Friday, March 01, 2002

SOMEONE OWES ME SOME MONEY
I work at night and sleep during the day. I decided some years ago that the only way to get some dark and quiet is to move a bed in to the basement. First there were a bunch of crumpled papers that I had to throw away, then the light would flicker every ten seconds or so. When I finally got everything fixed and cleaned up I moved my bed down there. It's always unmade and covered with Hostess Fruit Pie wrappers and comic books.

While all of this was going on my dogs started to act weird. Their teeth turned brown, their breath stunk worse than ever, and they all had a bad case of the runs. I had no idea what was going on.

I was browsing through old news articles when I came across this item about the 2001 winner of the Turner Prize, a prestigious art award. I noticed with amusement that Martin Creed, the winner of the award, had teeth that looked exactly like my dog's. Then I read further and my amusement turned to rage.

Mr. Creed's winning display consisted of a large empty room with a light that would flicker every ten seconds or so. Coincidence, you say? But it seems that his entry the year before was an empty room littered with crumpled paper.

Mr. Creed is sneaking in to my house while I'm off at work, bribing my dogs with English toffees. That's why all of their teeth look so similar. If Mr. Creed's breath is as rank as my pet's then I have proof!

Mr. Creed must have been talking to some of his fellow artists about the source of his inspiration. One of the entries in 1995 was an unmade bed covered with used condoms and champagne corks (they must have decided to go for the more glamorous condoms/corks as an example of artistic license).

The controversial paintings made with elephant dung was even inspired by a clandestine visit to my house. One time I was cleaning up an accident that one of my dog's had left for me and I noticed that it was the spitting image of the eighth President of the U.S., Martin van Buren (and did he look MAD!). Hmmmm. Martin van Buren, Martin Creed. A coincidence? I think not!

I'll have enough evidence to sue as soon as I see this year's winner. If it's a sink piled high with dirty dishes then it will be too obvious to deny! The Turner Prize rightfully belongs to me!

NOTE TO MADONNA Since I sleep in the basement, you'll have to knock loudly to wake me up when you come over with the check.
INTERESTING IF TRUE
It seems that a study came out that says that children die at a higher rate in states with higher gun ownership. This would certainly open new avenues for debate, if it's true.

I have my doubts about that. The lead author of the study, Dr. Matthew Miller, hasn't inspired much confidence in me from his prior work. He conducted a study that found that people feel unsafe when they think someone with a gun is around. (Heck, so do I! That's why I want my guns, 'cause criminals already have theirs!)
He also authored a study that found that binge drinking leads to gun ownership, that alcohol problems in students leads to gun ownership, and that smoking forces men to commit suicide.

So far the only thing I'm really sure about from all of these studies is that Dr. Miller doesn't like alcohol, he doesn't like smoking, and he sure as heck doesn't like guns.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

FUNNY STUFF
James Lileks examines the article I mentioned below. Go and read his hilarous take on a European loose amongst the unwashed Americans.
EUROPE WHO?
It seems that theres another anti-American article in the Guardian. This time the Europeans are claiming that Europe-bashing is the new favorite sport in America. This seems strange, considering that I hardly see anything at all about Europe in the press over here, but plenty of America-bashing in Europe's newspapers.

One of the problems is that Europe sees threats as being mainly solved by diplomacy. They claim that the American solution to threats (destroy them at the source) is dangerous and simple-minded.
Most Americans who are interested remember that European diplomacy allowed World War I to happen, and British diplomacy allowed Hitler to become a much bigger threat than he should have been. We also remember that neither of those two wars were over until we went Over There and destroyed the threat at it's source.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

THE BIG BOYS FINALLY SPEAK
It seems that the New York Times is finally reporting on anti-Semetism in France.

Now if only they'd endorse FranceWorld.

Monday, February 25, 2002

ISREAL AND THE LAND FOR PEACE IDEA
There's been some discussion on Megan McArdle's blog about Isreal giving some of the Occupied Territories back for an assurance of peace with the Palestinians.

I don't think that's going to happen. The most common artillery peice in the world is the 155mm howitzer. It is highly mobile, small enough to be easily camouflaged, and cheap cheap cheap. The range with regular ammo is 14 miles, with rocket assist shells 19 miles. If you take a look at a map of the Middle east, you'll see that Isreal is very small. A few of these cheap artillery peices parked on the border will mean that there's very little left that CAN'T be shelled.
Also notice how big the West Bank is. The area that Isreal controls is just large enough to deny small artillery from firing in to Isreal. A coincidence?

One thing that many people don't realize about artillery is that height is distance. Fire off a cannon that's parked on a hill and the shell will travel further before hitting the ground.
Look at the Golan Heights. It's just an uninteresting patch of hills and small mountains, but Isreal has killed many peace deals by refusing to give it back to Syria. Why?
Damascus, the capital of Syria, is visible with the naked eye if you stand on the Heights. For 35 years Isreal has been fortifying the area and hauling guns much bigger than the 155mm up there. As long as they hold the Heights they have little to fear from Syria.

But turn around and look down in to Isreal from the Heights. If Syria regains the Heights, then just about all of northern Isreal is in big trouble.
ADVENTURE AT THE PIGGLY WIGGLY
I came across this article about a woman shopper in Isreal that stopped a terrorist from blowing himself and others up in a crowded supermarket. She stopped him by shooting him in the head a few times.

Good for her! She saved lives, starting with her own.
DEATH OF A SPECIES
Stephen C. Den Beste discusses a plan to thin out the number of wild horses. He briefly touches on the Great North American Megafauna Extinction.

It seems that animals that weighed 200 pounds or more (the Megafauna) started to become extinct at an alarming rate about 11,000. This was just about the same time that people first appeared on the scene. Why did they die out? Some people favor the idea that humans were to blame. Others say that natural forces such as climate change or disease is the culprit. Still others try and please everyone and say that, sure the humans started to hunt the large animals, but it might have been imported disease that put the final nail in the coffin.

It would seem that a scientist's political views determine what he believes. Most people who hold to the idea that Native Americans were naturalists in tune with their environment favor the climate/disease theories, for example. Those that believe that modern man is causing a massive environmental crises think that humans are to blame.

Me? I find it tough to believe that climate change only killed off the large animals while leaving plants and smaller animals alone. I also find it tough to swallow the idea that a series of diseases imported from the Old World killed off the large species while leaving humans and smaller animals intact. Looks like human predation is the only reasonable explanation.
DESPERATE MEASURES
It seems that the anti-gun lobby in the U.S. is trying to get newspapers to stop running ads for guns in the classifieds. They say that it's a source of guns for terrorists.

I don't know. I don't think too many terrorists are thumbing through page 17B, past the ads for rototillers and puppies free to good homes, just to get to the ads for old shotguns and bolt action rifles. Looking at the ads myself I see most of the gun owners are looking to trade the guns for something, usually fishing equipment.

When is the last time you saw a Taliban member on Bass Masters?
AN EXAMPLE OF "SPIN"
There's been a lot of talk lately about how the British gun ban has failed. Does anyone remember the Australian gun ban?

The Australian government is trying to put a positive spin on the failure of their ban. Notice how they claim that gun deaths have fallen, but then have to admit that the number has gone down due to a smaller number of suicide by firearms.

But the overall number of suicides hasn't gone down, since people just find another way to kill themselves.
DIDN'T SHERLOCK HOLMES HAVE A GUN?
I remember reading about Mr. Holmes' adventures when I was a boy. One of the things that struck me was the way that he had Dr. Watson do all of the heavy lifting. Whenever an unconcious body had to be carried, someone needed to be chased down and subdued, or any other task that required robust physical strength then it was the good doctor that was called on.
One of the things that Dr. Watson had to do was haul the Webley around. A six shot handgun (some models for concealed carry had five rounds), the Webley was a massive chunk of iron. I can understand that Holmes had someone else carry the thing.
What confused me was the fact that they were wandering around London with a gun. The city of London had been a gun-free zone for centuries. How did the consulting detective get away with such a blatant crime right in front of Detective LeStrade?
Well, Holmes and Watson were members of the aristocracy, so such things as following the law was beneath them.

It might have been good to be the king, but it was also good just to be distantly related to him.

Sunday, February 24, 2002

SO NOW THEY'RE SOLDIERS?
The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, reports that the prisoners at Gitmo will now be considered POW's instead of criminals. This means that they will be treated according to the rules liad down during the last Geneva Concention.

The Telegraph takes a stab at making it seem that Pres Bush caved due to pressure from France/England, but then admits that the reason for the change is concern over how American POW's will be treated.
THE POT IS CALLIN'....NO, IT'S JUST THE POT WITHOUT ANY KETTLE
It seems that North Korea called Pres. Bush the "Kingpin of Terrorism". They accused him of visiting South Korea just to get an idea of the lay of the land before we invade.

So these guys think that the Pres will plan the campaigns himself? That must have been why I visited the Gettysburg battlefield. I keep hoping that time portal will open up and I'll be sent back in time so I can work my way up in the military and make a major contribution to the battle.

Sounds like science fiction? So does North Korea's attempts to deflect criticism.