Posts 201 to 225:

Deep thoughts...

Deep thoughts, by my brotha Konstantin:

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Posted by Anthony on reply

Baghdad Bob

We love the Iraqi Information Minister.  Here are a few of his choicest  morsels:

"They are not in Najaf. They are nowhere. They are on the moon. They are snakes in the desert..."

"Even those who live on another planet, if there are such people, would have condemned this action before it started."

"...they are nowhere (pause)...they are nowhere, really"

"Whenever we attack, they retreat. When we pound them with missiles and heavy artillery, they retreat even deeper. But when we stopped pounding, they pushed to the airport for propaganda purposes.’’

"They think we are retarded - they are retarded."

"Yesterday, we slaughtered them and we will continue to slaughter them."

"What they say about a breakthrough [in Najaf] is completely an illusion. They are sending their warplanes to fly very low in order to have vibrations on these sacred places . . . they are trying to crack the buildings by flying low over them."

"They are superpower of villains. They are superpower of Al Capone."

Visit the official site for more.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

The Jersey Shore

Just got back from the Jersey Shore.  Wait, not the Jersey Shore, but Jersey Shore, PA.  It’s a small town about 60 miles northeast of State College.  I’d been working on an improvement to my musicbox, and wanted to test it out, so around 4am I went for a drive.

A long drive.  I just headed up 220 north, because I’d never taken it before, and there’s something about driving to new places -- or just driving through new places -- that is enchanting to me.  I’d seen this town of "Jersey Shore" on maps, so when I happened to see a roadsign for it, I decided that that would be my destination.

There’s something fantastic about watching the night turn to morning, and that happened as I drove.  There are some decent-sized mountains here (decent compared to the Philly suburbs, not compared to Colorado...), and I saw the light blue creeping over the peaks.  I also drove through a storm, and then saw some giant lightning streaks in the distance.  When I didn’t see the bolts, I saw the sky flashing beyond the ridges ahead of me.

Jersey Shore wasn’t much to be excited about, though I can’t say I saw very much of it.  But it did have a neat river going by it, which I suppose is better said "it was built along a neat river," since it wasn’t the river who chose the town.

And the improvement to my musicbox turned out to not improve anything.  The problem was that if the computer is already on and playing music when you ignite the engine, then the computer reboots.  That’s because computers need their voltages to be fairly precise, and when a car’s battery is trying to turn the engine over, the voltage drops from the normal 12 volts down to about 9 volts.  The idea I had was to put a giant capacitor on the power cable, because capacitors store charge sort of like batteries, but they can release all their charge almost instantaneously, so they have the ability to smooth out any inconsistencies in voltage that might occur.  Big capacitors are often used in car stereos with subwoofers, because subs need a lot of current and when a loud bass note occurs, it tends to dim the car’s headlights and/or not hit as hard as it should.

Anyway I installed a 1 Farad capacitor.  Which is huge -- it’s about the size and shape of 2 soda cans stacked on top of eachother -- and to put it in perspective, the electronic circuit boards in computers and CD players and other devices also use capacitors, but their capacitance is usually only a few microfarads (0.000001 farads) or maybe a few millifarads (0.001 farads).  But as huge as it is, apparently it’s not enough, because the computer still doesn’t survive ignition.  Which isn’t a problem from any practical perspective; I rarely use the ignition once the car is already running, unless I stall the engine (which never happens), or for some reason, I turn the car off but leave the key in the accessory position, and then turn the car back on.

So... the cap didn’t solve that problem, but at least now my headlights don’t dim when the bass is pumping.

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies

Can you say "Cheesy"?

For the (former) dictator of Iraq, only the best will do... or something like that:

The home’s 1960s look parodied in the series of "Austin Powers" spy spoofs inspired a round of imitations from soldiers slogging door to door.

"Yeah, baaabeee," said Carter, doing his best imitation of actor Mike Myers’ character.

"Shagadelic," another soldier shouted.

Posted by Anthony on reply

The Big Picture

The situation in Iraq has shown beyond a doubt that Bush says what he means, and does what he says.  He’s a man of his word, much to the chagrin of the anti-war and anti-America kooks of the world.  (Including especially those anti-war and anti-America American kooks.)  Steve Den Beste lays out the big picture:

The goal of this war – the overall war, not just the battle of Iraq which is part of it – is to destabilize the entire region. That is the desirable outcome.

Destabilization is being portrayed by many as being an unintended side effect, a negative result which we are urged to work to limit. Those saying this are either naive or disingenuous, because it’s the primary reason for fighting in Iraq and always was. The goal is to bring about reform in a large number of nations in that region which have been mired in incompetent and brutal autocratic rule for decades. Conquering Iraq, and giving Iraq a liberalized government and a successful mercantile society will help bring that about.

This is truly a war of liberation. We are fighting, out of narrow self interest, to liberate the Arab people from the chains of tribalism and religious extremism and authoritarianism which bind them. We intend to liberate, and liberalize, the entire region over a generation, because if we do not they will keep attacking us and trying to kill us.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Star Spangled Ice Cream!

Check it out!!  Flavors include:

I Hate the French Vanilla
Iraqi Road
Smaller Governmint
Nutty Environmentalist

Go get some!  (Good lookin’ out to Stan.)

Posted by Anthony on reply

No Subject

I understand we are not friends...but this link is worth visiting.  There is sound so be sure to turn up your speakers.  God bless America and our troops!

Posted by April on reply

Free Iraq

The TV news channels are live in the center of Baghdad.  Hundreds of Iraqis are gathered around a giant 3 or 4 story statue of Saddam Hussein.  Apparently no longer afraid of Saddam, they have put a long noose around the neck of the statue, and are pounding away at the base of it with a sledgehammer.  Amazing.  It continues to be absolutely mind-boggling that anyone has ever claimed that the Iraqi people didn’t want this war.  This news, along with so much of the news over the past 3 weeks, shows that the anti-war camp had entirely different, selfish motives for their position.

[Update:] Steve Den Beste says it well:

It’s got to be damned tough right now being a leftist antiwar columnist. Everything went wrong – which is to say, nothing went wrong. There doesn’t seem to have been any mass slaughter of civilians. The Americans stupidly refused to carpet-bomb Baghdad. The war went rapidly, and coalition casualties are extremely light. The bombs which have been dropped have stubbornly insisted on actually hitting what they were aimed at; none of them seems to have gone off course and hit an orphanage or an old people’s home. Some days it just seems as if there’s hardly any point in getting out of bed.

And what is now coming out about life in Iraq, and the way that the Iraqis are beginning to greet the invading army, is beginning to make it look as if they’re actually the good guys; it’s beginning to look a whole lot like liberation rather than brutal conquest. Facing all of that, it’s got to be damned tough trying to find some way of proving that you were right all along and that the war really, truly, was wrong – and still is.

Of course, there’s one easy way to do it: ignore all the evidence. See what you want to see; dismiss all the rest as being propaganda manufactured by the coalition. And, of course, it is a foregone conclusion that there’s no moral equivalence between the two sides. Naturally not! How can there be equivalence when it’s obvious that the Americans and British are much worse than Saddam’s regime?
In order to prove your case, all you have to do is to make up coalition atrocities. It’s obvious that using cluster bombs on civilians is a terrible crime. Never mind that the coalition hasn’t actually done such a thing; that doesn’t matter.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


You have to love Fox’s Shepard Smith: "Now, here’s Greg Kelly, live from Saddam’s front door."  : )

Posted by Anthony on reply

How did YOU sleep last night?

Rachel has a good one about our troops over there... photos of them "resting."

Posted by Anthony on reply

Mobile MP3 In Full Effect

The musicbox is installed, Golfy is happy, I am happy.  Go see the main page, updates page, and the new photos.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Musicbox about to go live

I hooked my musicbox up in my car last night, just temporarily to test it with the el cheapo DC->AC power inverter that I bought... and it runs!!  Even with the car off.  It doesn’t survive ignition, however, but I didn’t expect it to; at ignition, the car’s "12 volt" power line dips to more like 10 or even 9 volts.  So, that resets the unit.  But no big deal, and even the DC->DC power supply that I would have built would suffer from that problem.

So... woohoo!  This guy is ready to rock.  I wrote some code to randomize the music, so now when I press the "\" key, it plays a randomly-chosen album (out of the ~300 on the hard drive).  And when I press the "/" key, it creates a playlist of 100 randomly-chosen songs from all albums.  It’s so sweet.

I found out that I can send the audio signal into my head unit via the CD changer plug [which I’m not using (obviously, now  : )  ], so that makes life easier, because I can use the head unit’s volume control to control the musicbox’s volume.  All I need to do is buy the $18 cable from Kenwood, which just "converts" the 13-pin DIN CD changer plug into 2 RCA plugs.  Which means, of course, that 2 of those 13 pins are the left and right audio channels, one is the audio ground, and 1 or 2 are used to tell the head unit that there’s a CD changer present.  And that means... I don’t need no steekin’ $18 cable, I can hack it myself.  Go engineering!

Looking at the current competition in the car mp3 market, we have:

The Sony MEX-1HD.  10 gigabyte hard drive.  So going with an average of 75 megabytes per album, you can fit 133 albums into this guy.  But you can’t just copy them from your existing mp3 collection.  You have to rip each CD through the head unit onto its internal hard drive.  At 8x speed (= insanely slow).  And the display is tiny and cluttered.  For $1500.  Well, at least it’s cool looking.

Then there’s the Neo Car Jukebox.  This thing is pretty cool.  It has an internal hard drive too, and you can choose the size: 20 gig for $380, 40 for $440, and 80 for $500.  But it doesn’t mount in your dash like a normal stereo; instead it mounts under a seat like an amp, and it has a wired remote display / controller that you stick on the dash somewhere.  So that’s sort of tacky and weird, and it’s a small display too.

For both of those, you have to scroll through your music collection to find the band you want to listen to.  Scrolling on a display with 3 or 4 lines is a painful experience.  I think this is the biggest strength of my design.  Although you can scroll it just like those others, you can also go directly to the band you want just by typing 2 or 3 letters of the band’s name.  Type b e and you’re at Beastie Boys.

Most people’s initial reaction to this is "typing while driving???  that is so dangerous!!"  Well, it’s not typing as in typing your tax return.  It’s hitting 3 keys, for goodness’ sakes.  You need to have your eyes off the road for much longer in order to scroll through 100 or 200 or 300 bands, than to hit 3 keys.

Having a keyboard in your car also seems sorta annoying... I wasn’t sure how to get around this until I happened across this Gyration keyboard one day.  It’s small and thin and light, it’s wireless (radio) so you don’t have to point it or mess with wires, and it’s slick looking because it’s black.

And my display is big -- 4x40 characters -- and it fits right in the dash like a head unit.  So as far as looks, my setup is looking pretty nice.  And it was way cheaper than the Sony unit above, and even a little cheaper than the Neo.  $100 for the keyboard (which came with a mouse that I didn’t want, and a mouse charger, so it should be much cheaper), $120 for a 40 gigabyte hard drive, about $70 for an old computer, $30 for the LCD screen, and $0 for all the free software that I used/wrote for it.  So just over $300, and probably more like $270 once Gyration starts selling the keyboard separately from the mouse and charger.

Oh, one last thing... and this completely blows everything else out of the water... once I manage to set up wireless networking in Linux, my musicbox will have mobile wireless internet access  : )  Now, I won’t be web-browsing too much on a 4x40 screen (although some pages like stock scripts and news tickers... and come to think of it, blogs... would be perfectly do-able) but email and instant messaging will surely be in full effect.

Posted by Anthony on 9 replies

stock streamer

Hey A,

I’m playing around a little with your streamer script, and it only seems to update the first stock on the list, while the others remain unchanged and at the time the script was started.  What’s up with that?

Posted by Rolly on 3 replies

political possitioning

Hi honey,  Grandpop Mack is here and we’re checking out your webpage and discussing your stand in support of our troops.  He wanted me to write to you and tell you how very proud he is that you are so involved in these current affairs and that Fox News Network (the 7:00p.m. to 9:00p.m. shows are his favorites as are yours.  (following direct quote from Grandpop Mack):  Saddam is soon going to see what the ’mother of all battles’ REALLY looks like!

Posted by Mom on 2 replies

Moosic... and da cheat

I got really into this band called "In Pieces" a few weeks ago, and their album "Learning to Accept Silence" is one of the most exciting albums I’ve heard recently.  It’s just so darn moving, it rocks, hard.  Their song "The Anchor" is my song of the week; go take a listen (also available on my music page).  It starts out all BOM BOM BOM CHA... BOM BOM BOM CHA... and then they switch up the timing halfway through the first verse and it catches you off guard and it sorta swings... then it gets really hard and dangerous, and more rocking... and then halfway into it, it gets nice and slow and quiet and you’re like "Ahhh so peaceful and pretty" but then it’s time for BOM BOM BOM CHAAAAA!! again and and . . .  well just listen to it!

So this music-playing computer that I’m about to put into my car, I mean, it’s awesome, but now that it’s about to be done, the full power of its coolness is just starting to hit me.  I’m going to be driving around with three hundred albums just a button away.  No more messing with CDs in the car.  That will be so nice.  And also, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but I’ll write some code to do random playing... so every song could be random, like the radio except all the music doesn’t stink, or I could have it do whole albums at random... I’m just so excited about this.

Oh, and one last thing, the cheat is not dead.  This is the best one in a long time  : )

Posted by Anthony on reply

Isolated Sleep Paralysis

Read some crazy stuff around the blogosphere today.  Stuff that turned out to be entirely fabricated, though.  I’m glad that I’m a hermit so that I basically stayed inside all day (well, and because I had an 8pm exam to study for), and therefore wasn’t the target of any of this April Fool’s nonsense.

The other week I learned that my friend Ben has isolated sleep paralysis.  That was really exciting; I’d never met anyone else besides me who has this... condition, or whatever it is.  When people go to sleep, certain stages of sleep (REM stages, iirc) tend to be violent, so the brain paralyzes the body to prevent you from hurting yourself.  You’d never know this, because you’re asleep while it happens.  But people who have this ISP condition are conscious while this happens.  Not all the time, though; for me, sometimes it happens 5 times in a week, and other times I’ll go 6 months without a single occurence of it.

It is impossible to convey this experience in words, but it is simultaneously mysterious, intriguing and terrifying.  It always happens right around the time when I’m falling asleep or waking up.  I try to move, and I realize that I can’t, so I know it’s happening again.  There is almost always an echoing sound that starts quiet and gets very loud, and it’s repetitive, almost like a record skipping but faster.  As I struggle to move I feel my heart start to beat really fast.

At the time, I believe that my eyes are open.  I believe I am seeing the room around me.  But from some things I’ve read, I’ve come to doubt whether they actually are open.  It may be that I only think they are open, and my brain is actually seeing an image of the room from before I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

There is always the distinct feeling of something evil around me.  But that’s something which by its very nature is impossible to quantify.  And it could be that simply being paralyzed causes me to be very afraid; that’s certainly logical.  The article I linked above talks about this, and how it could be the body/brain’s survival mechanisms reacting to what it perceives as the presence of a threat.

The thing is, it’s terrifying, but as soon as I break free from it, I want it to happen again.  I want to understand it.  I want to somehow experience it but without being terrified by the dark presence and that thrashing sound growing louder.  I never even knew that other people experienced this until I found that article one day, and that was after about 2 years of it.

So anyway, it was exciting to actually talk to another person who’s gone through it.

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies


Bill Whittle’s latest essay is online.  It’s a must-read.  Here is an excerpt:

I have often wondered, what if this history, the one we know as reality, was the one gone horribly wrong? For example:

In the fall of 1999, the Clinton Administration took the hugely unpopular decision to invade Afghanistan to root out Islamic terrorists organized by a largely-unknown fanatic named Osama Bin Laden. Operation Homeland Security cost the lives of almost 300 servicemen, and did long-lasting damage to our relations with NATO, the UN, and especially Russia. President Clinton, at great political cost to himself and the Democratic Party, claimed to be acting on repeated intelligence that Bin Laden and his “phantom” organization – whose name escapes me – planned massive and sustained terrorist attacks against the United States. Peace protestors gathered between the towers of the World Trade Center in September, 2004 on the five-year anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion, calling on President Gore to pay the UN –ordered reparations to the Taliban Government.
Posted by Anthony on reply

Welcome, Slashdotters

Wo.  I got slashdotted.  : )  But fortunately the link was pretty far down on the page, so apparently it didn’t knock my server offline at all.

So while I’d like to think that it’s normal for me to have 500+ visitors a day, it’s a lot more like 200.  The "real" record is still 230something, set just a few days ago.  There’s normally about 10 visitors per hour; today there were over 200 from 1pm-2pm alone!  Thanks slashdot!

Posted by Anthony on reply


posted image
Finally got back to working on my car mp3 player aka "musicbox."  It’s close to done... I can’t wait to get it into my car.

Unfortunately it’s SNOWING all of a sudden, after a summery week of warmness, so I won’t be putting it into my car today.  They’re calling for up to 5 inches.  Ugh.

I also worked on this messageboard / blog script: I added the ability to edit posts after they’re posted (for administrators only, of course).  So if you were an administrator like me, you’d see a link next to each post that says "edit this."  So now I don’t have to use FTP to manually edit posts when one needs to be edited -- I can do it right through the web browser.  And don’t forget, you can have this script for your very own, if you’d like.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Women and Children

And some other schmo on Hannity & Colmes said something about the US "bombing women and children" in Iraq.  Boy, was that ever a mistake -- Hannity wouldn’t let that one go for the rest of the conversation.

Like so many other statements being made about the war, this one requires that the speaker be either clinically brain-dead or deliberately lying.  If this war was about bombing women and children, or "exterminiating Iraqis" as the Iraqi UN represenatative recently said, it would have been over in one day.  We would have simply carpet-bombed Baghdad and every other major city in Iraq, reducing the entire country to a pile of rubble.  Because we most certainly could have done that.  We could do that right now.  It would reduce the risk of allied casualties to near-zero and it would cut costs dramatically too.

The reason that hasn’t happened is because that isn’t the plan.  The reason there have been so remarkably few Iraqi civillian deaths, and so remarkably little damage to non-military facilities, is because we want it that way.  Because it is our will for that to be the case.  We are in control.

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies

Arnaud Thieffry, Liar

Arnaud Thieffry, some French government official, was on Hannity & Colmes tonight.  I feel like my dad, sitting here yelling "Liar!" at the TV.  He said that if we "give up" on the UN, then there’s going to be "anarchy everywhere."  This guy is either a blabbering imbecile, or he’s a liar.  The UN does not and has not done a darn thing to keep peace anywhere.  In fact there are notable examples of the UN having failed to do just that.  It’s absolutely ridiculous to say that giving up on the UN will cause anarchy.

He also said multiple times that "Europe" disagrees with this or that, or "Europe" feels this or that about the US.  It’s a farce.  France is not Europe, and Europe is not France.  There are quite a few European countries who support the US.  France is painting this as "the US vs. the world" when that’s not even close to the case.

Further, he said he doesn’t know why France has been singled out as the focus of the US’s frustrations.  Which is, of course, a blatant lie -- he knows exactly why.  He made the ridiculous argument that the US should not punish France economically because of their actions, and asked the straw man question "Why doesn’t the US do that to Mexico, Canada, etc.?"  There’s a difference between disagreeing with the US (Mexico, Canada) and actively preventing the enforcement of UN resolutions, making a mockery of that organization, and painting the US as unilateral when that’s an outright lie (France).  So point #1 here is that France’s role was unique and entirely different from that of other countries in this situation.

Point #2 is that it’s ridiculous to suggest that we should not economically punish France, or should not treat them less warmly (to say the least) than we have in the past.  Nearly 80% of Americans support this war, and you can bet that a good portion of those people are upset about the circus Chirac has created.  You can bet a lot of Americans are upset that France not only isn’t supporting the US, but is acting directly against us and against the enforcement of UN resolutions.  Of course France doesn’t have to support us in any way.  The point is that that gate swings both ways -- we don’t have to support them either.  France has been the leader of the weasels, and they will pay for that.  And it’s not about revenge, it’s about making an example of them.  The US needs to send a message to the world that it’s not cheap and easy and fun to treat us like crap, as the French have.  Every action has consequences; it’s as simple as that.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

REI Comedy

I get email from REI (the outdoors / sportinggoods company) about specials and such, since I’m a member... this was in the mail I got today, one of "Ten Ways to Lighten Your Load":

Share gear with your partner. There’s no need for both of you to have stoves, water filters, knives, pots, first aid kits, and a host of other items. But before you marry your gear, be sure you both are committed to staying together for the duration of the hike.

One would hope!

Posted by Anthony on reply


"Stay brave, stay aware, and stay with Fox."  : )  I love Fox news.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Peace protesters, mental problems

Meanwhile, over on LGF:

It’s been obvious for sometime now that "peace" protests are actually little more than a kind of public therapy for people with serious mental problems:

Paranoia: The Government is run by a cabal of oil companies. The FBI is spying on me through optical cable in my dental floss. The CIA was behind 9-11.

Dementia: The media is right-wing. The rest of the world is ruled by France. Baked hippies can stop bulldozers with their bare hands.

Schizophrenia: Protesting that the government has robbed them of their right to protest. We can’t afford this war and we should spend the money on health care instead.

Delusional Disorder: They look at Bush and see Hitler.

Alzheimer’s Disease: They think it’s still 1968.

Antisocial Personality Disorder: They think they can win allies and influence public opinion by calling opponents fascists and vomiting in public .

Posted by Anthony on reply


Palestinians rejoice at Saddam’s "victories".  This is unbelievable.  No, strike that.  It’s perfectly believable, but it’s nothing more than racist, brainwashed propaganda.

There were many smiling faces in Ramallah Monday as Palestinians celebrated the capture of American and British soldiers by the Iraqi army. ... "This is a big day for the Iraqi people and all the Arabs and Muslims," says a mustachioed Palestinian policeman in green uniform at Yasser Arafat’s battered headquarters in the city.

Translation: even though the Iraqi people have been wishing for this war for 12 years, and want nothing more than to see Saddam removed from power, we extremist Arabs and Muslims sure are glad to see coalition casualties and POWs because the white man is the devil.

"...This is a big blow for Bush and Blair. I don’t believe they will be able to continue with the war now that many of their soldiers are being killed or taken prisoner."

Translation: I am a crack smoking lunatic, and I think that a few dozen casualties is a "big blow."  Nevermind that the coalition has thousands of Iraqi POWs and current estimates say there are a few hundred KIA Iraqi soldiers.

"The Iraqis are much better at war because they have more experience."

Translation: I can’t be troubled with "facts" and "statistics."  We killed an American!!  We are better!  We are winning!

"This is unbelievable. The Americans are losing the war. Iraq is going to be Bush’s Vietnam."

Translation: "The Americans" have secured the majority of Iraq and are closing in on the capital, in less than one week of fighting.  Man, are they ever losing badly.

"Oh Saddam, we love you, why don’t you annihilate all the Jews."

Translation: Now our true colors come out.  We’re knee-jerkingly anti-American no matter what the situation.  We hate America because America supported Israel when us Arabs tried (twice) to eradicate their country, and when we failed (twice) even though our forces massively outnumbered theirs.  All Jews must die.  It doesn’t matter that the only piece of Earth that they (rightfully) claim as their own is about one-onethousandth the size of all our Arab lands -- that is too much for the Jews, and we can’t live without that tiny piece of land.  Gosh, where’s Hitler when you need him?

"The only dictator is Bush, who has waged a war against the Arabs and Muslims."

Translation: because we are extremists, we lack the capacity to understand the details of any given situation.  America is evil and everything they do is evil, so let’s just call everything they do "war against the Arabs and Muslims."  Nevermind that they’re busy freeing our Iraqi brothers and sisters from a dictator who has killed untold numbers of Arabs and Muslims, far more than America ever has.

"The Americans and the British can’t put up with the losses," he explains. "They will have to end the war ahead of time because they are losing too many soldiers."

Translation: I am so brainwashed that I honestly believe the crap that my Arab oppressors leaders feed me.  A few dozen casualties out of 300,000 is far too many, they’ll never be able to carry through with this war.  I’m so glad that Saddam’s defecting and surrendering underfed forced-into-fighting troops army is so powerful.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

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