Support the troops!

(Personal, Politics)

2007-09-07 00:01
Comments [2]

So, I’ve been talking of late to a friend who is in the military, and talking about things like Afghanistan (did you know that the US is involved in military action over there?) and Iraq (you probably heard about that one).

Between this, and the latest run of sound bites, and so on, I have come to a conclusion.

It is no longer possible to support both the troops and the President. The President does not seem to understand that, in a traditional relationship between superiors and troops, the leadership are supposed to care about the troops, not merely view them as pawns to be manipulated. A man who is “playing for” political support for a given position is not a man who is remembering that, in theory, he owes the troops loyalty as much as they owe him loyalty.

Support the troops. This means, I think, calling for some kind of basic hint of accountability of our government. Is what they are protecting even really liberty? Are warrentless wiretapping operations, prisoners held for years without charges, and people tortured to death what our troops signed up to promote and defend? I don’t think so. If we’re going to call on people to defend our Constitution, it behooves us to take it seriously back at home. What point is there in going out to get shot at in defense of essential liberties, only to come home and find out that they’ve been discontinued because there’s a concern that they might be a little risky?

I used to think it was clear that the Bush administration had no plan of what to do after they defeated Saddam Hussein’s armies. I am starting to worry that, in fact, this may have been their plan. There are simply too many people at the institutions and churches that Mr. Bush listens to who are end-times prophecy nuts for me to feel confident that he isn’t trying to accomplish something based on the deluded fantasies of 19th-century writers who tried to make the Revelation of St. John the Divine into a plan for ending the world on their own terms. As Hanlon’s Razor puts it, never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity… But I think this cannot be adequately explained by stupidity.

The most powerful military in the world is in the hands of a man who hires people to tell him that it’s okay to torture prisoners in case they might be terrorists. This is, on the whole, rather a bad thing.

Peter Seebach

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Very Silly Party

(Personal, Spam)

2007-08-18 16:28
Comments

I get comment spammers. Mostly I just nuke them. This one was spamming some site, but the name was great. This was the spammer’s “user name”:

////// pearle vision expresssony tennis ticket2 3 game play play play station station3 game play station trailerindian well tennis ticketarizona man tennis championship ticketshark cordless vacuum cleanerfame hall tennis ticket3 download game play stationhtml code center image

This reminds me of the Monty Python skit with the “silly party” and the “very silly party”.

Peter Seebach

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I think it's plagiarism, but I'm not sure.

(GeekStuff)

2007-08-03 11:36
Comments

So, the New Yorker’s article on spam may contain plagiarism. What’s weird about this is that the source (Spamhaus) has blanket permission to quote them with attribution, but that the quoted material, rather than being attributed, is very slightly modified.

I don’t get it.

That said, the article (Damn Spam) is quite nice; it just seems like it would have been more polite to simply quote directly and attribute the quote.

Peter Seebach

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Woah.

(Personal)

2007-08-01 20:31
Comments

Local bridge collapses, during rush hour. I don’t yet know of anyone I know who was there at the time, but it’s still pretty scary.

Peter Seebach

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Lolcat an sich!

(GeekStuff)

2007-05-30 23:29
Comments [2]

Okay, so, lolcode is an attempt to build a programming language from lolcat captions. (One can only assume that this suggests a return to the older term for them: “cat macros”.)

I think that, if lolcats are going to get serious, we should consider metaphysics, not just the hard sciences.

lolcat an sich has a noumen

I have discovered an elegant proof of the essential reality of things in and of themselves, but TL;DR.

Peter Seebach

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It's funny, but is it a cat macro?

(Personal)

2007-05-27 03:02
Comments [4]

invisible cat

There’s a popular hobby for internet users, of captioning cats — the results are sometimes called lolcats.

I got curious about these, and made a couple of my own. The above was today’s effort. My spouse remembered my previous contribution, and observed a pattern:

I'm in ur garden

I seem to like making things which are clearly cat macros, but which do not depict cats. Go figure.

Peter Seebach

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What I wish Weiss Kreuz had been

(GeekStuff)

2007-05-19 01:35
Comments [2]

So, I was watching an anime called Weiss Kreuz, aka Knight Hunters. (Yes, I know that Weiss Kreuz is bad German for something that is not “knight hunters”. They have a hospital named “Magic Bus”, I don’t think there’s any kind of intent of coherence in the use of non-Japanese languages.)

It’s awful. I men, really, truly, awful. The characters are not two-dimensional; no, they’re like those cardboard standups, where there’s a tiny little two-dimensional bit jutting out the back to stabilize them a bit. The result is almost worse; their dark pasts are incoherent and do nothing to justify their surreal presents.

The heroes (if we may use the term) are a group of four “beautiful” (bishounen, anyway) assassins, who work for an organisation called “Weiss”, where they are assigned the task of destroying truly evil people. For instance, in one episode, a girl wakes up in a swimming pool full of ice, to find that she’s had her kidney stolen! It turns out there is a deadly team of rogue doctors (well, a rogue doctor) who have a movable medical facility, and they are harvesting the organs of the young for various customers. Weiss gets involved after the girl calls a late-night radio program with her story; she had no one else to turn to, as the police didn’t believe her. (Presumably, they thought the missing kidney was the result of mere youthful high spirits.)

Now, here’s the thing. When the omnious shadowy figure that orders them arround commands them to kill (“Hunters of Night, deny these Dark Beasts their tomorrows!”), the targets are always, well… It’s the doctor. Nothing is done about his clients. When a trio of kidnappers is caught, after kidnapping twenty children for some other organization, it’s just the kidnappers they go after. There’s no hint (at least early on) of any kind of search for the customers, so one can only imagine that, three days later, new patsies have been found to continue getting killed by the pretty boys.

What would have made this great would have been the discovery that Weiss is the criminal organization hiring these people, and the assassins are just cleaning up loose ends. That would have been a cool story. Instead, it’s just anatomically-questionable fan service, and mediocre angst.

Peter Seebach

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Bye-bye, Mr. Falwell

(Religion)

2007-05-15 16:03
Comments [3]

You know, I don’t think anyone would call me a fan of the late Jerry Falwell. Whether it was blaming gays and abortionists for 9/11, or suggesting that we should “blow them away in the name of the Lord”, Falwell had an astounding talent for offending people, and in many cases, their offense was justified.

On the other hand, there are people out there who encountered him at his best, not his worst, and some of them quite liked him, or at least, recognized good things that he did. Even people who staunchly opposed his blurring of the line between spiritual authority and temporal power might approve of his charitable efforts.

Today, Mr. Falwell is dead. And today, millions of people who are normally pretty decent are doing their best to emulate Fred Phelps, and cheer at a man’s death, and laud the suffering of those who were close to him. I don’t know what to make of that, but I can’t say I like it. I have never been a fan of the hostile, gloating, responses some people have to the deaths of hated enemies. It struck me as a grave illness that some people couldn’t refrain from gloating when Pope John Paul II died, and to this day, I remember a particularly disgusting editorial piece written about Jerry Garcia which made a half-sentence’s lip service to not speaking ill of the dead, then proceeded to excoriate him at length.

The guy deserved better than this. We all do. I really don’t like this hostility and mockery. Whatever the man’s faults, is jeering at his funeral, metaphorically or literally, going to correct them? I don’t think it is.

p.s.: In a fit of dramatic irony, Fred Phelps has announced plans to gleefully preach at Falwell’s funeral about how the man’s in Hell, thus confirming my theory that they’re just doing whatever it takes to get people to hit them so they can sue.

Peter Seebach

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Amüsing ways to poke fun.

(Religion)

2007-04-30 04:00
Comments [2]

The folks at ChristianForums have now enacted a de facto policy that any reference to uberchristians (note: no umlaut) is obviously somehow “spam”. Whether or not there’s a link, whatever; it’s always spam.

So, there’s some talk of trying to figure out a way to communicate to the people still left there that, in fact, they are not required to stay, and that the “beatings will continue until morale improves” atmosphere may not be the only way Christianity can ever be practiced.

Obviously, we can’t use little stick-figure fishies, because that’s been done.

Arbitrarily, ‘ü’ was selected. It’s nice. You can put it in anything; it’s a single letter, so it can’t easily be searched for. It occurs naturally in lots of words, like names of German theologians.

Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, I made a cat macro:

The inquisition has found you small, and condemned you to hügs

The slogan comes from a recent debate in which someone started talking about how, if Paul ran an inquisition, various people wouldn’t live up to it. I pointed out that, after Saul’s experiences running an inquisition, the thought seemed unlikely, so the topic turned to what would happen if God ran the inquisition. I say that everyone would be found small and a little scared, and condemned to hugs.

Peter Seebach

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ChristianForums: Hey, edit this.

(Religion)

2007-04-29 21:32
Comments

So, in response to the new policy allowing only clinic-bombers to have ribbons, a few things happened. (Note: I have used slight hyperbole. In fact, everyone who identifies as “pro-life” can have ribbons. No one else can.)

One of them is that one of CF’s last remaining real ministers walked away. He posted a powerful message, then scrambled his password and logged out. He quoted Numbers 5 (the passage describing an abortion), then wrote:

pro life, anti new policy

The Bible is not as clear as folks would have you believe, there should be room at the table for both views—I doubt any of us have it right. Let’s be a little less sure of our having “the Truth” and more sure about the love of Jesus and proclaiming His Name to the least, the last, and the lost.

Farewell.

it’s sad, really—people think this is about abortion—it’s not, it’s about political statements in sigs—never before allowed on CF. to those who I’ve wronged by words, actions, silence or lack of action I apologize.
blessings
tommy
someone should copy this quick, it won’t last

He was right; it got deleted quickly (albeit restored later).

As is so often the case when a good preacher makes a great point, many felt moved to respond. I wrote:

I cannot disagree with Auntie’s claim: You are needed here.

However, under this policy, you, and me, and many others, are not welcome here, and the Christian practice has always been to go, not where we are needed, but where we are welcome.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 10, Verses 10-15

Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Goodbye. Not to herev, whom I am sure I will see on and off both in years and eternities to come, but to CF. I will go back to Internet Infidels, where they let me preach the Gospel with fewer restraints, and to other places with fewer restraints still.

This was, of course, edited. Here’s the revised post:

I cannot disagree with Auntie’s claim: You are needed here.

Now, you might think that changes the sense of the post. It does.

It was edited by one of the staff who has long maintained a certain amount of hostility towards me (and, I must admit, I towards her as well). It was edited without following any of the usual procedures, such as notifying someone of an edit.

It was also edited despite not violating any rules.

Why? For the same reason that the thread was deleted. Speaking truth to power never goes over well with power.

Many of us are leaving. The forum’s active membership has been declining; now it’s declining faster.

All the wants you waste
All the things you’ve chased
Then it all crashes down
And you break your crown
And you point your finger
But there’s no one around
Just want one thing
Just to play the king
But the castle’s crumbled
And you’re left with just a name
Where’s your crown King Nothing?

Peter Seebach

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