Destiny’s Bastard Son

Founding members of the metal band Destiny’s Bastard Son(DBS) have agreed in a principle to a one-time reunion/farewell concert in July 2014. was able to secure an exclusive interviews with both Donnie Burgess and Ryan Goldhammer about the upcoming concert, a small portion of which you can see here: “So, Ryan, what brings about the sudden talk of a reunion/farewell concert?”

Ryan: You’ll never get me lucky charms!!! [Ryan runs to the next room and hides behind the sofa] “Donnie, there is speculation that this concert may be more about the money than the music. What do you say to that?”
“Well no shit. We haven’t put out a record, hell even a single song since, well, ever really. We just looked at this as a quick way to score a huge sack of cash.” “Regarding the lack of any studio albums… Some critics have argued that DBS doesn’t qualify as a “band” since they have never released any music. Would one of you card to respond?”
“I’ll respond to that.” [he pauses for 20-30 seconds] “They’re magically delicious!” [he again retreats to the other room and hides behind the sofa]
Donnie:“If I may… DBS has never been about the music, we have always been about a clever name creating false recognition -really just straight ripping off another group. When we came up with the name back in ’98 or ’99 we knew that we would never have to write a song to sell out stadiums, and to date we haven’t.””Haven’t written a song or haven’t sold out a stadium?”
Donnie:“We’re here to talk about the future, not the past.””Donnie, much has been made of your highly publicized battle with mediocrity. The critics say that there’s no way a second-rate guitarist can propel this band to stardom. How do you respond to that?”
Donnie:“Perhaps one second-rate guitarist can’t, but we have two [Burgess motions to the sofa in the other room; Ryan quickly ducks behind it]! And if two isn’t enough we will add another one… and another… We will just keep adding second-rate musicians until the group is so big people have to take notice, it worked for Earth, Wind & Fire.””Your answers are so crass, it seems you’re not too concerned with offending or alienating people…”
Donnie:“Look, we’re not here to talk about music, we’re here to talk about reuniting long enough to grab that huge sack of cash and run. If you ask questions on that subject I could certainly give you a more polished answer.””Fair enough. What do you plan to do with the huge sack of cash?”
Ryan:“I’m going to use my share to buy a small island of the coast of Tanzania… I’ll build a huge castle with a mote, pitfalls, secret passages, booby traps… Then me lucky charms will finally be safe!”
Donnie:Lottery tickets. Quickest investment on the planet. I’m going to put all my money into the powerball.

Stay tuned to for this interview in its entirety and updates on the proposed July 2014 DBS reunion/farewell concert.

Fox News misleading people? Surely you jest

After probably three years without posting any news, this one is just too precious to skip.  Evidently Fox News is again accused of airing misleading video.  I know what you’re thinking, not Fox News, surely they mean one of the more dubious, liberal media outlets.  Fox News is certainly above suspicion on this sort of thing, right?  I guess not.

For the second time in just over a week, Fox News is coming under fire for misusing old news footage. The latest flap is leading some people to charge that the cable news network is intentionally misleading its audience, while Fox claims a “production error.”

Wednesday’s incident occurred when Fox News host Gregg Jarrett mentioned that a Sarah Palin appearance and book signing in Grand Rapids, Michigan had a massive turnout. As footage rolled of a smiling and waving Palin amidst a throng of fans, Jarrett noted that the former Republican vice-presidential candidate is “continuing to draw huge crowds while she’s promoting her brand-new book,”…

All sarcasm aside, is there anyone who is even remotely surprised by this?  Fox News has been a mouthpiece for the Republican party since its inception.  Their stock and trade is to mislead their viewers/listeners into believing what they deem necessary for them to believe in order to demonize Democrats (although there is no such thing as a Democrat to Fox News; All democrats are Liberal Democrats when spoken of) and push their viewers/listeners to believe that whatever it is they are talking about is so right that every person in the country -aside from a couple of Liberal nutjubs- is behind it.  If there is no evidence to back them up, they make up the evidence.  Probably the only thing I find surprising about it in this case is that the subject is of the “who gives a fuck anyway” variety.

The last time they were caught doing it, just last week, in fact, at least they were trying to sell bigger support for a Republican rally:

The current mishap comes on the heels of a controversy sparked last week when footage from a conservative rally held over the summer was played on “Hannity” during a segment on a more recent rally.

It is kind of a blessing really; People tend to get more conservative with age, and Fox News has a viewer base with a median age of 65 (all the websites that I could find with a median age for Fox News in 2009 had the same number.  Unfortunately all I could find from the Fox News website was a “30%” increase in viewership).  While they are keeping the fleece over the baby-boomers, they are further isolating themselves from the moderates with these antics.  I, for one, know that regardless of how conservative I happen to get as I age, I will never assume anything on Fox News is factual.  Of course as the nation ages, values will change, and the Republican agenda will probably start to more closely mirror my ideals by the time I am in my sixties.  That doesn’t mean I want to be lied to.

This particular piece of deception is of such little importance it would hardly warrant a mention were it not for the fact that it really exposes Fox News’ capacity to outright lie to make a point.  Perhaps they should change their taglines from things like Fair and balanced and We report, you decide to something more accurate, Op-Eds for Old People or Inventing a more Conservative reality, would certainly be more accurate.

Inverse credit card scam?

I’m not really sure if this is a commentary on myself or the state of the world today. I received a letter in the mail recently that read:

Dear Consumer:

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the nation’s consumer protection agency, filed a lawsuit against Kenneth and Teresa Taves, and Dennis Rappaport and their businesses J.K. Publications, Inc., MJD Service Corp., Herbal Care, Inc., and Discreet Bill, Inc. The complaint charged that the defendants were billing consumers without authorization for alleged visits to web sites. Consumers saw charges on their credit card bills under the names “Netfill,” “N-Bill,” MJD Service Corp,” and “Webtel.” The defendants bought access to lists from a bank that provided the account numbers for more than 3 million valid Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Rather than use the lists to confirm that potential customers had valid credit cards, the defendants debited the cards for web site services the cardholder had never used.

The unauthorized charges were incurred by you many years ago, and you may no longer have the credit card that was charged. The enclosed check is you share of the funds collected.

(Who knew you could buy 3 million valid credit card numbers?)

I actually do remember having a charge appear on my credit card back before I moved out of my studio apartment (2 actually), somewhere around 1998 or 1999. I don’t remember the name of the company that made the charges, but they totaled $98. I remember that clearly because I spent hours on the phone arguing with someone about the charges before I eventually hung up, cut up that credit card, and canceled that account -the credit card company refused to reverse the charge, and I was not able to contact the company that had actually made the charge. In an odd twist of fate, I never paid the credit card bill and let it go into collection (That credit card company (MBNA) was later part of a different class action lawsuit, where I also received a check) but it never actually made it onto my credit report.

Now that brings me to the part where I don’t know if it is a commentary about my paranoia, or that credit card fraud and mail scams are so commonplace. This letter came with a check attached. The amount, $27.68. The entire thing is printed up on an impressive letterhead, complete with a claim number and a return address of “FTC v. J.K Publications, Inc., et. al.” There is also a link listed on the letter: I followed the link through, and this does appear to be the legitimate FTC website for this case.

While it is possible that this is 100% legitimate (I would go so far as to say probable), how can I be sure? If I cash this check my bank account number will be stamped on the back of it, and whoever issued it will then have access to that number once the check is cleared to their bank. How can I be sure that J.K. Publications didn’t send out these checks in an effort to gather bank accounts? I mean really, why did it take 10 years to get these checks issued? The website says:

Most of the illegal billing dates back to 1998. Substantial time passed between the court’s judgment and the issuance of these checks because the defendants moved millions of dollars of their ill-gotten funds offshore, and it took significant time and effort to locate and repatriate the fraudulently obtained money.

If J.K Publications is based offshore (which isn’t made clear in the FTC information) it is entirely possible that they are still involved in fraudulent activity, and what better guise to hide behind than a court ruling; Mail out a few thousand dollars in checks to get account information, then move a couple million from those accounts to your offshore shelter…

This has every air of legitimacy, and I’m sure it probably is my cut of the class-action suit. But the skeptic in me says that it’s not worth the $27 to find out. The fact that I am going to wad this check up rather than take the chance either says that I need a tin-foil hat, or something needs to be done about the rampant mail scams and credit card fraud. Possibly both.

Doggie goes bite

I watched a show on television yesterday about a dog attack in San Francisco 5 years ago that resulted in someone’s death. This particular incident was different than most attacks that end with death for two main reasons, the first being that the woman who was killed was a healthy, 30 year old woman (dog attacks that result in death are generally limited to attacks on children or the elderly), the second being that the dog(s) that did the attacking were not pit bulls. At least the breed was called something other than pit bull, although they look just like them, only considerably larger.

Whenever someone’s dog attacks someone, the owners are held to some level of responsibility for it. Their legal accountability for their pet’s action is (very generally speaking) criminal negligence and some form failure to control a vicious animal -whether the dog got out of a yard, off a leash, etc. It got to the person it killed somehow. Occasionally there will also be charges of involuntary manslaughter. In the case that I saw yesterday, though, the prosecution was seeking murder charges.

There have only been three cases in U.S. history where a dog’s owner has been convicted of murder in an attack. The burden of proof required to convict someone of murder in such cases requires that the owners know that their dog is capable of killing a human, and that they willfully allowed that dog to come in contact with someone while in an agitated state (it has been some time since I actually read about the cases and I don’t want to research them again, so that may not be the exact legal definition, but it is close enough for my purposes today). In order to be convicted of murder, your dog has to be specifically trained to attack humans and you have to basically command it to attack.

Being a dog owner myself, I was rather surprised by my reaction to this. It turns out that I think that the owners in this case should be convicted of murder (or the one who was in control of the dog when it actually happened). When you buy/adopt a dog -particualarly a large breed dog- you become responsible for the actions of that animal, and it should not be limited to negligence if it does kill. It doesn’t matter if your dog has never shown aggressive tendencies, it will snap at some point. It is your responsibility to excercise physical control over the dog when it does. That point is very important. No amount of training and voice command is ever going to be able to stop an animal when its base instincts take over, you have to be able to physically subdue it. Failure to do so could and should result in being held criminally responsible for its actions, up to and including murder.

The dogs that I currently have are not aggressive. One is a Labrador mix, the other some form of terrier mix, neither one has ever even snapped at a human. I know, though, that if I take them out into the public it is entirely possible that something will happen to them and they will attack. Being that they are dogs, if they do attack they will not stop short of killing unless I physically stop them (the larger of my dogs weighs about 60 lbs. I have had to physically subdue him when he has gotten into a fight with another dog and let me tell you that even though I outweigh him 3:1, it takes all my body strength to do so. Keep that in mind when buying a dog that weighs 100 lbs.). This may not be the first thing I think about when I leash them up for a walk, may not even be in the back of mind as we are out in the park, but it is something that, if that time should come, I know I will have to do. If I fail to physically subdue my dog if it attacks, I am responsible for the attack. Putting him on a leash and taking him into public is my implied acceptance of that.

There really should be laws in place that make taking ownership of a dog an expressed acceptance of the fact that your are assuming ownership of a potential killer. That way simply claiming ignorance will not be possible when sparky eats the neighbor’s newborn.

DMCA: The greased pig of a new generation

I stood in my living room looking at the cd tower that had been untouched for about half a decade hoping to find my …And Justice for All album (is a cd an album?). The carefully conceived alphabetization has long since vanished; 20 cd’s per shelf means that every time you buy a new cd you have to move them all over starting at the bottom -something that I think everyone eventually gives up on. I found what I was looking for on the third shelf down, it was crammed between an old Motley Crue release and Eric Johnson’s Venus Isle (which is instrumentally wonderful, and a good cd to throw in when you just need to mellow out.). I opened up the case and, to not much shock, found that the cd inside was not Justice, it was Limp Bizkit (why do I have that cd at all?). Thus the game begins.

An hour later, I was sitting in the middle of a pile of empty cd cases and oddball cd’s. Limp Bizkit’s case was holding Zamfir (I used this for music at my wedding. It played softly for about an hour while everyone was being greeted and seated). Zamfir’s case was holding Madonna’a Immaculate Collection (that one is the wife’s). Madonna’s case held Slayer’s Reign in Blood (which was cool, since I had also been looking for that one for a while). Slayer’s case was holding a Phil Collins greatest hits. The Phil Collins case was holding The Hunger’s Devil Thumbs A Ride (the only song worth listening to on that one is Vanishing Cream). The Hunger’s case was holding Pantera… And on. And on. And on.

The stereo in my living room is a throwback to the late 80’s. A Pioneer receiver that boasts some ungodly wattage spread over the sophisticated left/right speaker system. It is capable of producing some really, really loud music, which I used to think sounded great -the louder the better- but a visit to an electronics store recently taught me that a cheap surround system with a subwoofer sounds 100 times better than two speakers -no matter how many Jigawatts of power they can handle. Truth be told, I haven’t actually listened to the cumbersome stereo in the living room for years, with the exception of playing a cd while playing the guitar, and even that would be better achieved with a small boom box. In fact, I get more use out of the cd player mounted under the cabinet in my kitchen (though I usually just tune it to the satellite radio and tune it to Octane). Aside from listening to the radio, none of the stereos in the house have much use anymore (I recently found that the stereo I bought for the shelf in this room won’t play cd’s at all).

Being an avid Gamer, I try to keep both my computer and the wife’s pretty current. There are actually three pc’s in the room I am sitting in, two of them with 19 inch LCD monitors, the other with a 17 inch. Graphics cards go from the 512mb Radeon card in this machine, to the 256mb GeForce card in her machine (which is actually superior to the 512 Radeon for many reasons, and it cost a hell of a lot more), even the third pc has 128mb of GeForce goodness. There is no point in having such awesome graphics if you don’t have the sound to back them up, so they all have some spiffy sound cards in them (the third pc has the best card, but I don’t want to go through the headache of swapping cards, downloading drivers and fucking with settings for hours on end). And for the ultimate gaming experience, our pc’s have (some middle-of-the-road) subwoofer speaker systems.

You see, an mp3 played through either of our pc’s sounds far better than an actual cd played through our actual stereo. And the difference is huge. While the stereo is run through a nice ADC equalizer, no amount of tweaking can equal the sound that comes out of the subwoofer system on either of the pc’s. So when I buy a new cd (most recently Nickelback’s All the Right Reasons), I listen to it first at the pc -usually while playing poker, surfing, or playing a game. So it seems odd that until yesterday the 160gb drive on my computer didn’t have a single mp3 on it.

Years ago, I used to have a lot of mp3’s on my system. Back when Napster was in its prime, I filled up two hard drives on an old, clunky 366mhz pc, over a 56k connection, with every song that I could remember having heard. That happened in a time when it would take me like a half an hour to download a song, then I would have to get really lucky to actually get it burnt to cd -at least for that cd to actually play in a stereo. When that pc eventually crashed, all the music that was on it was gone. Between that and the litigation that Napster was involved in, I kind of got soured to the mp3 format altogether. Well, my recent frustration while looking for my Metallica (I bet they love that) cd has finally thrust me back into the mp3 world.

Boy how technology has advanced in the last six years or so. It used to take me about a half an hour to rip a cd (on that antiquated -even at the time- pc), now it takes about two minutes, sometimes a bit longer if the cd is scratched up. Ditto for burning cd’s, about half an hour, often longer, on the old system, maybe five minutes on a new one. With this newfound knowledge, I began ripping every cd I could get my hands on. Within a couple of hours, I had thirty hours of music on the machine, and the majority of that time was trying to find the discs in the first place. The problem is that I never found some of them. I have the cases in hand, and know that the discs are around here…Somewhere…but they may as well be in Jimmy Hoffa’s jacket pocket for all the luck I am having finding them.

Well, Wal-Mart has song downloads for 88 cents apiece. Maybe I could just download the songs that I liked. After all, there aren’t many albums that have more than two or three that you like, right? (Old Metallica, Megadeth and Pantera are obviously excluded from that) But my first search showed that Wal-Mart didn’t have some of the songs that I was looking for. But google did. Well, google didn’t actually have the mp3’s, but it pointed me to many, many outlets that did. And the prices, well, that is why I am typing right now.

I found a website called that has song downloads at unbelievably low prices. The songs range from ten to twenty cents each. They even have cheaper versions of the songs if you get them in lower bit-rates. The thing about it is that the price for each song seems to be based on the size of the file, not the artist or any other criteria that a record company might base it on. That, combined with the way you buy music has me a wee bit concerned about it all.

The purchases are (theoretically) on a per song basis, but there is a minimum purchase; you have to buy in for at least ten bucks. I can understand the logic of that, since if you could just go and buy a song for a dime, the record keeping would be a logistical nightmare. When you are forced to buy in for a larger amount, it will keep small, individual purchases to a minimum, which will also keep credit card fees on their end low. But if you step back and look at it, it looks a smidge different; pay them ten bucks and you can download “X” mbs of music. Looking at it from that perspective, it would seem that you are not paying for the music so much as you are paying for the bandwidth to download it, which I am pretty sure would be illegal for them to do. Realistically, I don’t see how they can offer both the music and the bandwidth for a dime (although most songs are closer to twenty cents).

Being a fairly conscious consumer, I went and read their terms of service and license agreement(otherwise known as the TOS and EULA, both of which I ordinarily ignore completely). The company is based in Russia, and claims that it pays international license fees for the music that it provides… But it goes on to say that every country has different copyright laws, and that they do not know the laws for every country. Thus it is your responsibility to find out if the music from their site is downloaded in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction you are in. That sounds just a wee bit shady, eh? That sure would seem to release them of any liability from a purely legal standpoint, and place the blame squarely on you.

I am going to continue to use the service (until I spend my initial balance at the very least), because the prices are great and I think I have found a close parallel to it: cigarettes. It’s no secret that the majority of the price of cigarettes is directly due to state and federal taxes. However, it is possible for a consumer to purchase cigarettes in foreign countries and bring them into the US without paying a penalty. That is, R.J. Reynolds sells the cigarettes to Cambodia (for instance), a nation that doesn’t require such taxes. Cambodia can then sell the cigarettes to anyone for any price they want. A US citizen can buy the cigarettes and bring them back into the states (although I think there is a limit to the amount you can bring in) for personal use. Of course the resale of the cigarettes would be highly illegal, but for personal use it is fine. There is a bit of a grey area regarding buying them over the internet or the phone, but since you can buy them legally, and they can sell them to you legally, there is little that can be done about it.

Since says that they pay the international copyright fees for the music, I have to take that at face value. As an individual, I’ve no way of getting into either their records, or the music industry records to verify it, so I simply must assume that it is true. At the same time, I do have access to google, and a quick search there shows that it is also apretty grey area. All of the articles that I have read regarding the service show that the consensus seems to be that it is legal for private use (with the RIAA, of course, disagreeing). So until it shakes out in court, I am not going to get too gung-ho about it.

I don’t want to break the law, but I also don’t want to being paying for Lars’ solid gold bathtub. If a service like this one is actually legal (even if only for Russians to use), that means that the music that we pay 15 bucks a cd for is being sold elsewhere for two bucks. To me, that makes it seem far more likely that the recording industry is breaking laws by selling the music to US citizens at seven times fair market value. As much as I hate to admit it though, I could be dead wrong on this. It is necessarily going to take some landmark lawsuit being settled in the US Supreme Court to decide whether the record company is using their monopoly to extort the US people or the users are stealing content from the record companies. And the sooner the better for all of us.

Big oil laughs at customers

I saw the news on the internet yesterday, then on the front page of the Arizona Republic paper today, it turns out that the big oil companies really are making a mint off of the oil shortage. That is all well and good, that it to be expected, they are in business to turn a profit, but $10,000,000,000 in profit, for a single oil company, in a single quarter, seems a bit excessive. (that number was later revised to just over $9,000,000,000)

I am no financial analyst, but it seems to me that the oil companies may have been getting a bit too rich off of the oil shortage. Their profit margins seem to indicate that it really wasn’t costing them any more, why did it cost all of the customers more? Stupid supply and demand.

My main beef with this situation is that many commuters can no longer afford to buy other things. We are coming up on the holiday season and your average, middle class family is going to have to spend most of their disposable income on gas and increased heating costs, as opposed to throwing it away on petty crap in the malls. I am betting that this Christmas shopping season is going to hit with a resounding thud. But, the oil companies will have record profits for the quarter, yet again!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some sort of system whereby the oil companies were forced to follow strict guidelines when gouging their customers? Of course that would have to be a federal act and even I laugh at the thought of the current administration approving any form of regulation for big oil. That would be a serious conflict of interests.

I hope that at the very least, this “oil crisis” will force some staunch republican voters to think that maybe we need to look into funding for alternative energy sources. While there is no way that can truly matter for at least a couple of years, it would at least be something. If, once the current administration is out, the legislation were to pass immediately, wouldn’t that be a nice legacy for Mr. Bush. The President who refused to pass legislation that could possibly take away from his massive oil empire. That has to be right up there with “The Great Emancipator” as far as single phrase summations go.

Finally a lawsuit for The DaVinci Code

When I saw the headline that read Date set for Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial. I just had to click through to read it. I figured it could only be one of two things. The first that Dan Brown had somehow filed suit against himself for plagiarising his first novel Angels and Demons, which didn’t seem likely, the second being that Dan Brown and his publishers had finally gotten around to suing the people who made the movie National Treasure. It turns out it was neither. It is actually Dan Brown and his publisher being sued (it is short so I will quote it all):

LONDON (Reuters) – Two historians are suing the publishers of Dan Brown’s best-selling religious thriller “The Da Vinci Code” in a case which lawyers said Thursday was due to start early next year. Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent are suing Random House for lifting “the whole architecture” of the research that went into their 1982 non-fiction book “The Holy Blood, and the Holy Grail.”

Lawyers on both sides of the case met Thursday to thrash out technical details, and said a trial date had been set for February 27.

They would not comment on how the trial might affect sales of the hugely successful novel or the distribution of a major Hollywood adaptation which Sony Pictures plans to release in May next year.

Random House said a “substantial” part of the claim by Baigent and Leigh had been dropped as a result of Thursday’s discussions, and added in a statement:
“Random House is delighted with this result, which reinforces its long-held contention that this is a claim without merit.”

A spokeswoman for Leigh said he still intended to pursue his claim against the publishers of Brown’s book, which has 36 million copies in print worldwide and has upset Catholics for suggesting Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child by her.

The same theory is put forward in The Holy Blood, and the Holy Grail.
Commentators have pointed out that a major character in Dan Brown’s book, Sir Leigh Teabing, has a name that is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent. A third author of the 1982 book, Henry Lincoln, has decided to stay out of the action.

Ironically, a special hardback, illustrated version of their book, called Holy Blood, Holy Grail has just been reissued by none other than Random House.

In August, Brown won a court ruling against another writer, Lewis Perdue, who claimed The Da Vinci Code copied elements of two of his novels, “Daughter of God” and “The Da Vinci Legacy.”

Perdue had sought $150 million in damages and asked the court to block distribution of the book and the movie adaptation, which features Tom Hanks alongside French actress Audrey Tautou.

That is hardly how I thought this was all going to come down. Of course the fact that I found it in the Odd News section might be an indicator of just how seriously the allegations are being taken. The allegations are pretty ridiculous when it comes right down to it. I don’t know if Brown ever looked at the particular book that they are suing him for plagiarising, but I am damn sure that Brown did a lot of homework on the book to make sure he had everything else (location, pictures, etc.) covered. I bet he referenced tons of non-fiction while he was researching aspects of the plot of the novel. That is what you do if you want people to take this type of a novel seriously.

Trying to sue someone for researching a subject before writing about it is a bit suspect anyway. That would necessarily mean that every college thesis is basically plagiarism. You have to reference dictionaries and reference books to build a base for the project, not to mention newspapers and magazines, yep, you plagiarised them all. Nevermind the fact that you are only looking for actual facts. Hell, I have been plagiarizing math my entire life: at some point I read that 1+1=2, I have written that very statement many times over the years.

What I really loved about the article, though, was this quote: Commentators have pointed out that a major character in Dan Brown’s book, Sir Leigh Teabing, has a name that is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent. First off, the characters name is Sir Leigh Teabing, which is in no way an anagram of Leigh and Baigent. If you were to leave the “Sir” off of his name you could spell Leigh, you could spell Baigent, but where the hell would you get the and? Second, if you were really plagiarising someone’s work, would you make an anagram of their name that only required moving a letter or two? Personally I would at least mix the letters together rather than using the exact name for the first name then barely mixing up the last. I would never use a name like Mark Waint if I happened to be ripping off Samuel Langhorne Clemens Mark Twain. Tim Warnak is the first name that I can quickly anagram from Mark Twain, and, as an added bonus, it doesn’t seem to make it glaringly obvious that it is an anagram.

The lawsuit seems to be claiming that when those two guys wrote a book in 1982, they were the only ones in the entire world that had ever thought that maybe Jesus had actually married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child or children, which is completely untrue. There are even some religious scholars that admit it is a possibility, since the biblical texts are far from a complete and accurate historical document. However, religious scholars are not Priests (or the pope for that matter), therefore the church refuses to accept any possibility the Jesus ever fornicated with a woman (or man. Had to throw that in just to piss off religious zealots). I can see their logic. The bible doesn’t say that Jesus ever married anyone, sex out of wedlock is a sin, Jesus never sinned, therefore he died a virgin.

Thing is that the bible leaves out a lot of important details. Like why God hid a bunch of huge dinosaur bones under the ground, forced them to fossilize, then let modern man find them. Were you to take the bible literally, you would simply have to believe that Noah loaded two of every dinosaur onto his boat, along with two of every other species on the planet (many of which eat wood, which must have sucked. Imagine trying to save all of the species only to find that on your fifth day, out of forty, the insects have eaten the majority of your boat. Sucks to be Noah). That must have been a damn big boat, and a monumental undertaking. I would probably be more inclined to believe the story had the bible started out, “In the beginning, God created a Huge ass boat, knowing he would need it later. Then he created the Heavens and the Earth, which was easy stuff after that boat. God realized that the boat would not actually fit on the face of the earth so, rather than scrapping the boat (he spent some time on that thing, it was all pimped out), he killed all of his pet dinosaurs and hid them way under the ground. God then used his power to shrink the boat to such a point as it would fit on the earth (sail the earth? not so much, it was still big enough that, stern to bow, it was roughly the diameter of the earth). God then killed off many other large species of animals, in the hopes that he would be able to get his boat small enough to actually be able to move around the earth using its waterways. Once God had destroyed hundreds of thousands of species, he got angry and said God Damn It. God ordered Noah to load onto the boat whatever would fit, which was roughly 300 species. Now God had to atone for the sin of using his own name in vain. It took him millennia to figure it out, but he eventually decided on the “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” scam: Pretend to have a son, make the people crucify him (as his son), boom, instant atonement for his sin.”

Makes more sense than the bible.

This has gone a bit off topic though (can you say understatement?). I am gonna call it a post.

What year is it again?

I saw this fascinating article today. Yeah! Intelligent Design. It boggles my mind to think that this type of thing is actually being litigated in the year 2005. People are certainly free to their own opinions, but must they try to force them onto completely rational, yet impressionable, kids? I guess we will only know once they rule on the case. For now I will just simply have to laugh at the absurdity of one “scholar’s” quotes:

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A biochemistry professor who is a leading advocate of “intelligent design” testified Monday that evolution alone can’t explain complex biological processes and he believes God is behind them.

Behe, whose work includes a 1996 best-seller called “Darwin’s Black Box,” said students should be taught evolution because it’s widely used in science and that “any well-educated student should understand it.”

Behe, however, argues that evolution cannot fully explain the biological complexities of life, suggesting the work of an intelligent force.

Behe contributed to “Of Pandas and People,” writing a section about blood-clotting. He told a federal judge Monday that in the book, he made a scientific argument that blood-clotting “is poorly explained by Darwinian processes but well explained by design.”

This is just to rich to pass up. Major props to the guy for trying to at least make it sound like he is not some anti-evolution nutjob. But doesn’t his statement about evolution come across as more of a back-handed insult to science? As if he thinks that evolution is complete crap, but we might as well let the kids learn it since all of those kooky scientists seem to base a lot of stuff on it.

My biggest beef with the whole article is in the last paragraph that I quoted, the part where it says, He told a federal judge Monday that in the book, he made a scientific argument that blood-clotting “is poorly explained by Darwinian processes but well explained by design.” Now see, in order for him to make that scientific argument, wouldn’t it be necessary to present actual facts that support Intelligent Design? Just saying that evolution doesn’t explain it therefore it was God is hardly a scientific argument. A delusional argument yes, certainly not scientific.

Also, wasn’t the whole point of Intelligent Design supposed to take God’s name out of it? Wasn’t it supposed to appease the people who were bitching about their children being taught religion in schools? If it was then he totally lost the ball when he testified that anything that Darwin couldn’t explain was therefore an act of God -to paraphrase-.

Since he brought up God, the gloves are off.

I am going to dismiss the bible outright here, for the sake of religion. The bible is a bunch of folklore that had been handed down in verbal tradition for millennia before anyone got around to putting pen to paper. Once someone did put pen to paper the next transcriber didn’t like it, thus he changed a bunch of stuff, and so on, for all of history. I do find it pretty odd that they left things in there like the story of Noah though. In order to believe that story you must believe that 1) the entire earth was flooded. 2) Someone built a boat large enough to carry two of every living animal species (they didn’t make mention of the species that reproduce asexually). Yeah, picking the bible apart is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel a slut on prom night. So I won’t do that.

What I really want to know is where this Intelligent Designer happens to live. The entity can’t reside on the earth or any other celestial body, since he created all of that. Where’s his pad? Does he have a split-level joint (nice place, has a pool and everything) in in some suburban area in the recesses of a black hole where all of the other Intelligent Designers live?

Who created the Intelligent Designer? It is stone solid fact that life can’t appear spontaneously, intelligence is not something that can be divined from natural means, else evolution would make absolute sense. Then the question would be who created the entity that created the Intelligent Designer, and this would obviously go on to infinity, I don’t have the time to type that all out. I think you will see my point.

Intelligent Designer must not have a lot of friends (perhaps he won’t let them watch the game on his Big Screen, hogs all the beer, who knows), ’cause he seems to have entirely too much free time. What a workload the guy has. In the beginning all he had to do was to set down some genetic codes and DNA for a couple of million species (that is only known species. And only on the earth. Mind you, his design covers the everything in the cosmos). Now he must have to toil away endlessly creating new DNA for every new being, making sure that no two fingerprints are ever the same, making sure that the blood clots, etc.

That was fun.

The argument for Intelligent Design only attacks evolution. They find a hole in the evolution of a species and say “where’s your proof?” They are attacking lines of beings that, when viewed side by side, look like they are slowly changing form. Yet, were you to ask someone who supports Intelligent Design what their proof is they would simply say that evolution can not explain everything. Quite an argument.

What is going to be really sad is that, in the future, we will have found enough fossilized remains to definitively link every bipedal mammal to one another, and there will still be some religious idiots claiming that they (all the bipedal mammals) were on the boat with Noah. Delusion Intelligent Design will probably never go away, but, in a strange irony, I have no doubt that it will evolve. Just as Christians used to believe that God lived in the clouds, then swiftly changed gears once we visited the clouds.

The things people say

I have long believed that the only ones who actually listen to shows like Rush Limbaugh are far removed from me. I don’t mean in a partisan sense or simply based on ideology, I mean that I thought that those kinds of people lived in other regions of the U.S., regions far from here. Rush Limbaugh is only the first name that came to mind when I was trying to think of the very conservative radio shows, I am sure there are dozens of other names that I could have thrown out there had I been thinking about it. Not that it really matters for my purposes right now.

Hurricane Katrina was a horrible disaster that destroyed a major city. The same kind of devastation happens overseas fairly frequently but here in the good old us of a it’s pretty rare. Turns out that when it does happen we are woefully unprepared. For days before the hurricane actually touched shore it was common knowledge that it was going to be bad. I live in Arizona FFS and I knew it was going to be bad. When it hit, and when they got one of the worst case scenarios, everything went to hell.

Most of the people had already abandoned the city. The elderly, the poor, and the 24 hour convenience store clerks (which kind of fits into the last group) were probably about the only ones who didn’t flee. Why didn’t they flee? They couldn’t. People started offering up shelter for the victims by the thousands after the hurricane, before it though they would have just had to hike out of town and find a vacant lot to sleep in, hoping they could survive the storm in a vacant lot rather than their low-income housing unit. If I had been in that situation I would have hoped that the flood waters didn’t make it to my house, the other option seems a bit worse. I really doubt that the majority of the people who didn’t flee stayed back because they were stupid or stubborn. Poor probably but not stupid or stubborn.

The negligence of every agency charged with responding to disasters borders on criminal. From the City level all the way to the Federal level. There is simply no reason why it should have taken several days to get buses in there to start moving people out, why Wal-Mart (how I despise them) was the first on the scene with fresh water, water for christ’s sake, didn’t anyone other than Wal-Mart think that a city many feet deep in sewage and human remains might need fresh water? The response to this catastrophe was horrible at every level, I think that is a fair statement.

Today I overheard a conversation where I work, it was not pleasant. The man, whom I will call Cluelss, was talking to well, hell, I don’t know who he was talking to (the other person was behind me). Clueless started spouting some facts about the hurricane relief. “Bush had the National Guard on the borders of Louisiana on Sunday night. When they tried to get into New Orleans on Monday the residents were already shooting at them.” Only he didn’t say residents, he dropped the N-bomb, thus sealing his fate as being called clueless for my purposes. His racism aside though, does he really believe that? If the National Guard actually got to New Orleans on Monday, and if people started shooting at them, don’t you think it would have been pretty big news? The National Guard probably just wouldn’t have turned tail and run, it would have been a bloodbath. The only thing I ever heard about guns being fired in the beginnig was regarding people shooting into the air as helicopters hovered overhead, not shooting at them, but claiming the next shot was for the pilot if he didn’t land and carry them to safety. I suppose it will be quite some time before we know which of those versions is closer to the truth, but I am pretty sure that his version was spoon fed to him by someone on the far right of the political spectrum.

Clueless went on to say that our esteemed leader was actually in New Orleans on Tuesday (meaning the day after the hurricane hit) offering federal aid to the city. I just went and googled it up and it turns out that Bush didn’t actually visit New Orleans until the 12th (yesterday), a full two weeks after the hurricane hit, though in defense of Dubya it only took about a week for him to deliver on the Federal aid that he promised while he was in New Orleans still on vacation, national disasters be damned!

Clueless really believes that Bush did absolutely nothing wrong in this whole ordeal, not a damn thing. Stupid democrats are just trying to tarnish his reputation (as if we have to actually try to do that). Every bit of fault for the slow response is at city or state level. When the federal government tried to help New Orleans and Louisiana would not let them. I find that just as laughable as religion, but he sure seems to believe it. I guess a lot of other people are with him on that logic though, at least 50.1% at the very least. Somehow I doubt that that number is going to stand up after the federal handling of this disaster.

I was brought up thinking that this was supposed to be the United States of America. If the government isn’t supposed to respond to a disaster in a particular state then we would just be the States of America. That would mean that the federal government is a really evil, money stealing roughneck (sounds about right anyway). The funny thing is that people from every state in the union are stepping up and sending money and supplies to the ravaged area, some are even offering spare rooms in their own homes to the victims. That is what being United is all about. Common good. Not just common good for campaign contributors.

That’s our Bush!

Bush finally responds to the disaster in Louisiana. I don’t know exactly where I copied these lines from, fair use laws be damned!

Bush returned to the White House on Wednesday, two days early from a monthlong Texas vacation, to oversee relief efforts. Bush dismissed criticism that he didn’t return sooner as political sniping

Yeah it was probably just democrats trying to make him look bad, not that he needs any help.

“I hope people don’t play politics at this time of a natural disaster the likes of which this country has never seen,” he said.

Respectfully, Mr. Bush, that would be Way more believable had you not just done it yourself. With you avoiding it altogether for the week that it was coming, not caring for the first several days, then only coming home when you saw that it really was pretty bad…That is playing politics, mostly because you said that no one should be playing politics once you decided to come back. Everyone in the country, except you, seemed to know that it was going to be pretty catastrophic, now you dare to talk about playing politics?!!

On the return flight to the White House, Bush viewed the damage as Air Force One descended to below 3,000 feet over the hardest-hit areas, including New Orleans.
“The devastation I saw was very emotional. It is so devastating it is hard to describe it,” Bush said, adding that he observed flooded neighborhoods in New Orleans and “entire communities obliterated in Mississippi.”

So it’s all good. The leader of the country viewed it, briefly, from 3,000 feet…Many days too late…It’s all good!

Perhaps he needed to get a slightly closer look of the situation, you know, see the carnage, smell the stench of death flowing (well stagnating, as there is nowhere for the water to go) through the water… Something tells me that a 3,000 foot “fly by” didn’t really put him in mind of the actual situation. Bodies floating in a stagnant pool; people killing each other for a place on a bus out of there… It is bad. Bush actually said, on record, “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.” The truth is that everyone on earth, except him, thought that the levees would break. It is not Bush’s fault that they did fail, but it is entirely his fault that it took three or four days to make a plan of action once they did.

If you truly worship a god, Mr. Bush, please ask him to give you advice and advanced warning about events that might cost thousands of people’s lives. At the very least, find a god that wants you to help those in need (you know, the ones that are actually dying as a result of a hurricane while you are on vacation).

The longer Dubya is in charge, the more people that die because of his negligence, the longer it will be before anyone who is even slightly liberal votes republican. Do you have a death toll in mind, Mr. President?