Sunday, May 31, 2009

I wonder - do you think Gawd loves the Second Amendment?

Hey - at least the photo has absolutely nothing to do with this vile crime.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Well, I'd say that this was another of my accidentally appropriate photos, but, well, I vent so often on this blog that the only thing "accidental" about it is the fact that I wasn't thinking in those terms when I took it. But, yep, I've got some venting to do.

Here's Vancouver's latest assault on cyclists. And, to tell you the truth, this so ludicrous, so outrageous, so moronic, so discriminatory, so unjustly persecutory, so incredibly fucking insulting, I'm at a loss for words. Aren't you glad?

However, if you're thinking of coming to Vancouver to enjoy its "bike friendliness", well, forget it.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

In my files, this shot is labelled "curious". Which, of course, is what I am about what happened to the brains of Republicans. When, exactly, were they removed? This comes up in regard to the Sotomayor nomination (as you might have figured). She's "racist" because she acknowledges that her background has an effect on her thinking?!? Excuse me? Of course, I could be making a mistake here. See, I'm interpreting this as Republicans saying that the problem is with her background influencing her thinking. That is, I imagine that they're worried about some sort of undue influence from her life story on her decision-making. But, when I stop and ponder for a moment - these are Republicans, after all, expressing a criticism related to thought processes - I start to think, "Maybe I've got it wrong". Maybe (and, in fact, this seems the more likely interpretation) they just have a problem with the verb "thinking"! "Thought", of course, being anathema to Republicans. At least, it sure seems to be these days.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

If you've got to go to work, going through places like this on the way is kind of nice.

Meanwhile, down there (from where I live, at least) in California... David Hyde Pierce gave one of the best explanations of why Prop 8 is soooooo dumb. With any luck, there'll be a Prop _ that'll repeal this bit of small-minded, bigoted, moronic, unfair, unjust, unkind stupidity real soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Up there's something to look at, with, really, nothing to read. Aaaand...'s a little something to look at and read. Really good photographs of really bad places by a guy named Bruce Jackson. That's one of his photos you're lookin' at.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Well, this was a disappointing bit of news. Not unexpected, though. Courts don't exist to change laws, they exist to administer them. Even when nobody (including the judges) likes that. This is how it really ought to be, I'm afraid. Citizens decide on laws through their elected representatives (or, in the case of California, through "propositions"). If you're going to put questions this important to a referendum, you've got to expect an unwanted outcome.

California, again, is a fantastic example of the stupidity of this approach. Taxes? Not in this state, by god! O.K., sooooooo no schools, no parks, no highway maintenance, no reasonable prison system, no help for the poor..... Most voters can't think past their noses. They vote based on what they want, not what might be best for the greatest number of people (in the end, possibly, including themselves).

So, California decided to put it to "the people": Should gay couples be allowed to marry? This, of course, was a cowardly abdication of leadership by those elected to govern California, the "Ditherator" included. Folks, if you're elected to a position of leadership, then fucking lead!

It's not the fault of the California Supreme Court that gay couples can't "marry". It's the fault of the citizens of California and their chicken-shit elected officials.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Plato's very own hedge. Who knew?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I don't think the photo and this are somehow connected,'s definitely something to think about.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

When you ride a bicycle pretty much everywhere, a "tiny" camera like the G10 is a swell thing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yep, accidental relevance strikes again. There seems to be a certain amount of rot at the root of the Obama administration. "Indefinite confinement"?!? That's "indefinite confinement" without the actual commission of a crime, without formal charges, without trial, without, um, well, anything, really. And, if you happen to be the "confinee"? Feel you've been wrongly incarcerated? Bummer, man.

Now, normally, as a person convicted wrongly of a crime (or, at least, you feel you've been wrongly convicted), you could appeal your conviction. You could, for example, ask for DNA testing to be done in cases in which that sort of evidence might be relevant. You could, alternatively, claim that your trial was unfair - prejudiced jury, or judge, or suppression of evidence by the prosectution, etc. Or you could claim that you had an inept defence attorney. All sorts of things are grounds for appeal for a wrongful conviction. Of course, if there's never been a trial, let alone a conviction, let alone an actual crime....well, you are, as the saying goes, royally fucked.

Now, some folks might be willing to give Bary (or is that "Bury"?) a break on this 'cause he's so obviously such a good guy. Big mistake, of course. Because, once Bary gets away with it, even if he only wields such awesome power for the good, he will have established this power for his successors. Are you in any way confident that they, too, will wield it only for the good? Are you totally fucking retarded?!? Did you miss Nixon? Did you miss Bush/Cheney?

The power Bary is seeking essentially allows him to lock up anyone he wants. Or, to be more accurate, will allow the President (whoever he/she might ultimately be) to lock up anyone he/she wants. Anyone. Just in case you missed that - ANYONE. So, who do you think John Boehner would lock up? Newt Gingrich? Rush Limbaugh?

I'm really hoping Americans are inundating Bary with emails, actual letters, phone calls...whatever, indicating their extreme displeasure with this turn of events. What he is proposing is very, very bad.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yep, just another day at the plant. I know, I know - very bad joke. Hey, it's Thursday. What can I say?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where we all wish Dickie C. was.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Well, it's a "good news/bad news" kind of day. On the "good news" side (unless, of course, you're into "alternative" medicine), there's this little article from Open Medicine, Canada's very rough equivalent to JAMA. I've got nothing against alternatives (except, of course, when the alternative involves waste of scarce medical dollars on useless fakery, or death for the patient). What I don't like is untested alternative medical treatments - which most of them are. A better name for these would be "faith-based medicine". In the case of acupuncture, anyone who knows anything about simple anatomy and physiology could tell you that there's very little chance that it works. Try telling that to the faithful. Of course, simply dismissing it out of hand isn't necessarily the best idea, despite there being no known way acupuncture could work. So, go ahead - test it. If there's a surprise waiting, and it turns out to work, fantastic! Nobody's going to turn down an effective alternative to current treatments. (Spoiler - it doesn't.)

On the "bad news" side, there's this fine example of why the Democrats in the U.S. have such a hard time getting, and then retaining, power. I couldn't begin to count the number of ways this is stupid using all my fingers and toes. It'd take the digits from at least a family of six. How many serial murderers, rapists, and psychopaths-in-general currently reside in the U.S. prison system (the biggest in the world, by the way)? And these guys, none convicted of anything mind you, are too scary? You're kidding, right? Ummm, apparently not. The Democrats talk a good game. Then,! Is that the time?!?

Monday, May 18, 2009

I filed this picture as "glare", for fairly obvious reasons. And, yup, it's another in what seems to be my continuing series of "accidentally relevant" photos. Why? Well, because I have a close friend with whom I disagree on certain fundamental issues. I am, you see, a rationalist. If there's no data suggesting that something might exist, then, in my world, it doesn't. If I can imagine an experiment that might test the existence of something, and it's obvious that that something would fail the test, then that something stands a lowered chance of existence. "God" would be one such concept. So would things like past lives, out-of-body experiences, "lucid" dreaming, etc. Unfortunately, my close friend feels differently. She's quite enthused about such things. Discussion of such things, then, (although, funnily enough, not "God" - we agree on that one), tends to lead to, well, The Glare. I hate The Glare. The Glare is not good. She does a subtle version of it, mind you, but it's still The Glare.

Now, I'd do anything to avoid The Glare. Especially since I'm kind of fond of this close friend. But, try as I might, I can't abandon my rationalist self. I'm in trouble, aren't I?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ah, idyllic nature. Spent most of the day wandering around here with a couple of fellow pedagogues, taking photos. It's a large park, down by the Fraser River, just east of town. We were there because one of our little group is an avid birder, and this is a place that often has interesting specimens flying around. Sadly, not much today. Still, a nice stroll.

One more thing - this idyllic spot used to be a farm, manned by convicts who were growing food for the poor folks living in the psychiatric hospital just across the road and up the hill. The cons are gone now (obviously) and so are most of the patients across the road. Turned lose, ostensibly in an effort to return them to "normal" life (but really to save the provincial government a bundle of money), many of them now wander Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, failing utterly to cope with a world they never had a chance in. Unless, of course, they're dead already.

The photographer giveth, and the photographer taketh away.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another accidentally appropriate shot. Obama - turning on the Tap o' Truth. Orrrrrr.......maybe not. Dan Choi - "I'm gay". Obama - "You're fired. Yes, I know I said that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was bullshit, but, well, that was, ummmmm....bullshit."

Or, "I'm gonna close down Guantanamo and try those poor suckers in real, actual courts of law," "Kidding!"

"Torture. I hate it and I'm going to get to the bottom of it and tell the American people about it." Orrrrr, "What? Sorry, what? I, I can't hear you. No. Did I say that? No, I don't think so."

I'm getting depressed, frankly.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ooohhhh, I'm getting depressed. Oby's turning into a "politician". Yes, I know he's always been a politician, but... What's with wanting to suppress the abuse photos? Their release poses a threat to U.S. troops? Really? More so than the already-released photos? Or, they might embarrass the U.S.? Really? More so than the last eight years? Trust me, the embarrassment limit was reached long ago. Long, long, long ago.

What will embarrass the U.S. is the appearance of refusing to face up to the truth ("facing up to the truth" being something the country's real big on other countries doing).

Or is he afraid that releasing the photos will mark him forever as "the guy who released those terrible photos, he must be a traitor" and thereby affect his chances for re-election four years hence? Well, in the first place, once released, the photos will be forgotten in a month's time. In the second place, at least as far as the world outside the U.S. is concerned, releasing them would further distinguish him as a man of principle, a man of honesty, a man of courage. Seen those qualities in U.S. leadership lately? Any country that wouldn't re-elect such a person, gees...I would have said something along the lines of, "...a fool for a leader," but, well...been there, done that.

Come on, Oby, step up to the plate and swing, fer cryin' out loud.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Was it just yesterday that I said that I had to get out more? Golly, time sure flies when you're having fun.

So, this is the sight that greets me when I step out the side door of my apartment building. Quite a view, huh?

Monday, May 11, 2009

I know I shouldn't revel in other people's misfortune, but, come on, aren't we all getting a kick out of the dissolution of the Republican party? Could they get any lamer? Could Michael Steele (Wow! Talk about a name not lived up to!) bear any stronger resemblance to that immortal (unfortunately) character created by Mr. Lincoln Perry (the word "massuh" is heavily involved)? And, as for the actually elected folks? Leapin' lizards! The ex-Veep, Dim Dick, speaks for them all, it would seem (since none of the others seems to have the guts to stand up and contradict him). And heaven forfend that they should ever -EVER! - stand up to the Boss of All Republicans! Hard to imagine a national political party held to account by a fat moron. A fat, unelected moron at that. Wait! A fat, unelected, uneducated moron. It suddenly strikes me - do you think he's changed the batteries in his hearing aid anytime in the past 9 years? Maybe that's the source of his problem. On the other hand, would it actually make a difference if he could hear? After all, hearing without any understanding, or ability to actually process what one is hearing, is kind of pointless, isn't it? Hmmm......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Well, went to see the new Star Trek movie today. It's the first Star Trek-oriented thing I've seen since the original TV show went off the air. Much to my surprise, it was O.K. Lots of "suspension of disbelief" necessary, but what else would one expect?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Here in British Columbia we're having an election. Do we want to retain the current questionable (feel free to pick another adjective beginning not with the same consonant, but the same sound) governing party, or do we want a different, hopefully less questionable party? Choices, choices, choices.

We're also being asked how we'd like to vote. Do we want to go on with the usual "vote for your guy and hope he/she wins" system, or do we want the more sensible, "O.K., vote for your top preference, but, on the off chance that he/she doesn't get enough votes for a clear win, who's your second choice?" system. This latter system, known around here (and probably elsewhere) as the "single transferable vote" system seems eminently sensible to me. If one thing is clear during an election it's that we all have someone we really hope will win, and someone we really hope will lose. In between (at least, in places with more than two parties to choose from) there's usually someone we're not crazy about, but, hey, they're not as bad as "that guy". So, it makes sense to rank candidates and see who gets the most votes on that basis. The "best" candidate (in your opinion) might not win, but, with any luck, the cretin you despise won't either. I'm pretty sure Smirkin' Steve wouldn't be running Canada today if this system had been in effect. That alone makes it worth voting for.

Friday, May 08, 2009

O.K., it'd be a classic "May/December", "Pick-a-Religion/Pick-Any-Other-Religion", "Real Damn Smart/Not So Much", and, of course, "Gay/Straight" thing, but.......well, I'm head-over-heels in love with Rachel Maddow. Yes, I know - my love is doomed, but... If you haven't watched her show, you really ought to. This is one smart (not to mention witty) human being. How many of those do you find with their own news program? (Hint: Count the number of fingers on one hand. O.K., there're fewer than that.)


Thursday, May 07, 2009

You know, just when you think things are one way, they turn into something else. Very perplexing, really.

Speaking of which, isn't it about time everyone dropped the "d" from dSLR? Since practically everyone seriously interested in photography, and not shooting professionally, uses a digital camera, how 'bout we just call 'em SLRs? I mean, I never referred to my Nikon FM as a "kSLR" ("k" being "Kodachrome") and my Nikkormat as my "cSLR" ("c" being colour neg film). They're single-lens reflex cameras, folks. Does the photon-recording material really matter that much?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

And the related Rolling Stones album is...? Alternatively, you could interpret this particular photo as a comment on today's Republican party. You know - if you felt like it. You could.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I've got to get out more, but life's gotten a bit busy lately. Yes, I know that's contradictory, but...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Horse racing - I'm not a fan. Dangerous for the horses (who get no real choice) and the riders (who, obviously, do...sort of) and usually not all that exciting. But, I've got to admit, this is pretty darn nifty. That horse just flowed past the other horses like water.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sooner or later, we all have to confront the "self", right? Now, go ahead and dream up your own jokes about "self" and "gas".

Meanwhile, how did I miss two days? One, I could understand, but, two? Must be pre-occupied with the start of a new term. As in, tomorrow. Yikes!

My other excuse was (try not to faint) my social life. Sure gets in the way of blog maintenance.