you can try to swim away but you will only die tired... bringing you the political, military, international and domestic news you didn't even know existed or wanted to know more about...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snow shoveling

Shit, I'm in the wrong line of work, I should frakking shovel snow for the city.

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S274209.shtml?cat=89

Apparently the foreclosure mess is screwing up sidewalk snow removal and people have to shell out:

The city of St. Paul charges $160 an hour, while Minneapolis charges $300 an hour—plus a $103 citation.

Phuck me!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Facebook advertising debacle

http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/12/advertisers-snu.html

Apparently Facebook thought it would be a good idea to sell-out to advertisers. Now I've got no beef with a company trying to make some money, or even trying to capitalize on their popularity, but I disagree with their stupid scheme of having Facebook members be notified anytime their friends buy something online from the advertisers. Honestly, do you really give a phuck what or where your friend bought a pair of Nikes? It's not like we are in middle school where we wanted to be like everybody else. Grow up people.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Billo to debate Alf on Faux News

Apparently having run out of guests to insult, Bill O'Reilly will debating imaginary puppets instead. Check it!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFk_Mxc-ugc

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Celebrity gossip blog



Forget TMZ or Perez Hilton, Dlisted is where it's at! How come we can never get enough celebrity gossip? I must admit I always made fun of my sister for reading all those US Weekly magazines and People while I was reading The Economist, but now I see who was the wiser. Nobody gives a phuck about Sudan, but the fact that Britney is preggers again is big news.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Getting back to simplicity, the art of writing

A Mac user friend of mine introduced me to Writeroom, a simple, full-screen writing environment that harks back to the days of typewriters: that Golden Age where writers had nothing between their typewriter and the blank page but their imagination.

Being quite jealous imagine my surprise when I saw that somebody had cloned this software for the PC, called DarkRoom. It has no bells and whistles, not even a spell checker, but who needs that when you have a trusted Webster's Dictionary by your side? In fact this software pushes you to think more clearly as a writer, which is why I love it so. The bonus is that it's free as well, but if you have some pocket change you can PayPal the creator.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The debate over bottled water and the environment

So I've been following this new environmental trend on several blogs, especially the debate over the usage and reliance on bottled water versus tap water. I'm all for using tap water, I believe that bottled water is wasteful and unnecessary in areas that have access to clean tap water. Not all areas have great tap water, but I'm fortunate enough to live in one, so I use tap water for my consumption. I use a Sigg water bottle which has probably saved about 300 water bottles so far. I urge everybody to get a reusable water bottle or canteen, whether it be Nalgene or Sigg, or some alternative. In the meantime you can read more about bottled and tap water here:

http://scienceblogs.com/scientificactivist/2007/08/its_time_to_get_off_the_bottle.php

Monday, July 23, 2007

The end of Bear Grylls

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/23/ngrylls123.xml

Like many people I don't believe everything I see on television, but there are times when your heart just sinks, and learning that Bear Grylls staged some important moments in his show Man vs. Wild is saddening. I knew that he did some wacky stuff like jumping into flowing rivers when he didn't need to, or that he took unnecessary risks, but that he went so far as to have other people do the work for him is a big let-down. Furthermore, I knew he had a camera team with him, but I thought that they all stayed out in the wilderness together, not that they were all back in a cozy motel.

I suppose I should have listened to my gut instinct when I saw the first couple of episodes, it told me that what he's doing is just plain mad, like wringing water out of elephant dung and jumping into a bog. I shook my head at times when I saw some of the things he suggested, and real survival experts all agree that unless you are some Olympic athlete, you shouldn't attempt what Bear does because the energy expended to gain ration is warped.

A truly sad day indeed.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Muscle Milk

I've recently started to drink CytoSport's Muscle Milk, a kind of high protein dietary supplement that is great for people who work out and are carb conscious. I must admit it's not half bad, a tastier and leaner version of Slimfast. I don't think it's suppose to be a meal supplement like Slimfast, but it does seem to give you a little boost after a work out, or at least it feels like it. I guess that's my product endorsement for the day. It works wonders after a treacherous hike through the wilderness.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Errrmm

Wow, I just realized that I have not posted on this blog for quite some time. I do apologize to all the people who read this blog, or rather one person, I did not intentionally mean to let you down. I've just been super busy with going to Las Vegas and holding a conference in my hometown. Lots of work and it keeps me busier than hell. I shall resume my ranting soon my dear friend. In the mean time, you can think about cold beer on a hot day.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bear Grylls vs. Survivorman



Granted there is nothing I enjoy more than a good survival show and the two giants in the business are Britain’s Bear Grylls and Canada’s Les Stroud aka. Survivorman. You can catch Bear on the Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild and Les on the Science Channel’s Survivorman. Both are excellent programs and may save your life one day. I enjoy watching Bear Grylls for his absolute craziness and high tempo, running down mountains, climbing water falls, jumping into freezing lakes, and eating rotting carcasses in Africa. In fact he takes far more risks than Les, but then again he does have his own camera and expedition crew with him; whereas Les carries all his own camera equipment and is effectively alone in the wilderness. I respect Les a heck of a lot for doing that because he has to hike back and forth, expending energy, just to get enough film to make his show.

I think both of these gentlemen are excellent explorers with great survival skills, and I hope that they will continue to thrill and entertain us with what I consider a real “reality show.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRKpnkX99z0

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pvt. Murphy


I love this guy:

http://www.pvtmurphy.com/

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No I don't want to be your friend!



I'm sorry but I really don't want to be your friend, especially since you can't seem to make up your mind of who you really are! Is your name Shane or Autumn? Yet another lame attempt to make me a Myspace pal. We all know how this goes, pretty soon they will be asking you to visit their website to see them topless or something like that. Of course you have to pay for that, or they will ask you for money some other way.

Gawker

I love the Gawker. This post was brilliant:

Condé Nast Cafeteria Lays Down The Kielbasa

With the arrival of the Google Cafeteria and the New York Times new cafeteria soon to open, the glory of the Gehry-designed Condé Nast cafeteria—lauded as the apotheosis of workplace cuisine when it opened—has softened like so many spears of overcooked asparagus. The latest report, by The Amateur Gourmet, does little to rescue the fading institution's prospects. Last week the cafeteria was featuring stodgy Polish peasant food: kielbasa, pierogi, cabbage. Has the Prague Spring come to the Vogue Summer?

Has Anna Wintour been reduced to eating pierogi like some sort of Wrocław cobbler? Does Graydon Carter arrive at his Waverly Inn still reeling from the after effects of a foot-long kielbasa? Probably.

But not all is lost. Continuing the cafeteria's tradition of quirky crazy designer desserts, the only redeeming offering was a creme-filled cupcake. Quoth Amateur Gourmet: "The cupcake was a green color--was it pistachio? Or lime? It was hard to tell but one thing I know is that it was one of the best cupcakes I've ever eaten."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pentagon says "nyet" to YouTube, Myspace, blogging

I stumbled across this wonderful soldier blog today, Fight To Survive. I've always been fascinated with soldiers and the military life, especially what soldiers are feeling and thinking. Soldiers are more than just mindless robots as some imagine them to be, they are people as any other, with thoughts and feelings who have a damn hellish job to do. Ever since reading Colby Buzzell's blog and book "My War," I've been hooked on reading soldier blogs. I can understand that the Pentagon must ensure operational security, but most of the blogs I've read would not violate operational security any more than reading books and journals from Vietnam or World War II. In fact you can pick up books about US infantry tactics from World War II, and even the Ranger Handbook and some of the methods and tactics there are still used today.

I think that censoring soldiers' blogs and sites is wrong, especially ones that do not violate any operational security. Morale is getting kind of low, and soldiers do need an outlet to vent sometimes, and I think these sites give them that outlet. Watching funny videos on YouTube and catching up with your family on MySpace is also good for the lads on their days off. Still, it's a bit ironic that the Army has its own official YouTube and FlickR accounts, but they won't allow the individual soldier to use them now.

Prince Harry to Iraq, yes, no, maybe??? No...


So is he going to Iraq or isn't he? Why can't the MOD make up its mind whether or not to send young Prince Harry to war? He's a soldier for Pete's sake, not a buffoon unwilling to accept his share of the burden. The man wants to lead his men into battle, as rightly he should. We should be proud that young men like Prince Harry are willing to defend their country, quite literally. It's dangerous over there for EVERYBODY, not just royals. If they go out of their way to kidnap lowly American soldiers, it will not be much different with Prince Harry. Of course the MOD in all their wisdom, if they decide to send Prince Harry over there, will probably embed reporters with him, tell them what unit he will be assigned to and what province. The insurgents would only have to pick up a newspaper to know where he will be.

I say if they change their mind and send Prince Harry over there, they should keep it quiet and send him over there with another unit and not tell anybody about it. Still, he should be deployed with his unit, and they should treat him like every other officer. Otherwise they should strip all military titles and uniforms from royalty, they don't deserve to wear them.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/05/16/iraq.harry.ap/index.html

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dvids

Thanks to R. Lee Ermey's show Mail Call on the History Channel, I was introduced to Dvids. Dvids stands for Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System, and is run by the US Army, so you'll get an unbiased, objective view of the War on Terror from the troops on the ground. I highly recommend logging on and taking a look at the stories compiled by the armed forces public affairs personnel.

http://www.dvidshub.net/

R. Lee Ermey motivational figure!


I think I might have found the perfect motivational tool. I shall have to order one immediately. With the assistance of R. Lee Ermey I will be properly motivated to get my sorry ass into shape, as well as improve my performance at work. No doubt my cubicle mates will be overjoyed at hearing Gunny yelling, "Put some gas into it, numbnuts. You move slower than old people %*^*!"

One figure coming right up!
http://www.rleeermey.com/motivationalfigure.php

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Women in the IDF



From the philes...

Got asthma? Sign up now!



I'm sorry but some of these kids should have known what they signed up for. Are today's kids just so damned gullible? And what about the parents? Nobody forces your kid to sign on the dotted line. You have to know that when your child joins the Army they will be lied to, shot at, and may be forced to kill people. It's the military, not the Boy Scouts. If you want to travel and see the world you can join the Peace Corps. You can also try to work very hard in school and get scholarships or do AmeriCorps service to get financial grants. If my child wants to join the military I will support them, but I will also let them know honestly what they are getting themselves into so that they will know all the facts. Talk to former soldiers, to veterans, and don't rely on anything that the recruiter says, in making an informed decision. If my child wants to talk to a recruiter I'm going to go with him or her, along with my wife who was in the National Guard. My whole family-in-law has been in the military as well, so they know what they are talking about.

The military is not bad, it's just people don't really know what the military's primary mission is, which is to fight and win wars. Some people are actually made for military life, they like the discipline, the rigidness, and the sense of belonging. Others do not, and are not made for the military, and consequently they will be making a mistake, a personal one, and wasting the military's time. Parents should protect their children from predatory recruiters, and young Americans themselves should not fool themselves into thinking that the military will be their sugar daddy giving them education and lots of money. As Dick Cheney said, "The reason to have a military is to be prepared to fight and win wars.... It's not a social welfare agency, it's not a jobs program."

Sweden the best place to be a mom!

According to Save the Children, Sweden is the best place in the world to be a mom. I'm not surprised, Sweden is very progressive, even allowing dads to take an entire year off to care for a child. Not bad at all. Countries on the top of the list include:

1 Sweden
2 Iceland
2 Norway
4 New Zealand
4 Australia
4 Denmark
7 Finland
8 Belgium
9 Spain
10 Germany

And you don't want to be a mom in any of these countries:

131 Djibouti
132 Burkina Faso
133 Ethiopia
134 Eritrea
135 Angola
136 Guinea-Bissau
137 Chad
138 Yemen
139 Sierra Leone
140 Niger

What I find most interesting is that the United States is not scoring very high on the list, taking the 26th place.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Getting in shape sucks


So I've been trying real hard lately to get in shape, but I'm finding it difficult. It's not like I'm really fat or anything, it's just that I think I'm just plain lazy. With no DI to motivate me, I keep blowing it all off, and this despite the fact that I had a very detailed work plan.

I was going to do 36 push-ups, 60 sit-ups, and run 1.5 miles every day. Instead I find myself sitting on the couch when I get home from work watching TV. This is no frakking way to live. I'm at a loss for how to properly motivate myself. Any suggestions?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Canadian Forces tribute redux



As the old Billy Ray Cyrus song goes, "all gave some, some gave all."

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Stephanie Miller




So Stephanie Miller has been filling in on MSNBC for Don Imus. I wish she would find a permanent seat on MSNBC because she's not only attractive, she's smart and funny as well. She makes me want to be a liberal progressive.

Veto that funding bill Mr. President

The President should veto the funding bill that Congress will present to him in a few days. Though I wish nothing more than to see the troops come home, this bill will not bring the troops home, and will futher endanger the lives of the troops on the ground. It is quite clear that the President is committed to Iraq, and that he will not be pulling troops out of there. This attempt of Congress to meddle in foreign diplomacy is reckless and dangerous, and it echoes the debacle in Somalia when President Clinton refused to allow commanders on the ground AC-130 Spectre gunships and Bradley armored fighting vehicles. A lot of people died needlessly in Somalia because of a lack of resolve from civilian planners and politicians. By withholding essential equipment, or the procurement of such equipment - like this spending bill will do - Congress is in effect making the US armed forces in Iraq less capable. Men and women on the ground will pay for this in blood. In comparison when Canadian Forces operate in Afghanistan, they have a massive amount of equipment and are well-funded, everything from tanks to armored personnel carriers and artillery.

You can't fight a war without the proper men and equipment, and though it is noble of Congress to want to bring the troops home, cutting off their funding will not bring them home, especially since the President is totally committed to continuing the war in Iraq. The troops lives will now be in limbo, either you completely withdraw the troops from Iraq or you must totally fund and grant them the equipment that they will need to win the war (though the war in unwinnable because there is no clearly defined end goal). The President is not going to pull the troops out, so a passing of this bill will make another Blackhawk Down scenario.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why I'll vote for Bill Richardson for President!


(Bill call me)

I truly hope Bill Richardson becomes the next President of the United States. Here's why:

1) Bill Richardson knows about illegal immigration, that's because he's been the frakking governor of New Mexico.

2) Bill Richardson knows about alternative energy sources because he's been the frakking Secretary of Energy.

3) Bill Richardson knows about politics in Washington because he's been a frakking US Congressman.

4) Bill Richardson knows about foreign diplomacy and how to actually talk to other countries without bombing them because he's been the frakking US ambassador to the United Nations. He also speaks French.

5) Bill Richardson knows about race issues because he's half hispanic.

6) Bill Richardson, has been married to the same woman for 33 years, and is a stable family man, unlike Giuliani.

7) Bill Richardson just seems like a nice guy and does not seem to be the kind of politician that would compromise his beliefs to gain votes, or flip-flop on issues.

8) Bill Richardson banned cock fights in New Mexico, so he should have no problems with the US Senate.

9) Bill Richardson recently joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire to create the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, a joint strategy to fight global warming. Anybody who is not afraid of the Terminator is A-okay.

10) Bill Richardson is not Hillary Clinton.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Move over Molly Sandén

A few months ago I wrote about the amazing Swedish talent Molly Sandén, the 2006 Junior Eurovision Song Contest entry for Sweden. It seems that talent runs in the family as is demonstrated by her 11 year old sister Mimmi Sandén.



I find it amazing that she's singing in English as well, not her native language. Shit, when I was 11 I was probably still wearing diapers. The Sandén family is truly blessed, and I think there's one more sister. That would be one helluva a trio!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Coast Guard strikes again

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/23/drugs.coastguard.reut/index.html

Unbelievable, 20 tons of cocaine worth $600 million dollars, that's $30 million dollars per short ton. 40,000 pounds, or $15,000 dollars per pound!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

WAR IS A RACKET!


But don't take my word for it, after all, what would I know about war? Well how about it coming from Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC (Retired)?

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/print.asp?ID=6021

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Putin's Russia

WTF Putin? I thought you had a hold on this democracy thing and now I hear that people are protesting on the streets of Moscow? Whatever happened to the good old days when politicians could just throw people into the sea?

Turkey to block "insulting" websites and the EU

Turkey has for many years tried to join the EU, but their treatment of the Kurds and political repression has often prevented it from becoming a member. Indeed Turkey is quite different from the rest of Europe, if it is actually part of Europe at all, which is a matter of great debate between geographers and politicians. Needless to say Turkey's decision to block "insulting" websites is akin to China's censorship policies. If Turkey really wants to become a member of the EU, such actions must stop. Freedom of speech is one of the hallmarks of good democracy, and should not be curtailed. Still, Germany (a founding member of the EU) prohibits the display of Nazi symbols and Nazi paraphernalia, which is in its extreme form, a sort of "speech."

I don't agree with Nazism, nor do I agree with censorship. A free state should always allow its citizens to communicate openly and frequently, even if what they talk about is offensive to the state. Russia would do well to heed that lesson as well.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And back in the 90's there was Tina Cousins



Indeed, like the song says, "where are you now?"

American Soldier Tribute



Okay, so there are some British soldiers in there as well for good measure.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Safari snorkel



I think if you are going to have an SUV you need to outfit it with a snorkel. Unfortunately they tend to be a bit expensive, but they look awesome, and you will definitely get a leg-up on those 4WD wannabees.

http://www.arbusa.com/snorkels.php

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My mom's new ride



Okay, I admit it, I'm half-European so I like kombis. In Sweden we call a stationwagon a kombi. I like vehicles I can stuff things into, like SUVs, but since having an SUV in Europe is economic suicide, most people drive a kombi instead. In fact some kombis have more room than your standard SUV, and they are more fuel efficient, and are lightning fast. Jealousy is my middle name. My mom is much cooler than me now, and she can get all her golf bags in the car now. Still, I have 4WD and ground clearance, so I don't always have to drive on a road hahaha.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Used books



Today during my lunch hour (yes I belong to a wonderful organization that actually gives their employees a whole hour for lunch!) I visited the Old Book Barn. Now I love books, and I love used book stores. I guess treasure hunting is in my nature, and I'm quite frugal in mindset, so finding good deals makes me happy. There are books that I've found at used book stores that cost me .50 cents or $2 dollars that can be sold on the internet for $80 dollars or so because they are out of print. Not that I would ever sell them because they belong to the Library of Sharkdom. I love how books are timeless, how they can seemingly transcend the barriers of time. Knowledge, ideas, and dreams contained in books are wonderful. I don't think any book should be banned, no matter how insensitive or vulgar its content. Nobody is forcing you to read the filth after all.

I also enjoy looking at old books to see how layouts and fonts have changed over time, and the old drawings that used to be in books. Nowadays there are more pictures, but in the old days there were more diagrams and drawings which are fascinating. About the only thing that I do not like about old books is that old book smell, which sometimes smells like mold. Other than that, I could find myself in a used book store all day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Murtha likes his submarines

Visiting Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., says that he wants the US to increase the building of Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines from one a year to two.



Costing almost $3 billion dollars a piece, these subs will ensure that the US maintains domination of the undersea world. Apparently in this world where National Guard and Reserve troops are short-changed with lack of equipment and training, the hawkish democrat feels that these submarines will keep the Chinese at bay. Never mind that $3 billion dollars could ensure that the frontline troops got body armor or reinforced Humvees for Afghanistan and Iraq, or that a war with China will be economic suicide for both the US and China; it's important that defense workers in Groton have jobs.

Now don't get me wrong. Nobody loves submarines more than I do, but why spend this outrageous amount of money for attack subs when our most likely enemy will be in the littoral environment? We'd do good to buy or build the equivalent of Swedish Gotland-class submarines instead.



These submarines are so sophisticated and ultra quiet that the US Navy itself leased one for targeting and stalking practice. Sure they don't have all the capabilities of the Virginia-class, but they are lethal in the environment the US Navy would most likely find itself in the War on Terror, close to coast lines and shore. We need to maintain our advantage in weapons technology, I can understand that, but at the same time if we are truly interested in winning the War on Terror, we need to invest in equipment and training that will realistically maximize our combat effectiveness. Good boots and body armor for ground-pounders and small attack crafts for the new Riverine Squadron will probably prevent more terrorist attacks than a Virginia-class sub ever will. I highly doubt a war with China is in the immediate future, after all, if we are griping about the price of gas, imagine how much we'd gripe if all the goods we got from China would skyrocket in price?

Monday, April 09, 2007

The real reason the British sailors were taken hostage

Chasing life

This is an offshoot from a post I did on Bowl's blog. I've been thinking long and hard about what the meaning of life is and what I am truly striving for. I've not really come up with a good idea of what I want from life. Why do I work? To make money. Why do I want money? To buy stuff. Why do I want stuff? To make me happy? Does stuff really make me happy though? When I think about it, spending time with friends and family is what makes me happy, and I really don't have to spend money on that other than paying for transportation to get there and maybe for meals at restaurants, etc. Other than that I really don't know what else I'm striving for. The irony is that I have to spend time working, thereby spending less time with friends and family, in order to make money so that I can afford to spend time with friends and family. I sometimes wish we lived in a small village where all of us could spend time together and if we were hungry we could go hunt or gather for food, and we were not bogged down chasing the industrialized, commercialized "American Dream." Let me ask you this question? What are you striving for, what is your ultimate dream or goal?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

CIA's got nothing on Walmart

Do we have a new player in the intelligence biz? Forget the CIA, FBI, or NSA, let's just turn the spooks at Walmart Security loose instead! I'm sure they'd have the War on Terror wrapped up in no time, and with a cost-saving rollback too.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Guest authoring

One of the greatest things about the internet is meeting new and exciting people. It's really icing on the top when those people trust you enough to allow you to be a moderator or guest author on their site, one of the ultimate forms of respect in the cyberworld. I am particularly grateful to abowlofstupid and Kang for allowing me to guest author on their blogs. I am humbled and honored to be part of their excellent sites. A big thanks!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Day three under boiler order




Yes, we are still under boiler order here, but I do have a leg up on my neighbors. I have a 5-gallon Cambro to put my boiled water into. No self-respecting disaster responder would find him or herself without one.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Things we take for granted



We are day two into a boiler order. Apparently the city cut into a water main and we have to boil all our water until they can test the quality. I suppose you never really realize how important clean water is, it's something all living organisms must have, and we certainly take it for granted that the water that comes out of a tap is clean and drinkable.

The boiler order has given me a greater appreciation for the plight of people in the Third World that do no have access to clean water. We've got kids complaining that they don't have a Play Station 3 here, but in Africa they don't even have clean water! Just washing your hands or brushing your teeth has become problematic. You also get a little paranoid, is the water coming out of my tap really bad?

Clean water is essential, and I can't wait until I can once again drink it from the tap or take a clean shower.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Battlestar Galactica: A New Crew In Town music video



This is frakking brilliant! Well done! Bravo!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How to Write a Novel

http://secretgeek.net/nonwriter.asp

Thank you SecretGeek.Net for posting that one!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Army PR campaign

Looks like the US Army is in the midst of a media campaign, sharing videos on YouTube, and photos on Flickr. For the full story click here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Army desertions spike



http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/23/news/army.php

It would appear that the US Army gave the wrong figures when it released how many soldiers deserted its ranks last year. Apparently the Army failed to report that 853 soldiers had not reported for duty, that's almost a whole battalion! The Army tried to downplay that desertion was not always due to wartime factors, but could be for a number of reasons like "personal, family or financial problems." Very interesting indeed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

You tired few...


http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2007/d20070321ngr.pdf

That's the list of Reserve and National Guard units that were recently called upon to provide augmentation to active duty units. When you think that each one of those soldiers, sailors, and airmen have families back home it really hits you. These part time soldiers will now be full-time warriors, lives will be disrupted, children's birth dates will be missed, some will have to go into debt due to pay cuts because active duty doesn't pay as much as their civilian jobs. Still, these guys and gals are serving their country, which is more than what some politicians of ours are doing.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Apple's new iRack

Swedish Army desert camouflage


The Swedish Army's unique zig-zag camouflage pattern is also available in a desert camouflage variety. I personally think it looks pretty cool, though I am partial to digital disruptive patterns myself.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This is Sparta!



Okay my testosterone level just jumped like 100% after watching this trailer. Now I've got to go see the movie. Of course it's not historically accurate, but who really cares?

Americans in debt


I heard on the news today that 41% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and few people are putting money away for savings. Even 19% of households making $100,000 dollars a year are doing the same. $100,000 dollars seems like a fortune to me, but what do I know?

Lack of budgeting and planning is one of the main reasons why people are feeling the pinch, especially when it comes to the little expenses like eating out or buying that cup of coffee in the morning. People are eating out more and more, and that Big Mac meal will set you back about $5 bucks a day, the same with the coffee, and some snacks. You can eat much cheaper if you just plan a little, but few of us do, myself included. I'm going to try to cut back on eating out so much to see if I'll save a few pennies. I'll let you know what happens.

General Pace calls gays "immoral"

Marine Corps General Peter Pace is in trouble because he uttered these words: "I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts."

Now gay and lesbian advocacy groups are up in arms wanting the general to apologize for his remarks. I guess my trouble with this is, why? Why should he apologize? Is anybody surprised that a Marine general finds homosexuals an affront? Honestly people, you could see this coming a mile away. And since when should freedom of speech be curtailed and censored? The general was obviously stating a personal opinion, hence the "I believe." For those saying this is hate speech I don't believe it meets that threshold. If he had said "let's kill all the gays," that would have been another matter, but he didn't. Homosexuals don't agree with a lot of things, and they have their opinions, but how come if we don't agree with them we are always the hate mongers? They accuse us of being biased and insensitive, yet at times they are the ones who cannot take an opinion or belief other than their own.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate gays, I couldn't care less where you stick it, it's none of my business. I do however think it's sad that they are going after this Marine general, because even if he does apologize, do you honestly believe that it is a sincere apology? And if this catches enough momentum no doubt he'll apologize for his "insensitive remarks," maybe attend a gay group gala and take a diversity class, but his underlying beliefs will probably not be changed.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/03/13/pace.gays.ap/index.html

Thursday, March 08, 2007

For the families of Marines... Semper Fi

Japanese tourists


For their seeming lack of multiculturalism and diversity in Japan, Japanese tourists are everywhere, and Japanese people love to travel and meet new people. I don't think I've been to a single country where I did not see at least one Japanese tourist meandering down the street. What I love about meeting Japanese are their impeccable manners and the respect they pay to their hosts. They never complain and they always like everything you give them to eat: so you could give them Swedish surströmming and they would nod their heads in agreement, that indeed this is the best thing since sliced sushi.

People don't think anymore

I've long since given up on people. People are just plain stupid, myself and cyber peeps not included of course, at least we think before we disagree with each other. The following story illustrates the stupidity of people. Apparently the ACLU of New Jersey is suing "the Newark public school district, saying a school's decision to hold its graduation ceremonies in a Baptist church violated a Muslim student's religious freedom." Now I'm all for the separation of church and state, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press, etc. What really gets my blood boiling is the fact that none of the members of the public school district thought that this might be a bad idea. You can imagine the uproar if the graduation had been held in a mosque or a synagogue? And why not have the graduation in a school auditorium or a civic center? But no, let's see if we can't offend a few more people, especially since we had been warned a year before that it was inappropriate.

"The ACLU-NJ said it first complained about a West Side High School graduation at New Hope Baptist Church in 2005, but agreed not to sue when the district's legal director made assurances that the school district would avoid holding a graduation at a religious location again.

But in 2006, graduation was again held at New Hope. And the principal at the time even told graduating students that they would get two additional tickets for family and friends to go to the graduation, provided they also attended a separate religious baccalaureate ceremony for the class at a Roman Catholic church, according to the civil liberties group."


Perhaps what gets me the most is the fact that the public school district will now have to spend thousands of dollars defending itself in court, the lawyer fees will take money away from buying school books or childrens' education, etc. I guess I'm a bit upset at the NJ ACLU for suing as well, but they did tell the school district that they would sue if they held another graduation at a church, so I'll let it slide this time.

Is it too much to ask for people to have some wisdom of the common sense?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/03/08/church.graduation.suit.ap/index.html

Navy in Review 2006


My apologies for not posting this link sooner after the New Year, I've just been too busy. I do love a good Navy fix however.

http://www.navy.mil/media/OtherMedia/YearInReview2006/

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Saucy astronaut emails

Thanks to the Houston Chronicle for digging up the emails!

http://images.chron.com/content/news/photos/07/03/06/astromail.pdf

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Hamdog


For those of you who live in Central Illinois no doubt you are familiar with the culinary delight called The Horseshoe sandwich, an open-faced sandwich made up of thick-sliced, toasted sourdough bread, with a couple of hamburger patties or ham added, which is then topped with french fries and smothered with a “secret” cheese sauce.

Though it was invented in Springfield, Illinois, there are a few restaurants in Decatur, Illinois that serves this heart attack widow maker. Of course Decatur, Georgia, not to be outdone by northerners, have created their own weapon of mass consumption, bringing us to a culinary mutually assured food coma. A big thanks to The Bullshit Observer for bringing the Hamdog to my attention. You take "a hot dog wrapped in a beef patty that is deep fried, covered with bacon, chili, cheese and onions, and served with fries on a hoagie bun topped with a fried egg." God bless America!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gonzales to Congress, I'm too busy to bother myself with you...

From Robert Novak in the Union Leader, the article at: http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Robert+D.+Novak%3A+Another+Hillary+defector&articleId=65463a14-f0a4-4663-9f46-1d5189c56100

PROBING GONZALES

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has indicated he is too busy to answer letters from Democratic congressional leaders about his firing seven U.S. attorneys involved in probes of public corruption, though a lower-level Justice Department official rejected their proposals.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, House Democratic Caucus chairman, had written Gonzales two letters suggesting that he name Carol Lam, fired as U.S. attorney in San Diego, as an outside counsel to continue her pursuit of the Duke Cunningham case. Asked by Melissa Charbonneau of the Christian Broadcasting Network about this column’s report that Gonzales did not respond, Gonzales said: “I think that the American people lose if I spend all my time worrying about congressional requests for information, if I spend all my time responding to subpoenas.”

Richard A. Hertling, the acting Justice Department lobbyist, responded Wednesday, 22 days after Emanuel’s letter. He contended “the Justice Department would not ever seek the resignation of a U.S. attorney if doing so would jeopardize a public corruption case” and rejected naming Lam as a special prosecutor.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sandi Thom



A fresh face, a new talent...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Watching the world

I love traveling the world, seeing other people and cultures, how things work. Since I can't always afford to travel I do the next best thing, I journey to places vicariously through various mediums; whether it be through internet TV or people simply sharing photos online. Dare to explore...

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Jesus Tomb

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/02/26/jesus.sburial.ap/index.html

If there is one thing I love it's controversy. I'm definitely going to catch this documentary. Let's add some butter in the pan.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More on Prince Harry

Thank goodness there is other news besides Anna Nicole Smith, like a prince going off to war. Now if the media is so concerned about Prince Harry and his safety, why do they constantly let out information like this?

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23386452-details/SAS+to+guard+Harry+in+Iraq/article.do

Prince Harry will be guarded by SAS troops, Prince Harry will be assigned this mission, Prince Harry will do this, Prince Harry will be stationed here, etc. The MOD needs to stop sharing information with the media about where Prince Harry is going, and about other security concerns. No wonder he's going to become a bullet magnet, the media has practically put him in the gallery.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My new Bates boots!

I blithely took ownership of a pair of Bates Stingray Side-zip Duty Work Boots today, and I can attest that these are some of the best, most comfortable footwear I’ve ever worn. They were on sale on Sportsmansguide.com for $39.97, and since these babies usually retail on the internet for $90 bucks or so, I had to strike while the iron was hot. Deals like these are simply fabulous darling.


Volunteer firefighters

I have a deep respect for firefighters, they rush in when others rush out. I admire volunteer firefighters especially because they don't even get paid for what they do; and they put their lives on hold, and sometimes they lay down their lives, so others may live. They also have a great sense of humor. I love this picture I found. You guys do know that there is a house ON FIRE behind you?!!! ahhahahaha

Fighting crime the Swedish way + The Case of the Crashed Ferrari


Step 1: Arrest police officers and not criminals
Step 2: Give lenient sentences to criminals who actually commit crimes
Step 3: Victims are usually to blame for criminals committing crime against them

Sweden has one of the more "progressive" criminal justice systems in the world. Stories that inmates can watch cable TV and have PlayStations are not unheard of, and what is perhaps most shocking is that police actually pay attention and arrest people who do not place the proper garbage in the right recycling bins! Criminals are becoming more and more violent in society and police tactics remain unchanged, it’s not unusual for criminals to go in and out of jail because there is no real punishment, and sentences are light compared to American incarceration. Swedes believe strongly in rehabilitation, and we can all see how well that works by the number of people who get rearrested. According to The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet - Brå), “[T]he statistics show that the proportion of those convicted of offences that reoffend has varied a little from year to year. An average of 22 per cent of those convicted for offences between 1991 and 2000 reoffended within a year of the initial conviction. The proportion reoffending within a three year follow-up period was approximately one-third (an average of 35 per cent). This means that in slightly over half of the cases of recidivism noted within a three-year period, the first reoffence occurs within a year of the initial conviction.”

Police officers are also arrested quite frequently for just doing their jobs, like shooting an armed robber, or like the following story illustrates, for trying to prevent a speeder from killing an innocent person.

http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/helsingborg/story/0,2789,1005459,00.html

Apparently IT consultant Bo-Göran Sederlin was on his way to some conference in his modest Ferrari 360 Modena when he saw another Ferrari. As these things go, they just had to race and in almost a cliché they sped past an unmarked police car. The unmarked police car took off in pursuit, but since it didn't have any blue lights according to Sederlin, he thought it was a carjacker (honestly how many carjackers are there in Sweden?), but if you are driving a Ferrari I guess I can understand that. Trying to get away from the police Sederlin put the pedal to the metal and hit 300 km/h, almost 190 mph, he also drove on the wrong side of the road. The police set up road blocks but Sederlin managed to avoid them. Honestly people, if you see a phucking road block you gotta figure out that it’s the police after you! After all, this isn’t Baghdad streets we are talking about.

After a few more kilometers of pursuit the police man decided to put a stop to the car chase by ramming the Ferrari, something which police in America do all the time. I don’t blame him, Sederlin could have killed somebody with his reckless driving, and if he was so worried about carjackers he should have called the police. Don’t tell me that there isn’t a Swede without a cell phone! So the car gets slammed into the railing and the pursuit ends. Instead of thanking him as a hero for ending the pursuit, the district attorney arrests the police officer for reckless driving!!! Of course Sederlin got charged as well, but why anybody wants to be a cop in Sweden is beyond me, especially if you can get arrested for just doing your job.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wonder Washer


I would like to give an accolade to the Wonder Washer. Always being in search for a money saving device, I was quite astonished that something I saw on TV could actually work, and quite well at that. Sure it requires a lot more work (read wringing) than putting a few quarters into a laundry-o-matic, but it is well-worth the investment for any college student or poor apartment tenant who wants to save a few bucks. It's actually quite fun too watching the clothes sloshing around in the bucket as well, so kids will be easily entertained, or child-like 30 year olds like myself. I highly endorse this product, and using Tide Coldwater makes my undies smell really good, not that I smell my undies, but if I did, they'd smell pretty good. Just don't forget to wash them a few times and rinse them out between washes. Happy washing peeps!


http://www.asseenontv.com/prod-pages/wonder_washer.html

Monday, February 19, 2007

Driving on the Iraqi beltway

If only my daily commute was this easy... But you can see how effective our campaign of "winning hearts and minds" is, the Iraqis are very hospitable in moving over.

Dancing at the cafe - Bande a Part (AKA Band of Outsiders)

Thanks to MisterSix for digging this classic up on YouTube. Why is everything so much better in French?

Prince Harry to Iraq


So Prince Harry is going to Iraq and everybody is up in arms that he will become a "bullet magnet." I've got a clue for everybody, ANY British soldier in Iraq is a bullet magnet! Come on people. I for one think Prince Harry is showing leadership, and is trying to be a good officer after minor scandals that he missed training with his troops, etc.

I also don't understand why everybody is up in arms about him going to fight in Iraq. People are saying, "oh he can't go fight because he's a royal," or "what's going to happen if he dies?" etc. I'm sorry but back in the day kings and emperors went off to war and nobody said, "oh he's too cute to go fight, or what about the monarchy?" Gustav Adolphus fought like hell and he wasn't a prince, but a friggin' king! Good on you Harry!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The State Within on BBC America


One of the best TV movies I've seen this year! Well done BBC America! Very relevant, very gripping drama.

Kang tagged me

Okay, so Kang tagged me so I gotta do it...

Decide what you prefer:

American Football or Basketball? = Baseball
Beatles or Rolling Stones? = Rolling Stones
Schwarzenegger or Van Damme? = Schwarzenegger because he actually cares about environmental issues and wants health care for his people, and nobody phucks with The Terminator
Beer or Wine? = Both phool!
Los Angeles or New York? = New York, I won't set foot in LA unless they make me a movie star
Car or Bike? = SUV
Pizza or Burger? = Both
PC or Apple? = PC for games, Mac for being creative
Day or Night? = Nightstalkers Don't Quit
Internet Explorer or Mozilla? = What's Mozilla?
Black or white? = Black
Coffee or Tea? = Tea, preferably Turkish gunpowder tea
Coca or Pepsi? = Fanta and Fresca
Chocolate or Chips? = You mean potato chips?
Winter or Summer? = Winters in Gstaad and summers in St. Barts
Ski or Beach? = Both, see above
Letter or EMail? = Letters from girls, email from peeps
Dog or Cat? = Neither
BMW or Mercedes? = Nissan Xterra all the way, there's a reason they come with first aid kits, because we go out and play!
Simpsons or Spongebob? = Simpsons
YouTube or myVideo? = I like bubblare.se and idonothingallday.com.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Kang Phorum + Canadians in Afghanistan + Shawn Hlookoff + iTunes + Wonder of the Internet

Once again the power of the internet has proven itself. It started on the Kang Phorum with a new topic called Spanning the Globe. Now I'm always the one to shamelessly self-promote myself, so I will tell you that I was one of the key players in actually getting that topic set up, but that's besides the point. What happened was that True Canadian posted a thread called Canadian facts and as always I tried to find a gripping video involving Canadians. What I found on YouTube was a great Canadian tribute video of soldiers serving in Afghanistan.



The song on that video was so moving, sung by a guy named Shawn Hlookoff, that I went to iTunes to buy that song. For those people who want to ban music videos or songs on YouTube, I say to hell with you! If I hadn't seen that video on YouTube, I would never have found out about this talented artist named Shawn Hlookoff and I would never have bought his song on iTunes. I am fully for supporting brilliant artists, and I believe that artists who share some of their content freely on the internet will reach more people who would be willing to spend their money to support them. This is what happened when I stumbled onto the Celtic Women, I loved them and I bought their music. I saw their content free, but I was so enthralled that I bought their product. Negative recording companies who want to limit their artists' access to the internet are losing out I believe. Rather than fighting the internet, like Metallica, they should embrace it. The age of going to the music store to buy a CD is going the way of the cassette tape so you better get onboard! Not everybody on the internet is a freeloader. We actually DO BUY quality products.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Smiling fashionistas

Inevitably any fashionista will find themselves connected to New York City somehow. Paris, Milan, and London might be giants, but New York City has its own charm, its own vibrancy. The people of New York are some of the most interesting in the world, and one of my favorite New York blogs is I Do Nothing All Day's blog. Only a New Yorker could create a blog that combines subtle voyeurism with the latest fashions, infused with music, in a tactful and delicious compact package. The blog always leaves me with a smile, and New Yorkers have a lot to smile about:

http://www.idonothingallday.com/2006/07/sheer-blue-tee-shirt-on-smiling-beauty.html

Why we don't kiss our siblings...

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/02/14/kinship.reut/index.html

State Farm pulls out of Mississippi

http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/14/news/companies/state_farm.reut/index.htm?cnn=yes

Like a good neighbor State Farm will leave you. State Farm took a gamble when it insured the good citizens of Mississippi, they figured they could make a few million dollars without too much risk, afterall, when is a Level 4 hurricane going to hit? People paid their high premiums, the money kept rolling in, and everybody was happy. Then one day Hurricane Katrina comes barging in, and now State Farm doesn't want to pay up. What is flooding is wind damage and what is wind damage is flood damage, the excuses and accusations go flying back and forth between destitute homeowners and State Farm. State Farm wants us to feel sorry for them, and have public affairs campaigns to tell us what a great company they are and how many claims they have already settled, etc. They don't have enough money to cover all the claims and might go bankrupt, etc. Honestly, have you ever seen a national insurance company go under?

Now I don't have all the details, but I think if you are paying your premiums and have been a loyal customer for many years, you ought to get your money. If the insurance company doesn't want to honor your claim they should at least give you back all your money you've given them over the years. What is at stake here is greed, corporate greed. The homeowners just want to rebuild their homes, their businesses, and their lives. Now if State Farm doesn't want to insure them after that, that's fine, but at least honor legitimate claims.

Here are some interesting things I found on http://www.insurancejournal.com in the comments section:

http://www.unitedpolicyholders.org/pdfs/WhitePaper_report.pdf

Monday, February 12, 2007

PS3 vs. Wii like a PC vs. Mac commercial

Must Love Jaws



hahahaha almost like Brokeback Mountain on water.

Condilicious

Thanks to Shazzerspeak for introducing this to me:

Dolphins and sealions to the rescue!


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,251598,00.html

Is that Senator John Kerry reporting for duty? No, it's the Navy's latest weapon against intruders.

Strategy for Victory: Clear, Hold, and Build in Iraq

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/20060320-6.html

The Bush administration is treating Iraq as some gigantic Lego set. Don't like the instructions that came with the box? Change them. Don't like the pieces? Change them. Break it up, tear it down, rebuild. Sadly the pieces they are dealing with are human lives, both Iraqi and American.

The White House is touting the success of Tal Afar, but let's not forget that Tal Afar is only one town, and for true stability to return we'd need to station troops everywhere in Iraq, and 20,000 some troops are not going to cut it. I particularly find this of interest, "As Iraqis see the benefits of liberty, they will gain confidence in their future - and work to ensure that common purpose trumps narrow sectarianism." Iraqi confidence is at an all-time low, and Iraqis would rather have security than libery at this point. Most Americans don't even have confidence in their own future, despite having liberty - or what's left of it - so how can we expect Iraqis to be all cheery about picking up body parts of their family members in the town square?

Sadly there is no way out of Iraq with honor. The cut and run method, or phased withdrawal will only display weakness, and in that part of the world weakness is a griveous sin. In my opinion the US will at some point engage Iran in a skirmish thereby taking the focus away from Iraq and allowing the US forces to realign themselves for an eventual withdrawal. A situation pretty similar to the Cambodian invasion which aided Nixon in getting the troops out of Vietnam will result. We call this a smoke screen, and it will be a big one.

Air Force recruiting


I think if we ever have problems with recruiting we can just show this picture :) The Air Force does have a monopoly on beautiful women, followed closely by the Navy.

Napping on the job reduces heart attacks

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/02/12/naps.heart.ap/index.html

I think we should institute mandatory napping all across the board, from nuclear power plant engineers to air traffic controllers! :)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

100,000 Club

I just realized that if I were to add up the number of pages that I've read in my life so far it must add up to more than 100,000 pages. Who else is a member of my club: the 100,000 Club!

Ode to public libraries and rediscover your love of reading


http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mpublibrary.html

No matter where I've lived I've always gotten myself a library card. It is perhaps the greatest thing a common man or woman can do to better themselves. We all pay taxes for it, and it is one of the few things that I do think our taxes should pay for. I love libraries, and despite my apprehension about germs on books, I believe that reading is the best art. The written word is the most powerful force in the world, and combined with an idea it can make or destroy worlds.

A friend of mine recently introduced me to goodreads , a website where you can share your reviews of books you've read with your friends. I think it's a brilliant concept and has reintroduced me to the wonderful world of reading. People who say they have no time to read a book are mistaken, they can watch four hours of TV a night but can't pick up a book? I prefer books because I can make my own images of characters and places in my mind, and the possibilities are endless. The bonus factor is that people think you are pretty smart if you are reading all the time, nobody says, "that guy Joe is so smart because he watches TV every day."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Broken Windows lead to more crime theory

The classic theory presented by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in The Atlantic Monthly; March 1982; Broken Windows; Volume 249, No. 3; pages 29-38.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/files/Atlantic%20Monthly%20-%20Broken%20Windows.htm

The Beautiful Country, a must see...


http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=288095&inline=nyt_ttl

The most moving picture I've watched in a long time. I think the reviews you can read over the internet will do the movie justice, and I will not attempt to do one here, but I urge you all to see this movie by yourself. It tackles everything from illegal immigration to the American Dream, to the timeless love of family and the seach for oneself. This one is a tear jerker, a heart-puller, and a punch in the gut.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Crown Princess Victoria in camo






One thing I've always liked about royalty is their close connection to the military. Some like Prince William and Harry join the military as an occupation, while others like Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden get a basic course and understanding. I only wish that the children of the American upper crust did the same so that they have some appreciation of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. But somehow I don't see the Bush twins running out and joining up anytime soon.

BTW, this is also an excellent illustration of the effectiveness of the Swedish zig-zag pattern of camouflage.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How Switzerland maintains its neutrality...

Since I used to live in Switzerland I always get people asking me, "Shark, how did Switzerland manage to remain neutral all these years?" I offer them this explanation,

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Swedish UN peacekeepers in Liberia do their take on "Baywatch"

Eurovision, melodifestivalen, Ines, Anna Sahlene, Estonia... the mind of the Shark

Unbelievable where your mind leads you sometimes. It started with the previous post about your life in song through iTunes, etc. Memories came flashing back to me as I looked at the songs that had impacted my life. As the name Eda-Ines Etti once again graced my mind, I recalled how fitting it was that in the year 2000 I was on a booze cruise from Stockholm to Estonia. Ines was performing for Estonia that year in the Eurovision song contest. If there is one thing that's better than sliced bread it's the Eurovision song contest, I'm a virtual addict. I offer this flash back for the faithful.



Now Ines was going to perform for Estonia again, but backed out at the last minute, and the Swedish singer Anna Sahlene took over. Anna Sahlene is a very talented and sexy singer, and I salute her with this:



Like a blonde Carola she rises from the ashes to warm this shark's heart. Carola has probably carried the Swedish torch to the Eurovision song contest more times than any other Swedish singer. And out of deep respect I humbly submit:



Now incidentally, if we can backtrack a bit, the 2000 Eurovision song contest was one of the best ones in my memory. Not only did Holland field such heavy weights as (perhaps quite literally) Linda Wagenmakers but



the Russian bombshell Alsou also made quite debut.



Now Linda Wagenmakers is Holland's favorite "musicals" singer, most famous for playing against Tony Neef in the Dutch version of Miss Saigon. Their rendition of "de laatste nacht" always brings me to tears.



She was our equivalent of Lea Salonga in the Dutch version of Les Mis as well, but just for our own edification I offer Lea in her best role:



And there you have it folks... thanks for the memories

Soundtrack Of Your Life…

I guess A Bowl of Stupid started this one and I found out about it on Kang's blog.

The rules:
1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc.);
2. Put it on shuffle;
3. Press play;
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing;
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button; and
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool…

~~~

Opening Credits: O Holy Night - Luciano Pavarotti

Waking Up: Here in my room - Selena

First Day at School: The body of an American - The Pogues

Falling In Love: Goodbye my lover - James Blunt

Fight Song: I love you - Lorie

Breaking Up: Give me good sex - E-Rotic

Prom: Ameno (Dance Radio Edit) - Era

Life: No remedy for love - Owl Creeks

Mental Breakdown: Once in a lifetime - Eda-Ines Etti

Driving: Buy me a rose - Kenny Rogers

Flashback: Pity the child (from Chess) - Murray Head

Getting Back Together: You were mine - Dixie Chicks

Wedding: See you again - Jenny Bliss

Birth of Child: Ma meilleure amie - Lorie

Final Battle: We've got tonight - Kenny Rogers

Death Scene: Commitment - LeeAnn Rimes

Funeral Song: Deliver me - Sarah Brightman

End Credits: Free - La Cream

Monday, February 05, 2007

More digital camo for the fashionistas


Okay, we've already discussed the inventive camouflage pattern found in the movie Children of Men, a pattern based upon the British Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM) and the US Army's new ACU digital camo. I also briefly made mention of the Multicam pattern by Crye Industries. Now there is yet another contender for the best camouflage of 2007, the Digital Tiger Stripe pattern by Tiger Stripe Products. Based upon the tiger pattern used by special forces during the Vietnam War, the Tiger Stripe pattern looks very effective when offered in a pixilated form.

Will Florida tornado prompt more Christian converts?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/04/florida.storm/index.html

I find it particularly interesting that so much focus has been placed on the Church of God in Lady Lake, Florida and its congregation members. 1,500 homes have been damaged, 20 people have died, yet the central focus point seems to be the rebuilding of the church. Even Florida Gov. Charlie Crist could not resist the urge to make an appearance at last Sunday's church service. I wonder if he would have shown up at a collapsed synagogue or a mosque?

In a way this story reminds me of a story I read about the Asian tsunamis where the flood waters spared a church but ruined the rest of the village. God surely works in mysterious ways, particularly when you add government into the equation. I'm always amused when neocons espouse their views that the Founding Fathers did not really want a separation of church and state and that their intention was for the US to be a Christian nation. If you read what they wrote, particularly Madison, you might gain a little more insight into their thinking. But I'm not going to deny you your intellect by telling you what he thought about the subject, do you own homework.

As a Christian I prefer to read the Bible and meditate upon God's word by myself, and as an American who believes in the US Constitution I do not have a problem with a Muslim reading the Koran, or a Jew reading the Torah, or the Buddhists the Tripitaka, etc. What I do have a problem with is when politicians try to reinterpret the Constitution for their own gain, or when they blatantly let their own religious beliefs favor one group over another. Then again, I'm probably one of the few Americans who still believe in the Constitution; and seeing as the president doesn't seem to care about it, I don't blame other Americans for not caring either, after all, chasing after that latest iPod is hard enough for the electorate. For people saying these are necessary evils in the fight against evil doers, I suggest they read up on jingoism and fear mongering. Of course they've probably never heard of those words either.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Five things you don’t know about me

Continuing Kang's blog tag:

1. I'm an avid reader of non-fiction.
2. I'm a closet author, mainly because I keep all my works in my closet.
3. I used to be a MacAddict.
4. If I could eat steak every day I would.
5. I wish my blog wasn't so boring.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sarah Silverman

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/02/01/apontv.sarahsilverman.ap/index.html

Don't forget folks that The Sarah Silverman Program is debuting tonight on Comedy Central. This is mandatory viewing for Kang.

Exxon Mobil soldiers on


As I'm digging in my pocket for spare change to fill up my gas tank I hear that Exxon Mobil posted a record profit over the radio. Exxon was close to making $40 billion dollars in profit, making it the largest annual profit in US history. Well good for them, if I ran a company I'd want them to make a huge profit. Who wants to be a loser? We Americans can gripe about the price of gas, but we've got some of the lowest prices for gas in the world. We can spend $5 dollars on a cup of Starbucks coffee but we can't shell out $5 dollars for 2 gallons of gasoline? I don't blame Exxon for making a product that we are dependent upon, they are just catering to our needs.

I'm glad that American automakers are finally waking up to the fact that they need to make some more fuel efficient vehicles. Vehicles in Europe are very fuel efficient, and stylish, and have impressive handling. American appetites favor large, bulky pick ups and SUVs, but even they are weaning. Pick up and SUV sales are declining. My parents tell me that their friends in Europe who drive SUVs are paying $100 dollars every trip to the station. Though America will probably have a revolution before that happens, we need to start thinking about alternative fuels and equipment. Interestingly enough the companies that we criticize, such as Exxon, or Shell, or BP, are at the forefront of alternative fuel research. They don't pocket all of that $40 billion dollars, they invest a chunk of that in ethanol, hydrogen, and other alternative fuel research. They also donate a lot of money to environmental protection and even global warming mitigation initiatives, if you can believe that. Still, they could always do more, but quite frankly, what would you do if you ran a large, profitable, and successful company? It's always easier to criticize when you are a have-not like myself, but what if the roles were reversed?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hungry for some politics


Great White Shark - video powered by Metacafe

And the Swedish snowman winner is...



Okay so maybe it's the snow troll winners, but they are Hanna Johansson, 19, Elina Engström, 19, and Therese Wiklund, 19. The town of Kåbdalis should be proud of their snow troll, and their beautiful young women as well.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can we run a convention or what?

Best of the Bush speeches

Geeks and bookworms

I admit it: I'm a big, fat geek. I love electronic gadgets and I love reading. I accumulate useless knowledge as if by osmosis. I have a borderline obsessive personality, when I get interested in something I want to learn everything there is to know about it; and unless I can master the basics I don't like it. It was like that with poker, fishing, and now digital photography. I recently purchased a brand-new Canon PowerShot S3IS camera, and already I'm running around taking pictures. Unfortunately the pictures are not turning out as great as I'd hoped, and I'm thinking it's not the camera but the photographer. I've seen some great photos online taken by the same brand of camera, so it must be me. The solution is of course for me to engross myself in reading every single book there is on digital photography. That is what I do, when I get interested in something I read all the books I can about that particular subject, and then I apply what I've learned in real practice. I did that with poker, I read everything from Doyle Brunson to Phil Hellmuth, and then I hit the casino to try my luck. When I wanted to learn about fishing I read what Bill Dance and Jimmy Houston had to say, then I hit the lake and caught myself some bass. You can learn a lot by reading, but applying what you've learned is a whole new ball game, and is something that makes life worth living I believe.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Windows adventures


So I was going to watch a movie on the internet tonight and my MICROSOFT operating system did not want MICROSOFT Explorer to access the internet. This was not a moment of Zen. Check out the screenshot.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sponge in the microwave kills bacteria. Duh!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/01/24/germs.sponges.reut/index.html

"A team at the University of Florida found that two minutes in the microwave at full power could kill a range of bacteria, viruses and parasites on kitchen sponges."

To that I say a big, fat, duh! I don't know how much money was spent on this research, but I could have saved them a lot of money by attesting that anything placed in the microwave for two minutes will die! And quite frankly, who the hell wants to place a dirty old sponge in their microwave and then reuse it? Throw that sh-t away man!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The fashionista of the disaster relief world


There are a lot of things that I love about America, and American ingenuity is one of them. I love the concepts "where there is a will there is a way," or "if you build it they will come," and perhaps more appropriate, “if you make it they will buy it.” Working in emergency disaster relief I’ve always been keen on wearing tactical uniforms such as BDUs. When the Army introduced its next generation uniform, the digitally camouflaged ACU, I thought it was the best thing since Diet Dr. Pepper. Unfortunately wearing digital camouflage at my work would be out of the question as it would perhaps confuse or intimidate people. The wearing of black, khaki, or navy BDUs was acceptable, but digital camouflage was a definite no-no my boss said. I spent many sleepless nights crying in my bed room, also known as the TOC (Tactical Operations Center), praying that some company would take the ACU uniform and make it appropriate for civilian or law enforcement use.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my latest Galls catalogue! Staring back at me was a navy colored ACU or TRU as Tru-Spec calls their Tactical Response Uniform. As I drooled over the catalogue I realized how sad it was that I was excited about reinforced internal elbow pockets for pad inserts, bellowed lower pockets with hook and loop closures, mandarin collars, and drawstrings. Not only was it available in navy, but black, khaki, and olive drab as well; and I knew then that my charge account would not be safe. American ingenuity strikes again, and no doubt I will look splashing in my khaki TRU with my Altama combat boots. I guess I’m the fashionista of the non-profit, non-government disaster relief world.

more on Blackwater

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/01/24/iraq.helicopter.crash.ap/index.html

http://www.blackwaterusa.com/

http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=102251&ran=202519&tref=po

http://www.alternet.org/story/18193/

Blackwater Down




There is no doubt that private contractors have played a crucial role in conflicts around the globe. Often referred to as Private Military Companies (PMC), but commonly called "mercenaries," PMCs have helped to secure war-torn countries, often while make a profit. The outfit Executive Outcomes, now disbanded, helped to push the rebels back in Sierra Leone in the 90s, with enough force and efficiency to allow British and UN troops to stabilize Freetown. Many criticize the lack of oversight of PMCs, and argue that they are "loose cannons" or killers-for-hire. Most are not, and are former special forces operators who adhere to strict rules of engagement. PMCs are probably responsible for less attrocities than soldiers of standing armies, and some are more tactically efficient than some infantry units in close quarter combat. There are reports that soldiers serving in Iraq sometimes took orders from the contractors during combat because they used to be former SEALs and Delta Force operators, and knew a lot about tactics. Now I don't know how true these reports are because they are posted on sites on the internet, and I don't think the Pentagon would be pleased to see that their soldiers are listening or taking orders from PMCs. But I will say that if I was a soldier in Iraq, taking heavy fire, and there was a group of former SEALs next to me, I'd probably follow their advice than some general sitting in the Green Zone.

Still, a lot of people are skeptical of PMCs, but the fact remains that they provide crucial security to American and allied interests in war zones. They ferry medical supplies and fuel to the US Army, protect American State Department officials, and other business and non-profit entities, as well as protect news crews. The fact that they operate in the gray areas, and fringes of "polite war society" is both a blessing and a curse.