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June 2004
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August 2004

Democrats can blog too

The Democratic National Convention is starting in the US, and will be a yawn for most that aren't actually there doin' the rah-rah. Very little network coverage is planned, as it's seen by the networks and the viewers as mostly an info-mercial. But I did find it interesting that the Democrats have 'accredited' some 35 bloggers for their convention. Do they think this is an effective way to communicate, or do they figure it's cheap and better than nothing. The official blog listed is Kicking Ass, with a lot of the posts by a Jesse Berney. The site is touted as a means of communication, which seems to mean posting by DNC staff members and a few selected guests, with comments by those having an account. And while accounts seem easy to apply for, I suspect content and slant will be closely monitored. There also will be many blogging un-officially from the convention. Karl-Thomas Musselman, a delegate from Texas, has his own, and refers to several others from his state - as well as the same BBC article I quoted above. Full circle.

Guitar face

OK - I thought playing in an air band was a narrow niche, but now you can perfect your guitar face - that tortured look a guitarist gets trying to hit that perfect note. MagRack even has a contest for you - send in your best pose and win a guitar.
I also thought having an air band contest was fairly straightforward -apparantly it needs a LOT of organization.

Zap - ouch - zap- ouch

There was a Simpson's episode (There's No Disgrace Like Home) where they are in Dr. Munroe's "lab" for aversion therapy, and keep zapping each other with a shock machine until the whole power grid browns out. Pretty funny.
But the reality of a taser zap is no joke. Just last weekend a man was pronounced dead in Bramption after being "subdued". Looks like this was with about 50,000 volts of persuasion, from a Taser. While the manufacturers claim the devices never have killed anyone, what they really mean is never directly. One manufacturer, Taser International Inc, tries to clarify this with a statement:

"The fact is that Taser devices have never been named as the primary cause of death in any in-custody death, and any links as a contributing factor are subjective and unsupported by clear evidence," Taser Int Inc. "has performed quality medical safety tests and will continue to do more."

According to the New York Times Taser Inc's primary safety studies on its powerful M26 model consist of tests on a single pig in 1996 and on five dogs in 1999, and that researchers paid by the company -- not independent scientists -- conducted the studies.

CBC As it Happens tonight (6:30 on CBC-1), as well as The Current tomorrow morning at 8:30, will discuss this further.

Update - CBC had an interview with a very persuasive Rick Smith, in which he tried to debunk some of the criticisms aimed at him and his company he co-founded. I felt he answered some points convincingly, and weasled out of others.
Taser International trades on NASDAQ currently at $36US, down from an April high of $64. Before the articles started to hit the news.
Our own Ontario minister of community safety Monte Kwinter believes them to be not perfect but definitely effective. He feels that as an alternative to having to shoot and kill someone to subdue them, the Taser is an obvious solution. Valid point, but what about all the situations it's used in where killing someone is not the only alternative. Granted, pepper spray or brute force is not as sure fire, but it's all too easy to stand back 21 feet and zap first, ask questions later. Or, in the case of a Houston youth, from point blank range, 4 times, in the back of the neck. Described later as "an unfortunate misunderstanding".

Happy birthday to me

Well, guess it's time to admit to middle age, seeing as I was born 58 years ago today. I do have the middle age spread to go with it.
So - who else was born July 18?
- my younger sister - by 11 years (kewl eh?)
- Red Skelton
- Screaming Jay Hawkins (who?)
- Nelson Mandela
- John Glenn
- Vin Diesel

Some horoscopes (not sure which one I'll pick) -

For those of us born on: July 18
Happy Birthday: This is a year of high performance and progressive action. You will do your best work when you are allowed to control the outcome of any situation. A leadership position will suit you best, so consider starting your own business -- find yourself a banker who believes in your insight and ideas. -- Birthday Baby: You are a high achiever with intensity far exceeding any challenge that comes your way. You stand up for your rights and you look out for the people you love


Update: darn, here's something I forgot to do on my birthday. Maybe next year.

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