Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rays on Berlin


Girls Gone Raunch

I recently read an interesting Macleans article about sexualization/objectification of women.

An excerpt that echoes my thoughts:
"Hot has replaced beautiful as the ultimate compliment and hot, according to Levy, means 'f--kable' even when you're not -- legally, or inclined to."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Did I get a smile?

I read this CBC headline: "Mint head Dingwall resigns, wants to clear his name."
I couldn't resist thinking, "I don't think one can 'clear' a name like Dingwall."
(Say it outloud, it's euphonic I tells ya)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A sad truth

"It is a simple logical truth that, short of mass emigration into space, with rockets taking off at the rate of several million per second, uncontrolled birth-rates are bound to lead to horribly increased death-rates. It is hard to believe that this simple truth is not understood by those leaders who forbid their followers to use effective contraceptive methods. They express a preference for 'natural' methods of population limitation, and a natural method is exactly what they are going to get. It is called starvation."
-Richard Dawkins, p.119, The Selfish Gene (1976)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Advertising on Police Cars

Here's a quarter for the phone
why don't you call someone and find out
how it is we can all belong
to something that no one
wants any part of
one day you'll wake up and they'll be
advertising on police cars

Saturday, September 24, 2005


In Western cultures there is a tendency to use one's current mood as a basis for predicting future moods. Happy now, happy later. Unhappy now, unhappy later. In many Eastern cultures the tendency is the same, but the prediction is opposite. Happy now, unhappy some other time. Things must balance.

That being said, my goal is to use the 'Western' method when I'm happy and the 'Eastern' method when I'm unhappy. Happy/Unhappy now, happy later. Either way, happiness! :)

(Though there is the potential for my misunderstanding these different cultural concepts, as well as my own abilities to achieve my aforementioned goal, it would seem that at least I have an understanding of 'Western' greed.)

Evolving Ignorance?

(of those who were home, had a phone, cared to take the survey and spoke sufficient English... but still!)

Friday, September 23, 2005


I just picked up "In A Coma," a compilation of Matt Good songs from 1995-2005. It has 3 new songs, 23 three previously recorded songs, acoustic reworkings of 9 songs, a DVD of all 17 videos & commentary, a making of the acoustic portion and some other stuff! (and it wasn't expensive!)

I am a very happy Darren!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Religious Ballet

"...We must realize... that God is not a Christian."
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

(He is just so darn endearing. A wonderful face for religion)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Magic or location in time?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-Arthur C. Clarke

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ah! The sun's in my eyes... no, head...brain? what?

"Some of my cousins who had the great advantage of University education used to tease me with arguments to prove that nothing has any existence except what we think of it. ... These amusing mental acrobatics are all right to play with.They are perfectly harmless and perfectly useless. ... I always rested on the following argument... We look up to the sky and see the sun. Our eyes are dazzled and our senses record the fact. So here is this great sun standing apparently on no better foundation than our physical senses. But happily there is a method, apart altogether from our physical senses, of testing the reality of the sun. It is by mathematics. By means of prolonged processes of mathematics, entirely separate from the senses, astronomers are able to calculate when an eclipse will occur. They predict by pure reason that a black spot will pass across the sun on a certain day. You go and look, and your sense of sight immediately tells you that their calculations are vindicated. So here you have the evidence of the senses reinforced by the entirely separate evidence of a vast independent process of mathematical reasoning. We have taken what is called in military map-making "a cross bearing." ... When my metaphysical friends tell me that the data on which the astronomers made their calculations, were necessarily obtained originally through the evidence of the senses, I say, "no." They might, in theory at any rate, be obtained by automatic calculating-machines set in motion by the light falling upon them without admixture of the human senses at any stage. When it is persisted that we should have to be told about the calculations and use our ears for that purpose, I reply that the mathematical process has a reality and virtue in itself, and that once discovered it constitutes a new and independent factor. I am also at this point accustomed to reaffirm with emphasis my conviction that the sun is real, and also that it is hot--in fact hot as Hell, and that if the metaphysicians doubt it they should go there and see."

Winston S. Churchill, My Early Life, Fontana, London, 1972, pp 123-124.


I just finished Ian McEwan's Saturday. I am reluctant to give anything away, so I will just say it is extremely well written and covers numerous topics with both breadth and depth. As the content and philosophies of the protagonist aligned with things I ponder or have interest, I loved this book so much more.

I enjoyed it so much that I am tempted to describe it as 'a modern masterpiece.'
Time shall tell (me and the world).

I didn't want it to end.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Blog Search

It's just a Beta version but it might have some utility.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Humans can be such despicable beasts

I just watched the documentary "Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire," and I highly recommend it. The documentary illustrated the repugnant carelessness of the world and the strength of a man limited by an organization that disgraced itself. Humans can be such fragile, detestable creatures. Yet, they can also be honourable, inspiringly noble and worthy of admiration.

The documentary was educational... so sadly educational.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Moving at the speed of life...

I just watched the movie Crash. Go watch it.
(How detailed, eh?)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Dear Red States

Dear Red States,

We're ticked off at the way you've treated California and we've decided we're leaving.

We intend to form our own country and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast.

We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly:

You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.

We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.

We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs.
You get Alabama.

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states
pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro choice and anti war and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home.

We wish you success in Iraq and hope that the WMDs turn up but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven

Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush

Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

We're taking the good pot too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Author Unknown in New California.

(I'd just love to have links for every stat. It's still amusing though)

Last Chance to See

Earlier today I finished the audiobook of Douglas Adam's Last Chance to See. His delivery (dry British) probably made the audiobook better than the 'real' book.
It was delightfully amusing, diversely interesting, undoubtably insightful, wonderfully witty and subtely but passionately moving.

J.Lo on Inside the Actor's Studio?!?!

Is her acting prowess the ability to convince many she is 'real' while being so obviously full of sh*t?
The show has dishonoured itself.

ps: On the unrelated note of blog links, the brain-dead Baserates link has been replaced by something more worthwhile (For Unquiet Minds) and it appears bemusement is no longer confused)

The continuing approximation of reality...

'The young specialist in English Lit, ...lectured me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern "knowledge" is that it is wrong.

'... My answer to him was, "... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."'

Isaac Asimov,The Relativity of Wrong, Kensington Books, New York, 1996, p 226.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Eh, ess, ess..

a) Because it's been in my head and b) because it is funny.
I'm just a regular joe
With a regular job
I'm your average white
Suburbanite slob
I like football, and porno, and books about war
I've got an average house
With a nice hardwood floor
My wife, and my job
My kids, and my car
My feet on the table
And a Cuban cigar
But sometimes that just ain't enough
To keep a man like me interested
Oh no, no way, uh uhh
No, I gotta go out and have fun
At someone else's expense
Oh yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
-Dennis Learys "I'm An Asshole"

Friday, September 09, 2005

Human Brain Evolving?

Here are four news articles about the research:
(1) The authors' affiliation and kinda technical
(2) NY Times; reasonably cautious
(3) Globe; Different take, a little alarmist (but provides info not in the other three)
(4) BBC; Shorter and bit too definitive

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Daily Show is fantastic (but you already knew that)

Once again, Jon Stewart delivers empircally scathing satire in a saddening time. Click here, then click on 'latest headlines' and watch Meet the F**kers, Inarguable Failure, Bush's Timeline, Troup Beverly Hills, Beleaguered Bush (you might have to click 'view all videos' to access some of them).

ps: Inarguable is the perfect word.

Decreasing (my) Ignorance

I recently read two fantastic memoirs: Darkness Visible by William Styron and An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. The former is about his dealings with depression and the latter with her dealings with manic-depression. They are superbly well written, illuminating and educational while remaining deeply personal and touching. I highly recommend these books, everyone should read them.
I had only tertiary knowledge about these conditions and though ‘personal’ accounts, they are authored by highly informed people and do a great justice explicating their respective conditions.
I feel a little less ignorant.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Well, something needs to be done...

I sincerely hope this works (I'd be lying if I didn't say I hope it really hurts)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

It's a sad world...

I recently received this message from Dalhousie University Services. It's better that such a warning exist, it is just saddening it has to.


Welcome to Dalhousie! Your time at Dalhousie is an exciting journey of discovery -outstanding academic programs, diverse experiences, new friends and ideas, and personal growth.

There are many helpful services and extracurricular activities available to you such as the Dalhousie Student Union's Frosh Week activities outlined below.

As you participate in social events in town, you and your friends may want to remember, if you decide to drink alcohol:
  • Use your head and always drink responsibly
  • Never drink alone
  • Always protect the people you are with

And please be wary. We have heard that a problematic commercial company will be in Halifax this Frosh Week. They are well known for using alcohol and cheap gifts (often T-shirts and hats) to take advantage of women students. The company's reported practice is to get inebriated students to sign a permission contract that gives the company the right to take images of the students (including nudity) and then to sell the resulting videos commercially. Don't let this happen to you
and your friends.

Have a safe and fun arrival or return to campus and do not hesitate to contact one of the many
Student Services departments if we can be of assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Bonnie Neuman
Vice-President, Student Services

(Of course, if one doesn't voluntarily drug oneself, such a situation is a lot less likely to happen, but still...)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Another difference?

CommonDreams had this article about the aftermath of Katrina.

"I am absolutely disgusted. After the tsunami our people, even the ones who lost everything, wanted to help the others who were suffering," Sajeewa Chinthaka, 36, as he watched a cricket match in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

"Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is."

(As for the validity, I'll have to look into crime stats more thoroughly, but I only found stuff related to false charities)

Don't know much about...

This article is concerning to say the least.

"American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century."
(Yikes! I'll try to look into the actual questions used)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More ID - Dawkins & Coyne

Today's Guardian has an article by Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne about Intelligent Design.

"[Intelligent Design] is not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one. It might be worth discussing in a class on the history of ideas, in a philosophy class on popular logical fallacies, or in a comparative religion class on origin myths from around the world. But it no more belongs in a biology class than alchemy belongs in a chemistry class, phlogiston in a physics class or the stork theory in a sex education class. In those cases, the demand for equal time for "both theories" would be ludicrous. Similarly, in a class on 20th-century European history, who would demand equal time for the theory that the Holocaust never happened?"

A glimpse of Iraq

After reading this story, one witnesses how hard times create bad situations.

"A giant new Wal-Mart was looted, and the entire gun collection was taken."

"The governor's office said looters tried to break into Children's Hospital."

If you've been living under terror for so long, terrible things are more likely to happen.

(Although unrelated, it is interesting that it might just be a matter of time until I can become Wolverine)