My Letter to Yahoo

Note –  See this link for backstory:

I understand that the family of Justin Ellsworth, who died serving our country in Iraq, is trying to gain access to the e-mail before the Yahoo! account is erased at the end of next month due to your policy of deactivating unused accounts after 90 days.  I further understand that you are refusing to give the grieving family access to their dead son's final correspondence.  I find this position calloused and despicable.  I will immediately cancel my Yahoo account if I learn that the e-mails are destroyed without the family gaining access.  I trust that Yahoo will do the right thing in this matter.


Fighting Game Adds Fashion Accessories

In the upcoming Tekken 5, Gamespot reports:

“By winning fights, gamers earn money that can be spent on a new wardrobe that includes costumes, hats, and glasses.”

WTF?  When did Tekken become Barbie Dress Up?  And glasses?  I would argue that the worst thing you could bring to a fight is a pair of glass shards you wear over your eyes.  Just a thought.


p.s. I wonder what kind of hats… no, never mind.

Slashdot: Game Industry Bigger Than Hollywood



Some advice for women dating online

The ONLY thing that qualifies me to give advice on this topic is that I'm a guy and I have certain gut reactions to certain things. Here are some online dating no-no's that women frequently do that give me an upset stomach.

1) Putting a guy in the picture. I don't care if it's your brother, your cousin, your dad, or your ex. BAD IDEA. I don't want to see any of those people – you wouldn't bring them to a party and have them introduce you, would you?

2) Putting other girls in the picture can also work against you for the simple reason that guys are going to be checking them out too. Also, if it's not clear which one is you, not good.

3) Writing “I can't believe I'm doing this” or “I've never done this before”, “this” referring to online dating. Ummm, get over it – you're doing it, and everyone who's reading you're profile is doing it too. If you see yourself as a loser for doing online dating, then so is everyone you plan to meet that way. Something to think about.

4) Complaining in your profile that “It's so hard to write about yourself in only 4 sentences.” First of all, no it isn't. If you can write about Gandhi in 4 sentences, you can write about yourself. Second of all, again, everyone has the same problem. Deal.

5) I was going to say not checking your spelling, but that's much more personal preference than the others. For some guys, bad spelling is a turn-on. Also, you're exempt if you're foreign.

Anyway, this post has been a bit harsh, but it's meant as tough love. Also, I'm writing anonymously, so nyah nyah. If I can think of any others no-no's I'll definitely post them…


Who Owns What

If you're interested in media consolidation (or even if you're not), check out this site:


I need a life…

I can't believe I missed this: the date last Friday was 12/3/04. I'm usually into stuff like this. Of course the number of days in each month is to the best of my knowledge arbitrary. For example, why twelve months and not fifteen? Lunar cycles are approximately 30 days, but the Gregorian calendar doesn't correspond to lunar cycles anyway. The year does, of course, correspond to an actual solar cycle, so that's not arbitrary.

I think I read somewhere that 9/9/99 was considered by many Japanese to be bad luck… or was it 4/4/44? Anyway, the next cool date is 5/5/05 I think. Unless you're easily impressed, in which case I would go with 1/3/05 (my friend's birthday!) What's after 12/12/12? Who knows – I hope the planet makes it that long anyway… or the Western calendar (“Today is Fearless Leader day. Make that week. Make that Fearless Leader decade.”). It's going to be my old PIN before then though (nope not telling, and no it's not my birthday).

Wow that was random…!


p.s. the examples would make a lot more sense if I could take out the annoying and irrelevant 0, so it would be 12/3/4 or 1/3/5. Makes so much more sense :-)

Yushchenko Poisoned

My dad said this as soon as he saw the before/after pictures of Ukraine's opposition leader on the cover of the NY Times either last week or two weeks ago. Kudos to him! :-) Although I'm a little nervous now that my dad knows so much about poison…


Why I love Google News

With Google News, it's so easy to see media bias large and in your face. Today a Chicago court ordered three Islamic “charities” which have funded Hamas terrorism to pay $156 million to the parents of a teenager who was murdered by Hamas while waiting for a bus. Some things to bear in mind: “Terrorists” or “Militants”? “Charities” or “Front Groups”? Here is a selection of headlines from around the media:

Chicago jury awards $156 million to family of Beit El terror victim
Jerusalem Post, Israel

Islamic Charities Ordered to Pay in Death of American Teenager
NPR (audio), D.C.

$156M Awarded to Parents of Slain Teen
Guardian, UK

'I see now, finally, justice for David'
Chicago Sun Times, IL

Muslim charities fined over colony killing
Al-Jazeera.Net, Qatar

Islamic charities hit with 156 mn USD judgement
Times of India, India

Muslim charities must pay in slay
New York Daily News, NY



Marwan Barghouti

I honestly can't think of a better way for the Palestinians to demonstrate, once and for all, that they are not interested in peace nor a state than to elect this man.


Game of Propaganda

Steer Madness is a fully-featured 3D action-adventure game for home computer. You play as Bryce the Steer who narrowly escaped the slaughterhouse. Now liberated, you are on a mission to save your animal friends!  Rescue rabbits, deliver soymilk, protest against fur, change advertisements, and much, much more!

* Environmentally friendly transportation!
* Interact with other characters!
* Rescue chickens in an electric sports car!
* Visit the local vegetarian grocery store!

The game is similar in gameplay to GTA (Grand Theft Auto), except instead of murdering hookers, you deliver soymilk. Wow. Of course, “changing advertisements” isn't necessarily something I would want to teach my kids either.

This game raises the question of whether video games as propaganda (or in less extreme cases, simply political argument) is a good thing. In general, I would say that yes, this game is a “good thing”, in the sense that people can play it and come to their own conclusions. If you forced a meat-lover to play this game, his reaction would probably be similar to that of a vegetarian playing “Deer Hunter”. It's probably not going to change a lot of minds, but it is an effective way of making an argument, in this case, for vegetarianism/animal rights activism. If someone really is on the fence about something like this, they can play “Steer Madness” and “Deer Hunter”, and see which one jives with them more.

I'm aware that there are some hideous and dangerous bigoted games out there as well, that encourage players to murder people of a certain ethnicity/background (Jews, Blacks, Gays, whoever). That of course is not any sort of “free speech” or political dialogue of any sort. It is simple repugnant hatred and incitement.

GTA, I would argue, at least lets players vicariously live a life of violent crime legally, without fear of reprisal. The motives there do not stem from hatred or anger, but a desire to pretend to live a life that the player otherwise can't. It's similar to watching a movie like “Goodfellas”. After that movie, I became the biggest goody-two-shoes in the world. I still enjoyed the movie. But that's very different than a propaganda movie advocating violence and hatred against a specific group. There's no catharsis there. The only reason to watch something like that is to get your blood boiling – incitement.

So isn't that a contradiction? On one hand, I support games like “Steer Madness”, and on the other, decry Goebbels-esque propaganda. What's the difference? Very simple: it is a quantitative difference – there is a line between conflict and war. Once that line is crossed, there is no hope for productive reconciliation. Once pro-lifers, for example, start talking about murdering doctors who perform abortions, there's nothing to learn from them. There will be no questioning of assumptions on either side, nor will there be any compromises made. There can't be in a situation like that. The difference between the two is that one may result in open debate and discussion (no matter how close-minded the proponents of each side are), and the other can never do that, since each side actively seeks to destroy difference and dissent.

Anyway, I guess this is my first “serious” post – out of sheer curiousity, I do want to try that game though. It's a way for me to vicariously play GTA without actually playing it :-)