Sure, it's funny (and somewhat true) but... that's really one of the few ways change is ever affected in this world - killin' people. I hate the idea of people in general dying - whether military personell, "freedom fighters", mujahadeen, kids, whatever. Everyone who dies is someone's son or daughter, as the over-trodden saying goes... and it sucks. Want a good example? Okay, here's a great one:
The only way Osama Bin Laden could screw his own organization over completely was by killing a LOT of people. See, before his (second) attack on the World Trade Center, he was mostly ignored, and his little group, Al Queeda and the Merry Pranksters, had free reign over a small country called Afghanistan. They were slowly spreading around the world and actually had legitimate, world-recognized power. Money poured into their coffers, membership increased all over the place, and all was good.
Until Osama came up with his Brilliant Idea - and brought a very, very unhappy gorilla to bear on his little country. Whoops! The USA swooped in, took out most of his good friends and drinking buddies, and completely took the Taliban out of power - eliminating Al Queda's best source of funding and completely marginalizing poor mister Laden. Oh sure, he makes a great boogeyman and scarecrow to parade all over FoxNews, and sure, he's still around and releasing tapes all over the place to adoring fans (the latest, a mashup with Jay-Z, was tremendously popular in clubs) - but now he's fairly powerless to strike out.
That change was brought about by the deaths of 3000 or so people in one day, here in the USA. That one day galvanized our military into action to make a change... and change was made rapidly. Could the Taliban have been taken out by negotiations? Sanctions? Nope. Could the USA have been moved so fiercely and strongly by listening to the rhetoric of the Taliban? Nope. Death moved us. Death moved them. Death moves us all.
That brings me to my next point, I guess. Peace is NEVER achieved through nice discussions. Peace is only brought about by the forceful application of destruction to resources. Only when the will to fight is completely removed is there peace. As an example, look at Jordan and Egypt - they know better than to allow Hezbollah or other terrorist groups to operate and assault Israel from their borders. Why? Because Israel stomped all the fuck over them in a period of a few days, not so long ago. Israel made it clear that without peace, there would be Serious Consequences - and those Serious Consequences didn't involve mean suggestions of words in sternly voiced letters of reprimand from a powerless international body. They meant death and destruction....
I guess I'm ranting over something that, as a humour piece, didn't really need a rant... but I don't care. I needed a good, hefty, fairly pointless rant this morning. There you go. Enjoy.
At first, I thought that this might just be the single most disgusting thing I've heard of, in terms of drinks... (NOT, of course, including the evil Electric Banana)
Then I gave it some more thought... and.... well, why not? I mean, why is it our beverages can be fruity, peaty, sour, sweet, bitter, or salty but can't be... meaty? I can't think of a reason why not, really. I mean, we use alcohol as an ingredient in cooking all the time - wine to deglaze pans, bourbons and cognac as components of amazing sauces, flaming liquors on a baked Alaska... we describe certain drinks as being perfect accompaniments to meals or main courses (I am thinking, specifically, of a certain grenache paired beautifully with elk at a certain dinner). Why not sort of turn the tables a bit?
The day someone decides to waste a bottle of vodka on infusing it with a good, spicy salami is the day I drink vodka martinis for a night.
And you may ask yourself How do I work this? And you may ask yourself Where is that large automobile? And you may tell yourself This is not my beautiful house! And you may tell yourself This is not my beautiful wife! - The Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime"
This Internet thing is pretty spiffy. I like it. Yessir, I like it a lot.
One day though, I found myself asking why I had to type in a dozen URLs every day to visit my daily group of tech, food, and current-event sites (many of which are off to the right on this page in my links). I gave it some thought, and remembered having heard about RSS syndication and publishing.
WHOAH! Acronyms! Big words!!
It's really quite simple, actually. RSS actually stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it IS really simple. Seriously. Yarly.
Here's how it works - You use an aggregator or news reader, and it pulls the RSS file from your favorite sites and displays a quick summary of the latest stuff on the site for you. Some display the whole site, some just the text, some do a combination - it depends on what you use.
Personally, I use the SAGE plug-in for Firefox, and I love it. It's easily the best RSS aggregator I've tried, and it's incredibly easy to use. Just read the instructions on their site and start using it. You'll wonder how you survived before it.... :)
Yeah, thanks for proving that narrow-minded devotion to your ideals is a fun way to impede on progress, guys.
At a conference about treating AIDS in South Africa, a booth championing holistic treatment was stormed by an apparently rabid activist group who can't see reality for what it is. See, the holistic treatment in question, using garlic, olive oil, and lemons to help promote healthy lifestyles in addition to the use of drugs, apparently doesn't sit well with the drug pushers.
From the article -
South Africa's exhibit at the Toronto AIDS conference -- featuring displays of garlic and other natural foods along with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs -- was stormed by supporters of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), South Africa's most vocal AIDS activist group, local news reports said on Thursday.
Now, is it me, or does that seem a bit moronic? I mean, simple logic would dictate that a person who catches HIV (or develops AIDS) would have better responses to the virus with a balanced and healthy diet, especially one which uses more nutritious foods with known benefits for the immune system like garlic and lemons. Why would you oppose urging healthy diets as a supplement for the immune system?
I'm pretty sure that TAC (the organization responsible for this moronic display of attacking a booth at an AIDS conference) understands that healthy nutrition can't hurt... So what's going on here, really?
I have a feeling it's an example of cause purity extremism - something I find distasteful in most regards. Maybe TAC needs to take a step back and learn a bit about pragmatism. Perhaps the reality here is that South Africans can't afford to take antiretrovirals from such an early stage of the illness as is usually hit in the USA, so they try to supplement with better nutrition and taking extra care of their bodies. Instead of viewing this as an attack on their campaign to offer better and more abundant drug therapies, or thinking that this somehow undermines their cause (by making their solution just a bit less immediately required), perhaps they should push for a scientific check on these treatment supplements, or maybe even encourage the nutritional supplementation of their vaunted treatments....
According to it, a grand total of 46% of Americans believe that God created man, in exactly the form we're in right now. 36% thought evolution might be real, but God guided the process to us. Only 13% believe in evolution.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I'm nearly speechless.
Here's what I propose in order to keep the creationists from further ruining our chances of remaining a first-world country. 1: Do not allow creationists access to drugs which have, at any time, utilized "theories" of evolution in their development. This includes but is not limited to antibiotics and antivirals. 2: Replace housepets in the creationists' domiciles with earlier, non-evolved versions. Kitty goes to a more appreciative house, and in his place we can throw in a tiger of some sort. 3: Giggle hysterically at the mere mention of "Intelligent Design" or "creation", and encourage others to do it as well. Nothing changes mass mindsets faster than humiliation. 4: Remove from the creationist food supply any cattle or livestock which has evolved due to our intervention - including but not limited to all cattle, corn, wheat, etc. Not a huge loss, right? After all, these things don't exist - they're just theories. 5: Stop having sex with creationists. Look, chances are they're not nearly as much fun (unless they're really repressed... but that's more fun for other reasons) as people who are a bit more enlightened.
The more I think about it, the less I think #1 was an original thought - but I stand by it anyway. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go eat a bowl of spaghetti.
200+ cartoons are being displayed, each with its own take on the hilarity of the Holocaust, some nice slaps at the USA, and general anti-Jew sentiments all around. Millions of Jews immediately took to the streets, rioting and burning businesses and homes. Thousands are dead, including police and...
No wait. Jews don't riot over cartoons. Sorry. We got over that a few thousand years ago, when we stopped taking ourselves so fucking seriously. At some point, we realized it was more effective to just ignore the trash talking, infiltrate a society, and then just plain "do better". I know, it's kind of a revolutionary concept, that whole "improve your situation" thing. I mean, maybe rioting over cartoons SHOULD be something we might consider... after all, if a cartoon of Mohammad inspires such insane devotion, maybe we're missing something there. Instead, we took a look at the cartoons exhibited in Iran, realized that we do it better, yawned, and spread a schmeer on another bagel.
Does all this mean that Jews are better than Arabs? Nah, I'm not saying that. I am saying, however, that the people who freak out over things like political cartoons should probably take a deep breath and think about the ramifications of confirming stereotypes about instability and explosiveness before they act. Jews long ago learned all about self-deprecating humor. We excel at it, and it's kind of a hallmark of our humor (see: Woody Allen). Perhaps some more Arabic humorists need to learn that the funniest day is the day you laugh at yourself for the first time...
EDIT- I have found SOME of the cartoons. I am really disappointed - they're just not really all that funny. Granted, these are probably hand-picked as the most offensive, but seriously - I can do better off the top of my head.
Well, the cease-fire is in effect. Assuming no one on either side decides to be a complete moron, Israel and Hezbollah are done shooting at each other... for the moment, anyway. Israel is slowly pulling out of Lebanon as the Lebanese army is slowly deploying as a replacement.
Hezbollah is declaring a victory - they held back Israel, killed a bunch of soldiers, and managed to lob a ton of missiles into an (abandoned) Israeli city, killing a couple of people. Of course, they're not going to release their actual losses (no one tracks that very well, anyway - it's easier to just say "dozens of civilians"), and they don't care that, well, they helped inspire (or provide the trigger for, or heck, insert your own conspiracy theory here about Jews hating Arabs and whatnot) a pretty hefty invasion of Lebanon, complete with wholesale destruction of their own neighborhoods and infrastructure, a bunch of dead kids, and tons of unexploded ordinance.
Israel isn't overtly claiming any victory or loss (yet), though I am sure the leadership is going to probably claim some sort of victory - shortly before being excoriated in the local press and by politicians all over the political spectrum for either (a) doing too little or (b) not doing a thorough enough job for their preferences.
So... who won? I think, personally, the Israelis will come out of this one better off overall. They are unlikely to violate the terms of the cease-fire, knowing damned well that once Hezbollah gets bored, someone will start lobbing those midrange little missiles again from Lebanon, giving all the excuse Israel needs to keep fighting. This cease-fire is a cute little breather, in Israel's eyes. Granted, Hezbollah might not actually be stupid enough to start launching missiles again - but that also would be nice for Israel, since they'd probably prefer to be able to use Haifa for habitation and commerce again.
Who lost? So far, the Lebanese civilians who are too intimidated to stand up to Hezbollah, the Lebanese government (which has lost serious points in honor and respect and has now been shown to be completely ineffective in its own country), a few Israelis who lost some property (and some lives, for that matter), and the 2 kidnapped Israeli soldiers, who have yet to be returned (and likely only will be returned once their heads have been liberated from their bodies).
Everyone has a stroke of brilliance at least once in their lives. For most of us, it's surrounded entirely by chaff and is nearly indistinguishable from the surroundings. My moments of brilliance have come and gone, completely occluded by my foolish decisions and humor and more or less completely without fruition and completion.
Scientology has a term - "end cycle" - for the cessation of a human life. My point of reference is a Scientologist, who, having been sucked dry of funds during a non-terminal illness stay in a hospital, was ordered to "EOC", or "end cycle"... she died shortly thereafter. Click here for more information on EOC.
So, why endcycle for a title to my blog? I like the way it sounds, honestly... Sure, there are other meanings and reasons, and some Arrogantly Deep Thoughts to go with those, but those are for me to know (and you to probably not give a damn about).
What will be found in this blog? Ranting, raving, politics, religion, computing, sex - whatever I have an opinion on, I'm going to probably write about. I promise there will be no poetry or art pieces - I have a livejournal for that emotastic goop, and that's about what it's good for to me. Blogger has a nice RSS feature, and subscribing to this blog is easy if you have an RSS reader (or use Firefox, which you really should be doing).