Vicious Circles

The other day, my wife was talking to a neighbor. This neighbor barely answered the door, and when she did, it was only to say that she doesn’t usually open the door out of fear for what might be lurking outside. You see, we don’t live in the safest of neighborhoods. In the last year or so, a neighbor’s son was shot and killed, another person was killed in an apartment complex next to our neighborhood and a drug dealer was killed about a mile away.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like a scene from Back to the Future Part 2 or anything. But it’s in one of those areas that may have a questionable side to it. I don’t happen to agree that the answer is to hide behind closed doors, as after all, in such a neighborhood, that might be a prelude to a robbery more than anything, so it doesn’t really make much sense.

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Bloglines Toolkit 1.3.0

I think I’ve finally squashed all the issues with the Bloglines Toolkit. If the toolkit appears to be installed when you view it in the extension manager, but you aren’t able to activate the context menu and the logo doesn’t appear in the lower right-hand corner of your browser, try disabling the extension. Just right-click on it in the extension manager to show this option. You’ll need to restart. When that completes, go back and re-enable it. You’ll need to restart again.

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Sex Video Setup

It seems that there is a new video making the news in the last week or so. Jenna Lewis of Survivor (Borneo and All Star) fame apparently filmed her wedding night with some model. While I, and many people, probably appreciate the fact that she wanted us to see a bit more of her than we did on Survivor, I have some problems with this scenario.

For starters, even though Jenna is not a virgin – she’s the mother of twins – she was wearing black lingerie in the video. While the marriage was apparently the result of her romp to Las Vegas with this model, you’d think she’d make some effort to get at least close to white for her wedding night. Then again, she’s already got the kids – don’t recall if she was married previously or not. Perhaps she just doesn’t care.

So why isn’t she wearing a wedding band? It appears from the video that she’s got a ring on which may be an engagement ring, but there’s no wedding band in sight. Again, perhaps she’s just not a traditionalist. Who knows? Her language in the video certainly shows that she isn’t particularly a goody two shoes when it comes to her vocabulary, maybe that somehow extends to the rest of her life.

Not enough? The domain that is offering the tape (sorry, not going to publicize it here) was registered two days after her wedding supposedly happened. Mighty coincidental, isn’t it? The registration is not only new, it’s a private registration for a company that, according to Google anyway, doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else on the net – at least under that name.

Now add to it the fact that the model she was with, and supposedly has married, spent a whole bunch of time with the camera. New toy? Perhaps. They wouldn’t be the first newlyweds to videotape their wedding night. But there is a difference between setting the camera and letting it film away and actively taking a role in the production. Let’s just say that he appears to be interested in directing.

What is the point? The point is that the video may be a setup. There are some who may argue that it doesn’t matter, and that she’s still naked and active – and she is. No argument there. But have our values really fallen so badly that it’s considered a good career move to leak your own sex tape to the world?

Update: I’m not going to send you the video or even a link to it. If you’d like a copy for your very own, visit the web site or find a copy elsewhere. Usenet would probably be a good place to find it if you have a problem with paying for things.

Contest Trickery

I have a problem with people who don’t conduct themselves honestly. I just don’t like them, because I don’t know that I can trust them. I have an even larger problem with companies who seem to have the same problem.

Last week, I complained about Six Apart and their handling of the Movable Type developer’s contest. I’m still feeling miffed, and would have felt much better about it had they announced the change in deadline a whole lot earlier than they did.

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Taxing Puzzles

I’m not sure that I’d exactly be considered a supporter of Ralph Nader for, well, much of anything. But I’ve got to hand it to him for at least pointing out the inanity of our current taxation system. His example? You go to the store and buy furniture, you pay taxes. You buy stock, you don’t. Now of course he didn’t mention that you will pay taxes when you sell the stock, which doesn’t happen when you sell the sofa – but the point is probably a good one.

Why is it that necessities are taxed? While it may certainly put a crimp in the government’s plans if they had to forego the taxes from necessities, it would certainly make life more affordable for those who like to eat.

Specific to North Carolina (though I don’t suspect it’s unique), we see the state raising college tuition – in essence increasing the taxes on education. Meanwhile, the state (and perhaps this is unique) won’t raise the tax on cigarettes. Naturally this is because North Carolina is most certainly a tobacco-producing state. But it doesn’t really make a lot of sense, does it?

Arresting Developments

I don’t personally partake in prostitution. I don’t personally partake in much that’s illegal. I would say I don’t partake in anything, but I do speed from time to time. I’m sure there are other things too. But what I don’t understand is why so much effort is expended in order to keep consenting adults from doing what interests them.

I am not saying in any way, shape or form that prostitution is a good career, hobby or even investment (though the sex industry does seem to rake in some serious cabbage). What I am saying is that if two people want to get together, and one wants to be paid and the other wants to pay, and the two come to an understanding about an agreeable sum, where is the harm?

Seven people were recently accused of operating a prostitution ring. No word on whether said ring is one of those that helps your stamina during the alleged acts. I would assume not – longer interludes are probably bad for business. In any case, according to at least one article, the indictment lists 53 separate counts, that occured from 1997 to 2001. One of the accused faces 51 separate counts, each of which might result in 5 years in prison. You do the math.

This boggles the mind. First, at least one person has been working on this for the last seven years. Second, what has this person been doing since 2001, when the last of these things happened? Third, why does a crime like making money from prostitution carry the threat of 250 or more years in prison, when the government whines about prison overcrowding, and murderers get out on parole? Fourth, why is the government even spending money on this? And finally, who determines the pronounciation of words like indictment?

I am a Christian. For me, prostitution doesn’t work, though only a part of that has to do with my faith. If you come to me and ask me my advice, I’ll probably tell you not to do it. Your parents or children or neighbors or bridge club may do the same. But I don’t get why the government thinks that things like this are important.

Misdirected Paranoia

It seems more and more to me that people are apt to get excited about any old thing, thinking that it has to do with terrorism and how they are more and more likely to die because of it. Yet it also seems to me that it would make more sense if people were to become more discerning in their tastes instead of less so. The more experience you have with something, the more discretion you can use in making your decisions. Theoretically, anyway.

Let’s look at Jose Padilla – the so called ‘dirty bomber’. In previous decades, this would likely refer to someone who liked to create incendiary devices in his underwear – or perhaps naked. With the advent of terrorism in the US, this means instead that he was inclined to produce a device which would dirty the atmosphere in a high-density area, such as Manhattan, specifically with radiation, which would lead to widespread sickness and death.

The radiation was supposed to spread after some form of radioactive material was exploded by more conventional devices. This has been in the news for months. Yet it turns out that Padilla’s apparent choice of a source for the radioactive material (uranium) isn’t particularly radioactive at all. One researcher claims he uses it as a doorstop. Another that it’s like blowing up a chunk of lead. Neither seems especially dangerous.

Maybe Jose Padilla is just a distraction while something truly dangerous is planned.

Moron School Schedules

School is almost out in these parts, so I figured I would throw together another entry about the inanity present in our school’s scheduling system.

Our oldest passed his 3rd grade end-of-grade tests a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know that he’s done anything since. Our youngest had a kindergarten graduation on Thursday, and I’m pretty certain that he hasn’t done anything since. To be fair, he didn’t do a whole lot prior to that, either. Yet school doesn’t let out until Wednesday. It was supposed to be Tuesday, but because of extra snow days, there’s another day tacked onto the end of the year.

Look, I understand that certain people say that school must last for a particular number of days. But what I don’t understand is why. What exactly are these kids learning by staying in school and not doing anything? That once you’ve reached a goal, you should just play until the final bell rings? As if we don’t have a problem with that already.