Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Päivän quote, aka "it's not a bug, it's a feature"

"Kyseessä ei ole mikään bugi, vaan on normaalia, että kun äänikomento näppiä painaa ja vaikka et sanoisikaan mitään puhelin yrittää hakea lähimmän mahdollisen "taustamelua" vastaavan nimen osoitekirjsta ja alkaa soittamaan siihen numeroon. Puhelimesi vaikuttaa toimivan oikein."

Nokia Care, vastaukseksi kysymykseen siitä, miksi mun Nokia 6555 soittaa satunnaisille ihmisille mun osoitelistalta jos vahingossa painaa ääninumerovalinta-nappia. Edellinen kysymykseni koski sitä, miten ääninumerovalinnan saa pois päältä, ja vastaus oli "ei mitenkään".

Nyt kyllä tekee mieli opettaa tämän featuren keksijälle mitä sanat "cell phone penetration" oikeasti tarkoittavat.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring and wine

The neighbor's bulldog seems to like me. She has invaded my apartment three times already, although nowadays the owner tends to be on a shorter leash and has learned to extract her from my place really fast.

I am not sure how I managed to earn such attention.

Spring is coming. It's getting warm, which seems sort of noteworthy.

Vappu is coming too. Objective: not to drink too much sparkling wine. Gonna be an epic fail.

While we are on the subject of wine: I bought a bottle of non-alcoholic red today and the salesperson specifically warned me that it was non-alcoholic. Which makes me wonder: why is there so little non-alcoholic wine around? Is it bad? (I am about to find out.) I have a feeling that people tend to think of non-alcoholic wine as something fake and unworthy - including the people who actually dislike alcohol and drink wine for taste only. Oh well, maybe it is bad. We'll see.

Went to the zoo yesterday. I tend to go there on a sunny day and then remember why cloudy days are better. Anyway, it was a disappointment: no more seals, no more arctic foxes, most of the animals asleep somewhere. The only things that saved the day were a couple of camels kissing like young lovers, and a very determined otter that was trying to give itself a blow job.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A story

Finally finished the first draft of a story I was writing.

It's semi-humorous semi-violent science fiction. It's fairly long, but if somebody bothers to read it, comments are welcome.

Pant crisis

Pant crisis is upon me again, and this time seriously.

Pants can't stand me. I, on the other hand, can't stand skirts. We have a problem.

Bad habits die hard. I tend to walk a lot, walk with my legs touching each other, and sit in weird positions with my legs wide open and/or crossed. All of this leads to occasional violent disintegration of pants, resulting in excessive ventilation in the crotch area and involuntary indecent exposure.

Buying bigger pants doesn't help. The pair that disintegrated on me a couple of days ago was so big they tended to fall off completely, and once actually did so when I forgot to wear a belt.

Anyway, yesterday I realized that I am one rather flimsy pair of pants away from having to run to a pant store wrapped in a towel or a jacket (yes, happened to me once before) and went shopping.

Shit. The Eighties fashions - may their inventors forever wear shoulder pads in their condoms - came back with a vengeance, and most of the pants are really tight in the lower leg. Apart from the ugliness of it, the problem is, they don't fit. At all. It's quite natural that some pants are too small and don't fit my ass, but I try the pants meant for my size and can't fit them over my calves. They never even reach the ass. The ones that do reach the ass are so big that they don't want to stay on it.

In my experience this is not a problem that can be solved by gaining or losing weight, the proportions stay the same.

This time I found a pair of jeans that actually fit, but if this Eighties thing continues and spreads, what the hell am I gonna do?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Community, paging community!"

Lately there has been a problem in Rovaniemi. A group of young Kurdish asylum seekers has been harassing women. More specifically, a 22-year old Iranian-born woman, her sister, who was harassed in front of her small child, some other foreign-born women and some Finnish women. The harassment mostly targeted foreign-born women, has lasted for four months, and consisted of shouting obscenities, following women, spitting on them, and at least one death threat. The harassers were somewhat fewer than a dozen young Kurdish men. The asylum seeker center is not sure who they are.

Excuse me? The Rovaniemi asylum seeker center has 100 places. Is it really hard to find who those people are? How many of the residents exactly are young Kurdish men?

Now Astrid Thors, Finland's immigration minister, is hoping that Finland's Kurdish community will take responsibility for the actions of the young men.

She is aware that there is no Kurdish community in Rovaniemi.

WTF? More specifically, what the fuck does she expect them to do? It would be of course nice if Kurds in general disapproved of the aforementioned behavior, and some surely do, but what does she expect them to do about it, especially if they live elsewhere and don't know the guys in question?

She also says that those are isolated incidents. Let's see. There are 86 Kurdish-speaking people resident in Lapland (not including the asylum applicants). I am not sure what exactly is meant by "young Kurdish men", but 19 of them are men aged 15-29. If there are, say, 10 harassers, and if they are the only young Kurdish men in the asylum seeker center, they constitute about a third of Lapland's young Kurdish men. To me this sure looks like a significant part of the community is in fact trying to teach values to immigrant women, and rather actively - the are just not the values that I, or Astrid Thors, would like to be taught.

On a more general note, every time the official authorities say they are "working with the community" it gives me cold shivers. Yeah, I understand that sometimes the police, for example, needs to know something about some community, and then they ask somebody they know. But every time there is talk about negotiation with a community, or a community taking responsibility, or a community demanding this or that, some kind of "community leaders" tend to arise.

Who are my community leaders? I have no idea, but I know that I have not elected them, have not empowered them to speak for me, and have no means of making them answer to me. If they tell me that they have agreed on something on my behalf, I will answer with a one-finger salute.

Yes, if the authorities wish that Russians/Jews/Americans stop doing some illegal thing (for example, mooning the immigration minister), and I know some Russians/Jews/Americans who are doing it, I'll tell them it's not nice. On the other hand, I would say the same thing to the Finns I know, and I certainly wouldn't approach strangers of any ethnicity or national origin to tell them not to do it.

We have police here in Finland, and other Powers That Be, including the employees of the asylum seeker center. They should be capable of a) explaining to people what is allowed and what is not and b) punishing them if the need arises. Without calling on an ethnic community, especially one that is not even present in the city in question.

If I am doing something the state doesn't like, I want to hear it from the state itself, in whatever form is appropriate.

And if the state really needs the community to explain to its members how to behave, it means that the state is already in pretty serious trouble.

Can we have a war on idiots? Please?

We have a war of drugs. And a war on terrorism. And on child porn. Can we have a war on idiots?

I don't have much of an opinion on drugs. Don't know much about the balance between the individual rights and the public interest, especially since it is quite different for different substances, don't have any ideological stance, don't know enough about long term effects, etc. Don't know whom to trust, either, what with so many people having very strong feelings one way or another.

I do, however, know a real idiot when I see one. Especially if the idiot has enough determination and drive to make his or her idiocy known to the Supreme Court of the USA, and a number of major news services.

In their infinite zeal to fight drugs a number of schools in the US have banned, well, drugs. Not the illegal kind that you (well, some people. Not me, perish the thought!) used to buy from the three kids hanging out behind the library - those have always been banned. The kind that you buy from a pharmacy.

This started back in the mid-nineties. Since then nobody has ever managed to explain with any degree of coherence what this bright idea is meant to accomplish and why.

In 2003 the Safford Middle School in Arizona has received an accusation that a 13-year-old girl named Savana Redding had been distributing prescription-strength ibuprofen.

For those who don't know, ibuprofen is an over-the-counter painkiller. Prescription strength, in the US, is anything with more that 200mg in one pill. A person of any age can freely buy a bottle of 500-1000 200mg pills, usually for $10-15. There is no recreational opportunity, but taking too much of them might irritate your stomach. Or not. And yes, most normal people offer those to a friend if they have the pills and the friend has a headache.

In any case, Savana Redding was called to the vice principal's office, where the little criminal denied the accusation. Her backpack was searched with no results. Then the school officials in their infinite wisdom decided to strip search her.

The strip search found no ibuprofen, either. The young yet hardened criminal had surely hidden the terrible drug up her ass, and the school official wisely decided not to go down (or up) that road (now I understand what all those zero-tolerance policies on touching children are really for).

Anyway, the girl took the school district to court, last year the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in her favor, and now the school district is appealing this decision in the Supreme Court.

"School officials said the court was "wholly uninformed about a disturbing new trend" -- the abuse of over-the-counter medication by teenagers," says the article.

So explain to me, Einsteins: how does one abuse ibuprofen? Except by taking a ten-kilo bag of it and beating insane school officials over the head with it, I mean.

Moreover, even if some over-the-counter medication were really usable recreationally, what's the point of banning it in school? We ban illegal drugs in school - I assume - because if we don't, the school can become an easy distribution point, where the people who don't otherwise have access to a drug buy it from the ones who do. What is the point of the banning a drug to which everyone has easy access in any drugstore and foodstore? Are the school officials afraid that people will start using it recreationally during the lessons? Not that some lessons couldn't benefit from that.

Can we have a war on idiots? Please? I promise to bring a heavy bag of ibuprofen as a weapon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A morning surprise

I opened my door in the morning, and a bulldog walked in.

It was followed by a very apologetic owner on a long leash, who removed it (actually, her) from my premises. It was pretty damn cute.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Note to self: violence is not always the best solution

Especially is the other party happens to be an espresso machine.

Now I am sore and coffee is everywhere.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dear Lord,

Thanks for the long weekend, and for Easter and Passover coinciding this year, so that thy faithful servant has had four days to sleep off the hangover.

Thank you for Verkkokauppa and the new hard drive. For it is thy law that the data expands to fill all available space, and then more hard drives are needed, and then hard drives expand to fill all the slots in the case, and then you have to take out the smallest one and replace it with the biggest one you can find, and thus the cycle of life continues.

You really shouldn't have tempted me to upgrade to Debian unstable, but now that you've done so, please don't tempt me with the experimental.

Please smite the fuckers who write NVidia graphic card drivers, for even thy Divine wisdom would not be enough to figure out all the ways those drivers fuck up the irqs. Don't smite them too much, though, because they need to fix the damn things. Forgive me for installing one of those damn things on my computer, for I know that they are an abomination in thy eyes, but if you want me to avoid the temptation, please find some other way for me to use Google Earth with an nv driver that does not involve having an eternal life. Or, alternatively, give me that eternal life, so that in the mist of centuries I can see Google Earth running without a proprietary driver.

Thanks for the spring. keep up the good work, and let us hope for an eventual upgrade to a summer.

Please fix the economy if you can. Especially if you can do so without inflations, deflations, huge unemployment rates, stock market crashes, electing any members of Green-Rainbow party, tsunamis, or other calamities that would change life as we know it into something horrible.

On Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the grand mufti who thinks it's OK to marry 10-year-old girls, please bestow 72 male virgin elephants, and may their romantic union be long, and very entertaining for the onlookers.

I heard there are pirates in the Indian ocean taking a real-life version of The Pirates of the Caribbean a bit too seriously. Do you think you could arrange a slight change of genre? For example, The Pirates of the Caribbean meets Jaws?

If you really are omnipotent, please fix my espresso machine, or better yet give my employer the idea to buy an espresso machine for the office kitchen. Thy chosen people are suffering at work without proper espresso, and so do the infidels, too. The machine should have a milk frothing thingie, too, preferably one that works unlike the one that my previous employer had.

Is it too much to ask for world peace at this point? Thought so. But if you have some extra common sense lying around somewhere, we have a few politicians that might need it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

You know that there is something wrong in your kingdom...

...when Yemen is progressive in comparison to you.

Last year an 8-year-old girl was granted a divorce in Yemen after her father sold her to a 30-year-old man. Emboldened by such an example, a couple of other girls, aged 9 and 10, got a divorce. The government then tried to do something to prevent such marriages from happening. Where they have been successful or not, I have no idea, but at least they tried and maybe scared a person or two into waiting till their daughter is 12.

In Saudi Arabia, they aren't even trying.

Saudi judge Habib al-Habib has refused for a second time to annul a marriage between an 8-year-old girl and a 47-year-old man, on account of the girl being too young to represent herself in court, and her mother being a non-custodial parent and therefore ineligible to represent her in court. The father, who is the custodial parent, was the guy who arranged her marriage to the 47-year-old man to settle his debts ($8000, says Al-Arabiya), and therefore, I assume, does not wish to represent her in court.

The judge, who obviously thinks that an 8-year-old is not old enough to tell the court what she wants, nevertheless thinks that she is old enough to be married to somebody 39 years her senior, without her consent (by which I not only mean that she is too young to consent, but also that she is clearly not interested).

On the brighter side, the judge did make the man promise not to have sex with the girl until she reaches puberty, and also did tell the girl that she may apply for divorce upon reaching puberty.

The church, I mean mosque, has added its spiritual word:

"It is incorrect to say that it's not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger. A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she's too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her," said the kingdom's grand mufti. For a second there I thought our old friend Khodr Chehab got a part-time in Saudi Arabia, but then I read that the man's name was Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh - may all his 72 heavenly virgins be virgin male elephants.

Being a law-abiding person, I wouldn't even think of connecting any religion's institutions with child molestation, but I suspect that being the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia does connect one to some religion's institutions, in a way. Oh well, at least he did not say it with the intent to cause offense.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Happy Passover!

Happy Passover to everyone who celebrates it. Don't get as drunk as myself.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

All Hail the Mighty North Korea!

As we all know, North Korea has just launched a satellite (strictly for peaceful purposes, of course) over Japan.

According to the North Koreans, the satellite is now safely in the orbit, where it is happily singing "the immortal revolutionary paeans "Song of General Kim Il Sung" and "Song of General Kim Jong Il"". According to everyone else the damn thing just fell into the ocean.

The great achievements of the people of North Korea are not limited to singing satellites. They have also invented the time machine. According to the Korean Central News Agency, "the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union released a statement on March 31, in which it expressed deep apprehension over the reckless moves being made by the United States and its followers to hinder the launch of the experimental communications satellite "Kwangmyongsong-2" by the DPRK".

Now that is really an accomplishment unrivaled in the Western world! Considering that the Soviet Union, along with the communist party thereof and its central committee, has been disbanded in 1991, visiting them and eliciting such a statement from them must have been the crowning achievement of the North Korean time-travel science.

For those who doubt that the site quoted above is the real Korean Central News Agency: yes, it is. One can only hope that they can use some of their mighty science to repair the buggy JavaScript, invent the concept of layout and just maybe get themselves a server that's actually within the North Korean domain. Or maybe at least get themselves a country-level domain.

Seriously, though: have they forgotten to mention to their citizens that the Soviet Union fell apart 18 years ago, and even if they did, why publish the same bullshit in English?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

"If they can bleed, they can breed"

A few days ago Khodr Chehab, the imam of the Finnish Islamic Society, said that he has officiated at the wedding of a 14-year-old girl and 20-year-old man in 1996, and that the Ministry of Justice has given its permission for the marriage. The Ministry of Justice has no record of such permission.

Khodr Chehab insisted that he obeys all the Finnish laws, and that's really very nice to know (I am saying this without any sarcasm). However, he says, 13 years is a good age for marriage. "It is legal to go to bed here at that age - it's better to get married" - he says. He thinks it would be quite fine to get married even at 11, if the law permits it.

He says he doesn't understand the difference between starting dating and getting married.

Oh, dear... The man is 46 - one would think that by that age a person would figure out the difference between starting dating and getting married, even if he or she has never done either. Especially a member of clergy - I've heard some people go to them for marital advice, although I am not sure it's a good idea.

IIRC even at 13 most people do have some kind of a vague idea that there is more to marriage than sex and that fuzzy feeling that you get after someone you like turns out to like you, and you start dating.

For the differently-intelligent (or maybe just overly horny) folks among imams and commenters: forget about pedophilia for a second, enough has been said about it during these few days. Think about marriage. It's a legal contract that involves a lot of obligations, some degree of commitment, in most cases a common home, in quite a lot of cases children and in general building a life together.

A 13-year-old is not ready for this. Not even if there are no icky pedophilia issues involved (for example both parties are 13) and not even if the kids are mature enough to handle sex and birth control.

Seriously, if you cannot see the difference between a 13-year-old having sex with a classmate and then going home, where her parents take care of her, provide for her, yell at her for having sex and/or teach her about birth control and interfere on her behalf if the other party in the relationship becomes too controlling, and a 13-year-old making a lifetime (though terminable) legal commitment to another 13-year old and starting living together with him - well, at least you shouldn't be advising anyone on marital or sexual affairs.

Khodr Chehab also said that there is no sexual abuse of the underage in the Islamic world. To this I can only quote Nojoud Muhammed Nasser: "Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him. This lasted for two months." Nojoud was divorced at the age of 8 from a 30-year-old man, in Yemen in June 2008. As soon as she was divorced another Yemeni girl, aged 9, also filed for divorce.

The really amazing thing about Chehab's statements is not that he thinks what he thinks - whoever hasn't ever wished for some illegal thing to become legal may throw the first stone - but the fact that he says it in a public interview without, apparently, having any idea that this kind of statement would cause an uproar in Finland. In spite of having lived here for about 20 years.

The next day the imam said that he remembered wrong: the girl wasn't 14, but 16, and it didn't happen in 1996, but in 1992. He also showed us all the true miracles of integration: it took him only one day to become unsure that getting married is such a good idea for somebody under 14.

Later on the same day he was unsure whether the wedding in question took place in 1992 or in 1993, said that a 13-year-old might be ready for marriage, but some are not even ready at 16 (think of those bachelors and old maids!), and that 15 is maybe a good age, but he himself wouldn't marry somebody younger than 20, or in fact somebody younger than 30.

In only two days. Now if that's not a mircale of integration, I don't know what is!

This would all be funny if he were just a lone nutcase. He does not represent all Muslims in Finland, might not even represent the majority, but he is the imam of what is, by Finnish standards, a fairly big mosque. And I certainly don't believe his own mosque did not know about his views.

There are perfectly sensible Muslims writing perfectly sensible things about this matter - for example Husein Muhammed. The sad thing is, Khodr Chehab is the kind of guy who gets invited to the President's Independence Day's party, and Husein Muhammed AFAIK isn't.