Goose the Blog 2.0

"Oh, ha! Sarcasm: The last refuge of sons of bitches!"


one year old today

by John at 6/24/2006 10:45:00 AM


Today is Elias' birthday! Some of the local supermarkets give parents a free cake on their child's first birthday, so Wendy is going around to a bunch of them and getting cakes. The two here are from Superfresh (left, $5 value) and Genuardi's (right, $14 value). I know where I'm going to shop from now on.

More pics starting here, but official birthday photos aren't up yet. Check back later tonight if you are so inclined.

Update: Birthday photos are up now (just browse forward from the link above), along with some from Elias' first swimming class.

Update 2: Sugar rush?


solstice header

by John at 6/21/2006 08:33:00 AM

Heads up - longest daylight of the year today (solstice at 3:26 PM EDT), so make it worthwhile. It just gets worse from now on.

In honor of one of this year's extrema, a new summery header, above, because nothing says summer at our house like overgrown ferns (except for overgrown weeds and they aren't as photogenic).

I am a victim

by John at 6/21/2006 08:14:00 AM


I think I got my first blasted copy-protected CD for Father's Day! I got Grandaddy's latest, Just Like the Fambly Cat, and it won't play on my Mac or in my car stereo. It played on my PC (weirdest thing!) so I ripped it to mp3 and now I'm going to give the whole album away to everyone I meet*.

Anyway, Grandaddy is broken up now so I don't have to boycott their future albums or anything. That's a relief.


* Not really, that's too much trouble. I do plan on burning a new CD from the tracks I copy off the fouled up disk, though, so I can have a CD of the album that actually works like it is supposed to.



by John at 6/20/2006 02:26:00 PM

Last night when Wendy brought Elias over to me for his goodnight kiss, he said, "Da-dee da-dee da-dee." First time ever, I think. That's pretty cool, right? I've been thinking about it all day.


Brush with celebrity

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 6/13/2006 11:24:00 PM

OK. So I don't know how everyone feels about Anthony Bourdain, but I spend many a Monday evening chuckling while watching No Reservations. Today I got lucky enough to chuckle while listening to him read a bit of The Nasty Bits at the University of Washington. He spent about an hour just answering questions about his charmed life too! If you get a chance to hear him speak, it's definitely worth it!!


Gnarls Barkley

by John at 6/10/2006 02:24:00 PM

Gnarls Barkley shows us that music can bring us all together. I think this is from the MTV Movie Awards. I know the word has been devalued because it gets tossed around so casually, but this really is genius. (via Pandagon)


another dead guy

by John at 6/08/2006 11:33:00 AM

So if you don't know Zarqawi was killed yesterday by a US airstrike, congratulations. You are living in a kind of media-impervious bubble. That must be cool.

Just the same, no snark here about turned corners or "Woohoo! We won the war on terror!" sarcasm.

But here's an interesting perspective from Michael Berg, a commited pacifist, Green Party Congressional candidate (in DE), and father of Nicholas Berg, a young man who was beheaded on video by Zarqawi (probably) back in the spring of 2004, when those kinds of things were still shocking:
O'BRIEN: Mr. Berg, thank you for talking with us again. It's nice to have an opportunity to talk to you. Of course, I'm curious to know your reaction, as it is now confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who is widely credited and blamed for killing your son, Nicholas, is dead.

MICHAEL BERG: Well, my reaction is I'm sorry whenever any human being dies. Zarqawi is a human being. He has a family who are reacting just as my family reacted when Nick was killed, and I feel bad for that.

I feel doubly bad, though, because Zarqawi is also a political figure, and his death will re-ignite yet another wave of revenge, and revenge is something that I do not follow, that I do want ask for, that I do not wish for against anybody. And it can't end the cycle. As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence.

O'BRIEN: I have to say, sir, I'm surprised. I know how devastated you and your family were, frankly, when Nick was killed in such a horrible, and brutal and public way.

BERG: Well, you shouldn't be surprised, because I have never indicated anything but forgiveness and peace in any interview on the air.

O'BRIEN: No, no. And we have spoken before, and I'm well aware of that. But at some point, one would think, is there a moment when you say, 'I'm glad he's dead, the man who killed my son'?

BERG: No. How can a human being be glad that another human being is dead?

Read the rest.


for your to do list

by John at 6/07/2006 07:02:00 AM

Bill and Amy (and any other Washingtonese):

Gen. JC Christian, Patriot, reminds us that the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is accepting public comments on NSA spying.

Update: Blogger was bloggered, but now it's not. I fixed the damn link.


stop taking pictures and get me outta here!

by John at 6/06/2006 09:17:00 PM


I know, I know. I've been remiss in uploading baby photos, but there are now 17 new ones starting here.


McDonald's goes green?

by John at 6/05/2006 07:36:00 PM

Did anyone else get this email today?

Date: Mon Jun 5 18:57:46 2006
From: McDonald's Interactive
To: [redacted]

June 5, 2006

Photos and downloads:
International Serious Games Event:

Company policies "lead planet to ruin"; division seeks mass mobilization

McDonald's Interactive announced today that it is striking out on its own from parent company McDonald's. The announcement was made at theInternational Serious Games Event in Birmingham, England. "We can no longer stand by while McDonald's corporate policies help lead the planet to ruin," said Andrew Shimery-Wolf, co-director of the former Interactive Division.

McDonald's Interactive was formed four years ago to help the company adapt to new market conditions.

"We began developing a simulation of the fast-food industry, for use by managers in developing market strategies." said Division CTO Sam Grossman. "When we added a climate simulation module, it showed those strategies helping lead to global calamity."

"Management doesn't seem to care, and we can't sit back and fiddle while Rome burns, so our team has decided to break away from McDonald's and do something about it," said Grossman.

The new organization's charter will be to help stimulate mass mobilization for policy change. "Mass mobilization has had some huge effects," said Dan Licari, the organizer of the International Serious Games Event. "No matter what the government thinks they want to do, they have to act, they're pressed into action."

"Scientists believe that to avoid ever-more-likely calamity, we must reduce our emissions by 70% very quickly," said Shimery-Wolf. "Since governments won't do that without popular pressure, helping to generate revolt is the only responsible choice, the only true CSR."

He characterized ordinary CSR efforts as "trivial improvements to a sinking ship, serving only to reassure passengers" and singled out British Petroleum's CSR campaign in particular as just a "slightly more polite form of world annihilation."

Please visit for the full text of today's announcement, as well as photographs and downloads.

I figure it is either a hoax or viral marketing. Anyway, check out the website. It is a nice dream scenario, but totally impossible, e.g.:
As for the leaders in government, many of them told us that though they understood the issues, there was no way to go in such a new direction without strong popular pressure behind them.

So now what? Will we stand by while we know that our activities are helping lead to catastrophe? No. We believe in CSR, and so if popular pressure is what government needs in order to change, then we must help generate popular pressure.

The concept of Abrupt Social Change, or ASC, is an old and respectable one, a shortcut from rationality to the nerve centers of power that has often accomplished what more systemic approaches cannot. The British Occupation of India, the Vietnam War, even feudalism in Europe were only ended through ASC movements.

And just as governments and NGOs have sometimes assisted ASC movements abroad, so we can be a force for Abrupt Social Change here at home. We in the Interactive Division are using all of our autonomy within McDonald's to do so.

1. For one thing, we are appealing to McDonald's franchisees to allow their restaurants to serve part-time as meeting areas where plans for mobilization can be developed, hatched, and acted upon. We have commitments so far from seven owners in Decatur, Illinois, Tucson, Arizona, and Troy, New York.

2. We will offer direct financial assistance from our divisional budget to groups actively involved in effecting ASC, within or outside of franchisee restaurants.

3. We will help develop technologies useful to mass mobilization, such as the cell-phone text broadcasters so useful in the Ukraine in the recent Orange Revolution. As for McMarketplace, it will serve as a tool to explore methods for change, and to learn just how governments might be forced to adequately control corporations.

Again, we strongly feel that legislation is indeed our only hope, and what we must fight for via Abrupt Social Change.

"Ethical consumerism" or other market-based approaches will not help. A recent poll showed that 83% of UK consumers intend to purchase ethically on a regular basis; 5% actually do. And boycotts and other forms of consumer pressure are valiant but ineffectual, capable of producing only momentary, localized changes in corporate policy. As for "ethical investment," its potential is sadly quite small.

No, economic forces won't save us; there's a reason we have governments, voting, and laws that must be obeyed. But since governments won't create the right laws without popular pressure, helping to generate that pressure is the only responsible choice, the only true CSR. Anything else is a milquetoast half-measure - a trivial improvement to a sinking ship, serving only to reassure passengers.

BP spends a tiny percentage of its profits on solar power while continuing to pump vast oceans of oil into the world's cars, airplanes, and atmosphere. You call that CSR? I call it a marginally more polite form of world annihilation.

We in the serious software industry have a powerful tool at our disposal. We can use it to change the world, or we can use it to serve suicidal corporate policies. We urge all of you here to join us in choosing the former, cost what it may.

Update: From the comments, it seems like this is a hoax for sure. One of the things I read posits that it might be the work of The Yes Men. If you have time, you might want to read about some of their hijinx. Genius.

Update 2: And now it's on Boing Boing.

abrupt climate change

by John at 6/05/2006 10:53:00 AM

Brother Bill sends this:
Well I finished laying the track and sorting out the wiring. Still not power up though as I need to buy three single pole switches for the power blocks. But it is coming along. This time the curve radii are much bigger, 15 inches on the mainline and twelve on the passing siding, that will well accommodate the larger cars and the passenger cars, which I have on order. I got the engine for the passenger cars, a beautiful 1950's EMD F7A, the design just screams 50's modernism.

What he neglects to say is that he is building his train set as a model of abrupt climate change, in which glaciers have swept down across Canada and covered the northern portions of the United States from Puget Sound to Long Island in a layer of ice and snow hundreds of meters thick.

Look at the detail in the second picture - I especially like the bluish cast to the ice, which captures the color of naturally occurring glacier algae. Excellent work!


revenge of the 30 second book reviews

by John at 6/01/2006 08:08:00 PM

Here it is June already, and I have barely read a page in all of May. I am currently mired in the muck of Walden Pond. Was Thoreau really such a curmudgeonly misanthrope at the ripe old age of thirty? Walden has the approximate tone of a cynical, world-weary college senior who has done- and seen-it-all. Undoubtedly Thoreau was a genius, and I just don't understand him yet. Hopefully, I will be able to wade back to shore soon, and I'll let you know what I really think about the book when I'm back on dry ground. (How's that for an extended metaphor?) Until then, however, I'll review the four books I managed to finish before I forget all about them.


Feersum Endjinn - Iain M. Banks
Is it a Culture novel? It might be, but it takes place on Earth eons in the future, where humans inhabit nanoengineered megastructures created by their ancient forbears and live in a world of technology they no longer understand. Powerful factions on Earth are feuding over a tool that may or may not save humanity from The Encroachment, a cloud of interstellar dust that promises to cause the ultimate destruction of the planet. It's a wonderful story. I really enjoyed the character of Bascule, a young man with an unusual brain who is capable of writing only in phonetic English (hence the title). This takes some getting used to, but by the end you'll be steaming along without any problems.

Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka (1912)
Gregor, a traveling salesman who has been supporting his family since his father failed in business, wakes up one morning and discovers he has turned into a giant bug! In lieu of a review, I will just link to this Franz Kafka Rock Opera from the "Director's Cut" episode of Home Movies. Actually, that has very little to do with the actual story. Anyway, Gregor horrifies his family and himself, but eventually gets more or less used to being a bug, even though his life is depressing and lonely. The ending of the novel seems prophetic once you also know a little bit about the end of Kafka's life. A classic, and short so you should give it a shot.

The Trial - Franz Kafka (1925)
Everyone is probably familiar with the concept of The Trial: A man ("K."), much to his surprise, is "arrested" one morning before breakfast and informed that he will be tried for certain unstated crimes in a secret court with secret laws. He is allowed no official legal representation, and (as far as anyone can say) everyone who is tried is found guilty. Naturally, this mysterious trial becomes his obsession and his work and social life suffer. K. seems to unwittingly make his situation worse at every step. As a reader, it is a little hard to feel sorry for K. - he is not a very sympathetic character - but then again he is thrust into a difficult situation not of his making. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and use my literary analysis skills. This is not a story about the liberal and humanist failings of secretive authoritarian governments. Rather, the trial itself is a metaphor for life, in which we are all being judged for failings we are not aware of using rules we cannot comprehend. We are all going to be found guilty, and eventually we all face punishment. Deep. This story is a little difficult to read because, I think, it was never really finished. It has an ending, but it just doesn't seem polished. You should read it, however, just so that when you refer to the Bush administration's policy of indefinite detention of enemy combatants, secret laws, secret courts, and secret trials, you can call them Kafkaesque without pretension (as previously noted).

A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick
Fred is an undercover narcotics cop. He is so deep undercover that even his superiors don't know who he really is, and they have him surveilling his alter ego, superdrug Substance D user and abuser, Bob Arctor. The drugs invariably cause brain damage after too much use, and give Fred/Bob a split personality. Pretty soon it's not clear who is who or who is doing what to whom. It's another interesting set up by Dick, although there aren't as many layers to this reality as in some of his other stories. It never was my scene, but supposedly this novel captures many of the textures of an addict's life exceedingly well. This summer Keanu Reeves is starring in the film version of this story, rotoscopicly animated by Richard Linklater, so maybe you should read it now.