Sunday, August 31, 2008


Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.


Do you think McCain purposely imploded his campaign just to call America's bluff. I mean certainly he can't be thinking Middle America is so racist that his campaign could survive the dead whore/live boy in the backseat that usually ruins politicians. Does he really expect us all to roll into the voting booth and collectively say "Lie'n sluts or a Democrat? Fuck it! No Negroes in the Whitehouse for me!"

Are we that racist that he thinks he can get away with so obvious a lie?

Then again, dead poonanni in the backseat of his car never stopped Ted Kennedy.

Or do you think it's go give him an excuse to step down at the convention and give all his electoral votes to Romney. I hear Romney has suddenly received Secret Service protection.

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Can I be first to call it that?

Sure Sarah Palin has some inexcusable personal problems looming but I think I'm going to vote for her because she's hot. That seems as good a reason to throw my vote away as any other.

As for the Dems attacking her for being some small town mayor with no experience, just who the fuck do they expect to be in the voting booths? Here's a little hint for all y'all limosine liberals. Americans aren't rich anymore. We're hungry, scared and more than a little pissed off that we can't afford to top off our gas tanks. We don't care who answers the phone at 3AM. We do care about sluts in stripper heels. Fuck with her and you're fucking with me.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I've been looking for information on the court case from my day of jury duty. I've been looking in the papers and the court record has been filed for every day the week before and after but there's no information available for that day. I'm thinking that it was in fact a juvenile case and records are sealed.

So in this case I would guess that perhaps one benefit of dismissing the jury would be to ensure that in this day and age of 'The Blog Post' the juvenile offender will keep his or her name out of the newspapers. Back in the olden days the newspapers kept all but the most heinous criminals identity sealed. Now this kid probably has pictures of the crime up on the MySpace.

Here's another unrelated picture from MySpace of some dumbass doing something illegal.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I hate camping but my Dad loves it. So every once in a while when I was a kid I would break down and go if the camping didn't involve walking more than a mile (200 yards if wearing a back pack.) Mostly taking me "camping" meant driving a camper to someplace with hookups. At that point is it really camping or well appointed parking? Dad could get a campfire and the tenting in the wilderness vibe. I could have toilet paper and my Satuarday Morning Cartoons. (This was back in the 70's & 80's.)

If you're a suburban prince like me TV is hard junk to get off of. It's easier to quit smoking. So Dad meets me half way and we got to spend time together. He would join in and laugh at me when other campers would tease us with comments about how my TV in the woods is really roughing it. I didn't care cause I'd be with my Dad.

There's also something extra chilling about watching horror movies in a camp ground. Sure we could tell ghost stories around a campfire but I like movies.

On one trip to Gunstock, Maine Dad and I watched some rinkydink UHF channel showing their big movie of the week. It was called Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. Both the movie and the TV station were wicked low budget. When the broadcaster mixed up the reels and the movie started playing out of order we kept watching trying to figure out what the hell was going on. It didn't seem to matter to the story line and eventually we figured out what we missed.

I would later see Quentin Tarentino mix up his storyline elements and be hailed as a genius. Then he spends a fortune to look like a low budget horror movie from the 70's. It's still not as cool as a boy and his Dad watching crappy movies on the 'camping TV' in the woods.

Some Dads just understand their kids.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

What's Wrong With Education In America Part 4: Journalists and Social Scientists

Read this. Pay particular and close attention to the block quote in the "Gangsta Generation" section. I thought the author of this piece clearly didn't understand the irony inherent in his or her prose. It is clearly lost on David Kupelian. There are so many things wrong with Kupelian's use of this citation in his assault on modern culture.

The quotation felt dated and trite the first time I read it in 1989. I don't remember who originally said it but I think I read it as a block quote in a book called "The 13th Generation" which if I remember was a compilation of soundbites about how lazy and scared Generation X is.

As for that quote, the biggest giveaway as to the outdated source material is the assertion that all MTV plays is Hip Hop videos. Wait for it... Wait for it... There someone said it. MTV doesn't play music videos anymore. Hello... 1995 called they want that joke back. Also white kids don't wear Malcolm X hats anymore. Malcolm X hasn't been cool since Tim Burton's "Batman" made it cool to be white again.

As for the whole damn article. It made for an interesting chuckle the first time I saw it. That's right, the same article from two different websites. However if you notice, the first is dated 2008 with the second 2004. I'm wondering if I could dig a little deeper and find it with a 2002 byline.

Ultimately this two part rail into everything that's wrong with kids 15 years ago ends up blaming in exceedingly well cited detail the corporations that run the country and with no citations at all the public schools of America. OK, maybe teachers are solely to blame for why your kid finds Beakmans World fascinating and the members of their community who actually care about them boring. Sorry about that.

Kupelian does offer conclusions as to how to save the children of America from the evils of marketing. They should all join The Boy Scouts. Except maybe the gay kids. Kupelian hates fags.

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When You Wish Upon A Star

I want to be the kind of father who does this kind of stuff with his kids.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's Wrong With Education In America Part 3: Adults

Could someone explain to me what possible benefit a defendant could achieve by going to trial in a criminal case but waiving the right to a jury and having the case be decided on by one judge?

Mr Funk, I'm looking at you.

I've been waiting 13 months for this. I got called to jury duty in the beginning of July 2007 for a trial in October of that year. I sent in the deferral card asking to serve in August of 07 but if they couldn't swing it then to make it August of 08. I got assigned to show up today. So for more than a year I've had this day where I had to be awake, showered and in Newburyport by 8:30 am hanging over me. I rolled into the jury room at 8:33 am. They had already started roll call but were only in the B's. I was on time.

This was my second time getting called in the last decade or so. It looked pretty much the same as last time. The room looked like the break room in an office park, white tables and chairs designed more for stacking than sitting. The jury pool was a pretty fair cross section of New Englanders weighted heavily toward baby boomer women. There were about 30 of us. Everyone was white and middle class. When they called our names we had to turn in a questionnaire asking some personal details about our education, family, criminal past and if we may not be an impartial juror. I answered that last question and for the reason put that I may have to obey my Freemasons oath if given the Grand Hailing sign of distress, murder and treason excepted. I was assigned number 26.

The clerk gave us some instructions about what to expect for the day. We listened. He left to get the judge. We read books and magazines for about 5 minutes. Most of the jury pool had coffees from Dunkin Donuts. I had a Coke. The judge came in. He was a handsome man in his late 40's, He had that just beginning to turn grey but wouldn't be considered the creepy old man at the night club look. I could listen to that man read the phone book and find it fascinating. He was clear, concise, articulate and funny. He's probably given that same speech 500 times but made it sound like it was a casual conversation between a couple guys sitting on the deck at the yacht club. We all listened to him carefully hoping that he'd actually tell us what is going on and what the trial will be about. No such luck. It was mostly about how important jury duty is and thank you for not blowing it off. Still, that man could sell tea to a Chinaman. He must have been a great lawyer.

Then they showed "the movie." It was a 15 minute slice of tedium. It was supposed to explain our duty as jurors and what to expect from the day. About half the pool watched it as if they were watching an episode of 'Law and Order'. I figure it was conditioning. The TV set has a courtroom on it. Where's that guy who sells Robot Insurance? When he comes on he'll kick some ass!

The rest of the room dropped their heads back into their books. A couple people went to the bathroom. One young woman, a cute 20 something bottle blonde put her head down on the table top and I'm pretty sure she fell asleep. I later saw that her late 90's Ford Explorer had her name on the license plate. There's something sad about a vanity plate on a crappy car.

The fate of this hapless criminal defendant is going to be decided by a room full of people who are one of two things, conditioned to turn into zombies when a TV is turned on or have the kind of ADHD where they can't even pay attention to a short film.

Maybe it's because we're all the kind of good citizen who shows up for jury duty. We consider ourselves smart and maybe a little bit jaded. Call me silly but unless you do it for a living, if you're going to decide someones fate maybe you should pay attention to the instructions. Hopefully the folks who watched the video can fill the rest of us in when the time comes. Truth be told, I did watch the video but only to see if they actually told us anything useful. There was some bit about how important it is to show up for jury duty. A bit about what to expect in the courtroom. It grooved on some of the legal terms we would hear and what the general procedure would be. There was absolutely nothing about why a jury is important for the protection of individual rights and nothing about jury nullification. You know, the reasons why we're actually here. It's just as well there wasn't. I don't think the jury pool would have cared or even comprehended such abstractions. They certainly wouldn't have understood what it all means after ignoring the pretrial infomercial in front of them.

As for my day as a juror, after the film we were told that the case will go to trial but we would be given a 45 minute break. I don't know why we were given a break from the strenuous work of sitting and reading magazines. I hope the court clerk is getting some kind of kick back because the Dunkin Donuts across the street must get mad business from the courthouse giving us just enough time to cross the street and get a snack but not enough time to drive anywhere else.

We were instructed to return by 10:15. At 11:00 we were sent home. This is a one chamber courthouse and we were told that there was only one trial scheduled today. I have no idea what the trial was actually going to be about but there were a lot of police cars from Merrimac in the parking lot and there were a bunch of kids in front of the courthouse smoking. It could be related to some teen drinking arrests last spring. I'll try to remember next week to check the Newburyport newspaper for the court filings.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Been nice knowing you.
It seems that in our lust to bring peace to the Middle East at the point of a gun we've pissed off the only country that can stand up to us without loosing every dime they have. China is not about to fuck with us. We owe them too much money. Besides, they're actually smart. They're capable of planning things ahead of time and actually following it through to successful completion. Christ! They eat 1000 year old eggs. I don't know what I'm going to have for dinner tonight and I don't remember what I just ate for lunch. Some where some Chinaman is sitting down to a snack planned for him ten dynasties ago. Don't fuck with a Chinaman. They know how to get things done.

So do the Russians. They know they don't have to take shit from us. Guess what, they're about to deliver a big spank if we get uppity again. I've seen a Scarab missile up close. The instructions stenciled on the side are printed in Russian and English. It's so that they can give them out like candy to their allies in the Middle East without having to worry if their allies can't read Cyrillic.

The SS-21 is nuclear capable and has a range of about 75 miles. Now you're not going to be chucking H-Bombs between Hartford and White Plains and expect to survive. You can however drive that thing through Armenia in a weekend and render 40% of the worlds oil useless. No soldier now matter how ordered is going to want to strap themselves into an M-1 tank knowing that the gasoline they're sitting next to is throwing neutrons in every direction like Rip Torn at Hiroshima. I'm pretty sure the nuclear free zone we call Cambridge isn't going to welcome MobilOne with Tritium when they go to pump dead soldiers into the Prius.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

What's Wrong With Education In America Part 2: College

True story time. I once took an analytical chemistry class at Salem State. There were 24 students in the class. Ten were chemistry students the rest were from the bio department. One of the labs we did was to detect chlorine in various aqueous samples. One way was with a special electrode and a pH meter. The other way was through gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. It was in the fall semester and I got an A in the class.

One fine spring day I was sitting around the Chemistry Society office. It was a little closet off the Bio Society office. One of the bio majors who had just taken the class with me came into the chem society office to get help on a project he was doing for a bio class. He wanted to know how he could measure the amount of chlorine in pond water.

Having an audience of chem nerds I started fucking with him. I was thinking he'd recognize that I was fucking with him. I told him he should get some sodium metal and throw it in the pond. Then he should evaporate the water off and the sodium chloride would crystalize like when a tide pool at the beach evaporates in the sun. He could weigh the salt and then use the atomic mass to figure out how much chlorine there was.

He goes off looking for sodium and comes back an hour later to call me an asshole. What I told him was, from an engineering standpoint, a very valid way to solve his problem. From a scientific and environmental standpoint it was fucked up. Unfortunately it took his bio professor to point out to him how he had been had. I reminded him that we did the lab twice with two different ways of detecting chlorine. We could also have used Atomic Absorption and UV/Vis techniques but the easiest way to answer his question would be to go two blocks off campus to that pet store and spend five bucks on aquarium test strips. All you have to do is dunk them in and then look at the color.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's Wrong With Education In America Part 1:The Students

This is a Periodic Table. Most periodic tables put Hydrogen in the same category as Lithium and Sodium. However metallic hydrogen is very very rare and so I've always felt that H-H really belongs above the Halogens as it bonds more like F-F or I-I. On the other hand HCl dissociates in water much like NaCl and does not form the bond that IBr does.

I have also seen Hydrogen placed in both periods 1 & 17 on the table and also listed alone, detached from the table.

However, placing Hydrogen in period 1 and 17 at the same time seems to throw todays precious little snowflake into fits of despair wondering if there are other repeats in the periodic table but being too lazy to actually read through all 119 elements in sufficient detail to remember anything useful makes that one of the great un-answered mysteries of the Universe.

It's like asking what's the square root of a million. No one will ever know. Well actually the kid who brought his calculator will tell you smugly that it's 1000. That kid is going places. The rest will be lucky to fetch his dry cleaning when they grow up. Calculator Boy will be managing the H1-B's America will need to hire to fill in the knowledge gap left when we realize we shouldn't have spent so much time teaching Snowflake how to have good self esteem instead of how to do calculus. Maybe if Snowflake's little sister is hot she can marry Calculator Boy and talk him into hiring his new Snowflake-in-law to be Vice President of Marketing and Synergy. Of course Snowflake will have to go back to night school and finish that degree in communications first.

I've been watching Doug Stanhope doing standup on cable. He makes a very valid point about why The New York Yankees are what's wrong with America. He tells the story in the context of dumb fucking assholes who will take a day off work to have a parade when their millionaire sports team wins but won't do the same to go to city hall and tell the mayor to let them smoke in bars. If only there was a way to get people to worry more about Paula Abdul than their own future. Whoever comes up with a distraction compelling enough to get my kids to skip their homework is going to become a millionaire. I just wish I could write a test where knowing who America's Next Top Model is going to be is important.

Should Jason Castro cut his hair?
A Yes
B No
C Who the fuck is Jason Castro and what does this have to do with Chemistry?

In regards to answer C, you tell me. Really. Because when I was trying to lecture on oxidation/reduction reactions you were texting your boyfriend in study hall about inane crap.

Good luck explaining to your boss at the hair salon why the EPA and OSHA are going to fine him tens of thousands of dollars because you poured ammonia based color stripper down the same sink you had been pouring chlorate bleach yesterday.

By the way, I had your boyfriend in my other class. If only he got this question right on the final.

A soldier has been assigned to clean up a small mess in one of the ammunition storage bays. The gunpowder spill is not water soluble. It is soluble in kerosene. Give three reasons why this is going to end badly.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

They'll Take Away My Brain When They Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands!

Because in Massachusetts if you're not part of the vaulted Cambridge elite curiosity and intelligence are against the law.

That's Thomas Edison's home laboratory. Possession of those bottles alone is enough to go to jail in Texas. Actually the Texas law merely requires a permit which is free but from my understanding there is a 21 day waiting period to buy thermometers. I'm not joking the law as written is sloppy and you must inform the permitting office of your intention to make changes to your chemical and equipment inventory and then wait 21 days for approval.

Come on Bay State. We're smarter than that. Don't make me throw snowballs at the British Soldiers you've billeted in my home.

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