Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Erm, thanks for the warning.

So, after being hit by a car recently, EMTs came to the scene to check me out. I got this letter in the mail from them today:

"Fire & Rescue recently treated you for a medical emergency. During this visit, firefighters noted your blood pressure was 162/78. This is very high. We strongly encourage you to visit a doctor ... Untreated high blood pressure is a major risk..." (emphases original)

Thanks for the, uh, heads up, folks. But when you think that I was riding a bicycle at over twenty miles an hour, got hit by a car, which subsequently fled, directly before you checked my blood pressure?

Perhaps that had something to do with it?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Loan sharks are better than credit card companies:

No, really.

You know those wonderful credit card offers you get in the mail?

Check out this recent one from "First PREMIER Bank" :

Now, initially, this looks like an appealing offer, with a purchase APR of 9.9% and a cash-advance rate of 19,99%.

But, wait, there's more. Keep in mind that many small personal loans and cards offered by reputable banks have no associated automatic fees.

In addition to the interest, you must pay:

  • $72.00 / year "Participation fee,"
  • $29.00 "Account setup fee"
  • $48.00 / year "Annual Fee,"
  • $20.00 / year Additional Card Fee
  • $95.00 "Program fee."


The credit line that will be awarded you if you apply could be as low as $250.

$250, less 29, less 48, less 95, less 6 (monthly prorated portion of the "participation fee,") leaves a magnificent 72 dollars initial available credit. You will of course begin paying interest on this $178.00 immediately. That's in addition to the 6 dollars a month you'll have to keep paying for the "particpation fee."

What utter garbage. You can see, perhaps, why religions called usury a sin?

You have to pay all of this for absolutely nothing except the "privilege" of having the $72 credit available to you.

Presuming you elected not to get an additional card, avoiding that $20 / year fee, when you work out the numbers on this $250 credit card, the interest rate is over 80 percent!. And that’s presuming you never take a cash advance, never make a “late payment,” or pretty much do anything resembling using your wonderful First PREMIER Bank credit card.

Absolutely disgusting, pathetic, unethical.

Since I’m an economics major, I actually find subjects like this of considerable interest, not to mention disturbing.

The difference between “Lending” and “loansharking” is that, given the right circumstances, a loan can be mutually beneficial. The lender’s rate of return is the difference between the interest rate he charges you versus what the government would give him, reduced by the percentage of people like you who don’t pay him back. You can do some things that you wouldn’t be able to do with the capital you’ve got at your disposal, like buy a house. But a house gains in value, so presuming it appreciates at a higher rate than the interest you’re paying, you’re winning, too. Or, a ten thousand dollar car is really only worth two thousand dollars a year to you, so it’s better for to set it up so that you’ve got to pay closer to this. You’ve paid off the loan when the item is no longer useful to you.

In loansharking, the principal is entirely irrelevant. In illegal form, it’s often in the form of supporting a drug or gambling addiction; in the legal form – a credit card like this – it’s in the form of more useless “stuff” that you don’t really need. Either way, it’s not about the loanshark getting his principal back, plus interest. It’s about never getting the principal back at all. With all of the fees, charges, and other ways to increase your debt load, the loanshark “helpfully” allows you to defer payments, incurring more interest and fees, and overall increasing the amount you “owe,” up until the point where you’re forced to “refinance” your home and give its value to the credit card company to compensate.

Got it?

First PREMIER Bank is making its money not from lending to you, but from stealing from you. Their primary sources of income are fees, charges, and compounded interest. It’s not about the principal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Book Review: Cracked, by Dr. Drew Pinsky

At thirteen and on my way to bed, I turned on the radio to hear a girl ask “Should I get my clitoris pierced?” Ever since then, I’ve been a fan of Doctor Drew’s. On the air, he’s calm, collected, and non-judgmental, at least as much as a doctor can be when callers are finding all sorts of innovative ways to do themselves harm.

That was ten years ago, and Drew still advises from the same time slot, ten to midnight pacific, Sunday through Thursday. I would’ve thought a book by the doctor would be long in the coming, but in Cracked (2003), one quickly learns why: this is a man who absolutely addicted to doing far too much. In addition to his studio time, he maintains the private practice his father started, works as the medical director for the Department of Chemical Dependence Services at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, to say nothing of the efforts required to be a loving husband and father of triplets.

While on Loveline, most of the issues discussed relate to relationships, sexuality, and communicable diseases, Cracked deals mostly with Pinksy’s time at Las Encinas, and focuses on addiction, withdrawal, and chemical dependency. Dr. Drew’s voice is as clear and collected in print as it is on the air, and readers see a bit more of the author’s humanity. It’s rewarding to learn a little more of the inner workings of the guy former Loveline co-host Adam Corolla sarcastically described as a “passionate, passionate man.”

We learn that Drew is troubled by many of the same things most people struggle with: he fights for balance in his life and relationships, he soldiers on despite being frustrated by setbacks, and he often wonders whether he really makes a difference.

Cracked offers Dr. Drew’s views on the disease of addiction as he struggles to help a series of patents at Las Encinas, and he selects a long enough list of them that the reader can easily see the pattern, the inevitable parade of addicts suffering in largely the same ways. There’s mostly comfort and tolerance shown for the patients, but Dr. Drew has no shortage of cynicism available for “the system,” which prevents patients from truly having a chance at recovery by hamstringing . He spends much effort focusing on people, relationships, as the primary struggle for a victim or an addict, and it’s inspirational to hear a physician emphasizing that the psychological and social aspects of addition are by far the most important in the long run.

More than he intends it, I think, Cracked is also a study of gender differences. Most of the patients Dr. Drew focuses on are young, victimized women, and it’s clear his heart truly pours out to them. Every generic Doctor’s checkup includes “open wide and say aaah!” Dr Drew describes the disturbing, unforgettable way that victims sexual abuse respond,: “the submissive manner in which they put their headback and open their mouths.” I felt a more than a little disturbed thinking of the disgusting treatment that all of these women must have experienced, the way that they’ve been scarred. One can see why it’s a challenge to have faith in the “goodness of humanity” in the face of such disgusting treatment.

In treating these victimized female addicts, Drew relates the way it’s difficult not to overstep his boundaries as a physician, the way he must constantly fight his biological impulses to nurture, comfort, and embrace these fragile young women. By contrast, the men in the book – far less focal – tend to respond to addiction with belligerence, and Dr. Drew fights his impulses to simply give up on them, constantly reminding himself that their inappropriate behaviors are the result of a disease, and that they are beyond the point of conscious control. His candor in discussing his dilemmas is refreshing, and highlights the influence evolution and biology have on the interactions between men and women. How many 6-year old boys are sexually abused by older, female relatives?

Cracked is honest, direct, and focused. It’ll teach you a lot about the disease of addiction – the way it actually effects real people, unburned by excessively heavy paternalism or rote toxicology.

One final note: Cracked is a slender hardback volume, and the publishers have clearly taken steps to print in such a way as to use up as much space as possible. It’s 270 pages long, but contains 26 chapters, and each chapter ends with about half a blank page, and the first page of each chapter contains a a full-page illustration, a series of “humpty dumpty” cartoons, and the text does not begin until halfway down the facing page. Combine that with wide margins and spacing, and I don’t think that Cracked would fill 150 pages in a more standard paperback printing. I picked up my copy at Barnes and Noble for a whole seven bucks, but I’m not sure that I would have paid the $24.95 retail for a copy.

Then again, sharing a copy of Cracked with your partner compares quite favorably to sharing a Hollywood movie and a tub of popcorn. A paperback version, also by Harpercollins, has just been released. Check it out.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Does your iPod do this?

I have a 2-year old iPod, the kind with the "touchwheel," not the "clickwheel." It has a weird quirk that's been driving me crazy mostly because for the longest time I was relatively certain I was imagining it.

When you select the song you want to play, most of the time, it plays it as asked.

Roughly ten per cent of the time, (slightly more often when the iPod has just powered on), however, there is a pause of perhaps one quarter of a second, and then, instead of the song I selected, the song immediately following it is played.

What's up with that?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Slaying Dragons on Mopeds, and Uncooperative Weather

I’d just finished a pretty sizable update, when high winds knocked the bloody power out. No,, I didn’t save first. This is Seattle -- it rains a ridiculous amount, all the time, but it basically never snows or tornadoes or hurricanes or any other massively inappropriate weather phenomena, least of all in the middle of February.

Last Friday, when I got hit, it was approaching sixty degrees out and sunny.

This week is not behaving.

Holy flummoxing frostbite, Batman, it’s the governor of California – I mean, Mister Freeze!

Yesterday, I was riding along at about twenty miles an hour when I noticed a Latino guy on an upright, commuter-type bike up the road. I didn’t give him much thought until a little while later, I noticed I wasn’t catching him particularly quickly, even up a slight hill! That’s really weird, because road cyclists are typically about twice as fast, if not more, than commuter-types when gravity affects you. I wondered if I wasn’t more hurt and slow than I’d thought, until I finally caught up with the guy and noticed that his bicycle had a suspiciously noisy package inside it. Yeah, okay, he was on a moped. Right after that a black Corvette screamed by with a license plate reading “DGNSLYR”. I want to see his skills of an artist.

It appears we’re not getting weather here as bad as up in the northeast, where the headline today was “high winds in northeast storm kill two.” Upon examining the story, I realized a strange thing about journalistic standards: you only get to be “killed” by the storm in certain ways. If the storm, say, causes a car crash, then you aren’t “killed in a storm,” you’re “killed in a car addident.” One unfortunate soul was killed when a tree crushed his pickup, and I guess that counted, even if the storm hit the tree hit the roof of his vehicle hit his head. But if the storm caused a tree to fall into the highway, and he had hit that, what would have killed him? What if you were hit by the now-uncontrolled truck of a driver hit by the roof hit by the tree knocked down by the storm? Or, what if the winds had caused him to lose control of his vehicle and fly off the side of the road and slam into a tree, crushing the roof into his head? I’m sure far more people have died in storm-related accidents in the past couple of days.

I guess one would have to determine what the “proximate cause” of the accident were.

At least, that’s what the insurance adjuster told me yesterday. It was good news, but took a moment’s interpretation after he told me that “our insured was the proximate cause of the accident.”

”Wait, does that mean you’re admitting fault?”

”Uh, yeah, we’re at fault.”

Great. Looks like I’ll get reimbursed for my destroyed bike and gear, at least, relatively shortly, so that I can get back on the road.

My leg is still terribly stiff, and now it’s all sorts of more funny colours! I don’t think there’s a contiguous 4-in^2 area on my left leg that does not contain a bruise!

What, exactly, happens because of that is a while in the coming.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Once you've built jets, you don't build just another car."

So claims Saab's new commercials.

They illustrate the allegedly jet-inspired performance and aerodynamics of their cars.

There's just one problem:

Saab, as you may know, is no longer "Svenska aeroplanaktiebolaget." Since 1990, it has been a division of General Motors.
The "airplane inspired" models featured in the commercials include the "Saab 9-2x," a rebadged Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV, and the "Saab 9-2x," a contract-built version of the Subaru WRX
Airplanes, indeed.

Curiously, when Saab was owned by the same airplane company that produced the famous Viggen and Gripen jets, it never made a stink about it.

I always thought it would've been an interesting angle.
Standing with one leg - Can you?

My left knee and hip are still pretty swollen and sore.

Trying to test strength and range of motion as I'm healing, I stumbled upon something strange, and I want to know if you can do it. It goes like this:

Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you. Reach forward with both arms.

Now, you're going to stand up using only one leg. Extend one foot forward so that no part of it touches the ground.

Rise your butt off the ground a little bit, keep one foot planted, and, in one smooth motion, stand.

Your arms and other leg must remain forward. You cannot touch your other heel to the ground, or press it against your other leg for support. No swinging of the arms or bouncing, either.

Can you do it?

I found that it's not very difficult with my right leg, but with my left it's completely impossible due to soreness in my knee and hip.


I asked one other non-cyclist in my company to try, and she failed completely.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy "My continued affection is contingent upon your purchase of certain requisite consumer goods" day!

Also: Ciao Marco. Mosca con gli angeli.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Good Pull Down, Bad Pull Down:

If you do any shopping online, I'm sure you've had to enter your name and address information into websites about a zillion times.

If you're like me, you're pretty fast at it; you use the num pad to enter in zipcodes and credit card numbers, and you tab through the fields as you populate them.

The bugbear of all the fields is the State field.

The BAD fields screw up your whole rhythm. You have to stop keyboarding, switch to the mouse, and locate what you need.

The GOOD fields are a wonderful luxury in comparison. I really don't know what it takes for a website to use one as opposed to the other, but I heartily believe all should use the GOOD state field. These are the kind that you can TAB into, that you can up and down arrow through, and that you can hit the "O" key in to pull up "Ohio," then arrow on down to "Oregon."

Webmasters the world around, are you listening?
Numbers, numbers, numbers.

Ever since my bike crash I’ve had to deal with absurd amounts of them. I’ve got an insurance policy number, a claim number, a police report number, driver’s licence and number plates from the car, phone numbers, the policy number and claim number from the other insurance company. Keeping it all straight is pretty crazy.

Then there’s the number of how much my late bicycle is worth.

The adjuster from the insurance company of the driver called me today to talk about the value of my bike and gear. I was considerably worried that he would massively low-ball my bike, since it’s not one on the current market and most people consider steel to be an “inferior” building material. My Match Paramount, a unique piece of Portland’s cycling history is worth far more than most run-of-the mill steel frames, especially to me.



I was a little apprehensive to answer “what kind of bike did you have?” Since to most people today a Schwinn is a generic $300 bicycle. I described it as a “Custom hand-lugged steel frame.”

“Oh,” replied the adjuster, “like a Waterford?”

I was stunned. “Yeah, uh, almost exactly like that.”

Waterford, for those who don’t know, made many of the other famous Paramounts, before they turned into mass-produced pretenders, and makes lovely custom steel frames to this day.



Three cheers for insurance adjusters who know bicycles!

Seeing as how big insurance companies don’t like big personal injury lawsuits, I’m sure that, considering the adjuster actually knows what he’s seeing, he’ll take care of me.

If not, then,

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I am immortal:

Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod, not quite, but maybe someday.

Today is Sunday.

On Friday, I was hit by a car. I'm still pretty angry about that, incidentally.

Yesterday, when I woke up, my first, half-asleep thought was : "Ugh, I feel like I got run over by a truck."

I looked at the bed beside me and tried to recall the evening before, to make sure I hadn't done anything rash. Then I remembered that it wasn't a truck, just a Nissan. Crap.

The crash was pretty scary. That was the first time I've ever had a sudden collision with a solid object. I'm riding straight ahead at about thirty-five k an hour, when a minivan turns left directly in front of me. He makes it, though it wasn't a safe turn, but the silver Nissan behind him didn't even stop to look. She turned straight INTO me.

My bike slammed into the car, the front wheel crumpled, and I flew up into the air, slammed onto the hood of the car, and rolled several times on the asphalt. I yelled as I was crashing, mostly from anger. As I was heading towards the pavement, in the split second I thought "shit, my whole season is about to come to an end."

I rolled across the asphalt three times, caught myself on the kerb, looked at my legs a bit apprehensively. I was pretty impressed: they were still there, and pointing in the right direction.

I stood up, memorized the plate number of the car speeding away from me, and sat back down.

Yesterday, everything was stiff and sore; a few bruises and bumps appeared.

Today, the bruises and cuts are smaller, my hip and leg are less swollen.

Tomorrow, I'll train again.

I can't help but laughing, (though I do it through clenched teeth of pissed-off righteous fury).

I just got run over by a car, and I was out of action for about two days.

I am immortal.

Friday, February 10, 2006

My Pet Peeve of the Day was going to be something entirely mundane.

However, the day's events have forced me to revise it to:

People who hit bicyclists with their cars.

Those people make me very upset.

All right, fine, let's get personal here.

People who hit me with their cars, and then drive away make me very angry.

Hero of the day goes to my man James, who drove off after the perpetrator and found her, parked at her house less than half a mile away. Thanks, man.

And as for you, Hardeep: this is how a citation for a "careless turn" becomes felony hit and run.

Have a very nice day.



I truly expected to look down and see the inside of my leg. Thankfully, nothing of the sort, though I can tell you I am not feeling so hot right now.

And my bike. Totally destroyed.

I loved that bike. Handmade by Washington's own MATCH bicycles (now defunct), one of a kind, previously owned by none other than Sacha from Vanilla, the last of the true Paramounts. I'm gonna miss you.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pet peeve of the day: Nonsense sound effect words.

Gewgaw.

These are absolute verbal junk, invented perhaps because someone thought they sounded cute.

Brick-a-brack.

Often, they are used to describe random junk that serves no purpose -- funny in its own right.

Knick-knacks.

Once you start listening for them, you realize that they are everywhere.

Namby-pamby.

And they must be stopped. You don't get to just make up a few nonsense syllables that rhyme and pretend they are a word.

Wishy-washy.

If you want to say something, I'm certain there is an actual word that would suit your purposes.

---

Also : wheel covers must be banned.

More and more modern cars are coming equipped with alloy wheels, as they seem to be perceived as some kind of status symbol -- the bigger, the better, even if it's an expensive, useless item that detracts from performance. A good number of them, however, are still equipped with steel wheels with wheel covers.

Commonly called "hubcaps," which they are not, wheek covers are those painted plastic disks that attach over a steel wheel to dress it up. A modern trend is for the plastic cover to make it appear, at a glance, as though the wheel is an alloy one. While the author makes no comment on the aesthetic effects of these, his complaint about them is that they never remain in place for very long.

You've probably mostly noticed wheel covers laying uselessly by the roadside. They are a pain to remove without damaging and even harder to replace, so whenever wheels are rotated or tires changed, a wheel cover is invariably improperly seated. Then, all it takes is one good bump or hard stop, and the thing comes flying off of your vehicle, eventually to end up as a gutter-frisbee.

On my walk this morning, I observed no less than five of these in under two miles.

Furthermore, whatever I think of them on cars, it looks ridiculous to have three on, one off.

So, whatever wheels you have, that's what you get. Don't cover it with anything.

For what it's worth, the hub is not the wheel, but the part of the car that the wheel attaches to. On some vehicles, typically trucks without wheel covers, there is a plastic or metal cap over it to prevent dirt and grime from encrusting the lugnuts and preventing convenient removal of the wheel. This is a actually a hubcap, and is still allowed.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Freedom of speech doesn't mean insulting someone's religion."

Wait a minute.

That's EXACTLY what it means.

In response to the Muslim Cartoon Debacle, an anonymous commentor going by "Muslim" said on bethefawn said this "The pictures were ridiculous." Oh-kay, thanks for the unsolicited opinion. Then he added the above piece of nonsense, along with "Our prophet ... is very dear to us.":

"Freedom of speech" isn't entirely without bounds, and I won't begin to discuss the typically provided "yelling fire in a crowded theatre" hypothetical scenario.

I will simply say that the very core of "Freedom of Speech," is that it's not permissible to ban something simply because someone else might say be offended by it.

In my previous post, I said "Sticks and stones..."

Now, I say this about insults to your Dear, Sweet Prophet:

"Boo fucking hoo."

SPEAKING of Stones:

Another great example of this nonsense censorship in popular American media occurred at the football championships this past weekend. The (how-are-they-still-)Rolling Stones performed a few of their famous songs, including "Start Me Up," which includes the lyric "You make a dead man come."

The promoters strategically muted Jagger's microphone over the word "come," and the Stones frontman was livid.

In describing this dubious situation, David Bauder of the Associated Press wrote "the show's editors silenced one word close to the song's end, a reference to a woman so sexy she could arouse a dead man."

Not only is the word "come" unfit for a halftime show, but it is apparently so horrendous that it cannot be mentioned in a news article describing the situation. Too young to be a Rolling Stones fan and no supported of American football, I had to search the internet, (a thankfully easy task) to simply find out
what was censored.

What is the world coming to?
Today's post was supposed to be about a few other things, but this whole muslim cartoon thing has indeed gone too far.

I'm not even going to try to appease ridiculous over-sensitive radicals, as many western commentators seem to be doing, by saying something like "the pictures were a little much, but..."

No.

Seriously, thousands of pages of offensive trash is produced every day. It's a given.

The fact that it IS such a given is why this whole mess is so surprising.

This particular series of cartoons weren't particularly remarkable to me, but for some reason many people reacted like this:

Cartoonist: "Your prophet is a sack of shit!"

Reactionaries: "You know what? YOU DESERVE DEATH!"

That's a crazy overreaction in of itself, but the reactionaries weren't finished. "Actually," they continued, "the ENTIRE COUNTRY YOU ARE FROM, and ALL PEOPLE who have been born in ALL COUNTRIES WHO HAVE PUBLISHED that horrendous quote deserve DEATH."


Did no one ever teach you the phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones,?"

"But words will never hurt me."




Shut up and get the fuck over it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mouses and Mice -

Let it be known that, from here forward, the plural of mouse, as the computer point-and-clicker, is mouses.

Mice is reserved for multiples of little furry rodents.

Pet peeve of the day:

Domain squatting on misspellings of popular websites. I know it's come to the point that gooogle.com and yaho.com must be bought by their respective properly-spelled parents, but I fondly remember the days when a typographical error would lead merely to a "DNS error" message. Now, though, I find a page of flashing nonsense that would give Internet Explorer fits of popups. Worse still are the pages that throw themselves into Google's database as the "Only source of fnords, frungy, and farthingales! Lowest price guarantee!" These sites aren't actually vendors of anything, of course, and merely serve as an advertising portal to a zillion more links, popups, and banners. They sit around on other misspellings or variations of the names of popular websites, sometimes employing the same name, with merely a different extension.

Just stop it.

This goes for you, too, Ebay.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Incongruence:

  • There is a Sak's Fifth Avenue in Portland. It is between Third and Fourth.
  • I considered some Tropicana Orange Strawberry Banana juice. Tropicana "Pure premium" is "not from concentrate." I wondered how they sourced Strawberry and Banana without concentrate. The ingredients list "strawberry juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, banana puree concentrate." Also, "pure" includes pure Natural Flavors added.
  • There is a sign at my apartment saying "MISSING A CAT" in extra-large bold font, followed by a description and a phone number. At the top of the page as a header, well above the "missing" line, a small font reads "is anyone." The ad is for a found cat, not a lost one.

Friday, February 03, 2006

English to American Dictionary.

Where else can you get definitions such as "Jubnuts: the clumps of manure-matted wool around a sheep’s butt?"

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Not normally big on the celebrity gossip, and, as mentioned before, your humble narrator is resolved not to see any hollywood releases in theatre this year.

However, reading an interview with Kate Beckinsale (of Underworld fame) on Suicidegirls amused me enough to cite it.

Beckinsale stars as sexy vampire Selene in Underworld, both of which are co-written and directed by her husband, Len Wiseman.

Apparently, in the Underworld: Evolution sequel, there is a sex scene between Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman.) When asked how difficult such a scene was -- her husband directing it and all -- she said that it was especially difficult as Speedman had become something of a family friend. Furthermore:

"Len and I were alright and Scott was just tortured. I think it was much worse for him. He's the one who has a moveable part."

Nicely put, Kate.

And, let me add the obligatory blatant sexual reference: You can grow fangs and bite me anytime.
An unquiet mind will never be satisfied.

A lust to wander refuses denial.

To sleep only dreams, and in dreaming never rest.

The quiet inevitability of the coming dawn,

Becomes the impatient force of an onrushing train.


I am the drop at the top of the waterfall,

I cannot help be pulled over the edge.

Am I a mere victim of gravity?

Am I consigned to my fate?

For I know, in the end, I will land in the pool.

What, then, is the point?

If you've ever felt your heart drawn into your throat,

Then you know the secret: Falling is life.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I've got to get some direction together for this thing.

I can't save the entire world; I can't even write about it.

For the moment, then, I turn to humour: A few quotes from this week's Strongbad E-mail.

"One, One, One, Zero, Zero, One -- You may not have understood me, but I was speaking technology!"

"This is a diskette. Diskettes were invented by computers to help us."

"I've got some technology beneath my pants right now."

Funniest one in a while. The Chaps were kinda forcing it for a bit, took a much-needed break, and the spontaneity seems to have returned. Excellent.
Hypocrisy, tolerance, and ignorance:

Dear Sir or Madam,

You recently replied to a weblog regarding the issue of the Danish periodical and the Mohammed-depicting cartoons. I do not aim to discuss the issue of the cartoons at this point; rather, I am interested in addressing your response's linguistic "eccentricities," if you will.

You state, "U r making me laugh abt ur western democracy ... Jee thanx again it shows pure ignorance on ur behalf."

Seriously, is that the best you can do? It's ironic that you declare it shows "pure ignorance" on the part of the weblog's author. Now, I can type better than the average, I'll admit, but "you" does not take very long to type. How much time does typing "U r" save you, compared to how completely foolish it makes you appear? Sillier still is "ur," which phonetically sounds like some kind of de-evolved grunting.

There was a time, a couple of centuries ago, when dictionaries were harder to come by, education was far less common and organized, and literacy was not what it is today. When people did write at this point, they often spelled things more or less as they chose. It did not make it easy to understand them, past or present, and it doesn't help you make your case now.

Since you point that "I reject ur 'western democracy" even tough I am a westerner myself," I can only assume that you're the product of the education system of these western democracies. I understand the typographical error leading to though being misspelled tough, but I particularly like how you surrounded the phrase western democracy with an apostrophe on one side and an end-quote on the other. Marvelous.

Two final notes: first, if you're intending to show wonder or puzzlement, hopefully you can find a better way to do so rather than simply holding your finger on the question mark key for longer. In three sentences, you use eight question marks. Whatever you were attempting to demonstrate with this abundance of punctuation, you have failed.

Finally, allow me to address one final remark you make about "the dark ages." You say, "While in the Europe people dint have more than 1 showe in a year the muslim world was flourishing in many filed of science." I cannot begin to dissect this sentence, but I will say I had to read through it three times before I understood its meaning.

In the event I'm missing something entirely about your culture, and so as to not appear prejudiced, I close with the same phrase that you did. Until such time as we understand each other better,

<<<.CHEEEERSSS >>>,

Argentius