Friday, March 03, 2006

What he said...
Why do I love Jon Carroll? (In a perfectly platonic way, tinged only by a huge case of writer's envy.) Because he says what I think. Read this.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Code breakers
As someone who has always been fascinated by the role cryptology played in WWII, I found this article to be of great interest.

It seems that someone decided to harness the Internet and the power of volunteered, idling compuers, to try and track the remianing Nazi "Enigma" codes that hadn't been broken by the genius codebreakers of Bletchley Park. They've succeeded in deciphering one of them...there are more to go. Cool!
And speaking of hate...
In support of my post (below) about the Southern Poverty Law Center, I present this horrifying story. Thirteen-year-old white supremicist twin singers. Their story and their comments, frankly, make me nauseous.

While I realize the chances of any of those types of people reading this are slim, I nevertheless need to take this opportunity to vent.

These people seem to think they are superior, by virtue of having been born white. And they believe that anyone of African descent is, therefore, inferior. In fact their lives are so distorted by hate, they view African-Americans as so far inferior as to be undeserving of civil liberties, equal rights, or basic human respect.

To them I say that, with that attitude, you will never be as wise as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You will never have the capacity to spread joy of Louis Armstrong. You will never have the courage of Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, or Frederick Douglass. You will never have enough depth of feeling to create anything as beautiful as works by James Baldwin, Duke Ellington, Maya Angelou, or Thelonious Monk. You will never bring light and humor in the way that Bill Cosby or Whoopi Goldberg can. You will never fire people with inspiration like Malcom X , Muhammad Ali, or the Little Rock Nine. You will never travel into space like Mae Jemmison, contribute to medical research like Percy Lavon Jullian, or make international discoveries, like George Washington Carver. You will not make the world a better place, like Nelson Mandela. You will never be as important as Colin Powell, W.E.B. Du Bois, or Jackie Robinson.

And all this is as it should be. Because the best thing for people like you is to be forgotten.
Worth your support
If you don't know the Southern Poverty Law Center, you should. It began as a small Civil Rights law firm back in the "separate but equal" days, and since become inernationally known for its tolerance education.

As long-time supporters of the SPLC, we receive their regular journal, which is designed to terrify and anger those of us who have crazy ideas like "all men are created equal." This month's journal focuses on white supremacist organizations, angry anti-immigration activists, and various other upsetting groups and individuals. There's also an article on this lunatic "scientist" whose homophobic "research" while having been soundly denounced by experts, is still touted as an authority on why homosexuality is evil. (My favorite of his outrageous "facts" is this: according to him, lesbians are 300% more likely to die in a car accident than heterosexual women!)

If any of you have a little extra cash (and I know money is tight for us all), they're a great group that you might want to consider supporting. And even if you can't spare the cash, check out their website for more information on how you can get involved in the fight against intolerance and bigotry.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Into Olympics withdrawal
Well, the winter Olympics are over, and I'm already into withdrawal. Screw the "Olympics? What Olpymics?" attitude that apparently most of America had. I and my sweetie were glued to the TV for two weeks, completely caught up in Olympic fever.

And while I couldn't care less about the over-hyped, under-achieving Bode Miller, and found the equally ballyhooed women's figure skating to be thoroughly dull, I must admit that my revelation for the games is this:

Biathalon rules! What a cool sport. OK, on paper the concept of cross-country skiing yourself into exhaustion, only to stop and shoot at a target, seems like a ridiculous waste of time and energy. But oh my goodness, does it make for compelling TV viewing. (No, I'm not kidding!)

What I loved about it is how quickly the lead could change. Some guy skiis to the first shooting stage a full minute ahead the rest of the crew, misses two out of five shots, has to ski a 150 meter penalty loop, and suddenly some unknown from Latvia is in the lead. I lost track of just how many times that happened...the favorite totally implodes at a shoot, someone back in the pack shoots clean, and all of a sudden you've got a new leader. It's fascinating. Plus, at the end, there's frequently a crazy dash for the finish line that cannot help but get you screaming "go! go!' for that one guy from Finland that you just want to win.

Totally addicting.

On a side not, it's official, I think Apolo Anton Ohno is cool. I like how gracious and genuine he is in the face of both victory and defeat. He and the generosity of Joey Cheek completely redeemed the otherwise vaguely dull and, times, cringe-worthy American team (a tiara? on a ski helmet?).