February 2005

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Gumballs
Gumballs

I’m starting to get interested in photography. This Christmas my wife gave me a new digital camera that has all the features I need to practice my picture taking without being able to blame the camera for the bad ones.

Yesterday, I was driving around and got caught at an intersection that was blocked by a funeral procession. That always peeves me, but it wasn’t until it had passed by that it occurred to me that I could have hopped out of the car, photographed the procession, and then photoblogged a peeve about it. I resolved to keep my camera ready.

An hour ago, I was waiting in my car at the Jewel grocery store for my wife to come out. I was debating with myself whether or not to break out the camera, just in case I saw something worth photographing. I was still thinking about it when a dwarf walked by pushing a grocery cart.

Grrrr.

[Note: An earlier version of this story had used the m-word, which I replaced on finding out it was considered derogatory by many little people.]

Glenn Reynolds’ wife is home from the hospital six hours later than expected because of all the paperwork. Over at Three Men And A Blog The Doctor is using this as a reason to complain about all the paperwork too.

As for me, I don’t mind the paperwork so much. In fact, I kind of like it. You see, for the past few years I, my wife, and many of our friends have been earning money developing software and providing services to handle it all.

God Bless HIPAA.

I haven’t read a lot of Hunter S. Thompson’s work, but I enjoyed reading what I did. I’m not sure there was a point to it all, but it was fun along the way.

So now he’s gone and killed himself. Self-inflicted gunshot wound, right in the head. Anybody shocked by this turn of events?

Well, I guess his son must have been pretty shocked. He’s the one who had the misfortune of finding the body. Way to go, Hunter.

What a jackass.

So there I was, eastbound on Higgins Road, crossing Nagle Avenue, when out of the corner of my eye, just down Nagle at the Foster Avenue intersection, I see a flash. I circled around to take a look:

RobotOverlord.jpg

I, for one, do not welcome our new robot overlords.

UPDATE: Here are some shots showing the camera installations in context with the street:

RobotContext1.jpg

RobotContext2.jpg

Here’s a really nice shot of the workings, illuminated with the strobe on my camera:

RobotWorkings.jpg

Finally, here’s its maker’s mark:

RobotLabel.jpg

Gotta do some research now…

Wedding bells are in the air for Mary Kay LeTourneau and Vili Fualaau, and isn’t it about time these two crazy kids got hitched? Get them a gift.

People have often noted that society normally treats statutory rape differently depending on whether the older person is a man or a woman. A man is assumed to be exploiting the young girl, whereas an older woman is assumed to be showing the young man a hot time. This seems about right to me.

If one of the lady teachers at my high school had decided to show me a good time, it wouldn’t have been exploitation, it would have been a fond memory. (I seem to remember that Linda was kind of prickly, but I suspected she knew how to have a good time when she wanted to.) I’m not sure a female student would feel the same way about the male teachers.

Of course, I’m talking about high school. Vili Fualaau was in sixth grade when Mary Kay introduced him to the mystery that is woman. Unless he was held back a whole bunch of times, that’s a bit creepy.

On another topic: If a rapist (albeit a statutory rapist) is allowed to marry her victim, could somebody explain to me again how gays would destroy the institution of marriage?

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich

Office of the Governor

207 State House

Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Governor Blagojevich,

I’m a taxpayer, voter, and 40-year resident of Illinois. I’m writing to thank you for signing SB3007, which mitigates the damage to people’s lives as a result of a minor criminal conviction. It was so very much the right thing to do.

I hope you continue to make more changes along these lines. In particular, incarcerating people who commit victimless crimes seems wasteful and unnecessary. The Illinois justice system seems to recognize this in certain matters, such as prostitution and gambling, for which harsh sentences are rarely given. But when it comes to drug crimes, we still seem to be following a wasteful policy of lengthy imprisonment.

I doubt jail does much to cure drug abuse, but it does cure people of being able to get jobs. Aside from the effects of a criminal record on employability, I doubt that people jailed as teenagers will re-enter the workforce after jail with any kind of work ethic. Long prison terms break people.

Long prison terms cost a lot of money too. When I hear stories of people getting five years in jail for small-scale drug crimes, it irritates me to think that taxpayers are going to have to cough up about $100,000 for that. I can think of better and more productive ways to spend the money.

I ask you, and urge you, to do what you can to move Illinois toward a more compassionate program of treatment for drug offenders. Like SB3007, it’s the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

Mark Draughn

There’s a sculpture in a public park in Chicago that people aren’t allowed to photograph because the artist still owns the copyright. Apparently the guards hassle people they see taking pictures.

According to the comments in this Hit and Run article, this is pretty common, although usually in private displays, not on public property. Also, personal photography is usually allowed, but commercial photography is forbidden. How do the guards tell if you’re a professional? Because you are using a tripod.

Where have we seen that kind of thinking before? Assault rifles. The definition of an assault rifle is based on such trivial features as whether it has a bayonet lug or a pistol-grip stock.

This kinda creeps me out…almost as much as the people who seem to want to make it a crime to buy Sudafed.