Monday, October 31, 2005

What's a Modern Girl to Do? - New York Times:

Decades after the feminist movement promised equality with men, it was becoming increasingly apparent that many women would have to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing and geography. It would once more be considered captivating to lie on a chaise longue, pass a lacy handkerchief across the eyelids and complain of a case of springtime giddiness.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tween girl #1: So like apparently my brother is engaged.
Tween girl #2: Really? Since when?
Tween girl #1: I dunno, found out at breakfast this morning.
Tween girl #2: Didn't he like just finish high school?
Tween girl #1: Yeah, but she's like still 17 and she's got a two year old so she's way worse off than him.
Tween girl #2: Well is it his kid?
Tween girl #1: Who knows? He's not tellin'.
Tween girl #2: Probably is...what a man-ho slut wedder.

--F train

Quentin Tarantino's REPUBLIC DOGS:

[Thrasymachus is tied up in a chair. Socrates is brandishing a gun in his face]

Thrasymachus: Don't kill me, man!

Socrates: Are you finished, fucker?

Thrasymachus: Look, look, man, you can have my ten yoke of oxen. My virgin daughters? My pomegranite orchard?

Socrates: You like pomegranites? Shit, motherfucker, I hear they've got a fuckin' all-you-can-eat special going on on pomegranites where you're headed.

Thrasymachus: Don't do it, Socrates. Be fair.

Socrates: [Suddenly contemplative] Fair?

Thrasymachus: [Sees an opportunity for survival] Yeah, fair... think about my wife and children --

Socrates: Would you say that to be fair is the same thing as to be just?

Thrasymachus: What?

Socrates: Well, I'm just a dull, wandering street philosopher, so I don't understand quite where you're headed with this particular line of reasoning. Perhaps [motions with gun] you could further elucidate your theory of justice.
Skeleton Dog
Brevity 19: J. Stephen Rhodes:

When I had arrived at the emergency room a few days before, the nurses told me that she was resting in a darkened X-Ray room. I went to the door and asked, “Mina, are you in there?” to no answer. I spoke again, louder, adding, “It’s Steve. Do you remember me?”

She answered, “Steve? Of course I remember you. I loved you before you were born.”

Friday, October 28, 2005

How Bush will deal with the Libby indictment:

Whether this line will play with the public the way North's good-solider act did remains to be seen. Scooter is no Ollie. He's shy and evidently sane and doesn't wear a uniform. He also won't have the public stage of congressional hearings that North did to make his case. But conservatives may cast him in that role anyway. The Miers pick was a symbol of what much of the "base" sees as a general flabbiness at the White House. They think Bush shrank from a fight by nominating a tepid nominee who could pass liberal muster. They'll be watching to see if he shrinks again by shirking Libby.

And even if Republicans decide not to embrace Scooter as a martyr, Democrats are hardly going to ignore the issue. They're intent on using the indictments as a way to relitigate the case against an increasingly disastrous and unpopular war.
Greatest. Post. Ever.

Dear José,

Okay, motherfucker. With your pencil-thin moustache and your fake French accent. We could ignore the fact that you offered us "still" water, knowing we would not realize you were charging us eight dollars a bottle (thinking it was tap water). We could ignore that you acted like wine was only available by the bottle until we specifically asked about getting just a glass. We could even ignore the cheesy glissando-laden piano versions of "Imagine" and "Memory" playing earnestly above, and the blindingly dim mood-lighting. But FUCK YOU for not even INTIMATING that the one item you nearly begged us to order (the "special") was FIFTY DOLLARS MORE than the most expensive thing on the menu. Did you not notice that my pearls were fake, that my husband's shirt might have been (and was) bought on the street for a dollar? Did you not notice that we were the only couple in the restaurant under 50? Did you also not notice that we didn't even FLINCH at the idea of spending one third of the money we had saved for our vacation on a piece of second-rate meat? That's because perhaps WE HAD NO FUCKING CLUE YOU MOTHER FUCKING DICKWEED BALL OF SHIT. And maybe you shouldn't take advantage of two giddy gullible honeymooners just so you can get a better fucking tip. WE HATE YOU! WE HATE THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF YOU! YOU MASTURBATE WITH YOUR FEET AND DREAM ABOUT HAVING SEX WITH YOUR MOTHER'S FRIENDS AT THE NURSING HOME!! Oh god do we hate you.

Hatefully yours,
Sheila and Sophocles
(The Honeymooners)

There's even more wonderful stuff
The Stranger Forums - To You Predators Preying on the Homeless:

Just what the hell is wrong with you? Did I not tell you from the beginning that I am in constant communication with the Holy Spirit? That I’m psychic? That my gifts come from God? Of course I did, but you never believed because of your narrow-mindedness. You thought that simply because I practice High Magick and believe in the Sovereignty and Equality of the Goddess I couldn’t possibly have a line in with JXC. But you were wrong. And your shortsightedness, prejudice and hate are now your downfall.
The Stranger - Features - Feature - Power Hungry:

Desperation is a quality that most people leak from their pores. It is an identifier that everyone can relate well to. At mixers such as this, social custom dictates that we sniff each other’s desperation like eager dogs, eventually befriending those lucky few whose sad stench blends best with our own.

I was desperate and creepy, which were two good qualities that the Columbia Tower crowd lacked. The Power 25 and Friends did not nearly shit themselves at the sight of a free wet bar, nor did they scuttle to the buffet table nine times to double-fist appetizers, and then scuttle back to their corner like harassed spiders. These people were sedate. Sterile. Successful. Social drinkers. They don’t take risks in public; there are too many paperweights at stake. It is no fun being around successful people. I wished I could bite them.
The Pitch

It's the story of a math genius posing as an imbecile or the one
where Porky is saved form the slaughterhouse by a woman
who wears no underpants. It's the story of a rapacious weed
that takes over the earth, of One-Breasted Wanda falling in
love with Jungle Jack. Ed Anger writes the story up. It's the
story of a rash. And the story of a rash of deaths caused by a
sea hag. It's the story of a woman who could not open her
mouth and a woman who could not close her mouth. Maybe
they meet. Maybe they don't. Maybe they are the perfect
couple. It is the story of a man possessed by his tattoo. It's an
exclusive. It's a curse or a commandment; it's a commandment
on cursing which says for God's sake thou shalt not laze about
on your chaise lounge. It's a true story. It is the story of a man
who talked his way out of credit-card debt. It is the story of
the sunrise on July 10, 2003. It is the story of a traveling
shadow. It is an old-man-walling-down-the-road story. It has a
sculpted base to rest upon which can be yours if you act now.

Catherine Wing

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Publisher Jennifer Bergstrom (of Simon and Schuster) explains, "The thing that impresses me most about our editors is that they understand that it's not all about the book. It's about the money you can make from that book."

The Contrarian:

Kazanjian is a self-described practitioner of "poor theater," famously advocated by European directors Peter Brook and Jerzy Grotowski. Disciplined and economical, poor theater doesn't try to compete with cinema's spectacle (à la lavish musicals) but sticks to the basic elements of performance: actor, text, room, audience. "When you have money, you can add Aristotle's element of spectacle," Kazanjian says. "In commercial culture, spectacle is the dominant element. Emerging artists—because they lack mentorship—think spectacle is most important, and they spend more on sets than their artists. Always pay the artist!"

He has similarly strong opinions on "fringe theater" ("It is a politicized term that pigeonholes emerging artists as extraneous and that's bullshit"), regional theater ("Managers are full-time but the artists are part-time—regional theaters are not homes for artists, they're motels"), and arts real estate ("Business and government should partner to help arts organizations move into empty warehouses and reduce their overhead").

AS reacts to Miers withdrawl:

it's again amazing how unable this president is to take full responsibility for his decisions and choices. Face-saving is not an unusual thing in politics. But equally it is never a sign of real strength. A strong president takes responsibility for his own choices, even if he feels misunderstood or misled. Reagan's Iran-Contra confession was an example of someone strong enough to admit a failure. This president is not internally strong enough to do something similar. His strength is a form of brittleness. Like all brittleness, it is prone to cracking suddenly and without warning. It just did.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The ups and downs of preparing for war:

Active-duty soldiers and drilling reservists typically get many months of notice before a deployment; as an inactive reservist, I got roughly three weeks. Being mobilized for war involves changing jobs, moving, and leaving your family behind all at once. I was sorely tempted—as one lawyer at my firm suggested—to take a three-week-long siesta on the beach with my dog and some potent margaritas until my report date. But the Army officer in me knew better, so I developed a plan. When I was a young lieutenant in Korea, a charismatic brigade commander of mine likened mammoth military tasks to eating an elephant, saying that the only sure method was to eat it one bite at a time. And so I set out to tackle my deployment one piece at a time.
No one wants this, so we're doing it, and fuck all y'all:

All U.S. passports will be implanted with remotely-readable computer chips starting in October 2006, the Bush administration has announced.

Sweeping new State Department regulations issued Tuesday say that passports issued after that time will have tiny radio frequency ID (RFID) chips that can transmit personal information including the name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and digitized photograph of the passport holder. Eventually, the government contemplates adding additional digitized data such as "fingerprints or iris scans."

Over the last year, opposition to the idea of implanting RFID chips in passports has grown amidst worries that identity thieves could snatch personal information out of the air simply by aiming a high-powered antenna at a person or a vehicle carrying a passport. Out of the 2,335 comments on the plan that were received by the State Department this year, 98.5 percent were negative. The objections mostly focused on security and privacy concerns.



Yelping Warriors, and Rocks in the Broth - New York Times:

CONFUSING the point of a restaurant with the mission of a "Saturday Night Live" skit, Ninja New York deposits you in a kooky, dreary subterranean labyrinth that seems better suited to coal mining than to supping. You are greeted there by servers in black costumes who ceaselessly bow, regularly yelp and ever so occasionally tumble, and you are asked to choose between two routes to your table.
FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations:

The FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some U.S. residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight, according to previously classified documents to be released today.

Records turned over as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit also indicate that the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its use of secret surveillance operations, which have been stepped up dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but are largely hidden from public view.
Wired 13.11: Battle for the Soul of the MP3 Phone:

Why won't Apple open iTunes by licensing FairPlay to a wide range of manufacturers? "That's a good question for Steve Jobs," replies Alberto Moriondo, a Motorola executive who helped lead the development of the ROKR. (Jobs declined to be interviewed for this story.) Another handset person says he asked the same question in a meeting with Apple execs, only to have them roll their eyes and mutter, "If only …"

Jobs' refusal to license FairPlay is reminiscent of his refusal to license the Macintosh operating system to other hardware manufacturers back in the '80s - a key factor in the Mac's dismal 2.5 percent market share today. Over time, open standards inevitably win out. "If Apple continues to rely on a proprietary architecture," says Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovator's Dilemma, "the iPod will likely become a niche product." Anyone doubting that need only consider that Microsoft is licensing its DRM to all comers, at prices that are hard to refuse.
New York City grocery competitors - FreshDirect - Fairway - Whole Foods:

Two fierce rivals go after the same turf. Tempers flare. Names are called; sometimes even bad language is heard. On Wall Street, in politics, at the ballpark, it’s no big deal. In New York’s grocery industry, though, where the heat is usually limited to the habaneros and the high-end purveyors consider themselves members of a small, sophisticated club, the raw hatred between the owners of Fairway and FreshDirect is unusual. “In our business, everyone’s fairly friendly,” says Andy Arons, a co-owner of Gourmet Garage. “And we’ve all been at it for a while. Now you have this blood feud. They loathe each other. It’s hilarious.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Check out this optical illusion.
San Francisco, modeled in Jello. Link
How my faux French band wound up in federal court:

On June 20, 2005, my faux French band Les Sans Culottes showed up for our strangest gig to date: an appearance in federal court.

I can only imagine what was going through the mind of the Honorable Richard C. Casey. Here was a judge who had presided over numerous prestigious cases (he rendered the verdict declaring the Bush administration's 2003 partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional). He now commanded the bench before a splintered band that, for the last seven years, had dressed in psychedelic outfits, playing loud music in stinky bars while pretending to be French. I suspect Judge Casey was thinking the same thing I was: How did I get here?
The theme from SHAFT in Chaucerian English:

Wha be tha blake prevy lawe
That bene wantoun too alle tha feres?
Ya damne righte!

Wha be tha carl tha riske is hals wolt
Fro is allye leve?
Konne ye?
If you had to reduce all of Spalding's work to its essence, its core, if you wanted to locate the subject to which, no matter what else he talked about, he kept returning, I suppose you could say that his work was a profoundly metaphysical inquiry into how we manage to live despite the knowledge we are someday going to die. How are we to love the world and the people we care about most even when we know that someday we will lose it all and our loved ones will have to continue without us?

Francine Prose

Monday, October 24, 2005

My friend John reading 700 hobo names. Check out John's website for his remarkable new book.

Singer Prince needs a new hip:

Pop star Prince has been rocking the joint a bit too much . . . and now he needs a hip replacement.

Twilight on Álftafjörður, Iceland
Mark Cuban's plan to break the video window:

To be sure, Hollywood has a long history of resisting new forms of delivery. When television first came on the scene in the 1940s, the studios attempted to kill this infant medium by refusing to let the networks show films from their libraries or use their facilities to produce programs. When the VCR was introduced, the studios attempted to strangle it with eight years of litigation. Even when Sony and Warner Bros. launched the DVD, the other major studios did not join them for a year or so. By now, the top studio executives recognize that the electronic delivery of digital movies is inevitable—it is only a question of who will defy Wal-Mart and when.

Erasing the Image of the Ugly American - New York Times:

In Germany, I asked an executive to tell me about his perception that Americans were arrogant. He said, "O.K., Wal-Mart makes their German employees stand up every morning and sing the Wal-Mart song. We're uncomfortable about that in view of our history."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A brief history of HDTV:

Broadcast Industry asks for bandwidth for HDTV
FCC says "OK, we'll set aside bandwidth for HDTV"
FCC says "What standards?"
Industry says 'No Standards Please' and come up with EIGHTEEN recommended formats for HDTV. I am not shitting you.
FCC says "Isn't 18 different standards a bit much?"
Industry says "Shut the fuck up FCC, we know what we are doing. The 'market' will handle this!"
Consumer Electronics dudes whine "18 formats make every thing cost more, you are fucking us!"
FCC says "OK, it's your call on standards, 18 formats is fine, infact there are NO STANDARDS AT ALL, 'cause we are letting the 'market decide', but you start broadcasting HDTV now or we take back the FREE bandwidth."
Industry says "What? We really just want the free bandwidth. You really want us to do HDTV??
Congress says "Fuck you Industry. Broadcast HDTV or we'll legislate your asses back to Sun-day!"
Industry says "We're fucked. 18 formats? Why the hell did we do that? Let's change it."
Consumer Electronics dudes say "You ain't changing shit. We are already building the boxes you said you wanted built."
FCC says "Yah, ya boneheads we told you 18 was too many, now you gotta live with it."
Industry says "Well FCC, will you at least make the cable companies carry the HDTV at no charge?"
Cable companies say "Fuck you! You gotta pay! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!"
FCC says "Yep, no federal mandated on HDTV must carry, we are letting 'the market' handle that"
Industry says "We are so fucked. We are spending 5-10 million per TV station in hardware alone and have 1000 HDTV viewers per city, even in LA!"
Consumer at home says "Where is my HDTV? Why does it cost so much? Fuck it, I'm sticking with cable/DirecTV."

Consumer electronics dudes, broadcast industry, FCC, and congress all cry. Cable companies laugh and make even bigger profits.

Scotty The Blue Bunny, being spanked.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

In my local park, where the Italians rule.

Email sent to AS on his article about the end of gay culture:

Thanks for your thoughtful essay. I'm a straight, 39 year-old guy who learned a lot from it. An interesting parallel struck me: I'm a Russian-speaker and studied at a Soviet literary institute in 1986, before Gorbachev’s reforms had taken hold, and was exposed through friends to the vibrant samizdat culture of the time. Marvelous works that could never have passed the official sensors for publication, such as Venedikt Yerofeyev’s Moskva-Petushki, passed from hand to hand and were copied in pen or typed. An elderly lady I met held informal art showings in her apartment, including modernist religious paintings. Young people would head with a few hours' notice to the woods outside the outer ring of Moscow to hear impromptu acoustic concerts by underground bands. There was a stratum of Soviet bohemenians who were far more cultured and literate than their counterparts in the West, who survived through menial day jobs in archives or museums, and lived semi-secret lives of creativity and expression. In the late 1980s, this subculture very temporarily exploded into the mainstream, as glasnost allowed publication of long-banned works and everyone on the subway would be simultaneously reading the most recently released, previously unavailable work of Bulgakov or Solzhenitsyn.

In the (relative) freedom of the Yeltsin and Putin era, that subculture died, and indeed Russian culture seems to have temporarily gone sterile (with a few bright exceptions, such as the novelist Viktor Pelevin). No sane person would want a return of the Soviets, but there is no denying that something moving and beautiful has been lost. I even wonder if a certain kind of creativity flowers best in captivity, like a plant that can only grow in a confined space. And here's a question for you: As gay people suffer less from isolation and oppression, will they lead less often in creative expression?


Thursday, October 20, 2005

The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject:

Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

(Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

(Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate's kneecap.)


Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn't mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the "naturalistic" explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.
The Most Beautiful Machine, 2003:

"The Most Beautiful Machine" is an idea of Claude E. Shannon, who died in 2001. His "Mathematical Theory of Communication" is the fundament of the digital machine. It's a communication based on the functions ON and OFF.

In this special case the observers are supposed to push the ON button. After a while the lid of the trunk opens, a hand comes out and turns off the machine. The trunk closes - that's it!.
Church of Reality:
The Church of Reality is a religion based on believing in everything that is real. What makes it a religion is that what a person believes in is a personal choice. Most people choose to believe in some sort of fictional based religion. A Realist who practices Realism is someone who has dedicated himself to the pursuit of reality the way it really is and is committed to evangelizing reality to move society in a reality based direction. Realism is a doubt based rather than a faith based religion where truth is purified through scrutiny.

Seattle Weekly: News: The Super Flood by Frank Parchman:

Some 5,600 years ago, the body of water we call Puget Sound had an arm that extended 30 miles inland from present-day Elliott Bay in Seattle to a point halfway between Auburn and Sumner. Today, of course, that is the Green River Valley—the narrow, flat suburban land of Kent and Renton and the industrial lowlands of South Seattle. It would be reasonable to think that this change happened gradually, but scientists have determined that most of the long-gone stretch of inland sea was transformed by a single event that created 200 square miles of land in a matter of hours, with waves of mud 20 feet to 600 feet high. Imagine a wall the consistency of wet concrete traveling up to 60 mph. This mudflow destroyed everything in its path, uprooting entire old-growth forests. It hit Puget Sound with such force and with so much material that it flowed underwater for 15 miles, maybe farther. An area of hundreds of square miles was covered with mud and debris up to 350 feet deep.
Overheard in Washington Square Park:

Girl on cell: Listen, listen. What I'm saying is, why can't we just try to find a way to keep all of the Jews and the non-Jews from like, marrying? Or even interacting?
Random Vin Diesel Fact

Go here and collect them all.
"There were exactly 704 stories in the [2000] campaign about this flap of Gore inventing the Internet. There were only 13 stories about Bush failing to show up for his National Guard duty for a year. There were well over 1,000 stories - Nexus stopped at 1,000 - about Gore and the Buddhist temple. Only 12 about Bush being accused of insider trading at Harken Energy. There were 347 about Al Gore wearing earth tones, but only 10 about the fact that Dick Cheney did business with Iran and Iraq and Libya."

--Paul Begala and the myth of the liberal media.

"The one thing we need to understand is that if you're going to French kiss another woman, it doesn't mean you're going to be an ingenue at 40. If you're 20, it doesn't mean you're going to get wisdom. You're going to get some cute lipgloss on and a yummy feeling inside, but there's a bit of a devouring going on. When someone French kisses another woman to try and get something, that isn't passion; it's very interesting to me, an intriguing study. If you're going to French kiss somebody, French kiss a woman that can say, 'Okay, honey; okay sister, come with me and I'll show you a tongue like you've never seen before'. If you're going to walk down that road, do it! A tongue does not touch the intelligence inside another person. you know, Madonna's stayed around for 20 years, but Britney is not going to get that, and Madonna isn't going to become 20 years younger. I did not see 'I honour you' in that kiss. But that's me; that's what I saw."

* (Said by singer Tori Amos, re: Madonna's kiss with Britney Spears)

Packingheat: The Blog » Blog Archive » Printers Giving You Up to the Feds:

The watermarks are only visible with a blue-light and a magnifying glass, but they are there. Our good friends over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have cracked the code of these watermarks. That’s right, major companies such as Xerox, HP and Epson are hiding tracking signals in products which you, a private citizen, purchase.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist,"

Winston Churchill, November 21, 1943, describing what is now legal and constitutional in the United States, under president Bush.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Happy Birthday Free Culture Movement:

Creative Commons wanted to find an appropriate way to celebrate. So we put together this version of "Happy Birthday," sung by, we might say, some of the leaders of the free world (The EFF Staff, Mitch Kapor, Dan Gillmor, Brian Behlendorf, Ian Clarke, Jimmy Wales, Brewster Kahle, and Gigi Sohn). Of course, to do this, we had to license the rights from Harry Fox (who represent Warner Chappell Music, the copyright owner of the composition) — yes, "Happy Birthday" is still under copyright — but the folks at Harry Fox were willing to give us a pretty good deal. Unfortunately, that deal does not transfer, so while you're free to download this version and play it "for personal use", and free to engage in any "fair use" of the song, the rights we have to give don't include much more than that.

This is because clearing rights to use music, under our current system of copyright is very complex. You need to clear every element you use. So in this recording, Warner's owns the lyrics and the composition and we have a limited license to use those & make them available to you for your personal use. The loops and sounds are owned by a loop distributor and licensed to us under a limited license that means we can't make it available to you to remix. But we own the rights in the recording in its entirety. We can — and we do — license the rights to the recording under a Creative Commons Attribution license. But because the nature of music is that the recording, the lyrics and the music are inextricably linked, to be able to exercise any of your rights in the recording under the Creative Commons Attribution license other than for personal or fair use, you will need to contact Harry Fox or Warner Chappell Music for permission to use the lyrics and composition and PowerFX to use the loops and sounds.

Alas, them's the breaks for free culture for now. Maybe if the Free Culture Movement is successful, things might become a bit less complicated. But for the moment, all we can do is wish the students of FCM good luck, and ask you to help us help them. We've set up a donation box to raise money for the Free Culture Movement. So if you download the song, and would like to help, here's where to donate. All money collected will be used to support the Free Culture Movement.

Our license from Harry Fox requires that we make the following statement: song written by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill, publisher is Warner Chappell Music.
The Nobel Fool: Harold Pinter's strident politics.:

Finally, the Nobel Committee for Literature got something right: Harold Pinter.

But for all the wrong reasons. The Nobel citation applauds Pinter, who was named a laureate last Thursday, for "forc[ing] entry in oppression's closed rooms," as though he were the author of a journalistic exposé about Abu Ghraib. The Los Angeles Times quoted Edward Albee as saying, "He's a splendid writer and a good political activist." The same article quoted David Hare, who suggested that the award vindicated Pinter for his "bold and brave political stand against the policies of the British and American governments."

The truth is that about five or six of Pinter's plays are works of great genius, but the leftist politics that he has embraced over the last two decades has nothing to do with them.
Bog Face: RIP Andrea Dworkin:

She was heartbroken and full of wrath when the ERA failed, and sitting in the office of the non-profit literacy organization where I work, looking around at all those worn-out books with their silly covers I suddenly was full of wrath too. Where did they go all those women? Where are the "feminists" who started the place where I work? WHERE DID THEY GO? WHO WERE THOSE MASKED WOMEN? God, I miss them, those 70's superheroes, brilliant and fucked up and shrill and fabulous I miss those avenging harpies, I miss my 70's mom, I miss her fury.

In fact, it kind of makes me want to yank on a pair of brown corduroy pants and big collared brown shirt and march angrily to work to teach Yemeni women how to read. Sometimes when I sit down close to them I can smell that morning's breakfast clinging damply to their hijabs and I have a sudden vision of a kind of thick and spongy darkness, a dream of endless days of housework without even the relief of being able to read or write IN ANY LANGUAGE, without being able to READ or WRITE AT ALL. And when one of their husbands comes to me and says, "Please teach my wife the alphabet" I desperately want to fistfight him but instead I say, "I ask the same of you, sir. Please teach your wife the alphabet."
That's where the sweatpants come in. Because you have to FLAUNT your writer lifestyle, people.:

But we've strayed just an inch or two from what my larger point is: Ties, suits, pressed pants, collared shirts, these are not monkey clothes.

These are zookeeper clothes.

And friends, if you want to be a motherfucking infinite simian, you cannot also be a zookeeper.
Yohji Shirt On A Complex Relationship With The Dry Cleaners:

It's the kind of thing you'd expect, sadly, of a clothes horse in a bubble economy: he buys a the turquoise-est, maroon-est, and black-est striped Yohji Yamamoto shirt he can find. That it cost $675 in 1999 is no surprise. That it's made of 100% polyester of the kind that litters mid-western thrift shops also raises no eyebrows.

"Dry Clean Only," the label said, and that's what he did, religiously. He respects the dry cleaner, cowers a bit, even. Does what he's told. You want your $675 shirt ruined by your own cheap laziness? I didn't think so.
POTUSOA video filmed entirely with arrays of cameraphones. Link
After 'NY Times' Probe: Keller Should Fire Miller--and Apologize to Readers:

My view: Miller did far more damage to her newspaper than did Jayson Blair, and that’s not even counting her WMD reporting, which hurt and embarrassed the paper in other ways. The Times should let Miller, like Blair, go off to write a book, with no return ticket. We all know how well that worked out for Blair.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Smell and Envy

You nature poets think you've got it, hostaged
somewhere in Vermont or Oregon,
so it blooms and withers only for you,
so all you have to do is name it: primrose
--and now you're writing poetry, and now
you ship it off to us, to smell and envy.

But we are made of newspaper and smoke
and we dunk your roses in vats of blue.
Birds don't call, our pigeons play it close
to the vest. When the moon is full
we hear it in the sirens. The Pleiades
you could probably buy downtown. Gravity
is the receiver on the hook. Mortality
we smell on certain people as they pass.

Douglas Goetsch

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Is this not the true romantic feeling; not to desire to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping you.

Thomas Wolfe

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Telegraph | Opinion | Someone needs to have a word with Amis:

Usually, when you make a decision in life, unless you have access to parallel universes, you can't truly judge how right that decision was. You were happy to go and live in Rio de Janeiro, but who knows, maybe you would have been happier if you had stayed in London.

Some years ago, I fired my agent, Andrew Wylie, alias The Jackal. I want to stress this wasn't an amicable parting of the ways or a hankering on my part for fresh representation. I fired him because his agency wasn't doing enough for me. This wasn't a tantrum because he hadn't sold my book to Hollywood for a couple of million. It was a well considered verdict as I climbed the stairs to his office to collect the German edition of one of my novels which had been sitting on a shelf there for months and which I had politely asked to be sent to me four times. It suddenly occurred to me that an agent should be making my life easier, not harder.
Are the nominee's critics sexist? Get serious:

Dr. James Dobson, who got a special early briefing from Karl Rove on the pick, has confirmed what we already knew: The White House limited the field of potential choices to women. In ordinary English, that is called a quota. This admission of truth, which Bush's father never made about Clarence Thomas, makes it hard for the president to rebut criticism that Miers is not the most qualified person for the job. We know for a fact that half of humanity—and a good deal more than half of the federal bench—was deemed ineligible to be chosen at the outset. I thought conservatives like the president believed that women could withstand open competition? Instead, Bush has subjected Miers to what he calls the soft bigotry of low expectations.
The president, who knows Miers so well and who has so often boasted about how tough she is, could offer some help here. Bush needs to rustle up one lean anecdote about her leadership, judicial philosophy, or some instance where she lived up to the image he's pushed. Instead, he repeats her résumé and slightly patronizes her. Bush has always had trouble getting the gender thing right with Miers. When he promotes her, he's always patting her on the back in a way that undermines the case he's making. "She looks so petite and, well, harmless. But put her on your case," Bush said once before introducing her to a lunch crowd, "and she becomes a pit bull in size 6 shoes." Another time he boasted, "When it comes to a cross-examination, she can fillet better than Mrs. Paul." When you protest that much in public, it reinforces the underlying stereotype that Miers needs a lift.
It Is Not the Fact That I Will Die That I Mind

but that no one will love as I did
the oak tree out my boyhood window,
the mother who set herself
so stubbornly against life,
the sister with her serious frown
and her wish for someone at her side,
the father with his dreamy gaze
and his left hand idly buried
in the fur of his dog.
And the dog herself,
that mournful look and huge appetite,
her need for absolute stillness
in the presence of a bird.
I know how each of them looks
when asleep. And I know how it feels
to fall asleep among them.
No one knows that but me,
No one knows how to love the way I do.

Jim Moore - Daily Dish:

The Bush explosion of government spending needs more exploration. Heritage has put together a PDF document you can find here with all the relevant facts - from the government's own records. Some data: Washington now spends a record $22,000 a year per household. Defense and 9/11-related spending accounted for less than half the growth in spending between 2001 and 2003. Overall federal spending is accelerating in Bush's second term, not declining as he promised. Entitlement spending is set to explode in the next decade or so - requiring massive spending cuts, huge tax hikes, or real entitlement reform. Bush has made the entitlement problem far worse rather than better in his first five years. Under the post-1994 Republican Congress, pork barrel spending has gone from around $10 billion to $25 billion today. The number of "earmarks" under today's Republicans has gone from 1,439 in 1995 to 13,999 this year so far. The feds cannot account for $24.5 billion spent in 2003. This is what big government conservatism does for you. Happy now?

Could this be what Apple is about to announce? CONFIRMED. | I'm at your service, Mr. DeLay:

Corporate money not used for political campaigns? The thought is preposterous on its face. Any schoolchild knows that politics is not about highfalutin debates and policy papers; it is about putting the screws to the fat cats and squeezing them until they squeak and then hiring agents to level your hapless opponent with a barrage of rotten fruit and dead cats as you yourself stand above the fray, Bible in hand, your arm around some orphans, eyes upraised to Old Glory, your face nicely lit. And you win the race and go to work flogging your timid colleagues and raising truckloads of dough and building your war chest and scaring the bejeebers out of people. That's how it's done.
Greetings to everyone coming by from the BBC radiocast—thanks for stopping by. Feel free to check out my biography, read about other monologues, check the sidebar to see upcoming events—and yes, we're thinking about bringing THE UGLY AMERICAN to the UK in the future.
Cheney's $241K in Halliburton options worth $8 million now. That's an impressive 3,281% gain. Who says the White House is "losing" in Iraq?

via Sploid
The Wicked Stage: From One Invalid to Another: Dying Is an Art:

It has become fashionable in some quarters to prophesy the end of movies, or the end of movies as we know them, or, for the really cautious Cassandras, the end of moviegoing as we know it. Look, the doomsayers say, at the rate of DVDs flying off the shelves—it's rising, though not, alas, as exponentially as it was last year. And just look at Hollywood's bleak summer of 2005, in which theatrical releases made a few hundred jillion dollars less than they made last year and the year before.

Before long, goes the conventional dig-erati wisdom, we'll forgo the communal experience of the neighborhood cinema, with its sticky floors and chattering teenagers, and stay home to watch Hollywood blockbusters on plasma screens as big as bay windows.

Maybe the movies should welcome these death knells, premature or not. Dying can do a lot for an art form. Just look at the theater: It's been pronounced dead, or dying, for many centuries now. And the theater is not just pulling off the longest, most enthralling death scene in the history of drama; it is fairly thriving in its mortal throes, if Broadway box-office receipts are any indication.

Death becomes the theatre. So why can't the movies, wobbling as they are on their Olympian heights, learn a few things from the fabulous invalid for whom dying is an art?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Steve Miller's vision of the post-bourgeois workforce:

On Saturday, Delphi, the giant auto-parts company, filed for bankruptcy, kicking off what is sure to be one of the great cram-downs in American history. In a series of interviews with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times, Delphi CEO Steve Miller offered unionized workers a choice: They can accept pay cuts of about two-thirds or face the termination of their pension plan, which is underfunded by several billion dollars.

When he ruminates on the dialectics of global capitalism, Miller calls to mind a famous, simplistic big thinker with prominent facial hair. No, not Tom Friedman—Karl Marx. Because what Miller is talking about—and the effort he's been engaged in at companies in the steel and auto industries—is the re-proletarianization of industrial work.

Suzanne has been referred to as the "Mother of the MP3" as it was her voice that was used as the model for Karlheinz Brandenburg's compression algorithm. From Business 2.0 Magazine:

"To create MP3, Brandenburg had to appreciate how the human ear perceives sound. A key assist in this effort came from folk singer Suzanne Vega. I was ready to fine-tune my compression algorithm, Brandenburg recalls. Somewhere down the corridor a radio was playing [Vega's song] Tom's Diner. I was electrified. I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm a capella voice.

Because the song depends on very subtle nuances of Vega's inflection, the algorithm would have to be very, very good to select the most important parts of the sound file and discard the rest. So Brandenburg tested each refinement of his system with Tom's Diner. He wound up listening to the song thousands of times, and the result was a code that was heard around the world. When an MP3 player compresses music by anyone from Courtney Love to Kenny G, it is replicating the way that Brandenburg heard Suzanne Vega."
From a Christian coloring book:

Man Of India
A little ditty for all the megachurches out there: I Ain't Afraid.
Battle blogging for profit - Los Angeles Times:

Look back to 2004, when reporters at a Hunan province newspaper listened as their editorial director read a statement from the Communist Party's Propaganda Department about the upcoming 15-year commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It warned that dissidents may use the Internet to spread "damaging information."

One reporter used an anonymous Yahoo e-mail account to ask a colleague in New York to post a report about the statement on pro-democracy website Minzhu Tongxun (Democracy Newsletter).

But as the 37-year-old married reporter behind the numeric pseudonym "198964" learned, he shouldn't have assumed that Yahoo defends press freedom. When Chinese security agents asked executives at Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) to identify the man, they did so. Police grabbed him on a street, searched his house and seized his computer and other belongings, according to documents filed in his defense.

Mr. "198964," whose real name is Shi Tao, is serving a 10-year jail sentence for "divulging state secrets abroad." Bloggers, human rights groups and journalism organizations, including PEN and Reporters Without Borders, condemned the action.

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang brushed off responsibility. At an Internet conference Sept. 10 in Hangzhou, China, Yang said Yahoo and other U.S.-based multinationals "have to comply with local law."

Or else what? They lose access, that's what, which means losing profits.

On the Death of a Colleague

She taught theater, so we gathered
in the theater.
We praised her voice, her knowledge,
how good she was
with Godot and just four months later
with Gigi.
She was fifty. The problem in the liver.
Each of us recalled
an incident in which she'd been kind
or witty.
I told about being unable to speak
from my diaphragm
and how she made me lie down, placed her hand
where the failure was
and showed me how to breathe.
But afterwards
I only could do it when I lay down
and that became a joke
between us, and I told it as my offering
to the audience.
I was on stage and I heard myself
wishing to be impressive.
Someone else spoke of her cats
and no one spoke
of her face or the last few parties.
The fact was
I had avoided her for months.

It was a student's turn to speak, a sophomore,
one of her actors.
She was a drunk, he said, often came to class
Sometimes he couldn't look at her, the blotches,
the awful puffiness.
And yet she was a great teacher,
he loved her,
but thought someone should say
what everyone knew
because she didn't die by accident.

Everyone was crying. Everyone was crying and it
was almost over now.
The remaining speaker, an historian, said he'd cut
his speech short.
And the Chairman stood up as if by habit,
said something about loss
and thanked us for coming. None of us moved
except some students
to the student who'd spoken, and then others
moved to him, across dividers,
down aisles, to his side of the stage.

Stephen Dunn
Red Rose Stories:

Announcing the death of Red Rose Stories
Posted by: redrose
Date: October 3, 2005 06:24PM

I am sorry to inform all interested parties that Red Rose Stories is a DEAD site.
The FBI has suceeded in closing me down.
I am being charged with 'OBSCENITIES' and face charges for having posted fantasy stories.
They are trying to say fantasy stories are illegal.

The men in black (FBI) took ALL of my computer equipment, and many of my diskettes, and have access to ALL my files and site information. They came when I was NOT home and seized my belongings, I had no choice, and no recourse.

Monday, October 10, 2005