Saturday, April 30, 2005

Not ready for 9/11 on the history channel

I'm not sure why 9/11 struck me so deeply that when I just
happened to click onto a history channel show about the hijackings,
that I immediately reverted to being extremely pissed off.
Apparently I'm not ready to view those events as dry history
yet.

When people tell me that 9/11 is in the past and I should get
over it, or let it go, or that it wasn't that big a deal, only 3000
people died versus thousands in iraq, yada yada yada. I tend
to remind people that they weren't trying to kill 3000 people.
They were hoping to kill all 110,000 people in the buildings, plus
whoever else would be nearby, plus my wife and I, since our vacation
to new york was originally scheduled for September 2001.

Luckily, my wife went back to school that year, so we moved
our vacation to August instead. We got to see the world trade
center, but we couldn't go on the roof because of rain. I said at
the time "oh well, we'll see it next
trip". Wrong answer.

I am thankful that I hold no position of power in the government
or military. If I had been in charge that day, I would have bombed
the shit out of afganistan, along with any other place that had a bunch
of idiots celebrating or happy about what happened.

Boudreaux the boat builder

When I was in England last month I spent most of my time in
the pubs of Newark, and mostly in the pub in my hotel, because
they would sell me beer after 11pm. I tried to drink guiness one
night and ended up too drunk to tell a joke, but I tried to tell the
pretty bartender a cajun joke, which made her think that not only
was I drunk, but an idiot. Apparently cajun jokes aren't that funny
in a non-understandable drunken accent. Here's one that I think is
pretty freakin funny:

Boudreaux said to Thibideaux, "I got to leave dis piece o' shit town".
and looked really downcast. Thibideaux said "why?" and Boudreaux
answered: "When I built all dem boats on da bayou, did they call me
'Boudreaux da boat builder'? ...No." "When I built
all the houses on da bayou, did they call me 'Boudreaux da house
builder'?...No."

"But when you Fuck one pig...."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Kicking over anthils

Chester pointed out an article in an egyptian paper:

Votes that rebound

Washington has determined that a democratised Arab world is in its -- and Israel's -- interest. The assumption is wide off the mark, writes Hassan Nafaa*

Elections used to come and go without any one taking much notice, for reasons that are known. But things have changed of late, for reasons that are equally well-known. The region is preparing for a number of legislative and presidential elections over the next few weeks or months, and many -- both inside and outside the region -- are curious to see what happens. Lebanon has parliamentary elections scheduled in late May. Palestinian elections are due on 17 July. Egyptian presidential elections are slated for September, and will be followed by parliamentary elections before the end of the year. All are expected to leave their mark not only on the countries involved but throughout the region, though whether these elections will mark a real turning point is hard to tell....

This is completely true in that President Bush and many people here are
hoping democratic elections will allow the people of the middle east to
show their true face. That Islam will be shown to be the religion of
peace and the people of the region will begin to strive for better lives
instead of cheering when suicide bombers successfully kill people.

It won't be a good thing if Hezbollah wins in Lebanon, and the rejectionists
win in Egypt. Our 'friends' the egyptians won't be our friends anymore.
Hezbollow, the killer of the marines in beirut, will be in charge in there,
and the intifada in Isreal would probably start again. Things will look
very dark for Bush and the people who support him.

On the other hand, our true enemies will gradually be unmasked.
Instead of supporting a government in egypt that supposedly is
our friend, The US will have no reason to support a government
made up of Islamic radicals. Instead of an enemy government
that spews official propaganda of antisemitism and hatred of the
US (that we give billions to) in aid to while they suppress their
people and blame all their problems on the US. There will be an
enemy government that has to take responsibility for their
problems, and maybe their people will begin to see reality.

After a year of elections, the middle east may become more
democratic, open and accountable to its people, and I hope it
will be so. But if elections just bring a series of governments
that are openly our enemies, with strong support from
their people who chose that government using free and open
elections, then the situation will be bad but much clearer.
The president can call a spade a spade, instead of saying a
government is evil, but the people are good. He can start
to point out who are our real enemies, instead of holding
hands with them.

Monday, April 25, 2005

a not too happy crappy story

Acidman is running a carnival of the crappers, so maybe a shitty
story can be my ticket to being linked by other blogs. (can you say
instacoonass?) Here's my entry:

I was working on a drilling rig in colombia, and I apparently ate
something that didn't agree with me because I started with full
on diarrea. It got so bad that when I tried to drink some cold
water to replace all the fluids I was losing, I crapped it out 2 minutes
later, still cold. This was really bad because I was supposed to fly
back to Bogota the next day, then fly to Dubai, and I was afraid to
move more than 5 feet from a toilet.

I finally ate enough immodium that I corked up and I flew back to town.
The next day I had a 10 hour flight on lufthansa to germany, then
7 hours to dubai. Stupid me, I forgot my precious immodium pills. I
was in the middle of 5 seats, so at the precise moment the seat belt
sign went off I had to dash to the bathroom, and I could hear the little
german kid next to me say something like "der fatguy has der
shitenkopfs", and then start laughing.

After 10 hours of this (I hold the lufthansa record for time spent in
bathroom), I'm trying to get my stuff and get off the plane, and when I
opened the overhead my computer bag slides out and lands right in the
seat where the little german kid was sitting. Luckily he was standing up,
so I didn't crush him with my 10 pound IBM, the little kid says something
like "der fattenshittenguy crushenmeheaden" and there were all these angry
aryan looks all around me. Luckily, I got away and found out to my relief that
the german word for pharmacy is kemist, and the german word for
immodium is immodium.

I finally did make it to dubai, where I thought I was going to get to sleep
for 20 hours, instead I had to ride to abu dhabi, and sit in the least
productive meeting I've ever been in. Everyone else was discussing
moving equipment, and all I could think of was (homervoice) hmm,
clean bathrooms (homervoice off)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Pope

Jane Galt is posting about the choice of the pope
I'm pretty sure that we're going to see a lot of articles bemoaning the choice of Ratzinger (who is very conservative) and claiming that the Catholic Church is going to implode without ordination of married and female clergy, relaxed standards on birth control and divorce, and so forth. I don't think I buy this. Protestant denominations like the Anglican Communion have been liberalising like mad, and with each decline in membership, they decide that what they need is to liberalise some more

I think she's right about liberalization not helping church membership. I was just in the UK, and the town I was staying in had several churches that were closed and were operating as furniture stores. The cathedral I went into looked huge but only had seating for a few dozen, the rest was a gift shop. The joke on the television was that a bishop was so liberal that he didn't believe in
God. (I guess that was dry english humor)

I'm just a lapsed catholic so I don't have a dog in this fight...but I think that if someone wants to be a monopoly player, then they should play by the printed rules of monopoly, if they don't want to play by those rules they should choose some other game to play. Like atheistopoly.
(sorry to stretch a metaphor)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Heard it on NPR

Sometimes NPR is really cool, and a good provider of
news and information. They usually interview enough
original sources so that even if the news story is slanted,
it is possible to pick out some version of the truth. They
also have pretty neat filler stories, like the audio expeditions
into jungles, or the new item they are doing called
"This I Believe" which is apparently of a similar radio
show in the 50's. Things that make me think:
"I'll write a This I Believe essay and post it on my
weblog, then send it to NPR."

Then of course the next news item is: "Confusion
still reigns in Iraqi town where several days ago
it was reported that some people were kidnapped."
Maybe confusion did reign yesterday, but it seems to
me that by this morning things were pretty clear. I
listened to NPR on the way to work, and they had
a guy in the town of Madain, and he reported that
things were pretty normal and none had been kidnapped.
Fine.

12 hours later is enough time to me to stop using the
'confusion reigns in an Iraqi town' story. It seems to me
that NPR uses the news schedule and time difference to
keep bad news on the air longer, so that 'All Things considered'
says in the evening "A soldier was killed in fighting yesterday",
then morning edition says "A soldier was killed in fighting
yesterday" then evening editon repeats the same news so
that they are always reporting that soldiers were killed. [please
don't think I don't care about the soldiers there doing the fighting,
someday maybe I'll be able sort out which hairs fell off my head
due to stress at work, and which fell off my head
from the stress of following the news on a day to day basis.]

Today they seemed to do the same thing with the problems in
Madain, leading off with "continued confusion" instead of leading off
with the most interesting things, like: (to paraprase npr this morning):
yesterday 3 battalions of the Iraqi army entered the town along with
Iraqi special forces.

Confusion is normal in war, but it appeared to me that the confusion
was over by this evening so unless your objective is to portray the
country as a mass of confusion, stop reporting it. (gee could they be
slanted at all?)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,153689,00.html

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Headin' Home

I'm in london for my flight back home tomorrow. I managed to spend
the afternoon in the British Museum, sort of a flying visit; to try and see
the whole place in 4 hours is impossible. I didn't even rent an audioguide,
because to hear it all in 4 hours I'd have to put the audioguide in
auctioneer mode: Andheeerewehavethecultureofasia,bluepottery
statues&etc.comingupnextwehavethetreasuresofegypt,westole
themtoo,mummymummymummystatuestatuestatue&etc.

It was all pretty cool anyway, even if you have to wonder how it all got there.
"No, we're just taking it back to london to protect it from your thieving native
hands". ......"Yes Sahib"

[Placeholder for a picture of the rosetta stone.]



The underground is one my favorite things about london. I'd like to live
in a large city where it isn't necessary to own a car, but it still easy to
get around town quickly and easily. London's underground is way
better than New York's, cleaner and over a much bigger area.
Washington D.C's is clean too, but not so extensive as london's.
What makes the london underground the winner for me is the tube map .

Last time I came to visit london I bought a print of the Tate by tube ,
which to me is great art, but I can't hang it on the walls since my wife
is not in agreement. (maybe I should put my foot down?)

Here's a link to information about disused underground stations that
can be seen from the trains currently operating. I haven't
remembered to actually look out the window at the right moment
to see one of them. Sort of a "where is that...duh!" situation.

Anyway, I can load some photos from the home pc, my work laptop
is slow enough putting freeware blogger utilities on it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Still in England

I'm staying in a town called Newark-on-Trent, which is a fairly nice place
that has a pub for every single person in the town. Some of them are
traditional pubs where only one or two people are leaning over their pints.
Others are modern sports bars that just happened to be built into 100
year-old buildings. I walked into the oldest pub in town, which dates
from the 16th century, and it was Karioki night. Some guy was doing
a high pitched version of AC/DC's Hell's Bells. He was terrible,
but gets an A for effort.

[placeholder for pictures when I figure out how to load them to blogger]

The town also has a castle, or the remains of one that dates from the 12th century. It was where King John died, and later was a royalist holdout during the Civil War. The protestants never captured the castle, but after the roundheads won they demanded to have the castle razed to the ground, but the townspeople only destroyed half the castle before stopping. So the curtain wall facing the river and two towers are still standing.
I'm sure the townspeople got tired of tearing down the castle right about the same time as they had rebuilt all the town's buildings with stones from the castle.

I did the tour of the castle remains, it's pretty interesting to look out from the battlements, and feel how much it must have sucked to have to stand guard there. It's mid April, and the temperature this weekend was right above freezing, with occasional snow.

The TV isn't too terrific over here. only 5 channels, and the only news is the BBC. Seeing how anti-american the BBC is, I'm sure the spit content of my food is pretty high. The news is laughably slanted, any mention of climate is followed by "George Bush rejected Kyoto, it's his fault."

I was glad to see Tiger win the masters, when they asked him if 10 majors is a long dryspell,
he said:

"Ten majors is not that long," Woods said. "Some guys go oh-for-life."

heh.