Saturday, May 29, 2004

Friday, May 28, 2004

Aw, I wanted to get 'Speak 'n' Spell'

In celebration of not losing internet access and living like an Amish person, here's a quizilla for you.

You're an Etch-a-Sketch!! You're the creative,
artsy type who doesn't need to actually utilize
a single muscle group in order to have fun.
Doesn't matter though, you're still cool.

What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I was never really good with an etch-a-sketch. Pretty much the only thing I could manage was random 'city skyline' sorts of things.

So, I finally paid the cable bill. I only had to live without tv for a few days and they didn't even get around to turning off my internet access.

It's exciting, living life on the edge...

Thursday, May 27, 2004

What a coinkydink...

Maybe this is tinfoil hat territory, but I don't think so.

It's awfully convienient that suddenly, when Bush's poll numbers are way, way down, there's a huge terrorist threat.

They didn't even bother to raise the terror alert level. You'll notice it's still 'Bert' in the sidebar over there.

Of course, in my opinion things like this really shouldn't boost Bush's approval rating, as they show to anyone with half a brain how he's *not* made it safer for Americans.

That is, if it's even a real terrorist threat.

It's sad to be so cynical. I didn't start out this jaded!
Okay, I know this is lame, but...

I really, really hate people who ask for money to blog. I really don't think my blog is worth that much.

Now, if I were to give something substantial in return, on the other hand...

As I am broke (not to mention bored), I have opened a shop. It's here, if you're interested. More stuff is getting added as we speak.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Technical Difficulties

Well, I'm probably getting my cable cut off in the next few days, so there may not be any posting here until Friday or so.

Such is life. Really, I should feel lucky to have happened to be born in a part of the world where I can afford cable internet access in the first place.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Foreign Terrorists, like this 2 year-old girl

Okay, I'm sure U.S. forces aren't cruel enough to randomly bomb isolated tents and homes in the middle of the desert (although I would say that with much greater assurance *before* the Abu Ghraib photos came to light) but it really irks me to see them trying to spin such an obvious screw up in a different direction.
"There was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Saturday. "There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations, too."

But video that APTN shot a day after the attack shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered around the bombed out tent.
Bad people have celebrations, too? Bad people like this 2 year old girl who now needs a tube to drain her liver?

This article kills me, too.
"We have not denied anything about this incident. We still don't believe there was a wedding going on, or a wedding party going on, when we hit in the early morning hours. Could there have been some sort of celebration going on earlier? Certainly," the official said.
Not even the people whose parents, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children had their bodies ripped apart by bombs paid for by the US taxpayer are denying the celebrations were over when hell fell on them from above. That's just a stupid, mean thing to say.

Even if this were *also* a terrorist hideout this would be terrible. If there's even a chance that the building you're considering dropping your bombs on is filled with innocent men, women, and children, it would seem to me that securing the area in a more precise manner than exploding it would be in order.

But then again, maybe there's something I just don't understand about war.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Knauer Power!

Welcome fellow abq blogger Scott at He's one of those Mac cultists that draw little pictures of apples on everything, but we like him anyway.
If this isn't racial profiling, then what is?

If this can happen here in the open-minded Land of Enchantment, then it can happen anywhere.

Several Muslim men out on a shopping trip, finding it was time for their afternoon prayers, stopped outside Coronado Mall to pray. Little did they know that in John Ashcroft's America, that constitutes a major security threat.
Essa Dalloul, 20, says he was detained by Albuquerque Police Department officers and mall security at Coronado Mall at 6 p.m. Sunday, handcuffed and made to sit on the floor in a public area for almost two hours.

While he was there, police also detained his cousin, brother and five other Arabs and Arab Americans without telling them what the charges were or why they were being held, said Ahmad Assed, Dalloul's attorney.

...Albuquerque police were called by mall security to investigate what they thought to be a suspicious individual. Albuquerque Police Department officers detained Dalloul, checked him out and then let him go, Albuquerque Police Chief Gilbert Gallegos said Friday.

..."I asked them for my ID back because I wanted to leave," Issa said. "The officer said `I've been given information that I have a bunch of terrorists here, so you better sit down.' "

Issa says it is not the first time he's been profiled by authorities. Last year in Bernalillo, he says, police pulled him over for running a stop sign, then took his name and searched his car, scaring his children, who were 7, 6 and 2 years old at the time.

"They had shotguns pointed at my children," Issa said. "Of course my children were scared, and humiliated at seeing their dad handcuffed for no reason."
I happen to know from the people involved that the 'suspicious individuals' the police were investigating were two Muslim men who had stopped to pray in a grassy area outside of the mall. Now do you honestly think mall security would be so concerned, let alone the people who reported this to mall security, if the prayers in question had been Christian ones? Just think what would happen, here in the Catholic Bible Belt, if a person was handcuffed and forced to sit on the floor for 45 minutes if they crossed themselves in public?

Coronado Mall is pretty infamous for kicking people out for the slightest of cultural offences. Myself and a group of my friends were asked to leave a few times in the late 90s for the crime of wearing spikes, chains, and mohawks. (Now that there's a Hot Topic there, such an offence would hardly qualify anymore...)

I would say let's all boycott, but I don't really know anyone who goes to the mall anyway. The only place worth going for would maybe be Borders, and that's in Winrock. Oh well.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Excuse me. I've got to be a geek for a moment.

Will someone please let George Lucas know that it's okay for films to exists as products of the time in which they were made!?! It seems his first film, the arty-ish THX 1138 is getting a Special Edition, as well.

This is utter crap. It's one thing to restore or remaster a film. That's fine, akin to cleaning and restoring a great painting. But this special edition nonsense would be like painting sunglasses on the Mona Lisa.

Not only is it totally unnecessary, but it robs the work of much of its charm.

Part of the reason, I think, the original trilogy Star Wars movies were so cool (different, I think, from 'good,') is that they were sort of a constant pop-culture freeze-frame reference of the way things were when I was growing up. The hairdos, the cheesy effects, the pale colors on the late-seventies film stock, the hippie sensibilities of the Jim Henson creatures, all were products of their time. The films preserved them for eternity. Like Watching silent movies of the 20s, you got a sense of what time period these movies were made.

Also, I have always thought that model and puppet effects age better than cheesy cgi. Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi still looks realistic, thanks to the puppetting skills of Frank Oz which brought him to life. The Yoda from The Phantom Menace looked even more lifelike, still puppetted by Frank Oz and sculpted with materials and techniques light years ahead of the old Yoda. The silly, flat-looking, airbrushed-seeming Yoda from Attack of the Clones, however, already looks outdated. Cgi does not last.

I came upon THX 1138 in much later years than the Star Wars films, which are a part of my childhood. Lucas's first film has a clean aesthetic, a simple, realistic, low-budget industrialism that is sort of like Alphaville (far superior, btw) done in Soviet Russia. The look works for the movie, set in a sterile world of emotional barrenness. From the trailer this Special Edition looks like it takes place inside of a Euro-stylish shopping mall.


On the bright side, Shrek 2 was very funny and good.

Of all of the scenes coming from the Occupied Territories during Israel's most recent incursion, this is perhaps the most depressing to be seen recently.
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) - A headless ostrich, dead chickens and a peacock littered the ground at a zoo Friday after Israeli troops raided a Gaza neighbourhood. The zoo's owner said soldiers demolished cages and pens, killing some animals and setting dozens more free.

Associated Press Television News footage showed the mangled body of a goat lying near the twisted wreckage of its former pen as flies swarmed overhead.
Why was this necessary? Were the ostriches secretly smuggling weapons?

Besides the inhumane deaths these animals suffered, wasn't this action inadvisable simply because it increases the Palestinian's hatred of Israel?
Zoo owner Mohammed Jumaa said most of the animals were either dead or had escaped. The zoo is in Tel Sultan, the neighbourhood that was hardest hit in the raid.

"There are no words to describe the pain that I feel right now," said Jumaa. "This is all part of the army's planned destruction of Rafah, its buildings, its people, and even its animals."
Deliberately killing innocent wild animals who don't even know where they are is perhaps the worst thing I've heard of the IDF doing yet.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I love these gay marriage photos

I had a particularly annoying day today, dealing with my current living situation (let's just mention the word 'chihuahua,' and leave it at that,) and was in a super-pissy mood until I came across some photos of gay couples getting married in Massachusetts. Many, if not most, of these couples have been together for decades, and many of them have children.

See here.
And here.

Seeing those goofy, giddy faces, full of joy, hope, and elation really cheered me up.

In fact, I was so happy I called Brian at work and told him I love him.

Who could possibly be angry after seeing those photos?

Monday, May 17, 2004

WMDs in use in Iraq!

Well, almost.

A small bomb exploded containing some sarin nerve agent, but the bomb was apparently a dud. There was only some minor exposure to a few people. Besides that, there's this aspect, which would be funny if only it weren't real life:
Former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, speaking to the Associated Press in Sweden, said the shell was likely a stray weapon scavenged from a dump and did not signify that Iraq had large stockpiles of such weapons. Kimmitt said he believed that insurgents who planted the explosive didn't know it contained the nerve agent.

...Many of the materials used for roadside bombs are believed to have been looted from arsenals after the collapse of the regime in April 2003.
More proof of the ineptitude of our post-war plan. Ummm, if we supposedly knew exactly where all the arsenals were (struggle with me to bring up the dim memory of Colin Powell holding up black-and-white photos in front of the UN, if that memory hasn't been erased by months of doublethink,) then why didn't we guard them?

The insurgents who planted the device didn't know it had nerve agent in it? If Bush was right about Saddam's arsenals, then who knows what we've given the insurgents access to.

Then again, Hans Blix seems to believe this isolated weapon was merely a fluke.
He said it was likely the sarin gas used could have been from a leftover shell found in a chemical dump.

"It doesn't sound absurd at all. There can be debris from the past and that's a very different thing from have stocks and supplies," he said. "I think we need to know more about it."
I think that's fairly probable. I'm sure if you looked in enough places here in the United States you could find scary abandoned piles of who-knows-what, let alone in a place like Iraq that I'm sure doesn't have all sorts of environmental regulations that require them to dump chemicals in a particular way.

Honestly, I don't see how this is any sort of a victory for those who support the war. It seems to only show how the situation has gotten out of our ability to control.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Saying what shouldn't need to be said, again

Poor Al-Muhajabah. Not only is she getting an influx of backwards, bigoted islamophobes in her comments recently, but she has again came out and posted what should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Islam and Islamic leaders condemn the horrific slaying of Nick Berg.

Read here
to see.
Honest Question

Put aside all questions of whether or not the Palestinian cause is just, whether or not they have been ill-served by their leaders, or whether or not it's their "fault," and answer me this question.

Do you think this little boy will grow up to like the Israelis? Or will he grow up to hate them? What about the boy's father? Mother? Older siblings?

I would ask Hamas and Hezbollah what an Israeli father who sent his daughter to school and never saw her again would think about Palestinians, too.

After perusing some of the warbloggers, curious of their reaction to the Nick Berg situation, and reading the invective-laden calls to "nuke" Iraq and whatnot, it's clear to me that violence only nurtures more violence. If fanatics on one side do something terrible, fanatics on the other side can't help, in their weasely little hearts, but to want to top that.

I have been unable to think rationally about the Nick Berg execution video for several days now. It is so disgusting, so horrible, even I am speechless. Not even an animal deserves to die like that.

After digesting it for a few days, I got to thinking. If the man who killed the bound, helpless civilian was really Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, apparently a high-ranking member of al-Qaida, why was he still alive to carry out such a horrible crime? While the current administration was blowing stuff up in Iraq, al-Qaida has been free to bomb nightclubs, hotels, subway trains, and behead innocent civilians.

It seems obvious to me that if Bush Jr. hadn't been too busy settling old scores with Saddam (don't forget, he's the guy who "tried to kill his dad,") then perhaps the people responsible for 9/11, Bali, Madrid, and now Nick Berg would have been brought to justice a long time ago.

If this is a war on terror, we're losing it. Removing Saddam Hussein from power has not made Americans any safer. This video proves it. And it really makes me angry that while we were fartzing around in Iraq, al-Qaida was planning these atrocities.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Forget real life. Let's bitch about movies!

With the problems of the real world way too horrifying and disturbing for me to process right now, I think I am going to retreat into a topic I can handle with such a degree of self-importance that doesn't require introspection or anger.

That's right. Film snobbery.

What is with the stupid, annoying girls in Hollywood Blockbusters these days? Where have all the plucky punk girls gone? Between Kiera Knightley's eye-rolling turn as a fantastically skinny, constantly indignant pain in the neck in last year's Pirates of the Caribbean to Kate Beckinsale's collagen lip-injected, improbably dressed, goofily accented Rumanian girl in the recent Van Helsing, I'm yearning for a girl who's a plausible badass and yet not an obvious attempt to soulessly cater to girl-power audiences.

Ms. Beckinsale is a usual suspect for this sort of thing, but her character in Van Helsing was particularly odious to me. My husband loved this movie, but I couldn't get over Kate's silly spandex outfit. Why is she wearing pants instead of a skirt, I asked, as you would expect a gypsy girl to do in that time period. Because skirts would be so cumbersome for a person doing all that fighting, my darling husband replied. Okay, then why, pray tell, is she wearing a corset? Was it like a fighting corset or something?

There's a scene in the otherwise surprisingly cool Pirates of the Caribbean that highlights my point. When the motley crew of pirates assembled by Jack Sparrow find themselves on the run from Capitan Barbossa in the Black Pearl, for some reason Knightley's character, the daughter of a politician, having had no experience with this sort of thing before, comes up with a plan to save the day. What is especially irksome is that if they had wanted to show a girl outsmarting a pirate, there was a perfectly good girl pirate right there to do so (Annamaria, the one who slapped Johnny Depp so soundly in the previous scene). But no, the annoying spunky, skinny Knightley gets to save the day.

Having just returned from Troy, I must admit that that film did offer me some hope. Helen, unlike Kiera Knightley's Guinevere appears to be doing in the trailer for that King Arthur monstrosity, does not shoot any arrows or join in the battle for no plausible reason. The film offers a genuine, strong, believable girl in the form of Briseis, a girl so strong and courageous only Achilles was man enough for her. She also gets to kill one of the great pricks in all of western literature, although I won't tell you who as it is a rather major departure from the Iliad. (although I must also admit that I was very disappointed in the absence of Cassandra.)

No one in many years, however, has come close enough to touch my favorite movie girl, one who inspired much pluckiness in me in my youth. I'm speaking of Karen Allen, playing Marion in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film in general is an excellent Blockbuster, the type Hollywood seems to be incapable of making any more. Marion, however, is my hero. She's strong enough to win drinking contests in Outer Mongolia, angry enough to swing a few good punches, makes Indy take her on as partner, and yet is still womanly in that cool, gorgeous 1930's era white dress. Indy shoulda stuck with her instead of hooking up with that shrill, soon-to-be Stepford Wife Kate Capshaw from Temple of Doom.

Instead of dwelling on every bad thing happening recently (and it's all I can do to keep from shouting or ripping out my hair if I allow myself to think of some of the things that have happened in the past weeks) I think I will retreat into the cool, slick, simple comfort of some good popcorny flicks. The kind they just don't make anymore.

Thursday, May 13, 2004


Oh, let's try the new blogger comments!

...Uhhh, check that, nevermind.

Did a major overhaul of the blogroll, adding and editing, and deleting some links. If anything I've rearranged is problematic, lemme know.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Oh so Fugly

Wow I hate the new blogger setup. Why do these companies think we want something that looks all Fisher Price? I hate the way Mac OS X looks, I hate the way Windows XP looks, and I hate the way this looks, too.


Saturday, May 08, 2004

Low morale

You know, normal people can only be stretched so far before they snap.

Case in point: The torture of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib was perpetrated by overworked, undertrained, seriously stressed-out people who thought they were going home sometime last year.

Last June, Karpinski took command of the 800th MP Brigade, a unit led to believe it was going home shortly after major combat ended May 1, 2003.

Instead, it got a new mission: running the entire U.S. prison system across Iraq -- 12 camps and jails.

"Morale suffered, and over the next few months there did not appear to have been any attempt by the command to mitigate this morale problem," the Taguba report says.

And I thought I hated my job. I can't imagine what that must have been like. "You're going home! And by going home we meant you're put in charge of a run-down, hellish prison system with just about no training, resources, or restraint!"

Not that it's an excuse for their behavior or anything, but what did they think was going to happen? That the angry, undersupervised soldiers would all teach the Iraqis to sing Kumbaya? Probably some of these Americans were among the shockingly high percentage who still think Iraqis were responsible for 9/11.

I look around (yes, blogging from work again) at the Fox News-watching mouthbreathers I'm surrounded by here at work, undertrained, overworked, and stressed out to the last man, and wonder what they would do when put in charge of helpless, shackled people they thought were responsible for an attack on America and I don't think the result would be any different.

This is why Rumsfeld should resign. I cannot help but feel that his insistence this war could be fought on the cheap is responsible for situations like this, just like the corporate jag-offs I work for who are so insistent to keep us hopelessly understaffed in order to save money are responsible for all the pissed-off customers I talk to every day. I was 100 percent against this war from the start, but to fight it poorly and without proper preparation is worse than fighting it for the wrong reasons, but fighting it well.

If you have to go to war for no reason, at least don't be so terrible at it that situations like Abu Ghraib are inevitable.

While I must admit that it's nice to see Rumsfeld wriggle like a worm on a hook, it's upsetting that it has to be for the reason that it is.

The fact that they're saying it might get worse, now, is utterly nauseating.

Rumsfeld said there are many more photographs and videos that have not been made public yet.

"It's going to get still more terrible, I'm afraid," he said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he wants to "prepare the public: Apparently the worst is yet to come potentially in terms of disturbing events."

He later told reporters, "The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience."

Side note: what's with the sexual perversity present in the armed forces? There was the story not too long ago about the sexual assaults of female cadets, not to mention the totally gross stories coming out of Camp X-Ray, which seem to have gone uninvestigated, and now this.

When I see the big goofy grins (note: those are not work-safe photos on the other side of that link, but be aware of what your taxpayer's money is funding) on the two Americans as they cavort around the naked, hooded prisoners, some trying to crouch down and cover themselves, some just hanging their heads in defeat, I'm pretty ashamed to be a human being, let alone a citizen of the United States.

But what really gets to me more that anything else is that they knew about it. The Red Cross knew. Salon did an article about it two months ago. Even the supposed Iraqi blogger Riverbend knew.

Hell, even I knew. I read that article on Salon and didn't even bother to blog about it. What the hell is wrong with this country, with you, me, all of us?

Tomorrow morning I'm going to get up and go to work, taking phone calls helping rich people hook up their fantastically useless pieces of electronics equipment that cost as much as many people in this world make in a whole year. Meanwhile, people across the world are getting tortured in our names, either directly or indirectly.

Don't you get it? This is why the terrorists hate us.

**added** Read also this post by Riverbend. If she really is an Iraqi, her final words are haunting.

Chaos? Civil war? Bloodshed? We’ll take our chances- just take your Puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go.

Great stinking job, Bush administration. Mission Accomplished! Way to go!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I will not be a Handmaid

Finals are over, drunken parties celebrating such are over (Stan, I am soooo sorry), so now I have time to blog again. The first thing I want to mention is that it was great to see such a huge turnout for the March for Women's Lives.

Do not let the reproductive medical rights of women slip away! Jeanne provides good clear examples of the things that happen when politicians make medical decisions instead of doctors (or, for that matter, the women themselves).

Don't, however, waste time with this Salon article about the march. Instead of focusing on the issues at hand, and what was at stake, Rebecca Traister chose to write a story about catty celebrities, outfits, and hairdos. Shame on them for playing to the media stereotype, already popular after that "rich women can't golf" situation last year, of female protesters as bored pampered poodles.
More peace walk stuff

New photos of the Philly peace walk on Sunday.