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Above: New Orleans wedding celebration; Jejune Institute / Games of Nonchalance key fob


January 2008.

2008jan01. Very Small Array: Year In Review.

2008jan01. The Legend of Cliff Young.

2008jan01. Blank Top: Yeah, for some reason lots of people are calling for cabs right now, I have no idea why.

2008jan01. Paul Collins: Smoke This Book.

2008jan01. There's just something about the holidays that makes it so Red Sandwich time.

2008jan05. Excerpts from Michael Palin's Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years.

Minor Unnecessary Notes: The last word on the cover blurb from Cleese (not present on the edition pictured below) is supposed to be in italics. Un-italicized, it ruins the whole point of using the quote, actually. Also, I've preserved the punctuation but belatedly realize that my program is going to auto-switch some of it from the UK to the US ... forgot to add a "intentional non-US punctuation" subroutine (along with twelve thousand other things). Chor. Tull.

Thursday, November 12th 1970: Shooting at a pet shop in the Caledonian Road [...] In the pet shop there is scarcely room to move, but the angel fish and the guppies and the parrots and the kittens and the guinea pigs seem to be unconcerned by the barrage of light ‒ and the continuous discordant voices. The shop is still open as we rehearse. One poor customer is afraid to come in, and stands at the door, asking rather nervously for two pounds of Fido. 'Two pounds of Fido,' the cry goes up, and the message is passed by raucous shouts to the lady proprietor. 'That's 15/-,' she says. '15/-,' everyone starts to shout. We're finished by 5.30. Outside the shop is a little boy whose father, he tells us, is coming out of the nick soon.
'What'll you do when he comes out?'
'Kill him.'
'Why?'
'I hate him.'
'Why do you hate him?'
'He's a ponce.'
All this cheerfully, as if discussing what kind of fish fingers he likes best. [pg 43]

Thursday, August 5th 1971, Southwold: At the same time, in London, Richard Neville (footnote: The editor of Oz magazine asked for teenage schoolkids to put together an edition. The 'schoolkids' produced an issue which put Neville and others in the dock at the Old Bailey, accused of corrupting morals and intending to 'arouse and implant in the minds of those young people lustful and perverted desires'. His long hair was ordered to be forcibly cut) was being sentenced to fifteen months' imprisonment for publishing the Schoolkids issue of Oz. I can't help feeling that he would have appreciated this countryside for the same reasons that I do ‒ and yet the only way society has of dealing with his imagination and intelligence is put him away for over a year. [pg 62]

Friday, December 31st 1971: The split between John and Eric and the rest of us has grown a little recently. It doesn't prevent us all from sharing -- and enjoying sharing ‒ most of our attitudes, except for attitudes to work. It's the usual story ‒ John and Eric see Monty Python as a means to an end ‒ money to buy freedom from work. Terry J is completely the opposite and feels that Python is an end in itself ‒ i.e. work which he enjoys doing and which keeps him from the dangerous world of leisure. In between are Graham and myself. [pg 65]

Wednesday, March 15th 1972: [...] The filming went smoothly, as it has done all this week. John C hasn't been with us, as he dislikes filming so much that he had a special three-day limit written into his contract. [pg 74]

Friday September 27th 1974: Disadvantages of being dressed as a [policeman] were that, as I waited for the cue for action, I would be approached by Americans asking where they could find a restaurant where they wouldn't need to wear a tie and harassed motorists asking me where the GLC licensing department was. One old lady approached me, stared hard at my false moustache and said, 'What are you?? Real or a fake?'
'Have a guess,' I said.
She surveyed my loose moustache and pinned-up hair for a moment; 'You're real.' [pg 189]

Thursday, February 20th 1975: Another Python meeting. [...] A selection of letters are read out to the assembled gathering. From CBC Canada ‒ 'We would like the Python group to contribute up to ten minutes of material for a special programme on European Unity. The group can decide --' the reading was interrupted here by farting noises and thumbs-down signs. [pg 208]

Sunday, March 9th 1975, New York: [...] Over to Channel 13, which is in a small, cramped, but friendly basement a couple of blocks from the UN and on the edge of the East River. In the studio is a small presentation area, in which sits Gene Shalit, a genial Harpo-Marx sort of character. [...] Gene Shalit's children are there (his daughter, who can't have been more than fifteen, leaned conspiratorially towards me and whispered softly, 'You know, Python and grass go very well together') [...] [pg 216]

Thursday, March 13th 1975, Philadelphia: Left Philly at 3:45 with fond memories. Arrived in Washington about 5:00. We have a sumptuous suite in the Watergate Complex, overlooking the Potomac. (A dirty river, a lady reporter told me ‒ especially where it flows past the Pentagon, where it is full of used prophylactics.) I go around stuffing my case full of anything marked 'Watergate' ‒ soap, writing paper, even, to Graham's irritation, the room service menu. [pg 220]

Sunday, March 16th 1975, Navarro Hotel, New York: Ron Devillier picked us up at 12.00 and took us for a drive round Dallas. Devillier, clearly no lover of the downtown area ‒ though he lives in Dallas ‒ shows us the Kennedy Memorial, which it took eight years to put up. He says that now it is hard to imagine how much people in Dallas hated President Kennedy and all he stood for. After his assassination, classes of schoolkids cheered and a teacher who tried to give her class a day off in Kennedy's memory was fired. [pg 222]

Tuesday, November 25th 1975: Terry comes up after lunch and we go over to Studio 99 in Swiss Cottage to look at the cassette recordings of Python's first ABC compilation. A very cool American voice ‒ the kind we would only use as a send up ‒ announces, quite seriously, that 'The Wide World of Entertainment presents the Monty Python Show'. It started well, with 'The World's Most Awful Family', which works a treat after the smooth and glossy ABC packaging of the show, but then the cuts begin. The cat-in-the-wall bell push (a big laugh in the studio) is cut, the man pouring blood all over the doctors is cut after the opening lines ‒ before the point of the sketch has even begun. In the 'Montgolfier Brothers' the words 'naughty bits' are bleeped out!! In fact any reference to bodily function, any slightly risqué word, anything, as Douglas Adams put it, 'to do with life', was single-mindedly expunged. The cuts which to me seemed the most remarkable were in the 'Neutron' sketch, when I played the US Bombing Commander who had personal odour problems. The character was in, but every appearance was topped and tailed to avoid all reference to his bodily hygiene. As that was the only original and Pythonesque twist to the character, he just came out as a below-average imitation of George C. Scott. [pg 267]

Tuesday, February 8th 1977: Finished, at last, a six-month-old pile of fan letters. Mostly from Japan, beautifully written, generally on very delicate paper, and nearly always beginning 'I am a schoolgirl of 14', as if to add a frisson of danger for the reader. The language is fine too. Python is translated as 'Gay Boys' Dragon Show' on Japanese TV, and one of the letter eulogises 'Upper Class Twit of the Year,' but calls it, splendidly 'The Aristocratic Deciding Foolish No. 1 Guy'. American letters, too, but coarser and more violent generally, shouting at me off the page. [pg 362]

Wednesday, January 18th 1978, Barbados: [Sir Ronald Tree]'s finest work, apart from hosting Winston [Churchill], Eden, General Sikorski and others, was to exert as much pressure as he could to bring America into the war. He tells in his book of meeting leading American businessmen who, in 1941, were predicting a defeat for England ‒ and the Chairman of Sears Roebuck at the time told him it would be a good thing anyway, Britain had become degenerate and Europe badly needed German leadership. [pg 433]

The writers sensed and appreciated this and went off to rewrite, while myself, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray ‒ grim-faced and unshaven ‒ and Garrett Morris ‒ the neat, chirpy black member of the cast ‒ began first rehearsal for our Chilites dance routine. Sometimes I find it hard to figure out quite how Lorne's mind works. He loves the Chilites' song 'Have You Seen Her' ‒ a hit of eight years ago ‒ and wants to see it on the show. However, since that time two of the Chilites have been imprisoned and one is dead. Lorne still has the lead singer ‒ Eugene Record ‒ and hopes that the rest of us, in Afro wigs, will be able to recreate the Chilites behind him. I'm sceptical, dear diary. [pg 456]

2008jan06. Went to the traditional Xmas tree burn this year on Ocean Beach. Pouring, sleeting rain. People had to scramble down a three or four foot mini-cliff of wet sand to get to the staging area. There was only about 20 feet of beach to work with, the water was totally aggro and foamy. The trees were lit. The crowds moved in. The rain shifted into fifth gear. At some point, the soaking rain, the ocean bearing down to the left, a huge fire in front of me, a sandy cliff to the right, and the crowd with a drum point

drum point a drum circle consisting of one drummer.

to the rear caused something in me to go "ding!" and I got the hell out of there. Getting back up the sand cliff in the rain was an audacious exercise requiring reserves of manly man-strength and I'm sure everyone else was unable to do so and the tide carried them out to sea, the end.

2008jan06. Assorted email.

Just wanted to let you know that when I was in high school, my boyfriend used Peacock condoms. They didn't come in a tin box, and I am not sure how many were in the package, but they were not individually wrapped. I never got pregnant, nor did he pass along any diseases, so I guess they worked just fine.

I am not sure where he bought them ... somewhere in Hesston Kansas. I graduated in 1984.

Cool site.

[name]

Hi, I stumbled across your 'truck soccer' website while searching for Nikko Scorpion and Black Foot RC cars and was wondering if you were still playing soccer with them, or may be interested in selling off the 'fleet' Please let me know either way.
Regards --Jyi

The soccer games, they are all finished. I gave my truck to a friend's kid, and he gave his to his other kid, and I think they raced them around a bit and that's the end of that.

Do you know if trader joe's make sure that their imported fish products, like tilapia from China, come from a safe source. Or do they just jump on the cheapest merchandise they can find? Hoping you might have some info...
Thanks,
Karin

I think they are life-like intricately-constructed painted lead replicas.

You've forgotten the all-important dimension of water chestnuts in otherwise pleasantly squishy noodle and tofu dishes, which is clearly a TOTAL BETRAYAL of the idea of food being edible.

Fortunately, you have this ally to keep that particular flame of outrage alive.

Thank you. I like water chestnuts, but in dishes that are closer in texture. I can't recall eating chestnuts in a noodle dish, but I'm sure it was like the climactic table-overturning-scene in Duran Duran's breakthrough video, "Hungry Like the Wolf (Implied Sexual Reference Mix)."

You haven't tried the India relish at Trader Joe's?! It's awesome on Stacy's pita chips (I buy at Costco) or even tacos or a tuna sandwich. Turmeric is in there with tomato, like an Indian salsa. Try it!

I have to ease into it. Get familiar with it. I don't just go and buy a new product at the supermarket. That's too forward.

Hi i would like to call you guys for something can u give me your guys phone number with area code? thanx!

This makes perfect sense.

Hey, I am moving from hollywood, CA to brooklyn, NY in Feb. I don't have too many things, no furniture, etc...just boxes, mostly:

pictures, books, a guitar, amp, 2 speakers, a keyboard (about 3 ft long) a small drum machine, shoes, a cd player, some cd's, a typewriter (very heavy) amd thats about it.

i have boxes alreadt for thwe musical equipment.

i want to know an estimate, or the best way to do this?

thank you,

[name]

I can do that drive ... that would be the cost of gas both ways plus $200. $250. It would cost you less when I drive back because the truck will be empty. So that's a bonus right there.

2008jan07. Sibel is finally talking. "Immediately after 911, the FBI arrested a bunch of people suspected of being involved with the attacks ‒ including four associates of key targets of FBI's counterintelligence operations. Sibel heard the targets tell Marc Grossman: 'We need to get them out of the US because we can't afford for them to spill the beans.' Grossman duly facilitated their release from jail and the suspects immediately left the country without further investigation or interrogation. Let me repeat that for emphasis: The #3 guy at the State Dept facilitated the immediate release of 911 suspects at the request of targets of the FBI's investigation."

2008jan07. I was gassing up with gasoline via a gas pump into the vehicle's gas hole when an older woman half-approached me and asked what time it was. Since I was just approached by a man asking for change, and since gas stations in general (and this particular gas station) are magnets for the beggars with the begging, I remained wary. "Noon," I guesstimated. She's still looking at me. Is this the hand out part? She's kind of far away, traffic is a bit loud. "NOON," I helpfully enunciate. I'm all about the helping. Nothing. "Twelve O'Clock." "Twelve." She's still shaking her head. "I'm sorry," she says. "Eleven plus one?" Brain futz, I meant to say "ten plus two." I'm about to do hand signals when she wanders to the nearby bus stop. Then I remember my brand new semi-irritating cellphone. I turn it on, and walk over to her ‒ we wait while it "boots up" (zzzzz) and then annoyingly activates the vibrator (oh thanks, I didn't realize I had turned it on). Finally the home screen is shown, time in the lower-left corner. I point. 11:58. "Thank you," she says, and goes back to examining bus schedules. This also reminds me that I still hate that tepid "home" screen I can't change (cannot wait until we're all using Linux phones with voipy mesh net netting mesh). For some of the countries I travelled to, I only knew "hello," "thank you," and "touch my bottom please," so I know how that goes ... but I had my camera with me, so I always had access to the time. Remember when we lugged around cameras that wouldn't tell us the time? Hahahahahahahahhchrist.

2008jan14. History of the Button: SnuzNLuz.

2008jan15. NO

2008jan15. Telstar Logistics: Meet Carole Gilbert, Vintage Streetcar Artist

2008jan16. Reuters: Clowns universally disliked by children. This is obvious, of course, but why are there clowns? At all? How does McDonald's work? Kids must be engaged in a weird eat-or-flight dichotomy ... "wanna eat, clown's gonna get me ..." Clowns: if you are a clown, I will afford you no respect. I don't care if you are an ironic clown, an unfortunately high demographic in the bay area. This is my Message to the Clowns.

2008jan17. Excerpts from Tim Cahill's Pecked To Death By Ducks.

There was no one at the guard station that flanked the entrance to the emir's gardens, a weekend retreat for Kuwait's ruling family. [...] Presently, I saw a man-size break in the wall and moved toward it through the swirling, granular darkness. The inferno beyond lit the break with a shifting, red-orange light, and I could feel the heat on my face like a bad sunburn. Everything that wasn't burning was black: the earth, the familiar shapes of the trees, the animal carcasses that littered the place. This was ground zero for the largest man-made environmental disaster in history. It was a perfect vision of hell. I moved through the break in the wall and stopped. The next step would put me in the burning lake, which was throwing up the thickest, grainiest smoke I had yet encountered. It blinded me and made my eyes water. Despite the bandanna I wore over my nose and mouth, I found myself choking, and then I was coughing in fits that bent me over at the waist. [pg 9]

The Marquesas have never attracted tourists, a fact that has attracted artists. Robert Louis Stevenson and Herman Melville both spent time on the northern island of Nuku Hiva. The Belgian-born songwriter Jacques Brel died on Hiva Oa. In 1900 the French artist Paul Gauguin came to Atuona, on Hiva Oa, looking for inspiration in "unspoiled savagery." There was some tension between the artist and the local bishop regarding Gauguin's relations with various island women. Gauguin nailed obscene pictures to his door and called his place the House of Pleasure, using a word that, in French, has a sexual connotation. There were legal problems fueled by the bishop's rage. Gauguin died in 1903, and he is buried in a small graveyard above Atuona. His grave is neatly tended and much photographed. The bishop is buried there as well. You have to clear away the weeds to see his stone. [pg 45]

The next morning, at breakfast, I asked the mayor's wife what she had said to the old man. "Parachute," she told me. Just the thought of it got her giggling, and her husband had to tell me the story. About thirty years ago, he said, the man with the bad legs lost his grip and fell, but not before tearing off a palm frond, which he tried to use as a parachute. The man had broken both his legs. The mayor, his wife, and their three sons and two daughters were rocking back and forth with laughter. Now, the mayor said, hardly able to continue, whenever anyone saw the fellow limping along a path, they thought of the failed green parachute. It was a joke that had kept everyone in Puamau laughing for thirty years. [pg 46]

On certain lakes, hundreds of fishing shacks are set out side by side, in a kind of town grid, and a mayor is elected. Other men may be engaged in more distracting activities. It is said that an incredibly hardy band of hookers work the frozen ice cities. [pg 161]

The worse thing the sheep did, Alejandra said, they did on hot days like this. (It was about 70 degrees.) The brainless beasts would wander down to the lake, where, for whatever reason, they would hurl themselves into the cool water and sink like so many stones. Then you'd have to stand on a rock and stare into twenty feet of clear, cold water to see the sheep on the bottom, white or black against green mossy rocks, held down by all that waterlogged wool. [pg 220]

Above, the night sky was clear and black, full of luminous and unfamiliar stars. At this altitude, the stars did not twinkle. They were great globules of light, and their colors were brilliant: white, blue white, red, green, gold ... [pg 223]

Happily, the producers of the American TV show That's Incredible! paid the club eighteen thousand dollars to attempt a bungee-cord jump off the world's highest bridge, the 1,260-foot-high Royal Gorge Bridge spanning the Arkansas River just outside Canon City, Colorado. It was an entirely successful endeavor. "If there is any terror that unites us," Kirke said of the members of the Dangerous Sports Club, "it's the terror of having to take a conventional job." [pg 359]

Kirke flew four and a half hours at two thousand feet [in an ultralight over the English Channel], landed in a field, and almost immediately heard the far-off sounds of police sirens, coming closer. A woman in a nearby farmhouse motioned to him: hurry, hurry. Kirke packed up his gear, and the woman guided him to a hidden attic room. "As it happened," Kirke explained to me, "during the Second World War, when France was occupied, this courageous woman had hidden downed British pilots in that very room. She had a certificate of appreciation from the Dutch and British governments." Kirke had hid out for a day, savoring the romance of the situation, then escaped. [pg 361]

A ball seventy feet in diameter contains about two tons of air. The rogue melon rolled into a cement light post twenty-five feet high and "mashed it." It finally came to rest against an electric pylon, toppled it slightly, and effectively blacked out the town of Telford for some time. [pg 362]

Kirke rigged a chair and had himself catapulted over a 650-foot-cliff in Ireland. He took ten Gs, did not pass out, went from zero to six in a second and a half, and managed to deploy his parachute with, oh, dozens of feet to spare. This stunt was for a Japanese television program, and Kirke was touched that some of the female production assistants had burst into grateful tears when they saw him land safely. Usually, he gets arrested. [pg 363]

2008jan17. Grabbed on to the tail end of a high-speed car chase today. Sitting at a traffic light, everyone's stopped because we hear sirens ... but then nothing. So the light cycles, and it's just about to turn green for me ... and this little red car comes shooting out of nowhere, blows the red, and disappears. Then six cop cars, then green for me, so I figured hey, why not hand it to me on a silver platter ringed by inward-pointing arrows captioned "THIS." The driver was a crafty one, sticking to smoother service drives ‒ do cops tally up all the lights you blow? ‒ and hit one that ended up in a residential neighborhood with a lot of hills and side streets. I figured okay, I'm not going to get messed up in that, it had real Blues Brothers potential, so I turned around ... and then They drove right past me. You know. One black car, two black suits, two pairs of large black wire-frame sunglasses. They're zipping along toward Potential Police Pile Up ... so I turned around again ... but then this little shithole Ford Half-Festiva backs into the service drive and starts slowly shuddering along the way. "I need CLOSURE you crap!" Unnamed investigative service car crested a distant hill.

2008jan20. Cement.

2008jan21. Coco-nut Blog: The Mystery Names Inside the Coco-nut. That's a good beat to have, the coco-nut beat.

2008jan21. ME!!! ME!!! LET ME OPEN THE PEANUTS!!! I WILL OPEN THE PEANUTS!! [via metafilter]

2008jan24. Mail.

Greetings, New Owner! I thought I should tell you that Jeni and I decided to reduce my age quite a bit, so we have changed my birth year. Please inform Vital Records Dept. Then call me.

Hinda

Hinda! Omigod! It's been so long since I've heard from you! But now, it's even less! Hahahaha chortle chortle. But Hind ... Hindee ... Hindu. You know what lying about your birth year is, don't you? It's a lie. It makes you ... a liar. One who is lying. I have taken lysergic acid. But you? Lied. Lien. Who are you fooling with your age-based lies? Who is it? Who amongst us? It is you, that's who. You have made the greatest lie of all. We all lie to ourselves in some capacity; I for example am licking the walls right now because I think I'm a jaguar. But my self-deception is pharmaceutically-based. Yours? You have no such excuse. Stop hurting yourself, Hinnie. Stop hurting the ones you love. That means me. Your lies are killing me. Your constant lying is taking a toll on your circle of friends. Are they talking behind your back about you? It is a riddle for you to consider, my petty self-deluded age-shaver.

2008jan25.

2008jan28. The Atlantic: The Autumn of the Multitaskers. Summary: multitasking is making us dumb. The article unfortunately has the old saw about how much multitasking "has cost us in lost productivity in one big crushing imposing dollar figure" and boy whooooooooosh am I sick of that metric like ten years already. God, if only we didn't multitask, think of how much more paper could be shuffled. The head spins like a big ole' spinning thing. Okay, that's about it, I just need you to sign here. And here. Also: here.

2008jan28. Excerpts from Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park."

I will drink the wine while it is warm
and never let you catch me looking at the sun

I will take my life into my hands
and I will use it

I will win the worship in their eyes
and I will lose it

That song just keeps on giving, each unfortunate time I'm exposed to it.

2008jan28. Excerpts from Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson by Jann S. Wenner and Corey Seymour.

Sandy Thompson: When "gonzo" first happened, Hunter's first reaction to it was terrible guilt ‒ just terrible. They didn't get it. But he could also see that here was an avenue; people seemed to really like this, and they were going to pay him for it. He thought it was gibberish. It was past deadline, and the editors of Scanlan's were trying to get the Kentucky Derby piece from him and he said, "I can't send it to you; it's gibberish." They said, "Send it anyway." It wasn't up to his standard, but finally he sent it. And what do you know ‒ they called and they said it was great. Hunter knew it wasn't; it was outbursts of greatness and wildness. But it wasn't a final draft by a long, long shot. He did not feel good about that. [pg 125]

Charles Perry: [...] We passed around the manuscript ["Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"] to the editors, and it took us a day to read it and observe it. I remember someone saying that the day after you read it, life just seemed incredibly dramatic, like you never knew when a pack of pythons might come attack you from around the corner. [pg 133]

Tim Cahill: Hunter imitators were all over the place. All these writers were writing this gibberish, but they lost sight of one of Hunter's saving graces, which was that he was hilarious. He couldn't have been effective without his humor. But there were dozens of Hunter imitators who all thought that they should be published. [pg 140]

Tim Crouse: [...] Watching him, I began to realize that he was trying to bypass learned attitudes, received ideas, clichés of every kind, and tap into something that had more to do with his unconscious, his intuitive take on things. He wanted to get the sentence out before any preconception could corrupt it. One of Hunter's methods of composition was to write a bunch of ledes and then somehow fit them together. By lede, I mean the opening portion of a story, which is ordinarily designed to pack more of a virtuosic wallop than the sections that follow. Early on, I remember, Hunter showed me a stack of ledes he'd accumulated, as if he were fanning a whole deck of aces. On a tight deadline, my job would sometimes be to stitch together the lede-like chunks that Hunter had generated. Ideally, the story would function like an internal-combustion engine, with a constant flow of explosions of more or less equal intensity all the way through. [pg 157]

Pat Caddell: [...] That evening ‒ or morning ‒ ended with Hunter driving to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where Nixon was being treated for viral pneumonia, and walking up to the front desk with his fairly official-looking kit bag with him and saying to the receptionist, "I'm Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, here to treat the president." [pg 172]

Margot Kidder: Tom and I went over to meet Hunter at his hotel in Miami, where he was supposed to be writing a piece about the [1974] Super Bowl. He'd set up his mojo machine on a table, but of course he hadn't written the article. So he said, "You ‒ get under the table." So we got under the table and pulled the plug in and out of this thing while Hunter fed pages that he'd just typed a bunch a random letters on, and then he got on the phone to Jann saying, "I don't know what's the matter with the goddamn machine you sent me ‒ it's not working. I'm trying to get the pages through." And I remember thinking, "Holy mackerel ‒ here's a live one." [pg 178]

Paul Scanlon: [...] We were sitting at Jerry's bar, and I had the temerity to lecture Hunter, saying it was time to maybe take some time off, drop the Raoul Duke persona, lay off the drugs and the booze a little bit, and get back to being the guy who wrote Hell's Angels. And he stared at me while he reached into his safari jacket and pulled out a tab of blotter acid. He looked me in the eye, put it in his mouth, and started chewing. [pg 179]

2008jan31. Sibel: Buckle Up, There's Much More Coming


February 2008.

2008feb02. 2017: Right around here is when I started mucking about with the new weblog program. Here are some images from that.

2008feb03. A customer testimonial from a real estate seminar radio advertisement.

"This is a way for me to invest in real estate without it involving a lot of time or effort."

And we are in exactly the market conditions you want to fly blindly like that. Go get'em, champ.

2008feb13. Excerpts from Lee Miller: A Life (2005), by Carolyn Burke.

Elizabeth's compliant lovers flipped a coin to decide who would see her off. With the Millers, De Liagre, the victor, watched her ship sail down the Hudson in the morning sun while Argylle followed in his biplane, then swooped close to the sundeck to let loose a cascade of roses in Elizabeth's honor. [pg 69]

Like Lee, [Tatiana Iacovleva] caused a stir when she entered a room. A tale went round Paris about the night when, finding herself across a crowded bistro from her friends, she walked the length of the room on the tabletops to join them. [pg 99]

At Marie Laure's futurist ball, [Man Ray] photographed her sharkskin gown while guests in silver spacesuits glared at his outfit: a clothes bag with holes for limbs and a cap topped by a propeller. [pg 101]

By September, it must have been clear to Lee that her mentor Man saw her as a threat. The violence implicit in the many works of art that cut her in pieces became explicit in another of Man's objects on the theme of vision. Some years before they met, Man had attached an image of an eye to a metronome; he called the work Object to Be Destroyed. During the summer of 1932, after her affairs with Aziz [Eloui Bey] and Julien [Levy], Man replaced the image with Lee's eye, cut from one of his portraits, and gave the work a new title: Object of Destruction. As if warning her, he published a drawing of the object with instructions for its use: "Cut out the eye from the portrait of one who has been loved but is seen no more. Attach the eye to the pendulum of a metronome and regulate the weight to suit the tempo desired. Keep going to the limit of endurance. With a hammer well aimed, try to destroy the whole at a single blow." [pg 127]

In December, the Royal Academy asked a number of painters, including Roland [Penrose], to contribute to their "United Artists" exhibition ‒ an unprecedented effort by this conservative bastion to boost morale. Due to the language ("sex," "flesh," "arse") with which he annotated one of his canvases, the committee asked him to replace it with something less vulgar. Roland followed Lee's nose-thumbing suggestion. "What I did," he wrote, "was ... get a card in deaf and dumb sign language from which I chose a four letter word S-H-I-T, and painted a row of hands saying this." The committee hung this work opposite a portrait of King George, where it remained until a deaf and dumb cleaner "started hooting with laughter, and gave away what it said." [pg 201]

Rationing was induced gradually (bacon, sugar, and butter, then meat, tea, and fats, and in 1941, eggs and milk). The Ministry of Food urged housewives to cook grains and vegetables. Dinner might consist of lentil sausages, mock goose (a gratin of potatoes and apples), and victory sponge (potato pudding with carrots). A soup for air raids could be made from root vegetables, the ministry explained: "A hot drink works wonders in times of shock." [pg 208]

Iris Carpenter resented being assigned to an Allied hospital, but found that ambulances could be exciting when bombs fell all around her, shattering her eardrum. [pg 222]

About this time, Lee joined a group of GIs who were liberating the contents of a distillery. Spying a Red Cross jerry can meant to hold sterilized water, she filled it with framboise (raspberry brandy) and painted the can khaki. From then on, she took this "gasoline can" wherever she went. At a time when gas was more precious than gold, people were not surprised by this precaution, but some were taken aback when they saw her drink from it. When the "gas" ran out, she filled the container with whatever came to hand, making unimaginable new cocktails and keeping herself in good spirits. [pg 243]

2008feb14. Robert Reich on the upcoming economical adjustment period I personally like to call the Fire Tsunami* of Debt. Something he said in the article struck a chord ("Ding!") with me ... he mentioned that one way we've kept the upcoming MegaRecession off our backs for so long was the introduction of women into the workplace. And that got me thinking ... maybe we can go farther back into time [make time machine noises here] to re-introduce some long-missing workers into the labor force once again. I speak, of course, of children. Yes, children. The problem with a child labor force back in ye olden days was mainly one of size -- too small to muscle larger machines around, too small to keep from falling into pre-OSHA grain hoppers and the like. But now, since most jobs consist of staring at a piece of paper or a computer screen all day while playing Mr. Dressup, additional shitty brain-dead dull demeaning life-sucking job positions can be more-than-adequately filled by gung-ho clueless tykes. More labor means we can continue our awesome blossom USA3x way of life for another five years or so, print more money, and pass off hyperinflation to junior right about when he's ready to be promoted to the corner office.

* It's like a regular tsunami which is made of water. But this one is made of fire. Can you see it? It's beautiful. I'll be on the beach if you need me.

2008feb14. Mail.

I have been a loyal customer for over 5 years since moving to arizona. I do not want to put anyones job in jeopardy but, there is one nasty lady at the [city] arizona store who in the Warden and guard of the coffee. She makes nasty remarks when you take a second or third cup. Well, I will not be going there anymore. In front of other customers she made it a point to me that only one cup was allowed. Excuse me. I spend over a 100.00 a week at this store. I am 62 and do not appreciate being spoke to like a child.
Just needed to vent, thanks

Oh AOL, if we could only dig a hole big enough for you then pour quick-drying cement on top.

2008feb15. Secondary Planet. Chinese word blocks. Reader: A winner is you. [via nelo]

2008feb15. More than a few people have told me over the years that jumper cables are supposed to be hooked up a certain way which is wrong. Because I care, I am including this section of text from Dare to Repair Your Car by Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet. Please stop trying to kill me thank you.

Take one of the red cables (positive / +) ‒ it doesn't matter which one -- and connect it onto the positive terminal of the bad car. Now take the other red cable (positive / +) and connect it onto the positive terminal of the good car.

Next, take one of the black cables (negative / -) and connect it onto the negative terminal of the good car. Now here's the part you may not understand at first. Take the other black cable and clamp it onto an unpainted metal part of the bad car, such as the engine block on the side away from the battery. Some cars have a designated place to attach the last negative cable and will have the word GROUND and an arrow imprinted on it.

Whatever you do, do not connect the last cable to the battery. If you connect every cable to a terminal, the circuit of electricity will be complete. If that happens, a spark may occur near the battery and ignite the vapor coming from the battery, which may cause the battery to explode.

Yours in Motoring,
Squirrely Joe the Safety Woodchuck.

2008feb18. Excerpts from Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany (2006), by Bill Buford.

[Mario] Batali didn't understand what he was witnessing: his restaurant experience had been making strombolis in New Brunswick. "I assumed I was seeing what everyone else already knew. I didn't feel like I was on the cusp of a revolution. And yet, while I had no idea this guy [Marco Pierre White] was about to become so famous, I could see he was preparing food from outside the box. He was a genius on a plate. I'd never worked on presentation. I just put shit on a plate." He described White's making a deep green puree from basil leaves and then a white butter sauce, then swirling the green sauce in one direction, and the white sauce in the other other, and drawing a swerving line down the middle of the plate. "I had never seen anyone draw fucking lines with two sauces." [pg 8]

One afternoon, Mario showed up to make a special called a cioppino. He'd prepared the dish the night before but had got only four orders. "This time, the waiters are going to push it, and if they don't sell out I'll fire them," he said cheerfully. Cioppino is a contraction of "C'è un po'?" ‒ is there a little something? ‒ an Italian-immigrant soup made from leftovers and whatever "little thing" a member of the household was able to beg from fisherman at the end of the day. On this occasion, the "little thing" would be crabmeat, and, true to the ideology of the dish, Mario roamed the kitchen, collecting whatever was on hand ‒ tomato pulp and liquid, left over from tomatoes that had been roasted, carrot tops, a bowl of onion skins, anything. He would charge twenty-nine dollars. [pg 45]

"You also develop an expanded kitchen awareness. You'll discover how to use your senses. You'll find you no longer rely on what your watch says. You'll hear when something is cooked. You'll smell degrees of doneness." Once, in the kitchen, Frankie used the same phrase, "kitchen awareness," as though it were a thing you could take classes to learn. And I thought I might have seen evidence of it, in how people on the line were cued by a smell and turned to deal with what they were cooking, or in how they seemed to hear something in sauté pan and then flipped the food. Even so, it seemed an unlikely prospect that this was something I could master; the kitchen remained so stubbornly incomprehensible. From the start of the day to the end, the place was frenzied. In fact, without my fully realizing it, there was an education in the frenzy, because in the frenzy there was always repetition. Over and over again, I'd pick up a smell, as a task was being completed, until finally I came to identify not only what the food was but where it was in its repetition. [...] One morning, Elisa went out to deal with a delivery, and I picked up a change in the way the lamb shanks smelled. They were browning in a large pan about ten feet away, and I walked over, trance-like, turned them, and resumed my task. My nose had told me that they were sufficiently browned and would be ruined in a minute. By the time Elisa returned, I'd removed the shanks and thrown in another batch. She looked at me, slightly startled. [pg 67]

The tricky part was the last stage, when you grabbed the [fish] head with a towel, slipped one of the tongs underneath the tail, and lifted it to get the final hatch marks. Three things could go wrong. If done lurchingly, the fish broke in half. If done too soon, the skin stuck to the grill. And if done too slowly, your arms went up in flames. [pg 83]

Harvey's, White's first restaurant, earned its first Michelin star in 1988, the year after it opened. It earned its second in 1990. Five years later, White, cooking in new premises, earned his third star. During this time, he also earned a reputation for theatre: he was so highly strung, so unpredictable, and got himself so worked up (in 1990, he was hospitalized after a hyperventilating panic attack paralyzed his left side) that people came to his restaurant in the expectation that the unexpected would happen. When he talks about this period, he sits up in his chair, his eyes bulge, he raises his voice, and he is animated and indignant all over again. Patrons ("fat ugly bastards") who ordered meat well done were an insult to his kitchen, and on two occasions Marco ordered them to leave his restaurant before they completed his meals. ("It was ten months before I threw out my first customer," White was quoted as saying at the time, adding, with a flair for exaggeration, that, once he'd got the taste for it, he couldn't stop.) When someone ordered fried potatoes, he was so insulted he prepared them himself and charged five hundred dollars. "I used to go fucking mental." He threw things; he broke things; unhappy with a cheese plate, he hurled it against a wall, where it stuck, sliding down as the evening progressed, leaving behind a Camembert smear. [pg 95]

Mario, then thirty-four, wearing clogs bought from a surgical supply company and dressed in "California jams," was described as the antic funnyman holding the group together (he may act like a clown, one chef told the reporter, but you'd be surprised ‒ he's actually very smart) and his I-get-along-with-everyone attitude was illustrated by a story he told of being in San Francisco and having to charm a policeman who had wanted to arrest Batali's drinking buddy, the fortuitously met writer Hunter S. Thompson who had pulled a gun on a cable car operator who refused to take Thompson to his front door: the evening ended with Batali's waking up in the Fairmont Hotel (he hadn't been a guest) wearing wet swimming trunks (the hotel doesn't have a pool). [pg 134]

"Any cut?" I asked. "The shoulder or butt," she said, indicating her own shoulder and butt, that cook's thing of pointing to the cut in question as though it had been butchered from your own body. "A lean piece." [pg 194]

Enrico begins his harvest in September, when common sense suggests that your trees should be left alone. In September, the olives are green and hard. Most people pick in late November or December. "Ten to twelve weeks later, the olives are swollen and full of juice. The more juice you get, the more oil you can bottle, the more money you can make," Enrico said. "But for me, the olive is bloated. It is pulpy and full of water." The fruit is like "mush," his father's word. "As a result, the oil is thin. You have volume, but no intensity. For me, intensity is everything. For me, less is more. My oil is very, very intense." [...] Enrico's olive oil, I can testify, is very good, but there are a lot of good olive oils, made by other nutty earth artists with no interest in money, obsessed with smell, looking over their shoulders to make sure they're the first on the mountain to pick their greenly pungent unripe olives, squeezing the tiniest amount of intense juice from their oldest trees. The viscous, gold-green liquid that dribbles out from their stone-like fruit is unlike any other oil I have tasted, and the makers chauvinistically boast that none of it leaves Italy. [pg 298]

2008feb20. Self-healing rubber will eventually enslave humankind; News website's video menu travels back in time to 1997

2008feb21. I'm shovelling great wads of paper out of my life and ran across a trip journal ... eleven years ago I made a completely unnecessary 1400 mile road trip (~87.00USD) detour that could have been circumvented in one sentence by an incredible German asshole working at a hostel but I guess he decided I wasn't worth the courtesy, not that I had met him at that point. Here we "tune" in to our last conversation, before I had learnt of his treachery; the last line is my triumphant writer's embellishment.

Me: "Well, see you around ..."
Him: "Typical American comment ... you going to Germany?"
Me: "Well no, not now, dickhead."

Much better. I have changed reality. This is how I will remember it from now on.

2008feb26. Mail. Very old.

Dear Editors...

My name is [name], and I am a professional journalist in [city, state]. I would like to interest you in a story proposal for the no-holds-barred Mixed Martial Arts event known as Ultimate Fighting. [Organization] is having a match here in [city] on [date]. I will have access to the fighters and anyone else I need. A piece on this sport and how it is sweeping the nation will be right up your alley, as an entertainment paper. [...] I would like to introduce this event to Cardhouse's readers who are unfamiliar with it, and find a unique perspective for those who already enjoy it. [...]

I think most of my readers are very familiar with Ultimate Fighting. I think half of my readers have probably participated in Ultimate Fighting one way or another, even if that simply means breaking a chair over a co-worker's head during lunch. Those crazy Cardhouse readers! I tell ya.

Please let me know if you would be interested. I can work from any angle: the show, the fighters, the behind-the-scenes people, the safety aspect, the male fans, the female fans. Whatever you need, I can do it.

These all sound pretty standard to me. What I'm looking for here is something new and exciting, a completely different perspective. If you'll indulge me, let me set up the scenario in which [NAME] becomes the story:

First, you'll need a bear costume, and some kind of flying harness, like the ones used for stage productions of "Peter Pan." My shaky understanding of Ultimate Fighting is that the whole ring is enclosed in what I'm remembering as an eight-foot high fence, so no one escapes. That keeps the contestants in, but it's not going to keep you, [NAME], out. Okay, now, you're going to have to gain the confidence of the floor manager of the Ultimate Fighting competition. I don't know how you're going to do this ‒ but you're a journalist, you can figure out a way. Slip him a twenty to rig up the flying harness in advance of the fight. You might want to also have it obscured by banners and flowery foo-faa, so as not to attract attention.

So now, the fight's started. Here's where the fun begins, and I'm sure you've already anticipated where I'm going with this. You would wait until both contestants are good and bloody, all slicked up with the red juice, okay? The crowd is going nuts, they want more blood, and you just go off to one side of the stadium, put on the bear costume, attach yourself to the harness (you might have to do some "practice runs" at rehearsal), and zip right over the ring. You of course would then drop into the ring, and from here, well, there are several options, but let's consider two:

1) The logical (yet nonsensical) imitating-a-bear display of growling, attempting to maul one or both contestants, more growling, etc.

2) Standing on your hind legs, grabbing the microphone, making an impassioned plea to stop the violence, in the name of the animal kingdom.

I'm sure you can think of more scenarios here ‒ or, perhaps you could just wing it. You never know what could happen when your adrenaline starts pumping and you're wearing a bear costume in the middle of an Ultimate Fighting match.

The pay is ten dollars for the completed story. Good luck.

2008feb29. Friday is sometimes a "free day," and sometimes it's re-heated pizza. That's when you and your friends get in a car and drive to White Castle. You collectively pay for the burgers, then you individually pay for them again a little bit later.

Giant sticky man schlorps down side of skyscraper
Zero Punctuation: Guitar Hero III
Moo by Syriak.
Echochrome. An upcoming surreal maze game.
La Jetée [26min].
Promotional video for the Retro Encabulator, a glorious offspring of the Turbo Encabulator.
Backhoe paddle.
Attenborough: Geckos coax leafhoppers to feed them honeydew.
Abraham Lincoln: A Short Documentary.
Bert & Ernie: Total Destruction [via titivil].
Never Mind the Buzzcocks: w/Amy Winehouse [ 1 2 3 ] "She's dead."
Pink and Blue Project.
Hoshi Saga 2

Say, why not take a look at QI, a British quiz show hosted by Stephen Fry. One could find 80% of all five series of QI on the "youtube" facility if one applied the proper search terms (I suggest "qi series").

"So ... Culloden was really more of a local difficulty ... it was highland versus lowland, it was like Celtic and Rangers ... Catholic versus Protestant, essentially. It's that kind of fight, and it goes on to this day. Will we never learn. Who knows. Religion: shit it."

A book entitled "The Book of General Ignorance" was based on the show and apparently sold quite well over here. Then, after you get a few episodes under your Sansabelt™, check out the 2005 program Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 ]. Short appearances by (among others) Robbie Williams, Carrie Fisher, Richard Dreyfuss, and Jo Brand (who also appears frequently on QI). QI is also the only TV show I'm aware of that has its own members' club. I wish there were something around here like it. I mean, without it costing 400USD+. Finally, QI provides an answer to the timeless question, "What exactly happened to Rich Hall?" He is now a beloved UK panel show traveler, from the looks of it ‒ he is, as we go to press, the 2nd most frequent guest on QI. America clearly needs more panel shows because we've all grown sick of seeing our neighbors on "reality" programs, and I'm just the guy to provide this sort of service for a nominal fee.

A series of point-and-click flash adventure games: Submachine. I have hated "point and click" flash adventure games for awhile now ‒ but the mechanics and storytelling of this set are wonderful. Don't chintz out and play it sans audio; the ambient backing track does help to establish mood (and sometimes there are audio clues). There were two or three parts to almost every game when I had to grab a spoiler to move on, especially the first puzzle in Submachine 3 (Loop) ... it has enough states that it can easily be overthought, leading to oodles of unnecessary toil (especially, in my case, when you get a false positive at the exact time you were expecting a positive). Play them in order, you build knowledge and there are interesting sequential sub-plot elements. The author's site occasionally has problems serving up the games, so check out this metafilter post for alternative locations.

Knytt Stories. Atmospheric adventure game. Really well done. Be sure and familiarize yourself with what certain items provide for you in the way of new abilities before you tootle off, I did not and suffered for it.

Dwarf Complete. A well-crafted walk-around puzzle game. I needed some help twice in the game; now people are posting walkthroughs for puzzly games to Youtube, which is much better than trying to read someone's written interpretation of a visual world.

2008feb29. Bracing For Impact 2008: [Overseas financial think-a-dink tank actually names the date for US Depression|http://www.intelligencer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=918803]. Well then.

What we will have, instead, is truly a global momentous threat ‒ a true turning point affecting the entire planet and questioning the very foundations of the international system upon which the world was organized in the last decades.

What I've done to prepare for the crash is purchase durable goods, like apples and pencils. Have I made that joke on here? [search] Yep. I'm copying myself now. I thought the whole house of cards [nudge] was going to topple in 2006. I was off a bit. I sorry.

2008feb29. Photo set: Trader Vic's tiki sale. They recently closed the San Francisco and Osaka Trader Vic's, and bought out a tiki supplier that was going under ... so they were over-laden with tikis. The cashier said this was a "once-in-a-lifetime" thing and "probably would never be repeated." The large post-like tikis ("posts") were going for $250, the tiki-like tikis ("tikis") started at around $750 and went up to about $2500. They hadn't gotten around to unwrapping a lot of the Osaka ones when I was taking these photos. Some of the tikis were recently carved, some were very old ... some were funny (the gap-mouthed buck tooth one that unfortunately had a "sold" tag; it wasn't around while I was taking photos), some had dongs. Which is also funny.


March 2008.

2008mar01. I just happened to run across a photo of the buck-toothed tiki leaving Trader Vic's warehouse ...

2008mar02. Excerpts from Um ... Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean by Michael Erard.

Transcribers at the Federal News Service in Washington, D.C., encounter bucketloads of verbal blunders every weekday morning. [...] The transcripts have to be readable, so the transcribers generally clean up people's speaking, as instructed by an in-house style guide that cautions, "Don't type 'um,' 'ah,' 'er,' or partial words." The style guide also stipulates that transcribers should "clean up a false start or starts consisting of only one or two words if the omission of the words does not affect the meaning." There is one exception to those rules: "DO NOT clean up major policymakers, including the president," the style guide says, "since not only what they say but how they say it often makes the news." [pg 1]

People around the world fill pauses in their own languages as naturally as watermelons have seeds. In Britain they say "uh" but spell it "er," just as they pronounce the "er" of "butter" ("buttah"). (footnote: If you actually pronounce "er," you're saying it incorrectly ‒ there's no pause filler with an "r" sound. People who do say it have been influenced by the British spelling of the word, in which the final "r" is silent) The French say something that sounds like euh, and Hebrew speakers say ehhh. Serbs and Croats say ovay, and the Turks say mmmm. In Dutch you can say uh and um, in German äh and ähm. In Swedish it's eh, ah, aaah, m, mm, hmm, ooh, a, and oh; in Norwegian, e, eh, m, and hm. According to the William Levelt, a Dutch speech scientist, "uh" is the only word that's universal across languages. [pg 55]

If you find yourself saying "um," he suggested converting it into a slow "yum," to make yourself more conscious of what you're saying. "When you start hearing yourself go 'um,'" Glickstein recommended, "start saying 'yum,' and turn your 'ums' to 'yums, um, umm, yummm, mmmm, mmmm.'" [pg 113]

Indeed, some elocution books taught myriad methods of disciplining the body, now mostly forgotten: illustrations showing the beauty of holding the left hand to the forehead, clasping both hands to the chest, turning the wrist and ankle just so. [pg 120]

Robert West, in his radio handbook, So-o-o-o You're Going on the Air!, called the preelectric orators "leather-lunged word hurlers who depended on stentorian power to carry their voices to three counties at one time." Once electromagnetism displaced sound waves in the air as the vehicle of the voice, the elocutionary standards of the nineteenth century were rendered obsolete. The elocution manuals had provided elaborate instructions about when to pause and how long to do it. It was a mechanical necessity ‒ the orators needed a space in which to take a breath. Yet that same pause may have given the speaker a moment to plan what to say next. When the need to project the voice disappeared, so did the luxury of the pause. In this way the utilitarian pauses of oratory might have become the useless hesitations of the electrically amplified public speaker. It was in these hesitant moments that the "ums" are likely to have been spoken and recognized. [pg 130]

Some sound artists have produced pieces editing out words and leaving only disfluencies, laughter, throat clearing, and other vocal marginalia. The Books, an electronic folk group, have a fifty-five-second piece called "ps," and the Seattle-based composer, David Hahn, turned a recorded interview between a journalist and a CEO into a piece called "Corporate Coitus." Hahn used the "ums" and "uhs" as "compositional building blocks" to create a piece with the crescendos of sexual intercourse. [pg 139]

Otherwise, how can speakers be made more fluent ‒ more umless? If people have to pay money for each "uh" or "um," repeated word, or interrupted sentence, their fluency will increase. Verbal reprimands help. So do electric shocks. [pg 141]

The use of "um" and "uh" is a tactic of speakers who are speaking self-consciously, argue Christenfeld and a colleague, Beth Creager. They observed drinkers in bars and found that drinking alcohol reduced "um," though the method is somewhat impractical for everyday use: to become fully umless, a drinker would need to drink nineteen beers. [pg 142]

It appears that every type of spoken disfluency also exists in sign language. In Deaf culture, slips of the hand are opportunities to make a joke or feel embarrassed, and signers who often fill their pauses are considered distracted. To make the sign for "um" in American Sign Language, hold your dominant hand in front of you, palm facing up, your five fingers slightly apart. Now circle your forearm away from you and return it, repeating the gesture. [pg 142]

Around 414 BCE, the early rhetorician Gorgias warned that speech could charm, like witchcraft. It also worked like a drug, creating emotions in listeners that they couldn't control. "For just as different drugs dispel different secretions ... so also in the case of speeches, some distress, others delight, some cause fear, others make the hearer bold, and some drug and bewitch the soul with a kind of evil persuasion." [pg 149]

"Today's American audiences want information in an entertainment package," Brooks added. In Europe and Asia, adults don't need a stand-up comedy routine to be tricked into learning. "In Europe, you can stand behind a lectern and read from notes and most people will like it," he says. "I spoke at Volvo once in Sweden and when it was all over, they said, "We like you. You're not a typical American speaker. You have knowledge, and you can give it to us in a format that's not an over-the-top style.' An American style is not a compliment ‒ that means you're showy, and preachy, but light on content." [pg 161]

2008mar04. Airborne® settlement. I called it! Oh just let me have my shallow little victory. And the money. The money is more important. Doesn't that domain name sound like some quack 500-acre body-rejuvenating facility built by Kellogg just outside of Battle Creek? "Welcome, chronic masturbators, to my wizonderful Airborne Health Settlement!"

2008mar04. Ironic Sans: Courtroom sketch artists.

2008mar07. Achewood: An afternoon with Molly Sanders.

2008mar08. Telecom Immunity: Barebones Congressional Felony. Wiki: Ex post facto law. Thomas Jefferson:

"The sentiment that ex post facto laws are against natural right is so strong in the United States, that few, if any, of the State constitutions have failed to proscribe them. The federal constitution indeed interdicts them in criminal cases only; but they are equally unjust in civil as in criminal cases, and the omission of a caution which would have been right, does not justify the doing what is wrong. Nor ought it to be presumed that the legislature meant to use a phrase in an unjustifiable sense, if by rules of construction it can be ever strained to what is just." (Letter to Isaac McPherson, August 13th, 1813)

The exciting thing about being an American right now are the amazing history lessons, as you probe deeper and deeper into the Constitution, to learn about this law or that as this administration quickly throws it into the woodchipper. Christ, 1813! That's not that long ago. Anyone have his cellphone #? I'll text him in code. "EFFYJAY EWAY AREWAY UCKEDFAY ELPHAY"

2008mar10. The detective novel of Lost Springs WY.

2008mar11. MTV holocaust "warning": subway | house. Okay, I'll take a whack at it. It has nothing to do with this considered future. It's "hey, you know, what happened back then, they were people like you as well." I've seen a smattering of comments that this is supposed to be some sort of prescient warning from Viacom, Inc. I gotta stop reading comments. As a self-aware comment once read, "nothing good can come of reading comments."

2008mar11. Harper's: The Next Bubble. There's going to be enough chumps to jump on the stock market train after ~five years of US insolvency? Okay. I'll wave to all y'all from the station.

2008mar12. With my patented Detect-O-Bar (shown at the top of the home page), I can tell at a glance if you're running the beta of Firefox 3 or not. Try it! [FX: hands you 3-D glasses]

2008mar13.

2008mar14. When Belief in the System Fades.

In a way, a belief in the value, transparency, trust and reciprocity of the System is like a religious belief. The converts, the true believers, are the ones who work like crazy for the company, or the Force or the firm. And when the veil of illusion is tugged from their eyes, then the Believer does a reversal, and becomes a devout non-believer in the System. He or she drops out, moves to a lower position, or "retires" to some lower level of employment.

Special thanks to Cardhouse Reader #7a for this link.

2008mar14. Friday! Free! Day!

The Bird and the Bee: Polite Dance Song (that's three!).
Musical PSAs. Meatloaf, Wendy O Williams, etc.
Star Wars opening sequence by Saul Bass.
Apeonaut: Kill Them In The Face. An album.
LQQK AT MY PARTI HETS
Cat of 1000 Faces.
"I have to go pee." "Well, it's your funeral."
Ah. The Daily Mail sent someone up to explore that tantalizing urination non-possibility.
Elyse Sewell appeared on America's Next Top Model Which I Didn't/Don't Watch but she's one snappy gal -- world-travelling, trying the food with gusto, taking pix of (among other things) grocery store products and of the bizarro-land costumery she's paid to endure.
qdb: FLYING HIGH NOW [via doc]
Cheeta celebrates his 75th birthday. Cheeta appeared in the Tarzan films of the 30s and 40s and is the world's oldest living primate. 76 comin' up.

2008mar14. Mail.

i want to see japan

I advise you, from experience, to skip the part where you grow a travel spine and just do it. The dollar is tanking, a year from now you'll be kicking yourself. Spend those little freaks, get some value from them before they melt. But don't forget to book a hotel for your first night. They don't like it when you show up unannounced with nowhere to sleep. Skeeves 'em out. Just do it. Get on a freaking plane and freaking go already. Race you.

2008mar15. Normally when the radio show wraps up there's a sort of an undiscussed movement toward a closing statement, or a good random hook. I usually bail a little bit earlier because I don't want to end up with the last word and I like to break down the laptop early because afterward? Do-nuts. This week, the person who followed our show wasn't going to show up, so they were going to cut to a pre-recorded program.

Collectively, no one knew/remembered. So there we all were, chattering away, when someone came in to tell us we'd automatically been dumped off the air five minutes ago.

In 50 years, scholars will ruminate over what amazing pearls of wisdom were mouth-released during this unfortunately un-aired segment. Especially from me. Pearls from me. You missed my pearls, America.

2008mar16. So I had this silly plan for a 120sqft sandbag dome domicile, had it all kitted out and applianced in my feverish mind. 120 being the typical lower-end for a city's heinous permit process to begin dictating exactly where you place that fucking grommet and you better put in a stove because the stove lobby paid us off. I already miss the place, I just know the ladies would have went wild for it ... "it's cute and sustainable ... and in today's ragged economy, that's so prudent and wise!" [SFX: smooch smooch smooch smooch smooch smooch smooch smooch smooch smooch] But it ain't happenin'. No, ladies, don't go ... UltraJenga?

Speaking of the economy, why is it that no one's started a bank death pool? Might as well have fun while we can ("I'm a puttin' a hunnerd pre-de-valued bucks on Carlyle Group for Wednesday ... no, Citibank!"). Maybe I'm just not reading the right weblogs. [FX: cancels I Can Has Dungburger: Best of LOLbeetles]

2008mar16. "What about now?"-type excerpts from Hard Times, An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970) by Studs Terkel.

Lily, 18: I think we'd hurt more now if we had a Depression. You don't see how they'd make it if it happened to 'em again. Because they take a lot of things for granted. I mean, you see 'em now and they have everything. You can't imagine how they would act if they didn't have it. If they would even remember what they did. 'Cause they're past it now. They already done it, and they figure they're over it. If we fell now, I think everybody would take it a lot harder. ¶ Everybody'd step on each other. They'd just walk all over and kill each other. They got more than they ever need that they'd just step on anybody to keep it. They got cars, they got houses, they got this and that. It's more than they need, but they think they need it, so they want to keep it. Human life isn't as important as what they got. [pg 23]

Dr. David J. Rossman, psychiatrist: Now people think it's coming to them. The whole ethos has changed. There is a great deal more hatred and free-floating aggression all over the country. We have reached unprecedented prosperity. Everybody says "Why not me?" The affluent society has made itself known to people ... how the better half lives. It's put on television, you can see it. And everybody says, "Who the hell are they? What's the matter with me? My skin is black, so what?" You don't accept responsibility for your own fate. It's the other fellow who is to blame. It's terrible. It could tear our country apart. [If Depression ... revolution?] It would be an inchoate affair. It wouldn't be as organized. ¶ Today nobody is permitted to starve. Now they think it's coming to them. As a matter of fact, it was the government that brought this idea to the people, in the Thirties. The people didn't ask the government. They ask the question they can't answer themselves: Why am I the goat? Why me? They want the pie in the sky ... [pg 81]

Robert Langston, 43, jazz singer: I think it could. But it would behoove the Federal Government not to let it come. Because you're dealing with a different breed of cat now. If they really want anarchy, let a Depression come now. My sixteen-year-old son is not the person I was when I was sixteen. He has manly responsibilities. And he doesn't want any shit. When I was sixteen, I wasn't afraid to die. But the kid, sixteen now, is not afraid to kill. [pg 92]

Julia Walther: I don't know. I've been told it can never happen again. However, there is one thing that does trouble me. I went to Germany in '34 and '38. I saw what Nazism did. I was troubled by Americans saying: "But this could never happen with us. The Germans are a strange people with whom we have nothing in common ‒ beasts." I knew this wasn't true. This kind of thing can happen any place, given certain circumstances ... ¶ There was a terrible depression in Germany. Along comes a man who tells them they're a great nation, all they have to do is believe in themselves and follow him. He promised them the sun, the moon and the stars. The German intellectuals and comedians made fun of him and the Nazis in their night clubs. I heard one in the Platzl in Munich. The audience loved it, adored it. But it didn't stop Nazism. They won over the lower middle classes ... ¶ The Depression overwhelmed us, yes. It was terrible. But we had hope: This is not going to kill us. I don't think people can say that nowadays. If a Depression came now, I'd be afraid, terribly afraid ... [pg 164]

Sally Rand: I truly believe we shall have another Depression. I think people will just go out and take what they need. I don't think there will be any more people queueing up on bread lines waiting to be fed by charity, God damn it. I'm not condoning this, but we've let it happen. Take the television. It isn't food they're hungry for now, it's a different kind of food. Not only the Negroes. All the poor. ¶ The middle class look upon the deprived smugly: the poor we'll have with us always. Oh yeah? [pg 174]

Doc Graham, self-described con/heist man: Very simple. They'd commit suicide today. I don't think they're conditioned to stand it. We were a hardier race then. We'd win wars. We didn't procrastinate. We'd win them or lose them. Today we're a new race of people. They'll quit on a draw ‒ if they see any feasible way to see their way out to quit with any dignity, they'll quit. Back then, you had a different breed of people. You got $21 a month going into the army or the navy. So them guys, they went to win the war. There's been an emancipated woman since the beginning of the war, also. [pg 186]

Dr. Nathan Ackerman, psychiatrist: I think a depression today would have a paradoxical effect, at least temporarily. Political upheaval, on one hand -- and bringing people closer together, on the other. Greater consideration for one another. Something like the quality of caring in London during the blitz. Everybody's suffering was everybody's concern. They drew together and gave each other solace. [pg 197]

Edward Santander, director of adult education at a small Midwestern college: If we had a severe depression today ‒ I'm basically an optimist -- I don't think this country would survive. Many people today are rootless. When you have this rootlessness, we're talking about Germany of the Twenties. You'd see overt dictatorship take over. You would see your camps ... [pg 210]

Harry Terrell: But I can see a Depression ahead right now. If we go to pot, it would make that one look like a Sunday school picnic. A Depression today would cut deep, quick. Today, in the machine age, like everything ‒ it would be sudden. ¶ In the Thirties, my sister's family lived on their own production. They had gardens, they had eggs, they had flocks of chickens. Now the eggs are all produced in these large establishments. Machines turn out thousands of dozens. Then, they had their own and were more self-sufficient. Today, the milk is supplied by the same company that supplies this dining room here. They didn't have money to buy new clothes or cars or machinery. But they had enough to keep body and soul together. Today, the money would be gone. They wouldn't have the food ... [pg 216]

Dorothy Day: Another Depression might be a relief to many people. They know our prosperity is built on war. It might be so much better than war. People won't have to keep up a front any longer. They wouldn't have to keep up the payments any more. There would have to be a moratorium. The threat of Depression is nothing to worry about. I wish to goodness the stock market would collapse for good and for all. I'd like to see a nonviolent revolution take place and an end to this Holy War ... [pg 306]

2008mar16. Mail.

I found new Blog whith sexy photo and video about free movie [url shoved] shyla stylez. Enjoy!

The exciting thing about this spammy email was that the location field was populated with the following string: "Iran, Moscow." I have never been there. I am easily amused by self-contradictory geographical references.

2008mar16. Let's wrap this thing up already ... okay, that small, teeny-tiny minority obsessed with ramping up fascism, putting some exciting new make-up on the pig etc, give us one last hit of your hilarious flailings. BLORTCH HAHAHAHAHAH Oh man, that was good. This achievement has been noted in your permanent record. Now, if you'll please step into the shuttle with the rest of your misguided fleshwastes, the countdown is beginning for your journey to the stars!

2008mar18. Palast: the skinny on the bail-out and Spitzer.

Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That's Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.

2008mar20. Well now. Thirteen years. It was this very day in 1995 when Lou-Anne went to the back of the woodshed and started up the generator. Why would someone do this, for 13 years even? I think they're nuts. I have no idea when it went from a static home page that had changing messages of lofty un-usefulness to some sort of date-based holding bin filled with crabbing, and I just decided I no longer care, there. A really horribly old weblog and $3.72 will get you a cup of gas these days and that's not including the cute li'l dollop of creme on top. Oh how we'll laugh in the line for the ticket for the ticket for the bread line. Riiiight ... the inception of this e-blight. [SFX: clears throat] I hereby pronounce this anniversary to be AWESOME! LUCKY THIRTEEN!

i heard these things were laced man

2008mar21. Friday: Actually Free?

Ad for some vodka thing w/Tim Eric Zach.
Tim & Eric: IM Love. Hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot
TED: Dave Eggers.
Jerry likes his new ball toy.
Zero Punctuation: Turok.
Money as Debt [47min]. Learn what your money actually is the E-Z cartoon way.
The Extreme UltraKing. That's 120 square feet. I could live in that footprint.

2008mar21. Mail.

Concerning the Trader Joe's brand of "Rice Dream": does it have kosher cerification? If so please foward the name of the cetifying agency. You can also fax certification to [name] at [phone number]. Thank you.

The answer ... may surprise you.

2008mar22. So there I was, walking along under the covered archway of strip mall #913589a, passing this young metrosexual in tiger-attacked jeans and a t-shirt. No one else around. As I'm passing him, he kicks back his head and plaintively moans, "Ohhhh, I want to go tanning ..." A part of me wanted to turn to him and say "I'm not your sugar daddy, sweetie." Perhaps he hadn't noticed I was passing him at the time, you know how the youth are so self-absorbed. When GDep2 rolls in, we will eat them.

We will eat them.

2008mar23. LA casting for Human Tetris. [via april winchell]

2008mar25. This is a repeat: Money as Debt. It's 47 minutes, and that's why you didn't watch it. "I don't have tiiiiiiiIiiMMMMME for it," you whined between Botox® injections. Well, I'm telling you ‒ just watch the first fifteen minutes. Then you'll be dragged into it ... you'll keep saying to yourself, "wait ... what? It can't get any more worse than that ... oh god ..." We are all trapped in a collaborative fiction involving little green pieces of paper. Now, going to the store and buying a Moon Pie becomes a surreal one-act play of hilarity. "Okay, I'm going pass some debt along to you, and you're going to give me food for it. Sound good? Great."

I found the quotes from the film here along with additonal urls, and additional quotes. I'm just excerpting the quotes below.

"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the Field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." -- Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom (1913)

"Each and every time a bank makes a loan (or purchases securities), new bank credit is created ‒ new deposits ‒ brand new money." -- Graham F. Towers, Director, Bank of Canada

"The process by which banks create money is so simple the mind is repelled." -- John Kenneth Galbraith, Economist

"Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws." -- Mayer Amschel Rothschild, International Banker

"I am afraid that the ordinary citizen will not like to be told that banks can and do create money ...And they who control the credit of the nation direct the policy of Governments and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people" ‒ Reginald McKenna, past Chairman of the Board, Midlands Bank of England

"Thus, our national circulating medium is now at the mercy of loan transactions of banks, which lend, not money, but promises to supply money they do not possess." -- Irving Fisher, economist and author

"That is what our money system is. If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn't be any money." ‒ Marriner S. Eccles, Chairman and Governor of the Federal Reserve Board

"Everyone sub-consciously knows banks do not lend money. When you draw on your savings account, the bank doesn't tell you you can't do this because it has lent the money to somebody else." ‒ Mark Mansfield

"If all the bank loans were paid, no one could have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of coin or currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash, or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless situation is almost incredible ‒ but there it is." ‒ Robert Hemphill. Credit Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

"One thing to realize about our fractional reserve banking system is that, like a child's game of musical chairs, as long as the music is playing, there are no losers." -- Andrew Gause, Monetary Historian

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Albert A. Bartlett, physicist

"Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist" ‒ Kenneth Boulding, economist

"I have never yet had anyone who could, through the use of logic and reason, justify the Federal Government borrowing the use of its own money... I believe the time will come when people will demand that this be changed. I believe the time will come in this country when they will actually blame you and me and everyone else connected with the Congress for sitting idly by and permitting such an idiotic system to continue." ‒ Congressman Wright Patman (in office 1929-1976)

"Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal, that there is no human relation between master and slave." ‒ Leo (Lev) Tolstoy

"None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." -- Goethe

"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. ¶ Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough money to buy it back again ... ¶ Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be slaves of the banks and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit." -- Sir Josiah Stamp Director, Bank of England 1928-1941 (reputed to be the 2nd richest man in Britain at the time)

"The inability of the Colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the PRIME reason for the revolutionary war." -- Benjamin Franklin

"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world, no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." -- Woodrow Wilson

"All of the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arises, not from the defects of the Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation." -- John Adams, Founding Father of the American Constitution

"Whoever controls the volume of money in our country is absolute master of all industry and commerce...and when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate." -- James A. Garfield, assassinated president of the United States

"The Government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of government, but it is the government's greatest creative opportunity." -- Abraham Lincoln, assassinated president of the United States

"Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nations laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognised as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile." -- William Lyon Mackenzie King

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National auto-determination practiced in past centuries" -- David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting in June of 1991

"Only the small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public incredulity." Alternately quoted as: "Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity." -- Marshall McLuhan, media guru

2008mar26. Kamen's Slingshot. Get it down to a grand, and you can hook it up to your shower. You can keep showering with the same water over and over. Heck, hook it up to your sewage line right before it hits the municipal line.

2008mar28. It's a GARBORITTO!!!!!! HAHAHAH AH AHAHAHAHHAHAHAH AHAHAHAH HAH HHAHA H!!!!!! HAHAHAAHAH ... A ....

2008mar28. Got accosted for shoplifting today at a grocery market. It would have helped to actually have been shoplifting at the time. I think this means I get a freebie at the store at a later date. I'm a-gonna jam jam down my pants, shanghai Shanghai-fried noodles, pocket Hot Pockets, steal steel-cut oats, purloin loin, poach salmon, pilfer pilaf, boost Boost, take sake, swipe tripe, crib crab.

2008mar29. Some corrections to the Money as Debt entry. First, mail from Doc:

that rothschild line might be one of those quotations that has no source. it was popularized by early-to-mid-20th-century anti-semites, and i know i've never seen a source for it. one thing that makes it suspicious to me is that it's a little too on the nose. another thing is that it's cast in the exact same form as other spurious quotations attributed to plato, stalin, & others re: music, movies, &c.

Yeah, I think I was probably looking up the Wilson quotes roughly the same time you noticed that; the entry for Freedom to Fascism on Wikipedia indicates at least one of them has been puffed up with air. There's a discussion of the film on Metafilter. The basic explanation is sound, but unfortunately they didn't put much time into checking the quotes. Finally, Moon Pies are not actually classified as "food" and should not be referred to as such. They are edible chemical substances coated and sealed with a colored outer shell -- Pantone® PMS 11005 ("Banana"), PMS 11314 ("Chocolate"), and PMS 11023 ("Vanilla"). Enjoy.

2008mar31. The sad story of the chimp who thought he was a boy.

When they like you, they're extremely gregarious. They want to show you things. They love books and magazines. There was a children's book all about Nim while he was in New York, basically a photo book, and Nim kept his one copy of this book safe, even though chimps tend to wreck everything. He would bring it down and show the other chimps, then bring it back to his bunk and keep it under his sleeping area so that no one could destroy it. He would just look at pictures of his New York City family, and himself, over and over again.

Unfortunately it's at Salon, which wants to set a cookie. They're still stuck in 1999. So: ALLOW COOKIE | READ ARTICLE | DISALLOW COOKIE ... whatever, Salon.


April 2008.

2008apr01. Mail.

Hey Man i saw your page and while i was laughing i realized you must have absolutely no life....

What prompts people to take their time to do this crazy shit?

Your a wild man.....

Dave

I don't even know how to approach this one. NO REPLY

2008apr01. Preview of upcoming documentary on flying penguins w/Terry Jones. Oh what a glorious day!

2008apr01. The American Heart Association has come up with a new and improved non-cooties way of performing CPR that is fairly simple. On this page, it indicates: "Push hard and fast in the center of the chest." At the FAQ, extra labor is revealed: "Begin providing high-quality chest compressions by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest with minimal interruptions." Look, the game is coming on in five minutes, can I just tape a squirmy fish to this guy? Great.

2008apr02. Ask.metafilter: non-standard food combinations that are delicious.

2008apr02. The story of Estupido Espezial!!!, the font too dumb to die. The slow roll reveal at the end is priceless. [via waxy]

2008apr06. Achewood: Problems with the Shrovis.

2008apr06. Mail.

hi im mohan i am having problems. [urls shoved]
Samoa, Beijing

Wasn't that a Siouxsie and the Banshees song? "Samoa's in Beijing"?

2008apr06. Jet engine wind turbine. The video doesn't mention the additional environmental advantage ‒ it looks like wind turbine-related bird mortality rates would plummet. See also Windside for vertical-mount wind turbines. Can't ... stop ... staring

2008apr06.

2008apr07. I've been running the Firefox betas for a little while because they're much more snappy than the current production model (THE NEW '09 FOXES ARE IN!). But extensions don't work with it, so I've been seeing "advertising." It's a strange world. Today a moving image of a woman flexed her muscles at me and made a funny face; in exchange I'm to visit to her cam site and enter my credit card number. I gently decline.

2008apr07. Mail.

Re: Firefox 3 betas and extensions

This tip works:

Make your extensions work with the Firefox 3 beta

Ah! Thank you for that. Another reader tackles the problem farther down the gridiron:

Sr. Tarjetacasa,

I have run into the same ad blocking issue as you [I've been running nightlies of Flock, the "social" browser based on Firefox]. AdBlock wasn't working anymore, so to get around it I started blocking at the host level, which is a tip I originally learned from @Man's websi+e ten years ago but which has been carried to extremes by these dudes, who update their list religiously and even packaged an installer:

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

It doesn't collapse the banners the way Adblock does, but at least there's nothing in there anymore. Note that it does not kill banners hosted on the si+es themselves like the J-list one for Cardhouse, which is ok with me.

Ho! I had abandoned that methodology years ago when Adblock came into vogue ... I'll have to give it another eyeballing. Many thanks.

2008apr08. loudQUIETloud: a film about the Pixies' 2004 reunion tour. Available for one week only on the newly-minted Pitchfork TV. [via waxy]

2008apr08. Superheated Steam Oven. These types of ovens have been around since the '80s, at least. Retains vitamins, removes fat, costs too much. People jabber about earlier versions here.

Regarding the new Sharp steam oven, this seems to be a reinvention of what was used in the old Henry's Hamburger chain in the 50's and 60's. I would beg my parents to drive to Skokie, Illinois, so I could have one of their Melted Cheese Sandwiches. They were made from a hamburger bun and a couple slices of american cheese. The sandwich was placed in a tabletop mounted stainless steel box with a handle on one side. The handle would be depressed 3 or 4 times and pressurized steam would be injected into the cooker, instantly melting the cheese and heating and moisturizing the bun. Just wonderful! I've been trying to figure out what happened to this type of cooker. Thank you. ‒ Jim Morris Seattle

2008apr09. Mail.

[fake username] asked you a question. View the question [url shoved] and answer it.

This email was sent by [fake username] while using the Question It application by Curiosity Solutions. Go here [url maimed] to learn more or stop receiving emails from friends using Question It. 255 G Street #723, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

Go bite yourself.

2008apr10. Mail.

Hi. My name is Sunny B. I am looking for used seat on arcade machines with English instructions like racing formula one , motorcycles, shooting guns or standing on used arcade game machines please reply to my mail at your earliest convenience.
Yours: sunny

Sunny! Thank you for the mail message you sent to me. Sunny thank you for your query you sent today. You gave to me your query call and now I feel that I'm ten feet tall. Now the dark days are gone and bright days are here, but there are no arcade machines around I fear. Sunny once so true, I failed you.

2008apr11. Friday. "Free."

Yellow Drum Machine. [via jwz]
The Curious Furniture of Ned Troide.
Factory Balls. A game in which you manufacture balls.
Fruit Mystery. A game in which you fruitize animals. [via waxy]
You Have To Burn The Rope. A game in which you burn the rope. That's a clue. Stay for the theme song.
Bound Bear. This is the classiest Japanese bear head launching game I've played this week. Check that background track, mah peeps. It's ... JAZZ-AY!
1970 Japanese psychedelic Look chocolate advertisement.
Cicada molting. Amazing/BLORTCH. Hey, is that Bounty™? Then, after you're done watching it five times in a row, you close the window and shiver involuntarily. It's a thing.
NPR interview: Cookie Monster. Also: Martha Stewart v. Cookie Monster [1 2].
Vice: Toxic Garbage Island. A twelve-part series on the huge "floating garbage patch" in the Pacific. The remainder of episodes will be put up within the next two weeks.
Some penguins.

2008apr11. Out-of-control car injures six on courthouse steps. Noted for last sentence.

2008apr13. Gary Pettis looks into his own soul. [via doc]

2008apr18. Texas.com. What a boring site. It should be Texas-sized. Body font size = 27 points. You should only be allowed to access it if you type it in caps. TEXAS.COM. Bold. Lawless. Insane. I wasn't even thinking of Commander Dipshit when I wrote that last sentence. These are my Texas rules for Texas-based web browsing. Texas.

TEXAS.

2008apr19. A piece of mail I recently received indicates that I've been "pre-selected" for an American Express card. So I'll just wait here until I get a piece of mail indicating that I've been selected, I guess. Send food.

2008apr22. NYMag: Your shoes suck: an examination of why all shoes suck. Shoes: dicks.

2008apr24. Secreted deep within an ask.metafilter post about a "travelling" party game is this gem:

There's an exceptionally difficult-to-get version of this which goes as follows. You ask any question which has a yes or no answer, and anyone who's "in" on it can reply with a yes or no.

Typically the questions are about a journey like "Can I go to Dundee?", "Can I go to Zimbabwe?," "Can I go to Boston by train?," "Can I go to Boston by train now?" and so on.

The game is very confusing because the answer to the same question can change, and yet everyone who's "in" on it will agree on what the answer is.

Of course, the poor victims come up with increasingly elaborate rules about vowels, starting letters, longitudes, latitudes and so on, until they finally get it.

It's best played slightly drunk and with more than one person in on the secret, because otherwise people tend to suspect that there IS no secret. But there is. And it's this:

If the person says "um" or "err" in the question, the answer is yes, otherwise it's no. So, "Can I go to Paris?" is no, but "Can I go to, um, Paris?" is yes. Typically, when people think they have it cracked, they start to "um" a lot more, so get a string of false positives.

It's viciously cruel, but fun.

2008apr24. Your astrology sucks: an examination of why all astrology sucks. Astrologers: dicks. Well, now I guess everyone will shut up about astrology and astrological signs, etc.

2008apr25. Clublife: The Meta VIP Area.

2008apr25. Electric car round-up.

2008apr29. Entry #498271a in my fictional Big Fat Book of America: The Incredibly Painful History of a Country That Can Yell Louder Than Any Other.

2008apr29. Excerpts from Citrus by Pierre Laszlo. A strange book.

The navel variety of orange is reminiscent of castrato singers -- outstanding, but without progeny. Originally, the navel was a sweet orange in Portugal by the name of Seleta, or Selecta. It was brought to Brazil, where, in the state of Bahia, a chance hybridization produced a limb sport. A structure at one end of the fruit, similar in appearance to a navel, led to this novel variant being named umbigo, Portuguese for "navel." Outside of Brazil, it came to be known at first as Bahia. [...] In the aftermath of the Gold Rush of 1849 and the Civil War, numerous Easterners settled in California. [...] Fellow colonist Luther and Eliza Tibbets had grown tired of the cold, rough winters in the Northeast. In 1873, Eliza wrote a letter to the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. She asked for advice on trees to plant in her front yard that might thrive in the California climate. She was sent three seedlings of the umbigo Bahia orange from Brazil. Eliza planted the trees. One was trampled by a cow, but the other two prospered. Legend has it that she used her dishwater to water them: Luther Tibbets was too lazy or too cheap to install irrigation. One of these two trees still survives in downtown Riverside at the intersection of Magnolia and Arlington avenues. ¶ As the story goes, Eliza served her oranges at a housewarming party, and they were an instant sensation. In any case, she started a mail-order business, selling budwood at five cents a bud, according to some sources, or up to five dollars each, according to others. Eliza Tibbets, a Queen Victoria look-alike, made money and became very influential. Her three orange trees were the foundation of citriculture in California, first in Riverside and later in the whole citrus belt extending from Pasadena to Riverside. [pg 37]

At the Brookhaven National Laboratory, [Richard A. Hensz, a Texas horticulturist] began to irradiate grapefruit seeds with thermal neutrons, or with X-rays, in the hope of inducing further mutations. In 1965, he produced the Star Ruby variety, released to growers in 1970. But you can't win 'em all: the Star Ruby tree, resistant to damage by frost, proved to be unusually sensitive to damage from herbicides, and it bore fruit with unpredictable regularity. ¶ Back to the drawing board, and to the BNL, went Dr. Hensz. In 1976, he came up with yet another new variety, named Rio Red. It is "the paragon among red grapefruits" it is advertised to be, at least so far. Made available to growers in 1984, it is now grown nationwide. [pg 43]

Orangeries are buildings providing winter shelter for citrus trees. Their survival hangs on the air temperature not dropping below freezing for several hours. The northern Italian constructions combined protection against the wind and its chill factor with a southern exposure, as well as the use of materials such as stone or brick to store and reradiate solar heat. Sometimes, auxiliary heating by wood- or charcoal-burning furnaces was used. [pg 45]

The Sun King, Louis XIV, was the grandson of Henri IV and Marie de Médicis, her frenchified name. The design of his new palace at Versailles, especially of its gardens by Le Nôtre, merged an Italian style of garden architecture with French ideas of order and rationality, a synthesis known in French history as the Classic age. ¶ What do the hordes of tourists visiting Versailles seek? Many visit out of a sense of obligation. Versailles is a must on the tourist's checklist. [...] Little do they imagine what the place really looked like in the time of the Sun King ‒ a mix between an American political convention and the San Firmin fiesta in Pamplona, with, on any day, about 30,000 courtiers milling around, eating and sleeping, fighting, gossiping, showing off, whoring, urinating, and defecating on the rugs ‒ and out the windows ‒ and, in general, spending most of their time just being idle ‒ which, indeed, was exactly the King's intent. ¶ To return to the present: tourists at Versailles flock to the ticket booths, then invade the inside of the palace. In so doing, they miss the whole point: Versailles was built primarily as a garden. The originality of Versailles is in the park ‒ to which, furthermore, admission is free. Accordingly ‒ and paradoxically -- few tourists bother taking more than a few perfunctory steps outside. [pg 47]

And then there is canker. The very name of this disease, with its echo of cancer, strikes fear into the hearts of citrus growers. It is a bacterial infection by Xanthomonas axonopodis, of which there are three strains, spread by wind-driven rains. One of those strains, the Asiatic citrus canker, has infected about a million trees in Florida. ¶ Canker shows up as brown and yellow spots on citrus leaves and on the rind of the fruit. And that is all. Nontoxic to humans, it does not affect the taste of the fruit, nor its maturation. It is ugly, period. Only the outward appearance of the fruit is altered. ¶ Citrus canker thus might be just an external symptom of the striving for perfection endemic to American society. The consumer is king, and he is spoiled. American corporations endeavor to provide only the best products. Destruction of canker-affected trees and fruit costs growers in Florida an estimated $350 million per year, representing about 4 percent of the yearly income from citrus. [pg 55]

When economic forces are involved in the effort to protect citrus crops, things get complicated. In the year 2002, facing an outbreak of citrus canker in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush made an executive decision to destroy diseased trees. Thus, 1.5 million trees in commercial groves were sacrificed. In addition ‒ you can imagine the outcry ‒ another 603,000 trees were destroyed in the backyards of about 250,000 homeowners. ¶ This poses the dilemma, familiar to political theorists, between the prerogatives of the state and the freedom of the individual that is familiar from issues such as the wearing of safety belts or cigarette smoking. Yet Governor Bush's decision seems a little different. He was invading the privacy of a relatively small fraction of the Florida electorate in order to preserve the well-being of a politically better organized segment of the population: the citrus growers to whom the state of Florida owes a substantial part of its prosperity (its other main economic resource being tourism). [pg 57]

For many years, in the 1920s and the 1930s, California was producing about 50 percent more oranges than Florida. ¶ During these golden years, overproduction of oranges in California again became a problem. The growers destroyed surplus fruit in an attempt to stabilize the price, burning tons of oranges with kerosene-fed fires. Such actions were considered shocking during the Depression, when many Americans were starving. [pg 96]

The Sun Up Foods scam netted that company between $10 and $20 million. In 1990, an employee went to the hidden room that pumped liquid beet sugar into the orange juice it was processing. Stainless steel pipes hidden in the walls were set up to appear to be part of the sewage system. In the event of a government inspection, the sugar-carrying line could be turned off, and the outside pipe closed to conceal the illicit sugar pipeline. [...] The main adulterants are corn syrup and beet sugar, since 98 percent of the total soluble organic content of the juice consists of sugars, predominantly sucrose, glucose, and fructose. [pg 105]

A major aspect of Chinese alchemy was potable gold. Chinese proto-chemists had devised procedures for turning the precious metal into aqueous suspensions of tiny particles, colloidal gold that one could drink. The notion was that the inalterability of the noble metal would be transmitted to whomever drank it, conferring on the drinker good health and immortality. [pg 130]

2008apr30. A conversation with Tim Keller.


May 2008.

2008may01. Reason Magazine: Power From the People. Long article on Jim Mason, the shipyard, and his trials and tribulations fighting city hall. As long as America continues to have an overly-restrictive profit-driven nanny-state permit structure, smarter/greener/more creative ways of dealing with day-to-day living are going to get caught in the net. They're trying to stop the future. They're always the last ones to get it. We're running out of time. [via doc]

Still, Mason feels crushed by the conflict ‒ and radicalized. While others on his team are more optimistic that it will all work out, he thinks experimental living in a highly regulated context might ultimately be hopeless. Never any kind of libertarian, he was shocked to discover that giving someone the right to shut down a physical site is no less a significant power than giving someone the power to arrest me. The lives of 30 people have been stopped, and there is no immediate review of that decision.

I live life in economies based on what is interesting, he adds. I've found no matter what the rules or processes, in the end the thing that's interesting somehow gets chosen. But getting beat down, I realized that is completely irrelevant. They will not listen or make consideration for interest in anything. They only care, what does the letter of the code say, and does that completely encapsulate the conditions they determine are sitting in front of them? It's an impossible set-up in which to engage the messy flux of the world.

2008may05. The Gospel of Consumption.

2008may09. Friday.

Darwin's crazy moth w/12-inch tongue theory on the money.
Schlieren photography
Zowie! Coney Island caviar! [5min] [via doc]
Book of Spam advertisement featuring toast animation.
The reviewer finds the new Pixar movie unbelievable.
I already told you about this, but you didn't believe me: synchronizing metronomes.
The Phone: a freeform get-to-the-next-screen "experience."
Vectorpark: Spider.
Green Porno: Isabella Rossellini. Bugs. Sex. Safe for work, as long as your boss is cool with seeing Isabella Rossellini humping a giant fly, for example. If your boss is not: get a new boss or be your own! Now who's the bug porn-watching taskmaster?
Smithsonian: Hyenas! (hyenas.)
Mango crash. Awwww yeah ... you CRASH that mango. You know what makes me hot? It's not a woman smashing things underneath her boot, it's not seeing a video of a woman crushing objects beneath impractical footwear, it's that this is something that makes specific people hot. That's a turn-on, right there. My fetish: empathy. And world peace. Also: mangoes being smooshed. HOTT

2008may11. Bush is going to run again because he wasn't actually elected in 2004.

2008may11. US says cocaine routes shifting from US to Europe ... the US knows a lot about cocaine routes. Don't do hard drugs kids, you're just putting more money in Unca Sam's greedy little pocket. The more you know!

2008may11. Cops are here to protect you. A disheartening round-up of inhumane fuck-ups.

2008may12. Government: They'll break your legs and expect a thank you for the crutches. Or they'll put you on the rack and then take a freakish photo of you celebrating your extra length. Hooray I'm longer!

2008may12. I was idly wondering when ram air turbines started appearing on planes, but the wikipedia entry doesn't help any. The oldest relevant patent I can find was granted the day of the stock market crash, and indicates that the patent was an improvement on the invention. Any mention of RATs of course requires a pointer to the Gimli Glider story, which is Essential Internet Reading. It reads like a movie. Of course they're going to land on Family Day. Directly on.

2008may13. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration: Some Road Songs. Government: doing what it does, so well. Buy the seven CD set.

2008may15. It is definitely fascism when it happens to you. Feelin' Safer Already, Part Nine Billion Something.

2008may17. A review of the The Revolution: A Manifesto.

2008may17. I got Miscellaneous Needs, man

2008may18. Seize the Daylight. The American Luxfer Prism Company and the revival of "daylighting," using glass prisms to reduce dependency on electrical lighting.

2008may18. Awwwwwww ... I should have known the story of the contractor who read the plans a little too closely was half too good to be true. Here's what is most likely an untouched photo.

2008may19. XKCD: Fortune Cookie update.

2008may19. Radar: The Last Round-Up. Longish article on Main Core, "rapid development of new programs," American concentration camps, etc. So you're in KBR Motel and you suddenly realize: "Hey, my tax dollars paid for this place! Kicky." It's going to be an exciting time for sure. Do ya do the false flag, then the dollar collapses, or vice-versa, or is the collapse by itself coming soon enough? Decisions, decisions. Macro: I'm sure Obama will fix all of this.

2008may20. How Many Fifth Graders Can You Take On: An Empirical Study. See original forum post (five-year-olds) which also begat this.

2008may20. Yes my friends, yes. The Mojave Phone Booth is now on Twitter: MojaveFoneBooth. My theory is that the more people pile on, the faster the book gets done. It's like a book pressure flash mob. Join already. Or "follow," whatever it is. And etc.

2008may20. Errol Morris/NYT: The Most Curious Thing. An analysis of a smile in exactly the wrong place.

2008may21. Awesome: Geohashing.

2008may23. As some Greek cat once said, the unexamined life is not worth living. So I've been looking at myself for ten minutes here and I've come the conclusion that fleshtone is one of the most unappealing color shades there is. Hand me a Pantone fan and ask me to pick a color or two to paint a room, my car, or a hopechest ‒ flesh is going to be one of my last choices ever. There should be easy ways to change our skin color, add racing stripes, etc. I'm going to get some colloidal silver and _make a difference_.

2008may30. Frida.

Japanese capsule vending machines. I bought a capsule in a sleepy mid-Japan town while I was sweating bricks at a Japanese grocery store ‒ I had forgotten the combination to a borrowed bike lock guarding my borrowed bike. It was a giant bug but it was not in a can. The capsule, not the bike, though that was also not in a can. So I sat around for ten minutes making semi-educated guesses until I remembered it. And that's ... [claps hands] my Japanese capsule story!
Super creepyawesome Hello Kitty Sewing Machine.
Occasionally someone posts a photo to my sup-r-rad Flickr Fake Products: Mutant Knock-Offs Pool Thing that really goes for the gusto. "I don't know his name, but his face rings twenty bells, at least." Also enjoyable: lovely rat.
Flash of insight. The out-of-place board confuses the man for a second.
The NYT covers miracle fruit. Good, now the price will come down. Included in the article a pointer to the recently published book Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession which has to be awesome. How can you screw something like that up? It's like pancakes. I guess you could burn pancakes, but what's more important than watching pancakes being created? Sex. If you have a randy line cook, you might want to skip the stack. A comment in this rundown of a miracle fruit tasting party indicates that miracle fruit plants have been found in the Houston area for $35 last year.
Decay. Something here for everyone. Series of photographs by the photographer who shot Dice: Deception, Fate, and Rotten Luck.
P-14 unleashed.
Molecular visualizations of DNA. Want more. Mysterious non-narrated section near end. Fill in the gaps yourself! "Here we see blobs totally going into some blobular matrix and being de-blobified."
Robyn ‒ Be Mine (Ocelot Remix). So worth it. Had no idea we were so flexible, must find ways to exploit this new knowledge. They totally slo-pitched bubble gum gal.
Skydiving into football stadium. I don't care about the bee, it's just amazing how fast this happens.
TED: Paul Staments: Six ways mushrooms can save the world.
Le saberage: opening a bottle of champagne with a sword. Probably just a quick review for most of you.
Hide 'n' seek w/polar bear. I would hide somewhere warm but not a zoo. I have a minor in Polar Bear Hiding so I know what I'm talking about. It is: hiding from a polar bear.
A meditation on consumerism.
Adam Curtis (BBC): The Trap [ 1 2 3 ].
It's also been far too long since we've checked in with Heath Bunting

2008may30. Clublife: Stop. The man is pushed too far. I have this problem with oncoming traffic making a left turn in front of me while I'm putting along. In the past, I would reflexively slow down to give the driver ample room to complete the turn. Now, I reflexively check the rearview mirror. If there's no one behind me, this indicates to me that the driver is an can't-wait-five-seconds-asshole, and I can proceed at speed to find out if he or she has successfully threaded the needle. I am starting to understand some of the fringe benefits of being older.

2008may30. What I like about Unbeatable Banzuke is the humility. In American reality shows, there's always a winner, and we have to sit and listen to immature idiots trash-talk and pre-preen. With Unbeatable Banzuke, pretty much everyone wipes out on various obstacle courses (stilts, skateboard, pushing your spouse around in a cat-shaped wheelbarrow, etc), and if someone does succeed, they re-jigger the course so invariably even the previous winner (and in the case of stilts, a Guinness world record holder) can't complete it. Plus, strutting is almost non-existent. One more nice thing: the age range. So far I've seen people from 14 years of age to 68, and I'm sure it expands out farther than that. The shitty thing: apparently Very Smart Marketers have determined that the Unbeatable Banzuke demographic consists of drooling tools who are easy pushovers for stupid "work at home"-type sca ‒ oh, hold on, a talking fox is telling me how to flip houses in my spare time.


June 2008.

2008jun01. Eat the Rich, Phase IV: The Rich Get Imperceptibly Closer To Us And They Don't Wike It. I can almost taste those succulent meaty thighs right now.

2008jun03. The Nearly Unfathomable Depths Of Pentagon Corruption. Long article. Plenty of butter when the idiots go to war. Print more money.

The item was a small appliance, a toaster. It should have cost under $20 dollars on the open market, but Halliburton had charged almost $2,000 for each one. And it was a big number of them in the order so Halliburton had netted about $1.2 million from picking them up cheap at a discount appliance warehouse. They had not even made the item. It was worse than that. They had 'fenced' the items ‒ they were stolen. They had no bill of sale for them and did not even order the parts they went into the manufacturing of them. They had raided the discount appliance warehouse pretending that they were FBI officials and the toasters had to be picked up because "they caused house fires."

Just like Halliburton over billed, some Halliburton employees were collecting three US govt. salaries; one from the Pentagon, one from the FBI, and one from the CIA.

2008jun10. The 35 articles of impeachment introduced by Dennis Kucinich yesterday. Not covered by NYT FOX CBS ABC CBS CNN etc mmm big MSM luv you bet

2008jun12. I was going to Ocean Beach today but five girlteens blocked the way. They were on the steps that descended into sand. The beach. They had all stopped there for some reason. I was behind them, waiting. Some of the girlteens were wearing backward baseball caps. One girlteen spoke for the rest: "I ain't steppin' in that shit!" And this was the problem. The problem was the sand. They had to step in that shit to get to their friends, who were on the beach, smoking marijuana. Would they? Would they step in the shit? After several seconds of quiet consideration, the quandary was resolved. They stepped in the shit. They were able to join their friends smoking marijuana.

2008jun14. Democracy Now: Citing Iraq War, Renowned Attorney Vincent Bugliosi Seeks The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

I may be sounding presumptuous to you right now, Amy and Juan, but I'm telling you this: I am going after George Bush. I may not succeed, but I'm not going to be satisfied until I see him in an American courtroom being prosecuted for first-degree murder.

2008jun15. Greening the desert, a short video. This additional interview with Geoff Lawton explains what happens when the government (Iraqi, in this case) disappears: nothing.

" ... There was no government, there was no customs and there was no department of any government left in place whatsoever. There was no law, really. [...] everything was functioning fine. There was fresh food everywhere, there was plenty of food. Most services were working. Water and electricity and telephones went off at times, but most of the time were up and running."

2008jun16. EU considers second vote on new sports arena

2008jun20. Frida.

Clive Owen for Lancome Maniacal Photoshopping Anti-Aging Extract Bullshit Creme.
The Curious Case Of The Microfiber Cleaning Textile That Was Environmentally Safe And Stuff But Mysteriously Ignored By The Public In Favor Of Noxious Harmful Chemicals Ick
TED: Phillipe Starck. I love this guy. I would take a bullet for him, if it wanted to go to the zoo or ride around in go-karts.
Jellyfish bad day.
Vending Machine of Action.
Snoring duck.
Fiber: It's Not A Joke The Way It Works.
Arrows that unfurl into extra-large delicious pizzas on contact; cluster bombs that sound off the musical number "Hello, Dolly" when dropped in sequence
TED: Sculptor Arthur Ganson.
Thin owl from Japan also does puffy thickness.
Arrrrrr Matey, let's sail the seven seas of Hexachlorophene! "Nevertheless, hexachlorophene soap is not available over the counter today, because once a product has been withdrawn by the FDA it is virtually impossible for it to be reinstated, even after invalidation of the reasons for its removal." Every day I find a reason to luv my guvmint, even when I'm not looking. "SOAKS CHILDREN CLEAN AUTOMATICALLY"
Junkfood Science: The Big One. Eat delicious banana cream pies every seventeen minutes. Break for a sensible lunch. Then, coco-nut cream pies at roughly the same pace.
SABBATH MODE BEEP BOOP

2008jun23. George Carlin RIP. Who really controls America [5min]. Life is Worth Losing [74min]. More videos. wiki

2008jun23. That first video link is dead, try this: George Carlin Who really controls America? [3min].

2008jun23. Mission Pie. Noted for the phrase "With pie as our ally ..."

2008jun24. Deuce of Clubs: Riding the public.

2008jun26. Shredding the Constitution: cheap date. Nancy got $24500. We couldn't come up with $25000+ for Nancy and the rest of the whores? Where did the telecoms get the money to pay off the dems? They probably just took it out of the $200 BILLION they stole from us. We paid them to pay off the dems to finish shredding that dumb ole' piece of paper. Statement from Ron Paul. Ex post facto, ex post facto ex fucking post fucking facto.


July 2008.

2008jul14. Cities for Living.

2008jul22. Mail.

I enjoyed your story. and most of all it sustained my interest because it was both humorous and informative. I've never been on a train ride and now that I've read your story, I'll know what to expect...sort of.
Thanks
M

Kind of happy to oblige.

Istanbul resident (j) is looking for business representation possibilites.

They have tiny names, in Istanbul.

hi my name is unknow...i have a gun to your head...you could see me..

And you sent your email address! How thoughtful. I have passed this information along to a number of third-party vendors who can help you with your problematically small penis.

Hello. Jesus loves YOU!

J ain't got nothing on the Easter Bunny, who blew me in an alley once. I mean, I think it was the Easter Bunny ...

My god! What are you and why are you doing this??

Yay. The mail that wears me down is here. Yip.

what happened to the funny?

All gone.

2008jul22. Currently kicking myself for not thinking of Cake Wrecks. The writing is swell, the cakes suck; win-win. Yeah, I used a semi-colon. I went there. You want a piece of me, shrimp scampi? Didn't think so. ;;;;;

2008jul25. Video: Vincent Bugliosi's opening statement. Many more in sidebar.

2008jul26. Ron Paul on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 2002. Again: 2002.

However, despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government's interference in the housing market, the government's policies of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing. [...] Mr. Speaker, it is time for Congress to act to remove taxpayer support from the housing GSEs before the bubble bursts and taxpayers are once again forced to bail out investors misled by foolish government interference in the market.


August 2008.

2008aug03. Mail.

I would like to buy some of your love sprays

Our love spray division was shuttered after several incidents of, how shall I put this, "high carnality" on the factory floor. "Shit's too potent," the pantsless division manager was heard saying some days before the line was finally shut down. Perhaps you would enjoy some of our candy cigarettes instead?

2008aug13. Mail.

How do I join this group? and what is the group offer? Thanks Paul

I like the easy ones, the ones you go "here's a meatball pitch" and you just slide into the whole of it. I don't even have to answer these types of questions. I just know that I could, and it would be hilariously awesome.

I am trying to locate a Food City in or near Peoria, Arizona, can you help? Thanks

First tell me where Peoria is.

I am interested in buying a case of Charles Shaw wine..we don't have any Trader Joe's stores in Florida...Do you ship to Florida. Thank You

Y. H.
City, Florida

Yes, I will ship to Florida. The breakdown:

$24.00 Twelve (12) bottles of Charles Shaw
$30.00 Shipping
$50.00 Handling
----------------------------
$104.00 Total

Thank you,
Cardhouse Ro-Bot.

No reply. I don't know what the problem is here, I gave her the retail price for the Chucks, and the typical ebay seller markup on shipping and handling ... Florida, I am aching to serve you super-cheap wine ... aching ...

I would like to talk to Danielle Brisebois, i would like to get to know her for i only seen her on All in the family and never knew what happened to her after that and my sister show me that she had become a real singer and she is so good and awesome!!! my name is kim

She is out right now, but I'll tell her you wanted to speak with her.

I tried to open your websight on my girlfriend's mobile phone and was disappointed to find that it did not render correctly.

Get a new girlfriend who has a different "mobile phone." Danielle?

Thanks for the maps, you helped us out of a jam! Mucho appreciatedo!

I am not good with the Spanish but I think I helped you out of a jar of some sort.

hello there,

we are starting a web design company, but we cannot think of a name. do you have any ideas cardhouse robot?

I will use my brain to create names.

Mid-Atlantic (Pacific, Trans-Continental, etc) Electrical Telegraphic Network Ornamentation & Pattern Concern
Web 5.3 Design
Honda (you may have some legal problems with this one)
Webwebweb Design Co.
Webual Helps
The Poison Web Design Company (the sassy promo bottles you mail out will have clients wondering if the liquid inside is unsafe to imbibe. the answer of course is up to you ["no." { or is it? ("still no.")}])
Kitties!
The Web Was Much Groovier Back In '99. Company.
G.O.L.D. Webkillers
Web Hash Browns (everyone likes hash browns to some extent)
Webwebwebwebweb Design Co.
Parker & Johnson Web Design (Parker is a no-nonsense, prim and proper "by the book" female web designer; Johnson is a reckless rough and macho male hard coder who could use an hour in an autoclave. This clash of hi/lo cultural touchstones creates a simmering, potent symbiosis laced with raw sexuality beneath their daily shouting matches. Will they ever learn to see each other eye-to-eye ... and perhaps even turn up the heat? Tune in every Wednesday at 9pm Mountain Time on ABC!)
Theraflu (more legal hurdles)
webstylelifeGO!
Make The Scene With Our Hot Shot Web Design Right Here Yes Indeed GmbH
We Will Design A Website For You Then You Give Us Money Then We Spend That Money On Booze Company
Flo's Pet Store
Any Website for $19.99 And Up Brothers
The Web Oil Company (oil companies in general are doing quite well these days)
Butter Web Design (this would be like a novelty name; correspondingly, your entire office would be coated in butter)
Syrup Web Design (see previous entry)
Cement Tacklers (I don't know what this one means)

Another thing you can do is take two unrelated easy-to-spell words and ram them together, so you're right around the corner, google-wise.

Hotelmagnet Web Design
Pizzacouch Web Company
Couchmagnet Web Thing
Magnetpizza Web Discourse

There's a myspace user named "Couchmagnet"? More legal consultations.

I'm liking the hotel thing though. It emphasizes solidity in my mind, which sits soundly in the "plus" column whereas the net is so amorphous, like aerogel (though in aerogel's case, that's a definite plus so come up with some other negatively-amorphous thing on your own time). Hotel [classy word here] Web Design.

Last multi-tip: don't be dumb and make some sort of spelling pun. It's all about what you think when you see the word, and what you hear. If your company name is a homonym/homograph/homophone/heteronym, that's just ... ugh. "Lead Technologies" ‒ good example of a horrifically stupid name.

2008aug15. PingMag: Sento: A Glimpse Into Japanese Bathing Culture. Guy with bucket.

2008aug15. Mail.

What ever happened to disco balls?

Nothing happened to disco balls. You got older (it happens to a lot of us), and you stopped going to the Danceteria. So now, you never see disco balls. I don't even have to look on the internet to know that a wide variety of disco balls are available to you right now in exchange for cash (DURABLE GOODS!). You have to be partyin' to see disco balls. The disco ball asks itself, "Whatever happened to that guy?" Meaning you. I stopped going to the Danceteria a long time ago. I used to get up on the platforms because it was less crowded, and the platform lesbians would rub up against me. Everyone's a winner at the Danceteria. That's the truth.

2008aug15. Magnus Pyke, the scientist sampled on Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science."

Although Pyke was known for bringing science to a lay audience, in The Science Myth (and similar writings, such as Slaves Unaware?) he was also a critic of how the citizens of industrialized nations have historically been lured into social conformity by the comforts and security offered by applied sciences or technology, and the associated industrial economic propaganda and advertising. This has entailed the loss of important individual freedoms in the name of an ever-increasing gross national product or standard of living, measured monetarily, with some associated negation of independent human values, common sense and individuality, family and community, health, safety and ergonomics. In his 1962 book, he uses the Greek myth of Procrustes and his Procrustean bed as a metaphor for how citizens are forced to conform to the one-size-fits-all rigid structure of the modern industrial society. He cites associated problems such as coronary disease related to diet, psychological and social problems stemming from work related stress and training, " ...softly and persistently hammered into shape until ‒ Pinocchio in reverse ‒ from being a living creature... becomes for forty hours an insensate puppet..." and educational systems, which "knock out of the ingenious adolescent all of the 'nonsense' of the young, this being most of his or her eagerness and ingeniousness." However, the Western work environment fails youthful expectations to an even greater extent than the schools. "At school, success is judged in terms of work, whereas in industrial life this is not so..." after young people hasten to leave school for the benefit of the social significance of the work, rather than for the work itself, they find that "Work seldom seems to the worker to have meaning or worth..." and "achievement is judged by the pay envelope which may have no relation to the difficulty of the work."

SCIENCE!

2008aug15. Special thanks to the person who generously jammed a bunch o' cash in the tip jar awhile back. Verynicethankyou.

2008aug16. Friday. Not Saturday. It's Saturday over there. East coast ... West coast.

· Bruce Lee's screen test for the "The Green Hornet."
· One Square Inch House.
· Missed Connections.
· Pictures for Sad Children: Tiny kitten beers.
· HU-MANS: I IMPLORE YOU TO INGEST MY SPACEUAL CREAM
· Dixie PerfecTouch. When you really need to use a sturdy washable re-usable container, why not use PerfecTouch instead?
· Taipei 101's giant mass damper ball doin' its thing during the quake. The music kills me. "La la la, hey wow that thing's really movin'!"
· Semi-amusing: The Class of 1913. Scroll down to the table.
· Pictures for Sad Children: Poor People Have Got Sore Junk.
· Photo: quiero lluvias.
· Italy: Protest balls. Don't worry, Katie Couric never shows up.

2008aug24. Drive out the blues with IPCO creamy snuff. How to apply and what happens?

2008aug29. Want: Fagor Portable Induction Burner. I could melt chocolate and butter together. No one could stop me.


September 2008.

2008sep01. Police raids in Minneapolis. Overwhelming force against GOP convention protest planners (convention starts tomorrow). Purely an intimidation/intel gathering exercise. But the system still works, because these people will get their day in court! [raspberry noises]

2008sep05. Amy Goodman's account of her arrest at the RNC. When asked how the press was supposed to function, the police chief of St. Paul said "by embedding reporters in our mobile field force." That sort of talk sounds familiar. Oh yeah, war zones circa the Gulf I. You will come with us and we will show you what we want you to see otherwise you will be beaten by us and we will show you the bottom of our boots. The police are learning how to ramp up the fascism ‒ who tells them, or does it just grow organically like children's schoolyard rhymes? Well, as long as I gots my SUV-flavored latte, everything is smooth.

2008sep07. Excerpts from Twinkies Deconstructed (2007) by Steve Ettlinger.

Papetti's breaks 7 million eggs a day at its New Jersey plant, located in an industrial park near Newark Airport. The mere idea of breaking, let alone handling, that many eggs, even over a lifetime, is hard for a mere mortal to conceive. But here at Papetti's, big tractor-trailers arrive hourly and tank trucks depart almost as often, each loaded with 6,000 gallons of fresh, whole, liquid eggs. [pg 105]

On one machine, the egg is immediately seized on each oval end by two small suction cups. The supporting cup falls away, and the fun begins. Picture one egg among many suspended on a whizzing carousel, and follow the process as you walk around the wheel: a knife shoots up to give the egg a surgical whack, slicing cleanly through the shell. It then falls back into position, ready for the next hit a second later. Suction cups pull the shell halves back and up at a slight angle, perfectly mimicking the gesture countless cooks make in their kitchen as they crack eggs one by one. The yolk and white drop down into a set of corresponding cups. As the yolk plops down into a small, appropriately sized upper cup, the white falls down around it into a funnel cup, just underneath. Gentle blasts of air coax the last of the egg out of its shell, and the yolk cups are bounced a bit to shake the white completely out -- again, much like you do at home. [pg 111]

Gums may come from trees (locust bean, tree seeds from the sap in the Sahel region of Africa), seaweed (agar, carrageenan, aka Irish moss, and alginates, mostly from the Philippines), pealike plant seeds (guar gum, from India, Pakistan, and the southwestern United States), and bacterial fermentation (xanthan gum, fermented in good old Midwestern corn syrup). Travel to see gum and you'll see the world. Even Osama bin Laden once owned part of an acacia gum firm in Sudan, but was forced to sell out when Sudan booted him in 1996. [pg 123]

Dairy-based food coating or glaze (like that used on candy) is another promising possible future use ‒ as an alternative to the currently popular shellac (yes, shellac) product. [pg 128]

For starters, prehistoric people were known to leach water through the ashes of burned plant stalks to botain their primitive detergent for clothes washing, and the ancient Egyptians made glass ornaments with soda ash recovered from dried desert lakes. [pg 163]

Several of the [professional flavorists] I spoke with willingly tasted Twinkies, often for the first time since they were kids, and though they usually scoffed at their own diminished desire for such sweet things, they were impressed with Twinkies' successful blend of flavors. [pg 200]

Incidentally, according to Hostess, vanilla wasn't even the principal flavor of the original 1930 Twinkies filling ‒ for the first ten years, banana was. But World War II created such an extreme shortage of bananas that the song "Yes, We Have No Bananas" soared to the top of the charts, and Hostess switched to the more widely available vanilla flavoring. [pg 201]

According to legend, Benjamin Franklin is responsible for the success of plaster of Paris as a soil amendment in the United States (it promotes aeration in clay soils). He was our first ambassador to France, and so admired its use while he was there that he brought some back here in 1785. An energetic promoter, he worked it into the soil on a prominent hillside in the form of letters reading, THIS HAS BEEN PLASTERED. When the clover growing over the enriched soil grew dramatically denser than the analphabetic clover around it, he had successfully introduced gypsum as "land plaster" to American farmers. (The strange thing is that ancient Greeks gardened with it, too, so it is not clear why Franklin's coaxing seemed new to the Americans.) Imported from Paris at first, gypsum's popularity was assured when deposits were found in abundance around the United States. [pg 223]

Sometimes we expect strong color where natural color is actually weak, which may explain why Ocean Spray includes Red No. 40 in its Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice. At Sensient, color scientists repeatedly state that we taste with our eyes before we taste with our mouths. In Australia, an ice cream company found that it sold three times as much passion fruit ice cream tinted with the pink of the fruit than a plain white version of the exact same ice cream (taste was not affected). [pg 248]

The best thing about natural colors is that they are presumed safe, seeing as they occur naturally in food and plants. On the other hand, natural colors are not necessarily as intense or as easy to incorporate into a recipe, as they are three to five times more expensive than petroleum-derived colors (all that food handling costs something), and, more concerning, they might add some unintended flavor to the recipe. Regardless of the hue, artificial colors do not add flavor ‒ a big advantage. ¶ Still, colors derived from natural sources are often made at the same plants as purely chemical ones, and because they have been processed (or synthesized, in the case of beta-carotene), they are simply no longer considered natural. A label describing these colors can say, "color added," "artificial color added," or actually name the color, but it can't say "natural color." The FDA still classifies them as artificial unless they are coloring the very food they come from, e.g. strawberry juice added to strawberry ice cream. [pg 254]

2008sep10. Oxydonor.

2008sep14. DFW RIP. Host (The Atlantic, April 2005).

2008sep15. Greenspan: This is the worst economy I've ever seen. Wow. If only we knew who was minding the Fed back during the creation of the housing bubble. That's the asshole you want to kick in the face, Greenie. Find him. [Mr. Greenspan will be signing copies of his new autobiography, "(if) I Did It" at the Moline Borders this Tuesday from 11am-11:00:07am]

2008sep17. DFW: The cruise ship essay.

2008sep18. YESH!! EFF VS. NSA

2008sep19. The Half-Trillion House of Cards. Well, that's wonderful. Print more money. Corporations get to fail, we get to eat it, hard. If you are wondering why a can of pineapples cost a dollar last year and two dollars this year, you'll really be scratching your head when it's five, six bucks. Get a larder going, that's the bare freaking minimum you could do right now. Go on, go out there and buy more non-instantly perishable food than you usually do. Stock up. Food prices ain't going down. A larder has no downside, save the loss of space. Storm's coming, don't get caught with your pants down.

2008sep21.

twink twink
little star
haw I wandr
wuch you
are up
uv buv
the wry
so hiy
like a dimin
in the shy
tinkl tinkl
little star
haw i wondr
wach you
are

2008sep24. Excerpts from Cradle to Cradle (2002) by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.

We were asked to focus on creating an aesthetically unique fabric that was also environmentally intelligent. [...] The team decided to design a fabric that would be safe enough to eat; it would not harm people who breathed it in, and it would not harm natural systems after its disposal. In fact, as a biological nutrient, it would nourish nature. The fabric went into production. The factory director later told us that when regulators came on their rounds and tested the effluent (the water coming out of the factory) they thought their instruments were broken. They could not identify any pollutants, not even elements they knew were in the water when it came into the factory. [...] When a factory's effluent is cleaner than its influent, it might well prefer to use its effluent as influent. [pg 107]

Henry Ford practiced an early form of upcycling when he had Model A trucks shipped in crates that became the vehicle's floorboards when it reached its destination. [pg 110]

In a startling use of solar power, hundreds of one [ant] colony's workers may cluster on the forest floor to soak up sunlight before carrying its warmth in their very bodies back down to the nest. [pg 121]

Wind towers have been used for thousands of years in hot climates to capture airflows and draw them through dwellings. In Pakistan, chimneys topped with "wind scoops" literally scoop wind and channel it down the chimney, where there might be a small pool of water for cooling the wind as it moves downward and into the house. Iranian wind towers consist of a ventilated structure that constantly drips water; air comes in, flows down the chimney with its dripping sides, and enters the house, cooled. At Fatepur Sikri in India, porous sandstone screens, sometimes intricately carved, were saturated with water to cool air passing through. In the Loess Plains of China, people dig their homes in the ground to secure shelter from wind and sun. ¶ But with modern industrialization and its products, such as large sheets of window glass, and the widespread adoption of fossil fuels for cheap and easy heating and cooling, such local ingenuity has faded from industrialized areas, and even in rural regions it is in decline. Oddly enough, professional architects seem to get by without understanding the basic principles that inspired ancient building and architecture orientations. When Bill gives a talk to architects, he asks who knows how to find true south ‒ not magnetic or "map" south but true solar south ‒ and gets few or no hands (and, stranger still, no requests to learn how). [pg 130]

As we have pointed out, soap as it is currently manufactured is designed to work the same way in every imaginable location and ecosystem. Faced with the questionable effects of such a design, eco-efficiency advocates might tell a manufacturer to "be less bad" by shipping concentrates instead of liquid soap, or by reducing or recycling packaging. But why try to optimize the wrong system? Why this packaging in the first place? Why these ingredients? Why a liquid? Why one-size-fits-all? (pg 142; this subject was already covered in the ground-breaking 1985 environmental documentary filum, The Sure Thing).

2008sep27. Excerpts from The Fruit Hunters (2008) by Adam Leith Gollner.

As with most expeditions, fund-raising was a problem at first. When we finally explained that our intent was to only hunt the largest species of fruit and return several samples to our benefactors, the money came easily. The money men thought they were dealing with your ordinary, run-of-the-mill fruit hunters. No. No my friend. We were the fruit hunter's fruit-hunters. I wanted to call the book that but they wouldn't let me. [pg 23]

The semi-ferocious rat-tailed papaya has a particular habit of nesting near slow-moving, narrow rivers. Some say the noise of a nicely-paced source of water soothes the fruit, makes it more docile. Whatever the case, it made for easy pickings. We bagged seven that evening, and a great feast was prepared. [pg 34]

What is the cry of the mango? What about it moves man? It is probably because it sounds very much like Slim Whitman. [pg 56]

Even while dealing with the mosquito-infested swamps we constantly had to slog through, the porters maintained good marching order and helped keep morale high. There was even a song one of them sang about us, it went something like "the fruit hunters, oh the fruit hunters, hunting ... hunting ..." and there was something about a pear frothing at the mouth after that and us ambushing it. It was a really good song. [pg 73]

"HELP ME JAKE! IT'S GOT ME BLOODY LEG!!!" No one moved an inch. Not Norcrombe, not the porters, and certainly not I. When an orange that size is devouring someone, there's nothing that can be done ... you just pray it doesn't turn on you. I can still hear the flesh being ripped from the bone at night. I mean, when it's night for me. It didn't happen at night. The ripping. [pg 103]


October 2008.

2008oct01. This ... this.

2008oct01. Woof Wellness Water, fortified water for dogs. Explores the same basic space as the now-defunct ThirstyDog!/ThirstyCat! dog/cat fortified water product, and that other dog water that I can't remember the name of and may have also failed. This is a good product that will be good for dogs because all bottled water is good and bottled water for your pets is even better. Damn I love America, we're all "You know what? We flush our waste down with potable water, we make little stubby bottles of water for kids, and we pump vitamins into water then we sell that to our pets. We shelve that fucking dog water product, and I could drink out of the toilet if I wanted to." WE CAN DO ANYTHING WE ARE GODS

2008oct01.

What ever happened to microwave cookbooks?

Off the cuff of my jacket, I would guess that the real question is why did microwave cookery exist in the first place. We all know what the microwave is used for in the kitchen ‒ to quickly warm foods that can practically be heated in their own container without tasting like ass and for grape races. It is not a place to prepare a turkey or roast, or even shrimp fried rice. It is a shortcut that is not always the best course of action. But what did the manufacturers of microwaves think the microwave was going to be used for? That's right, they thought it was going to be a total oven replacement system. I would imagine that manufacturers first came out with their own cookbooks and then independent authors piled on afterward. Eventually, some collective irrational beliefs dissipate ("Government helps more than it harms" ... no wait, that one is still hanging around); the cookbook fade-out I would attribute to the growth of its ubiquitous nature in the household. Perhaps you bought a microwave when they first come out, and then, under the spell of misguided optimism, you also bought a microwave cookbook. Because it was a New Thing. But instead, pretend you are buying a microwave in 1996. Come on, you're not entertaining foreign dignitaries, you just want to nuke some goddamned Pepperoni-like Substance™ Hot Pockets® and toxically delicious diacetyl-slathered popcorn ... your microwave cookbook can stuff it. PS: As a microwave user of many years, I recommend you avoid purchasing a microwave with a dial timer (ie, non-digital) ... it's like buying a car with a manual transmission that only has 3rd through 5th. Yes, mysteriously, these are still manufactured (someone's going to have to tell me why "commercial" microwaves cost ~4x more).

2008oct02. How Can Anyone Think Voting Matters? [via doc]

[D]uring the mid-1980s, [vice presidential candidate] Biden was the chief senate architect of the federal anti-drug laws that re-established mandatory minimum sanctions for various drug possession crimes, and established the racially based 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crimes involving the possession of crack versus powder cocaine. Many academics have credited Biden's law as one of the primary reasons why America now possesses the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, and why approximately one out of every nine young African-American males are now in prison.

"I’m saying it doesn’t matter who wins since the winners are simply proxies for the game within the game." I like that. "Game within the game." Oh wait, shhhhSHHHH, here comes Rove's analysis of today's debate! Squeeeeee

2008oct05. The Deuce of Clubs Book Club celebrates National Atheist Week:

Why I Became An Atheist ‒ John W. Loftus

The End of Faith ‒ Sam Harris

Godless ‒ Dan Barker

Secret Origins of the Bible ‒ Tim Callahan

The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth ‒ Valerie Tarico

And somehow I missed the CrimeThInc entry.

2008oct12. Friday. Or Sunday. It could be either, really.

Goosing Up Commodity Prices.
Elyse Sewell: Ice skating crutches for kids.
Loss of civil liberties since 9/11 [via doc]
Leeches: Your Humble Tempest Prognosticator.
bird
Nik-L-Nip ended production? NOOOOOO
HOLD THE GUN UP TO THE T.V. SHOOT THE DUCK.
Everyone loves Shipley's Do-Nuts!
Lowfat Diet & Sunscreen: A Recipe for Disaster.
Light cycle escapes its own reality, man.
Carisman. When is official Carisman® vinyl action figure? CARISMAN
Solar power a century ago: The Beautiful Possibility.
Cake Wrecks: Meta Cake Wrecks. Why does laughing sometimes sound like crying?
Howard Zinn interview Al Jazeera: US in need of rebellion. Oh god, they're coming to get me ... [_furiously chomps apple pie while playing baseball and saluting flag with crumb-speckled hands_]*
Adam Savage of Mythbusters discusses building a dodo sculpture, replicating the Maltese Falcon, and talks about the show.
Damage control: high-fructose corn syrup ad. "You know, HFCS comprises 72% of the average American's body weight. Let's make it 80%."
Very Small Array: The Slow Death of the Instrumental.
Zero Punctuation: Spore

* This reminds me of an old "upcoming" video game release trailer for a game called "Indy Dungeon Baseball" which was part of a game triptych prepending our magnum opus, Pizza Guy Detective 2000 or something like that. Which was never finished. Anyway, the trailer was going to have a single image ‒ A baseball player with a bloody mace, standing in front of a Corvette parked on home plate. And then there was the audio. The audio was the important part, it put you right there on the 50-yard-line of a game which was at times baseball, at other times dungeon exploration, and at other other times a fast-paced Indy racing game, and really, all three at the same time, improbably. Which is why ... audio. In next Friday's footnote, I'll tell you all about how fun it is to film real live bees for a similar fakeroo video game. BEES

2008oct23. Greenspan 2008: "Dude, it totally weren't me who let the cow out of the barn, causing our Current Special Economic Period." Greenspan 1966: "Take a look at those shitholes who done let the cow out of the barn what caused the Great Depression." Please Greenie, just shut up, go home, and watch "Wheel of Fortune" forever while obsessively licking your gums or making low humming noises, your pick.

I was flying over the Southwest on Southwest as I am wont to do on a daily basis, and in the next seat over was an elderly Baton Rouge woman with a semi-beehive. I told her about the multiple beverage trick (you can ask for an orange juice, an apple juice, a water (it's in cans, not from the icky hold), and more, all in one go, if you'd like, on Southwest, for now; maybe JetBlue still). Then she pulled out a Time Magazine and on the cover was Obama, McCain, FDR, and Lincoln. We went through the list of offenses ‒ I pointed out Bush likes to compare himself to Lincoln which is appropriate given his spying on Americans/suspension of Habeus Corpus, she pointed out FDR's internment of Japanese Americans. We didn't have to cover Obama/McCain after she said "you're just like me, you don't trust _any_ of them." We didn't have to worry about the multiple snack trick because the flight attendant held the tray right in your face and pretty much said go nuts. I read me some Lorna Doone even though it's built by scientists in an underground chemical lab.

2008oct25. Announcement, Southwest Airlines, McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas. Paraphrased.

"Your attention please, we have a message for Wilbur [Lastname]. Your girlfriend called, she says her car broke down and she can't pick you up. She indicated you should take the twenty-three dollars you have and take a taxi toward Garyville as far as it can get you, and then to call her on her cellphone."

Announcement, Southwest Airlines, McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas. Paraphrased. Five days later.

"Your attention please, we have a message for Wilbur [Lastname]. Your brother called, his car isn't starting and he said you should take a cab to aunty's house in Hayward."

2008oct28. Hold your noses, folks, we're going in: Sky Mall.

THE ANIMATRONIC SINGING AND TALKING ELVIS. This is the animatronic Elvis, a singing and talking robotic bust adorned with The King's trademark leather jacket, sideburns, and pompadour, recalling the musical icon's performance during the highest-rated television event of 1968 ‒ Elvis Presley's Comeback Special. [...] Integrated infrared sensors in his jacket detect ambient motion, prompting Elvis to say "bring it on back now" or another famous Elvis remark as you walk by, and the device has 37 monologues recorded from interviews that play at the touch of a button. On the bright side, one day in the semi-distant future the last person in this product's target demographic will die. $199.95

FEEL THE ENERGY AS YOU DISCOVER THE SECRET POWER OF INTENT. Imagine the ENERGY you'll feel surrounded with over 200 positive words in 15 different languages in our new Intentional™ Hoody! This is not your ordinary hoody! Why? Fact: Research shows that written words on containers of water can influence the water's structure for better or worse depending on the nature or intent of the word. Fact: The human body is over 70% water. What if positive words were printed on the inside of your clothing? Introducing Intentional™ a new concept in clothing by Creo Mundi. Most everyone will miss hilariously fraudulent products like this when the economy craters. $79.00

PETS WHO NEED A LITTLE HELP GETTING UP ONTO FURNITURE WILL APPRECIATE THE FOLD-AWAY PUPSTEPPLUS™. It'll be easier for older pets, pets with joint problems, or even just tired pets, to get up on their favorite couch, chair or bed for a well-deserved snooze. $39.99

THE PET RAMP AND STAIRCASE. Unlike lesser pet staircases that are difficult to climb for arthritic or older pets, this one converts into a ramp, providing pets with access to sofas or beds without exerting much strain on joints and muscles. $199.95

PETVATOR WILL LIFT YOUR PET IN COMFORT. Fuck those other two animal ramps, this nanotech carbon-fiber pet elevator will help your elderly pet reach the top of your bed where it will shower you with licky slobbery kisses. Did it just eat its own shit? Who knows. At least your MILLION GERM ELIMINATING TRAVEL TOOTHBRUSH SANITIZER will keep your toothbrush relatively free of germs. 59 Elvis interview monologues included; plays randomly during ascent/descent. $1995.99

2008oct30. Cockeyed: Halloween candy codes. These are great, perfect presentation. I was just wondering the other day how Werther's came to be so closely associated with the elderly, the horribly, horribly old. Was there a commercial or two that I missed "back in" "the day"? Well, I've thought enough about that, so on to the Next Thinking Topic! [sfx: grunting noises]

2008oct31. RIP Studs. Excerpts from Hard Times.

2008oct31. OCTOPUS WATCH: Otto is awesome


November 2008.

2008nov01. This was the first year in many I was able to give treats to the kiddies, so I stocked up and when that doorbell rang, I was on the scene chucking cans brimming with Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Classic Chocolate Premium Frosting into awaiting sacks. "Pace yourself," I advised the children while watching suddenly much-heavier goodie bags rip from their tiny hands. So rich. So moist. So very Duncan Hines®. When I wanted to change things up, I gave away bottles of Karo® Lite/Light/Dark Corn Syrup (Lite has 33% less calories, Light is lighter in color, I don't know what Dark's deal is ‒ maybe it's more mysterious?) wrapped in orange and black bows. "Chug-a-lug, my halloweenie friends!" Karo®. Pour out the possibilities.

2008nov04. The National: Lonely Together

If cookies are set before subjects who have been told that no one else in the experiment wants to work with them, they eat twice as many as those who have been told that everyone else in the experiment wants to work with them

"No one likes you. Even the cookies don't like you. Now what? NOW WHAT?" When you pull out a little bit, it makes for an even bleaker image. A human lies to another human to see how sad it can make it feel (the experimenters call it the erosion of will power ... come ON). Then the lying human makes little check mark motions on a clipboard and gets funding for another year. The lying human goes home and eats some cookies and looks out the window.

2008nov05. WSJ: The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace.

[...] Americans should give their all to thank our president. They should empty out their IRAs, they should leave their homes, they should give up health care, they should pay to bomb/unbomb Iraq. Thank YOU, Mr. President! We have hurt the fweelings of our president! Who will buy our president a bwig teddy bear? A fluffy one with a big red bow. I mean fuggin' BIG! You know, big enough that it would take like four adults to move the bear around in a comical, haphazard fashion. There, there, Mr. Bush. ¶ You know who else had low approval ratings? Truman. And look, now he's the seventh most popular president in HISTORY! Bush will receive similar treatment from future historians, probably around the second term of president XP938721 ([DRP ‒ Disemboweling Robot Party] 4012-4020).

Wow. I wonder when Murdoch's greasy hand will start smearing the editorials ... I wonder if that will ever happen [FX: makes stupid face while miming a penis repeatedly penetrating a vagina or other handy orifice using a total of three fingers].

2008nov05. Change. I am sure that among the many, many changes America is in store for, one of the most sorely needed after looking at red and blue colored states is instant runoff voting. So I'll be waiting for that, 'cause this time the choice was between a guy who voted for the bailout and a guy who voted for the bailout; a guy who wanted to kill people in other lands for another 100 years and a guy who was fine with telecoms passing American's phone/email conversations along to the NSA. Instant runoff is about as likely as getting rid of the electoral process, which is to say, not at all. Why, it reminds me of an article a friend wrote so many years ago, about how the two-party system takes care of its own and will never change. Join my party, The Nonist Interdiction Uprising, in which government hacks and cigar-puffing big business suits will be stripped down, slathered with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and be made to fight each other in gladiator battles in the parking lots of ruined big box retailers. At night? Laser Floyd: The Wall.

2008nov07. Something something Friday, something something free.

Jason Hackenwerth, balloon twisting sculptor. Favorite: Image 9
The Constitution-free Zone encompasses two-thirds of the population.
NYT: Super-local chocolate
Meiji Jingu at night.
Game: Gotta make some more goddamned factory balls
Correspondence: An overdue account. Look at the other things as well. It is mostly good, and I am not saying it is entirely good because I haven't seen it all yet, not because there is bad.
Item: Vogelzang Barrel Stove Kit. What to do with all of your leftover toxic waste barrels? Make them into barrel stoves!
BBC pictograph news. Wow. What? What? Also, background: unicycle.
Pix: wool tree
Zero Punctuation: Saint's Row 2.
Quiz: Hundred most common words. I kept typing "bananas" over and over and over. It is #101.
Interview with Chico Bicalho. Toys. More. More (main). Weblog. Wired article.
Video: Cat attacks cardboard package sleeves.
WSJ: In-depth, shocking report on Pillsbury's new "I guess click your feet and that is like supposed to remind you of our processed factory rolls" campaign hailed as innovative 'injection advertorial' ... the cratering economy will make whores of all of us. Who wants me? $50 an hour. I am your worst desires. No freaks.

Factory balls. Factory rolls.

2008nov11. Michael Lewis: The End. Wow. Lewis finds smart needles in the stupid tranche haystack and for dessert, has dinner with his former CEO. Wiki: Liar's Poker. To make your reading time even more surreal, hit his mansion piece in which he rents a mansion, price unseen.

2008nov11. A brief programming interruption here ‒ QI, the BBC comedy panel game television program scheduled to resume programming in early 2009, will have a special charity-support episode aired on BBC Two November 14th. We now return you to Reality Show Asses: The Microfame-Obsessed Smear Your Screen Suckfest '08, brought to you by Prell.

2008nov12. Book excerpts: Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology.

2008nov13. Toxic Anger 2: Getting Angrier.

2008nov14. OCLC ... on the move!. Another one of these types of things? They never learn. Go Open Library Environment weooooo! Woof.

2008nov18. It has come to my attention that at some point, I published totally fabricated excerpts for the 2008 publication The Fruit Hunters [2] by Adam Leith Gollner. This is my favorite book of the year, easily. What follows are actual excerpts from the actual book. Here is an introductory photo essay that has a link to this poster of the exotic fruits of Hawaii (available here).

A plaque identifies the tree as a sapucaia. In season, the cupcakes grow packed with a half dozen seeds shaped like orange segments. At ripeness, these burst through the base, scattering on the ground. Impatient young monkeys sometimes punch into an unripe muffin and wrap their fingers around a fistful of nuts. Because their cognitive faculties are not developed enough to understand that extracting their paws requires letting go of the nuts, they end up dragging their sapucaia handcuffs around for miles. [pg 2]

Within the tens of thousands of edible plant species, there are hundreds of thousands of varieties ‒ and new ones are continually evolving. Magic beans, sundrops, cannonballs, delicious monsters, zombi apples, gingerbread plums, swan egg pears, Oaxacan trees of little skulls, Congo goobers, slow-match fruits, candle fruits, bastard cherries, bignays, belimbings, bilimbis and biribas. [...] There are thousands upon thousands of fruits that we never imagined ‒ and that few of us will ever taste, unless we embark on fruit-hunting expeditions. [pg 6]

Nowadays, fruits have become part of the daily grind. We have unlimited access: they're sold year-round, they're cheap, and they shrivel into moldy lumps on our countertops. Eating one is practically a chore. Many people dislike fruits. Perhaps that's because, on average, fruits are eaten two to three weeks after being picked. [...] Many of the fruits we eat were developed to ship well and spend ten days under the withering glow of fluorescent supermarket lights. The result is Stepford Fruits: gorgeous replicants that look perfect, feel like silicone implants and taste like tennis balls, mothballs, or mealy, juiceless cotton wads. [pg 14]

A pineapple is an inflorescence that fuses many berry-like fruitlets into a thorn-tipped aberration. [pg 23]

One of the most extreme examples of a hitchhiker fruit is the Sumatran bird-catching tree. Its fruits are covered with tiny barbed hooks and a sticky gum that glues itself to birds' feathers. Certain birds carry the fruit to other islands; less fortunate ones get their wings jammed by it, and they end up dying at the tree base, becoming fertilizer. [pg 26]

Jaitt says he knows some people in Honolulu who've been serving peanut butter fruit with blackberry-jam fruit and breadfruit. Kids apparently go crazy for these all-fruit PBJ sandwiches. [pg 44]

Corn is believed to have evolved from a minuscule grain called teosinte, slightly bigger than an earwig. It took thousands of years of human selection for teosinte to become the size of a human finger, then thousands more years to become the thick cobs we slather with butter today. [pg 48]

Bubble gum used to come from chicle, the latex of the sapodilla tree, also know for its sweet chico fruits. [...] Today, gum is made with a plastic oil derivative called PVA (polyvinyl acetate). [pg 52; mmmmm]

At the end of WWII, the British government allocated one banana to every child. Evelyn Waugh's three children were giddy with excitement on the great day their bananas arrived. As Auberon Waugh recalls in [iWill This Do? their joy was short-lived: the bananas "were put on my father's plate, and before the anguished eyes of his children, he poured on cream, which was almost unprocurable, and sugar, which was heavily rationed, and ate all three ... He was permanently marked down in my estimation from that moment on, in a way which no amount of sexual transgression would have achieved." [pg 53]

Fruits could replace many toxic cleaning products (most of which contain artificial scents like "fresh citrus"). [...] My Parisian friends do their laundry using soap nuts, the dried fruit of the Chinese soapberry tree (Sapindus mukorrosi). These berries contain saponin, a natural steroid that turns frothy and bubbly in water. I tried it; my laundry came out clean and smelling great. [pg 58]

Although most of Miami's fruit hunters following importing protocols, some skirt regulations. For that reason, government officials at the USDA have started conducting armed raids on rare fruit growers, bursting into their backyards with attack dogs. [...] "They came in here like the goddamn Gestapo," he says angrily. "It was like they were gonna save us from terrorism. Six agents burst in and started rifling through everything trying to find illegal seeds. They orchestrated it like it was a big drug raid. It scared the shit outta my wife, not to mention my customers. They photographed stuff, and confiscated seeds. They thought I had smuggled 'noxious weeds' in from Asia. They were after an illegal seed that was one-sixteenth of an inch long. My palm seeds were an inch long. They didn't know a noxious weed from a palm seed. They wouldn't know a noxious weed if it grew in their butt. I got a five-million-dollar business here; you think I'm gonna grow an illegal plant and screw it up? They took three of my palms ‒ palms not known in cultivation ‒ and they killed them. They all died." [pg 67]

"Up to the end of the middle ages, grafting was considered a secret by the initiated and a miracle by the public," wrote Frederic Janson. Some believed that, for a graft to hold, it was necessary for a man and woman to make love in the moonlight. At the moment of climax, the woman was to secure the graft between the tree and its new limb. [pg 69]

At one point, he says, incredulously, Clift was offered a job working with fruits in Costa Rica. He decided to drive down from Florida. In Guatemala, his suitcases were stolen. In El Salvador he was sleeping by the road when someone robbed the clothes off his back. He continued to drive in the nude. Abandoning the car in Nicaragua, he proceeded to walk the rest of the way to Costa Rica, living on jungle fruits and trekking naked through forests for weeks. [...] at another point, Clift had been hired by a wealthy Thai family to create the world's biggest tropical fruit garden. He was forbidden from sending seeds to other fruit enthusiasts, but was caught in the act. His hands were to be chopped off as punishment. Luckily, he managed to escape, fleeing Thailand. [pg 71]

As Thomas Jefferson said, "The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture." This rationale was how Jefferson justified smuggling rice out of Italy (risking execution) and hemp seeds out of China. [pg 84]

As Richard Campbell puts it: "You fly into the closest airport, drive through town, peer into backyards, and find the guys who know where the best stuff is. Then you say, 'Hi, I'm from America, I'm crazy and I want to look at your mameys." [pg 85]

Armed with a name, I immediately uncover some online images. Not only is the lady fruit real, but it is easily the sexiest fruit in the plant kingdom. Its risqué shell is a life-sized simulacrum of the female reproductive region, including hips, an exposed midriff, two thighs and a pudendal cleft ‒ complete with a tuft of alarmingly lifelike hair on the mons pubis. From the back, it bears a striking resemblance to a woman's derriere. [pg 109]

Another farmer I spoke to referred to industrial peaches as "plastic Kraft dinner fruit created by dead brains." [pg 196]

Apples can spend close to a year sitting in oxygen- and carbon-dixoide-controlled cold-storage facilities. [pg 205]

Ackee, the national fruit of Jamaica, is tricky: when underripe, it contains hypoglycin, a violent purgative that can make you vomit until you die. [pg 249]

How can you not want to try these awesome fruits described within the book like so: "maple syrup pudding," "cherry cola," "lemon meringue pie," "snowy, sweet, cotton-candylike," "vanilla cream," "lemonade-infused cotton candy," "chocolate pudding," "raspberry jam," "strawberry milkshakes," "Froot Loops," "coconut flesh, only sexier," "vanilla ice cream," "pear cream custard," etc.

Organizations etc mentioned in the book: North American Fruit Exporters (see their supply source page), Rare Fruit Council International, California Rare Fruit Growers, Fruit Gardener Magazine, Fruit Lover's Nursery, Figs 4 Fun, Hawaii Fruit, Durian Palace (temporarily (?) down), NYT Bill Whitman obituary, Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables, Five Decades with Tropical Fruit, The Duchess of Malfi's Apricots, and Other Literary Fruits, The Anatomy of Dessert, The Golden Peaches of Samarkand, Epitaph for a Peach, Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden.

Follow-up essay: Going to Bananaland. Interviews.

2008nov24. Deuce of Clubs: Things To Keep In Mind During The Coming Administration's FDR-like "Opportunity".

2008nov25. New Yorker: Awesome mote of stupidity in gathering of over-parenting book reviews:

In 2007, officials revealed that five per cent of applicants to Oxford and Cambridge had embellished their application forms with material taken off the Web. Explaining why they wanted to study chemistry, two hundred and thirty-four applicants cited word for word the same example, "burning a hole in my pajamas at age eight," as a formative experience.

2008nov26. While in New Orleans for a wedding I ran into Mr. Okra:

Which reminded me a lot of similar vegetable trucks roaming the streets of my youth. To check out Mr. Okra in action, please view this video from Morning 40 Federation. If you are very eagle-eyed, you will notice that the bar one of the band members is thrown out of is this bar, BJ's, where the next-day party was held and Morning 40 Federation played. It all comes together. Mr. Okra paintings. More info.

2008nov26. Cardhouse

consigliere
Tom B raised an exception with the New Yorker excerpt concerning plagiarism in college applications. The original article is nowhere to be found, but an article referencing the study

seems to indicate that, at the very least, students from Cambridge and Oxford were only a part of the larger sample, whereas the New Yorker article pins "five per cent of applicants to Oxford and Cambridge" to the wall with online-based plagiarism. Wrong. Tom pointed out other bits of hand-waving in the excerpt, but as he writes, "This is the kind of digging that the journalists should be doing surely ‒ that's to a large extent the point of them."


December 2008.

2008dec07. Mail from a long-time friend.

For the last several years I have thought that you were going increasingly wacko with the economic stuff. I no longer think this. Just wanted to mention that.

I'm sure you've seen this already, but I just did.

He seems almost 100% correct. It's going to be bad. As bad as people think it is now, it hasn't even started. Dow at 8000 got you bummed? Try "Dow doesn't exist" on for size.

Oh to be an economic wackoperson. At first I thought your "URL" was a pointer to that nuttycake Russian engineer jibber-jabbering about how USA Americans are going to split into five or so racially-based geographies come Supercrash. I am hoping that people suddenly grok that the government is just making things a jillion times worse with the bailouts, Obama's New New Deal Which Is Going To Blow Just Like The Old New Deal etc, and perhaps will band together before the Real Bad Shit comes down the pike ... but then, you know me, I'm a funny flowery optimist. It is as singer Dominique Durand of Ivy pointed out in the song "Undertow":

You can't fight the undertow
Not when you're all alone
You can't fight the undertow
How long 'til you let go

Goddamned undertow.

2008dec08. I was asked to provide commentary about the recent gas crisis by an outside source. My concerns ‒ and suggestions for solutions ‒ appear here.

2008dec08. For some reason, for the longest time, I couldn't get the audio portion of dictionary.com to work properly, and it was behind a pay wall for awhile as well. Now it works fine and all is right in the land. Has a good beat, I'd give it a 92.

2008dec24. Wednesday Wreeday. A holiday special, I guess. Sure.

Kevin Francis Gray: Ghost Girl
Seuthopolis: Wiki. Uncover ... discover!
Elyse Sewell: Nun outfit update
Ask.metafilter: Can we hear the sun?
jwz: Parking haiku.
Wearable hummingbird feeder [via doc].
1000 Blocks
Victor Borge: Phonetic punctuation.
Documentary: Garbage Warrior [87 min] [wiki]
Paul Collins: Buzzkill. Hate spelling bees; dislike simplified spelling.
Oiling.
Japan's useless doors. These are everywhere, really, but everything is concentrated a bit more in Japan.
Stingray Sam, a musical space western by Cory McAbee.
Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe Season 5 Episode 1 Part 1 2 3.

2008dec25. RIP Eartha Kitt. There is an excellent long interview with Kitt in the book Incredibly Strange Music [excerpt].