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March 20, 2003
Pencil carvings -- amazing!                                



March 19, 2003
A web-log called Lost Remote ("Where TV Finds the Future") features a sidebar listing bloggers on-site in Iraq -- typically, journalists. Get into one, and follow along!

In New Jersey, the director of some counter-terrorism office has claimed that if the national alert code is ratcheted up to Red, it'll mean a Gaza-style curfew, 24-7. Imagine trying to enforce that, in America -- preposterous.

Wartime radio propaganda broadcast by the enemy during the Big One: the truth about 'Orphan Ann' (who was incorrectly slandered as Tokyo Rose). Also, Axis Sally (who was apparently just a patsy) and Lord Haw-Haw (a genuine nasty).



March 18, 2003
New Jargon: "Photoshop Slop" -- an example is bogus Columbia images, hindering the investigation. (I haven't seen the 'Israeli satellite photos' but one can be scrutinized here -- it's not in the original form; supposedly people are receiving these in passed-around email. One reaction was, 'that's from the "Armageddon" movie.')



March 16, 2003
While enjoying my usual #5 (chicken and sashimi) at the Teriyaki Bento the other night, I was amazed to hear an ad for the Truth About War website, on the mainstream radio station -- it wasn't too loud, unlike the usual blaring, in which case I ask them to turn it down, whereupon they usually switch off the boombox for my benefit (since I'm the only one in there, at that late hour -- they're mostly a lunch-time joint). A real breath of fresh air, that paid announcment, pointing out stuff commercial radio voices very rarely say, like it's Congress' Constitutional duty to declare war -- the President doesn't legally have the right; and there's been no demonstrable connection between the Sept 11 attackers and the Iraqi government. Meanwhile the shrub's meeting with the leaders of his only two allies, Spain and the British -- talk about Old Europe, those two used-to-be empires from the history books.

Another random mainstream media observation - - they're sure cranking out a lot of ugly cartoons on Saturday mornings these days. (I see them at the gym, on the monitors in the aerobics area, in the brief pre- and post-run intervals (because during, my glasses are on the floor, next to the treadmill, rolled up in my towel).)



March 14, 2003
Was finally able to access the unofficial Pyongyang Metro site. (Seem like its server isn't up too often, for whatever reason, but hey, click the logo - maybe you'll be lucky.) The middle of the tram section is amazing, an eye-witness account of the first line's labor-intensive construction. Browsing the music section's also worthwhile, they say.

Brilliant, ominous essay by William S. Lind, Playing at War. He compares the upcoming conflict to the War of Jenkins' Ear, and the War to End All Wars. The North American Republican Empire is so obviously in decline -- wish there was a viable alternative. My weary thoughts keep returning to the hypotheses put forth in The Sovreign Individual -- such a seminal book, which predicts the end of the whole notion of the nation-state, right about now. Federal controls over civilization will fade, just like the influence of the Church, centuries ago -- but it'll take years, decades, and it won't be pretty. People with Power very seldom relenquish it willingly.



March 13, 2003
It's not just music at SXSW, there's tech talk too -- here's what they're saying -- transcriptions from lectures and panel discussions. Aluminum foam? Bruce Sterling's quoted as saying
I ran into this one guy. And he gave me a chunk of foamed aluminum. It's froth. That stuff just smells like the future.
There's a tad more, then on to something else.

Cel-phones are useful, no question; but I don't want to carry one around. Maybe this one would do, however.

Update from the Village Voice: the Easter Bunny showed up at the Manhattan K-Mart, to protest the army men in the Easter baskets -- mgmt called the police, had her arrested.



March 12, 2003
The best reaction to this freedom fries business was James Poniewozik's commentary on "All Things Considered" yesterday, the gist of which was, as if they care. He said "if you really want to annoy the French, don't take their name off crappy American foods -- put it on more of them." I'm also reminded of Jon Carroll's response to a love-it-or-leave-it, a couple weeks back, when this hatred of French by the party-liners first began to ooze up -- to the suggestion, why don't you move there: "Oh please, massa, don't throw me in that briar patch." And the Zompist rant about this is another great column, as usual.



March 11, 2003
In a speech at Tufts University, #41 admonished #43 --
The first President Bush has told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity. He also urged the President to resist his tendency to bear grudges, advising his son to bridge the rift between the United States, France and Germany.
Chuck Taggart wonders why all US media (with one exception) ignored this story. And that press conference Thursday? The Memory Hole reports how the shrub let slip that it was scripted, but the media (again, with one exception) 'adjusted' his remark in their transcripts.

Second US diplomat in less than a month resigns in protest of the shrub's war preparations. Also, the Pope is being encouraged to visit Baghdad to be the ultimate human shield.



March 10, 2003
The New Scientist has details of China's plans for lunar exploration.

What's with the emergency workers handing out teddy bears -- to adults?!

For about a decade now, and especially since Sept 11, Americans have been grotesquely, luridly self-pitying, ready at the drop of a hat to celebrate -- with the aid of a vast array of bureaucratic accessories -- their collective grief over any kind of loss, real or imaginary. But in the last month or so, this phenomenon has developed into a full-fledged psychosis. Within minutes of the Columbia explosion, residents of Texas and Louisiana were racing out of their homes and vomiting yellow ribbons and teddy bears in the direction of anything that had the misfortune to fall out of the sky.

Two from Sam Smith's Progressive Review: a link to a story in the Daily Mirror, Bush refuses to speak to EU without assurance of standing ovation; and feedback from Michael:
Concerning the Tom Shales article in the Washington Post describing Bush's performance during his news conference as listless: I knew I wouldn't be the only one to think there was something strange in his behavior, but I have a different theory. I start with the premise that Bush's handlers would never let him freely associate in a nationally televised venue. I think that faraway look was a cover to buy time so he could hear, and then repeat the reply he was receiving through a miniature earpiece. The whole news conference was scripted. Under pressure and left to his own devices the President would quickly go into cowboy mode and the whole reason for the news conference -- to check the increasing loss of credibility in his foreign policy in middle America -- would be further threatened.
Somewhere else I heard this performance characterized as the Xanax Cowboy.



March 9, 2003
John Scalzi's posted a pair of good Whatevers recently --
I don't doubt Dubya's a nice man and not traditionally what one describes as stupid, but his thought processes are shallow and stagnant, like week-old water in an unused kiddie pool. It's painful to watch the members of his adminstration with the capacity for subtle thought twist themselves like pretzels either to get him to comprehend the world's complexities, or to explain their bosses' clear but tragically uncomplicated positions to a world that understands that clarity of moral vision doesn't always mean you're looking at the right thing.


Compelled to respond to the Troubles, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) has returned to the studio, and produced one new song ("Angel of War") and re-recorded "Peace Train." It's available at catstevens.com which says an mp3 will be available 'soon,' but for now, only as a .wma file. One can allegedly download a patch so older RealPlayer or Windows Media can play this new format, but I'm wary of side-effects triggered by that sort of upgrade, haven't heard these tracks yet. Maybe they'll be on the radio?
(UPDATE -- Winamp v3 allegedly plays .wma files; alas, mine is only 2-something.)



March 7, 2003
Full texts of the writings of George Orwell are available at orwell.ru (a domain located far beyond the jurisdiction of pesky US copyright regulations, but where some animals were more equal than others for over eight decades).

Moving again, into smaller quarters. Today I was issued my new phone number, and immediately therafter checked the chart at the Telephone EXchange Name Project for valid two-letter mnemonics. (My choice is 'ULysses'.)


In the Village Voice, Full Metal Bonnet --

While the Pentagon war planners may be gunning for an attack on Iraq by mid March, heavily armed soldiers have already quietly seized a strategic position: your Easter basket. National retailers like Kmart and Walgreens have stocked their shelves with baskets in which the traditional chocolate rabbit centerpiece has been displaced by plastic military action figures and their make-believe lethal paraphernalia. Not surprisingly, the merger of religious observance and jingoistic lust sparked the ire of Christian leaders. The religious leaders noted that the eggs, bunnies, and chicks so intimately associated with the holiday are also unrelated to the narrative of Jesus. They are instead the trappings of Ostara (also known as Eostra), a Teutonic goddess of spring, fertility, and the dawn, who also lends her name to estrogen and the East.
Like Xmas, and the solstice celebration of Saturnalia.



March 5, 2003
Attended an event in a lecture hall on the Stanford campus last night: guest speaker, Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. (I've read excerpts, but not the whole book). He characterized Stanford as a bubble, a gorgeous bubble, and said his alma mater (Princeton) was an even bigger one. He railed against the oppresive 'air of inevitability' which inhibits Change, but said things weren't inevitable, and gave hopeful examples. Two facts he mentioned, in passing: a fast-food burger probably contains meat (and fecal matter) from thousands of cows (not merely hundreds, as his book claimed -- he'd been corrected) and the US now has just thirteen meat-packing plants. (Like many things, over the past thirty years, what was once strictly a local operation has become a national.) After the lecture phase, he took questions from the crowd -- one guy said he'd sworn off fast food after reading his book, a sentiment I share, myself; although I do realize I live in an area (unlike lots) where there's a wide spread of alternatives available, including In-n-Out, the local burger chain which received Schlosser's blessing in the final chapter, 'cause they do it right.

Glad the Pope's escalating his anti-war activity -- can't understand the dead-pan glee with which the media's reporting plans for our hurling the explosive equivalent (or even ten times that) used in all of Desert Storm, on Baghdad as an opening salvo. What's the provocation? By what right? Maybe it's just a bluff, a psy-op to force Saddam into exile. It can't be retaliation for September 11th (no matter what a majority of Americans believe) -- last month, the shrub said there's no connection, at that news conference. Was this the truth? Like most folks, he has an inadvertant tell which indicates when he's lying. No matter what your opinion of the chief executive's integrity, all are welcome in his Temple.

Easy instructions on making fire from ice at Primitive Ways.



March 4, 2003
Blueprint for a Prison Planet is long, but rather amazing. An essay by Nick Sandberg written in the year 2000, and updated in mid-2001, it addresses our world, and What's Really Going On. Not so sure I follow the stuff about Spirals and Saturn, but I can't help but agree with a lot of his conclusions. Will we be compelled to get microchip implants in the near future, which will usurp our free will? Sounds fantastic: science fiction like Battlefield Earth, The Sirens of Titan or the Tripods -- and yet, his logic is compelling.



March 5, 2003
Attended an event in a lecture hall on the Stanford campus last night: guest speaker, Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. (I've read excerpts, but not the whole book). He characterized Stanford as a bubble, a gorgeous bubble, and said his alma mater (Princeton) was an even bigger one. He railed against the oppresive 'air of inevitability' which inhibits Change, but said things weren't inevitable, and gave hopeful examples. Two facts he mentioned, in passing: a fast-food burger probably contains meat (and fecal matter) from thousands of cows (not merely hundreds, as his book claimed -- he'd been corrected) and the US now has just thirteen meat-packing plants. (Like many things, over the past thirty years, what was once strictly a local operation has become a national.) After the lecture phase, he took questions from the crowd -- one guy said he'd sworn off fast food after reading his book, a sentiment I share, myself; although I do realize I live in an area (unlike lots) where there's a wide spread of alternatives available, including In-n-Out, the local burger chain which received Schlosser's blessing in the final chapter, 'cause they do it right.

Glad the Pope's escalating his anti-war activity -- can't understand the dead-pan glee with which the media's reporting plans for our hurling the explosive equivalent (or even ten times that) used in all of Desert Storm, on Baghdad as an opening salvo. What's the provocation? By what right? Maybe it's just a bluff, a psy-op to force Saddam into exile. It can't be retaliation for September 11th (no matter what a majority of Americans believe) -- last month, the shrub said there's no connection, at that news conference. Was this the truth? Like most folks, he has an inadvertant tell which indicates when he's lying. No matter what your opinion of the chief executive's integrity, all are welcome in his Temple.

Easy instructions on making fire from ice at Primitive Ways.



March 4, 2003
Blueprint for a Prison Planet is long, but rather amazing. An essay by Nick Sandberg written in the year 2000, and updated in mid-2001, it addresses our world, and What's Really Going On. Not so sure I follow the stuff about Spirals and Saturn, but I can't help but agree with a lot of his conclusions. Will we be compelled to get microchip implants in the near future, which will usurp our free will? Sounds fantastic: science fiction like Battlefield Earth, The Sirens of Titan or the Tripods -- and yet, his logic is compelling.



March 2, 2003
Lost Highways (307 Market, in Philly) sounds like a The Future We Were Promised poster great place. Their current exhibit (which opens Saturday) is a can't-miss: the work of Art Radebaugh, "The Future We Were Promised." The Radebaugh story has ties with EphemeraNow.com, and the Smithsonian's wonderful "Yesterday's Tomorrows" show. Their previous exhibit was "The Family Car on Mars" which "looked at a moment where American Design and American Culture met, fell in love, and raised a family. All this while wearing an outfit from the same haberdasher where X-15 and Sputnik shop!" Their Nixon show also looked like fun. Time to visit Philadelphia!



March 1, 2003
Doraemon This is Doraemon, one of the most ubiquitous characters of Japanese anime -- incredibly, I've never seen any of his cartoons, although one cannot travel in Japan without encountering him in some form. Pico Iyer recently had an analytic appreciation of the future-cat published in the Asian edition of Time magazine.



February 26, 2003
In The Atlantic, Jonathon Rauch's Caring for your Introvert -- Excellent!



February 25, 2003
Graphic Oberg analysis of the end of the Columbia.

Yeah, Salon's gone downhill, but their "Ask The Pilot" column by Patrick Smith is still free, and worthwhile... last week's felt like a swan song, though; even better was a couple weeks previous -- all about the great TWA terminal at JFK.

Speaking of New York, is the Howard Johnson's on Times Square really closing? I'm getting mixed messages. Meanwhile, enjoy NY Times restaurant critic William Grimes' review of the place (page 2 explains why their ice cream's so good: increased butterfat, way before anybody else did).

Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon, talks With BuzzFlash.Com about the Man Leading Us Toward Armageddon.
Life feels ever more surreal in these United States, where the media system trumpets outright lies, hypes endless trivial bullshit -- J-Lo's wedding, Michael Jackson's face -- and meanwhile tells us nothing that we really need to know. And the air is always thick with the most hateful vitriol.
Armageddon is also central to An American Apology To The World.



February 24, 2003
There's lots I could report, but I'm feeling apathetic, so instead I'm just going to throw out a few quotes today.
The future is here... It's just not widely distributed yet.
    -- William Gibson
God is silent. Now if we can only get Man to shut up.
    -- Woody Allen
Don't let the Media tell you who you are.
    -- graffito spotted on the wall inside the Powell's mens room, this past weekend.



February 21, 2003
The current New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" begins with an excellent shuttle column called Down to Earth, by Hendrik Hertzberg -- the Cuban model, indeed.

Three nuggets from Slate's "Who's for war, Who's against it, and Why"

George Bush and the men surrounding him are not honest men any more than Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan were. The nation is still paying the price for its misplaced trust in those leaders in matters of war and peace.
    -- Eric Alterman
I do not trust George W. Bush to prosecute a war. He holds his office under the most dubious of circumstances; many Americans, myself included, think he is not a legitimate occupant of the White House. He was not, at any rate, popularly elected. Congress, appallingly, has ceded its war powers to Bush, making war against Iraq an executive action. I exercise my right as a citizen to say that I don't trust this executive and unless we are attacked by a foreign power, I don't want my country to be led into war by him. And even if we are attacked, Congress has no business surrendering its constitutional mandate to maintain control of its share of the decision to go to war.
    -- Tony Kushner
This country has been conned by Karl Rove and the superhawks. They've succeeded in changing the subject from George W. Bush's failures and embarrassments, making Iraq number one on the national agenda for nearly six months at the expense of more important matters -- like finding Osama Bin Laden, securing peace between Israel and Palestine, drastically improving the FBI's and CIA's ability to deal with terrorism, keeping nuclear weapons from being used by the nations that already have them, including North Korea, and engineering economic recovery here at home.
    -- Charles Peters


Didja hear about the restaurateur whose renamed his fried potatoes?
The switch from french fries to freedom fries came to mind after a conversation about World War I when anti-German sentiment prompted Americans to rename German foods like sauerkraut and hamburger to liberty cabbage and liberty steak.
I've often heard about this "liberty cabbage" but whoever actually used that term? The better example is German Toast -- its rename stuck; that was during WWII. Perhaps these ignorant hotheads will even propose returning the Statue of Liberty? Molly Ivins defends the French, with facts -- says they're just trying to clue their old buddies into their own experiences, in Algeria and South-East Asia. And I'm naturally ever-ready to defend the Germans, to whom "patriotism" has become a rather distasteful term -- they know what too much of it can lead to -- especially the blind, unquestioning kind.



February 19, 2003
Good Jon Carroll today, Getting Nixonian back there --
You'd think that the Bush administration, which has a constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense, would want to protect the lives of all its citizens, even commie pinko freaks like me. But what has happened so far has not inspired confidence. We got the color-coded alerts, which are supposed to tell us what level of helplessness to experience this week.
This Flash bit by Mark Fiore explains those Alert color codes.

 
Recent interview with Art Spiegelman (of Maus fame) details why he quit The New Yorker.

Another optimistic essay from Bernard Weiner. (If I pronounce his name auf Deutsch, it makes for an interesting coincidence with the next part of yesterday's entry. Incidentally, why do the British call it "whinging"? That just sounds dumb, un-onomatopoeic.)



February 18, 2003
Signs of the Coming Bush Fall, by Bernard Weiner. Good essay; makes me hopeful.

Two 'Americans' jokes lifted from a recent Progressive Review:
What's the difference between Americans and the engines of the jets on which they travel abroad? After they land, the engines of the jets quit whining.

An American was telling one of his favorite jokes to a group of friends: "Hell is a place where the cooks are British, the waiters are French, the policemen are Germans, and the trains are run by Italians." The lone European in the group pondered all this for a second and responded, "I can't say about the police and the trains, but you're probably right about going out to eat. A restaurant in Hell would be one where the cooks are British and the waiters are French -- and the customers are all Americans."
The telling American actually screwed up an old joke -- he seems to have omitted Heaven, and he left out the Swiss!



February 17, 2003
Here's a couple thumbnails from last week's journey.

The historic Watchtower, built on the eastern South Rim of the Grand Canyon in the 1930s.


The Kansas state line on US 160, east of the tiny hamlet of Kim, Colorado, where we found that single, life-saving low-octane gas pump.

A highlight of the trip was Sante Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I learned of Pueblo Deco in the AAA guidebook -- it led us to the KiMo movie theater, where I got a quick peek inside. My photo doesn't really do it justice; better to check the "Picture Gallery" on this official site, plus the vintage postacard at this description page.

Two other links, where we were, Kansas and New Mexico: one day we had lunch at this former banker's house, and one night we lodged in this stylish, non-chain motel.



February 15, 2003
Recent interview with Kurt Vonnegut -- don't miss!



February 13, 2003
Back from the cross-country drive with theGirl in her New Beetle; more on that journey later. A big difference noticed on this trip -- those damn cel-phone antenna towers are sure cluttering up the landscape. On the flight back, I was tagged for the intrusive 'secondary' inspection, as expected; but not due to my one-way ticket, which didn't register -- instead, turns out there's another item you might consider omitting from the carry-on -- your trusty Maglite torch. As my bag passed through the X-ray, the TSA inspectors' supervisor got excited, and he reminded his crew of the recent briefing where they were told how these little flashlights could be used to conceal .22 bullets.



February 4, 2003
One more Columbia link:
That's Entertainment -- cynical report from CounterPunch on the media's reaction, featuring Dan Rather.



February 3, 2003
Today, naturally, nothing but Columbia linkage. For the best roundup of What We Know, check this FAQ that's being posted into the sci.space.* Usenet heirarchy.

Salon summary of the scientific experiments the astronauts were performing.

Conspiracy buffs, don't miss Infowars assessment of the disaster as possible pre-war Psy-Op.

And for an allegorical assessment of the tragedy, The Gus entry from the day is the best I've come across:
For those of you who are religious and wonder what message God was trying to send with today's disaster, hold on to your Bibles and fret no more, I think I have this one figured out! The problem seems to have been with the Columbia's left wing, which either broke off or otherwise malfunctioned while the shuttle re-entered Earth's atmosphere. I'm thinking that God was fed up with the continuing marginalization and oppression of the Left by the present American administration, and in His own inimitably mysterious way, decided to send our nation a message by smiting the left wing of its most famous and flamboyant of wing-ed craft, thereby demonstrating an important fact: you cannot fly without a left wing.



February 1, 2003 -- noon, PST
What is it about the last week of January? From the initial Nando News story:
Just in the past week, NASA observed the anniversary of its only two other space tragedies, the Challenger explosion, which killed all seven astronauts on board, and the Apollo spacecraft fire that killed three on January 27, 1967.
My knee-jerk hypothesis: two chunks of the external tank's insulation supposedly broke off and struck Columbia's wings during launch -- well, they damaged the tiles, so the orbiter's heat-seal was breached during the hottest point of the re-entry phase, leading to structural failure.
(Sorry if the above isn't quite legible, Mac and/or IE user -- knock it and get Mozilla!)



January 31, 2003
Watched "The Caine Mutiny" last night, just to see the Firefall -- turns out the very day we were in Yosemite was the thirty-fifth anniversary of the last time they did it, in 1968.


Great (column? Letter to the Editor?) by Bill Petz, in the Asheville Citizen-Times: Analysis of Bush presidency suggests a nation overthrown.



January 30, 2003
Alternative 3 was a 1977 British television programme, now available online.
Both NASA's space program and the Cold War were decoys. The power elites in the USSR, the US, and Great Britain had in fact been working together on a secret project -- Alternative Three -- that had established bases on the moon and Mars, so that they could escape the coming ecological nightmare on earth.



January 21, 2003
The Worst President Ever -- a recent encounter with Helen Thomas, as reported in the Daily Breeze (the South Bay paper published in Torrance, familiar because I'd read it occasionally when I lived in Hermosa Beach).
Thomas, in case youíve never seen a presidential news conference, is the woman who has haunted every US president since JFK. She seemed to have sympathy and affection for every one but [the shrub], a man who she said is rising on a wave of 9-11 fear -- fear of looking unpatriotic, fear of asking questions, just fear. "We have," she said, "lost our way." Thomas believes we have chosen to promote democracy with bombs instead of largess while Congress "defaults," Democrats cower and a president controls all three branches of government in the name of corporations and the religious right. "This is the worst president ever," she said. "He is the worst president in all of American history." The woman who has known eight of them wasnít joking.



About the America / Australis / American Star, an old ocean liner (and older sister to the United States) which was being towed to Thailand in early '94, for use as a luxury hotel in the manner of the Queen Mary; but the towlines snapped and she went aground off the Canary Islands (as related at the bottom of this history where there's some thumbnails, including Steve Tacey's amazing aerial photo of the ship breaking up). "The bow section has so far held on, defying the elements to this day" -- as seen in Robert Schenk's photos from an overland excursion to the shipwreck site in 2000. More info courtesy Doug Griffiths.



January 28, 2003
BBC report on the Cox-2 enzyme:
A protein has been discovered which causes cancer cells to self-destruct. US researchers have discovered it destroys up to 70% of cancer cells.
A cure for cancer? Shouldn't this be front-page news?
 

In his Progressive Review, Sam Smith says that

The DC Police Department will flash its patrol car lights all night long under a new order from spin-addicted chief Charles Ramsey. Ramsey picked up the idea during a recent visit to Israel. He believes it will make citizens -- faced with a rising murder rate and questions about the police competence -- feel more comfortable.
Do flashing cop-car lights make YOU feel comfortable?

A Nation of Enablers -- why does the media do this?



January 27, 2003
Excellent Jon Carroll column today: Lies, damned lies and more damned lies.



January 26, 2003
I've always been fond of monowheels -- they seem like a good idea, glad to see that the occasional working design is actually on the road; but what's this about gerbilling?

Today's meme is "astroturf." It refers to orchestrated letter-writing campaigns by brainwashed Republicans with too much time on their hands. Fight back against the killer astroturf!
Newspapers around the country are being deluged with Letters to the Editor expressing support for the Bush agenda. These letters are obviously an orchestrated campaign: they are identical, word for word, except where they are "edited for length".



January 23, 2003
Ornate "False Spider" mite or Peacock mite, which grows on grasses and twigs in Australia -- just one sample of the Mite Image Gallery (a thumbnail page).

Patricia Gayle shot this Gooseberry Jellyfish, capturing the diffraction rainbows -- we saw a whole tank of them at the Montery Aquarium; check theGirl's documentation of our trip. She got some photographs of comb jellies, displaying the same effect, but those spectral glints move -- still pictures don't do this justice.

Somewhere within this fascinating article it describes how Felice Frankel photographed those square drops of water.

Frodo failed.

Recursion!



January 22, 2003
Two from Time magazine: The US Needs to Open Up to the World by Brian Eno, and Look Away, Dixieland -- how the shrub's quietly revived the tradition (his father abandoned) of sending a wreath to the Confederate Memorial every year.
UPDATE: They've retracted that story; apparently the presidential tradition has continued through the past decade also.



January 21, 2003
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo -- cree-py!



January 20, 2003
Attacking Iraq:
Naturally I'm against it, for rational reasons, not merely 'cause I'm a peacenik. What's that two-bit dictatorship ever done to us? I mean, really. (For that same reason, I was also against our previous campaign there.) The obfusciation campaign isn't working, the 9-11 kamikaze attackers were from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, not Iraq. Nor am I alone, in my objection, as evidenced by the weekend's demonstrations. Here's another voice of reason, from the 'other side of the aisle' -- some Republicans posted a full pager in the Wall Street Journal (reprinted as a .pdf file):
The candidate we supported in 2000 promised a more humble nation in our dealings with the world. We gave him our votes and our campaign contributions. That candidate was [the shrub]. We feel betrayed. We want our money back. We want our country back.
Boy I'll say.

Regarding our military capability, James Fallows is hosting a riveting email dialog in The Atlantic called "The American Way of War" (part one, and part two, which was just posted). Donald Vandergriff's perspective is fascinating:

What we have demonstrated is that because we have a lot of money -- resources and firepower -- we can overcome an enemy that does not fight on a second-generation level as we do. But I believe that, should we face a resolute enemy in open combat, the results would be catastrophic (Bunker Hill, Bull Run, Kasserine Pass, Task Force Smith, Vietnam, Somalia). Our inability to wage fourth-generation warfare (non-conventional, non-linear) prevents decisive victories or creates stalemates, such as what occurred in Desert Storm, when 65 percent of the Republican Guard got away (to put down revolts weeks later).

Also in The Atlantic, but totally unrelated: The Track to Modernity -- how the railroads standardized time in America.



January 19, 2003
I thought the Korean News Service was the only North Korean online presence, but now the country has an Official Page. There's no actual internet connectivity inside the Democratic Peoples Republic, so the URL of the former indicates a hosting location somewhere in Japan; while according to Slate, the latter's source is Spain. They're full of that archaic 'imperialist running dog'-type of propaganda-language we stopped hearing after the Vietnam war. For some communist ostalgia fun check the Yugoslavian Tito's Home Page.



January 16, 2003
The shrub recently mentioned Class Warfare, in response to the reaction to his handlers' latest tax-adjustment swindle. Five articles at TomPaine.com suggest that we... have a real debate about class in America. Thatís just what the people screaming "class warfare" fear most. This is from the column by John Moyers:
No wonder the president and his apologists are wielding the 'class warfare' charge so aggressively. Itís a canard meant to deflect criticism and curtail debate, a slur meant to paint its target as Marxist. George W. Bush railing against "class warfare" is like Trent Lott deploring liberals for "playing the race card."
And don't miss the erudite shrub assessment the Poor Man posted (but don't be confused, KROQ-ers -- that's not Jim Trenton, the real Poorman).



January 13, 2003
How to Disappear in America Without a Trace is targeted towards those eluding abusive relationships, but anybody considering mischief involving ID obfusciation or just plain 'laying low' may find some useful information.

Coffee Shop Classics is a bit of a slow loader if you're on a dialup, but it's got a lot of photos of the familiar Googies in LA -- just one component of a great site, "Roadside Peek."



January 11, 2003
Marianne Lucas passed away this morning, after a long struggle with cancer. Really glad I got to spend some quality time with her last year, during my trip to Charlotte and Asheville, when I snapped this photo in an art gallery (it's a thumbnail; click to zoom). She was the mother of close friends I've had since childhood -- a cool mom who drove a convertible, and smoked! She was also one of my great high school English teachers -- several known readers of these pages had her also. Although we had some major differences of opinion, those struggles were all resolved decades ago. Farewell, Mamaluke!



January 9, 2003
Audio Test Files features zipped .wav files -- white noise is available, also, pink, brown, blue and violet noise -- square waves, too! (Betcha always wondered what they sound like.)

The State Librarian has a poll -- go vote on the best California Quarter Design. I chose #11, for its striking sunset-waves design -- it was running third this morning, with #13 winning, and #2 coming in second... the latter features the Bridge, as do nine others, out of the twenty; but if we must have one of those arrangements of state icons, I'd prefer going with the Bridge-specific #15 or #20. (The site to check about these coins is statequarters.com -- sez nobody's received an Illinois yet, although they've supposedly been in circulation for a week now.)



January 7, 2003
Public radio junkies like myself will find this Washington Monthly article required reading: All Things Considerate.

Reason talks with three ex-warriors who now fight against the War on Drugs -- the Cop, the Fed, and the Judge. And the Memory Hole reports on the Congressman.



January 6, 2003
Snapshot of the effects of global warming -- waves crashing over the sea wall this past weekend in Winthrop, Mass.

Brilliant new essay by Joan Diddion about America and the world today: Fixed Opinions, or The Hinge of History --
We have come in this country to tolerate many such fixed opinions, or national pieties, each with its own baffles of invective and counterinvective, of euphemism and downright misstatement, its own screen that slides into place whenever actual discussion threatens to surface.



January 3, 2003
The Ten Most Startling Speculations and 'Conspiracy Theories' about September 11 and America's New War.

'Lava Junkies' Marvel at Kilauea Volcano (Yahoo!News)

LA Weekly interview with David Rees, author of Get Your War On.



January 1, 2003 -- Happy New Year.
Great essay by George Monbiot at Common Dreams: We will pay the price...



December 30, 2002
Excerpt from an InternetWeek.com interview with an alarmed ISP president:
Spam is a thousand times more horrible than you can ever imagine. The entire Internet mail system is under a denial-of-service attack. They're taking down the entire Internet. This can't go on. People are in deep denial, but it's completely collapsing before your very eyes.

 
On the south coast of England, a major storm yesterday may have fatally wounded the spooky, derilect West Pier in Brighton -- for more info see this BBC news report. What's really weird is how I was pointing out this very structure Friday night, as we watched "The Snowman" on video. Also from the BBC:
the world's top ten songs. That loathsome, shrill Queen "Bohemian" deal clocks in at number ten?? The latest Cher, number eight? And what's all that other stuff? An obvious case of ballot-box stuffing... the only reason I'm familiar with the Irish number one is from the scene in "A Hard Day's Night" where Paul's grandfather sings it, towards the end when he's apprehended by the constables.



 
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