Thursday, April 28, 2005

Miss disAbility International

So I think this is bizarre. I originally heard of it when she had lost the title as Ms. Wheelchair, but now they do this. First off, to strip someone of anything for not being disabled enough is not only wrong, it's, as I understand it, illegal.

A quick story: One day I was buying a train ticket to visit my sister. After everything was taken care of and I was walking away, the salesman politely got my attention saying something to the effect of, 'I don't mean to offend you, but I wanted to inform you of our disability rate.' With only a slight disability effecting the right side of my body, I'm fully functional, but in this case, I felt I should in a way humor him. As I started to explain, he interrupted, explaining the policy of no-questions-asked. I was given the impression that this was law. And as I walked away, I had 50 percent of the price of my ticket back in my pocket.

The point being, she shouldn't be asked to prove her disability, especially after the fact.

But for me there is a bigger issue here. As someone who is mildly disabled, albeit extremely mild, and someone who has been working with someone in a wheelchair for 11 months, I think the whole story is wrong, right down to the existence of a Ms. Wheelchair pageant in the first place.

I'm sure I'm in the minority on this one, but I believe disabilities are not something to celebrate, in the same way that they are not something that should cause people to become self-consumed with doubt or grief or just uncertainty. I should add that people should always celebrate their differences; they should always figure out what makes them them. But if someone's identity is simply the Disabled Guy, it does not make for a positive situation for him nor for the community where he carries that identity.

Disabilities are a reality, and now for some reason there is a Miss disAbility. Perhaps next there will be a Miss Overweight (as long as it's glandular).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mmm... Sexy

I'm all for sexual freedom. What you do in the bedroom is none of my business. Or at least I thought. This is apparently resurfacing, but it's the first I've heard of it. Disgusting.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Pack Your Bags, Surf's Up!

While I should stop commenting on every silly sounding article I see on Yahoo, I think this is worthy of comment.

Angolans are discovering the joys of surfing after a civil war that kept people frightened and away from the beaches.

Yes, it may sound a bit silly, but for a country struggling to rebound economically, the hope of drawing in tourists is incredibly important.

The deadly Marburg virus isn't helping, but surfer's don't care, right? Anything for a wave.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Having a Twin

This is why it would be cool to have a twin.

What happened was a San Antonio mayorial candidate used his twin as a stand in for a parade.

I don't see any fault here. I would do the exact same thing. Of course I would more likely be the stand-in half. I would never turn down a parade. I love parades.

Mankind Nears Perfection

One more of the mysterious mysteries of the world have been solved!

This marks the end of those dastardly unpopped popcorn kernel bastards. No longer will we be standing next to the microwave yelling, 'Pop, damn you! Pop!' Followed, of course, by, 'Aww, man! It burned.' I guess that's for another study.

So, yeah, I didn't realize there was so much science behind popcorn. I'm going to have to wait for a special on PBS to fully understand this one. Where's Allan Alda when you need him?

Hey, whatever happened to that old show from the '80's Newton's Apple, I used to love that show.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Chimping: The Art of Chimp Pimping

So below I mentioned a bizarre ape study; it turns out bonobos are just bizarre apes.

Wikipedia explains that sex is a major part of this ape's culture, being 'used as a greeting, a means of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation, and a favor traded by the females in exchange for food.' It doesn't say anything about pimping, but it's only a blink of the eye away.

They also engage in penis-fencing. It's a time honored tradition.

I guess this means that I should stop telling people that dolphins are the only other animals to have sex for fun and start talking about penis-fencing. Oh yeah!

Bizzarre Ape Study

I clicked on this because I thought maybe it was about a research study that my girlfriend once applied for...

In the study 'the bonobos [the species of ape] will be able to cook in their own kitchen, tap vending machines for snacks, go for walks in the woods and communicate with researchers through computer touchscreens.'

The article makes it sound like the study will be ongoing, lasting through generations of these animals, which have a life span of fifty years. That's just crazy.


Last night I dreamed that I wore my girlfriend's blouse to work. It was very tight and the sleeves were annoyingly short.

And then I wrestled some sort of wild cat. It wasn't a housecat looking thing like the wild Wisconsin feral cat, and instead of using the idea of 'shoot, shovel, and shut up,' it turned out to be friendly and just needed some lovin'. It was a scary looking thing though.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


If you had the power to wave a magic wand and eliminate any one thing from the face of the world, what would it be? It's a question that I often find myself trying to find an answer for.

It can be something small like litter boxes, but I'm not sure why you would want to get rid of that, or some major idea, like capitalism, but again... why?

By the way, I spend about half of my time driving for work, that's a lot of good thinking time.

Internet and the Man

Interesting article from Foreign Affairs about the US' internet access in comparison to other countries. The opening stat of Broadband internet users percentile in the US dropping from 4th to 16th in the world in three years is alarming. Perhaps in my patriotic ignorance I assumed we would lead the world in everything, or at least qualify for a medal.

The author seems to blame it all on Bush, which although I am not a fan, I think is a bit harsh. If we invented the internet, why were we 4th in the first place.

In more general terms, however, the article challenges the popular view, and that of Bush, that market forces will create the best environment for consumers and still improve the quality of life. But, the 'lack of strong incentives to encourage competition has... doomed broadband in the United States to remain much slower and more expensive than in Japan.'

In a world dominated by the internet, particularly in economic terms, one would think that a government would want to push access to the internet into, not only schools and offices, but households everywhere, urban and rural. I agree it should be on the national agenda to connect as many people as possible with an affordable, fast, and reliable internet connection.

It reminds me of something I heard recently about a Louisiana town that just received telephone service. I however cannot find anything about it, perhaps I made it up.

A Poem

I'm not much of a poet, but here's something that show's I was creative once, even if it proves that I am no good. I wrote it awhile ago, but it has been in my head recently. As all poetry is, it's a work in progress, and I know it need some work. It has no title, not yet anyways.

This autumn field is full of fog
as a rainy day is growing cold.
These rainy days, they help me
cry. For all the ways I wish
that I had said good-bye, I wish
that I had never had to at all.
For I'm sure you know that a rose can't show
all the love that left inside of me for you,
and this petaled plant I leave to rest
will shrivel and shed its passionate red
and harden hollow and crumble dead,
while the grass green, that grows between,
divides our lives of love with death.

Comments - suggestions?

The Change Race

I don't know them, but this guy and this guy are cool in my book. In a previous post, I tried to categorize blogs, essentially finding two groups - self-loathing diaries and soap box speeches. These guys fit more into another group, the friends network, with which I don't have any problem.

They, however, have a gimmick. I love gimmicks. They are keeping a daily journal of all the change they are find and racing to $100. I think it's brilliant.

I'm collecting my change, not just the change I'm finding, but all the change in my pockets at the end of the day. I started with the idea of buying a llama with all of the change I collected, but I'm not a rich man - that change could probably buy a lot of groceries.

Anyways, in honor of their brilliance, I will say: today I found a penny. I picked it up by the dumpster as I threw away a pizza box.

Total for the day: $.01.

Monday, April 18, 2005


I love this beer. Perhaps I don't have a world-class pallette, but I think it's one of the best I've tasted. It's a great beer for a Sunday afternoon. It's a shame it is not sold in more places. I don't think it's anywhere around DC, but I was delighted to find it in Virginia Beach.

According to this pretty cool website, most everyone seems to disagree. Everyone's comparing it to Corona, which is an awful beer that somehow became trendy. I think the Corona trend is due to the necessity of sticking a lime into the bottle, something that you would never do with any other beer.

Plus, Dos Equis is the beer that should be associated with Mexico or the Spanish langauge. Now that's a good beer.

I'd also like to add that I'm proud that I can say quite of a few of the top beers made it onto my mantle in college. Most of the top fifty worst beers I'm a lot more familiar with however, although I'm surprised to see the High Life not on it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

This Weekend

This weekend I will be out of town visiting my sister at Virginia Beach. She is an artist who has a show there. Everyone should check out her website.

I have never been to VA Beach and hope to return with loads to say.

The Other Major League - It's Not Just Baseball Anymore

Like most Americans, I don't really follow Major League Soccer, but like many Americans, it was my sport of choice growing up. I loved the game. The passing, the kicking, the more passing, the 0-0 ties.

I joke, but again, I think I reflect the average American. While European governments are passing laws to curb the enthusiasm of fans after a recent incident where flares were thrown onto the field, soccer seemingly has little appeal in the US, unless of course someone's showing her bra.

But I have to ask, does anyone know for sure that they don't like soccer? Watching people who can play, who get paid to play, is a lot different than watching your 10 year-old running around after a bouncing ball.

The problem is that it's hard to find. Tonight, two of the top teams, so says an article, I wouldn't know myself, are facing off and it's not listed for any television. And I live in DC, home to one of the teams.

Some stations, NBC, have tried to create interest in certain sports with some success and some failure. Arena football and bullriding come to mind. Soccer is a great sport enjoyed by the world and even the 'world' market of hispanics and Europeans, should provide for the sport to make it on the TV.

The MLS enters it's tenth season doing all it can to raise interest and tap into that hispanic market. There are two new teams this year, one of which, the Chivas USA being the sister team to Mexico's most popular team, and today they signed a deal with SanAntonio to create another in 2006.

That, plus rising stars like Freddy Adu, and a healthy advertising contract with Adidas, to the tune of $140 million over 10 years, suggests that the differences between the Major Leagues won't always mean the pros and cons of the designated hitter.

So it seems the MLS is revving up, but will America hop on board is yet to be answered.

Somaliland: Independent Nation?

Great post about the events and story of the unrecognized state of Somaliland; actually it's the most concise explanation of it I can find. The BBC had a great piece of it yesterday on the radio, but I cannot find it online.

Somaliland is a 15 year old self-described independent nation that is officially the northwestern third of Somalia. The amazing thing is that while Somalia is struggling to assemble a parliament, which as Timothy Goddard explains, is currently meeting in Kenya, not Somalia, and have been slowed by fist-fights during the meetings, Somaliland is set to hold elections.

The state is one of the few in Africa to successfully transfer from the traditional customs to a working democracy, but it has not yet been recognized by any nation in the world.

There are several factors behind this, primarily among them is a fear from African countries that it will cause further splintering of African countries along ethnic lines, which if you are involved in running a country is a bad thing.
But with the current wave democratization sweeping the Arabic world, I argue that the US has a duty to identify Somaliland as a nation. It has proven itself as a working democracy in a highly unstable region.

Currently the economy which relies heavily on money sent from abroad is in shambles with 8 out of 10 people facing unemployment, and the lack of an internationally legit government, which cannot ask for foreign aid to help with development. Interestingly, this goes against my understanding of Amartya Sen's idea of development and democracy going hand-in-hand.

Aside: according to their website, 'Somali is the official language. Arabic and English are the other official languages.' I speak the second other official language.

Save the Trail

My job stretches me across all of Northern Virginia, including a very small town known as Paeonian Springs. A trail, a converted railroad track, runs through the town and many more towns and cities in the densely populated Northern Viginia finally ending in Alexandria, some 45 miles away.

Due to the amazing growth of the area, the trail is in danger of being lined with giant 110-foot high power lines. A legal battle has begun and the power company has admitted that alternatives exist. These are highly expensive, but is in the best interest of everyone involved. Perhaps everyone affected should become involved in the fight.

While this project does not effect me directly and I comment partially out of disgust for the family I know in the area, I should say that after walking part of the trail, I do believe it is important for nature not to get lost in urban development. The people of the area are rightly excited to see the tremendous growth of the area, but are rightly complaining to protect its 30-year old trail where the community meets nature.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

More Music

Another great place to find great music, although you may have to dig through a lot of crap.

Surprising to me, NPR frequently broadcasts live the concerts from the 9:30 Club here in DC. I love the live show feeds of Interpol and Bright Eyes. I'm sure there are more, I just have to keep digging.

You Can Sing

In the room where I sleep, there are two pictures on the wall. Both are somewhat small, so the walls appear strikingly blank, but both are wonderful and perhaps help to define me as a person.

The first is a great close-up of a couple kissing, disheveled and carefree. The wavy-haired bearded one is me. The girl I'm kissing sleeps beside me every night. The picture brings back memories. It makes me happy.

The second is a picture ripped from the pages of a magazine. It was an ad for something, but you can't tell that by looking at it. There are no products; it's no glamour shot; there's no familiar sale's pitch. All it is, in the murky shades of a black-and-white that's turning brown, is a man covering his face with a small message that he is holding up to the camera.

'You can sing' the message reads, scrawled out in capital letters, the words sitting on top of one another. 'You can sing,' the message reads and speaks to me, though I can't sing. 'You can sing,' the message sings and what I hear is 'Let me sing.' 'You can sing' and I can dream, and now I know that I can sing.

Everybody Loves Parfait

So I'm still in the early stages of this whole blog thing and I'm having an identity crisis of sorts. I still don't know how I want this whole thing done. I want a website where I can poke fun of stupid stuff, as I did earlier, write about stuff that interests me, as I did earlier, but still just write about the mundane in interesting ways.

I want all that, but I want to be able to break it into those groups. I don't want people to have to scroll through the junk to get to something good. And at this point, the 'people' who read this are my girlfriend, so it's almost time I write something good.

Most of the stuff that I've written doesn't even sound like me. It sounds more like that this guy, who I know and respect but I don't want to be like. His site is more or less dedicated to something, and it works for him, but it's not me.

Perhaps blogs and onions should have nothing in common, but I'm going to give my blog layers, writing about several different things, most likely in very different voices. And if it turns into some hideous ogre-like thing, at least it will be my hideous ogre-like thing.

And I think 'The Muted Guerrilla' is a great name for just such a beast.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Rah! Rah! Yahoo!

While two top file sharing sites are being heard by the Supreme Court and thousands of college kids are being targeted for prosecution for file sharing, I just want to give three cheers for Yahoo.

It's been around for a long time now, but I love Yahoo's free music service, LaunchCast. It is different than the file-sharing sites as it's not file sharing, but it's almost as good. Where else can you continuously refine the music that is played?

It is great for listeners because they can listen to songs they like and it is the easiest way I have found to discover new stuff as it pulls from a library of almost every song that has been published. The impact that this has had on indie bands in particular must be tremendous, as they now can receive essentially air time despite not being played on the radio.

For me, I am greatful for LaunchCast in helping me find bands like Bright Eyes, Sam Bisbee, Josh Rouse, and Dex Dubious (or at least one song by him which just makes me happy). I'll go ahead and throw in Donovan with the same parenthesis, although it wasn't me who found it. And it's great for playing bands who I used to listen to a lot and love, but never find my CD player.

$10,000 Reward

Intel's president is offering $10,000 to anyone who has a copy of a 1965 issue of Electronics magazine. In it, Gordon Moore, president of the world's leading computer chip maker, stated that microchip technology would double every year or two. A principle which has held true for 40 years.

It makes me wish I was older. And into electronics... as a kid. Or else really older, and into electronics when I was old. Actually let's be honest, I just want $10,000. That would make me happy.

Venezuela Land Grab

Despite having trouble finding information, the events in Venezuela fascinate me. The government is seizing some 238,000 acres of British farm land, owned by meat producer Agroflora, as a first step to seizing over 1.4 million acres in the coming year. The meat producers, which claim to provide solely for the Venezuelan market, are losing their land because they can prove ownership back to 1840, not back to 1830 as requested by the government. This is all part of a promise to provide plots for 100,000 poor citizens by 2006.

President Chavez is clearly overstepping any stretch of power he may have, and hopefully, Agroflora's current appeal to the country's courts will prove successful and end this potentially disasterous land reform before it gets started.

While I strongly disagree with what's happening, I would say, however, that dramatic steps need to be taken in order to diversify Venezuela's oil-driven economy. Oil wealth is a killer. This is a long read, but very interesting on the subject.

I would also like to note that I heard on NPR that the state is by far the largest land owner in Venezuela, so it does seem as though Chavez is starting in the wrong place, especially if his only objective is to provide land to the poor. I unfortunately can't find anything on the internet that says so, but that's why I'm here. I say so.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Walking Robots

Who buys this stuff? And how is it any different than this, which is $5000 cheaper?

It does have a remote control camera in it. Is it suppose to be a robotic watchdog? Because I've seen those too. Is it especially for people who are overly concerned about their homes and don't trust a door lock? How litte trust can you have in your neighbors? At $5400, I would be concerned about people stealing my robot. I guess that's why it has a camera.

The technology is perhaps impressive, but I saw Short Circuit, it seems like they had walking robots twenty years ago. But I guess at least it can break into dance. I wonder if it knows any other moves besides the robot.

I would be willing to bet that, like the RoboSapien which I've seen at my local BestBuy, this is something that people will play with at the store, get a laugh, and never buy.

The Link

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am eager to use the link tool, so this is just a test.

I made reference to Papua New Guinea, which I've never been too, nor do I know anyone who has, but I hear that New Zealand is cool. It looks as though they also have some good cricketers. I love cricket. I love anything that deals with stumps and wickets. Not to be confused with Stomp tickets, which I highly recommend.

I also mentioned donkeys. Not to be confused with Mule, the ancient video game that an old friend of mine used to love.

Not to leave anyone out

Since my last post, and after exhaustive research of the entire internet, it seems I have left a few types of blogs out.

Firstly, the all important friends network blog, full of pictures and 25 comments on each post. I don't have any problem with these. It seems they are having fun. In fact I'm a little jealous; I wish my friends were that cool.

There are also those that are opposed to the self-hating ones. These I don't like either. The "my life is better than yours because I get to go to Papua New Guinea to teach people to raise donkeys" attitude is not very flattering in a person. There's probably a better term, but I like to make them sound as much like an ass as possible. In the end I think I would put these with my original self-loathers group.

There are those that are completely dedicated to one subject, which I think is a little silly. It would get boring for me, but who am I? And at least they know what they should be talking about, be it Afghanistanimation heroines or whatever.

And lastly, and here's where it gets interesting for me, it surprises me how many are in other languages. It's probably very egocentric of me, or at least shows a great deal of ignorance, but it seems that the blogger network is geared primarily towards english speakers. Maybe I'm wrong, and egocentric and ignorant. It also makes me wonder what keyboards look like in places like China or Japan.

I should also add that foreign language blogs are not their own group, for if I were to guess, they all fit into one of my groups. And for everyone, as long as people are having fun, I can't really complain.

And it still leaves me with the question of what mine will become.

Walk the Line

So I'm having a little trouble trying to decide what to write about in my blogs. Everyone seems to be either providing updates to their self-loathing lives or standing on a soap box declaring themselves to be the only people who know how to think. I don't want to be either of those.

I guess by stating that I could probably fit into both those categories. hmmm...

There's also those where the author seems to be trying to influence the world, or at least become famous, with his creative writing. I have to admit I'm a little nervous I may start to fall into this category, but we'll have to see.

I guess in the end, I'm just trying to walk the line. Just a man, trying to walk the line.

Note: I am incredibly excited about using the link feature. I didn't use it here because I'm not too sure how it works and I wouldn't want to piss anybody off. Not yet, anyway.

Monday, April 11, 2005

My First Post

This is it, my first post. Isn't it beautiful?