Saturday, September 04, 2010

Friday, September 03, 2010

Internet fun

Since you all are enjoying Xtranormal, I thought I'd offer links to all the fun free tools I know about on the web.

Memes, Macros, Etc.
Artsy stuff
Less fun but useful is this html testbed.

I will update this post occasionally, without any update notation, as I learn of new things.

A scene from Brett's life

Another shady character at the GZM

Hisham Elzanaty.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Scenes from my life

I've always wanted to be a movie director.....

I need to work on my sets and pacing. But overall, a fairly good effort I think.
I'm addicted to this site now...

Party Post...


I baked us a cake, figuratively speaking. You'll be familiar with the dialogue:

Lastly, pretend our name is Terrance:

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Guess who

For instance, she asks venue owners to “utilize…non-petroleum cups” and other “alternatives to Styrofoam” for backstage drinks. She requests they reduce their reliance on fossil fuels by using “renewable sources and/or to [buying] sustainable energy credits where possible.” She actually asked them to check with their local utility companies to see if there’s a “green power” option they can switch to during her concert. She asks for “eco-friendly cleaning and bathroom products [and] post-consumer recycled toilet paper and paper [towels].”

Answer here.

This is how you handle nuts.

The gunman was reportedly motivated by Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth eco-propaganda. Guess what? I’m not playing that opportunistic blame game here. It’s not Al Gore’s fault when an enviro-nut goes off unhinged (and I’ve said that before). The blame in this case lies with the crazy man who terrorized the Discovery Channel employees. Period.

Michelle Malkin

Update: Jim Treacher's headline:

Gun-wielding ecoterrorist calls for reduction in human population, gets wish

Venn Diagrams, part 2

I see your Venn diagram and raise you:

Re: SSJ Birthday

I remember its, er, conception as if it were yesterday.

Did anyone notice...

SSJ has it's fifth birthday tomorrow?

Silence of Left

Remember all the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing on the left during the Bush years about how horrible the deficit was? And all the blather about how expensive the Iraq war was?

We don't hear that kind of thing so much anymore.

Exactly my point

Cool Venn diagram here that makes the same point I made earlier:

Mosque developer Sharif El-Gamal

I haven't followed it closely enough to know that this guy was involved, but it looks like there is more than one shady character behind the GZM. Steph, the link is to MSM so it's safe to click through...

Rauf is a slumlord

Not only is he a shady imam, he's a slumlord to boot.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Not All Muslims

Jim Treacher:

Two men taken off a Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight in the Netherlands have been charged by Dutch police with “preparation of a terrorist attack,” U.S. law enforcement officials tell ABC News.

U.S. officials said the two appeared to be traveling with what were termed “mock bombs” in their luggage. “This was almost certainly a dry run, a test,” said one senior law enforcement official…

The men were identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, of Detroit, MI, and Hezem al Murisi, the officials said.

I knew it. Mormons.

All kidding aside, what’s up with this anti-Muslim bigotry? I’ve long advocated the “Not All” rule for these types of stories:

Not All Muslims Arrested on ‘Preparation of a Terrorist Attack’ in Amsterdam
Not All Muslims Kill 14 in Fort Hood Shooting Rampage
Not All Muslims Put Bombs in Underpants and Book Transatlantic Flight
Not All Muslims Fly Planes into World Trade Center, Murdering Thousands

But instead we have this 21st Century lynching party. Do you really want to live in a world where the cops can arrest guys just because they happen to be Muslim and happen to be carrying stuff that looks like bombs? And I’m sure the arresting officers will deny up and down that they’re racists.

Be advised, America: This is what happens when you let your drunks wander into mosques and pee on stuff. This is your fault.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I answer my own call to find something cuter than the baby elephant in a pool:

The videos playing on the phone are clips of Adam on Idol. The kisses at the end are the cutest thing ever.

This is old, but I was just reminded of its existence.

NPR's 50 Great Voices Series

As noted below, NPR is doing a series on great voices in recorded music over the decades. One episode airs each week. Here's who they've covered so far:
  1. Radmilla Cody: Two Cultures, One Voice (May 10, 2010)
  2. Enrico Caruso: And Confessions of an Operaholic (May 17, 2010)
  3. Lydia Mendoza: The First Lady of Tejano (May 24, 2010)
  4. Janis Joplin: The Queen of Rock (June 7, 2010)
  5. Sandy Denny: Mercurial Queen of British Folk Rock (June 14, 2010)
  6. Donny Hathaway: Neglected Heart of Soul (June 21, 2010)
  7. Lauren Hill: The Many Voices of... (June 28, 2010)
  8. Fairuz: Lebanon's Voice of Hope (July 12, 2010)
  9. John McCormack: The Charming Irish Tenor (July 19, 2010)
  10. Khaled: The King of Rai (July 26, 2010)
  11. Biggie Smalls: The Voice that Influenced a Generation (August 2, 2010)
  12. Bjork: A Celestial Voice (August 7, 2010)
  13. Twinkie Clark: Riffing on Gospel (August 23, 2010)
  14. Ima Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans (August 23, 2010)
  15. Freddie Mercury: Rock 'N' Roll's Humble Showman (August 30, 2010)

Freddie Mercury

NPR is doing a series on great voices across the decades. Today aired an episode about Freddie Mercury. Adam is one of the people interviewed. He talks about his study of Freddie's voice. He demonstrates a little something about the long-held "wooooorrlld" in We Are the Champions.

Re: This just in

I hope that for today at least that percentage is somewhat better than 99.9% of 1.5B.

I'm not really inclined to jump in to anything GZ Mosque related due to deep ambivalence.

BUT, I met a jenuwine Islamophobe the other day. She's an occasional bridge partner of my mom's and she stopped by after they last played.

She lived in Rhodesia, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Egypt during the 60s, 70s and 80s and had the misfortune of witnessing a couple of behandings.

Granted seeing that could color anybody's opinion but she loathes anything Muslim of any stripe.

To make things a little more interesting, she's also an atheist, Randian libertarian.

Judea Pearl has an explanation

While I await Steph's explanation of what she means by "unconstitutional" reasons, here's Judea's Pearl take:

I have been trying hard to find an explanation for the intense controversy surrounding the Cordoba Initiative, whereby 71 percent of Americans object to the proposed project of building a mosque next to Ground Zero.

I cannot agree with the theory that such broad resistance represents Islamophobic sentiments, nor that it is a product of a “rightwing” smear campaign against one imam or another.

Americans are neither bigots nor gullible.

Deep sensitivity to the families of 9/11 victims was cited as yet another explanation, but this too does not answer the core question.

If one accepts that the 19 fanatics who flew planes into the Twin Towers were merely self-proclaimed Muslims who, by their very act, proved themselves incapable of acting in the name of “true Islam,” then building a mosque at Ground Zero should evoke no emotion whatsoever; it should not be viewed differently than, say, building a church, a community center or a druid shrine.

A more realistic explanation is that most Americans do not buy the 19 fanatics story, but view the the 9/11 assault as a product of an anti- American ideology that, for good and bad reasons, has found a fertile breeding ground in the hearts and minds of many Muslim youngsters who see their Muslim identity inextricably tied with this anti-American ideology.

THE GROUND Zero mosque is being equated with that ideology. Public objection to the mosque thus represents a vote of no confidence in mainstream American Muslim leadership which, on the one hand, refuses to acknowledge the alarming dimension that anti-Americanism has taken in their community and, paradoxically, blames America for its creation.

The American Muslim leadership has had nine years to build up trust by taking proactive steps against the spread of anti-American terror-breeding ideologies, here and abroad.

Evidently, however, a sizable segment of the American public is not convinced that this leadership is doing an effective job of confidence building.

In public, Muslim spokespersons praise America as the best country for Muslims to live and practice their faith. But in sermons, speeches, rallies, classrooms, conferences and books sold at those conferences, the narrative is often different. There, Noam Chomsky’s conspiracy theory is the dominant paradigm, and America’s foreign policy is one long chain of “crimes” against humanity, especially against Muslims.

Affirmation of these conspiratorial theories sends mixed messages to young Muslims, engendering anger and helplessness: America and Israel are the first to be blamed for Muslim failings, sufferings and violence.

Terrorist acts, whenever condemned, are immediately “contextually explicated” (to quote Tariq Ramadan); spiritual legitimizers of suicide bombings (e.g. Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi of Qatar) are revered beyond criticism; Hamas and Hizbullah are permanently shielded from the label of “terrorist.”

Overall, the message that emerges from this discourse is implicit, but can hardly be missed: When Muslim grievance is at question, America is the culprit and violence is justified, if not obligatory.

True, we have not helped Muslims in the confidence-building process. Treating homegrown terror acts as isolated incidents of psychological disturbances while denying their ideological roots has given American Muslim leaders the illusion that they can achieve public acceptance without engaging in serious introspection and responsibility sharing for allowing victimhood, anger and entitlement to spawn such acts.

The construction of the Ground Zero mosque would further prolong this illusion.

If I were New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I would reassert Muslims’ right to build the Islamic center and the mosque, but I would expend the same energy, not one iota less, in trying to convince them to put it somewhere else, or replace it with a community-managed all-faiths center in honor of the 9/11 victims.

Fellow Muslim Americans will benefit more from co-ownership of consensual projects than sole ownership of confrontational ones.

[Emphasis added]

This just in

About 1.5 BILLION Muslims did nothing violent today. Or yesterday. Or the day before that . . .

Imagining with reason

Paul Mirengoff:

Since [9/11], we have learned that the radical ideology behind 9/11 is not quite as alien as we thought. Some portion of the American Muslim community - presumably small, but we don't know how small - is drawn to it.

Moreover, what looks like a considerable portion of those who hold themselves out (and are held out by the MSM) as leaders of American Muslims refuse to disassociate themselves from terrorist groups. They don't countenance al Qaeda, though they do blame America for that outfit's terrorist acts. But they won't repudiate other bloody terrorists, notably Hamas.

Thus, while only the most highly informed Americans probably could have imagined terrorist plotting or even pro-terrorist rhetoric in an American place of worship back in 2001, many can imagine it now, and with reason.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Agility training: Tracy Sklenar

I’ve now had two episodes of having my mind blown about dog training. The first was the first time I saw free-shaping demonstrated. (We’ve talked about free-shaping here several times.) The second was last weekend. I audited one day of a weekend course given by Tracy Sklenar on handling skills for agility. Tracy is a nationally-known expert who has competed with her own dogs at world championship levels.

Before I describe what I learned, though, you need a little background. Before I started agility training, the only agility competition I’d seen was the very high level competition that gets television coverage. I was amazed at two things: that a dog can be trained to weave in and out of poles and that a dog can be trained to run across a teeter totter. While these are the most challenging obstacles to master, teaching a dog these maneuvers is a piece of cake compared to what the core of the training is about. The real challenge is “handling” which is communicating to your dog where they’re supposed to go as they run the course and for this communication to be timed right and clear made clear so that the dog can run the course as fast as possible without making mistakes.

What I’ve been taught to do and what I’ve been doing to date has been pointing at obstacles and calling its name as I run the course (“Jump!” “Tunnel!” “Teeter!”). Tracy Sklenar teaches that you should instead only point and call out the names of obstacles in specific circumstances, and never point or name obstacles when the obstacles are on a line that you’re already running or a gentle arc. So that seems impossible, right? How will the dog know where to go if you don’t point at things or call out obstacles?

She teaches that your dog should have two modes when running a course: extension (running all out) and collection (wherein your dog slows, gathers its feet and gets its balance to be able to turn or jump). She teaches that you cue extension entirely through the way you move your own body. It needs to look to the dog like you are running all out. You should be in a leaning-forward posture and should pump your arms and take big steps. If you don’t have room to run all out, then fake it, taking high steps, rather than long ones. Your dog, partly as a result of practicing this but largely as a result of what he/she has observed about how humans run, will understand that this means “run as fast as possible along a generally straight or gently-curved line, taking any obstacles in this line. If I need you to turn, I will let you know.” By not using your arm when you’re running on straight lines your dog doesn’t have to turn his head to focus on your arm and can confidently run straight ahead.

To cue the dog to collect, you use a deceleration cue. The “decel” cue is to stand straight up and put out an arm or finger. At all times when running agility, you should be watching your dog, but you may need to be especially intense about it (i.e. turn your shoulders toward the dog, lower your chin to your shoulder or chest so that your face is square to them) during a decel cue.

I tried this with Karma at practice this week. Even though we’d never practiced running without pointing/naming, we didn’t have a single miscue when running in extension mode. This was completely amazing to me.

Lots more for another day.

I KNEW that Republicans/conservatives were mean, stupid, and evil.


And now the mosque near ground zero. The intelligentsia is near unanimous that the only possible grounds for opposition is bigotry toward Muslims. This smug attribution of bigotry to two-thirds of the population hinges on the insistence on a complete lack of connection between Islam and radical Islam, a proposition that dovetails perfectly with the Obama administration's pretense that we are at war with nothing more than "violent extremists" of inscrutable motive and indiscernible belief. Those who reject this as both ridiculous and politically correct (an admitted redundancy) are declared Islamophobes, the ad hominem du jour.

It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" - blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims - a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?

The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama overread his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.