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January 31, 2004

when they dial, they use the middle finger

At one point during my visit with the Badirs, I pull out my cell phone and make a call. Before it even connects, Shadde, who is sitting across the room, recites all 12 digits perfectly. Ramy smiles at the parlor trick. "It used to be disgusting to be blind," he says. "Today, you scare people. You possess skills that those with sight cannot possibly understand."

Three Blind Phreaks, via /.

originally posted by xowie

January 30, 2004

Dean and the Media

I think dj and I share a general distaste for Howard Dean, albeit for somewhat different reasons. But I'm taking less joy in its seeming disintegration, largely because I don't think the wounds are entirely self-inflicted. Part of it represents Dean being taken down by the Corporate Media because of threats posed by the Dean Campaign even if Dean himself is a genuine grassroots candidate. I highly recomment Black Commentator's excellent analysis of that issue.
This commentary, however, is not about the merits of Howard Dean. If a mildly progressive, Internet-driven, young white middle class-centered, movement-like campaign such as Dean’s — flush with money derived from unconventional sources, backed by significant sections of labor, reinforced by big name endorsements and surging with upward momentum — can be derailed in a matter of weeks at the whim of corporate media, then all of us are in deep trouble. The Dean beat-down should signal an intense reassessment of media’s role in the American power structure. The African American historical experience has much to offer in that regard, since the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements were born in a wrestling match with an essentially hostile corporate (white) media. However, there can be no meaningful discussion of the options available to progressive forces in the United States unless it is first recognized that the corporate media in the current era is the enemy, and must be treated that way.

originally posted by zagg

I would further hazard there's an element of the Democratic Party itself turning on Dean for similar reasons. I don't think the media is pushing a Republican agenda, as BC seems to argue. It's a Ruling Class agenda which the Democrats actually share in. I think Dean was done in at the Democrat's behest just as much as the Republicans. I have to stress here that what is at stake is not the quality of Dean as a progressive or an assessment of campaigners behind him. Instead it's that Dean is being taken down because he has a significant (in number) grassroots backing. That was a threat that needed to be dealt with even if that campaign itself probably does not represent a progressive force that could grow beyond a campaign and into a larger movement. The most damning evidence (to me), is that the other Democratic candidates have yet to sink their talons into Kerry the Frontrunner the way they went after Dean the Frontrunner. (Nor did they do so when he was the Frontrunner when all this began last year). So I don't think the shredding of Dean was entirely motivated by him leading the pack, as some have argued. At issue was a to some degree Power Struggle within the Democratic Party over who would determine its future. But I believe they were also threatened by the fact that Dean's candidacy was partially driven by a (however flawed it might be) grassroots campaign. The Democratic Party has a long history of dismantling grassroots of campaigns of any sort (Rainbow Coalition, the Progressive Party to name just two). I feel there was a little of that going on here. Anyway, I ranted a lot more at Kitchen Sink and | | TrackBacks (1)

When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School

Rocky Mountain News: Books: Raucous times with beat poets.

Kashner arrives in Boulder ready to "eat death and live poetry" at the feet of the these Wild Men of the Fifties, who experimented with drugs, sex, sanity, and words with mad, reckless abandon. What he found were old men: in 1976, William Burroughs was 62; Ginsberg was 50; Jack Kerouac had been dead seven years. As Kashner points out, this was "the Beat Generation in a weird retirement phase."

Not that they had lost all their moxie. No sooner has Kashner settled into his student apartment, than he is enlisted in a midnight drive into the mountains with Burroughs and a few others to harvest a marijuana field the old renegades have been tending.

Congress shall have the power...

John C. Bonifaz makes the claim at TomPaine.com that the Iraq war was illegal and unconsitutional:
Congress cannot transfer to the president its exclusive power to declare war any more than it can transfer its exclusive power to levy taxes. Such a transfer is illegal. These are non-delegable powers held only by the United States Congress.... "This system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated to guard against it. It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress; for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large."
If only such a claim could ever gain credibility.

originally posted by daveadams

January 29, 2004

i told you so, 6 months later

Scripting News: 1/29/2004:
Here's the epitaph on Dean's of the Internet. It was 98 percent hype, two percent substance.
I'm glad this fell apart so quickly, because there's still time to do it right. Over at the Gothamist, "This is dot-com".

81 mph in 10 seconds

‘Gone Postal,’ as the Jeep is known, has 40 batteries, each weighing 40 pounds, with a peak draw of 4,000 amps at 240 volts. It is the pride of the EV racing crowd, who consider its shape ideal. People who don’t like the look of it ‘don’t understand the concept of the sleeper,’ says its creator, Roderick Wilde. ‘It’s the little-old-lady-from-Pasadena theory — you get something that doesn’t look like it goes very fast, and then it blows everyone away.’

The Electric Battery Acid Test by Judith Lewis.

originally posted by xowie

January 28, 2004


My enjoyment of movies like the Terminator and Matrix trilogies has always been crippled by their ridiculous premise: people build machines, lose control of them, and finally become slaves to their own creations. The premise, though, seems more and more plausible to me as I watch the MyDoom computer virus whip around the world.
Patchen Barss blames user gullibility for MyDoom's recent rampage. He makes a convincing point but falters when he wonders why anyone would open an unsolicited attachment. Sending friends a picture or a document that they haven't requested is a common internet practice. It usually doesn't spawn a virus! I started keeping track of the spam that MyDoom was sending my way, but my counter crashed somewhere in the thousands.

January 27, 2004


Update: In response to a request by adam, I've put together a little primer on Labor and Labor history in the U.S. Feel free to post additions to the comments section. News & Analysis Labor History

originally posted by zagg

As simple as ABC

Ben Hammersley and Clay Shirky perfectly nail the reasons I've been suspicious about the dean campaign:

Ben Says:

But what struck me about the Dean campaign, indeed all of the candidates' campaigns so far, is the complete lack of analysis of policy. Not only were the Dean supporters happy to talk solely amongst themselves, but to talk solely about how cool is was to talk to each other.

I do think that Kerry and Clark have both addressed the issues pretty well, and I think it's clear that they're both comfortably to the left of Dean.

January 26, 2004

Save Kevin Cooper

Save Kevin Cooper.

California has set February 10 as the execution date for Cooper, for whom there is a very strong case of innocence. Details on that site. February 3 will be a day of action to try to save Cooper's life.

Highlights include a press conference held with people of faith in the Los Angeles area, including the priest of the governor’s church, as well as protests and press conferences in Fresno, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Riverside.

Call Gov. Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841 or e-mail governor@governor.ca.gov.

originally posted by zagg


January 25, 2004

macy and jeanne

From the arts pages of today's Washington Post:

With features that can evoke Jane Fonda, Bette Davis and Mick Jagger, the Moreau of the screen (then and now) is, at times breathtakingly beautiful. But at other times, and often in the same movie, she's sharp, fierce and intense with no hint of attractiveness. The cheeks look sharp and angular enough to bruise you if she kissed you. And those eyes, often framed in mascara thicker than roof tar, could be those of a glamour queen, or a stern headmistress, or the D.A. who sends you to the electric chair, forefinger pointed directly at your face.

A Hall of Femme Actress, about Jeanne Moreau, who will be in D.C. for a film festival in her name.

I think this song is going to change music. That's a black artist, and nobody is expecting that from him, and the fact that it all worked, it's just awesome. I can't explain it. It's going to open up things. That's what music needs right now. Everything is so confined right now. A lot of artists try different stuff, but they don't hit. The fact that this hit, definitely, labels are going to be open to different stuff. They're going to have to be.

Macy Gray on OutKast's "Hey Ya" and nine more of her favorite songs.

it's not good enough to be right

When, in a simple act of defiance, thousands of Indians marched to the sea and made their own salt, they broke the salt tax laws. It was a direct strike at the economic underpinning of the British Empire. It was real. While our movement has won some important victories, we must not allow nonviolent resistance to atrophy into ineffectual, feel-good, political theater. It is a very precious weapon that must be constantly honed and reimagined. It cannot be allowed to become a mere spectacle, a photo opportunity for the media.

Arundhati Roy's speech to the World Social Forum in Mumbai.

originally posted by xowie

Blogging of the President radio broadcast

The Blogging of the President: 2004 details are as follows:

"The time of the show is Sunday, Jan 25, from 9pm-11pm EST (check your local listings to be sure). Guests include Atrios, Andrew Sullivan, Gary Hart, The list of the stations is here. If you don't live in one of these areas (final list will be posted tomorrow), you can stream from a lot of these over the web:"

It's a call-in show so give the country your what-for. I'll be recording the show with Audio Hijack Pro.


Ms. Farley, now 79, is a proponent of natural childbirth and chairwoman of the board of the Maternity Center Association in Manhattan. Being around hospitals a lot, she was disturbed to see how many people died alone, with no one to nurture them through their final days. In 1998, while at a conference dealing with end-of-life issues, Ms. Farley listened to a talk by Dr. Sherwin Nuland, a professor of surgery and an author. He stressed how important it was for sick people to have companionship to help them accept death, and he used the Yiddish word for funeral, "levaya," which means "to accompany."

The New York Times: Final Days: In Death Watch for Stranger, Becoming a Friend to the End.

January 24, 2004

we're going to wonder what we did without it

BLOGGER - Knowledge Base: What is Atom?

Ultimately, Atom is not just for bloggers and developers, but for everyone. As a universal format for personal content publishing built on a platform that is very extensible, Atom will allow the easy flow of information to and from the Web and beyond. Yes, Atom comes from a bloggy crowd, but that's just because the blogosphere is such fertile soil for innovation. Thanks to everyone who put in a lot of hard work to bring Atom to life. We look forward to great things.

will the germans give your mortgage cancer?

For those of you acquainted with current UK politician luminaries, qwghlm.co.uk bring you the Daily Mail-o-matic, a Daily Mail rabid headline generator, the David Blunkett policy maker for instant draconian legislation and, my favourite, Michael Howard Sings The Smiths. (via MonkeyFilter)

January 23, 2004

Move over Sake

When I first heard that my uncle, who lives in Chiba-ken, was working in the wine business I was a bit dubious.

Hmmm.... Wine? In Japan?

I had good reason to be skeptical. In 1997, during my grand tour of northern Japan, a family friend from Akita-ken took me to a local winery for a tasting. I could barely swallow the sip that I took. It was sharp and acrid with a bouquet of kerosene. It tasted as if someone had simply made a cocktail by mixing rubbing alcohol and grape juice.

Anne Pinckard has published an intriguing overview of Japan's wine industry over at Chanpon. (I never would have thought to pair my sushi with champagne.) But don't get your hopes raised too high—your local enoteca may not even know such a product exists. If it does, send Pinckard the tip.

mnftiu is still getting better

www.mnftiu.cc | get your war on | page thirty-one: Get your Steriods on!

One Man, 1.045 Votes

Krugman on the biggest and most immediate threat to the Republic.

[E]ven a cursory look at the behavior of the major voting machine companies reveals systematic flouting of the rules intended to ensure voting security. Software was modified without government oversight; machine components were replaced without being rechecked. And here's the crucial point: even if there are strong reasons to suspect that electronic machines miscounted votes, nothing can be done about it. There is no paper trail; there is nothing to recount.

Electronic voting is not worth the risk, now or for the forseeable future. The stakes are too high.

originally posted by daveadams

uncle dick's afternoon birdie bloodbath

So Dick's little hunt was not all that rare. Which of course makes it no less stupid, no less of a brutal blood rush. It was a taxpayer-supported trip taken solely for the sake of ... what? Not sport. Not gamesmanship. Not food. Just the little thrill that comes from killing something that never had a prayer? Is that it, Dick? Kick up the defibrillator a notch? Must be.

Mark Morford, Dick Cheney Kills Birds Dead. Strangely, he doesn't mention the controversy over "Mad Dog" Antonin Scalia's participation.

originally posted by xowie

Stumping for Gay Rights?

DJ begged me to post this.

Kerry: I feel like... I feel like this moment is too good to be true, like I'm living in a dream, like...
Edwards: Shut up and kiss me you fool.

originally posted by daveadams


Wonkette is the DC Gawker, except it's about politicians instead of Uma Thurman and Parker Posey.

Nice Reporting, Dave

Zagg: Am I imagining things or did Dean not do this twice--once that night and then again the next morning at a separate rally ...

Well observed, Zagg!

Dave Winer has been writing a lot about Dean, and he was at Dean headquarters today. On the night of Iowa he wrote that he had seen some things that he didn't "want to write about." I rolled my eyes. But today he elaborated, and what he wrote was interesting:

I was at Dean headquarters on the night of the Iowa caucuses, and I watched the Dean rant on TV in the office, with the other Web programmers. A few minutes before the speech they had a staff meeting in the conference room. Everyone was there except me and another guest. Not being a staffer, I didn't belong in the staff meeting. Several times during the meeting a loud crazy-sounding scream came from the room, everyone was doing it, and it was really frightening. The stuff of nightmares. This was before Howard Dean's rant. I asked Jim Moore what that was about, he said it's an Indian war yell or something like that, they used to do it in United Farm Workers rallies, and they adopted it at Dean For America. A few minutes later Dean let out the famous scream, it was the same scream I heard in the conference room.

January 22, 2004

the racial politics of pornography

Well, the thing that kind of bothers me is that all the girls are white.

Optic Nerve #9 preview

either you're with us or you're maher arar

This is a rare case where the veil of secrecy has been lifted. We don't know all the details or explanations, but we know that something terrible happened. Our government took a man from an airport in New York City and handed him over to Syria, where he was tortured for 10 months. I think I've made a decent case that he was probably innocent; that this was done with the knowledge and approval of fairly important government officials; and that this was not some freak accident or isolated occurrence. This happened, and there is no reason to believe it will not happen again.

Obsidian Wings: Maher Arar Archives.

journeys to luna

To the Moon: Our Journeys to Luna (and Back) - A Timeline of Lunar Exploration

I call them 'hotlinks'

When the researchers looked at how people returned to sites they had visited before, they discovered that context made all the difference. When subjects in their study had the chance to describe a site in their own words and were given the description six months later, they had little trouble finding the site again. Yet in today's typical bookmark applications, users cannot annotate sites they save.

The New York Times: What's Next: Now Where Was I? New Ways to Revisit Web Sites in which we learn of a three-year $378,000 grant from the National Science Foundation which, if wildly successful, can simply rediscover the efficacy of weblog as bookmark replacement.

the vertical wind farm concept

New York officials unveiled plans for the Freedom Tower — the centerpiece of new construction at the World Trade Center site — on December 19th, including plans to incorporate wind turbines that will generate 20 percent of the building's electrical power needs. If built as planned, the Freedom Tower's use of wind turbines would be the world's first large-scale integration of wind turbines into a building. Wind turbines are generally not suited for urban environments because of the turbulence created by nearby buildings, but the height of the Freedom Tower may overcome that difficulty.

EERE: News - World Trade Center's Freedom Tower to Feature Wind Turbines

Battle McCarthy: The vertical wind farm concept.

Google news alert roundup

New York Times: From Simmer to Boil for Alternative Rock Survivors — the Flaming Lips that is.

Seattle Weekly: Shameless Shaman featuring a couple of big jpgs from late Kesey's new jail journal.

Lowell Sun: 'On the Road' but not to Lowell.

Liverpool Echo: Magic mushrooms sold in city shop — "We handed the mushrooms to police." ....

Washington Post Book Report: American Nomads: Travels With Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders.

thank you once again for riding the Metro Blue Line

The Ghetto Blue is also a moving swap meet, where passengers hustle to sell watches, pairs of white cotton socks, incense, Kool cigarettes, lotions, batteries, tapes, CDs and chocolates. ‘What you want? What you need?’ Bus tokens, which come in bags of 10 for $11, become a form of currency here, like food stamps. People peddle them for a small cash profit. ‘Tokens?’ one woman asks anyone on the train within earshot. A couple of Mexican youths rush over and pull out bags of them. The transaction goes down like a drug deal, both participants looking over their shoulders for authorities as they quickly exchange the goods.

Killing Time on the Ghetto Blue: Life on the rails from Los Angeles to Long Beach by Ben Quiñones. Beautiful.

originally posted by xowie

January 21, 2004

mars needs guitars

Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development. These relationships have been mutually useful; within my memory is the knowledge of hyperlight drive ships and how to build them. I will trade this knowledge for a free ticket to new worlds around suns younger and more stable than your own.

The Mushroom Speaks

The Mad Scientist

Rotten.com: Terence McKenna

[Terence] McKenna believed that organic hallucinogens provided a window into an experience that was both spiritually significant and literally real. So when the hyperdimensional machine elves talked, he listened. And listened. And listened.

are you an artist, or a wizard?

Pit bulls are not mean dogs, at least not where humans are concerned, but when they decide to rebel against this selfish appropriation of their souls, they can kill. This, to me, is comforting: The ultimate decision about animal happiness lies with the animals themselves.

Pit Bulls and Tigers and Bears — Oh My! by Judith Lewis.

Also in the Weekly, goodbye to local wild man, and my hero, Zorthian.

originally posted by daiichi

i love mayor mike!


In off-the-cuff remarks made while eating with a group of firefighters at Engine 282, Bloomberg called low-carb diet king Dr. Robert Atkins "fat" - and suggested that he may have died from health problems related to his weight.

"I don't believe that bull- s- - - - that [Atkins] dropped dead slipping on the sidewalk," Bloomberg said while chowing down on bow-tie pasta, chicken and vegetables with FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and a group of Brooklyn firefighters.


A mayoral aide later complained that Bloomberg's remarks were "a joke told at an off-the-record photo op," adding, "We congratulate New York 1 [which ran a tape of the conversation] for their willingness to dispense with journalistic ethics in order to run a cheap story."

The Youth Vote

Civic Youth.org:

On January 15, CIRCLE and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at The Council for Excellence in Government released a survey of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 15 and 25. The survey provides the latest data on young people's political and civic participation, their issue priorities, and their attitudes toward online politics.

Their fact sheets are good, but in PDF so difficult for me to excerpt.

In Civic Engagement Among Minority Youth, Circle's studies show more African American youth (15-25) are likely to view voting as "important" compared to "White" or "Hispanic" youth, and more "White" young people see voting as a "right." Overall, only 30% of youth think of voting as a "right."

open source

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Top Activist Open-Source Tools. If these are truly the top tools, this is a sad state of affairs - phpBB? More interesting to me is the universe of low cost tools (like Movable Type) in concert with all of the free Perl modules and plugins available.

I have a scream

Newsday.com - Dean's 'I Have a Scream' Speech

"it appeared to me like he was a guy who had lost his mind, and I don't know if 'president' and 'maniacal' are supposed to be words that go hand in hand."

Motivational experts, however, disagreed. "I thought his approach last night was very appropriate in the context," said Jeff Keller, a motivational speaker based in Oyster Bay and author of "Attitude is Everything." "Here's a guy who suffered a crushing defeat and he has a base of support that's largely young people and young people respond to energy."

You can watch it over at "Sun Spot.net". Personally, I love it.

website as wiki

Maybe Atom's development process-as-wiki was a little much for you (me too). Here comes RSS Winterfest - entire conference as wiki! What's next?

but it's morning, Daddy, the sun is up

In some parts of the world it is considered dangerous to awaken someone quickly as they may not be able to return to their body safely.

Thanks, but would you try telling that to my three-year-old?

mos def represents

MosDefinitely.com - Latest news about Mos Def. So completist it hurts.

quilt creator sues Names Project

"We need to use the quilt to fight AIDS, and you do that by displaying the quilt in as many venues as possible," Jones said in an interview. "I want the quilt to be used to fight AIDS, and if this board doesn't know how to do that, I'm quite capable of doing that myself."

SF Gate: AIDS quilt caught up in tempest.

originally posted by xowie

January 20, 2004

tolerating trent lott is promoting hate


"Any appointment of a federal judge during a recess should be opposed."

- Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) opposing the appointment of an African American judge, December 2000


"Judge Pickering's record deems this recess appointment fully appropriate."

- Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), 1/17/04

Not that we didn't already know Trent Lott was such a lying partisan scumbag, but thanks to the Center for American Progress for pointing that out.

[ via Eschaton ]

In case you missed Amy's Robot today

Amy's Robot, the best blog this side of ... Okay, top 10 blog ... anyway, according to Amy's Robot Thomas Pynchon will appear on the Simpsons this Sunday.

a more pessimistic view

Oh, well, maybe the Democrats will have better luck in 2036 when the government considers legalizing the Democratic party again.

Amy's Robot points out that the Iowa caucuses have very little to do with who wins the election.

Another Internet Bubble Popped

Ed Cone:

Another Internet bubble popped.

Thank God.

Nothing against Howard Dean -- he has done the Dems a real service by firing people up, by pushing his opponents to get their acts together, and most of all by pioneering online campaigning. But you need more than tools to win.

The Iowa Surprise

The Iowa Surprise:
High up on the list of bad guessers were all the political theorists who believed that the Democrats who are angry at George Bush wanted the presidential candidate who best channeled their outrage. Yesterday, at least, being angry at Mr. Bush meant wanting to find a candidate who could beat him. ... One of the best things about Monday night's outcome is that the race for the nomination is likely to go on beyond New Hampshire, giving voters in more populous and diverse states a chance to have a say.

just thought you should know

The highest grade (an "A+") went to U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who said last May that he supports medical marijuana "without reservation." Following close behind in the grading were former Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) -- receiving an "A" -- and U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) -- with an "A-" -- both of whom indicated support for federal medical marijuana legislation. On the next tier were retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark (D-AR) -- earning a "B+" -- and the Rev. Al Sharpton (D-NY) -- earning a "B" -- who also pledged to stop the raids.

Front-runner and former Governor Howard Dean (D-VT) received a "D-."

via the Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana Voter Guide.

originally posted by xowie

just calm down

"Are you allowed to touch the President with your hands?" The answer - "no".

Or "Who's more important, the President or your mother?" Answer - "your mother".

And "What should you do if you love the president too much?" Answer - "just calm down."
According to BBC News, the Kremlin has set up a new website, educating 'citizens of school age' all about Putin. Here it is, if you can read Russian, or just fancy checking out the mad graphics.

George Ryan @ Sundance

In January 2003, Republican Governor George Ryan granted blanket clemency to all 167 people on death row in Illinois, commuting their sentences to life without parole. With astounding access to special clemency hearings, the death row prisoners, exonerated men and Governor Ryan himself, directors Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson bring us directly into the emotional and legal storm surrounding Ryan’s extraordinary decision.

Deadline premiered at Sundance last week. The Chicago Tribue notes George Ryan's participation in the screenings of the film:

The Sundance Film Festival may be flush with charismatic yet troubled movie heroes, but only one is a gruff 69-year-old Republican Illinois ex-governor under federal indictment.

Yes, George Ryan is doing Sundance.

Ryan, who appeared at events Friday and Sunday, is the lead character/star of "Deadline," one of 16 feature-length documentaries in competition at this pre-eminent festival for American independent film. Directed by Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson, the movie chronicles the three months from the ex-governor's call for a death penalty moratorium to his declaration of blanket clemency for 167 Death Row inmates just days before he left office last January.

(u/p: rwalks/rwalks)

January 19, 2004

second base?

What Wolpaw really wants is to fantasize about the men in Emily's life. What about ''The Master,'' the mysterious figure she wrote passionate poems to? This is the point of that stale baseball pun. ''What I really wanted to know,'' he confides, ''was whether Master or anyone else had ever gotten past second base with Emily Dickinson.'' How else could anyone explain the gloriously sexy poem beginning:

Wild nights / Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Here we are in the 21st century and there's still something unacceptable about a woman who can write great poetry, and erotic poetry, without the presence of a husband or lover.

Margo Jefferson in The New York Times on Loaded Gun, a recent doc about Emily Dickinson.

January 17, 2004

the demonized seed

Great L.A. Times feature on industrial hemp.

originally posted by xowie

swan-diving from the rail of the staten island ferry

Another time, we were together at a rave in San Francisco and when one of the kids there asked me who he was, I told her that he was Timothy Leary. Word spread fast. Spalding came over looking alarmed and said, "They think I'm Timothy Leary for some reason. What should I do?" "Don't disappoint them," I advised. And he didn't. He spent the rest of the night answering their questions with marvelously oblique answers that Tim would have loved.

John Perry Barlow, Is Spalding Gray Finally Swimming to Cambodia?

originally posted by xowie

January 16, 2004

i am hip-hop

Yahoo! News - World Photos - AP: Palestinians walk past fresh grafitti saying the name in arabic of female suicide bomber Reem Raiyshi, 21, far left, in Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2004.

masters of deception

Op-Ed Columnist: Masters of Deception
At one point, he told his audience: "In preparing this series of speeches, I have noticed a troubling pattern that characterizes the Bush-Cheney administration's approach to almost all issues. In almost every policy area, the administration's consistent goal has been to eliminate any constraints on their exercise of raw power, whether by law, regulation, alliance or treaty. And in the process, they have in each case caused America to be seen by the other nations of the world as showing disdain for the international community."
In a better world, Al Gore would be our president.

I'm hungry

bento moblog: veggie croquette, iri-doufu, cheese "My best!" shouts E as he sees me making the tofu scramble.

typing one handed

I kick it back with a cordless mouse, and thus like the idea of this "mouseboard," although it doesn't work terribly well in practice. As it turns out, Windows XP already includes an effective on-screen keyboard. I'm sure OSX has a similar feature, right, gentlemen?

originally posted by xowie

Michael Moore endorses Gen. Clark

Michael Moore.com : Mike's Message:
The decision in November is going to come down to 15 states and just a few percentage points. So, I had to ask myself -- and I want you to honestly ask yourselves -- who has the BEST chance of winning Florida, West Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, Ohio? Because THAT is the only thing that is going to matter in the end. You know the answer -- and it ain't you or me or our good internet doctor.

January 15, 2004

Mars Invasion

You know what we should do? Send up a Mars mission and then once they're up in space, call them and say "You guys can't reenter the atmosphere until you develop a cure for AIDS. Get crackin'."
Great idea, David Rees, but this challenge may fall into James Cameron's hands. I have to admit that Bush's space fantasy has me a bit tingly. Ever since I read This Place Has No Atmosphere, I've wanted to live on the moon. But, really, can we afford to have our heads in the clouds?

*scratches head*

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen:

His themes are similar, too, but where McCain ran to the left of Bush, Clark runs to the right of the Democratic field.

Michael Moore:

When the New York Times last week wrote that Wes Clark has been ‘positioning himself slightly to Dean’s left," this is what they meant, and it sure sounded good to me.

spalding gray

Spalding Gray has been missing since Saturday, and his family fears he may have tried to drown himself. If you're like me, your primary memories of Gray might be of his performance in a 1989 TV version of Our Town that you watched in high school, but he's better known for his film roles and monologues.


Setting environment variables for user processes - isn't the command line MUCH easier?

January 14, 2004


‘The glaciers are melting, the glaciers are melting!’ yelled artist Leo Limón of the L.A. River Cats Project good-naturedly. ‘Get a hybrid! Get some rims on it! A big stereo!’ But the dads in Dockers with well-fed children and pregnant wives could not be persuaded to contemplate torn-up wildlife habitats, toxin-choked air and children with missing limbs. They were here to revel in the glory of cars.

Babes in Hummerland by Judith Lewis.

originally posted by xowie

we're still figuring it out over here

WIRETAP - Voting vs. Activism
As a young person in this country, the one question that I am constantly asked is, "What are you going to do with your life?" My answer never changes: "I am going to change the world." "How," you ask? Well, that is where I'm confused. Do I change society by voting for who I want to be my leader? Well, as we know that doesn't always work. Maybe it's through direct service: protesting, volunteer work, and informing people. Maybe it's both. Either way my voice is out there, and whether it's on a piece of paper or chanting in protest, both have upsides and downsides. Some people only vote, some people only volunteer. So what makes a bigger change? What is more important: activism or voting? I spoke with young activists and youth voters to hear their perspective.

please don't cry, small horse

Funny, unsettling illustrations of dreams.

felixsalmon.com: Maybe they can sign up Britney as a spokesperson!

Bush is proposing 1.5 billion dollar campaign to promote marriage.
We're told that "under the president's proposal, federal money could be used for specific activities like advertising campaigns to publicize the value of marriage". With that kind of money, he could buy every single spot in the Super Bowl ten times over, or alternatively buy every single ad page in every single Condé Nast magazine for an entire year. If that's what marriage is worth, how much will he spend on babies next year, I wonder?

January 13, 2004

the hours

The Poynter Institute's Chip Scanlan notes that we have 8,760 hours to make the most of this year. (According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the average American spends half of those watching television.) Half of me tries to take Scanlan's advice to heart. The other half says, ah, fuck it.

all his music industry knowledge in three axioms

To Major-Label Hell and Back by Alison M. Rosen

originally posted by xowie

safer and safer

Mark Frauenfelder: "My six-year-old daughter is on the CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening) list as a security risk."

January 12, 2004


angry asian man:

"Two Wongs don't make a Wright." No, that's not a typo. It's the punchline in an upcoming installment of the comic strip "BC" by Johnny Hart, referring to two Asian characters who fail in their attempt to build a working airplane — a play on words about the first flight of the Wright brothers. Unfunny, stupid, and offensive. A few papers have already decided to not to run it: Two newspapers substitute "B.C." comic strip. It's a lame, cheap pun, at the expense of Asians. AND TOTALLY UNORIGINAL, lifted from a freakin' t-shirt. Been there, done that, with Abercrombie. That's racist!

Speaking of racist Johnny, I'd be interested to see when the ants first appeared in B.C. I can't imagine it's a coincidence that all these jokes with ants are about underperforming public schools. The ant world is a whole separate society generally invisible to the white characters in the strip.

no afro puffs

Catherine Sneed, a 51 year old white woman, is Hip-Hop's Unlikely Voice.
Scorpio is a 39-year-old white hip-hop fan, he is a veteran of black radio who was a morning DJ in Houston before leaving the air to program seven years ago. After talking to Sneed, he adds Studdard's latest single, "Sorry 2004," with its more driving hip-hop beat, to the playlist. It becomes a hit. Sneed "definitely gets the whole urban vibe," he said later. "Not a lot of corporate people do."


It's great to love your own mother, but I sincerely believe that if Bush and Cheney recognized the full humanity of other people's mothers around the world, they wouldn't commit the crimes they commit.

NYT Mag: Questions for Wallace Shawn.

freud wrote about sex; jung had it

Carl, the first of their children to live past infancy, born on July 26, 1875, in the small town of Kesswil, Switzerland, was an introverted, solitary boy who, in keeping with family tradition, had dual personalities (''a clumsy, awkward, mathematical dunce of a boy living in real time at the end of the 19th century'' and ''an old man living in the 18th century who dressed in high-buckled shoes, wore a powdered wig and drove a fine carriage'') and mystical visions, including one of God dropping excrement on a cathedral.

Whoa, dude. Jung: In the Archives.

originally posted by xowie

Fortean Bureau

The Fortean Bureau -- A Magazine of Speculative Fiction

January 9, 2004

Brooklyn is where the people live

It's always recognisable, 17 years later. Brooklyn has such a recalcitrance... it wants to be renovated or gentrified, and it tries and tries again, and those changes are enormous, but at the same time there's some deep resistance. The place is so eccentrically and paradoxically itself that it can't ever be completely overturned. So when I walk around here, in my eyes I can see 1972 and 1975, you know, lying around in chunks, where it was left.

Telegraph.co.uk: Brooklyn boy Jonathan Lethem.

iranian cinema

Iranian Cinema 101 in the Washington Post, timed for the start of a festival at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C.

January 8, 2004

intellectualizing the trucker hat dilemma

His name was Kenneth Howard, and he was born in 1929, the year the stock market crashed. He was the son of the sign painter who is said to have created the Western Exterminator logo that shows a man in sunglasses, top hat and frock coat, bent over with his finger wagging, as if to reason with the rodent at his feet. Behind his back he holds a huge mallet, should reason fail. According to art and pop culture authority Craig Stecyk, Kenneth inherited his dad’s sign-painting box and talent. He was painting and lettering professionally by age 10, gave birth to the flying eyeball—and earned his famous nickname for being "as stubborn as a Dutchman."

Von Who? by Theo Douglas.

originally posted by xowie

can dean win, and do democrats even care?

A strange thing happened on the way to the nomination. Almost as if to rebuke the Washington establishment, many voters seem to be sending the message that they'd prefer to decide who is electable, rather than be told who is. Support for Lieberman and Kerry in particular seems to have eroded, or at least remained unchanged, in key early voting states, even as the candidates have stepped up their attacks on Dean.

Clearly, in the minds of some voters, Dean's opponents have spent more time attacking him than building a case for themselves.

This is exactly how I feel. Why do candidates such as Lieberman and Kerry think it makes sense to attack Dean? Gaga over Dean, the media are more inclined to focus on attacks on Dean rather than other candidates' positive statements about themselves. (Not that I mind--Kerry and Lieberman bore me.)

The Post's Terry Neal also mentions a surprising statistic that might cheer Zagg:

Voters who lean Democrat were asked whether it was more important to them that a candidate agree with them on their most important issue or whether the candidate could beat Bush. Seventy-three percent said it was more important to pick a candidate on the issues, compared to 25 percent who said beating Bush was more important.

lord licorice regime change

I'm the Kandy King!
Hey!! You're King Kandy! The Imperial Head Bonbon
and Grand Jujube of Candy Land!! Rock on
Jujube, rock on!

Which Candy Land Character Are You? I post this only because I've been playing marathon sessions of this game with my daughter as of late.

January 7, 2004


It's been said that this year's "Worst. Macworld. Ever." was really about GarageBand, and I agree, although personally I'm most pleased that iPhoto will finally be able to handle my photos as one library rather than seven. The only reason I'll continue using iPhoto Library Manager will be to sequester certain photos from those intended for a general audience.

Mellel update

Mellel 1.7 updates the $30 multi-lingual word processor for Mac OS X. This release offers a new and innovative auto-numbering, table of contents, number flow editing, unlimited captions, and improved support for RTF as well as several new/updated localizations.
via macnn.

stupid sexy apple

The obligatory mini iPod link. Awwwwwwww.

Is this heaven? No, It's Iowa.

Op-Ed Contributor: How to Be an Iowan for a Day
As a citizen and, um, a respectable journalist, I was appalled when I learned that you didn't need a valid voter registration card or proof of residency - any identification at all - to take part in Iowa's caucuses. All you had to do was show up at a caucus site and fill out a voter registration card. While Iowa's caucuses don't determine the Democratic or Republican nominee, they play a big role in shaping the presidential race. With huge numbers of volunteers and true believers flooding into the state, the potential for mischief seemed huge.

January 6, 2004

class of '72

But George McGovern was right by James Carroll.

originally posted by xowie

January 4, 2004

more jpl goodness

The nucleus of Comet Wild 2. w00t! Stardust.

originally posted by xowie

the Galactic Habitable Zone

Many, many hundreds of those stars which you could look up and see with the naked eye, most of which are actually very close, would potentially have terrestrial planets similar to the earth and Mars and Venus.

MarsDaily: Australian astronomers identify possible cradle of alien life.

January 3, 2004


We landed a rover on Mars twenty-five minutes ago; MetaFilter has some good links.

it's labor day and my grandpa feels just great

Musicians from a few different punk-related genres are exploring therapy rock: the up-and-coming "emo" genre, which features hyperdramatic, almost mawkish rock delving deeply into personal upheaval; rap-metal, an aggressive hybrid that has lately turned more introspective; and pop-punk, a slick version of punk that's deceptively up-tempo and not generally noted for its profundity. But it is bands in the last category — like the hugely popular Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Blink-182 — whose songs most often amount to vivid case studies in adolescent mental health issues. The group A Simple Plan, who are also receiving heavy play on MTV, might have expressed pop-punk's attitude most directly: "I'm just a kid/ And life is a nightmare."

Punk's Earnest New Mission by Michael Azerrad.

originally posted by xowie

attention juvenile humans

Joe Sacco interview and a lot a other cool stuff in LAW's Comics Issue.

originally posted by daiichi

January 2, 2004

OUT: Jessica Lynch / IN: Shoshana Johnson

OUT: Trucker Hats

IN: Intellectualizing The Trucker Hat Dilemma

Washington Post: THE LIST: What's Out and In for 2004?

January 1, 2004

it's all relative; time is unreal

Today's scientists seeking to combine quantum mechanics with Einstein's theory of gravity (the general theory of relativity) are convinced that we are on the verge of another major upheaval, one that will pinpoint the more elemental concepts from which time and space emerge. Many believe this will involve a radically new formulation of natural law in which scientists will be compelled to trade the space-time matrix within which they have worked for centuries for a more basic "realm" that is itself devoid of time and space.

For decades, I've struggled to bring my experience closer to my understanding. In my everyday routines, I delight in what I know is the individual's power, however imperceptible, to affect time's passage. In my mind's eye, I often conjure a kaleidoscopic image of time in which, with every step, I further fracture Newton's pristine and uniform conception. And in moments of loss I've taken comfort from the knowledge that all events exist eternally in the expanse of space and time, with the partition into past, present and future being a useful but subjective organization.

The Elegant Universe author Brian Greene in The New York Times: The Time We Thought We Knew.