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May 31, 2002

(randomWalks now supports RSS auto-discovery.)

(randomWalks now supports RSS auto-discovery.)

welcome to chronic town

Back in the day, having a board with more than one phone line was huge. Two lines meant more than one person could be online at the same time. This was heavy. But it was the end of something, too: the end of that amazing solitude you felt when the busies stopped, and the carrier finally screeched through, and you knew the board was yours. And then, for as long as you were online, nothing changed unless you changed it. Everything stopped; frozen in time, waiting patiently for you to peruse it, or ignore it. Two lines, though, and it was gone. It was just one more person, but that was a lot.
Back in the day (when 300 baud was the bomb), we used to call "bulletin boards."

Cincinnati CityBeat: Shut Up, Already,

Cincinnati CityBeat: Shut Up, Already, Damn!: Talking black at the movies. I didn't really like this article. So why did you post it? 'Cause I thought you might want to read it.

Inuit elders and hunters who

Inuit elders and hunters who depend on the land say they are disturbed by what they are seeing swept in by the changes: deformed fish, caribou with bad livers, baby seals left by their mothers to starve. Just the other year, a robin appeared where no robin had been seen before. There is no word for robin in Inuktitut, the Inuit language.
Washington Post: Signs of Thaw in a Desert of Snow: Scientists begin to heed Inuit warnings of climate change in arctic.

"Star Wars" arrived just

"Star Wars" arrived just after Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" rollicked movie fans and the movie biz by revitalizing the popcorn adventure yarn, simultaneously inaugurating the era of the wide release and massive box office payoffs. Lucas' film was even more successful; you could say "Jaws" knocked out the old Hollywood and "Star Wars" killed it. But since his film had such unprecedented popularity, Lucas gets blamed for a regrettable industry-wide transformation to the age of blockbusters. Yet as great as the early '70s era of personal filmmaking (that of "Chinatown," "The Godfather," "Five Easy Pieces" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") might have been, if the price for continuing that era were not to have "Star Wars," I would refuse to pay it.
Brian Libby's Star Wars is the latest in Salon's "Masterpiece" series.

just call me darth "fader"

"I remember on the tour with Jeru The Damaja [in 1996], the last show was in Syracuse, and the headliner was Nas. Jeru was smart and played first. You had like 2,000 people waiting for Nas to come on. I don't think they were really feeling what I was trying to do. In the middle of this long ambient part during 'Long Stem' I felt all this change go WHOOM! against my shirt and my head, like someone just threw a pocketful of change at me from the front row. The whole crowd saw it and you could hear this, 'Ooooh.' Then there was this moment where I felt my blood rising and I thought I was going to say fuck it and throw the table over and be like, 'Fine, I'm out. Here comes Nas.' But when the blood got to my nose level I just imagined my hands shoving it back down. And I think people saw that and then at the end I had won their respect. They gave it up. You can't be defensive, you can't be telling people what you are or what you are not."
DJ Shadow puts a smile on my face like Ultra-Brite. (I'm not 'fessin, man.)
"If you're a Roots fan already, you're at the point where you can rest assured with regards to the quality of the music. [But] that's what we were racking our brains for, and that's what took this album so long--trying to make this release a step up from the last thing we put out ... But it's hard. In '92, '93, I was in a completely different place. I had mad ammo, mad material, I had my whole life's worth of ideas and shit. I would be constantly writing rhymes, and I would always have a book with me, freestyling some shit. Now, if I'm writing a song, it's because I'm in the studio and I'm about to record it."
Think the Roots' Black Thought went home and forgot?

We're no longer the artists -- we're the attendants.

"ArtBots," held at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on Saturday, featured 10 robot-centric projects by artists, engineers and tinkerers and attracted hundreds of spectators.

The show filled a warren of rooms with the whirr and whine of tiny electric motors. On the floor of one room, three robots made of Lego bricks topped with plastic dolls' heads pulled Japanese ink brushes across a scroll of paper, producing swirls of thick black strokes. When all three had finished their maneuvers, onlookers applauded.

New York Times: Robots Find a Muse Other Than Mayhem

May 30, 2002

Steven Spielberg is graduating

Steven Spielberg is graduating with a bachelor's degree in Film and Electronic Arts from California State University, Long Beach, 37 years after he began his coursework. He calls it his longest "post production schedule."

originally posted by faith

May 29, 2002

Who's minding the store?

They labored mightily, pioneering the all-night grocery, and in the process creating a now familiar imprint around the city. Chris Choi, secretary general of the Korean Grocers Association, estimates that Koreans own 2,000 grocery-delis in the five boroughs.

More than 30 years have elapsed since the first generation of Koreans began tempting New Yorkers with their wares. Many have already retired. Who is minding the store now? The expected answer - those immigrants' children - is almost always wrong.

"There's no desire on the parents' part to have their kids take over the stores,'' said Fred Carriere, vice president and executive director of the Korea Society. "They want their kids to go to Harvard and become doctors and lawyers.''
The New York Times interviews three members of the "new" generation of Korean store owners.

Stop! Hey, what's that sound?

Recent compositions include a bubbling symphony of boiling tea kettles, the gentle hiss of blank tapes being played through a stereo and the soft bumps of helium balloons hitting the ceiling.

One recent album was so quiet, listeners wondered whether it actually contained any sound at all.
This lowercase sound nonsense sounds like a prank to me. I mean, who wants to listen to e.e. cummings snore softly? The Wired article links to a handful of mp3s -- I'll play some for Sol and see what he thinks. Myself, I'm almost inspired to compose an aria to the sounds of the "next", "pause", and "stop" buttons being pressed on hundreds of mp3 players.


MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Monday: "On his day off, the Grim Reaper loves making parking meters expire." OK, Mike Peters, here's the three ways you ruined the gag. 1.) Why "on his day off"? It's confusing and irrelevant. 2.) Saying "loves making" it happen is a bad setup. Who cares what the Grim Reaper feels here? He's the Grim Reaper. You've got to do a lot more setup if you want to make the Grim Reaper's emotional state be part of the gag. 3.) The "expire" thing is worthless, and bolding it for emphasis is extra-worthless. The real joke is not some lame pun about expiring, it's the conceptual gag about how when the Grim Reaper comes by, the parking meters' time is up.

So from the original caption, we're left with ". . . Grim Reaper . . . parking meters . . . " Both of which are in the drawing, so you don't need to mention them by name. Now get rid of the Reaper's "heh, heh, heh" thought balloon--which is really just you laughing at your own gag--and you've got just the image: Death striding past a row of parking meters, which are going "click," one by one. Now that, Mike Peters--that's a strip you could sell to the New Yorker. If you weren't such a crappy artist, we mean.

The Baltimore City Paper's Funny Paper doesn't get any better than this.

May 27, 2002

Did you know how Margaret

Did you know how Margaret Wise Brown died?

You know, as I said

You know, as I said in the first newspaper report about it, if I had to choose between losing my soul or losing my show, I'm glad I chose losing my show. You know, I never sold out. When I came over to the network, everybody said you're going to lose your edge. You're going to sell out. Well, I didn't and I got fired. And that's OK.
Bill Maher was on Larry King the other night -- thanks to George for pointing out this transcript.

The MC-5 is a whole thing.

The MC-5 is a whole thing. There is no way to get at the music without taking in the whole context of the music too- there is no separation. We say the MC-5 is the solution to the problem of separation, because they are so together. The MC-5 is totally committed to the revolution, as the revolution is totally committed to driving people out of their separate shells and into each other's arms.

I'm talking about unity, brothers and sisters, because we have to get it together. We are the solution to the problem, if we will just be that. If we can feel it, LeRoi Jones said, "feeling predicts intelligence." The MC-5 will make you feel it, or leave the room. The MC-5 will drive you crazy out of your head into your body. The MC-5 is rock and roll. Rock and roll is the music of our bodies, of our whole lives- the resensifier (sic), Rob Tyner calls it. We have to come together, people, "build to a gathering," or else. Or else you are dead, and gone.

The MC-5 bring you back to your senses from wherever you have been taken to hide. They are bad. Their whole lives are totally given to this music. They are a whole thing. they are a working model of the new paleo-cybernetic culture in action. There is no separation. They live together to work together, they eat together, fuck together, get high together, walk down the street and through the world together. There is no separation. Just as the music will bring you together like that, if you hear it. If you will live it. And we will make sure you hear it, because we know you need it as bad as we do. We have to have it.

The music is the source and the effect of our spirit flesh. The MC-5 is the source and effect of the music, just as you are. Just as I am. Just to hear the music and have it be ourselves, is what we want. What we need. We are a lonely desperate people, pulled apart by the killer forces of capitalism and competition, and we need the music to hold us together. Separation is doom. We are free men, and we demand a free music, a free high energy source that will drive us wild into the streets of America yelling and screaming and tearing down everything that would keep people slaves.

The MC-5 is that source. The MC-5 is the revolution, in all its applications. There is no separation. Everything is everything. There is no thing to fear. The music will make you strong, as it is strong, and there is now way it can be stopped now. All power to the people! The MC-5 is here now for you to hear and see and feel now! Give it up- come together- get down, brothers and sisters, it's time to testify, and what you have in your hands is a living testimonial to the absolute power and strength of these men. Go wild! The world is yours! Take it now and be one with it! Kick out the jams, motherfucker! And stay alive with the MC-5!
MC5 Original Liner Notes & White Panther Party Statement

I think if people understood

Bono and Paul O'Neill in Africa
I think if people understood they could give six copies of Dr. Seuss and every child could have one ... that translates better than saying give us some more money.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on "how rich nations should help poverty-stricken Africa".

Dear Jess, Thank you for

Dear Jess, Thank you for the old lady guide to being cool in 2002. I didn't even know the Breeders were touring again. Shows how much I know. I'm glad you had fun at the show . . . Love, Joanna.

On the long fall and

On the long fall and recent rise of the fire lookout.

No one I know in

No one I know in the hip-hop community is really plugged into reparations, and I know a lot of people. Something is very wrong with that. It is the responsibility of those of us who are informed to reach our young people in their language with this idea that is age-old, and has no chance of being achieved without their support.
Russell Simmons sees a key weakness in the reparations movement.

Get educated on the India/Pakistan

Get educated on the India/Pakistan conflict:

NY immigrants underground

Raj, 27 and from India, was smoking a cigarette outside the school where he took computer classes last fall when a white man walked up and sucker-punched him in the face. The same stranger had earlier taunted him, shouting, "You Muslims all grow up to be terrorists." The police officer who met with Raj in the emergency room refused to write down the phrase.

Raj (not his real name) found an attorney to help him lodge a bias complaint, both about the assault and the officer's conduct. During a meeting with a New York City prosecutor, his lawyer thought to ask, just in case, "if there would be trouble" for her client. (...)

The prosecutor was honest. If the feds came snooping, he said, Raj's nationality—and a criminal record reflecting a store robbery—could land him behind bars, no matter that he was the victim in this case. The conversation with the prosecutor so shook her, a hate crimes specialist not easily spooked by the system, that she advised Raj "to go underground. We suggested that when the prosecutor's office called him, not to return the calls. We told him never to apply for citizenship, not to leave the country and expect to come back, and if he sees a cop, to go the other way."
Village Voice: Arabs and South Asians Dodge Authorities, Even When in Need.

May 26, 2002

Well, it is time to

Well, it is time to give my patio garden another go this year. Let's hope I do better than the previous summers. Maybe a little help, okay a lot, is in order.

We're going to do fiction

We're going to do fiction and nonfiction on a variety of subjects. There's an extraordinary, healthy black readership market who are hungry for that writing, and the climate is great for quality trade paperback. It's good for the writers, too. We can establish a market for them in trade paper, and then they can go to hardcover.

Harlem Moon is a new publishing imprint dedicated to black readers and writers. thanks, coloredgirls

May 25, 2002

If you're going to put

If you're going to put buildings on that site, build one of the seven modern wonders of the world, and please give us a skyline that will once again cause our spirits to soar.
From Public, a Strong Voice for Rebuilding Twin Towers (New York Times).

Wiley Wiggins is guestblogging over

Wiley Wiggins is guestblogging over at Boing Boing.

May 24, 2002

Freddie tried to explain it:

Freddie tried to explain it: We are made from cells that can divide and multiply and add and subtract.
Read Lynda Barry.

May 23, 2002

you can't spell female without flame

"There's a big difference between barbecuing and grilling ... Barbecuing is testosterone cuisine; it's a high-performance culinary rite. We girls eat things most guys don't even consider food -- boneless chicken breasts, grilled eggplant, grilled peaches. We think of food as art. That's cooking with girl-itude."
You can't spell female without flame.

May 22, 2002

"In Jay-Z, the kids just

"In Jay-Z, the kids just see somebody that doesn't have to worry about paying their electricity bill, that doesn't have to worry about paying the rent, and to them that's empowering because nobody has told them there's another way. Jay-Z thinks he should get paid. I agree ... But I think everybody should get paid."
Boots Riley's manifesto.

The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...Read

The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...
  • Read a good book (you already know how to do that)

  • Register it here (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book

  • Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in an airliner seatback pocket, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records journal entries for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it!

May 20, 2002

Death along the U.S./Mexico border

The lack of progress on immigration issues is threatening to chill relations between the United States and Mexico just as killing heat spreads back across the Arizona borderland. That means border-crossers will likely continue dying of dehydration in Southern Arizona this summer, even though presidents Bush and Fox vowed on May 24 last year to prevent more desert tragedies.

The families of 11 migrants who died crossing into Arizona from Mexico last year have filed a $41 million claim against the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking for $3.75 million for each of the deceased.

"We must take death out of the migration equation." Rev. Robin Hoover, Ph.D., President & Founder of Humane Borders, offers humanitarian assistance to those who are risking their lives and safety crossing the United States border with Mexico.

originally posted by faith

"Vibe is like what

"Vibe is like what Rolling Stone was to rock 'n' roll in the 70's ... (i)n Vibe, most of our coverage is urban or black, but we also look at the world broadly from a global perspective. We really consider the magazine multicultural."
Emil Wilbekin gathers no moss.

May 19, 2002

very sad to have missed

very sad to have missed it

while we're on the subject, i was so sad to have missed this year's matches and mayhem. next year! (you're gonna do it again, right folks?)

originally posted by elihu

racism in football(real football, not

racism in football

(real football, not the junk played in the u.s.) has long been taken on by the folks at kick it out. In fact, next week, they are organizing a conference in Manchester.

originally posted by elihu

"Here's an annotated version of

"Here's an annotated version of the schedule from the Emerging Technologies 2002 conference. Under each session are links to the blog entries about that session." As Cory sez, "I can't stop clickin'."

Sorry Palestine was a dud.

Sorry Palestine was a dud. (What happened?) Let's pick a lazy book for the summer, like Design for Community or I'm Just Here for the Food.

May 18, 2002

Tomorrow's New York Times has

Tomorrow's New York Times has a special section on children's books.

believe the hype

"I was the guy that was sitting around watching the TV and fell in love with it like the rest of the generation, but the difference was I come from the street. ... The music that I loved wasn't represented on early MTV and VH1. It wasn't well respected ... I loved it so much I wanted to see the artists and music that I loved have imagery as impactful as David Bowie or Madonna or Billy Idol."
Hype Williams, who isn't feeling music videos anymore.

May 17, 2002

back links based on referrers

Here is an exhausting bunch of links "on the idea of automatically creating back links based on referrers" which seem to have all been prompted by Jon Udell's Blogspace Under the Microscope, although it seems to me that yaywastaken was the first to spark interest in this among webloggers by providing an easy-to-implement javascript referrer service. Most people would use this sentence to say something about the "semantic web", but I must simply point you to write the web [dormant?] and a google search on the subject.

First the Elves, now the scoundrel!

LEGO has been making "minifigs" of film characters as a promotional tie-in. Even minor characters, and sometimes even directors (Steven Spielberg and Sam Raimi) get the "minifig" treatment. So when the Star Wars legos were released, fans wondered where Lando had gone! The answer, at long last:

When the minifigs first came out the color yellow was thought to be the most "neutral". That if a Lando figure were made with a darker color, then it would be assumed that yellow was meant to be "white" all along. To avoid that, LEGO chose to not make Lando at all. I told the rep that a Lando figure would probably still be accepted: just do the hair and that mustache right. The rep expressed doubts about it, but said LEGO had received several inquiries and notes of interest: "it's something we're looking into."

So by settling on a "neutral" skin color, Lego excludes people of color.

Of course, Lord of the Rings Legos didn't have to deal with this issue.

How to glue this to

How to glue this to that.

May 16, 2002

Curry goes upscale in Great

Curry goes upscale in Great Britain.

I have stared at the

I have stared at the sun, and for the sake of my sanity, will never again look directly at the consciousness of the online ueber-geek collective. [Rob Flickenger on EtherPEG at the Emerging Technology conference]
We also do a weblog called Xspot which will probably be getting its own domain soon. Can you think of a good domain name?

May 15, 2002

Ebert (on Episode 2):

Ebert (on Episode 2): Digital images contain less information than 35mm film images, and the more you test their limits, the more you see that. Two weeks ago I saw "Patton" shown in 70mm Dimension 150, and it was the most astonishing projection I had ever seen--absolute detail on a giant screen, which was 6,000 times larger than a frame of the 70mm film. That's what large-format film can do, but it's a standard Hollywood has abandoned (except for IMAX), and we are being asked to forget how good screen images can look--to accept the compromises. I am sure I will hear from countless fans who assure me that "Episode II" looks terrific, but it does not.
I will see a digital projection of Star Wars, but I hope I don't see a digital projection of much else. Roger Ebert agrees.
Kiarostami: I didn't use this new digital camera as a serious work tool. I took it with me more like a still camera, to take some notes with it. But when I actually started using it -- and when I realized its possibilities and what I could do with them -- I realized that I have wasted, in a way, 30 years of my career using the 35mm camera, because that camera, for the type of work that I do, is more of a hindrance than a communication tool. When I say "35mm camera," I'm not just referring to the machine itself, but to what it brings with it -- the whole crew. That's the kind of thing that's not for me or the kind of movies that I make. I like to work with this much smaller camera, which is more intimate and more immediate. For example, for people who appear in front of it, they are not intimidated by it. They are more comfortable in front of the digital camera and so, in every way, it facilitates communication.
I'm much more excited to experience ABC Africa, a documentary commisioned by the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, directed by Abbas Kiarostami, about Aids in Uganda (AK: IFAD came up with the idea for the film. If you ask them why they chose me, you'll probably find that it was because I've been working with and for children for over twenty years. To tell the truth, I had no experience of Africa, just what I'd seen in the press and on TV. I must confess those preconceptions were completely demolished by what I saw.)

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has said he had to spend hours briefing US President George W Bush on Middle East issues at their last meeting.

"He listens and debates politely, but was not fully informed about the real conditions in the region, especially the conditions suffered by the Palestinian people."
BBC: Bush 'noble but uninformed'.

Wal-Mart does not want the

Wal-Mart does not want the U.S. buying public to know that its famous low prices are the product of human misery, so while it loudly proclaims that its global suppliers must comply with a corporate "code of conduct" to treat workers decently, it strictly prohibits the disclosure of any factory names and addresses, hoping to keep independent sources from witnessing the "code" in operation. (...)

"There will always be people who break the law," says CEO Lee Scott. "It is an issue of human greed among a few people." Those "few people" include him, other top managers, and the Walton billionaires. Each of them not only knows about their company's exploitation, but willingly prospers from a corporate culture that demands it. (...)

Wal-Mart operates as a massive wealth extractor. Instead of profits staying in town to be reinvested locally, the money is hauled off to Bentonville, either to be used as capital for conquering yet another town or simply to be stashed in the family vaults (the Waltons, by the way, just bought the biggest bank in Arkansas).

Why should we accept this? Is it our country, our communities, our economic destinies--or theirs? Wal-Mart's radical remaking of our labor standards and our local economies is occurring mostly without our knowledge or consent. Poof--there goes another local business. Poof--there goes our middle-class wages. Poof--there goes another factory to China. No one voted for this ... but there it is. While corporate ideologues might huffily assert that customers vote with their dollars, it's an election without a campaign, conveniently ignoring that the public's "vote" might change if we knew the real cost of Wal-Mart's "cheap" goods--and if we actually had a chance to vote.
Jim Hightower wants you to boycott Wal-Mart.

May 14, 2002

we don't need no water, etc., etc.

A good party anthem is about those nights you had to illegally obtain beer, and find that empty parking lot in which to drink it. Party anthems have a way of being the next to last song that gets played before the cops drive up. Party anthems foretell a butt-kicking, or an arrest, or both.
I missed Hank Stuever's consideration of Andrew W.K.'s "Party Hard" and Pink's "Get The Party Started" last month.

"We will not publish pieces

"We will not publish pieces about family reunions, or recipes, or beauty contests, or picturesque porches, or local anchormen, or picnicking, or interior decorating, or lovely gardens, or Southern soap opera stars," he wrote in an editorial manifesto in 1992.

But to Mr. Howorth, the bookstore owner and an Oxford native, the editorial typified Mr. Smirnoff's un-Southern incivility. "So he's positioning himself against Southern Living," Mr. Howorth said. "Fine . but why does he have to come out and say it?"

Oxford American editor Marc Smirnoff did little to ingratiate himself into the culture of Oxford, Miss., sez the NYT. Perhaps it's no wonder his mag is on the rocks?


Why the Elvises, why the

Why the Elvises, why the Spocks, why the guys who paint their bellies at football games? Why the Harleys buzzing toward Sturgis, why the Civil War reenactors?

In the case of "Star Wars," the why starts when you're about 8 years old, and you are sitting in one of those long-ago demolished twin cinemas that used to be in old shopping malls, and it is 1977, and your head has just been blown off. (...)

In one darkened convention room, a endless video loop shows old Kenner "Star Wars" toy commercials, which seem grainy and ancient -- little boys with John Denver haircuts, wearing turtlenecks and corduroys, dash across the back yards of some other era and play joyously with action figures and spaceships. There is something wistful in it, watching these commercials with a roomful of men who were those boys, and realizing that "Star Wars," like any drug, eventually leaves you bottomed out.
Washington Post: Troop Believers

On a daily basis as

On a daily basis as a straight person…

  • If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented.
  • When I talk about my heterosexuality (such as in a joke or talking about my relationships), I will not be accused of pushing my sexual orientation onto others.
  • I did not grow up with games that attack my sexual orientation (IE fag tag or smear the queer).
  • I am not accused of being abused, warped or psychologically confused because of my sexual orientation.
  • People don't ask why I made my choice of sexual orientation.
  • People don't ask why I made my choice to be public about my sexual orientation.
  • I do not have to fear revealing my sexual orientation to friends or family. It's assumed.
  • I don't have to defend my heterosexuality.
  • I can easily find a religious community that will not exclude me for being heterosexual.
  • I am not identified by my sexual orientation.
  • I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my sexual orientation will not work against me.
  • I can choose to not think politically about my sexual orientation.
  • I can go for months without being called straight.
  • In everyday conversation, the language my friends and I use generally assumes my sexual orientation. For example, sex inappropriately referring to only heterosexual sex or family meaning heterosexual relationships with kids.
  • People do not assume I am experienced in sex (or that I even have it!) merely because of my sexual orientation.
  • I can kiss a person of the opposite gender on the heart or in the cafeteria without being watched and stared at.
  • People can use terms that describe my sexual orientation and mean positive things (IE "straight as an arrow", "standing up straight" or "straightened out") instead of demeaning terms (IE "ewww, that's gay" or being "queer").
  • I am not asked to think about why I am straight.
  • I can be open about my sexual orientation without worrying about my job.
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack II: Straight Privilege

"This is not weather that

"This is not weather that we see very frequently," said Jim Travers, meteorologist in charge of the Weather Service's Baltimore-Washington office in Sterling. "Although this spring's been pretty different."
Although I could not have told you about the tornado watch we were under today had I not come across this article, I could have told you about the most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen. Some things are too precious to photograph, I think.

The farmer's abiding friend for

The farmer's abiding friend for thousands of years, the honeybee in America stands on the edge of the abyss.

In recent years, two tiny spider-like parasites have been weakening and killing bee populations across the United States. While the mass media have played up the threat of Africanized "killer" bees in the Southwest, the rest of the country has been losing 80 percent or more of its wild honeybee populations.

Honeybees Stung by Parasites (Washington Post)

Man, I love me some

Man, I love me some canned fruit. I usually rock the fruit cocktail in its many varieties and syrup densities. Like the Del Monte "Fruit Naturals Chunky Mixed Fruits in Fruit Juices," for example. That's some good fruit.
Canned fruit.

May 13, 2002

I have gone spotting all

I have gone spotting all over the world, including virtually every Air Force base in the U.S. Your U.S. military, they accept it as a hobby -- I mean, some people collect tropical fish, some write down the tail numbers of jets. But the Greeks arrested me at gunpoint.
A recent arrest of British planespotters has inspired new loyalty among (or is that amongst?) the country's culture of anoraks, er, enthusiasts.

why cats paint

Why do cats paint? This isn't much help, really. (via b3ta)

May 12, 2002

Happy Mother's Day to all

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there. A whole new world of blogs has recently opened up for me, and I simply can't get enough. I didn't know it but these blogs by moms are just what I have been looking for.

Mamatron.org was created in response

Mamatron.org was created in response to an amazing community message board coming to its end. The closing of the HipMama (HM) community boards left innumerable mamas (including this one) feeling like they'd lost their homes, support systems, and friends. Mamatron.org was created to fill the void. In many ways, HM was used as a model.

According to their mission statement, HM was a place for "mamas of color, bi/lesbian/poly mamas, very young mamas, mamas on public assistance, sex worker mamas, single mamas, artist mamas, socialist mamas, green mamas, anarchist mamas, and pro-choice mamas." Mamatron.org will strive to be the same sort of place.
What happened to the Hip Mama forums? Here is an "Explanation and Thanks".

The hardest hurdle for me

The hardest hurdle for me is that I just remember being in a really close relationship with a black man and being able to come home at the end of the day and say to him, `It's hard being me. It's hard being a black woman in a predominantly white field.' I needed to be able to say that to Jason or else I couldn't live with him. . . . He can take it. He knows how to give me space to talk about a situation with white people without having to defend himself.
The new mix: More black women and white men are settling what some consider the final frontier of interracial marriage (Chicago Tribune).

May 11, 2002

From The Guardian: Noam Chomsky

From The Guardian: Noam Chomsky on the duplicity of U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The Weblog Bookwatch searches weblogs

"The Weblog Bookwatch searches weblogs that pass through the Recently Changed list at weblogs.com looking for links to books at Amazon.com. The books [listed] were the most frequently mentioned."

Best of the [Happy|Pioneer] Valley,

Best of the [Happy|Pioneer] Valley, 2002

The Joyous CosmologybyAlan W. Watts

The Joyous Cosmology


Alan W. Watts

May 10, 2002

They live a Spartan existence.

They live a Spartan existence. Sometimes they spend eight to nine hours a day cooking for the masses. These devotees did not spend hour after hour doing this so the landlord could rent their space to a chic restaurant for five times what they were paying.
East Village Landlord Wants the Hare Krishnas Out

Robert Christgau on international hip-hop.

Robert Christgau on international hip-hop.

O'Reilly is publishing a book

O'Reilly is publishing a book on weblogging, due out in September.

May 9, 2002

It's a curious phenomenon --

It's a curious phenomenon -- all over the sunny Southwest, Latino teens enthralled with the mope-rock saint of Manchester -- but it's no weirder than middle-class white boys thumping along to "Fuck Tha Police." Alienation knows no borders. And it's thrilling to see it, a subculture free of all the strained nostalgia and wink-wink irony that accompany most retro trends. These kids aren't in it for the camp. They love the Smiths.
Let's go where we're happy, and I'll meet you at the 2002 Smiths/Morrissey Convention.

It's easy for social justice

It's easy for social justice activists to tell themselves that since Jews already have such powerful defenders in Washington and Jerusalem, anti-Semitism is one battle they don't need to fight. This is a deadly error. It is precisely because anti-Semitism is used by the likes of Mr. Sharon that the fight against it must be reclaimed.

When anti-Semitism is no longer treated as Jewish business, to be taken care of by Israel and the Zionist lobby, Mr. Sharon is robbed of his most effective weapon in the indefensible and increasingly brutal occupation.
Naomi Klein on Sharon, Le Pen, and anti-Semitism.

two down, 48 to go

Maryland today became the second state to implement a moratorium against executions.That decision didn't just come out of nowhere. Meanwhile, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1976, 773 have been executed while 99 death row inmates have been exonerated.

originally posted by zagg

Nirvana meets Destiny's Child, Christina

Nirvana meets Destiny's Child, Christina Aguilera crossed with the Strokes, the Breeders mixed with "Eye of the Tiger"--those wacky mash-ups are big. Also in the NYT, a fine profile of Tom Waits. Waits on record conglomerates: "They are like jellyfish. They have no anatomy. But they sting."

more on dick armey's ethnic cleansing ways

The Guardian has an article on Dick Armey's ethnic cleansing views (unlike major US news sites, *cough cough*).

The most senior Republican in the House of Representatives has called for Palestinians to be expelled from the West Bank, which should be annexed in its entirety by the state of Israel.

Dick Armey, majority leader in the House, shocked a primetime television audience when he said in a chat-show interview, that East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza - all occupied by the Israeli army since the 1967 war - should be considered a part of Israel proper. He was "content to have a Palestinian state", but argued that such an entity could be set up inside other Arab countries.

"There are many Arab nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land and soil and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian state. I happen to believe the Palestinians should leave."

Mr Armey later backed down slightly and said he did not believe "peaceful Palestinian civilians should be forcibly expelled" but only those who supported terrorist acts.

As Tony Karon, who runs what I guess you could call Time.com's warblog, put it the other day, "..someone may want to gently remind the House GOP leader that ethnic cleansing is just the sort of thing that got Slobodan Milosevic into all that trouble." (nice graphic to that effect over here)

I think it was important

I think it was important because it was a hybrid between the popular sentimental song tradition and the rock tradition, which had appointed itself as an alternative to that. It's kind of interesting that they came together. I suppose more significantly for me, it came to define for generations the particular way that the articulation of certain emotions works, which is not irrelevant to the genres which it came from. It's kind of interesting it seems to me that the kind of convention of emoting became established in that period by taking what were seen as quite different traditions and fusing them.
Perfect Sound Forever gets Simon Frith to explain the rock power ballad as an important development in music.

May 8, 2002

Visitors to Prague at the

Visitors to Prague at the end of last year - especially those who don’t understand Czech - had to be puzzled by the ubiquitous posters showing two skinheads in combat boots, standing in the middle of a bright, green backyard. Using their hands, extended in ‘heil Hitler’ salutes, the young men were holding up a clothesline for an older woman, who was calmly hanging up her wet laundry to dry. ‘Be kind to your local Nazi,’ read the poster, in English, followed by a mysterious message in Czech, which translated, meant: ‘Do not ignore. Help your local Nazi to find some nice hobby. Show him the way to go before he gets wild.’

This anti-racism advertising campaign in the Czech Republic was inspired by this German television commerical, the funniest thing ever in the whole world ever.

Life Imitating Art

Mrs. Parker is an artist, and Mr. Parker is a professor of public affairs at Baruch College in Manhattan. Their home is hardly as plain as Aunt May's in the comic book, nor as modest as the two-story home shown in the film. It is a stone Edwardian-style house built in 1916 in the English garden style. Ivy is the only thing climbing these walls.
Remarkably, there really are Parkers at 20 Ingram St. in Forest Hills, Queens. Neither MJ Watson nor Kirsten Dunst live next door, but an Osborne does!

"The American Arab Anti Discrimination

"The American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee urges all its members and supporters to contact Dick Armey and demand that he not only retract but also apologize for his endorsement of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians."

May 7, 2002

How about the Washington Warriors?

How about the Washington Warriors?


"ClipIt! follows in the footsteps of programs like Deskswap, an application that allows you to share screenshots of desktops with other people, but is more interested in sharing the low-bandwidth information of everyday interaction. When multiple users are connected, their clipboards are uploaded and shared with each other, thus providing an ambient link and direct window into someone else's activities. The project allows people to be aware of each other's computer usage and to 'get a feel' for what they are working on or thinking about in real-time." I am obsessed with the clipboard. I'm running ClipIt!, but I may be the only one -- the only stuff I've seen so far is my own. Quick, paste the contents of your clibpoard into a comment!

May 6, 2002

pim fortuyn

The shaven-headed former academic and columnist was openly gay, distinguishing him from the bulk of Europe's far-right, traditionalist politicians. [...] Fortuyn's anti-Muslim views, calls for an end to all immigration and pledges to come down hard on crime struck a chord with voters despite the country's celebrated reputation for liberalism and religious tolerance. The Netherlands was the first country to legalise gay marriages, regulate prostitution, approve and control euthanasia, and tolerate the over-the-counter sale of marijuana. [...] Analysts said Fortuyn found support among voters who would traditionally veer to the far-right, but also among those fed up with the existing political landscape and centre-left government.
The BBC's obituary for Pim Fortuyn, assassinated this afternoon.

The Oxford American, best known

The Oxford American, best known for its awesome annual music issues, is on its death bed. Going quarterly didn't help enough, Sept. 11 trashed advertising, and now the spring issue is stuck at the printer's, says editor Marc Smirnoff. I've found the OA's writing to be uneven at times, but it would be a pity to lose the only mainstream magazine about Southern culture. (Via MediaNews.)

To Afghanistan and Back

a strip from Ted Rall's new book To Afghanistan and Back: A Graphic Travelogue

The Progressive has 4 pages of Rall's trip to Afghanistan--Talibs switching allegiance back to the Northern Alliance in droves, muslim fundamentalists buying DVD porn in bazaars, and Rall becoming a walking ATM for soldiers in his quest to get around the country.

originally posted by hcog

May 5, 2002

BBC News | AMERICAS | More US mailbox bombs discovered

"For the individual or individuals who may have been responsible for this: You have got our attention. We are not certain we understand your messages. We would like to hear from you - you do not need to send any more of these devices." — FBI agent Wayne Dun
More US mailbox bombs discovered (BBC)

weizman verticality photo essay

None of us have a coherent mental map of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Architect Eyal Weizman explains why. We're missing verticality. In this series of articles and photo-essays (published daily over a week) he paints the extraordinary, three-dimensional battle over the West Bank: from settlements to sewage, archaeology to Apaches.
The Politics of Verticality, a photo essay by Eyal Weizman at the openDemocracy Strands page. Thanks to my Dad for the link!

lego forever

If you think Lego art is stupid and juvenile, then look away now. For the rest of us, there's The Brick Testament (righteous!) and The Human Heads (shouldn't that be in rW music?), both brought to you by The Reverend, an old favourite Bruce's Lego Site (comprehensive!), The Mini-Mizer where you get to create yourself or one of your alter-egos out of Lego (transformative!), and last but not least, Lego studios' film remakes at the official Lego site. Oh I nearly forgot, Legodeath. Horrifying!

May 4, 2002

hersh-ing your mellow

"I used to always joke to myself, I was convinced that Bill Clinton was going to be the first president since World War II to actually bomb white people. I mean, we went to war in Vietnam, Korea, Grenada (Ronald Reagan's invasion of Grenada, an island of 100,000 people, 40,000 of which worked as domestic workers in New York City). We bombed in the Middle East. So I thought he'd do white people, and [Clinton] did, first time since World War II: Kosovo.

"So racism is part of what we deal with. It's part of why we don't care much about what's going on really in Afghanistan. If the president says it's a victory, it's okay. It's just another part of the world, and we don't care that much about what's going on in Pakistan. We don't care." ...
And the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh goes on from there, edited for space and clarity.

A new translation offers a

A new translation offers a radically different view of the famous sex manual, and argues that the most widely read English version is riddled with errors and plays down the role of women.

"This translation will change peoples' understanding of this book and of ancient India," said David Shulman, professor of Indian Studies and Comparative Religion at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "Previous translations are hopelessly outdated, inadequate and misguided."
A New Kama Sutra Without Victorian Veils (New York Times).

May 3, 2002

pop go the british

We have to get back to talent. I love Ms Dynamite, the UK Lauryn Hill. She tackles very touchy subjects. In one song she asks: "How many Africans died to pay for your Rolex?" That's about fatalities in African gold mines.

She's only 17, but to me that's really powerful - and I want more.
The next big thing in British music is Miss Dynamite, sez Keisha of the Sugababes. Elsewhere in the Guardian UK: Lucian Grainge, sounds from elsewhere, the way we listen now, sound stats and Jon Pareles' call to stop your whining.

May 2, 2002


For everyone who's ever been to Lower Manhattan -

downtownnyc.org is a forum for people to share their ideas on the redevelopment of the area surrounding the World Trade Center site. The purpose is not so much to discuss the WTC site itself, but the areas around the site such as West Street and the waterfront that have also been targeted for extensive redevelopment. You'll find that it helps a great deal if you have a mental picture of the sites under discussion (which I don't).

The website was designed by my employer, Project for Public Spaces, under the auspices of the Civic Alliance, an amalgam of civic groups that is itself connected to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the somewhat shady body charged with overseeing the whole shebang. We just did a soft launch of the site, so you will notice a dearth of comments at the moment. Register and add comments if the spirit moves you, but don't spread the word to too many others just yet! We are still putting on the finishing touches.

originally posted by Ben Fried

There is a lady in

There is a lady in my life that I love. She was with me before, during and after my trial and conviction. A great deal of the album is an ode to her very existence. I've made plenty of mistakes in the past. Writing songs to her and about her was progress in healing those wounds. You ask me later on in the interview if I have any regrets, one — I wish I would have kissed her more.
From Prison, Music of Hope (NYTimes.com). John Forté's second album, "I, John" is "a beautiful, reflective set of songs influenced by Bob Marley and Finley Quaye".

May 1, 2002

Civil Rights for Gender Transgressors

Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday signed into law a bill that extends New York City's human rights protection to transgendered people — a group that includes cross-dressers and people who have had or will soon have sex-change surgery. [blogger's note: as well as gender queers of all shapes and sizes including butch lesbians, butch straight women, and gay and straight men in touch with their 'feminine' side. Hopefully, this means you!] The new law, which passed the City Council 45 to 5, is an important step forward in fighting prejudice and in protecting the rights of some of society's most vulnerable citizens.

NYC passes law protecting gender identity and expression, read the NY Times editorial

originally posted by hcog

"Jubilant astronomers unveiled humankind's most

"Jubilant astronomers unveiled humankind's most spectacular views of the universe, courtesy of the newly installed Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope."

Across Gujarat, thousands of people

Across Gujarat, thousands of people made up the mobs. They were armed with petrol bombs, guns, knives, swords and tridents. Apart from the vhp and Bajrang Dal's usual lumpen constituency, Dalits and Adivasis took part in the orgy. Middle-class people participated in the looting. (On one memorable occasion a family arrived in a Mitsubishi Lancer.) The leaders of the mob had computer-generated cadastral lists marking out Muslim homes, shops, businesses and even partnerships. They had mobile phones to coordinate the action. They had trucks loaded with thousands of gas cylinders, hoarded weeks in advance, which they used to blow up Muslim commercial establishments. They had not just police protection and police connivance, but also covering fire.

While Gujarat burned, our Prime Minister was on mtv promoting his new poems. (Reports say cassettes have sold a hundred thousand copies.) It took him more than a month - and two vacations in the hills - to make it to Gujarat. When he did, shadowed by the chilling Mr Modi, he gave a speech at the Shah Alam refugee camp. His mouth moved, he tried to express concern, but no real sound emerged except the mocking of the wind whistling through a burned, bloodied, broken world. Next we knew, he was bobbing around in a golf-cart, striking business deals in Singapore.
Democracy: who's she when she's at home? by Arundhati Roy at Outlook India.