Friday, September 30, 2005

Fighting Crime! One Black Baby at a Time

As you've probably already read elsewhere, conservative commentator Bill Bennett was quoted as saying:
But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. (San Francisco Indymedia story)

On the face of it, Bill Bennett has a point... but it's wrong. Mass genocide based on skin color would severely tweak the population numbers, which in turn would tweak the crime rate. The crime rate would actually increase, since babies represent a very small percentage of the population that contributes to crime... with black babies representing an arguably very small percentage of that same population. As the population re-stabilized, the crime rate would probably go back to its old numbers but might go up or might go down. So, as a scientific statement, its about on par with "Intelligent Design".

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Intelligent Design is a Myth

It is a sad commentary on America today that there is any debate whatsoever about teaching "Intelligent Design" in a science class. Anyone that claims that "Intelligent Design is a theory doesn't understand science. Science is about testing and proving and re-testing and refining and re-proving. Intelligent design is just wishful thinking and not science.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Happy Autumnal Equinox

Tomorrow (less than 15 minutes from now) is the autumnal equinox. If your calendar says otherwise, it's wrong. Fall has always been my favorite season with my favorite holiday, Halloween. In a few weeks, Kara and I will be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary (years, not weddings) with a trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Although we'll be in the desert, I'm hoping that we'll see some fall colors in the trees.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm Now a Flickr Pro

I've been playing around on Flickr for the last few months and finally decided to take the plunge by buying a pro membership and uploading a bunch of pictures.

This one was taken in April, 2003 in Santorini, Greece.

Walk for PKD

Just a quick note to say that I am participating in the PKD Walk in San Diego this Sunday, September 18, 2005. You can sponsor me or find out more here: Ray's PKD Page

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One Nation Indivisible

U.S. citizen Michael Newdow is my hero. The pledge of allegiance, in its current form, is unconstitutional. I also find it disconcerting that people want to pledge allegiance to a flag, rather than pledge allegiance to the country that the flag represents.

If you don't know the history, the original pledge of allegiance enacted by Congress in 1942 did not include the words, "under god", but was otherwise identical to the current pledge. In 1954, in an anti-Communist fervor, Congress modified the pledge to include the unconstitutional phrase.

Aside from being unconstitutional, the current pledge also makes no sense - if this is one nation and this one nation is indivisible, why would anyone divide it by adding two words? (Don't bother answering, I'm being rhetorical.)

Today, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled in Newdow's favor and has signed (or is expected to sign)
a restraining order prohibiting the recitation of the pledge at three school districts in Northern California where Newdow's children live. Unfortunately, this is just the first step in a long court battle as the ruling is appealed again and again until it reaches the Supreme Court.

Congress can and should act now to stop this fiasco - they should restore the pledge to its original 1942 version.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mi Cinema Paradiso, Part 1

My earliest moviegoing memories are two: I remember going to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at Radio City Music Hall when I was a really little kid and I remember going with my mom to see Young Frankenstein in the early 70s (also when I was a little kid, but I think later than Snow White).

I can remember going over to a friend's house in the late 70s to watch channel 100, which was like an early version of HBO. I don't really remember the movies that they showed on channel 100, but I think Jaws might have been one of them. I also remember having HBO and Cinemax in the early 80s, but I seem to remember that HBO always seemed to be showing the Apple Dumpling Gang non-stop. I guess they sucked back then as much as they suck now. Cinemax, on the other hand, rocked. We didn't always have HBO or Cinemax, but we always knew when there was going to be a free preview weekend. Cinemax always showed the good stuff late at night and I would stay up late whenever I could to watch Cinemax.

My second real job (first was a data-entry job over the summer and not counting tutoring or babysitting) was as an usher for UA Cinemas 3 at Parkway Plaza in El Cajon. This was back in the summer of 85, right after high school graduation. I worked all summer before college and then was re-hired as a "third-manager" (third-person in charge of the theater after the manager and assistant manager) in spring when I dropped out of USC. I stayed there for a few months until I got a much better job at Video Library, where I worked for 2 and a half years.

The coolest thing about working at the theater was being able to start my own screenings of films with friends after the regular showings were done for the day. I can remember many after-midnight private showings that I would run for myself and friends. And even after I stopped working at UA, just having worked there previously and still knowing the management gained me free entry to movies all over town for many years. That on top of my free, multiple, nightly viewings of videos from work meant that, after 3 years, I probably saw about 400 movies.

The downside, if any, to working at a movie theater, is the number of times you have to see some of the crappy films. I was an usher at the same time that a great movie, Aliens, was showing at my theater in 70mm, but I also had to suffer through the ending of Rambo: First Blood Part II several dozen times, so many times that I still remember Sylvester Stallone's last lines in the movie, a short absurd speech that I would repeat under my breath as I waited to open the doors in the back of the theater as soon as it ended.
I want, what they want, and every other guy that fought, spilled his blood, and gave everything he had... wants... for our county to love us, as much as we... love it. That's what I want.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

To eat or not to eat... red meat

I don't eat red meat. Well, actually, that's not true since I eat maguro, which is definitely red, but not "red" meat. More specifically, I don't eat mammals; that's cows, pigs, and other animals with nipples for all you Kansas Board of Education members out there. I wear mammals, but I don't eat them. I eat chicken, turkey, and I love fish and seafood.

I haven't intentionally eaten mammals since some time in the late 80s. I even check the labels and ask restaurants if they put ham or bacon in their clam chowder before I'll order clam chowder. There are a few exceptions, though: I love turkey or chicken sausages and they're usually packed in sheep intestines, I also have no problem eating gelatin, although if given a choice, I'll choose pectin over gelatin. I also don't have any problems with eating dairy products.

When I tell people that I don't eat red meat or that I don't eat mammals, I get a lot of "oh, you're a vegetarian" comments. But, I'm not a vegetarian. Sure, I order "vegetarian" on airplane flights and in restaurants, but that's more a matter of convenience. I eat meat, damnit, just not all types of meat.

I gave up red meat for health reasons; my cholesterol was sky high, the doctor said I should cut back on red meat, and I listened. It wasn't as if I really liked the taste of steaks, so it wasn't that big of a deal to me. The hardest things to give up back then were the enchiritos at Taco Bell and the Beef and Cheddar sandwiches at Arby's. I also really missed summer sausages, but I can get the turkey summer sausages from Hickory Farms during the holiday season, if I'm lucky.

I wear leather shoes, though. See, it's not about animal rights for me; it's all about health. And, quite frankly, mammalian meat is not very healthy for humans. Or, at least, it's not very healthy for me.

The biggest pain for me, though, is the fact that I'm allergic to soy soy intolerant. I can't eat anything made with tofu or "textured vegetable protein" unless I want to spend a lot of time reading in the bathroom. You can't imagine how much a bitch that is unless you've tried to go vegetarian. Damn soy is in everything.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Boring Entry 1

I used to consider myself an early web pioneer, but really, I was more of an early web stalker. I've had my own domain for many years and my own web site that I used to update regularly, but it's seriously out-of-date. And, instead of reading my own e-mail, I've found that I spend a ton of time using RSS Bandit reading news blogs.

Since I spend so much time reading feeds, I figured it was time to start publishing my own. Let's see how long this lasts.

By the way, I'm Ray.