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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

"Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy." - Edgar Bergen

***

Someone: "to us girls, law is a conglomeration of all the bitchy pple we've known in pri, sec and jc, combined into one small faculty"

Someone else: "*** - to answer your quesiton - you come across in the same way as many lawyers I know - always looking for the flaw in the logic of others, and
sounding gleeful when you do find it."

***

The Straight Dope: Why does so much ancient Greek art feature males with small genitalia? - "(1) Long, thick penises were considered--at least in the highbrow view-- grotesque, comic, or both and were usually found on fertility gods, half-animal critters such as satyrs, ugly old men, and barbarians. A circumcised penis was particularly gross. (2) The ideal penis was small, thin, and covered with a long, tapered foreskin. Dover thinks the immature male's equipment was especially admired, which may account not only for the small size but the scarcity of body hair in classical art. A passage from Aristophanes sums up the most desirable masculine features: "a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks, and a little prick.""
Another sacred penis to your mother-in-law moment!

Creative people 'luckier in love' - "The more creative a person is, the more sexual partners they are likely to have, UK investigators have found. Artists and poets had an average of four to 10 sexual partners, compared to three for non-creative types, Newcastle and Open University teams discovered."

The Japanese game to end all Japanese games - "The kicker, however, is that any damage you do to your opponent will slowly regenerate unless… wait for it… you take a picture of her panties. Yes. A fighting game where panty-shots are the core mechanic. You don’t believe me, do you? Then watch the VIDEO."
Every time I think I've seen it all, I am moved to utter the refrain: 'Damn Japs!'

Eric Conveys an Emotion - "Welcome to Eric Conveys an Emotion. Glad you could make it. The concept here is simple, this is a humor-oriented interactive website. You request an emotion (or reasonable facsimile), and I will try and act it out for you."

COMM 3344-1 :: Games for the web - "Below, you will find term papers written by undergraduate students in the class "Games for the Web: Ethnography of Massively Multiplayer On-line Games.""

Friday, December 09, 2005

"Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is the same thing nowadays." - Oscar Wilde

***

I will seek and find you . . .

I shall take you to bed and have my way with you .

I will make you ache, shake & sweat until you moan & groan.

I will make you beg for mercy, beg for me to stop.

I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I'm finished with you

And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days.

All my love,

The Flu

***

I saw this advertisement on TV Mobile. This happy Singaporean Chinese couple (ie Not foreign tourists) went about happily doing things and shopping, and at the end they swaggered happily into... Hotel 81.

***

Me (quoting MFM in my comments box): "There is a theory that adolescent girls like horses because horses are basically socially acceptable vibrators."

Someone: "osim has come out with this new massage chair that has no back and ROCKS and apparently *** saw some grandmothers enjoying riding on it"

***

An email someone sent me a few days back:

"Why no comment on the hanging of the Australian drug-dealer by the Singaporean authorities?

Is it fear (which I can understand) or agreement (which I can't)?

A US reader"


Well, I suppose that many bloggers feel obliged to issue some commentary on whatever is the hot topic at the moment. I can't remember ever blogging anything specifically related to the Nguyen Tuong Van case.

Why did I not comment? A few reasons:

- I didn't feel like blogging anything about it
- I didn't feel I had anything new to say that wasn't already being said by others
- I'd already weighed in on one Tomorrow.sg thread ("Open letter to drug traffickers")
- I have vocalised my opposition to the death penalty many times before
- I have vocalised my opposition to the "War on Drugs" (and, IIRC, imposing the death sentence for trafficking) many times before

In conclusion, I would like to add that I think that we should make skydiving illegal in Singapore too, since it is too dangerous a recreational activity to be made available to the people, and I think we should hang skydiving instructors and facilitators, since they are potentially responsible for the death of many of their students/customers. Over the course of his career, a skydiving instructor could potentially be responsible for the death of tens (hundreds?) of his customers, all labouring under the delusion that skydiving is a very safe activity!
"The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever." - Anatole France

***

I've found out that the friend whose Macintosh laptop dropped from the level of the cushion on a chair to the floor, and whose hinge connecting the screen to the rest of the laptop came out has been charged ~$1,000 repair by the nice folks at Apple even though it is under warranty.

Now, although warranties do not strictly cover this, any other laptop manufacturer would have repaired the laptop (especially because of the shoddy manufacturing), at most voiding the warranty after repair (as happened to my Nokia phone after a MOP smashed into the pocket where it was in, cracking the screen so all the liquid crystal flowed out). Furthermore, ~$1,000 is ridiculous - you might as well get a new Dell for that price.

Apples - deceptively cheap (then again, her model cost about $2,000, so they fleece you even for non-bottom of the line models). Now I know how they cut costs.

***

Me to someone complaining about horseriding soreness: At least you're not male

Someone: You always know how to make a girl feel better.

Me: Thank you, err, I think.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Expat junkies, dealer, get their fix then fall into net

"One by one, they made their way to the home of the woman who headed the drug syndicate. And, one after another, the waiting Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers nabbed them."


Caught in this sting:

- A British management consultant
- A British construction supervisor
- A Malaysian sports coach
- A Japanese director
- An American senior operations manager
- A Singaporean contractor

The syndicate allegedly catered "to well-heeled expatriates".

Funny, they all seem to be productive members of the Upper-Middle/Upper class. I thought drugs were supposed to turn you into some sort of sub-human beast, unable to work or function and live normally, and only able to think of your next fix, and how to get it. And willing to sell your family into slavery for it - which oddly sounds like another Social Ill [TM] that not too recently was still denounced and condemned for porentially leading to the downfall of society: gambling).


"[Saloons where liquor is served are responsible for] annually sending thousands of our youths to destruction, for corrupting politics, dissipating workmen's wages, leading astray 60,000 girls each year into lives of immorality and banishing children from school... Liquor is responsible for 19% of the divorces, 25% of the poverty, 25% of the insanity, 37% of the pauperism, 45% of child desertion, and 50% of the crime in this country... And this is a very conservative estimate" - the Anti-Saloon League


Hmm, I think we should make skydiving illegal in Singapore too, since it is too dangerous a recreational activity to be made available to the people.
Public entry in my guestbook:


"hello. I just got routed to your blog from a search I was doing. curious, I clicked on your "how girl's waste time" list. it is probably the most useless thing I have ever read. it is not subversive, humorous, or smart--in fact, it's just the usual stereotyping amped up. you should have paid better attention to the part of you that tacked the disclaimer to the top: if you have to spend that much time outside the real text explaining and/or defending all the shortcomings of the text itself... why even write it in the first place? I find your list insulting--the more so because it is so uncreative and mundane. none of these hold true for the women I know and love. maybe you need to start hanging out with a different set.... or maybe you should make a list about how you waste time. it would probably be more accurate and, even, funny.
good day,
michael

p.s. yes, I am a woman named-michael. I bet that rocks your brain beyond comprehension it's so "out of the norm"."

***

Skepchick 2006 Calendar - "Smart is Sexy Skepchicks, Intl. is an organization dedicated to promoting skepticism and critical thinking among women around the world."

Professor beaten; attackers cite KU creationism class - "A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The power is in the post, not in the deity

One popular argument used by non-theologians when they engage in theodicy (reconciling an omnibenevolent and omnipotent god with a world full of suffering) is that nobody can question their god, since he can do anything he wants and is answerable to no one. Genocide, babies with Down's Syndrome or Tsunamis - failure to stop any of these does not impugn on the moral character of their god. This god could castrate his devotees (or rape them, for the female ones), tear them limb from limb, tie their intestines to a tree and throw them off a cliff (but alas, not to their doom, for they would come back to life in a Sisyphean manner), and they would be praising him as they plunged. He could send the whole human race to burn in hell for all eternity and his worshippers would still be chanting his praises while roasting in sulphur and brimstone.

The problem with this deceptively convincing argument is that it ignores the question of the definition of "good". An omnipotent and omnibenevolent god can do anything, and he will be acclaimed as being good. If an entity cannot be wrong - is incapable of being wrong - we would label it "amoral" - neither moral or immoral, incapable of being either right or, more relevantly in this case, wrong. A rock, for example, is amoral since it has no will (let alone free will) and thus cannot be held accountable for its actions. To acclaim as good an entity which is incapable of being judged immoral is to make a mockery of the concept of morality (if not to make it an unintelligible concept), and indeed that of divine will, since this god will be incapable by definition of doing something wrong; if somebody cheats and obtains answers to a test and then gets full marks, he would not have achieved anything by any objective measure.

Subscribing to a notion of morality being dependent on a god's ever changing whims (as opposed to an objective moral code that even this god can and has to be held to) in fact condemns us to the ultimate form of moral relativism - what is good can change at any one time depending on what the omnibenevolent god does. Some might counter that some gods have moral codes that do not change with time, but that would render null and void the earlier fudge about whatever gods do being automatically branded as good. Furthermore, a look at the Bible and Christian history puts paid to this argument, at least for the Christian god, for it is clear that moral standards have changed dramaticaly with time. What's worse - the Biblical god does not even abide by his own moral standards.

We might then ask why the Christian devil Satan is so reviled. It is because he does evil things, we are told. Yet, even if the Christian god did evil things, by definition he would be acclaimed as good. Presumably, even if a reasonable man judged that Satan did good things like prolonging lives, reducing suffering, ending pestilence and preventing famines, and the Christian god engaged in evil activities like infanticide, genocide, introducing the Ebola virus to the world, we would have to pronounce the former evil and the latter good. The concepts of "good" and "evil" would cease to have any real meaning. The two entities could even be switched (the former god would now be Satan, and the former Satan be god) and the old god would now be denounced and the old Satan be lauded. What would be worshipped, then, would be the Christian god's post, rather than any of his intrinsic attributes, at least according to the "god can do anything he wants" argument. In that case, anyone could be put in the Christian god's post, even any Tom, Dick or Harry on the street, and he would be lauded as being good. For that matter, a monkey, a computer or even a rock could do the same job, and would accrue the same privileges.

How do we really know that the Christian god is good? We just have to take his word for it (or rather, the word of his spokesmen).

A Christian once told me to judge any religion by its fruits. I suppose the same will have to be said of the Christian god, even if rotten, maggot-ridden fruit is wolved down with relish by his worshippers.

***

Someone: look, you might as well take a look at biblical representation of satan. he didn't start off being the Ultimate Bad Guy
look at his evolution from genesis to job

Me: well this is the fundie representation of him
and I think only fundies use the "god can do no wrong" argument
some liberals even accept that the bible is not 100% true!!!
"Man is conceived of blood made rotten by the heat of lust; and in the end worms, like mourners, stand about his corpse. In life he produced lice and tapeworms; in death he will produce worms and flies. In life he produced dung and vomit; in death he produces rottenness and stench. In life he fattened one man; in death he fattens a multitude of worms." - Pope Innocent III, De miseria condicionis humane (On the Misery of the Human Condition)

Interestingly enough, the text is available online, but unfortunately it's in Italian.
***

An interesting tidbit from my sister:

Allah tolong Yam-Tuan
Panjangkan umornya,
Tolong Yam-tuan
Suroh dia menang,
Mulia dan senang,
Prentah dia panjang,
Tolong Yam-tuan

[Addendum:

A translation courtesy of SyLv:

GOD helps yam-tuan
lengthen his age
help yam-tuan
make him win
glorious and happy
may he rule long, < not sure bout this though
help yam-tuan]
"Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others." - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

***

Unfortunately, since this textbook (Williamson - Macroeconomics, 2nd ed.) will not be used next semester and will likely not be used in any future semesters, it looks like I'm stuck with it. Maybe I should put it on eBay. Or, *gasp*, read the rest of it. Ah well, might as well get my money's worth and transcribe all the amusing snipes I didn't have time to put up during the semester:

A weak defence of the optimising assumption: "If we were to abandon optimization behavior, there would be many possible alternatives, and it would be extremely difficult to get our models to make any predictions at all. While there is typically only one way to behave optimally, there are many ways in which individuals can be stupid." - p. 104

"If you were a macroeconomist working for a political party, how a particular tax policy affected the wealth of different consumers in different ways might be the key to your party's success, and you would want to pay close attention to this." - p. 274

"President Bush clearly did not put much stock in the Ricardian equivalence theorem, as he appeared convinced that the withholding reduction would increase private consumption expenditures." - p. 285


Meanwhile Varian is not to be bested: "Now we have two decisions to consider. The workers have to decide how much education to acquire and the firms have to decide how much to pay workers with different amounts of education. Let us make the extreme assumption that the education doesn't affect worker productivity at all. Of course this isn't true in real life - especially for economics courses - but it helps to keep the model simple." - p. 676


"The so-called Christian state is the Christian negation of the state, but by no means the political realization of Christianity. The state which still professes Christianity in the form of religion, does not yet profess it in the form appropriate to the state, for it still has a religious attitude towards religion -- that is to say, it is not the true implementation of the human basis of religion, because it still relies on the unreal, imaginary form of this human core. The so-called Christian state is the imperfect state, and the Christian religion is regarded by it as the supplementation and sanctification of its imperfection. For the Christian state, therefore, religion necessarily becomes a means; hence, it is a hypocritical state. It makes a great difference whether the complete state, because of the defect inherent in the general nature of the state, counts religion among its presuppositions, or whether the incomplete state, because of the defect inherent in its particular existence as a defective state, declares that religion is its basis. In the latter case, religion becomes imperfect politics. In the former case, the imperfection even of consummate politics becomes evident in religion. The so-called Christian state needs the Christian religion in order to complete itself as a state. The democratic state, the real state, does not need religion for its political completion. On the contrary, it can disregard religion because in it the human basis of religion is realized in a secular manner. The so-called Christian state, on the other hand, has a political attitude to religion and a religious attitude to politics. By degrading the forms of the state to mere semblance, it equally degrades religion to mere semblance...

The separation of the "spirit of the Gospel" from the "letter of the Gospel" is an irreligious act. A state which makes the Gospel speak in the language of politics -- that is, in another language than that of the Holy Ghost -- commits sacrilege, if not in human eyes, then in the eyes of its own religion. The state which acknowledges Christianity as its supreme criterion, and the Bible as its Charter, must be confronted with the words of Holy Scripture, for every word of Scripture is holy. This state, as well as the human rubbish on which it is based, is caught in a painful contradiction that is insoluble from the standpoint of religious consciousness when it is referred to those sayings of the Gospel with which it "not only does not comply, but cannot possibly comply, if it does not want to dissolve itself completely as a state"." - Karl Marx, On the Jewish Question
Asia Times Online - Singapore: A tale of two cities

"There is a growing gap," said Sinapan Samydoray, chairman of Think Centre, a Singapore-based organization that deals with social issues. "The bottom 20% of the population earns less than 10 years ago in real terms. Almost 87% of the people are staying in government houses. Sixty percent of the people do not pay tax because they earn too little.

Singapore's social divide increased during the economic crisis that hit East Asia in 1997. While the average income of Singaporeans fell by 2.7% in that period, that of the poorest families fell by a staggering 49%, according to a paper by Professor Mukhopadhaya Pundarik of Singapore's National University. However, it seems the problem is inherent in the country's past and present political economy (the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services and their management)."


No doubt more filthy lies spread by the Imperialist Foreign Media, just like the malicious and totally unfounded rumours about SARS that counter-revolutionary provocateurss in the employ of shadowy, unnamed foreign powers spread about China (at least before the Noble Communist Party decided that it was a problem and had to be tackled head-on).

***

Microsoft Online Crash Analysis - windiag - "The Windows Memory Diagnostic tests the Random Access Memory (RAM) on your computer for errors. The diagnostic includes a comprehensive set of memory tests. If you are experiencing problems while running Windows, you can use the diagnostic to determine whether the problems are caused by failing hardware, such as RAM or the memory system of your motherboard. Windows Memory Diagnostic is designed to be easy and fast. On most configurations, you can download the diagnostic, read the documentation, run the test and complete the first test pass in less than 30 minutes."
This sounds like more fun than memtest86. Finally!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Someone: "girls ah, they only want to do breast stroke, cos it's relaxing. doens't even get your heart rate up"


Someone else: it's freaking difficult to put on the rubbery [swim] cab (sic)
worse than condom

Me: you put on for people ah
kinky right

***

One thing you learn as you go along is that no matter what you do or how you behave, there will always be somebody who will oppose it or be against you.

Hell, in JC there was this girl who was probably the epitome of niceness and sweetness. Yet, some people disliked her *precisely* because she was nice and sweet.

The only sure way to accommodate everybody and avoid criticism is to follow the path of least resistance and lapse into apathy and inaction (or to keep "a low profile", as some would term it), but then nothing would ever get done.

Actually, scrap that. If nothing was done, people would still be slamming you for doing nothing, so there's really no way to get out of this Catch-22.

(This is written about the Idledays Fund controversy, but can be profitably applied to any situation.)

***

I transferred my Yahoo Groups memberships back to my old account with the help of this nifty "Find My Groups" option:

"If some of the groups you belong to are not showing up, we can help you locate them. Search for these groups using the following email addresses:

***@hotmail.com
***@yahoo.com

Before you click "Continue", review your email addresses. You may need to add a different email address, or verify an existing one. "

What it does is look for subscriptions to Yahoo Groups not matched to the current Yahoo ID, but registered to the verified email accounts listed under the current Yahoo ID. For example, if foo@bar.com is subscribed to the "xxx" Yahoo Group under the Yahoo ID "foo", but you want it under the Yahoo ID "bar", you can login with your "bar" Yahoo ID and use this tool, provided that foo@bar.com is also verified under the "bar" Yahoo ID.

So migrating Yahoo Groups between IDs is a relatively painless task, excepting the character recognition, which I swear daily becomes harder and harder - if spammers' OCR technology is so advanced that the images they serve up have to be garbled so, I'm sure it can recognise even my handwriting.

Monday, December 05, 2005

"Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them." - Leo Tolstoy

***



I was in Balestier today and I happened upon the infamous 'Fragrance Hotel'. Near the branch where this picture was taken, there was a sign reading "ROSE" pointing into the hotel.

Meanwhile, the whole area was filled with cheap hotels - there was another branch of Fragrance Hotel down the street, and there was a Hotel 81 on either side of the road.

***

September 2002 archives are restored.

Excerpts:

"We medics are tasked with the horrible area cleaning task of washing the toilets. What makes our unenviable task worse is people's disgusting toilet habits - mainly, not flushing. These people are at least 18, if not 19, 20, 21 or beyond, and in the army to boot, and they still don't know that you should flush a toilet after you use it. Or maybe they just don't like us."

"We had another change of command parade, this time for my brigade. Parade Commanders for Armour Parades travel in style - on Jeeps!"

"I think next week I'll book in on Sunday morning. No one cares, not that anyone is around to anyhow. Anyway the punishment meted out to one person for missing Weekend RT was 1 confinement, so I assume the worst they can do to me is give me 1/2 a confinement!"

"I'm very happy that I have not been forced to glimpse any naked male members in camp so far! Of course, I notice that the number of "sightings" is roughly proportional to the number of Malays in my bunk."

"Probably not by accident, I've been tasked by the Senior Medic to take care of the "Weight Management for Obese Regulars Scheme". Gah."

"Mysteriously, the ET (Entrenching Tool) stick I borrowed from Wen Fa for 4NTM disappeared from my fieldpack, and the groundsheet he lent me became a poncho. Perplexing and disturbing this mystery is, and I'll have to bear the losses and replace his items! :("

"His latest stunt failed miserably when I strode into the MO's room and saw him typing in a SMS to send via the Internet to "90483827" and which started, "Hi, I'm your secret admirer". Unaware of my sudden entrance, he continued typing for a while while those around him started laughing hysterically, and I finally exited the room with sounds of amusement."

***

Under the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, if copyright owners are and have been vigilant, works made in 1923 or after will not be in the public domain till 2019. I'm positive that in 2018 or thereabouts, another Copyright Term Extension Act will be passed in the US Congress. In fact, I recall some site where you could make bets about this sort of thing, but by 2018 I'd have forgotten about the bet, so.


"Honour Intellectual Property Laws' Original Spirit - Be HIPLOS; Insane copyright terms kill creativity"

(This putative advertising campaign seems to have more going for it than my "Honour Artists' Original Intentions - Be HAOI; Censorship kills creativity" proposal)

***

Quotations on criminal justice from the Norwegian writer Jens Bjørneboe:

"Take away the "immoral" criminal, and we'd be robbed of one of the lies we need in order to live: namely the belief that there is someone who is even more immoral than we are. We all need someone to despise and look down on as not having full value. This is another of our strong points of likeness with that same criminal: in prison there always develops a hierarchical type of society, where the safecracker and the gunman rank highest and the sexual offender lowest.
           The prison is a true copy of our own society.
          —"Crime as a way of life" (1967)

"A judicial system's first task will always be to secure and protect itself: the judicial system must necessarily regard itself as justice and the rule of law incarnate, and it thus becomes entirely logical that defense of the judicial system must have the very highest priority followed by protection of the state and its officials and civil servants. The inevitable consequence will be that the judicial system and its administration will comprise the very skeleton of society, its innermost, immutable, reactionary mineral core. The circle is complete: the prosecuting authority can only be reported to the prosecuting authority, whereupon the prosecuting authority "rejects" the accusations and declares the prosecuting authority free of any guilt.
          It cannot be otherwise.
          -"The righteous and the innocent" (1967)
"A cult is a religion with no political power." - Tom Wolfe

***

c-jump: computer programming board game - "Great and unique learning game for kids! It teaches the child basic commands of a programming language, such as "if", "else", "switch", and introduces variable "x" concept."

"Hello" in many languages - "Greetings in more than 800 languages"

Memes: Myths, Misunderstandings and Misgivings - "As Sturgeon's Law reminds us, 95% of everything is crap. The hard part--especially during these early days of proto-memetics--is to identify the 5% that is actually good. Sturgeon's Law also suggests, of course, that 95% of the criticism of memes and memetics is also crap, so we needn't waste our time rebutting every silly, anxiety-driven objection."

The Wrathful Dispersion controversy: A Canadian perspective - "Wrathful Dispersion is couched in more cautiously neutral language; rather than tying linguistic diversity to a specific biblical event, it merely argues that the differences among modern languages are too perverse to have arisen spontaneously, and must therefore be the work of some wrathful (and powerful) disperser who deliberately set out to accomplish a confusion of tongues. When asked in court to speculate about the possible identity of the disperser, Michael Moringa, a prominent proponent of WD, demurred, saying that the theory makes no claims about the answer to that question, and that it certainly does not insist that the Disperser is the God of Genesis. Moringa has, however, elsewhere avowed a deep personal belief in the Christian God as the power responsible, as have other WD theorists."

The Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God - "Logic presupposes that its principles are necessarily true. However, according to the brand of Christianity assumed by TAG, God created everything, including logic; or at least everything, including logic, is dependent on God. But if something is created by or is dependent on God, it is not necessary--it is contingent on God. And if principles of logic are contingent on God, they are not logically necessary. Moreover, if principles of logic are contingent on God, God could change them. Thus, God could make the law of noncontradiction false; in other words, God could arrange matters so that a proposition and its negation were true at the same time. But this is absurd. How could God arrange matters so that New Zealand is south of China and that New Zealand is not south of it? So, one must conclude that logic is not dependent on God, and, insofar as the Christian world view assumes that logic so dependent, it is false."
He deserves brownie points for the name of the argument alone.

Gym user upset at cover-up call - "A sports enthusiast was told not to wear vests at a council gym because the sight of "big hairy armpits" would upset other users."

YATTA! - 'Damn Japs' is the only thing that can possibly describe this. And how does GREENL spell YATTA?!

Rainbow Warrior - "A concert scheduled for Singapore in the early ’80s, for example, had to be cancelled when Kitaro refused to bend to the strict rules applied to those seeking to enter the country. “The tickets were sold out,” he recalls. “But when I went through immigration, they were like, Kitaro, please come over here, you have a problem. You cannot enter with long hair. They said, ‘If you would like to enter Singapore you will have to cut your hair.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to cut my hair, so I would like to cancel the concert.’”"
!@#$%^&*()

Romance of the Jedi - "In a losing battle, to save a dying world, 2 warriors will find victory, in each other's arms. Obi-Wan: 'This time, we will do it together.'"

Anti-PETA Shirts - Anti-PETA T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers, Anti PETA Shirts - I particularly like: I'm not sure why 1856, though.
Sicientific Project: Gender portrayal on children's television – deep-rooted change or stagnation?

"In the case of the Smurfs there is even more to learn about gender portrayal. For the basic principle of the Smurf is that his typical feature or role is reflected in his name: Grouchy Smurf, Lazy Smurf, Stupid Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, Papa Smurf (the leader) and then Smurfette and Sassette. The particular characteristic of the last two is to be feminine, the former as an erotically attractive woman, and the latter as a smart girl with red hair. Here masculinity and femininity are no longer contrasted, since femininity is only another feature to be found in a few appropriate stereotypes...

Although girl figures may appear pleasant and new at first sight, certain aspects remain the same. For whether it is Sailor Moon, Ocean Girl or Marie, all sympathetic girl figures on television are absolutely beautiful, markedly slim and have mostly long blond hair. Body proportions that do not correspond to the ideal weight (or a few pounds less) or facial features which deviate from the uniform ideal of beauty are not to be seen – unless as a problem and a subject of the plot. Many female figures in animated films also follow the "baby schema", and the rounded head is characterised by a little nose and big wide-set eyes. (Cf Mühlen-Achs, 1995, 31)... As is usual in Mangas, Sailor Moon is extremely sexualised and by far exceeds Barbie in the unattainable proportions of her body."


As is usual in this sort of study, this has a tendency to overinterpret. A short discussion on whether the media should reflect reality as it is, reality as it should be or reality as viewers want it to be would have been welcome; just as females and males have different standards of physical achievement, it is unrealistic to expect there to be an equal number of female and male protagonists.

***

Jesus, Meet Evolution

"If we insist on approaching the tale of Adam and Eve as literal truth, we come out of the story with little more than frustration that our ancestors could be so stupid as to condemn all humanity by trusting a talking snake. But if we let go of this literalist fixation and dig to the moral and spiritual heart of the story, we confront a fundamental tenet of Christianity: that the Garden of Eden drama is played out every day, by our neighbors and ourselves; that we are not just condemned by the temptation and sin of our predecessors but by humanity's perpetual weakness in choosing evil over good; that we have all made choices to eat forbidden fruit for which we desperately want and need redemption.

Opponents of evolution fear that modern science advances a "materialist" worldview in which every aspect of existence is approached only on a crude, physical plane. But the literalist approach to scripture is precisely this--only when Christians move beyond it do we encounter the most meaningful realms of spiritual understanding and revelation. Thus, while intelligent design advocates desperately try to make science validate a clumsy interventionist God, C.S. Lewis envisions in The Screwtape Letters a Deity for whom the linear progress of evolution means nothing, because It operates beyond the bounds of space and time, intimately involved in "the whole, self-consistent creative act.""

Erm. Right. This sounds more like Transcendentalism.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Some people like my advice so much that they frame it upon the wall instead of using it." - Gordon R. Dickson

***

There's an anti-government documentary* on Singapore on the Discovery Channel now. I'm not watching it, but when I walked past the TV there was critical coverage of the Anson by-election and what happened to JBJ (Privy Council appeal and all that jazz, and how he's reduced to hawking his books in the streets now).

"Supposing Catherine Lim was writing about me and not the prime minister...She would not dare, right? Because my posture, my response has been such that nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul de sac...Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern a Chinese society."

* - Well, not exclusively political. Earlier there was a segment on the founding of Singapore. It looks like the same one where Raffles was caught holding a bottle of Ice Mountain Mineral Water.

***

My Yahoo account is mysteriously restored. I only discovered this by chance when bored and wanting to see what would happen if I tried to log in to my old account.

I'm quite happy they restored it after a probable database error (albeit one lasting many days), but the least they could've done was to acknowledge my complaint email and notify me when it was restored.

Ah, the joys of being a non-paying customer.

***

Acronyms

"MAC Maybe A Computer
MAC Masquerading As a Computer
MAC Moronic Asinine Crap
MAC My Allowance Consumed
MAC Money Always Counts
MAC Mother's Artificial Charms
MAC Mickey's Alternative Computer
MAC Mindlessness Applauded & Celebrated
MAC Much Advertised Crap
MAC Masochist's Automatic Calculator
MAC Merely A Chimera
MAC Makes All Cynical"

***

BuyBack Asia Temporary Positions

"1. Counter Staff (for NUS Buyback Programme located on NUS campus)
- Female aged 18 to 28
- Pleasant looking and service oriented

2. Logistics Staff (for NUS Buyback Programme located on NUS campus)
- Male aged 18 to 35
- Reasonably Fit"

Sexual discrimination! Tut tut.

I wonder if I'll manage to sell my used textbooks on my own before flying off next semester. 5% (or even 10%) commission on the sale price is alright, but BuyBack Asia is charging 15%, which is quite unreasonable, I think.

***

I finally got my White Elephant T-shirt on Saturday, 2 1/2 weeks after I paid for it.

***

Youths reveal racy Bible calendar - "The 12 re-enacted passages feature a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson's hair and a nude Eve offering an apple. The Nuremberg-based group said they wanted to represent the Bible in a way that would entice young people."

Vicar tells children Santa is dead - "Youngsters at a Christmas carol service were devastated when the Reverend Lee Rayfield told them Santa Claus was dead. Even parents at the service in Maidenhead, Berkshire, were shocked to hear Mr Rayfield say it was scientifically impossible for Father Christmas to deliver so many presents so quickly."
Rich, coming from a vicar. Everyone knows that you need faith in Santa Claus!

Putfile Says Goodbye To Singapore - "Whilst Putfile is not a human rights campaigning organization, we believe that if a country must have the death penalty, there is no need for it be barbaric... For this reason, we are at this time terminating all service to users from Singapore. We shall be happy to restore service following any positive move from the government of Singapore towards abolition of hanging as an execution method."
This must be the most ridiculous response to the hanging. At least calling for a boycott would move the economically minded government. But a cessation of service from a free online video hosting provider? The same logic is behind 'some Americans are Crusaders, therefore we are justified in beheading all Americans'.
"it took me 24 years to find out that Nazism was abbreviated NS"

***

Someone: but tying it back will exert great pressure on your hair and kill the hair there... leading to degraded quality.

Me: so secondary school girls who tie their head end up balding early?!
depends how tight you tie right

Someone: yeah
but the thing is if you tie it up every day too tightly at the same spot, the hair will just get all dead at that spot
that's why you have to let it down whenever you can

Me: err.
sounds like rubbish

Someone: no..... this is what happened to me

Me: wth
so is it still dead?

Someone: no of cours not. it grew out and cut off.

Me: err.
as in which parts die
hair drops easier
but the roots are still alive
or what

Someone: along the hair shaft
you damage the shaft not the roots

Me: cheh

***

Someone: "all apes, in fact primates, have saggy breasts
so how did humans evolve to have nice round firm juicy pert breasts?
it mightbe that tits are mimicking the butt. apes n blah love butts.
and in fact, humans have the biggest butts in primatedome
coz we are long distance champoins, and butt muscles are essential in conserving energy.
so maybe theres the correlation
as in its biophysics is alot better in conserving energy
coz the gluts take back some energy in a pace's bounce"


Someone (2): "oh come on. JC students were shagging well before my time and will continue to shag well into the future.
at least not that many people got pregnant and not realize it for 7 months until collapsing in PE class and discovering said fetus.

(this is a true-life incident tha thappened to a 15 year old in a sec sch that my O level lit teacher used to teach at)

when quizzed on daily routine with boyfriend: "i go to his house. we do math. have sex. eat lunch. go to school"

*facepalm*

poor kids had no concept of birth control etc etc."


Someone (2): "i get along better w/ guys tha girls...most girls bug me.
mainly because they do all of the things on your liist

OMG the hover-piss! i'm trying to play detective to find out who is the culprit in the dept.... i think it's the new ***."


Someone else: I always wondered why mediocre expats could live such high lives in Spore
Well it is because the starting pay in the UK for a grad is about 25000 pounds a year without bonuses which is about 6000 sing dollars per month
so some white guy who has been working a couple of years and who then is relocated to spore but who retains the same salary is paid big big bucks in comparison
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