Friday, October 21, 2005

Return of the Macho Man

Hugo Chavez claims he is not gay

When last spotted, everyone's favorite hot tubber, Hugo Chavez, was being groped by Bobby Mugabe. It must have been a enervating experience, because he's back indulging in his rich, full fantasy life. Hmm, I wonder if he's picked out his costume yet for the big Halloween soiree!

(Goose) Stepping Out!

Mad marching mullahs on parade

The Freepers were having fun captioning and Photoshopping this snap of Mad Marching Mullahs on Parade and I just couldn't resist.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Works for me

Tim Blair:
The boys at Iraq the Model tune in to Saddam’s trial:
“Why do we have to listen to this bull****?” said one of my friends.
“I prefer the trial goes like this:
Q:Are you Saddam Hussein?
Then take this bullet in the head.”
There's still time for him to be shot while trying to escape.

FEMA should hire Ed McMahon to deliver the checks!

(Via Florida Cracker) Of course, he would be pretty busy:
With hundreds of thousands forced from homes battered by Hurricane Katrina, the federal government cut red tape to rush $2,000 checks and debit cards to help victims pay for clothes, food, transportation and a place to live.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency intended the aid for displaced Gulf Coast families and limited it to one payment per household.

But in three Louisiana parishes, FEMA issued more checks than there are households, at a cost to taxpayers of at least $70 million, a South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation has found.

And in 36 parishes and counties in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, FEMA awarded $102 million to at least 51,000 more applicants than local officials said were displaced by the storm.
Might be because the local chiselers discovered that fooling the Feds is profitable and not real tough:
In Mobile, Ala., residents coached each other on the right words to use when calling FEMA to get the $2,000. Many who received the money never had to leave their homes. Some had minor roof leaks. One said her furniture got wet because she kept opening her door to watch the storm.
Maybe they ought to have a special award for the most bogus excuse? Hmmm, I think my rheumatism acted up when Katrina came ashore down there. Send me my bucks!
In Pike County, Miss., Katrina displaced 25 families, yet 2,494 collected nearly $5 million and "made a ton of money," said Civil Defense Director Richard Coghlan.

"I'll tell you, it was Christmas," Coghlan said. "We're talking plasma TVs. We're talking stereos. We're talking bicycles."

In Louisiana's Iberville Parish, 70 miles from Katrina's landfall in New Orleans, the storm knocked down trees and power lines but caused no major damage, said emergency manager Laurie Doiron. Still, 819 parish residents received $1.6 million from the federal government.

"I can't possibly fathom 819 people needing $2,000 in immediate assistance," she said. "What do I attribute that to? FEMA being free with the money, too free with the money."
Ya think?

Today's Hoot!

Mr. Floatie and friend

Ryne McLaren shocks with Turd Withdraws From Race!

Best line from the linked story:
"Of course I'm not a real person," Skwarok said earlier this week. "I'm a big piece of poop."

Skwarok was not available for further comment.
John Kerry fans can relax. He's still running in 2008.

Whole lotta blasting going on!

"Doom" movie puts viewers behind the gun:
Hollywood is breaking ground on the silver screen by putting movie fans in the seat of trigger-happy game players as it tries to cash in on gaming's popularity this Friday with a film adaptation of the classic title "Doom."

In a novel sequence lasting several minutes, the movie offers a taste of the first-person-shooter gaming style introduced in the original "Doom" title, but whether the gimmick will lure fans awaits weekend box office results.

"Doom," based on the blockbuster video game series considered to be the grandaddy of this generation, pits an elite team of Marines against chromosomally mutated monsters on Mars. When film's action peaks, the camera's perspective changes to that of Karl Urban's "Reaper," the movie's hero, as he blasts a series of gruesome aliens to bits.
Wells said film makers worried about the length of the sequence because when the "Doom" game came out in December 1993, its first-person-shooter perspective sickened some gamers, including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who started playing in college and stars as "Sarge" in the film.

"There is always a risk that it becomes physically disorienting ... It's not a visual experience we are used to having" in a film, Wells said.
You'll get the idea in the teaser trailer available at Yahoo! More on the sequence:
The subjective camera sequence was a matter of great concern to both the filmmakers and the id folks. It comes fairly late in the movie -- not too late to satisfy fans, hopefully, but at the right point when general audiences are ready for it.

"We had long conversations about how long the audience would be able to stay comfortable with the subjective camera sequence," Wells reveals. "It hasn't been done very much. And it's different if it's happening in front of you on a 14-inch monitor or if you're surrounded by it in the theater.

"So it was a matter of how long you can stay in it before it becomes so disorienting that you, one, lose the narrative train of the picture, and two, just become physically disoriented," the producer continues. "One of the things we looked at were subjective amusement park simulator rides. They had done an extensive amount of research on how much time people could actually stay in them before, when they got off, they fell down on the pavement."

Ironically, id was more skeptical than the filmmakers.

"We were like, 'Maybe this is too much for video game fans and not enough for everybody else,' " Hollenshead says. "But it seems to be far enough along in the movie that people get it at that point. If you started the movie with something like that, I think it would've been confusing."
Odd effects don't make a movie, of course, but at least this isn't a typical Hollywood whineathon based on the evidence so far:
"We always assumed that this was going to be an R-rated picture," Wells adds. "And we felt very strongly that to do 'Doom' as a PG-13 would just, on its face, mean that it sucked."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"I'm Popular"

PCWorld has the story:
Using a self-propagating worm that exploits a scripting vulnerability common to most dynamic Web sites, a Los Angeles teenager made himself the most popular member of community Web site earlier this month.
But it's more fun to read the kid's own account:
A few months back, I decided to make a permanent myspace account so that I could easily view pictures of random, hot girls whenever I please without creating a new account each time.
I began to examine the site some more, seeing how they restrict things, what they restrict, taking some breaks to look at profiles of really hot girls, trying to add them as friends and getting rejected, and getting back to making my profile cool so that they would add me as a friend later. Chicks dig cool profiles. After a little bit of messing around, I found that I could put in a longer headline than what they allowed. Hell, I could even get around their other restrictions and get HTML in there in order to add cool "effects" to my page that other people can't add. Yeah, that will get me chicks. Girls want guys who have computer hacking skills.

Let's see here...what would make my profile rock. Well, the most popular profiles on myspace pretty much consist of people with the IQ and English delivery skills of Kanye West so I don't want to mimic those, but popularity begets popularity. I need some more friends. I need people to love me. I delved into the bug and found that I could basically control the web browsing of anyone who hit my profile. In fact, I was able to develop something that caused anyone who viewed my profile to add my name to their profile's list of heroes. It's villainous. I was ecstatic.
If I can become their friend...if I can become their hero...then why can't their friends become my hero. I can propagate the program to their profile, can't I.
Some people would call this a worm. I call it popularity. Regardless, I don't care about popularity, but it can't hurt, right?

10/04, 12:34 pm: You have 73 friends.
I decided to release my little popularity program. I'm going to be famous...among my friends.
10/05, 8:35 am: You have 74 friends and 221 friend requests.
Woah. I did not expect this much. I'm surprised it even worked.. 200 people have been infected in 8 hours. That means I'll have 600 new friends added every day. Woah.

10/05, 9:30 am: You have 74 friends and 480 friend requests.
Oh wait, it's exponential, isn't it. Sh*t.

10/05, 10:30 am: You have 518 friends and 561 friend requests.
Oh crap. I'm getting messages from people pissed off that I'm their friend when they didn't add me. I'm also getting emails saying "Hey, how the hell did you get onto my myspace....not that I mind, you're hot". From guys. But more girls than guys. This actually isn't so bad. The girls part.
10/05, 6:20 pm: I timidly go to my profile to view the friend requests. 2,503 friends. 917,084 friend requests.
I refresh three seconds later. 918,268. I refresh three seconds later. 919,664 (screenshot below). A few minutes later, I refresh. 1,005,831.

It's official. I'm popular.
Much more by following the link.

Today's Hoot!

A selection from Top Ten Proposals Being Considered To Boost NYT's Falling Profits:
9. Play to the leftist audience by allowing Paul Krugman one column per week which is completely (rather than mostly) unedited and un-fact-checked; run promotional campaign featuring pitchline "Thursdays are Crazy-Days!!!"
7. Put popular NYTimes Forum commenters behind the TimesSelect pay-per-view wall; people will eagerly shell out $25 to read the unhinged ramblings of "ProgressiveAvenger" and "DataNinja77"

6. Emulate the NY tabloids by running frequent contests and give-aways; readers who win the TimesBingo! contest will either receive a collection of books-on-tape by Susan Sonntag or Win a Dream Date With Frank Rich
Maybe they ought to just have regular pledge drives?

Look for the Union label!

Camille Cabral and the Euro sluts

From Reuters:
Sex worker Camille Cabral, representing French prostitutes, poses next to a European Union flag after a press conference organised by the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), at the European Parliament in Brussels, October 17, 2005. The ICRSE wants to end the criminalization of the sex industry and give prostitutes the same social rights as other workers.
Hey, why not? The EU already wants to regulate circuses.

By the way, if Camille seems excessively skanky even for an old whore, it's apparently because she started out in life as a guy.

Don't let the clients get away!

I just posted something about the New Orleans absentee ballot follies, and there's already more:
Federal officials dealt a major setback to the chances of holding citywide elections in New Orleans on Feb. 4 by denying state officials records showing where hurricane-displaced voters are living, state election officials said Tuesday.

Secretary of State Al Ater said he has written officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency seeking a reversal of the denial, which was issued Friday.

A FEMA spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., said the data Ater is seeking are protected by federal privacy laws and cannot be released to state officials.

Ater said that "by no fault of their own, more than 299,000 registered voters in Orleans Parish have been displaced." In his appeal letter -- also sent to members of the state's congressional delegation -- Ater said, "The absence of FEMA's assistance greatly hinders our attempt to conduct this election in February, and, in my opinion, leaves us with few options."
Try, "If they aren't back by February, they've moved".

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New Orleans Fun and Frolic Update

Dealership still missing cars, wants U.S. attorney to investigate:
The Cadillac dealership that was allegedly cleaned out by police during Hurricane Katrina is still missing over 100 vehicles, and the general manager wants the U.S. attorney to investigate.

"It needs to be handled by the Justice Department," Doug Stead said Tuesday. "... I think right now we've got cops looking for cops."
I can see why that would be a problem.
Police have acknowledged some cars were taken. It was not considered looting because the officers patrolled in the cars, Capt. Marlon Defillo said. Police are cooperating with the investigation, he said.

"Our cars were flooded," Defillo said. "If it had been Pintos, nobody would have said anything. It got attention because it was Cadillacs."

"They didn't take the little Chevrolets, though, did they?" Stead responded. "They took the Cadillacs, and there were plenty of Impalas here."
Hey, they needed big cars to haul the loot from Wal-Mart!
The cars taken from the dealership included 88 new Cadillacs and Chevrolets, 40 used cars, 52 customers' cars and a restored 1970 El Camino and 1966 Impala. Still missing are 50 customers' cars, 40 used cars and 17 new cars, Stead said.
Two new Corvettes were left in the street, apparently stalled out by the floodwaters and abandoned.

The dealership recovered a parts truck on Monday. A former employee noticed it parked in Houston and called Stead.
I wonder which poor rookie got stuck with the parts truck?

Meanwhile there's lots of angst about reconstruction - A mixed blessing for immigrants:
Welcome to the Gulf Coast post-Katrina, the nation's latest immigration magnet.

Lured here by the promise of fat paychecks and an emergency federal decree temporarily suspending immigration-enforcement sanctions, immigrants sleep in tents, crowded hotel rooms and parking lots. They haul trash and cut trees, fasten tarps to damaged roofs and tear out wet Sheetrock from thousands of soaked buildings.

It started out as a trickle. But over time, the post-Katrina job market has drawn large numbers of immigrants -- some legal, some not -- to New Orleans and other coastal communities from Florida, Texas, California, North Carolina and other immigrant-rich states.
At a recent seminar about the rebuilding efforts, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin asked the crowd, "How do I ensure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?"
Employers have little to fear in hiring illegal workers. Even before Katrina hit, work-site immigration enforcement was lax.
I'm sure shocked at that news!

But the politicos have their eye on the important employees - City may hire extra workers for absentee ballots:
If tens of thousands of voters who evacuated New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina are still away from their homes early next year, the city may have to hire extra workers to deal with absentee ballot applications for Feb. 4 elections, officials said Thursday.

Secretary of State Al Ater said almost 300,000 registered New Orleans voters left the city after Hurricane Katrina.

"We don't have enough personnel now," he said. "We have employees scattered in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi."

The comments came as a task force assembled by Ater started looking at possible ways to reach New Orleans voters who have been displaced and want to cast ballots in the February municipal primary.
Ater has indicated he would like to cross-check his list of registered voters with lists from FEMA or the American Red Cross to get current addresses of voters and inform them of their rights.

But Sen. Chris Ullo, D-Marrero, warned that if some groups or individuals get letters and others do not, Ater could be held liable and the election results could be challenged in court and voided.

Ater said his plan is to run newspaper, radio and television ads in the markets where New Orleans voters are, outlining how to obtain absentee ballots and telling them that they would forfeit their right to vote if they reregister in another parish or state.
Hasn't stopped them before, why should it now? I wonder how long this "absentee voter" schtick can last? It could be like the "Palestinians" who have been absent from Palestine for generations.

On the other hand, it may also be kinda tough getting the attention of the displaced locals until the loot runs out - Evacuees binge on Cape Cod: Spend FEMA cash on booze, strippers.

Today's Hoot!

And note this observation:
[I]t is not a crime in this country to discredit Joseph Wilson – if it were, we’d have to lock up every member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Heck, we'd have to lock up Joseph Wilson.
But we wouldn't want to mess up his fluffy coiffure.

Geek Fun!

I often stray over to the techie news sites and blogs in search of enlightenment, or if not enlightenment, at least some amusement. So imagine my surprise when to my wondering eyes appeared Bloggers unite for aggregation site:
A group of bloggers including mainstream journalists from outlets such as CNBC, The Nation and The New York Times are banding together to strike a blow at established media and pick up some ad dollars in the process.
Hold on, it's better than that.
Operating initially as Pajamas Media--a play on criticism that bloggers are "just a bunch of guys in their pajamas"--the site will offer original content and links to affiliate sites written by more than 70 bloggers, as well as basic news feeds from sources like The Associated Press, said novelist and screenwriter Roger L. Simon, one of the founders.

Contributors include: CNBC's Larry Kudlow; U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone; Nation columnist David Corn; Glenn Reynolds of fame; New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor John Podhoretz; Adam Bellow, Random House editor and son of Nobel Prize-winner Saul Bellow; Clifford D. May, ex-New York Times editor and current president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies think tank; Jane Hall, panelist of Fox News Watch; and co-founder Charles Johnson, author of the Little Green Footballs blog.
Much more by following the link. I knew this was going on, but it's nice to see that they are getting major buzz. I was also interested to read:
Regardless, the site could be seen as competing with the Liberal Blog Advertising Network. That site allows advertisers to place ads on more than 70 "liberal and progressive blogs."
Someone call Reynolds Wrap!

Speaking of Reynolds Wrap, you may recall wacky ole geek Dave Winer of "Lessons of 9-11" fame. He's just made some major coin by selling the ping server to Verisign and so Robert X. Cringley interviewed him for Nerd TV (video here). The loot clearly hasn't wrapped Winer any more tightly, but my favorite part is:
Bob: And what made you decide to make this your career?

Dave: A very visceral reaction to it. I mean I just knew that this was what I was gonna do. When I - there was a moment when I was sitting there at the keyboard and program. I just understood it. It just made sense to me. I just got it, and I had - there were lots of things that I really liked, and if you'd asked me when I was a teenager if I would end up being a programmer, I would've said, "That's the most ridiculous thing/idea in the world." Absolutely not. No, I was the editor of an underground newspaper. I was a promoter of rock concerts. I was a drug dealer. I was a-

Bob: What did you deal?

Dave: Well, mostly acid, actually.

Bob: Okay.

Dave: If you wanna know. I wasn't expecting the conversation to go that direction, but -

Bob: You took it that way.

Dave: Yeah, well, you asked it. Yeah, I did. I know, absolutely.

Bob: Yeah, no, no, that's fine. Statute of limitations has passed. It's fine.
Thanks for preventing a messy freak out, Bob, but this is clearly more than we wanted to know!

Finally, for a good old fashioned geek flame job, Cool Tech Reviews points to Jack Shafer at Slate excoriating The Apple Polishers:
I don't hate Apple. I don't even hate Apple-lovers. I do, however, possess deep odium for the legions of Apple polishers in the press corps who salute every shiny gadget the company parades through downtown Cupertino as if they were members of the Supreme Soviet viewing the latest ICBMs at the May Day parade.
What explains the press corps' exuberance for Apple in general and the iPod in particular? After all, the portable video player isn't a new product category—Archos, RCA, Samsung, and iRiver got there months and months ago. The excitement can't be due to the undersized screen, which measures only 2.5 inches diagonal, or the skimpy two hours of battery life when operated in video mode. As I paged through a Nexis dump of the V-iPod coverage, I searched in vain for a single headline proclaiming "Apple Introduces Ho-Hum Player" or an article comparing the V-iPod's technical specs to those of competing brands. At least the techie readers of Engadget, free of the Apple mind-meld, recognize the V-iPod as a deliberately crippled by copy protection, low-res, underpowered video appliance that is merely Apple's first try in the emerging market of video players.
Another thing that sets Apple product launches apart from those of its competition is co-founder Jobs' psychological savvy. From the beginning, Jobs flexed his powerful reality-distortion field to bend employees to his will, so pushing the most susceptible customers and the press around with the same psi power only comes naturally. Although staffed by dorks and drizzlerods, Apple projects itself and its products as the embodiment of style and cool.
There's more fun to be had by following the link.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I'm not sure what it is, but it comes on a shingle

(Via Simon World) Curzon at ComingAnarchy amazes with:
I found this while rummaging through a Japanese politics discussion board—a visual explanation of the rations of various militaries around the world (translation by yours truly).
For me, I’m just glad I’m not in the Chinese army.
Hit the link for the link to the photo. As Simon observes, "Canadians get Kit Kats". That's about it for the good news.

It's nice to see Bobby Mugabe get out once in a while!

Bobby Mugabe gets picked on again
(Hat tip:

I mean, I know he's a got a busy schedule grinding the faces of his subjects and generally he only gets out for his yearly "shop 'til you drop" trip. So it was really nice of the United Nations kleptocrats to invite him to speak at one of their expense account padding events in Rome and as usual, he was a crowd pleaser:
Mugabe departed from his text at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to accuse Bush and Blair of illegally invading Iraq and looking to unseat governments elsewhere.

"Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed (an) unholy alliance, formed an alliance to attack an innocent country?" he asked rhetorically.

"The voice of Mr Bush and the voice of Mr Blair can't decide who shall rule in Zimbabwe, who shall rule in Africa, who shall rule in Asia, who shall rule in Venezuela, who shall rule in Iran, who shall rule in Iraq," he said.
And who shall go shopping in Malaysia.
While all the other leaders who addressed the assembly from a lectern did so standing alone, Mugabe was flanked by two bodyguards who stood inches away as he accused Bush and Blair of creating "an inferno" in Iraq.
Probably to keep the ole wingnut from toppling over. Don't worry, Bobby, we know where to find you.

Update: Groupies!

Mugabe checks out his favorite groupie, Hugo Chavez

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Cold Fury:
This is maybe the greatest, smartest plan to conserve fuel that I’ve ever seen. Stick it right in OPEC’s ear.

It really resonates with me for some reason. I don’t know why. It just does.