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12aug2002 to 06feb2004

Junk you may have missed and yet managed to live happily without

06feb2004 -- So we've outlived most of the scary books and movies now: 1984 ... 2001 ... even Space: 1999. What now stands between us and "In The Year 2525?" Anyone?

At any rate, since you have five centuries + change to kill, throw away some fraction of that on this paean to 2001, crafted by Jeremy in "Virgina" (found in Amazon's Customer Review section for 2001):

Through struggling dream of intuition
Man has seeked to encompass the final frontier
But Kubrick doesn't allow simplistic terms
He lets the our minds attain leverage to steer
What lies beyond our confining realm
Perhaps little will abide to care
Then it would be a waste of imagination
Look another monolith over there!

05feb2004 -- There were also conspicuous numbers of a more obnoxious breed: eastern tourists. "I don't know why it is that folks who have good horse sense back at home in Boston, New York, or Cincinnati, can't get out here without turning to doddering imbeciles -- but it seems they can't," Lummis wrote, describing how they gaped openmouthed at Indians and snapped up cheap trinkets thinking they were authentic artifacts. -- Mark Thompson, American Character: The Curious Life of Charles Fletcher Lummis and the Rediscovery of the Southwest

29jan2004 -- "Hovely is anti-war and I asked him if he ever does any out-and-out protesting in the trenches. He said only in little things. For instance, when he takes his hat off for the anthem he doesn't hold it over his heart. I feel rather the same way. The whole anthem-flag ritual makes me uncomfortable, and when I was a starting pitcher I'd usually be in the dugout toweling sweat off during the playing of the anthem. We agreed we're both troubled by the stiff-minded emphasis on the flag that grips much of the country these days. A flag, after all, is still only a cloth symbol. You don't show patriotism by showing blank-eyed love for a bit of cloth. And you can be deeply patriotic without covering your car with flag decals." -- Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1969

12jan2004 --
Those who help in our endeavour will earn the right to bear the Not Fooling Anybody Rangers' shield on their website, lapel, or anywhere else they so choose.
I did. And have. And do.
Now, does anyone have a scan or photo of the old Taco Bell logo (as seen in the Best of Philly conversion)?
Also: (who brought you the Flash edition of Celebresemblities) is in danger of slipping below the surface for good. Or, rather evil ... evil is what it would be if that happened.
If you can help, please do.

08jan2004 -- "Lying for a Living"

05jan2004 -- "Mr. Bovard's writings have been publicly denounced by FBI Director Louis Freeh, HUD director Henry Cisneros, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, the White House AIDS czar, and the chiefs of the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Equal Opportunity Commission, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as former IRS commissioner Shirley Peterson. The National Treasury Employees Union and the American Postal Workers Union have also added their condemnations." Clearly, a man worth reading.

01jan2004 -- Anyone wishing to send real-world items or objects to D.o.C. HQ is to be advised that as of yesterday (31dec2003), the old P.O. Box ist now kaput and the new D.o.C. HQ is "in the saddle," as they used to say. Current coordinates available -- sporadically -- via email.
Also, there will be no mention made of "New Year's Resolutions" but this one.

From John Alcock's The Masked Bobwhite Rides Again (pp. 76-7):

Although we have not been multiplying with quite the exuberance of some other nations, even so, in just the last fifty years the USA has nearly doubled its citizenry. There are so many extra people around that I personally have noticed the increase. I live in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. My subdivision is now about thirty years old. When we first moved here I was twenty years younger than I am at this moment, the United States' population stood at a little over 200 million, and the nearest major street was endearingly named Rural Road. Not too long before we did our share to stimulate the frenzied real estate market in Tempe, Rural Road passed through a largely agricultural landscape of cotton fields and sorghum plantings. Hence its name. Cottonwoods lined irrigation ditches. Aerial photographs of Tempe's agricultural fields taken in the fifties and sixties revealed faint lines, the legacy of Hohokam farmers who built irrigation ditches through what was going to become Tempe hundreds of years later, long after the Hohokam Indians abandoned their fields forever.

The ancient irrigation projects of the Hohokam are now obliterated by a zillion new housing developments, which have cannibalized all the old agricultural land in Tempe. Once you could pull out onto Rural Road at any hour of the day with barely a pause to check for oncoming traffic. Now the flood of cars running to and from south Tempe make each trip from Loyola Drive onto Rural Road a minor adventure on most days. Helicopters whir far overhead during rush "hour," offering information on which streets and freeways have become impassable and giving advice on the lesser of two evil routes home. Once you could drive out into the countryside near town and find a desert wash in which the only human footprints you were likely to encounter would be your own. No more.

I liked it the way it was. I have had it with changes. I would prefer to keep things as they are. Or were. There are plenty of people right now in Tempe, Arizona, in the United States of America, in the world. Do we really need any more?

16dec2003 -- Once again, reality beggars satire: You may have seen someone, perhaps me, wearing a shirt with the timely public service announcement at left. But if you're lucky enough to live in Bakersfield, California, you get to see real cop cars bearing the same slogan (right). (Nope. Not joking. Wish I were.)

Link via Bureaucrash

(See also)

Thanks to Melinda for the tip on the followup:

03nov2003 -- Amy Grant's Mandible has a new sponsor: Lunacactus. They sell these mind-blowingly bizarre optical illusion-y items. You can see animations of the illusions on their site (but you can take the word of a non-smoke-blower: they look even better in person).

28oct2003 -- Harry Browne's "A Forgotten Day & a Forgotten Country"

22oct2003 -- Continuing Beatles mash-up aktion.

"My line is so beating the heck out of your stupid line. Fear my pink line. You have no chance. I am the undisputed lord of virtual tennis. [Misses ball] Whoops." (via Cardhouse)
Kid sounds like a Cub.
(Yes, still working on forgetting last night's Game 7. Life in virtual Mudville stinks.)

14oct2003 -- Last night, one of the most heartbreaking baseball games ever:
With one out and the Cubs leading 3-0 Tuesday night, the Marlins' Luis Castillo lifted a foul down the left-field line just past the bullpen. The Cubs' Moises Alou raced over, timed his jump perfectly and opened his glove. But the ball hit the heel of the kid's hand and caromed a few seats over.
In the Florida dugout, Game 7 pitcher Mark Redman turned to first baseman Derek Lee and said, ``Let's make this kid famous.''
They did, but only because of an equally ham-handed attempt by Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez on a grounder that could have turned into an inning-ending double play. Before his teammates regained their composure, Florida exploded for eight runs and the only suspense left was whether the kid would get out of Wrigley alive.
He's 26 and had a Cubs hat on, but a view from close-up yielded no further clues. A sweater covered his face as he was escorted by security guards on a brief perp walk from his seat to a security office behind the left-field stands.

If there's a Goat Curse, award that game's horns not to a 26-year-old Cub fan (who has now issued a press release and revealed himself to be Steve Bartman) but to a 30-year-old Cub employee -- their shortstop (who may wish to remain anonymous but is in fact Alex Gonzalez) -- who botched a perfect game-ending double-play ball.
But if the Cubs win tonight, the person to throw out the first ball at the first World Series game in Wrigley Field in almost six decades should be: Steve Bartman. How perfect would that be, as a once-&-for-all, in-your-face to Curses? Bill Veeck would've done it.

08oct2003 -- The Free State Project: The Freakout Begins:

06oct2003 -- A week ago there were eight teams in the MLB playoffs. Chicago and Boston were two of them. Tonight there are only four teams left in the MLB playoffs. Chicago and Boston are still two of them.
There are curses.
And there is hope.

01oct2003 -- Free State Project picks New Hampshire:

29sep2003 -- Spotted on a California freeway: A sheriff's department prison bus on which the dumbass motto A Tradition of Service had been modified by some vigilant citizen to the more honest motto A Tradition of   vice.

23sep2003 -- Yesterday morning I went to a clinic in search of treatment for what seems to be a nasty case of strep throat. Health care professionals -- they do what they do because they care about people and want to help them. one hears. This clinic, however, refused to treat me because I wouldn't produce a driver's license (and let them photocopy it) or sign five different waivers (one of which would have indicated my cheerful willingness for them to "share my information" with law enforcement). I did sign the waiver saying, yes, you can treat me, and yes, I will pay for it at the time services are rendered. Given that I'm uninsured, you have to wonder why they should demand my Social Security Number, street address (something I don't actually have at the moment), and all the other beeswax.

21sep2003 -- Kitty Empire presents: Mascot Stalker

18sep2003 -- "He made me laugh, and I think that's the mark of a comedian." -- Kim Cattrall's penetrating observation on the work of John Ritter

10sep2003 -- presents: How much is inside a Sharpie?

07sep2003 -- If you were looking for tan or brown artificial plastic grass -- astroturf-y, but longer -- in order to, say, cover a van with it ... where would you look?
I am looking for tan or brown artificial plastic grass in order to cover a van with it.
Update (10sep2003): Solution found. Beware the Porcu-van.

21aug2003 -- Anyone work for California's Department of Motor Vehicles? Know someone who does? I urgently need some help.

10aug2003 -- Still looking for scans of the following books:

... all in service to the betterment of "The Second Coming," of course.

05aug2003 -- Only 42 to go! Get over there and join up so we can pick the state, willya?

04aug2003 -- Does anyone remember how to make a clothespin gun? The kind that will light and shoot matches?
Sixth grade seems very far away.
Update: The clothespin gun mystery has been solved. Rejoicing is heard in the corridors of imaginary sixthgraderdom. Muchas gracias to Don.

01aug2003 -- Would someone please help the President find his way back to his organ grinder?

27jul2003 -- 28,600 reasons to retire this phrase immediately.

21jul2003 -- A message from the Defund the DEA effort of the Marijuana Policy Project: On Wednesday or Thursday of this week, the full U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the issue of medical marijuana for the first time in five years!
U.S. Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), with the support of Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and many other House members, are planning to propose a medical marijuana amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations bill. Quite simply, the amendment would prevent the DEA and the Justice Department from spending any money to investigate or raid medical marijuana patients and providers in the states where medical marijuana is legal. It is urgent that you let your U.S. representative know -- today or Tuesday -- that you want him or her to vote for the Hinchey/ Rohrabacher amendment. Here's how:
The easiest thing to do is to fax your U.S. representative a pre- written letter from our Web site at The entire process takes only two minutes. After you enter your address, you will see links to a selection of sample letters; please choose a letter, edit it if you like, and then fax it to your U.S. representative with one final click.
If you are feeling inspired, we strongly encourage you to personalize your letter. (But whatever you do, please make sure that the letter clearly asks your U.S. representative to vote for the Hinchey/ Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations bill on the House floor.)

          [__|__] [__\
          |----|  | |FSP\

17jul2003 -- Coming soon: The PorcuVan.
(ASCII conception courtesy TW)

09jul2003 -- All Dish, No Take Department: In response to the Washington government's TIA program (formerly called Total Information Awareness, now masquerading under the name Terrorist Information Awareness) a laudable pair of MIT researchers have created Government Information Awareness. We'll see how the overlords take swallowing a dose of their own poison.
(Related Boston Globe article)
And here's a summing up of what's coming (via Cardhouse)

04jul2003 -- Unfortunately, July 4th has become a day of deceit. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared its independence from Great Britain. Thirteen years later, after a difficult war to secure that independence, the new country was open for business. It was truly unique -- the first nation in all of history in which the individual was considered more important than the government, and the government was tied down by a written Constitution. It was the one nation where you could live your life secure in the knowledge that no one would ask for your papers, where you weren't identified by a number, and where the government wouldn't extort a percentage of your income as the price of holding a job. And so each year July 4th has been a commemoration of the freest country in history.
But the America that's celebrated no longer exists....

(More of Harry Browne's "Uncelebrating the Fourth")

Today's Vocabulary Word: abscotchalater n. one in hiding from the police
Which Stella & I were last night & early, early this morning.
Last night we were in The Peoples' Republic of Tempe, where I made a left turn into what I thought was the center lane but turned out instead to be an oncoming lane, into which magically appeared a motorcycle. Boneheaded move on my part, and I remarked how much like a drunk driver I probably looked. (I'd had no mind-altering substances at all that night, except for Italian ice that tasted so much like a real pear that it apparently impairs one's ability to drive.) Good thing that didn't look like a motorcycle cop, I said -- then I look in the rear-view & see it make a U-turn. So I think I'm going to have a confrontation with some angry biker guy. Fine, okay, I'll deal. Then with the cop lights. OH, BOY. I have just arguably imperiled the life of what even regular cops consider the most asshole-ish of cops: the motorcycle cop. Now I am much preferring a confrontation with an angry biker guy. One, that is, who is not also a cop.
I pull into a parking lot, shut off the engine, and begin to get things ready for the inevitable "Your papers, please?" Without my noticing, Stella takes the lucky penny she found a few minutes earlier and puts it in the cup holder. I roll down the window and notice the motorcycle engine noise getting fainter. The cop has peeled across the street with his lights on, after someone else.
What kind of easily observable offense do you have to commit to get a MOTORCYCLE COP -- the redheaded step-piglet of all cops -- to set free the guy he has just pulled over for playing road chicken with him? I'd really like to know, but I was too busy getting my pulled-over ass out of that parking lot to find out. (But to the person who done something badder than I done last night at the exact perfect moment to save my insurance rates: muchas gracias. And thanks to lucky pennies everywhere.)
We immediately fled Tempe, just in case Johnny Motorcycle Dork called in anything. (Don't laugh. Nothing more petty than a bored cop.) After a closing-time visit to Chez Nous (I had a soda, thank you), we ended up at Phoenix's Roadrunner Park. Parks have "hours," whatever that's supposed to mean for a park. And we were in the park at two or three in the morning. So, big criminals we.
I remember hearing a comedian tell about being pulled over for running a red light and having the cop tell him, "I can let you go on the red light, but your expired registration .. there's no way I can let that go." The comedian couldn't believe that running a red light, which could actually KILL SOMEONE, could be considered less important than paperwork. To those in power, power is all that matters, which puts paperwork up top of the food chain. Whatever their contrary claims, order-givers and order-followers do not care about freedom, or justice, or even safety. They care about control.
So, back to the park, where we're just sitting for a while, and a cop cruiser pulls in. So we move to another part of the large park. And there's the cop cruiser again. We return to where we were in the first place. The cruiser pulls in again and stops by my car. Both cops get out and start shining flashlights into it. Great. 3 a.m. Bored Cop Situation.
Surveying the scene, liberty-loving Stella is getting angry, as am I. At this point, however, I just want the petty bastards to leave, so we can leave. They linger, unfortunately, and we were thinking they might get the car booted or towed or something, so we begin to walk in that direction to ... what? "Explain" things? Explain what? There's nothing to explain. Stella said not to worry, that she would do all the talking. I preferred to stay in the shadows until they left. I told her of my never participate in unprovoked cop confrontations of any kind policy. She reassured me that she would handle it. I would stay quiet. That was the plan.
Before they could spot us, they got back into their car & drove into the park a little, shining their spotlight around. We hung back until it looked as though they were leaving, then continued toward the car. This seemed golden, until they turned around. Running from bored cops seemed not so great an option. We were opening our car doors when they pulled up and demanded ID. Stella resisted at first, but it's either that or they can haul you off to jail for the night. This was not going to be that night, so we coughed up the licenses.
While Johnny Law ran our licenses into their stupid computer, Jeannie Law lectured us about "being where we don't belong" and tried to justify her existence by telling us all about an ongoing string of violence and robbery recently in that park and at that very time of night -- which, practically in the next breath, she changed to "before park closing." Which means her windy explanation of The Rationale of Park Hours lost its force. Clearly, she had no fucking idea what she was talking about, but then I'm sure I already mentioned that she was a cop.
While I'm wishing her bumbling partner knew how to work his computer faster, Jeannie Law keeps grilling us with stupid questions. I'm thinking, I wish the cops were so johnny-on-the-fucking-inquisitive-spot when all my possessions were stolen, instead of snorting in my face at the idea of actually trying to catch the thieves.
Then I get the good news that my tags are expired. (Had no idea. If I get a bill in the mail, I pay it, but it doesn't occur to me to wonder where it is if it doesn't show up.) Jeannie Law proceeds to have a cow about the tags being expired.
So they tell us we must leave immediately but "I don't know how you're gonna get home," because the car is "not driveable" without current tags. "So the tags are expired and that has somehow made the car magically inoperable?" I say, holding up my key. As they drive by us, Jeannie Law snottily says that if we drive the car, they will be waiting to "pounce" on us.
So we're left standing there, dumbfounded. We've been forcibly stranded far from our homes by America's Goddamned Heroes who have warned us of imminent physical harm and then left us there to fend off the stranglemuggers ourselves because of PAPERWORK.
I was thinking, I'd hate to get stranglemugged just to prove a point, but FUCK.
We stood around for a while and discussed the idiocy of having to hide from the police in this darkened park allegedly filled with violent criminals. We saw a cop car go by a few times, but if it was the same two idiots, they must've satisfied their morbid curiosity and so finally we lit out on back streets and got the car into the garage. All in a night's work for a pair of abscotchalaters.

29jun2003 -- If you want the straight lowdown on Hollywood, listen to the audio commentary for the highly recommended in its own right From Hell from chapter 29 to the end. Co-director Albert Hughes lays it all out for you. "There are a lot of evil, evil, leechy, fucked-up people in this business... You forget that you can actually just leave this town. I've, over the years, just been disgusted with the type of people that exist in this town. We've kind of got a reputation now of talking too much shit and being too bitter, but whatever. We went to Europe and made this film and the best thing to come from it ... was to go, You know what? Fuck 'em. There *is* another way, if we want to come out here and lead the life and even make films in other countries, small films, and not have to deal with these assholes. This happens to be the only business [in which] you don't have to have any credentials, so, of course, you get a lot of crazy, fucked-up, leechy individuals in this business...." He goes on to talk about the reasons for filmmaking in the first place and the paucity of the three-act structure. His last words on the commentary are golden:
"I'm rambling on now, because I just hit the pipe." [laughs]

26jun2003 -- Deuce slang, from The American Slang Dictionary:

Deuce o'dims and darks on the cutback: forty-eight hours ago
Deuce of benders: knees
Deuce of haircuts: two weeks
Deuce of nods on the backbeat: two nights ago
Deuce of peekers: two eyes
Deuce of ticks: two minutes
(via Babsomatic)

24jun2003 -- Sis had spinal surgery this morning and was walking by afternoon. Hooray for the champion spine of my sister.

22jun2003 -- What threatened to happen to Show Low last year has now happened to Summerhaven (at the top of Mt. Lemmon). It's pretty much gone. Relief info is now available.

19jun2003 -- Much as I hate to link to New Times, I am compelled by the genial irascibility of Kimber Lanning (of Stinkweeds and Modified and now Scenic).

16jun2003 -- Is Lying About The Reason For War An Impeachable Offense?

12jun2003 -- Vote for Roscoe. Cos he's CYOOT. (1) Copy 0000130754 into the "Search for" box; (2) on the following page, click the orange VOTE graphic; (3) give Roscoe a 10. Won't you do it today? For the kitties? And for tasteecakes?

10jun2003 -- I broke my saw, and I don't have the words. I'm not speechless. I just don't have the words.

10jun2003 -- Well, after all, they're called the Reds, not the Well-Reads:
Just ran across something I wrote down back in 1990 during a World Series post-game interview with goggled-eyed Reds third baseman Chris Sabo, who'd played great defense that day:
Interviewer: "You took ten chances, almost a regular clinic out there."
Chris Sabo: "Well, I don't know about that, I think I'm a pretty GOOD fielder!"
(Recalls another well-read player's retort to the interviewer who noted that his home run in an already-winning cause was "superfluous":
"No way, it was a fair ball all the way!" (Yogi Berra)

09jun2003 -- From a conversation over cake recently came the idea of juggling little people, which then became the idea of juggling little people who are themselves juggling miniature chainsaws -- an illustration of orbits and epicycles that would be called Ptolemaic Juggling. It would be beautiful. And, like the Ptolemaic system itself, it would, within the scope of its purposes, be "true."
Maybe I am consuming too much cake.

08jun2003 -- Speaking of televised baseball, I noticed that when I had TBS baseball broadcasts on in the background, I kept getting Scott Joplin's "Bethena" stuck in my head. So I actually sat & watched for a while and it turns out that their four "alert" tones (signalling that an intrusive information bar is about to scroll across the bottom of the screen) are the first four notes of "Bethena" (albeit in a different key, but still). Though I haven't noticed myself suddenly loading up on Scott Joplin CDs, there must be subliminal intent in there somewhere.
Nothing subliminal about that Penelope Cruz cola-chugging commercial, however. The women don't know / But the little boys understand.
(Really, some women I know understand better than the boys.)

07jun2003 -- Now that Sammy Sosa's been busted for using a corked bat, it's a little surprising that Pepsi continues to run that stupid commercial where Sosa and Jason Giambi are on Mount Everest to learn the results of their distance-hitting contest. Didn't Pepsi marketers learn anything from the Madonna "Like a Prayer" experience?

02jun2003 -- "I saw an interview with former U.S. President Gerald Ford. He was talking about one of the assassination attempts on his life in which the gun was knocked away by an ex-Marine standing nearby, but he couldn't remember the man's name. What an asshole." From Juxtsuppose #1 (1994), p. 5.

3jun2003 -- There are too many "great" men in the world -- legislators, organizers, do-gooders, leaders of the people, fathers of nations, and so on, and so on. Too many persons place themselves above mankind; they make a career of organizing it, patronizing it, and ruling it.
Now someone will say: "You yourself are doing this very thing."
True. But it must be admitted that I act in an entirely different sense; if I have joined the ranks of the reformers, it is solely for the purpose of persuading them to leave people alone.
-- Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), The Law
(See also)

31may2003 -- NEW YORK - Rickey Henderson wants another chance to reach the major leagues - even if it means starting over on the lowest rung of the minors, playing with guys half his age and making only $3,000 a month. The 44-year-old Henderson signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League on Wednesday, hoping it will help him attract interest from the majors sometime during the season.
Whoops -- either I was wrong about Rickey Henderson or he has turned over a new leaf.

28may2003 -- The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. -- Funeral Oration of Pericles, from The Peloponnesian War (Thucydides)

28may2003 -- Clunky, yet curiously appropos: 2 men meet each other in the desert, the first one with a big statue on his back, the other one with a phone booth on his back. The man with the statue asks "Why do you need that phone booth?" The other one says "if I see a wild animal, I crawl into the phone booth." "Oh, that's good", says the man with the statue. And they walk further until the one with phone booth says" Why do you have a statue on your back?" The other answers "If I see a wild animal then I drop it, then can I run faster." (Found by Robert G. on a page of jokes that are even clunkier)

26may2003 -- He was reading more for profit than for pleasure, to gather material with which to build anew, by himself and for himself, a moral shelter in which he could find refuge for the rest of his days. Gilbert Chinard, Thomas Jefferson: Apostle of Americanism (1929; rpt. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1960), p. 25.

24may2003 -- Koufax used an old pitcher's salve called Capsolin, derived from red hot chili peppers grown in China. The active ingredient, capsaicin, works by depleting substance P, the brain's pain messenger. It is the medical equivalent of hitting your head against a brick wall.... Most pitchers diluted it with cold cream or Vaseline. Koufax used it straight, gobs of it. Nobe Kawano always made sure to wash [Koufax's] laundry separately. When Dodger trainers donated a used jersey to a local Little League team, the lucky kid who got Number 32 ran off the field screaming, "I'm on fire." He wasn't the only one. Lou Johnson wore one of Koufax's sweatshirts one cold night in Pittsburgh thinking it would keep him warm in left field. First he began to sweat. Then his skin blistered. Then he threw up. Jane Leavy, Sandy Koufax

23may2003 -- The freedom meme spreads: The European Free State Project.

22may2003 -- Victor provides the following links to some crap-happy up-to-the-minute Stuff, marveling that
The scary thing is, I ran across all of the links in maybe 30 minutes of surfing. What country did I wake up in this morning? I thought to myself. Is this a fun country, or what?!?!:
*** Road rage through bureaucracy *** Don't fumble with that ATM card -- it makes you look GUILTY *** Big Bro sez: All your database are belong to us *** Well, why not have some fun with it all? ***
Or what.

20may2003 -- This link to a David Cross essay everyone should read, especially boring people, comes courtesy of Cardhouse.

17may2003 -- Reuters reports that Oliver Stone's loving portrayal of socialist dictator Fidel Castro, a documentary entitled Comandante, will be edited to include interviews with some of Castro's opponents. HBO pulled the documentary from its May schedule after Castro jailed 75 democratic activists and executed, by firing squad, three men who attempted to escape the country by hijacking a ferry. Oliver Stone reportedly considers Castro "one of the Earth's wisest people." (via Miss Liberty)
Good lord. What is the deal with human beings? Do people have to work unbelievably hard to become that stupid, or do people have to work unbelievably hard not to become that stupid? Hard to say, but either way, Michael Moore is an inveterate liar. (Googlebomb via perich)

16may2003 -- In 1942 the Supreme Court overrode the Constitution to permit the internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. This decision established a new legal doctrine that the federal government can ignore the Constitution whenever the courts decide it has a compelling reason to do so. Everyone would now agree that the government had no justification for putting innocent Americans behind barbed wire, but the doctrine of "compelling state interest" was born nevertheless, and with it died the 10th Amendment. (more)

16may2003 -- "Wear your hat backward in a non-rally-cap situation." -- From Little League's Official How-to-Play Baseball Book (1990), Chapter 3: "How NOT to Look Like a Baseball Player"

08may2003 -- Two Tijuana businessmen purchased a Nissan Pathfinder at auction from the U. S. Customs Service. When they attempted to cross the border with the truck, Customs discovered 37 pounds of marijuana in a hidden compartment that they had missed earlier. The businessmen were arrested, convicted, and sentenced to a year in prison. (Seattle Times; more at The Smoking Gun)

22apr2003 -- "What would he [Democritus] have said to see, hear, and read so many bloody battles, so many thousand slain at once, such streams of blood able to turn mills: because of one man's mad offense, or to make sport for princes, without any just cause...? ... So wars are begun, by the persuasion of a few debauched, hair-brain, poor, dissolute, hungry captains, parasitical fawners, unquiet Hotspurs, restless innovators, green heads, to satisfy one man's private spleen, lust, ambition, avarice, &c.... nothing so familiar as this hacking and hewing, massacres, murders, desolations." -- Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

21apr2003 -- "Persons are cowards indeed if they cannot as manfully fight for their liberty, property and life, as villains do to deprive them thereof." -- Letter of Ethan Allen, 1770

12apr2003 -- Under the "Three-Fifths Compromise," slaves were counted as three-fifths of a human being for the purpose of determining a state's representation in Congress. The same Founders who cried "no taxation without representation" must have seen the irony in giving representation to the slave-masters based on the quantity of their un-free, non-voting chattel. The injustice continues today: despite Emancipation and the civil rights movement, I remain but three-fifths of a man, and it gives no consolation that so many whites have joined me in slavery.... A slave is not entitled to the results of his labor, an essential element of humanity. Since the average American now works to pay off his taxes until late April, exactly two-fifths of the year, he remains just three-fifths of a human being. -- Steve Cobb

09apr2003 - People should be mystified more than they are. -- Hugh Troy

05apr2003 - Tonight: The Alice Cooper Celebrity Golf Tournament. (Disclaimer: Alice Cooper's definition of celebrity may be looser than yours or mine.)

01apr2003 -- Cnemon [Haranguing the world at large.] It's that fellow Perseus in the story who's the really lucky one. First, he had wings so he never had to meet anyone walking around on the ground. Second, he had some sort of gadget to turn anyone who bothered him into stone. I wish I had it right now -- I'd fill the place with statues. God almighty, the way things are these days, life isn't worth living. Now people trespass on your property to come jabber away at you. So help me, I used to live along this road, but I don't work this section of my property at all any longer. I've given it up. Too many people around. And now they even chase me up into the hills! [Gritting his teeth and clenching his fists.] Oh, these crowds, these mobs! -- Menander, The Grouch, Act I.

31mar2003 -- But of all the modern notions generated by mere wealth the worst is this: the notion that domesticity is dull and tame. Inside the home (they say) is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. This is indeed a rich man's opinion. The rich man knows that his own house moves on vast and soundless wheels of wealth, is run by regiments of servants, by a swift and silent ritual. On the other hand, every sort of vagabondage of romance is open to him in the streets outside. He has plenty of money and can afford to be a tramp. His wildest adventure will end in a restaurant, while the yokel's tamest adventure may end in a police-court. If he smashes a window he can pay for it; if he smashes a man he can pension him. He can (like the millionaire in the story) buy an hotel to get a glass of gin. And because he, the luxurious man, dictates the tone of nearly all "advanced" and "progressive" thought, we have almost forgotten what a home really means to the overwhelming millions of mankind.
For the truth is, that to the moderately poor the home is the only place of liberty. Nay, it is the only place of anarchy. It is the only spot on the earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. Everywhere else he goes he must accept the strict rules of the shop, inn, club, or museum that he happens to enter....For a plain, hard-working man the home is not the one tame place in the world of adventure. It is the one wild place in the world of rules and set tasks. The home is the one place where he can put the carpet on the ceiling or the slates on the floor if he wants to.
-- G. K. Chesteron, What's Wrong with the World

Now take a look at any so-called building "code" and realize that it is "Taps" for the last bastion of individual liberty.

26mar2003 -- I want to go where the hand of man has never set foot. -- Samuel Goldwyn (attr.)
Away from the things of man, my love. Away from the things of man. -- Joe

25mar2003 -- Recently a high-ranking Canadian federal official characterized Bush as "a moron" for his hard-line stance on Iraq at the NATO meeting in Prague. Canadian stupidity experts now say that may be a correct assessment. "Technically, a moron is someone who is stupid but looks normal," said Albert Nerenberg, the film director who is completing a documentary titled Stupidity. "Much has been said recently about Bush arriving at a point where he looks presidential. What's intriguing about morons is that they can pass as just about anyone, but inside they're still morons." (Douglas Casey, "Plumbing the depths of stupidity," Liberty, April 2003, p. 16.)

22mar2003 -- The U.S. military claims to be fighting terrorism by committing acts of violence in a campaign to induce "shock and awe." Hrmm. Wouldn't committing acts of violence in a campaign to induce shock and awe be a fairly accurate definition of terrorism?

22mar2003 -- Irony is hard, let's go shopping! (via Cardhouse)

12mar2003 -- At the urging of Robb L., happy to pile on with the Hermann Goering quote of the moment (as it appears at; my copy of G. M. Gilbert's Nuremberg Diary -- great read, if you're interested in how some ordinary people end up doing extraordinary evil -- is unhappily in storage):
We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."
"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

09mar2003 -- In Wacko (Silver Lake emporium of popcultularity) I spotted a cigarette lighter with a nudie girly Ace of Spades on it. I figured they'd all be Aces. Sure enough, the one behind it had an Ace of Hearts. The one behind that, however, was a Three of Clubs. Close, but no Deuce. The company listed on the sparse packaging was Okutani.
Anyone have knowledge of an Okutani Deuce of Clubs cigarette lighter? Enlightenment, por favor.

06mar2003 -- So the ultra-enthusiastic people to whom possession of Whip It! was awarded have FLAKED OUT, leaving me 100% in the lurch. Next Monday Whip It! will meet the wrecking ball or the smashing surface or the Gloppita-Gloppita machine or whatever junkyards are using these days UNLESS someone volunteers to (a) temporarily house her charmingness while I find another lucky owner or (b) be that lucky owner. Whip It! is in San Jose, California. HELP. help. hlp. elp. lp. hellllllllp.

01mar2003 -- Varying degrees of idiocy are required not to be shy. -- Lost in the Cosmos, p. 38.

24feb2003 -- Contemplate in wonderment the peanutness of Peter Beal.

12feb2003: LA trip multi-amazing; report to follow. In the meantime, buy something cool from someone who kindly guided us on a tour of his creations: Spaceship Kenny. (GOO cds are under ten bucks!)

Vacation time. Report to follow. For the interim, you are assigned further contemplation of belly dancing.

04feb2003 -- I am for the synthetical method on a journey, in preference to the analytical. I am content to lay in a stock of ideas then, and to examine and anatomise them afterwards. I want to see my vague notions float like the down of the thistle before the breeze, and not to have them entangled in the briars and thorns of controversy. For once, I like to have it all my own way; and this is impossible unless you are alone, or in such company as I do not covet. I have no objection to argue a point with any one for twenty miles of a measured road, but not for pleasure. If you remark the scent of a beanfield crossing the road, perhaps your fellow-traveller has no smell. If you point to a distant object, perhaps he is short-sighted, and has to take out his glass to look at it. There is a feeling in the air, a tone in the colour of a cloud which hits your fancy, but the effect of which you are unprepared to account for. There is then no sympathy, but an uneasy craving after it, and a dissatisfaction which pursues you on the way, and in the end probably produces ill humour. -- Hazlitt, "On Going a Journey" (from Table Talk).
All the same, William -- I like traveling with pals.

02feb2003 -- After last night, I realize how far off Gang of Four was: Bellydance (It Rules Us Now).

28jan2003 -- Today was a Mr. T day. A paddling day. A day of fame. A day, in short, of LOVE.

25jan2003 -- Never trust a pretzel; it will only break your heart.
But screw football, anyway: here's the down & dirty comparative sports poop from a geniune expert -- the ballpark vendor:
"Basketball has great fans. And they spend their money, no problem. But it's a different type of thing. Football is rowdy, they're rough-and-tumble people. You knock into a hockey fan by accident, and they're ready to kill ya. But picture a vendor with a bucket of beer. I've sold beer in the past, so I know. You got a bucket of beer, you go to a baseball game, you can set it down, leave the bucket there and go get change and come back, and one of two things happens. Either the beer is all there and everybody's in line waiting for you, or the beer is all gone and the exact amount of money you're supposed to have is sitting in the cup for you. That's the only sport you can do that." (Tom the Red Licorice Man, quoted in New Times, November 1993.

24jan2003 -- I couldn't care less about football, but at least this year there is something to root for, based on last year's NFL post-season, namely, that at the White House there might be, please God, a tenacious pretzel with a decent work ethic.

20jan2003 -- "People say, 'You're a Bible college and you have 666 in your phone number?"' said Carlene Light, an office worker at Kentucky Mountain Bible College. "It's the connotation. No one wants to be part of the mark of the beast." Ah, the memories. And take a look at the latter part of that CNN url: offbeat.mark.of.the.beast. Beauteous. [via Jess]

19jan2003 -- Next time you're brushing your teeth with your snazz electric tooth cleaning apparatus, put on your favorite recording of the Prelude to Act I of Parsifal and see whether the buzz from the electric tooth cleaning apparatus isn't the perfect drone tone for about the first five minutes or so of the Prelude to Act I of Parsifal. Not quite perfect, actually -- a little flat. We ask perhaps too little of our electric tooth cleaning apparatuses.

16jan2003 -- It's a highbrow axiom that Wagner was responsible for the rise of Nazism. If you want to be in fashion you must refer darkly to the evil working of the Ring in the Teutonic mentality -- though as the whole cycle of operas is devoted to showing that even the gods can't break an agreement without bringing the whole universe crashing about their ears, I've never been able to see what possible encouragement Hitler can have got out of it... -- Edmund Crispin (1921-1978)

11jan2003 -- Last night's dream: a visit to a university for some unknown purpose. While there, I go into a bathroom and there's some sort of huge Road to Wellville-looking apparatus right over the toilet that makes it impossible to use. Then I notice that there's another toilet bowl -- but this one has been unhelpfully mounted on the edge of the sink. As I'm trying to puzzle things out, a guy comes in and tells me where there's another bathroom. But immediately I notice that there is a handle for pushing the apparatus out of the way. So do I do that? No. Do I go find the other bathroom? No.
No, I go and get Wagner and start taking photos of the weird bathroom setup.
Even in dreams ... Es Schmertzt Mich Sehr Zu Wissen, Daß Man Ihm Nicht Helfen Kann.

07jan2003 -- Jess & Sarah was Here ... saw Stuff ... took Fotos ... Left ... somehow Seem to hold no Grudge, even though ... I sent them to Coolidge.

06jan2003 -- "Well, it's not really the right word, but freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I'll spend to find out how to get people more of it." -- Penn Jillette, Genuine American Hero (via Cardhouse)

04jan2003 -- It's Slim Harpo's "Blues Hangover" for those still emerging from the drinking season:
Lord, I wonder what done happened? Ain't nobody here but me. All these empty bottles on the table -- I *know* I didn't drink all this by myself. I musta had a blues hangover. And what's this? My check? Huh. I don't have change for a grasshopper and that's two crickets. Uh-uh.
Here come Pro. Sent in for this doggie. But he ain't got no money. Look like he done lost everything he ever is had. Now ain't that's a come-off? But lookie here -- I give my baby twenty dollars for a Christmas present. Heh. All I got was a slice of jelly cake. Oh, well...
I believe I'll go on back on the stem. With ol' James, Rudolph and Tom Cat. Get my head bad. Look out, here I go. Goin' do this same old thing again. Look like I got the Cain't Help It.

02jan2003 -- Just saw a news story (news being loosely defined) about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders visiting troops in Korea, "just steps away from enemy North Korean soldiers." The cheerleaders were wearing those western-themed outfits that I never realized until just now are very much like what the Playmate was wearing in the USO scene in Apocalypse Now, when Charlie was in the bush, getting no R & R. So, the irony, and so forth. If only there were design behind it all.

28dec2002 -- If a prophet were not too particular about making money out of his mission or getting a dubious sort of notoriety out of it, the foregoing considerations would lead one to say that serving the Remnant looks like a good job. An assignment that you can really put your back into, and do your best without thinking about results, is a real job; whereas serving the masses is at best only half a job, considering the inexorable conditions that the masses impose upon their servants. They ask you to give them what they want, they insist upon it, and will take nothing else; and following their whims, their irrational changes of fancy, their hot and cold fits, is a tedious business, to say nothing of the fact that what they want at any time makes very little call on one's resources of prophesy. The Remnant, on the other hand, want only the best you have, whatever that may be. Give them that, and they are satisfied; you have nothing more to worry about. The prophet of the American masses must aim consciously at the lowest common denominator of intellect, taste and character among 120,000,000 people; and this is a distressing task. The prophet of the Remnant, on the contrary, is in the enviable position of Papa Haydn in the household of Prince Esterhazy. All Haydn had to do was keep forking out the very best music he knew how to produce, knowing it would be understood and appreciated by those for whom he produced it, and caring not a button what anyone else thought of it; and that makes a good job. -- Albert Jay Nock, 1936 (The entire piece gets five stars from the D.o.C.)

26dec2002 -- Seems that the retread series Family Affair is broadcast in High Definition TV "(where available)." Is that not just grand? I know you won't want to miss one glorious pixel of it. Actually, so far I have missed nearly every pixel of it, except for the High Definition promo, but what I want to know is why anyone would want a full-pixel Family Affair Buffy instead of a full-pixel Vampire Slayer Buffy?

23dec2002 -- A couple of months ago while staying with a friend in Bisbee, it was my task to be Official Tutor del Computer. She did a classic double-take when I mentioned that it was possible to lock the taskbar. She thought I had said "Rock the Casbah." So that was the end of that lesson, and for days afterward, at regular intervals, we couldn't keep from breaking into, "Sharif don't like it / [bum badeep bum ba deep] / Lock the Taskbar! / Lock the Taskbar!"
R.I.P. Joe.

Update, 04jan2003 -- The day after the Rock the Taskbar incident, another Clash-related verbal misunderstanding arose with another friend. But I couldn't remember it even with great exertion until just now, even though I was looking at a note I'd written about it. Just couldn't decipher it. Anyway, after all of that, here's what happened: we were in southeastern Arizona and I said Sierra Vista and she thought I said Sandinista. There you go. I'm sure that doesn't take any weight off your mind, but it takes one power load off of mine. Whew.

Update, 20nov2006 — Cingular has a new commercial where guys mess up the lyrics to The Clash's "Rock the Casbah." Dude, that's sooo 2002.

20dec2002 -- Yo' ass've admired The Mandible, know what I'm sayin'? Don't tell us yo' ass haven't. Now yo' ass can celebrate that shiznit. The Mandible n' shit. Do that shiznit fo' da shorties. -- Snoop Dogg shizzolates the DoC (Courtesy of

17dec2002 -- That Colin Quinn show on Comedy Central -- I'm tempted to say former or late, because it probably won't last long -- is worth checking out partly because there's some funny stuff and partly because it's so uncomfortable. There's clearly no APPLAUSE sign, so untimely silences abound. Everyone's alternately ill-at-ease and inappropriately comfortable, so it's more like a dinner party where most of the guests wouldn't have come if they'd known who else was coming. Some the comics are longtime friends, which makes it funnier when they make genuinely cutting personal remarks to each other. It's a good, uncomfortable time. It's not The Chevy Chase Show uncomfortable, nowhere near that. Uncomfortability Paradise doesn't fall to earth twice in one lifetime.

14dec2002 -- Disturbing image of the day:
"Her back is so straight, you could iron a shirt on it." -- Dick Button, commenting on Sasha Cohen

13dec2002 -- Sarah Silverman is to be adored. I'm way ahead of you on this.

Osmonds, The
Laulajaryhmä, joka varsinkin 70-luvulla oli suosiossa. Sisarukset Donny ja Marie pitävät TV- ohjelmaa ja heillä on veppisivut ym. Ryhmän jäsenet pääsivät tekemästä lähetystyötä vähän samaan tapaan kuin sota-aikana näyttelijät kävivät armeijapalveluksen sijasta viihdyttämässä sotilaita. Esimerkkialbumi

No clue what that says, but it's got to be good to be linked from a Finnish Mormonism site.
(For non-Finnish anti-Mormonism, see the latest Forgotten Wagner.)



Lester Bridschge

13jul1959 -- 12sep2002


28nov2002 -- I woke up this morning repeating this sentence: It means you use whatever means at your disposal to be mean. Not the best sentence I ever came up with, but I did use one word three different ways in a single sentence. I don't remember ever doing that when I was awake. Could come in handy if I ever have to put together a resume: "Can compose nonsensical sentences in sleep. Rush to hire me NOW."
(Hrmm ... once I had a girlfriend who nodded off during a movie and when she woke up she said, "Why would anyone want to steal hay?" And now, years later, I dream up the answer: It means you use whatever means at your disposal to be mean. And in high school I went on a hay ride and a girl I knew rubbed hay into my eyes. Which was mean. Which means ... hrmm ... must go back to sleep.)

26nov2002 -- Joseph Papparelli and Mr. Biffy aim to "kick the holy hell crap out of Luxembourg." (via Toronadio Belomisia)

19nov2002 -- Sold a CD via Amazon on 18 October & sent it via the Post Office's unsuitably named "Priority Mail." As of today, it has not arrived at its destination, but a phone call to the Post Office only uncovered the Post Office's official policy, which is pretty much TOUGH LUCK, which pretty much sucks, and which pretty much gives schmuck postal workers the same license to steal as their masters in Congress. ("Former Postmaster General William J. Henderson said, 'I ran the Postal Service. It should be privatized.' " he said. "When even the Postal Service admits that its monopoly status is harmful to consumers, how can anyone else disagree?")

17nov2002 -- Bourke took an interest in the young Arapaho and his dog.... The sight of the boy caused Bourke to bemoan the education of white children, who were taught "much stuff and nonsense from books, [while] the great secrets and beauties of Nature, through which they might look up to Nature's God have been withheld.... Our cities are filling up with tallow-faced children, tallow-faced children will grow up to be tallow-faced congressmen; tallow-faced congressmen make tallow-faced laws and these a tallow-faced country." -- From Joseph C. Porter's Paper Medicine Man: John Gregory Bourke and His American West, p. 61.

16nov2002 -- Actor Jeffrey Jones arrested for kiddie porn. "So THAT'S how it is in their family..."

15nov2002 -- Does Christine Aguilera's "Dirty" not sound like Bad-era Michael Jackson? Hrmm ... could be we have NO idea the extent of the plastic surgery that guy's had...

14nov2002 -- "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." -- Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1791 (ME 8:276).
"To live outside the law, you must be honest." -- Bob Dylan, 1966

12nov2002 -- Genuine example of Spamglish from the DoC inbox:

Supplying Chinese Translation Service

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am the general manager of Beijing Huayi Translation Co.,Ltd, that is a professional translation company based in Beijing. we supply high quality translation service. I hope to have opportunity to supply you with translation service. Our company is skilled in Chinese translation, especially in English-Chinese, Chinese-English, French-Chinese Chinese-French, German-Chinese, Chinese-German, Japanese-Chinese, Chinese-Japanese, Japanese-Chinese, Chinese-Japanese, Russian-Chinese, Chinese-Russian, Korean-Chinese and Chinese-Korean translation projects. We have finished many big projects and made many achievements in the translation industry.... We have translated about 30 books from English to Chinese for some famous press house of China....

There are 8 full-time employees and 1500 full time and part-time translators in my company. Our weekly turnout is 250 thousand words and the monthly turnout is 1 million words. Almost all of our translators are professional translators with many experience and good education background. Most of our managers and full-time employees of our company have doctor degree or master degree in science, law or other specialties.

We mainly translate through traditional way by human being, and at the same time we can use computer-aided translation software to do translation work. We have many copies of the famous computer-aided translation software, Star Transit and TermStar. Many of our translators and employees can use the software to translate the big projects as our customs required. With the software our translation works have higher quality and productivity.

Best regards

Dr. Zhen Wei

If this mail has disturbed you, I will be very sorry.

Be very sorry indeed, Dr. Zhen Wei, for behold, you has disturbed me more greatly than even Babelfish have disturb me.

11nov2002 -- For those of you writing term papers in these trying times Deuce of Clubs presents a time-saving summary of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, sans happy ending for those of us who have perhaps not earned a happy ending:
As a law student he had become exactly what he was to remain the rest of his life: a capable, cheerful, good-natured, and sociable man but one strict to carry out whatever he considered his duty, and he considered his duty all things that were so designated by people in authority. [Chapter 2] ... But on the whole Ivan Ilyich's life moved along as he believed life should: easily, pleasantly, and properly. He got up at nine, had his coffee, read the newspapers, then put on his uniform and went to court. There the harness in which he worked had already been worn into shape and he slipped right into it. [Chapter 3] ... Ivan Ilyich saw that he was dying, and he was in a constant state of despair.... The syllogism he had learned from Kiesewerter's logic -- "Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal" -- had always seemed to him correct as applied to Caius, but by no means to himself. That man Caius represented man in the abstract, and so the reasoning was perfectly sound; but he was not Caius, not an abstract man; he had always been a creature quite, quite distinct from all the others. [Chapter 6] ... "Why should I have to die, and die in agony? Something must be wrong. Perhaps I did not live as I should have," it suddenly occurred to him. "But how can that be when I did everything one is supposed to?" [Chapter 9] ... And he stopped crying and, turning his face to the wall, began to dwell on one and the same question: "Why all this horror? What is it for?" But think as he might, he could find no answer. And when it occurred to him, as it often did, that he had not lived as he should have, he immediately realized how correct his whole life had been and dismissed this bizarre idea. [Chapter 9] ... There had been more goodness in his life earlier and more of life itself. And the one fused with the other. "Just as my torments are getting worse and worse, so my whole life got worse and worse," he thought. There was only one bright spot back at the beginning of life; after that things grew blacker and blacker, moved faster and faster. "In inverse ratio to the square of the distance from death," thought Ivan Ilyich. [Chapter 10] ... What had induced his moral agony was that during the night, as he gazed at Gerasim's broad-boned, sleepy, good-natured face, he suddenly asked himself: "What if my entire life, my entire conscious life, simply was not the real thing?" It occurred to him that what had seemed utterly inconceivable before -- that he had not lived the kind of life he should have -- might in fact be true. It occurred to him that those scarcely perceptible impulses of his to protest what people of high rank considered good, vague impulses which he had always suppressed, might have been precisely what mattered, and all the rest not been the real thing. [Chapter 10] ... When, in the morning, he saw first the footman, then his wife, then his daughter, and then the doctor, their every gesture, their every word, confirmed the horrible truth revealed to him during the night. In them he saw himself, all he had lived by, saw clearly that all this was not the real thing but a dreadful, enormous deception that shut out both life and death. This awareness intensified his physical sufferings, magnified them tenfold. He moaned and tossed and clutched at his bedclothes. [Chapter 11] ... Her clothes, her figure, the expression of her face, the sound of her voice -- all these said to him: "Not the real thing. Everything you lived by and still live by is a lie, a deception that blinds you from the reality of life and death." [Chapter 11] ... He struggled as a man condemned to death struggles in the hands of an executioner, knowing there is no escape. And he felt that with every minute, despite his efforts to resist, he was coming closer and closer to what terrified him. He felt that he was in agony because he was being shoved into that black hole, but even more because he was unable to get right into it. What prevented him from getting into it was the belief that his life had been a good one. This justification of his life held him fast, kept him from moving forward, and caused him more agony than anything else. [Chapter 12]
No; no need to thank me. Your good grades and downcast spirits are thanks enough.

08nov2002 -- Habeas Corpus and the Fat Man: The idea of Habeas Corpus as a protection against illegal imprisonment goes back at least to the New Testament time of Paul's imprisonment in Palestine. Festus the Roman seeks justice for the prisoner, saying: "For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him." The legal enshrinement of this basic human right received unexpectedly massive support from a fat member of Britain's House of Lords three centuries ago. The lords filed forward in pro and con lines for a crucial vote leading up to the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679. ("No man may be accused, arrested, or detained except in cases fixed by the law...") A parliamentary monitor, so the story goes, jokingly counted the portly lord as 10 votes -- and then let the count stand when a second monitor failed to notice the pleasantry. The pros won by two votes. Nothing so jocular was reported from the young United States just 200 years ago, when the first federal habeas corpus law was passed in 1789, stating that judges "shall have the power to grant writs of habeas corpus for the purpose of an inquiry into the cause of commitment." The law derived from what some American scholars have called the most important human right in the US Constitution, the provision for habeas corpus. At least in this respect the US overtook Samuel Johnson who, two decades earlier, in 1769, had said of Britain: "The Habeas Corpus is the single advantage our government has over that of other countries." -- World Monitor (11/89)

05nov2002 -- The Olson Twins' legal team: just doing "it's" job.

04nov2002 -- Simon Jester says, "Remember that boot Orwell talked about?"

31oct2002 -- "It is not about revenge as I have always thought that revenge was a waste of time and energy. I guess what it is about is that it is a reckoning." -- Suicide note of U of A killer Robert Flores, evidently a fan of the the film Tombstone (in which Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday says, "No. Make no mistake. It's not revenge he's after. It's a reckoning.")

30oct2002 -- Education is the art of adjusting people so solidly to the climate of opinion prevalent at the time that they feel no "desire to know". Education is the art of preventing people from acquiring the knowledge that would enable them to articulate the questions of existence. Education is the art of pressuring young people into a state of alienation that will result in either quiet despair or aggressive militancy. -- Eric Voegelin, "On Classical Studies"

29oct2002 -- The ChipMobile is on the Move! See if the ChipMobile is coming to your town! Slavery can be fun. (via Lou Minatti)

26oct2002 -- Arizonans get teased for going out to watch when it sprinkles. You'd have to have been raised here to understand why we do. But you can't tease us for going out to watch 5/8" hailstones fall (as they did a few minutes ago).
Or can you?

24oct2002 -- Going through mounds of notes & scrap papers to trash and ran across various bizarre comments I'd jotted down by Dick Enberg, whose Enbergisms enlivened nearly as many dull televised sporting events as Jim "Mneep Mneep" McKay's verbal stumblings...

  • "The crowd now regaling Sir Charles with a chant of `Barkley ...' uh ... something like ... uh ... inhalation procedure."
    (Enberg deconstructs a Seattle stadium chant of "Bark-ley SUCKS! Bark-ley SUCKS!")
  • "He's as strong as the bridges in his native Bay Area."
    (Colorful Enberg simile that must surely be pre-1989.)
  • "He's doing this with a big tongue in a big cheek."
    (No idea what Enberg was talking about, but as long as tongue and cheek belonged to the same person, no laws were broken.)

23oct2002 -- Never Mind the Heroes, Here's Forbidden thoughts about 9/11! (Don't miss the reader responses. (via the late

22oct2002 -- Reason to insist on not getting a screen credit (especially if you have no others).

20oct2002 -- "If you get too cold I'll tax the heat / If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet / 'Cause I'm the taxman." -- George Harrison
What would George have thought of the Winona, Minnesota city council's plan to tax rainwater? (Maybe he would say, contra Bobby Troupe, "Forget Winona.")

20oct2002 -- I eat comparatively little meat, but every once in a while I read something (such as Michael Lesy's The Forbidden Zone) that makes me swear -- again -- to go vegetarian, or at least kosher. Now comes Matthew Scully's Dominion, exposing once again the appalling treatment of table-bound animals (which may be old news to many, but familiarity with the subject doesn't make it any easier to contemplate). For a summary, see Joseph Sobran's review. [Be warned: strong, strong stuff. I don't eat pork, myself, but I know life isn't any better for the chickens, either.]

19oct2002 -- "I'm probably right in the middle. I'm not whack. But I'm not on the level with Heavy D. I sound OK. I ain't whack. My stuff ain't booty. I have rhythm. All my beats are dope. I'm just glad I'm not whack." -- Non-whack, wacky center Shaquille O'Neal, ranking himself among his fellow rappers.

(See also)

18oct2002 -- I was about to post a call to find out the meaning of a puzzling quotation I ran across in my notes. First, I thought I'd check the Net. So what turns up? A usenet post I made in 1994, asking the meaning of the same quotation.
This is one of those times I HATE the Internet.

12oct2002 -- "It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money." -- Camus

12oct2002 -- A Message from the Ministry of Homeland Security [via Dr. LaRue]

10oct2002 -- "I'm so bored, I feel like crying." -- A. J. Soprano
Click for temporary relief of boredom
Click for longer-lasting relief of boredom

07oct2002 -- BOSTON -- A ballot initiative that has received scant public notice could permit voters here to enact a revolution Nov. 5, banning state income taxes in the commonwealth once known as "Taxachusetts." Michael J. Widmer, head of a pro-tax group with the intentionally misleading name "Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation," says that the proposition is "far and away the most sweeping tax cut proposal ever to reach this state's ballot--and perhaps the most sweeping proposal of its kind in any state," claiming that "it would repeal the 20th century."
And that's supposed to sound like a bad idea? Wasn't the 20th century the one in which governments worldwide murdered over 170 million of their own citizens? Even with "scant public notice," support for the measure (according to Boston newspapers) is running about 40%. Message to citizens of Massachusetts: Better take advantage of this rare opportunity to take power back from government. You probably won't get another. [More info on the effort towards tax freedom in Massachusetts]

Meanwhile, this just in from Carita: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in interview: "I was going to invite some of my friends over today, but they're all at Burning Man."

29sep2002 -- Crouch and Cover

21sep2002 -- The Amanda Plummer knack for getting into movies on the DoC list: Freeway, The Prophecy, Joe vs. the Volcano, Pulp Fiction. True, out of sixty films, it's only one in fifteen. In the majors, they'd call that .066, but by Hollywood standards, that makes Amanda Plummer practically Ty Cobb.

08sep2002 -- Mania defined. We're #59! We're #59! Look out, DSM-IV, here we come!

06sep2002 -- The direct image linking fun continues on ebay (via Cardhouse Robot)

01sep2002 -- "The Free State Project is one year old today..."

30aug2002 -- In response to my image switching, a direct linker (not featured on the site) resorted to a new tactic to get to the unswitched image: Clever, clever. We'll see whether Google ends up taking any action to plug what will end up being a huge bandwidth leak if others follow suit. Once again, for you prolific message board frequenters, the easiest course of action is to save the image to your own webspace and link to the image from there. Most net accounts come with server storage. If you don't know how to use your webspace, contact your ISP.

28aug2002 -- It is 8:00am, MST. WFMU is streaming the first *ever* interview with the legendary SHOOBY TAYLOR, who has been found (!), finally, at the age of 72. His voice sounds just the same (though he no longer scats).

22aug2002 -- Jupiter Media Metrix (who's the marketing genius who named that company?) claims that in the year 2006 the largest group online will be "households earning more than $75,000 per year." The bad news is that by 2006, $75,000 will be worth about $15,000. Marketers, take note.

15aug2002 -- Achtung WagNerds! Implementation Ordnung Z! Do not attempt to adjust the feature at left! Immediate gratification is go! Clickety now!

14aug2002 -- Libertarian wacko: term of derision used by those who consider it a sign of great sophistication to prefer slavery over freedom.

13aug2002 -- For your convenience, a second Randumb archive has been started. Let there be singing, dancing, and dropping of hammers upon toes. (Previous archive has not gone away.)

12aug2002 -- "We liked to play mato kiciyapi, the bear game, throwing sharp, stiff grass stems at each other. These could really hurt you and draw blood if they hit the bare skin. And we were always at the isto kicicastakapi, the pit-slinging game. You chewed the fruit from the rosebush or wild cherries, spat a fistful of pits into your hand, and flung them into the other fellow's face. And of course I liked the Grab-Them-by-the-Hair-and-Kick-Them game, which we played with two teams." -- Lame Deer, "Things I Was Told Not to Do" (from A Braid of Lives).

To Deuce of Clubs