Thursday, January 27, 2005

Auschwitz liberation day

60 years ago Auschwitz was liberated by Allied forces (Russians). Now they (survivors, politicians, human right groups, etc.) are celebrating the event.

As I mentioned before, the Muslim Council of Britain is boycotting this event on account of the fact that it does not include the suffering of Palestinian people.

While I think that there is no need to specifically include all other occasion of genocide in the celebration of the liberation of Auschwitz, some general genocide victims rememberance day would not be a bad idea. Problem is, it would not include Palestinians even then, for the obvious reason that no genocide is happening there.

Could include a lot of other events, though. Rwanda is definitely worth mentioning, and Darfur, although it has not quite yet achieved the same numbers, and Bangladesh and Cambodia and Stalin and Mao, and the mass murder of Armenians in Turkey. I am sure the Muslim Council of Britain would be satisfied.

Actually, considering how many Muslim organizations there are out there continuously complaining about various real, imagined, present and past abuses against Muslims, it's amazing how little we ever hear about the genocide that happened in Bangladesh in 1971. 3 million Bangladeshi got killed, which must have been the biggest mass murder of civilian Muslims in recent history. A cynic in me says that that's because they haven't figured out a way to blame that one on the Jews yet.

Holy shit

I'd never known I'd see an article that would make me feel like smoking a cigarette.

Weyco Inc., a company in Michigan, now bans its employees from smoking both at work and at home. Yeah, and they have mandatory breath testing, too.

The founder and owner, who is some sort of a health nut, would like to fire overweight workers too, but the damn buggers are legally protected, so he has to resort to just hiring an eating disorder therapist and eating coaches. Smokers aren't legally protected. In many states they are, but Michigan is not one of them.

Weyco Inc. is not the only one: Kalamazoo Valley Community College does not hire smokers for full-time jobs, but at least they just ask, they don't test. Not that you'd want a college with a name like that on your resume anyway.

The employers are saying that state and federal laws prevent discrimination based on age, race, color, gender, marital status, national origin, weight, height and religion. Everything else is all right then. Discrimination by penis length, anyone?

What next, employers who try to ban eating shrimp and having sex doggie-style at home?

Arrested for using lynx?

This is just too funny.

Phantom of the Opera

Went to see the Phantom of the Opera yesterday. I'd never seen it before, and did not know the plot.

The music was great (some of it anyway) and the movie was visually beautiful, but I don't remember when I'd last seen a movie to which it was so difficult to connect emotionally. I mean, I don't really expect realistic characters and plots from a musical, but these were totally incomprehensible people doing totally incomprehensible things.

A new card

Finally got a real ethernet card and installed it, except that something just isn't right.

YaST (SuSE's admin facility), which I used to configure cards, let me configure the new card as eth0 and the old one as eth1. When I booted the computer it insisted on seeing them the other way around, and neither card worked. When I reconfigured them as eth1 and eth0 the computer chooses to see only one of them, apparently at random. Or rather it sees the other one too, and even manages to get some IP address through DHCP, but it doesn't even let me ping the gateway. Whatever. The new one works, anyway. At least until the next boot when it might choose to use the old one again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A country with land

What would happen if a country is completely destroyed (in the sense of 100% of the land mass being uninhabitable) but most of the population survives? Let's take for example Monaco (not that I would want such trouble on it, it's a lovely place) and imagine that something destroyed all of its land but did it slowly enough for the people to get out. What would happen? Would other countries (and which ones) offer a refuge for its population? Would some country donate land for the establishment of the new Monaco? (I suppose in a generic case the answer is probably not, but in the case of Monaco you really don't need an awful lot of land.) If no land were forthcoming, would the country survive as some kind of entity (for example having a goverment-in-exile that mostly concerns itself with cultural things and a population that is assimilating into the host countries but maintaining some of its old identity)?

What would happen if nobody wanted to accept the population? What would happen if it were a small EU country, for example Luxembourg? Would other EU countries accept its population without much noise or would they start claiming that since the country does not exist anymore it is not a EU member and therefore its citizens do not get to move freely within the EU? What if it were a much bigger EU country?

Better late than never

AOL has decided to discontinue Usenet access for its users, probably as a public service to the rest of us. I'd say this comes eleven years too late, but better late than never.

Oh, sweet memories of AOL... Way back when, sometime in 1995 or thereabout, there was a small bunch of Finns and a lot of AOLers on All the AOLers were posting that they are over 21 and they want the video, although it must have been months since anyone mentioned what video they were talking about, and all the Finns were making fun of AOLers in Finnish. After rot13 failed to convert Finnish into English the AOLers started wondering what is this strange encryption system all about, and Finns explained to them that they are on a Finnish newsgroup.

AOLers then asked Finns to stop speaking Finnish on, and explained to them that it was not a Finnish newsgroup, but a newsgroup about sex that got accidentally put into a Finnish newsgroup hierarchy. This statement caused much amusement. In the end some particularly bright AOLer figured that this was indeed a Finnish newsgroup, and told us that he adores Finnish women, especially the lovely Pekka Mäkinen. He even wrote some poem for Pekka.

Those were the days...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fond memories of school, again

When I was in school in Russia, we had dentist visits once a year. Finnish people talk about school dentists - I don't know whether it means that every school in Finland has its own dentist, but ours in any case were not directly affiliated with schools, they were just public (city?) dentists who booked appointments for whole schools.

The checkup were mandatory. The treatment wasn't, but nobody ever informed us about it, although I think most people knew. In any case I knew that in case of anything more serious than a small cavity I should refuse their treatment and go to some dentist with whom I have "connections".

The more serious thing came up when I was about 15. They found something that they rightly believed was a root canal. You did't do a root canal in Russia unless you either had connections or extra money to bribe the dentist. Regular city dentists did them badly, and without anaesthesia. So when they told me I had a root canal, I thanked them, told them I was going to go to my own dentist and got up.

The woman got really pissed off. She started screaming that going to my own dentist is out of question and that I should sit back down in the chair right now. I said "no" and started leaving. She grabbed my arm and tried to drag me back. I grabbed her instruments, which were on the table beside the chair, aimed them at her face, and pointed out that I am a bigger person who is holding sharp objects, and therefore it would be unwise to hold on to me - I think I even managed to say that without using any unprintable word. She let me go.

Years later my friend Tanya told me a very similar story that ended differently - she was much smaller, did not think of arming herself with dental instruments, and ended up getting a forced anaesthesia-free root canal, after which she was too traumatized to visit a dentist for the next 12 years.

Thought number one: many people like to say that violence never solves anything, but really it does in many cases.

Thought number two: what was wrong with those people, exactly? Their salary did not depend on the number of procedures they did; why did they want to force root canals on people instead of just letting people go and drinking coffee with each other?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dumbfucks R Us

Yeah, that's me. Went to the Verkkokauppa, bought the damn card, brought it home, realized that it does not even fit into the computer, asked around, was told that the letters LP mean that it is not supposed to fit into a normal computer, am trying to exchange it for a real card. Grrr!

Curiouser and curiouser

The Muslim Council of Britain is planning to boycott this week's commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz (some kind of a big event at Westminster Hall). That's because it does not include the commemoration of the suffering of the people of Palestine (not in Auschwitz, I think).

The article in Telegraph said "it will not attend because the event did not include what it described as continuing human rights abuses and genocide in the occupied territories of Palestine", but I assume they did not mean that they wanted abuses to be included in the event, but just the commemoration of them.

Muslim Council of Britain are what is considered as moderate folks. You know, of the kind whom Al-Muhajiroun used to call "the voice of Shaytan". It is also Britain's largest Muslim organization.

I am a cynical bitch, of course, and the first thought that came to my mind was: will anybody else there really miss them that much if they don't show up?

Pad ads and pregnancy tests

Why is it when they advertise pads or tampons they use blue liquid? If there is something blue coming out of your pussy the choice of the optimal pad brand is not your most urgent problem.

One thing I should have written about a while ago but forgot: last time I bought a pregnancy test, some other brand of tests had a big ad on each box "Ilmainen lahja: Vauva, normaali arvo 5.50" ("Free gift: Baby, normal price 5.50"). It took me a while to realize that they are offering the magazine called "Baby".

Excuse me, I know that I am not a poster child for political correctness myself, but isn't this a bit insensitive? I mean, not every user of a pregnancy test is hoping for the kind of result that would make them want to buy a baby magazine. I think this free gift would have kind of pissed me off if the test came out positive. In fact it pisses me off even though the test came out negative and I bought another brand anyway. Shouldn't at least some of the tests have an abortion services brochure as a free gift instead? I think it is too much to hope for an abortion magazine with a cutesy name, such as Scrapety-scrape or Uterus Cleaners.

In the news

There is an interesting article about human sacrifice on CNN (the sacrifice that they write about was practiced in the American Indian cultures, the article is on CNN). One quote that I especially like:

"Researchers have largely discarded the old theory that sacrifice and cannibalism were motivated by a protein shortage in the Aztec diet..."

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that Viagra may aid in the treatment of enlarged hearts that can result from high blood pressure. Check it out, guys.

There was an unbelievable snowstorm in Boston yesterday, 60 cm or so of snow. Inquiring minds (such as my mother) want to know why such snowstorms always happen on weekends, as opposed to weekdays. Boston Logan airport is closed indefinitely. Hope they are gonna open it by fall for my visit.

Fuck, fuck, fuckety-fuck

It's four fucking thirty in the morning, the fucking web interface of my software hasn't even started working, my fucking Realtek ethernet card has been falling apart every hour or so, and my fucking neighbors have been banging their heads against the wall. Literally. My wall. Which probably means that they have a Realtek card too.

Tomorrow - that is, if I am not in prison for the axe murders of head- and wallbanging neighbors - I am gonna buy myself a new card. The lucky winner is 3Com Fast Etherlink XL 3C905CX-TX LP. If you have had bad experiences with this card, speak now, or forever hold your peace. The company's web page is not encouraging, but, as one good friend told me today, let's hope that the card's microcontrollers are not coded by the same people as the webpage.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Been working too much

This work day has lasted 28 hours now. I would like to go home to bed, but cannot until I talk to a couple of coworkers about the software. Can't really code now, either, not until I get some sleep.

I am not sleepy though, just very hyper and unable to concentrate on anything.

And no, I don't do such long days particularly often.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A prayer

Dear Lord,

Please help me concentrate on writing the damn software, or else my employer will chew my head off. Also, please help the employer concentrate on salary.

Please do not lead me into temptation with that really good Austrian Samichlaus beer. Failing that, at least reduce the prices on it. Ten euros is really too much.

Do not lead me into licentiousness and immorality, such as buying sex toys made by N.M.C, Ltd. without having a clear idea of their proper use, or installing new versions of the Linux kernel for no good reason. For the purposes of this prayer you can assume that the kernel version that I am installing right now is being installed for a good reason.

Please insert the sex toy that I am currently using for propping the washing machine into the appropriate orifice of its designer, unless he or she would enjoy it.

If you have time, please write a decent patch for the 8139too ethernet card driver. Failing that, get me another card.

Do not lead me into temptation of buying new hardware all the time, for therein lies madness, huge credit card bills and constant search for drivers.

If you are in the mood for smiting, there is always Omar Bakri Mohammed. Do invent something perverse for him. For starters he should be caught fornicating with a similar fanatic of the same sex, but a different religion, and thereafter he should find bestiality and some radically new religion, such as Hare Krishna (no offence to them), and he should move to Saudi Arabia to preach his new religion. This plan has a flaw, since the man has already been kicked out of Saudi Arabia for being too much of an Islamic fanatic, but I am sure you can work around that.

If you have time after smiting Islamic fanatics, you might want to do some smiting of spammers. They deserve a milder punishment. For example, all their spam might be printed on the paper and all the paper fed to them.

And please, please do not give me impure thoughts when I am trying to concentrate on Enterprise Java Beans. I already have enough impure thoughts during the rest of the day.

Our friend Omar Bakri Mohammed, again

Now British police - Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch - is investigating Bakri Mohammed's online sermons and having discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service. They found out, for one thing, that he has held an Al Qaeda recruiting rally this month. At the British headquarters of the Quaker movement, no less (they were not informed what the metting was about).

"I declare we should ourselves join the global Islamic camp against the global crusade camp," - said Bakri Mohammed. He can consider all Christians or the Western world in general as an enemy, of course, but doesn't it strike him that declaring war on the enemy while being in the enemy camp and surrounded by overwhelming numbers of the same enemy might not be the most winning survival strategy? OK, the man is a cleric and not a general, but you really don't need to be an Einstein to figure that one out. I recommend him Carl von Clausewitz, On War, book 3, chapter 8. The warfare has changed a lot since Clausewitz's times, but it's still not worth attacking the UK with an army of 600 thugs.

Good use for anal beads (no sexual content)

I finally found a good use for anal beads that I bought a little while ago. Although N.M.C, Ltd's product called Jelly Soft Butt Beads (size 21mm, model 2PB1641-2) should definitely not be inserted up one's butt or other bodily orifices unless one is a serious masochist, they are very good for propping up a washing machine on uneven floor surfaces. My bathroom has a rather uneven floor, and now that I stuck the beads under the washing machine it is not trying to hop all around that floor anymore.

Apropos bathroom: yesterday I saw a pretty big fountain coming out of the hole in the floor. I did
not appreciate it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Bakri Mohammed preaches again

Omar Bakri Mohammed is an extremist Moslem cleric who used to lead the Al-Muhajiroun organization. He disbanded them in October, much to my disappointment. I used to like reading them and quoting them on a slow day.

Now he is having broadcasts in an internet chatroom. "I believe the whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb (land of war)," - he said. In such a state, he added, "the kuffar (non-believer) has no sanctity for their own life or property." He also urged his followers to join Al Qaeda.

One of his avid readers was The Times. When confronted by them, he said that he did not, of course, mean anything bad or violent. His definition of Dar ul-Harb is, of course, purely theoretical, and he just wanted to encourage Moslems to move away from such a horrible place. Mr. Bakri Mohammed himself is, of course, still in UK and has been for 18 years now, living on social security benefits. I am sure he wants to remain in Britain for a while to watch over the spiritual welfare of the Moslems who are still there. Now, I understand that it's not nice to kick people for living on social security benefits, but if the esteemed welfare father spends most of his days urging part of the population of his host country to take arms against the rest of the population, wouldn't you think that it might be nice to find him a real job? Aren't there any toilets in UK that need to be cleaned?

A quote from Danimal

Normally I don't quote Daniel Mocsny here, because Ilkka does it already, but this is so good that I have to:

A bit of critical thinking about the natural world makes it obvious that if there is a God, he/she/it does not share my values."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Will weirdness never end?

2:30 am. The bell (actually a phonelike device) connected to the front door rings.

"Do you have tea?"
"Who is this?"
"This is Grinberg from the neighborhood. Do you have green tea?"
"Oh. Sorry to have bothered you."

Never heard of any Grinberg. The conversation was in English and the speaker sounded native.

A really strange encounter

Anu and I went to a pub with two friends and a number of nice new people we hadn't met before. The new people were for the most part lovely, but for the most part smoking, but considerate, which meant that they spent most of the time in the other room. One new person sat with us though, and beat all the recent records for weirdness.

Guy A, who sat with us, told me that guy B and guy C, who sat in the other room, were very interested in me sexually and talking about me, and that I should do something about it. Given that it was my understanding that B is a happily married man and C is gay, I found this idea very strange.

B came to our table a bit later, and did not show any signs of being interested. He chatted with us about this and that and went back to the smoking room. After that A asked things like "don't you fancy B?", "he is so beautiful", "all girls like him" and "he has lovely muscles". A, mind you, is also a heterosexual man. I explained to him that no, I don't fancy B even though he seems like a perfectly nice person, and, besides, B is married and just had a baby, and I have a boyfriend.

A asked me what kind of men I do fancy, and volunteered to get them for me. I reminded him that I still have a boyfriend. (Yeah, yeah, we do have an open relationship but I reckoned it was not the right moment to start explaining that.) "You don't have to have sex with them," - said A. "You can have a good time just by talking to them." I explained that I have a perfectly good time talking to average-looking and ugly guys as well, and don't need to find particularly beautiful guys for that purpose.

Than A started explaining to me how much he would be interested if I did not have a boyfriend, and how he wouldn't touch me in any way because I do. He explained it for quite a long while.

Besides that, the guy had some problem with sex. He did not like talking about sex, or about tits (they were a conversation subject at some point; luckily not mine). In fact he disliked the tit conversation so much that he kept telling us to stop talking about tits about ten minutes after that conversation was over, when we were talking about port, herring and rye bread. I guess he did not like port as a conversation topic either.

Later in the evening he disliked talking about sex so much that he exclaimed "I wish I would meet somebody with whom I could just talk about music and who wouldn't talk and think about sex all the time!" I know that none of you will believe it, but we - the rest of us, anyway - really weren't talking about sex at that point. We were talking about whether a temporary sysadmin gig in a really cool place is worth having to deal with Windows NT.

I feel somewhat bad relaying this conversation like that, but I sort of had to share it with the world. Besides, I am not relaying the private bits - only the bits that other people at the table, and, in case of the anti-sex exclamation, all other people in the room have heard, and I hope that nobody who wasn't there would recognize the guy in question. In fact, for his own sake I hope that the poor bugger doesn't remember any of this in the morning.

Yeah, and in case anybody is wondering, I wasn't exactly a shining paragon of wonderful people skills either. But that was in a more private part of the conversation, so I am not telling the details.

Pentagon suunnitteli homokaasua

"The US military investigated building a "gay bomb", which would make enemy soldiers "sexually irresistible" to each other, government papers say," - sanoo BBC. Ja tänään ei edes ole aprillipäivä.

Friday, January 14, 2005

A whole new net connection

Am very pleased with my new Saunalahti ADSL, and with the modem I bought (Zyxel Prestige 660H-61). Did not need to do anything, just connected the modem to the phone line and the computer, and it started working.

Welho can take its "get less bandwidth for more money"-ads and stick them right where the sun don't shine.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Society has given you a load of free crap

Hiski's comment reminded me - and I have probably written about it before and will write again:

What's exactly the problem of the people who just love to tell everyone else how society has given them this and that and how they should be grateful? Just where the fuck do they imagine the society's money comes from, if not the citizens' pockets? Who are we supposed to be grateful to for the "free" stuff? We are the ones paying for it.

When people live together in a society it's convenient to pay for some of the things together rather than each paying for himself or herself. Roads, police, street cleaning, education, at least some health care, etc. That's why we have taxes and public services. So why is it that in some people's minds the money that we spend by paying taxes and getting public services somehow becomes a gift that the society bestows on us and that we should be grateful for?

Your parents' taxes pay for your "free" school lunches, and for your "free" schools too. When you go to a doctor in the public health system, you are paying for it. The fact that you pay when the taxes get deducted from your paycheck and not when you get a bill is not essential, at least for the purpose of gratitude.

Of course there are people who give nothing and get everything - for example those who were born disabled, but that's not the point, and the people who say "you should be grateful" don't mean specifically them. And of course some people pay more than they get and some get more than they pay, but that is not the point either. At least I don't usually see people who say "you should be grateful to society for free this-and-that" also say "society should be grateful for you for paying taxes", or even "society should be grateful to rich people for paying taxes".

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


A few days ago I made well-deserved fun of judges Nygaard, McKee and Chertoff, who decided that testing hair for drugs after first detaching it from the owner in not considered search or seizure. And just you look at that - now Bush wants Chertoff to be the secretary of Homeland Security.

True happiness... a 160G Seagate Barracuda.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Smoking ban in Italy

Smoking ban finally went into effect in restaurants and bars in Italy yesterday. How long it is before Finland has a similar ban, and maybe the rest of the EU?

Sweden is next, starting in June. And then who? Netherlands?

Anyway, a cause for celebration, although to celebrate properly I should have a vacation in Italy.

Another piece of hairy news

The leaders of North Korea have urged the male population to keep their hair short. They advised all men to get haircuts every fifteen days. Shit, that would mean that they would get a haircut almost as often as they get a dinner!

State-approved short hairstyles are the 'flat-top crew cut', 'middle hairstyle', 'lowhairstyle', and 'high hairstyle'. Men over 50 are allowed 7cm of hair on top of the head to cover balding. Those who are balding prematurely are allowed to run in circles, scream and shout.

Apparently the campaign has not yet come to actual forced haircuts, only to chasing the owners of unapproved haircuts with a TV camera and ridiculing them on the show called Let us Trim our Hair in Accordance with Socialist Lifestyle. The name of the show awakened so many childhood memories in me that I had to go to the toilet and throw up.

Some long-haired men captured on camera 'meanly ran away', the programme said. Duh!

The state TV said that long hair has a "negative effect" on "human intelligence development" as it consumes "a great deal of nutrition". So that's how they decided to solve the food problem! Inquiring minds want to know whether a) the campaign against long hair on women is next, b) women don't need intelligence, or c) women's hair don't need nutrition. One would also like to know the hair length of the person who came up with this amazing biological discovery. I am not asking anything about his or her intelligence development.

One cannot help but notice that Kim Jong Il has a little longer hair than he advises for his male subjects. Is this because he does not need any more intelligence, or because he is not lacking in nutrition, or because the subjects are just not allowed to have longer hair than their leader? In the latter case - run, North Korean men, run, before he decides to measure his penis!

Hardware stores (rant)

Why the fuck do the fucking hardware stores never have anything in stock? And most of them don't tell you what they have in stock on their webpage, either.

A reality check for you, dear store owners: if I bother to drag mt sorry ass to your store, it means that I want to buy whatever it is I want to buy right fucking now. I don't want to get it in a few days. If I did, I would have gotten it elsewhere.

No, you don't have to order it for me. I know how to order it from the internet for myself, thank you very much, and for a few euros less. And no, don't offer me that thing with three more ethernet slots for eight euros more. You may think it's a better product for having more holes, but I don't have anything to stick in there.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sex tips

My friend Leena wants me to write sex tips for nerds sometime. One tip that she suggested just as I was getting an orgasm from the fact that SuSE has finally released the web version of 9.2, was whispering in your partner's ear: "honey, SuSE 9.2 has just come".

The weekend

The weekend was pretty nice. Had some wine on Friday with Heli, Discurssi and a beer on Saturday and sex on Sunday.

On Saturday night they promised us a huge storm but it was not that big. There was a flood though, and on Sunday I went to Kauppatori to take some pictures.

Went to Sin City to buy some geisha balls, but they all had a warning that they shouldn't be used if one has an IUD, so I didn't. So I bought some anal beads instead, which turned out to be a mistake. The ones I bought - it doesn't mention the manufacturer, but they cost six-something and are in a little box where they are rolled in a flower-like arrangement and tied with a string - should not be used by anyone except the most serious masochists. The string that keeps them together is really coarse, and the knots have sharp corners. I am sure none of you really wanted to hear this, but this was a public service announcement, in case anyone is thinking of buying those. They might make a reasonably good toy for a cat though.

Bloody hell (school food, again)

I talked with Killeri yesterday, and with Kaius and Mio today, and they all said that in their schools (at least in the primary school) one had to eat everything as well. Bloody hell. Never imagined that some things were better in Russian schools than here.

In the first grade we were all taken to the school cafeteria during the lunch break, and we were sort of supposed to eat. Problem was, I never ate anything except rye bread, bologna and frankfurters as a kid (that's lauantaimakkara and nakit to you Finns), and the cafeteria usually had some really stupid food that I wouldn't touch with a long stick, like porridge. The teacher usually told me that we'll (herself and me) have to sit there until I eat. I told her that then we'll sit there forever, and we did usually sit until the end of the lunch break. After a semester she got tired and told my parents to stop paying for lunch, and this I was forever rid of school lunches.

After the beginning of the fourth grade we did not have organized class lunches anymore, and we could come to the cafeteria on our own and buy a lunch if we felt like it, and I sometimes did, when they had something I liked, but after a little while I realized that all the food is recycled and stopped eating anything that could be recycled.

So school was easy in that respect. Daycare was less so. Every day, three times a day, somebody yelling at you for not eating. I could never see what's the point in trying to force somebody to eat. What do they expect to gain, except a plateful of porridge in the face? Or a fork in the eye, if the kid is in an especially vicious mood.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Shut up and eat your meat, or French weirdness

In Villefranche-sur-Saône, France, parents of some public school students were informed, in writing, that their kids would be kicked out of the school cafeteria if they refuse to eat meat. The students in question were Moslem; they refused to eat the meat served in the school cafeteria because it was not halal.

According to sources (they are numerous; try googling on "Villefranche-sur-Saône" if you are interested, I am sure there is nothing else newsworthy happening there anyway) the children are supposed to eat everything they are given, or at least a little bit of every food they are given. Those who fail to do so will be banished from the school cafeteria. Apparently the whole thing started when a group of Moslem parents asked that their children be allowed not to eat the meat. They were not demanding halal meat or anything; just not to eat the regular one. And now they apparently got their answer in written form.

Now, I am not the greatest friend of the world's most peaceful religion, but isn't this too much? Kicking kids out of the cafeteria and refusing to serve them any part of lunch because they don't want to eat a part of it? Is that normal in France? Hmm, if my school cafeteria tried to make everyone eat a bit of everything they'd lose all their clientele. Hey, wait, they did! Wonder what they do about the kids who are allergic?

The Moslem parents say that only Moslem families were targeted and no letter were send to any vegetarians. The town says that that's because there aren't any vegetarians. Thanks heaven! Imagine what would have happened to law and order and cuisine if vegetarians had invaded the town? Or, god forbid, vegans?

My advice to the Moslem parents: get an Orthodox Jewish family to move there, and they will straighten everything out for you. Extra points if the parents are lawyers and the kids are lactose-intolerant vegans.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Search and seizure

In the weirdest judicial decision to come lately from the Land of the Free, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has decided, in Coddington v. Evanko, that taking hair samples is not covered by the Fourth Amendement. ("The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.")

They are referring to an earlier decision that states that taking a hair sample is not a search, and now they decided that it is not a seizure either, and therefore is not covered by the Fourth Amendement and can be done without a warrant or a probable cause. For comparison, things like blood samples and fingernail scrapings are covered by the Fourth Amendment; things like fingerprints, voice samples and handwriting samples aren't.

The case was as following: William Coddington, a Pennsylvania State Trooper, reported to work one day and then was told that he is suspected of using cocaine, and was ordered to give hair samples. He submitted to taking the hair samples, which resulted in bald patches on his scalp. No evidence of illegal drugs was found, and no evidence of a probable cause given.

The court, in its infinite wisdom, decided that "there is no greater expectation of privacy with respect to hair which is on public display than with respect to voice, handwriting or fingerprints", that having one's hair forcibly cut is not an "annoying, frightening, and perhaps humiliating experience" and that's if the guy has kept his hair so short that they couldn't take a sufficient sample without producing bald spots it's his own damn problem.

I suppose now the citizens are expected to keep their hair sufficiently long that in case any police officer wants a sample without any probable cause they could give him or her a sufficient sample without any visible cosmetic damage. Unless, of course, every cop starts asking for one, or unless the cops suddenly increase the sample size dramatically, in which case nobody has that much hair.

This decision means, of course, that police is allowed to cut a sample of anyone's hair without a probable cause. Wonder if they can be sued for assault and battery? If they only take the already-loose hairs, then probably not even that. And it's fairly easy to take a sample of loose hairs from any person you are arresting - just run your hand through their hair and you've got a few.

Don't know if Mr. Coddington has ever used illegal drugs, but I sure don't need a hair sample to figure out that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is smoking some really weird shit.

And if having one's hair forcibly cut is not an "annoying, frightening, and perhaps humiliating experience", then hey, a couple of my friends need some practice using clippers, and dear judges Nygaard, McKee and Chertoff are most cordially invited to be models for them. I suppose if they accept this invitation it does not qualify as forcible, but I am sure we can make them feel annoyed and frightened enough.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Got a weird flu. Keep sneezing and coughing, but nothing actually comes out.

11 hours of sleep did good, but as soon as I went out to forage for food and Kleenex started feeling worse. Have no idea why.

Actually: why the hell do I need Kleenex if nothing comes out of the nose anyway? Silly me.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

No naked people at homes, please

The Mexican city of Villahermosa has adopted a law banning indoor nudity. Now citizens are not allowed to be naked at home.

The punishment is 36 hours in jail, or a fine of $121.

We are talking about zero tolerance ... for a lack of morality,'' said city councilwoman Blanca Estela Pulido of the Revolutionary Institutional Party, which governs the state and city. What else could you possibly expect from a party with such a name?

And the best part:

Pulido said she was confident that citizens who catch a glimpse of offenders would report them to police -- though the law also threatens jail for peeping Toms.

Hey, these people really know how to collect revenue.


Am awfully sleepy and tired, probably should sleep sometime. Although in fact did sleep seven hours last night.

Spent a nice evening with good people and a lot of food yesterday. Am never eating anything ever again.

Two questions to think about:

1. Whose gray scarf is in my apartment?

2. Why do socks always rotate around your feet when you wear them, so that the heel part comes to the front?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

New Year

The New Year's party was fun, the next day's party was fun, the hangover day was mostly OK, although I am too sleepy for my taste.

A gray scarf has mysteriously materialized at my place. Its owner should come and get it.