Archive for April, 2008

Note to readers

Every once in a while the link to Previous Posts disappears from the bottom of the page. I don’t know why, and there’s not much I can do about it. Hopefully, just adding another post like this one will bring it back.

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Ever wonder what other folks are doing, or just plain thinking about right now? Well stream of consciousness be damned, now you can find out, with Twitter. Of course, as soon as I learned about it, I had to have one too, like I had to have a mixtape.

Here’s My Twitter.
There’s a link to my mixtape in the side-bar.

So what exactly is Twitter? Here’s what Julia Allison, one-time Twitter detractor, denigrator and faultfinder has to say about it:

I believe there’s a quote out there from me, roaming around the internet, where I say (roughly) that A) Twitter is ridiculous and B) insinuate that I’m better than Twitter (I believe the exact phrasing was something along the lines of “I do not have a Twitter. I do not have a fucking Twitter!!”)

Well, I have a “fucking Twitter” now. And guess what? I was wrong. Which just goes to show, if you decide to dismiss something, especially 1) publicly, 2) using expletives, 3) while sitting next to the founder, 4) before you’ve even tried it, you’re 5) an idiot and 6) deserve to be seen as such.

The reason I chose to denigrate Twitter more or less comes down to this: I didn’t “get” it. Or rather, I didn’t “get” why anyone would be interested in reading 140 character updates on the quotidian activities of someone else’s life, without visual aids or lengthy, amusing anecdotes. Moreover, why would anyone want to share such meaningless trivia?

The above video does a fantastic job explaining why. In essence, it comes down to this:

Why you’d follow people on Twitter:
1) You DO care about the quotidian activities of your friends and family. Yeah. You think you don’t, but honestly,140 characters really isn’t that much. By the time you’re bored with their update, it’s over.
2) It DOES make you feel more connected to them and their lives, in a way that intermittent emails, blog posts (if they’re even a blogger!), texts or phone calls (which happen all too rarely) don’t.
3) It doesn’t demand a response from you. All you have to do is read it. I wouldn’t necessarily want a direct text every night from all of my friends telling me things like “Going to bed now!” … that seems invasive. Direct texts – and emails and phone calls – tend to require some action from you. Even a smiley face takes up your time; you have to smiley back at them, otherwise you’re The Bitch Who Didn’t Respond to Their Smiley. Blerg! But seeing their schedules and (short) thoughts at some point every day or couple of days, in a condensed and centralized format, at your convenience, doesn’t require anything from you except you being bored at work. And I’m pretty sure you can handle that.

Why you’d post on Twitter:
1) It’s fast – 140 characters is 20 less than your average text, so you can’t struggle with your words for more than a minute or two, unless you are a total freak-perfectionist, in which case, you have bigger problems. Without a huge time cost, you’re more likely to do it at a greater frequency, which means your friends get a much fuller picture of your day to day life.
2) You can post from your cell, so in those moments – on the subway, waiting for a meeting to start, during sex – when you have an extra thirty seconds, you can type out a quick update. You’d be surprised at how frequently you have a minute or two – but not more! – and how quickly it becomes a habit.
3) Um … it’s sort of fun?

Two caveats:
1) It does have a tendency to make you sound less intelligent than you might otherwise seem. Abbreviations and short, random, seemingly pointless statements frequently do that – that’s why you really only want your friends to read it. They won’t judge you for sounding like a 7-year-old when you Twitter “Ice cream. yay!!” Or, maybe they will, but they’ll do it silently.
2) The only way Twitter really works is if people you care about (or are fascinated by, or want to stalk) use it. You can Twitter alone, but … um … it’s like playing monopoly with yourself. Like, theoretically possible, but not very enjoyable.

So, there you go. Twitter: not such a giant loser-app after all!

PS. That said, I will punch myself in the neck if I ever say, write, or think “I just tweeted.” STFU.

Click here for Julia Allison’s Twitter. Her life (and her Twitter) is way cooler than mine.

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Barbie Massacre Blog

The following scenes are funny, in a really sick way, and may not be appropriate for all ages:

Like this one:

For more, check out the Barbie Massacre Blog.

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That there exists in the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead, the memory of which he constantly renews and occasionally enlarges, that all to a man, being aware that there is a God, and that he is their Maker, may be condemned by their own conscience when they neither worship him nor consecrate their lives to his service. Certainly, if there is any quarter where it may be supposed that God is unknown, the most likely for such an instance to exist is among the dullest tribes farthest removed from civilisation. But, as a heathen [Cicero] tells us, there is no nation so barbarous, no race so brutish, as not to be imbued with the conviction that there is a God. Even those who, in other respects, seem to differ least from the lower animals, constantly retain some sense of religion; so thoroughly has this common conviction possessed the mind, so firmly is it stamped on the breasts of all men. Since, then, there never has been, from the very first, any quarter of the globe, any city, any household even, without religion, this amounts to a tacit confession, that a sense of Deity is inscribed on every heart.

One night, when I was a little boy, I awoke in the middle of the night from a dream, and I saw a figure or apparition that I took to be a woman in a long white robe standing at the foot of my bed looking in on me. I thought it was my mom, and I called out to her, “Mother, is that you?” When I received no answer, I became frightened, and in my fear, she left.

I have never attended a church regularly, and I don’t now at all. I find ministers to be generally too concerned with the secular wants and needs of the church, and the parishioners too pushy and too impersonal in their beliefs. I think we all have an in-born sense of God, that needs to be shared, not verses from the Bible. And I surely don’t care to attend a church that would summon up the hounds of heaven to get me to come back. One of the sweetest and most devout people I have ever known was a Buddhist girl that I met when I was in Japan. She tried to explain her religion to me one night, and I could see that in her mind she had a vision of a very beautiful and orderly universe. I tried to tell her about my religion and General Relativity, but I don’t think she bought into it.

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This is gonna be fun!

I just ordered a new battery for my IPod.


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Hiroshima Video

Very interesting documentary video.

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Bunny-Luv Carrots

Have you ever wondered who designed the Bunny-Luv carrot bags in the market? Well, wonder no more, because I found the culprit!! You can “check-out” all of his carrot bag designs…there’s bunches of them… at his web-site:

Commercial Artist David Coulson

Maybe now you won’t take them for granted.

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I had a vivid dream several nights ago. When I awoke I was very frightened, not for myself, but for the person in the dream. It was a girl, and she was in a building on a farm, or a dairy it seemed, that her father owned, and she had wandered into the backroom. The concrete floor was cold and wet, and there wasn’t a door, but a heavy curtain across the doorway for easy entry, with a rubber flap at the bottom. Then someone in the next room cried out, “They’re killing us all,” and she overheard it and it scared her to the bone. 

Last night I watched a movie “Nicholas and Alexandra” about the last Tsar in Russia, Nicholas II and his wife. They had a lovely family, mostly girls, and a little hemophiliac son. When the Revolution came in 1917, they were taken by the provisional government to a place in Siberia, and later moved by the Bolsheviks to an estate in Ekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains where they were murdered. After the movie, I lay in bed thinking about them, and suddenly I felt that same bone-chilling feeling of fear come over me that I had felt in the dream.

I used to dream about the Holocaust sometimes, when I was a boy. They were frightening dreams too. I still think about it now and then, even though it’s been more than 60 years since it happened.
I was thinking about this the other day in fact, while watching a game demo on a German television station on the internet. It was all young people, and they all seemed like good kids. I wondered, should we continue to bombard them with memories of the Holocaust?

But then I ran across another website of illustrations made by a man who had survived several concentration camps, who later became an artist for the Washington Post. I realized that I really don’t want to forget that. I don’t want to let the Holocaust deniers rewrite that history. The youth in Germany can be proud that they have been hate-free for over fifty years, but the world always needs to know what happened there.

Holocaust Drawings

I trust that this man’s drawings reflect the true conditions in the death-camps, so WARNING AND BEWARE before you look at them. I don’t think he needed to exaggerate. And he wasn’t a Jew, nor am I for that matter. It’s the way I learned about it, it’s what our fathers saw when they liberated the camps, and I think it’s made me a better person. When I hear historians try to soften it, or deny that the Holocaust ever happened, I feel like I need to speak up.

And this shouldn’t just apply to Germany and the Shoah, but to all nations every time innocents come under fire. The United States dropped Atomic Bombs on two cities in Japan. Millions of Americans may have been saved, but thousands of innocent civilians and children died just the same. When I was in Japan in the Navy, I knew I had to go to one of those cities, so when our ship visited Sasebo, not far from Nagasaki, I made the trip. I stood at ground-zero in Nagasaki, and it frightened me to even think about what happened there. But that’s where our world is now; we’ve reached the point where we can’t afford to ever forget.

Now that Spring has arrived, I think I will take my chair outside and sit down and re-read “The Diary of A Young Girl,” and reflect and try to appreciate the fresh air, and the warmth of the sun on my face. I would watch the movie too, but my VCR is broken and I wouldn’t feel right about watching the DVD version I have on my DVD player; it’s not an authorized copy.

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New York City in HDR

I found a collection of uniquely beautiful photos of the Big Apple. 

You’ll probably want to save them all on your hard drive, but if you view them on Flickr and mouse-over, you’ll discover that there are notes with information about the landmarks and buildings in each photo.

Check out the following link:

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