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December 10, 2005

Bugs 'n' Bubbles

Bugs, another lovely and imaginative game from Ferry Halim.

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:05 AM

April 15, 2005

Putting Flash to Better Use

Yet another gorgeous and, amazingly, heart-warming game from Ferry Halim. It may sound, well, maudlin to say, but the games on Halim's Orisinal make an art of Flash games.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:12 PM

March 25, 2005

Suffering from Online Polls

I don't usually put much stock in this sort of activity, but if you've got a moment (and if it's still active when you read this), you might want to go vote in the Schiavo-related poll to the bottom right on CNN's front page.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

March 3, 2005

From Nothinggate to Imagine

Although Lane Core's Blogworthies feature is worthy of weekly (Saturday) reading, I thought last Saturday's highly variegated edition to be particularly interesting.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:47 AM | Comments (1)

February 1, 2005

Tea for Tuesday

Ferry Halim's got a new game up on Orisinal.

Just thought you might like to know.

Posted by Justin Katz at 3:24 PM

January 26, 2005

Battling Law Students

I know nothing about this, but Cindy Thompson of the Pacific Legal Foundation emailed me the following:

Pacific Legal Foundation is awarding $9,500 in its Sixth Annual Program for Judicial Awareness Writing Competition. This year's competition includes three essay questions, regarding the applicability of the Supreme Court's "rough proportionality" takings standard; whether the GDF Realty Investments v. Norton decision can be reconciled with the Court's modern Commerce Clause jurisprudence; and whether the concept of "regulatory givings" is consistent with the purpose and function of the Takings Clause.

Any interested, eligible readers can find more information here.

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:30 PM

January 12, 2005

A Glimpse of the Future

That fully coiffed gent to the right is... my future reflection! At least according to The Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer. I've been thinking that the picture on the Timshel Arts homepage is outdated. Maybe I should start using this one so I'll be ahead of the game.

(via Michele Catalano)

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:05 PM

January 4, 2005

A Frightening Top 40

You've seen it linked everywhere else; now click on it here! John Hawkins's "The 40 Most Obnoxious Quotes Of 2004" is like a short trip down blogosphere Memory Lane.

Actually, the trip may be a bit too short, just now. In ten years, I'm sure we'll all be in more of a mood to chuckle! (One can only hope.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:25 PM

December 23, 2004

Thoughts and Giggles

A couple of items that are especially worth a read over on NRO today:

VDH sides with Rumsfeld (emphasis Hanson's):

So it is with the latest feeding-frenzy over Donald Rumsfeld. His recent spur-of-the-moment — but historically plausible — remarks to the effect that one goes to war with the army one has rather than the army one wishes for angered even conservatives. The demands for his head are to be laughed off from an unserious Maureen Dowd — ranting on spec about the shadowy neocon triad of Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perle — but taken seriously from a livid Bill Kristol or Trent Lott. Rumsfeld is, of course, a blunt and proud man, and thus can say things off the cuff that in studied retrospect seem strikingly callous rather than forthright. No doubt he has chewed out officers who deserved better. And perhaps his quip to the scripted, not-so-impromptu question was not his best moment. But his resignation would be a grave mistake for this country at war, for a variety of reasons.

And John Derbyshire offers fodder for levity with his rewritten Christmas carols. I particularly like "The ACLU's Coming to Town."

Posted by Justin Katz at 11:13 PM

December 11, 2004

The Time Waster to End All Time Wasters

Michele Catalano has unearthed a game that is definitely not something to discover late at night.

Type in a band or a year and guess the 10 songs that play.

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:51 AM

December 9, 2004

Making a Game of Geography

Sheila Lennon has found a great online educational game. The object is to place the outlines of the fifty states in the proper place. The margin for error is a little unforgiving, especially for the interior states, but it's a great way to straighten out the country's layout in your mind. (Almost as effective as staring at election night returns watching for miniscule percentage changes.)

One thing that the puzzle captures especially well — because each state begins off the map and because you actually have to place it where it belongs — is the differences in size. It's one thing to know that Rhode Island is a tiny state; it's another to try to drop the speck within a few miles of its proper place on a map of the United States.

Posted by Justin Katz at 3:59 PM

October 23, 2004

High Delivery

Another beautiful game from Ferry Halim at Orisinal. Use the fan to blow the balloon to collect flowers in the wine bottle.

Yes, the balloon does end up somewhere. (The destination is part of what makes it beautiful.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 12:27 PM

October 16, 2004

Clearing the Book(marks)


I just noticed that I've currently got about two dozen items that I've bookmarked with intent to blog. Moreover, my net increase has been about four or five a day — that's over and above what I actually manage to comment on.

To quickly get two links off my browser window — and to distract y'all until I can write more substantially — I herewith recommend the short film Fellowship 9/11. If you've got fifteen free minutes, today, this parody of Michael Moore is an hilarious way to spend them. (Even just the quick snippets parodying his previous movies make the download worthwhile.)

Via Mark Shea, whose family could use a Christian fellowship of prayers just now.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2004

Monkeying Around

Although the discovery isn't exactly what I needed, just now, some among you might like to know that Ferry Halim's got yet another gorgeous game up on his Orisinal site.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:54 PM

August 22, 2004

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

I've got two longish posts that I hope to write before calling it a day (by my extended measure), but in the meantime, be sure to check out this week's edition of Lane Core's weekly Blogworthies feature for plenty of afternoon/evening reading.

Posted by Justin Katz at 3:40 PM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2004

Balms for a Calmer Afternoon

Ferry Halim has posted yet another beautiful Flash game. I still think he ought to use them to promote independent musicians.

Then, having tempered your mood with animation and clicking, Jan Bussey's photographic reminder that, even as we enjoy the fruits of summer, autumn offers much to which to look forward, as well, will ease you into the proper frame of mind to tackle the challenges of the mere hours until the end of the workday.

Posted by Justin Katz at 11:56 AM

June 22, 2004

All That's Left Over

I came across a few more items yesterday to which I feel obliged to link, but about which I've nothing significant to add. To begin with something relatively light, Neil Cavuto laments President Bush's unreciprocated niceness when introducing that portraits of the Clintons; when it was Clinton's turn:

He wasn't nearly so kind, and he wasn't nearly so generous. While he acknowledged the president's graciousness, he didn't pass along one compliment, not one kind tit-for-tat. I wasn't looking for him to praise George Bush . . . after all, they are political opposites. But, please! Couldn't you throw the guy a bone, Bill? Maybe acknowledge he responded well to terror after Sept. 11, or that he's kept us safe in this country since that day? Maybe mention something goofy, like commending the president for the nicknames he gives those pesky White House reporters? Anything?

No. Nada. Zippo. Zilch-a-rino. Perhaps the contempt for this president from this former president is so acute, so intense, that he can't find the words -- apparently any words -- to say anything nice. Frankly, I find it classless.

Paul Cella, meanwhile, addresses a different side of an idea that seems to be in the air, lately:

Modern education generally provides only the negative impulse, the impulse to distrust: an unfledged cynicism full of bluster but empty of real substance. This impulse is peculiarly treacherous, and cunning propaganda will readily conquer it; for the skepticism inculcated by modern education will rarely include a distrust of one's own emotions (the doctrine of original sin having been discarded) which comprise precisely the organ at which propaganda aims its contrivances. Moreover, to leave discontented the human hunger for belief in something, to provide no armor against the poison of despair, is simply to make vulnerable young minds. It is no accident that Nazism began as a student movement in an age of disillusionment; or that the ideologists of what Burke so memorably labeled "armed doctrines," together the greatest of modern scourges, bled the ground red with the blood of young skeptics and freethinkers.

It may seem almost a truism to say that wicked ideas are not resisted by skepticism but by good ideas. But it is only a truism because it is a truth that is slipping from our complacent grasp. Skepticism by itself is aimless and emasculated; and it is only by the light of principle that skepticism is armed. It is precisely because I know courage to be a great virtue that I am skeptical of any attempt to denigrate courage practiced. It is because of the doctrine of original sin, which I see so plainly to be true in myself, that I know that power cannot be trusted in human hands. By the light of doctrine, of principle, the world is illuminated; and skepticism is, if I may use the phrase, baptized.

John Leo finds a reflection of this truism in the "under God" issue at the Supreme Court:

Call me a cynic, but I think the liberals on the court didn't want to cause an uproar that would help Republicans in an election year. Better to come up with a soothing but temporary political decision -- restoring "under God" for now while clearly inviting a future challenge that the court will be only too happy to grant once the political coast is clear. ...

To defenders of the "under God" phrase, this is the key point: that the reflexive hostility to religion that now guides much of American liberalism will result in the step-by-step elimination of all these references, most of which, as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and others have argued, are harmless expressions of "ceremonial deism." ...

The strategy is simple: Never take the case to the American people -- use unelected judges and the bullying threat of litigation to force unwanted change. And focus on even dubious marginal issues to create the impression that any religious reference in public is toxic. ...

The battle behind the "under God" issue pits true pluralists against intolerant secularists who are willing to accept religion, but only if it is defanged and totally privatized.

Lastly, I can't help but see something of an indication of our future, should we lose this battle, in a story to which Jeff Miller points:

Young Norwegians can earn a merit badge in sex this summer. The pin, modeled on a popular summer swimming merit badge, is an offer from Swedish-Norwegian sex education group RFSU, also the main producer and importer of condoms to Norway, newspaper VG reports.

The badge, which displays sperm cells swimming in waves, can be won by correctly answering 10 out of 13 questions about sex.

"You need a license to drive a car and you should have a sex certificate that shows you don't take health risks. This is done seriously and with humor and the goal of course is to get more people using condoms," said RFSU manager Tone-Berit Lintho.

Yes, how quickly the phrase "if they have sex" has fallen off the end of that goal. Jeff's quip, if you ask me, is a bit more appropriate in its seriousness and humor.

Posted by Justin Katz at 11:54 AM

June 21, 2004

Worthy Worthies

If you haven't perused Lane Core's Blogworthies entry for the week, I recommend doing so. From church singing to terrorists and oil.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:24 AM | Comments (1)

June 9, 2004

The Depth of the Blogosphere

I'm falling behind on things, and tomorrow looks to be busy. So, herewith, a swooping effort to catch up.

First, a question. How profoundly unsuperficial is blogosphere discussion? Reader Ben Bateman thought it worth the effort to make a comment that certainly merited promotion to a post. Now, Marc Comtois has picked up the thread, replete with some historical perspective:

This idea of Truth = Power reminded me of something. The historian Bernard Bailyn based much of his theory on the origins of the American Revolution (eloquently stated in his Ideological Origins of the American Revolution) as a war between Power and Liberty. The founders believed that these two entities were naturally opposed to each other. They believed that the more power granted to anything; the President, Congress, the police, the military, the less liberty that will be enjoyed by all. The old cliche "The Truth will set you Free" leads me to believe that Truth = Freedom. Since Freedom is essentially liberty, could we then conclude that the old problem defined by the founders, Liberty vs. Power could be restated as Truth vs. Power? If Bateman is correct, and liberals equate Truth with Power, we now have a Truth vs. Truth battle.

(N.B., of course, that "cliché" is also Gospel truth.)

This level of discussion, in turn, shines the bright light of contrast on a phenomenon that Joanne Jacobs observes:

Jennifer was an English teacher who knew too much. She got in trouble for explaining that a line in Merchant of Venice was referring to a Bible verse.

Somehow a "persecution complex" doesn't seem quite as much of an extremist ploy. Dennis Prager certainly doesn't think so; regarding the removal of the cross from the L.A. county seal:

What we have here is an American version of the Taliban. The ACLU and the supervisors are leftist versions of the Taliban -- attempting to erase the Christian history of America just as the Muslim Taliban tried to erase the Buddhist history of Afghanistan when they blew up ancient Buddhist sculptures in their country.

Los Angeles County is the largest county in America. If it allows its past to be expunged by a vote of three to two, America's past is sure to follow. If you want to know what happens after that, ask any student of the Soviet Union.

That might go a bit far. Removing a seal through litigious intimidation is substantially different than blowing up statues. Terrorists don't sue and petition. They do stuff like this:

A bomb exploded evening in the central Italian city of Bologna during a European election rally attended by Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini, wounding six people, the Ansa news agency reported.

The crude device was placed under an electoral campaign vehicle just a few metres from the platform where Fini, leader of the National Alliance, a member of Italy's ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was making a speech, according to Ansa.

I wonder how many Europeans are privately linking this attack to Spain's capitulation.

Speaking of links, I can't think of a segue, but Tuesday's cartoon from Chris Muir is very much worth a look, if you haven't already seen it.

Posted by Justin Katz at 11:53 PM | Comments (4)

May 28, 2004

Letters from Behind the Curtain

Letters from Rhode Islanders expressing conservative ideas have been mounting in the Providence Journal. (I wonder what an analysis of which letters are published in print versus online would reveal.) In keeping with my desire to establish a Red Politics beachhead in the Ocean State, here are links to some of the brave souls.

Echoing with different emphasis some comments from the (apparently liberal) International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mike Toppazzini, of North Providence, thinks the Islamicists are waiting, with nervous anticipation, the outcome of our national elections this year:

Terrorists, like bullies and dictators, only survive by creating an environment of having your opponent in constant fear or insecurity, thus paralyzing them from fighting back. Once this doesn't work, I'm sure it makes them uneasy.

My guess is that they are waiting for the election with the hope that John F. Kerry wins, so things can go back to the old ways, like having meetings and putting sanctions in place that never work anyway.

Although he implies them in his closing, Mike neglected to add international bureaucrats to the list of people who thrive on the paralysis of the masses. In an interesting twist on this cross-disciplinary trait, Lt. Col. Patrick Donahoe insinuates that members of the media segment of that crowd might wish away the realization of their dark desires through the success of their advocacy:

Frank Rich's commentaries (Journal, May 9 and 23) are examples of a generation of journalists pining for the "good old days" of Vietnam. Rich admits that the "Vietnam parallels are, as always, not quite exact," but he poses the flawed argument anyway.

In reality, Iraq is not Vietnam, neither politically nor militarily; Fallujah is not Hue City; and Abu Ghraib is not My Lai. The constant refrain of a "new Vietnam" is the sad musing of an aging generation of reporters who cut their teeth on the jungles of Southeast Asia. These writers want to paint our country in the worst light. They can assign no other motive to America than the evil exercise of power. ...

I feel sorry for Mr. Rich. He will not get his Vietnam. He and others of his ilk will have to look elsewhere. They will be denied their crowning glory, the ignoble defeat of American aims in Iraq and the corresponding humiliation of our nation and our country's armed forces.

And if John Kerry were to win in November, they'd lose even the ability to strike their favorite poses. The domestic regime change would have been brought about well before hippy-era activism filtered through our society. Indeed, the switch in tone from foaming to fawning might very well result in mass infliction of whiplash and (even more) unfavorable public attitudes toward the opinion elite.

In what might prove to be a foretaste of that outcome, a letter from Cliff Hanks, of Cumberland, makes me wonder whether its author can claim some of the credit for this spate of contra-Blue opinion in the pages of the state's only major newspaper:

Is there a left-leaning group that controls which letters get printed in The Journal, or just one leftist fanatic? Who controls the editorial process, since there is lots of space for such vacuities as John MacArthur and Froma Harrop, et al., with their interminable mindlessness, and little space for thoughtful commentaries.

This is, to be sure, a refrain that I regularly sing, although I try (often unsuccessfully) to keep in perspective that the demands on a newspaper — a professional media organization — are different than those on a blogger. Being online, after all, I have unlimited space for vacuity.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:05 PM

April 21, 2004

If You've Time to Spare

Orisinal's latest game is the best to have been posted on the site in a while. It takes a moment to get the idea, but then it's addictive.

(Hint: you have to enclose only like-colored bug thingies within a shape. They will merge, and when there's only one of each color, the level is finished.)

Unfortunately, there aren't very many levels, so the game ends a bit too quickly once you get the knack. Thereafter, motivation for playing is entirely score-related, something that's never appealed to me. Forget score! I want a goal. That's what made Orisinal's three best games so far — The Amazing Dare-Dozen, The Runaway Train, and The Bottom of the Sea — so much more compelling than the rest, all of which are aesthetically pleasing.

One day I'll learn how to make these things... one day.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:48 PM