Wallball

Posted on: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 20:23 By: Tom Swiss

I just got back from doing something I haven't done in over twenty years: playing wallball.

Now, Googling for "wallball" reveals several different games by that name. (Including, oddly, some stupid computer screen-saver program to train PHBs in their jargon. WTF?) But the proper way, of course, is the way my brother Jim and I used to play in the alley.

The house where I grew up was located at the confluence of two alleys T-ing together, our house at the top of the T, making a nice wide playing area out of the junction where they opened into each other. The house across the alleys to the right (looking up the T toward our house) was home to a snowball business that operated out of a truck; it was, to us, the "snowball truck yard", I don't think I ever knew the names of the people who lived there. The truck was kept on a parking pad at end of the yard, which was separated from the higher ground of the rest of the property by an cinder block retaining wall about six feet high. In the summer, the truck was out selling ice with flavored syrup most of the time, leaving us the perfect playing field.

Vegetarian Glucosamine

Posted on: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 10:11 By: Tom Swiss

Things I didn't know were out there: I was under the impression that the only source for the popular supplement glucosamine (believed to support joint health) was shellfish. Turns out there are vegan sources. Deva makes a glucosamine with MSM and CMO supplement that's available at vegan specialty retailers; KAL makes a vegan glucosamine that you're more likely to find at your local store. I will probably add this to my regimen...maybe to Piccolo's too, she's been having some knee problems.

Big Brother is listening...through your cellphone

Posted on: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 23:43 By: Tom Swiss

This Guardian story mentions in passing:

Not only can operators pinpoint users to within yards of their location by "triangulating" the signals from three base stations, but - according to a report in the Financial Times - the operators (under instructions from the authorities) can remotely install software onto a handset to activate the microphone even when the user is not making a call. Who needs an ID card when they can do that already?

Coke adds...cadmium

Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 16:56 By: Tom Swiss

http://www.organicconsumers.org/BTC/cocacola082405.cfm

So in 2001, Coca-Cola builds a bottling plant in Plachimada, India. And then a few months later, the local wells start running dry. And then it turns out that the "free fertilizer" they've been giving out to the locals is lead and cadmium-laden waste sludge from the plant - with no fertilizer value.

Said Veerendrakumar, member of parliament and editor of the influential 'Mathrubhumi' newspaper: ''The fact of the matter is that that water from underground sources is being pumped out free, bottled and sold to our people to make millions for cola companies while destroying the environment and damaging public health''.

The seeds Political Animals sow

Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 16:24 By: Tom Swiss

Letter to the Editor, Baltimore City Paper, regarding Brian Morton's recent "Political Animal" column, Police State:

So Brian Morton is waking up to the fact that the U.S. is sliding into a police state ("Political Animal", Aug 24 2005). Great. The problem is that this is not a post-9/11 phenomenon, but a consequence of the "War on Drugs" that has been eroding American civil liberties for decades. And the irony is that Mr. Morton himself, in his previous position as spokesman for drug czar Barry McCaffrey, aided and abetted the process of increasing police power so the state could stick its nose into Americans' private choices.

Librarians in...Pornography

Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 12:22 By: Tom Swiss

This is so bizarre, I had to share. http://www.riverofdata.com/librariana/porn/index.htm

Librarians are always concerned about their image, and much attention has been paid to that image in novels, television programs, and advertising. However, there has been little attention paid to that image in pornography. I presented a paper on this topic at the 1990 Conference of the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association in Toronto.

hardware lust: "Damn Small Machine"

Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 10:30 By: Tom Swiss

Yummy. The Damn Small Machine is a Nano-ITX system that is 100% silent because it has no moving parts - no fan, no disk drive. Very low power consumption. Runs Damn Small Linux.

If and when the house gets sold and I put part of my share to a audio recording setup, this might end up part of it, if I could plug something like the Tascam US122 in to it. (Need to do more research about the Linux compatibility of that unit.)

Utah paramilitary blitzkrieg raid on dance party

Posted on: Sun, 08/28/2005 - 22:12 By: Tom Swiss

Remember the War on (Some) Drugs? It tends to get lost behind the ones we're fighting over in Iraq and Afghanistan (or as The Daily Show likes to call the region, "Mess O' Potamia"). But the Wo(S)D is going every bit as well as the one in the Middle East, as shown by this recent raid by Utah stormtroopers on a rave: Daily Kos: UTAH RAVERS TREATED LIKE TERRORISTS! (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/8/22/13030/7546)

The helicopter dipped lower and lower and started shining its lights on the crowd. I was kind of in awe and just sat and watched this thing circle us for a minute. As I looked back towards the crowd I saw a guy dressed in camoflauge walking by, toting an assault rifle. At this point, everyone was fully aware of what was going on . A few "troops" rushed the stage and cut the sound off and started yelling that everyone "get the fuck out of here or go to jail". This is where it got really sticky.

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