Friday, March 31, 2006

There's Always Something Cleverer Than Yourself.

I found this Aussie tale on the Sydney Morning Herald, via

Cranky koala meaner than stolen croc

By Jano Gibson
March 29, 2006

A cranky koala achieved what an angry croc couldn't - it beat off thieves.

The bizarre incident began when Rockhampton police in Queensland received a tip-off that someone had a crocodile in their possession.

"The police came to the zoo, checked out our exhibit and we were down a female freshwater crocodile,'' said Tom Wyatt at Rockhampton City Council.

The 1.2 metre crocodile - known simply as "the girl freshie" - was dragged by thieves over a 2.4 metre fence in the middle of the night.

"Can you imagine these people struggling over a 2.4 metre security fence with a writhing wild reptile?" he said.

"It's not a baby you are holding in your arms here. We are talking about 40 kilograms and 1.2 metres of absolute fury."

"They are not man-eaters [like salt water crocodiles]. But they can still give you a nasty bite."

The thieves originally planned to take one of the zoo's koalas and only changed tack after it proved too vicious, 21-year-old zookeeper Wil Kemp told

He had been told by police that four people were involved in the wildlife heist, which allegedly involved stealing a koala and swapping it for drugs.

"The original plan was to steal a koala - that's what they were going to use to swap [for] the drugs,'' Mr Kemp said.

"[But] apparently [the koala] scratched the shit out of them.''

"The blokes have quite a lot of scratches and lacerations caused by the koala.''

The thieves then decided to take a crocodile instead.

"I don't know what makes someone go, 'Oh we tried to steal a koala and that didn't work so lets go and steal a croc.' "

"The people who did it must have been quite stupid. It's the last thing I wound have thought a member of the general public would try to steal for drugs."

Mr Kemp said the meat and skin of a freshwater crocodile were worthless, but the stolen reptile might be sold in the pet trade for about $600.

Just remember, kids, drugs are bad, m'kay. ;-)

Thursday, March 30, 2006




Now, you open this one.

Kirk starts to obey.


I'm almost afraid to. What is

it, Klingon aphrodisiacs?



They drink. The package is opened: a pair of gold

"Ben Franklin" half-glasses. (N.B.: Romulan ale is

an INSTANT DRUNK: both men react.)


Oh, Bones, this is... charming.


For most patients your age, I

usually recommend Retinax Five.


I'm allergic to Retinax.


Exactly. Cheers! Happy birthday.

He toasts.



Well, I don't know what to say -


Thank you.

An awkward silence.

Of all the scenes in Star Trek, this was the one I least wanted to recreate in real life. (well, ok, maybe the space hippies is really the top of the list...and then there is 'Brain and brain, what is brain?!' and then there is that whole transporter accident at the beginning of ST:TMP) Ok, so maybe it's not at the top of the list, but it's the most relevant today. I went to the eye doctor for only the second time in my life to be told that my eyes are perfect...except they don't work so well anymore. I need fucking glasses!!! Apparently as you get into your forties your lenses flatten and become less flexible, therefore making it harder to focus. My distance vision is so far unaffected, but up close I'm Mr.freaking Magoo. What forced me to get this looked into was my habit, always of the evening, of reading in bed. I like to read on my stomach, with the book propped against the headboard. Well, last night I could not get the book far enough away from my eyes without falling off the end of the damned bed! So today I got lights shone into, air puffed onto, and stinging drops dripped into my peepers, and the verdict're old!

I know that those of you reading this who have worn glasses or contacts all your lives are probably doing that 'here is the world's smallest violin playing just for you' thing, and I suppose I don't blame you, but I am not the most perfect specimen of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, and I have always been proud and grateful for my slightly better than perfect eyesight. I think I can relate to how Kal-El feels when he uncovers those pesky glowing green rocks. And I know I'll get over this quite soon, but right now I'm going to wallow in my self pity, have another beer, and wait for the realization that I can still see in the dark better than most humans to bob to the surface again.

Myopically yours,

Saturday, March 25, 2006

This is just too wonderful.

This is from

Christian group backs off case against blog parody
By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO — A Christian group that promotes heterosexuality Thursday quietly dropped its beef against a blogger who poked fun at it.
Exodus International initially claimed the altered image of one of its billboards by Justin Watt infringed its copyright. But Exodus is no longer pursuing the matter after Watt stopped using its "watermark" logo, Exodus President Alan Chambers said.

Watt, operator of the Justinsomnia blog, says he exercised free speech when he parodied the Exodus billboard, which says, "Gay? Unhappy?" Wyatt re-created the billboard on his site so it read, "Straight? Unhappy?"

(Exodus uses ".to" as its domain suffix because ".com" was not available.)

Watt, 26, a Web developer in Northern California who enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union and high-powered law firm Fenwick & West, has posted his blog for four years. He posted the parody Sept. 19 because he found Exodus' message "offensive." A lawyer representing Exodus sent Watt a cease-and-desist letter on March 2.

The dust-up has made Watt a cause célèbre among bloggers. More than 40 other websites now carry the spoof.

Had the dispute escalated, it would have extended the debate over fair use of copyrighted material beyond print and electronic media and to blogs, says copyright attorney Tom Zellerbach.

Companies frequently ask websites to remove images and text out of concern they infringe copyrighted material. But high-profile cases involving bloggers have been rare, Zellerbach and other lawyers say.

The incident gained attention because Watt understood his rights and contacted an attorney, said ACLU lawyer Ann Brick, who represented him. "We don't know how often people get cease-and-desist letters and pull material without knowing their rights," she said.

"Just as the First Amendment allows Exodus to post its billboard, it gives Justin the right to post a parody," Brick said.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Tale of P's and V's

So I have renamed Starbuck. Henceforth he shall be referred to as PV, or pesky varmint. He has hit his 'teen' period and is doing his level best to make sure that no one wastes any of that lovely darkness by sleeping. Nor is he to fail in his mission to make sure that everything that can be on the floor, will be on the floor. He has also gone from silent mewing, where he would open his mouth as if to speak but no sound would come out, to a nearly constant litany of under-his-breath feline muttering whenever he gets told no. It's actually quite funny when I shoo him out of a cupboard, or off of the turtle tank, and he walks away going 'mewp...squeak, squeak...turns and looks at me...meeeeewwp!' Artemis is feeling much better since she's been on the anti-biotics, although we will both be very happy when the pills are gone. She even chased the lazer this morning while I was trying to distract PV from more dining room demolishion. It was totally worth giving up the war to get a happier kitty.

Our human varmint is on her Spring Break this week, and is spending it with her grandparents, so Mrs. Marius and I went to the movies the other night. We saw V for Vendetta. Now, I must give some background history here. Given my entertainment proclivities, and my circle of friends, one would imagine that I am a big comic book fan. Alas, 'tis not so. In fact there are more words in todays blog than there are comic books I have read. I just never got into them. This did not really matter much to me until recently when the X-Men movies came out. Die hard fans of the comics were sorely diappointed in the films, but since I had no preconceptions I loved them. The same can be said for V for Vendetta. I never read the graphic novel(as comics are now wont to be called)and I understand the author is displeased with the final film, but we loved it! It takes place in a totalitarian England of the not-too-distant future where an American civil war, and further Middle Eastern aggression have allowed a dictator who promises security over freedom to come to power. What follows is a rather elaborate story of a young girl, Natalie Portman shining as I have never seen her do before, who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, as she gets accidentally caught up in the machinations of a mysterious, masked vigillante called V. It is V's intention to bring down the Hitler-esque regime, and restore freedom to the Motherland. Hugo Weaving(Agent Smith, Elrond) plays V, and though we never really see his face, his nearly Shakespearean dialogue, and hermit/nerd cum superhero performance endear him to the viewer even as he wreaks a terrible revenge on those who stole his...well, let me not spoil anything. I highly recommend this flick, and will wait anxiously for the DVD.

So go forth, gentle readers, get some of that Spring air into your lungs, pet a cat, and get thee to the multiplex.

Here endeth the lesson.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Makes You Think

I didn't write this, but it definately bears sharing.


I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.

I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I
wish they could adopt me.

I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.

I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.

We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.

I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didn?t have to always deal with society hating me.

I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.

repost this if you belive homophobia is wrong

I Am the man who cry's for all the people above me
Because i do not Judge them and thay are all peacefull
people made by the real GOD that love's them all....


Saturday, March 18, 2006


The next time you feel oppressed because no one agrees with your peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or pineapple on your pizza, or collection of Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice CD's, keep this in mind. More than 50,000 people turned out for Slobodon Milosovic's funeral. More than 50,000 people will miss someone who history will probably place in the top 5 mass murdering despots of all time. So whenever someone gives you crap about your Vulcan Science Academy bumper sticker, just tell them, 'Hey, at least I didn't go to Slobo's funeral.'

I just don't understand my species sometimes.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Whence Comes Bigotry

I'm hoping that by exposing this demon, I can exorcise it. I am, apparantly, a racist. This is a difficult thing for me to acknowledge. My maternal grandmother was a bigot, though she would deny it vehemently, and her attitude towards minorities was a major factor in our estrangement during the last decade of her life. She would often start a conversation with, "Now I'm not a racist, but..." and then say some horrible thing about 'blacks(must be whispered lest any of them hear), or Puerto Ricans(again, spoken like it was the height of blasphemy)'. As a child I never noticed, but as I grew older I came to tolerate it less and less, and would call her on it, as if I could change her mind on such things. I know, now, how futile that was, and I regret the distance we had at the end. But today, however, I am forced to realize that self-same trait in my own personality, albeit less obviously manifest. Allow me to explain.

For many years now I have noticed that I notice when I do something nice for a black person. If I hold the door open for a black woman, rather than just feel good about doing something nice, my brain makes a point of saying 'hey, way to be not racist.' Or if I do something nice while driving, same thing. I have managed to rationalize these little bigotries away, but over the last two days I have noticed something that has forced me to face my racism, and hopefully begin to abolish it. Yesterday I saw a little black girl eating a mango at the grocery store, and again this morning another little black girl eating one on the way to school. Big deal, one would think, but a little voice in my head begged the question, would I have noticed a white girl eating a mango? And if so, would I have thought anything other than yuck?(I don't like mangos) It bothers me that I noticed something like that. I know that eating mangos is a black stereotype, but maybe these children simply like mangos, and it has nothing to do with their ethnicity. Granted, there are cultural differences between blacks and whites, but why do we attach a negative connotation to these things? Where did this almost unconscious disdain come from? Why do I have an inner Archie Bunker when such thinking is antithetical to everything I believe in? Is the white culture so much better? The first heart transplant was performed by a black doctor, and the holocaust was orchestrated by some of the whitest white people in history.

Race is such an arbitrary factor that it should be irrelevent in all things save choice of sunscreen, yet even the most, supposedly, enlightened of us cannot dissasociate ourselves from it. Simple evolutionary adaptations to environmental conditions should not be a basis for judgement of character, but we do just that every day. I like to consider myself civilized, and above such things, but perhaps noticing the mote in everyone else's eyes has blinded me to the plank in my own. Now I need to find a pair of industrial strength tweezers.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Beginning

Hey folks,
Whaddya think of this?

Princess Aetna swung her mighty bastard sword with deadly accuracy, neatly cleaving the hideous kobold's head from its loathsome shoulders. A familiar crackling sound caused her to duck quickly, but not quickly enough to avoid getting some of her long, blonde hair singed as Motan the Magnificent's lightening bolt spell shot over her head to immolate four of the slavering attackers. She wheeled, and the wind was driven from her lungs as an arrow pierced her armor just below her heart. Enraged, she withdrew a small throwing axe from her belt and hurled it at the archer, neatly burying it between its tiny, pig-like eyes. Aetna gripped the protruding shaft, and with a growl of defiance tore it from her body, and plunged it into the eye of doglike abominations of nature. Suddenly a cool, tingling green light enveloped her, suffusing her with strength and peaceful calm. The sounds of battle faded and for a moment she felt as if she was resting beneath the verdant trees of her native forests. Just as suddenly the healing spell was finished, and the calm was replaced with renewed rage.

"Thanks, Targon!" she shouted to the Elven cleric. Targon merely nodded. He required no gratitude for serving his gods. At least none from mere mortals.

"Aetna! Behind you!!" It was the clear, deep voice of Sir Llewellyn, the Paladin, warning her of a kobold assassin coming up behind her. Aetna shrieked a battle cry as she spun about, sword outstretched to take advantage of the momentum of her spin, but just as she was about to split the beastly foe from nave to chops, her blood-slick fingers slipped on the hilt of her sword and it flew from her grasp to land uselessly against the far wall of the cavern. She gaped in horrified disbelief, then felt the assassin's dagger pierce her heart. With a look of frozen astonishment on her face, Princess Aetna died.

"What?!" Keith shouted. "What do you mean she's dead?"

Jeff just shook his head. "I'm sorry, but you rolled a one. You know that's a fumble, and the assassin rolled a critical hit with a +5 dagger of slaying. Your fighter is dead. Now be a good little corpse and be quiet till the battle's over. If Dave's cleric survives he can resurrect you."

Keith sat down in a huff as the battle concluded. No one else got their character killed, which made him all the more angry. Good to his word, Brother Targon breathed life back into Princess Aetna, and all was well again.

"Ok, guys," Jeff said, "it's getting late, and I have a big test in the morning. Let's call it a night here."

No one argued the point, since it was nearly 11:00, and their parents would be expecting them home soon anyway. Besides, it had been a good night's gaming. They all bagged up their dice, gathered their miniatures and manuals, and headed out. Jeff stopped Keith at the door.
"Hey, you're not still pissed about Aetna, are you?"

"No, not at you. I'm pissed at me for being pissed at you, but I got a shitty roll, that's all."

"Cool. See ya in the library tomorrow?"
"Yeah, after lunch."

Opinions? Interested in where this is going? Oh, and any resemblance to real people, either living or dead, is purely coincidental. I mean, come on. Dave would NEVER play a cleric. ;-)

These Are the People(and spaceships)In Your Neighborhood

Ok, it's a big news day, so let's dive right in, shall we?

First some good news. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter made a flawless orbital insertion yesterday. It took seven months for the 4000 pound, $720 million spacecraft to reach the red planet, and it will take another 7 months of careful aerobraking to bring the orbiter down to its desired altitude of approximately 250 miles above the surface. The MRO is equipped with the most powerful optical cameras ever launched into space, as well as a spectrometer for atmospheric analysis, radar for probing beneath the Martian topsoil, an advanced communications array that will permit the craft to more effectively relay information from probes already on the surface, a gravitational field investigation package designed to measure Mars' gravity, and accelerometers which will gather data about the composition and density of the Martian atmosphere during the aerobraking maneuvers.

Once the MRO is settled into its orbit it will begin two years of the most intense and detailed scrutiny of Mars ever conducted. Its high resolution camera will be able to see objects as small as one meter in length, and may even be able to find the wreckage of the Mars Polar Lander which is believed to have crash landed on December 3, 1999.

Closer to home is a story that I am somewhat reluctant to take pleasure in, but it's just too damned hard not to. Slobodan Milosovic, the former Yugoslavian leader responsible for the deaths of thousands of Bosnian Croats and Muslims between 1992 and 1995, died in his cell sometime today. I'm only sorry that he died peacefully in his sleep of apparant natural causes, and not wetting himself and begging for mercy in front of a firing squad. If there is a final judgement beyond this world, I would imagine Milosovic will soon be joining the Infernal poker game right alongside Hitler, Stalin, and Dahmer. Bon voyage, bastard.

Even closer to home is a story I predicted years ago. I have long been saying that Michael Jackson is a classic case of insanity gone unchecked. As long as he was bringing in more cash than any two third-world nations he was coddled, and pampered, and shielded from 'the real world' by the toadies and ass-kissers surrounding him. Well, now the house of cards is collapsing around him. Despite his acquittal of child molestation charges, Jackson has been living in Bahrain ever since, and apparantly not paying his bills here at home. The state of California has given Jackson til Tuesday to pay $100,000 in penalties and $306,000 in back pay owed to nearly 50 workers at his Neverland Ranch. According to workers at Neverland, they haven't been paid since December. Allegations of Jackson's financial troubles have been plentiful, and one witness, a forensic accountant, testified at the recent trial that Jackson had been consistantly spending $20-30 million more than he made annually. Of course, Jackson's attorneys deny all of this, but the workers at the ranch have been barred from returning due to the fact that Neverland's workers compensation insurance had lapsed. As for the dozens of exotic animals at the ranch, several local animal welfare agencies have been notified, and PETA has even put thier two cents in, calling for all the animals to be sent to sanctuaries.

And right here at home, I'm not going to war after all. Our beloved mama cat, Artemis, came down with a urinary infection, and her visit to the vet, along with two shots, bloodwork, and antibiotics pretty much wiped out my war chest. But, disappointed though I am, it is far more important to keep the babies healthy. And even though she slept more than usual yesterday, she was friskier than ever last night and even chased the laser pointer, which she ususally ignores. So all in all it was a good decision. But now I have to treat her for ear mites, and she ain't gonna like that.

From sunny Tampa, where I'm about to be bleeding from several places, I bid you adieu for now.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Baa Baa Cyber Sheep

Folks from my generation and before have a built in flaw that comes from centuries of knowledge that the printed word carries power. Before the age of word processors, and desktop publishing, there were strict guidelines, and steep costs involved in printing information. Therefore, anything printed carried much more weight than anything written or spoken. In the pre-internet days this was rarely a problem, as most bogus things were usually spotted since they quickly became copies of copies of copies of faxes, etc. Bad quality, poor spelling, and obvious home typing all served to out the false document rather quickly. But not anymore. Perhaps our progeny will be less gullible, since they will have grown up with the internet and all its wonders and abuses, and might just consider the glossy, fake articles with as little regard as we did crank phone calls. I hope so, anyway. One of my oldest, and dearest friends sent me, and dozens of others, a very disturbing series of images that have been circulating for a couple of years now. They purport to show an 8 year old boy who was supposedly convicted of stealing a loaf of bread in Iraq having his arm crushed under a truck's tire as punishment. The subject line of this is 'The Truth about Islam' and has the effect of further demonizing those of the Islamic faith. I was once guilty of forwarding every virus warning, and urban legend that crossed my inbox in my early days as a surfer of the web, but after being soundly chastised by many of my friends I have made it a point to verify every such thing before I either A) believe it, or B) pass it along. These pics hit me hard, because I have an 8 year old step-daughter and I was horrified at what I saw. But something just didn't ring true. Firt of all, the 'punishers' put a folded towel beneath the child's arm, which hardly seems the act of those seeking to destroy the limb. Secondly, and most tellingly, the kid wasn't struggling, or being held in any way. My kid won't stay in the shower sometimes without restraint, I doubted that an 8 year old would calmly let a truck crush his arm. So I dug.

It took some time, but I finally found what I was looking for. The pics were real, but the description was totally false. The child was part of a group, either in Iran, Iraq, or India depending on which reference you find, that makes a living by performing 'super human' acts for money. The email that's going around shows 6 pictures of the child before and during the wheel going over his arm, but neglects to show the 7th shot of the kid smiling and undamaged after. Needless to say I was very relieved, and then asked my friend to send out a retraction. The last thing this country needs is false winds to fan the flames of racism.

The point I am trying to make, folks, is please use Carl Sagan's aphorism that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Before you have everyone on your list sending postcards to a Cancer ward in Iowa, or downloading $200 cookie recipes, please check them out first. Here are two really good places to look:

Odds are if the story, warning, pettition, or picture you just recieved is fake, it will be listed in one of these places. And if all else fails, send it to me, and I'll do my best to prove it true or false.

Here endeth the lesson. Go in peace.

Marius of the Soapbox

So Let's Drink Another Sink


Some idiot built this drinking fountain upside-down! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

An Oscar Opinion

It's no secret that I never miss the Daily Show, and I think Jon Stewart is one of the smartest people on tv today, so I looked very much forward to watching him host the Academy Awards Sunday night. I wasn't all that thrilled with this year's crop of films, so I had no real investment in the nominees, but I couldn't wait to see what Stewart would do. I mean I was one of the few people who enjoyed Letterman's turn at the podium for crying out loud. But, I can no longer hide from the just wasn't that good.

It wasn't that bad, either, but I felt that Stewart's comedy needs a faster pace, and it was almost painful to watch him have to stop in between jokes and quips while the words echoed around the room, and the world. It was like watching a champion sprinter trying to run a race while carrying an anvil. The lines were good, but the political humor didn't seem to go over well with the glitterati in the theatre. Eventually he found his stride, and the funniest lines but one were his obvious improvs toward the end of the ceremony. Pointing out that Three 6 Mafia were the happiest winners that night was great, but a lot of his digs at the politics of the stars engendered what seemed to be forced, polite laughter. The best joke of the night, in my opinion, was when he apologized for Bjork's absence, saying that while she was trying on her outfit, Dick Cheney shot her.

I am frequently dismayed when the writers try to turn the ceremony into a larger version of the host's usual schtick. I think Jon Stewart could have handled being the host without making it The Oscars as performed by The Daily Show. It was a lot like watching Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football. You wanted him to do well, but it just wasn't his realm. Stewart is too deep for Hollywood's most fatuous night. I say let Billy Crystal glide gently over the thin skinned crust of Tinsel Town's elite, offending no one and entertaining everyone, and leave Jon Stewart to plumb the deeper waters of the real world.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Celebs Leave Us

Wow! It has not been a good week for '70's tv icons. Darrin McGavin, best known as Carl Kolchak in the very short-lived series The Night Stalker that ran from 1974 to 1975, passed away on the 24th of February. I thought he was only in The Night Stalker, but looking over his filmography is like looking at a cross section of television spanning the last four decades. His credits include appearances in The Six Million Dollar Man, Magnum P.I., The Love Boat(of course just about every living celebrity was on the Love Boat at some point), Tales From the Darkside, Highway to Heaven, Murder She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Gargoyles, The Commish, Millenium, and The X-Files. His movies include Airport '77, and of course A Christmas Story. The man was so ubiquitous that he seemed invisible, but his was a full, and busy career, and his millions of fans will miss him.

I only just found out that Dennis Weaver, Who played New Mexico Cop Sam Macloud from 1970 to 1977, died on the 24th of February. While his filmography is just as busy as McGavin's, Weaver will always be known for playing the homey, misplaced deputy trying to clean up the Big Apple.

Don Knotts, Darrin McGavin, and Dennis Weaver. This has been one hell of a February wherein three true talents have left this Earth, and yet no one can get Paris Hilton or Brittney Spears to do just a little too much smack in the limo on the way to their next sleaze-fest. What a world.

G'night, and C'thulhu bless.