you obviously have


Right now I'm...

Listening to :
Nick Cave : Murder Ballads

Reading :
Defying Hitler

Occupation :

Weirdest Dream lately :
I dreamed I was on the "other side" when my Dad was passing. I spoke to him and made sure he was okay. Then I woke, and knew he was gone. 30 minutes later, we got the call from the hospital saying that his blood pressure had crashed in the last 30 minutes.

Currently working on :
A BTVS related story called "Long Goodbye" which deals with a member of the Watchers Council being vamped as part of an experiment.
Also completing my nanowrimo effort.



o Holz
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o Mike
o Wil
o Neil


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o Greg Palast
o Noam Chomsky Archive
o Zmag
o Want to Know
o What Really Happened
o Guerrillanews
o Spin Sanity
o Media Whores On Line
o TV News Lies

Of interest

o James Randi
o Sceptics dictionary
o Urban legends debunked
o JunkScience
o Numberwatch
o Museum of Hoaxes
o Free Encyclopedia
o Superstring Theory
o Steal This Book

Quality Smut

o Miss Tracys
o Kirstin Archives

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A blog for that outspoken and aggressive member of the Buffy Bulletin Board.
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   Monday, March 31, 2003

Doctor Atkins, I presume

You know, it's not just chicks and brides and people like that who want to trim down for a wedding. At least that's what I tell myself in an effort to salve my wounded manhood.

With Kates wedding arriving at the end of the month, I'm going to give the high protein/high fat/low carb diet another shot. Not that I'm particularly heavy anyway, but I could do with losing a few in a hurry. Especially since I'm not as active now these days.

I tried the Atkins diet when I was heavier a few years ago, and got excellent results while on it. Lost the first stone in 10 days, and then lost more at a slower and healthier weight.

I don't think I'll be posting updates about it here though. That's too "Brigid Jones" for me. Its just mentioned as a thought, since by co-incidence a few people asked me about Atkins recently, my sister among them.

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Alias : Another one bites the dust

No, the show hasn't been cancelled
I saw tonights new episode of Alias a few hours ago. The show goes from strength to strength. Although last episode suffered from a really bad fake-out re-cap opening, this episode was filled with just the right amount of surprises, each one mired in the shows own internal logic.

I love when the show follows its own rules. It means that in certain circumstances, you can predict what's going to happen based on your knowledge of the show.

When Sloane said "I want you to do something else for me" I wasn't afraid for Dixon. I knew.

An idea occurred to me tonight when Irina mentioned the genetic database. We still don't know why they wanted it, but it occurred to me that MAYBE they're going to find out that Rambaldi is actually still alive. It's no crazier than the other theory I have about the show, which is that Rambaldi is a time-traveller from the present, who'll get sent back in time to play the role of the inventor, and hide the plans necessary to build all of his devices, including a time machine.

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   Thursday, March 27, 2003

What War Is America Watching?

The sheer amount of bullshit coming from America on the invasion of Iraq is staggering. I'm in shock and awe, but not in the way they planned. I think this is the first time such a campaign has been launched where the internet has had such a decisive role to play. No longer are the citizens of any one country subjected only to officially sanctioned news.

In Europe or Asia, the news media are less monopolised, and less likely to be tools of the State. In Frankfurt, Germany, for example, readers have access to 16 different German language newspapers, many of which present different vantage points, which makes for a more lively and varied debate. For those reading European or Asian news sources, the information coming out of Iraq is not good for the allies. But you'd never guess that looking at US broadcasts and broadsheets. And I'm not just talking about the basics "We crashed. We weren't shot down."

For starters, we had the line that the people of Iraq were all waiting to be liberated from Saddam. Once the allies came in, they'd be met with welcome arms and all that. Complete and utter bollocks. Now we've seen this sort of thing before with Cuba and The Bay of Pigs invasion. This was sold to the American people, including Kennedy on the premise that the Cuban people would rush down to the beach to help the returning Cuban brigades kick Castro out.

When the invasion happened, the Cuban people rushed down to the beach and stomped the bejaysus out of the invaders. Better the devil you know, eh?

Now history repeats itself. The US declares it will liberate the Iraqis, only to have the Iraqis prove to the world that as bad as 12 years of sanctions may have made life in Iraq, they still prefer it to anything they can expect under American puppets.

Robert Fisk's article today carried some words which might explain to those interested US readers, just why the level of resistance is as high as it is. And why the allies aren't being welcomed by newly liberated open arms.

"In our lands, populism won over democracy for historical reasons. Saddam has provided societal safety. I am safe, providing I do not confront the regime. Saddam may be very severe against political dissidents but he is also very severe on criminals or anyone who is aggressive with us. That includes the Americans."

There are several other quotes from Iraqi citizens which again, paint a picture of the man of the ground and the way he is thinking.

"Can you imagine the effect on the Arabs if Iraq gets out of this war intact?" he asked. "It took just five days for all the Arabs to be defeated by Israel in the 1967 war. And already we Iraqis have been fighting the all-powerful Americans for five days and still we have held on to all of our cities and will not surrender. Just imagine what would happen if Iraq surrendered? What chance would the Syrian leadership have against the demands of Israel? What chance would the Palestinians have of negotiating a fair deal with the Israelis? The Americans don't care about giving the Palestinians a fair deal. So why should they want to give the Iraqis a fair deal?"

"Our soldiers know they will not get a fair deal from the Americans," he said. "It's important that they know this. We may not like our regime. But we fight for our country. The Russians did not like Stalin but they fought under him against the German invaders. We have a long history of fighting the colonial powers, especially you British. You claim you are coming to `liberate' us. But you don't understand. What is happening now is that we are starting a war of liberation against the Americans and the British."

That's a far cry from welcoming with open arms.

From a historical point of view, Iraq was never really a country. It was a collection of tribes. In that sort of region, democracy can't take hold because you'd have armed civil war in about 3 weeks. A dictator is easier, provided he owes no allegiance to any one tribe over another. (Otherwise, you get ethnic cleansing.)

But the fake news coming out the US continues to emerge at a startling rate, and the inevitable retractions (usually a few days later) never get the same coverage as the next big lie.

Let's look at some examples. Resistance continues in Umm Qasr, a small port city just inside Iraq which the US claimed to have taken days ago. A guy on Sky News (the Murdoch mouthpiece) pointed out that they've declared Umm Qasr has fallen 14 times so far. I don't think we'll see him again on that channel.

The Chemical Weapons plant turned out to be nothing of the sort.

A lot of independent sources have reported some heavy losses on the US part, which are not being declared back home. For example, in Nassiriyah up to 20 American armored personnel carriers and tanks were taken out by the Iraqis.

Tommy Franks says progress is being made, the war is going well, yet an intercepted call (transmitted on Russian radio) has him saying "We've just spent three days trying to capture one small town, so we can only guess what awaits us in Baghdad."

By far the biggest one so far has been the "uprising" at Basra. This was reported two days ago now, I think, and I saw Rumsfeld reporting that if it was true, he was all behind it. It reminded him of uprisings against the Commies in Eastern Europe in the 50's where they were all massacred, so he hoped they were careful and all that sort of thing.

The uprising, covered quite a bit by regular newspapers etc... was a complete fabrication. Nothing happened. To anyone who wanted to look up other sources on the Web, you could have found this out as early as yesterday morning, if not before. But it suited the propaganda whores to say "Look, the people are rising up against Saddam!"

Now, as reported in the Times, the troops have had to pull out of Basra after meeting heavy resistance. The Desert Rats had at one point surrounded the city and Tony Blair told the House of Commons today that Basra had been "made secure". But military officials later admitted that they had vastly underestimated the strength of Iraqi resistance and the loyalty of Basra's population to Saddam.

Will Tony get collared for lying to Parliament? Will he fuck.

Meanwhile in the north of Iraq, the nightmare scenario of Turkey invading Kurdistan is unfolding, and with it a legality that Washington cannot question. According to the Turks they are simply carrying out a pre-emptive strike on a hostile people. Now where have we heard before? The allies are now claiming that Turkey will not invade, but I'm adopting a wait and see attitude. After all, who can believe the Allies about anything?

(Ooh, Angel's starting.. I missed last week's, I'm not missing this...)

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   Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Sorkins West Wing

Has anyone else noticed how the West Wing this season appears to be making quite blatent criticisms of the current administration as part of the backdrop to the show?

I watched the first half of the season again recently, over the course of about 2 or 3 days (amazing what you can do when you've got a few hours to kill waiting on a call from the hospital). With references to Faith Based initiatives, and wanting an "A" student intelligent man to sit in the big chair, and being able to handle speeches with big words, and gosh, so many other things I just can't recall right now.

Thing is, I didn't notice, when I was watching it from week to week. It seems I only noticed it while watching the episodes in bulk. Anyone else spot this?

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The Geneva Convention

And the short term memory problems of FOX and AMERICA.
The Germans have a word, schaudenfreude, which translates as "Broken Laughter". It means the laugh you get when you are laughing at someone else's misfortune, or a tragic situation, or when someone gets their comeuppance. That's how I felt watching Rumsfeld complain that Iraq had violated the Geneva convention by putting the troops on television.

Rumsfeld is a pathological liar. The way he can say stuff like that without grinning like an evil fuck into the camera, or at least breaking into demonic laughter, just amazes me.

Did he somehow forget or not see how FOX spent most of Saturday putting Iraqi prisoners on display?
The hypocrisy of this was reported in various places.
An excellent piece at anti-war
A good piece at MSN

So leaving aside the fact that putting them on tv is not expressly forbidden by the Geneva Convention, I take comfort in the fact that Iraq says the POWs will be treated humanely. That's a fuck sight better than the US with their "unlawful combatent" status, where they say you're not a POW, you have no rights, and the Geneva Convention can go and shite.

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In deference to Holz, no spoilers
But having watched the episode about 2 hours ago (after Frasier), can I just say KIM HAS TO FUCKING DIE.

I'm serious. The writers clearly haven't a fucking clue what to be doing with her. Her entire storyline makes last years "amnesia" schtick look like something out of Chekov.

Just rape her and kill her and get it over with. Stop teasing us with pseudo-plot and hints that she might get her baps out. I'm sick of seeing every guy she meets look at her like a piece of meat, and the music intimates "This guy might do something awful to her!" The girl is too stupid to live, and in a storyline about nukes in America, possible military coups and the launch of World War III, she's the most implausible thing in the show.

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Trying to impeach

As I've mentioned elsewhere and as reported elsewhere on the net, there are several attempts to impeach Bush going through various stages of development at the moment.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the whole, I think Bush is a fucking monster who needs to be removed ASAP, but what the hell is he to be replaced with? Some of the impeachment plans are for Cheney and Ashcroft and the rest of those assholes, but that's almost guaranteed not to work. As a cynic, I can't believe the solution to killing the Hydra is to try and simultaneously remove all the heads at once.

So while I think the effort to impeach Bush is a worthy thing like the peace-marches, I think they're equally pointless in that they will not work. But I have to respect them. On some level, they are continuing to work within the system. A system we all know to be flawed. But they are trying to make it work, and stay within the system because they believe in it. They believe it can be salvaged. That the system, ultimately, does work.

But does it? Or does it just help identify good men so that they can be "Wellstoned" ?

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Where's the weapons? part II

Well just a few hours after I posted this question on Monday, I saw the breaking news by Fox that the US had found a Chemical Weapons plant that was over 100 acres in size.

The propaganda just gets sillier and sillier. How the fuck would inspectors miss a 100 acre site?

Well, Sky News, the Murdoch mouthpiece, reported the info as pretty much factual for a bit. The BBC on the other hand, mentioned it was unconfirmed by US sources and best of all, included information FROM Sky, which Sky themselves were ignoring. Namely that they had spoken to Scott Ritter about the alleged find, and he dismissed it as "highly doubtful".

Clearly Scott won't be on Sky in the future.

Naturally, a few days later, the truth about the plant comes to light. But FOX won't bother changing it's gung-ho pro-war propoganda spiel. Lying to the American public is big business these days.

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Well, I watched the Oscars live in their entirety. And I have to say, I was surprised, gloriously surprised to be proved so utterly wrong in thinking the Oscar would not go to Michael Moore, for "Bowling for Columbine". Aside from the fact that there was a lot of reactionary nonsense laid against the movie even by people who hadn't seen it, the main reason I felt he'd be snubbed was that he'd never be let near a microphone on a night so "sensitive" in front of an audience that big.

So imagine how eagerly I watched him bring all the nominees on to the stage to make a little speech.

The speech itself, was one part great to two parts cringe-inducing. Once the orchestra started, and the boos, he seemed to lose composure, raise his voice, and that made him look like a hysterical raving loon. That's a pity. Because he often has something worth-while to say. The text of his speech was also good in the begining, but degenerating into mentioning the "Dixie Chicks" was just sad. That might have worked as a quietly funny piece, in front of an accepting audience, but in the face of hostility, shouted at the top of his voice, it was just awful...

Stick to the movies Mike.

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Chemo update

On Friday last, the hospital my Dad attends tried to administer the Chemo treatment he missed through dehydration. And he had a small heart attack. He was rushed to our local hospital, and there, they took several EKG readings. He seemed okay, and he pacemaker was working okay. Apparently, chemo drugs can interfere with his heart, something they hadn't told us was a possibility. So yesterday they told him he's not going to get the Chemo treatment anymore as it's too dangerous. He's on radiation treatment only from now on.

It's rough for him, and all of us. He was never particularly patient, and now more than ever he's prone to fly off the handle like a bear with a sort tooth. He has no appetite, but won't be coerced into eating just to keep his weight up.

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   Sunday, March 23, 2003

John Doe

Doe or Die (Hard)
I saw an episode of John Doe last night, in which John "McClane" Doe creeps aroud the vents in the Nakatomi Precinct, and has to stop an ex-agent from making off with a cache of Rambaldi artefacts. Or something. It was supposed to be new, but I had a strange case of deja-vu watching it. The soundtrack, the talking on phone to the black cop, the "He's getting to him". I expected someone to say "Only John Doe can make someone that mad..."

I watched the pilot of John Doe, and was intrigued. But the second episode convinced me they were doing "Joe 90" with actors, and an X-File tease. So I hadn't watched it since. Yesterdays episode didn't make want to watch it again.

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Psychic Resistance

No, I'm not suggesting the Iraqi people try to resist invasion by Uri Gellar methods. It's a term I've heard used to explain the mental resistance people have to ideas which go against their own beliefs.

Beliefs are funny things. We hang onto them so fiercely because they are the bedrock of our perceptual framework. To challenge them, is indirectly, to challenge everything we believe.

Take religion. Parents often pound that shit into your brain when it's still soft and immature, and it forms a part of the bedrock of your belief system.

Let's face it, there's nothing more crazy than religion. The idea of a supreme being, which has no real evidence for it, is a nutty idea. What makes it even nuttier is how many people are convinced that out of the thousands of religions in the world, they were lucky enough to have been born into a family which brainwashed them with the RIGHT one.

As a sceptic who has debated with creationists in the past, and as an atheist, there is nothing so galling and impossible as trying to challenge a persons core beliefs like religion.

I can see why it works on kids. They're young and impressionable, and have no idea how the world works. How else do you think they accept such equally preposterous ideas as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus?

It seems that people have to grow out of these delusions on their own. They can't be forced into it. The question is, how do we know we are victim to these crazy core beliefs? Just how many of us REALLY try to challenge our core beliefs, and see if they stand up to a little outside scrutiny?

Here's a few we might look at.
1) One man can make a difference.
2) It is possible to achieve your goals through peaceful protest and mass demonstrations.
3) Our governments run our countries.

And an extra two for the Americans to think about.
"We are the good guys."
"Israel is a poor country, a victim, that needs our help."

Those three beliefs above are ones I know I internalised, along with my religious upbringing. But as I got older and more cynical over the years, I came to the conclusion that (1) was designed to make the people who wanted change stand up singly before organising themselves, making them easier to identify and deal with.

(2) Ghandi was always cited to me as the example of how this was so. But really, has anyone OTHER than Ghandi ever succeeded at this? Is it possible he was the exception rather than the rule? Is it possible that other forces behind the scenes were really behind Englands withdrawl from India?

As an example of this, a friend was talking to me recently about protests in Ireland. Ireland has been a refueling spot for American planes for a long time. And the citizens of Ireland, ostensibly a neutrality, objected to this. All the peaceful protests and demonstrations had no impact. Instead, it was a combination of a few concerted individuals who frequently broke into the airport, and damaged the planes, who made the difference.

Either by attacking the plane with hammers (allegedly causing 500,000 dollars worth of damage) or by spray painting the windsheild of the cockpit. The airlines decided it was too risky and expensive to stop at Shannon, Ireland, so they are now flying to refuel at Frankfurt, Germany instead.

It's made me think about things. That's always a good thing.

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By Deception Shall You Do War

Some very strange things went down at La Guardia

Okay, this happened on Friday. It's taken some time to get through all the details, because the details on different websites kept getting changed. Not an uncommon occurance when ever an anti-Israeli story slips through.

Here's what happened, as best as I can figure it. I'm including the links, so you can work through it yourself.

The central terminal of LaGuardia Airport was evacuated because a powdery substance was found

It happened Friday when a gas mask and white powder were found in an Israeli woman's bag.

Authorities closed a ticketing area due to the suspicious substance.

The powder was in 9 inch cylinder alongside a gas mask.

Suspicious Vial Found In Luggage At LaGuardia

She was traveling from Israel to Texas. (see the first link above)

The first test came up positive for anthrax.
A second test proved negative.

Yet the screeners still had to be decontaminated
and one developed a rash on his hands after handling the items.

Ten people made ill by harmless powder

Another report on the "harmless" powder that made people ill.

CNN initially reported the story on their web site, then pulled it.

The identity of the woman in question changed from Israeli to Texan.

At this point, references to her being an Israeli disappeared from several other websites.

Then a report tried to claim that the 9 inch cylinder of powder was just a vial of talcum powder like you'd find in any shop. Now, talcum is a pretty well known substance, and the containers it is sold in are clearly marked and are usually described in words like "bottle" or "can", whereas this item is described as a "cylinder", a very unusual word to use for a common household product package.

Left unexplained is why ten screeners became sick from "Talcum", why "talcum" would cause a rash on the hand of the man who opened it, and why the people had to be decontaminated for "talcum". Also ignored is the presence of the gas mask.

Some of the reports (the early ones) said it was found in her handbag, implying carry on luggage. Yet the woman was able to board the plane and go to Texas. She wasn't detained.

Later reports (possibly sanitized) say it was found on checked-in luggage, and that's why the woman wasn't detained or questioned.

I know that several fringe websites, who target anything and everything that might have a zionist slant to it, are pointing at this story, and saying that Mossad were going to stage an Anthrax attack, so the US could blame it on Iraq, Iran or Palestinians, or whatever. Personally, I don't know if that's true or even likely.

While Mossad does have a documented history of getting other people to fight their battles (most notably the Lavon affair) I think it would be a risky game to play now.

Still, if there's some sort of "terror attack" on US soil in the next while, this incident means I'll be sure to think before I accept it was done by people who just happen to be enemies of Israel.

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Where are the weapons?

Or "Where's the Beef?" for the 21st century

Okay, so the war has been going on a few days now, and Iraq is hitting the US with everything it's got.

And what do we have?

The US make faster inroads into Iraq than they were expecting.

So explain again how this country was such a fucking threat when you can roll across it in a tank meeting fuck all resistance?

There are no chemical or biological attacks. Not one. Not a damn thing. Zip, nada, zilch. Zero.

So tell me, mister war/whore mongering Bush, where's the fucking weapons you all were so sure Iraq had?

Better start planting some, real fucking quick now, before people start asking that question in the real world. Just don't get the muppets who did your "Made in China/Made in USA" stickers to help you.

Leave the stickers that are on them at the moment. That way they'll look like genuine Iraqi weapons. After all, you sold them the fucking things in the first place.

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Friendly Fire claims more victims

ITV, the English tv station, has confirmed that they have enough evidence to believe that one of their reporters has been killed.

Terry Lloyd is believed to have been killed by Allied forces in a "friendly fire" incident in Iraq.

During the first Gulf War, I was shamelessly on the side of the alies. I was all behind getting Iraq out of Kuwait. And in a debate about the war, I saw someone ask the house if we could send a letter to Stormin Norman and ask him "Could you please define 'Friendly Fire', for us? And then, could you please STOP DOING IT?"

I'm actually losing count now of the "friendly fire" incidents. I don't watch the war 24-7, and I don't know when to disregard the US "accident" versus "Shot down" stories.

Either way, I think we're up to about 20 confirmed friendly fire fatalities.

When you can't even guarantee you're hitting the right SIDE, how the hell can you say you'll minimise civilian casualties with a straight face?

Scratch that. They can't even hit the right fucking country.

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Who wins the Propaganda War?

I was sitting watching the news today with my mother, an all too rare thing. We have so little in common, but it looks like the invasion of Iraq has everyone (even inveterate Soap addicts like my mother) interested in what's going on.

The news on Sky today (a Murdoch mouth piece) was about Iraq saying they had shot down Allied troops, and had captured them. The US was at that stage, still denying any troops had been captured. Imagine my surprise when Iraq basically said "Well fuck you buddy, we're putting them on TV!"

I told my mother at the time that Iraq had no reason to lie about capturing troops. They've got the moral high ground already in trying to repel this invasion.

The US on the other hand, has every perceived reason to lie. One, they are just so used to lying about everything. Two, they are still operating under out-of-date concepts like boosting morale by not releasing damaging information. Three, the invasion cannot and must not look like it's going to result in a LOT of dead Americans as the public might not have the stomach for that.

Well, I think they are way out of touch. Americans have the stomach and balls to watch their troops go through hell when the cause is just. And if this invasion were just, there'd be no need to lie about helicopters "crashing" into each other instead of being shot down.

Tonight, the American troops appeared on Iraqi television, as promised. It's hard to believe, when all you have are Western media pieces, but so far, Iraq haven't been caught out in a fib yet. That gives them a certain credibility when it comes to the propaganda war.

Dubya, in a fit of Luciferian hubris, has demanded that captured troops be treated humanely. He has got some fucking balls. The guy routinely violates the Geneva Convention when it suits him, and invades a foreign state, but wants his troops treated well??

Iraq may treat them well. If they do, it won't be because George asked them to. It will be because they felt it was the right thing to do. And if they say they'll treat the troops humanely, I'll believe them. I can't say the same about the US.

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Oscar Night

For someone like me who loves movies the way I do, Hollywood is a mixed beast. There are gems of brilliance buried in tons and tons of excrement. In fact, the idea of having an awards ceremony every year, is a bit mad when there are often struggles to even find decent candidates for nomination.

I normally watch the entire Oscar's show live. There are often some golden inopportune moments caught in the full broadcast, which don't show up on the trimmed down repeats. Like Trey and Matt of Southpark fame a few years back, with their dresses on, being interviewed. Saw it live. Never again.

This year, for the first time in a long time, there isn't a single movie I give a shit about in the entire ceremony. And with the show only a few hours away, I'm wondering if I should bother watching it. It might be fun to see a few anti-war celebrities try to get a word in, which you KNOW are going to be cut from the show...

This years big movies, Chicago, Gangs of New York, and every geeks favourite Lord of the Rings, all left me cold. I'm not rooting for anyone. That's not to say there weren't any good movies this year, they just don't get the attention from Hollywood that they should.

Bowling for Columbine.
The Revolution will not be televised.
Divine Intervention (A Choice of Love and Pain)

All excellent movies. All deserving of the highest praise. All have won various awards. But they won't be getting any Oscars, and the vast majority of Americans won't get to see their brilliance. That's a shame.

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   Thursday, March 13, 2003

America : The Evils of Genocide

I'm so pissed off right now, it's a good thing I don't have access to weapons of mass destruction. Cause I'd fucking use 'em.
From the pentagon's own papers, read it yourself, before they pull them.

There's no way in fucking hell the average American citizen is going to hear about this. But if they did, would any of them realise its significance? Would any of them care enough to demand the fuckers be brought to justice?

Washington professor Tom Nagy appeared tonight (March 13 , 2003) on the national Swiss TV-channel SFDRS 1

He presented the above Pentagon papers providing hard evidence and proof for a commitment to intentional genocide of the ENTIRE Iraqi population, achieved by destroying the water systems with precision bombing.

The bombing of the Iraqi water systems was never 'collateral damage'

It was the intentended target.

It worked well in 1991, so I expect they'll use it once again now.

A further US attack on Iraq's water purification systems will bring untold deaths due to lack of clean drinkable water and will ultimately lead to the deaths of million of Iraqi Civillians.

America, wake the fuck up. Your government is beyond corrupt. Your whole political system is beyond corrupt.

The US-Government is prepared to commit intentionally an unimaginable GENOCIDE.

This isn't about who's a Republican or who's a Democrat. It's about whether or not you're willing to sit back and live in and support a country that's run by evil fucks.

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   Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Why do we blog?

There's a kid doing a thesis or some such about why people like me (and probably you) maintain a blog. He's got a survey going here

Take a minute to fill it in, if you can. If you're feeling particularly generous. If it's not too much trouble. No pressure.


And then maybe you can reference it on your own site, for the many many readers I'm sure you've garnered over the years.

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   Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Episode Three

So I'm stealing this. So what?
On Ain't It Cool there was a story about StarWars sets being rebuilt. In one of the talkbacks, I found this... It was so good, I had to have it for posterity...

By ChickenGeorgeVII

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   Monday, March 10, 2003

Too many assholes to go around

I didn't get around to running an Asshole of the Day contest last week, but it wasn't because there was a shortage of candidates. Far from it. There was just so MANY outstanding examples of sheer fuckupery that I didn't know where to begin. And it's the same this week.

In today's world, the concept of Asshole of the Day is becoming outdated. In todays fast paced world of corrupt, war-mongering, media-owning screwballs, we need a new organisation.

Today, I am announcing the formation of The League of Extraordinary Assholes.

Details will follow.

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H and the Bitter Men

Sounds like a band, doesn't it?
A friend of mine, H, the man I drunkenly tried to body charge on the stag do, has had a quite devastating experience. I think of it as a learning experience myself.

He was going out with this girl, Laura, for a number of years. Long enough for her to have obtained common-law-marriage status anyway.

H. is a good looking bloke. He earns good money. He's well educated, funny and has a good job. He worshipped Laura, never cheated on her, and gave her everything she wanted. Example? She decided she wanted a house of their own. And within two months, he had pulled together enough strings and favours, and got a house. Which for the house market in this area is a fucking miracle as well as a financial nightmare. Contacts through golf clubs were exploited. Numbers fudged. Favours with bank managers bosses were exchanged. But he did it. Because it was what she wanted.

Or thought she did.

Just after Valantines day, she told him that it wasn't what she wanted after all, and left him.

Left him with a house he doesn't want and can't afford (on his own) , huge debts, and a busted heart.

I tried to tell him, that in my experience, women want a challenge, so you should never idolise them. Never make it too easy. Never give them everything they want. Because women often don't know WHAT they want. He just said I was old and cynical. Which is true. But if there's one thing his experience has reminded me, its that men like me aren't born bitter and cynical and twisted. We're made that way.

He'll learn the hard way, just as well all do.

I did tell him one thing which he believed at least. There are 5 stages he'll go through.
1) There's been some sort of mistake. What ever it is, I can fix it. She'll come back.
2) That BITCH! She RUINED MY LIFE! I hope she does come back just so I can tell her to fuck off!

Anyone want to guess what the next ones were?

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Cancer treatment update

My Dad started his cancer treatment today. Chemo for 3 hours and radiation treatment for 15 minutes. The radiation is to be administered daily, the chemo weekly. He takes some pills to prevent him getting sick, and he's to drink a lot of fluids. (That pleased him. 3 pints of Guinness were on the way.) The Hospital provided transport this morning and my mother was provided with full meals while waiting. Now we just have to see how the treatment goes.

Today, Barry Sheene, legendary motor biker of the 70's lost his battle against throat cancer. He's survived by a wife and two children. While I admired the man greatly, and my sympathies go to his family, Barry chose not to go the chemo route, and rely instead on "alternative" treatment. You know my thoughts on "alternative" medicine, so I won't repeat them here. Let me just finish by saying Barry was a great risk taker, both on and off the track.

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The Wedding

So I was at my friends wedding on Friday. I say "friend" but as I've said in another blog entry, concerning his stag do, he's more of an acquaintance than friend.

I should start by saying I hate weddings. So it's no surprise that I didn't particularly enjoy this one. But I had as good a time as it was possible to have at an event I hated, and consuming no alchohol.

The bride and groom and their baby girl were all decked out, as the photo's will attest, I'm sure. It was also the first time I was in a church at mass, in a very very long time. It astonished me how quickly all the routine and ritual and responses came flooding back. Boy, they really must have pounded that shit into me as a child. There were plenty of jokes about satanic nature influencing itself, like "P, stick your finger in the holy water! We want to see it bubble!" or "Now when you kneel down in front of the priest, remember you're in public this time, so restrain yourself." Comparitively little guilt at the obscene humour, which was nice.

At the reception afterwards, I was far from my jovial self. Not sure if that was because of the ongoing crises in my life or from lack of drink. I'd like to think the former. H, the guy I attempted to charge on the stag do, was also in attendance. With a bit of prompting, he finally had something to say about his situation. I gave him the usual stuff about "Plenty more fish in the sea" and all that shite, but I could tell he wasn't really taking it on board. Fortunately, K had a digital photograph of JH's cousins, who'll be at her wedding next month. Two are doctors, one is a model, and they are all rich, HOT and single.

This cheered him right up.

Yet, I have to say, I saw definite sparkage between H and Rachel during the day. I think once she heard H was single again, she had mentally decided she'd have a go. From plenty of innocent body contact during the day, to asking if someone else was trying to fix Z up with him, I got the distinct impression she was gearing up to make a play. It will be interesting to see how that pans out. H. is a handsome guy, well off, owns his own house. He's quite a catch. (I say this in a manly way, you understand.)

C's girl was in a robbery during the day, turned up late as a result (surprise! she wasn't going to turn up at all) and was in even less mood to party than I was. C was very good about it. And for his trouble, had a jacket stolen that was worth about 200 dollars. Nasty.

Yet depsite my focusing on the seedier side of things, the whole day was a great success for those who really counted. I'm glad I was there. It just hasn't changed my opinion of weddings any. They suck.

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What we loose or leave behind

Something was running through my mind a lot last week, as I got a bit nostalgic while surrounded by the current crop of people I consider friends. It struck me just how many once upon a time good friends were no longer around. Not that they've died, you understand. They're just not my friends anymore.

People like A, who I was very good friends with, for example. I had known him for years, helped him get through college, holidayed with him, worked with him, even lived with him. I haven't spoken to him now in years. I know roughly where he lives, have his email address and phone number and all that, and yet I haven't had any contact with him at all. Granted, it was because we had a rather large falling out. But I'm not one to hold a grudge. A on the other hand, really is.

Now, he's just one example, but he's a good one for what I was thinking about. Our ex-friends, and how they become ex-friends. I was wondering if people are predominantly those who lose friends, or those who just leave them?

Take JW. I was best man at his wedding, was friends with both him and his wife and their families. We had an argument, of sorts, and that was that. JW and A are two examples of how I lost friends, through my own actions.

There are other friends of mine that I've just let fall by the wayside. We don't have much in common anymore. They moved away, or just fell in with a different crowd or different social scene. And at some point, I stopped making the effort to keep in touch. I don't return phone calls, or write emails, or whatever. I would classify them as friends I've left.

So, not to go all Carrie Bradshaw or anything, but are people primarily Losers or Leavers? Is it better to be one than the other?

If it was a person who was leaving job after job, as circumstances dictate, we would not think less of them. But if someone kept losing job after job, we would have to wonder if the fault wasn't with them, you know?

So if you've lost more friends than you've left, does that make you a problem friend? (Assuming of course, you can equate jobs with friends in that analogy.)

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   Tuesday, March 04, 2003

A public Apology to Holz

I have no idea when you guys get to see your shows. Sometimes, like 24, StarGate, ALIAS or whatever, I might see them ahead of you. In future, I'll refrain from spoilers and include spoiler warnings. Sorry about that.

(Though I was sorely tempted to spell that "Pubic")

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Shrove Tuesday

Who the hell would eat a shrove today anyway?

This blog entry is being reconstructed from partially viable neurons, since BLOGGER decided to destroy the original instead of posting it.

My Dad got out of hospital today.

It's been a very rough couple of days since he was taken away in an ambulance last week. Most of those days have been spent travelling too and from the hospital, visiting him, and trying to keep his spirits up.

Over the last few days, I've been alternating between immense gratitude at what our health care system is capable of, and extreme annoyance when things do not go "perfect".

In hindsight, I can come down on the side of gratitude. We really do have a good system. Considering we have little or no insurance, the quality of care and speed of treatment was excellent. The bill will come to something like 250 US dollars (equivalent) and there's no rush on paying it.

If a consultant fails to turn up, (as happened once) I can understand. If an operation gets cancelled at the last minute, (as happened once) I can see why my reaction might have been to go ape-shit.

Truth is, they correctly judged that the operation was not necessary. So I can understand.

As I understand it, (though I am not a Doctor, nor do I play one on TV) there are some ulcer-like blisters around the tumor in his throat. These are what burst and bled last week. The hospital treated the bleeding and kept him in for observation and endoscopic examination. They wanted to make sure the blisters didn't bleed again. The also knew that his breathing tube is very narrow. If there had been any swelling, the throat could constrict, and they would have had to add a breathing tube to his neck.

That's what the operation would have been for on Monday. But they correctly decided that since there was no immediate danger to his breathing, and the operation would further delay the start of the chemo and radiation treatments, that the operation was unnecessary.

So he's out today, and home, sleeping in his own bed.

For the last few days, I've trying to distract myself both online and off, trying not to think about things. I knew things were beyond my control. I had done all I was able to do by getting the ambulance that night. All I could do after that, was keep his spirits up. And I couldn't do that if I was a depressed wreck.

But he's home now. And I suppose for the next few days, with the pressure off, I can relax and be a gibbering wreck.

For those who wished him (and me) well, thanks.

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Personality Type

Okay, so Holz nicked it off Wil, and I nicked it off of Holz, but it's one of the few personality tests that really appealed to me. (Hang my head in shame.)

And the results...
Myers-Briggs would say that you are an ISFJ (Introvert, Sensor, Feeler, Judger). In Star Trek language, you share a basic personality configuration with Beverly Crusher and Chakotay.

People like you are generally highly nurturing and caring. You're gentle and thoughtful, but also cautious, especially about exposing your inner self. You're highly protective of your privacy and share yourself with others as a sign of love. Once comfortable, however, you are quite affectionate. You also desire steady and unstinting love in return.
You're very literal and maintain a high awareness of the physical world. You are quite likely to have a highly developed sense of spirituality.
You are uncompromising about your personal standards and easily offended, especially when you do not feel appreciated or when people violate your personal space. You are diligent and conscientious, organized and decisive. You respond well to politeness. You enjoy productive routine.
Your primary goal in life is helping people in real ways. Your reward is stability in your daily life and people who support your feelings. You cannot have friends who would ever ask you to compromise your values.
Good careers for your type include primary care physician, chief medical officer, elementary school worker, guidance counselor, special education teacher, and genealogist.

Okay, so I wasn't all that sure I agreed with it when I first read it, but I've bolded a few points that I think some people would agree with.

About the only other test I did like this, was a "What Simpsons Character are you?" which again, was pretty cool. The test has long vanished from the web, but I was Krusty the clown. I've still got the analysis pic on the hard drive.

"Always cracking clever jokes or insulting others, you love being the center of attention. When the cameras are off however, you become a cynical depressed asshole.

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11:00 pm.... "4...3...2...BOOM!"

24 ... 24 ... 24 ... 24 ... 24 ....
R.I.P. George Mason
I've just seen the latest epiosde of 24. And it's nothing short of excellent.

I have to say, that when George was irradiated, I had a hunch he was going to dive on the proverbial grenade in order to give his life some meaning. So I was surprised when last week, he walked out of CTU, looking like that was his final scene.

Where I watch the show, we don't get trailers for next weeks episode (an apparently uniquely American tradition) so I had no idea what was going to happen.

I have been known to read Herc's spoilers on AINT IT COOL NEWS once in a while, but thankfully, I was spoiler free for this.

Some thoughts...
Kim really is too dumb to live.

Nice to see Susan Gibney again. Best remembered by me as Leah Brahms.

The writers on 24 are quite brave making this particular storyline, especially given how rabid any implication of criticism of US foreign policy is received today.
Think about it... a terrorist plot of mass destruction , supposedly planned by a Middle eastern Muslim terrorist group, turns out to have been assisted by elements in the US intelligence forces.
Now, it looks like evidence has been "provided" which shows that 3 Middle eastern countries were actually behind it, and those elements of the military/industrial complex are requesting Palmers' go-ahead to prep an invasion and possible go to war with these 3 countries.

I know there's going to be a few people who see the similarity with the 9-11 attacks in this. I just hope the writers don't come under attack for it. After all it's just television.

Bloody good television though.

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   Monday, March 03, 2003

Alias : A Dark Turn

Holy Divine Mother of Whorin Jaysus!
I saw the latest episode of Alias about an hour ago. I can't believe it.
I always thought there was an unresolved tension between Jack and Irina, but HOLY SHIT!
This episode was a masterful piece of fake and doublefake. The admission to "Francie" which
turned out to be a dream... Shock! Relief! Then.. HORROR! It was a pseudo-memory of "Francies"
hypnotic regression!

Yet again, ALIAS proves itself to be the best thing on TV. And Lena Olin is one sexy bitch of a momma.

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Droneo Droneo wherefore art thou?

One of the moderators on the BuffyBB has left in what looks to be a permanent way. I've no idea why. I'm not sure if anyone on the board does. If they do, they're keeping quiet. I realise we're all just strangers online, and it's not as if Drone and I were close. He doesn't owe me anything, or anyone else on the board. Hell, I upped and left once so I know what it's like to get pissed off with the whole thing. But online relationships, whether they are acquaintances, friends or whatever you choose to define them, are a relatively new thing in society. The rules of netiquette aren't exactly laid out in stone via Moses, or in a handy book via Emily Post. What I do know, is that he was often the voice of reason while I was venting. He moderated in the truest sense of the word. His war of wits with Hellboy was always entertaining.

The memetic-representation of Drone I formed in my mind through my exposure to his .net presence, was a source of pleasure, amusement and enjoyment.

I'll miss him.

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Kids are a pain in the ass

Unless you are Michael Jackson, in which case, you're the pain in their ass
I've been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I want kids. Not right now, because that's a no-brainer. But down the line, before I really do get too old. My thoughts on the subject came down two ways. On the one hand, I think the world is a shitty place, that will only get worse with time. The people who own and run this world will, I think, consolidate their power over us and our basic freedoms will be curtailed until we are little more than consumer/slaves. I don't think it's fair to bring a child into a world like that.
On the other hand, children can make a lot of things easier, especially for an adult growing older. They provide a sense of continuity. They give you the illusion of a legacy. Of immortality. And they are the unwitting vessals of our dreams for a better future, and a better life than we have made for ourselves.
Ultimately, all the reasons I can think of for having children are selfish ones.

Am I really that selfish?


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