Archive for June, 2002

Bret Hart has a stroke

Somehow I had missed news last week that Bret Hart had a stroke. Hart fell from his bike as he was riding on a Calgary path and smashed the back of his head on the ground, but was still able to call for help on his cellphone. Yesterday, he managed to wiggle a toe, which gives his family a little bit of optimism, but a stroke is tough to battle back from, even for someone as young as Bret Hart.

One Nation Under Who?

So anyway… with regards to “under God” being unconstitutional…

  1. I think the government going through this exercise right now is a waste of time, money, and resources. Why weren’t they doing this two years ago when it seemed like nothing was happening?
  2. That said, I agree wholeheartedly with the ruling. The “under God” didn’t exist in the original pledge, and it has no place in there now. Nor do the many other references to God in anything related to the federal government. Separation of church and state: simple enough. And the “don’t say it if you don’t believe” argument doesn’t fly, sorry.

    But don’t take this to mean I’m “anti-God,” some heathen, or anything like that. Quite the opposite, really. But I find myself getting very uncomfortable when the government tries to push what they think is the “right” religion (whatever that means). It’s not their place. Perhaps this is because I’ve always looked at religion and spirituality as a private thing… that may be why I only go to church periodically… that may be why I get more out of sitting quietly and doing some light meditation than I do from making church a weekly habit… and that may be why I get more from reading Buddhist writings, the Kebra Negast, or the Qur’an than I do from hearing someone preach at me. It makes me cringe when I hear George Bush defending the prevalent use of religion in the federal government-related issues and then turn around and discuss how swift military action must be taken to support our vision of morality in x part of the world. Like it’s a holy war or something. Oh, wait… that would be a jihad, wouldn’t it?

    Ok, let me wrap this up before I offend every regular reader I have here: the problem with government becoming intertangled with religion is that it alienates the many non-Christian people in the United States. Religion and morality are not dependent on each other: I know plenty of athiests, agnostics, humanists, etc. that are a hell of a lot more moral and ethical than some folks I’ve known that would be associated with the hardline religious right. There’s nothing wrong with believing in God, being religious—or not—but it’s not up to the government to associate our entire country with a specific religious belief the way we do a state with its state flower.

A busy weekend ahead/Friday Five

Parents in town tonight, Huyen’s mom and bro in for a week starting tomorrow, more family next week… it’s going to be a madhouse. In a good way, of course.

Expect some refreshed web sites in the near future. And I hope to nail down a gimmick for the Blogathon soon, too (light nudge: sponsor link).

And now, the first Friday Five in a while:

  1. When was the last time you sent a handwritten letter? Oh jeez… ages ago, unless you count thank-you notes. I can’t even give a good estimate.
  2. When was the last time you baked something from scratch or made something by hand? Baked? a month or so ago when I made a cassarole. Haven’t baked a dessert in a while. I cook all the time, but I rarely bake, something I hope to remedy eventually.
  3. When was the last time you camped in a tent? You know what? Never. I’ve always wanted to, though. I have no problem with “roughing it,” but never really have.
  4. When was the last time you volunteered your time to church, school, or community? It’s been too long… probably about half-a-year ago. I’ve donated money, but definitely need to work on the time thing.
  5. When was the last time you helped a stranger? I try to do this every day. But I feel like talking about it cheapens the effort, so I won’t.

Internet Monitoring in Vietnam

Vietnam seeks to monitor customers at Internet cafes

“Increasing numbers of people use the Internet and are able to see sharp differences between Vietnamese and foreign news reports, particularly of events in Vietnam… young people could access pornographic material on the Internet, but that the ministry was more worried about the spread of state secrets and “reactionary” documents… In March, a Vietnamese doctor, Pham Hong Son, was arrested for translating and circulating on the Internet an article about democracy taken from a U.S. State Department Internet site.” Son is “still in detention.” This, despite the fact that “Vietnam’s constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press.”

Also, “All TV stations in Vietnam are operated by the government.” I figured that out after watching about five minutes of Vietnamese television: only the Vietnamese government could produce programming so drab and cookie cutter. Well… the Vietnamese government or Hollywood… it’s a toss up, really.

YAMBA

Out of the many, many mainstream press articles covering blogs, perhaps none has totally missed the point (or been as poorly penned) as Mike Cassidy’s “Find random thoughts of strangers in blogs“. It’s a wonderful combination of flat prose, nonexistent research, and that stereotypical “holier-than-thou” attitude that seemed to be waning in recent press coverage.

“My reaction? Whatever.” Exactly.

Simple Backlinking with PHP

Hey, pals, backlinking is all the rage! Not only are the cool kids doing it, even the dorky kids have caught on!

If you’d like some fancy little backlinks to appear on your site, here’s some homegrown PHP code you’re welcome to…

Read more…

Modest Needs

ModestNeeds.org: “Modest Needs gives free, no-strings-attached financial assistance to individuals who need help.”

This makes me incredibly happy. It seems to be getting some good exposure (NPR) and the financials have been made public, so it’ll be interesting to see how it does in the coming months. I really hope it succeeds, as philanthropy on the individual level is the only true philanthrophy (“… because a cause worth supporting is a cause worth conviction, / While corporate philanthropy is a cause for suspicion.”).

Duh…

And, duh… happy birthday to Corey, joining us in the 26 Club. Only 674 to go.

Tierra Does Sierra

Oh, now this is cool: Tierra Entertainment is making unofficial, updated VGA versions of old Sierra On-line games. King’s Quest I is already completed and looks to be gorgeous.

I’m been itching for some classic gaming (even though I have this kick-ass new graphics card and no games to really flex its muscle), so this will compliment last night’s installation of Infocom text adventures just perfectly.

(Dan)

Foreign Horror

Last week I got an e-mail from Poker Industries, an import DVD retailer, about a special 10% discount for all orders with an Indian movie. That got me thinking: India has the world’s largest and most active film scene, but I’ve never really seen an Indian horror film. So I did a little poking around and came across a few pages about international horror:

Teleport City has some good international horror reviews, but most of them are (predictably) from Italy. However, they review one Indian movie that sounds interesting.

The Hot Spot Online has a load of information about Indian and Pakistani horror movies with a lot of reviews, to boot.

Finally, Fear Without Frontiers: Horror Cinema Across the Globe seems to be the most academic of them all, and is presumably from an upcoming FAB Press book. If it’s like the other FAB books I’ve seen, it’ll be phenomenal. Lots of great information here on rare horror from all corners of the globe. The section on Polish horror convinced me to order a copy of The Saragossa Manuscript, a bizarrely interwoven three-hour series of short stories.