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Friday, November 28, 2008


Dear Aliens Considering a Visit to Earth,

Now is definitely not a good time to visit.  Sure, there are a lot of places on the planet that are gorgeous this time of year, but generally speaking, even if your plans were malevolent, now would simply not be a good time to invade us.


Well, for starters, governments worldwide are letting their citizens down.  Consider the two failed wars the sole superpower on Earth has waged--the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have neither achieved the goals of each invasion nor have they delivered functioning democracies.

Consider the failing global economy--another example of Earth's leaders failing to make the right choices.  The very system that exists to support human interaction is crumbling and has been for a decade (or longer) just very slowly--but now is in danger of collapsing.  Despite regular citizens understanding how to solve things in the financial arena, their leaders, too addicted to money and power, choose to let things get worse than they need to be even in ways that make them look like fools and hypocrites.

Meanwhile, a global food crisis has been created thanks to abundant food that is priced too high.

Both the US and India have had a hell of a time proving they are competent enough to protect their own citizens as 911 and Katrina has taught Americans, and the recent chain of terrorist attacks in India (including the Mumbai attacks, now in their 3rd day) have taught India (and the rest of the world).

Iceland tear-gassed protesters who were upset about their leaders' lack of responsibility-taking in the collapse of their financial system.

A Belgian leader wants to silence those of us on the Internet who say things he doesn't like--an act that leaders in Iran, Egypt and China have already committed.

Japan, the technological design center of the planet has recently produced a video highlighting how tenuous their grasp on civilization would be if their importation of everything they need were to cease or be disrupted.

Meanwhile, the day after a holiday designed to encourage gluttony, some American citizens have proven they're so interested in being greedy that three are dead in two separate shopping incidents--one in a toy store and another in a big-box retailer.

If that weren't enough for you, Mr. and Mrs. Alien, the strongest military in the world is once again trying to cover up its own mistakes, this time in, what we humans call a "friendly fire" incident.  Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened.

Meanwhile, the money behind that military may be drying up--many are beginning to speculate that the US government may be going bankrupt.  Obviously, our leaders are panicking about this financial meltdown since there has been almost no fear-mongering in years--sure, there was spying done on American citizens, and talk of an Iran invasion up until six months ago, but when this last financial whammy hit, it was as though those Muslim terrorists were nothing compared to the financial terror those leaders were feeling.

On top of that, there is talk that the very way humans in the first world are functioning and even thinking may be changing on such a fundamental level, it's hard to tell if we're progressing or regressing.

In short, Mr. and Mrs. Alien, our planet is a mess.  Infrastructure is screwed, an overwhelming number of our population live in poverty, while those of us who don't are too disorganized to make any difference with any of the problems facing us.

While you may think this disorganization makes us easy targets, let me use an Earth phrase to describe what dealing with us would be like: herding cats.

That's right, an invasion of Earth now would strand you in a quagmire that would take you in upwards of several hundred galactic cycles to extricate from.  Even if you had an exit strategy, I'm afraid the chaotic unpredictability of humanity right now would stop you from leaving.

Thanks for your interest in our little planet, but now is not the time.  We look forward to our future involvement in your galactic federation, however.  We just need to get our space program out of our ass and we'll be right with you guys!


representative of Earth

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Manhattan Trader Joe's Out of Turkeys & What to Do About It

Q: What will we do?
A: Go across the street and down a block to the Food Emporium--they've got stacks of bird left (turkeys, too!)!

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

Major Mumbai Icon, the Taj Hotel on Fire

Gah... this is quite messed up... just capped this from CNN-IBN's
coverage here:
 I have a feeling this is going to be referred to as India's 911. Not
that I blame them--the Taj Hotel is apparently an amazing cultural
icon of Mumbai. It's a hotel, but it's also a piece of architectural
history and contains a lot of artifacts, as well, according to the
CNN-IBN anchorwoman. Apparently to create confusion, terrorists have
carjacked police vehicles and are doing random drive-bys. I've also
heard that these attacks are very organized, but anglos were
specifically targeted. Ah, this is the worst part of a disaster to
try to work out what the hell's going on, but this is what I'm seeing
from my apartment in NYC--just watching the news streams.

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

Here's what that hotel looks like sans smoke:

Taj Hotel

I nabbed that pic from the official site for the hotel here:

Democracy In Danger: Three Weeks Later, Election '08 is Still a Mess

This is a still from a video I shot about how my vote didn't count in the California primaries this year. Watch it now.

Here are the latest election irregularity stories I've come across since last week:

Voting machines weren't tested
Checks would've found straight-ticket error, panel told

FRANKFORT - Election officials in Kenton County and most of Kentucky have repeatedly violated state regulations that mandate testing of some voting machines before elections.

The tests were not performed in Kenton County or any of the almost 100 other counties - including Boone and Campbell counties - that use voting machines provided by Lexington-based Harp Enterprises, the company's president told the Kentucky Board of Elections on Friday.

A test that local officials are required to perform would have almost certainly detected a programming error made by Harp Enterprises that rendered almost 80 of its E-slate machines incapable of tabulating straight-ticket voting on Election Day in Kenton County.
Thanks to MikeAmundsen who posted a link to this on FriendFeed.

Concerns About CA's Prop 8 Election Prompt Calls for Investigation, Official Complaints, Fraud Tips
Following reports of concerns from voters, election monitors, observers, and election integrity advocates about the voting equipment and procedures used during the November 4th election in which Prop 8 --- a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality for all Californians --- is said to have passed, Velvet Revolution is requesting that official complaints from citizens be filed with the CA Sec. of State, by Monday if possible. Any voters who may have witnessed unusual activity, or problems with voting equipment that may have affected the casting or counting of votes on Proposition 8, are asked to contact SoS Debra Bowen's office as soon as possible. More details are posted here...

Speaking of, here is a related story from their blog:

VR To California Secretary Of State: Investigate Proposition 8 Vote Count
VR has called on California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to order an immediate investigation into the accuracy of the vote count on Proposition 8, the ballot measure to amend the state's Constitution by repealing marriage equality.

VR believes an investigation is warranted due to witnessed failures in election auditing procedures, complaints from voters and election monitors, equipment failures, and more, including:

Every Vote Matters in MN's U.S. Senate Hand-Count. Every. Single. One.
Missing Ballots, Uncounted Absentees and the GOP PR Battle That May Trump Both...

Math/statistics/poll-wiz Nate Silver at predicts the race between incumbent MN Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and challenger Al Franken (D) could result in a 27 vote win for Franken. That's right, just 27 votes.

That last post links to another post at Politico which covers the Franken campaign's contention that there are many missing ballots across the state. The post also claims to have possible photographic evidence of an uncounted ballot (suggesting more are uncounted):

Missing ballots concern Franken camp
Things are getting even dicier in the Minnesota Senate recount.

Al Franken's campaign is contending that Minnesota election officials may have lost several dozen ballots across the state. Their basis for the charge is that the number of recounted ballots in certain counties does not match the total numbers of votes tallied on Election Day.

The photo in question does not present any evidence as far as I can tell--it's just a piece of paper sticking out of the back of what looks like a ballot machine.

You can follow the Minnesota recount fun on the state's official unofficial recount results page here:

Here's a little sumthin'-sumthin' about the 2002 election--yep, some people just won't let go! Especially when it comes to democracy! Go figure. Anyway, here you go:

Stealing Georgia - Let's Hope Not Again
But How Would We Know? The State Uses 100% Unverifiable Voting Machines
America Needs to Wake Up to Election Reform...

Why Georgia? There's strongly suggestive evidence that the 2002 senatorial election in Georgia was stolen. That was the first election in which Diebold DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen) voting machines were used statewide. Republican Saxby Chambliss beat front runner Democrat Max Cleland, with an astounding 12-point reversal of the vote count compared to pre-election polls. A last-minute "patch" had been applied covertly by Diebold staff to multiple voting machines throughout the state.

Catch a nice nutshell explanation of the Saxby Chambliss story in the following video clip from Stealing America (a documentary I helped make, in case you hadn't heard ;P):

And here's some of the aftermath of the Chambliss mess:

'Document Hold' Served by OH Attorney to GA SoS in Advance of State's U.S. Senate Run-off Election
Diebold Touch-Screen Memory Cards and Other Documents Sought for Retention as Allegations of Racketeering Scheme 'to Corrupt Elections in the U.S. Over the Course of This Decade' Spread to Encompass '02 and '08 Senate Races in the Peach State...

There are PLENTY more stories on the news page over at which you can check out here:

There's also which, by now, you know I recommend, too.

The short of it all is that democracy isn't pretty or even easy. However, shouldn't we make it simple if we can? Why bother with machines and technology if we're just going to have to second-guess everything when the machines screw up? Why not take a week to let everyone vote and just take another week and have humans hand count the ballots once all the voting is done?

Sure, making everyone vote on a certain day and having the ballots mostly counted by the end of that day is SO much more dramatic, but which do you want? A democracy or a drama-cracy?

Why are we all being so childish about this?

When a guy with a logo like mine calls you childish, you know it's bad!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Leaking Closet

Every time it rains, it my closet!

 Here are some pictures of my chronically leaking closet.  Today, a foot-square(ish) chunk of the ceiling fell in! 

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

Monday, November 24, 2008

Apparently Economic Crash is Our Fault--Stupid Consumers!

George Washington is not pleased to be worth more!

OK, this is, I think, a pretty good indicator of one of the few actual problems facing America (and humanity, really) today.  So, this dude called Thomas Homer-Dixon is some sort of interdisciplinary whiz-man and he wrote this opinion piece for called "Deflation's Big Game" and it describes the suddenly infamous "deflation" as "it's own cause" or as "a self-fulfilling prophecy," depending on which part of the paragraph you're reading.  Oh and he also says that the word deflation is "...the economists' dread word, and in the past week it has leapt from a
dusty back corner of their lexicon to the front pages of our newspapers."

Color me naive, but I always thought inflation was a bad thing.  I'm old enough to remember the 1970s and how inflation was a huge problem.  You probably know what inflation is--it's when our currency inflates like a balloon, but the value of the dollar goes down.  It's sort of like a reverse psychology thing.  The amount of dollars it takes to buy a carton of milk inflates--it takes more money to buy that milk than it did years before.  How does this devaluing happen?  It happens because money is added to the existing supply through loans.  Put simply, the more of something you have, the less that something is worth.

Now, I'm just a guy with a blog, right?  I went to film school and grew up reading too many comics, so maybe I need to go to MIT, like Mr. Homer-Dixon did, before I'll properly work all this out, but if inflation--a devaluing of our dollars--is bad (duh, of course it is) wouldn't deflation--one assumes, the opposite of inflation--be a good thing?  Logically deflation would mean the shrinking of the number of dollars you need to buy that milk.  Yet, to economists, THD says, deflation is a bad thing.

Well, maybe THD defines "deflation" differently than I do--let's see--here's his explanation for the "D" word:

Deflation refers to a sustained drop in prices caused by falling
economic demand - a situation where unemployment of both people and
capital soars and where the standard monetary tools that policy-makers
use in response, such as interest rate cuts, stop working.

Huh, seems he's not linking "deflation" with "inflation" at all.  Or, if he is, he's doing it in such a backhanded way as to mislead us into thinking the two aren't connected. 

But let's break that definition down--he says deflation refers to a drop in prices caused by falling demand.  So, people stop buying and prices drop to compensate.  See, due to the law of supply and demand, if demand goes down, the price must go down as well to encourage buying and the moving of product. 

This is literally the inversion of how I defined "deflation" above.  What's happening is the price of milk drops and allows that George Washington dollar coin to buy more of the white stuff.

But what Homer-Dixon is essentially saying is that a drop in prices is bad for our economy.

Lower prices is bad?  Maybe Homer-Dixon believes that, but only Homer Simpson would mindlessly trust that to be true when common sense says otherwise.  While THD doesn't come out and say as much in his piece, the entire article is framed from the point of view that the system is good and worthy and that there's nothing wrong with it.

In fact, by pointing at consumers buying less as the cause of deflation, he's basically saying it's all our fault.

What's worse about Thomas Homer-Dixon's piece is that it suggests that we all need to get together and spend more money to help the over-all system back on its feet.  He describes a story of a couple of idiot hunters, each unable to kill a deer on their own--they simply must work together to bag this deer--but if one bails and chases after a rabbit, both of them are going to miss out on the deer.

The question I have is, why can't they just walk out of the forest and go to the nearby supermarket?  Why can't each farmer become a vegetarian and backyard-grow their own food for themselves?  Why fall for this idea that they must hunt deer and feast mightily on its flesh?

Because if we don't accept this story, and the story that it's really our fault, the alternative option is that the system isn't perfect and may even be (GASP!) a bad system.

This is the kind of brainwashing I'm really getting tired of getting from the media.  Sure, this is an opinion piece, but he never says that in the article.  THD also fails to mention the possibility of alternatives.  Like the idiots in Washington who say universal health care would be socialism or communism, this guy isn't preaching to the converted--he is the converted.  The problem is that the conversion is literal.  Homer-Dixon (at least in this one piece) represents the single-minded pod-people-esque mindset that the free market economic system is a pure and divine system that would work just fine if we meddling kids would just behave like sheeple and did what we were told.

This system is collapsing.  Greed was allowed to run rampant and no one wants to take responsibility for it. 

What Homer-Dixon has done is spin the story on it's head--like the movie Star Wars being described as a tragic story of a father who finally comes in contact with his long lost son, only to discover he's fallen in with the insurgent crowd and eventually blows up his dad's place of work, murdering hundreds of thousands of people.  Thomas Homer-Dixon spins the tale of a system that is versatile, but delicate--a Porsche, if you will.  A gorgeous, fast car capable of reaching incredible speeds, delivering immense pleasure to the driver and pretty good looks to people on the sidewalk--but it's clearly the pedestrian's fault for getting hit by one. 

Remember, the very idea of an economic system exists so that humanity can better function--if there are going to be sacrifices, they should be on the part of the economic system that sacrifices for humanity, not the other way around. 

We're getting into a very scary place, as a species of people.  Some of us humans seem to think that institutions and belief systems are more important than human lives.  People's lives are being ruined in this country thanks to our economic system.  In other countries people have died because of it. 

This is not the time to be a "team player" for the system.  Question authority.  Question everything you are told because almost any "expert" is part of the system that is so desperately flawed.  They will defend it, sometimes unknowingly.  We have to be smarter than that.  As humans, we can, and must know when to, adapt to changing conditions--systems are great and important, even.  However, when they stop working we should not be loyal to them just because they work for some.  The free market system may be viable again with proper regulation.  But blaming the consumers is like blaming that pedestrian crossing the street just as the Porsche was zooming down it. 

The rich folks are at the wheel, the rest of us are walking.  Couldn't we find a compromise?  Maybe we could all take the bus?

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Using Women in Ads: Making It Harder for Women (and Men) for Years

So, I was procrastinating earlier this evening (I guess I still am!) and came across a post at entitled: "The 9 most disturbingly misogynistic old print ads" It was linked to by HumanFolly on Twitter and knowing her status as a women's issues blogger, I knew I would want to check it out.  The post features nine really pretty messed up ads featuring women in less than equal positions to the men who probably created the ads.  My favorite (and, in my opinion, the most demented of the bunch) is the pic in this post.  Holeee crap--could that little girl be more depressed looking?

It's like she knows the years of oppression and self-denial that are ahead of her.  Or perhaps she's just stressed about the economy?

Either way, the little girl in this ad is just wrong.  Kids are supposed to be happy, not looking like the latest model in the "childbot" line from Stepford Industries.  What's worse is that the little tyke is not the most disturbing thing about this ad--as the original blog post mentions: 

There are so many things wrong with this ad…the emotionally disturbed
girl, the lifelessly colored tricks and, of course, the fact that the
ad is saying 5 year-old "women" need love.

Yeah, pretty messed up.  I think it's also a little creepy how Mom is right behind her daughter, making sure she eats the sugar-and-chemical-laden corporate foodstuff and it's not like the little girl is given any options in the matter.


Is it any surprise we haven't had a woman president yet?  With decades of programming through pop-culture (including ads like these) it would take a woman of extraordinary strength, confidence, persuasiveness and diplomacy to surmount the Kilamanjaro-sized pile of negative propaganda we've all been forced to consume as a culture since the dawn of media.

Maybe if we spliced together DNA from Oprah and Obama we could create a female clone capable of winning everyone over.

Anyone know a genetic scientist?  Get them on this now!

Even more irony pops up when you see the ads that appear next to the blog post on ads for CollegeHumor and Snorg Tees are the ones I saw.  CollegeHumor advertized "Cute College Girl of the Week" with pictures of women in bikinis. Meanwhile, the Snorg ad featured a cute-as-hell young women looking like she was about to take her shirt off.  On the shirt is the message "We're going streaking."

Don't get me wrong--I love women.  I love looking at attractive women--but I respect them, too.  In fact, the smarter a woman is the more attracted I am to her.  I can talk politics and philosophy with TheWife, which is great.  My current movie crush is Naomi Klein who writes about the negative aspects of the free market in her book "The Shock Doctrine."  Most porn alternatively bores or repulses me, so I tend to just troll Flickr for pictures that don't make me hate humanity (aka porn I actually find hot).  So, it baffles me as to why advertisers need to cater to the lowest common denominator all the time.  That cute chick in the Snorg ad didn't make me want to buy a T-shirt.  Neither did the bikini girls in the CollegeHumor ad make me want to visit that site for a cute college girl of the week. 

But I guess it works since sex keeps being used to sell. 

I guess I'm a total freak, huh? o_O

Ah well. 

Hm... I wonder Naomi Klein would ever do a bikini calendar with excerpts from her books in the margins...O_O

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Foggy Evening at West 33rd & Greeley Square

20081114 33rd Greeley, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

This was taken in the evening of November 14, 2008 on the corner of West 33rd and Greeley Square, here in NYC. It was a chilly night and, as you can see, very foggy. This was one of those great moments where you see a picture right in front of you, so you take it and the picture rocks. Yeah, that is the Empire State Building. :) Not bad for an iPhone, huh?

Bad Girls Club on Oxygen for Women Living Out Loud (and dressed real hot!)

20081114 Bad Girls Oxygen, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

Huh, "Bad Girls Club" on Oxygen, a channel for women. If it's a channel and one assumes a show for women, why do I want to watch it now?

In other words, what the hell is Oxygen doing advertising or even running a show like this which seems to be aimed more at men than the women the channel is supposed to be for. And if women enjoy women dressed up like "bad girls" I think it's time we start dealing more with women's issues. I can see a TV show with a token promiscuous hot chick on it, but seven of them??

Do women really like this? Or is it just to get men to watch the channel (that is supposed to be for women)?


LOLbama, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

Nicked this from

I think this bit of photomanipulation really captures the almost absurd level of hope they many Americans are putting on BHO.

I'm just waiting for that economic stimulus check he promised to get to us before winter!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Want Hugh Jackman's Dentist

When I can finally afford to go to the dentist again (Mr. Obama, I'm ready when you are) I think I'll go with Mr. Jackman's. Look at those choppers!

Yes, it's the weekend, time for fun posts!!

Obama's Possible AG nom: Former Lawyer for a Corporation that Supported Terror

This is where I get to start showing my independent stripes, folks.  This is also where you get to show your commitment to the law and to morality when I start pointing out the bad things Democrats in power do.  The Obamessiah, as some on the right call him sarcastically, is being looked at with an extreme level of hope from many in America.  Yet, the reality is that Barack Obama is a politician like any other.  When you're a politician, it's hard to keep your own hands clean, let alone the hands of your friends.  That said, it's usually a good thing to avoid hiring lawyers who have defended terrorist-supporting mega-corporations as your top cop for the country.

This is what will happen if Eric Holder gets the job of attorney general, as is being reported in the news.  Sure, he'd be the first black guy to run the Department of Justice, which is great, but check out what Democracy Now reported a couple days ago:

Since leaving public office, Holder has worked as a partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling. His clients have included the fruit giant Chiquita. Last week on Democracy Now!, journalist Mario Murillo criticized Holder's ties to Chiquita.

Mario Murillo: "There's been talk about a close ally and friend of Obama as a potential Attorney General for the United States, Eric Holder, who is currently defending Chiquita Brands International in its defense against dozens of plaintiffs here in Colombia, working families who were targeted by paramilitaries who were funded to the tune of $1.7 million over the last several years. It's a major scandal. And if this guy becomes the Attorney General under an Obama administration, then it's going to be really hard to find justice in this case coming from the United States."

In a speech to the American Constitution Society in June, Eric Holder said the next president must "move immediately to reclaim America's standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights." Holder is an opponent of the death penalty but has called for stiffer penalties for some drug offensives. In 2005, he was part of the legal team that developed strategies for securing reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act.


And you thought Democracy Now was a left-leaning news source!

Actually, they are--which is what's scary about them going after stuff a Democrat is doing--if DN are lefties and they're pointing out bad stuff the Dems do, does that mean the Dems are... <em>righties?</em>

Regardless, good for DN for sticking to their morals and not bowing to politically correct pressure (YAY! A black man!) or partisan political pressure (YAY! A Democrat!).

Just so you know that Democracy Now isn't the only one who is saying Holder defended a major American corporation against people suing because said corporation supported terrorists, here's a little excerpt from Holder's article:

In 2004, Holder helped negotiate an agreement with the Justice Department for Chiquita Brands International in a case that involved Chiquita's payment of "protection money" to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a group on the U.S. government's list of terrorist organizations.

Double-yikes!  When it's put that way, you can really see how this guy was morally corrupt.  He defended a corporation that just had to do business in Columbia that they paid a terrorist group to NOT kill them--of course, they had to know that protection money would fund the killing of others. 

But hey, they have a right to make a living, right?  Just like those De Beers guys, even when people die for it.

So, this, apparently, is the change we need.  A black guy (great!) who doesn't seem to mind defending companies that pay folks to kill (not so great).  Not that I wish McCain had won--his picks would have been even worse--I'm sure he would have gone with someone like John Negroponte, who some know as the American diplomat to Honduras who didn't seem to mind Honduran deathsquads on his watch.

Posted by email from thepete's posterous


Every Friday I review the latest anime that I've watched recently. This week, it's Macross II

Click to buy!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Sure, but only in a way that most un-crappy Japanese animation is. Lots of explosions, sexy anime women and transforming robots.

Technically any good? First off, this isn't a movie. It's a video series they cut together to make a "movie." I'm feel lucky they left the Japanese language track on it since I seem to recall too many "movie" versions of anime series being in English only. Speaking of which, the acting is just fine. The animation is more like Macross: Do You Remember Love than the original Macross series, which is a good thing. However, the story is the pits. It's still got the love triangle that Macross fans love, but the music is kind of peripheral and the alien stuff just feels trite and cliche after watching everything else in the Macross Saga. The action was fun, but if you don't care whether characters live or die there's not much excitement in things going boom.

How did it leave me feeling? Disappointed. I just can't recommend this one. I suppose if you're a Macross purist you should check it out, if only to know how not good it was. This was the first attempt at a real sequel to the original series and thankfully, later attempts were much more successful at being entertaining.

Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See. Just check out Macross Frontier. Let's just pretend that's the final chapter in the saga. ^_^

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Time: BHO=FDR, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

I saw this on a news stand the other day while I was out with my fried
Keith and it cracked me up. Don't know if I agree or not. I just
hope BHO doesn't let a Pearl-Harbory thing happen the way FDR did. Oh
and building the bomb--that was pretty lame, too.


Click to buy
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Wow, not really. I watched this a bunch of times as a little kid and remember loving it but as an adult, it had its moments but was surprisingly unfunny.

Technically any good? It's a send-up of famous movie detectives and tries to take them to task for their various foibles--whether it's Charlie Chan's inability to speak proper English (despite his brilliance) or Miss Marple's inability to let us in on what she knows before she names the killer (or was it Poirot who did that?). Either way, you can't fault the acting--well, except for Truman Capote who was amusing, in his own way. The rest of the cast is stunning--David Niven, Peter Sellers, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith, and more, believe it or not (Alex Guiness!!) all did wonderful jobs.

While this movie does have flashes of true inspiration, I have a feeling the script was written at a point in Neil Simon's life when he was riding off of the success of other projects. The plot feels weakly pulled together and while I get that the ending isn't supposed to make sense, that doesn't stop it from being stupid. If you want to make something not make sense in your movie, fine, but you can't have not make sense inside the universe of the story. The sets looked great, though. :)

How did it leave me feeling? Disappointed. I think I was very easy to please as a kid.

Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See. I'm no fan of Clue but I think I laughed more at that then I did at Murder By Death. Sad to say, I guess.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Democracy in Danger: Hey, Until We Start Hand-Counting Paper Ballots...

Yep, this is a topic I'm just going to track like a bloodhound--or as best as I can--until we stop using unreliable, untrustworthy, secretive computerized ballot machines.  Sure, Obama won, but as I've said many times before on ThePete.Com, there have been plenty of irregularities and even some serious strangeness.  First off, I'd like to once again point you to and  Both of these sites have been very good at posting news on problems people have had voting.  VU's "Daily Voting News" posts that they cross-post at are particularly thorough.  In fact the post for November 14, 2008 includes a HUGE number of links to stories on the web covering various types of problems with elections.  This includes everything from recounts, arrests and a lot more--in short, things are still very much a mess.

But let me tell you about the stories I've come across.  Firstly, you've probably heard that Alaska spitfire Senator Ted Stevens has actually lost his senate seat to his Democrat challenger.  This could not have happened to a nicer guy.  This moronic loudmouth was just convicted of corruption and somehow thought he would win his seat for another term.  In fact, as of November 5, 2008, it looked like a win was actually in the bag for him.  Then they find 90,000 uncounted ballots and start counting them.  By the thirteenth of November, Stevens was losing the race by 814 votes.  Finally, yesterday, reported that Ted Stevens had lost his senate seat for sure.  WHEW!

Ironically, according to, officials were surprised to see how low voter turnout was in Alaska--then it turns out that by this past Monday, there are so many votes counted that they came to believe that this may mark the highest voter turnout in Alaska history

Sorry, Ted!

Meanwhile, the recount in the Franken/Coleman race in Minnesota has commenced, while, in the background, loads of Republicans suddenly sounding like we election-integrity freaks spouting off about how funny things look.  Brad Friedman, of, calls these guys tin-foil hat wearers based on their lack of proof, while I simply call them late to the party.  If they have hard evidence that the fix is in for Franken to win, I'd love to see it.  Apparently, they don't have any, however.

Here are another couple of stories from the BradBlog I thought were worth pointing out:

FL Election Integrity Advocate, Candidate For Election Supervisor Arrested at Direction of Election Supervisor, Opponent
Ellen H. Brodsky Jailed Overnight After Being Barred From Oversight Several Times by Incumbent SoE Brenda Snipes
Third Such Arrest of an EI Activist Since Summer...

A candidate for Supervisor of Elections in Broward County, FL, was arrested yesterday, following threats and orders from her opponent, the current Broward SOE, Dr. Brenda Snipes.

Ellen H. Brodsky, the county's first non-partisan candidate for SOE, had previously been barred from public counting and oversight on a number of occasions, at the county's official Canvassing Board site and voting machine warehouse in Lauderhill, Florida.

After being taken into custody yesterday afternoon by three uniformed police officers, Brodsky was held overnight at the Broward County Jail even though the $25 --- that's twenty-five dollar --- bail had been posted for her by her son by 8pm last night. She was finally released well after 5am this morning.

Isn't it nice when indies running for office get messed with?  Seems like it's often the folks brave enough to be outsiders that get messed with.  Ah well.

Now, one of the promises of electronic voting, computerized ballot boxes, touchscreen voting, blah-blah-blah, and all that other voting technology, is that it's easier and will speed up the whole process so people can get back to work (because clearly, democracy is like fast food).  Well, it seems like that's not the case.  Here's a nice little headline, excerpt and link from the BB that reports the opposite:

Machine Problems Worsened 2008 Voting Woes
Voting Machine Issues, Confusion Compounded Delays Faced by Untold Thousands of Voters This Fall
Though Even That Number Fails to Reveal Untold Counting Errors on E-Voting Systems Across the Nation...

Guest blogged by Steven Rosenfeld of AlterNet

The electronic voting problems in the 2008 election are broader than recently-publicized snafus such as machines not turning on, voter databases omitting names, or touch screens not properly recording votes, according to an analysis of 1,700 incident reports from the nation's largest voter hotline.

Moreover, the voting machine issues and the confusion they caused among poll workers appear to have compounded the delays faced by untold thousands of voters this fall, a preliminary analysis of 1-800-OUR-VOTE reports by Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a researcher at Princeton University and the University of California, has found...

I really hope the Obama Administration gives this country's leaders on all levels an fracking enema.  I'm so tired of reading about how leaders across the spectrum of responsibilities are letting us down.  Is it me or is money causing more problems than it ever has in the history of our country?  All this money influencing our leaders--all this outsourcing our elections to private companies while all of these supposed leaders quite literally buy into the promise that technology is perfect and can protect democracy.  As I've been saying for years, now, anything can be hacked.  Simply anything.

It's like that old story about how NASA had to spend millions to develop a pen that would write in space while the Russians just used a pencil.  This is what we should be doing with our elections.  Paper and pencils and humans counting.  Sure, it'll take a long time, but I think knowing for sure who our leaders are is a good thing, don't you?

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

Diamonds are for Terror: My Favorite Part About the Yes Men Parody of the New York Times

So, you have probably heard of that parody version of the New York Times the infamous Yes Men gave out recently in Times Square (of all places).  Well, they went full tilt and put up a website for it, too:

If you're not aware, the Yes Men are high-end pranksters that don't just play dumb jokes on people, they play jokes on entire corporations.  Democracy Now's Amy Goodman reported on the Yes Men's NYT parody last week, explaining that "One previous prank had a Yes Men member posing as a Dow Chemical
spokesperson to announce responsibility for the Bhopal chemical
disaster, forcing the company to remind the world it had done anything


Obviously, I dig these guys.  They've got a movie and a book that goes into more detail regarding their activities, so I'll stick to the depressing stuff.

While their humor is pretty much brilliant (and a little dry--they way I like it), one of the sharper jabs I'm sure got missed by most folks checking out the was the ad for De Beers diamonds.  This was great--it promised that "Your purchase of a diamond will enable us to donate a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in the diamond conflicts.  De Beers. From her fingers to his."

Zowee.  See, what corporations do (this is true of other corps, not just De Beers) is go into 3rd world nations and effectively bribe the governments into letting them take most of a particular resource and most of the profits made from that resource, as well.  The people of the country see little or no change in their standard of living and in the case of the the diamond conflict, were caught in the middle.  Rebels rose up against governments and tried to convince locals to work with them, not the government.  According to Amnesty International, Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front's "signature tactic was amputation of civilians: Over the course
of the decade-long war, the rebels have mutilated some 20,000 people,
hacking off their arms, legs, lips, and ears with machetes and axes."

AA also reports: "People had their hands chopped off by RUF units and were sent wandering hopelessly to spread the message of terror."

Weee!  God damn!  Is greed a horrible thing, or what?  Those rebels may have represented the interest of the people in wanting their piece of the diamond pie (like Alaskans get of the Alaskan oil pie) but the RUF and all others in positions of power took things way too far.  You may feel the urge to suggest that De Beers has "got the right to make a living" but can you say that when other people are dying for that living?  Or are being horribly mutilated?

The selling of high end gems taken from mines in countries where poverty is rampant is unfair, cruel and just plain shitty.

When are we going to start talking about greed being reeeeally bad?  When is De Beers going to start talking about making up for their greed?

Well, thanks to the Yes Men, they might just have an opportunity to be guilted into doing it right now.

Don't buy diamonds.  They're pretty, but pricey in more ways than you probably want to consider.

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Reuters: Everything Good is Bad Again

Spotted this article on this morning called "October consumer prices and home starts plummet" and found it really fascinating.  If you read it, it talks about things like housing prices dropping and deflation as bad things.  Think about that for a moment.

Houses dropping in price means more people can afford houses and fewer new loans will be defaulted on.

Isn't that good for the economy?

It's certainly good for people who want to buy homes.

But the Reuters article insists that the economy is weakening even further than it has.

The article also mentions deflation as another example of an ever-sinking economy.  The thing is, what do we mostly bitch about when it comes to money? 


So, shouldn't deflation be a good thing to us?

I say yes.

While the article also reports on consumer prices dropping and a few other things that generally the economy is weakening, I say prices dropping are part of the system working.  Yep, that's right--this is ThePete saying capitalism and free market economics both work just fine when not abused.  Leaving them be, letting losses and crashes occur means that things were getting to big for the system to support.  Now we can rebuild on more stable footing. 

Prices dropping is a natural function of the law of supply and demand.  We American consumers have stopped spending as much as we used to--THIS IS A GOOD THING.

This fills my heart with hope for humanity that we're not just a bunch of dumb sheep doing what we're told.  This is proof we can react to what is really happening and do the right, logical thing.

So, we stop spending, prices drop to entice us to buy, to a certain degree we do, and slowly but surely, the economy builds back up again.

Color me malfunctioning, but my memory circuits tell me this is how things are supposed to work.

Bailouts now would just delay our economy's recovery.

Tell me I'm wrong--please--and tell me how so I can learn.  Thanks.

One last thing about this article.  Since it puts everything in terms of its level of badness for the economy, despite those things being good for consumers and really the stability of the whole system, doesn't this article end up coming off like an advertisement for the corporate greed mindset?  That we all need to be buying and borrowing at all times to keep the economy moving and growing and dominating (despite it's complete crashing and bleeding out recently)?  It reminds me of how the media isn't liberally biased, it's biased toward money--and the furthering of the belief that "greed is good."

Gordon Gecco is dead.  Let's leave him buried, shall we?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cheney and Gonzales Indicted! But not for what you think :(

Well, it's not all bad--anytime there is as much evidence of criminal activity as there is against people like Cheney and Gonzales, I'm happy to see them get indicted for anything.  Hell, Al Capone had to be brought down on tax evasion charges.  But as you can see from the screencap attached to this post (check out the original article on from earlier today), Cheney and Gonzales are being:
indicted on separate charges related to alleged prisoner abuse in federal detention centers, Willacy County, Texas, District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra told CNN Tuesday.

The indictment stems from Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group --
an investment management company that reportedly has interests in the
prison companies in charge of the detention centers, according to The
Associated Press. It also charges Gonzales halted an investigation into abuse at the detention centers while he was attorney general.

NICE.  Well, not the best thing that could happen to two men who will hopefully be remembered as two of the luckiest horrible men to live in modern times.  Not Hitler-level-horribleness, but almost as amoral.  So, yay Willacy County, Texas, District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra!!  Take these bastards on and please don't let this be a reason for the next AG to not bring Cheney and Gonzales up on all sorts of other charges, too--at the very least these guys should be put on trial for stuff like domestic wiretapping and all that fun enemy combatant stuff.

Oh and can I just say that "Juan Angel Guerra" is one of the coolest names I've ever heard?  Translated into American, that's "John Angel War."

Seriously cool name.

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USG Says Bailout is Working, but Forgets to Mention Why We Should Trust Them

The screencap in this post comes from an article dated today, entitled "Regulators: Bailout is working" and is just more evidence, to me, of how stupid our government thinks we are.  It's also nice evidence of how the media either thinks we're morons or are morons themselves.

Seriously, how much more crap from our government are we going to buy?  Like anyone in a position of leadership saying anything means anything to me since they've all been so wrong over the last 8 years.

The Obama folks coming in better restore some fricken respect to their positions because the spineless way the Dems have allowed the Republicans to get away with all this stuff has not won them any points from me.

I remember back during the Clinton years how the Repubs said Clinton "besmirched" the office of the President for cheating on his wife and then lying about it.  Yeah, well, Bush did a helluva lot worse than besmirch it and what happened to him?


Well done, Democrat kids!  Enjoy trying to regain my trust.

Oh and talking mean to Paulsen, Bernanke or even the car guys doesn't count.

Let the American automakers die and replace Paulsen with someone who has a fucking clue about money.  Take some action, losers.  DO SOMETHING.

As for Bernanke?  I think we're stuck with him for 12 more years, or so.  Good thing he's the people's banker--oh wait, we don't elect the Federal Reserve Chairman

I almost forgot.

The way our financial system is set up, it's a little like the fox not only guarding the hen house but managing it, supplying it and hiring the hens.

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Climate Change at the American Museum of Natural History

The Climate Change exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History is open now and runs until August 16, 2009. Tickets are $24 for adults (cheaper for kids, students and seniors). Check out the ANMH website for more info:
Read on to find out whether I think it's an exhibit worth checking out!

Recently, I got invited to a thing last night at the American Museum of Natural History--they opened up the Climate Change exhibit and their Butterfly Sanctuary for families and media (like me!) to come check it out sans crowds. They fed us and let us have at both exhibits.

In the shadow of a dinosaur skeleton they fed us. :)

Now, if you're wondering if it's worth it to check out an exhibit on Climate Change, don't doubt it--it's worth it. Especially Climate Change which is now open at the American Museum of Natural History until August 16, 2009. Now you may be wondering how I can fairly say that since I didn't have to pay to get in--well, just keep readin' tough guy!

It's easy to assume that you know everything there is to know about Global Warming and Climate Change, but have you seen what a fricken' 1 ton piece of coal looks like in person?

Have you ever seen a timeline, right in front of you, that chronicles the temperature of the Earth from the dawn of man through to present day? This isn't some cinematic Powerpoint presentation (not that there's anything wrong with that)--this exhibit allows you to get up close and personal with the facts--the seemingly endless stream of facts that all point to one thing--the climate is a-changing.

Maybe you're a naysayer or know someone who doesn't "believe" in Climate Change. This is an exhibit for the naysayer, too--I'm a healthy skeptic myself and while I knew the evidence is overwhelming, I found all of the evidence in one exhibit to be pretty damn persuasive. I think if people are unsure or even think Al Gore's movie is just propaganda they should check out the Climate Change exhibit at the AMNH. The amazingly long stack of evidence that Climate Change is a real and growing threat will help those on the fence get off of it.

Check it out--one of the things they have in the exhibit is a bank of three touchscreen computers that connect to one large projection screen. Each of the touchscreens allow you to work out just how much CO2 you spew into the sky due to the car you drive or the light bulbs you use or how many trees you don't plant. As you work through your answers, they show up on the bigger projection screen in one of the three rows. The thing that I found most interesting about this part of the exhibit was, that for me, the one with the cars was useless since I don't drive (I sold my car back in 2003 and now I'm a New York City resident). So first, I told it my commute from back, before I sold my car: 45 minutes into Hollywood and 45 back to Westwood, every day.

It told me my car and I were responsible for over 22,000 metric tons of CO2 for each year I drove. Then it asked me how much I could cut back--I told it I'd cut back to zero miles driven, the reduction in CO2 was obvious--but then, on the bigger screen in front of us, it showed us how much CO2 would NOT be in the atmosphere if everyone in America cut back to the same level:

Yeah, man--that's right--if everyone stopped driving we'd stop nearly 1.3 billion metric tons of CO2 from getting into the air.

See, I think it's these (not-so-)little facts that really put things into perspective.

Sure, you can sit around searching Wikipedia all night for this stuff, or you can go check these facts out in person.

There's plenty more to see there, too--videos, murals, and an actual-size model of one metric ton of coal. There are also plenty of things for kids to be entertained and educated by, as well. They can play with little wooden ice-shelves, learn about weather patterns on cool spherical video screens (I want one of these for home!!) and check out this poor polar bear:

I actually heard one little girl ask her mom why the polar bear was sad. Turns out that as Climate Change messes with the weather, the eating habits of polar bears are being changed, too. As a result they're moving further south in search of food and end up stumbling into areas where we humans live. I'm guessing that bear has just trashed an Inuit's summer home (the placard wasn't specific for what was in front of us, just saying the poor furry white guys sometimes end up in people's trash).

There's one last thing I want to point out to people about the Climate Change exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, whether they go or not--it's this picture:

That's a chart they had on display that makes one of the most important points there is to make about Climate Change and Global Warming and oil, coal and all of this stuff.

There is not just one solution--there are several. We all need to change in many different ways. Something else to note about that great chart is that most of that stuff isn't up to you and me to do--it falls on the doorstep of big business and government. We can't make sure that nuclear power or renewable energy sources are used by our power companies. What we can do is contact businesses we deal with, like our electric companies, for instance, and ask where they get their power from. Is it coal? Nukes? Solar? Hydro? What? If they're not talking alternatives, then see if you can find another supplier for your electricity.

But there's a lot more we can all do on our own and there's a lot more we can pressure big business and even government to do to help save the world. A fact that I wish the exhibit had included was the fact that too much pollution is created by factories, refineries, plants and even just buildings. One other note, I'm against nuclear power of any kind--it's ultimately unsafe and if we spent the money on developing solar, hydro or wind technology, we wouldn't ever have to worry about meltdowns. :)

But aaanyway, so it was a pretty fun exhibit. If you're in NYC or are planning a visit sometime before August 16, 2009, and have a spare $24 per person, it's definitely worth stopping in and hey, with that price you can check out the rest of the American Museum of Natural History while you're there. For twice the price of a movie ticket you can get yourself some knowledge--which is probably a heckuva lot more than you'd get at the movies. ;P

But here's a tip--if you're not able to make it or want to get a better sense of what's at this thing, check out the AMNH website for the Climate Change exhibit:

It's got a lot of great stuff right there. Of course, it's no match for being at the museum in person.

You can also check out my Flickr photoset here:

Is it the perfect exhibit? Probably not, but pound-for-pound you really are going to get your $24 worth.

Just my ¥2, as always!

Monday, November 17, 2008

OH, TWITTER! Won't you ever just work? :) (Check out how many updates I had as of yesterday.)

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

From inside the AMNH: I didn't know Teddy Roosevelt was a gamer! ;P

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About to head into the Climate Change exhibit at AMNH

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OLPC XO G1G1 (Give 1 Get 1) 2008 Begins Today!

Around this time, back in 2007, you may recall me freaking out about the new XO-1 laptop from OLPC I was waiting for.  OLPC is the name of a non-profit that was created in order to design a laptop computer so cheaply that 3rd World governments would want to buy One Laptop Per Child in their country--get it? OLPC.  Their plan initially was to make a laptop that would cost $100, which they'd then charge $100 for.  I know--zero mark-up, these guys must be COMMIES! ;)

Sadly, they didn't quite make their target price, but $200 for a netbook as full featured, as this thing is, still ain't bad.  Last year, OLPC announced a program called "Give 1 Get 1" or G1G1 and it allowed Americans to buy two OLPC XO laptops--they would get one, and the other would go to a kid in a 3rd-world country.  Pretty cool, huh?  So, naturally, since it was mixing gadgets with philantrhopy (and the XO is a great little piece of hardware) I had to support it. 

Today, the program returns via  Check out to order now!

But you may be wondering just what the heck some poor kid in a village is going to do with a laptop?  The answer is easy: learn.

The XO's onboard OS, called SugarOS, comes with a bunch of great educational applications (called "activities") that help kids learn about all sorts of things, from math, to music, to more.  If the village has a single computer with Internet access, every XO in the village can access the same connection and can even share Internet connections amongst each other XO thanks to Mesh networking technology.  Mesh allows each XO to connect and each XO user to share activities to encourage kids to work together (up to a kilometer away!).

But a laptop in the middle of the 3rd World?

The XO has a huge battery lifespan--one charge gives it about twice as long a run as my MacBook gets on it's battery.  Part of this lifespan jump is thanks to the XO's dual mode laptop display which allows you to switch from back-lit-color to straight black & white with just a button-press.  The B&W mode is perfect for outdoor settings.  No moving parts also allows the XO to use less energy.  Its case is durable and practical (it even has a handle) and is generally spill and dust proof.  I know, I have one.

My only gripe about the XO is the OS.  While I understand creating a non-windows, non-Windows-based lappie for kids (we want them to use computers in a positive way), I do feel that the OS limits the kids on how much they can do.  While the laptop's processor surpasses that of my old, 1998 Toshiba Satellite's, I was not able to work on my novel and research on the web simultaneously on the XO.  This is something I did every day for a year-straight on my Satellite.  The good news is that it is possible to run Linux (and even Windows XP--though you wouldn't want to) on the XO.  It alows you to pack a bit more punch and take a bit more advantage of the RAM.  Of course, I say this as a computer-geek-extraordinaire--not as a kid in a third world country.  Speaking of which, 3rd World kids seem to enjoy the XO just fine.

Why not drop $400 and let another kid get one?

Or get it at my Amazon store here:

Either way, any computer is going to beat the computer most of these kids are going to get.  Make a difference and own the laptop that invented the netbook.

Posted by email from thepete's posterous (mo)Blogging, File Hosting and More Made Simple

OK, first thing's first, this isn't quite an Killer--er--I mean an Killer. However, it does have a lot of similar features--so many, in fact, that I may just switch permanently away from Utterli thanks to's ease of use (so far). It is definitely a nice competitor to Utterli's features however and a direct threat to miniblogging sites like and, I would think. Since hosts all the media you send to them,'s 100 MB limit seems kind of TheSucky (and here I was about to start using for all of my hosting).

So What Is It?

Here's what does: they let you blog via email, complete with attachments. This means that you can moblog from your smart phone or just wait until you get home to post via email. Either way, it's one of the most simple blog tools I've ever used.

What Does Right

Posterous is simple. When you sign up, you don't even sign up. You just send your first post from your email address to "post" and then they send you a confirmation email--however, even before the confirmation email is in your inbox, your post is online. Pretty cool. From there, you click on the link in the email, set a password and then you can change your third-level domain name to whatever you want. Mine is (but was originally "" geh--more on this later).

Posterous cross-posts. With Posterous, you can cross-post everything to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger, your (self-hosted) WordPress, Typepad, or Xanga blogs (or any blog that supports XMLRPC or RSD).

No mission creep. Unlike which tends to try to do too much, Posterous wants to post anything you throw at it and post it as a blog. It doesn't try to be a discussion site, like Utterli does (poorly, I think).

Basic social networking features are represented. Users can comment on posts and subscribe to fellow-Posterous users (Posterousers?) blogs easily. Like LiveJournal (only with a MUCH more clean interface) you get a friends page, or as Posterous boringly calls it, a "My Subscriptions" page, to keep up with everyone you're following.

Allows HTML formatting. This may seem minor, but it's something that always bugged me about and is one of the main reasons I'm liking I've tested blockquotes, italics, bold and href and all work fine.

What Gets Wrong

Nothing. HA! Just kidding. There are a few things Posterous doesn't do or does poorly.

For starters, they've GOT to give us control of formatting for the look of our Posterous blogs (Posterblogs?)--I'm not talking about the absurd level of tweakability that LiveJournal or Blogger gives, but something simple like Twitter allowing a background change or Flickr's limited number of arrangements for the blog's layout. Also a way to make the text smaller and use a different font would be great.

Not enough cross-posting. I don't know what the average number of networks people belong to these days is, but I belong to a lot. Even's ample cross-posting offerings don't cover enough bases in my opinion, so's is going to fall even more short. Sure, it'll cross-post to ThePete.Com which then uses PingPress.FM to post everywhere else, so I'm covered. However, other folks may not have the same setup as me.

Sidebar control is non-existent. It would be real nice if we could have access to our sidebars so we could add links to blogs written by people who have yet to start blogging on Posterous (should we call them "Pre-Posterous"? ;P ). Also a way to add Google Adsense would be great, too. I'll never switch away from my self-hosted WordPress install (as much as I'd LOVE to) if there's no way to add ads. Just seems unfair to provide content with nothing in return but free hosting. Wouldn't it be great if we made money off of the same web pages?

I like my media on top. Back when Utterli was still Utterz I remember they had a major rev to their site and suddenly media started appearing after the text. This made no sense to me from a design perspective since usually the picture or video is the focus of the post. Why bury it by default? After an email from me and other dedicated users, Utterz put the media on top again and I'm hoping Posterous will see the same light or at least allow us to choose whether we want it on top or on the bottom (hey, to each their own, right?). In the meantime you can edit your post on the site and move the media where ever you want, but that's a huge PITA if your liveblogging an event on-location.

Why can't it just start a blog with the username of the email I send from? I mean, really?! When I sent my first post via email I thought "How perfect is this? I can start a new blog, maintain it and don't ever have to use a computer!"

As I mentioned above, I ended up with What the hell mess is that? To change it, I had to confirm the email on my laptop, log in, add a password and only then could I make the change. I suppose I could have confirmed everything and tweaked everything via my iPhone, but like all mobile browsing, that would have been another PITA (though a smaller one).

But think how great it would be if you're on vacation and you want to start a whole blog dedicated to a particular new thing you've found while away from home. You don't have your laptop, but you do have your smart phone. You want to start posting right away, but thanks to your new blog's domain being a mess, you can't exactly email all your friends saying "check out my new blog on sailfishing at!"

How about a nice simple solution to it? Like adding numbers to the email's user name, just like AOL? Then it'd be "" or something like that.

In the End...

In the end, I'm really keen on If they'd address my concerns I'd be very likely to switch permanently to them from WordPress. After four years trying to keep sane with a WP blog I am ready for a nice, simple change. But I still want more control (and Google ads). So, while I suspect this will soon be my permanent replacement for (which I have serious interface issues with), it won't be my dream-blogging tool until they take care of some stuff.

Just my ¥2, as always.

Yes, this blog entry was posted through :)

See? Wouldn't the pic below be better up top where it'll catch your eye more?

Posted by email from thepete's posterous

ThePete's Test #2 of Posterous Now With Cross Posting to ThePete.Com

Well, once I set a password for my account I was able to control what
my subdomain was and so now my address is Nice and easy to remember. Too bad they
couldn't end up with's domain extension--that'd make it even
easier to remember. Anyway, so my formatting test worked really well,
which is great. With this post I'm testing cross-posting to Facebook,
Flickr and ThePete.Com. So, if you're reading this post on
ThePete.Com, YAY!

The image attached to this post is a screencap from my good old XO.
That's Mesh Networking in action. Which reminds me, I've got to blog
about their new Give 1 Get 1 program which begins today, I believe,
over at

Why not go check it out now? For $400 you can buy yourself an XO and
a kid in the 3rd World one! Pretty cool, huh? I did this last year
and would do it again if I had the money. It's a great cause (though,
I did stop using my XO because of the OS being rather limiting--but
I'll be giving the updated OS a try soon). More on the XO soon!

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ThePeteToys: Stripe-B

Stripe-B Flickrset, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

As my long-timers know, one of my passions is custom toy design. I don't do it as much as I'd like, so I guess it ends up being a hobby thanks to that whole "pursuit of money" thing. But get me in a room with a blank DIY vinyl and a wad of Sharpie pens and I'm a happy, happy guy.

So, here's another piece from the archives--I finished it back in January of 2008.

"Stripe-B" started out life as a blank DIY Baby Qee Devil Toyer from Toy2R. He was created because I wanted a counterpart to Stripe-R whom you can see at the end of the photoset or you can check out Stripe-R's own photoset here: 92854661/

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Protesting Prop 8 in NYC

Protesting Prop 8 in NYC, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

Yeah, I know Prop 8 is in CA but hey, we've got to do something about
all these pissed off gays living in the same city as me! ;P

Friday, November 14, 2008


It's Friday once again and here's another anime Pocket Review for ya!

Buy the soundtrack

Positive Experience/Entertaining? This series was a tremendous amount of fun and at times was even moving.

Technically any good? This series represents the best of everything the Macross saga has to offer--the best music, the best animation, the best acting (not that previous acting was bad) and probably even the best writing. This is a series that is one-part sequel, one-part remake, one-part homage to everything that has led up to it. Viewers new to the franchise will probably have no trouble enjoying this series without having any previous knowledge--the story stands very much on its own, though more than a few references will be missed without having seen what has come before.

Meanwhile, old fans of the Macross universe will see a lot of great callbacks to the original Macross and Macross 7, as well. However, the score is composed by musical genius Yoko Kanno, which means that even covers of the very dated and cheesy music from both previous Macross series sound incredible (yes, even Kanno-san's cover of "Watashi No Kare Wa Piloto" pretty much rocks). The story holds up pretty nicely, though the wrap-up is a bit too neat for my personal tastes. Of course, the acting is as solid as ever thanks to the Japanese taking their cartoons seriously. :) I should probably stop bagging on western dubs since I haven't watched one in ages. Then again, I did try to watch a few minutes of Christian Bale as Howl in Howl's Moving Castle and I couldn't help but cringe.

How did it leave me feeling? Definitely happy. The series ends with an amazing homage to the Macross universe as a whole and really made me feel bad to see it all finished. The good news is that there has been a Macross Frontier movie announced, though I haven't heard if it's going to be a remake of the series or a sequel to it, or both (the Japanese have done all three at times). My hope is for the sequel--I fell in love with these characters. There are also two more Macross titles to review, so be back here next Friday for my review of Macross II followed by Macross Zero which, while made earlier, reside at either end of the Macross timeline.

Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - this is a classic anime crowd-pleaser, but also works well to please the purist. After finishing this up, I had a hard time going back to older anime, both for quality and story. It felt like going from caviar to tuna fish in a can. Still, I love seafood, so it's cool. ^_^

Sadly, Macross Frontier has yet to see an American release. However, you can pick up Kanno's score from if you have $50 laying around. T_T

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Democracy In Danger: Alaska Edition

Well, if you don't know who Ted Stevens is, I'm a little surprised. He's the guy who wears his "Incredible Hulk" tie to the Senate floor when he is expecting to have to put up a fight to get a bill passed. Stevens is the brilliant mind who described the Internet as a series of tubes.

OH yeah, THAT Ted Stevens--ANYway, so he was recently convicted of corruption--a conviction he is appealing. In the meantime, there's an election going on for his seat. Turns out, initially, he won. The catch? Ted Stevens, is now trailing his opponent, Anchorage Mayor, and Democrat, Mark Begich, by 814 points, according to an article at But how did we go from disgraced-but-somehow-re-elected to losing by 800+ Alaskans?

Back on November 7, 2008, I linked to a post over at called "SOMETHING SMELLS VERY FISHY IN ALASKA." Here's the excerpt from that article that I used in my post a week ago:

In Alaska, more people voted for George W. Bush in 2004 than for Sarah Palin on Tuesday despite an identical 61-36 margin of victory. Yes. Only four years ago 54,304 Alaskans got off their sofas and voted for Bush, but decided to sit home and not vote for Palin in 2008.

In turn, I have to ignore the 30,520 Alaskans who felt progressive enough in 2004 to vote for John Kerry, but weren’t inspired enough to get out and vote for Barack Obama.

Then, on October 10, reported this:

Alaska Update: Thousands of Ballots 'Found', One-Third Remain Uncounted in the State's Still-Fishy '08 Election
This just in from Alaska, where thousands of new ballots continue to be found each day, since it was first reported that turnout in 2008 was 11% lower than in 2004. Thousands of ballots, nearly a third of them, remain uncounted nearly a week after the election. Their numbers could explain the strange results so far in races --- such as those of the felonious Sen. Ted Stevens (R) and the under-investigation Rep. Don Young (R) --- for which pollsters had predicted decisive losses for the Republicans.

Yeah, pretty neat, huh? Thousands of ballot turn up and they begin counting them. By last night, Keith Olbermann reported that Begich had inched ahead of Stevens by just three votes.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at


It turns out, according to another post at, 90,000 ballots were in the process of being counted after they were found days after the election.

And by today, Reuters reported Begich's lead over Stevens had reached 814 votes.

Perhaps the people of Alaska aren't as dumb as we were led to believe? Sure, they elected Palin governor, but they seem to have been smart enough to vote out a very recently convicted Stevens. Now, if we could only find out why 90,000 ballots were left uncounted as Stevens was being reported as the winner of that race.