Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bist du ein Deutscher?

Last week the cafeteria at work served bratwurst and sauerkraut. This was a rare treat--I love the stuff and hardly anyone ever serves it. Unfortunatly they failed to include the requisite red cabbage and potato pancakes, but I didn't mind. I took my lunch back into the break area. As I ate, three different times people paused as they walked by to peer at my plate, and in a slightly puzzled voice ask, "Is your family German?"

I find the question amusing. The implication, or course, is that no one in his right mind would enjoy bratwurst unless he had an irresistable genetic predisposition that overrode the natural order--rather like being gay, I guess. You don't see such behavior with other foods. Imagine how ridiculous you would sound asking someone eating pepper steak, "Oh, are you Chinese?"

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Supreme Ct gives private homeowners the finger

I try on this blog to maintain a sense of decorum. But today I'm unable to restrain my ire. If this doesn't piss you off, it should.

Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, your local government can look over at the family home where your relatives lived for 200 years, and if they decide they want to put a hotel there THEY CAN TAKE YOUR HOME AND GIVE TO DEVELOPERS. Giving the government the ability to take real property away from one private party and give it another should be anathema in a free society. Thus the rich continue to prey on others, sanctioned by our blessed Government. It's outrageous; it's wrong, and I disrespectfully dissent.

Write your Congressman and tell them to quit fucking around with bullshit amendments to ban free speech and start protecting PEOPLE'S HOMES, not FLAGS.

Update: Damned if the Republicans didn't agree with me.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Fire your DJ

DJs communicate to the masses
Sex and violent classes
Now our children grow up prisoners
All their lives--radio listeners!
--"Radio Song," REM, Out of Time (1991).
Sick of hearing the same 30 songs on the Clear Channel monopoly, I recently decided to make the jump to XM. So far I have to say it's been a good decision. Only gripes are that not all stations are commercial-free, and there's a buzz in my speakers that comes and goes--only with the XM--and I hope to get that looked at soon. But I now have 150 stations to channel-surf. There's a station for each decade from the '40s-'90s, stations for top-40, showtunes, international, comedy, old radio shows, etc. So it's goodbye to BS discussions about the latest draft pick, American Idol vote-off, Astros loss, or celebrity gossip. Ahhhh... Life is good.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Always Read the License!

I recently found a very disturbing license agreement that comes with the latest patch to a popular computer game. In addition to a standalone version, this game can be played online against other players. Some shady people are known hack into the program to "improve" their chances in online play, so Even Balance, a company in Spring, Texas, came up with a program called PunkBuster. Its purpose is to prevent cheating on an on-line gaming board. Cheating is bad, sure. But take a look at this license agreement:
Licensee understands that PunkBuster software inspects and reports information about the computer on which it is installed to other connected computers and Licensee agrees to allow PunkBuster software to inspect and report such information about the computer on which Licensee installs PunkBuster software. Licensee understands and agrees that the information that may be inspected and reported by PunkBuster software includes, but is not limited to, devices and any files residing on the hard-drive and in the memory of the computer on which PunkBuster software is installed. Further, Licensee consents to allow PunkBuster software to transfer actual screenshots taken of Licensee's computer during the operation of PunkBuster software for possible publication.
There's no way anyone should agree to a license like that. Ever. Yet you can't install the patch to get stability and performance improvements unless you also accept Punkbuster. I sent them an email but they haven't responded. (Surprised?)