Monthly Archives: March 2009

A short lesson in fantasy vs. reality

As noted, I’m not going to be doing much weighty posting around here for the next little while. Not that that’s going to keep me from putting up gems like the following.

I studied aikido in Japan for a year or thereabouts. It was okay. Good exercise, at least. My sensei used to talk about how real masters could hurl people across the room without using their muscles. I was never clear about how that worked, but a Japanese martial arts sensei doesn’t hold Q & A sessions, so I never got to ask. He was a good cat, though, and I enjoyed what I learned.

Apparently the aikido “master” in the first video supposedly had some kind of mind-voodoo that caused his disciples, er, opponents to stumble around like extras in a Bruce Lee movie. (Watch it all the way through.) Evidently you had to put up 500,000 yen to fight him. If you win, you win 1,000,000 yen.

The second video shows what happens when some kid in black shorts takes the shyster up on his offer.

Appearance:

Reality:

From Georgie Casey via discussion at Less Wrong.

Jon Stewart destroys the lying liar Jim Cramer

Here’s Jon Stewart getting out some hometruths to the king of rant Jim Cramer. No comment required from me. But go ahead and have at it in the comments, if you’d like.

UPDATE, 17 March: You can go and sign a petition to fix CNBC, if you’d like. I did.

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How the other two-thirds lives

While Americans are munching on Mel’s Mega Burgers and bemoaning the end the Hyper-Sized American Dream, this is how folks in my soon-to-be abandoned neck of the woods are living:


Open sewer running beside market fruit stalls, Bangkok.


Bangkok’s canal network is both a transportation system and an open sewer.

It’s all relative, is what I’m saying. Things are rough everywhere and getting rougher, but if you’re reading this in the First World, just take a moment to reassure yourself that things aren’t that bad.

And lest you think all Asia looks like this,


This is an open drain & not a river, Mysore India.

here’s a sewer in Japan:

Some have sewer rivers, some have sewer Transformers.

Images via Crooked Brains.

The pace slows at EE

Yes, current trends are disturbing. Yes, we (by which I mean the planet) have big problems. Yes, the Great Recession is upon us and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. But you know what?

I hope what we’re experiencing is some”creative destruction” that clears the path to a more sustainable, more equitable, more balanced, freer and finer way of life. Call it a pipe dream, but I’d like to think that a committed people working for a better future can make one. That we can meld the best insights from the ancient Greeks to evolutionary psychology with the swirling grassroots democracy of the internet to create a truly free, truly livable culture. I don’t know what shape that may take or how we can get there. But I’m headed back to the USA to see what I can do.

We board a plane two weeks from today. Home for me, a new frontier for the scioness’s mom and the scioness. Between then there’s lots to do and untold amounts to be done when we get there. (Securing some paid employment, for one.) I’m going to post as often as I can during that period but I foresee that it could be a while before I resume a regular posting schedule.

On the other hand, the way the economy is looking, maybe I’ll have nothing but time on my hands.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to subscribe either by email or RSS in the upper right hand corner. I promise you’ll never receive any spam from me.

Whatever happens, thanks for reading and do stay tuned.

Crossway comes through

You can download the Crossway English Standard Version Bible via Mobipocket.

I checked out the Free Sample and it works perfectly on my Kindle. You’ll note that the full version costs $9.99 more than the Kindle version, which remains free until May 20th. However, the main point here is that Crossway has made the effort to get their Bible into as many formats as possible. They’re operating in good faith. They’re not the ones holding up the free culture show. Amazon is.

As far as I know, the Mobipocket file is DRM-free. Which is to say, you can use it freely on multiple devices. In this case, the problem isn’t even the Kindle. A Mobipocket file can be traded around even after it’s been put on a Kindle (probably a good idea to save a backup copy before you put it on there). The problem is Amazon. As long as Crossway’s free Bible lives on my Kindle, it’s not free. It is locked up on my Kindle, minus some fancy-footed hacking.

I mean, look at this. Amazon is perfectly happy to sell me
a used paperback ESV Bible for $2.98. I can buy it with the explicit intention of giving it away. But when it comes to an e-Bible, they lock it up with DRM. Effectively owning my content. Which means my content isn’t even mine. They’ve got their reasons. Bad ones. Bizarrely, Amazon owns Mobipocket. So they’re setting content free on the one hand, locking it up with the other. I confess to being much confused.

So thanks, Crossway, for setting the record straight. Is it too much to hope that someday Amazon will, too?

This is why we’re fat

Back when I was a hale youngster I worked construction in the summer. We used to take lunch breaks at the Log Cabin restaurant where you could get a Monument Burger. It was the size of a dinner plate. I could polish one off and still have room for desert. Manual labor + Being 18 = Eat Anything.

But the Monument Burger had nothing on this:


The Mega Mel Burger
Burger consisting of five pounds of beef, one pound of bacon and a quarter pound of cheese.

I’d like to tell you this photo is a joke, a scurrilous, unfunny joke. But I don’t know. That guy in the background seems to be going about his dinner without so much as a double take. Maybe this is standard fare in at Mel’s, wherever that may be.

So go ahead and vent some populist rage at the disgraceful excess of the slimebag CEO’s and their multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded bonuses. But isn’t the Mega Mel Burger, all 6 1/4 lbs of it, just the flip side of that greasy coin?

If you can stomach more, head on over to This is why you’re fat.

This is why we're fat

Back when I was a hale youngster I worked construction in the summer. We used to take lunch breaks at the Log Cabin restaurant where you could get a Monument Burger. It was the size of a dinner plate. I could polish one off and still have room for desert. Manual labor + Being 18 = Eat Anything.

But the Monument Burger had nothing on this:


The Mega Mel Burger
Burger consisting of five pounds of beef, one pound of bacon and a quarter pound of cheese.

I’d like to tell you this photo is a joke, a scurrilous, unfunny joke. But I don’t know. That guy in the background seems to be going about his dinner without so much as a double take. Maybe this is standard fare in at Mel’s, wherever that may be.

So go ahead and vent some populist rage at the disgraceful excess of the slimebag CEO’s and their multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded bonuses. But isn’t the Mega Mel Burger, all 6 1/4 lbs of it, just the flip side of that greasy coin?

If you can stomach more, head on over to This is why you’re fat.

Further fun with the apocalypse

Why bother worrying about our impending doom when you get a few chuckles out of it instead? As in:

Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?

In other End Times hilarity, check out this spate of books still available at Amazon:

Will the doomers of today be such easy targets come The Great Recovery? Here’s hopin’.

Image from Boing Boing via Nobody’s Business.