Consummate dilettantism!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Michelle Malkin is an Idiot

Read this.
Buzz of the day: A Dunkin' Donuts ad featuring Rachael Ray wearing a scarf that looks like a keffiyeh, a traditional headdress worn by Arab men, has been yanked. "The keffiyeh has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad," said conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin, fueling the controversy.

Dunkin' says in a statement that the scarf was "selected by (Ray's) stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we are no longer using the commercial."

The View gals raced to Ray's defense today in a long opening chat:

Joy: "Companies should have a little more integrity."
Whoopi, who was most outraged: "It flags Rachael to businesses ... as someone you might not be able to trust."
Elisabeth: "This is the best advertising they could get."
So a celebrity wears something vaguely resembling something that vaguely resembles what terrorists wear, and Malkin objects. Honestly, this is really disgusting. Terrorists also wear pants; must Malkin now object to pant-wearing? But that's not a good analogy. What is a good analogy is this: Arabic and Islam have undoubtedly come to symbolize terrorism. Their presence on television should thus logically be objected to by Malkin.

This isn't the first time we've seen something like this from her.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Facebook... a surprisingly good website. It actually does what it's intended to do, and it does it well. Since creating an account a few days ago, I've already found a few old friends with whom I have not spoken for a long, long time. People call it a time-waster, but I find it just replaces other sources of procrastination.

Friday, May 23, 2008


...are my blog's usage statistics.C'mon, what am I doing wrong? I have 80 posts. Why, then, are there so many days during which nobody at at all views this blog?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Everyone's Innately Peaceful, Right?

Indian village proud after double "honor killing," says Reuters.
Five armed men burst into the small room and courtyard at dawn, just as 21-year-old, 22-week pregnant, Sunita was drying her face on a towel.

They punched and kicked her stomach as she called out for her sleeping boyfriend "Jassa", 22-year-old Jasbir Singh, witnesses said. When he woke, both were dragged into waiting cars, driven away and strangled.

Their bodies, half-stripped, were laid out on the dirt outside Sunita's father's house for all to see, a sign that the family's "honor" had been restored by her cold-blooded murder.

A week later, the village of Balla, just a couple of hours drive from India's capital New Delhi, stands united behind the act, proud, defiant almost to a man.
This has undoubtedly been the practice of Indian villages for centuries. It rather belies the claim that every non-Western culture is inherently pacific (I love that word). I'm not saying that Indian culture is bad - there's lots to love about it, but of course, as with any culture, mindless worship thereof is absurd.

So enjoy your yoga and Buddhism, but don't overlook this and Sati. My point is that one should not say stupid things like (and I hear this all the time), "Indian culture is so peaceful and sexually open," or "Gosh, the Chinese have such a rich and storied history of learning and tolerance - it's a shame we can't be mellow like them." Surely these statements are somewhat true, but they obscure the reality that there is no such thing as a perfect culture, and that violence and brutality are inescapable aspects of the human condition.

I'm Sad

Thrice rejected, thrice disappointed.

I seldom feel sad. I sometimes am annoyed or angry, but very rarely sad.

But today I'm sad.

Today's just not a good day, internet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Apple's Ridiculous Prices (Part I)

This topic perennially occurs, and I thought it fitting to return to it once more, if only to demonstrate that Apple's computers are still absurdly expensive. This point is often denied, but as the cold, hard facts will show it is undoubtedly true.

These are the tech specs of Apple's bottom-line, $1,199 iMac:
# 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
# 1GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 1x1GB
# 250GB Serial ATA Drive
# Apple Mighty Mouse
# Apple Keyboard (English) + User's Guide
# Accessory kit
# SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
# ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB memory
# 20-inch glossy widescreen LCD
# AirPort Extreme
# Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Seems reasonable. Reasonable, that is, until you consider computers with essentially identical specifications from other manufacturers.

From Dell, you can get the basic box-o-junk model with nearly identical specifications for, get this, over $300 less than the price of Apple's iMac. Can't believe your eyes, can you? Go over to right now and customize such a computer yourself. Do it. I dare you. You'll get something like this Inspiron 530 for $889:
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E4600 (2MB L2 Cache,2.4GHz,800 FSB)
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
20 inch SP2008WFP Wide Flat Panel with Webcam and Mic
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs
250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™
16X DVD+/-RW Drive
ATI Radeon HD 2400 PRO 128MB
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
Dell USB Keyboard and Dell Premium Optical USB Mouse
Dell 19 in 1 Media Card Reader
No Modem Option
Internal PCI 802.11g Wireless Network Card
Dell A225 2.0 Speakers
Admittedly, the RAM is a bit slower, but the bitchin' media card reader amply compensates. Vista Home Premium sucks, you say? Well, you can install another operating system, and besides, the point is ultimately subjective.

See, my biggest problem with Apple is that they force you to buy lots of non-essential crap. Get rid of the equivalent monitor ($290) and wireless card ($30) and operating system ($30) and speakers ($20) on this Dell computer (all of which you can purchase or pawn separately for substantially less), and the price drops to an insanely low $519. Essentially, you can get just the stuff in the iMac box for $700 less than the price of the iMac itself. Are OS X and a nifty monitor really worth $700? I think not.

But pull your mouth off the floor, because HP's gonna fucking blow you away. Basically, HP won't let you go below a certain minimum as Dell will (bless their heart), so I had to make do. This is really the closest I could get to Apple's iMac (it's an a6460t):

* • Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
* • Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor E4600 (2.4GHz)
* • 2GB DDR2-800MHz dual channel SDRAM (2x1024)
* • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS and TV Tuner / PVR
* • 802.11 b/g USB Wireless LAN card
* • 500GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
* • LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
* • 15-in-1 memory card reader, 1394, 2 USB, audio
* • Integrated 7.1 channel sound w/front audio ports
* • Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
* • HP w2007 20" LCD Wide Flat Panel Monitor
* • HP stereo speakers (2.0)
* • HP keyboard and HP optical mouse
Wow, you think. 2 gigs of 800 MHz dual channel RAM? 256 MB of VRAM? 500 GB HD? Fully 64-bit operating system? Microsoft Works? (Kidding.) The monitor doesn't have a built-in webcam or mic (as the Dell and Apple do), but hey, I'm not complaining. This computer clearly blows the both the iMac and the Dell out of the water, but guess what? It actually costs less than the Dell. You can all this for $879. End of story. HP takes the cake. When you can get a vastly superior computer for this amount of money, the iMac looks like a joke. On second thought, the iMac is a joke.