Charter Member of the Sub-Media

May 31, 2005

For whatever reason, I feel full of rage today. So far, I've kept it in and not exploded on anyone.

It's no big deal, and will hopefully pass soon.

...I just don't have anything else to post right now. Lucky you.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:44 PM | Comments (5)

May 30, 2005

Considering My Friends, This is Absolute Truth « Aphorisms »
A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson know who you are.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:21 PM | Comments (1)
What George Lucas Did Wrong: The (Semi-)Definitive Post « Stuff Important to Me »

A few very important points about telling a story:

1) Decide where the story starts and ends. It starts when you set up a problem, and ends when you resolve it. Anything else will leave your audience disappointed.

2) Know what to leave out. Leave in the exciting stuff, the important dialogue, the things that the audience must know in order to understand the story.

3) Have a fully-dimensional world/universe.

4) Stay consistent.

He did a great job (apparently with help) on these issues in Episodes IV-VI. Sort of. Star Wars: A New Hope was nearly perfect in and of itself, in that the story started with "The Princess is in Peril", and ended when the threat to her was defeated. And the whole trilogy did a fairly good job, in that the problem established at the beginning of the trilogy was that the Emperor had dissolved the Senate and begun ruling directly and ruthlessly, and the trilogy ended when the Emperor was killed.

But the problems started in The Empire Strikes Back, don't they? Suddenly, we have new issues introduced that weren't in the first episode: redemption from evil. It's rather grafted in. And the evil in Star Wars is in the senior military leadership and Darth Vader. I remember feeling a little miffed that Vader kowtowed so much to an Emperor who really didn't do much at all. If the Emperor was such a powerful and complete evil, why wasn't he in on any of the decisions made by the principals in the first two movies? As in, executing generals for failure, destroying Alderaan, etc? Again, the Emperor as a player seemed grafted into the story, to the stories detriment. Especially because the story ends when the Emperor is killed, right? His death alone doesn't settle the destructive capability of the Empire, right? They still have generals and governers and tax collecters throughout the galaxy, so all that happened is the top guy was killed. That leaves a power vacuum that any individual could step in and replace without skipping a beat. Sure, the logical #2 guy, Vader, had also been removed...but here's the first real problem with the series: the most interesting part of Return of the Jedi should be how the Empire was fully defeated and replaced. Maybe that could be handled in Episodes VII-IX, perhaps, but still: if the death alone of the Empire's leadership resolved the problem, then the Emperor should have been involved in the storyline from the very beginning, as the person obviously making decisions to put the Princess (and freedom) in peril.

Now, Mr. Lucas did a pretty good job on the other parts in the original trilogy. He particularly did a good job on "leaving out the stuff that should be left out" in the first movie: that movie is incredibly packed with action and information. I can't think of a single thing that could be left out without altering the storyline or obscuring character. Even the moment that Chewbacca scares the little droid as he's being escorted to the detention center helps establish his character more fully, off-setting the hindrance that he can't speak. Every character gets attention and opportunities to reveal themselves. This is absolutely important.

The back-story is also wonderful: Clone wars, a Jedi order wiped out, a father betrayed and killed, destiny, obscure powers, a Senate dissolved, a rebel Alliance fighting for freedom...awesome stuff.

Consistency is pretty good, for the most part. It starts going bad in Episode VI, however, when the revelation of Luke and Leia's relationship makes several earlier romantic moments become stomach-turning events, in retrospect (as has been oft-noted).

But all these things go wrong when Lucas goes back and tries to do the prequel trilogy.

First, it becomes painfully obvious that although Lucas claims to have all 9 stories fully written from the beginning, it's only a very broad, general, and indistinct outline. I know I've felt that I had a story completely planned out and written in my mind, but when I actually start writing, I end up writing myself into a corner. Lucas doesn't seem to let that stop him, to our chagrin and misfortune.

Know where your story starts and stops: With the prequels, Lucas does a fairly good job of starting and stopping. He's fully embraced the story arc of Anakin's/Vader's fall into the dark side, and he sticks with it.

Know What to Leave Out: But he totally screws up the "what to leave out part". The movies aren't short, but they don't really have that much happen, to tell the truth. Compared to the "every moment necessary" jam-packed excitement of Episode IV, the prequels don't even come close. The Clone Wars could have, and should have been the highlight of the prequels. The name certainly inspires something more imaginative than someone using a clone army, doesn't it? War is interesting, because victory and defeat doesn't necessarily go to the "good guys", and Lucas could have set up some interesting battles and campaigns in which we actually cared about the result, in which the result and aftermath could have been uncertain, thus raising tension. We knew the Jedi would get destroyed in the process of the decline of the each battle could have been set up that way: we want the good guys to win, but would this battle be their initial defeat? Or the ultimate? Since we know the Republic is going to decline (but not actually fall until just before the start of Episode IV, right? More in the consistency section), but not when the decline is going to happen, Lucas could have played that tension into an awe-inspiring trilogy. And why did he decide to elide over the destruction of the Jedis in a handful of vignettes? Heck, after the 2nd one, the rest were absolutely useless in adding any information, and so should have been left out. The love scenes between Anakin and Amidala were useless (and horribly unmoving, as has been pointed out). It would have been much better to show 2-4 scenes of Anakin sacrificing something for Amidala and vice versa. Show the love, not tell it in a sappy and useless 'romantic' scene, or "I love you" dialoges. The Jedi Council discussions were boring and added little to the story, as well. To tell the truth, it's impossible to really point out all the mistakes in this category, because the prequel trilogies are simply badly-written, so nearly everything should have been left out. Let me simply say that the most interesting parts of the prequel should have been the Clone Wars, the destruction of the Jedi, the decline of a once-noble Republic, and the fall of Vader, in that order. Lucas reverses that order, again, to our viewing misfortune. I would have made the first movie an action-packed adventure focusing on the clone wars and Anakin as a young man with top-notch piloting skills and how that resulted in his invitation to be trained as a Jedi (starting his training as a young man being the fatal flaw that results in his flaw, reinforcing why training Luke as a young man seems so risky). Then the 2nd movie could have been all about Anakin's problems in training, with several Jedi missions nearly failing because of his weaknesses, and maybe the first few Jedi being killed (leaving a dark ending appropriate for the end of a 2nd Act, just like The Empire Strikes Back). Then the 3rd movie would have dealt with the process of Anakin becoming Vader...maybe out of his frustration from failing to grasp what it is to be Jedi? ...or by seeing the Jedi losing and wanting to be on the winning side? I guess I can see it was a gutsy play by Lucas to have Anakin's fall be out of a distorted love (and that's a good and important lesson), but it is at odds with the other messages of the trilogy, so I think it should have been handled differently.

Fully Dimensional Universe/Backstory: This is what made the original trilogy. Again: Clone wars, a Jedi order wiped out, a father betrayed and killed, destiny, obscure powers, a Senate dissolved, a rebel Alliance fighting for freedom... These capture the imagination, demand in-depth storytelling. But when Lucas went back to tell these stories, not only did he not do them justice (they were all less compelling than they originally sounded), but he doesn't bother to go farther back with his universe. If you watch the prequel trilogy, nothing comes before. Why didn't he show more about the parts of the Galaxy not under full Republic control? Why didn't he hint about how the Jedi were established? Or how they became an integral part of the Republic? Or how the Republic was established? Or tell us more about how Jedi are discovered and trained? Or more about what function they actually perform? Are they warriors? Secret Agents? Generals? Advisors? They seem to be all of these things, and more...and yet he never shows them doing any of these things all that successfully (well, except maybe as a secret agents), so I'm left with wondering exactly why the Jedi hold such an important position. How did the rebels get their start? How did they develop all their own weaponry? Exactly how oppressive was the Empire? To tell the truth, it's almost as if Lucas never once considered the actual history of his galaxy; it's almost as if the galactic order sprung into being, whole-cloth, just in time for Anakin to show up. It almost makes me think that the best parts of the Star Wars story came from Alan Dean Foster (who ghost-wrote the original Star Wars novel), and Lucas lacked the imagination to that sort of thinking on his own.

Consistency: Whew, I could write a novel-length section on this issue. Metachlorians? Leia is Luke's sister? Obi-wan ages twice as fast as everyone else in the story? Most of the big issues have been covered more ably by others. But here's a few I haven't seen other people mention: If the Jedi are such a big deal, known throughout the galaxy, how come everyone else is so absolutely disdainful and disbelieving of the force and the Jedi just 20 years later? And didn't Episode IV start with Palpatine dissolving the Senate and declaring himself "Emperor"? How does that fit with Amidala's pronouncement of the Empire in Episode III?
If Anakin is such the prodigy in the Force, why did he not seem to advance in power at all from the end of Episode III to the beginning of Episode IV? If Obi-Wan Kenobi is such a sub-par Jedi, how come he is the one that survives? Would it have hurt the story at all for Anakin to have turned to the dark side in a quest for power, rather than respect? The way Lucas sets up the prequels, it makes it look like Obi-Wan's beating Anakin was a lucky accident. (And the last-minute mention of "holding the high ground" is ridiculous; just another thing that Lucas pulled out of his butt at the last minute like the 'metachlorians'.*)
I've discovered that the Jedi and their powers were originally remarkably similar to the "JiangHu" swordsmen/adventurers from Chinese stories and legends. As in, some guys have some special powers. Why they have these powers isn't really explained, except they've gone through some special training. Some use these powers for good, some for evil. You can change from one to the other, depending on your character. They work with the governmental authorities, but aren't really a part of the government. In fact, the JiangHu swordsmen of China are just like our comic-book superheros. And that's the way I thought Lucas originally presented them. So to me, it is a violation of consistency to make them be an official part of the government. It also makes them far less interesting and does much to make the prequels far less compelling. Had he continued to treat them as honorable but quasi-respectable vigilantes, the story of Anakin's fall to become Vader would have been far more interesting.
Would it have killed Lucas to find a better way to reinforce Obi-Wan's character than to just say, "How uncivilized" about blasters? How about showing us how a light-saber is more civilized, somehow...maybe by showing that despite their power, they are highly inaccurate, spray-n-pray weapons?**

If Obi-Wan Kenobi was hiding out on a planet (okay, it's been pointed out numerous times that it would be dumb for him to continue to use the same last name...unless "Kenobi" is the galactic equivalent of "Smith" or something), would he really have continued to wear the official Jedi uniform? For twenty years? And why, exactly, would the Jedi Uniform be so wonderfully appropriate for a desert environment? Meaning: flowing robes that help block the sun and enhance the cooling effect of perspiration. Deciding to make the official Jedi uniform the same as what Obi-Wan wore on Tattoine was a stupid choice from a consistency viewpoint.

I'm going to have to add more to this later.

Read More "What George Lucas Did Wrong: The (Semi-)Definitive Post" »

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Posted by Nathan at 02:03 PM | Comments (8)
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol, A bit Differently From Now On
» IndustrialBlog links with: Take another crack at it, George
Memorial Day « Militaria »

I'm in a very strange situation.

I'm not into ceremony. And yet, I've chosen to make my career in a field in which tradition and ceremony are of the utmost importance.

I don't really like weddings and graduations and retirements and other such ways of marking occasions. They are so much hassle, and too many people get so hung up on the ceremony that if anything goes wrong, they feel it actually diminishes the fact the ceremony is attempting to memorialize. I hate hassle. I hate standing around waiting for something to happen. I hate someone trying to be wise and pithy and relevant in a 10-minute speech. And I really hate when someone talks longer than 10 minutes! [grin]

But I do understand why ceremony is necessary. I understand that it is the tradition and ceremony that supports and reinforces the concept of selfless service for most servicemembers. For the younger/newer servicemembers, remembering the fallen is a promise that they, too, will be remembered and honored among the greatest of the warriors if they make the ultimate sacrifice.

That means that even though I won't want a ceremony when I retire, I'll have one.

And so even though I really don't like Memorial Day celebrations, I participate. Not necessarily with gusto, but without complaint or reluctance. Not this year, though...our unit wasn't tasked for anything, and I have been too busy to search out a ceremony to join on my own.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)
Skittles « Social Issues »

I'm actually fairly amused by the Skittles commercials. I particularly like that the people they cast for the commercials are pretty much absolute dorks. I'd be a shoo-in if I ever auditioned.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2005

More From the Devil's Dictionary « Aphorisms »
Hatred: A sentiment appropriate to the occasion of another's superiority.
-- Ambrose Bierce: The Devil's Dictionary

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Posted by Nathan at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)
A "There I Was" Story (UPDATED) « Humor »

There I was, in Circuit City, scoping out the hot Asian chicks buying a universal remote. I saw a girl in the proper modern fashion, i.e. tight, low-rise jeans and a shirt that revealed her midriff*. Okay, sure, I saw lots of girls dressed like that; it is the proper modern fashion, after all.

But this girl squatted down to look more closely at a TV or something. Her left hand went, almost automatically, to a spot right where the Good Lord split her. Apparently she didn't want anyone confusing her with a plumber or appliance repairman.

A word of warning to all you females out there: if you decide to wear the crap that passes as fashion these days, you risk showing your other cleavage to the world.

I can't wait until this style passes. Whatever other fashion problems the 80s had (garish, multi-colored eye make-up, anyone?), the jeans were usually flattering, at least.

UPDATE: Russ has an amusing take on his site. Sure, it's in the comments, but it's pretty funny so I want to highlight it.

Read More "A "There I Was" Story (UPDATED)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:38 AM | Comments (4)

May 27, 2005

Ecosystem News « Snarky Self-Deprecation »

I notice that I have fallen from the ranks of Large Mammals down to Marauding Marsupials.

Thank you. I clearly couldn't have done it without you, the people who used to link me. You make it all worthwhile.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:02 PM | Comments (6)
Miscarriage of Justice
Erin Weber, who was on the air at WYCD-FM (99.5), contends in her suit that she was fired in 2001 after she complained about being exposed to Tresor perfume, which sells for $45.50 a bottle and is described by Lancome as a combination of ingredients such as rose and lilac. She said she was sickened by the fumes. . . .

The verdict awarded her $7 million in punitive damages, $2 million in mental anguish and emotional distress and $1.6 million for past and future compensation after a six-woman jury in U.S. District Court in Detroit spent eight days deliberating.


Democrats, your support of trial lawyers as somehow being the champion of the little guy means this sort of crap is fully your fault. Just another reason I won't be voting Democrat any time soon.

Via Best of the Web.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:57 AM | Comments (3)
Enough « Politics As Usual »

My visceral reaction while reading this article was: Okay, even I am ready to stop voting for Republicans now.

Except that, there's not another party out there that's any better. In fact, they're all far worse, much farther from my principles and beliefs.

I guess I'll just have to do what I can to reform the GOP from within, eh?

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Posted by Nathan at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

Dare to Try « Aphorisms »
A life spent making mistakes is not only most honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
-- Unknown

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Posted by Nathan at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)
The Greatest Legal Footnote in History « Link O' Admiration »

I agree, it is.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:11 PM | Comments (1)
Why are Red States Red? « Politics As Usual »

Affordable Family Formation.

Good stuff in that article. Along with:

...the Four Gaps: the Dirt Gap, the Mortgage Gap, the Marriage Gap, and the Baby Gap.

It makes sense to me, and is useful for making predictions.

Got it from Mickey Kaus.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:49 PM | Comments (2)
So You Know « Blogging »

I didn't actually shut down comment functionality or Trackbacks. It's just that no one's interested in commenting or leaving trackbacks.

Just so we're clear, here.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:51 AM | Comments (2)
Hypocrisy vs Wisdom « Quotes You Can Steal »

Please understand this:
It's not hypocrisy if you say others shouldn't do something you used to do. That's just passing on the benefit of your experience and wisdom borne of pain. It's only hypocrisy if you say others can't do it, but you lie about having done it yourself...or are still doing it (i.e., drugs, taking bribes, extramarital sex, etc).

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Posted by Nathan at 12:12 AM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2005

Morality and Suicidal Thoughts « Social Issues »

Considering the information that came to light in this article, I would really like to see a study done of suicide successes, attempts, and thoughts in relation to level of sexual experience cross-referenced to age.

Not that Planned Parenthood would allow such a study to see the light of day, if it could help it.

Maybe there's an abstinence message in Romeo and Juliet?

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Posted by Nathan at 05:53 PM | Comments (1)
Flammable Ice That Doesn't Melt « Stuff Important to Me »

Cool stuff.


Methane hydrate was discovered only a few decades ago, and little research has been done on it until recently. By some estimates, the energy locked up in methane hydrate deposits is more than twice the global reserves of all conventional gas, oil, and coal deposits combined. But no one has yet figured out how to pull out the gas inexpensively, and no one knows how much is actually recoverable.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
Fewer Kids in San Francisco « Social Issues »

In some ways, this related to the previous article.

The article addresses the reasons:

San Francisco has the smallest share of small-fry of any major U.S. city. Just 14.5 percent of the city's population is 18 and under.

It is no mystery why U.S. cities are losing children. The promise of safer streets, better schools and more space has drawn young families away from cities for as long as America has had suburbs.

But kids are even more scarce in San Francisco than in expensive New York (24 percent) or in retirement havens such as Palm Beach, Fla., (19 percent), according to Census estimates.

San Francisco's large gay population — estimated at 20 percent by the city Public Health Department — is thought to be one factor, though gays and lesbians in the city are increasingly raising families.

But I think they absolutely miss the mark. Simply put, in trying to create a liberal utopia, they have rendered their city extremely un-family friendly. From subsidizing homeless people, to having an Adult atmosphere nearly everywhere at all times, to increasing taxes that effectively transfer the bulk of revenue away from families, the San Francisco leadership has created an environment in which few people would want to raise their children.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)
Morality Works « Spiritual/Theology »

Well, who'da thunk?


Boys at private Anglican and Catholic schools are more likely to oppose sex before marriage and be less tolerant of pornography.

They are also less likely to feel depressed or consider suicide, according to a survey of 13,000 teenagers by Professor Leslie J Francis from the University of Wales, Bangor.

So what's the opposing views argument? "Kids are going to have sex anyway, so who cares if they kill themselves at a greater rate because of it"...?

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Posted by Nathan at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
National Health Care "Insurance" « Social Issues »

One of the things that bugs me about national health care is that those who use it the least (take the best care of themselves to need less care, as well as not going to the doctor for minor problems) are the ones who pay the most (as it, getting the least value for the amount of money they pay).

There are certainly medical conditions in which it would be difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to afford decent care, and I guess I don't mind so much that we spread the cost around to the entire society for such situations. But I do object to the people who go to emergency rooms with a cold because they didn't call early enough for a same-day appointment during normal hours. I do object to the people who go in for viral infections (which can be recovered from through time and rest only). I do object to the people who show no interest in being involved in their own treatment and conditions, and so waste doctors' time and raise costs for the rest of us.

A yearly check-up is a good idea, especially as you advance in age. But unless you seriously injure yourself, most people really shouldn't need to see a doctor that often. For most minor illnesses, time is the best medicine.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:21 AM | Comments (9)

May 24, 2005

Good on ya, GM! « Car Issues »

I'm encouraged by how things are proceeding for the Pontiac Solstice.

So much so that when I'm ready to purchase a roadster (probably in 2-3 years), I may check out the Solstice along with the Honda S2000, and skip the Miata.

I also think this is exactly the right strategy. Sort of.

Basically, I'm not sure if there's much room for an upscale line below Buick...but maybe they are taking Buick higher? And where do Buick and Pontiac fit in, exactly, if Cadillac is trying to take on Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes?
Personally, I consider Cadillac its own niche; I can't really believe that someone that wants the elegance of a Mercedes or Lexus could be swayed by the brashness of a Cadillac. But maybe I'm missing something.

In any case, focusing more tightly on putting out a few top-notch cars for each brand is exactly the direction I've been advocating on this website for months.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)
This Just In: Ricky Williams High on Marijuana « Fun With News Headlines »

Karzai Optimistic on Poppies.

Well, who wouldn't be optimistic on such a powerful narcotic?

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Posted by Nathan at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)
Filibusters and Options « Politics As Usual »

Pick any site that even just occasionally does political blogging and you can probably find excellent round-ups. So I won't do one here.

Bottom line: Three nominees are going to get up-or-down votes. That's three more than were getting that chance 2 days ago.
Furthermore, the wording is sufficiently vague that there is little to no agreement by Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, or libertarians as to what will actually happen regarding the other four, and regarding any future Supreme Court nominees.

Musing: I still don't like the filibuster in general. The minority party already had its chance in the general election to win enough seats to gain the majority. Failing that, they can use deals and pressure to win defectors from the majority party to prevent the majority from winning. The minority party can even bottle legislation/nominees up in committee. There is no need for a fake filibuster in which no debate actually occurs. I can see where this might be necessary and/or useful back in the days when Senators were appointed by state legislatures...this is probably just another reason we should go back to that.

Interesting point: all that aside, I still consider the way this played out confirms that Sen. Frist is too weak to be Senate Majority leader, and I still consider Sen. McCain to be a faithless legislature who honors his Republican principles only in the breach. As such, I really hope a strong candidate mounts a strong challenge for his seat the next time he's up for re-election.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2005

The Dark Side « Humor »

Yeah, the prequels suck. For another view on the problems, go here.

My additional thoughts:
Shudderingly bad laws of common sense are even worse when they are in the first 5 minutes of a flick. First was when an immobilized droid was "blown" off the fighter ships surface by...the wind? C'mon, George! All those technicians on the set and you don't run the idea past anyone for a sanity check?!? And in a ship with artificial gravity, changing the attitude of the ship will not cause the decks to tilt...unless artificial gravity is lost, in which case you float instead of falling, anyway.
..and did anyone else see how the bridge window got sealed again after General Grievious inflicted "explosive decompression" on everyone? I didn't, at least.

But enough of that. The only other thing I wanted to cover today was that it seemed to me that there were an awful lot of seemingly harmless things that lead one to the dark side, yanno? So without further ado, I present to you:

The Top 10 Lesser-Known Actions that Lead to the Dark Side!

Read More "The Dark Side" »

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Posted by Nathan at 02:17 AM | Comments (1)

May 22, 2005

Give Me Back Those Two Hours! « Politics As Usual »

As you probably guessed by the title, I saw Star Wars III today. the Jedi are...what? Journalists? Emperor McChimpy got Blair, Raines, Rather in a sneak attack, then left a beacon at the New York Times/Jedi Temple to try and lure any other ones in?

Who, then, is Princess/Senator Amidala? Hmmm...whiny, oxygen-thief useless hysterical woman...either Maureen O'Dowd or Paul Krugman, I'd guess...

And is Jeff Gannon Anakin/Darth Vader? A gay man who thus should be liberal, he betrayed his Jedi/Journalistic training and was turned to the dark (Republican) side...

Hey, this is kinda fun. I guess Captain Cody (K think that was his name) is maybe Colin Powell? Or just any military person who should hate their evil, Republican masters but instead follow orders with relish and respect?

Aside: wouldn't every clone be Captain Cody...? How would they know which one they were talking to...?

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Posted by Nathan at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2005

Humorous Aphorism « Aphorisms »
I'm still an atheist, thank God.
-- Luis Buñuel

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Posted by Nathan at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)

May 20, 2005

I Guess I Don't Get It « Politics As Usual »

...why don't the Democrats just filibuster the vote to change the rules regarding filibusters? Until the rule is changed, can't they just filibuster anything they want, including the attempt to change the rule?

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Posted by Nathan at 04:55 PM | Comments (2)

As Mickey Kaus is fond of pointing out, if you have unfortunate news, you wait until Friday afternoon to release it, so that it gets missed over the weekend.

With that in mind, I'd like to announce that I'm back. I've got a number of things to blog, and I'll be doing it over the weekend. Which you may not see until Monday, if ever (because you've given up on me).

A few points:
My hit totals have remained in the high 200s, with a 400+ day about 10 days after my hiatus started. That means you guys seem to like me more when I don't blog than when I do. That doesn't exactly encourage me.* The bulk of my hits seem to be search engines, particularly for the Mentos' Bird commercial. Zombyboy generally finds the commercials hard to stomach; I would say that's appropriate, since I find the candy hard to stomach...

The blogging hiatus has made a difference to me; I'm not sure yet exactly how that will impact my blogging in general. I may end up going in a different direction with the blog, or maybe more of the same (piled higher and deeper!), particularly focusing on responsibility and secular reasons for morality. We'll see.

My 37th birthday is in the month of May. I also passed 100k hits. I think I might be the only blogger who can succeed in ensuring those two events did not increase my traffic/linkage one whit. Everyone's gotta have a talent, I guess; Inability to Capitalize is apparently mine. Which is why I'm posting this at what would be late afternoon for the East Coast.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:58 AM | Comments (4)

May 15, 2005

Regarding the Mentos' "Bird" Commercial « Social Issues »
Indeed the song is No Limit, sung by the former Dutch band 2Unlimited.


Here's the site you can see the commercial. The video of "No Limit" can be seen here.

Don't thank me, thank the tireless effort of my reader, Eric. Nice job, dude.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:12 PM | Comments (29)

May 05, 2005

Too Tired to Blog « Blogging »

I've got too much going on, with a new job, moving into a new home and all the attendant work that goes with that.

I also won't have internet access for about 2 weeks, either. I could find places to blog, anyway, but I'm not sure it would be worth it. So I'll post sporadically, but I'll see you back after a short semi-hiatus.

Same Bat-time, same bat-channel!

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Posted by Nathan at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)
Cynicism « Quotes You Can Steal »

The half-life of a woman's beauty is a base-ten system. Her attractiveness will be halved by the addition of 10 pounds, the advance of 10 years, or the removal of 10 inches of hair.

The absolute limit of a man's attractiveness is a base-two system. As soon as he says two specific words, the love his chosen mate has for him is replaced with hate, derision, and disdain:

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Posted by Nathan at 11:09 PM | Comments (5)
Testimony « Spiritual/Theology »
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.


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Posted by Nathan at 11:06 PM | Comments (1)
» The Roost links with: Quotes from The Man
Suzuki: 16 Consecutive Months of Sales Increases « Car Issues »

Of course, they started pretty low to begin with. Which doesn't mean that this sort of success is automatic, by any means.

I'm also a little miffed that Verona sales have dropped off so far. But I guess since I'm still so happy with my purchase, it doesn't ruin my enjoyment if I'm right and people are missing out, or other people are right and the Verona isn't worth the money. Although, since so few people have even heard of the Verona, I think the odds are in my favor. Especially since all the things the reviewers complained about are exactly the same in the brand-new VW Jetta. I'll do a comparison of them soon, but it looks like Suzuki was ahead of the power curve...they just didn't have the name recognition to pull it off.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)
» 测振仪 links with: 测振仪

May 04, 2005

Someone Else Noticed « Social Issues »

As much as people might like to think so, the idea that secularists/liberals/atheists/whathaveyou have been piling on against Christians is not just my imagination.


In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word "frightening" and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market.

Please note, he's just talking about a recent trend of anti-Christian editorializing in news articles. As such, it is part of a larger movement that ostensibly wants religious freedom, but actually wants to restrict Christian expressions of faith.

And I don't really even think much of it is intentional, deliberate, or conscious. I repeat, though, that I think much of the sub-conscious motivation of many of the people involved are getting revenge for several of their champions taking hits or being defeated, in part by the opposition of conservative Christians. It's a shaming campaign, perhaps, in hopes of shaming Christians out of their political views? I'm not sure.

But it's there.

I can even admit that's not going to be obvious to everyone. Some people who do their own thing are going to see the MSM's campaign against Christians and agree with a few points, perhaps dredging up some old grudges, perhaps making some valid points. But just because their motivation or opinion isn't the same does not mean they don't add weight to the whole movement. It's kind of a variation on mob mentality, if you will.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the "head's up."

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Posted by Nathan at 09:42 AM | Comments (1)

May 03, 2005

Aphorism O' The Day « Aphorisms »
Happiness: An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
-- Ambrose Bierce: The Devil's Dictionary

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Posted by Nathan at 08:36 PM | Comments (1)
» ResurrectionSong links with: Because Bloggers Shall not Exist on Rants Alone
A Thought « Quotes You Can Steal »

Plainly speaking*, Time is on the side of the unattractive woman.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:46 AM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2005

Just Us League of Blogdom « A Post From the Lost Archives »

Nearly two years ago, I noticed that part of my blogging clique included three of us whose names could be superheros:
The Accidental Jedi
and me: Brainfertilizer

So I figured it was a pretty good blog meme and wrote it out, complete with bad puns and possibly the worst exmaples of humor possible. I even worked Glenn Reynolds into it to see if I could get an Insta-lanche. No luck. Then again, I never emailed it to him. [shrug]

Deb found 'em on the Wayback Machine, and so you get the benefit of her efforts. Or the punishment...

Here's the link. The text is below the fold. Enjoy it again...for the first time!

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Posted by Nathan at 07:01 PM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2005

Wasted Cash « Social Issues »

Gas prices are high. Boo-freakin'-hoo.

I understand that high gas prices are a tax on economic activity, because it raises the costs inherent to shipping goods and moving people. I have always tried to get the most fuel-efficient car I could*.

However, Mr. Carter's point that "Money spent on gasoline could otherwise be spent on more productive durable goods, or, better yet, saved for a rainy day," seems rather inane to me.

Before the rise of Starbucks, you could get a decent cup of coffee for $.49 if you looked hard enough, and not that much more if you didn't. Nowadays, well, isn't the average cup of Starbuck's coffee something like $32 per gallon? Isn't that also money that could/should be spent on more productive durable goods or saved for a rainy day? Many people drink 2 cups of starbucks a day, five days a week, which probably comes close to the weekly gas bill of some people (Even at $2.50 a gallon for gas, that would double my gasoline bill...I should end up filling my tank about once every two weeks once I get settled in to my home and work).
Has anyone talked about government intervention to stop the financial hemorrhaging on this issue? I haven't seen any.

Or what about the colassal waste of capital that gets spent on going to the movies? I haven't been in about 2 years, so I'm not sure what the going rate is now...$8 for an adult? Higher? And then you have the price-gouging on popcorn ($7 for a large that costs them literally $.07 to make?!??!!), soft drinks, and candy...isn't this worse than the gasoline/fuel issue where the market actually determines what the price is?

This isn't really a big deal, but making such a big deal about gas prices seems infantile to me. There are things that far more money is wasted on, like, say: the current Social Security Ponzi Scheme.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:24 PM | Comments (5)
Musings on Crusades and Theocrats (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

Yes, I do think there is a recently-undertaken campaign against religion in America. Here are some more indications of that campaign.

As I said in the comments on the first linked post: one is going to convince me that after 200 years of having references to God in all sorts of government literature, that saying “Under God” in the pledge is somehow suddenly an assault on religious freedom.

To tell the truth, the time to have worried about a burgeoning theocracy would have been at the height of power and influence of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. That was far closer to imposing a Theocracy on the United States than anything these days. Meaning: not close at all, despite the overheated rhetoric recently.

Please, if we are close to imposing a Theocracy, name me a few of the leaders. Tell me which sect of Christianity is leading the charge. You can't. Because there is no such movement.

So, if we aren't close to a theocracy, why are atheists 'fighting back' so much recently? Why are liberal Democrat leaders making such dark and dire warnings against Christianity and its 'dark' agenda?

Most people point to the loss of the 2004 election and 'values' voting.

I think it may be more basic than that. Rather than continuing to drag it out, I'll say it plainly:
It is retribution/revenge for the failure of the homosexual movement to win same-sex marriage rights across the entire nation. They blame religion for being the motive force behind the rejection, and so are trying to eliminate the free expression of religion nationwide.

I'm tired of it, but to tell the truth, if religious expression were suddenly (and in violation of the Constitution) suppressed to the level anti-theocrats want it, Christianity would actually grow even more. Christianity always does well under persecution, and the faith not only becomes stronger, it returns to its roots.

UPDATE: Because apparently I wasn't clear enough, I would like to go a little deeper.
Greg Nokes didn't seem to like my statement about there being a recent trend of attempting to suppress Christian religious expression. I left a comment or two there.
Later, I saw a post at Keven McGehee's that explains that some anti-Christians really do seem to think there is some movement toward a Theocracy and are actively 'fighting back'. Now, I don't actually agree that an anti-theocratic movement is fighting back, I think it the motive force comes from a smaller group looking for revenge/retribution. Which I explained in this post.
However, what I did not make clear is that I don't consider Greg a part of that. I might consider him piling on at worst; but my impression is he just likes talking about the issue, so I linked his post both as an example of someone who doesn't see the issue the same way as I do (so that you, my dear reader, can check out different points of view), and also to maybe throw him some miniscule amount of traffic out of respect for his opinions and willingness to share them civilly.
So if that wasn't clear to you, Greg, or to any other reader, I apologize, and I hope no hard feelings or misunderstandings will persist.

I want religious freedom for everyone. But I don't want religious freedom for everyone but Christians. Lately, it seems as if a significant subgroup of liberal atheists want to apply affirmative action precepts to religion, and that's kind of what I'm arguing against. You know: where it's okay to have a Jewish, Wiccan, or Pagan religious symbol because they aren't the dominant religion like Christianity is, i.e., insisting the 10 Commandments are removed from courthouses but not the Goddess of Justice...

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Great Moments in Journalism « Media Distortions »

Or something.

I dunno. Michelle Malkin doesn't actually comment on the content of the story, she merely praises the story as a good example of journalism.

It might be. I can't get past the editorial aspect.

It is a magnificent, compassionate performance of storytelling. It didn't leave me in tears, but it did choke me up. Until I saw where the piece was heading. In my opinion, at least, the purpose of the article was to help you understand just how horrible this girl's experience was in order to draw attention and raise support for laws regarding highway debris.

The summary:
The girl in the story suffered a horrible injury. She nearly died, and will be blinded, disfigured, and probably brain-damaged for life. It happened because of a piece of plywood from a desk that fell off of a truck. The driver of the truck has had criminal convictions in the past. The girl's life is ruined, and many people think it is absolutely a travesty that the man who drove the truck could only be fined about $1000. They tried slapping him with a tenuously-applied charge of "hit and run" (as best as I can tell, because he didn't come forward and say it was wood from his desk), but they would have to have proven that he knew the piece of lumber caused an accident.

Here's the money graph:

King County prosecutors, frustrated by their inability to bring charges against Hefley, lobbied lawmakers to pass a tougher law on debris-caused accidents. They testified in the Legislature, telling Federici's story. The lawyers recruited sponsors, and with almost no debate, legislators approved the Federici Bill on April 14, 2005.


The Washington bill, awaiting the governor's signature, makes it a crime to fail to secure a load that results in bodily injury. Conviction could bring up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines. The person injured would also have access to a state compensation fund for crime victims.

Gerry Forbes, author of the AAA Foundation report, said it would be the most stringent law of its kind in the nation.

Here's the thing: you can't repeal the laws of physics. Accidents do happen, and you can't always find someone to blame. This guy didn't want to lose his desk, obviously. He secured it in a manner that he considered sufficient. Another law that would increase the penalty wouldn't have made a difference to him, nor to the next person who fails to properly secure a load.

People don't actually intend to cause accidents through the loss of their property, so making it worse when they make an error in judgment won't make any difference at all in people's behavior.

To me, this article was nothing more than an editorial to increase support for the bill on the basis of an extreme, but singular, example.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:22 AM | Comments (1)