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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

SECOND UPDATE: Well, it just gets creepier and creepier (reader discretion advised). This is a teen-ager, not a fully grown young woman in a blue dress. But just watch, the Republicans will try to blame Clinton for this, too. UPDATE: I was joking! They did it. They blamed Clinton.
Rep. Mark Foley, R-Florida, considered a shoe-in for re-election this November, has submitted his resignation to Congress.

In his e-mails to a 16-year-old male congressional page, Foley asked how old the boy was, what he wanted for his upcoming birthday, how he was doing after Hurricane Katrina and for a photo.

The boy forwarded the e-mails to a staffer and said, "Maybe it is just me being paranoid, but seriously. This freaked me out."

Seriously. It would have freaked me out, too. Ish. *Shudder.*

Foley denies that he said anything “inappropriate.” Well, how about creepy? Ask for the photo of a kid—but don’t let gays get married! Yes, Congresspeople like Foley sure have their priorities straigh—uh…I mean…
UPDATED: What follows is a new feature that I’m trying out—Amused Quotes.

(Deliberately mused-up quotes from other people—because I was an amused child.)

Ripped Rep Foley (a.k.a. Hot for Bleachers, because he’s sitting this election out): “I am madly, truly, deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my Gaa! Don’t tell me! family Oh. Whew! and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to, er, ‘represent’…”

Foley’s staff initially blamed the Dems. Well, read the e-mails for yourself if you want. I just read what the kid himself had to say:

“Sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick…”

Yeah, stupid Dems, it's all their fault. Stay the course. Oh! Er...

I Believe in Dog

A U.S. judge just took Duane Chapman off his ankle bracelet monitor so that he can take a trip to New York. Oh yes, protect America from Dog the Bounty Hunter! And to where, necessitating that ankle bracelet, was the Dog going to flee—PBS?

How many people have their heads up their wazzoos on this one? Whatever you think of his skip tracer methods, Dog went down to Mexico to get serial rapist and A-One creepazoid Andrew Luster, and Dog got him. Then the FBI lied about having a contract with Dog. (Note to FBI: Keep your secrets secret by telling the truth for a change—people won’t believe you then!)

Oh, but that was illegal, the capture by a bounty hunter of an international fugitive accused of drugging women and raping them, and videotaping it! Wow, nice to know that something is illegal in Mexico. Maybe the Mexican authorities should deal with their endemic police corruption and finally solve the maquiladoras serial killings in Juarez first?

This is just a travesty.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm a Woman on a Mission!

Not to sound like JAD, but I have another paper to write, this time on issues of Information Science.

I have to summarize the issues raised in articles in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). Now, this is fun stuff, people!

Here's a sampling of the articles:

article: Introduction to Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is a multifaceted discipline combining many scientific fields including computational biology, statistics, mathematics, molecular biology, and genetics. Bioinformatics enables biomedical investigators to exploit existing and emerging computational technologies to seamlessly store, mine, retrieve, and analyze data from genomics an proteomics technologies.

article: Relying on Electronic Journals: Reading Patterns of Astronomers

article: Genescene: An Ontology-Enhanced Integration of Linguistic and Co-Occurrence Based Relations in Biomedical Texts

The increasing amount of publicly available lit and experimental data in biomedicine makes it hard for biomedical researchers to stay up-to-date. Genescene is a toolkit that will help alleviate this problem by providing an overview of published literature content.

article: Integrated Bioinformatics Application for Automated Target Discovery

In this article we present an in silico method that automatically assigns putative functions to DNA sequences.

See what I mean? Doesn't it sound like fun? Wish me luck! (My weekend is shot.)

Cleanliness Is Next to Hitchcockiness

I just got home from the library and caught Alfred Hitchcock being interviewed by Dick Cavett (reruns being broadcast on Turner Classic Movies). Hitch, in reply to a question about viewers of Psycho being afraid to take a shower, relates the story of a man who wrote to him, saying that his daughter, after having seen the French horror film Diabolique, could not take a bath. Then, she went to see Psycho, and could not take a shower, either!

Needless to say, she became "unpleasant to be around."

The Hitch wrote this laconic letter of advice to the man: Dear Sir, please take your daughter to a dry cleaner's...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Republicans Choose Twin Cities

for the 2008 Republican presidential convention.

Oh, goodie gumdrops.

UPDATED: Well, let's look on the bright side: at least I won't have to ride a day-and-a-half bus ride to the protest in 2008--more like a 45-minute bus ride. (Yes, I rode that bus with the Anti-War Committee all the way from Minnesota to New York City in 2004, to protest the Republican National Convention. I had a good time, met great people, did something I believed in--but that bus ride! Christ, I'm too old for that shit--never again!)

BTW, if you were watching that protest on TV two years ago, I was there the first day (Sunday), and my group was right behind the dragon (though we had pulled way in front of it before it was burned).

Some defeatists at Pharyngula are pissing me off saying things like, "Where are the Republican handlers going to let you protest? Eden Prairie, Hopkins?" The Republican handlers are not going to "let" me protest! Fuck them and their cyclone fencing. The Republicans and the city of New York didn't "let" us gather in Central Park in '04, and we did anyway. The Anti-War Committee is committed to getting people in, having a peaceful protest, and getting people safely out again. Yes, things got dicey afterward--that's why this is important. Do you really think that, if we let them "let" us do things, they won't come up with longer and longer lists of things that they will "let" us do?

Get used to seeing cyclone fencing--around your ass--if you behave according to how the Republican hired thugs "let" you behave.

Oh, and here's another protest in St. Paul, against the Stand Up for Theocracy crowd. (I cannot attend, regrettably.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So, Did Osama Wear a Blue Dress?

I'm not a big fan of former President Bill Clinton. I did not vote for him during his second campaign. Therefore, I'd like to put a gentle question to Dr. Condi Rice:

So why didn't you raise the Al-Qaeda danger during the impeachment hearings, you opportunitistic, ass-covering, hindsight-happy twit?

Oh...that's right. Predictions are always made after the fact! Ask Pat Robertson. Ask any psychic.

Holy James Randi, could the Bush Administration get any stupider?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Iranian-Born Woman in Space

Space passenger inspires Iranian women.

We’re Losing Afghanistan

Almost five years after the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, the gains that Afghanistan has made are eroding, with the rights of women and children toppling first.

Taliban brutes are bombing and burning schools in an effort to prevent boys from learning anything but their distorted version of the Koran, and to prevent girls from learning anything. The carnage has driven parents and teachers to form an underground home schooling movement.

Let’s set aside Iraq for the moment—we’re losing Afghanistan. And where is the President, in whom I briefly trusted after September 11, 2001? Where is the First Lady, who once spoke eloquently on the rights of Afghan women?

I’ll tell you who’s going to “cut and run”: George W. Bush.

Iraq is a mess, Afghanistan is about to sink back into its ignorant abyss once more, and all George wants at this point is to stay in power long enough to foist his foreign and domestic policy disasters onto someone else. In two more years, Iraq will be lost and Afghanistan will be lost, and we’ll be saddled with a national debt the size of Jupiter, and George will drive away on his golf cart back to his ranch to happily clear brush (what does he grow on that ranch, anyway—brush?) and manage a baseball team, which is his real ambition in life.

And in the meantime, it’s Banned Books Week. How appropriate. Think of all the rights and privileges that we Americans have to educate ourselves (should we chose to do so, and turn off the damn boob-tube) that others, who hunger for such rights, do not.

Remember Afghanistan especially this week.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Osmo Vänskä: Mixing the Muses

(And we all know our muses?)

John and I attended the Minnesota Orchestra's 2006-07 Season Preview Concert this afternoon (I snagged some free tix), and I was reminded once again how privileged we are in the Twin Cities area to have a top-notch conductor and musical director for our top-notch, internationally recognized orchestra, Osmo Vänskä. But that's not the real reason to love Vänskä. The real reason to love this man is that, while he's conducting, he's crazy.

He jumps around and dances around, gesticulating like some mad thespian, dancing with Euterpe (the muse of music) until he's evoked Terpsichore (the Greek muse of dance). Vänskä is an absolute riot!

Until I saw him conduct, my favorite dancing conductor was James Levine, of the Metropolitan Opera, who conducted the entire cycle of Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelungen (broadcast on PBS). To see him flying from side to side with his baton to the sounds of those dizzying violins in Ride of the Valkyries was truly the highlight of that performance for me (and there were a lot of highlights, let me tell you).

It was great, too, to see so many children at the concert. They were so good and one particular little girl in a pink dress received many smiles from older women (and me too) as her mother bounced her in time with the music. When MPR's Brian Newhouse asked for a show of hands from those first-time visitors in the audience, one little boy toward the front shot up his hand, and after the applause he stood up, hand still in the air, and the audience clapped again!

In Minnesota, the arts are considered a family affair, like our museums, and our libraries. (There were tons of kids at the Central Library yesterday; I saw one of my co-workers there with his wife and daughter, who's just turned 16 months, and when she glommed onto the book display I said, "Yeah! Get them sucked in early!") And we're not snobs in Minnesota; we're willing to share.

You can't have Mr. Vänskä, though--you have to come here! Heh, heh.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Good News, For a Change (Fine News, Too)

Rather than support a white supremacist Republican nominee who finangled his slimy self into the pivotal race in Arizona's 8th Congressional District, the Republican Party has withdrawn all of its financial support in that race, essentially conceding defeat.

Randy Graf, the total asshole swine endorsed by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, has a history of mingling with white supremacists. Democratic leaders urged the chair of the NRCC to pull its financial support out of the race, and the NRCC cancelled its media buys and walked away from the race.

Randy Graf now goes it alone against the Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, who had already been 19 points over Graf even before the NRCC's pullout. Democrats are only 15 seats away from controlling the majority in the House.

In Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, Republican Alan Fine seems to have totally lost his fucking mind and gone on a delirious rant about Democrat Keith Ellison's supposed association with Jew-hatin' black Muslims. Oogah-boogah! Even the Independent Party candidate has had enough of Fine's bullshit, telling Fine in debates to knock it off. Yet whenever Fine is asked by her or Keith about the issues, Karl Rove's butt--oh, excuse me, Alan Fine replies, "The most important issue is character."

And when Alan Fine is asked if he was indeed told by Karl Rove to swiftboat Keith Ellison, Fine refuses to answer. Oh, yes. The most important issue is character! Got it.

Well, the 5th Congressional District has voted Democrat for over two decades. Fine may as well give his urges free reign and don a Ku Klux Klan robe for all the chance he has. Good news!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Free the Tripoli Six!

2nd UPDATE: Declain's documentary Injection is available via The Science Pundit.

UPDATED: When you write your letter, it is important to be respectful, even deferential, no matter how mad you are. I use all of the honorifics suggested and the phrases "I implore," "I beg," "I ask," and "I thank." Here is a template, but I decided to go for the heartstrings and add lines imploring for the defendants' release not only for the sake of the five nurses and one physician, but in the name of Libya's innocent children who have been hurt and those who could be exposed to HIV in the future. Feel free to express your own concern for Libya's children as you write. This is about them as much as it is about the defendants; and it gives an added incentive for the leaders of Libya to act, for no one want to see HIV spread further while fear spreads through the aid worker community about serving the world's needy children in other countries.
Via Aetiology (latest news), Declan Butler's personal site, and Pharyngula

Any talk of Mohmar Kaddafyi’s “moderation” is ridiculous in light of the arrest, torture, trial, and conviction of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician, who stand accused—I am not kidding—of deliberately infecting 400 Libyan children with the HiV virus while working at a Libyan hospital.

They were acting as “agents of Israel and the United States.” Right.

Their case is now on appeal (whatever that means to this backwards, totalitarianist regime). They have been beaten and tortured with electric shock, and two of the nurses were raped. Their chances of escaping a death sentence in repayment for their selfless dedication to children’s health are slim. According to PZ’s site:

Defenders were able to show that the children were largely victims of HIV exposure prior to the arrival of the accused, and that the real culprit was a policy of poorly trained staff, unsterilized equipment, and generally shoddy hygiene. It didn't matter; they were convicted in a sham trial, and sentenced to death by firing squad.

Sickening! Despicable! Please send a letter of protest today! (To give your words more weight, write a letter rather than an e-mail; use your own words rather than a form letter.)

Contact info here:

Also, if you blog, raise the alarm yourself. Thank you.

And a big thank you to Declan (reporter for Nature and blogger), Aetiology, Pharyngula, and The Questionable Authority

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Final Movie Party This Saturday

UPDATE: Looks like rain. So, I guess we'll have to show the movie inside. Rock'n'roll!
You're all coming, aren't you? ;-)
If it doesn't rain, we're planning to have our final movie yard-party and wine harvest festival this Saturday.

We're starting at 5 p.m. and featuring tastes of homemade wine, cheese, garden/vineyard tours, and the special backyard bedsheet screen attraction, Dames.

Dames is a 1934 Warner Brothers musical in which Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell battle the censorship antics of Hugh Herbert, Zasu Pitts and Guy Kibbee in order to put on their musical. It features three great Busby Berkeley numbers, including "I Only Have Eyes for You."

The movie starts about 8 p.m. after John's short film, "Garden Richter 06," this summer's garden animation project. Also, John wants to animate you for an animation sociology project about the wonders of the liquids we put into ourselves.

But don't pray for nice weather! It does no good--and if you do, just don't tell me about it!

Open Thread

A commentary in three acts!

Okay, friends, hash it out--just no shouting, please, or too much name-calling, 'cause I'm not moderating you guys. I'm as maternal as a stone, and not much of a baby-sitter, but I've hosted some great dusk-to-dawn arguments in my day.

And anybody else out there--jump in!

Teach the History, Dembski!

Well, well, well, lookie what I found in one of my readings for grad school! (Little wonder Ann Coulter doesn't like librarians!)

I highly recommend Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles, a truly gifted and even poetic writer in the best sense. Tracing the history of the library from its earliest manifestation in Nippur to its highly controversial contribution to the volatile proliferation of letters and pamphlets in Jonathan Swift's day, Battles explodes many myths (such as the legend of the Muslim conqueror Amr's famous, but probably apocryphal quote "If what is written in the books in the library at Alexandria agrees with the Quar'an, they are redundant; if they disagree, they are undesireable. Destroy them therefore!"). Yes, the (several) burning(s) of the Library at Alexandria make for a compelling drama, but the situation was far more complex.

However, there is an even more compelling drama that Battles demythologizes.

If one is familiar with William Dembski's body of work and thoughts, one knows that Dembski blames the spectre of atheism on naturalism, "materialism," or what could be called strict scientific empiricism. However, after the founding of the Anglican Church in England, it was scientific empiricism and biblical literalism that were allied:

But after Cromwell's death and the Restoration, the intellectual complexion of England changed, and Bacon's influence became polarized. In 1664, the Dissenters, Protestants who questioned the pomp and authority of the Anglican Church, had been forced out of the universities, thus closing to them the surest routes to power and position. Dissenting ministers in turn set up their own academies, in which Puritan theology and Baconian science held sway over the classical curriculum of Cambridge and Oxford. The mixture seems an unlikely one today, in our time of battles between the sacred and the secular, between creationism and the theory of evolution. But to the seventeenth-century mind, biblical literalism and scientific empiricism were cut from the same cloth; both followed Bason in their reliance on the authority of the evidence as it lay before one's eyes. This was in strict contrast to the more secular classical curriculum, where the authority of tradition and the salutary value of imitation and emulation were taken, as it were, on faith.

It is exactly this mentality of imitation and emulation of a pre-Darwinist classical curriculum that Dembski now espouses!

A Little Sugar for the Prez

Give this Georgie-puppy a big ole kiss! Mwah! Mwah! MmmmmmMMMMM....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

General Distress Call: God Delusion Tour Info

I just received my copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and I want to know if anyone has his tour schedule?

The only date I know about is Oct. 16 and 17 in Kansas and I have to work that evening! (And I don't live in Kansas.)

Any chance of him coming to Minnesota?

UPDATED: I found some info here (and here, his calendar at the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science & Reason--check it out!):

September 22, 10:30 p.m. - BBC2's Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman
October 9, 7:00 p.m. - Institute of Education, University of London
October 11, 1:00 p.m. - The Orange Birmingham Book Festival, Birmingham

American Appearances:
October 16, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
October 18, New York Academy of Science, New York, NY
October 19, Harvard Bookstore ReadingThe First Parish Church, Cambridge, MA

October 20, PopTech Conference, Camden, ME
October 21, McGill University, Montreal, QC
October 23, Philip Thayer Memorial LectureRandolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, VA

October 24, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC
October 26, University of Washington Bookstore, Seattle, WA
October 27, Powell's Books, Portland, OR

October 28, Skeptics SocietyCal-Tech, Beckman Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA
October 30, City Arts & Lectures The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
November 2, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

November 3-4, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
November 6, Salk Conference, San Diego, CA

I guess Minnesota is just out of luck. Damn!

UPDATED: Reviews of The God Delusion:

Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins "darwin's Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky).

Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes. He critiques God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. In so doing, he makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just irrational, but potentially deadly.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who Designed the Designer's Website?

Because it seems to have been redesigned. It's actually undergone a lot of revisions. In fact, it seems to have disappeared from the Google index and Internet Archive.

Well, that's quite a gap in UD's fossil record, I must say! I think we need to hold these IDers to account! Tied-to-mainmast, feather-tickle strategy is beginning to sound more practical every passing moment. (Or maybe not: "Explanatory Filter? What's an Explanatory Filter?" Dishonest cutie-pie. Yes, maybe pleasure-torture doesn't yield good intelligence. It takes a sense of humor for that.)

But not to worry, Mrs. O'Leary is still in the UD shed with her lantern to light our path. I guess the guys at UD prefer creepy pain metaphors. Because, as we all know, violence is better than s-e-x. Too bad.

(Shimmies to Pharyngula and The Austringer)

UPDATED: Well, now the folks at UD are saying that their disappearance is "all very curious." Hmm. (Are they covering the covering of their tracks, now, or did they find out themselves from one of the postings of the "Darwinists"? Doesn't look good for them either way.)

How do gaps occur in the fossil record? How do holes appear in one's theory? It must be God! (Oh, excuse me, design.) Right?

Say "Arrr," Somebody!

Because it's international Talk Like a Pirate Day!

(But we all know that every day is Walk Like an Egyptian Day, right?)

Scabbard lift to BigDumbChimp

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Ain't Heavy, But My Workload Is

Now that people are visiting and commenting, just as most bloggers, including me, want them to do, I just want to put out there the fact that, if I don't reply right away, I'm not ignoring you or stomping away in a huff or anything like that. It's just that I'm furiously multi-tasking!

Mondays are hideously busy at work, and I'm at school most nights. Just letting people know. You are going to have to police yourselves if people get angry and call others names and stuff. (Although JAD hasn't shown up, so we're cool.)

And the caterers showed up today, which is way cool. So, virtual muffins to all participants here!

"The West is Doomed"

Political geniuses and moral paragons of virtue explain it all for us. Boy, this is sure beginning to sound familiar.

So, does this supposed collapse of the West, where most little girls can at least go to school without armed bands of maniacs burning down their school and/or chopping off the girls' heads, happen before or during the "death of evolution" (see left)?

Any time that William Dembski and the other purveyors of intelligent [sic] design want to give up their counterproductive fight for this pseudoscience and this vacuous theological argument, and join us rationalists in fighting for what's really important, I will welcome them. Until then, they bear some responsibility for the growing rapacious superstition that we see around us, whether or not they are members of the particular religious sect involved.

Any time, Uncommon Descenters. (Why "vacuous"? Not even my term. Check this out.)

Newly-Discovered Shark Must Have Been Designed...

...just to piss Dembski off.

But then, he probably thinks of "Darwinists" as walking sharks anyway.

UPDATED: Check out more on this here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Get an Apology, Shoot a Nun

UPDATED: I'm a secularist, and "that's bad enough." Well, let me make this perfectly clear: I hate religious wars.

Just hate them. Just sick of them. Hate it all. Makes me angry. Makes me cry. And yes, I'm pointing my condemning finger at China, too.

Got that?
In retaliation for whoever the hell ancient wheezebag it was that the Pope was quoting this time (theologians are always quoting each other; something to do with the "oral tradition"), Islamist nutjobs have shot a nun. Four times.

In the back.

At a children's hospital.

Cowardly fucks!

And the Pope apologized. I wish that he would just (and would have in the first place just) shut up. What was he apologizing for? Offending Muslims? He's already offended many atheists and do you see us rioting like a pack of lunatics? Do Muslims have some inherent right not to be offended? Frankly, I disagree with that decaying Byzantine emperor's statement about Mohammed not bringing anything but "evil," but it was his opinion and he's dead, for pity's sake! Talk about thin-skinned.

You know what? I think that it's time that the West quit offending countries like Somalia and Saudi Arabia with the presence of infidel nurses and doctors and let these paragons of virtue manage their own health care. (My boyfriend's mother was a nurse in Al-Riyadh for a few years. Thousands of Saudi princes and princesses, and they have to hire Western nurses and doctors. Holy shit.)

Let's see how long they last, after every Western nurse, doctor, and aid worker has hauled ass out of there and these loopy looters are left to themselves and their neighbors who like to burn down girls' schools.

After all, there's a reason why so many of the moderate, sane Muslims I know are over here, instead of longing for a nation of "pure Islam" as so many new converts do.

Some other time I'll give an account of a really interesting debate that I saw between some moderate Muslim emigrants and natural-born, fanatical, newly-converted Americans to Islam. But, until then, blame the secularists! We're scarrrwwwy!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thank You, Michael Shermer

Okay, I was watching television last night. Yes, I had finished my homework as I have been telling everyone I need to do. My boyfriend was flipping around the channels and then went to bed, and I saw that Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic Magazine who is on tour promoting his new book, was being interviewed regarding the conspiracy theories surrounding September 11.

What can I say? Shermer lays it all out clearly and rationally: the idea that George W. Bush, whatever you think of the man (and I think that he should be impeached), deliberately ordered the deaths of over 3000 innocent people that day, or (even more ridiculous) waited around and left the nation unprotected on the off-chance that Osama Bin Laden would "strike inside the U.S." so that the President could sell an Iraq invasion to the people of America, is just nonsense.

Shermer took phone calls and replied easily and calmly to the genuine questions put to him. He does think that perhaps Timothy McVeigh had accomplices, even Iraqi ones, which was news to me. But on the subject of September 11, he brooked no nonsense. I will not sum up what he said here; follow the link above to Mole's article.

But I must say that, as someone who did not vote for George W. Bush and who does not support him, who believes that he lied to the American people and claims too much power for himself, and who would like to see him and the Vice-President legally removed from office, I must say that the idea that September 11 was a murderous conspiracy deliberately perpetrated by him and/or his administration, is the most vicious, heartless slander to be leveled against any sitting American President.

I said it before, and I repeat it now: 9/11 conspiracy theories are just Intelligent Design with a "I Love My Co-op" sticker. Now, Bush can claim to be even more of a victim than Bill Clinton. Bleh. I hope those conspiracy theorists are proud of themselves. Accusing a President of the United States, even an asshole like George W. Bush, is a very serious, and frightening, charge! When they were interviewed on Democracy Now! the directors of Loose Change, that pseudo-documentary on September 11, seemed to enjoy their ideas. It seems like fun to them.

Well, I am not amused.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Freaky Friday

Okay, let's lighten things up a bit. I'm going to be busy with lots-o-cataloging homework this weekend, so here's an oldie that I wrote about my favorite horror films.

Blood and Lace 1971
Director: Philip Gilbert
I saw this yucko, hard-to-find thriller about an orphanage/torture chamber when I was way too young (try age seven). I haven’t seen it since; so I have no idea if it really was a good flick, or a dog. It sure scared me at the time. If someone out there has it, please let me know!

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the Germany, 1919
Director: Robert Wiene
Try to find a good print and soundtrack; or even better, catch it on the big screen at a college art house or retrospective theatre. Don’t watch an inferior print just to see it. Half of this film’s appeal is the impressionistic set.

Careful Canada, 1993
Director: Guy Madden
David Lynch can only wish he had half the talent (and one-fifth the vision) of this truly great director. Set in a puritanical Teutonic village in perpetual danger of avalanche,Careful lampoons the repressed emotions of its inhabitants with surrealist glee.

Diabolique France, 1955
(a.k.a. Les Diaboliques)
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Screw the crappy remake—this is the real thing. It’s a chance to see a young Simone Signoret before she came to America. If you can’t stand subtitles, there’s a competently-dubbed version in English. Ne soyez pas diaboliques...

Eyes Wide Shut 1999
Director: Stanley Kubrick
No, I don’t care what anyone says. I loved it. I wish I could be hypnotised to forget the movie just to experience it again.

Fanny and Alexander Sweden, 1982
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Yes, this film scared me. It scared the living shit out of me. It deals with religious fear and a tyrannical lover who holds his wife prisoner. I saw this right after leaving the man who would later stalk me and it left me shaking.

“Frankenstein: The True Story” Made for television, 1973
Director: Jack Smight
Well, not quite the true story; but this stylish retelling of the Frankenstein myth is the most faithful of all the films to the spirit (if not to the text) of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece. The special effects may look hokey today, but the film is buoyed by stunning performances from Leonard Whiting, the late James Mason, Michael Sarrazin, and Jane Seymour. Leonard Maltin describes this as the “thinking man’s horror movie.” (The screenplay was written by Christopher Isherwood!)

Freaks 1932
Director: Tod Browning
You have no right to die until you see this bizarre cult classic about a selfish, beautiful aerialist who marries the short man for his money and plans to murder him, only to get her just desserts. Features real-life carnival "freaks." Not for the squeamish, although I love the characters. (Alternate title: Nature’s Mistakes--a stupid title) For the record, to me it's the beautiful people in this film who are the real freaks.

Halloween 1978
Director: John Carpenter
No duh!

Haunting, the 1963
Director: Robert Wise
This is the original and (natch!) superior version starring Julie Harris, Russ Tamblyn, and Claire Bloom. Watch it at night in a darkened room without commercial interruptions, and pay close attention. Nelson Gidding’s screenplay adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel is sprinkled throughout with important psychological clues that went right over the heads of the dorks responsible for the doltish remake.

The Last Broadcast 1998
Directors: Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler
This worthy experiment in faux documentary had a very limited release, but the premise is similar to that of The Blair Witch Project. (However, this one was filmed and released before the record-setting feature set in Maryland’s Black Hills.) Three young men walk into the woods to make a documentary about a reputed killer-hermit, the New Jersey Devil, and only one man walks out again. This flick had me going for a while—I thought it was real!

The Last Wave Australia, 1978
Director: Peter Weir
Slow-moving and full of "aborigine" mystical garble, much of it not authentic to the culture anyway, but weird and worth it.

M Germany, 1931
Director: Fritz Lang
Fritz Lang’s chilling classic starring Peter Lorre is still unsurpassed in its handling of the material, even in our cynical era of celebrity serial killers. Somewhere lurks the original version, without the preachy ending.

Night of the Hunter 1955
Director: Charles Laughton
Still disturbing today. My ex-boyfriend (the born-again Christian who stalked me) used to sing the “Leaning, leaning” song that Robert Mitchum sings in the film. That sure set the tone for terror as I watched this one! (I sent my ex running off long ago with his proverbial tail between his proverbial legs, by the way—so don’t worry about me.) With Shelly Winters and Lilian Gish, of silent screen fame.

Night of the Living Dead 1968
Director: George A. Romero
No comment needed. (I actually saw this in church! My youth director got in a lot of trouble for that.)

Nosferatu Germany, 1922
Director: F.W. Murnau
Never underestimate the power of a silent masterpiece! The images in this film are among the most chilling ever filmed. Murnau’s use of shadow and similie to craft the sense of omnipotent evil is unsurpassed in the cinema.

Picnic at Hanging Rock Australia, 1975
Director: Peter Weir
Weir for "weird." While not a horror film in the classic sense, definitely a classic. This mood piece about the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls and a teacher in 1901, based upon real events, leaves one with a profound sense of unease.

Psycho 1960
Director: The Hitch!
No comment needed. Just forget the sequels, please (and the crudola remake).

Shining, the 1980
Director: Stanley Kubrick
A disappointing ending mars this overwise brilliant, Murnauesque film.

Vampyr France and Germany, 1932
Director: Carl Theodore Dreyer
As in The Shining and The Haunting, evil manifests itself as a pervasive force rather than a visible ghoul. A lovely and weird film by one of my favorite directors.

Wicker Man, the Britain, 1973
Director: Robin Hardy
More psychological thriller than horror film, which follows the investigation of a missing girl on a pagan Scottish isle by a religiously uptight police officer. Edward Woodward deftly garners both the audience’s contempt and sympathy in a complex portrayal of a bigoted, self-righteous, but good-hearted gumshoe Christian. This film features (or purports to feature) local color, songs, and practices, and manages to avoid caricature of both nature worship and orthodox Christianity. For the record, though the ending is satisfying in a literary sense, I hate what happens to poor, uptight, cute Sergeant Howie. Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland also star.

Les Yeux sans Visage (Eyes without a Face) Italy and France, 1959
(a.k.a. Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus)
Director: Georges Franju
A must-see! An insane doctor kidnaps beautiful girls to surgically transplant their faces onto his disfigured daughter. The special effects horrified French audiences in its day, and are still effective today. Eerie in light of the recent successful "face transplant" in France.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Require HPV for School

Michigan legislation would require girls to get the HPV vaccine.

I think this is an excellent idea, and I don't want to hear whining about “Legislating vaccinations is not a good idea.” Come on. I had to get required vaccinations in order to enroll at a private Catholic college.

“Don’t tell me how to raise my kid!” Know what, parents? You don’t own your kids! You do not have the right to tell them what religion to belong to, what political party to belong to, or what diseases you think they should be protected from. They have an inherent right to be protected from all diseases.

People are always pointing at scientists and screaming, “Why don’t you find a cure for cancer?” Well, now that scientists finally have, loopy-loo fundies deny the treatment for their daughters! Screw them. Not only should this vaccination be required for all young girls, any parent who seriously thinks that this “encourages immorality” should have his or her children taken away. They aren't fit to be parents.

How about that?

UPDATED: Because of my being metioned at UDreamofJanie, I actually got a mention at Aetiology. Whoo-hoo! The anti-flapdoodle superheroine Dr. Tara! Thanks, JanieBelle and Corporal Kate. (And boy, did it tick some people off.)

"More Like Wrestlers"

Neanderthals survived longer than previously thought.

I always feel a sense of loss when thinking about Homo neanderthalensis, or Homo erectus, or Homo habilis (for whom I've always have a particular affection).

At least it's looking more and more like Homo sapiens didn't simply kill off the other, now extinct species of humans. I was rather skeptical of that theory.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It Looks Like it's Ellison

Not all of the polls are in, but Mike "Hissy-Fit" Erlandson just conceded.

It's a conspiracy! ;-) So cry me a river, Minneapolis Wrong Tribune.

The Pitiful Opining Pre-Evolved (POPE) Mass

The Pope slams evolution.

What a conspiracy theoriest! Well, they're all over.

Here's your chance, Katherine Kersten. Are you willing to stand up to this pseudoscientific, conspiracy-mongering, "poisoning of the atmosphere"?

I can't hear you. Did you say something?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Poisoned by Whom, Katherine Kersten?

UPDATED: According to our glorious global strugglers against…oh, excuse me, our glorious warriors against terra (firma), the veterans of the first Gulf War weren't poisoned. But they were.
Katherine Kersten has another column in the desperate-for-readers Minneapolis Star Tribune, shaking her ever-present, tut-tut schoolmarmish finger like a butt thermometer in front of a cowering infant, and lecturing us once more on our sins.

This time she's actually found a worthy target for her trademark janey-one-note scorn: September 11 conspiracy theories. I must say that I am highly skeptical of all this so-called "scientific evidence" that the Bush Administration planned/allowed/or sat by helplessly while a shadow government planned the terroristic attack. (After I watched the convention of conspiracy theorists and groups like the people involved in the crapumentory "Loose Change" present their "evidence," they called a roll of liberals to be punished, or purged, Soviet-style: Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman among them. I mean, come on! Noam Chomsky?)

Yes, these theories are utter crap from what I've seen. These people need to cough up better arguments than those cut from the same pinking shears as Intelligent Design! However, Kersten ducks the question of true responsibility once more, asserting that a few university professors from the University of St. Thomas and U-W Madison are creating this pervasive "poisoned atmosphere" in which these theories flourish. And I thought the point of her column was to debunk conspiracy theories.

What bullshit! A few college professors can hardly create such an "atmosphere," especially in anti-intellectual America. But naturally, Kersten doesn't point that famous shaming finger at the real culprit. She mewls--with uncharacteristic gentleness this time --that people are calling George W. Bush evil instead of "wrong or misguided." So, does Kersten actually mean to suggest that George W. Bush is possibly "wrong or misguided?" Because I think that she, as well as Donald Rumsfeld himself, Condi Rice, and other Bush Administration minions have repeatedly portrayed critics of the Iraq War as unpatriotic, ignorant, selfish, dangerous, and "morally confused."

I think that the President himself has pursued several illegal actions, including the wiretapping scandal and the collection of the phone records of American citizens, that have contributed to this "poisoned atmosphere."

I think that President Bush has no shame about invoking September 11, 2001 whenever it suits him in order to strike us with fear, and then pointing to the "lack of a terrorist attack since" to remove this fear that he wants to remove, which he is ready to summon again when it pleases him. (Sadaam was related; he wasn't related; he was. Make up your fucking mind!) How about that for creating a "poisoned atmosphere," Katherine Kersten?

Remember the duct tape fiasco, Katherine Kersten?

President Bush, during his 2004 campaign, had loyal Republicans removed from his appearances for wearing such innocuous t-shirts with the saying: "Preserve our Individual Liberties." People had to sign their political loyalty away in order to attend his highly-scripted campaign appearances. How about that for creating a "poisoned atmosphere," Katherine Kersten?

Five years later, the FBI still has not been able to interview the families of the 19 hijackers who caused September 11 to happen, because George W. Bush's good buddy Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia won't let our agents do their job. How about that for creating a "poisoned atmosphere," Katherine Kersten?

Our "friends," the Saudi Arabian government will not let us--will not let us, us, the United States of America!--appoint any ambassador to their country that speaks fluent Arabic. How about that for creating a "poisoned atmosphere," Katherine Kersten? (So much for "My country, right or wrong.")

The military, due to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, has kicked out so many gay military translators who are fluent in Arabic that they cannot keep up with the plethora of intelligence waiting to be translated. How about that for creating a "poisoned atmosphere," Katherine Kersten?

You know, I won that Katherine Kersten haiku contest sponsored by City Pages last year, and I shouldn't have. There was another haiku that didn't make the top three, but which I think summarizes Katherine Kersten's so-called moral attitude perfectly:

"You are so selfish,
all you parents of soldiers.
Death builds character."

She ought to know. She's an expert on "character."

UPDATED: Oh, by the way, Katherine Kersten, it seems that at least one general is saying that Al Qaeda has taken over one entire province of Iraq. 500,000 square miles. Hey, lady, this war is going "well" enough for your own kids to enlist! How about it?

Yeah, how about no more Harley men (every single one from my grandfather on down) going into the damn military, Katherine Kersten? Come on, let's hear it now about how we're "all equal in God's eyes."

Five Years Later

UPDATED: Keith makes Newsweek.

Five years ago it was Primary Election Day in Minneapolis, an exciting day for me. We were on the brink of electing a new mayor, an upstart, a reformer; and having just come out of employment at city hall, I knew that it was high time. We were on the brink of major changes at city hall as well (you can change city hall!), and I woke up on that day brimming with optimism.

Now it is five years later, and it’s so difficult even to remember my life before I knew about September 11, 2001. Of course I remember events from before that time; but I cannot seem to grasp what it was like to be unaware of what I know now, how I felt. And again, tomorrow is Primary Election Day.

Keith Ellison is an African-American and a Muslim. He is also the best candidate, in my opinion, to represent the 5th District. He’s against the war, discrimination against women, discrimination against immigrants, discrimination against gay/lesbian/transgender people. I know him and trust him. Atheists, out of necessity, vote for theists all the time, but Keith is someone unique.

He has also been shamefully slimed by the other, apparently jealous Democratic candidates (and by Republicans such as Katherine Kersten), who were shocked that they did not receive the DFL nomination and will not abide by the party’s decision. (Keith has parking tickets! He went to the Million Man March! The idea! Well, I seem to remember the mainstream media and Republicans like Katherine Kersten blessing the Million Man March when it happened.) “See you in November!” shrieked Erlandson as he stomped out of the CFL Convention. Classy, that.

I count some of these candidates as friends. The Minneapolis Star Tribune (to which I wish we did not subscribe, but my boyfriend still reads it) came out against Keith in its endorsement. All I can say is that I’m extremely disappointed with everyone’s behavior recently, except Keith Ellison’s, despite the parking tickets.

(No, I never got any parking tickets myself, or speeding tickets, or anything. I was a good but nervous driver who was terrified every second of hitting someone’s kid or pet. Small wonder that I gave it up. I didn't enjoy it at all.)

If Ellison does not win the primary, I still intend to vote for him in the election. If Ellison loses that, then I will accept the winner graciously and work with that person. But I do urge people to vote for Keith. He will not disappoint them.

Tomorrow, the people will decide. It is the people that I trust to make these decisions, just as it was the people on September 11, 2001 who governed ourselves effectively and courageously. No matter what, I look around and I’m just astonished at the collection of imaginative, humorous, brave individuals who make up our electorate, regardless of how they vote.

It’s five years since September 11, 2001. Courage!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Calder Countdown

Well, it's been a surreal many ways.

This Sunday marks the closing of the exhibition of The Surreal Calder at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I managed to get away from work and take a docent tour. If you're in the Twin Cities area this weekend, make sure that you get to it. It's a must-see.

The exhibition includes his trademark mobiles (a mechanical engineer, he invented them and coined the term), several of his constellations, his "monsters," his found objects, and best of all, a twenty-minute film of Calder's famous Circus (click here to see a video clip). His stuff is so incredible, so whimsical, so funny, and so touching. Of the surrealists, Calder is one of my favorites.

New Friend!(s???)

UPDATED: I like fun and I'm easily amused. I'm also easily fooled.

Damn! I wish I would have gotten into the whole evolution vs. IDiocy blogging earlier! I still don't know the whole story, but this is friggin' hilarious! And I thought that the Dover Trial would have made a good musical... See the comments on this post by "JanieBelle" for details.

Hello, Lou.
I've gotten blog-hugs and kisses from JanieBelle and Corporal Kate, of UDreamofJanie, the most yare* site to bravely sail the I.D.-U.D.-We-All-Scream-for-Dembski net-waters (and right through the dangerous JAD/Charybdis and Denyse O'Leary/Scylla cleft...)

They called me "hot!" [~Blush!~ Shrug. Shy squeak!]

But none of you have ever seen me in the morning. (Well, my boyfriend has, and he seems to like me.) All right, fellow Lit-nerds, do we also remember the myth about Medusa?

*A good sailing design, quick and capable.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bill O'Reilly Wants an Apology

He wants all of us who don't kiss the kleenix upon which that toad Karl Rove wipes his glasses to apologize because Karl Rove was not indicted in connection with the outing of Valerie Plame.

So, here goes.

I'm sorry, Bill O'Reilly, that Karl Rove was not indicted in connection with the outing of Valerie Plame!


(Thanks, Keith Olbermann.)

Grad School: Day One

Well, that wasn't so bad!

Is that all there is to it? This class is going to be a breeze. We had a great discussion of the Library Bill of Rights and the attendant issues involved. I brought up the parallel problem that sometimes parents get upset when they bring their children to my museum and their little darlings see a nude painting or sculpture, and the need to explain to these patrons that libraries and museums are encyclopedic institutions, not mandated to "protect" people from disturbing ideas or images.

Also, there was a bruhaha some years ago at the Minneapolis Public Library, which forbade the regular chess games on the second floor due to a highly emotional argument that broke out over one particular match. (Men!) I mean, a fight over a chess game. Who knew?

An interesting quote from my required reading:

It is important to recognize the role of self-interest in the formulation of values because even the most altruistic values can be interpreted as a reasonable person or group of reasonable people pursuing courses of action or states of existence that benefit them. (5)

And even more interestingly:

One of the most dangerous delusions of the modern age is the Romantic idea that sincerity is always admirable in itself. The world is full of sincere bigots so consumed by the rightness of their value systems that they use any means to impose them on others. If anything, sincerity harnassed to a desire to impose your values on others is far more anti-social than the deepest cynicism. It is of this that book-banners, clinic bombers, brainwashers, and totalitarians and tyrants of all kinds are made.... Our society is founded, at least nominally, on the metavalues or reason and tolerance as opposed to conformity and faith [emphasis mine]. (7-8)

Root of all evil?
Gorman, M. Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century, American Library Association, 2000.

So Why Hasn’t Rupert Sheldrake Called Me?

After all, I was just thinking about him!

The itinerate tinkerer in morphic fields and metaphysics now claims that he can demonstrate “telephone telepathy,” in which people “predict” that they’re going to be contacted by someone that they’ve just been thinking about.

Great! I don’t have to screen my calls anymore. But what the hell is up with these telephone surveys? I only think about them after they call and annoy me. (I’m happy to give my opinion, but it seems that they only want to hear from people who have HBO/a car/a dog/three televisions in every room.)

Okay. According to Sheldrake this applies to e-mail, too, so I’m conjuring him up…I’m conjuring him up… Please send me an e-mail! No, not you, Sheldrake. Someone else. Someone very special.

I’m waiting.
UPDATED: Oh, William Shatner, you are so busted! Don't e-mail me, then. See if I care.
Sheldrake, your psychic tele-phoney doesn't work.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I’m Sorry About Steve Irwin

UPDATED: A commentor brought up the fact that I mentioned Timothy Treadwell, too. I just want to say that my opinion of him was not based solely on Werner Herzog's film, which definitely deserves some criticism for its slant. (Herzog has his own issues regarding nature and the United States, and I don't agree with his particular take, although I remain an admirer of his work.) I am aware that Treadwell spent the greater part of the year going to schools and teaching, not "chained to bears," which is why I mentioned him at all. He was not just a "hippie," and I know he didn't make much money from his endeavors. (And he was killed by a rogue bear later in the season than he normally stayed in Alaska.)

In my childhood I was fond of catching nonpoisonous snakes (I used to scare the other girls--such charm I had), so I know a little about handling them; plus I really like snakes. I do remember that "10 Most Poisonous Snakes" episode! I turned it off. Of course I had to believe that Irwin knew what he was doing but I really don't need even the impression of danger to liven things up. Having been charged by a black bear as a young girl (age 7 or 8, I think) I have very mixed feelings about Treadwell, too. I won't deny that both had courage, at least.
Truly. Very, very sorry.

I have dial-up (and a headache!) so if my post illogically crosses someone else’s that’s probably why. I'm just saying. Because I don’t want to continue this discussion over at poor PZ’s site.

Things got weird fast and I’m terribly sorry for my part in it. No, I did not sleep well. I feel perfectly awful about it.

Spare PZ and the others and have off-topic brainfahrts about something I’ve said that pisses you off here, okay? Or start your own blog.

Emotions are running high about Irwin’s death and naturally I was horrified at the news. I cannot say that I was surprised; however, people have made it clear to me that his death was a freak accident rather than the result of reckless behavior and I understand that now.

If anyone was reckless it was me, and while I appreciate people trying to defend me, perhaps I don’t deserve defending and it’s time to drop it. (But nor do I deserve someone scaring the living hell out of me.) I will listen to reason.

And reason is what we’re all interested in, right?

UPDATED: And peace, Truth Machine, wherever you are.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Why Remake "The Wicker Man"?

UPDATED: More on the original.

Why? Why? Why?

What is this illness in America (I assume it's an American thing) in which current generations cannot relate to an older film? Remake Psycho, remake The Pink Panther--why not remake Freaks while you're at it? (Oh. Reality television. Same thing--right down to the beautiful people being the real weirdos. Got it.)

Here's an interesting history on the making of the original version.

It's Not Over for Pluto

Scientists challenge Pluto's demotion. At the Wake for Pluto I asked Parke Kunkle of the Minnesota Astronomical Society what his opinion was. He replied that, while he understood the decision, in terms of sentiment he would always consider Pluto to be a planet.

That seems to be the general consensus, whether by astronomy enthusiasts or by members of the general public. Students at New Mexico State University, including Al Tombaugh, the son of Pluto's discoverer, held a protest to demand that Pluto be restored as major planet. Voice of America has more on the debate.

Wow, protests for Pluto. This comes just as the Star Tribune reports that interest in math and science is up in Minnesota. Frankly, the article does not get into the comparison between inner city and suburban resources for K-12 math and science. Minnesota has always been a leader in education among the 50 states.

However, the article interviews a Hamline student who says that the real problem is the requirement of a graduate degree to secure stable (which still does not necessarily mean high-paying) employment in a science or technical field, which discourages many students.

I understand that; it took me another twenty years to make this commitment.

New, grad school-related links for me:

American Society for Information Science and Technology
History of Information Science

By the way, here's the link to the actual conference, the International Astronomical Union's General Assembly. A lot more went on than just the defining of "planet."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

We Meant to Do That

The European Space Agency successfully crashed its probe into the moon after its three-year mission. (Yes, they meant it to crash.) Astronomers hope to examine the cloud of dust raised by the impact. Also, this is only the second use of the smaller, xenon-fueled, plodding ion engine thruster, which does not have the roar and media va-va-voom of the more familiar chemically-fueled rockets, but lasts longer and builds slow momentum. (The first use of the ion engine was last summer, for the probe that impacted into Tempel I.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Genetic Algorithms for the Uncommonly Dense

UPDATED: But there will never be a genetic algorithm quite like John A. Davison! (Laugh-pee alert! What part of "I'm not blogging" don't I understand? Um, the fact that he never was blogging, maybe?)

Whoa! Check out John A. Davison vs. Godzilla for a peek into this guy's mind. I feel sorry for poor Dembski and DaveScot (never thought I would). And certainly poor JanieBelle—stay safe, JanieBelle.
Oh, dang it. I had my long weekend all planned out: finish reading The Extended Phenotype, actually do some stretching/choreographing in preparation for an upcoming performance at my friends' gallery opening (I've been a naughtly belly dancer, not going to class lately), start reading my grad school books, go to the Straight Fair (no tater-tot hotdish on a stick for me, urp! puh-lease), and in general lie around and be lazy...and then Dave Thomas at Panda's Thumb has to go and post the totally fascinating Genetic Algorithms for Uncommonly Dense Software Engineers. No, no, no, I'm not going to start fiddling with GAs with everything else I've got going on! No.

Well, maybe I'll! No! But why can't I--stop! Someone stop me!

How about I just read the comments...

Popper's Ghost: Is Sal really this dim, or is he just dishonest?
Wamba: Yes.

Oh, the snark, I live for the snark! I can quit anytime that I want to. I just don't want to.