Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Which is why I'm not spending the Euros

My sweet wife and I were planning do a trip to Europe - Normandy, Belgium, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Peneemunde - or something like that. Given the recent rise of crap like this, we're going to Australia instead.

"I've spent 100 days a year for the past 30 years in Europe, and, generally, people always managed to differentiate a government's action from its citizens," says Rick Steves, a Seattle-based tour operator who specializes in Europe. "But I have never seen this level of frustration in my lifetime. They just can't understand our push for war, especially the younger generation." Steves says the current climate is in stark contrast to the "breathtaking" we-are-all-Americans sentiment that gripped Europe on Sept. 11, 2001.


The Europeans were sympathetic to passing Americans on September 11. Let me call the press! Seems to me our reaction would have been a little different.

The day after the Paris metro gets gassed or a dirty bomb irradiates the City of London, our reaction to our passing European traveller will not be: "I'm so sorry" but "we'll take care of it."

The former is comforting. The latter is useful.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Like Eusthenopteron, I'm crawling out of the muck.

Pathetic Earthlings is now at www.patheticearthlings.com --- it may take a bit to get all the archives up, but I hope you'll switch on over to my new site -- and change those blogrolls -- while I try to work up some decent front legs.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Like Eusthenopteron, I'm crawling out of the muck

Pathetic Earthlings is now at www.patheticearthlings.com --- it may take a bit to get all the archives up, but I hope you'll switch on over to my new site while I try to work up some decent front legs.
Eat Your (Organically Produced, Free-Range) Young

If I've got to have some fresh tamarind for my jerk chicken dipping sauce, I go to Berkeley Bowl. Despite the political overtones, it's a damned fine store. But there's just about nothing that gives me the giggles more than a progressive business establishment being shaken down by its progressive employees in an effort to unionize.

This isn't quite as much fun as the former CEO of US Repeating Arms, Perry Odak, taking over at Ben & Jerry's, but it's close.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Hosting Matters, meet Moveable Type, Moveable Type... Hosting Matters

Actually, the service desks at both places here are extrodinarily responsive... but I keep having to forward emails between them. I haven't a clue what they're talking about.

Oooooo.... I'm leaving blogspot --- neener neener neeeeener --- although I will keep this place up as a backup.
The new heading needs some smoothing out...

But I think it'll be something like that.
Let It Be

The original, rear-engine VW Beetle will end its 70-year run when the Volkswagen-Mexico produces the last one this summer.
The Pataki-Def Jam Axis of Progress

A great piece over at Joe Conason today about Def-Jam chairman Russell Simmons' work with Governor George Pataki to reform the drug laws in New York State under which "a rapist or a murderer can receive less time than a first offender holding a small amount of cocaine."

As a successful businessman, Mr. Simmons says he regards a political campaign as an exercise in "branding" and "deal-making." The rappers are "the world’s greatest brand-builders," he says, and no politician "wants to be branded as being insensitive." Now he wants to "get a deal, get some people out of jail and give [the political leaders] the credit they deserve"—if they end up deserving it.


I hate Conason's little asides, not so much because they're often tautological: if they deserve it well... yeah... then they deserve it, but not if they don't. Bush's policies would be good.... if they weren't bad. I gave a complete quote from the Chairman of the IAEA... only I didn't. It's because half the time they're so nested in with what his interviewees are saying, I never know whether it's his comment or not.

Anyway, this is a fine article on one of the strongest salients against the drug war. There was a smaller victory on medical marijuana here in California, when yesterday Ed Rosenthal was sentenced to one day in jail (with credit for time served) and although the result was just, I haven't (and won't) spend the time relearning criminal procedure to opine on it.

A note on these sort of mandatory minimums. These are sentences below which judges are not permitted to go for certain (generally drug-related) offenses -- are not only a hideous injustice, but more's the point, generally absurd. Prior to post-September 11 reforms of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, I worked out a scenario under which a person could get less time for simple possession of an atomic bomb than for simple possession of four ounces of crack. Mind you, you had to figure out a way to avoid the 36-level enhancement that would come if possession had a "substantial likelihood to hurt the United States or help an enemy of the United States" -- perhaps if you got stopped at a border crossing at Point Roberts, Washington sporting a 54-40 or Fight! bumperstrip -- but the law contemplated a situation where cocaine needed a stiffer penalty than weaponized uranium.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Version 3

Mars needs women... and Glenmorangie.

Starting the Move to Moveable Type

It will be (at least) few days yet before I get things moved over, but I'm going to switch to Moveable Type and non-blogspot hosting --- assuming I can get it all worked out. I'm trying to do the whole page in gray-scale, so it's got a bit of that Atomic Horror feel.

Here's a mock up for the new title.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

When I commit a crime, I like to use ten thousand dollar rifles and four dollar bullets

Fortunately, California has put a stop to me.
Something very, very cool.

I'd say that this Honda commercial was Rube Goldberg-esque, but it's better than that.

Via Common Sense and Wonder.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Marvin the Martian Heads Back Home

The mission patches for the next two Martian rovers show Marvin the Martian and Duck Dodgers from the 24 1/2th Century, respectively.

Via Robert Pearlman's CollectSpace
Spike Lee Claims Trademark Over the Word "Spike"

Spike Lee apparently believes that TNN's rebirth as "Spike TV" is a violation of his trademark and that, as he must maintain (if I recall my trademark law) -- that its use will, among other things, be likely confused and caused a dilution in the value in his own name.

I liked this part:

According to Lee, TNN's president, Albie Hecht, has said the public associates the name 'Spike' with Lee.


"Lee, whose given name is Shelton Jackson Lee, included in court papers affidavits from people including former Sen. Bill Bradley, and actors Ossie Davis and Ed Norton. The affidavits said the signers had thought of Lee when they heard about Spike TV and some said they believed he had become affiliated with the network."


Let's see... Ossie Davis, fine actor, long-time civil rights advocate and friend of Spike Lee. Ed Norton, fine actor, one time employee of Spike Lee and friend of Spike Lee. Bill Bradley, lousy Senator, former basketball star, recipient of Spike Lee's $1,000 donation to his Presidential campaign (type in "Lee, Shelton") and friend of Spike Lee. Yeah, gee, they might think of their friend when someone calls something "Spike TV"

But I thought Spike Lee's beef was that no one in America paid attention to him -- this connection didn't cross my mind -- yet America will, nevertheless, be confused by this.

Perhaps he ought to get an injunction against Charles Schulz while he's at it.
Truth Laid Bare's New Blogger Showcase

I'd checked out The Whiskey Bar even before the Showcase mostly to make sure he wasn't cutting in on my territory (no, seriously -- I'd love to find a Tequila blogger to help me understand higher end Mexican ambrosia, or a beer blogger, or a champagne blogger or anything else). I think Billmon he's completely wrong on... well... lots of stuff, I sure like his blog.

Check him out. I'm giving him a permalink among the Earthling's Loyal Opposition.