Archive for Damon Weaver

My Rocket to the Moon, My Battlestar to the Inauguration

Posted in maps & mapping, politics, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

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Baracket Man
With the inaugs just around the corner, its hard not to be gearing up for a national freakout on Tuesday. I myself have found it irresistable to venture a roadtrip to the federal district if only to witness the euphoric clusterfrak up close. That, and I wouldn’t mind checking out the netroots party (so long as I can find somebody to sponsor me) seeing as it may be my only chance to flirt with prescient number geek Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight. We’ll leave the humdrum world of politics (earthly ones at least… Laura Roslin still awaits), in just a moment, but I just had to share this nugget of ridiculocity. That is, Oklahoma Senator Colburn lost a college football bet, and is apparently going to therefore sing “Rocket Man” (in his underwear at the top of his lungs??!) to pay it off:

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is slated to serenade Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida with his very own rendition of Elton John’s 1970s classic Wednesday afternoon. Coburn owes Nelson because the Florida Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14 in last week’s BCS title game. Nelson chose “Rocket Man” because he is a former astronaut who flew on the space shuttle Columbia in the 1980s. If Oklahoma had won, Nelson would have had to sing the title song from the musical “Oklahoma!” It also happens to be the official state song.

I think that story speaks for itself…. Why do people even report on this stuff?

Update. Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can torture yourself:

Okay, so I promised more maps, so courtesy of dreamy mathgeek Nate, if you give a frak about your new congress hereitis:

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the little numbers represent the respective Congressional Districts in each state.

There are, obviously, a couple of different trade-offs at play here. On the one hand, you’d like the the shape of each “state” to bear some resemblence to its real-life counterpart. On the other hand, you want the states that share borders in real life to also share borders in the cartogram. And furthermore, it would be nice to have the Congressional Districts within each state in some sort of reasonably representative geography — which isn’t easy in a state like New York where three-quarters of the districts are in New York City and its immediate suburbs.

Accomplishing all of those things with one cartogram is, I’ve determined, probably impossible; the example I’ve provided cheats by creating a sort of warp zone between Minnesota/Iowa and North/South Dakota. Still, I think it gets the job done by and large.

I don’t have enough cartograms in my life, so consider it a job well done, bud.

Weaver’s Way
Seeing as I’ve managed to get more than a few of you enamored with the unflappable 10-year-old 5th grader come journalist, Damon Weaver, I feel obliged to keep you updated on the sitch, and share in my frabjous zeal.
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For those of you waiting, with bated-breath and all, to find out if he’ll land that interview with Obama (not Michelle, the other one), he’s just moved one step closer. Apparently Rahm, or whomever behind the scene of the hallowed transition committee, has granted Damon an inaugural press credential. They say a kid can dream, Weaver, but you’ve got the whole frakking world rooting for you!

Galactica Countdown!
Holy Frak! While all the normies are counting down till the inaugs, I’m like losing my mind waiting for the (bittersweet) conclusion of BSG. Are you like totally done waiting for the rest of Season 4 or what?! (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, its time for you to skip ahead in the blog, cuz its gonna get a tad geeky in here). In fact, just to provide some context for Battlestar geekage, I love the show, but I’m not THIS crazy. Behold a BSG pimped out PC:
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Can we say “Galactica ACTUAL”?!

Finally, on Friday we get to see what happens when the ship jumped away with President Laura Roslin onboard (with a cuckoobananas hybrid no less), and the whole saga with Hera, and maybe Starbuck is done losing her mind?, and for the love of Kobol would they just tell us who the final cylon is already?! Here’s an embedded treat to refresh some of your memory and get a peek at whats to come:

So Say We All!!!!

Esteban Sunshine Superboy

Barely Legal Heroes: Homeboys, Ninjas, Pirates, and… well, Buffy

Posted in anthropology, comics, feminism, maps & mapping, politics, race with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

Admittedly, most of my favorite heroes do wear tights, but I’m leading off today’s post with a few everyday, real-world warriors who embody one key virtue: persistence

The 5th Grader
My favorite thing in the world right now is this kid, who has launched a pretty robust national media campaign to interview some guy named Barack Obama. His credentials (though one might wonder what anyone needs credentials for to ask a question or two)? He had already interviewed VPOTUS-elect, then Delaware Senator Joe the Biden (back before the election), and the last American Princes/ would-be Junior Senate appointee Caroline Kennedy (of… New York? Really?!), not to mention a phalanx of NBA players, and presumably his congressional rep who hooked him up with tickets to the inaugs in DC.

If you’re not already famills, I’m happy to introduce you to 10 year old badass, Damon Weaver:

I mean, he straight up calls Joe Biden his homeboy! Godspeed-you-Damon-Weaver and your audacious mission to get Barry O’B to keep it real!

The Senior Citizen Ninja Nigress
Lets see. Second only to my new favorite 5th grader is this 86-year-old black women who according to the New York Times

fought off an intruder armed with a knife who broke into her home in South Jamaica, Queens, on Sunday morning, crept into her bedroom and apparently was going to smother her

Vivian Squires, “described by neighbors and family members as a feisty, independent woman” was clearly not feelin the whole up-in-my-grill-with-a-knife routine. Last I heard, she was being hospitalized, but her family and neighbors did not see her going down so easily…

You know who else aint going down all quiet-like?
Actual Rearing Pirates!
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Well, black pirates. Somalian pirates! Johann Hari thinks that you are being lied to about pirates:

Who imagined that in 2009, the world’s governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labeling as “one of the great menace of our times” have an extraordinary story to tell — and some justice on their side.

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Am I surprised the British Royal Navy would deploy anything larger than an inner tube with a rudder to feel more ‘in control’ of the Red Sea, or even the Black, White, or Yellow ones, or the Green fucking Bay for that matter? Hell no- what surprises me, is that in this cuckoo-bananas world so antsy to label pretty much anybody a terrorist, the media have totally bypassed the potent term for a somewhat innocuous one. I mean, pirates?? Even if I wasn’t informed about the pillaged and embattled Somalian peasants, there are very few things in a post-Pirates of the Caribbean world that win over public sympathies quicker than pirates.

Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the “golden age of piracy” – from 1650 to 1730 – the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda-heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often rescued from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why?

You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, If you slacked-off you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.

Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what [Marcus] Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century.” They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.

I actually just wrote a historiographical research paper about gossip, mutiny and rebellions in the downfall of Atlantic empires called “Loose Lips Sink Ships”- I won’t mention the subtitle here :/

And just because I’m being brainwashed to stamp everything in life with ethnography:

The words of one pirate from that lost age – a young British man called William Scott – should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live.” In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste.

You’ll have to read the rest for yourself here, but I think their persistence here is noteworthy.

HIV, the Playa, and the Slayer
Finally, I was already planning on linking to this fierce and heartfelt post that my friend and co-conspirator (and Minneapolis former Green Party Mayoral and City Council candidate) Farheen Hakeem sent to me, but what put me over the top was yesterday when I was reading the latest Buffy trade paperback (Wolves at the Gate) which had more than one gay moment, including some sexual tension between Xander and… wait was I in the middle of making a point before I started geeking out?

Ahem… so Brandon is a friend of Farheen who wrote about Living with HIV Buffy the Vampire Slayer Style on blackpower.com (yes, white people, there is such a thing). Brandon begins:

There are days when I feel like Buffy the Vampire Slayer except less blonde, with better legs, and no breasts. Nevertheless, there are days when I wake up and feel as if I spend my entire existence fighting demons, attempting to drive stakes through my internal craziness, and doing everything I can to keep the Seal of Darkness from opening and letting all hell break loose.

I am a black, Latino, Native American, white, HIV positive, queer man coming off eight years of Bush and living in the worst recession since the Great Depression. I grew up with a single mother. I watched her be physically abused. I survived mental and physical abuse and somehow I have made it into my early 30s. Did I mention that I am also a recovering meth addict, and my boyfriend lives in New York while I live in Oakland? When I say there are days I feel like Buffy. I am not exaggerating.

I will direct you to the full story to get the full linkage between Brandon’s life and the Scoobies, but not before sending you off with this piece of eye candy. Bon apetíte:

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