Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Franken by a nose

The Minnesota Supreme Court has voted 5-0 that it is time to certify Al Franken as the senator from Minnesota.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tell da troof -- Another artist engages 9/11

Mos Def, Charlie Sheen, and Willie Nelson. A motley crew. Perhaps Britney will eventually jump on the bandwagon.

Artist: Mos Def ft. Immortal Technique
Song: Bin Laden

Charlie Sheen talks with Alex Jones
20 March 2006

Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report
February 21, 2008

Willie Nelson talks about 9/11 with Amy Goodman

10:19 Juan introduces Willie Nelson
11:46 Willie Nelson opens with a song
55:52 Willie Nelson talks about 9/11

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ideal Bookmarking System

On Mozilla's addon page, there are over 700 extensions under Bookmarks, and about 100 of those are listed when searching for 'tag'.

You would think with all of that attention about tags I would be able to find something to suit my tastes. But when it comes to tagging I appear to by picky. So this is a description of the tagging system that I think would satisfy me.


Keyboard only. I hate having to switch from keyboard to mouse and back. Since adopting Ubiquity, I do most of my navigating with the keyboard. Tagging should fit in my keyboard centric world.
Firefox natively supports keyboard tagging, though it takes a few tabs.

There has to be some way of keeping similar tags under control. I often have to do maintenance finding I have duplicate tags like 'app' and 'apps', or 'Music' and 'music'. An alias would remove the 'apps' tag and replace it with the 'app' tag.
tweeze and Gbookmarks Reloaded support auto-complete.

Auto-tagging. This could be easily misinterpreted as there are some services that automatically apply search terms and the like to bookmarks. That is NOT what I mean.

I want specific tags to automatically invoke a general one. Rather than manually tagging all video links with 'video' and 'media', the 'media' tag should be applied automatically when I tag something with 'video'.


Structure. Bundles seem to be the dominant method for creating structure in a tagscape. GBookmarks Reloaded uses a weak form of hierarchical tags. I could also imagine creating a few primary tags that would be a gateway to all other tags. Categorize might eventually work something out. Whatever the method, some structures is needed to let tagging be as free as possible while still being useful.

Searchable. Sometimes tags fail you. Searching is an important contingency.

NULL Tag.When I open my C:\ drive I see 7 files and 8 folders. There are millions (or something) of files on this drive but I only see 7. This is the list of files that didn't belong in any of the other 8 folders. The way tagging systems work now, if I were to find one of those 7 files, I would have to browse through the millions of files, or search. Mandatory search means the tags have failed us. Any civilized manageable tagging system is going to have to be able to produce that list of 7. That is to say that I need to be able to ask my tagging system for all the links that have 'tag1' and no other tags ('tag1' and NULL). Likewise I must be able to find 'tag1', 'tag2' and NULL, and all other combinations.

I have not been able to find any tag system that can do this. Some developers have told me it would be difficult to implement. It is however essential to a scalable tagging system.


Portable. There are two bookmarking strategies. Online and local. Local is its own silo, and ever online service is its own silo. Porting from one silo to another always loses some data. I`ve done this a few times, and every time I lose something: dates, folders, links, tags. Right now my new bookmarks are saved locally and backed up with a syncing service. This seems to act like part of the local silo.

The Categorize addon has a few great things about it, though there are enough distractions to water them down. Categorize does local tag bundling but cannot port in my existing bookmarks. Nor can it export them. This is no good to me. I am subscribed to its feed to follow its progress.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Congratulations! ... I guess

One of my favourite bloggers was just accredited with her Master of Arts Degree. She is getting lots of congratulations for it. But I am ambivalent about whether to offer mine. Part of me thinks I should be jealous, I tried, but I'm not.

I cannot claim any roaring outward success that makes completing a BA look like a small feat. I appreciate that it is hard work. Nor is it the situation that I never saw myself in such a situation. For most of my life I assumed I would be a high ranking academic. I credit the jarring transition from high school to university for breaking this assumption.

I find I don't even respect academics. There are a few academics that I happen to respect, Rebekah being one of them. I might even respect her a little less now knowing this about her. I also don't like smokers, even if they don't smoke around me. What they do is give money to a machine that is going to try to get my kids to smoke. I see academics as spiting themselves to prop up broken institutions.

To this day I love to learn. I'm sure I do a little bit of research 5 day of every week. Rather than pursuing academic ends I have followed my curiosity. I have meditated long and deep about value, trade, money, communication, relationships, patterns. I can only imagine how the insights I have accumulated will be put to used, and are being put to use.

I've never been able to find adequate words for my feeling toward academia.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The gift crisis

I'm not sure how to record this story so this post will be revised for style over the coming days. Content updates, should they be published, will be noted as such at the bottom of the post. The crisis is inching toward resolution, but the outcome is still uncertain.

Through my meditations I have come to believe certain things. I believe rights are lost by not exercising them under threat. I believe self-destructive behaviour should not be validated with influence over any matter.

I am currently dealing with a crisis of my own making. One who is very close to one who is very close to me, has a problem. She gives gifts pathologically. The practise is destructive to her as she hasn't money to burn, and it is destructive to me as the gifts come with an obligation to value (read: keep)them. Everybody between me and this gift giver told me not to engage her. I was told she do something 'crazy' or 'retarded'. I had seen the effects of them not engaging her. That was not good enough for me.

At the hight of the crisis I was given a gift. When I refused she insisted. She made the obligation explicit. I again refused. She threatened to disrupt my family and kicked me in the balls. Interestingly the knee jerk reaction to those between us was to blame me. Of course, I knew better, she didn't. Public opinion has been slow to turn in my favour.

I have always be eager to engage the worse to get to the better. I did this despite all advice. Regardless of what has happened and how it ultimately turns out, I don't think I could see myself doing any differently.

The dispute is now just over a week old. I am looking for an acknowledge of boundaries. She has the freedom to be self-destructive, and I have the freedom to keep her self-destructive habits away from my family. My balls would appreciate an apology, but that is less important than the issues with my family.

Self-destructive people shall have no power over me. I will exercise my rights as the only method of preservation. I will continue to actively engage to worse to get to the better.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cramer of Mad Money articulates the dire situation

"When we rally it will be based on facts, not on silver linings." Cramer has come to the mindset that cheerleading is not what is needed. We need a healthy dose of cynicism. Not only are all of the indicators bad, but nothing that has worked before is working now. In the worst bear market since the Great Depression, or World Depression I, we still can't see the bottom. There is more cynicism yet to purge.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Barry Scwartz on Rules, incentives, and the war on wisdom


"When things go wrong, as of course they do, we reach for two tools to try to fix them. One tool we reach for is rules, betters ones, more of them. The second tool we reach for is incentives, better ones, more of them. What else after all is there?


"The truth is neither rules nor incentives are enough the do the job.

"And what happens is that as we turn increasingly to rules, rules and incentives may make things better in the short run but they create a downward spiral that makes them worse in the long run. Moral skill is chipped away by an over reliance on rules that deprives us of the opportunity to improvise and learn from our improvisations. And moral will is undermined by an incessant appeal to incentives that destroy our desire to do the right thing. And without intending it by appealing to rules and incentives we are engaging in a war on wisdom."

More and better rules; more and better incentives. What is the alternative. Fewer, better rules; fewer, better incentives. All else being equal, fewer rules are better. This is what I think of when I hear "the government that governs least governs best."

That is why I argued against the cell phone ban while driving. We already have rules to deal with this.

This is why I hate absolute deference to to traffic lights. I know when it is safe and respectful to advance (and I often do advance). The light doesn't. We have rules to deal with a collision should it occur, and rules to deal with endangering the safety of others. All of these are independent of obedience to a traffic control device.

When dynamic unwritten rules spring up from high quality principles the system is organic and intuitive. When there is a rule written for each and every possible outcome, dependant on the occupier of the office of rule maker, the system is chaotic, disintegrated, and painful for its subjects.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert: A different way to think about creative genius

During the Renaissance there was a shift in the perceived origin of creativity. Rather than coming from an external muse or daemon, creativity was completely the responsibility of the artist. Perhaps this was too much responsibility, giving artists the tormented reputation of modern times.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bale Rage with transcript and analysis

This is a story of a group of wary people trying to get through a project with the little energy and patience they have left.

Bale is at first looking for an assurance Hurlbut will not make the same mistake a third time. With Hurlbut's half-hearted apology Bale decides to get him under control so they can get back to work. McG tries to take control as Bale is attempting to stir empathy in Hurlbut. Bale overrules McG since getting Hurlbut in line is vital to the project.

Once Hurlbut has been put in his place, Bale effectively apologies to McG by handing discipline over to him. "You got something to say to this prick?"

McG fumbles the pass with "I didn't see it happen." Bale takes the reigns again, "Well, somebody should be fuckin watchin him and keepin an eye on him."

McG capitulates, "Fair enough."

The scene begins to cool off with Bale in charge, McG as side kick and Hurlbut as bitch.

Bale, who is in charge, wants to go again. McG wants to take a minute. Since Bale is in charge he says, "No, lets not take a fuckin minute, lets go again!"

Bale tries to give Hurlbut some guidance while he is getting ready to shoot again. "You don't fuckin understand what its like workin with actors, thats what that is."

I have no explanation for why Hurlbut feels the need to contradict Bale at this point. I can only speculate it is defensiveness that creeps through the wariness coupled with a bit of social handicap. For whatever reason Hurlbut challenges Bale, "No, that's not..."

Bale: Thats what that is, man, Im tellin you! Im not askin, Im tellin you. You wouldn't have done that otherwise.

Hurlbut: No, what it is, is looking at the light, and making sure that you were

Bale, having thought this was already settled apparently lunges for Hurlbut, or so the audio would suggest. "I'm gonna fuckin kick your fuckin ass! If you don't shut up for a second, alright?"

It feels like a step backwards, so Bale reverts to the appeal to empathy, "you want me to fuckin trash your lights? Then why are you trashin my scene?"

Hurlbut: Im not tryin to trash

Bale tries to make it simple, "You are trashin my scene! You do it one more fuckin time, and I ain't walkin on this set if you're still hired. I'm fuckin serious. You're a nice guy! You're a nice guy! But that don't fuckin cut it when you're bullshitin and fuckin around like this on set!"


Bale: kick your f***in ass! I want you off the f***in set, you prick!

Hurlbut: Im sorry.

Bale: No, dont just be sorry! Think for one f***in second! What the f*** are you doing? (Editors note: The following sentence is what makes this Deceiver-worthy.) Are you professional or not?

Hurlbut: Yes, I am.

Bale: Do I f***in walk around and rip down No, shut the f*** up, Bruce! Do I walk No! Nnno! Dont shut me up!

Bruce: Im not shutting you up.

Bale: Am I gonna walk around and rip your f***in lights down? In the middle of a scene? Then why the f*** are you walkin right through? Oh, dah-dah, dah-dah, like this in the background. What the f*** is it with you? What dont you f***in understand? You got any f***in idea about, hey, its f***in distracting having somebody walkin up behind Bryce in the middle of the f***in scene? Gimme a f***in answer! What dont you get about it?

Hurlbut: I was looking at the light.

Bale: Ohhhhh, goooood for you! And how was it? I hope it was f***in good, because its useless now, isnt it?

Hurlbut: Okay.

Bale: F***s sake, man, youre amateur. McG, you have f***in somethin to say to this prick?

McG: I didnt see it happen.

Bale: Well, somebody should be f***in watchin him and keepin an eye on him.

McG: Fair enough.

Bale: Its the second time that he doesnt give a f***. About what is goin on in front of the camera. Alright? Im tryin to f***in do a scene here and Im goin, Why the f*** is Shane walkin in there? What is he doin there? Do you understand, my mind is not in the scene if youre doin that.

Hurlbut: I absolutely apologize. Im sorry, I did not mean anything by it.

Bale: Stay off the f***in set, man. For f***s sake. Right, lets go again. No, lets not take a f***in minute, lets go again! And lets not have you f***in walkin in! Can I have Tom put this on, please?

McG: Tom, wardrobe, please. Can I have Tom, wardrobe?

Bale: You;re unbelievable, man. You're un-f***in-believable. Number of times youre strollin a-f***in-round in the background. Ive never had a DP behave like this. Ahhhhh, you dont f***in understand what its like workin with actors, thats what that is.

Hurlbut: No, thats not

Bale: Thats what that is, man, Im tellin you! Im not askin, Im tellin you. You wouldnt have done that otherwise.

Hurlbut: No, what it is, is looking at the light, and making sure that you were

Bale: [sound of something being knocked over] Im gonna f***in kick your f***in ass! If you dont shut up for a second, alright?

Various voices: Christian, Christian, Christian, Christian, its cool, its cool.

Bale: Im gonna go, you want me to f***in trash your lights? Do you want me to f***in trash em? Then why are you trashin my scene?

Hurlbut: Im not tryin to trash

Bale: You are trashin my scene! You do it one more f***in time, and I aint walkin on this set if youre still hired. Im f***in serious. Youre a nice guy! Youre a nice guy! But that dont f***in cut it when youre bulls****in and f***in around like this on set!

McG: I got it, I know, I get it.

Bale: Yeah, you might get it, he doesnt f***in get it! You might. He! Does! Not! Get it!

McG: I know. Good adjustments, okay? For real. Honestly. I get it. Just walk for 5 seconds, just for 5 seconds

Bale: No, I dont need any f***in walkin! He needs to stop walkin!

McG: I get that!

Bale: I aint the one walkin! Lets get Tom and put this back on, lets go again. Seriously, man, you and me, were f***in done professionally. F***in ass.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Absurdity at the intersection of gay marriage and polygamy

The issue of polygamy is unrelated to gay marriage. I am really eager to see how Winston Blackmore can wind the two together. He argues "the Canadian definition of marriage, which includes same-sex couples, should then also include multiple partners."

Gay marriage is about civil law and what the state is willing to recognize as a union. Polygamy, however, is bound up with religion. To be more strict polygamy doesn't even exist outside of a religious context, yet. If we were to take this scenario to an extreme, Blackmore could win the case that he is arguing and get recognition for all of his 19 civil wives, yet still be a criminal for having more than one religious wife.

This is, of course, absurd. We are so close to this absurd outcome because Blackmore is skipping a step. Before the state recognition of civil polygamy comes the decriminalization of religious polygamy. And this is not hard to argue.

There is a space in between, or rather outside of, civil and religious unions. For lack of a better term, let us call these 'secular unions'. These are unions not recognized by the state or the church. A man in such a union may do as he wishes. He may take another partner, and another, and another, and 19 or more other partners. He may do so with no charge of criminality. Only when he tries to create the same union under the guise of religion does it become criminal.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the freedom of religion. As the law stands, a secular man may do things a religious man cannot. How much closer to the definition of religious persecution would we have to get before 'foul' were called.

In stead of making this argument for religious freedom Blackmore chooses absurdity. And he is free to do so.

Link: Accused polygamist to use gay-marriage laws as defence

Friday, January 23, 2009

This post is more for me than for you

I haven't worked much lately. I am on a handful of casual work lists. None too active.

I have explored most entry level positions. I have looked into entrepreneurial enterprise. I have attended college and university.

As most of us frame the issue, our options are entry level work, education, or self-employment.

I haven't had a 40-hour-a-week full-time job since early 2006. I can't say I am eager to get back. Part of it is the job search. I have talked to a lot of people about job searching. I have taken-in presentations about many aspects of the job market and job searching. It has all lead me to a simple conclusion: nobody has the slightest idea.

I have never heard anybody admit that they enjoy searching for a job. I have never gotten any advice about finding a job that didn't boil down to "try harder" and "keep trying". These are the mottoes of those without a clue.

My most recent adventure into institutionalization was yet another attempt to finish my BA. What a crash and burn experience that was. I did the work I was comfortable doing and found myself under fire. Understandably so, as my work was sub-par.

Eager to figure out how I could make myself compatible with my university I began poking and prodding the machinery of formal education. I researched it's organizational structure, looked into its origins and interviewed key personnel. With this information I meditated on how we could serve each other and concluded that we could not. Not in any meaningful, healthy and respectful way. That may not be true of all institutions of "higher learning", but it will be judged on a case-by-case basis. I am not optimistic.

That leaves enterprise on the table. That is, in some small way, what I am doing now. Perhaps enterprise with training wheels. I am trying to create value within the home. I am, in some sense, trying to see it as a business. I am trying to streamline the operations so that other opportunities become clear. I have yet to find such clarity.

Ultimately, I am looking for insight. I am looking for what I should tell the kid when he finds himself in a similar situation. I have little doubt that he will find himself in such a position. Should I really be satisfied to give him the same useless advice that was given to me. "Try harder." "Keep trying." "You don't have to like it; you just have to do it."

I like to think I am already equipped to give better advice than that. And yet I am still without the clarity to take a decisive step. At least not in any direction that would get me praise.

I have plenty of reasons to stay within the home. I stay close to those I trust and who trust me. Such people I could count on my fingers. Much of the job and education markets are a race to the bottom. "Who can degrade and disempower themselves the most and enable an ineffective bureaucracy? You're hired." It is no great thing to be competitive in such an environment.

"You have to eat some shit to get to the top so that you can make effective changes." Bullshit. The most effective changes come from a motivated bottom to an attentive top. Eating shit only entrenches the current problems. Encouraging others to follow your lead in doing so makes the problem much worse. Yet that is the model so many seem to be following.

I am looking for the environment that draws out the best in me. For the moment the home is adequate.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pinnacle Game Profiler Review

I have noticed a disconnect lately in my writing. I have not been writing about the things that I have found myself talking about. The first post to get my real and online lives integrated is about a piece of software I have recently introduced a few friends to.

Pinnacle Game Profiler is the software I use to configure my game pad. After adopting it I can't imagine using anything else.

Pinnacle allows the user to map keyboard and mouse commands on to gamepad buttons joy sticks. With the tools that are in the software, the possibilities are rather staggering.

The software is written for games, and to some extent that is reflected. The community that has grown up around the software is a gaming community. They have published an extensive library of game-specific profiles to map your game to your gamepad without much technical mucking around.

In another way it really is flexible enough to do almost any task that requires a limited number of commands. I use the gamepad now for surfing and media control. In it lies the promise to be free of the keyboard and mouse.

I recommend you try the 30 trial. Then I doubt anything else of its kind will satisfy you again.

Disclosure: For this review I was granted a free copy of the software. This is the only product for which I approached the developer for a promotion agreement.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Free Student Access Code Card

Clearing out my books I found a Student Access Code Card that came with the Brief Penguin Handbook. I never used it.

The code is likely still good if anybody needs such a service.


This code will give the barer access to MYCANADIANCOMPLAB 2.0

To do this you will have to go to