December 31, 2004

Carnival of Recipes

is up.


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New Year's

Roughly 6 months ago I had a plan: 1500-1800 cal diet, walk at least 2 miles/day, weight training 3 times/week. I was trying to lose 10% body weight. I did it somewhere around October, and have slacked off since then.

So New Year's resolution: follow the same plan, lose another 10%. Possible, should take another 3-4 months. This means essentially I need to prepare my own food. Annoying, but necessary. The weight training I can do much better and more consistently than I did.

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December 30, 2004

More UN political fallout

Ok, first a UN official says that the US should send more money [later retracted]. Now, a UN official complains because the UN isn't the pointman for spending the money.
“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said. “Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme. “It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.” Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters.

She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with.

So, when can we agree that the UN is a group of fucking useless bureaucrats who are interested only in their own fame and money? If it had any "moral authority" at some point in history, it is rapidly losing such.

Hat tip: LGF

Update: The Emperor also posts on this.

Update2: as does The Diplomad

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Would you like to take a survey?

And in the category of really odd surveys, we have:

The Magic Flute
Die Zauberfloete (The Magic Flute). For a complete
synopsis, see

Which Mozart Opera Does Your Life Most Resemble?
brought to you by Quizilla

I especially liked "Is your life closer to comedy or tragedy?"

Comedy, except that considered from the central character's point of view, it ends in Hell.

Hat tip: LlamaButchers

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December 29, 2004


I haven't posted on the earthquake/tsunami partially because I didn't have internet access when it happened, partially because I have little to add. A Small Victory has a roundup of people accepting donations here, gets pissed at idiots here, and tries to comprehend the numbers here. Here we have the report on the UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs saying the US should raise taxes so it can give more aid. Here we have Tim Blair noting the unbelievable generosity of the French. Hat tips to Instapundit and Protein Wisdom.

TexasBestGrok may be having the blogospheric [is that a word? it should be] version of survivor guilt, the feeling that bad things are happening in the world so I should do something. Or he may be getting hate mail, who knows.

Once he gets to superstar fame, he might have a point. [And I'm anxiously awaiting that day too. When "Yeah, I was reading TexasBestGrok before he was a Munuvian" becomes a useful pickup line, I am so in.] But for now, hey, you've got to take care of the personal before you let the rest of the world overwhelm you.

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Disaster part2

Ok, I've got to remember to save posts before publishing them.
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December 28, 2004

Tigers, cool weapons, and the EU

That's a fun combination, isn't it? The Diplomad is on a tear, talking about that and being Jewish during Christmas too.

By the way, possible suggestions for Sunday Aircraft cheescake here.

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December 27, 2004


Another First! 2 comments on posts in one day! Look out, Instapundit.
Posted by Owlish at 09:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


IMAO good.

Ice evil.

Lileks lives in the 9th level of hell.

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Surviving the Cold

Puttering around the net, not much I want to link to. Until I hit this: Surviving the Cold.

Best part:
Tip #12. Booze is good. Just don’t drink too much or you’ll wake up hungover lying next to a yellow snowman.

Looks like Scott Kutz needs to work on his winter survival skills. And, of course, Lileks is wandering around when it's BELOW -20 DEGREES. Eek.

Update: Blogger lost this, then it was found. Halleluia!

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So, what's up, anyway? I've gotten this message twice today.
Posted by Owlish at 08:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


My sister is coming down New Year's day, to jam at a club. She and some friends [hers, not mine] may be staying at my apartment. I may end up decorating my apartment more for Christmas, taking advantage of post-Christmas sales.

Yeah, it's kind of silly. So sue me.

I was quite sleepy over the last couple of days, to the point that I took a nap Christmas day afternoon. Pretty unusual for me. Not particularly stuffed. My parents are drinking 1/4 leaded, 3/4 unleaded coffee though, so caffeine withdrawal might have been the reason.

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Rants, continued

First part here.

I may have to take some of it back. The problem is that I got 2 books for Christmas, or rather the holiday season, that if bought at full price would be reasonably expensive. But I know they weren't bought at full price. So... I don't know.

I was fairly worried that my dad was going to buy me an expensive, useless gift. Instead they got me a digital camera. Photoblogging, here I come. Lots of pictures of the family llama, to start.

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I'm Back

And I missed the snow in Galveston. Bummer.

Time to jack into the net and see what's happening.

One thing that's happening is that somehow I ended up with 5-10 times my usual visits on December 17. Why? Downtown Lad left a comment on my site then, but as far as I can tell, he didn't link to me. No clue. I guess I have to figure out this trackback stuff.

Update: Hmm. It was probably around the time Carnival of Recipes posted. Time for more drink recipes.

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December 22, 2004


Man, it's cold. Walked over to dinner. Saw one idiot wearing shorts outside.

There's a christmas tree [or as we used to say in college, non-denominational holiday shrub] in the Strand district, with a plaque saying it was donated by the Galveston Historical Foundation and the Texas Christmas tree growers association, or some such thing. That tree is the best ad for artifical trees I've seen - it's completely dead, although the brown needles haven't significantly started falling off yet.

I'm hoping the weather won't interfere with my travel plans. Guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Blogging is likely to be sporadic [well, even more so] over the next 4-5 days.

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Europe's future

Here is a relatively long essay examining several recently published books. Some basic concepts: (1) First world, second world, third world divisions are becoming fluid and complex. (2) A global economic experiment is taking place, between basic concepts inherent in the Anglosphere, the EU, and Japan. (3) The EU has problems stemming from lack of connection to the people. (4) Most problematic, the EU could push longterm problems out longer by forming an alliance with Middle Eastern states, trading political influence, technology, and continuing to allow Islamic immigration in exchange for money in the form of oil, possibly including China.

My summary, of course, is incomplete. Read the whole thing.

To me, it seems this is already happening. My question would be, is this a conscious decision one or several people have made, or has it just worked out that way?

Hat tip: Instapundit.

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Christmas in the Stars

Eek. And you thought JarJar was the root of evil.

Hat tip: scrawlville.

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December 21, 2004


There's the old story about the wise man setling a dispute among two thieves, about how to divide up a pile of stuff: one guy makes two piles, one guy gets to pick. Works reasonably well, assuming neither wants to get cheated and neither has information the other doesn't have about the worth of the stuff.

So, imagine a loaf of bread. Not your nicely packaged wonderbread, but a loaf of bread, solid, wide on one end and tapering down to a point on the other end. This loaf of bread is cut into 4 pieces. These 4 pieces would make 2 reasonable sandwiches, each with one piece slightly smaller than the other. Since the 2 sandwiches would be slightly different sizes, the offer is made for the other person to choose what slices of bread he wants. Unexpectedly, he picks the 2 middle pieces, leaving 1 huge piece and one tiny piece for a sandwich. [still a tasty sandwich, anyway]

An onlooker quotes the old story.

If a tree in the middle of a forest falls on your head, does it still hurt even if no one else sees it happen?

Oh well. Merry/Happy/Joyous HanukSaturinChrisKawanzNewYear.

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And in the category of some people have waaaay too much time on their hands:

Santa Claus: Democrat or Republican

Hat tip: Llama

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December 20, 2004


Fun quick review article on mead here, noted by a commenter on Protein Wisdom.

Had a friend who was into homebrewing beer for a while, until he got married and got a kid. He also claims St. Arnold's is good enough that he doesn't have as much motivation to brew. We brewed a mead once, a dry, non-sparkling mead. AKA rocket fuel. We need to try again some day. Or I need to try alone, except he's the one with the equipment.

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Went to church two weeks in a row. Nice, mildly pointless sermon. Afterwards, the lady in front of me told me "I enjoyed listening to you sing."

I would probably enjoy being in a choir again.

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Having a weblog means I am able to rant about random crap without pissing off friends. So...

Growing up, Christmas presents, especially after elementary school or so, were either fun things you wanted or stuff your parents gave you that was for your own good. The most expensive gifts I got were all supposed to make me a better person [at least unconsciously, I don't know for certain growing up that was the idea]. [Now, of course, I have gotten to the point that I don't really need any more Christ centered self help books. Thanks, though.] The perfect gift would be the thing you opened on Christmas that you didn't know existed anywhere in the world but you very much wanted.

I exchange gifts with a family, 2 parents, one 3 year old kid. I am the kid's godfather, or "uncle," or whatever. Odds are, I will never have kids of my own.

Man, that was a lot harder to write than I would have thought. That's probably why I've been grumpy recently. Anyway.

The female friend is Jewish, the guy is at most agnostic, the kid is being raised Jewish. So, what Christmas traditions [as opposed to holiday traditions] they have come from his family. Their gift giving at Christmas involves sending out a list of everything they want or need, to make it easier to shop for everyone. Now, this family has a reasonable amount of disposable income, so when something one of them wants is priced cheaply they will buy it. This means things that make it onto the list are either expensive enough that it's more than they would spend for a spontaneous purchase [like a kayak, or jewelry] or it's something they didn't really strongly want.

The last couple of years at least I've been making a Christmas wish list to give to them. It's hard because it just feels wrong. The other side is that I've been tending to spend a lot more on gifts for them than they've been spending on gifts for me. [especially last year- lots of time to go shopping, lots of cash in bank account]. In the kid's case, that's fine, that's right, that's expected. In their case I can't figure out if there is some hidden rule under which they're operating [the guy without kids must have more discretionary income, so he should spend more], or what. Or if there were years in which he gave me more expensive presents than I gave him, and this gets the balance even.

It does seem unfair that they are giving me presents that are less expensive than anything on their list. And, Christmas shouldn't involve fairness, I should be happy to give things with no expectations of getting anything back.

Anyway. End rant.

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December 17, 2004

Why people blog part 2

So that when I run into something like this, and I don't have anybody to rant to at 10 o'clock at night on a Friday, I can just type here and maybe think through this.

Annoying things:
1) It strikes too close to home. I went to a private school, although not a conservative christian academy, which is probably what is involved.
2) It's way out of line. The only person I can think of that was summarily expelled was caught dealing drugs on campus. Not the guys that were using, not the idiots caught shoplifting at Six Flags.
3) There have undoubtedly been other gay or lesbian kids there. The kid's real crime in the eyes of the people running the school would have been the website - they would consider it to be proselytizing for the "homosexual lifestyle." From my standpoint it probably was a noble and useful thing to do.

It's a good thing I'm not a vengeful, omnipotent god. The principal would be struck down by a meteor, preferably just after making the announcement about the kid being expelled. The principal might be a good guy, but he would be worm food, as a warning to other people cliaming to worship me. Immediately afterwards, Pat Robertson would be squashed by a grand piano that appeared out of nowhere.

I need serenity. Failing that, a good buzz.

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And so, if you want to learn the true meaning of Christmas, read this.

Update: nope, the true meaning of Christmas is apparently being eaten by Cthullu.

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Doing some Christmas shopping, most of it is done partially because I've decided not to get get gifts for a couple of people this year. I'm going to get my mother a red hat since she's a member of her local red hat society [good god, they've got trading cards!]. Anyway.

On the back of the map and schedule for Dickens on the Strand was an ad for a local shop, with a picture of some of their merchandise [including a couple of red hats] and a coupon for 10$ off a 25$ or more purchase. No expiration date. I didn't go there during Dickens, I had better things to do and thought it would be too crowded anyway. I went Wednesday. The salesperson said she would have to ask her manager about the coupon, and since the manager was at a funeral I said I would come back a couple of hours later. When I did the salesperson said she could not honor the coupon, that it was only for during Dickens. She said the store had run a coupon for 20% off any purchase in the local paper a few weeks back, and if I could get one they would honor that. So I left angry.

I went to Palais Royal yesterday. They had the same kinds of hats, at 50% off [the original prices seemed about the same]. Score!

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Why people blog

Instapundit points to an article by Michael S Malone about blogging, saying basically it's the next big internet bubble, that people are doing it in order to make money or fame [which then translates into money]:

You may argue that since most bloggers simply volunteer their energies to run their blogs, they could theoretically go on forever. And some will. But most, I suspect, want some sort of payback over time for their efforts — whether it is an income or merely the kind of fame that can be converted (speeches, books, jobs) into income.

Glenn makes the comparison to music - many people play instruments and make music, making no or very little money. From my standpoint, I'm doing this because it's fun and silly and serious and intellectually stimulating. I have no desire to turn this into a book or a career, and it could impact my career in bizarre ways if it became widely known. So, I'm going to putter along in my tiny corner of the web, being amused by the one or two comments a month.

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December 15, 2004


So, here we have Newsweek's concept of 2004's "true top ten." Albums, CDs, records, whatever the current word is.

None of which do I have any desire to own, might listen to parts of each if given to me as a gift then quite likely would take them immediately and sell them to a place that does 2nd hand CDs.

Can someone explain reasonably why I can buy a cheap DVD for 5.99, quite a few DVDs I would want for 7.99-9.99, yet am expected to pay 8-10 bucks for nearly any CD? Or 99 cents for a single song that I don't even own but am just licensing?

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I watched some of the SciFi channel's miniseries over the past 2 days. I had some difficulty watching it because several portions didn't jive with what I remembered. And yup, the script seems to have taken a few liberties: in Ursula K Le Guin's words

Earlier in the article, Robert Halmi is quoted as saying that Earthsea "has people who believe and people who do not believe." I can only admire Mr Halmi's imagination, but I wish he'd left mine alone.

In the books, the wizardry of the Archipelago and the ritualism of the Kargs are opposed and united, like the yang and yin. The rejoining of the broken arm-ring is a symbol of the restoration of an unresting, active balance, offering a risky chance of peace.

This has absolutely nothing to do with "people who believe and people who do not believe." That terrible division into Believers and Unbelievers (itself a matter not of reason but of belief) is one which bedevils Christianity and Islam and drives their wars.

But the wizards of Earthsea would look on such wars as madness, and the dragons of Earthsea would laugh at them and fly away...

Toto, something tells me Earthsea isn't Iraq.

I wonder if the people who made the film of The Lord of the Rings had ended it with Frodo putting on the Ring and ruling happily ever after, and then claimed that that was what Tolkien "intended..." would people think they'd been "very, very honest to the books"?

Thank God LOTR was just about as faithful to the books as possible.

Hat tip:S [let me know if you read this and want a link somewhere].

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Drink recipe

During college, one of the places that was somewhat popular was the Hong Kong in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. They wouldn't give out the recipe for their scorpion bowls, but this is fairly close.

I think it is so named because it sneaks up on you and then gets you with a deadly sting.

Scorpion Bowl
[makes 6-8 cup 2-3 person bowl]

1 shot (1.5 oz) Dark Rum
1 shot (1.5 oz) Brandy
2 shots (3 oz) Light Rum
2 shots (3 oz) 151 Rum
2 shots (3 oz) Triple Sec
18 oz Guava Punch
2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
2 oz Papaya Juice
5 oz Orange Juice
mix with cracked ice
drink through big long straws
preferably served in a fun communal bowl, possibly coconut shells

Update: By the way, this is obviously more than a single drink-equivalent. It is strong, but it doesn't taste that strong. It is specifically designed to be drunk by more than one person- the restaurant wouldn't serve one to just one person. Use with extreme caution, don't drink and drive, drink responsibly. Etc. :)

Posted by Owlish at 07:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

Penny Arcade-G4Tech TV

There was a pretty good segment about their charity on XPlay tonight. They got 250K last year, looks like they're at 175K so far this year. That seems like an enormous amount of cash, for a relatively small charity. The power of the internet, a few big donations?

Basic impressions. Young, funny geeks. In tuxedos.

Posted by Owlish at 10:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Christmas is closing in way too fast. I would like to send out cards [I haven't sent any for the past few years], and I've only slightly decorated. Got some shopping done, know what and where for most other presents. Nothing wrapped.

Some of my friends make wish lists. One of them has a book on it that I don't think she's going to like. I'm getting it for her anyway, partially to see if I'm correct.

Posted by Owlish at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beer Pong

Good grief, there's a National Beer Pong League. Why didn't we know about this in college? We had a pair of guys who could have been national champions.

Hat Tip: Raw Youth

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December 12, 2004


It's been a fairly busy weekend. St. Arnold's pub crawl Friday, I babysat my godson Saturday, then went to church this morning. The service was closer to the 9 Lessons and Carols; no sermon.

I went back for caroling this afternoon, but it looked like it was aimed at little kids, so I bailed.

Considering this was the first service I went to, not in the presence of family, in almost a decade, my parents would be happy. I'm not going to tell them because if I join the church I want to do it for me, not because they are nagging me to do it.

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Cow Emoticons

Huge numbers of pictures of cows made with ascii characters here. Why, I have no idea.

Hat Tip:Musings again.

Posted by Owlish at 08:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stupid Obsessive-Compulsive bureaucrat

And in the category of idiotic bureaucrat with a stick up his ass so far it's given him a lobotomy, we have Thomas Quinn, director of the Federal Air Marshall Service. Suspending air marshals because they're not wearing a suit or sports coat. Boy, that makes me feel safe.

Hat tip:Transterrestrial Musings.

Posted by Owlish at 08:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2004


John had a post discussing how he would like more time in the day [who wouldn't?]; bouncing back and forth in his comments was a direction to this article in the LA Times, essentially bringing up the concept of performance enhancing meds. The original post has this link, which then leads here - The Good Drug Guide.

Please note that what follows isn't medical advice, it's just me blathering on.


The company's drug site is here; the prescribing information is here.

The drug is approved by the FDA essentially for clinical conditions involving sleepyness when you want to be awake, for example narcolepsy. One of the conditions is Shift Work Sleep Disorder.

There is clearly some abuse potential. I bet [and this is only a bet, I don't know] that it's abuse potential is significantly less than speed mainly because of it's halflife of 40 hours. Ie, when you're jonesing for your drug of choice you don't want something that's going to hit you a couple of hours after you take it, and then will last for a long time. The most addictive substances tend to be fast on, fast off, so you want more, more, more.

So, given that I am in favor of legalizing [and regulating and taxing] at least marijuana and probably other street drugs, do I have a significant problem with people occasionally using Provigil even if they don't have narcolepsy? No. Here and now, given the medico-legal climate, would I be comfortable with prescribing the drug for someone who wanted to fit an extra day in their schedule once in a while? No.

The other point I was making is after 36 hours awake, 8-9 hours of sleep just doesn't do it for me. I never pulled an all-nighter during college, even though it was fairly common - my ability to be creative and intelligent drops significantly around 4AM. I knew one guy however who's sleep cycle was roughly 3 days awake, 1 day asleep.

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December 08, 2004

The ultimate computer game

Everything you need to know is here.
Posted by Owlish at 08:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dan Rather - Drug Experimenter?

From the Houston Press comes this report of Dan "Queen of the Space Unicorns" Rather's LSD use and heroin experiments, reportedly from the Ladies' Home Journal 24 years ago. That would explain a few things.
Posted by Owlish at 06:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 07, 2004


Putting torture into historical context.

From my point of view, as far as I understand, the problem with Abu Ghraib was that it wasn't torture with a purpose, it was some guards getting their jollies playing with prisoners.

As soon as Islamic terrorists start complying with the Geneva Conventions, so will we.

Hat tip for second link: LGF

Update: That doesn't sound like I want it to. The Geneva Conventions specifies how a signatory country promises to act in relation to enemy soldiers who are also operating under the Geneva Convention. Things like using hospitals and churches as defensive structures, not wearing a uniform and hiding in the civilian population, playing dead so you can get a American soldier closer so you can set off a grenade; the people we are fighting are not fighting under the Convention. Of course, they can't - they would be squashed like a bug if they tried to use conventional military tactics, which is what the Conventions are set up for. So, we'll try to do our best to treat everything and everyone humanely, at the risk of out servicemen's [and women's] lives, and still get bitched at by every NGO under the sun.

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Theme song

My new theme song: Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me. Sung by an unhappy bunny.

Hat Tip: Swirl Spice. Who got it from Knee Deep in it.

Posted by Owlish at 07:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 06, 2004

Christmas Decorations

The LlamaButchers also have some commentary on Christmas Decorations. Some of it I agree with, some of it doesn't really doesn't apply to me up on the 5th floor, and some of it I strongly disagree with. He's going to get my grandmother's snowman off my bookshelf over my dead body, then he's going to have to destroy the zombie me, and probably lay to rest a ghost.

No interior Santas or snowmen, indeed.

Posted by Owlish at 08:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More movies

Another list of movies found by LlamaButchers, from Impeneterable Prose and Ponderings. You know how it goes, movies I've seen in bold, movies I intend to see in the future in italics.


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
Airplane! (1980)
All That Jazz (1979)
Amadeus (1984)
Animal House (1978)
Annie Hall (1977)
As Good As It Gets (1997)
Awakenings (1990)
Back to the Future (1985)
Barbarella (1968)
Basic Instinct (1992)
Batman (1989) Own in VHS
Benny & Joon (1993)
The Big Chill (1983)

Blazing Saddles (1974)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Body Heat (1981)
The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes (1970) How did this get on this list?
Creepshow (1982)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
The Crow (1994)
Die Hard (1988)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Doctor Doolittle (1967)
Dogma (1999)
The Doors (1991)
Ed Wood (1994)
Fargo (1996)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Field of Dreams (1989)
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
The Fisher King (1991)
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Ghost (1990)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Gods and Monsters (1998)
The Great Escape (1963)

Groundhog Day (1993)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Help! (1965)
Highlander (1986) I've also seen all the movies and most of the TV series, including the knockoff TV series.
The House of Yes (1997)
The January Man (1989)
A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
Little Man Tate (1991)
Mad Dog Time (1996)
Man on the Moon (1999)
Manhattan (1979)
M*A*S*H (1970)
The Mask (1994)
The Matrix (1999) Own DVD
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)

Night Shift (1982)
The Nutty Professor (1963)
The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Police Academy (1984)
Poltergeist (1982)
The Princess Bride (1987) Own VHS
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Rain Man (1988)
Raising Arizona (1987)
The Rapture (1991)
Repo Man (1984)

Rio Bravo (1959)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Scream (1996)
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
Shine (1996)
The Shootist (1976)
Sliver (1993)
Somewhere in Time (1980)
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
Starship Troopers (1997)
The Sting (1973)

Striptease (1996)
Superman III (1983)
That Thing You Do! (1996)
Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993)
Tombstone (1993)
Top Secret! (1984)
Total Recall (1990)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Up in Smoke (1978)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Walkabout (1971)
Westworld (1973)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The World According to Garp (1982)
Yellow Submarine (1968)

Posted by Owlish at 08:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 05, 2004


TexasBestGrok has a questionnaire here.

His questions in bold, my answers beneath:
1. Do you believe in God/gods?
Part of me does, part of me doesn't. This may be further explained, if germane.
2. What religion/philosophy/tradition, if any, were you raised in? (If your answer to question 1 was "no," you can now skip to question 8).

3. What religion, if any, do you currently observe/practice?
None. Attend Christian, usually Methodist, church services irregularly
4. If your answer to 3 differs from 2, please explain why you changed.
I guess these do differ. Various things lead me to doubt the existence of God, or at least as He is interpreted by the major religions. One of the things is, a not insignificant number of clinically insane people will have increasing religiosity [which I hope is a word] as a symptom, especially bipolar patients in a manic phase. It seems quite possible to me that the Old Testament Prophets were such people. Not every hyperreligious manic would have been interpreted as being closer to God, but if some were, it would explain the basic underpinnings of organized religion.
I also have a friend who is an atheist [or maybe agnostic], who believes that the various religions are scams specifically for the accumulation of power and money. [Scientology, anyone?]
On the other hand, there are times that I felt like I prayed and got an answer.
5. How frequently do you pray?
Probably weekly
6. How frequently do you attend church/temple/synagogue/mosque?
Once every 2-3 months
7. What is the object of your religion (i.e., why do you believe what you do, what do you hope to get out of your belief)?

To help the world fulfill God's plan for it. My reward would be in the afterlife.
8. What do you think is the purpose of religion (broadly defined as an organized faith in the supernatural), in general?
Divided answer: to help humanity get closer to God/ to fulfill a basic need to give an explanation for the crap that goes on in the world
9. Describe your understanding of the basic principles of Christianity.
God created everything. Man screwed everything up. God gave some laws to a group of people. That failed. God sent his Son, to bridge the gap between humanity and Him.
10. Describe your understanding of the basic principles of Judaism.
God created everything. Man screwed everything up. God gave us laws to live by. We try to live by those laws, and try to understand those laws, so that we don't accidentally break others. The most important of the laws emphasize the importance of human life.
11. Optional: Describe your understanding of the basic principles of your religion (if neither Christianity nor Judaism) or of any other religion that you would like to comment upon.
Scientology: scam. See here for details.

Man, my spelling was horrible. Hooray for spell check. Answers can be expanded upon, if requested.

Posted by Owlish at 07:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dickens on the Strand, continued

4:45, every act is done, some of the stalls are beginning to put stuff away. Why are there still cops at the entrances screening for tickets?

Wandering around, there were a couple of guys from Utilikilt around. Holy shit, there's a guy wearing one of them with a grey hankey in his left pocket. I didn't say anything, and I really don't want to get involved in a bondage scene with a total stranger, but...

Posted by Owlish at 09:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dickens on the Strand, part 2

Lots of random thoughts:
1) The performers got better as the day went on. I know my middle school choir was better than some of these acts because I have a few recordings. Of course I am purely objective about this.
2) Men in drag don't do much for me. Men in kilts, on the other hand...
3) I still think there are fewer stalls than last year.
4) If you wear a Victorian costume, you can go in for free. Since when is Batman a Victorian character? There was also a guy who was a wizard from the Harry Potter universe, probably going for the headmaster.

Posted by Owlish at 05:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2004

Dickens on the Strand

This weekend is the 31st Dickens on the Strand.

Walking around, it looks like there are fewer stalls this year. I suspect they raised the prices again. The acts first thing in the morning were pretty pitiful - handbells that weren't quite in sync, a high school choir that was too quiet, a youth band with an off pitch tuba.

I'm getting some more coffee, and going back out in a bit.

Posted by Owlish at 08:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Carnival of Recipes

The Carnival is up. Blogger is doing funny things again.
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The Carnival of Recipes is

The Carnival of Recipes is up. I submitted my tasty Modified Wilson's Cornbread Stuffing recipe.

I may try the Stuffed Mushrooms or Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake.

Mmmm, Butter Cake.

I'll try to get my mother's recipe for Yankee Layer Cake for next week's carnival.

Posted by Owlish at 07:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2004

War on Drugs

Message from the Cato Institute: The Drug War has failed.

Well, yeah.

Hat tip: Fark

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Life vs me

Life owes me nuthin -> I owe life nuthin

I owe life nuthin -> Life owes me nuthin

There's a RPG named Torg in which a certain group of people is aligned to Good or Evil. It is intentionally simplistic: a good person acts mostly in ways that benefit a group, an evil person acts mostly in ways that benefit himself [or herself, or itself, or veself... English needs better pronouns].

My parents are clearly aligned to good. I think I was aligned to good, but over the past couple of years switched to evil. Maybe.

If all of these people are good, how come I rarely benefit from things that benefit the group? If all of these people are evil, do I have to be evil to be happy?

Does any of this make any sense in the real world?

Posted by Owlish at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cheese eating nuke requesting monkeys

The Belmont Club is on a roll with various posts about the France-US relationship over the past 50 years, as well as the Oil-for-Nukes program.

Nukes to bail out the French in Vietnam? That would be an interesting alternate future. I just wonder how likely it was.

Posted by Owlish at 08:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2004

Abstinence Programs

From Drudge, comes this lovely report that some abstinence programs may teach things that aren't quite reality based:

Among the misconceptions cited by Waxman's investigators:

• A 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person."

• HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.

• Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.

One curriculum, called "Me, My World, My Future," teaches that women who have an abortion "are more prone to suicide" and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said.

They looked at the 13 most common programs; 11 "contain unproved claims, subjective conclusions or outright falsehoods regarding reproductive health, gender traits and when life begins."

Why is this crap publicly funded, again?

Posted by Owlish at 07:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scooby Doo!

Remember when the gang used to meet all sorts of interesting people, like Batman and Don Knotts? Well, now they get to meet the Queen of the Space Unicorns, Dan Rather!
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December 01, 2004

Harvard sucks

They even admit it in public.

Hat tip: Volokh Consiracy.

Posted by Owlish at 08:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I was using Google to

I was using Google to try to find this blog, using various key words. Man, there's a lot of crap out there. But there is also Medieval Latin Yo Mama jokes!

It's interesting though. Finding this required very specific words.

Posted by Owlish at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack