Popular conservative blogger Warner Todd Huston has lambasted Google for censoring Anti-Obama sites. My hypothesis is that Google hasn't done any censoring at all. A bunch of Democrats just came by and flagged the blog as spam. They are merely taking advantage of Blogger's spam finding system. If I had to bet, I would say that Google will fix the problem soon.
Monday, June 30, 2008
I heard this satirical Dave Lippman song on NPR while driving back from Branson, Missouri. Gas prices are hindering my annual trip to Colorado, and I had been looking for someone to blame. The tune has also stuck in my head.
TEENAGE IMMIGRANT WELFARE MOTHERS ON DRUGS
It's been five years since I've had a raise in pay
The way things are going I could get laid off any day
Sure is hard livin with all this pain
I know what I need, I need somebody to blame
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
It's all their fault
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
They've got some balls
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
They've got no class
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
Let's send them back
Full Lyrics (Scroll Down)
Sunday, June 29, 2008
A mummy of Mrs. Tran Thi Hieu. The museum did not post what famous thing she did, but she died in 1869.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
In twenty three weeks on 7 December 2008, I will attempt to run the Standard Chartered Marathon. Until this point I have only been running off and on about three times a week. Starting next week I'm going to take it a little bit more seriously. I searched online and I'm going to be following the last half of Art Lieberman's Mileage Buildup Program and his entire Marathon Training Schedule.
Will I make it? As long as I don't hurt myself and God wills I will make my best effort. Last year I finished the half marathon so I guess the full marathon is the logical next step.
This typo appeared in the June 15, 2008, bulletin of King's Way United Methodist Church in Springfield, Missouri. The dedication is supposed to read, "Given by his soul mate of 64 years."
I hope you don't confuse your soul mate with a cell mate.
Friday, June 27, 2008
I just got the following e-mail on the Tuesday Group mailing list. I'd love to go on this trip, but this is the exact time when the school semester starts up again.
Habitat Singapore is looking for 3 adult volunteers who are willing to giveBy the way, this is my 500th blog post.
some of their time to help families build homes in Manado, Indonesia this
From the first nail to the last, you will get dirty, work hard and discover
you have what it takes to build a better world. Whether you lay bricks, dig
holes or paint walls, you will develop new skills, make new friends and
experience the magic of concerned citizens with like values.
If you are looking for an adventure of a different kind, do consider joining
our Global Village build.
The trip details are as follows:
- Date: 9 to 16 August 2008
- Cost per person:
- Donation: S$1,000 (to be fundraised)
- Incountry cost: approximately S$500
- Airfare: to be arranged with the team
The above approximate incountry cost covers accommodation, accident and
illness insurance, ground transport, most meals and water. The donation goes
to Habitat Building Fund. We encourage each volunteer to fundraise for the
donation. The team will also need to arrange their own flights and fly in
together as a team.
- 21 year old and above
- physical and mental fitness
- building experience is not needed
- flexible and adaptable
The trip is self funded. If you are interested and fit the above criteria,
please reply to Mr Quek Kwang Yong at kwangyong [at] dbs.com latest by next
Monday (30 June 2008).
In your reply, please provide the following details:
- Contact No.:
Thank you and blessings.
Habitat for Humanity Singapore
When I was working my way through Mizzou, I had three jobs during the course of my school. My first job was making coffee in Memorial Union. At the time it was the only place between St. Louis and Kansas City where you could buy Starbucks. The second job was at the herpetology museum in Stanley Hall. It was a great job because I could pick my hours, but each day I left smelling like a vomit inducing combination of snake musk and droppings. My third job was the most enjoyable; I worked at Rollins Dining Hall.
During the day work was pretty laid back. As long as we were prepared for the lunch and dinner rushes and engaged in routine sanitation work, the atmosphere was laid back, you could talk with your friends, and we got all-you-can-eat food for cheap prices. At night the fun began. The senior managers left the dining hall to the student managers, and we sold pizzas. People would call up and we would answer the phone in funny ways, sometimes few people would order pizza and we would sit around talking about music, Nintendo, politics, and school. (A fellow employee actually had his own Link costume- sword and all.) As part of work study, a variety of international students worked there. We had a Vietnamese girl who would throw temper tantrums; an Eastern European who would bash America; and several Chinese who were fun to work with.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
One of the greatest things about America is that we have clearly identified rights and the government has clearly identified limits. As long as Americans aren't falsely yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater or lying about someone for profit, Americans can say whatever they want. No matter what the circumstance, police can't search the home of an American unless another branch of the government has granted a search warrant. Americans also have practically unlimited rights in the realm of religious freedom, and the right to bear arms is guaranteed in such a way that we Americans could take up arms and overthrow our own government if it became oppressive and began to deny inalienable rights.
Recently I've seen two news stories that disturb me and show that even some people in power don't have a correct understanding of the rights of citizens. One alarming statement that I've read came out of the mouth of Missouri Senator Kit Bond during a debate about the telecommunications immunity bill. During the start of President Bush's War on Terror, the executive branch engaged in unauthorized wiretapping of American citizens and the phone companies did not stop them, and in some cases they even helped the government.
The consequence of this is that some people were wrongly spied upon and a lawsuit was brought against several telecommunications companies for allowing this warrantless wiretapping.
Kit Bond thinks that going along with this wiretapping was just fine and dandy. On the floor of the senate he was quoted as saying:
"I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do," Bond said. (Link)
Sorry Kit, but I disagree with this attitude. As Americans it is our patriotic duty to understand our rights and the U.S. constitution and to question the government when it overstep its boundaries.
A second item that further illustrates how the executive branch has begun expecting citizens to fall into line and not question its policies is the recent decision by the Transport Security Administration to deny the right of passengers to fly if they refuse to show their ID. The Gilmore vs. Gonzales Supreme Court decision asserts that Americans have the right to flight and travel without showing identification. Thank God I'm not a citizen of a nation that can request ID on command or restrict my travel based on status, class, or political whims! But the irony is found when you look at the TSA's recently changed rules:
Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.
This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers.(Link)If you have forgotten your ID, you can still get on the plane, but if you assert your right to travel without showing identification, you will not be allowed to fly. Golly, I hope the bad guys don't think of lying in order to get around this restriction. None of them would be that smart.
It is a tragedy when Americans who assert a right are punished while criminals who lie can continue to roam freely. Especially since the criminals have to take off their shoes, go through the metal detector, and have their bags searched before boarding, if the TSA has done its job properly the jet-setting criminals shouldn't be much of a threat.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
My family and I went to see The Drowsy Chaperone at Kansas City's Starlight theater. The production was funny and the set was impressive, but the most bloggable moment of the evening came when I noticed something hiding above the covered walkway- bats.
Carefully tucked away in one of the crevices was an entire family of bats. I was disappointed that I didn't have my camera with me. If you want to find the bats, show up to the theater just before sundown. If you are facing the stage, you will find them on the right hand side. The bats are nuzzled between two of the slabs of concrete that make up the covered walkway. There were at least four of them in the crevice.
If you look carefully you will see the bats flying around the theater eating insects after the sun goes down.
I did a search and according to a blog titled Devious Bloggery these bats interrupted a Depeche Mode concert by hitting the lead singer, Dave Gahan, in the face.HOAX!
If you want to go see a show, here's the official Starlight Theater website.
Updated June 30, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Cowboy Caleb, Malaysia's 15th most popular blogger, has a couple of posts that show how how prolific and common abortions are in China. (Caution: Some people have left some crude remarks in his comments section.)
Here is a post where he explains that he had to approve abortion leave for several of his employees.
Here is a post where he discusses how cheaply life is viewed by many Chinese.
I suppose there might be some situations where abortion is dictated by medical necessity, but if you are getting an abortion out of convenience or as a form of birth control you are taking the life of a child- plan and simple. Please consider alternatives.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the hunting and fishing mecca located in Springfield, Missouri, has recently adorned its entrance with dozens and dozens of deer heads. As soon as you walk in the store you see these trophies everywhere; it would require a panoramic camera in order to fully demonstrate what it is like to have so many deer eyes looking down upon you. With so many dead deer on display, I'm surprise the PETA folks aren't having conniption fit.
I apologize for the bad photos. I was in a hurry to make it to the aquarium show and I had a tough time adjusting the lighting on my camera.
Monday, June 23, 2008
If you've got a high bandwidth internet connection, the coolest and newest search engine out there is SearchMe. It has a graphical interface and you flip through your search entries the same way that you would turn through pages in a book.
SearchMe Visual Search Engine
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Hashing is an exhilaratingly fun combination of running, orienteering, and partying, where bands of harriers and harriettes chase hares on eight-to-ten kilometer-long trails through town, country, and desert, all in search of exercise, camaraderie, and good times.
Who are the Hash House Harriers?
Saturday, June 21, 2008
In a previous post, I said that a new episode of Cinematic Titanic titled Doomsday Machine was available for download.
Someone from EZ Takes came by and left the following comment:
Due to extremely high demand, we had to temporarily take Doomsday off-line. For now, you can still buy a hard DVD from Cinematic Titanic. We are working to resolve this issue and will update this status message as soon as we've fixed it. Thanks for your patience.
You can order a copy of The Doomsday Machine Episode here.
Cinematic Titanic Store
One of the most fun yet politically incorrect rides at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, is the Shootout at the Flooded Mine. Constructed in the eighties before the Security Mom's were allowed to set the national agenda, the Flooded Mine gives the whole family the opportunity to play with guns!
The basic situation in this ride is that a group of prisoners has taken over a flooded mine and as a theme park participant you get to help out the warden by floating down the mine shaft on a little boat and shooting anything and everything in order to get the mine under control.
You float down a river on a roller coaster-like contraption that takes you through several animatronic scenes. In order to assist you on the journey there are little red targets that if shot by your infra-red gun create changes in the scenes. In one scene a prisoner reacts by setting off an explosion of dynamite that results in sprays of water. In another scene you shoot a bottle and it spins around. In another scene you shoot a barrel and watch spray.
Fire in the Hole ride, but hopefully this will give you a gist of the experience that this ride provides.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Disney and Precious Moments: a synergy of cuteness
The mural at the front of the Precious Moments Chapel
Precious Moments Park has an island with a quaint cottage dedicated to Sam Butcher's grandkids, a few stroll gardens, and a cave guarded by a Precious Moments angel telling everyone that "Jesus is risen," but the center of the Precious Moments Park is a chapel. The doors of the chapel are ornamentally carved on Philippine wood. The ceiling of the chapel has a DaVinci-esque mural of angelic children flying around. The left wall has Precious Moments depictions of the Old Testament and the right side of the wall has Precious Moments depictions of the New Testament. The walls have Precious Moments stained glass windows depicting the beatitudes and Psalm 23. The front of the chapel features the most intricate Precious Moments painting, a gigantic mural depicting the streets of heaven. Children are holding signs welcoming the newly arrived, family reunions are taking place, and, in the background, a realistic, Anglicized Jesus is greeting people in the background.
The ceiling of the Precious Moments Chapel
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I just got this mass e-mail from the folks at EZ-Takes:
The highly anticipated release of Cinematic Titanic's second movie, Doomsday Machine, is now available for download exclusively from EZTakes. Downloading is the quickest way to obtain Doomsday Machine. Download it now and you can burn it to a DVD for viewing in your living room.To download Doomsday Machine now, visit this link:
http://www.eztakes.com/store/m ovie/Doomsday-Machine-Movie- Download.jsp
Thank you for your business and enjoy.
* (413) 529-0870
I'm excited to be notified about this because I'm currently watching the first episode, Cinematic Titanic: The Oozing Skull. The riffing is just as funny as the old Mystery Science Theater episodes and the lack of commercial breaks gives the gang a little bit more freedom to play with the constraints of Joel's shadowrama process.
I'll definitely be shelling out the ten bucks for this, but I'm not sure when I'll get around to downloading the 3.97 GB file.
I just learned via BoingBoing that the Associated Press has a payment scheme for people to "License parts of [an] article for republishing on your website or intranet."
In many posts on this blog, I have quoted from Associated Press News articles. I've done this for two reasons. First, I often want to provide commentary about news articles, most of these were originally published from either Reuters or the Associated Press. Second, it is necessary to extract lengthy quotations because internet websites are often modified or removed. When blogging, it is often the choice of words that is important, and the controversy stems from the choice of words used by the journalist. There is no other way to provide this type of analysis and scrutiny without a direct quotation.
Many bloggers are concerned that the AP's decision to charge for as little as five words will be used to wage legal battles against what they do. I also share this concern.
Fortunately I believe that this particular blog is protected under the "Fair Use Exception" found is section 107 of the copyright act.
Here are the four exceptions listed for Fair Use (http://www.siia.net/piracy/pubs/USCode.pdf):
1. The purpose and character of the copying, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes. For example, copying for nonprofit educational uses may be more likely to qualify as fair use);
2. The nature of the work being copied. Copying from works that are primarily factual in nature (like a science book) is tolerated more than copying from more creative works;
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion that is copied in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole -- the more that is copied or the more significant the portion that is copied, regardless of the quantity, the less likely that fair use will apply and
4. The effect of the copying upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. That is, copying has an adverse impact on the market for the original work. Copying an entire supplemental science software program, rather than buying it, would not be fair use, but piracy.
The Media Slog is protected under all four exceptions. For exception 1, this is a non-profit venture; I've never made a penny from this blog. That may change one day, but for now and since 2004 I haven't made any money from this site. As for exception 2, the vast majority of everything that I cite is of a factual nature. Under section 3, I never use the entire article or even half of an article. I don't even believe that I've ever copied more than two or three paragraphs of a news article. As for the fourth exception, no one would argue that this blog is a replacement for the newspaper or legitimate news websites like Yahoo! News. I don't affect the market value of Associated Press news articles one cent.
The question that should be on every bloggers mind is that if I continued to run this blog except I included ads, would I still be protected under the Fair Use Exception. My dream is to one day publish enough interesting content that I get a small, supplementary stream of income from blogging. If I sell an ad or subscribe to Adsense, would I have to count up all of my previous entries that contain AP News items and pay for them? Perhaps another solution would be to simply delete all quotations from the Associated Press and replace them with something condescending about that particular news organization; it is possible that a simple message such as "Access to this quotation has been restricted by the copyright policy of the Associated Press" in place of the old quotations would do the trick. If a whole cadre of bloggers decided to take up this endeavor would the AP loosen its policy to avoid the harsh criticism.
As for the original content that I write on this site, please feel free to copy it, e-mail it to your friends, or post it on your own website. This blog isn't even copyright; it has a Creative Commons license that allows you to do pretty much whatever you want with the text and photos published here. The only thing that I ask is that you always post a copy of the URL (http://cneil.blogspot.com) or include a link.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
St. Louis is flooded. The Mississippi River is almost to its '93 crest. Here are a few pictures from my recent visit to the Gateway Arch.
I didn't have any trouble traveling on I-70, I-44, or I-55, but several other streets near the river were impassable.
If you want more information about specific warnings and road closings in St. Louis or across the state of Missouri, the National Weather Service has the information.
Current Watches, Warnings, and Advisories for the State of Missouri
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The delicious food pictured above is featured on the menu of a few of the food stalls at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. It is a uniquely Ozarkian blend of fried meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions- all of which are drenched in oil and fried in a gigantic iron skillet.
Living in Asia where every nationality has its own peculiar culinary eccentricities, people often ask me what food best represents my region. Most of the time people assume that it is burgers or barbecue; we've got a lot of cows in Missouri.
However, the real representative food of the Ozarks is hash. (The only alternate contender might be biscuits and gravy.) Hash is a greasy blend of food that can be grown on your own farm. Being fried, it isn't something favored by the organic granola-chomping crowd, but it still manages to contain all of the food groups and a lot of nutrition.
Hash is strangely metaphorical of the Ozarks. No matter how sophisticated you are or where your hometown is, if you come live here you'll soon find yourself eating a fried corn dog at a county fair as you scope the butchered pigs, hootin' and hollerin' at a rodeo as a calf is lassoed and tied, or cheering at a demolition derby as a large Ford Granada with a Confederate flag on it is pummeled by a neon green Lincoln Continental. Simmer in the greasy food and wallow in the constantly changing Southwest Missouri weather as it cooks you down to a mushy yet irresistible texture that can only be described as Ozarkian.
I did a Google search and found that the Modern Traditional Wife blog has a recipe for this artery clogging mish-mash. She calls it hobo hash, and, unlike the folks at Silver Dollar City, she cooks it in a crock pot:
1 c. diced onion
1 lb hamburger
1 c. uncooked rice
6 potatoes, cubed
1/3 c. diced celery
4 cans red kidney beans (not drained)
8 c. water or beef stock
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown hamburger with onion, garlic, celery, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
In crock pot layer cubed potatoes, kidney beans, rice, and cooked hamburger. Pour water or stock over all. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
When you get on this thrilling indoor roller coaster, you first pass a tranquil night scene. But things soon change for the worst when your train goes around the bend and you see buildings on fire. There's Ma and Pa trying to escape their building in the middle of the night and we hear Pa yelling, "Them darn bald knobbers stoled my pants!"
A Ransacked Mansion
Them Dern' Bald Knobbers Robbing a Mail Truck and Roasting a Pig on a Spit.
The ride hearkens back to a time when people weren't nearly so sensitive. No large corporation today would make a ride designed to entertain children that is riddled with house fires, contains characters aiming weapons at the park goers, and has a mock cemetery guarding the entrance. It was a time when stereotypes could still be used for humor and even the grim subjects like death could be dealt with in the lens of family entertainment. Today I think this ride lingers on simply because it is sentimental and reminds me and several thousand others of their simpler childhood days.
There aren't many amusement park rides for kids eight and up that feature grim scenes of dead puppets.
8/26/08 Update- This man is not dead. He is getting water from his spicket.
It is my fear that someday this coaster will be packed up and replaced with something cheesy. Something less controversial that will appeal to the under five set. I hypothesize that this will be called "The Wild Hay Ride." It will feature talking farm animals and a plot about an out of control horse. There's won't be any more punchy one liners, just kids singing "Kumbaya." No one will ever get the thrill of facing the bald knobbers again.
In case that time ever comes, I decided to take my camera with me and snap pictures of this classic ride. I intentionally rode in the front car and protected my camera before the last section that drenches park goers with water. Here are several of the scenes in all of their animatronic glory.
Throughout the ride, there are many scenes of Marmaros burning down. An interesting fact to Fire in the Hole is a section of the ride has been removed. After the first dip (Collapsing Bridge) the ride would turn right and later reconnect in front of the second dip. (Train Collision) If you look close at the scene where the cabin is burning there is a moon and some stars above one of the old track areas. Also when you see the sign “Kinney Bridge” on your left is a large open area where scenes once existed.
According to a bulletin board post on ThemeParkReview.com, this just isn't true:
Well that is incorrect. Once again proof that you cannot believe anything that is on wikipedia. The train has always turned left right after the burning bridge scene to go past the hold-up scene of the wagon into the railway tunnel. The three drops are boom-boom-boom.
The "removed scene" area that he is referring to is where they store supplies to repair scenes and what not. It is a big landing area that has always been at the top of the ride. Trust me I have been through that ride at least 20 times with the lights on, there is no "lost scenes or track areas"
Update 8/26/08- At the Silver Dollar City Forum there is photographic evidence that a section of the ride has been removed. One forum participant claims his parents were working in the park in 1982 when the changes were made. Unfortunately, since it occurred thirty years ago no has yet explained the particular changes. One person had vague memories of a scene featuring a Bald Knobber hung on a noose over a howling wolf, but there has been no proof of this.
A slightly more credible forum member called Old Guy claims that the ride used to take a dip into the Baldknobber caves, but those scenes were removed to make the ride shorter.
The missing section of track started where the burning bridge is now. (the Kinney bridge is named for the then park director) prior to that the car looped around an area of mini vocano like sand gysers that never made any sense to me. the car then gave a lurch and you dropped to the right into the Baldknober caves. They were baracaded behind crates and wagons and shot at you as you went by. A right turn took you down a short tunnel to the broken bridge where you swung to the right skirting the edge of the cliff before you turned left into the train tunnel as it is today.
Monday, June 09, 2008
My first flight from Singapore to Tokyo was great; the second flight from Tokyo to Chicago was also great-- until the plane neared Chicago. Astonishingly, the weather in the windy city was... windy. To compensate, air traffic control increased the times between flights, and our flight had to circle in the middle of Iowa before we were allowed to land.
Moreover, when we finally made it through the line the customer service representative offered scant help. The representative that I spoke to said that the "mechanical failure" might have had "something" to do with the delay, but the weather was also bad and the official cause for the flight delay was "weather," and the airline does not bear financial liability for weather delays.
To claim travel insurance, I also asked for documentation that the flight was delayed. The first time he printed out the documentation it said that the delay lasted only one hour. He was wrong, it lasted over twelve hours. He had to print it again.
In the end, I had wait another forty-five minutes to take a shuttle bus to the Rolling Hills Holiday Inn, located twenty minutes away from the airport. I arrived at the Holiday Inn around midnight and only got around five hours of sleep.
It was an exhausting flight and I learned to take my Dad's advice. Avoid O'Hare International Airport and when possible avoid United Airlines.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Does the Singapore government want to downplay the fact that Goplan Nair is an American?
This could be a fascinating look at how the Singapore government carefully alters the media to steer public perception. The News Release by Uncleyap blog reported that the Today newspaper altered its headline between the morning and afternoon version of the paper to downplay the fact that Gopalan Nair Pallichadath, the former Singapore citizen turned American lawyer, is indeed American:
I was brought to my attention by member of public that today's 146th TODAY has 2 versions of prints, the earlier version is on the top and the later version changed the news title seen at the bottom.So they had first wanted public perception of the Mr.Gopalan Nair to be American then otherwise later. Some instructions had been issued from the top to have this changed?
(If you click the link, there's even a picture.)
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
Gopalan Nair Pallichadath, a former Singaporean who claimed political asylum and became a U.S. citizen, was arrested today while visiting Singapore.
On his blog, the Singapore Dissident, he posted several incendiary remarks. Most notably, he titled one blog post "If bloggers who defame me identify themselves, I will sue them." He went on to write several fierce criticisms of Singapore's governing regime. He also posted specific information regarding his telephone numbers and whereabouts. The final words of his last blog post are directed specifically toward Lee Kuan Yew asking "What are you going to do about it."
He got a response and it is apparently exactly what he wanted. Channel News Asia reported today that Gopalan was arrested, and I bet that he will be sued:
SINGAPORE: Police have arrested a former Singaporean for the offence of "threatening, abusing or insulting a public servant". In response to media queries, police confirmed that Gopalan Pallichadath Nair, who is now a US citizen, was arrested at Broadway Hotel along Serangoon Road on Saturday. A warrant of arrest without bail was granted by the courts for the arrest.
The statements were directed against Justice Belinda Ang, a Supreme Court judge. The statements were also posted on Nair's blog. Nair is presently in police custody. He will be charged in court on Monday.
I wonder who this guy is working for and what organization is backing him up. This is clearly an orchestrated act of civil disobedience. He's not an idiot; his blogger profile says that he has traveled the world and practices law in California.
I'll be watching this story closely.