Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 22:39:58 EDT
Recently, I've been watching random You Tube videos before going to bed. It's sort of like "surfing" the television channels a few times before turning off the television. Tonight I came across a video of some Norwegian reporter asking silly questions of a New York City councilman (hear his explanation of his response). One of the questions she asked implied that Senator Barrack Obama is not a United States citizen. The councilman specifically said "He's a citizen. He's a senator." For some reason, that made me question what the requirements for being a senator are; I'm not sure why, but I gave Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution a quick read to refresh my memory. I've read it many times before, but this time it struck me as odd. Here is the line outlining the requirements: "No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."
Do you see it? It seems to say that a person cannot be a resident of the state for which he wants to be a senator. That is just strange. Such an odd wording had to have been noticed before, so I did some research. It turns out that a logician was using phrases from the Constitution to teach his logic course, and came across this same peculiarity. He has a pretty good writeup of his analysis, and some of the responses he has received. I think the final explanation is the correct one; the line implies this wording: "No person shall be a senator who shall ... (view rest)
Thursday, 24 August 2006, 13:48:10 EDT
I was driving to my friend Jay's place to meet him for lunch on the fifth of this month when I had an idea. I decided to drive to Michigan and visit family during my break between semesters. I would have left that following Tuesday, but I had a rather important job to get done at work that week (which I didn't remember until Sunday). Instead, I left Georgia on the twelfth at about 7:00; actually, I got on I-75N at 6:50. I made it to South Haven, Michigan at about 21:00. I would have been there earlier, but I got mixed up on my directions and missed a turn. I spent about forty-five minutes fixing my mistake. Anyway, I spent all of last week in Michigan visiting with family I haven't seen in seven years and working (a little bit) with my Dad. I really enjoyed my visit. It was quite a change of pace from my normal day-to-day activities. I took more naps that I think I have ever taken and spent more time away from a computer than I have since, well, I can't remember. I haven't decided if I will try to go back up next year, though. I think I would like to, but I don't want to put the extra 2,000 miles on my truck every year. Maybe that is a lame excuse, but I'm going to have to drive this thing for many years.
Speaking of driving 2,000 miles. It is about 800 miles between Stockbridge, Georgia and Pullman, Michigan. Depending on the route you take, and the stops you make, it is a twelve to fourteen hour drive. As a result, there is a lot of time to observe traffic. Maybe it was because I drove through on Saturdays, but I found that there is a lot less traffic in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan than there is in Georgia. When I got back to the Atlanta area I think there was more traffic at 20:00 than I encountered in Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, and Indianapolis combined. I feel somewhat sorry for the people who come into Atlanta and don't know how to drive here. Our traffic moves at almost twice the speed of the cities I mentioned (posted speed limit be damned) with twice the number of lanes to navigate. Then you have to deal with the people; it must be a frightening experience for out-of-towners. I eased right back into it, though. Around Barrett Parkway, some ricer got so far up my rear he should have bought me dinner first. I was in no mood for that so I slowed down to forty. When he passed I gave him a taste of his own medicine.
I also found out how well the FM transmitter for my iPod works in other states. The station I usually broadcast on, 89.1, doesn't work so well between Georgia and Michigan. I used it exclusively while ... (view rest)
Monday, 05 June 2006, 18:10:39 EDT
"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. ... The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic. ... There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else." -- Theodore Roosevelt, October 12, 1915.
I saw this quote in some guy's signature yesterday when searching newsgroups for some information regarding spark plugs. According to the venerable Wikipedia (a little joke there) this is an accurate quote. Since trusting a signature in a random Usenet post is not the best grounds for making an argument I did some searching to verify its validity. The first link I came to was the Wikipedia article Hyphenated Americans. Whether or not Wikipedia is more reliable than a Usenet post I won't go into here. I believe it is good enough in this instance. Also, in that article is this quote from Woodrow Wilson: "Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready." I like that one too.
I happen to agree with the good Theodore Roosevelt about hyphenated Americans. I think that if you are an American citizen, particularly by birth, then you should be proud enough of that citizenship to call yourself "American." If you are a naturalized citizen I can understand the hyphenation on occasion to denote whence you immigrated. I think in most contexts that is acceptable and not showing allegiance to the mother country. But when someone who was born here, their parents were born here, and their family for generations, refers to themselves as a hyphenated American I get a little upset. In fact, no other hyphenated American term gets me as riled up as the increasingly popular "African-American."
Back in January a friend wrote a post on his web site in which he referred to himself as an African-American. I had never heard him do this before and was intrigued. We later had a discussion about it during one of our card games. I don't think we really came to an understanding of the term in each other's views. If I am recalling correctly (correct me if I am wrong Chris), he has started to accept the term as a social moniker in that it is now more appropriate to refer to a black person as African-American just as it was once more appropriate to refer to such a person as colored instead of negro (I could be wrong on that one too). I completely disagree with this point of view for a variety of reasons. First, not all black people are from Africa (including ancestry). Calling someone from Jamaica an African-American, when they might not even be an American, is just plain abs ... (view rest)
Friday, 11 June 2004, 11:29:21 EDT
I was sitting in Chick-Fil-A yesterday eating my lunch and watching C-SPAN on the television. They were covering a House meeting where members were alloted time at the podium to remark in some measure about the passing of Ronald Reagan. As I was watching this I started thinking about something that has never made any sense to me. Several of them were talking about how the United States conquered the "evil that is communism" under Reagan's lead. First of all the philosophy of communism is still going strong in places like China and Viet Nam; so, I am sure how it was "conqured." Secondly, why is it evil? Is it evil because the United States didn't think of it first? Is it evil because the United States just deems it so? I think that as a philosophy many aspects of it are quite benevolent and democracy can use them quite effectively. But, it is evil so that is out of the question. Thinking about this took my mind on towards the the practices of the United States in general, particularly recently. It seems to me that the people running this country, it does not matter who or what "side" they are on (left, right, upside down), deem things evil if they contradict random things in the book of the sky-godders. I suppose this ... (view rest)
Monday, 19 April 2004, 23:39:29 EDT
Lets talk a minute about video games and why I play them. I play video games because I find them fun. I am pretty decent at certain types of video games like Raiden II, Tempest 2000, and Amplitude. Those are the style games that I enjoy the most and am the best at; some might say I am pretty good at racing games as well and those come in a close second to the style of aforementioned games. I am not very adept at first person shooters (FPS) though. No, I don't completely suck but I have my moments where I can't hit the broad side of a barn. Since I am not very good at them I am very picky about the ones that I will play and the reasons why. The absolute biggest requirement for me to play a FPS style game is that I must have fun playing it. Because this type of game is not my strong area in gaming I like FPSs that are fast paced and do not noticeably limit the playing time. What do I mean by that? Well, there are games like Counter Strike that prevent you from respawning when you get killed. For me this is unacceptable; I aboslutely do not like getting shot in the first five seconds of play, possibly while still trying to figure the game out, and not being able to play for another five minutes while watching everyone else have a good time. "But, what about realism?" some say. I don't play FPS games for realism. I may play a racing game for realism because I might never get a chance to drive some of those cars (hell, almost all of them). But, if I want some realism ala FPS style I can go join the damn army and get a hefty dose of it real quick. No, I play FPSs to have fun.
Another aspect of some FPS games that annoy me is the ever popular trend to use levels that are so huge you can walk around for what feels like days without seeing an opponent. The "revolutionary" game that introduced this concept was Tribes. Playing this game is not fun (to me). The levels are friggin' massive and have very little distinguishing marks. I admit, it is impressive they were able to create such massive levels and have the game run well with the limited hardware of the time, but there is no reason to do so when it leaves the players lost. "Oh, but you have a jet pack to aid you in movement." Whoptie-fuckin'-do. "Skiing" across the terrain does not make it any less massive. Nor does it make it any less annoying to have to retraverse all that ground when you die.
Tribes 2 introduced vehicles to the FPS genre. Cool idea, overplayed idea. I won't go in to how horrible I think the vehicles in Tribes 2 are because of their control; I will just acknowledge that the game introduced the concept with a somewhat playable implementation first. I will, however, bitch about the subsequent use of them in later games like Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT2k4). In UT2k4 the developers decided that vehicles would be a cool addition to the game. They are indeed a cool addition, they just seem to take all the glory and leave people like me desiring straight up deathmatch out in the cold. All anyone wants to play now is a mode with vehicles so they can drive around and be silly. There have been very few matches that I have been a part of that have been aided by the use of vehicles other than to get you across the huge friggin' level a little be quicker. I suppose that is my issue with the vehicles. In order to make the game playable with vehicles the size of the levels needs to be expanded otherwise it will be like a traffic jam and no one wants that in a game. So, what it boils down to is if you are not lucky enough to get in a vehicle as you spawn you get to run cross country or just chill and hope some other hapless soul wanders by.
Another genre that irks me is the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). I like role playing games; they are really fun because your character can turn in to a real bad ass which can own other players - always fun. What I don't like about the MMORPGs is the business model. They don't release demos so to try out the game you have to go to the store and buy it. If you don't like the game you have just wasted however much money it cost to buy the game because to play the game you have to pay a monthly fee, you can typically play the first month free, to have access to the actual game part of the game. What comes on the CD is just the (out dated) files necessary to be able to play the game. The initial cost at the store varies from $30.00 to $50.00. ... (view rest)