Thursday, August 31, 2006

iPodNN | Wal-Mart, Apple spar for movie sales:

Wal-Mart is displeased with the prospect of Apple taking a bite out of its movie sale business, reports BusinessWeek. The report says that Apple will launch the 'iTunes Movie Store' as soon as mid-September along with a new iPod. Wal-Mart has reportedly become so concerned for its business that it has threatened not to sell DVDs from companies which agree to sell on iTunes. The prospect of Wal-Mart not selling DVDs for Hollywood executives is a terrifying thought -- currently Wal-Mart accounts for 40 percent of DVD sales, about 17 billion dollars of the market. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart played out this move by initially refusing to sell Disney's "High School Musical" after it popped up on iTunes prior to Wal-Mart getting a chance to sell it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Albert Einstein

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tiger3 People | Warren Zevon:

At this point, Zevon notices that I'm carrying a book about suicide with me. I tell Zevon I once interviewed the woman who wrote it. "She claims only maniac depressives kill themselves," I say, and then tell Zevon, "I've always believed if things got really bad -- if my shit ever got really fucked up -- I'd kill myself rather than go to a concentration camp or something."

"Do you?" he asks me, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah," I answer. I polish off a scone.

"I think that's a mistake," Zevon says.


"We don't know enough shit." He says that and the Japanese flute starts really wailing away like the soundtrack to an Akira Kurosawa movie. "We don't know enough to make any decisions. I wouldn't set myself up to make those decisions."

"My wife is into the Eastern shit," I say, pointing at the air as if the flute music was visible.

"And she doesn't agree with you, does she?" Zevon says.

"No," I answer. "The karma of it --"

"No," he says quickly. "It's not just the karma. The Tao says, 'Old men like being old and young men like being young. And good is good, and bad is good too.' As my father used to say in his late 80s, 'It's all good.' But I don't get depressed. I don't know." He raises his teacup. "I'm insane. I'm fucked up. I have problems. But I don't get depressed and I don't get bored."

Monday, August 28, 2006

226674508 5Ca9D21Da4 O
Beyond the Beyond - Coup de Text:

Caught up in the melee, ducking from the swinging batons,
Palatino heard his phone ping loudly.

"GET OUT OF THERE. You are in a dangerous place," warned the
text, from a friend who could see that Palatino was about to
be pinned between the crowd and a wall.

An officer grabbed Palatino.

"ID! ID! Now!" the red-faced officer demanded.

A small group of officers closed in around Palatino, whose
eyes were suddenly wide with terror.

Students who saw it quickly typed a text alert to others,
using Palatino's nickname: "Mong is being arrested."
Sex Drugs and DNA Blog » Blog Archive » Is the Department of Homeland Security serving the public or saving face?:

I recently received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security at work asking us to change the graphics on our website They believe we have infringed on their “intellectual property” because we used logos and graphics that were similar to those used on their site. (That was part of the point we were making) Their complaint was specifically that we were using the grey word “ready” with a green checkmark over it. I am totally serious. That is what they spend their time on. One year after Katrina and they still don’t have a quality emergency preparedness website for the public, but have time to quibble over who used their check mark and the word “ready.”

Today we announced that we have altered the graphics to please the petty bureaucrats and keep people talking about how woefully inadequate and misleading the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency preparedness website is and force them to fix it. Our full response can be found HERE.
Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon:

Readers who have given Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon even a cursory read quickly noted many errors and inconsistencies between the book's story and the official series written by Rowling. The story centers on a struggle between Harry and his classmates at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and a mysterious wizard.

Characters well-known to fans of Rowling's series make an appearance — the Dursleys, Harry's friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and his archrival Draco Malfoy. In several instances in the book, the master wizard Albus Dumbledore is referred to as "Gandalf" (from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings).

According to translated excerpts, almost the entire book consists of the verbatim text of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, with most (but not all) names changed to those of Harry Potter characters. The only parts of the book that appear to be original writing are the first chapter and the last few paragraphs of the final chapter.

The cover of the book shows Harry riding a centaur (actually an illustration created by Warner Bros. to advertise the first film), which is battling a dragon (which appears to be Maleficent in dragon form from Disney's Sleeping Beauty).
Gerbera Daisy

Sunday, August 27, 2006

my oh my
2006 08 Jcs-Thumb
1Holcombe Babel Revisited Oc-1
2006 08 26 Skyline
Young driver

Unable to get into the Monet show,
Too many people there, too many cars,
We spent the Sunday morning at Bowl Pond
A mile from the Museum, where no one was,
And walked an hour or so around the rim
Beside five acres of flowering waterlilies
Lifting three feet above their floating pads
Huge yellow flowers heavy on bending stems
In various phases of array and disarray
Of Petals packed, unfolded, opening to show
The meaty orange centers that become,
When the ruined flags fall away, green shower heads
Spilling their wealth of seed at summer's end
Into the filthy water among small fish
Mud-colored and duck moving explorative
Through jungle pathways opened among the fronds
Upon whose surface water drops behave
Like mercury, collecting in heavy silver coins
Instead of bubbles; some few redwinged blackbirds
Whistling above all this once in a while,
The silence else unbroken all about.

Howard Nemerov

Saturday, August 26, 2006

“Very roughly, the drama may be called that part of theatrical art which lends itself most readily to intellectual discussion; what is left is theater. Drama is immensely durable; after a thousand critical disputes, it is still there, undiminished, ready for the next wranglers. Theater is magical and evanescent; examine it closely and it turns into tricks of lighting, or the grace of a particular gesture, or the tone of a voice—and these are not its substance, but the rubbish that is left when magic has departed. Theater is the response, the echo, which drama awakens within us when we see it on the stage.”

Robertson Davies, A Voice from the Attic

2006 08 Snakepark
Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet

At this height, Kansas
is just a concept,
a checkerboard design of wheat and corn

no larger than the foldout section
of my neighbor's travel magazine.
At this stage of the journey

I would estimate the distance
between myself and my own feelings
is roughly the same as the mileage

from Seattle to New York,
so I can lean back into the upholstered interval
between Muzak and lunch,

a little bored, a little old and strange.
I remember, as a dreamy
backyard kind of kid,

tilting up my head to watch
those planes engrave the sky
in lines so steady and so straight

they implied the enormous concentration
of good men,
but now my eyes flicker

from the in-flight movie
to the stewardess's pantyline,
then back into my book,

where men throw harpoons at something
much bigger and probably
better than themselves,

wanting to kill it, wanting
to see great clouds of blood erupt
to prove that they exist.

Imagine being born and growing up,
rushing through the world for sixty years
at unimaginable speeds.

Imagine a century like a room so large,
a corridor so long
you could travel for a lifetime

and never find the door,
until you had forgotten
that such a thing as doors exist.

Better to be on board the Pequod,
with a mad one-legged captain
living for revenge.

Better to feel the salt wind
spitting in your face,
to hold your sharpened weapon high,

to see the glisten
of the beast beneath the waves.
What a relief it would be

to hear someone in the crew
cry out like a gull,
Oh Captain, Captain!
Where are we going now?

Tony Hoagland

Friday, August 25, 2006

Democracy Now! | Iraqi Peace Activist Forced to Change T-Shirt Bearing Arabic Script Before Boarding Plane at JFK:

RAED JARRAR: Then I was supposed to take my airplane, my Jet Blue airplane from JFK to Oakland in California last Saturday. So I went to the airport in the morning, and I was prevented to go to my airplane by four officers, because I was wearing this t-shirt that says “We will not be silent” in both Arabic and English. And I was told by one of the officials that wearing a t-shirt with Arabic script in an airport now is like going to a bank with a t-shirt that reads, “I am a robber.”

AMY GOODMAN: That's what the security said to you?

RAED JARRAR: Yeah. I was questioned by four officials from -- I think some of them were from Jet Blue and others were maybe policemen or FBI. I have no idea. I took their names and badge numbers, and I filed a complaint through ACLU against them, because I asked them very directly to let me go to the airplane, because it's my constitutional right as a U.S. taxpayer and resident to wear a t-shirt with Arabic script. And they prevented to let me exercise this right, and they made me cover the script with another t-shirt.

AMY GOODMAN: So they said you could not fly if you wore your t-shirt that said, “We will not be silent”?

RAED JARRAR: Yes. They said that very clearly.
45689613 5Ca2Fac1F6 B
after all the progress...
Sarah (3)

Bog Face: GORKA!

I'm trying to post pictures from our Moscow trip but Blogger isn't letting me. Also, so far my mom has only sent photos of the "here we are posed in front of this crappy wall in our wedding* finery" variety rather than the "here we are shouting "GORKA! GORKA! while my newly converted Russian Orthodox son 'Kyrill' kisses his bride under St. Basil's cathedral in Red Square" type. Gorka means bitter and it's what you shout at a Russian wedding when you want the couple to make out as in "oh life is so bitter, please sweeten it for all of us by making out." FW and I knew about it from Mayakovsky's play The Bedbug so it was thrilling to actually get to shout it in real life, as thrilling as it was to be a member of a wedding party parading through Red Square and drinking champagne on a gorgoeus and breezy Sunday afternoon.

Right now FW and I are going to the Donut House to get our bearings, but I'll try to post some pictures when Blogger is working again and I can get the good ones from my mom. The wedding began at noon and for FW and I ended with a 5 a.m. breakfast of chicken cutlets and cherry juice. In between there was a lot of dancing, endless speeches, a duet by Tania and Carl, a bizarre wedding game in which I was forced to watch a lovely woman with gigantic boobs take off FW's tie with her teeth (I saw my mom taking a picture of that where the hell is that picture?!). Eventually there was a run-in with the face control thug at a Barrikadnaya club who, in the poorly translated version of this evening, prevented FW from entering by saying, "That little boy in the costume is too drunk to come in."

His comeback, in the original English, was "I'm not as drunk as I've ever been."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fmombox 500W
USC Copyright Compliant letter, annotated by Cory Doctorow:

USC prohibits any infringement of intellectual property rights by any member of the USC community. As an academic institution, USC's purpose is to promote and foster the creation and lawful use of intellectual property.

This is the single most shocking thing I have ever read from a university. The purpose of a university is to promote learning and scholarship. To say otherwise is just jaw-dropping -- if we're to take this at face value, we'd measure USC's success by the number of patents filed and copyrights registered, rather than the caliber and quality of the research and work done by our students and faculty.
Schneier on Security: What the Terrorists Want:

Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn't engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn't write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn't use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we'd reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.

It's time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror. This does not mean that we simply roll over and accept terrorism. There are things our government can and should do to fight terrorism, most of them involving intelligence and investigation -- and not focusing on specific plots.

But our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to not panic every time two Muslims stand together checking their watches. There are approximately 1 billion Muslims in the world, a large percentage of them not Arab, and about 320 million Arabs in the Middle East, the overwhelming majority of them not terrorists. Our job is to think critically and rationally, and to ignore the cacophony of other interests trying to use terrorism to advance political careers or increase a television show's viewership.
Last stop - Q train

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2006 8 Spinlight1

Liberal politics will prove fruitless as long as liberals refuse to multiply.:

But the data on young Americans tell a different story. Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Eye can shut off the sky
Placitasgreen Full

dorodango | about:

Hikaru dorodango are balls of mud, molded by hand into perfect spheres, dried, and polished to an unbelievable luster. The process is simple, but the result makes it seem like alchemy.

A traditional pastime among the children of Japan, the exact origin of hikaru dorodango is unknown. The tradition was dying out until taken up by Professor Fumio Kayo, of the Kyoto University of Education, as a means to study the psychology of children's play. In the course of his research, Kayo developed a simple technique for creating dorodango. With the help of Japanese media, Kayo has revived and extended the popular reach of this tradition to the point where it is now an international phenomenon.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Rise of Shrinking-Vacation Syndrome - New York Times:

Even before toothpaste could clog an airport security line and a full tank of gas was considered an indulgence, Americans had begun to sour on the traditional summer vacation. But this summer, a number of surveys show that American workers, who already take fewer vacations than people in nearly all industrial nations, have pruned back their leisure days even more.

The Conference Board, a private research group, found that at the start of the summer, 40 percent of consumers had no plans to take a vacation over the next six months — the lowest percentage recorded by the group in 28 years. A survey by the Gallup Organization in May based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,003 adults found that 43 percent of respondents had no summer vacation plans.

About 25 percent of American workers in the private sector do not get any paid vacation time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Another 33 percent will take only a seven-day vacation, including a weekend.

“The idea of somebody going away for two weeks is really becoming a thing of the past,” said Mike Pina, a spokesman for AAA, which has nearly 50 million members in North America. “It’s kind of sad, really, that people can’t seem to leave their jobs anymore.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

beautiful ugly street
tiny nibbles - violet blue:

Snakes on a Plane opens today (friday) -- I shall now brag that I am going to a private screening in a rented movie theater with an open bar to see it. w00t! I have no date for this event -- I have a date with the motherfucking snakes! I will take photos until alcohol impairs my motor functions, and then I will take video. Why? Because it is *the* gift that keeps on giving. Bad movies on contrived premises, heckling, whiskey and beer and possible weeping/model plane glue huffing will be the order of the day. It will be friday night and I will film anyone who gives me a titty flash. Chances are high that the crazy tit flasher will be myself, in which case I will film it, upload it in a reckless drunken stupor while screaming "snaaakes" at my Apple cinema display until my gay downstairs neighbors flee for the 'quiet' neighborhood leather bars, and then I'll feel betrayed and hurt and angry at myself in the morning (AGAIN), at which point I will email the link to all my friends who are so tired of seeing my boobies they could probably draw them in their sleep. That's my big friday night plan.
217834785 1540C6Dd9E O
181958035 94A812A30E O
Wal-Mart Image-Builder Resigns - New York Times:

In the interview, published yesterday in The Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly, Mr. Young said that Wal-Mart “should” displace mom-and-pop stores in urban neighborhoods.

“You see those are the people who have been overcharging us,” he said of the owners of the small stores, “and they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs.”

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gargoyle Books | Rent-a-coup:

"As it is a very lucrative game, we should expect bad behavior; disloyalty; rampant individual greed; irrational behavior (kids in toyshop style); back-stabbing; bum-fucking, and similar ungentlemanly activities." So reads a cautionary note in the prospectus for what's known as the "Wonga Coup." In March 2004, a group of men with a hired army of about 70 mercenary soldiers set out to topple the government of the tiny West African nation of Equatorial Guinea and install a new one. Ostensibly led by a political opposition leader but actually controlled by the white mercenary officers, this new regime would plunder the recently discovered oil wealth of Equatorial Guinea, enriching the coup's architects by billions of dollars.

The Wonga Coup never came off, but not because of the kind of double-crossing anticipated in that early planning document. Adam Roberts, a correspondent for the Economist magazine and a journalist steeped in the skulduggery of modern Africa, describes just how this "improbable escapade" was born and ruined in his new book, "The Wonga Coup." One of the strangest aspects of the story is that the Wonga Coup nearly replicated an earlier failed attempt to take over Equatorial Guinea in 1973. And that coup had since been fictionalized in a bestselling book, popular with the mercenary crowd, by Frederick Forsyth, "The Dogs of War." A case of life imitating art imitating life? The truth is even more bizarrely convoluted: Roberts has found evidence that Forsyth himself financed the 1973 coup. (And Forsyth has more or less admitted as much.)
New York skyline
Boing Boing: Federal court bans Bush's warrantless spying on Americans:

The ACLU and others have just won a gigantic victory in a federal court, getting the Bush administration's program of warrentless wiretapping of Americans ruled unconstitutional.

The defendants "are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and Internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Title III," she wrote.

She further declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III."
Quickly, she pulled the bell-rope, as only the maid truly understood cows

A New Film Documents One Town’s Automotive Version of Graffiti - New York Times:

STONINGTON, Me., Aug. 12 — Deer Isle and the town of Stonington, at its southern tip, have long served as both muse and home for storied American artists. William and Emily Muir are the stuff of local legend for their work in a variety of mediums, and Stephen Pace has spent time depicting both the idyll and industry of life here.

Mr. Steed’s film, “Tire Tracks,” memorializes the work of so-called burners like Mark Brophy, above, who literally leave their marks, some very elaborate, all over Deer Isle, where Stonington is situated.

Visitors to the island in recent seasons may have noticed that a new artist is making his mark as well: Chuggy, a k a Chuck Proper. That mark usually involves a long strip of angry-looking scalded rubber, which can be seen on many of the island’s twisting roads.

For years, those marks and similar ones have left some locals scratching their heads and visitors anxiously clenching the wheel. It turns out that they are a kind of rural car- and truck-made graffiti — a byproduct of a longtime island ritual that gives this central Maine town character and provides some rugged contrast to the pastoral life here.

And while the work of Chuggy and the native tribe of so-called burners may never hang in one of the dozens of galleries in and near Stonington, their handiwork is being memorialized in “Tire Tracks,” a 40-minute documentary.
Northern Lights
The Sweet Light
Never Check Your Email First Or Last at LifeDev:

I used to have this routine where I would check my email, go to bed, wake up, eat breakfast, and check my email again. I used to believe that this was the way to do things; by making sure I didn’t miss anything throughout the night. I figured that if I wanted to be productive during the day, I’d have to clear out the inbox first. And if I didn’t clear out the inbox at night, I’d be left with even more email to check in the morning. What started out seemingly as a great plan to control my email and become more productive, quickly turned into making my life more cluttered, unscheduled and less productive.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wired News: Secrets of the Pirate Bay:

Founder Gottfrid Svartholm was working as a programmer for a security consultancy on a one-year assignment in Mexico City, when he volunteered to help a Swedish file-sharing advocacy group called Piratbyran set up its own BitTorrent tracker. Svartholm's spare bit of caseless hardware wasn't meant to be extraordinary -- it was just meant to be a specifically Swedish site.

He chose the name Pirate Bay to make clear what the site was there for: no shame, no subtlety. These people were pirates. They believed the existing copyright regime was a broken artifact of a pre-digital age, the gristle of a rotting business model that poisoned culture and creativity. The Pirate Bay didn't respect intellectual property law, and they'd say it publicly.
Electric Veins
"There were other (U.S.) government agencies who would come into the prison and handle prisoners. I can't say which agencies, but you can probably guess. One night, this Black Hawk landed at about 4 a.m., and a couple guys came in with a prisoner and took him to tier 1, put sheets up so that nobody could see, and spent the rest of the night in there. They told us to stay away, so we did.  Then a couple hours later, they came back out. They were like, "The prisoner is dead." They asked for ice to pack him, and then they said, "You guys clean this up. We weren't here. Have a good day.' Got back on the bird and took off, left the dead body right there. Those guys can come in and kill a guy, and there's nothing you can do. There's no record of them. They were never there. They don't exist."

- Joe Darby, the soldier who blew the whistle on Abu Ghraib,
in this month's GQ.
legal lockers

Elusive Proof, Elusive Prover: A New Mathematical Mystery - New York Times:

Three years ago, a Russian mathematician by the name of Grigory Perelman, a k a Grisha, in St. Petersburg, announced that he had solved a famous and intractable mathematical problem, known as the Poincaré conjecture, about the nature of space.

After posting a few short papers on the Internet and making a whirlwind lecture tour of the United States, Dr. Perelman disappeared back into the Russian woods in the spring of 2003, leaving the world’s mathematicians to pick up the pieces and decide if he was right.

Now they say they have finished his work, and the evidence is circulating among scholars in the form of three book-length papers with about 1,000 pages of dense mathematics and prose between them.

As a result there is a growing feeling, a cautious optimism that they have finally achieved a landmark not just of mathematics, but of human thought.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Don't miss...

Tuesday, August 15 @ 8 PM sharp
(doors open 7:30)
The P.I.T.
154 West 29th Street
between 6th and 7th Ave
Did Humans Evolve? Not Us, Say Americans - New York Times:

In surveys conducted in 2005, people in the United States and 32 European countries were asked whether to respond “true,” “false” or “not sure” to this statement: “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” The same question was posed to Japanese adults in 2001.

The United States had the second-highest percentage of adults who said the statement was false and the second-lowest percentage who said the statement was true, researchers reported in the current issue of Science.

Only adults in Turkey expressed more doubts on evolution.
Andy Dick Goes on Face Licking Spree:

According to the horrified folks over at Page Six, comedian Andy Dick really outdid himself at the celebrity roast for William Shatner (which, considering his past shenanigans, is saying A LOT). Dick showed up at the roast dressed as Spock and after downing a couple of cranberry vodkas, spied ’70s icon Farrah Fawcett and said, “I’m going to [bleep] the [bleep] out of her. Put that in Page 6, 7 and 8, that’s how big my [bleep] is.” He then licked the faces of Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Patton Oswald and Star Trek alum Nichelle Nichols. Then he escorted Post reporter back to his dressing room where he peed in front of her, offered her cocaine, tried to kiss her and finally ended up biting her.
Traveling #2