Saturday, September 25, 2010

I can't look away!

I'd heard Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" before, but only when I played it for Dan did I realize two things: 1) I really like the song; and 2) the song is downright weird. Some of #2 has to do with Kate Bush herself, of course; watching this video I just can't stop wondering how many heads in jars she has in her basement.

Dan, of course, proceeded to analyze the song in a musical sense. I just marveled at Kate Bush's range. I've come to realize that the true test of any female vocalist: she can convincingly cover "Wuthering Heights."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Great gods...I must be dreaming

I've been looking over this Web site for a half-hour now, and I still can't believe it. Take a look. Go ahead, I'll wait.

It seems I find something flabbergasting on each page. Like the ready-made missing child poster, or the USB that contains that poster, along with everything else the authorities will need to identify your child's decomposed corpse when it turns up in a ditch. And then there are the comments from paranoid parents. (The kid's out of sight for 15 minutes and this woman's ready to close the borders.)

OK, I am no parent, but isn't this a bit...well, morbid? Should you really be making detailed plans for your child's abduction? From what I have heard, only about 40 kids a year are abducted, so you'd probably do as well preparing yourself a "In Case Little Johnny Is Struck by Lightning" CD. Criminy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You're better off with a seatbelt

Bruce Schneier is my current security crush, and he has something interesting to say about parents and perceived threats vs. real risk.

I can't speak to any of this as an expert, but when Pennsylvania tightened its regulations regarding what age/size children must use car safety seats...well, you could have heard the howls of protest from Michigan. I imagine many of those howlers are in favor of the various Megan's Laws this commonwealth enforces, which probably don't provide much measurable protection, unlike car safety seats, which we know make children safer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 9,000 lives were saved by such devices from 1975 - 2008. I wonder if Megan's Laws have saved a hundredth that many.

I make no claims to parenting expertise, but I know fear-mongering when I see it, and it seems to me parents are a prime target.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Makes my head go "pound"

As many know, I am not a fan of security theater, a coin adopted by Bruce Schneier to describe the song-and-dance that passes for procedures. The fiction moves into the realm of fantasy in terms of airline security, and I have learned to choke that down for the most part, but this takes the cake.

I have serious doubts that any of the nonsense we endure at airports makes us any safer, and I am convinced that the TSA is a prime example of "scope creep." I don't care if my seatmate is carrying embezzled cash, cocaine or child pornography; as long as he doesn't have something he can use to destroy the plane, he's fine by me. I thought the job of the TSA was to make sure plane destruction was avoided, and not to safeguard husbands against wives who might (or might not) be cleaning out their accounts, but I guess I was wrong. I imagine that pretty soon those airport screeners will be conducting full criminal background checks on the passengers, and flagging those with unpaid speeding tickets or unpaid child support. We can't let those people fly, that's for sure.

Perhaps it's a bad time to say this near mid-September, but on 9/11 those hijackers gave the US an exam on our commitment to civil liberties, and we failed. Big-time.