01 December 2008

U.S. Occupation of Czech Republic -- Can it Be Stopped?

"Czech Senate ratified today the two radar treaties signed in July [2007] by Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. By doing so it openly positioned itself against the will of the majority of Czechs as polls have been showing for the last two years that most Czechs disagree with the plan.

“From the point of view of democracy in our country this is a major setback. The government-controlled senate clearly showed that it does not care about the will of the Czech people and that’s simply unacceptable,” said Jan Tamas[...] / Read entire article.


A Few Reasons Why I Am Against a U.S. Radar Station in Czech Republic:

1. The U.S. already spends far more on its military than all of its "enemies" combined. Conversely, its education system is in ruins, the population increasingly illiterate (evident by the number of people who voted for Geezer/Dingbat (McCain/Palin), against their own interests, in the 2007 elections).

2. Czechs were occupied by Russian military for several decades. During this time, they began to love anything "American." Those who actually support the radar (and subsequent U.S. military bases) are still under this spell (caused mostly by Hollywood films - for example, they don't believe there are homeless people in the USA). The powerful minority of radar supporters have not yet realized that they'll be trading Russian occupation for American occupation.

3. It makes the Czech Republic, and especially Prague, a target.

4. It serves no strategic purpose that could not be better placed in already-occupied countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

5. The U.S. went nuts when Russia put similar weapons in Cuba, yet expects Russia not to mind it doing the same thing - putting missiles and radar bases on Russia's doorstep. How would the U.S. react if Russia installed a similar setup in Cancun or Montreal?

6. The majority of Czechs don't want it (apparently, Czech Republic is not a real democracy).

7. Iran, a formidable country, is surrounded by U.S. military (Afghanistan/Iraq)... Russia is being threatened by radar and missile bases on its doorstep... America needs to relax a bit, get its own problems taken care of (education system, economy, unemployment, etc.), and not be so globally self-important.

See the chain of events that have led to this point, or sign an online petition to stop American (U.S.) military occupation of the Czech Republic.

Join the official facebook group "No US military base on Czech Republic territory."

And here's a larger Euro-wide movement called Europe for Peace: Europe free from nuclear weapons.

13 November 2008

Tribe.net to be Revamped

I received the following email today from Tribe.net, which I discovered (and liked) long before I found Myspace, and later Facebook and LinkedIn. It appears that Tribe.net is back in the game.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) November 11, 2008 -- Utah Street Networks and New Systems Associates today entered into an operating agreement to manage Tribe.net, one of the first social networking sites, add competitive social networking features to the site, and revitalize the Tribe community.

tribe logo

The first priorities for New Systems Associates are to stabilize the platform and improve the site's performance. To accomplish these goals, the company is committing substantial resources to upgrade Tribe's hardware and application. The hardware migration will begin immediately, resulting in better performance and stability users expect from a world-class social network. New Systems Associates will also add new features to improve connections within the Tribe community and to other social networks and widgets.

In the longer term, New Systems Associates will grow the Tribe community by developing features including advanced privacy features, profile control, regional relevancy, personal discovery, and free-range connectivity. The company is committed to strengthening Tribe's alternative community and the unique ways in which users interact.

Utah Street Networks, Inc. is the owner of Tribe.net, one of the oldest social networking sites on the Internet and pioneers of social graphing.

New Systems Associates is an LLC formed by long-time Tribe members who believe in protecting and expanding Tribe's unique culture.

For more information please email info @ tribe.net.

03 November 2008

De Profundis in Your Pocket

Etsy.com, "your place to buy & sell all things handmade" (and support hard-working artisans instead of corporations), offers an Oscar Wilde De Profundis Pocket Mirror.

Artist Tiffini Elektra X makes other mirrors, as well, featuring collages based on themes ranging from Buddha to Alice in Wonderland to Shakespeare to the Muses. At her own site, tartx.com, you'll find a range of her other handmade items that include jewelry, magnets, and bookmarks.

31 October 2008

Central / East European Literary Anthology - Free PDF Download

Slovakia's Centre for Information on Literature (Literárne a informačné centrum) has done a great thing for literature and language: They have placed a downloadable PDF of an anthology of Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Hungarian literature, called Visegrad 4 Countries, on their website. Additionally, and most important for folks like me (linguistically challenged), there's a translation of the anthology text in English.

Pal Bekes (Hungary), the anthology's editor-in-chief, headed the project that received support by the following country editors: Ivory Rodriguez (Czech Republic), Ina Martinova (Slovakia), and Piotr Marciszuk (Poland).

Authors include: Jan Balaban, Stanislav Beran, and Jachym Topol (Czech Republic); Karol D. Horvath, Marius Kopcsay, and Ursula Kovalyk (Slovakia); Pawel Huelle, Olga Tokarczukova, and Daniel Odija (Poland); and Lajos Parti Nagy, Szilard Podmaniczky, Margit Halaszova, and Gyorgy Spiro (Hungary).


As I have only read Jachym Topol from the above list of Central/East European writers, I'm looking forward to reading my own downloaded copy over the holidays.

28 August 2008

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter "Dallas" Lost at Sea

Hmmm... U.S. Coast Guard cutter "Dallas" seems to have gotten lost, since (last time I checked) THE U.S. COAST IS NOWHERE NEAR THE BLACK SEA.

thisislondon.co.uk article
(with pic of "Dallas" arriving in Batumi, Georgia - a port on the Black Sea)

official US Coast Guard photo on flickr
(of "Dallas" at a port in Crete, Greece)

It doesn't matter whether the Coast Guard cutter ship is there "for humanitarian reasons" or not, it's the type of action that makes the US look either a) aggressive, b) stupid, or c) both a & b.

21 August 2008

Originial Blade Server

Wikipedia mentions plenty about blade servers here.

But strangely... in Wikipedia's "history of blade servers" section, no mention is made of Zorro.

18 February 2008

Why the World Laughs at Americans

Do you want to know one major reason so many Europeans laugh when they see an advertisements like the following pop up on their computer screens, assuming that they (and everyone else not born in the USA) naturally would want to live there?

They laugh because of the utter arrogance of such assumptions, the downward spiral of the US Dollar... and also because of stupid things like this (note location of Iraq):

Apparently, CNN thinks Iraq has relocated to where Germany used to be.

And in another interesting change of geography, Hungary seems to have shifted west - far enough to have replaced Austria - thus moving Slovakia's capital, Bratislava, to the southernmost tip of Czech republic...

So how does Czech Republic feel about their acquisition of Slovakia's capital, Bratislava? Well, one can't be sure. You could ask them, but... Czech Republic is now apparently called "Switzerland"...

So maybe we should ask Slovakia how it feels about its capital having been moved to Czech Republic (now known as Switzerland). But wait... I don't think they're going to care! Slovakia has now moved a few hundred kilometers southwest to a Mediterranean climate, apparently to take over Slovenia's territory. And thus, the former Ljubljana, Slovenia appears to be the new Bratislava, Slovakia...

15 February 2008

Some Concerts I've Experienced

Most of these at various venues in ATLANTA (GA), CHATTANOOGA (TN), or at CALHOUN (GA)'s own little "Concerts in the Country" venue. Notice the list starts country (when I was only allowed to attend concerts with my mom & stepdad), but gets much better...

The Righteous Brothers & Kenny Rogers. Alabama. Sawyer Brown (numerous times). Ray Stevens. John Snyder. Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers. The Beach Boys at Fulton County Stadium (after a Braves game). Chicago at Six Flags.

James Brown, TLC, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, & Dick Clark at a pre-Olympics celebration.

Rush & Mr. Big at the Omni (the night Paul Gilbert got a drill caught in his hair during a typical 80s guitar wank, and they had to cut it out backstage).

The Black Crowes on the last night they opened for ZZ Top, before the latter kicked them off the tour (supposedly for using foul language -- what?! that's what rock n roll is for! -- but more likely because Chris Robinson made mention to the audience about ticket prices being too high).

Lollapalooza II: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry (with cameo by Kirk Hammet), Lush, Ice Cube, Porno for Pyros, House of Pain, Stone Temple Pilots, etc.

Lollapalooza III: Alice in Chains, Fishbone, Primus, Arrested Development, Dinosaur Jr., Rage Against the Machine, Luscious Jackson, Tool, etc.

Lollapalooza IV: Beastie Boys, George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars, L7, The Breeders, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Black Crowes, etc.

Spin Doctors/Soul Asylum/Screaming Trees & Bad Company/Damn Yankees – Lakewood Amphitheatre. Lenny Kravitz & Blind Melon at Chastain Park. Prince at the Fox. Jayhawks & Dramarama at the Roxy for $2.49.

Bob Dylan.

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. J.J. Cale. Morphine. All in Little Five Points (Atlanta). The Band – numerous places, among them Market Street Performance Hall. Government Mule at the Sandbar. Drivin n Cryin at the Sandbar. Widespread Panic at the National Guard Armoury. Phish in Nashville with guest appearance by Bela Fleck.

Go west, young man... Most of the following in/around PORTLAND (OR)...

Wilco/John Hiatt/Los Lobos in Pioneer Square (Wilco numerous other times/places). Southern Culture on the Skids. White Stripes at Berbati's. Jayhawks at Music Millenium. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Neil Young, solo & acoustic at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Kelly Joe Phelps at the Aladdin with Tom Waits' bass player & Morphine's drummer.

Tom Waits in Eugene. Willie Nelson at Clark County Fair. Chris Isaac at Portland Zoo. Jeff Tweedy solo – Aladdin Theatre & Crystal Ballroom.

And then, halfway around the globe -- PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC...

Kackala at Roxy NOD, Marian Varga at Vagon, Hudba Praha and Morcheeba at Lucerna, Jaroslav Hutka at a tiny cafe/pub, Brad Huff all over town, many many times... Niceland (Misha, my former flatmate for six months), Psi Vojaci, and Plastic People of the Universe at Bohnice...

And now I've got a baby, so no concerts for a while. :-)

28 January 2008

Social Networking for Book Lovers

I didn't know social networking sites for book lovers existed before a friend sent me an invitation to Shelfari. I was pleased. A typical list-making (over-analyzing) Virgo, I've been tracking the books I've read in an Excel spreadsheet for over 10 years. I was more than glad to have a way to share that information with friends, a way to see what they might be reading, and to answer any questions they might have about the books I've read.

So I signed up with Shelfari, and it was only later that I found there are several similar sites to choose from. So I did some digging around, and here are a few more I found:


If you want to know which is right for you, there's a fairly in-depth review and comparison of Gurulib, Shelfari, and Librarything at the librarytwopointzero blog. Also, here's an article/review at Publishers Weekly.

Google, never to be outdone, launched their own version in Sept 2007, called MyLibrary. You can read more about Google's version on the Wired Blog.

And if you're still undecided, a few other sites are available:

As for me, I'm glad I didn't research this earlier, before joining Shelfari, or I might've gone crazy with all the options. Overall, my Shelfari page is perfect for what I need it for, and it's got other features I don't even use (such as book reviews and book groups).

If you know of other sites, or would like to comment on any of the above, please leave it in the comments section.

25 January 2008

Ross Perot - On Money & Happiness

"Right after my company got successful, as a young man I met some of the wealthiest people in the world. I found that they were such unhappy, lonely people... I learned that money and happiness are unrelated."

~ Ross Perot

23 January 2008

Bye Bye, Mr. American Ledger

Yes, I know Heath Ledger was Australian, but he seems to me now to have been more "American" than most USA-born celebrities. He was, after all, living in Brooklyn. By choice. When he didn't have to.

I just heard about his death via www... and while I was reading about it, about him (synchronistically, Don McClean's song "Bye Bye Miss American Pie" was playing on my speakers), I realized the most 'tragic' aspect of his loss: he was reported to have been a good father. And now his young daughter, Matilda, will feel the void more than anyone else.

My hat is off to the late Heath Ledger. Pending autopsy will show this or that, rumors and suspicions may or may not be confirmed, some overzealous religious wingnuts will proclaim it as God punishing him for playing a homosexual in Brokeback Mountain, but none of that matters.

What matters is that, even for the two years of her life, Ledger was a good father. And for that he has my respect.

13 January 2008

Oscar Wilde's De Profundis

I recently saw the film Wilde, about Oscar Wilde, a man whose wit will be forever quoted. I was a little disappointed that the film was more about Wilde's homosexuality than his writing, but that seems to be the trend these days.

Oscar Wilde's De Profundis is a long and sappy letter he wrote to his lover while imprisoned for their 'transgressions'. (Yes, I'm obviously obsessed with all things de profundis.)

I've included here some of the more notable quotes from the text:

Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain.


Prosperity, pleasure and success, may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things. There is nothing that stirs in the whole world of thought to which sorrow does not vibrate in terrible and exquisite pulsation.


The poor are wise, more charitable, more kind, more sensitive than we are. In their eyes prison is a tragedy in a man's life, a misfortune, a casuality, something that calls for sympathy in others. They speak of one who is in prison as of one who is 'in trouble' simply. It is the phrase they always use, and the expression has the perfect wisdom of love in it.


Nothing seems to me of the smallest value except what one gets out of oneself. My nature is seeking a fresh mode of self-realisation. That is all I am concerned with. And the first thing that I have got to do is to free myself from any possible bitterness of feeling against the world.


I am completely penniless, and absolutely homeless. Yet there are worse things in the world than that.


I am a born antinomian. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that there is something wrong in what one becomes.


Religion does not help me. The faith that others give to what is unseen, I give to what one can touch, and look at[...] Every thing to be true must become a religion. And agnosticism should have its ritual no less than faith. It has sown its martyrs, it should reap its saints, and praise God daily for having hidden Himself from man.


Reason does not help me. It tells me that the laws under which I am convicted are wrong and unjust laws, and the system under which I have suffered a wrong and unjust system.


The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what beauty is, and those who know what sorrow is: nobody else interests me.


I now see that sorrow, being the supreme emotion of which man is capable, is at once the type and test of all great art. What the artist is always looking for is the mode of existence in which soul and body are one and indivisible: in which the outward is expressive of the inward: in which form reveals.


We call ours a utilitarian age, and we do not know the uses of any single thing. We have forgotten that water can cleanse, and fire purify, and that the Earth is mother to us all. As a consequence our art is of the moon and plays with shadows, while Greek art is of the sun and deals directly with things. I feel sure that in elemental forces there is purification, and I want to go back to them and live in their presence.


I have grown tired of the articulate utterances of men and things. The Mystical in Art, the Mystical in Life, the Mystical in Nature this is what I am looking for.

06 January 2008

What People Seem to Want

My blog statistics show that a large percentage of my hits are from folks searching for "nude girls," which directs them to my reposting of a funny video with naked mannequins and skateboards. What disappointment!

Another big target is my recommendation of a Lonely Planet article about Russian spas in which the attendees flog each other. They find this when they search "naked Russians." Again, big disappointment.

So in tribute to these misguided search attempts for visual stimulation of a more pornographic nature, I am posting here a photo that will disappoint yet again! It's for all those who google "cameltoe" hoping for a glimpse of tight cloth against the female genitalia. YOU AIN'T GONNA GET IT HERE! LOLOLOLOLOLOL :P