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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

[ThePhlog] 10/31/2006 07:46:36 PM

Listen as I explain why we've got nothing to fear in these times of fear.

Listen as I tell you why Al Qaeda is not a threat.

Listen... please.

this is an audio post - click to play

And tell your friends. (Thanks.)


Or not.

Check it out: NYTimes.Com is reporting in [|an October 29, 2006 article] that:
he federal government is investigating the takeover last year of a leading American manufacturer of electronic voting systems by a small software company that has been linked to the leftist Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chávez.

The inquiry is focusing on the Venezuelan owners of the software company, the Smartmatic Corporation, and is trying to determine whether the government in Caracas has any control or influence over the firm’s operations, government officials and others familiar with the investigation said.

That shit cracks me up considering how many Republicans own ballot machine companies. Hell, prominent Republican Chuck Hagel [|has admitted to ties with a ballot machine company] yet no one bats an eye when his party takes over all three branches of the United States Government.

But when Chavez might have influence with just one company?


Forget the MASSIVE irregularities in 2004 where some polling places in Ohio counted more votes than registered voters--investigating those would just be giving into partisan politics! Forget the BLATANT illegalities that Greg Palast discovered in the 2000 election that left tens of thousands of black/poor/democrat voters without the ability to vote.

Man, I can't WAIT to blog on all the mess next week! WAHOO!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The 5 Minute Show Episode 40!

SiSi is back hosting this week and while she initially sets out to talk to us about cat ownership, our new pal AL has other plans. Al is really OUT OF THIS WORLD! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Watch and laugh--or I'll kill you!

OK, so maybe I won't kill you...BUT YOU'D BETTER WATCH IT!! (Laughing is optional, though I think you'll want to.)

[|Click here for the 16.4 MB mp4] or watch it below through YouTube! You can also subscribe to ThePete.Com's feed here -->[|] or to get JUST The 5 Minute Show every week paste the following URL into iTunes or other aggregator of choice:

New The 5 Minute Show Coming Before Midnight Tonight!

OK, so Episode 40 of The 5 Minute Show is on it's way and should be arriving sometime tonight! This was a really fun episode to shoot but kind of a pain to edit since green screens on our budget can be a tricky business. Anyway, I'll be finishing it up as soon as I return from work.

Meanwhile, I had hamburgers last night for dinner. They were tasty, but for crying out loud--I feel like crap! I'm never going to eat ground beef again! Well, not when I cook it anyway... all that fat, I can feel it in my stomach 12 hours later...


Well, we are really living in the future now, folks! No, we're still waiting on the personal commuter jet packs and the flying cars, but we do have something only the movies could show us until recently--an airborne laser gun!

Here's a clip from [|an October 27, 2006 article] that explains more:
The so-called Airborne Laser has been developed at a cost so far of about $3.5 billion with the aim of destroying, at the speed of light, all classes of ballistic missiles shortly after their launch. If successful in flight testing and deployed, it would become part of an emerging U.S. anti-missile shield that also includes land- and sea-based interceptor missiles.

"You've demonstrated capability on the ground," Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering said at a ceremony at which the aircraft was rolled out of a Wichita, Kansas, hangar where it has been undergoing modifications.

"Not since that time nearly twenty-two hundred years ago, when Archimedes reflected the sun's rays to set the Roman fleet on fire off Syracuse, has the world seen a weapon that puts fresh meaning into the phrase 'in real time'."

"Let's do it now in flight," Obering told employees of Boeing, the prime contractor, and chief subcontractors Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. at the event.

Isn't that cool?


wait--didn't MythBusters prove that never happened? ANYWAY...

From a massive 747 this laser can pick off a missile, or probably a target on the ground, without a single person getting in harms way! Well, unless you count anyone near or in the target on the ground.

Why, this thing would be the real-world equivallent to the Death Star!!

Wait--the Death Star was owned and operated by the Empire--the bad guys--you don't think...


I never saw it coming!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Crash Man Cometh--Twice in One Week!!

Man, I had this brilliant post on Cheney condoning "a dunk in the water" aka waterboarding aka torture but then, the Crash Man paid his second visit to me in less than a week and POOF it all went away before I clicked "publish". THANKS FIREFOX 1.5!! I was JUST about to upgrade to 2.0 when this happened. Literally--I had finished the body of the post and all I had to do was add a link to a video of a guy actually getting waterboarded, and that would have been it. But halfway through the waterboarding video (I had to watch the damn thing first) the friggin flash video crashed Firefox.

Ah well. My fault for not using [|Twilight's Autosave plugin] for [|WordPress]. Needless to say, it's installed and activated now. Conflicts with other plugins be damned!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Nasty Stomach Bug...

My apologies for the sparse blogging. Been down for the last two days with a nasty stomach bug. Quite literally, I can't remember the last time I was this sick. It was baaaad. I'm still a little out of it, so don't expect blogging to pick back up the way it was. I should be back to normal in a few days, though.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Positive Experience/Entertaining? Without a doubt, yes. However, that's not to say the film is perfect--not by a long shot. That said, most people will probably enjoy this film just fine. Unless you're like me.

Technically any good? I'll start with the good news. The FX were really cool. The scenes with Tesla's machine are beautiful. The cinemtography was great and I felt the acting was very strong. Jackman and Bale are always good and it was nice to see Scarlett Johanssen in a role she could sink her teeth into, somewhat. Now the bad news--the script. While, on the surface, it feels like a great movie, the script is structured in such a cumbersome way it was difficult for me, a writer, to watch. The whole time I kept thinking "why did Nolan do it this way? It would have worked just fine, and better in fact, if you just structured it like a traditional narrative!" I still feel this way. The film has a lot of point-of-view changes, time-period changes and at any given time I couldn't tell you what plot point fell where in the scheme of things. I also felt the tone was even until the climax where it got very dark, very quickly. Frankly, I didn't buy the ending, which is sad since that's what the title of the movie refers to. That final reveal in a magic trick, or in this case, a movie that relies on tricks and gimmicks far more than it needs to.

How did it leave me feeling? Reasonably satisfied, but I really feel strongly that this film was over-done. Batman Begins, the director's last film, was simple, straightforward. It knew what it wanted to do and did it without a lot of cheesey "slight of hand". This film is exactly the opposite. It's still entertaining, however.

Final Rating? RTV - Rent The Video. Honestly, it's fun, but nothing that will really change your life for seeing it on the big screen.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Hey, this is fun. With all the people going on about partisan this, liberal vs. conservative that, people forget that there are a few things that you simply cannot put a spin on. I happen to be speaking of reality. In this case, the reality of climate change.

Check out this clip from [,,-6161116,00.html|an October 21, 2006 article] from available at that points out what to some (and me) find pretty damn obvious:
The world - especially the Western United States, the Mediterranean region and Brazil - will likely suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts.

But the prediction of a future of nasty extreme weather also includes fewer freezes and a longer growing season.

In a preview of a major international multiyear report on climate change that comes out next year, a study out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research details what nine of the world's top computer models predict for the lurching of climate at its most extreme.

``It's going to be a wild ride, especially for specific regions,'' said study lead author Claudia Tebaldi, a scientist at the federally funded academic research center.

I've already noticed dramatic changes in climate here in LA. I've lived out here for over ten years now and our rainy season has seemed to have split in half and skootched toward the middle of the calendar. See, normally, in winter in Los Angeles, it rains like crazy. At least, it used to. Over the past few years it's come to only rain at the very beginning of winter and at the very end. Also, it doesn't rain nearly as much. These are just my observations, of course, but to me they're significant. LA is a notoriously dry place and we need what little rain we get.

The point I'm trying to make here is that for Los Angles, climate change is real. I'm curious how real it is in the rest of the world.

My guess is: very.

Man--this site is quickly becoming "TheObvious.Com."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The 5 Minute Show Episode 39!

ThePete interviews someone heavily involved in the world of oil and discovers he's a bit more in the dark about the truth than he expected. Watch the chaos as this episode's guest has his soul devoured for his accidental sins. Confused? You won't be after this episode of... THE 5 MINUTE SHOW!

[|Click here for the 18.9 MB mp4] or watch it below through YouTube! You can also subscribe to ThePete.Com's feed here -->[|] or to get JUST The 5 Minute Show every week paste the following URL into iTunes or other aggregator of choice:


So, I've blogged a lot about Peak Oil. It's the idea that eventually (some say very soon) the Earth will reach it's peak oil production. That is to say, at some point, the Earth will put out the highest amount of oil it's been able to put out in a day and then the Earth won't be able to reach that amount ever again.

It is significant because it's warning us that after oil production peaks, there will be less and less oil. This means prices will go up and up.

Now, the pro-Peak-Oilers think that peak oil is happenning right now or will happen in the next 5-10 years or so. However, these people are often called alarmists by many people from many different leanings. Recently, I stumbled across an article that seems to be in the latter group. Have a look at [|this very short article dated October 20, 2006] from
A University of Washington economic geologist says there is lots of crude oil left for human use.

Eric Cheney said Friday in a news release that changing economics, technological advances and efforts such as recycling and substitution make the world's mineral resources virtually infinite.

For instance, oil deposits unreachable 40 years ago can be tapped using improved technology, and oil once too costly to extract from tar sands, organic matter or coal is now worth manufacturing. Though some resources might be costlier now, they still are needed.

"The most common question I get is, 'When are we going to run out of oil?' The correct response is, 'Never,'" said Cheney. "It might be a heck of a lot more expensive than it is now, but there will always be some oil available at a price, perhaps $10 to $100 a gallon."

Cheney also said that gasoline prices today, adjusted for inflation, are about what they were in the early part of the last century. Current prices seem inordinately high, he said, because crude oil was at an extremely low price, $10 a barrel, eight years ago and now fetches around $58 a barrel.

This Eric Cheney guy is full of shit and here's why:

1) He says we're not ever going to run out of oil but that oil will be very expensive. So, what's the difference? Isn't the practical matter till the same? A lack of affordable oil?

2) He compares the price of gas now to the price of gas in the early 1900s. The thing is, he doesn't bother to compare average salaries and the cost of living today to average salaries and the cost of living in the early 1900s.

In fact, most anti-Peak-Oil folks fail to thoroughly cover all of their bases and sadly most pro-Peak-Oil people do the same. It's a shame, really, because comparing the current price of gas, living and our labor to the price of those things over the last century might point out to people how our economy and our economic system is thoroughly letting us down and will only continue to do so as time goes on.

One last thing. So if we KNOW oil is going to be getting even more expensive, regardless of your political bent, wouldn't it make sense to explore some alternative energy options? Or should we just allow the "we've got plenty of oil" argument rationalize us into economic oblivion?

Monday, October 23, 2006

TheUsCast Episode 7!

This is part 2 of the Stennie Episodes where SiSi and ThePete venture out to the far-off land of Burbank, California to go adventuring with one of the hosts of the Hucklebug podcast, Stennie! In this episode, we wander in and out of bookstores, WILLY-NILLY! Very exciting, don't you think? Listen as we make fun of book after book and muse on about TV and the movies!

Watch for another episode of TheUsCast on Friday!

So have a listen to TheUsCast episode 7 by [|clicking here] (you can also DL the clip to your computer this way) or use the flash player below! WEEEEE!

Remember you can also subscribe to TheUsCast, with either of these URLs:

Everything at TP.C:

Just TheUsCast :

Once you're done listening to episode 7 of TheUsCast, go check out Stennie's podcast, which she and her co-host Bet call: Hucklebug !!

Just make sure to listen to TheUsCast first, though! :D

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Western Mainstream Media news source, Barron's, is apparently reporting that if you look at each individual race that is being voted on in November, you'll see that Republicans are still on top in each election. This is what DrudgeReport.Com is [|saying Barron's is saying], anyway. Here's a clip:
Our analysis -- based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data -- suggests that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally. We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber's 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party's loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three.

Hm, seems that Barron's is only basing their conclusions on the money each candidate has spent on their campaign. Don't you love it when Drudge and the mainstream media choose to mischaracterize their findings? Lovely.

So, because a Republican spends more than a Democrat there's NO WAY the Democrat can win?

One thing that worries me about this story and the attitude coming out of the White House (that they'll hold onto control) is that this could be them preparing us to accept a fixed election. See, if the ballot boxes are fixed, like I'm concerned they are, and they go on and on about how the Republicans actually have a good chance of pulling it out, when they "win" we'll be like "oh well! The pundits were right!"

When really, we were scammed again.

As far as I'm concerned, no matter what anyone says, if the Republicans hold onto control in either house I'm going to assume that the fix was in--end of story.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Apparently, there are no black faces in Clint's new WWII movie, Flags of Our Fathers. The following comes from [,,1928009,00.html|an October 21, 2006 article] at and it deals with this exact lack of representation:
On February 19 1945 Thomas McPhatter found himself on a landing craft heading toward the beach on Iwo Jima.

"There were bodies bobbing up all around, all these dead men," said the former US marine, now 83 and living in San Diego. "Then we were crawling on our bellies and moving up the beach. I jumped in a foxhole and there was a young white marine holding his family pictures. He had been hit by shrapnel, he was bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth. It frightened me. The only thing I could do was lie there and repeat the Lord's prayer, over and over and over."

Where have all the black soldiers gone?

African-Americans written out of Pacific war in Clint Eastwood's new film, veterans say

Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
Saturday October 21, 2006
The Guardian

On February 19 1945 Thomas McPhatter found himself on a landing craft heading toward the beach on Iwo Jima.

"There were bodies bobbing up all around, all these dead men," said the former US marine, now 83 and living in San Diego. "Then we were crawling on our bellies and moving up the beach. I jumped in a foxhole and there was a young white marine holding his family pictures. He had been hit by shrapnel, he was bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth. It frightened me. The only thing I could do was lie there and repeat the Lord's prayer, over and over and over."

Article continues
Sadly, Sgt McPhatter's experience is not mirrored in Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood's big-budget, Oscar-tipped film of the battle for the Japanese island that opened on Friday in the US. While the film's battle scenes show scores of young soldiers in combat, none of them are African-American. Yet almost 900 African-American troops took part in the battle of Iwo Jima, including Sgt McPhatter.

This reminds me of the film Pearl Harbor seemed to lack a single shot portraying a single native Hawaiian. It's as though the only people who died on that day were white. The same goes for Eastwood's new film. Inconveniently enough, a Native American, was one of the guys in the classic Iwo Jima photograph, so he HAD to deal with a non-white. But showing a SINGLE black man in uniform fighting? Apparently that was too much.

I guess this shouldn't surprise us too much in a film directed by a guy who Million Dollar Baby, a film that take a decidedly anti-disabled-person view point.

I guess the nice thing is that that Flags seems to be performing well below expectations. Could it be that in "a time of war" when things are going really, really, really badly in that war, people just don't want to see a war movie?

I'd say so, especially when a movie about a couple of rival magicians comes in number 1.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yeah--very much so. Especially if you're concerned that the novel 1984 seems to be less and less fictional the more you pay attention to how our government and our money works.

Technically any good? This documentary really presents only one side of the argument. Is the USA becoming a fascist state? The film's answer is yes and when they asked the government to defend itself, it really doesn't. In fact, in a lot of ways, the US Government seems to confirm the film's theory. So, this is more an opinion piece than a "documentary." However, the film does document an awful lot of disturbing facts. Even a few things I didn't already know (and I know a lot of this stuff).

How did it leave me feeling? Personally, it left me feeling validated. I've done a lot of the same research Aaron Russo (the film maker) has and I've already come to similar conclusions. I think most people will be shocked by what this film says is happening and by the evidence this film uses to backup it's claims. Please see this movie. Decide for yourself if it's full of crap or not.

Final Rating? GSN/RTV - Go See Now or Rent The Video as it has already left Los Angeles theaters (I saw the last screening that I know of in LA) and will be on DVD in December. Please see this film!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Fix is SO In for the Republicans...

Yeah, Rove is all Mr. Fricken Confident right now that his corrupt, amoral party (as opposed to the other, differently amoral and spineless party) will hold on to control of the House and Senate in November. Here's a clip from [|an October 18, 2006 article] at conservative rag website WashTimes.Com:
"I'm confident we're going to keep the Senate; I'm confident we're going to keep the House. The Foley matter has impact in some limited districts, but the research we have shows that people are differentiating between a vote for their congressman and a member from Florida," Mr. Rove said, referring to the Republican who resigned last month after his sexually explicit online messages to former congressional pages were discovered.

Nice reporting, Joseph Curl of the Washington Times--Foley didn't just send explicit online messages to former pages--he sent them to current, under-age pages. THAT'S why it's news. If he was just coming onto 19 year-old men that'd just be typical, closeted, gay politician behavior. No, what Foley did was illegal--not to mention amoral.

Besides that, the above quote shows off an absurdly confident Rove. He is a mainline prick, plain and simple. He knows he can be cocky because, I believe, the fix is solidly in on this election. It's going to be fixed, just like the last two. The American people just aren't THAT stupid. The war is a mess, the economy isn't healthy, employment is not great, the borders aren't secure (not that they ever will be) and people are beginning to tire of this constant (but imagined) threat from 50,000 extremist Muslims who loosely ally themselves with Al Qaeda.

Here's a bit more from the article:
"It is useful to remind people what {Democrats} said and what they do. I think they have given us here, especially in the last couple of weeks, a potent set of votes to talk about. You had 90 percent of House Democrats voting against the terrorist-surveillance program, nearly three-quarters of Senate Democrats and 80 percent of House Democrats voting against the terrorist-interrogation act. Something is fundamentally flawed."
In the hourlong interview, Mr. Rove was upbeat, telling stories from the campaign trail and joking about skewed political coverage that disproportionately shows Democrats poised to take control of Congress

Ya gotta love that--more typical Rove. Trying to use the old hackneyed fear crap again. Nearly $500 billion has been spent on the War Against Terror and still we have no Bin Laden. We also haven't had anymore terrorist attacks on US soil. Yet, Al Qaeda numbers have grown dramatically since the Iraq Attack.

More bad guys, but no more attacks on US soil? That suggests there's not much of threat.

Of course, if the USG were to allow an attack to happen in order to provide a real reminder of how threatened we are, Rove wouldn't need to have the election boxes fixed--we wouldn't have to have an election at all. Bush would call off all elections for the foreseeable future--because, he'll say, that's the best way to protect our freedoms.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Scarier and scarier...

Remember [|how the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that military tribunals were unconstitutional and a violation of international law]? Well, on Tuesday of this week Bush, with the help of his lackies, you know--Congress, signed into law legislation that makes military tribunals legal. On top of that, it allows "agressive interrogation techniques" to be used on terror detainees. It also takes away some of the basic fundamental rights all humans are supposed to have. Here's a clip from [|an October 17, 2006 article] at :
It bars "cruel and inhuman" treatment of detainee but denies them access to legal counsel during questioning and the right of habeas corpus, the means by which a prisoner normally can apply for release from custody he considers unlawful.

Yes, [|I've blogged on this law before] and yes, habeas goes away for non-American-born people only--but as I said before, what happens if there's a mistake or a misunderstanding or perhaps, so malice toward you on behalf of someone in government and it is determined that you were not born in America? Thanks to having no right to challenge your detention, you're screwed. You can't see a lawyer and King George the W hasn't denied that waterboarding will be used against so-called terror suspects. Remember, also, that "enemy combatant" is defined now as someone purposefully providing material support for hostilities against the United States.

So, say, if I were to buy Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez a cup of coffee, I could end up detained as an enemy combatant. Chavez thinks Bush is the devil. God forbid I should agree with him.

Sure, I'm an Atheist--but when this kind of law makes it all the way through Congress and the White House, it can only be the work of the Devil.

The damn thing is as unAmerican as it gets and where are the Democrat and the so-called Liberal Media (tm) during all of this? Nobody is raising a big stink about how this law removes rights promised in the Declaration of Independence as inalienable.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Yes, today marks a momentous day in American history. There are now 300,000,000 of us--that's three-hundred followed by the letters m, i, l, l, i, o, n. Pretty incredible. I won't go into too much hoopla as I'm sure the 24 hour news networks will be blabbing about it all day since there's no new sex scandal or reason to blame the Democrats for something.

However, I will say one thing about our numbers. I read/heard someplace that Al Qaeda, largely thanks to the Iraquagmire, is now 50,000 strong. Today we're officially 6000 times the size of Al Qaeda. That's six, with three zeroes after it.

What the hell are we so scared of?

Most of those 50,000 AQs are in Iraq and posess the technology barely better than a soldier in the Civil War.

Meanwhile, it seems like Kim Jun Il could nuke us.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Over the weekend I spotted a headline listed at DrudgeReport.Com that suggested that despite the world being in shambles, the White House was pretty upbeat about their prospects in three weeks. According to [|the October 15, 2006 article] Drudge links to:
Amid widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections, there are two people whose confidence about GOP prospects strikes even their closest allies as almost inexplicably upbeat: President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.


The official White House line of supreme self-assurance comes from the top down. Bush has publicly and privately banished any talk of losing the GOP majorities, in part to squelch any loss of nerve among his legions. Come January, he said last week, "We'll have a Republican speaker and a Republican leader of the Senate."

The article goes on to postulate why this odd confidence exists. One thing it doesn't suggest is that they know they'll win thanks to fixed ballot boxes. That's my theory.

I truly hope I'm wrong.

I'm trusting that the American people are smart enough to vote Democrat this time around and if Republicans win, we'll pretty much know that the fix was in. What can we expect when most of the companies ballot machines across the country are owned by Republicans? Not only that, but EVERY electronic ballot box can be hacked (or even prehacked) to switch votes from one candidate to the other all too easily.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

TheUsCast Episode 6!

Here it is! Part 1 of our wonderous visit with Stennie from the Hucklebug podcast! SiSi and ThePete journey across the vast wasteland that IS Los Angeles county to the netherworld known as Burbank to hang for a few hours with our old pal Stennie. Yep, a few hours—that’s why this is just part 1! Have a listen and let us know what you think!

[|Click here for the mp3 direct from] Odeo.Com or use the flash player below. Remember you can also subscribe to TheUsCast, with either of these URLs:

Everything at TP.C:

Just TheUsCast :

Once you're done listening to episode 6 of TheUsCast, go check out Stennie's podcast, which she and her co-host Bet call: Hucklebug !!

Just make sure to listen to TheUsCast first! ;)

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Positive Experience/Entertaining? Well, it's Marty directing, so yeah, it's going to be entertaining. But for a film that is from Marty? It should have been much better. This film is dripping with typical "man-movie" testosterone and is as predictable as any "man-movie" we've all seen before. Don't let the director's resume fool you. This movie is pretty damn predictable. Or maybe I'm just so brilliant that I can see through it all, right?

Technically any good? The premise and general structure of the film were just fine--but the execution was all wrong. The ONLY thing that makes the film entertaining, in my mind, was the acting. Everyone was really solid--EXCEPT for Jack Nicholson. The man played the same part he played in 1989's Batman. So many people are giving this film glowing reviews and here's why: Scorsese does a great job of distracting us with his best gags. Suddenly killing people, great character banter, lots of swearing and lots of music and camera movements to make us think the film maker really knows what he's doing. Sadly, he knows what he's doing, but has forgotten the important part of film making--bringing something new to the screen. Imagine Robert Altman directing a "slice of life" undercover cop movie. That was this. Loads of people acting EXACTLY as you'd expect them to. Not a single person was interesting above and beyond the solid acting from Damon, DiCaprio and Farmiga. (Full disclosure time: I was in a student film with Farmiga ages ago, so I might be biased about her).

This film is just BORING. See this movie and try to remember something you haven't seen in another movie--I bet you can't!

How did it leave me feeling? I've got a new joke: What's the difference between Michael Mann (who directed Manhunter and Heat) and Martin Scorsese? About an hour. Because a story Mann can tell in 90 minutes, Marty can't tell in less than 152. The movie could have ended in at least four different places, but didn't. It just kept going. The good news is that it could have had one more ending, but luckily for me, Marty leaves one plotline unresolved.

Final Rating? RTV - Rent The Video--believe me, you'll be glad you waited for Netflix. Fun to watch, but worth $10? Let's just say I'm glad I still keep my college ID on me. That $1.75 discount will get me an Izze tomorrow at lunch. Of course, the $8.25 I paid could have bought me lunch at Subway.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Plane or Helicopter Crashes in NYC and No One's Sure What's What

So, I'm sitting in my cube a couple hours ago and a co-worker mentions that this plane crashed into a building in NYC. Naturally I starting hitting the news sites and at lunch time I head to the nearest Internet cafe to see what I can learn. I hit Google Maps and to me it looks like a plane almost couldn't have crashed into the building, so a helicopter is the more likely culprit. See, based on Google's satellite pics of the building I could see that there were a couple other tall buildings in the area making an accidental hit VERY accidental--IF it was a plane. Odds are right now that it was a helicopter, though I don't understand why it's so hard to get someone to look at the wreckage and to make a conclusion based on that. I mean, the difference between plane debris and helicopter debris should be pretty obvious, I would think, what with a giant rotor or turbine engines.

Yet, no online news source is saying definitely what's what. They can't even stream live video for free. I can get clips from and, but that's it. Isn't choice great? Pay or get crappy coverage. WEEEEE!

The whole thing kind of reminds me of [|this post] from almost precisely a year ago.

TheVlog for 10/11/6

This entry in TheVlog at ThePete.Com is all about the Spy Video Car from Wild Planet's Spy Gear line. Check out footage of and footage shot by the Spy Video Car. Learn how the thing works and how much fun ThePete has playing with it. The damn thing rocks!!

[|Grab the 10m31s, 23 MB mp4 here] or just watch it below in the YouTube.Com player.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Wow, Apple is becoming more and more like Micro$oft every day!

A couple weeks back I upgraded my beloved 60 GB 5g iPod's firmware to 1.2 only to discover that it doesn't play certain podcasts now. This is a major issue as it refuses to play my favorite podcast along with several other runners up. Just to listen to them, I've been listening to my old 3g iPod. Here's the text from a post I just left on's iPod discussion boards:
I have the same problem with certain podcasts causing my 60 GB 5g iPod to restart. It doesn't happen with Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, but does happen with Democracy Now and a couple CBC podcasts I listen to. This is truly absurd.

What's even more absurd is what happened to me tonight. I've been using my old 20 GB 3g iPod to listen to the podcasts that the new firmware won't play. I plugged the 3g into my PowerBook and then 5g. OSX 10.4.4 mounted the 3g and the 5g just fine, but iTunes 7 wouldn't see the 5g, despite it recognizing the 5g this morning. I unmount the 5g in Finder, remove it from its dock and then plug it back in. Suddenly, iTunes 7 is asking me if I want to give the 5g the same name as the 3g. I type in the 5g's name and then click done (there wasn't a cancel button as I recall). Then I discover that iTunes has mirrored the contents of my 3g iPod on my 5g!! I am sure all of my music and videos are still on my 5g, but neither Finder nor the iPod's OS will give me access to them.


I HIGHLY recommend everyone go to MacUpdate and find an app that will let you back all the tracks on your iPod up and restore the firmware to the original version. THIS IS INSANE. Apple should really be ashamed.

This rant has been brought to you by A MAC PERSON.

Can you tell I'm upset?

About two firmware upgrades ago, the new iPod software decided it would freeze the video on certain tracks after 30-40 seconds. This was a problem plenty of other folks had. So, I'd get about halfway into the titles sequence of my daily anime and suddenly the picture would lock up and I'd have to spin forward or backward to get it to pick back up again only to have it freeze again a few minutes later. Sometimes this would happen through an entire 30 minute track, other times it would go away after a while.

Finally, Apple put out a firmware upgrade, I installed it and all was fine with my 5g iPod. I did have a couple issues where my iPod spazzed and would go into perpetual restart mode. This happened twice, and I think it had to do with buggy powermanagement software on the iPod because it seemed to happen when I'd unplug an external battery source (my Belkin external battery pack once and a cigarrette-lighter adapter another time) while the iPod was awake and functioning. Both times the only fix was restoring the system software, aka the firmware. Both times this meant wiping the drive.

The first time, I was able to get everything off of my iPod using a simple little app called iLinkPod, which you can find at MacUpdate. I'm sure there's something similar for WinPods. I just dropped it into hard disk mode (by pressing the center button and play) and installed iLinkPod. However, the second time I couldn't get it into hard disk mode, so I had to just wipe it without iLinkPod.

Then, iTunes 7 and another firmware update came out and I (quite stupidly) assumed that both upgrades would be fine. I really liked the idea of finally having "seemless audio" (aka the iPod would no longer include annoying gaps between songs). Now, I'm thinking the gaps are WAY better than all the crap I've been dealing with.

So, if you have a recent model iPod, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU NEVER UPGRADE THE FIRMWARE!!

[ThePhlog] 10/10/2006 01:29:56 PM

this is an audio post - click to play

In this episode of ThePhlog, I talk about how funny it is that within days of habeas corpus being yanked from the list of rights all humans on Earth have, according to the US Constitution and within days of Bob Woodward's new book telling us all how Bush and Co. have lied to us regarding just how bad the war in Iraq really is, we get the Mark Foley sex scandal.

Isn't it funny how the sources for the Foley story were all Republicans?

Seems like the Bush Admin decided to make Foley the sacrificial lamb!

Well, have a listen to hear me explain it. :)

TheBoards at ThePete.Com

Hey, everyone! In a discussing mood? Well, I've decided to give the old online forum/message board a try again. This time 'round I've implemented a WordPress plugin that allows a very simple forum to be run through my WordPress install (WordPress is my blogging tool). It doesn't require a separate login, but does NOT have a lot of bells and whistles. For now it doesn't let you have avatars, though I may be able to tweak the plugin so it'll allow for them, and thanks to this simplicity will be easy for me to moderate.

For now TheBoards have just one forum because I'm trying to suss out all of the bugs in this thing. So, give it a try at the link below and see if you can break it.

Right now, I'm aware of only one bug and that's the "Profile" bug. When you look at a post, under the poster's screen name you can see the word "Profile" and it's linked. The thing is, the link doesn't work. I've contacted the creator of the plugin about this but haven't heard back about a fix just yet. If you can find any other bugs, please post in the forum. Also, if you have any ideas for other forums for here at ThePete.Com, please let me know.

Oh, and feel free to invite your friends to try TheBoards out, too.

Just send them to:

HOWEVER: TheBoards are not for peeing in. I reserve the right of webmastery that says that anything that I don't like going on I get to delete. Any user that practice any amount of prickery or douche-baggery will risk being banned, so remember the Golden Rule. Don't do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

OK, enough babbling. Give TheBoards a whirl!

Monday, October 9, 2006


They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features... They do not bear arms, and do not known them, for I showed them a sword and they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane... They would make fine servants... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make then do whatever we want.

From the log of Christopher Columbus, speaking of the Native Americans he discovered upon landing in the Bahamas, as quoted in A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

Happy Columbus Day, folks!

Oh and make sure to check out the latest episode of The 5 Minute Show. It has no relation to Columbus Day, I just don't want you to miss it.

The 5 Minute Show Episode 38!

It's Episode 38 of t5MS! In this episode Beverly uses her beautiful voice to help Billy past his fears... even with Beverly's talent, that's no easy task. WATCH NOW AND FIND OUT!!

[|Click here for the 19.1 MB mp4] or watch it below through YouTube! You can also subscribe to ThePete.Com's feed here -->[|]

Saturday, October 7, 2006


This may seem on the petty side considering all of the things Bush has
done wrong, but it's been bugging me so I thought I should mention it.
Last week Bush decided to pay a visit to a veterans' hospital. He
just happen to choose the one which is in my town. Now, I live in Los
Angeles, but specifically, I live in the small, unofficial town called
Westwood. There's a VA hospital about a ten minute drive away from
where I am typing this right now. In fact, the hospital is almost on
my way home every day.

So, when Bush chose THAT hospital to visit, he had to have in insanely
large number of roads blocked off to ensure his safety. Now--don't
get me wrong--it's not paranoia when you've pissed off as many people
as he has. Most of the world thinks he's a murderous, corrupt man who
is as bad or worse than the terrorists he claims to be at war with.
That said, he's a friggin' pussy for not being a man and facing his
enemies, bravely. Instead of staring down the barrel of a gun, like
any true hero would, like any good leader would, he plays the pussy
and blocks off enough roads in Westwood so that TWO of the buses I
take every day are detoured and Angelenos who drive on one of the most
travelled highways in SoCal (the 405) have to find another way home.

You gotta love a leader who will screw up left and right, get about
everything wrong and then not have the balls to live with the
consequences. I guess I shouldn't be too shocked since this is the
same guy who rushed off to a secret bunker when an enemy cloud showed
up on radar.

I'm not making that up.

Friday, October 6, 2006

The 5 Minute Show Episode 37!

More on the Lettuce Conspiracy this week--we came across some very shocking footage that lends some credibility to what the folks from F.A.I.L. claimed back in episode 35. There just might be a conspiracy to protect iceberg lettuce!!

[|Download or view the 18 MB mp4] or hit the play button on the YouTube interface below to watch episode 37 of The 5 Minute Show!!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

POLICE STATE? You're Soaking In It!

Wow, so that Military Commissions Act of 2006 that the House and Senate passed last week? Yeah, that thing is pretty bad. For one, it says that non-US-citizens determined by the Bush Admin to have "engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" don't have the right to challenge their detention.

Why is this bad? It's bad because this is a basic human right. A government that doesn't acknowledge every individual's right to challenge charges leveled against them is essentially claiming that they are perfect and never arrest anyone unless they are 100% guilty. Such a government claims that they never make mistakes and essentially don't even need a court of law or even a military tribunal to determine your guilt.

Don't believe me that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 bans alien unlawful enemy combatants from getting a judge to review their case to determine if they have been lawfully detained? Check out [|the law for yourself] at That's the Library Of Congress website, BTW. Here's the exact quote to save you some time:
Section 7e1:No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.

So, if you're an alien and you speak out against the USG, you could get seriously screwed.

Two other things make this damn law even more fun.

First, it applies to anyone who may have "engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" BEFORE THIS LAW WAS ENACTED.

If this law doesn't get struck down by the Supreme Court, it could set a seriously messed up example for future laws to follow--you could be committing a crime right now--only the law hasn't been passed yet.

Yes, some lawmakers have said that this new law preserves Habeas Corpus (the right to challenge your detention/arrest/etc) but here's the second thing that makes this law totally fucked--remember how I said that it assumes that the government is perfect? Well, we know they aren't. What happens if they think YOU are an alien?

You can't challenge them because they've decided you're not an American citizen.

Now YOU are fucked.

[|Read an October 1, 2006 piece by professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists, Marjorie Cohn] at CounterPunch.Org.

God luck trying to find a PDF of the law...

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

TheUsCast Episode 5!

In this episode The 5 Minute Show's Alexander Fazel (Gary TheIntern) joins us for some behind-the-scenes chat on t5MS, acting, movies, and more. ThePete regails us with one of his famous showbiz stories and SiSi lets us in on how she is trained as a bartender. For all of the above and other exciting audio, LISTEN NOW!! ;)

[|Grab the 31 minute, 28.3 MB mp3 directly] from Odeo.Com or use the flash player below. You can also [|subscribe to TheUsCast] to get it regularly delivered to your media aggregator of choice.

powered by ODEO

Please check out the Hucklebug if you enjoy this kind of laid back chatty audio podcast :)


You want to know why preemptive war is bad? You want to know why marching into a country without being damn sure your evidence is air tight? You want to know why setting a good example as a leader is so important?

Because people will copy you.

Check out these excerpts from [|an October 1, 2006 article] at :
Seth Stein is used to jetting around the world to create stylish holiday homes for wealthy clients. This means the hip architect is familiar with the irritations of heightened airline security post-9/11. But not even he could have imagined being mistaken for an Islamist terrorist and physically pinned to his seat while aboard an American Airlines flight - especially as he has Jewish origins.


He has since been told by airline staff he was targeted because he was using an iPod, had used the toilet when he got on the plane and that his tan made him appear "Arab".


In Mr Stein's case, he was pounced on as the crew and other travellers looked on. The drama unfolded less than an hour into the flight. As he settled down with a book and a ginger ale, the father-of-three was grabbed from behind and held in a head-lock.

"This guy just told me his name was Michael Wilk, that he was with the New York Police Department, that I'd been acting suspiciously and should stay calm. I could barely find my voice and couldn't believe it was happening," said Mr Stein.

"He went into my pocket and took out my passport and my iPod. All the other passengers were looking concerned." Eventually, cabin crew explained that the captain had run a security check on Mr Stein after being alerted by the policeman and that this had cleared him. The passenger had been asked to go back to his seat before he had restrained Mr Stein.

This is worse than a police state when random people playing the police. Hell, it's the Ultimate Police State, I guess.

This story makes me glad to be a poor web jockey. I can't afford to fly anywhere and even if I could and did, I'm so pale the light reflecting off of my skin and blind any would-be police officers.

I shouldn't joke. Events like this are incredibly serious. Events like this are depicted in George Orwell's 1984 when ordinary citizens turn in their neighbors, friends and family. Luckily, the United States isn't so far gone as to imprison a rich, successful architecht who really has no ties to terrorism--but what about someone who is less affluent? What about someone who is less obviously a law-abiding citizen who isn't wealthy enough to afford a lawyer?

I just can't wait for someone like that to end up in a secret prison.

OH WAIT... those are closed now...

Sure, they are...

Tuesday, October 3, 2006


So, over the weekend, I Googled for the phrase "[|PTSD soldiers sent back to Iraq]" after hearing about this very thing happening in a report on the podcast from, the Free Speech Radio News website. I got a lot of hits about USGIs being sent back to Iraq against their will. Some have been fully [|diagnosed with PTSD] (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and some haven't. Regardless, the USG seems to have a problem keeping their little success story staffed over there in Iraq.

I'm sorry, but if you send even one mentally wounded soldier back into combat, you're putting the lives of all the soldiers who serve with that soldier in danger. It's unwise and unfair to all soldiers involved.

It also displays a distinct lack of sense.

Imagine a part in your car breaks. Like, your muffler has a crack in it and it's making a lot of noise. You take it off of your car, throw some duct tape on the crack and then return the muffler to your vehicle. You really think the duct tape is going to solve things?

Monday, October 2, 2006

The 5 Minute Show Episode 36!

Episode 36 brings us more behind-the-scenes footage of ThePete's guest appearance on the Hucklebug audio podcast! Inside this ep are clips not actually used in episode 24 of the Hucklebug! Also: shout-outs to folks who left comments for eps 34 and 35 of t5MS! COOL!

Watch the episode on YouTube below or [|click here for the 12 MB mp4]--SWEET!

Man, I gotta go to bed!!

iTunes 7.0.1 Fewer Bugs, Still Annoying

So, if you've recently updated iTunes to v7.0, you may have noticed it's a little buggy. I never upgrade immediately after Apple releases a new version of anything. Over the past 2 years their upgrades have gotten progressively buggier as time goes on. Whenever I see a new version, I wait until I see a new version of that new version.

Thankfully, iTunes 7.0.1 has now been released which is said to have corrected many of the bugs in 7.0. The funny thing is that one of the most annoying things, to me, about previous version of iTunes is still included. This is the feature where if you don't listen to a podcast in iTunes after a while, it stops updating it until you tell it to start updating it again. The only indication that it has stopped is a little exclamation mark next to the podcast title. You click it and it says something like "You haven't listened to this podcast in a while, would you like iTunes to resume updating it?"

Stupid iTunes can't tell that I listen to almost all of my podcasts every day--ON MY iPOD! So, rather than having it keep track of what I dump onto my iPod (Big iBrother, much?) I'd rather there just be a way to SHUT THIS STUPID FEATURE OFF!!

Seriously, this is one of the things I hate about Macs and computers in general--they're beginning to think too much. Stop anticipating what I want and if you absolutely MUST anticipate at least give me the option to STOP YOU PERMANENTLY.

I haven't ever and will never need iTunes to stop updating ANY of my podcasts. If I need it to stop updating, I will simply delete the podcast from iTunes.


Here's a clip from [|a September 27, 2006 article] at
Just days before leaving Washington to campaign, Congress is moving to provide $70 billion more for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a record $448 billion Pentagon budget.

With Iraq alone costing about $8 billion a month, another infusion of funds will be needed next spring. Opinion polls show the war continues to be unpopular with voters, but even Democratic opponents of the war generally embrace the Pentagon measure, since it provides funding for body armor and other support for U.S. troops overseas.

Body armor and such is great, but it seems like we're spending an awful lot of money, losing an awful lot of American lives (not to mention Iraqi ones) for virtually nothing in return. That study last week said we're less safe now than before the Iraq Attack is good evidence of the non-existent return on our investment.

The sad thing is that come November, most of us will feel good in that we're voting for Democrats. The thing is, these bastards didn't put up a fight to stop the Republicans from getting away with all of this crap.

They caved and even parrotted the Republican party line about how we all need to be scared of terrorists.

This isn't hindsight being 20/20, either. We ALL saw this nightmare coming, but no one listened.

...and now, we're spending more money on it all.

Just think how much food and medicine and clothes and housing nearly $500 billion could buy for victims of poverty and natural disasters here in the US.

Fuck--$8 billion a month in Iraq? Does the USG even spend that much on Katrina victims?

Sunday, October 1, 2006

I'm Hypnotized By This Stupid Lady Punch Video...

Why am I so fascinated by [|this video]??

It's sort of violent, but nothing horrible...

Movie Theater Closes Rather than Run Crappy Movies

According to a [|a September, 29, 2006 article] from available at WashingtonPost.Com, a small town movie theater remained closed for two weeks because it's owner didn't feel comfortable running the crapfest (but probably stupidly entertaining) Jackass Number 2. What's even better is that he won't run anything else out there, either. Pretty cool, huh?

Here's a clip from the article:
A small-town theater owner says he wasn't trying to send Hollywood a message when he shut down for two weeks rather than show box-office leader "Jackass 2" or other new releases that he calls "drivel."

But even if not purposeful, Greg Boardman's blank-screened protest is getting a thumbs up from moviegoers who long for family fare and jeers from others who say his theaters are one of the few diversions _ especially for children _ in this farming town of about 6,000 people.

That's incredilble--kind of makes those stupid arguments about how businesses are "forced" to do things in order to "make a living" fall to pieces.

I always hated those arguments, anyway...


Marshall Thompson spent a year in Iraq in the USMil. He's back now and planning to walk across Utah to protest the war. Here's some text from his website, ASoldiersPeace.Com:
My name is Marshall Thompson and I recently returned to Utah after serving one year in Iraq. While it still seems like a wonderful dream to be home, I can't rest knowing of all the brave men and women sacrificing in Iraq. There is not enough being done to bring them home.

I feel that any appeals made to politicians will always be fruitless while both parties are distracted in name calling and bitter partisanship. Instead I want to make an appeal directly to the ones who call the shots in this country, the People.

I can't stand the thought of more people dying simply because we can't agree on a way to leave Iraq. I can't have peace in my own life until I've done all I can to help my brothers and sisters stuck there. This walk is to bring peace to Iraq, and if not that, then at least to bring peace to my soul. I invite everyone to join me.

We invite all outside of Utah to organize their own local peace walk on October 7, 2006. Please let us know what you're planning and we will post it on this website for others to join in.

Check out ASoldiersPeace.Com for more.