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May 31, 2003

happy birthday from a coarse gumphead

"O, damnation, damnation! thy other name is school-teaching and thy residence Woodbury."

"I believe when the Lord created the world, he used up all the good stuff, and was forced to form Woodbury and its denisens, out of the fag ends, the scraps and refuse."
I went to elementary school at the site of a one-room schoolhouse where a famous anti-war poet was schoolmaster. He hated it there, so did I, but his ghost was in the woods, and we do as we're taught.

originally posted by xowie

May 30, 2003

"O my God, this War

"O my God, this War on Terrorism is gonna rule!" one character tells another in David Rees's cult cartoon Get Your War On. "I can't wait until the war is over and there's no more terrorism!" Few campaigners in poetry's war on war will have hopes as inflated as Rees's clipart man, but the swiftness and volume of responses to the recent Gulf war have already resulted in several online anthologies, public interventions by Andrew Motion, Harold Pinter and Seamus Heaney, and now Paul Keegan and Matthew Hollis's 101 Poems Against War.
Posturing for peace, via Laurable's Poetry Weblog.

originally posted by xowie

limey commie pinko rag in baghdad blogger scoop shock

Rory McCarthy interviews the Guardian's newest columnist, Salam Pax.

May 29, 2003

'If I keep speaking my mind, will I be deported?'

"The US is like a baby with a bomb," he barks, his eyes blazing with the famous stare. "The reaction to France that the administration allowed to happen is so immature. These people have their own opinion - they're French! They're not fuckin' Americans, they're French! Vive la difference, hello? And this big deal about Bush landing on an aircraft carrier? Talk about a six-year-old kid with a Tonka toy - we got it here."
Neil Young talks to the Guardian.

'betraying spaces'?

I hear the word cheap a lot; I've heard cheesy. A lot of people are fussing about paint jobs that are not finished and about inferior carpentry.
Washington Post: Trading in Trading Spaces.

May 28, 2003

hercubush

Bangzoom TV's Hercubush, via Karen Marcelo at BB, duh.

your days just got two three hours shorter

Cosmic Encounter online has launched. (Warning, link is extremely geeky). Also, time to start practicing for the google puzzle contest.

science? who needs science when you have zealotry?

Texas approved one of the nation's most sweeping abortion counseling laws [last] Wednesday, requiring doctors, among other things, to warn women that abortion might lead to breast cancer.

That link, however, does not exist, according to the American Cancer Society and federal government researchers, and critics say the law is a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate, frighten and shame women who are seeking an abortion. Proponents say they are merely trying to give women as much information as possible, and argue that research into the alleged link between abortion and breast cancer remains inconclusive.

After years of failed attempts to outlaw abortion outright, social conservatives across the nation are now finding success in limiting abortions by requiring so-called counseling of patients. Among the most aggressive tactics is the attempt to link abortion with breast cancer, a move that many conservative organizations have undertaken, but rarely with the success they have found in Texas.

"They don't care what science says," said Claudia D. Stravato, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. "It's like talking to the Flat Earth Society."

[ via Looka! ]

May 27, 2003

How long will we be stuck in "post-napster?"

I've been enjoying Wimpus immensely, and I hear iLeech is good. How else are the kids sharing music with strangers, close friends, work and second home computers these days?

political compass

Just in case you have no idea where you stand, try the Political Compass and find your location on the left/right and libertarian/authoritarian axes.

May 26, 2003

new toys

The PowerMate (input device) and Synergy (iTunes software controller) are a sublime pair, mating this luminescent dial to my own heavenly radio.

i need a pepsi

I grabbed the latest issue of Adbusters without even looking at it because, well, Adbusters. Finding the live without dead time CD (features Allen Ginsberg, Negativland, Ani DiFranco, Saul Williams... and if you're not listening yet I've got nothing left) mixed by DJ Spooky that subliminal kid, did I mention Fugazi?

May 25, 2003

visuals

On a totally trivial subject in which I'm extremely interested: "I had a dream of setting up a little projector to display the visuals on a wall or ceiling whenever iTunes was playing." Beyond that, I hope to rent a projector to screen movies at the mad backyard parties I hope to throw once we move into an actual house with an actual yard this summer. (Print out this post for discounted admission! ;)

'world music' = apartheid in record shops

'world music' = apartheid in record shops
Sod it, I was going to put some of these links in flux, but got carried away. Here's some music which you may or may not be intersted in, or, alternately, which won't or can't reach the States: Gotan Project (Franco-Argentinian tango/dub hybrid), Kimmo Pohjonen (f*@%ed-up accordion performance art from Finland), Yat-Kha (Tuvan throat-singing meets punk), Leningrad (Russian chaos), Uz Jsme Doma (indescribable Czech avant-garde free jazz punk), DuOud (North African lute plus samples), Cesaria Evora (the grande dame of Cape Verde), Amadou et Mariam (quote: "The amusing paradox carried by the songs of this blind couple from Mali is that they also have the power to return sight to those who think they can already see"), Orchestra Baobab (Senegal's finest), and Lee 'Scratch' Perry's Meltdown (the grand-daddy of them all curates this year's Meltdown festival in London. In his own words, "Hello folks, lovely peoples of 2003. I am looking far-word to this festivity. We will celebrate with the music-makers from all over the world. Melting down sweet songs and evil beats. Love from the Open Door.") Linton Kwesi Johnson, amongst others, will perform at the Meltdown. And I haven't been able to find anything on them on the net, but Canada's Iraqi hip-hop outfit Euphrates must be the sound of the future. You should still be able to hear about them here (scroll down to 25 March programme).

May 24, 2003

hard to find and easy to cross

Felton's deception worked. Not only was he accepted as white; other white prisoners also began to turn to him for racial instruction. He was transferred to Attica, in upstate New York, where in the late 90's there was already a well-organized racist faction. There were 60 or 70 white prisoners in C Block, where Felton was held. Of those, 20 were allowed to come to the two tables in the mess hall that Felton and others had reserved for the ''politicized.''
The Black White Supremacist, by Paul Tough.

originally posted by xowie

i got a summer home in the bronx

Despite there being more than a mile of sand, two scavengers worked Section 7 at the same time. As they passed each other, one rolled his eyes at the other with a critique of his sweeping style. Part of me hoped for a territorial brawl. Maybe they’d start beating the hell out of each other, using their metal detectors as clubs, their scoopers as shields. But they passed each other, over and over, back and forth, without incident.
C. J. Sullivan, Trinkets and corpses on Orchard Beach.

originally posted by xowie

28mm.org

I always enjoy 28mm.org, but Coastal Beauty by Sean Slavin is exceptional.

digital video

At dollarshort.org there is a good discussion of Digital Video cameras. We recently bought the Canon ZR60, and (I don't know from videography so I won't say anything by way of review about it yet except that) it's a lot of fun. I will say that my requisites matched Mena's, and I've been thoroughly satisfied. I've been a little disappointed by the lack of web resources for amateur, no-budget, dogme documentarians, though -- I've been looking for sites with reviews of DV media, iMovie 3 tutorials, and tips/techniques for shooting, and found nothing worth mentioning. What am I missing?

May 22, 2003

i heart spike lee

Filmmaker Spike Lee extolled the virtues of a college education during a speech to the Black Expo [in South Carolina].

Lee also told black parents in the audience to steer their children toward real role models and away from rappers. He said violent images from rappers such as 50 Cent are damaging the next generation.

"Forget about the beat," he said Saturday. "Let's talk about the lyrical content."

Lee, a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, said education was the path to success. He lamented that young black scholars sometimes are ridiculed as fakes who are "acting white."

"But if you're on a corner, holding a 40, smoking a blunt and holding your privates, then you're real."

'you mean the eyegina?'

The Spector Watch by Alison M. Rosen.

originally posted by xowie

around the world in 80 miles

Fabulous l.a. travel pullout, Judith Lewis, ed.

originally posted by xowie

May 21, 2003

strange banana random css generator

StrangeBanana is a website design generator which creates a new mostly-random set of CSS rules every time you reload the page. The designs are frequently horrendous, but it's a nice surprise that at least one in ten are pretty effective.

Exceptionalism

Well, I've talked to senior members of the Bush Administration and if the viewing public are asking "Well, why are they behaving this way?" Well, one can say they're just plainly selfish or this is the consequence of September 11 and so on. Not really. It's this---this administration has a view of the special character of the United States, the singular and exclusive character that is new. I've talked to them about it and they make this plain. They say "We are the sole super power, we're therefore the exceptional country, we're outside of international law. Others have to obey the law and obey the rules, but we don't." I mean, I'm not making that up. If they were sitting here tonight, Mark, the people I've talked with would readily agree. They'd say "Yeah, that's right, that's who we are. We are the exceptional country and we don't have to obey the law because we're different."

Former weapons inspector Richard Butler, who, contrary to popular belief was not expelled from Iraq by Saddam in 1998, gave a frightening interview to Australian reporter Mark Davis transcribed at Counterpunch.

originally posted by zagg

voices on iraq

I hope Mr Blair is proud of himself. He really has done everything that he can to ensure the reelection of the most rightwing fundamentalist American president the country has ever seen.

Anyone who saw Bush arrive as a copilot on an aircraft carrier in military clothes; anyone who's seen him roaring like a bull in aircraft hangars to pumped up young men, roaring with approval at the belligerence of their leader - I hope Mr Blair's proud of himself in that picture, because he has certainly helped to strengthen the far right in American politics.
George Galloway, one of the Voices on Iraq, including those of activists, academics, former weapons inspectors, journalists and Gulf War veterans in today's Grauniad.

May 20, 2003

when will we find a cure?

Many Americans wrongly believe that a preventive vaccine for HIV/AIDS has already been developed, according to surveys recently conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Nearly half of African Americans surveyed (48 percent) and more than a quarter of Hispanics (28 percent) believe that an HIV vaccine already exists and is being kept a secret. Twenty percent of adults in the general population share that belief.

WTF? I like the occasional conspiracy theory myself, but c'mon. Considering that five people are infected with HIV every minute, the search for an HIV/AIDS vaccine doesn't get very much media attention.

Which way forward for the anti-war movement OR the plight of lesser evilism.

My first exposure to randomWalks was during the 2000 election cycle when there were a number of debates among the editors about who to support. Most of us came down on the side of Nader, but it was not unanimous.

Four years have passed and times have changed dramatically.

originally posted by zagg

In the summer of 2000 the recession that has hammered working people all across this country (and the world) had not set in. September 11 had yet to occur. Two wars had not been fought. Bush then did not appear to be the extreme right-wing crusader that he is now having since mounted new attacks on affirmative action and abortion rights at home while ushering in a new racist era of empire and colonialism abroad.

Bush's buddies won the lottery with his election having enjoyed tax cuts, lucrative contracts and a blind eye turned towards the corporate scandals that wrecked the lives of thousands of Americans. Meanwhile social services are under their most consistent attack in decades as budget crises plague most states even while the government finds $399 billion for the military and $75 billion for the Iraq war and continued occupation. And in contract talks across the country unions fold and agree to concessions while the boss's pension plans get protected.

It seems the stakes now are light years more dramatic than they were in 2000.

All of this is occurring in a climate where Bush's approval ratings remain high (but are falling again) even though his agenda clearly does not jibe with what people in this country want. This country is pro-choice, opposes tax cuts for the rich, supports affirmative action, and is worried about health care, among other issues. These stances do not mesh with the Bush agenda where the war is the prime source of his continued popularity.

So there are again major questions for Progressives, just as there were in 2000.

Why aren't the Democrats fighting back given that Bush's agenda is mostly unpopular? Can we affect change within the system? Can we force the Democrats to the Left? What do we say and do about lesser evilism?

Do we vote Democratic, regardless of the candidate chosen, because Bush must be defeated at all costs? In the run-up to the election do we try to influence the party by throwing weight behind its left-wing: i.e. Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinichor Al Sharpton. Can we take back the Democratic Party?

We could go Green or to one of the other, smaller third parties in an attempt to break the two-party hegemony in this country.

Or should we reject electoral strategies and continue to devote resources to building a mass movement that can fundamentally bring about change in a way that elections simply cannot?

Here's some links on the legacy of lesser evilism:

The Trap of Lesser Evilism.
The Democrats and War.
The Democrats today.
Reformism and the anti-war movement (via indymedia).
The Iraq War and the 2004 Presidential Election.
To Vote or Not to Vote.

there is no way bert and ernie consented to that

Uncooperative prisoners are being exposed for prolonged periods to tracks by rock group Metallica and music from children's TV programmes Sesame Street and Barney in the hope of making them talk. [...]

Sergeant Mark Hadsell, of Psy Ops, told Newsweek magazine: "These people haven't heard heavy metal. They can't take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That's when we come in and talk to them."

Sgt Hadsell's favourites are said to be 'Bodies' from the XXX film soundtrack and Metallica's 'Enter Sandman'.
This is too much.

Does my city have to get bombed to get universal health care?

"In the annals of armed conflict, there has never been an outcome quite like this, where the victors coddle the defeated enemy while visiting misery on their own people. If the rebuilding of Iraq goes as currently planned, the Iraqis will be enjoying their universal health care system just as Medicaid gets savaged at home. They will be counting up their personal oil profits while Americans face deep cuts in programs such as temporary assistance to needy families, the earned income tax credit, food stamps and education at all levels. Iraqis will be free to practice democracy in its untidiest forms, while Americans can be spied on and incarcerated without charges under Patriot Acts I and II."

Barbara Ehrenreich's take on Bush's occupation

originally posted by zagg

May 19, 2003

nyt on astro data mining

In the past 25 years the number of C.C.D. pixels in all the world's telescopes has increased by a factor of 3,000, with each pixel acting as a miniature astronomical instrument. The result, Dr. Szalay says, is that the total amount of astronomical data collected every year is doubling even while the amount spent on astronomy remains constant.
Telescopes of the World, Unite!

originally posted by xowie

Yet Another War Criminal

Last week, Fermon responded to U.S. complaints:


"I think either the U.S. State Department has nothing to hide, in which case it's very important for them to have an independent inquiry - and why can't it be a Belgian magistrate - or they have something to hide and that's why they are threatening Belgium," he told Reuters.

Fermon, an activist and politician who is running for Belgian parliament on the Maoist party ticket, said he has documented 17 "specific incidents" in which U.S. soldiers and commanders had violated the law

Who is running Iraq?


Less than a handful have any prior experience in Iraq or in nation-building, conflict-resolution, reconciliation, post-war trauma healing, civil society empowerment and other quite relevant matters. In short, they are perfectly fit to "do" Iraq for the US and totally unsuitable for the Iraqis. They are not accountable to anyone, except President Bush and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. Their operations and decisions are not transparent to the world community or any world organisation.

You probably don't really want to know, but you should know. Link courtesy of Counterpunch.

May 18, 2003

a slave who presumes to criticize her king

Full text of Arundhati Roy's recent speech, Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free).

originally posted by xowie

another intern steps forward

He turned. He saw me. He recognized me. The noise was deafening but he spoke to me. I couldn't hear a thing, but I read his lips, and I'm pretty sure what he said was, "How are you coming along?" But I wasn't positive. So I replied as best I could. "What?" I said.
Nora Ephron, All the President's Girls.

originally posted by xowie

May 16, 2003

on campaign '04

Are most of the people who elect our next President going to grasp, or care, that an insidious pro-authoritarian philosophy is the altar at which the Bush zealots worship?
Follow Me Here.

xxx

Completely safe for work and reassuringly family-friendly adult image thumbnails, via dutchbint. And here's a random kitten generator.

crush

X-TREME OVERLOAD CRUSH: The burn-out crush-out comes in two forms. The first kind is for when you like him so much you are freaked out so you don't talk to him or anything and just shut down so he thinks you hate him. That one's a bummer because it never goes anywhere, so we're going to talk about the second one.

This is usually booze-influenced, and it's usually a guy out of your league but it goes like this: You see a guy at a bar and fall in love with him and all the shit your friends are talking about just sounds like the adults in Peanuts. You start thinking about your kids' names and what he's going to look like with a gray beard and you think you've found the one. Then he does something slightly less than perfect. Maybe he laughs like Tom Cruise or he tucks in his T-shirt. Whatever it is, all of a sudden you hate him and want to break up. You can't believe how easily he pissed your love away by acting like a twat. That motherfucker is dumped. Sayonara, loser! It's funny how mad you get about it. Once I even walked by one of those guys and I actually VERBALIZED, "Good-bye! (harrumph)" and stormed out. He must have thought I was totally fucking nuts.
Mix tape: X-Ray Spex, "I'm Obsessed With You".
The Vice Guide to being totally crushed out.

May 15, 2003

"editors claim that race wasn't a part of the problem. on that score, i think they're wrong."

Farai Chideya on race, journalism and (of course) Jayson Blair:

Race is always an issue; one that, if you live long enough, will work both for and against you. As America gets more diverse, the total number of black and of-color newspaper reporters has stagnated from year to year, in some cases dropping. The failure of America to have a truly integrated media does two things: 1) reinforces racial essentialism (i.e., all black reporters are held accountable for the sins of one; not so for whites) and 2) gives people who really want to play the race game a wide open field in which to do it.

Racial essentialism means that whites are thought of as having no race, and blacks (and to a lesser extent, other non-whites) are thought of as only seeing the world via race. This skewed perspective leads to the assumption that whites are "objective" when covering race (because they are somehow neutral, or raceless) and blacks are biased. It also means that white people don't have to apologize for famous plagarists like the Boston Globe's Mike Barnacle and Ruth Shalit (who penned a controversial article on race in the newsroom for The New Republic). Blacks apparently do.

[ via rc3.org ]

P.S. Why didn't anyone tell me about Pop and Politics, and that she founded it? It looks to be an excellent read.

May 14, 2003

E3 video game coverage

Electronic Entertainment Expo is the big video game conference. Who is covering it? Who else?

use an old idea

This freeware application is a handy little utility meant for creative types. It spits out a random oblique strategy from one of the hundred included in the Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt third edition (the 1979 edition). These little anecdotes are meant to assist you when you're having a tough time with the creative process. The original card set describes them as "Over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas".
Oblique Strategies for OS X, via little red book, a top site.

most overrated film of all time, easily

The notion that some human beings are not really human but, rather, mere slaves, nonhuman ciphers, and therefore expendable, is exactly the vision of the revolutionary hero and also of the mass terrorist. The Matrix is where all violent fanatics insist that they are living, even when they are not.
...
The only thing setting Zion apart from the good-guy planets in The Phantom Menace or Star Trek is that it seems to have been redlined at some moment in the mythic past and is heavily populated by people of color. They are all, like Morpheus, grave, orotund, and articulate to the point of prosiness, so that official exchanges in Zion put one in mind of what it must have been like at a meeting at the Afro-American Studies department at Harvard before Larry Summers got to it. (And no sooner has this thought crossed one's mind when lo! there is Professor Cornel West himself, playing one of the Councillors.)
The Matrix is definitely going to disappoint you. What would this sequel be with no fight scenes? Try and catch the Charlie Rose re-run from last night with Joel Silver, the three stars of the movie and two zit faced "critics" who were all talking about the "revolution of love and freedom" that The Matrix embodies. It was nice to see Laurence Fishburne occasionally chime in to remind Charlie's participants and audience that the violence that makes The Matrix popular was all lifted straight out of 30 year old Hong Kong cinema.

My movie recommendations this weekend: skip the matrix and see The Core or get The 25th Hour on DVD.

May 13, 2003

blogstats

blogstats is a cool new feature from daypop, making it easy to get the lowdown on your blog.

great gifts to give

Amazon wishlists for libraries.

ai has been brain-dead since the 1970s

"The worst fad has been these stupid little robots," said Minsky. "Graduate students are wasting 3 years of their lives soldering and repairing robots, instead of making them smart. It's really shocking."
W: Marvin Minsky spanks AI.

originally posted by xowie

New Mexico attorney general not hot on looking for missing Texas legislators

"Some are speculating this request from the Texas Governor's office concerns an effort to locate missing Texas House Democrats," Madrid wrote. "If so, Texas should understand that since ski season is over, the Santa Fe Opera has not begun and President Bush was just in town, I don't think they are in Santa Fe now. Nevertheless, I have put out an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the look out for politicians in favor of health care for the needy and against tax cuts for the wealthy."

52 Texas democrats on the lam.

"oops! so we DID shoot him after all, but really it was HIS fault"

British journalist James Miller, who was shot dead last week in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah, was hit by IDF fire, not by Palestinian fire, according to an autopsy carried out at by the Forensic Institute, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

A pathologist sent from Britain by Miller's family participated in the autopsy, the radio said. The dissection showed that the cameraman was shot from the front, and not from behind, as the IDF claimed. He was wearing a helmet and a flack jacket, but was hit in the neck.

Miller was shot while walking beside his translator who was holding a white flag; he was waving his arms and yelling so the troops would see it.

[ via infojunkies ]

quick, someone hook her up with fred phelps and his crew

I know it will fall on Deaf Ears But I am a DECENT HARDWORKING AMERICAN and yes, WHITE woman who is proud of who she is and the way she looks.

Do I believe that those who choose interracial relationships do so out of rebellion against God? No. But I think that the promoters of it do so out of antagonism toward God because they are often the same entities that promote homosexuality, abortion, and other forms of social radicalism.

Do I believe that one race is superior to another race? No.

Um, what?

Oh yeah, Darlene Hartsford is a crazy homophobic racist ass.

May 12, 2003

Why should we continue to be denied their benefits, in religious or non-religious contexts?

What I did that day should not be illegal. Adults seeking solace or insight ought to be allowed to consume psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.
Slate: Tripping De-Light Fantastic. (What a terrible headline.)

Let me off this speeding train to nowhere!

The U.S. government can get behind a $550 billion handout, errr, tax cut to the rich, can spend (and dole out nice juicy contracts for Becht-hell and Cheneyburton), and can spend $399B on the general military. And CEO compensation went up again amid a recession. (sidenote: your Mom's ethics or a CEOs?)

But then at the same time there's no money for social services and teachers are selling their blood to help fund schools. And our pay is either stagnating or going down even as health care costs rise.

Why is it that I'm supposed to support a system with these priorities?

originally posted by zagg

GWB will get re-elected over our dead bodies

Abraham Lincoln went to Gettysburg to consecrate that ground, and to give the horrible carnage of that battle meaning--to provide a sacred purpose for America. Can you imagine Lincoln going back to that battlefield, setting up a Chautauqua Tent and using that ground to re-nominate himself in 1864? Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt giving a fireside chat on Normandy Beach, as a way to insure his re-election in 1944? Americans died here, people. They didn't die so that George Bush would have a swell place to rally the faithful for four more years of Middle East wars, swelling deficits, tax cuts for billionaire campaign contributors, and environmental plunder.
Counterpunch: See You in New York. "They have decided to push back the date of the Republican National Convention in New York City to the first week of September. I'd like to see a million Americans with signs outside the convention. I want all those signs to say the same thing: Over Our Dead Bodies."

Just ask anyone who's beaten Legend of Zelda

Young gamers today aren't training to be gun-toting carjackers. They're learning how to learn. In Pikmin, children manage an army of plantlike aliens and strategize to solve problems. In Metal Gear Solid 2, players move stealthily through virtual environments and carry out intricate missions. Even in the notorious Vice City, players craft a persona, build a history, and shape a virtual world. In strategy games like WarCraft III and Age of Mythology, they learn to micromanage an array of elements while simultaneously balancing short- and long-term goals. That sounds like something for their résumés.

The secret of a videogame as a teaching machine isn't its immersive 3-D graphics, but its underlying architecture. Each level dances around the outer limits of the player's abilities, seeking at every point to be hard enough to be just doable. In cognitive science, this is referred to as the regime of competence principle, which results in a feeling of simultaneous pleasure and frustration - a sensation as familiar to gamers as sore thumbs.
Wired: High Score Education. James Paul Gee knows why my son is going to love his homeschooling.

May 11, 2003

more garden blogs than you have time to read

I've been prophesying (mostly to myself, sometimes to the coffee cup) that 2003 would be the year of the garden blog. At the time, I was sure that Garden Kids and the 13 Labs Garden represented no less than two-thirds of the garden weblogs out there. Little did I know! Sheila Lennon at the Providence Journal has done the hard work I've been putting off of unearthing this year's crop of garden weblogs, the seeds if you will of a gardenblog revolution. I can taste it now.

unbidden, by chance, driven by love

Steve, don't take it entirely personally. Your arse, up which I gleefully would shove every bit of your music service, was a trope.
Steve, your arse was a synecdoche.

Kill the poor. Slowly.

Finally, as in 2001, we're being told that this tax cut will create lots of jobs. But why should we believe that? It's hard to find an independent economist who thinks that the Bush proposal would create the 1.4 million jobs claimed by the administration — and as I've explained in this column, even that many jobs would be a poor payoff for a tax cut that big.

And bear in mind that Bush-style tax cuts now have a track record. Of the 2.1 million jobs lost over the past two years, 1.7 million vanished after the passage of the 2001 tax cut.

Into the Sunset

i'm waiting for the dvds

At Movement Building, they have a Buffy-as-social-commentary-on-the-war-on-terror department.

May 9, 2003

have you seen my book of virtues?

Page 24.

originally posted by xowie

spanking uncle bill

Bennett's behavior also reveals something more insidious than hypocrisy, though it is a very old tale. Those who argue most loudly that, were it not for state coercion, people would go to hell in a hand basket have long been suspected of speaking knowingly from introspection. Think Jimmy Swaggart. Bennett provides an even better example. Bennett has had three consumptive vices of which we know: cigarettes (which he had to give up to take the drug-czar position), gambling (which he now has to give up to preserve his viability on the lecture circuit as virtue authority) and, obviously, food.
Do unto others by Prof. Randy Barnett.

originally posted by xowie

May 8, 2003

birding by metro

When the sunlight reached the top of the trees, it warmed up the insects, bringing them to life and attracting flocks of birds to feast on them. Amid all the flitting, buzzing and gliding, the pair bagged 46 species by the time they left the park for a Starbucks break at 9 a.m. "Not so bad for the middle of the city," Bjerke said. Still, he was puzzled by one thing: "No crow. Amazing."

Two D.C. birders try to break their record--via Metro.

Did You Know?

Virginia's state soil is Pamunkey.

for them their animals are their children

There are no animal "owners" here. Anyone who cohabits with an animal is known as an animal "guardian." People who are disabled or senior citizens sharing a rent-controlled apartment with an animal in West Hollywood can't be evicted. The city even provides pooper-scoopers and trash bags in parks so pet owners can clean up after Fido. And other measures are under consideration to prohibit what many see as mutilations, according to City Council members.
No more onychectomies (great scrabble word) in West Holly: City keeps vets' paws off cat claws.

originally posted by xowie

salam pax

Salam is back.

May 7, 2003

afri-car

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to announce the latest development in the international trade in dodgy chemical weapons: the Trabant is to be re-packaged, nay, re-invented, as the Afri-Car, the People's Car for the Third World. Made out of fibre glass, this two-stroke beauty, now a cult object of nostalgia in Eastern Europe (check out those ties!), comes in those pastel colours you never see in the West. In Budapest in the mid-1990s, the city transport company gave one-year travel passes to anyone who handed their Trabant in.

i hadda create a new category for the fat bastard

Bill Bennett should not be pilloried because he maxed out his credit line in Atlantic City, Vegas, or even Reno. Bennett should be taken to task for undermining teacher's unions while Education Secretary. If it weren't for the work Bennett did as Drug Czar, the federal government might not have a pretext to build a police state around combating blunts and bongs. Over two million in jail, many for weed busts, and Bill Bennett served as the Thomas Jefferson of the Drug War. These are serious gambles that the American people lost.
CP: In Defense of Bill Bennett.

originally posted by xowie

silent protest

About six months too late, but never mind. Bill Drummond launched a pack of Silent Protest cards, with which the anti-war protestor can get through the day without saying a word, using only the cards which read things like Yes, No, Tea, You're The One Being Stupid and so on. Bill Drummond is the man who brought you the KLF, mydeath.net, and who burnt a million quid on the Isle of Jura in 1994.

May 6, 2003

remembering lynch street

The five-story dormitory was riddled by gunfire. FBI investigators estimated that more than 460 rounds struck the building, shattering every window facing the street on each floor. Investigators counted at least 160 bullet holes in the outer walls of the stairwell alone -- bullet holes that can still be seen today.
The May 1970 Tragedy at Jackson State University.

originally posted by xowie

miso cookbook

I keep a tub of miso in the fridge at work for days like today when I didn't eat breakfast, can't leave for lunch, and (my wonderful wife) only packed some snacks before I rushed to catch the 10-minutes-late bus. I asked Google, "how long does miso keep" and was pleased to discover not only that "because of its salt content, miso will keep indefinitely under refrigeration, and it is OK to use miso that has been in the fridge for a year or more," but that South River Miso has a 26-page recipe booklet online in portable document format.

Exporting Democracy

People who wonder why a majority of African Americans do not support George W. Bush's illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq might want to talk to a black gentleman and fellow Chicagoan I know named Tony. They should also review some recent and important research on hiring discrimination in and around Chicago, to be discussed below.

Tony possesses "only" a High School degree but enjoys greater political and sociological wisdom than most of America's college-certified population, including many high academics. He recently posed an excellent question after relating a media commentator's remarks to the effect that the US was going to bring justice and democracy to Iraq. "How," Tony asked me, "you gonna export something you ain't even got at home?"

This is one of the most thorough explanations of our racist system I have ever seen.

May 5, 2003

it's like a relationship, like a friend

With a dance remix of Madonna's "Die Another Day" playing on his computer's hard drive, he took a miniature torch to the end of a glass pipe and inhaled the ghostly smoke, proclaiming it "the martini of the future."
Ph.D. takes fall to addiction, part of SFGate's hideous 'crystal meth: dance of death' series.

originally posted by xowie

degenerate gambler with a badge

Let's also be honest that gambling would not be our first-choice vice if we were designing this fantasy-come-true from scratch. But gambling will do. It will definitely do. Bill Bennett has been exposed as a humbug artist who ought to be pelted off the public stage if he lacks the decency to slink quietly away, as he is constantly calling on others to do.
Michael Kinsley, Bill Bennett's Bad Bet.

originally posted by xowie

save the dog

The CNN graphic artists are the best on the Internet, bar none, but ABCNews is trying to get in the game with this beautiful companion to their article Interactive Ecoterrorism?.

Cone Sisters Apartment

During the first three decades of the twentieth century, [Etta and Claribel Cone] amassed one of America's foremost collections of modern art. Today, many of the pieces can be viewed in the Cone Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
The Virtual Walkthrough of the Cones' apartment is a tiny glimpse into the educational and multimedia potential of the Internet. It's a perfect marriage of technology and beauty, and reminds me how little I know about art history. [Thanks, Aaauuuggghhh!]

May 4, 2003

band-aids not for 'whites only' anymore

"Ebon-Aide is the adhesive bandage specially designed for people of color. From the licorice look to mocha, coffee, cinnamon, and honey skin, new Ebon-Aide blends with your skin to help conceal as you heal." [Pop Culture Junk Mail]

series: the best blog you're not reading

I wouldn't make some false claims to safety now that the neighborhood's changing dramatically, in the same way that I wouldn't take credit for being a gentrifier.

But, the reality is, I was one of the "first-wave" gentrifiers. In real estate lingo, according to my co-worker Ryan, I exemplify "the risk oblivious." As the Saint-Ex crew builds up strength in my neighborhood, I will no doubt begin to lament the changes taking place.
Zoe Mitchell @ Pitas.com.

May 3, 2003

pynchon on orwell

George Orwell's last book, 1984, has in a way been a victim of the success of Animal Farm, which most people were content to read as a straightforward allegory about the melancholy fate of the Russian revolution. From the minute Big Brother's moustache makes its appearance in the second paragraph of 1984, many readers, thinking right away of Stalin, have tended to carry over the habit of point-for-point analogy from the earlier work. Although Big Brother's face certainly is Stalin's, just as the despised party heretic Emmanuel Goldstein's face is Trotsky's, the two do not quite line up with their models as neatly as Napoleon and Snowball did in Animal Farm. This did not keep the book from being marketed in the US as a sort of anticommunist tract. Published in 1949, it arrived in the McCarthy era, when "Communism" was damned officially as a monolithic, worldwide menace, and there was no point in even distinguishing between Stalin and Trotsky, any more than for shepherds to be instructing sheep in the nuances of wolf recognition.
Thomas Pynchon on George Orwell in today's Guardian.

May 2, 2003

Tom Friedman@Feature Inc.

Tom Friedman [link to self portrait made from Aspirin] is showing his work at The Feature Gallery in Chelsea. Their web site is out of date, and you have to call for an appointment, but I've heard incredible things.

It was only a matter of time

The Nokia 3650, greatest phone money can buy, is free at Amazon. I've collected some of my thoughts on the phone inside...


About 6 months ago, I wrote a sticky note for myself entitled "When I'll get a phone." T-mobile made the Nokia 3650 available on April 1 and I received mine that day. After a month, here's how it's going:

full .Mac integration: Address Book groups, multiple iCal calendars (at mediarights we use about 12), IMAP mail, all over bluetooth
iSync support isn't there yet (this month, allegedly) but the Bluetooth adapter (D-link DBT-120, from tekserve) works well for exchanging midi files, photos, addresses, appointments and .sis (program) files.

The IMAP mail program is great. I don't expect to ever write much mail on it, but when I need to it's more than serviceable. I do wish I had smarter junk mail filtering, but the .Mac screening does pretty well.

color screen
It's beautiful. I don't notice "only" 4096 colors on this tiny thing. Anyone who says different is lying. It's very very bright when the backlight is on, and dim but not unreadable when it's off.

affordable Internet plan (only sidekick has this?)
I pay $10/month for 10MB from T-mobile. I've used about 2/3rds of it. You can use the phone as your primary Internet connection for your computer via bluetooth, and if I ever needed this I'd tear through those ten megs and wish for sidekick's unlimited plan. Until then the 10 megs are plenty.

GPRS/GSM network and good reception(only T-mobile has this)
The reception is great nearly everywhere, even in Park Slope & Williamsburg, two areas where cell phone reception is notoriously bad. The photo pictures send very quickly, and the web loads fast enough to be usable.

a nice camera, 640x480 at least!
The camera works wonderfully - much better than any other camera I've seen on a phone/palm/hiptop device. You can see some pictures from Shea Stadium or our garden in Brooklyn taken with the phone and judge for yourself. To me, the quality of the pictures is the most pleasant suprise of the phone.

It is a little grueling to send photos over bluetooth one at a time. The picture syncing should work exactly like iPhoto. Of course, it doesn't yet on the Mac, but I think there is a utility like that for the PC. Once I get my head on straight, I'll join bluetooth-dev group, I'm hoping a fairly simple script could bring over all new photos at once and delete them from the phone. What I'm really hoping is that someone else will do this, of course.

There is a lot of good documentation available for developers, but the Nokia Developer's website is ridiculously difficult to navigate. There is no one page with all documentation indexed by phone or platform, and most of the URLs resist bookmarks. I also hate looking at URLs with commas in them, but that's a personal bias. And forget about Mac support - even though the sample code (C++ and Java) is perfectly readable and heavily commented, you can only compile it into a .sis file on Windows. Most of the good stuff is on the Series 60 and Java pages. There is also a Linux port, so there is hope. I can only assume better OS X support is coming, since the Symbian platform is becoming the standard.

Nokia's video recorder uses the new 3gpp format. I stress new because it's entirely unsupported on Windows & Mac OS X. It's supposed to play on the Real One player, but not until the next version. It is a special feeling to take 15 seconds of video on your phone and play it back.

And speaking of Real One, it's nice that it comes with a native Symbian Real One player, but it won't stream anything better than a 40kbps stream. I guess this is to keep bandwidth costs down, but it strikes me as not quite ready. Rob Glaser is betting the bank on Real One being the best mobile streaming software, but I'm not sure they've got the inside track yet.

cover

rW xo Jessamyn

Congratulations to Jessamyn on her election to the ALA council.

At MediaRights, I often point to librarian.net as a source of information about the librarian community.

snipped, dipped and packaged

Back at the Factory, things are going well. We make cockroach-size crucifixes, recliner chairs, beer, pornography, weapons of mass entertainment, extortion contracts, legislation to prevent justice, boots, arm bands, bumper stickers, baseballs, moms, apple pies, potato chips, depleted uranium ammo casings, soda pop, paraquat, genocide-silencers, cotton candy, bunker busters, embedded reporters, Cheer, Joy, thalidomide, Snickers, cyclamates, saccharine and talking anchorpuppets.
Cheerleaders by Dave Shulman

originally posted by xowie

just dew it

You gotta get off your ass. You gotta question everything. You gotta see the world anew, always, every moment, to progress and evolve and vibrate higher.
Mark Morford, Shut Up And Vibrate Already.

originally posted by xowie

it ain't just me

America just loooves marijuana and porn! (fark)

originally posted by xowie

misgoogling

Here are a few examples of Google hit counts being cited in publications within the past month. Before you read on, do a search for each of these yourself and see if you can figure out if they're in the ballpark or way off:

A Google search for the phrase "Iraq war" returns 3.2 million hits. -- The Raleigh News & Observer

"The best defense is a good offense." That favorite saying of heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey gets a half-million hits on Google... -- The New York Times

The phrase "geopolitical climate" is a favorite among market commentators. A Google search found 1,410 mentions of it. It makes me feel important to use it. -- The Motley Fool

A search on the Google search engine under "boycott American products" found 117,000 page hits. -- UPI

Maybe it's time the media learns how to Google?

May 1, 2003

runners

They are a tough bunch, the runners, used to hang-ups and cuss-outs, nasty competitors and bad parts of town. They're not required to hold investigative licenses, so most of them don't. They got into the business through a friend, or because they were in an accident and saw how the business worked.

They saw that the District allows running, unlike Maryland and Virginia. And they saw that -- by making the rounds of police stations, and driving with scanners -- they could make a living.

The Washington Post explores the runner subculture.

we are at war, we are at war

"Please stop talking to them," he urged. "I have been through this before. Please do whatever they say. Please for our sake."
Patriot Raid by Jason Halperin.

originally posted by xowie

cold, dead hands

And now, Charlton Heston is stepping down as the High Lord Gunmaster Poobah (or whatever they called him) of the phallically righteous increasingly paranoid adorably manly National Rifle Association. They are sighing in tribute. They are hugging each other and giving reassuring pats though not in an icky scary gay way. They are raising their rifles in salute.
Charlton Heston's Last Sneer by Mark Morford.

originally posted by xowie

into the clear blue of the may night

May Day, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

originally posted by xowie