Wednesday, June 29, 2005

David Foster Wallace's Commencement Address

A section of the speech from the author of 'A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again':

"Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship -- be it JC or Allah, bet it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles -- is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clich├ęs, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing."

Ready Boots?

One of the first examples of what was later to become music video, Scopitones were 16mm films shot in tandem with music and available for viewing for a small fee via film 'jukeboxes' starting in the 60's.

You Can Visit the Past, But You Can't Change It

Next time you travel back in time, you can only go sightseeing.

Create Your Own Magnetic Ribbon

Design your own magnetic ribbon message to slap on your car. Now you'll fit in with the rest of the comrades

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Virtual Boss

If you actually lived Office Space in real life like me, then this soundboard of Lumbergh is for you. Courtesy of Eric

Dark Night of the Soul

Here's what happens if you blog too much. Video with audio.

Video Literature

Want to test drive a new book? This site takes the audio from a section of an audiobook read by the author and animates it. Broadband only.

Ten Minute Philosophy

As a Philosophy graduate, I love this site. For each philosopher you can choose to read the squashed (two sentence) version of each of their influential works, or the condensed version - which can generally be read in less than ten minutes. A pie chart on the right indicates the time it takes to read each work so you know what time comittment you're in for. Seeing Wittgenstein condensed is quite the experience for me, I tell you what...

Billy Harvey

His music is alright, his Polaroid based flash site is novel. I wish this guy was my neighbor. Plus he looks like Bob. Sort of.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

100 Best Products of 2005

According to PC World magazine.

Home Science Experiments with Twinkies

Do Twinkies conduct electricity? This and many other questions related to this synthetic latex filled product are explored. The results of the experiments are written in haiku.

British Library Books

Browse one of DaVinci's Sketchbooks in his own hand (written in code and mirror-image). Or Jane Austen's amateur partial history of England (self-illustrated).

It is Your Duty to Call in Sick

Thousands of Free Books Online

Read them online at your leisure. Or print them out on the blank side of all your junk mail..

Auctioneer Championships

MP3's of all the Auctioneer Champions from 1963 on.

Horrible Recipes from the Past

Like hot dog vegetable soup for breakfast, for example. Enjoy.

Fat Tire

Fat Tire Ale is one of my favorite beers, unfortunately unavailable in Minnesota due to bizarre laws for microbreweries (i.e. real beer) lobbied into place by Coors, Miller, and Budweiser to cut down on national competition. At any rate, I dig the Quicktime movies on this site of their commercial campaign.

Car Ribbons

So you've seen those magnetic 'ribbons' most frequently seen on giant gas guzzling SUV's saying Support Our Troops (to which I always want to add - so that your ugly street behemoth doesn't run out of gas). Anyway - they always piss me off because what American doesn't support the troops - it's not the troops that are in contention - it's the morons who put them in harms way without giving them adequate armor plating that I don't support. Or the fat-ass gas guzzling brain-dead suburban freaks who are the recipients from these young men and women putting themselves in harm's way because they won't buy an efficient vehicle.

So I found a ribbon that works for me. Maybe you can find one that works for you too.

Kitchen Myths

You know those things that you do in the kitchen without thinking because someone told you to a long time ago? Well some of them aren't true. For example, baking soda absorbing odors in the fridge: "This is a very clever and successful marketing ploy by the baking soda people, but the fact is that baking soda is very poor at absorbing odors. It seems to make sense, however, so lots of people have spent untold billions of dollars to put boxes of baking soda in their fridge or freezer to no effect. Activated charcoal would work much better but is expensive. Better to wrap your food and clean the fridge once in a while."

Peel a Potato

How fast can you peel a potato? And...go!

Canoe Sailing to Cuba

I can't believe it didn't work...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Cowboys and Indians

Well we all know that Resident Bush has been playing Cowboys and Indians from when he was a child until now. What we didn't know is that he has an inferiority complex. The ghost writer commissioned by Bush (also a friend of the Bush family) to write a biography was given unprecedented face time and access, and was summarily dismissed by his campaign managers after submitting his draft which quoted him extensively and thus didn't pass muster. Makes you wonder if his own campaign managers at the time didn't think that direct access by a sympathetic republican and family friend wasn't good enough for them, why would he be as President of the United States? His notes were given to former Texas press secretary and then presidential advisor Karen "No Really, I'm not a Lesbian" Hughes to soup up and the result was critically panned. Nonetheless, the shunted author reveals even further corroboration of the recently unearthed Downing Street memo citing British intelligence indications of firm plans by Bush and his whores for developing intelligence justification and WMD claims 'adjustments' for attacking Iraq in early 2002. The erstwhile author states that he planned to go into Iraq as early as 1999 - even before being appointed to the executive post by the Supreme Court. As usual it all goes back to Darth Cheney - a member of both the Nixon and Reagan administrations. Wowed by Margaret Thatcher's approval ratings after her fake Falkland Islands war in the 80's, he sought to repeat the process. The theory goes, find a small country, invade it and bask in the acclaim of people that don't see the whole picture and watch the ratings soar. It seems to elude right-wing Republicans that honestly serving the American people accomplishes the same effect while killing fewer young men. Apparently killing people's children for approval doesn't figure in non-people's minds like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Condi (who once "accidentally" referred to Resident Bush as 'my husband' in a press conference). Bush's father, a.k.a. the real President Bush, later hired the author to write a biography of his own father, Prescott Bush - published in 2003. As a guy at the mix board at a Beatifics show I saw at the Turf Club said when I suggested adjusting the sound, "I can't make it sound better if there's nothing to work with."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Rent My Son (or Daughter)

Wow. I can't say anything else.

Skeeter Bite Relief

They're back... My great aunt's remedy was to make an 'X' with your fingernail on the bite and then leave it alone. A really hot washcloth seems to work for me (my version of the 'ItchZapper' $21.50 - which briefly heats a bite to 122 degrees supposedly breaking down the proteins from the mosquito's saliva which causes itching). Here are some other suggestions from the link:

"Disinfect the bite. Flies and mosquitoes can spread disease. So wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water, says North Carolina allergist Claude Frazier, M.D. Then apply an antiseptic.

Rub in an aspirin. Herbert Luscombe, M.D., professor emeritus at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, recommends an unusual aspirin treatment to help control inflammation. As soon as possible after being bitten, moisten your skin and rub an aspirin tablet right over the bite.

(To) relieve the itching - Dr. Frazier recommends the following:
- An oral antihistamine. Choose an over-the-counter allergy or cold preparation.
- Calamine lotion.
- Ice packs.
- Salt. With water, moisten it into a paste and apply to the bite.
- Baking soda. Dissolve 1 teaspoon in a glass of water. Dip a cloth into the solution and place on the bite for 15 to 20
- Epsom salts. Dissolve 1 tablespoon in 1 quart of hot water. Chill, then apply as above."

Portraits with Stevie Nicks

Yup. Someone does this for a living. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Gillette M3 Razor is Hooey

Ever since I saw the first ad for their battery powered disposable razor, whose 'vibration' was supposed to make shaving easier and hair stand up (how would vibration make forward movement of a razor do anything but increase the likelihood of cutting yourself?) At any rate they've reached their comeuppance in court - sued by the Schick razor company. The Consumer's Union just as easily may have for imposing such a non-product on the American public with questionable claims. I'm sure the battery isn't replaceable either causing one to have to buy both razor refills AND a brand spankin' new useless battery powered razor when it runs out of juice. Who buys this crap? Yet another product of fast tracked planned obsolescence. I vote Lysol's flushable toilet brush is next. Or their pre-moistened kitchen wipecloths.

Radio Free Orson Welles

Here are Orson Welles pre-Hollywood radio plays including the infamous War of the Worlds. Pop that into your iPod and smoke it.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

27 Versions of I Wanna Be Your Dog

If you listen to Iggy Pop and I know you do, you know this song. But have you heard Nirvana give it a whirl? Or Joan Jett? Or Wilco?

Scary Christian Science Puppet Show

This quicktime video rivals Lovepower, my favorite cable access show which apparently still exists according to their site (I no longer pay the duty for cable...) The characters in the "Mother Evening Jehoveh Prayer" show include a singing alien puppet as well as a ventriloquist dummy called 'Chip, the black boy'. Wow.

Photos of an Unknown Family Who Probably Owned a Liquor Store