Sunday, December 17, 2006


well since I'm in a promotional mood, check out support the cause... here's a guy who works just enough to keep surfing. a friend of mine bought her surfbeanie at the Brea Farmers Market a while back and she told me about it. she thought he was living in Costa Rica, but from a quick glance at his blog it seems he is back in town. check it out and maybe do some xmas shopping... the beanie looked good on my friend :)

robot dog & regular dog

I just loves these cartoons... they're freakin' sweet!

Robot Dog & Regular Dog: Boom Boom Beach
Robot Dog & Regular Dog: Go Fly a Kite

I wish the creator Jim Mehsling would make more of them. OK, that's my plug, go check em out!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the Russian 'Tobacco Rebellion'

I heard first heard of this incident a couple weeks ago and did a little research. not a whole lot on the Internet about it; this story is from '96...

"In the summer of 1990, the Soviet Union's terminal economic crisis descended upon the product that many Russians considered their most irreplaceable: cigarettes. Faced with mass shortages of Soviet-made brands, angry smokers in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and other Soviet cities staged the protests that became known as the tobacco rebellion. A desperate President Mikhail Gorbachev fired the minister in charge of the industry and pleaded with the West for help.

To the rescue rode Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds..."

read the rest of this article at

something about this "strikes" me as an interesting seed for a story (fiction?)
imagine living in a place that is bearable only because tobacco and vodka are readily available.

Monday, November 27, 2006

perfect male scents...

cologne ratings season

now that gift buying time is here, check out these womens opinions about what they love on a man:

Perfect? I love Romeo Gigli Cologne by Romeo Gigli... and Fahrenheit by Christian Dior but whether they are perfect for men...

Fiona allessandro dell'aqua for man 4/4/2004 6:09 AM
is my best for now. it's very organised and i feel it's like bracing air. i like moderate ones for men.

Frederique what about... 4/5/2004 12:50 AM
Aqua di Parma?

Taner 4/6/2004 2:47 PM
Well I just put on some Venezia -Uomo while reading forum, I liked it very much for the first few seconds so why not.
I would say Very Sexy from Victoria Secret is also very tempting, not same kind of alchemy though.

Lobna 4/7/2004 7:41 PM
D&G has one that smells... intoxicating.. i love it- but i dont know what its called -one of my guy friends had it on

Frederique D&G... 4/8/2004 1:21 AM
Does it come in a silver top bottle, with a light greenish colour perfume?

Does it smell fresh, lemony and musky at the same time?
It could be D&G Masculin.

Indeed it is lovely.

Do you also know Déclaration by Cartier?
I'm sure you'd like it.

Carla 4/11/2004 7:33 PM
Definetly Chaleur D'Animale for men,it's devine!The best male scent ever!

Lobna 4/12/2004 7:31 PM
that sounds like it, i mainly remember that it was strong- reminded me of aramis

Anna 5/19/2004 3:06 PM
I really like Angel for Men. My husband uses that exclusively ever since it came out.

5/24/2004 1:12 AM
i still have to turn my head and follow the scent with my nose when i recognize it in any man in the street,Kouros, my unique, great and lost love's perfume (although he used it in excessive amounts and gave me headaches :OP)
here are my favs: 6/12/2004 9:01 PM
1) Kenzo pour homme (to DIE for)
NOTES: Marine, Cloves, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Vetiver

2) Dior - Fahrenheit
NOTES: Hawthorn, Sandalwood

3) Dolce & Gabbana - pour homme
NOTES: Orange, Lemon, Bergamot, Lavender, Sage, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Cedar.

J. 6/23/2004 11:21 AM
Angel for men & Xerius Rouge Givenchy

Celso Issey Miyake 6/23/2004 4:27 PM
The best male scent is definetly L'eau D'issey by Issey Miyake, it's like THE parfume!!

Raquel 6/23/2004 8:59 PM
My favorite one is Boss in Motion- Hugo Boss...... it´s outstanding.
I also really like Ferrari Black and 212

Katrin 6/25/2004 4:07 AM
Laura Biagotti "Roma"...uhh it makes me crazy:)

Cha L´Eau d´Issey 6/28/2004 4:36 AM
That´s my favorite.

Juan 6/28/2004 11:24 PM
"Envy" by Gucci!

Cha Found out.... 7/2/2004 12:53 AM
that the "brand new" Polo Blue is really gooooooooooooooooooood!

Marta GREAT ONES 7/2/2004 9:26 PM
i love Mont Blanc (but just a few men wear it) and also a MOSCHINO, just don't know exactly which one...

L'eau d'Issey - Issey Miyake 7/8/2004 3:43 PM
simply wonderful!...
Le Male! 7/9/2004 7:21 AM
I idolatre "Le Male", from Jean-Paul Gaultier... I just LOVE that one... geeeeez, it seems to me that i feel that fragrance in the air...

Leonardo 7/10/2004 6:08 PM
Definitly the best parfum is Escada

Roberta 7/12/2004 7:43 AM
I simply love Carolina Herrera 212 for Men and Hugo Boss Elements. Polo Blue is also amazing! They are very sexy fragances...

Heloisa It depends..... 8/12/2004 3:15 PM
Herrera for men -by Carolina Herrera

DKNY for men - Donna Karan

Armani pour Homme - Giorgio Armani

Fendi- Uommo

CK - Calvin Klein
it depends who is wearing it!

Samara 8/12/2004 5:03 PM
oh I just LOVE Hugo Boss #1 and Angel for men

Berit simply the best.. 8/17/2004 5:08 AM
...perfume for men is carolina herrera 212, mmmmm all time favourite:P

Paula One of the best! 8/17/2004 11:10 AM
In my opinion, one of the best male scents is XS, by Pacco Rabane!

Cavanhaque HUMNN... 8/17/2004 11:16 AM
Aqua di Giò pour homme and Kenzo!!

Onaiza 8/21/2004 10:13 AM
Issey Miyake !!!!!!!! and ice berg isnt bad too !
perfect for the ones who seek for perfection!;)

Le Male is Incontestable !!! 10/20/2004 10:54 AM
Le Male by Gaultier is the best male scent in the "world of parfums" !!!

Will 12/16/2004 9:56 PM
MY TOP 4 cologne picks as of now ******
#1 . Aqua di Parma/BLU/Mandorlo di Sicilia

#2. Himalaya ( House of CREED )

#3. Comme des Garcon INCENSE series #3
"Avignon" it smells just like
a catholic church after they burn the Frankencense !!!! Totally UNIQUE !!!!!

#4. L'Occitane Vetiver !!!! YUM.
earthy but classy .

Gustavo 12/17/2004 9:04 AM
i dont know.. i really like my fahrenheit...

but.. this thing is not very exactly as we want it to be... each perfume has an unique smell for each person... not even talkin about personal taste...

dont you think?

Usama 212 rocks 12/18/2004 3:06 PM
212's the best ................
coz its soo strong so gd so awesome..........i mean u just have to smell it to fall in love wit it
TRY it seriously

Carla 12/19/2004 7:01 AM
Escada Magnetism, Jill Sander, Chemistry by Clinique and Marc Jacobs for men.
platinum egoiste and d&g 12/22/2004 3:33 PM
chanel egoiste platinum! i can't tell if it's better than chanel egoiste non plat (which is harder to find, and more of an older man smell). platinum works well on guys who don't naturally have much smell of their own. (or in my experience- tall, skinny guys). it is SO YUMMY.

oh and d&g masculin is very good too. but i always associate it with this one guy i'm not attracted to- i think this works best on those that are a bit on the trashy side (with pretensions of elegance).
1/27/2005 5:01 AM
platinum egoiste by chanel and 1881 by cerutti!

Monica Safari, by Ralph Lauren 1/28/2005 2:52 AM
For me, Safari´s scent is unbeatable.If only all men could smell like this one! Pity I cannot have it always around - my husband is allergic to perfumes...

Le Male and Joop! (the red one) are second best. But not for men - I wear them!
I like... 1/28/2005 11:56 AM
Dolce & Gabanna pour homme
Mont Blanc Individuel pour homme
Herrera for men by Carolina Herrera
what do you think about l'instant pour homme? 2/15/2005 2:12 AM
i was just wondering about whether some of you or your partners are using the new guerlain l'instant pour homme... i thought it was surprisingly very sweet...

Jazzmin I just love it... 2/16/2005 7:28 PM
the best male scent is and always will be aqua di gio..... =)

Stephanie 2/19/2005 10:02 PM
I Think D&G
and 212

Suzanne 2/20/2005 11:59 PM
another vote for acqua di parma

i wear the classic one myself...

HELENA-REET For Men 3/22/2005 1:07 PM
I like Chanel "Platinum Egoiste"!

Patricia 3/23/2005 1:26 PM
Lolita Lempicka for Men, top

Ulli 3/26/2005 2:23 AM
For men..there's nth better than Higher Dior and Aqua Di Gio.I really love them!

Arsalan 3/26/2005 5:02 AM
Aqua Di Gio and hugo boss i like them

Sarah 6/8/2005 7:17 AM
HhhMmmm.... I really like

1. curve (liz calirborne)
2. very sexy (victorias secret)
3. armani (armani)

seriously, any guy who uses these perfumes, automatically looks!

Usman hummm 6/14/2005 11:40 PM
1 . Aqua di Parma
2. safarai...

Wen KenzoAir 6/19/2005 10:47 PM
i am wearing it myself, i love it!

Shama 6/21/2005 4:43 AM
and and and
Blue Jeans

Zuraida 6/21/2005 5:15 AM
HUGO red for men and another all time fav is cool water by davidoff

Carlinha 6/23/2005 9:21 AM
Hugo Boss and 212 Men...
issey miyake! 6/25/2005 7:50 AM
i think itz da best

so what did my wife get me for Christmas last year? Perry Ellis 360 Red. it's described as "the refreshing essence of Italian Bergamot, Lime Zest, Sunburst Mandarin, and Ruby Orange, pulse with a warm radiance of Nutmeg, Red Cinnamon and Clove Bud. An aromatic masculinity of Parsley, Coriander Seeds and Lavender entice the senses to experience the background of Sandalwood Mysore, Red Cedarwood, Vetiver Root, Indonesian Patchouli, Oakmoss and Clean Musk."
so that is my smell, if you were wondering :)

file under:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

cute pussy...

she just adopted us and is very friendly and playful. her name is Miss Cookie.
actually the purpose of post is to announce that I'm uploading to flickr again. and to maybe generate more web traffic :) anyway, click on the photo to see more of my better pics...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

somethings for the reading...

I've been reading a lot and writing less (you may have noticed). This is just a list of what I've been eyeballing and absorbing these past few months. I can pretty much recommend any of them, but you ought to check out the amazon links and read the reviews to see if the subject holds your interest.

fiction-wise check out...

oh yeah, all these books are available at my library, so if you've got a decent one in your town, they should be there too. no need to take of more of your valuable personal space with more things, eh? actually, I have been buying, on ebay no less. the thrill of the auction, the chance of getting something at a bargain - an exhilarating activity I recommend if you've not yet tried it. a couple weeks ago I bought a nice nikon D50 for $410 (!) and just tonight, a used saxophone ($240) for my son. he's in the school band and seems to be sticking with it, so I decided to not pay $45/month rental and just sprang for a (hopefully) good used school instrument.

ok, so with this new camera you're probably expecting to see some better photos, right? patience, grasshopper!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

caliper assessment test

my sister emailed me with a question from the test she found puzzling (this is an evaluation for a V.P. position at a fortune 500 co):

complete the sequence:

<< content deleted because I don't want to help you cheat :p >>

I found it absurdly easy... but I could still be wrong. can anyone explain why anything other than "D." might be correct?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

no news is good mews

wow it's been so long, I almost forgot my blogger logon info! not much to report, just a couple quotes (one apparently fake - see if you can tell) from Bjarn Stroustrup, inventor of c++

"People who think they know everything really annoy those of us who know we don't".

"Anyone with half a brain can see that
object-oriented programming is counter-intuitive, illogical and

see the whole "story"

btw, I'm thinking of posting source for a c# project I recently wrote. good code is so hard to find... I like my own work anyway, so maybe someone else can benefit from it. stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

fine dumpster dining: tips for discriminating dumpster divers

I heard a story recounted by John Lahr about Barry Humphries in his younger days (before Dame Edna):

he would go to a bus stop trash can and bury a roasted chicken and a split of champagne -- wrap it up and bury it in the trash. he'd go away and dress up as a bum, then just for his own pleasure, just to see peoples response, he would root in the garbage and everybody sort of turns their head away because it is so humiliating; they just don't want to look at it. and then he would find this bonanza of champagne and chicken! and then just walk away with it. it was enough for him to leave this little surprise in those peoples minds -- those people who had seen that would always remember that moment of delight and astonishment. his private fun with the world inspires a spirit of generosity to be honored.

this clownish behavior illustrates our squeamish rules and accepted arrogance regarding food.

then there is George Costanza on the TV sitcom "Seinfeld" when he plucked a chocolate eclair out of a trash can and ate it (episode 92, "The Gymnast"). The scene has George telling Jerry how he was caught eating an eclair discarded by his girlfriend's mother. Jerry, naturally, is baffled.

Jerry: "So let me get this straight. You find yourself in the kitchen, you see an eclair in the receptacle, and you think to yourself: 'What the hell, I'll just eat some trash.'"

George: "No, no, no, no, no. It was not trash."

Jerry: "Was it in the trash?"

George: "Yes."

Jerry: "Then it was trash."

George: "It wasn't down in. It was sort of on top."

Jerry: "But it was in the cylinder."

George: "Above the rim."

Jerry: "Adjacent to refuse is ... refuse."

this if what I refer to as the Costanza "above the rim" principle (not to be confused with the Costanza rule of opposites which is "think of what you would normally do, and simply do the opposite").

...funny, but of course if you're hungry, you do what you gotta do.

so where are the tips? what do I know? I'm no expert. I'm spoiled and have never needed or felt politically compelled to eat from a dumpster. it's just not my way of life right now. I work at a traditional job for a living unlike this guy who seems to be living in some alternate reality where people send him money and he hasn't needed a regular job for years. somehow I have a hard time believing all he says. but he does write rather nicely... dumpster diving is more likely in my world. but like I said, what do I know? his web site is much more popular than mine. so here's to fantasy!

anyway, I did do a little research on the subject and related matters, so check the references if you really are that interested. and bon appetite!


"Rubbish meals a gourmet treat for freegan diners"

Friday, July 07, 2006

more on the robots...

so I've been reading the book (see previous post)and checking out references about the singularity. here are some notables:
singularity summit 2006 podcasts
Vernor Vinge
Utility Fog: The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of

apparently this thing is snowballing. get with it people!

Kurzweil talks a lot about how mankind will become more and more dependent on nanotech and robotic assistance and intelligence. I get how we will be better off with these developments. but carrying it forward, I'm thinking, we'll still reproduce in pretty much the same manner (even if it involves artificial wombs and such, the end result would still be a basic human baby). but at some point this last vestige of homo sapiens would be antiquated, right? and then what? what I've figured (but not read yet) is that homo sapiens won't be needed anymore.
that's a scary thought, but may be necessary for the advance of evolution. consider our advance in nature so far, from simple cellular organisms, to the dinosaurs, to the current period. I read some alarmist fund raising material that said a thousand species go extinct every day. they don't mention that most of those are probably mutating bacteria that nobody will miss, but you get the point. extinction happens. and we won't like no longer being best suited for the environs, but hopefully our creations will thrive.

as I. J. Good wrote:

"the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control. . . . It is more probable than not that, within the twentieth century, an ultraintelligent machine will be built and that it will be the last invention that man need make."

in other words, at that point the superhuman machines make machines on their own. make better machines than themselves. there is nothing artificial about this intelligence. we will create it. and evolution marches on.
something to think about, eh?

will it really happen? as computer scientist Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut said once, "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."

oh and by the way, Thomas S. Yannios, who I challenged to produce something of substance the other day, has in fact done pretty good... his book on heart disease "The Heart Disease Breakthrough: The 10-Step Program That Can Save Your Life" sounds very interesting. for those of use with hearts :) check it out!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

robots in our future...

I just started reading Ray Kurzweil's latest "The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology". got interested after listening to the podcast. good conversational material and inspiring for the kids. but this amazon reviewer (who must be much smarter than Ray and I'd like to see what good things he is producing with that brilliant mind) poo-poos the book as infantile:

Rather infantile. This is an extremely important book. Not because it is breaking ground with any new insights, but because it is a textbook demonstration, at an extraordinarily high level, of social pathology.Moreso, it is simply scientifically incorrect.
The author's self proclaimed futurism aside, the content of the book is reworked Hegelianisms brought to the 21st century - only Hegel had more self-insight and modesty. However this isn't intended as sterile philosophy , it is a meditation for the future that unfortunately has an enormous audience in this civilization. Unfortunately , because, attaining the vaunted Singularity can be psychiatrically understood as achieving a pinnacle example of over-cerebrated dissociation.
Kurzweil is understandably mired in the neuroscience of the early 90's which focuses so strongly on cognition. Why not; he's a genius of cognition. What completely escapes him - and this too is understandable given the personality reflected in the writing- are the profound implications of the neuroscientific discoveries established most recently and entirely focused on right brain development.
For example, I found particularly revealing the awkward way with which the author dealt with the "spindle cell" issue on pg. 193-4 of his book. Here, perhaps in the only place in this book, he just stumbled upon the tip of the iceberg that will sink his ship. And again, as he does with all similar challenges, sidesteps the incredible implications with a glib "cerebration".
Even his treatment of, of all things, thermodynamics, is awkward and evasive because of a complete misread of the implications of the 2nd law for brain development.
I actually use this book when trying to explain the psychology of socially institutionalized narcissism to colleagues. It is not a new phenomenon, but what is perhaps unique to our predicament as a race, is that our technology is finally about to mature into a match for our pathologies.
If it weren't for this fact, the book could be dismissed as infantile fantasy, rather humorous in its presumptions, but harmless - it isn't"
(Thomas S. Yannios).

on a semi-related link, the video "Great Minds in Development: Manipulating Society through Technology" discusses how we are already evolving and merging our virtual selves with our physical selves. of course this also has negative consequences. this guy describes it as "Monkeys With Hammers":

What kind of technology encompasses a hammer? Hammers used to be high tech, but now we take them for granted; they just build our homes.Imagine how it would be if carpenters were having big problems getting their hammers to work for them? Wouldn't be many quality houses to live in around.Our carpenters are doing all-right though, but give that same hammer to a chimp, and you will see first hand the same sort of problem that humans are having, with words (communications), being played out. Not much useful really getting built, although their is a lot of banging going on. Language is the most hi-tech tool that humanity has ever created, but look around at what we are creating with it. War, destruction, and one mans inhumanity to another; nothing really intelligent going on as anyone can obviously see.
Artificial intelligence will be a good thing, as long as it does not display the intelligence of homo-sapiens; who only seem capable of destroying, or starving to death, one another. You have to imagine that if artificial intelligence is really intelligent, it might be able to stop humanity's head long rush towards global destruction. Sounds to me like we need AI to show us how to use our hammer (language) to build a reasonable home for all of us, rather than our extreme need to think that we are intelligent, all the while acting in the stupidist manner possible.
Saved by our own technology: oh yeah, you bet!

what do I think? carbon based life is passe. as Frank Tipler wrote, to take over the universe, somehow we'll need to be made of better stuff. but I'm no expert. just reporting on them, OK?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

14 billions years of subtle influence and here we are...

I've been playing on a new keyboard lately, and I'm not talkin' pc...
we bought a new Yamaha S08 from Guitar Center (memorial day sale I couldn't resist).
yeah it's a real synthesizer with 88 weighted keys, lotsa cool sounds and MIDI2 - which I hookup via USB.

so this new hobby presents a number of challenges I'm facing. beyond learning to play piano, how do I get it to work as a MIDI controller? meaning I play and the pc records. and if I play a song on fruity loops, how do I get it to play back on the synth (or is that possible?) basic stuff, but it doesn't just work snap! just like that -- there are some concepts and terms I don't get yet. the manual and software speaka da different lingo. lotsa potential there though, I can feel it.

the keyboard teacher says that it's an octave too low. hmm, the manual talks about a center note, but shifting an octave sounds extreme. could he be wrong? the high and low pitches seem like a real piano to me
...but what do I know? and the other voices aren't set to a standard range are they?

well one issue seems to have been solved rather nicely: the S08 was first made in 2002 or so... back before the standards for memory chips had settled (I think). yamaha chose smartmedia for memory (to store your work of course), which, as it turns out was not so smart. the limited storage (128MB?) doesn't fly with todays hi megapixel cameras and so, as a result of those market forces you can't just go to the local office depot, best buy or fry's today and pickup up smartmedia memory -- I tried and none of them carry it anymore. google to the rescue pointed me to who cares that they're located in chicago... they have what I want in stock and sell it online quite painlessly. sure I just picked the top paid google ad, but hey the price is right and they even give me a discount to tout them here. so there you go, snap! just like that! now will someone point me to an expert that can 'splain my MIDI questions? (yah, right. that should be ez :p -- I know how to solve these problems; I do it for a living dude!)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

we're dancing animals

Kurt Vonnegut talking about when he tells his wife he's going out to buy an envelope:

Oh, she says well, you're not a poor man. You know, why don't you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I'm going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don't know. The moral of the story is, is we're here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don't realize, or they don't care, is we're dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we're not supposed to dance at all anymore.
Interview Public Broadcasting Service (2005)

[post courtesy of whose blog I admire enough to add to my blogroll... thanks tom!]

Friday, May 05, 2006

you are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. around you is a forest. a small stream flows...

you may recognize that begininng of the classic text game "adventure" (use the link to play online). it was an inspiration for many early pc gamers. made before pc's (1973?) and now used by my 9 year old son in discovering the magic of imagination in interactive fiction. regular fiction is pretty good for that too. we just finished reading "the wind in the willows" together. on my own, I'm in the middle of "the satanic verses", "a portrait of the artist as a young man", and "I am charlotte simmons". not to mention studying for a microsoft certification and reaping profits from increasing fuel prices while listening to podcasted lectures from stanford on philosophy, global warming and how life began. in addition to hiking and camping with the cub scouts and on top of all that, helping my deaf mom the packrat clear out her stuff, sell her car and pack what's left for her pending move. oh yeah and working full time too. last but not least, being a good husband. these things take time. so that's why I've got nothing more important to post right now. I hope you understand. now, I must go to a retirement party and have a few...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

south dakota abortion bill much too liberal

"senate ban does not except rape, incest... but still allows doctors to perform any abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman". sure we're talking matters of degree in a spectrum, but don't the pro-lifers believe all abortion should be terminated? if someones gotta die that's a tough choice, so which is it gonna be? the innocent baby or the woman that let herself get knocked up and now is going to die because of it? hey, her choice ended when she made the decision to have sex, right? she should have known better and run away from that rapist or horny relative. this law is a case where you give people what they say they want and it becomes apparent how stupid they really are. (for the record I am pro-life and pro-choice).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

kill Moussaoui?

the question on trial today is do we execute the "20th hijacker" for something he didn't do? his failure to act on the knowledge he had to prevent the 9/11 attacks may cost him his life because society demands this response to the horrors now being relived. so who will do the killing? what if society picked you to perform the execution? no problem? how about with your bare hands around his neck. you personally will be held accountable for squeezing the life out of this man as he stares into your eyes. can you do it? what if the price for not killing him was death? same situation, get it? if you fail to act as society dictates you must be punished with death as well. and the next person randomly chosen had to kill both you and him in the same manner? and so on down the line... each individual in our society must bear some responsibility for the capital punishment we inflict upon ourselves.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

how to get more female scientists...

yes, another blatant reposting and repackaging of some pretty good material. this is kinda relevant based on an LA Times article today (see title link). I should mention that I got this from a google cache and it is not currently available live (AFAIK) enjoy!:

July 26, 2005 PM
The Depp Conspiracy by Aaron Voorhees

For Immediate Release: New Public Relations Director for Science announced. Yes, this may come as a shock for many of you, but I have officially nominated and voted myself in for the position. Already, I have designed up such ad campaigns as: “Science: Girls Get in Free”, “Science invented Rock & Roll”, and “Math - the Gateway Drug.”

You may be wondering what right a literature geek has to this title. “A man with the math and science skills of a trained poodle marketing science, pshaw” you may be muttering to your spouse or newspaper reading companion. Good for you I say, a sound observation. Let us take the hypothesis that I, like most Americans, am about as interested in Science as I am in soccer. As in, I like the uniforms and the concept, but I do not really dabble in it or even watch it that often. Can we change this law of science? Probably not. However, through clever advertising I aim to change this trend in America’s social science.
First, myself or one of my clever staff members need to write a clever screenplay about Galileo and get Johnny Depp to play the title role. This will fit in with my theory that Johnny Depp can make anything seem cool and that once he plays a dashing scientist that all the attractive women on the planet will begin to think hanging out in a laboratory is romantic and that lab coats are sexy.
The next test for our scientific method is to talk Sarah Vowel, or some other literate master, into writing a book about the history of one of the great Greek or Indian female scientists. Forget about the DaVinci Code and its holy grail quest. Let us see the New York Times Best Seller list when people realize that science was the godmother of religious scandal.
You may be wondering why such the fuss to get Americans back into science. Well, one day on an intelligent talk show I heard that the chance of the next Einstien coming from America are almost nil. That India had the best chance in the future. Not that I have any problems with India, but I would like to think that we could at least make a run for such an honorary title.
Now, as I go back to school to get my teaching credential, I want to someday be able to say, “2005, yes, that was the year I stopped caring so much about politics and started campaigning for Science.” Of course there is a good chance I will get fired from my self-appointed position, but if you think that is going to stop me from putting my foot in my mouth, then think again. Because I will keep on blindly cheerleading for science at least until next week when I put it on the back bunsen burner in order to play croquet with some college girls.
Hmmm. Historical aside here: Theano was the wife of Pythagoras and ran his school after his untimely death. She is credited with writing the treatise on the Golden Mean. Theano was born c. 546 B.C. which is many generations before Aristotle and his Golden Mean ethical treatise. Maybe this book or screenplay should have Johhny Depp, or I mean Galileo, travel back in time to meet the alluring Theano at a croquet match. Yes, you are correct, it was not invented yet. It will be a dream sequence.
Go ahead, start calling for my resignation. The good thing about being self-appointed; Nobody can vote you out.

Travelissimo – You Can Travel Easy, Or You Can Travelissimo

this is a guest post by fellow blogger Aaron Voorhees. I thought it was funny, so am blatantly (as in without permission) reposting here. so let's see if he can get a rise out of you readers:

August 12, 2005 PM

Why All The Opposing?

People often ask me, “Aaron why is it that you talk to an imaginary audience when you write your columns.” And I often say, “Please people, can you not see that I am writing an important piece of prose that may or may not save the world.” This is usually when my editor says, “Aaron are you arguing with imaginary people again. I think it is time you started seeing a psychiatrist.” Luckily, my editor fired me ages ago.
Let us get to the true meat of your question. You are wondering if this imaginary audience truly believes that I have something of relevance to say or if I just pay them to ask interested. To be honest with you, I am not quite sure myself. Sometimes I give mere acquaintances rides to the airport and then when they leave for the gate thanking me and promising to re-pay the favor, I casually mention I would appreciate if they read my column “at this web site, and here’s a card that has it in case you forget and if you are too busy to read these days maybe you could just read a paragraph on every commercial break for ‘Alias’ or ‘Spongebob Squarepants” or whatever you watch, and if the commercials are the Super Bowl quality ones you could always take a laptop with you to your next dental appointment.”
This brings us to the the little pink elephant of a question that you, my fantasy audience, are hinting at: “Why are you, Mr. Voorhees, writing a column for a web-site by the name of A jolly good question. The answer is simple. Although the opinions expressed by others on this web site do not always reflect my own, the people involved with creating content for this site all do have their own style of radical creativity. As a craftsman of written word, I look forward to being on this platform of spirited debate and quality artistic expression.
Thus, for the foreseeable future you can read my column every Monday morning here at . . . Feel free to tell all of your imaginary friends too. I might even pretend to pick them up at the airport.
For those of you who have been following my mentor Mickey Buckle and his diatribe about the state of humanity in the Belltown Messenger of Seattle, rest assured that he is enjoying his sabbatical and still will not comment about the “artistic differences” that led to said break in his working relationship with the Messenger staff. He is currently living on his boat and writing his highly anticipated novel, “I believe the Flowers are our Future.” He has asked me to tell all of you that, “The commie-pinko, Rupert Murdoch-puppeted, newspaper-machine will never silence him.” It is my honor to be able to say that Mr. Buckle has promised to join me in writing occasional travel-related pieces for an upcoming novella entitled “Travelissimo.” There is still some debate between the two of us on whether the subtitle will be “You can Travel Easy or You Can Travelissimo” or “Ride Till You Find Them and Kill them All.” If you know which of us has thought up which subtitle you have definitely turned the television off and become part of my hip, happinin’ imaginary audience.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

the intellectual snob test

are you a snob?
ok, just for yucks, I took the poll. here are the results (btw I'm not a snobby as the person who gave me the link):

The Snob!
You are 70% intellectual snob.
Congratulations, you're a bonafide snob. You probably know your James Joyce, your Salman Rushdie, and you've seen "Rashomon." You are the meat and pototoes of the black-wearing, novel-toating, library-frequenting intellectual crowd.
The UP side! Membership to any group feels pretty good...even those whose members all claim to be independent. It's fairly easy to spot your own; just crack open that well worn copy of Catcher in the Rye in front of some little greasy spoon and you've identified yourself as a member of the elite.

The DOWN side Intellectuals, just like high school preps, are constantly jockeying for position, and you're probably not at the top of the ladder. Y'know that one friend you have that you're constantly trying to impress? That's the alpha. Without some serious studying, he/she will forever look down on you as just slightly better than the slobbering illiterate masses you so despise.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

quotes for today...

"Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs." - Scott Adams

"Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think." - Chinese Proverb

"All generalizations are dangerous, even this one." - Alexandre Dumas

Saturday, March 18, 2006

predestination for dummies (or "orange you glad I wore green"?)...

yesterday being a lenten friday, instead of celebrating st. patricks day with corned beef and green beer, we went to our local parish fish fry put on by the knights of columbus. there, during our meal, one of the topics my eight year old son was demonstrating to us his recent discovery of the middle finger hand gesture and it's meaning. some might have been shocked to see him do this at church, especially since just as he was showing this to my wife, a priest came wandering by to say "hi" and shake hands. I thought it was hilarious and was thinking "if I only had my camera!". it's that kind of funny crude humor that people really appreciate -- a little boy flipping off a priest to his face. but nope, that photo op was lost so you'll have to just picture it yourself (the pic of one of my favorite holy men - Johnny Cash will help). the priest seemed oblivious, he was just spreading good cheer and nicely shook Zach's middle fingered hand.

another dinnertime topic, it being st. paddy's day, was the tradition of the "wearing o' the green". do you know the significance of wearing orange on st. patricks day? it was done by protestants to distinguish themselves from the catholics as a form of protest or insult. historically this goes back to the Battle of Boyne in 1690 when the protestant King William (of orange, holland) defeated the british catholic King James. I asked my older son if he knew what a protestant was. nope. I explained they are christians that have some different beliefs from catholics. so inquiring minds want to know -- what's the difference?

I tried to explain with my rusty knowledge the doctrine of "by faith alone" and predestination - the split by John Calvin way back in the middle ages. I didn't get very far. so we moved on... to the fact that I had just noticed both my sons were wearing orange jackets over their green shirts. coincidence or...?

later, my interest piqued, I jumped on the net to do a little followup research. what is the significance of predestination? what were those people protesting that made them protestants? I remember one of the things was the practice of "indulgences" by which if you had enough money you could buy your way into heaven -- really! anyway, that's what some in the church wanted you to believe. to a certain degree that epitimizes what it was (and still is) all about. the catholic idea is that if you have faith, you will do the right thing; that faith without works is meaningless. and the "right thing" varies, but somehow "good catholics" all do it. protestants insist that they are saved from hell "by faith alone" - "solo fide"; that only God's grace and the forgiveness of Jesus wins us a place in heaven. the idea is that all knowing God already knows who will go to heaven, everyone will be judged and some will make it, some not. so if we are already doomed, there is nothing we can do, say, or think to earn a place in heaven. even if we have free will. contradictory?

both sides have plenty to say about the matter (see the links below).

so what is my take? are we all doomed because we're all imperfect sinners and have no choice? was it predestined that my son would accidently flip off the priest? was it predestined that I couldn't share a picture, but could share the story? was it predestined that you are reading this? who knows?

my favorite predestination example is about the lottery - your odds of winning millions are so small, there is nothing you can do to ensure a win. so you don't have to do anything - including buying a lottery ticket. because if it is meant to happen, it will happen and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. so don't bother trying because all effort is futile. and yet we still buy the tickets; without good reason people just won't give up. they still believe in luck or magical thinking. maybe that's the same with faith - we have no good reason to believe and yet we still do, still go through the motions and rituals even though it doesn't matter. because hey, you can't earn a ticket to heaven, it's a free ride. but we still try.
in the end, maybe that's what really matters.

predestination as the catholic encyclopedia 'splains it.
Not by Faith Alone: A Biblical Study of the Catholic Doctrine of Justification - read the reviews, particulary the 2 star rating by "theologicalresearcher".
the "troubles" of northern ireland in a nutshell.
northern ireland: more in depth material from bbc

Friday, March 10, 2006

the effect of Chris Pirillo...

just heard a rumor about my old lockergnome buddy: that if you mention him in a blog post, he will leave you a comment. such is the amazing power of our search engines. hard to believe but apparently true. well, can you prove that it is really left by him and not one of his merry pranksters? yes, very easily as a matter of fact. if you subscribe to his email newsletter you know that he always has some funky phrase in the suubject line. so Chris, alls ya gotta do is post your comment here BEFORE that particular newsletter is sent. otherwise we all know that the Chris Pirillo effect is an urban legend. of course, another likely event (if you peruse at my blog's paucity of comments) is that Chris (or one of his trained monkeys) will miss my little niche of the 'net - thus disproving the effect. ok, the testing has begun! I will post the results...

PS: if it IS true, I will attempt the same feat - mention tomawesome in your blog and I will leave a comment. that is the "tomawesome challenge"!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

just do it (anyway)...

this being Oscar sunday, what am I doing? went to church of course! first sunday of Lent, so seemed a good idea. (hey doesn't the statue look like he's praying?) heard a poem attributed to Mother Teresa that I wanted to share here. so as usual, I googled it to find the text and came across what seems to be just a bit of plagiarism. I guess we're all a bit sinner and saint eh?

1. The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

-this version is credited to Mother Teresa


2. The Original Version:

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

"The Paradoxical Commandments" were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.

on this day of rest
currently chilling to:
Q-Burns Abstract Message/Feng Shui Groove
Mr. Gone/Equation Boogie
Wagon Christ/Saddic Gladdic
VHS or Beta/Solid Gold

Thursday, March 02, 2006

chances are...

I was lost inside a daydream
swimming through or sailing
I looked at you and you breathed in
but that's the way it's always been.
it all comes down to creating time
you don't always have to make it rhyme
we'll all drive far in our hybrid lives
chances are,
we'll make it back.

I was doing time in the L.A. jail
my crime was living inside a failure
no matter how, it don't matter now
rest assured, the rest is blurred.
it all comes down to doing time
you don't always have to make it a crime
we'll all drive off in our hybrid lives
chances are,
we'll make it back...

Terence McKenna said
it is better to explore within
we were apes before we spoke of sin
the cosmos sits on the tip of a pin
it all comes down to creating time.
you don't always have to make it alright
we'll all drive by with our hybrid lives
chances are,
we'll make it back...

see also:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

quote of the day...

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" - Albert Einstein

Thursday, February 16, 2006

elemental states of being...

water: this represents our attitude -- a constant flow of spirit that shapes and persists; seeming the same, yet always changing.

air: our thoughts -- existence without substance. shifting and boundless flights of fancy. the realm of imagination where ideas fly and fall; communicated through the vibration of voices.

fire: our feelings -- emotional intensity, passion and metabolism. the breaking down and release of energy as heat in the transformation of the end product, which is of course the element...

earth: our actions -- the physical results of all the above. easily measurable concrete manifestations.

I'm not studying alchemy, astrology or anything like that. I just pulled this all from my head, so it's about as original as I can get. interesting, eh?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

quote from my dad...

"If you're not detested, you're not taking care of yourself."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

speak up! and let's hang together...

"In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

Sunday, January 22, 2006

more inspiration...

just finished an old (but new to me) classic: "way of the peaceful warrior" by Dan Millman. thx to Lisa Lipscomb for the reference (see her goal #16). it was a fun, easy and enlightening read. here's a snippet:

"There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world... the only laws are paradox, humor and change..."

ok that sounds pretty flaky out of context; it is a hippy-dippy philosophy (similar to Carlos Casteneda's) but a good story nonetheless and I recommend it.

if you want something more logical, more cut-and-dried, try these lecture notes on free will and determinism I also read this evening (hint: he thinks we have free will).

Friday, January 20, 2006

psychotherapy and religion...

“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!”. was a book I browsed years ago and was just reminded of. here’s a nutshell "eschatological laundry list" by the author that a reviewer on amazon shared:

1. This is it!

2. There are no hidden meanings

3. You can't get there from here, and besides, there's no place else to go

4. We are all already dying and we'll be dead for a long time.

5. Nothing lasts!

6. There is no way of getting all you want.

7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it.

8. You only get to keep what you give away.

9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.

10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.

11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless.

12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.

13. You don't really control anything.

14. You can't make someone love you. put that in your pipe and smoke it :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

nonviolence: Martin Luther King and capital punishment...

work in progress...

Clarence Ray Allen - sick old dude, ordered killings from jail cell

some murders are more important than others, but for the victims loved ones it's just the same

justice is a balancing out, making up for...
so capital punishment is a form of revenge? a dish best served cold? is that what we accomplish by killing an old man who's been in jail for 30 years?

is this the best balancing out we as society could do?
why was he allowed to talk to anyone?
interpretation of "cruel and unusual" in constitution allows execution but not more severe treatment e.g. solitary confinement.

capital punishment - from latin caput: head or top - the worst, most
severe punishment... getting "tough on crime"

bleeding heart liberals are "soft on crime" in other words do not support justice

everyone that participates (and in their actions is a de facto supporter) in the meting out is part of the official violence.

MLK preached that non-violence is a powerful tool (or was it weapon?). like Jesus not striking back at the enemy, this "withholding of justice" creates a potential, an imbalance that (maybe) must be rectified somehow - in other words let the universe be out of whack and overrule justice with love and compassion. this is the ridiculous idea that these guys preached -- let the murderers laugh. so where is the power that comes from nonviolence? to be continued...

Oskar Schindler to the sadistic concentration camp head - "think of the power you have in not killing them"
Ayn Rands objectivism - ultimate power lies with the individual

Sunday, January 15, 2006

new name...

now my blog is not so blah :) "infosnack" is the trendy word of '05, so now it's not so trendy. and adoptable by me. I'm not good at being leading edge, but I'm pretty good at following the trend. anyway, my posts here are little morsels, tidbits of 30 second items, so it's more appropriate. so there you go!