iPhone Games & Apps - end of 2011 recommendations

2011 iPhone Games recommendations
Games should be replayable, IMO. So many of these $1 and $2 games are "play 3-4x and get bored". Particularly annoying for me are so-called "RPG's" which have no roleplay, no character development besides a skill-tree and stat assignment, and the equipment is alway about improving your item progression, ie a sword II to a sword III.

I did think Tiny Heroes was impressive, the War on Terror is humorous, Elder Sign is a worthy contender, BattleHeart is highly replayable (and while it is one of those 'RPG-like' games I described, the gameplay mechanism is quite fun), GodVille is truly unique (and funny & free w/o IAP), PuzzleQuest is awesome, Protector was interesting/challenging, Anomaly was fun but lacked replayability, Neuroshima Hex is a fav, Ascendancy has potential as a 4x (but UI was challenging), Battle for Wesnoth should be a 'genre breaker' (amazing strategic combat), and I also liked The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Defense (had some good value for unique LOTR character based TD game),

Disappointments were King of Dragon Pass (which had a great review but was less than thrilling), King Cashing (supposedly unique/amazing game, but I found it lacking), Legend of Yore (an 8-bit Rogue-like w/o anything beyond hack & slash), & Mage Gauntlet (great review, less than exciting 8-bit retro game). Also bought Chaos Rings awhile back & found that very disappointing.

I've also tried a bunch of CCG games for iPhone, incl the 'big' Shadow Era (ok game, hate the clumsy UI), Dungeon Solitaire (good fun, some strange new cards), Kard Combat (was fun for a few plays, then boring), as well as Cabals (strategic game with potential, UI was awkward & heckling IAP is annoying), Orions 1 &2 (both fun, dev's not so great), Stack & Deploy (interesting CCG-like game w/action elements, UI takes practice).

Big fan of Speedball 2 (fun!), Words w/Friends (my g/f is hooked & have a few regular ongoing games, new IAP is annoying), Dungeon Defenders & Defender Chronicles (fun twists on TD),

Non-game props for apps on my iPhone go to --> TuneIn Radio, DropBox, TapForms (a DB), Pandora, Garage Band, NetFlix (I can watch whole movies or anime episodes on my phone? WOW!), Adobe Ideas (my fav sketch app), ComicBook, Yelp (but bogus & weak reviews are annoying), SoundHound, SoundCloud, USB Disk Pro, CraigsPro+, Mint, Blogger or Blogger+, Google Voice, Genius Scan +, Evernote.

Dungeon Raid may be my all-time favorite game -- the developer started with an excellent game and improved it, dev is very responsive and committed to their community of players, and the mechanic is a lot of fun AND the sounds are great (and I can play my own music behind it).

Occupy Evolution - change that heals

The Occupy movement for 99% of the people is an opportunity for everyone to prosper and be free from tyranny and oppression.

The harsh legacy of the Roman Empire, which has evolved slowly & unwillingly to include equality for all races, genders, and sexual preferences, and to recognize the values and rights of those which have no human voice (animals, nature, environment), has reached an end-point and is ready to be shed like a butterfly sheds a cocoon.

We can now reclaim the calendar (rename our days and months), the time system (end the AM/PM and 12 hour/ 60 minute/second nonsense), and the re-invent legacy aspects of our culture using scientific and artistic insight of postmodern multiculturalism.

Shedding the garments of imperial culture which embraced domination, violation, slavery, genocide, and consumption without consequence is essential for human survival.

NOW is our time for evolution to make a society of fairness, opportunities, and mutual respect.

Philosphy Talk - on miraculous/divine

I posted this comment on (the radio show) Philosophy Talk's blog:

Interesting discussion. I lean towards the view that miracles are abundant, but perspectives are limited.

Another point: science is faith-based. My Dad & I had this discussion many times -- have we ever seen atoms, molecules, or for that matter the Earth from space? Not personally -- we take the word of others to be true (or pics/videos which w/current tech could easily be falsified.)

Similarly, science is not actually a compilation of facts -- it's a compilation of theories about observed/recorded phenomena which are subject to many flaws, most notably the flaws of the theoreticians and their framework/worldview.

To continue, NAZI's and many USA/Euro scientists have conducted the cruelest experiments on unwilling victims (NAZI's experimented w/sterilization & many forms of vile surgeries, plus we know of Tuskeegee experiments & now Guatamala STD experiments) in pursuit of 'science'. Much of science continues these practices today on unwilling animal subjects, from genetic experiments to grafting & organ farming to cross-breeding & vivisection & brain experimentation on living creatures).
Worldview is a key factor for all these developments.

While I like many of the developments of science, I would like an option to collectively choose to not pursue various technologies which are like a 'Pandoras Box' of potentially evil outcomes -- nuclear weapons, GM foods (on a massive scale), and bio-war (virii & killer bacteria) are among my top list of BAD science pursuits.

Personally, I think that the products of billions of years of evolution are miraculous. I know of no evidence to show that evolution is the sole factor in current human development (ie could aliens have intervened? Etc.) Also I've experienced psychic & spiritual phenomena which I can't explain scientifically.

Last point: science requires repeatable processes for verification -- it uses deductive reasoning to figure things out. However, the possibility of unique occurrences and singularities which can't be repeated are challenging for our science of today to handle. No ways to test or repeat. Similarly, research can be skewed by manipulating the participants, the factors, changing test parameters, throwing out certain data, or locations. In many studies, the results are hidden inside the margin of error -- and occasionally (as with the global climate change 'debate' & w/research into tobacco and alcohol) the funders of the research may only release scientific research which validates their set viewpoints.

So if molecules are galaxies, if animals have souls, if the Earth &/or Sun are conscious living creatures, if water is sentient, etc -- all this and more are phenomena that science can't answer today. Same w/divine concepts; using science to tackle them is like using a speedometer to measure someone's emotions. Wrong machine, wrong device, and ultimately wrong approach.


ps: After I submitted this comment, the machine couldn't accept my post bc my homepage listed didn't have http in front. What a great analogy for how framing affects what we can accept as input!! A little less strict parameters on the input data @ more flexibility on the results -- but some data don't fit our requirements.

Google discontinues a bunch of stuff

Google discontinues (from Google's Blog post in 9/2011)  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/fall-spring-clean.html

  • Aardvark: <-- don't care
  • Desktop: <-- good!  This was such an 'invasion of space', and Google kept having messages pop up asking me to install it.
  • Fast Flip: <-- no big.
  • Google Maps API for Flash: <- don't care.
  • Google Pack: <-- another annoying Google thingie.  Bye bye!
  • Google Web Security:<-- I don't care, but some folks might.
  • Image Labeler: <-- was almost like 'hot or not' or 'rate me date me', except for *all* of Google's images.  Oh well, I don't care.  Do you?
  • Notebook: <-- Gah!  At least my Google 'bookmarks' is still around.  I was using Notebooks for awhile, and they were sorta ok, but at least they say they'll auto-export all Notebook data to Google Docs.
  • Sidewiki: Another loss!  This was cool -- if you installed Google Toolbar, you could write up notes/code/info on any sites.  The idea was to share that data w/others, but I just noting when a site was crap & reminding myself to ignore that site.  Oh well...
  • Subscribed Links: <-- don't care part 3.

  • Gee, do I find it annoying that Google decides what to continue & what to discontinue without offering up some of that IP to the masses.  Why not release that code to the world & let the opensource world choose what to continue???

    Where's the -1 button?!?!?!?!?

    I'm also ready to see Google+ hit the discontinued section.  I signed up, and have regretted it ever since.  Google+ to me is like the awkward, challenging, and annoying Google Wave (which also vanished) -- they need to hire more UI designers to help them build web-apps which are easy to use!

    BrassRing jobsite -- SUCKS!

    Brassing SUCKS!  I'd like to say it 100x.

    There was a job I wished to apply for -- finally something which is a good fit for me.  It was only posted on BrassRing's jobsite.  Against my best wishes, I signed up.

    I regret the experience already.  I'd like to have a chat with the designer of the website.

    Many job-sites understand that applicants are their clients as much as the companies seeking new employees -- and thus they make the sites relatively easy to submit your information.  In fact, the best sites upload your resume (pdf or doc or rtf) and scan it for info, show the applicant how their info was scanned (ie parsed), and then allow the applicant to add additional materials as needed.

    BrassRing on the other hand requires the user to create a ridiculous username/password combination (including a password of 8 characters which *must* have a 'special character'), then immediately asks users to submit a 'unique number' consisting of their month and day of their birthday plus the first 6 numbers of their social security. 
    Perhaps I won't get this job, but I did not submit this info -- why should I reveal my personal info to a third party that doesn't have any type of contact info on their website?!?!?

    Anyway, despite all the relevant info being listed on my resume, the website asks me to manually retype my education and work experience.  What I've chosen to do to bypass much of these badly designed HR systems is to put my most recent work experience and my college, and leave everything else off.

    But the end of this rant is near; the information revolution is all around us, but bad designers sabotage the revolution continuously.  Rather than me inputting our data one million times, the 'open signon' and 'open protocols' should be enabled so I can have my profile configured and appearing however I wish, have that content marked up by XML so these HR sites can peruse me and parse my data, but I can present what I wish -- and not present my social or personal info that is not relevant.  If we can't get this done with opensource, maybe Linkedin will do it for us?

    The future is almost here -- or so they tell me -- but for jobhunting, it's got a ways to go yet.

    iPhone OS5 -- the big update is not so exciting

    I think the update could be called IOS 4S also.
    Basically, not very elegant in many ways.

    • bolding/italicizing in email. Gee, wouldn't a toolbar have made sense here?
    • pull down alert screen (so called notifications) -- Gee, how fun is it to manually configure each app in it's own individual menu, something you have to repeat over & over -- and the choices are *NOT* intuitive.
    • what a great OS update! Deleted *all* my apps and all my music! Thanks Apple!
    • mark email unread is now hidden under 'mark', w/choices of flag or unread. Why?
    • many changes are things I preferred the old way -- but guess what, you can't have it be that way! Why? B/c it's Apple.
    • new slider knobs are dumb, I liked the old ones.
    • AppStore has changed a lot. Now lists *every* app I ever installed. No filtering option (except search by name), so I can't just look at games, or music apps -- it's all or nothing. Not handy -- but at least now it seems to know what I bought, rather than forcing me when re-downloading to click '$2.99' again & hope I wouldn't get charged again.
    • how do you change font size / color of pull down notifications? Oh, you can't?
    • how do you change font size/color of pop up top-line notification? Oh, you can't?
    • how do you make notifications not show the preview of the email (but leave preview on in mail app)? Oh, you can't?
    • why does my battery life drop much faster now than before? I turned off 'push' and change to fetch every '15 min's so it doesn't drain noticeably while I'm using phone (iPhone 4).
    Hey, I admit iOS 5 has a lot of cool new features -- but not all are 'well designed' or 'elegant', as Apple claims to be with most of it's design changes.

    I do like the Calendar weekly view, I like 'flipping' the days, I like the moving timeline overlaid on the calendar.

    I want to like Reminders -- but the UI sucks, doesn't integrate with Calendar (why not?), and most options are buried in a few clicks away & not so intuitive *where* to click.

    Newsstand? Uh, how about no thank you?  I used a tip to file it away -- done!

    Book Reader <-- hey, update erased/deleted all my books! Thanks for that, Apple!

    And lastly, iCloud. Ah, yes, iCloud.  "Back up your address book, your emails, your notes, and any/all app data online" ... and then when we get hacked & have our personal data exposed to the world, have our bank accounts defrauded and our blackmailed for mistresses or porn -- do you think you have *any* recourse at putting Apple in a lawsuit? HA HA HA You *KNOW* your EULA included no liability on their part for your password sucking & someone getting all your personal data.
    Your *only* protections from (yes *FROM*) iCloud insecurity are as follows: a) disable iCloud, b) disable iCloud for apps which might have any personal info you might have & perhaps your photostream, or c) hope that there are so many millions of users that the odds of you getting hacked are small.
    Yes, that's right -- the cloud is *the least* secure place to post all your backup data. But, if your house catches on fire, you lose your iPhone,  or your harddrive(s) die(s), you might get some of your data & photos back.

    Drawings on iPhone

    Well, it's fun. Kinda small screen, lots of 'undo/redo', but I'm liking drawing again!

    And buying the layers for $1 was worth it. I dloaded 'Adobe Ideas' for free, now it's $7. Seems a bit steep...?

    Just starting out, here's a couple sketches.

    Silver Dragon - VnV Character

    Character: Silver Dragon              Secret ID: Chang Chew Woo
    Player: rekz

    Level: 1
    XP: 0
    Training: Magic Spells - 'Chi Powers'
    Height: 5'3" Weight: 135lbs

    Physical Description: A Chinese man with long silver hair, eyebrows, and fu manchu beard, he wears Kung Fu clothing or traditional Chinese clothes. Despite his power, he looks fairly normal physically. But he is incredibly nimble and spry.

    STR - 9
    END - 14            Healing Rate: .9 ( = .3x3)
    INT - 12              % DHO: 10%             % DD: 14%
    AGL - 27 (11)     DMG: +3                    ACC: +5
    CHA - 8              Reaction Mod (Good/Evil): +2 / -2
    Power: 62           Hit Points: 13 = (1)(1.4)(1.1)(2.8)= 4.312 x3
    Movement: 50"     Basic Hits: 3

    Carrying Capacity: 143LBS HTH: 1d4
    Inventing Points: 1.2                              Inventing %: 36%
    6 Powers:
    1. Height Agi B (+11)
    2. Height Def (-4 to be hit)
    3. Invisibility (+1 hit/-1 to be hit per round, PR=1/hr)
    4. Disintegration Ray (1d20 dmg, PR=2, range=STR, special dmg vs inanimate materials) 
    5. Psionic Power -- 'Chi Mastery' - Willpower Defense always on, 'Inner Air Technique' - instant PR recharge, can do 1x per hour.
    6. Magic Spells - 'Chi powers' (generally PR=4 + Action, most effects last 1 hr, starts with only 1 power):
      1. 'Dragon Fist' - punch or kick w/carrier Disintegrate, double damage vs inanimate objects (PR=8, +3 hit melee). can't use when invisible.)
      2. 'LightFoot' -- Height Speed (add to move 1d100 x3" + INIT bonus), can run and jump on air, run vertical up walls, upside-down on ceiling, etc.
      3. 'Mind over Body' -- Height Stat A - any one STR, END, AGI (roll 2d10)
      4. 'Living Weapon' -+3 to hit w/Martial Arts weapons
      5. 'Dragon Palm' -- regenerate HP at Heal rate/turn, can also be used on others. Requires focus and attention.
      6. 'Ribbon Fighting' -- long fabric ribbons rolled inside sleaves,use them like 'Telekinesis' or 'Stretch' (ie ranged grabs or melee), or can wrap someone up (ie lose movement).
      7. 'Enchantment Scrolls' -- small paper strips with inscribed spells, strip is thrown onto target to cause effect: freeze, burn, paralyze, confusion, banish undead, make a 'forcefield cage', etc
      8. 'Viper Strikes' -- can strike anyone within reach w/melee attack, no extra PR cost (PR=4) for extra actions
      9. Quivering Palm -- melee carrier attack delivers Disintegrate, effect is delayed for up to 24hrs, or can dissipate.
      10. Chi Blast -- Quick PR burn - can spend 10 PR to burn *all remaining PR* to split as damage bonus/Hit bonus.
      11. Chi Power Up -- as absorb - damage goes to PR score, max 100 PR, req's a ready action
    7. Weakness - Prejudice -- The local (mob-owned) newspaper have a media campaign pinning any unsolved crimes on him. He has been framed for a series of murders. 
    8. 'Chi Mastery' - Willpower Defense always on, 'Inner Air Technique' - instant PR recharge, can do 1x per hour.
    Other Equipment:
    He carries a bunch of Ninja weaponry, (incl those cool little exploding cloud smoke bombs.)[list]
    • Knives/Shuriken/Daggers - +1hit, HTH+1d2 dmg/ Thrown +2 hit, HTH +1d2, Range Agi"
    • Katana - +2hit, HTH +1d6 dmg
    • Spear - +3 hit, HTH + 1d4 dmg / Thrown +1 hit, HTH +1d4, Range Agi"
    • Smokes Bombs - Small cloud, lasts very briefly (no 'in-game' effect, covers going invisible)

    Character Notes/Origin/Personality/Description:
    Chang Woo operates with a different sensibility. He respects the law, the police, and general order -- but he sees himself, a master of Kung Fu and the spirit, as operating on a different level.
    He doesn't wish to get in the way of police, but he also doesn't want them in his way to defend the Earth from all manner of dangers, including demons, monsters, and so on.
    The Chi of the Dragon is a gift given only to the rarest Tai Chi disciples, the best of the best students. Chang Woo devoted his whole young life to his Kung Fu practices, and now has finally mastered his Chi -- and great powers seem to be flowing from this discovery.
    With these powers comes the responsibility to defend life and preserve the balance.

    MoSqUiTo - VnV Hero

    MoSqUiTo - Villains & Vigilantes game on rpol.net
    Secret ID: None       Level: 1       XP: 0

    STATS: Str 12, End 14, Agi 37, Int 14, Cha 6
    Hit Points: 40 Power: 77

    POWERS (3)
    1 - Absorption - POWER SUCK - Upon contact, drains 1d3 powers per touch, PR=1 per touch, can hold max 5 powers at once. Can't pick which power(s) drained. When drains 3 powers, also drains a Weakness (if there is a weakness). Target may be stunned (target makes END save). Powers last 1 hour, then return to source character -- unless MoSqUiTo pays 5 power +1 PR for each retained for another hour.
    2 - Height Speed (+850" move, +28 INIT)
    3 - Height Agi B (+21)

    WEAKNESS: Prejudice
    - Former Villain - MoSqUiTo was a villain for awhile, but very recently broke away. In his heart, he thinks he is good, despite his harsh upbringing. But being good is new for him.

    DESCRIPTION: MoSqUiTo's early life was hard times. His skin is scarred, he was raised on the streets as an urchin, and it shows. He would rather have lived the life of a normal kid, but he never had that choice. He's very needy and hungrily appreciates any positive feedback.

    HISTORY: MoSqUiTo was a reject. He was abandoned at an early age, kicked out of several orphanages, and raised in the streets. People helped him occasionally, but they felt weaker after being around him.
    When he became a teen, his powers fully manifested. MoSqUiTo was quickly recruited into a group of villains, but he eventually broke free when he realized that his heart was not evil.
    Now he's learning what it means to be a hero -- this is a new path for him.

    Blame the Taxes, Blame the Govt, but don't take responsibilty? Nah

    Got an email (below) which inspired a response.  The response comes first, then the email.


    Basically I'm ok with taxes. I don't love them, but ... It's the fact we spend more than 1/2 on wars and violence that hurts. And the fact that the USA spends more on our military than *all* countries on Earth combined should have all of us concerned.

    If tax money was required to be spent on social programs (include Medicare & social security) & public works, and not on all the fantastical corporate subsidies and 'incentives' for corporations to employ us, and all those guns/missiles/nukes/bombs manufacturers getting public funding, I doubt most folks would be upset about taxes.

    The issue is not taxes. The issue is what the govt spends our tax money on.

    > Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

    No. We are all in this together. If our leadership is sinking the ship, do you blame the captain as the ship sinks, or do you say "we need a new captain, the ship is sinking" and take action?

    We are adults in 2011. If the middle east can get rid of their corrupt regimes, if the former colonies can shake off their foreign enslavement, can't we do something about our situation?

    Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi both explain the process clearly.

    Peace & Love,
    (re: Email below)
    > 545 PEOPLE-By Charlie Reese
    > Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then
    > campaign against them..
    > Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are
    > against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
    > Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and
    > high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
    > You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.
    > You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations.
    > The House of Representatives does.
    > You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
    > You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
    > You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
    > 100 senators, 435 in the House, 1 President, and 9 Supreme Court justices
    > equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally,
    > morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague
    > this country.
    > I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was
    > created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty
    > to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but PRIVATE, central
    > bank.
    > I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They
    > have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a
    > congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if
    > they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the
    > power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is
    > the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
    > Those 543 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what
    > they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of
    > party.
    > What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount
    > of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood
    > up and criticized the President for creating deficits..... The President can
    > only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
    > The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole
    > responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving
    > appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He
    > is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the
    > President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it,
    > they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
    > It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545
    > people who stand convicted - by present facts - of incompetence and
    > irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not
    > traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth
    > that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must
    > follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
    > If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
    > If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red ..
    > If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want
    > them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...
    > If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan
    > not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
    > There are no insoluble government problems.
    > Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire
    > and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they
    > can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from
    > whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the
    > belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy,"
    > "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an
    > oath to do.
    > Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
    > They, and they alone, have the power..
    > They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their
    > bosses.
    > Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...
    > We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
    > Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
    > What you do with this article now that you have read it......... Is up to you.

    > This might be funny if it weren't so true.
    > Be sure to read all the way to the end:
    > Tax his land,
    > Tax his bed,
    > Tax the table,
    > At which he's fed.
    > Tax his tractor,
    > Tax his mule,
    > Teach him taxes
    > Are the rule.
    > Tax his work,
    > Tax his pay,
    > He works for peanuts anyway!
    > Tax his cow,
    > Tax his goat,
    > Tax his pants,
    > Tax his coat.
    > Tax his ties,
    > Tax his shirt,
    > Tax his work,
    > Tax his dirt.
    > Tax his tobacco,
    > Tax his drink,
    > Tax him if he
    > Tries to think.
    > Tax his cigars,
    > Tax his beers,
    > If he cries
    > Tax his tears.
    > Tax his car,
    > Tax his gas,
    > Find other ways
    > To tax his ass.
    > Tax all he has
    > Then let him know
    > That you won't be done
    > Till he has no dough.
    > When he screams and hollers;
    > Then tax him some more,
    > Tax him till
    > He's good and sore.
    > Then tax his coffin,
    > Tax his grave,
    > Tax the sod in
    > Which he's laid...
    > Put these words
    > Upon his tomb,
    > Taxes drove me
    > to my doom...'
    > When he's gone,
    > Do not relax,
    > Its time to apply
    > The inheritance tax..
    > Accounts Receivable Tax
    > Building Permit Tax
    > CDL license Tax
    > Cigarette Tax
    > Corporate Income Tax
    > Dog License Tax
    > Excise Taxes
    > Federal Income Tax
    > Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
    > Fishing License Tax
    > Food License Tax
    > Fuel Permit Tax
    > Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
    > Gross Receipts Tax
    > Hunting License Tax
    > Inheritance Tax
    > Inventory Tax
    > IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
    > Liquor Tax
    > Luxury Taxes
    > Marriage License Tax
    > Medicare Tax
    > Personal Property Tax
    > Property Tax
    > Real Estate Tax
    > Service Charge Tax
    > Social Security Tax
    > Road Usage Tax
    > Recreational Vehicle Tax
    > Sales Tax
    > School Tax
    > State Income Tax
    > State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
    > Telephone Federal Excise Tax
    > Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
    > Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
    > Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
    > Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
    > Telephone State and Local Tax
    > Telephone Usage Charge Tax
    > Utility Taxes
    > Vehicle License Registration Tax
    > Vehicle Sales Tax
    > Watercraft Registration Tax
    > Well Permit Tax
    > Workers Compensation Tax
    > STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, &
    > our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no
    > national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed
    > home to raise the kids.

    Cassandra Clare's 'The Mortal Instruments' trilogy

    Finished Cassandra Clare's 'City of Bones' last week, City of Ashes' this week, last is 'City of Glass'. Not horrible, simply *bad* fantasy. Trite & lacking in almost all areas - character, story, writing style, content.
    Picked first one up hoping for a great read like 'The Hunger Games'.
    Not all books are winners.
    I can summarize the books as vapid Harry Potter-esque styled fantasy, featuring vampires, werewolves, and 'ShadowHunters'. A thick trilogy, each book 500 pgs, but barely enough content for 1 book. Almost as light as Anime, except un-self-consciously vapid.


    DFA - failure is victory, truth is falseness

    In response to the mass email (@ bottom) from: democracyforamerica.com
    I wrote them this response:


    Sorry but speaking politics here is a failure at communication.

    Saying losing the recall (in Wisconsin) shows the strength of your mission?  Sorry it doesn't.

    The issue is that Republicans don't represent working class, and Democrats have been negligent in representing working class.

    We either need open democracy with 3rd parties, or a Democratic party that will stop lying and face the reality that Centrist politics betrays the base of the party over and over.

    Please start speaking the truth!!!


    The DFA email is here:

    I'm not going to sugarcoat it -- we came up short in Wisconsin last night. We needed to win three seats to take back the State Senate and we got two.

    This was always going to be a tough fight. These were Republican districts and these six Republican Senators were backed up by tens of millions of dollars from big corporations.

    The fact that we won two of these elections and came so close in a third is a testament to the strength of our grassroots movement. ...
     The country has seen the work we've done in Wisconsin and they know we won't be stopped.

    We're going to fight in Ohio, where voters have a chance to repeal another anti-union, anti-middle class law in a special referendum this November. We're going to fight in Michigan, where the governor has launched an all-out war on local governments.

    We're going to fight until we win -- and next year, we're going to beat John Boehner and his right-wing Tea Party majority.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    Doing my part to help the USA, forwarded this msg below:

    Friends & family,
    While I'm also not into forwarding stuff, this makes sense to me -- as the Congress seeks to damage the USA, why not the people seek to fix Congress?

    I think in addition, all lobbyist visits could be transparent, public, & posted on their Congessional website.

    - rekzkarz

    In addition to the suggestions below I would add that members of congress would no longer be able to accept money from lobbyists or industry for any reason.

    This is worth considering:

    *The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
    took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The
    people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before
    e-mail, before cell phones, etc.
    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or
    less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

    I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of
    twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to
    do likewise.
    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have
    the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.

    The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.


    If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.

    Letter to Representatives & Senator re: budget attack

    I emailed Representative Garamendi (thru his website), Senator Feinstein (thru her website), and Senator Boxer (thru her site),

    Dear Representative/ Senator,

    I am very disappointed in the Democratic Party, but the current inability to defend Social Security & Medicare because of this Wall Street manufactured financial crisis takes the cake.

    We don't want these things cut. We need Democrats to stand up for the people of the country.

    If the Democrats cannot or will not represent the *CORE ISSUES* of the party, then please open up the discourse so 3rd Parties can have a chance to participate in our government.

    We must have representation and defense from predatory groups and organizations who seek to damage the country irreparably.  These groups *are not* foreign terrorists, by the way, which are generally poor small groups. These groups are here in the USA, they possess a lot of money, power, and organization -- and the Democrats don't discuss them because they get money from them just like Republicans.

    We need freedom of speech in the USA, and it must be in the congress as well. Please be bold and speak clearly and truthfully about the corruption in Washington and how our Democracy is being sold off (very cheaply) to PAC's and corporations and the ultrawealthy.

    Thank you.

    (my name)


    Blogplus - mobile blogging app

    Today I dloaded this iPhone blogging app, BlogPlus, from the restroom of La Note, while temporarily occupied w/other affairs. I saw from AppShopper that the price had dropped to $1!
    Time to consume!!!
    And the joy of realizing I can consume software from a bathroom via cellphone Internet -- I really feel like I have arrived in the era of the mobile information revolution!!

    Why the Media implodes

    FAIR -- fairness and accuracy in reporting -- has a lot of work to do!

    Basically, very little of what the mainstream media says (including CNN) is accurate, and what they do say is spun heavily.  The most confusing questions (at least for me) are WHY would CNN spin the Japan Fukushima Daichi nuclear meltdown?  Why would NPR not cover the anti-austerity protests going on in all 50 states?  Why don't we hear about Global Warming in ANY of the mainstream media sources?

    So far, the answers are all similar -- the CORPORATIONS do not want these stories covered. 

    Nuclear powerplants cost ~ $60bil each, and the USA has over 100 nuke plants, so we have approx $6 trillion dollars of private enterprise interests resisting any coverage of the triple meltdown -- even though we now they are worse than Chernobyl, we know they are worse today then they were 1 month ago, and we know that the USA is exposed to dangerous radiation from the meltdown.  We don't know if the radiactive cores have melted outside of the reactor foundations, which is significant.

    What bugs me about this story, and all the rest, is that we have a guarantee in our Constitution of both Freedom of Press and Freedom of Speech.  If we can't get the truth in our media, and people speaking the truth in media is getting blocked, then it seems our Constitution is being blocked and we as US Citizens have a right and a duty to prevent this type of thing.
    I'm not a Tea Party person -- I think the Tea Party is a front for right-wing billionaire fascists -- but I am a believer in the principles of the USA's foundation -- liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness.  Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Religion -- and Freedom From Religion.
    To get current on my list of things I DO NOT BELIEVE IN: tax rebates for the rich, wars against drugs or religions, sending US troops to fight wars in other countries which are not threatening the USA, living in primal fear of terrorist attacks that we give up our freedoms and our freedom from inappropriate searches, using tax money for military ventures or to subsidize corporate endeavors rather than for the public good, the government battling to defend 'intellectual property rights' while supporting companies who exploit natural resources and leave regions unable to support human life, the exploitation of slave labor and prison labor, the expansion of prisons to include imprisoning non-criminals and non-violent victimless criminals, the expansion of CIA/FBI/Police powers without judicial oversight, and the government support of industries which have no regard for their product's consumers nor their product's producers.
    I could make that list longer...

    Obama vs Osama -- what is real and what is fiction

    So Obama has enabled the CIA & troops to kill Osama Bin Laden.  OK, I get the story.

    Wait a sec.  Actually, I'm not getting the story.  Here's what I'm not understanding about the whole affair:
    • Did Bush Sr give Osama Bin Laden $2 billion to fight the Russians -- and then ask him to attack the USA as a false flag attack?  Media hasn't investigated.
    • Why did Bush Jr have a 'no flight' alert, but then use US tax money to buy all the Bin Laden family free flights to Paris? - Hello media?  Any explanations here?
    • When Osama Bin Laden got away from US forces every time, why did it seem like the USA armed forces were given orders to leave him an escape route?  Was it so the USA could continue to fight a war against whomever we want?  Is the 'Al Queada', the mysterious nation-less group of terrorists a convenient cover story to an American offensive to take control of the world's oil?  -- Any media commentary here?
    • What about the POW's in Guantanamo still?  (Wait, I'm sorry, I didn't mean POW's, I meant 'enemy combatants'.)  Why is the USA torturing them & not allowing them to have their day in court with lawyers to face their charges?
    • What exactly is the definition of terrorism?  Is the USA terrorizing Iraqi citizens?  When the USA uses rendition & secret military prisons, is that terrorism?  Does invading a non-threatening country count as terrorism?  What about nuclear bombing a country, or using drones to go into another country's borders & kill civilians?  I'm just wondering here.
    • Why is the USA fighting a war against a group that hasn't done anything to us (yet)?  Have the people of the USA become so comfortable with war that we accept fighting wars against people that aren't fighting a war against us?  Is it ok to invade a country & kill their citizens just because some nasty folks are hiding out there? 
    • When did it become legal to assassinate foreign leaders?
    • How can we be the leader in counter-terrorism and sitll operate the College of the Americas, a 'university' which teaches techniques used to terrorize populations & teach harsh investigative torture techniques (already used in Central & South America)?
    • Why doesn't Bush use his 'inside connections' with the Bin Laden family to get the USA some answers on what really happened?
    • Why didn't Cheney & Bush have to testify under oath, separately, about the 9/11 attacks?  Why did we never get info on why Cheney ordered planes to stand down instead of shoot down those attacking flights?  And why did Bush sit still for 14 minutes after being informed the USA was under attack?
    I probably have a few more questions to ask Obama about Osama, but this seems like a good start.

    QIK video #1 - -Exxon Mobil $11 billion

    First QIK video, an app that lets me stream or record & post video from my iPhone.   The future has arrived, I may hold off a little longer on getting a new video camera.

    re: Exxon Mobil $11bil in first quarter, record profits according to news media -- Washington Post link:
    I filled my gas tank after work, felt somewhat abused at paying $55 to fill up, when I recall that before Bush Jr I paid approx $15 or so.  The media, the govt, & def gas co's want us to forget that prices have gone up 4x on speculation primarily and not b/c of lack of supply.
    That said, I'm guessing we are near the peak oil point, although some argue we passed peak oil.  I guess we can't know until WikiLeaks posts something telling us the truth, since we don't seem to be able to rely on the government or private business to tell us the truth about our own natural resources!!!  (WTF???)

    If we get Financially SMART & think outside of the box, what could that look like?

    I posted this comment in response to The Automatic Earth Article  Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, which discusses the 'next Tsunami', namely peak oil & resource wars, and Slaughterhouse Finance referring to Kurt Vonnegut & the dilemma of the global debt burden:
    While I agree with much of the commentary, there is another reality possible.

    The notion that 'we' (in this case wealthy consumers) must go to war to battle for all the resources, coupled with the concept that 'we' (the people stuck with huge debts thru spending ... and corruption) must pay back massive global debts are both choices.

    Frankly, when Greenspan recommends paying the debts off, and Bush as well, their concern IMO has more to do with their awareness that they are completely culpable for much of both problems.

    Bush didn't want the USA to be independent and healthy, but rather dependent and hooked into global commerce like the IMF & World Bank recommend -- focus on exports, let your population starve/suffer, and boost the wealthy class.

    Greenspan kept arguing that market forces will correct for all the problems and regulation must be fought always.

    And then when they had screwed things up (IMO intentionally) as much as possible, they got a *GREAT* interest free loan from the public coffers to boost their wealthy friends portfolios while gutting the USA's solid financial backbone.

    And now we are not bailing out our economy which is under assault by 3 wars & inflated military spending, tax cuts for billionaires, sharply lowered home values and less jobs for workers, and more curious coincidences.

    When the Republicans threaten to shut down the govt or not open the debt ceiling, it's b/c they live in the dream world where they will survive on bottled water for years while the poorest eat eachother in the streets (seen Book of Eli?), or they figure Armagedon is overdue.

    And I say all this b/c we have a choice as human beings -- to abandon an economic system which obviously is rigged to extract wealth to the top (as Karl Marx showed so clearly) and find another metaphor for global distribution of goods & services, and improve balance.

    THANK YOU BOLIVIA for your short-term work around, which is to assign rights and values to those creatures which can't speak to defend themselves, namely animals & some green areas.

    We all know the metaphor of "does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if no one hears it?"

    But do we all understand the metaphor that "in modern economics, raw materials and natural resources have zero value unless they can be exploited, commodified, and consumed in a marketplace"?

    It's almost the same STUPID concept!!!  And we need to get SMART!

    Save KPFA - the disastrous management continues

    Thanks to www.savekpfa.org website

    I emailed the following to Pacifica Board & new interim KPFA managers Andrew Phillips and Carrie Core,

    I'm a KPFA listener and supporter who has paid dues for more than 10 yrs (except for a short stint when I was on unemployment in 2008/2009).  I'm also originally a KPFK listener as I'm from LA.

    I'm very disappointed with the heavy-handed management at KPFA recently, which is completely disregarding both the community and the staff. 
     While there is obviously a dispute about who gets on the air, perhaps the best way to resolve some of these issues would be by considering the feedback of the listeners & staff, as well as the executives?

    Because of annoying recent changes at KPFA, including bumping Democracy Now to 7 from 6am and canceling my fav KPFA show 'the Morning Show' quite arbitrarily, and putting in Al Jazeera English (which I find surprisingly lacking in content vs Democracy Now), I am now feeling 'forced' to listen via Internet to KPFK & WBAI to hear content that I like & is useful.  The upside is I learned I can stream either to my iPhone (TuneIn Radio app) and they also have other shows which are more hard-hitting than KPFA as well.  I was surprised....!

    While we are under attack in the USA by the Right Wing & Tea Baggers, why am I being forced to listen to Al Jazeera?!?!  I'm interested in the Middle East, certainly, but I'm far more interested in the USA!!!

    I really want a show like Democracy Now, which covers real news in-depth every day, and the Morning Show which expands on local & national news and had great interviews and perspectives.  Switch your all-volunteer programming back to off-hours and late nights!  Why am I listening to the worst of KPFA at 7am-8am?!?!

    Frankly, I'm quite annoyed -- this year when I donated I requested that my money only go to KPFA and not Pacifica.  The person taking my donation did not know if he could do that, but I encouraged him that we could.

    If you look at the history of mismanagement at Pacifica, it includes so many bad decisions, bad policies, & bad attempts at executing bad policies, that I'm surprised Pacifica is still the mother ship.  I believe KPFA needs to become more independent of Pacifica bc the organization is so dangerous, so toxic, and runs so counter to the needs & wants of local listeners.

    In closing, please do not mess with Democracy Now -- put it back to 'live' at 6 & rebroadcast at 9.  Those are iconic timeslots.  Then give us a local & national news show with editorial / opinions from Left Wingers (like the Morning Show!!!)

    And don't get me wrong, I like 'Hard Knock Radio', but it is a niche show which probably focusses less on content interesting to ALL LISTENERS and more to under-represented groups, right?  So keep it in the evening slot!

    Why doesn't the management listen to the paid listeners?  The KPFA board is pursuing a stupid and petty agenda, which will result in either hurting KPFA more than it already has, damaging Pacifica (more than it's shoddy rep, but like taking private corporate underwriting as we are learning now), and moving listeners to other few & far between options like KQED & NPR.

    I implore you, listen to us, your paying supporters!!! 


    Thank you, 


    rant on deceivers.com about Michael Moore

    I posted the following comment on deceivers.com, after reading their article about Michael Moore hiring non-union workers here (awaiting moderation):

    Wow, what a bunch of hate-spewing commentators!  Gee, are you all so 'great' and Michael Moore is not b/c he hired non-union people to shoot his film?  As someone that has worked with several unions and for unions, I say --> SO WHAT?

    No one is perfect, and he is by no means perfect.  But what he does well is tell a story that so many ignorant buffoons (probably some of you included) had no idea -- that the US medical system is cruel and inhuman and looks like crap compared to Europe or Canada, that Bush & Cheney did some unusual shenanigans around 9/11 (and before after, like lying about Iraq & leaking a secret agent's ID to the news & cheating on the voting machines), that the financial failure was caused by greed, that private corporations are predators upon their workers and their locales of operation, etc etc.

    Unlike you idiots, who make fat jokes & think you are making critical commentary, Michael Moore actually is taking action and getting things done.  And he never insults people (like Bush Jr) for being idiotic moronic jerks!

    So, you are making less than $40 an hour?  Well, don't blame the unions!  Unions caused labor income to go up, work hours to go down, and profit going to the upper ranks to drop.  Paying union labor (or non-union labor, like In&Out Burger, Peets' Coffee, etc) a decent wage and medical coverage does not make require your end-product to be more expensive.  It can affect the price, but it doesn't have to. 

    What makes your products more expensive is excessive executive compensation of $1 million and up (which is more than $20k per week) and large profits going to share-holders.

    I agree that some union jobs are overpaid relative to the work done.  But so what?  How many executives do nothing but sexually harassing employees while being paid $500 per minute?   Or hwo about the executives who fail their company and make it go bankrupt while collecting their huge salaries? 
    Frankly, I don't care if a cop or fireman is paid well, or if the guy screwing the bolts into my car is paid enough to pay attention. 
    But you FOOLS who blame unions for the USA's financial problems have everything backwards.

    Big business (executives, board of directors, & shareholders) want to maximize profit at the expense of labor compensation, seeing it as an unnecessary cost to be minimized.  This is why we have sweatshops & child labor & prison labor.  Unions want a fair (at least 'livable') wage paid to employees, regardless of what they are doing.

    When you insult a worker doing a job like picking fruit or screwing in bolts or cleaning toilets, consider this -- would YOU rather do that job?  And secondly, is it such a bad thing that the worker doing that hard job gets enough money that they can feel like they are doing right by their families?

    One of the commenters here said they had a college degree -- well good for you!  But guess what?  It's good for getting you a job where the company won't want to pay you what you are worth, in order to push the profit upwards towards the executives and away from you!  And you can whine all you want about workers below you charging too much, but you'll be yelling at the wrong people.

    The current financial crises were caused by rich bankers stealing money from middle class & poor people by issuing loans which should have been illegal or at least unacceptable.  But instead they were playing with other people's money and they took chances, and lots of people jumped in for the ride.  But when the housing values started to drop, the government stepped in and bailed out the richest, not the poorest.  Homeowners lose, bankers pocket their money and spend millions on lobbyists to move on & not look back.  Zero criminal prosecution for billions of dollars lost by stealing, by negligence, by not doing their jobs of due diligence while pocketing millions of dollars!!!
    Guess what?  If no one goes to jail for fraud over this, it will happen again!  (Have you noticed all those commercial real estate vacancies, by the way?)

    And you people want to blame the workers for this?

    So if you want to blame and accuse, go after the real criminals.  Michael Moore is a great filmmaker (and yes, he uses spin.  But so what?  Fox is 99% spin and 1% facts, Michael Moore is 5% spin and 95% facts) and story teller, and he is not the powerful 'overlord' whether he has $50mil or $500 mil.  He's telling the truth about the people with so much money that htey measure their wealth in the billions, in multiple currencies and assets, and they own the war machine (The Carlyle Group, Haliburton, Bechtel), they own the oil machine (BP is only one of many including Exon, Shell, Texaco, etc), and soon they will own your water.

    It upsets these wealthy people to be forced to spend their money on social welfare and social good.  They'd rather have the FREEDOM to spend 'their money' as they like.  That's why they are fighting taxes and government social spending (social security, medicare, medicaid). 

    Because the uber-rich don't care if you die young, if you suffer in misery in the street impoverished, if you lose your income in a oil spill or environmental nuclear mistake, if you can't pay your medical insurance, or if you are homeless.

    When you have $100 in your pocket and won't give a homeless guy a dime, that is how the ultra-wealthy feel about the working class and the poor people.  Who cares, they are just scum anyway!  Someone else will deal with it, or maybe that person will just die & leave me alone.

    This is why they don't want you to know what is really happening; they want to keep you blind, divided, and conquered.  You probably don't know what Smedley Butler did to G. Bush Sr's grandfather, a nazi-supporting banker & fascist, either. 

    "In November 1934, Butler told the committee [Congress] that a group of businessmen, saying they were backed by a private army of 500,000 ex-soldiers and others, intended to establish a fascist dictatorship."  And guess what?  Bush now has a private army of Blackwater mercenaries (rebranded Xe Consultants) and other CIA mercenary organizations who don't need American democratic approval b/c they operate under a black budget of drug money and CIA 'secret treasury'.

    So if you blame Michael Moore for your woes, you are a FOOL.  Blame the Bushes, blame the CIA, blame the uber-rich.  Who has killed millions of people, & who is making movies trying to make people wake up?

    Jesse Ventura on Piers Morgan

    Jesse Ventura is a hero of the USA, I believe.  He's a 'rogue outsider' who has the courage and passionate commitment to speak truth to power.  Jesse was on Piers Morgan's CNN show.  Piers Morgan is a horrible interviewer -- he has his own agenda & won't allow the interviewee a chance, and now way would he consider seeing the world from their viewoint.  Piers attempted to challenge Jesse a lot, stopped him from finishing answers, contradicted him, mistated his position to counter it simply, laughed at him, and actually dared to called him a coward.

    When so few in the USA say what Jesse says, but so many of us know some of it to be the truth, insulting Jesse for being a true patriot is a sad thing.  If Piers could grow a pair and confront the power structure -- go after a Tea Bag idiot, or a Republican moron, with similar vindictive attacking questioning, but he can't.

    What's disgusting to me is that Piers Morgan is the coward, the wimp, the butt-kisser, the sellout -- but Jesse didn't respond to Piers' lack of manners b/c Jesse has manners.  He's a gentleman on top of all the other stuff!

    The only thing on Piers side is that he had Jesse on and let Jesse speak a bit about what's true -- to discuss 9/11 coverup & that 9/11 was not only planes attacking the USA, that he accused Cheney of knowing about attacks (& possibly helping), that Jesse got to call the USA a fascist country, Jesse's show had an accusation of Obama as being a former CIA agent (which Jesse did not explicitly acknowledge), and so much other great stuff.

    I acknowledge Jesse for not wanting to pound Piers Morgan's head -- but in some ways, Piers is a good interviewer for Jesse Ventura, b/c Piers (who is acts as if he's a highly educated Englishman working for CNN) is actually completely ignorant of the gaps in media coverage and ignorantly claims that the problem with conspiracy theories is that once you buy into one you may believe many.  The flaw in that argument is that what if one or more of those theories are actually true -- do you throw it out b/c other ones (like aliens in Area 52, or CIA assassinating JFK) seem too far-fetched?  Jesse made the point about being in-favor of WikiLeaks and very concerned about Bradley Manning's health.  Also, Jesse criticized the use of torture and Guantanamo.  THANK YOU JESSE!

    I did not know Jesse is suing the TSA for violating his 4th Amendment Rights, but it's a great case -- he has a metal hip and he was a Mayor, Governor, and an navy veteran.  His point is that when he flies he will always trigger the metal detectors & thus always be sexually assaulted by the TSA, and there is no reason to do this.  I agree, but it should go further -- no one should be forced to be searched / probed by the TSA.  The USA needs to fix it's foreing policies so no one is incentivized to do harm to citizens here -- rather than killing civilians all around the world in an effort to take over more of the resources of the Earth that the USA has no right to steal & use.

    Piers Morgan, you are officially (from rekzkarz) a condescending douche-bag, a cocky ignorant wanker, a dweeb, and a bad interviewer -- but you had Jesse Ventura on your show and let him speak a bit on some things (and he was pitching his new book), so you're not THAT bad of a douche...

    5 new dynamic Blogger views? WHOA

    Cool new Blogger stuff!  Dynamic Views for Blogger Readers

    Blogger currently offers five dynamic views for its public blogs:
    # Flipcard: available at [blogURL]/view/flipcard -- EXAMPLE w/rekzkarz
    # Mosaic: available at [blogURL]/view/mosaic -- EXAMPLE w/rekzkarz
    # Sidebar: available at [blogURL]/view/sidebar -- EXAMPLE w/rekzkarz
    # Snapshot: available at [blogURL]/view/snapshot -- EXAMPLE w/rekzkarz
    # Timeslide: available at [blogURL]/view/timeslide -- EXAMPLE w/rekzkarz

    Sidenote:  I chose today to remove all the Google Ads when I saw a right-wing anti-Obama ad appear on my blog!  Don't think I'll be losing too much revenue.  HA (Not that I'm a big fan of Obama, but he's better than the Neo-Con Fascist White Aryan Racist party (aka Republican Party).  Obama may not be progressive, he may not forward the left-wing agenda, he may not improve life quality in the USA for the poor -- BUT they can't take his blackness away, and there IS a black family in the White House right now in a country that imported millions of black slaves, tortured raped & killed millions, and never apologized for it.  So whatever happens, the media-manipulating multi-billionaires can't un-black-ify him!  (Or maybe they can!  They are surprisingly effective!  NO!!!))

    ScriptFrenzy 2011

    Just signed up for ScriptFrenzy 2011, the 'competition' against yourself' to finish a screenplay in 1 month!

    The month is April, the time is NOW -- hey, you could be doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers' Month), which is a lot harder IMO -- write an entire (rough draft) for a novel in 1 month!

    For a feature screenplay, 120pages is quite a lot (some might say more than 88pgs is too much), but when you get rid of the blank spaces for formatting, you're only looking at ~ 30-40 pages of actual writing.

    Anyone care to join me - rekzkarz on scriptfrenzy server?   :)

    RANT on my feelings about USA being destroyed by Republican Neo-Con Fascists

    I'm reposting this here just so my RANT can be preserved on my BLOG.  I think this RANT had some gems in it -- capable of getting me lynched my really crazy Christians who believe in 'punishing the heretic' (the same idiots that don't understand that Jesus was a heretic in his lifetime!!!   Morons!).  And these people are the ones that so fear Islam -- they don't see their own extreme religiosity (which conveniently ignores the 10 Commandments) as ignorant, regressive, primitive.  Oh well.
    Hey!  I haven't started my 'official' rant yet!  (That was all pre-RANT rant.)

    My cousin posted the following on Facebook (very innocently):
    "Let's all just tell eachother how we really feel. That would be fun."

    So I ranted (@4am):
    I feel that the USA is being destroyed by Republican Neo-Con Fascists, many of whom are White Aryan neo-Nazis. Their main goal is to take the wealth from public hands & put it in the hands of a few white families: many of whom believe they are God's chosen, the 'Visible Elect', and that when Armageddon comes, the fact that they gather so much stuff (ie stealing the wealth from the masses) earns them a really nice cloud in Heaven. (Or perhaps they know they'll burn in Hell, which I think most of them fear b/c of the bad things they do to steal all the stuff.)

    THIS is quite disturbing: that you can't argue rationally with people who believe in Armageddon & Judgement Day about Global Warming (they don't care b/c Armageddon), Women's Rights (b/c they believe Jesus said all sperm is holy?), Gay Rights (b/c they think Soddom & Gomorah is about gays -- but it had far more to do w/not treating visitors well & rape & so on), or stopping war against non-Christians (again Armageddon).

    The main problem, IMO, is that people allow the Roman Catholic Church (who blocked it's members from reading the Bible, put people to death for 'Heresy' & wouldn't translate the Bible from Latin until the Protestants translated it independently) to misinterpret a very influential book about a famous Jew & continue a cult which doesn't understand anything about Judaism, or even that the specific Jew they think was God actually practiced JUDAISM, not Christianity.

    Last point -- Christians are constantly preaching about 'the Anti-Christ', someone/something that completely misinterprets Jesus' message & does all kinds of harm. Hey! Look! It's right there in front of us, namely Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, Bush Jr, etc etc.

    The 'Double Speak' (from '1984' by Orwell) has been perfected by this group. Bush said it best, 'We have to kill all the terrorists b/c they hate our freedom.' And then the USA invaded Iraq & killed ~ 150k innocent people (and destabilized 13million people), and is currently killing innocents (including many children) in Afghanistan using unmanned planes firing Hellfire Missiles into groups of civilians -- "to stop terrorism".

    So is that enough about how I feel? Not sure it helps much.

    Blogging for 'Green Tea Party' on my.barrackobama.com

    Setup a new blog on my.barrackobama.com (I will simply copy/paste my Blog posts here):
    http://my.barackobama.com/blogs/rekzkarz. First post was Green Party 10 Key Principles.

    Copy/paste of comment posted to

    Dear President Obama & fellow Dem's,

    The President is very myopic thinking bipartisanship is realistic. He is ignoring many things, namely that the working class is under attack -- bc of bailing out fraudulent 'Private Sector Banks' (with public funds) while keeping a war and a tax break & allowing (public) States to be crushed under an artificially created debt burden (made by fraudulent banks).

    This is completely backwards!

    I support the President taking a fighting stance (as he did briefly during the beginning of his Presidency and certainly during the elections), and saying "NO, we will not do these despicable things" which the Republicans propose.

    No one can argue that Republicans are seeking bipartisanship, so why should the Democrats lead with conciliation to a neo-fascist threat which seeks to bankrupt the USA's working classes?

    This is class warfare. It would be wonderful if President Obama would say so. Minnesota is the first battle in a class war seeking to cripple the Democracy of the USA & opening us up to rule by decree.

    President Obama, I urge you to *completely* give up your conciliatory approach and be clear that this is a battle. You are not leading the opposition regardless, so lead your supporters, take a strong position to protect LABOR RIGHTS and stop the special treatment for Corporations!!

    Thanks - rekzkarz.com (Green Tea Party Democrat)

    North Berkeley Library remodel

    I was planning to protest for Labor in SF or Berkeley, but didn't hear about any protests so I stopped into North Berkeley library (w/free wifi internet) & Mayor Bates & Senator Hancock were there for a library remodel public celebrationl!

    iPhone 4 - a very good device, but not perfect

    Copy of a comment I posted in re:
    Today In IOS blog

    I had iPhone 3 & now iPhone 4. I feel it's an upgrade, particularly in *speed* (main flaw of iPhone 3), but I wouldn't harsh the commentary (news article) so extremely.
    My first corp smartphone was a b/w blackberry w/great email. Battery lasted 7 days w/heavy use. My iPhone battery may last 1 day w/o recharging. My gf's iPhone 3 (I gave her mine) may last 2 bc she's a light user.
    iPhone is my fav smartphone so far (had Treo, Blackberry, & Android 1.0). But it is not perfect by any means.
    I chuckle w/people's hatred of AT&T & love of Verizon: all phone co's are bloated bureaucracies w/little reason not to overbill & under-service. (Another testimony to capitalism's myth of competition generating 'best of breed'.) my 3-4 yes w/Verizon included regular incorrect bills, a mischarge of $250 for texts, and a far higher rate than AT&T's monthly bill -- for a Treo w/far lower internet usability than my iPhone now.
    So, while I tell folks that iPhone 4 is *the slickest computer* I've ever owned, it is not perfect.
    Main flaws IMO include:
    AppStore 'iron grip' over apps, locked down OS (so I can't disable or modify dictionary for flawed autocorrect -- why does 'me' get replaced w/'mr'?!?!), no simple option to have a small keyboard w/buttons instead of LCD KB (on Blackberry my touch-typing rate was fast. On iPhone, I can't type OK finally -- but not comparable speed.), 'sandboxing' of apps blocks a lot of basic info-sharing (music, files, etc) & requires redundancy or copying, and IMO a major flaw: app purchases w/o previews, very hard to get refunds, & general Appstore navigation *sucks*. Actually, if I'm going to point out flaws, let me rip iTunes a new one: iTunes acting as a 'gateway' for iPhone interaction reminds me of AOL being a gateway to Internet. As a Mac & Windows user, I was surprised when I was *required* to install a bloated iTunes on my PC to sync, that iTunes always has components running in the background, always attempts to re-do my file structures, and often will not let me sync the phone until I update iTunes (& recently required me to update QuickTime & overwrite my purchased QuickTime Pro). So I'd like Apple to open iPhone file structure and not require me to use iTunes for anything.
    But to re-state: this is an amazing smartphone. W/a few essential apps (for me incl Dropbox, Evernote, Filer, TapForms, QuickOffice, AppShopper, Tune-In Radio, NetFlicks, CraigsPro+, etc) + awesome built-ins like email, safari, & calendar, it is the best I've used so far.
    + thanks to Google, my contacts stay sync'd wirelessly & my Calendar stays sync'd. Wireless sync (w/o the insult of a 'MobileMe' extra fee) seems essential. And I'm sure glad I got an iPhone *after* copy/paste was implemented & I'm glad Apple added multitasking as well (altho if u donthave iPhone 4 u r screwed there -- which is another frequent apple flaw IMO; screwing early buyers).
    I am a fan -- but I'm not a brainwashed 'Apple-nationalist' like so many folks.

    RPM Challenge 2011

    Hard to imagine I haven't mentioned it before, but *THIS IS THE MONTH* for RPM Challenge 2011!

    Knock out ONE audio CD in 1 month.

    B/c of night shifts, it's hard, but I'm going for it.  Lex sugg'd I try ONE LONG TRACK, and I'm looking at how to do that.  I like it.  Might call the CD "MegaRant" or "Words of the Night Ari" or similar.

    Just brainstorms of poetry so far.  Excited to be hacking away at creative stuff!

    Dungeon Raid - strategies

    I've been playing Dungeon Raid *a lot* & have developed a strategy, but it's great to read other strategies -- please post yours?
    I promised to put something on my blog - here goes...
    Quick recap: Dungeon Raid is a 'line-em up' game w/ Roleplaying elements (skills, abilities, swords & shields) which is an amazing iPhone app by Alex Kuptsov (dungeonraid.atspace.com).  All the game skills listed here: http://dungeonraid.wikia.com/wiki/Abilities

    I've been trying to do 'combos' of skills, and I've been also trying combos of 'non-skill' abilities (like blunt, poison, etc). Generally, I like dazzle - 'turn coins to swords' with treasure chamber - 'new items are coins' combo, and there are a few versions of this. Trying this w/big game hunter' is fun -- but can be dangerous!
    Another maneuver I've been doing is collecting less rows (keeping it to 3) unless it's coins. Shields need constant replenishment, so... I try to leave 3 of swords, shields, & potions 'clumped'.

    Certain skills I don't use barely at all, like exploding potions or freeze. Earthquake, teleport, & slash can save you. I'll be adding more to this list as I improve my skills.
    Awesome game, really amazing!!!

    Update - I had a brainstorm after playing this game obsessively for awhile now.  While my scores are lower lately, I still think the trick is to see the game *purely visually* and try to keep swords near the top and skulls away from the bottom.

    Another thing I've been doing is not taking all the matching things, but leaving 3 if I might need them -- so instead of taking 9 shields, I might take 3 -- unless I'm near an upgrade.

    A few minor observations: taking spikes, poison, or blunt can save your butt.  Getting them up a level is better than getting skills levelled 2-3x.  Spikes damages them when they damage you.  Poison makes them hurt for 3 subsequent rounds.  Blunt actually reduces their damage every round, which can make a tough and nasty skull into nothing after 1-2 rounds.

    I read another guy's strategy saying to take exploding potions, but that *def* doesn't work for me.  I was considering trying to take more stuff that lets me have more ways of attacking, but the more I play, the more I think I'd do better playing defensively.  Dunno

    Good general 'stats' info here: http://dungeonraid.wikia.com/wiki/Stats

    Most confusing stats to me: Dex (adds to Shield Absorption AND % chance for bonus shield), Armor Durability (50% base chance, incr'd with Stat boost, to ignore each point of damage, 90% max), Armor Piercing (50% base chance attack will ignore Skull's armor completely).

    Update 12/2012 - I play this game when I'm bored w/other games.  I've probably played 1k sessions of this game by now!  Still not a super-high scorer on harder levels.
    Skills are less important than Stats as I see it now, but more 'visible' -- esp when you're a new player.  My fav Skills are Enchant & Teleport, and when I have those together I tend to out-pace the skulls and live longer.  Other Skills seem better when paired, ie Gold Skills, Armor Skills, Potion Skills pair nicely with Regeneration Stat,
    Fav Stats are Blunt, Spike, Quicken, Weapon Damage, Armour enhancement.
    Least preferred stats --> Base Damage, Boost STR.
    Here's a trick I've observed --> whatever Stat you pick early will have a chance to grow when you level up Gold / Armor / Exp.  Thus, whatever Stat you select EARLY may have a bigger impact near the end of the game.  Generally I will stay away initially from HP boosts in favor of Weapon Damage, Blunt, Armour, etc.  I also *ONLY* level up strong defensive skills (Teleport, Enchant, Dazzle, Disarm) initially & otherwise boost Stats instead.  I only pick Charisma Stat when I don't like any other options.

    I also think it's best to focus on 1-2 abilities per item (when possible), b/c when I level up there's a chance that something will get dropped to give a better boost (ie boost Armor + Stat).  If I have no great bonuses when I level up but can get an EXTRA Stat, I often take it & hope I will get a chance to drop it at a future level up for a better 2x bonus.  When you drop a Stat for a 2x bonus, the 2x bonus is always on the SAME Stat.

    BTW, I have all classes maxed and all races and abilities available now.  Frankly, I don't think they matter much in terms of affecting the game, but I CAN choose my race/class combos for each class at lvl 10.  I generally play the Sauren (Lizard) b/c they have extra chance to gain 2 boosts per level up, or Changeling (chance for a Skill to reload).  I sorta liked the Halfling also for the bonus.

    Good luck, have fun, and let me know if you figure out a better way to play?

    Revision on April 2013:
    Shields are used to repair your armor (unless Corrosive monster is in effect) and then add to the counter to 'level' your armor.
    Repair =  the number of points of Armor you repair per Shield.
    Dexterity = increase the amount of damage each point of Armor absorbs by 1, and provides a bonus % chance for an extra shield per shield grabbed.
    Armor Durability = increased chance to keep your point of armor after getting whacked.
    Armor Piercing = less chance for enemies to keep their armor after getting whacked.
    Shield Up(grade) = multiplies your total shields collected (varies between .25 up to 2 per item).

    .jobs -- can't we make it easier for us job-seekers?

    Anyone else think it's too hard to apply for jobs online?  Hey, guess what -- a smart idea:  usa.jobs!  (& other .jobs domains) 

    I've been wondering -- why can't you post your resume & the computers link it to real jobs?  Why must we humans constantly fill out applications w/our name, address, phone #!??!! 

    .jobs doesn't fix that, but it makes a domain where companies can list their jobs easier, they say. 
    (Good until the 'match my resume automatically' app is around.)