September 30, 2004

Repeat That Again - Slowly?

"...details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush's reelection campaign [were] heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi."

The Bush campaign wrote the damn speech?!

Presidential Debate Reaction

Now, I did have a horse in this race, but my perception was this:

At the end of the debate, there wasn't enough left of George W. Bush to pick up with tweezers.

I'm having a difficult time imagining how things could have gone better for Kerry.

My Favorite Week of the Year

This is the week when the SF Public Library puts surplus books up for sale in a warehouse at Fort Mason. Last year I got Will and Ariel Durant's History of Civilization for a song. This year I got:

The Most of SJ Perelman (hardcover, mint)
The World of Mathematics (hardcover, 4 volume boxed set)
The Horizon Book of Lost Worlds (special chapter on the Etruscans)
An Incomplete Education (hardcover, fine)
Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation (hardcover, mint)
The Lone Samurai (uncorrected proof of a new bio of Musashi)
The Ascent of Man, by Jacob Bloody Bronowski (hardcover, fair)
A Year in Provence

Now how much would you pay?
I got it all for $44.

They'll be open 'til Sunday, by the way, and they still have 40,000 books that they haven't put out yet.

So I Met a Bagpiping Celebrity

I was having my bagpipe lesson today, at my instructor's shop, when Jek Cunningham stopped by to buy some pipe reeds and chat for an hour or so.

Jek Cunningham, my instructor informed me, was the piper of whom the line was said, "PIPER DOWN" in Mike Meyers' So I Married an Axe Murderer. (He also performed the bagpipe rendition of Do You Think I'm Sexy.)

TSA Now Placing "Blithering Idiots" on No-Fly List

Anchorage Daily News | Transportation chair Young slips onto federal no-fly list


While you're waiting for tonight's rhetorical apocolypse, distract yourself with the likely to be merely entertaining impending eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

The inevitable Volcanocam.

A nice presentation of real time seismographic info that suggests an imminent explosion. Note the shallowness and location of the last few earthquakes.

Of course, if the Pacific Coast breaks off whole, a whimsy that might be forgiven with the seismological disco of the last few days, just think of the political opportunities.

September 29, 2004

BBC Bad Poetry and Vogon Poetry Generator

The Hitchiker's guide BBC site has a vogon poetry generator, as well as a bad poem hall of shame, including this particularly excellent horrible example, with its transformative last line:

Ode to a Brick

Oh brick, how square you are, and how bricky,
Lots of you make a wall thicky.
Orange, and made out of clay,
You are special to us all, in your own lovely way.
Like a rectangular hedgehog are you,
Only not at all.

One of Those "Only in San Francisco!" Tragedies

Bar patron dies after fight over right to disrobe

Evidence that Ray Rhodes is a Genius

Sports Illustrated NFL draft analysis on Florida State outside linebacker Michael Boulware:

A top athlete whose game possesses large amounts of explosion, Boulware offers a lot of upside for the future and should just get better as he physically matures. Should be a starting weak-side linebacker midway through his rookie campaign and worthy of being drafted early in the second round.
Okay, so he lasted late into the second round, as teams were concerned about his being too small to play linebacker in the NFL. The Seahawks grabbed him. After three games in the pros, he has 10 tackles and 2 interceptions as the backup strong safety.

September 28, 2004

The Infinite Cat Project

Certainly, the nation quavers at the critical debate on Thursday. Glaciers are calving. Iraq is collapsing. Half the worlds species, its languages, its resources gone by 2050. Robots taking our jobs, ready to rob us of our humanity. Languages and cultures evaporating, millions in slavery, billions in oppression. A boss humiliates a worker because he can. Lies and weapons of untold destructive violence perpetuate power. Desparate, indifferent men kill. Women betray their daughters. Beautiful dreams and love sours. Nigeria turns to civil war, war unending in Sudan, Congo, Pakistan, mayhem, violence, arrogance, avarice. Hurricanes, El Nino, subservience, envy....

And then there is a sort of opposite, the Infinite Cat Project.

The Sweet, Sweet Universe

Inform the children immediately: there are giant clouds, light-years across, of simple sugar floating in the middle of our galaxy, the Milky Way (no word yet on nougat- which one naturally assumes was alien in origin.) I contend that there has never been a more Santa Claus like science fact, ever. A report, presumably, from the good space-ship Lollypop.

It's Science!

How was the Quake?

In the interests of humanity and salacious detail, how was the quake?

Alexander the Great

TMQ points out that Shaun Alexander has more touchdowns than the entire Arizona and Miami teams combined.

Just Because We Knew Doesn't Mean We Could Have Known

NYT: The National Intelligence Council described what would happen in Iraq an awful long time ago.

September 27, 2004

What's Better Update

Bill O'Reilly is a Dunce

And so are his viewers.

Listen to Satchel

Whether Paige ever really gave the health advice he is famous for is open to dispute. But it was good advice.

Speak of the Devil

A new book on Sisler, The Sizzler: George Sisler, Baseball's Forgotten Great is due out 10/31.

I must admit that the fact he played for a terrible team puts me even more firmly in his corner.

September 26, 2004

George Sisler Was a Man

Just some kind words for George Sisler, whose record Ichiro is menacing (this is a great article). As every schoolchild knows, Sisler was not only a devastating hitter, but the finest defensive first baseman of his generation. And he led the league in stolen bases four times. Lots of guys have won the AL MVP Award, of course, but Sisler won the first one, so extra credit there.

When the original Bill James Historical Abstract came out (a book which he, Wittgenstein-like, revisited and largely recanted in a later edition), James rated Sisler as the only legitimate challenger to Gehrig's status as the greatest first baseman of all time. He reasoned that since all other great first basemen were one-dimensional power hitters, and since Gehrig was obviously the greatest of that type, if it were going to be anyone but Gehrig, it would have to be a completely different type of ballplayer, like Sisler. In the later book, Sisler dropped out of the top 100, without explanation.

Sisler's always been on my shadow Hall of Fame team. This team is designed to beat a team of the best players ever. My theory is that in any game of immortals, it's going to be close. And what wins close games? Pitching and defense. So my team can pitch, field and scratch out runs (and has plenty of power, too):

Mickey Cochrane, c (best player: probably Johnny Bench)
Catcher is the toughest position on this team, because we really don't know who was the greatest at calling games, and in my opinion that's the catcher's most important function. Bench and Cochrane are pretty interchangeable, so whichever one's the greatest, I'll take the other.

George Sisler, 1b (best player: Gehrig)
Gehrig's not going to stop that hard grounder in the gap. Sisler's nickname was "Gorgeous George".

Bill Mazeroski, 2b (best player: Joe Morgan)
Greatest double-play pivot of all time. But gives up a lot offensively to Morgan.

Graig Nettles, 3b (best player: Mike Schmidt)
Killer D, and did it in big games. Brooks Robinson's on the bench.

Ozzie Smith, ss (best player: Honus Wagner)
Wagner was probably the best player of his generation, so Ozzie's got to bring his A game.

Stan Musial, lf (best player: Babe Ruth or Ted Williams or Barry Bonds)
Remembered as a power hitter, which of course he was, but he was also known as the "Donora Greyhound" for his speed.

Tris Speaker, cf (best player: Mickey Mantle)
"The Gray Eagle" played shallower than anyone else, and holds the record for most double plays by an outfielder.

Dwight Evans, rf (best player: ???)
Great arm, great instincts, played Fenway like a Stradivarius. To those who disagree I say DEWIE!!!! DEWIEEEEEE!!!! DEWIEEEEEEEE!!!

Carl Hubbell, control pitcher (best pitcher: Walter Johnson or Sandy Koufax)
"The Meal Ticket" struck out five Hall of Famers to start the 1934 all-star game, including Ruth and Gehrig.

Lefty Grove, power pitcher
Battery-mate with Cochrane, the two of them would have mutual tantrums and tear up the clubhouse when they lost. If you think Grove is the best pitcher ever, replace with Koufax.

Satchel Paige, secret weapon pitcher
He really should be the starter, but I'm saving him for long relief.

New Hitchhiker's Guide Radio!

BBC has a new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series ..

Almost but not quite entirely unlike the first one.

More on How Great the Seahawks Are

More impressive to me than their 3-0 record is, given that the "big question" for the Seahawks this season was supposed to be "defense", thus far their opponents are averaging 4.3 points a game.

In case you missed in during the broadcast of the game: this is the first time in 27 years (456 games, postseasons included) that the Niners have been held scoreless -- almost as long as I've known the Undersectretary and the Viceroy.

Mariner's Ichiro Poised to Break 84-year-old Record

The bright spot in an otherwise abysmal season for the M's: Ichiro needs just one hit in each of the remaining seven games to beat George Sisler's 1920 record of 257 hits in a season.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Baseball: Ichiro gains more ground on hits record

Just How Good Are the Seahawks?

We will get our first chance to find out on 10/17. They sure looked great today! Here is their season schedule:

09/12 New Orleans
09/19 Tampa Bay
09/26 San Francisco
10/10 St. Louis
10/17 New England
10/24 Arizona
10/31 Carolina
11/07 San Francisco
11/14 St. Louis
11/21 Miami
11/28 Buffalo
12/12 Minnesota
12/19 Jets
12/26 Arizona
01/02 Atlanta

A Bit More on That Ethics Situation

From the Alaska Ear:

"Tuckerman Babcock may be mad at Rep. Cheryll Heinze for her activities in the utility arena, or so rumor has it, but it appears not everyone shares that view.

"On Aug. 19 in Fairbanks, the Alaska Power Association, an organization of rural utilities, presented Cheryll with the David P. Hutchens Public Service Award "in recognition of her leadership on behalf of Alaska's electric consumers and their utilities," it said.

" 'Tonight, we honor an individual who, while fairly new to state politics, was very effective at putting our issues on the forefront. She dedicated an extensive amount of time to getting up to speed and becoming well versed on matters of importance to the electric industry and those we serve. ... (She) sets an example for her legislator colleagues.'

"Alas, an example her colleagues will probably not rush to emulate. Earwigs who pay attention will recall that Cheryll is not running for re-election, having been forced out of state politics, apparently by a different faction of the ever fractious utility industry."

She's a Republican by the way.

Football Outsiders Model Not 100% Reliable

Seahawks now 3-0, after annihilating the 49ers. NFL teams that are 3-0:
  • Jaguars
  • Eagles
  • Falcons
  • Seahawks

New England also undefeated, but this is their bye week.

Alaskan Ethics Whistleblower

Here's a familiar face, our old friend embroiled in Alaska politics, a key witness and complainant in an evolving ethics violation.

September 25, 2004

Radioactive Boy Scout

A true classic from Harper's in the 90's about a boy scout's quest for his Atomic merit badge. He more or less makes a real, small reactor with duct tape. All too real. It ends badly.

PS - polls almost never take into account new voters.

Like a Train Wreck in Slow Motion

Slate has a handy election scorecard with lots of poll updates. Bush is still winning. I hold out great hope for the debates, though. I'm a little prone to melodrama on this subject, but I swear this is the most important election of my lifetime.

Debate dates: 9/30, 10/8, 10/13 (The Vice Presidents go at it on 10/5.)

Details here.

Assuming I'm Right, This is Why I'm Right

New York Times report on the voter registration drives; the Republicans are working at it, but it's the Democrats that are delivering in spades, doubling and tripling and more in new voters over 2000.

September 24, 2004

Nice to See Someone Else Sees It Too

Danziger gets it.

Selective Self-Censorship

About ten years ago Wal-Mart refused to carry Magic Johnson's book on HIV because it talked about dirty things like sex. Now it emerges that they have been carrying The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The whole episode is described here - note that has dutifully provided a box at the bottom of the story that will alert you to new developments in:
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Judaism
  • Retail
  • Wal-Mart

Check 'em all!

No Kidding

The San Francisco Icelandic Film Society blog is now underway, to be followed by the actual organization. If all goes well, we should have an actual Icelandic film available in a month or so. If all does not go well, we'll just go to Iceland to see the damn things.

More Plebes Are Needed!

National Guard can't meet recruitment quotas...

September 23, 2004

I Miss Gilda and Beware of Scientologists

My true love was out of town and I was lonely and staying up late. I turned on the "Late Show with David Letterman" and Tom Cruise was supposed to be there talking about "Collateral," a movie I liked.

The movie star came out and took his seat and...he had a MASSIVE BOOGER hanging out of his nose. I couldn't stop staring at it. I felt the pain of the camera operators and directors as they flipped from angle to angle, trying to find a less unappealing one. They failed. The booger was huge. Dave got Tom to laughing hard about something (I don't remember what; I was in snot shock.) and then the huge schlagober FLEW OUT OF THE CRUISE NOSE. Tom asked for a tissue but it was too late. I took a wee potty break and returned to watch. Presently, Cruise had ANOTHER GIANT LOOMING LOOGIE HANGING OFF THE END OF HIS NOSE! I am NOT squeamish, but it was disgusting. I thought of Roseanne Roseannadanna.

Much later I mentioned this to my true love and he asked me if any fan sites covered this important probiscal incident. Several Google searches later, I can report: NONE OF THEM DID!!!

I very much fear that this mucosal prodigy has been CENSORED by SCIENTOLOGISTS. I don't say this lightly: these were two behemoth boogers, sure to have been remarked upon.

Spot the Missing Nation

2001 State Department map showing countries with al Qaeda operations, courtesy of War and Piece.

September 22, 2004

CBS for K

Baby Seal
Originally uploaded by eevans24.

Cute Baby Seals for Kerry

Where Opposition Turns to Contempt

NY Times article going over unconscionable efforts to surpress the African-American vote that at the very least disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Americans. Leave out the ex-felon issue for a moment, and take a gander at the dirty tricks. This is why there are so few Republican activists to have an honest conversation with. There is no simply no basis for a intelligent disagreements over political philosophy. There is nothing to learn here, no consensus to be built, no commonality of American culture. This is where political differences turn into personal hatred.

I'm not talking about ordinary conservatives, but so many Republican political operatives have become moral criminals, in obsequiese service of power. Their arguments are not honest enough to have merit, and to engage in a conversation with these sons of a bitches is to let them win by legitimizing the most dangerous bullshit. There is nothing to do but fight them, and break them.

Passing of Nightmares You Didn't Know You Had

Saving us all from the threat of a Giant Slolum Apocalypse, Liechtenstein finally signs the nuclear test ban treaty.

My only question: What was the delay?

Wow - WA Business Stands Up to US Chamber on Sleezebag Politics

And it's only indirectly in their economic interests.

September 21, 2004

Stop Whining and Start Winning!

And now, a message from Michael Moore.

We are The Barbary Coast Pirates for Truth And We Avow This Message

To the Devil's Bowels With that Unholy Bottom Feeding Bush-Beast and His Belicose, Scurrilous Sea-Cows! If I've me way I'll have their entrails for a new Preventer-Stay! A butt-bolus of pox to the scurvied-horse-faced sons-o' ship's pig sods he calls his partymates! And I'll wager Norwegian gold to a sea-donut to the first man here that shows Himself doing anything in 1972 but a-whoring and a-drinking instead of standing by his air-mateys where's he'd outght t' been.

Paid for by a Slow Great Tub of an Indiaman Taken Off Madagascar.

(Additions here)

UN to Bush: "Suck Me Side-Ways!, Ye Mangey Wart on a Baboon's Backside"

Did I say that with my "out-loud" voice?

A Signal! A Signal From Cap'n Slappy!

Bless Me weary sea-faring heart, but we've been a-hailed by Capn' Slappy of the Talk Like a Pirate Day site himself! They asked for reports of how one celebrated the blessed day - I sent our recent posts, and received this reply:


A fine bit o' cursin' ye do! I'd be horn-swoggled and jabber-jawed to keep
up with ye! As a boy, I learned to navigate in the unforgivin' streams o'
traffic o' the Emerald City and had me language been so colorful and
creative - me blood pressure would now be lower!

Well done!

Cap'n Slappy

Cap'n Slappy, Hail and Well Met! A greater honor had we never!

The Last Thoughtful Man

You know how you sometimes read an interview and there's a moment of rare clarity and really thoughtful insight? Well I got about four of those moments in The Onion AV Club's interview with Stephen Fry:
  • On Darwin: "People still don't get how astounding Darwinism is. People think what shocked everybody was that Charles Darwin seemed to be saying we had descended from apes. Well, yes, that's what the public and the cartoonists believe. But actually, what was shocking about it was that it said 'all life is struggle'...The discovery of that was profoundly shattering to the late 19th century and early 20th century. "
  • On writing about the Holocaust: "I know my publishers wanted me to write a foreword to Making History saying, 'Look, I am a Jew. I think I have a right to address this.' But once you start having to say, 'Look, this is the number of my family killed in the Holocaust. That gives me the right to discuss it and to think about it, then it becomes ridiculous. The Holocaust has no meaning if it doesn't affect us all."
  • On being a dilettante (or maybe promiscuity, it's hard to tell): "There's always the danger - there's a very dismissive British phrase, 'Jack of all trades and master of none.' But who wants to be the master of one trade, rather than having fun doing lots of things? The best evidence is that we're all just going to be on this planet once. So we might as well taste as many fruits of as many trees of as many orchards as there are in the world."
  • On why the time is ripe for the ascendancy of the First Sea Lord: "Well, the Che Guevara picture has become a piece of retro-chic now, and with the death of communism and so on, nobody really believes that any kind of genuine revolutionary politics can change the world. After the shooting of John Lennon and the early death of so many great stars and the utter naked venal mercantile marketing of pop music and rock music, I don't think anyone really believes that music is anything more than another commodity. Now, if you go to a student's room, I think the chances are if they have posters on the wall, they will be of Oscar Wilde, or maybe Albert Einstein [if you don't believe him, look at this]. The life of the mind, whether the mind of an artist or of a scientist, is what students perhaps believe in more now. The radical thing to be is a thinker and an artist who can find a way of reshaping our way of looking at reality."

I suggest a new strategy

Hard pressed on my right; my left is in retreat. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.

Well, it worked for Marshal Foch.

September 20, 2004

CNN Admits It Cannot Prove Authenticity of Wolf Blitzer

[I think TTH was scooped on this one... -LoM]

James Wolcott: CNN Admits It Cannot Prove Authenticity of Wolf Blitzer: "In a shock announcement that will reverberate through broadcast journalism, CNN has acknowledged that it can no longer vouch for the authenticity of host Wolf Blitzer."

What I Learned From Talk Like A Pirate Day

Of course, the social situations where you can talk like a pirate are limited, but I did find the perfect situation: IN TRAFFIC. Cursing like a pirate cheers you up rather than further angers you.




Are You Undecided? Or Not?

Larry David: Are You Undecided? Or Not?: "I'd like to address this to the Undecideds: I'm on to you. You may be fooling everyone else with your little 'undecided' act, but you're not fooling me. You know perfectly well whom you're voting for. The only reason you say you're undecided is that it's a cheap ploy to get attention."


A youth vote initiative that's so crazy it might just work!


(Browser discretion advised.)

September 19, 2004

Don Shula Twitches Nervously

As of now there are eight unbeaten teams in the NFL (7 after tomorrow night's game) - New England is there of course, and it may be time to break up the Lions - but most importantly, the list includes your Seattle Seahawks!

Another Fine Book on the Exploration of Faraway Places

This fine book explains what happened to those British officers who were not discharged following the Napoleonic Wars: they were sent on suicidal missions of exploration, from darkest Africa to the Canadian Arctic. A few of them made it back.

It is also notably strong in describing the the London bureaucracy that directed them, particularly the activities of John Barrow, Second Secretary to the Admiralty.

I have not yet read The Arctic Grail but one reviewer suggests this is a good prequel (goes up to the 1840s).

Avast, Revoke Their Passports Matey!

Well blow me down! U.S. Ryder Cup team plays like a bunch o' bilge rats, loses to leprechauns and limeys. Arrr! Are there any sports in which Americans can play it smartly, apart from pimpin' and flashin' yer bling-bling?

September 18, 2004


The main website be here, ye scurrilous bilge rats.

More at Capn' Bogg n' Salty's, with Mp3s.

"Let's see, where am I going to eat lunch tomorrow?"

From the Wikipedia page on the Information Awareness Office: "Futures Markets Applied to Prediction, or FutureMAP, intends to 'concentrate on market-based techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events.' It will analyze data from the world's economy in attempt to predict political instability, threats to national security, and in general every major event in the near future. The IAO's stated strategy for this division includes 'the markets must also be sufficiently robust to withstand manipulation', possibly suggesting the intention of altering future events to further the goals of the United States."

As the IAO appears to be fond of contrived acronyms, I think they should change their name to "Lateral Methodology Assessment Office," or "LMAO."

The Arctic Grail

is the extremely appropriate title of the book I'm reading about the search for the Northwest passage, with lots of being trapped in frozen ships with salt pork, burning the decks for fuel, contempt and pity for Eskimos who are usually saving the Explorers' rears, and a fine measure of fortitude, drinking, daring, foolhardiness, breathtaking ego, claming large pennisulas and naming them after a brand of Gin (Boothia!) and dysfunctional transoceanic relationships. (We can only thank god that the age of exploration largely ended before the age of ubiquitous marketing. Shiver.)

Part of this is background for a possible actual Arctic journey/ projecy I've been tossing about for awhile that is begining to get some traction, through contacts from UW, CPW and the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, to wit:

An Arctic of the Mind: Climate Change, Art, and The Transformation of the Arctic in the Imagination

Synopsis: As atmospheric warming transforms the Arctic regions and the experiences of those living in them, it resculpts the very idea of what the Arctic is. This project supports artistic research towards a touring international "circumpolar" show of artwork, exploring themes of transformation in the arctic driven by accelerating climate change. Tapping indigenous artists working in a contemporary vein and other artists working with arctic themes, the project will also build artist relationships with the science community, between artists and international curators, and create opportunities for artists to physically experience the Arctic as a primary source.

There is the real possibility of getting some funding from the National Science Foundation, which is very interested in "synthesis," as arctic science has come to make clear that reductionism only gets you so far. Some arctic art projects have happened, but scattershot, a bit postcardy, and not really focused on more aggressive contemporary techniques.

All this got me thinking about things of speculative concern to Our Laird. One is that reading about all these people trapped on ships for three or four consecutive winters in the Arctic made me sad that these explorers had no role playing games! How much stark raving madness might have been prevented and replaced with adaptive fantasy? (It's interesting to read of happy ships, which cultivated good relations with the Natives, what, and invariably organized theater, and unhappy ones, which tended to eat their frozen lead-poisoned comrades.) Imagine this conversation:

Well, that's the last of the meat-biscuit. It's blubber for tomorrow, lads, but buck up, the sun will be up in a mere 40 days, and then we'll dig out a 8 foot trench around the ship as we discussed to refit her - I tell you artlessly that if we pull together, she shall float again! Now then, Billings, I believe you were being attacked by a Balrog. Are you defending with the plus ten mace or the Spell of Binding?

Sound of a force-10 howler above, a harmonica, and two dice hitting an oaken deck.

This boils down to a word of encouraging interest - if you were still inclined to guide the late 19th century adventure by means as necessary.

A re-starting point - a history and photos of the "Bear", Capt. Mike Healy's Dundee Revenue cutter from the 1880's , provided thoughtfully by the Mill Valley Freemasons. Amazingly, the Bear lasted all the way to the early 60's, even having served in WWII.

Interesting Polling Discrepency Article

Headline article in todays PI on polling disparities, which are numerous. I've been impressed by Zogby's outspoken comments, although he's clearly not a social scientist in the traditional sense. Certainly much has to do with sudden volatility (once again, America is partly at the mercy of people who would vaccillate between, say Roosevelt and Caligula "I don't know, it seems like Caligula is the straight shooter - the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer or ravage a few Stygian slave girls before you sent them into the tiger pit with." The large Gallup (USA-CNN) leads for Bush look suspicious when 38% of those polled are Rs, 31% Is, and 31% Ds in one of the post-convention polls. That isn't even close to to registration by party or likely turnout.

The only sensible conclusion is that it's a pie fight, and it's going to stay a pie fight, and whoever throws the most and best pies with the greatest accuracy is likely to take it, and then if the clowns are running the country I'm going to Nader's house and fill his discount tube socks with tapicoa pudding.

The Good Internet

Thanks in part to the urging of fellow Eisengeisters, I've finally switched to Firefox. Thanks very much for the pointer to the Firefox Google Toolbar, which, to my delight, is even better than the one for IE.

The final barrier for my was my reliance on Popup Cop in IE. I not only used it to block popups, but to freeze annoying animated ads on web pages. Unfortunately, they don't have a Firefox version.

BUT, the Adblock Firefox extension is even better, as it can (through progressive configuration) block all advertising images. (Take note, FSL!) I strongly recommend that you install it, and read the instructions on how to use it. Since last night, I've been able to define 10 filters that block almost all advertising images that I typically run into on the Web. Overnight, I've been able to convert my web browser to a program that delivers infomation instead of advertising.

British Kings

The full list is here. They recommend this mnemonic:

Willy Willy Harry Steve,
Henry Dick John Henry three;
Then three Edwards Richard two,
Henry Four, Five Six then who?
Edward four five, Dick the bad,
Two more Henries, Ned the lad;
Bloody Mary she came next,
Then we have our Good Queen Bess.
From Scotland we got James the Vain;
Charlie one, two, James again.
William and Mary, Anna Gloria,
Four Georges, William, and Victoria.
Edward, George, the same again,
Now Elizabeth - and the end.

September 17, 2004


Did anyone see this show? Was it any good?

It's Good to be King

Charles II had the "King" thing worked out fairly well, it appears.

Great Moments in Ribaldry

I've been reading Neal Stephenson's novel Quicksilver, the first book in his "Baroque Cycle" (being a slow reader, I don't embark lightly on a 3000-page trilogy, but after 500 pages, it's proven to be time well spent), which is set in one of my favorite periods of history, the late 17th century. (See also An Instance of the Fingerpost.) I was never a fan of cyberpunk buffoonery, but Stephenson is turning into a first-rate historical novelist.

It had me re-reading parts of Will Durant's The Age of Louis XIV, where I found this gem of an anecdote about Nell Gwynn, first first lady of the English theater, and mistress to King Charles II (who reigned during The Restoration):

All the world knows how, when the London populace mistook Nell for her Catholic rival and jeered her, she put her pretty head out the coach window and cried: "Be silent, good people; I am the Protestant whore!"

September 16, 2004


Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

It Ain't Mother Moose

I put in a Blues Clues video for my son the other day and noticed that the music was really good. Turns out it's late performance by Ray Charles.

Mother Moose never sang "Hey-Hey, Shooba-dee-ay." If she had it might have saved me from a life of crime and rhetorical excess.

Totting Up the Bill

Let's see how the Cayman Islands did:

Dozens missing.

Three local insurance firms likely wiped out, or at least impaired.

Here is a list of stuff they forgot to stockpile in their bank vaults:
* Generators * Water filtration systems
* Transistor Radios * Tents
* Batteries * Cots
* Battery powered lanterns * Plywood
* Canned Food * Generators
* Blankets * Chainsaws
* Water * Plastic cans for fuel

They are requesting you send your donations (no kidding) to:
The Cayman Islands Hurricane Relief Fund
Account #621506296065 with JP Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank.

Seems like a good idea. I'm also planning to send some money to the Spastic Swiss Bankers' Association and the League of Dribbling Idiots Who Used to be Bond Traders.

We must be compassionate in these difficult times.

Down to Business

Two new polls, including a Pew, have the race tied again.

Handy Adding!

You either knew many years ago, or just realized, that you can use the main Google seach line as a crude calculator with + - * or /


A big Washington Poll Error

This speaks to what I was bringing up: a pre-election poll this week by a Republican pollster had Gregoire (D) over Rossi (GOP) in a tight 44-41% general election. But look at the actual primary totals from this week.

The actual election totals were about 470,000 Democratic votes to about 316,000 Republican votes, of about 899,000 votes cast. (The remainder are third party and dogged non-partisans - who knows what they're smokin') If it is a reasonable assumption that voters will stay with their primary party, then this is a very large underestimation of Democratic voters in this Washington poll.

Other factors you should consider: this is the first closed primary; primaries tend to draw out partisans; turnout which should have been down with a closed primary (see Bollenbach, 1986) was steady. Also, a recent poll had a solid but not overwhelming 8 point Kerry lead - but I find this curious. This is where I think Democratic turnout is being underestimated.

We're Sorry Our President is an Idiot

I thought of this first. Okay, maybe not, but I did publish, in these very pages, a guide for travel in France

September 15, 2004

Is Anyone Else Mildly Concerned About Growing German Interest in Speaking Klingon?

Deutche-Welle, German Radio, starts a website in Klingon.

An english translation is available, if your Klingon is not up to snuff.

Socialism Lurking

My fearless prediction: by the time the last Baby Boomer dies, American socialism will make Sweden look like Hong Kong. This report shows how that's going to work (pay particular attention to Figure 3).

The Bushies are terrified of this, so are trying to wipe out every entitlement they can, not understanding or caring that everything they are doing will be overturned when it becomes apparent that no one can afford healthcare and no one has saved enough for retirement.

They throw sand against the wind, and the wind will blow it back again...

Firefox 1.0 Preview is Out

I like Firefox. Firefox is my friend. Downloadhere.

I Am the Lord of Darkness, and I Approved This Message

Sorry, I've just been dying to use that headline.

Florida judge explains in monosyllables that, yes, he understands the governor wishes it were otherwise, but that hurricane or no, Ralph Nader is not going to be on the Florida ballot.

Soros Demands Satisfaction

Here is the full text of his letter to House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Creeping Despair

While I sit comfortably sniffing sea air; I sometimes read my hometown newspaper, the Herald-Dispatch, a Gannet paper with a broad readership in southern West Virginia. West Virginia is the state that makes national news once every four years when it is mentioned as a battleground state.

I won't give you a snapshot of the local political scene; instead, please bear with me as I quote extensively from the paper.

First, a letter from a reader.

Communists are still trying to destroy U.S.
If we consider that the latest threats against the United States of America are all against financial institutions, which are symbols of capitalism, and that the largest of these symbols, "The World Trade Center," was attacked twice, it should be obvious to all of us that their goal is to destroy capitalism.

Did you really think that communism was dead? Americans have been propagandized into thinking so, but communists never quit trying. They have under many names and guises been attempting to destroy us for many decades and are in a good position to do so now if they can fool us into voting the wrong way.
Who are these people who oppose everything we try to do in our dealings with the world? They are Muslim extremists, disgruntled and jealous French and German leaders and tyrants like Saddam. They are also liberal extremists here in our own country who want to see us fail.

Could the Socialists of the world be about to enter the final phase of their century long revolution? We cannot let this happen. Vote for George Bush in November, and remember that free enterprise capitalism has made us into the greatest country in the world and kept us free.
John Bruce Kennedy, Wayne WV

Next, a quote from an article about freshmen at Marshall University:

"Coming from the small town of Weston in central West Virginia, 18-year-old Marshall freshman Kaycee Heater wasn’t ready for the amount of studying or number of people she would encounter during her entry into college life. Heater also wasn’t prepared to be in the midst of such a diverse student body."

Ah, yes, that troublesome diversity. The article ends by explaining the problem of Marshal's diverse enrollment:

• 82.6% White
• 4.8% Black
• 0.8% Hispanic
• 1.4% Asian/Pacific Islander
• 0.3% American Indian/Alaskan
• 10.1% Unknown

Now, prepare yourselves for another reader's letter, a wonderfully nauseating collection of cliches, adages, and trite inanity, in a little piece I think of as "What the Fuck is a Tare?"

Judge your own life, not others’
Have you heard the expressions, "Get a life" Or "Go fly a kite" or "Row your own boat"?

So much grief could be avoided if every person looked at his or her own accountability before God. There are so many people who desire to critique your life. They assume they have the "right" to be the Holy Spirit in your life.

The ungodly, by picking apart your life’s motives, seem to think they can take the spotlight off their own sinful mistakes and shortcomings.

We each stand accountable for no one but ourselves. Believers are admonished to examine our own hearts. God keeps accurate records by individual names.

If you are tempted to throw stones at anyone else, remember this: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones."

Break God’s laws and one day you will be broken by them. It’s an irrefutable law. There’s the law of sowing and reaping. This applies to the positive as well as the negative.

Church member, religious or otherwise, remember that God allows tares to grow up beside the wheat. One day, the righteous judge will reveal which is which.

Tare or wheat, which one are you? Only you and God knows the answer.
Barbara Lynn Spurlock, Huntington, WV

I added the boldface.

And now, selected quotes from an article about Cheney's last visit to the state.

Cheney asks friendly W.Va. audience to tag along

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. -- Doddridge County teenager Dave Medlock likes to hunt every fall and he even bagged a deer two years ago.

So when Vice President Dick Cheney spoke about the right of Americans to have a gun, Medlock perked up.
"I really like him standing up for the Second Amendment," Medlock, 16, of New Milton, said after listening to Cheney during a visit to Clarksburg on Tuesday.

Both young and older West Virginians at a National Guard armory seemed to find something that appealed to them in Cheney’s speech, his second in West Virginia in as many days.

And Cheney warmed up quickly to his audience of about 1,000, inviting them to tag along on the campaign trail. "What are you doing for the next 49 days?" he said with a laugh.

Cheney touched on many issues he spoke about Monday near the Raleigh County Memorial Airport. He assured the crowd Tuesday that West Virginia coal is key to the nation’s energy plan.

Cheney also spoke out against so-called partial birth abortions and for keeping the Pledge of Allegiance unchanged.

"We believe Americans ought to say ’under God’ when pledging allegiance to the flag," Cheney said.

That comment hit home with retired Army instructor John Orosz of Bridgeport.
"I’m a firm believer in that," Orosz said, a miniature U.S. flag in his shirt pocket. "That’s a turnoff if anybody tries to talk about taking that away from me."

West Virginia is considered among a handful of battleground states, with most polls finding Bush and Kerry in a dead heat. [Outrage added] Bush carried West Virginia in 2000 despite Democrats outnumbering Republicans by about 2-1. However, Democrat Al Gore won Harrison County by 61 votes.
Cheney also visited Wheeling in early July, while Bush has made nine appearances in the state this year.

I'll just tell you this about another article: the city of Huntington is pressuring the State Attorney General to drop a lawsuit against a predatory lender because the lender has threatened to close its local office, laying off 600 workers, if the suit goes forward.

Okay, there you have it. This is our battleground and my creeping despair.

I'll leave you now for a while. I'm sad and tired and I need to go read my Bible. Or maybe something by George Orwell.

Optimism By Other Means

In this case, mine. I obviously can't scientifically extrapolate from a Washington State primary, but take a look at yesterday's primary results broken down by party (not reported is my overwhelming victory as precinct officer for Precinct 36-1806, and it is an interesting feeling to be surprised by your name on a ballot I assure you). In spite of it's progressive reputation, Washington as a whole is an evenly divided state politically, evenly split in the legislature, in the last presidential election (very tight) and by party registration, until now. But look at that primary, and you're seeing a massive Democratic shift in this state. The Republican statewide candidates are all in big trouble, all considered competitive not long ago. (Bear in mind that you should factor in Washington's first closed primary, and a big FU to the US Supreme Court for that.) Note for your own amusement that Seattle voters passed a school levy on themselves nearly 2-1.

I think it speaks to the energy and motivation of the Democratic base. The campaigns were nothing to sing about, nor for the most part hotly contested. The new closed primary should have had a catastrophic effect on turnout. It did not. It is a fair assumption that at least in Washington State (still a swing state), Democrats will turn out in droves.

This Just In

Satire is now legal in Texas.

President Bush was quoted as saying "we need a strong state power and must have it. But I am not calling for totalitarianism." Oh, sorry, that was Putin.

In A Related Story, Dave Chappell Relocates Show to Alaska

OK, this time I really am vindicated. Jeeze. Alaska Supreme Court lets stand the ruling
on the demon weed, so that once again the cheerful sound of long-hidden Darth Vader bongs will gurgle out all over the North, because they have been illegal up until this time and no one was using them.

At this rate, I will have a show at the Modern in 2019. I'll take that.

September 14, 2004

The Election According to Carville

"At the height of Bush's convention bounce, he is just at the edge of electability," and other bon mots here.

Today's Aphorism

From one of the Laird's professors at The Academy:

"Everything changes but the Avant Garde."

The First Rule Of Spanish Driving

Cheese it, man, it's the policia.

Testing: "Bush Be A Barnacle-Crusted Pox-Faced Sodomite With A Pair of Beady Shark Eyes fixed Fast on Our Mateys' Swag"

Beggin' yer pardon, lads, but 'vast yer fat-chewing and sign aboard agin on Sunday, Sept. 19th for International Talk Like A Pirate Day. With additional music by Captain bogg n' Salty.

Tiny URL

Not sure how often I'll use this, but it's an interesting idea. URL shrinking device

Call Me A Font Wonk

I love reading this kind of history. And the confessions of an Avant Garde abuser awoke the Avant Garde victim I hardly knew I had within me. It might drive the First Sea Load to motion sickness, but these designers are working for the betterment of the American People, and I salute them.

A Florida Circuit Court Has Made Its Decision

Now let them enforce it.

September 13, 2004

Mark Your Calendar

Trafalgar Bicentennial coming up!

A Test of a Man's Character

Is how many card tricks he knows. Some of these are cool. And don't miss the video of the trick they have for sale.

Don't Know About the Substance, But His Style Gets Full Marks

It takes a special kind of person to climb up Buckingham Palace dressed as Batman.


PNN - Pirate News Network, Grand Cayman Island: Captain Reports Timbers Shivered.

This is a REAL PHOTO from Ivan's impact on the Grand Caymans, taken about 4PM PST today.


This GOES 12 photo is truly extraordinary, not only due to the near record power involved (at 26.99 it's only three one hundreths off a record low pressure of US hurricanes at 26.93), but for its awful beauty, partly due to the raking sunlight at the close of a very dark day.


The Seahawks season of destiny is still on track as Sean Alexander is diagnosed with boo boo instead of ouwy.

Art in America Capsule Review of Foose's "The Lesser Arts"

Long has performance art sought gravitas, a fundamental dignity and serious bearing - here Foose adapts Karen Finley's self immolation (with chocolate instead of fire) to recontextualize butter, with its further associations with the traditional feminine role, or Woman as milkmaid, as sister mammal to it's lowing origin, as a post-structuralist Lucy catapulting this greasy yellow domestic signifier at some considerable velocity to the floor, where again it is trod upon like a surprised bannana slug obscured behind a curve in the sidewalk, where she takes the event as insignificant by itself, but must instead present this as fundamentally a painting process, the creative form engaging the oil paint-like material, which is fundamentally a colored fat, thus injecting her process into the oeuvre of abstract expressionist gesture and it's consequent dynamical relationship with the history of painting.

Here is where I break not with the concept but the execution - the strong pattern of whites and blacks on the floor are a random but useful insertion, with a certain presence due to the juxtaposition of organic gesture against pattern. But as a critical action, it seems incomplete when one recalls Dadaist artist Kurt Schwitters' masterpiece "The Merzbau": a massive interior sculpture that Schwitters created in his own house nearly a century ago. The Merzbau displays, or involves, feces and urine, as well as the incorporaton of many kinds of detritus, such as, one must presume, butter and a primitive dadaist version of risoto. The curator of the Merzbau exibit proclaimed it" a kind of fecal smearing — a sick and sickening relapse into the social irresponsibility of the infant who plays with trash and filth". Foose here engages a more domestic smearing and attempts a highly charged attack on culinary servitude, but using composition and color to bring an aesthetic coherence to the political thrust. But then, of course, this same early critique failed to stop Hitler.

So we fault Foose not for concept or execution, nor even originality despite the ancient dadaistic traditions involved, but rather the type of butter - an unsalted Land O Lakes would have graced this happening with a far more subtle yellow.

September 12, 2004

The Lesser Arts

I can't create a beautiful, chilly painting that manages to vibrate even with only pixels, but last night, while I was cooking risotto, I knocked to the floor and stepped on a 3/4 stick of butter. The butter gooshed out of its wrapper in a most appealing splatter and the risotto was nearly sublime.

September 11, 2004

Cheney Clarifies Remarks

"What I meant was, if you vote for Kerry terrorists will kill you," he said.

Cayman Islands to be Wiped Off the Map

Ivan's got an attitude.

And sorry, those accounts are not FDIC insured.

The Oracle Speaks

After a comprehensive statistical analysis, in which they evalute teams' perfomance after adjusting for strength of opposition and regression to the mean of random factors (such as fumble recoveries and third-down completion percentage), Football Outsiders forecasts the Seahawks' record for 2004 to be...a mediocre 8-8.

Even they don't believe the model, though - half their staff is picking Seattle to win the NFC West.

But as your friend, I suggest...tempering...expectations in light of this statistical work.

September 10, 2004

If You Need a Little Heartbreak

The next blog button takes you all kinds of places, mostly where people are apologizing for not having posted the last two weeks. But there is this little blog, "Baghdad Girl" from a 13 year Iraqi who loves adorable kittens. Note the little story about US soldiers busting her dad's car window.

I recommend checking out the links - mostly young Iraqis from teens to late 20's. It humanizes the war, and you can see where America is losing it's moral influence: the essentially American, democractic idea of the weblog hard up against an imposed occupation and the inevitable resentment, coming not from a hatred of freedom but a hatred of occupation. Kids surfing, moms looking for career advice, and one girl refusing to buy Pringles - American. Note also the American comments, often unable to shut up the brain-dead righteousness.

This all makes the picture of the little white cat in the duck hat cute on a transcendental level.



New work, Untitled oil/board 22" by 48" (c) Jamie Bollenbach 2004

Arctic imagery is certainly popping up in my work- both these paintings start out as a color pallette and a smoothing tool. But the imagined quality - these are not copied or observed from any source - is important. This is the idea of the Arctic as a setting for figurative marks and movements.

Unfortunately there is only a hint of it's true color here - particularly in the "water," which is a set of deep green, blue and even crimson glazes. The painting is a little higher contrast, and lighter and much richer in the range of blues, greens, and purples in person. The vertical marks also stand out much more.


New work - Untitled oil/board 36" by 48" (c) 2004 Jamie Bollenbach

The larger of these two paintings is more elaborate and resolved; I had trouble with an inadequate scanner and all the color detail in the water is lost - but the sense of ice bound light is there. The contrast here is not exagerated. The range of color is much greater in person.

Again, the idea of the imagined arctic drives this piece. My plan to work in the Far North just got a boost with a friend at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, and a proposal we're thinking on for a circumpolar exhibit on climate and cultural change in the idea of the arctic.

A quick discussion on the relationship between abstraction and realism here. This is very old school modernism in it's approach- these have no observed source and are resolved from large swaths of pure color, refined down bit by bit, using the imaginary seascape that results as a place for my figurative marks to inhabit, like a DeKooning line cavorting around a Turner. In painting, I'm uninterested in ironic positioning; in all truth this is a little closer to imagining ice fairies, except for the process, which is all abstract expressionism.

54-40 OR FIGHT!

Victoria BC, outpost of the empire, known for its architecture, orderly society and legions of beautiful 18-year euro fashion girls who can go to bars legally, is still dumping poo into the Strait. The Viceroy is certainly well aware of this, but I bring this to general attention on the theory that you may bump into a self-righteous Canadian, which, as polite as they are, goes without saying.

September 09, 2004

Funny, I was expecting the Spanish Inquisition

Tacoma: a knock on the door. It's a wallaby.

Ivan the end of Castro?

At category 5 (160 mph now with higher gusts) the amount of destructive power in Ivan exceeds Andrew, and it's headed straight for Havanna. This hurricane apparantly destroyed 80% of the housing in Grenada, and now it's a lot more powerful. Think of the amount of force involved in 160 mph (gusting higher) wind; at the current track, it will spare the marine base at Guantanamo.

If it hits Havanna at this force, aging and intransigent Castro may be destabilized. I want to start the wild speculation: will the neo-cons take the opportunity to invade, or at the very least, use a massive disaster as a pretext to take Castro down through initimidation in the midst of humanitarian efforts? The Floridian ex-fascists will likely be screaming for intervention of some kind, and would think nothing of manipulating humanitarian efforts. If something happens, what are the chances for modern democracy, or a modern rightist police state, in Cuba?

Zell, Jimmy is Very Disappointed

The text of a letter former President Carter sent to Zell Miller over the weekend ...

September 08, 2004


Guardian: new Kitty Kelley book has W snorting coke at Camp David while Dad was president, and getting his girlfriend an abortion. Includes Laura on coke too, mistresses, and assorted hoo-hahs.


Insert maniacal laughter.

I am far, far beyond caring about being fair to George W. Bush, or whether this upcoming hilarious debate elevates American politics. This is a pie fight, with bricks in the pies.

And Announcing How the Human Race Will End

A fly-eating, fly-powered robot has been developed, which requires no direction. Replace "fly" with "people" and let your imagination work. Walk slowly for your lives.

This Guy is Not Going to Advance in the Party

A Republican politician actually shows up for the war.

Bush: By the Numbers

Independent - Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards

NOAA: Just a nice shot of Ivan

For your pleasure and terror, an awe-inspiring view of Ivan churning off of South America.

Creeping Fascism Watch

Okay, perhaps this man is an unhelpful agitator. But the government is still trying to defend a secret law, if it exists, by a secret review process. Or something.

Ivan the Category Four Terrible

At a certain point, if you are say Governor of Florida, you might begin to serious wonder if God is not too thrilled with the idea of all-electronic voting machines.

BTW I urge my comrades to not despair about the post-convention poll damage - this is an utterly winnable, undetermined election, and the increasingly unprincipled Republicans count on liberal hand-wringing to do their best damage for them. I am most annoyed that some progressive pundits were falling fast into this, yet two of the last three winning presidents, like W, were behind at exactly this point.

Of course we might lose. Which is why you work harder to win, and why I'm psyching myself up to paper the precinct before Monday. They're unethical, arrogant, psychotically greedy, sadistic, lying SOBs. So let's destroy them.

The convention bounce, which I underestimated the same way I didn't think that Zell Miller was going to be neo-fascist pinch-hitting, is deflating rapidly already (The tight Zogby poll probably underestimated Bush a bit with a 2 point lead, but that was clearly a peak. Rasmusson, for example, is back in standard near-tie mode; we'll have a better idea next week). The gruesome milestone in Iraq, and FINALLY the mainstream media noticing that our enemies in Iraq seem to be running the place, shamlessly disrespecting our magnificent victory, are being processed. It will be difficult to not conclude that not only did we lie and bungle our way in, but under Bush's polyanna direction we are begining to lose.

Hard hits on Bush's guard absence are coming from Texans for Truth, (chortle) and if you've seen Kerry recently, he is en fuego. The debates are going to be the big word, their influence I think larger than the conventions, and for once, Kerry and big Ds like Ann Lewis are not misunderestimating Bush's ability to persuade.

September 07, 2004

Some Depths Even Cheney Won't Sink To

Just kidding.

Cheney Warns Against Vote for Kerry: "DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack."

I Jump Into the Transistor Ambiguity of New Media

Good news- I've been asked develop a solo show at 911 Media Arts' new gallery here in Seattle in the spring; curious news - against all precedent, it will involve painting, sculpture, ceramics and VIDEO projection. Now you all know, or may have noticed, that video art is often terrible - pretentious, lazy, short but never short enough narratives that take up valuable gallery space designed carefully for subtle light. (Not that there isn't plenty of bad painting, I've done my fair share myself. )

However, I finally had an idea I wanted to explore in video, involving projections into 3-d "nubbins," perhaps of frosted glass, mounted into large white ceramic vessels, stacked on their sides so you can project into them. The hope is that by manipulating the video, an interesting figurative image can wrap around the nubbin, creating a 3-d projection, and making the vessels into little theaters. Thus there should be a repeated thread of figurative mark from the painting through the paint sculptures through ceramics/projection. Any stuff or process can make good art if it is used specifically, and I suppose there is a little insert-german-word-here that makes me want to show these new media wonks how art gets done.

In the meantime, Liquitex is sending out a photographer and interviewer to my studio this month for a profile to be featured in some of their adverts (eek!) for a new paint that thank god I happen to really, really like. I will post them when done, in the interest of full disclosure and shameless self-promotion. My old strategy of shameful self promotion has not been working as well.

This new marketing presence is expected to lead to actual sales of actual paintings, the desparate, persistent need of any painter ("nothing so motivates an artist like the prospect of immediate gain" - P. O'Brian) , through some unknown mechanism yet to be described or observed. But the new set of imagined arctic abstracts seems promising, and any video work gives one new media street cred, a necessary annoyance in the neo-Duchampian world order.

I would have deleted that, but once you say "neo-Duchampian world order," it's gonna stick.

For more informations on nubbins, consult your local library.


Right-wing general election challenge to Lisa Murkowski is psycho but vote getting goofwad Jerry Sanders (or Ward). HI-larious.

September 06, 2004

Also By J.BOLLENBACH, Hilton CEO (is Stephen)

I should have thought of this years ago - my last name is synonymous with Stephen Bollenbach, CEO of Hilton, not Paris Hilton, just Hilton. What an opportunity to relieve the golfing classes of their whimsically earned cash? With their collection of trite observations, glossy generalizations, and full of can-do attitude, how hard would it be to write the following titles?:

BLITHERING YOUR WAY TO POWER - How Blubbering Idiocy And Inheritance Law Can Confer Incredible Tax Advantages

THE RICH ALREADY OWN THE EARTH- The Hidden Capitalist Message in the Great Religions

THE MUMANSCHANTZ GAMBIT: Confusing and Dismaying Your Competition With Oversize Dance Puppetry

IT WASN'T ME. IT WAS HIM: Shifting the Blame to Avoid Criminal Prosecution and Multimillion Dollar Federal Civil Actions

DANTE'S PRESENTARIO- Cutting Up to 87% of Your Costs By Eliminating Business Presentations and Just Sending a Nice Postcard With Polite Suggestions

Reforming Your Employee's Retirement Plans into Personal Financial Leverage

PRETENDING TO LIKE GOLF - Managing the Psychotic Hold This Weird-Ass Game Has on the Powerful

SHARE THE LOVE - Controlling the Government to Your Advantage through Amazingly Small Political Donations

I LIKE YOUR MONEY - Getting Back to Real Business Values

And We Will Change That

BUSH 9/6: "Too many OB-GYN doctors aren't able to practice their...their love with women all across this country."

September 05, 2004

A Few Googles Before Bedtime

  • "hot porn" - 875,000 hits
  • "cold porn" - 619 hits
  • britney shakespeare - 54,800 hits, including this really cool one
  • extreme mountain big wave surfing cool - 17,000
  • unextreme sports - 82
  • "extreme croquet" - 842, including the Connecticut eXtreme Croquet Society
  • "extreme shrugging" - one, not counting the other one with a comma between the two words

America loves a winner, pt. 12

ESPN writer may collect "Troll of the Century" trophy for this article, which accuses those who hate the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team of racism. A few pithy remarks from the ensuing FARK thread:
  • "Funny, I didn't know that suck was a race."
  • "Black basketball players?? Wha...? I'm shocked!! How long has this been going on?"
  • "I hate the submitter for not realizing that this story is 3 weeks old."
  • 1) I dislike Basketball
    2) I love seeing millionaires lose
    It's not racism, it's a combination of disinterest and socioeconomic jealousy.
  • "well, at least everyone agrees they hate them."
  • "But...but I hated the whiny white coach, too!"
  • "Did anyone see the Nike King of the World 1 on 1 street basketball tournement? Some guy from France won. France."
  • "The Romans learned the lesson: don't fight your enemies too often or they will learn all your tricks."
  • "What the hell kind of country is this if I can only hate a man if he's white?"
  • "thank the good lord jesus H. christ that football is back."

Not Now Son, Daddy's Playing With Your Toys

When he hits four, this is coming into the house without delay.

Bet on a Month From Now

Cofer Black, State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism, said in Islamabad the entire "infrastructure" was in place to capture bin Laden and his close lieutenants, Pakistan's English language Daily Times reported.

"Success against people that you know about, Osama, could happen tomorrow, could happen the day after, a week from now, or a month from now," he added.

Reason Number 47

Did Bush Miss Vietnam's Lessons? ( "In 1971 Kerry recognized that we needed to change our policy. In 2004 he recognizes the need to change our policy. That is the issue. Who is better equipped to lead us: Bush, who rigidly insists that he is right, or Kerry, who has charted a new direction? "

Well, did he?

September 04, 2004

You Might Be The President

If you are not certain where America fought the Korean War,
You might be the President

If you quote Winston Churchill "We will fight in the fighting rings, and shoot on the beaches, and defend on the ranches, and near the battleplaces, and we will not give up or even surrender,"
You might be the President

If you believe scientific research is four out of five dentists recommending Trident gum,
You might be the President

If you think "America" has two syllables and "nuclear" four,
You might be the President

If you think the capital of Asia is Chinatown,
You might be the President

If one day you notice that Rupert Murdoch is giving you a hand job,
you might be the President

If Jesus is telling you to save the poor mostly through tax-deferred health care savings accounts,
You might be the President

If someone hands you a 4-color brochure titled "Alan Greenspan's Special Job"
You might be the President

If you don't remember not flying jets drunk in 1972,
You might be the President

If you think the Heavenly Father annointed special jews to give America the atomic bomb,
You might be the President

If you think Walter Cronkite is a fucking asshole,
You might be the President

If you blink for a full 17 seconds at the phrase "gay cowboy"
You might be the President

If someone mentions cocaine and Osama Bin Laden in the same sentence, and your nose itches before you change the subject,
You might be the President

Step #1: Admit You Have a Problem

Presented without comment, but in the sincere hope that we have hit rock bottom, three recent works:

A Pleasant Surprise

Tonite's guest stars on The Avengers: Donald Sutherland, Brian Blessed, and Charlotte Rampling. Excellent, Mrs. Peel.

September 03, 2004

What makes you so great you "Great Raisuli" you?

I just caught the end of "The Wind and the Lion" on American Movie Classics, one of my favorite movies and Sean Connery at his finest. This is a movie that most guys love and most girls will tolerate.

The story revolves around a Muslim tribal leader who kidnaps an American diplomat's wife and children using them as bargaining chips in the pre-WW1 middle east. Though it has aged somewhat and is best viewed as an 8th Grade boy, I was still driven to sit through the last 30 minutes just to hear the Raisuli read his letter to President Roosevelt:

Raisuli : To Theodore Roosevelt -- you are like the Wind and I like the Lion. You form the Tempest. The sand stings my eyes and the Ground is parched. I roar in defiance but you do not hear. But between us there is a difference. I, like the lion, must remain in my place. While you like the wind will never know yours.
- Mulay Hamid El Raisuli, Lord of the Riff, Sultan to the Berbers, Last of the Barbary Pirates.

I can't resist, here is another one:

Sherif of Wazan : Great Raisuli, we have lost everything. All is drifting on the wind as you said. We have lost everything.
Raisuli : Sherif, is there not one thing in your life that is worth losing everything for?

If only there was some hidden message in these lines that we could apply to today's world....Hmmm.

Topic for Today's Tomorrow's Pundits

Cheerleaders for Truth

Long, Dry Summer is Over

And TMQ is back on the air!

Get the Popcorn Ready

Vero beach surf cam

The Problem With That Tactical Strike

Too many targets.

September 02, 2004

An Artist You Can Respect

In a world of ghostwritten celebrity children's books, one man creates beautiful imaginative children's stories.

You have no idea how hard it is to find a good children's book. The bar isn't that high - it should not contain harmful or stupid material, it should have plenty of visual interest for the child, and ideally it's interesting enough that Mommy and Daddy don't want to kill themselves after the 150th re-reading.

So far, I have found only one author who clearly passes these tests - Mark Teague.

His art is hard to characterize because every book looks different. In fact, it's hard to believe that all of his books are illustrated by the same person. But they all do have three things in common - flawless composition, a visual sense of humor, and tremendous attention to detail. As a result, it's a pleasure reading them to my son every night.
  • His most beautiful work, in my opinion, is an early book called The Field Beyond the Outfield, but can't find good links to show you. You can get it used at Alibris.
  • How I Spent My Summer Vacation is very smooth and stylized, yet the story is full of action. The effect is almost statuary, if that's a word - moments are caught, frozen, perfected and polished.
  • In Pigsty the illustrations have a slightly rough finish, and he employs lots of shadow and dissonant colors.
  • In The Secret Shortcut he inclues lush jungle backgrounds, and sharply contrasts their rich colors with a subdued, pastel-like palette for the characters' ordinary lives.
  • In The Lost and Found he gets more interested in spatial effects - winding corridors, underground tunnels, and returns to a bolder color palette.
  • His masterpiece, in my opinion, is One Halloween Night, in which he does haunted houses, creates a two-page masterpiece of a clown scaring the hell out of four kids, and proves that he can draw a cat very, very well.
Here is what he has to say about criticism.

IMHO, this guy rules.

Dr. Z: Now Using "Seahawks" and the "S" Word in the Same Sentence - SI's 2004 NFL Scouting Reports

Could this be the year?

The Chia Probe

This Israeli/ Chalabi probe is getting bigger and hairier and uglier, and promises to turn into a proper stink rather than a disappearing item of interest, if Chalabi turns out to have been playing us and dumping intel to IRAN at the same time as he was being backed by Feith and assorted neo-clowns. Other articles refer more specifically to compromises involving US signals and the NSA.

Tying this all together suggests that Israel was pushing an agenda on us that included, against all common sense, inserting Chalabi into the neo-con sphere of influence, who apparantly, was selling both us and presumably Israel out to Iran. Holy fuck.

Here's a fun, largely crazy speculation: If Chalabi was ultimately an Irani agent fronting as a friend of Israel, was IRAN somehow pushing a US war in IRAQ!? They were incredibly bitter enemies with Sadaam and his minority Sunni control of Iraq (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iranians Sadaam offed in the war), and they are now widely considered to be arming Shiite militias. If you've been reading the Guardian, you know that puts Iranian sympathizers in effective control of large sections of the cities of Iraq as we speak - and the US is, in fact, pulling out of cities left and right in Iraq, hiding in bases and unable to respond to assasinations of appointments of the interim Iraqi government.

It's hard to believe that Iran wanted a US war in Iraq, but if they knew from Chalabi what our pre-war plans were, if in fact Chalabi was pushing the plan that eventually formed, that suggests, just suggests mind you, that Iran knew we'd destroy Sadaam but blow the transition to a pro-western government. Shit, my barrista knew that. But it does give Iran a golden opportunity to extend political influence and some military control of Iraq.

Why they don't pay me, I'll never know. But in spite of my wild speculation, if it comes out that IRAN WAS PLAYING THE UNITED STATES THROUGH CHALABI AT A POLICY LEVEL INTO WAR (an idea supported slightly by heavily armed , aggressive search of his offices a few weeks ago), think of the political consquences. It'll make Iran -Contra look like Raisin-Bran Cilantro.

For Sale!

Prime real estate, Viero Beach, Florida. Everything must go. No offer refused. Must sell by 2 PM, Saturday.

Bollenbacci's Levels of Painting from the 2004 Discorso sopra la Pittura, (ABRIDGED)

1. The highest and best order of painting is the painting which is cogniscent and descriptive of all subjects and subject matter but which does not crudely resort to mere depiction, which is shown unlit in a dark room, and is made of black paint, but is completely and minutely and accurately painted in all form, style and detail, which is outstanding, unique, and totally unknown, but which is the perfection of art.

2. Painting which includes many naked girls is superior to painting which only includes one or
two, saving that the naked girl is particularly unclothed in a particular manner, or maneri, and commands high prices. Paintings of naked men, while technically challenging, are frequently unnecessary.

3. Abstract paintings of ambition, specificity and fortitude are an extraordinarily high art, when not executed by hippies, or middle aged homemakers married to attorneys, who are taking a short break from painting pleasantly inept watercolors of flowers, or which are painted stoned without the proper training in painting while stoned, or without chips and salsa nearby, which are a superior subject for a still life to a bowl of pretty flowers in most circumstances.

4. Depictions of breaking waves on beaches where an absurd highlight is located behind the single cresting wave are mostly unfortunate, and are over-romantical, and most often peer down on curious, lonely sex acts in discount lodgings, or are purchased from filmy Thrift Stores, as a means of inferior but inexpensive irony, along with glowing Jesus, by art students who have completed only a small portion of their studies.

5. Paintings of decrepit cabins under northern lights and snow-bound food caches, or are sourced from a disposable camera shot of a moose staring stupidly at a bush near a favored but highly unattractive aunt with a vaguely depressing corporate T-shirt which suggests a total paucity of creativity, with an expression frequently confused with folksy humor, are unobjectionable, except to look at.

6. Landscape paintings which are not on decorative goldpans are to be considered generally superior to those which are on decorative goldpans, yet paradoxically landscape paintings which depict food caches or decrepit cabins under northern lights which are not on goldpans are superior to over sunlit breaking waves that are on goldpans.

7. It is a low order indeed to paint robots, zombies, or manga girls, and do not do this, unless you come through meditation and study to know what it is like to not paint robots, zombies, or manga girls.

8. Paintings of unicorns, or fantastical beasts, or other woeful girl-beloved creatures of a mythological character, which are portrayed in close proximity to aircraft carriers, woodelves, or muscle cars of the early 1970s, are just a stage.

9. Thomas Kinkade commits a kind of painting which can only be described as fradulent and morally hypocritical in addition to being cultural genocide, which would be no sort of disapprobation, save that he charges ignorant Jesus goons everywhere 8 large for a fucking mall print.

10. Nevertheless, Dale Chihuly is the worst, laziest, most egotistical painter on earth, his abstracts easily surpassed by a drunken street hippy who paints in food dye with a used Q-tip on triscuits with a beatbox tuned to classic rock at such a volume that the bass has long ago destroyed the speaker, and who is colorblind, so that his choice of colors to use is no worse than random.

Is this sort of thing contagious?

Looks like another one uh, sucks it up. This time, a very conservative gay-bashing US Representative from Virginia with the unfortunate name of Shrock has quit his re-election campaign because some web site aired a copy of his request for a "guy who's cut to go down on him." I'm offering 7-1 that Matt Drudge gets outed before Valentine's Day. Not that there's anything wrong with it.


Kerry Tonight:

"Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty," Kerry says in the remarks. "Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit."

Sound Bite from Interview with an Unidentified Delegate at the Republican National Convention


Talk About Unfair

Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck got all the glory, but the man who made Bugs Bunny the legend he is today was Yosemite Sam. As Lao Tzu pointed out, "the best athlete wants his opponent at his best." Sam packed the intelligence and firepower to give Bugs a fair fight, and he brought out the best in Bugs. In fact, Bugs's character is perfectly defined, in my opinion, by this little exchange.

62 other choice comments from Yosemite Sam are here.

Andrew Sullivan on Zell Miller's Speech - Daily Dish: "His speech tonight was in this vein, a classic Dixiecrat speech, jammed with bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric. As an immigrant to this country and as someone who has been to many Southern states and enjoyed astonishing hospitality and warmth and sophistication, I long dismissed some of the Northern stereotypes about the South. But Miller did his best to revive them. The man's speech was not merely crude; it added whole universes to the word crude."


It Makes Me Feel More Secure

Knowing that Thailand has an aircraft carrier.

Absentee Ballot Requests Off the Charts

GOP supposes it's a big advantage for them...

September 01, 2004

Geek Protest Sign

Try explaining this to literal-minded Secret Service agents.

This Week's NOAA forecast

NOAA's Double-Wouble (tm) Doppler calls for scattered mayhem followed by a slight chance of death and carnage. If you are planning a picnic for this weekend, NOAA suggests you consider running for your lives instead. Now might also be a good time to invest in stocks related to batteries, plywood and snorkels.

National Review Shills a Book on Islam by Radovan Karadzic's Spokesman

War and Piece: Springtime for Hitler

An example from the review of one of the shocking facts about Islam that The Media (a.k.a. Islam Boosters) don't want you to know:

The joys and glories of the Islamic "paradise" are tangible and sensual and include sex with virgins -- and young boys

You know, I thought the murderous, insane Islam protrayed by the pro-Islam media was okay, but this? If more Americans knew the truth, that Islam promoted a homosexual afterlifestyle, I don't think it'd be as popular in this country.

Brain inflammation, mine

I've been reading a book about renaissance Italian painting, Caravaggio, and gossip, while trying to pay attention to the Republican National Convention. I do not recommend this pairing to friends.

Apparently, in the 16th Century, Vincenzo Giustiniani published a "Discorso sopra la Pittura" on the 12 levels of painting where landscapes are superior to architectural paintings, which are superior to still lifes, which are better than get the idea.

Somehow this got bound up in my mind with cable news coverage of the convention and chiarascura and rotting fruit. As a caution to anyone considering similar unwise drug combinations, I provide the following "Disposizione sulle notizie" along with my apologies.

Story is:
1. factually accurate and in placed in context
2. factually accurate but with no context
3. factually accurate but not in correct context
4. not particularly accurate or informative
5. error ridden and out of context
6. really more about the reporter than anything else
7. primarily focused on the reporter’s opinions about poorly supported facts without context
8. mostly discusses reporter’s opinions about specious “facts” taken out of context
9. all about reporter using lies to attack unprepared guest
10. mostly about setting up a false dichotomy between bizarrely extreme ends of the political spectrum
11. all about a false dichotomy, based on false allegations presented as facts, between a straw man and revealed "divine" truth
12. on Fox News