Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Honest, Judge, Yer Honor, I Was Asleep When I Did It

It's ruled sleep sex

Party drinker was asleep at the time of alleged attack, judge decides in 'rare case'

It wasn't a sexual assault -- it was sleep sex.

Where to start?

"News of the success of the sexsomnia defence may give rapists ideas, Stewart said."

Janus! what was his first clue?

Not only rapists, though. Since this is being classified as a "sleep disorder, but not a mental disease," kind of like sleepwalking, it's going to open up a whole new line of defense tactics for everything from rape to bank robbery to murder to embezzlement.

Twinkies are obviously not longer politically correct as far as scapegoats go. We don't commit crimes due to an overload of sugar, anymore.

We commit crimes because we sleep.

With Twinkies, the obvious solution was to stop stuffing the damned things in your mouth.

What's the solution for this new kid in the crime lexicon -- sexsomnia?

I notice, too, that this comes out of the Toronto area. What the hell is in the water out there?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Ware Your Hit Counter

This post on the Egyptian Sandmonkey's site, asking for tech help with pop-ups that were inundating his website, brought help from around the world!

Melantrys, from Germany, posted a link to an article by MadCanuck in New York, which in turn leads to an article by Rob Cottingham in Canada.

Bottom line is: read all your terms of service agreements before you agree to them. And keep checking to make sure they haven't changed without your knowing!

And if you have Webstats4U or Nedstat Basic, get rid of it if you don't like pop-ups.

And if you need help, don't hesitate to ask. The blogging community is very diverse and huge. From the time SM first posted his question till the link came in for the answer was about 2 1/2 hours!

You can't get that kind of response from customer service at any large corporation...

Monday, November 28, 2005

And We're Off!

Like a shirty dirt, as my mother used to say.

The election is on.

Well, we all knew this day was coming. There was more than enough foreplay. Now all that's left is the screwing around. Enough double-entendre? Good.

Okay, for the record:

I am not a Liberal
I am not a Conservative
I am not a New Democrat
I am not a Green
I am not a Reformer
This is not a political blog.

Now, having said all that, if you're interested in all the political stuff going around, you can check out my links section on the sidebar. You will find links there to my favorite sites (some of them, anyway -- I'm getting behind in my housekeeping here), and there is a good selection of a variety of political points of view. Visit these nice folks and have a ball with politics. Then come back and we'll do something else.

I will post the occasional political piece to comment on, but I'm not going to dive back into that world after having been free of it for twenty years. At least, not without protection.

Hot Potato Legislation?

This story from the Edmonton Sun is going to cause a bit of a stir in some circles. If I understand it correctly -- and it's printed plainly enough -- a Tory MP in Saskatchewan wants to make it a crime of murder to kill an "unborn child."

The private member's bill is still in the draft stage, so the wording is not available, but the warning flags have been raised.

"Vellacott, who is a member of the pro-life parliamentary caucus, dismissed any suggestion such legislation could re-open the debate on abortion rights. He said the purpose of the bill is to protect only unborn children whose mothers have decided to carry them to term."

Yeah, right. Show me a pro-lifer who doesn't want to turn back the clock on a woman's right to choose whether or not to carry a fetus to term as a person, and I'll show you a drunken pig that can dance the mambo with style and grace.

"But a family lawyer said it would be a radical shift in Canadian law to declare a fetus a person for the purposes of laying murder charges.

"Such a change would trample women's rights under the charter.

"If a fetus at eight weeks is a legal person, than forget about having a woman's right to choose," said Marie Gordon."

And that pretty much sums it up.

While I sympathize with anyone who wants to carry to term, but loses a fetus before the birth ritual, I think this is a very bad bill-in-waiting. Because no matter what he says, I quite simply do not trust anyone who calls himself "pro-life" and then says he doesn't want to do away with choice. Pro-lifers are more aptly named "anti-choice."

I can think of one pretty obvious scenario under which this bill could be abused if it became law: a pregnant woman, on her way to an appointment to have an abortion, is either killed or badly injured and the fetus does not survive. What charges, if any, will be laid on behalf of the fetus? Keep in mind that as a citizen, the woman (or a member of her surviving family) has no say in what charges will be laid. In Canada, the victim of a crime has no legal standing.

So we get a hot-shot crown counsel, eager to make a name for himself, and he charges murder for the fetus.

"But she was on her way to having an abortion," you protest.

"Yeah, but she could have changed her mind. And we are going to assume that at the moment of death, she did change her mind. And you can't prove any different."

The short-and-bitter conversation would not go precisely like that, but that's a nutshell gist.

The bright side here is that, with an election hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles, this bill-in-waiting is not likely to make it to the floor. At least not this go-round. But, unlike the rest of the world, private members' bills can be reincarnated.

As always, learn from the past and look to the future.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Is (Are?) Politics Carcinogenic?

This post from the Phantom Observer has solidified a thought pattern that has been forming for some months, now:

Has anyone done a study (formal or informal) on the number of federal politicians who contract cancer in some form? Seems like every time I turn around, I hear about another MP who is sick with cancer. Different home regions, different parties -- the only thing they have in common is the House of Commons.

Something in the water? Something in the walls (does anyone know if the asbestos that used to be there has been replaced)? Maybe it's the stress of the job?

Darryl Stinson and David Chatters are both retiring. Chuck Cadman died last summer. There are/have been others -- I just don't have all the statistics at my fingertips.

It would be interesting to see if the numbers are higher for politicians than for other white-collar professions.

Where am I going with this?

Dunno. Just wondering...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Llama, Llama, Duck

The Llama Song

Here’s a llama, there’s a llama,
And another little llama,
Fuzzy llama, funny llama,
Llama, llama, duck.

Llama, llama, cheesecake llama,
Tablet, brick, potato, llama,
Llama, llama, mushroom, llama,
Llama, llama, duck,

I was once a treehouse,
I lived in a cake,
But I never saw the way,
The orange slayed a rake,
I was only 3 years dead,
But it told a tale,
And now listen little child,
To the safety rail.

Did you ever see a llama?
Kiss a llama, on the llama
Llama’s llama, taste of llama,
Llama, llama, duck.

Half a llama, twice a llama,
Not a llama, farmer, llama,
Llama in a car, alarm A,
Llama, llama, duck.

Is that how its told now,
is it all so old,
Is it made of lemon juice,
Door knob, ankle, cold,
Now my song is getting thin,
I’ve run out of luck,
Time for me to retire now
And become a duck.

2005 Canadian Blog Awards -- Round One

The first round of voting is now open for your favorite Canadian bloggers.

There are several categories. It says in the rules that you don't need to vote in every category. I'm thinking that if you can vote in every category, you either get paid to read blogs, or you really need a life...

So? What are you doing here? Go vote! Come back later...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Please Help Me, I'm Faaaaaalling...

Thanks to Auntie Bertha, you can now lead George around by the nose. Or the toe, or the elbow, or any other handy body part... Just use your mouse to flip him around (you'll have to, if he gets stuck).

I'm adding this to a new section on my sidebar, known as "Time Wasters." Nothing useful will ever get posted there, but if you ever find yourself on hold, waiting for the next customer service rep...

h/t: Politics in BC

Forty-Two Years Ago Today...

President Kennedy is assassinated

President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed as his motorcade drives through Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy's suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was believed to have used a mail-order rifle in order to shoot the president from the sixth story window of the Texas Book Depository.

If you are old enough, do you still remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news?

Peter Worthington was an eyewitness to the assassination of Oswald by Jack Ruby, two days later...

C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley also died on 22 November 1963.

How To Debate Like A Troll

Ah, yes...anyone with a comments section on his blog will, sooner or later, come across the commenter who uses these tactics.

It's almost enough to make you turn off your comments section (and some bloggers have done just that, unfortunately -- I tend not to read blogs if there's no chance to respond).

Don't forget to read the comments section after the post -- there's more gold hiding in his readership!

h/t: Scott Adams

Monday, November 21, 2005

Origins of Christmas and Other Fascinating Stuff

Remember poor Kirby, the Wal-Mart employee who got fired for sending an "insane" e-mail to a woman who went whining to the Catholic League, who went threatening Wal-Mart with a boycott, thereby getting him fired?

He had been attempting to enlighten her that Christmas has pagan origins, and that other cultures/religions celebrated the season as well, and that was the reason Wal-Mart greeters and signs said, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

Apparently, the Catholic League thinks they invented Christmas all by themselves.


In my peripatetic wanderings about the Internet, I came across this site. Have a boo. Each link will take you to a different article about Christmas.

This article in particular should be sent repeatedly to the Catholic League -- and to the whiner.

Happy Holidays. Belated birthday greeting to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Merry Christmas. Happy Channakah. Have an enlightened Bodhi Day. Remember Zarathushtra. Good Yule.

Yule is one month today.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tag, I'm It (As Opposed to Tagamet)!

I'm tagged by Dazzlin'Dino to follow the Post-A-Joke meme set up by Aaron at Grandinite. Seems like the feelings are starting to run a little high and hot on the blogosphere, and it's time to cool out a little.

Says Aaron: "So here’s the deal, you tell a joke and tag one (or two or three or however many) other person(s). It’s that simple.

"You could even rattle one off in the comments on this post."

So, I left an hors d'oevre in the comments at BPOC, and here's the entree (actually -- a dessert):

Why Engineers Don't Write Recipes
Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. 532.35 cm3 gluten
2. 4.9 cm3 NaHCO3
3. 4.9 cm3 refined halite
4. 236.6 cm3 partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride
5. 177.45 cm3 crystalline C12H22O11
6. 177.45 cm3 unrefined C12H22O11
7. 4.9 cm3 methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde
8. Two calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated protein
9. 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao
10. 236.6 cm3 de-encapsulated legume meats (sieve size #10)

To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an overall heat transfer coefficient of about 100 Btu/F-ft2-hr, add ingredients one, two and three with constant agitation. In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a radial flow impeller operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six, and seven until the mixture is homogenous.

To reactor #2, add ingredient eight, followed by three equal volumes of the homogenous mixture in reactor #1. Additionally, add ingredient nine and ten slowly, with constant agitation. Care must be taken at this point in the reaction to control any temperature rise that may be the result of an exothermic reaction.

Using a screw extrude attached to a #4 nodulizer, place the mixture piece-meal on a 316SS sheet (300 x 600 mm). Heat in a 460K oven for a period of time that is in agreement with Frank & Johnston's first order rate expression (see JACOS, 21, 55), or until golden brown. Once the reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C heat-transfer table, allowing the product to come to equilibrium.
I have no idea to whom I should give the credit for this -- if any of you know the original author, would you forward my thanks?
And now I'm supposed to tag someone. Let's go for an eclectic mix:
Speedy Lord Bump from The Wingnuterer
Cycles2k Calgary from Political Cycles

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Political Posturing

Have you ever run into one of those "If you don't..., I'm gonna...!" type people?

Aren't they annoying?

Canada has two of them at the moment -- Harper and Layton. Well, maybe Duceppe, as well, but he's not being mentioned by name in this story.

This particular quote caught my attention, as the question has been in the back of my mind for weeks, now:

"You've got to ask yourself, why can't the opposition wait eight weeks for the election call."

Why, indeed? What's the rush? I'm thinking there's gotta be a reason Harper, Layton, and Duceppe are so damned desperate to not wait until the final Gomery report is issued.

So, let's do what the rest of the country, and most of the media are doing. But let's not pussyfoot around and call it by a pretty name -- let us call it what it is when you speculate without having all the information...

Let's indulge in some wild-ass guessing!

And the question you need to have in the forefront, when you think about each of the Three in turn, is: Qui bono?

Who benefits?

You can leave the Electorate out of the equation. You and I don't count. We vote, but nothing changes because this is not a democracy -- it's a top-down system of government, and the people you vote for do not represent you to the government; they justify the government to you.

So, in whose best interests is it that we not wait for the final Gomery report before we go to the polls?

Use this as a reference guide while you're trying to decide who benefits most from a sooner election -- scroll down and choose whatever is not highlighted in green or pink (yellow would be the good ones to look at because they are closest to being passed).

Give us your best guess. Show your work (or at least quote the Bill number so the rest of us can find it easily).

And keep in mind that it need not be a Liberal bill that they're trying to block. It might be a Bloc bill that Harper wants killed, or a CPC bill that Layton doesn't like. Or it might be several bills that any/all of the Three don't want to have see the light of the Senate chamber.

Ready? Set? GO!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Apologize For the Truth

Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer, I'm told. Lots of people hate Wal-Mart for lots of different reasons. The bigger you are, after all, the more enemies you're gonna have.

But Wal-Mart couldn't have gotten as big as it is without somebody having some brains, now, could it? I mean, Wal-Mart didn't just appear out of nowhere. People -- thinking people -- actually had to put their heads together and come up with plans and policies and practices that allowed this retail giant to become the behemoth it has become.

That's why this Christmas story fiasco has me crunching gravel between my teeth. Wal-Mart has offended the Catholic League. With the truth.


Seems simple enough. Ban Christmas? Ban Wal-Mart!

But that's not really what the story is about. The real story is that some woman complained that Wal-Mart was avoiding the term "Merry Christmas" and using "Happy Holidays" instead. Being inclusive. After all, only Christians (and not all of them, at that) celebrate Christmas -- but this is also the time of year for Kwanzaa, Chanukkah, Yule -- probably a few others, as well. Almost every culture in history that had seasons had a mid-winter festival of some kind, if only to relieve the boredome of endless cold and dark. Not all of them are religious festivals. And, truth be known, it shouldn't be a Christian religious festival, either. Yeshua bar Yusef ha Notzri was born in the late spring.

Now, along comes a rather knowledgeable chap named Kirby. Note that I said "knowledgeable." I didn't say "tactful." And that was his problem. He e-mailed a reply to the upset woman:

“Walmart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this. The majority of the world still has different practices other than ‘christmas’ which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism. The colors associated with ‘christmas’ red and white are actually a representation of of the aminita mascera mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world.”

Every word of it true. *sigh* I guess the Catholic League doesn't like the truth, because:


The Catholic League is about to go to war, and Wal-Mart is the enemy.

The Catholic League wants "...a withdrawal of its insane statement regarding the origins of Christmas ..."

Problem is, that statement wasn't insane. It was absolutley correct. It wasn't tactful, but it was correct.

The Catholic League also added in its message to Wal-Mart: ‘Now that Wal-Mart is standing by its position, I hope you’re ready for our next move. Don’t forget, we have the next six weeks to pull out all the stops, and we will.’ And on we go to...


The spokesman for Wal-Mart surrendered without a shot being fired. Well, actually, there was one shot -- Kirby got fired.

And the Catholic League is happy: "...We only trigger boycotts when we’ve been grossly offended.

“This is a sweet victory for the Catholic League, Christians in general, and people of all faiths. And it means that Wal-Mart can now enter the Christmas season without this cloud hanging over it.”

Not quite, Bub. You've been grossly offended by the truth and you went to war over it. You got somebody fired from his job over your "offense." Since you're Catholic, I hope you take this little item into the confessional with you...would this be a venal sin or a mortal sin, to take something from somebody that was not yours to take, and for no good reason? More like revenge, wasn't it? And revenge for the truth, no less.

It may be a "sweet" victory for you, and maybe for a lot of Christians -- but not all, by any stretch of your rich imagination -- but people of all faiths?

What "all faiths" are you talking about? Who else celebrates Christmas?

And is that cloud now not hanging over Wal-Mart? or Christmas?

Do you not see the cloud hanging over your own head?

Flags, Flax, Fodder, and Fuel

De Meme, Boss! Da Meme!

One of these days, I'm gonna have to find a definition of "meme" that makes sense. But until I do, I'll just play with the definition eveyone else is playing with...

DazzlinDino has been kind (!) enough to tag me, looking for the 5th sentence from my 23rd post. Have I posted that many times? You're kidding! When did that happen? That long ago, eh?

My 23rd post was on 4 September 2005, and was titled "And Just What Do You Have Under That Heavy Coat?" The 5th sentence (I'm taking this to mean the 5th sentence that I wrote, not counting the news article being quoted) reads: "And if I told you where, I'd have to go get my non-replicas..."

I actually had to go re-read it to find out what that post was about, because I couldn't tell from the context of the sentence juxtaposed with the title. And if I'm having trouble, and I wrote the durn thing, I imagine anyone else is completely lost.

Isn't this fun?

Now, who else can we invite to this little party? We need five more guests, right? Ah, how about:

Queer Thoughts ~ News for the Gay Community
The Urban Refugee
Dawg's Blawg
Mentok the Mind-taker
Crazy Ass Planet

Some will be more familiar than others, and they are all worth reading. Now for the "fun" stuff -- I get to go break the good news these nice folk. Getting out my armor and my chain mail underwear...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Polling and Political Posturing

There are umpteen dozen polling companies in the world, and for the past several weeks, all of them seem to have been taking an inordinate amount of interest in Canadian politics. As if polls actually meant anything. As if they were really useful.

Well, they might be useful in one way -- they keep the politicians afraid to do more than stick their tongues out at each other across the floor of the House of Commons. You gotta admit it's quieter than pounding fists on desktops (which used to be an accepted way of showing disapproval with what someone just said -- until television got into the act. Then it was decided that pounding on desktops was immature and impolite. Mustn't let your constituents see you acting like a spoiled child! But I digress...).

Adscam, Gomery inquiry, oil-for-food, health care, so's yer momma... All fodder for the election machine. If it ever gets off the ground.

But with Layton and Harper doing their Alphonse-and-Gaston routine, and Duceppe hovering somewhere nearby, frustrated because he's heading up a provincial party only, who knows what's going to happen? Or when?

Or even if.

One thing is for sure: Any bills currently under consideration in the House will die the moment the writ is dropped. One of those bills would mean more funds for the Canadian military, both at home and abroad -- something we desperately need. Call an election and kiss it goodbye.

So before jumping on the bandwagon and yelling to call an election already, go have a look and see if your particular party has any legislation pending that you particularly want to have passed. ( Hint: if it's highlighted in green, it's a done deal. If it's pink, it's dead. If it's yellow, it's got legs.) Everybody has a favorite bill they want to see passed -- or defeated.

Oh, and just for a giggle, take a look at C-213. Apparently David Chatters was asleep last summer...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Last Post

Well, I learn something new every day!

I went looking for a sound file for "Last Post," the bugle/trumpet (depending on the skill of the player, I guess) piece played at the cenotaph. I wanted to link to it so it could be played from my blog. Didn't find it (maybe looking in the wrong place), but I did find this. There are actually lyrics to it!

Come home! Come home! The last post is sounding
for you to hear. All good soldiers know very well there
is nothing to fear while they do what is right, and forget
all the worries they have met in their duties through the
year. A soldier cannot always be great, but he can be a
his squad. So all you soldiers listen to this – Deal fair by all
and you’ll never be amiss.
Be Brave! Be Just! Be Honest and True Men!

I have also always known The Veterans' Prayer:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

This is a verse in a larger work, called For The Fallen. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit some of the links for more information on traditions, where they originate, and why they're observed.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lest We Forget

Eighty-seven years ago, a war ended.

Not just any war. World War I. The War To End All Wars.

If only.

Who started it and why no longer seems important to me, but there are other bloggers and lots of websites you can go read if you want the history of the thing. My personal recommends:

Candace has done some excellent posts for the past couple of weeks. Go visit her site and read them, starting here; good stuff! She also did some searching for women in war and their roles -- something not a lot of people think about (especially women spies).

DazzlinDino is doing a series on Vimy, focusing on the men who did the fighting. Start reading here, and keep going...

A few people have posted In Flanders Fields by John McCrae. I found Reply to Flanders Fields by John Mitchell:

Reply to Flanders Fields

Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders sky
That dims the stars to those below.
You are our dead, you held the foe,
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We'll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders Fields.
Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom's cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Check out other interesting articles on this page, including a poem called Please Wear a Poppy.

And for those of you who are into music, go find a song called And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Written by Eric Bogle back in 1971, it tells the story of a young Australian and his adventures at Gallipoli. I first heard it sung by Liam Clancy. You can find the lyrics with Google. But to truly appreciate the song and all the emotion it can command, you need to hear it. I've heard others sing it, including Eric Bogle. And no one does it badly, but Liam does it best. You can find it on an album called Makem & Clancy Collection.

And finally, a video:

Click on "Lyrics" at the top of the page, and then MP3 or Real Audio to activate the music video. Don't forget to read the story of how and why he wrote the song. Keep your hankie handy...

Two minutes of silence. One hundred and twenty seconds. Surely, we can afford that in order to honor those who are now forever silent?

Video Laughs

The following are courtesy of guzerdotcom:

Tire Breaks Car Window How ya gonna explain this to your insurance adjuster? Especially if your insurance company is ICBC!

Dog Gets Cat Massage Finally a video that both dog and cat lovers can enjoy. This is a funny video of a cat giving a dog a massage! Actually the cat is probably using the dog as a scratching post but the dog does not mind. Actually, the feline action here is called "kneading." It's what kitttens do to stimulate milk from their mother. A lot of adult cats continue the practise with their people. Most of my own cats did, usually accompanying the kneading with enthusiastic sucking on my earlobe or neck (cat hickeys -- you haven't lived until...)

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Jiggy Bones facial expressions, yet! This is too damn cute!

Monday, November 07, 2005

120 Years Ago Today

The last spike was driven into the last rail on November 7, 1885.

Smith actually had to drive in two spikes. He bent the first one.

And the project was late and over budget. Anyone surprised?

HUAC Is Not Dead... has been hibernating, dreaming schemes, and building strength for the new war -- The Government versus The People!

FBI mines records of ordinary Americans
Under Patriot Act, feds probe lives of residents not alleged to be terrorists

Warning: This is a long article. Six pages. But, damn, somebody's gotta start paying attention to what the governments are doing!

Yes, I said governments. Plural. The so-called western democratic governments seem to have latched on to the one thing that dictatorships have known all along -- there is no power in being answerable to those who elect them. There is only power in being able to hang on to office forever. And one way to do that is to intimidate the electorate into believing that everything they do and say is not only legal, but also moral and ethical! As well as -- and this is a really big, important selling point -- all in the interests of the public good!

"We're not really after you," the elected will say. "We're actually after your neighbor/friend/co-worker/relative (choose one). We think he's a snirkel forter, and since snirkel forting is illegal and dangerous, as well as immoral, we have to stop him. But to stop him, we have to prove it. But if we ask him, he will just deny forting any snirkels, and we know that he will then hide any evidence of illegal activities, including his contact list of other snirkel forters. So, we need to get access to his personal, private, secret, guaranteed-inviolable-by-law information. But if we only do it to him, he might find out and create a stink about it, warning al other snirkel forters, as well as warning all the radical free-thinkers, intellectuals, photojournalists, and housewives. And we can't have that, because they are our next targets. So we have to do it to you, too. We knew you'd understand. After all, you're only doing your duty as a loyal citizen. Only disloyal citizens and terrorists would see anything wrong in allowing us to know everything about you from the time you cut your first tooth and accidentally bit your mother's nipple, causing her extreme distress and forcing her to switch you to bottle-feeding (and, no, we realize that it was totally accidental -- after all, it was your first tooth, and how could you have known how sharp it would be? -- so we won't be filing any assault charges against you on behalf of your mother).

"Oh, and by the way, this is a secret conversation. You may not tell anyone what we just said. You may not write about it or talk about it, and don't ever let us catch you thinking about it! Doing so would only warn those we are really after. And that would be not only disloyal, but downright unpatriotic! You don't want to be known as disloyal and unpatriotic, do you? What would your family think? What would your friends think? What would your landlord/mortgage holder think? What would your employer think?

"We knew you'd understand..."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Snoop Crazy!

(Hat Tip to Sojourner for this one)

After Criticism, Sony Issues Fix for Hidden Rootkits

Sony (NYSE: SNE - news) has admitted that it included a stealth rootkit on some music CDs shipped in 2005 and has issued an update to remove the hidden software one day after it was discovered. The company had drawn criticism from security experts who warned that the technology could serve as a tool for hackers.

The nearly undetectable monitoring utility, part of the company's digital-rights management (DRM) technology, was aimed at preventing consumers from producing illegal copies of CDs. The software installed itself automatically in Windows systems whenever a CD was inserted. Any files contained in the rootkit are invisible and almost impossible to remove.

Security expert Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals discovered the hidden rootkit and posted his findings on the company blog on November 1st. Russinovich wrote that although he checked in his system's Add or Remove Programs list, as well as on the vendor's site and on the CD itself, he could not find uninstall instructions. Nor, he says, could he find any mention of it in the End User License Agreement (EULA).

(Rest of the story, plus Sony's "fix," here)

Quoted from Sojourner's blog:

"At the end of this article, is a web address that you can go to get an update, which will remove the rootkit from your computer. One problem I see with it is that it's on the Sony website and Sony will probably be monitoring who is using it.

"Another problem I see is that if you ever put those CDs (or the copies for that matter) back into your computer, you will re-introduce this program to your computer. Who's to say that Sony will stop monitoring this program even if we, the public, know about it? They probably won't."

Excellent points, those... And although I don't play CDs on my computer (I like better sound than you can get from these tiny speakers), I thought this article well worth passing along.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

"Honey, You're All Sticky..."

Civil Suit Goes To Court: A Scorned Lover, Glue And A Naked Man

WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Gail O'Toole was convicted of simple assault and sentenced to six months probation for acts she committed against her ex-lover.

-- snip --

...O'Toole waited until he fell asleep and glued his penis to his stomach, glued his testicle to his leg and glued the cheeks of his buttocks together.

Then came the nail polish.

(There's more)

I wonder if O'Toole is gonna hook up with Lorena Bobbit, and maybe the two of them can open an agency for women whose men piss them off.

...But Wait, There's More...

What is with the sticky stuff today?

Man Sues After Using Glue-Covered Toilet

BOULDER, Colorado Nov 2, 2005 — A hardware retailer Home Depot has found itself in a sticky situation, defending a lawsuit filed by a man who claims the chain's Louisville store ignored his cries for help after he fell victim to a prank and was glued to a toilet seat.

Won't be long now before glue goes on the terrorists' weapons list, along with nail clippers, panty hose, and duct tape...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bump Off Bump!

Ah...tuck your sanity into a nice, safe, dark corner for awhile and go lynch a squirrel.

Why? You might well ask. It all started here, and then it took a turn somewhere, heading for the handbasket, feverishly clamping down the lid as it went...

Several bloggers sent in suggestions for ways to castigate the rodent, and everyone is invited to vote for their favorite method.

Go ahead. You know you want to...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy New Year

No, this is not a misprint.

Yes, I really mean Happy New Year!

Y'see, yesterday (31 October) was Samhain. It's pronounced SA-when, or SOW-en. And no, I can't help that you pronounce it differently than it looks. That's what happens with Gaelic.

For pagans, Samhain is the third and last harvest festival of the year. The last of the crops is gathered. Food animals are slaughtered and their meat preserved for the winter's storage. Final preparations for the coming cold months are made. And the ancestors are honored.

Ancestors are usually defined as "those who have gone before." I like to skip the mysteriousness of that particular phrase, which borders on the *shudder* PC. Simply stated, ancestors are the dead, whether or not they were related to you by blood.

At this time of the year, it is said, the veil that separates the worlds of the living and the dead grows thin. It is easiest for the inhabitants of the two worlds to cross over and visit each other. Samhain is often celebrated with a Dumb Supper, to which the ancestors are invited, especially the ones who have died during the previous year. The meal is prepared, and an extra setting is laid. Eating is done in total silence, in case the ancestors wish to speak.

In case you're wondering, this is NOT a Hallowe'en thing! Trick-or-treating is for kids. Samhain is for adults only, in my house.

This year was particularly special for me. My mother died on 3 October this year. Last night, I got to have supper with her one last time.

Happy New Year, Mom. My love to you, always.