"The happiest place on earth"

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

New blog picture:

Something to wake up to
"I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out." - Rodney Dangerfield


Bizarre anarchist logic:

Crazy anarchist: You can state other definitions, you can come up with your own definition of property, you can define theft differently, you can define robbery differently, but we have to know what we are talking about first. These are my definitions. theft: the involuntary exchange of property between two people robbing: the involuntary exchange of property between people based on the threat of violence property:exclusive right of control of something

Me: Following your definitions, if I break the speed limit and am fined, this is robbery by the state.

If I take a leak in public and am fined, this is also robbery by the state.

Crazy anarchist: I do not think the state has a right to the roads, the parc, the frequency spectrum. They obtained their property by taking other people's property. That is inconsistent and inconsistent theories are wrong according to the scientific method. When some person or a group mixed their labor with the land and build a road, they rightfully own it. If they voluntary exchange it with other owners and build a road, they also own it. If they own the road, they can set any rules they want. My guess is that they will make reasonable rules, because they care for the business of their customers. So their will be a speed limit as well and if people do not keep to it, they can be prohibited to use the owners private property.

What people tend not to see with the government is the same thing they do not see with god. God said:"though shall not kill' and then he murdered the hole planet except for Noah. The rules he hands out are not for himself. The same happens with the government. They say:"though shall not steal" and to enforce that we will have to steal from you. The rules do not apply to us. For god you could say that there was a material difference between god and men that could explain the difference (although most of the time men did all the killing), but for the people in the gvt and me, there is no material fact in reality that could explain why they can steal from me, but not the other way around.

Someone: Correct me if I am wrong but you seem to be saying individuals have a right to property. My question then would be who gave those individuals right to those property in the first place?

Crazy anarchist: good question,
I don't have a lot of time now, but basically you already have control over your own body, just by the physical layout of your nerve system. So YOU own YOUR body by the way it operates. To argue against property would require the use of property, since you have to use your mouth or fingers to type your arguments. That is the first step. Freedom lovers think you own your body and can freely decide who it interacts with.

Me: Bait and switch: you are confusing different senses of ownership

Crazy anarchist: It would help if you mention your definitions of these 2 kinds of ownership.

What I mean with ownership of a thing is "the right to control a thing". So if the gvt has the right to control what happens with half of the productive output of my body, they own half my body. If Pavarotti owns his vocal chords (is the only one who controls them), he owns the music he voluntarily chooses to produce with them. If he needs help of others to do the marketing, lighting, audio visual effects, he has to give up some of that owner ship to get them to use their bodies in a way he prefers. All of this is under voluntary agreement.

Me: You are confusing the physical ability to control a thing with the moral right to control a thing.

Do quadriplegics have ownership of their bodies, since their nervous systems are not fully functional?

Crazy anarchist: I do not know, because I seldom debate with quadriplegics. But you tell me:If A asks you a question, do you answer B? If A hits you, do you get angry at B? Or do you say that A is responsible for that action?
This runs into the self defeating argument. You cannot argue against you owning your body without using your body.

Even if you could, it would be even be harder to prove that someone else has the moral right to own someone else's body. If you think it can not be proven that each owns is own body.

By debating someone you acknowledge they own their body and control it, otherwise you would debate with the person that DID own the body you are arguing with.

This is even worse than Ayn Rand philosophy.
"When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary." - William Wrigley Jr.


Is wearing a 'Hitler moustache' a good idea? - ""I was trying to reclaim it as a political protest against the BNP. I'm using the Hitler moustache to oppose fascism. It feels like a victory for Hitler that, 70 years on, he still has a vestige of a victory that this is still his moustache and not, for instance, Charlie Chaplin's." The toothbrush became popular in the 1920s, says Herring, as a response by working-class men to the more flamboyant, flowing Kaiser-style moustaches of the upper classes."

LOLShock: Shock Sites Network - "This is a list of shock sites you can send to your friends for LOLs! You can tell your friends by instant messenger, email, phone, message board... or show them in person!"
I particularly like: LOLTrain, Octopus Girl and The Homo. Special mention to The Typical Mac User. 1Priest1Nun would be better if I understood German (though there is a translation), but the soundtrack is good.

Smoking in Iraq: Butt out, please | The Economist - "The government in Baghdad last week banned smoking in public buildings. Anyone found lighting up will have to pay a fine equivalent to $4,300, enough to buy 17,200 packs of cigarettes at the local price of about 25 cents. “Do the politicians have nothing better to do?” asks Abu Yasser, as he takes a drag while filling up his car at a petrol station. “My cousin was recently murdered by terrorists, my neighbour was tortured by the police, my electricity is cut for most of the day, the same is true in most hospitals in the city. And they are worried about smoking?”... according to a recent study, smoking kills an average of 55 Iraqis a day, compared to a current average of ten deaths daily from terrorist shootings or bombings... “Bring back Saddam,” says a cigarette vendor. “We were free to smoke anywhere then.”"

Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor? - "“If you’re lying on a sidewalk, whether you’re homeless or a millionaire, you’re in violation of the ordinance,” a city attorney in St. Petersburg, Fla., said in June, echoing Anatole France’s immortal observation that “the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.”... “They arrested a homeless man in a shelter for being homeless.” The viciousness of the official animus toward the indigent can be breathtaking. A few years ago, a group called Food Not Bombs started handing out free vegan food to hungry people in public parks around the nation. A number of cities, led by Las Vegas, passed ordinances forbidding the sharing of food with the indigent in public places, and several members of the group were arrested... If poverty tends to criminalize people, it is also true that criminalization inexorably impoverishes them... In Los Angeles, the fine for truancy is $250; in Dallas, it can be as much as $500 — crushing amounts for people living near the poverty level... I met people in Los Angeles who told me they keep their children home if there’s the slightest chance of their being late. It’s an ingenious anti-truancy policy that discourages parents from sending their youngsters to school. The pattern is to curtail financing for services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement"... the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers testified about the pervasive “overcriminalization of crimes that are not a risk to public safety,” like sleeping in a cardboard box or jumping turnstiles, which leads to expensively clogged courts and prisons."
Since this is an Op-Ed, there's no journalistic requirement of "fairness" - so many of these measures (which probably have a reason behind them) don't get explained.

Give BB&T Liberty, but Not a Bailout - "THE enduring popularity of Ms. Rand bewilders her many detractors, who complain that her writing is melodramatic, heavy-handed and intellectually bereft. “To describe her as a minor figure in the history of philosophical thinking about knowledge and reality would be a wild overstatement,” says Brian Leiter, director of the Center for Law, Philosophy and Human Values at the University of Chicago. “She’s irrelevant.” Professor Leiter conducted an informal poll in March on his philosophy blog, asking, “Which person do you most wish the media would stop referring to as a ‘philosopher’?” The choices were Jacques Derrida, Ms. Rand and Leo Strauss. Ms. Rand won by a landslide, with 75 percent of the roughly 1,500 votes cast. Professor Leiter says Ms. Rand’s views on moral philosophy and objective reality are “simple-minded in the extreme.”... “It takes a great leap of ideological blindness to look at the past few years and think that the main problem was too much government involvement,” said Robert B. Reich, a public policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who was a labor secretary in the Clinton administration. Mark A. Thoma, an economist at the University of Oregon, says the financial crisis would have been worse if the government hadn’t rapidly intervened. “I completely disagree with the idea that letting the markets heal themselves is the best idea,” he says. “We tried that in the ’30s, and it didn’t work out so well.”... Ms. Rand was an ardent atheist who considered the cross a symbol of how “a man of perfect virtue” sacrificed himself for a bunch of losers. “It is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors”"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Libertarianism Is Marxism of the Right

"Because 95 percent of the libertarianism one encounters at cocktail parties, on editorial pages, and on Capitol Hill is a kind of commonplace “street” libertarianism, I decline to allow libertarians the sophistical trick of using a vulgar libertarianism to agitate for what they want by defending a refined version of their doctrine when challenged philosophically. We’ve seen Marxists pull that before...

If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism. Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism...

The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life. Simple physical security, which even a prisoner can possess, is not freedom, but one cannot live without it... A family is in fact one of the least free things imaginable, as the emotional satisfactions of it derive from relations that we are either born into without choice... But security, prosperity, and family are in fact the bulk of happiness for most real people and the principal issues that concern governments.

Libertarians try to get around this fact that freedom is not the only good thing by trying to reduce all other goods to it through the concept of choice, claiming that everything that is good is so because we choose to partake of it... this violates common sense by denying that anything is good by nature, independently of whether we choose it... Taken to its logical conclusion, the reduction of the good to the freely chosen means there are no inherently good or bad choices at all, but that a man who chose to spend his life playing tiddlywinks has lived as worthy a life as a Washington or a Churchill...

If all we want is limited freedom, then mere liberalism will do, or even better, a Burkean conservatism that reveres traditional liberties...

Empirically, most people don’t actually want absolute freedom, which is why democracies don’t elect libertarian governments. Irony of ironies, people don’t choose absolute freedom. But this refutes libertarianism by its own premise, as libertarianism defines the good as the freely chosen, yet people do not choose it. Paradoxically, people exercise their freedom not to be libertarians...

Libertarian naïveté extends to politics. They often confuse the absence of government impingement upon freedom with freedom as such. But without a sufficiently strong state, individual freedom falls prey to other more powerful individuals. A weak state and a freedom-respecting state are not the same thing, as shown by many a chaotic Third-World tyranny."

A better article in the thread:

"For a great many people, Ayn Rand is a glowing light in a dark abyss, an intellectual beacon that draws them into a circle of rational illumination.

She has a certain fascination for me, too, but the gravitation is different. It is the appalling spell cast by a train wreck: the grotesque allure of crumpled metal, pools of fuel and oil, shattered ties, wrenched rails -- the shining products of the human mind, smashed by some great error...

Read Atlas Shrugged, and you see humanity with an odd double vision.

There are "the men of the mind" -- the innovative, the productive, the strivers, those rigorous with themselves and all others: the Francisco d'Anconias, the Hank Reardens, the John Galts.

And there are their opposite numbers -- the "looters," the "mystics," the spiritual and literal thugs, the moist weaklings, the death-worshipers...

Here is half of the problem with Rand's view of human nature: Are most of us really the dull-witted drones or outright leeches who inhabit so much of Atlas Shrugged?...

Rand had a record of thoroughgoing disdain for those who didn't measure up to her intellectual standards.

"When anyone compliments me," she says in Barbara Branden's biography, "my first question is: What's my estimate of the source of the compliments? Is it a mind I respect? When it's a mind that understands what I've done, then it's an enormous pleasure. Anything less than that -- no. I don't really want anything but the response of top minds."

In the wake of reviewers' eviscerating response to Atlas Shrugged, Rand felt "like an adult sentenced to live in a world of children"...

Atlas Shrugged is a hymn to the human spirit... Hymns, of course, are sung to gods, and gods need to be … well, close to perfect if not actually there...

"Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any breach of morality."

Forgive, in fact, is one of Rand's F-words. "It is against the sin of forgiveness that I wanted to warn you," Francisco d'Anconia tells Rearden. In the world of Atlas Shrugged, justice is still a virtue, but mercy is a vice -- it lets the rotters off...

"My personal life," Rand wrote in an afterword to Atlas Shrugged, "is a postscript to my novels; it consists of the sentence: 'And I mean it.' "

It seems that she did. Disagree with her on even the smallest matters, and you might find yourself cut off at the knees...

It has often been said that one should not judge a philosophy by its adherents' behavior. But if Ayn Rand was her own best argument for the powers of reason, the perfectablity of man, the virtues of selfishness and the disposability of forgiveness -- as she almost certainly would have said herself -- where does that leave her case?"

Comments in the thread:

"They also believe in the abolition of programs like Social Security as well as the idea of having a social safety net. And some even want to do away with public education, which would lead society back to the day of when education was a privledge for the wealthy. Privitizing education would also be bad for the economy. Because the more educated people are, the better off the country in regards to scientfic research, computer technology, engineering jobs, electronics, innovative ideas and you would have more qualified people to fill these jobs."

"Looking back at the past during the days of JP Morgan, John D Rockefeller and that bunch those men held a lot of power. Prior to government regulation there was no minimum wage no FDA, to regulate consumer goods, people worked long hours with bad conditions, and child labor was also legal. Could a strong labor union counter act that? It could always be possible. But with no regulations protecting the right of a labor unionto exist, the employer could always fire the workers with the a snap of a finger."

"In a pure free market system those who become wealthy would be at an advantage because they are able to increase their wealth more easily and therefore, there would be large inequities in wealth distribution"

"For me, Ayn Rand's influence was positive in that it helped me break free from mindless conventionality and arbitrary authoritarian influences in my life.

But it left me very naive about how the world works. Few leaders of big business are like either her heros or villians in Atlas Shrugged. Most are somewhere in between. Very few are self-made, more come from privileged backgrounds. Read biographies of Frank Lloyd Wright and Howard Hughes and learn that their feet are made of clay compared to Howard Rourke and John Galt.

For a first generation college student, trying to emulate her heros was a decidedly uncomfortable Procrustean bed. I fell short most of time. It left me with more contempt than joy of living. It took nearly a decade to acquire some self-acceptance.

Rational self-interest doesn't prevent the tragedy of the commons. Adam Smith's invisible hand can't be depended on to keep us from depleting the planet's resources faster than these resources can be replenished. We need a sense of community that transcends self interest. We need to accept ourselves as individuals and care for each other in community to sustain our future."


Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism - "Mr. Greenspan wrote a letter to The New York Times to counter a critic’s comment that “the book was written out of hate.”... ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a celebration of life and happiness... undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should'... Rand had a reputation for living for her own interest. She is said to have seduced her most serious reader, Nathaniel Branden, when he was 24 or 25 and she was at least 50... “She wasn’t a nice person, ” said Darla Moore, vice president of the private investment firm Rainwater Inc. “But what a gift she’s given us.”
A popular strip:

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Dilbert: As you can clearly see in slide 397...

Wally and Alice: *Z*

Unknown co-worker: GAAAAH!

Wally: "Powerpoint" poisoning.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"California is a fine place to live--if you happen to be an orange." - Fred Allen


Britain's rainy climate perfect for 'growing fingernails' - "Humidity is the key factor in growing the healthiest of nails. Too little humidity and nails become ittle and easy to break. Too much and they may be susceptible to a catastrophic degree of twisting and possible shearing. The perfect level is 55 per cent humidity – a level that translates to normal atmospheric conditions in Britain."

Oral Sex Cause of Throat Cancer Rise - "Increasing rates of HPV infection, spread through oral sex, is largely driving the rapid rise in oropharyngeal cancers, which include tumors of the throat, tonsils, and base of the tongue"

Jose Mourinho Under Fire From Islamic Leader Over Ramadan Criticisms - "The 'Special One' replaced the Ghana midfielder after 30 minutes following a poor showing on the pitch. Mourinho claimed Ramadan was having a negative influence on Muntari who practices Islam. "Muntari had some problems related to Ramadan - perhaps with this heat it's not good for him to be doing this [fasting]," Mourinho told reporters after the game... The comments have shocked the Islam world and have caused a considerable storm of criticism as the Portuguese coach finds himself caught up in another row... 'A player who practices Islam does not perform less on the pitch'... Goal.com caught up with leading personal trainer and nutritionist Giulio Scala who has worked alongside many professional sportsmen and women as well as elite athletes. Scala claims fasting can have a big impact on the performance of players when on the pitch. "A one per cent decrease in hydration can affect endurance by up to 20 per cent""
I'm shocked by the bigotry! Next they'll be saying that female circumcision is a form of mutilation.

British tourist trapped in French town hall after mistaking 'Hotel de Ville' for place to stay - "Mr Mumbach said there were no plans to charge the woman, who was believed to be a graduate who spoke ‘some French’, for her stay. A spokesman for the local tourist office said: ‘Dannemarie has plenty of excellent hotels, but this woman clearly thought the impressive building in the centre of town was the best one. ‘People make all kinds of linguistic mistakes when on holiday but this was a particularly unfortunate one.’ A similar situation in Barcelona, Spain, a few years ago saw English football fans ordering dozens of beers in a bar because it was ‘Frio’. They thought it was free, but ‘frio’ is in fact the Spanish word for ‘cold’."

An American girl in Singapore: Let's Turn the Tables...of Food - "I wanted to know their take on what American foods just sound downright nasty.
1) Peanut butter and celery.
2) Biscuits and Gravy
3) Cold pizza for breakfast
4) Chips as a side dish."

French 007 tells of great escape from Dubai wearing a wetsuit under a burka - "Frenchman Herve Jaugbert, an ex-naval officer, alleges the Dubai secret police had threatened to insert needles up his nose and that he was about to be thrown in jail for a crime he didn't commit... he swam underwater to the nearby coastguard station, on a remote outpost, where he cut the fuel lines on a police patrol boat. He knew it was the only one in the area, and the coast would now be clear. He then swam back to the beach, got into a Zodiac dinghy and headed back out to sea. Six hours later he was 25 miles off-shore and outside Dubai's territorial waters. Another former French agent met him in a yacht, he claims."

Indonesia thieves loot tiger body - "Thieves have killed an endangered Sumatran tiger in an Indonesian zoo and stolen most of its body"

Geomancy in Singapore - "The Reverend further advised: in order to continue with the project in peace, every person in Singapore must carry with them a “Chinese Bagua”, so as to neutralize the negative elements brought about by the SMRT project. A Bagua is an eight sided mirror which is shaped like a perfect octagon and is used to reflect/neutralize negative energy or evil spirits and is commonly used in Chinese geomancy. Thus, PM Lee was faced with a major problem: how do you make every person in Singapore carry a Chinese bagua, given that not everyone in Singapore believes in geomancy? Eventually, the problem was ingeniously solved with elegance and subtlety: The Singapore Dollar Coin... Are these stories true or simply stories created by someone who is seeing the world through Chinese geomancy lenses? I guess no one can verify them but these stories are a great topic during the Lunar New Year and have given me new found flavor to Chinese Geomancy; and now I can’t help but look upon the Ritz, the dollar coin and the SMRT with an aura of geomancy mystery."
"I tended to place my wife under a pedestal." - Woody Allen


delanceyplace: Tokyo Sex Trade

"It didn't take me long to discover that the social life of American investment bankers in Tokyo is just as bizarre as the derivatives transactions they sell. At night one square block in an area called Roppongi is constantly filled with American expatriates. No one seems to go anywhere else. In a city filled with twenty million people, the few hundred American bankers stick together.

Occasionally the locals take an American out for a good time at one of the notoriously expensive hostess bars, but a couple of nights in Roppongi was enough for me. I was working long hours, trying to learn about the Japanese deals everyone was pitching. By the time I returned to the Imperial Hotel, I was ready for sleep.

Americans in Tokyo expend enormous energy exploiting the bizarre sexual culture, which is cleanly bifurcated between really soft core and really hard core. Just having sex with a prostitute is of no interest to anyone and costs only about three dollars. But getting a hostess to serve you a beer and talk to you costs about three hundred dollars. And whipping a teenage girl with a sharply studded leather belt costs about thirty thousand dollars.

I met people who had done all three. Only the native Japanese salesmen could visit the bargain-basement prostitutes, although they did it often enough for everyone. The Japanese are deathly afraid of AIDS, and they exclude non-Japanese from the local 'soap lands,' where a good 'soaping' was quite reasonably priced. The more expensive hostess bars were available to Americans. The hostesses at these bars typically were non-Japanese and did not offer soaping. One salesman said he had tired of spending his entire salary on hostesses and saved a fortune by paying two of them to quit their jobs and simply follow him around the one square block in Roppongi.

The most surprising side of Tokyo was the whip-and-chain dark side. Hard-core Japanese brothels made New York's Eighth Avenue look like Candyland. One Tokyo salesman told me about a Korean client who visited Tokyo just so he could go to an underground club where he would beat up a teenage Japanese girl. The cost, millions of yen for about twenty minutes, was more than made up for in transaction fees.

I obviously wasn't in Kansas anymore, and I stayed close to my hotel room."

--- FIASCO / Frank Partnoy
"Doing nothing is very hard to do ... you never know when you're finished." - Leslie Nielsen


Someone: The other issue is of s 152 actually stating the indigenous status of the Malays in Singapore as a matter of fact. Of course because of the way it is worded, Malays have not been able to secure certain indigenous 'rights' or 'privileges' available to other indigenous communities the world over (such as land rights). My concern is that jettisoning s 152 because of a certain notion of equality just feeds into a historical revisionism that reinforces the idea that 'we are all immigrants'. And it also makes Malaysia's article 153 seem as if it was some strange invention that has no historical basis.

Me: Virtually all Malays in Singapore are immigrants. Hell, many "Malays" in Malaysia came from Indonesia.

Someone: Let's say the British and Dutch colonised China. And then the British took the northern half and then the Dutch took the south. Henceforth whoever comes from Dutch-controlled Guangdong/Fujian, and then travels to Beijing, is to be labelled an 'immigrant'?

Before colonial dismemberment of the Malay archipelago, Singapore was considered one of the islands that constituted the 'Malay world', being as it was part of both the Srivijayan and the later Johor-Riau-Lingga empires. The cultural proximity that Malay people feel among themselves--whatever their geographical origins--Aceh, Jambi, Malacca, Java, Sulawesi etc has always made them feel indigenous to the region.

Me: Actually Malaysians and Indonesians, like Indians, owe their sense of national identity to the colonialists - before colonialism there was no sense of a state occupying the whole extent.

The Bugis, among others, would be very insulted if you said they were "Malay". And everyone forgets about the Orang Asli.

Someone: Within the Johor-Riau empire there were many Bugis who were in high positions such as Yamtuans. They were never considered 'immigrants' the way the Chinese, Indians, British and Dutch were. I'd disagree that it only took colonial presence to establish some sense of commonality among the people of the archipelago--there was Islam, for example, and also Malay as a common trading language.

Me: A common religion, language and culture are not sufficient. Someone moving from the UK to the US or vice-versa would be considered an immigrant.

Besides which, even the languages were different - Bahasa M/I, Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese and Acehnese are all different languages.

In the year 1800, was someone whose family moved from Britain to America in 1750 more of a local than someone whose family moved from Germany to America in 1700?

Is a white whose family was in Texas when it was part of Mexico more of an immigrant than a Hispanic whose family crossed the Rio Grande in a dugout during the American Civil War?

Someone: Transfer of sovereignty to the British in the Tanah Melayu occurred between Malay Sultans and the British. They did not occur between Chinese kings here and the British. Decolonisation involved the restoration of power back to the 'indigenes'. This is one basis on which Malays here do not consider themselves 'immigrants'.

During the colonial period, there were many non-Malays whose political allegiance was towards their 'homelands'--ranging from resistance to the British Raj to the Sino-Japanese war.

I don't agree with Malaysian ethno-nationalists who keep on calling the non-Malays there 'pendatangs' (newcomers) and 'penumpangs' (parasitic guests). At the same time, I don't agree with non-Malay Singaporeans who try to diminish very valid claims of Malay indigeneity. My history does not consist of an immigrant angst predicated on being 'overseas Chinese' or the 'Indian diaspora'. Don't confuse island-hopping within a pan-Malay archipelago with monsoon migrations.

Languages were different, but Malay was a lingua franca for trade. Even though technically Malay is natively spoken by about 3% of the Indonesian archipelago (mainly in Riau and East Sumatra), its widespread use made it the basis of Bahasa Indonesia.

Me: Again, I ask:

In the year 1800, was someone whose family moved from Britain to America in 1750 more of a local than someone whose family moved from Germany to America in 1700?

Is a white whose family was in Texas when it was part of Mexico more of an immigrant than a Hispanic whose family crossed the Rio Grande in a dugout during the American Civil War?

Are Peranakans "immigrants"?

Someone: I can't answer your questions because I'm not up to speed on my American history.

As for Peranakans, the acculturation that has occurred within their community is a sign of having adapted features of a pre-existing host culture. So yes, their history is that of an immigrant community who have incorporated indigenous elements into their practices.

[Someone else]: It's not about having an identity affirmed by the state. It's about resisting homogenising discourses which try to tie my sense of being 'Singaporean' to an immigrant narrative. I want to be able to say that I did not come from a history of dislocation and transplant and rootlessness all the kinds of angst associated with diasporic communities.

Just a hypothetical question: what do you think would happen if Malay/Muslims in Singapore were to dispose of syariah law altogether and live under the civil code?

Me: Poor Orang Asli. Ousted by immigrant Malays.

Someone else: If you go far back enough, everyone's an immigrant African. On a more immediate timeline, no Singaporean is really an immigrant if they were born in Singapore. So when do we decide history begins and why? Perhaps more fundamental, who gets to decide?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Politics is made up largely of irrelevancies." - Dalton Camp


The Financial Post, Toronto, February 23rd 2001:

Employment Wanted: Former Marijuana Smuggler

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"Having successfully completed a ten year sentence, incident-free, for importing 75 tons of marijuana into the United States, I am now seeking a legal and legitimate means to support myself and my family.

Business Experience: Owned and operated a successful fishing business - multi vessel, one airplane, one island and processing facility. Simultaneously owned and operated a fleet of tractor-trailer trucks conducting business in the western United States. During this time I also co-owned and participated in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successful pot smuggling venture with revenues in excess of US$100 million annually. I took responsibility for my actions, and received a ten year sentence in the United States while others walked free for their cooperation.

Atributes: I am an expert in all levels of security; I have extensive computer skills, am personable, outgoing, well-educated, reliable, clean and sober. I have spoken in schools to thousands of kids and parent groups over the past ten years on "the consequences of choice", and received public recognition from the RCMP for community service. I am well-traveled and speak English, French and Spanish. References available from friends, family and the U.S. District Attorney, etc."
"Never run after a bus or a woman; another will be along shortly" - Evan Esar


After listening to a million and one tracks and poking around, this is what I gather is the story of the Requiem for a Dream Two Towers remix (the one used in the second half of the trailer; and why there're so many versions floating around):

About 1 1/2 minutes of music was used in The Two Towers trailer. It was a re-orchestration, with choir, of the Lux Aeterna theme from Requiem for a Dream. This was not released on CD.

People asked for it, so they released 3 samples on tracks on a CD ("Requiem for a Tower"), totalling 2 1/2.

This was where the fun began.

Someone mixed these samples into a 4 minute track.

Someone else then made a 6 1/2 minute track using the 4 minute track, combining it with music from the original soundtrack of Requiem for a Dream, and probably remixed it again too. Which is why you get eerie yowling and the Kronos Quartet at the start of the track, which transitions into orchestral/choral chords later on.

Then someone else also made a 3 1/2 minute track replicating the music from the Two Towers trailer (which incidentally is only 3 minutes)

Which is why you have tons of versions lying around.

Frigid Girl: what thE HELL

the music started playing while d/ling
i was scared

i was wondering how come 'what sweeter music' suddenly sounded demonic

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Spare no expense to save money on this one." - Samuel Goldwyn


City Harvest Bible Training Center: School of Theology - "City Harvest Bible Training Center (CHBTC) will offer a certificate program in the year 2009... This five-month program is designed to give you a good, strong foundation in the Word of God... CHBTC will help you obtain a solid, biblical foundation to grow and mature as a believer."

3,000-year-old butter found in Kildare bog

W**k tells F**king to get a grip - "Fed-up residents of the Austrian town of F**king are being offered a helping hand by their German neighbours in a town named W**k... Local tourism chiefs say they realised that although the name meant nothing in German, it was a goldmine when it came to attracting English-speaking visitors. A W**k tourism spokesman said: 'There are W**k postcards on sale although many people prefer to take their own W**k holiday snaps standing beside Welcome to W**k signs.' F**king recenty announced plans to install CCTV to deter tourists from lewd behaviour beside their roadsigns. The mayor of F***ing, Franz Meindl, previously complained: 'We don't find it funny. We just want to be left alone. We don't harm anyone and just want to live in peace.'"

Make Cake in a Mug

Economist.com: On torture, hate radio, Arabic, free trade, education, the rich, Britain's monarchy, toilets - "Your briefing about the debate on torture perpetuated an unfortunate myth: that Barack Obama has dramatically altered the detention policies of his predecessor. The regrettable fact is that the policies implemented by Mr Obama are materially indistinguishable from those of George Bush at the end of his second term... In the life of a nation, symbolic change is not meaningless. In fact, in the modern political climate, it may be all one can reasonably expect. But it should never be confused with genuine reform... [In the US,] For decades teachers have been “facilitating” rather than teaching. Children are encouraged to “explore”, rather than to learn; it is no longer compulsory to memorise multiplication tables, for example. Future generations will have to either clean up this mess or resign themselves to living in a country with a skill set restricted to serving up hamburgers."

A good nap beats great sex, say travellers - "More than half of the Asian respondents (52 per cent) felt that a great night's sleep trumped great sex... 53 per cent saying they'd rather have a sleeping pill on their hotel pillow than the ubiquitous chocolate, while 56 per cent took a relaxant, sleep or stress medication when travelling overnight... Most people surveyed said they had got into fights with their boss or co-workers because of a bad night's sleep (30 per cent), more than one in four screwed up a presentation (26 per cent), while 22 per cent argued with their spouse or partner or forgot important events."

Caught in Costume - "Spencer Taylor of Three Rivers, Michigan, was arrested on July 27th, 2008 for trying to steal Batman paraphernalia from the lobby of a cinema. Taylor, dressed as Batman's nemesis the Joker in a purple cape and fearsome face paint, was restrained by theater employees until police arrived."

How Web Animation Works: The Difference Between Flash and Shockwave
XXVIII: 'Inspired' Religious Liberty

"According to the Bible, God selected the Jewish people through whom to make known the great fact, that he was the only true and living God. For this purpose, he appeared on several occasions to Moses--came down to Sinai's top clothed in cloud and fire, and wrought a thousand miracles for the preservation and education of the Jewish people. In their presence he opened the waters of the sea. For them he caused bread to rain from heaven. To quench their thirst, water leaped from the dry and barren rock. Their enemies were miraculously destroyed; and for forty years, at least, this God took upon himself the government of the Jews. But, after all this, many of the people had less confidence in him than in gods of wood and stone. In moments of trouble, in periods of disaster, in the darkness of doubt, in the hunger and thirst of famine, instead of asking this God for aid, they turned and sought the help of senseless things. This God, with all his power and wisdom, could not even convince a few wandering and wretched savages that he was more potent than the idols of Egypt. This God was not willing that the Jews should think and investigate for themselves. For heresy, the penalty was death. Where this God reigned, intellectual liberty was unknown. He appealed only to brute force; he collected taxes by threatening plagues; he demanded worship on pain of sword and fire; acting as spy, inquisitor, judge and executioner.

In the thirteenth chapter of Deuteronomy, we have the ideas of God as to mental freedom. "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; namely of the gods of the people which are around about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth, Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him, neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare him, neither shalt thou conceal him. But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones that he die."

This is the religious liberty of God; the toleration of Jehovah. If I had lived in Palestine at that time, and my wife, the mother of my children, had said to me, "I am tired of Jehovah, he is always asking for blood; he is never weary of killing; he is always telling of his might and strength; always telling what he has done for the Jews, always asking for sacrifices; for doves and lambs-blood, nothing but blood.--Let us worship the sun. Jehovah is too revengeful, too malignant, too exacting. Let us worship the sun. The sun has clothed the world in beauty; it has covered the earth with flowers; by its divine light I first saw your face, and my beautiful babe."--If I had obeyed the command of God, I would have killed her. My hand would have been first upon her, and after that the hands of all the people, and she would have been stoned with stones until she died. For my part, I would never kill my wife, even if commanded so to do by the real God of this universe. Think of taking up some ragged rock and hurling it against the white bosom filled with love for you; and when you saw oozing from the bruised lips of the death wound, the red current of her sweet life--think of looking up to heaven and receiving the congratulations of the infinite fiend whose commandment you had obeyed!

Can we believe that any such command was ever given by a merciful and intelligent God? Suppose, however, that God did give this law to the Jews, and did tell them that whenever a man preached a heresy, or proposed to worship any other God that they should kill him; and suppose that afterward this same God took upon himself flesh, and came to this very chosen people and taught a different religion, and that thereupon the Jews crucified him; I ask you, did he not reap exactly what he had sown? What right would this God have to complain of a crucifixion suffered in accordance with his own command?

Nothing can be more infamous than intellectual tyranny. To put chains upon the body is as nothing compared with putting shackles on the brain. No god is entitled to the worship or the respect of man who does not give, even to the meanest of his children, every right that he claims for himself.

If the Pentateuch be true, religious persecution is a duty. The dungeons of the Inquisition were temples, and the clank of every chain upon the limbs of heresy was music in the ear of God. If the Pentateuch was inspired, every heretic should be destroyed; and every man who advocates a fact inconsistent with the sacred book, should be consumed by sword and flame.

In the Old Testament no one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, nor upon intellectual development--nothing except simple brute force. Is there to-day a Christian who will say that four thousand years ago, it was the duty of a husband to kill his wife if she differed with him upon the subject of religion? Is there one who will now say that, under such circumstances, the wife ought to have been killed? Why should God be so jealous of the wooden idols of the heathen? Could he not compete with Baal? Was he envious of the success of the Egyptian magicians? Was it not possible for him to make such a convincing display of his power as to silence forever the voice of unbelief? Did this God have to resort to force to make converts? Was he so ignorant of the structure of the human mind as to believe all honest doubt a crime? If he wished to do away with the idolatry of the Canaanites, why did he not appear to them? Why did he not give them the tables of the law? Why did he only make known his will to a few wandering savages in the desert of Sinai? Will some theologian have the kindness to answer these questions? Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a Christian who burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty in heaven? Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fé"

--- Some Mistakes of Moses / Robert G. Ingersoll
"There are two ways to pass a hurdle: leaping over or plowing through... There needs to be a monster truck option." - Jeph Jacques


Edge: THANK GOODNESS! by Daniel C Dennett

"Two weeks ago, I was rushed by ambulance to a hospital where it was determined by c-t scan that I had a "dissection of the aorta"... Friends were anxious to learn if I had had a near-death experience, and if so, what effect it had had on my longstanding public atheism... I saw with greater clarity than ever before in my life that when I say "Thank goodness!" this is not merely a euphemism for "Thank God!"...

To whom, then, do I owe a debt of gratitude? To the cardiologist who has kept me alive and ticking for years, and who swiftly and confidently rejected the original diagnosis of nothing worse than pneumonia. To the surgeons, neurologists, anesthesiologists, and the perfusionist... I am grateful to the editorial boards and referees, past and present, of Science, Nature, Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet, and all the other institutions of science and medicine that keep churning  out improvements, detecting and correcting flaws.

Do I worship modern medicine? Is science my religion? Not at all; there is no aspect of modern medicine or science that I would exempt from the most rigorous scrutiny... the worlds of medicine and science are already engaged in the most obsessive, intensive, and humble self-assessments yet known to human institutions, and they regularly make public the results of their self-examinations...

One thing in particular struck me when I compared the medical world on which my life now depended with the religious institutions I have been studying so intensively in recent years. One of the gentler, more supportive themes to be found in every religion (so far as I know) is the idea that what really matters is what is in your heart: if you have good intentions, and are trying to do what (God says) is right, that is all anyone can ask. Not so in medicine! If you are wrong—especially if you should have known better—your good intentions count for almost nothing. And whereas taking a leap of faith and acting without further scrutiny of one's options is often celebrated by religions, it is considered a grave sin in medicine...

In other words... no religion holds its members to the high standards of moral responsibility that the secular world of science and medicine does!... Appeals to faith or membership are never tolerated... it is the goodness of this tradition of reason and open inquiry that I thank for my being alive today.

What, though, do I say to those of my religious friends (and yes, I have quite a few religious friends) who have had the courage and honesty to tell me that they have been praying for me? I have gladly forgiven them, for there are few circumstances more frustrating than not being able to help a loved one in any more direct way... I am not joking when I say that I have had to forgive my friends who said that they were praying for me. I have resisted the temptation to respond "Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?" I feel about this the same way I would feel if one of them said "I just paid a voodoo doctor to cast a spell for your health." What a gullible waste of money that could have been spent on more important projects! Don't expect me to be grateful, or even indifferent. I do appreciate the affection and generosity of spirit that motivated you, but wish you had found a more reasonable way of expressing it.

But isn't this awfully harsh? Surely it does the world no harm if those who can honestly do so pray for me! No, I'm not at all sure about that. For one thing, if they really wanted to do something useful, they could devote their prayer time and energy to some pressing project that they can do something about. For another, we now have quite solid grounds (e.g., the recently released Benson study at Harvard) for believing that intercessory prayer simply doesn't work...

The best thing about saying thank goodness in place of thank God is that there really are lots of ways of repaying your debt to goodness—by setting out to create more of it, for the benefit of those to come. Goodness comes in many forms, not just medicine and science. Thank goodness for the music of, say, Randy Newman... Thank goodness for fresh drinking water in the tap, and food on our table. Thank goodness for fair elections and truthful journalism. If you want to express your gratitude to goodness, you can plant a tree, feed an orphan, buy books for schoolgirls in the Islamic world, or contribute in thousands of other ways to the manifest improvement of life on this planet now and in the near future.

Or you can thank God—but the very idea of repaying God is ludicrous. What could an omniscient, omnipotent Being (the Man Who has Everything?) do with any paltry repayments from you? (And besides, according to the Christian tradition God has already redeemed the debt for all time, by sacrificing his own son. Try to repay that loan!) Yes, I know, those themes are not to be understood literally; they are symbolic. I grant it, but then the idea that by thanking God you are actually doing some good has got to be understood to be just symbolic, too. I prefer real good to symbolic good."

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's incredibly difficult to find a standalone install Flash installer for Firefox.

The funky installer on the website installed a disgusting Adobe Download Manager in my Firefox which then repeatedly refused to download and install Flash properly.

Luckily, softwarepatch.com links to an installer on the Adobe site, which does the job.
"Westerners have tended to emphasize their own role in the decline of the Qing Dynasty. There is a large literature on the Opium Wars and on China's failure to meet the challenge posed by Western civilization. In terms of impact, the Opium Wars cannot be compared to the secession movements and civil wars afflicting China. During the Opium Wars, casualty figures ranged from the hundreds to the thousands, certainly not in the tens of thousands let alone tens of millions for the civil wars and failed secession movements. Whereas the Opium Wars were largely confined to a few treaty ports and surrounding coastal areas, the rebellions devastated the economies of entire provinces. The Chinese continue to emphasize the evils of the treaty-port system in order to scapegoat foreigners for their tragic century. Mainland China uses a Marxist framework, juxtaposing evil Western imperialists with virtuous Chinese victims and freedom fighters. In reality, almost all of the killing during these years was done by Chinese to Chinese, most of whom were probably civilians."

--- The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895: perceptions, power, and primacy / S. C. M. Paine

One could say the same about the Muslim sense of grievance against the West.
According to Wikipedia:

"Blouses (and many women's shirts with buttons) usually have buttons reversed from that of men's shirts...

Another possible reason is so men can easily undo blouses as, from the front, buttons are on the same side as a men's shirt"

I tried to find a citation for this but could not.

I think someone's trying to screw around, especially since the phrasing for most of the other explanations was stolen from one source.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity." - Robertson Davies


"For almost all of recorded history, no particular opprobrium was attached to consuming opium as a painkiller, relaxant, work aid, and social lubricant. The Dutch in Indonesia were the first to smoke opium, in the early 1600s, when they began adding a few grains to a recent New World import, tobacco...

Nineteenth-century Europeans swallowed enormous amounts of opium, whereas the Chinese smoked theirs. Since inhaled opium is more addictive than opium taken orally, it was considered much more dangerous in China than in the nations of the West. In England, horticultural organizations awarded prizes for particularly potent domestically grown poppies... and opium was consumed guiltlessly by both high and low, most famously by Samuel Taylor Coleridge ('Kubla Khan'), Thomas de Quincey (Confessions of an Opium Eater), and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. The drug could be purchased freely in England until the Pharmacy Act of 1868, other Western nations did not restrict its use until around 1900...

The popular image of an entire Chinese population and its economy ravaged by opium is a misconception. In the first place, the drug was quite expensive and largely the province of the mandarin and merchant elite classes. Second, like alcohol, it was catastrophically addictive in only a small proportion of its users. Even the infamous opium dens did not live up to their seedy reputation, as a disappointed Somerset Maugharn discovered:

And when I was taken to an opium den by a smooth-talking Eurasian, the narrow, winding stairway up which he led me prepared me sufficiently to receive the thrill I expected. I was introduced into a neat enough room, brightly lit, divided into cubicles the raised floor of which, covered with clean matting, formed a convenient couch. In one an elderly gentleman. with a grey head and very beautiful hands, was quietly reading a newspaper, with his long pipe by his side. ... [In another room] four men squatted over a chess-board, and a little further on a man was dandling a baby... . It was a cheerful spot, comfortable, home-like, and cozy. It reminded me somewhat of the little intimate beer-houses ot Berlin where the tired working man could go in the evening and spend a peaceful hour.

Academic research on opium consumption In China bears out Maugham's observation: opium was largely a social drug that harmed only a tiny percentage of users. One modern scholar estimates that although as many as half of men and one-fourth of women were occasional users, and in 1879 only about one Chinese person in a hundred inhaled enough opium to even be at risk of addiction.

The Chinese emperor and the mandarins did express some moral outrage over the debilitation caused by opium, but they were far more concerned about the drug's damage to their balance of trade. China subscribed to European-style mercantilism as faithfully as any seventeenth-century Western monarchy. Before 1800, the tea trade was, at least in the terms of the mercantilist ideology of the day, grossly favorable to the Chinese. The EIC's records pinpoint 1806 as the year when the silver flow reversed. After that date, the value of opium imports exceeded that of tea exports, and Chinese silver began flowing out of the Celestial Kingdom for the first time. After 1818, silver constituted fully one-fifth of the value of Chinese export goods...

For the most part, in mid-eighteenth-century England opium was still a benign nostrum dispensed to colicky babies and swallowed by little old ladies to ease the infirmities of age."

--- A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World / William J. Bernstein

A question that doesn't seem to get asked:

If Opium was really so ruinous, how come China didn't collapse once the Qing were forced to allow its free importation?
"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this." - Emo Phillips


Amusing forum exchange (and yet another example of the immaturity of Singaporeans in racial-religious relations [not that examples are hard to find]):

Psst! Israel Deep-Sea products don't work on Muslims?

fishkampongboy: I confess I'm not being nice but to hear that comment from a promoter is a real drop jaw!...

I tell him I'm a Muslim and I don't feel good buying an Israel product (becos of their conflict with Palestine)

"Oh", he said, "this product won't work on Muslims."

F**K! I could have rebutted him and complaint about his comment but thinking that I was the one who started it first so I just GO! but not before throwing back his product sample.

hotmamii: I eat bagel and I'm loving it.................

Jarhum00: Singaporeans should be careful of these israelis selling cosmetic products at kiosks. Intelligence reports have surfaced that israeli agents have been posing as dead sea cosmetic salesmen (or women) in the States and Australia. Refer to this link for the report (http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_4821.shtml).And with the recent sprouting of these suspicious characters in Singapore, we all should take an extra precaution and distant ourselves from these racist characters which our friend here has had a terrible un pleasent encounter.

We, Singaporeans, value our multi-racial fabric and the influx of some people of dubious characters and questionable motives should be investigated by our intel, just to be sure...

As a concerned citizen of Singapore, I think that the authorities should moniter the activities of such people as precaution as several reports have surfaced that these kiosks serve as a front operations for espionage activities as obtaining information of classified military installations and informations.

Peacelover82: Jarhum calls the israelis racist when his post reeks of racism. *rolls eyes*

FYI, spies of every nationality are in S'pore.

Lets not be naive, our men are also collecting intel from other countries.

Tell me which country does'nt send out agents?

mordecai1968: should report police

Peacelover82: The Muslim was the one who brought in Religion when approached by the Israeli.

Don't want to buy just say no la! why must declare that I am a Muslim, I boycott Israeli products?

You tink the police is going to arrest the Israeli? *rolls eyes*

mordecai1968: it never hurt to try=D =D =D

Dontwant: Bro are you malay? Anyway, if you are a malay, I am sure you know that jews are very smart. This is one example where you have been outwitted by a jew. I dont use the word israeli because, not all israeli are jews as there are christians and muslims too.

Next time if you come across them again, put on your thinking cap and be prepare to answer them out wittingly.
"Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem." - W. Somerset Maugham


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
(scanned by kibogoyo)

"Chua Hock Hin, 56, sitting naked while having his meal at the dining table in his flat... Chua was fined $2,600 by the District Court for being naked in a private place and using criminal force to annoy his neighbour"

There are two previous cases that I'm aware of, but in both the men masturbated while being aware that women were looking at them, so the sentences were at least less indefensible.

Contrary to some claims, this is not Uniquely Singapore.

At least in 2004, being nude in private was also illegal in Taiwan:

"The problem touched on issues of privacy and on the tough anti-nudity laws in Taiwan. The man was practicing his exercises in the privacy of his own home, so outsiders can’t really take him to task. But the media here also explained that because the man made no attempt at hiding himself – standing in front of the window with the light shining on him, knowing quite well people in the building opposite could see him – he could still be prosecuted.

... a person who is naked in a private place but where there is a clear view from outside, because the doors or windows are open, or in a confined, clearly visible space such as a car, can receive a prison sentence of up to one year."

Meanwhile, in civilised countries like the US, it has actually been ruled that "A person has a constitutional right to be naked in a private place."

The relevant law:


Appearing nude in public or private place
27A. —(1) Any person who appears nude —

(a) in a public place; or
(b) in a private place and is exposed to public view,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both.

(2) For the purpose of this section, the reference to a person appearing nude includes a person who is clad in such a manner as to offend against public decency or order.

(3) Where an offence under this section is committed in a private place, it shall be lawful for a police officer to enter the private place without the authority of the owner or occupier of the private place to effect the arrest of the offender.

(4) In effecting entry under subsection (3), it shall be lawful for a police officer to use such force as may be necessary to enter the private place.

Translation: if you're naked at home and other people can see you, the police can storm into your house to arrest you.


Marc: Correct translation ought to be: If you're male and naked at home and other people can see you, the police can storm into your house to arrest you. On the other hand, if you're female and naked and a guy happens to see you, then the police can storm into HIS house and arrest him for being a peeping tom.
On "Fighting Fantazine":

A: Seriously, I couldn't give a hoot about some fizzy tooth-rotter drink. I don't understand why it's the first thing that apparently springs to mind for some people.

Essex, Middlesex and Sussex...Oh wow! They all sound like "sex". Tee-hee.

Kilkenny, Ireland... Oh wow! It sounds like "kill". Tee-hee.

Fukuoka, Japan. Oh wow! It sounds like...

B: It's not a bad name, although it does bring Enid Blyton to mind for some reason.

C: What does Enid Blyton have to do with this??? I used to read her books, and
there was NO fighting in them at all!

B: Can't claim it was a rational connection, but it brought her books to mind for some reason (and those kids certainly did have a lot of adventures, even if they didn't often indulge in monster slaying !)
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