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December 27, 2004

shot down

WorldNetDaily: Rumsfeld says 9-11 plane
'shot down' in Pennsylvania

During his surprise Christmas Eve trip to Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld referred to the flight being shot down — long a suspicion because of the danger the flight posed to Washington landmarks and population centers.

December 26, 2004

anticorporate granola

As Apple keeps innovating, its challengers keep competing like engineers, thinking that advantages in storage capacity or battery life can make silk purses out of ugly, hard-to-use sows' ears of machines.

WSJ.com - Real Time: The Second Coming of Apple

December 25, 2004

be as specific as possible

The first thing to do is carry a notebook and during quiet times or as the thought occurs to you, compile a list of anything that really interests you.

On Being a Photographer - Excerpt

the year of puppet sex

Reason: Gabbo Gets Laid. 2004: The Year of Puppet Sex (Thanks, Thatcher!)

For me, the defining moment of the year came when the Motion Picture Association of America required Trey Parker and Matt Stone to trim a few seconds from a sex scene in their marionette movie Team America: World Police. Even in its reduced state, the sequence probably set a record for explicit puppet-on-puppet sex.

December 21, 2004

Mars Rover update

Martians Cleaning Spirit, Opportunity An unexplained phenomenon akin to a space-borne car wash has boosted the performance of one of the two U.S. rovers probing the surface of Mars, New Scientist magazine said on Tuesday. It said something -- or someone -- had regularly cleaned layers of dust from the solar panels of the Mars Opportunity vehicle while it was closed down during the Martian night. The cleaning had boosted the panels' power output close to their maximum 900 watt-hours per day after at one stage dropping to 500 watt-hours because of the heavy Martian dirt. By contrast, the power output of the solar panels of Mars Spirit -- on a different part of the Red Planet -- had dropped to just 400 watt-hours a day, clogged by the heavy dust. "These exciting and unexplained cleaning events have kept Opportunity in really great shape," the magazine quoted NASA rover team leader Jim Erickson as saying.

did you vote for this?

Detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time, left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors, according to documents released yesterday.

FBI Agents Allege Abuse of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay (washingtonpost.com)

December 20, 2004

the nativity

the nativity
Originally uploaded by groc.

December 19, 2004

Tavis Smiley quit, faults NPR on diversity

"I just felt like the pace of progress at which they are comfortable moving is too slow," he says. "The audience can handle a quickened pace, and the country can't afford a slower pace."


NPR needs more creative marketing to reach underserved audiences, the host says. He takes the network to task for lacking a diverse staff. Even President Bush, he says, recognizes the symbolic importance of having a diverse Cabinet. "I'm not really sure that NPR has even gotten on base symbolically," Smiley says.


Some white listeners complained that Smiley's delivery, which diverges from the more reserved sound of most NPR hosts, is too loud and energetic.

Current.org | Tavis Smiley leaves NPR show, 2004

''The most difficult thing that I have had to do,'' he said, ``is fight a culture at NPR, a culture that is antithetical to the best interests of people of color.''

Tavis Smiley's Departure: A Loss to Blacks -- and NPR

December 17, 2004

kevin huizenga

Comics and Zines by Kevin Huizenga

December 16, 2004

the sound of trees

The Sound of Trees

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

—Robert Frost

December 14, 2004

hoasca, or ayahuasca

CNN.com - Court allows church to use hallucinogenic tea - Dec 10, 2004

The U.S. Supreme Court sided Friday with a New Mexico church that wants to use hallucinogenic tea as part of its Christmas services, despite government objections that the tea is illegal and potentially dangerous.


We're in a hot market that has just found mainstream acceptance. If poker can support TV programming on five networks, we know it can support a couple of magazine titles.

A new poker magazine hits the stands Dec. 21, reports USA Today.

are you drinking with me jesus?

Jesus: With You Always, drawings by Larry Van Pelt depicting Jesus as the unseen companion of a truck driver, a fisherman, a French horn player and others. Via the monthly WFMU Blast of Hot Air, a reliable font of great links.

i know exactly what i am missing, thank you

I remember the graffiti on a wall in Leeds. "My mother made me a lesbian"; and underneath: "If I gave her the wool would she make me one?"
If we wanted to be straight, we would be.

December 13, 2004

Cometbus makes me tingly


"Lest We Forget" was originally compiled and released by Aaron Elliot of the acclaimed fanzine Cometbus (and drummer for Crimpshrine and Pinhead Gunpowder) in 1991 to document the Berkeley punk scene of the 80's. I don't want to be accused of wild exaggeration by saying the music here is exactly essential (although there's some great stuff here) but it is absolutely essential to appreciate the why, who, and how of what was being created at the time. Their output has had a significant impact on today's music. You can connect the influential dots from this tape to Maximum Rock'n'Roll to Operation Ivy to Green Day to whatever indie/punk act you're listening to right now.

Turn Alek Komarnitsky's Christmas lights

Turn Alek Komarnitsky's Christmas lights on and off via his Web page.

a tremendous source of distinction

This Magazine: The Rebel Sell

What we need to see is that consumption is not about conformity, it’s about distinction. People consume in order to set themselves apart from others. To show that they are cooler (Nike shoes), better connected (the latest nightclub), better informed (single-malt Scotch), morally superior (Guatemalan handcrafts), or just plain richer (bmws).

December 12, 2004

no political consequences

Poor Salvadorans Chase the 'Iraqi Dream' (washingtonpost.com)

Juan Nerio, a 44-year-old mason's assistant, was sick of living in a mud hut on the side of a volcano. When he heard that an American company was offering six times his $200 monthly wage, he signed up. Six weeks later he found himself holding an AK-47 assault rifle and guarding a U.S. diplomatic complex in Iraq.


"This is the equivalent of a poverty draft," said Geoff Thale of the Washington Office on Latin America, a rights and policy group in Washington. "The United States is unwilling to draft people, so they are recruiting people from poor countries to be cannon fodder for us. And if they are killed or injured, there will be no political consequences in the United States."

December 11, 2004

ET wrapping paper

ET wrapping paper
Originally uploaded by sudama.

December 9, 2004

E-nough Is E-nough

Sloane Crosley has written an essay for the Village Voice: "With bad manners just a 'send' button away, we need some rules. Call it technetiquette." I'll leave the odd coinage of technetiquette aside. (Google actually shows a Michael Finley using the term in 1997.) Instead, I'm happy to focus on her number one complaint: Evite.

Ah, the Starbucks of the Internet. The illusion of choice, made to order. Since I've never known anyone who has wholesomely selected a "Girl's Night In" or "Super Bowl" template (perhaps I simply need new friends), Evite as I know it has always been a bit of a nuisance. The following guidelines might get me dropped from the guest lists of future soirees, but if it means no more clip-art martini glasses, I'll take the risk.


Because Evite is a public forum in a private space, I am still working on reminding myself I don't actually have to read the responses. There's nothing more irritating than a private joke played out among a small segment of the invitees.

Tina: "I'll be there . . . as long as I can touch Bob's pineapple."

Jeff: "Happy birthday man, even though we all know your pineapple has been canned since Atlantic City."

I can take or leave the rest of this article, but it makes me very happy to know that others find Evite as deeply irritating as I do. Sloane even recommends using the Hide Guests ability if people insist on using it! This and her other complaints echo the small rant I have been giving about Evite for a few months now. The phrase "Evite is a public forum in a private space" pretty much cuts to the heart of the problem with the tool. It unnecessarily mixes up private and public spheres and like the worst of the so-called "social software" blurs and solidifies social relationships in awkward ways. Telling a friend you are coming to their party should not be a public performance. Read the entire article.


I feel like I'm walking in a deep forest, in the darkness of the underground. The older I become, the more closely I can look at the landscape of that world. I feel like I'm getting closer to the core, the center, but I don't know if I'm getting closer to a solution or not. I believe my readers feel the same way. It's not just me; it's very important for all of us. That's the purpose of fiction.

Haruki Murakami interviewed in the Japan Times, Dec. 2002.

gushing title referencing TiVo, TiVo UI, and Matt's interview

The PVRBlog Interview: Ten Questions with TiVo's Director of User Experience, Margret Schmidt | PVRblog

yeah, fuck titles

During the siege of Richmond, some soldiers who cracked the hardtack open to find it teeming with worms were disgusted and threw the crackers into the bottom of the earthen trenches they occupied. An officer of the day yelled at the men, asking whether they hadn't been told repeatedly not to throw the hardtack into the trenches.

Back came the reply, "We've thrown it out two or three times, sir, but it crawls back."

The Washington Post's Civil War columnist (yes, they have one) makes hardtack. A bad sign: not even her dogs will eat it.

December 8, 2004

habits, rituals, and methods

rodcorp: How we work

i'm tired of thinking of titles for every stupid link

The Morning News - The 2004 Good Gift Games Guide

titles are a pain in my ass

New Comet Now Visible to Naked Eye

catch ya later

The incident that sparked the lawsuit came last year in Huntsville, when Slater went to a woman's house to pick her up for their first -- and, as it turned out, last -- date.

"She got in the car," he recalls, "and she says, 'My mother gave me a hard time about going out with you. She wants to know if you're still a dope dealer.'"

The Washington Post profiles the three men suing Richard Linklater over the portrayal of their fictionalized doubles in the director's Dazed and Confused.

December 6, 2004

i heard it on npr

A new cookbook offers 50 variations on the grilled cheese sandwich and was featured on NPR. The author said cumin smells like "a desert at midnight." Also on NPR: Amos Oz, declaiming in his rumbly voice on Israel, his childhood and why he's a chauvinist for Hebrew.

December 4, 2004


. . . [T]hough Thompson has been cagey about a new Pixies CD the past few months, on the phone from Chicago he is unequivocal: "We are talking three college funds! There is going to be another Pixies album. I'm going to have to find the songs somewhere. I guess I'll have to write them."

This article nearly made me feel guilty about seeing this moneygrubber and his associates. But I'll sure as hell be there Tuesday.

waste my beautiful mind

Act the Angel, Be the Brute

When The New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh spoke at Hampshire College in Massachusetts a few weeks ago, he told two stories about the mental damages of war. The first came from his reporting of the massacre at My Lai in Vietnam.

"There were 547 people killed in My Lai," Hersh said. "People don't know this, but the blacks and Hispanics shot into the air. It was the white rural farm kids who did most of the shooting. One rural mother said to me, 'I gave them a good boy, and they sent me back a murderer.'"

When he was reporting on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, Hersh got another call, this time from a devoutly Catholic mother. When her daughter, young and newly married, returned from serving in the military police at Abu Ghraib, she immediately left her new husband and her family, cut off all contact with them, and started living alone. Every weekend she gets more big, black tattoos - enough so they now cover most of her body.

The mother said she began to understand what happened to her daughter when Hersh's Abu Ghraib stories started coming out. She began to clean out the files on her daughter's laptop and found one labeled "Iraq." It contained over 1,000 pictures.

"One of them was run in The New Yorker," Hersh said. "It was the one with the man with two dogs on either side, and they were coming to attack him. The whole thing was photographed. The dogs attacked. You can imagine what they bit. There was a lot of blood... This is something no mother should see, something no child should see. On that level, we're dealing with enormous atrocity."

December 3, 2004

just doot

Do It Now by Steve Pavlina

It is absolutely imperative that you develop the habit of making decisions as soon as possible. I use a 60-second rule for almost every decision I have to make, no matter how big or important. Once I have all the data to make a decision, I start a timer and give myself only 60 seconds to make a firm decision. I think people too often delay making decisions when there is no advantage to putting them off. Many people probably spend more than 60 seconds just deciding what they'll eat for dinner.

What My Thumb Sees

Flickr: Photos tagged with whatmythumbsees


Originally uploaded by heather.

Biggest super ever?

Biggest super ever?
Originally uploaded by sudama.


Originally uploaded by sarahhatter.

I love patios.

December 1, 2004

things you shouldn't understand

On the occasion of the DVD release of "Pee Wee’s Playhouse," PEE WEE HERMAN — who hasn’t been heard from since 1991 — joins Elvis Mitchell, host of the nationally syndicated public radio program, The Treatment for a special broadcast,* *Monday, December 6th, 2:30 to 3 pm on 89.9 KCRW and KCRW.com*.

You heard it here first. Find the stream at KCRW.com.