Congress needs to stop pussy footing around
There is no constitutional power that allows congress to really, absolutely force a sitting president to do anything. They do however determine funding, and they can impeach(which isn't on the table), which gives them a VERY big stick.
So if the Miers/Justice dept scandal is really that big a deal, use the fucking stick. Start defunding things.
The executive has, imo, usurped wayyyy too much power over the past 50 years. Bush has followed in the footsteps of his predeccesors and finally, really pushed it over the line. So congress needs to grow a pair and rein the branch back in, or shut the fuck up about it.
All of congress's oversight is basically based on the premise that if they don't get to do it, they won't fund it. Because while it's a tradition, it's not a power.
Crosspost - Brewing Again
Originally posted on Multiply:
This has probably become a sort of joke, because I've been talking about doing it again for a very long time. Anyway, I haven't brewed beer in a very long time. I used to do all-grain, which as anyone who does it can tell you, is a royal pain in the ass. You have to sanitize a fuck ton of stuff, then keep water temperatures constant during sparging, while varying them depending upon the grains you've added at what step in the process(yes, process, to get the best character in the end product you might for example only add your pilsner malt after X amount of time of sparging your malted wheat, and thus vary the temp). It's not hard to do it and get something highly drinkable out of it, but it's really fucking tough to get consistency.
To make things interesting, I took a general vote amongst my beer drinking friends as to what type of beer they would like. After realizing it was just increasing in difficulty the more things I vetoed, I settled on a hefeweizen. I was hoping for something like a stout or porter, because it's really tough to mess up a stout or porter(and if you do, you just up to gravity to get the ABV up to 12%, then it only bothers you for the first one).
So we go, pick up all the stuff. This will be a 100% pure extract brew, which means it'll lack character. Oh well. To try to make up for this, I pretty much just winged it.
First off, they didn't have any ready to pitch german wheat yeast at the brew store. So, alas, I had to get a propagation culture. Wyeast 1010 if you're interested. This means before I could start, I had to make a starter culture. I activated the yeast, boiled a liter of water and about 1 lb of light malt extract for 20 minutes, waited for it to cool down to room temp, and tossed into a beaker covered in foil. 3 hours later, I pitched the prop culture. 24 hours after that and it's gotten beery, so it's ready to use for reals.
To begin, I put 20 liters of water into the "king of all pots"(seriously, it's really tough to find something bigger than a homebrew/sparging pot, you end up going up to Turkey friers after a certain point), put the burner on high, and kept myself occupied watching the last hour of the propagation culture burping. Boiled for 20 minutes. I then added in my extracts. I used 4 lbs of malted Wheat extract, 2.5 lbs of light pilsner, and 3 lbs of light amber. Immediately added in 8 AAU of Hallertau hops. Boiled for 45 minutes. Added another 8 AAU of Hallertau hops. Boiled for an additional 15 minutes. Allowed to cool(this took forever...) and tossed it into the glass carboy(pails are for sissies).
Target Original Gravity: 1050-1060
Original Gravity: 1054
Target Final Gravity: 1012
Target ABV: About 6%
Color: Light Amber - I don't feel like calculating this.
Checked on it this morning. Gravity had dropped to 1042. So it's at about 1% alcohol after just over 24 hours. Which is good, means I didn't kill the yeast. 13 days to go before I find out if it sucks or not.
Once it's done with the initial fermentation, I'm going to keg it, toss in 2/3rds of a cup of corn sugar, and store it in a mini-fridge I'll try to keep at 50. It should be drinkable, and if it's not all gone within 4 weeks, it'll be cask-conditioned and ready for bottling.
Couple more batches after this, and I'll start trying the crazy stuff(like Gluten free brewing).
New Slashdot Content!
The target ABV, IBU, and SRM will put this somewhere between a weizen and a weizenbock. Using American Wheat yeast as opposed to a german wheat yeast, and all extracts should keep it nice and crisp. Light on esters and phenols. Hopefully it turns out as planned.
Wii DIY - Wireless Sensor Bar.
So, we have a projector right, which means the Wii sensor bar cable is wayyyy too short.
New cables/extenders don't come out until January. Unacceptable says I! But unlike Tycho over at Penny Arcade, I decided to do something about it. Little digging into the Wii reveals that all the Wii provides to the Sensor Bar is power. The Warnings in the manual and various info online, plus the fact that calibration picks up tungsten bulbs, means we know it's IR, and the sensor is in the Remote. A few pics of it taken apart and boom, know how it works. Junior High-School shop class level project.
So, we need a new sensor bar that's independant from the Wii, and i don't want to have to change batteries or deal with any of that, so I browse Radio Shack's online store for IR sensors. Find a 1.2V 100mA High-Power IR LED they sell. The sensor bar pics I've seen show 2 sets of 3 LEDs, seperated by a foot. So we need 6 LEDs. Our power supply needs to be able to supply 600mA. We dig around in the boxes of geekdom, where all old AC-DC converters go to rot and find a 5.7W 1000mA AC-DC Adapter. Score!
So, now it's just a question of figuring out how much resistance we need. It's an easy formula, R = (V - FV)/FC in Ohms(V is the adapter voltage, FV is the LED, FC is the mA in amps). Quick calc R = (5.7 - 1.2) / .1. 45 Ohms(and it doesn't have to be precisely 45 ohms, it just needs to be around there). So it's off to radioshack. Who only carry 10 ohm and 47 Ohm resistors. No big, nab 8 10 Ohm resistors, some PC-board, wiring, and the 6 IR LEDs. The circuit is brain dead simple, each positive/negative on the adapter, through 4 resitors each, to the LEDs in series. Solder, solder, curse at the fact that I shake, hand project off to trmj(who will have more details). Put the thing into it's case(which consists of cut pieces of a blister pack and electrical tape, sue me for non-prettyness.)
One hour later, we have a working sensor bar that actually works better than the stock one, and isn't tied to the console. Awesome. Total cost: $10.
So for anyone else complaining about this, it's not too hard to whip one up. Of course my electronics knowledge isn't so hot, but the thing barely gets warm so far(only been 3 hours though), and it works like a dream.
Wii Virtual Console Games
So, I dumped my VC games to SD, plugged it into my smartphone(Windows is being wonky on the work laptop and won't mount SD(among other little quirks), I blame mucking with multiple versions of Tomcat, Active Perl, and dev crap trying to get an App working *over there* on an OS we typically don't use for it. Need to reformat it when I get back to work on monday), and dumped em.
I verified that I can do the following:
1. Copy from system memory to SD
2. delete from system memory (game vanishes from channel, leaves a blank spot)
3. copy back to system memory from SD (game reappears, works fine)
4. Goto 1, skip 4, copy to PC via hackish smartphone setup.
5. Delete from SD.
6. Copy back to SD from PC.
7. Goto 3. End.
The files are stored in private/Wii/titles/4Letter HASH. Game saves are data.bin, virtual console games are content.bin. I cleared the SD card completely, and copied over just the data for FZero. I then compared the size to a ROM of the game. It's bigger, almost like the emulator is included and it's a wii binary, which is my guess. I'd also guess that it stores your store information in system memory, to prevent just copying those .bin files over to another consoles system memory. And it's probably RSA secured as well. Dunno if it stores a hash/md5 sum to prevent you from doing what I'm sure many are thinking(buy N64 games, rip the rom out, pop in Goldeneye and/or Conker, go to town). Tada, modless VC trick. I'm sure smarter hackers than me will start tinkering here soon.
So yea, odd things about the VC.
1. Can not play games from SD.
2. The selection ain't so hot right now, I suspect more games this weekend. No gunstar heroes, no dungeon explorer, no Link to the Past yet.
3. No mechanism to tell you new games are available that I've seen(of course no new games have been added since 1am sunday, soo...).
4. Aspect ratio doesn't autoshift for you. So, since our Wii is in 16:9, all the games are in 16:9. They don't look terribly stretched, and it's just a minor annoyance though.
All told, the VC works pretty well. The emulation is spot on, I just wish there was a bigger selection. Prices are sort of high as well ($5 NES, $8 Genesis/SNES, $10 N64), but that doesn't bug me too much, I'm used to being a tad hosed for *on demand* content, and it's still early yet.
Oh, and it's frickin' impossible to find a classic controller in Boston atm. I had one preordered, but they didn't arrive in time for the midnight release, so I'm SOL.
Wii System Code
In case anyone else got one at launch, I'm posting my system code.
It is: 7074 1870 9399 9464
There's not a whole lot to do with it yet, except harass people via Messages(e-mail, but slower), and trade Miis. But meh, in case anyone cares.
Really low blow / bad jokes
Re: Foley, other possible members, the alleged coverup, and the current page scandal.
So, I guess we know the *real* reason they're pro-life, eh? Am I right? *rimshot*
Why are republicans anti-abortion? More sweet young congressional pages and orphans to molest! *rimshot*
Thank ya, I'll be here all week.
Republicans decide to cut IRS auditing staff after a hearing showing that the super-rich are so adept at tax evasion that it simply can't be dealt with with current resources. IRS continues to go after the little guy, 'cause being wealthy means you're more important to society for all values of wealthy not including Paris Hilton or the Church of Scientology. Never mind that the law is the law and that it should be enforced, regardless of how fucked up the tax code may be or what your beliefs on taxation are, we're *selective* man! Screw you little guy!
Oh and the estate tax is now the "death tax." So we should call the other taxes something snarky involving following the rules. Like an "I actually follow the rules like a dipshit tax."
Department of Homeland Security decides to help out the cause of terrorism by raising terror level to "OH HOLY FUCKING SHIT" AKA Red in response to the well-infiltrated plot in London. Fails to justify with credible quantitative threats. They are joined by most of the media. Fox News and various campaigns chime in with their typical bevy of felons and trolls to launch a rhetorical attack on the Democrats(because actual debate would be ineffective when we're talking about a populous that honestly can't evaluate risk[see: the lottery, see: terrorism, see: nuclear power, see: gun control, etc.]). Hillary Clinton responds by switching sides. On a related note, you can no longer bring a bottle of water on a flight, but you can bring your explosion-prone Sony battery. Way to go government!
Remember the good old days when the numbers game was run by guys that had no necks and engaged in legbreaking? Ahh, progress. Now it's run by people put into power by Sith Lords, lemon-sucking faced Cajuns, men with no necks or real opinions, and this one guy with a bowtie who we don't like to talk about. Oh, and us, when we bother to show up. Lieberman lost the primary, decided to run anyway. Katherine Harris is being campaigned against by her own party(oh and I think her whole staff quit), and 2 other incumbents lost. Rather disappointing primary loses, you'd expect more given the Republican betrayal of conservatism, and the Democrats failing to provide viable opposition party platforms or to adequately represent liberalism. Plus you know, all that Abramoff corruption.
The FISA court(formed after Nixon went wiretap-happy), the rubber stamp(that's what it is, they almost *never* reject things) secret/private court the president was supposed to use for his wiretap program(you know, under the law) says the wiretap program is ok. Other courts disagree. In a few years, we'll move up to the Supreme Court Showdown, the thrilla about manilla[envelopes... containing wiretapping logs]. On a slightly but not really related note, Bush and Cheney should realize that they're utterly immune to impeachment, because if both of them go, we're left with Ted Fuckin' Stephens. Bridge to nowhere Ted Stephens, Internet is a series of tubes Ted Stephens. Ted "makes you kinda understand why Robert C. Byrd keeps getting elected" Stephens. Probably the worst Senator named Ted, and one of his competitors for that title drowned a girl in the Chappaquiddick.
Dead Rising came out, and is awesome. I particularly like the excellent Romero-style zombie AI that couldn't be done on any system less powerful than the XBox 360. It's advanced man! They grab with GUSTO!
Six String Samurai proved to be the best post-apocalyptic rock-and-roll versus death-metal alternative universe where the soviet union won featuring a brief omage to the wizard of oz movie ever. Yea, it's that awesome, and on On Demand in the Boston Comcast viewing area. Beware the spinach monster.
Ann Coulter got "pwn3d" on TV. Of course anyone who ever took Ann seriously, shouldn't be taken seriously, and it wasn't much of a pwning. She's like Rush Limbaugh/Michael Moore w/o the talent of being able to pose good questions(both of them do[or did], both fail at answering them). Pure entertainment(did you read her bit on McCarthy? Pure gold!), only really, really mean spirited and doesn't paint herself in that light.
Pluto is no longer a planet, but it still is, sorta. Queue American Idol style "Who wants to be a planet" reality TV series starring trans-neptunian objects and the spunky ball of ice that is either the 8th or 9th "planet"(where planet is defined as an object circling around the sun, or something...) depending upon when we're talking about!
War on Terror going well, for all values of well that include delusion and unquantifiable/verifiable assertions. Afghanistan, swimmingly. Iraq, hardly increased incidents at all! Israel won in Lebanon, the US won in Lebanon, Hezbollah won in Lebanon, Lebanon won in Lebanon, and contractors who are going to need to rebuild Beirut *yet again* won in Lebanon. So the only losers are the Lebanese infrastructure, the Israeli and Lebanese civilians killed in the escalation, the dead Hezbollah guerillas, and the dead soldiers of the IDF. If you missed this war, don't worry, a repeat should occur sometime in the next decade, providing Iran doesn't acquire nuclear weapons and the whole region escalates to the point of being a glow in the dark sea of glass. And to defuse that, Condoleeza brought along as part of her crack team someone who was indicted-convicted-pardoned for his role in Iran Contra. Good hands people, we're in good hands.
State of the Union. FUBAR. But don't worry, us liberals will fix it. If we don't, the conservatives will fix it. Of course the actual chances of someone fitting either description actually being elected this november are slightly lower than your risk of being struck by lightning. In related news, the war on drugs is evidentally going poorly, judging by current approval ratings and polling data. Win some... lose some.
Politics, Protests, Bellpeppers and Beef
When did we become a nation of cowards?
Oh, please protect me Big Brother, I'm a suburban housewife! I am weak and proof that suffrage was a bad idea. I drive an SUV and kill the planet because I am ruled by fear!
Die in a fire. You will anyway, all the electronic surveilance in the world didn't stop 9/11. The only difference is whether or not your neighborhood gossip was listened to by some incompetant government-employed voyeur.
What, you like voyeurs? Yea, lets film you mid-coitus and put it up on the internets then.
Fucking cowards. Especially the media.
I hope you all get cancer.
We have a way of life that embraces certain freedoms, you either embrace it and defend it, never comprimising, or you are worthless.
Evolution of Dance
Yea, I'm kinda removed from the whole "hey this is funny on in the internets" culture these days. But this managed to trickle up to me.
I present... the evolution of dance.
PS. You *know* hammer pants will make a comeback, and we'll all laugh.
Games - Hey there
Preface to this: I've have yet to be wrong about anything regarding video games. Even going into the N64 I had bad feelings(back when FFVII was displayed on the "project reality" even), I bought it anyway, and in retrospect it didn't disappoint, but at the time, man, yea it really did disappoint.
The next generation. Sony is dead. They're irrelevant. They'll sell consoles to their die hard idiot fanboys and that's about it. Those people will in turn be burnt, hard, and learn the lesson of SEGA and the lesson of the N64. Past success with 3rd parties does not guarantee future success with third parties. This is not to mention the incoming lawsuit that they'll lose in regards to the motion-sensing functionality. Which they failed to license from any of the parties that have patents on it(Logitech, Thomson, Nintendo, Microsoft to name 4). Just like rumble, they'll lose.
This E3 keeps reminding me, over and over again of the N64 launch. I bought the N64 because of the SNES. I didn't buy the saturn because SEGA had an allergy to money and a need to keep putting out half-supported addons, but I digress. The playstation came along and took away all the 3rd party titles. Why?
It was cheaper. Business, pure and simple.
I still remember the analyst predictions that Sony would fail because they had no first party development. They were right, but they were a few years off. First and 2nd party development has been what has kept Nintendo alive in the console sphere. It's what's made them a profit year after year, quarter after quarter(bar one). Sony can't survive like that. They mainly make knock-offs. Buying a Playstation for it's first party titles is like buying a Sorny instead of a Sony WEGA in 1995. You do it because it's cheap and almost as good.
This next generation, it sure ain't cheap. HDTVs are expensive. The consoles(apart from Nintendo's we presume) are expensive. The games are more expensive. The cost of HD gaming goes up to nigh-PC levels. And we're talking buying a brand new video card when it first comes out levels here. I know of a few psychos who do so, but that's no where near mainstream. I can live w/o the extra 30 specks of blood coming out of the guys back when I shoot him in the chest for a few years to save $300.
But wait... I can write off PC upgrades on my taxes and get the most for them. I know of many companies that'll reimburse you for PC expendatures, like colleges, once every few years. A PC these days can be effectively free. Worst case, you can get up to 30% off(effectively, via adjustment) if you have a quasi-shady accountant(AKA a KICK-ASS accountant) and work in a field somewhat related to computing. So, what's the freakin' advantage performance-wise if it's not cheap!?
But I digress, massively.
The point of this was to gather the legion. And we are legion. We saw the trailer for the fuckin' Wizard and went to see it because it showed previews of the third game in a series. I recently saw the trailer to Super Smash Brothers Brawl and it was not only better than some of the sex I've had, the afterglow lasted far longer. You think I'm joking, I'm not.
This E3 has been like an ex-smoker taking the habit up again. An instant rush of memories and endorphins. Every time I've enjoyed a game over the years with friends, all of those moments, all came rushing back to me. Nintendo always "wins" E3, but they haven't had me this hopped up since the 80s.
Why I shouldn't write dialog
I always loved writing, but I hate the way I write dialog, here's an example as to why, without formatting.
Are you content?
No, I am not.
Are you happy?
How can I be happy if I am not content.
Are you at peace?
How can I be at peace if I am not content.
Why is that?
There are pressing concerns, things I want changed, things that should be. Things that cause a rebellion in my consciousness.
And why would that be?
I still feel. Embarassment, shame, the need to argue, the whole tumultous rigamorole that is the human condition.
So it all comes back to angst, then?
Yes. And no.
And what does that come down to? ... I had it... and lost it...
I seek more. I seek meaning.
And this goes back to a lack of Why are you not content?
The world does not conform to how I would like it to be.
But that is how things are.
That doesn't mean I should be happy and content with reality.
But that's how things are.
Things should change.
Many fear change.
Because they are foolish, change is how we measure time.
Are you mocking me?
It's futile to hold your own against how things are.
But many do.
And they are fools.
So the key is to accept things as they are, to never change, to be content, to never strive for better?
When all is as you want it to be, what is left to do?
So, what's the point of trying to change things, if the end result is the same? You are content with reality.
The journey is what matters.
The end is what matters, and the end is the same.
So I should stop caring then?
That is enlightenment, but not as you think it is.
How profound, For your next trick, will you explain that the meaning of life is 42?
... No ... And sarcasm does not suit you.
Critique at will. Be brutal.
On friends and the zoo
A number of people have asked me why glamkowski, pudge, etc. etc. are on my friends list.
Simple, they're good people, we just disagree on political matters. Sometimes in a knock-down drag-out make-shit-up manner(at least on my part anyway) reminiscent of Vidal v. Buckley only w/o the sexual tension.
If I restricted who I was going to talk to to people who completely agreed with me, my how boring that would be. Who would I troll? Who would I argue with? It would just be some echo chamber like all those other sites are. Bah, screw that.
Plus it's always fun to find out that we agree on something.
Boston Trip, thus Far
So I have journeyed up to Boston, the city where they gave a bunch of irishmen copious amounts of liquor and a primitive GPS system then used the meandering routes they took as a roadmap.
Once this roadmap was constructed, one-way signs, forks and intersections called Person you've never heard of square were randomly inserted in according to some arcane prophecy of confusion. Once this was completed, a crack team of battle-pixies ran around stealing street signs.
Then they dug down a bit and put in a very slow subway that bends space-time by appearing to be quite swift.
Anywho, I like it up here so far. It's a much better job market for a non-security cleared individual such as myself. The traffic, in-spite of all efforts to make it horrible, still pales compared to the DC beltway. And Blinder/Solemn are exceptionally nice people who overwhelm me wit da kindness.
Trmj and Pezstar seem nice too, but they could be pod-people plotting to steal my Ramen-stash so that they might add hot-sauce to it. I wouldn't mind the hot-sauce plot, but the pod-people bit could be disturbing.
If I find a Sammy Jenkis Square I'll be sure to let everyone know.
Cheers and Salutations,
PS. I like pie
PPS. We went out for haircuts.
PPPS. I swear we went out for haircuts and this isn't a cover story for going to see a giant monster battle.
Putting together a mix-tape for a friend of mine who hates hip-hop(yet likes techno), thinks all sorts of wrong things about it, and lives in alaska. Plus I'm tired of listening to the same old mewling indie shit.
Here's what I've put together so far:
1. William Burroughs - Words of Advice for Young People
2. DangerDoom (feat. Cee-Lo) - Benzie box
3. King Gheedora - Anti-matter
4. Company Flow - Birth
5. Aesop Rock - Daylight
6. RJD2 - Smoke & Mirrors
7. DJ Shadow - Organ Donor
8. Latryx - Lady Don't Tek No
9. A Tribe Called Quest - Electric Relaxation
10. Outkast - Synthesizer
11. Blackalicious - Make you feel that way
12. Atmosphere - Trying to find a balance
13. Architecture in Helsinki - In case we die (parts 1 - 4)
Comments, flames, additions?
The paragons of facism
Why is it that facism keeps rearing it's ugly head within the conservative camp?
I blame Reagan.
No, but seriously, what is with the rhetoric coming out of that side of the spectrum? It's not like they are more predisposed to it.
When someone says someone is anti-country they are placing the individual below the nation, and that's facism. Coulter is a facist bitch for example.
She is, don't argue. Facism feels good, and Coulter feels good. Rhetorical idiocy feels good. The military-industrial complex the supreme-allied commander warned against feels good(and pays like half our salaries).
Totally against our ideals. But hey, so what?
You can buy a congress-critter these days for 2.4 mil. Republican. State dem is cheaper. Fuck money == free speech. You take a bribe you die, and your family dies, and the ground of your estate is salted. And your name is removed from the record, anathema, never to be spoken. You and your genes and those who love you are erased. Gone. Kapoof.
Corruption in politics is worse than murder, and we should punish it appropriately. It is the ultimate betrayal. Take a dime and vote on something for the dime, we kill you, we kill your family, we kill your kids, and we kill your cousins. We nuke your identity.
That's not cruel or unusual, it's appropriate. Betrayal of the public trust is the worst crime one can commit imo. Those who do so are worse than those who rape children(don't fucking argue this, I win. Trust me).
And yet I'm anti-death penalty apart from that(it's a waste, we should indentured servitude/slave them so long as the system is fair and just). The only time it should be applied is when someone betrays the public trust. Because damnit, they deserve it. I murder you and your family, I fuck over maybe 100 people, a corrupt politician or cop fucks over thousands.
Sup my freedoms?
So, I've been taking part in my favorite and most freedom* thing to do. Being mean to people during a console launch.
In all seriousness though, if some of these doom and gloom rumors/posts on that defect/overheat issue are correct, MS is malowned. [Queue graphic of little timmy crying over his broken XBox 360] "Sorry Timmy! No christmas for you this year!" - Big Bad Bill
Considering at least half of those units they shipped are more than likely sitting wrapped up in a closet somewhere... ouch. I swear it's like watching SEGA all over again.
*BANGS HEAD INTO WALL*
Comeon MS, smite someone that deserves it for once!
Peter Moore, you suck!
* - Brought to you by the Schlocam alliance of hiphop verbal engineering.
Fuck ronald reagan
That is all.
He ruined this fucking country almost as much as the asshole that shot him.
Hearings - Price Controls on Essential Commodities
During a state of emergency.
The big problem with doing this is that you will have shortages. The suppliers will charge what the market will bear, which will curb demand so things reach equilibrium. That's the free market.
The problem of course being that the free-market is, well, if anthropromophized, the most uncompassionate SoB ever to exist. This is what price controls attempt to address.
And that's fine. But they'll need to go hand in hand with a sane rationing system. Which I don't think will fly(You mean I can't pay a hell of a lot extra to take a non-essential trip!? PSHAW!).
So, yay for congress trying to look like they're doing something. Next.
Civilization 4 - Impressions
They haven't fixed a few things that just don't make sense. For instance, my gunship(a helocopter) will still get damaged and even destroyed by melee units. Same with other advanced units. They still generally win due to greater strength, but you could in theory mob a modern unit with the right pre-modern units and take it down. IE: pikemen against cavalry(even though the cavalry have guns, they go down like a drug-addict in a back-alley desperate for a fix).
The civics system is interesting. Lets you mix and match various things in 4 categories to get little bonuses, and complicates the tech trees a bit.
Great people are good for three things, tech, culture, and buildings. They cost cash to upkeep so I like to sac em for tech or a wonder ASAP. You can also sac two to usher in a golden age, which increases your production and gold.
Being warlike is still the best way to get a good score. Which sucks for us tech whores. The guys with early era special units can still on the right map just mob you into oblivion. The romans dominate at this(their special unit is cheaper and almost as powerful as the next-tier normal unit), providing you get lucky enough to get access to iron fairly quickly.
Cultural victories are possible with every nation, but not a good way to get a decent score. You can't really achieve one quicker than you could a military or domination victory. And it's far easier to win a diplomatic or space race victory. So, the best bet is still military domination, with a slight nod to diplomacy.
Ah well, especially for those of us who don't think the game really starts until towards the end. Fortunately you can mix up the rules.
Corporation (noun): An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. - Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"