Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
- Mel Gibson apologizing for his anti-Semitic remarks is like Paris Hilton apologizing for being a slut. You are who you are, Mel, and while you committed career "Jewicide," you shouldn't compound the problem by pretending you aren't that person. Just shut up, go away, and maybe in ten years, you'll be thrown a bone by some up and coming actor who needs some controversy. You made your bed, sleep in it!
- 2006 will go down in history as one of those years when we hit a tipping point, like 1968. All that's happened to repudiated politics and culture of the past ten years tells me we're about due for some chaos around here.
- Baseball in April or October is just plain stupid. Baseball in the middle of summer is the perfect harmonious experience and very keeping with the spirit of the season: long, languid motions, time to relax and think for a moment, followed by enormous spurts of energy.
- Football in August is stupid. Football ANYTIME is a dumb and boring game, except when you're playing sandlot without pads, but in the summer it borders on insanity.
- Blogging has forced me to be a better writer. Scuba diving has forced me to be a better person. In scuba, you are wholly independent of, yet wholly dependent on, on your dive buddy. Cooperation is a given, or people end up dead. If there's a better metaphor for society, I've yet to find it.
- The silly season will soon be upon us. Long-time readers of "Simply Left Behind" know how I feel about the holidays: I'd rather have my eyelashes plucked one at a time by Mack the Knife than endure one Christmas meal with my family. This feeling creeps up earlier and earlier, usually, but I noticed last year that, with the warmer weather, and later winter, it didn't hit until nearly December. Thank you, global warming!
- They make funny movies about Christmas, Halloween, Groundhog's Day, even New Year's Day, but no one's evere made a funny movie about Labor Day. Why is that? Even Columbus Day got it's own (unintentionally) funny movie!
- It does my heart good to see Micro$oft actually having to compete with Apple on a level playing field again. Their new iPod rip off will flounder as badly as their Xbox did in the video game console market. Bill Gates is a smart poker player and he folded before the hand really started to heat up. His company ought to do the same.
- How many more weeks will it be until Jenny Craig realizes that Kirstie Alley hasn't lost a single pound since she initially lost 65? I figure Kirstie has until Labor Day to get her fat ass back into the gym and lose more weight, or Jenny Craigis going to find that blonde from the spring commercials. If someone like me, who pays absolutely no attention to commercials I'm not in or up for noticed, then how many people trying to lose weight have?
- I really need to simplfy my life.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Today IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) is being featured as ‘Charity of the Day’ on GoodSearch.com.
GoodSearch.com is a new search engine that donates half its revenue to charities like IAVA. You use it just as you would any search engine, and it’s powered by Yahoo!, so you get great results.
As many of you already know, IAVA is here:
Peter Werbe, sitting in for Sam, interviewed Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs last night. This organization was the main number given out by the Red Cross to feed Katrina survivors for many months after the storm, is feeding the poor and getting arrested in some cities, and is feeding the peace protesters in many arenas around the world.
Read more here and ask y'self, "Self? WWJD?"
Also, according to McHenry, they are feeding the people who are striking and protesting in Oaxaca, Mexico.
More about the Oaxaca teacher strike, which is escalating, and has ramifications dovetailing into the questionable presidential election here:
Let that settle in for a moment.
You. Have. A. Clone.
OK, not a genetic clone, per se. Your clone is reading this and having the exact same reaction you just had: "What the fuck....????"
It's because of your O-region. And his/hers.
Let me see if I can ratchet the science to a simple level. At it's most complex, hell, even I get lost in it.
You might be familiar with the concept of "the multiverse", meaning that our universe is one of an infinite number of universes that have all possible histories because of the infinity involved.
Easy enough. Here's where it gets complicated...
Right now, in this universe (not some other), you have at least one clone, and possibly millions. Billions. Because our universe is not infinite.
According to Alex Vilenkin, author of Many Worlds In One: The Search For Other Universes, it's because our universe is finite that it's probable that you are not alone in being you.
Think of this universe as a giant infinite pancake, sitting on a griddle (or a piece of swiss cheese, sitting in a mold). As the pancake heats up and cooks, small bubble form.
Each of thee bubbles is an O-region in our island universe, the pancake. This pancake is roughly 10^150 light years across (our visible universe is only 1.5x10^10 light years across, even if some stars are 10^40 years to get here, but I'll get to that in a moment). What this implies is that....well, an enormous number of O-regions can exist within this universe. But the point is, the number is finite.
Now, let's look at the make up of our universe. Each particle in it occupies a particular point in time-space. Meaning there's a finite number of particles in the universe. Vilenkin estimates this to be 10^90. The timeline of our universe also maintains finite permutations (timeline, in this case being defined as the "history" of each particle in space). Vilenkin estimates this number to be on the order of a googolplex (in this case, 10^10^150).
I promise, the math goes away soon.
So...finite, if enormous possibilities in our universe. Our universe is an O-region is a far larger "island universe" (pancake on a griddle). Implying that there are plenty of other bubbles (O-regions) in our infinite pancake (island universe).
Let's start doing some pondering. The island universe is infinite. The O-region is not, which means that while O-regions are finite themselves, the number of O-regions is not. If only an finite number of "histories" can exist within an infinite universe...it means that the histories repeat themselves, and some of them repeat themselves exactly, since by quantum mechanics, anything that can happen will, so long as it doesn't violate the conservation laws of physics.
Which means that anything can happen: our planet can suddenly swallow itself up in its own black hole.
Or another me is struggling to type this post without boring you or getting totally confused!
Misery loves company!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
If confirmed, Dudley would oversee and have the ability to curtail the important health, safety and environmental regulations she has spent much of her career opposing.
Hillary Clinton, in the past six years, has done far more work for New York state than I could have imagined. I figured she would have spent the first year wandering the halls of the Senate, shoring up support for her inevitable Presidential run.
But I was wrong. Instead, she spent the first half of her term learning the ropes, occasionally venturing into the public eye, and the second half becoming a forecful spokesperson for her positions.
I like this in her. Add to that her commitment to the state of New York, and I can't help but support her, full-voiced, for re-election to the Senate from New York State.
As for President?
Let's wait and see.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
World to end on August 22Well, now, isn't that special?
Better cancel those holidays. We now have a date for Armageddon, and it's a week on Tuesday - August 22.
This information comes from no lesser source than the Wall Street Journal, where Bernard Lewis, President Bush's favourite historian, provides the details.
"In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity," the professor writes, "there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time - Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long-awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined.
"Mr Ahmadinejad [the Iranian president] and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the US about nuclear development by August 22. This was at first reported as 'by the end of August', but Mr Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise."
Lewis continues: "What is the significance of August 22? This year, August 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to 'the farthest mosque', usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (cf, Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and, if necessary, of the world."
There's an eschatology (in case you were wondering where Atrios gets the name of his blog) inherent in all religions, but right wing Christianity seems to be filled with crackpot loons who believe that Armageddon and the End Times are just around the corner, based on the writings of a loony drunk Christian "prophet" whose work is included in the Bible, even tho he wrote Revelations some three hundred years after Christ was killed and his, um, hypothesis flies directly counter to any of Jesus' teachings (who, presumably, being omniscient, might have spent a bit of time talking about the end of the days, but apparently chose not to).
When I read stories like this, I'm always reminded of William Miller, a direct moral and philosophical ancector to the Jehovah's Witnesses, who in 1843, posited not less than three times the end of days.
In one year. Sheesh. And people were stupid enough to believe him the third time!
If the world really does end today, I'll die doing what I love doing, scuba diving (unless, you know, it happens while I'm at the bar, but hey, that's OK too!)
Anyway, in the spirit of this blog, some Simpsons:
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Anyway, I found this item, and thought it was a good jumping off point to get into a discussion of something that's bothered me for a long time:
Is the NFL preseason too long?BINGO!
"Four games is ridiculous, man," Portis said. "How much wear and tear can you get? Maybe they need to let us start smoking cigarettes or something in the locker room again, like they did back in the day. And play with no mouthpiece, play with the pads and the helmets that they did back then, then maybe you'll need to go through all this training."
NFL teams have played four preseason games -- not counting special events like the overseas American Bowls and the Hall of Fame game -- since 1978, when two exhibitions were dropped and the regular season expanded from 14 to 16. The long preseason was a necessary routine for decades, because players would spend their offseasons working other jobs to supplement their football incomes.
"There was no limit on when you came to training camp in those days," said Buffalo general manager Marv Levy, who was an assistant to Redskins coach George Allen in the 1970s. "When you worked for George Allen, you came June 1. George wanted to win every game, including the exhibitions. I remember standing on the sidelines next to Jack Pardee during the sixth game one year. He said, 'You know I'm 35 years old, and I've played every minute on defense in all six games."'
Now, football is a year-round occupation that pays handsomely. Players arrive for conditioning workouts as early as February.
Drop the "pre" off that, Sparky. It's the damn season that's too damned long!
I used to play football. I was pretty good. I could throw a ball about 60-65 yards without too much arm strain, tight spiral, and drop it into a receiver's hands. Or I could catch just about anything thrown to me. I was never recruited for college, but that was because I went to one of those brainy schools and couldn't be bothered suiting up for my high school team and getting hammered in 55-3 losses just to show that I could pick my way on a broken field run to set up a field goal.
I played football from late October, when it got too cold to hit a ball with a bat, until early January, when it finally just got too damned cold, and we'd start playing basketball and hockey.
Once I put down the pigskin, that was it until the following August when, maybe at the beach, because we couldn't throw around a hardball, we'd bring the football and toss it.
I think of all the sports that money has ruined, it's ruined football the worst: players see precious little of the billion dollar contracts, which instead line the pockets of the owners (next time someone gives you grief over a player's salary, ask them if they'd prefer George Steinbrenner playing third base).
The owners effectively broke the player's union and effectively broke the game. Owners now demand more and pay substantially less to get it than any other sport.
And why? Because for some bizarre reason, American men think the best way to spend a beautiful crisp clear Sunday afternoon is sitting inside, drinking beer and munching chips while watching guys who's body type is better suited to the Michelin Man than to Modern Man, grunt and groan for twenty minutes out of every three and a half hours.
Opening kickoff on a Sunday afternoon is 1 PM ET. The last whistle is 12 midnight Monday night. In between, you are promised to see at least four games (one on each network on Sunday afternoon, the Sunday night game, and th eMonday night game.)
That's a LOT of beer! Meanwhile, the weather is colling off, from the high 80s in the first weekend (September 10, if memory serves) to the low 30s in the final regular season (late December).
Just in time to start shoveling snow, and you've been sitting on your fat ass, rather than desperately squeezing a few more afternoons of tennis or even *shudder* golf (and that may be the first and only time I ever have a kind word about golf!), or even just taking a walk and pondering the world around you, destressing for the final time before your 9 to 5.
Football used to be an exciting expression of team spirit: as a unit, you move down the field to your ultimate objective. Now, you're lucky if it's three and out, so many penalties get called. The "West Coast offense"? We used to call it "schoolyard" and we were better at it, when we'd get on one knee and draw lines in the dust on the asphalt.
George Carlin on Baseball and Football:
Baseball is a 19th century pastoral game.
Football is a 20th century new world order paramilitary power struggle.
Baseball is played in a park...the baseball park.
Football is played in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.
The baseball field is...a diamond.
The football field is a gridiron.
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything is dying.
In football, you wear a helmet.
In baseball, you wear a cap!
Football is concerned with downs. What down is it? Oh, it's the last down.
Baseball is concerned with ups. Who's up? Are you up? He's up! I'm up!!
In football, you get a penalty.
In baseball, you make an error...oops!
In football, the specialist comes on to kick something.
In baseball, the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.
Football has tackling, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting, sacking, and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has . . . the sacrifice.
Football is played in any kind of weather--rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog, major catastrophe, can't see, don't know if there's a game going on, mud on the field, can't read the uniforms, can't read the yard markers--doesn't matter, the struggle will continue.
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play. I can't go out, it's raining out!!
Baseball has the s e v e n t h i n n i n g s t r e t c h .
Football has the twominutewarning.
And, of course, the objectives of the games are also completely different.
In football, the object is for the quarterback, sometimes called the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which may consist of power plays designed to punch holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
In baseball, the object is to get home . . . safe.