Monday, March 31, 2008

Radiolab, Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

Looking at my fellow Americans that eat a lot of sliced bread I can't say that sliced bread has been all that good for us. But that's just the cynic in me. My Grandpa loved white bread though he knew intimately the entire process of raising wheat to the point of having the grain ground. Like so many Americans, he just loved that almost-dough consistency and the sweet chewiness of it. Can't stand white bread, myself, but I don't mind some sliced multi-grain kind of stuff.

So anyway, I thought I'd point out that Radiolab is probably the second best show on the radio, right behind This American Life. And if the two were starting out in a race at the same time (TAL has a pretty good head start at this point) I'm not sure who would be winning. Radiolab not only tells interesting stories fabulously, the show sounds absolutely amazing. At its best it's literally trippy with sounds swirling around, stretching, phasing, and echoing. I know it's just Pro-Tools. I know what he's doing. I still enjoy the matter of fact way they insert samples of their guests speaking into the host's set-ups, use effects for transitions, and replay samples from earlier in the show to emphasize the scope of the discussion. There is a nice question and answer report between the two hosts that flips between segments. The shows are almost all available for download via podcasts and every last one has been very good at least.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Home Depot's Porter Cable Drywall Sander

I fix houses to make money, in case you didn't know. I'm currently building an addition on one house and I'm remodeling another. Since this is something that I know a lot about, I figure I should post things every now and again. This is going to be a negative post.

Let's start with the simple fact that I despise drywall work. Even a small patch in a wall is something I dread. I know how to do the work, I have the tools (except the sander), and I still hate it. It's slow, it seems you repeat the same steps over and over again, the drywall mud itself dries your skin something fierce, and the dust when sanding is fucking awful. This leads me to the Porter Cable sander.

Porter Cable is a good company. Their tools are well built and tough. Their reciprocating saw (commonly referred to as a "Sawzall" even though that's a brand name of the Milwaukee tool company, just like copiers are all "Xerox" machines) with the rotating head is quite amazing to use being versatile, smooth, and powerful.

Their drywall sander carried by Home Depot's rental department leaves a lot to desire. Of course Home Depot is a stinking pile of shit as far as stores go but they rent tools and Lowe's doesn't.

Perhaps I should define a drywall sander for you. In the old days, between coats of joint compound (a.k.a. mud), one would sand the joints with a hand sander, dust flying everywhere leaving the worker and the work area, floor to ceiling, coated in a fine, white powder. Then along came the powered sander. The sanding portion is a large round disc attached to wand. The discs spins and a vacuum sucks the dust through the wand, down a hose, and into the vacuum.

Porter Cable's wand works just fine, and I've used their machines before in the past and they were great. Here's where this one that I rented from Home Depot falls way short: the vacuum. The units that I used before had this neat levered comb type mechanism that allowed you to unclog the filter without opening the machine. This machine has to be opened up and the filter beaten out by hand. There's a valve on it that seems to be for reversing the air but it doesn't work at all. This means that for every two or three minutes of use there's a minute of beating out the machine. And in the meantime the room is full of dust. There's a minimal reduction in dust over hand sanding, and the wand does make for a nice, smooth finish, but the dust collection is awful. As a matter of a fact, the units on the Porter Cable website look like the machines I used to rent with the flat, top mounted filter. The Home Depot rental model has a cylindrical filter screwed on the center of the lid, inside the unit.

I'm hoping I've gotten a broken version of this machine but I must say I'm very disappointed.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Righteous

Happy Easter, whatever that means.

I do so love it when the righteous and morally indignant, holier-than-thou, uptight bitches of the world are exposed to the bright light of day. There's this guy in Utah that was cutting the nasty bits out of movies and selling the altered copies. Turns out he's a pedophile. It boggles the mind.

Daniel Thompson, 31, was so upset by the sex, profanity and violence in movies today that he opened a video store in Orem, Utah, offering major Hollywood films but with the objectionable parts manually removed. Hollywood studios got a court order shutting down the store in December because of copyright infringement, and in January, Thompson was arrested after police said he paid two 14-year-old girls for sex. [Salt Lake Tribune, 1-25-08]

Thanks to the News of the Weird.
Thanks to a friend, an oddly beautiful piece of dance, starring a range of characters that spans from pedestrian to bus:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Identity Theft

I'm sure you've gotten some of these stupid fucking things from some of your right wing acquaintances. It says it's from George Carlin or (like the one I'm about to address) Andy Rooney, they spout some really unpleasant, antisocial, and hateful ideas, and they're bogus. If only it were possible to trace back to the stupid fuckers that started distributing these, I'm sure people like Carlin and Rooney would be hauling these people into court for defamation (and they've said as much).

So I got this one claiming to be a transcript of an Andy Rooney segment on 60 minutes. It is not as proves not only by having listened to all his shows themselves, but also through multiple quotes from Mr. Rooney himself. I guess the assholes that make this stupid shit up know that only their fellow assholes will even read it or agree unless they pretend to be someone respected and funny. So here we go, point by point:

I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers.. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens...Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.

So, have you ever seen the way blacks have been ghettoized in most large American cities, especially east of the Rockies? You don't think the fact their recent ancestors were brought here by force in chains and were enslaved for generations then set "free" with no property, no rights, and no power that blacks haven't been victimized by whites? We are only two or three generations from slavery in this country and whites have fought allowing any rights or wealth to blacks since. Jim Crow laws didn't victimize anyone that's around today? Segregated schools didn't victimize anyone that's around today? The children of those victims aren't also victims?

Does the United Negro College fund victimize any white people? Is there really a shortage of aid to white students? When the UNCF was set up blacks were getting no financial aid whatsoever to most schools in this country, and since most blacks are ghettoized in impoverished inner cities, they are at a disadvantage from the day they are born. I really can't see how helping them improve their lives doesn't help all of us by bringing one more family out of poverty.

Jet Magazine, BET, Miss Black America and the UNCF... wow! That's four whole things that cater specifically to a black audience. Lord knows the rest of television, magazines, and beauty contests don't cater almost exclusively to white people. You probably have 200+ cable channels in your house. Sit down and click through the channels, five seconds at a time and make a mark every time you see a white person and a mark every time you see a black person, latino, etc. I'll bet you money you will not see more than 5% non-white unless you only have sports channels. White people have no shortage of entertainment meant just for them, why does it bother the writer if the other races have a few options for themselves?

Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.

Y'know, this is just such a remarkably simplistic statement it kind of hurts to read it. Kind of feels like a sinus headache. Of course killing makes you a killer. Who would argue with that? The point is we have thousands of gun related murders in this country every year while countries that control guns have very few (Canada had a third less by population, for instance). The type of guns those of us with sense want to control are handguns and assault weapons. The only purpose of these guns is to kill people. Nobody wants to take hunting guns from any responsible owner. I own a shotgun and learned how to shoot when I was very young. I was taught never to point the barrel at anyone and always be aware of where it is aimed. I was taught to always treat a gun as if it were loaded and cocked. Most people with a handgun next to their bed know nothing about gun safety and it is proven daily at the cost of dead children, spouses, and friends. The most common use for a handgun is against its owner or a member of his/her family. A friend had a pistol in his bedside table. A burglar found it and used it to rape his wife when she came home. That story repeats itself thousands of times a year in this country. The NRA can come up with a few stories of a gun saving someone each year but often they are tales like, "I showed the strange black man that I had a gun and he didn't rob me." This assumes that a strange black man is necessarily going to rob you.

Handguns are only for killing people. They are cheap and plentiful and kill many thousands of Americans every year. Yes you can kill someone with a baseball bat but it sure as shit ain't easy. Not that I'd know from experience or anything. It's just I'm pretty sure that when someone is beaten fwith a bat there's usually a long time between that first swing and the time the victim is dead whereas one pull of the trigger can be the end.

I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, which is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE ?

I didn't even realize there was an issue with this so I looked it up. Turns out nobody is trying to merge the two Scouts. Little boys and little girls are different just like men and women are. Martha Burke wants the Augusta National Country Club to allow members of both sexes. Social clubs, country clubs and golf courses in general are where the most influential business networks function and a country club that only allows men (and until very recently did not allow Jewish or "colored" men either) is, in fact, excluding women from the top rungs of the business world. I can't see how women exerting the power of our Constitution to protect their interests could be bad. We need more women running the show. Men tend to act like Dick Cheney and pals.

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

Again, I don't understand this. Feeling homosexuality is wrong shows you're kind of dimwitted, not phobic. There really aren't very many people that are gay, it's around 4% of the population. People don't "become" gay by being around gay people. I speak from experience here having worked in New Orleans's French Quarter for over 8 years. I still find the idea of gay sex kind of icky, but I have many gay friends that I love and miss. The biggest asshole idiot fag I've ever known is a better person than the one that wrote this stuff. Homosexuality isn't a choice so feeling it is "wrong" is pretty much equal to feeling that color blindness is wrong. I'm color blind and that offends me.

I'm running out of obscene terms for this e-mail's content and we're just getting started.

I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.

OK. I guess this depends on what you mean by tolerant. If by tolerant the writer means, "treat everyone like shit" then I would say that you don't have the "right" to do that. Sooner or later if you're a big enough dick you'll end up in jail for cursing the foreign store clerk or pushing the cripple. If by tolerant you mean "politely ignore" then, sure. But from the tone of the rest of this... thing... the implication is that the writer is going to get in the face of anyone that is "different, weird, or tick [him] off." As best I can tell that means everyone that's not a conservative white male.

When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling; it is the Law of Probability.

What city is he talking about? I think the majority of arrests in Louisville are black and the black population is less than 15%, but I don't really feel like looking up the exact statistics, but I'll tell you I'm not sure about those numbers unlike the radio talk show host that has just made up the numbers he states. The fact is we have too many people in prison because we've made social problems jailable crimes. That's it. If we treated drug problems instead of jailing people we'd be in a lot better shape. Just look at any civilized country (unlike this one) that takes care of it's people and you'll see I'm right. And I say give people the fucking drugs if they want them. If you erase the profit, the worst source of violent crime we have will vanish overnight. If they want crack, give it to them, if they want meth, give it to them, and if they ask for help give that to them as well. Right now they can't get help but they can buy the drugs, the drugs make them poor so they steal and the money made off those drugs pays for more hand guns and assault rifles and more people die.

I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!

Is this really a problem? Even in New York City I only ran into one shopkeeper that didn't speak English and he immediately called his lovely daughter from the back. I maybe have to ask one person a year to repeat something he or she has said because of their accent. Maybe this person means Spanish speakers? I guess if you're going to be racist, there sure are a lot of our darker brethren from south of the border to hate these days, but if most of their customers speak Spanish and you don't, what makes you better than them that they need to speak your language, gringo? Or maybe he hates those cajuns down in Louisiana. "Curse their ancient French! Even the Canadians have trouble understanding them. Fay-doe-doe mah ass!"

And by the way, smoking is nasty and stupid expensive.

My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours.

First of all, people that talk like this usually do not serve nor are they descended from anyone that volunteered. My grandfather volunteered for the Marines at the age of 30 to go fight the Japs and he would despise every sentiment expressed in this vacuous diatribe if he were still with us. Just because you're a right wing blowhard doesn't mean you love your country at all, much less more than anyone else.

Again, who is this person talking to? Is it Mexican marchers with their flag? Seiks with their turbans? Native Americans with their... oh wait. They were here first... How about them niggers with their... black skin... disrespecting... Really. I just can't quite get my mind to what he's talking about. If it's the Mexicans parading with their national flag, I'd say that is a show of great respect for this country: by our Constitution they are allowed to show their love of their home country while they are here. Simple as that. If you went to Russia or Iran (or [insert your choice of evil dictatorship here]) you wouldn't be allowed to have a protest parade where you waved the US flag, I guarantee that. Odd that the "patriotic" writer would want the US to be more like Russia or Iran. The fact that we can speak freely in this country simply because we are here is one of the most important freedoms we have in this country and it is a freedom we give to everyone, not just "natives." The writer obviously hates this aspect of our country.

I think the police should have every right to shoot you if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.

Is he talking about something like this? I'm not a big fan of cops anyway and I'd rather the vast majority of them not be allowed to shoot anyone ever for any reason.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.

Again, what is this person talking about? I'm sure some small minority assistance program has helped someone not like the writer get ahead and it pisses the writer off no end. Maybe if the writer took advantage of the fact he looks just like everyone else that runs the show and stopped bitching about the niggers and spics getting help he might not be so hateful.

I like the "government sponsored bank loans." This obviously implies that white people don't get anything from the government but those "foreigners" get all kinds of handouts.

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.

I bet he's talking about the Italians here. That Scalia guy, trying to twist the Constitution* to aid his fellow immigrants! Or is the French? They are always trying to tell us we should be free and equal and give us those big statues and stuff.

My people have been over here since before the Revolutionary War and were some of the first settlers in Kentucky. I believe our nation, society, culture, and Constitution should evolve and progress. People like the writer would rather we regress and start burning witches and whipping slaves again.

I don't hate the rich I don't pity the poor

How Christian of you.

Jesus said something about poor people, the sick, and the imprisoned but I bet this guy's preacher hasn't mentioned any of it unless he was begging for money, hallelujah. And that camel through a needle thing, that was just a little joke, right?

I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there are a lot of people (especially children) that believe pro wrestling is real. I'm glad he's not one of them and I hope he enjoys watching it. Let's hope none of his kids die trying to emulate wrestling moves because their white trash parents didn't explain reality to them before one of them jumped off a table onto the other's chest.

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building.

It's odd that Bill Gates doesn't really have any complaints about paying taxes and agrees with progressive taxation. He knows that if he weren't American he could never have become who he is and feels it is not only his duty to give back to his country like any patriotic American would but that it is an honor. The wealthiest should pay the most taxes because they have gained and continue to gain because they are Americans, because that's where the money is and without tax revenue most of the things we take for granted would cease to be. We can already see the result of reducing taxes on the rich: the oncoming depression, crumbling infrastructure, stumbling education system, and an ever increasing burden on the poorest Americans in the form of sales taxes (which have an enormous impact on the poor and none at all on the wealthy) and fees for government services (when you make $200 a week, a $50 fee means a lot while if you make $4000 a week it's no big deal). If you're poor and you feel you're paying too much in taxes you're probably right. If you make more than $100G per year you're not paying enough.

It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"

This sentiment is a bit confused and not only in the bizarre punctuation. I guess one person or a couple could raise their child without any outside influence. Doesn't happen very often and I'd have to say if they never interact with anyone else at all, they're probably not going to be "right" per se. So is the real point of this that parents should beat their children? I'm not against the occasional little smack on the hand or whatever for a child that is old enough to understand it, but I'd also like for relatives, neighbors, and friends to take part in raising a child. Like I said, I'm confused by the, for lack of a better work, sentence.

Oh wait! I get it! He's from Canada where spanking is illegal and he's one of those nutjob religious kooks that feels their child must be caned a certain amount of times for each offense and if it doesn't leave a mark it doesn't count. I'm against that.

I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me French fries!

What about tattoos that say things like "Fuck tha Police" or "Marine for Life?" Those aren't political statements? And by virtue of the fact that their piercings upset this guy, aren't they saying something to him? Something like, "I'm different from you?" And aren't they saying things to people that like them? Such as, "I'm like you?" Just like his "Support Our Troops" magnet is a political statement?

I am sick of "Political Correctness." I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa ; so how can they be "African-Americans"? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe . I am proud to be from America and nowhere else

African-American is a name that most black American descendants of slaves chose for themselves. You can either respect that or be a dick. Your choice. I would imagine that most African-Americans also consider themselves to be Americans just as I, an American, acknowledge that I am a European-American descended almost entirely from inhabitants of the British Islands, mostly Scotland and Wales. But you can call me "Whitey."

And if you don't like my point of view, tough...

Tough what? Only a coward would hide behind the name of an octogenarian humorist. The writer ain't tough. The writer ain't nothin.'

So there you have my response to one forwarded lie. Y'know, the Nazis did this same thing with posters, handbills, and films. It really saddens me to watch our country slide towards fascism over the course of my life and as in Germany the push is given by the hateful, ambitious, and evil and the first on board are the simple, ignorant, and pathetic.

notice that the writer doesn't even have enough respect for the Constitution to capitalize it... or respect the English language enough to use punctuation.

Health Insurance

I'm of the opinion that something as important as health care should not be run for profit. When run for profit, hospitals cut staff, reduce the number of beds, underpay everyone but the management (who are grossly overpaid), neglect standards for cleanliness, and bankrupt patients without remorse. Any "market based" service is by definition going to be too expensive for a large chunk of the population and health care is so basic a need that everyone should have access to it.

We are going to have to move to some form of national health insurance sooner or later and I say let's do it now. A bunch of people are going to have to change careers but I have no sympathy for them. The top heavy management system running our hospitals deserve nothing but the boot. They do no public service. They are vampires. The people profiting from health insurance also receive no sympathy from me. Maybe they could get a job doing good for the people, like becoming nurses or doctors.

For emergency style health insurance for someone living the "American Dream" of entrepreneurship the minimum I've found per month (for a healthy male in his mid 40's) is around $150. That's a $10,000 deductible, meaning it covers nothing short of the catastrophic. That's not health insurance, it's robbery.

When the revolution comes, let's line the CEO's up next to lawyers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain's Running Mate?

Just thought I'd put this thought in print so when it's announced at the RNC I can act smug and smart and stuff:

So not only has Lieberman endorsed John "Crazy Like a Fucking Madman" McCain, he appears to be whispering in his ear when McCain shows he is also an ignorant right wing lunatic. Al Quaeda is the right's favorite boogie man and when not shouting about 9/11 they're invoking the minions of Osama Ben Laden, even when they have nothing to do with it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I'm a cartoon junkie. There, I've admitted it. The "funny pages" were what I always read first in a newspaper, followed by the editorial cartoons.

When I was a teenager I drew hundreds of cartoons with topics varying from a long "running" strip based on the Super Glue ads of the late 70's/early 80's called Super Goop to cartoons lampooning my friends and teachers. While at Tulane I drew a couple of cartoons for the school newspaper, The Hullabaloo, and I've even found one page of a cartoon I started in 1988 or '89 called The Adventures of Roach Man. That last one's kind of disturbing. The one page I have shows the birth of Roach Man caused when the radioactive spunk of a disgustingly fat janitor from the Nuclear plant (the seed spilled from a handjob from an underaged whore) lands on a roach who mutates into a human super hero. He was kind of a lame super hero as he was always running away from the lights, but I digress.

The internet has allowed my addiction to blossom into a daily routine with my morning coffee, the computer, and over a hundred comic strips, editorial cartoons, and animations. I get an e-mail from every day that I actually pay for. Here's a list of these cartoons:

Andy Capp
Bloom County
Calvin and Hobbes
For Better or For Worse
Red Meat
Strange Brew
Tank McNamara
Tom the Dancing Bug
Wizard of Id
9 to 5
Ballard Street
The Duplex
Stone Soup
Chip Bok
Stuart Carlson
Jeff Danziger
Matt Davies
Kerry Waghorn
Chan Lowe
Mike Luckovich
Glenn McCoy
Jack Ohman
Pat Oliphant
Ted Rall
Steve Sack
Ben Sargent
Wayne Stayskal
Paul Szep
Gary Varvel
Don Wright
Non Sequitur
FoxTrot Classics

And after that I open all these cartoons in separate tabs in Firefox and read them. It is like having the daily cartoon paper I always dreamed of:

Mark Fiore's Animated Political Cartoons!
Homestar Runner

Beetle Bailey
Cats with Hands
Grin and Bear It
Hagar the Horrible
Hi and Lois
Loose Parts
On the FastTrack
Safe Havens
Pardon My Planet
Reality Check
Rhymes with Orange
Shermans Lagoon
Speed Bump
Zippy the Pinhead

The unfeasible adventures of Beaver and Steve!

Rob and Elliot: A webcomic updated Mondays and Fridays

Pearls Before Swine

Funky Winkerbean
white ninja comics
Baby Blues
Rudy Park
Penny Arcade!
days o thunder
Editorial Cartoons
Harper's Magazine
vince ofarrell
Sluggy Freelance
get fuzzy

Weird Adventures in Unemployment: Weird Beginnings Part Fifteen

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