Monday, June 30, 2008

Not News Anymore: Diablo III Is Coming!

I was flirting with the idea I could create an isometric, hack-and-slash, action role playing game like the Diablo series of computer games. I just needed some relevant gaming engines and some grim-looking graphics. In other words, I had a pipe dream, being neither a coder nor a graphic designer. I do still have some cool concepts, regarding storyline and user interfaces - well, to me, anyway.

Salvation from my quixotic quest came the other day when I was on Facebook. I clicked on a friend of a friend's profile, who was in my local network, so I could see his profile. His status update read something like, "Excited about the Diablo 3 announcement."

I was like, "Get out!" like Elaine from Seinfeld.

And so I checked out the official preview website from Blizzard. Needless to say, when this game is released, I'll have to put being the following on hold: Independent songwriter/producer, independent filmmaker, intermediate-level stock trader (the economy sucks anyway), and loudmouth political blogger.

I'm going to be a demon-cleavin' swordsman.

Painting: "Hortus Deliciarum" by Herrad von Landsberg.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Freeway Series, Subway Series, Windy City Series, Bay Bridge Series...

This weekend is awesome for both baseball and for a few key baseball teams saving on travel costs: Dodgers vs. Angels, Yankees vs. Mets, White Sox vs. Cubs, and Giants vs. Athletics (and other teams I might be missing) in several cross-town or metro area, inter-league showdowns. Thank goodness for inter-league play, making the World Series and All-Star Games slightly less special, but shaking up baseball for the better, in my opinion.

The best part was the Dodgers quasi-no-hitting (as it was only eight innings at bat) against the Angels, yet winning! (Do a Google search for the details of this comedy for errors...literally.)

Across the pond in Wimbledon, we are getting closer to a cross-childhood bedroom showdown as both Venus and Serena Williams have both advanced in the English tennis tournament, on a trajectory toward a sister vs. sister championship match. In other words, also cool.

I'll be sure to come up with some political vitriol tomorrow or the next day; I must have tapped out from yesterday's post.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

LA Times: No McCain Endorsement from Nebraska Admiral

According to the Los Angeles Times, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel won't endorse presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, proving once again the uselessness of the current major party dichotomy, as well as the pejoratives liberal and conservative (because face it, over the past decade, both words have become synonyms for douchebag, objectively speaking). To recap: We have last election's Democratic V.P. candidate Joe Lieberman throwing frat parties with McCain; we have a supposed conservative administration spend billions of dollars and sacrifice some of the best Americans ever born in the wrong war at the wrong time (and little attention paid toward the real war/manhunt for retribution); and we have a bruised Hillary Clinton and a bloodied Barack Obama simultaneously saying, "Just Kidding!" about the last few rounds of mudslinging (as predicted). Et cetera, et cetera.

To the hard-line "conservative" bloggers (conservative as defined above): The use of the acronym MSM (mainstream media, I believe), with the insinuation that it's some sort of propaganda wing of the Soviet communist party, is totally lame. We all know that your be-hated MSM is actually the propaganda wing of corporate America - a bastion of supposed free market capitalism. And that's not a bad thing, is it? (This rant of a paragraph brought to you by the ads on this blog. Glory, glory, hallelujah...)

To the hard-line "liberal" bloggers (liberal as defined above): I beg you, please give me something interesting to read. I'm kind of bored of all the preaching to the choir, and that's why I read a lot of the conservative bloggers to boil my blood and evaluate why my opinions are right (for me, anyway).

To the moderates: There ain't gonna be any middle anymore. On second thought, it's all going to come down to the middle. (Scratch what young, early '90s Eddie Vedder said.)

To everyone: Let's all vote locally, as carefully as possible; at least in the local arena, third-party votes aren't wasted. Where I'm from, party affiliation is theoretically non-existent, or at least not labeled, in local elections. There's a slight chance for decent system reform and curve balls on the state level (i.e., Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura), but we're stuck and possibly f*cked as far as the national dichotomy for President. Choose your Senators and Representatives well, and make sure they take as much of the Federal tax pot for your state (that's what they're elected for, right?).

As for me, given the choice between a former badass who's now pandering/not pandering/not not pandering to the Bush administration and the new guy. So far, it's the new guy in the lead for my vote. Maybe when all is said and done in November, and late in January, maybe the new President will extend his hand across the aisle and reform the Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson's lore. It will be a one-party America in the form of a moderate totalitarian regime. Is a moderate totalitarian regime any less scary than all the nationalist and communist totalitarian regimes of the 20th century? It's still a totalitarian regime...

In the process of four years of either political monotony or despotic horror (or both), maybe the Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Socialists, and the reborn Christian Party (pardon the pun) - and others - will have some visibility on the national stage: Starting with the House, then the Senate, and possibly in the White House. So let it be written, so let it be done, but be careful what you wish for...

Chuck Hagel's official photo is from the U.S. Senate.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Right to Bear Arms (Bad Pun Warning!)

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individuals have the right to bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. There are a bunch of qualifiers listed in the majority decision, but here's the gist of it:

1. You have the right to pump iron, mostly French curls, but not exercise any other part of your body (at least not proportionally to all forearms-biceps-triceps training);

2. You have the right to apply hair growth hormone (if such a thing exists) on aforesaid arms and hands; and

3. You have the right to not cut your fingernails, or at least fashion them in a claw-like manner.

In short, you have the right to bear arms. Rawr. Please do not use your new bear arms to threaten one Stephen Colbert, as he is deathly afraid of bears, and possibly bear-related arms.

Bear photo credit: Jean-noël Lafargue.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Email Forwards Gone Wild

I understand satire, hyperbole, sarcasm, and humor...most of the time. I also understand that the above things truly work when everyone is in on the joke - that they understand that Statement X, followed by Punchline Y is a joke and not some sort of factual truth. However, I fear that email forwards that are meant to go from Political Subscriber A to all his/her friends of similar ideology, for the sake of like-minded humor, might become misunderstood as factual truths by some people of similar ideology. In any case, a lot of the generalizations (attempts at political humor) in these emails are pretty lame, and this goes for everyone across the spectrum. I just tend to rip apart the ones from Bush's social conservatives - the soc. cons., err, the suck 'ums? because they've misrepresented all the conservatives with whom I have had intelligent (albeit sometimes oppositional) conversations.

I'm going to analyze this email forward called "23 Ways to Be a Good Liberal," with my own personal policies italicized. I believe I found this particular version of the email in the comments section of an article at You Decide 2008 (apologies, as I have misplaced the exact URL of the article).

23 ways to be a good liberal:

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion.

If I were a despot, I'd use one of the rules found in a science fiction book about Neanderthals and humans coexisting: All bad guys must be sterilized, as well those who share half their genes (the convicts' parents and children).

Being pro-choice isn't about killing fetuses, and with all the interpretations (pejorative and sugarcoated) concerning this issue, let me say that I'll abstain from voting and let all women (and the pregnant dude on Oprah) decide this issue. I'm pro-Women-choosing-the-outcome. If only I were a despot...

2. You have to believe that businesses creates oppression and
governments create prosperity.

Bush's administration - a form of government - verges on oppression and destroyed the prosperity of the 1990s.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U. S. nuclear weapons
technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

As long as law-abiding Americans remain law-abiding (and that the laws are worth abiding by), the Second Amendment is cool with me. Also, for every "U.S. nuclear weapons technology" there's either a "Nazi nuclear weapons technology" or a "Soviet nuclear weapons technology" or a novel nuclear weapons technology. Playing keep away might not be the best national defense policy.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding.

I tend to fund my own art, thank you very much.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by documented cyclical changes in the
earth’s climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV’s.

Who cares about the cause - the effect is more important. If you're concerned about the future of humanity, learn to adapt and advance. (Read yesterday's rant.)

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.

Gender roles in a hierarchal society are governed by the norms of that very same society and are a combination of the "natural" and the "artificial" (though all humans are a part of nature, but I digress); in more basic societies (hunting and gathering, for instance), biological/anatomical differences tend to have a greater say in determining which combination of gender roles is successful. Also, there is a good chance that homosexuality could be hard-wired before birth, though I have no expertise to elaborate further on this matter.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of Federal funding.

Straw man.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can’t teach fourth graders how to read is some how qualified to teach those same kids about sex education.

Straw man.

9. You have to believe that hunters don’t care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside San Francisco do.

Straw man, now with stereotypes!

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

Plot hole.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make “The Passion of the Christ” for
financial gain only.

What are you looking at, sugar tits?

12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good
because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

The converse (or is that the inverse, or is that the opposite?) is true for most of the blogs affiliated with "stopping the ACLU."

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

It all depends whose war those taxes fund, and I rarely use an I wouldn't know.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas
Jefferson and Alexander Graham Bell.

All Americans should be important to American history, it just depends on the subject: Alexander Graham Bell and feminism? It's also interesting that the author of this blurb mentioned two women in a pejorative manner against two men.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

Questions about yachting (extreme example, I know) to determine the intelligence of non-rich students is actually classist. Universities should make their racial quotas class-based or gender-based, much to the chagrin of the probable upper-middle-class white male author of the above sentence. (The ultra rich, as well as their reptilian humanoid peers, care not for the affairs of the middle and lower classes, by the way.)

16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and a very nice person.

Ad hominem. Haven't you heard? Nobody's normal, except Average Man!

17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried is because the right people haven’t been in charge.

Socialism tends to work in some smaller localities (where it is a cooperative democracy), but not in subcontinental empires (where it becomes a form of totalitarianism).

18. You have to believe Conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.

Plot hole; ad hominem. See cocaine addict.

19. You have to believe that parades displaying people in drag, transvestites and acts of bestiality should be constitutionally protected but manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

Bestiality parade? (Can't a reptilian humanoid party hardy once in a while?) Straw man.

20. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding from the Chinese Government is somehow in
the best interest of the United States .

And the Saudis (and the hand-holding)?

21. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast right wing conspiracy.

A forwarded email is a lame excuse for a conspiracy. Instead of a smoke-filled room, we have a dim bedroom with a computer! (The reptilian humanoids are not amused.)

22. You have to believe that it’s mandatory to give Federal workers the day off on Christmas Day but it’s not okay to say “Merry Christmas.”

Straw man. It's okay to do both. If saying/not saying "Merry Christmas" hurts a business, blame the marketplace and cultural climate, but who's taking your personal right to celebrate a holiday by its traditional name or by a non-traditional name?

23. You think that Barack Obama belonging to a black-only church whose minister preaches “unabashed afrocentrism”
is OK because he’s for “change”.

See country club. (An ad hom straw man on my part, I know...)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stop 'Fighting' Global Warming, Adapt and Advance Instead

Global warming, or climate change? Man-made disaster, or cyclical natural phenomenon? Debate over, or several dissenters with valid data? If it were up to me, all the scientists could debate on the weekends (they should be doing their jobs during the work week). All the non-scientific pundits should either slant their opinion comically or not at all (okay, I'll let them have their opinions, too, albeit with their inside voices).

Anyway, a hopefully more agreeable question concerning the global environment is this: How much longer can the Earth tolerate the human race? We have to realize a few things: Humans are not distinct from the natural world, but are a part of it. (We poop too, if you need an example.) Therefore, this climate shift is a natural thing, man-made or not. While we can try to minimize most of the man-made parts, at some point, it would be foolhardy to try to "fight" nature when it has gained momentum and is approaching full force.

Do we give up? Well, hypothetical straw man questioner, I say no. We do not give up. We do two things that our direct ancestors have done to ensure their survival and your existence, dear reader:

1. Adapt; and
2. Advance.

How to adapt: Cut your energy costs by adopting newer, more efficient technologies; support anti-status quo, alternative fuel research/commerce; give birth to children with superpowers, gills, and/or wings (air conditioning powers would be ideal), and make sure they have superpowered children, too; etc.

How to advance: Master the newer technologies; make sure these adaptations are dynamic and do not stagnate as status quo; make sure your gilled kids are good swimmers and those with wings fly well; etc.

Who am I kidding? Hopefully a few of the isolated tribes of humanity will adapt and advance in ways we have neglected to do.

I'm Ryan DeRamos, and I approve this message.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dwarf Planets other Than Pluto

I vaguely remember when our pal Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status a couple of years ago, much to the chagrin to Mickey's non-anthropomorphic dog and the god of the underworld (who are probably one and the same). Apparently, I never got the memo that there's a dwarf planet named Ceres in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and there's a dwarf planet larger than Pluto, farther away from the sun than Pluto.

Check out the proportions of everything depicted above, relative to the Earth, and think of how you/I/everybody fit(s) into all of this...

Waxing poetic about the cosmos is a surefire way put to our petty, immediate, mundane, human things in perspective. I'll be back tomorrow for some probable trivia and other timely matters.

Solar System proportion diagram by NASA.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Thanks, George Carlin...

George Carlin was one of the greats, and he even pulled off a clean show as Mr. Conductor on Shining Time Station.

For you, George, let me write this compound sentence: George Carlin was as funny as f*ck, enough to make all you c*nts, c*cksuckers, and motherf*ckers sh*t and p*ss your pants with laughter; what are you looking at, sugar t*ts? (Of course, a word like piss doesn't really warrant an asterisk, but those were the seven.)

May it bode well for you in the Frisbeetarian afterlife. :-)

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Aural Xenophobia

"I'm not afraid of al-Qaeda, I'm afraid of al-Cracka," said comedian Chris Rock. Those two worlds may collide, as long as you can't hear them, according to recent news reports. Allegedly, the al-Qaeda terrorist organization has been recruiting Nordic and Alpine folk so that they can more easily attack the West.

It goes to show you that you really can't judge a person by the color of their skin, whether they are a terrorist or not. Apparently, you should be paranoid about the accent of their voice, as only al-Qaeda's AV Club President Adam Gadahn has a more-or-less Californian accent. Thankfully, I think it will be a while until we are told to be on the lookout for a Jihadist drawl that says, "Y'Allah, y'all."

Keep that in mind, racial profilers! Keep that in mind!

I'm Ryan DeRamos, and I kinda-sorta approve this message.

Adam Gadahn's DMV photo (?) is from the FBI.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Is Our Children Learning?

"What's not fine is rarely is the question asked, are, is our children learning?" said President George W. Bush. According to the news this week, let's see:

In Newport Beach, California, a couple of high school students were caught changing their grades from a below average/average grade point average (how redundant!) to something worthy of admittance to UC Berkeley. Had they hacked into the record system once, or changed their grades into something more believable - say a C into a B minus, for instance - no one would have noticed. Unfortunately, only kids with some sense would have thought that through and come up with a better deceptive plan. Then again, smarter kids have higher grades (or are never caught). Once more, if these students weren't academically strong enough for UC Berkeley, what makes them think they would be suited for that college anyway? They can't just hack their way to a degree and a career. Hacking is for middle class suburban kids and therefore not a legitimate means for underhanded success. Nepotism is where it's at, albeit only attainable by the dynastic, pseudo-aristocratic upper crust of American society.

On the other side of the country, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a large group of teenage girls allegedly made a pact to all get pregnant together so they could play doll house...for reals. Everyone, please pick and choose your heroes, or targets for emulation, carefully. For instance, the movie Juno is a movie. And new teen mom Jamie Lynn Spears is a Spears (congratulations to her, by the way, of course). Having a pregnancy pact with a town virtually full of teenage mothers pretty much puts that town at risk for being raided as a polygamist compound. At least one pregnancy was allegedly attributed to a 24 year old homeless man, and who knows? He could be the polygamist leader of the compound, err, town of Gloucester. Where's the ATF when you need them?

So, Mr. President, to partly answer your question: The 20 or so kids mentioned above are probably not learning. Then again, there are several million in America who are, and it is our responsibility as Americans to make sure they grow up in an America that encourages their growth as good Americans. And of course, an America that might give the other kids another chance, too.

I'm Ryan DeRamos, and I approve this message.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Kung Fu Pander: Offshore Drilling for Oil

If the Federal government opens up our view of the the ocean to oil companies to drink the nation's proverbial milkshake, then we might see the relief at the pump in a few years. Then again, we might see gas prices go down anyway in the future, as the demand - and also price - of dihydrogen monoxide and electromagnetic photons will rise due to newer technology making petroleum-reliant engines obsolete. Yes, my friends, the most enterprising ones of us (and the reptilian humanoids, of course) will patent, form a cartel, and license these sources of fuel to consumers - no matter how free they seem today. In the future, we'll all have to subscribe to the sun like it's cable TV, and everyone's water bill will be off the charts.

In any case, offshore drilling has little to do with relieving the current pain of the American people. Everyone, please consider this issue separate from what can be done now to help people who need to eat now and commute now and go to their jobs (if they have them) now. Yes, it's shortsighted to focus on the now, plus or minus a few months, but it's a matter of survival for many. In other words, planning for the future is good, but pandering deceptively to the American people is not. Offshore drilling won't help the current economic situation and is a separate issue, just like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were separate issues. (Zinger!) As far as government intervention goes, the truth is, little can be done now to relieve the pain of today's economy - dude, where's my stimulus check? - so feel free to be critical of the talking heads who confuse now with later, and the best interest of the energy corporations with the best interest of the American people.

I'm Ryan DeRamos, and I approve this message.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Michelle Obama on "The View": Barack Eats Bacon

On yesterday's episode of The View, there was a segment about healthful breakfast food choices. When it came to bacon, the resident Aunt Slappy (Joy Behar) asked guest co-host Michelle Obama if Barack ate bacon. Mrs. Obama responded that he did eat bacon sometimes.


Without any qualifiers, such as "turkey" or "vegetarian" or "beef," bacon usually means pork bacon. Barack Obama eats bacon, and therefore he is neither a halal Muslim, a kosher Jew, nor a vegetarian Seventh-day Adventist. (If you want to extend the argument, adhering to religious dietary prescriptions implies devoutness, and the devout are more likely to espouse a militant religious worldview. So if a person eats pork...)

Anyhow, if you haven't done so already, let's move past the question of religion, as both major party candidates bear the stain of associating with questionable religious leaders (to say the least): Rod Parsley, Jeremiah Wright, John Hagee, Michael Pfleger, etc.

Let's cut through the hearsay of others and the rhetoric of the presumptive nominees, and ask the questions that are important to your vision of America, my vision of America, and other Americans' vision(s) of America. Selfishly speaking, I want solutions to the rising costs of energy (gas), food, and health care. Outside of myself - but by no means selflessly - I want to answers about education and tracking down Osama bin Laden (you know, the first war in retaliation to 9/11), and yes, there's Iraq (the second war that could have been fought after the destruction of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization in South/Central Asia). If a future president's going to start a war, he (or she) will have to make sure the other wars involving the United States - offensive, defensive, or retaliatory - are wrapped up first.

The first one to reasonable and doable answers wins my vote. All the rest - the politics of it - is here for humor and entertainment value (nothing real). Ready, set, go!

Michelle Obama photo credit: Greg.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Congratulations to Former Clippers Doc Rivers, Sam Cassell; and the Rest of the Boston Celtics

Once again, the Los Angeles Lakers were outmatched by a better team. Team. After 22 years, the hungry Boston Celtics organization was due for their 17th Championship, on the 17th of June, after winning game six. How's that for numerology?

Former Clippers Doc Rivers (current Celtics head coach) and Sam Cassell definitely paid their dues in the other LA team (and the fact that last season's Celtics were as bad as the typical Clippers of all time).

The Big Three (Paul "Hawkeye" Pierce, Ray "B.J. Hunnicutt" Allen, and "Trapper" Kevin Garnett...okay, maybe that's not them), none of whom made it all the way previously, are deserving of the title. In a sense, they did it for all the greats who where blocked by the Jordans and Shaqs of history, for all the Karl Malones, Charles Barkleys, and Reggie Millers of NBA history.

In light of Leon Powe's victory over a lifetime of struggle, this Championship is only tasty icing.

Computer-generated Rajon Rondo dueled successfully with Kobe Bryant and is definitely deserving of his share of the title.

Etc., etc., kudos to the rest of the Boston Celtics. Even with the currently collapsed Los Angeles Lakers - no changes - I feel a rematch a-comin' in one year. And just in time, as Scott Bakula has seemed to quantum leap away from Phil Jackson and the Zen Master has returned with a possible revelation for next season.

As for Kobe, like the champion horse Big Brown, he can only hope to two out of three of a certain trifecta - a season MVP and a potential gold medal for the upcoming Olympic Games in August. It would have been sweet ad hoc triple crown, but what can you do?

In other news, I recently bought a digital television (DTV) converter using one of my two Federal government subsidies, and it's pretty awesome! I rarely state this, but thank you Federal government, for this tax dollar/debt-financed coupon!

Okay, when I said I would do a politically-tinged rant today, I actually meant tomorrow. Or the next day. Or whenever.

Doc Rivers photo credit: shaka.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lakers Call It a Season Halfway Through Game 6

Normally, I would stick around and cheer my team on and raise my blood pressure for their sake until the very end, in spite of their comedy of errors. However, after an ad hoc buffet of Buffalo wings, BBQ wings, piña coladas, etc., I have given myself to apathetic bliss and will take a nap before recording music for a film.

I'll come back tomorrow with weightier issues - me rallying against the absurdity of modern politics, with which I am also ironically fascinated.

Viva la vida.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Lakers Win First Nothing Left to Lose Game

As is, the 2008 NBA Finals is still Paul Pierce and the Celtics' series to lose, and they have two more opportunities to win the championship. With that said, it's great that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers won Sunday's game. There were a few disconcerting things about the Lakers style of play:

1. Bad defense. Blocking and stealing make for good defense. Hoping that the Celtics make a bad offensive move isn't.

2. Pau Gasol needs to step up. (And Kobe needs to be that "wannabe Jordan" Kobe for all four quarters.)

3. Sasha, don't be a hero. A good two point guarantee is infinitely better than a missed three pointer.

4. It seems like the Phil Jackson we know and love - the Zen Master - has somehow reached Nirvana and isn't coming back down to the mortal plane. In other words, who's that dude who's been coaching the Lakers as of late, with all the weird non-starter configurations? It seems like Scott Bakula's character from Quantum Leap leaped into Phil Jackson's body and is trying to make things right through Phil Jackson...but make things right for whom?

If the Celtics win either on Tuesday or Thursday, good. At least they're home to do it. If the Lakers can pull off a win on Tuesday, then there's no reason why they can't win on Thursday...

Kobe Bryant photo credit: michael248.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day; Blurbs

Personally, I'd like to thank my former boss/favorite high school teacher ever Robert Peeke for the rockin' party he threw at his place, mostly for the graduating Seniors of the high school (congratulations to them, by the way, as they were Sophomores when I played the role of "Mr. DeRamos"), but I was glad to sorta crash the party. And congratulations to my friend Whitny for getting her umpteenth postgraduate degree! Of course, I wish my dad a Happy Father's Day today.

Generally, I wish all the fathers - but really those who are dads, daddies, daddas, papas, and other endearing male parental types - out there a Happy Father's Day. Today is the appropriate day for barbecue and booze - beef and beer. Substitute those elements according to your lifestyle choice, and party responsibly yet heartily.

I think the Lakers have at least one good game left in them this season, but as you can see, I'm using pretty vague terms here: A good game could mean a close loss. I might watch the game, but then again, I might already be passed out from the day's festivities (see above) at game time.

And finally, if you'd rather have a decent representative democratic system instead of politics as usual, fight the smears...from all sides, on all sides. Listen to the facts, analyze the rhetoric, and read opposing opinions (the nuanced ones, not the demagogues) with an open mind.

Anyway, Happy Father's Day!

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thank You, Tim Russert...

Being a quasi-prolific, albeit oft-financially strapped songwriter/producer/entrepreneur - I've spent many a-Saturday night creating into the morning hours of Sunday. Come to think of it, the days of the week were only relevant when I was in college. Anyway, I knew I had been working into Sunday morning because whenever I decided to end my day by turning on the TV, there would be all sorts of religious programming, ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulis, and NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert. With apologies to George (and evidently, also to Jesus), I'd usually watch Tim's program. The format was great: Get the talking head politician (or Stephen Colbert) to discuss some issues - hopefully when they're not just lobbing ad hom attacks - in a time frame longer than what's usually allotted in the evening broadcast news. Mr. Russert did a fine job as the catalyst of discussion.

Thanks, Tim. I got a little bit more civic education right before my Sunday morning bedtime thanks to you. I hope whomever/whatever you meet in the hereafter bodes well for you.

Tim Russert photo credit: hyku.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Lakers Collapse in Game 4

Somewhere, in Boston, the fans frustrated for the first half of Game 4 are now in elation that the Celtics are now one game away from the Championship. At the same time, the fans of the Lakers are now cursing the team that gave away their 24 point lead.

I'm in the latter category.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

With the NBA, Who Needs Political Intrigue?

Convicted ex-NBA ref Tom Donaghy recently made allegations concerning corrupt officiating by the referees of the 2002 Western Conference championship between the Sacramento Kings and the LA Lakers, resulting in a Game 7 and the Lakers ultimately emerging victorious (and moving on to their 2000s three-peat). Before Tuesday's Finals Game 3, there was a lot of talk - especially in sports talk radio - about some sort of suspect officiating due to the lopsidedness of the foul calls in Game 2.

I say just let the two teams play, and may the best team win. That's all. If both teams are just as aggressive, then there would in all likelihood be nearly equitable foul trouble, and the referees would hopefully see that.

But if I were to wear a tinfoil hat, let's look at the Powe Code in Game 2:

1. ABC's broadcast contained a short biographical sketch of the struggles of Boston's Leon Powe, and his incredible victory over adversity to make it to the NBA and to the Finals.

2. Leon Powe played the game of his life ( so far, as movie Homer Simpson would say) in spite of his short time in the game (21 points in 15 minutes) and was named player of the game.

3. The officials called more fouls against the Lakers on Powe than all fouls against Boston on all the Lakers combined (if that makes any sense for those without context).

Conspiracy? I hope not. I do hope the Lakers do win the rest of their games at home.

Leon Powe photo credit: 8-Hype.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Manifest Destiny

Yesterday, I wrote:

* #75 Threatening to Move to Canada - If you mean being exiled to the far north, building a mercenary army of hosers, Inuits, and Santa's elves, and conquering everything between the North Pole and Panama due to divine mandate, then yes.
I actually meant that we're going to conquer everything between Murchison Promontory and Cape Froward, Chile. I didn't want South America to be not included in this fleeting moment of megalomania. In return, Quebec will remain Francophone, and Brazil will still have the Portuguese language. For the Hispanophones, Anglophones, etc., of the other regions - the new intercontinental official language will come down to a multistage vote:
  1. Adai: (late 19th century)
  2. Akkala Sami: Marja Sergina (2003)
  3. entire Alsean family
    1. Alsea: John Albert (1942)
    2. Yaquina: (1884)
  4. Apalachee: (early 18th century)
  5. Atakapa: (early 20th century)
  6. Atsugewi: (1988)
  7. Beothuk: Shanawdithit (a.k.a. "Nancy April") (1829)
  8. entire Catawban family:
    1. Catawba: before 1960
    2. Woccon
  9. Cayuse: (ca. 1930s)
  10. Chemakum: (ca. 1940s)
  11. Chicomuceltec: (late 20th century)
  12. Chimariko: (ca. 1930s)
  13. Chitimacha: Benjamin Paul (1934) & Delphine Ducloux (1940)
  14. entire Chumashan family: Barbareño language was last to become extinct.
  15. Barbareño: Mary Yee (1965)
  16. Ineseño
  17. Island Chumash
  18. Obispeño
  19. Purisimeño
  20. Ventureño
  21. Coahuilteco: (18th century)
  22. Cochimí (a Yuman-Cochimí language): (early 19th century)
  23. entire Comecrudan family
    1. Comecrudo: recorded from children (Andrade, Emiterio, Joaquin, & others) of last speakers in 1886
    2. Garza: last recorded in 1828
    3. Mamulique: last recorded in 1828
  24. entire Coosan family
    1. Hanis: Martha Johnson (1972)
    2. Miluk: Annie Miner Peterson (1939)
  25. Cornish: (Dolly Pentreath, last fluent speaker, died 1777) (undergoing attempts at revival)
  26. all Costanoan languages (which make up a subfamily of the Utian language family): (ca. 1940s)
    1. Karkin
    2. Mutsun
    3. Northern Costanoan:
      1. Ramaytush
      2. Chochenyo
      3. Tamyen
      4. Awaswas
    4. Rumsen: last recorded speaker died 1939 in Monterey, California.
    5. Chalon
  27. Cotoname: last recorded from Santos Cavázos and Emiterio in 1886
  28. Crimean Gothic: language vanished by the 1800’s
  29. Cuman: (early 17th century)
  30. Dalmatian: Tuone Udaina, (June 10, 1898)
  31. Esselen: report of few speakers left in 1833, extinct before end 19th century
  32. Eyak (a Na-Dené language): Marie Smith Jones, January 21, 2008
  33. Gabrielino (an Uto-Aztecan language): elderly speakers last recorded in 1933
  34. Galice-Applegate (an Athabaskan language):
    1. Galice dialect: Hoxie Simmons (1963)
  35. Jassic (17th century)
  36. Juaneño (an Uto-Aztecan language): last recorded in 1934
  37. Kakadu (Gagadju): Big Bill Neidjie (July 2002)
  38. entire Kalapuyan family:
    1. Central Kalapuya:
      1. Ahantchuyuk, Luckimute, Mary's River, and Lower McKenzie River dialects: last speakers were about 6 persons who were all over 60 in 1937
      2. Santiam dialect: (ca. 1950s)
    2. Northern Kalapuya:
      1. Tualatin dialect: Louis Kenoyer (1937)
      2. Yamhill dialect: Louisa Selky (1915)
    3. Yonkalla: last recorded in 1937 from Laura Blackery Albertson who only partly remembered it.
  39. Kamassian: (1989)
  40. Karankawa: (1858)
  41. Kathlamet (a Chinookan language): (ca. 1930s)
  42. Kitanemuk (an Uto-Aztecan language): Marcelino Rivera, Isabella Gonzales, Refugia Duran (last recorded 1937)
  43. Kitsai (a Caddoan language): (ca. 1940)
  44. Kwalhioqua-Clatskanie (an Athabaskan language): children of the last speakers remembered a few words, recorded in 1935 & 1942
    1. Clatskanie dialect: father of Willie Andrew (ca. 1870)
    2. Kwalhioqua dialect: mother of Lizzie Johnson (1910)
  45. Lower Chinook (a Chinookan language): (ca. 1930s)
  46. Mahican: last spoken in Wisconsin (ca. 1930s)
  47. Manx: Ned Maddrell (December 1974) (but is being revived as a second language)
  48. Mattole-Bear River (an Athabaskan language):
    1. Bear River dialect: material from last elderly speaker recorded (ca. 1929)
    2. Mattole dialect: material recorded (ca. 1930)
  49. Mbabaram: Albert Bennett (1972)
  50. Miami-Illinois: (1989)
  51. Mochica: ca. 1950s
  52. Mohegan: Fidelia Fielding (1908)
  53. Molala: Fred Yelkes (1958)
  54. Munichi: Victoria Huancho Icahuate (late 1990s)
  55. Natchez: Watt Sam & Nancy Raven (early 1930s)
  56. Negerhollands: Alice Stevenson (1987)
  57. Nooksack: Sindick Jimmy (1977)
  58. Northern Pomo: (1994)
  59. Nottoway (an Iroquoian language): last recorded before 1836
  60. Pentlatch (a Salishan language): Joe Nimnim (1940)
  61. Pánobo (a Pano-Tacanan language): 1991
  62. Pochutec (Uto-Aztecan last documented 1917 by Franz Boas
  63. Polabian (a Slavic language): (late 18th century)
  64. Salinan: (ca. 1960)
  65. entire Shastan family
    1. Konomihu
    2. New River Shasta
    3. Okwanuchu
    4. Shasta: 3 elderly speakers in 1980, extinct by 1990
  66. Siuslaw: (ca. 1970s)
  67. Slovincian (a Slavic language): (20th century)
  68. Susquehannock: all last speakers murdered in 1763
  69. Takelma: Molly Orton (or Molly Orcutt) & Willie Simmons (both not fully fluent) last recorded in 1934
  70. Tasmanian: (late 19th century)
  71. Tataviam (an Uto-Aztecan language): Juan José Fustero who remembered only a few words of his grandparents' language (recorded 1913)
  72. Teteté (an Tucanoan language)
  73. Tillamook (a Salishan language): (1970)
  74. Tonkawa: 6 elderly people in 1931
  75. Tsetsaut (an Athabaskan language): last fluent speaker was elderly man recorded in 1894
  76. Tunica: Sesostrie Youchigant (ca. mid 20th century)
  77. Ubykh: Tevfik Esenç (October 1992)
  78. all dialects of Upper Chinook (a Chinookan language) are extinct, except for the Wasco-Wishram dialect. The Clackamas dialect became extinct in the 1930s, other dialects have little documentation. (The Wasco-Wishram dialect is still spoken by 6 elders.)
  79. Upper Umpqua: Wolverton Orton, last recorded in 1942
  80. Vegliot Dalmatian: Tuone Udaina (Italian: Antonio Udina) (10 June 1898)
  81. Wappo
  82. Wiyot: Della Prince (1962)
  83. Yana: Ishi (1916)
  84. Yola related to English (mid 19th c.)
So let it be written, so let it be done.

By the way, I am not afraid of tomatoes.

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