Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A few random links of interest...

I've gathered these two links that I found interesting...
(I'm sitting on another story I have written up for my blog, but I'm not sure if I want to post it or not... it's about the Ed and Elaine Brown events. I'm still deciding if I want to post about it, or keep my mouth shut.) Moving on...

This story I found today at lunch, and it boggles my mind. And I thought I had it rough with my little parking issue with the post office... nutshell...
A couple in North Carolina had a run in with the law... A police officer (who recently got back from Iraq), saw that this couple had a flag flying upside down outside of their house. I don't recall how I learned about this, but I know it was from a movie... A flag that is flying upside down is not a symbol of disrespect. It is a sign (usually in the military) that means the people there in need of rescue, or that it is a distress signal. There are a lot of "patriots" and anti-war folks who fly their flag upside down to show that they are under distress regarding the war (or other anti-government issues like the Ed Brown case).
Well, this officer, saw it as a sign of disrespect, and one thing led to another... I'm not saying that flying your flag upside down is the right thing to do (I believe it should only be used if it is a real emergency - like your taken hostage or something like that, not to make a political statement). Regardless, the officer "allegedly" stepped way over the line of being reasonable. Read this story here (yes, it's a website known for having some anti-government posts) called PrisonPlanet.com.

An article over on Alternet.org about how the election ballots from the 2000 election have somehow "mysteriously" disappeared! Unbelievable.

can't fight city hall...

I've been wanting to post this since yesterday but have been busy lately. I've Finally got a spare moment to get a blog post in...
First a little history... I work in a small "Victorian" town. The building I work in is an old 1900 bank with limited parking in the back. Right next to my office is the local post office. For the past 6-7 years that I've worked there, I usually (unless all the spots are taken) park on the street along the curb usually in front of the post office. Mind you, this is not a busy town, there is almost ALWAYS parking there.
About 2 months ago, one of the post office guys (who I got along well with) retired. They brought in this new guy (I've only seem him twice). Well, he feels that he owns the curbside parking in front of the building. One time he was standing on the top of the steps and told me not to park there. I obliged, not even thinking about it and moved my truck a little further down. Then it hit me... wait a minute... this is a public street, there are no signs, he can't tell me where to park. So ever since then I have continued to park wherever I want.
Well, I pull up to work this Monday morning and guess what... two brand new shiny signs saying "customer parking only" that takes up MOST of the curb space. GRR! So, I look at the signs and they just say "US post office" on them. I'm thinking, 'these are not township signs... I bet he just put up his own signs!'
So now I'm pissed. At lunch time, I drove down to the town clerks office, and ask her, if the township put up those signs. She had no idea and said I should ask the police station (right next door). So I did. I walk in, and I ask about the no parking signs in front of the post office. The officer says "Those have been there for a long time now" WHAT?! (I didn't yell that out loud), I asked him to repeat that, I said "I've been parking there almost every day for the last 5-6 years and I've never seen them before" - the officer steps back behind a wall, to ask the "chief"... Yep, the chief said "Those have been there for a long time". I couldn't believe it. Here are two local police officers lying to me to my face. I proceeded to ask "what happens if I still park there, will I get a ticket or will I be towed?" He said, I'd get a parking ticket. I thanked him and left. I went back to the office, pulled up our town website, and proceeded to look at the photos online of a recent town gathering from June 2nd. Guess what... No Signs! Grrr.
So, now I'm torn as to what to do. Do I pursue it with the township? Do I show up at the local town hall meeting and raise the issue? Do I continue to park there and IF I get a ticket, do I try and fight it in court? Do I just let it rest, and find a new parking spot farther away.
I don't know. I think I'm going to let it rest for a month or so (because I'm sure now the police officer will be looking for violators), then I'll take my chances in court. I've never fought a traffic ticket before, and part of me wants to do it just for the experience - even if it costs me $80 if I loose. Part of me wants to go in every morning and buy a single stamp, get a receipt, that way I'll have "proof" that I am a customer :)
And the really nasty part of me, wants to call a local handicap group and tip them off, that the post office is not up to code because they do not have a handicap ramp.
GRR. See, this is the type of "problem with authority" that I have. I don't know why, but it just "burns me up".

Monday, July 30, 2007

xkcd comic

A really funny comic on Wed from xkcd.com
click to enlarge or visit the xkcd link

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix... I really enjoyed this movie (imdb link). There were parts that I really liked, and a few things that kinda bothered me, but overall I enjoyed the movie. I really think the new director David Yates, was the key to me liking this movie. The previous movies had a certain "sillyness" about them. I tried not to hold that against the film, because I tried to remind myself this is based on a book for kids. But it always seemed like they spent just too much time on the smelly candy, and burping plants. This movie I felt had a stronger base in telling a story. I think the Characters were a little more developed as well (I did not like how some characters just appeared on screen with no explanation though). On a technical note, I did not like how some of the scenes were edited - too choppy. There was one glaring edit towards the end of the movie. One minute Harry's in his room, the next he's talking to Dumbledore, the next he appears to be walking down the steps from his room - the Dumbledore scene was just thrown in as an afterthought. But again... I really liked the story, and the effects. It seemed to be a little more grown-up movie as well, perhaps because the characters are now growing up. It's interesting during some of the flashback scenes to see how much these kids have grown up.
I'm really looking forward to the next film. I hope they will continue with David Yates (I should have looked it up before... yes, Yates is on for the next HP movie in pre-production now).

Friday, July 27, 2007


Very depressed at the moment.
I just finished watching the movie called "Blood Diamond" with Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou (Djimon is one of my favorite actors). The movie itself was ok, as far as all the technical aspects (dialog, camera, effects, etc...)... But the STORY behind the movie is much more powerful. I won't go into describing it, it's better if you watch it yourself. I must warn you though, it's extremely violent. I'm actually surprised this didn't get an NC-17 rating, but that's probably a whole other story (sex = NC17, Violence = OK).
I think I've been paying attention to too many negative stories lately. The political landscape has me depressed. The documentaries I've seen lately has me depressed. The stories I see in the news has me depressed. And I blame myself too for not knowing how to fix things and that makes me even more depressed. I'll probably snap out of it eventually (usually do), but tonight I'm embracing it.

When will people stop treating each other poorly...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hilary Photo

I found this story interesting. Read this story on Snopes.com.

Life and Debt

I just finished watching a good movie just now. It was another rental from Netflix and another documentary. The title is "Life and Debt". I added this to my list of movies quite some time ago and I really wasn't even sure what it was about, other than it said something about the IMF and the WTO (International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization).
Turns out, it was more about Jamaica than anything. It was not a happy film either. It was showing how behind that curtain that we the tourists see there is a country in dire trouble and poverty. The movie goes on to try and explain some of the problems (both in the past and the present) that keeps these people living in poverty.
I have to be honest, and say that I struggled with the movie on two fronts... the language... many of the people being interviewed had a heavy Jamaican accent. I did pretty well with some of it (I guess all my Reggae music helped in that sense), but lots went over my head. Unfortunately it was not subtitled either. The second part that I had problems with was understanding some of the politics.
What I did find interesting was many of the harsh critisims of the USA (rightly so). Some of the stories I had no idea. For example, Almost ALL of the food that the people of Jamaica eat (along with the tourists) comes from Florida and the USA. SO many of their basic needs of life are imported. And things that don't make sense either... For example... There were farmers who were milking their cows and selling the milk to the locals. Then the USA started importing powdered milk at cheaper prices. With many of the people living in poverty, they started buying the powdered milk products. To the point, where the local farmers would end up flushing their milk down the drain on a weekly basis! Pretty soon, all the local dairy farmers went out of business and sold their cows for meat. Now that the competition was eliminated, the powdered milk companies started raising their prices! And now the Dairy Farmers are not able to re-establish the farms they once had. So sad and So wrong.
It was strange watching this movie in another sense... It showed the real dangers in how this country became a consumerist country, much to the detriment of the people. I couldn't help but make similar analogies to us here in the USA. A recent story I read about how a man in Virginia went to his local supermarket to buy some apple juice. He got home and saw that it said "made in China". I couldn't figure out how Virginia that once was the WORLDS supplier of apples, is now buying their Apple juice from China. Long story short, China sold it for cheaper. I can see the dangers that we are facing as a consumerist nation and the same road that we are on as Jamaica is, except on a much larger scale.
In spite of my struggles to watch this movie, I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in taking a vacation to Jamaica (It will probably make you not want to go though), or anyone who is interested in Consumerism.
Link to the official website here.
Link to an interview with the Director Stephanie Black here.

Gonzales and Rove

Just a short post here...
I've been trying to refrain from some of my recent political rants on my blog lately. I feel like I was ranting too much and didn't want my blog to just turn into a rant-fest. But, I gotta at least chime in here about today's news... Gonzales blew another senate hearing the other day, and this time it's finally serious enough to warrant a perjury investigation! It's about time they were able to trap him in a corner. Then I hear that Rove is being subpoenaed too! Sweet. If only I learned that the impeachment process for Cheney was approved today it'd be a great trifecta.
I also found it interesting last night... Here the day that Gonzales botches his Senate Hearing, it's all over the news on MSNBC, I flipped over to Fox to get their side of the story... Not even mentioned at all! Instead they were more concerned with Ward Churchill.

I also have to share this bit of information I found over on Boingboing...
A BBC Radio 4 investigation sheds new light on a major subject that has received little historical attention, the conspiracy on behalf of a group of influential powerbrokers, led by Prescott Bush, to overthrow FDR and implement a fascist dictatorship in the U.S. based around the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler.

Read the whole article here... It's pretty interesting and explains a lot - if true.

Vindication is sweet!

This little news item caught my attention today...
Ever since I was a wee little lad, I hated that dreaded piece of clothing called a "tie". My parents used to make me wear them for "important" occasions (Like Church, or the first day of school!). I was able to get a "compromise" by being allowed to wear a clip on, but even those annoyed me, because usually that little tab of plastic would jab right into my adam's apple. Then, at a certain age, clip-ons become "uncool". Well, a few days ago I saw a news article about how NOT wearing ties could help global warming! Turns out, a tie restricts your blood flow, which in turn makes a person feel hot (I think I said that when I was a kid!), therefore if businesses said "no ties" then in theory, they could lower their air conditioning by a few degrees. Ok, I agree a bit of a stretch.
But then today, I see this article about how the Privacy Chief of Google is all for banning ties too. Their reason is that it restricts blood flow to the brain, therefore you are not thinking to the best of your ability. Yeah, that and because your constantly thinking about how uncomfortable they are!
So, it got me to thinking... I wonder how my life would have been different if ties were a part of fashion that were shunned by church goers and business peoples. Part of the reasons that I don't like going to church is because I have to get dressed up, and part of the reason I don't like corporate jobs is the same. Perhaps I would have been a world class corporate preacher? :)
Spread the word... NO TIES!
(Disclaimer: I have been on the look-out for a skinny tie. Those I like, they're cool, even though they are still uncomfortable).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I signed on tonight and decided to check my web statistics for this here blog. Lately my numbers are much higher than normal, which surprises me. For some reason a lot of people are finding my website via a google search for "tom cryer". (welcome!)
So tonight, I see a hit that came from an unusual source... it said the online.wsj.com!? What? The Wall Street Journal?! me?! So I clicked the link, and sure enough, at the VERY bottom of this online article is a mention of one of my blog posts! I don't know if these blog posts are generated automatically based on keywords, or if the author actual listed my blog, either way, I feel kinda honored. Thank you Stephanie Kang, (or thank you bot).
Read the full article here.

Since I'm on a roll here about shoes... I found a post online today about these incredibly odd "shoes"... Made by "Vibram" (who are more known for producing the non-marking rubber soles on other brand shoes)... These look really cool, but something tells me they are probably uncomfortable as anything! I can't imagine with all the variations of people's toe shapes and sizes that these shoes would fit the average person. That being said, I like the concept. Crazy!
Hmm... I wonder how you'd try these on in the store to see if they fit? You'd have to take your socks off, which means you'd be sticking your foot in where someone else just stuck their smelly foul feet... EWWW!

side note: If some of you are wondering about how I am "tracking" people who visit my blog... it's not some sort of conspiracy... I use a free online web counter that provides me with general statistics. This information is not a secret and is generated by most all websites. There is no personal data being collected at all. I just get to see how many people visit my website, what link they clicked on to find my website, and any "keyword" searches they did to find my website on google (or another search engine). It's a really great service, and if you have a website, I would highly recommend statcounter.com. Did I mention it's FREE too?!

Harry Potter

I'm amazed at all the hype over this new harry potter book. I've been avoiding all my internet news sites that have anything to do with Harry Potter. It seems every news agency is bound and determined to "break the story" about what happens in the book. I've heard a few rumors already that if true I will curse those who posted them. Why don't people understand that we (the readers) don't want someone to tell us what happened. We want to read it for ourselves! I saw one story the other day where a woman was in the midnight line, got her hands on the book, and proceeded to read the last five pages, then OUTLOUD started to tell her daughter how it ended. OMG!
I'm starting to see reports coming in now too that people are already finished reading the book. This baffles me too. This is the LAST book in the series! You should savor every last minute of each page. In the words of Remy (from ratatouille) "DON'T JUST HORK IT DOWN!" :)
I will admit, I was excited to get my copy. I pre-ordered it from Amazon.com, not so much that I would be sure to get it as soon as it came out (I had it shipped to my work address and picked it up Monday). But from what I saw, they had the best price of $17.99 Please shop around before buying it. Do not pay full price of $35! And, from the stacks and stacks of books that I'm seeing everywhere, I would imagine it won't be long until these books end up on the discount rack for $6.95.
So, enjoy your book - and Don't tell us anything about it! :)

Toyota Hybrid

Good news! I just stopped over to "the environmental blog" tonight and saw this post about Toyota. I know my sister was the first to hip me to this fact, but it is nice to have a timeline now to look forward to. Toyota is hoping to have ALL of their vehicles converted to hybrid by 2020. That still seems like a thousand years in the future to me, but I guess 13 years will go by in the blink of an eye. I wonder too if they took the Jumping Jesus" phenomena into consideration - because then it will only be a matter of a few years.
Thanks to the environmental blog for posting this.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

motivation from Seinfeld

So lately, I've been struggling with how to clean my apartment. Perhaps I've mentioned it before, but I have a real problem with throwing stuff out. There is something "hard wired" in my brain that makes me think in a loop...
1) I should throw that thing out
2) But... I paid a lot of money for that when I bought it
3) And... What If I could use it somehow in the future?
4) And... I don't like to waste things
5) But... where will I put it?
6) Oh, I'll just leave it there until I figure out where to put it...
7) Repeat step 1

So I've taken to trying to change a few things.
I am not trying to go on a big cleaning spree and throw everything out. I figure its taken me years to collect all this junk, I can start slowly and just pick at it bit by bit.
It is working... slowly.

Then I found this post today on a blog I used to read, but for some reason fell away from it. I'm going to try to add it to my daily rotation... Lifehacker.com
Its sort of a motivational tip or an organization tip via Brad Isaac via Jerry Seinfeld.
Check it out here.
And, while your at it, check out Brad's blog... I think I'll add this to my bookmarks as well.
Achieve-IT at persistenceunlimited.com.

New Kid Beyond on youtube

Just found a new kid beyond video over on youtube that I thought I'd share.
This guy is amazing!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Down to the lake

So did you heed my advice? Did you find some time to go outside this weekend? Yesterday (Sunday) was a beautiful CA weather day for us here on the East coast. Here it is in the mid-to-late July and we're having this incredible low humidity. Usually this time of year finds us in the 90's with humidity at about 120%! So forgive me if I sound over enthusiastic here about a sunny day. I just really despise humidity. SO... what to do? I sort of got forced into doing some cleaning in my apartment... 2 of my houseplants got knocked off the shelf by a strong gust of wind, and knocked a ton of dirt onto the carpet. So after getting that thing (I think) they call it a "vacuum cleaner" out, I got some of my apartment cleaned. But then I was torn... what to do on this beautiful day? I went online and was looking at the google maps trying to find a lake or something to go to. Well, long story short, I ended up just getting in my truck and driving south with no particular place to go. After about 15 minutes, I found myself on "auto-pilot" heading down a route I traveled many times in my teens and 20's. I used to go to this one campground quite a lot called "Bass River". I knew there was a semi-large lake (well, large for South Jersey) that I thought would be a nice place to set up a lawn chair and chill.
I took my "patented" dirt road short cut. It's really cool to travel down a dirt road for several miles only seeing maybe 1-2 other 4x4 trucks in the middle of the most populated state. Its also a little scary, thinking your out here on your own in the middle of nowhere. I stopped and took some nice photos (I hope to post to flickr tonight). I had a young deer run in front of me (I was traveling slow of course). I tried to take some photos of a bunch of "swallows" that was very difficult since they don't hold still! I got back in my truck and continued to the lake. It was great and once I got there I was glad I made the hour and a half trip. I brought a book, but never got past more than one page because it was just so beautiful to look at the lake, the blue sky, and the several groups of people that had the same idea as myself. It was almost like a flashback too... Here were these groups of people that to me had a "piney" feeling about them. It's hard to describe if you are not from Jersey, but a "piney" is kinda like a hillbilly but with a tad more style. Then it hit me, that this lake probably attracts the locals that have been coming to this place since the 30's. Kinda neat.
I also was glad to see a new bird that I had never seen before. I was sitting in my chair, and I kept seeing movement out of the corner of my eye, yet when I turned and looked I didn't see anything. At first I thought it was a toad, but then I continued to watch and sure enough it was a very tiny bird with the most amazing camouflage! He was only about 10 feet away from me, yet when he stood still, I could barely see him. It looked like a cross between a sparrow and a nuthatch.
So after about an hour and a half of just enjoying my surroundings I decided to head back. I took the highway this time instead of my dirt-road shortcut. Turns out, it's actually faster via the highway (according to google maps). But certainly not the same scenery. I almost stopped into one of the local "piney" bars with a bunch of Harley's out front, but decided to just keep going back to my familiar territory. Lots of motorcycles that day.
So, Just hoping that you too made an effort to go outside this past weekend (If the weather was nice were you were.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Simple Shoes Prices

So I was over on the treehugger.com website this morning and I saw a banner ad that caught my attention. It was for shoes that are supposed to be "eco-friendly" by a company called "simple". I've seen ads for this brand of shoe before in magazines too. So I decided to head over and check them out. First off, the designs are so ugly that they are actually kinda cool. I clicked on the "casual" tab and clicked on a style I kinda liked... then I saw the price tag! $90!! For what basically amounts to a slipper with a sole. I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous price to pay for a shoe that amounts to recycled tires and burlap. The materials for these can't cost more than $3.
Simple, you should be ashamed of yourselves. To promote yourselves as a "Green" company is great, but then to over charge such a profit on these shoes is near criminal. I know, I know... Free Market, etc... I think there is a line.
You just lost a potential customer here.
If anyone knows of a "green" show company with reasonable prices please post in the comments.
I just went over to Zappos.com to see if I could find a cheaper shoe as an example. Maybe I'm wrong? Their cheapest "shoes" are $30 which turn out to be flip-flops! Aren't these same shoes available for like $5 in the average store? Oh well. I guess it all comes down to where you shop then. My last pair of sneakers I bought for $25 at the clubstore BJ's. No high fashion for me (though they were reeboks).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hooray it's Friday!

Just a few quick words...
I've been experimenting with some new code on my blog, and thought maybe I should explain them...
At the top Right you'll see about 4 youtube videos. This is a new feature on blogger's templates. I stumbled upon it the other day and I thought it was a cool idea. But just so you know... I have no control as to what video's appear here. I simply typed in a few keywords (Jon Stewart, Daily show, Steven Colbert, Colbert report) and the "widget" goes and randomly gets 4 videos.

The next item that I just added tonight...
A Voting poll. This code comes from a new site that I just signed up for called "newsvine.com". I'm really still exploring it at the moment. I really like the idea of user created news sites (similar to reddit and digg, but more on general news, not the techy geeky items that tend to pop up on reddit and digg). I think the idea of user created news is much better than "mass media". I was on another site called "newscloud" but I soon discovered it was the same 3-4 people who posted news items (most of which was the owner of the site). So it was very one sided. I think newsvine has a much broader audience so I hope it will be better. One thing right off the bat, is that I'm not impressed with the interface. Yes, it's slick but I find it confusing. Maybe I just need to play with it more. Anyway, I discovered this voting poll that you can embed on your own site, so I thought I'd give it a try. No, I can't tell who voted for who. And I think you can change your vote once a month, so your not locked into anything.

That's it for now. Enjoy your weekend!!!
Go outside and enjoy some fresh air! (That's what I'm going to try and do).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ron Paul and small rant

The above video may not interest everyone (it kinda should I suppose), but I'm posting it here because I found it interesting. It's a video from Youtube that shows the presidential candidate Ron Paul, speaking to the folks at Google. It's a good video in that it seems a little informal, and you really get a sense for what Dr. Paul believes in (yes, he's a Doctor too).
I have to say, my feelings for him as candidate really ran the gamut... At times I thought "Yeah! Right ON!" then at other times I thought "There's NO WAY you'll be able to do that even if it is the right thing to do". It think Dr. Paul may fall into the same category as Ralph Nader... His ideas are extreme enough, that I don't think the average voter will understand and more importantly I don't think the Big Corporations will let him get away with it. I'm a conspiracy theorist in the sense that I don't believe the Pres is the actual person who runs the country. Corporations do. That won't keep me from voting this time, but I think it's all a show.
So the video is long (A little over an hour) but if you want to hear a person with a fresh point of view, and not the same old "tell em what they want to hear" then watch the video.

OH... and does anyone else think it's kinda both "weird" and "Cool" that a corporation can have a private meeting with a presidential candidate?

IF any Ron Paul supporters find this post (and I think they will), please explain one thing...
Ron talks of dismembering a lot of Government organisations. Some he has "high on his list" and some he doesn't really mind so much (I can understand that part)... But, what I want to know is how or what would be the first step in dismembering a large Gov. Agency? He talks of "phasing them out" yet, I'm not sure exactly how one would phase out say, the IRS? Can someone explain that in the comments?

And now for my small rant (seems like there should be a word like "rint" for that):
I just got my Verizon Bill, and they over-charged me. I renewed my year long contract for DSL and they charged me as if it expired. Grrr. Another Customer Service call to make (though, Verizon is usually pretty good - fingers crossed).
I got my letter today from one of the big Credit Bureau from when I ran my credit report and found they made a mistake on my birthday. It was a pretty easy process to correct. BUT... I just got my confirmation letter, and guess what... They spelled my name wrong. Grr. Yet another customer service call to make.
Done with my rints :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An Unreasonable Man...

A quick post tonight... (I'm tired, but I'm trying to stay up for Steven Colbert - He just finished a great "the word" segment, and also tonights Daily Show was really good too).
Since nothing was on TV tonight, I popped a Netflix movie in. Its called "Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man". It's another dvd made by Netflix, so I'm guessing that the only way you can see this movie is if your a member.
I'll be honest, I was confused by the title of the movie. I wasn't sure if this movie was going to show Ralph in a positive light or a negative light. It was positive. I still have mixed feelings over Ralph, in that I'm still new enough to politics to not know how to cast my vote. If you find a candidate that seems to speak for everything you believe in, and yet you know has NO chance in possibly winning, do you still vote for them anyway? I know many voters probably wrestled with this. I no longer blame Ralph for losing anything to the Bush regime. I never really blamed him before, but I can certainly understand how it looks. The movie did a pretty good job of explaining it (I won't even attempt it). Of course, that was only a very small portion of the movie, the movie was about the highlights of Ralph's life.
-- interruption---
I wonder how many of my blog posts would improve if I stopped writting them DURING the daily show and the Colbert Report. Colbert just cracked me up for almost getting in a fist fight with John Cougar Melloncamp - too funny!
--- back to the post ---
So it's a little ironic, that today on the internet I heard that Ralph may consider running again. If he does, I'll be faced with the same moral dilemma, do you cast a vote for who you believe in, or vote for the lesser of the worst candidates? I almost hope that Ralph won't run just so I won't have to face this question.
Go rent this movie or at least go visit his website here Nader.org

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A little bit of excitement tonight...

Well, it was a long day at work. I was tired, and it was hot out. I was wondering what I would cook myself for dinner when I got home from work. I went into the kitchen and the chicken wrapper in the trash had started to smell foul from my previous nights dinner. I grabbed the garbage and headed out of my apartment to throw it in the dumpster. I got about 30 steps out of my apartment (dumpster is about 60 steps) when I heard a guy yell something. I looked up, and there was a police officer standing in the middle of the street, telling me to "Go back into your house!" In that split second, I looked over the police officer's shoulder and I see a line-up of about 10 S.W.A.T. guys all lined up with machine guns, shields, helmets, face masks, handguns, and a hand held battering ram. I immediately turned around and headed back into my apartment (at which time I realized about 15 state, local and unmarked police cars all around, with dogs barking too). What the heck!? I immediately went over to my balcony and tried to see what I could see. A few minutes went buy with nothing happening, at which point I saw a woman with her 2 year old go walking by on the sidewalk. Gee... I guess it's ok to go outside now. So I grabbed my garbage, and took it to the dumpster. I walked back to my front door and proceeded to watch the events. Then it hit me... I should grab my camera! Then it hit me again... I've read a lot of "horror stories" on the interwebs about how police officers don't like their photo being taken. I know... legally I'm well within my rights, but I also know that this was not just a normal traffic stop. This was a SWAT team armed to the teeth. After a while I saw a young woman in handcuffs, and then all the SWAT guys were heading out to the van and taking off all of their equipment (including their facemasks). So I figured everything was pretty much under control at this point. I went inside and grabbed my camera. I stood there for a little while with my camera behind my back wondering what to do. Then I spotted an officer walking near me putting his bullet proof vest away in the trunk. I approached him and said "Sir, I'm an amateur photographer, am I allowed to take some photos?"
At first he ignored me (or didn't hear me). I repeated my request. Then he looked a little annoyed, and said "as long as you don't cross this line, you can" (the line was the police car parked in the middle of the road). Cool! I got permission!
So I snapped a few photos. Then it hit me... I didn't get the officer's name. What if another officer (or swat guy) sees me and tells me to stop taking photos!? What was I going to say? "But, he said I could"... "Who did?!"... "The other officer"... Which one!? .... Um.... Yeah, that's what I thought, now get on the ground! (these were the thoughts running through my mind.)
So, at this point, I went back to my apartment door, and held the camera at my side, and tried taking photos in a much less conspicuos way. Once, I knew I had at least one good photo, I said, "Ok, that's enough, I'm pushing my luck here." I put my camera away in my apartment.
Sure enough, about 5 minutes later one of my neighbors (that I don't know) was outside with his video camera (maybe he saw me with my camera?). Just then, sure enough... two of the SWAT guys walk over and asked him to stop filming. The guy just said "ok" and that was that.
I knew it!
So that's my little bit of excitement tonight.
I have to admit... I was scared of getting caught taking photos! I knew (well, I sorta knew, I'm not a lawyer) that legally I was allowed to take photos, yet I had heard so many stories of photographers getting harrassed, or worse arrested (usually the charges were dropped, but they were probably in the "system").
So, enjoy the photo that I posted above. It's the only one I'm going to post. I did a little bit of photoshop work to protect the identity of the swat guys. I'm not sure what the purpose is of the facemasks, only for them to take them off later in front of people? So in the chances that the officers don't wish to be identified I blurred the photos around their face to respect their privacy.
I still don't know what happened, other than two people were taken away - a man and a woman about in their 20's, and their car was towed away too.

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Comcast...

So I got a little flier in my last comcast bill. I put it aside because I totally did not understand it. It was a pamphlet full of a whole bunch of "leagalize" in it. Something about "arbitration" which I don't know what that means. So, with this round-a-bout of Comcast customer service, this "arbitration notice" was sitting on my desk. I glanced it over and what I gathered was that it sounded like "If you do nothing after receiving this notice, we will assume that is an acceptance of these new terms and conditions". But then I thought... it sounds like I'm losing something here. So I jumped online and hit Google. Sure enough, I found a couple blog posts about this that summed it up in words that I could understand. In a nutshell... I would be giving away my right to be able to bring any complaints about comcast I might have to a small claims court. Then I saw the line that hit me... In stead, I'd be waiving my "rights" and instead bring any complaints before a third party arbitration hearing... which according to the blog, is usually more friendly to the corporations than the average Joe. They also pointed out that small claims court is also much cheaper and easier than an arbitration review!
So, luckily, Comcast set up a website for people like me who took about 15 minutes to figure all this out to "opt out" of the policy change. Really sneaky comcast. Shame on you.

The Brown family parties

So a few more updates have come into my google search (auto news updated) for the Browns. Quick reminder... Ed and Elaine are "barricaded" in their yard. They were convicted (not sure what the term is, but I think it's "absentia") for not paying their taxes. Yet, no one from the government has been able to show them the law that says they have to pay taxes. So the Brown's have been holed up in their home (yes armed, which I'm not in favor of, but I understand it's their right) for several months now.
First this news update from Ron Dupuis, that wrote a fairly critical article about the Browns, and even managed to give them a human face. Unlike some articles that tend to demonize them. I'm a little shocked that Ron gave them a favorable write-up after the incident with the fireworks :)

Speaking of fireworks... So you're holed up in your house, the government has armed forces outside, what do you do? In that list of things running through your mind does the word "Party" come up? Not in my mind, but in the Brown's mind it does. July 14th, they hold a bar-b-que with approx 200 people showing up. They even sent some burgers down to the two policemen at the gate (which they ate). So during this shin-dig (where did those words ever come from?) people are having a good time, listening to music, etc, when an strange white helicopter shows up (note to conspiracy theorists, update your black helicopter stories to white helicopter stories now). So via the numbers on the copter, they manage to look it up and find out the helicopter belongs to homeland security. All the while the party continued and some party goers even made some "hand gestures" and posters. (Not exactly the most mature thing, but maybe they had a few beers in them by then?) Read about the festivities here on "we the people radio network". And here is another article about the party on the "unionleader.com".

So, it sounds like the most fun government siege one could ever hope for (which I don't)... live bands, burgers, fireworks, helicopters.

Comcast - lousy customer service

I don't want to go into a big rant here about Comcast. I'm going to try and just list some of the basics without going into details...
Thursday night, I noticed one of my cable channels (G4/techTV) had gone out and was complete static. Ok, this has happened in the past, and usually if I wait a couple days it comes back on. But then it starts to bother me that I'm paying for this service and I'm not getting what I paid for. So I call to report it on Friday Night. After explaining the problem, the customer service tells me they can set me up with a Saturday appointment. Well, I had plans all day so I said "I don't really have to be here do I?" I mean just have the tech come out and fix it, IF the problem is something inside my apartment (Doubtful, because ALL the other channels are working fine), I said I would call them back to set up a second appointment. Well, after some back and forth comments on the logic of this, the support guy agreed and set me up for a Tuesday "outside only" appointment. Great.
So the next morning, I get a call from Comcast. First the woman attempts to tell me that my channel was recently eliminated from basic cable and moved to the all digital package (which did happen on two other channels about 2 weeks ago). I had to correct her and say "no, the G4 channel is not the "Game show network". Oh, ok, got that straightened out. Then she says "so you have an appointment scheduled for today, what time would you like them there?
What? Today? I explained the whole Tuesday thing to her. She didn't understand, and finally said, so do you want me to cancel today's appointment? At this point I figured... ok, I'm on the schedule, I might as well wait here for 2 hours (She said between 12 and 2). I hung up and proceed to cancel my Saturday plans.
So about 12:10, I start to wonder... this woman gave me several wrong pieces of information on the phone, I better call to confirm this. I call. The next guy I spoke to, told me I was just scheduled for a full day appointment and that there was nothing in the system about 12-2. I knew it! So I started to go through the process of re-scheduling BACK to my original Tuesday only appointment, at which point he hung up on me.
I called back yet again. I spoke to a woman this time and had to re-explain all of this. She was nice and apologized for my inconvenience. She set up my appointment again for outside only on Tuesday.
I got home Saturday evening and sure enough, there was a phone call from the technician... He said I was scheduled for an appointment between 12 and 2 and since I wasn't home, I had to reschedule the appointment. (It was 2:34 by the way!).
And as of last night (Sunday).... the channel came back on. So now I have to call back again to cancel Tuesday's appointment. (Which I think is automated, so that's good).
I'm THIS CLOSE { } to canceling or downgrading my Comcast. IF it were not for the fact that I'm addicted to Comedy Central and BattleStar Galactica, I would.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mike Colameco 7/14/07

In my latest "unofficial" post of Mike's recipes, [until someone happens to get around to updating his own website...] I happened to miss the majority of Saturday morning's show, but I did catch the final 10 minutes of the show where Mike usually cooks. I was a little surprised at how simple the dishes were that he cooked today. I didn't even have to take any notes.
Main Dish - Steak. He took a nice looking piece of steak seasoned it heavily with salt and pepper, put it in an already hot pan that had some hot cooking oil (when it just starts to smoke). He seared each side for about 5-8 minutes (including the "sides" of the steak, it was about an inch and a half thick) and this produced a nice medium rare steak).
Side Dish 1 - Potatoes ... He took some small potatoes - about 4-5 (I think they were russets), and simmered (NOT boiled) them in a large pot for about 18 minutes. When the rest of the dishes were done, Mike took the potatoes out of the water, put them in a small bowl, added some salt and used a fork to "smash" them instead of mashing them. After they were smashed, he drizzled some Extra Virgin Olive Oil on them, and plated them next to the steak.
Side dish 2 - Cauliflower... Really simple again... He sliced the Cauliflower into approx. 3/8" thick slices then threw them in a hot frying pan (again with the oil already hot), and seared them til they just started to get brown edges. Just before they were done, he added several tablespoons of butter, and again drizzeled some EVOO, and added some grated cheese over it all (I use this grated cheese trick on almost all my vegetables now).
He plated all three, and he was done. Very simple, but looked like a great meal. That's why I like watching Mike's show.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I almost tripped in my cluttered living room floor getting to my computer to post this after just watching the PBS show called "Bill Moyers Journal" - with tonights topic on impeachment. I've hesitated using the "i" word even on this blog. I thought it was just a word being thrown about by some democrats for political reasons. Just trying to get a "dig" in on the current administration. Just a few days ago I saw this website and this youtube video on impeaching Dick Cheney, and I thought it manipulative. The music is horrible, the repetition of certain words and statements is over-the-top. I thought this was a cheesy attempt to get this idea of impeachment across to the average Joe like myself. But then along came Bill Moyers!
I was on Reddit today and learned there that this special show was going to be on TV tonight (7/13/07). I made sure to be here to watch it (I should have taped it!). It was an intelligent discussion (a few cheap shots here and there) about the reasons for entertaining the thought of impeachment. Bruce Fein got a little wound up at times, and I felt bad for John Nichols because Bruce tended to hog the spotlight, but John got his points in eventually. John seemed a little more level headed. John also was able to explain complicated points in language that I could understand.
I won't try to retell the reasons for impeachment here (I'd probably butcher it). But I will highly and strongly encourage anyone who found this blog post to take about 50 minutes of their time to go to the Bill Moyers website and watch the show online. (I am not sure how soon PBS will put his show online, right now "last weeks" show is visible, but I'm sure that in a day or so it will be online - I'll post a link as soon as I can).
I am convinced now that we should be pushing for impeachment hearings. We should not be passive about this and just let Bush and Cheney ride out the rest of their term. In doing so, we will be setting a precedent for future presidents that this is what the American people will accept.
I will look into what is involved in writing to whoever my representative(s) is/are in order to let them know my feelings on this. I've never written to a public official before, so this will be my first time. I'll post the experience here in follow up posts, so hopefully others can do the same.
Go to PBS and watch this show.
I am also very impressed by John Nichol's words that I'm off now to Amazon to buy his new book (just what I need... another book!) called "The Genius of Impeachment".

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tom Cryer - Not Guilty

I was torn about whether (that may be the first time EVER I've used the correct spelling of "whether" after I had to look it up!) or not to post this topic about Tom Cryer being found NOT GUILTY. I have to be honest here and say that I know next to nothing about the case, and what little I do know I've learned from this blog (where I've been keeping track on Ed and Elaine Brown).

I feel a certain obligation though because 1. I had difficulty myself finding this news on the intertubes and 2. that via my stats page, I see people are find my humble blog by doing a google search for Tom's name.

So really, This post is to point those who found my blog to the blog above called "show us the inherent law" where you can find much more information about Tom's case.

Ok, all that being said... I'm glad Tom was found not guilty. I don't know, but I'm beginning to sense a movement here, what with Ron Paul, and the Browns, and now Tom... Isn't there a 60's song with lyrics something like "something is happening here"?

Ooo... I just found this great post that sums up the court hearings quickly. I'm going to try and do some more digging in the following days to learn more about this.

--- words of caution to my readers (and myself) ---
I sometimes find myself on websites that deal with conspiracy issues, anti-government rants, impeachment rants, etc... I'm thankful for the rights that have been granted to me that allow me to do this! I certainly do not agree with all of these points of view, but in the interest of knowledge and truth I like to look at what the "fringe" is saying. I just discovered that one of the newly discovered conspiracy websites I've been checking in on, appears to be "anti-Semitic". This is what is dangerous about viewing "fringe" websites, there may be hidden agendas, and certainly beliefs that I disagree with. Please know that any website that I link to for a story, or blog post, does NOT mean that I am endorsing that website and all they stand for. If you are using a computer and found my blog I trust you have a decent amount of intelligence to judge for yourself about what is right and wrong. I'm still trying to gain that intelligence myself :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Power of Wind

It took me a few minutes to actually get this video (hey it's almost midnight and I've been up since 7am, cut me some slack). But once I "got it" I just had to smile. What a fantastic commercial! I learned of this post via laughing squid another great blog I try to frequent on a regular basis.
This really hits home with me too... I used to work outside as a land surveyor. I was constantly battling the wind, blueprints blowing around, sand in the eyes, etc... just overall really annoying! Then one day I was having a bad "wind day" and I cursed the heavens (well, not really, but)... I had this crazy thought that IF God had ever made one mistake in his incredible creation, that I knew that "wind" was that mistake. I could see absolutely no good use for it... until today! Sorry Big Guy for doubting you. ;)

"Revolution '67"

I happened to catch another great POV documentary last night on PBS. Again, I was just getting ready to shut the TV off and read a book, and did one last loop, and saw that a new POV movie was coming on. I figured I'd give it 5 minutes... well, I immediately got absorbed into the movie and learned a lot from it. In a nutshell, it was about some race riots aka revolution in the city of Newark, NJ back in 1967. I had never heard this story before, and had no idea how prevalent these riots were between 1964 and 1967. The movie did a good job in showing that it came down to not just one issue that caused the riots, but rather a series of class and race and social injustices that were piled on top of the citizens of Newark at that time. But it was all "sparked" by another police brutality case. It got pretty bad, to the point where they called in the state police and the national guard to "control" the riots. But as the movie pointed out, it was total chaos and in fact the presence of the armed national guard, and state police actually made matters worse.
I enjoy these documentaries because I feel like I am learning something important, yet once the show is over, I usually feel depressed because of a sense of helplessness and a feeling of frustration for not knowing what to do to help out.
So after the program I jumped online before going to bed, and I found an article online from the Philadelphia City Paper. It was like Deja Vu. First of all the story was very sad, about how a soldier over in the Iraq Occupation (I will not call it a war) was wounded by an IED. He was sent home (after a rough time of recovery) to his parents house as his wife had just left him, while he was away in Iraq. But, then the article goes on to report a first hand account of what life was like for this soldier in a section of Philadelphia. It was all the same events and problems that the people in 1967 faced in Newark (though not so much race related). I can't imagine living in a city with those events going on, on a daily basis no less. I again felt depressed and frustrated at not knowing what to do or how to help.
Here is the original article about Sargent Erik Arroyo. I wish him best of luck, and encourage him to not give up... I hope his situation improves in some way, hopefully the community will come together and support this man through difficult times.
So, not a very happy post today. If anyone has advice on how people can help with social injustices regarding race and poverty, please post in the comments.

Oh, and the name of the POV movie is "Revolution 67" by filmmaker Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno. Here's the link to the POV website on PBS.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Little People...

I find myself wanting to make/see art again. I find it interesting that it tends to come and go this urge for creativity. For the most part, I consider myself a creative person (If only I actually DID the ideas that are in my head only, then others might view me as a creative person more ;). So today's post is about a cool (although pointless) series of art (photographs) where this person hand paints little tiny human figures (They look like the little models you see on model train platforms). Then the person sets them outside and takes photos of them. Some are pretty clever, and some just like to mess with your brain in regards to perspective and questioning reality (always a good thing). So check 'em out. I found this link via the MAKE blog.

Oh and I am thinking of a new project to start soon... I want to build my own table(s). If/when I tackle this I'll try and take some photos.

I happened to see a show on PBS last night too on Rembrant. I have to be honest, the show made me loose interest about half-way through, but what I did enjoy was seeing the close up shots of some of his paintings. I never really looked at his paintings before, and they are magical. I think I'm getting ready to take a day trip over to the local art museum soon.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Live Earth comments

Not a lot for me to say about the "live earth" event, other than to say I was not impressed. I commend Gore for trying this idea to spread the message, but I think it was misguided, and may have in fact backfired. The purpose of this event was to educate people about Global Warming. When you think of "educators" what's the first thing that pops to mind? Teachers right? On that list did you say or think "rock stars"? Known for their extravagant lifestyles, many times controversial life styles in relating to sex and/or drugs. Mind you, I know not all rockstars are into sex and drugs, and I do believe there are some that generally do care about this topic, but are these really the people you want to associate with on such an important topic? Did you know the "live earth" event is/was not a charity event? Granted, none of the musical groups were supposed to have gotten paid, but all the money from the ticket sales, and merchandising are supposed to go to the concert promoters, the venues, etc...
I also have to agree that the idea of watching a HUGE video display filled with flashing lights, and using huge amounts of electricity sends the opposite message.
I just went over to the "live earth" website and they have an online "pledge" for people to sign onto.
1) Change 4 lightbulbs to CFL's... - Why not ALL lightbulbs?
2) I will shop for most energy efficient electronics and appliances - Why just electronics and appliances? Why not other products? AND it promotes consumerism and waste.
3) I will shut off equipment and lights when not using them. - no brainer here.
4) I will carpool or ride public transit one or more times per week. - not practical for majority of people, but I do support the idea - if practical.
5) I will forward a live earth email to 5 friends - aka spam?
6) add my name to the live earth pledge - with a smaller font and external link? I wonder how many people actually clicked this to read it?

AND what bugs me more... do you know what the number one contributor to greenhouse gases are? No, not household lightbulbs, no not transportation - aka cars, trucks, etc... It's MEAT! Yep, a UN report said that the largest contributor to Greenhouse Gases is the livestock industry. Why is that not mentioned on the live earth pledge?

Finally - Oh man, sorry, I went on a rant here. I was gonna keep this short. Was it me, or did the musical acts seem kinda lame? Maybe because I was flipping to it occasionally on TV and not at the events, but still. I saw the finale act of "The Police" where they brought on John Mayer and then Kanye West. Granted, Kanye is a talented Rap star, but I actually felt embarrassed for him... He is sharing the stage with 4 very talented musicians, (although the Police made several mistakes during their performance too), and All Kanye could contribute was what appeared to be some "on-the-fly" rhymes and then once he ran out of things to say, he didn't know the words to the song "message in a bottle". He attempted to join in, but bumbled the words, and reverted to just saying "yea" and "uh" in repetition. Then during his freestyle he breaks out "raise your hands in the air, and wave them like you just don't care" - Really? A Grammy award winning rapstar bringing out that line?
Here's a link to youtube of the performance. Kanye doesn't appear until about 3 minutes in.
IF the link doesn't work, It might be because the live earth people pull it from you tube.

Friday, July 06, 2007

To serve and protect...

Yet another example of the power of "little brother" made possible by youtube. These videos of police officers abusing their power over citizens turns my stomach. Caution - language not safe for work or kids. (and this language is coming from our public servants.)

Songs of praise...

Ha, another musical video clip today! I found this via reddit with this as the heading, "What atheists hear during a choral mass"... but cmon, fess up, this has nothing to do with being an atheist... Many a times I've scratched my head while listening to a hymn. Especially that one they usually sing during or after the collection.


I don't know why I never thought of looking on youtube for Mbira music before. I was over looking at some of my flickr contacts photos and saw this one guy who makes "kalimbas" posted a link to youtube. Then it hit me, search for "mbira". Sure enough I found a bunch of videos. The very first one really made me smile... about 30 seconds in watch the lower right (you can't miss what I'm talking about). Too cute.

There for a while I was really into Mbira music. Like most of my musical explorations I slowly fell away from it, but I still pick mine up every so often and try to remember the 3 songs that I learned. It's usually a bit of a struggle at first, but then once you hit that pattern, it's like riding a bike. I'll be heading back to youtube now to look for more gems like the above.

To learn more about what an Mbira Dzavadzimu is, head over to the wiki.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Orbo Oops

So, in the past I've blogged about this company and their new product called the Orbo. It is supposed to be some sort of "free energy" machine that puts out more energy than put in. The closer we get to learning more about this miracle device (that goes against modern day physics) the less and less impressed I am with their claims. There is still a part of me that is holding out, because I do believe that through the use of magnets (which physics doesn't really understand, much like gravity), I think a perpetual motion machine can be achieved. BUT today (July 5th) we were supposed to have been treated to a LIVE webcast demonstration in an "artsy" museum in London. Well, guess what... no go. Turns out they are claiming two problems... the first was supposed to have been a minor problem with some bearings that they fixed. The second (which sounds fishy to me) is they say it may be too warm due to the hot lights. With as much "hoopla" as they have hyped about this product, you'd think they would have accounted for these things before "going live". I also don't like how it looks like it will only be viewed inside a closed box, via cameras. I just read an article last night, a famous physicist named Richard Fenyman, was pointing out a similar "free energy" scam where the person put a tiny hole in the legs of the wooden display case, and then pumped air through it.

I also have to say that I'm a bit miffed at Steorn (The company who developed this), because I signed up for there email list to be notified as soon as new news is available... Not once have I gotten an email from them, but I depend on my own google news updater.

So, lets go here Steorn. You had better step up and get things together before your next big hyped media event.

Article from the UK ZDNet (pretty good article).
Official Steorn website (there was a webcam I saw earlier that showed a box in a room with no activity, then the video crashed out on me. Apparently their web servers are being overloaded today.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

POV: Standing Silent Nation

Gotta love PBS... I was flipping through the channels last night and as usual there wasn't much on. I then paused a second on PBS and something about the show caught my attention... Turns out it was a really good documentary by POV (more on that later) called "Standing Silent Nation". I'm not sure how much of the beginning I missed, but I think I caught most all of it. The movie tackled several subjects, most of all I guess was the subject of hemp, but it also talked about the mistreatment of Native Americans (back then, and today), it also spoke of the issue of the "reservations" being "sovereign land".
Back to POV for a second... POV stands for "Point of View" and basically they produce documentaries. I didn't realize that it seems to be a PBS run company only. I feel like I've seen a lot of POV films, but I found their archive and don't recognize many. All, I know is that I remember that name, and I remember enjoying POV movies.
In a nutshell of this movie "Standing Silent Nation", it's about a man "Alex White Plume" and his Lakota family trying to make a profitable living by planting Hemp. Then it shows what their family has gone through at the hands of the American Government, coming in for the past 4-5 years just prior to harvest time, and raiding the farm and cutting down and taking all of the White Plume Family's crop.
There are several issues here, and this was my first introduction to them, so If I get my facts wrong, please correct me... Hemp... I had always heard of hemp, but never quite knew what it was. I thought it was what the "hippies" buy in the headshops like bracelets and T-shirts. I had heard that George Washington was a grower of hemp too. I thought it was just another word for Marijuana too. Which in a sense it is... Ok, here's what I understand so far...
Hemp is a type of plant very similar to the plant we all know as Marijuana, but with a big difference. The chemical compound inside of the Marijuana plant called THC is the "psychoactive" drug that gets people high (for medicinal and recreational use). The amount of THC in a Marijuana plant is about 20% (20% of what, I'm not sure). BUT... Hemp is different in that it contains only 1% or less of the THC drug. So little that if you smoked it nothing would happen (except you'd be damaging your lungs). So, here's the rub... our Government who used to promote American Farmers to grow hemp (see this youtube video called Hemp for Victory, produced by our Gov. in WW2), has now outlawed all growing of hemp (I think in 1937).
SO... the White Plume family thinks they found a "loop hole"... Since it is not a drug, and since they are on Sovereign land, they should be able to grow hemp on their land, without concern for the US laws. Well, the US Gov feels differently.
Man, I may have really butchered this story... you know what... Check your PBS station and look for this movie. I'm sure they will be re-playing it, and it's a great movie. Forget all I just said and just watch it :)
Here's the link to the PBS website for "Standing Silent Nation". (I'm not sure how long they keep their links active).

I support Alex White Plume's family in their attempt to grow this plant. I'm going to try and learn a little more about this too so I am not so ignorant when it comes to hemp... It really sounds like a great product.

Here's a link to wikipedia about "hemp".
FYI> A tie into today's 4th of July's celebration... Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th of July

So after posting my previous post about the lack of justice, and a general disapproval of the world politics as I see it, I just found this post, that tells me there are still people fighting for our rights. Trouble is you have to know where to look, this sort of thing is not being covered in the mainstream media. So I stopped over to the "show us the inherent law" blog to check up on Ed and Elaine Brown, to see how they are doing. (It's the sort of unofficial blog that is covering their standoff). And I saw this post. It's short, so I'll quote it here, but I encourage you to go to their blog often. I'm also unbelievably surprised that a current presidential candidate is supporting the Browns! I'm really going to have to check out Ron Paul and see what he's about.

Tom Cryer, a seasoned attorney of 30 years and a huge Ron Paul supporter, is going up against the IRS over the income tax. He's being accused of tax evasion & willful failure to file.

As we all know, there is no law that requires the average American to pay an income tax (http://whatistaxed.com/in_a_nutshell.htm)

His trial date was originally set for early April but was postponed because the IRS knows that Tom's gonna win and they sure didn't want the not guilty verdict to come out before tax day.

His trial is now set for Monday, July 9th in Shreveport, LA (300 Fannin St, Shreveport, Louisiana 71101) If you're close, please come out to watch history in the making. The trial will last around 4 - 5 days; Let's fill the courtroom as well as pack outside for the media.

So let's all show up and give Tom our support as he drives the IRS into the ground. This win is for Aaron Russo, Alex Jones, Ed & Elaine Brown and every other patriot out there! Click here for more.
I'm really wishing Tom Cryer good luck and I'll have to try to remember to follow up on this post. Man, I wish I lived near the courthouse, I would love to sit in on this one. I hope it ends up on youtube somehow.

UPDATE: 7/13/07 - Tom was found NOT GUILTY!

No Justice in this police state...

Well, I kinda knew this was going to happen, but I was really hoping I'd be wrong. Of course I guess I need to preface this by saying the only "evidence" I had seen was from a youtube video, so I didn't know all the "facts" around this. But, I really find it difficult to believe that Officer Joey Williams used an "acceptable" amount of force (aka choking a 14 year old boy)... for skateboarding on a sidewalk (on national skateboarding day).
I'll post the link to the forbes news site that has the latest but be warned its full of pop-ups and obnoxious flash ads.

You know, on a much larger scale...
I read a short piece this morning about how a holocaust survivor has decided to move back to Germany, because he is seeing the same patterns happening here in America. That may be a little extreme, but I understand where he's coming from. We have a president who is claiming to be "above the law" by using "executive privilege to escape submitting papers to the Senate. A Vice president who is simply making up his own rules and claiming he's not part of the executive branch, you have Government agencies "spying" on us American citizens. The Pres also just "semi-pardoned" a convicted felon for endangering a CIA operative and putting our national security at risk. We have national guard troops in foreign lands in a violent occupation. We have the local police getting in increasingly more violent confrontations with us citizens. There's currently a "waco style" standoff going on in New Hampshire regarding taxes, the the media is not giving one ounce of coverage. We have the Democrats who said "we will change things" now that they are in control of the house and senate, and not a thing has changed. Our Gov is kidnapping foreigners and holding them indefinitely in secret prisons and using various levels of torture on them...
HOW bad does it have to get until someone, or a group of someone's steps up and says "enough".
I'm looking ahead to the next election, and seeing some of the current candidates, and I don't see any hope for change. I'm beginning to loose hope in the political system again. There was a new bill introduced the other day that makes our voting system "protected" under a secret government agency, that won't let us use paper ballots. It just seems to be getting worse.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Two movies this weekend! When my friend asked what I was thinking of seeing for Sat night, I said I had three... Die hard (see previous post), Sicko, and Ratatouillle. But I said, he would probably see Ratatouille with his daughter, he surprised me and said he had no desire to see it. I was a bit surprised, but understood his reasoning, in that it's been hyped like crazy for the past month or more. And with 9 minute trailers online, you pretty much get the whole gist of the story. But, I still have a softspot in my heart for all animation movies (aka cartoons). Especially Pixar who usually pushes the limit of animation technology (though I did not like Cars so much). So, somehow, he twisted this around, and offered me to take his daughter to the movies instead. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, I had it in my mind that it was going to be a crazy madhouse with screaming kids, popcorn throwing, etc... but it wasn't as bad as I had imagined - though it was different. First off, I really enjoyed the movie. It got a little long winded there about 3/4 of the way through, and I really don't think that a kids movie needs to be a full 2 hours long! But, that's me. The animation was fantastic! There were two scenes that really blew me away, Remy (the main rat character voiced by Patton Oswald), climbs a rooftop and the camera pans up to show us a panorama of Paris France, It was an amazing site! It fooled me for a second to think "what a beautiful city". The other scene that amazed me was a shot where one of the rats was holding a piece of bread, you could see all the texture and air pockets of the bread! wow.
There were several funny parts too that made me chuckle out loud (COL?).
The environment was different than I was used to, there were kids reacting to the movie all around, laughs, giggles, gasps, questions, etc. I have a mixed feeling on this, on one end it was kinda cute (especially the laughs and giggles), but to hear a little kid ask a question was enough to bring me out of the movie. Or the constant crinkles of candy being opened was a little distracting too. But, I got over it all.
Lastly, the voice acting was terrific too. It surprised me that the waitress voice was Janeane Garofalo, I knew this ahead of time, but it didn't sound like her at all.
official website (kinda lame for a disney site) here.
imdb website here.
Ok, I wasn't going to gripe about this but I have to say something... it was yet another Disney movie with only one parent in the family. In fact, both of the main characters were without a mother. I kinda wish the folks at disney would move on from this. But I guess that's a disney trademark. The other thing in relation to this, the one character said his mother went to heaven. This kinda surprised me a little too, since it was sort of like an endorsement of a religion. I know, I'm reading too much into a kids movie.
OH - I almost forgot... my friends daughter enjoyed the movie too :)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

live free or die hard

Got back from seeing "live free or die hard" movie tonight. I gotta say, I really liked this one. It was just pure entertainment with gun fights, lots of explosions, and best of all some great comedy. Yes, some of the shots were SO over the top as to be unbelievable (the jet scene especially (it's in the trailer so I'm not giving anything away)). But for me it was just a sit back, remove brain, insert popcorn and enjoy movie. The combo of Bruce Willis and Justin Long worked well. Some of the scenes really had me laughing (like the helicopter landing). As a geek, I really enjoyed the scene with Warlock too. And ya know, Bruce is starting to get up there in age, but he did a great job of pulling off the action hero. Ok, I can't gush all over this, I gotta point out a few things that bothered me... The audio voice dubbing was HORRIBLE! There were times when it was SO obvious that the voices were being overdubbed onto action shots that didn't match. Really bad. (I just hopped over the imdb and they point this fact out too... they said during one of the speeches they used the same footage 3 times!) Some of the continuity bothered me, like the entire city is supposed to be gridlocked with traffic, yet the very next scene, it shows them driving down streets with not a car in sight. But, these are the types of things you force yourself to overlook when watching a 4th episode remake of an action movie started back in 1988! I would almost say that #4 was better than 1,2, and 3!
Oh, and it took me almost half the movie to figure out where I had seen the bad guy before... His real name is Timothy Olyphant, he played the sheriff in Deadwood! He looked totally different for some reason.
Official movie site here: Live free of die hard.