Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If only it were real money

So I was back at poker tonight, and I just couldnt lose.

I started off with 4000, went up to 17, back down a bit to 11, went all in with J-10 suited and rivered a full house against a flush and from then on it was insane. I didnt lose a hand with more than double the blind in for the rest of the night. I called every all in, and took them all down. I personally took out every single person at the final table; and five others besides.

I saw A-K 6 times, 4 of them suited. I had cowboys twice, ladies twice, and fishooks twice plus a bunch of other pocket pair. I made five boats, and four flushes. I even made a straight flush (to the J), but it was after everyone else had folded and we rabbited it.

When we went heads up I was at 118k, and he was at 14k with blinds at 2k and 4k. He doubled up on me once, but that was the only hand I lost more than the big blind in.

I finished the game with 132,000; the most I'd ever ended up with for this poker league. Funny enough, last week JohnOC and I ended up finishing 1st and 2nd respectively.

That means I'm in the monthly Tournament again (for the third or fourth month in a row, but I've only gone once). Dunno if I'll go this time either. We'll see.

Update: So I go on Doyles room, and tunr $400 play money into $6,000 in less than an hour.

Lord I wish it was real money sometimes...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I have yet to see it...



Mel

Part II was better...

As You Like It

A reader over at Kims site recently acquired an unabridged complete works of William Shakespeare, and was looking for recommendations as to how to get started.

It is the greatest misfortune that most people in this country are introduced to Shakespeare in the worst possible way; usually as a boring high school assignment, and usually a tragedy (I personally had Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Julius Caesar in HS).

Other than the general run of HS reading assignments not being all that interesting or useful, and turning even the best works into unpleasant experiences; often what hangs people up with Shakespeare is the language. It definitely takes some getting used to (though not nearly as much as Chaucer - another great author of "common" literature butchered by HS English).

Combine the language issue, with an unfamiliarity of the history, expressions and idiom, and dramatic or literary conventions of the time, and you end up missing a lot of what is truly excellent, and honestly generally not at all difficult to understand literature.

First note, these were written specifically AS PLAYS for the general public (the English "middle class" as much a misnomer as that is) which means they have an inbuilt natural narrative, flow, and pacing that should be a joy once you are into it.

Anyway, back to the question, how do you start out?

Well, I recommend you start with a comedy not a tragedy. The comedies are much lighter, and more quickly engrossing.

Much Ado About Nothing is an easy intro, and my favorite of the comedies. twelfth Night isn't too bad either.

My favorite play by the way (from anyone, ever, not just Shakespeare) is unquestionably Henry V, but it's not one that's really suitable for “beginners (nor any of the histories” really).

Measure for Measure is not his best work, and the language is complex, but relatively easily understood (it uses simple words in complex constructions, and as such is also very quotable). As you like it could be regarded similarly. The taming of the shrew is a better play, and also entirely palatable.

In terms of the tragedies, Hamlet, Lear, MacBeth, and Othello are such must reads that you can't bother about the difficulty (if indeed you find them so. Lear is a bit thick, as is MacBeth, but I find Hamlet and Othello quite compelling). One supposes one MUST read Romeo and Juliet, but I honestly think it far inferior to the others. Actually my favorite parts of the play are those dealing with side characters (Tybalt is an interesting little psychopath, and Mercutio gets the best lines of the play).

Finally, you absolutely have to read Richard III and Henry V. Yes both are drastically historically inaccurate, but both are absolutely brilliant.

So my list of Shakespeares "must reads" is I suppose thus:

Comedies:
Much Ado About Nothing
Twelfth Night
Measure for Measure
As You Like It
The Tempest
The Taming of the Shrew
The Merchant of Venice
A Midsummer nights dream (I dont like it much, but it's culturally significant)
Tragedies:
Othello
Hamlet
King Lear
MacBeth
Julius Caesar
Romeo and Juliet (again, I don't much care for it, but you HAVE to read it)
Histories:
Richard III
Henry V
That's my must read. I don't much care for the sonnets, but that's just me. Oh and I'd stay away from Titus Andronicus, it's not only NOT a good play, but it's hard to read, poorly written, and frankly disgusting.

Recipes for REAL Men AND Women - Volume 14, God Damn that's a Daiquiri

So this recipe arose from Mels desire to occasionally de-stress with the hard likker, while not being overwhelmed by its taste. This is complicated by the fact that Mel has an obsessive dislike for things even the slightest bit tannic.

Yes that pretty much limits us to Rum, Vodka and various Liquers; and froofy mixed drinks.

Now if I'mna drink, I want to DRINK damnit (not to get drunk, I drink alcohol for the flavor) so we have to find a happy medium. I've got a few of these recipes around, but this is what we had tonight.

note: You need a large blender for this recipe, a second pitcher of the same capacity or larger than the blender, and it's better if you have extra large cocktail glasses

Ingredients:

16oz peaches in light syrup or water
6oz (4 jiggers) Bacardi 151
6oz Cointreau (or other triple sec)
6oz Peach Schnapps
4oz pure fresh lime juice (sweet and sour mix can be substituted but isn't as good)
4oz simple syrup
Ice (1-3lbs depending on serving choice, and desired texture)
8-12oz grenadine (appx)
4oz condensed milk (optional)

Preparation:

First combine the peaches, lime juice, and simple syrup in the blender, and puree until perfectly smooth. If you are using sweet and sour mix, just use 8 oz of mix with no simple syrup; unless the peaches are in water, in which case you still want the syrup. Trust me on this, you NEED that sweetness.

At this stage you have to decide whether you are going to have this drink on the rocks, or blended "frozen" style.

You can also pre-prepare this mix up to this stage, as far as 3 days before hand, and store in the fridge until ready to blend with ice and/or serve. I don't recommend doing that however as the peaches can develop off flavors from the alcohol and contents of your fridge.

If you are serving on the rocks (the traditional method), add in all the alcohol, then blend until smooth (if your blender isn't quite big enough pour some peach mixture off, then mix it in the pitcher later), and skip to the last step; otherwise, read on MacDuff.

If you are going to serve this as a frozen blended style drink, for most blenders you are going to need to split the recipe in half. Many, if not most blenders have a 32oz capacity. Better bar or restaurant style blenders have 40oz, 48oz, or 64oz jars (the largest of which can in theory just barely handle the entire recipe), but even a larger bar style blender may have a problem crushing two plus pounds of ice all in one go.

I HIGHLY recommend you get a good blender. The $20 Wal-Mart specials just don't do the job, and WILL burn out if used frequently to crush ice. You need a blender with a 500 watt plus motor (700 watt or better is recommended), and a very high speed. I recommend getting one the manufacturer specifically rates as being able to crush ice dry (meaning with minimal water actually. No normal blender will properly crush ice without some water, and any blender can crush ice if its mixed 50/50 with water).

basically if your blender has a motor over 500 watts an ice crush setting, and a good warranty from a reputable manufacturer, it's probably powerful enough.

Aaaaanyway, the next step is highly dependent on the texture you want. If you are looking for a smoothie type texture (which has become popular in Applebees type places), you are going to want to use a lot of ice, for a normal blended drink you would use a bit less.

So lets assume you want a normal blended drink first, the other will follow (which I only recommend if you are a froofy sorority sister type).

Take half the blended fruit mixture and pour it into a large cup, putting it aside to blend as your second batch. Add an equal amount of ice as fruit mixture, and use the ice crush setting to blend smoothly.

At this point you should have a couple inches left at the top of the blender, enough for half the alcohol. Add now, and blend again until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and repeat for the next batch.

Now, if you want a smoothie wimpout pansyass officegirl letting her hair down drink, you want to pour all the peach out but about 4 oz, then fill the blenders pitcher all the way up with ice, add half the powdered milk, and crush till smooth but blend as little as possible. Then add half the alcohol, blend again, and add more peach mixture in until the pitcher is full. Repeat for the second batch. If there's a little left over peach mixture (there probably will be because of how much ice is used) stir it into the pitchers at the end.

Even then, this drink has too much alcohol and too much real fruit to be the same texture as one of those silly applebees drinks. If you want that texture, stick it in the freezer for a half hour after you blend it, and lightly stir when you take it out.

Ok, last step.

Take your blended drink mix, and pour into clear, extra large cocktail, balloon, or sundae glass. Pour about 1 shot of grenadine in all the way around the rim of the glass for a beautiful blooming peach effect, and about a half a shot into the direct center of the drink for evenness, and a little extra sweetness. After serving put the remaining drinks into the freezer, and then lightly stir when taking out to serve more.

Serves four to six "Texas size" daiquiris (16oz or 24oz depending on the glass), or eight to sixteen standard daiquiris (6oz or 8oz depending on the glass); depending on the serving style chosen.

Oh and on the serving sizes... One should carefully note, this recipe contains 8.25-8.5 oz of pure alcohol, the equivalent of about 20 shots of whiskey. These Daiquiris are not for the weak of heart, or liver. A single standard sized daiqiri in this recipe will contain 1/2 oz of pure alcohol. A single "Texas sized" drink will have up to 2oz of pure alcohol.

That's kinda hard for ust about anyone really, and unless you are sure about your tolerance I'd recommend against it. For a recipe with about only 6oz of pure alcohol (15 shots), substitute standard gold or white rum. This results in a slightly weak small daiquiri (college girl level) with just less than a shot; and a large sized modeol with up to 4 shots worth. Thats still stronger than most are used to but the sweetness and tang balance it off well.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Women, Volume 13 - Mels 10,000 Calorie Butter Cookies
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 12 - Lard Ass Wings
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

-- Edgar Guest


To Absent Companions, and Fallen Comrades...

Christopher Byrne
USAF 1994-1996
USAFR 1996-2002

Recessional

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

-- Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, May 28, 2006

X3: The Last Retcon

I hereby predict that X3 will be retconned out of existence (either substantially or entirely) by the next X-Men movie.

I don't know what the hell they were thinking, but unless they are deliberately trying to kill the series off (and we know they arent because the wolvie movie is in pre-production), there is no way the continuity established by X3 can stand.

Ok so the wife and I went and saw X3 last night. If taken as a single individual action movie it was jsut fine. Not good, not bad, pretty, lots of explosions etc...

If taken as part three in a series of otherwise very good movies it was AWFUL.

First of all there was no character developement or progress in any way. None of the interesteing story arcs raised were followed at all. We never even caught the names of any of the secondary palyers and SOME OF THE PRIMARY PLAYERS.

They introduced a BUNCH of new characters, many of them with no naems as I said, and then had them around as scenery.

There were tons of fanboy cheap pops etc... but really nothing solid there.

Oh and if you are going to use the characters, and base a lot of your fan appeal on fan knowledge of said characters, you HAVE TO GET IT RIGHT.

Theres a rather critical scene towards the end of the movie where (this isn't a spolier really) Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde) and Juggernaut (Cain Marko - Excellently played by Vinne Jones BTW) are racing through a building to find a mutant whos power is to deactivate other mutants powers.

Kinda cool eh? And true to the marvel universe.

Now they are both able to run through walls. Kitty phases through them, and Jug' well he just runs THROUGH them; because after all, he is the juggernaut.

Now heres where fan knowledge gives you a bite on the ass. Actually in two places. First, Juggernaut is actually Charles Xaviers half brother, BUT when Charles sees him earlier, neither of them acknowledges the others existence.

Talk about missed opportunity.

Second, the key point in the scene here is that mutant powers don't work, and therefore juggernaut gets himself smashed into a wall hard, knocking him out.

Only one small problem. The Jug' AINT A MUTANT.

The seat of the Juggernauts power isn't in the Mutant-X gene (like all mutants), it's in his the Gem of Cytorrak which is imbued with "Cosmic Power" (much as the silver surfer channels from Galactus or the Green Lantern has in his ring). This cosmic power and the curse/gift/function of the ancient gem are to make one super strong, super fast, and essentially indestructable.

And a mutant who cancels other mutants powers would have absolutely no effect on it.

Beast is there, but he's reduced to the toekn minority type role; who's sole purpose seems to be reaction takes "My god"! "We MUST STOP IT!!!" ETC...

Now as to the missed oportunites.. well lessee theres Warren Worthington/Angel/Archangel who they do nothing with; Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat who they do very little with, Piotr Rasputin/Colussus who is reduced to dumb muscle with no lines and no character at all (and that's a sin right there because colussus is a VERY cool character); Jubilation Lee/Jubilee nothing; Moira MacTaggart, nothing; Betsy Braddock/Psylocke nothing...; Callisto is there and has an actual role, BUT WE NEVER EVEN GET HER NAME. I mean they put in Arclight and then made her into... NOTHING.

And then, after doing nothing with all of these extremely interesting and often critical characters THEY KILL THEM.

How in the hell are you supposed to have any mreo (and hopefull by god better) movies in this universe if YOU KILL ALL THE CHARACTERS OFF?

There were no side plots. NONE.

There was almost no dialogue at al in fact, and what there was, was hack level writing.

There were no scenes longer than about 30 seconds. Not just shots, I mean whole scenes. It was like watching a music video on fast forward... Oh wait, might that be becuase the cirectors primary job has been as a RAP MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTOR for christs sake.

I have been saying I was worried about Brian Singer not being there for this one, and man I was so right. Look at the director Brett Ratners portfolio and you'll understand why I was concerned.

Oh and tellingly, there IS NO WRITING OR WRITTEN BY CREDIT; probably because THERE WAS NO WRITING. I'm assuming the director pulled the entire movie striaght out of his ass and then lit it on fire.


The only thing I can think of is that they are going to do the next movie and start it off with a revalation that all the events of X3 were on Earth 295, in the alternate universe timeline.

If you played it right, it could be very cool actually, but I'm not going to get into that now.

Anyway, as a standalone movie it was perfectly fine mindless action movie. If youre' a truefan or fanboy, it's jsut going to piss you off, but you're going to see it anyway.

Fucking Hostile

Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
Pantera -Fucking Hostile
Pantera - Walk
Slayer - Raining Blood
Static X - Cold
System of a down - Chop Suey
Drowning Pool - Bodies
Disturbed - Down With The Sickness

I feel better now

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Why I can't stand Feminists

While Chris was going through his blogroll last night he came across this entry at Seven Inches of Sense concerning feminists and their idiocy. While I would not have put it in quite the terms that she did, I completely agree. Of course her diatribe was started by this post which I find quite laughable and disturbing at the same time. Can you spell V-I-C-T-I-M mentality?

I love feminism and its ideals but I hate Feminists. Let me clarify what I mean by that. Feminism in its classical definition is the idea that women are equal to men and should be treated as such. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Equal rights to representative government (i.e. the vote).
  • Equal rights to major life decisions (financial, educational, lifestyle, etc.)
  • Equal rights to educational and employment opportunities, assuming equivalent abilities. What I mean by this is that if two students apply to the same college their acceptance should be based on demonstrated ability (i.e. grades, tests scores, references) rather than gender. Yes, this means I don't think women should be given preference just for being female (excepting of course women's colleges).
  • Equal rights to health care.
  • Equal rights to legal protection and equal legal responsibilities.
  • Equal rights to earned societal privileges and equal societal responsibilities.
There are many more, of course, but those are the basics. That is feminism to me, the advancement of women just until they have reached equality with men. This of course has already been achieved in the U.S., with the occasional discrimination BOTH WAYS.

Now if you'll notice the last two have responsibilities attached. That is because with EQUAL RIGHTS COME EQUAL RESPONSIBILITY.

And this is my issue with Feminists. They have forsaken equality in a desperate attempt to be better than men. Not only is this impossible but it has the unfortunate consequence of encouraging men to behave WORSE. Let me explain.

Men and women are, by nature, interdependent. All societies exist with some balance or another of this interdependency; take away the interdependency and you are left with purely homosexual societies which by nature die out within a generation without an infusion of new blood. Even if a society existed without men it needs a source of new members, which can only be aided by MEN. The same exists in a society completely comprised of men, they must have women to swell their ranks one way or another.

Now in societies where women are oppressed and unequal the men are no less dependent. However the women live without the rights expressed above but with all of the coinciding responsibility. There is no equality, and as a result the women are *generally* abused, including the loss of self-determination which includes all matters societal, sexual, and relational. These women don't have a choice whether or not to have a child, or get married, or get an education. All things are decided for them, and I agree that the objective of true feminism is to encourage (or force if necessary) society to give women equal rights and responsibilities.

Feminists in this country however have gone far beyond the balance and done something far more detrimental. They pretended that women didn't need men, and that we could very well do without them. This includes the myth of having it all and other Feminist bullshit.

There is only one problem with this idea. Women do need men, or at the very least women with children need men. What do I mean by this?

What does it take to run the average household with children? You need someone to:
  • Provide a steady source of income.
  • Handle financial decisions, i.e. pay bills and plan for the future.
  • Take care of the daily needs of the children and adults, i.e. meals and hygiene.
  • Take care of the household, which includes but is not limited to cleaning and maintenance.
  • Handle health care for all family members.
  • Participate in the education of the kids.
  • Offer the kids affection, attention, and discipline.
This is the very minimum necessary to run a functioning household with kids. As any single mother (including me at one time) would tell you, this is nearly impossible to pull off as a single person. Things are much easier with two, which also frees up the necessary time and energy to do more than the bare minimum. More time and parental involvement is necessary for a child's happiness and eventual well-being and it has been proven time and time again that kids in households with two parents fare much better emotionally, mentally, and socially.

Yes, other adults can help compensate for the lack of a father. After I left my previous husband I lived with my parents and brother for a year and four months. This allowed me to work part time and gave the girls more adults who watched out for them and so things were ok. It is possible to pull of single parenthood and survive relatively well, with help. But herein lies the rub.

As more women effectively told men to bugger off, they didn't need them, whole GENERATIONS of men got the idea that it was okay to leave. Their ex-wives and children would survive, and they would have their freedom back and no one would be worse for wear. There's only one problem with this thinking. As more men left behind their parental responsibilities with each successive generation, more men began to think it was acceptable to do so.

Congratulations Feminists. Instead of cementing equality (which we already had thanks to Susan B. Anthony et al) you created a situation where men started giving up their half of the equal responsibility equation. You have created a situation where women are STILL oppressed, but even worse you've extended it to include innocent children who now suffer the consequences of men giving up their responsibility.

But what do you do when you come across men who have escaped the mentality, men like my father, my brother, my husband and Kim who understand that responsibility has to be shared and therefore make the money and let their wives handle most domestic matters? You yell at THEM because they are obviously OPPRESSING us by "forcing" us to stay at home and take care of the kids and household.

Take it from a former single mother. Poverty and being away from your children for 9+ hours a day just to return to a dirty house and financial stress is FAR more oppressive. I don't know of a single man mentioned above who would NOT encourage his wife to work if she wanted to or would not (finances permitting) trade places with his wife if she wanted to seek employment, or come up with another way of letting her work. Plenty of men are stay-at-home dads now, and I consider that a sign of true equality. However being forced to raise your kids alone on your off hours is oppressive, and having to turn to family for help could also be considered oppressive. It is far better to encourage men to once again take on the responsibility they incurred when they conceived a child and stop telling them we can do very well without men in our lives. Because we can't.

But I have gotten off topic...

The hate post mentioned above is pretty spectacular in its erroneous nature. Yes some men hate women and I agree that rape and violence as a whole must be stopped as much as possible. But here's the deal.

For men to not be animals, WOMEN must be responsible and CHANGE the conditions which allow men to be animals. It's not at all fair but it's the only way to deal with things.

1. Men hate me when they rape. I am lucky enough not to have been raped (yet), but I still feel that hate. I feel it when I read that 60, 000 women a year are raped in the UK alone. I feel it when I know that, all around the world, women are being raped right this minute, right this second. I feel it because I know that we are not being raped by crazy psychopaths lying in wait in a dark alley as the media would have as believe, but by normal, ordinary, everyday men, by husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, friends, fathers, brothers, bosses, partners, ex partners, soldiers, policemen, the list goes on. Men hate me when they rape.

Yes rape is supremely evil. But here's the deal; if you don't want women to be raped, change the conditions which make men think it is acceptable to do so. That means agressively prosecuting rapists, especially in a domestic setting. That means yes, women who are being raped must do whatever they can to escape the situation and find justice. This may be a single act of courage to go to a battered women's shelter or a societal act of courage to change the mindset of women as property. What can those of us who aren't being raped do? Education, assistance, and involvement. If you don't like a situation, CHANGE IT. Do whatever it takes.

2. Men hate me when they use porn. They hate me when they come to my sisters being abused and raped. They hate me when they reduce me to two hands and three holes. They hate me when they use porn as a manual for sex, when they equate my worth to my ability to act like a porn star. They hate me when they deny the harm that porn does to women. They hate me when they see the harm and rejoice in it. They hate me when they cause that harm. Men hate me when they use porn.

Then don't reduce yourself to two hands and three holes. There are men in this world that enjoy women who have independent thought. Encourage THEM. Raise your sons to think that way. And most importantly, if a man is trying to reduce you to two hands and 3 holes and YOU DON'T LIKE IT don't be with him. And encourage other women to have the same lofty standards for their men. Men as a whole will improve. Those who don't, well, if you don't get any nookie you can't have offspring now can you? As for being expected to be a porn star, well, that is indeed asking too much of the average inexperienced girl. But like all things, sex is something all women should aspire to be better at.

3. Men hate me when they type 'rape virgens' into google, or 'cut breasts fuck', or 'three men brutally rape woman'. (Check out the sitemeter posts over at the Den if you really need more evidence).

I wholeheartedly agree that men who get off on violence should be stopped. This goes along with agressively prosecuting rapists and the like. As a whole men need to be re-educated that sexual violence is not acceptable and that they WILL be put away from any available female nookie for violating women. That means law enforcement and society have to do their jobs, and violated women MUST report what happened to the authorities and aid them in whatever way they can. Only when women get over rape shame can we consistently do this.

4. Men hate me when they harrass women in clubs, on the streets, in the park, in bars, on the beach, at the bus stop. They hate me when they leer and make lewd comments and pinch arses and grab breasts and stare down tops and drive by in their cars beeping their horns at any tits and arse they go past and when think they have the fucking right to tell me to smile.

I remember an old Designing Women episode from my youth where the women from the company were consistently catcalled by the workers at a construction site across the street from them. So in order to make it stop they called the worker's mothers in and let THEM deal with it. Moral of the story: don't let the behavior slide, and raise your sons to act respectfully to ALL women. Yes I understand that's a lifetime committment. But there are no fast victories in societal change. Once again though, this is NOT all men. Most men don't do stupid disrespectful things like that, and you must encourage the ones who don't. That does mean paying more attention to the guy that treats you well, and treating him well in return. Manners are reciprocal and can be taught.

5. Men hate me when they buy lads mags and calculate how much their girlfriend costs per fuck.

This is yet another case of them needing to be dumped and taken away from all available female nookie.

6. Men hate me when they ask their girlfriends to get a boob job to spice up their sex life.

See above please.

7. Men hate me when they make malicious, sexist jokes. Men hate me when they laugh at malicious, sexist jokes. You think I don't know that you really mean it?

Once again.

8. Men hate me when they question women's right to equal pay / to have an abortion / to have sex without getting pregnant / to do anything that they have the right to do.

I didn't know men had a right to an abortion. Besides the abortion point (I believe in birth control of a more preventative nature myself) women have an additional right: to not consort with men who believe those things.

9. Men hate me when they buy women's bodies.
10. Men hate me when they sell women's bodies.
11. Men hate me when they pay money to control women in a strip club.

Once again you have the right to not consort with those men, and to not sell yourself. Some women choose to sell themselves; those who don't need help escaping the situation. Are you helping them?

12. Men hate me when they write and profit from lyrics like this (Grab your titties for BIG)

Yeah, I'll agree they are assholes. But the women who let them get away with it are also to blame. Or are you incapable of blaming the women who dance in those videos for furthering that faulty perception?

13. Men hate me when they laugh at an anti-rape protest.

They laugh because protests don't work. Men who don't rape abstain out of their own volition; men who do must be stopped and protests don't stop them.

14. Men hate me when they attempt to justify/ deny /defend any of the above.

Some men will inevitably deny, because they don't do that kind of crap. Encourage them. Raise them.


And this is why I can't stand Feminists. The original feminists were women of action who knew they had to work to change things. Today's Feminists believe society should change just because they want it to. Societal change doesn't work that way.

And let's be honest. Women who keep to their standards and find (and raise) good men shouldn't be vilified for enjoying domestic life and doing what needs to be done. While y'all are whining and not getting any, we are raising a generation of children who will respect each other's rights and expect each other to fulfill responsibilities. In another couple of generations there won't be any of you left, but there will be plenty of the equality you hold so dear. And that will be because WE are the ones who have been safeguarding it, and passing equality along.

Mel

Just call me Mel, everyone else does.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A strange coincidence

So I'm sitting here at work, and an emailo comes in from someone in Ireland.

Just happens to be an ex-girlfriend who I havent seen or spoken to since I moved back to the U.S. ... wait, I think I talked to her once a few months after I came back...

She just sent me a funny link of someone overclocking a PC to 5 ghz using liquid nitrogen. No letter or anything, just the link.

Then, a few hours later Mel gets a call at home looking for me from ... an ex girlfriend who I havent spoken to or seen since either late '96 or early '97 I can't remember which.

She just wanted to see how life was treating me, and tell me about her three little girls (5, 3, and almost 2).

Mel says it's because I'm giving out the "Married Vibe" and now all my exes are going to want me again or some such (I've seen it happen, it actually is true).

I'm just hoping my ex wife doesn't know my phone number at this point...

This is to go with the OTHER strange coincidence which happened yesterday. I get a phone call from someone inside my new company who says "If I mentioned the AnarchAangel, would that mean anything to you?" so it turns out that he had seen my accounts being created and connected the name with the site; and he's a reader.

Hey Dave, looks like I'll be at your facility after all; at least for a few months 'til they finish the renovations over here.

What more does the week have in store for me???

UPDATE: HOLY SHIT.... feeling paranoid, I decided to look up my ex wifes current life situation. Apparently she now lives like 30 MILES FROM HERE!!!!

Last I heard she was off in Canada somewhere...

Jesus H. Christ....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why Chris carries a gun... and so do I



So a couple of weeks ago my oldest brother was visiting my parents where they live in rural AZ. Chris and I drove out there because David was the only immediate family member who had not yet seen Chris and "passed judgment". His only complaint? He didn't see why Chris has to carry a gun, particularly openly.

Now I love my brother, but I don't see why this is an issue. Plus, he works in and lives outside of Dallas, you'd think he'd be used to people carrying by now.

But anyway, I was trying to explain to him in an IM conversation why exactly Chris carries. I could have sent him the link to Why I Carry a Gun but I know all of the talk about being a man would not sway him. But there is one thing that could...

Anyway, this is the letter I sent my brother. So to all of you who wonder why in the world Chris carrying doesn't bother me...

Dear David,

I know we were raised to be pacifists. God knows our living grandparents abhor violence and raised their children to, and Mom does as well. But do you know why?

Grandma's mother endured enough domestic violence that her own doctor, in a time where it wasn't acceptable, told her to leave her husband because otherwise he would kill her. She did, taking one child and leaving the other with her sister. Grandma witnessed all of this and to this day can't watch anything violent. As we all know Grandpa is probably one of the most mild people on the planet; between the two of them Dad learned to hate violence as well.

Mom watched domestic violence and sexual abuse within her own family, though not done to her... she also hates violence, and there was a reason I at least never met our maternal grandparents. I've been to the graves (as have you), but that's it.

But when Chris and John bought me a revolver for my birthday, neither Dad nor Mom objected. And when I was carrying it openly on my belt this weekend, neither objected. Why?

Because not everyone in this world is one of us. Our family as a whole is full of mild people who would never hurt anyone unless they had to. We're all law-abiding, religious people who definitely believe in turning the other cheek, almost to a fault. Not everyone is like that.

Chris carries a gun because he has all too much experience with people who don't care about laws, who are out to hurt other people. He carries not only to protect himself, but to protect the people around him. Self-defense laws in AZ are pretty simple; if someone is trying to kill someone else, a witness to the attempted murder can shoot and kill the attempted murderer and fall under self-defense. Sometimes it's not possible to call the police, and even when it is the response time is still enough time for plenty to happen. A person who carries can prevent tragedy during that time and does not have to depend on anyone to come to their rescue. Most of the time though, the mere presence of a firearm is enough to prevent trouble. A firearm is the great equalizer; it doesn't matter how big or strong you are, or how big or strong your attacker is, you have an advantage. Those people who are out to hurt others generally can't stand the pain themselves; if they can see you are armed, 90% of the time you will be left alone. A firearm is handy in a crisis, but is even better as a preventative measure. Chris carries because he knows this, and so he is always prepared. Once a boy scout, always a boy scout.

So why doesn't it bother me? Well, first of all, because I know Chris. He is protective of me and the kids, he considers our safety to be his responsibility. He and John have both gone through great pains to arm me and teach me how to defend myself. I know how to handle every firearm in this house, especially my own and Chris's handguns. I know what to do if I am ever in a threatening situation, particularly if I am by myself. People have asked me how I could not be afraid of someone who is constantly armed. It's simple. I know why he's armed, and if he ever intended to harm me, why would his first gift to me be a firearm for my own use?

Of course this entire time I've been talking about preventing problems that will most likely never occur. I will most likely never be in a life threatening situation, and most likely will not be randomly victimized. Carrying a firearm openly increases the chances that nothing will ever happen, as it happens to be a great deterrent.

But why have I recently started carrying my revolver? Well, besides the fact that I have become completely comfortable with it, and I need to start carrying so I am comfortable when I get my concealed carry permit.

I am sure you know by now how touchy the custody dispute has gotten. If you haven't heard yet, I am sure you will hear about it from Mom soon. We all know my former in-laws don't particularly have a respect for the law or for my safety, and while I have never been physically abused, I have certainly been threatened credibly. They want the kids at all costs, and that cost may be my safety.

So I have started carrying openly, like Chris, because I know that as long as I have the kids I am possibly in danger. The revolver I carry is a great deterrent, particularly since thanks to Mom, they know I have one and know how to use it. Now, just like Chris, I carry in order to defend the kids and myself. When he carries, he carries to defend all of us. He is attached to those kids like they were his own; he will not let anything happen to them or me.

Once this whole situation is resolved I will most likely start carrying concealed so I don't scare our family members like I scared our aunt this weekend (though within 3 hours of my leaving I'm sure she understood why). Until then I need to be armed, just in case.

I hope you understand now why it doesn't bother me that Chris carries a gun, and why I have started. Not everyone is one of us, and not everyone treasures peace.

Your sister,

Melody

Just call me Mel, everyone else does.

Circumventing the system

Sorry this wasnt last night, but I was jsut way too tired.

So through some creative ass kicking, and a massive circumvention of beurocracy (finagle prevails once again) we were in fact able to obtain both our network access, and our badges last night.

I havnet mentioned it yet, but my boss and all of my co-workers are in different states (California, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin), I havent met any of them, and I have no-one around to show me anything.

This is OK, I'm a self motivated individual, and aforementioned boss and co-workers are seemingly very cool people.

Unfortunately they are very coool BUSY people, so another group manager spent yesterday helping me out; and in turn I was helping him out with an architectural problem (server acquisition, build, and deployment strategies).

All in all, a better way to start the job than jsut the massive twiddling of thumbs.

My WORST job start ever involved six weeks spent doing nothing but surfing the web while I waited for paperwork to clear. Yes I was getting paid for doing nothing, but I didnt feel too great about that. I offered to delay my start etc... but because of the way they handled contracts this was the way they wanted to do it.

Even worse, it was your (and my) tax dollars paying me four dollars a minute to do nothing.

Anyway, yes it's a big company, and there are big company screwups and inefficiencies everywhere. It never ceases to amaze me how much inefficiency, aggravation, and wasted time is created in the name of efficiency and "streamlining".

Of course that's never the REAL goal of such projects; in reality they exist to allow middle maangers to get more power, and more headcount.

Listening to the explanation of reporting chains and political issues from the other manager makes ones head want to go POP!

This should be interesting...

Update:

The timeline on this whole process? Well my last gig ended February third. I was intially suppsoed to go to a different company in the middle of March, but the gig fell through ebcause the guy I was going to work for quit.

Yeah I spent six weeks wasting my time and got hosed because of it.

I was contacted about this opportunity in the middle of March (march 21st I think...). My first interview with them was April 6th. They unofficially decided to hire me april 14th. They OFFICIALLY decided to hire me April 25th. I was actually hired May 3rd and was scheduled to start the 15th. I submitted my paperwork on the thrid and fourth, and they didnt manage to get it processed til the 17th. I finally started on May 22nd.

A little over two months from "Hey are you interested" to "Welcome to your first day".

Monday, May 22, 2006

Limited Connectivity

So I'm siting here at my new job, trying to look busy; because they havent prepared my network connectivity yet. No badge or parking either (that was fun)... but I'm not exactly surprised.

These guys are one of the largest corporations in the US, and with size comes complexity and inefficiency (witness, they initially started hiring me six weeks ago, and it took til today to get it done).

I do have a new laptop waiting, that I can't log into.

I'm writing this from my personal laptop, which of course can't connect to the internal network; so I'm using my cell data network... or rather I was TRYING to, but for some reason I couldnt get my GPRS data service to work, so I'm stuck on cell phone dialup.

Oh joy.

Anyway, 20 minutes to login, check my email, write this post, and log off.

The theory is that by wednesday I''ll have net access and a badge.

I'll report this evening on the rest of the first day.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Under Pressure...

Or OVER pressure as the case may be.

I fairly frequently refer to shooting +p and +p+ loads in my guns; particularly in my .45s. Of course the world most common and most favored .45 (including MY most favored .45) is the 1911, and it's variants.

A reader on the NoR forums asks "+p in a 1911, is this a kaboom waiting to happen, or is it OK for occaisonal use?"

Well the first thing is, it's entirely safe to fire most +p and +p rounds in most guns. Some manufacturers may specifically recommend against it (or may recommend only occaisonal use), and I won't counter a mnaufacturers claim; but most DON'T recommend against it for most models.

But why? Why do manufacturers recommend against it (or not), why are people concerned about it, what are the effects of it... what does +p mean?

Once again we come to a rare example of a firearms term that makes perfect logical sense. +p means "plus pressure", in other words the ammunition is loaded to a higher pressure. +p+ is plus pressure, only more so.

Of course +pressure means +power, +velocity, +recoil, and +gun wear as well. This is why most premium defensive ammnuition is loaded to +p levels, and why most match ammunition is loaded to LOWER than normal pressures (light loads are easier to control, and wear out your gun slower so you can shoot more of them).

SAAMI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute sets and publishes standards for factory ammunition. These standards include diameter, overall length (OAL), case length, rim and groove diameters, shoulder angle, and other basic measurements. They ALSO include the maximum chamber pressure which the ammunition can be loaded to and still be marked as a standard round.

These pressure standards are often arbitrary, and often quite low; especially on older chamberings such as those that were originally blackpowder loads, and those that were introduced before SAAMI was founded in 1926.

In many cases, these SAAMI standards were set for the weakest weapons commonly chambering a round at the time of introduction, so it could be insured that mass market ammunition was safe in any gun that would chamber it.

Obviously though, some guns are stronger than others. In fact, sometimes the same gun made today, is a lot stronger than the models of 100 years ago; because of imporoved manaufacturing techniques and metallurgy.

This is generally the case for pistols chambered in .45acp. The SAAMI specification for .45 ammo was set based on early smokeless powder technologies from prior to World War One, and is based on a standard of nominal 17,500 and proof 19,500 CUP (Copper Units of Pressure which is sorta kinda equivalent to 21,000 PSI, but the measurement can't be directly compared). Older chamberings are generaly standardized using CUP, and newer ones as PSI.

Heres a chart of SAAMI standard chamber pressures for comparison.

Many SAAMI chamberings also have a standardized +p specifications, including the .45acp +p at 21,500 cup, which works out to about 23,000 psi as measured. There are no standard +p+ specifications, but those who load commercial .45 ammo to +p+ specifications list their max at either 22,500 or 23,500 cup (up to about 25,000 psi as measured).

This is actually a relatively low pressure round, even as a pistol chambering; in comparison to some modern chamberings such as .357SIG at 40,000psi. This was very common with older chamberings because powder and matallurgical technologies available at the time made going higher in pressure very difficult.

Modern metallurgy, machining, and powders can safely and easily support far more pressure than that .45 spec, but TOO much more and you'll be reaching the limit of the BRASS used in the catridges, because in order to reliably chamber a round you need to have some clearance in the chamber.

There are manufacturers who spcifically produce heavier brass for handloaders and specialty manufacturers to use in +p and +p+ loads (important note: just being marked +p doesnt necessarily mean it's stronger brass), but because the brass is slightly different, you can't necessarily use the same load to reach the same pressure, so be careful of overpressure.

Now, all of this isn't really of much use to folks who don't handload, because any commercially manufactured pistol will be just fine with any standard commercially manufactured ammunition; and so long as the manufcature doesnt specifically recommend against it, SHOULD be fine with any commercial +p load which follows SAAMI specs.

In fact, I don’t shoot anything BUT +p or +p+ through my 1911’s excepting cheap practice ammo, which is only loaded to about 17,500 CUP (230gr RN-FMJ at 835-850fps).

The only major concern I would have with any modern 1911, is that some stock 1911 springs are a bit light. The stock springs are only 14 lbs (by original 1911 spec), and I think anyone should replace a 14lb spring with a 16 or 18lb wolff whether they are shooting +p or not. Many manufactures have in fact decided to switch to 16 or 18lb springs just for that reason.

Oh and for general 1911s, if you have an MIM slide stop or extractor, you may want to replace them with tool steel bits; but as with the recoil spring, you’d probably wan't to do that anyway. After a few thousand +p rounds they may start having problems.

If you are really concerned about shooting a lot of +p (or any +p+), shoot about 20 ronuds, look to see if there are any function issues, and if the slide is peening the frame at all. If it is, even the slightest bit, up the power of your recoil spring, and maybe add a recoil buffer. If it's still peening after that, you have a mechanical problem with your gun and need to get a gunsmith involved.

Now for handloaders, and those of us who buy non SAAMI ammunition (Cor-Bon, Buffalo Bore, Black Hills, Doubletap etc...) , theres +p and then there’s “GOD DAMN THAT’S HOT” ammo also known as +P+

There isn't an awful lot of difference in pressures between +p+ and .45 super, so not every gun is safe to shoot with these loads. Some shouldnt be fired with them at all, some should only see limited use. All my .45s are set up for .45 super, and all my .45’s have fully supported chambers, so I shoot some serious loads through them from time to time.

I've covered it before, but jsut briefly heres the difference between a supported chamber and an unsupported chamber: a standard 1911 has a relatively loose chamber, with a large crescent taken out of the bottom edge of the chamber forward of the case headto facilitate feeding. Many modern .45acp weapons, including many 1911's have match specification barrels with fully supported chambers, by using a feed ramp either built into the frame of the pistol, or integral to the barrel, which leaves almost none of the case in fornt of the case head unsupported. This allows for higher pressure loadings with lest risk of case rupture.

It should be noted that glocks have a partially unsupported chamber; though it offers more support than a traditional 1911 chamber. A gun like the H&K USP has a fully supported chamber, and in fact comes from the factory rated for .45 super.

The safe limit for .45 BRASS in those guns is around 185gr at 1350fps. Obviously you want to back off a bit from that, but a 185gr +p+ at 1250fps is perfectly safe in a fully supported chamber (it should be safe in an unsupported chamber, but you can't be sure without testing it), and at 1150 fps +p from just about any gun (that's appx. 22,500 cup). For 230gr loads the safe max velocity is about 1100-1150fps +p+ and 1000-1050fps +p should be safe for almost any gun (950fps is the standard 230gr+p).

Just as an example by the way, these are the +p+ loadings doubletap specifies:

165gr JHP at 1325fps/643ftlbs
185gr JHP at 1225fps/616ftlbs
200gr JHP at 1125fps/562ftlbs
230gr JHP at 1010fps/521ftlbs

This is in comparison to standard pressure loads:

165gr FMJ at 1150fps/485ftlbs
185gr FMJ at 1050fps/452ftlbs
200gr FMJ at 950fps/400ftlbs
230gr FMJ at 850fps/368ftlbs

Those ratings come from a 5” 1911 shooting RN-FMJ, JHP, or JSWC. Expect a bit higher velocity out of a polygonally rifled barrel of the same length (or the same velocity for a 4" polygonal barrel, which is more likely) . Oh and for those of you wondering about .45 super; you get about 100fps and a maximum of about 150fps over and above the +p+ loads (or up to 300 or so fps over standard pressure .45acp) at a given weight. The +p+ loads are actually touching on .45 super territory.

Also compare to .40 S&W in similar bullet weights, (a much higher pressure loading) at +p+ levels. These ratings are from a 4" polygonal barrel, which should be similar to a 5" 1911.

165gr JHP at 1225fps/550ftlbs
180gr JHP at 1100fps/484ftlbs
200gr JHP at 1050fps/490ftlbs

You can see that +p+ .40 s&w at the same bullet weights is somewhat more powerful than standard pressure .45acp, and somewhat less powerful than +p+ (+p .40 is either the same as or a bit more powerful than +p .45 because of the relatively low SAAMI +p .45 pressure ceiling). The reason there aren't as large gains in .40 S&W between standard pressure +p and +p+ in comparison to the .45acp; is because the .40 already a high pressure round, with a much lower pressure overhead as compared to standard .45acp.

Now comes the heresy...
For those who deride the .40 as "short and weak" in comparison to the .45, looking at those numbers you should think again. There is very little diameter differential there, and the bottom to mid range of .45 weights are the same as the mid to top range of .40 weights.

Of course the .45 gives you a higher power and weight ceiling (which means more velocity per weight, and more weight availabe in general) and is more versatile; but I don't think there's going to be much difference shooting someone with a 165gr .40 and a 165gr .45 loaded to the same velocity; or a 200gr etc...
Anyway back to the main story...

Don't shoot lead loads as hot as those max loads from a conventional barrel unless you really love scrubbing, and don't shoot lead loads at that high pressure AT ALL from a polygonally rifled barrel (even hardcast will flow too much at those velocities and pressures, and can produce dangerous overpressure).

As long as you are sure of the strength of your brass, you can generally load +p rounds in standard brass with no problems, but I would recommend never loading any +p+ rounds unless you are using heavier duty brass; either +p rated brass or .45 super brass (which is essentially cut down .308 rifle brass and can handle about 70% more pressure than .45acp).

If you buy commercial +p+ rounds from a reputable manufacturer like Buffalo Bore or Doubletap you can bet their brass is rated for it.

Also, don't reload any brass that you've loaded to +p+ levels, again unless it is +p rated or .45 super brass. Don't reload it at ALL if it was shot from an unsupported chamber. Also obviously, you don't want to use range pickups to load +p or +p+ rounds (because you don't know how much wear they have); use only pristine or at most known once fired brass (and I'd be leery of once fired) for +p and absolutely only pristine brass for +p+.

Oh and dont be surprised if you like the hot loads a lot. I find them much mroe fun to shoot, especially doubletaps and rapid fire excercises. Yes theres a lot more snap, but in a full sized gun I just find they feel better, and you can recover from recoil faster.

Of course I wouldn't want to shoot those same loads from a G36; which is pretty much why I sold mine.

What can I say, I'm a recoil and velocity junky... Lord I really need a 10mm.

...To be hanged by the neck until dead

"I hereby direct the sherrif of this county to remove you from this courtroom forthwith, and to transport you to the gallows, where before sundown this day you are to be hanged by the neck until dead; your body left to be picked at by the crows, until the Sherrif directs it to be cut down, drug to a shallow grave in unhallowed ground, and burried face down in the dirt."

-- Purported death sentence in the American west, attribution unknown
Penn and Teller have a show called "Bullshit!" in which they take various elements of our society and culture and expose them as... bullshit.

My favorites so far are the gun control, and recycling episodes; but on the NoR forums yesterday someone brought up the death penalty show saying :
"Their Anti death penalty show used the ONLY good anti death penalty argument I have heard.

Do you REALLY trust the government to kill people?" -- Yogi
Which is the only major reason I’m not sure about death penalty.

I have no existential crisis of governmental nature with regards to the death penalty. I don't believe the "Sinking down to their level" or "The government shouldn't be a murder" arguments. I think they are sheer sophistry in their nature, and used to disguise the true problem that these people have with the death penalty; in that ultimately the death penalty is the responsibility of the people, and if they are of the people then the responsibility for that persons death is theirs. Most of these folks don't feel responsible enough to take care of a CAT nevermind having a life and death decision for another person.

Obviously I don't have that problem. When a member of a society egregiously violates that societies rules, he must be cast out of that society by the other members. This can be done temporarily through prison or banishment, or permanently through execution or exile. The death penalty is simply the ultimate sanction in a society that has no permanent exile.

But I still have reservations.

I believe the death penalty is just in nature, but heavily laden with pitfalls in application.

What it comes down to is, do I trust the government to have the authority to kill it's own citizens for criminal offenses. This is a question on which I am troubled and conflicted.

These are people who can't get fixing the streets right, and I expect them to get life and death right?
note: I also have no problem with the death penalty for unlawful combatants; which is not a civil criminal matter, but a military one. That is as morally clear and just as can be, presuming the definition of unlawful combatant is clear, and consistent.
To answer that some would say "It's not the government, it's the people" to which I say bullshit.

Yes philosophically this is true as I describe above, but again, I have no philosophical objection to the death penalty. The people have the right to protect themsevles from those who violently violate their rights, even by death. My objections are entirely practical, as is the example.

The next answer is usually "Let the jury decide", but you all know as well as I do that juries are fickle and often stupid things (Moussaui anyone). A jury trial often ends up with the side who the jury "liked" more winning, without regard to truth or justice.

The technique to combat this? Confuse and overwhelm the jury as much as possible so they can't come to a decision.

Oh my goodness yes, that's completely just right there, sure it is.

The adversarial nature of our legal system is structured so that within the rules, the best LAWYER wins, not the best case. This is oviously not always true, a very bad case will generally not be won by even the best lawyer, unless he is coming up against the worst opponent. However death penalty cases are most often prosecuted by politically ambitious ADs or AAGs, and they are most often defended by public defenders, and lower scale lawyers doing pro-bono work. This generally comes out as the best against the worst (at least in trial phase, in appeal the big anti death penalty types come to play, and they are generally VERY good lawyers).

Additionally, death penalty cases are often extremely brutal, horrific crimes. By painting the nature of the crimes vividly, it is ofetn possible to bring up mob mentality in the joury, a "someone must pay" attitude, which can make a defendant a target, whether he deserves it or not.

Given this, I have very little confidence in the jury system. In fact I think if a defense attorney thinks his case has any merit at all, and he has a black, multiple offender as his client, he may be better off facing a judge alone; who will be more likely to deal with the technical merits rather than social and emotional factors (at least in theory).

What do I mean by this?

Black men disproportionately commit death penalty offenses. Black men are disproportionately charged in death penalty cases. Black men are disproportionally sentenced to the death penalty when such sentencing is either discretionary to the prosecutor, or decided by the jury (any non-mandatory sentence really).

When I say disproprtionately, I mean that they are charged, convicted, and sentenced more than the percentage of crimes they commit which would be eligible for the death penalty as compared to other racial groups. If they commit 40% of all death penalty offenses (and that is generally the number you see), but they are charged in 60+% of all death penalty cases (and that's also the number you see), that is disproportionate.

Why is that? Is the system racist? Are the prosecutors?

Not exactly explicitly racist no; but prosecutors know it is far easier to convict a black man of a death penalty offense. This is both for practical reasons: most death penalty offenders are multiple past offenders; most black offenders are poor; most poor offenders have bad lawyers; and more emotional reasons, such as people as a whole are more willing to believe a black multiple offender deserves to die.

Even black people.

In fact an all black jury is more likely to convict a black man of a crime than an all white one is. This has been informally called the "That niggahs just crazy" theory.

The quote is from a black juror in the retrial of a very famous murder case (Rubin "Hurricane" Carter). The black jurors had apparently made up their mind very quickly in the case that the defendant did it, because they thought he was mean, nasty, uppity, crazy, and capable of it; based on their past experience with other men like him in their lives; and their own social normalizations.
Sidebar: They were right in that Carter was a violent and unstable man with a past criminal history; but based on the evidence - and the mishanding thereof - there was no way he should have been convicted, guilty or not.

The same goes for OJ, except in that case the jury made the right decision, if most likely for the wrong reasons. O.J may or may not have commited the murders, but the police mishandling of the case and the evidence, compounded by a near totally incompetent prosecution, and a judge who was more concerned about looking bad on TV... well there is no way that OJ should have been convicted under those circumstances. Which I think underscores my point about trials not being about truth or justice, but gamesmanship.
White jurors on the other hand are more likely to feel that voting guilty, or voting for the death penalty is a subconscious act of racism or fear on their part, and are in fact more likely to vote guilty, but vote DOWN the death penalty (especially younger to middle aged women if they havent been the victim of a violent crime - if they have they are more likely to vote for the death penalty - and catholics).

Setting aside all that, these are the practical realities on the ground, without regard to their root causes:

1.The government screws up a lot. If they can't get most things right...
2. The best lawyer often wins, not the best case
3. Prosecutors are jsut as good at twisting things as defense attorneys, often better
4. When facing a multiple offender the prosecutor has a natural advantage. The jury KNOWS the defendant is a criminal it's not a big leap to think him a killer.
5. Black men are more likely to be convicted, justified or not
6. Black men are more likley to be sentenced to the death penalty, justified or not
7. Juries are fickle, emotional, and irrational
8. Poor offenders generally have bad lawyers
9. Bad lawyers generally do poorly with juries
10. If a jury doesnt like the defendant, and doesnt like the lawyer, he's probably gonna die whether he deserves to or not

Now I'm not saying there arent mitigating factors on the other side, like people who are just naturally reluctant to vote for the death penalty (liberals, catholics, anti-government types etc...), and the high burden of proof that is in theory necessary for a conviction (though in practice not always so if the defendant is poor, a repeat offender, and has a bad lawyer). It's just that all these factors give me pause.

I DO believe in the death penalty. I believe it is just and right. I believe that it is useful and effective, not as a deterrent but as permanent removal from society. In fact, I believe the death penalty should be expanded to aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, child molestation, and other charges.

I just worry greatly about how it is administered, and think we absolutely must use the utmost circumspection in doing so.

It's funny how catholic teaching stays with you isn't it. Many people believe that catholics and the church are against the death penalty; but this is not striclty speaking true. The churches position, and my position; is that the death penatly is the ultimate act of members of a society protecting themselves from individuals who would do them harm. Like a just war, there are just executions; but we must use the greatest care in embarking upon either.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Oh Dear God No

So Bruce almighty over at MassBackwards has laid down the gauntlet and called Armageddon the worst movie of all time.

In particular, he claims it is such, because it has the biggest budget, biggest stars, and most suckage combined.

I call it the suckage index. Biggest budget, Biggest Stars, Biggest Suckage.

It is surely a subjective rating, and honestly we need to make some exceptions or we literally could not calculate it.

First we have to disqualify all b-z grade movies, TV movies, and intentionally bad movies (like anything made by Richard O'Brien). Also cult movies get a pass, as do slasher flics, MOST kids movies (unless they were marketed as mainstream) and disaster flics. They are so bad they have their own category of suckage.

Oh and let's not even get into hong-kong, kung foo, and pure exploitation/sexploitation/blaxploitation movies. But we can leave in the Van Damn/Segal Ouvre because for some reason they were actually meant to be taken seriously... god knows why.

Finally, we need to exclude from the star power calculation movies where the folks in them were nobodies, who later became stars. You know like Kevin Costner and Sylvester Stallone both doing porno in the 70s.

I'm tempted to exclude all sequels, and movies from over the hill no-longer-stars, but that would be too limiting I think.

Note this includes exempting Armageddon, and the Poseidon adventure; both of which CAN be appreciated even through their horrid cheezeyness. In fact Armageddon is one of my favorite popcorn movies.

Anyway those movies are all right out as worst of all time.

In which case I'd say the worst movie with the biggest budget and star power that I've ever seen, thus having the highest suckage index would be...

Oh god the pain is too great... the flashbacks...

I'm thinking it was probably Dungeons and Dragons the Movie. Also they made TWO straight to video sequels and they're even worse.

It WOULD be Highlander two, but there were a lot more stars and higher budget for D&D.

Here's a list of other suggestions for top suckage honors - remember its not the worst movie, its a combination of worst movie, most big stars (must have at least one major and two minor), and highest budget:

Superman IV
Speed 2
Beverly Hills Cop 2 and 3
Water World
Catwoman
Battlefield Earth
Deep Impact
Staying Alive
Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever
Baby Geniuses
Caddyshack 2
The Specialist
Big Mommas House
In The House
Taxi

Special mention needs to go to:

Any movie starring Madonna
Any Steven Seagal Movie after "Under Siege"
Any Jean Claude Van Damme movie except Kickboxer and Bloodsport
All of the Highlander Sequels as released in theaters (the renegade versions actually kick ass), except MAYBE Endgame
All the Saturday Night Live movies except The Blues Brothers, and Wayne's World

And for a special category of suckage we have:

Any video game movie that wasn't also a comic book (including Manga), and especially anything touched by Uwe Boll.

Any comic book movie not directed by Sam Raimi, Tim Burton, Robert Rodriguez, Brian Singer, Guiellermo Del Toro, or Christopher Nolan (special mention to Hulk, Batman & Robin, Elektra, and Fantastic Four)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

I just got this comment on my old post "Gothier than thou":

"Fuck you asshole, my satanic covent is gonna target you from now on. Enjoy the bad luck YOU FAT SHIT"

Gothchild 666 | 05.19.06 - 2:18 pm
Wow, an insecure whiny gothbitch with delusions of adequacy. I am truly amazed at seeing one in the wild for they are so rare and precious.



Satanic coven eh, I say "Bring on the naked sacrifices, bitch boy", cuz if you're friends with satan; I'm scheduled to be his replacement in a coupla years. Heaven doesn't want me and hells afraid I'mna take over.

Well I guess he has some true powers. He is clearly guilty of consorting with Satan in the practice of the dark art of necromancy, resurrecting that thread from the dead.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahah

hahahhaha

hahhahahhahahhaha

Oh shit I just can't stop laughing.

UPDATE: Thanks to Justin Buist for the pic

Complete Bloody Absurdity

From Slashdot:

"The BBC is reporting that the Chinese-made Lenovo PCs are not allowed inside secure US networks." From the article: "Assistant Secretary of State Richard Griffin said the department would also alter its procurement process to ensure US information security was guaranteed. His comments came after Rep Frank Wolf expressed national security concerns. The company Lenovo insisted such concerns were unwarranted and said the computers posed no security risk."

So since 2004 all think pads have been manufactured by Lenovo. The Chinese company secured the marketing trights to keep using the thinkpad name etc... and for the most part very little has changed, except driver downloads are easier now. Lenovo is about 80% privately owned, and 20% owned byu the government of China.

Honestly I think this is ridiculous; also probably not true. Lenovo is the single largest supplier of laptops to the FedGov (or was as of last year). Before the transfer IBM spent years, and billions of dollars developing special hardware features just for information security; which are now specified in policy for critical infosec uses, and which no-one else has.

Supposedly this is for security reasons, in fear that the chinese will insert chips which report back to them sensitive info etc... Of course the fact that the majority of our computers are currently at least partially made in china seems to have escaped the good congressperson. Or the fact that equipment in secured installations is audtied all to hell (I've been one of the auditors on netowrkign and security gear. It's no joke).

I can't think of any laptop makers in northern virginia so it can't be bribes from the district, but he is on appropriations, so he could be getting bribes from anywhere by now...

Ive seen this as a rumor around on the net, but none of the FedGov contracting mags, nor websites, nor major reputable security websites are reporting this has been substantiated. I call bullshit.

I have no problem with the idea that U.S. Government cintract money should go to U.S. companies. I can also get behind the fact that China is the main state enemy and we should avoid supporting them whenever possible. This seems to be enither of those cases, and this whole concept of the computer being a security risk because the company is chinese owned shows ana amazing ignorance of the computing and security world.

Update:

It is PARTIALLY bullshit, and partially not. The story itself isnt very accurate, and the details are off, but the concept isn't.

Here's the press release from Frank Wolfs office



Statement of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) on State Department’s Decision
to not to use Computers Produced by Chinese-owned Company
to Transmit Classified Material

“Good afternoon. Thank you for coming.

&As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the operations of the State Department, I have worked to ensure that the department has received the necessary resources to operate in the post-9/11 world, particularly when it comes to information technology systems.

“Since 2001, my subcommittee has appropriated $1.4 billion for IT upgrades and infrastructure enhancements.

“This amount does not reflect the tremendous increase in personnel and consular technology enhancements.

“On April 25, I received a letter from the U.S.-China Commission raising concerns about the purchase of 16,000 personal computers by the State Department as part of its effort to modernize its IT systems.

“I was deeply troubled to learn that the new computers were purchased from a China-based company and that at least 900 of these computers were planned to be used as part of the classified network deployed in the United States and around the world in embassies and consulates.

“This decision would have had dire consequences for our national security, potentially jeopardizing our investment in a secure IT infrastructure.

“It is no secret that the United States is a principal target of Chinese intelligence services.

“We all remember the security situation with the construction of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in the late 1980s.

“On May 4, I wrote a letter to the Secretary of State expressing my concerns regarding the purchase of these new computers from Lenovo, the same company about which CFIUS (the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) had significant security concerns last year.

“I wrote similar letters to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the director of National Intelligence, and the chief of staff of the White House urging them to look into this matter.

of these letters, and the April 25 letter to me from the US-China Commission are attached to my statement.

“Yesterday, I received word from the State Department that it has now taken the appropriate steps to ensure that classified information is not compromised by the purchase of these new computers.

“. . . that it is making changes to ensure that its procurement process keeps up with the changes of ownership of IT companies.

“. . . that it has identified the machines that have already been installed and will remove them.

“. . . and that it is briefing other government agencies on what it is doing to ensure that they don't find themselves in the same situation.

“This is all welcome news.

A letter from Richard Griffin, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, is also attached to my statement outlining the department's changes.

“I appreciate the U.S. China Commission's effort to bring this very important issue to my attention and to the attention of the State Department and other government agencies. I also appreciate the State Department's quick attention to this issue.

“I will now turn the program over to the Larry Wortzel, chairman of the U.S.-China Commission, and Commissioner Mike Wessel to share specifics on the recent purchase of the personal computers.”"



Oh and if anyone is thinking about the Iraq Printer Virus, Snopes i your friend. Yes we palyed some interesting and fun dirty tricks over the years, but that wasn't one of them.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gotta Love John Ringo

"I'm buying guns, gear and soldiers," Mike said, chuckling. "Other than women, what's more fun to buy?" -- Mike Harmon in "Kildar" by John Ringo

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Over the Hedge" review

So at LepreCon a week and something ago JohnOC picked up a free pass for the sneak preview of "Over the Hedge" last night. I actually HAVE wanted to see this movie, DreamWorks *usually* does great stuff, and I wanted to pre-screen the movie for my 'ittle ones. So when John asked which one of us was going with him, I had no problem beating my hubby to the punch.

The verdict: I am absolutely amazed.

There is actually one original movie out this summer.

I could have sworn all of the plot lines possible were overused at this point. This summer alone we have Poseidon (remake), yet another Adam Sandler movie, yet another The Fast and the Furious movie, yet another "bad relationship" Jennifer Aniston movie, the usual crop of un-original screamers.... you get the idea. I wasn't expecting an actual good movie this summer that WASN'T based on a comic book series.

For all of you who don't know the general plot line, a group of forest creatures come out of hibernation to find that half of the forest they lived in was now a suburban development. A street-wise raccoon helps them learn how to deal with the suburbanites, and the plot goes from there. There are plenty of twists and turns and the entire movie is hilarious. In typical DreamWorks fashion there are lots of adult-only pop reference jokes but the movie is safe for the typical 6+ crowd (there is some quite funny but not fatal violence).

Now, one of the things that is really great about the movie is it's quite obvious bashing of suburbia and suburbanites. The caricatures of the HOA president and exterminator are great (if you hate HOAs, go see this movie for catharsis) along with other features of suburban life. Once again the references are funny for kids, but funny for adults on a whole different level.

But one of the greatest things about the movie is the voice acting. Usually in animated movies where famous people do the voice acting you spend most of the movie trying to forget who is doing the acting because it's painfully obvious. Not in this movie. Sure, it's got Bruce Willis and Nick Nolte and Garry Shandling, but all I heard were the characters. The ONE exception was not a case of bad voice acting, but a case of William Shatner making fun of HIMSELF as the father possum that plays dead very convincingly ("must...go...towards the light") which is just another great adult-level joke.

But I have to say that while the movie was hilarious and actually had a good moral for kids (family sticks together and takes care of each other) what I appreciated the most was what the movie was lacking:
  • For being a movie about animals losing their habitat, there was NO preaching about enviromental responsibility and NO attempts to get rid of the humans (amazing, I know).
  • Even though the movie featured one of the achievements of capitalism (suburbia) in an amusing light it did not villify all of the humans or the lifestyle, or even capitalism for that matter.
  • NO SOCIALIST INDOCTRINATION. Yes, I know. We didn't think it was possible either.
So there you have it. "Over the Hedge" is a great family movie, but also hilarious if you just want to see it as an adult. It's a great story and well done and I will most certainly be dragging Chris to it very soon. And of course buy the dvd.

Mel

Just call me Mel, everyone else does.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Mothers of Invention

I've always said that necessity isn't the true mother of invention; it's laziness.

Look at almost every major innovation in history and it is almost certain to be a labor or effort saving device.

Sure they have other implications, but at core everything from cars to computers are labor saving devices.

The only real exceptions are those things which make us look/feel/smell better, that which makes food taste better, and that which keeps us alive longer... satisfying those basic needs of life.

It's all about Maslow and La-Z-Boy.

So ummm... AAARGH!!!

I reported a few days back that my job was 'sposed to start on Monday... only by friday they weren't ready for me and hadnt finished my paperwork... which I had turned in two weeks before.

Ok so we schedule for Wednesday.

Only my backround check didn't clear til today for some reason so we were looking at Thursday.

Only my new employers IT and office admins hadnt set up my office, computer, or accounts yet. Even better there isn't anyone from my new group in the state right now, 'cept me of course.

They MAY be ready for Friday, but more likely Monday. This is for a job I was initially offered ALMOST A MONTH AGO; and in the mean time I'm losing a couple grand out of my pocket.

That being a couple grand which I NEED.

But hey, Monday anyway. Now I just need to make up the difference between my incoming and outgoing in the next two weeks.

Again AARGH, but it's looking up.

I hate to agree here but...

From Kim (quoting Bushes speech last night):
Therefore, I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal background checks. And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.

"I want to see details on how this will be enforced. My heart says it’s the right thing to do, but my brain says that this is going to fail, and fail big, because when these “guest workers” are finished with their “temporary” jobs, they’re going to disappear, just like they do now. Aaaargh."

Yeah, pretty much.

I don't talk much about the illegal immigration issue; for various reasons including the fact that just about everyone else does just about all the time these days. This isn't to say I don't have strong opinions, because I do; but those opinions are a little more complicated than "Open Borders for all" or "Throw the bums out"; and it seems like there is no room in between for many folks.

I truly believe we are a nation of immigrants; my father is one of them, as are some of my best friends. I also believe that we need to control our borders for security AND fairness. An impotent law is no law at all, and that is what we have on our southern border today, no law at all. Not only are ther the direct consequences of this, effectively open borders; but the indirect consequence of a disrespect for the law, and those who so ineffectively enforce it (justified or not)

Most importantly, I believe we need to make assimilation (which doesn't mean abandonment of ones heritage) be a core value, and REQUIREMENT for citizenship or permanent residence.

Our current immigration laws are backward and stupid. It is trivially easy for the folks we mostly DON'T want here to evade them; and it effectively keeps out many of the folks we DO want here, including some of my good friends.

How do we fix it?

Well the first step is to absolutely and firmly control the border. Those who say that it is im[possible have never traveeled anywhere else in the world; where in general borders are far more closely controlled than hours. We need not become a police state to ensure our border security. The first step is simple, and not near as expensive as opponents would say; we need a WALL.

Not jsut a fence, a wall. Those of you who invoke berlin wall imagery, you are godwinning yourself here. This is a completely incomparable situation.

By a wall I'm not talking about 30 feet of concrete; that WOULD be too exensive, and nearly impossible.

I want to see a quadruple secured fenceline. That is a 12 foot high hurricane fence topped with razorwire, wired with cut sensors and possibly electrified; and another identical fence 10 feet in (so that the two fences cannot be bridged by a small ladder or plywood. The space in between these two fences should be filled with razorwire. Then there should be a 25 yard cleared space with motion detectors, sonic sensors (set to human size discrimination), and cheap net monitorable ccd cameras. Finally on the other side you repeat the double fence.

How much would this cost? Probably about $10 dollars per linear foot for the fencing and barricade materials x 4 fences, plus about $5000 per mile for the detection and enforcement technologies (yes, it can be done that cheaply), given current costs at standard contractor rates and assuming a steep but reasonable discount for the size of the contract.

Considering we're talking about 1951 miles, it works out to about to about 400 million for the fence and 10 million for the detection technologies. Lets assume worst case that it costs 500 million. It won't cost that much, or nearly that much in fact if we do it right; but lets assume.

That's one squadron of F-22s. Actually less than one squadron. We spent 70 billion developing just this one plane (and dont get me started on how stupid, ridiculous, and unnecessary it was to spend even a tenth that much); we can spend half a billion dollars on the fence.

Stop trying to tell me it can't be done. If you don't want it done then let's talk about the real reasons why, because the cost is a fart in a hurricane.

I believe we should end all legal immigration for people who do not speak basic english; enough to deal with our government and court system without translators (other than the same ones the REST of us require that is). I believe we should remove the national quota system we have today, and provide a path for anyone who wants to work here to get here LEGALLY; and we need to enforce that path, and the penalties for violating it.

This country will never run out of room for people; and we can absorb as many desireable (i.e. willing to work, and able to support themselves) immigrants as want to come here; so long as they are required to either assimilate or leave.

I also believe, and this one is hard, that no-one who professes to be a devout muslim should be allowed to immigrate here. A devout muslim simply cannot live and assimilate in American society. They must either compromise their beliefs, or actively fight against our country; and this cannot be encouraged.

How to enforce that though. We aren't the thought police, nor should we ever be...

These are not an easy questions, and they don't have easy answers. It's going to require DECADES of sustained will and effort to bring us back to the melting pot culture we once had, rather than the "diversity" desctruction culture we have been heading towards for decades.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Howd'ya know when to go...

Anyone else time their Costco trips by when you run low on toilet paper?

We’re almost out of our 72 pack of charmin ultra. Between the wife and two girls we go through a full big roll of paper a day, and one of them is STILL IN DIAPERS... Somehow I need to teach them that it isn’t necessary to make a catchers mitt of paper when you tinkle.

Anyway, that’s how I usually time my costco trips. When the TP and the frozen mexican food is gone, it’s time for another costco run.

I gotta think I'm not the only one here...

Slingshot AC

Those of us who live in older (meaning poorly insulated) homes in AZ know all about slingshotting your AC.

What is this you say?

Well its when you deliberately overcool the house in the morning so that by the time 2-4 o'clock rolls around your AC can maintain the 30-50 degree temperature differential necessary to keep comfy in the summer heat here.

You see, once the temps climb over 100 (every day the past week we've at least touched it in my neighborhood; we've been up to 104 so far this year), even the most powerful newer AC systems just have a hard time keeping up in a poorly insulated home; which unfortunately includes most homes in Arizona. The AC systems end up having to work on a 100% duty cycle which causes them to do not nice things.

Once of those not nice things is freezing up. This happens when you aren't moving enough air over the heat exchanger coils. The coils do a bangup job of cooling the air immediately around themselves well below the dew point, and the small fins in the heat exchanger box build up ice dams in between them, which blocks airflow even further, accelerating the process.

The reason why there isn't enough airflow? Well thats one of those other not nice things that happens with a heavy duty cycle. The air here has a lot of dust in it. Even better, theres random floaty fibrous stuff from various plants and animals. And of course there's the smog particulates etc... All of these components build up in your ducts and on your furnace filter. Eventually air jsut stops moving, which causes the pipes to freeze, and you to bake.

Oh and when this happens a third not nice thing starts happening which is endemic to the area, mold grows within minutes (wet ductwork is BAD).

So today wasn't all that hot (it just barely touched 100, then the clouds came out), but it was a bit more humid. Around mid day I started noticing it was a bit warm, but I figured "Ahh it's nothing, the AC must just be set a couple degrees higher than normal" normal being 74.

When it hit 80 degrees in my usually cool bedroom I was getting irritated, and I went and put my hand up over a vent. Sure 'nuff nothing.

First things first, turn it to heat and see if I get anything...

Nope, hot air, but almost none of it. This of course means the air handler is clogged up; either at the filter, or its frozen up, or both (most likely both since it was a few hours before I caught it).

So I pop open the furnace cover and check out the furnace filter, and it's COMPLETELY clogged. I mean there is NO way air could have gotten through there. I dont know why we didnt notice it before, but it's BAD. Thankfully it's also washable, and I took it out and hosed the bad boy off.

I also left the air handler cover off and turned the heat up, to melt the ice dams that had built up in the handling box.

It took about 30 minutes, but we finally started seeing some cool air again. In the mean time the house had gotten up to 89 degrees.

That was two hours ago, and the AC is doing a valiant job (and the vent air speed is much more noticible), and has managed to take us down to 79. It probably wont be able to get much further ahead til the sun goes down in another hour or so.