February 28, 2006

A Naughty Young Man

...Has placed his gum on the surface of a Helen Frankenthaler at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, staining a $1.5 mil painting.

As every schoolboy knows, the fallout of this behavior is best described by a Python sketch:

Janet: Just like my Kevin. Show him an exhibition of early eighteenth-century Dresden Pottery and he goes berserk. No, I said no, and I meant no! (smacks unseen infant again) This morning we were viewing the early Flemish Masters of the Renaissance and Mannerist Schools, when he gets out his black aerosol and squirts Vermeer's Lady At A Window!

Marge: Still it's not as bad as spitting is it?

Janet: (firmly) No, well Kevin knows (slaps the infant) that if he spits at a painting I'll never take him to all exhibition again.

Marge: Ralph used to spit - he could hit a Van Gogh at thirty yards. But he knows now it's wrong - don't you Ralph? (she looks down) Ralph! Stop it Stop it Stop chewing that Turner! You are ... (she disappears from shot) You are a naughty, naughty, vicious little boy. (smack; she comes back into shot holding a copy of Turner's Fighting Temeraire in a lovely gilt frame but all tattered) Oh, look at that! The Fighting Temeraire - ruined! What shall I do?

Janet: (taking control) Now don't do a thing with it love, just put it in the bin over there.

Marge: Really?

Janet: Yes take my word for it, Marge. Kevin's eaten most of the early nineteenth-century British landscape artists, and I've learnt not to worry. As a matter of fact, I feel a bit peckish myself. (she breaks a bit off the Turner) Yes...

Poll: What Did Truman Do to Warm, Angry Kittens?

Of course there are all kinds of problems comparing different polls across long periods of time, but this interesting chart from the Roper Center (scroll down to "Comparing Past Presidential Performance) made me wonder what was going on in 1952 to warrant Truman's 22 percent approval rating.

Seems there was a stalemate in Korea, including riots at a POW camp where prisoners were being mistreated, an ugly influence peddling scheme, and charges of corruption in a federal funding program. Curious.

22 here we come?

February 27, 2006

Further Correspondence From Dr. X

Doctor X asks that I post this to the blog:

Hey Latouche, WTF? I need 7,500 pronto or these guys are going to initiate collection procedures, if you know what I mean. Use the usual couriers and for God's sake don't tell your boss what the money's for. Do you know, is there an American Express office in Brazzaville? OK, do me a favor and delete this part and post the rest of this on the blog.

So as I was saying, what the Sea Lord and his ilk fail to understand is that technical mastery is the antithesis of rock and roll. Technical mastery in American music has been devolving for 100 years, and we have not yet found the bottom.

We can go back to the Savoy ballroom and find a greater drummer than anyone alive today, a man who could energize a dance floor without the aid of electrical amplification, a man who, despite the most horrific physical impairment played so well Buddy Rich studied him obsessively. I refer of course to Chick Webb. They say Webb's big band (with the young Ella Fitzgerald in the lineup) could outplay anyone, from Benny Goodman on down. In their head-to-head battles only the Basie band ever managed to beat them.

But the trend toward smaller and simpler was already in motion, even before electrification annihilated the big band business model. Here is a group of musicians:


That's Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, and Gene Krupa, arguably the most skilled small group of musicians to ever play together. As musicians and technicians, these people were better than any rock band, period (everyone should listen to this music). Have a look at this film of Krupa (note his left-hand grip - ready to flam-a-diddle at a moment's notice, should a marching band appear). For my money there's never been a better all-around drummer. He was a perfect marriage of power and grace, marred only (like Rich and many other great drummers) by his exhibitionism.

But Krupa, Rich, and their ilk were already becoming dinosaurs. By the 1950s rock and roll was coming in, and drumming had become even simpler. In the 50's you wanted a straight-8 drummer who could lock down a backbeat and could keep things jumping with a well-placed fill or two.

Which brings us to Mr. Starkey.

You know, there are Beatles records from the days before Ringo was their drummer, but I understand there isn't much demand for them.

First of all, the matched grip. It says: fuck your flam-a-diddles.

Watch this, and tell me Ringo couldn't play drums. It is a moment of perfect rock and roll devolution, and he is all over it (nice performance by Paul, too, of course).

Here's a simple test. Start a garage band. Have everyone learn "Day Tripper". See if you can play it in tune in perfect time. Now try it next to a jet engine playing full blast, without monitors. This is where you find out if your drummer can play, because the drum part for that song isn't easy and your guy has to be rock solid, like this.

Author Marc Lewisohn listened to 900 hours of Beatles studio tape for his book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. Number of mistakes made by Ringo: two.

So please, a little respect for a man who subordinated his ego, took direction, had a sense of humor, and played drums for the greatest band ever. He did not grandstand, he did not choke to death on his own vomit (or anyone else's), he did not go off on weird percussive tangents. He played what was needed for every song, from calypso love ballads to Little Richard covers, with energy and skill.

Of course he is not the ultimate drummer. The ultimate drummer is even simpler, even, less attuned to his musical surroundings, even more in touch with the primordial center. I don't know who he is or where I will find him. But I am getting closer, every day...

Poll: A Warm, Angry Kitten Stuffed Up Bush's Nostrils

A new CBS poll has Bush's favorability at -gasp - 29 favorability, 34 job approval. That's a new low. Other polls aren't much better. Cheney is at -19% favorability, or, looked at another way, about 17 points better than Hitler.

February 26, 2006

I Worry About the Germans

They are up to some strange things (more here and here).

February 25, 2006

A Simple Question for Silicon Valley: Why Do You Hate Freedom?

Data mining by the government for general surveillance is already far worse than you imagine, if even half of this stuff works. With freedom on the internet clearly controllable with technology cheerfully supplied by U.S. vendors, and the internet proving instead to a primary source of total government monitoring of all, not just political, activity, the remaining question is whether political or even personal liberty is possible in this developing climate.

The "mining" language implies not everyone is monitored, that tools simply collect disembodied data. But the data is collected just the same - there's no real difference between an unread database and an unread secret police report if the information is the same and available and access is unconstrained by law. The government can monitor anyone at anytime, and therefore act against anyone at anytime.

Today's NYT:

An earlier N.S.A. patent, in 1999, focused on a software solution for generating a list of topics from computer-generated text. Such a capacity hints at the ability to extract the content of telephone conversations automatically. That might permit the agency to mine millions of phone conversations and then select a handful for human inspection.

As the N.S.A. visit to the Silicon Valley venture capitalists this month indicates, the actual development of such technologies often comes from private companies.

In 2003, Virage, a Silicon Valley company, began supplying a voice transcription product that recognized and logged the text of television programming for government and commercial customers. Under perfect conditions, the system could be 95 percent accurate in capturing spoken text. Such technology has potential applications in monitoring phone conversations as well....

......alluding to databases maintained at an AT&T data center in Kansas, which now contain electronic records of 1.92 trillion telephone calls, going back decades. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group, has asserted in a lawsuit that the AT&T Daytona system, a giant storehouse of calling records and Internet message routing information, was the foundation of the N.S.A.'s effort to mine telephone records without a warrant.

Look! A Quiet Democratic Success!

Admittedly, this PI article is a soft pitch. But the Governor of Washington State is quietly, um, leading, bringing together doctors and lawyers, labor and business, Democrats and Republicans in the State Legislature. The ancient Columbia River water rights dispute is easing. A 29 year old gay civil rights bill passed with very little acrimony. There's a surplus, and yet new spending in key areas.

She was not a great candidate in the campaign, over-lawyerly, a little sharp and aloof and with a bit of that slightly irritated quality of all prosecutors. I was going to say she's not really progressive, but I'm not sure that's fair. The strange fact is that Democratic party is governing Washington well, and the voters seem to be responding.

Portland Modern

I did not know there are modernist homes in Portland, this is very interesting. From the photographs it looks like a beautiful, sunny place.

"We're not your monkeys." (Nor The Monkees.)

Finally, a rock band has refused to be enshrined. The Sex Pistols have snubbed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, calling the HoF "a piss stain."

Personally, I'd like to have my own, alternative (alternative to, not alternative rock) Rock and Roll Hall of Infamy. The first and only rule for inducties: if your song is featured in a car commercial (where rock songs go to die), your exhibit is torn out, thrown into the street, and set aflame.

February 24, 2006

"And now, a message from Radio Insurgente:"

If you're like me, you've been wondering, "What's up with Subcommander Marcos, lately?"

For those in the dark (as I was when I first saw his face on a mural in the Left Bank of Paris), Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is a Mexican (rumored to be a) former college professor turned revolutionary, the spokesman of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) that conducted an insugency in the Mexican state of Chiapas in the nineties, which eventually led to peaceful enactment of changes to the Mexican constitution to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, making him the only Marxist college professor I've ever heard of to accomplish anything of substance. Though ostensibly only the spokesman, a cult of personality has grown up around him. (I've heard, though have been unable to substantiate, that he was chosen Sexiest Man in Mexico.) The more you learn of him and his work, the more this is not in the least bit surprising. In a world full of cowards, philistines, zealots, and bullies, he's a refreshing combination of Zorro, Che Guevara, and Jon Stewart.

After enactment of the COCOPA Law in August, 2001 (not quite fulfilling the EZLN's demands, thus they are still an insurgency), Marcos wasn't heard from for over a year. Then, in December 2002, he started a poigniant and hilarious exchange with a Spanish Supreme Court Magistrate and the Basque seperatist movement (ETA).

The Spanish magistrate, Fernando Baltasar Garzón Real, lambasted Marcos in the Mexican press, and challenged him to a debate. Marcos agreed to his challenge, but stipulated an outlandish scheme of conditions, including ETA declaring a 177-day cease-fire, that a meeting between ETA and the Spanish government, themed The Basque Country: Paths, to proceed the debate, and an offer to allow Garzón to unmask him should the panel of judges decide that Marcos had lost.

Predictably, the debate never took place. Somewhat less predictably, the ETA was enraged, especially by Marcos' presumption to critisize them for harming civilians. "We condemn military actions which harm civilians. And we condemn them equally, whether they come from the ETA or the Spanish State, from Al Qaeda or from George W. Bush, from Israelis or Palestinians, or from whomever, under different names or initials - whether in the name of reasons of State, or ideological or religious ones - claims its victims among children, women, old ones and men who have nothing to do with the matter."

Marco's reply to the ETA's indignation is both self-deprecating and a total beatdown. (Like Stewart vs. Carlson, except ETA didn't disappear like Crossfire did.) I'm having trouble deciding what the best quotes are - you'll just have to read it.

Earlier this month (three years after), Marcos issued an apology to the Basque people for the whole affair.

This year, Subcomandante Marcos has given himself the title Delegado Zero for EZLN's 31-state motorcycle/speaking tour for Mexico's 2006 national election (the EZLN is not participating in the election, itself).

Carter and the Democrats

After study of the inspiring Joseph Eichler I imagined that the history must finish there. After all, it is quoted in books that he is only manufacturer to produce the modern houses in the United States in the 50s and the 60s.

But there was another. From 1959 until the end of the 1980s the brothers Streng of Sacramento, California, made 3,500 beautiful houses in the Modern style, based on the designs of a simple local architect, Carter Sparks. Even while a young man he was known as "Sacramento’s Modernist."

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He succeeded better than any writer seems willing to admit. His houses show mastery. An insufficiency of the Eichler house was that it could not be air conditioning, and it was unacceptable in the hot central valley. Thus Sparks created designs for the climate. Eichler struggled during years, never finding the best floorplan. Sparks created a flexible design that the homebuilder could adapt as necessary. And the houses of Eichler sometimes have a forbidding exterior, presenting only the white walls at the passerby. Sparks made houses that looked good from the outside, too:

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And here of the obviousness which he was a true artist:

"We were trying to capture what he did at a cut rate," Bill [Streng] says. But Sparks wasn't always interested in cut rate. He asked for brushed aluminum doorknobs and they agreed. Then he asked for brushed aluminum hinges instead of the standard brass. "I told Carter, it's not worth 50 cents extra per door. Nobody will notice them," Jim says. "He said, 'I'll pay for them.' He shamed us into it."

This Sparks was apparently a kind of savant - he only worked when it felt fun to him, and could always make another job so that a rich man pays his invoices. You cannot imagine the impact that this has on me, it is like discovering the best cellist world in a band of the community in Cairo.

And it is not the only thing. As I explained to you, with OMA we are not political. We do not take part. And that enables us to do the work like this:

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But in Sacramento, the architecture of Sparks reflects the politics:

A political campaigner did a count, Jim says. One Streng subdivision was 85 percent Democratic. The ranch subdivision next door was 70 percent Republican. Strengs attracted so many teachers -- and tall people, entranced by the high ceilings -- they brainstormed ways of directing advertising at these two groups. They never did -- but their ads did boast how many licensed architects bought their homes -- one count was 37.

So this evening I recognize a brilliant architect and great but mysterious spirit: Carter Sparks, you inspire to me, and confuse.

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February 23, 2006

A Funny Resource

Here at OMA we work quietly and without distractions, like monks.

But as a child I read the Tintin, and especially the Captain was funny. Here is a list of his curses.

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I'm SO Tired of These Problems!

If if see another blog subtitled' "Random Thoughts" of anyone other than a sex-crazed 20 year-old Gwen Stafani lookalike, Senator Stevens will get an earful!

Don't you hate it when your usually trusty yacht captain has been running stolen RPGS to Somalian gunmen and trading it for arsenic-contaminated Afghan white horse for distribution in L.A middle schools? AND there's a smarmy segment on MSNBC with Katie Couric all self-righteous about it?

When will these robots stop thwarting me?

I hate these old, woody houses that don't levitate like they do in Andora. Give me a break!

That is the final Ferrari I give Dietricht the keys to.

Nothing enrages me more than that the beautiful city of San Francisco is located 27 feet too far away from Pirate Ghost San Francisco.

If that's a Happy Face pancake, I'm effin' Ghengis Khan .

These airplanes are waaaaaaaaaay too tubey.

How many times do I have to fall face flat on the floor before something is done about all these floors?

You know I walk in all professional and with a tie and everything, I make a order, PLEASANTLY, mind you, and they're all "oooh, we don't ship Sarin gas to walk-ins anymore!" Stuck-up Langley killjoys.

Universal Pictures never once shows a good movie on Neptune.

I wish to hell Uma would stop picking broccoli out of her teeth when we're at some fancy celebrity function.

Death. Can you fucking believe it?

I must hit Control-Alt-Delete almost every day and the new working computer never ever seems to arrive.

In spite of my best efforts, people still emit conversation.

Artificial "Black Hole" Generator? Riiiiiiiight. Try "Physicist Hand-job" generator!

February 22, 2006

A Letter From a Friend

Dr. X asks that I pass along this recent message.

Hi JC, thanks for the money. I'll need another six thousand next week when I start to pay off the informants, have your guys ready. Please cut off the first couple sentences of this and put the rest up on the blog, ok?

Sorry about trashing your office right before I left...I haven't had that much Belgian ale in a long time. But that's the great thing about industrial chic, right? Just hose it down and it's good as new. That's why you OMA boys make the big bucks.

I got here in pretty good order. Pointe Noire is as-advertised, nice beaches, nice folks, good Christian radio. There really is a more relaxed world outlook here - five minutes off the jet, with that warm wind on your face and the sounds of the birds in your ears, and you feel like you're five years younger, at least.

Now that I am on the ground I can tell you a little more about my project. After the volume affair, I got to thinking about what makes a hit song. If you ask any advanced musicologist what is truly indispensable to a hit song, they will say the hook, or maybe the vocals. The fools. It is the drumming. Drumming is to hit songs as sauces are to French cooking. (Let's not re-open the whole Ringo thing right now - but he was the indispensable Beatle.)

But what do we really know about drumming? Have we gone into the field to hear it? No. Have we found the tribal drummers in the faraway lands whose licks we unconsciously imitate? No. Have we really gone to the heart of hit song drumming? No. But now I can change all that.

But enough about me. I read your blog entry and, um, I have a bit of advice. Your posts are too short. You MUST ELABORATE on your KEY POINTS. Don't just assume they understand what you mean the first time - MAKE YOUR POINT SEVERAL TIMES. These people are not trained architects, and it's not like you're paying for paper, so PLEASE be as verbose as you need to be to make the point EXACTLY the way you want it to be. My friends will thank you for it.

Oh, JC, I don't think I told you my friends used to be in a band called Superdrag, so you can ask them about that, too.


Dr. X

Rolling Art Form refined into 1,200 feet of "art bits"

"...by day's end the tabloids were disappointed to learn that the demolished car had been owned by a Swedish millionaire without a Screen Actors Guild card."

February 20, 2006

"Have they discovered a way to refine bullshit into gasoline?"

Bush: U.S. on Verge of Energy Breakthrough - Yahoo! News

February 19, 2006

Modernism for the Masses

I had thought of the comment of Mr. Lord on the subject “the use of mass production as a cultural technique” and it is a very significant question. The architectural vision Modernist is only one innovation unless it carries out widespread acceptance. And the elitism was certainly one of the failings of the Modernism.

I wish to go to California because there was a man who, alone almost, brought Modernist architecture to the masses. Joseph Eichler made hundreds of Modernist houses in Palo Alto, San Mateo, and elsewhere in California. He was the first manufacturer to be useful itself of the skilful architects modernist, like A. Quincy Jones and Raphael Soriano, however he managed to maintain the costs of its product competing with the banal suburban houses of the ranch style of other manufacturers:

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To indicate these houses were inspired by dogmatists like van der Rohe or Wright would not be correct. The construction of post-and-beam and open floorplans plans were certainly in the tradition Modernist, but there was no free use of van der Rohe's materials of luxury, not the sacrifice of Wright of livability in the name of the art. They were houses which maintained the structure and the vision of the Modernism, but interlocking allowed engagement of the human spirit, too.

I think that the greatest place of Eichler of all must be be The Highlands of the San Mateo, where Eichler built each house almost. Accessible houses established according to principles modernist for the normal people - I imagine it to be a beautiful dreamland, elegant structures in a rough air landscape, touched by wisps of cloud. It is my great dream with going there and to test this place.

Like you, Mr. Lord, Eichler was a political person. He was a Democrat and gave to the party much of money. He was also deeply moral about selling houses with the minorities. In the pleasant Design for Living: Eichler Homes, the son of Eichler remembers one controversial moment:

Eichler homes was the first large tract builder to sell houses to African-Americans… My father became involved on rare occasions when groups of homeowners demanded he refrain from completing a sale to African-American family… ‘I am not a fool,’ he told one such gathering. ‘If, as you claim, this will destroy property values, I could lose millions. You put up a lousy $500 and get a loan guaranteed by the government. You should be ashamed of yourselves for wasting your time and mine with such pettiness.’

This, I think is the society wedding of the spirit American, optimistic, egalitarian, and of the correct vision Modernist of the great design for the masses.

Mr. Eichler died in 1974, but he was a great man, a great spirit. I hope for a certain day to come to see this paradise Modernist in the clouds.


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More robot art is here.

Army of Robot Warriors

From Knight-Ridder:

The Defense Department is rapidly expanding its army of robot warriors on land, air and sea...

Actually, the story doesn't live up to the lede, since most of the so-called "robots" are more like very expensive RC cars and airplanes. Will it be possible someday, in a world with a single, all-powerful imperial technocracy (i.e., the United States) to engage in warfare against human-being-led nations using robots? If so, the one weakness of the neo-con agenda will be addressed. With no body bags going home, they would be free to kill and conquer to their heart's content.

February 18, 2006

A Beautiful Dream of the Future


This is real. Details are at the Space Adventures website.

Eisengeiste Breaks the News!

This Seattle PI story on spreading ATM fraud was a direct result of my writing the reporter that some debit cards other than BoAs, like, uh, mine, had been compromised-I'd heard while getting it straightened out of other problems . All you had to do was, say, buy something at Office Max or use a rigged ATM machine in downtown SF.

I'm going back to gold dust.

February 17, 2006

Robot Jesus

I know you disapprove of the Google for political reasons, but it is a valuable tool. Here is the explanation of how the robots are used to enhance the religious experience in America. I am sad we Europeans are far behind in this technology.

Sorry, Couldn't Hear You Above the Racket of Rich Men Whining

Captured on an internal website, Wal Mart Headcheese H. Lee Scott is just the sort of turbogoon you would imagine.

We Provide Robot Solutions

ROBOTS FAQ (From Robots.com, an industrial robot boutique)

February 16, 2006

What happened to the RSS feed?

It's on the fritz again.

February 15, 2006

Was it Beer-Thirty for Dick on the Ranch?

MSNBC posts and then drops a little story that drinking may have been involved in the shooting party; the Nation suggests the Secret Service may have interferred with the investigation.

February 14, 2006

I Am Sorry Your Team Will Lose Next Year

"The Seahawks were the losers of Super Bowl XL, and that all but disqualifies them from contention in 2006."

I Am Appalled

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The Dick Cheney Federal Building in Casper, Wyoming. It is an abomination. Who did this?

The holes in the walls are for...the machine-guns?

The Lawyer Also Rises

In the big black car at the head of a line of black cars which were following the black car Dick espied the flimmering of a covey in the Texas underbrush, and he unstrapped his small shotgun and grabbed a handful of shells from the Suburban's large cupholder, crushing in a thick soft fist the paper cup from double tall half-caf latte he had despised. His old weak friend, tall and old and drained of strength understood the gesture and grabbed his own fowling piece and opened the door to touch the baked red soil with a clean $300 Italian cowboy boot. The rancher had done well and the quail were large and bright-eyed and in the correct proportion for which Dick and his friend had requested. Dick's heart gladdened. Dick's heart raced. Dick's heart began palpitating and a medical attendant pushed the surgically installed button which shocked him with great electric force and returned his heart to the ordinary rythym and he looked toward a bush on a small rise 10 or perhaps 15 yards away that would be the day's trek that he would lead, following the quail track, the little splayed chicken-like dashes in the red dust and the soil that lead to the bush where the quail would wait in silence. The barrel of the gun was cool and heavy and pregnant with violence. The air held a tension and the sun could not burn through it. Dick waved off the helicopter and then he closed the door and the little ding of the car door open warning ding dinged no more and there was only the bush and the quail and the 15 yards like a threaded ancient path through an unknown land.

His old weak friend who was tall and old and held the gun like an enormous black ball point pen stood there in the yellow sun in the dayglow orange vest and cast about his dull grey eyes. He appeared to be cheerful but confused and dull and weak and old and tall and he went east like an arthritic giraffe to Dick's right though the scrub and the brush and the red soil to the bush on the little hill, and his old weak friend held the gun which was a pen toward only a memory of quail, not the living quail which waited and breathed and schemed in the tangled branches within the bush.

Sensing the quail and in the smell of the red dust and sage and the diesel trucks on I-37 Dick sent his Secret agents into the Bush with the quail in a pincer movement designed to flush the quail to his right, and the thrill of seeing the young strong men in the black suits and their black sunglasses and holsters flapping, waving their arms and running and tripping and yelling 'Quaily! Quaily! through the tall grass toward the Bush, a move he had always used, a move which had always confused the quail. And the open quiet mind opened before him and there was no Middle East only the gun and the quail and the Bush and the men in the black suits runnning around waving their arms, and the image of the line of the path of the fire to be sped his heart until it was arrested by the pacemaker and Dick lifted his gun several inches above his stomach and watched for the beating of the wings and the line of the flying quail, Dick's eye closed to all which was not there like the Hippies and Osama Bin Laden and the endless spinning of layers of betrayals. Only The Bush and the quail and the shotgun, lethal and the summing clarity.

Before he heard the rustle of the tiny leaves he saw the movement, a quail in fear and flight and taking a line matched so well to the angle at which he held the shotgun there was almost no muscle movement in his arms that followed the quail in silence along the sky which turned from blue and sunwhite to dayglo orange when in the furrow of moment he fired knowing before the metallic click was heard that the hunted was downed.

"Arrgh!" said the quail which was not the quail, but his friend who was old and weak and tall and lying bleeding from the face and chest in the grass, the fresh red blood looking black on the dayglow vest. His friend clutched his face in agony with an gnarled soft hand his gun lying akimbo on his leg. Dick remembered that he sent men to be shot and die, and they did die, and here his friend laying in the tall grass on the red soil bleeding onto a dayglow vest and Dick had shot him.

"Call back the helicopter," Dick said, to a man in a black suit with a radio who looked alarmed. Dick was not alarmed. The clarity was that the shot was a perfect shot that had broken the silence and followed the quail with a lethal accuracy, and that his friend who was after all, tall, lay bleeding on the ground was a detail which was a fact as real as blood in red dust but was not the truth. A dozen vehicles and a hundred men and women broke into the peace where there was only the moaning and the rustling of leaves and the hunting was over, and he would return to his car, and he did, and found the fresh hot double-tall half-caf latte in the deep cupholder of the big black car, which he had known would be there and which he despised.

The Descent on Dick

Corrdry: Jon, tonight the Vice President is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. Now according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be the 78 year old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists- he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face.

He believes the world is a better place for spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Whittington's face.

In a post 9/11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak.

Craig Ferguson got in a couple of heavy hits:

He shot a 78 year old lawyer.... and Cheney says that he eats everything he shoots, so...

(One way you hunt) is to cover yourself in the dung of the animal you're hunting, so it comes by and sniffs and says "Oh, it's me.." and goes along. Was Cheney covered in lawyer crap?

February 13, 2006


Vice President Shoots Mouth Off

Texas Fish and Wildlife Cites Cheney For Not Buying Required "Senior" Stamp

VFW Delighted in Retrospect At Cheney's 5 Vietnam Draft Deferments

Rich Republican Attorney Shot without Prior Intent

Vice President Also Narrowly Missed Britney Spears' Infant

White House Condemns Irresponsible Victim For Suddenly Stepping in Front of Obviously Dangerous Shotgun Blast

(I am also forced to report a Kimmel joke:)

"You know what they say, if Dick Cheney comes out of his hole and shoots an old man in the face, six more weeks of winter."

Is Alaska Actually Mystified By Its Bad Image?

Longtime PI political columnist Joel Connelly, from the safe distance of Puget Sound, rakes the Alaska leadership into the compost pile.

Young fund-raisers were held at the MCI Center skybox in Washington, D.C., of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

It was Young who blocked House action on a bill that would have made the garment industry in the Northern Mariana Islands comply with U.S. labor laws.

Abramoff represented the garment makers.

Were he a more astute man, Murkowski would recognize that a dose of reality lies behind Alaska's image problem.

In 2003, federal spending amounted to more than $12,200 per resident of Alaska.

Doesn't the rest of the country have a right to question waste, and to insist that the money not be used to degrade values that make Alaska such a unique, wonderful and largely unspoiled place?

Damned right it does.

And now, The San Francisco- Lake Spenard Fighter Jet Squadron Connection

Security Aviation is owned by Mark Avery, former Anchorage prosecutor and son of a well know San Francisco attorney. Avery left SF in the 1990s, but is still paid $400k a year (!) along with the other trustees to manage the May and Stanley Smith Charitable trust ( a story picked up previously in the San Jose Mecury News) which gives money to help

poor women in South Africa "maybe to raise chickens or do some ceramics they can sell as souvenirs, that sort of thing," Matheny (one of the three trustees) said.

Clearly, these trustees are masters of critical details. The UN has long demanded increased funding for ceramics souvenir/ chicken raising in South Africa - and the private sector stepped up. You can't pay enough for that kind of competence. And they assure us the trust funds weren't used for the private Lake Spenard Fighter Jet Squadron.

Early on at least, his work with the Smith Charitable Trust position took 80 percent of his time, he said in a 2003 interview with the San Jose Mercury News, which published a story examining the $400,000 salaries of the trustees. He also was busy with trust clients he inherited from his father, he said.
Because the trust was from a pile of foreign money from a mine in Malaysia, they DON'T have to report who gets the grants. The following is my best estimate of the trust's grant criteria:

The Smith Charitable Trust supports private, 501 (c) 3 or other organizations working towards development of or the creative use of ceramics in production of curios for the third world tourist economy, such as decorative Tiki-themed Mai tai mugs, or adorable pink ceramic kittens, or reproductions of legally distinct Garfield merchandise; it makes multi-million dollar grants for chicken farming on farms where there are in fact chickens, for spreading of feed amongst chickens, and for shooing chickens in from the yard at suppertime; it also makes targeted grants to develop private fighter jet squadrons and arms trading north of the 50th parallel, or other areas which are underserved by traditional fighter jet squadrons and arms trading, like Andora or Burkina Faso, and could sure use some private fighter jet squadrons right fast.

February 12, 2006

Dick Cheney Attacks The Wrong Target

If we can't trust our Vice President with dangerous firearms, who can we trust?

And now, the alternate headlines:


78 Year Old Lawyer Too Spry for Veep

Dick Drops Shyster


VP Blasts Lawyer

Dick Cheney Shoots Mouthpiece

Vice President Leads Witness

Objections Dropped to Cheney Hunting Trips With Scalia

VEEP Takes Lawyer For Quail

Vice President Shoots Innocent Man In Head Yet Again

Another Friend of Cheney Eats It



Far Beyond the Rocket Pods

The Security Aviation in Anchorage saga is getting much stranger: huge numbers of weapons, some boasting of connections to the White House, fake medavac flights with automatic weapons in the floorboards.

Sure fine, another Alaskan nut job, right? Yet the company has 45 pilots, its own building, a fleet of vehicles and weapons and apparantly, mysterious, unlimited supplies of money.
The windowless room was "just floor-to-ceiling weapons," Bucknall said, with an area for a gunsmith to work. "Rob Kane was in the building, but Dennis showed it to me. It was kind of his hangout."

She saw "silenced .22s," she said, and "fully automatic weapons with silencers."

As far as she could see, they all had price tags, she said.

There is of course a whiff of supposed White House connection:

Adding to the aura of government sanction, Avery, Hopper, Kane and other top company officials wore credentials inside the building that carried the White House logo, Bucknall said. "They claimed to have a direct line to George Bush and said they had a government credit card, and that's how they were buying these aircraft," she said.
The principles are clearly bragging, and evidence is better that these are a bunch of fruitcake weapons fetishists. However, you may recall during the Iran-Contra hearings that Anchorage's Mark Air, Southern Air Transport contracted aircraft - presumably with U.S. Intelligence agencies - to supply the Contras. It's an awfully big operation -office buildings, helicopters, and hand grenades - and a huge amount of money for weekend warriors.

The Daily News is clearly interested and will be following up; it's a very entertaining story, private jet squandrons, fireball crashes into mobile homes, and running guns out of Anchorage. I'm going to guess that this will make a national spash within a few weeks. I'll just note that they aren't accused of being terrorists.

More of the Surveillance in the Age of the Internet

For some reason inexplicable, my e-mail no longer is operational. I could not imagine my essays about the Modernism could provoke such a response.

I will inform you when I have new direct contact information.

Also I am very proud of this:

I should also now make a kind of confession. I am intending to collect these exchanges for publication in a book in France. My working title is:

Engager la bête: Un échange de vues avec un Intellegentsia impérialiste

In rough translation this means "My Funny Letters with the Humorous Americans."

I hope you will not think me to have been less than candid in our exchanges so far.

Do You Yahoo Another 8 Years in a Chinese Prison?

A spineless Yahoo burns another yet democracy activist in China, cruelly pretending it didn't know what the information on a Chinese dissident was going to be used for.

This is good evidence that Yahoo, Google and I can only assume Microsoft will cheerful give up information to the U.S. Government if it ever gets to the point democracy activists are to be imprisoned in the United States for political dissent, a situation whose components are begining to develop.

February 11, 2006

"Oh, and about that 'instant replay' thing:"

I've finally come around to the opinion that instant replay is a crap. It slows down the game and places too much focus on the officiating. And, most importantly, it doesn't do enough to eliminate bad calls. (Sometimes, like the Polamalu interception at the end of the Colts-Steelers playoff game, it can actually cause bad calls.) I'd rather watch the players and coaches throw a tantrum (or just shrug), and move on to the next play, than watch the same play in slow motion over and over so that everyone in America can form their own opinion.

I don't know how many times this season I heard the commentators agree that the instant replay will turn out one way, then have the ref call it the other way after spending well over the allotted time looking at it. If we have to have replay, it would be better to limit the review to 20 seconds, just enough time to overturn bad calls that are obvious to everyone. After 20 seconds, the shutter should drop in the peep-show machine, and the call on the field will stand.

From the Minutes of the Super Bowl XL Truth and Reconciliation Commission

I have a message to my fellow Seahawks fans: it's time to move on.

The Seahawks got to the Super Bowl, and they lost. There is no dishonor in this. Thirty NFL teams would have given anything to trade places with them. Remember the first game of the season, when the Seahawks were dominated by the Jacksonville Jaguars? On that day, if someone told you that the Seahawks would play in the Super Bowl that year, would you believe them?

During the first Monday Night game of the season, the Falcons beat the Eagles. In the waning minutes of the game, John Madden posited, "I think we're looking at the two best teams in the NFC right here." Think of the joy it would give you, if you had the opportunity, to make John Madden eat those words.

Speaking of eating words, Dr. Z predicted before the season that the Seahawks wouldn't make it to the playoffs. After week one, he ranked them 20th, five places behind the 49'ers.

Regardless of the result of the Super Bowl, the Seahawks kicked unholy ass this season, and you will never forget it.

Now, about that Super Bowl.

Those who know me know my feelings, that American Football is the greatest sport in the world. The older I get, the more strongly I believe this. However, all sports have their problems. To me, the biggest problem in the NFL is the over-abundance of adjudication, and too much focus on it by the players, coaches, fans, and the press.

Did the Seahawks get some bad calls in the Super Bowl? Yes. Did the Steelers get some bad calls? Yes. Did the Seahawks get more bad calls than the Steelers? Yes. But, I assert: who gives a flying fuck?

There used to be a term for someone who complains about the officiating after games: bad sport. It pains me to see Seahawks players, coaches, and fans display bad sportsmanship like they have in the past week. (Somebody might mistake us for Giants fans, for cryin' out loud!) Let's go out with some class, please; celebrate this season's accomplishments, and look forward to a second shot at the trophy next year.

On a lighter note...

Who would win The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny?

I was pulling for Abe Lincoln myself...

Google Being Evil III: The Sweet Smile of Surging Techno-Fascism

Google's Marissa Mayer
"We think this will be a very useful tool, but you will have to give up some of your privacy "
Marissa Mayer, VP Google

I've said for many years that private concentrations of power and information may be greater threats to freedom that government abuses -and it is the combination of mutually reinforcing massive concentrations of private-public power that is an essential condition of fascism. In the American instance, we may surrender our liberty to simple consumer convienience.

February 09, 2006

Rebar for Tootsie Rolls: Snitch Pudding

It was a dark wet Tuesday in January, about as cheerful and warm as the cold nose on a dead puppy. Stumbling soberly around North Beach, I stormed into Cafe Tosca and stared down the barkeep for a cigar and a drink and a rag to clean the blood off my shoes. A damp, alcoholic gloom nestled snugly in the old bar like a rheumatic baby ocelot into the withered teat of despair.

A clutch of elderly Italian men sat in the back planning to corner the Boise prosciutto market, each draining a bottle of Grappa and/or a tipple of Venetian turpentine. A dinghy, indifferent mediterranean painting hung on the yellowed wall like it was going to hang there for another fifty years waiting for a dusting from some future atom robot electro-maid. Down the long brown bar, a couple of downtown business girls conducted business about some business downtown with a reporter for the Chronicle, an ottery meat balloon named Clive, I think, hard to forget with that greased, centerpart hair, pencil moustache, and tropical-themed ascot with a little naked Hawaii girl that jiggled when he coughed.

I couldn't get the blood off my shoes, so I shifted gears and burnished it into sort of a brownish stain. Caruso tinnly damned his fate as a cheap clown on the Wurlitzer. I glanced up across the bar.

It couldn't be. Behind the rows of glasses scowled Crumples, the pickled flesh of his all-too animated corpse stuffed into a tailored white waistcoat and black tie serving the bottle of Lorenzo's Turpengrappa I'd ordered, with the exact ripple of forced politeness passing that coarse malevolent face that also wrinkled Mussolini's mug when he begged a couple hundred Panzers from Hitler. There was no escape from Crumples. In my life, he was a demented antedeluvian student loan collector who served you second hand paint thinner instead of a court summons. He hated me like eye cancer, but with a kind of quasi-benevolent consistency.

Crumples crinkled the skin curtains around his eyes, piling up folds like a Norwegian prison laundry. As a greeting, he made that sort of noise like an electrical short. I tossed a couple crumpled Jeffersons his way. Picking up a Two, a bloody tooth rolled out onto the walnut bar. He gave me a look with his good pupil like he'd box the thinking jelly out of that salad mould I called a head if only he was 78 years younger.

"Guy didn't want to part with his lettuce, " I explained. Cheap job, working for a hunting lodge accountant trying to track the hooker that stole the wad he'd skimmed from the moose accounts and then ran off with his wife, a perfumed chippie from Nantucket with an ironic allergy to whale vomit. Pathetic bastard tried to short me when I told him they were opening a back alley abortion clinic and notions shop in Castro valley. It only took one blackjack whip across the kisser to put the triple-timing bean-counter into the accounts paid column.

Crumples glared, boring holes in my forehead with a couple of twin .50 pupils. Down the bar, the business girls looked miffed, like Clive the reporter was talking them down to 6 bucks and a pint of tequilla.

Clive eventually oiled his way over, flanked by the curvier of the broads. He held out a limp hand with his business card and smiled with his little moustache that closed the top of his pie hole like a paranthesis. He was the kind of business reporter that wrote leads like "Red union slackers have harmed the war effort with specious demands for non-flammable pants."

"Mack, hey! Mack!, 'What's
all this, then?' Hahaah ahhaha!" he said, laughing like a toy steam hammer while tilting his eyes at the floozy's impressive heavers.

That English bobby bit was the weakest joke since Calvin Coolidge met Paul Robeson and the tiny husk of a President started up with an Amos and Andy routine. Clive perpetrated this embarassment every time he saw me, expecting a laugh like he was a naked Chaplin in a room of full of drunk sorority girls and a loosened tank of nitrous oxide, which I happened to know was a habit of Chaplin's, from Oona's pedicurist, who was now my chiropractor. But for Clive the laughs always came in his head, anyway, from the adoring pretend audience who read his business-beat column. He wrote the worst business tips since Henry Ford was advised to avoid the transportation sector.

I forced a smile and tossed the blood-covered towel on the bar, which was a mistake because that's when a six foot rod of rebar crashed through the door window and pierced Clive right through his cheek, and now as he spun around and around bleeding all over the place I had to reach all the way back over to the bar to pick up the towel again and start wiping some of the gore off the girls, which was the most action I'd gotten since Dardenella left for Upper Volta on a mission for insurance fraud - to stop or perpetrate I didn't think to ask.

Funny thing - and this WAS funny- Clive wasn't dead. Oh sure, he'd looked better before a 72 inch steel rod was sticking sideways out of his face, but not all that much, and while Crumples with all the empathy a bucket of prison shivs searched the bathroom floor for a lost nickel to call the ambulance, I tried to comfort Clive as best I could by pouring gin in a glass with a straw and sticking it up his nostil so he could suck one back, but as he sat on the stool with the rebar through both cheeks and six fewer teeth some stumbling rummy came in and hung his hat on one of the rod ends, tilting Clive's head slowly to one side until it hit the bar, and Clive couldn't say anything because the rummy was his editor at Chronicle, Erasmus Veltwiddle, and also there was piece of rebar through his cheeks.

"Say, Eraser, " I asked the rummy, "You know anyone who'd want to hurt Clive? Specifically, with this six foot piece of rebar?" I tapped the rebar with a pencil for emphasis.

"Errrk!" Said Clive. Even the hula girl on his ascot was writhing.

"Sorry Clive, here, let me get my hat back," said Eraser.

"Arrghh..ooww!" said Clive.

"What was Clive working on besides Lily and Edna over there?" I asked. The girls waved gamely.

Eraser, who was still wearing his trademark green shade- under his hat - looked reflective, in the way an orangutan wonders whether he really should have eaten that abandoned shank of Komodo dragon.

"Something about the Davenport Foundation. Something about the foundation's money getting diverted for...what was it Clive?" said Eraser, turning to Clive and spilling his scotch and whiskey into Lily's decolletage, for which he was slapped, which merely caused him to chuckle.

"aaaaghh..." said Clive, as Crumples screwed up his face and tried to pull the rebar out, his Civil War army boot firm on Clive's cheek for leverage.

"Oh, yes," said Eraser, his red face redding up with ready remembrance. "A private army."

"PheoooO!" I whistled. The Davenport Foundation had more money than God's banker's insurance company's dirty accountant's mob lawyer. They were trying to find a cure for polio. Good luck on that. They were nutjobs like rabid squirrels, but they had the dough and they had talent. Maybe they were going to send a rocket for space doctors from Venus.

But a private army?

"AaH! AaH! AaH! AaH! AaH! " said Clive as Crumples jerked the rebar out six inches at a time.

"A private army?" I asked out loud.

"Yes, yes. Hundreds of guys, planes, horses, tanks, small arms. Some weird stuff too: bicycle howitzers, oversize floating shoes, flame throwing seltzer bottles, radium pellet sling shots, very high capacity small cars. Mostly they hire out-of-work tomato pickers and chinese short order cooks, occassionally rocket scientists and circus folk. " said Eraser. "They got a ranch out by Stanford."

"Some charity. More like our Lady of Pincer Movement."

"We haven't run anything yet until we can----" And CRASH, another piece of rebar went straight through the unbroken window and into Clive again, but the aim was too good, sliding perfectly along the original wound and not doing too much more damage to his cheeks. Eraser and I and the girls dove for cover. Then we got a burst of Browning auto rifle fire which finally cheesed off the old Italians in back who whipped out six or seven Tommy guns and returned fire. People in the street scattered. A huge green Buick ran off down columbus, engine roaring and tires squeeling. I watched heartbroken as broken bottles of very expensive scotch slowly dissolved the grease on the floor.

"Arreghghegaaagggghh!" said Clive. He was getting on my nerves. The mystery was getting in my mind. Lily was getting on my lap. I sipped a house cappucino. I was becoming curious.

February 08, 2006

Student, Master, Libertine

Before X left Rotterdam we had a conversation about who killed the Modernism. We think that we solved the case.

I had always gone back in the death to the Modernism of the release of this terrible film of Tatischeff, Playtime, in which the old confused man cannot find his way in the Modernist landscape. (Instructions X left with me require all the times that I mention a film I must link to Roger Ebert’s review of it).

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But we decided Playtime was too late, the victim already had been mortally wounded. No, we must earlier go to find the assassin. And when you start to think in this way, killers - Earps against Clantons of Modernism - become obvious.

The Beatles killed the Modernism. In 1964 the Beatles make their first try to America and exploited the exposure of Ed Sullivan. Until this moment Modernism was the dominant form of the cultivated classes - after this moment it was the news of yesterday, a relic of a history each one wanted to escape.

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It is, I think, the critical point: all people were, perhaps subconscious, struggling within forms which had become excessively restrictive. Like George Harrison indicated: "The Beatles saved the world from boredom." They made thus by taking forms of Apollonian and by twisting them in anthems of Dionysian.

Before he left for Afr... er, his destination, X and I listened to the albums The Night per Hard Day, Beatles to be Sold, and Assistance!. These were noted at one special time in the history of Beatles.

Some divide Beatles into two periods, early and late - but X and I are in accord that there was really of three: Students (until the Assistance!), Masters (Rubber Heart, Revolver, Sgt, Pepper), and Libertines (all else).


These three albums come during the year or two before they gain the complete control. In them they always play the songs of others, but arrangements are invariably innovating, nervously experimental subtle manners. As mockingbirds they find their own voices by imitating others. They are with the pains never to repeat itself.

And then, some drugs, some fights over money and women, and the bacchanal is over. After having destroyed Modernism and its immaculate vision of the future, Beatles could no more propose a new agenda than could Maha Kali, the goddess of the destruction.

Lennon, forgetting all he has once known, writes the songs which even politicize a dream.

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It was regrettable to see that the joy and energy of young people fall to the ruin so much quickly. And after it is over, there are only the echoes, the forms, and, yes the dreams.

I think of a place in Texas, where the man who inspired Beatles played in a garage in the choking heat of evening, his dreams agitating through the rigid forms like a spider dancing on the web. The Beatles knew. They were Beatles, after all, because they had heard the Crickets, and the greatest master of all:

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Ginny (Flint) Askerman

I know several of you will be sorrowful to hear of the death of Ginny Askerman, the mother of Chris, Brian and Kevin Flint, on Monday night in Arizona. As I understand it, Ginny had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in December. It sounds like she died of severe side-effects of chemotherapy. Although she went quite fast, I understand her sons were with her.

I knew Ginny as a kid and only a little when I was an adult. She always struck me a deeply good person--fierce, gentle and funny--and I was pleased that she had found great happiness in recent years with Doug Askerman. They had moved to Arizona not that long ago.

PBS Fish Slapping Special

PBS is airing a six part series - with some sort of new material - on each of the Pythons on February 22.

Each episode will feature the fish -slapping dance. It's everyone's favorite.

Quite. I am beside myself, in a Pith helmet, a sort of linen suit and wearing an expression of duplicity.

Alaska Seeks PR to Correct Accurate Public Perception

Certain of our correspondents, with of course the exception of our Dutch post-post modern architect from East Dutchland, who has never seen Alaska except during a pan-Pacific jaunt to promote a gas-permeable carbon-fiber hut design based on a late Bauhaus white chocolate covered tulip bulb, may be able to confirm elements of the following story.

AP (in the Seattle Times.)
It's known as The Last Frontier. But lately, Alaska is worried the rest of America sees it as the Freeloading Frontier.

Gov. Frank Murkowski says it is time for an image makeover. He wants the state to hire a public relations firm to change the perception of Alaska and its people as greedy for federal dollars and all too willing to plunder the environment for profit.

Ultimately, he wants to sway public opinion in favor of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

February 07, 2006

Twerp of the Year

NYT. 24-Year Old Bush Nasa appointee resigns.

"Twerp" barely covers it. This little turdenmeister ran around NASA trying to politicize science, silence climate critics at the agency, and to cap it off, had to lie about graduating from Texas A and M. His other qualification for directing press traffic at NASA was working on Bush's reelection campaign.

February 06, 2006

The Search For Objective Truth

February 05, 2006

A Good Item

Now World Cup is underway, there is a nice chart in the BBC for you.

February 04, 2006

Underground Music

I find this subway schematic of musical influences strangely beautiful. I think there is a mistake in it: The Beatles had influence from Buddy Holly and Little Richard, but that is not shown here. Also, my favorite musical artists are not there, which disappoints me.

February 03, 2006

ESPN's John Clayton: A Seahawks Edge

Read this. It's a what you call your balanced, in-depth analysis, and it favors the 'Hawks. Also noted by exception to the East Coast plus France Media Cabal, Chris Berman as the Swami calls it for the Hawks by 1.


How in depth?

This may sound silly, but it's true: Roethlisberger faces some first-quarter difficulties because of the Super Bowl footballs. The league controls the footballs and they are slicker than those in the regular season and three playoff games because they aren't rubbed down and are taken out of the box just before kickoff. Regular-season balls have a chance to be rubbed down by the home team. Friends have told Hasselbeck to throw new footballs as often as he can in practice, and he said it's given him a slightly sore arm. Roethlisberger is playing with a slight crack in his right thumb that requires him to wear a protector and a glove. The painted Super Bowl XL logo on the football is right around the thumb area. This will affect him only in the first quarter, as he gets used to the new balls. In the first quarter of the Denver Broncos game in the AFC championship, Roethlisberger threw a little wilder and almost was intercepted by Champ Bailey. Unlike the Broncos, the Seahawks will defend Roethlisberger early with safer two-deep zone schemes instead of the Broncos' aggressive blitzing efforts. An erratic throw from a slick ball early could kill a possession.

Does Anyone Find Operating an Oil Tanker in Icy Waters a Little Sketchy?

Exxon Valdez II - Electric Goop-A-Loo, was narrowly avoided after the Seabulk Pride slipped her moorings at the refinery when struck by a large iceberg at Nikiski. With about half the oil load of the 1989 diaster, she ran aground on nice soft silt. No tugs were anywhere near.

No skimmers in deep winter, and little safe room to work around her. It's dumb luck that Cook Inlet wasn't slimed almost a badly as Prince William Sound.

First, You Can Repo Jet Fighters?

A situation involving the fatal crash of a privately-owned fighter, an Albatros L-39 , in SE Alaska got much stranger with a raid of the hangers of Security Aviation in Anchorage and Palmer, by, get this:
the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the IRS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Air Force, Alaska State Troopers and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Security Aviation (owned by a former Alaska prosecutor; the name already says trouble) was trying to purchase a fleet of eight of these aircraft. Their site mentions nothing of this. One guy was arrested for "possession of a rocket pod." It also turns out that the crashed jet was jacked (!) in Ketchikan (!) by a repoman pilot (!) who worked for U.S. Customs (!) then promptly flew it into a mobile home, raising a huge fireball(!) The repo company was trying to steal back four of the jets (!) And now the FBI claims that the raid has nothing to do with the crash....right.

Supposedly there is some military training subcontracting aspect. But why the giant, multilocation raid on what seems to be a Pentagon contractor? Jet mercenaries? Secret right wing air ring? Again - KETCHIKAN? It's like sort of like finding a dozen, working privately held T-72 tanks in Monteray Bay with mysterious National Guard Contract.

I am Sorry Your Team is Going to Lose

Someone told me your team is expectecd to lose, all the papers say this. I translate from Le Devoir:

Super Bowl - Steelers in a new role
Edition of Tuesday January 31 2006

Detroit -- Steelers are the favourites, contrary to their preceding eliminatory matches in Denver and Indianapolis. And once more, they will not play in residence. But being given the proximity of Pittsburgh, Detroit could resemble more the city of steel that at the city of the car during the week of Super Bowl.

Several players of Steelers carried an old pullover of Jerome Bettis in the uniform of Our-Lady yesterday, a homage to the valorous carrier of balloon which will have the occasion to put an end to its brilliant career by gaining super Bowl in its birthplace Sunday. Remain to see how a team who had to gain his last seven matches to go up to that point will adapt to her new role of favourites.

Because it is now in Seahawks of Seattle that it is asked how one feels in the role of neglected. After two months during which one did not expect to see them gaining, here is that Steelers are found in a position where them season will be considered a failure if they do not gain Sunday. It is exactly what Bill Cowher wishes that they remember: Steelers in vain carried out an exploit by gaining three eliminatory matches over the road to go to Super Bowl, all that will not want more nothing to say if they do not beat Seahawks. "It is not a question of victories from one week to another, it acts to conclude the business", said the trainer little time after the arrival of its troop to Detroit, adding that the perception of the public can be different but that nothing changed inside the team.

Cowher recalled that Steelers will have an additional motivation for this last match, that is to say the possibility of gaining first Super Bowl since they gained their fourth in January 1980. Cowher is the first of it to be quite conscious since if it comes to the 14th rank for the number of victories in the history of the NFL, because it the succession of Chuck Noll, it took is considered only the second best trainer passed to Steelers. Those will want to thus gain for Bettis, like one says it for a long time, but also for Cowher, which presents one of the best cards in the trainers without to have gained Super Bowl.

A True Leader

I do not follow international affairs, but I hold this world leader in the highest respect:

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February 02, 2006

World: Iran Slightly More Evil than US

BBC reports that in a world survey of 39,000 people, the U.S. rates as slightly less worse of an influence on the world than Iran.

Please see Standard Paragraph.


Rain is due to end in Seattle during Sunday, with days of sunshine a-coming.

The last nice day like that we had was the day we pressure-washed the Panthers.



Thank you for the Feedback

Mr. Lord has suggested that I make changes in my website of the style from Mies van der Rohe. I wish to explain why I cannot do this.

In our office we have a strong friendship with the modernist philosophy. But to understand modernism in our way, you must also have a romantic character. The modernism fought against the tyranny of historicism. It found new forms of expression to rival the classical forms of the Romans and Greeks. But it risked sterility, and van der Rohe was not escaping from this trap.

Some thing is lacking in this man, even if you look just at his face. It is not the face of a man of passion who struggles against bonds imposed by the system of a tyranny. It is not the face of a courageous inventor. It is the face of a, how do you say, hack.

This is how OMA is different. This man van der Rohe's Seagram Building is a symbol of the nullification power of absolute authority:

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It is, how you say, priapic?

You can then compare this with OMA's playful yet functional and passionate Seattle Library, which embodies our founder's motto, "fuck context":

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I hope will understand this is why I cannot change my web site in this way.

Thank you.

February 01, 2006

The Alexander/Chess Connection

Not another Football-related posting? No-This is a Chess-related posting! Shaun Alexander has more than a passing fancy in chess. In fact, he set up his own foundation and donated $7,500 to play some kids, and he did this for free. What a nice guy!

The Times has another article about Alexander and Chess:

So, can chess make someone a better athlete, or at least a better running back? John Fedorowicz, a chess grandmaster and a sports fan, does not think so. "Chess is kind of a sport itself, but I never saw any kind of carryover to other sports," he said. If playing chess made someone a better running back, Fedorowicz said, then they would all play and they would say, "I wasn't anything until I started playing chess." Alexander said he thought there was a bit of a connection between chess and being a running back. "While you're watching film, you're thinking about ways to beat people, and that's kind of the way it is with chess," he said. "Every move, you're thinking about getting an advantage for yourself. That's how it is with football as well."

I am sorry the Jerome Bettis will have to lose on Sunday, but since he has to lose, he will be tossing the mantle of niceness to a worthy opponent in Alexander.

A Superlative Bowl

Art Thiel comments on the irritating depth of sportsmanship, manners, and brotherhood at the Superlative Bowl. Even the PI forum, featuring a spate of P-burghers, is by football standards a paideia of respect and elevated discussion. Meanwhile, Hasselback calls Tobek a Hobbit, Alexander is playing chess, and I'm being to understand our fan base appeal.

The only real poopy pants aside from the East Coast media cabal is Texas A and M, getting a restraining order against the 12th man (O how I recall on how much money the University of Washington made when we sued every team in the entire world for "The Wave." ) Bloodless-lipped whiny little brokeback buckaroos. This, and for so many other Texnian excesses, not the least of which is (SEE STANDARD PARAGRAPH) inspired the above (note the 49 star flag). AND Condi Rice is picking the Steelers. (From the PI)
Maybe she should stick to diplomacy

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who has said she aspires to be commissioner of the National Football League, picked the Steelers to beat the Seahawks.

"I picked Pittsburgh to beat Cincinnati; I have picked against them every game since; I'm not picking against them again. I believe the Steelers are going to win it," Rice told reporters on her way back to Washington from diplomatic meetings in London.

(Side note: W.'s America Is In A Free-fall Decline for Some Reason speech - so defensive, false and dull I didn't soil my eyes by watching it -Please See Standard Paragraph - sounded in summaries like Courtney Love telling us we will all get clean, once and for all. And it's worth saying that W is the closest thing we'll get to Courtney Love as the President of the United States. Those two should hook up. )

Well, I expect that come Sunday we multifarious Seahawks enthusiasts shall cheer our fellows with great good vigor as our team gives those Steelers a sound drubbing indeed. Rah! 23 Skidoo!