Friday, September 28, 2007

Two-headed turtle

Check this out! It's a two-headed turtle! Freaky!

As it is, turtles don't go anywhere fast - how will this turtle(s?) get around? Sideways?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Black Velvet Art

Check this out! You can make your own mini black velvet art!

It includes the velvet, paints, brush, and a booklet about black velvet art. The art is of a matador, a sad clown, and a beach scene. I bought one to try it out, and when I get them painted, I'll let you know how they turn out. :-)

Or rather, I'll shoot pics of them and then post them. This may be the start of a new career! :-D

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NY Times says MoveOn ad was a "mistake"

This blog entry is going to start an ongoing series of entries that will appear as often as needed when the news media makes the news. It's an unwritten rule somewhere that the news business should only report the news, and that the news business should not BE the news. But sometimes, the news media screws up, and their errors make the news. Reporting the news is an ongoing experiment, and it is a fine balance of reporting the facts without affecting the facts. So when the news makes the news, then it must be reported as soon as possible so as to fix any problems caused by the media.

The reason for that is because it is said that the only commodity that the news business sells is the truth. When a mistake is discovered, then it must be revealed and dealt with rather than let it sit and get worse. The best recent example of not fixing a mistake and letting a problem get worse is Dan Rather's "Memogate." When a given media outlet like CBS during "Memogate" delays too long in correcting their mistakes, then they only make themselves look worse. Professional news outlets must deal with the problem as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Now let's go on to a good example of dealing with a problem.

Earlier in the week, the New York Times said that it made a mistake giving the online group, (known to be a liberal activist organization), a price break from its usual rate for posting a full-page ad on a specific date. MoveOn has already paid the $77,000+ difference.

There's a familiar phrase that comes to mind: "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission." Why do I mention this phrase? Because I think that that's what happened here. Apparently, the ad department of the NY Times thought that they could get away with giving a discount rate to a group that largely aligns with their political leanings. However, in this day and age, that can't be done, especially with so many conservative groups just waiting for any excuse to slap the "liberal bias" label onto a media outlet that seems to fall into that trap.

Fortunately, the NYT dealt with the problem right away and MoveOn paid the difference that was due. That's the best thing to do. Take care of the problem, make your apologies, make amends, and then move on. It's that easy. The stupid thing to do is what CBS did: deny and obfuscate and make things worse. To deny a mistake that is obvious is to come across as arrogant and clueless. Hopefully the NYT saw what happened to CBS and learned from their mistake.

The news business, like any organization run by humans, makes mistakes. The readers and viewers of the media must accept that, and be willing to forgive when a news outlet makes a mistake and makes amends for their errors. However, the news outlet must also be willing to admit mistakes. That has to come first.

And now, along with certain watchdog groups out there keeping the media on their toes, I'm also on the lookout! ;-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

3 months from now... will be Christmas Day. Now is the time to start planning your shopping, because you KNOW that Christmas Day will be here before you know it.

As for me, I mainly have some kiddos to buy for, because I have a reputation as the "cool uncle", so I got to find stuff that will help me maintain that well-deserved reputation. Cool uncles like me take the time to do the research to find the kinds of stuff that makes cool uncles cool. Trust me, I'm a pro at this. :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My conservative views

Before any more time passes, let me go over my conservative views as I've said that I'd do this month (boy, the month is going fast!). Remember that last month I posted my liberal views, and next month will be my views that don't fall neatly on one side or the other. Anyway, on to my conservative views, which I shall touch on briefly.

1.) I am opposed to legalized abortion

If you don't know this about me already, then you haven't been reading my blog! It's even posted on the blurb underneath my picture! Rather than go over what I've covered before, let me just say in short that I believe that life - the kind that is constitutionally protected - begins at conception. From a scientific standpoint, when the sperm meet the egg, they combine to become a genetically unique individual that is separate from the mother and the father. Nothing changes that. The genetic code that the unborn had at conception is going to be the same genetic code that will be present during the pregnancy, and after birth. To try to see the unborn as anything other than human is to discriminate against it for things that are beyond its control, and that type of discrimination is exactly what liberals in recent decades have been fighting. So why are they stopping short on the unborn?

2.) I am opposed to a federal-level program of socialized medicine

Hillary Clinton recently announced her desire to restart her failed attempt at socialized medicine if she is elected president. In a previous blog entry on this topic, I stated that I believe that such health programs should be left up to the states as to the type of HMOs that they will carry. For instance, if New York or California wanted to have socialized medicine in all its glory, then they could have it in their respective states, with their taxpayers paying for it. However, if Texas or Florida wanted to have a plan in which private insurance companies manage most of the health care, then it can be so with them. The only stipulation that the feds could have is that everyone must be covered - they'll just leave it up to the individual states as to how that's done. This way, each state can experiment with various HMO plans to see what works best rather than a grandiose federal plan being imposed from above, which would be pretty much guaranteed to fail.

3.) I am opposed to pulling out of Iraq right away (Note: this does NOT mean that I favor the war going on there)

This is another topic that I've covered previously on my blog. In short, I opposed invading Iraq because I am generally anti-war. However, we invaded, we overthrew the power structure there, and now we are the power structure there. To leave now would be to leave a power vacuum that will be filled by various terrorist groups, thus making Iraq into even more of a quagmire than it is now. I do want a withdrawl from there, but it has to be done right in which the Iraqis are able to take care of themselves. It may take awhile, because unlike us who have been a democracy for over 200+ years, the Iraqis are learning about being a democracy from scratch. They need time to learn, and we have to be patient to give them that time.

4.) I favor tuition or education vouchers

The approach that we need to take is the GI Bill approach. With the GI Bill, the money was given to the troops to use in the university of their choice, and no requirements were attached to the money that the university accepting it had to abide by various gov't regulations. What's important is that our children get the best education possible. We can't afford (on many levels) to continue holding our children hostage to teachers' unions and gov't bureaucrats who refuse to change with the times. Our children and their parents must have alternatives available. The "right to choose", in other words, needs to extend beyond abortion. If I were running for office, I would call my tuition voucher a "limited use tax refund" that could only be spent on an educational institution. It would be a tax refund much like the tax refund you get from the IRS, which you are free to spend as you please. Thus it would be so with my limited use tax refund.

The above is what I listed in my initial post on this topic. If I think of more, I'll post those as well.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Funny money: $5 to get redesigned

It's like an episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", except it's for a dead president. The U.S. $5 bill is getting redesigned in order to make it harder to counterfeit.

Below is an image of the new bill. It is rather colorful, isn't it? Read the article linked above to see just how much the engravers go through in order to make the bill harder to counterfeit. Thing is, no doubt some counterfeiter will learn how to counterfeit even this new bill.

Even so, all the trouble that a counterfeiter goes through to make a counterfeit bill makes me wonder why he (or she) even bothers. Heck, any yutz or yahoo working at Wal-Mart makes 5 bucks in one hour with much less trouble than a counterfeiter goes through making the fake $5 bill. Maybe it's the challenge that drives them, I don't know. Or maybe they don't want to work at Wal-Mart.

But I would rather work at Wal-Mart and make my 5 bucks the right way, than to risk government goons breaking down my door and hauling me off to who-knows-where. And who knows what they'd do to you? My hyperactive imagination pictures being tied to a chair in a dark room with only a spotlight above, being worked over by sadistic government thugs as they pry you for info on who you're working for and how to find other counterfeiters.

Then they'd drag you over to some sort of examination room where a large woman with rubber gloves gives you a BCS (body cavity search), followed by a doctor who pumps you full of truth serum so that you'll be singing like a canary by lunchtime. Then after that is another session by the goon squad in the interrogation room. After you spill the beans, then you'll be hauled off to some federal prison where you'll live out the rest of your life as someone's girlfriend.

Yep, working at Wal-Mart for your 5 bucks is looking a lot better now, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Animator vs. Animation

The guy who did this is very, very clever!

Animator vs. Animation

The View is lost to Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow has refused to appear on the television show, The View, because of his disagreements with one of the hostesses, Elizabeth Hasselbeck. This is despite the fact that he has appeared before on The View with Hasselbeck on the show. Apparently, he's still miffed over the spat that Hasselbeck and Rosie O'Donnell had earlier in the year which led to Rosie's departure.

I can only call this refusal silly, because it accomplishes nothing positive, and it makes people of his political leanings - liberal Democrat - look like sore and petty losers. Rosie's problems preceded her spat with Hasselbeck, and in truth, Rosie was to blame for the problems she found herself in, not Hasselbeck. And Rosie then promptly quit rather than go on. There's a term for this: Rosie could dish it out, but she couldn't take it. Anyone who is going to be as outspoken as her needs to develop a hide of iron, or they won't last long at all.

As for Barry, instead of pulling this silly stunt of his, he should have gone on anyway and, while onstage, he could have made some kind of statement that he misses Rosie being on the show or a statement like that. He could have sang that song of his that has the lyrics "I can't laugh, and I can't sing. I'm finding it hard to do anything" and dedicate it to Rosie.

I doubt that Hasselbeck was hurt or even felt guilty over Barry's stunt. It says more about him than her anyway. Bad move, Barry.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Internship at an opera house

While at work earlier today, I saw a flyer advertising for internship at the Fort Worth Opera. It made me wonder what it's like working at the opera. Do they sing in opera style, even in the offices? Imagine the following scene.


(Boss comes in with sheet)

Boss (to office assistant): I need this memo sent by fax today.
Office Assistant: By today?

B: By today.
OA: By today?

B: Yes, I need it sent by fax todaaaaaaaaaaay.
OA: I can't send it by today.

B: You can't send it by today?
OA: Not today.

B: Not today?
OA: No, I can't send it by todaaaaaaay.

B: Why can't you send it by today?
OA: Because the fax machine is in the shop.

B: In the shop?
OA: In the shop.

B: The fax machine is in the shop?
OA: Yes, the fax machine is IN THE SHOOOOOP.

B: Well, then can you send this by e-mail?
OA: By e-mail?

B: Yes, can you send this by e-mail?
OA: Yes, I can send this by e-mail.

B: Then send it by e-mail.
OA: I shall send it by e-mail.

B: By e-mail.
OA: By e-mail.

B: Send it by e-mail
OA: I shall send it by e-mail.


Chorus: By e-mail, by e-mail, it shall be sent by e-mail. (repeat)


I don't imagine that they get a lot done, but it must be very entertaining, nonetheless.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Recent column gets LTTE

Hey, folks! My recent column got a Letter to the Editor! It's attached below:


Change the Law

To the editor: John P. Araujo’s “On Second Thought” column (“Guilt by Association,” Aug. 29, 2007) was a well-documented explanation regarding the effect of Texas’ “law of parties” statute — particularly in the case of Kenneth Foster, the condemned man whose death sentence was based on this archaic measure.

The law was a knee-jerk response by legislators to Texas’ rising murder rate and was intended to curtail recidivism. It hasn’t helped. This law has too wide a brushstroke and is too broadly interpreted. Gov. Rick Perry was just and correct in commuting Foster’s death sentence to life, on the day marked for his execution.

This case is a blueprint for new legislation that should be passed and implemented posthaste. Our legislators need to look at our entire system of criminal justice for other abuses like this. They should abolish the section of the penal code that allows for prosecution of a person for a crime that his or her co-conspirator committed, even if the first defendant never intended or agreed to the second crime.

By employing this conspiracy liability statute, the state is able to make persons eligible for the death penalty on a standard no greater than negligence — based on the premise, as Foster’s federal appellate attorney wrote, that a defendant should have anticipated his conspirator would, in the course of a planned felony, kill another person.

Foster has his attorney and the news media to thank for getting the wheels of justice to turn in the right direction.

Faith Ibarri
Fort Worth

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 anniversary

Once again the 9/11 has rolled around again, and my thoughts go back to that terrible day.

On that terrible day, we were all united, but now, a mere 6 years later, we are divided in ways that would have been unimaginable during WWII, and even as recently as 6 years ago. The really sad thing is that the divisions are largely political. Let’s take some of those criticisms in brief:

1.) Bush rushed us into Iraq on the false premises that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. In short, “Bush lied, people died.”

2.) This war is only about oil and benefitting the oil barons of Halliburton

3.) Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks so that he would have his excuse to go to war in Iraq.

Among others, of course, but the above three criticisms are the most often cited in discussions about Bush from the left wing. First, the idea that Hussein had WMDs preceded Bush's term in office, so that makes the criticism of Bush lying about WMDs invalid.

Next, while criticism of Halliburton taking advantage of the situation (as well as VP Cheney's connection to Halliburton) is valid, stating that we went to war for Halliburton is not. If there's proof that we went to war for Halliburton, then it needs to be presented; otherwise this particular criticism needs to die.

And last, the idea that Bush somehow conspired to make 9/11 happen is so stupidly absurd that I can't believe that anyone believes it; let alone a group of people that tends to pride itself on its intelligence. There's only one question that needs to be asked here to see the absurdity of these conspiracy theories of Bush planning 9/11: What possible benefit would come of Bush to arrange for the deaths of thousands of his countrymen and women?

If Bush did plan something like that just for the sake of some political edge, then he really would be as stupid as his critics claim. That Bush's critics are willing to believe such an absurd and stupid conspiracy theory demonstrates that they are not as above their emotions as they'd like to believe. Basically, they're letting their hatred of Bush compromise thier logic and reasoning.

This is not to say that Bush does not deserve criticism at all. Far from it. One, what is our exit strategy? Did Bush have one going in? Two, what if the Iraqis want us out? Are we going to leave? Three, did Bush really believe that all it would take is for us to go depose Saddam Hussein and that the Iraqis would fall all over themselves in gratitude? Was no consideration at all taken that the Iraqis may not have wanted us there in the first place?

Those are three criticisms off of the top of my head that I think are much more valid to ask than the previous criticisms that I listed. They're more focused and direct on the issue of the Iraq war itself rather than on stupid conspiracy theory fantasies of Bush planning the deaths of thousands of Americans only to benefit his re-election campaign.

Had the left-wing critics kept their focus on the matter, they wouldn't be coming off as delusionary ranters right now. They made this personal and lost their sense of reasoning. They let their anger consume them, and from a psychological standpoint, it's never wise to let your anger consume you, nor to let your hatred guide your actions.

On the anniversary of that terrible day, let's honor the memory of the victims of 9/11 by continuing our pursuit of justice for their murders, but let's conduct ourselves in such a way that leads to truly productive results instead of mindless ramblings that do nothing to fix problems that arise in our pursuit of justice.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Captions for famous paintings

As promised in a previous post, below are your first attempts at creating captions for the famous paintings below.

First up is Edvard Munch's The Scream:

Next up is Vincent Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet:

Send your captions to me for one or both of these paintings, and later I will post some of the best ones here, as well as my own ideas for captions. Just click the "Comments" link below this blog entry to submit your caption ideas to me.

And most importantly, have fun with this!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Editorial statement for September 2007: My conservative views

Last month I discussed my views which would be recognized as liberal. This month I will discuss my views that are considered conservative. I won't be discussing those particular views in detail here, but rather throughout the month like I did last month. However, I will list those conservative views here so that you know what's coming up later.

My conservative views:

1.) I am opposed to legalized abortion
2.) I am opposed to a federal-level program of socialized medicine
3.) I am opposed to pulling out of Iraq right away (Note: this does NOT mean that I favor the war going on there)
4.) I favor tuition or education vouchers

There are others, of course, but those are the four that I could think of off of the top of my head. If I think of others, I'll just make them as separate posts rather than make a new list.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

My second liberal view: Corporate greed

I'm finally getting to the second liberal view that I had been meaning to get back to for quite a few days. That is the many instances of CEOs and other corporate bigshots who give themselves whopping raises while cutting salaries of their employees, if not shipping their jobs overseas and laying their employees off. First, I understand that these companies are private businesses and that they can do what they want, including indulging in sickening examples of avarice.

However, it's more than just a touch of chutzpah to rake in all that money while telling your employees that the company will need to make cutbacks by cutting their pay or their jobs. It's also bad when companies then complain about the lack of company loyalty. Loyalty works both ways. I tried to find a website that posted such examples, but I didn't find one in my initial search, which is one reason why it took me so long to make this second post. If there is such a website out there, then they need to make themselves more visible. I can't believe that some liberal out there hasn't thought to do this already. If and when I find such a site, I'll post a link here.

What I should have done is look for the stories that provided examples of what I'm talking about and linked them here. I'll do that later so that I can make a more thorough post on this topic. But the examples that I had come across before would make you sick to your stomach. The solution to dealing with something like is NOT government intervention, but rather public exposure. The press, in other words, needs to put the word out on such examples of runaway greed. And a prominent website needs to make itself known as a reference for such examples. Maybe I'll do this myself. Hm......