Things that make you go..."Buh???":
"I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here."
-At the President's Economic Forum

"We discussed the way forward in Iraq, discussed the importance of a democracy in the greater Middle East in order to leave behind a peaceful tomorrow."
-At Tbilisi, Georgia, earlier this month
Brought to you courtesy of our very own Fearless Leader.
Listening to Jeremy Hotz... funny guy.
I see a psychiatrist now, too. She hates my guts. She says that I suffer from delusions of sexual superiority. She just wants to [date] me. Get in line, lady!
Lets get out of here: lets just go. Three hundred of us, that'd be great. Let's go bowling right now. Oh, Christ that'd be hysterical. We show up at the same bowling alley at the same time, just freak the guy behind the counter out.

We're here!

Holy [crap]! I don't have shoes for these people!


Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

So we went to see Revenge of the Sith last night. It was okay. Like most every review says, the dialogue is crap. The movie is visually good, except some few dumb things. The most memorable dumb thing was the insistence that cutting up close to a light-saber fight will somehow work out well- completely useless shot.

Mace Windu just doesn't sound like he believes the stuff he's saying. Samuel Jackson really seems like he's acting, which is too bad. Yoda's syntax is so stilted that it is a speech impediment, though he has the best line of the whole movie (all the other speaking is down hill from there):

Good relations with the Wookiees, I have.

Sadly, though, Yoda also breaks character when saying goodbye to Chewbacca. I mean- Jedi masters aren't supposed to be sentimental, and there Yoda goes, telling that big ol' overgrown Lhasa Apso that Yoda will miss him? Huh?

The incident which confines Vader to his armor is quite gruesome, though I suppose I expected something a little worse when I saw where it was going to go down... and there are some really dark moments during Anakin's turning. Though I suspect it was more for reasons of ratings that it wasn't more explicit, the implicit menace of Vader's actions in the Council room during the sacking of the Jedi temple was more than sufficient.

Over all, I am with most people in thinking that this one was better than episodes I and II, but inferior to episodes IV and V... I won't comment on episode VI, as I'm having trouble remembering much from it. However, Lucas should be dragged out and shot. And then never allowed back into the director's chair, or be permitted to type, write, or dictate any dialogue. For the good of all mankind.


You'll go blind!
If this isn't a ringing endorsement for an ability-based education system, I don't know what is.
In the six charter middle schools in [New York City], 49.8 percent of eighth graders met the state standard on the English Language Arts exam [...] In contrast, only 32.8 percent of eighth graders in the public schools were reading and writing at grade level.
So, just over half of the charter school 8th graders in NYC are NOT reading at the 8th grade level, and this is an improvement over performance in public schools?! I would ask what in the hell is wrong with this country, but I think I've already got my answer.
As always, Giblets says it best:
It's hot today - TOO hot - and Giblets bans the sun. It is outlawed in all decent Gibfearing lands! Never again shall the brow of Giblets be sullied with its base photonic energy. Three huzzahs and a tally-ho!
Tom DeLay can't distinguish reality and fiction.


Ahh, the sweet forbidden fruit of the Fruit Pie. What's it like, Fafnir?
And you're off! Runnin over the tops a cars to make the winnin touchdown an punchin out Hitler's brain before it lays a tentacle on your lady friend an the ninja coach gives you the all-star trophy an it's all on accounta pie! An you hold it up in the air an the camera spins all around you an you toss it back to Spiderman or Mr. Rogers or trusted newsman Walter Cronkite who's givin you a thumb's up an the hot pie fillin hits him in the face killing him instantly. The jury is merciless; you receive twenty years to life.
Diet Coke with Splenda vs. Diet Coke with Aspartame:

Note first the ingredient lists:

Diet Coke: Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine

Splenda-y: Carbonated water, caramel color, natural flavors, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, sucralose (splenda), acesulfame potassium, caffeine, citric acid

The Diet Coke with Splenda has a more definite vanilla scent, and is generally sweeter- I couldn't really taste the sour note that I like. I didn't get a filmy feel that Coke with high fructose corn syrup leaves. There is much less of a chemical taste to the sweetness than in regular Diet Coke. Strangely, I've come to enjoy that strange little frisson of "What is that? Why, you strange, Ridley Scott-style sweetener!?"


Heh. Rock & Roll - Thesaurusized, a la McSweeny's.

"Talkin' bout my generation" --> "Discussing on the subject of my age group"

Here's a neat thing from Slate, about missing women throughout the world. There's a buried story in there, referring to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, a servicable, if a bit half-baked, book.

The thing about Gladwell is, he's good at writing. His books are entertaining, ultimately unsatisfying to me. His books, which, I will grant, are for popular consumption, seem to only graze the surface of the ideas he presents. The lack of depth frustrates me.


I'm beginning to get a little freaked out by NPR. The little musical interludes between segments this afternoon have all come from my iPod.


Winning vs. losing?

During a joint appearance with Hamid Karzai, President Bush fielded some questions...
[Q:] ...and if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight...
So... we're continuing to fight, too, right? Does that mean we're losing, also?
Tom introduced me to more songs by The Proclaimers this weekend (where by "more songs" I mean anything other than the one - "I'm Gonna Be" - that I already knew). I can agree with him that they're a highly underrated band. And they're just so...Scottish! Here's an excerpt from "Sunshine on the Leith":
Your beauty and kindness
Made tears clear my blindness.
While I'm worth my room on this earth
I will be with you.
While the Chief, puts Sunshine On Leith
I'll thank him for his work
And your birth and my birth.
Good stuff.
I really shouldna read this so long before lunch...
The brisket we ordered was moist and incredibly smoky. His ribs were even better, crusty on the outside, with meat that pulled right away from the bone, as a perfect rib should.


To anyone in the vicinity of a Trader Joe's (even if said vicinity is large): Get your hands on some lemon Citrons Givres "Lemon sorbet in naturel shells" (i.e. lemon husks)...80 calories each and de-freaking-licious!


I should say about the below recipe: really good avocado helps a lot. Use really good tomato with good avocado and the stuff is transcendent. Some people add a little hot pepper- and that's good, too, if you go in for that.


Recipe: Guacamole (this one's for Mom)

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Two sections of garlic
  • 1/4 large tomato
  • 1/4" thick section of medium red onion
  • Two large avocados, slightly softer than you'd really think
  • Remove avocado pits, reserving them for later, scoop flesh into bowl
  • Dice onion and tomato
  • Mince garlic
  • Put garlic, onion, and tomato, into the avocado bowl, mash well
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
Note that the onion and tomato quantities are approzimate, and you'll learn to adjust to your tastes. If you want the guacamole to keep, make sure to refrigerate. The avocado flesh will turn a Yoda-like color, but this can be slowed by putting the pits back into the finished dip, or putting in a tablespoon of lime juice.
Try it- you'll like it (and it's really no fattier than the avocado!)!
Whoo-hoo! Arrested Development ain't dead after all.


Ooh...the USGS has put a real-time earthquake probability map online for California. Be interesting to see how accurate the thing turns out to be. Shake, rattle & roll, baby.

Today on Fresh Air, one guest is D.James Kennedy, founder of the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ.

Here's a bit about the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ

the CENTER focuses on five key fronts of the modern-day culture war: (1) Religious Liberties, (2) the Sanctity of Life, (3) the Homosexual Agenda, (4) Pornography, and (5) Promoting Creationism.

...and amazingly, the interviewer is able to listen without vomiting.

Ick, I got some Homosexual Agenda on me.


26 Songs About Scientists: Vol. I - Anning to Malthus...definitely looks entertaining.
Hey, bebe. How you doin'?

Whooo, me?



Great...just what NPR needs - less news and more crappy jazz (oh, and more censorship).
This one's for Dad: Freakonomics author Steve Levitt addresses some criticisms of his hypothesis that the legalization of abortion in 1973 was responsible in large degree for the large drop in crime the U.S. experienced in the '90s. In so doing, he summarizes the evidence supporting his theory. The book presents the case a little more fully, and his technical work more so.
Possible differences in Richard III if the title Richard was a humpback rather than a hunchback:
  • They'd need a much bigger stage than most theaters have
  • Probably Richmond could not have killed Richard without more specialized equipment than a sword
  • The squeaks and whalesong would not be ideally suited to sweet-talking widows
  • Update: A whale would look funny in a crown.


Recipe: Tamale-type Corn Cake Thingies (like at Hamburger Hamlet)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup pancake-mix
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • about 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • sbout 1/2 cup corn kernals (freshly scraped or thawed frozen)
Preparing the batter
  • Stir together cornmeal, pancake-mix, sugar and salt in a big ol' bowl.
  • Stir in water until the batter is smooth. The texture should be quite viscous.
  • Stir in corn kernals until evenly distributed
  • Add about 1/4 of an inch of neutral oil to the bottom of a saucepan. Heat until small water drops flung into the oil (from a respectful distance, mind you) kick up oil vigorously but not violently. I'll get a thermometer and determine the actual temperature later.
  • Make drops of batter approximately 3 inches in diameter in the hot oil. When a golden-brown color begins to show about 1/3 of the way up the side of the cake, turn and cook until done (total about 2 minutes).
  • Remove cakes from oil and drain excess oil.
  • Serve with delicious sauces and garnishes that I will figure out another day.



Anyone is welcome to comment!

All you have to do is click the "comments" link at the end of the post you wish to comment on. A window will come up where you can put a name in the name box if you like (the email and URL boxes don't have to be filled out unless you want to) and write what you have to say in the comments box.

Seriously, is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me.


Mathematical terms that sound like spy novels:
  • The Fredholm Alternative
  • Absolute Convergence
  • Exponents of Singularity
  • The Frobenius Method
  • Impulse Response
  • The Parseval Equation
  • Asymptotic Expansion
  • The Fixed Point
  • Separatrix
  • The Tautochrone
  • The Outer Product
  • The Vector Product
Good quiz. Via Pharyngula.
I see a lot of things going on lately that suggest when the bathwater gets too cool, or too soapy, or too wet, one should not hesitate to chuck it right out, baby or not...
John Adams Hurson, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates who is president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said: "I am a Democrat, a liberal Democrat, but we can't sustain the current Medicaid program. It's fiscal madness. It doesn't guarantee good care, and it's a budget buster. We need to instill a greater sense of personal responsibility so people understand that this care is not free."
So the problem with providing healthcare for the very poor is that we have too many poor and their health needs are too great. Well, restricting their access to healthcare is definitely one way of reducing the number of poor people.


Today the Oregon Supreme Court was hearing cases in the PAC at my school. Any student could watch, but then when they broke for lunch they came into my class to eat, and the class had to go to the computer lab to work on stuff, or they could stay and talk to the Justices. My friends Kelly, Maddie, Thea and myself were the only ones to stay and talk to the justices. I met Jusctice Robert Durham, and he told me to call him Skip because he likes that name. So that was pretty neat-o.


In another town shill hall-style event about Social Security removal reform, Vice President Dick Cheney and various communicants congregants citizens referred to the Democratic Party as people of "the other faith."

This should make people uncomfortable- the continual establishment of an out-group by may be sound as politics-by-division, but the final result of that tactic leaves us farther from comity than ever. In fact, it sets us on the slippery-slope of contracting the moral circle... and that is a scary proposition (outside the moral circle is a scary preposition).

It reminds me of (of all things) a Tom Clancy novel, where the protagonist says something about politicans from one state promising to stick it to people from another state and wondering rhetorically if residents of that "other" state are not Americans, too.

How republican are you?