Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tech Spam

So I get a lot of spam emails. A lot. So much I wrote an IDM/Techno album inspired by the weirdness that appears in Spam mails. They have titles like 'atomic' and are filled with deliberate spling mistakes and e x t e n d e d c h a r a c t e r s to try to loop around spam filters. Sometimes you get a bunch of randomly generated words. Sometimes there's a section from a novel in there. I call it machine poetry. One day I'd love to organize it and make a book out of it.

But this latest one is just plain weird. And very long. Looks like it's straight out of a technical manual for something. I'll strip the dangerous-sounding web address, but everything else gets left in. If anyone can translate this for me, you get a prize.

Sandra has uploaded some new software for you!

View your available uploaded software from Sandra @

install (whether or not you actually use it as the installa-
an insecure function written by Nate Williams; in subsequent releases
the scsiformat shell script from FreeBSD 2.2). FreeBSD 2.2 and later:
can be picked up with a recursive diff for later feeding to patch.
pieces of the FreeBSD operating system, they are notorious for not
52:(kgdb) print tp
leftmost column, and subsequent lines are indented with a single TAB.
At this point you should reboot your system with your new kernel.
Technical discussions
direct access to a printer, you should use the spooler anyway since
rattan|line|diablo|lp|Diablo 630 Line Printer:\
/usr/var 0 50 75 0 50 60
Please note that the stable tree endevors, above all, to be fully
If your port requires significant user interaction/customization to
memory parity logic, making it almost impossible to detect when a
FreeBSD's default kernels usually come with two SLIP interfaces
If you don't have a CDROM, or you want to make sure you get the very
narrow) and many hundreds of bug fixes.
to VT100/102. It works well on some laptops which have hardware
The simple spooler configuration consists of the following steps:
them for the file you need. Here is an example of a list of files that
2nd kelly 10 (standard input) 1635 bytes
This means that you should look for some entries that start with wcd0
Please make any checks payable to FreeBSD, Inc., sent in care of the
configuration in /sys/i386/boot/netboot/Makefile. See the comments at
have all your devices. The easiest way to check is to reboot your
o PLIST - a list of all the files that will be created when the
for them.
outer cylinders of the drive there is more space so more sectors per
loaded at all. Update the boot blocks, the recent ones do load the
(e.g., `Makefile'), set ${DIST_SUBDIR} to the name of the port
echo Dialing.
# make
Architecture and design discussions
know how to use it, but what if you cannot recall the command name?
subscribe []
each drive has its own direct connection to the controller.
noipdefault # remote PPP server must supply your IP address.
Current Kerberos master key version is 1.
device sio2 at isa? port "IO_COM3" tty irq 5 vector siointr
administrative one; it does not mean the person concerned is
Previous or default values are in [brackets] ,
devices, 16550A-based serial interface cards are much prefered. If
inexpensive commodity PC hardware is also its liability when it comes
INQUIRY command is sent by the kernel on boot to see what kind of
FIFO timer has expired (stale data), or
the kernel decide what to do next. RUN_DEPENDS
supposed to send +12 VDC or -12 VDC, and the receiver is supposed to
for the quota files, this is not recommended since all of the various
based PC's, ranging from 386sx to Pentium class machines (though the
When you are using the parallel interface, you can choose whether
you look at existing examples before starting. Consider the following
o Make a ``restore file(s)'' option to CTM, something like:
are identical in performance. There are differences, and in some
controller scbus0 at ahc0
Note that when you create /etc/sliphome/slip.login and
cases, you should at least be able to make a port, so do not let the Tagged command queueing
mailqueue whenever I have the PPP link up, by typing
communication parameters with the fs, fc, xs, and xc capabilities;
generally the default for Sun workstations), you will need to set this
transfers, but when the DMA transfer counter reaches zero, the
go a long way! Donations of hardware are also very important to
Ghostscript and using a special text filter for your printer, you can
in the word. (This requirement was set in the days of mechanical
To enable the emulator, add the following to your configuration file
nel as described in the ``kernel configuration'' section.
file. Users can print jobs with lpr -#5 (for example) and get five
removed by LPD, particularly if there have been errors during
outside the i386 directory is common to all platforms which FreeBSD
sliplogin usually logs good informational messages via the daemon
[janegrunt 10543] cat ~/.klogin
Wangtek and Archive QIC-02/QIC-36 tape drive support
IRQ line. You should use whichever one works.
currentFreeBSD> and the FreeBSD CVS commit message mailing
These permissions allow the user uucp and users in the group dialer to
/usr/share/examples/sup/cvs-supfile. If you would rather track
endeavor to replace such software with submissions under the more
prior to any device probing. Hence you are able to even debug the
This is the easiest kind of change to make as it does not involve any
mileage may vary. Slippery when wet. Beware of dog.
that this supports one-way communication only (FreeBSD to printer); Compiling ports from the Internet
National Semiconductor has made available a program named COMTEST that
compile their own ports from source.
/etc/syslog.conf to see to which files syslogd is logging).
later, several megabytes of physical memory will be wasted.
Traditionally, a Baud Rate represents the number of bits that are
A minimum of four megabytes of RAM is required to run FreeBSD. To run
SCSI is an acronym for Small Computer Systems Interface. It is an
name of the dependency is put in to the package so that pkg_add will
SLIP support is rather primitive, and limited primarily to hard-wired
2.2. Preparing for the installation
with a completely new and rather incomplete set of 4.4 Lite bits. The
the two modems listed above that have internal UARTs were caused by
you have general FTP access to the Internet then the following FTP
grunt# kstash
as an example of how a machine may be made aware of multiple realms.
Sony SDT-5000
time available for the task. Amanda solves this problem. Amanda can
pid=`ps ax |grep pppd |grep -v grep|awk '{print $1;}'`
want to experiment with it.
sio14 at 0x168-0x16f flags 0x1005 on isa
c/o Jordan Hubbard
we connect to. This type of route is normally used for local
configuration file. The "archive set" also contains nightly

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Dangers of Watching TV

SYRACUSE, N.Y. A six-year-old boy may have been trying to imitate wrestling moves when he hanged himself from a doorknob.

This is a real AP story, as recounted on a Tennessee TV station's website. WTVF Newschannel 5 calls itself a News And Information Leader. Yet they somehow didn't stop to think about this first sentence of the re-posted article. Exactly which freaking wrestling moves involve a belt and doorknob?

As much as I love those kinds of promos for evening news that are the TV equivalent of a 10 second terrorist act ("Could breathing air be killing your kids? More at 11"), this kind of journalism ("Could muscular men pretending to fight each other kill your kids? More at 11") is nothing more than mentally stunted and lazy. Sure, kids watch TV and play out what they watch, but, you know, accidents happen. This strange need not just to find a reason or cause for a death, but to be able to apportion blame and then to attack the fingered cause or reason is becoming a pandemic in US society. It's so unnecessary, ultimately unsatisfying, and never really solves anything, other than some small-minded desire for vengeance or some twisted concept of justice.

Take another story here in New York. After one, maybe more incidents where kids have been killed or injured playing baseball, New York City Councillors are being asked to legislate against aluminum baseball bats being used for sports in NYC public schools. That's right, because, you know life is dangerous, and sport is part of life, so obviously, when someone gets hurt playing a sport that uses equipment, and that piece of equipment doesn't actually cause the damage, we need to create and enforce a whole set of new laws in order to protect our children from these scary devices. Let's just get this straight, kids aren't being killed by getting hit with the bat, they're getting killed by getting hit with the ball.

So, of course, we outlaw the bat, despite there being no evidence whatsover that these metal bats are any more dangerous than wooden bats, other than being able to hit a ball harder and faster, but unlike, say, a bullet from a gun, this effect of being hit by a ball flying off an aluminum bat isn't constant. It might kill you, it might just leave a bruise. If one is to outlaw a particular tool, for any reason, one needs to prove a consistent causality. A bullet to the head consistently kills or maims, a baseball doesn't.

Ergo, thus and therefore: Aluminum bats aren't dangerous, but being in the ball's way can be. Even with a wooden bat, if you get hit full-force in the temple or the solar-plexus, you may die. Accidents happen. We don't need to blame or outlaw anything. We need to come to terms with it as a fact of life.

Revenge of the MILFs

Once again women of America are about to be subjected to an onslaught of 'what men think you should be'. This time, in a new Unreality TV show, called Hottest Mom in America, contestants are lining up, babies cradled in their arms, to be judged as worthy of appearing on TV based on looks, and, no doubt, social incompatability with other contestants.

Now I like looking at women just as much as the next guy. Heck, maybe even more than the next guy, but this seems like such an arbitrary competition. I mean, let's face it. You don't need a reality show to pick who you think is the most attractive woman out of a crowd and say "YOU! YOU ARE THE HOTTEST MOM IN AMERICA!" but apparently the producers of this show seem to think that WE THE PEOPLE should choose over a long period of time, who is hotter this week than they were last week. Then, of course, if the show's a success, there'll be another series, debunking the theory that the woman who wins this contest is actually the Hottest Mom in America by picking someone totally different. Much like the Greatest Rock Songs in the World... Ever CD was followed by the Greatest Rock Songs in the World... Ever 2, which, if my song was on the second disc, would piss me off. I mean, how come I never made it onto the first disc? Not great enough for you, you pathetic wankers!

But I digress. Mothers across America are lining up for this competition in order to appear on TV, and win a prize, but they're being duped. Essentially, this whole thing is a ruse to find the "Face of Restylane", a new Botox-like "Dermal Filler" which is injected into the face. All entrants must agree to participate not just in the TV competition, but also in the Face of Restylane competition. The winner of the TV competition gets $25,000 college scholarship for one child, $25,000 in cold hard cash AND one year's free treatment of Restylane.

In other words, even America's Hottest Mom is not hot enough for America. She must inject her face with hyaluronic acid in order to feel good about herself. Now, if the woman vote the hottest mom in America needs to be injected with 'dermal fillers' after she wins the competition, what does that say to all the women at home watching the show?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vote for the new Seven Wonders of the World

Here's the 21 finalists from, picked from over 200 possible sites worldwide. Go there to see the potential wonders in the swimsuit and eveningwear rounds, and laugh at the stupid interviews the Easter Island Statues give. "We want world peace... yeah. World peace and the destruction of all enemies of Easter Island."

1 Acropolis, Athens, Greece

2 Alhambra, Granada, Spain

3 Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia

4 Chichen Itza Aztec site, Yucatan, Mexico

5 Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

6 Colosseum, Rome

7 Easter Island Statues, Chile

8 Eiffel Tower, Paris

9 Great Wall, China

10 Hagia Sophia church, Istanbul, Turkey

11 Kyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan

12 Kremlin/St.Basil's, Moscow

13 Machu Picchu, Peru

14 Neuschwanstein Castle, Fussen, Germany

15 Petra ancient city, Jordan

16 Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

17 Statue of Liberty, New York

18 Stonehenge, Amesbury, United Kingdom

19 Sydney Opera House, Australia

20 Taj Mahal, Agra, India

21 Timbuktu city, Mali

US full of Internet addicts: study

Of course, I can take it or leave it. So long as I have my PS2. Of course, that would assume that the five computers I have in my house became TVs so I can play Madden in the basement (Madden 06 arriving on Friday! Excited!) while Buni watches Gray's Anatomy in the family room.

Wait. Who am I fecking kidding. I'm a professional intranet content manager. If it weren't for the internet, I'd be out of a job. So yeah, it's not really addiction, it's homework.



The dog ate it.


Somebody PLEEEEZE Buy K-Fed's CD

According Kevin Federline, after the extraordinary non-success of his first single, Popozao, he decided that the album he had recorded no longer fit the kind of music he wanted to make. So he went back into the studio and re-recorded the entire thing from scratch. No biggy. I've done it myself. But I have a suspicious feeling that EVERYONE around him realized that no one was ever going to buy it. Luckily for K-Fed, someone gave him a second chance. Chances are, that was his missus, bankrolling him so he can get something released.

Now she's practically begging for people, not just to buy his new CD, but to SELL IT. The fan who helps sell the most CDs gets to go to Brit and Kev's Halloween launch party. Sounds great, an inbred spasmodic white-boy rapper and his pregnant wife hold court while other people party.

The second prize, however, is a thing to behold. The sneakers Kev wore at the Teen Choice Awards. I could put those on Ebay, and see how much people would pay me to burn them. Or, you know, I could give them to charity and let some homeless guy walk a mile in K-Fed's shoes. Yeah, maybe I'd do that. It's much more like the American Way.

On a more serious note, I was listening to something on NPR the other day about cotton and developing countries, and how charities handing out free clothing to the poor is actually harming clothing industries in developing worlds because we're removing people's need to buy from local manufacturers. Where's that article... Ah, Bingo! Of course, it's not the only factor, but it's worth a long thought, IMO.

Friday, October 13, 2006

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Make Lemonade.

When life hands you limes...

Get the salt baby, it's Tequila Time!!!


Friday night!


Join me down the pub, kids, it's happy dance time.

Meanwhile Back At The Whitehouse...

President George W. Bush delivers remarks regarding the economy in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2006. "This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th," said the President. "These numbers show that the budget deficit has been reduced to $248 billion and is down to just 1.9 percent of the economy. As a percentage of the economy, the deficit is now lower than it has been for 18 out of the last 25 years."  White House photo by Paul Morse THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Good afternoon. Thanks for coming to the White House.

In 2004, I made a promise to the American people, we would cut the federal budget deficit in half over five years. Today I'm pleased to report that we have achieved this goal, and we've done it three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.)

This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th.* [sic]

And this is the point where you have to kinda stop and ask for a rewind.

Did he just say February 30th?

Well yes, and I love how the's staff actually caught that and added the little [sic] and an asterisk pointing to a footnote that reads: "September 30th".

These poor guys at, who have to transcibe, verbatim, the drivel that pours from Our Glorious Leader's head. I pity the fools.

Like Anyone Would Have Noticed Anyway

Behold the face of evil. Well, an artists' rendition of it, anyways. This is the guy who planned to blow up the Prudential Building in Newark, NJ, and caused untold strife by forcing cops to relinquish their daily routine of shooting gangbangers and crack addicts and protect one single building for a month and a half.

Unfortunately, the Pru tower wasn't the only building he had plans for. One of the buildings he had a full blueprint for on his laptop when caught in Pakistan was the Citigroup Center in mid-town Manhattan; the building which, up until a month ago, I used to work in. So I'm quite happy he decided to plead guilty yesterday at Woolwich Crown Court, actually, as I'd prefer not to be blown up or even targeted, truth be told.

Demonstrators Gone Wild

Somewhere in this photo is a blond woman protesting about not being able to walk topless in Florida.

Her manner of protest? Taking her top off. She was promptly arrested.

However, a new Seventh Circuit Appeals court ruling has upheld an earlier decision that she can be topless, as long as it's "part of a legitimate political protest".

So, she can't actually legally be topless. But she can protest against not being able to be legally topless, by being legally topless.

Now I know this is Florida, and let's face it, nothing makes sense in Florida. In fact, Florida is like a dark state made entirely of anti-logic... a living Edward Lear poem... a... I mean, it's just Florida, for Pete's sake. But seriously, this is the kind of twisted logic Kirk used to blow up Vulcan heads.

And it seems to be an expanding mindset here in America. If there's no rule for something, make a rule. If that rule doesn't work for everybody, make another rule as an exception to the previous rule. Whatever you do, don't either fix the first rule, or, Lord forebid, get rid of it entirely. After all, what kind of Land Of The Free would this be without rules on top of rules on top of rules that we all have to follow anyways?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

California Grape Growers: All They Ever Do Is Wine, Wine, Wine

Thanks to the popularity of the movie Sideways, in which the main wine-connoisseur character, Miles, screams "I'm NOT drinking any FUCKING MERLOT!", merlot sales have, like, totally slumped, dude.

Which is a shame, because a good merlot can be a great wine, even to have around the house. And, those of us who understood the movie know that Miles' hatred of merlot is simple: People like his actor best friend, Jack, would drink it happily without a thought. Plus, his hatred of merlot ties into his hatred of all wines other than Pinot Noir. Why? Because he is Pinot Noir. When he says:

"It's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."

We all know he's talking about himself. He's explaining himself to Maya, and why he's such a psychological mess, needing someone who is "the most patient and nurturing of growers" to "coax" him into his "fullest expression".

Shame such a smart allegory would threaten to ruin the livelihoods of merlot growers in Wine Country. They deserve something better than that.

Even if a good percentage of what they produce is "Quaffable... but far from transcendent."

The Soundtrack To Your Life

A game apparently. Here are the rules:

If your life was a movie (and you weren't the director), what would the soundtrack be?

So, here's how it works:

1. Open your music player with full library (iTunes, Win amp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every scene listed, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new scene, press the next button

So here goes.

Opening Credits: Golddigger (Diplo Mix) - Kanye West
Waking Up: California Uber Alles - The Delgados
First Day At School: Genius - Pichshifter
Falling In Love: Refugees - Funker Vogt
Fight Song: Going Slow - Tin Star
Paranoid: I Can't Breathe - Gary Numan
Life's OK: Edge Of No Control Part 1 - Meat Beat Manifesto
Mental Breakdown: Microsize Boy (Darkmonki Remix) - Tweaker
Driving: Herd Killing - The Future Sound Of London
Flashback: Wavy Line - Meat Beat Manifesto
Getting Back Together: Catatonia - Mulder & Scully
Wedding: Patricide - Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard
Birth of Child: Midway - Harmstation
Final Battle: I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow - The Soggy Bottom Boys
Death Scene: offEND - Front 242
Funeral Song: The Wheat - Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard
Ending Credits: The End Starts Today - Bis

Wow. Like that's either extremely prescient or utterly ironic...

Charlotte Church

Not sure why, probably because I've been in the US for 8 years and haven't had to deal with the media frenzy over her, but I have a confession to make.

I fancy Charlotte Church.

Why? Who the hell knows. She's boorish, dresses like a chav, and has a bad Welsh accent. Not a sexy Welsh accent - a bad Welsh accent. And she sings the kind of songs that make me want to slash tricycle tires.

But she so freaking gorgeous I want to slap her.


Ho hum. With any luck, she'll turn into my last obession: Lindsay Lohan. Plucked from the depths of Disney obscurity into a drunken nightmare of bulemia and boyfriend fights. Then I won't care anymore, and can go back to trawling Brooklyn looking for both Michelle Williams AND her husband Heath Ledger...

Psycho Killer, Qu'est Que C'est?

So, there's a movie out now called Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. A prequel, I would imagine. As the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is supposed to be based on true events, and there's no real record of anything happening vis-a-vis Leatherface and the gang before that event one can only assume that this movie covers the events of the five teenagers driving from Mexico to a Lynard Skynard concert prior to their meeting with a disturbed hitchhiker who subsequently shoots herself. It should really be like a road movie. But, as everyone knows, shit don't work out that way when there's money involved.

Ho hum. Yet another monster movie, then...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lost at Weddings?

No article for this one. It's just a personal story. If you're ever at a wedding or a party, where you only know the person who invited you and they're busy mingling with all the people they know, and you're just standing in the corner like a proverbial wallflower...

Put you Gaydar and find the gay couple.

Trust me, you'll have a great time.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Britney Spears - Sleep With Me, I'm Not Too Young

Oh, the joys of discovering new cool websites! This site has clips from songs that you can hear forward, and backward, to find the 'hidden message'. Stairway To Heaven is there, Hotel California, Another One Bites The Dust, and best of all - Hit Me Baby One More Time. Yes, Britney Spears supposedly has a hidden message in her first single: Sleep with me, I'm not too young.

Funny - I thought the message was pretty blatant in the video.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Best Fantasy League Ever

It's a fantasy celebrity gossip league game.


It takes five tabloid magazines and you pick eight celebs, and then you get points for how much, and what kind of, coverage the celebs get in the tabloids.

It's so effing kitschy, I just had to join...

APP.COM - Playtime on peaceful grounds | Asbury Park Press Online

Something in this article disturbs me. Not sure if it's the fact that kids are becoming less able to play without adult 'coaching', or if it's the fact that this school is bending over to accomodate this phenomena. Either way, there's a ton of political correctness involved here which I think has a chance of doing more harm to a child's development and socialisation than good.

There's been many a rant against schools that play competitive sports but with no goal, no end result, no winners or losers - in order to build self-esteem. I'm going to try not to join in the chant here but it's going to be hard.

An educator for 29 years — the last nine at Wolf Hill — she wanted to bring play back. Principal Renee Bonin — a classroom teacher for many years — signed on, and "peaceful play" recently was introduced at Wolf Hill School, the borough's elementary school.

"We know so much about learning," Bonin said. "There is academic and social learning. In order to rise to the top, you have to be socially and emotionally adept," and interacting on the playground helps teach those lessons.

This is all well and good, but I'm not sure what the long-term effects of creating a structured, heavily supervised, utopian environment during recess could be. Essentially, the teachers and aides are forcing children to play by the rules set for them, limiting a child's imagination. Whereas once upon a time, a child would invent their own games, in their own time, here we see adults wishing to micro-manage what a child can play, in order to make things more 'fair' and 'safe'. In what part of adult life are things fair? In what part of being a grown up are you really safe? When finally let go to find their place in the world, how are these kids going to react?

People can learn through structured activity and self-actualisation, but, you know, we also learn from our mistakes. The school of hard knocks gets a bad rap, but it has one hell of a track record. Maybe we, as adults, need to remember that sometimes before we deny entry to that school for the next generation.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

NewsChannel – Nashville, Tennessee - School Board Meets About Possible Bible Class

I'm trying to stay away from religious issues on this blog. There's just too many cackling lackwits over here to keep up with.

However, this story could not be overlooked, thanks to one line which, if it's not a typo, perfectly describes how religious asshats really think (emphasis mine, the article doesn't seem to notice this one):

"The Bible was the first textbook in our educational system, and so to really be well rounded, well balanced, and well education, you need to know about the Bible," Redmon said.

Seems like Mr. Redmon could do with reading some textbooks other than the Bible. May I suggest The American Heritage Book of English Usage: A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English, perhaps?

Go Wildcats! - Deadspin

You know, everyone's been passing this one round because, well, there's a guy with his hand down his pants.

My question is how is the vampire in the middle of the picture able to stay out in sunlight?


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Belief-O-Matic Results

I'm not much of a church-going person, to be honest, but, according to the Belief-o-matic, if I were, I should be a Unitarian. Here are my results...

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (95%)
3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (92%)
4. Neo-Pagan (80%)
5. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (74%)
6. New Age (74%)
7. New Thought (74%)
8. Secular Humanism (73%)
9. Scientology (59%)
10. Mahayana Buddhism (55%)
11. Baha'i Faith (55%)
12. Taoism (53%)
13. Reform Judaism (50%)
14. Theravada Buddhism (48%)
15. Nontheist (44%)
16. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (42%)
17. Orthodox Quaker (37%)
18. Jehovah's Witness (36%)
19. Hinduism (35%)
20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (28%)
21. Sikhism (25%)
22. Jainism (23%)
23. Orthodox Judaism (16%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (14%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (10%)
26. Islam (10%)
27. Roman Catholic (10%)

High court rejects sex-toy case - U.S. Life -

Texas, Georgia and Mississippi all have laws banning manufacture, marketing or dissemination of an “obscene device” including those shaped like sex organs.

Personal massagers? Banned.
Vaccum cleaners? Banned.
Oysters? Banned.
Bananas? Banned! Banned! Banned!

High court rejects sex-toy case - U.S. Life -

Monday, October 02, 2006

This planet is crazy: US library ban on JK Rowling - most wanted

More from Banned Books Week:

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has been voted the author Americans most want to ban from libraries over fears that her books promote witchcraft.

The American Library Association (ALA), who compiled the list for their Banned Book Week, said there were more than 3,000 attempts to remove the books from libraries and schools between 2000 and 2005.

The ALA said some of the main reasons cited for protesters trying to get controversial books removed from circulation were sexually explicit material, having an occult theme or offensive language.

Other complaints highlighted books with violent content or promoting homosexuality or a religious viewpoint.

Other authors on the list include John Steinbeck, for racism, violent language and sexism in Of Mice and Men, Harper Lee for To Kill a Mocking-Bird and William Golding for Lord of the Flies.

Rowling said: "As this puts me in the company of Harper Lee, Mark Twain, JD Salinger, William Golding, John Steinbeck and other writers I revere, I take my annual inclusion on the list as a great honour."

An ALA spokesman said: "Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to express one's opinion, even if it is considered unorthodox or unpopular and it stresses the importance of ensuring others have access to those viewpoints."

Houston Community Newspapers Online - Parent criticizes book 'Fahrenheit 451'

In other news from the World of Irony: Parent requests Soylent Green to be printed in blood on human skin, and all copies of 1984 should come with a free web-cam, and DNA testing kit...

A Caney Creek High School dad is fired up because the Conroe Independent School District uses the book "Fahrenheit 451" as classroom reading material.

Alton Verm, of Conroe, objects to the language and content in the book. His 15-year-old daughter Diana, a CCHS sophomore, came to him Sept. 21 with her reservations about reading the book because of its language.

"The book had a bunch of very bad language in it," Diana Verm said. "It shouldn't be in there because it's offending people. ... If they can't find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn't have a book at all."

Alton Verm filed a "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials" Thursday with the district regarding "Fahrenheit 451," written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.

"It's just all kinds of filth," said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read "Fahrenheit 451." "The words don't need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class."

He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, "dirty talk," references to the Bible and using God's name in vain. He said the book's material goes against their religions beliefs. The Verms go to Grand Parkway Church in Porter.

"We went them to go after God," said Glen Jalowy Jr., Grand Parkway Church youth minister. "We encourage them that what you put in your mind and heart is what comes out."

Alton Verm said he doesn't understand how the district can punish students for using bad language, yet require them to read a book with bad language as part of a class.

Diana Verm and another classmate decided to read an alternative book. They leave the classroom when the class reads or discusses "Fahrenheit 451," she said. The two students were given "Ella Minnow Pea" by Mark Dunn because it shares common themes with "Fahrenheit 451," said Chris Hines, CISD assistant superintendent for secondary education.

"Fahrenheit 451" is a science fiction piece that poses a warning to society about the preservation and passing on of knowledge as well as asks the question about whether the government should do the thinking for the people, Hines stated in an e-mail to The Courier. Other themes include conformity vs. individuality, freedom of speech and the consequences of losing it, the importance of remembering and understanding history and technology as help to humans and as hindrances to humans, Hines stated in the e-mail.

"They're not reading books just to read them," Hines said in a telephone interview. "They're reading it for a purpose. ... We respect people's rights to express their concerns and we have a policy in place to handle that."

A selection process is used for materials other than textbooks, according to district policy. The materials must meet various standards, be appropriate for the subject, age and social and emotional development of the students and motivate students to examine their own attitudes and behavior, according to district policy.

While the district does not know of any other challenges to "Fahrenheit 451," there may have been students who have decided to read a different book. The district estimates about 1 percent of students request to read a different book than assigned, according to the e-mail. "Fahrenheit 451" has been used in CISD curriculum for at least 19 years and "likely prior to that," Hines said in the e-mail.

The district hasn't received challenges on any other books in the four years he's been with the district, Hines said.

A district student, employee or resident can challenge any educational material in CISD on the basis or appropriateness, according to CISD EFA (local) policy. An informal reconsideration is first attempted. Informal requests are not documented, so Hines said he did not know how many requests were handled informally.

The person can make a formal challenge, which Alton Verm did. A committee will be appointed to review the material, discuss the material and report findings about the request to the principal, parent and superintendent, Hines said. The process takes about two weeks.

The Montgomery, New Caney, Splendora and Willis school districts have similar policies.

NCISD banned "Draw Me a Star" by Eric Carle and "Absolute Power" by David Baldacci, but it has not received a book challenge in three years, Cindee Reynolds, NCISD superintendent/community relations executive assistant, stated in an e-mail to The Courier. Montgomery ISD received one request from a parent to review instructional material, but the district has not banned any books, Babette Eikenberg, Montgomery ISD human resources executive director, stated in an e-mail to The Courier.

Alton Verm's request to ban "Fahrenheit 451" came during the 25th annual Banned Books Week. He and Hines said the request to ban "Fahrenheit 451," a book about book burning, during Banned Books Weeks is a coincidence.

"Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read" is observed during the last week of September each year, according to the American Library Association Web site, The week celebrates the freedom to choose or express one's opinion, even if it might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them, according to the Web site.

Jerilynn Williams, Montgomery County Memorial Library System director, said Banned Books Week keeps the public aware that it is imperative to have access to information in a democratic society. Banning books causes libraries to limit access to information by withholding a person's right to explore a wide variety of opinions to form their own opinions, Williams said.

"Not every book is appropriate for every person, but every person should have their work that they choose," Williams said. "The public library is for everyone."

The Montgomery County Memorial Library System has received 65 requests to challenge books since 2002, Williams said. The library has removed "Castro," for factual inaccuracies, and "Tomorrow Wendy," because it was not under the library's current guidelines, Williams said. The library also has a process for people to follow if they challenge a book, Williams said.

However, Williams said a public library is different than a school library.

"As a public library, we are the library for everyone," Williams said. "The school library is meant to be the library for that select group at that school."

To view a school district's policy on book selection or how to challenge a book, visit the individual district's Web site.

Kassia Micek can be reached at