Thursday, January 31, 2008

Andrews Sisters - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

This is from 1941, the movie 'Buck Privates'. I can't embed this one, so here is the link.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B

That's the video I wanted to share. I actually own an Andrews Sisters Greatest Hits CD and B knows this song and Beer Barrel Polka. If you browse around YouTube, you can find fun updates of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Here is one from a group that doesn't hide their inspiration, since they are actually called Company B.

People might also be amused by this remix of the Andrews Sisters singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Christina Aguilera doing Candyman. (At least my sister should like it.) The Andrews Sisters footage used here is a different video than I linked to, but if you did watch my first link, you can see some hints of the 1941 choreography in Aguilera's video. However, I don't think you'd ever find Patty Andrews in the blue hot pants that Christina dons a few minutes in.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Classics 1 - Bing and Astaire

I'm still not with it enough apparently to do original posts, but I had planned back before THE ILLNESS (can you tell I don't get sick all that often because this one is really annoying me) to do a week of the classics with YouTube videos. And by classics I really mean standards, classics of the 30s through 50s, not Mozart. It's Thursday (for all of you), but I might as well start it now. Here we have Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Virginia Dale doing a little number that seems the epitome of charm. Like the famous saying about Ginger Rogers who did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels, it's worth noting that Virginia Dale both sings and dances. (It'll make sense if you watch.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Newman's Own Gone Weird

I am going to attempt to teach a class tomorrow morning. We will see how it goes. I taught twice the first week of the semester and haven't been back on campus since. It's been hard to get off to a roaring start on the year, no?

In other news, I read the back of Newman's Own Light Italian dressing bottle during dinner tonight. This is some of the most bizarre marketing copy I've ever read. Particularly note the name of our "heroine". I'm not making this up. Here you go:

The great salad balloon race across the boot of Italy. An armada of balloons loaded with Light Italian. The starters gun - Bazoombah! They all rise majestically into the air. Newman's Own Balloon, with fewer calories, more taste, and secretly propelled by charity, flies faster than Kraft and further than Wishbone. First across. First on the ground. El Piloto quaffs mucho quaffs of Newman's Own Light Italian in victory. A medium light Italian starlet, daughter of Butch Cassidini, named Bitch Cassidini, leaps into the balloon basket, kisses Piloto, her lips smeared with Newman's Own Light, she murmurs, "You taste of Sicily, of Vesuvius, of Naples, baby", and patting his fanny she whispers, "and no fat."

Yes, Bitch Cassidini. And El piloto quaffs mucho quaffs. I think someone there's been drinking a little too much of Newman's Own vodka.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

7 Local Knowledge Meme

Notice I am on a meme theme? This one is from Ello who profiled the DC area. I am going to try to give 7 facts about Hawaii and Honolulu. For those interested, the sickness update is that I'm still sick. The fever is completely gone and I am left with no energy, a lack of breath, and coughing. I do things now but then I'm wiped out for a couple hours afterwards. I've gone ahead and asked my substitute to teach one more time on Monday, and I hope to go back to work by Wednesday. Now, on to Hawaii:

1) Hawaiian politics. Each of the main islands is a county unto itself and has a mayor and a city council. So all of Oahu is the City and County of Honolulu with one mayor, currently Mayor Mufi Hanneman. Mufi is this really tall man and we see him often because he likes to march in the parades through Waikiki. So there is a Hawaii/Big Isle mayor, a Maui mayor, a Honolulu mayor, and a Kauai mayor for the major isles. Inside each island, there are various areas or municipalities, but they appear to have very limited powers, a little stronger than a neighborhood board as far as I can tell. On the state level, the state if very Democratic and very loyal. We currently have a Republican governor, Linda Lingle, who once was the mayor of Hawai'i. She seems to be held in high esteem and I even saw her name appear on a VP list for Republican candidates. However, she has very limited power as the state legislature is over 75% Democratic and, as such, can override any veto they choose. The loyalty part of Hawaiian politics is best represented by our two senators, Inouye and Akaka. Both have been in the senate now for decades and keep winning almost automatically despite being in their 70s or 80s and not clearly doing much of anything now.

2) Aloha shirts. Do people in Hawaii actually wear aloha gear with large flowers and colors on their shirts or is this just for the tourists? Some of both actually. You wouldn't catch your average student at UH dead in an aloha shirt just walking around campus. Your average person on the street wears what any other American would wear, perhaps with a higher proportion of flipflops than other places; women even wear platform rubber slippers that can be a good three inches thick. However, aloha gear can and often is worn for "formal" occasions. When you go to open a bank account, the account manager will often be in an aloha shirt. Similarly, the chancellor of the university or the CEO of the Bank of Hawaii will attend meetings and give lectures in an aloha shirt. People will also wear one for weddings and graduations. Ties are rarely, rarely seen. Tourists also wear them quite a bit and you can buy entire matching family aloha gear so that the husband's shirt, the wife's dress, and the kids' shorts are the same print.

3) What is Hawaiian? The word Hawaiian is used in at least two senses: traditional Hawaiian in the sense of the people and culture that existed before Captain Cook found the Sandwich Isles in the 18th century and as it continues today. So classic Hawaiian food includes poi (pounded taro), pork laulau, and lomilomi salmon, the kinds of food associated with a luau. The word Hawaiian can also be used to refer to kind of the local culture as it's developed in the 3 centuries since Cook. It's an amalgam of American, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Filipino cultures. Often this type of Hawaiian is called "local" and can refer to both cultural things like food and a sort of ethnic appearance. For instance, you can frequently see ads on campus for auditions that require someone who looks "local". This essentially means you can't be too white or look like a Japanese or Korean visitor or study abroad person. (You can certainly look somewhat Japanese, Korean, or Caucasian, but not too much.) You can see potential racism in this in that one could be white with a family that's been in Hawaii for 4 generations and you still aren't considered local. I am well aware that non-white people often deal with this on the Mainland all their lives. Exactly who is and is not Hawaiian is of some political importance. The largest landowner in the isles is Kamehameha Schools who only accept students who are Hawaiian (I believe it's a 1/4 requirement, but it might be 1/8). There's an office of Hawaiian affairs who focus on people considered Hawaiian. And Senator Akaka currently has a bill in the Senate to give a formal recognition to the Hawaiian people, something on the order that native American peoples have recognition federally.

4) How about leis and hula? These are very much alive. Just like little girls on the Mainland attend ballet and jazz dance classes and spin in circles echoing the movements of their teachers at recitals, little girls here take hula and imitate their teacher while parents take pictures. (Boys do hula, too, but I'd guess it's about the same percentage of girls to boys as is common in dance classes on the Mainland.) When the kids grow up, they often do make money doing hula for tourists, but there are also competitions whose audience is local and hula will be performed as part of other celebrations and at picnics. Leis are also very popular. One thing to know is that the lei is common across Polynesia and other Pacific cultures. For some cultures, the lei is a garland on the head, while in Hawaii, it's a necklace. I get my leis from "Le Flower Shop", which sells almost entirely leis. Whenever someone is to be honored in any way, you give them a lei. There's always graduation pictures in the local paper where the graduate is buried in lei after lei until you can barely see their eyes poking out.

5) Climate. I have commented on this before, but the most amazing thing about the weather in Hawaii to me is how local it is. Wind and rain will come in on the windward side, hit the mountains, and stay there. It is simply routine for it to rain, say in Manoa valley where the University is, nestled in the Koolau Range, and for there to be no rain a mile away. This is also the source of the several times a week rainbows. Oahu has naturally occurring waterfalls in deep forests and naturally occurring cacti, and the island's only about 30 miles across. The rainiest place on Earth is a mountain on Kaua'i, but just a few miles from it, it's not rainy at all. And yet, while rain can vary wildly just a couple miles apart, the overall climate is one of the least variable on the planet. The summer has lows around 70 and highs around 90, while the winter has lows around 60 and highs around 80. That's pretty much it. As such, most of the weathermen spend their times estimating surf and wave size.

6) Surfing. Speaking of surf, Hawaii is the home and origin of surfing. I just checked wikipedia and the first European record of surfing is from one of Captain Cook's crew who recorded Hawaiians surfing in 1799. Now boards are mostly made of a covered foam, but the traditional Hawaiian boards were made of hardwood, often the strong and light koa. All sorts of surfing cultures exist on the island, from professionals who travel the world to bronzed hang-loose 20 year-olds who work to surf to people in their 60s who've simply surfed all their lives. The most famous Hawaiian sports star remains Duke Kahanamoku who grew up a Waikiki beach boy. He was both a swimming and surfing star. On the swimming side he won gold medals and world records at the Olympics of 1912 and 1920. He also spread the idea of surfing in trips to both Australia and California. He also performed an amazing surfboard rescue, saving eight fisherman with his board. Fire trucks in Honolulu still have surf boards attached to their sides. Perhaps the best way to see the importance of surfing in Hawaii is in recent discussions about expanding the harbor in Maui. Groups invited to participate in the planning included harbor owners, freight shippers, local officials, environmental groups, and surfers.

7) Outdoor life. Hawaiians like to live outside. In fact, if you visit Honolulu, you will discover that most of the architecture, well, sucks. It's ugly, shabby, and cheap. There are of course exceptions, but no one's going to tour central Honolulu for the beautiful buildings and atmospheric streets echoing back to some previous time. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Hawaiian architecture is the inside/outside nature of much of it. Many buildings on campus are open corridors with classes on either side. Some hotel lobbies are open to the world except for the roof. The large Ala Moana mall filled with high-end stores like Gucci, Chanel, and Coach is open air. And when people get together, they usually go out. A common way to spend a holiday weekend is with the entire family renting a tent at a beach park and spending three days there. People love to do big parties outside. For instance, B has been to two birthday parties in parks in which the hosts rented giant inflatables and the kids bounced inside for three hours.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

4 things meme

I'm borrowing this meme from K-Box.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Shoney's waiter
2. Program manager
3. Editorial Assistant (academic)
4. Lawn mower

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. Airplane!
2. My Own Private Idaho
3. It's a Wonderful Life
4. Virtually everything we've ever rented for B.

Four Places I've Lived
1. Nashville
2. Oxford, Mississippi
3. Northfield, Minnesota
4. Lawrenceville, NJ

Four T.V. Shows that I watch:
I've watched tons over the last two weeks, but generally nothing regularly. In the past, I've intentionally watched:
1. Blind Date
2. As the World Turns (one summer around age 11)
3. Dungeons and Dragons cartoon
4. Charlie Rose interview show

Four favorite pastime activities:
1. Internet surfing.
2. Pretending to play music.
3. Stagehand for theatre
4. B wrastlin

Four places I have been:
1. Deer Isle, Maine
2. Jakarta, Indonesia
3. Xian, China
4. Paris

People who e-mail me regularly:
1. The Linguist List (thought I almost always delete unread)
2. My mom
3. Blogger
4. Random people from the dictionary who think I am inadequate.

Four of my favorite foods:
1. A good Thai curry
2. Chicken 'n dumplins
3. Bao Zi (Chinese steamed buns)
4. These lime/cumin lambchops by N

Four places I would like to visit:
1. Japan
2. Korea
3. Fjords
4. Tahiti

Four Friends I think will respond:
1. The EE gang

Things I am looking forward to in the coming year:
1. Progress on the program
2. Not being sick some day
3. Getting too tired for this.

Things I am not looking forward to in the coming year:
1. See answer 3 above.

Well, I almost made it. Hope it's informative.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

B turned 5

Hacking and wheezing aren't the only things that have been going on in the paca household. On Monday, Mssr. B turned 5. Here he is on the floor of my sister's Dallas apt. around the age of 16 months:



And then sometime in the twos getting all that Two Emotion out:



Frightening the tourists in the upper threes:



And here we have contemporary B from right around Xmas time:



Apparently, musubi, mac and cheese, ramen, and strawberry ice cream makes 'em grow just fine. My father and I are about the same height around 5'10, 5'11", but all the other men on both sides of B's family grow bigger than that, so the odds seem high that one day I'll be looking up to this one. He took my hair, so it's just as well that he's going to be forced to stare at the bald spot. Serves him right.

Happy Birthday!

Sickness update

As much as I find blog post after blog post about being sick not exactly a crowd-pleaser, I also get that posting "I have pneumonia" and then nothing else for several days is not the best way to make your friends not worry about you.

Anyway, I am getting better. The fever really seems to have gone down now. I ate a full dinner and a mediocre lunch and small meals three times the day before. I'm not back to my usual piggy self, but I don't lie around shivering and such. This is of course great. I seem to be left with the lungs part of the illness. I get coughing fits a lot and I can't breathe deeply. Overall, I'm still super low in energy and mostly want to lie around. I have a sub for my classes this week and right now don't plan on going in at all. I really hope to be up and going by Monday again, however.

I sure wouldn't mind a Do Over on this semester.

Monday, January 21, 2008

From "a virus" to pneumonia

Unfortunately, I can't put quotes around pneumonia. I went back in today and that's what they say it developed into. Now I have an antibiotic and robitussin with codeine to wipe me out at night. And my first "doctor's note" in probably, I don't know, 10 or 20 years. I had rather serious pneumonia when I was in 9th grade that put me in the school infirmary for two weeks. I'm going to approach two weeks this time as well, I think.

Can I ask for a "Do Over" on this semester?

Oh, good news. My fever is down to 101 from almost 103.

Reverse Blog 1

The only thing really on my mind is this stupid, annoying illness, but I don't want to talk about that. And so instead I have a few questions for some of my blog readers. Do they care to answer?

1) Moonrat, I missed something somewhere, because I can't figure it out. Is the rally monkey a toy or a person? And if a person, a friend or The Boyfriend? Just what is the rally monkey?

2) Ello, does Da Man share the same bathroom humor as Da Woman and Da Girls? Or is this your thing?

3) CL, can regular people do any of those fun things you hear about in Dubai, like indoor skiing, or are they all extremely expensive and there's little for the average joe there?

4) Sammy Jankis, where does the name Sammy Jankis come from?

That is all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I ate a meal!

It's not that I've been vomiting; one just hates to eat when one has a high fever. Today for dinner I managed to eat an entire gyro sandwich, and I was 2/3rds done before I was force feeding myself the rest.

This has gotta be good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I have "a virus"

When last night's improvements disappeared more and more all day long, I finally got my act together, stopped being "a guy", and went to see a doctor. Also, my mother called and told me to go. I went to an urgent care clinic in Waikiki, and it was the nicest "urgent care" place I've ever seen. It's just one doc, one nurse/receptionist, and that's it. I was in within 5 minutes.

My temp was a little under 103, so not shabby and that was probably low as I had taken some Tylenol about an hour earlier. He thought maybe the flu, but the culture came back negative. He then declared it was "a virus" and that I should come back on Friday if the fever didn't go down. In the meantime, take tylenol every 4 hours, drink fluids, and rest. So we're back to what I've been doing.

We'll see.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bah!

I'm really quite sick with a fever and now headache and shivers. I managed to get through teaching the semester's first class this morning, and then I've spent almost the entire day laying on the floor of my office in a fetal position. I'd go home, but I really don't want to miss the first class. Ugh. It's in one of our labs, and the lab has an air conditioner. My office is set on 79 degrees and it's frigid. I'm going to die in that room. I think I will spend much of the evening on the bed.

UPDATE: So I seem to have a fever mostly with an all over body ache and small sore throat. I basically got in bed yesterday at 5:30 PM and have only periodically left it. Right now I'm doped up on DayQuil, but I might go to straight tylenol later. I won't be going into school/work today, and we will have to see about tomorrow. I haven't gone to the doctor yet. If I don't get better by today, I might do that tomorrow.

UPDATE2: I am better today, but not well. I was able to get out of bed this morning, drive people to their destinations, and buy a new 7-Up at the store and then come home. However, that wiped me out again for another hour. Overall, I still have ups and downs but the ups are much better and the downs are not quite so bad. Since I am better, I'm still just staying home and resting and drinking.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A wee bit late

I just pulled my 2006 calendar off the bulletin board in my office. Something tells me I wasn't using it frequently.

By the way, have you guys heard of this new "rock and roll" music? I think it'll be popular with the kids.

Good bye memory

I had all these posts I wanted to do, but I sit down and can't think of anything. Hate that. Oh well, insert something fascinating here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

26 of 28

Tom Brady of the Patriots was 26 of 28 today with 3 TDs and 0 interceptions. In a divisional playoff game. That's f-ing ridiculous.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Steampunk Laptop

I might buy something that looked like this.

Which one is not like the others?

I encountered one of those driveway stories on the radio on Sunday. You know, where you are driving home listening and it's so captivating that you sit in the driveway until it's done. It was on the NPR program This American Life. Sometimes the stories on that show are overblown and not as meaningful as the show thinks they are, but this one was moving, maddening, sad, and thought-provoking.

It's the story of a family and a romance destroyed by ignorance. Serry is a Muslim American woman who falls in love with a Palestinian man in the West Bank. She described it as meeting her soul mate and still says she loves him more than anything. They moved back to the U.S. and started a family. They were in NYC for a couple years and then moved to a small town on the East Coast, probably NJ. Several children came; lives were happy; they were happy in their community and school. The eldest daughter, Chloe, in particular was popular at school and friends would come over and they'd talk about horses.

And then September 11th came. And soon after that a pamphlet showed up in the 3rd grade class, apparently one mandated by the entire school district explaining what happened on Sept 11 and what it's supposed to mean. Part of the pamphlet was an explanation that Muslims hate Christians and Jews and want to kill people. And all heads turn to Chloe, the only Muslim in the class.

Soon the abuse from the children starts. Chloe being taunted; people asking her why Muslims want to kill everyone; why does her mother wear that head covering like terrorists do? And literally people following her around the school telling the dirty Muslim to leave; that they don't want her here. Her teacher leads them all through a Christmas lesson in which everyone who is not Christian, the teacher says, will be going to hell. Complaints and teacher conferences only end up getting Chloe transferred to a new class without any remaining friends. The windows of the family car get smashed. Eventually, Chloe's best friend who had hung on for several months refuses to speak to Chloe anymore, no longer strong enough to endure being part of the Ostracized when she has a way out. Chloe has no way out.

Through the year, the family collapses. Chloe cries for days and won't go to school to be harassed anymore. And the husband falls apart, into true depression, feeling helpless to stop any of his daughter's problems. Finally, when the school year is ending, the family gives up and talks about moving, leaving their formerly happy home. The mother Serry is thinking of some other school district; the father is thinking of the West Bank. Serry refuses to take her children there and the dad leaves by himself and still hasn't returned.

Serry and kids do move to a new school district and this one is much better. The America we hope we are is mostly back. Chloe has friends again; teachers are teachers again and not enablers of bullying. But the price is still being paid as the mother now works 2 and 3 jobs and sees her own children so rarely that she has them write letters each day about what they did. She learns of her own children's lives at night, alone, while they sleep.

In case anyone's thinking, "this stuff they endured is illegal! Teachers can't teach Christianity in school!" you are right. And the family did bring a suit against the school district. Once the right federal office got involved, they did a full investigation, the school district was ordered to go through diversity training, and the teacher got some sort of remedial work and suspension, but all that happens long after Chloe's life was turned inside out, and the damage cannot be undone.

Besides being a heart-wrenching story (and I do think we aren't getting the whole story), it was instructive to me as well.

1) Kids can be mean little things; selfish, demanding, fighting, not seeing other children's emotions. But in this case it was clear that the kids acting horribly had taken their cues from adults. Oh, I don't mean adults were behind the scenes giving instructions. But they clearly picked up that Chloe wasn't just a girl in class anymore, but a Muslim, and Muslims were to be feared and hated. Kids will find a way to pick on others, but the form that it took here lays completely in the parents' lap. Indirectly, the children were being taught to hate Chloe.

And, this could be wrong, but it seems that in my own life I've met a number of people who were not racist or bigoted but whose parents were. However, almost all kids who are racist have parents who are. I can think of a couple exceptions, but this sort of racism seems to be learned from adults. And it can be subtle teaching. In B's school, there are children of a lot of different ethnicities. What if I were to start referring to other classmates as "the black girl," "the Japanese kid", "that Mexican one," just as a way to ask about some normal activity? I might be thinking, "hey, it's just a convenient way to point out someone." Yet at the same time, I'd be teaching B over and over that the way to identify people, their main characteristic, is their skin color or their ethnicity. Where would that lead?

2) When I'm on political blogs, people will inevitably show up and start stating that the true nature of Islam is violent, that we are in a clash of civilizations, and that Muslims want to make people of other religions subservient to them (search on the term dhimmitude). They think they are simply facing unpleasant facts, unlike supposed liberals who can't admit such truths because they don't match with the ideals of tolerance and diversity. Moreover, I am sure people writing these comments don't think these ideas they keep spouting have any negative effects. After all, they are just talking on a blog or at the dinner table or on the phone with their brother. They aren't harassing anyone or smashing a windshield. But their children are listening. They are understanding the world from listening to the people whom they trust more than anyone else, their parents. And in some other town, there's now another Chloe wondering what she did wrong.

You can listen to the whole story in Serry and Chloe's words and voices here. Act One. Which one of these is not like the others?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Too late now

I just took a "Presidential Matching quiz" linked off of Katze's blog. According to it, Bill Richardson was indeed the person I agreed with most often.

Too bad he just withdrew from the race about an hour ago. Doh!

Anyway, here are my results.

75% Bill Richardson
71% Mike Gravel
67% Barack Obama
65% Hillary Clinton
65% Dennis Kucinich
64% Chris Dodd
64% John Edwards
61% Joe Biden
38% Ron Paul
34% Rudy Giuliani
32% John McCain
32% Mitt Romney
32% Tom Tancredo
28% Mike Huckabee
24% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

**UPDATE** I just wanted to say that one thing I like about all these results is that the quiz doesn't appear to be a simple liberal to conservative thing. While people are routinely ending up with all Dems at the top (which means I need to go find more conservative friends), the order is moving around for each person. That's good. I was wondering why I am not a great match for anyone. I think it's because I checked "cut spending massively to balance the budget" with a big weighting.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bugs B. v. Giovanni J.

This was one of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid. It features Bugs Bunny against Giovanni Jones, stuck-up opera star. I love it when Bugs enters the opera house and everyone starts whispering, "Leopold, Leopold, Leopold." Ello and 'oala -- sad, demented people that they are -- should like it because it prominently features the destruction of a banjo.

A New Hampshire thought or two

I had not consciously realized that I was pulling for Obama for President. I don't really have a horse in the race yet, and the only person I was sort of pulling for was Bill Richardson. Here's a post I did on him back in April. However, when Obama didn't score 1st place tonight in New Hampshire I found myself disappointed. So then I started to think about why I was pulling for him, as I really have nothing against Clinton.**

It's because I think Clinton would be a fine Democratic President. We'd see the Dem party of the last 10-20 years fairly competently run. As I'm Democratic leaning, that should be fine. But if Obama were to win, I think we'd have a chance to change the parties themselves. That's even more appealing.

**The only thing I do have against a Clinton Presidency is Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton-Clinton? One could conceivably go from 1988 until 2016 with the same two families in charge. Communist (Really nowadays just Oligarchical) China changes its leader's surname more often. I am well aware this isn't Hillary's fault, but it still bugs me.**

Monday, January 07, 2008

Prizes and the next contest

Alright, so we have at least two winners to the Paca Pick'em College Bowl Spectacular and it ends tonight, so I might need to come up with a prize now. After much contemplation, I have decided that winners shall receive Okinawan mochi with some sort of Hawaiian-themed filling. If you aren't familiar with mochi,it's just sweet rice flour that you can then make desserts from. Now, honestly, I've never done mochi before, but gumbo doesn't ship very well. I will taste the mochi before shipping it, so if it's super nasty, I will go buy a can of macadamia nuts or something instead. Anyone want a bag of dried squid snacks? I'm also watching B this week so it will give us a project for some afternoon.

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your land address in an email, we can come up with something else. I am open to sneaky things like shipping it to another trusted person who ships it to you or some such. Jill is already one of our winners and since she had to ship banana bread to me as a present last year, she can testify that I have not yet stalked her, though I did have to get a restraining order against her. I will email you from my pacatrue address once the winners are finalized.

Now, the next contest!!!

People keep asking for one. Yahoo doesn't seem to have much of anything else right now. However, March Madness is just a couple months away and I declare that to be our next competition. I learned about this Yahoo fantasy stuff by joining in Jill's March Madness pool on Yahoo last year, my first ever sports pool, which I -- ahem -- won by riding Florida all the way to the national championship. We've emailed a bit and agreed that I will again be the commish (which takes a LOT of work let me tell you) and she will try to browbeat her blog readers into joining the pool here, so it might be a bigger affair (though I have a feeling most people joined it because they like Jill, not because they like sports pools). As for prizes, perhaps there is a way for us to pool our resources for something? I didn't have money in mind, but I am open to all of your creative ideas. After all, you're all supposed to be writers.

If people have thoughts for closer contests, such as a Super Bowl something or other, yell. Yahoo just won't do it for us.

Pacapaca

Stupid Filter

Have you heard about Stupid Filter yet?

It's real.

Or at least it's on the way. It's a computer program that is intended to filter out stupid stuff. OK, not really, it doesn't get stupid content or meanings. Instead it gets stuff that is stupid in style. You can be as moronic as you like, if you say it with full sentences and correct punctuation.

The way it works (when it is finished) is that they first collected tens of thousands of comments from YouTube, and if you've spent much time around YouTube, you know that it wasn't a difficult task. Then, they have humans go through and rate the comments from 1 to 5 with 5 being the most inane. The next step is the techie part. They do a statistical analysis upon all the really idiotic comments to look for structural similarities; and then future comments that match the statistical profile go poof! Filtered away. Apparently, it's the same basic technology used for spam filtering.

You can volunteer to rate comments on the stupid scale if you want by going here. However, there is a test. You must know the difference between "there", "their", and "they're," among other things.

My favorite part is the Randomized Stupidity. It basically lets you scroll through their database, viewing comments that have already been rated. I put some highly rated ones below.

Personally, I think they need to create the Jerk Alert. Those guys are even worse than the idiots. You know the ones who attack videos of 6 year-olds, use a gay joke about every third comment, declare how lame someone's mother is, and just act like the vermin trolls they love to be when anonymous.

Yeah, I think there's a future here. Or is that, "eye think their'z a fewture hear?"

Unfortunately, the stupid filter might just wipe this blog out.

Stupid according to a person at the Stupid Filter (there are some far worse ones, but I filtered out all the racist and homophobe junk):
1) wow.......thats like so werid lol but i realy liked it nways lol
2) very funny foo ubentu..
3) England=Football,not bloody soccer!!!we call our phones a mobile, coz that's what they bloody well are!! Maradona(Maradoughnut)=cheatin bastard!!! LOL!!
4) I LOOOVE IT!!! PRETTY AMAZING!!! I FREAKING LOOVE ZAC EFRON! HOTTIE MC HOT HOT! HAHA GREAT VIDEO! I LOVE WHAT YOU DID!! :D GREAT EDITING!! :D ♥♥
5) best atill remains song ever my favourite since the worst is yet to come love the slight genre change

My question is: What's wrong with a period every now and then?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Paca Plans the Presidential Primaries

Now that the Iowa caucuses have happened and New Hampshire is on its way, I was thinking that it was high time for me to get informed about the candidates. I follow things a bit, but honestly I can't tell you what the Clinton health care plan is and how it's different from Obama, or whatever else in detail that one might like to know. I even thought I could have a couple paragraphs about each candidate and link to some important web sites and possibly provide a little service on the blog.

But then, you know, Hawaii doesn't vote in a primary until... February 19th, making it tied for being the 38th state to vote, which means my primary vote is likely completely useless. At best, there could be two candidates left, and so all of my research would be for nothing unless I planned on actively joining a campaign.

And that's a real shame.

You listen to people in Iowa, and some of the candidates have actively visited every single county in the state. Those people are actually informed about the candidates, can meet them if they wish, and really make a decision based upon more than TV ads. And then there are other states that are habitually ignored. A President might, might come out to Hawaii for military reasons, but otherwise no one comes here. I wouldn't be too surprised if Hawaii has never seen a presidential candidate. And it's not just Hawaii out in the ocean. There are about 12 states after us. Those states will rarely get more than a token visit.

So here I have my solution: Rotate the placement of the primaries. No, not everyone can be first. 50 states every 4 years is a 200 year cycle. But you could have regions which do cycle every 20 years or so.

People doing the math already know that this is 5 elections, and so you should divide the nation up into 10 regions, of 5 states each. You arrange the order of things so that one state from each region is in the first 10 primaries and then within the region, you cycle to which state is first every 4 years. (You could also cycle the order of the regions of course.)

The primaries are already decently spread out. You have Iowa in the agricultural Midwest and NH in the north east going first now. Then Michigan in the industrial upper mid-west, SC in the south, then Florida, which is sort of a beast all its own, and, well, then some 20-odd states all go at once. So in my plan, we have the 10 states, one from each region, all going in about 5 weeks time. I like one state by itself, because candidates really have to concentrate, then 1 more in week 2, then 2 in week 3, then 3 in week 4, and 3 more in week 5.

I'm even going to take the time to break the states down into approximate regions here:

1) Pacific: HI, AK, CA, OR, WA.
2) Southwest: AZ, NM, NV, OK, TX
3) Rocky Mountain West: ID, MT, WY, CO, UT
4) Corn MidWest: ND, SD, NE, KS, IA
5) Deep South: LA, MS, AL, GA, FL
6) Mid-South: AR, TN, KY, SC, NC
7) River and Lakes MidWest: MN, MO, IL, IN, WI
8) New England: VT, NH, ME, MA, RI
9) Mid-Atlantic: CT, MY, DE, NJ, NY
10) Appalachian: PA, OH, WV, VA, MI

OK, not perfect, but you get the idea.

And then you round robin through them. This way the people actually get to see the candidates once every generation. This is particularly critical for states that are a) small and b) heavily democratic or republican and therefore never in play in a national election. In such a state, in the current system, you have virtually no say in your President, because the state's votes are "guaranteed" in the national election, and so not pursued, and too late in the primaries to even help choose the party's candidate.

The basic problem with the current system is that it's only pseudo-Democratic. In the olden days, the party bigwigs got together at the party convention, smoked, cigars, and decided on the party's candidate. Not democratic at all, but there's no pretense of it. But then they went to a primary system where regular voters can have a say, but designed it such that the same minority of voters chooses the candidates over and over, so most regular voters are left out. It's time to complete the democratization of the parties.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Problem with non-anonymity

Despite the fact that I call myself Paca and refer to people as N and B, this is totally not an anonymous blog. There's a link right to it from my official web page. This was a conscious choice, as it was created in order to keep friends and family up to date.

The problem with this is that one can't unfairly, unwisely rant and complain and yell. And so my rant is reduced to:

Something happened today which made me really mad.

And that's about all I can say. How lame and "unjuicy" is that?

pacapaca

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sunrise

When N's mom was here a week or so ago, we all got up at 5:00 AM and drove to the eastern shore of Oahu for the Sunrise. For people who might visit, this is around the other side of Koko Head at the overlook before the blowhole.

It was faint dawn when we arrived; also cold for Hawaii and a bit drizzling.


We don't know these people, but I like the picture of our fellow people awaiting.


Here comes the Chariot Forthwith



Rise, Apollo


The God has Arisen. All hail!



The sunrise itself was not a tremendous display, but it cast some beautiful images behind us. Koko Crater aglow.



I think you can find every color in the rainbow in the picture above. But if you cannot, here's a tiny rainbow in the cloud (you may have to enlarge to see). The University teams aren't the Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine for nothing.



Another day has arrived.

Happy New Year!

Heaven or hell

I just saw a little news report that the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta remains the busiest airport in the U.S. and the world, and this fact reminded me of the old joke:

If you are from the South, you may not know if you are going to heaven or hell, but you're sure to connect in Atlanta.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Fooey Fooey and Fizzy

Have no idea what to say about this video. Either it's funny to you, or not.

Georgia 41 Hawaii 10

We almost had 'em.

Why I'm a Publisher's Worst Nightmare

I was at a B&N yesterday browsing around and I found a book in the scifi section that looked pretty darn good. I almost bought it, but then I thought, "hey, if I buy this book, I might really enjoy it and spend the next week doing this instead of my work." So I put it back on the shelf.