May 29, 2006
X-Man Warning
This public service announcement contains no spoilers.

I took Lady Quixote, a X-Man fan, to X-3 on Saturday night. I’m not a fan of the X-Men, so I won’t capture my comments on the movie itself. However, I want to warn all fans about one point that will improve their enjoyment of the movie.

After the movie was over, about 80% of the viewers left immediately. My wife and I decided not to fight the crowd, we just remained seated during the credits and talked. We have not had much time for dates in a while and it was nice to just be out without the kids. I was mildly curious if there would be a surprise preview at the end of the credits as there was with second Matrix movie, but I certainly did not expect what actually followed the credits. There was another scene from the movie that had a great impact on the X-Man story. So if you go to the movie, stay for the final scene. You’ll be glad you did.

May 26, 2006
Better Late Than Never
After 108 years, the unconstitutional and illegal phone tax will finally cease. After July 31, phone companies should no longer collect this tax (so check your bills in August). It only took the rulings of five appeals court to make the government quit this illegal practice. How is the government fined for this crime? After illegally collecting this money for 108 years, the government only has to refund the last three years worth of taxes. Must be nice to collect revenue that does not belong to you for 108 years and get to keep 105 years worth of it.

The average phone user will get about $20 back next year as the tax is 3% of your monthly phone bill. Since Lady Quixote likes to talk, I’ll get back a bit more than $20 – maybe enough to fill up my gas tank.

This should be a lesson to all of us on goverments and taxation. One – even if it is illegal, a government will tax you if it can get away with it. Thank you to Office Max and HP for finally suing to stop this practice. Two – those who believe in temporary taxes should take note. This tax was illegally passed in 1898 to fund our part in the Spanish-American War.

May 18, 2006
Mythology Alert
James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web Today crafted an interesting sentence today.
Without meaning to, they have painted a misleadingly Pollyannaish picture of Iraq, and that's the wrong way to counter the liberal media's misleadingly Cassandrian one.
Presuming Taranto’s intent was to compare the overly optimistic picture of some on the right (the misleadingly Pollyannaish) with the overly pessimistic picture of some the left (the misleadingly Cassandrian), he should brush up on his mythology. His comparison misses the mark on two counts.

First, all of Cassandra’s prophecies came true. I am certain Taranto did not mean to attribute this ability to his liberal colleagues. Second, Cassandra was cursed so that no one would believe her true forecasts. I’m not sure how one would counter a Cassandrian prophesy - by making people believe a truthful forecast?

I’d respectfully suggest that replacing the Cassandra reference with an Al Gorean climate forecast would be both more accurate and more appropriate for Taranto’s target audience.

May 04, 2006
Letters and Thoughts about Illegal Immigrants
This country was founded by immigrants and we have an obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Yet we cannot afford to support the world and there are inherent fairness issues (should an illegal immigrant who snuck into the country take precedence over the family member of a legal alien who has been trying to join his American-based family for five years?).

Two people have written letters about the subject of illegal immigration, one serious, and one satirical. However both letters raise interesting points and should be required reading for those who are interested in immigration policy.

The first letter is from David Stoddard, a retired border patrol agent. He wrote an open letter to Senator Frist. Since it was an open letter, I am free to copy it in its entirety for your benefit.

Store Name
I am starting to seriously work on my internet store design. I have big long-term plans for Solport, so I’m going to give the store a name as if it were a level on Solport. Right now I’m playing with Solport Promenade in a nod to Deep Space Nine or the Solport Emporium simply because I like the way it sounds.

Other suggestions are welcome.

Bloopers of al Qaeda in Iraq
The good guys just scored one in the terrorist media wars. Al-Zarqawi had previously released a video on the internet showing his prowess with machines guns as part of a campaign to convince fellow terrorists that they should listen to him, the great warrior.

The US Army found the original video from which the internet clips came. They reveal al-Zarqawi and his associates as unfamiliar with weapons. In fact, they reminded me of the stereotypical Arab terrorists in Back to the Future. ABC has the video, although you first have to watch a 30 second commercial.

I watched the video and you can see this "great warrior" has no clue how to handle a simple gun jam. Neither do his associates seem to understand that after you fire a gun, the barrel gets hot.

If I were the US, I’d be putting this on late night TV in Bagdad on the comedy circuit.