Friday, July 23, 2004

On chicken subservience,

as seen on the BBC.

An argument for video games: if poultry industry employees knew they could get their avian-related frustrations out on a web site, maybe they wouldn't have gotten fired.

Also from the Beeb: racketeers go where the money is, to DDoS attacks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Biggest. Collection. Ever.

Every comic book DC ever published.

Yes, every single one:

Among the more esoteric items in the collection is the two-volume set of Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, published by DC in 1978. With a print run of only 35 copies, these books contain stories left over following the infamous "DC Implosion." Printed for copyright purposes, these were distributed internally to creators whose work it featured.

The best squalor money can buy.

Now selling tickets for admittance to offset costs. Inquire within.

Seriously, why did the landlord decide they have to do air conditioning maintenance now. Why? Why would you wait for the middle of the hottest month of the year, and then turn the A/C off. This is the second July in a row with several consecutive days without A/C, though to be fair, last year's outage was because a telephone pole fell on a power line and caught on fire and all the power was out.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Canucks' got nothing on U.S.

Thanks, Frank, for the link about the Canadian Election (no party won the majorty this time, BTW). But for its wackiness factor, the District of Columbia beats Canada any day.

Because the United States federal government resides in the District, the Feds get to control the district. Which seems reasonable enough until you realize that, due to the nature of the federal legislative body, a Congressman from New Jersey has effective veto power every time D.C. wants a bill to change the funding for their failing school system. D.C. doesn't get any say in the federal legislative body. Sure, the District elects someone to congress (1 out of 535), but Congresswoman Norton isn't actually allowed to vote.

So after 173 years, Congress allowed D.C. to elect its own mayor and the Washington City Council in The Home Rule Act. They've still no voting Congressional representative. If you live in D.C., for ten bucks you can have your licenses plates read "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION". I think the default is "Celebrate and Discover".

And what did they get by having home rule? Last time around, the current mayor almost didn't get himself on the ballot for his own reelection, because his campaign screwed up in the face of a deadline and filled petitions full of obviously fake signatures. But at least he's not ex-Mayor Marion "Bitch set me up" Barry, who set low mayoral standards by getting caught with a hooker and crack. I mean, if the current mayor gest caught with an high-end escort and some pot, he's still doing better than average. Now Marion Barry wants to run for the Ward 8 City Council seat (yet again, after a campaign in 2002 for an "at large" spot on the council which was cut short by another cocaine-related incident), but the incumbent for the seat he's running for, Sandy Allen, announced his candidacy before he did. And if you're tired of hearing those two argue back and forth, it's okay: I've been told there are over 500 other people running for elected positions in the District this year.

The school system is still the biggest political issue, though. There was last year's scandal of embezzlement by the head of the teacher's union. The mayor's struggling to gain control over what is now a wholly elected school board, with good reason: if he's held accountable for failing schools at election time, he'd like the authority to do something about it. The city's still searching for someone a sucker qualified enough to be the D.C. Superintendent of Schools.

Some linguistic notes on names:

For confused foreigners, the District of Columbia contains only the city of Washington and all of the city of Washington. There used to be more than that: Alexandria used to be part of the district, and Georgetown was considered separate from Washington City (history here). From my personal experience, people usually use D.C. for the physical place: "I'm going in to the District this weekend"; and Washington for concepts, entities or organizations: "Those fat cats in Washington have another thing coming." "The Washington Times is owned by the Reverend Sun Yung Moon [true!]." These are not hard and fast rules.

The spokesman for the D.C. police is Joe Gentile. I get a kick out of that. Also, the mayor appointed someone last year to help get the bureaucracy in order. That man's name is Bob Bobb. People actually call him that.

Bob Bobb.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

C-SPAN hasn't been the same since

Matthew Baldwin was unimpressed with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

I couldn't put my finger on just why I loved watching the pre-McClellan press briefings until today. I didn't care much for what Ari Fleischer had to say, but I liked his skill in dodging. Ari could not answer questions, make the askers feel like the idiot for even having asked it, then insult their mothers; and they would thank him for it.

And about that dodging article: I believe them when they say there's been a decline in research by journalists. I know a journalist who has done covered music, and I've heard stories of bands stunned that a reporter already knows when the last time they came to town was and how long they've been around because they actually looked it up. To be fair, rock bands are very different than Colin Powell.

Which reminds me why I like Fresh Air so much, where they have rock bands and Colin Powell. It's not hard, 0day news, but someone has actually done a lot of work before Terry Gross sits down to an interview. Guests come on their show and say, "OMGWTF! Someone actually did their homework. My head feels like it will explode! [*explode*]". Sure, they lose a lot of guests from this, but it makes for great radio either way.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Follow up to a link on Franks page, I

In re things you can and can't run from:


Many visitors have been gored by vuffalo.

Buffalo can weigh 2000 pounds
and can sprint at 30 mph,
three times faster than you can run.

I left town and you didn't even notice /// Three to tango

I flew to Chicago.

Downtown Chicago is one of the most impressive-looking downtowns I have ever seen. There are these huge, impressively architected buildings all very close, as if they're trying to overpower the land they’re forced into. At street level, if you're not looking up, it seems fairly normal.

I got in a cab where the guy never checked his blind spot. The first time the car he almost sideswiped was an unmarked police car. The cop used his bull-horn to say, "You better watch it there, buddy." Of course ten minutes later, the cabbie does it again. And then once more, for good measure.

My plane back was delayed 1 hr 45 min or so. While waiting, I struck up a conversation with two women and a man who were going to Argentina "for dancing, food, and shoes. In that order." They are in to tango enough that they fly from Chicago to Buenos Aires every year. And it doesn't hurt that you could get what would be a $50 four-course meal stateside for ten bucks, and they know about this guy who makes shoes by hand in such a bad part of town, that last time the cabbie refused to leave until he saw they had actually entered the building. They're my kind of people when they travel, too: "Who wants to go in October [or did they say April?] when all the Americans and Europeans fly in to town? They want to see people they could meet at home, just down there. If I go, and everyone speaks Spanish and I meet no one from home, I'm happy." You can't meet the locals there back here. Isn't that part of why we travel on vacation?