October 31, 2003
Anocht Oidhche Shamhna 2004! (5347?)

Well, I guess I must be getting older because these days I seem to get all religious around the holiday season, and I start reading Isaac Bonewits' Homepage for little bits of the spiritual.

Well, as in the spirit of the old year, where lying was the vogue, I'll link you to Isaac's Halloween Errors and Lies, a compilation of fun facts and stories to make you feel better about Halloween, the Day of the Dead, etc.

Anti-Halloween propagandists use these claims to disrupt or prevent our religious rites, slander our beliefs, and blaspheme our deities, despite the total lack of evidence to support them:

  • Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including
    the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have never found even one example of aSatanic cult human sacrifice.” What they do occasionally find are budding psychopaths killing small animals in what a psychiatrist would call a “ritualistic” manner. As that link just cited puts it, “FBI expert K. J. Lanning defines a satanic murder as ‘one committed by two or more individuals who rationally plan the crime and whose primary motivation is to fulfill a prescribed satanic ritual calling for the murder.’ Using this definition he has been unable to identify even one documented satanic murder in the United States.”

  • Similarly, the urban legends about “Satanic cults looking
    to kidnap blond blue-eyed children for sacrifice” (presumably
    by evil “non-Aryans”) reveal more about racism than
    crime in America because here, too, there is not a single
    real incident
    recorded by law enforcement agencies.

  • All those stories of poisoned candy and razor blades in apples
    — which some Christian Fundamentalists would have
    us believe is how modern Witches and Druids now “sacrifice”
    kids — turn out to be more urban legends with zero law
    enforcement backing
    — see Curses! Broiled Again!: The Hottest Urban Legends Going, by noted folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand for details.

  • Claims are made that “the ASPCA reports the evidence of animal mutilation and destruction is ten times more available on the week preceeding and the weekend following Halloween.I've been unable to get the ASPCA to back this up. Apparently, some pounds and animal control facilities may not adopt out black kittens to scary-looking teenagers just before Halloween, but the evidence on which they base these policies is unclear. It may just be another urban legend based on teenaged sociopaths killing animals in years past. See Wren Walker’s article on The Annual Halloween Scaredy Cat Ban for details.

-Read more at Halloween Errors and Lies

Anocht Oidhche Shamhna! Happy New Year!

Posted by illovich at 03:14 PM
ah, i do enjoy calling myself

An excerpt from Remarks by the President at the 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala:

I recognize that our strength is not in our armies or in our pocketbooks. Our strength is in the hearts and souls of American citizens, people from all faiths, all walks of life -- (applause) -- whether they be Christian, Jew, or Muslim, or Hindu, people have heard the universal call to love a neighbor just like they'd like to be called themselves. No, that's our strength.
Emphasis added to lock in humor freshness.

Posted by illovich at 02:26 PM
October 30, 2003
now that's more like it, campers!

The current Search Query Report:

#reqs: search term
-----: -----------
4: corgis biting
2: yoshi pictures attack
2: pictures of yoshi
1: shackle quests for iksar monks on everquest
1: ann coulter and pictures
1: legal sex at 13
1: kiev 60 mlu body
1: handsome boy modelling school
1: oidhche shamhna
1: ann coulter pics
1: ''messenger service'' winxp
1: suddenly everything sucks
1: microsoft messenger sucks
1: fisherspooner emerge lyrics
1: zoo sex blog
1: ann coulter sexy
1: fat lady singing
1: ann coulter
1: ultima ratio regum
1: kiev mlu

Posted by illovich at 09:42 AM
October 29, 2003
A scientist funded by the US government has deliberately created an extremely deadly form of mousepox, a relative of the smallpox virus, through genetic engineering.

The new virus kills all mice even if they have been given antiviral drugs as well as a vaccine that would normally protect them.

The work has not stopped there. The cowpox virus, which infects a range of animals including humans, has been genetically altered in a similar way.

New Scientist

You see, we need to know what a terrorist with access to a billion dollar virology lab and a degree in viral genetics might do with these relatively harmless viruses, because if a terrorist were to get a hold of these things, there's no telling what might happen, unless we do it first, and then at least we won't be surprised

Fool me once, shame on. er. you. Fool me. er. Shame on. You can't get fooled again is what I'm saying.

Nie Wieder! Keine mehr Überraschungen!!

Posted by illovich at 03:19 PM
die puny webstream

Warren Ellis is recommending the work of a band called The Go! Team on his blog.

If you're a mac user, you might have some trouble hearing track 4, mainly because the website uses some bizarre combination of javascript, iframes and other obfuscated crap to try to mimic a streaming server.

Which is probably fine on the PC, which is no doubt the only platform they tested it on, but it sucks if you're on a mac, becasue you can't hear the songs. Nothing happens when you click.

Fortunately, a bit of reverse engineering (well, really just reverse concatenating) the javascript that plays the music results in:

Track 1
Track 2
Track 3
Track 4
Track 5

Those links should work if you have WMP installed, which I guess you have to these days.

The songs are pretty good, it was worth the effort anyway. I don't blame the band as I'm sure that the fabulous website budget that they invested was embezzled by an unscrupulous webmonkey, but this stuff does get annoying, and it probably costs them more fans than the cd sales it would ostensibly save.

What is the lesson I'm trying to impart? If you want to protect your music, use a real streaming server (I don't care what kind, as long as the name doesn't include "real" in it). If you don't care to go that distance, don't be cute. Just link to the files like it was a normal thing, and let people hear your music.

Posted by illovich at 12:40 PM
October 28, 2003
high stakes

The Long Bets Foundation tracks Long Bets on "societally or scientifically important" topics. For example, Bet #1 is a wager of $20,000 between Mitch Kapor and Ray Kurzweil debating whether a machine will pass the Turing test by 2029.

I'll be 58, but boy won't it be exciting. It's $50 to make a prediction, $200 to make a bet. Winnings go to your designated charity, and it's all administered by the The Farsight Fund portfolio at Capital Research.

Posted by illovich at 11:19 AM
October 27, 2003
disassembled smoking gun

Ha ha.

The smoking gun will come in the form of a completely disassembled gun that is not smoking, because it exists only in the form of a future potential possibility of creating the conditions that may eventually lead to the assembly of a gun which may one day smoke.
Indeed. get your war on | page twenty-six
Posted by illovich at 01:32 PM
snake in the hiz-ouse

So we're watching TV last night, and all of a sudden Kat starts yelling "There's a snake in the house! There's a snake in the house! Oh my god! There's a snake in the house!"


So I freak out a little bit, because Yoshi is playing with it, and when I say playing I mean biting, or course. And I've always been afraid that I'm going to run into a Copperhead some day, even though they aren't real common in the Philadelphia part of Pennsylvania.

So we pull out the cheese to coax him away from it, which works like a charm (ah, the power of cheese) so of course Willie has to get in the act.

He's easier to get the snake away from, and Kathy uses one of Yoshi's bones to scoop the snake into a plastic sandwich bag. This was a very small snake, think baby size.

Then the dialogue starts (not verbatim):

Me: I think it's, like, a baby python.

Kat: Python? It looks more like a boa constrictor.

Me: Er, of course when I said python I was using that as a placeholder for "constrictor-type snake."

Kat: (rolls eyes)

Me: What do we do with it? (looks around for a spare aquarium which is regrettably not at hand)

Kat: I could take it to work with me tomorrow, but I'm really busy... we could keep it in a jar or something...

Me: But it needs to breathe!

Kat: (looks increasingly pained) No shit, I don't know what you want me to tell you. Look, why not put it back outside?

Me: But it's a baby!

Kat: It came from outside, look I don't have time to take care of it tomorrow, so if you keep it, you figure out what to do with it.

Me: (Quickly evaluating how much kinship I feel with things herpetological) Hmmm... I guess we really can't take on a pet boa constrictor now...

Kat: Don't let it go near the house, I don't want it coming back.

Me: I guess I just feel bad, cause I had a pet snake once and it died.

Kat: You're so funny--"but it's a baby!" (starts laughing at me)

Me: (opens the front door) Okay, let's go buddy.

Kat: Don't let it go near the house, I don't want it coming back.

I took him across the "moat" (aka the canal that inconveniently runs through out backyard) and let him go on the stone wall near the water, figuring the little tropical boa had a slim chance of survival. Better than vs. Yoshi and Willie, but still pretty grim.

During some down time at work I decided to do a little googling, and I've now decided that it was not a baby boa at all, but rather a baby Nerodia sipedon, aka the Northern Water Snake.

Apparently, they're pretty common to our neck of the woods, and they do just fine in the Pennsylvania winter, so I don't have to worry that our buddy won't be able to survive...unless he comes back in the house, in which case it's all up to the benevolence of Yoshi, which is not the best deal you can find, believe me.

Especially when you seem like some sort of neat, interactive dog-toy. That tastes like chicken.

Posted by illovich at 12:50 PM
October 26, 2003
you can pick your colors, or, err....

Colours on the web - color theory and color matching
has a nice color picker. Well, it's sort of nice.

If you have a single color in hex format (#000099 is blue, for example) the wizard will tell you what the triad, complimentary and analagous colors are, which can come in handy. It doesn't make color selection much easier, but I guess it sort of helps.

Posted by illovich at 12:08 PM
October 21, 2003
image movers

strangecraft Art Resources (who I think is AKA Mac of go fish) has a really nice article about image transfers of photocopied images. I can't wait to try it out, if I ever do.

Posted by illovich at 04:16 PM
October 08, 2003
those adorable intact black families
What I saw: A young family of five — father, mother, three young children, well-dressed, well-behaved, enjoying their night out, too. Except for the well-behaved children — mythical creatures with which we have no personal experience with — the family was unremarkable.

But they were black. And my husband whispered that in a nation where 70 percent of black children are born into homes without fathers, it was great to see a picture-perfect black family dining together. "I almost want to go give the guy a high five," he said, somewhat sheepishly.

-Jennifer Graham

I've been reeling from this article for a while, not sure where to begin. I don't even know what to say.

What condescending, paternal, racist bullshit. It's not even worth taking apart--it's just that bad.

My favorite part is this is the person that National Review trots out to defend Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by illovich at 11:34 AM
October 06, 2003
Yu-mex oder Yü-gung?

an image of a Yugoslavian man dressed in a Mexican costume, complete with SombreroIt's a given that no matter how many strange things you've seen, you haven't seen them all. Innocent web surfing led me to a page about Yu-Mex, or Mexican music in 1950s Yugoslavia. Yeah, that's right. Apparently it was all the rage.

Of course, it all gets back to Stalin and Tito. Apparently after the famous breakup, Yugoslavia needed a new source of popular culture, and they chose Mexico:

it was far away, the chances of Mexican tanks appearing on Yugoslav borders were slight and, best of all, in Mexican films they always talked about revolution in the highest terms. How could an average moviegoer know that it was not the Yugoslav revolution?

Emilio Fernández's Un Día de vida (1950) became so immensely popular that the old people in the former republics of Yugoslavia even today regard it as surely one of the most well known films in the world ever made although in truth it is probably unknown in every other country, even Mexican web pages don't mention it much. The Mexican influence spread to all of the popular culture: fake Mexican bands were forming and their records still can be found at the flea markets nowadays.

Of course, it's easy to laugh at things like this.

Mainly because they're really funny.

Did I mention that there's a bunch of mp3s on the site?

Posted by illovich at 10:02 AM
are you being xserved?

I might need to know about using an Xserve for a Small Business LAN in the future, but for now let's keep that on the QT (not QuickTime).

Posted by illovich at 09:14 AM
October 02, 2003
life during wartime
"If someone in the Bush administration leaked this , they need to be punished, and they need to be made an example of, because that's not just a leak, that's treason," Spann, of Winfield, Ala., told The Associated Press. Kansas City Star


I don't mean to, you know, bang the drum as they say, but isn't treason during wartime a capital offense?

What do you think the chance is that a convicted Bush Administration official facing the death penalty could get a pardon from the President? I mean at first it seems like a lock, but he does love to sign those warrants of execution, and he really doesn't get much chance being President.

Posted by illovich at 03:59 PM
america's self-aware deficit

get your war on | page twenty-six

Wouldn't it be awesome if in twenty years America's deficit actually became self-aware and started crushing every nation in its path?

Posted by illovich at 03:15 PM
i know you're a supra evil-genius

No it's true, my dog is truly an evil genius, a fact which can apparently only be discovered through state-of-the-art photographic techniques, recently discovered at the secret suburban compound.

Posted by illovich at 10:40 AM