July 2004 Archives

Strange Bedfellows


I guess Islam and Creationist Christianity have more in common than they think - for instance, archaeology is trumped by dogma:

If people in Adams(pbuh) time were 60+ ft tall, how come we never find any remains close to that tall.

The oldest human remains found are 20000 years old, they are relitively the same size. When find dinosaur bone which are far far older than humans
The rest of the question was deleted by the Imam, which, incidentally, reveals another commonality between the two religions - neither deals with dinosaurs very well.

Anyway, the Imam had this to say in response:

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said that 'Aadam (Alayhis salaam) was 30 Ziraa tall.'

Ziraa is a measurement and one Ziraa is approximately half metre. The Hadith is authentic and that is siffucient for us. Scientific and archeological evidences are subordinate to Hadith.
Another article of faith the Young-Earthers would have no trouble getting behind is the Noachine flood:
Does it say in the holy Quran whether the flood that affected Noah and his family was a worldwide or local one? Did it affect the whole world or only the village where Nuh(as) and his family lived.

1. The floods encompassed the whole world. (Tafseer Mazhari vol.6 pg.40)
2. Allah Ta'ala ordered Nooh to take onto the ship those useful to man. Nooh (Alayhis salaam) excluded animals which live in water and earthly creatures. (Bayaanul Qur'aan vol.1 pg.47; Hashiyatul Jamal; Tafseer Baghawi vol.2 pg.34). The first to enter was a parrot and the last was a donkey.
Actually, it can be said that Islam has issues with science in general, because there's a serious chicken-and-egg problem inherent in believing that things in the universe rotate the way they do because worshipers of the Ka'aba walk around it in a counter-clockwise fashion:
On examination, it will be found that the entire universe which is in constant circular or elliptical rotation, is in actual fact moving in the pattern as the Tawaf [ritual circumambulation of the Ka'aba by pilgrims]. The electrons of an atom revolve around its nucleus in the same manner as making Tawaf, in an anti-clockwise direction. The ovum, prior to fertilisation actually taking place, surrounded by sperms, turns remarkably in anti-clockwise direction, thereby resembling the Tawaf. Considering the globe as a whole, it could be found that the earth has two movements. It rotates on its own axis in 24 hours causing day and night. The various seasons of the year are due to the earth's simultaneous revolution around the sun in 365 days. It is really astonishing to note that the earth, in both these movements, rotates anti-clockwise. The entire universe from the atom to the galaxies is in constant circular rotation like a circumambulator who encircles the Kaaba in the anti-clockwise direction. All objects in the universe, atoms, moon, stars, electrical current, galaxies, etc. are rotating in the same way. Moreover, the angles encircle the heavenly Baitul Ma'mur in an ever-lasting Tawaf. In the same way, the Kaaba in Makkah is never free from circumbulators. "Know that the world has come to an end when no soul will circlembulate the holy Kaaba."
Well, sure, everything in nature rotates in a counter-clockwise fashion - IF YOU LOOK AT IT FROM THE RIGHT DIRECTION! I can just as easily say that everything rotates in a clockwise fashion, too!

Speaking of chicken-and-egg problems, it's also an article of faith that Adam and Abraham prayed facing Mecca thousands of years before Mecca existed!

Which Qibla did Adam(AS) and Ibrahim(AS) face while praying when, I think, Al-Aqsa Mosque was not built at that time? Why did Qibla was changed from Bait-ulMaqhis to Kaaba?

The Qiblah of Aadam (Alayhis salaam) and Ebrahim (Alayhis salaam) was the Ka’abah in Makkah Mukarramah. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) faced Baytul Maqdis with the order of Alah and turned towards the Ka’abah also with the order of Allah.

SmartFilter Sees The Light!

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My blog is once again work-safe. Secure Computing has updated the filter list for SmartFilter, and rpc.blogrolling.com is finally (again) listed as a 'Personal' page. Technically, depending on how tight the client wants to filter the Web, it could still be blocked, but most clients of SmartFilter don't have the screws that tight (and at least you'd be logging an attempted visit to a personal site rather than an attempted visit to a sex site).

For the story from the beginning, read this.

History Is Written By The Winners


The Blogfather, this time wearing his MSNBC hat, reports that Burt Rutan has given official notice that they'll be gunning for the X Prize starting September 29:

Aerospace engineer, Burt Rutan, leader of Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, has formally announced a timetable for back-to-back flights of the firm’s SpaceShipOne rocket plane.

Rutan and his team have given its official 60-day notice, with the first X Prize attempt set for September 29 from the inland Mojave Spaceport in California. To win the $10 million, SpaceShipOne will need to make a second flight within two weeks, by October 13.

Rutan is not alone in being near his 'ship date,' so to speak:

Hot on Rutan’s heels is Brian Feeney, leader of the Canadian da Vinci Project. Feeney also reported today that his team is rolling out on August 5 their completed X Prize vehicle -- the balloon-lofted Wild Fire rocket. The public unveiling will take place at the team’s Dowsview Airport hanger in Toronto.

The da Vinci Project Team, widely heralded as a contender for the $10 million purse, will pursue its own Ansari X Prize space flight attempts this fall.

Glenn then asks:

Think I exaggerate the importance of this [the X-Prize] race? Then ask yourself this -- what do we remember more about now, the 1928 Presidential race, or Charles Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight?
It's a fair question, but I don't have the same answer he did. Certainly, Lindbergh's flight was a catalyst as far as commercial aviation was concerned, and I damn sure want a rocket car before I die. But had Lindbergh not won the Orteig Prize in 1927, he would have won it the next year, or somebody else would have. It was a technological inevitability.

And nobody remembers the 1928 Presidential election, but everybody knows what happened in 1929. I'm not saying that we wouldn't have had the Great Depression had Al Smith won instead of Hoover, but it's pretty clear that President Hoover's responses to the stock market crash exacerbated the Depression.

Now consider this: everybody always talks about Presidential elections being about The Direction This Country Is Headed, and I think this one really is. With Clinton, we got eight years of appeasement with the occasional interestingly-timed missile strike. Under President Bush, who understands that appeasement at best gets you killed last, we are actually now fighting the war we've been in for some time prior to September 11. Although I don't agree with all his methods, I am confident that he will keep fighting until we either destroy or marginalize the terrorist threat (and by 'terrorist,' I mean 'Islamofascist,' because let's face it, except for Oklahoma City, it's not like anybody else is doing this to us).

I have no faith whatsoever that John Kerry even believes what he's saying about fighting the WoT, or that he'll take any serious steps in that arena, or that he won't just give up the first time it gets difficult (and by 'gets difficult,' I mean 'the first time Old Europe complains about something we're doing'). Unless he commits an impeachable offense, he'll have four years to roll over for the splodeydopes before we can replace him. That's four years we can't afford to lose.

In 2054, how will this year be remembered? Will it be 'the year SpaceShipOne won the X-Prize' or 'the beginning of the end of our victorious jihad against the infidels?'

Update: See the comments.

Tour De Lance Redux


One of the best features of OLN's coverage of the Tour is the daily commentary section. Each of OLN's talking heads has something to say about each day's stage, and it's generally something a casual observer wouldn't necessarily notice. Besides Liggett et. al, Lance Armstrong's training coach, Chris Carmichael, also wrote a daily column that was always very interesting. From Stage 20: A Job Well Done:

People often ask me what separates Lance Armstrong from the rest of the peloton, even though the answer is right in front of them all year long. Go and find Lance Armstrong in October, then again in December, January, March, etc. He'll be thinking about the Tour de France, and he'll be doing the training necessary to reach his absolute best level of performance in July. That's the sort of commitment it takes to win here, and if you're unwilling to put in the work required, don't expect to win the Tour de France anytime soon.

As The Blogfather would say, "Indeed:"

The very fine British racer David Miller [sic - it's spelled 'Millar'] tells the story of ringing Armstrong on his cell phone on Christmas Day a few years back. Miller was tipsy in a bar with his mates. His call finds Armstrong riding his bike up a steep mountain. Miller’s friends wonder why he is swearing a blue streak into his phone at a close friend. Miller’s response: “I’ve just lost the Tour de France.”

Back when Woody Hayes coached OSU (they weren't yet pretentious enough to call themselves "The" Ohio State University, despite the fact that they're just "a" state university in Ohio, along with Bowling Green, Kent, and others, but I digress), he had a sign in the locker room, all season long:


I wouldn't be at all surprised if Lance Armstrong had a sign over his bed, so it'd be the first thing he saw in the morning, and another on his nightstand, so it'd be the last thing he saw at night: "What Have You Done Today To Win The Tour?"

Finally, I think the Tour needs a new logo. How about this:
Tour de Lance

Tour De Lance


By now, of course, you know that Lance Armstrong has won his sixth consecutive Tour de France. What I found interesting is French TV coverage of the awards ceremony (it airs on OLN with OLN commentary, but the video is from French TV): while they were playing the national anthem and hoisting the Stars and Stripes, they showed the flag for a total of about six seconds - three seconds of the unfurled-flag going up the pole, and a three second closeup - I guess you could call it an art shot - of the center of the striped section.

What's the matter, Pierre? A little sensitive about seeing Old Glory flying over the Champs-Elysees again? And again? And again and again and again and again?

When Animal Supremacists Attack

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From Rodger (now posting at SondraK's), al-Guardian gives us what sure looks like incitement:

A top adviser to Britain's two most powerful animal rights protest groups caused outrage last night by claiming that the assassination of scientists working in biomedical research would save millions of animals' lives.

To the fury of groups working with animals, Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon and prominent figure in the anti-vivisection movement, told The Observer: 'I think violence is part of the struggle against oppression. If something bad happens to these people [animal researchers], it will discourage others. It is inevitable that violence will be used in the struggle and that it will be effective.'

Vlasak, who likens animal experimentation to the Nazis' treatment of the Jews, said he stood by his claim that: 'I don't think you'd have to kill too many [researchers]. I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.
Why is he saying this? Because we aren't listening to him!
While acknowledging that his views might alienate some people, Vlasak, who claims animal experimentation 'wastes billions of pounds a year', said more and more people in the animal rights movement were drawn to violent action. 'The grass roots are tired of writing letters. The polite approach has not worked,' he said.
Oh, fucking WAAAAAAAAH! Did it ever occur to him that a couple of hundred people writing a couple of hundred letters opposing research that SAVES LIVES is going to change a damn thing?

Incitement, you say? Surely you're blowing this a bit out of proportion, aren't you? Maybe, maybe not:

Vlasak will address an animal rights conference organised by Shac and Speak [two British animal supremacist groups] in September. Legal experts warned that, if he uses his speech to promote violence, he could be charged with incitement.

You know, Jerry, if you're really opposed to the 'senseless' killing of animals, why don't you go right to the top? Try to stop recreational hunting in the U.S.! Head on up to northern Michigan on the first day of firearms deer season and run through the woods blowing a whistle and banging cymbals to scare the deer away from hunters!

That oughta solve a real problem in about ten seconds. Unfortunately, if I go into too much detail as to exactly what real problem might be solved, it could be considered incitement...

Incompetent Judges Are Everywhere


I happened across Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Standups of all Time today. They had Ellen DeGeneres ranked at #16, two spots above Jonathan Winters.

Are you freaking kidding me? She's good, and I like her stuff, but there's no way Winters is anywhere below #10.

OK, now I see what's going on here. One of the panelists is Richard Lewis, who woulnd't know funny it it smacked him in the face with a frying pan (actually, that would be funny). I remember him circa 1993 (has he worked since then?) doing his pacing-back-and-forth schtick, with his hand on his forehead, then turning to the audience and saying, apropos of nothing, "I don't know... Dan Quayle!"

That was a joke? This guy, Comedy Central has judging the top 100 standups ever? Suuuuuuuure.

Kerry Ready To Sell Out Taiwan...

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...the only real question is whether or not he's already done it:

In 1998 I reported ("Year of the Rat," Regnery), and this year NBC News confirmed, Mr. Kerry's unfortunate relationship with Chinese military intelligence. During the 1996 election cycle, Chinagate figure Johnny Chung made a $10,000 contribution to Mr. Kerry's campaign in return for arranging a high-level meeting at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The beneficiary of Mr. Kerry's assistance was Chinese military spy Lt. Col. Liu Chao-ying. NBC has a photograph of the Communist Chinese espionage agent with Mr. Kerry, taken in his office.
But that's OK, because it's not like the Bejing regime is actually, you know, Communist or anything:
At an SFRC hearing on June 27, 2001, Mr. Kerry got into a strange debate with Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, over whether China has a "communist government." Mr. Kerry held that it does not have a "communist government" anymore, a position no serious China scholar would support.
(chain o'hat tips: from the Washington Times via AlphaPatriot via Cranial Cavity)

SmartFilter Still Dain-Bramaged


Well, Secure Computing updated the SmartFilter lists yesterday, and rpc.blogrolling.com is still listed as sex/porn, so this blog is still NSFW.

Warning to SmartFilter Users


Short version: if you're reading my blog from work, and your employer uses Secure Computing's SmartFilter as a web proxy, don't read my blog from work anymore until I give the all-clear.

Full version: the problem isn't my blog itself (it's work-safe). The problem is that I use blogrolling.com to manage my blogroll, and it builds my blogroll dynamically every time somebody loads the page by making a call to rpc.blogrolling.com. As of yesterday, SmartFilter thinks that rpc.blogrolling.com is a sex site, and blocks access to it. So even though you can't see it on my page (the blogroll just shows up blank), rest assured you're generating a 'this person tried to go to a sex site' message in the SmartFilter log that your IT folks (and maybe your Legal department, and maybe HR, and maybe your Ethics person if you have one) can see. Interestingly, blogrolling.com itself is categorized 'personal,' and most clients of SmartFilter won't block that. I've submitted a request to re-classify blogrolling.com as personal as well, and I'm going to email the BlogRolling folks to give them a heads-up.

This exact same thing happened a month ago, and it took about two weeks to unscrew everything.

Yeah, Toss Him On The List Too


Elton John shows the same ignorance of the First Amendment as Whoopi does, although I can kinda excuse it because he's a Brit:

Elton attacks 'censorship' in US

Elton John has said stars are scared to speak out against war in Iraq because of "bullying tactics" used by the US government to hinder free speech.

"There's an atmosphere of fear in America right now that is deadly. Everyone is too career-conscious," he told New York magazine, Interview.

Sir Elton said performers could be "frightened by the current administration's bullying tactics",

The singer likened the current "fear factor" to McCarthyism in the 1950s.

"There was a moment about a year ago when you couldn't say a word about anything in this country for fear of your career being shot down by people saying you are un-American," he told the magazine.
OK, so maybe this story was news a year ago. Why is the BBC running it now? I was expecting him to connect this thought to the Whoopi incident, but he didn't. He went a different way:
"People like Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, The Beatles and Pete Seeger were constantly writing and talking about what was going on.

"That's not happening now. As of this spring, there have been virtually no anti-war concerts - or anti-war songs that catch on, for that matter," he said.

I have an entirely different take on this: Dylan et. al were unafraid to speak out because they knew their target audience thought the same way they did. I believe they were sincere in their cause, but don't forget that they made a lot of money out of it.

Contrast that with today, where very few anti-war songs have caught on. They haven't caught on because NOBODY CARES! (Or at least not enough people care to make it financially worthwhile, which nowadays is pretty much the same thing.) Perhaps more correctly: people may care, but not how the 'protest singers' want them to. Just ask the ChixieDicks.

What About Her Riiiiiiiiiights?!?


Once again, a Hollywoodista fails to understand the difference between truly being censored and merely being held accountable for what one says. Via Drudge in today's NY Daily News:

WASHINGTON - Whoopi Goldberg lashed out at Republicans again yesterday, branding them hypocrites for trying to "punish" her for joking about the President. Fired from her gig as SlimFast spokeswoman, the salty entertainer hit back at Republicans who threatened a SlimFast boycott over sexual puns she made about President Bush's name at a Democratic fund-raiser.

"America's heart and soul is freedom of expression without fear of reprisal," she said in a statement.
Wrong! America's heart and soul is freedom of expression without fear of GOVERNMENT reprisal. I don't recall hearing about any warrants for her arrest.
"The fact that I am no longer the spokesman for SlimFast makes me sad, but not as sad as someone trying to punish me for exercising my right as an American to speak my mind."
If I'm doing business with you, and you say something publicly that makes me think my continued association with you will cost me money, I'd be in breach of my fiduciary responsibilty if I DIDN'T stop doing business with you!

Naturally, this to-do has brought the professional racists out of the woodwork:

Diversity promoter Asa Khalif, who has made headlines for accusing celebrities of insensitivity, cried foul in the Goldberg firing. "I smell racism from beginning to end," said Khalif, head of Racial Unity USA in Pennsylvania. "SlimFast must realize that black women have every right to voice their views."
That's funny; I smell stupidity from beginning to end in what Khalif said. It's not like SlimFast is suing to gag Whoopi or is trying to have her arrested; they're just making a business decision based on what they think is best for them. Does Khalif really think that if SlimFast had hired, say, Susan Sarandon, and she had said what Whoopi said about the President, then SlimFast would have fired her too?

Of course he doesn't, and of course SlimFast would have fired her too. But there's a funny thing that happens when your entire deck is nothing but race cards - you only know one way to play the game.

So Hot That Straight Girls Want Her

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flower_goddess and I were watching Inside Edition last night, and they did an interview with Halle Berry's soon-to-be-or-maybe-already-ex-husband, where he denied being a sex addict.

When flower_goddess heard that, she said "Hell, if I were married to Halle Berry, I'd be a sex addict!"

I looked at her. "You meant to say that if I were married to Halle Berry, I'd be a sex addict, right?"

"Oh yeah, that too."

From the "How About That" department: the headline on today's page of The Onion's desk calendar was "Brad Pitt Bored With Sight Of Jennifer Aniston's Naked Body".

So What's This? I Don't Care - I'm Eating It!


So my 'hood took its show on the road last weekend with a grilling party at Deej's. Fifty people, twelve grills, three smokers, and the collective menu included everything from grilled cabbage to grilled duck. Yard darts, frisbees, and weapons-grade fireworks were in use, and there was even a live band (OK, the band was actually playing the party on the other side of the lake, but we could hear it perfectly well so we're counting it). Yes, we have pictures. No, you can't see them until the Dangerous Logic legal department reviews them.

Does anybody know what the statute of limitations is on accidental arson?

...and if you explode during sex, then something's really wrong:

Ilarie Coroiu was taken to hospital in the Transylvanian town of Cluj after his girlfriend, Magdalena, 18, "felt something strange" and noticed that the bed was covered in blood.

Dr Angela Domocos, head of the accident and emergency department at Cluj General Hospital, said: "It is very rare for this to happen. We call it an exploded penis because it happens when the blood cavities in the penis burst.

"I don't know what this couple were playing at, but there must have been tremendous pressure inside the penis to make this happen."

Home Field Bottom Line Advantage


Fort Wayne has a team in the National Indoor Football League (think Single-A minor league baseball, but football, played indoors). The Fort Wayne Freedom are a pretty decent team, too. They just missed the playoffs after an 8-6 record last year in their inaugural season, and they made the playoffs as the #6 seed by going 8-6 this year. Their opponent Sunday will be the #3-seeded, 9-5, Show Me Believers.

The game will be in Fort Wayne.

Why? Money. Fort Wayne led the league in attendance this year, averaging over 8000 per game. Show Me, on the other hand, never topped 3000. The league decided, and the Show Me owner accepted, that the game would be in Fort Wayne rather than St. Charles. The gate is split 2/3 - 1/3, and Show Me decided that 1/3 of a 10,000 gate (minimum - Fort Wayne's last home game drew 10,000 - I'm betting a playoff game will damn near sell out (which would be about 12,000)) was a better deal than 2/3 of a 3,000-person gate. Of course, the Freedom come out WAY ahead under this scenario.

This is good news for me and my son - we've been to five games this year, and I already have our tickets for Sunday (in prime PAT-catching territory, and in the NIFL it's "catch it and keep it"). The games are an absolute blast: the pregame ceremony features a speech from Braveheart, pyrotechnics, and an Eminem rap, and the house just plain rocks the whole game long. It just seems a bit sour to get a home game this way, and I feel bad for the Believers' fans.

Just not bad enough to skip the game. Go Freedom!

Update: Fort Wayne won, 45-28, and it wouldn't have been that close except for some questionable officiating (I should have suspected something was amiss when I saw the refs get off the visiting team's bus).

The attendance was only 5,180, which disappointed me tremendously since this is the last home game they'll have this year (barring a series of miracles that would pit them against the #6 seed in the other conference in the championship game). Also a correction to the original entry - Show Me was the #5 seed (Lexington was the #3 seed).

At this moment (8:30 PM Central), I am watching the team time trial stage of the Tour de France - tape delayed, since the stage was actually raced this morning. During the break that just aired, OLN gave away the results of this stage in their commercial for tomorrow's coverage!

Because of this, and because I hate hate hate having tape-delayed coverage spoiled, I will go to some lengths to avoid watching commercials on OLN for the rest of the Tour. I wonder what their advertisers think of that?

Pigs Get Fat, Hogs Get Slaughtered

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Posing as a food/drink/whatever inspector is a time-honored way to get in a bit of grift, but you gotta know when to quit:

At a restaurant in Söderhamn in Sweden, the man introduced himself as alcohol inspector from the local authorities. He said that he was going to control that the restaurant provided the correct amount of alcohol in drinks.

Alcohol for about NOK 660 (USD 95) was placed in front of the 59-year-old man, who immediately started to investigate the volume and the amount of alcohol in the drinks.

After a while the man became so drunk that he started to throw the alcohol all over the place. At this time, the staff concluded that something was not quite right, and called the police.

American Digest has a superb interpretation of JF'inK's Veepstakes, applying one of my all-time favorite Monty Python sketches, How Not To Be Seen:

Voice Over: In this picture we cannot see MR. AL SHARPTON of Hustlerville on the Hudson. Mr. Sharpton is a professional buffoon with a haircut that is suspected of being an alien life form. Mr. Sharpton has never been elected but often indicted. He too wants to be President of the United States or at least collect a lot of money for pretending. Mr. Sharpton will you stand up please?

To the right of the area Mr. Sharpton stands up. A gunshot rings out, and Mr. Sharpton leaps into the air, and falls to the ground and begins to prattle on various talk shows.

Scenes From A Vacation #2


WARNING: Vampire Monster Trucks Sighted In Area

Because being menaced by flying vampire monster trucks is what beach vacations are all about.

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?


Just before we went down to Oak Island last year, two people drowned as a result of rip currents (Public Service Announcement: rip currents are dangerous but can be dealt with. If you're planning a trip to the ocean - or even one of the Great Lakes - this summer, stop reading this and go learn about them). Debra Teague, despite being unable to swim, went out to rescue her daughter Brandi from a rip current. She was able to save Brandi but drowned in the process.

For her heroism, Debra Teague was posthumosly awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for her actions. In a ceremony on June 12, the Coast Guard presented the medal to her family:

“(Debra) heard screams and saw her child in distress,” said Coast Guard senior chief Newman Cantrell. “She could not swim but reached Brandi and got her to shore. As any mother would do, she put the life of her children ahead of her own. Your mother was a very brave person,” he told them.

Randall Manes, a vacationer from Greensboro, helped Brandi and Jodi from the water that day and then tried to help Debra Teague struggling against the strong undercurrent. He also got caught in the powerful flow but made it back to shore.

Another man helped get Debra Teague to shore, where beachgoers attempted to revive her. She was later pronounced dead at Dosher Memorial Hospital.
My heart goes out to the family for their loss. But why am I writing about this? It's because of what happened next:
Brandi buried her head into her father’s side as rear admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara, commander of 5th Coast Guard District, pinned the medal over her heart.
Now let me get this straight. Poor Brandi is put on the spot in front of a bunch of strangers, explicitly reminded that her mother died to save her, and then 'Here, kid, here's a shiny medal.'?

Am I the only one who thinks this is unnecessarily cruel?


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