Friday, December 29, 2006

The Blog Gets Crawled

Big milestone for me. Today in my searching I finally confirmed that Google has crawled and indexed pages from my blog, so it's showing up in searches. Although according to Alexa it's still not in the top 100,000 unlike Google's own site, as seen above. Everyone has to have something for which to strive. Yay for! I welcome all the feedback, and please leave comments on the blog, not through the Google Groups feature, which I implemented as a resource to notify folks once a new posting is up. Hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season!

The Dolphinfish and Marlin Run Away From Each Other

I heart food. I especially heart Japanese cuisine. I think if I had to pick two cuisines that I could only eat for the rest of my life I'd have to go with Japanese and Indian...or maybe Thai...or maybe Italian (there's more to Italian than just spaghetti and raviolis), but for the sake of this tirade I'll stick with Indian, but won't actually be raving about it, I just wanted to put it out there that Indian will be my number 2 at this point in time.

Let's talk about Japanese food. It's varied, balanced, complex, elegant, succulent, striking, rejuvenating, and a tasty bowl of udon cures all wounds. More than once I have considered that my experiences involving Japanese food appeal to all five senses, and I liken it to a spiritual event. As I said, I heart Japanese food.

I have been blessed by living in the Bay Area, so have been able to sample some pretty decent manifestations of the cuisine. We're on the Pacific Rim, and we have a good amount of Japanese people straight representing, and so the non-Japanese people get to benefit from some of the more authentic flavors that have been established in restaurants throughout this region. One such place was near my home: Jo's Sushi Bar.

Don't let the name or wall marlin fool you. This place has outstanding sushi. I haven't been to every Japanese restaurant in the Bay Area, but I've been to a few (Kirala, Uzen, Tachibana, Ta-Ke Sushi, Mifune, Ebisu...), and I was pleasantly suprised to find this gem nestled in suburbia. The appetizer was Albacore Tataki, which is seared tuna sashimi served with a ponzu dipping sauce and red garlic chili sauce. Delicious. Fine. Glorious. The next round consisted of Oshinko Maki, and Ichir-oll (spicy tuna with avocado and tobiko), and a Holiday Roll (tuna with frikake, so it's red and green - very festive, eh?) There was no mayonnaise in the rolls, and they used actual cuts of the tuna, not that particle trim that you find so often in sub-par rolls. The fish was tender and flavorful, and the oshinko tasted fresh and juicy.

Oh it was heavenly. What made it even nicer was that we got to sit next to the giant fish tank and watched what happens in "Finding Nemo 2: Jacques Gets Tanked." I think I'll need to get one of Jo's t-shirts just so I can represent. I recommend sitting next to the tank in the 2 seater if you get a chance to go.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


We've been cloning animals for a few years now, but there's been a recent development that might affect the way you look at your ribeye in the near future.

Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, concluded that "...meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as the food we eat every day." While the conclusion doesn't mean approval, we're one step closer to being able to sample "future-steaks" and "space-chops." Those in favor of the technology say it would be used primarily for breeding and not for steak or pork tenderloin. This means that if Harry the bull is a virile horny beast, and is a prolific breeder, farmers can clone him to sire more cattle forcing Harry's genes into the herd thereby directing the bloodline. It's kinda like what the English, French, and Russian aristocracy did, but not really.

Interestingly enough, Barb Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, mentioned that she doesn't think labels on the food are necessary since people won't actually be eating cloned animals, just the children from the parents. That makes senses. She must write those wonderful screenplays in Hollywood, where you can drive your Calvin-pissing sticker adorned SUV through the plot holes.

Aren't you thinking of the Mendel genetic inheritance model from high school biology? You know the one where you mix and match dominant and recessive genes? Good, you remember. OK, so if you remove all the random genes donors, and replace one of the parents with Harry's genes in each test sequence, and let Harry do what Harry is best at, there will be a lot of calves that have Harry's horns or large flanks. Then we eat those flanks. Those flanks have Harry's genes. We just ate Harry.

My main concern is that if you breed generations of clones, you can eventually help introduce genetic imperfections in the herd, which threatens the long-term viability of the food source. Of course in an ideal world, the farmers would rotate the genetic material introduced in the generational breeding so as to reduce the chance of introducing anomalies like a third butt or a horn that grows in place of an eye. Of course, the third butt might be a plus in the industry. One cow = three rump roasts! YES! The consumer wins again!!

You can read the FDA Draft Risk Assessment for more information. I recommend looking at Ch. 6, Table VI-1: Summary of Causes of Death of Calf Clones. "SCNT" (somatic cell nuclear transfer) refers to the process most commonly used to generate animal clones. The section detailing chronic diarrhea, intussusception of small intestine with obstruction sounds tasty. Bloody poop-burger anyone? I'll have one with extra cloned placenta juice please! OK, only two clones died from it, but come on - that's only 8.3% from the test population!! Lighten up! Beef herky anyone? I have to call it herky because it's not quite jerky.

Which leads me to recommend this book: Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. Her name may be familiar from her other book which was made into a movie with the eponymous name, "The Handmaiden's Tale." There's some exploration about the slippery slope of genetic manipulation perfectly manifested in pigoons, creatures that are part pig and part human and are bred for solely for organ transplants.

So this is a multi-faceted medical, moral, and social issue. Chew on that. Hold your breath people; we still have the sustaining drum roll for the FDA's ruling on xenotransplantation.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Best Good Times Ever in 2006

Since we're closing out the year, I thought I'd acknowledge some events and experiences from 2006.

My son's second Christmas: this year was awesome for him because he was finally able to enjoy the toys much more than the wrapping paper and boxes. Who can forget the intoxicating fun of Mr. Crinkle-Wrinkle and Mr. Corrugated Box Face?

F.E.A.R., Call of Duty 2 (COD2), and Prey: while F.E.A.R. and COD2 came out in 2005, I played them this year on my ultra-sick custom built system with a Thermaltake Tsunami case, an ASUS A8N-SLI mobo, an ANTEC TPII-550 power supply, an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ processor, running XP Pro SP 2, with 2GB PC3200 RAM, a 320GB WD SATA 3.0 HD, a BenQ DW 1655 DVD-RW, and boasting the EVGA 7600GT KO. This machine spits hot fire and was featured in the Arthur C. Clarke short story, "The Nine Billion Names of God." I'm not a blasphemer.

F.E.A.R. incorporates the Max Payne/Matrix bullet-time effect so that everything slows down so you can maximize your carnage and shoot 16 guys in the face and still have time to attach a proximity mine on a wall next to the Robocop looking killbot (check the section on "...wave after wave of my own men...") This game has some of the best graphics for a shooter that I've seen. The gore factor extremely high. Close range shotgun blasts make limbs vaporize in a red mist. Wounds profusely bleed and leave hideous smears on the walls and floors. It also makes cool references to Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, which is always close to my heart. The story elements are spooky, and it's obvious that the writers gleaned themes from modern Japanese horror films, read "Ringu/The Ring" and "Ju-on/The Grudge."

COD2 is a World War II shooter that has you play through all of the major campaigns of WWII, first as a Soviet rifleman, then as a U.K. armored infantryman, and lastly as a U.S. Army Ranger who supports efforts to make D-Day a success. The play is gritty, not so much in gore, but in the way that battle is portrayed as it should be: messy, confusing, and inaccurate. The American campaign intro sequence pulls from the landing scene in "Saving Private Ryan", and it's just as tough to watch as you're the proponent of the action and the witness to all the destruction. This game is the largest factor in why I haven't posted in so long.

Prey is a beautiful shooter that uses the DOOM3 engine (think portals) and puts you in the shoes of Tommy, a native American who wants to get off the reservation, and end up getting his wish...and so much more. You never run out of lives, rather if you die you're allowed the opportunity to enter the spirit world to recharge your life and spiritual powers before continuing on in your quest. The gameplay is fluid, the graphics are luxurious, the story compelling, and the enemy smacks of the Borg, always a good villain.

Honestly people, aren't these the best villains ever: Borg and Nazis? You just can't get tired of smoking these jokers. Incidentally, name one of the first video games in which a certain German WWII psychopath was THE main boss character. American versions of the game list him as "Master-D", but he looks like you-know-who. Just for the sake of your well-being, know that his head explodes in a very graphic way at the end of the game. It wouldn't be right if it didn't.

V for Vendetta: the film that's based on a comic that's set in the 80s that nobody (except fanboys) knew about. It also tackled serious political issues and should be used a vehicle to inspire political and philosophical debates if an uncomfortable silence always ensues while visiting the in-laws. Fortunately, I don't have this problem. Alan Moore, a Brit, one of the authors of the comic, remarked that the film didn't go far enough. Being as that it was originally about life in England under a totalitarian government, Moore commented that as an American piece of work and considering the current state of affairs in American politics (I'm looking at you Bush, Rove, Cheney, and Rummy), the film should have used the United States as the setting. Since the film does have a message about truth and justice and acts involved to actualize these ideas, Moore seemed to feel that Americans would've gotten more out of the film had it been set in NY or SF or LA. Of course, then the studio would've been firebombed by the Christian Coalition and Michigan militia driving what....Homeland Security SUVs with Calvin pissing-stickers on the rear window, of course.

Quitting smoking: yes, I had picked up this rather nasty habit. I kicked it this year. Actually I grabbed it by its dirty yellow face, and smashed its tubular head against the concrete until its tobacco brains littered the street in a glorious fan of projectile bleeding, at least as much blood as an imaginary cigarette-person has in his/her body. Needless to say I'm very glad to have changed this habit.

Computer-based games for the blind/visually-impaired: This has been a growing area of interest, and developers are starting to listen. There are tons of articles out there about smaller shops that are putting these games out. Just a few days ago I was listening to a story on NPR, and the developer/innovator being interviewed made an interesting comment when the interviewer asked him about his interaction with larger publisher/developer houses. The developer mentioned that when he approaches big shops, the common response from them to take on software projects like his was that making games for the blind would be bad for their stockholders. Of course, it wasn't phrased like that, but essentially, that's what they meant. Still, it's great to see these games coming out. I should probably brush up on my ear-eye coordination skills else I'll get smoked by someone who hears me lean around a virtual corner and gets the bead on me before I on him.

Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank: If these names don't sound familiar, the Nobel Peace Prize should. Mr. Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist who started loaning money out to people who the bank shunned because they were poor and had little or no collateral. He effectively helped reduce poverty from the ground up, and shown the world that there's an alternative means to helping people help themselves. If you get a chance to hear him interviewed on NPR, which I did a few weeks ago, I recommend you spend the 30 minutes listening. It's a great story and helps remind us that there are still good people in the world committed to helping others by helping them help themselves so they don't need to resort to less civilized means. And when I say "less civilized means" I mean they don't want to shoot you or blow your buildings up. That's right - helping people become financially solvent and economically viable can help eliminate the root causes of terrorism. Mr. Yunus said as much during his Nobel prize acceptance speech. A notable quote: "I firmly believe that we can create a poverty free world if we collectively believe in it…The only place you would be able to see poverty is in a poverty museum."

Too bad we're busy diverting/cutting funding for education and social programs in the States. I can see this graph in my head that depicts how incidents of terrorist acts fluctuate as money is diverted from such programs. You know the looks like an MS Excel bar chart graph that has two columns and if you modify the source data in the "program column" it impacts the metrics in the "terrorist" column because the "terrorist" column is a function of the "program" column. I digress.

My wife's new digital camcorder: Maybe she'll let me take it to work in 2007 and film the man who stands in the middle of the sidewalk on 21st by Broadway and sings off-key songs and smiles at everyone, but who will tell you not to look at him if you do. Finally everyone will believe me when I have irrefutable visual proof and I put it up on YouTube.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Exxon to Offer Special Xmas Tree Flocking

A federal appeals court cut the $5 billion punitive charge by about 50% for Exxon's role in the Valdez oil spill in Alaska some 17 years ago.

That would have been 5,000,000,000 Washingtons. That would buy my house approximately 7,680 times over. It would also approximately pay for $200,000,000 of my winter heating bills. As I don't drive much, and fill up about twice a month, Exxon could pay for my gas for 62,500,000 years with gas at its current cost. Of course, don't expect to see gas remain at a constant price after this.

Exxon will most likely need to "pass the savings" to the end user (read, you and me) in order to recoup their loss. Never mind that Exxon earned $10.49 billion in the third quarter of 2006: the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. The perfect mental image that comes to mind here is the Texan from The Simpsons - YEEEEEHAAAAWWWWW!!!!

If this penalty does anything to measure the damage upon the environment (there were about 11 million gallons dumped as a result of Capt. Hazelwood's glug-glug, honk-honk, crash-crash) just know that this wasn't even the largest oil spill.

HAHAHAHHAAHHAHAAA!! That's awesome. Awesome like all the completed human genome work getting shredded by Pat Robertson.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What Would Jesus Do in People's Park?

Someone vandalized the American soldier memorial on the hillside in Lafayette last night/this morning. In case you haven't heard anything about this Louise Clark, the property owner, and some other interested individuals put up hundreds of white crosses on her private land. A sign that reads "In Memory of 2,867 Troops Killed in Iraq." sits in the middle of the memorial.

It's been knocked down before. Some motorist pulled over, got out of his/her car and knocked it over. Now someone decided to throw tar or paint (it's not known which) on the sign.

Regardless of your stance on the war/conflict/situation in Iraq aka the war on terrorism (which, in my opinion is as useless as a war on traffic), we've lost sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends as a result. They're gone. They won't be coming to Christmas this year to open the present you got them, they won't be celebrating another birthday with you or your family, and they won't be meeting up with your friends to go out for drinks on New Years. While Bush and the administration would like you to believe that the terrorist killers in Iraq would like to take away your motorhomes and big screen TVs, the rhetoric is getting old.

These Americans made the "ultimate sacrifice", and at the very least it seems decent enough to recognize their loss. You're not being un-American if you acknowledge the loss of your warriors in what some might deem an unethical and immoral conflict. I can see how this memorial could be seen as both a protest and support of the presence of American soldiers in Iraq. As protest, it's indicating that we've lost these people forever. We already lost thousands on 9-11-01, which is why we're fighting (thanks for the spin turd blossom) over there. As support, families who've lost a loved one might feel a sense of communal acknowledgement for the grief they might be feeling - a sense that they're not alone. Of course, I'll be the first to admit that I find the protest angle a more likely motivating factor.

While the news about the new Defense Secretary asking for more troops in Iraq, and the attacks in the country are the highest they've ever been, I've felt a little insulated against it. This covert vandalism so close to home just really put the cherry on the top of the sundae. It reminds me that even in the Bay Area we have some people who'd prefer to just listen to Fox news and go along with every vile prognostication that flops out of Bill O'Reilly's evil face-hole. Pretty soon I might just have to turn off my brain and start a MySpace page. I'm sure Rove and Cheney would have a greasy, ruby-starfruit punctuated lovefest if I did that.

On a lighter note, you can now log your driving frustrations on For more info.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kirk Cameron Getting Kung-Fu on Harry Potter

OK, it's not really Kirk, it's a mom in the state of Georgia (in the U.S., not in Russia) who had been advocating to get the Harry Potter books taken off the shelf because she believed they indoctrinate kids into witchcraft and expose children to wanton witchcraft-related violence, general wizardry, and spell-casting.

I believe the mom is also a big backer of the Left Behind games, which exposes children to wanton Christlove-related violence, general intolerance, and heathen conversion.

The Georgia Board of Education voted to deny Laura Mallory's request, and sentenced her to actually read the books and see all the movies while wearing a sexy witch outfit.

Jet Li To Punch Rosie O'Donnell In Her Drunken Irish Face

HAHAHAHA!!! What did I tell you? In this day and age of cell phone cameras, Tivos, 4GB jump drives, and cranial HDDs with optical feeds you need to behave yourself. First Michael Richards forgets his racial sensitivity training and drops multiple n-bombs, and now Rosie O'Donnell shows her love and respect for Asians.

I'm no big proponent of political correctness, I cross "that line" all the time, but there is something to be said about being sensitive to someone's culture, especially when you're on the *wink-wink* wholesome program "The View." Rosie apparently thought it'd be funny to imitate how a Chinese news anchor would report Danny DeVito's drunken bout on the program, and proceeded to act it out by eloquently articulating "...chong, ching chong chong, Danny DeVito, ching chong chong chong, drunk, The View, ching chong..."

AWESOME! Way to go Rosie.

Actually, maybe it's better that all of this behavior is so easily trapped and consumed by the populace. It lets us know our entertainers so much more intimately. I only wish I had been blogging when Tom Cruise berated Matt Lauer for being glib. Stupid Matt and his no knowing of Tom's ultra OT-7 ability to treat mental and/or behavioral conditions with a regiment of vitamins and engram auditing. Tom and Rosie should procreate. Just think of the wonderful things that could happen if those two mixed some genes. Whoo!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Aye Lad, But Does It Make a Good Mix With Scotch?

My Scottish friend and colleague pointed this out to me, so however worldly you think I may be, I am not the multi-linguistic, mega-faceted cultural ambassador I seem to be. I do, however, share some Scottish blood, albeit a minor amount mixed with Yugoslavic blood - a mixture that no longer exists by today's maps. Regardless, I wear my tartan proud and drink my fair amount of single malt (I like mine peaty), but this article on Scottish independence was interesting to me.

The essay (don't wince if you failed English in high school) shouts with insight only a true Scot would have. The synopsis is, "Devolution was meant to give Scotland the ability to solve its own problems. But since getting its own parliament, Scotland's dependency on England seems to have increased. A former Scots Tory explains why he has come to see independence as the solution—and why it would benefit England too"

Basically, for all the Red State people this means that William Wallace pulled a Lazarus on us and is going to get to smoting them damn pompous Brits across the pond. For the Blue State people, this means nothing to you because you're wrapped up in issues relating to securing seats in Congress while you squander your new found power and further bifurcate the momentum in the Democratic party by failing to get behind one candidate in the 2008 Presidential election. Prove me wrong. Barack Obama needs your support.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Grand Theft Auto: Book of Revelations

This is a game that's actually been out for a while. I read an early review on it when it was going gold (ready for mass production), and was filled with Christ-love. I was so taken aback by the message of tolerance delivered in this game, that I had to pause my viewing of The Passion of the Christ while breezing through some of the recent Promise Keeper literature which had been stuffed into my Jesus/Santa mailbox.

In the game, titled Left Behind: Eternal Forces, you are a person left behind on Earth after the Rapture has come and taken all the true believers to Heaven. If you don't know what this means, then you're a doomed sinner, so put your head between your legs and kiss your forked tail goodbye. 666 Satan hearts you.

The point of the game is to convert people into disciples in order to combat the Anti-Christ. Those who cannot be converted you must kill. The bad guys are rock stars and Arab-esque people.

Seriously folks...there's nothing I can say that isn't already implied by the existence of this game, but let me go ahead and say that from a strictly empirical standpoint, the game suffers from a host of design and gameplay issues. It also includes what some people would consider spy ware, which the developer (Double Fusion), evangelizes by saying:

The Ad Engine is the seamless interface between the game and the advertiser servers, and works as a broker between the two, calling advertising creative elements as needed, providing them to the game to be displayed as ads in the game, and tracking impressions and views and reporting back to the advertising management servers.

This means that if the player in the game strolls by a building in the game, and there's a banner ad on the side of the building that banner ad is actually tracking behavior and information about the user, and sending this information to the advertiser. Hallelujah! Finally, Capitalism and Christianity give each other a well-needed back-rub, and maybe a [wink-wink] "happy ending"?

Even more wonderful than the message of love and tolerance that murmurs deep within the rotten, festering code is the fact that there are also a horde of books and movies out in the Left Behind franchise. In fact, our beloved Kirk Cameron plays the lead character. I'm betting that these films are real popular in Montana, you know, next to Ted Kaczynski's cabin?

So to sum it all up my good people, it's a lame game that installs spy ware on your machine, and it sends a message of hate and intolerance. I'm going to give this one a big fat no, although my man Mel Gibson paid me $50 to give it a thumbs-up.

Friday, December 8, 2006

James Kim

I just wanted to recognize the loss of this man's life as he did his best to find safety for his family in the face of uncertainty and seemingly insurmountable odds.

There are many articles out there about James and his family., where he was a Product Reviewer, has a tribute article and film.

Being a father and being a Bay Area native, this was a hard story to follow because it was so personal. I wish the best to his family and friends during this difficult time.

For Chrismachannukwanzaa I Want...

...a water heater blanket and a programmable thermostat. These are just a couple things that can help cut energy costs as well as help reduce CO2 emissions. At least that's part of the message discussed on a recent Oprah show.

GROAN, you say? Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of Oprah and the Dr. Phil machine either - all that "follow your mothership" tripe makes me grow a big rubbery one, but the woman does use her fame and name to promote positivity, which is something to respect.

People often say that they care about the environment, and education, and crime, but at the end of the day we see a lot of apathy and indifference, or general NIMBY reactions. There are some minor things that each of us can do in order to make the world a better place. Being a good parent and role model is one - I stopped beating children and smoking a crack pipe in front of my son, so that's something - but you can also do a lot more around the house. This winter season, try not to burn wood. Yes, running the heater may be a bit more expensive, at some point there's some concessions and compromises we're going to need to make between Earth and ourselves, lest we continue to hasten global warming, coastal flooding, and general hurricane destruction.

At one point it was Dull or Dumb, but Al Gore has made some leaps and bounds by bringing the issue of global warming, and potential solutions to the forefront of the national attention. Sure it may be a ploy to generate political capital, but at least it doesn't involve sending your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, mothers, or fathers to a desert in which they have to be on the constant look-out for IEDs and snipers.

Speaking of gore and Oprah...recent footage (well not that recent) revealed that Tom Cruise attacked Oprah on her show, which was the main reason why she didn't go to the wedding. It seems that once you become OT-7, you effectively lose your mind and gain evil Dark Lord powers. Look out Tom, all we need to do is get you on the terror list, and we'll have Dubya ship you off to Egypt where we can torture you in order to get all your powerful Scientology secrets.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Too Much Information

So, yet again I didn't deliver on the daily post, and you know what - I'm okay with it. I recently came down with some kind of wicked chest cold that sounds like ripping partially dried epoxy off a greasy, unshaven, obese throat. Yeah, wicked, or as my cousin Drew would say 'bitchin' - he seems to think he's brought back bitchin'. Anyway, I took a day or two off to drink copious amounts of tea and eat soup, and now it only sounds like I'm jamming a putty knife into a dead cat's face when I cough.


So, anyway it turns out that John Stewart and Steven Colbert are running for office in '08. How awesome is that. Show your support.

In a related note, I just think it's awesome that there's so much non-partisan froth frothing about that I'm all a-froth with strong Democratic (in a non-partisan sense, of course) feeling. I'm coming from straight from the gut. Do you know that you have more nerve endings in your gut than in your head? Don't look it up in a book - check your gut and see what it tells you.

On that note, the gift to get this year is the scrolling LED belt buckle. Read it, learn it, live it.
Oh yeah, and peep the Akon "Smack That" video. It smacks of a certain Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy vehicle that launched the buddy movie syndrome. Relish the polished lyrics:

I feel you creepin', I can see you from my shadow.
Wanna jump up in my Lamborghini Gallardo.
Maybe go to my place and just kick it, like Taebo.
And possibly bend you over.
Look back and watch me smack that,
all on the floor, smack that,
give me some more, smack that,
'till you get sore

Who says today's music has nothing to offer? I contend that Akon will be doing buddy movies with Pearl Jam in 5 years, if not sooner.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

What Lee Majors Would Want For Christmas

We remember Steve Austin, don't we? I'm not talking about the roid ragin' professional *wrestler* who just oozes integrity and tact, I might add. No, I'm talking about Steve Austin: astronaut. A man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster.

And undoubtedly, he'd want a Patriot Santa for Xmas (it's Xmas, not Christmas, in this hip millenial time we live in we needed a more EXTREEEEEME nativity event that butts up against one of the biggest celebrations of capitalism.)

I saw this bad boy when the family and I made the shopping rounds to help to stimulate the economy during this festive season. It was by far the most awesome-est Santa I've ever witnessed. It was such a sight to behold. At first I wasn't sure it wasn't like some bad-ass Delta Force Nutcracker...and then I saw the plaque.

Dear Lord, I says to myself. I says, self, that is disturbing, but strangely compelling. I don't want one for Xmas or Hannukah or Kwanzaa, but I'd just like to add that I'd probably gotten one had it had a M4 carbine in its hands at port arms with a portable surface to air delivery vector over its shoulder. If there was a Hummer that came with it as an optional accessory, then I definitely would've picked one up, and if there had been a sticker on the bumper of the Hummer with Calvin peeing on a Chevy/Ford/darwin fish/Dodge emblem then I would've punched people in the face to get the last one.

Friday, December 1, 2006

What DirectX 10 Means To Me

What is DirectX? Simply put, it's a collection of APIs for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming, on Microsoft platforms. It is widely used in the development of computer games for Microsoft Windows, the Xbox and Xbox 360. New features include:
  • Fixed pipelines are being done away with in favor of fully programmable pipelines (often referred to as unified pipeline architecture), which can be programmed to emulate the same.
  • Paging of graphics memory, to allow data to be loaded to Video RAM when needed and move it out when not needed. This enables usage of the system memory to hold graphics data, such as textures, thereby allowing use of more and higher resolution textures in games.
  • There is no limit on the number of objects which can be rendered, provided enough resources are available.
  • Virtualization of the graphics hardware, to allow multiple threads/processes to use it, in turns.
  • New state object to enable the GPU to change states efficiently.
  • Shader Model 4.0, enhances the programmability of the graphics pipeline. It adds instructions for integer and bitwise calculations.
  • Geometry shaders, which work on individual triangles which form a mesh.
  • Texture arrays enable swapping of textures in GPU without CPU intervention.
  • Resource View enables pre-caching of resources, thereby reducing latency.
  • Predicated Rendering allows drawing calls to be ignored based on some other conditions. This enables rapid occlusion culling, which prevents objects from being rendered if it is not visible or too far to be visible.

What the hell does all that mean? It means that if you're running DX10 on your computer it will shoot lasers out from its optical drive, emit ultrasonic waves to deter insects from entering your home and burrowing into your pet's flesh, see through time for you to know in advance if you're going to get that raise/promotion/pink slip, and rip all neural energy from your cerebral cortex and back it up on a storage device of your choosing. Pretty cool, huh?

It will also make graphics look better on your machine. If you play games on a PC, then you probably have heard something about Crysis. This game is coming out from the development team, Crytex, which brought us FarCry. It's being published by EA. The recent DX10 HD video that was released today is *drool* captivating. The game is supposed to be functional with both DX9 and 10, so for all of us non-early adopters who haven't bought the new DX10 graphic cards (like the 8 series GeForce cards from Nvidia) this means that we'll be able to play it. Of course, Vista and DX10 are recommended. These are some *unconfirmed* system requirements.FarCry is an exceptional shooter, and presented huge draw distance in the game, which meant that you could get crisp visuals looking out past a mile. Tree leaves were visible from hundreds of feet away, and you could see fish swimming in the water as you viewed them from a cliff above. The story and gameplay was also, you know, awesome. I'm ready for a mid-life Crysis.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Deltron Zero and Automator

I'll get off my ranty political soapbox for a bit. Sorry. I got to foaming at the mouth. DOWN BOY!

I just learned that Del the Funkee Homosapien is about to have a new album out (11th Hour) - he released a DVD early because production still hasn't wrapped up on the album. Also found out that there's going to be a follow-up album for Deltron 3030, which was sleeper bombshell that snuck into my library and continues to detonate solid beats and rhymes sending waves of audio joyness into my noodlebox. Dan the Automator, which some of you may know, is a SF-based DJ/producer that has masterminded some of the more recognized concept trip-hop space apocalypto rap out there, and was responsible for laying the tracks and production of Deltron 3030.

I was lucky enough to be in Oakland when rap was coming into its own, before the wave of mindless gangsta rap swept over suburbia and provided Dave Chappelle with enough "white boys rollin' thug life" material for years to come. I'm thinking of the skit with the black white supremacist, and Dave's supremacist character calls a group a white kids in car, which is bumping some heavy g-rap thumps, "a bunch of n***as" (I ain't saying the word now, just saw what Michael Richards did...the wound is still fresh), and the kids are like...coool!

Anywho, it was in 89-92 and everyone was rapping. Ice Cube was still putting out solid albums - think "Death Certificate" - and in 91 Del (who is a cousin of Cube) released "I Wish My Brother George Was Here." You may know one of the singles from the album: Mistadobalina. Then there was Hieroglyphics, which was an amalgamation of a hefty crew of Oakland rappers who banded together to save costs on production, in order to launch their solo careers...Del was one. Casual another...Opio, A-Plus, Snupe, Tajai...

In my opinion, Del has had the most staying power, or maybe it's just that I get more from his lyrics. In any case, it's been about 15 years, and Del's still putting out music that continues to stimulate. He's not getting stoopid loot like Will Smith, but then again, he's not dropping "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oakland Online

The Oakland Public Library has put a collection of historical Oakland photos up on the Internet. This is a very cool site. The photo of the Bay and Golden Gate taken from Skyline Boulevard in 1923 is remarkable. Being that I spend a good period of my formative years in Oakland, I feel very close to the city, and these photos show what the city and the surrounding areas looked like over a hundred years ago.

The U.S. Can't Afford To Deal With Its Trash... we'll let our kids deal with it, if they aren't living in a real-life version of Waterworld.

You may have heard about the EPA and its resistance to regulating CO2 emissions. There's currently a case being heard by the Supreme Court about it. Nothing major. Do you know what the EPA mission is? Don't worry, I've got it right here:

EPA's purpose is to ensure that:
  • All Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work.
  • National efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information.
  • Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively.
  • Environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy.
  • All parts of society--communities, individuals, business, state and local governments, tribal governments--have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks.
  • Environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive.
  • The United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.

A couple of the EPA's stated goals worth highlighting are:

Pollution prevention and risk management strategies aimed at cost-effectively eliminating, reducing, or minimizing emissions and contamination will result in cleaner and safer environments in which all Americans can reside, work, and enjoy life. EPA will safeguard ecosystems and promote the health of natural communities that are integral to the quality of life in this nation.

The United States will lead other nations in successful, multilateral efforts to reduce significant risks to human health and ecosystems from climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and other hazards of international concern.

You can read more about the EPA here.

OK. This being said, why is there so much resistance to 'minimizing emissions and contamination'? The fact that of all the developed nations in the world only we and Australia failed to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, does this speak to the EPA's commitment in leading "...other nations in successful, multilateral efforts to reduce significant risks to human health and ecosystems from climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and other hazards of international concern..."? Hmm. I'm confused.

The D.C. Circuit Court ruled in favor the EPA stating that the agency '...lacks the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions...' It sounds like there's two options here: 1) make the EPA change their BS mission statement and goals, or 2) make it a more robust organization so it can step up to the plate to effectively combat the War on Emissions (I figure we can call it a war - I learned it from Dubya.)

It could be that we could actually create some jobs that would allow people to actually do something that was ethically rewarding: making the world a better place by making it a cleaner and healthier place. Is that more important than stimulating conflict and leveraging profits on the old military-industrial complex model that Eisenhower warned us about? Does this make me a tree-hugging hippie pacifist bed-wetting liberal Commie pinko? Labels...whatever. Say it to my face and I'll bust your grill, though. I've got Charleton Heston and big guns on speed dial. Michael Moore will film it all. Blockbuster won't carry the DVD, but Netflix will.

Your Taxpayer Dollars Telling You Not To Fornicate...Sinner

Just when you thought it was going to be okay...just when we could collectively see the light at the end of the tunnel, and even the lumbering, drooling, mentally challenged Bushco apparatus seemed to be indicating a willingness to move in a less Neanderthal fashion - wait, that's not fair to about Australopithecus afarensis - the jokiest joke that's ever been joked was joking its way across the Internets.

Apparently, our taxpayer dollars are funding useful programs designed to teach people between 12-29 years old to wait until marriage before having sex. Here are the guidelines. Ha. HA! HAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAAA!! Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard! It's a good thing that we spent $50 million dollars on that program. Those were your dollars and my dollars. I have no problem with teenagers receiving the message - let's at least let these kids get out of high school first before they start having kids, but 20-30?! There must have been some last ditch effort by the Christian Coalition to pressure Bush by blackmailing him with pictures of him nuzzling with Sen. Clinton.

My favorite legislative priority has got to be letter D. Oh Letter D, you tease me with your hidden agenda.

d) teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;

So, are there any boys and girls who can interpret, priority? It's a loaded statement to be sure, and it could be argued that I'm reading more into it than it deserves, but I hear the message: Christ the Lord ordained the man-boy with penis and the woman-girl with vagina and both shall wait until the 30th summer before engaging in any bumping of the uglies, which of course should only follow after appropriate matrimonial ceremonies, which of course are not available to homersexuals or lebanese people, as they are evil and are choosing to live their life of sin. Tell me if I'm wrong.

I pity the poor troop of souls that sit in their lifeless business environment (read: prairie dog cubedom) and craft and disseminate this tripe for a paycheck. It smacks of fascist propaganda. I'm going to have to side with Jocelyn Elders on this one - she was the Surgeon General in '93, until Clinton had to ask for her resignation because she publicly stated that masturbation should perhaps be taught in order to help prevent STDs in teens. She also said, "As long as I was in Washington I never met anybody that I thought was good enough, who knew enough or who loved enough to make sexual decisions for anybody else." Christlovers/meth-smoking closet-pastors wanted her head. How dare she take the power away from the church and give to humanity!

Big ups to Mark Morford on sfgate for keeping it rizzle. If he were hyphy, he'd no doubt be rolling gas, break, dip with doe's open mang!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Impact Of Good, Sound Reporting

Quite possibly the most insightful poll ever executed. My hat's off to The Onion for another glorious and scholarly study. This American institution really has its finger on the pulse of the country!

Jackson Does Hobbits

What recent film trilogy will be spitting hot celluloid acid into the face of wannabe copycat films for the next 3 decades? The Lord of the Rings trilogy, of course.

You may be aware that there was a novel preceding The Lord of the Rings (which Tolkien didn't actually think of as a trilogy, by the way) called "The Hobbit." This is where we first see the One Ring and meet Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf. Hell, even Balin, Gimli's younger cousin, is represented here. I won't go into the storyline, as you probably already know it. If not, tell me where you live and I will come over and beat you over the head with the book.

Needless to say, based on the enormous success of the Peter Jackson films, which put New Zealand back on the map for most people this side of the international date line, New Line Cinemas has been wanting to do two more Tolkien films with Mr. Jackson at the helm. It seems however, that there was some *gasp* shady back curtain dealings that prevented Mr. Jackson from only reaping $500 million dollars instead of $750 million dollars - these aren't real figures, I can't back this up on paper. Peter was pissed and sued New Line, and New Line told him to suck eggs and said they didn't want to do the next two films. There was a collective shudder for Tolkien fans.

Fast forward to today, and we find that the Saul Zaentz production company will get the rights to film by the end of next year if New Line fails to make the movie. Saul had made the animated versions of these tales back in the 70s. You may also be familiar with the name as it the eponymous studio put out such greats as "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Amadeus", "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", "The Mosquito Coast", and "The English Patient." The studio seems to be a better match all around. It's known for quality films, and was the pioneer in bringing Tolkien's words to the silver screen. Additionally, Zaentz wants Jackson do to the films should the studio get the rights. Sweeeeeet.

What's real cool for me is that when I worked in Emeryville, a bunch of us would eat lunch in the area of the studio. I always knew it for Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, and thought it was so cool that this was the house that made them.

Do you care? Is this your cup of tea? Maybe not. I have a very good friend who just doesn't feel these kinds of movies, and in fact made the cardinal sin of walking out on one of the best films to come out in the 80s: David Lynch's "Dune." We still speak. Poor guy...what are you going to do - stop speaking to your friend because he doesn't like sand worms?

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Lack of Daily Postings Did Not Precipitate The Use Of The Term "Civil War"

After all that brouhaha about me making a post a day, and my comment about losing momentum came back to bite me in the delete key. I have to apologize, but my son got sick and my wife and I have been dealing with high fevers, infant Tylenol, and ibuprofen. I had to give my son so many cold baths to bring his temperature down that he developed a Pavlovian response to the sound of running water. Needless to say, he ate some of the gumbo I made, which of course included the use of freshly made turkey stock boiled from several carcasses of this Thanksgiving's feast. I love it how my son likes spicy foods accented with citrus.

Speaking of spicy, the political heat embroiled in the spin of our media has cooked up a new term for our presence in Iraq: civil war. This smacks of Cronkite commenting on the conflict in Vietnam as unwinnable, and no doubt is tied to the current political shift we've seen as a result of the recent election. Once the general perception of our presence in the Middle East, namely Iraq, moves from one of enhancing personal freedoms and potentially establishing a democratic society to the issue of how apropos our presence is in a country that is undergoing power struggles within its own factions, we're going to see more and more people questioning the validity of remaining in the country and putting our sons and daughters in harm's way.

I keep thinking of something interesting I heard on NPR the other day. The announcer was interviewing an official (sorry, I don't have the transcript) who mentioned that in order to cement a democratic foundation in a country, there needs to be an overwhelming desire of the people to have such a government. Now this is just my limited opinion, but Islamic countries are very very different from democratic societies, and there is little or no separation from church and state. Of course, Iraq is a tad more secular, but in the vacuum of power that we helped usher with the removal of Saddam Hussein, we've seen explosions (pardon the pun) of violence erupt across the Shite and Sunni landscape. While there's the beginnings of democracy taking root, we see that decisions made as a result of the new governing body culminating in the assassination of elected public officials. We don't see the populace accepting majority opinion.

Of course, I'm familiar with the phrase " takes a few rotten apples to spoil the barrel", however, given that we've assisted in destabilizing the region it doesn't seem like there's any way we can ethically and immediately extricate ourselves from the country until there's some semblance of normalcy unless we want to let the barrel implode. Sound familiar? Sounds like Vietnam to me.

I'm dying to hear what our politicians will propose for foreign policy in the next Presidential election. What do you think, gentle reader?

Something completely unrelated - are you looking for a new book and want something new, fresh, engaging, brilliant that takes place in a land depicted from the hand of the man that created the Sistine Chapel (ok, I'm stretching that one?) Try China MiƩville's Perdido Street Station. This author introduces a myriad of topics, ideas and characters upon which lesser authors would base an entire novel.

Friday, November 24, 2006

What Roland Emmerich Would Do If He Made a Documentary

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and the stock I'm making with the turkey carcasses is cooling, and I just finished watching "An Inconvenient Truth." If you're thinking about buying a gas-guzzling car, and plan to put on an "I Support the Troops" sticker on the bumper take a second and reconsider that automotive purchase.

If you really want to support our troops, and directly impact keeping our sons and daughters out of harm's way for a war that we can't call a war because we never officially declared it, then don't buy something that's so energy inefficient, and that increases our dependence on foreign-produced fuel.

That's just one thing I walked away with after seeing this film. Regardless of your political stance, whether you be Democrat or anarchist, the stark reality of what's happening on our planet as depicted in this film is frightening. The imagery of the World Trade Center Memorial being flooded as a result of the melting of polar cap ice is a sober reminder that what steps we take, and steps we fail to make, affect us all. It's ironic to see the site of so much horror and bloodshed made a small event on a potential world-wide catastrophe should the United States not restrict our carbon emissions. Also add the tragedies caused from Katrina in New Orleans - the severity of the consequences of our actions (or inactions) within the next few decades could significantly dwarf the loss of life, not to mention property if you need to keep things constructed in a capital-oriented framework.

I'm not one easily swayed, but for the most part the details presented in the film are from documented sources and studies that indicate that in as soon as 10 years, the number of people on the Earth could find themselves displaced in the scope of well over 100 million people.

The U.S. accounts for the vast majority of carbon emissions which help retain infrared energy within our atmosphere, which causes the surface temperature to rise, which will eventually cause the polar ice caps to melt. To hear why this matters, if you don't already know or even if you do, check this flick out. If you have children, you'll want to do something about it for them. If you don't have kids, you'll still want to do something so you can enjoy your time on the planet with your family and friends. If you don't have family or friends, you'll do it because it's the ethical and right thing to do. Only motivated by intellect? Then you'll do it because it's the smartest thing do to.

Take BART and public transportation when/where you can. Walk whenever possible. You'd rather to spin those 24s on your phat ride and floss your discretionary income by paying over $100 a week on gas? Then you should read Galapagos, and pray that your head evolves into something more streamlined and bullet-shaped.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

PS3, Wii, Xbox 360...Hey That Rhymes!

I'm a gamer. I haven't been able to play as many console games since my son came around, and have as of late been playing more PC games. I still follow the gaming industry very closely though (one of my secret dream jobs would be to pen a game story...or at least jump around in a motion capture suit), and in case you've been under a rock on Mars in a cave under an ice glacier where the Martians hatch their clever plans to invade Earth to take it over and make us pets (see Porno for Pyros, "We'll Make Great Pets") you know that there are 3 next-gen console systems vying for ultimate domination over the 13-34 demographic.

These systems are (in order of launch date): the Microsoft Xbox360, Sony PS3, and the Nintendo Wii. Microsoft wanted to get the jump on Sony on the second round, and so far they've been building up their base, but let's face it, Microsoft has tons of money to throw at their gaming division and even though they're in the red they operate by the Gates credo: permeate and saturate the competitive landscape at all costs and you will be victorious. I digress...

All three systems are a huge step up from the previous generation, especially the Xbox360 and the PS3. Let's just face it - these two consoles vomit hot digital acid on the Wii, however, others feel that the Wii is a refreshing and welcomed alternative in the gaming world...I thought this video says it all.

One of the biggest things to consider, as I see it, there's also the new round of format wars associated with the gaming hardware and manifesting in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. If these terms are foreign to you, that's fine. Don't worry about it. Do you remember Betamax and VHS, well it's basically the same thing. Microsoft and Toshiba are backing HD-DVD and Sony is backing Blu-Ray. Initially, these manufacturers "tried" to agree on one format, but it never panned out. Movie studios are also involved, as these new formats will dictate how production houses put their films on media to sell to you and me. Don't get me wrong, these discs both can store around 15-40GB, based on the number of layers the discs has, and this vast Midwestern plain of storage space allows for lots of high definition content, so both formats will knock your socks off. The systems that play either format are supposed to be backwards compatible with your existing DVD collection. Just as a comparison, the most DVDs can store is around 7.5 GBs - if it's a dual-layer.

PS3s are the most expensive, with the Wii bringing up the rear. Will I be getting one soon?

Nah. This time around the companies are battling to see who will have the biggest presence in your living room, gaming room, and family room. These consoles (primarily the 360 and the Wii) are designed to do more than just play games, and are GUARANTEED to be huge time-suckers on the aforementioned demographic group I mentioned before. I'll be sticking with my PC, which currently competes on equal footing with these consoles, and it allows me to do my blogging, gaming, ripping, media production, and whatever else I want to do.

But if any of you happen to get the PS3 under the tree this year I will be coming over to make sure that I properly spank aliens in Resistance: Fall of Man.

Oh, and my prime rib is in the oven now. It was lumbering out of the fridge this morning...I knelt before its divine presence and humbly seasoned its sublime countenance. It barely fit into the pan, but I lovingly squeezed it in. Wait til I deglaze that pan with the sherry...I weep with anticipation. Enjoy your break, folks.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

OJ - How I Almost Did It But Didn't But Here's How I Would

You've probably heard about OJ's book and TV onslaught that was recently cancelled by FOX because of the backlash think 'everyone' is a word that nicely sums it up. In case you haven't heard about the deal, OJ was releasing a novel that supposedly laid out how he would have done the killings, had he actually committed them. The release was supposed to be followed by plugs on FOX.

When initially hearing about this shocking travesty of anything remotely resembling human goodness and decency, peripherally I couldn't help but wonder what the title would look like. I kept thinking of the memoir, How I Did It, by Frederick Frankenstein's grandfather, in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" film.

Needless to say, OJ recently commented on the book stating that "...he did the controversial 'If I Did It' book for only one reason — personal profit, acknowledging that any financial gain was 'blood money.'" That's awesome. The blood money was supposed to go to his kids. That's even more awesome - he's such a good dad, aside from the hacking and slashing (for which he was exonerated in a court of law, of course.)

Personally, I think both OJ and MJ have been getting an unfair shake in the media, and I think they should pool their collective resources. OJ can move in with MJ in Bahrain, where scientists are feverishly working on creating a pair of eyeglasses that will allow MJ's sham girlfriends to resemble Emmanuelle Lewis aka Webster, and OJ can parlay his stabby interests into supporting MJ's efforts of assisting the Emir in creating theme parks. I was thinking something similar to a themed region in a Disney park, OJ could have something like "Stabtown" or "Unnecessary Arterial Bleeding-Town." MJ would no doubt have "Bubblesville" and all the beverages would consist of "Jesus-juice" and would be served in phallus-shaped glasses. Awesome.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Martha's Prison Roast and Kramer's Hate

So I'm making a prime rib for the Thanksgiving holiday. There will be a small army of family attending, and I'm doing the prep work early. The rib that I picked up with my Pops-inlaw is ginormous. Seven ribs. 20 pounds. Longer than my child.

It is a cut of beef to respect, and I find that I must remain vigilant when I'm around it, as I fear it's awesome quantity of juicy, artery-clogging, red meat sinful goodness.

I've found a suberb recipe from...Martha Stewart (check it out on Prime Rib 101.) I figure a refined and blueblood tenured socialite who can go to prison and stroll home in a shawl knitted by her cellmate, Chick, is the person I need to confer with in order to produce a quality meal.

This one I'm cooking shortrib side down, and all the wonderful flavor crystals are going to carmelize with the fatty richness reminiscent of Karl Rove's hefty backside, which he keeps hidden in order to hide his forked tail, except when he's home with his evil brood - he wears nothing but a jerkin and clops around his sulpher-incensed abode and tramples little kittens with his cloven hooves.

Needless to say, it's going to be a wonderful roast. I'm accompanying the meat with, per Martha's suggestion, Yorkshire pudding. There will be a cacaphony of suffering arteries on Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which - what am I thankful for? My wife and son, family, friends, the fact that the evil empire in D.C. will shortly be swept away.

Also...what the hell was Kramer doing? Did he spend time getting crowd control lessons from Mel Gibson? What idiot responds to people by launching into a racist tirade? I'm a big fan of raunchy, satirical, offensive, and obscene humor just like any American, however Crazy Mike really went off the deep end here. Check out the video, people. Another thing to be thankful for: the omniscient cameras in today's society will eventually force everyone to become more socially responsible, for the simple fact that someone will be watching your every move...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lafayette: The New Berkeley

I'm not sure if you've all seen this hillside next to the Lafayette BART station, but I've seen it since it was first erected. The monuments stand on private ground, and are in clear view of the Highway 24.

My favorite part of the story describes how someone knocked down the sign. I'm willing to bet that this person probably drove some kind of SUV, and had one of the fashionable "Support the Troops" sticker on the bumper, and maybe...just maybe...a Calvin prayer sticker in the window.

I wonder what motivated that person? What was so upsetting to that person? Was it the fact that the number on the sign indicates that the number of Americans dead as a result of the Iraq War [...Conflict....what are we calling it now...Crusade?] now out-numbers the loss of lives from the Sept 11 attacks? Was it because the simply ugly fact that we have dead soldiers as a result of an unpopular war, thrust upon the world from a cowboy administration? Was it just upsetting to be so fired up about kicking Taliban, Iraqi insurgent, or otherwise terrorist a$$es, and to have the minor detail of dead Americans expressed through this display be so unpalatable....or if I could borrow the accusatorial tone of a certain former U.S. Senator: un-American?

Is it un-American now to make a public statement that serves to simply quantify the loss of American life on foreign shores for murky or contentious reasons?

I leave that up to you, gentle reader.

But I will give you my response: no it's not un-American. It galls me that the GOP party had used its machinery to support goals that detract from the foundations of the great country. I'm not ashamed to be an American, but I'm ashamed of this current administration. For all the "San Francisco values" that the Democratic party has, I find it terribly ironic that the Republican party and its army of neo-conservative Faith-based zealots has in its ranks meth smoking and juicy gay-love pastors, and senators who IM congressional pages in hopes of scoring. Clinton might've lied about getting a BJ from Miss Lewinsky, but given the current state of affairs: which is a worse lie told to the American people: "I didn't do it with her", or "There are WMDs over there and a bad man in charge of them, and we need to send our boys and girls, and if necessary, to ask them to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to make this world a safer and more democratic place for all our children." What's worse? What would Kenneth Starr do? What would you rather spend your taxpayer dollars on: the investigation of an illegal BJ or lying to the American people, and the mis-appropriation of American funds and lives to support a war campaign to secure an American position in the Middle East ?

Gentle reader, please thrall me with your acumen.