Blackfoot Nation to declare independence from US and
Canada February 12:
of a new "Seinfeld" book by William Irwin:
Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book About
Everything and Nothing. Although the
author's an academe he's aiming for a
Other essays in the book include "George's
Failed Quest for Happiness: An Aristotelian
Analysis," "Kramer and Kierkegaard: Stages
on Life's Way," and "Plato or Nietzsche:
Time, Essence, and Eternal Recurrence
Enjoyed listening to Ken Smith on
Know last weekend - he's the author of
something new called Mental Hygiene
(Classroom Films 1945-1970) which I'll
have to peruse. (LA Weekly
book review.) They discussed
the obvious, 60s Anti-Drug and 50s How to
Date - and then veered into unexpected
territory: shock movies for driver's
education classes. Some of these were
notorious and required permission notes
signed by a parent to see; I remember
hearing ominous scuttlebutt from the older
guys about "Mechanized Death" and Smith
mentioned "Red Asphalt" which was no doubt
in the same (footage of actual
accidents) category, and "The Last Prom" - that
was shown in my (1970) driver's ed
class; at the time my reaction was disinterested
boredom since it was so archaic (and no
special permission note was required).
Concise, astute essay
on things Kubano by Michael Moore (courtesy
& Fishes, a new weblog to me).
Cuba was seen as "the one that got away." It became
an embarrassment to us. Here we had every nation in
this hemisphere in our back pocket- except those
damn Cubans. It looked bad. Like when the whole
family goes out to dinner and the one bad seed, little
Billy, just won't sit still and do what he is told.
Everyone in the place is looking at the parents and
wondering just what kind of job they're doing. The
appearance that they have no discipline or control is
the worst humiliation. So they start whacking little
Billy, but forget about it-he ain't ever going to finish
Skin troubles? Not sure? Self-diagnose with
the images available in the
Image Database courtesy of the
University of Iowa College of Medicine.
Can't find any boils though; that
Biblical affliction remains obscure.
Took the Kingdomality
quiz - conclusion: my aptitude would be most
suited to the medieval profession of Shepherd.
Today in history courtesy the NY Times:
Born this date: Robert Burns (1759), W. Somerset Maugham (1874),
Virginia Woolf (1882), Antonio Carlos Jobim (1927).
- The Treaty of Utrecht was signed, marking the beginning of the Dutch Republic.
- the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurated U.S. transcontinental telephone service.
- American Airlines opened the jet age in the United States with the first scheduled transcontinental flight of a Boeing 707.
- President Kennedy held the first presidential news conference carried live on radio and television.
- A Louisville (KY) man received the first hand transplant in the United States.
Courtesy of bud.com,
a couple "out there" links. First, a flamboyant yet
amusing page called House
of Diabolique which contains a
of Honorary Members among whom is Lamar of
"Revenge of the Nerds" - the author claims another
member, the kid from "Terminator 2,"
"lacks the charm and style
that I exude so effortlessly." (Nice turn
of phrase, that - have to work it into my own
repertoire.) Also, this
report of a place to eat in Taipei
with a peculiarly unappetizing theme:
A new restaurant in the Taiwanese capital,
Taipei, themed on famous prisons and
featuring artefacts from, and pictures
of, the Nazi death camps, has outraged
Jewish and German groups.
Patrons of "Jail" can order stir fried clams and
other local delicacies while the emaciated faces
of Jews incarcerated in Auschwitz, Dachau and
other concentration camps stare out from black
and white framed photographs on the walls. A
huge wooden sign over the door leading to
the toilets is carved with the words "Gas
Curt Suplee writes
about changing climate and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)
in the Washington Post:
Historical climate data indicate that such warm phases
dominated from 1925 to 1946 and again from 1977 to 1998
or so... cold phases prevailed from 1890 to 1924 and
from 1947 to 1976 ... [TOPEX] satellite data, released
yesterday, show that sea surfaces are 3 to 9 inches
higher than normal in a giant horseshoe shape around
the western Pacific rim, and the same amount below
normal near Central and South America.
Since it's not higher everywhere, perhaps global
warming isn't melting the polar icecaps? At
least, not yet...
In Salon, Damien Cave
forth about that pesky "back-office"
problem with online commerce:
As anyone who has ever tried to hold down a job and
take possession of something sent via the United Parcel
Service (UPS) knows, the ability to receive packages
at home when you're not there would make buying things
online a whole lot more appealing.
It's why I've been discouraging UPS usage for years.
Interesting info about companies developing new
technologies to resolve the problem, like
...approach is to attach a tamper-proof box to your house; the box's lock
will be wired to the Internet, and when you make an online purchase, a
temporary access code will be assigned to the courier. Once he or she
has opened the box, the code will be deactivated.
New Jon Katz
column, where he tackles the (curiously unchallenged and
irritatingly presumptuous) conservative perception that
viewing images of undressed people harms youngsters:
Both journalists and politicians not only confuse sexual
imagery with pornography, they also equate any exposure
to sexual imagery with danger. This makes anything like
a sane public policy discussion of sexuality and the Net
impossible, either in Congress, at local school boards or
The very notion of pornography is a relatively new concept
in human history. It came about in Victorian England when
researchers from the British Museum dug up the ruins of
Pompeii and were stunned to find artworks of all kinds -
carvings, vases, paintings - in the ancient Italian city
that featured shockingly explicit sexual activity, from
oral sex to bestiality. The researchers were amazed to
learn that these drawings were displayed all over the homes of Pompeii.
The British decided that women and children were too
vulnerable and wanton to see these things, and hid them
away in the museum's basement for generations. The idea
that sexual imagery is dangerous was born, and
soon took root in Puritan-settled America.
Discovered the British Bizarre magazine,
and dropped everything to absorb their "Ask Bizarre"
archive. Among the trivia, this discovery:
...there was a pornographic Star Wars trading card issued
in 1978 by the Topps company in the US of A. It was card
#207 in the fourth series (aka the "Green Series", so
named for the color of its border).
They say they're quoting James Addams, of Blue
Harvest, a "Star Wars" fanzine. Verification:
the Urban Legends people have some
No one is quite sure how the boner occurred, but myth states that it
was a disgruntled airbrush artist who added the appendage to the
hapless 'droid. The additional artwork was eventually noticed by
Topps personnel, but not until thousands had been collected by
unwary 10-year-olds all over North America. A corrected version
was issued, but it is actually scarcer than the naughty one.
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