Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

2/1/2006

Picture Time

Filed under: Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 1:26 am

Posted without comment:

She's gonna attack!

1/29/2006

Picture Time

Filed under: Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 12:19 am

Yikes!

After getting numerous complaints from women about Bill's speech, World Economic Forum organizers wondered if the 3D glasses were such a good idea.

1/28/2006

Picture Time

Filed under: Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 11:40 am
He who smelt it...

Despite the fact it was silent but deadly, everybody knew it was Cheney.

1/26/2006

Oprah No Longer Hearts Frey

Filed under: General,Pics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 10:59 pm

Oprah finally did what she should have done two weeks ago on Larry King: she berated James Frey for his lying memoir. She said all the right things – that she was duped, that he had betrayed millions of readers, and she challenged him on numerous points. For his part, Frey kept clinging to the false but accurate defense. He also blamed his extremely exaggerated portrayal of himself as a rough-and-tough bad boy who's angry at the world on his addiction and recovery:

"In order to get through the experience of the addiction, I thought of myself as being tougher than I was and badder than I was, and it helped me cope," Frey said Thursday on Winfrey's show. "And when I was writing the book, instead of being as introspective as I should have been, I clung to that image."

Right, so that explains it. If only he had been more introspective, he would have realized that he only spent a few hours in a jail instead of three months as he claimed or that he hadn't been beaten by the cops. Only with a lot of soul-searching would he have seen the massive factual errors in his life story.

I know, James, I know. Just this morning, I was reminiscing about my time as President of Uganda. After some deep introspection, however, and after I really explored my psyche did it occur to me that not only have I never been President of Uganda, but I'm only vaguely aware it's somewhere in Africa. I also discovered I have brown hair and that was a shock to me, James, let me tell ya. Introspection is the definitely the way to go for getting basic historical facts right.

This week, the comic strip Fox Trot has been having great fun with the whole Frey debacle. My favorite is the second one which hits on my primary gripe about Frey's deceptions: his is supposed to be an inspirational story of overcoming addiction, hate, anger, and generally being a horrible person. Only he was never the horrible person he makes himself out to be and so his tale of redemption and how he did it are also false and so are not inspirational. It would be like Paris Hilton writing an inspirational memoir of how she escaped her life of grinding poverty while growing up in the ghetto. Anyway, here they are:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

1/20/2006

Picture Time

Filed under: General,Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 12:40 am
Panda love

Yes, this is what it looks like. It's Chuang Chuang (the male) and Lin Hui making sweet panda love for the first time at the Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand.

And here is Chuang Chuang afterwards:

Dude

1/9/2006

TSG Puts the Hurt on an Oprah Book

Filed under: General,Pics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 12:42 am

In late October of last year, Oprah featured James Frey's book A Million Little Pieces as the latest entry to her book club. The book is supposed to be a memoir of Frey's life of booze, drugs, violence, hate, and general malcontentedness… and how he overcame it all. Naturally, it shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list for paperback nonfiction, Frey has become a celebrity and millionaire, and people are talking about the life-changing experience of the book.

One problem… it seems that in the book, Frey lied about his life… a lot. The Smoking Gun, the investigatory site that loves to obtain court records and mug shots, started looking into the claims Frey makes and found they were embellished to the point of just being false.

A pivotal section of the book had Frey hitting a beat cop with his car while on an alcohol and crack bender, being belligerent to the officer, getting beat down by the cops, and then spending three months in a county jail. The actual police report, however, shows that he just ran his car up on the sidewalk while drunk (and not hitting anyone), was very cooperative with police, and spent maybe five hours in police custody before being bailed out. He also incorrectly describes the jail and the officers and attorneys who were involved don't know what he's talking about.

In another instance, he inserts himself as a crucial participant in the tragic train-accident deaths of three teens in his town even though police reports never mention him and the parents of one of the teens say he had no relationship to their daughter. Oh, and he shifted the time of the accident to about five years earlier.

Other parts are simply and utterly unbelievable. Take this bit featured on Oprah's site:

I wake to the drone of an airplane engine and the feeling of something warm dripping down my chin. I lift my hand to feel my face. My front four teeth are gone, I have a hole in my cheek, my nose is broken and my eyes are swollen nearly shut. I open them and I look around and I'm in the back of a plane and there's no one near me. I look at my clothes and my clothes are covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood. I reach for the call button and I find it and I push it and I wait and thirty seconds later an Attendant arrives.
How can I help you?
Where am I going?
You don't know?
No.
You're going to Chicago, Sir.
How did I get here?
A Doctor and two men brought you on.
They say anything?
They talked to the Captain, Sir. We were told to let you sleep.

Riiiight. If you've ever watched just one episode of Airline on A&E, you know there's no way in hell a man "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood" would ever be allowed to board a plane. It's gross, it's a health hazard, and the rest of the passengers would riot due to the smell alone. Not to mention that from his condition (later on, he also says he's in so much pain he can't even walk), he's in dire need of medical attention. A doctor wouldn't stick him on a plane, he'd stick him in a hospital. I mean, really… this passage doesn't even pass the sniff test for believability and this is what's on Oprah's site. Her billions of dollars must be making her gullible.

There's more to the falsification and it's pretty dang interesting. Frey essentially wrote a work of fiction that he's passing off as a true account of his life. He makes himself out to be this evildoer who was filled with hate and whom everybody hated when people who knew him said he was actually a nice and fairly popular well-liked guy.

TSG was apparently willing to be relatively nice until Frey threatened legal action. So it's now lowering the boom on Frey by releasing all the info it's uncovered and carefully laying out the inconsistencies between that of the documentary evidence and witness accounts and that of the book's stories. It's a long, but entertaining read.

What effect it will have on Frey remains to be seen. Oprah's site has a page devoted to the book and is currently soliciting people whose lives have been changed by it to write in for a possible appearance on a future show. Frey has also written a screenplay for a movie based on his "life" that, he says, is being co-produced by Brad Pitt and has several big name actors vying the role of bad boy James Frey. I don't like fabulists, so I don't mind a bit if it all evaporates due to TSG's thorough work.

More so because Frey advocates a method of detox and getting over addiction that is directly contrary to the successful methods of 12-step programs. He pushes a euphemism of Just Say No, called Hold On. Basically he says you just need willpower and you should purposely put yourself in situations in which you'll be tempted by the addiction of your choice. Not only is this stupid, it's downright dangerous for fragile people who don't have the necessary willpower to resist. It's all the more galling coming from somebody who apparently didn't have the addictions he purports to have, or at least didn't have them to the degree he claims.

Stylistically, looking at quotes and excerpts of the book, Frey is annoying and pretentious. He capitalizes things that shouldn't be capitalized, like 'Criminal' and 'Addict.' It also has a staccato flow that's like constantly tapping the brakes of a car. Just let it run.

The most entertaining part by far is this:

Three months after his Michigan arrest, Frey began his studies at Denison University, a 2100-student liberal arts school in the central Ohio town of Granville. It was here, according to "A Million Little Pieces," that Frey majored in substance abuse. He blacked out and vomited daily, frequently bled from his nose due to cocaine ingestion, and even pissed in his bed for the first time. This abuse of alcohol and drugs exacerbated Frey's rage, anger, and extreme pain, a self-destructive cocktail that he named "the Fury."

That's right, he named his anger "The Fury!" This can only make me think of Mystery Men's Mr. Furious, described here as a "Normal human with poor anger management. Mr.Furious claims to have superhuman strength when he loses his temper. Much of the time, he is lying, but on at least one occassion, he did demonstrate some level of increased potency when enraged." Sounds like Mr. Frey to me.

Mr. Furious!
James Frey in costume

Ya Gotta Have Skills to Drive this Van

Filed under: General,Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 12:01 am

You could have owned Uncle Rico's van from Napoleon Dynamite. It was up for auction last month, but didn't sell because the highest bid, $4,551, was too low. Gosh!

Sweet

(link via Autoblog)

1/8/2006

North Korea Accuses the Kettle

Filed under: General,Pics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 1:00 am

North Korea is demanding a billion dollars in compensation from South Korea for alleged abuses against POWs and spies that it held. SK had held 63 prisoners ever since the armistice put a hold on the Korean War in 1953. They were repatriated after a 2000 reconciliation summit. NK is accusing the South of all sorts of atrocities against the prisoners and thinks they should get compensated:

"The unconverted long-term prisoners reserve the right to punish the assailants and demand they make apology and compensation for the mental and material losses they suffered as miserable sufferers and victims," it said.

They deserve billions, eh? Well, let's see. Looking strictly at monetary damages, say, lost wages, the per capita income of North Korea is $1,700 according to the CIA World Factbook (188 out of a list of 232 countries, and likely inflated). Assuming this held steady over 47 years, that would be a mere $5,033,700. Kim Jong Il may feel free to hold his pinky to the corner of his mouth in his best Dr. Evil impression. At the demand of just a billion dollars, that would leave $994,966,300 in punitive damages. Not even backwoods Alabama juries would award that much in a class action suit.

What's really galling, though, is the chutzpah of the demand, considering that NK is still holding prisoners from the South, not to mention all the people they kidnapped.

The North, however, has not given a meaningful response to the South's repeated demand for repatriating hundreds of South Korean prisoners of war and civilians held in the communist state.

More than 540 South Korean prisoners of war are still held alive in the North, according to the defense ministry in Seoul. Another 500 or more South Korean abductees are also said to be held in the North.

A UN resolution, issued in November 2004, expressed concern about alleged torture, public executions, the imposition of the death penalty for political reasons and the extensive use of forced labour in North Korea.

If 63 people were worth one billion in compensation, then 1,040 people are worth about $16.5 billion in compensation. I recommend that South Korea ask the North to pay them $15.5 billion and then they'll call it even.

I've posted on North Korea multiple times in the past. It's an impressively corrupt place where joy goes to die. As well as commonsense, usually in the pursuit of perceived self-importance. Time magazine had a short photo essay of life in North Korea and this, I think, expressed the country's absurdity best:

Pyongyang street

It's a street in North Korea's captial Pyongyang. Despite the fact that there are no cars in sight and that cars are extremely rare and used only for official purposes because of their expense and the fact that there's little gas, there's still a traffic cop standing in the middle of the intersection ready to direct traffic that isn't there and won't come, and people are forced to use pedestrian underpasses instead of just walking across the barren street. It's amazing.

1/7/2006

Unadulterated Picture Time

Filed under: General,Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 1:34 am

Usually when I do picture times, I make up my own captions. I decided that for these, no alteration was needed… they're strange enough on their own.

X-ray butt
The School of Textiles and Design at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have begun what is believed to be the world's first-ever study on how women's clothing affects the bottom(AFP/Illustration)

?
Mud figures of Barcelona's soccer player Samuel Eto'o, known as 'caganer' or defecator in Catalan, are sold at the Santa Llucia Market, a Christmas market, in central Barcelona December 14, 2005. Catalans create Christmas Nativity scenes using models and hide the figures, known as 'caganer' or defecator in Catalan, in them before inviting friends to find the figures. Catalans believe the 'caganer', by creating faeces, fertilises the earth, bringing prosperity and luck for the coming year. REUTERS/Albert Gea

You can see many more entertaining pictures of caganers here.

10/27/2005

Csonka and His Bird

Filed under: General,Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 12:53 am

Upon browsing Sports Illustrated top 10 NFL rushing tandems, I got to their number 1 pick, Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick. It was accompanied by this 8/7/72 cover of SI:

Hey, now!

Pay attention to Csonka's right hand. That's right… he's flipping you off. In a most casual sort of way too. I'm not exactly sure how this photo made it past the editors, but it's a classic.

9/30/2005

Fishing Father = Bloodthirsty Killer!

Filed under: General,Pics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 12:00 pm

If you haven't checked out PETA's anti-fishing site, then you haven't seen real crazy in action. It's the usual tripe you would expect from PETA and they try to use scare tactics to keep you away from fish (they're filled with toxic radioactive bacteria that poop mercury!). The really entertaining part, though, is their leaflet "Your Daddy Kills Animals." Here's a look:

Crazy Dad!

Take a moment to look at the maniacal look on the father's face and laugh.

Here's what the back of the leaflet says:

Imagine that a man dangles a piece of candy in front of you. You love candy so you reach for it. But, as you grab the candy, a huge metal hook stabs through your hand and you're ripped off the ground. You fight to get away, but it doesn't do any good… You’d feel really scared, wouldn’t you? That would be an awful trick to play on someone, wouldn't it?

But guess what?

YOUR DADDY PLAYS THAT SAME WICKED TRICK ON FISH AND FISH GET SCARED TOO!

Your daddy waits until hungry little fish are tricked by what looks like a tasty lunch.

Since your daddy is teaching you the wrong lessons about right and wrong, you should teach him that fishing is killing and killing is wrong.

Until your daddy learns that it's not "fun" to kill, keep your doggies and kitties away from him. He's so hooked on killing defenseless animals THAT THEY COULD BE NEXT!

PETA… bringing families closer together.

I can just imagine a little kid coming home and hiding Muffin and Spot in the closet to keep them away from dad and then breaking out in tears when he asks where they are. Here's how it would go:

Dad: "Where's Spot? It's suppertime"
Kid: "*sob* I… don’t… *snot choke*… want you… *snot choke*… to kill them! *sob , sob*"
Dad: "WHAT?!"

PETA clearly gets many donations from family therapists.

One of PETA's other sites is JesusVeg, which tries to make a religious case for the vegan life. Given FishingHurts, though, this concerns me. Jesus was, after all, a fisher of men and several of his disciples were fishermen. He also went fishing and helped fishermen bring in enormous hauls of fish. And then there was that time when he separated the loaves and fishes, which everybody chowed down on.

Kid: "Jesus… is… *snot choke*… coming after… Muffin! *sob , sob*"
Minister: "WHAT?!"
Kid: "He already went after the fish! *snot choke, sob, sob, sob*"

PETA clearly gets many donations from atheists.

Don't just stop your PETA tour with FishingHurts and JesusVeg, though. Check out their other fine sites!

There's:

-Chris P. Carrot's 2004 presidential site featuring the slogan "Eat me!"

-The Lettuce Ladies featuring chicks who tour the country wearing lettuce clothing, begging the pick-up line, "Why don't we get some Ranch, go back to my place, and see where things go?" Most of the Lettuce Ladies are babes and you need to check out their turn-ons and turn-offs. Kayla (who is a non-babe and actually looks a little man-ish) says she's turned off by "flesh-breath" and also "runs in her nylons." It's the important things, people! I wonder if eHarmony has "flesh-breath" as a preference option?

Lettuce Lady Brandi
Lettuce Lady Brandi. Two-Island dressing anyone?

-MilkSucks. Its take-off on Garbage Pail Kids is not to be missed.

-Then, finally, there's the anti-fast food sites, McCruelty, Murder King, Kentuckey Fried Cruelty, and the best, Wretch's Old Fashioned Murderers featuring Wendy as Chucky.
Chucky Wendy

For the record, I ate my first veggie hot dog this past weekend. Or rather, I ate my first half of a veggie dog as the second half went uneaten… it wasn’t very good. It would have been much better with some mysterious pork and beef parts in it. That’s the problem with vegetarianism – animals are so darn tasty!

Picture Time Quiz

Filed under: General,Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 2:34 am

PETA 1

PETA 2

Question: Are these pictures of PETA protestors or are they of complete frickin' loonballs?

Correct Answer: Yes.

Cripes, couldn't they have gotten the Lettuce Ladies for that second picture?

You’s Gonna Die in Florida!

Filed under: General,Pics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 2:21 am

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has set its sights (tee-he) on Florida's new "shoot first" law. In case you're not familiar with it, a law was passed that allows citizens to shoot people who are assaulting them before first attempting to run away in a desperate panic, scream in a desperate panic, and cower in a fetal position in a desperate panic. Naturally, gun control folks don't like this law because it may increase the use of guns in killings. Granted, the increased use will be against violent assailants, but it's with GUNS! Can't have that. Thus, the group has launched a tourist awareness program to alert visitors to Florida of the increased risk of being shot.

Poster

So, pay attention! If you're a prospective murderer, assailant, or rapist, you're now more likely to get shot in Florida. The Brady Campaign is providing a valuable service in alerting violent felons to the potential danger to their safety. Everybody else can ignore it.

9/29/2005

Gorillas Using Tools

Filed under: General,Pics — Dangerous Dan @ 11:48 pm

Biologists have observed gorllias using simple tools in the wild. We've already seen chimpanzees and orangutans use tools.

It's only a matter of time now.

Get some, Taylor!

First enslavement… and then man-ape love?

9/28/2005

UND Fighting Sioux

Filed under: Pics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 11:47 pm

The NCAA denied the University of North Dakota's final appeal to be allowed to use their 'Fighting Sioux' name and logo. Caving to pressure from Native American interest groups, the NCAA has been cracking down on schools that use Indian mascots. Most are generic (Indians), several use tribe names (Choctaws), and then at least one is a tad overboard (Southeastern Oklahoma State University Savages). The NCAA's decision is especially a problem for UND because its championship hockey team plays in the almost brand new (and very fancy) Ralph Englestad Arena, which has the Fighting Sioux logo in about 2,000 different places. According to the NCAA, UND will have to cover up all those logos when the school hosts regional games in March.

If a team name is the Savages, then ok, maybe you have a case for changing it. In most cases, though, the names are used respectfully (at least nowadays) and surveys of Native Americans have consistently shown that the majority don't have a problem with the practice. As usual, it's a vocal minority who are creating a tempest in a teapot and who think themselves enlightened about the malevolence of the practice while the rest are brainwashed. Although, UND's case was hampered somewhat when the local Sioux tribes endorsed a name change (some tribes, like the Seminoles, endorsed schools using tribal names and so the NCAA backed off). If you look at the statement, though, their guff isn't so much with the fact that the school is using an Indian name as it is that they don't like the name 'Sioux' because it's derived from a French pejorative term and they are Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Indians:

The Sept. 8 vote came after a United Tribes summit in Bismarck, N.D. The group endorsed a resolution that states, "The name 'Sioux' is derived from a French word which is pejorative in nature and which is offensive to the Tribal Nations who are comprised of people of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota ancestry."

I had to do some leg work on this one. 'Sioux' is derived from the French term Nadouessioux, which was just the French transliteration of an Ojibwa tribe pejorative for the D/L/Nakotas, Na:towe:ssiw and this apparently meant something along the lines of 'enemy.' 'Dakota,' et al mean 'allies.' So 'Sioux' is a shortened form a French term adopted from a terse name used by another tribe. (Not surprisingly, many tribes had unpleasant nicknames for other tribes. According to this, most were fond of calling the Dakota Indians 'cutthroats' and 'beheaders.')

At any rate, the tribe didn't like 'Sioux' being used. Fine. Presumably, if UND changed the name to the 'Fighting Dakotas,' it would be ok?

As for the logo, it's actually pretty respectful:
Fighting Sioux logo

In fact, most of the logo’s past versions have been respectful, with the possible exception of the fourth one.
Logos

From what I can tell, the tribes didn't even say anything about the logo, but per the NCAA, it will have to be covered up all the same.

I'd tell you to read the USA Today article over this issue, but it's exceptionally unbalanced. It quotes several people opposed to the mascot's name (and references "other opponents"), but the writer seemingly couldn't find a single person to speak in favor of it, which only indicates he didn't bother looking, or didn't care to find them. This guy found somebody.

One opponent spouts nonsense like this:

"The Ralph is a symbol of power," says Donna Brown, assistant director of the school's American Indian Student Services. "It is a symbol of power, Ralph Engelstad's power and the power of the money he had. It sends a clear message to people who oppose the nickname and logo that there's nothing you can do. You're not going to change that name. It was meant to be a constant reminder to us that he won."

Having studied oppression theory, I can tell you that people in the oppression business think everything is about power and they can find symbols of it in damn near everything. They're like psychological/existential conspiracy theorists. So this means nothing to me.

What's amazing is that activists expend enormous amounts of time and effort on trying to get rid of these nicknames when they could be using their talents for something useful. Say, housing, jobs, education, etc. Students at reservation schools will take little comfort in knowing UND doesn't use 'Fighting Sioux' when they need computers.

Going back to the logos, compare the Fighting Sioux with Chief Wahoo:

FS logo Chief Wahoo

By itself, the UND logo seems pretty respectful. By comparison, it certainly does.

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