September 21, 2009

that's pawful

On day two when I got reprimanded for saying “awesome” instead of “pawsome” and “very” instead of “beary” I knew I was in for a long summer.

The Worst Jobs I’ve Ever Had — The Bygone Bureau

December 22, 2008

Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Gotta Go Doll

“Sniff sniff,” she chirps in a singsong voice. “I made a stinky!”

Baby Dolls Raise a Stink In More Ways Than One -

September 6, 2008

erik davis on burning man 08

Fifteen degrees or so above the horizon, the thin beaming sliver of a waning crescent moon hovered over the not-yet-revealed sun. Taking this in, I realized the admittedly banal fact that when we gaze on the crescent moon, we are looking at the backside of the orb, its back on us to face the source of light. Watching this near conjunction, it is like peaking through a window on lovers lost to us. With next morning’s unscripted wedding on my mind, I recalled the fact that, while our culture codes the moon as female and the sun as male, these genders could be reversed, as they are in Japanese Shinto and, indeed, the Atlantean mythos. The supple dynamics of this cosmic gender-swap charged the sweet sky with potency, with the sun and moon providing the polarity that drove the horizon’s brimming, candy-colored transformation.

Erik Davis shares his impressions of this year’s Burning Man.

May 18, 2008

"it's as if they were never there"

…That might be the atomized fate of the West in general: desperately seeking visions, alone in the wild, surrounded by portable gadgetry.

BLDGBLOG: The Digital Replacement of the Natives

April 27, 2008

"the sudden catastrophic restoration of meaning"

For the poor Christian Moslem Jewish saps duped by fundamentalist nihilism the Last Day is both horrorshow and Rapture, just as for secular Yuppies global warming is a symbol of terror and meaninglessness and simultaneously a rapturous vision of post-Catastrophe Hobbit-like local-sustainable solar-powered gemutlichkeit. Thus the technopathocracy comes equipped with its own built-in escape-valve fantasy: the Ragnarok of technology itself and the sudden catastrophic restoration of meaning.

MAGPIE: ENDARKENMENT MANIFESTO by Peter Lamborn Wilson. (Gemütlichkeit?)

April 21, 2008

unreleased infocom sequel to hitchhiker's



Milliways: Infocom’s Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -

March 7, 2008

"now you are fighting a hobgoblin"

His very name was a microcosm of the system he invented: the exotic “Gygax,” calling to mind the pantheon of Lovecraftian gods and remote regions of Hyborea; the mundane “Gary,” reminiscent of suburban kids all over the nation who were ignoring their algebra homework in favor of The Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Deified and Demagogued by Matthew Baldwin - The Morning News

October 22, 2007

how come you don't work 18 hours a day?

He’s wearing Gucci shoes and carrying The Wall Street Journal. She’s a looker. Neiman Marcus clothes. Vanity Fair under her arm. So I told them, ‘Tomorrow is Labor Day: the holiday to ‘honour the unions.’ The guy gives me the kind of look Noel Coward might have given a bug on his sleeve. ‘We despise unions.’ I fix him with my glittering eye, like the Ancient Mariner, and I ask, ‘How many hours do you work a day?’ He tells me eight. ‘How come you don’t work 18 hours a day, like your great-grandparents?’ He can’t answer that. ‘Because four men got hanged for you.’ I explain that I’m referring to the Haymarket Affair, the union dispute here in Chicago in May 1886. The bus is late. I have him pinned against the mailbox. Then I say, ‘How many days a week do you work?’ He says five.”

Terkel laughs, and takes a sip of water. “I say: ‘Five €— oh, really? How come you don’t work six and a half?’ He isn’t sure. ‘Because of the Memorial Day Massacre. These battles were fought, all for you.’ I tell him about that massacre of workers, in Chicago, in 1937. He’s never heard of these things before. She drops her Vanity Fair. I pick it up, being gallant. I am giving it to them now: the past.

Studs Terkel: The world’s greatest interviewer - Independent Online Edition > Profiles

August 8, 2007

i hope someday you'll join us

The piano on which John Lennon composed "Imagine," his famous ode to peace and healing, is on a yearlong magical mystery tour of the U.S. with a macabre twist.

The nutmeg-colored Steinway upright, believed to have been in Mr. Lennon's country home in Ascot, England, is crisscrossing the country to show up at some of the nation's most horrific sites of violence, death and destruction.

Wall Street Journal: "Why Piano Owned by John Lennon Is Touring America" (via Eric Danton's Sound Check). I think that calling the tour "macabre" misses the point somewhat.

August 1, 2007

The Kingdom of the Happy Land

I think it’s important, even now, to look at the ways African-American people tried to carve out a place for themselves in the Reconstruction period. It took an enormous amount of imagination and courage to do that, and it’s something people need to know and understand.

The Kingdom of the Happy Land was a community founded by freed slaves in the western Carolinas mountains at the end of the Civil War. What remains is a small pile of stones, the remnants of a chimney.

July 23, 2007

Comrade Rockstar on NPR

NPR : Dean Reed: The Man Who Rocked the Iron Curtain — NPR’s Talk of the Nation with Reggie Nadelson, author of Dean Reed biography Comrade Rockstar.

July 17, 2007

rW <3 arthur

We were very conscious that our audiences, our people, are artists themselves, musicians themselves, the record store clerks of America, and we wanted to remind them that they're being told to shut up and not have an opinion and not state your opinion unless you are a politician or a Middle East expert. And we wanted to remind them that actually the voice of the poet, and the artist, and the musician is often where the deeper wisdom comes from. Those voices have always been heard, have always needed to be present and have always played a role.

The Nation: "'Arthur': The Little Magazine That Could"

Jesus Christ, no longer directing traffic in Siberia

To do what I’m called to do, I need to have a human body. I live in a body in order to bring man closer to God.

This is the first time I have been needed in 2,000 years. This is a critical point. Only when mankind becomes one family on Earth will the doors to the universe become open to them.

Seventeen years ago, a young man in Siberia realized he was the second coming of Christ.

June 25, 2007

clocks in our heads

A Long Line for a Shorter Wait at the Supermarket - New York Times

“We have good clocks in our heads for roughly three minutes,” said Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, a retail consulting firm.

“Once we get beyond that, time expands wildly,” he said. “If somebody is there for 4.5 minutes and you ask them how long they waited, they will say 15 minutes.”

We do! Whether counting or not, most people are very good at estimating periods of 30 seconds and one minute. (I demonstrated this in 8th grade for the science fair.)

June 21, 2007

"holy moly," original manuscript of On the Road is "whole different book"

The long and winding ‘Road’

Here’s the published version: “My aunt once said the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness.”

In the scroll, the section runs four times longer and wraps with: “If these men stop the machine and come home - and get on their knees - and ask for forgiveness - and the women bless them - peace will suddenly descend on the earth with a great silence like the inherent silence of the Apocalypse.”

“Holy moly, man,” said Canary. “That’s a whole different book.”

April 3, 2007

welcome back arthur

Apr 2, 2007 10:04 PM
Body: Sweethearts of the rodeo,

Arthur has been recalled to life.

I bought Laris’s 50 percent interest in the magazine thanks to the efforts of family and friends.

Now I own 100% and am moving forward with all Arthur activities as quickly as possible.

Sorry for the interruption in service.

March 9, 2007

a modern labyrinth builder

When Champion approaches the first turn, he slows a bit. “Now see, here,” he says, reaching to the top of his head, where his youthful dark brown hair stands in haphazard disarray. “I’m starting to feel something.” Often when he walks a labyrinth he feels nothing special; the walk is just a tool for meditation. But sometimes the stroll brings Champion to the outer reaches of metaphysical rapture: He’ll be overwhelmed by the sensation of energy from the earth or local spirits, or he’ll have visions.

“A labyrinth experience happens when you don’t expect it to,” Champion says. “Those are the nature of labyrinth experiences. Those are what people keep coming back to.”

SF Weekly: A Winding Path.

March 8, 2007

pure communism in the modern world

People couldn’t believe it, man. They were ready to have us locked up and put on Thorazine. It just occurred to me to give up all the hassles — money, car insurance, bouncing checks, going to the bank, traffic tickets, late fees at the library.

The Other American Dream - Washington Post Story on Twin Oaks Community

December 29, 2006

"the exclamation point is becoming a class issue"

“Old people and children,” I point out, “get a free pass on fancy fonts.”
“And family,” Amy says.
“Right,” I say. Amy and I are on the same page here. My husband is staring at me. He disagrees?
“Why do you use so many ellipses?” he asks, as if finally getting the nerve to confront me on this matter.
I do?
“Yeah, you’ll write to tell me about the kids having soccer practice, and then you’ll end with a whole bunch of periods.”

Say It With Screamers!!!!! -

November 13, 2006

Richard Linklater maps out his Fast Food Nation

You try to be realistic, but they won’t let you. You can’t touch corporate America.

LA Weekly - The Meat of the Matter

November 8, 2006

radio: equally lame everywhere

Cool map that shows you what’s playing on radio stations around the country. Via WFMU’s blog. If someone could just do this with thoughts, we’d be living in Wim Wenders Wings of Desire.

October 9, 2006

shop as usual. and avoid panic buying.

WFMU’s blog offers MP3s of Negativland’s Mark Hosler giving a talk at the New School about the band’s history.

October 8, 2006

whitman in dc

Here’s a guide to where Walt Whitman hung out in Washington, D.C.

September 27, 2006

culture, counterculture

2 panel R Crumb illustration of a mainstream youth face and a tattooed pierced face with unconventional hairstyle

The famously rebellious Jimi Hendrix played a legendary, electric-guitar rendition of America’s national anthem at Woodstock in 1969. Was this feedback-heavy anthem a symbolic rejection of mainstream American culture, or a celebration of the country and its values? Hendrix’s use of this prominent American symbol forces us to question just how far the hippies went in rejecting the dominant culture. Indeed, countercultures and the American mainstream make strange, but frequent bedfellows. Witness the adoption of one-time countercultures by corporate America: Could early punk rockers have guessed that music by The Clash and Iggy Pop would one day sell luxury cars and vacation cruises? How did the hippies go from rebels against 1950s materialism to fashion trendsetters? And what transformed a small, underground music scene in the Pacific Northwest into the lucrative grunge and “alternative rock” juggernaut of the 1990s?

Jamie Jesson is teaching RHE 309K - Youth Rebellion and the Rhetoric of American Identity at the University of Texas at Austin.

August 28, 2006

cabinet of curiosities

How I Blog (

When I’m deciding what links to post here, I’m essentially curating ideas, collecting them to “send” to you (and to myself, in a way).

Jason hits the nail right on the head with this, echoing an early conception of weblog as modern wunderkammer, for which I regret I cannot find a source.

August 17, 2006

Hero assumed white until proven otherwise

Anderson Cooper 360 Blog ‘Missing’ Marine from 9/11 comes forward

The new Oliver Stone movie, “World Trade Center,” tells the story of two Port Authority police officers — Sgt. John McLoughlin and Officer Will Jimeno — who were found by two former U.S. Marines working as volunteers. But the moviemakers only knew the whereabouts of one of the Marines; the other had seemingly vanished.

Because the moviemakers (and most everyone else) didn’t know much about the “missing” Marine, the actor playing him is a white man. In real life, Sgt. Thomas is African-American.

August 16, 2006

Driven a little crazy by the culture

And on the street the Hummers roll, driven by small, blond college girls, as if America had invaded itself.

The Phoenix: The New New Age: The movement pulls away from the mainstream and gets apocalyptic.

August 15, 2006


She’ll be strong in spring, Ms. Regan theorized, because she has a “wood nymph quality,” and added that her pink coloring made her great for merchandising around Valentine’s Day and Christmas, when she will pair well with red Elmo. Then of course there’s the fall back-to-school theme of a new girl getting to know her classmates.

A Girly-Girl Joins the ‘Sesame’ Boys - New York Times

July 13, 2006

Bruce Lee may seem to be just another uni-dimensional macho hero, but his rise marked an epochal shift for Asian Americans, both as actors and as men. After decades of being demonized as sly yet effeminate “yellow peril” in the post-World War II era, Lee represented a positive, vigorous version of masculinity. And it’s this consolation that actors like Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa cling to when they play similar roles in movies like Mortal Kombat, even when they’re negative. “If the choice is between playing wimpy business men and the bad guy,” Tagawa tells Adachi, “I’d rather play the bad guy. … I want kids to know that Asian men have balls.”

Perpetuating the Yellow Peril -- In These Times

July 8, 2006

et cetera

et cetera on Vimeo

Transgressive; sublime. (NSFW)

June 27, 2006


Six minute audio collage on dumpster diving & scrounging.

June 15, 2006

Flour tortillas from scratch

After a few rotations, you end up with a lump that resembles a red blood cell

We're frequent burrito rollers in our house. I'm going to make my own tortillas! Flour tortillas from scratch, redux.

June 10, 2006

neruda in d.c.

It was June 1966, five years before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Neruda, a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was to speak at the IDB, but it was the height of the Cold War and anticommunist feeling ran deep among the bank's employees. The IDB president was forced to stand "in the doorway of the bank and, despite the protests and sirens, announced through a bullhorn that the ceremony would take place at the Hotel Mayflower." There, Castedo introduced the poet, and the reading was "a colossal success."

The Washington Post reports on the discovery of a long-lost recording of Pablo Neruda reading in Washington, D.C.

April 8, 2006

Gospel of Judas

It is suggested in the Gospel, in no uncertain terms, that Judas is the only one of the disciples who truly understands Jesus. The heart of the Gospel of Judas communicates a revelation or a teaching that Jesus offered to Judas about the nature of the world and the nature of God in the world. It is this teaching about cosmology that is the content of the knowledge that Judas must understand in order to become enlightened. He does understand it; He becomes transfigured or enlightened and he does exactly what Jesus asks him to do. He turns him into the authorities.

Washington Post: Ancient 'Gospel of Judas' Translation Sheds New Light on Disciple

March 23, 2006

R. Crumb's Short History of America

A Short History of America in twelve panels by R. Crumb.

March 13, 2006

an exercise in consecutive translating

What do you do if God is too fat?

November 18, 2005

shopping for board games

We used to be a family. Now we are four women carrying heavy grocery bags past an unshaven man in an armchair who is staring intently at his thumbs.

The New York Times: Board Games to Put Families Back in Play

November 17, 2005

NPR : 'My Lobotomy': Howard Dully's Journey

NPR : 'My Lobotomy': Howard Dully's Journey

He objects to going to bed but then sleeps well. He does a good deal of daydreaming and when asked about it he says 'I don't know.' He turns the room's lights on when there is broad sunlight outside.

Howard Dully was lobotomized at 12, apparently because his stepmother didn't like him. The above, from lobotomist Walter Freeman's notes supporting the procedure, aptly describes my five-year-old son. The story is available as an mp3 from NPR, and transcripts and extras are at Sound Portraits.

October 29, 2005

1955-1965 by The Village Voice

1955—1965 by The Village Voice

July 1, 2005

Explore Your Town

The original boundaries of the Capital City encompassed a ten-mile square, or an area of 100 square miles, in a diamond shape with north, east, south and west corners as indicated in the diagram. Four boundary stones were placed to mark these four corners of the diamond. Smaller stones were added at one mile intervals between the four corners for a total of 40 stones. ...

Born in 1731, Benjamin Banneker, was the free, self-taught mathematician and astronomer known as the "first black man of science" and part of Andrew Ellicott's survey team that laid out the boundary of the District of Columbia, at the direction of George Washington. Banneker fixed the position of the first boundary stone by lying on his back to find the exact starting point for the survey of the District, and plotting six stars as they crossed his spot at a particular time of night. This first cornerstone was set on April 15, 1791, and marked the south corner stone of the District of Columbia. From that location, the surveyors advanced northwest into Virginia and then crossed the Potomac into Maryland.

Origins of Arlington (with map!)

In a retrocession in 1847, the Federal government returned Virginia's portion. This former piece of the District of Columbia today forms the County of Arlington and a section of the City of Alexandria, Virginia. ... Many of those old stones remain in place, including some marking the pre-1847 boundary.

Washington, DC Boundary Stones (with photos)

I've only seen the southern and northern stones, but now I want to visit them all or watch a documentary about them.

June 30, 2005

Burritoeater: "Is it as fun as skimming rocks on a frozen lake? If you imagine that the rocks are burritos and the lake is our systematic, fully thawed engine of analysis, then yes, it is."

afrocentric hip-hop is a big shrug

"My audience has gone from being over 95 percent Black 10 years ago to over 95 percent white today," laments Boots Riley of the Coup. "We jokingly refer to our tour as the Cotton Club," he says — a reference to the 1920s and '30s Harlem jazz spot where Black musicians played to whites-only audiences.


"I love Boots Riley's music, but in general people in the 'hood are not checking for the Coup," says Brother Ali, part owner of the Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective Rhymesayers Entertainment. "It's hard enough to get some of our people to go to a Kweli show. It has a lot to do with the fact that the emphasis on the culture has been taken away. It's just the industry now and it's sold back to us — it's not ours anymore. It used to be anti-establishment, off the radar, counterculture. People in the streets are now being told what hip-hop is and what it looks like by TV."

Village Voice: The Cotton Club by Bakari Kitwana .

June 29, 2005

RIP Alexander Supertramp

I struggled to imagine the emotional currents that had carried people here to this bus, so far from their homes, to honor his memory. Later, a friend who had been born in Alaska and exiled to Maryland for five years tried to explain the overwhelming smallness and sameness of life on the suburban East Coast, where lawn care excites great interest; no wonder someone like Christopher McCandless seems adventurous and spiritual and inspiring, despite being dead.


For many Alaskans, the problem is not necessarily that Christopher McCandless attempted what he did — most of us came here in search of something, didn’t we? Haven’t we made our own embarrassing mistakes? But we can’t afford to take his story seriously because it doesn’t say much a careful person doesn’t already know about desire and survival. The lessons are so obvious as to be laughable: Look at a map. Take some food. Know where you are. Listen to people who are smarter than you. Be humble. Go on out there — but it won’t mean much unless you come back.

The Anchorage Press: : I Want To Ride In The Bus Chris Died In.

cultureblind psychiatry is racist

This thing called psychiatry -- it is a European-American invention, and it largely has no respect for nonwhite philosophies of mental health and how people function.

Washington Post: Patients' Diversity Is Often Discounted.

June 16, 2005

I'll believe it when I eat it

The time feels right to me. My spirit’s ready for it.

Bodo's Bagels is open on the Corner after many lifetimes of anticipation.

May 6, 2005


The Americans who fell in Normandy in 1941 were tall fellows measuring 173 cm. on average, and if they were laid head to foot they would measure 38 kilometres in total. The Germans were tall fellows too, while tallest of all were the Senegalese fusiliers in World War I who measured 176 cm. so they were sent into battle in the first ranks in order to scare the Germans. It was said of the First World War that people in it fell like seeds and the Russian Communists later calculated how much fertiliser a square kilometre of corpses would yield and how much they would save on expensive foreign fertilisers if they used the corpses of traitors and criminals for manure.

Based on the excerpt in this month's Harper's (the above is a longer version (PDF) of the same excerpt), Patrik Ourednik's Europeana. A Brief History of the Twentieth Century is an engrossing, wide-ranging and idiosyncratic retelling of recent history. I look forward to reading the whole thing.

May 3, 2005

we are one

Ladies and gentlemen, do not be alarmed. That is my dog, Spot. He is the bus dog. We go back a long way. Spot keeps me sane. When I am sad and lonely, he talks to me, telepathically. We are one. Thank you.

N.Y. to D.C. On the Quirky Express is Marc Fisher's account of riding the Chinatown bus.

April 10, 2005

on the road

On NPR, Roy Blount Jr. takes a reporter on a walk through New Orleans. Also, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy discusses his travels through the United States, comparing the current state of affairs to that described by Alexis de Tocqueville in his Democracy in America (which I have been meaning to read for years).

April 4, 2005

oh fuuuuuuuuuuuudge

Jones, 29, of San Diego, plans to restore the home's exterior to the deep yellow with green-trimmed windows it had in the movie and revamp the interior to resemble its movie appearance.

He also wants to create a museum in the home and open a gift store selling items linked to the movie, including Ovaltine, Little Orphan Annie decoder rings and "leg lamps" like the one Ralphie's father proudly displayed in the front window of his family's house.

Associated Press: "Christmas Story" Home Sold on eBay

March 24, 2005

we were the first game to call them pot and coke and crack

A digital puff of marijuana, for example, temporarily slows the action of the game like a sports replay. Taking an Ecstasy tablet creates a mellow atmosphere that can pacify aggressive foes. The use of crack momentarily makes the player a marksman: a "crack" shot.

But using each drug also leads to addiction, which can lead to blackouts that cost the player inventory and to demotions or even expulsion from the police force, which halts progress in the game. In measured doses, the substances can make a tough challenge easier, but the makers of the game say it is possible to play without using the drugs at all.

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Where a Puff of Marijuana Is the Ultimate Power-Up

March 20, 2005

Brother Thây: A Radio Pilgrimage with Thich Nhat Hanh

Speaking of Faith | Brother Thây: A Radio Pilgrimage with Thich Nhat Hanh

Forcibly exiled from his native country, Thich Nhat Hanh is currently visiting Vietnam for the first time in nearly forty years. In 2003, Speaking of Faith took a radio pilgrimage with Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh at a Christian conference center in a lakeside setting of rural Wisconsin. Here, Nhat Hanh discusses the concepts of "engaged Buddhism," "being peace," and "mindfulness" with host Krista Tippett.

March 6, 2005


"He'd done his work," Winkel Thompson said, adding, in Hunter Thompson's own words, "He was a road man for the lords of karma."

Rocky Mountain News: Family says writer didn't kill himself out of desperation

March 3, 2005

paean to once-great radio

All Hail The Death Of Radio / Clear Channel suffers and rock radio is gasping its last and, more importantly, does anyone care?

Only a handful of major-station radio gems remain on the dial anywhere in the country, stations that still fly their flags of ragged independence like beacons in a wasteland of sameness and blandness and endless replays of Beyoncé and Eric Clapton and Sting, while the FCC stands behind them all like a psychotic nun with a giant ruler and a deep scowl and callused nipples.

Mark Morford is big on podcasting, too.

February 20, 2005

Collapse by Jared Diamond

Why did the Greenland Norse prefer to starve rather than copy the ways of the Inuit? How did the Anasazi fail to notice that by squandering their piñon on structures, they were eliminating a precious food source? And how do we, in this 21st-century global village, continue to live in denial about impending climate change, something every credible climatologist has confirmed?

Judith Lewis: What Did the Last Easter Islander Say as He Chopped Down the Last Tree? "Jared Diamond, The best-selling author of Guns, Germs and Steel, asks whimsical questions with grave answers. In his latest book, he turns his attention to the collapse of civilization."

February 17, 2005

race and blogs

The blogosphere is no substitute for face-to-face conversations. It's just another journalistic tool limited by, if nothing else, the amount of time you're willing to spend reading and clicking. I like the way folks like "Professor Kim" and George Kelly feed me quick glimpses at a wide range of thought from mainstream journalism and blogs. I'm also acutely aware that the same dialogic dysfunction that leapt from the solid world to the virtual one, from living room chats to chat rooms, infects the blogosphere.

The Poynter Institute's Keith Woods scopes out bloggers' discussions of racial issues, mentioning George's "Negrophiles" (sic) along the way.

January 15, 2005

I'm the one you're using, please don't push me aside

"What a time we live in! Traditions are imploding and exploding everywhere -- everything is coming together, for better or worse, and we can no longer pretend we're all living in different worlds because we're on different continents. At times it feels like we're on the verge of an apocalypse -- the war in Iraq, the tsunami, physical and social upheavals everywhere.

And yet on a personal level, we have access to cultures that simply weren't available to us even 20 years ago. Think of the way America has changed -- of all the new traditions we know about now, from clothing to food to films to martial arts, all of these pretty much unknown when we were growing up. I travel the world, and I'm happy to say that America is still the great melting pot -- maybe a chunky stew rather than a melting pot at this point, but you know what I mean. Despite the redneck, cowboy elements we have in this country -- which are real and which we maybe don't like so much -- the fact remains that most Americans are genuinely interested in many different cultures and in learning to embrace them. I hope that this symphony -- that all my music -- is helping that process along."
Those elements Philip Glass is talking about aren't really "redneck" or "cowboy." They just play them on television.

December 25, 2004

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 14, 2004

hoasca, or ayahuasca - 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.

December 9, 2004

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.

November 3, 2004


When I was 15 [I] had mono and had to stay home for a month. It was this singular period of time when the only song on, ever, was "Tainted Love." So I started calling to request songs, and there was this one guy who I ended up talking to for a few days in a row. He had this really great voice, and he was really flirty, and it was exciting. Then he said that there was this B-52's concert he had tickets to.

So I got all dressed up and snuck out--I got a ride from a friend. I met this KROQ guy at the Palladium, and it was really shocking: He had this big belly, and he smelled really, really awful. During the concert I walked out, and he followed me. He kind of cornered me against this car, and I bolted and started running down Sunset as fast as I could. I caught a cab home. It was so exciting.

"KROQ: An Oral History" by Kate Sullivan.

October 19, 2004

christmas shopping idea #1

"It fills you with naughty laughter to know you did this and other people have no idea what happened," Burke said. People around him noticed that the screens had turned off, but no one raised a fuss.

Responding to the accusation that it sounded like unaccountable power, Burke said, "You've heard about the battle for eyeballs. They're your eyeballs. You should not have your consciousness constantly invaded. Television people are getting better and better at finding ways of roping us into TV where we can't get away."

Inventor Mitch Altman has created TV-B-Gone, a one-button universal remote that you can use to turn off television sets in public places. He also discussed his invention on NPR.

October 10, 2004

neither liberty nor justice nor safety

I love the fact that all the students took off their shoes before climbing on it, says UC Berkeley philosophy professor John Searle, who, as a young faculty member, joined the movement 40 years ago. That's so American. Americans respect cars. They don't respect the police, but they do respect cars. I like that.


The notion that the Free Speech Movement was a victory of the left is a time-honored misconception. At the beginning of the school year in 1964 when, at the height of the civil rights era, the university banned political advocacy of off-campus social issues on school property, both liberal and conservative student groups joined forces, calling themselves the United Front.

After the Revolution, The Commemoration (

The dean refused to see the other students, who, in turn, refused to budge from the building. The standoff continued into the next morning. A police officer arrested a mathematics grad student named Jack Weinberg for not identifying himself. But before the police car could take him away, students and their supporters surrounded the car, the roof and hood of which became the impromptu podium, sans shoes, for the day's rally of nearly 5,000 people.


I'll tell you a secret about democratic societies, Searle concludes. If a movement is successful, it has to be symbolically absorbed into the mainstream. I think that's what happened to the FSM. The FSM is not a threat to anyone if it's a coffee shop -- a cafe, for God's sake. If a police car can be something that former presidential candidates can climb on, it's no longer a revolutionary act. And I think that's terrific. It's a sign of a healthy democracy.

Healthy or ill as democracy may be, there is at least one lesson unlearned from this movement. Nevada rancher Larry D. Hiibel was arrested in May of 2000, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, only because he thought his name was none of the [arresting] officer's business.

August 24, 2004

he has great feelings in his bones that we will elect a new president in November

George Takei spent four years of his childhood in internment camps.

Tribute was paid to those who passed in all 10 internment camps with candles lit by representatives from each of the camps. I was honored to represent Camp Rohwer in Arkansas, where my family and I were held before being brought to Camp Tule Lake. As we paid our respects to those who passed in these camps during World War II, my thoughts were also with those Arab Americans today who are being detained without the due process to which we are all entitled.

August 23, 2004

the church of stop shopping

During the past seven years, Talen has made himself a thorn in the paws of Walt Disney, Nike, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble and any other chain he says he views as casually destroying the essence of neighborhoods. Just one day before the Reseda Boulevard Starbucks intervention, he led 40 disciples to a Los Angeles Wal-Mart for a bit of protest theater known as a Whirl. The participants enter separately, discreetly, as if they don't know one another; each grabs an empty shopping cart and simply circulates through the acres of aisles without stopping, falling in line behind other empty carts as he or she encounters them until a silent conga line of nonshoppers forms, snaking through the store in a hypnotic display of commercial disobedience. It gets under the skin of the store managers in a spectacular way.

New York Times Magazine: Reverend Billy's Unholy War.

August 19, 2004

Where are the chee-tohs?

NPR : Dungeons and Dragons Turns 30

Anyone who thinks that Dungeons and Dragons has been consigned to the scrapheap of 1980s relics, right next to Pac-Man and leg warmers, would be surprised by what happens every Thursday night in Peter Girvan’s apartment in the Bronx.

For the past two years, Girvan and four friends—all professionals in their 30s—have been getting together every Thursday to play D and D—sitting around a table with inch-high plastic figures, rolling odd dice and saying things in the odd, imagined voices of their characters.

August 17, 2004

the Spime of Tomorrow

BoingBoing: Bruce Sterling SIGGRAPH 2004 speech "When Blobjects Rule the Earth"

Our material culture is not sustainable. Its resources are not renewable. We cannot turn our entire planet's crust into obsolete objects. We need to locate valuable objects that are dead, and fold them back into the product stream. In order to do this, we need to know where they are, and what happened to them. We need to document the life cycles of objects. We need to know where to take them when they are defunct.

In practice, this is going to mean tagging and historicizing everything. Once we tag many things, we will find that there is no good place to stop tagging.

In the future, an object's life begins on a graphics screen. It is born digital. Its design specs accompany it throughout its life. It is inseparable from that original digital blueprint, which rules the material world. This object is going to tell you -- if you ask -- everything that an expert would tell you about it. Because it WANTS you to become an expert.

guerilla drive-ins again

Part of why we're doing this is to reclaim public space and give people a way to use the nighttime that's not mediated by commerce. In our town, the parks close at sundown, you have to buy something at coffee shops. We wanted to give people a way to interact with each other outdoors without having to spend any money."

The New York Times: Now Playing, a Digital Brigadoon.

July 1, 2004

do not alienate mainstream NPR listeners

NPR's ombudsman says that this Morning Edition piece on hip-hop producer Timbaland was "tough to take, especially that early in the morning," and proceeds to grapple with the issue of NPR's failure to attract a diverse audience — without once mentioning race.

June 8, 2004

dig the animated gifs

Venus Transit: Cycles of the Heart

We are about to experience the first Venus Passage in this millenium. The Venus Passage presently upon us comes in a pair, with each transit in the pair spaced eight years apart. There will be one transit on June 8, 2004 and one on June 6, 2012.

This article explores the eight-year pentagonal cycle of Venus; how the retrogrades of Venus are created; the 243-year Venus Passage cycle; why the transits in this cycle come in pairs for a while and why they then become singular; the drift of this cycle through the zodiak; the star alignments of the 2004/2012 transits in the sidereal zodiak; the psychophysiology (mental-emotional-physical facets) of Venus in our lives; and the astrophysical resonances of Venus in light (color), sound, and brain wave frequencies.

May 31, 2004

9-11 comics

In September, Pantheon Books will publish Art Spiegelman's comic strip musings on 9/11 and its aftermath, In the Shadow of No Towers. Thank you, Bookslut!

May 10, 2004

it's happening

Vanguard of Brood X Marks Its Spot: All Over (

In isolated pockets across the Washington area, periodical cicadas have begun to emerge in heavy numbers, the silent beginning of an infestation of black-bodied, red-eyed insects that is going to get a lot more intense and a lot more noisy before it ends next month.

It's happening. I'd seen about 8 holes before this weekend, but now they're obvious. You glance downward, holes. Moving cinderblocks for the compost pile, I uncovered one guy who had tunneled all the way up, only to hit the block and say, "shit" while another tougher nymph had tunneled up and was now traveling horizontally, but was in the throes when I lifted the block.

May 8, 2004


Metafilter remembers 1987 better than I do. I'm starting to remember how loud it was, though. The buzz is holy.

I used to fill buckets with the exoskeletons too, Witty. I'd go out in my backyard and there'd be a hundred of them clinging to the wooden fence. I'd look down the cracks in their backs through their "eyes".

My sister and a friend of hers used to go downtown with a handful of them and hang them on people's backs as they walked behind them.

April 20, 2004

magazine reader: high times

If you're a little high and you just want to look at pretty pictures, you can get fixated on the centerfold and you take out a magnifying glass and look at all those snowy flakes -- that's the resin, that's what gets you stoned. People like to look at that.

High Times At 30, Getting Its Head Together (

April 8, 2004

Ecstasy Rising newsdoc

MAPS A/V archive: Ecstasy Rising

Peter Jennings Reporting: 'Ecstasy Rising' takes viewers through the seminal events in this story and introduces all the major players -- from Alexander Shulgin, the famous chemist who was the first person to report the effects of Ecstasy, to Michael Clegg, the Dallas businessman who gave Ecstasy its name and turned it into a recreational drug, to the drug enforcement officer who led the fight to make Ecstasy illegal, to the DJ who brought Rave to America.

Download time varies according to the speed of your internet connection.

April 7, 2004

titles are for geeks

I just think it transcends what you normally get to do on TV. It's funny, sad, heartbreaking … I love the heartbreaking stuff, which is another reason we probably got canceled.

Interview with creator Paul Feig (but not writer/producer Judd Apatow) on the occasion of the release of the Freaks and Geeks DVD set.

March 11, 2004

best documentary playing in DC

The Fog of War is currently playing at AMC Courthouse; AMC Hoffman Center; Bethesda Row Cinema; Visions Bar Noir.

very pro-sharing

As far as I'm concerned, music is not a commodity. It's something that people have earned by being human. They have a right to hear it, and a right to share it, as they always have in churches and parties. That's how music happens.

Kristin Hersh to Judith Lewis.

September 24, 2002

The News Watch Diversity Style

The News Watch Diversity Style Guide advises journalists (and bloggers, and you, even?) on using language pertaining to religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and the like. Looks like it needs updating ("recent" WTC attacks?), but still useful.

September 5, 2002

For me, that there's something

For me, that there's something "out there" and that I'm here no longer meant anything, because every time I thought there was something out there, it turns into inevitably something opposed to me. Something I have to define myself against, whether that's God, or whether that's a Christian, or whether that's a Muslim, or whether that's a Buddhist. And that's not my experience.

My genuine experience of life is that there is nothing "out there." This is all there is. And when you see the seamlessness of it all, that's what I mean by "God." Every tradition has that. Every morning, three times a day since I'm five or six years old, I've been saying, "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." Right? It's one of our few creedal statements, the Shema. Three times a day, since I'm six years old.

If you ask what 9/11 really did, it made me understand the truth of that. The truth of that, "Everything is one." Not that there's some guy hanging out there who has it all together, who we call "One," but that it is all one. We all know it deep down. We've all had those experiences. whether it's looking at our child in a crib or whether it's looking at our lover or looking at a mountaintop, or looking at a sunset. Right? We've all had those experiences. And we recognize, "Whoa. I'm much more connected here."

That's what those firemen had. They recognized; they didn't have time to think about it, right? Because actually, if you think about it, you begin to create separations. They didn't think about it. All they knew is we're absolutely connected. We're absolutely connected to the 86th floor. Well, that's where God is. That's not where God is. God isn't anywhere. That's what we mean when we say God.

Irwin Kula, a Conservative rabbi, discussed his religious beliefs and how they were affected by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero, a remarkable Frontline special that aired on PBS earlier this week.