Thursday, September 29, 2005

Just a Soldier

I've been following Jason's blog for a little over a year. Now he has a book out on 10/4 based on his experiences in Iraq. I'm happy for him. As he said in an email about his new book: " I am so excited/nervous, I think I might become incontinent." One of my favorite quotes from his blog (now containing only 'deleted scenes' that aren't in his book): "Communicating with the Iraqis is nearly impossible, so we tend to stick to hand signals. To an Iraqi, the 'thumbs up' used to mean 'up your ass', but now we have taught them that it means 'A-Okay'. This ambiguity is absolutely sublime. Kids all across Iraq (and soldiers) can now use an obscene hand gesture with impunity."

Here's a review of his book.
- Media Player Stream from Morning Sedition, Air America Radio
- KCPW Salt Lake City, UT
- National Public Radio
- Wired

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Falling Woman in Bubbles

I meant to post this months ago, but I lost the link. It's weird to watch. It's innocuous, fantastical, yet seemingly cruel in a non-specific way; the animated woman can't escape the bubble world. I'm sure the dadaists of the early 20th century would have a field day with this. If she gets stuck, you can move her around with your mouse.

UPDATE: After you played with that try it with Bush.

Museum of Coat Hangers

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Cute Animal Quiz

You Are A: Bear Cub!

bear cubBears are strong and independent creatures who roam in the forest in search of food. Bears are usually gentle, but anger one and be prepared for their full fury! You're big, you won't back down from a fight, you have a bit of a temper -- classic attributes of a bear. Intelligent and resourceful, though lazy at times, you are a fascinating creature of the wild.

You were almost a: Kitten or a Pony
You are least like a: Duckling or a BunnyWhat Cute Animal Are You?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Junk Mail Revenge

Have loads of garbage to get rid of? Throw it in a box and tape that postage-paid envelope that you got with your junk mail and mail it back to them. Bricks, heavy rocks, used car parts, junk in the basement...

Project Gutenberg

No not Steve the actor. As in moveable type printing presses. As in thousands and thousands of books you can read or download online for free.

First Time

Kids in the Hall, one of the best shows ever made in my reality made displaced intelligence seem sane in the Soundgarden or Pearl Jam boredom of the early 90's - at least for me. Unfortunately I never made it to Toronto to see them perform, although I plunked down some cash to see them play live at the State a couple years back which sort of made up for it. Here's one of their early seminal skits.


Last Sesame Street post, I promise. This remix of the pinball cartoon that showed effusively on Sesame Street in between puppet skits is well remembered by a generation. I still want to see 'The Lonely Lowercase N' and the 'Loaf of Bread, Container of Milk, and a Stick of Butter' cartoons. Zap me URL's if you've seen them around.

Mahna Mahna

One of the most addictive songs on earth. And now you can see its original incarnation on the Muppet Show in the late 1970s.

Sesame Plants

Ok - I'm somewhat obsessed with Sesame Street - so what, I grew up with it. It apparently exists somewhere on a soundstage in New York and I want to see it before Sony buys it and moves it to Singapore. Anyway, here's some freaks that created giant plant sculptures Sesame style. Which is fantastic.

Cookie Mongoloid

What could possibly be better than Sesame Street speed metal?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Anti-Successories Posters

If you hate Successories posters as much as I do (which means you were trapped for a period of time in the corporate world and had to stare at them in meeting rooms while bored out of your mind) then these posters will make you feel normal.

I once had a real estate meeting with a guy who had a Successories poster in his office, and I sort of sarcastically said - nice poster! Thinking that the company just put them in everyone's office and he hated them. He was like - oh yeah, I love them. I think they're really neat.

I didn't call him back after that.

78 Speed Children's Records

How to Beat the Carnies

Click the title bar.

Top 10 Digital Photography Tips

Those of us who think in film are often irritated by the seemingly random and uncontrollable rules of digital photograph images. This site suggests that there are a few odd things you can do to warm up digital images even with an automatic digital camera to clarify the look. It also gives some additional suggestions for making digital images appear the way you want them, instead of washed out and sterile-looking.

All Orwell's Works

All of George Orwell's writings online. The author of 1984 and Animal Farm (i.e. the Bush Administration) had some accurately prescient ideas about the present-day world half a century ago. The three tenets of Big Brother from his novel '1984' are eerily reflected in modern life:

1) War is Peace
2) Freedom is Slavery
3) Ignorance is Strength

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.” - George W. Bush

Orwell was already furious at Cheney's lapdog Bush 50 years before they were appointed by the Supreme Court as a scourge on the planet.

Orwell is always great autumn Saturday afternoon reading - his intelligence and caustic wit make you look at the world in a new way, regardless of your beliefs.

The Green Fairy

Technically illegal in the U.S. - although not a controlled substance. The theory is that absinthe was made illegal in the 1900's because of poor processes which essentially poisoned people. Switzerland has just recently joined France, Germany, Spain, and Czechoslovakia in unbanning absinthe but within European guidelines (relaxed slightly for Germany for some reason - probably because they have the largest economy in Europe...)

Mr. Tingley

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Note to Condi

Actual close-up of the note written to Condoleeza Rice by Bush while meeting with the Security Council in the United Nations building yesterday. Did the unmarried secretary of state give a bathroom pass to the "man" she called her husband in a press conference last year?

Dear Mr President

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend - you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

But Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president,but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "

- Bill Maher

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bike Sights

Top two weirdest things I've seen while biking along the river this summer:

- A guy biking in the opposite direction with a full soft drink cup on his head
- A man in a baby blue jogging suit biking in the opposite direction playing a harmonica using a hands free harmonica holder around his neck.

Well Put

Monday, September 05, 2005

Um, Pamela Anderson Has Written Two Novels...?

Is this common knowledge? First sentence of her latest, 'Star Struck':
"Why do my nipples hurt? was Star's first thought as she woke from a strangely deep sleep, her hands gliding along her naked body to the tender nipples that had awakened her."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Life in the 1500's

"Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women, and finally the children. Last of all - babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread! thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a "thresh hold."

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there
for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and hence the saying, "chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, hence tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or hence "upper crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and ! wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (hence the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Things That Actually Matter

"I'm back in Baton Rouge, this time with all of my team. Sadly, we've had to pull out of New Orleans for now because things have gotten too dangerous.

Who would have thought that in a country like ours. not some third world place, mind you, that there would be massive amounts of people trying to inflict harm on the very people that are putting their own lives on hold to help other. It's unreal what we're seeing. The criminal looters (if that's even a strong enough word for them) have been shooting at the helicopters that are the only hope that the city has right now of saving more lives and thereby preventing many more deaths. I can tell you that there isn't a single member of the two teams I'm with that aren't ready to go back in, shooting and all, but the fear is from the higher-ups who can't risk losing the helicopters and the boats. I can't believe it Jon. people of roof tops and in attics will die tonight because sub-human thugs are shooting at the only people who can help anyone right now.

Your friend is normally right to question money that the Red Cross spends to supports itself. Right now, though, they are the only game in town. Give to them and give generously. Word is that the money they get in the next month will go directly to the shelters here in the south so that those running the shelters can buy food and water NOW. They get funds out faster than any other agency and RIGHT NOW is what matters.

If your friend is just really dead-set against giving to them, the Salvation Army is the next best thing. When you donate to them you can designate that you want the money to go to Katrina's victims. There will be much small charities that do really good work popping up in the coming weeks and months but the people down here need money now.

When things settle a bit and I can look into the smaller charities, I'll do some good research and let you know. For now, just give. give to anyone who will take it.

There are people here in Baton Rouge just handing over cash to the shelter operators and walking cash over to the office that New Orleans' mayor is working from while he can't be in his own city.

The news is on right now. Some of the team members are watching coverage for the first time since Sunday night. They're pretty fucking pissed off.

They haven't realized the lack of control that the big emergency operations people are dealing with. They follow orders of the local guys and just do the best they can to save people, save people, save people.

They are only just now seeing that once they risk their necks to save people, the next level of the system isn't in place yet and that the people have to start a whole new struggle to stay alive. Morale is getting low. These guys are tired; they've been working no-stop since we got here. They have mandatory rest breaks, but you don't really rest during them; you're too busy sharing stories and just looking around in disbelief. I can't tell you how many of these guys just come over to me at any given time that they're not in a boat or in the air, put their arms around me and cry.

There have been times on this journey I have hated being here because I can't be doing what these guys are doing, what I used to do, what I dreamed of and loved for so long. But that's not the feeling I have when I sit up against a cement wall, in filthy water, and a guy I've known for years cuddles up in me and sobs. I know that's not the way the public may want to think about their rescuers and their heroes, but that's how it is.

Swinging an axe and breaking into an attic to see if there's anyone there to save and finding a dead family of four instead will bring tears to even the most stoic of people."