10/31/2007

For Your Halloween Listening Pleasure

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:12 am

NPR had a cute little article about Halloween music this morning, and included some samples of “classic” Halloween-themed music—or at least music that refers to or is centered around the themes of Halloween, if that’s a useful distinction. I thought I would take up the mantle and offer a couple of my favorite examples of Halloween-themed music from my own library.

The first is the song “Death Path” (link goes to an MP3) by the 90’s Agro-Industrial band Mussolini Headkick. (“Agro” as in “Aggravated”, not “Agricultural”; they’re not farmers….as far as I know.) This song is some of the ultimate haunted house music, in my opinion. Less an orchestral composition than a soundscape (and pretty much completely sample-derived), it is almost unbearably creepy to me. Try playing it on a good set of surround speakers in a pitch-black room, if you want the full effect.

Next is “Halloween” by iconic Punk band The Dead Kennedys (another MP3). This is more in the “about Halloween” idiom, and is just a great example of what made DK so special amongst the screaming troglodytes of the Punk scene. The song is about wearing a mask every day of your life, and only taking it off one day a year to show your real self:

You go to work today,
You’ll go to work tomorrow,
Shitfaced tonight,
You’ll brag about it for months,
‘Remember what I did, remember what I was, back on Halloween?’

But what’s in between?
Where are your ideas?
You sit around and dream
For next Halloween.

Why not every day, are you so afraid, ‘What will people say?’
Why not every day, are you so afraid, ‘What will people say?’
After Halloween.

One of my very favorite memories revolves around this song. Margaret and I were in the local Fred Meyer looking for Halloween candy one year. Someone had decided to set up a boom box on a high shelf over the Halloween decorations, and had obviously told one of the low-ranking employees to find a Halloweeny-type song and record it onto a looped cassette. The anonymous stock-monkey had chosen The Dead Kennedys’ “Halloween”.

I have almost never been happier than I was standing in the aisle of a Fred Meyer listening to lead singer Jello Biafra repeatedly exhort the dead-eyed shoppers to “take your social regulations and shove ’em up your ass!

Halloween Pumpkins 2007

Halloweeny-Type Post

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:09 am

Caught this off of Fark today:

Haunted Swing Set in Argentina

At first, you think, “Duh, the swings are moving slightly in an open, windy playground.” But keep watching. One of those swings really starts going to town after a while.

You can catch the related “news” article here. Happy Halloween! 😮

10/30/2007

Truth In Advertising, Part 4

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:42 am

I pulled this out of a recent back issue of PC Magazine:

Truth In Advertising, Part 4

This ad brings all sorts of questions to mind. One of the foremost being: how in Gods name did smokeless tobacco ever become an advertiser in a computer magazine? Am I missing something? Are there lots of grizzled ex-loggers fleeing the failing tree-felling industry, getting out of the forest and into the server closet? Do propeller-heads regularly fantasize about dropping out of the IT rat race and joining the NASCAR circuit? Do an appreciable percentage of computer geeks fear that they aren’t getting cancer fast enough from the myriad source of high EMF they work amongst every day, and have therefore decided to hedge their bets neoplasia-wise by increasing their hands-on contact with another known carcinogen?

The mind boggles, even as the lip chancres and the tongue falls out.

But the real reason I posted this here has less to do with the nature of the product, its consumers or the likelihood of there being any appreciable crossover between either in the computer-magazine-reading demographic than with the scenario depicted in this ad. Observe yon fun-loving, precancerous frat boys; so young, so full of zest for life, vaulting in happy, good-natured-camaraderie-with-no-trace-of-latent-homoeroticism from the deck of their fancy pleasure craft into the (presumably) azure water below. Note also the attendant nubile female hardbodies enjoying the scene from below. Notice how they stand in the gently rippling surf, the serene waters lapping at their thighs. (One wonders what the chick in the background plans on doing with that surfboard she’s carrying in such a complete doldrum; perhaps she’s planning on paddling the thing to an outlying island with better surf.)

Notice how the three young men, while certainly closer to the “camera” in this pathetically Photoshopped tableau than the two sweet thangs watching them, do not seem to be appreciably further out to sea. Notice again the apparent the depth of the water in which the women are standing.

The message would appear to be, “use Skoal® brand Smokeless Tobacco: it’ll so poison your brain that jumping off a ten-foot deck into three feet of water will seem like a good idea!”

Exploration has its perks, like discovering local hospitals. 😛

10/28/2007

Dick-O’-Lantern

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:57 pm

My father-in-law sent me a scan of the cover of this month’s New Yorker:

New Yorker Octover 2007

I decided that I simply must make one of my very own.

We had a little spare time yesterday afternoon, so we decided to get our Halloween pumpkins before we procrastinated our way right into Thanksgiving. We headed out with Shawn and his kid to Bo’s Produce, a little home-grown stand in SeaTac run by the Tom and Ray Magliozzi of vegetables. These guys are great, always ready with a smile and a joke. We’ve been getting our pumpkins from them for the last five years or so.

Poring over their selection, I found a perfect candidate for making my own Dick-O’-Lantern. Slightly off-center (unlike the design model, who is completely off-center [rim shot]), with a high, bulging forehead. Ehhhhxcellent. This is what I came up with:

Dick-O’-Lantern

Too bad I didn’t plan a little better; I could have gotten him a little rifle and carved another Jack-O’-Lantern being shot in the face. 😆

10/25/2007

A Couple of More Observations on Being a Mature-in-My-Profession Professional

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 4:57 pm

I got my DVM in May 1994 and, barring a few weeks in late ’97 and early ’98 when I wasn’t employed full time but rather was doing job interviews and regular relief work, I’ve been in clinical practice ever since.

Most of you know my employment tales –the 3 years I spent working for Dr. Ratbastard in Olympia, the chaos of the first year I spent at 5 Corners, and the hard work that Melanie, and later Laurie and Rachel and Paul and I put into making 5 Corners a functional, prosperous practice.

Also I have blogged elsewhere about Pet’s Choice’s purchase by VCA, my disappointment at Melanie’s leaving her post as medical director, and my eventual realization that I needed to work elsewhere. But really what was most disappointing about leaving there was realizing that I’d never again be working with the people. A good doctor team with an experienced and well trained support staff can make up for almost any deficiency in the job otherwise.

Oh calm down! I said almost….

Last week I was spaying an 80 pound 6 year old Golden Retriever that has been on phenobarbital therapy for 4 years. For those who have never been inside a dog’s abdomen, the above values are sufficient to cause considerable sweat even without the pheno. A mature dog has a lot of intra-abdominal fat to start with which makes finding the relevant blood vessels a challenge and a joy. Adding the pheno on top of that adds additional fat. Spaying a mature dog is a sweaty, greasy, bloody undertaking and the bigger they are the longer the enjoyment lasts. It is No Fun.
Anyway while I was spaying the dog I realized suddenly that I really miss working with Melanie.

God knows it’s sometimes hard to understand why. We can’t be more temperamentally different. Professionally I’m quiet, reserved (yah, yah, yah, add whatever smartass comments you like, but then remember back to when you first met me and you’ll realize I speak truly here) and not prone to speaking my mind. All traits that are likely contributors to the tummy weasels I’m sure.
Melanie is outspoken and emotional; she’s never been one to leave well enough alone. If Melanie’s pissed at you, you’ll know it. At times it was like working with a lit firework with a wet fuse. You’d never know when she was likely to blow.

But for all that we worked well together. We both have a passion for practicing high quality medicine. She likes internal medicine more, I like surgery more. We complimented each other well and we were comfortable with each other’s quirks and foibles. Each of us has seen the other at their best and their worst and we still get along. And I almost always ended up spaying the fat dogs.
Adding Laurie to the mix was educational for all parties involved, and ramping up the staff to open the 24 hour hospital allowed us to put together a team that was beyond belief. It was fabulous to work with a group who would anticipate your needs, who were considerate and funny, who were efficient, enthusiastic, and a lot of fun.
I am romanticizing just a little bit here. We had our share, probably more than our share, of losers, weirdoes, and screwups. But overall it was a great team.
I miss that. I miss them.

Which is not to say that things aren’t going well with my new job. I love my new schedule. There’s plenty to do without being lunatic busy and I am, for god’s sake RELAXED at my new job. And the staff and I are getting more chummy and they’re starting to anticipate my needs and it will eventually work out to running as smoothly as I would wish.
Also I’ve spent much of the last two days on a road trip, traveling all over the county and back doing field research into digital radiology systems. We’re upgrading our x-ray to digital sometime within the next few months and I’m the one that has been doing all the research and the leg work. This is a big purchase, somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000 and getting all the information and evaluating all of the systems has required a remarkable amount of study into things that I never really wanted to know about. Looking at the systems in place has taken me from Puyallup to Lake City and as far east as Issaquah which, during the business day, can be a considerable trip.
It was one of the first things that Melinda asked me to do when I started working for her. It’s a huge responsibility.

I think we’ll manage to get along together just fine. 🙂

10/24/2007

They Distort, We Deride

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:26 pm

If you don’t crawl the leftie blogs or listen to Air America Radio (why the hell not?), you may have missed this–for some reason, the vitriolic Bush-hating left-wing media cabal has managed to miss it; probably too busy smoking pot at their gay Wiccan weddings or something–but today Fox News reported that Al Qaeda may be responsible for the wildfires blazing across San Diego county.

http://www.uncle-andrew.net/blog/movies/fauxnews-ca-wildfires.mpg

You can’t make this stuff up, folks; only Roger Ailes can. 😯

Of course, the FBI memo that the “nooz” anchors talk about was released in July 2003, not “late in June of this year”, as Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy mentions in the clip above. (By the way, I just love how he expands and expounds on the lie even as it’s slithering out of his duplicitous headhole: “early–er, late June”. Early June probably didn’t seem prevalent enough for the fruit-fly-sized attention span of the average Fox and Friends viewer.) Fellow newstwinkie Alisyn Camerota adds her own special embroidery to this travapestry by chiming in with, “This actually has happened for many years in the past as well.” No, Alisyn—if that is your real name; it sounds like a brand name for an antidepressant—it happened only in the past. And even then, the FBI was more than a little skeptical, saying that the could not verify the information.

Doocy does find it in himself to mention that the memo did not mention California by name, but instead referred to purported proposed targets in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. Um, thanks for including a small morsel of truth with your propaganda. Mighty Fair and Balanced of you.

But you already know which words are going to stick in the minds of Fox News devotees across this great land of ours: “THE FBI reported today that they have absolutely no reason to SUSPECT A CONNECTION between AL QAEDA and THE WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA.”

Kind of like, “THE UN WEAPONS INSPECTION TEAM reported today that THERE ARE absolutely, positively no traces of WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ.”

Are the FBI involved with the situation in California? Yes indeed. Are they there because at least one if not more fires appear to have been set intentionally? Why, yes; yes they are.

Have they instigated a statewide manhunt for a dark-complected man in a full beard wearing a kufi and reeking of thermite? No. They. Have. Not.

Will this vital little bonbon of information find favor upon the–ahem–discriminating palates of the Murdochistas? Pfleh.

In kitchens, dens and living rooms across America, hysterical Security Moms clutch their children to their heaving, gingham-aproned bosoms and shriek, “Won’t someone pleeeze save my babies from the Arso-Islamo Fascists!!”

10/23/2007

Send A Little Positive Energy If You Can Spare It

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:42 am

My good friend Gavin, his wife, three kids and their Alpaca ranch are in one of the wildfire evacuation areas in San Diego County.

Fallbrook Evacuation Area

I haven’t heard back from him since I emailed to ask how he is doing. Frankly, with cell traffic as jammed as it is in the SD area due to the evacuations, I’m a little leery of trying to reach him on his phone and tying up further bandwidth. Not to mention that he may need his phone battery for more important things.

If you have a moment today, try to send some positive thought in that direction—for everyone. And their alpacas. And Gavin: if you happen to see this, post a quick note to let me know how you’re doing. 🙁

Here are some places accepting charitable donations for wildfire relief.

10/21/2007

My Review of Bug

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:43 am

Bug
Much like with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a number of viewers are going to be disappointed with Bug because the studio’s marketing department decided to totally misrepresent the movie by advertising it as a horror film. This is not a horror film, it is a film about psychosis and paranoid delusion.

Bug is about a woman named Agnes living in a small Oklahoma who’s sort of down on her luck; stuck in a hand-to-mouth existence, living in a run-down motel, with an abusive husband who is about to be released from jail. She sort of stumbles into a relationship with a young man named Peter who is either suffering from acute paranoid delusions or was the victim of an ultra-secret government project to insert living, self-replicating surveillance devices–“bugs”–into the flesh of soldiers. It doesn’t take a heck of a long time to decide which of these scenarios is the more likely. Over time, Peter’s madness seems to infect Agnes, and their personal vectors line up, to disastrous effect.

Director William Friedkin did a good job of translating the look and feel of a theater production–the origins of the story–into a motion picture. The whole thing has that “fourth wall” theatrical feel to it, and the effect is claustrophobic and kind of creepy. Michael Shannon skillfully pupates (heh heh, a bug reference, get it?) from an odd-but-likeable guy into an out-and-out lunatic before your eyes. The tipping point in his psychosis comes without a lot of warning, and took me by surprise (then again, I never see these things coming in movies).

Ashley Judd is….well, she’s okay. Her crazy acting is a little over the top, and her lines at time seemed forced. She’s good at “exhausted woman in a dead-end situation”, not as good at “exhausted woman descending into madness”. I would have liked to see someone more organically crazy play the role.

Overall, the movie effectively portrays one person’s paranoid fantasies and the effect they can have, given the proper physical and psychological circumstances, on another person thrust into close proximity with him. It’s not the best treatment of the subject, but it’s far from the worst. I think it’s a pretty good film….not anything I need to rush out and buy for my personal library, but worth seeing. But it’s definitely not a horror movie, and anyone looking for one is likely to come away from Bug highly unsatisfied.

10/19/2007

Some things Are Too True To Be Funny

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:40 am

….This, however, is just true enough to be hysterical. This has been making the rounds, and if you haven’t seen it, you simply must (QuickTime format).

http://www.uncle-andrew.net/blog/movies/wake-up.mov

Here’s a Windows Media version if you prefer.

Where’s The Outrage? Dunno….If I Find It I’ll Let You Know

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:22 am

Saw this article on KIRO TV News last night. For those who don’t want to sit through the video, a Kirkland, Washington man is being sought for defrauding a group of about 40 investors—mostly friends, neighbors and/or co-workers, apparently—out of millions of dollars. Purportedly, the man convinced these people into lending him money for a specialty business, and in return he gave them promissory notes with a high rate of return interest, with a guarantee that they would be paid back within x months.

He told these folks that he was asking for private investors—lenders, really, as they were not to be considered co-owners of the business or reap dividends from the profits—because he could not go to a bank for the loan. Banks would not give a loan for such a special-purpose business model, he said. That was why he was offering such a great interest rate on repayment of the loans.

All of the “investors” were middle- to upper-middle-class East Side residents. They gave him anywhere from ten thousand dollars to up to $1.2 million. Some of them cashed in their retirement savings, others took out loans against their houses or other properties.

The once-in-a-lifetime, can’t-live-without-it, this-could-be-our-ticket-to-Easy-Street business proposition?

Ticket scalping.

These people gave some asshole millions of dollars to buy tickets to major sporting and concert events and resell them at a usurious markup. In other words, and by all conceivable definitions of the term, ticket scalping.

How do people this stupid have any money left to hand over for this sort of venture? How have they managed to feed and clothe themselves, much less buy a house or amass a retirement fund?

To start, there is already a massive and highly efficient ticket-scalping service in effect today: it’s called eBay. Scalpers use software robots to scour the Web sites of ticket sellers the instant a new concert or other highly coveted event is announced, then sell the tickets for a huge markup via online auction. It’s become a serious problem for outlets like TicketFührer: they are spending millions trying to develop systems to combat this sort of online activity. A simple Google search will bring up hundreds of relevant news stories regarding the problem. So what in hell did this guy tell these people to make them cash in their life’s savings to fund this worn-out idea?

So I’m already spring-loaded to be unsympathetic towards these “victims”: they broke one of the cardinal rules of investing—never invest money you can’t afford to lose—in a scheme that seems doomed by its very lack of innovation or originality. One of the people interviewed was a single mother, who lamented the fact that, now that she had lost 50 grand to this scheme, she hardly ever saw her kids because she was working so much to make up the loss. I can’t really find the words to express how her predicament makes me feel. Something like, “How….I….what were—you FUCKING IDIOT!

Then there’s the actual nature of the business in which they were investing: ticket scalping. A business practice only slightly higher on the social and moral ladder than black-market organ brokering.

These well-to-do WASPs were willing to go on TV and bemoan the fact that they were tricked into lending money they could not afford to lose to some guy, so he could use it to create an artificially-inflated market in hard-to-find items—in orther words, to scam still other people out of their money. A veritable witches’ brew of stupidity, amorality and greed.

Oh, if only I could find the energy in my slough of despond, I would use my desktop microphone to catch the patter of empathetic tears as they rain down upon my keyboard. 🙄

10/17/2007

*Sigh* My Tribe….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:21 am

Okay, so aligning myself with the Geek tribe is a stretch at best: I have described myself in the past as a Dilberttante. I am as much (or more) a consumer of the digital as I am a producer. But these things are mostly a matter of degree rather than hard delineations. Not to mention that the term “Geek” has many, many flavors to it: I am more Computer Geek than our housemate, who is more Comic Book Geek than myself. My wife is way less Computer Geek than me, about as Comic Book Geek as our housemate, and way, way more Cut Open A Cat And Sew It Back Up Without Making A Mess Geek than either of us.

Additionally, there are many facets to Geekdom other than simple skill sets. Attitude is a big part of it. Which is as much why I consider myself part of the Geek tribe as anything. A beautiful example came down the pike today from Slashdot. They featured an article about some yahoo who is trying to beat the US cross-country speed record. The person making the attempt is using any number of high-tech tools—radar and laser detectors, GPS, police scanners, thermal cameras—as part of of the endeavor.

I didn’t read the article, having little interest in one man’s attempt to inflate his withered gonads with a dangerous and ultimately illegal cross-country masturbation session. No, what really caught my eye was the tags.

Tags are descriptive words or phrases that are attached (“tagged”) to stories, blog entries, etc., to allow readers—both human and software—to easily find stories of a similar nature. An article about a recall of children’s toys manufactured in China might have tags such as “toys”, “children”, “china”, “recall”, and so forth. Slashdot has been experimenting with a tagging system for some time now: readers, rather than authors, are encouraged to submit tags for particular stories, for the elucidation of the greater readershp.

Which brings me back to this particular article about the guy attempting to break the US cross-country speed record. Below is a screen shot of the actual post on Slashdot as of 8:30 this morning. Check out the tags submitted by readers, circled in green:

My Tribe

I may not be able to debug a TCP stack or compile my own Linux distro, but these are definitely my people. 🙂

OOO OOO, THIS JUST IN: Just pulled this article off of Fark. What timing!

10/16/2007

Huzzah And Kudos!

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:29 am

Got this off The Sneeze, who got it off YouTube:

Halloween Prank Gone Wrong

This is exactly the response I would hope I could manage in just such a situation. I loathe this sort of humor, and fervently wish the perpetrators of same would get clocked in the snot locker more often.

10/15/2007

Verizon Wireless Customers, Take Note

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:14 am

In case you aren’t a reader of Slashdot:

    An anonymous reader writes to let us know that Verizon Wireless is planning to share its customers’ calling records (called CPNI) with “our affiliates, agents and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries.” The article explains that CPNI “includes the numbers of incoming and outgoing calls and time spent on each call, among other data.” Some subscribers, it’s not known if it’s all of them, received a letter in the mail giving them 30 days to opt out of this sharing by calling 1-800-333-9956.

I just called for our three phone lines. It was an automated process, quite easy. If you’re a Verizon customer, go do it now.

10/14/2007

Hotwater USA

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:28 pm

Saw the CEO of Blackwater defending his company on 60 Minutes tonight. He put on a good show; plenty of armored dogs and ponies for everyone, and CBS’s favorite newscrumpet (no, not the old one with the colon problems, this one) was allowed to pose just about the dumbest, most inane question I have ever heard from a journalist in my life, to the effect of, “Do you really regret the loss of Iraqi lives in the shootout? Do you truly wish it hadn’t happened?” She did everything but add, “Honest and for true?” Bleah.

The question of the guilt or innocence of Blackwater’s teams in this or any other incident are of only peripheral interest to me at this point. I think the investigations are necessary, and the US government needs to decide–and codify–which laws are applicable in the case of a private military force, owned and operated by a US company and in the employ of the United States government, operating in a foreign country. And enforce those laws accordingly.

However, I have other concerns regarding this whole incident that have little to do with the day-to-day operations, well-managed or otherwise, of this company or others of the type. Namely:

1) If the Iraqi parliament says that Blackwater must leave the country, and the United States government says they can stay, who should get final say in the matter? If we simply bypass a directive from the elected government of Iraq–a government we have been touting as the only legitimate governing body in the country–aren’t we basically just telling the world that the pretense of an autonomous, freely elected Iraqi government is a total sham? That we have, as many suspect, simply propped up another Pthalate Republic that will in all likelihood ultimately fall into chaos and revolution? Our decision in this matter might help to make or break a fledgling democracy, and I hope the powers that be are devoting more consideration to it than they appear to be giving, say, the hunt for Osama bin Laden. (Remember him?)

2) The total spent to date on private security contractors in Iraq, while a classified number, has been quite conservatively estimated at about 6 billion dollars. According to the numbers garnered by the House Oversight Committee, the cost paid by the US government for the average Blackwater security contractor operating in Iraq to guard US civilian personnel is $1,222, or $445,000 per year. That’s approximately six times the yearly wage of the average US Army solider. Like just about every other American, I don’t want the military to operate on an olive-drab shoestring. I want our armed forces to have everything they need, including the most up-to-date equipment, including financial security for their families at home. So here’s my suggestion: take the $6 billion and dump it directly into hazard pay bonuses for US Troops operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s about $31,500 per person. I imagine that would go a long way towards ensuring the retention of seasoned, battle-ready combat troops (versus, say, losing them to private security contractors), and showing these people that they have more than just our respect and our gratitude. It would also be super-duper if the government would find a way to spend more of that $198 million per day not slated for private security firms on updated equipment and supplies for the people on the ground over there.

I am by no means well-versed in the art of war or the practical implementation of public policy in the field of combat. I just happen to think that for-profit enterprises should hold as small a stake as possible in an arena as sensitive as our military operations (or education, or health care, or Social Security, or….or…..) as possible. Ideally, war should not be a financial windfall for anyone. There are words for people like that, and “contractor” is not foremost among them.

And for the record, while I may lack the necessary educational background or intellectual rigor to properly consider all of the many and varied ramifications of de-privatizing the war in Iraq, on the other hand, I didn’t manage to lose $8.8 billion in cash over there either. I think that should count for something.

10/11/2007

My Eyes! The Goggles Do Nothing!

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:40 am

2008 RNC Logo

This, my friends, is the new logo for the 2008 Republic National Convention.

No, really.

As a graphic designer, I’m speechless. No, wait, here’s some speech: “heh heh heh heh hee hee hEE HAW HAW HAW HAW *snort*”.

Gosh, where to begin? Maybe with the bizarre pose that the elephant seems to have adopted. I suppose it’s meant to look as though he (I’m projecting here, but I think it’s safe to assume that the GOP would pick a bull elephant over a cow as their mascot) is rearing up on his hind legs….in triumph, or something. Maybe he just managed to veto a bill to continue sponsorship of health insurance for children. But the ungainly angle makes the stance look less like post-victory and more like pre-trample. Frankly, it appears as though ol’ Stampy there is about to flatten the year Two Thousand and Eight beneath his splayed, Pantone® 287C feet. A fitting sentiment, by many a measure.

The weird positioning of the tail is also of interest to me. The fact that the end of the tail seems bonded with the body of the elephant makes it look like a handle, as though the animal is in fact some sort of baroque cream pitcher. I’m assuming that the designers wanted to avoid showing the tail lifted upward—an obvious option, given that it a) would help to fill heretofore unused space and b) might contribute a sense of movement and action to an otherwise strangely static pose—because they were afraid that this would indicate a willing- and/or readiness on the part of the (presumably) male elephant to be fucked in the ass, something that is definitely not on the official GOP charter, recent men’s room developments notwithstanding. On the other hand, by curling the tail inward they way they did, the effort kind of backfired, making the elephant appear as though he is sodomizing himself with his own appendage. If good old-fashioned buggery is off the “Family Values” Party’s table, I can’t imagine that zoonic autoeroticism ranks particularly high either.

And while we’re dissecting this beast, does anyone else think that the star in the elephant’s eye looks suspiciously like the “X” used in the oeuvre of comics and cartoons to connote a formerly living organism? This looks like the official seal for the 2008 National Convention of the American Association of Ivory Poachers. Someone on another blog suggested that the stripes on the elephant’s back looked like tire tracks; good observation. Or perhaps whip marks. The National Brotherhood of Exotic Species Abusers?

Hmm….come to think of it, that last one may not be far off the mark. Maybe the emblem should have featured an ivoryless elephant on a bun. 🙂

10/10/2007

Good For You, You Freak!

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:39 am

Just caught this this morning on Snopes. I didn’t catch the story as it rolled off the lot, because I would rather French-kiss the condenser grille for my refrigerator than watch the Emmys, so forgive me if this is old news to any/everyone. It’s new to me. If not exactly news.

As Executive Producer and star of the series, Kathy Griffin accepted the Emmy won by the show. Her remarks upon receiving the award were: “Now, look, a lot of people come up here and they thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. He didn’t help me a bit. If it was up to him, Cesar Millan would be up here with that damn dog. So all I can say is suck it Jesus, this award is my God now.”

As might be expected, she is catching a—ahem—holy shitload of negative publicity about this.

Now, I don’t personally care for Kathy Griffin. I find her comedy annoying, her escapades tiresome, and her apparently massive popularity in certain gay circles totally perplexing. On the other hand, I really have to give her credit for not backpedaling after everyone started bleeding from the eyes over her comments, the way so many public figures seem to. I think she struck exactly the right note with her replies to all the hullaballoo; after all, does anyone think that the hard-core God-fearing segment of the populace was going to be spending any money on tickets for her next tour anyway? Or watching reruns of her Bravo program, “My Life on the D-List”? (Does anyone?) Fact is, her fan base is likely about as devoutly Christian as that of Marilyn Manson, so she has nothing to lose by standing up to them.

So good on ya, Kathy! Though it’s kind of sad to think that in the celebrity spine department, it’s basically down to you and the Dixie Chicks.

10/8/2007

Plugtastic

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:56 am

My friend Gavin, majordomo of Puka Ranch, asked me to put up a little notice about the upcoming

SECOND ANNUAL CALIFORNIA ALPACA PEN SALE AND COUNTRY FAIR

And I said, “No way, Dude! Why on earth would I want to put a link on my site to the SECOND ANNUAL CALIFORNIA ALPACA PEN SALE AND COUNTRY FAIR? I don’t even own any High Quality California Alpacas, much less claim membership in the California Alpaca Sales Association. So just forget it, Man! Go peddle your SECOND ANNUAL CALIFORNIA ALPACA PEN SALE AND COUNTRY FAIR somewhere else!”

That a good enough Googlebomb for you, Gav? 🙂

How Cute Is This?

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:03 am

I just had to share this; got it off of Snopes this morning:

Photos of an encounter between a polar bear and a group of sled dogs

I may die of “Awwwwwww”. 🙂

10/7/2007

Yup, It’s Fall

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 12:37 pm

This morning (okay, so it’s afternoon, gimme a break. It’s Sunday which means that morning extends until about 2 p.m.) I’ve been sitting at my computer in my jammies futzing around and listening to the wind blow. I looked up through the window over my left shoulder at one point and discovered an odd precipitation.
Just over our east property line is a maple tree that must be 40 years old. I love this tree not only for its inherent beauty as a tree, but for the ten thousand pounds of leaves that it provides my garden every fall. The neighbors don’t mind at all that I rake the leaves on their property. 🙂
Being so close to Puget Sound we usually get all of our weather from the west or the northwest. Prevailing winds are almost always in an east/southeast direction. This morning the wind has been from the southeast which means that the maple seed helicopters that usually fly east on a west wind were flying west to cross my window.

A five minute (or more) maple shower. Thousands of little helicopters catching the wind and flying quite astonishing distances. I watched one get all the way across the street and out of my sight behind the neighbor’s house. With a steady breeze it could still be flying along.
It was wonderful.

Spring and summer are usually way more my thing. But I’ll admit there are parts of fall that I can appreciate too.

10/6/2007

*Pffft*

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:30 pm

I caught the tail end of the news on Channel 7 while running my backups yesterday evening. The anchors were introducing a little puff piece and talking amongst themselves about the the 2007 World Cyber Games, which are taking place here in Seattle. As they ended their twenty-second segment on the tournament, one of the male anchors chimed in with, “Can you believe they have referees for these things?” They all shared a quick, derisive little laugh at the folly of wasting precious manpower on such an undeserving endeavor. They then launched into a detailed account of the far more important and relevant news of the day: which high school football teams won the online poll to play against each other in the big online-poll high school football deely.

Say, you know something, mister big shot brush-headed ex-frat-boy local news anchor person? You’re right! It is ridiculous that they have referees for video game competitions. After all, it’s well-nigh impossible to imagine that there are any to spare from the vast pool of enforcers needed at the “real” games like high school football….to keep drunken parents from screaming at officiators, beating each other senseless and taking out their failed childhood aspirations on their children.

And while we’re at it, the kids who populate the video game championships are the kind who tend to get beaten, ostracized and generally persecuted by the jocks and jock-wannabes that join or slavishly follow high-school athletics. These young people know from psychotic teenage aggression, and don’t typically strive to emulate it. So they certainly pose less of a threat to themselves and each other than the jocks as well.

I mean, really, who could possibly take this kind of competition seriously, right? Just because the video game industry generates annual revenues of about 5 billion dollars for the Puget Sound area hardly qualifies it as a serious thing, right? Surely nothing like the importance, the cultural significance, of no-necked teenage mastodons smashing into each other on the manliest-of-manly-man field of gladiatorial honor. It’s not just our birthright as a nation, it’s good clean fun! With steroids. And the occasional gang rape.

So by all means, help yourself to all the referees, off-duty cops, crowd control barriers and drunk tanks you think you may need to manage your prized athletic events. The folks at WCG will manage to get by with alert sysadmins, Punkbuster and lots and lots of Code Red.


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