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Thursday, April 29, 2004

I am a Dangerous Monster 

I got pulled over today on my way to work and given a $75 ticket because I was going 46 mph in a 35 mph zone. I'm amazed he let me continue into school -- surely I can't be trusted around children! What if I were to apply the same insane speeds to my speech rate? Or to my walking style? I might kill someone, going that quickly!

C'mon, Madisonians -- who the fudge goes 35 on East Wash? Willy Street, okay. Regent, fine. But give me a break -- East Wash? What the flood? Grind gnash spit.

Speaking of impossible-to-believe bollocks, how about these marketers who want magazines to place ads in the editorials? I can't make this stuff up.

I hope I don't need to tell you about the ruckus around Iraq's new flag.


How about Bush wiping his glasses on someone's shirt?

Today I'm listening to: Mitch Hedberg!

Monday, April 26, 2004

I Have No Title 

There's lots of cool protest art at Caped, Masked and Armed.

Also be sure to see the new imagenary pics. They're not as cool as the CMA shots, but they're worth seeing.

Something else that corporations don't like is Wizard People, Dear Reader. Thanks for the link, Nate.

How about antique toasters? Thanks, MonkeyFilter.


Check out these 3D images. You still have your glasses from SpyKids 3D, right?

Today I'm listening to: Cars going by my house!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Don't Go Into the Basement! 

You know how, when you're watching a scary movie, you try to warn the stupid people against heading into certain peril? You know there's a monster in the basement. The characters know there's a monster in the basement. Everyone knows something horrible is going to happen if they go into the basement -- and the result will be lots and lots of blood and corpses. You yell to the screen: "Don't go into the basement! Pick another way to deal with the monster!"

Am I the only one who's yelling at the screen now as the US prepares to enter Najaf? Sadr has said that if US forces attack Najaf, his forces will "resort to suicide operations and we will be human time-bombs." Don't go into the basement! (Or rather: Don't send other peoples' children into the basement!)

So why are we going into the basement?
With the new move, the military seeks to impose a degree of control in Najaf, while hoping a foray limited to the modern parts of the ancient city would not inflame Shiites. Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling did not say when troops would move in, or how many.

American officials were attempting a similar, limited step in the war-torn city of Fallujah, the other main front of fighting.
Yeah, and we all know how well that's working out, right? Don't go into the basement!

Well, we won't have to worry about any more basements after June 30, right? Because we'll be handing over control to the Iraqis. Oh wait -- no, we won't.

I'm gonna go play some more True Crime. Everything makes sense in the world of violent video games.


Learn physics with Phlash!

Today I'm listening to: Deep Forest!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Where I've Been 

So last week I was driving home from school, when all of a sudden, a pair of white vans moved into position in front and to the left of me. (I was in the rightmost lane.) They slowed me down and when we stopped, a man in a dark suit and a crazy rainbow wig approached the window. Anxious, I rolled my window down.

He grinned in at me. "Greeble the fax fox fig," he said. Before I could respond, he opened the door and another clown-wig-clad man appeared in the passenger seat. They picked me up and carried me into the back of one of the vans. Inside, there was a tiny blue car; they threw me behind the wheel and shouted "Good luck!"

In an instant, the floor of the van's bed rose up in front and the blue car rolled out the back. Then I heard a deafening boom, looked in the rearview mirror and saw a pack of motorcycles headed toward me; several riders shot mahine guns into the air. Just then, I looked down and saw a manilla envelope on the passenger seat; it read "This car can only go in reverse. You have ten minutes to get across town."

Actually, this is all a pack of lies, but it's more interesting than the truth: I've been alternately busy and uninterested in blogging over the past week -- but I think I'm over it now.

HalliBush Wars, Inc.

Man, what can I say? Tami Silicio took this picture of our soldiers coming back in flag-draped coffins, and so she got fired. Bush declares he's supporting Israel's intention not to withdraw from the West Bank and the Associated Press calls it an "historic policy shift." Hundreds of Iraqis have been killed in the recent Falluja seige, and Gen. Richard B. Myers claims "There has never been a more humane campaign." What good is commentary at a time like this? People who agree with me will just nod their heads; those who disagree will claim I hate Freedom.

MusicForAmerica did a good treatment of Bush's "Those WMDs must be around here somewhere" joke at the March Radio and Television Correspondent's Dinner.

Or here -- have some fun with the George W. Bush Speechwriter.

Or for actual information, watch this documentary on The Carlyle Group. Very revealing. Thanks, Sharyn.


Hey, John Stossell is a lying jerkwad. What a shock!

Hakuin rocked. And he was a good artist, too.

Check out these famous (and infamous) firsts.

In other news: Men are now obsolete. Thanks, Nate.


Very cool Windows music. Via ABS.

Today I'm listening to: Joi!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

All Glory to the HypnoToad! 

I will post something tomorrow. Sorry for the absence -- but wait 'til you hear the story I have for you! Meantime -- all glory to the HypnoToad!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Nothing to Report 

Still getting back to normal. Trying to get over this head cold.

I finally got around to writing something new in the Matrix Blog. Don't know if it makes any sense, but I've been meaning to post there for a while. I don't know how confident I am with the direction in which it's going, but I've gotten some feedback asking for more, so there it is.

I hate to force it.

I'm going to sleep now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Fire This Time 

As some of you know (probably only those who live in Madison), a house down the street from me blew up last night, thought to be from a gas leak. (This map shows how close we were.)

Diane and Eileen and I were evacuated at 4:00 AM, but we're all okay. There's no structural damage to my place, so we're back home -- others closer to the blast aren't so lucky. (Some of the houses have structural damage so that they can't go back inside, even to get computers and clothing and stuff.)

I'm thanking my lucky stars for our good fortune, offering help to those around us (the Red Cross is doing a lot of good work), and thanking everyone for making this as painless as possible.

For reasons you can probably imagine, there is no TimeWaster™ today. Sorry!

Monday, April 12, 2004

A Somewhat True Story 

As if I needed something else to work on! After watching Hurricane this weekend, Diane and I wondered what bits were true and what bits were embellished. I tried to find a website that collects this kind of thing, but I couldn't find one (the IMDb has some bits but nothing comprehensive).

So I've made my own.

Please visit A Somewhat True Story and add to it! Wikis are community projects -- so do your part!

Cheers, all.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Blood on the Sand 

This is "Arlington West,"
made up of one small cross for each U.S. military death in Iraq, placed on the beach at sunrise and taken down at sunset every Sunday. This Sunday, more crosses will be added to the mock cemetery for deaths in this past week's fierce fighting at Fallujah and Ramadi.
The memorial is coordinated by Veterans for Peace.

See the faces of the Americans who have died. The information is taken from the Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen. Would that there were a collection like this of Iraqi casualties. The closest we can come is Iraq Body Count.

As Paris put it: Who's to blame for the hate that hate made?


Let's not forget that the world spoke out -- with incredible volume and intensity -- against this war, with incredible intensity and passion. The video for "Boom" by System of a Down (directed by Michael Moore) is one testament to that important day. (RealVideo link at the bottom of the page.)

Today I'm listening to: Paxahau!

Saturday, April 10, 2004

On Vacation 

Go away. I'm playing video games. (Idiotic storyline, pathetic stereotypes masquerading as characters (the license plate of the car belonging to the Russian mafia reads "VODKA" -- but fun nevertheless. Not a game for kids.)

Go look at the new photographs at imagenary.

Or check out the Tech Support Haiku Database.


Check it -- Easter Bunny's Delight.

Today I'm listening to: Polygon Window, still.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Happy Birthday Paul Robeson 

Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was an American athlete, lawyer, actor, singer, and strident political activist. He was known around the world for his baritone vocals, but in his home country he was censored and attacked for his outspoken views on segregation and support for socialism. In January 2004, the US Postal Service finally issued a stamp commemorating his life.

There are many good websites about Mr. Robeson; in 1998 (the 100th anniversary of his death), PBS' NewsHour reported on his life and legacy. The RealAudio clip features songs and interview samples. Also make sure to check out his own words at the Centennial Celebration website.

In 1956, after stating publicly his support for the goals of the Soviet Union, Robeson was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, but he was not afraid to speak truth to power.
MR. SCHERER: Why do you not stay in Russia?

MR. ROBESON: Because my father was a slave, and my people died to build this country and I am going to stay here and have a part of it just like you. And no fascist- minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear?
Mr. Robeson died on January 23, 1976 -- two days before I was born.

Rice Under Fire

Speaking of African-Americans proudly standing up for truth and justice: I've been asked to comment on the testimony given by Condoleeza Rice at the 9/11 Commission -- but since everything worth saying these days is being said already elsewhere online, I'll simply redirect you all to the Center for American Progress, who has broken down her testimony from keys to grams.
CLAIM: "The Vice President was, a little later in, I think, in May, tasked by the President to put together a group to look at all of the recommendations that had been made about domestic preparedness and all of the questions associated with that." [responding to Fielding]

FACT: The Vice President's task force never once convened a meeting. In the same time period, the Vice President convened at least 10 meetings of his energy task force, and six meetings with Enron executives. [Source: Washington Post, 1/20/02; GAO Report, 8/03]
Also check out this cartoon by Mike Konopacki. (Turns out one of my students is a relative of his.)

HalliBush Wars, Inc.

As if you needed me to tell you, things in Iraq seem to be getting worse by the hour. A week ago, Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr announced he was launching Iraqi chapters of Hamas and Hezbollah. Sadr has been receiving more and more support lately, especially after Bremer made the brilliant decision to close down his newspaper after it printed calls to violence against the US occupation. This decision was made possible by Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 14 (issued 20 June 2003), which prohibits material which "incites violence against Coalition Forces or CPA personnel." While making the announcement, Bremer insisted that "We very much believe that the freedom of expression should apply to Iraq."

Well, sort of. Of course, the US Supreme Court has ruled many times that we Americans do not have the right to incite violence in the press (eventually amending this position so that you may incite violence through the press, unless your speech is linked to "imminent lawless action" and you have the intention to set it off). It would seem that the CPA isn't really enacting any law on the press there that doesn't apply here. (The serious questions, then, concern how the law is applied.)

Regardless of the legal underpinnings, Bremer's decision to close Sadr's newspaper has ignited a firestorm in the country. As Junaid Alam notes, both United Press International and the Washington Post have confirmed that the Shia and Sunnis are uniting to fight the occupation.

This week, Sheikh Harrath Selman al-Tey, the leader of the largest Sunni tribe in Iraq, sent a letter of support to Sadr's militia group, the Mehdi Army. "[W]e are the Army of Mohammed," the letter's courier told UPI. "There is no more Shiite and Sunni, only Muslims and now we will fight each other no more and together fight the same enemy."

So much for divide and conquer.

Other Resistances

Because Americans obviously need to be reminded that fuel efficiency could very well save the lives of US troops (not to mention Iraqi civilians), the women of CodePink have called for national action at Hummer dealerships on April 22 (Earth Day). Would that this hideous machine had never been made available for consumer use.

And in California: Voters in Inglewood have rejected Wal-Mart's effort to build a SuperCenter there. Take that, Sam!

Interesting side note: Noam Chomsky published his landmark exploration of the conservative efforts to rescind the US safety net, titled "Rollback," in 1995 -- around the same time as Wal-Mart launched its long-running Rollback advertising campaign. It's been a surreal ten years, watching that smirking happy face. And why should we boycott Wal-Mart? There are so many reasons!


Reverend Robin Spittle (that's really his name, I swear) has begun using The Simpsons to teach the gospel in London. Of course, this makes perfect sense -- there are plenty of references to religion on the show, including an entire episode of Bible stories. I'm guessing, however, that Revered Spittle doesn't quote Reverend Lovejoy's comment to Ned: "Have you thought about one of the other major religions? They're all pretty much the same." How about that one, Reverend Spittle? Mind if I say your name a few more times, Reverend Spittle? (Image swiped from this site, which is in Italian. Reverend Spittle.)

Speaking of religion (as in Reverend Spittle), how about that church in Glassport, PA where they whipped the Easter bunny to tell kids about Jesus?
Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. "He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said.
TPCQ: "Mummy, I woke up this morning and I found a lincoln log in me sock drawer!"

Dude, piercings and tattoos are so two years ago. If you want to be hip and completely stupid-looking, you need to get an eyeball implant. Reverend Spittle has one.

Okay, I've spent two hours blogging today. This is ridiculous. Let's move on. Reverend Spittle.

Thanks to PRWatch -- and one person who works there in particular, who shall remain nameless, unlike Reverend Spittle, who shall remain nameful -- for linking us to this gem of a PR piece about how outsourcing is in fact good for workers in the US.
"Just because jobs are moving overseas does not mean that the business community is not committed to investment in U.S. workers," said Susan Traiman, director of education and workforce policy at the Business Roundtable, one of the groups involved in the coalition.
I'm sure Reverend Spittle would agree.

You thought the Weather Underground disbanded in the 70s? Silly person -- it's become the premier web spot for extended forecasts and holiday planning!

Speaking of too-bizarre-for-words websites, how about online dating in East Timor? Timorese Male, mid-50s, international diplomat. Loves bowties, long walks on the beach, pandering to US interests. Let's have some Funu together.

Man, I thought I was on vacation. What's with this two-hour research project?


The Periodic Table of Haiku should be fun for English teachers and biochemists alike. (Boy, what a freaky combination that would make!) Be sure to check out the interesting "Are these really Haiku?" sidebar.

Today I'm listening to: Reverend Spittle! Oops, I mean Polygon Window.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Headaches suck 

I have a miserable headache. All I feel like doing is lying in the dark wishing the pain away. I guess I shouldn't have spent twelve hours straight at the computer yesterday.

Well I'm not going to make that same mistake today -- in fact, I'm not going to use the computer at all today. Oops.

Why does this have to happen during Spring Break?

Monday, April 05, 2004

Listen to the Music, Become the Music 

After several intensive days of programming, I've finally finished my first interactive crossover Flash/Ribonucleic music project. Please have some fun with The Tranquility Remix Machine and tell me what you think.

You can fiddle with the samples, which in turn activate animated snippets. Links to the song's actual MP3 and QuickTime video are also supplied.

The next one will be more impressive, trust me. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Pepsi: The Choice of a New Iraqi Generation 

Naomi Klein is probably the most essential commentator on Iraq's economic situation I've yet come across. In "Let's Make Enemies," she describes an interesting interview conducted as the US was shutting down an Iraqi newspaper.
While US soldiers were padlocking the door of the newspaper's office, I found myself at what I thought would be an oasis of pro-Americanism, the Baghdad Soft Drinks Company. On May 1 this bottling plant will start producing one of the most powerful icons of American culture: Pepsi-Cola. I figured that if there was anyone left in Baghdad willing to defend the Americans, it would be Hamid Jassim Khamis, the Baghdad Soft Drinks Company's managing director. I was wrong.

"All the trouble in Iraq is because of Bremer," Khamis told me, flanked by a line-up of thirty Pepsi and 7-Up bottles. "He didn't listen to Iraqis. He doesn't know anything about Iraq. He destroyed the country and tried to rebuild it again, and now we are in chaos."
And she affirms something I said as soon as Bush announced the June 30 so-called transfer of power.
The US occupation authority has also found a sneaky way to maintain control over Iraq's armed forces. Bremer has issued an executive order stating that even after the interim Iraqi government has been established, the Iraqi army will answer to US commander Lieut. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. In order to pull this off, Washington is relying on a legalistic reading of a clause in UN Security Council Resolution 1511, which puts US forces in charge of Iraq's security until "the completion of the political process" in Iraq. Since the "political process" in Iraq is never-ending, so, it seems, is US military control.
One more election-year gambit with no substance whatsoever. But don't expect CNN to report it that way, of course.

Klein also referenced a quote from Health & Human Services Secretary (and former WI Governor) Tommy Thompson about Iraq's hospitals, which I hadn't heard. While on a tour of an Iraqi hospital, Thompson said conditions would improve "if they just washed their hands and cleaned the crap off the walls." Man, who would have thought it was that simple?

Image swiped from Sophie.


While looking for Magritte yesterday, I came upon the Nike spoof at left, which looks like it belongs at subvertise.org. There's some cool stuff there -- check it out.

As for this cartoon, I have no idea. Your guess is as good as mine.

The question of the day is: What exactly is a papasan? Is it any piece of rattan or wicker furniture, suitable for sitting? Or is it specifically the familiar round chair with the stuffed cushion? Well, I couldn't find any definitive answers online, but judging from papasanfurniture.com, it refers to the style of furniture, not the one particular chair. Of course, I could be wrong, so I've posted a Curious, George post at MonkeyFilter. Maybe someone will provide some answers there.


Speaking of MoFi, praise be unto it for MetalBaby, which is pretty fun and uses a Flash tactic I wish I could figure out.

Today I'm listening to: Wagon Christ!

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Ceci n'est pas une affirmation* 

February 5, 2003 -- Powell insists to the UN regarding Saddam Hussein's WMD: "There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to produce more -- many more. . . . These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

April 2, 2004 -- Powell changes his tune: "it appears not to be the case that it was that solid. . . . I'm not the intelligence community, but I probed and I made sure, as I said in my presentation, these are multi-sourced. . . ." But of course, they were multi-sourced facts, not multi-sourced assertions.

See, even if they were wrong, they were wrong facts -- not wrong assertions. Fortunately, our nation has never been willing to let this kind of wretched lying go unpunished. I have faith that anyone who used to support Bush before he lied about the need to send our children to die in Iraq will withdraw their support and demand that he be held accountable for his deceptions and war crimes.

Not In Our Name has a good collection of quotes from the HalliBush Wars, Inc. from the past two years.

* affirmation = French for "assertion"

Mutilation Footage as Political Propaganda

The LA Times ran an interesting story about the decisions made by news agencies this week about the footage of the violence in Falluja.
"War is a horrible thing. It is about killing," ABC News "Nightline" Executive Producer Leroy Sievers said in an unusual message to the program's e-mail subscribers discussing the issues posed by Wednesday's killings. "If we try to avoid showing pictures of bodies, if we make it too clean, then maybe we make it too easy to go to war again." . . .

The decisions could have a political impact. While showing the images could erode support for the war, not showing them could have an opposite effect.

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism, said that networks' "sanitization of war may have helped the administration prosecute the war" a year ago.
I found a photo of the bodies dangling from the bridge when I first posted on it (see below), but I decided not to post it here for a variety of reasons, which I won't go into. Suffice to say that the web provides ample opportunities for us to see the footage if we're really committed.

Ted Rall did a good comic recently about the killings.


Look -- it's sitar master Ravi Shankar and his wife Sukanya, petting a goat! (Happy, now, D?)

What, you think just because I live in Madison that I know anything more about the woman who faked her own abduction? I'm just as clueless as you are. She comes from Rockford -- maybe they can help. What she did is really messed up -- wasting $70,000 and giving people a reason to doubt the next woman who claims abduction. She needs therapy -- she should go to India and pet goats with Ravi Shankar.

This is not for the faint of heart: Discover the secrets of the Magic 8 Ball. If this gets you all worked up, maybe you should calm down by looking once again at Ravi shankar petting the goat.

Hooray for 15-year-old Natalie Young, whose determination to proclaim, via t-shirt, that Barbie is a lesbian, has led to a settlement with the district which guarantees students the right to wear shirts with controversial slogans. (Insert joke here about Young people representing the future of the country.)


Thanks to Garrett for The Exorcist in 30 Seconds, as performed by cartoon bunnies.

Today I'm listening to: Emergency Broadcast Network!

Friday, April 02, 2004

Go See My Photoblog 

I've launched a new project called Imagenary -- it's a photoblog. Hurray for digital cameras! I haven't gotten the page layout done up right (the archives are screwing up for some reason, and the links are all spaced out). But I don't have time to fix those right now -- we're off to the Wisconsin Film Festival.

I'll post something here tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the pix. Special thanks to Josh for hooking me up with the site. (No comments over there yet, so post 'em here!)