So, it’s not even been a week since the tragic shootings/suicide at Northern Illinois University and Jack Thompson, video-game-hater-extreme and pompous-prick-extraordinaire, has managed to get his ugly mug back on the Fox Network, railing against the evils of video games.

Normally, I’d roll my eyes, mutter “Give me a friggin’ break” under my breath and then move on to the next story. But this time the would-be-morality-champion used those moments to soapbox and then PLUG HIS BOOK! Clearly this warrents an actual out loud muttering of “GIVE ME A FRIGGIN’ BREAK!”

THEN, I find on GamingToday where the yutz sent the president of NIU the following letter – wherein he again plugs himself:

John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law
1172 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

February 16, 2008

John G. Peters, President
Northern Illinois University
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115-2825 Via Fax to 815-753-8686

Re: Part of the Explanation for this Awful Disaster

Dear President Peters:

First of all, my condolences for this terrible loss. I have had the disturbing privilege of representing a number of families devastated by these types of incidents. I represented all six parents of the three girls killed by a 14-year-old video gamer in the Paducah, Kentucky, school massacre. I currently represent the families of three policemen in Alabama who were slain by a teen who trained to kill them on the cop-killing simulation video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. This case was featured on 60 Minutes. See
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml.

The day after the NIU tragedy this week, I was on the Fox News Channel predicting that the killer on your campus would be someone who was immersed in violent video games, as this is a common thread in almost all of these incidents. I mentioned in the interview the mass murder simulation game, Counter-Strike. It was the game of choice by the killers in the two worst school shootings in history—Virginia Tech and Erfurt, Germany.

Sure enough, the New York Post reports today the accuracy of that prediction. I attach herewith the Post article.

Governor Blagojevich was on Fox hours later echoing my specific concern about the linkage between violent video games and school killings.

I have addressed roughly 200 college campuses about this problem. I am more than willing to come to your campus, free of charge of course, to explain to the students and faculty and surrounding community why these games, played by students, pose a public safety hazard. Brain scan science recently coming out of Harvard explains it well. There are multiple reasons why these evil events happen. Immersion of young males in murder simulation as a form of entertainment is one of the more powerful reasons.

Blessings,

Jack Thompson

This is bad enough, but then on GamePolitics.com, I found where the same sympathetic self-promoter is now threatening the same guy/instutition he was condoling with a civil law suit. WHAT?!?

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request production of copies of all documents that reveal Steven Kazmierczak’s play of violent video games, including but not limited to the use of his computer to play Counter-Strike, which he apparently, according to the New York Post, used to rehearse for his Valentine’s Day Massacre at NIU.

The killers in the two worst school massacres in history—in Erfurt, Germanay, and at Virginia Tech University—similarly trained on Counter-Strike to rehearse for their killing sprees.

If I am not provided with this information, I shall bring a civil action  to secure these documents.

So – it’s bad enough that the officials of the school have to deal with this tragedy itself, then they have to dedicate people to work with the investigators to get all the facts of the case straight. NOW they have to add another head or two to get this moron’s information together so he can rabidly rant yet one more time on how video games are training everyone, young males specifically, to be mass murderers.

Hello Kitty

Jack – isn’t it time to get a new preoccupation? I hear Al Gore is needing some help with that whole global warming stuff.

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The people over at Instructables.com have come up with a new application for a laser – cutting meat! No, it’s not like whipping out a lightsaber and slicing away (but that would be awesome). Rather, it’s more of a method of programming a small laser attached to a grill. Still, it’s wicked cool!

And what do they do with their accomplishment? Why, cut out the word PETA from a giant slab of meat, thank you!

I’m not sure this counts as irony, but since I’m in the animals-are-food camp it did make me laugh.

Mattel has announced that they are voluntarily recalling 9 million toys. MILLION! All of them are of Chinese manufacture and are being recalled for either containing small (indigestible) magnets or, get this, LEAD PAINT!

I'm Sarge, from the movie CARS, and I'm chocked full of LEAD PAINT!

How, in this is asbestos-free age of unleaded gasoline, is it possible that there is still leaded paint out and about, let alone being used in the production of children’s toys?!? Is the Chinese manufacturing conglomerate that afraid that we actually have Superman over here?

Nancy Nord, CPSC Chairman, is quoted in USA Today saying, “There is no excuse for lead to be found in toys entering this country,” Nord said. “It’s totally unacceptable and it needs to stop.” While I, as a parent of a child aged 2-12 years, whole-heartedly agree with Nancy, doesn’t this kinda fall into the DUH! category? Kinda like saying, “There is no excuse for children bonking themselves on the head with rubber mallets. It’s totally unacceptable and it needs to stop.”

The magnets part of the recall is actually worse than the lead paint, at least in a more immediate fashion. “What’s the big deal?” you say, “So Jimmy swalled a magnet, it’ll pass, right?” Well, yes. And probably without too much problem, too… as long as he only swallows ONE. But let’s say Jimmy decides he likes that first one and swallows a second – or only tells you he swallowed one. The second magnet can attach itself to the first, causing a larger foreign object in your child’s innards. This larger magnet can then cause perforations to Jimmy’s intestines as it passes through his system before he gets a chance to plop it out into your potty.

Okay – so here we are, with toys that have the potential to turn our offspring’s guts to swiss cheese while slowly poisoning their blood stream. Concerned? You should be.

  • For information regarding the magnet toy recall, call 888-597-6597
  • For info about the lead painted cars and such, call 800-916-4997
  • For a list of the recalled Mattel toys, visit their site here: http://service.mattel.com/us/recall.asp

And today the China Toy Association is saying they new about the magnet problem back in March. March? This is frickin’ August, people! Why the hell didn’t they say anything almost 6 months ago?!? Bastards.

Needless to say, Mattel’s stock has dropped. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and call BOTH numbers.

Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. out of [Arnold_Accent=”on”]Cal-i-for-nee-uh[Arnold_Accent=”off”] has developed a flashlight for Homeland Security that can make you throw up.Puke Saber

Yes, throw up.

It’s a multiple LED flashlight that can shine at you while varying the wavelengths of light, causing disorientation, nasuea and even vomiting. FoxNews.com referred to it as the “Barf Beamer”, while the snippet I saw on Slashdot more eloquently called it the “Puke-Saber.”

Personally, I think Puke-Saber is the better name… but either way it would make the old “Train”* prank more interesting!

Still, I think the Homeland Security folks, while I’m sure are quite excited about this new toy, have forgotten one major consequence… this thing makes you barf! Guess having seniority in the DHS just became a little more important, eh? “Oh, man… we had to use the puke-saber again… where’s Karl, the new guy? We need someone to clean this up!”

* Train prank: while someone is sleeping, take a (preferably heavy feather) pillow and flashlight up to them, shine the light into their eyes while simultaneously hitting them with pillow and screaming, “TRAIN!

Saw this story on USA Today and thought I’d share:

TOKYO (USATODAY.com) — A powerful earthquake toppled drums of nuclear waste and triggered other problems at the world’s biggest nuclear plant, raising the possibility of a second radioactive leak there, Japanese officials said Tuesday.

The earthquake Monday off the Japanese coast killed nine people, started a small fire at the sprawling Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear complex and caused 312 gallons of radioactive water from the plant to spill into the Sea of Japan. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the plant, didn’t announce the leak until nearly 12 hours after the quake struck.

Tokyo Electric spokesman Akitsuka Kobayashi said today that the water was actually 50% more radioactive than they had initially calculated. The company apologized on its website for the error. Spokesman Jun Oshima said the amount was still “one-billionth of Japan’s legal limit.”

“They were hiding the truth,” said Masako Sawai, researcher at Tokyo’s Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

Kobayashi said Tuesday that the quake knocked over 100 barrels of waste. “A few,” containing plastic bags of radioactive waste, broke open, he said. He declined to comment further.

And why did he decline to comment further? I think we all know the answer there, now – don’t we?!

Gozira

It’s been a long week already and it’s only “hump” day. My project goes live next week so I am camping at the office most nights and will probably be working this weekend too. Needless to say, the only time I get to exhale is when I leave the office for lunch. If I don’t leave I’ll have spent like 11 hours in the same building (which is fine if that building is an indoor water-park or a strip club; but not if it’s your office). So, I go out for lunch.

We’re on the fifth floor so I take the elevator down. No one is on the elevator with me which means I get that moment to breathe without having someone else around. By the time I reach the ground floor I’m looking forward to leaving. Getting some fresh air. Seeing what the sun looks like. The “ding” of the approach floor lets me know the doors will open. Naturally, I step to the front of the ‘vator. Right in front of the doors. No one else is in the box with me so I’m not being rude. The doors part and as I make my initial move to vacate the car…some pot-bellied santa wannabe is standing right in front of the doors. In the center. As the doors open, he starts to enter. Never mind I’m inside the small room trying to get out. Now, normally when I come face to face with someone…say in a hallway or at a urinal, I’m more than happy to step to one side. Mutter the obligatory “Pardon Me” and go about my merry way. Instinct started to kick in. And then it dawned on me, Tommy Two Tummies has the whole frickin’ hallway to wait/move to. I have 12.5 cubic feet with no alternative exit. So screw him. I’ve been caged in my office. I’m hungry. And technically I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY DAMMIT! If for no other reason than that’s the only way I can go. So screw him. I look him in the eye and step forward forcing his girth to the left. I’m not going to be bullied back into an elevator just because some lard-ass doesn’t have any manners. I just looked at him. He didn’t say anything; not a “pardon me” or an “excusez-moi” not even an acceptable “oops” followed by nervous laughter. He just waddled onto the elevator.

Needless to say, that pissed me off. I mean, how rude do you have to be to not let someone OFF the elevator. It’s one thing not to let them on. It could be full. You could be late. They could smell of cheese. Lots of reasons. But there are NONE for stopping them from leaving it!

It was very off putting and nearly ruined my lunch.

So I saw on Ars Technica that Blockbuster has decided to back Blu-Ray by opting to only stock Blu-Ray discs in stores now. They are, apparently, still allowing their online customers to choose between DVD, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, though. Which confuses me somewhat… my Boss, for example, uses their Total Access to rent. He gets HD-DVD titles, currently, from their website and at the store when he returns his online rentals and swaps out for a new title. He also does NOT own a Blu-Ray player.

Kinda sounds like their not really wanting to keep all of his business with this new announcement. Sure, you can rent HD-DVD from the web, but if you want Hi Def content at the store, go get a PS3. BUZZZZ!

I just don’t see why enterprises such as Blockbuster – or even the movie studios for that matter (excepting Sony, of course) – want to say, “We choose THIS one!” You immediately alienate a portion of your clientele, forcing them to seek other venues where they can spend their money. Why not keep both formats, if you’re a store? Sure it might cost a little more to stock both (and I’m sure this is BB’s primary motivator), but just purchase a few less copies of each. No one needs to stock 50+ copies of Norbit – in ANY format!

The same goes for those studios who’ve decided to only put out their titles on either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD exclusively. How many households out there in suburbia have both HD players available to them? Scant few, I’m sure. Opting to only release Ghost Rider on Blu-Ray discs eliminates those houses with HD-DVD only. Likewise, putting the Matrix Trilogy out on HD-DVD only robs several hundred (thousand?) movie enthusiasts of the option to own these films in high definition.

Personally, I’m favoring HD-DVD, mostly because I own an HD-DVD player and don’t have a Blu-Ray machine. I’ve talked with a few friends who do and they complain about the quality of the video on their Blu-Ray titles – that even new films like Apocalypto look “grainy.” Regardless of my personal bias and considering the fact that the median price for HD discs is $25 versus the $15 standard DVD bring in, wouldn’t you, as the rental business and/or movie studio want as many opportunities as possible to rake in the lucrative cash that our “Entertain me!” society is so ready to spend?