27jun2008 Anyway, if I suddenly seem a lot smarter, it's probably just my "episode" talking.
I had a strange episode the other day. Suddenly my vision went wacky. There was a shimmering blur right at the point of focus. When I tried to read, the first letter of each word was invisible. My first thought was that the government had finally figured out how to digitally censor images right at the source. Hooray! But that morning I had done heavy labor for hours outdoors in 110-degree heat, so that was likely the cause, somehow (though I couldn't count how many times in my life I've done the exact same thing). The vision thing went away after a couple of hours. The experience wasn't entirely unpleasant. Kind of like being high, only with a pounding headache you don't really care all that much about. At one point, my voice didn't seem to be coming from "me"I don't mean the sound of my voice, I mean the source of it. I was talking, but I was listening to the voice as if listening to someone else speak. ("Say, who WAS that fascinating fellow?")
So maybe it was the heat, maybe it was something else, but either way, if you live near 110-degree territory, I can almost recommend giving it a try.
(Bullshit medical opinions welcomed.)
But this looks ok, right?
26jun2008 The following text appeared on a sign that used to be posted over the counter inside the Taco Bell at 24th St. & Indian School Rd in Phoenix:
Our Phoenix Taco Bell Family will deliver a passionate, consistent execution of customer mania.
We will provide a caring environment that extends into our community and create a "WOW" experience that happens only at Taco Bell.
Okay, yeah, you bet: WOW.
Also: Another thing Taco Bell has delivered is not one, but two DoC mottoes.
17. Participate without belonging. 30. Sport amused, matter-of-fact cynicism. 34. Reformat. 37. Don't despair at the absurd, go with it. 46.Shop as though money were a consensual hallucination. 61. Refine your signal-to-noise ratio. 66. Do something, anything, to attract highly mobile capital. 75. Profit from tastes you recently helped establish. 80. Pursue multiple narratives that neither explain nor unify. 90. Negotiate identity. 100. Tweak your consciousness. 111. Float globally, frame locally. 120. Await catastrophe. 128. Shuffle fragments. 132. To change what things mean, redescribe them. 138. Disperse yourself in a cloud of narrative elements. 145. Trouble your foundations. 148. Find purpose without direction. 151. Redeploy the images that oppose you. 162. Take pleasure. 175. Mock your own urgency. 177. Long for a place to stash your electronic money. 221. In the attempt to demystify, further obscure. 223. Imagine you're a nomadic, desiring machine, without limits. 226. Play with texts while an oppressive social system goes about its business. 253. Pledge allegiance off the map. 268. Slack. 271. Forego the desire for encyclopedic mastery. 275. Move without changing your electronic address. 280. Don't write to say the last word. 285. Find beauty in the breakdown. 287. Stay mobile. 290. Present yourself as a flexible, highly skilled, short-term commodity. 307. Buy time. 330. Explore the richness of your limitations. 341. Replace your career with multiple revenue streams. 343. Make the border your territory. 345. Downsize. 349. Traffic in novelty.
The city of Phoenix spends money to run TV commercials about how great it is to: ride public transportation.
The state of Arizona spends money to run TV commercials about how horrible it is to get a DUI and have to: ride public transportation.
20jun2008 From Spy magazine's "The L.A. Riots: Ten Ironies" (July/August 1992, p. 19):
#3. As looters pulled into a Von's supermarket to pillage the store, they parked their cars neatly within the white lines and even left handicapped spaces clear.
#4. Korean gang members, who during calmer times extort "protection" money from Korean store owners, were actually called in to provide protection.
#8. As an astute L.A. gang member noted, closing schools in South-Central gave kids the day off to go looting.
#9. First the police hid in their squad cars with the lights off and tried to pretend they weren't there. Then they tried to trick people into thinking there were twice as many of them by propping riot helmets at head level in the backs of their cruisers.
19jun2008 I see by the ol' clock on the wall that it's time for my annual address to Congress . . .
. . . well . . . okay. I don't know, these speeches of mine never seem to accomplish anything. I'll try again, but this time I'll keep it short and see whether that makes a difference (because like everyone else these days, "I Wanna Make A Difference!")
Dear, dear, dear dumb old stupid Congress . . . with so much of the Iowa corn crop wiped out by floods, which will mean skyrocketing corn syrup and fuel prices, how about repealing your protectionist sugar tariffs and ethanol subsidies, which exist to the detriment of the health and wealth of everyone except corn farmers and their special interest lobby?
Whaddya think, huh? Maybe?
Thanks (as always) for (not) listening (as always),
Your serf pal,
Fig. 13.7 Corn lobby explains things to taxpayer
18jun2008 The short list of what I'm wondering today
Other than when they're pertinent to my important researches, I pay surprisingly little attention to Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, &c.
So how is it that I could still hum you some Britney Spears tunes whereas I have no idea of even a title of any hit song of Jessica Simpson's?
17jun2008 The thing you're lucky I posted today because you couldn't have waited till tomorrow to know
I noticed for the first time that the phrase "You're the man now, dog!"a Sean Connery line from a scene in Finding Forrester and made famous by YTMND.comappears also near the end of 8 Mile.
15jun2008 As Negativland might say sample: Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.*
From Steven R. Weisman's The Great Tax Wars:
First paragraph of the book:
THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT SIX DECADES OF BATTLES over wealth, power and fairness that led to one of the most important progressive achievements in the making of modern Americathe establishment of the income tax. (1)
Final paragraph of the book:
A long time has passed since the Civil War, when Representative Justin Morrill compared the enactment of the income tax to Adam and Eve being expelled from their "untaxed garden" and forced to make their solitary way in the world. We may yearn to return to the Garden of Eden, but we have learned that taxes are the price we pay to live in the real world, cope with its dangers and meet the needs of a modern nation. Even to establish Paradise on earth, we will have to pay the way. (367)
There is a story of a dying Corsican condottiere who whispered to a young retainer standing by his bedside: 'I have no money with which to reward your service, but I will give you advice to last you a lifetimeyour thumb on the blade and strike upwards.'
All who hope to overthrow a government by the sudden violence of a coup d'etat may take this counsel for motto, since shortened steel and the thrust upwards to the heart of authorIty are exactly the two characteristics most likely to bring success to their schemes. During the first six decades of the twentieth century, indeed, they have brought success so frequently that the coup has become by far the commonest means of seizing political power illegally. (vi)
Perhaps it is only by accident that in the six cases presented the three successes went to the most ruthless and extreme of the factions and the three failures were suffered by those less drastic in their aims and less violent in their methods. Whether there is any lesson to be derived from this the reader must decide for himself. (x)
Today all news has been canceled on every news channel because apparently some news person has died. Huh. If that's how it works, I can't wait for some tax collectors to eat it. Those bastards can't live forever!
[After further research. . . .]
Oh, shit, they can (according to Bram Stoker and Rupert Giles).
(Update, an hour later . . . news people are even more important than baseball [!]:)
Neurotic Writer went to see the Doctor the other day because he needed to stand naked in front of a professional not realizing he was at the Psychiatrist's office. His shrink asked him if he still kept seeing invisible women. Neurotic Writer replied, if he could see invisible women would they be invisible? It presented a mental paradox for the Psychiatrist who instead of bringing out the blotch test, she pulled out this collage titled Art Good & Evil Mail. The collage constructed during the 80s when mail art was extremely popular was now used as measuring rule for Neurotic Writer's third eye exam. The Psychiatrist was told the one wearing the bra was Shirl and Judy was the woman in deuce of clubs since she like to go topless.
NOTE II.Beginners must not rush things. The smooth working of a "flurry" sequence depends on practice. The motions of pausing on the doorstep ("Have I got my gym shoes?"), hesitating on the running-board, etc., are exercises which I give my own students; but I always recommend that they practise the motions for at least six weeks, positions only, before trying it out with the car, suitcase and shoes. (13)
On the other hand, a basic play, in perfect order, can be achieved by, say, whistling fidgetingly while playing yourself. And I once converted two down into two up when playing golf against P. Beard, known also as the leader of an orchestra, by constantly whistling a phrase from the Dorabella Variation with one notealways the same notewrong. It may be worth recalling that Elgar himself, when playing croquet against fellow-musicians, made use of the Horn motiv from the Ring.
He would whistle this correctly except for the second note, substituting for A some inappropriate variant, often a slightly flattened D sharp, sliding up to it, from the opening note of the phrase.
A voice from the past indeed. Yet have any of our modern experts in the music ploy really improved on this phrase, devised before Gamesmanship was formulated or even described? (18, 18n.)
NOTE.Do not attempt to irritate partner by spending too long looking for your lost ball. This is unsporting. But good gamesmanship which is also very good sportsmanship can be practised if the gamesman makes a great and irritatingly prolonged parade of spending extra time looking for his opponent's ball. (24)
NOTE II.In my pamphlet for the British Council I listed eighteen ways of saying "Bad luck." I do not believe there are more. (35)
Funny, I thought those drives were level. It's that ball of mine."
"What are you using? Ordinary two-dot, isn't it?"
"Oh, nonothat's how it's been repainted. Underneath it's a Madfly."
"Madfly. Pre-war only. It goes like sin. Really does put ten yards on to your shot. I'll see if I can get you one. Honestly, I hardly feel it's fair of me to play with it."
With proper management the gamesman can wreak far more havoc by suggesting that he has the advantage of a better ball, than by demonstrating that he has a better swing. (38)
In all previous editions Rule I was Rule II. (45n.)
09jun2008 There needs to be a canonical list of films in which background extras run around completely at random and for way too long to be even slightly plausible.
I'll kick it off with two:
Animal House (parade chaos scene) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the film, not the series)
... just about every photo of him appears creepy, like there's a whole unspoken and terrifying story behind the scene. This caption seems suspiciously innocuous in light of the drama that appears to be taking place:
I think a caption that better describes what's really going on here might be, for example:
Xenu continues to make unmediated contact with the mind of Tom Cruise's infant daughter, while Tom distracts the girl from the intense cranial pain by softly singing terrifying Scientology nursery songs directly into her ear ("The itsy bitsy Operating Thetan went up the water spout! / Down came the Engram, and washed the Knowledge-Responsibility-Control Triangle out! / Out came the Hubbard Consultant Outpoint-Pluspoint List, and dried up all the Overt Act-caused pain! / And the itsy bitsy Operating Thetan went up the spout again!"). Meanwhile, Katie stands by her Tom as if nothing's happening, desperately trying not to think about what she's been told will surely befall everyone she once loved should she at any time not stand by her Tom as if nothing's happening.
Cardhouse Robot (speaking re: phishing scams):It's funny, thinking of all of these people doing these things. It's a relatively new thing, seeing the dangling fishhooks of criminals all the time. Docfilter: I mean, NON-INSTITUTIONAL criminals.
If I think Happy Cruelty Day and Ant Farm are funny as hell, what other three books will I think are funny as hell, so that I will have a total of five funny-as-hell books?
(Please show all work, and no using Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought," which suggests Chuck Klosterman, so a big Up Yours to Amazon customers.)
(And a special Up Yours to Amazon reviewer "Choc Aholic"oh-HO!for this penetrating review of Ant Farm: "This book was not in the least funny. I am sorry I spent the money on it. I have a good sense of humor and I didn't even as much as crack a smile."
Dear Choc Aholic: No. You don't. (Contrary to what one might guess from your hiLARiyoos screen name.)
Making connections is as easy as listening, remembering, and recyling information. When patterns in scenes are noticed and played they create continuity in the scene.
A player must first listen to what his fellow players are saying, which he can't do if he's busy inventing jokes and trying to force the scene in one particular direction. He has to store the information in the back of his mind, not relying on it too heavily, but keeping it handy so he can pull it out when something in the scene triggers the connection. When such an opportunity arises in the scene, the player recycles the thought or action. The audience members make the connection for themselves, and respond much more enthusiastically than if they had just heard a punch line.
Connections are a much more sophisticated way to get laughs. When an audience sees the players start a pattern, they finish the connections in their own minds. They are forced to think just a tiny bit, and when they have to work along with the players to recognize the laugh, it is much more gratifying for the audience, which has had its intelligence flattered in the bargain. (29)
If a game move is clear-cut, it can excuse almost anythingas actor George Segal told Del, "Even if you're five minutes into a scene, it's not too late to put on a foreign accent!" (60)
20may2008 QUERY: Why do songs about rock & roll often make such bad rock & roll?
EXHIBITS A THROUGH C:
Bob Seger, "Old Time Rock & Roll"
Argent, "God Gave Rock and Roll to You"
Billy Joel, "Still Rock and Roll to Me"
Why is there music about music? Are there paintings about paintings?
a life reflected! an interesting adjacency, i find. in one instance, the singer is regarding the music, in another, the singer claims himself to be the music. now is that not enlightenment of some sort?
where few mortals dare to tread...
however, i did find two powerhouse songmen who dare delve into the "song about the song", or, possibly, the "music about the music".
barry manilow - "i am music and i write the songs..." *
"one voice" (?)
"the old songs"
"i hear her playing music"
"the last duet" (?)
neil diamond - "beautiful noise"
"and the singer sings his song"
"play me" *
"song sung blue" (?)
i think most of these are in reference to songs, which is not quite as interesting was when the singer *is* the song... (*denoted by asterisk)
i also submit mike scott of the waterboys, "big music" . he, for now, only hears the big music, and has not yet become music, but i do not think becoming the music is entirely out of the question with mike, especially if he remains at findhorn a few years longer.
**************** also, equally horrid: Huey Lewis & the News/The Heart of Rock & Roll
and, although i have not heard it, from "Valdy" (?), "Rock n Roll Song", (i.e.) "... I should have stayed home with a big case of beer
Play me a rock 'n' roll song ..."
now the elephant "self-portrait" i must state as unapplicable. although the elephant is painting an elephant, it is undetermined whether the elephant is painting a self-portrait, or another elephant, or some sort of symbolism of elephant. and it is, to this date, certainly not painting an elephant that is painting...
i hesitate to mention this, as the very thoguht leaves me feeling like i just slip my shoe through something slimy, but should we not forget what could ultimately be the lowest form of entertainment agony ever spewed from the bowels of hollywood, the movie about making a movie...
AND STILL LATERER Robb added:
"Let's All Turn On" by Hoodoo Gurus
"Rock 'n' Roll" by The Velvet Underground
"I Heard Ramona Sing" by Frank Black
"American Music" by Violent Femmes
"Ziggy Stardust" by David Bowie
"Rock Aria" by Electric Light Orchestra
"Lulu" by Trip Shakespeare
"Blue Gene Vincent" by Havana 3am
"The Load Out" by Jackson Browne (yes, I'm still embarrassed that I like this song)
"Superstar" by The Carpenters
"Behind the Wall of Sleep" by the Smithereens
"Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits (sorry, I love this song too)
"Good Time Boys" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)" by the Rolling Stones
"Spirit" by Bauhaus
"XTC vs. Adam Ant" by They Might Be Giants
Songs about music, that are critical, but still "about music":
"Radio, Radio" by Elvis Costello
"On Your Radio" by Joe Jackson
"Reader's Digest" by Larry Norman
"I Hate Rock 'n' Roll" by Jesus and Mary Chain
"Panic", "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby", and "Paint A Vulgar Picture" by The Smiths
"Transmission" by Joy Division
Joe Rogan:I did Fear Factor highevery single episode. Adam Carolla, Teresa Strasser, Danny Bonaduce: REALLY?!? Rogan:That was the only way I could deal with the contestants. If I didn't [use pot], then they would annoy me. . . . Look, I was always happy, that it was a job, and it was great money and all that, but it was a dumb showto me. I mean, it's dumb entertainment. And that's what it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be mindless entertainment. But . . . after a while, you're like, "Am I still doing this?"
But on June 29, 1993, the paper ran a more reflective response from Wiles himself.
There is a certain sadness in solving the last theorem. All number theorists, deep down, feel that. For many of us, his problem drew us in, and we always considered it some thing you dream about, but never actually do. There is a sense of loss, actually. (5)
Very few people knew what Wiles was doing in his little third-floor attic office at home for seven years, and he wanted it that way for good reason. After all, what would people think? Worse, what would they think if he worked on it for a lifetime and failed? The assessments would probably not be charitable, especially for a man with a wife and children and a house with an average assortment of squeaky screen doors, leaf-filled gutters, and dandelions in the backyard. According to the September 1993 issue of Scientific American, "Wiles virtually stopped writing papers, attending conferences or even reading anything unrelated to his goal." (9-10)
It's not that Euclid had been thought infallible. Rather, when non-Euclidean geometry was first conceived, "It seemed to be at the edge of madness," as Philip Davis and Reuben Hersh put it in their book The Mathematical Experience. Indeed, Sir Arthur Eddington sounded like the high priest of a mathematical illuminati in his non-Euclidean "bible" The Expanding Universe, which often reads like a religious text.
"I see our spherical universe like a bubble in four dimen sions; length, breadth, and thickness, all lie in the skin of the bubble. Can I picture this bubble rotating? Why, of course I can. I fix on one direction in the four dimensions as axis, and I see the other three dimensions whirling around it. Perhaps I never actually see more than two at a time; but thought flits rapidly from one pair to another, so that all three seem to be hard at it. Can you picture it like that? If you fail, it is just as well. For we know by analysis that a bubble in four dimensions does not rotate that way at all. Three dimensions cannot spin round a fourth. They must rotate two round two; that is to say, the bubble does not rotate about a line axis but about a plane. I know that that is true; but I cannot visualise it." (15)
In 1815 and 1860, the French Academy of Sciences offered a gold medal and three hundred francs to anyone who could prove F.L.T., and the German mathematician Carl Louis Ferdinand von Lindemann succumbed to the temptation. After more than five years of work, von Lindemann claimed credit and published a lengthy paper of substantiation in 1907. Shortly afterward, however, an embarrassingly elementary error was discovered nearly at the beginning of the paper, invalidating his work. (24)
But if you know you're not a Ramanujan or a Grassman or a Wronski, you should be aware of the following. In Wheels, Life and Other Mathematical Amusements, Martin Gardner notes:
The mathematics departments of many large universities return all proofs of Fermat's last theorem with a form letter stating that the paper will be evaluated only after an advance payment of a specified fee. Edmund Landau, a German mathematician, used a form letter that read: "Dear Sir/Madam: Your proof of Fermat's last theorem has been received. The first mistake is on page ____ , line ____." Landau would then assign the filling in of the blanks to a graduate student. (67)
You know, I've been enjoyin' things that kings and queens will never have!
In fact kings and queens can never get 'em.
And they don't even know about it!
And good times? Mmmmmmmmm-mmh!!
I have had my fun, if I never get well no more
I have had my fun, if I never get well no more
Oh, my health is fadin' on me, oh yes, I'm goin' down slow
Now looka here...
I did not say I was a millionaire...
But I said I have spent more money than a millionaire!
Cause if I had kept all my money that I'd already spent,
I would've been a millionaire a looong time ago...
And women? Great googly-moogly!
I have had my fun, if I don't get well no more
I have had my fun, if I never get well no more
Oh, my health is fadin' on me, oh yes, I'm goin' down slow
Client: [Mentions a software partner named Count Five] Doc: No fooling? That was the name of a garage band in the sixties. Client: "Garage band"? Doc: Yeah. The Count Five. They did "Psychotic Reaction." What? It's a great song. Client: You're showing your age. Doc: I was just a baby! Ma used to sing it to me in my crib.
By 1969, the Count Five had broken up, but their memory was immortalized in a 1972 essay by rock journalist Lester Bangs, entitled "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung." In the essay, Bangs credited the band for having released several albumsCarburetor Dung, Cartesian Jetstream, Ancient Lace and Wrought-Iron Railings, and Snowflakes Falling On the International Datelinethat displayed an increasing sense of artistry and refinement. However, none of these albums actually existed, except in Bangs' own imagination. (Wikipedia)
11may2008 Citrus: great, except for the part where you have to fight roof rats
07may2008 Governments prepare to add another chapter to the story of Dumb
In one sense the current alarm over Salvia is worse than the glue-sniffing panic. The adverse health effect of many kinds of "huffing" are well-established, while the dangers posed by Salvia are still conjecture. If the past is any guide, the coming bans on Salvia will 1) transmogrify youthful and stupid experimenters into criminals, 2) add violence to the peaceful Salvia trade, 3) publicize and popularize the use of the drug, and 4) encourage users to experiment with more dangerous substances. The drug warriors will end up wishing that it was May 2008 again and that all that bedeviled them was this containable Salvia "problem." Jack Shafer, "Salvia Divinorum: HysteriaThe press helps fuel the next 'drug menace.'"
Banker: Will you be paid in specie or currency, Mr. Hostetler? Hostetler: GOLD, please.
Innkeeper: Thou shalt not have vile affections or uncleanness on these premises! Find my specific meaning at Romans 1:24 through 6! Calamity Jane: Fuck yourself, with a fist punch up your ass, today, at the present moment!
Man #1 (to Man #2, who holds a sign reading CAN CRY AT WILL): When my dad died, I didn't even cry. Tell you whatI'll give you a dollar. You cry for him. Right now.
[Man #2 cries] Man #1: Hell, it's easy for youyou didn't know the cocksucker!
Every bully I ever met can't shut his fuckin' mouthexcept when he's afraid. Seth Bullock
(Nice touch, btw, in the episode 1.5, of showing Ricky Jay handling the dice.)
Eleanor Rigby No Recoge Mas, Ya Nunca Mas (Eleanor Rigby Doesn't Picks Up Anymore, Never Again )
El Arroz Despues De Las Bodas (The Rice Throw Away After The Weddings)
Y En El Cielo De Diamantes, Lucy Ya No Brilla Mas (And In Sky With Diamond, Lucy Doesn't Shine anymore)
El Sargento Pepper's No Dirige Mas (The Sergeant Pepper's Doesn't Conduct Anymore)
Su Banda De Corazones Solitarios (His Lonely Heart Club Band)
Y En La Plaza Una Guitarra , Llora Por Su Amigo George . (And A Guitar Weaps For His Friend George In The Town Square)
Una Gaviota Vio , Hundido En El Mar Azul, (A Seagull Saw, Sunken In The Deep Blue Sea)
Un Submarino De Color Limon ( De Color Color Limon ) (A Lemon Color Submarine (A Lemon Lemon Color))
Del Que Escapaba Una Cancion . (Which A Song Let Out From)
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
Hello Hello, I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye Goodbye Goodbye
I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye
Michelle Ahora Esta Gorda Michelle (Michelle Is Very Fat Right Now Michelle)
Pobre Michelle Que Lava Y Surce Todo El Dia (Poor Michelle , She Washes And Knit All Day Long)
Y Recuerda Todavia (And Still Remembering)
Les most qui von tres bien ensemble
Ya Se Escaparon Muy Lejos De Aqui , Lejos De AquÃ Las Canciones Mas Hermosas (The Most Beautiful Songs Have Escaped Far Away From here, Far Far Away)
Mas Recuerdo Yo Una Clave De Sol Me Ilumina El Corazon (But I Still Remember A G Key Lightning My Heart)
Una Gaviota Vio , Hundido En El Mar Azul , (A Seagull Saw , Sunken In The Deep Blue Sea)
Un Submarino De Color Limon (De Color Color Limon) (A Lemon Color Submarine (A Lemon Lemon Color)
Del Que Escapaba Una Cancion (Which A Song Escape From)
Paul , John , George y Ringo Goodbye
Paul , John , George y Ringo Goodbye
Hello Hello , I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye Goodbye Goodbye
No Se Por Que Decir Adios Cuando Una Clave De Sol , (I Don't Know Why To Say Goodbye ,When A G Key)
Me Ilumina El Corazon (There's Still Lightning My Heart)
Paul , John , George y Ringo Goodbye, Goodbye
02may2008 One might expect professional liars to be, I don't know . . . better . . . at it?
"President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, 'Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission,'" said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Of all the myriad individuals that went to make up the kaleidoscopic life of New York, Mrs Waddington disliked artists most. They never had any money. They were dissolute and feckless. They attended dances at Webster Hall in strange costumes and frequently played the ukelele. P. G. Wodehouse, The Small Bachelor, (1927)
30apr2008 A pitcher just hit a game-tying pinch-hit home run.
A PITCHER JUST HIT A GAME-TYING PINCH-HIT HOME RUN.
[First published in Paris by Calmann-Levy in 1895, this book has had a phenomenal appeal in French through dozens of editions. Indeed the book's international influence had a large impact on an entire genre of writing in the United States. Loti's lush prose probably served as a prime model for John C. Van Dyke's The Desert (1901), the first book to praise the arid lands of the American Southwest. In turn Van Dyke's volume became the grandfather of almost all American desert writing. (ix)]
[His author's preface hints at the reason for the trip: Loti had become an atheist. He had been especially attracted to Islam and expressed intentions to convert. His mother, a devout Huguenot, argued that the Christian heaven is separate from the Moslem heaven; consequently he and she would be separated for eternity. Although he capitulated to his mother's wish in this matter, he obviously had difficulty recovering his Christian faith and was permanently mesmerized by Islam. (ix-x)]
Or the third and longest of all, through the Sinai, Aqaba, and the Petraean desert. I chose this one because the guides kept advising against it. (2)
And now you feel an almost religious fear if you wander away and lose sight of the camp. But in order to be absolutely alone in the black emptiness, you separate yourself from your little handfull of living things lost in this dead land. The stars shine in the cosmic void but are closer and more accessible than before. In this desert the stars are permanent and ageless; looking at them here, one feels closer to understanding their inconceivable infinity; one almost has the illusion of truly being united with universal permanence and time. (16)
Hour after hour everything becomes more gigantic. And finally toward evening, among granite peaks shrouded with clouds, the high ramparts and the few cypresses of the Sinai Convent can be glimpsed, through white flakes that streak the air. Alas! How silent, sinister, and cold this most holy mountain seems, whose very name was still burning in us before we arrived. No doubt the time is long past and forever lost when the Eternal One came down in clouds of fire and terrifying trumpet calls. All of that is over, and the mountain now is empty, like heaven and our modern souls; it carries only vain, icy pretense, which the sons of man will soon have stopped believing. (26-7)
You can go everywhere in the oasis barefoot or in light slippers. The rocks have been worn so long by the patient centuries that now they are shiny and smooth, with no sharp edges. Otherwise there is sand as fine as velvet, where you see human tracks mixed with the tracks of panthers and gazelles. And in this part of the world, where rain, smoke, dust, and sweat are unknown, you never get your clothes dirty; you can walk anywhere or stretch out on the clean dry ground without soiling the long veils of white wool you wearand under these veils the sunlight and invigorating breezes harden and tan your chest. (57)
This is the prodigal land of fire, where every day magic tricks of light are played for no one to see. (75)
He cuts me off by grasping my hand. The frustration of a captive wild animal passes through his shifting eyes: "Ah!" he says; "in the past, yes ... in the past I called the shots. But now the Turks are here, you see, and a year ago I swore my loyalty, and I gave this caimacam my word of obedience ... "
I now understand that our last hope has dissolved.
It is useless to argue, because once your word has been given (which counts for so little in the advanced countries of the West), it is absolutely sacred among the desert bandits. (89)
Killing for the pleasure of killing has always seemed to us an indication of animal mentalityand the Western idiots who without necessity and without peril have a good time destroying sparrows and quail have no excuse, so far as we are concerned. (120)
28apr2008 Compassionate medical advice from down under
If you are working or in an environment where crystalline silica is present you may well be inhaling significant amounts of silica. Attempts should be made to reduce this amount. Preferably this would involve not working with silica to begin with.
DAN ABRAMS: Cindy McCain made news this week when her so-called McCain family recipes appeared like, i.e., tuna with a cabbage slaw and passion fruit mousse. It appeared on her husband's campaign website turned out to be plagiarized from the Food Network. The McCain campaign, this is my favorite part of the story, the McCain campaign blamed an intern for posting the recipes as Cindy's. I mean, I don't care, Laurie, let them plagiarize the Food Network, just don't blame it on the interns.
[Comedian] LAURIE KILMARTIN: Well, yes. And also Cindy is a major kleptomaniac. I mean, she took prescription drugs that she's working at. [Now, is it accidental that this part of MSNBC's transcript appears botched? Kilmartin is talking about Cindy McCain's theft of prescription drugs from the charity she was running.] She stole her looks from Barbie. So, you know, what I would like her to actually pose online instead of recipes are beer recipes because her dad's a beer distributor.
ABRAMS: You're joking about the prescription drugs I have to make it clear, you know. This is why I love this segment. This is the thing that gets us in trouble every week because someone makes a joke and says, wait a second, where's the apology. We didn't mean it. That was not meant literally.
KILMARTIN: I meant it.
ABRAMS: No, no, no. I mean, there's no evidence. So, right.
KILMARTIN: Right. OK.
ABRAMS: Lawrence, I don't want to get into . . . Lawrence, this issue about stealing the recipes, how do they go about putting these actually—putting recipes on the McCain campaign website and not know that it came from the Food Network?
Yeah . . . let's not talk about Cindy McCain having stolen medicine from a charity and gotten away with a slap on the wrist for an action for which other people are clapped into prison (Rush Limbaugh excepted). No, Dan, you're a journalist, so, better stay on the important subject of Cindy McCain putting her name on some goddamned RECIPES. That's some hard-hitting journalism, there, Abrams. "No evidence" of Cindy McCain's drug theft? Really, Dan? Are you positive about that? Man. You'd almost think the media and the politicians are in cahoots or something, now, wouldn't you?
During a commercial break, someone must have transmitted some actual information via earpiece into the empty cavern Dan Abrams calls a skull, because afterward the following awkward exchange took place:
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Laurie is a nonpolitico?
ABRAMS: And you're the non politico who accurately a moment ago talked to us about McCain's wife having admitted as part of her recovery that she had actually
I jump on my white horse (Cadillac!)
I ride across the border line
I rope sixty-five girls
I kiss 'em all at the same time
I take twenty-five or thirty
I put 'em all on a freight
A million dollar reward for me,
Each and every state,
The sheriff say, "Is you 'Guitar' Watson?"
In a very deep voice
I say "Yes sir, brother sheriff
and that's your wife on the back of my horse!"
Jack: The G.O.P. needs better celebrities, and a black celebrity, such as yourself, would really make us look good. Tracy: Hrmmm. . . . Jack: Do you like lower taxes? Tracy: If I paid taxes? I sure would! Jack: How about gun ownership? Tracy: Go on. . . . Jack: States' rights? Tracy: I LOVE STATES' RIGHTS! Jack: Andlet none of us forgetthe G.O.P. is the party of Lincoln. Tracy: Lincoln was a Republican? Dot Com: Actually . . . today's Republican Party would be unrecognizable to Lincoln. He fought a WAR to preserve federal authority over the states! That's not exactly "small government." Jack: Dot Com, this need you have to be the smartest guy in the room is . . . off-putting.
I had subconsciously taken on board that the age of 45 is as good as it gets. A point in life where you've gained a certain amount of wisdom, the hormones have settled down, the desperation is easing off, but before the mind starts crumbling and the body starts packing in. Bill Drummond, 45
Kelly strongly suggests that even nuclear holocaust, World War III, and the institution of a totalitarian police state do not much interfere with life as usual. People are still partying and drinking, filling the boutiques and cafes of Venice Beach and Santa Monica.
[ . . . ]
I'll stop here, though I feel that I could go on indefinitely, because Southland Tales is so rich and convoluted, at the same time that (and precisely because) it pursues its vision of chaos and dread and media flow with such a monomaniacal intensity. Booed at Cannes in 2006, and both a critical and box-office disaster in 2007, the film obviously has not found its niche, nor found its cult, nor even made the sort of negative impact that would qualify it as a Cultural Event on the order of all the things that it narrates. I'm inclined to think that this is simply because the film is too prophetic: which is also to say, too real, too close to the actuality of which it is a part and which it anatomizes and mirrors, to be receivable at this point in time. The most alien messages are the ones that point out clearly what is staring us in the face.
[ . . . ]
It is because it speaks in and to the Now that Southland Tales cannot be received now, but must look to the future for its reception. Combining irony and prophecy, it is at once too ironic for its meanings to be acceptable, and yet too earnest and visionary for the kind of ironic acceptance that we otherwise revel in.
16apr2008 Since I forgot to do an entry today. . . .
A few minutes ago Sean Casey of the Red Sox was dancing off second base quite a ways & the Yankee pitcher faked a throw. Casey, in getting back, fell down, and literally crawled back to the bag. Because it was only a fake, no Yankee infielder was covering, so there's Casey all alone out there, on his knees on the base. And he gives the "safe" sign.
Pretty ballsy for a Red Sox player in Yankee Stadium, but he pulled it off and got the crowd laughing. Someone will put the clip on YouTube soon, I hope.
Remember that little moment of levity at second base last night? The one where Sean Casey fell over, then watched his helmet tip over his eyes, then made sure everyone knew he was safe at second base?
Well, Casey was having about as much fun as it appeared he was.
"I was having a great time when I fell," Casey reported today. "I go to Jeter, 'Can you get an APB out on that sniper?' He's like, 'Hey, Case, don't worry about it, nobody's watching this game tonight.'
This weekend a long-time crasher was arrested while quietly dancing to the tunes of her iPod at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. She's since been charged with "interfering with an agency function", an ambiguous catch-all if there ever were one. The event, planned months ago by then-Crasher-in-Chief Jason Talley, was to feature a flash mob dance party to pay respect to the ideas proffered by Jefferson. Unfortunately we learned that the State agents present failed to internalize the rights-respecting ideas chiseled into the walls around them. Stay abreast of this incident at FreeTheJefferson1 and on Facebook and let's show those Statists we won't allow them to usurp our rights!
14apr2008 I guess "ManRam" could sound a little bit gay. . . .
While talking about the circumstances surrounding a Manny Ramirez home run, Fox sportscasters continually used a nickname professional doofus Jim Rome tagged poor Manny with. They were all "ManRam" this and "ManRam" that. After they finished, Jeanne Zelasko said, "That's Manny Ramirez, for those of us who like to keep things straight."
Who has not watched on his television set as a bomb or a tank he helped personally to pay for made a charred and limbless stump out of what previously was an innocent (if un-American) child? I might also ask, if only out of curiosity: just how many of these children needed to be chopped up and burnt before at last my fellow citizens thought to stop payment on the meat grinder and the furnace? One hundred? One thousand? Ten thousand? More?
[ . . . ]
I have killed. From the first day I paid taxes to the United States government (on April 15, 1985) my spree began, and it has expanded geometrically since. I do not remember a time when I mailed in a check or a money order without a clear understanding that some part of my donation would be put toward murder.
[ . . . ]
I am tempted to argue that most of my $20,000 has in one way or another been spent on death, but sloppy federal bookkeeping impedes me there. I might determine that w of my dollars went toward public health, and that x of my dollars went toward labor, and that y of my dollars went toward education, and that z of my dollars were given over illegally to evangelical concerns, but I will never be privy to the exquisite formula that explains in what measure, and in what manner, w and x and y and z combine to produce an American just frightened enough, and just undervalued enough, and just ignorant enough, and just romantic enough, to think a "job" as a "hero" in a faraway "conflict" somehow represents an "opportunity" for her child.
[ . . . ]
Surely, though, I can say with some certainty that the $1,400 I sent last year to the wars abroad scored at least on occasion. That unassuming sum, after all, would have paid for 5,000 M16 machine-gun bullets at 28 cents per. Five thousand bullets! Is not one of these now lodged in a foreign corpse on my tab and my behalf?
[ . . . ]
It vexes me, of course, that I cannot control in any specific sense what materiel my personal tax dollars go to buy, since this robs me not only of the thrill of knowing how, exactly, I have killed but also of the great and final goal of this adventure, which is a knowledge of whom. When we give money to a foreign-children's charity, it is my understanding that we are at least provided with the name of the child we have blessed with food and clothing and medicine and schoolbooks, and are treated as well to a photograph of the child, and are sent a biographical note intended to make us throw even more money away on a cause we believe in so much less than our own. Why, then, would our government not favor us with the names and likenesses and stories of those we have not helped out with a few coins but rather paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to destroy?
[ . . . ]
I believe (with a want, yes, but no actual need of worldly proof) that my dollars have indeed gone out and murdered, and that through continued support of my government, and a God-given patience, I will one day reap my just reward: I will one day open my mailbox to discover that my leaders have at last realized, in this age of computer tracking, the ease with which a taxpayer's contribution might be tagged and assigned a dedicated purpose, so that he might unfold and read, through grateful tears, something akin to the following:
Your contribution this fiscal year was put toward the maintenance of an F-15 fighter jet, which on October 16 dropped a bomb on the town of Ramadi, in Iraq, killing, among others, Muhammed Salih Ali (age six) and Haifa Ahmed Fuad (age eight) and Saad Ahmed Fuad (age four). Little Haifa and Saad were sister and brother; you helped accomplish their deaths by a jet very similar to, if not exactly the same as, those that fly over the stadium just after the American Idol winner sings "and the home of the brave" at the Super Bowl.
Thank you and congratulations.
12apr2008 . . . swindling futurity on a large scale
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. (Usually attr. as "Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, 1802")
And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." (Letter to John Taylor, 28may1816)
11apr2008 Utinam populus bardus unam cervicem haberet!
Every time I pass the building below, the one with a big sign that says OneNeck IT Service, I wonder why anyone would give an outfit a name like that.
The Official Explanation: We started with a service attitude and a group of dedicated, well-trained professionals. Then we selected a name to describe our philosophy and culture. The OneNeck concept stems from our ability to provide a total solution with accountability and dependability.
Somehow that explanation strikes me as no more convincing than that of 666 Cough Syrup. OneNeck? I suspect a Caligula fan. Maybe someone should give them a call. . . .
Update Robb writes: "I am going to guess that oneneck refers to the IT catchphrase "one
throat to choke", which refers to having one number to call to get
your problems solved, instead of calling different vendors and having
each one point the finger at some other company while you do not get
your problems resolved. I am not saying it is a good name, only that it may make sense to IT wonks."
True . . . but the macro "I wish [x] had one neck" originated with Caligula . . . so whenever I hear a variation, it strikes me as odd and I wonder whether the speaker realizes s/he is quoting a sociopath and that the original subject was mass murder. Same deal when someone unknowingly chirps, "Oh well, in order to make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs" (unknowingly quoting Lenin, another noted murderous sociopath government hero).
Eggs = murder
One neck = murder
Murder Burger = good hamburgers. If you're ever in Davis, California, & if Murder Burger's still there, be sure and try the milkshakes!
Update the 2nd: I just checked, and Murder Burger was sold but the former owner didn't part with the name, so now Murder Burger is Redrum Burger.
10apr2008 I was driving Ma to the airport today & we were talking about Coolidge. . . .
Me: Phoenix was not the place for me. I think I'd have had more fun if we'd stayed in Coolidge. Ma: But you'd probably have gotten into even more trouble. Me: And that would have been. . . ? Ma: I know. "More fun."
08apr2008 One of the more bizarre banner ad come-ons of the past three or four days
What was the greatest failure of 2007? President Bush’s "surge" in Iraq? The decline in the value of the US dollar? Subprime mortgages? No. The greatest failure of 2007 was the newly sworn in Democratic Congress.
The American people's attempt in November 2006 to rein in a rogue government, which has committed the US to costly military adventures while running roughshod over the US Constitution, failed. Replacing Republicans with Democrats in the House and Senate has made no difference.
The assault on the US Constitution by the Democratic Party is as determined as the assault by the Republicans. On October 23, 2007, the House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and assembly.
The bill passed the House on a vote of 404-6. In the Senate the bill is sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins and apparently faces no meaningful opposition.
Harman's bill is called the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act." When HR 1955 becomes law, it will create a commission tasked with identifying extremist people, groups, and ideas. The commission will hold hearings around the country, taking testimony and compiling a list of dangerous people and beliefs. The bill will, in short, create massive terrorism in the United States. But the perpetrators of terrorism will not be Muslim terrorists; they will be government agents and fellow citizens.
Joanna Pacula: Why did you guys choose Tranquillity, anyway?
Rainer Grant: Well, my brother hasn't been well since our parents died, and I thought the pace might calm him. Joanna Pacula: Calm him? It will downright embalm him.
02apr2008 Oh, hell, as long as we're doing lyrics
Truckstop Honeymoon, "No Beer On Sunday"
Well, I was walking on my way home from church
I stopped at the convenience store and asked the clerk
For a six-pack.
What'd she say, but
"Sorry, sirno beer on Sunday."
I said, "What?"
She said, "You heard me."
I said, "Ma'am?"that's what I saidhave you a Bible? Have you read
Any chapter or any verse, or any other collection of words,
That alludein any wayas to whether a man may notor may
Buy a beer on Sunday?"
She said, "Sir, that's the law."
I said, "The law of man or the law of God?"
She said, "I'm just trying to do my job."
I said, "Well, there's a command you may have heard: "On the Sabbath thou shalt do no work."
She said, "Sir, you have to leave."
I said, "Ain't you a Christian? Don't you believe
That Jesus turned water into wine? And he would stand behind me in this line?
He might have a thing or two to say about all this `No Beer On Sunday'."
(That's when she called Security.)
So next Sunday I was praying in church
I said, "Lord, let me know you by your works,
Give me a sign of your great power:
Let a man buy a beer any day or any hour."
There was a clap a thunder, a bolt of light,
The Lord appeared, all dressed in white!
Cracked open a can of natural light and said,
"Son, some things don't change overnight.
Some things take a little time.
In the meantime:
Have one of mine."
01apr2008 Something not political or economical or baseballical and yet really, really cheerfulical
i was dressed for success
but success it never comes
and i'm the only one who laughs
at your jokes when they are so bad
and your jokes are always bad
but they're not as bad as this
come join us in a prayer
we'll be waiting waiting where
everything's ending here
and all the sterile striking it defends
an empty dock you cast away
and rain upon the forehead
where the mist's for hire if it's just too clear
let's spend our last quarterstance randomly
go down to the outlet once again
painted portraits of minions & slaves
crotch mavens and one night players
are they the only ones who laugh?
at the jokes when they are so bad
and the jokes they're always bad
but they're not as bad as this
come join us in a prayer
we'll be waiting waiting where
everything's ending here
and all the spanish candles they sold away
have gone to this
and a run-on piece of mountain
trembles shivers runs down the freeway
i guess she spent her last quarter randomly
i guess a guess is the best i'll do
Did Bobby Thomson know what Ralph Branca was throwing when he hit his "Shot heard around the world?" Those questions are unanswerable, even by Thomson, who exhibited Clintonesque qualities when questioned by the Wall Street Journal. "I'd have to say more no than yes," he said. [Actually, not all that unanswerable.]
Indians president Gabe Paul defended Perry: "Gaylord is a very honorable man," he said. "He only calls for the spitter when he needs it."
[Whitey Ford] confessed that when pitching against the Dodgers in the 1963 World Series, "I used enough mud to build a dam." He also threw a "gunk ball," which combined a mixture of baby oil, turpentine, and resin. He kept the "gunk" in a roll-on dispenser, which, the story goes, Yogi Berra once mistook for deodorant, gluing his arms to his sides in the process.
While playing, [Preacher] Roe, who went 22-3 for Brooklyn in 1951, said, "I got three pitches: my change; my change off my change; and my change off my change off my change."
When pitching for the Mariners against the Royals on Sept. 30, 1980, Honeycutt taped a thumbtack to his finger to cut the ball. Willie Wilson, after hitting a double, spotted the tack from second base. When the umps came out to have a look, they not only found the tack, but also a gash in Honeycutt's forehead -- he had rubbed his face absentmindedly, almost poking his eye out in the process.
Umpires took the allegations seriously, and sometimes gave [Don Sutton] a good going over. Once, he left a note inside his glove for the men in black. It said, "You're getting warm, but it's not here."
[Lew] Burdette threw sliders, sinkers, and spitterseither that, or he had an extraordinary range of nervous tics. He denied accusations that he doctored the ball: "I don't throw a spitter, but I can teach you how to throw one since you asked."
(See also: Top Ten Bizarre Baseball Injuries . . . In the past couple weeks, Minnesota Twins left-hander Terry Mulholland scratched his right eye by rolling over a loose feather in a hotel pillow, and Chicago Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger broke his left little finger after getting his hand caught between two reclining chairs. But the kicker came this past weekend when National League Rookie of the Year front-runner Clint Barmes of the Colorado Rockies broke his left collarbone … carrying deer meat up the stairs. )
29mar2008 All I Know About Politics I Learned From The Wallace & Ladmo Show
The Animals Try Democracy
Once upon a time, all the animals were upset because the lion was the King of the Jungle. "How come he always gets to be King of the Jungle?" asked Horace the Hippo. "I don't know," answered Charles the Chimp. "Let's ask Edward the Elephant." But he didn't know, either. "I've got an idea," said Roger the Rhino. "Let's have an election and pick our own king."
Everyone agreed. There were speeches and demonstrations and a good time was had by all. Finally it was time to vote. The giraffes voted and the zebras voted. Everyone voted. Who won the election? Chester the Chicken won, that's who! As Chester stepped forward to make his acceptance speech, the lion jumped out of the bushes and ate him! The lion was once again King of the Jungle. It ruined everyone's day. Especially Chester's. But remember, even if your candidate doesn't winyour vote is important.
Pay special attention to the Sealtest Ice Cream commercial, performed in patented Wallace deadpan style. Whoever named "Sealtest" Ice Cream must have thought they were naming a silicone lubricant. Mmmm. Or, as Wallace says, "It's good. Not great. But good." Also, note Wallace's form on the Chocks vitamins commercial. Could he be more perfunctory? "Fruit-flavored multiple vitamins. A, B, C, D, E, y'know. The whole line-up."
P.P.S. Re: commercials, YouTube also has a latter-day Wallace & Ladmo Show excerpt, beginning with the bumper voiceover: "THAT was a commercial; THIS is the show."
GRETNA, La. -- Getting hit with a bullet couldn't stop celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme from cooking at a golf course near New Orleans Tuesday morning.
Famed chef Paul Prudhomme thought he was stung by a bee; he was actually grazed by a bullet while prepping his cooking tent.
Prudhomme was setting up his cooking tent at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans when he felt a sting on his right arm, just above the elbow. He thought it was a bee sting, but discovered a .22 caliber bullet after shaking his shirt sleeve.
27mar2008 Two games in and the world bursts with possibility
...Hillary Clinton is a habitual liar. For you scoffers, there's color video of her that flatly contradicts her claims of braving sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996. Here's the CBS video (enjoy it, it's about as close to comedy as CBS is ever likely to get.)
CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who was there, remembers (in a somewhat ass-kissing post): Due to the possibility of sniper fire, our pilots used what we were told are "assault take-offs and landings." In short, the climb and descent are very fast, and very steep to minimize exposure to hostile fire on the ground.
So the danger Hillary suffered was basically equivalent to a noise abatement take-off from John Wayne Airport. If one such flight is the measure that makes Hillary a foreign policy expert, then my dozen flights out of SNA must make me an uber statesman.
Defending herself against charges of lying, Clinton resorted to another lie: "Occasionally I am a human being like anybody else."
Now, given what politicians arehabitual liarsit necessarily follows that there exists gotcha video on nearly all contemporary politicians, showing them flatly contradicting themselves from month to month. I mention this not to excuse Clinton but to ask why it is that the press so rarely plays any of the gotcha videos that are easily found on the Internet at any given time? Why is it that the only media outlet that consistently does that is not a news show but a COMEDY news showThe Daily Show?
25mar2008 (Hello and welcome to what has apparently and, one hopes, temporarily, become the Deuce of Clubs Economy Watch . . . Thing . . . Place)
A CNN poll today asked, "Where do you feel comfortable putting your money right now?"
Of the idiots who respond to CNN polls, 32% checked the box next to Under my mattress.
. . . and that's today's Tru Ekonamee Fakt! As you've come to expect from what has apparently/temporarily become the Deuce of Clubs Economy WatchThingPlace! Totally welcome, no problem!
23mar2008 Alex Rodriguez could have bought Bear Stearns
Someone on the radio yesterday mentioned that JPMorgan Chase paid less for Bear Stearns than the New York Yankees paid for Alex Rodriguez ($236 million for the bank, $275 million for the ballplayer).
This isn't as crazy as it sounds. Alex Rodriguez is arguably the country's #1 baseball player, whereas Bear Stearns was only the country's #5 bank. Besides, Bear Stearns clearly couldn't handle the curve.
Whip Inflation Now (WIN) was an attempt to spur a grassroots movement to combat inflation, by encouraging personal savings and disciplined spending habits in combination with public measures, urged by U.S. President Gerald Ford. People who supported the mandatory and voluntary measures were encouraged to wear "WIN" buttons, perhaps in hope of evoking in peacetime the kind of solidarity and voluntarism symbolized by the V-campaign during World War II.
The campaign began in earnest with the establishment by the 93rd Congress, of the National Commission on Inflation, which Ford closed with an address to the American people, asking them to send him a list of ten inflation-reducing ideas. Ten days later, Ford declared inflation "public enemy number one" before Congress on October 8, 1974, in a speech entitled "Whip Inflation Now", announcing a series of proposals for public and private steps intended to directly affect supply and demand, in order to bring inflation under control. "WIN" buttons immediately became objects of ridicule; skeptics wore the buttons upside down, explaining that "NIM" stood for "No Immediate Miracles," or "Nonstop Inflation Merry-go-round," or "Need Immediate Money."
In his book The Age of Turbulence, Alan Greenspan as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors recalled thinking "This is unbelievably stupid" when Whip Inflation Now was first presented to the White House.
Coming soon from the White House to further fuck up matters economic. . . .
"I'm not going to tell you what I would do as president in an area as sensitive as the valuation of the dollar." Hillary Clinton (to reporters in Terre Haute yesterday on MSNBC)
I give Hillary credit for finally realizing she spouts a whole lot of dumb shit that people can make available for later playback, and that it's therefore best to avoid any statement that might resemble actual content.
I'm so appalled I can't tell whether this is tyranny or stupidity. Oh, wait, this concerns Pinal County, so it's both.
PHOENIX (AP) -- The Senate on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill allowing public bond financing for a proposed rock 'n' roll theme park in Eloy but rejected efforts to make developers foot more of the bill.
Because why would the people who stand to gain from a project be forced to pay for it themselves?
Supporters called the project a possible economic boon to the state and said the plan contains ample protections for taxpayers.
You can tell that the unnamed "supporters" are people who stand to gain from the project by the way they call the project a boon instead of a boondoggle.
Some critics labeled the project a giveaway, and Republican Sen. Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City even said the proposed public involvement in a private development project constituted facism. [Sic]
Q: Could it be that the politicians are actually waking up?
"I don't care what they do if they're going to be providing jobs," said Sen. Robert Blendu, R-Litchfield Park. "Our risk is zero."
Meanwhile, what do Pinal County's overlords do with the money they steal from people who do honest work? Why, they use it to persecute those same people according to their whim and good pleasure, so egregiously that even George Will can't help but smell the tyranny:
The government of Pinal County, Arizona, this fiefdom south of Phoenix, claims that when it approved Dale Bell's blueprint for his Western-theme restaurant with an outdoor stage in an enclosed courtyard, it assumed the stage would be used for mimes or poetry readings. Mimes in Arizona scrubland? Poetry at the San Tan Flat Steakhouse and Saloon? The authorities were, they insist, shocked when country music broke out, and they are scandalized because some customers, not content to tap their feet to the Western beat while they eat, get up and dance.
Foot tapping is, so far, still legal in Pinal County. Outdoor dancing is not. [...]
Singer Lee Alexander, who on a recent night sang his melancholy ballad "You Can't Dance Outside," says he has seen Sandie Smith, one of the three county supervisors (all of them Democrats), at another Pinal steakhouse where people dance outdoors. No one remembers when, if ever, Democrats did not control Pinal, which was created in 1875. Bell, 58, who served in the Reagan administration, calls himself "a Ron Paul guy." [...]
[Bell] had four entrances from the road; the county restricted him to one. The county cut his signs from two to one. It turned its squint on his firewood, searching for defects. Supervisor Smith urged him to build a berm to confine the restaurant's light and dampen its sounds, so he erected a high wall of straw bales. Pinal toughened its noise ordinance, making it one of Arizona's strictest, restricting businesses to 65 decibels during the day and 60 at night. Sheriff's deputies checked the restaurant's decibel levels sometimes three times a night without ever finding a violation. The county doubled the number of paved parking spots originally required, costing Bell $40,000.
But when the county imposed fines against Bell of $5,000 every day that anyone dances, he headed for court. [...]
Despite Pinal County's nitpicking, Bell, who is represented by Arizona's chapter of the Institute for Justice, is still in business, partly because his customers fancy the Maine lobsters - not normal fare at dance halls. Children prefer marshmallows they roast over fires next to the space for the forbidden dancing. Roasting is not illegal in Pinal, yet.
Say, speaking of collapsing buildings, you know all those skyscrapers downtown? In whatever city we're talking about, in the world, anywhere, doesn't matter where? How they're mostly owned by banks and other financial institutions? Yeah, those. Well, they've started to tumble. The long-predicted crash has begun.
This is going to get very, very ugly.
Too late for gold, at this point, I think. If you know what to do with dollarslike, right awaylet me know por favor, ASAP &c.
(P.S.Totally not kidding. S.O.S.)
16mar2008 You are significantly less nihilistic than I thought, Shonen Knife, but still I wub ooo
I suck at being a teenaged girl. For one thing, I suck at knowing lyrics. After all these years, I finally looked up the words to one of my favorite Shonen Knife songs, "Get the Wow." I always thought the chorus went:
Everything's all right
It'll be all right
Everything's all right
It'll be all right
The song's about a party. I knew it was about a party. It says right in the song, "C'mon now we're gonna have a good party". I just thought it was a different kind of party. Like at the end of Fight Club. ("Trust me. Everything's gonna be fine.")
That is why you will like this album regardless of your previous taste if you are reasonably "aware," "hip," "turned-on" or whatever your generation's slang may be for being in touch with humanity and life.
(continued on inside pamphlet)
09mar2008 Currently on repeat: Hank Ray, "The Ground is Cold as Clay"
If Ian Curtis rose from the grave, in Texas = Hank Ray.
08mar2008 An Electronic Exchange Illustrating Deep Issues of our Time
[Citing Wikipedia:] Cheeta is still alive at the age of 75 as of 2008. His 75th birthday was celebrated on 9 April 2007, at his "Casa de Cheeta" in Palm Springs at an
event hosted by Dan Westfall and Diane Weissmuller, (Johnny Weissmuller, Jr.'s widow). The press and many Palm Spring celebrities attended.
doc: i wonder whether, in whatever form of wonder chimpanzees have, cheeta ever wonders, "i wonder whatever happened to that weissmuller fella?"
Cardhouse Robot: Hahahaah! I had the same sort of wondering -- I thought to myself, "I wonder if he knew
it was a special day? 'Something's going on here ...'" hahahahah IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU,
CHEETA ... ROCK IT
doc: cheeta's just thinking, *please death . . . don't be long . . . these people -- all crazy.*
Cardhouse Robot: Dude needs to write this down in a weblog.
doc: well, see, cheeta didn't *really* say that. i made it up.
Cardhouse Robot: ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
_now_ i get where you're coming from
[taps nose] the primate was just _pretending_ to talk
Say, speaking of Throbbing Gristle, I was just watching an excellent documentary about Joy Division (called Joy Division) and the film had an interview with ol' Primordial Soup, I mean, Genesis P-Orridge, that is, Breyer P-Orridge, and I know s/he's had surgeries to become more womanly & all, but I didn't realize s/he was trying to alter her/his face to resemble that of the late and noted non-woman, Klaus Kinski.
We none of us can appreciate how horribly confusing being Stephen Baldwin must be
On Fox News Channel, the actor Stephen Baldwin said he would be reaching out to Mr. Huckabee to serve as a spokesperson for an organization called the Christian Values Network. It was unclear what network Mr. Baldwin was referring to, but it will apparently launch on the Internet soon.
"The Web site launches on Friday, so Mike, I'm going to be calling you soon," Mr. Baldwin said, putting his thumb up for the camera. (NY Times)
You can say that again, George (but probably not without flubbing it)
You sure have, Mr. President. Now run along and drink some drain cleaner.
Holy Christ, Google is a better journalist than Anderson Cooper
The hard-hitting journalism we've come to expect from Anderson "Be honest about what you see, get out of the way and let the story reveal itself" Cooper, ferreting out answers to the tough questions of the U.S. political scene, such as:
The McCains had another negative story to deal with during that campaign. During that 2000 primary, she was painted as a drug addict. It wasn't pretty.
Here's the back-story: In 1989, Cindy had a bad car accident and started taking prescription pain killers for her back injury. Four years later, she was still addicted to pain killers. Friends say her mother confronted her and she admitted her addiction, then immediately stopped taking the pills.
Ohhhhh, so THAT'S the back-story. Gosh, thanks, Anderson, 'cos I always thought the back-story was that Cindy McCain was a goddamn upper-class junkie who stole prescription medications from the charity she founded so she'd have something to do while her wax-faced husband kept himself busy in Our Nation's Krapital (wining and dining attractive D.C. lobbyists, getting his dumb ass caught up in the Charles Keating swindle, lobbying for 100+ more years of tax-financed mass murder in the Middle East).
Oh, wait . . . that's not the back-storythat fucking is the story. But don't beat yourself up about it, Anderson. Easy mistake to make, could happen to anyone. Which is basically the lame excuse Cindy McCain gave after raping a charity of its government-controlled drugs. It's probably the excuse I'd have given, if I'd been born into a family that had become fabulously wealthy off of beer sales. (I wasn't, though, so if I did what Cindy McCain did, my "back-story" would include a serious number of my-dumb-ass-is-in-prison years.)
04mar2008 Emmett Miller & His Georgia Crackers, "The Gypsy":
Don't argue with me, Emmettyou don't know what you're talking about.
Now listen here little ol' [garbled]-mouthed gal, don't you come arguing with me. In fact, I'm sorry I ever married ya. Well, you oughta beyou cheated some good man out of a nice wife. You told me before we was married that you was well off.
I was, but I didn't know it! Well, the next time I marry, I'm gonna marry a man that's square, upright, and grand.
You don't want no man, honey; you want a piano. You mens always have the best of everything.
Yeah, I know it. Don't you wish you was a man? Yeah. Don't you?
Now listen here And that ain't all! What else did you tell me?
I'll bite. What did I tell you? You told me that you worshiped the ground I walked on.
Honey, I thought you owned that property. Now listen here, baby: didn't I take you down to that nice, big restaurant last night? Yeah, you took me down there, but you didn't ask me to have nothin' to eat!
Well, how could I? The restaurant was closed. That's a fine place to take someone to eat, in front of a shut restaurant!
Well, that's all right, honey, didn't I take you on down to the party from there? Yeah, you took me down to the party, too, but what did you do? What did you do?
Well, what did I do? Well, you walked in that place, grabbed that little ol' man, knocked him down, and stomped right in his face.
I know I knocked him down The very devil must have told you to do that.
The devil might have told me to knock him down, but stompin' him was my own idea. Well. . . .
Well, I'll be seeing you. Where you going with all that money under cover?
I'm going to see a spiritualist about my departed brother.
The old lady lives down back of that shed.
She can tell you where folks gone after they're dead.
I had a brother die a short while back,
And I'd like to find out where that boy's at.
If you're going down there, you just wasting your time
'Cos talking to the dead folks, that's my line.
First I go into a trancey'know it's agin' my will,
Wanna know about your brother, ya gotta give me a dollar bill.
Now, you can tell me about my brother? Wouldn't tell ya about no other.
About my brother, nowhere's a dollar bill.
I'm going into a trance, don't talk too loud.
I can see that boy, he's flying through the clouds.
He's flying right up through the air,
He's flying straight to heaven, sure as I'm standing here.
But I'm out of that trance, and I hate to make a holler,
Wanna know about your brother? You gotta give me another dollar.
Got to give you another dollar? Yeah, give me another dollar!
Gotta give me another dollar, wanna know where he's at.
Well, yeah, don't leave him hanging in the air like that!
I'm going right back into the land of dreams.
He's flying right up to heaven, it seems.
He's now within ten feet of the golden gate
no, within two feet of the golden gate
But I'm out of that trance, and I hate to tell you, sonny,
Wanna know about your brother, ya gotta give me more money.
Yeah, but this the last dollar bill I got to my name Have to leave him where he's hanging at, and that's a shame.
Well, where'd you say that boy was last time, Miss Tate? Just within two feet of the golden gate.
But without another dollar that's all I can tell.
That's all you can tell? That's all I can tell.
Well, if he can't jump him two feet, he can go to . . . I'll be seein' ya!
Christopher McCandless was not in love with nature, he was merely infatuated with it. Infatuation is attraction without knowledge. If he had loved the wilderness he'd have gotten to know it, learned all he could about it, and would therefore have had a chance to survive it and be living his life today (if that's even what he wanted). And there would be no book and film celebrating his doomed puppy love.
Sometimes there are no learning moments, no explanations. From an account in the Nome Nugget of July 30, 1901:
"The death of George Dean by starvation at the mouth of the Agiapuk river and the narrow escape of his two companions, Thierry and Houston, from the same fate makes a strange story. Without wishing to criticize the survivors, it looks as if they did not make that hustle for life which men should. They were so near the course of navigation that they could hear the voices of men as they passed up and down the river."
Why didn't they . . . why couldn't they . . . why wouldn't they? And the wise Nome Nugget avoids this trap by shrugging away such unanswerables: "But it's a strange country, and strange things happen in it."
From Bob Powers's Happy Cruelty Day, a story called "Fill Your Pockets With Glitter And Confetti And Then Step In Front Of A Speeding Bus Day" but just as easily could be called "The Death of Christopher McCandless, As Interpreted By Idiots":
Your coat and pants pockets should be overflowing with glitter, and you should also have big handfuls of the glitter bunched up in your fists and wads of confetti stuffed in your shoes and socks. This way, when the bus smacks into you, the glitter will burst in a fat twinkling cloud enveloping the entire bus in the shiny rainbow-colored beauty. The bus will roll right over you and then come to a stop. The door will open and the driver and some passengers will file out to the street.
They won't be looking at you. They'll be looking up at the sky at the granules of rainbow and all that confetti showering down upon the street as if someone just won a war. They'll watch it all fall down, turning the street where you died into something magical.
"It looks like a fairy tale," the bus driver will say.
The driver and the handful of passengers following him will approach you to find out whose death it was that brought such enchantment upon the world. They'll look at you in your ripped and bloodied Gap jacket and your Levis jeans and Nike sneakers, one foot wrenched backward, and they'll be silent. The angel looks just like them. The angel is out of shape even. The angel that God just summoned back to heaven still has a Philadelphia Phillies hat on his head. Glitter will continue to hover in the air and all of the passengers still on the bus will have their gaping mouths pasted against the windows, watching you as if a yellow light is going to shine down and carry you up to God. One of the passengers will push her way out the exit of the bus and fall to her knees on the street. She'll pray in Spanish.
29feb2008 Deuces are wild and rhyme and cheat on dates
You may notice that with the screen scrape below Larry Norman has become the first decedent to receive a deuce of R.I.P.s here at Deuce of Clubs.
The extra R.I.P. is not for Extra Pee. Nor is it for helping make a Baptist upbringing slightly more bearable (although, my thanks to the late Mr. Norman for that). No, it's for a reason that I think Larry Norman would have appreciated: the extra death notice is purely in service of a rhyme schemeas is Mr. George Foreman. All because yesterday I happened to notice on the home page the inadvertent rhyming of Larry Norman and Stormin' Mormon.
Clearly, the Trifecta was called for. And who takes on all comers?
1:Hi Andrea, when I heard from Sheryl about her battle with breast cancer I called her immediately. She is a very dear friend, and I just wanted her to know that I was there for her. And there changed my life~
2:My manager, who also handles Chris Isaak, had been to WRAMC with Chris. When we were scheduled to have a couple of days off in DC during our tour, she asked if I would want to go and visit the troops. And there changed my life~
She sure gots a way with the words, there, Stevie Nicks does.
My favorite question for Stevie:
Question 121 - from Ashley McFaul in Dushore, Pa:
Hey Stevie, I've thanked you over and over but, once again thank you for Scranton and Camden. Those nights changed my life.
(If I were answering questions on behalf of Stevie Nicks, instead of Amy Grant's Mandible, my answer to Ashley McFaul of Dushore, Pa would be:
That's awesome, Ashley McFaul . . . but next time try to remember the ~ at the end of the phrase changed my life~. Don't worry about it, it's just something witchy that we do. Luv, Stevie.)
For some strange reason Fleetwood Mac took offense. Well, there's no accounting for taste.
It seems this was the era when Mick Fleetwood was boning Stevie Nicks behind Lindsey Buckingham's back and he felt he had to rescue her honor. Christ! As if they didn't have enough problems of their own with all the break ups, infidelity, cocaine addictions and millions of dollars burdening them! They had to throw their weight around and go after some fledgling punk band. I guess it was a case of the big bully beating up the asthmatic wimp on the playground for making a smart ass comment and laughing during his oral report.
We soon found we were banned in Los Angeles. Someone claiming to be Mick Fleetwood himself called KROQ and threatened them with a lawsuit if they played the song, then called Nigel at home with the same threat. All the major record stores in Los Angeles were threatened with no more big selling Big Mac albums if they sold our nasty little single. Ooh scary! What a threat. Who the hell bought Tusk anyway? It sucked the turds out of a dead bloated water buffalo's anus.
25feb2008 Well, isn't this just Thee Most Awesomest?
Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."
Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.
According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."
[ . . . ]
But the real question is: What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people?
Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to "a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order."
The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike.
[ . . . ]
What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?
Ev Mecham used to run for governor of Arizona pretty much as often as people were allowed to. In 1986 Ev Mecham inspired me to vote for the very first time.
Yes, Mecham was kind of a kook. And he wore a hairpiece. And he was a Mormon.
And I believed that this time he could actually win.
And that's how I came to play my historic part in the fight for free, quality entertainment in Arizona. I am proud to say I campaigned for Evan Mecham (after my own fashion; see photo). I did it becauselike all great reformersI could do no other. Which is to say, because I believed him to be (in the language of a popular record company sticker slogan of the time) our Best Entertainment Value. (I couldn't find a scan of the sticker online. Sorry.)
That year's shoo-in for the Republican nomination, Burton Barr (the model of the corrupt local politican, for whom Phoenix's large downtown library is named), decided that, as shoo-in, he didn't really need to campaign all that hard, or refrain from admitting that as Arizona House Majority Leader he had lied about a tax increase. As Barr put it, "I lied."
This was less than artful, but it was conventional political wisdom that in order to defeat Ev Mecham in a Republican primary, all one had to do was not be Ev Mecham.
Not in 1986. Mecham smoked Barr in the primary and took the nomination, to the general consternation of the Republican leadership. Then the loser in the Democratic primary ran in the general election as an independent, thereby splitting the Democratic vote, to the general consternation of the Democratic leadership.
And that's how, to the great consternation of Arizona Republicans and the great delight of comedy lovers everywhere else, Evan Mecham actually won an election and became governor of Arizona. (Yet somehow it's Barr who gets a library named after him. That's politics.)
Mecham's election probably doesn't seem as weird now that Arnold Schwarz-his-face is an actual governor. But believe me, it was a great day and it was only going to get better, because almost instantly efforts began to recall, impeach, or possibly lynch Mecham. It took them two years to do it, but the "Phoenix 40" and their cronies did succeed in impeaching Mecham and removing him from office (after a lengthy trial that was broadcast live over the radio, making it possible for someone who was supposed to be answering calls at an airline reservation center to actually enjoy his days at work for a change).
The recall / impeachment effort took a couple of years, which enabled Mecham to compile a record of entertainingly ill-advised public comments possibly unequaled by any U.S. state governor in the modern era, such as this unforgettable favorite:
''The elitists, the outsidersthey don't like me,'' he added. ''They think I'm a racial bigot. But I'm not against the blacks. And a lot of the good blacks will attest to that.''
(Actually, that one's a ringer, spoken by Mecham after he left office, but you can read more of Mecham's greatest hits down the right-hand column of this page at the Arizona Res-publica).
But even if I were mistakenly put in charge of selecting Mecham's epitaph, I wouldn't choose one of his many public racial gaffes. I would go instead with the following dry little gem from Mecham's memoir, Wrongful Impeachment:
"I found I liked selling cars. Cars were solid things that people needed and wanted."
O'Neal says he has no desire to be a star with his new team. Those roles belong to Nash and Amare Stoudemire, he said.
"I'm more like a senior adviser so I don’t like to come in here and try to take over," O'Neal said. "Just like your basic karate movie where the young guys come to the old guys with beards who have them do weird stuff to get to the other side. That's who I am, the old guy with a long beard."
Shaquille on Phil Jackson's jokes at his expense:
"I don’t take anything personal," O'Neal said. "I just have a certain file in my head, so Earthlings must be careful with what they say."
When I was a kid in Arizona, the following schoolyard "joke" was common:
Kid A: Are you smart? Kid B: I guess. Sure. Kid A: HAHA THAT MEANS YOU'RE PREGNANT HA SMART MEANS PREGNANT YOU'RE PREGNANT!
I did not understand it then. I do not understand it now.
My friend Joshua remembers it from his kidhood in Fresno, but in Fresno the added element was that Kid A would claim that smart meant pregnant in French.
I made some calls. My sister remembers kids using this same saying. She also remembers them using PG in place of pregnantthat may be a clue. My brother-in-law had never heard or this, nor had my 18-year-old niece. Nor my ma, for that matter.
My dad stopped by to give Valentines Day (bleah!) cards to the girls, and Emily noticed that he spelled Sonora's name incorrectly. Hearing this, I said, "Well, he's only lived here sixty years. He shouldn't be expected to know how to spell the name of the desert he lives in."
(Ten-year-old) Erika: Hyperbole!
Lynda: No, that was sarcasm.
Erika: But it's still irony, right?
Lynda: Yes, sarcasm is just a different kind of irony.
Mark Pauline of Survival Research Laboratories (SRL): I was getting ready for a show in the summer of '82 and I had been doing work and I'd gotten all these parts made for these big rocket motors that I wanted to construct, and I got cast nozzles and ceramic and stuff like that and they had carbon inserts in them and all this high-tech stuffreal thin fiberglass shelves, just like the way a regular military motor is madeand I wanted a 300- or 400-pound thrust motor which you can't haveyou can't buy. You can have motors that levitate maybe 40 pounds off the ground for a second or two, but there's nothing in that range that I wanted, so I got a manual that explained in enough detail this information from Flaghall Rocket Companythe people who make the motors for the space shuttles. I got enough information so that I got a real hot fuel mixture and I made up some of it and we tested it out and it was definitely intense stuff. It was exactly the same stuff like in a military motor, with some additives. That's the only difference between that and space shuttle booster fueladditives that modulate the burning a little bit, but they're not significant. Matt Heckert: Yeah, it only increases the efficiency about three or five percent? Pauline: So those were really powerful motors and I cured them in the autoclave. You have to get them hotlike 150 degrees for a dayto set the fuel. So I set the fuel and I pulled them out of the autoclave and they were still warm. I should have cooled them off morethat was the problem. Because we did drop tests and the stuff was pretty insensitive when it was cold. So there was a pin down the center, and I was really in a hurry to get it outyou have to have a hold on the middle. I didn't really make the pins that carefullythey weren't tapered or anything like that so I was trying to pull them out and I had a release agent on there, but they just wouldn't come out, you know. I was aggravated and I started tapping on them with a mallet, you know, and they started to come out some, and I said, "Well, it looks like they're moving some," so I went outside and I was just tapping on it with a mallet and I was getting aggravated and hitting it too hard, and it blew up. The shock of it just detonated the whole motor at one time. . . .
I was tapping on it pretty hard. It was a sparkit was the friction. It was moving a little bit and then all of a sudden it went shshshttt and let loose and there was enough heat build-up, you know. I mean, when you try to move something with a lot of friction you get a lot of heat. The thing is, it seemed to be pretty impact-resistant. We were hitting small pieces of it with sledgehammers, and it wasn't doing anything. But it's very sensitive to heat fluctuations. If the heat rises above a certain point, it just ignites. In this case, it had nowhere to go because it was igniting down the whole length of it and blew up. (9-10)
Pauline [on the injury to his hand]: Well, I got it rebuilt. I got it put back together to a certain extent. At the outset, you know, they put this finger back on that still had something left of it. Then they put a skin flap over the damaged area like the palm of my hand. They did all that stuff right off, and the nerves grew back in that finger and it worked fine, but I didn't have any other fingers so we decided on getting a couple of toes put on there. That took a little engineering because the state had to pay for it, and it was an expensive operationabout $200,000. This cost almost a quarter of a million dollars to do. Belsito: Probably more than all of your machines put together? Pauline: Yeah, that's what one of my doctors said.
So they put two of the toes on and that operation worked out okay. They did that in May and they can't hitch everything up at once. They have to wait and let it heal for a few months and then they find out what else needs to be done. So I had to wait again until just a couple of weeks ago when they hitched up the rest of this stuff, which is minor, and that should be all I need. Before, I was getting movement out of my fingers, but now they're positioned correctly and I have more muscles. For instance, the thumb that only had two tendons attached to itnow they've hitched up two more tendons, so I should have rotation abilities, and it'll just be much stronger, and that should be it. I'm left-handed and that's all the function I need out of my right hand, to be able to grab thingsit's not just like any other handbut three fingers is really adequate for anything I need to do. . . .
I have a lot of faith in my doctors' ability to do stuff. The people who worked on me are among the doctors who invented the whole process of micro-surgery. The doctor that worked on me developed the whole technique involved with transplanting toes, so, yeah, there's really nobody better. (10-11)
Diamanda Galas: Yeah, my father played New Orleans gigs in VFW Lodges, you know, we played lots of gigs, and then he'd sing some Arabic music and some Greek music. I played piano. And he told me not to sing. That's another good story. He used to tell me, "Please don't sing. Only idiots and hookers are singers. Just play the piano. The smart ones play the piano and the drums and the dumb ones are up there singing." He's right, in many cases. I've seen this very recently. It's really true. (28)
Glass Madness (Church of the SubGenius): That's a Bob songthere's a good Bob and a bad Bob. There's a good Bob song where it's sort of nice, and there are others where they have stronger words, and this is puzzling evidence. (36)
Rev. Ivan Stang: You know, this [San Francisco] is like a historic place to be in for me, except that it's a tremendous letdown to find it the most repressive city we've ever been in. I mean, "Don't say chick." (38)
Robert Anton Wilson: There's a rumor going around that the Head of the Church, Bob Dobbs, is really me under an assumed name. I don't think I should dignify such wild and irresponsible stories by commenting on them at all; but it is true, you know, that if you say "There's no prob with Bob" a thousand times you'll get exactly the same effect as if you had said "Hare Krishna" or "Twas brillig and the slithey toves" a thousand times. Really. You get the same effect from fifty "Our Fathers" and twenty-five "Hail Marys," too. It's called boredom. (52)
Robert Anton Wilson: Alfred Korzybski [was] a mathematician who was obsessed with social problems. He had two great ideas, and a lot of others too of course, but his main ideas were, one, that information is increasing faster every generation, which leads to more and more rapid technological change, and two, that traditional education and religion both train us to assume certainty prematurely. That is, we are trained to be, or pretend to be, certain about things which just are not certain. The result of this, Korzybski said, is that the world is changing faster and faster, but our ideas aren't changing and we are growing more and more disoriented. (54)
Jim Jarmusch: The scene became more a spectator scene than one of participants, whereas initially it seemed like everybody at CBGB's was doing something, everyone wanted to make films or paintings or had a band or something. And now it's just not the same thing. (60)
Jello Biafra: Round about spring or summer of 1978, people in the record industry began to realize that the music was not acceptable to the government, or to the media. It was not in their best interests as the entertainment thought police of industry to back Punk so that it would sell the way they sold the Beatles and the Stones and the so-called movement of the '60s. Robert Fripp has gone so far as to hint that Jimmy Carter put the word out that he didn't want any of these kinds of people signed or promoted, because it would help create "another '60s. We don't want that again, do we?" And so the last American Punk band to be picked up by a major label was the Dickies, who had a relative of one of the people in the band working high up in A&M. They signed them, and that was the last of that. So a lot of people who were playing hard to get, but assuming they would eventually get their way and get the big push, became very dejected and almost broken for a while. It was kind of a rite of passing to either keep going for the love of your art, communication and change, or quit, give up, let it go. There was no pot of stardom at the end of the rainbow this time around. (116)
Jello Biafra: The long-term goal is to inspire the people that come to see us to do something more than just go home and say, "Wow, great rock concert." It's always kind of upset me that we've played so many times in the middle of Broadway Street at the Mabuhay Gardens or the On Broadway, yet the Bank of America at Broadway and Columbus remains untouched. In a way, that's a living, breathing monument to failure on our part. (119)
13feb2008 Sometimes you just wish a baseball bat would fall from the sky onto the skull of a morbidly obese, abusive cop. . .
. . . but should you happen to see Salvatore Rivieri on the street somewhere, well, really, nobody's gonna be all that particular about the falling from the sky part.
Here's some revolting and revealing video of typical cop behavior, as Officer Fatgut showcases his berating and battering skills on a 14-year-old kid he caught skateboardingthough he's mainly bent out of shape because the kid keeps calling him "dude" and "man." The nerve! Fall to the ground, skatepunk, before the greatness that is my circumference!
(Warning: Stay beyond fist's range of your monitor until completion of the video.)
Man, I hope this dude doesn't have any kids, but if he does, I hope they have the courage to run away from home as soon as possible (but not before snagging all his money and leaving a note that says, Sorry, dude).
The one heartwarming thing about the videoapart from the fact that someone had the balls to keep videotaping this rampaging prick's little tantrumis that Rivieri's final recorded words on it are, "You got that camera ON? 'Cos if I find myself on. . . ."
. . . on the Internet, you mean? Well, dude . . . you're totally, like, ON, now . . . man.
UpdateOh, great, this should really help stop the current wave of brutal cop behavior:
A new bill proposed at the legislature would allow for police to withhold misconduct reports from the public. Supporters of the bill believe that police misconduct should be kept secret from the public so to not discredit police testimony. Others say that a forthright police unit is essential to the community.
More than a million people watched the video on YouTube. Massey was shocked to see his new found fame. The footage may have never been seen had Massey not made a records request to obtain the tape.
Currently, misconduct reports are available in Utah with an official records request. Under the bill SB260, sponsored by Senator Chris Buttars, the video and investigation report from Massey's tazering might have been kept secret from the public and journalists.
12feb2008 All in favour of Ramona's monkey, say yes
Go ahead, BET ME I can't keep from listening to "Ramona Say Yes" about 100x in a row, GO ON, bet me, oh damn I lose.
I thrilled (and watusi'd and frugged) to these when I was a tyke. Then I took them to school for mass counter-indoctrination of my fellow inmates. Soon after that we moved away and I discovered that my Frankie Stein LPs had all stayed behind in Miss Priscilla Borrusso's classroom, there to continueone hopesto fight the good fight.
10feb2008 Wherein I agree for the first time with a Tempe City Council member
Tempe City Councilwoman Barb Carter said she was shocked to hear that a Tempe man reportedly blames a council decision for pushing him to plot a "bloody" revenge on crowds of people at the Super Bowl.
"Why would he take it out on innocent people?" Carter said.
. . . instead of on the guilty Tempe City Council members, you mean? Right there with you on that, councilwoman. A puzzler, is what it is (although somehow I suspect Mary Rose Wilcox knows the answer).
Jeff kicked us out of the band because I could no longer tolerate his idiotic behaviour. He could be charming when he wanted to or when he had to, but that would make me resent him even more. He was also a huge liar; sometimes he'd lie just for the hell of it. This may all sound whimsical or romantic, but you try being in a van with someone like that and you're going to start dreaming of killing him. I don't care how good a songwriter he was. Ex-Gun Club guitarist Ward Dotson, on Jeffrey Lee Pierce
08feb2008 Department of Homeland Security Encounters Balls of Brass on Tohono O'odham Reservation
A great deal has been learned of the social history of the cattle towns and, even though we now know they were nowhere near as violent as once claimed by popularizers of history, Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, and Dodge City, they were the termini of long, hard drives, where men who had been governed for weeks by some yet unknown law of the trail conducted themselves with more or less conformity to the familiar law of the state. (30)
The customs of the mining districts and their enforcement in the miners' courtsplus the occasional enforcement of that enforcement in state and federal courtsprovide legal historians with a very, very rare opportunity to ask not only what is law, but what is the source of law and the authority for law. Such questions can be taken even further. Once it is agreed why the local rules voted by the first miners in what they called a "mining district" were in fact "law" and had the authority of law, there is the opportunity to investigate the legal attitudesthe law-mindedness as well as the understanding of law of average nineteenth-century North Americans, in a social environment where there was no coercive state to impose and enforce norms of behavior. (32)
According to Louis A. Knafla, "historians of Western Canada have been fascinated with the question of lawlessness, and have sought to explain why the Canadian West did not have the violence and lawlessness which was seen to characterize the early American West." But the answers once assumed, he believes, are beginning to change as legal historians start to rephrase the questions. [R]ecently some Canadian authors have revealed that the Canadian West was not without its elements of violence, while American authors have explained that most settlers and communities were notable in their demand for seeking legal instead of extra-legal means in the resolution of contracts, land titles and personal disputes." (34-5)
Considering the popular mythology of violence in the westward movement, much of the individual findings were surprising, and some even puzzling. We have to explain, for example, the legal behavior of two starving men left behind on Lassen's Cutoff in 1849. They were in desperate straits when a third man passed by their camp driving three oxen found in the mountains. He said he was keeping two and gave them the thirdwhich "we might kill and eat." The men desperately needed food, but doubts that the animal belonged to the grantor produced some unexpected legalism. Thinking "it might not be his," they "desired him to shoot him himself, which he done." They then took the beef and survived on it. Their behavior, refusing to receive from someone who might not have the "right" to give, was certainly legally as much as morally motivated, but was it too legal? Surely the two men knew there was no possibility that the animal "belonged" to anyone within three hundred miles of the transfer. Yet their insistence that the other man kill it, that the act of conversion had to be his, not theirs, is typical of behavior on the overland trail. Even if we cannot agree on just what it means, it is evident that it tells us something about legal behavior and law-mindedness in the nineteenth century. (40)
What Dr. Jewett says is typical of all the other surviving diaries from the Humboldt of 1850. The evidence is in the emphasis and tone as much as the specific words. The Iaw-mindedness is found not so much in the fact that the diarists never tell us of violence over food but that they seldom consider that violence is likely. The legal culture determined that none of the many diaries that have survived from the perilous trip of 1850 contend that the right to avoid starvation might be a higher right than the right of property. It was not common law, of course, but the law of a law-minded laity that permitted the "owner" of property to exercise total dominion no matter how morally objectionable that dominion might be. (41)
There is no way to overstate Umbeck's thesis; it leaves no room for exaggeration. The "ability" of those early California miners "to use violence," he says, "was the basis for all property rights." Interestingly, unlike his Canadian counterparts, Umbeck found "very little reported violence" for the years that California mining law was taking shape. No matter, however, for a theory of violence can be proven by nonviolence. "Where information is available concerning each miner's ability to use violence, the threat of violence may be sufficient to maintain exclusive rights. I suspect that the sight of a six-shooter strapped to the hip of each miner made this type of information relatively inexpensive, and so reduced the incidence of actual violence." (43)
Jean Baptiste Trudeau, for instance, did not realize that he was describing one of the Arikaras' legal sanctions when he noted that they had no physical sanctions. "[T]hey have no quarrels or feuds caused by theft, slander or cheating," Trudeau wrote in his journal. "If anyone among them is discovered to have been guilty of such conduct they content themselves with telling him that he has no sense, or that he has a wicked heart, and usually in a case of theft, they say that the thief must have been in sore need, and do not carry the matter further." Trudeau meant that they did not inflict what he thought of as "punishment," but they had inflicted a different kind of punishment. They had not carried the matter further because they had applied the sanctions that were, in their legal culture, likely to be effectiveridicule, satire and, perhaps, gossipsanctions which could prove unbearable in a small, face-to-face society such as the Arikara villages, at least to bring about individual and collective conformity. (52)
Crooner Slim Whitman, 84, responds to media reports about his death.
"I can still sing," he said. "If you are dead, you can't sing."
A relieved and bewildered friend who had called to pay his respects told Whitman that a crowd at a Southwest Florida performance was moved to tears over the rumor. The fellow country singer, George Hamilton IV, said he added a hymn to the concert in Whitman's memory.
"I said, 'It seemed like you wasted it,' " Whitman told his pal. [. . .]
"It got so bad, I sort of pinched myself," Whitman said. "I'm breathing pretty good here. I don't take any medicine. I don't even wear glasses."
He still drives and said he is always pleased to be recognized in the grocery store. [. . .]
In 1996, Indian Love Call was used in the climax of the movie Mars Attacks to fend off the invasion.
"I'm the one who killed the blasted Martians," he said.
I've finished the Secret Museum and posted it all. Still waiting for
some books to arrive in the mail which may clear it up some, but it
remains largely a mystery. I know where most of the images/text came
from, but not why they weren't sued into oblivion for ripping them off.
Hopefully the mystery will unravel. I'm not done picking at it yet.
(See also: Secret Museum of Mankind stuff at DoC Uno | Dos)
So, yeah. Everything I said I would do by today, I'll do after today.
(Some good scientific research came of this malady, though. You know how when you're puking all night it feels like just about the worst thing in the world is nausea, and how you'd be willing to do or try just about anything to get relief from it? Did you know there is a miracle medicine that will take the nausea away mere moments after a single puff? Would you believe this blessed balm just grows in the ground, like a weed? Do you realize that governments you and I pay for are making "war" on this wonder drug, locking up whoever they catch using it? Did you notice the word puff has now appeared in two straight entries?)
22jan2008 DoC pal Laurie with news from Cochise county:
hey - in a nut shell.
A tiny tiny puffball kitten was hanging around my studio window crying. I investigate- I attempt to catch it. it goes under my car. try some more and it scuttles off to a few cars down I say to hell with it. 3 hours later I am leaving my studio its 9 at night I call around for the kitten. look under cars no sound or sign of it so I drive home with a clear conscience.
Next morning I am drinking tea and my dog tyke is barking the rattlesnake bark. I run outside Tykes at the garage and there at his feet is the damn kitten.
my windows were rolled up so it must've hitched a ride in the engine compartment
its a gimpy little thing with a bum leg but doesnt seem to be in pain. We figure we will keep it. tenacity is an important desert survival virtue right?
"If you don't trust gold, do you trust the logic of taking a pine tree, worth $4,000-$5,000, cutting it up, turning it into pulp, putting some ink on it and then calling it one billion dollars?" Kenneth J. Gerbino
So why have investors been abandoning conventional assets, such as government bonds and stakes in blue-chip businesses, in favour of a metal that appears to offer no reward for holding it? The answer, I'm afraid, is crumbling faith in the world's central banks, and in particular the US Federal Reserve, where the presses have been working overtime. . . .
What's really upsetting investors is the speed at which money is being printed by governments, especially America's, that cannot face the problem of funding wild expenditure plans solely from reserves or taxation.
In that sense, the gold price's journey towards $1,000 is a resounding vote of no confidence in authority. It's the market flashing a red light. . . .
Currencies come and go, but gold has been a store of value for more than 5,000 years. Gold is rare, but, thanks to Gutenberg, paper money is not. Presented with an opportunity to churn out extra cash at little expense, it takes a special kind of government to resist. Few seem able to do so.
According to former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan: "There is no inherent anchor in a fiat-money regime [a currency not underpinned by gold]. What constitutes its 'normal' inflation rate is a function solely of a country's culture and history." For many, that flexibility has proven ruinous.
Inflation wrecks currencies in the same way that termites destroy wooden houses. The world's two most successful currencies, the US dollar and the British pound, both of which are still used by other nations to hoard wealth, have each lost more than 95 per cent of their value in the past 100 years.
Since 1971, when Richard Nixon broke the dollar's formal link to gold, America has pumped out trillions of new dollars. Money from thin air. China alone is sitting on more than $1,000 billion of reserves, as American consumers pile up debts to buy "essentials" from factories in Shenzhen and Guangdong. No wonder the buck has lost its fizz.
By contrast, there is a finite supply of gold. This keeps it honest. As financial commentator Peter Burshre pointed out: "Regardless of the dollar price involved, one ounce of gold would purchase a good-quality man's suit at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War [American War of Independence], the Civil War, the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and today."
Gold doesn't always appreciate in price, of course. In 1980, it was selling at more than $800 an ounce. Twenty years later, it had dropped to $275. It is theoretically possible to get rich by betting on fiat currencies and against gold. But the scoring average of all those who try is pretty poor. . . .
Sophisticates claim that, in a world of electronic money, gold is a barbarous relic. But as the sub-prime horror ravages the international banking system, millions of ordinary savers know better. While ministers debate the merits of flooding the global system with liquidity to ease the credit crunch, Delhi taxi drivers are buying gold, accelerating the shift of wealth from west to east.
"Practically all governments of history," said Friedrich von Hayek, "have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people." Gold stands in the way of this process; it is a protector of property rights.
During the early seventeenth century the port city of Salè on the Moroccan coast became a haven for pirates from all over the world, eventually evolving into a free, proto-anarchist state that attracted, among others, poor, outcast Europeans who came in droves to begin new lives of piracy
preying upon the trade ships of their former home countries. Among these European Renegadoes was the Dread Captain Bellamy; his hunting ground was the Straits of Gibraltar, where all ships with legitimate commerce changed course at the mention of his name, often to no avail. One Captain of a captured merchant vessel was treated to this speech by Bellamy after declining an invitation to join the pirates [and the pirates had voted to burn his sloop]:
I am sorry they won't let you have your sloop again, for I scorn to do anyone a mischief, when it is not to my advantage; damn the sloop, we must sink her, and she might be of use to you. Though you are a sneaking puppy, and so are all those who submit to be governed by laws which rich men have made for their own security; for the cowardly whelps have not the courage otherwise to defend what they get by knavery; but damn ye altogether: damn them for a pack of crafty rascals, and you, who serve them, for a parcel of hen-hearted numbskulls. They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is only this difference, they rob the poor under the cover of law, forsooth, and we plunder the rich under protection of our own courage. Had you not better make then one of us, than sneak after these villains for employment?
When the captain replied that his conscience would not let him break the laws of God and man, the pirate Bellamy continued:
You are a devilish conscience rascal, I am a free prince, and I have as much authority to make war on the whole world as he who has a hundred sail of ships at sea, and an army of 100,000 men in the field, and this my conscience tells me; but there is no arguing with such snivelling puppies, who allow superiors to kick them about deck at pleasure.
The last time gold touched $850 an ounce, the world was visibly spiralling out of control. . . .
The price has jumped 42 per cent since the US credit markets suffered their heart attack in August. It has tripled since Gordon Brown sold over half Britain's reserves, deeming it a barbarous relic. That conceit has cost taxpayers £3.4bn, after adjusting for returns from dollar, euro, and yen bonds. . . .
Note that gold smashed the 28-year record just days after the European Central Bank launched its monetary "shock and awe", showering half a trillion dollars on the banks, with parallel moves by the Fed, the Bank of England and the Swiss. Clearly, a small army of investors is betting - rightly or wrongly - that our debt-bloated democracies are now too decadent to take their punishment. The elites will opt for the easy path of reflation to postpone the day of reckoning.
Ben Bernanke, the Fed chief, is viewed as an inflationist. He once talked of dropping bank notes from helicopters. Loose words have consequences if you are a Fed governor.
"The central banks are flooding the market with paper," Peter Hambro of Peter Hambro Mining, said. "Does anybody now take the dollar, the euro or the pound seriously? People are turning to gold because it is the only hard store of value," he said. . . .
"A lot of our clients have been buying gold since the credit crunch because they think central banks will respond with aggressive monetary easing. If that becomes a mainstream view, gold will soon have four figures on it. The feeling is that there is a lot of money around, and not much gold. . . ."
"We think gold is fundamentally overvalued by about $150 but that can go on for a long time," John Reade, the precious metals chief at UBS and top forecaster this year. "A lot of our clients have been buying gold since the credit crunch because they think central banks will respond with aggressive monetary easing. If that becomes a mainstream view, gold will soon have four figures on it. The feeling is that there is a lot of money around, and not much gold," he said.
Indeed. Mining bosses complain that the earth's crust is yielding less gold. Output in South Africa has fallen to the lowest since 1932. Canada has passed peak output. Gregory Wilkins, head of Barrick Gold, says: "Global mine supply is going to decrease at a much faster rate than people generally believe."
In the Middle Ages gold fetched nearly $3,000 an ounce in real terms. The price fell to nearer $550 when Spain flooded the world with Aztec and Inca riches, and there it hovered for three centuries.
But the modern era has been an aberration. Supply is exhausted. Perhaps we should now regard the Middle Ages as the proper benchmark price. One thing is certain: gold will outperform paper as long as governments keep increasing the global money supply 15 per cent a year.
Santa and his precursors disappear entirely with the advent of Judaic monotheism; it is Jehovah Himself who is the giver of gifts and to whom the traditional prayer, "Ohmigod, Thou Shouldn'st Have," is directed:
O Lord of Hosts
It is perfect
It is just what I wanted.
How didst Thou know?
O but wait. I am as a dunce.
Thou art the All One and
I love it.
For is this robin's egg blue not
Mine favorite of all the colors?
And behold how it fits!
For yea, it chafeth not, neither doth it itch.
Blessed art Thou
O Lord our God
King of the Universe
Who knoweth what we want
And our exact size.
Thou shouldn'st have.
(Would that the rest of the bookby the author of "There You Go Again, Jeeves," the brilliant Wodehouse parody that replaces Bertie Wooster with Ronald Reaganwere up to the same standard.)
The average person in the home today has got his surrounds turned up FAR too high and his sub-woofers turned up FAR too high, because he wants to show off to his neighbor that he's got a "home theater." And in actual fact, it's not duplicating the intent of the moviemakerthe way that the average film is played back home. Goddammit." Ioan Allen, Dolby Labs, in "The Birth of 5.1 Sound," on the Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier DVD