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August 31, 2003


I was thrilled to find this clock for $25. Design Within Reach within reach! I've just stumbled across George Nelson, who did some beautiful design.

August 28, 2003

I speak / because I am shattered

She has two ex-husbands and a son, Noah, 30, who is a sommelier in San Francisco. Gluck said she likes a little wine herself every now and then. A Chateau Pavie cheval blanc is her preference.
Louise Gluck is our new poet laureate. According to the Washington Post, her father invented the X-Acto knife and her poetry is "the release of accumulated misery."

"Oh, Bush, he's such a whistle ass!"

She thought he was a liar—I think his personality, just standing there with that smirk on his face, and acting like he's this holy Christian, that's what really got her.
"Sally Baron was 71 when she died Monday after struggling to recuperate from heart surgery. Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush." (Capital Times via Where We're Bound)

krazy (schrodinger's) kat

Discovery: Peter Blegvad's brilliant comic strip Leviathan (get a taste from the website) and another Blegvad roost, Amateur.

August 27, 2003

you say you want a revolution

iTunes iSbogus
Steve Jobs says the Music Store is "revolutionizing music." What an impoverished imagination he has. An expensive jukebox and a long-playing walkman aren't revolutionary. A revolution in music will be when people stop buying music and start living it: when 25 cent donations support more musicians than CDs ever did, when payola's dead and radio is commercial-free all day long, when every American highschool has a recording studio just cause they're that cheap to set up. This can all happen right now.
"If you want to support the musicians you love, the best way to begin is by downloading the song for free on a filesharing network."

August 26, 2003

knowledge for the commonwealth

Virginia Cooperative Extension Monthly Gardening Tips: August.

have you been?

Wired News: Burning Man Never Gets Old

It was just one of those moments when you feel like everything is exactly as it's supposed to be. You just had to be there. - John Perry Barlow

modern windows

Modern windows is a new topic of discussion in the dwell forums.

August 25, 2003

travel the spaceways

A synopsis of Space Is the Place, a feature-length Sun Ra film from 1974 scheduled for re-release in October:

After having traveled through space in a yellow spaceship propelled by music, Sun Ra finds a planet he believes could serve as a new home for the black race. Returning to earth he lands in Oakland, California, circa 1972 and has to fight The Overseer, played by Ray Johnson (from 1971's Dirty Harry), a supernatural villain who pimps out the black race. Sun Ra offers those who would follow him into space an "alter-destiny," but the Overseer, the FBI, and NASA--who are after Ra's Black Space Program--ultimately force him to return to space before the destruction of Earth.

west-eastern divan orchestra

An orchestra made up of young Israeli and Arab musicians has played its first concert in an Arab country. The West-Eastern-Divan Orchestra played a programme of Mozart and Beethoven pieces in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. The concert was conducted by the orchestra's co-founder, the Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim.
The 'peace orchestra', under the leadership of Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said, has played its first concert in Morocco. You should be able to listen to their performance at the London proms at the BBC Radio 3 website here until 29 August.

August 24, 2003


It was a brilliant living light. It was a light you wanted to go toward. It was like the light of God. Prior to this, I had struggled with the whole idea of God. I did not believe there was such a thing.

The current exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore features work from Alex Grey (quoted above) and dozens others. The Washington Post profiles three of the artists.

August 22, 2003

liefern larf lörfe gelorfen

For anyone who knows and enjoys the Language of Love, German, the Gesellschaft zur Stärkung der Verben (Society for the Strengthening of Verbs) is ausgezeichnet. (Via Language Hat.)

funny for the soldiers

I, for one, welcome our new Photoshop overlords. (Via Stunned Weblog).
While Russell insists that most local people "will love 'em and be laughing," there are nonetheless concerns that, far from aiding the American cause, the images will only serve to increase anti-American feeling among ordinary Iraqis.
Well, duh.

August 21, 2003

two devils

So why is it, that all most people hear is their own lonely sorrow drowned in TV noise, and all they see is their insignificance barely kept at bay by shopping? The answer is that there are two devils: the Devil of Conformity who keeps us from seeing and hearing what artists make and thus condemns us to sterile solitude, and the Devil of Art and Joy who is fighting the Devil of Conformity as we speak. Today, in the deep laziness and profound tedium of summer, go out and buy an artwork and a book of poetry and keep it talismanically around, or take it with you into the waves. You must quit boring yourself.

Andrei Codrescu with a kick-ass commentary. You can also hear him read it, from NPR's All Things Considered. That's where I found it and felt glad I could hear such a thing on my radio.

The ending recalls Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo":

We never knew his fantastic head,
where eyes like apples ripened. Yet
his torso, like a lamp, still glows
with his gaze which, although turned down low,

lingers and shines. Else the prow of his breast
couldn't dazzle you, nor in the slight twist
of his loins could a smile run free
through that center which held fertility.

Else this stone would stand defaced and squat
under the shoulders' diaphanous dive
and not glisten like a predator's coat;

and not from every edge explode
like starlight: for there's not one spot
that doesn't see you. You must change your life.

1% inspiration, 99% desperation

Among the millions put out by the power loss last week were the nearly 600 designers and students attending the Industrial Designers Society of America's annual conference. When the hotel closed on Thursday because emergency generators had shut down, people who head design departments at corporations like I.B.M. and Motorola were put on the street for the night—at the mercy of their own designs, their consciences as professionals and whatever impromptu designing they cared to do.
New York Times: Dim Lights, Bright Ideas.

the hand of god pinched my bum in mecca

"On the road, men go for anything, they really do. But I don't let them in. I don't get men hitting on me, but I get Muslim men hitting me [Mirza has been attacked on stage in London]." She allows herself a rueful laugh.

"I don't fit in on the comedy circuit but I do have a laugh with them. But that's it. They don't know how to deal with me. They are a bit scared. They don't cross that line."

The petty jealousies sparked by her meteoric rise do annoy her. "They have been so racist to me. They say that I have only got where I am because I'm Muslim. Well, I had the courage to do what I am doing. You have to have an angle in comedy. And I'm naturally different. I am brown and I am a Muslim woman, what can I do?"
An interview with Shazia Mirza in today's Guardian.

dear nest

Dear Nest Products. I'd like to place an order for the Herb chintz fabric.

August 20, 2003

what type of shit is that?

The Memory Hole: White House Alters Webpages About Iraq Combat. [via BookNotes]

August 19, 2003

is this sad or terrifying? i can't decide

More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time there, according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday. That's 1 in 37 adults living in the United States, the highest incarceration level in the world. (...)

If current trends continue, it means that a black male in the United States would have about a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison during his lifetime. For a Hispanic male, it's 1 in 6; for a white male, 1 in 17. (..)

"These new numbers are shocking enough, but what we don't see are the ripple effects of what they mean: For the generation of black children today, there's almost an inevitable aspect of going to prison," says Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington. "We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality."

[ via MetaFilter; thread here ]

lost words

What is a Lost Word?

1. The word must have a header entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.
2. The word may not appear in its proper English context on any readily accessible web page.
3. The word must have been used in Modern English.
4. The word must have been used in a standard English variety rather than simply in a regional dialect.
5. The word must not be a simple variation in spelling of another word.
The Compendium of Lost Words.


It is fitting that the Connerly-led attempt at ethnic cleansing, the purest product to date of racist American illogic, will be staged in California, the first state to achieve a non-white majority — 53 percent, according to the 2000 census. On October 7, California voters will have the opportunity to engage in two acts of mass self-delusion: first, they can elect Arnold Schwarzenegger governor, which requires that they pretend he is an actual person, rather than an Aryan-modeled hologram with an accent; second, they can vote ‘Yes’ on Connerly’s Racial Privacy Act (RPI):
The state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin in the operation of education, public contracting or public employment… Classification in other state operations are prohibited unless they serve a compelling state interest and are approved by two-thirds majority of the legislature and approved by the governor.

The intended effect of RPI is to make it nearly impossible to compile evidence of the existence of racism, or to create public policy that would counter the effects of racism, or to identify the victims of racism. A ‘color blind’ society would be achieved by blinding citizens and government to the facts of bias. It is the equivalent of vanquishing crime by making it impossible to introduce evidence of lawbreaking, or conquering disease by eliminating the practice of medicine. Racial peace will reign in the land, the theory goes, since there will be no official racial facts available to argue about.

Ward Connerly and his rich white benefactors want to erase Black people from the official American map.

August 18, 2003

they knew we were journalists

We were all there, for at least half an hour. They knew we were journalists. After they shot Mazen, they aimed their guns at us. I don't think it was accident.
Stephan Breitner of France 2 television on Sunday's shooting of Reuter's cameraman Mazen Dana outside of Baghdad. (AP/KansasCity.com)

August 17, 2003

4% of political blogs

The NITLE blog census tells us that, amongst other things, women author 4% of political blogs and 56% of personal blogs. Or was the personal political? I forget.

other africas

White man: "Okay, But I need fresh eye now."

Alhaji: "That one will cast you money o like $200,000."
Nigerian popular posters, part of the Other Africas exhibition: Images of African Modernity, and via the excellent J-Walk blog.

August 15, 2003

thought crime

I think I want this one.

Charles and Ray Eames LOC exhibit

The Work of Charles and Ray Eames (Library of Congress Exhibition), via Coudal's MoOM.

The Great North American Blackout 2003

Most folks were good natured, but hot. The breeze over the water seemed to disappear with the electricity. Merchants were selling water at gallons a minute, and at normal prices, too. More than a few people looked like heat stroke candidates: puffy red faces, clothing entirely sweat-soaked, a staggering, erratic walk. I bought two bottles of water, but I looked like I'd been fished out of the East River: covered in sweat, wet clothes, and the marks of pollution from where I'd climbed over barricades and up on bridge partitions to beat the crowds and take pictures.
World New York: The Great North American Blackout 2003.

August 14, 2003

Word melody over image chords, that way?

There's a thing there that's got all the outside and it's got the momentum and it's going to move and it's going to demand certain forms and it's totally not embodied at all. There's no material to it yet and you feel absolutely that you're about to embody that, whatever your material is. I think painters feel that too. I remember Philip Guston talking that way. In fact he and I used to talk about paint and words to the extent that we weren't talking about paint and words anymore, we were talking about art, I mean, making that thing where we use all whatever materials we've been given to make it with. I remember some nights talking with him where we felt like it's absolutely up there somewhere and it's not paint and it's not words.
Clark Coolidge on Jack Kerouac

radio radio

"RADIO RADIO is a sixteen-part series of forty-five minute broadcasts which asks an honest question: Is there really a place on radio for experimentation? Twenty people immersed in radio, sound and performance (Prix Italia winners, Prix Futura winners, SONY winners and platinum recording artists as well as sound poets, unconventional radio producers, audio artists, critically savvy DJs and writers on the social and aesthetic margins) offer, in their own ways, answers to this question through conversation and the presentation of their work."

worst ... policy ... ever

It's too bad George Akerlof wasn't at the meeting. Mr. Akerlof, a 2001 Nobel laureate in economics, bluntly declared on Tuesday that "the Bush fiscal policy is the worst policy in the last 200 years." Speaking at a press conference arranged by the Economic Policy Institute, Mr. Akerlof, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said, "Within 10 years, we're going to pay a serious price for such irresponsibility."

No Work, No Homes

originally posted by zagg

hey hey hey

On the '70s television show "What's Happening!" Berry used to play that funny, heavy-set, dancing character named Rerun in a red beret and suspenders. In his real life over the years, Berry has experienced drug and alcohol problems, gone through recovery, gone through six marriages to four women and become an ordained minister. But he seems happiest being thought of as lovable old Rerun. He legally adopted the nickname as his middle name, and even now, at 52, he wears his trademark beret and suspenders when he makes public appearances. When he calls his fans through Hollywood Is Calling, he tells them it's Rerun and says a line from the show, "Hey-hey-hey." Sometimes they scream.

"I'm not doing it for the money," Berry says. "Hearing the excitement in people's voices -- I think I would pay them if I really had the money." Indeed, he considers making people laugh over the phone a sort of ministry. "This is like curing the world," he says.

The Washington Post writes up HollywoodIsCalling.com. Hmm, my mom's birthday is coming up.

August 13, 2003

Free Ryan Matthews!


originally posted by zagg

August 11, 2003

Cattle Call

As months of joblessness drag on — Washington's unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in June — many professionals are working their way down the employment chain. They're applying for everything from low-level service jobs to dubious multilevel marketing schemes, sectors where labor is cheap and workers are interviewed by the batch.
Cattle calls.

And it's only going to get worse.

In the next 15 years, American employers will move about 3.3 million white-collar jobs and $136 billion in wages overseas, according to Forrester Research. That's up from $4 billion in wages in 2000.

Ten years ago a lot of people scoffed when manufacturing jobs started going to nations like Mexico and China saying sweatshop wages were good for developing nations while saying that workers in the U.S. would move into new fields. Does it seem so harmless now that it is white-collar jobs going too?

Also, Business Week asks, Outsourcing Jobs, Is It Bad? where some of those same defenses are re-aired.

originally posted by zagg

August 10, 2003

"That Mr. Collins sure was a nice guy, now what should we have for lunch?" said Tom Metafilterly.

"It's like I'm stuck in a giant video game, and I have to buy my way out" Tom said patronizingly.
This is not even the funniest one.

August 8, 2003

beats me

dwell forums: Why is it that people tend to choose traditional style homes over modern, contemporary homes?

banality and repetition opens my mind

artnet.com: Tripping on the Wall
"Since the late 1980s, the New York artist Fred Tomaselli has been celebrated for visionary artworks made of intricately collaged images clipped from magazines and nature guides and also including, somewhat more notoriously, marijuana leaves, pharmaceutical pills and other literally mind-altering substances."

August 7, 2003

The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride

Check this out:

Modeled after the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights Movement, the goal of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride is to generate dialogue and awareness around immigrant worker issues. The organizers are emphasizing the fact that workers live and pay taxes, deserve the right to legalize their status, should be better assisted in applying for citizenship and should be able to HAVE A VOICE in this democracy called America that relies so heavily on their labor.

The riders are going to travel across the country and hit 9 cities, final destination Flushing, Queens. They will arrive on October 4th.

My friend Rupa is involved in the organizing, leave a comment or contact me (djatthissitedotcom) if you'd like me to introduce you.

real underground

The London Tube map, this time for real.

hello, jerusalem

Adriana is travelling in Jerusalem, here are her pictures.

leaving leaving katya

The exceptional Leaving Katya has been remaindered, so you can pick it up for $3 or so. Time to bring back the rW book club?

axis of junkies

The Saudi royal family, meanwhile, has its own addictions. It depends on the US arms industry, of which it is the biggest foreign customer. Officially, it spends 16% of the country's GDP on arms, more than any country on earth, even though its security is essentially guaranteed by US forces. Even after those forces leave by the end of the year, they will not be far away, in Qatar and Kuwait.

The Saudi monarchy is fixated on buying US weapons for two main reasons - to defend itself from its own people, and because it is a quick and easy form of kickbacks for a constantly growing clan finding it increasingly hard to live in the style to which it has become accustomed.
Julian Borger, An Axis of Junkies in the Guardian.

August 5, 2003

why we need namespace

There's no greater intellectual thrill than when a complicated idea is boiled down to a straightforward example and common sense:

Context is the big deal here, and it's context that is the very heart of literary symbolism and poetic metaphor. Without context, symbolism drowns: only context allows metaphor. We need context, literary namespaces, to allow us to understand that in this document where the writer says x, he means y, whilst if in another story x appears, it doesn't necessarily mean y at all. Otherwise the use of metaphor becomes a land grab, with the first use of a word being the only one allowable or understandable. Where would Orwell be, if literary context did not allow him to use pigs in a way different to Beatrix Potter.

Ben Hammersley on why we need namespaces.

Banned From the Trib

On July 14 and 17, Chicago Tribune editors decided not to publish Boondocks, Aaron McGruder's daily hard-hitting comic strip.
McGruder's hit a nerve again. Let's hope he continues.

August 4, 2003


But Iraqis say that the regularity of deaths in their own civilian population has drastically affected feelings regarding the U.S. occupation.

In numerous interviews, they warn that more than other factors -- like widespread unemployment, fuel shortages and electricity blackouts -- civilian casualties have hardened bitterness against U.S. soldiers, and could prolong or widen the armed resistance against them.

"It has increased our hate against Americans," said Ali Hatem, 23, a computer science student at the University of Baghdad. "It also increases the violence against them. In Iraq we are tribal people. When someone loses their son, they want revenge."

But I thought the resistance in Iraq was from "Saddam loyalists"?

originally posted by zagg

August 3, 2003

Bush Cards

Do you know who in the Bush administration is an ex-con? Or who never graduated from college? Can you guess the cabinet member who had an oil tanker named after them? Do you know whose nickname is "Scooter" and whose nickname is "Yoda?"
I just got my deck.

originally posted by beXn

no more prisons

The Sentencing Project in Washington D.C. has launched a new web site. Their publications section is a gem -- there's still a dearth (sadly) of great fact sheets on-line for prison activists. With the election coming up, their Drug Policy section is especially relevant.

where'd the cheese go?

At some point in 2002, Pizza Hut approached Ween to write an advertising jingle for their latest devilish creation, a pizza with cheese on the inside named, er, The Insider. Pizza Hut didn't like any of the songs, two of which Ween kindly share with us here. Do listen to both. (Via Domo Domo.)

burka band


The Burka Band are a three-piece female rock band from Kabul, and appear to have taken over Germany. An article in Spiegel, bei Monika (including links to MP3s) and at Ata Tak, the music label.

the old-time honesty of gamblers and straw hats

LIFE Interview: Allen Ginsberg
Kerouac was all-American if anything. Neal Cassady was an all American kid, foot warts and all. But it really was Americana and Americanist, something in an older literary tradition that runs through Whitman and William Carlos Williams and Sherwood Anderson. There was that old Americanist tradition of recognition of the land and the people and the gawky awkward beauty of the individual eccentric citizen. Or as Kerouac said, "the old-time honesty of gamblers and straw hats." His 1959 [Playboy, June] article on "The Origins of the Beat Generation," that's his statement on what he intended, a kind of yea-saying Americana which was interpreted as some kind of negative complaining by the middle class who were themselves complaining. So yes, we were, or I was quite aware of the [cultural] impact. But so was Kerouac in "Origins of the Beat Generation" and in The Dharma Bums. He predicts a generation of long-haired kids with rucksacks. He predicts and asks for it.


This is what we've been waiting for. From the press release:

Inspired by the futures market in terror and war that the Pentagon released earlier this week (and then immediately yanked; see here), a consortium of computer scientists, political scientists and others announced today an online futures market in White House behavior.

"The Pentagon felt that a market in terrorism futures could predict terrorism," said AAM spokesman Tad Hirsch, a researcher at MIT's Media Lab. "If the market is indeed such a powerful tool, then it should be directed at the most urgent question facing the world: what will the White House do next? And the second most urgent: what is it doing right now?"

AmericanActionMarket.org, will offer various categories of "futures" that users can bet on and trade. Some of the contracts traded on AAM will be based on objective data and observable events, as on a horse track, e.g.:
  • the next White House lie to break into the news;
  • the next country the White House will threaten, and when;
  • the lifespan of various DARPA projects, such as Total Information Awareness [site] and Babylon [site];
  • the first White House staffer to resign in disgrace, and when;
  • Who will be the next foreign leader to move from the CIA payroll to the White House "most wanted" list?;
  • What will be the next major White House lie to break, and how will the White House attempt to control it? Will the attempt be successful?; and
  • Which corporation will be next to see its close relationship to the White House erupt in scandal?
And this is what I've been waiting for, a new way to get rid of people: Introvertster.

implementation of the "random walk" decision simulation technique

Random Walk Generator

Humans have seemingly always been fascinated by random phenomena. Randomness is a pervasive component of our everyday lives. It characterizes the patterns of raindrops, shape and location of clouds, traffic on the freeway. It describes the selection of winning numbers in the lottery and day-to-day changes in the weather. The science of chaos says that everything began in pure randomness and will end that way.

The computer provides a means for the systematic extended study of randomness and pseudo-randomness that is impractical using simpler methods such as flipping coins or rolling dice. A graphics-oriented computer and a simple algorithm such as a two-dimensional random walk is ideal for the visual display and exploration of random principles.

The random walk decision procedure, like the eight queens and knight's tour problems, predates computers. In one college finite math textbook (Kemeny et. al. , 1962) it is described in the context of an absorbing (i.e. terminating) Markov chain process wherein, at each decision point, only the most recent decision is considered when making the current one. Variations of the random walk method are currently used with computers to simulate systems in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, statistics, marketing, population dynamics, and others. A bit of Internet prowling will unearth information on many current applications. An Alta Vista search on the key "random walk" generated 2988 hits, many of them redundant, but containing at least one hit for most of the current applications of the method. Sourcecode for various implementations is freely available on the net in languages ranging from Java to C to Lisp.

August 2, 2003

orientalism, 25 years on

Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilise, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires.

Twenty-five years after my book's publication, Orientalism once again raises the question of whether modern imperialism ever ended, or whether it has continued in the orient since Napoleon's entry into Egypt two centuries ago.
Edward Said on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Orientalism.

August 1, 2003

Best of CNN

Police: Teen abduction foiled by cell phone cam. This is the second time I've read an anecdote of a camera phone involved in catching criminals in the act. I think it's just the beginning of similar stories. In related news, I caught a snapshot of that little boy in the blue shirt trying to pass me on the right, but no one has arrested him yet, to my knowledge.

my new planting technique is unstoppable

The Crown of Thorns: My blogging life is complete.

space is the place, yeah yeah yeah yeah

Stereo Images - Time for Space—"Experimenting here with a way to present stereo images on the screen by simply putting the right and left images in an animated gif." [via MetaFilter]