Monthly Archives: February 2003

Interesting email

This was linked from slashdot, so to help you avoid the slashdot effect, which will likely mean they’re going to move it or it’ll be slow as molasses over a 28.8 modem.

Anyway, it’s by this Newsweek reporter, and is supposedly just an email that she sent to some friends but it ended up on the interweb for all to see. Very interesting overview of that the global shot-callers are thinking. Hit the Read More to do just that. Could it be one of those hoax things? ps. I posted it in full, except removed the personal info of the person who put it on the webternet, like cell phone, name, place of employmeng, and such.
you’ll have to follow the link…I removed the text when transferring sites…if it’s moved, drop a line and I’ll see if I can dig it up

The price of tea in china

Now we know why their coffee costs so dang much! (props abrichar)

Downward Spiral

I need to review another beer. But not tonite. I hear about globalization, and I hear about the economy. The economy is bad. So why does it seem like a good idea to move all of our good jobs offshore. Why do we shop at places like Wal*Mart, where we transform the self-respecting film store owner into Robin William One Hour Photo man? Wal*Mart sucks the life out of your town. In so many ways. It takes decent jobs and trivializes them, micromanages them, and undercompensates them. It takes the value your home has worked for, the grease, the foundation, and moves it somewhere else. This has been happening for quite some time, not just with retail stores, but with products, and of course we all own a radio from Japan (or a Playstation2!), but now the actual jobs are moving across the world, fully commoditized. And, of course international trade is natural, if not fundamental.

Your job as a commodity. It comes down to columns of numbers, and can be traded, removed, made redundant, bought or sold. The thing is, Americans aren’t the players on this market. We are too expensive. We need to pay American prices for food, water, land, and work and health standards. We have remarkable Laws which support and enable those with disabilities, or minorities.

This is a problem. If we stand for these values, we need to enforce them. We can’t stand tall and righteous, all the while making whoopee down the street. A large number of companies have decided that they need to save on labor. Bring the dollars back to the top, just like the good ‘ole days of robber barons, railroads, and Bush’s. This article discusses the issue of which I speak, that of the globalization of this portion of our economy.

I am all for companies saving money in their hires, but there need to be checks and balances. There need to be incentives for employers to continue employing the people who are members of our society, to enable and encourage the great fairness that we are working towards. Tariffs are a possibility. Significant tariffs on human resource exports should be implemented, and that money should go towards programs that encourage healthy work environments, train people for new careers, and educate those who need it.

One of the greatest problems with this outflow globalization, and one I alluded to at the beginning of this article, is that it is displacing the employees who are the customers. We remove the purchase power, we remove the need for the product (or at least the ability to acquire it through the white market) , what do we have left? Sure there are many links in there, but this is the direction we are sending ourselves.

Businesses can’t just stop sending jobs and our acquired value (which is becoming dearer and dearer) overseas. They couldn’t compete with the ones that don’t stop. One thing that I have observed is that there is very little consumer conscience in this land (human nature, or America the free). We need our leaders to step in and guide us through laws. This is a democracy, not a capitalism.

It has begun. Has it begun?

I just read that we’ve bombed Iraq!. Don’t go nuts, we’re not in all-out war yet that I know of, but as I listened to International News I heard that marines around Iraq were reacting to the various chemical/biological warfare alarms in the area.

Evil Blimp

A fun little post about an evil blimp. I’d thought the guy was going to demonstrate the Hindenberg tragedy to his daughter. Enough rants for now…though I feel one welling up right now about schools and teachers.

Little Surprise Here

Much of the world is considering George Walker Bush to be a greater threat than Saddam. I was already feeling that way. Not to say that Saddam isn’t kinda crazy-mad because I have no reason to say otherwise, but he’s not the one who has been driving the war machine full-bore at himself. George seems to have only taken the idea of war to the UN to find out who he needs to bribe, bully, and coerce into consenting. Throw a few frog and kraut slurs in the right direction and we can discredit them too.

I just have a lot of trouble buying into this whole war thing. I’m not a unilateralist. War is going to happen. But giving noogies to Iraq is not a heatly way to avoid it.

The SUV phenom

SUVs are everywhere. They are particularly popular amongst those who live here in the Pacific Northwest, many of whom live fantasies that they are Ford Tough or Like a friggin Rock. This issue points to a theme that I will be iterating and building upon for some time. It is not okay to do what you want when you want. You should not be as rich as you can possible be. Your car cannot be as huge and inefficient as you want it to be. We live in a democracy, not a plutocracy (in theory), this is not a capitalist society, it is one with capitalistic tendencies. It should be obvious to anyone with any imagination or comprehension of history that unbridled capitalism cannot work.

Back to SUVs. They keep growing. Larger and larger, meaner and meaner, and more annoying to drive behind. Mileage has not improved one bit. The representatives have not stopped to consider that SUVs are not really 18-wheelers. How it came to pass that they only need to pass the emitions tests of semis is a mystery to me, and solid evidence that the people of the United States are not being represented by their representitives. Unacceptable. A lot of the newer ones should not even be allowed on the road, let alone mass-marketed to soccer moms and yuppie rebels.

It is amazing how superior some SUV drivers can become when accosted about driving the wasteful behemoths. It’s as if they’ve been brainwashed, with arguments about safety, free will, preference, and needing something for that annual family trip to BC. Never about power, commercialism, or fantasies, which are pretty obviously the real reasons. Vehicle size has become a very apparent status symbol.

Besides being blatantly inefficient in this time when our leaders are taking us to war over oil and the economy, they are simply not suitable for city driving. Parking spaces need to be smaller to accomodate larger populations, not larger. Roads are too narrow for the girth of those monsters to pass safely. The visibility lost to an SUV is a source of frustration and danger as well.

All kinds of people can be jerks while driving. However, I find that SUV drivers tend to be oblivious to the rights and needs of others far more frequently. They are less likely to allow you to merge while they jabber absently into their cell phones (note: I am not in favor of banning cell phone use while driving, but it’s pretty clear that some people can handle it and others can’t…know who you are) and change lanes with no signal.

I found this link to the EPA’s Green Vehicles Guide which is not very favorable to SUV’s. Check out matt’s angry little thoughts for where I got it.

Alright, so I’ve griped here quite a bit. Now it’s time to offer up some solutions.

  1. Define a set of standards appropriate for the SUV. Here in Oregon, integrate it into DEQ standards. It’s easy and fair.
  2. Enforce compact car parking. Make all street parking compact only. This is under the new compact definition of sedan-sized.
  3. Raise gas prices. Tax them. A lot.
  4. Require a commercial driver’s license. Even to test drive. If you’re going to drive a truck, learn how.
  5. Limit sales. Artificially create demand by reducing supply. Let them be a real status symbol.
  6. Ban private ownership of SUVs larger than a particular size, or with an economy worse than such and such. I believe they should still be available for rent.
  7. Charge a lot more for registration on them. They do cause more damage to roads after all.

There are many more solutions, but at least I feel like I’m part of the solution. I must add the caveat that I lity vehicles. Particularly if they actually get used for their purported purpose. No need for examples, but there are some decent ones out there.

Nashville Pussy

We at beerdrinker.org work hard to stay on the high road of good taste. Last night’s show at Dante’s is clear evidence of that. From songs about drugs to ladies playing (rockin’) guitar in their underwear to not-so-tragic references to recent tragedies to deep-throating light beer bottles while playing rockin guitar, this show was beautifully highbrow.
Nashville Pussy kick ass. Their guitar smacks of ACDC, with a southern twist and apathy and mean-spiritedness thrown in, as well as sexy guitar and bassist. The music shreds, they are loose, hard, sloppy, and tight. They played a long set with some new tunes, but had most of the usual gimmicks that I’ve seen in the past (fourth time to see them).

I can’t say too much about the opening bands because I only saw the last two songs of The Weaklings. Actually I was quite impressed with what I heard, and next time I’ll leave the Shanghai Tunnel earlier to catch them. But, I was there to see Nashville Pussy and that’s what I did.

This was the most raucous crowd that I’ve seen at a Nashville Pussy show. This is the first time I’ve seen them headlne, which may have something to do with it. Previously, I saw them on the second stage at the KUFO Rock Fest back when it rocked., and opening for the The Reverend Horton Heat, who is also a damn good show.

As I love their music, and think their live show is super-fun, and this particular event really was awesome…I totally lost myself in the show for about an hour, fully engrossed…I have to say that seeing this band is extremely highly recommended. Of course if you are into gas station country, ACDC, southern-style thrash, or whatever the sound is called, you may fell a bit different, and I recommend using your own judgement. On a side note, I forced my buddy to join me and he enjoyed it quite a bit. He used phrases like sloppy and lewd to describe them, and felt overall that when he goes to shows llke that, prefers a bit more punk and a bit less trash. This from the guy who introduced me to Morrisey and The Legendary Pink Dots.

Phone Numbers and Email Addresses

Accoriding to this article the White House is backing a plan to associate phone numbers with internet-related addresses using DNS. I read the RFC and it basically introduces a new record to DNS, the NAPTR record, as well as defining a new domain, E164.arpa, to which a phone number including area code and international code will be reversed, dotted between all digits, and prepended.

This is an interesting idea, but I’m having difficulty identifying how it will be implemented. First of all, how on earth will they populate the records? There are so many throw-away addresses out there. It’s possible to let people and companies enter their own information, but trying to do that securely seems extremely difficult. Second, what will prevent spammers and other evils from harversing all the information they can from the NAPTR records? Who will have access to this, the government, large corporations? It appears to be an international effort, so who’s running it?

I’m pretty sceptical about this in several ways. There seem to be a lot of clouds in the diagram.

Feeding the Fire

Finally we know what the Homeland Security Office has been up to, other than phoning in orange alerts whenever we need a new bill passed or one of the warmonger elite need to get some pep for the war (like just after Colin Powell pitched his war). They’ve been learning about the internet. Here’s the stop, drop, and roll for a new millenium.

The warnings and admonishments have been a great boom to Wal*Mart, as their customers stack duct tape and Hefty Bags on top of their Doritos and Ding Dongs, which should preserve them through a nuclear winter.

Get your duct tape ready. Mine is dangling from the windows along with some glad bags, awaiting their chance to spring into action. With the pull of a string, I will release a bucket of jelly beans to counterweight the pulling up of the plastic bags, simultaneously freeing a horde of underfed mice who will pull and seal the duct tape over the plasic, to form a terror proof bunker out of my house. They will then all rush to eat the jelly bellies in the bucket where I will seal them and snack on mice over the next 7 months waiting for my shortwave radio to bring me word of W coming over the Cascades on the back of a white elephant, Osama bin Laden’s head in tow.

But in the meantime the duct tape is just gathering flies.

Get Sirius

I became so fed up with the horrible situation of radio here that I actually took a significant step in alleviating my pain. I cut my ears off. Actually, I bought Sirius satellite radio. Sirius the second-to-market competitor to XM radio, which I don’t know much about, except that it has some commercials, is stightly cheaper (per month), and has one less satellite beaming down on us (two).

I am going to say right now that Sirius has put a damper on my learning the German language. As I am going through the Pimsleur cd series, and only listen on my communte, it’s in direct conflict with 60 commercial free music stations (and 40 other stations doing different things).

I absolutely love Sirius. If a song comes on that I don’t enjoy, all I have to do is change stations. Generally they’re playing something pretty good within one or two tries, and there’s never a commercial, and the DeeJay’s don’t babble on endlessly. In fact, if you ride with me, and I have a buck fifty in my pocket, I’ll happily switch it to the FM band to see if there’s music playing…if there is, I’ll give you my $1.50, if not, you only pay me $1. I came up with the little wager the other evening when I wanted to get the traffic report, and between the two stations I checked for ten minutes, I never heard music or a traffic report. Eventually I went back to the satellite because it was too late to matter.

Of course it’s not perfect yet, but they are trying. My biggest peeve is that the email addresses they give all seem to go to the same place, whether you email Customer Support, Comments, or a DeeJay. Also, they are hooked on a few bands. The hard rock station notoriously overplays The Foofighters and Bush. But less so than the equivalent stations in Portland. And there are a lot of stations with no equivalent on our FM band.

So, here’s the details. You need an antenna, a receiver, and a head. The antenna mounts on the top of the car or on the trunk and is pretty low profile. The receiver is installed somewhere in my car, and handles the smarts. The head is the piece that has display and tuning. In my case it’s built into the stereo (I have a Kenwood after some jerk broke into my car and stole everything). Cost is on the order of $150-$250 installed for the unit, then $13/month for service. 100 stations, no babbling DJ’s, no commercials (on their in-house stations, some of the talk and such have them). And purportedly cd quality noise. I don’t know, I’m not that clean in the ears.

It’s great. Get it. Send a message to the radio station conglomerates that we’re fed up. Find a new solution. Enjoy music again. Oh, and sorry about the title of this article.

My Joe Milliions .02

Alright, it seems to me that everyone else has their thoughts on Joe Millionairre. Well, I watched it all, and here’s what I think the surprise twist should have been. Fox shows two different endings (ala Clue), and depending on focus group research they show Evan (that’s his real name!) choosing Zora or Sara.

Ripping off Dave Barry

Okay, Dave Barry has a blog. It’s pretty good, and has some funny links. Here I shamelessly and honestly offer a number of highlights.

In which some Harvard guys fish for squirrels

In which we know who to blame when we can’t get our pr0nography

Thanks Dave! Cool column too!

(Brothers) Chavez Taco Truck

Located out on deep Killingsworth, near where it runs into Lombard or Portland Blvd, this taco truck is one of the finest. The tacos are fantastic, and that is what I most highly recommend. These succulent morsels of meat-stuffed corn tortilla are superb, served classically with lime and radish. In particular, I enjoy the pastor, but I am a bit of a pastor freak. The chicken is great too. I’ve enjoyed the asada and lengua as well.

They are fast, cheap, and to all appearances of decent quality. The salsa is fantastic, the red being smoky and on the spicy side, the green thicker with a nice subtle tang. The red is fairly far on the spicy side, so beware.

Don’t get me wrong, the burritos are well worth the effort (that it takes to eat them), they are quite tasty, and actually have some vegetables in them. More salad than fajita. And they are huge. While not as heavy on meat as the burritos at many taquerias, they also are lighter on rice and beans (we’re talking proportionally, by the way), yet do not sacrifice flavor or texture. Quite fantastic.

This taqueria is somehow related to the Taqueria Chavez which had been located on Woodstock, and moved to N Lombard. The Chavez on N Lombard has since changed names, but I’m not sure why, whether it is under new ownership or if they just wanted to change it because Lupita sounds nicer. While the truck format loses a bit of the charm of the taqueria, as well as limiting the options (no verde or colorado on the menu, and the mariscos may be limited…not sure on that last as its not my bag) and the salsa varieties, not too much has been sacrificed. Another quality lost in the truck is the handmade tortillas made on the spot. Fantastic stuff, but I’ll cover the transition to Lupita in another review.

Overall, I believe that the Chavez family runs one of the foremost taqueria businesses in Portland, and recommend their establishments to anyone who enjoys spicy, flavorful, well-textured Mexican food.

Interesting Economy Insights

This is a very interexting piece on potential motivations for the current war on Iraq. There are a number of interesting bits in this article, and it is fairly long, but well worth the read.

Quick overview: The Euro standard is making grounds against the dollar as the oil exchange currency, which is a bad thing as the market will be flooded with dollars, devaluing our already hurting unit. Iraq made that switch already, and that in conjunction with the Caspian Sea being far under expected yield (suddenly Afghanistan is much less interesting!), W switches the war machine over to Iraq.

PBR tale

Funny story, my friend Amanda and some of her buddies are at a bar and RV stop in a small town nowhere in Washington. Amanda, a few sheets to the wind is admiring this lady’s Coors Light Racing Jacket, which the lady is pleased with, and they’re chatting up a storm. Amanda suggests that the only thing that would make this jacket even cooler is if it were a PBR Racing Jacket. To which the woman gives a knowing look, exlaiming with glee: “Pro Bull Riding!”

Part of the beauty is that Amanda is, or was, a Coors light gal. But after years of playing on our PBR soccer team, she’s finally breaking down. Beautiful story, I was not there, this is pure hearsay. But good times. Thanks for sharing that one, Amanda, Jess, Coach!

I didn’t know they were out there

Short post tonite. Had to work tonite so a frien brought in some beers for a bit of beer tasting. A couple of them were very interesting, and I’d never even heard of them before. I did get to taste them, but this environment is a little funky for writing a review. I’d put these under the category of needle beers just because of the needles in them.

The first I tried was Alba Scots Pine Ale. That’s right, it’s brewed with pine, and spruce too!. It is really really tarty, a bit different, and the hint of needly matter is really subtle. The ale has a very lush fruity aroma. It’s made in Scotland. Dig it. The amazing thing is the ingredient list: Malted Barly Bree, Scots Pine and Spruce Sprigs. What’s missing there? Hops! And this is a full-flavored beer. Way to go Scots!

The other is Siletz Spruce Ale. Also pretty good, this one is brewed with spruce tips. My buddy had me try the Alba first, and then this one, which was a good thing…the taste here is much less subtle than that one. Still good, but I think that my endurance in putting these babies down would be much shorter.

Anyway, just wanted to put out the word that these exist, I’ll probably do a more in-depth review of the possibilities later on. cheers, and happy saturday.

Too much crap

I just cannot keep up with all the bad things that are happening right now. It’s really amazing. We’ve spiralled from a crappy biased dirty election to piss-poor economy and massive layoffs to terrorism to corporate scandal (involving so much political inbreeding it’s awe inspiring) to undeclared undefined wars to undeclared defined wars. And that’s just nationally. Here in Oregon, we’re busy screwing ourselves right and left. The whole Measure 28 failure is a fiasco. We are screwed. Crap, love it or leave it? Let’s just boot the incontivertible ass holes, of which we have plenty. Luckily, I hear that Multnomah county is trying to make it happen locally. Which might give us a fighting chance. I read today that there’s a school in deep southest (Portland) that is allowing Qwest or someone to erect a cell phone tower, paying on the order of $1000/month. That’s diddly squat. And ugly as all get-out. Let’s get our thumbs out of our asses and do something while we still can. Everyone’s screwed, not just you and the homeless.

But on the national front, what the hell is going on? George is a friggin maniac. Sneaky bastard, putting in crazy tax cuts while pretending to mourn the Shuttle astronauts, and whenever there’s any question about something that’s going on up there, we jump to Code Orange terror alert. The terror buzzer has proven to be one of the greatest manipulators of a society I’ve ever heard of. Next to oil and money. They can say whatever they want, lie, lay it on thick, then be like, “oh, we caught them, but we need to cut the rich taxes cuz death tax isn’t fair. You bourgeois…shoulder their burden too, and get used to your crappy service job. They’re saving up to move to a small island.” Kiss my ass. There are some very significant issues going on right now. And we have a nonelected dictator who is lying to us in office right now. He’s not going anywhere. He can ride terrorism, no taxes, and the war right into office again. The Democrats suck horribly. I used to think there was little difference between the parties…like yesterday. But now I’m realizing just how far the replicans will take things…they aren’t so different, just varied magnifications.

Snowball’s Chance Winter Ale

I sit down anxiously to enjoy this beer. It has graced my refrigerator for some time now, but I have yet to taste it. I pour the winter ale into my Rogue pint glass and receive a rich, frothy head. The events of the day go through my head as a meander to my computer, nothing particularly exciting or dismal today, but I’ve just been feeling a gloom. The beer is sounding quite good at this point. And it is pretty good.

I sipped on it for a bit, as my brother just called and we spoke for awhile. As it warmed and flattened, I’ve found myself enjoying this one more than I had before. At first, it had a flat bitterness to it that overrode most of the other flavors. Towards the bottom, this negative has subsided, giving it a nice, nonoffensive flavor, but still not too exciting.

This is another offering from the Frederick Brewing company, the makers of Blue Ridge Amber, which I loved, and has been reviewed right here on beerdrinker.org previously. I do not think that this beer compares to their amber—which has been conspicuously absent from my refrigerator for quite some time now.

Overall, this is a decent winter ale. I don’t feel that it compares to the fantastic Jubel Ale from Deschuttes, but it’s a fine option for a change. Go ahead and let it warm up a bit before getting too far into it.

Bizzare Mine Stuff

I’ve been in caves, but have never been down into a mine shaft. After all the Hardy Boys mysteries and AD&D I used to play, I sure have a romanticized ideal of them, though! Deep, winding caverns, bizarre echoes surrounded by muffled silence, creaking, underground waterways. And groovy headlamps! And don’t pass on all those treasures and wandering monsters.

Then there’s the remembrances of the Americans who built this country, toiling underground in coal mines, suffering blacklung, cave-ins, suffocation, and other horrible fates. Those men and boys (for the most part) gave so much, just to be brutalized by the company stores, modern-day serfs tied to land, debt, and dreams. Holding onto their pride, they gave so much for so little return. I guess that it still goes on today, although their lobby is weak, so they aren’t heard much.

But, in its ongoing effort to expose the illusions of my childhood and replace them with freakier ones, reality has dealt out two pretty gnarly stories. The first tells the tale of a town on a burner plate. It is now abandoned.

But even more bizarre is this one, detailing an ill-fated drilling job which drained a lake!