"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I guess this is the axe to use to play "Hey Bartender"

Fylde Guitars in the UK does a whole line of very nice acoustics, but have recently started making guitars out of old single malt whisky barrels. I dunno what they sound like, but they look cool and just imagine the mojo!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Nice guys and bitches

Bitch Ph.D talks about "Nice guys and bitchy women"

"And yet, we know that "nice girls aren't pushy"--at least, not in public--and we've seen more than enough situations where ambitious women have been crapped on for being "abrasive" or "well she should have known" or "lacking tact"--much of which simply boils down to "being a woman"--so, in public, there's this constant stress of trying to balance your ambition with not wanting to shoot yourself in the foot by admitting that you're ambitious."

This is sexist nonsense -- the truth is that nice people aren't pushy, abrasive, ignorant or lacking in basic tact and civility. Ambition is not best served by being confrontational and getting in everyone's face over every little thing. It has nothing to do being a woman or a man. I work with people -male and female- who fit this description of "ambitious" who are never going to get anywhere because they piss too many people off with their arrogant behaviour based on the belief that they deserve promotion regardless of merit, ability to get along with co-workers or evident judgement.

And nice guys of the first variety are mostly just the descent ones, "the good ones," who got a bit lonesome and desparate and are trying too hard to make a good impression. Very few turn into abusive stalkers as Bitch Ph.D alleges. Women so often complain that men are commitment averse, but when they meet nice guy #1 who is looking to get married and soon -- they run like hell, just like guys run from women who bring up the kind of wedding they'd like or kids' names on the third date.

As far as the romantic gestures go - some women want and appreciate them, some don't. Those that like them often complain that men don't appreciate romance, don't present any tangible evidence of their affection. Some men like to demonstrate their affection in this way -- others view it as "paying for it" (the latter group being assholes, not nice guys). To make the generalization that a man who brings a woman long-stemmed red roses is somehow a jackass because it indicates he thinks all women like roses is kind of obtuse. Most people acknowledge red roses as a sort of standard romantic guesture and so giving them as a gift makes a kind of standard, if cliched, emotional statement, much like offering to cook a meal says "I want to take care of you", giving flowers means "I like you, and not in the I-really-just-want-to-be-friends kind of way"

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Graphic story of one of history's biggest lies
Kevin Wood / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

By Will Eisner

Norton, 148 pp, 19.95 dollars

Europe has a long history of anti-Semitism, but the crimes perpetrated against Jews in the first half of the 20th century comprise one of history's darkest chapters.

Among the justifications given for the widespread discrimination against Jews, from the czarist pogroms and the efforts of the Nazis to exterminate the entire race to the prejudice and hatred faced in daily life is the notion that Jews are engaged in a massive conspiracy to dominate the world.

The proof cited for this despicable theory is a document purportedly written by Jewish leaders at the end of the 19th century that describes in detail their plans to take over the world--The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Late legendary comic creator Will Eisner's last work, The Plot, is the latest in a long line of debunkings of The Protocols.

As has been conclusively proved elsewhere, The Protocols were first written by Mathieu Golovinski, an employee of Czar Nicholas II's secret police, as a propaganda tool to discredit liberal revolutionaries.

In his signature monochrome comic style Eisner shows how the bulk of the work of propaganda was plagiarized from a French book, The Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, written in 1864 by Maurice Joly and intended to liken Napoleon III to the infamous author of The Prince and reveal his dark plans to dominate Europe.

Eisner follows the history of The Protocols through their role in inspiring the murderous policies of the Third Reich to their persistance among modern anti-Semites ranging from Middle Eastern enemies of Israel to American white supremacists.

Ironically, perhaps intentionally, in his efforts to denounce The Protocols, Eisner's text and drawings take on the character of propaganda as he hammers home the same points again and again.

The Plot provides a facinating insight into the creation of one of history's greatest lies in a format well-suited for those interested, but unwilling to wade through the extensive original source material--think of it as a sort of introduction to the history of propaganda.

(Jul. 24, 2005, The Daily Yomiuri)

Shaking all over
Whoowee! We all felt the earth move here yesterday when we had a magnitude 5 earthquake (nearly a six on the Richter scale). A few thing fell off the shelves and I must confess to having been a bit nervous. My daughter slept through it, showing she clearly has my "could sleep through and earthquake" gene. Anyways, our home here on reclaimed land did not slide into the Bay and everyone is fine.