Wild Wild Words

Social Commentary
by
Christopher Wilde
Politics, Movies, Television, Current Events, Pop Culture, Opinion, Future Philosophy

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blythe Dolls Reaching a Tipping Point

By Christopher Wilde

I stumbled across Blythe dolls and was immediately stuck by archetypal appeal.  Right now they are a high end collectors item selling new for about $80.00 us and original dolls going for thousands.

Why they lack the cuddliness of  a Beanie Baby and tend to be associated with the 70s when they came out, I believe that they represent  a futuristic techno feminist.  If someone would brand these dolls with technological savvy, female power, the coolness of an iphone I think these dolls could resonate with the same market segments that attracts young girls to Miley Cyrus.

The result would be that these dolls could fly off the shelves in a major way.   They should be sold at Starbucks holding a latte.

You heard it here first.

 

This is a good start but the pink, girly quality of the device need to be changed to reflect women power and not girl power.  The head of the doll alone is enough to inspire the youthfulness of the appeal.  Everything else needs to be sleeker think standard cell phone versus ipod or iphone.

Explosion Holly Refinery North of SLC

This is the second time in two years the refinery has caught fire.

Picture links to ABC news 4.

Deseret News

WEST BOUNTIFUL — An explosion rocked one of the city's major refineries Wednesday night, but no workers were seriously injured.

Hydrofluoric acid likely caused the blast at the Holly refinery, 398 S. 800 West, just before 9 p.m., said South Davis Metro Fire Chief Jim Rampton.

"It was a pretty big fireball," Rampton said, though officials could not immediately say how much damage the flames caused.

Holly Energy says Utah refinery back to full production after fire
Date: March 26, 2007

WEST BOUNTIFUL - Holly Energy Partners' refinery here has returned to full operations this morning after a fire near a flare tower forced the facility to temporarily reduce production. Oil refining at the plant was reduced by about 10 percent to 15 percent after burning hydrocarbons shot out of the flare tower about 7 a.m., Holly spokesman Mike Astin said. "The incident lasted only about five minutes, and no one was hurt."

Katie Holmes sent to Brain Washing Camp?

I'm loath to comment on this but I'm amazed that after the Star reported it half a dozen "celebrity" web sites have all re-reported it.

I'm not even going to say if it's true, but rather let's wait and see if it's true.  Oh and I should say that by brain washing camp I mean a super secret scientology retreat where purportedly she underwent thirty-five hour auditing sessions.

Think of an auditing session as having the credibility of a psychologist recovering memories.

Violin Plays Robot

 

Check out Toyota's version of the Segway and Honda's version of R2D2 (he's in the X wing car).

Pineapple Revolution

Native Hawaiian group storms historical palace and bars the gates in downtown Honolulu.  The Hawaiian Kingdom Government blocked the gates of the building which sits next to the capital.

 

Apparently it's a relatively peaceful protest and the protesters claim they will go with authorities willingly.  The protesters do not recognize Hawaii as a U.S. state.  Hawaii entered the union in 1959 as the 50th state.

I don't think this going to turn into anything but I just wanted to be the first to call it a pineapple revolution.

A Google of the four different web sites claiming to belong to various groups calling themselves the Hawaiian Kingdom Government were down:

http://www.hawaiiankingdom.org/

http://www.hawaiiankingdom.org/govt-reestablished.shtml

http://www.higovt.org/

http://www.hawaii-gov.net/

However the Hawaiian Independence Blog is up and active and claiming to receive email from on scene witnesses.  They list www.higovt.org as the preferred site of the group, but the "Latest News" column of that site does not mention the current action.

 

No word as yet as how long before the CNN buss will be on the scene, or how long before China will use the incident to downplay Tibet <g>.

Some of these web  site seem to be coming back up and this may be due to a high traffic load on undersea cables (I'm speculating).

Don't Steal my Penis

There's a headline I never thought I'd write.  I say it tongue in cheek since the X got mine in the divorce.

However in the Congo 13 suspected sorcerers have been accused of using black magic to "steal" or "shrink" men's penises.  And George thought he had it bad.

Fourteen alleged victims claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their manhood shrink or disappear.    Freud would have a field day with this one.  Apparently the panic is so great they've had attempted lynchings.

This sounds like a job for VIAGRA man!

Steps Toward Immortality

By Christopher Wilde

It is my position, and at the core of my current book manuscript, that through technology human beings will ultimately live forever.  News of breaking technology, even small steps, help to flush out the time line for when and how this will occur.  For the record I do not anticipate immortality for myself but for my children's children.

I consider the recent discovery of a new process to extract and copy the elements of human cells for the production of anti-bodies to be a profound step.  It's not just replacing of body parts that is important it's also in fighting all of the incremental bacteria and viruses that weaken and kill.

"With just a few tablespoons of blood, we can now rapidly generate human antibodies that can be used for immunization, diagnosis and treatment of newly emerging strains of influenza," said Patrick Wilson, an immunology researcher at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, whose study appears in the journal Nature.

The process also could be used to make antibodies for hepatitis C or antibiotic-resistant infections or even for human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Read the full article: 

Scientists find a quicker way to make antibodies

Austrian Abused Girl- HER PICTURE?

By Christopher Wilde

DBtechno has published what is presumably the first picture of Elisabeth Fritzl.  She is the woman held captive by her father in a basement dungeon since 1984.  The picture attached to the story appears to be a yearbook photo, but since the web site does not properly caption the picture, provide its source, or even state in the article who is in the photo we can only assume.

I have mixed feelings about showing her picture.  I can only imagine that her life isn't going to be easy having everyone look at her as the girl from the dungeon.  You can follow the link to the article but it seems that DBtechno is unwilling to authenticate the picture.

Dr. Aribert Heim Tops List of 10 Most Wanted Nazis

Simon Wiesenthal Center releases its list of 'Top Ten Most wanted Nazis' with the nasty Heim at the top. 

"Karl Lotter, a prisoner who worked in the hospital at Mauthausen concentration camp, had no trouble remembering the first time he watched SS doctor Aribert Heim kill a man."

 

The details are so grisly I won't recap them here but you can link to the AP news story at the quote if you want to read them, for lighter fair you can wait for David Letterman's top ten ways to know your doctor was a former Nazi, 1) He boils your head for display.

Albert Hoffman Discovered LSD, DIED

By Christopher Wilde

Read about Albert Hoffman or skip to the bottom and watch the documentary on LSD research.

 

Albert Hoffman is dead at  102 ( pictured by artist Alex Gray). Hoffman first synthesized the drug in 1938 and then learned of its hallucinatory effects five years later, after accidentally ingesting it.

 

From AP News

 

From AP News (abbreviated)

GENEVA (AP) —

Hofmann died Tuesday at his home in Burg im Leimental, said Doris Stuker, a municipal clerk in the village near Basel where Hofmann moved following his retirement in 1971.

For decades after LSD was banned in the late 1960s, Hofmann defended his invention.

"I produced the substance as a medicine. ... It's not my fault if people abused it," he once said.

The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm in Basel.

He became the first human guinea pig of the drug when a tiny amount of the substance seeped onto his finger during a laboratory experiment on April 16, 1943.

"I had to leave work for home because I was suddenly hit by a sudden feeling of unease and mild dizziness," he subsequently wrote in a memo to company bosses.

"Everything I saw was distorted as in a warped mirror," he said, describing his bicycle ride home. "I had the impression I was rooted to the spot. But my assistant told me we were actually going very fast."

Upon reaching home, Hofmann began experiencing what he called "wonderful visions."

Three days later, Hofmann experimented with a larger dose. The result was the world's first scientifically documented bad trip.

"The substance which I wanted to experiment with took over me. I was filled with an overwhelming fear that I would go crazy. I was transported to a different world, a different time," Hofmann wrote.

Hofmann and his scientific colleagues hoped that LSD would make an important contribution to psychiatric research. The drug exaggerated inner problems and conflicts and thus it was hoped that it might be used to recognize and treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

[watch the documentary below to see how it was used to treat alcoholism]

For a time, Sandoz sold LSD 25 under the name Delysid, encouraging doctors to try it themselves. It was one of the strongest drugs in medicine — with just one gram enough to drug an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people for 12 hours.

LSD was elevated to international fame in the late 1950s and 1960s thanks to Harvard professor Timothy Leary who embraced the drug under the slogan "turn on, tune in, drop out."

But away from the psychedelic trips, horror stories emerged about people going on murder sprees or jumping out of windows while hallucinating. Heavy users suffered permanent psychological damage.

The U.S. government banned LSD in 1966 and other countries followed suit.

Hofmann maintained this was unfair, arguing that the drug was not addictive. He repeatedly argued for the ban to be lifted to allow LSD to be used in medical research.

Last December, Swiss authorities decided to allow LSD for psychotherapy in exceptional cases.

"For me, this is a very big wish come true. I always wanted to see LSD get its proper place in medicine," he told Swiss TV at the time.

Hofmann himself took the drug — purportedly on an occasional basis and out of scientific interest — for several decades.

"LSD can help open your eyes," he once said. "But there are other ways — meditation, dance, music, fasting."

Even so, the self described "father" of LSD readily agreed that the drug was dangerous if in the wrong hands. This was reflected by the title of his 1979 book: "LSD - my problem child."

In it he wrote that, "The history of LSD to date amply demonstrates the catastrophic consequences that can ensue when its profound effect is misjudged and the substance is mistaken for a pleasure drug."

Hofmann retired from Sandoz in 1971 and devoted his time to travel, writing and lectures.

"This is really a high point in my advanced age," Hofmann said at a ceremony in Basel honoring him on his 100th birthday. "You could say it is a consciousness-raising experience without LSD."

Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

Associated Press writers Balz Bruppacher in Bern, Eliane Engeler in Geneva and Clare Nullis contributed to this report.

FAU Lockdown/Shooting

Today in Boca Raton on the Florida Atlantic University campus (FAU) a man discharged a firearm.  Police received notice  at 1:16 AM, determined the shots came from the student apartments and at 1:45 AM police activated a newly installed siren and p.a. system, alerting the campus community there was an armed suspect on campus and that all campus residents and visitors should seek shelter immediately. -Wink News.com

This is the first I have heard of a siren pa system used in a school shooting situation.  It reminds me of the old air raid siren's of years long gone.  Seems like a good idea it will be interesting to see how using it plays out in future school incidence.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Equality to Self-Criticize

By Christopher Wilde

It has long seemed to me that a final hallmark of social equality for minority groups is to have the freedom to criticize the group you are from without turning back the clock on the gains that group has made.

White men don't fear to criticize one another in any terms their conscience will allow.  Black men should have, should feel free, and should criticize themselves and everyone else with impunity.

I originated this line of thought in thinking about Hillary Clinton, particularly the vast silence of women regarding her candidacy.  There seems to be so much enthusiasm over the prospect of a black or female candidate that a wall has risen that creates an invisible barrier to fair discourse.

Today Barack Obama again spoke out about Reverend Wright's comments.  He started his speech by saying, "I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people." 

He addressed the very reason I find him an attractive candidate.  Not just because he says it but because the sentiment is realized when you look at his supporters.

The comments of Reverend Wright do not bother me, I am not bothered that Barack sat in his church.  I would be more bothered if he didn't.  I understand what it means to sit between races and wonder where you belong.  If you have ever straddled the fence between two dispirit groups, two races, rich and poor,  healthy and sick, good looking or homely you have a sense of what it means. 

A desire to bridge those two groups is a far more noble thing than all the efforts of second generation guilt ridden rich who think they need to swoop in and save the world.  More often than not that common elitist sentiment does more harm than good by failing to understand the very problems sought to be fixed.

Barack Obama continued his speech saying:

You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.

They certainly don't portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that's political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn't know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought, either.

He is right to strongly criticize Rev. Wright, as Rev. Wright is to fully reveal himself with his comments.  This is all right and proper, necessary for equality.  Social movements are evolutionary by nature and the people that propagate those movements must make the choice to grow and evolve with them in order to own the gains they've achieved.

This is a very important time for equal rights, not just for people of color but for anyone craving equality.  My generation has grown up with an idea that we should not be racist.  Many of us have strived to do so even when that means speaking out against racist comments heard in the office, among friends, and among family.

That Barack Obama is a black candidate, for me and I'm sure many others, the reason he is a "viable" black candidate is because we don't want to see him as just black, we want to see him as our candidate.  We don't want to see him as being owned, like a slave, to the black community.  We, I, want to see him as understanding where I have come from, where you have come from, and leading us both to where we want to go and this can not be done if he is beholden to one group.

I have spoken and written about the need for us to all recognize each other as Americans, regardless of race or religion or region of the country; that the only way we can deal with critical issues, like energy and health care and education and the war on terrorism, is if we are joined together. And the reason our campaign has been so successful is because we had moved beyond these old arguments. - Barack Obama

If Barack Obama's campaign loses the support he has built as a result of the Wright controversy then it will only confirm what I have always believed about the democratic party.  I have always believed that the party pays lip service and uses minorities to promote it's self serving leaders.

Hillary Clinton's supporters should take heed as this controversy has been fanned by the Clinton campaign.  When Hilary says that she would have left the church she is doing her best to string Wright around Obama's neck and hang them both.

As if that were not crime enough, she is setting back the gains of equality everywhere for the sake of her own political fortune.  Today she is immune to the sentiments of every member Trinity United Church of Christ who does not leave their church in response to Rev. Wright.

It's ironic that Hilary would suggest that Barack should leave the church when she refused to leave her husband.  Some may bristle at the comparison but to paint Barack with Rev. Wright's weaknesses is to wear the mantel of Bill Clinton's transgressions in all things.

 

5:04 MST

This just in from the New York Times :

Obama Picks Up Support; Wright Remains a Worry

 

"“His comments regarding statements made by Reverend Wright showed me another aspect of Senator Obama’s leadership — a strength of character and commitment to our nation that transcends the personal...One of the tests of a true leader is his ability and willingness to come to a new conclusion based on new events. Senator Obama did just that yesterday.” -Representative Baron Hill, an Indiana Democrat and Super Delegate.

5:19 MST

From the International Herald Tribune:

Huckabee says Obama's former pastor needs him to lose
"Jeremiah Wright needs for Obama to lose so he can justify his anger, his hostile bitterness against the United States of America," Huckabee said.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Top Seven Search On Google...Syphilis

Wow, it's been a while since I looked to see what people were searching on Google.  I was shocked to see syphilis was number three.  Is this due to a dangerous rise of STD's or because a recent episode of House speculates that he has it? Neurosyphilis was number one clocking in as volcanic in temperature confirming the trend was driven by the television program.

It's amazing how a simple television show can drive people to learn something new.

Other hot topics relates to searches for Tornados in Virginia, Miley Cyrus, oh yeah and the bro code (got me).

What's really neat is that you can see how these trends peak right after the shows air.  Check it out at www.google.com/trends/hottrends

The short story I've been writing is a science fiction story that delves into the subject of suicide.  Searching the trend it's interesting to see that the top ten countries searches originate from are some of the most industrialized western countries and not a single of the ten is eastern.

 

 

The Bro Code

By Christopher Wilde

Though the concept is not new How I Met Your Mother has done a hilarious episode on the Bro Code.  I certainly hope they capitalize on publishing a novelty copy of the bro code.  If two fake newsman at Comedy Central can publish books, I think the producers of How I Met Your Mother have a fair chance of success.

It's a great episode but I have to say I've always had an issue with the whole bro code concept.  Usually along the lines of "stealing my girl," as it implies that one party (the woman) has no responsibility for their actions.  I dislike the idea that a woman is an object to be stolen.

Besides I think if I were Barney I'd have become a better man a long time ago if it would have enticed a woman like Robin into more than a one night stand.  Of course I have a thing about the whole Cobie Smulders look and had her in mind when writing my last screenplay.

Miley Cyrus Photo's

By Christopher Wilde

  This photo was taken for Vanity Fair by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.  It has created an enormous controversy as the young Cyrus is only fifteen, already claims to regret the photograph, and had her parents on set when they were taken.

It's hard to understand why this picture was taken.  No surprise that it's Vanity fair that's what they do, but why would Cyrus, her family, or any of her handlers think this is  good idea?  She's at the top of her career this isn't the kind of notoriety that's going to benefit her.  Nor is she at an age where she want's to transform into a sexy vixen.

What I'm not hearing is the flap that the photographer would suffer if it had been a man.  Should there be any less flap given Annie Leibovitz's sexuality?   Don't think this argument is about sexuality it's about lecherous equality.   The photographer has already been accused of "manipulating" the teenager, but the motivation seems to be profit not a personal desire to get the girl out of her clothes.

In a caption released by the magazine to accompany the photo, Cyrus said: "I think it’s really artsy. It wasn’t in a skanky way. Annie took, like, a beautiful shot, and I thought that was really cool. That’s what she wanted me to do, and you can’t say no to Annie."

Honestly, if the photographer had been a man he'd already been hung out to dry.

UPDATE:  Isn't one of the classic ways a pedophile ensnares a child by showing them other pictures of pornography as a means of suggesting to the child that what they are going to do is acceptable?

Annie Leibovitz in defending her actions with Miley says, "Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it."  

 

If you liked this article you might also like: Creepy Dairy Queen

CRASH AND BURN

The planet has delivered a death sentence to the Old Bailey http://www.oldbaileyonline.org.  The public's interest (mine included) in the criminal records housed in London's central criminal court from 1674 to 1913 crashed the servers.  At last check the web site bears the message that service is running slowly.

Now, I want to search my name sake Oscar Wilde.  That seems personally reasonable to me, but what do the rest of you buggers want to find?

Well perhaps when the demand slows the site will release some statistics and give us the juicy details of our sick prurient desires?

Upcoming Movies Worth Seeing

 

And by worth I'm calculating the price of the ticket, snacks, and dinner essentially the cost of the whole evening, including the pain in the ass parts like some jackass texting in front of you, against the cost of production.  Sadly its come down to this despite that many people view going to see movies like buying a latte.  For them it's just something they do.

This short list of films are the big special effects productions guaranteed to give a wow factor.  Based on the trailers alone I'm sure we can expect good roller coaster rides and more than a few moments where it will look like debris is flying off the screen.

Iron Man May 2

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian May 16

Indiana Jones  May 22

Hancock July 2

2008 White House Correspondence Dinner

 

Craig Ferguson performs at the 2008 White House Correspondence Dinner in two parts.  Occasionally you will see members of the audience not laughing, don't be dismayed this is their once a year encounter with humor.  They are not laughing because they have to wait for a policy paper to explain it to them.  Early next month these folks will be brought to tears reading these jokes once they are broken down into the proper bar graphs and pie charts.

 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Holodeck

This weekend I spend a few minutes thinking and making some crude drawings of holodeck like technology.  I came home and found I'm not the only one.

Knocking Juno

By Christopher Wilde

This weekend I finally got around to watching the movie Juno.  What, you say, finally!  Yes, finally and that you would say that is the reason I've waited so long.  Nothing ruins a sweet little movie like hype.  Though I'll admit that it is seldom worth the cost of a movie to see a comedy at the theater.  Comedy translates well to the small screen as anything funny is funny no matter where you go or what you are doing.

Don't believe me?  Put the joke that makes you laugh again and again on an index card and carry it with you everywhere.  If you are really bold you can follow my lead by taking your favorite joke to a funeral.  I take the index card and stick it in the sleeve of the deceased.  That way, a thousand years from now, when that time capsule is unearthed I might end up in someone's history book as the comedian who really killed.

Juno is a cute movie, funny, not hilarious.  It's humor is primarily encased in its over use of speed-glib dialogue and its semi-offbeat characters.  I don't regret having watched it, but I'm really glad the hype had faded from my mind  or I would have been very disappointed.

This movie has gotten a bad rap for having "glorified" teen pregnancy.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Credit must be given to Oscar winner Diablo Cody for providing the story of a teen with enough wisdom to give her baby up for adoption, and perhaps that is the only thing Cody does here that warrants the Oscar.  I can't think of another movie in which the main character gives up her baby for adoption.

This movie could have taken one of two routes to either deliver a constant steam of jokes that kept the audience laughing and distracted from any sense of seriousness (completely mitigating the gravity of the situation) or it could have dipped in and out of seriousness.  It would have been much, much harder to do the latter and had it been successfully accomplished it would have been worth the Oscar.

It's hard to say who's choice that was but I'm inclined to believe it was Jason Reitman's and it does seem to be in keeping with the sprit of his primary influence (his father), I haven't read enough of Cody's work to lay the blame at her door.  Having listened to her intently during television interviews I'm inclined to believe that she is very in tune with the dark truths of drama.

The result is that the film misses the opportunity to use humor to communicate a deeper message, and I'm certainly not willing to fault them for that.  Creativists  have to make the choice to be commercially viable or to provide some greater theme or message.  Making that choice is no guarantee of success.  Everyone involved in this film should be applauded loudly for making that choice, doing it well, and being successful.

My sympathies go out of Diablo Cody.  When she was stepping up to take the Oscar my now confirmed feeling was that the double edge sword on that statue may cut her career film career in half.  Fortunately she is a novelist, a great writer, and I believe she will continue to have successes.

I suspect that if Diablo Cody could have anyone in the world play her in a movie it would me Megan Fox who will be appearing in the next Cody written film Jennifer's Body.

Craig, Craig, Craig!

For years I have been telling my friends about the funniest man on television Craig Freguson.  I'm pleased as pie to see that CBS Sunday Morning profiling him because his ratings continue to rocket.

  I can't recommend his show enough!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who Gets the Youth Vote?

I told you Obama.  Readers of this blog might remember in a political tirade I made the very important point that Obama get's the youth vote. "Obama continues to carry the most important segment of Democratic voters, young people who have never voted before." (See fourth paragraph under Lunchbox Democrats)  Truth is I searched for some numbers to support this conclusion and couldn't find a current article.  The Harvard Institute of Politics found that 70% of young voters ages 18 to 24 favor Obama.  The results are impressive and demonstrate the kind of growth the democratic party needs to even the score with Republicans nationally.

 

Twenty -four is well over my shoulder, but I recognize the importance of this segment of our population, mostly I'm deeply cognizant of the fact that the worse thing for our country and our planet would be to alienate them.  This generation, largely due to the Internet hold tremendous power to be informed, to activate, and to participate. They need to be part of the system, and if they become disaffected you will find them to be more vocal than anyone in the 60's and 70's.  

Destine for Small Town News

 

Expect Utah native Sara Sanders to be appearing soon on David Letterman or the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Well, maybe not Sara, just this Salt Lake Tribune profile of her.  While Sara seems like a smart wonderful person she has one very funny characteristic that is certain to draw national attention. 

"Sanders is afraid of deer. She has no idea why, they just terrify her."

 

I'm reminded of something John Stewart once said, "Utah is the go to state for funny."

On Vampires

I stumbled upon a Blog here on blogspot dedicated to Vampires, I couldn't read it but looking at the pictures and taking into account that the web page is URL is vampirescool it's easy to get the feel for the tone.

It got me thinking that Vampires have ceased to be scary.  I think it's time for a semi-spoof film, ala John Waters in which all the vampires are enormously fat people with tick like features.  I envision these creatures to be so plump that when they walk the folds around their middles bounce, constantly reminding the audience that they are filled with the blood of "normal" people.  Because they are vampires they still have great strength and speed, the typical spooky stuff.

I write this in my blog because it was an inspiration.  That means expect to start to see this concept enter the main stream in the next four to six months.

If any visual artist out there would like to create a very realistic competent drawing I'll gladly put it next to this post.

Allegedly Guilty Teens Handcuffed, Humiliated

Here in Utah, police in a Morgan, Webber county joint task force arrested five teens, handcuffing them in front off other students. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reports: Parke said the arrests occured in view of other students for a reason.  "We're trying to send a message that we're not going to tolerate drug dealing and drug sales at the high schools," he said. "Kids are supposed to be there to get an education."

That's all fine and dandy if the students you arrest are guilty, but if not you have just subjected a student to untold humiliation.  Let's all so remember they are children, not only do they make mistakes, but they are also capable of being easily manipulated, and they tend to be bad at reporting the facts.

Their arrests were part of an undercover sting in which a police officer posed as a student.  Now think about this, let's say your ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) child is sitting next to this cop, who leans over and asks, hey do you know where I can get some pills?

The student replies, "Pills? What kind of pills?"

The cop says, "I'll pay fifty a pill for some ritalin, you know, ADD meds"

You're kids thinking, well ok, that's easy money. So he bring in some of his medication, or his brother's.  Next thing you know he's branded a drug dealer, paraded in front of the other students, and you are caught up in a legal nightmare.  Do you think the police officer is going to say he approached your child, or do you think he will say the child approached him?

"Parke said all five suspects sold drugs in the school. But Deven Coggins, an attorney for one of the suspects, said he has been told his client was not present for any drug transactions. The undercover officer, Coggins said, approached his client and asked if he knew any drug dealers. "

Please Invent

This is a simple contraption, The Bean Machine (not to be mistaken with the Galton box to demonstrate the law of error and normal distribution).  Americans need to eat more beans.  Yes, I know lots of people don't for obvious reasons, but most of the time that can be over come by letting your beans soak over night.  My problem is when it's time to cook them.  Hour, to an hour and a half to wait for a bland food to tenderize, that's a major chunk of my time.

The Bean Machine, let's you put in a wide variety of legumes, plug in, select the bean and desired cooking style and walk away.  It even has a timer, if you soak your beans overnight, drain and place in the Bean Machine, set the timer, and when you return home your beans are ready to fold into your favorite dish.

A crock pot or pressure cooker won't do people will line up to buy the Bean Machine.

Hey if we can do this with rice and vegetables why not beans?

Beware! Continued

Here in Utah we often hear in the news of vehicles being pulled over, the driver "consenting" to a search and multiple pounds of marijuana or some other such drug in quantity being discovered.  On first blush you wonder what kind of an idiot carrying drugs consents to a search?  You may even consider that anyone carrying that many drugs is an idiot.

But let's face it the more likely scenario is that the police get a tip off, pull over the driver based on an inside or anonymous tip and search the vehicle claiming the driver consented to the search.  Who's the court going to believe, the cop of the guy with a hundred pounds of pot in his car?

OK, you say, but I don't run drugs this doesn't apply to me?  We'll just consider, you are driving down the highway and unbeknownst to you your third (upper) break light goes out.  A state trooper pulls you over.  That alone is grounds for a complete search of your vehicle and person.  Ladies, how about a pat down every time you exceed the speed limit, or maybe just because you were talking on your cell phone?

More importantly, there is a thinner line that has been crossed here.  It's a line of restraint.  While the vast majority of our police officers would never ever violate a law themselves, what about those that aren't so straight and narrow.  How much easier do you want the line of justice to be dependent upon their word over yours, because, I promise you every time it comes down to that they win.  With fewer and fewer restraints placed on law enforcement they have less and less incentive to consider restraint.

One last thing to think about here.  You are pulled over and under go a massive violation of your civil rights.  Do you have the money, the time, the energy to accept the blight on your life it takes to pursue a protection of your rights?

 

Here are some Utah related search and seizure stories:

UHP nets second big pot bust in as many days

Search and Seizure: US Supreme Court to Decide Warrantless Search Case

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Jesse James TIBBETTS, Defendant-Appellee

I cite this last case because it is important to note the very flimsy pretext police officers will use to pull someone over, in this case it was because of a "gleaming" necklace, that flashed off the windshield.  The officer confirmed this when he pulled alongside of the vehicle, he then sought other causes to pull the driver over, despite that those other causes proved not to be a violation of law.

You get to read about this case because their were drugs in the vehicle, you DON'T get to read about all the people who get pulled over and harassed who have no drugs.

Just stop and think about it, are you going to spend a fortune to pursue a violation of your rights and civil liberties if no citation was filed?   Don't make the mistake of assuming that this is about a drug war, the other side of the story is that for the law abiding citizen when your rights are violated typically they stay that way.

Beware! Search and Seizure is the New Standard

Reported yesterday, two court cases affecting the loss of your rights to be protected from search and seizure.  If you are pulled over for any traffic violation, even an illegal violation, the police have the right to search you.  This stems from a Virginia case in which David Lee Moore was arrested on an illegal stop, searched, and crack cocaine was found.  The Virginia Supreme Court had ruled that the police could not conduct the search, but the US Supreme court over turned that decision.

"Where history provides no conclusive answer, this Court has analyzed a search or seizure in light of traditional reasonableness standards “by assessing, on the one hand, the degree to which it intrudes upon an individual’s privacy and, on the other, the degree to which it is needed for the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.” Wyoming v. Houghton, 526 U. S. 295, 300. Applying that methodology, this Court has held that when an officer has probable cause to believe a person committed even a minor crime, the arrest is constitutionally reasonable."  Justice Scalia

 

In another case coming from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, USA vs. Arnold  the court ruled that electronic devices, a laptop, could be searched like luggage by customs and border patrol. It is expected this will be extended to cell phones and other electronic devices such a digital cameras and ipods.  While this case is in regard to coming into the country, I wouldn't be surprised to see it extended to all air travel under the theory that potential terrorists could be carrying plans of terrorist activities on their laptops.

It will be interesting to see what the government will do when someone brings in a laptop with severe encryption.  To what degree will they try and crack it, and will the encryption alone be grounds enough to hold the laptop for a deeper investigation.

 

More on this later...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Speech Comes to Cell Phones

Why just this last weekend I was telling some friends that voice recognition would shortly be making its way to cell phones.  I've been anticipating it and a host of other improvements since the late 1990's.

 

"Applications that accept speech input and return Web results are the latest develop &#173; ment. New versions of TellMe and OneSearch (available at launch as downloadable apps for recent GPS-enabled BlackBerry devices) let you search by holding down the green Talk button and speaking keywords into the handset. Speech-to-text technology then turns the digitized audio into text fed to searches that use the handset's location information. "

Sadly this is just a small start, I don't believe cell phones currently have the storage/processing power to handle complicated voice recognition.  However if you saw my earlier post 'This is Big' you'll know that better and faster solid state storage is on the way.

 

Here's what to expect in the future.  You're cell phone will be your principal device for everything.  When you get in your car, the stereo will be a set of speakers and a place to put your phone.  Your home computer will be a keyboard and screen.  Ultimately any where you go your cell phone will be compatible to a host of different devices.  It will also contain all your credit cards, personal data, medical information, etc.  This will all be encrypted and biometrically protected should you lose your phone.

Perfect voice recognition and a universal comparability design among all devices is and should be the current holy grail for all cell phone manufactures, followed by personal preference based AI.

When you by a cell phone, you should be able to download an app, pay the fee, and now it's an XM radio.  When you say, "Play XM NPR." NPR should start right up.  When you say, "cell phone what's playing?"  The AI should respond with a search across all radio stations, web based audio sources, and provide you with anything you might like to hear based on your previous choices.

This is what I've been waiting for since I dreamt of it ten years ago, this is why the IPhone is only mildly impressive.

Expect this to be the general trend for cell phones over the next twenty years until we can put them in your heads.

PETA Offers Million Dollar Prize

PETA is offering the prize for the first person to produce viable test tube meat, that's meat that didn't come from an autonomous animal.

 

When I first read this I was surprised to see PETA finally getting it right.  The prize is a great way to solve a problem, especially one that requires a significant use of technology and invention.

 

The vision I foresee are genetically modified cows who's brain function is limited to autonomous functions, while they are still calf's they are then fitted with a cybernetic brain that has them eat, exercise, and which can be remotely controlled with a joystick as needed. 

 

It will be interesting to see how PETA would respond to the soul-less cow, as it is unlikely they will differ in appearance.  The cuddly factor will still exist in cyber animals.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Remember I said...

It was a good investment to look for the companies that sit to the side of the issue.  Here is a mining company, that produces an important agricultural product. 

Intrepid Potash (IPI), the largest U.S.-based company that mines an essential fertilizer ingredient called potash, braved a mean market for IPOs and saw its shares soar. The company's shares jumped $18.40, or 58%, to close at $50.40. The first-day gain came despite the initial price being 14% above the expected range.

 

And if I only had the money. :-(

Can You See Me Now

 

 

Bionic eye 'blindness cure hope'

A 'bionic eye' may hold the key to returning sight to people left blind by a hereditary disease, experts believe.

From the BBC regarding the US company Second Sight.

 

Geordi La Forge says, "Yeah it starts with a pair of glasses but it evolves into this F@$%ing banana clip."

 

Stephen Hawking Seeks a New World

The 66-year-old astrophysics suggests that just like Christopher Columbus sailed to a new world we need to, 'spread out into space.'

"People might well have argued it was a waste of money to send Columbus on a wild goose chase," he said.  With all do respect Mr. Hawking, Christopher Columbus found the new world by accident.  He had a major economic incentive to sail, he was looking for a new passage.

That aside, he is right in his estimates that we need to plan on a planetary hunt outside of our solar system in the next 200 to 500 years.

However, this will be much more foreseeable in just twenty-years time.  By then it will be clear to the world that our increased life span would let someone at a hundred years of age spend the second hundred years of life in space.

Voter Irregularities & Lunchbox Democrats

First I heard CNN report the League of Women voters (non-partisan) had reports of massive voting irregularities. The particular problem that stuck in my ear was that republicans who had converted to democrats where not properly showing as having been registered an so were denied the opportunity to vote in the Democratic primary. They were turned away. However MSNBC is reporting :

No major voting irregularities

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 12:50 PM by Mark Murray
Filed Under: ,

From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
According to Leslie Amoros, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania State Department, there have been no major voter irregularities in the state.

"It's just been minor, normal kinds of stuff," she said. "Nothing major, nothing widespread."

She said polling places do not report turnout numbers throughout the day, but that anecdotally she has learned it is high, aided by the nice weather.

There is no web version of CNN's report yet appearing on their web site. - 7:22 PM MST

This just in from Faye Anderson Ballet Trouble:

Across the state in Philadelphia, election officials and poll workers were unprepared for the high turnout. In the birthplace of our democracy, there were voting irregularities, including malfunctioning voting machines and incomplete voter registration rolls. The names of many of the voters who switched their party registration to Democrat were not on the rolls so they were given a provisional ballot, which may or may not be counted.

As for the Lunchbox Democrats

Apparently 'lunchbox' and 'blue collar' are the preferred terms used to describe a special kind of democrat. The kind of democrat that Hillary has won in PA.

"Clinton was winning support from two of three whites without college degrees, and about the same number of whites from families earning under $50,000 a year, according to preliminary figures from exit polls of voters conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks."

Apparently they cling to their guns, their religion, and their stupidity. Should we conclude that Hillary isn't really a teachers democrat.

Sure, sure, that's mean spirited but look at the numbers Obama continues to carry the most important segment of Democratic voters, young people who have never voted before. Young voters have historically been apathetic. Again and again he get's them out in record numbers. Democrats need to sit back and ask themselves do they ever want the country to swing democrat?

I don't consider myself a democrat, but I know that I would much rather have our country be as close to fifty fifty as possible. I want those candidates needing to constantly fight to sway the independent vote, and for that to happen the democratic party needs a candidate who can build it like no other.

It's Election Day in Pennsylvania

GO OBAMA!   I could go into a thing here about why him over Hillary.  Instead I'll just bring it about the one leadership quality he has over Hillary.  The ability to bring people together from all walks of life.  If you want something done,that is the best political skill you can have.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Our Inner Beauty

You know, I can't say this is true for all people.  I'm sure we could conduct a study, verify a percentage.  Yes, our diets and lifestyles are a contributing factors.  However, what percentage of American's would you say?  For how many people is their outer obesity a reflection of their perceived inner beauty?

Then again, the opposite does have some truth to it.  How many of the beautiful people think they are so good on the inside?

Not a Utah Thing, It's a Libertarian Thing

It's kind of a sad thing, because Libertarians have the right independent spirit, but too much of it to compromise and form a consensus.  I live in Utah, though I'm not from here, still I honestly believe this could have happened anywhere it's a libertarian thing not a Utah thing.  Utah has plenty of strange stuff without the libertarians mucking it up.  For the record I will never give these people my alien technology....tee he!

 

Candidate doesn't mind being labeled 'wacko'

Sailing into Freshwater

Wind Power and Desalinization plants.  If only Mexico will be willing to alter the view of their coast line California and Vegas can have all the fresh water they want and Mexico could have a powerful industry to provide real jobs for its people.

 

Someone get right on that ok?

We should all be O.P.

Last night, in a rare open moment, during a discussion with friends I was attempting to say something.  As often is the case in group discussions many things we start to say never get finished.

 

We are not meant to be happy, we are meant to be in a state of Optimum Performance.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Twitter to the Rescue

 

I've been loosely following the rise of twitter, but it's like network marketing.  If you don't have a big circle of friends you're not going to make any money.  Fortunately for one journalism student arrested in Egypt that wasn't a problem.

U.C. Berkeley Student Twitters his Way out of Jail

Saturday, April 19, 2008

RyanDan

 

I can't see having these two twin singers in my CD player, but they can really sing!  RyanDan Official Site.

Apparently they were part of a Canadian boy band.  I suppose you could think of them as a softer Justin Timberlake run through a copy machine.

  The music is good without a doubt, but it's the kind of thing you will hear so much of without ever making an effort, I just can't see putting it in my CD player. The less I hear of it the more it will be a pleasant surprise later.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Note to Investors

World food prices are up, the dollar is down, most commodity indexes are up, dramatically. I'm hearing about it, but I'm not an investor; not an insider.  That means now is not the time to to try and get in and guess when to pull out.

 

Now is the time to look at who (what companies and producers) can bend and shift to take advantage of the rising commodities.  Which metal producers can increase capacity?  What is the price point at which it becomes favorable for US farms to switch crops, which will? 

 

In short, now is not the time to try and ride the crisis to the top, but to plan to ride the short side down.  I think this is true for food prices.  They may rise, and if there is a natural disaster in the food market next year prices will be higher, but the oil rise is artificial and that is affecting food prices.  The worse the news gets, the more public the crisis appears to be the better to gauge the apex of the rise.  I expect that we will see this crisis through to the next year when then the new President has taken the country through the Christmas shopping season.

If I had money to invest I'd be looking for the causes that will bring prices down.  And I would be looking to invest in those companies that will be bringing them down.

 

Just a little prediction.

Compact Florescent Bulbs

I have these installed all over the house with only a couple of exceptions.  They are, places where I need instant light, like the bathroom.  I have a 50/50 mix in the kitchen.  And I have a 50/50 mix in the living room but they are in separate lamps so that most of the time I'm only using the florescent in the living room.  When I move into a new place I tend to wait until the old bulbs burn out before I replace them with florescent.  It's cost effective and I think most people should have the sense to use them.  There is a down side that I never hear anyone talking about.  Well here it is they contain mercury.

This comes from EarthEasy.com

Important Note: Handling and Disposal of CFLs

The mercury in compact fluorescent bulbs poses no threat while in the bulb, but if you break one:
- open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more
- use a wet rag to clean it up and put all of the pieces, and the rag, into a plastic bag
- place all materials in a second sealed plastic bag
- call your local recycling center to see if they accept this material, otherwise put it in your local trash. Wash your hands afterward.

Although household CFL bulbs may legally be disposed of with regular trash (in most US states), they are categorized as household hazardous waste. As long as the waste is sent to a modern municipal landfill, the hazard to the environment is limited. However, CFLs should not be sent to an incinerator, which would disperse the mercury into the atmosphere.

The best solution is to save spent CFLs for a community household hazardous waste collection, which would then send the bulbs to facilities capable of treating, recovering or recycling them. For more information on CFL disposal or recycling, you can contact your local municipality.

A Dream I Had

 

My son came to me and said, "Dad.  I want to be a journalist when I grow up."

"Really?"  He had never shown any interest in such things before, I was pleased and surprised.  "What brought this on?"

"I've been reading the newspaper and it doesn't seem like they are telling the whole story.  I want to be a journalist so I can report the truth.  The hard facts."

Oh. These are the painful moments between father and son. No one wants to burst the bubble of a child.  I didn't want to tell him as a reporter he was going to spend the rest of his life compromising the truth to appease competing interests.  News agencies don't investigate their advertisers, CNN doesn't go out of their way to pursue Ted Turner, Fox doesn't go after Rupert Murdoch,  and George Stephanopoulos isn't going to go after Hillary Clinton in a debate.  Where does the bad information about the candidates from from?  The other candidates.  Is it available to the reporters, sure, but they don't dig like the candidates special investigators that spend all day and night looking for that dirt.

How do you tell your son?  Even when you have the truth, when you are the first to the punch with the truth, people don't care about the truth, they care about perception.  Most people don't even have the capacity to see the truth because they see everything through an ego filter.

"Son, I love you.  If you want to bring people the truth there is only one way to do it.  I'm not very good at it, but if you start now and work hard at it, I believe you can do it.  There is only one way to give people the truth. Son, you need to study comedy, you need to be a comedian.  Learn to write well, (again I don't), and go work for Comedy Central, the Onion, or start your own web site.  But the only way you'll ever be able to slip a little truth in, is if you do it with a smile.  Distract them with a little laughter and then slip it in when their defenses are down."

 

What a weird dream....I need to stop falling asleep to Steven Colbert.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Note to Self

Never use the shirt you are wearing as an oven mit, at least not while your wearing it, not even to take a mug of hot tea from the microwave.  Yes, that is what a second degree slap belly looks like.

Too Funny

 

While checking out an article on the new show, Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? by Morgan Spurlock I had to laugh.

You may remember Morgan as the hick faced anti-McDonalds 'documentarian' of Super Size Me.

 

For me the funny was seeing the McDonalds banner ad flying over ahead.  Granted, when I reloaded the page the ad changed.  That's the down side of rotating banner ads, you never know when you might be promoting your "arch" enemy (pun very intended).

What Happened Today

By Christopher Wilde

My paying job is lightly technical.  Through the course of my day I hit between thirty and forty homes.  Today I was at an apartment complex and I heard a man screaming at a woman.  I waited a second to see if it would subside but instead it only became more pronounced.  This is the domestic abuse situation I'm always hearing about.  It's a situation that is easy to walk away from, and walking away is also a common psychological response.

   Years ago I was a talk radio host and it is something I use to speak about on the air.  It is a situation that was revisited in college when I was studying psychology.  More recently you might have seen such a situation profiled on an ABC television series called, "What would you Do," (scroll down to the heading, "When do you speak up?").

   My first thought was to call the police, I'm sure that is what they would like me to do.  If I knock on the door, there is no telling what could be behind it or how volatile the situation.  The door could open to a gun in my face.  Still, I ran to three apartments trying to identify which one the argument was coming from.  It's a tough decision to make, if I call the police I have to call 911 because I don't carry every local police number.  Ultimately they may not be able to do anything.  Domestic situations are tricky and unless there is more than screaming going on, that they can verify, the most they can do is issue a warning.  It just seemed to me I needed to better assess the situation before I made that call.

    Was it on the second floor?  No.  Was it coming from another building, a balcony, and wafting through?  I ran through the breezeway and out the other side.  No, the voice was father away.  Just a man playing with his child out here.  First floor door?  No, ok second again, no.  Ok.  Ok.  To the third floor.  Wow.  He's still screaming.  Man he is really laying into her.  It's the third floor, top apartment.

   I stood outside the door listening.  Nothing being thrown.  She doesn't say a word, and yet he's really screaming at her.

     "After what you did to me this morning...  I didn't need that.  Oh, that's right.  Because I'm a piece of shit.  That's right I'm just a piece of shit." He said to her.

    I listened.  She said nothing back, but he was responding to her.  She must be in the far back room.  "Why should I?" He kept saying.  It took a turn, he was attacking himself verbally.  "That's right, I'm a worthless piece of shit, I have no job, everybody does to me just what you do.  I have no one.  I'm just going to end it all."  He repeated that in various forms before I decided to knock on the door.

  The young man who answered the door was shirtless, his hair was  buzzed equally all around.  He wore shorts.  He was sweating.  He opened the door just enough for me to glimpse him.

"What?" He asked defensively.

"I want you to stop yelling.  Whatever it is it's not that bad."  He opened the door a little wider.

"Who are you?"

"I'm a guy passing by on the street who can hear you."

"Well, it's none of your business, you're not helping."

"I need you to calm down."

"What's it to you? It's none of your business.  I'll keep it down.  You should stay out of my business."

"Whether I'm in your business or not is something that is entirely in your control.  If I can hear you on the street.  That is entirely in your control."  He was progressively softening.  I was listening this time, intently.  Would the girl come to the door?  Was she angry?  Hurt?  Defiant?  I've had a few experiences with this in the past, it is not uncommon for the victim to protect an abuser.  He may not have hit her, it could just be yelling.  He was threatening to hurt himself, nothing specific, but I did hear him say, "end it."  Could have just been an empty threat, he's hurt, clearly she's hurt his feelings, he want's to hurt her back, or more likely he's trying to get her to come to his aid, give him attention.  She's not fleeing, she's not coming to the door.  He's taller than me and I have been told that even at 5'11" I'm intimidating, how must he be to her?

"I'm sorry," He says, "I'll keep it down."

"Ok, I don't want to have to come back."  I say, softly, but firmly in the same even tone I've used for the entire conversation.  He shuts the door and I walk away.  Down on the second floor I pass a young woman going into a back apartment.  I walk over to her and give her a heads up.  "I have to leave, but if you hear anything don't hesitate to call the police, Ok?"

"I doubt I'll hear anything," She says.  She doesn't want to get involved, even to call the police.

"You'll hear it." I tell her, hoping to give her the courage.  At this point even if I called the police they couldn't do much more than search the apartment.  Talk to the girl, check her condition.  I'm not leaving just yet.  I haven't done the work I came here to do.  I'm at my car.  Is he watching to see if I leave?  I get my tool belt, lock the car, and go around to the side of the building where I do my job.  Five minutes and I'm back to the car.  I open it and put my tool belt in; listening.  My, he's at it again.  He slowed down for only five minutes.  Crap.

  I don't want to call the cops, that's a hassle.  I can't verify the danger.  If I call the cops then I have to wait for them. Explain the whole situation in detail to the 911 operator, then explain it all over when the cops come.  I just went through that a few months ago for a totally different reason.

If I do all of that, the next time I come to this building am I going to find my tires slashed?  I see the same people over and over again.  I wait, listening.  You would think he would have looked out the window and saw me, that he would know I hadn't left.  A stranger coming to your door usually rattles most people.  He's so loud.   I wonder if that girl I stopped in the hall can hear them in her apartment.

I warned him, I could call the cops, but like I said its' a hassle.  I know the threat level now.  My risk seems low.  I just need to make sure the girl he's screaming at is ok.  I can make him leave, or escort her out, whatever I need to do.  I finish putting my tool belt in the car, lock the door, and start up the three flight of stairs.

I've lived in apartments, I've lived in houses.  There's a big difference in the sound.  When you are in a house you hear the cars on the street, you hear the guy mowing his lawn, you hear the kids playing in the neighbors yard, and their dog when they don't take them in on a cold night.  They are relatively simple sounds punctuated with the steady quite hum of suburbia and your own life.  Apartments are different.  You hear the people above you, below you, the constant opening and closing of car doors.  People having sex, fighting, crying.  You especially hear foot falls on the steps, the vibrations of the metal railings as people put their weight upon them.  I'm not sneaking, I'm making noise.  I'm taking advantage of all the normal sounds.  I'm coming.  Does he hear me?  Does he stop?  Nope.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!  The yelling stops.  He's still talking to her though.  He sounds more desperate.  He knows I'm at the door, but he's not rushing to the door.  He's really engaged.  I strain to listen.  He's more threatening this time, directing his pain inward.  He's saying things in an angry voice, gruff.  He's screaming at her but it's all about him.  He's hurt, she hurt him, every one's hurt him, he's worthless, he has no life.  What's really going on here?  I bang on the door again and finally he comes.  He swings the door open wide now.  He's not hiding from me anymore.

The apartment is sparse.  It didn't look as if a woman lived there.  There was a hole in the back bedroom door.  The place is tossed, like someone just moved out.

"What?" He says.  It's loud, but it's not really anger.  It's pure defense, frustration, a sense of loss.

"You said you were going to keep it down."  When he answers me, if it had not been so loud it would have been a whimper.

"I tried, I tried."  Am I just another person hurting him?

"I'm worried about you, I'm worried about the person you are screaming at.  Do you need to leave?"

"It's my place.  Who are you?"  He looks at my shirt.  It's a work shirt, dark blue, but my company name is an acronym, the full name of the company is below but in hard to read embroidered cursive.  He can't make sense of it and he looks back to my face perplexed.

"She's not here, she left, she already left." 

I didn't see anyone leave.  He's flushed, here are marks on his left arm, pretty intense, like someone grabbed him hard, dug their fingers in deep.

"She's not here?"  I use her name, the name he's been screaming over and over again.

"No, I said she left. Why do you care?"  He fires at me.

"I care.  Can I come in and check? I need to see she's not here."

"No?" He's incensed, "Why is it your business, who are you?"

"I'm someone who cares, I want to make sure you are not hurt, that no one's hurt."

"I'm the one who's hurt.  I'm the one who punched the door." 

That explains the hand.

"She's not here," He continues.

"If she's not here, who were you yelling at?  Where is she?"

"She's on the phone."  Instant relief.  I believe him, but still.  I don't want to walk away and see this apartment on the news.  I couldn't live with that, not again.

It was a long time ago, and I worked security.  Same situation, couple fighting, drunk and doing drugs.  I gave them a warning, second time I came back I separated them.   I left her in the room and took him for a walk, he was less angry.  He was able to give me more information about the situation.  While I was talking to him she came out on the balcony to yell at him.  He was on the street with me.  She was screaming and shaking, her long black hair flying with all the same rage that was in her voice.  Then she fell off the balcony.  Head first, right in front of my eyes.  There was a lot of blood on the pavement and asphalt, blood that pooled up and coagulated in the space between the concrete sidewalk and the parking area.  That was a long time ago, and I forgot.  I always forget that.  It is a good thing to forget, but that was then, and I'm standing here talking to this different guy and suddenly I remember.

"I'm the one who's hurt, she attacked me."  He says.

"She's really not here?"

"No, she's on the phone."  I'm relieved, but surprised  she hasn't hung up on him.  That she keeps him on the phone, there's a story there.  I file it away for later.

"Really?" I say this skeptically.  I want him to know I don't believe him, but I do, deep down I believe him.  I just need to be sure.

"Look, look?"  He stands back, opens his arm wide so my view can follow his fingertips around the room.  To my right is a bedroom, it's dark, then a living room with a kitchen off to my right, rooms in the back.

"Can I come in?"  He starts to say no, I cut him off. "Just to check, make sure."

"Yes. Come in."  I take the invitation.  First the room to the left, then straight to the back of the apartment.  He continues to talk.  Being inside, seeing that she's not there, makes me feel better, but ups my guard considerably.  I'm in his territory now.  I'm not just looking for her now.  I'm watching my back, I'm looking for weapons, drugs, anything that will key me in on his mental state.  I've been attacked before.  I'm wearing my glasses.  Every time someone takes a swing at me, I'm wearing my glasses.  Damn allergies.  They make my eyes itch, so I wear the glasses for the first few days until the Claritin kicks in, but he doesn't seem the type.  He's not really confrontational.  He want's the girl back, he's hurt, but doesn't know how to channel his emotions.  Early twenties?  Just a kid.

He's torn, he wants to get her on the phone again.  He's just waiting for me to leave.  At the same time, here is a stranger, giving him some attention.

"Who are you,"  He asks again.  "Why is it any of your business?"

"This girl, the one who left, who you are talking to on the phone?"  I use her name again.  He cares about her, it helps to use her name.

"If where she is now someone was screaming at her like you are, wouldn't you want me, a stranger to look in and make sure she's ok?"

"No."  He lies.  It's a bad lie, it's an eight year old kid telling his mom, yeah I would jump off the bridge if all my friends do.

"No?"  I say?

"No."  He sticks to the lie, but his heart is not in it.  Now I talk to him.  I'm not worried for her anymore.  I'm worried for him.  I've been there I tell him.  And I give him enough information to let him know that I know how women can make you crazy. 

"You don't need her.  She makes you crazy, and maybe you contribute to that.  That's toxic.  You need your friends and family as much as you have them, you need yourself, but you don't need her."  He may not have friends and family.  There's a real possibility he's alone.  His possessions are so meager, he doesn't seem to have much beside this apartment and that girl.  He needs help, more than I can give him.

He's listening though, and that is a plus.

"You seem like a smart guy, a lot of potential."  He softens even more.  I'm betting he doesn't hear that a lot.  I get that, people take for granted the benefit they got from their parents.  Every time someone who loves you helps you live up to your potential.  Every time a parent sits down and does homework with you, that's worth more than toys and a hot lunch together.  In most cases they go hand and hand, parents that don't have to worry about giving their kids food and toys  are more likely to spend the time doing homework.

We talk a little more.  When I leave, he might get back on the phone.  All I can hope to do is let him know that someone cares.  When you live in inexpensive apartments you see this from time to time.  Sometimes it's enough to let someone know that a stranger will intervene.  There isn't much more I can do.

He shakes my hand.

"Thanks for caring," he says sincerely.

"Trust me, I've been there.  Be patient, take it easy.  Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and it will be there."  I say that, I'm hoping it will work for him, it's not the kind of thing that I believe for myself, but that's a different story.  Most people, they respond to a kind word.  Especially when it's out of the blue like this.  I can hope.

Leaving, I worried.  He really could use someone to talk to; a professional.  It's when you feel like this, that an intervention from a therapist could have the most benefit.  It's hard to maintain your standard defenses when you are down.  Once a week with a good therapist for two years and who knows what that kid could do.

He has no job, at least that's what he said to her on the phone.  Most likely he has no insurance, with no job he won't be in that apartment long.  How much could I do?  Oh, I suppose I could get on line, dig out the usual list of overburdened social services.  They could just as easily be an insult, not to mention that once he tries to use them the paperwork alone will be enough to drive him to suicide.  It wouldn't be much better if he had insurance.  Most insurance barely covers therapy.

I'll keep an eye out for him the next time I'm over there.  Chances are in a few weeks he'll move on.

Dude, that Pot is Heavy!

German dealers added lead to marijuana.  There is no honor among German drug dealers.

Death: The Father of Chaos

Edward Lorenz; Pioneer in Creation of Chaos Theory

 

I could not stress enough how important his work was to my understanding of philosophy, God, and the future of mankind.

 

Without getting too deep into it, Chaos theory explains philosophical questions of Identity and verifies that God cannot know the future with certainty (and wouldn't want to know). 

Choking on the Apple

My biggest issue with Apple is that they are too expensive.  The price tag goes up when you compare the prices of Mac software with software for windows.  Rather than making an effort to bring the price down Apple uses the exclusivity of their product as part of their business model.  Apple has long held that it is the better product.  Most rational people see it as a product, at it's core the uniqueness of Apple is just bells and whistles, nothing that couldn't be duplicated by a Windows machine.  In fact when Apple does something really well, the idea is quickly copied.

The promise of the computer age is that the cost has continually come down making it so that even in third world countries children can have the benefit of a $200 laptop.  The Internet has been a greater equalizer than the Colt ever was.

 

While Apple has a tremendous influence and impact, they are not about changing the world.  They are not about empowering the under privileged, they are about creating a cool factor so that people who have an apple can walk around feeling they are better people than those who don't.

 

There has been a lot of news about MAC clones, and while it doesn't look like this is really going to pan out.  I wish it would.

Cameraman (23) killed in Gaza

Fadel Shana, a 23-year-old cameraman with the Reuters news agency, was among 20 Palestinians killed in fighting Wednesday. Shana was struck, along with two bystanders, as he filmed IDF tank movements off in the distance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

LIVE BLOG - The Debate

April 16, 2008

7:43 MST  Obama just defends himself for knowing someone, who has done something, no one agrees with.

Hillary responds by trying to drive the stake in deeper. 

7:45 MST Obama comes back force feeds Hilary her own crap.  She smiles and takes it!  Why is it when Hilary smiles she looks like she's seething?

 

The issue before the break had to do with a former Pentagon bomber from forty-years ago who is now an English professor and whom Obama served on a board with.  Apparently Hillary believes that the best way to reach out to people is to separate yourself from them, Obama, to communicate with them. A group called the Weather Underground

 

Let's see Hillary and Bill make a $100 million, Obama makes 4 million.  Does that make her  96 million dollars more an elitist?

 

Seriously, let's face it, the only way Hillary Clinton can win this election is by tearing down Obama if she doesn't drop out after Pennsylvania she's only going to get worse.

7:53 MST Wow, Hilary will pull out the troops even if it will reverse the gains.  That kind of inflexibility concerns me and one of the things I like most about Obama is that he tempers his withdraw plans with what I consider to be rational thinking.  I don't believe we should just pull out of Iraq.  I don't want to see average citizens to suffer twice as much as they do now if we leave behind a power vacuum.

I think the hedge her for both Candidates is that they could pull back by pulling into Afghanistan and still be close at hand.

7:57 MST Hmm, Obama is taking the same tact.  Pull out. Will he temper?  Yes he does, "I will always listen to our commanders.."

He said that regarding tactics.

7:59 Tough Question!  Do we extend our protection blanket over Israel if Iran attacks?  And Obama says, yes with out saying yes.  Tricky territory. 

 

You know with all the things going on in the Middle East, and China growing so strong in power how long before we have to include China in all of our middle east meddling?  Note to self, read up on China's middle east policy.

8:04 MST Now the issue is the economy and raising taxes.

Hillary will you make a read my lips please for people making less than $200,00 a year.  Yeah cause we need them.  And Hilary says, yes, no new taxes, and cuts to boot.  Absolute commitment no middle class tax increase.

Obama:  I was the first to say I would cut them to the middle class.

Yes, yes, yes.  We need them.

 

8:13 MST Crap got distracted thinking about China.  Ok Let me get back on the debate.  Let's see Hilary talking now....bla bla bla.

 

Hilary said we have to look at what we are going to invest in.  She's right. 

And I say:

Here is what we need to invest in, Education, Healthcare, and business loans.  Make people smarter, help them to stay healthy, give them help to start businesses.

 

I'm sorry Hilary, since you count Bill's time in office as experience under your belt, then you've already had the benefit of the office.

 

8:28 MST  Discussion has now turned to Gun control.  Let me preempt the candidates here any make a very serious point about my right to bear arms.  I want two things, a) the ability to defend myself from an attacker, home invader, campus shooter.  b) I want the ability to defend myself against my government.

Now, for those of you who have tried to make the argument that citizens really have no chance against the US Army please tell me why we aren't getting ahead in Iraq?   The truth is that yes, a pistol, a shot gun, a long range rifle can be useful in a citizen rebellion.  Because if that were the scenario, the first order of business would be to take the small weapons and use those weapons to upgrade.

8:37 MST  Hilary believes gas prices are part of market manipulation like Enron.  I don't think so... but it's a nice line.

8:42 MST Commercial break.  Well this was spur of the moment,  so it wasn't all that special (the blogging)  and if you can't tell I really don't like Hillary.  And yes, if my choice is Hillary or John.  Guess what I'll vote John.  Why would I do that, because I like so many others voted democrat for the first time in my life because of Obama.  Obama is what he is today because people like myself heard and liked his message.  Hillary has no chance of keeping my vote NONE!

8:47 MST  FINAL QUESTION is about Super Delegates.

 

Hilary:  Claims she is a fighter who is going to take on special interests  (which interests those that funded her campaign, those that pay her husband gobs of money to hear him speak, those that have her tied to China).

Please Obama, nail her.  Because let's remember Obama has raised all of those millions by small donors Americans like me and you!

 

Obama:  bla bla bla, started this campaign   He bets on the American people- he should they gave him the money.  Change happens from the bottom up.....ok here it comes he's revving up.  That's right,  people who never voted before are voting this year because of Obama, many of them fresh in college.

 

I don't like Bruce Springsteen, but we both like Obama.

 

Now since we spent the night on Democrats let me say this about McCain.  If there is any form of mistreatment he has received in this campaign it has been the constant age discrimination.  He's not too old, Bob Dole is not too old, and many other who will come after are not too old.  We are living longer better lives.  We need to get use to having the benefit, wisdom, and experience of older folks.  That doesn't mean he shouldn't hold their political feet to the fire, but let's drop the age issue.  One day we will be there too, and we might still have the fight and drive to do something really great. 

Dear Pennsylvania

Currently Hilary Clinton is running adds critical of Obama for his use of the word bitter and for saying people cling to religion when they are down.  Well, I was always taught when you are down, that is when you cling to religion, that is when it's just God's footsteps in the sand.

That Hillary Clinton is so desperate she needs to constantly attack her opponent in order to prop up herself is a reflection of her lack of character. 

 

Please, please reject her.  When I was thinking about this today I really wanted to say a few eloquent things, but find myself distracted watching the debate.  My good fortune is that Mary Mitchell did it for me.

 

Mary Mitchell makes some incredible points.  Take a look.

Remembering Virginia Tech

It was one year ago today that 32 people lost their lives at Virginia Tech.

 

It was today that at least 22 people including five children and a cameraman died in Gaza.

 

Chances are that tomorrow no one will die at Virginia tech, the same can not be said for Gaza.

It's worth following the second link to the BBC and seeing the video.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Prevent Divorce-Don't MARRY

Conservative Study Estimates Cost of Divorce

Apr 15, 2008 by Jeff Robinson

Claims "Marriage Breakdown" Costs Utahns $276 Million a Year

(KCPW News) A national study by four conservative groups estimates that divorce and unmarried parenting cost the nation at least $112 billion each year in social aid given to single-parent households. Today, conservative Utah think-tank The Sutherland Institute used the study as a launching point for its new Center for Family and Society. Director Bill Duncan says Utah practically subsidizes divorce.

Duncan says the center would support legislation to increase the waiting period for divorces beyond 90 days and get rid of the no-fault divorce policy.

 

DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB

The answer is to completely re-write the rules of Marriage.  Marriage is a corporation, therefore the couple should get together and file articles of incorporation with an addendum pre-stipulating the terms of a divorce, specifically custody.  They should have to re-file every couple of years!

Wal-Qaeda, Walocaust Are Not Trademark Infringements

This comes from Mark Litwak's Legal Insights for Entertainment Newsletter.  A very good newsletter for anyone that likes to keep up on the legals of the entertainment industry.  Online at marklitmak.com

Charles Smith created certain expressions such as "Wal-Qaeda" and "Walocaust" (sometimes including a smiley face) which appeared on his websites and products he sold on cafepress.com.  Wal-Mart felt that Smith was infringing on its trademarks; however, Smith disagreed and filed suit seeking a judgment that his use of the catchphrases was lawful. 

 

In Smith v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a federal judge ruled that these expressions did not infringe on or tarnish trademarks held by Wal-Mart.  The expressions were successful parodies, and were not confusing to customers.  Smith disclaimed affiliation with Wal-Mart in an attempt to avoid customer confusion, and furthermore, Wal-Mart did not own a trademark for the smiley face.  The court found that no fair-minded jury could find a reasonable consumer would likely be confused by Smith's marks. 

 

Further, Smith did not dilute Wal-Mart's marks through tarnishment.  A trademark must be used in an unsavory context so as to create negative public opinion to dilute through tarnishment.  However, dilution claims only apply to commercial speech and Smith's parodies were noncommercial and thus protected by the First Amendment.  Therefore, Smith was granted summary judgment. 

 

See Smith v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 06-526, 2008 WL 760196 (N.D. Ga., Atlanta Div. Mar. 20, 2008).