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     Thursday September 23, 2004
Mark Oakley

Several years ago (at the last San Diego ComicCon Mark was able to attend) I received, from Mark himself, a magnet featuring two of the characters from Thieves & Kings. I have, since the day I received it, wanted to sketch Heath (the red haired girl), but have never found the time. I finally found the time this week and, even though this isn't the sketch I had planned, I did it. The reflection was not originally intended to be Ariel--it was supposed to be a model, Heather Christensen. I thought she would have been the perfect reflection, but I never had the chance.

PNY Rebate

It appears that I have wrongly judged PNY's intentions of paying my $20 memory rebate. I received a "check" in the mail (one of those postcard check things) today from PNY for $20, so all is well in the world again. I still think the whole process is intended to keep rebate money in corporate pockets, but at least they rewarded perserverance this time.

AWNA Act Passes Congress

WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - Congress approved sweeping legislation, which provides new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA), signed into law by President John Kerry shortly after its passage, is being hailed as a major victory by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society," said Kerry, a longtime AWNA supporter.

"This is why many of them voted for me. We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they do a better job, or have some idea of what they are doing", said Kerry.

President Kerry pointed to the success of the US Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 80 percent of postal employees lack job skills, making this agency the single largest US employer of Persons of Inability.

Private sector industries with good records of nondiscrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%),and home improvement "warehouse" stores (65%)

President Kerry has also set an example, personally selecting hundreds of Nonabled people for top government positions, including many cabinet-level jobs.

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million "middle man" positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given, to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations which maintain a significant level of Persons of Inability in top positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Nonabled, banning discriminatory interview questions such as "Do you have any goals for the future?" or "Do you have any skills or experience which relate to this job?" and "Are you awake?"

"As a Nonabled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, MI due to her lack of notable job skills.

"This new law should really help people like me."

With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Kerry, "It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her adequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation."

It's funny, but not entirely out of the question. Do your part and vote Bush!!

Browser issues

I have been trying to implement serching within Badbatopia's pages using Interspire's free FastFind search tool, but have been unable to get it to crawl any of Badbartopia's pages. I suspected the frames were to blame, so I pointed the "crawler" to one of my HTML only pages (that only links to pages with standard anchor tags), but still had no luck.

I decided, after way too much time searching the internet for solutions to this dilemma, to trying browsing my site in browsers other than Internet Exploder (I tried Netscape, Mozilla Firefox and Opera) and discovered that if I was browsing badbartopia with any browser other than IE, you are seeing almost none of the content of my site. I'm not exactly sure why this is, but I have decided to redesign Badbartopia (possibly sans frames with strict adherence to WC3 HTL standards). The scrolling DIV feature also seems to be a loser with the other browsers, so I'm going to have to monkey around with "fixed" positioning for non-IE viewers.

Enough about this, because if you are using any of the non-IE browsers, you are probably unable to read this anyway...


Pickles made another appearance in Opus on Septmeber 12.

There were no Viking Princess references, Princess-addicts anonymous jokes, but I'm a Pickles groupie now... so here it is.

The DaVinci Code

It's funny how easily fooled people are. Why the uproar over this book and the need to publish so many followup "disproving the DaVinci Code" books? What is it about this book that has convinced so many otherwise sensible people that this very talented author's story is true?

Dan Brown has a gift for mixing just enough fact with plentiful fiction to make your average knucklehead sit back and say "Hmmm..." Opus Dei, the Illuminati, The Knights Templar, The Priory of Sion...all real. The details of Madonna on the Rocks, The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper that he refers to are all there. The Louvre pyramid and Rosslyn chapel are real and as described. So much is real that when he exaggerates a little here and there, the easily led keep right on believing. Which led me on a whole different train of thought...that liberal smear job Farenheit 911 is the same kind of thing. Only instead of attacking religion, it is attacking the president of the United States. And just enough fact is mixed in with all the fiction to convince the ignorant masses to belive. It's a sad, sad thing...

The uproar over this book is probably primarily due to the fact that the story challenges the whole of Christendom, not just Catholics as in Angels and Demons, and many of the protestant religions out there are much more voiciferous when challenged.

Just to spoil it for any of you that may have not read this one yet...A secret society, the Priory of Sion-- descended from the Knights Templar, entrusted with keeping the Holy Grail safe is attacked by a rogue splinter group of the Catholic church to ensure the repression of historical evidence that would disprove Christianity's basic tenets. The bad guys lose. the good guys win. Happiness ensues.

One thing that seems to be holding true for Dan Brown's stories is the happy ending. Overcoming insurmountable odds, Robert Langdon always ends up on top.

Garden State
I wasn't really all that anxious to go see this film. I had heard both good and bad things about it, but out of desperation (there haven't really been any movies that have grabbed my attention lately) I went and saw it.

I ended up liking the movie, although it was kind of like my Lost in Translation experience. It wasn't an overwhelming "like"...but enough of the movie was good that I liked it. Natalie Portman was great. Her character was so cute, sweet and vulnerable. You just wanted to take care of her, although when she was dropping the "F" bomb, it was a little weird. Same thing with the Scrubs guy (about the "F" bomb). It was just weird.

In one memorable scene, Natalie Portman's chanracter the tattered shreds of her childhood blanket (called her "tickle") and I wondered if my kids would someday be holding on to the decomposing remains of their childhood blankets (they both still have favorite baby blankets that they sleep with).

The criminal/stoner friend who is shown using a bong several times and returns stolen items to the hardware store for quick cash was probably the key to not giving this film a resounding thumbs up. He was an interesting character when not engaged in these morally reprehensible acts. In fact, the most clever quote from the movie was his character's: "Don't tease me about my hobbies. I don't tease you about being an asshole" (this was in reference to being teased by Scrubs-boy about collecting Desert Storm trading cards as an investment).

Man on Fire

I wasn't quite sure if this was going to be a crod pleaser after Out of Time, but it turned out the be an awesome movie. Denzel was great. Dakota Fanning was great. Even Bruce Dickinson... er, Christopher Walken...was pretty good.

The chemistry between Denzel and Dakota was amazing. You could really feel how this crusty, jaded old assassin would be won over and come to love his "assignment." Who could help but love such a sweet little girl Her character reminded me of the little girl from Rush Hour who is kidnapped. Both are so cute that you hate to see anything happen to them. The pain Denzel felt when Dakota was taken from his and the horrible things he did to those responsibe felt justified.

The movie used subtitles quite a bit. People speaking in Spanish got subtitles. Sure, that's to be expected. But English speaking people with "Spanish" accents also got subtitles. And these were not even harsh accents. It was reminiscent of the news from Iraq video.

Denzel had one memorable line: "Forgiveness is between the kidnappers and God--my job is to arrange the appointment" (he said this in response to an old man's suggestion that he forgive whoever it was that he was aiming his rocket launcher toward).

© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
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