Skip to content

Month: July 2008

You and your Flying Purple Pony can get stuffed

Did Muslims react so strongly because they did not understand or believe in freedom of speech? Gallup’s data, which demonstrate Muslim admiration for Western liberty and freedom of speech, indicate otherwise. The core issues of this apparent clash, or “culture war,” are not democracy and freedom of expression, but faith, identity, respect (or lack of it), and public humiliation. As France’s Grand Rabbi Joseph Sitruk observed in The Associated Press in the midst of the cartoon controversy: “We gain nothing by lowering religions, humiliating them and making caricatures of them. It’s a lack of honesty and respect.” He further noted that freedom of expression “is not a right without limits.”

Islam and the West: Clash or Coexistence?

I’m focusing on this last quote; from Grand Rabbi Joseph Sitruk; it’s fairly naive to ask a religious authority about how people should talk about religion in the public square.  What do you imagine the Grand Rabbi will say about religion;  that satire is satire and we should accept the clowns with the accolades?  No.  Simply no.  Like the Pope or the GRand Vizier, the religious authority is going to fall on the side of the religious without fail.  Therefore there opinion; however florid, is moot and accepted as supporting religion without inquiry.

The “Cartoon Debacle”  highlighted something that I hold dear; the ability (and lack thereof) to laugh at oneself.  It’s a hard pill to swallow when someone makes fun of your hero; it’s even harder when that hero is your personal savior.  This I get; but when someone lampoons my heroes (even the ones that I adore) I don’t feel compelled to violence (any more).  If it is funny; I laugh.  If not, I fume and maybe even give back an indignant remark; but that’s about it.  It seems that people can get very huffy about their heroes, personalizing anything about said heroes as an individual slight.  Not only does this show a shocking lack of character, but it demonstrates a lack of  development on par with serious emotional developmental issues.

Notice that (any more) I dropped in there?  That’s because it USED to be that one could goad me into a tear-stained fury just by making fun of the music I liked.  I hadn’t developed the emotional coping mechanisms that would allow me to separate myself from my interests.  This is probably the kind of lack of development that leads to violent reactions to parody.  I don’t know; I’m not a psychiatrist.  I’m just a Blogger.

That being said; it sucks that people (as a group) can be so easily led to outrage. We all have to just lighten up and tackle real issues and outrages when they come up.  Right?

Cuil: Totally useless

I read about cuil this morning while looking through the posts on my iGoogle page.  Interested in new things and not willing to simply discount it out of hand, I fired up the ethernets and typed my name and interests into it’s waiting inputs.

And didn’t find the website you are reading this on.

Not at all.

Not even if I searched for things I knew were on this page.

So, yeah. Cuil sucks.

Sorry guys, you have a long way to go if someone can’t ego surf their own website from your engine.

More Boring Canadian Politics

“An election will come between now and October 2009,” he said on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

“(Calling an election) is a decision that belongs to me, that’s true … I will choose a good moment.”

Celine Dion on Calling an Election

Stephane Dion continues to play coy rather than stating the facts.  Things aren’t bad enough to call an election, when things are good people vote for incumbents.  In this case “The Tories”.  If Stephane would just drop the act and state that he knows there is no point in calling an election; as his team would just lose.  The general populace is nothing if not forgetful, the years of peace and prosperity under the Liberals are too easy forgotten it seems; lost in the dust of minor controversy.

HackinTosh Prime

HackinTosh Prime, originally uploaded by NiteMayr.

After a day of not working on my new front page (not really working on it) I have my (new) Ubuntu install set up to look like Leopard. I don’t wanna pay for Leopard (read I don’t want to pay for a Mac); so I faked it.

Yeah, I’m a poser.


Twitter Updates for 2008-07-25

  • Wondering why I haven’t slapped out a blog post yet…. #
  • Roughed up a new front page…. #
  • Roughing up a logo IN MY MIND #
  • @billdeys I’m with you. #
  • I don’t like “when the levee breaks” it kind of sucks #
  • It seems the Reptilians have something to do with it. #
  • Shouldn’t I be writing that short story? #
  • @RayS I know what your mean, I try to keep my updates in as few places as possible, which leaves most of my “outlets” kind of spartan #
  • If you like the idea of a mini pope blessing houseplants; Check out project billy Part 1: #
  • OpenSuse vs Ubuntu GO! #
  • I’m 460 words into the next chapter of Project billy already… did anyone read part 1 yet? #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Story: Project Billy Part 1

“The simple fact of the matter is that the Pope is trying to eat my brain via a remote hookup in my pillows”

That was how I started my day here at the office.  Billy was sure that the “Papal Zombie Conspiracy” was active in his building and trying to devour his grey matter to ensure the future of the “Pope Child” a simian hybrid with the soul of the “Greatest Popes and Pop singers” in it.  Billy’s brain containing the soul of John Lennon.

“Sure Man, whatever you say.  Just keep your helmet on at night and you’ll be safe Man.  Just keep the strap on tight, okay?” I passed him a large coffee from the place on the corner, with the hot Greek girl at the counter.  Billy took the cup and drained the first half between sentences.

“It’s a fact Man, the Popes are gonna rule the world if I don’t keep my brain safe from their nozzles Man!” he swayed back on his chair, smoothing his hair and poking through it to check for new holes.  “It’s the world Man!  I’m saving the world!”  He sat up straight and motioned over my shoulder.

My boss, the ever-cheerful ‘Mitzi’ Mitchell Fallon walked by us, smiling and patting Billy on the shoulder.  I nodded a quiet hello and let him pass.  The last thing I wanted in the morning was pep-talk from Mitzi the cheerleader from hell.  There are morning people and there are night people, that’s the way of the world, right?  Mitzi is an ANYTIME person, always on and always up for anything.  Good for parties, shitty in a boss.

Mitzi caught my eye and stopped.  “shit” I thought.  “Hey Boss, how are things today?” I asked, hoping for a brief “Great”

Mitzi paused as if in thought and then grinned broadly; “Great! Things are great, you guys have the project in line, I woke up bright and early and watched the sunrise with James and we hit the gym for about an hour BEFORE work!  Not even the Good Morning America guys were up yet! You know?”

He paused for a breath and Billy cut in: “hey, speaking of the project,  let’s get down to it Man.”

I gave a curt nod to Mitzi and spun around in my chair to face the computer and get to work on “The Project”.

“The Project” is a seven months long refresh of the code behind our flagship website, moving it to modern versions of the scripts and taking advantage of new technology to make the site run faster and look a bit hipper for the marketing guys.  The Project had been initiated by Mitzi as a side project but had become our primary function at the five month mark when it was clear that management wanted the site brought up to speed.  “Wow Factor” was used alot in the meetings about the whole deal a few months back. So now Billy and I spent all day recoding and testing the back end to make sure that we could drop in in place and let the front-end guys work out the visual part of things.

Mitzi loved to get his hands into the mix but was so busy with department business that he couldn’t focus on it.  Which suited Billy and I fine as it justified long hours and overtime for “consultation” at the local bars.  Two hour Lunches are fine as long as when we came back we had notes about how were were going to overcome a problem at the end of the day.  Sweet deal.

After about an hour or so of toying with conversions from old CGI pages to a single ASP I’d finally had enough work for the morning and stood up to walk to go to the break room.  Billy snagged my arm as I left the cubicle and hissed in my ear “hey man,  don’t forget that thing.”

I looked back at my desk and squatting on my keyboard was a fleshy pink miniature version of the former Pope, John Paul II.

“Bless you my son,” it squeaked at me, and made an air cross in my direction.

Billy shrieked and ran to the other side of the cubes, peering over the wall at the miniature pontif with obvious terror.  He stretched his arm over the seperator and squelched “get that thing outta here, man”.  He shrunk behind the seperator and began to hyperventilate loudly.

I tentatively reached for the squat holy man and snatched him from my keyboard.  Gingerly, I carried the tiny Pope with me to the Break Room and deposited him on the counter while I made coffee and considered my next move.  The Pope wandered around the counter space and alternatively blessed and condemned the various condiments and implements of coffee there.  I sipped some bitter coffee and watched as the mini pope removed his tiny trousers and began to “water” the plants.

“Bless you my children” he squeaked.

I briefly considered dropping the tiny (but Supreme) former Pontiff in the disposal and just forgetting him; but my alter boy training stood in the way and reminded me that even miniature popes could damn my soul for eternity.  Agnosticism be damned when you’re faced to face with a living, breathing dashboard prophet.

Snatching the pantless pontiff from the counter and walking down the hall to Human Resources, I left the Supreme Miniature Vox Deo in the hands of one of the HR A-As,  I had left the last one with her and she was starting to build a collection.

Mitzi caught me on the way back to my desk, “I hear that we sprouted another Catholic Icon.” He grinned around giant capped teeth and walked along with me to my desk.  Billy sat staring at his monitor, tapping away at a chunk of code, not acknowledging that I had returned.  “Have you called the exterminator about these things?”

“No Man,” Billy coughed, “They just keep popping up, they’re after my brain man!”

“Well, we should get you a helmet or something Billy” Mitzi said, “I would hate to see you lose your brain to a miniature Pope Benedict the 9th he’d try to sell it.”

Mitzi cackled and wandered off to his office.

“Billy, you wanna go get some Vitamin B?”

“The Bar? Yeah.  Lemmie finish up this line of code and we’ll tag out”

At the Bar Billy moped over a pint and snacked on some peanuts.  It was obvious that another Pope had appeared somewhere and he wasn’t saying where.  He had probably killed it or something in a panic.  Billy was a strict pacifist and the idea of killing a religious figure of any size must have hurt him deeply.

“Bro, do you wanna talk about it?” I asked, putting a hand on his shoulder for a second.

“No, Man.  I don’t, I want to never have to talk about it at all, Man.  You know?  I want Popes to be guys on the TV or in parades, not little elves that hang around my bedroom at night and piss on my plants to bless them.  I caught one of them blessing my cereal this morning, you know?  Killed him with my shoe, I think it was Pope Pius.”  He sniffed a bit, and wiped his eyes.   Billy grabbed his pint in both hands and lifted it over his head, pouring it over his dirty blond hair and black t-shirt. Soaking his jeans in the process.

Two more” I motioned to the Bartender.

Back at the office, Billy was sullen but threw himself back into the Project.  We were done for the day before he looked up from his screen to wave goodbye.  I nodded a goodbye and wandered out of the office and into the street, stooping to catch a 6 inch tall Pope John Paul the 2nd on the way out.

I gotta try this, home made cheeses

Queso Blanco

This is by far the easiest cheese to make.  Called Queso Blanco in the Spanish speaking (it means “white cheese”) world it is used throughout the world by different names.  It can be eaten strait or mixed in with various dishes.  Try it in your lasagna recipes instead of Ricotta or in addition to it.  Yum!

1 Gallon Whole Milk
1/4 Cup White Vinegar**

  1. Heat milk to 180 F (82 C) stirring constantly.  Be careful not to burn the milk.
  2. While mixing with a whisk, slowly add the white vinegar.  You will notice the milk begins to curdle.
  3. Keep stirring for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Line a colander with a fine cheesecloth.
  5. Pour the curdled milk through the colander.
  6. Allow the curds to cool for about 20 minutes.
  7. Tie the four corners of the cheese cloth together and hang it to drain for about 5 – 7 hours (until it stops dripping).

The solidified cheese can be broken apart and salted to taste or kept unsalted.

Herb Cheese

1 gallon whole milk
1 pint half-and-half
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Drill holes into the bottom of a round plastic storage container (approximately 6 inches wide and at least 4 inches high) and set aside. Line a colander with cheesecloth and set aside.

Put the milk and half-and-half into a large pot over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches 195 degrees F. (There will be a slight simmer and the top will be very foamy.) Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the vinegar. Put the colander into the sink and pour this mixture into the cheesecloth. When most of the liquid has passed through, add the tomatoes, basil, and salt and stir gently to incorporate. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and transfer the cheese to the plastic container. Set the container on a rack on a sheet pan to catch the whey. Put a plate on top and weight it down with some heavy cans to squeeze out the excess liquid. Let rest for 1 hour, remove the cheesecloth, and return it to the plastic container with the plates and weights. Put it into the refrigerator overnight. To serve, put the cheese onto a plate and brush with a little olive oil.

American Politics are Sexy

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans next week to slash the pay of more than 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum of $6.55 per hour to help ease the state’s budget crisis, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Chronicle on Wednesday.

Schwarzenegger’s staff would neither confirm nor deny that the governor plans to issue the executive order, but sources said he could take action as early as Monday. The state, facing a projected $17.2 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year that began July 1, has not approved a budget.

You see, WOW!  The Governator is going to actually destroy the earning power of thousands of people.  That’s some exciting politics,  it would only be more exciting if he announced it while “California Uber-Alles” was playing in the background.