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Archive for September, 2005

In Which I Post The Headlines And Go To Bed

September 29th, 2005 No comments

Denying charges of cronyism, Scott McClellan announced that the new undersecretary of FEMA is also the first American with Down?s Syndrome appointed to a cabinet level agency. McClellan said the appointment of Jeffy ?Dancer? Lincoln, the son of a vice president of Kellog, Brown and Rice, is meant to give other children with Down?s Syndrome a positive message that they can be just as effective as anyone else the government currently employs. McClellan described Lincoln as a ?former food service employee well acquainted with making quick and appropriate decisions.? Despite draconian restrictions on access to the new undersecretary, a reporter for Hbee Inc Radio tracked him down on his last day at Burger King. ?I?m a good boy,? said Lincoln, ?I like football. I like to dance.?

Karen Hughes, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, was rushed to a psychiatric ward in Jidda, Saudi Arabia after addressing several hundred abaya-wearing women at a local university. The appearance marked another stop on Hughes? tour of the Middle East meant to convert the natives to Americanisim. After an initially warm reception from the hand-picked audience, Hughes urged the women to ?fully participate in society? by demanding to vote and referred to driving a car as ?an important part of my freedom.? An audience member responded, “The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn’t happy. Well, we’re all pretty happy,? which was met by tumultuous applause. Unable to process a culture where women didn?t drive, Hughes gripped the podium and seemed to go into epileptic shock, rhythmically chanting, ?driving is freedom, driving is freedom? until guards pried her hands from the podium and took her offstage. Hughes is the third such victim of this phenomenon. The previous undersecretary, Margaret Tutwiler, lasted only five months on the job. Her doctors report that, as yet, she will still only mutter the words to America The Beautiful.

Japanese researches have captured for the first time on film, a giant squid in its natural habit. The researchers provoked the squid, found 600 miles offshore from Tokyo, into a attacking a remote underwater camera providing a wealth of information as to its habits. Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori described watching the squid as ?creepy?, ?spooky? and ?altogether ooky?. A spokesman for the United States Navy, Captain Ahab, commented, ?Arrrrrgh. At last I?ll be havin? th? chance to avenge me leg.?

CNN reports Beth Holloway Twitty accused the primary suspects in the disappearance of her daughter, Natalie, of lying to the television show, A Current Affair. ?He?s absolutely lying,? she told CBS?s Early Show and NBC?s Today Show. ?He told the police they had sex with her and he told A Current Affair he didn?t. He?s lying.? Senator Bill Frist, after watching vacation tapes of Natalie Holloway, announced that it was his medical opinion that she was not brain-dead and called for Senate Hearings on the matter.

Michael Brown, the future former ex-head of FEMA, testified before a before a bi-partisan committee of mostly Republicans yesterday convened to investigate who best to take the fall for the debacle of Hurricane Katrina. Showing a craven cowardice unrivaled since Daffy Duck tried to steal all of Ali Baba?s gold, he proceeded to blame all of FEMA?s failings on everyone except himself boldly insisting, like so many other pre-mature ejaculators before him, that he thought he?d done a ?pretty good job?. In a brief moment of introspection, he admitted that his one mistake was not realizing earlier that the state of Louisiana was ?dysfunctional.? The state of Louisiana issued a statement today that read, in part, ?this is why we hit Michael Brown. We don?t want to. But Michael Brown makes us hit him. It?s that tramp Texas and that whore Mississippi he always hangs around with. We?d kill him if we didn?t love him so much.? The statement went on to say that if Brown would stay home once in a while, the state of Louisiana wouldn?t drink so much and suggested that having another baby might solve all their problems.

Good night.

In Which You Just Feel Like Crying

September 27th, 2005 1 comment

I’m…what to say? How do you even wrap your head around this?

From CBS’s Katrina blog: “Sept. 26, 2005 /6:44 p.m. (CBS) — CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate it’s [sic] response following Hurricane Katrina.”

How th-? What th-? Who th-?

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In Which I Help You Towards Safer Computing

September 26th, 2005 1 comment

(Note to Mac Users – Yes, I know. Macs are not a susceptible to this kind of crap.)
(Note to D – Yes, I know. Didn’t you see the above note?)

Check out the Security Now podcast for some fairly straightforward explanations of how to stay safe. The two password shows provide great information about the importance of good passwords and how to choose one (or two or a bunch of them).

Also, the term “spyware” confuses a lot of the clients that I have. Is it a virus? Will it hurt my machine? How do I get it? Spyware Warrior blogs about these issues, keeps track of the latest trends and court cases against these scumbags. For instance, “ActiveX: the good, the bad and the ugly” walks through a website that installs spyware. I’d highly suggest watching the video and even showing it to your kids. (Note – the video is long, but if you right-click on the progress bar in Windows Media player you can speed it up by going to Play|Play Speed|Fast.) During the video, you’ll seeing him using a program called SnoopAnalyzer which records all of the invisible data that spyware sends to and from your machine.

You’ll notice during the install that a registry checker comes up. If you look closely in the upper left hand side of the “registry checker” you’ll see an Internet Explorer icon. This is what David Mamet refers to as a “tell”. Legitimate programs (and there are real registry checkers) would not run inside of a web browser.

When you see him going into Windows Explorer to look at files and folders, he’s sorted by date. This shows the newest files installed by the spyware app.

He runs a program called Hijack This which takes a snapshot of the state of your machine and allows you to modify settings. It’s a high level tool that’s not for everyone. You should use it with EXTREME caution.

One thing you’ll notice towards the end of the video is that even at double-speed, the computer barely moves. The spyware crippled it to the exten that nothing can happen. At 29:48, he pops up the Task Manage (CTL+ALT+DEL on XP machines) the icon blazes full green. This is bad. This means that some program has taken over the resources needed to run other programs. At this point the machine is useless until the spyware gets removed.

The sidebar of the Spyware Warrior page has links to the best of the free and commercial spyware removers. If you’ve never run a spyware scan, do it now. In fact, you should download and run two different anti-spyware programs since, for some odd reason, I’ve yet to see a program that catches everything. In addition to that, download and run CWShedder. Cool Web ranks among the most destructive spyware. I’ve seen it cripple not only web browsers but also kill AOL Instant Messenger.

Is this stuff useful to anyone? Or should I stick to the snark?

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In Which CNN Treads Floodwater

September 24th, 2005 2 comments

It’s a staple of kids’ science shows that some poor hapless schmuck gets coerced into sky diving in order demonstrate the principle of gravity. Closeup of comically frightened face – cue exagerated scream whilst falling. Somehow kids got programmed that science sucks so producers pulled out all the stops to glitz it up. For example – what’s wicked cooler than strapping a guy into a wind tunnel and subjecting him to 111mph winds?

Oh, wait. That was CNN last night.

Yeah. CNN.

Apparently, no one knew the answer to the question, “Is it a good idea to stand outside in 111mph winds?” so “the most trusted source in news” felt duty bound to investigate. Turns out it’s a bad idea.

For some unknown reason the cable news networks adopted a policy that once NOAA indentifies a hurricane they will devote every single broadcast minute tracking it until it makes landfall. Unless something really important happens like a plane landing safely at an airport.

Perhaps (and it’s just a suggestion), while waiting for the actual story, they might consider COVERING SOME ACTUAL FUCKING NEWS. Like troblesome elections in Germany. Or Bill Frist’s possible insider trading. Or Tom Delay’s rapidly unravelling reputation. Or car bombs in Iraq. Or sleezy oil companies jacking up the price of gas. Or the Catholic Church banning gay priests…but only the new ones (even though most pedophiles are straight). They can still keep the satellite photo showing the hurricane’s slow, dull procession towards land but they can spare us interchanges like this

Aaron: The sun may be shining. The sky may be blue. All may appear calm in the week leading up to a hurricane, but in seven days, well, the story will be quite different. Anderson Cooper is on the scene right now. Anderson, what’s the latest projection for landfall?

Anderson: Aaron, you’re right. It’s a simply gorgeous day today. The Gulf of Mexico sits behind me and as you can see there’s hardly a ripple on the water. As it stands, NOAA believes the hurricane will reach here in about six days, twelve hours and seventeen minutes. That could, of course, change. Many of the residents don’t seem terribly concerned right now but some take the threat seriously. They’ve already started packing boxes with their most precious belongings.

Aaron: Now, you say some are packing boxes. What kind of boxes are they using?

Anderson: A wide variety, Aaron. A lot of folks favor a kind of deep plastic bin with a waterproof seal. These bins have the benefit of sturdiness over their cardboard cousins. I think – do we have that graphic ready? – great. You’ll see on this graph, Aaron, that the difference between plastic and cardboard, under normal conditions of heat and moisture, is really pretty negligable but watch what happens when cardboard gets wet. It falls apart. That’s why so many people choose plastic in situations like this.

Aaron: Wow! That’s…that’s something. And I’m assuming, correct me if I’m wrong, that it’s most the poor people that rely on cardboard boxes for packing.

Anderson: Yes. Yes, that’s sadly true, Aaron. We’ve tried to get someone from FEMA to comment on this but as yet our calls haven’t been returned.

Aaron: I’ll bet. I’ll bet they haven’t. Well. Anderson, keep up the good work out there and –

Anderson: Aaron – I’m sorry to interupt but I’ve just gotten word that NOAA’s revised it’s prediction saying the hurricane is now expected in six days, twelve hours and twenty-five minutes.

Aaron: So they now have about eight minutes of extra preparation?

Anderson: Sometimes eight minutes can make all the difference.

Aaron: So true. All right, Anderson. Stay safe.

Anderson: Will do, Aaron.

Aaron: Anderson Cooper, reporting live. Six days, twelve hours and twenty-five minutes may seem like a lot of time to prepare for a disaster of biblical proportions, but is it? The answer when we come back.

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In Which I Ask A Favor

September 23rd, 2005 No comments

If anyone’s coming from download.com, can you tell me how you got here? I’m not seeing any link from there.

Weird.

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In Which I Post This Week’s Headlines

September 22nd, 2005 1 comment

Tune in to Hbee Inc Radio today at 6pm on WMFO 91.5 in Boston or on the web

This week’s show looks for the answer on how many songs reference John Wayne.

Ahhhhnold’s weekly radio address at 6:30.

This and other headlines at 7:30.

Former Chief Executive of Tyco, Dennis Kozlowski, will serve 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison for his role in bilking the company of hundreds of millions of dollars during his tenure as well as paying restitution and fines totaling $239 million dollars. After the sentencing, Judge Michael Obus quipped, ?Now we know the answer to the question: How many Polacks does it take to screw a company.? 

After a plea bargain fell through, Lynndie England, the only hobbit charged in the Abu Grahib scandal, plans to enter a ?not guilty? plea in her upcoming trial. Her lawyer gave a preview of her defense which relies on mental health problems that go back to her childhood when she was allegedly terrorized by naked Middle Eastern men with pillow cases over their heads and covered in their own feces. Said a friend, ?Ever since that day, she vowed revenge against them. And who could blame her??

North Korea signed an historic ?statement of principles? promising to dismantle their nuclear weapons program. US diplomats, however, expressed skepticism over the vague language used to craft it, pointing out that passages reading, ?We, the North Koreans, pledge to more than likely keep up our end of the bargain but you never know,? did not inspire confidence. Diplomats also noted that one of the signers, Fik Yow, did not appear to have participated in the negotiations.

President Bush gave a prime time speech from New Orleans detailing his plans for reconstruction of the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Power to the area immediately surrounding the President?s speech was restored a half hour before the speech giving the residents the first electric light they?d seen in more than two weeks. The power was shut down an hour after he left. The President advanced a relief package totaling more than $200 billion dollars, making it the largest reconstruction package in US history. The proposed initiatives include tax incentives and loan guarantees for businesses and, for the poorest residents, forty acres and a mule.

As Hurricane Rita reached peak winds of 175mph, thousands of hacky comedians overwhelmed comedy clubs across the nation, jockeying to for position to make the first ?and Bush went on vacation joke?. ?I was sitting there watching TV yesterday,? said a comic that would only identify himself as The Jokeinator, ?and I heard about Rita and I knew that bush had stayed on vacation during Katrina and I said to my buddy, ?I wonder if he?ll go on vacation for this one? and then we both started cracking up. I?ve got an open mic tonight that I?m going to try it out.?

In an unscheduled news conference, a haggard looking President bush announced that he had ?credible evidence? that North Korea had developed a weather machine capable of causing category 5 hurricanes which it could direct towards the US. ?The threat is real,? said the President, ?and I know it?s real. It?s really real. I?ve seen it in action and we must stop them. And that?s why I am announcing today that US forces have invaded Iran.? White House Spokesman Scott McClellan refuted the President?s statement informing the press that bush had just come from a screening of the 1966 movie ?Our Man Flint? and had slept poorly for the past several nights. ?The President is under a lot of stress lately,? said McClellan, ?We have no plans to invade Iran. We?re planning on invading Syria, instead.?

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In Which I Cannot Believe This Isn’t A Googlewhack

September 22nd, 2005 No comments

I know the Rules of Googlewhack specify using only two words to return one result, but still, I have a hard time believing that

Wow. I wonder why any self-respecting husband would divorce this whiny cunt. Maybe if she put as much time into the cooking, cleaning and baby making as she did into this blog (what is she doing near a computer

returns even one hit, let alone one of them referencing this blog.

I’m not sure if I should be proud or not.

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In Which I’m Glad I Got That Out Of My System

September 22nd, 2005 No comments

Shew! Sorry about that! It does strike me as odd that while I heard the bush quomit (that’s my new word for bush sound bites – it’s a mash up of “quote” and “vomit”) on NPR around 6pm, the bloggers didn’t get to it until this morning. Even Americablog, the most rabid of them all. But let’s not go down that road again.

Except to say…

No. I won’t go there.

Instead, let’s flashback to a happier time yesterday when I received a telemarketing call that zoomed into my top 5 ever.

Telemarketer: Mr. Day?
Me: Yes?
T: Mr. Day, my name is Useless* and I’d like to say up front that this is not a sales call.
M: OH, GOOD! I was concerned for a moment.
T: No, sir. I represent Horizon Travel.
M: A FREE VACATION??
T: Yes, sir. I represent Horizon Travel. We are a new travel agency relying on word of mouth referals rather than advertising. As such, we would like to offer you a free vacation to Las Vegas or Orlando, Florida.
M: VEGAS!! WOW!!
T: Yes, sir. Now this vacation is a 4-day, 3-night vacation including hotel and airfare.
M: THAT’S GREAT!!
T: Yes, sir. You will receive this with no cost to you except for paying a maximum of $45 for taxes.
M: UNBELIEVABLE!!
T: Yes, sir. Now to redeem your vacation package, all you need to do is come down to our office in Stoneham with two forms of ID.
M: And I pick up my vacation and I’m outta there in, what, three minutes?
T: No, sir. Not quite. Bring your two forms of ID and present them to us. They will never leave your hand, sir. We will take no imprint of your credit card. Once we have verified who you are, we ask that you sit through a fifteen minute live commericial for us to tell you about the services that we provide.
M: Fifteen minutes?
T: Yes, sir. It’s a live commericial and it’s very exiciting. It’s not just watching a television screen. It’s not dull.
M: Well, that’s a relief!
T: Yes, sir. I’d also like to let you know that this is not a time share program. We are a travel agency and we’re looking to you to tell your friends and family about the wonderful services that we provide.
M: Oh. I’ve got to tell people about you?
T: Yes, sir. We’d like you to help us advertise our services by refering friends and family to us.
M: Oh. (Pause) Hm.
T: Sir, am I too understand that you have no interest in this offer.
M: Bingo.
T: Then I don’t understand why you wasted my time, sir. 

And before I could respond, she hung up.

YES!!

See, I wasted her time. By the sheer act of answering her phone call, I inconvenienced her. I am a selfish prick for not registering for the Do Not Call list.

I deeply apologize.

*Not her real name

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In Which It’s Just Blind Rage

September 21st, 2005 No comments

To paraphrase Cyrano De Bergerac – Fuck you, fuck you and, again I say, Sir, FUCK YOU.

bush is a miserable cocksucker. The most foul, venal, souless, godless, useless piece of shit that ever came out of America’s asshole. He is not a Christian. He does not care about truth. He does not care if Earth fucking blows up. In his small, puss infected brain, the end of the world only means that his twisted version of Jesus descends from Mt. Smiley Face and whisks him away to heaven. Hyperbole? I don’t think so.

This is a man that wants death. He wants death so badly he can’t stop thinking about it. This is not a man of peace. This is a twelve year old that just figured out how to masturbate and refuses to stop…ever. When you cannot discuss the worst natural disaster without bringing your fucking deceitful and idiotic “war on terror” into the discussion then you need to be (left intentionally blank to avoid certain federal agencies from visiting my home and yanking me out of bed in the middle of the night). You are a scumbag. You are the moral equivilent of a dumpster diver. You are a whore that believes not in the goodness that Christ preached but in the corrupting greed, cynicism and amorality of power.

Fuck you, george. You are supposed to act the President of the United States not some loser phone-sex, Oxycontin addicted talk show host. How fucking dare you?

You know, something we — I’ve been thinking a lot about how America has responded [to Hurricane Katrina], and it’s clear to me that Americans value human life, and value every person as important. And that stands in stark contrast, by the way, to the terrorists we have to deal with. You see, we look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break. They’re the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We’re in a war against these people. It’s a war on terror. These are evil men who target the suffering. They killed 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001. And they’ve continued to kill. See, sometimes we forget about the evil deeds of these people. They’ve killed in Madrid, and Istanbul, and Baghdad, and Bali, and London, and Sharm el-Sheikh, and Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Around the world they continue to kill.

How fucking dare you talk about callous indifference to human life when you sat on your well-tone bike riding ass on your ranch in Crawford while thousand drown in the Gulf States? How dare you talk about callous indifference to human life when you cut funding and allow thousands to die of AIDS in Africa because a relief agency distributes condoms?

You will burn in Hell. And if I am there, too, I will kick you in the balls for the rest of eternity.

Oh, I forgot. You have no balls.

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In Which I’m Slightly Defensive

September 18th, 2005 No comments

I’m certain that cyberspace heaves a deep, cleansing breath of relief to know that Hbee Inc. Radio escaped the reworking of the WMFO schedule unscathed. We continue to broadcast every Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on WMFO 91.5FM and on the web.

The webstream tended (and I’m using the past tense out of optimism) towards unreliability usually associated with the ethics of the bush administration. This caused (again, past tense) much consternation among DJs since many draw listeners from all over the world. Plus, the webcast provides the only tangible evidence that someone actually listens to the show. Daniel Bromberg took on the task of stabilizing the webcast so you can thank him if you can tune into MFO for your favorite shows.

I mention this because last week, after posting the show on the board and getting a comment that the link didn’t work, I naturally blamed the webstream rather than an errant (yet grammatically correct) period that left the link unusable. My bad. I left a slightly snarky comment referencing the unreliability of the webstream which was met by Bromberg with an equally snarky response including a characterization of my show as

whimsical where-the-fuck-did-he-get-that-song musical Dr. Dimento-esque interludes by Paul.

The comparison to Dr. Demento (as opposed to the spelling) distresses me and, honestly, wounds my pride a little since it goes against my unspoken mission statement for the show.

Not knowing if the Doctor (as opposed to “The Doctor”) still even did his show, I checked his website Dr. Demento website and sure enough, he’s still going strong. Good for him! I fully credit Dr. Demento for all sorts of guidance and influence on me. I even sang “Dead Puppies” at my High School talent show in my junior year, thereby nailing down my “untouchable” status. I bought Rhino Record compilations (on red, white and blue vinyl). I gloried in the insanity of Spike Jones. Dr. Demento, with a nationally syndicated show, imbued my angst-ridden teenage soul with confidence that the American public consisted of a much more diverse range of interests than my homogenous high school represented. As I made the rounds of all-county and all-state chorus festivals, I met other untouchables who, like myself, knew all the words to Fish Heads and could even sing the harmony properly. Without the benefit of email and IM, we only ran into each other at these events but it provided a shot of self-confidence that muted the calls “hey, faggot” for several weeks.

I did keep in touch with a friend from the chorus festival circuit, Tim Samson. We’d get together every once in a while when our parents would let us borrow a car. (His dad, an audiophile, bought one of the first consumer units that allowed you to play music recorded “digitally”, whatever the hell that meant. It cost several thousand dollars and we weren’t allowed to touch it. It was said that you could use the “CDs” as a drink coaster and they would still play perfectly.) Tim introduced me to the concept of the “mix tape” where you put the songs you wanted to listen to in the order that you wanted to listen to them. A radical thought! I jumped into it with a passion. The opening of my first mix tape started with the MGM movie theme which led to Gene Wilder’s speech introducing the Monster in Young Frankenstein (“a cultured, sophisticated…man about town”) ending in Violent Femmes’ Blister in the Sun. It dodged all over the place from there. “It’s like musical whiplash,” Tim commented, with appreciation. Until three years ago, I never knew that my style of putting songs together had a name – “Freeform”. It just seemed natural.

This is the way I’ve always heard music – glorious and anarchic. The question of what to play next for me is more of a reaction to the song previously played. Hearing “Anchors Aweigh” doesn’t lead me to think of other military songs. It leads me to think of “Friggin’ in the Riggin'”. The whole thought of format radio – Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Urban, Classical – brings tears of boredom to my eyes. Why follow Brittany with Christina unless you really need a nap? Why not follow Brittany with The Cocky Sticks’ I’m a Catholic Girl (Of Course I Swallow)? Jarring? Maybe. But more interesting and certainly more appropriate.

Hbee Inc. Radio, at its best, presents arguments framed as music. For example, Podcast The Second has the following set.

Minnie Pearl “How To Catch A Man”
Sylvia Anders “Abortion Is Illegal”
Joshua Radin “Girlfriend In Coma”

Opening with Minnie Pearl, “the undisputed queen of country comedy”, certainly sounds hoky and Demento-ish. Minnie Pearl sings with a slutty, Looney Tunes sexuality that, given her played-up homeliness, isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It’s just good, clean, saucy fun. Yet, the song sounds like the soundtrack to a one-night stand or even date rape. Bertold Brecht’s “Abortion Is Illegal” works as great antidote to the societal hypocrisy inherent with “How to Catch a Man”. A single girl, especially in the Fifties and down South, catting around would find herself scorned by the community unless she married quickly. And if she got pregnant? Uh-oh.

You’re going to be a lovely little mother,
You’re going to make a hunk of cannon fodder,
It’s what your belly’s for,
And that’s no news to you and what else can you do?
And now do not squall:
You’re having the baby, that’s all!

That’s a little more realistic. And to finish off, should the Supreme Court succeed in overturning Roe v. Wade, a less danceable and more ambient version of The Smiths’ “Girlfriend In A Coma”.

Understand, I’m not claiming the whole show works like this all the time. But that’s the general theory. The novelty and “where-the-fuck-did-he-get-that-song” songs serve as jumping off points or counterpoints to editorialize musically. Of course, sometimes you’ve just got to play the full version of “What’s Opera, Doc” and let it go at that.

So, summing up, Demento-esque doesn’t work because Dr. Demento lacks the prentension and over-intellectualization of Hbee Inc. Radio.

Which is why he has more listeners.

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