May 2005

May 18, 2005

The Dark Side

Categories: Kids

The boys have Star Wars on the brain. They just bought posters and bedsheets today. Andrew (7) is all about being a Jedi. Michael (4), of course, is all Dark Side/Sith. He wants nothing to do with that mamby pamby Obi-Wan. Power at all costs and cooler looking fighters to boot.

My bets are on the Dark Side around here. Obvi.

Posted May 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2005

Keep and Read Books

Categories: Random cool stuff

I'm on a bit of a Constitutional tear this evening.

"A well educated Electorate, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people of keep and read books, shall not be infringed."

  • Does this mean that only people in the Electorate (that is, people with the right to vote) can keep and read books?
  • Does this mean that only the State can educate the Electorate or provide the books?
  • Does this mean only books relevant to the Electorate and a free state are protected?

Of course not.

Why does the Second Amendment then cause so much confusion for otherwise smart people?

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Seems simple.

(For those of you who would say the right only extends to weapons of the time, like muskets, I'd ask does the First Amendment apply only to media of the time, like newspapers, or does it cover TV too? Thanks to the Wikipedia for that analogy.)

Posted May 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

God Bless America

Categories: Random cool stuff

I was just re-reading the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights (doesn't everyone do this from time to time?). Amazing stuff. Even now, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights constitute the most extensive list of guaranteed freedoms in the world. This is a significant statement. These documents guarantee freedoms, they don't confer them. From the Declaration of Independence, we recognize that power comes from the people; it is not given by a monarch or God.

It's also important that there is a single document (with amendments) that outlines the law of the land and how our government works. This seems obvious, but even our Canadian friends didn't figure this out as late as 1982 when they passed the Constitution Act, freeing them from needing permission from Britain to amend the Canadian Constitution. (Does it surprise you too that this happened so recently?)

Even today, the Canadians don't have a single document that comprises their constitution; it's a mix of dozens of documents and a pile of unwritten conventions. What the hell kind of way is that to run a country? Unwritten conventions? Give me a break.

Oh, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (their faux Bill of Rights) can be overriden by the federal or local gov't as they see fit thanks to Article 33. So the thing starts by saying that individual liberties are guaranteed, except when the law says it's not and then it ends by saying that the government can ignore whatever it wants.

Furthermore, the amendment process is unclear (another one of those unwritten conventions) and all laws are subject to judicial review by unelected judges that are almost impossible to remove. Nice checks and balances. And, of course, none of it is checked by the right of people to keep and bear arms. So, basically, Canadians have democracy only as long as the government thinks it's OK.

Of course, everyone still has to swear allegiance to the Queen. Of England.

God Bless America.

[Updated] Should have provided links to these important documents for your reading pleasure.

The Constitution of the United States of America
The Bill of Rights
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Posted May 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 11, 2005

Darth Vader's blog

Categories: Random cool stuff

I seem to be on a bit of a Star Wars binge today...

Anyway, my new favorite blog is Darth Side. It's Darth Vader's blog and the writing is hysterical. In the most recent post, he's complaining about the contractors they're using for the second Death Star construction. He ends by looking forward to the picnic lunch his office is packing for his visit to Endor tomorrow. Sublime.

I also like Darth's management philosophy: "Shape up or sputter to the floor unconscious -- that's my motto." Hmm, maybe that will get IE 7 out faster... "Punish one, teach one thousand", as I always say.

Awesomely funny.

Posted May 11, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Amazing Star Wars Fan Films

Categories: Random cool stuff

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Andrew (7) and Michael (4) have really gotten into Star Wars lately. It's actually kind of neat that we're able to share this since I was about Andrew's age when the first Star Wars movie came out. We even managed to find some of my old Star Wars toys at my parents' house for them to play with.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make some photos and maybe videos of the guys holding light sabers. I found some pretty simple techniques on the web and earned high marks for "cool dad" this week as a result. (Let me tell you that the image of Michael with a light saber is terrifying.)

Along the way, I found some amazing Star Wars fan films. These are amateur movies with a Star Wars theme. Some are meant to fill in gaps between the movies, others are just spoofs or (mostly) light saber battles. In any case, they're amazing. It's incredible what people can do with modern technology. The reason I got into software development and am still doing it after all these years is that I'm super excited about how software can help enable more people to exercise their creativity by lowering the barriers to entry and production. I think word processing did this for writing, digital imaging did this for photography, and now digital videomaking is doing it for filmmaking.

Super neat stuff.

Check out TheForce.Net for a good list. I especially like Revelations, Broken Allegiance, Duality, and the whole Pink Five series. (Not all are links to TheForce.net)

Posted May 11, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 8, 2005

Big butts

Categories: Kids

Michael (4) has been running around singing Sir Mix-a-Lot's "I Like Big Butts" (at least the first few lines). However, he's got the words a little wrong, "I like big butts that I cannot buy..."

Ask Michelle where he learned the words.

Posted May 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 6, 2005

Sorry for the silence

Categories: Random junk

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Michael (4) has been uncharacteristically good lately, so there hasn't been much to report on. I'll start waking him up earlier so he's crankier. That should kick things up a notch again...

Posted May 6, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)