Happy 20 April 2014!

Well Happy Holiday or non-Holiday to all my followers and random surfers!!

Hope you guys are having a stellar weekend so far, and a stellar Sunday to close it out!

I thought I would mention a few items, beyond the obvious, that occurred on this day that I found interesting:

1775 – British begin siege of Boston
1792 – France declares war on Austria, Prussia & Sardinia
1799 – Napoleon issues a decree calling for establishing Jerusalem for Jews
1828 – René Caillié is first non-Muslim to enter Timbouctou.
1841 – 1st detective story (Edgar Allen Poe’s “Murders in Rue Morgue”) published
1862 – The first pasteurization test completed by Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard.
1888 – 246 reported killed by hail in Moradabad, India
1894 – 136,000 mine workers strike in Ohio for pay increase
1896 – 1st public film showing in US John Philip Sousa’s “El Capitan” premieres in NYC
1902 – Marie & Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive element radium chloride
1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day.
1920 – Tornadoes kill 219 in Alabama & Mississippi
1941 – 100 German bombers attack Athens
1944 – Dutch Communist Party resistance fighter John Postma sentence to death
1945 – Soviet troops enter Berlin
1963 – All Africa Conferences of Churches opens in Kampala Uganda
1964 – 86% of Black students boycott Cleveland schools
1965 – People’s Republic China offers North Vietnam military aid
1967 – US Surveyor 3 lands on Moon
1968 – English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial Rivers of Blood speech
1986 – Michael Jordan sets NBA playoff record with 63 points in a game
1987 – US deports Karl Linnas to USSR, charged with Nazi war crimes
1988 – US accuses Renamo of killing 100,000 Mozambiquians
1998 – German terrorist group Red Army Faction announces their dissolution after 28 years
1999 – Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School located in Jefferson County, Colorado
2004 – In Iraq, 12 mortars are fired on Abu Ghraib Prison by insurgents, killing 22 detainees and wounding 92
2007 – Johnson Space Center Shooting: A man with a handgun barricades himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself
2008 – Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race
2010 – Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion kills 11 and causes rig to sink, initiating a massive oil discharge in the Gulf of Mexico
2013 – 193 people are killed and 11,826 are injured after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake strikes Lushan County, China

These statistics courtesy of History Orb.

Happy Holidays, Merry Mass of Christ and Improbable Heights

‘When you strip everything away from Batman, you are left with someone who doesn’t want to see anyone die.’ — KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

When I think of humanity in general, and the holiday season in particular it strikes me that that should be our goal. The pursuit of a world, where nobody dies in vain.

But the reality, particularly in America, this time of year is that with the eyes of the media diverted; government sponsored mass-murders actually ramp up, bombings ramp up (now of the drone and unmanned variety, machines murdering men.. what an unholy road we walk), the terrorism of the rich… ramps up.

I’ll not forget the media celebrating the death of Bin Laden. Death and Murder and Torture are never things to celebrate, no matter the justification.

While I am savage enough to know that killing may be a necessary evil, I am human and moral enough to know it is never a joy, never a victory, never a cause for celebration.

Be the murdered Bin Laden, or Hitler or insert bogieman here, bringing murder to murderers is never anything less than a soiling, and a failure, necessary though it may be, it is a failure of reason. And as such is a solemn time, not a glorious one.

Because to do otherwise, to take joy from death, and celebration from degradation and horror… is to devoid you of moral high-ground, is to make you (in ways stark and true) worse than those you would revile, worse than your Hitlers and Bin-Ladens. It makes you a lynchmob, a coward, and an opportunist of carnage.

We must strive to be better than that, otherwise your protestations of Christianity, and Holy Nights, and piety are just lies, are hypocrisy and mendacity most foul, that you use to conceal your roman desire to see people bleed and suffer and die.

You become that lowest form of life, a gibbering coward among cowards, you become nothing more than a grasping claw, a rolling eye, and a screeching mouth… in the creature we call lynchmob. And there is no lower, and ultimately, more inhuman form of life.

Our goal therefore must be to reject that, to reject the easy lies and the easy hates, and work toward this wildly improbable world where no one dies in vain.

But humanity’s very existence is an improbability, so we can bend that already fanciful existence to either improbable heights of good, or improbable depths of evil. We just have to pick a direction.

‘We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. ‘ — John Fitzgerald Kennedy when imploring men into space

Here, on this holiday season, more fiction than fact, ‘goodwill to all'; look into yourself and find what is hypocrisy, what is lies, and find it in yourself to make truths, and truly believe and act on this idea…. of a time of peace.

Here endeth the lesson.

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Holidays in December! or ‘Santa you gonna Pay what you owe!!!’

Rosa Parks Day Dec 1

National Day – United Arab Emirates Dec 2  – I have problems with Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates. Mostly being that much of American tax dollars is funneled into this pleasure palace of the ultra rich. I think the rich are robbing from America, to set up a deluxe retreat from which they can sit out America’s fall. The fall they are pushing us to.

Anna’s Day Dec 9 – A Swedish holiday, celebrating people with the name Anna? That appears to be a good amount of the population. :) .

Human Rights Day                                        Dec 10
Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe             Dec 12
Winter Solstice & Yule Festival                Dec 21
Boxing Day Dec 26
Kwanzaa                                                            December 26 – January 1
Jose Rizal Day                                                 Dec 30

Wait— did I forget one? Oh yes—Christmas. The Mass of Christ- Dec 25

Here’s the thing about the Mass of Christ.

There is no evidence of the month or year of the birth of the person referred to as Christ. And indeed the modern construct of Christmas, is very much that… a construct. A product of crass commercialism, the date 25 December, having historically nothing to do with the figure of Christ.

What we do know is there was a celebration the Roman’s performed, on December 25th, to their pagan gods. That holiday would seem to be what we are, with television’s help, still celebrating, but have simply renamed their pagan god, with a christian appellation.

The truth of this, you can take, or you can leave alone.

If the holiday brings you a moment of true brotherhood that’s fine. But largely it’s not. Bombings and invasions of other countries by America’s Industrial War Complex tends to ramp up around the holiday seasons, while Americans are sidetracked stuffing their faces, and trying to buy things they can’t afford, and generally making lip service to a man of peace, while following men of war, into spreading blood and gore and death around the globe.

Merry Christmas. :).

My friend who is a huge Christmas fan could not disagree with me more. And that’s her right. If Christmas or anything brings you true joy, that’s fine. I’m all for it. I have no problem with ritual and myth.

I enjoy a midnight mass as well as a Buddhist temple or a Mosque or a Synagogue or a Vodun Temple. I enjoy anyplace where people genuinely seek something higher, something better, something sincerely sacred.

But make it something sincerely sacred.

Something without too much hypocrisy, and not built on mountains of lies and greed.

Don’t lose the meaning in the merchandising.

Happy Holidays, however you choose to meet the end of the year.

George Washington’s Christmas Gift and Benedict Arnold’s legacy

This was an interesting posting I came across.

George Washington’s Christmas Gift

However, like too many re-imaginings of America’s independence from Britain it kinda leaves out the fact that losing the colony was the cost Britain paid for fighting a multi-pronged war with France at the time. Without France lending support, and keeping the sea supremacy of Britain embroiled on other fronts, it is staggeringly unlikely the fledgling colony would have won her war of Independence.

And it also overplays George Washington’s hand in the victory. One of the greatest warriors of the Revolutionary War, whose decisive victories and battle strategies rewrote at the time, modern combat, and swung the tide of battle was not George Washington, it was the man we have since relegated and derided as a traitor… It was Benedict Arnold.

One of the greatest warriors this nation has ever produced.

Still the above quick link is worth a read.

POSTER OF THE DAY: WAR GODDESS!!

I haven’t seen this movie, but man that’s a fantastic poster. And add that to surprisingly decent reviews for what amounts to an exploitation flick, and that it’s directed by Terence Young of James Bond/DR. NO/FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE fame, and the fact you can pick up the DVD cheap, and yeah I think I’ll be adding the DVD to my shopping list (I already have the poster, it’s pretty large at 2ft by 3ft, and looks even more awesome in person).

WAR GODDESS DVD

WAR GODDESS LARGE POSTER

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Looking for a tablet, ereader, Kindle, Ipad? Read this first!

15 April 2012: This is today’s CLASSIC POST!!

A tablet is a form factor/hybrid still very much in search of a purpose.

The IPAD has inexplicably become all the rage, but recent studies show the number one thing people do with the IPAD is play a game called Angry Birds, followed by email, followed by web browsing.

At $500 that’s a lot to pay for what amounts to a crippled laptop. I mean, you spend your money how you want to spend your money, but for me $500 for a tablet, with the limitations current tablets have, doesn’t make sense. Tablet’s currently being something that is neither quite as portable as a phone or as useful and powerful as a laptop, but some bastardized form in search of a function.

The form factor of a tablet lends itself to one attractive purpose, wherein it does something better than either a phone or a laptop, as an ebook reader. With the dimensions generally of a book, the tablet format lends itself to easy reading on the couch or in coach or business class while traveling.

The ability to easily read books or magazines or comics, when carrying multiple real books would not be as convenient is a real selling point. As a traveler I can appreciate this purpose, and niche, that the tablet format can fill better than squinting at a tiny phone screen, or lugging around a laptop.

So at its heart the central selling feature of the tablet format, 7″-10″ screen, is easy, book like reading. That said a tablet is not an ebook. A true ebook uses eink, and while monochrome is supposedly easier reading than the LCD format (The eye strain argument. I’ve worked on both, and for myself find the difference negligible. I’m used to LCD screens, and just adjust the brightness to a comfortable range, and for me what you gain in color, offsets whatever you may lose in sharpness with eink), and is far better on power usage, lasting weeks on a single charge as opposed to hours for a LCD screen.

So if you just want an Ebook reader, you can get decent ones between $80 to $250. Generally speaking the big thing to look for regarding ebooks is does it play epub files (which is the standard and pretty awesome format used by libraries and bookstores, as well as free online repositories etc), pdfs (which we’re all familiar with, and many magazines come as), and text (which again is supported by many free sites).

So when looking at Ebooks such as the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, the Kindle by virtue of being the defacto standard of the world’s largest book and shopping site, gives it a massive edge just in terms of prevalence and ease of adopt-ability. Add to that Amazon having the lowest price, and all things being equal why would you not buy the Kindle?

Well here’s the problem, and here is where Amazon for me, shoots themselves in the foot. All things are not equal. Amazon did not trust themselves to create a quality ereader, and didn’t trust you the consumer enough to give you choice. A common problem with business in the 21st century, they don’t want to earn your business, they want to own your business, they want to enslave you. What do I mean by this? Amazon decides to not support on their Kindle Ereader the defacto standard of Epub, and instead creates a new proprietary format, AZW.

You’re already inclined to buy the effing electronic book from Amazon, that should have been win enough for them, but no, they basically want you to buy the book and read it on their device. It’s like me buying a book from a physical store, and then the cashier telling me you can only read the book in the store.

If I have a hundred ebook readers, consider them different rooms in my house, I should be able to read my ebook I bought from Amazon in any damn room I feel like. The purpose of a locked down AZW ebook format is to keep you from having digitally, the same rights you have in the real, physical world.

That’s the problem corporations have in the 21st century, they want a certainty on your actions, that they never had previously, and to do this they are willing to criminalize anything they cannot control, and for me I don’t respond well to you trying to own me. You don’t get to be sure, you get to make a product, you get to sell a product, and you get paid for a product, and you get to deal with wrong doing if it happens, but you don’t get to treat me like a criminal before a crime, which is what all these companies, movies, music, media conglomerates are doing.

You have customers you treat em with respect. And if it turns out a customer bought your book and is running off a printing press in his basement and is selling copies, you prosecute him. What you don’t do is treat all your customers like criminals, because of the one criminal you may have to deal with.

That’s the 21st century mindset between devices like the Kindle, that I was all for buying, $90 Ereader?? Cool? Wait, I can’t read Epubs on it? Wait I can’t transfer easily AZW files to other devices? Wait so I’m paying you $90 for a reader, that is basically a jail cell for books I buy from you but don’t really own, and that are locked down with DRM? I’m paying you like $90 to treat me like a criminal in other words? And Kindle Fire is just as crappy and locked down.

Well to that I say, eff you very much Amazon. I’ll stick to just getting real books from you, get my ebooks somewhere else, and look for an Ereader that will let me play my purchased or free ebooks as I see fit. So to the Amazon VP who brainstormed their Kindle/lock-down/AZW/slap customers in the face policy…

You’re making money, but you could have made more, if you feared less.

or in other words…

Shove the Kindle where the sun don’t shine and set it on fire.

Why don’t I tell you how I really feel? :)

And this comes from someone who does business with Amazon and likes buying print books from them. But ebooks? No I’m not doing their DRM nonsense.

Anyhow, so once that decision was made regarding the cheap Kindle not being for me, I decided if I was going to pay anywhere near $200 for something to read ebooks, then I should get something that would handle all my reading needs. Including comics, magazines.

So that meant color, and that meant LCD screens, and that meant Tablets.

Now I knew looking at tablets, specifically the Ipad, that there was no way on earth this was something I was going to pay anywhere near $500 for. $500 for what amounted to a stopgap technology, a glorified ereader, or a crippled laptop if you will. And researching Tablets I saw Apple Ipad was infected with the same disease/mentality as Amazon’s Kindle in essence it’s designed to treat you like a criminal before crime.

What do I mean? No USB ports. No HDMI ports, No SD support. Things have to be transferred to and from the Ipad via the Matrix GateKeepers of Itunes. Cloud Computing in other words. Cloud Computing is the 21st century re-purposing of the 20th century thin client/server model, but pushed from corporate America to the masses.

In a word… Cloud Computing sucks! Cloud Computing is you trusting your information to companies that don’t trust you.

How on earth does that make sense to you?

Cloud Computing is the move to eradicate the hard-drive for the individual, the idea of private storage. Eff that! I’ll hold onto my hard-drive.

It’s that level of utter control of everything you do with the device, this Draconian iron fist, that I’m just not effing having. I’m just not going to 1/ to be treated that way and 2/for what amounts to a severely crippled device. And I’m definitely not paying anything over $250 for a bloody tablet.

And at $250, at $200, at $150, at $100, I still wouldn’t pay for the effing Ipad. No USB, no HDMI, no SD support, beautiful screen or no, it’s a paper weight to me without those ports.

And Apple’s tendency to treat customers either like children or criminals extends to their corporate mentality. Morally the company is doing some really immoral stuff in regards to software patents and stifling innovation. If Apple has its way there will be no alternative to Apple’s high-priced crippled devices. So people should really think twice before supporting them, because they definitely don’t have supporting you… in mind.

So what would I buy in tablets? I’m liking the Android tablets, and I think the Toshiba Thrive and Asus Transformer, are great Ipad killers. Offering all the useful things the Ipad doesn’t.

Unfortunately while not as expensive as the over-priced crap that is the Ipad, they are still expensive and above my $250 Tablet limit. However going used I can get an Ipad Killer, that meets all my needs and then some, chief among them, bringing it all home, ebook reading.

So my choice for the recommended Tablet this holiday season?

From France the feature rich ARCHOS 101 10.1″ Tablet. And while the latest version is generation 9, and generation 10 is on the horizon, generation 8 which you can get used blows away any Ipad in terms of versatility and usability. Now, it doesn’t offer 3G, but Wi-fi is all I need. Plus if you do need anywhere support you can always tether to your smartphone or use your USB aircard with a cradlepoint. All cheap, easy alternatives to spending hundreds more just to get a built in 3G/4G connection.

All in all, by the time I’ve done the learning curve, and outgrown (if I do) this Archos 101 G8. the used Thrive or the used Achos G10 will be available in my price range of $250. A lot of people buy above what they’ll use, and by the time they master it the next new thing is out, that’s why it saves to not be an early adopter.

If more people did this, ignoring or waiting for prices to drop, manufacturers would be forced to stop this overpricing of tablets.

So that’s it kids, a month or so of research distilled to my choice of the best buy for a tablet this holiday season.

Here’s one link:

Archos 101 16GB

With a little searching you can pick up an Archos 101 16GB G8 for under $200. And out the box it comes with the Alkido Ereader installed. One of the selling points for me, along with tons of other reasons, including the built in stand.

Well that’s it folks.

Good shopping!

Gift Ideas for the Holidays! Part1 of 3!

Okay so the holidays are right around the corner, and no doubt you’re looking for great gift ideas to give the loved and liked ones in your life, as well as to give yourself.

So without further ado today’s recommended, the-artist-among-you-would-love, item, is REBUS by James Jean.

REBUS, his newest, latest, and arguably most comprehensive art book, is a sumptuous tome. It had me at the red gilded pages, and sewn binding. Take a gander.

REBUS

Just released the book is already almost out of print. But check the link below for any available copies, or news of a new printing.

James Jean’s REBUS HC: Price it Here