Oh Five, Oh Five, Oh Five -- 05/05/05

Hey, check out today's date -- 05 -- 05 -- 05 -- I like that.

It won't happen again until a century from now. In fact, that kind of repeating digit pattern only happens once each year during the first twelve years of each century. We have had January 1st, 2001 (01/01/01), February 2nd, 2002 (02/02/02), March 3rd, 2003 (03/03/03), etc. and the pattern will continue through December 12, 2012 (12/12/12) and then (unless we decide to add new months to the year) won't come again until January 1st, 2101.

Yes, I guess maybe I am too easily amused.

Hmmm, and I guess the odds are against me seeing the next iteration of 01/01/01.

Well, one never knows what medical advances may bring, but it's not likely...(Not that I would have any objections to living an extra century or two.)

A while ago I grumbled about not being able to buy Rock Follies on DVD coded for region 1.

For my birthday I got a package from Adam and Leah and Sammy with the full original Rock Follies plus Rock Follies 77 (the sequel). Adam had planned on copying them from Region 2 (Europe) to Region 1 (U.S.) but then he realized that they are coded Region 0 (which means, in theory, that they can be played anywhere, although some manufacturers of DVD players are stricter than others in enforcing region blocking) -- My Panasonic DVD player/recorder refuses to play them because they are not region 1. Our other DVD player doesn't mind the region 0, but the TV doesn't like the PAL signal. However, our laptop computers play them just fine. Wheee!

[Note: there is no technical difference between regions; it's just an electronic label that the motion picture companies thought up to keep people from being able to buy DVDs in different parts of the world. This way, they can charge higher prices in, for example, the U.S. with out worrying that anyone could import the otherwise identical DVD that they might sell for lower prices in other parts of the world.]

Christopher Hitchens had a op-ed opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal about the relentless noises from some fundamentalist big mouths and how some elements of the Republican party in Congress seem to be aligning themselves with them. He quoted my favorite political leader, the late Barry Goldwater:
The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100%. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. . . . Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some god-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."

I also find the silly games being played in the Senate over the judicial nominations are like little kids squabbling on a playground: "He hit me back first!" The Democrats are playing pure partisan politics while pretending to be standing on some great principle. They are as wrong as the Republicans were to try to block some of Clinton's appointments for mere partisan political reasons, and those Republicans were as wrong as the Democrats were when they tried to block... etc. If you have valid points against a candidate, tell us about those points, and then have a vote on the nomination, vote "yes" or "no" according to their qualifications -- or be a petty partisan political hack (i.e., show your true nature) and vote strictly by party -- but have the damned vote. All these filibuster threats just remind us of how Democratic senators used to always use the filibuster to block the consideration of anti-lynching laws, another proud heritage of the Democratic party that they don't seem to want to mention much these days.

A few years ago I would have thought looking north of the border might show some political sanity -- but the current Liberal party political scandal shows that what had looked like Canadian "clean government" was pure illusion and that things up there are as corrupt as Daley's Chicago. This doesn't seem to be making headlines down here, partly because the U.S. media seem to be more interested in runaway bride stories and the endless California courtroom freakshow and partly because (lacking any equivalent of our First Amendment rights) the Canadian government has clamped down severely on press coverage of courtroom testimony.

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