Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Le Flop
"The idea of France's first nuclear-powered carrier was dreamt up in 1986. It soon became a pet project of the then president, Francois Mitterrand. The ship that was built has proved, however, to be a humiliating and expensive naval failure. Fifteen years and 7 billion (pounds) later, it has still to complete its first successful tour of service and has suffered a series of mishaps.

An attempt to go to sea in November ended characteristically in disaster somewhere in the Bermuda triangle. A substantial part of a 19-ton propeller broke off, obliging the carrier to limp back to southern France."

From The Telegraph

From Mr. Coffee to now St. Coffee
"The Pope yesterday beatified a 17th-century friar credited with halting a Muslim invasion of Europe and in the process gave the world cappuccino coffee."
From The Telegraph

Monday, April 28, 2003

Pixelated Dover
Kreblog had the cool idea to organize a team blog made up of Dover bloggers to blog upon the inspiring, confusing, and outraging reality that is Dover, NH. Please visit the new blog dedicated to all things Dover.

Friday, April 25, 2003

News from Iran suggests a crackdown taking place against Iranian bloggers. Given that a huge percentage of the population is under 30, and that blogs are widely embraced by the tech-savvy portion of Iranian youth, this attack by the mullahs on youth culture will have wide ranging repercussions in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Certainly the mullahs are afraid for the continuance of their power now that Americans are at both their eastern and western borders. However, pissing off the great majority of their people evermore will only increase the opposition to the tyranny of the ruling mullahs. A future with a free, open, and dynamic Iran will transform the region and the world. Lets hope that the youth of Iran stay strong in the face of this oppression.

Monday, April 21, 2003

A Mighty Wind
My workplace is located alongside a river and also very close to a city wastewater treatment plant. Sometimes under the right conditions (especially if the wind is blowing from the southeast) a particular and telltale stench wafts towards the direction of the workplace and its immediate vicinity. I was out for a walk during my break and the winds shifted and the sewage plant odors enveloped the area. One guy was getting out of his truck and shouted to me, "Hey, nice cologne you're wearing!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Riot Control
I'm not sure what to make of the UNH riots. On one hand I can understand that people are going to get caught up in the spontaneity of events, but I also think that these events are starting to lose their spontaneity. You can almost set your watch to the next outbreak of riot. It will happen at the next a)Spring Fling, b)Homecoming, c)UNH hockey NCAA appearance. I think the students know this too, and the cops of course which I think creates this feedback loop of expectations. The students know they are going to riot and the cops know there will be a riot so they step up the show of force which steps up the show of student force, etc, etc. Its funny but I think we're going to see the establishment of another Rite of Passage and it will be that all young people before the age of 22 must be involved in some sort of riot. Think about it. The politically inclined will go off and riot against the US, or the World Bank, or the IMF, or some other cause de jure (Free Mumia!) while the not so politically inclined will go and riot over a sports defeat/sports victory. Oddly, the infamous Detroit "Hell Nights" that occur on Halloween seem to have been embraced by student culture and many colleges (including UNH) are now dealing with this particular occasion as an excuse to riot as well. Perhaps the most bizarre reason for student rioting occurred at Indiana when students went berserk to protest the firing of legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight.

What is it with this need to riot? One reason it seems to me is the desire by the young to inject some sense of danger into their otherwise safe lives. Think about the messages that revolve around the campus environment and that seek to govern student actions. Be safe. Engage in Safe Sex. Practice Safe Speech (that's not offensive to others). Take a Safe Rides shuttle if you are wasted, alone, or tired from walking. Listen to your stereo at a safe volume. Etc Etc. Is it any wonder that students commit themselves to unsafe behaviors in the face of ever increasing pleas to stay safe?

My solution to eliminate the big blow ups of danger is to stop the efforts that seek to minimize the little blow ups of danger. Kids who experience the powerful coupling of action & consequence firsthand will have learned a valuable lesson and maybe end up all the wiser in the process. And by no means should this just occur with college age kids. It needs to begin with adolescents. Let kids go and skin their knees and talk trash and get beat up and maybe do some chores and not get every single want satisfied. The more kids fall down and pull themselves back up the more they see that action has consequence: positive and/or negative. The more kids have experience with acting stupid and dealing with the aftermath the wiser they get in the long run. Its dangerous but its human experience. It seems we are driven to sterilize youthful upbringing to a great extent, and then freak out when youth goes against that programming. Why have 'Girls Gone Wild' on Spring Break? Or why do guys act like jackasses to imitate Jackass for example? I don't know but maybe if kids are allowed to be a little wild growing up and deal with those consequences as they come then maybe Going Wild in college will seem all so passe and maybe even a little old and unnecessary.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Tales of a 4th Grade Nihilist
The latest issue of Dover Community Notes contained the winning entries from a Student Poetry Contest. For the most part, the prose and verse spewed with darkness and angst. One poem detailed the shotgun barrel suicide of a picked on teen. Another poem detailed a game of Tag as if it were told from the perspective of a London harlot stalked by Jack the Ripper. The crushing Hand of God made for the subject of another ode.

ever happened?
---->to the---->
e e Cummings
rip - OFFs?

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Interview with a Vampire
I am being pummeled by a coworker's nonstop monologue about her child. Now I know what my friends feel like when I ramble on about my cat....

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Question of the Day
Why aren't the supposed oppression-hating, tyranny-opposing, human-rights-loving peaceniks and anti-war activists celebrating in the streets now that Saddam's regime is crumbling?

Makes you wonder if they really believed in those principles in the first place.

Fall of the Tyrant
An Iranian girl posts her feelings on the end of Saddam and the hope for a brighter future for Iraqis and Iranians.

Also, an Iraqi child holds up a flag and smiles an expression of hope for the future. FYI, the flag the child holds is not of France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, or China and is also not the flag of the UN or the EU.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Fox Through the Ages
Imagine if Fox News was around during history's pivotal moments. Here are the screen captures....

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Sweatin' to the Oldies
I don't blog about work but this has to be reported. Due to the number of workman's comp claims that have happened at my place of work, a new policy of mandatory stretching & exercise breaks has been implemented. At specific hours of the day we are to get up from our desks and engage in a sequence of exercises designed to reduce muscle strain. Word has it that each one of us will be distributed an exercise outfit consisting of flimsy nylon shorts and a tank top to be worn at all sessions....