Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Evil gravel

From the archives, a drive through the Santa Cruz mountains during a Supra meet:

What happens when a car hits the side of a mountain at 65 mph (104 km/h)?

This incident goes to illustrate that though the vehicle may have all the necessary modifications and upgrades to handle the craziest turns, you can never discount the unpredictable. In this case, gravel.

Apart from the driver suffering a case of seat belt rash, no one was injured in this single vehicle accident.

Car, meet mountain. Mountain, car.

Oh, yes, leaves are bad for traction as well. Here, another driver, Matt, contemplates the logistics of taking revenge on the pesky leaves by turning all of them into tea.

Driver in white tee-shirt and red pants on his cell phone. "Honey? You're not gonna believe this: I was just driving along, minding my own business, when this mountain came out of nowhere..."

Actually, the driver is lucky his wife didn't come along. She would have been seated in the passenger seat. Ouch.

When the California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer showed up, he asked the group of us, "How fast were you guys going?"

We looked at a nearby sign, "Speed Limit 35 mph (56 km/h)" and said, "About 35, Officer."

He looked at the long line of Supras (Mk 3 and Mk 4) parked behind us, and snorted, "Yeah... RIGHT! I've half a mind to arrest the bunch of y'all for reckless drivin'!" [Pregnant pause here to let us stew in our juices for a while.] "But since no one got hurt, I'm letting this one slide. I trust you boys learned your lesson. Have a good day, gentlemen!"

Friday, July 29, 2005


A funny flash movie (853 KB):

Bad News, Good News, Great News

The day after a man lost his wife in a scuba diving accident, he was greeted by two grim-faced policemen at his door.

"We're sorry to call on you at this hour, Mr. Wilkens, but we have some information about your wife."

"Well, tell me!" the man said.

The policeman said, "We have some bad news, some good news and some really great news. Which do you want to hear first?"

Fearing the worse, Mr. Wilkens said, "Give me the bad news first."

So the policeman said, "I'm sorry to tell you sir, but this morning we found your wife's body in the Gulf of Mexico."

"Oh my god!," said Mr. Wilkens, overcome by emotion.

Then, remembering what the policeman had said, he asked, "What's the good news?"

"Well," said the policeman, "When we pulled her up she had two 5 pound Spiny lobsters and a dozen good size Stone crabs on her."

"If that's the good news than what's the great news?!", Mr. Wilkens demanded.

The policeman said, "We're going to pull her up again tomorrow morning."

Another one:

A man walks into Victoria's Secret to purchase some sheer lingerie for his wife. He is shown several possibilities that range from $250 to $500 in price, the more sheer, the higher the price. He opts for the most sheer item, pays the $500 and takes the lingerie home. He presents it to his wife and asks her to go upstairs, put it on and model it for him.

Upstairs, the wife thinks, "I have an idea. It's so sheer that it might as well be nothing. I won't put it on, do the modeling naked, return it tomorrow and keep the $500 refund for myself." So she appears naked on the balcony and strikes a pose.

The husband says, "Good Lord! You'd think that for $500, they'd at least iron it!"

He never heard the shot. The funeral is on Thursday.

I'll take the bombs, please

Thanks to caifornia patriot for sharing the visual trauma. I agree: I'll take the bombs, please. Ugh! The U.N. should pass a resolution against such forms of display. The horror! The horror!

Clicking on the picture brings you to a write-up and a series of pictures of the event. Warning: the pictures are neither child-safe nor work-safe.

A quote

No prizes if you guess who I am referring to:

Some people are like Slinkies: not really good for anything but to bring a smile to others when they tumble down the stairs.

*ahem!* *hack!* *hack!* *koff!* *koff*
Ahh, I feel better already ;-P

Pass the popcorn, will you?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

If I'm the Brain, who's Pinky?

It looks like I ended up on the opposite end of the spectrum, relative to Postmaster-General:

Der Kommandant
Achtung! You are 15% brainwashworthy, 59% antitolerant, and 57% blindly patriotic

Brilliant, opportunistic, and patriotic to a fault, and not so fond of people who aren't just like you, you are like a Nazi General. Put into Germany in the 1940's, you would have been at the top of the asshole list. Not for Nazism, necessarily, but for your own sick, twisted values. Then, out of superior intelligence (relative to other Nazis, that is), you would've climbed to the top.

Conclusion: You would have been a Nazi, or at least aided them well and gladly.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 6% on brainwashworthy
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 94% on antitolerant
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 84% on patriotic
Link: The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Perhaps what's most chilling about this, is that I am not surprised.

A bargain

Spent the larger part of a languorous afternoon enjoying a slow lunch at a Mediterranean bistro in Mountain View. As the weather was unusually mild today, I chose to be seated outside, beside the walkway. The food was good: the lamb and beef gyro slices were of just the right thickness and not greasy (the latter, a difficult feat to achieve); the feta cheese, fresh; the olive oil, thick and full-bodied; and the tomatoes, of the vine-ripened sort. What struck me though, was the owner's casual dismissal of my offer to pay first, and his friendly insistence that it was his policy that customers pay after the meal, even if they are seated outside.

I had plenty of time--during the long meal--to observe that, since the outdoor dinner area is neither bounded by barriers nor flower pots/boxes, a customer could easily stand up, blend into the crowd, and so, be the recipient of a free meal.

Intrigued by his nonchalant attitude towards such a (possible) form of loss, I couldn't resist picking the sexagenarian Greek's brains when it was time for me to pay, "If you don't mind me asking, as your outdoor dining area is not surrounded by any barriers, aren't you worried about customers walking away without paying?"

The silver-haired gentleman (who, for some reason, is reminiscent of Nikos Kazantzakis' Zorba the Greek) looked at me intently for a moment, then smiled, and with a twinkle in his eye, replied, "Ah! Then, they would have sold me their dignity for the price of a meal!"

I like this man. I suspect I shall return there soon.

* Oh, the price of my meal? $14.77

** "Tell me what you do with the food you eat, and I'll tell you what you are. Some turn their food into fat and manure, some into work and good humor, and others, I'm told, into God" (Zorba the Greek).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hanoi Jane's New Trip

Jane Fonda announced that she is embarking on a cross-country antiwar book tour--on a bus that runs on vegetable oil, no less.

"I've decided I'm coming out," she told an audience in Santa Fe, N.M. "I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam. I carry a lot of baggage from that."

That baggage includes the now infamous photo of Fonda in 1972 sitting atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun while on a tour of that country. Many Vietnam vets do not forgive Fonda for what they view as treason and for making their lives harder, especially prisoners of war who were tortured in her name. To her limited credit, Fonda has apologized.

Still, her newest foray into antiwar territory feels like a cartoonish parody of her former self. Jane Fonda playing Jane Fonda. In her newest version of Me, Myself and I, Fonda will segue from book tour to antiwar tour via a cross-country trip on a bus that runs on vegetable oil. Slick. But is it canola?

(Entire article)

Second question:
Why doesn't Fonda go on an "Anti-kidnapping and Beheading Tour"?

I guess tours of this variant are more sensationalistic. One more for the road, eh? Jane? One more thing to regret over later.

Humor quiz

Props to zeenie and Postmaster-General:

the Wit
(73% dark, 39% spontaneous, 33% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean you're pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer. Your sense of humor takes the most effort to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

Also, you probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm
talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 81% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 9% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 45% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid


Courtesy of FSP 1.1:

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ideal church model

Spotted this quiz on Edward's wonderful blog and decided to try it as well:

You scored as Mystical Communion Model. Your model of the church is Mystical Communion, which includes both People of God and Body of Christ. The church is essentially people in union with Christ and the Father through the Holy Spirit. Both lay people and clergy are drawn together in a family of faith. This model can exalt the church beyond what is appropriate, but can be supplemented with other models.

Mystical Communion Model


Sacrament model


Servant Model


Institutional Model


Herald Model


What is your model of the church? [Dulles]
created with


From Eats, Blogs and Leaves, by Jennifer Garrett (yes, your very own Blogger Help section):

A blogger must be a writer and an editor if he wants to attract and keep readers. A well-written blog indicates respect both for the medium and for the reader. Proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar are not merely the tools by which anal-retentive freaks like me get their kicks; they give words meaning, clarity, and, if you're lucky, beauty. Proper punctuation can mean the difference between comments full of flame wars and comments rife with meaningful discourse.

Be kind to your reader. Capitalization and punctuation are the easiest ways to indicate exactly what you're trying to say. It's time for a little tough love, people: Anyone who types in all lowercase needs to be taken out back and beaten. You are not e.e. cummings; you are not being "artistic." You're just too lazy to hit the shift key. If you can't be bothered with the extra keystroke, I can't be bothered to read your site. Don't turn off readers before they even get to your words.

Poor control of the English language is one of my biggest turn offs (bigger than smoking or gangster rap). 1F _|00 tYpe LiKe DiS, you can forget it, sweetie. I don't care what you look like, I would rather turn celibate.

Capitalization and punctuation mark the difference between, "I helped my uncle jack off a horse," and "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse."

I rest my case.

* For those wannabes out there who think it is "kewl" (cool) to tYpe LiKe tHiS, there are rules to "!337$p34k" (elite speak) as well. E.g. vowels are rarely capitalized. Keep that in mind the next time you are envisioning yourself as some "ph34r3d" keyboard warrior with "m4d 5k1llz," when you are actually exposing yourself as a "n00b."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Simply irresistible

Mucho gracias to Jennifer for posting this:

As part of our 10-day anniversary celebration, and 10-year partner UPS surprised Amazon customers with very special deliveries of their orders. Throughout our 10-day celebration, which ended on July 16, 2005, Amazon customers opened their doors to find a favorite actor, musician, athlete, or author personally delivering their order alongside a UPS driver.

Oh my! What a marketing gimmick. I can see it now, Calista Flockhart delivering Ally McBeal to my front door.

* OK, let's see: Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maria Sharapova...
How much damage did I do with my credit card?

** Added "Links" on the sidebar.

*** My 100th post!

Science redux

Received these from a good friend. *Thanks*

The following are real answers from school kids:

Children's Science Exam Answers

Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: What is the fibula?
A: A small lie.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.

Q: What is artificial insemination?
A: When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g., abdomen.)
A: The body is consisted into three parts - the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels, A, E, I, O, and U.

Q: What does "varicose" mean?
A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term "Caesarean Section"
A: The Caesarean Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word "benign" mean?'
A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lance Armstrong wins

This just made my day.

Seventh straight Tour de France victory!

Diane Pucin's travel-blog of the Tour de France 2005 (Los Angeles Times).

Anyone who thinks Mr. Armstrong had it easy should read It's Not About the Bike. It will make you think again.


As with anything, there will always be killjoys to try and ruin this happy occasion for everyone. Check out the following quote. As much as I think France should get off her moral high horse (e.g. the 1 million Muslims they killed in Algeria) with regards to USA's actions, such comments are untimely and unnecessary:

Looks like by sundown it will be Lance Armstrong SEVEN, Cheese eating surrender monkeys ZERO (for the last 7 races)

Posted by Soundmind ( A ) on July 24, 2005 at 04:38:54

4:40 lead going into the last lap ceremonial leg through Paris down the Champs Elysee. Now tell the truth if any of you Frenchies are old enough to remember, which is worse, the Nazi convoys marching into Paris to claim the city or Lance Armstrong riding into Paris to claim his title. Before you answer, realize that the Germans did it only once and didn't stay nearly as long as Armstrong has. ;> )

What next? No apology, no potstickers (Jiao Zi)?

Thanks to The Asia Pages for highlighting this:

China hospital hangs sign banning Japanese people

Friday, July 22, 2005 at 07:35 JST

BEIJING — A hospital in southern China has hung a sign outside its entrance forbidding Japanese people from entering unless they apologize for the Japanese army's World War II-era use of "comfort women," two of whom were treated there, a local paper reported Thursday.

The Hainan Eastern-Western Medicine United Hospital, located in the central district of Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan, posted the sign in Chinese and Japanese on Wednesday afternoon, according to the South Country Metropolitan News.

The sign reads: "Japanese people first apologize, then enter. Japanese people who 'decide not to admit to their crimes' are prohibited from entering."

This sign is the second of its kind reported this month in China. On July 9, a newspaper said a Western-style restaurant in the northeastern Chinese city of Jilin had hung up a sign requiring that any Japanese customers apologize for Japan's wartime history before being served.

(Rest of the article + comments)

Time to own up to a dysfunctional subculture

Warning: The (strong, politically-incorrect and controversial) opinions expressed in this post may be offensive. Fans of rap music are urged to skip perusing this entry. Liberals, please put on your diapers before continuing.

A 'Community Tragedy' Deepens
As hundreds mourn a woman's death, police say a friend may have killed her accidentally.

By Rone Tempest, Times Staff Writer

BERKELEY — Until she died of a gunshot wound in front of her apartment, Meleia Willis-Starbuck was the perfect Berkeley success story — an African American Ivy League scholarship recipient who was on a strong social mission to change the world.

"For those who question why an Ivy League student would maintain a friendship with a gun-toting man," Johnson wrote in his Friday column, "the answers may lie in the consciousness of many African Americans who climbed the social ladder to achieve middle-class status but feel a strong sense of duty, loyalty and responsibility to the rough-cut neighborhoods they come from."

The tragic nature of the killing near the University of California campus became apparent later Friday afternoon, when some of the same mourners gathered in an Alameda County courtroom to show support for Christopher Larry Wilson, 20, one of the two men charged with murder. The other man accused in the killing, Christopher Lester Hollis, 21, is at large.

Wilson, Hollis and Willis-Starbuck were close friends from school days at Berkeley High, which all three attended. Ivy leaguer Willis-Starbuck encouraged Wilson in his studies. After completing community college, Wilson planned to enter UC Santa Cruz this fall. Hollis and Willis-Starbuck were so close they called each other brother and sister, friends said.

According to police reports and accounts of others present at the shooting, Willis-Starbuck and five female friends had stopped at her College Avenue apartment after 1 a.m. on Sunday when they were approached by a group of men who asked them to party. Willis-Starbuck objected to the language allegedly used by some of the men, including the term "bitches."

Police allege that about 1:45 a.m., a car driven by Wilson approached on an adjacent street and that Hollis got out of the car and fired several shots, one of which fatally wounded Willis-Starbuck. No one else was struck. Police are investigating the possibility that Willis-Starbuck called Wilson and Hollis on her cellphone minutes before the shooting.

Friends and family speculated that Hollis might have been attempting to frighten the men and accidentally shot his friend.

"They were kids out doing what they should not be doing. They were all friends," said Michael Jamison, a Wilson family friend who attended the hearing. "It was senseless and crazy."

"I know all of them. They are all good kids. Chris Wilson was like another son to me," said Arnold Perkins, Alameda County Health Care Services director and Berkeley resident, who attended both events Friday. "This is a community tragedy, one of those terrible situations where friends ended up hurting friends.

"No one blames anyone in this," said Perkins, who spoke at the memorial service and was prepared to speak on Wilson's behalf in the courtroom. "We are all caught in this matrix created by too many handguns."

(Rest of the article)

Note that there is no mention of the subculture at work here. A subculture which encourages men to address their women as "bitches," "hoes," and worse. A subculture that glorifies engaging in drive-by shootings and murder. I went through my phase of teenage angst too: listened to heavy metal, speed metal, trash metal and death metal. But ask yourself, how many Metallica, Testament, Iron Maiden, Slayer fans engage in drive-by shootings? When was the last time you read of Heavy / Trash / Death / Speed Metal artists shooting and killing each other?

Guns are not the issue. In Arizona, it is legal for adults to walk around with loaded handguns in full view. I have observed men there with handguns sticking out of their belts, walking into McDonalds with their 5-year-olds. I don't hear of many drive-by shootings, or gang-related shootings there. Strangely, I don't hear of women in country music being addressed as "bitches" and "hoes" either. Neither do I hear or see large cars / SUVs in Arizona with bass thumping, windows rattling, with lyrics about drive-bys, "capping" each other, beating women, and returning to "da hood" either. A coincidence? I think not.

This is no longer a "wounded culture." This is a dysfunctional and malignant subculture that needs to be eradicated; to be put down; erased. Ask yourself this: prior to gangster rap, did we have music artists shooting each other? Not Jimmy Hendrix, not B. B. King, nor Ray Charles, or Harry Belafonte, not Louis Armstrong, nor Sammy Davis Jr., and certainly not the Platters, etc. But, with the appearance of gangster rap, we have this unprecedented social phenomenon occurring. Why? Because we have the commercialized glorification of the ghetto lifestyle. Where young impressionable African-American kids are taught that the coolest--or bling bling--role models are not the likes of Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, or Tiger Woods (yes, yes, he is only partially African-American), but to be some braindead drug-dealing, gangbanger zooming around in his tinted SUV, with ghetto music waking up the dead, beating his women, pimping them out, and wearing pants 10 sizes too large.

Meanwhile, cities like Berkeley, Oakland and Richmond continue closing their eyes to the real threat in the community. It's not the guns, the SUVs, or a failing school system. It's the subculture.

Check out the proportion of African-Americans in prison versus other races. What music do you think they grew up listening to? Classical? Blues? Hardly.

The time of politically-correct moral relativism and cowardice must come to an end. Society should put its foot down and declare, "Enough is enough! This subculture is a bane upon humanity!" and take concrete steps to blot it out. The defence, "Oh, this is our culture," is no defence.