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Archive for September, 2008

Via BoingBoing.

The International Olympic Committee has trademarked a line from the Canadian national anthem, “with glowing hearts,” and is threatening to sue anyone who uses the line in Canada, as part of the Vancouver Games.

This is par for the course. The IOC is a corrupt, bullying, greedy, hypocritical organization that uses trademark laws to limit the free speech and commerce of people who have the misfortune to attend or live near the games — for example, in Athens, they forced people to take off or cover up t-shirts that had logos for companies that hadn’t paid to sponsor the Olympics; and in Washington, they attacked decades-old businesses named after nearby Mount Olympia.

Read about The Olympic Mountains and the IOC here.

. VANOC would only challenge the commercial use of the mottoes if a business began using them to create a specific, unauthorized commercial association with the 2010 Winter Games, said the statement.

O Canada is over 100 years old and, according to the Department of Canadian Heritage, is in the public domain so may be used without permission from the government.

The committee is so serious about protecting the Olympic brand it managed to get a landmark piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons last year that made using certain phrases related to the Games a violation of law.

The list includes the number 2010 and the word “winter,” phrases that normally couldn’t be trademarked because they are so general.

The least they could do is copywrite something they actually wrote.

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The dolphin diet. Well, not really meant for people…

Dolphins at a Japanese marine park are going on a low fat diet after developing pot bellies and failing to look sharp in their aquatic performances.

Kinosaki Marine World in western Japan said Tuesday that all its 19 dolphins have been on a low fat diet since late August, when they started failing to hit jumping targets and keep upright while treading water.

“We were puzzled by their poor performance, then we noticed they looked rounder,” said park spokesman Haruo Imazu.

Keepers measured their weight and found all had gotten plumper, some up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms) heavier just during the summer.

All had the same menu — about 31 pounds (14 kilograms) of mackerel mixed with some white fish — but keepers found the mackerels had gotten fattier, adding too many calories for the dolphins.

Photo via Rosidae’s photostream on Flickr.

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…it will be the media’s fault.

I’m sensing something like how the media was at fault for the end of Paul McCartney’s marriage to Heather Mills, and how it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mills was bat shit crazy.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney and his second wife, Heather Mills McCartney, said Wednesday that they are separating after nearly four years of marriage, blaming intrusion from the media and insisting their split is amicable.

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Melamine baby plates

I was shopping for a baby shower gift when I saw these melamine baby plates. Melamine is the additive that has sickened and killed pets across the U.S. and now babies in China. The fact that the same product used in plates is found in baby formula and pet food says a lot about what type of product this is. Curious that no one has questioned the safety of it on a plate.

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Here’s a random post for a Sunday. I love the banjo.

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RIP Paul Newman

1925-2008

Here’s a clip from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

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Putin rears his head

Via BoingBoing.

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Those scary Canadians

As if John McCain insulting Spain wasn’t enough, Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric shows her equating her neighbor Canada with Russia.

Couric: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don’t know, you know? Reporters–

Couric: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

As a Washington state resident, I too am next to Canada. In fact there are a lot of states right next to Canada. It reeks of “I don’t much but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

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I’ve always assumed that the reason why the Republican base didn’t like John McCain was because of his so-called maverick tendencies, but then the last eight years have shown McCain not to be a maverick at all and as this election wears on I’m more inclined to call it pure folklore.

But what if that was never the reason at all? What if they knew him to be self-centered, unreliable, capricious, impulsive, temperamental, manic, a crazy nut case, and finally the type of person who runs when the going gets tough.

We the American people who’ve never met this guy didn’t really get it. Now I can see why the base was so desperate to see Mitt Romney get the nod.

He also dodged a debate in 2000:

“Clearly, this is more double-talk from the McCain campaign,” said Alixe Mattingly, a spokeswoman for Bush. “Pulling out of this debate at the last minute is an indication that they’re pulling out of California, where McCain’s antagonistic message clearly isn’t working.’

Could the Republicans have also had their hands tied by McCain’s national hero label?

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Glenn Greenwald changes his opinion on Sarah Palin:

But Sarah Palin’s performance in the tiny vignettes of unscripted dialogue in which we’ve been allowed to see her has been nothing short of frightening — really, as I said, pity-inducing. And I say that as someone who has thought from the start that the criticisms of her abilities — as opposed to her ideology — were much too extreme. One of two things is absolutely clear at this point: she is either (a) completely ignorant about the most basic political issues — a vacant, ill-informed, incurious know-nothing, or (b) aggressively concealing her actual beliefs about these matters because she’s petrified of deviating from the simple-minded campaign talking points she’s been fed and/or because her actual beliefs are so politically unpalatable, even when taking into account the right-wing extremism that is permitted, even rewarded, in our mainstream. I’m not really sure which is worse, but it doesn’t really matter, because with 40 days left before the election, both options are heinous.

I too am perplexed with her performance. I may be giving her too much credit, but I’m having trouble believing she would be this bad if left to her own devices. I cannot conceive of a state electing a person to its highest office someone who when contradicted repeats word for word their previous answer as if they were a record player. Her handling reminds me of the assistance Katie Holmes received in her early days of Scientology.

Everyone is asking: how bad can the real Sarah Palin actually be? Without seeing it we are left to think it is even worse than what we are seeing. That scares me. You can watch some clips of the interview at balloon-juice.

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Everyone’s posting it so why not me?

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Here’s an interesting article on parents who use corporal punishment in order to discipline their children. Instead of looking at the psychological affects on the child, it looks at the psychological and “addictive” affects on the parent.

But parents keep on hitting. Why? The key is corporal punishment’s temporary effectiveness in stopping a behavior. It does work—for a moment, anyway. The direct experience of that momentary pause in misbehavior has a powerful effect, conditioning the parent to hit again next time to achieve that jolt of fleeting success and blinding the parent to the long-term failure of hitting to improve behavior. The research consistently shows that the unwanted behavior will return at the same rate as before. But parents believe that corporal punishment works, and they are further encouraged in that belief by feeling that they have a right and even a duty to punish as harshly as necessary.

My parents very much believed in corporal punishment. In fact, I love the scene from Mommie Dearest with the wire coat hangers because it gives me slight vindication thinking that my mother’s proclivity to hit me with wire coat hangers is considered so bad that it’s the most crucial scene in a film about abuse. Does that make me weird?

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Quote for the day

Sometimes you read something that you just can’t believe.

The real estate industry expects more weak news Wednesday, when the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for August.

The housing agency’s director, James Lockhart, suggested Tuesday that mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could loosen lending standards to help more home buyers qualify for a loan and stabilize the market. The government took control of Fannie and Freddie earlier this month.

Uhhhm Mister National Association of Realtors, you don’t read the news much do you?

Photo via musicblog.

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Two weeks ago, I talked about the Japanese film trilogy The Human Condition which depicts the Japanese in Manchuria during World War II. *Spoiler alert.* There is a scene in the first film which is particularly poignant. The hero Kaji manages a concentration camp of Chinese political prisoners at an ore mine. Seven Manchurians are falsely accused of trying to escape by an over-zealous guard. Kaji tries all number of diplomatic ways to save the accused lives but all are ignored. Because of his attempts, he too is in hot water and is forced to watch the execution of all seven men. He sits and watches as the first prisoner is beheaded. Then the next. The third prisoner who we’ve gotten to know well in the film has a fiery temper. He has never trusted the Japanese. He has also fallen in love with a “comfort”(forced prostitute) woman who is also Chinese. As he is about to be executed he resists. He curses Kaji for not doing anything. He curses the Japanese. His execution does not go smoothly but he is killed nonetheless. At this moment, Kaji realizes that he must stop the executions. That in order to be a human being he must stop it. His humanity requires it. And he does stop the execution at great cost to himself.

Last week I also posted the following quote from John Ruskin:

One of the prevailing sources of misery and crime is in the generally accepted assumption, that because things have been wrong a long time, it is impossible they will ever be right.

I am feeling especially hopeless right now given the story of the Troy Davis, a man who is set to be executed within 24 hours for the murder of a policeman in Georgia. The witnesses against Davis have recanted. There is no circumstantial evidence supporting his guilt. Yet despite this every appeals court has refused to stop this execution. One of Davis’ lawyers pointed to the failure of a system that cannot, or rather refuses, to correct its errors.  Could Davis in fact be guilty? I suppose he could, but will we ever know given the fact that we refuse to investigate the witnesses’ new statements.

I might also mention that Georgia has a reputation for inequality in justice, so much so that whenever I read a blatantly racist judicial story I always think to myself: hmm must be Georgia.

What is humanity? Why do we feel so hopeless that we cannot do anything about the current state of affairs? I admit that I don’t know what to do in this case. What can we do? Where do we go from here? How do we retain our humanity?

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Michelangelo’s David in trouble

Michelangelo’s famous statue of David could collapse because of its exposure to mass tourism, Italian experts say.

They say the massive statue of the naked boy-warrior is in danger because of its size, shape and the weakness of the marble from which it was carved.

But they warn that the greatest risk comes from the footfall of many visitors who troop past it each day at Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia.

The experts want to protect the statue by insulating it from the vibrations.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed visiting Michelangelo’s David in Florence. You always expect these icons of art to be disappointing in real life. Not so with David. It’s so incredibly imposing.

Photo via HowStuffWorks.

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I’ve been reading Jon Taplin’s blog about the proposed 700 billion bailout plan. One of his commenters asked, and I’m totally paraphrasing here, given the the complexity of the situation on Wall Street and the fact that the administration allowed our markets to get into the state they are currently in, why should we believe that a bailout plan hurredly created in 5 days is going to solve the problem? It’s a good question.

Taplin’s blog is a good read for anyone interested in business.

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An interesting commercial from 1995 on a number of levels. First of all why is famous dancer Alexander Godunov from the Bolshoi Ballet selling Canadian beer? Perhaps Godunov was more of a household name in Canada? His acting career in America certainly didn’t make him a household name although he was famous for those who knew him from the American Ballet Theater.

I also find it interesting that The Smiths are playing in the background. I love “How Soon Is Now”.

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Consumerism

aka, the need to buy products. I went to the barber shop the other day to get a trim. For the past two years I have not used any conditioner after I wash my hair. You see I have extremely baby fine hair and I have more than enough natural oils to condition the hair that I have. So much so that my hair gets greasy very easily. I used to dye my hair which would give my hair a bit of texture — a common need of people with baby fine hair. One day I hit upon the idea that I would just not use conditioner.

And it’s been great ever since. My hair has texture, it doesn’t get oily so easily and my skin is also in much better condition. I felt like doing a commercial for this lackof product.

But the stylist at the barber shop was horrified. No you can’t do that, he said. I told him that I like how my hair has texture now. He whipped out a bottle of the latest texturizer and said with this you’ll have all the texture you need. Why should I use conditioner just so I have to use another product like texturizer, I said. Besides not using conditioner is all natural and organic.

I also think of all the years I used conditioner and all the money I poured into a product that I didn’t need. And all my teen years, where I had the worst skin imaginable and I poured all this money into acne prevention products.

Sometimes you just need to step back and reassess your reality.

Photo via gas13. A neat web site which shows you have to photoshop hair.

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Because of course there was never any evidence to convict in the first place. Besides the objective to eliminate the protester’s right to free speech was already accomplished.

Charges will be dropped against journalists who were arrested and charged with misdemeanors for unlawful assembly during the Republican National Convention, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said today.

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A trip to the ATM

David Horsey again.

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Happy People

Sometimes I just google words to see what comes up. I googled Happy People and got the band Yazoo from Essex. I have to admit the song gets in your head.

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Call me juvenile but I found this fake caught-on-tape interview with John McCain rather funny.

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Spain schmain

Can a man running for president of the United States really not know that Spain is in Europe? I mean prior to the Madrid attacks, they were an ally in the “war on terror”.

This conversation reminds me of the many conversations I’ve had with people when I tell them I’m from Thailand. Oh, you’re Taiwanese, they say. I had a junior high school teacher who really believed Thailand was part of Burma.

Via Americablog.

QUESTION: Senator, finally, let’s talk about Spain. If you’re elected president, would you be willing to invite President Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero to the White House to meet with you?

MCCAIN: I would be willing meet, uh, with those leaders who our friends [sic] and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion, and by the way, President Calderon of Mexico is fighting a very very tough fight against the drug cartels. I’m glad we are now working in cooperation with the Mexican government on the Merida plan. I intend to move forward with relations, and invite as many of them as I can, those leaders, to the White House.

QUESTION: Would that invitation be extended to the Zapatero government, to the president itself?

MCCAIN: I don’t, you know, honestly I have to look at relations and the situations and the priorities, but I can assure you I will establish closer relations with our friends and I will stand up to those who want to do harm to the United States of America.

QUESTION: So you have to wait and see if he’s willing to meet with you, or you’ll be able to do it in the White House?

MCCAIN: Well again I don’t, all I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us, and standing up to those who are not, and that’s judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America, and the entire region.

QUESTION: Okay… what about you, I’m talking about the President of Spain?

MCCAIN: What about me what?

QUESTION: Okay… are you willing to meet with him if you are elected president?

MCCAIN: I am willing to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for human rights, democracy and freedom, and I will stand up to those that do not.

Scary.

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I saw this while walking a friend’s dog the other day. So sad but true. You can buy it here.

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