Friday, December 16, 2005

Thank you, Morgan Freeman

Thank you, Morgan Freeman!

"I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."


Freeman notes there is no "white history month," and says the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it."

I have been thinking and saying the same for quite some time. I believe that the racism that still exists in America is such a pale version of that which existed in decades past. I am not saying that racism is gone but take a good look around. Race relations in this country is SO good that it is not even of note any longer to see inter-racial couples. The level is SO not where it was and the cause of race relations is not helped in any way by the professional race-baters using any current event to trumpet the race horn. I believe that the country is at the point where we could just let it go. As Freeman says, it is not black history or white history or yellow history, it is American history. I am just glad someone of Feeman's prominence said it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Reporting from Iraq

If I am truly unbiased, then I need to get used to this one simple fact; that the untold story, might in fact, be a positive one.

All I can say about this is "do you think?". Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Frog water

I was watching the nightly news last night and one of the stories was about Iraq. In this piece, the reporter was out in a village that was fairly isolated. It did not look like the village had electricity or sanitation or running water. In fact, the point of this story seemed to be about the water well that was on one of the villager’s property. The owner of the well was sharing his water with the rest of the village and everyone seemed OK with that.

The reporter then went on about how the villagers had to ‘share’ their well with some frogs. To drive the point home, the camera-man showed the well and it had two frogs in it. The well looked to be about 6 feet deep with about a foot of water in it. If the darn frogs bothered the villagers so much, it looked like it would be fairly easy for them to fish the frogs out and get rid of them. They were just frogs. These are people that are so grateful to have ANY water at all.

So many things are so relative and it seems that the news can not help but try to show anything in the worst possible light. Instead of a story of how a remote village was sharing their limited resources and everyone was getting along and surviving, it was a story about how the poor, poor villagers had to drink ‘frog’ water. Grow up already. To put this in a little perspective, have you not ever taken a drink from a stream? Also, there people in are places in Africa (and I am sure in Iraq as well) that would give their right arm to have a supply of water, frogs included.

Just say no to the movies...

My main comment on this passage;

Hollywood honchos continue to wring their hands over why you've stopped going to the movies. They blame ticket prices and DVD availability. They had better start considering the fact that filmmakers are so disconnected, so nihilistic, that the hopelessness and hostility they feel toward the world now permeates their work. Americans will no longer go see movies which are nothing more than the manifestation of the backwash of malignant narcissists. We're also sick and tired of listening to actors lecture us about how awful the US is, and
more recently, why a cold-blooded mass murdering gang founder should have been
given clemency. Enough is enough.

is right on!

Also, I don’t mind being surprised by a movie. To a degree, that is what I am paying for. To be whisked away from the every-day and told a story. Movies like “The Village”, “6th Sense”, SAW, and “Flight Plan” were able to do that.

What I DON”T like or want is to be fooled and it seems that Hollywood is more and more getting into the ‘fooling’ game instead of the ‘surprising’ game. The earliest example of this type of movie that I can easily remember was “The Crying Game”. A more recent example is “Million Dollar Baby”. Both of these movies were sold as something other than what they were. They were meant to shock “vanilla middle America” and to “open our eyes”. I don’t go to the movies to learn Hollywood’s lessons.

Lately it just feels like a lot of what Hollywood does, it does “because it can” or because “the director wants to make a statement” or wants to make the story “their own” or to show ‘America” how wrong/bad/evil/stupid/dupes we are. Get over it. If you want to make movies for yourself, more power to you. Have at it and have fun but that does not give you the right or the moral high-ground to get into a snit when no one wants to see your “great vision”.

For example, compare “The Big Red One” with “Jar Head”. Both are war movies but “The Big Red One” was a war story told from a solder’s perspective about the war. It covered the suffering and hardships of war but was entertaining and satisfying. “Jar Head” is about Hollywood’s expectations of modern solders. One was compelling and entertaining and the other was a waste of film.

Oh, and my wife and I completely enjoyed “The Incredibles”.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All done with Boston Legal

Last night was probably my last episode of Boston Legal. I was out of town last week so my wife recorded it for me and I finally got a chance to see it last night. I saw the trend coming but I was hoping that the writers could restrain themselves. I guess it was just too much to ask. In this episode the story line had two of the junior lawyers impersonate FBI agents with the help of an FBI agent. He gave the lawyers badges and a fake search warrant. The show was not done there; they then had one of the lawyers ‘accidentally’ chop off three fingers from a priest’ hand, had the priest break the confessional seal and be a crook. On top of that they have turned the only conservative character into a walking joke.

James Spader’s character, Alan Shore, used to be interesting, now he is just a liberal stereotype. William Shatner as Denny Crane was accosted by a homeless man and he shot the homeless man with a paintball gun. The homeless man tried to sue, was bullied by Shatner and so Spader decided to defend him. As part of his speech on that, he actually said that America let poor people die during the Katrina hurricane because they were poor. I can understand this sort of talk from the professional race baiters but I expected more from TV (shame on me).

Well I am done with BL...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Regardless of how you feel about Christmas...

Regardless of how you feel about the Christmas holiday there is just NO justification for this. He may or may not be doing this as a joke but it is still over the line. As the article says, the kids in the neighborhood can see this. Part of being an adult is showing a little restraint. Just because you can do something does not mean you should.

And where is the media on stories like this?

Saddam Hussein loyalists who violently opposed January elections have made an about-face as Thursday's polls near, urging fellow Sunni Arabs to vote and warning al Qaeda militants not to attack.

In a move unthinkable in the bloody run-up to the last election, guerrillas in the western insurgent heartland of Anbar province say they are even prepared to protect voting stations from fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Graffiti calling for holy war is now hard to find. . . .

But Saddam loyalists have turned against Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant whose fighters travel to Iraq from across the Arab world to blow themselves up in a bid to spark sectarian civil war.

"Zarqawi is an American, Israeli and Iranian agent who is trying to keep our country unstable so that the Sunnis will keep facing occupation," said a Baathist insurgent leader who would give his name only as Abu Abdullah.

Yes there are bad things happening over there but there are good things happening over there too. The voices in the MSM shout about how they are the protectors of truth well this is truth too. The nightly news is 'oh so quick' to give the latest casualty figures for road-side bombs (yes that is news and needs to be reported) but what about how many schools have opened or hospitals? How about a little word on the new freedoms being experienced by your average Iraq in the street? It seems that all of the major news outlets are using the same 'news worthy' filter and it seems to be tuned for bad news only. Half the truth is not the truth. It is called a sin of omission.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005


I do a bit more air travel than I used to and I really appreciate the WiFi setup at the Orlando Airport. The entire airport appears to be covered and no matter what terminal I am it, it works just fine. It is surprising how quickly that you not only get used to such technology but start to take it for granted. It definitely makes it more bearable to spend time in the airport between flights when you have Internet access and it does not hurt when it is free access to boot.

The Atlanta airport has WiFi too but it is not freely available. Would like them to 'fix' that.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Police chases

Does anyone know exactly when it became the fault of the police when anyone is hurt as the result of the police attempting to apprehend a fleeing suspect? So many police departments seem to be issuing restrictive policies on when police can pursue fleeing suspects. Many are along the lines of “if the suspect is wanted for minor traffic violations (or similar) and while fleeing exceed X miles per hour, brake off the chase”. I don’t get any of the supposed reasons for this. I don’t think that there is ANY reason that the police should willingly stop chasing a fleeing suspect. My reasons are:

  1. The suspect is fleeing from the police. This by definition makes them guilty of failure to obey a police officer. No one knows what else they may be wanted for. America’s most wanted could have just gotten away because this time they just had a broken tail light.
  2. Why are they fleeing? We don’t know. That is the point. They could be just afraid of another traffic ticket or there could be a 13 year old girl in the trunk. The fact that they ran should raise a red flag and demand that they police catch them.
  3. Anyone and everyone that is hurt during a chase and subsequent apprehension is the fault and responsibility of the suspect. The police would not have had to chase them if they had stopped. No one else would have been hurt had they stopped.

I believe that these sorts of pursuit policies just encourage suspects to flee from the police. The mindset being “if I just go fast enough, quickly enough, the police will stop chasing me and I will get away”. I just don’t see the sense in that. The police want to catch ‘bad guys’ and make the streets safer. Restrictive pursuit policies do not help.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Misdirected angst

I just watched a report on the network nightly news concerning the marketing and selling of mature video games to minors. At least half of the surveyed minors said that they were able to purchase adult rated games. I agree that this is not good. The news reporter then interviewed a representative from the video game industry to discuss whether the game rating system works. Isn't that a little misdirected? Why not talk to the stores that sold the games? Getting upset at the game industry about minors purchasing adult rated games is like getting upset with Philip Morris because a convenience store sold a minor a pack of cigarettes.

Tribes and Other Whittle Writtings

If you have never had the pleasure of reading William Whittle then you are missing out on some of the most honest, thought provoking and inspired essays available on the web. A prime example is his Tribes essay. He rates as a must read in my book. My only complaint is that he doesn’t post often enough.

Google's gmail service

I recently signed up for one of those gmail accounts from Google. Can’t say yet how I feel about their twist on the mail ‘bag’. Their system does not seem to support folders or other traditional visual categorizing method for messages. They do allow you to give a message a ‘label’ which you can filter on to view groups of messages. It also appears that they track and condense message threads (where you send a message, some one responds, you respond again and so on) into a single message cutting down on the total number of mail messages to display/manage but I have not used it enough yet to decide if I like it or not.

You can sign up for a gmail account here (this is not a promotion of the service, just including it for completeness).

Monday, November 28, 2005

Portable storage on the go

My new job has made me a frequent traveler and I like having backups of my data when I do travel. I was using (and still have) one of those USB memory sticks. It is OK and it holds a Gig which is nice but it was starting to get full so I started looking for another, at a fair price. What I found instead is one of these.

I actually have their 6 gig version and I have to say I like it a lot. It is small and contains a 6 gig hard drive, is totally powered off of the USB port, holds plenty, was not too expensive compared to the memory sticks I looked at, comes with a nice case and (I think) best of all, the actual USB plug-in swivels 180 degrees so you can twist the body to fit into those cramped USB ports. I use it with my laptop to store important files and presentations while on the road and as a general data backup device.

I could have gotten a 40 gig unit for just a few dollars more but all of the units of that size needed external power and I just did not want to go there.

About me...

I am a middle aged, white male. It sounds funny to say middle aged because I don't feel that way in-side. I probably look that way on the outside, like a weather-worn house but you don't see that from the in-side and it is easy to not see it when you look in the mirror. Your mind's eye is a powerful thing and it continues to show you a younger you long after the fact.

I am married to a wonderful woman that I didn't deserve then and still mostly don't deserve now. We have been together for over 20 years, married for 10. We have no kids. We do have two dogs.

I work in the software industry by day and putter with various other activities at night. My wife spends most of her time taking care of me (believe me it is a full time job and I would not want it for anything).

I recently (earlier this year) started a new job after 13 years with my prior company. I have also just started going to collage (online) after more than 20 years out of school. I was able to locate an online program that allows me the flexibility to get the course work done when I can without the scheduling nightmare of trying to get to a brick-n-mortar building X times a week.

My life is good, happy and full. I like who I am, where I am, what I am doing and who I am doing it with.

Everyone should be so lucky.

First Post

This is my first post to this blog. I plan to use this soapbox to spout, shout, talk, mutter, muse, and of course rant. Read, comment, enjoy.