a weblog by Schuyler D. Erle

Sun, 20 Apr 2003

[14:20] We now return you to your regularly scheduled Passover seder.

It's a few days late, but a total hoot -- the bangitout.com 2003 Seder Sidekick. Intended as a supplement, rather than a replacement, to the usual Passover Haggadah that Jews use to chronicle the time when the Lord Almight brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, this Reconstructionist-style Seder Sidekick includes Pesach songs to the tune of the Muppet Show theme, an entire pharaoh's army of Top Ten Seder lists, and relevant halakhic commentary! Mom, I hope you're listening. As for the rest of you -- check it out, even if you're not Jewish and have no idea what the hell it's talking about. (Link via Jew*school.)

[14:01] Repeal term limits for U.S. presidents?

No fooling -- there's an actual constitutional amendment being proposed to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which limits presidents to two terms. Now, who the heck would want an amendment like this, and why? Hmm. (via #perl)

Fri, 18 Apr 2003

[16:48] The willingness to cease caring.

srl points out this great article about the creepy connections between Southern Baptist fundamentalism and the so-called Bush administration. While the article is an informative and thought-provoking read, the best quote is in the article's conclusion:

The issue is not, in the end, religious. It's not racial. It's philosophical: No matter what religion or political view provides a starting point, the end destination of the march toward absolutism is the willingness to cease caring about unbelievers as human beings. That is a danger greater than any weapon of mass destruction.

For those interested in further reading, sungo recommends The Origin of Satan, by Elaine Pagels, which, he says, makes the point that "the concept of Satan and friends is used SOLELY to dehumanize the enemy and create an us/them righteousness". I think I'll add it to my Amazon wish list.

[12:56] The joys of country living.

So, as I was getting out of bed this morning, I noticed a strange movement along one of the walls that my bed faces. Hastily putting my glasses on, I noticed that a garter snake, a young one, had somehow invited itself into my domicile. I watched it slither along the wall for a bit, as I tried to wake up, and casually debated with some folks on IRC as to what to do about it. Finally, I summoned the courage to pick up the feral reptile and escort it outside, just about the time it disppeared under the shelves. Oh well. Guess I won't be seeing any mice around the house any time soon.

Thu, 17 Apr 2003

[20:56] Oh, the embarrassment.

(1) Dubya demonstrates the ground war for the press.

(2) His lovely wife what's-her-face (you know, the one you always see on the news) puts a humanitarian face on the war.

(3) Flag waving. And flag picture framing, football playing, diaper changing, tea brewing, pin wearing... and that's just the real merchandise.

(4) Oakland police firing rubber bullets and other projectiles into crowds of unarmed peace demonstrators.

(5) The ongoing cost of war and occupation, even as the price of semester at a California community college suddenly doubles overnight.

(6) Well, there's always war tax resistance. In this case, the embarassment is that I paid five figures in taxes to the Federal Government this year, and let my father, who appears to have hated tax accounting, talk me into chickening out of even a token dissent, but hell. I'll gladly pay for roads, schools, and even universal health care, but when something like 47% of our federal taxes go towards imposing American will on foreign nations via the application of violent force, well... Grr. Maybe next year.

Wed, 16 Apr 2003

[21:59] U.S. State Dept. contradicts Secretary Powell over Chile coup.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell publically describes the 1973 coup that deposed the leftist Allende government in Chile as "not a part of American history that we're proud of," and then the State Department immediately issues a statement saying the U.S. "did not instigate the coup that ended Allende's government in 1973." In the words of the immortal Bill Hicks, "Would somebody help me here? I'm getting mixed signals!" Someone in this picture is lying -- see if you can guess who.

[17:04] Make Crude Oil from Anything?

Discover has an article on thermal depolymerization: An industrial process that takes ordinary organic waste... and produces light, crude oil? I hate to promote either the livestock industry (ugh), or internal combustion fuels, but this is a fascinating solution to the proliferation of organic wastes, especially those with a heavy chlorine component, like PVC, and maybe even dioxins and PCBs. (via MetaFilter)

[12:07] Bush Sr. on why total war on Iraq would be a bad idea?

Apparently, a 1998 Time magazine article written by George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, entitled "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam", and which discusses the magnitude of the problems involved in a full invasion and occupation of Iraq has... mysteriously disappeared... from Time's archive site. Hmm. See a scan of the article from microfilm, or a text version. (Links lifted whole from BoingBoing.)

[10:23] Elephant jailbreak!

In an apparently mind-bogglingly compassionate move, a herd of elephants staged a rescue of eleven captive wild gazelles last week from a game preserve in South Africa. The elephants can't eat the gazelles, so why'd you think they did it, hmm?

Tue, 15 Apr 2003

[21:34] Hail to the Kimchi-ef

Look, even Kim Jong Il, Illustrious Leader of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, has a LiveJournal.

Saturday, March 22nd, 2003. 2:07 pm. I'm not feeling very good about myself today. I guess I build walls around myself because I don't want people to get too close. Sometimes I wish I could just be normal and not such a Stalinist.... Bush is still really pissing me off. Why can't I just forget about him?

This is a brilliant parody of the average LiveJournal user, and may be the funniest site you will visit all week.

[18:34] O Really?

I know I haven't updated this thing in years. Once the war started, I had way too much to say, and no time to say it in. This week, as part of Plan 27, I've decided to try to master what Cory Doctorow calls "the art of getting a complete, coherent thought into print, quickly." Here goes.

Our first stop in a whirlwind tour of crap that's been accumulating in my Galeon bookmarks file while I dither over the volume of stuff I've been meaning to blog, and also chronicle about the goings on in my life these days is a site that lets you create your own book cover in the style of a popular technical book publisher that happens to be my employer. I haven't paraded that link around work because, in spite of the monumental senses of humor possessed by my co-workers, I'm afraid some well-meaning individual might try to shut down what is really a very funny parody. But, then, OTOH, they haven't tried to shut oreally.com down either, so... *shrug*

Maybe I'll just submit it to Boing Boing and see what happens. (Thanks, Jesse, for the link.)

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