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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Avert your eyes!

If you thought the English dub of Sailor Moon from 1995 was bad, just take a look at what Saban (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) wanted to turn the Sailor Moon property into.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Some people have no shame

A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

James Pacenza, 58, of Montgomery, says he visits chat rooms to treat traumatic stress incurred in 1969 when he saw his best friend killed during an Army patrol in Vietnam.

In papers filed in federal court in White Plains, Pacenza said the stress caused him to become "a sex addict, and with the development of the Internet, an Internet addict." He claimed protection under the American with Disabilities Act.

People like James Pacenza make it harder for legitimately disabled individuals from seeking reasonable accomodations. Isn't there something less offensive he could do when he needs to relax?

Statistics without care

James Taranto at Best of the Web highlights a USA Today article on police suicide, where it's obvious an uncritical journalist was the one doing the statistical work. Citing an 18 per 100,000 suicide rate for police and a 11.1 per 100,000 suicide rate for the general population, they claim police suffer a higher rate of suicide.

However, Taranto, who isn't a statistician but put some thought into the statistics, tried to do an actual apples-to-apples comparison.

If we assume that the police are a representative sample of the population as a whole (apart from the sex disparity), we would expect a suicide rate of approximately 16.8 per 100,000, not much below the 18 per 100,000 that USA Today reports.

It turns out, though, that the overall nationwide suicide rate is skewed downward because it includes children and teenagers, who have a much lower propensity for suicide than adults. This effect is so pronounced that every age group over 20 has a higher-than-average suicide rate. In particular, the overall suicide rate for 25- to 44-year-old men was 22.2 per 100,000 in 2002, and for 45- to 64-year-old men it was 23.5 per 100,000.

I suspect the author was writing the story to fit the following argument:

Police bear the same stress from work, family and illness that civilians do. What's different is the stress of the street and the access to a gun.

Another journalist with an agenda? The probability is good.

How to eat healthy

With so many conflicting studies, saying that foods like coffee, chocolate, and wine are both good and bad, it's probably reasonable to focus on eating a variety of foods in moderation.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Music and Lyrics

I saw a preview for the new movie Music and Lyrics, appropriately coming out on Valentine's Day, though it was supposed to come out at the end of 2006. Now, I wouldn't normally be interested in a Hugh Grant romantic comedy, but there's an 80's music theme, with Grant playing a washed-up 80's music star. The preview shows a fictitious video from the band, and boy, does it ever capture that 80's MTV feel.

Kudos to the creators of the trailer for using Haircut One Hundred's Love Plus One, the extended version of Men Without Hats' Safety Dance, and Depeche Mode's Just Can't Get Enough in the trailer.

It's also interesting to learn that Martin Fry, lead singer of ABC, was summoned to be Hugh Grant's vocal coach, according to Billboard.

"I was like his stunt double, vocally," jokes Fry. "Warner Bros. figured, 'If Hugh Grant was a pop star, who would he sound like?' And I guess my name came up."

The soundtrack features songs written by Adam Schlesinger, best known for the band Fountains of Wayne, but whose name I first saw as the writer of That Thing You Do! for the movie of the same name. Schlesinger proves himself to be a musical chameleon, to pen songs for both a 60's-themed movie and an 80's-themed movie, as well as play 2000's pop.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cashier nonsense

Here's a fun thread at the Actuarial Outpost, with people detailing their run-ins with not-so-bright cashiers.

One person commented:
"The good news is, these cashiers just got a raise."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Another victim for Jeffrey Dahmer?

The 1981 abduction and slaying of six year old Adam Walsh, son of America's Most Wanted host John Walsh, has never been solved. But now, an author suggests notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer may have been responsible.

Dahmer told the Hollywood detective he was broke and drinking heavily while in Miami Beach, worked at a sub shop and often slept on the beach.

Dahmer said he didn't have a car, had never been to Hollywood, and he wasn't interested in kids Adam's age.

"The official line is, he didn't kill. And the official line is what Jeffrey said. Should we believe that?" writer Arthur Jay Harris said.

Harris is a freelance writer who's published three true crime books.

Harris started looking at the Walsh case in 1996 after a landmark legal ruling opened the 10,000-page Walsh file to the public. The Dahmer angle intrigued him. He started digging.

Harris just finished a book about Dahmer, and recently laid out his case in a Miami daily paper. His article put Dahmer at the Hollywood Mall, in the suspected getaway car on the day Adam disappeared.

One of the reasons why police believed Dahmer that he didn't kill Adam (was) because he said he didn't have a vehicle," Harris said.

"This blue van had a crate for a passenger seat," Darlene Hill said.

Harris located Hill, the former owner of restaurant where Dahmer worked. Hill told 12 News the business had three delivery vehicles. One was a blue van. Several witnesses reported seeing a blue van speed from the mall that day.

Since I was living in Milwaukee at the time, the story of Jeffrey Dahmer was inescapable. After being caught, convicted, and later slain in prison (in what may have been a racially motivated attack), I thought the last chapter of this story had been written, but I was wrong. It's doubtful anything will come from this speculation, though. The case is simply too old.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Too cold for kids?

Television stations will often scroll school closures and delays along the bottom of the screen. This winter, I've seen several school delays despite clear weather, just because it's cold out.

When did this start happening? For most of elementary school, I walked to school, no matter what the weather. (It wasn't ten miles, it wasn't always snowing, and it certainly wasn't uphill both ways.) And if we arrived early, we had to stay outside until first bell. (Not that you had to twist our arms to get us to spend more time on the playground, of course.) We only got to go inside if it was raining. I remember one time when several of us kids went inside because it was cold, and we got scolded by the school administration.

My, how times have changed.


The Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning finally have a Super Bowl championship! I very much enjoyed the game, though I expected things to go wrong with the lousy weather.

The more important reason for watching the Super Bowl, the commercials, didn't stand out as much as in past years. The Nationwide Kevin Federline commercial was the most anticipated one by the people with whom I watched the game. I'd have to give my top marks to the FedEx company-on-the-moon commercial.

At least Indianapolis can tell the NFL "If you give us the 2011 Super Bowl, it won't be rained out."