Saturday, October 18, 2003

You Can Be Too Rich And Too Thin

I love the expression, "quasi-actress." This MUST be added to the lexicon.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Today's Kids, Yesterday's Games

Electronic Gaming Monthly has printed a great article where they took 12-year old gamers and had them play classic games from the 70s and 80s. It is hilarious, though you may feel very old before you're through.

On Pong:
"I would never pay to play something like this."
"I'd sooner jump up and down on one foot. By the way, is this supposed to be tennis or Ping-Pong?"

On Handheld Football:
"I don't see how this has anything remotely to do with football."

On Tetris:
"I just lined up six of the same color. Why didn't they blow up?"

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Instant Karma's Going To Get You

Naturally, as soon as Red Sox Manager Grady Little left a tiring Pedro Martinez in the game, resulting in the ultimate Yankee victory, Internet entrepreneurs swooped in:

Registrar: DOTSTER
Created on: 16-OCT-03
Expires on: 17-OCT-04
Last Updated on: 16-OCT-03

Technical Contact:
Logan, Jesse
8000 Boteler Ln Apt 413
College Park, MD 20740

If you're also feeling entrepreneurial, firegradylittle and are both still available, last time I checked!
Meanwhile, in Bizarro-land...

The most excellent folks of The Smoking Gun have posted a scan of today's New York Post editorial. The editorial, apparently written and filed prior to the Red Sox meltdown in the 8th inning, laments the Yankees' loss to the Sox. Apparently, the editors forgot to pull it when the Yankees rallied!

Sorry Sox fans, maybe next year.
After A Brief Cold Snap, The Weather In Gehenna Is Again Sunny And Mild

Alas, the dream matchup that sports fans and astrologers everywhere were looking forward to failed to materialize. In two epic 7-game series, the cursed Cubs and Red Sox lost to the Florida Marlins and the accursed Yankees.

Everyone across the land except for the 5 Marlins fans and the demonic host of Yankees fans was looking forward to seeing what happened when the Cubs/Red Sox series reached Game 7. Would the ground open up and swallow both teams? Would a portal from Hell open up over the field, spewing forth the legions of the abyss, desperately escaping hypothermia?

Sadly, we must fall back on the immortal words of Cubs and Red Sox fans everywhere, "just wait til next year."

Thursday, October 16, 2003

But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

I'm busy using Overture's search term suggestion tool to figure out how to sell systems management software. To test it, however, I tried a few more basic terms, which shed quite a bit of light on my fellow Internet denizens.

"Sex" appears to be the big winner, with 3,961,438 searches last month. It is no big surprise to note that "hardcore sex" is next on the sex list, with 532,568 searches. It is surprising that "world sex" beat out other such contenders as "amateur sex" and "free sex" for the #3 position, with 532,000. Who says globalization isn't working?

"Britney Spears" is another winner, with 2,246,813 searches, far outdistancing "Christina Aguilera" (580,058 searches) and "Madonna" (315,326 searches). At least Christina beat "hardcore sex" and "world sex!"

On the other hand, even Christina couldn't beat the might "MP3," which accounted for 1,727,390 searches. "RIAA" meanwhile, registered 120,083 searches, even fewer than "Kobe Bryant" (189,874 searches)

Sadly, all of these figures easily left the Peace (34,981 searches), Love (452,235 searches), and Understanding (1,633) in the dust, proving that on the Internet at least, vice is more appealing than virtue.

The Beauty of the Internet

The beauty of the Internet is that you can find anything. Including a blog which combines photographs of bunny rabbits up for adoption, and detailed discussions of lethal ordnance.

Those bunnies can be tougher than they look!
Why Do People Hate America?

I am currently listening to "The Longest Walk," an excellent book by Englishman George Meegan, about his quest to walk the length of the Americas, from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. His journey takes seven years, and along the way he acquires a wife and two children, all while walking through desert heat, torrential rainstorms, and furious mosquito attacks.

I'm currently listening to his journey through Nicaragua, shortly after the triumph of the Sandinistas over the Somoza regime. As he walks through the country, Meegan is constantly jeered and insulted, because the people believe that his blonde hair makes him "a hated American."

This begs the question, why do people hate America? In the case of the Sandinistas, the reason is pretty clear; the US supported the Somoza regime, which, if it's possible, was one of the more horrific Latin American dictators that we supported. On the other hand, billions of people apparently hate America, including many Americans, despite any direct reason. For example, there are a significant number of Germans who believe that 9-11 was a CIA/Israeli plot to generate a pretext for American imperialism.

Fortunately, Google, the source of all knowledge, is here to help.

Why Do People Hate America (a book by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies)

"The economic power of US corporations and the virus-like power of American popular culture affect the lives and infect the indigenous cultures of millions around the world. The foreign policy of the US government, backed by its military strength, has unprecedented global influence now that the USA is the world's only superpower - its first 'hyperpower'.

America also exports its value systems, defining what it means to be civilised, rational, developed and democratic - indeed, what it is to be human. Meanwhile, the US itself is impervious to outside influence, and if most Americans think of the rest of the world at all, it is in terms of deeply ingrained cultural stereotypes."

Why I Hate America (letter to Pravda)

"I would be dishonest if I said I didn-t hate the American government. I do hate it, so really, so deeply and, yes, so rightly. America is the tormentor of my people. It is to me, as a Palestinian, what Nazi Germany was to the Jews. America is the all-powerful devil that spreads oppression and death in my neighborhood. How can I not hate this great Satan, the evil empire? Does anyone expect people to love their tormentors?

In short, it is virtually impossible for me, as indeed is the case for most Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims, not to hate America so much. For me, in order not to hate America, I would have to be an imbecile, bereft of dignity, or without senses and feelings completely numb. Only infra-humans and quasi-beasts wouldn-t hate their evil tormentors and grave-diggers. And America is the Palestinian people-s ultimate tormentor and grave-digger, as well as the oppressor and killer of millions around the world."

My personal opinion is as follows:

1. The reason that people say they hate America is because they have been harmed by our foreign policy. For example, the Arab world hates America because America supports Israel, and therefore implicitly condones the disastrous settlement policy. There is some legitimacy to these complaints, though America's critics rarely acknowledge their own role and culpability. After all, the Israelis are not the only ones doing the killing, nor did they launch the Arab-Israeli wars in the 20th century.

2. The real reason that people hate America is because they don't want to take responsibility for their own situation. It's easier and more satisfying to blame America or "The Man" for one's lack of success in achieving one's goals. The Iraqis blame the US for not solving all their problems, just as the Russians blamed the fall of communism for their ills, just as Castro finds it convenient to blame the US for Cuba's economic woes, just as "blame the Yankee" is a favorite pastime of various Latin American regimes. The truth is that America does not control the world. If we did, we sure as heck wouldn't allow our critics free reign to rouse hatred against us. People need to take responsibility for their own lives. And oh yeah, it probably would help if we got rid of Sharon.

3. The other contributing reason that people hate America is because they hate the Americanization of the world. The French are the champions of this practice, but plenty of other folks around the globe lament the encroachment of David Hasslehoff on their age-old traditions. Guess what folks, the culture wars are being fought in the minds of the young, and you lost. Everywhere, even those kids who hate America and protest against its policies are eager to take up its lifestyle. We won. Deal with it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

My New Favorite Blog

Jeffrey Nolan's SAP Ventures blog just earned the title of my new favorite blog. How do I know it's my favorite? Because I just moved it to the top of my "Blogs" bookmarks folder, right below the link for posting to my own blog.

Jeffrey posts so fast and furiously that he has the occasional typo, but that's easily forgiven because of his appealing mix of high-tech information and offbeat links.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

They're Just Big-Boned

This just in: not only are fat people discriminated against, but their repellent aura affects those around them as well. A study conducted at the University of Liverpool found that a sample of 144 female students were 22% more negative in their opinion of a man in a picture if he was standing next to a fat woman.

"When seen with the large woman, he was more likely to be described as miserable, self-indulgent, passive, shapeless, depressed, weak, insignificant and insecure."

Interestingly enough, the fat students were harsher in their opinions than the thin students, reflecting their self-loathing.

Of course, in an era in which American obesity is at an all-time high--over 30% of Americans are considered obese--perhaps we'll be able to solve this discrimination by the simple expedient of all becoming fat.

For example, have you ever noticed how Wal-Mart shoppers are fatter than Target shoppers or even Costco shoppers? It's even been commemorated in haiku:

The aisles are quite wide
Yet fat shoppers block my path
Their butt cheeks jiggle

Perhaps the fattening of America is due to Wal-Mart's steady conquest of the retail world. Think about it.

The grand irony of weight-loss is that it's pretty simple how to lose weight: eat less and exercise more. Read how it worked for Autodesk founder John Walker. Unfortunately, it's just too hard to lay down those Krispy Kremes.

Monday, October 13, 2003

The King is Dead, Long Live The King

In 1999, a completely unknown former grocery store bagger and Arena football star, Kurt Warner, replaced injured, high-priced quarterback Trent Green and led the St. Louis Rams to a Superbowl victory.

In 2002, a completely unknown former 6th round draft pick you had been cut three times, Marc Bulger, replaced injured, high-priced quarterback and two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner, and led the Rams on a 5-game winning streak.

And it hasn't just been the Rams. In 2001, unknown Tom Brady replaced perennial pro bowler Drew Bledsoe and led the New England Patriots to a Superbowl victory over MVP Kurt Warner and the 14-2 Rams.

Two observations: First, this seems to happen a lot more in football than in baseball and basketball, despite baseball having the legend of Wally Pipp (who took a day off, was replaced by Lou Gehrig, and never played again). Second, doesn't this seem to happen a lot when you replace CEOs as well?