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Monday, November 29, 2004

They Hate Us for Our Freedom

This hackneyed statement from the Bush administration has been one of the most popular but weakest cornerstones in the verbal war on terror. Without clarification or qualification, "They hate us for our freedom" has been dropped in all 3 press conferences - even the scripted ones - as the explanation for Muslim aggression.

If you, for 3 seconds, believe this bullshit, stop and think for a minute. Seriously, just think about it.

Ok, now that you are done with that, check out this from the Daily Update section in the Monitor. Titled, 'They hate our policies, not our freedom,' this article provides a quick synopsis, with links, of the Pentagon's recent criticism of the Bush administration's rhetoric.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Sound and Film Roundup

I had a chance to catch Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me this weekend. I thought it was a fine documentary and certainly much more "journalism" then I expected.

My initial feeling as I threw the DVD in the player was that I was about to catch a flick about a guy eating a tonne of McDonalds. While that is somewhat true, the backdrop of the movie is the pervasiveness of toxic food in our culture mixed with gluttony. Spurlock does a fine job of investigating the nexus of consumerism, corporate and personal responsibility, and nutrition in modern America. While the film was preaching to the choir for me, especially with the interview with Eric Schlosser in the DVD extras, perhaps in may have an impact on others' eating and buying habits.

On Wednesday I picked up Ben Harper's new record. Titled, there will be a light, Harper, with the Blind Boys of Alabama, makes a solid and seemingly appropriate foray into Southern Gospel and Soul.

While I've only had the album a few days, I'm going to go ahead and recommend that you, loyal reader, go pick it up. If you are a fan of Harper's, lord knows you already have done so.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Gobble, Gobble; Give, Give

So the sound is made by all the turkeys you meat eaters are killing this Thanksgiving. But this post isn't about the senseless killing of sentient life forms. Rather, somewhat on behalf of Mrs. Ober, I thought I would share some giving tips and thoughts as the calendar year closes.

No matter what religion you profess - even none at all - you are charged with giving to the poor. Rabbi tells us that scripture commands 3 to 9% of our income go to others. With all of our petty vanities and consumer desires it can be difficult. Still, we manage to meet our obligations. But there is another standard that I have come to embrace over the years: suffering.

You may ask, Ober, about what in Moses are you talking? Well, let's take a look. If one makes $3 million per year, based on the diminishing value of the dollar, giving 3 to 9% is not as much of a hardship or commitment as one making $24,000. In the case of philanthropists like Bill Gates, the Gates Foundations' charity take less away from his life than he probably even notices. So, perhaps a better standard for giving is "give 'till you notice." And what do we notice most in our society other then suffering.

But let's take a step back and discuss suffering. For those Buddhists that read this site you are probably saying, "Hey, he's talking about our religion." You're somewhat correct. Of the four truths of the Buddha, there are a few that I really like: "Life is suffering" and "suffering is want." And to take a step back further, let's look at another take on suffering or at least how I categorize our financial and life-style suffering: Compassion.

Compassion owes its being to two root words that in the end, mean to suffer with others. So compassion isn't giving a speech or passing legislation. It isn't extolling the virtues of charity. It isn't a slogan. It is suffering with others for their benefit - not yours! To tie it in with our Buddhist friends' beliefs, when we are without want, we suffer less. When we suffer less, we can give more to a new level of suffering. And so it goes.

With all of that said, we here at Ober's Doxology would like to challenge all to show compassion in the remaining fiscal year and next year. With your time, your money, and your assets give to others in need. Give to the point that your Saturday is lost. Give to the point that you cannot buy a new car. Give to the point that you notice the sacrifice. Give until you suffer some little bit for others.

General Housekeeping

I've added a few new links in the "Tech Links" section. They are: The Register and Ars Technica. I highly recommend both. The Register should have been on my blog rolls long ago but wasn't. However, Ars Technica comes on the recommendation of George. He suggested it back in the summer and after a few months of reading I've decided to add it.

I haven't updated my Entertainment Now section in a while. Why for you ask? Well, I just haven't been listening to much that is new and I didn't feel updating it with Faith No More's bad ass 1992 release "Angel Dust" was worth it. Also, I'm struggling to finish Ed Skoudis' Malware book before the end of the year. It is a great book for computer security folks like me. I'll review it when I'm done; Scouts honour.

Friday, November 19, 2004

NHL Notes

By now the NHL owners and players should be realizing that most people could care less that they're gone. I think it's fair to say that most North Americans have really not had to deal with the void the NHL's absence has wrought - because they haven't noticed it is gone.

Forbes crunched the numbers in this article and notes that the owners' cry of poverty my have been a little exaggerated.

Forbes notes that teams' values appreciated considerably over a 7 year period. They also note that neither the SEC nor the NHL require standards in accounting for revenue. That seemed the strangest to me. NHL teams were able to "ignore" sources of revenue like TV, stadium ownership, and merchandising.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Many of us fondly remember Reagan's patriotism, steadfast resolve, confidence in the American people, his strong belief in faith as a guiding force, his persuasiveness, his loyalty to our nation's troops, and many other noteworthy characteristics.


Fond remembrance and steady resolve: Catch that crazy renaming spirit!

Oh the insanity.

Chris Rock Interview

Fans of The Onion's AV Club probably already caught this interview with Chris Rock. I'm a big fan of both!

If you didn't read the interview you should check it out. Here are a few snippets:

Who's angrier than Toby Keith? He's angrier than the average 10 rappers. That shit is gangsta. I mean, it's not for me, singing about dropping bombs on towel-head people, but boy, that guy's pretty angry.

and

Yeah. Dana [Carvey] was on the starting team and I was on the bench, which was how it should have been.

and
Being on 60 Minutes, it's all right, but Oprah saying you're good is worth being on 60 Minutes 10 times. Does it mean you're funny? Not really. But just as far as people on the street, it's like, "Whoa."



Monday, November 15, 2004

Now Where Will I Shop?

With the assholes at Target not allowing the fiends at the Salvation Army to "solicit", I'm not sure where to go for shaving cream. It certainly won't be Target.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Security Today with Bastille Linux

With the new release of Fedora Core 3, I'm please to note that Jay over at Bastille has led the community by, to, and with Bastille Linux for Fedora Core 2. I guess it had been awhile since I had visited the Bastille site; my latest journey that led me to the note that FC 2 was supported. Oh joy!

If you are new to Linux or haven't heard of Bastille, I would suggest giving it a few minutes of your time. For new users, the script Bastille uses is a great way to learn about your system and the steps necessary to secure it mo' better. For crusty veterans, Bastille is an easy scripted way to harden systems.

....he said "hard".

Friday, November 12, 2004

Latex Gloves: Not for Answering the Phone

One of my many irritations revolves around sanitation in food preparation. Within that larger issue, there is one topic that bothers me more then anything: Wearing latex gloves.

I don't have a fear or allergy to latex. That isn't it. The problem is that so many food preparers don't seem to realize why they wear them.

I was having a pita made today, and as the bloke started to make my pita, the phone rang. He promptly answered the phone with his gloves on. Then he wrote down the order using the pen that customers use to sign their card bills. He then proceeded to flip some meat on the grill - not mine of course - before returning to my pita manufacture project.

So my question is this: Why wear gloves? If you are going to handle everything you normally would without them, what's the point? It certainly doesn't make things any cleaner or germ free. In fact, I would argue that it makes things worse. The gloves give both the preparer and the customer a false sense of sanitation. Whereas normally the preparer would wash after handling money and other non-sanitary items before touching your food, now they don't. Why don't they? Because they have gloves on their hands silly!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Firefox 1.0 Released Today!

It views standards-based code like it should be viewed and is a more secure way to browse the big I. Plus, it isn't really tied to any anti-trust litigation which helps you sleep easier.

Download now!

Charlotte Mountain Bike Notes

Next trip down to Charlotte, I'm taking the bike. Thanks to the Tarheel Trailblazers I now know where to ride!

And to think I believed the season to be over! Looks like I finally found a use for the South other then jokes.

Monday, November 08, 2004

NFL Notes
The finest sport invented and the best league in the world reached its ninth week of the '04 season yesterday. Among the most pleasant surprises, Drew Brees and the Chargers, Reuben Droughns and the steady Broncos, and Michael Vick and the Falcons come to mind. But my personal favourite is the story of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With an incredibly loyal organization (relatively speaking), a passionate and talented coach, and a number of solid athletes, who couldn't love 'em just a little bit? After humbling the Eagles and Patriots - the league's two previous unbeatens - the Steelers may be the best team in the league. They are certainly the hottest.

What's not to love? A 3-4 defense with the best linebackers in the league; A surprisingly mature rookie quarterback; Jerome Bettis; the most lethal group of receivers; an offensive line rivaling that of Denver or Kansas City. Who could hold a grudge against these guys?

Don't you just love this cuddle bug?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

An End to a Season

November is upon us and so are the dreary skies and rain that dominate my little burg; My little slice of America. That can only mean one thing: Mountain bike season is over.

While I was forced to stop competing due to work in June, I did manage to sneak a few great rides in during the summer. The season was mostly a success with a strong start and a vodka-tonic induced petering out. Spring training with the team in Colorado was a fantastic experience even though we couldn't find any Synagogues in which to worship. The team learned quite a bit this year - mostly how to work together. I learned that nothing beats solid training with lots of weights in the winter and staying positive and intense during competition.

The new ride, the Gary Fisher Cake 2DLX, was fantastic despite a few chain problems early on. The Hayes brakes were much better then Magura (Yuck!) and the stock Bontrager components did just fine - until they were removed for fine, fine, Easton parts!

So the bike will be stripped down, cleaned, lubed, and polished. The equipment will be boxed up - all the while hoping that global warming REALLY kicks in and and produces a few ride-worthy days. But my trainer - a pre-1974 Schwinn Le Tour - and I know it won't work that way. He has already started calling me to join him.

Thanks for the memories '04. Now we skate!

Murder, Genocide, OK; Gays Bad

We're up to 70,000 systematically murdered in the Sudan (not all were victims of murder I'm sure but rather the effects of the policy of genocide). With an electorate deciding its vote bases upon moral values, perhaps it should practice what it preaches.

All you fuck-tards voting GOP because you get a handout, you want to perpetuate a "culture of life," are disgusted by Adam and Steve having power-of-attorney, think the president is "taking it to the terrorists", or other non sense, should probably try actually putting those morals and virtues to use.

But you crackers stood by while Rwandans were butchered, complained when Muslims were dropped in mass graves and we did something - very little - about it, and allowed the holocaust to begin unimpeded.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Mrs. Ober Wears Black

Turns out that I wasn't the only one disgusted by "Jesusland" - the red states. Mrs. Ober has been wearing black the last few days and has basically stopped showering. She is now running a petition drive in our state to make voting licenses a reality.

The fact that Mrs. Ober and I haven't found anybody that voted for Bush that can articulately state why, is having a big affect on her.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Let The Riots Begin; Happy Election Day

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