Thursday, August 31, 2006

Radio Schlack

I usually save stuff like this for Fridays, but this is just stupid. Radio Shack sent e-mails to 400 employees informing them they'd been fired. They were given 30 minutes to clean out their desks. And if they had any questions, they could send e-mails back to Radio Shack.

That's just stupid. Radio Shack said it allowed them to do it quickly (afraid of paying for even five or ten more minutes?) and it was more private for the employees. Yeah, when 400 employees simultaneously shout "What the f?" or start crying and packing up their desks. Yeah, real private.

I'm still bitter over my downsizing, but at least Warner Bros. had the courtesy to call us in one by one with our boss, her boss who flew in from New York and an HR representative.

I hate the creation of new laws, but perhaps laws requiring layoffs to occur in person wouldn't be such a bad thing. E-mails, phones, faxes, telegraphs, messenger pigeons and smoke signals are a really krizappy way to fire people.

And another thing... does anyone still shop at Radio Shack?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My New Addiction

Ok, my new addiction has to be Flickr Maps (or is ot Flickr Mps?) As always, sign-in for a majority of the photos. And since you've probably already seen all of my photos, here's the overall collaborative page for Flickr Map page.

According to the Flickr Blg, they released this on Aug. 28 and hoped that within a month they'd have a million photos on the map. But in 24 hours they had 1.2 million and another 400k 9 hours later. That's kinda cool.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Overpriced


Apparently the city of Santa Barbara is thinking about building affordable
housing -- so that those who make an average of $160k a year can afford to
buy a home in the city.

Do Elephants Have Good Memories?

(thanks to Chris for sending this to me)

Incredible story about an elephant's memory...

A young man was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. While he was walking through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.

As carefully and as gently as he could he worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.

The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they were standing at the rail. The large bull elephant stared at him and lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring at the man. The man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him. The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New Photos

New photos on the Flickr site.

New Landmark


A helpful landmark for those of you who come to visit... if you're coming down 320th., the ugly blue-green eyesore is just before the stop light where you'll turn right onto Hoyt.

Our neighborhood is 75% association and 25% not. This has inspired me to go out and capture other examples of why living in an association is great. (That is, wait until you see those horrible eyesores in the non-association part. Some real stunners.)

I honestly don't know why home improvement stores aren't banned by law from not selling colors like this in large quantities.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Interesting to Me This Week (8/25)

Foiled!
A guy in Texas, watching a webcam of a street in UK sees a burglary in progress and calls the police who apprehend the criminals. Nice going! (msnbc.com)

Studied
Why did Sony buy Grouper? Cringely suggests it's a cheap way to study what entertains people these days since the mutli-media conglomerates are finding they are no longer the only choice in town. (pbs.org)

Stupid
A woman embezzles $2.3 million from her company. The worst part? She was spending it buying lottery tickets. I've always said that the lottery was a tax on those who were bad at math. But I think it's also a tax on really, really, really stupid people. (reuters.com)

Cool
The iBar (iTired iOf iThe iI iTrend) is a cool bar with lighting effects that change as things are placed on its surface. Videos are neat. (i-bar.ch)

Duck!
Coathangers designed to look like darts that have been thrown at the wall. How fun. Until you have to explain it repeatedly to your friends, I'm sure. (thecoolhunter.net)

Drunk!
Turns out that Milwaukee, not Vegas, is America's drunkest city. From what I've heard of Milwaukee, should that really be a surprise? (msnbc.com)

Rollin'
I heard the song on Launchcast and thought it must be a joke, especially with Jamie Kennedy listed as the artist. I think it started as a bunch of quotes inserted into a song and later they approached Saget about making a video. Explicit content but amusing. (youtube.com and wikipedia.org)

Demoted
The ultimate insult. One day, you're going to get some new neighbors. The next day being told you're not a legitimate player in the 'hood. And then, because you're an inanimate object, you have no recourse or now way to protest. Sorry, Pluto. (msnbc.com)

Abused
Microsoft's planning to add a "Report Abuse" button to its Messenger program. I don't know how it will work, but it's supposed to allow people to report suspected predators. Instead, I see it being used by 12-year-olds to report their friends. (guardian.co.uk)

Boing
From my co-worker Chris, two short videos of old Atari games re-enacted by humans. It's stop motion so it's not as cool as that Matrix Ping-Pong one but still amusing. (youtube.com - space invaders and youtube.com - pong)

Speed
A way to test how fast your connection. Was surprised to find out that my home connection from Comcast was as fast as the fasted one listed for downloads and pretty decent for uploads. (dslreports.com)

Snakes!
What can be learned from Snakes on a Plane and its marketing? (church of the consumer)

Begone!
An amusing anti-telemarketer script. Interested in hearing how it works out if anyone tries it. (xs4all.nl)

Good
Kevin had a good day. But it's been a seesaw of a week since then, going downhill and then uphill even more quickly. He's also posted a lot of clips from his work in the TV industry on his blog. (cindycrawford.blogspot.com)

Ouch
A new trend... bringing the service business to you. First it was people who would come and get your car and wash it while you were at work, and then guys who would pick-up your dry cleaning. And then oil changes in the staff parking lot. In Vegas, it's gone even further... now the dentist comes to the staff parking lots of the casinos. (news.com)

Idiots
In future news, a recently opened Hitler-themed restaurant in India is firebombed by Jewish Indians. (msnbc.com)

Strip
After an April Fools Joke is received really well by people who think it's real, the World Strip Poker Championship Kicks-off... (msnbc.com)

Boom!
Scare tactics by a group hoping to get some government money creates videos to show how bombs can be rigged to blow up only when someone from a particular country (carrying their passport) walks by the bomb. (engadget.com)

It's the Smell

I saw Starbucks coffee in one of those take-it boxes on the counter in the conference room across the hall from me and I smiled. That kind of Starbucks is ok while on the diet because it's just coffee. It's not got all the fancy stuff in it that's sugary and syrupy. I twisted off the plastic cap and it hit me. It's the smell. That's why I like Starbucks. As soon as the cap was off, I smelled that same smell that I smell every time I step into a Starbucks. That smell has become embedded in my brain as the smell of something good. Because when I get to go to Starbucks, it's a treat. An interesting little self-realization there.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Survivor

CBS has announced that this year's edition of Survivor has four teams, each of a different race... white, black, latino, asian.

New York City is officially protesting the show and demanding CBS yank it.

I don't think those descriptions are really race, such a wide possibility of ethnicities can fit into each described type.

white... Australian? Irish? Canadian? No, Californian.
black... Nigerian? Kenyan? South African? No, Californian.
latino... Mexican? Spanish? Panamanian? No, you guessed it, Californian.
asian... Japanese? Chinese? Nope, Arcadian. Errr., Californian.

Perhaps the real reason New York is upset is that 13 of the 20 maze-rats this year are from California. This after they purposefully recruited this cast, versus the open casting-call of past years. Not to mention three of them are actors.

Last year it was kind of novel... three teams of four... old men, old women, young men, young women. But they got bored of that and after a single episode condensed them down to fewer teams. Whose to say that won't happen this time?

Although it might be interesting if people start speaking in another language to be sneaky. I wouldn't be surprised if that's against the rules.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Osama, Where Art Thou?

NEWSWEEK -- Newsweek wonders if Osama Bin Laden won't be caught just in time to help the GOP keep its stranglehold on U.S. politics. If not, it theorizes that the GOP may try to remind people about Osama as a way to keep them voting for the power-party instead of switching over to the flower-party who will undoubtedly promise an end to the wars.

I wouldn't be surprised if Osama is captured. Otherwise, it's pretty flimsy to say "Hey, vote for us. Remember Osama?" What is that, a request for more time? We remember him. He's in a cave cut off from the rest of the world somewhere on the Pakistani border and after five years, yeah, we remember, you still haven't caught him. And that's precisely what the donkey will say as it runs circles around the elephant.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Grieving for Los Angeles

I wanted Rick Dees to have a chance to get back on to the air again, but not like this. Lately I've been lamenting the loss up here of K-HIT 107. I remember the day started calling themselves K-H-I-T 106 point 9 instead, about 13 years ago. The transition was subtle. Since then, they've even dropped the coolest call letters ever in favor of something that doesn't make much sense but fits better with their new "WARM 107" name. Before I had left town, KPLZ 101.5 had become "STAR 101.5" and things changed once again.

I was happy to be back and after being here six months, realized there wasn't two country stations in town, but four. But through it all, I missed KZLA, a really terrific country station in Los Angeles. Two of my co-workers, one Egyptian, one Chinese, nearly always had it tuned in their cars. It seemed like a really popular station. I even had a chance to talk to the morning guy, Peter Tilden, who agreed to leave a voicemail for my wife wishing her a happy birthday. (I had begrudgingly accepted him as the morning DJ. I missed Wendy and Jim for a long time after they left.)

But yesterday morning, without warning either the listeners or the the DJs, the format changed to another homogenous "moving" station. There's one up here. There's often something on that is listenable, but like I said, I have four other country stations available to me. I would be even more upset tonight if I lived in Los Angeles. I hope that another communications conglomerate will step up and recognize that there was a listening audience in KZLA.

They had recently celebrated 20 years and asked the audience what we thought they'd do in the next 20. I wrote in suggesting they take their successful brand to New York and let those poor New Yorkers have access to some great country.

I always said that Seattle had a better variety of radio than Los Angeles. This is just another nail in the coffin. Except KMZT (K-Mozart).. they played movie soundtracks like "Raiders of the Lost Ark".. I haven't heard KING play anything like that.

RIP, KZLA.

Google News (162 stories), Blogger (1,098 recent posts)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Links (8/18)

Breast Implants Might Not Make Life Sweeter
MSNBC.COM -- Compared with the general population, those who get breast implants are more likely to later commit suicide than those who don't. To a much smaller degree, those who get other types of cosmetic surgery also are more suicide-prone. Which might suggest that to willingly get cut-up, there's already something mentally wrong with you. Or, that after you've had the surgery, you realize that changing the outside didn't do you any good because you were a crummy person inside and people still didn't like you once they got to know you.

Snakes on a Firetruck
NEWS.COM -- A new invention in the works: a robotic snake that uses the power of the water in the hose it's dragging to squirm its way into situations where firefighters can't go.

Check Out My Cube
ENTERTAINMENTEARTH.COM -- A co-worker swears this site is "awesome." He also often sends e-mails with extra e's on the ends of words like he's renaissance faire-y-ing it up. Today's e-mail was a Potter Star Wars Lord of the Rings King James mash-up.

Did You Miss Out?
ENGADGET.COM -- If you didn't already get your $100k in on a deposit on a Tesla, you're out of luck. The first production run has sold out. Sorry.

Renovate This, Honey!
ABOUT.COM -- Some sad statistics about how much marital strife is caused by renovation. We had some serious strife when we renovated, but it was all directed at the contractor. It was the two of us who kept each other sane. I guess it all comes back to (1) communication and (2) it's us against the world, baby.

Cool New Use for Google Earth
ESV.ORG -- A group of enthusiasts has been hard at work identifying the location of hundreds of locations mentioned in the Bible.

Beware the Bubble 2.0
CNN.COM -- With Fox making money off of its purchase of MySpace.com, it's suggested that now the other media players are going to step up and overpay on less prominent social networking sites in a me, too, fashion, and that if they're not careful, it's going to lead to another dot-bomb.

Oops
YOUTUBE.COM -- Public speakers everywhere are bemoaning sites like You Tube where anything recorded will eventually appear. A slip of the tongue by a young pastor. For even more fun, watch it with the sound off and look at how his face changes color so quickly.

But I Haven't Visited All the Ones We Have Now
MSNBC.COM -- Scientists are considering adding more planets to our solar system. (Well, reclassifying masses of flying rock.) Some would be smaller than our moon, which is not a planet because it revolves around the earth instead of a star. I think the opening graphic is pretty amazing because when put all side-by-side, it's amazing how much some of these other planets are.

Sucker
REUTERS.COM -- Man, seeking to cure a run of bad luck, purchases a potion supposed to give its drinker good luck. Didn't work for him, it killed him. Guess his bad luck streak wasn't quite over just yet.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mine to Lose

About two weeks ago my boss came to me and took me into a private conference room where he told me that my permanent position had not yet been approved and there was an unforeseen delay. However, instead of just waiting, he recommended I apply for a new position that had just been created. It would have been more responsibility, more pay, and a great stepping stone to more and more.

And I blew it.

I had a really poor showing at the interview and now they're telling me that they're talking to a stronger candidate.

So I continue to temp, with no health benefits/insurance, no sick time, no vacation for who knows how much longer.

I'm thankful to have work, I think I'm supposed to be working here and I really love the culture and the environment. But man am I ever bummed tonight.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Photos

There are new photos on the Flickr site in the July and August folders. Don't forget -- you have to sign-in or all you'll see are photos of zoo animals. (If you don't have permission to see our family photos, please e-mail me for an invite.)

Linkage (08/15)

Interesting stuff not worth making into separate entries...

You are the power company - A device that allows you to "download" power at non-peak times for later use during peak times. Another device holds excess power on behalf of the power company who later gets it back when they need it. (It's not my power, I was just holding it for a friend!) (news.com)

Strawberry-milk-flavored Fish Sausage - Japanese researchers are working on ways of growing flavors so that they can be injected into other foods. (seedmagazine.com)

Beware of Snakes - A look at all the ways SOAP is being cleverly marketed. (church of the consumer)

Where Am I? - This isn't real. Well, it is, but it isn't. It's a miniature city. Zoom out. Cool. (maps.google.com)

And the clock runs out... - ABC Sports is finally going away. Disney will use the ESPN branding for all of its sports programming. But so as to not confuse people, it will be sometimes called "ESPN on ABC" - sigh. Or am I giving sports fans too much credit if I think it's unnecessary to have the "on ABC" as part of the name? (msnbc.com)

Pollution Watch - An organization has figured out a way to equip pigeons with small devices that allow them to monitor air quality and report it back via a cell signal with precise local measurements courtesy of GPS technology. They release the pigeons and the pigeons meander through the area they want to monitor, at a much lowe r altitude and a much cheaper cost than anything else they've tried. The Google Map element allows you to see in real time if they're about to poop on your car. (pigeonblog)

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Airports

New airports will probably also have to offer restaurants and duty free-like shops near baggage claim/arrivals since there may be some items packed or inaccessible that you need quickly upon landing. According to TV reports I saw, those duty free shops have about 60% of their revenue tied up in liquids/gels.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Liquids, shmiquids

For all this talk about dangerous liquids on a plane, I'm more afraid of snakes on a plane.

Safety is an illusion

MSNBC.COM -- Probably 8 or 9 months ago I read this chilling article about this woman who witnessed something rather odd on an airplane, enough so that her magazine let her write a really long piece about it, even though it wasn't relevant to the topic of the magazine (a women's magazine) because they were worried that the story might be lost. She told of a group of middle-eastern looking men who when they first boarded the plane seemed unfamiliar to one another. They carried on various items, including a bag from McDonalds. One of them was friendly with her. Over the course of the flight they made a number of trips to the bathroom. The one who had been nice to her was now avoiding her gaze, they were all acting really somber and some spoke to one another in a way that suggested to her that they did in fact know each other.

She was also able to notice that the McDonalds bag accompanied one of the passengers to the bathroom several times and the shape of its contents changed.

It wasn't until she had landed and was able to discuss with colleagues and friends before it became obvious what she had probably witnessed -- a trial run at multiple terrorists bringing individual items -- by themselves harmless -- and assembling them to create some sort of weapon, probably a bomb.

The first thing that came to mind this morning when I heard that a large number of people were arrested, it made me think that maybe they were decoys. Sure, vigilance is up, everyone's uneasy, but they also think the worst case scenario has been all or mostly been taken care of.

I hope that's not the case, that they weren't decoys.

But I've always marvelled at what qualified as security. Take Disneyland for one. We'd go, taking our own stroller with us. They'd never check the stroller that carefully, in some cases not even asking us to remove and open the diaper bag stored under the stroller. It would be very easy to smuggle a large bomb in ala Atlanta, designed to hurt a large number of people. You could even couple that with a bundled up "sleeping baby" and a "woman" in a burka and who's going to suspect a woman with a baby in a stroller, not knowing it's really a guy with a trolley full of explosives?

Or, as the article suggests, just bring the bomb to the airport. Especially now with the lines really long at the security checkpoint, you could do a lot of damage on the insecure side of the security checkpoint. Suddenly, Los Angeles' "shortsightedness" of having the Green Line come within a few blocks of the airport without stopping at it seems smart, one less way to deliver a bomb to the airport itself.

I don't think it will be long before:

(a) all prescriptions have a unique barcode on them to make sure that they really
were prescribed by a licensed physician and to the person carrying them (to combat Limbaugh-disease and mad bombers)

(b) the design of airports will be rethought. Soon you will park further away and go through security and checkin right away. You'll surrender your baggage at the parking lot and then be whisked directly to the terminal on board a fast shuttle that doesn't make any stops.

(c) the concept of air travel itself will change. RyanAir already prohibits all carry-on items. Israeli Air doesn't announce flight departures. You show up and then you wait. When your flight is announced, you leave on it. But you don't know how long you'll wait. In the future, nearly all carryon will be banned. You'll be able to rent a personal entertainment center (I can't find a link but Southwest or Alaska already offers this on some flights) that allows you to listen to music or watch movies or surf the internet at your seat. A smart airline will get "customer service points" when they start handing out bottles of water when you first get on the plane. I could even see a time where you book a destination, but not a flight. You don't know until you get to the airport what flight you will be on and if you'll even be traveling with your adult colleagues or family members. Luggage will come on separate flights jointly operated by the airlines and delivered to your hotel on their timetable. (Companies, including the airlines, will be happy to rent you a cell phone or laptop at your destination.)

or

(d) We'll forget all about this stuff, start grumbling about having to take off our shoes until the next time someone is arrested or successfully blows up a plane or figures out something even more devastating.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Israel OKs Wider Ground Offensive

MSNBC.COM -- Maybe they'll be more selective in their targets as a ground force than from fighter jets. For all this talk of rockets raining down on Israel from Lebanon, there's not enough talk about how most of these rockets land in the water and empty fields. The response is incredibly disproportionate that it's sickening.

Try this:
Digital Journalist Photo Gallery Especially look at photos 26, 61 and 93.

I also overheard this morning on CNN or MSNBC that the Red Cross is now accusing Israel of violating the Geneva convention by preventing aid workers from reaching people in need.

Yes, two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped. But the rockets didn't go into the air until after Israel began its bombing.

Explain it to me. What will this accomplish? What is the goal? If you think of terrorists like rats, you can never ferret them all out. You will simply drive them deeper and strengthen their resolve. And in the long run, you will be worse off.

In the long run you will be worse off. This is worth repeating.

End this.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Smells Like Rain

Danged Weather.com... I've been watching all day as it's moved predictions of rain from 3 pm to 4 pm to 6 pm to 10 pm to 4 am two days from now. The clouds rolled it and it smelled all fresh like rain, but apparently no rain.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The best place?


Surely they could have found somewhere safer to hold an open house.

Friday, August 04, 2006

New Feature

If you, like me, often forget to regularly visit your friend's blog. (Or if you're a friend of mine and are tired of showing up only to find something pretty useless posted...)

Check out the new option on the right-hand side of this page. If you put in your e-mail address, you'll get an e-mail when I update my blog.

At most, you'd get one e-mail a day, no matter how many posts I put up.

And what else is cool? You can add this to your own blog and then I can sign up and get notified when you post new stuff to your blog.

It's still only a maximum of one e-mail a day -- the system looks at all the blogs that you've asked for updates on, looks to see which ones are updated and then rolls it all up to a single e-mail. Very handy!

Irresponsible Patriotism

I honestly do not understand why this country is so solidly behind Israel. Ok, sure, they've been persecuted since the beginning of time, have been claimed as God's chosen people, but even they turned from Him, and in the ultimate rejection refused to acknowledge God's own Son when He was here on earth. To be sure, that was necessary in order for God's grace and love to be spread to the rest of the world.

But, c'mon. Ever since the re-formation of the country of Israel, they have been nothing but trouble. Every few years, someone buzzes around their head like a fly. So they get out machine guns and shoot in the direction of the fly, without any regard for whatever else or who else they might hit. And this seems to be their only policy. So how can things ever change?

To be sure, it's really difficult to negotiate or find common ground with countries who blend religion with politics and whose religion has been twisted to demand death of anyone who thinks differently. To be sure, the U.S. has a strong interest in making sure that a democratic non-Muslim presence remain in that part of the world. To be sure, there are plenty of familial connections between Israel and the United States.

But over 800,000 people are now displaced and with roads and bridges and airports/airfields destroyed, ports blockaded and the indiscriminate destruction by Israeli forces with no guarantee of safety for aid workers, the situation only gets worse. It's a crime and we are complicit in this. And it's not going to win either country favors with the rest of the world. Kevin spoke the other day of China really not caring what the rest of the world thinks. A concept that's true but hard for me to wrap my brain around. I don't think the U.S. has that luxury, it does and has to care what the rest of the world thinks. And blunders, misteps and stupidity of late do nothing to help our image.

I'm not saying "Can't we all just get along" but I'm asking why we're sitting idly by while this gets worse. The minute a U.S. State Department-chartered boat out of Turkey or Georgia or wherever was blocked by Israeli freighters, we should have stopped being a passive bystander just watching half-amused and quietly rooting for Israel.

Which is just dumb. The policy has never worked. You all know the saying... Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The U.S. is insane and Israel is flipping certifiable.

I might be getting this wrong, but I think it was Rabin who once told the story of two hunters who had shot a large buck. Dragging the large deer towards their car they entered a thick brush and soon became stuck. They struggled, pulling really hard. The progress was really slow. Eventually one of them suggested to the other that they go to the other side of the animal and pull it by its legs so that the antlers were at the back. The other agreed and they went around the animal and began pulling. After awhile the first turned to the second and said "There. This is much better." The second replied, "Yes, we are making great progress now. But we are getting farther and farther away from the car."

I don't even completely understand how to unpack that. But it's time for a change. It's time for a cease-fire, it's time for guarantees of safe passage/protected corridors through Southern Lebanon to help displaced people, it's time for a new, intelligent approach to living on this planet by the state of Israel.

Maybe it's been too long since I watched West Wing. Say what you will, I think it did a good job of conveying how many layers any decision has. So let me look at it with my very simplistic, action-oriented mind and say that it's time the U.S. the right thing.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dual Duty

I feel like I'm starting to learn a little bit of what it's like to try to run for re-election. More on that later.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I want to go to Cuba

I've wanted to travel to Cuba for some time now. Probably partially the fact that I've been told I couldn't, but also because I would love to try Cuban food in Cuba and because it looks like a really beautiful place, full of old architecture.

Today the news has been all about Cuba, since Castro has transferred power to his brother and is now recuperating after surgery. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the travel industry has had plans in place, ready to launch the minute travel is allowed to Cuba. All of the cruise ship operators have scouted ports (as many as eight) and have contingency plans in place. They say those will be the first for U.S. travelers because they have their own infrastructure, they are their own hotels, carry food, etc. But one thing that Cuba has welcomed is tourism, so the rest of the world already enjoys the ability to spend time in Cuba.

A law forbids Americans from spending U.S. dollars in Cuba. However, you can travel to one of five other countries, such as Jamaica, Mexico or Canada and buy all-inclusive packages, thus violating the spirit (and some argue even the letter) of the law.

On CNN they had the story of a boy who in 1994 (7-years-old at the time) got on a boat with 72 others. The boat was intercepted by Cuban government boats which repeatedly rammed the boat and used firehoses designed to fight fires at sea to fill the boat with water. It disintegrated and everyone went into the water. The government boats continued to spray water into the area, attempting to drown survivors. Eventually they captured everyone who hadn't drowned and took them back to land. The boy lost his mom, uncle and brother that day. He and his aunt were allowed to return home. His dad was jailed for a month. Five days after being released from jail his family began work on a raft. Five days after that, 9 people set out on the raft. They were captured by the U.S. Coast Guard and taken to Guantanamo where they were held for 5-1/2 months and then taken to the United States and given permission to be there (VISA?). The boy is now in college and says that he believe his family took that journey, desiring to make a better life for their family and that the risk of death was worth it in their minds when they committed to it.

The news stations believe that the people of Cuba are starting to think that there may be life after Cuba and are starting to desire democracy. (And the news stations questioned why we allow trade with the evil Chinese communist government and not Cuba. Yeah, good question. Sounds like a matter of pride.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Will China Always Be Run By Idiots?

MSNBC.COM -- In a move that even the official newspaper described as "extraordinarily crude, cold-blooded and lazy" the Chinese government clubbed 50,000 dogs to death because they were worried about a rabies epidemic. People out walking their dogs would have their dogs seized and beaten on the spot. In other cases, government "killing squads" would enter towns at night, make noise to get dogs to bark and then locate and bludgeon the dogs to death.

What, couldn't afford a dart gun and some horse tranquilizers? While I seriously doubt anyone in China will ever read this, especially anyone in their government, I gotta say... what the heck are you smoking? You are backwards hillbilly morons without a brain amongst the lot of you. The sooner your country implodes or your people finally wise up and overthrow you, the better.

Dang it, now I've got another arch-enemy.