April 30, 2004
Earth Impact Effects
In a throwback to premediated times, this site requires that you use some imagination to process the results. But it's the best place to calculate what happens when your favorite object strikes our favorite planet.
[I tried it out. Very interesting. Dr X.: If my dick hits the ground, your condo better have earthquake insurance. -LoM]
ESPRESSO SHACKS OF ALASKA HAS A NEW LOOK
Still the perfect distillation of the urban alaska ethos. Don't miss my favorites, Cafe Vivachi and Mocha in Motion.
April 29, 2004
COOLEST CAR I'VE EVER SEEN
April 28, 2004
THERE ARE 800 REASONS TO BUY THIS MINIVAN
See, have a little patience, look around a bit, and the right answer appears!
[Doood! Sweet! -LoM]
TEXT OF GREENSPAN'S NEXT ADDRESS
"The rate of inflation..." [market down]
"...is..." [volume dwindles]
"...not..." [spec buying]
"...without..." [spec selling]
"aspects that concern us." [panic selling]
"Yet..." [frantic short covering]
"...the possibility remains..." [ BUY! BUY! I SAID BUY! ]
"...that deflationary pressures..." [large institutional buyers step in]
"...which seem to be in remission..." [pause]
"...have, in fact, been permanently subdued." [.......]
[Dr. X if we did not acknowledge this delightful piece, it was for inability to type while laughing.-PWP]
NELSON SPINS IN HIS GRAVE
Royal Navy denies it was a mutiny, sends nuclear sub to sea anyway...
MINIVAN GUEST BLOGGER
A meditation on the meaning of listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in your minivan, in Ohio.
"STICKER" DR. X'S MINIVAN
Experts are predicting our own Dr. X will purchase a minivan this year. What bumper sticker shall it bear?
"Cash, grass, or ass: nobody rides for free." -Dr. X
"If this buggy's rockin', don't come knockin'." -LoM
"My other car is a convertible debenture." -UttDC
"My Child is an Honor Student at the Halliburton Academy of World Domination" -PWP
"My Other Car Has Telltale Traces of DNA" - PWP
"I Beat Up Four Soccer Dads and All I Got Was This Lousy Minivan" -PWP
"Kali is My Co-Pilot" -PWP
"Caution: Van May Not Exist in Some Quantum States" -PWP & UttDC
"I Don't Brake for Corporate Tools" -PWP
"If You Can Read This, You Somehow Survived Schwartzenegger's Education Reforms" -PWP
"Follow Me to the Pussy Ranch" -PWP
[ROTFL - Dr X]
April 27, 2004
THAT MINIVAN'S GOT PRETTY GOOD PICKUP
Guy jumps drawbridge in the family land-barge.
SINCE EVERYONE'S SO OBSESSED WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES
Remember the controversy over Augusta National having no female members? Raines was one of the drivers. This review describes his role, including his favored technique of "flooding the zone."
ROLE MODEL FOR YOUTH
A colleague draws my attention to the achievements of the estimable Sargent Shriver. "BTW," he notes, "one son is Maryland state rep, one is chairman of Special Olympics, another is advocate for mentally handicapped, one is attorney and member of state parks commission (appointed by brother in law!) and daughter is first lady of CA. No known drug overdoses or rapes."
April 26, 2004
BEST ALT COUNTRY BAND I'D NEVER HEARD OF
Touted by the New York Times in January, the Flatlanders have officially made it. Their music's good.
[You would have heard of them if you read my "Letter from Elk" earlier this month! -LoM]
[Ah yes, I remember now. Apparently, and fittingly, I ignore all sources of cultural information except The New York Times. - Dr. X]
LATEST CREATURE OF DOOM
Behold: the dangerous Giant African Land Snail, which was this close to taking over Wisconsin...
April 25, 2004
MEANWHILE, IN THE FROZEN WASTES, PEOPLE ARE PISSED OFF
Inupiat handling of the concept of anger:
upaktuqtuq - charges (of an angry animal or person)
qivittuq - goes away because angry
qinnaktuq - is angry
ixunfutchaktuq - is deeply angry, hurt, disturbed
qivburuq - leaves because angry (b), leaves home because angry (ap)
Also: 51 entries under "snow", and no word for "comfortable"...
The long-anticipated Atlantic Monthly piece on the The New York Times is out. This epic (pages 49-81) by former Times managing editor Howell Raines is really interesting. He grasps the essential problem of the Times, which is that it is failing to reach its potential audience (they figure maybe 40 mm, vs. circulation of about 1 mm).
There are many reasons for this.
In the financial world, the problem is that The Wall Street Journal has first-read status sewn up, and publications like The Economist and Financial Times have really turned up the heat in the battle for second.
As a local paper, he says, the Times has not written about things many New Yorkers care about. Take the the death of the R&B singer Aaliyah: "...one of our music critics had declared her a minor musician. So what? She was an icon of minority communities."
But he seems most hurt by the Times's failings in middlebrow culture. "When Entertainment Weekly magazine publishes, as it did in 2001, a more learned article on Tolkien's influence on directors of mythic films than can be found in our Sunday Arts & Leisure section, that shouts out the fact that the Times is back on its heels."
In its day, you could pick up the Times and get almost as much as if you'd read four or five more specialized publications. Not really true today. Here is the current list of stuff I look at:
Financial: Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Forbes
International News: BBC Online
Deep Thoughts: New York Review of Books
U.S. Politics: Washington Post, but to be honest these days I mostly just look at the polls.
If I had to add something it would be Financial Times, not the New York Times. Not just to beat up on the Times here, but who reads Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News and World Report anymore? Why bother?
It's a shame because there's less competition for serious journalism today than at any time since at least WW2. We could use a courageous, independent, high-quality newspaper in America right now.
Gotta run, Sean Hannity's on TV.
[I cannot find an equivalent for the NYT as the American paper of record. The Washington Post, which I also find myself reading more and more for its political coverage, is a comparative non-entity on it's cultural coverage - which is for my reading where the Times excels. And because I believe that the politics and the economy tends to follow culture rather than the reverse - a position of faith if ever there was one - that missing element sinks most other publications.
Here's why I still read it, and its strength is its weakness: The Grey Lady is an immovable object, one of the few American institutions that can intelligently resist the relentless onslaught of the media emissions of interested parties, and can still incorporate disinterested American social and political thought into its reporting. The WSJ's psychotorials, the Post's Capitol-ism, the LA Times's particular media environment, show no promise of replacing the NYT, so there I still am.
The best hope in terms of a comprehensive mission may be NPR, which in its growth, cultural connectivity and ubiquity may be replacing the NYT more than competing publications. But despite its initimacy and immediacy, radio by nature can only present limited information and context.
I've talked to a lot of people who with Google News find themselves gravitating to the Guardian and the Independent. A thought: they seem to have the best combination of thoughtful and informative lead sentences.
P.S. on CNN now:
Wolf Blitzer: Why do you always want (each existing) president to be re-elected?
Saudi Ambassador: Why wouldn't I?
(awkward pause) -PWP]
IN WHICH I DESCRIBE AN AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEO IN VERSE
Assigned To Appliances
The gleeful moustached worker found this method:
Hide inside the washing machine
and surprise the Unsuspecting
In the grey showroom
A patient woman in her sixties
waits with cocked pie
April 24, 2004
23 SKIDOO, the entertainingly ancient flapper-hipster phrase has been sticking in my craw for years - after a brief revival as the name of a Brit punk-industrial band, and as the actual name of abandoned mining town in CA (circa 1906). Did it have any meaning at all? Apparantly so, and a very sketchy origin.
"KIDS IN THE CRIB PUT DIBS ON THE BIG MAN"
Seahawks draft Marcus Tubbs in the first round (a spritely 6'4" 321 lb. defensive lineman).
[His preferred position: Front Four - Dr. X]
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER, YOUR WORK IS NOT DONE
As we putter about the house this is on Showtime - and I must say it has the best depiction of a bribing murderous grave robber I have ever seen Raymond Burr deliver. Smeared with brown makeup and dressed in exotic flowing robes, one gets the sense that he was more himself in this role than any other.
Character 1: [Translating] "Death...comes...on swift wings...to...anyone...who disturbs King Tut's tomb."
Character 2: "Forget about that ridiculous curse."
[I was going to bring up Raymond Burr in our "Greatest Living Actor" discussion, but...well, he's dead too. -LoM]
EXCELLENT INSIGHT FROM FARK
In an otherwise routine Photoshop contest on Fark ("Photoshop what it would be like if we had a L337 |-|ax0R as president"), we get this profound insight:
One Photoshopper names the following government officials:
Bill Gates - VP
C-3PO - Sec of State
Worf- Sec of Defense
Lara Craft - Nat'l Security Advisor
This attracts flames because Bill Gates is not cool, and Lara Croft is something all nerds have now claim to have outgrown (30 million units sold, last time I checked). Which prompts this extraordinary defense. I quote:
"If Bush was a geek, he wouldn't be a very leet one.
- His VP would have conflict of interests in business
- His secretary of state would be a knowledgable pushover.
- His SecDef would be a "bad ass" (note quotes)
- At lease one member of the cabinet would be a hot chick who he could never have."
The new book by George W. Bush,
excerpted on bobanddavid.com.
[Huzzahsome -"Colin hesitated, still tasting the nickname in the mouth of his brain." -PWP
April 23, 2004
ONLINE U.S. VOTER REGISTRATION AT THIS SITE
Working for Change/ League of Women Voters. I'm going to send this to my entire email list, and encourage everyone to pass it along.
SAVE TIME AND JUMP ON THE GROWING DREAD BANDWAGON NOW
Modern mercenaries and corporate military forces on the global security site - is anyone else deeply creeped out by old-school South African Mercenaries representing the military interests of the United States?
[Oh my, yes. See my previous post. --CSG]
PROTO-FASCISM IN FRESNO
More fallout from the police spying on a small peace group in Fresno.
[In war there are no rules. Just the way neocons like it. If Peace Fresno quietly submits, they lose; if they try to do something about it they've been successfully distracted from their original mission. Their only hope is that the people in charge of supervising law enforcement actually do some supervision.
Our AG governor wannabe has thought about this:
"Put bluntly, it is a mistake of constitutional dimension to gather information for a criminal intelligence file where there is no reasonable suspicion'' that a crime has been or will be committed, Lockyer's guideline says.
Meanwhile, note that our public servants charged with preventing terrorism complain that they lack resources. Apparently current staff is having trouble getting to all these high-threat peace group meetings. - Dr. X]
IT'S QUESTIONABLE INUPIAQ
In case you're wondering.
ANOTHER SAD LOSS
Pat Tillman, who walked away from a skidillion dollar salary from the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army Rangers, was killed in action in Afghanistan. He was 27.
THE HEADLINES FROM PYONGYANG
Top story: Kim Jong Il Pays Unofficial Visit to China. Why isn't this being covered by the Western press?
[It is really weird. I heard it on NPR in passing, just before the giant explosion -PWP]
April 22, 2004
OLDIE BUT A GOODIE
The misunderstood lyrics archive. Bands like Nirvanna are particularly susceptible. The site includes a place to record the embarassing moment you found out the right lyrics, usually in karoke.
April 21, 2004
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES THE ONES THAT NEVER KNOCK
I was horrified by the death and defilement of the four "contractors" killed in Falluja but I wondered "What's a security contractor?" I think I finally got it worked out. Mercenaries, my friends, and they don't come cheap. The New York Times says they cost $1,500 per day. Apparently, they are supplied by Blackwater and they're hiring, with new offices now open in Baghdad and Kuwait City.
Their web page is not terribly alarming but I wondered about this testimonial: "Our group was able to learn and practice some new skills and more importantly, build some new friendships. In the not to distant future we will organize another such outing. I look forward to the next oppotunity [sic]. "
Kris Allen Mauren
ACTON Institute for the Study of Religon and Liberty
WTF? The webpage of the Acton Institute (named for Lord Acton, Catholic 19th Century Cambridge Professor who said "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely) says they work internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." With submachine guns? I think maybe I don't want to know more...
Anyway, I propose we consider a training vacation at their 6,000 acre facility in Moyock, North Carolina. They offer a one-week Advanced Sniper course that sounds like just the thing.
["Our $975 Week Package Also Includes a Helpful Brochure on Who to Shoot."-PWP]
["Those who think the military action in Iraq has increased the long-term risk of terrorism in the United States have increased from 40 percent in December to 54 percent now, according to the poll, conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs." -Dr X]
A BIT OF GOOD NEWS
Bid by anti-immigration types to take over Sierra Club fails.
OVERHEARD AT THE SOUTHCENTER MULTIPLEX
"You know, Jesus is from Washington State. Yep, up by Marysville."
THE NIRL CAN'T HELP IT
A new entry, nirl, but an old word in the OED, that we former Alaskans might have used daily:
as a verb: 2. intr. To shrink into oneself with cold; to shiver.
as a noun: A small projection, piece or lump of something; a knot, knob, nodule, etc.
as in- eisengeiste: a nirl of questionable wit.
April 20, 2004
IRON SPIRITS' KILL BILL REVIEW
Huzzahwesome. Absolutely Huzzahwesome.
First I should speak to the Uma Thurman content. Unlike most movies, which sadly lack Uma Thurman, and foolishly waste film stock by not lingering on her every feature, this one has what might finally be considered the necessary Uma Thurman content. Now with this particular fetish that I and apparantly Quentin share out of the way, Kill Bill II rocks, is the opposite and perfection of Hollywood, and these are movies that rise to the level of art.
Kill Bill understands the medium's past and reinterprets it in a new, and a far more ambitious context, but, and here is where I differ with the movie's critics, it avoids meaningless jumbled pastiche. It's absurd and wildy entertaining characters are wisely never allowed to laugh it off, even if you can. Through a tremendously beautiful technical understanding of film history (look for the best black and white I've seen in a decade at the opening, the color positives in the training flashbacks - the rigorous application of physical film effects)., Tarrantino keeps putting up walls that signal ironic coolness, but then uses the story, the music, the sound to pierce uncomfortable holes through the barriers. Like all good art, it plays lightly and skillfully around its own illusions, but uses them to devastating effect. You watch this beautiful movie space unfold before you like a grand opera set, but your empathy with the Bride is unlimited. It cannot match but it does, like falling in love with the paint that makes up the girl in a Vermeer.
It has one of the most disarming scenes I think I've ever witnessed as the film pushes towards climax and the Bride closes in on her target - and props to David Carradine for creating a character full of sonorous, charming, compelling menace.
It has a Kabuki quality, revelling in but mastering its staginess. Naming the references is interesting but doesn't matter, and I think too much has been written about this aspect - the sources are just building blocks for this revenge opera.
The fights are smaller, much more dangerous, more surprising. It comes down out of high cartoon to low, shameless, perfect melodrama. Opponents are more intelligent, far more engaged. The most dangerous scene involves chatting on a couch, another over a pregnancy test. And watch out if you're claustrophobic and haven't studied with Master Pai.
This is a strange creature: a wildly entertaining, dense and difficult film featuring deeply silly subject matter. I will gladly oogle the DVD, but this movie is so attentive to film craft it will be like a cheap van gogh print - good, inspiring, half complete. It's so visually operational that if you're planning on renting a non-wide screen tape save yourself the trouble and have a friend describe it to you over the phone.
It disappoints those who couldn't see beyond the amazingly sword play in vol I, or whose movie powers of description are exhausted at "quirky." Hate if you will, that's okay, but like me commenting on Warhol you have to offer respect for sheer magnificent craft. The ideas of Kill Bill lie deeply within it's craft, not the script per se, fun as it is, and not the subject matter so much.
Of course, Uma had me at the wink in the trailer. And if you don't see this in a theater, on film, you're a damn fool, are uncultured, half-blind, and I'm telling the most dangerous woman in the world where you live.
And if Dr. X passes this up, who has every promise of enjoying this on every level, I'm going medieval on his assessment of 14th Century Venetian Portrait Painting.
[In my opinion, it is an exuberant celebration of moviemaking, coasting with heedless joy from one audacious chapter to another, working as irony, working as satire, working as drama, working as pure action. One of the best films of the year. - Dr. X ]
A foolish attempt, Dr. X. One should always plagiarize from the middle of the review.
April 19, 2004
ONE MAN'S OPINION
If I have time to read only one news web site in the evening, I read the BBC. But if I have time for two, lately I've been adding Juan Cole's Mideast blog. I'm not sure what to think of him yet, but as a history professor he is good at supplying context I'd otherwise miss. From his April 5 entry on the prior weekend's hostilities in Najaf:
'If you want irony, and provocative irony, it turns out that the Plus Ultra base where the Sadrists protested was called "al-Andalus." That is a reference to Arab Spain, to which the Catholics of the Reconquista put a bloody end in 1492. Although much has been written about the Jews forcibly converted to Christianity in the aftermath, it is not realized that many more Muslims stayed and were forced to convert under the watchful eye of the Inquisition. For the Plus Ultra to call their base Andalus is in incredibly bad taste, and shows the sort of triumphalist mentality that has accompanied the Bush administration's rehabilitation of "empire." Unfortunately, naming things is not as hard as actually controlling imperial subjects.'
FRODO HAS FAILED
Amusing bit of photoshop.
SMART CAR ACROSS AMERICA
Here's an article from a British web magazine where a couple of guys had a Smart car (a super-cool, teeny tiny car -- see my blog entries from Paris) shipped to New York and drove it to L.A. (Hilarity ensued.)
"Turn on the Disgruntlator!" Rove snarled. A few minutes later the first press reports appeared, and once again the New York Times led the charge...
"Another official, who like others declined to be identified because of the political sensitivity of their criticism, accused Powell of having a habit of distancing himself from policies when they go wrong, The Times said.
" 'It's such a soap opera with him,' the report quoted that official as saying. "
[More on "Plan of Attack" From the New York Times: "In addition "Plan of Attack" ratifies assertions made in two recent controversial books. It corroborates the observation made by the former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill (in Ron Suskind's book "The Price of Loyalty") that Iraq was high on the Bush administration's agenda before 9/11, in fact from its very first days in office. And echoing accusations made by the former counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke (in his book "Against All Enemies"), it contends that prior to 9/11 Mr. Bush was focusing on domestic issues and a large tax cut and had "largely ignored the terrorism problem.""
Do you reckon now the Bush Administration will reduce its ad hominem attacks? Naw, I don't think so either. --CSG]
MAYOR MAKES TIME w/ '06 QUAKE SURVIVORS
When Newsom got to long-time Cow Hollow resident Sophie Bacciocco, 99, she interjected that he had "beautiful teeth," and by the time the crowd warmed up over breakfast at the St. Francis Hotel, 98-year-old Madeline Repetti said, "He can put his shoes under my bed anytime."
April 18, 2004
THE PURITY OF CHILDHOOD
When my son says "TV" he invariably follows up with a laugh of insane joy. It's a pretty good "bwah hah hah hah" for a 16 month-old...
[Give me your baby. Just give him to me. CSG]
MORE ON THAT SNOWMAN CLIMATOLOGIST
Out of Betty Ford, down at the Howling Dog, getting plowed. What a flake.
KERRY PLAYS THE CHICKENHAWK CARD
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said Friday he is tired of having his commitment to national security questioned by Republicans who never served in the military, and he singled out Vice President Dick Cheney and White House senior adviser Karl Rove by name, saying they "went out of their way to avoid" service during the Vietnam War.
In unusually pointed and personal language, Kerry condemned his rivals, who are airing a television commercial that questions the judgment of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on national security issues and attacks him for voting against the $87 billion authorization funding for Iraq and Afghanistan.
April 17, 2004
ONE BILLION DOLLARS
Here's the link, Laird.
THANKS FROM THE LAIRD
...to whomever is responsible for my receiving a Seattle Seahawks cap in the mail. It's my favorite Seahawks cap yet!
April 16, 2004
Just want to point out that next Saturday is Bob Wills Day in Turkey, Texas (pop. 500). The celebrations will be getting started tomorrow and run all through the week. On the big day there'll be a pancake breakfast at the Bob Wills Center Cafeteria, a fiddlers' contest at the Bob Wills Center Gym, and, no doubt, pickin' and grinnin' at the Church of Western Swing. Now, a lot of folks ask if there will be western swing music. To which we say: yee-hah!
FOLLOW THE THREAD TO THE MAN
My sartorial mission has concluded with the discovery of the man who has the pitch-perfect gentleman's wardrobe, aka, "The Transatlantic Look." I should have known - I've got out twice to buy a blazer in the past five years, and both times, after much searching, came home wearing his stuff.
Now, how can I get it cheap? Ah, here we go.
MIRACLE ON THE PITCH!
OK, you don't care, but for about 800 million people in India, this is the best thing that's happened in a long time.
[Alright, I'm no Ichiro, but I did once have the privilege of being a boy scout temporarily assigned to the British in Twyford, Berkshire, where I taught some of the smaller blokes how to play baseball. The sheen of cricket under the challenge of a dynamic, exciting spot, even baseball, faded rapidly. -PWP]
THERE WAS JUST ONE LITTLE FLAW IN THE ALIEN SPACE STATION'S STEALTH TECHNOLOGY
"I'm completely baffled at the absence of a moon," Brown said. "This is outside the realm of expectation and makes Sedna even more interesting. But I simply don't know what it means."
"There's a moon in the sky...it's called the Moon!" -PWP]
April 15, 2004
RUMSFELD: OOPS, MY BAD
"I certainly would not have estimated that we would have had the number of individuals [he means people] lost that we have had lost [he means killed] in the last week."
KILL BILL #2 APPARENTLY GOOD
Or so says the Christian Science Monitor.
[I have to say that I'm a little disappointed to hear that there isn't as high a body count in Volume 2. I take it that means the fight scene between Uma and the 88 Yakuza assassins won't be topped. A more relavent question is: will it ever be topped? -LoM
THE SOLDIER OF THE FUTURE...
...must master the Playstation, or should I say, the Slaystation.
[HAH! "Mired News." Good one. But perhaps you meant to post this two weeks earlier? -UttDC]
[This is one of those things that's so true it's true, even if it isn't true. - Dr. X]
April 14, 2004
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (still the best journal title ever) story on U.S. efforts to nanny-nanny boo-boo atomic weapons development and proliferation in Pakistan to, well, everywhere. If I may source Star Trek II: KHHHHAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!!
For those not familiar with this blog, please understand that we value, above all else, absolute accuracy in all we report.
Now, contrary to a previous posting, well-placed sources inform us that Rowdy Roddy Piper's greatest performance was in fact his non-stop action-packed, from-the-ring, through-the-audience, to-the-lockerroom battle to a MONSTER DOUBLE DQ COUNTOUT against Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff the night of October 5, 1985.
Esprits de Fer regrets the error.
ONLY 7 MONTHS TO GO UNTIL HAGGIS SEASON
As you all no doubt know, haggis hunting season begins at noon on St. Andrew's Day and ends at 3 pm on Burn's Nicht. This year, I'm aiming to win this contest sponsored by The Scotsman which operates several Haggis Cams.
In anticipation, allow me to offer some haggis beverage recipes, cribbed from the above source:
Whisky with haggis chaser
Large bottle of malt whisky
A very very small amount of water (dinnae droon it laddie)
Place generous amount of whisky in glass. Wave water over whisky. Drink whisky. Cook haggis the following morning and serve on toast with brown sauce as an excellent hangover cure.
Large bottle of malt whisky
A very very small jug of water
Stick of celery
Bottle of vodka
Place generous amount of whisky in glass. Wave water quickly over whisky. Reserve tomato juice for the next time you cook linguine. Place celery in bunnet. Dab Worcester sauce behind ears. You are now ready for a night on the town. Put vodka somewhere that local teenagers will be unable to find it. Drink whisky. Cook haggis the following morning and serve on toast with brown sauce as an excellent hangover cure.
Large bottle of malt whisky
A large carton of orange juice
A very very small jug of water
Dash eight sloshes of whisky into glass. Show water to whisky from minimum distance of ten yards. Carefully put carton of orange juice unopened in fridge lest it go off. Drink whisky. Cook haggis the following morning and serve on toast with brown sauce as an excellent hangover cure.
Sloe comfortable haggis against the wall
Large bottle of malt whisky
A large carton of orange juice
A very very small jug of water
A random selection of those lesser liquors in garish bottles so beloved by dull people seeking glamour
Half-fill glass with whisky, then add more whisky. Sotto voce mention existence of water to whisky. Pour other spirits into the nearest pot plant. Give juice to tee totaller. Drink whisky. Cook haggis the following morning and serve on toast with brown sauce as an excellent hangover cure.
Large bottle of malt whisky
A very very small jug of water
Bottle of vodka
Hold bottle of whisky vertically over glass for several seconds. Place jug of water in next room. Carefully position liqueur in cupboard beside tea bags – if you want ******* coffee, you’ll drink ******* coffee. Place vodka unopened in freezer – it’ll feel at home there. Drink whisky. Cook haggis the following morning and serve on toast with brown sauce as an excellent hangover cure. Drizzle cream round plate for dead classy presentation.
Large bottle of malt whisky
Bottle of tequila
Small jug of water.
Wet rim of glass and dip in salt. Cut lime into slices and attach to rim of glass. Wet bottom of glass with lime juice. Fill glass to rim with tequila. Drop lit match into glass. Now you have made a nice home-made heater, sit down beside it, rest your feet on the haggis and enjoy a wee dram.
[Wow! I can't wait to get home for dinner tonight! -LoM]
AI RECOMMENDS THE PASSION, KEITEL AND HACKMAN
Can't you accomplish the same thing renting The Bad Lieutenant and The Poseiden Adventure?
April 13, 2004
GENTLE IRON SPIRIT PERSONS
I believe that this is the first time we have all each of every one of all of us done contributed on the same day! Well met!
Here is your reward.
My vote goes to Rowdy Roddy Piper whose scalpel-sharp acting prowess held the film, "Hell Comes to FrogTown" together. Without him, this cinematic epic would simply be wonderful, rather than awsome!
[This looks like a great movie! - Dr X]
GREAT LIVING ACTOR
Let's see, a pulse, range, guts, humanity, longevity, peak performances. Here's a few of the younger generation I like: Robert Downey, Jr. has boatloads of talent, plus the above criteria, and if he stays out of jail we have a lot to look forward to. We shouldn't ignore Kevin Bacon, either. From "Footloose" to "Tremors" to "Mystic River", he might be the Michael Caine of his generation. It will also to be interesting to see if Haley Joel Osment grows up as talented as he started out; he knocked my socks off in "The Sixth Sense." (As did Bruce Willis who gets ignored because he spends too much time in action flicks, but remember "Pulp Fiction" and "Nobody's Fool." If he grows up, he might be interesting. [I think Unbreakable also speaks to his guts and range. -Dr. X])
Still, I think you cats are missing an obvious choice. Thirteen Academy Award nominations, two wins, a film career dating from the seventies, range of roles including drama, comedy, musical, action, romance, villain and hero (once both in the same movie) and a stint on "The Simpsons." Give up? It's Meryl Streep, you pinheads!
1978 The Deerhunter
1979 Kramer vs Kramer (played a lesbian and Bad Mother in 1979!)
1981 The French Lieutenant's Woman
1982 Sophie's Choice
1984 Falling in Love (blowing Keitel AND De Niro out of the water)
1985 Plenty (a risky film and she plays a villain)
1985 Out of Africa
1986 Heartburn (she dances circles around Nicholson and he was pretty good in this one)
1987 Ironwood (not a feel-good movie, but here Nicholson holds up his end of the film and the performances soar)
1988 A Cry in the Dark (The dingo took her baby! And we still don't like her!)
1989 She-Devil (under-rated chick flick with Streep as a shallow, unappealing villain.)
1990 Postcards from the Edge (She and Hackman shine. Plus she and Shirley MacLaine (a personal favorite) sing.)
1991 Defending Your Life (remember her slurping pasta and giving the "thumbs up?"
1992 Death Becomes Her (it's gutsy for a female actor to play ugly)
1993 The House of the Spirits (with Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, Vanessa Redgrave, Antonio Banderas, and Jeremy Irons,
but let me guess: you didn't see this chick-flick based on a chick-book.)
1994 The River Wild (Meryl does action! With Kevin Bacon, John C. Reilly, and the vastly underappreciated David Strathairn.)
1995 The Bridges of Madison County (I didn't see this one, but apparently Clint liked it)
1997 First Do No Harm (when Hollywood gave "Evita" to Madonna Ciccone instead of Meryl (Can you imagine? The movie might have been watchable and listenable with Meryl, who is also a much better singer than Mrs. Ritchie.) Meryl produced and starred in a made-for-TV movie--just so she could keep acting! I don't think Brando would have done that, or would have had to, but that's a much bigger issue)
I won't list them all, you guys probably didn't see any of her later movies until maybe "Adaptation" or "The Hours" in 2002. She's going to appear in a remake of "The Manchurian Candidate" that I'm looking forward to.
[I've only ever seen one Meryl Streep movie (Out of Africa), but she delivered a hell of a commencement address at Vassar 21 years ago. The best line was: "These are, or these were, the halcyon days. Real life actually is a lot more like high school." -Dr. X]
I know I'm griping about the motes in your eyes when I've got a cinder in mine, but come on! Meryl Streep!
[Not to be legalistic about it, but Ms. Streep would be at or near the top of my list if we were considering the greatest living actor or actress. -UttDC]
[Nice try, you sexist. Or sexer. Nobody but Phyliss Shafly says "actress" these days. CSG]
[I stand corrected, but Google returns 2.4 million hits for pages with both "actor" and "actress" on them. Ms. Shafly has been industrious, indeed. -UttDC]
[Toosh and Shay, my dear! --CSG]
April 12, 2004
LETTER FROM ELK
M. and I just got back from a dirty weekend in Elk, CA. We stayed at the Griffin House, where I found the restaurant/bar to be better than expected, but the accommodations somewhat worse. (Still, it was just about the cheapest I found on the Mendocino coast.) Here are some impressions.
Jeez. They really don't like President Bush up there. Makes San Francisco look like Fort Worth. Saw one Bush bumper sticker in Mendocino, but not sure the driver made it out of town alive.
I forgot how cool rural public radio stations can be. We listened quite a bit to KZYX (studios in Philo, CA, somewhat inland). Big city public stations get all the fun sqeezed out of them. KZYX, on the other hand, played a great variety of music, and did lots of local news. Can you remember the last time you heard a 10-minute news report on CalTrans plans to build an bridge embankment? Also, those who think that the mainstream media is "liberal" have never listened to this station (just to the left of Radio Moscow in the '80s). Very refreshing.
In a related note, I heard a musical group that I'd never heard of that I really liked -- on a radio-receiver! The Flatlanderswere on Prarie Home Companion. Never heard of them -- some sort of Austin super-group. I bought one of their albums, and really liked it. (I'm sure if I listened to KEXP enough I would have heard of them earlier.)
In the town of Mendocino, I discovered a really fun store called Lark in the Morning. It's a small chain that grew out of a mail-order business speciallizing in every wierd-ass (and not so wierd-ass) musical instrument in the world. They carry everything from the cheap and mearly novel, to the expensive and truly exotic. It turns out their other locations are Seattle (near Pike Place) and San Francisco (near Fisherman's Warf). I had to restrain myself from buying Slovakian bagpipes or the Swedish bowed hurdy gurdy, and settled for a great encyclopedia of musical instruments. (PWP: this is a MUST for the Nutmeg.)
I enjoyed terribly (and sufferred terribly from) imbibing the local Increadibly Strong Ale. The Irish bartender at the B&B told me that he's avoided the stuff ever since he got drunk on it one night and woke up doubled over a pile of wood with his boots on fire.
NEXT: The Greatest Living Slabjack Pumper?
April 11, 2004
ABOUT THAT SNOWMAN CLIMATOLOGIST...
Too much blow? If you get my drift...
[Aackk! Aacck! Aaaacckckckckck!-PWP]
THE ALAMO UNACCOUNTABLY UNPOPULAR
USA Today searches for reasons. They overlook the obvious, the same factor that doomed Pearl Harbor. As Mr. Patton said, "the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans." If I were a big Hollywood executive I would definitely put the Tet Offensive and Custer's Last Stand projects on hold.
Americans like the movies where a:
single heroic FBI agent / plucky band of misfits / unassuming janitor / cook who knows aikido
uncoverts a high-level conspiracy / fights alone against all odds / foils a terrorist plot / gets an advanced degree
kills the annoying supervillain / takes down the mob / saves the President / gets the girl and lives happily ever after.
The Alamo had 2/3 of the formula right, but no one want to see the movie where a plucky band of misfits fights against all odds and gets slaughtered for nothing. Fearless prediction: The Alamo will be huge in Japan.
If only they'd make an action thriller about the Battle Off Samar...
Apropos of my point about avoiding disasters (below), Russell Crowe was involved in The Alamo project early on, and ultimately decided not to participate.
GREATEST LIVING ACTOR, SCENE IV
Man #1 enters blog, stage left. He looks around.
"I declare that I have forgotten to mention the estimable Gene Hackman."
Or Harvey Keitel. Or Williem Dafoe. A tremendous danger for an excellent, successful actor is the risk of self-parody - one reason that Brando, Hoffman, Nicholson and Pacino are not meriting our unambigious support. De Niro's range is considerable, but for me Duvall and Keitel edge him out for showing a humanity stripped - apparantly- of artifice. We've also left out Anthony Hopkins - perhaps this is Merchant-Ivory diabetic shock. Dr. X's comment on playing people - where you watch a full, living character-consciousness unfolding without anticipating the lines-made me think again of Duvall and Gene Hackman, and they're been doing this for forty years with a minimum of self-parody.
[I thought of Hackman too, but decided against mentioning him. My problem with Hackman is this: when he's in a bad movie, you say "hey Gene Hackman's in this bad movie." But with Michael Caine (at least in my experience) you say "hey, this movie's not so bad, Michael Caine is in it."
Does anyone else remember when William Hurt was going to be the best actor of his generation? Every movie I saw him in, he slammed-dunked the role. He won an (deserved) Oscar for Kiss of the Spider Woman and nominations for Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God. And then...nothing. I haven't seen much lately except this thing on cable, and I wasn't impressed. On the bright side, he's still working and Lost in Space was probably the bottom. - Dr.X ]
GREAT LIVING ACTOR CRITERIA
Some things I think the greatest living actor should have:
- A pulse. The Laird is correct, that does exclude Gielgud.
- Range. The ability to play a wide range of roles is evidence of great skill. DeNiro appears to be the master of this, but I'd argue Michael Caine has also shown impressive range. Let's see Brando play this role.
- Willingness to take risks (and, implicitly, the ability to not have them turn into Myra Breckinridge or Heaven's Gate in the process). The Laird's writeup convinced me that Pacino, not DeNiro, gets the honors here.
- Humanity. The ability to gain the empathy of the audience (as opposed to fascination with extreme behavior, which is more a DeNiro/Pacino thing). For my money Michael Caine is the person who has best demonstrated the ability to play people.
[Consumed with guilt, I must admit in all fairness that Pacino does an impressive job in The Godfather of playing a human being, especially in the hospital scene. And his progressive dehumanization is brilliantly played through the final shot of the sequel. Compare and contrast: Macbeth starts out an impassive killing machine, and ends up a flawed and confused human being (and does not survive). Michael Corleone starts out a flawed and confused human being, and ends up an impassive killing machine (and survives)... - Dr X.]
- Longevity. Everyone here has it, though Brando is probably the one who has the most to answer for in this department.
- Peak performances. Two or three immortal performances. I don't care for Nicholson, but I don't think you can dismiss him out of hand. His career has had one or two stellar performances in each of the last four decades. I'm not sure you can just set that aside.
- I was going to say commitment, but I'm not sure it's really the mark of great actors. Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin spent months working on their duel in The Princess Bride, and got so wound up they often kept fighting after the director called 'cut'. Total commitment. But so what? That makes them maniacs, not great actors.
I don't know what to do with Russell Crowe, but I think he should be in the hunt. He rates high on everything above except longevity, but he's 40 so can hardly help that. I think he's great. He transformed Gladiator from a straight-to-video piece of crap to something worth watching, and I don't think Master and Commander could have been made without him.
Thought Norton was brilliant in Fight Club, and have missed all subsequent work. Is 25th Hour worth the time?
[I didn't see 25th Hour but I can recommend American History X. --CSG]
GIVE IT UP FOR THE MAN
Puts life savings on red, wins, and walks away. And that, folks, is the correct way to gamble.
LATE COMMENT ON GREAT LIVING MOVIE ACTORS:
Robert Duvall - A natural moral authority, takes huge, quiet risks, is great even in really bad movies. Even when bombastic, (Apocolypse Now) he seems unaffected, dangerously honest.
Michael Caine - One cannot fault him for lack of quality productivity.
Forest Whitaker (Bird, Ghost Dog, Crying Game somewhat flawed movies with flashes of brilliance-Michael Caine said he was the only American actor who ever did a perfect Cockney accent)
April 10, 2004
POKING THE BEAR WITH A STICK
Just for fun, I visited the NSA site, and like the CIA, they are recruiting heavily, and have a kids (!) page (just like the Delta-Force 'Funtivities!!' page, one presumes) . I'm putting in the link here ; note the time. Let's see if sitemeter starts buzzing.
April 09, 2004
ANOTHER ENRON VICTIM
Skilling apparently determined to live out The Hudsucker Proxy in detail...
[Creatures like Skilling remind me that our most outrageous, internalized, monocle-wearing, laughing maniacally over cigars around the conference table collective unconscious caricatures of corporate malfeasance pale,pale, in comparison to the real thing. -PWP
April 08, 2004
France! Air Force! Mexico! Singapore! And L.A!
England! Secret Military Monitoring Project in Texas! Government of California!
Also, an unusual spike in activity on Today's Tomorrow's Headlines- double the record visits today. Either I'm suddenly much funnier, or something has electro-interpercolated.
Among others, we've had visits from friends at:
[But those are dwarfed by "IP address only." Hmmm. -UttDC]
HOW TO BE A CHESS TROUBLEMAKER
Chess is really the Russian game - it was state-sponsored for decades. Lenin said that "chess is the gymnastics of the mind," and they put it on banners. Promising young talents got special education and training, and matches got the same kind of buildup and publicity as major sporting events. It was a brilliant policy for a big poor country. The game is easily learned and you don't need much equipment. People from all walks of life can play, and gamescores can be easily disseminated by newspaper or telegraph.
And best of all, chess was apolitical. People who might otherwise become confused by reactionary concepts could instead be occupied with Botvinnik's latest victory using the Dutch Stonewall. Instead of reading smuggled Ayn Rand books, they could master the Slav Defense to the Queen's Gambit.
But even in chess, you can send a message. And the opening for sending a message to The Man would have to be the Latvian countergambit. This is the opening your beginning chess book warned you not to play. It's unsound, it's bound to lead to trouble, it's only played in coffee houses by sweaty men with moustaches, etc. etc.
It's true that not many grandmasters play it, but the Estonian grandmaster Keres did from time to time, and so did his friend, the mad wizard Bronstein. It's not a coincidence that either one of these men could have been world champion, had the Soviet state not decided Botvinnik was their boy.
When you play the Latvian, you're getting in the face of the man. You're making a statement. You're saying you don't care what the books say, you're not going to be a good boy today. There is really a reviewer on Amazon who says "for all young players don't play this opening...it is very risky." I say: live! breathe! fight! Play the Latvian!
Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Dr. X, how can I familiarize myself with this dynamic response to e4?"
Well, I'm here to help. You'll need the book of course, and the CD. You should also download a recent games collection and collate it using an open-source chess database management program.
And the next time you face off against some Stalinist chess hack, you'll know what to do.
UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION, THE SCALIA WAY
This will not increase your faith in the judiciary or the press.
April 07, 2004
Given the Laird's legalistic demand that the greatest living actor be someone who is actually alive, and not Tom Hanks, the nominee list becomes:
Robert De Niro
I'd say Pacino should be eliminated since DeNiro's the same thing but better. Scarface was cool though, or so I've heard.
Has been dead for four years.
All very good, but I don't think any of them has a claim to being The Greatest.
This is tough, but despite a couple of the greatest screen performances of all time (The Godfather, On the Waterfront, Apocalypse Now), he rested on his laurels and indulged his eccentricities such that, if he didn't exactly kill his career, he certainly put it in a coma. I believe he could have been The Greatest, but simply doesn't have the body of work to compete with the remaining two.
Pacino and DeNiro:
Other than for the fact that they are both 60-ish Italian American actors from New York that studied under Lee Strasberg who became movie stars in the early 70's, they really don't have that much in common. Pacino doesn't have DeNiro's intensity, and DeNiro doesn't have Pacino's bombast (though, in their worst moments, each has abused these signatures). DeNiro has taken more safe, unchallenging roles (Midnight Run, Analyze This, and even Ronin), whereas Pacino has taken a lot more chances (Cruising, Revolution, Dick Tracy, et al).
Michael Corleone (The Godfather)
Sonny Wortznik (Dog Day Afternoon)
Tony Montana (Scarface)
Ricky Roma (Glengarry Glen Ross)
Frank Slade (Scent of a Woman)
Vito Corleone (The Godfather)
Jake LaMotta (Raging Bull)
Travid Bickle (Taxi Driver)
Rupert Pupkin (King of Comedy)
Max Cady (Cape Fear)
I think it's a tough, tough call between them, but I don't think that there is another living actor with the extraordinary body of work that either of them has accumulated over their careers.
There are a couple of younger actors that, in my opinion, could match or surpass their achievments:
SOMEONE MUST STOP THESE TERRORISTS
I refer, of course, to bad drivers. The BBC today focuses on road deaths - 1.2 mm people a year, considerably more than the number killed in wars. Since India is projected to go from 5 mm cars today to 250 mm by 2050, this number might be expected to rise.
Road safety is not a hot button issue. The last mainstream politician I heard mention this topic was Robert Kennedy. Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook still work on it, apparently.
Looking over a list of the dozens of shareholder resolutions filed by activists with public companies for the upcoming proxy season. Auto safety is not mentioned.
EVEN THE BLOOMBERG MACHINE IS INTO PAUL KLEE
This morning's opening quote on the Bloomberg machine is from Paul Klee: "Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible."
This is a little weird since Bloomberg's quote tastes generally run along the lines of Adam Smith and Marcus Aurelius.
[No, it's pronounced "klay." -Art Goon]
April 06, 2004
HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT OF ICELAND
I begin to question Iceland Review.
["No law prevents a non-Icelander from running..." Hmmmm.... - Dr. X]
GUESS HE'LL BE SELLING ARMORED VESTS AT THE STATEVILLE PRISON FROM NOW ON
A Marine has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling stolen body armor over the Internet.
ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS
And those two systems will be...the Chinese system!
AND WHAT CHEERS ME CONSIDERABLY MORE>
Nader BLOWS getting on the OREGON ballot, and then mutters "it must have been the basketball game."
April 05, 2004
THIS SHOULD CHEER UP PWP
[The Rasmusson reports tracking poll also records a recovery from Kerry's minor losses last week, and he's leading in most of the swing states. -PWP]
Must...spend...more time...reading blogs...
April 04, 2004
NOT TOTALLY FORGOTTEN
AP and CNN mention Paul Klee. Decent article, actually. I once read a bluffer's guide that recommended invoking Klee's name to defang art snobs on the grounds that 1) he was good, 2) his style is not easily pigeonholed, and 3) not many people know much about him.
[I've never heard anyone say anything less than wonderful about Klee. But more to the point, he was particularly not forgotten in San Francisco, where you missed a nice show of his work at SF MOMA recently, didn't you, Dr. X, didn't you? ]
[Not to dodge the question, but despite his obvious talent and considerable reputation, I never got Paul Klee, though I'm coming around now (Seiltanzer was step one in my conversion). Klee's problem is threefold, in my opinion. First, his interest in the child-like runs counter to our traditional artistic focus on suffering, sex and death. Second, his work doesn't market itself that well - I've never seen a Klee that would make a good album cover (Picasso and Matisse avoided this error). Finally, Klee has been ill-served by generations of imitators whose work looks roughly like this but isn't nearly as good. - Dr. X ]
[1. What is an "album cover?" 2. Suffering, sex, and death is the decoration on a 13th century cathedral. 3. Bad imitators is a sure sign of triumph.-PWP]
GREATEST LIVING ACTOR? HAH!
Documentation for a mild little debate we're having.
De Niro, says the BBC, is "cinema's greatest living actor," although they note that he has "never made a masterpiece without his fellow New Yorker [Scorcese] at the helm." Not being a fan of Scorcese's favored artistic scenario (gritty ethnic nutball has violent encounters), I have a symmetrical disinterest in De Niro.
I thought De Niro was considered the greatest by acclamation, but even with the help of Google it's hard to find all those breathless raves I have read over the years. De Niro was voted greatest actor of all time in this obscure poll and this online survey (nosing out the Laird's favorite).
Paul Newman and John Gielgud have won polls. Also Al Pacino. And I suppose these guys have a right to be included in the conversation.
I would add the man who is obviously a contender, but hasn't won any polls and didn't win two Oscars:
So the nominees might be (in alphabetical order):
Robert De Niro
That gives an even dozen, though I suppose Bogart and Grant belong on that list as well. Now...who the hell is Frederic March?!
1) I'm tempted to dismiss, out of hand, your nominees Messrs. Laughton, Tracy, March, Cooper, and Sir John Gielgud, for the title of "Greatest Living Actor" as they are, to my understanding, no longer living.
2) To those who claim that DeNiro has not made a masterpiece outside of the directorial supervision of Scorcese, I might refer them to a film, released early in his career, entitled: "The Godfather, Part II."
3) Tom Hanks? I thought you wanted to identify the "Greatest Living Actor," not "Most Overrated Movie Star."
April 03, 2004
LOVED BY THE COOL, HATED BY THE FOOL
Hellboy gets thumbs up from Ebert, thumbs down from Roeper. 'Nuff said.
CULTURE FOR THE LAIRD
Akira motorcycle now a reality.
[YES!!! YES!!! That RULES!!! -LoM]
PUPPIES ARE NICE
Kittens are ok, too, but puppies are the best. I think, whenever someone gets upset, they should think about how nice puppies are.
La dee dee, think I'll go read some innocuous comics.
[Hey Lloy...I mean Dr. X...you have the admin privileges so www.sitemeter.com needs your lovin' attention. Follow the instructions, and use a junk email!]
April 02, 2004
NIPR.MIL IS WATCHING TODAY'S TOMORROW'S HEADLINES
The webcounter (sitemeter.com) I found for TTH records an amazing amount of information - entry and exit pages, time by time zone, IP address, time spent, and the domain name. But here was the mysterious domain: NIPR.mil, with suspiciously little information about it, looking at my blog for a couple minutes. I dare you: try finding out more about this domain. It's thinly described as a kind of semi-secure DOD thing, and the only real references I could find are on other sites remarking on this self-same event. A number of these sites appear to be leftists of one flap or another, including the "progressive clothing" site.
The visit took several minutes - went through two but not four pages. Someone was probably reading it. Maybe someone at the pentagon likes my wee dry whizzles. [I think there is probably someone at the Pentagon whose job it is to look for bad stuff on the Internet. Since we're now under surveillance, I suggest all inflammatory phrases be expressed in Pig Latin. -MoF] Huzzah, I say. But now into this mix throw the recent reauthorization for domestic political spying by a whole set of intelligence agencies . Shall we install sitemeter and try to bait them?
[Go for it! -MoF]
Here's a little discussion on the web..
SOMEONE MAKE HIM LISTEN
"Prominent liberals are pleading with third-party candidate Ralph Nader to abandon his 'quixotic and destructive' presidential bid, warning that his presence in the race could ensure the re-election of President Bush."
[Our only hope is to expose the conspiracy. -LoM]
ADMINISTRATION: JUDGE US BY OUR DEEDS
"What matters is what we were doing on terrorism, not whether there is a speech on terrorism..."
It's not like I was listening real closely anyway, but this fellow seems to be saying to not take the content of the administration's speeches seriously. I don't believe I've ever heard of a such a thing. Why? Because their speeches are not reflective of the administration's actual beliefs? Because they are just talk and not substantive? Because they are designed to be untruthful? Enquiring minds want to know.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
"To say that the [Bush-Cheney] secret presidency is undemocratic is an understatement," [John Dean says]. "I'm anything but skittish about government, but I must say this administration is truly scary and, given the times we live in, frighteningly dangerous."
[At this rate, I expect Zombie Nixon to stumble in the room and declare of Bush: what an asshole. -PWP]
JOBS REPORT - NOT WHAT KERRY HAD IN MIND
Earlier this week Kerry hammered Bush for poor job growth. Today's jobs report was huge - including the January and February revisions, the economy has added 400,000 jobs or so in the past month (expectations were for 150,000 or so). To give you some perspective on that number, IBM and Ford each employ about 300,000 people.
The issue to my mind has never been jobs - the unemployment rate of 5.7% is at '95-'96 levels, nothing like a crisis level. The real question is the quality of jobs, and campaign rhetoric aside, I have not seen a good assessment of that.
[Correct - but because we are tallking about how people will vote based on their perceptions, the essential fear, family insecurity and anger isn't going away, even if we got half the number of jobs back lost in the last three years by November, which I seriously doubt (and keeping in mind another couple million job seekers are coming on the market). Polls suggest that the perception of Bush's economic actions as, oddly, benefiting the wealthy at everyone else's expense have been solid for at least two years, and a couple of quasi-boffo employment monthly statistics are no comfort at all to families trying to buy houses, plan for the future, or think crazily that maybe their kids will have a better life than they did. BTW, as you probably have guessed, the number of new U.S. Computer Science majors has plummeted. -PWP]
April 01, 2004
AND THEN THEY CAME FOR THE SUBDOMAINS
"Isn't this general knowledge? How can it be patented?"
This is a question that I've been asking over and over since business process patents came into being. I know, it hardly seems like a top priority these days, and I've every confidence that this administration or the next will get to it in due time. In the meanwhile, be careful how you swing.
[Brilliant - my son has already breached the swing patent, so his college fund is bound to be wiped out by the ensuing litigation. Perhaps I could patent "a method of extortion utilizing mechanisms of the U.S. patent office." - MoF ]