Monthly Archives: October 2011

YouTube To Create Channels W/ Original Content

I was very exciting to hear this news — this will spur along a lot of interesting stuff for people like me who have no TV and are annoyed to be limited to downloading and not being able to stream as effectively… It will also diversify content. I cannot see how this would be bad:

YouTube announced plans to create dozens of channels with original content on Friday, constructing an online challenge to the television experience and signaling the video giant’s official leap into high-quality programming.

“Today, the Web is bringing us entertainment from an even wider range of talented producers, and many of the defining channels of the next generation are being born, and watched, on YouTube,” Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head of content partnerships, wrote in a blog post.

YouTube unveiled numerous high-profile names among the channel producers, including Jay-Z, Amy Poehler and Ashton Kutcher.

Among the producers announced as having channels were Reuters, Electus, Slate and The Wall Street Journal. (Electus is producing several channels, as is Berman-Braun.)

Lionsgate is the only movie and television studio among nearly 100 content partners.  CSI creator Antony Zuiker will be creating content for Black Box TV on one channel; Sofia Vergara is involved in an Hispanic pop culture channel.

The initiative is expected to generate about 25 hours of new programming a day on YouTube, The Wall Street Journal reported, which noted that most of the channels will launch next year.

Reuters

The Desire To Capture Different Existences

As I grow older I have become more acutely aware of the limitations of my Being. I’ve carved out my own path, and it is a road that I am glad that I am walking down, but there is a certain lamenting that it is the only road that I can walk down. I am sure we’ve all experienced the desire to be more than one thing, and it is painful that we do not have the thousand years of life that would enable us to live more lives.I’d gladly beg God for the right to live more than one life because I feel that there is too much to learn for this short time span — about both the Spiritual and the Mundane.

I am jealous that I’ll likely never know at all the life of a chef, or the life of a geologist or that of an artist or tattooist. More than this: I’ll never know what it is like to be born & raised as a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu or any number of other beliefs and lifestyles. What would it be like to live in the sharp and penetrating Russian tongue, or the soft lilting beauty of Swedish? What of the rolling & often dramatic Spanish of Mexico, or the more sloppy Portuguese? What of the cutting & grating tones of the Inner Mongolian Chinese, or the sing-song tones of the South? To understand the throaty Arabic or the ‘French of the Middle East’ Persian… I regret that I only speak two languages well, but I know that if the number were ever increased the ability in my second language would be compromised, something I am not willing to sacrifice.

And even to be a girl — what would it be like to be one of those lovely girls with precious hair and a delicate face, inviting eyes and curvy hips? What would it be like to look into mirrors and prepare my face? What would it be like to look through feminine eyes at brutal displays of masculinity, or to have a man worthy of affection try to charm me? What would it be like to be in larger arms, beneath the larger beauty, being “taken?”

(Or even to struggle as the awkward & ugly duckling, forever trying to mold & shape a body that I hated… A sad existence, perhaps, but vanity can always be overcome with intellect, and with effort we can all find places in the sun.)

I have a few female friends with whom I am extremely close — they are witty & pretty & I know their secrets & I see them when their faces are plain and when their faces are like dolls; I know their Grin of Mischief & their Shy Smile. I know well about their role, their ways of life… I am jealous to some degree. What would it have been to be one of these Noble Women?

And what would it be like to be a gay man, “top” or “bottom?” Going out to “those bars with the rainbow flags?” What is gay chemistry like? What is it like to have a ‘secret’ that might break your mom’s heart and might earn you a knuckle sandwich from the local boys? Something I’ll never know. Though I do have my ideological stands which prevent me from condoning such a lifestyle I have to confess I’d only be interested in ‘experiencing gay life’ in a society where it is vaguely taboo — not where it’d earn me death like Iran, or praise like San Francisco, but a society where I was on the ‘edge’ of it and engaging in the risky behavior… I can see value in such a life. In a sense, I chose such a life at a young age, social rebellion often times seemingly just for rebellion’s sake.

In struggle there is glory; in Easy Life there is only subtle victories whose meanings are lost. I think any person would rather live a life of Meaningful Pain spotted with Meaningful Pleasure than one where all things are a mere exercise of one’s undulating freedom & comfort.

For me what has always brought life together is Existential Romance. Those little meetings of laughter & drinks & when the chin tilts slightly down and the lips slowly part for small kisses. I’d like to enjoy that in a million different contexts. But such a thing is impossible — part of me thinks the ‘ideal’ reality would be one of Countless Rebirths…

They say that ‘life is pain,’ but I’ll endure a thousand lives gladly. Life is a lot of pain but these are all in contrast to the other moments.

I look forward to my Elder Years. I look forward to the Throat Cancer.

Sitting somewhere with a bottle of Vodka and looking at the setting sun illuminating the dying leaves of Autumn while I drink deeply and feel the Warm Numbness. Thinking of a thousand faces of the past. I find the museum of my memories to be enjoyable — and how great it will be when the Story is almost done for me & my friends, and I can look to the next generation and see the path they plod down.

I think the only sad thing is that we cannot do it all again in a different context with the same knowledge to enjoy Similar Fruits with Different Mouths. We are limited in our context…

Our existence is unfortunately limited and our context is only that of a Single Human, so part of the pleasure we must take is the imagination of being Other People. I’ll try to spend more time imagining the Lives of Others and the beauty of such existences that does not meet the eye.

I think what drives me most to want to Write a proper novel is to capture the beauty of alternative forms of life which I’ll never have the Honor of enjoying.

I think what drives me most to be a Lover is to try to ‘take into myself’ the ‘Whole’ of another’s beautiful life, and to consume it and make a part of it me, even if it is only for a short time. Your lover is your ‘Better Half,’ and in the recesses of my mind are memories of Better Halves & a better understanding of what it was to be a different existence.

You could say we are driven by a ‘sex drive,’ or by some sort of ‘ego’ that feels a reward when we get sex or get pleasure from another, but such a malicious way to view it. It is a view that acts as if there is not an intrinsic reward in social interaction brought to its climax within the context of the ‘social animal.’

My proof against this is my Friends.

I have no sexual drive or desire to be with them but whenever I see unique people with good hearts & minds I desire to spend so much time talking & being in their presence, exchanging stories & making new stories.

If it was all about ‘sex drive’ then I would spend my days in the loud clubs & meat markets in different neighborhoods looking for Air Headed floozies that only can give me their Shell of an existence, because their Shell is essentially all that they have; their cold, dumb, ignorant eyes have no flame and they flicker out when conversation goes too far from the obvious, material things in their lives. There is no reason to get their numbers & break bread. My left hand is also a shell & makes for a better companion as It make no demands for pseudo-conversation or breakfast.

I am grateful for my super-social existence and I hope to one day have enough money to experience this freely in many different places & environments for the purpose of acquainting myself with this world before I go away.

Outrageous Aussie Law Against Insulting Politicians

I was surprised to read this:

STATE Parliament is set to pass new legislation making it a criminal offence to “insult” Gaming Minister Michael O’Brien.

Fines of up to $11,945 will be given to anyone found guilty of upsetting the minister and his staff under the extraordinary new offence.

The Baillieu Government is seeking changes to the Gaming Regulation Act which it says are “reasonably necessary to respect the rights and reputation of the minister and authorised persons”. If passed, the ruling will become law.

The amendment proposed to the Act will make it an offence to “assault, obstruct, hinder, threaten, abuse, insult or intimidate” the minister or authorised persons exercising “due diligence” in monitoring gambling systems such as pokies.

Herald Sun

Can I get some insight from some brothers downunder?

This seems foolish — I doubt it will pass or be enforced, right?

Is this just sensational media?

Terrorist Gets What He Asked For…

Hahahaha… I thought this was a funny turn of events…

Al-Amriki is famous for being the American born & bred Jihadi fighting for al-Shabaab — a group that terrorizes and kills innocents in the horn of Africa and is responsible for kidnapping UN workers and proudly announcing their allegiance to al-Qaeda…

And then I read this:

In March 2011, Somalian government sources reported that Hammami had been killed during fighting in Mogadishu.[9][10] Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamoud Haji-Faqi subsequently told The Associated Press that Somali officials did not have a body and that the intelligence reports had not yet been confirmed.[11]

The Long War Journal reported on March 15 that Hammami had not been killed as earlier claimed by Somali’s defense minister.[12] Hammami subsequently released a nasheed song, mocking the claims of his death and taunting the United States to send Predator drones and missiles in order to make him a martyr.[13]

In July 2011 it was reported that Hammami had possibly been killed in a Predator attack in Jubba, Somalia.[14]

Wikipedia

BONUS: you can listen to his rap on this Long War post (it is in English)… You can see why he had no music career.

… Predators FTW.

Reflections On [Minnesota] Vikings

So it is another season and the fans of Minnesota are showing their Upper Midwest graces — every year, it seems, we experience gut wrenching disappointment, either in their terrible starts or heart rending finishes. Being so used to both the organization itself surely has to have a great sense of gratitude to their fans — I am unsure how many other teams can enjoy the zealous loyalty of their fans with consistently lackluster performances.

It almost seems obvious that in another decade or two the Vikings will be spoken of in hushed voices by even people in different cities, having earned a reputation not unlike that of the Chicago Cubs.

As a Vikings fan living abroad, and who has not lived in the area for over 8 years, the Vikings have become one of my last truly real, awesome American institutions in my life. Each Fall I watch them faithfully hoping against hopes…

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel after the crushing defeat — Christian Ponder’s first drive in the NFL was not disappointing. He showed that he could do well under pressure and move the ball up field. We’ve also seen Brian Robison playing well and Percy Harvin consistently delivering great performances. Our secondary has been embarrassing, naturally… And all of us felt that the first three games of the season we shoulda, coulda, woulda been able to do it if we could simply learn to consistently convert on 3rd downs…

And now there is the talk of us moving to Los Angeles and the debates over the new stadium. Ramsey County has proven their loyalty as have the Vikings themselves, and now we wait a decision by Minnesota lawmakers — certainly even small government Minnesotans are biting their fingernails at the idea of losing the Vikings.

The idea still seems so alien to me — Minnesota without the Vikings? Absurd. It is a rite of passage for Minnesotans, Iowans, Dakotans and many people even further out of the area to be brought up in the shadow of the [viking] horns (a Darkthrone reference)… The concept is scary, and the idea that the Vikings might have the same name and play out of LA would make it even more heart breaking if we were to get another team a decade from now and they’d have a name less perfect for We in the Frozen Hinterland of the Upper Heartland.

I do not really know what else to say other than remembering watching the Vikings enthusiastically now from many locations and enjoying a thousand conversations even with non-Minnesotan football enthusiasts that always paid kind words to our team.  The vikings have always been a loveable team for their consistent choke-factor and their ability to find ways to turn bad situations good and… Naturally… Turn good situations bad. It’s always opposite’s day in Vikings country.

Something would be horribly missing in  my life abroad if I wasn’t able to show [American] Football virgins what a Football game looks like (and more than once have it turn into fits of laughter at the epic fails executed by a team defined by a high turnover rate & poor red zone offense).

But I promise this: if the Vikings do move to LA I will be there with a classic Minnesota jersey cheering them on one day, and my loyalty to the franchise will continue until a new franchise was found… But hopefully if the Vikings were cut, we could at least retire the Identity to Valhalla and pray that they should return as Thor to save the world [of football] one day soon…

This has been a scatter brained post but I felt it necessary to relate my feelings to other fans (and interested parties) throughout the world…

As I go to study today I imagine I will be distracted by thoughts of what can possibly happen next week in Green Bay as Jason and I faithfully cheer on our team…

Expect soon that I will talk to the owner of 주 [酒]차 and see if we can have a game played there live for us… 🙂

The Face Of Egyptian Democracy

I am about to violate an American sacred cow: I will be implying that democracy may not always be the best system in every situation, and that doesn’t only apply to the classroom or the barracks or the household, but can also apply to entire nations.

The reason is simple:

CAIRO (AP) — An army crackdown on a protest that killed more than 20 Christians has not only stunned Egyptians, it has left them with deeply torn feelings toward the force seen as the protector of the nation. Even supporters of the ruling military are grappling with the question of how the bloodshed could have happened.

The deaths a week ago deepened mistrust of the military among the “revolutionary” sector, the politically active liberal and leftist activists who have been leading protests against the generals’ rule for months. They have become increasingly vocal in calls for the army to step aside.

A broader sector of the public has been thrown into shocked confusion. Many Egyptians view the military as the last bastion of stability — a force “made up of our own sons,” as many often say — and tend to trust it to handle the transition toward a democratic system. So images of army troops wildly running over protesters with armored vehicles have jolted them.

Some try to find excuses for the ruling junta or nervously defend it. Intertwined in the reaction are the religious tensions between Egypt’s Muslim majority and Christian minority. The fact that victims were Christians has made some less sympathetic or more willing to forgive the army’s actions.

Others have been so shocked they have joined the criticism.

“This was an awful failure,” said Mohammed Othman, a former army officer who now works as a pharmacist. “I think the (generals) lost credit and now we are in the countdown for them to leave.”

Othman said his confidence in the military was gone. He can’t bring himself to believe the accusations by some that troops killed protesters intentionally, but the bloodshed proved to him that the generals are not equipped to run civilian affairs.

Moreover, he fears wider sectarian turmoil in Egypt. “I am too embarrassed to send condolences to my Christian friends,” he said. “I personally need someone to give me condolences.” Like others, he is now afraid to join protests, fearing chaos or violence by security forces.

The violence was the deadliest since the military took over Egypt following the Feb. 11 fall of President Hosni Mubarak — and was a stark contrast to the idealistic sense of Muslim-Christian unity that flourished during the anti-Mubarak uprising.

It began Sunday night when thousands of Christians demonstrated outside the state television building, protesting an attack on a church in southern Egypt. Army troops waded in, and armored personnel carriers barreled through the crowds. The violence killed 26 people, including at least 21 Christians, some crushed by vehicles or shot to death. State media said three soldiers were among the dead.

AP Via Google

I believe that democratic societies are the natural conclusion of years of political evolution. That is to say: the people have grown and changed from being less educated and less impoverished, and are now ready to make major decisions in how their nation is run.

Prior to this point the average person is burdened so much by day to day living that such things as an education and being ‘informed,’ and having the basic civic virtues necessary for a democracy do not exist. This isn’t due to the individual’s fault, but rather a mere reality imposed by the harsh reality of the nation. Few can be expected to even have democratic values because they’ve grown up in the shadow of intense poverty — where few can concentrate on an education because the only thing there is to do is to try to work hard to put food on the table.

In this regard, the movement for democracy is failing miserably. But can we say that we are surprised? No… Not really.

The situation under Mubarak was bad and it seems as if nothing has improved…

In these circumstances usually the best thing that a society can have is the strong arm of someone like Ataturk or Park Chung-hee. Democracy merits some sort of transitional stage in most circumstances — and right  now, there needs to be a leader intent on getting them there safely while delivering the necessary economic and social institutions.

Kim Jung-il’s Grandson Studying in Europe & His Web Posts…

This is vaguely interesting in a sense… It never ceases to amaze me having some north Korean kid in some school with bleached hair and a cross pendant. It really shows that the upper administration must really not give a damn about their own ideals, or they are very obsessed with having their young be ‘undercover’ in spite of the obvious:

The sharply dressed 17-year-old might be any fashionable South Korean teenager: bleached blond hair, an earring and a necklace with a cross-shaped pendant.

Or he might be the grandson of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

A frenzy of speculation about the teenager, named Kim Han-sol, has gripped South Korean news organizations this week as reporters scour the Internet for any shred of evidence connecting the seemingly loquacious youngster with the deeply secretive man atop North Korea.

It began when officials at a school in Mostar, Bosnia, told reporters that they had accepted a North Korean named Kim Han-sol.

By this week, reporters had zeroed in on a teenager with the same name living in Macao who said on YouTube that he was from North Korea and was ‘‘related’’ to the North Korean leader. Mr. Kim’s eldest son and half brother of Kim Jong-un, the senior Kim’s designated successor, lives in Macao.

The teenager appears to have also left a string of North Korea-related comments on the Web.

‘‘Actually i eat like an average person, i can’t eat even if i had good food, cuz like i feel sorry for my ppl,’’ wrote a user by the name of kimhs616 wrote three years ago, in stilted English, in response to comments under a YouTube video clip of the North Korean national anthem. ‘‘I know my people are hungry.’’

On another video clip, the user appears less conflicted, writing “LONG LIVE DPRK,” or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name, and, in another, calling Americans “fat,” “brainwashed” and “dumb.”

South Korean news organizations have also uncovered what they believe to be photographs of the teenager, gleaned from a Facebook account that is no longer accessible.

It began when officials at a school in Mostar, Bosnia, told reporters that they had accepted a North Korean named Kim Han-sol.

By this week, reporters had zeroed in on a teenager with the same name living in Macao who said on YouTube that he was from North Korea and was ‘‘related’’ to the North Korean leader. Mr. Kim’s eldest son and half brother of Kim Jong-un, the senior Kim’s designated successor, lives in Macao.

The teenager appears to have also left a string of North Korea-related comments on the Web.

‘‘Actually i eat like an average person, i can’t eat even if i had good food, cuz like i feel sorry for my ppl,’’ wrote a user by the name of kimhs616 wrote three years ago, in stilted English, in response to comments under a YouTube video clip of the North Korean national anthem. ‘‘I know my people are hungry.’’

On another video clip, the user appears less conflicted, writing “LONG LIVE DPRK,” or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name, and, in another, calling Americans “fat,” “brainwashed” and “dumb.”

South Korean news organizations have also uncovered what they believe to be photographs of the teenager, gleaned from a Facebook account that is no longer accessible.

New York Times

Of course, it is funny to call Americans brain washed as we are one of the freest nations in the world — on average, probably more free than Europe (although I am certainly not talking about those more liberal interpretations of ‘freedom,’ those ‘negative freedoms’ [freedom from fear, etc.] that are mere abuses of the English tongue)…

I guess, though, most people are brainwashed, but in America there is at least an amount of choice (unlike in north Korea where information is severely limited)… But this is neither here nor there…

I find it funny that this kid is out there making stupid internet posts. It brightens my day to think of a north Korean being supportive of his regime through the tools of modern capitalism and doing it all while wearing a Christian cross (probably inspired by consumer pop culture fashion, making the symbolism twice removed from the original source…).

Fascinating.