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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for June 1, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for June 1, 2006!

Funny Pics on Flickr

Found these on the other day and enjoyed their irony so much I thought I'd share. Click on them to go to their original pages and to check out the photog's other pics:

Ah, good stuff!

Otis the Elevator for May 31, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 31, 2006!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

[ThePhlog] 5/31/2006 12:25:15 AM

Just general update stuff. Life without a PowerBook and more...
this is an audio post - click to play

Ballpoint Adventures for May 31, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 31, 2006!

The 5 Minute Show Episode 22!

Sorry this is late, folks! It's SiSi and ThePete dealing with some "relatives" visiting them this week--you thought YOUR family was bad! Or maybe you didn't. Well, everyone's got "relatives" like these!

Somehow this mp4's clocking in at 19.5 megs. Sheesh--iSquint can be so hit and miss.

Otis the Elevator for May 30, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 30, 2006!

MEDIA: OMEN REMAKE ADS EVIL (and other Press Perplexities)

This is kind of surprising to me and I think it marks a distinct swing-to-the-right of the press. In [[|a May 28, 2006 article]] from and News.Yahoo.Com an unnamed journalist reported:
With the clamor over religious thriller "The Da Vinci Code" barely fading, a major Hollywood studio is mining the same vein with a Satanic "666" marketing campaign for its new horror film.

"The Omen", a remake of the 1976 horror classic, is the kind of film that routinely makes it big at the box office, appealing to the coveted demographic of young and predominantly male thrill-seekers.

Twentieth Century Fox has banked "The Omen" on a promotional campaign based on "666", the number associated with Satan, based on Revelation, the last book in the Bible.

Even the film's worldwide debut is set for June 6, 2006, or 06/06/06, which the studio conveniently has shortened to 666 in the film's logo.

Ha, that last bit is actually not true--check out a screengrab I took from DrudgeReport.Com this morning:

First off, that ad uses "6+6+06" which suggests the classic "666" number combination and isn't the "06/06/06" that the article "reports". Secondly, I challenge the unnamed journalist to SEE the original Omen film and see if he/she/it could come up with a better marketing campaign for a movie where the son of Satan is born on June 6? I also take issue with the idea that the original Omen is a "horror" film at all. If you've seen it, you'd be hard pressed to mention more than two instances of real horror. In an actual horror film there would be monsters or gore or scares. The Omen is a thriller--filled with suspense. If it's a horror film at all, it's because you're horrified at the idea of the son of Satan being real and growing up to be the President of the United States.

I also take issue with something else the article says:
"The Omen" is the story of a father who realizes his adopted infant son, Damien, who has a 666 birthmark on his skull, is a reincarnation of Satan.

Uh, when was Satan "carnated" in the first place? Even if you believe in all this crap, Satan was never human--he was an angel. He never walked the Earth. Man, and we bloggers get the bad reputations!

In other movie "news," Roger Friedman of Fox News posted a funny little claim in an article "reporting" on X-Men 3's success at the box office this past weekend--check out the screengrab I got on Saturday:

So, that 3rd Star Wars movie was called Attack of the Sith?

Come on, "reporters" you may be reporting on entertainment, but for Christ's sake, how difficult is it to get your friggen facts right?

Finally, I'd like to blog about [|this May 29, 2006 article] from Reuters.Com available at which reports on how Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie "took over" the country of Namibia in the lead up to Jolie's baby being born. Here's a clip:
The Republic of Namibia - the impoverished country of 1.8 million known for its wild remoteness - not only welcomed the movie stars, it handed over control of its international land borders and airspace to them.

As the world awaited the birth of the child at a luxury villa complex on the coast, Namibian authorities said they had bowed to pressure from Jolie and Pitt and granted them the right to ban foreign journalists from entering the country - a remarkable move for the Government of any sovereign state.

Now, I'm sure I'll come across as a Jolie/Pitt apologist here, but isn't it a bit overdramatic of the reporter (uncredited again) to put it quite that way? Was there an act of Namibia's parliament or Congress that handed over official control over the countries "international land borders and airspace" to the celebs? Or was it simply a couple of disgustingly rich "stars" asking Namibia's government for preferential treatment?

The way this unnamed reporter puts it, you'd think Brangelina could order an asault on another country.

Again, you're reporting on the entertainment industry, guy. You've already got two of the best looking people on the planet mentioned in your article and you have to be more sensationalistic?

It's just "nice" to see this incredible decline of modern journalism pass through all corners of the field. From coverage of imagined Iraqi WMD right down to the Namibian currency being revalued by Brad Pitt.

OK, I made that last bit up--what do you want from me? Real "journalism"? I'm a blogger--never forget that!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 30, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 30, 2006!


I recently had to deal with a lawsuit for an alleged old debt that I was being sued for illegally. Sadly, I'm still dealing with it, which is while I'll be posting financial help stuff on the site every so often.

First off, DO YOUR RESEARCH! I've got a lawyer that is doing a good job for me now, but don't think that just because you have a good lawyer that you're off the hook. You need to do your research, too. As I was doing my research I came across:

It's a pretty good blog that covers all sorts of consumer credit news, mainly aimed at residents of the state of California. However, I think it's a great jumping off point for anyone who is having legal credit problems. Check it out if you're having trouble.

Otis the Elevator for May 29, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 29, 2006!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 29, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 29, 2006!


Well, it's only a timewaster if you think video games are pointless. However, BenHeck.Com is not just a video game site--oh NO! Ben Heckendorn is a man who turns fullsize video game consoles and makes them portable. I'm not kidding. He built this thing called an nPod that fits in your hand put plays classic NES games off of the original cartrdiges!

Check out a pic below:

Pretty sweet, huh?

He's also built handhelds for the PS2, the Atari 2600 and more. Oh and Ben can also make movies. Check out his site for more info on him.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 28, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 28, 2006!


OK, well, isn't quite up yet, but you can check out to get a tast of him--er, so to speak. He specializes in posting all sorts of bizarre popculture items often having to do with Batman though Batman stuff is far from the only thing he posts. As I type this, visible on his LJ are pics of the following:

1) KKK figurine
2) Styx tattoo (!)
3) Snow White-themed Amour Ham packaging complete with black chef exclaiming "THE HAM WHAT AM"
4) A Batman cookbook where Robin explains where the banana goes... AHEM
5) a carton of Batman orange juice
6) a very disturbing Little Richard Miller album cover for his album "Jesus Use Me" (featuring LRM--born with no limbs--sitting at a piano with his tour bus in the background with a picture of Jesus floating above a jet of white water)

Seriously, check it out. He doesn't update a whole lot, but he's already got a serious body of "work" to explore in the meantime. Yowza!

[ThePhlog] 5/27/2006 11:41:36 AM

Hey, it's a special Saturday edition of ThePhlog! WAHOO!

Listen to me explain what's up with TheXodcast, the new Al Gore movie and more. LISTEN, BABY!!!

this is an audio post - click to play


Sorry, the title of this post was supposed be reminiscent of "joementum" the term Joe Leiberman used to describe how well his presidential campaign was going. ANYway, so a couple of weeks ago, CommonDreams.Org posted [|this piece] from Here's a taste:
Impeachment Momentum Builds
by Matthew Rothschild

Slowly and steadily, the drive for the impeachment of George W. Bush is building.

Neil Young’s song, “Impeach the President,” has given the effort increasing visibility.

And a story in the Boston Globe by Charlie Savage on April 30 showed just how necessary the impeachment drive is.

“President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with the Constitution,” Savage wrote. Bush has done so by issuing so-called signing statements on “more than one out of every ten bills he has signed.”

Administration spokesmen told Savage that Bush “will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution.”

But there’s the rub.

It’s not up to him to judge that.

It’s up to the courts.

This was back on May 5. It's now May 27. All I can say is: Whahappa?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 27, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 27, 2006!

TheVlog for 5/26/6

Finally! It's a new entry in TheVlog at ThePete.Com!




This is a 29.2MB mp4 that clocks in at about 9.5 minutes. I cover my recently dead laptop, the replacement for said laptop, some news items (child porn, expanding deserts and more) and you also get to enjoy my unshaven face.


More Vlog entries to come. :)


Wow--looking to waste some time? Check out and start wading through their HUGE cache of terrible album covers. They are a RIOT. Here's my favorite though it was very hard to choose:

Oh, man--I'd LOVE to get an mp3 of "Who Dat?"!!

So, My PowerBook Bit It and...

I'm wondering if there's a way to save the podcasts I would DL on a daily basis. I have a whole mess of them that I listen to and they're all still on my iPod, but for some odd reason the URLs for the feeds are not on there and the idea of Googling for all of them is not pleasing. Also, since I'm mooching off TheWife's iBook until my birthday and Christmas present from my dad get here (a check for a new Mac Mini), I don't really want to clutter up this not-my-machine with stacks of podcasts.

So, what I'm doing instead is looking up my absolute favorite podcasts--the ones I simply don't want to miss. I thought maybe I could share them with you in case you were looking for cool stuff to listen to--and no, it's not all politics. So, here are my most favorite podcasts in no particular order (though the first one will obviously be the most important to me):

ThePete.Com - Yeah, big surprise :) But hey, it's my stuff! Every Monday is The 5 Minute Show, a 5 minute-long romp through my and my wife's wacky brains. Tuesday is ThePhlog, which is another 5 minute show of shorts, but is more of a personal log kind of thing. Then on Wednesday (when my minicam is working) there's TheVlog which is a bit like ThePhlog only longer and with pictures. I also tend to throw in some political and news stuff in there, too. Then on Thursday is TheXodcast, which is a 20 minute version of Huckle-Bug (see below) hosted by myself and TheWife. Then for the weekend we're hoping to add to our list of shows, a sock-puppet podcast (pupcast?). More on that when we come up with it. You can subscribe to the each show individually or just go with the site's main feed:

DemocracyNow! - I know, again, big surprise. However, once you spend some time listening to alternative media you discover just how ridiculously candy-coated everything in the mainstream media is. While Amy Goodman and her co-host Juan Gonzales are far from the polished news anchors we're all used to, it's the content that makes the difference. I listen to the audio version of the show and sometimes I start to fall asleep because Amy and Juan aren't that engaging--but caffeine yourself up--their coverage is totally worth it. It is depressing, but even if you don't listen to the show for more than a couple days a week, you'll learn a helluva lot more about the world you live in than if you watch mainstream news for a month. I promise you this. Check out their site at DemocracyNow.Org or directly subscribe to their audio podcast or their video podcast.

Indieish.Com - this is probably the single coolest idea ever. See, there's this thing called "the Creative Commons." It comes from this old concept where there were certain things that belonged to everyone. Like the land, or rivers or oceans. This meant that we all had to take care of these common resources--hence the term "the commons." Now there's a movement that extends this to the idea of art--that art should be used, but taken care of, by everyone. This doesn't mean that the artist doesn't control their work to a certain degree--it's just not done in a way that is draconian or unfair to other folks who come along later and want to build on it (or those of us who simply want to view/listen to it). Indieish.Com is a site that offers a song-a-day from the music portion of the Creative Commons--as in, folks who contribute to the CC with their music. The songs are free and they're from all sorts of different genre(s?) so this is really my favorite podcast of all time. I've heard some truly awesome songs. Subscribe directly to their feed at

Huckle-Bug - HB is the audio podcast from an old scifi geek friend of mine and a friend of hers. They're called Bet and Stennie (my old friend is Stennie) and they just sit around talking about stuff and are damned entertaining. Movies, TV shows, music, whatever meets their fancy. The added bonus is that after you're done listening to the hour-long 'cast you feel like you've just hung out with a couple of really good friends. In all honesty, I find myself wishing the show was longer. Go fig. Anyway, you can check it out at or just subscribe directly to it at

Learn Japanese - this is an audio and video podcast put together by a British guy in Osaka, Japan. He gets a few of his Japanese and non-Japanese friends together for each episode to teach us, the listeners, words and phrases in Japanese. This is simply a MUST-LISTEN-TO for any Japan-o-phile. It's like Pimsleur with a soul. Check it out at or subscribe directly at

Escape Pod - If you like science fiction prose, this is an awesome idea. Every week a scifi short story is read for you. They're not always great stories, but hey--if you don't like them, it's easy enough to just turn them off and wait until next week. Trust me, if you like scifi, this is a great podcast--plus, it's cool to support this type of media. Reading for when you don't have time to pick up a book--very cool. :)

OK, those are my absolute faves. I've got a whole slew more of podcasts on my iPod, like I said, but the list above are the ones I just can't live without. So, check 'em out and if you have a podcast you think I or other folks might dig, let me know about it. :)

Otis the Elevator for May 26, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 26, 2006!


You may have heard about this already but I thought it would be a good idea to bring it up again. According to [|a May 17, 2006 article] at
A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.

From the beginning, Iraqis in the town of Haditha said U.S. Marines deliberately killed 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children.

One young Iraqi girl said the Marines killed six members of her family, including her parents. “The Americans came into the room where my father was praying,” she said, “and shot him.”

On Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the accounts are true.

Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right.

Let's hope this investigation actually happens, as opposed to all the other times an investigation was seriously required but not done for trumped up and idiotic reasons.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 26, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 26, 2006!


Recently, Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man to be tried for the 911 attacks, was found guilty. He was up for the death penalty but didn't get it. Instead, he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. Here's my take on this real quick:

1) He struck me as a loser who tried to play up his importance. My guess is that he was hoping to get the death penalty so he would become a martyr, both so he could get his 72 virgins and so his "cause" could use him as a poster child.

2) The death penalty is wrong except in very rare and very extreme cases. All life is sacred in my mind and anyone who is against war on those grounds or against abortion on those grounds should not be able to support the death penalty.

3) What good would killing this guy do? He wasn't one of the 911 hijackers. He was the loser who got caught before 911. He's not even directly responsible for the attacks.

OK, that aside, it's interesting to note how his sentence came about. Here's a clip from [,,11069-2177929,00.html|a May 12, 2006 article] at that describes a bit of a mystery:
A unanimous vote on just one of the three charges would have condemned Moussaoui to execution. The foreman said that, in a series of secret ballots, the panel voted 11-1, 10-2 and 10-2 in favour of his being killed by lethal injection.

She said that the dissenter repeatedly held out on the first charge and never identified him or herself. On the third day of deliberations the process nearly broke down, the female maths teacher from Northern Virginia revealed.

There had been repeated 11-1 votes on one charge, but because the ballot was anonymous, and the dissenter kept quiet, no one could identify who was responsible.

She revealed that discussions among the jury appeared resolutely pro-death penalty, but every time they went to a vote, at least one person would veto the execution.

That's really cool. Someone on that jury stuck to their guns and I admire them for that more than they could know. The natural instinct for a human being is to go with the pack--to lie, even if they know it is wrong, just because everyone else in the group is lying, too. I've seen it happen in psyche class and in the wild. People would rather belong than be right.

So, to that juror, I say this: THANK YOU and YOU ROCK!

I just wish more of us could be more like you!

Otis the Elevator for May 25, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 25, 2006!


So, what's "Net Neutrality"? In short, it's the principle that guarantees us all equal access to the World Wide Web. It makes sure that ISPs, phone and cable companies charge a fair and consistent amount for access to the 'net.

Without NN said companies could charge different people/companies different amounts and provide different levels of access. Isn't that fun?

So, Coca-Cola could pay big bucks to stay accessible to the masses. However, the average joe couldn't. ThePete.Com would end up on the dirt road will WarnerBrothers.Com would be on the highway. What this means is that, since I can't afford big bucks, my site would be slow to load for people while the WB's site would pop up instantly.

This could, I believe, effect access in the other direction, too. As in, you might have to pay your ISP more to get access to the back roads of the 'net.

So, why bring all of this up?

Well, while most of America is freaking out about illegal immigration NN just might get obliterated by lawmakers in Washington. Check out this clip from [,0,4559120.story|an oped piece from May 9, 2006] at
Congress wants to change the Internet.

This is news to most people because the major news media have not actively pursued the story. Yet both the House and Senate commerce committees are promoting new rules governing the manner by which most Americans receive the Web. Congressional passage of new rules is widely anticipated, as is President Bush's signature. Once this happens, the Internet will change before your eyes.

The proposed House legislation, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE), offers no protections for "network neutrality."

So, the great equalizer that the Internet is, will soon be anything but equal. The sad thing is, I'm not entirely sure what to do about it. I even checked to see if they had any info on what to do (or even what is going on right now) but they seem obsessed with AT&T helping the USG spy on us.

Not that I blame them.

Oh well, just trying to help give people a heads-up on this story. More on this when I come across new info.

Oh and you can read what the inventor of the World Wide Web thinks about these proposed new laws in [|a May 23, 2006 article] at (he doesn't like them).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 25, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 25, 2006!


This is pretty damn funny if you ask me. Here we go--the following clip is from [|a May 13, 2006 "faith & values" article] at SeattleTimes.Com:
Experts agree: Dan Brown got most of his facts wrong.

Religion scholars have been whacking "The Da Vinci Code" like a low-hanging piñata. The swings have come from establishment Christianity — the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury — and from the fringes of the faith — a member of the liberal Jesus Seminar and the agnostic historian Bart Ehrman.

That's so funny. Religious academics are saying Dan Brown got his "facts" wrong.

And where do religious academics get their facts?

From the Bible? A book that is almost completely unsupported by historical evidence? Hell, the lead character isn't even mentioned anywhere BUT in the Bible, so how can people be arguing about religious facts?

It seems to me that watching a priest and a devotee of The Da Vinci Code argue about the facts is like watching a Trekkie and a Trekker argue about where the borg really came from. I mean, it's all bullshit in the end and none of it can really be proven one way or the other short of a time machine, anyway.

I'm not saying we can't have a good natured debate about this stuff, but it cracks me up how these religious scholars defend their faith (whether they believe in God or not).

Grow up, guys--just because your book is 2000 years older than Brown's doesn't mean both don't belong in the fiction section at Barnes and Noble.

My PowerBook is Dead...Again

Another Apple Computer myth bites the dust. Apple hardware is ultimately just like any other computer company's hardware--flawed.

Two years ago next week I dropped $1600 on a PowerBook. It's a great machine and I love it to death. However, it hasn't been without it's problems.

For those of you who may not remember or haven't been around ThePete.Com long enough to know this, the PB was a replacement for an iBook that had more things wrong with it than any computer should ever have. It literally couldn't go 3 months without dying on me (logic board twice, hard drive once, Apple lost it in shipping in the end).

Finally, after a LOT of ups and downs, convincing and teeth pulling, I managed to get a refund from Apple for it. I added $200 to their check and got the PowerBook. One year ago, three days before the warranty expired, the hard drive took a dive. A year later (today, in fact) something else went wrong.

I don't know what.

The machine just shut off--though it didn't lose power. The screen was on, but nothing displayed on it and none of the buttons did anything aside from the power button, that is, which I used to do a forced shut down (not that there was much to shut down). Then, when I pressed it again, I did NOT hear the familiar DONG of OSX powering up, but instead heard 3 beeps and then the sleep-light flashed rapidly until I pressed and held the power button down again.

After some research on the Apple support boards, I discovered others who have had this problem (big surprise). It turns out the 3 beeps means I have bad RAM. Which is odd since it was working just earlier today. Regardless, I popped the 1 gig RAM chip I added out of the machine. Tried again, relying on the built in RAM.

This time I got my dong (yes, I know, but that's what it sounds like) only to have it followed by 3 beeps, the flashing sleep light and then nothing.

The funny thing is that I am typing this entry on my Toshiba Satellite 2065CDS--a Windows 98 machine I bought in 1998.

I've replaced the hard drive twice and the battery won't hold a charge, but the damn thing still runs.

What am I going to do about the PowerBook carion? Well, I already took the whole thing apart (thanks to and put it back together again with no luck waiting for me at the end.

So, now, the only option seems to be to bring it into an Apple store and shell out the big bucks to have it fixed. It'll probably run me about $500 or so, unless prices have gone up since my iBook problems. So, let's add this to the list of crap I've been dealing with:

illegal lawsuit
my minicam breaks
my scooter dies
my PowerBook dies

Did I mention that I'm broke, my part time gig as a projectionist has retreated into being VERY part time and I turned down a scooter-driving gig in favor of a hopeful and more stable temp worker gig that ended up fizzling?

Sure, there are other temp gigs, but how do I get to them with my scooter dead?


Otis the Elevator for May 24, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 24, 2006!


No, really, according to [|a May 12, 2006 article] at, a British engineer has invented a car that gets 6000 miles per gallon. Here's most of the article:
The 45-year-old inventor, Andy Green, from the University of Bath, built his budget eco-motor for just £2,000, and will be the sole British contender for the title of the world's most fuel-economic car in a global competition being held later this month.

It has taken Mr. Green more than two years to design and build the car, which will be the fourth eco-vehicle he has built. He holds the British record for fuel-efficiency, with 6,603 miles to the gallon in a previous car.

According to the report, the new vehicle is powered by a single cylinder four-stroke engine with a capacity of just 35cc and runs with a special management system incorporating fuel injection.

So, why isn't this thing being put into mass production by America's carmakers?

Those of us cynics in the world know why.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 24, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 24, 2006!



This is NOT an Atlantis story!!

It turns out Egypt will be doing the archeologist-thing on a submerged Roman city. Here's a clip from [|a May 22, 2006 article] from Reuters.Com that will explain the whole thing:
The Egyptian authorities have given the go ahead for the underwater exploration of what appears to be a Roman city submerged in the Mediterranean, Egypt's top archaeologist said on Monday.

Zahi Hawass said in a statement that an excavation team had found the ruins of the Roman city 35 km (20 miles) east of the Suez Canal on Egypt's north coast.

Archaeologists had found buildings, bathrooms, ruins of a Roman fortress, ancient coins, bronze vases and pieces of pottery that all date back to the Roman era, the statement said. Egypt's Roman era lasted from 30 BC to 337 AD.

The excavation team also found four bridges that belonged to a submerged castle, part of which had been discovered on the Mediterranean coastline in 1910.

The statement said evidence indicated that part of the site was on the coast and part of it submerged in the sea. The area marked Egypt's eastern border during the Roman era.

Quality reporting, that!

ANYwho, that's pretty cool stuff, right there. I wish we could hear more about this sort of thing, myself. In fact, if just one-fourth the amount of money the USG has spent on fighting "terror" went into investigating history I think the world would be a very, very different place.

Otis the Elevator for May 23, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 23, 2006!


You may have read my [|past] [|posts] on [|Iran's oil bourse] (aka Iran's oil exchange) including my post on how, back in late April, it would be [|opening in a week]. Well, I can't confirm that it has or that it hasn't. Doing a Google News search gets me only articles from Early May saying that Iran's oil exchange will open, again, [|in a week's time]. Yeah, that's what they said a week earlier.

So, the jury is still out on this.

HOWEVER, apparently, Russia is considering the Petro-Ruble now. Yep, according to [|a May 21, 2006 article] at (a somewhat questionable source), Putin is thinking about getting an oil and gas bourse going in his country. Here's a clip:
The announcement by President Putin of a Russian bourse trading oil and gas in Roubles threatens the stability of the US Dollar far more than Iran's bourse alone would do, and continues the slide in relations between the old Cold War foes.

In his annual State of the Nation address to both houses of parliament on 10 May 2006, Novosti reports President Putin said that work on making the Rouble an internationally convertible currency would be completed by 1 July 2006, six months ahead of schedule. To promote the currency, he announced that an oil and gas stock exchange will be created in Russia, that would trade in Roubles.

"The rouble must become a more widespread means of international transactions. To this end, we need to open a stock exchange in Russia to trade in oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for in roubles." - Putin

Is that how you spell "rouble"?

ANYway, the article also goes on to talk about how Venezuela's Chavez is considering selling only to Euro-toting customers, though Chavez has already been known to trade oil for things other than USD (like Cuban doctors).

Anyway, so in dark, not-often-travelled corners of the Internet people seem to be suggesting that the end of the America as we know it. I'm not talking about Alex-Jonesian, conspiracy-ridden sites talking about Martian pyramids and Bush being a shape-shifting lizards. These sites range from semi-reputable to full-on credible. I've read mainstream and non-mainstream articles/posts/entries/whathaveyou that point out things like the Iranian bourse, problems with America's economy being so tied up in oil, the weakness of the USD, capitalism's reliance on cheap labor and more.

They all make balanced, reasonable arguments that suggest (without being so blatant) that perhaps the current America's days are numbered. As a friend of mine pointed out to me recently in a college paper he wrote, it was partially the Roman Empire's reliance on slave labor that caused it to fail. You could easily compare Roman slaves to exploited immigrant workers. If they are so important to our economy, what does that say about the strength of our economy?

Another thing I've noticed that makes me concerned is how disconnected reports of our "booming economy" are to the reality of $3.40 gas and movie ticket prices that make credit cards look good. Have you noticed how the dollar bill is the new quarter? When I was a kid a quarter could get you a candy bar or a small bag of chips. Now it takes you a dollar to get a small bag of chips. I remember in 1987 how gas was $0.75 a gallon. Now it's more than three times that.

Then again, I heard a news report yesterday that gas was down a whole cent-and-a-half. WOW!

Maybe I was wrong. America is safe, after all!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 23, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 23, 2006!


Sadly, the answer to the question "has Karl Rove been indicted?" is "no one knows for sure." However, there's a bit of suspicion that he has been. Unfortunately, the only source on this happens to be an ex-con/ex-drug addict who is the only person who can "confirm" the story. Howard Kurtz writes about this in [|his May 22, 2006 column] at WashingtonPost.Com and says:
The claim that President Bush's top political strategist had been indicted in the CIA leak investigation was written by a journalist who has battled drug addiction and mental illness and been convicted of grand larceny. That didn't stop more than 35 reporters -- from all the major newspapers, networks and newsmagazines -- from calling Luskin or Rove's spokesman, Mark Corallo, to check it out.

The reports appeared on the liberal Web site, run by Marc Ash, a former advertising man and fashion photographer in California. Jason Leopold, the author of the stories, directed inquiries to Ash, who says that "we stand by the story. We have multiple points of independent confirmation of what we originally reported. Our problem is, the prosecutor's office is under no obligation to go public."

Leopold acknowledges in a new book, "News Junkie," that he is a past liar, convicted felon and former alcoholic and cocaine addict. An earlier version of the book was canceled by publisher Rowman & Littlefield last year.

Salon retracted a 2002 piece by Leopold involving then-Army Secretary Thomas White. Salon apologized, saying it had been unable to confirm the authenticity of an e-mail that Leopold attributed to White. Leopold, a onetime reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Dow Jones, accused the online magazine of being "wimpy" and caving to pressure.

"Jason is a character, but he's been straight with me and I've checked him out very carefully," Ash says.

So at this point, it's just wishful thinking that Rove has been indicted for his involvement in the Plamegate case. Of course, that may be simply a "for now" situation...

Otis the Elevator for May 22, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 22, 2006!

The 5 Minute Show Lucky Episode 21!


That's right--it's our 21st episode of the show and we've pulled out all the stops!! Well, sort of. Just check it out!! (Don't worry, SiSi is in it, too!)

It's a lucky 13MB mp4 (all right, really it's a 12.3MB mp4, but "Lucky 12.3MB" doesn't work as well).


Hey, another thing to be alarmist about! WAHOO!!!

So, according to [,,2095-2189601,00.html|a May 21, 2006 article] at things in the stock markets around the world look an awful lot like they did in 1987 when the infamous "Black Monday" struck. Have a read of a clip from the above-linked article:
CONDITIONS in the financial markets are eerily similar to those that precipitated the “Black Monday” stock market crash of October 1987, according to leading City analysts.

A report by Barclays Capital says the run-up to the 1987 crash was characterised by a widening US current-account deficit, weak dollar, fears of rising inflation, a fading boom in American house prices, and the appointment of a new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

All have been happening in recent months, with market nerves on edge last week over fears of higher inflation and a tumbling dollar, and the perception of mixed messages on interest rates from Ben Bernanke, the new Fed chairman.

Damn. Sounds like a possiblity to me but then I don't know anything about this stuff. I'm just glad I don't own any stocks. Oh wait--I do have that Roth IRA my dad opened for me.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 22, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 22, 2006!

FYI: the Definition of Oligarchy

So, I came across this word while reading something somewhere on the 'net and, having a degree in filmmaking and acting, I decided to look up the word since I couldn't recall ever actually consulting a dictionary for that particular term before. Here's a screengrab of what I found at

Irregularities in 2000, 2004 and [|predicted "irregularities" in 2006 and '08], it sure seems like a government controlled by a few hundred people, that governs few hundred million, could be defined as an oligarchy--wouldn't you say?


Yeah, one of the biggest problems facing America today is something that no one even talks about. Terrorism, illegal immigration, oil, probably fall short of the threat that credit poses to Americans. From personal experience I know how credit can bite you in the ass when you think you have it under control.

Sure, some people can handle credit just fine, but in a society that convets things and the practice of consuming things debt is as common as cars are (if not more so). In fact our entire financial system is essentially one giant credit scam.

While researching how to defend the, in my judgement, illegal lawsuit brought against me (more on this when it's all done) I cam across a trailer for a movie called Maxed Out. [|The trailer] is a little sparse, but it does enough to make me want to see the movie, even if I'd rather avoid spending $10 to see it in the theaters. You can check out the film's website at


Ugh, yet again we had trouble with's flash audio recorder, so still no Episode 2 of TheXodcast. :(

I don't know what the deal is with Odeo, and the Safari browser for Mac, but it's really starting to get on my nerves. TheWife and I recorded 22 minutes last night at 1am only to have it hang when we went to save it.

I'm guessing it's a platform issue. Either our Macness or our Safariness is what's screwing it up. Maybe we'll try again tonight with Firefox or maybe just record it using something else entirely. Either way, it's very frustrating. I wonder if anyone else has had trouble with Odeo.




Of course, in many places on planet Earth it sucks to human, period, but here in America, it sucks to gay because the USG (United States Government) has decided it don't like TheGay.

According to [|a May 18, 2006 article] at
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage after a heated exchange between Republican committee chair Arlen Specter and Democrat Russ Feingold.

The committee voted 10-8 along party lines to send the proposed amendment to the full Senate. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure during the week of June 5, as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) had requested.

So, it's not a full-on change yet, but my guess is that with all the other crazy shit the USG has been getting away with this'll pass with flying anal-sex-free colors.

I mean, seriously, what the hell is government doing messing about with marriage anyway? Let's just ditch the whole "government sanctioned" thing and just call marriage what it is: a lifestyle choice.

Enough of this government meddling in our private lives!!

My God, these people call themselves "Republicans?" "Conservatives?"

As if.

Fucking hypocrits is what they are.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 21, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 21, 2006!


I vlogged on this not too long ago but I thought it was a good idea to blog on this since more soft drinks have been discovered to have high levels of benzene, a chemical that causes cancer. Check out this clip from [|a May 20, 2006 article] at MedicalNewsToday.Com:
According to a sample of 100 drinks, the FDA found that 5 had benzene levels over the 5 parts per billion limit set for drinking water. In fact, one of them, Safeway Select Diet Orange, had 79 parts per billion. Human consumption of benzene is linked to a higher risk of developing leukaemia.

The drinks that exceeded the limit of 5 parts per billion were:

-- AquaCal Strawberry Flavored Water Beverage
-- Crush Pineapple
-- Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange
-- Giant Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail
-- Safeway Select Diet Orange

Granted it's just 5 drinks, but still, it's something to watch out for. The way I look at it? Stay away from all manmade chemicals. The human body just wasn't designed to consume stuff that didn't come out of the ground. I eat 90% whole foods only and I barely get sick, never workout (though I should) but still manage to keep the weight off.

In different but related news, a spill at a Sunny D plant in the UK has killed dozens of fish in a nearby river. Here's a clip from [|a May 19, 2006 article] at that explains what happened:
It has become a big no-no in school lunchboxes because of its unhealthy reputation.

But it seems that Sunny D, formerly known as Sunny Delight, is not half as bad for children as it is for fish.

Around 8,000 litres of concentrate used to make the drink leaked into a watercourse on Wednesday morning, turning the river bright yellow.

Dozens of fish were found floating on the surface, poisoned by the lurid mixture.

The spill of 'sub-standard' juice was a category one pollution incident, the most serious kind, according to the Environment Agency.

It was caused by a split in an underground fibreglass tank at the Gerber Foods Soft Drink factory in Bridgwater, Somerset. Approximately six tons of juice and concentrate, due for disposal, seeped into a tributary of the River Parrett.


Silly fish! Sunny D is for kids!

ThePete's Silent Hill Poster

Well, this seems totally useless now that the film's been out for weeks and truth be told, I did mean to post this weeks ago but I kept forgetting. Anyway, here it is:


Oh God, I'm clever...

The Surgery 'Bot!

No, this isn't Sony's replacement for Aibo--it's an actual robot that recently performed a successful operation on a living, breathing human being. At least, that's according to [|a May 19, 2006 post] over at Here's a snippet:
Even though there were about a million doctors on hand to monitor Dr. Carlo Pappone's robosurgeon doing its detailed work on a 34-year-old Italian patient suffering from atrial fibrillation (heart flutters), we can't help but wonder if a juxtaposed "0" and "1" in the bot's code is all it would take to drive a scalpel somewhere that it isn't supposed to go. Luckily for the pioneering patient, the 50-minute surgery went off without a hitch, most likely due to the fact that the prototype bot has software containing data about some 10,000 real-world operations...

Wow--10,000 operations? I think that's way more than I can learn playing Trauma Center for the DS! ;)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 20, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 20, 2006!

After 200+ Years America Has an Official Language

Sheesh--more of our freedom was widdled away today. It may not seem like a big deal, but for over two centuries of American history (according to my history teachers in elementary school, anyway) America has never had an official language. The reason for this has always seemed clear enough to me:


You know how we can choose whatever religion we want to practice or none at all? See, if the USG established an official religion, that'd be seen as an endorsement. That's the way it was for the language Americans chose to speak, too. However, now, the USG has endorsed English as it's "unifying" language and while this may seem to have a limited effect on us as individuals (certainly on those of us who were born in America), what it does is send a message to newcomers to the US that tells them in a very subtle way that they must now change who they are to become American.

I always thought the original idea behind America was that we'd be made up of people of all kinds. The very term "American" meant that you could have any ethnic background, any religion, speak any language, and so on. Our diversity makes us stronger. Now, in a small way, we're weaker because we are encouraging people to abandon their mother tongues.

You can read more about this [|in a May 20, 2006 article] at TelegraphIndia.Com.

Otis the Elevator for May 19, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 19, 2006!

The Coolest iPod Skin EVER!!!

Well, I think so...

[|Just $15] (!!) at Gelaskins.Com.

NOW if some company would allow us to create our own iPod (or other gadget) skins, I'd be REALLY excited...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 19, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 19, 2006!

Otis the Elevator for May 18, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 18, 2006!


According to [|a May 15, 2006 article] at, the USG is saying that the democratically elected leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is not helping with the War Against Terror enough. As punishment, the US has banned all arms sales by American sources to the country.

Sure, sure--it's all about tWAT and doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the fact that Chavez nationalized it's oil industry and kicked out big oil.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 18, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 18, 2006!


Yeah, like I needed something ELSE to save up for. SHEESH.

I was thinking my next computer would be a Mac Mini, but for $1500 ($100 less than I spent on my 1ghz PowerBook) I can get a 2ghz black MacBook with 120gb HD, plus a built in camera, wifi, Bluetooth and RAM that can be upgraded to 2 gigs...

...AND it matches my iPod ;)

Then again, there's a stripped down version that is still 1.8ghz, 80gb hard drive, and a few other bells and whistles for just $1100. Of course, if I'm going stripped down, I might as well just go all the way down to a $600 Mac Mini and be done with it--especially since my current PowerBook is running just fine.

Still...that new black MacBook is so pretty!!

You can read more about the new MacBooks in [|a May 16, 2006 article] at

Otis the Elevator for May 17, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 17, 2006!

Oh Yes, YOU Are Being Spied on By Big Brother

DemocracyNow.Org reports on [|three major telecom companies helping the USG spy on Americans].

OLRR.Net blogs on how [|Newt Ginrich is defending the fact that the USG is spying on the USG]. reports that [|reporters are being spied on].

Bush, etc. goes on to talk about how all of this spying is legal and it's for our own good.

America has got to be filled with the dumbest people to ever walk the Earth.

Spying on American citizens without warrant is ILLEGAL, PERIOD.

It's against the US Constitution.

But let's give Bush and Co. the benefit of the doubt. Let's pretend the US Constitution doesn't exist for the sake of argument. Now, after letting 911 happen, screwing up Afghanistan, Iraq, Katrina, oil prices and more, does it make ANY SENSE AT ALL to trust the Bush 43 Administration when they tell us that all of this spying is legal?

Of COURSE it's legal [|when you usurp the power of Congress and invalidate hundreds of laws] on your own whim.

Another thing blogged on was a curiosity as to where the outrage is. I wonder the same thing, though I'm coming to believe Americans are so brainwashed by their material wealth and other selfishness that they simply don't care that all of their rights are being pissed down their legs.

This is not me overreacting to tiny problems with the government.

These are illegal acts being performed by the White House on a nearly daily basis and the people of US don't seem to care.

Bush has said that the USG isn't trolling for information.

That doesn't matter.

Bush has said that if Al Qeada is talking to someone inside the US, they want to know about it.

That is, believe it or not, illegal.

I can talk to a criminal and not be implicated in that criminal's actions.

So, because Bush isn't trolling for information, it's OK that he's keeping a massive database of (supposedly) every phone number dialed in the US.

Why would anyone even want to do that??

Do I even need to point out how little difference there is between the USA and a fledgling police state?

UPDATE 11:20am: Oh yeah--after I wrote this I listened to a couple of news podcasts and heard various people (including Bush) talk about how this latest collection of every phone number called in America thing is not a form of spying--they're not trolling for information--but like Jon Stewart said Monday night on the Daily Show, it doesn't matter what you say to the gay sex hotline operator--that's your business.

There's SO much that can be derived just by who you interact with and who you interact with is no business of the USG's. Sure, they say they're not going to care about you unless you're talking with AQ--sorry--if that were true, the Patriot Act wouldn't have been used in so many non-terrorist cases.

Come on, folks. The USG is lying once again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 17, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 17, 2006!


This is the real power of the Internet as far as I'm concenred. Skype.Com, a website offering downloads of an app that turns your computer into a telephone is now allowing you to call real phones for free.

Up until this past Monday, they've been charging about two cents per minute to make a call to an old skool phone--still a serious bargain over most alternatives--mind you that's two cents a minute almost anywhere in the world--no long distance charges. However, until the end of the year, calls to the US and Canada are entirely free--which is sweet. The reason this is an example of the real power of the 'net is because the folks at Skype have decided that 7 months of revenue from their outgoing Voice over IP (VoIP) service is worth sacrficing to get more people to use Skype.

In other words, it probably costs them virtually nothing to provide the service as it is. What this means, in turn, is that it just might be a signal that the end of per-minute charges for voice communication is nigh.

This is not to say that Skype (or any other type of VoIP) is perfect. My outgoing voicemail message disappears all too often and sometimes voicemail doesn't pick up at all--which is frustrating since voicemail is part of the SkypeIn service--which I pay for. Granted, it's only $12 (or so) for 3 months, but still, I pay for a phone number that allows normal phones to call me and that comes with "free" voicemail--so it should ALWAYS pick up when I don't. Also, the Internet can drop calls just as often as a cell phone service can (if not more often, in my experience).

So, if you decide to try out Skype, don't assume it's just like your landline or even your mobile phone. However, it is super cheap and, generally speaking, it works pretty well.

You can read more about Skype's freeness in [|a May 15, 2006 article] at

[ThePhlog] 5/16/2006 05:58:50 PM

this is an audio post - click to play

Posted by ThePete to ThePhlog at 5/16/2006 05:58:50 PM

911 VIDEO RELEASED (well, REreleased...)

So, I noticed today that JudicialWatch.Org was in the news for getting the USG to release footage of a plane smashing into the Pentagon on 9/11/1. I thought this was new footage that would put the conspiracy folks' minds at ease. I thought this was my government acting responsibly (finally) and wanting to prove to us, the citizens of the United States, that it really does care what we think of it.

Instead, I discover that the "video" is really just those same handful of frames that were released ages ago. You remember those frames--they show nothing and then a giant fireball. Turns out the frames back in the day weren't officially released, now they are.

It also turns out that Judicial Watch is viewed by some the most rightwing of the "non-partisan" public watch groups.

Great, so makes a big deal about getting this footage, only it turns out that it's not footage, just a few frames from footage and JW is probably doing it just to look like they're not all rightwingy. "See? We're fighting for you!"

Yeah, with old pictures that prove nothing. THANKS!

PS You can read about this "new" "footage" in [|a May 16, 2006 article] at

Otis the Elevator for May 16, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 16, 2006!

Monday, May 15, 2006

So, I Picked up The New Super Mario Brothers for the DS...

And man, I gotta hand it to both Nintendo and the human psyche. I managed to forget every last truly shitty memory I had of the original Super Mario Brothers games that I've ever played. Seriously--I forgot how insanely frustrated the SMB games were. You conquer a level almost entirely only to screw ONE thing up. Then you have to do it ALL over again. Sure, you can "save" your game, but not where ever you want and if you run out of lives before making it to the halfway point or the end of the level (or world) you get to do the whole thing over again!

Seriously, I've done several hard levels three and four times over just because I couldn't get to the tower level for a given world or the final castle level of a given world. The fact that the "save where ever and when ever you want" feature was left out can only come from the interest in extending playability.

In other words, by making it stupid hard, instead of challenging, they make you frustrated and want to come back to beat the game--not out of fun, like the SMB64, but out of revenge. I never swear more than when I am playing a classic or this new Super Mario Brothers game.

Sure, most gamers find sidescrollers like NSMB to be easy and even boring. I don't. I've always found them fun and challenging. I've also always found the SMB games to be fairly imaginative, too. Sadly, I'm 3 worlds into NSMB and I have yet to see anything truly imaginative.

Sure, playing as Mini Mario and Mega Mario are both fun, but to me, so far, this game seems like just more of the same, as opposed to a worthy sequel. Sure, I'll keep playing because I have been programmed since childhood to love and respect an Italian plumber who does what he has to do to keep the water flowing and his girlfriend, Princess Peach, safe.

But it really is bizarre how my brain (and I assume the brain of other Mario fans) blocked out all the abject frustration, anger and general venom, we had for the SMB games at their low points. When I first started playing this game yesterday afternoon, I felt like I did when I played Super Marion Bros. 3 for the very first time.

Sadly, NSMB is like a bad sequel to a good series. Still, that bad sequel is now part of the good series, so I'll just deal with the stupid shit in the game and hope I don't chuck my DS through the wall in frustration in the meantime...

In my younger days I actually did suspect that I had broken a bone in my hand after punching an NES game controller. Luckily, the bone was just bruised. The controller wasn't even broken in the least. :)

Another thing that annoys me about the NSMB is that there's no wifi, as in, you can't play it with people on the other side of the Internet.

Why do game programmers/producers/etc. think that games that have vast, imaginative, but silly, universes are not places folks would want to hang out in online? Aside from Tetris and Mario Kart, it seems like the only online communities out there are for violent action games. I think it would be so cool to explore the universe of Super Mario with friends around the globe--JUST so long as I don't have to keep doing the same level OVER AND OVER...

Ballpoint Adventures for May 16, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 16, 2006!

The 5 Minute Show Episode 20!

YAY! Finally the hellish story arch wraps up! Check it out as SiSi interviews ThePete who is spending his last few minutes in hell! Where will ThePete end up next? WATCH AND FIND OUT!!

It's a 19MB mp4 and it's hot as hell--for the last time!!

Otis the Elevator for May 15, 2006

Otis the Elevator for May 15, 2006!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 14, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 14, 2006!

Just a Tip for Anyone Who Likes the Ladies...

I suppose this is also good for providing inspiration for any women who want to be more fit, too...

Go to and check out the "booth babes" tag.

E3 just wrapped and there was a LOT of eye-candy...


I mean, uh... Wiiiiiiiii!

Oh yeah and my scooter's running again thanks to my good friend Britt. Another reason to be happy. :D