Thursday, September 23, 2010

CNN Blogs - Media Theater?

After battling with CNN's Belief Blogs all day, trying to post well researched, cited and attributed source material in various conversations, I've pretty much given up on their site.

CNN's blogs, although they're reached via the domain name, are really hosted on  When CNN configured those blogs, they obviously built up a list of "bad words" and plugged them into wordpress' basic comments moderation system.

Which is where the problem begins.'s badword filters use a simple regexp, which reads from the badwords list one word per line.  The downside to this way of filtering, as anyone with a shred of internet history knowledge knows, is what's known as the "Scunthorpe Problem".

In essence, I wouldn't be able to post the word "Scunthorpe" on CNN's blogs as a comment, because within it, it contains a bad word.

Whoever configured those blogs for CNN should have known this would be an issue -'s settings page, where they would have had to added the list of bad words, prominently warns of the filtering methodology.  It seems CNN didn't think it was an issue and so pasted their bad words list in, one word per line, nonetheless.

Anyone with half a brain would have known that they could have easily and readily avoided the Scunthorpe Problem by the simple expedient of adding a space before and after each word on the list.  There are even text editors that could have automated this for them.

I guess they didn't have the right half of a brain available when they configured the blog.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I spoke too soon

So in a previous post I remarked that people seem to be dumber than a bucket of wet hair (or words to that effect) these days.

Man, was I ever optimistic!

Christine O'Donnell.  Ever heard of her?  No?  OK, a brief recap for those of you whose rocks you're living under don't get cable news channels.

Ms O'Donnell just won the Republican primary to run for the US Senate seat for Delaware.

OK, you ask, so what's the big deal?

Easy - Ms O'Donnell seems to make the aforementioned bucket of wet hair seem on the same level of IQ as Stephen Hawking.

That would be the guy with Lou Gherig's disease that has a greater IQ than most of the world combined.

Yes, that Stephen Hawking.

So what, I hear you ask, has Ms O'Donnell said that causes me to post about her?  I'm glad you asked!

You see, Ms O'Donnell (who, I understand, is single), appeared on a TV show many years ago (on MTV no less) and declared ... well, let me show you:

Friday, September 10, 2010

I am ...

... so fucking PISSED right now.

How did we get so far out of control that the population is not only dumber than a bucket of wet hair any more, but they're happy in their blithe ignorance?

Are people so fucking lazy any more they don't even want to think for themselves, and are content to have their minds sucked out by mass media?

We're losing control over what America is.  Fear and ignorance and doubt have the country running around like headless chickens, willing to grasp at any straw for relief, willing to blame anyone set up before them without blinking.

There are times when I truly come close to crying at the state of America.  We can't even be sure that what we think we know is what we actually know any more, or if we've been warped into a particular path by some clever psychological trickery on TV.

People are scared because the country is unstable.  When people can't be sure they'll have a job tomorrow, can't be sure they'll have a house tomorrow, can't be sure they can afford to eat tomorrow, and yes, can't be sure they won't risk dying tomorrow, they have lost control.  No-one handles that well.  It becomes natural to lash out at someone, something, in order to try and regain some semblance of control, even if illusionary.

And that gets exploited by others for their own agenda.

Why do the majority seem unable to resist this?  Are people really so desperate now that they will allow themselves to be led by the nose by anyone who sounds good on TV, or some bimbo running a website?

If the loss of control because the world is so unstable now is such a blow to people's self-esteems they have to lash out at the nearest convenient target, what will happen to their self-esteem if they realize that people are grabbing hold of that ring in their nose and pointing them at a target for someone else's agenda?

If people start waking up to how they've been manipulated, it's going to lead to an emotional meltdown that will make the economic meltdown look like a minor overdraft.

The alternative is scarier.  If people start realizing how they've been manipulated and used, their shame might lead them into remaining in that state, in denial or making like ostriches.  Then the cycle won't be broken.

How do we get people to think for themselves again?

Is it too late to stop the decline?

Just sayin'

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

OK, so I have a choice for this Sunday - go watch Danny Trejo in Machete, or go watch Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Afterlife.

It's not an easy decision.  I love both of the stars, both of whom (as far as I'm concerned) are woefully underestimated in their skills.

Resident Evil is a movie franchise I really like, although I never played the game.  Milla just rocks as Alice, the altered ass-kickin' heroine, and even though the plot tends to be kind of one dimensional (see zombie, kill zombie, rinse, repeat) there's a certain charm to the whole thing that keeps me going "ooooh".

Machete started life as a fake trailer for Robert Rodriguez' Grindhouse movie, but come on - it's Danny Trejo.  He has to be one of the most atavistic bastards on the planet!  I was sooooo pissed when they killed his character off so fast in Predators.  He deserves the title role, and Machete is a movie that he fits into perfectly.

So which one to watch is the question.  Both will make for an enjoyable afternoon's movie watching (and our local theater has some massive screens to watch either of them in).

But here's one kicker that might affect the decision - Resident Evil: Afterlife is billed as 3D.

Now I know that, after everyone saw the major success of Avatar, studios have jumped onto the 3D bandwagon again, but let's face it, their retooling of films into 3D has been atrocious so far (again!).  They seem to think adding in parallax effects, and slapping "3D" into the movie title somehow makes it a 3D movie, when it doesn't.

So I'm pretty sure Afterlife will be full of cheesy schlock homages to the bad 3D of a few decades ago, with things wavering in the picture to make you feel like it's aimed right at you - a far cry from the craftsmanship Cameron put into making the 3D of Avatar enhance the movie.

Decisions decisions.  Will Afterlife doing something cheesy just to play on the 3D thing disrupt me from the movie itself?  Is the anime/manga styled violence depicted in Machete the better choice?

I hate decisions.

Just sayin'

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why is it ...

Has anyone else noticed how all the crazies who think that the world would be better off without humans, because of overpopulation or just because they don't like humans to begin with, never make the most obvious logical conclusion and quietly dispose of themselves?

I mean, think about it - if the world is overpopulated, if we produce too many carbon emissions per person, if we just suck, aren't they themselves part of the problem, according to their own logic?

Take the case of James Jay Lee, for example.  Who is that, you ask?  You might know of him better as the guy who tried to hijack the Discovery Channel headquarters just outside DC recently.  Like all crazies, he had his own manifesto, snippet and more after the fold:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jealous much?

For some reason, people seem to think that when they have no leg to stand on to argue with someone on an intellectual level, and resort to name calling, that it's OK to try and dismiss someone just because of their disability.

Case in point, these remarks about Stephen Hawking's recent theory that God wasn't necessarily involved in the creation of the universe:

If Stephen is smart enough to figure out how the world was created, why can't he cure his own medical condition?
In the midst of incontrovertible evidence that man has—somewhere, sometime, somehow—grossly erred, this ingrate freak finally overthrows the role of a functioning brain, the one surviving human tool in this birth, and the only thing that has allowed same access to the public eye. Without the existence of God’s mercy, society could not have tolerated even the appearance of this mockery of humankind; and now the repulsive lump has rewarded ignorant evil for even that good.
Looking at Stephen Hawking in the condition he is in, I think that he could either not believe in a God who would let him be in such a state. Or he could look at his being alive and having such a brilliant mind as being a gift from God. I believe in God and evolution. And I believe they go hand in hand. But that's just my belief. If Stephen Hawking doesn't want to believe in God, that's his business. Being a Christian, I'd like everyone to come to know God and love Him. But I don't cram that down people's throats. It would be nice if everyone would just respect each other's right to their own religion or lack thereof.
(Small sample)

And people wonder why we still need the Americans with Disabilities Act!

It's a sad state of affairs when people still think they can dismiss the disabled so outrageously, especially when they're disagreeing with one of the most intelligent people on the face of the planet.

Sure, so his premise is going to cause some disagreement, but if you can't debate him on the issues (and, lets be honest here, unless you're well versed in quantum physics, you ain't gonna have much of a chance of that) don't resort to trying to dismiss him because he's disabled.

If anything, it just makes you look even worse in your own mind, because it means by default that you yourself have been bested mentally by someone you think you should be superior to.

Just sayin'

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why do men have nipples?

Hey, before you start on me, the topic is not my fault! - blame David Johnson, a comment contributor on CNN's Faith blogs.

In a discussion there entitled God didn't create universe, Stephen Hawking argues, David posted this:
You said, "Why, you ask, would God create man, in His very own image"
I've wondered about something for awhile Sarah. Why would god create man with Nipples? It would make sense if we evolved, but god must have known, men weren't going to nurse. So why do men have nipples?

Unfortunately CNN's badword filters would likely stomp on my instinctual reply, and so I post it here instead:
Guys are perfectly capable of nursing, which is cool! Turnabout is fair play.  I bet guys would be a lot less interested in making babies if they knew 9 months later they might have to take turns feeding their offspring instead of rolling over and letting their wife do all the hard work.
Not to mention they'd look really neat in nursing bras.
The alternative might be you were just given an option if you're really narcissistic and have an uncontrolled boob fetish. 
Didn't someone say God must have a sense of humor? :)
Just sayin' :)

How do you decide who to highlight?

I was wandering through CNN's Belief Blogs tonight when a new topic came up, entitled simply "Chaplain Killed In Action".  The article was a relatively lengthy one telling how U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Dale Goetz, as well as Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler, Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West, and Pfc. Chad D. Clements, all five were stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado, died when their convoy was ambushed in the 'stan on August 30th.
My point?  CNN's article on the Belief blogs was a length piece about Captain Goetz, who is the first Chaplain to have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, including quoting in full the Army's Chief of Chaplains' statement about Captain Goetz' death.  The others who died with him got one line.

One.  Line.

That annoys the hell out of me.  Yes, so Captain Goetz was the first Chaplain to be killed, and yes it's CNN's Belief blogs, which orient around religion - but one line for the four other servicemen who died?

It worries me, that somehow this is an indication that the media thinks that the only time the death of our troops should be personalized is when it's somehow a "special" event.

It worries me even more that we, the American public, look at it the same way ...

I wonder how the families of the others who died with him feel, if they read a media report that highlights just one of the casualties, goes ahead and reprints a statement from some brass, but just glosses over their loved ones.  Surely their service must have been worth the glowing words too from their brass?

Right now, with the Westboro Baptist Church gaining supporters such as the Dove World Outreach Center in their actions dishonoring our fallen heroes, we can't lose sight of the fact that every one of those heroes is someone "special", that each of them deserves equal treatment in the reporting of their sacrifices made on our behalf, for our safety, for us.

My condolences go out to the families of all of our fallen heroes, and I hope the media takes the hint and starts remembering that they're all worth the column inches.

Updated 2140 9/2/2010 CNN changed the title of the article to "For first time in Iraq or Afghanistan wars, U.S. military chaplain is killed"