[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Saturday, 2007-09-15

Postcards from the year two thousand

Filed under: Art,History — bblackmoor @ 22:56

The National Library of France (BnF) has an amazing collection of prints from 1910 which depict life in the year 2000. They are credited to Villemard.

Thursday, 2007-09-06

A mystery revealed

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 13:06

Here’s the funniest MMO-related comic strip I have seen since someone did Star Wars scene by scene as though it were Everquest (that site vanished years ago, alas — I wish I’d saved a copy of it). I laughed and laughed. Check it out: Hammer of Grammar » A Mystery Revealed.

Friday, 2007-08-31

Federal ID plan raises privacy concerns

Filed under: Privacy — bblackmoor @ 08:29

Americans may need passports to board domestic flights or to picnic in a national park next year if they live in one of the states defying the federal Real ID Act.

The act, signed in 2005 as part of an emergency military spending and tsunami relief bill, aims to weave driver’s licenses and state ID cards into a sort of national identification system by May 2008. The law sets baseline criteria for how driver’s licenses will be issued and what information they must contain.

The Department of Homeland Security insists Real ID is an essential weapon in the war on terror, but privacy and civil liberties watchdogs are calling the initiative an overly intrusive measure that smacks of Big Brother.

(from CNN.com, Federal ID plan raises privacy concerns)

“Big Brother”? Please. Cameras on every damned streetcornerthat is Big Brother. Having to show “papers” in order to travel or go on a picnic, now, that’s more like the Soviet Union.

Hey, wait… weren’t they the bad guys?

Monday, 2007-07-30

Silent Protest and GIMPshop

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Software — bblackmoor @ 08:59

Check out Scott Moschella’s Silent Protest at Plastic Bugs. This guy is braver than I am, but I applaud him and people like him.

He’s also the guy who hacked GIMP to make it usable by human beings: Gimpshop. The Windows version is pretty out of date, unfortunately. It’s a pity the GIMP developers have such a “not invented here” attitude toward Gimpshop. If they’d incorporate Scott’s improvements (and make no mistake: they are huge improvements), they’d see the GIMP community double in three months. I pretty much guarantee it.

Friday, 2007-07-27

UK denies copyright extension to British music publishers

Filed under: Intellectual Property — bblackmoor @ 16:50

UK denies copyright extension to British music publishers

Way to go, Parliament! Woot! Go, UK!

Friday, 2007-07-20

Mac worm incites death threats and intrigue

Filed under: Security — bblackmoor @ 12:23

A soap opera is playing out on the mailing lists of several security newsgroups this morning, complete with people hiding behind pseudonyms, people “outing” one another and rumors of death threats against the major players. At stake? A possible worm for Apple’s Mac OS X operating system.

(from CNET News.com, News of a Mac OS X worm incites death threats and intrigue)

Thursday, 2007-07-12

David Lee Roth on Conan O’Brien

Filed under: Music,Television — bblackmoor @ 15:15

Strummin With The DevilDiamond Dave will be appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien Thursday July 13th, 2006. The performance will be in support of the Van Halen tribute album, Strummin’ With The Devil – The Southern Side of Van Halen. Dave will be performing “Jamie’s Cryin'” with his bluegrass friends.

For more information: http://www.nbc.com/Late_Night_with_Conan_O’Brien/

Monday, 2007-07-02

No reunion

Filed under: Family — bblackmoor @ 09:45

I do not remember my biological father. I was two or maybe three when my biological parents split up, and I do not remember anything from when I was that young (my memory from before the age of ten or eleven is actually pretty spotty — I remember snatches of things, but there are large spans of time I do not recall at all).

A while ago, a friend of mine asked if I’d ever tried contacting my biological father. I said “no”. To be frank, it just never occurred to me. Why would I? He said I might regret it if I never tried to contact him. At the time, it just seemed like a senseless thing to do. Why would I bother trying to contact some stranger?

But after thinking about it a while, I decided to go ahead and try. What the heck? It might be interesting. I guess I was just curious. So I asked my mother for my biological father’s complete name and last known address. She had his name, but not his address. She told me the last city she knew of where he’d lived, but that was decades ago. Well, I was a private detective for a brief time, and that was enough. I found him in about ten minutes. Yeah, I’m pretty awesome. 🙂

I called him on the phone, asked if he was the man I was looking for, and told him who I was. He seemed a little taken aback, but welcomed the suggestion that we meet at some neutral place to meet and see what kind of people the other person is.

Well, that’s not going to happen. He called me back the other night, and said that he’d given it a great deal of thought, and he’d decided that 40 years apart is too long a span to get to know someone again. He said he had a wife and a son, and a good life, and that I was a stranger to him and there’d be no point in our meeting. I said I understood completely, and there were no hard feelings. I told him that I didn’t want to disrupt his life, and that I didn’t want anything from him, and that I didn’t blame him at all for not wanting to meet after all this time.

He seemed a little defensive. Maybe he thought I’d take it badly. He also seemed to have some unresolved issues with my mother. He said things like, “I’m sure you’ve been told a lot about me, and I want you to know that a lot of it isn’t true,” and “I don’t know anything about how your mother is doing, and I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know anything about her.”

I told him that other than his name and the fact he was my biological father, I hadn’t been told anything about him, and that I wouldn’t mention my mother at all if he didn’t want me too. Not a problem. I didn’t look him up to discuss her. He seemed to relax a little after that, and said that he’d be willing to answer a couple of questions, “within reason”.

He answered a couple of medical questions for me, and we talked a few more minutes. He said that he had a good life, he’d been married for 37 years and was proud of his (other) son, that he’d never been arrested, and so forth. I said that sounded great, that I’d been married 16 years, and that I also was happy and had a good life, and that I was glad that we had that in common.

At the end of the conversation, he said I could call him again some time if I wanted, and that maybe we could meet some day. I don’t think I’ll bother. I think my curiosity is satisfied, and what I told him was true: I really don’t want anything from him. I am glad I called him, though.

Friday, 2007-06-29

Star Wars fans hate Star Wars

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 08:14

There is an amusing and not-too-far-off screed at JIVEMagazine.com called The Complex and Terrifying Reality of Star Wars Fandom. I do not agree with everything he says (I loved Knights Of The Old Republic and the Clone Wars cartoons, and Lucas did not make Luke and Leia siblings “from the beginning”), but he pegs the major points. I particularly like this line:

Every true Star Wars fan is a Luke Skywalker, looking at his twisted, evil father, and somehow seeing good.

Wednesday, 2007-06-27

Video reveals H-1B abuse

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 08:16

A video in which an immigration law firm offers advice on avoiding hiring U.S. workers when a foreign worker is preferred for a position set off a firestorm of criticism last week, drawing the attention, and ire, of a U.S. senator and congressman, who call it a “blatant disregard for American workers.” […]

“We are concerned that companies are abusing the H-1B program. The video explicitly shows how attorneys are aiding companies in this effort. … In addition, we are concerned about the level of fraud monitoring of the H-1B visa program by your Department,” wrote Grassley and Smith. […]

The Programmers Guild, a tech industry interest group out of Summit, N.J., posted a video on YouTube June 16 featuring excerpts from a series of videos created by the Pittsburgh law firm Cohen & Grigsby. Recorded May 15 as part of a half-day seminar focused on “Hot Topics in Immigration Law,” the videos were to provide free legal tips and practical solutions to hiring managers looking for overseas talent.[…]

In the video, however, an individual identified as Lawrence Lebowitz, vice president and director of marketing for Cohen & Grigsby, explains how employers can hire foreign workers under the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process, which stipulates requirements for placing job ads to fill vacancies by either hiring U.S. workers or evidencing that no qualified ones are available.

“Our goal here, of course, is to meet the requirements No. 1, but also do so as inexpensively as possible … and our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker,” explains Lebowitz to seminar attendees.

(from Eweek, Law Firm’s Video A ‘Blatant Disregard For American Workers’)

What I find amazing about this is the apparent shock and outrage from people. We all knew this abuse was going on. I have blogged about it repeatedly. Why is this a surprise? This is like a gangsta-rapper getting patted down at the airport and getting angry and indignant when they find a pistol in his luggage. “Wha? How? Huh? (sputter) Hey! How’d THAT get there!?”

Congress created the H-1B program. Are we to believe that they are so blind and stupid that they didn’t know it literally replaced American workers with foreign workers? Are we to believe that they are so utterly out of touch that they haven’t noticed that American IT jobs dried up at the same time that large companies were clamoring for more H-1B visas? Just how freaking stupid are these people? Just how stupid do these people think we are?

Pretty freaking stupid, apparently. Because you people, you dumbass voters and non-voters, keep electing crooks, socialists, and tyrants. They send your children to die, they steal what you have honestly earned, they gleefully violate the fundamental human rights that people like my grandfather risked his life to defend, and you let them.

So who’s really to blame for the H-1B program? You.

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