Thursday, July 29

Dallas (poorly) recycles

It's no wonder that 80% of the Dallas households don't participate in household recycling. The program here has been described as "feel good recycling" and is a far cry from what could be done. Last night (in the middle of the thunderstorm) I attended a meeting about the recycling program in Dallas. The more I know, the more I just have to shake my head in disgust.

When the contract with Community Waste Disposal, Inc. [CWD] was signed years ago, it covered types 1 and 2 plastic (PETE and HDPE) but only if they were plastic bottles. Later, they added type 3 (PVC), and they still must be placed inside a translucent blue bag (any other color will be rejected). It's a good thing that I didn't read the fine print, since I've been merrily tossing any type 1,2 or 3 plastic into my blue bag .. not caring if it was a bottle (with a neck) or not. Apparently, CWD can also recycle plastic types 4,5 and 7 but that's not publicized.

Also, the blue bags are hard to find; most stores don't carry them because so few people buy them. And when you do find them, they're more expensive than clear bags.

CWD also accepts newspaper and glass, but rejects the whole bag (with a bright red sticker) if you include other items that could be recycled, including cardboard. I suspect part of the problem is a poorly educated consumer, and other is due to stupidity. Perhaps there's also a degree of stubbornness from Texas Good-Ole-Boys who'd rather just toss their beer can in my front yard.

The US average for waste generated is 4 pounds per person per day.

Some new things are being tested, including single stream recycling (where your trash is sorted into recyclables and non-recyclable). The city will begin a 12-month pilot program in September 2004, for four homeowners associations: Bryan Place Neighborhood Association; Claremont Addition Neighborhood Association; Lake Cliff Homeowners Association; and the Preston Citadel Club.

One option (instead of blue bags) is the use of 64 gallon rollcarts for recyclables only) versus the 95 gallon rollcarts (for all other trash) they're using now. This solution would replace the twice weekly collection (from the 95 gallon rollcarts) that is in effect now.

Wednesday, July 28

come into my parlor ...

... said the spider to the fly.

It only a matter of time before someone (probably one of my easily-duped relatives from one of the red states) forwards one of the emails making the rounds, purporting to show John Kerry or John Edwards as someone who dines on small children during the new moon (or something equally awful). I plan to gleefully Reply-All showing that the information was a hoax.

I have yet to see one of these in my inbox, but since I subscribe to the RSS feed on Snopes' Urban Legends Reference Pages (Politics), I did get an advance warning of them.

I suppose the thing that bothers me more than anything else .. more than someone having been duped .. more than them forwarding blatant lies without ever bothering to check the facts .. is that they won't take responsibility once they've been shown to be wrong. I have yet to see anyone send a message to the original distribution which said "I was wrong, I was duped .. here's the truth ..."

Sunday, July 25

social experiment at 4am

A few weeks ago (during one of my extended bouts with insomnia) I visited the local Denny's at 4am, to determine if the crowd at that hour was coming or going (waking up, or still awake from the night before). I'd guess about 10 tables were full at that hour: one was full of Farmers Branch patrolmen (the 4 police cars outside were a clue); another had one of those awkward couples seated on the same side of the booth (he appeared 70, she appeared 20); then there were the two guys who rushed in, ate their breakfast and left before passing out in their eggs.

The loudest table were a group of Hispanics, one apparently a bit drunk as he was loud (not to mention calling most everyone in his cellphone's address book to ask how they're doing at 4am). He was hitting on one of the waitresses, who unwisely chose to be nice to them (he kept calling for her: Haaay Watamalllllan [Guatamalan]). My next adventure will be to see if the 4am crowd at IHOP is similar.

I forgot to mention last week's Culinary Delight of the Week: the (recently moved) Bagelstein's is now at Coit & Arapaho (NW corner) after a move from the increasingly Hispanic-only area where they'd been for many years. I guess it's hard to pitch a kosher deli when you're surrounded by taco stands.

While there for a breakfast meeting, I opted for the veggie omelet and then had to decide which Cheese To Choose (I opted for Swiss, dunno why). It was fresh and Yummy, and I'm happy to report the hash browns were prepared the way they're supposed to be: on the side (and not inside a burrito, as some places near Boyd, Texas seem to think is natural).

Saturday, July 24

discovered: large buildings full of books!

I didn't know that places like this still existed, but I found several large buildings in and around the Metroplex which contain - apparently - hundreds of thousands of books! And it appears that other people already knew about these places, since the parking lots were full.

I had assumed that all the world's knowledge (all those old books made of paper and bound with leather) was now online (including OCR scans where possible, and transcriptions where not). But nooo ...

I made this discovery quite by accident. I had Google'd for the history of a nearby undeveloped park, and wasn't finding the information I wanted. So (in desperation) I completed a web form (at 0'dark:30) which magically sent an email to the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department. Imagine my shock when, a few hours later, I received a reply with the answer! Wow .. this was very cool. In composing my Thank You Note (via email, natch) I asked about another park (overextending my welcome, pressing my luck - you name it).

I nearly fell off my chair when (just a few minutes later - mind you, this was between 9 and 5 on a weekday) I received a reply, including the citation of a probable best-seller entitled Centennial History of the Dallas, Texas Park System, 1876-1976 which is out of print and - dig this - Not On How is this possible??!

I decided to throw caution to wind, and Do The Unthinkable: get in my car and drive to a place called The Branch Library0, asking to see a copy. When I arrived, I noticed a lot of apparent theft taking place; people were leaving the building with books tucked under their arms. They all looked very suspicious to me.

Inside, the Nice Man™ at The Information Booth (a strange little place where a knowledgable person will answer your questions - in person) punched the title into his computer and informed me that while his branch didn't have the book, there were copies in the Central Library (12 miles and 22 minutes away) and at the Audelia Road (south of Royal) Branch, a mere 6 miles and 12 minutes away. Hmm. Trying to remember those Ancient Lessons of Arithmetic, I surmised that this Branch Library (the large building full of books) was closer (6<12 and 12<22) so I journeyed forthwith1.

Imagine my stunned shock and awe when this Branch Library had a similar (to my nearby branch) Information Booth with a similar (yet different) Nice Man™ who initially mused "this is surely downtown" but then wiggled with delight when he discovered that Yes! Indeed! They Had A Copy! but no one has asked to see it in probably 25 years! He wrote down some numbers (apparently a secret code called the Dewey Decimal Classification System) and moseyed to a nearby rack, fetching the 900-page book. At this stage, I was effervescing with delight, but still perplexed about it not being online.

There's always a catch. This book was something called a "Reference Book", meaning I couldn't take it home (as I noticed others were doing, when I walked in) but that I could take it to a nice, quiet table and read and make notes and even photocopy it, if that was my pleasure. The Nice Man™ confessed that the photocopier was a Smudger and only took 25c coins (of which I had none in my possession). Knowing that this tactic would produce a smudged piece of paper, which I would need to subsequently OCR, I decided to scribble the pertinent passages into my PDA and HotSync™ it when I returned home. Naturally, I took a digital photo of the exterior of This Book, to prove to others that I wasn't fibbing about these prehistoric artifacts.

So, the culled information is now available electronically, and The World Is A Happier Place. Tonight, there is Frabjous Joy here in Dallas.

0) I have no idea why it is called a Branch, since it was neither attached to a tree, nor made of wood. I didn't ask.

1) "journey forthwith" is an English phrase first used in Medieval Times (not the restaurant) meaning "go now". In the past, words were longer and had more syllables than are needed today. Got dat?

Friday, July 23

perpetual motion machine

I knew I hadn't dreamed this. I first saw it 3 days ago on one of the international news channels that's on my DirecTV satellite feed. It seems that we are creating a self-perpetuating situation in Iraq, so that our soldiers can stay there indefinitely.

First: invade and destroy Iraq's weapons.

Next: sell Iraq replacement weapons (so they can kill the Coalition Forces who remain). Sound crazy? Then read this about the lifting of the arms embargo: Arms suppliers scramble into Iraq

This comes months after the US complained about handguns being sold to Iraq; mind you, it's only the fact that (December 2003) a non-US company was awarded the contract, so (presumably) our soldiers will be killed by Smith & Wesson instead of (Austrian) Glock. This is just too bizarre. What am I missing?

Thursday, July 22

How Others See You

  Posted by Hello

For some reason, I started thinking about How Others See You, when I got the results of the avatars from Erik the Redneck and Trish-Bob.  So, I took a few minutes and created their avatars, so that I could complete the Avatar Matrix (using dookyweb).

There are no entries in 2 of the boxes, because Erik and Trish-Bob have never met (even though they're both Planites).

Unrelated: I have posted week 7 of my Sundry on Thursday blog. Try to avoid hyperventilation as you read it.

Wednesday, July 21

beware of thoughts not spewed by Rush and Ann

Yesterday, I went to the "Getting Started" meeting at Right Management (the outsourcing company that Sun contracted with). I have up to 4 months of their services, but I'm hoping not to require that much help. A fresh set of eyes won't hurt as I begin my first real job search in a long time. Although I was RIF'd in May, I needed some time off (for nearly 15 years of good behavior). Now, I'm starting to get a bit bored, so it's time to start The Process.

Unrelated: every once in awhile, I nose around publications that i don't usually nose around. Today, it was The Village Voice. Two items amused me: 1) Big Number Two, by John Powers (about "the spookiest VP in American history") and 2) The Church of Bush, by Rick Perlstein. Both are entertaining, sometimes thought provoking. Neither will kill you. They'll both serve as conditioning to all the pontificating, positioning and persuasion we'll all face as the conventions take place. Personally, I'll watch The Daily Show each night to find out what happened.

Deep Thought #40: You owe it to yourself to read opposing views; this builds strong character.

Tuesday, July 20

cough, wheeze

well, well, well. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality [TCEQ] issued a Level Red Pollution Warning today, meaning that it's unhealthy to work outside. This is the first Red Alert since August 2003. Today's culprit: excessive ozone (the abundance of F350's, H2's and poorly-maintained cars have nothing to do with it, right?).

The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission has a dynamically updated page showing how breathable (or not) the air is: recommended. So far (noon) it's very bad in Denton County (north of here) but still "moderate" here in The Big City.

The TXDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) site has some information about Ozone Action Days, and also pointed me to DFW (of which I was unfamiliar).

Then there's the dynamic ozone map, (breathable under 79 ppm, apparently). And let's not forget the Ultraviolet Index Forecast. Pity these don't automatically download to my car's Heads Up Display; that feature will be in Next Year's Model, right?

Monday, July 19

Mosquitoes and fish

According to the Mosquito Forecast, I should stay inside starting at exactly 6pm, and remain indoors until exactly 8am. Pardon me, while I scratch my head.

I nosed around the Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration [DOLETA] and Foreign Labor Certification Data Center [FLDC] websites today, after spotting something (on the DFW UUG mailing list) about L-1 visas.

Deep Thought #39: DOLETA sounds like it should be a Mexican dessert.

The information on the DOLETA and FLDC sites concerning immigrants gave me a hankerin' for some H Salt Fish & Chips which are not available in Texas. I remember dining on this British delicacy (!) when growing up in Kentucky, but H.Salt Esquire has since vanished from that landscape, and made southern California their home.

amusing read d'juor: NESARA scam! (thanks, Alec)

Sunday, July 18

... and a good time was had by all

Trish-Bob [T-B] and I grabbed a bite at Thai Soon then moseyed over to Deep Ellum and had a superb time at Trees last night, watching They Might Be Giants (aka The Johns, aka TMBG) along with 4 of Trish-Bob's friends. Should've known it'd be a good outing, with the line snaking down the sidewalk, through the parking lot and into the shore of White Rock Lake.

 Posted by Hello

There were two warmup groups: Common Rotation (excellent) and Corn Mo (belongs in an institition). My dainty digicam did a credible job capturing videos of the performances (including an infamous accordion duet when Corn Mo and TMBG collaborated) .. I just wish the audio was as good (the volume must have overwhelmed its little microphone). Bonus: Common Rotation sang a very funny (well, to some people) diddy about WMDs.

T-B posted several JPEGs and WMVs (not to be confused with WMDs) to the web for your downloading pleasure. T-B was busy dancing and signing singing, but I'm sworn to secrecy about that. They're playing again there tonight but I'd expect a smaller crowd; I mean, who goes to a concert on a Sunday night?

Saturday, July 17

Beta, the GenChan?

 Posted by Hello 
This is Eric-Bob's rendition of Gene-Bob; does it capture My True Essence?  Hmm. (Eric said the other one - posted Thursday, made me look too much like Davey (of Davey and Goliath fame).

I was nosing through this morning's Dallas Managed News and spotted an item which may help describe Beta the Wonder Dog: GenChan™ (Genetically Challenged Dogs). It's too bad that Linda (of doesn't have a place where photos can be posted. I suppose I could point to Beta's May 2004 photo (from A Day in the life)?
It finally hit 100F here (Friday); the July average is 6 of those scorchers, so said one of the TeeVee Weatherpeople yesterday.
Unrelated: Maybe Bush' days as Leader of the Free World really are numbered; even the librarians have turned against him.

Friday, July 16

go away kid; you bother me!

Well, my hearing with the Dallas Central Appraisal District  [DCAD] didn't result in a lower appraisal, as most people had indicated.  I went there armed with the "neighborhood comps" (record of sales of nearby comparable homes) but it turns out one was a foreclosure (sold lower than the others) which skewed the results.
Arbitration is a very inexact process, yet it's all done within 15 minutes.  You arrive, stand behind a podium about 1 meter from a 3-judge panel and one person from the DCAD, and have 5 minutes to present your case.  I thought mine was sound; my home is valued nearly 20% higher than my neighbors and is the highest valued on the street.  Every year (except one) since I bought the house, the appraised value has been raised by the 10% statutory maximum, which just isn't realistic.

At the end of my 5 minutes, the DCAD representative has 5 minutes to present her side (they have a nifty application which shows your neighborhood, with the lots of recent sales color-coded, with a database lookup which shows price per square foot, whether you have a pool, and the general condition of your house). The condition can vary from [very good] to [good] to [average] to [fair] to [do humans really live there?]. This evalation is subjective, done by a DCAD employee from the street in front of your home (probably the same person who took the house photo).

Then, you're allowed a short rebuttal of any issues introduced by DCAD, and then the panel decides what (if anything) to do. In my case, they reduced the square footage by 40 square feet (!) due to an error on the measurements, but did nothing else. In hindsight, it wasn't even worth the gasoline it took to drive there.
Indeed, there are no structural issues and I have maintained the house (even added value in several interior instances) so I probably got off easy.  But don't tell them I said so.

Thursday, July 15

President Mike Ditka

Without fanfare, I was removed from the listing today, some 70 days or so since I was laid off with 3299 others.  As Dave Attell says at the end of each Insomniac episode, "well, I still have my pictures!".  Thanks for all the fish, everyone.  
I mused about underemployment a few days ago, when the receipt checker at Sam's Club mentioned that he held an MBA.  His job now is to make sure the number of items in your basket equal the number on the receipt.  
Here's an article along a tangent: The high cost of employee disengagement talks about how workers are showing up, but not being productive. This doesn't surprise me, given my rationale for working from home the last few years. When I'd go into the office (the cube farm) I could hear 6 or so conversations at a time, and almost never about work. There were people who show up to play Fantasy Sports (online), or read the newspaper or a novel, or track their portfolio, or find and print recipes, or arrange their soccer team's schedule. But work? Not part of the game plan.  Naturally, all those slackers still have high-paying jobs; go figure. See the article about cyberloafing (if you have nothing else to do).
Spotted: FreeAdvice Forums has lots of good stuff regarding everyday legal issues. Recommended reading, and the price can't be beat.  It's something you can do from the office, while pretending to work (see the preceding paragraph if you missed the irony).

career change?

Now I know what a police sketch artist feels like. I tried to create an avatar of myself for the UD Agent forum (maybe there weren't enough options) but here's what I came up with:

 Posted by Hello
Think you can do better? Go to and try it yourself.

Unrelated: I updated Week 6 of the Sundry on Thursday blog for the week; please try to curb your enthusiasm.

Wednesday, July 14

shiny new PC

On Monday, I went to Fry's Electronics in Plano, partly just to look around, and partly intending to buy a USB hub. I ended up buying a new PC instead, after rationalizing it all. It just doesn't make economic sense to try to make a Yugo into a rice rocket.

I wanted to expand the number of USB ports on my old PC, and maybe buy a DVD burner since the prices have dropped (amazing how the 700 MB limit of a CD-R seems quaint). After thinking it over, I bought an AMD Athlon-powered box with 6 USB ports, a 160 GB disc, 512 MB RAM, DVD+R/RW burner, 9:1 card reader, pre-installed Windows XP Home Edition. The CPU is a pantload faster than my old box, and will be able to munch the UD Agent (searching for smallpox and cancer cures) much faster.

Years ago, I would've taken great delight in assembling this from parts so as to get the best of everything, but the manufacturers finally figured out how to make money by doing it themselves for a fraction of the "parts price". I kept my old monitor, printer and backup drive and skillfully dodged the salesman's attempt to sell a warranty extension. The $50 rebate is a pain, but I'll humor them and mail the paperwork tomorrow.

I used Aloha Bob's PC Relocator (includes a bi-directional parallel cable) to move my data and applications from the old Windows 2000 PC). I let PC Relocator run overnight, and it was mostly done when I woke the next morning .. pretty effortless. Some apps required reinstalling (such as the Yahoo! and Google Toolbars, and the RealOne Player), but they were in the minority. My biggest problem was the partitioning .. my old box had 2 logical drives and so did the new one, but the 2nd partition on the new box is small, containing the Windows XP media (when re-installing is needed). So, I backed up the 2nd (data-only) partition to my Acom Data (external IEEE-1394 box) and just restored it onto the new system's first partition. Firewire was much faster than parallel.

Odd stuff: most new PCs lack a diskette drive, since everyone's comfortable emailing large files (broadband becoming common) or burning a CD-R. This HP Pavilion a620n is no exception; the diskette is an optional purchase. My old PC wasn't loud, and this one's even quieter; that's a good trend. I can easily hear the clock ticking from 2 meters away. The built-in card reader is good, too, so I can dispense with the external USB card reader I've been using (for Compact Flash; Smart Media; and my Palm's SD card (not much larger than my thumbnail).

Deep Thought #38: I would not want to be in charge of plant security anywhere, if I had to track everything capable of storing the bits coming and going.

Once I'm convinced that everything's migrated, I'll decide whether to keep my Sony PC around. I may leave stick it in a closet and leave it online just to run the UD Agent. Otherwise, I'll nose around the National Safety Council's website: How to Donate, Reuse, or Recycle Your Old Computer, or just take it to Office Depot for the HP recycle thing announced yesterday. Pity the recycle promotion is only offered through Labor Day (about 7 weeks away). Hmmm.

Sunday, July 11

Finally ... a good use for GWB!

After more than 3.5 years in office, the GOP finally found a good use for GWB: putting his name on a ketchup bottle (W Ketchup). Rumor has it that they're trying to get this classified as a vegetable, suitable for the school lunch program. Their FAQ says that W stands for Washington, but we all know better.


Saturday, July 10

from smallpox to peaches

Today is my one year anniversary of running the United Devices Agent (as a background task) on my PC. Every few days, I check the status display to see whether it's looking for a cure for Cancer or Smallpox (it's always one or the other). I think this is much more productive than searching for extra-terrestrial radio stations.

Completely unrelated: after breakfasting with Eric-Bob at Bic's, I went to the
Parker County Peach Festival Posted by Hello (in Historic Downtown Weatherford) - about 70 miles from home. One of the first things you see when entering the city is one of those ugly blue-and-grey buildings, with the yellow letters on the front. Fortunately, it returns to mid-size Texas town soon after. I basically "winged it" today .. I knew roughly where the town was, and exited at the 2nd of 3 exits from I-20, then followed the cars. There were numerous signs for "Shuttle Service" but I decided to try parking near the event (I arrived at 1pm). It was no problem finding parking about 1 block away, and then I moseyed through the exhibits, listened to some music, and sampled some peach ice cream and a peach smoothie (both were Yummy - with a capital Y).

Friday, July 9

Pon Farr

Looking back, I'm not sure what I accomplished since Wednesday. Not sure whether that's good or bad. When the highlight of your day is remembering to watch Reno 911, well ...

I did something yesterday that I do about every 7 years: Boil The Stamps. When I was a mere lad, my father instilled in me the Joy Of Stamp Collecting. To this very day, whenever an envelope arrives in the mail, I instinctively look for a stamp and then dutifully toss it in The Bag. If the stamp is unusual, I will twirl in the air and squeal like an excited gherkin. Then, every 7 years (whether related to Pon Farr or a dormant cicada inside me) I awaken and decide that it is time to remove the backing from the stamps, and sort and organize them. Yesterday, I completed most of this ritual, and will conclude it today.

It involves filling a basin with warm water and dumping a few hundred stamps, still affixed to a shred of paper from the original envelope. After a time, they will easily separate at which point I remove them from the water and allow them to dry atop a sheet of wax paper. Then (ideally) I will place the stamps -- in an order only logical to me -- in appropriately labeled glassine envelopes, and await the next cycle (in 2011). Note that I do not place them inside a Stamp Collector's Album. While I did that in my bold and unchecked youth, I no longer succumb to that instinct.

Perhaps this collection will Fund My Retirement when all other attempts at financial independence have failed me?

Thursday, July 8

can't get you out of my mind ...

It's obvious Michael Moore has gotten under a lot of skins in the past few weeks. I continue to wander across blogs where it says
"Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 movie is anti-American. I'm proud to vote for GWB, because he's a Man Of Faith! I haven't seen the movie, since that would mean I'd have to pay money which would go to Moore. But when it comes out on HBO, you bet I'll be in front of the screen!"
These ostriches are insulting to those of who listen to opposing viewpoints before making up our minds. Sadly, this is The State Of The American Voter, who have been told what to think by Rush Limbaugh and Susan Coulter and others of their ilk. They'd be quite happy parroting what's on the anti-Moore websites: and, or James Lileks' The Bleat (there are many others).

I'll wager that none of these ostriches ever took an accounting or economics class in their lives. Trying to explain that Michael Moore will receive a coin or two when his movie comes out on "free" HBO is like expecting Beta The Wonder Dog to translate Shakespeare into Swahili.

Wednesday, July 7

blow your own horn?

There's now a website for all those semi-trailer drivers who are spying on the population: (this website may contain something other than the link to the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center, but it's not obvious).

The Highway Watch® program is explained in Amanda Ripley's Eyes And Ears Of The Nation article. So, be careful of making that downward hand-yanking motion that signals you want to hear them blow their horn. Instead, these volunteers may turn you into the CIA for interrogation.

When I read about truckers mis-identifying turbaned Sikhs as Muslim (of which all are terrorists, right?), I had to cringe. A little ignorance can go a long way. I wandered across the Sikh Study Circle in Irving (near Texas Stadium). There's also a nice website for the Dallas Indian community (of which the Sikhs are a part) at

Deep Thought #37: I hope the Sikhs who work the car rental operation at SJC [the San Jose, California airport] are protecting themselves against Ashcroft's army of terrorist-tracking truck drivers from Little Rock.

Tuesday, July 6

highly educated <> competent

I stopped at Sam's Club and bought 12 items, but the sales receipt counted only 10 (it counted my annual renewal as an item, and the 4x2 liter Diet Cokes as one). The Receipt Checker (at the exit) also miscounted, but let me pass without so much as a glance (after commenting on his non-Harvard MBA). I suspect underemployment is common in this economy; we may have evolved into a nation of the best educated receipt checkers in the world. Still, I didn't mind the incompetence, especially if the alternative was a cavity search in a side room.

(back to the time when I was inline, at the cashier:) While checking out, a peculiar question appeared on the display: Is the person over 18? I asked the clerk what prompted that, and he said "the Cascade dishwasher detergent" (which could be used to make methamphetamines). The checker also clued me in to a maximum number of batteries that can be bought each day (which could be ground up to make explosives). I couldn't find anything on the web to validate either claim, so .. they must be true!

I lunched with Eddie and Jill-Bob at Scotty P's Hamburgers in Allen, TX. The unadulterated1 ambience of this venue is unmistakable, further accentuated by the crayon-coloring contest (photos coming Real Soon Now). Biggest complaint: only 4 colors of crayons with which to work (red, green, blue and orange). Good thing I had excess barbecue sauce.

After that, I moseyed over to Costco where they gave me a pass to look around, but wouldn't let me buy anything if I didn't join. They had a couple things that Sam's Club doesn't carry, but it wasn't enough to make me fork over the cash (not to mention them being inconvenient).

(1) unadulterated = family friendly, according to William-Bob

Republicans Attack!

Even though I can't login, the GOP Team Leader site allows interesting insights. As of 11am they already are out to discredit VP candidate John Edwards (yet, oddly enough .. it has no pointer to

It also didn't point to The Street's A Kerry Win Might Not Be So Bad (so .. just like Michael Moore, they practice selective vision).

Even more entertaining is what Google sees as "related pages": Science Fiction Originals; Johnny Cash; the Pima Air & Space Museum ... the list goes on.

Monday, July 5

circular logic == the BEST logic

Kerry may as well step aside now; here's the real reason Bush cannot be beaten in November: The Faith-Based Presidency. The Regressives have learned a valuable lesson: Circular Logic beats NURBS Logic(1) every day.

Distantly related: I recall an episode of South Park where attorney Johnny Cochran invoked the Chewbacca Defense. At the end, one of the jurors head exploded; this is fine drama!

(1) everybody knows the opposite of a circle is a NURBS. There are people who believe it is a square, or a cube; they are obvious Nazis (see Godwin's Law).

Saturday, July 3

Conspiracy Theories

The biggest problem with Fahrenheit 9/11 is that people will confuse it with A Documentary, versus A Viewpoint. The fact that Moore ignores America's unconditional backing of Israel (and how that sense of unfairness plays in the Arab world) then barely admits that the coalition includes the UK, torpedos his credibility. If he really wanted to present a documentary, he would've shown both sides. As I opined yesterday: he's getting better as a filmmaker, but much of the movie is still Vintage Michael moore.

If you've seen Michael Moore's prior work, you'll know that he never met a conspiracy theory that he didn't love. More Distortions from Michael Moore (by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball) is an important read, highlighting several problems with the film. Some of Moore's conspiracy theories are red herrings; he could have done better, had he not aimed for theatrics. I suspect he's only marginally smarter than the target of this film.

Numbing: The Puppet's quote: "after all, Saddam tried to kill my daddy!" (he comes off as a Class A Goober, and appears to believe that alone justifies war). Was greed (by a few people) the real reason for the The Puppet's Oil War(using the al-Qaada attack on 9/11 as a pretext)? Does this make me a believer in Real Conspiracy Theories? Hmm.

Moore undoubtedly picked the juiciest of all the Bush-Saudi connections and ignored the rest. This is not to say that greed hasn't driven a lot of bad policy. The scenes of seminars explaining how to make obscene profits in rebuilding Iraq were most disturbing. Companies such as Halliburton come off smelling like huge rotting fish corpses.

I'm betting Michael Moore hasn't read the terrifying account of WMDs, from the week of 5 October 2003: George W :: Official Blog

It bothers me that The Regressives (Christian Fascist Republican Party) appear in control, by proxy. Is there a goal of a Return To Mayberry, turning the USA into The Stepford Nation? What The Regressives won't accept is that 1) "Mayberry" was not idyllic for a lot of people; 2) the world is a place where hidden agendas are the norm; 3) problems cannot always be light-hearted and solved in a 22-minute episode (allowing 8 minutes for commercials).

Related: the "OREO Animation" on is a simplified explanation of the problem with our military spending.

Jill-Bob and I had a brief discussion about Mandatory Voter Testing, where people would have to prove they are logical. When someone indicates they're voting for someone because "he has nice hair", their voter card would be taken away. I like this idea! Good thing such a plan could never be abused, and that it's completely objective.

I found a Texas Request for Voter Registration Applications, and noticed that you're only required to certify that you're not insane. And over 18 years old. Hmm.

Unrelated: Godwin's Law FAQ (How to post about Nazis and get away with it)

Friday, July 2


Okay, after some tasty German trout for lunch, I went to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 at the new Angelika theatre in Plano (at Legacy and the Tollway).

My quick reaction (to be followed by something more substantive, Real Soon Now) is that Michael is becoming a better filmmaker, for sure. I saw Roger & Me when I lived in Los Angeles, and watched Bowling for Columbine last year. While Michael does leave out some very key details (so as to get his point across) he's not trying so hard to be the center of attention, which is good.

Yes, Moore oversimplifies (partially to make it fit the 2 hours), but this whole discussion is exceedingly complex. Anyone who thinks they can understand it with a few sounds bites is sadly mistaken. I wish Michael had elaborated on the pathetic job the American news media are doing, but that's for another rant. See President Bush in Ireland for a sample of what I mean. I've found myself gravitating to international TV (satellite) and various RSS feeds from outside the country, so as to see what the rest of the world is seeing. If you can't imagine yourself listening to opposing viewpoints and making up your own minds, well .. that in itself is a huge part of our problem.

Bottom line? If you consider yourself rational, and are able to listen to an opposing viewpoint, go see this movie. If you've already made up your mind that George W. Bush should be re-elected regardless, you're a lost cause and should have your voter registration card revoked anyway. Yes, I am dead serious.

Thursday, July 1

Hey, Buford -- we're #50 -- AGIN!

Perhaps Texas' low high school graduation percentages are why the DMN's Letters to the Editor are dominated by idiots? I guess sometime I'd like to see all the letters received, and not just 8 or 10 each day. Then I could decide how representative the published ones are .. to reality.

Some newspapers around the country are writing that high school graduation rates are the highest ever, but not in Texas; buried on page 4A of the Dallas Managed News is a story about how Texas is dead last. The results are punctuated by the ethnic divide, especially amongst Hispanics (32% of the population, yet only 51% graduated, compared to 91% of Anglos, who are 52% of the population). I wonder how this is being played in the DMN's Spanish-language (Al Dia) newspaper (I couldn't find the article in either the English- or Spanish-language online versions).

Granted, these percentages can be misleading. Let's assume (humor me) that it's more difficult to graduate in Texas, than in New Hampshire. Perhaps the TAKS [Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills] test brought down the graduation rate, because we're more demanding here?

By the way, I've already updated my Sundry on Thursday blog .. those are interesting items that didn't make it here on the Gene Bob Blog(tm).