pterosaur is to mount an expedition to locate and bring back to the United States living specimens of pterosaurs or their fertile eggs, which will be displayed in a Pterosaur Rookery that will be the center piece of the planned Fellowship Creation Science Museum and Research Institute (FCSMRI). Furthermore, the rookery facility will establish a breeding colony of pterosaurs in order to produce specimens that could then be put on display by other regional institutions or church groups.

he goal of Project Pterosaur is to mount an expedition to locate and bring back to the United States living specimens of pterosaurs or their fertile eggs, which will be displayed in a Pterosaur Rookery that will be the center piece of the planned Fellowship Creation Science Museum and Research Institute (FCSMRI). Furthermore, the rookery facility will establish a breeding colony of pterosaurs in order to produce specimens that could then be put on display by other regional institutions or church groups.

By doing all this, we hope to accomplish three goals:
  1. Support Creation Theory by showing the incorrectness of the philosophy of Evolutionism.
  2. Educate the population about Creation Science.
  3. Create excitement about Creation and the Bible in the public.
I (Dr. Paley) am the founder and Chief Officer of the project. I will also be leading the expedition and acting as Science Liaison to the public. Funding is being provided by Fellowship University, the Fairlight Institute, and donations from wealthy Christian businessmen who wish to remain anonymous at this time.
Yeah it's all an elaborate hoax, but one of the best I've ever seen. I looked all over Wikipedia trying to find the project, research institute or Dr. Paley. I found nothing. Then I checked Snopes and found nothing. Finally I found a discussion forum with some information.

I know the hoax should seem so obvious. Follow some of the deeper links on their site and you come up with their Mall Mission and Spiritual Safety Tips for Kids -- "what should you do if you find an atheist?" The whole thing is hilarious.

Maybe the dead giveaway should have been that creationists never try to prove anything. Also absurd is the whole purported notion that finding a pterosaur would destroy evolutionary theory. Oh, finding one would indeed be interesting, but it wouldn't be the first time an odd creature was rediscovered.

I've heard so much genuine creationism BS over the past few years, I can't separate the spoofs. I find The Creationism Museum to be crazy, but it is also real. The recent case in California that decided creationism science classes cannot count towards college credit was a triumph in science and sense!

Funny how our former president who lacked any science sense was quick to sign into law the bill that established our national DNA databank. He could embrace science when it fit his agenda. Anyway, bet you didn't know we had a national DNA databank! Every newborn will be "screened" and the DNA can be used for research without any consent.

I'm having flashbacks of all the Hollywood movies that tried to warn us: Gattaca, The Island, Anna to the Infinite Power...

I better go to bed before I scare myself to death, but I also want to mention it was Abraham Lincoln's birthday today too. It's amazing that two men who changed the world share the same birth day and year. I'm not so lucky. I share my birthday with OJ Simpson.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The $100,000 Bong

US Olympic swim star Michael Phelps was caught smokin' weed. How boring. I mean he's not the first famous person to take a toke. He's in good company.

And the nice thing about being famous (with hero status) is that he probably won't be charged with a crime. However, seven other South Carolina party-goers and the bong owner aren't so lucky. Trying to sell the notorious bong on eBay for $100,000 was probably a bad idea.

But I want to make my position clear. I support the decriminalization or even legalization of marijuana. And yet, I don't think Phelps should be treated any differently than other law breakers. Lately I'm extremely intolerant of people who don't think the law applies to them.

When Geraldo Rivera of FOX News asked South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford whether Phelps should be prosecuted, Sanford replied, "I don't see what it gets at this point."

I'll tell you what it gets: public awareness. Awareness of a victimless crime. Awareness of why we get high. Awareness of therapeutic uses. Awareness of the ridiculous penalties and costs involved in pot prosecutions. Awareness that you can smoke pot and still win gold medals... And with this new awareness, people might start asking "why is marijuana illegal anyway?"

We certainly can't have any of that. And though Phelps lost his Kellogg's endorsement, the company oddly still profits from potheads. I wonder what's worse for you? Marijuana or this Gold Medal Sundae:

Gold Medal Sundae

Monday, February 09, 2009

Kindle 2

Ahh... I'm like one of those kids in A Christmas Story gazing into the toy shop window.

Instead of dreaming of Santa, I'm wishing I was one of those important gadget bloggers who get free samples and stuff. But I'm not. Today announced the rumored Kindle 2:

Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation)

I love my original Kindle and I use it every day. I think it's the only product I've ever bothered to endorse on this blog, and I look upon the above picture with all the nerd love in the world...

If only affection and loyalty would get me a discount! The $359 price tag is too much for me right now. I guess I'll have to stick to my habit of skipping one or two generations of product releases.

You can look forward to my Kindle 3 review in a year or two.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Cue The Violins

Read. Scroll to the top of the page. Read a little more. Scroll up again. Double check. Check address bar just to be certain. Yes, I'm reading the NY Times not The Onion. The headline reads You Try to Live on 500K in This Town. I would gladly try it, and I wouldn't be half as whiny as this guy:
Sure, the solution may seem simple: move to Brooklyn or Hoboken, put the children in public schools and buy a MetroCard. But more than a few of the New York-based financial executives who would have their pay limited are men (and they are almost invariably men) whose identities are entwined with living a certain way in a certain neighborhood west of Third Avenue: a life of private schools, summer houses and charity galas that only a seven-figure income can stretch to cover.
Boo Hoo Hoo! Executives don't like rules. They certainly don't like the new rules that would limit their pay at companies that accept government bailout money. Vacation homes, chauffeurs, personal trainers, private schools and tutors. They may have to cut back. Maybe Bob Geldof can organize a benefit concert.

Just a couple of months ago the case was made not to bail out the ailing Big Three automakers. Labor costs were out of control we were told! Those union auto-workers -- with all those perks like health-care and pensions -- were earning close to $80 an hour! Except it was all misinformation. In 2006 a typical UAW-represented assembler at GM earned $27.81 per hour.

Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that arrogant, under-worked executives think they're better than everybody else. Who wouldn't feel superior when you're better off than royalty of old?

Friday, February 06, 2009

About Dick

Last night both Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart were on fire with their responses to Dick Cheney's recent fear mongering. Olbermann dissected Cheney's lies and pointed out the successful prosecution of the Millennium Bomber without use of secret prisons or waterboarding:

Stewart's attack listed the many ways that Cheney is responsible for making us less safe:

It's times like these that I wish I had a degree in psychology so I could attempt to analyze Dick... But I will say this -- his dire warnings feel more like threats.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Madoff Mess

"It is only when the tide goes out, that you know who was swimming naked." — Warren Buffett
Last year as we lurched from one financial crisis to the next, we learned painful lessons about what happens when regulators destroy regulations. So I hardly blinked last December when some guy named Bernie Madoff was charged with perpetrating what may be the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person.

But how messy could it be? How did it go on? Was some regulator asleep at his desk maybe? Nobody answered the phone at the SEC? Here are a few crazy articles that summarize the mess:

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC was examined at least eight times in 16 years by the SEC and other regulators. Regulators failed to uncovering the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme that may have begun in the 1970s.

In 2003, a team from France's Société Générale’s investment bank spotted the risks and put Madoff's firm on their internal blacklist. The bank kept the discovery to itself though.

In 2005, Harry Markopolos, an independent financial fraud investigator, submitted a report to the SEC which listed 29 red flags and stated it was highly likely that "Madoff Securities is the world's largest Ponzi Scheme."

Madoff's "official" three-person based auditing firm, Friehling & Horowitz, had only one active accountant. An employee from a nearby business claims the only man using the Friehling & Horowitz's building stays "for 10-to-15 minute periods, and wears tight pants and tie-dyed shirts."

Finally in 2008, Madoff confessed to his two sons that his investment advisory business was indeed “a giant Ponzi scheme.” The sons, Andrew and Mark, turned Madoff in to U.S. authorities on the night of Dec. 10.

So this week, the House Financial Services Subcommittee is holding hearings on the investment scheme. You can watch Markopolos's testimony on the CSPAN web site, but here is a rather interesting bit (if video doesn't show, click here):

The scary part is in the last minute. Could it be true that WSJ reporters feared Madoff so much that they would not get on a plane to interview Markopolos regarding the fraud? And Markopolos also feared for his own safety. Wow.

But I admit that I'm viewing this investigation from such a remote position. Putting aside six degrees from Kevin Bacon jokes, I don't know anybody on Madoff's investors list. Many of those clients are charities. Banks have been hit hard too. But I can't feel sorry for those who invested because they knew Madoff was cheating.

Certainly there is no shame in being rich. But what if you get rich by cheating the poor and the elderly? Or by running sweatshops, waging wars, selling poison or any of a million other evils. Why is there no shame in that? Of course somebody profited from this mess, and I predict those people will go on to sell books and give expensive lectures regarding ethical and legal quandaries. A small group gets rich, while the whole country bails them out.

In other news, Bill Gates released a jar of mosquitoes at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference in Long Beach, Calif. If the room had been full of bloodless Wall Street investors, those poor mosquitoes would have starved to death.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Head Rush

I really thought the attention being given to Rush Limbaugh lately was ridiculous. I wanted him and Palin and Joe the Plumber to slip into oblivion. They're irrelevant... to me at least. But to some segments of the population, they still rule.

Hearing Republican congressman Phil Gingrey beg Limbaugh for forgiveness after offending the beast was the most pathetic thing I've heard in years. But it was also an eye-opener. A right-wing talk radio host has filled the vacuum of leadership in the Republican Party.

As usual, it takes a comedian like Stephen Colbert to rip Limbaugh and all the meek Republicans who grovel at his feet (if video doesn't show, click here):

I love the way Colbert can get away with calling Limbaugh a pig. And let's not forget this bullet point: "And whatever Glenn Beck is." What is that guy? His television performances are completely maudlin. I think even Tammy Faye Bakker would feel embarrassed for him.

The GOP is becoming a sitcom of loony characters. But it's a tired and worn out show with a hypnotized audience willing to obstruct any governing that might actually help them and their families.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Can Stop Any Time

Web comic by xkcd.

Is that comic me? Is that comic you? Maybe we have the dreaded IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder)? Oh, no. Where do I go for help? The Internet! This is kind of like a shopaholic going to the mall.

Here's the simple IAT (Internet Addiction Test). It says I'm an "average user." I was completely honest with my answers. For example, they asked "How often do you find that you stay on-line longer than you intended?" and I checked "rarely." After all, I intend to stay online during all waking hours.

They asked "How often do you prefer the excitement of the Internet to intimacy with your partner?" I checked "does not apply." After all, who has time for a partner when you have the Internet. Anyway, you get the idea.

Of course if I had scored higher on their test, they would have recommended their counseling services and books and tapes. How handy that they're willing to sell me something... I wonder if the shopping addiction sites make more sales? Hmm.

Nielsen says Americans spent 6% more time on the Internet in 2008 than they did in 2007. Also, our TV viewing habits were up 4%. Luckily I can do both at the same time.

I had another relevant link I wanted to insert here, but StumbleUpon is down and I'm starting to twitch. [Update: here is the link. Basically it says unemployment means more time to play Internet games. It's the WSJ, so there's even a chart.]

I will eventually write a followup post on my decision to join Facebook. But right now the social networking site feels too much like high school. I'm not simply talking about gossiping and "friending" people. I'm actually getting weird homework assignments. I'm referring to the famous "25 things about me" post making the rounds. I've been tagged twice this week to write a note with 25 things my friends might not know about me.

These assignments always stress me out. I came up with one thing to write -- my last living pet was a seamonkey. Can you guys help me with the other 24? Wait... it's supposed to be stuff my friends don't know, so I can't ask for help. Then help me make stuff up? Luckily, Holy Juan posted some good filler I can use, but my friends would never believe the one about having an erection for 18 years. Simply put, it does not apply.

I'll be awake for a few more hours, checking the blogs and making sure nobody is wrong.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Blogroll Amnesty Day

February 3 is Blogroll Amnesty Day, a celebration of small blogs. (If video doesn't show, click here):

Not to sound tearful, but I realize there are few blogs tinier than mine. So I will link to a few of my favorite blogs, and though the "Dorkmonger bump" may not account for much, I'll give it my best shot!

Trung Chatter: This is the friend who convinced me to start blogging again after a five year hiatus. He is working on his masters degree in econ at the University of Missouri Kansas City, so when he writes about institutional economics, you better listen.

People in the Sun: He has a cute baby, and a pit bull, and he discovered the meaning of life while reading a book store job application. Sometimes he makes observations I wish I had figured out myself.

Yoga for Cynics: Why am I reading a yoga blog? I'm lucky I have the strength to scratch my own head, but this blog is about more than body contortions. It's about the stuff I was raised to have contempt for -- like the search for enlightenment -- while still doubting and disagreeing with everything.

Pruning Shears: Dan writes a very level-headed political blog. There are the occasional succinct posts, but also many well researched and linked discussions on the expansion of government powers.

Past in Print Weblog: Aaron is a blogger with a background in American history, and I appreciate the connections he makes between our past and our present.

Superfabutastic: Hey, I just remembered one blog smaller than my own. My friend Mo, who likes to thoroughly research everything before he makes a move, created this blog a few months ago and has not written a single post. It's high time I busted his balls.

Ok, I think that's a pretty good list, and in the process of making it I realized it's kind of difficult describing why I like certain blogs.

Since this month marks the one year anniversary of the Dorkmonger revival, I hereby affirm my commitment to keep on blogging.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

No Coincidence

Is it just a coincidence that a few weeks after hiring Samuel Wurzelbacher (aka "Joe the Plumber," aka leftover baggage from the McCain campaign), Pajamas Media is shutting down its blogger advertising network? Apparently the blog advertising market is crashing along with everything else.

Of course, there is also the possibility that companies didn't want to advertise on wingnut blogs. The free market is funny like that.

I guess PJM saw themselves as some kind of superhero in tights (err Pajamas) exposing liberal bias and stomping out the traditional media. Instead, they got Joe the Pretend War Correspondent ranting about how reporters shouldn't report, the media should be abolished, and everything would be better if Americans kept on cheering. Funny how the antiquated liberal media handily discredited him.

PJM is still trying to define a future for themselves. Their lineup of webcasts looks like remnants from Bush's military analysts program... but on second thought, no military analyst was as stupid as Joe the Shlump... except, well that Rumsfeld guy had some insane moments.

But I digress. Many Americans don't know much about news outside the US, and PJM might find their niche in making those average Joes feel smart.