Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Can Haz Maycup Caturday?

OK, yes, I know. It's been a slow week here on the ol' blog, but that's because of XMas insanity.

(And yes, I'm all about taking the Christ out of Christmas. I really wish the local Knights of Columbus would quit putting up those stupid billboards every year. Like everyone needs a constant, glaring reminder that you people are Jesus Freaks, and want everyone else to be, too...)

At any rate, since I missed it last week due to more insanity, here's a super Caturday post, brought to you by the many hard working caption artists and kitteh fans on Fark. This week's Thread is based around the story of Trucker, a cat who found his way back to his family three years and one week after fire destroyed their home. How awesome is that? Totally, of course!

Enjoy teh kittehs, and as always, you can click any image to embiggen it for your viewing pleasure. Happy Caturday, and Merry (early) XMas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And When The Band You're In...

Wil has a new post up, and it pretty much sums up how our generation (and certainly I) feels about what's going on in Washington right now. The madness has to stop, and it has to stop sometime. Go check out his letter to Chris Dodd, and take time out to notice that - hey - some people in Congress are willing to do what we elected them to do.

If You've A Date In Constantinople

This won't end well.

Turkish troops have crossed into Iraq, and they're going after Kurdish Rebels (Fark Thread). As if the quagmire (giggity) in Iraq weren't bad enough, this brings a whole new level of suck to the mix.

The Kurdish problem is a double-edged sword. They're an ethnic minority that exists in about the area where the Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian borders come together. They're making a case for their own sovereign state, and some of them have decided to make it a militant cause.

During the years following Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the northern no-fly zone over Iraq pretty much nullified any influence Saddam Hussein had over the people living there, including the Kurds. Without that influence, Kurdish Iraq basically became it's own self-governed autonomous collective, developing a fairly modern society complete with Internet, cell phone networks, and a bustling market economy.

Prior to the '91 Gulf Conflict, someone (probably Saddam) gassed the fuck out of these people in an attempted genocide, killing somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 Iraqi Kurds. One can see where their cranky side would come from.

Because their national claims include parts of Turkey as well as Iraq, the Turks are targets of a good chunk of Kurdish Militant activity. This, of course, doesn't make the Turks too terribly pleased, and they want this crap stopped. Within their own borders, how they handle the situation is on them. But now that they've crossed the border, they've entered a whole new ball game.

The problem is, if every tribal and ethnic entity in the Middle-east started clamoring for their own chunk of the map, it'd start to look like Europe during the feudal era: Shattered Glass. The infighting over territory and tribal/ethnic hatred dating back thousands of years would boil over, and all-out holy war would most likely result.

The sad part is, it'd all be in the name of pretty much the same god. Funny how religion works like that, isn't it...

If the Kurds get their way, who's next, the Sunni's? The Shi'as? How much land do you think the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be willing to give up? Not much, I'd wager. And have fun carving up Afghanistan, because those are the two largest nations in the Middle-east, so that's the best logical place to start.

Plus there's still that matter of Israel/Palestine, not to mention the fact that our government has managed to piss off quite a number of Islamic nations in it's quest to funnel taxpayer dollars into corporate pockets. And don't forget Iran, can't forget Iran.

Yeah, this is going to end really well. Have fun with that powder keg...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Look Again

Probably the coolest thing I've found on Fark in the last few hours: Celeb look-a-likes pose for a new book called Confidential by Alison Jackson. She says her photos are purposefully grainy, making them look more like poparazzi shots. My favorite? You really need to guess? Fark Thread here...

Have fun, "Mr. President..."

Letterman Takes The Lead

Already having vowed to pay his staff's salaries through the end of the year due to the WGA strike, David Letterman is once again stepping up to the plate and going to bat for the embattled WGA, offering to bargain with them directly as opposed to through the AMPTP.

So, what does this mean for the writers? Well, it means that they could begin bargaining with each individual production company, as opposed to all of them as a whole (the AMPTP), effectively breaking the stranglehold that they've had on the industry for the past 25 years. Bonus! Anything that sticks it to the man is good in my book.

As a WGA supporter, I couldn't be happier to see Dave taking the stances he's taken all throughout the strike. He's really earning his place as one of the most powerful men in Television, and he's doing it by standing up for the little guys (the Writers) and telling Goliath (the studios) where the line has been drawn.

Here's your link, and here's your Fark Thread. Now, get out there and support the WGA and David Letterman!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Philipsburg 2: Electric Boogaloo

So yeah, the Borough got back to me on those tickets, and boy, did they really show their ignorance and stupidity. How anyone in this town could possibly believe that the people "leading" them could even remotely be competent is beyond me. Far, far beyond me. We're talking Voyager 2 beyond.

If there was ever an indicator that the Borough's agents are completely retarded, it was on the front of the envelope. On it was my correct license plate number, but under that, the word "Blazer."


Fucking BLAZER!!!

OK, now, it doesn't take a genius to tell the difference between an Chevrolet Blazer and a Ford Explorer, which is what I drive. Nevermind the fact that there's a Ford logo and the word "Explorer" on my tail hatch, and a big ol' Ford logo on the grill (not to mention the two "Explorer" plates down the sides). It's a Blazer.

Sure as shootin', Cletus, it's a Blazer.

(Yes, I hate Chevy, and I associate it with people who could have walked right out of Deliverance. Sue me for being biased, because a colony of toothless hillbilly freaks drive rustbuckets with the Chevy name on them and glorify drivers of Chevy vehicles in NASCAR. Ask them to trade in that 1983 Celebrity on a different make and they'll probably pull some sort of weapon on you and ask you if you're "plum loco.")

But anyway, back to the letter. Yeah, Blazer. Strike One. Anyhow, I open the envelope and pull the actual document out and look at it. The first thing that hits me is that it looks like some stupid teenager with an ancient copy of Micro$oft Word hurried this out. Different font sizes, completely unnecessary, used for emphasis of points that would be just as visible if the font were actually uniform.

I mean, come on! This is supposed to be a government agency, a public service! Try and look professional, why don't you, so people actually respect you and take you seriously! Christ on a fucking stick anyhow! The Federal government may spend extreme sums of money on simple crap like putting out documents, but at least those documents are uniform, for crying out loud.

You people look like today's college kids turning in papers in Internet slang. Sad, sad, sad.

Now, on to the contents of the letter. Obviously, I've edited out my license plate number for privacy reasons, but the text is otherwise exactly as it appears in the letter. While I can't duplicate the logo for the borough's sad-sack letterhead, it's still essentially as-is. I have made no changes or exaggerations, other than the changes already mentioned. Font sizes are relative to how they appear on the letter as well.

Now, witness ignorance at it's best, and your tax dollars in action:

P.O. Box 631
4 North Centre Street
Phone (814) 342 3440
Fax (814) 342 5608

Date: 12/12/07

To Whom It May Concern:

####### is the Plate on your Blazer.

On 12/07/07, 12/10/07and12/11/07 you recieved parking tickets for parking 2AMto7AM on your vehicle. You paid the first ticket so we know you are aware of the violation. Our office doesn't like giving tickets unless we are forced to. Please find another place to park your vehicle overnight on the side streets that are not posted for 2AM to 7AM signs or we do have permits available. Contact our office so we don't have to issue any more parking fines. We will resume the tickets effective 12/17/07, if you continue to violate the signs posted on the streets.

Thank You
W(illegible) D. McDonald 140046 (handwritten signature)
Philipsburg Borough Ordinance Officer
Now, who wants to be the first to point out the errors in this letter? First of all, they continue to insist that I drive a Blazer. Is it really that easy to mix the two up? I don't think so, they both look pretty damned distinct to me. With the blazingly obvious aside, it's time for me to play English Teacher and correct their homework. First, the list of errors:
  1. No dashes between the prefixes and suffixes of the phone and fax numbers
  2. No spacing between 12/10/07, "and" and 12/11/07 in line one.
  3. Should be a comma after 12/11/07 on line one.
  4. No spacing between 2AM, "to" and 7AM on line two.
  5. Should be a comma after "ticket" on line three.
  6. "The" in "overnight on the sidestreets" is not necessary.
  7. Should be a comma after "signs" on line six.
  8. The sentence beginning on line four and ending on line seven is run-on, and should be divided.
  9. The comma after 12/17/07 is unnecessary.
  10. Should be a comma after "Thank You" in the closing.
Ten blatant grammatical errors. I thought you people were supposed to be "professional!" Well, now the Borough of Philipsburg is a laughing stock, for all the world to see. So, folks, here I present to you the letter as it should look, if it were typed by a monkey with a lobotomy, or someone more competent:
P.O. Box 631
4 North Centre Street
Phone (814) 342-3440
Fax (814) 342-5608

Date: 12/12/07

To Whom It May Concern:

Plate #: #######
Vehicle Make: Ford
Vehicle Model: Explorer

On 12/07/07, 12/10/07 and 12/11/07, you recieved parking tickets for parking 2AM to 7AM in a zone posted against such. You paid the first ticket, so we know you are aware of the violation. Our office doesn't like giving tickets unless we are forced to. Please find another place to park your vehicle overnight on side streets that are not posted for 2AM to 7AM signs. We also have permits available. Contact our office so we don't have to issue any more parking fines. We will resume the tickets effective 12/17/07,if you continue to violate the signs posted on the streets.

Thank You,
W(illegible) D. McDonald 140046 (handwritten signature)
Philipsburg Borough Ordinance Officer
And there you have it, with my emphasis on the proper identity of my vehicle. Not really that hard to make it look like a human actually typed it, is it? Fonts are normalized, grammar is corrected... Was it that difficult? Nah! If I can do it, anyone can do it! Fuck, I've read blogs by foreigners with even the slightest grasp of English grammar that look better. Since this is a Government Document, and is therefore in the Public Domain, you peons can feel free to copy and paste my template for future use by your offices, should you decide you want to look like an actual, professional Government Agency.

You know, it might help your image, what with the wasting money on the Front Street Project and not being able to pay for a police force. There's also the matters of the personal infighting and bickering, and all the controversy over filling one stupid Borough Management position, and your mismanagement of the Rowland... But I digress.

Now, how shady is it that it's not mentioned anywhere in the borough, on any sign or any publicly viewable space whatsoever, that there are parking permits available. In Pittsburgh, my adopted home, the signs clearly show what permit zone it is, letting the public know that permits are indeed available should you reside in that zone and wish to park without fear of tickets.

Philipsburg? No, they'll only tell you if you think to ask about it at all (with no helpful hints or information even suggesting they're available), or after they give you a couple of expensive parking hits and start fucking with your license.

Dirty pool, old man. Dirty pool indeed.

Philipsburg, this is your wake up call. Someone with the stones to take you to school and expose your smug stupidity to the rest of the world has arrived, and he's not happy. The fact that you're an insignificant little shit town that no one really looks at or cares about at all will no longer allow you people to get away with this type of shinnanigans. There is a whistle blower among you, and he won't shut up.

Either clean up your act, or I will continue to post examples of how you people make complete fools of yourselves. Even your precious Philipsburg Journal will be pilfered for any shred of evidence that you people are nothing but a bunch of stuck-up, ignorant, self-righteous losers who want nothing more from their jobs than the paycheck and the pat on the back, along with anything else you can get away with on the side. You people are pathetic, and should be ashamed to even try and call yourselves "Public Servants."

Granted, I've done shit I'm not proud of. But at least I can pony up and admit that I fucked up. I don't just idle myself and continue with bad practices. Maybe you all could learn a lesson from the kid with the big mouth and the International Soapbox to get it heard...