Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Johnny Cash

Birthday today.

I did some drinking last night at The Mean-eyed Cat. Maybe we'll be back there tonight!


Google Maps ‘Bike There’

A bunch of folks, me included, are trying to convince Google to add bicycle routes to Google Maps:

GoogleMapsBikeThere.org was created to ask Google to help us make the world safer for bicyclists by adding bicycle routes to Google Maps. Please sign the petition if you have not done so yet, and subscribe to this blog so you can keep abreast of progress and how you can help. The 'Bike There' is because that is the option we want to see added to Google Maps, along with 'Drive There' and 'Take Public Transit'.

Sign the petition, yo!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Martin Taylor should be in jail

...update - i'm putting this link up top because this picture illustrates better than words ever could why I think Martin Taylor should go to jail.

Martin Taylor should be in jail right now, and he should stay there, no bail, for the next twenty years. He should forfeit his salary to da Silva, and Birmingham should be made to pay $25 million USD to da Silva for employing a criminal.

This video shows stills from the crime:

Martin Taylor needs to go to jail immediately for this attack on Eduardo da Silva. I'm not interested in 'how bad he feels' or how he is about to find god - go to jail, criminal!

The pictures show Martin Taylor aiming intently at da Silva's leg - aiming for the midspot of his shin - and catching da Silva cleanly - nearly ripping da Silva's leg completely off da Silva's body. da Silva's leg is left hanging by a shred of skin. The pool of blood had to be washed off the field before play eventually continued ten minutes later.

It's also conceivable that other people could go to jail in a scenario such as this. I wouldn't mind the Birmingham coach and owner go to jail for a few years, too.

I agree with Arsene, of course - but not only should the criminal never play football again, but he should go to jail immediately.

And I also agree with Arsene that Arsenal are attacked because of their stylish play - and this is a natural consequence of the 'fair game' policy that teams have towards them. It's OK to maul an Arsenal player because they play stylish football.

Criminals. Martin Taylor, his coach, Birmingham management - all of them.

...my contribution to Wikipedia.

...my entry was erased and replaced with that of a supporter of The Criminal. Article is now locked.

...adding, this is it - this is the one - this is the exact type of case we are all worried about when a criminal like Martin Taylor takes the pitch and is intent on ruining another player's career. We see this type of attack all too often - several times every Saturday, but we are mostly 'lucky' in that the victim is able to sense the seriousness of the attack as it happens and managed to pull back as hard as he can into a recoil that saves his body from snapping. The result is the victimized player often flipping awkwardly in the air from the force of the attack. Sometimes the player is extremely lucky and manages to walk away. Other times their knee is injured and they're pulled-off the pitch, iced up, and then make their way back on for a while until the swelling just overcomes them, and they are removed from the game.

But in these cases it is just luck and the intuition and skill of the players being attack that saves their careers every week. It is very possible to know how to survive an attack well. Ask any star scoring player in just about any sports league around the world - Wayne Gretzky being a famous example. These players are used to being attacked with brutality and have it down to an art form how to be defensive when being attacked, such that they can spare their careers, if not temporary pain. Most soccer players know how to deal with an attack like this if and when they see it coming - they 'get as small' as they can - to take a term from NFL running backs. Getting small - as if curling into a ball - will help deflect the force of the attack such that is becomes a glancing blow instead of a full-on, direct, leg-breaking attack, such as the one Martin Taylor unleashed on Eduardo da Silva. Unfortunately, da Silva didn't see the attack coming until too late, and didn't have enough time to protect himself.

When a player is so determined to end another player's career, there is not much one can do, but if we started handing out red cards for any studs-up tackle, then these types of injuries will certainly decrease. Going studs-up into a tackle has an intent - the intent is to terrorize and break legs and ideally, ruin careers. And the terror intent is not just for the player being mauled, it is directed at any and all players who dare to actually attempt to play the game without living in constant fear of the Martin Taylors of the world.

Right now, by not offering a straight red to all players who go studs-up into tackles, we provide political cover to criminals like Martin Taylor. After the horror injuries we can all gather around and talk about whether it was intentional, how intentional it was, etc. Let me tell you - if you go studs up into a tackle, it is intentional. There are no two ways about it. It's a very deliberate act that requires extreme concentration to force your heel out, lift your toes up, straighten and lock your thrusting leg, and attack your victim - usually your victim's lower leg, but often the side of the knee area - producing medial-collateral knee injuries. You attack where the player is most vulnerable. If you are really lucky you get a double-compound fracture on your victim, but even if you're not really lucky you might still tear his knee up, ending him for at least a season, and making him never the same player again.

A studs-up tackle, from here on out, should be a straight red card - nothing less. When this change of policy happens, we will see leaping kung-fu-like, leg-breaking, horror-injury-producing, player-terrorizing tactics drop to near zero almost overnight. The English Premiere League has to make a decision - just like the NHL made a decision years ago - do you want to be a league of criminals and bar room brawls, or do you want to be a league of sport and the Beautiful Game?

It's largely up to us.

...sign the petition to ban Taylor for life. I'm at 24,410.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tom Waits - Martha

I finally discovered Tom Waits. Epoch Coffee plays some seriously good music. Damn.


Not sure if you have to be some kind of sentimentalist to enjoy songs like this, but consider me a massive Tom Waits fan, now.

It's great to finally listen to someone I often hear my favorite indie rock bands claim as an influence.

Now I know why.


Wait - I swear I have something to add. :)

First, here is the back story:

Mathew Honan says his wife, Harper Honan, an avid cyclist, used to obsess about her mountain bike, a Santa Cruz Blur LT. But when the Honans returned from their vacation in Nicaragua shortly after Obama won the Iowa caucuses, Harper's obsession turned to Obama. Instead of talking about her bike, Harper talks about Obama. It's nonstop. She has made calls to the campaign. She has canvassed and knocked on doors. She has held signs out in the streets.

Then one day, Mathew, 35, a freelance writer, joked to Harper, 32, a registered nurse: "Barack Obama is your new bicycle."

A site was born.

After launching less than two weeks ago, the site has been viewed more than 2.3 million times.

"I didn't see it as a pro-Obama site or an anti-Obama site, though some people can interpret it any way they want. I was just trying to be funny," says Mathew, who's also an Obama supporter. The Honans have given about $300 to Obama online.

"But I actually think a little backlash is good for Obama," Mathew adds. "He's not going to win on personality alone. I think the more people shy away from the mania of it all, the more they'll realize that there's actual substance in him and what he's been saying."

Great site.

The funny part was that I didn't know or much care about the back story behind how and why this site got created - but it's totally fun.

And then a few hours after I'd read how the site came to be, I started realizing that this girl, Harper Honan, was really into her bicycle. I think that's how a lot of us feel. My Fuji Roubaix is dope. It's not an around-town cruiser like I really need - it's a full-on road bike - but I can't part with it - it's just the bomb.

So, I hope we can tap into this love of bicycles that some people seem to have.

We Know What You Want

Great book.

I have to confess I didn't actually finish reading it - I gave it away with most of my other books when I moved, but I loved what I did read of it. Not only was it incredibly informative, but it was illustrated, and therefore compelling.

Some folks on Amazon have bashed the book for not being a boring, statistics-laden, un-illustrated droll 200 pages of theory and techniques. They're entitled to their opinions, but I'm interested in being interested, and I'm interested in making material accessible and interesting to as wide a range of people as possible. So, I loved this book, and I love other books like it - like the beautifully-illustrated books that Crimethinc. produces.

Besides, the book was written to be an illustrated example of the techniques that Douglas Rushkoff pointed to in his seminal work, Coercion. The haters - who are probably PR flacks - didn't bother to mention that. It is the main reason Rushkoff got a writing credit - because it's his material.

The illustrations in the book often used real ads to show how certain techniques were being used against us. And there were plenty of anecdotes about the history of advertising and marketing and propaganda, so there is plenty of direct learning, and plenty of opportunity to reference source material.

...I picked up Expect Resistance, today. It's awesome. These guys, Crimethinc., are my heroes.

Workers of the Word, Relax

Great book.

The author created the Work Less Party, too.

Basically, the author states the obvious - that we don't need to work as much as we used to - but he weaves this fact into a bigger narrative that helps us see all of these emerging movements are key parts of the puzzle to better, sustainable living. And he actually clarifies things a bit - not only do we not have to work as much as we used to, but we should not, and even must not work as much as we used to. That's a pretty big distinction.

The author did not necessarily stress this, but when I think about 'reducing work', I'm thinking only of reducing that work which is meaningless and/or polluting and detrimental to society on the whole. Work is also taking care of your kids, and planting gardens, and creating art, and being creative in any number of ways - and we don't need to limit these things - at least not like we need to limit pollution-producing, society-destructing work.

[Ed. note: I'm starting to hate the word 'sustainable'. It's boring and overused.]

I've long wondered where all the new productivity was going. Due to computer technology and mechanization and corporate power over labor and exploitative globalization and various other productivity enhancements, workers are more productive each year than they were the last. How can that process happen for so many years - let's just look at the computer revolution starting in the 1980s - and we still have to work 40 hours a week?

It doesn't make any sense. So, let's change it.

We should come up with a viable strategy to move our society to working less - 30 hours a week sounds like a good start to me. Maybe 32 would be easier for people to comprehend (four 8-hour days instead of five), but 32 is too many.

This is a must-read book. It helped me think a little more clearly and creatively about several movements that I'd like to help bring to fruition here in America and around the world:

We've got our work cut out for us.

p.s. this just showed up on Reddit.

...added links.

Texans are Fat

That's what it seems, anyways.

And the worrying part is this - I'm in Austin, and I live right on the edge of the main campus (UT-Austin) - a big campus - 40,000+ undergrads - so we're talking about young kids, basically - around 20 years old. They're not supposed to be fat yet.

Granted, I did just come from California, and from Palo Alto, which has incredible weather, a culture of exercise, and bicycle lanes, making it conducive to exercise, whereas Austin is a death trap for bicyclists, as in most U.S. cities.

I'm on a big bicycle kick, lately. I'm about to crank up a bicycle blog network, called Bike Blogs - great name, I know. I and others are working to make Austin more bicycle-friendly. We're working on projects like Google Maps 'Bike There'.

I feel sorry for these kids. If you're huge at 20 years old - what chance did you ever have, really?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another black man shot...

In the back. Twice. While he was running away from the pig.

Of course he was unarmed.

And now piggy wants his job back.

Hey - if you have a penchant for murder, the police department is for you.

Here's to hoping Michael Olsen finds himself in prison in the very near future for the rest of his life. Hopefully before he kills again.

Google Maps: Hours of Operation

It's a miracle. Now, when you find a business on Google Maps, and you want to know when they're open, the hours are listed. Right there. I swear.

It only took the intarwebs about twenty years for business listings to start showing up with their hours of operation. Quite an accomplishment.


If you're not a regular reader yet, you should be.

"That is rich"

Ever hear that phrase? Ever read it? I may have even used it once or twice myself (or not) - but I hate it. It's a rich person's word. It's a word for upper-class folks. It's a word that only 'educated' people use.

You'll read it on websites like DailyKos and TalkingPointsMemo and FireDogLake - at least in the comments sections. On these liberal websites is where the political chattering classes decide what we should do with poor people. I imagine some skinny, snide, condescending, comes-from-a-decent-background-and-actually-had-a-chance white person who never really faced any serious adversity in life. The phrase bothers me - it's the snootiness of it.

I don't even know what it means. You could say something about 'meaning' and 'irony' - but it's not really ever about that at all - it's about announcing to the world that you were properly indoctrinated at an expensive white liberal arts college, and therefore you are better than everyone else.

Obama Rally at Texas Capital Building

Obama is sticking around tomorrow night. I might go check out the hype - take some pics.

Witness history. etc.

The egomaniacs who paid laborers measly sums to build Texas mandated that the Texas Capital Building be taller than the one in DC.

Monday, February 18, 2008

SXSW - The Festival for Rich People

I'm into music, and I thought I might check out the SXSW festivities when they were in town, but I'm not $600 into music.

I didn't know it was an 'industry event' - maybe that's how people afford it - their companies pay?

Students have a discount for the film and interactive stuff - which nobody really cares about. People want to rock and roll - not click our mice and watch tv in the dark. Listen, rss feeds and dark French cinema have their places in this world, but would you really want to mess with either when your favorite band is ripping the roof off the vanue next door?

I guess the high cost is partially artificial, but partially driven by demand. The organizers, I suspect, did not want to make it too obvious that only rich people could attend, so they just set the price at some high pricepoint - making sure none of us rabble could afford to go see our favorite bands. And this way, music insiders (have you ever met any? talk about losers...) could go see the best, new up-and-coming bands in an intimate setting. Nice for them, I guess.

This post could mark my entry into the anti-SXSW movement here in town (if there even is one). I find these prices so outrageous that I'm thinking there must be an 'anti-' movement, we'll find out.

There is some kind of cheaper wristband situation I heard about. They sell them to us poor people a week or two before the festival starts, for $130 a piece if you are a local, or $160 if you are from out of town or something. You stand in some godforsaken line for a few hours in the Texas sun and hand over your wad of cash, and you have the privilege of getting a wristband. Then, you can show up at some venue, wait for all the rich people to show up and go in, and then if there is still room, you can finally go in. You are not guaranteed entry at all. You might not get into any show you want to see at all.

Friday, February 15, 2008

U.S. Caught Spying in Bolivia

There's a lot to this story, but really, it's not a surprise to anyone that the U.S. government is interfering in the affairs of other sovereign nations - can you say, Iraq?

It's pretty crazy that the Bolivian government didn't even request an apology, but whatever floats their boat. What's funny is the U.S. ambassador - he says his spy, Vincent Cooper, didn't do anything wrong, and then he apologizes for his guy not doing anything wrong.

If it's true that Vincent Cooper broke U.S. law, then I'd like to see him in jail, please.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Anarchists Should Vote

I thought I posted a comment the other day to this post about why I thought not voting was one of the most irresponsible things anyone could do, but now it appears to be gone. It's possible I just never posted it - it happens to me a lot - my computer will crash, or I'll just forget to actually hit the 'Publish' button, etc.

I'm not talking about cases where you live in a red state or blue state or some other situation where your vote won't matter - I'm talking about, given the choice, your vote could help sway the election in one direction or another, and you decide not to vote because you're a self-described anarchist and therefore you're not supposed to vote - or some asinine shit like that.

And I could be swayed that there are better uses of your time. All I'm saying is that I don't want to read anything suggesting that voting is stupid and/or evil just because 'anarchism says not to vote'.

To that, I say:
1) Think for yourself for a change, and
2) No matter how you like to describe yourself - anarchist, Republican, whatever - if you want to claim to care about people - about relieving people from some of their suffering, then you should employ any/all valid/moral tactics you can to achieve that goal.

That's it. No Gods, No Masters. Think for yourself, and use your judgment to determine the best course of action - even if that action is voting.

...regarding my comment on this blog post - my follow-up comment was deleted, so I guess that means the original comment was deleted. Very quaint. And fascist. From a self-described anarchist? Please. George Bush is a self-described believer in freedom.

I did want to reference what my original, and now deleted, comment mentioned - that I agreed with Noam Chomsky and Cara Jennings that participation in the system can be meaningful and very important. So, if you don't care about people, don't vote.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Leland Stanford, Criminal

Stanford University is the Harvard of the West Coast - I didn't know it was supposed to be anything special until I lived out West. I'd heard some good quotes from Leland Stanford - stuff about everyone deserving an edumacation and all that, but I always felt that there was more to the story.

I try to tell my buddy, who is obsessed with making money, that all rich people are criminals. He doesn't believe me. I tell him about Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch - all of them - criminals to the core - vile people - the only thing separating them is how monstrous each is with respect to the other. He doesn't buy it. Too much hero-worship built-in over the years of his education indoctrination. That's OK - there's still time.

Today I read an article (can't find ref, sorry!) that mentioned a phrase I hadn't thought of recently:

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

(Origin of the phrase, here.)

And then I saw this book review of The Associates. Indeed, Leland Stanford was a criminal - a robber baron. This is no ordinary type of criminal, but a person whose crimes are so massive, so dreadful and devious, that they can hardly be comprehended.

When Leland Stanford's only son died and, on his death bed, implored his father to stop being evil, Leland Stanford went on a tear and 'found God' - that is, he became a socialist, started pimping for worker-owned co-operatives (like the Black Star Co-op).

Many folks seem to be able to look past the hideous things these rich criminals had to do to get all that money. That these criminals decide to find God later in life and start handing out all sorts of their illegally-earned loot to found hospitals and universities is nothing more than an exercise in vanity for them. They're hoping people like me won't insist on the truth. Not even Bill Gates expected Wikipedia and the global justice movement. It's not as easy to hide the truth anymore. We have the interwebs. We have the Way Back Machine. We have Stephen Colbert. Huh?

Even the subtitle of the book reminds me of the one-sidedness of history: How Four Capitalists Created California.

Right - it wasn't tens of thousands of imported Irish and Chinese workers who did the back-breaking work on the railroad lines - it was four fat, rich, white dudes.

Makes me think there really would be a place for an Anarchist or Lefty wikipedia - something that told the real story of the struggle of power vs. oppressed people. Wikipedia does a good bit, but it's very difficult to find out how truly awful some people really were - how coercion really works for people like Bill Gates and Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. For instance, the Leland Stanford wiki entry does not really talk in detail about Stanford's crimes. It'd be nice to see a listing of some of the actual pen strokes he made that condemned people to miserable work conditions, agony, death.

And, if Bill Gates is a criminal, then what of Larry and Sergey, of Google fame? I'd love this challenge. Start here. Or, try this. Who knows how many people have already been jailed/tortured/murdered due to Google's policies? Who knows how many people Google has sold out to the U.S. feds? Who knows to what lengths Google, a corporation, an immortal person, will go to turn a profit? Who knows at what point Larry and Sergey will stop - if ever - in their quest to attain more riches? The danger of Google as God should concern us all. It's one reason I've thought that it might be a good idea for us all to invest in Google so we can turn it into a non-profit, worker-owned cooperative - just like Leland Stanford would have wanted.

...correction: after Leland Stanford's son died, Leland had a dream, and it was in the dream that his boy uttered, "Father, serve humanity."

Oh no! Lakers are competitive...


So, the Lakers got another big dude - the missing link to their puzzle - the one that could make them the team to beat. This is bad.

Fortunately, my player-hating days against Bill Belichick and the Pats finally paid off - not until the last minute, but man oh man was it ever a big payoff. 18-1. Whew.

If Kobe wins a championship without Shaq-daddy, his head would suck up all the oxygen in the atmosphere. We can't have it.

A new mission in life - Beat the Lakers!