The Blob

Thursday, December 26, 2002

For the most part, a complete waste of time.

I've just spent 50 minutes of my life exploring other people's blogs. Here's what I observed:

1. About 50 percent of the blogs are by 16 year old girls who cannot write a sentence without using exclamation points to end each one.
2. Blogs by teens are not written in anything approaching English. I had hoped that the Internet, e-mail and IMing would make Gen X and Gen Y more literate; sad to say, just the opposite has resulted. I'm removed one generation from people who write in abbreviations and jargon. Sad.
3. There is amazing growth in foreign language blogs. This is good. Much of it is poetry. It suggests that American kids have something to learn. Too bad I lack more foreign language skills.
4. Most of the blogs that focus on political rants and punditry are decidedly liberal.
5. Quite a few of the blogs I stopped by are personal at best and typically, hopelessly banal and downright boring.

That's not to say that I'm the last word in blogging. Far from it. But it's interesting to peer in on what others are saying. But based on what I've read, there's not much to reward your effort. Too bad.

Just a thought

Is it just me, or does anyone else find something about the terms penal code or penal colony to be utterly filthy?

Highly Recommended: Two very twisted but funny games

In my morning news perusal, I came across an article on the site titled, Michael Jackson baby-dangling video game. I am not making this up. Apparently, some wonderfully certified wackos at a site called created an online game in which the object is to catch the falling babies being tossed over a balcony by The King Of Pop himself.

This is sick. Twisted. Perverted. And hilariously funny. The worst part is that I started playing immediately. Furiously whipping my cursor to and fro, I frantically tried to catch the falling babies on my screen into a basket, while dodging the dreaded spiders he tossed with equal abandon. I scored a 650 (average parenting level).

There is something really disturbing about a society that laughs at something like this. But count me in. I'm as cynical as the next guy.

Hey, while we're on the subject of crass, tasteless and downright sexist trash, be sure to check out another game from I want Boobies for Christmas. It's a heartwarming little tale that is sure to be a holiday favorite.

Crass and disgusting this all may seem, in a bizarre way, there's something good about our ability to laugh at Michael Jackson's parenting techniques or Zen and the art of silicone mammaries. That we can laugh at absurdity is much better than the opposite: embracing a world of intolerance. To some people on the opposite side of the world from where I sit, that might be heresy worthy of a fatwah death by stoning. That only makes me laugh at them. But being able to laugh has a value that some will never understand.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Official Christmas Blog

How original of me. I'm the 347,000th person to stamp a blog on Christmas day. I won't bore you with a litany of what I got for Christmas, because I got nothing. And that's exactly what I wanted. Nothing. I'm not complaining either. Think of it this way: where would I put it?

Frankly, I can't think of anything I wanted, much less needed. Not materially anyway. Instead, what I did want was for the flu I got to end (the other week, I went in for a flu shot, and yes, it gave me the flu). I also hoped that the cold my wife is suffering from would abate. I also got one more gift: it seems so far that Mr. bin Laden and his slimeball comrades appear to be taking the day off. How thoughtful.

I am thankful for our improving health, for being able to sleep in, for being together with my wife and kitten, and for beautiful weather outside (which we will soon be strolling together under). I did buy my wife some new music, and earlier this year, we bought ourselves a new gas cooktop stove that my wife desperately wanted. To see her happy is all that I could ask for.

So I got nothing. And I'm happy about it. I wish others could feel the same way.

I wish for people to smile today, and to remember each other. I hope that you'll give someone a break in traffic. And that when you smile at someone today, that you mean it. After all, it's the little things that count.

Happy holidays. I mean that.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Merry Christmas

There. I said it. Yes, I know. It's completely, utterly and politically incorrect. I'm sure that Hillary Clinton and the Truth Police will have me dragged away for such a heinous act. But doggone it, somebody has to stand up and be counted every now and then. So please folks, may December 25 be a happy, safe and special day for you and those you love.

And Hillary, stay out of this. Please.

You Gotta Hand It To Those Crazy North Koreans

Amazing. Give some wacko the keys to nuclear weapons technology, and suddenly, they almost get respect. Will somebody please wake up Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader of the People's Republic of North Korea (not to be confused with Hillary Clinton) and let this dude know that it's almost 2003? We're faced with a country that still believes that it is 1948 and is hard at work at either trying to foment Armageddon or starve itself by force, or both.

Lately, the North Koreans have been ramping up their nuclear weapons manufacturing and increasingly belligerent threats with equal elan. Here's a sample of what I mean (courtesy of CNN):

The refusal by the United States to negotiate could lead to an "uncontrollable catastrophe," North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper has warned, stating, "If they, ignorant of their rival, dare provoke a nuclear war, the army and people of the DPRK led by Kim Jong Il, the invincible commander, will rise up to mete out determined and merciless punishment to the U.S. imperialist aggressors with the might of single-hearted unity more powerful than A-bomb."

Give me a break.

If you missed reading stuff like this in Pravda from those glorious days of the old Soviet Union, good old-fashioned Commie propaganda like that has just got to make your day. Or make you lose sleep over the possibility that a bunch of completely over-the-top wackos have their thumbs on the button. You decide.

Why on earth can't the North Koreans follow the lead of their beloved neighbor, The People's Republic of China (Incorporated) and realize that there's money to be made by being the world's factory? If the goal of the Chinese Central Committee is world domination, they're being very intelligent about it - at their current rate of progress, they will have cornered most of the world's manufacturing within a decade, or so it seems. Instead of declaring war on the rest of the world, they could launch a leveraged buyout. T Boone Pickens would be so proud.

I really don't know whether to laugh or cry. Here it is, Christmas Eve, and mixed with the sounds of the holiday season is the ever-present sabre rattling of nuclear Holocaust. Please tell me the world is more sane than this.

Merry Christmas, comrade.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Think Different. Please.

In the little time I was not sick in bed with the flu this weekend, I focused on the final proposed designs for the New York City World Trade Center. It would be an understatement to say that I was disappointed by what I saw. Yes, some of the designs are pretty amazing pieces of architecture. But if you step back for a moment, you might agree with me that the designs are all about business as usual, an in many cases, present but a token patronization of the tragic events of September 11.

Yes, I understand that there is a need to revitalize lower Manhattan. And yes, I understand the need for office space there, and the financial pressure that Larry Silverstein, who has the lease on the land that is WTC must be feeling. But all I could see was that the egos of major architects and the financial pressures coming first and foremost over any serious attempt to remember the loss of lives. Am I the only person who believes that this is sacred ground?

If you look at the plans presented, what I see is a bald attempt to build to the sky. In some ways, I think some of the proposals were setting the stage for how high all buildings should be in Manhattan. If so, I really wonder what we learned from the attacks of September 11. In fact, there were two attacks on the WTC, when you include the basement truck bombing of the early 1990s. If we build an even taller set of towers, as most of the designs propose, we may only be inviting the same disaster to happen again. After all, in the sick, twisted mind of Osama bin Laden and his demented followers, they mean to strike at the symbols of capitalism and commerce. Building to the sky would tempt them to repeat the despicable behavior. For that matter, if there was a fire on the upper floors of a 100 story +_tall tower, how could we possibly stop it? I don't think we have come up with an acceptable solution, and yet, we are proposing even taller towers.

Instead of building to the sky, why not think different? Build low. Build not a middle finger pointed to the Middle East, but instead a circular building surrounding Ground Zero, and provide this land with the dignity it deserves. Given all the entries in this competition, I am appalled at how many proposals were essentially the same idea. I hope that this collective lack of creativity will be noticed by the public and that pressure will be brought to bear on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. America, the world, and the families of the victims of September 11 deserve no less.