23 February 2006

Zoo Pictures

Anton Olsen has set up a Flickr group for pictures of the Detroit Zoo. Let's hope photos aren't all we have left next year.

Link to Flickr group
Link to Anton's site

22 February 2006

In Related News

From today's Onion:



Heh

How to Identify a Crazy Person

1) Locate a sufficiently large body of people from which to pull a sampling. Something on the order of, oh, say a City Council.
2) Observe this group. Note any strange behavior that stands out from the larger group.
3) Pay particular attention for irrational conclusions or outbursts.
4) If one of the group stands out from the rest through either of the tests above, you've found your crazy person.

Today's experiment involves the Detroit City Council. The City faces an incredible financial burden and deficit, one which has the potential to put them into receivership. Lightening this load would seem to be a priority. So when the Zoological Society offered to take over almost every dime of funding needed to keep the zoo open, seems like a, well, I'll go with Detroitblog and call it a "no-brainer".

Ah ah ah! Not so fast there my logical reader. Things are not that simple. Exhibit A is City Councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins. See, the Zoological Society's plan isn't helping the city, it's an insult to the City Council and all Detroiters. How, might you ask?

“This is not a plantation,” Collins said. “We are not owned by everyone else. Black folks are not owned by white folks anymore. I made the point Saturday that the state Legislature was pimping the City of Detroit, and that we should not play the role of prostitute. That upset a lot of people, but I stand by my words. The symbolism is that Detroit is a black city, and we’re not able to govern ourselves. It’s a racist attitude and I resent it.” [source]


I believe we have identified our crazy person.

You're absolutely right, Councilwoman. It's not a plantation. In fact, one might argue, it's not that much of a city anymore. It certainly isn't a place where rational discussion and debate can take place; you can't even see a gift when it's handed to you on a platter the size of your ego. Less than a month after 1 billion people watched a football game take place in the city, you're back to flipping the HUGE race card over a plan that was meant to help you. You know, to keep open a zoo that's been around for over 100 years and has, until this, managed to do so without much concern for the race of those paying for it.

Detroit isn't a black city, it's a city where a lot of blacks live. There's also a lot of people of who can trace their roots to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America. It also becoming so much of a joke (and these statements help make it painfully obvious why) even Detroit's defenders are giving up. The terrible thing is, she'll probably get elected again. So, congratulations Detroit, you're getting exactly what you deserve, handbasket and raving lunatic included. If the City Council continues to follow the stellar lead of the Councilwoman, I can't wait to hear the hyperbole that spews from her mouth when Lansing takes over every facet of the City.

21 February 2006

New Python!

PBS announced today that six new Monty Python specials are in production for broadcast on PBS in 2006. Each of the exclusive to PBS six one-hour programs will focus on one member of the original Monty Python troupe - Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones - and showcase favorite clips from the group's television series and movies, mixed with new footage. The five living Pythons - Cleese, Idle, Gilliam, Palin and Jones - will each produce and write their own episode, with the five collaborating on a sixth special to honor deceased member Chapman.


Sweeet.

Link

17 February 2006

Rumsfeld Says Extremists Winning Media War

I read that headline on Yahoo News and thought: "Of course they are; Democrats can't get their message straight."

Link to real story

15 February 2006

RIAA says ripping your own CD isn't (is not) fair use

I'm not one for more laws (are you paying attention Mr. President?), but perhaps we could get some legislation that puts these moronic, withering, old-world industry lawyers in their place. Via Boing Boing, we get news that the EFF has unearthed some interesting wording in the RIAA latest filing. Basically, when they said (in MGM v Grokster) that ripping a CD and transferring that to your iPod was fair use, they didn't really mean that. Lovely.. now we have to fight for rights we already have.

Link

14 February 2006

Idiots

No Costco in (or near) Ann Arbor. Damn NIMBY's; wait, no, there's no one in that area. Congrats, Ann Arbor, your incongruent thought patterns are spreading.



Notes to friends on the West side: 1) I need a new job (call me) and 2) ARG!

13 February 2006

MST3K - At the Fair

One of the funniest 10 minutes ever produced by a guy and two robots.

"Captured pilots are paraded before the citizens. Women are excited by seeing the word 'member'".



Permalink to video if the embed doesn't work

[via Screenhead]

Stop it!

Stop remaking classic, good movies. And then, stop remaking classic, bad movies, like Logan's Run. It was a Simpson's joke, for the love of god. Let it be.

Singer says Logan's Run script almost finished

Huh, who knew?

With the Olympics *yaaaawn* going on, it seemed fitting that today's Ask Yahoo question was "Who was the 'agony of defeat' guy?" Remember him, the poor dude who fell just as he was leaving the ski jump ramp? Apparently, so did lots of other people.

Check out the answer to the question.

12 February 2006

Chipotle Meatballs

More a meatbal with chipotle sauce, actually. Haven't tried these, but am looking forward to it.

Simply Recipes: Chipotle Meatballs Recipe

10 February 2006

Game Discs Days Are Numbered

"Let's be fair. Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous," Moore said. "We'll tell our grandchildren that and they'll laugh at us." - Microsoft VP Peter Moore


Some people already knew that, Pete. Why is it news? And why, when some VP of the Week at Microsoft says stuff like this, does the hugely popular game company doing it not even get mentioned in the article?

Link

(Sidenote: This post brought to you from Opera; if someone can tell me how to change the coloring on Bloglines, I'd consider switching.)

08 February 2006

Stupid Business Tricks - H&R Block

All my tax documents are in and I'm ready to get filing. Gotta get the software, right? So, after the craptastic DRM that TurboTax decided to put in their software a while back, I've been a customer of H&R Block. Decent reputation, solid software. I head over to the site, find the federal and state option I need, add it to my cart and prepare to check out.



But, what's this in my shopping cart?



Click for full size


Product: Extended Download Protection. Right. What exactly is Extended Download Protection?



Extended Download Protection ensures you have a back-up copy of your TaxCut software purchase in the case of a system failure


That sounds like a nice feature. How do they do that, send you the discs?



With Extended Download Protection, you may re-download your TaxCut software up to two years after the date of purchase.


Whaaaaa? So, I'm paying $4.99 for storing a sub-100 MB file in (I'm assuming) the same place it is now, on the off chance I'll need it two years from now? And, after two years I'm guessing I'm out of luck. Why not burn the file to a CD? What's that cost, a nickel? Even with worst case scenarios, the CD will last more than 2 years. And are that many people re-downloading tax software that H&R Block needs five bucks to pay for bandwidth? Couldn't they tack on another quarter to the purchase price and make this "service" standard?


Shame on H&R Block for lifting $5 from the pockets of those who don't know better. If people are smart enough to download software, at least have the decency to provide them the opportunity to re-download it again for free. It's not like their going to grab it multiple times a day just because they can.

Ah, West Michigan

From the ever entertaining Sploid comes the woeful tale of East Grand Rapids kids gone bad. Or normal, depending on your perspective.

Sploid: 'Our kids drink? Do something!'

A hilariously appropraite title considering East GR is full of a) rich people, b) drugs, and c) rich people who do drugs. I can't tell you the number of East GR kids that hang out at the club du jour doing coke, speed, meth, or weed. You know, kind of like everyone else in the world.

The fact that the uppity parents in this enclave are so clueless as to think that giving their kids hundreds of dollars a week in "allowance" would automatically teach those kids responsbile ways to spend that money is so American, it hardly deserves mentioning. Yet, here we are, reading about it in many papers across the state. Why, I'm surprised these kids even have time to drink, what with all the committments to charity work and family time.

Kudos to the parents for outing their kids to the school, though. Nothing teaches kids discipline and respect for authority figures like having your parents make someone else punish you. Ah, the offspring of upper management; what hope we have for the future.

Apparently We DO Need a Law

Following up on this post, wherein I went off on the twit who's tit was the subject of much consternation in Ann Arbor. The City Council saw fit to pass an ordinance to address this pressing issue. What was left out in the first report was that Ms. Fuks decided to breast-feed her spawn in the pool of the YMCA. Pardon my French but are you les phucking kidding me? Never mind the obvious "typical Ann Arbor" tack I could take on this, but who the hell thinks it's even reasonable to do that in a public pool?

Pardon me while my incredulities spike.

Ignore the social faux pas, ignore the distractions to everyone else. Have you ever been in a public pool? Near one? Seen one? This is not an aquarian environment in which you want to immerse yourself and then shove an exposed body part into the mouth of a immuno-poor organism. Did I miss the meeting where public pools suddenly became pristine bodies of water like Lake Vostok? And aren't there tons of other people and children playing in that pool? Might they bump our breast-feeding hero?

Oh, wait, of course they wouldn't. She'd probably call the news and her Ward reps. Can we get a law about bumping people in the pool?

Much humorous (and pointed) comments at AAiOR (who also get a hat-tip).

06 February 2006

Because you want to watch

See all the Superbowl ads on AOL or Google. Because it's the only reason some people watch.

By the way, why does Google Video, from a company who's Market Cap today is $114 billion, look like some middle school AV club designed it?

Your Daily Dose of Crazy

To get to work, J-- and I have to park in a lot a little bit away from our buildings; not a bad walk for working at the U. To get to our buildings, we shoot down the parking lot and take the sidewalk (I know, stellar blogging, but hang on).

The sidewalks are, well, crappy. Not that the cement is jutting out all over the place, they just happen to run in front of student housing, a business that doens't open until 8ish, and parking lots maintained by workers who don't get to that part of town until well after 8. Generally, when you come into work, thye're icy and snowy, but passable. Today was your standard day after snowstorm sidewalks.

So, as we gingerly made our way across the parking lot, a woman, in full It's-20-Outside-In-Michigan gear walking in front of us slipped and fell down. Not fell like both feet went over her head and she broke the fall with her neck fell, but slipped and kind of collapsed to the ground, bent up in a full-length padded parka, boy wasn't that lucky I could've been hurt sort of fell.

To back up a second. There is, in the social order of things, an implied level of involvement for a person observing an event. If I see a car accident in the distance (say a half mile away), and that car is surrounded by other cars that are stopping, I am pretty much absolved of having to cross a few lanes of traffic and stop to describe what I've seen to the police . Conversely, if I see someone fall down walking on icy sidewalks, but that person is a fair distance away, obviously not hurt (physically), and gets up immediately to keep walking, I'm pretty much free of responsibility to check on that person. Sure, if I was some do-gooder, I might, but I'm not that guy.

So, we are gingerly making our way across the parking lot and see this woman (not in the parking lot) fall, we both did the classic "Oooh" face, but neither of us felt compelled to run to see if she was ok, call an ambulance, or generally cause a scene. Falling can be an embarrassing thing and the speed with which this woman lept to her feet had all the earmarks of someone who didn't want you to notice she'd just fallen. Both J-- and I can relate.

How wrong we were. As we hit the sidewalk, a good 20 feet behind the once-again ambulatory Women Who Fell, she turned on her heels and opened with "Isn't it funny how no one asks you if you're ok anymore?" To which I immediately responded with "Are you ok?" Apparently this wasn't what she wanted to hear as she countered with "You did see me fall, right?", her eyes darting from my face to J--'s face back to mine back to J--'s in some kind of psychotic visual radar, probing for guilt or concern. She must have sensed something because as she turned once again to peel down the sidewalk she said "You must have, I see it on her face."

She then walked to the bus stop on the corner by our buildings and stared at us as we passed like we were supposed to have a blanket and a warm cup of coffee for her, preferably something that came with a shaft of light built in so as to illuminate her presence to everyone else.

This is a stunning sequence at 7:30 in the morning. It's slightly less stunning that it happened in Ann Arbor, but still not something you're prepared to deal with on a Monday morning. I might have felt bad later for not asking, but after that exchange, I feel sorry for the people she is currently regaling with her story of the two insenstive clods who didn't help the poor Woman Who Fell.

05 February 2006

The problem with religion is that people believe it

From the Boston Globe, a paper that went up a tick in my book today.



HINDUS CONSIDER it sacrilegious to eat meat from cows, so when a Danish supermarket ran a sale on beef and veal last fall, Hindus everywhere reacted with outrage. India recalled its ambassador to Copenhagen, and Danish flags were burned in Calcutta, Bombay, and Delhi. A Hindu mob in Sri Lanka severely beat two employees of a Danish-owned firm, and demonstrators in Nepal chanted: ''War on Denmark! Death to Denmark!"In many places, shops selling Dansk china or Lego toys were attacked by rioters, and two Danish embassies were firebombed.
Article Tools


It didn't happen, of course. Hindus may consider it odious to use cows as food, but they do not resort to boycotts, threats, and violence when non-Hindus eat hamburger or steak. They do not demand that everyone abide by the strictures of Hinduism and avoid words and deeds that Hindus might find upsetting. The same is true of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Mormons: They don't lash out in violence when their religious sensibilities are offended. They certainly don't expect their beliefs to be immune from criticism, mockery, or dissent.

But radical Muslims do.


The article is titled "We Are All Danes Now", something that's slightly blasphemous in this country from the statements made in the wake of 9/11 (yeah, I went there; sue me). But the important point is I get their point. I'm not pissed at the reference, it's actually fitting. Radical Muslims have showed the world that it's not enough to tolerate them, they demand that you bend to them as well, and that's a line I will cross. Christianity in this country has demanded for decades that we as a society conform to some outmoded thought pattern, a demand we have vehemently opposed. We should not cave to the same demands simply because Islam is the new media darling.



Read the whole article; there are people trying to change the thought patterns in the MIddle East. But not enough.


There's oppression and then there's oppression. Forbidding statements about a religion you don't even believe in is the worst kind of oppression, and any politician in this or any other country should be ashamed for cow-towing to anyone who says otherwise. Muslims are wrong on this issue the same way Christians are wrong about abortion. This has to stop and stop now. The world has moved beyond the ninth century, so should Islam.

Things Overheard During the Superbowl

For context, we live near Detroit.



  • I'd forgotten what a real football game looked like

  • I'm having a hard time reversing (as in watch the commercials, not the game).

  • Poor Mike Holmgren (Seattle coach)

  • Poor Paul Allen (owner, Seattle; co-founder Microsoft)

  • F**kin dog! You would have been in less trouble drinking the last Coke.

  • *sniff* Damn commercials